Thursday, November 28, 2013
THE PORTLAND TRANSCRIPT, December 13, 1851
Destructive Conflagration!-On Sunday morning last, between the hours of four
and five, the most disastrous fire occurred in our city that has visited it for many
years. It has swept the most business wharves of the city of nearly all their buildings,
and destroyed property amounting to not much, if any, less than $150,000. Some
twenty-seven stores have been burnt, and nine vessels more or less injured. It is
supposed to have originated in Larrabee & Jordan's store, Commercial wharf. The
alarm was first given by the firing of guns from the Cape side and from the Cutter
Alert. As the fire could not be seen from the city, the citizens gathered slowly, and
when the firemen reached the spot the buildings on both sides of Commercial wharf
were in flames. Rushing through this narrow lane of the fire, the firemen took position
at the end of the wharf and fought the flames like heroes. Many deeds of daring bravery
were performed. Men rushed into danger with a recklessness astonishing to behold.
Some we believe were slightly injured, but none seriously. Owing to the great
exertions of the firemen in the large new store, at the foot of Commercial wharf,
occupied by Sampson & Webster, was saved. But the flames raged with most
impetuous fierceness and spreading with unexampled rapidity-for the building were
mostly old, and all of wood-the blocks upon either side were soon level with the
ground, and the new store building between Commercial wharf and the Pier, was only
saved a blackened ruin. Crossing to Long wharf the flames attacked the corn and the
flour store of D. T. Chase, and soon consuming it with its thousands of bushels of corn
and barrels of flour, swept down the wharf destroying some eight stores with most of their
contents, consisting of flour, corn molasses, &c. Here its ravages were stayed, though not
without great exertions. The vessels lying in the docks between the wharves, which
owing to the tide being out could not be moved, soon caught fire and were in flames
from the deck to the mast head. Several were left only worthless hulls, and others had
their top hamper destroyed. Those wholly destroyed were schooner, Roanoke of
Portland, and Laurel of Rockland. Among those more or less injured were the new
barque belonging to Means & Briggs; brigs Sarah Ellen, and Frances Ellen; schooners
George Brooks, Fanny, Charlotte and sloop Brilliant.
We add a condensed list of the suffers. On Commercial wharf, the firms burnt out
were C. P. Ingraham, ship stores, insured $400; Jeremiah Proctor, fish dealer, loss
loss, $1000; John Conley, grocer, $3000; Larrabee & Jordan, $4000, insured $2000;
William Alexander, fish dealer, $200; James Saville, grocer, $2000, insured $800;
J. M. Kellogg, grocer, $300; Perley & Russell, grocery insured $3000 on stock and
building. Commencing on the other side of the wharf we have first Lovett & Atkins,
fish market, 2nd story W. Gould's sail loft, stock mostly saved; S. N. Beale, lime and
groceries, $3000, insured, $1,800; Hodgdon & Mason, $2,000; insured $1000, books
lost; C. Rogers & Co. flour store, $7000, insured $5000; Fowler's sail loft in 2nd story,
several sets sails lost. On Long wharf, D. T. Chase, corn and flour, lost $35,000, insured
$5000, policy on remainder just run out; the store below were principally used for storage,
and were occupied by George Warren C. Rogers & Co., S. Trask and N. O. & C. H.
Cram, S. W. Porter and D. T. chase. They were mostly insured. Over the lower range of
these stores was the sail loft of Leavitt & Lovell, sails mostly saved.
During the whole time of the fire the firemen worked with the most unremitting
energy, and they were on duty the greater part of Sunday. The scene was visited by
crowds of people during that and the followings days, and the great fire and its
incidents was the single topic of conversation.
Mr. D. T Chase, the heaviest loser, was absent at Saco, at the time. He announces in
the papers that his creditors need make no sacrifices for the whole of his debs will be
paid in full.
There were several explosions of gunpowder during the progress of the fire.
Messrs. Larrabee & Jordan are confident they left no fire in their store, and think it
must have been set.
A sailor named Ezekiel Burgess gallantly cut away the burning sails of the barque
St. Jago, and thus saved the vessel. Her owners forced a ten dollar bill upon him.
The immense quantity of corn and flour in D. T. Chase's store continued burning
through Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and in the night sent up columns of smoke and
Men and boys were busy on Monday and Tuesday digging out flour, corn, fish, & c.
One eager Irishman, we saw, bending recklessly to the task of removing a barrel of flour,
thrust his head so near the flames that his hair took fire.
This fire is a warning against building wooden stores upon our wharves which we
hope will be heeded. Where two block of wooden buildings are built upon a narrow
wharf, it is impossible to save either them or their contents.
We learn that M. C. P. Ingraham is already making arrangements for the erection of
a new block of stores on Commercial wharf.
James Small, Jr., Gray, killed recently a pig only 8 months old that weighted 351 lbs.
This beats the great pig they are bragging about down on the Kennebec. It was of the
Sad Accident. A little girl, aged six years, daughter of Mrs. Eleanor Buswell, of
Hallowell, was instantly killed in that town of Thursday last, by being run over by
an ox sled loaded with railroad iron.
Mr. Charles F. Andrews, from Bridgton, in this county, died at Planters Hotel in
Tallahassee, Florida, November 20th, from an over dose of morphine, taken according
to the coroner's verdict by mistake.
Shocking Accident. On Saturday last a son of Philbrook B. Tay, Esq., Corinth, Me.,
about 17 years fell from a scaffold into a threshing machine, which was in full
operation, and his feet and legs were so dreadfully mangled that amputation was above the
Costly Mischief. A lad named Lyman of Chester, aged 13 years, mischievously
threw a cat into a corn mill the other day, and had two of his fingers chopped off in