Can you save my children?

Many people thought plowed fields would provide protection from the fire, and they often do in a regular forest fire. This, however, was not a normal fire, and most who sought refuge in a clearing perished. An exception is the Bakeman family.

Henry Bakeman lived with his wife and six children in the Lower Sugar Bush. There was no stream nearby, so when the fire approached, he gathered his family in the middle of his clearing. They were joined by the neighbor’s eight children as well—Henry Bartells believed the larger clearing at the Bakeman farm would provide better protection for his children. Bakeman told everyone to lie down, and with his hands, he covered his wife and all fourteen children with soil except for their faces. Then he hit the ground and covered himself as much as possible. His resourcefulness saved the lives of his family and all of the neighbor’s children.

After the fire, Bakeman and Bartels began a rescue mission in the Sugar Bush area. Somehow they obtained a wagon and were able to take survivors to the tent field hospital on the only surviving farm in the area (Abram Place) or to the makeshift hospital at Dunlap House in Marinette. These were the gentlemen to pick up Karl Lamp (see his story).

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