Sophie Josephine Morong

Mount Emblem Cemetery, Elmhurst

…no one ever complained again when Sophie was late…

Sophia/Sophie Josephine Morong was born on May 17, 1897 in Podwilk, Poland, Austro-Hungarian Empire. She was the fourth child of John and Frances Brandys Morong, after brother Vendelinus/Andrew and sisters Apollonia/Pauline (who died at six months old) and Carolina/Caroline, and before her younger Chicago-born siblings John, Edward, Lillian, and Elsie. Her father immigrated to Chicago on January 18, 1898, and her mother immigrated to Chicago on February 24, 1903, with her son and two daughters.

In 1912, her parents bought a farm in Baldwin, Michigan, and after they and her younger siblings moved there, Sophie remained in Chicago and lived with her sister Caroline and brother Andrew. Sophie obtained a job at a sewing company, and after that obtained a job with Western Electric (her younger sisters Lillian and Elsie also later worked at Western Electric for a time).

In 1914, Sophie wrote a letter to her parents that was transcribed from Czech to English:

March 24, 1914
2814 Crawford Ave, Chicago Ill

Dear Parents,

I received your letter, and was very happy. I am glad that aunt likes the dishes. What is Elsie doing? Summer is coming soon, so I will see her again. In Western Electric I work with phones. I think it is better than in sewing company; at least this is a more stable job. Since March they still have very little work.

Nothing else is new here, sending greetings to all of you,
Sophie Morong

As the story goes, Sophie was habitually late, and so on July 24, 1915, her two girlfriends waited for her at the dock on the Chicago River, and all of them missed boarding the Eastland and its terrible tragedy.

The postcard below was just recently found by one of Sophie’s granddaughters. Sophie’s brother, Andrew, was visiting his parents at their Baldwin, Michigan farm, and on August 1, 1915, he wrote a postcard to Sophie in Chicago, asking “if any friends of ours got drowned in that exccident”. It appears he did not know that she was supposed to be on the Eastland. Her response to her brother is unknown.
Postcard to Sophie, August 1, 1915
No one ever complained again when Sophie was late, because had she died on that fateful day, the entire branch of her family would not have existed (she married, had two daughters, six grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren).

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