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Chapter 9

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Complete Story
of the San Francisco Horror

by
the Survivors and Rescuers

in the edition published
anonymously,
San Francisco, 1906

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 11

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p157 Chapter X
Whole Nation Responds with Aid

Government Appropriates Millions and Chicago Leads All Other Cities with a Round Million of Dollars — People in All Ranks of Life from President Roosevelt to the Humblest Wage Earner Give Promptly and Freely.

The fiery destruction of the beautiful city and the pitiable plight of the survivors who escaped annihilation from quake and fire only to face death in the equally horrible forms of starvation and exposure touched the heartstrings of humanity. The response to the needs of the stricken city and its people was so prompt, so universal and so generous that forever it will appeal to the admiration of mankind. It was a response that did not wait to be asked but in the moment when the need became known voluntarily turned the tide of the abundance of the unstricken to the help of the unfortunate before they had even breath to voice their need.

All over our own land, from every state and city and hamlet, from the president and the assembled congress, dropping all else to turn the nation's resources generously to the rescue, through all grades of the people the response broke forth spontaneously, generously, warmly, without stint and with such practical promptness that relief for unexampled distress was already on the way before the close of the first fateful day.

From all the seeming sordidness of daily life one turns to this as proof incontestable that humanity is at heart infinitely kinder and better and less selfish than it esteems itself. Even other lands and other peoples when the horror of the calamity became known to them, added to the stream of gold, which had its beginning p158in the sympathetic hearts of the American people and its ending in the stricken and despairing city. Once more were the lines of the geographer and politician obliterated and there was in the lurid light of the awful hours no north, no south, no east, no west. Once more did those in charge of the coffers of the municipalities raise high the lid and contribute to relieve the woe.

And Chicago, as became the Queen City of the Lakes, and which once in an almost equally dire calamity was, herself, the recipient of generous aid, was among the very first which recognized the need of prompt and generous aid. Almost as soon as the news of the direful plight of the city by the Golden Gate had been flashed over the wires, the Merchants' Association of Chicago telegraphed to the authorities of San Francisco that it would be responsible for a relief fund of $1,000,000, and that any portion of that sum could be drawn upon at once. Then Mayor Dunne issued a call for a special relief meeting at which a big committee of the leading men of the city was formed and immediately went to work. Fraternal organizations, the newspapers and the clubs became also active solicitors for aid.

For several days the streets of the city presented a peculiar appearance. Upon the street corners stood boxes showing that funds deposited within would reach the homeless of the Pacific coast. Smaller boxes stood in the hotels that the strangers in the city might have an opportunity to contribute. Within the large stores in the business center were other boxes that the shoppers might have an opportunity of displaying their sympathy in something more tangible than words. Upon other corners stood the men and women of the Volunteers of America and the inscriptions above their boxes told that all pennies, nickels and dimes would eventually find their way to the stricken of San Francisco.

But while Chicago was the first of distant cities to pledge a big contribution, other cities throughout the country were not far behind. In Faneuil Hall, Boston, a meeting which over-crowded p159that historic temple of liberty was held, and Bishop Mallalieu of the Methodist church, at the close of an eloquent address, had a motion enthusiastically passed that the state of Massachusetts raise $3,000,000 for the relief of the earthquake and fire victims of the Pacific coast. In the meantime the city of Boston had already pledged $500,000 of that amount.

The city of Philadelphia at a formal meeting of its council voted $100,000, while the relief committee of the people there had secured $125,000 for the sufferers of the stricken city.

And the congress of the United States, as became it, was prompt in action. In the lower house a bill appropriating $1,000,000 was introduced and passed at once, and a few days later a similar measure of relief was adopted, making the contribution of the government $2,000,000 altogether. This was about one-third as much as was required to care for the thousands who were made homeless by the Chicago disaster of 1871. President Roosevelt also sent a message to congress urging a further contribution of $500,000, and in an address to the public urged that they send contributions to the National Red Cross society as the readiest means by which the afflicted could be reached. Governor Deneen of Illinois also issued a proclamation to the like effect. Secretary of War Taft, in his capacity of President of the American National Red Cross society, issued a proclamation in which he announced that the necessary work of organization to feed and shelter the people was placed in the hands of the Red Cross society, under the direction of General Funston, Commander of the Department of the Pacific. In this way matters were made systematic and authoritative and assurances given that the contributions of the nation would be honestly and economically distributed to those in need. Among other states and cities not already mentioned, whose contributions were generous enough to deserve permanent record, were the following — and the amounts named may be in most cases set down as somewhat below the real final figures:

p160 Texas $100,000   Jacksonville, Fla. 10,000
Connecticut 30,000   Los Angeles 200,000
St. Louis, Mo. 100,000   Cincinnati 75,000
Sacramento 100,000   Omaha 10,000
Seattle, Wash. 90,000   Providence, R.I. 20,000
Victoria, B.C. 25,000   Davenport, Iowa 20,000
Spokane, Wash. 30,000   Stockton, Cal. 20,000
Milwaukee 30,000   Portland, Ore. 130,000
City of Mexico 30,000   Sacramento, Cal. 100,000
Des Moines 10,000   Columbus, O. 20,000

Among individuals in this and other countries who promptly sent in their contributions were the following:

Russell Sage $5,000
London Americans 12,500
Clarence H. Mackay 100,000
Mrs. John W. Mackay 5,000
Robert Lebaudy 10,000
W. W. Astor 100,000
President Roosevelt 1,000
Senator Knox 500
C. J. Burrage, Boston oil dealer 100,000
President Diaz, Mexico 100,000
E. H. Harriman (for his railroads) 200,000
Andrew Carnegie 100,000
Charles Sweeney, New York 10,000
W. K. Vanderbilt 25,000
"Friend of Humanity," New York 25,000
H. C. Frick 10,000
Gordon Blanding 10,000
H. M. Bowers, Boston 10,000
Robert Schandy, France 10,000

p161 Among the corporations and organizations which lost no time in going to the rescue of the afflicted and helpless were the following:

Bank of Commerce, Toronto $25,000
Columbus Board of Trade 20,000
National Carpenters' union 10,000
United States Steel Corporation 100,000
Kuhn, Loeb & Co., New York 25,000
United Mineworkers of America 1,000
Standard Oil Company 100,000
North German Lloyd Steamship Company 25,000
Wisconsin Masons 5,000
Carnegie Hero Fund 25,000
Heidelback-Ickleheimer, New York 10,000
National Park bank, New York 5,000
New York Stock Exchange 250,000
Citizens' Relief Association, Philadelphia 100,000
Detroit Board of Commerce 10,000
N. K. Fairbank Co. 1,000
National Biscuit Co. 5,000
Hamburn-American Steamship Line 25,000
Canadian Parliament 100,000


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Page updated: 18 Apr 06