Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow In American history and folklore, the cow of Mrs. Patrick (Kate) O’Leary; it supposedly started the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 when it kicked over a lighted lantern while it was being milked. According to the legend, Kate told different people the morning after the blaze began that she was in the barn when one of her cows, Daisy, kicked over a lantern. A few curiosity-seekers claimed to find the broken pieces of such a lantern while snooping behind her cottage, whose survival was one of the great ironies of the disaster. The fire killed several hundred people and destroyed nearly $200 million worth of property.

From the Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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