Person:Norman Wardwell (1)

Norman Merrill Wardwell
m. ABT 1890
  1. Hubert Maurice Wardwell, Jr.1892 - 1968
  2. Eleanor Wardwell1897 - 1985
  3. Lucille WardwellBEF 1900 - BEF 1900
  4. Norman Merrill Wardwell1900 - 1922
  5. Virginia C. WardwellABT 1902 - 1986
  6. Doris Wardwell1903 - 2002
Facts and Events
Name Norman Merrill Wardwell
Gender Male
Birth[1] 18 JAN 1900 Newport, Penobscot, ME
Death[2] 4 DEC 1922 Waterville, Kennebec, ME
Occupation? Textile Worker in 1918

Listed in 1900 census as "infant son".

World War I Draft Registration Card says he was short and of medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair. He was working for American Woolen Company in Newport, ME

World War I Service: Ind: Old Town, Penobscot Co. No. 1, Oct. 8/18. Private. Org: SATC Univ of Me to disch. Overseas service: None. Hon disch on demob: Dec. 8, 1918.

"Four the Colby Fire Death Toll One of the Victims Loses Life Trying to Save Others Revere Mourns Loved One 0 Acts of Heroism by Students Victims of the Fire Alton L. Andrews, Belfast, Me, a senior Charles M. Treworgy, East Surrey, Me, a senior Warren L. Frye, Revere, a special student Norman W. Wardwell, Newport, Me, a sophomore

Waterville, Me, Dec 4 - Four young men, students of Colby College were burned to death early this morning by a fire which completely gutted the interior of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity house of Colby College here. The young men who lost their lives were Warren L. Frye of Revere, Mass; Alton L. Andrews of Belfast, Charles M. Treworgy of East Surrey and Norman W. Wardwell of Newport.

Started in Second Story The fire, it is thought, started in the second story of the building, its origin not being known. It soon gained such headway that almost at the same instant the entire northern half was in a sheet of flames. An alarm was sounded and the firemen soon were on the scene. Upon entering the main entrance of the building, one of the fireman tumbled over an object which, upon examination, was found to be the charred boy of a human being. The body was first identified as that of Andrews, later as that of Frye, but it was not until afternoon that it was finally proved to be that of Wardwell.

Scramble for Fire Escape Two other bodies were found in the ruins of the building about 6 o'clock in the morning after the fire had been raging for three hours. Later in the afternoon a fourth body was discovered, which accounted for the four reported as missing in the morning. In this college building, the boys all sleep on the top floor of the five-story building which is called a "Ram Pasture." The first sound to break their slumbers at 3:15 was the cry of "fire," and a mad scramble was made for the fire escape after the students found that the flames had shut them off from the stairs leading below. Wardwell, Andrews and Frye, three of the victims, had neglected to retire in the "Ram Pasture" Sunday night and were sleeping on couches in their rooms on the lower floors. These boys made dashes for the stairway, but were overcome by the intense heat and smoke and died before they could gain the outdoors.

Effort to Save Cost Him His Life Treworgy was asleep In the "Ram Pasture". Upon finding that there was a fire, he darted through the flames in a heroic attempt to rescue the fraternity records. His chivalry however, cost him his life. He was found by the firemen burned to such an extent that recognition would have been impossible if it had not been for the fact that a ring which he was wearing was identified by his college mates. Wilbur A. McAllister, from Manchester, NH, who was the last man to leave the Ram Pasture said: "I was first awakened by several of the boys walking over me as my bed was near the open window which leads to the fire escape. Upon coming to my senses, I found the room deserted and filled with smoke. The door which leads to the stairway had evidently been opened by some of the boys who thought of making their exit that way, but who were driven back by the fire. Through this door, the flames were leaping. I tried to get up, but it took several moments of coughing and strangling before I was able to arise. I hastily donned a bathrobe, which was lying on my bed. Shoving my feet into a pair of slippers, I grabbed by watch and started down the iron fire escape by this time fairly red with heat. Passing the windows of the different floors on my descent from which the flames were belching, my body and face were badly scorched. On gaining the piazza roof, which is about 20 feet from the ground, I slipped and fell, Injuring myself quite badly, but got up and started to give an alarm.

Identified as Body of Wardwell "I found that the Fire Department was already approaching and I made for a house, rang the bell and that was the last that I knew until 6 o'clock." In the forenoon, it was thought that only three of the boys had been burned and that Wardwell had remained with a friend in another house over night, but later it was discovered that this was only a rumor, for one of the charred oodles was Identified by Mr. and Mrs Herbert Wardwell as that of their son. This identification was proven by a filling in the teeth and was corroborated by his dentist. This identification changed the aspect of the situation as the body Identified as Wardwell had been before thought to be that of Frye, from Rever, Mass. This led to a continued searching. After tons of debris had been handled over the fourth body was found, later Identified as that of Andrews. Tile body of Treworgy had already been Identified by a ring which he wore, so that the remaining body from which the arms and legs had been entirely burned off, was that of Frye, four students only being missing and four bodies being found. A mass meeting was held in the chapel at 11 o'clock today and at this meeting Pres. Roberts told the student body that the building would be rebuilt and that recitations would be continued.

Memorial Service Heard A memorial service for the deceased was held in the chapel at 2 o'clock. The body of Wardwell was sent home at 8 o'clock tonight. Treworgy's left Waterville at 3 o'clock this morning; the body of Frye at 9 o'clock and that of Andrews at 1 pm. During the fire, many heroic acts were performed by tine students. William J. Brown of Lowell, Mass captain of the 1922 football team, was one of the first to ascend the ladders on the east side of the burning building. He went up ahead to see if it were possible to alarm any of the men who might be In the building, clinging to his post in the smoke until he was so exhausted that he almost fell from the ladder and had to have assistance in getting down." -The Boston Globe 05 December 1922

  1. World War I Draft Registration Card.
  2. The Boston Globe 05 December 1922.

    The Boston Globe 05 December 1922