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Page currently under construction, please excuse any duplicates as we make updates!

Updates will be made as often as possible.


1891 Homestead Steel Works Explosion

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On Saturday, September 19, 1891, a horrific accident occurred within the Converting Mill of the Homestead Steel Works of Carnegie, Phipps, & Co, when a chain link parted, exploding nearly five tons of molten cinder from a ladle over six employees, killing one instantly, and fatally burning two others. The remaining three were only slightly burned. 

James Maguire, a 26 year old foreman, was killed instantly after receiving the brunt of the falling molten cinder.  

Jacob Linn, father of five and recent widower, succumbed to his burns on September 20, 1891. 

Both men were buried on September 21, 1891, within the Homestead Cemetery, following a joint Funeral Service at the Methodist Episcopal Church. The mills shut down for the day in observance, and an estimated 10,000 people, including eleven lodges of the Amalgamated Association, lined the streets as the bodies were transported to the Cemetery. At the time, it was recorded as the second largest funeral ever seen within the Homestead area. 

Information and photo sources:

  • “A Seething Cinder.” Pittsburgh Dispatch, 20 Sept. 1891, p. 2. 

  • “Buried Amid Sorrow. .” Pittsburgh Daily Post, 22 Sept. 1891, p. 1.

  • “The Second Homestead Victim Dead.” Pittsburgh Dispatch, 21 Sept. 1891, p. 2.


1918 Influenza Pandemic Mass Grave

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The mass grave area is thought to be located in the large unmarked field parallel to 22nd Avenue, towards the Anne Ashley United Methodist Church. Much of the area was originally unmarked, and it's speculated that the need for efficient and numerous burials, as well as the stigma and health concerns of those who had perished from the Spanish flu prevented families from holding traditional ceremonies.


According to notes found in the subsequent ledger entries, many of those who were originally buried in this area during the pandemic had been exhumed and reburied near other family members in larger lots.


We are working on trying to learn more about those interred within this area. 


Independent Order of the
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs

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Located in Old Section I, in center of Section

This cryptic monument, engraved with "I. O. O. F.,"  includes an epitaph dedicating the monument to the "memory of deceased members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs." The memorial is located in the center of Old Section I.

The principles of the Independent Order are "to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan." A sick/funeral benefit, as well as entire cemeteries, were provided by local Lodges to their members and as charity. A large plot would sometimes be purchased within a cemetery, such as what is located here. Headstones would often be depicted with a heart in an open palm, or show a three-link chain containing the letters, F, L, and T, which stood for friendship, love, and truth.

Two lodges were located in Homestead. The Magdala Lodge # 991 was instituted on January 9, 1883, and consolidated on January 8, 1963 with the Homestead Lodge #1049, originally instituted on June 28, 1892. Homestead #1049 went defunct on October 21, 1978.

For more information about the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, please click here.

Information received from IOOF Grand Secretary, Justin C. Bailey, 2021.


Fireman Thomas W. Jacobs

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Location: Old Section E, Lot 52

Fireman Thomas W. Jacobs, a member of engine company No. 1 of Homestead, died as a result of head trauma while fighting a recurring blaze in the Harbison-Walker Refractories plant fire on Saturday, September 10, 1904. A falling smokestack struck Jacobs, along with several other fire fighters. He was taken to Mercy Hospital where he died from a concussion of the brain shortly afterwards. He was 49 years old. He was buried in the Homestead Cemetery on Tuesday, September 13th, following a service at the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church in Homestead. His funeral, the first in the borough for a fireman, was recorded as one of the largest ever attended in the borough, with members of the surrounding boroughs fire department marching to the cemetery.

Information source:

  • "Fireman Jacobs Buried." Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 14 Sep 1904, p. 4.

  • "One was killed, three injured." Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 11 September 1904, p. 11.

Notables: Team Members
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