...soon thereafter got terribly ill...
Daniel Johan Reuther left his home on the West Side of Chicago and boarded the Douglas Park Elevated at the Pulaski station to join his Western Electric co-workers for a fun cruise to Michigan City, Indiana. Left behind at home were his wife, Charlotte Elizabeth (Friers) Reuther, and their two young children, Marion Elizabeth (5) and Daniel George (7). Charlotte was adamant that she and the children would not go on the cruise!
The news came back to the Reuther family through the neighborhood by word of mouth over backyard fences – there weren’t many telephones – that the Eastland had capsized in the Chicago River, and that many were dead. Charlotte was almost in shock over the news and the two small children were inconsolable. Daniel couldn’t swim, and the family surely thought that he had died.
Late in the afternoon Daniel staggered home, clothes soaked with filthy water. He had taken the Elevated and streetcar back home. He said the rescue workers noticed him almost by chance. “That little black-haired guy over there is still alive. Get him out!” one of them said. Daniel was one of the last to be rescued.
As anticipated, soon thereafter Daniel got terribly ill and was in bed for two weeks. Amazingly, the severe bacterial infection didn’t kill him. He recovered fully and would live in good health to the ripe old age of 86. Daniel would never get in a boat of any kind, even a rowboat on a pond. Had his wife and kids attended the picnic with him, some or all may have perished.