(Cabinetmaker, Undertaker and helped identify bodies after the disaster)
Born: March 22, 1824 in St. Wendel, German
Died: Ashtabula, Ohio on Dec. 4, 1904
John Ducro was a German immigrant, cabinetmaker and undertaker who by 1880 had established John Ducro and Sons with a store on Main and one in the harbor. In 1892, the brick "Ducro Block" was built on the corner or Main and Center Streets.
Main and Center Streets, C. 1911. The massive Ducro Block is at the left (south) in this
image, with the Newberry Drug building occupying the other corner. All these buidings fell to urban renewal.
After the Ashtabula Bridge collapse and train disaster it was Henry Stager and John Ducro who lead the efforts to identify the remains of the dead from the train disaster site. A primitive morgue was set up in the freight house across the tracks from the passenger depot. Relatives who could make the trip began to converge on Ashtabula hoping to find their missing family member. For those family members who could not make the journey, letters began to flood into town with descriptions of their loved ones along with descriptions of what they were wearing in hopes to make a positive identification. Since there was no passenger manifest to help identify the victims, John Ducro and others would meticulously inventory any recovered property, bodies or body parts and then attempt to match them to the descriptions given by family members. It was a gruesome and smelly task, not for the faint of heart, but John Ducro did it with respect and dedication.
It’s interesting to note: Ducro Funeral Services still exists in Ashtabula, Ohio to this day! It’s run by a fifth generation Ducro – Mr. John P. Ducro, who is referred to as J.P. J.P. Ducro is also a member of the city council, a community leader and supporter of this film.