Monday, May 18, 2015

BATH SCHOOL BOMBING–88 Years ago today–45 killed, 58 injured–May 18, 1927

New Mexico newspaper headlines the disaster 3502827714_0a50b1fa3f_b Article in San Diego Union about Bath bombing_Page 1 of 2_19 May 1927
This is the worst school killing in U.S. history.  Of the 45 people killed that day, 38 were children.  It surpasses Columbine, McDonalds, Virginia Tech and the Oklahoma bombing.  All are horrible tragedies.



School board member, Andrew Kehoe, stockpiled over 500 pounds of dynamite inside the school building.  He was disgruntled over property taxes and the upcoming foreclosure of his farm.  Kehoe was known to be an angry man.  The school exploded at 8:45 a.m.  Thirty minutes later Kehoe drove his own truck to the school and while conversing with the superintendent, detonated the bomb inside his truck killing himself, the superintendent and a young boy nearby. It was later learned that Kehoe had already killed his wife and firebombed his own home.

Of those children killed that day, 3 are related to me.  I cannot even imagine the horror of that day for the town of Bath, Michigan.  It is in honor of those family members and all the others killed or injured that day, that I write this post.

Children of Eugene Samuel HART and Irene Elizabeth CARR who died that day are: Iola, Percy and Vivian.
HART_Iola Irene_1914-1927_Photo from FAG memorial
Iola Irene Hart - age 12
HART_Percy Eugene_1916-1927_photo from FAG
Percy Eugene Hart - age 11
HART_Vivian Oletta_1918-1927_photo from findagrave memorial
Vivian Oletta Hart - age 8

An older brother of the three children killed, survived the bombing that day.  He went on to have over 30 surgeries as a result of his injuries.

Perry George Hart
HART_Perry George_photo taken from The Bath School Disaster book by Monty J Ellsworth
Perry George Hart - age 17
HART_Perry G with son Percy_1952
Perry with his son, Percy (named in honor of his brother who died) - age 52
The children are buried at Rose Cemetery in Bath, Clinton, Michigan, with their parents later buried next to them.

HART_Iola_Vivian & Percy_headstone_all 3 children killed by a bomber at their school in Bath Clinton Michigan

FindAGrave memorials can be seen by visiting these links:

Iola Irene Hart
Percy Eugene Hart
Vivian Oletta Hart

Here are some links of articles and a video where you can read about this terrible incident. 

I had never heard about this bombing until I began to research this part of my Hart family. The three children who were killed are 3rd cousins once removed.

If you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in this blog, please contact me!
In memory,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Wow! I'd never heard of this bombing before. How horrific! Oh, those poor parents of the children who were killed! So very sad!

    1. Jana - I was very surprised that we'd never heard of this on various news programs when the other tragedies occurred. The McDonald's shooting was right here in San Diego. It's really amazing the things we uncover as we research our family history. This incident being one I would rather have not had to read about. I cannot imagine what the parents and families of all those killed and injured went through.

  2. Not related to YOUR people, but my father's twin brother Oral Riker was injured in the incident. He was living with an older brother in Bath and attending school there; my father Othal Riker was living with another older brother in Toledo. Although Oral was injured, he survived -- but was killed in a bicycle accident at age 16, so I never knew him. My father never mentioned the Bath incident; we only learned about it when doing genealogy research. I now have several books about it and have visited the museum and other memorials in Bath. Judy Riker Gager

    1. Judy. How sad for your father to lose his twin. Twins always have a special bond. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

  3. My grandmother told me about this tragic event just recently as we are related to Iola, Percy and Vivian also. They were my great grandfather's, Leo Hart, 1st cousins. 1st cousins, 3x removed to me.

    1. They are also related to me. I would love to exchange Hart family information with you, but you didn't leave a name. If you see this reply, please get in touch with me.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. My friend of mine, Lorinda Ann (Huyck) Day is the distant cousin of Bath, Michigan hero, Emory Eli Huyck. Lorinda passed away very unexpectedly in Moffat County, Colorado.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.