Anna Brenner

Anna Brenner

...brought home in a coffin on her 18th birthday...

Anna Brenner was a passenger on the Eastland, the guest of her cousin and Western Electric employee, Catherine Heiser. Catherine's boyfriend also accompanied the two cousins. The three were standing at the rail when the Eastland went over, and all went into the river.

Anna and Catherine's boyfriend could swim, but Catherine could not. In an attempt to give those who were in the water something to hold onto, people along the wharf threw wooden crates into the water. Anna and her cousin's boyfriend were struck in the head by the crates and both drowned. Catherine, the only one of the three who could not swim, was saved.

Anna's father, Albert Brenner, had to go identify his daughter Anna. She was brought in her coffin to her home on Bell Avenue for the wake; it was her 18th birthday. Anna's mother, after whom Anna was named, could never forget her oldest child. Years later and over the years, Anna's mother constantly told her granddaughter, Margaret (Anna's niece), that she looked just like Anna.

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