Chicago Fire - Looters Punished

Chicago Fire - Looters Punished American History Famous Historical Events Social Studies Nineteenth Century Life Tragedies and Triumphs

Anyone caught setting fires (called "incendiaries") or looting (called "thieves") - during, or after, Chicago's Great Fire of 1871 - faced very severe consequences. 

It is fair to say that some residents of the town, who saw such crimes in action, followed this governing principle: 

Respond first; ask questions later.

At least one thief was quickly punished by sending "him to a land where his taste for fire might be indulged solely at his own cost." 

Onlookers, who witnessed such retribution, were heard to remark: 

Served 'em right.

Citizens responding, in such ways, knew they had the law on their side.  So did the police.

Click on the image for a much-better view.

Media Credits

Image entitled "Fearful Retribution. Thieves and Incendiaries are Hanged by the Heels and Brained," from George L. Barclay, The Great Fires of Chicago, 1871.  Online, courtesy U.S. Library of Congress.


Quotations from "The doomed city! Chicago during an appalling ordeal!: the fire demon's carnival: the conflagrations in the West, South and North divisions: graphic sketches from the scene of the disaster" (1871), online via Archive.org.


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"Chicago Fire - Looters Punished" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 21, 2020.
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