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Transcribed and posted courtesy of Linda Hoffman 2hoffmans@email.msn.com

Fire in 1818

Two very disastrous fires occurred tin the town during the months of march and May of 1813. The first broke out about 1 o'clock in the morning of the 14th of the former month in a stable belonging to William GRAYDON, Esq.. situated on River alley, between Chestnut and Market streets. Owing to the combustible materials of which the stable was constructed, the fire progressed with astonishing rapidity; and notwithstanding the exertions of the citizens and wetness of the morning, its course was not arrested until it had destroyed the following property: A stable belonging to Joshua ELDER; and belonging to John M. PRICE, of Philadelphia; one belonging to Henry FULTON of Pittsburg; one belonging to William GRAYDON, in which it originated. Several adjacent buildings were in imminent danger, but were saved by the exertions of the citizens and members of the Legislature.

The second fire originated about sunrise on the 4th of the latter month, in a stable occupied by Mr. MILLER, innkeeper, situated in River alley, between Chestnut and Market streets, and adjoining the spot where the previous fire was arrested. This fire consumed the following buildings:

A new brick building belonging to John FAGER, hatter; a stable belonging to Henry ISLETT, of Greenssburg, where it originated; three stables belonging to George HOYER, merchant in the occupancy of himself, Adam COOVER, innkeeper, and Mr. MILLER, innkeeper; a stable of William MURRAY, merchant; a stable of Dr. Martin LUTHER; a stable of Moses MUSGRAVE; all of which had more or less of flour and provender therein, which was entirely consumed. The Bank and many other valuable houses were at one time in imminent danger. It was the work of an incendiary. The fire department at this period consisted of the "Union" and "Friendship" engines.

Fire in 1819

Fire. -- On Wednesday morning last, about the dawn of day, a fire broke out in this borough, at the corner of Front and Mulberry streets and the adjacent buildings being in a very combustible state, it was not got under until six swelling houses and several stables were reduced to ashes. Providentially the morning was uncommonly calm, and what little wind there was stirring, was chiefly in a direction towards the river, otherwise, in all probability, The destruction would have been immense. The principal sufferers of the fire were: Valentine EGLE, the corner (tavern) house; Joseph H. MARSHALL, mercer and tailor, whose loss is severe; The next was the house occupied by David WILMOT, as a grocery store, which, with a considerable share of its contents, was destroyed; and, melancholy to relate, Mr. Wilmot himself, in the act of shoving some bulky article of furniture out of the second story window became entangled with it, or lost his balance, and was precipitated on the pavement. His skull was fractured, and he survived but about two hours. Mr. W. was a man of excellent moral character, and all who knew him were his friends. He had left a disconsolate widow, in a precarious state of health, to deplore the loss of an excellent husband, whose departure is rendered double afflicting by its suddenness and the circumstances attending it. Mr. W. was interred in the Presbyterian burial ground yesterday morning, with Masonic honors, in the presence of a large assemblage of he citizens of Harrisburg. Mrs. HESS (widow) and Mr. Samuel SEES, tailor. were the last in the order of sufferers, but we have not learned the extent of their loss. Mr. Sees, we understand, saved the most of his property. Mrs. Hess, it is said, beside the loss of her house, was a loser in personal property to a considerable amount.

Whether the fire originated from design or accident remains

 Harrisburg Republican, July 16, 1819

Fire in 1828

Fire.--At daybreak on Wednesday last an alarm of fire was given in this borough. A small frame building, occupied by Mr. Geety as a tailor shop, situated on the east side of Market square, about midway between Buehler's Hotel and Wyeth's book store, was discovered to be on fire, and before relief could be procured, though the utmost diligence was exerted, the contiguous houses on both sides (being also frame buildings) had caught on fire. All those towards Market street, including Wyeth's corner, ( and down Market street to the building adjoining Wyeth's Hall) were burned to the ground; but those towards Buehler's hotel were saved by extraordinary efforts, aided by the circumstance of a narrow vacancy between the building where the fire originated and the one occupied by Mr.. Slaugh. Most of the furniture, it is believed, of the sufferers. <Messers.. Geety, Wormly, Wolf, and Wyeth, was saved. A small loss, however, is a serious deprivation as it regards most of them and gives them a strong claim to the sympathy of the public" --Intelligencer, July 1, 1828

GREAT FIRES IN 1838

Two destructive fires occurred in the borough in the summer and fall of 1838. The first was on Friday, the 20th of July, which broke out in a stable belonging to Mr. OSLER, very near to, and on the line of the wind from the iron foundry of Mr. GRAYDEN, on Fourth Street, between Walnut and Market. It was generally believed that a spark from the foundry originated the fire. The weather at the time was hot, and everything being dry, the flames spread rapidly to several adjoining stables, and from thence to an extensive lumber yard on Fourth Street, between Market street and Strawberry alley, and several houses on Market street and Huckleberry alley, nearly all of which were entirely consumed. The wind was brisk, and but little could be obtained from the pumps, so that fears were entertained that the entire blocks of buildings from Fourth street to the canal, between Market street and Strawberry alley, would be destroyed by the devouring element. The flames however, were checked at Huckleberry alley by the fire companies, aided by the citizens, male and female, many of which latter stood in the ranks passing water with buckets for four hours, exposed to the heat of the flames and a fervid sun. The estimated loss of the property destroyed on this occasion was about $15,000, divided among twenty-five individuals. The entire insurance amounted to only 2,000.

A meeting of the citizens was held after the fire, and committees appointed to solicit subscriptions for the sufferers. This meeting also petitioned the Town Council to provide the Citizen Fire Company with suitable hose, as there seemed to be a great want of this material at the fire.

The second fire broke out about five o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, the 20th of October, in the carpenter shop of Messrs. HOLMAN & SIMON, in Market street, near Fourth, and directly opposite to where their extensive lumber yard was consumed as the previous fire. The flames communicated to the dwelling house of Mr. SIMON, another (only partially burned,) owned by Mrs. SHANNON, a grocery store of Mr. HUTTON, (pulled down,) the Lutheran Church, ad a school house and lecture room standing near it. The cost of the property destroyed was about 22,000, most of which was insured.

 

 

 

 

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