Laura Franklin Delano

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Laura Franklin Delano

Also Known As: "Annis"
Birthplace: Hong Kong
Death: July 21, 1884 (19)
Newburgh, NY, United States (Fire)
Place of Burial: Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Capt. Warren Delano Jr. and Catherine Robbins Delano
Sister of Susan Maria Delano; Louise Church Delano; Dora Forbes; Anne Lyman Hitch; Warren Delano and 5 others

Managed by: Scott Christopher Swingle
Last Updated:

About Laura Franklin Delano

From: by Shannon Butler

It was early on a Sunday morning, July 20th, 1884. The Delano family was preparing for a lovely summer day and a trip to church at their home in Newburgh, Algonac. Sara Delano Roosevelt had come down from her new home at Hyde Park to visit her family and brought along her two year old son Franklin and his Mamie. There was only one child still living at Algonac with Warren and his wife Catherine in 1884. They had lost four children to untimely deaths, the others, Dora, Annie, Kassie, Warren, and Sara were married, while Frederic was studying at Harvard. It was their youngest and arguably their most cherished child, Laura who was still at home. At 9 o’clock a loud burst was heard coming from Laura’s room on the third story of the tower. The lovely 19 year old had been curling her hair with an iron that had to be heated over an alcohol lamp. It is unclear how, but the lamp was knocked over and the burning alcohol splashed all over the robe that she was wearing. The family awoke to the loud bang of her door flying open, followed by the screams of the young girl as she ran out and into the halls. “Our darling child Laura flashed down the stair way a cloud of fiery flame. She could not be stopped but rushed through the hall to the open air.” These are the words of her father that were written within a series of diaries known in the archives at FDR as the “Algonac Diaries”. The entries written concerning the accident with Laura are outlined with a line of black ink around the margins. Fred Hitch, Annie Delano’s husband grabbed a rug and chased after the girl, Sara did the same. They finally caught her outside, near the circle drive at the front of the house and covered her in the rugs, but the damage had been done.

They called Dr. Smith Ely in from nearby Newburgh who arrived within 30 minutes. He quickly began to treat Laura’s burns and try to manage her pain with “chloroform and morphine hypodermically.” For a while it appeared as if she might pull through, she showed much strength for someone so young, “She stimulated with water + brandy + milk + brandy alternately and when awake is brave + patient and encourages us to hope for the best.” But by the afternoon she slipped into a coma and died at 3am that Monday morning. Somehow, her father had the strength to write it down in the Algonac diary, “3 o’clock in the morning the darling child dead her last breath and her sweet spirit had taken flight.” The story hit the newspapers particularly in New York and Massachusetts where the Delanos mostly lived. “A Heart-rending Accident” the headlines read and the letters of sympathy came pouring in. Warren and Catherine had now lost five children but for Warren, this was the most painful. He kept a book, which is now in the archives, of the letters of condolence, over 80 heartfelt letters from friends, family, and politicians from all over the world. He always had a framed portrait of Laura nearby, and in many cases her portrait could be seen mixed in with the family when they sat for family portraits up until Warren’s death. That Wednesday the family brought her body to the Delano tomb at Riverside Cemetery in Fair Haven Mass where they laid her to rest.


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Laura Franklin Delano's Timeline

December 23, 1864
Hong Kong
July 21, 1884
Age 19
Newburgh, NY, United States
Age 19
Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States