Person:Emma J (1)

Emma J.
b.FEB 1863 Georgia
Facts and Events
Name Emma J.
Gender Female
Birth[1] FEB 1863 Georgia
Marriage ABT 1888 to Robert Lee Wardwell
Death[2] 19 SEP 1906 Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

1900 Census shows no children born.

"FUNERAL PYRE FOR HEROINE. Burning from Head to Feet, Thinks of Others, Mrs. Wardwell Takes Fiery Stove Outdoors. Hideous Agony and Death for Her Bravery. Dying in awful agony from the effect of burns which all but incinerated her body from head to foot. Mrs. R. L. Wardwell of No. 3423 Maple avenue is the heroine of the entire neighborhood. Mrs. Wardwell sacrificed her own life willingly and uncomplainingly, not alone to save her own home from destruction, but to prevent the spread of what would undoubtedly have been a conflagration In the closely settled section. The first words which writhed from her charred lips after regaining a maddening spell of consciousness from the hideous ordeal of fire, were: "Is everything saved? Were any of the houses burned?" To be followed by a shriek of agony which pierced to the hearts of the tear-stricken neighbors, "Oh, why can't I die quickly?" The woeful tragedy resulted from the explosion of a gasoline stove about 6 o'clock last night, over which Mrs. Wardwell was cooking supper for her husband, a painter, who had not yet returned from work. CARRIES OUT BLAZING MASS. No other person was In the kitchen. Mrs. Wardwell's first Intimation of anything amiss was a deafening detonation, followed by a puff of smoke and a pillar of fire which leaped to the ceiling. She might have escaped with her life and unscathed, but with absolutely no thought of self, with matchless coolness and wonderful self-possession, she seized the heavy stove in her arms, and with the flames playing like a hundred knouts of Satan over her arms and shoulders, beating her in the face, and wrapping their deadly thongs about her waist, bore the burning mass through three rooms, avoiding with a marvelous instinct every piece of furniture or other inflammable article, and hurled the stove and its blazing contents far out upon the lawn. STARK FOR AWFUL DEATH. Then, marked for death, wrapped In a shroud of lambent flame, her clothes, flesh, hands, nails and hair burning, her eyes burned out of their sockets, her body a bundle of roasting nerves, the splendidly heroic woman turned too late to save herself. With her bare hands she sought to beat down the fire. Covered with the dripping gasoline, she made no head-way. Shrieking she fought the fight of her life all over the lawn, and in full view of a score of terror-stricken people. A. Baker, a carpenter boarding with the Wardwells, rushed to her rescue. In an instant his clothing was on fire in three places, and while he turned to fight down the flames which threatened him the crazed woman writhed In her funeral pyre. HEROINE TURNS ON HOSE. Mrs. W. R. Van Tyne, living next door to the Wardwells, rushed out at the sound of the victim's screams. At the first glance at the stricken woman she covered her eyes and cried out in horror. But the next moment she recovered and proved herself also a heroine. Seizing the sprinkling hose, she made a connection, turned on the water, and played a stream of water all over the burning woman. In a moment the flames were subdued, and Miss Brown, also a neighbor, rushed out with a horse blanket which she threw about the pitifully-charred body which the helping ones could hardly control In the madness of Its convulsions and the doomed woman was carried Into the house. Dr. Goodrich was called Immediately, and although he did all that he possibly could to relieve the anguish of torture, no opiate he could give was sufficient to deaden the pain. The unfortunate woman fought her nurses for hours after in the wracking efforts of the sorely-tried spirit to escape from the terribly stricken body. The attending physicians was convinced from the first that there was no possible hope for the woman's recovery. Ready neighbors and a trained nurse were on hand to do anything In their power to assist. but few could remain within sound of the cries which the victim was powerless to repress." -The Los Angeles Times 19 September 1906

  1. 1900 United States Census for Cleveland, Cayahoga County, Ohio Image 722, Roll 623_1253.

    1900 United States Census for Cleveland, Cayahoga County, Ohio Image 722, Roll 623_.

  2. The Los Angeles Times 19 September 1906.