Historical information has been retrieved from microfilm from the Pentwater Township Library as published in THE OCEANA TIMES and THE PENTWATER TIMES.
THIS NEXT SECTION OF NEWS ARTICLES IS NOT ONLY FIRES IN PENTWATER, BUT ALSO SURROUNDING AREAS IN MICHIGAN, ILLINOIS, and WISCONSIN BECAUSE OF THE GREAT DESTRUCTION OVER A LARGE AREA IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
CHICAGO in ASHES, MANISTEE and OTHER PLACES BURNED
A HUMAN HOLOCAUST, THREE HUNDRED PERSONS ROASTED ALIVE
MANY VILLAGES WITH ALL THEIR INHABITANTS BURNED UP
St. Paul, MN Oct. 6,1871
The great prairie is still raging with unabated fury, although a slight rain yesterday stayed its progress a little. The course of the fire is southeast, and up to last accounts had reached nearly as far south as the Iowa border, and east as for as the Minnesota river, which, it is hoped will stay its progress. The high wind yesterday drove it forward with great speed, and it was burning fiercely in the big woods, around Glencoe, Lester, and Mankato. The reports of the ravages of the fire fiend are constantly coming in, though evidently greatly exaggerated. The loss, so far as is positively known, is confined to houses, barns, fences, hay and wheat, and live and farm stock. Only two lives are actually known to have been lost - that of a Swede, named Coucant, in Kandiyohi county, and a man name unknown, who started from the same county with a drove of cattle for Fort Garry, and was overtaken by the fire. There is no means of ascertaining the amount of damage done, owing to the large tract of country over which the fire has swept, and its inaccessible nature, but it must be very heavy. Many small towns have been completely destroyed, and solitary farm houses in the track of the fire have almost inevitably been burned to the ground. The amount of suffering must be great, as many of the farmers have lost everything-homestead, live stock and crops, with a long winter close upon them.
Chicago, Oct, 7 - 12:30 A.M. - The most terrible conflagration that ever occurred in this city broke out about an hour and a half ago, and having already swept over six entire blocks, is still raging with the utmost unabated fury. The fire started in the xxxx planning mill, situated between Clinton and Canal and VanBuren and Jackson streets, about the centre of the block formed by these streets. Wind blowing very brisk and the flames spread with almost incredible rapidity, and in a few minutes the entire structure was a mass of fire. The immediate vicinity is built up mostly with small wooden tenement houses and two-story frame buildings, occupied as groceries, saloons, etc. The inmates of many of these houses, startled from their slumber had barely time to rush from the houses in their scanty attire of the night, leaving their household goods to destruction. In several instances children were hastily wrapped in blankets and quilts to break the force of their fall, and thrown from second-story windows to the ground.
Chicago, Oct. 8 - About 1 o’clock this morning, shortly after sending my last dispatch detailing the progress of the fire in the western division, the flames were arrested and got under complete control of the fire department. I am now enabled to give a more intelligent and greatly modified estimate of its effects. The space burned over embraces four blocks, bound north by Adams street, west by Clinton street, south by Van Buren street, and east by Chicago street. Some four or five buildings within the limits named remain uninjured; among them are Vincent, Nelson & Co.’s grain warehouse, one of the largest in the city, which escaped any serious injury.
BREAKING OUT OF ANOTHER FIRE-THE ENTIRE CITY THREATENED WITH DESTRUCTION.
Chicago, Oct. 8—11:1/2 P.M.-The fire to-night in the west division is now raging with unabated fury. The fire commenced near Taylor street, midway between Delevan and Jefferson streets, and is spreading in every direction. It covers at least four blocks at this hour, and still seems beyond control. The loss already large, and it is now feared that it will prove more destructive in its character than the one last night. No estimate can be made of the total loss as the progress of the flames have not been arrested.
AN AWFUL NIGHT. 12:45 P.M.-To-night is the most awful in the annals of the city. The fire which commenced at 10 P.M. has already swept over a space three times as large as that of last night, and is still rushing on its path of destruction with greater fury than has marked any former-stage of its progress, the engines appearing to be almost powerless. Fire Marshal Williams has just telegraphed to Milwaukee for all the steamers they can spare. The wind is blowing a gale from the south, and showers of sparks and burning brands are sweeping over the city, threatening destruction on every hand. Since this, report commenced, two additional alarms have been struck. No description can give an adequate idea of the terrible scene. The fire started in a row of wooden tenements on Delevan street, between Jefferson and Clinton street, as was the case last night, and spread with terrible rapidity.
INCREASING IN FURY, Later-1:15 A.M. - The fire is still raging, and with increased fury. It spreads almost with the velocity of wind, and has now reached West Monroe street, a distance of (MORE THAN A MILE) from where it started. It covers a breadth of nearly half a mile, reaching from the river to Jefferson street. The distance already burned over embraces an immense number of lumber yards, and the (FREIGHT DEPOTS), of the Chicago and St. Louis, and Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne railroads. The property already destroyed counts up to (MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS) and half is not told. Brands from the fire were blowing across to the east side of the river and set the wooden buildings on fire directly adjoining the Chicago gas house. The prospect is that the gas house will be destroyed and (PRAYING, WEEPING AND WAILING) ARE HEARD IN EVERY DIRECTION. Large numbers of lives have been sacrificed, but how many or who cannot be known until the progress of the flames is stayed. The alarm bell has just commenced ringing and unceasing peal, which is intended to call every sleeper from bed.
A ROARING HELL OF FIRE. Still later-1:45 A.M. - A raging roaring hell of fire envelops 20 blocks of the city. It is already with a block of the telegraph office where this dispatch is written sweeping onward a whirlwind of flame against which (HUMAN EFFORTS ARE POWERLESS). It is impossible to tell where it will stop. Shipping in the river and cars on the track with the immense freight houses are swept away. The Flames swept through blocks of wooden houses are swept away. The flames swept through blocks of wooden houses with the rapidity of a prairie fire. Thousands of people fill the streets, rushing out of dwellings in many instances with barely time to save their lives.
THE TELEGRAPH OFFICE REACHED, Chicago, Oct. 9, 2:10 A.M. - The block immediately across the street from the telegraph office, the finest in the city, occupied by insurance and commercial offices-(here the operators says: “The fire is in the office, and the Court House is burning Good night.” They were compelled to leave office. Nothing more direct from Chicago.)
New York, Oct. 9 - The officers of the Western Union Telegraph Company report that the Sherman House, all the railroad depots and the Western Union Telegraph buildings are all in ashes.
Cincinnati, Oct. 9 - Information received from Chicago this morning via St. Louis and Cair, said to be reliable, states that the following buildings are burned: Sherman House, Chamber of Commerce, Court House, Western Union Telegraph buildings, and all that part of the city, covering over thirty blocks. The following message, signed by the Mayor of Chicago, was sent to the Mayor of St. Louis, this morning: “Send us food for the suffering. Our city is in ashes. Our water works are burned.”
THIRTY SQUARES DESTROYED. Cincinnati, Oct. 9 - The latest news received from Chicago was a message from Superintendent Willson of the Western Union Telegraph Company, to President Orton, of New York, in which he states that thirty squares have been destroyed, including the entire business portion of the city.
LATEST-AWFUL SWEEPING DESTRUCTION, Chicago, Oct. 9 10:00 A.M. – The entire business portion of the city is destroyed. All the banks, express and telegraph offices, all newspaper offices except the Tribune, six elevators, and the water works are gone. There is no water in the city. Not less than ten thousand buildings are already destroyed. The fire has burned a distance of five miles, and is still raging with the wind blowing a gale.
EXTRA DISPATCHES-STILL RAGING, Cincinnati, Oct. 9 - The following is from J.J.S. Willson; Chicago, 10 A.M. - There is no water and the fire is now coming south on Wabash avenue; will probably reach us here before night.
SECOND EXTRA DESPATCH, Chicago Oct. 9 - To Hon. Wm. Orton, New York: We are trying to get established a supply depot but the fire is coming up this way on Wabash avenue. We will probably be drove out of here before night. The water works are burned; every banking house and railroad depot in the city is burned. (Signed,) J.J.S. Willson, Sup’t. This dispatch is dated in the southern portion of the city.
RELIEF MEETING IN CINCINNATI, Cincinnati, Oct. 9 - A mass meeting is being held here presided over by Gov. Hayes for relief of the Chicago sufferers. Mr. Underhill, of this village, has just returned from Chicago, where he was stopping during the time the fire was raging. From him we learn that the wind was south west. About one mile square was burned out of the center of the west division. The flames crossed the river, and consumed everything north of a line drawn from 12th street on the river, to Harrison, on the lake. Passing thence to the north side, it swept away every building in that portion of the city. - Ed. News
AT MANISTEE, Information more definite and reliable in reference to the burning of the city of Manistee than that furnished by our extra of October 11 has reached us. About nine o’clock Sunday morning, the wind being heavy, the woods south and west of the mill of Gifford & Ruddock, which for some days previous had been smouldering, were discovered to be ablaze, and likely to ignite the large quantities of dry slabs between them and the mill. The engine was called out and flames extinguished ere any material loss was sustained. Soon after noon the alarm was again sounded, the mill of Canfield & Magill, on Blackbird Island, just across Manistee lake, having been discovered in flames. A perfect hurricane was now raging and the conflagration rapidly spread, laying bare the island in about twenty minutes. Only the horses in the stables were saved. During the continuance of the scene last mentioned, smoke and burning leaves from the woods south drove thick over Manistee, but no further alarm of fire was given until about 11 o’clock, P.M. Then Canfield’s mill, at the mouth of the river, was in flames, caused by the burning of the woods to the southward, the tempest still raging from the southwest lashing the great sheets of fire across the entire sweep of land and river, completely enveloping and destroying the government lighthouse. Almost simultaneously the burning forest bounding the city on the south showered its fiery embers upon the buildings located at the southern extremity of the city, west of Maple street. Soon they ignited, and so terrific was the raging and rapid the progress of the flames, that the inhabitants abandoned and fled from their homes in dismay, regardless of property in their anxiety to preserve the lives of themselves and little ones. Many escaped to vessels lying at the docks, and took partial shelter from the suffocating heat and smoke while at anchor in Manistee lake while others sought refuge at the southeastern extremity of the town. The fire swept down Maple street like an avalanche. Soon the mill of Green & Milmoe and the bridge were in flames. Both sides of South River street followed. From the City Bank to the little lake seemed one sweep of waving fire.
All was reduced to ashes. While these were falling, the North Side also became a continuous chain of burning woods and buildings, reaching a mile and a half north of the bridge, following the line of the inner lake. But three houses on this side remain. On the South Side, probably fifty homes remain. The mills burned those of Messrs. Canfield & Magill, Canfield, Green & Milmoe, Robinson’s little mill and Cuxhman & Calkins. The principal hotels are untorched, the banks and postoffice also escaped, and the jail, churches and school-house remain. In the two latter many of the homeless find shelter, the remainder living with their more fortunate friends, who are doing all in their power to ally distress. Small frame buildings are being rapidly erected. Supplies are anxiously expected by the boats and are now, in the event of no new calamity, the disorder will have been nearly rectified. The total loss of property is carefully estimated at $2,000,000.00, with an insurance of about $900,000.00. The mills and sores are to be rebuilt at once.
IN WISCONSIN Milwaukee News, October 11, we have terrible accounts of devastation by fires in Wisconsin. Nearly the entire villge of Menekaunee is burned, and two men lost their lives in the flames. At a small settlement nine miles north of Menekaunee, called BirchCreek, evry house was destroyed, and only three persons escaped. The most horrible scenes took place at Peshtigo, which was burned on Sunday night. The total number of lives lost 150. It is estimated that, altogether, three hundred lives have been lost by fire in the pineries of Wisconson.
OCEANA COUNTY - Oct. 13, 1871, DESTRUCTIVE FIRES, Great Damage Done Throughout the County - Much Timber Destroyed, and Many Fences and Buildings Burned. Great annoyance has been experienced for some time past, from the clouds of smoke which would hang over us, whenever the wind did not blow from over the Lake and drive them away; and extensive fires have been known to be raging in the woods in almost every direction. Pentwater was threatened by one of these fires only a few days since, but by hard labor and careful watching, the danger was averted, although many trees and logs within the village limits caught fire from sparks, which were borne along on the breeze, and property was protected with difficulty. On Saturday the wind blew fresh from the south, and continued to increase until Sunday night, when it blew a perfect gale. On Monday morning the wind was still high, and the smoke so thick that one could see only a comparatively short distance. Reports were circulated that much damage was being done in the country back from the shore, and on visiting Hart, We found these reports too true. Long continued drouth had made everthing so dry, that the wind of Sunday and Sunday night had rapidly spread the fires in the woods and fences, barn, and even houses with their contents, had already been consumed by the devouring element, and it was feared that the village itself would yet fall a prey to the flames. Business was abandoned, and every man did what he could to check the progress of the fires. Many worked all Sunday night, and during the day on Monday, before they dared to snatch a few moments of broken rest. On Monday night the sky in every direction was lurid with the light from the flames, the red glare reaching from the horizon to the very zenith. Occasional drops awakened hopes of a welcome shower, and although the wind was still quite high, and blowing form the south, sufficient rain fell during the night to prevent the fire from spreading rapidly, but not enough to put it out altogether. A gentle rain continued to fall on Tuesday morning, and soon the danger seemed to be past, and the people were able to breathe freely once more. The latest information in regard to losses is as follows: Albert Bowen lost his house with all its contents, and also his barn. Fully insured. L.A. Hannum, barn and contents. No insurance. The bridge southeast of the village was destroyed, and also many fences. Much damage was done in the woods, both to standing timber, and also to wood, ties, and shingle bolts that have been cut.
GOLDEN The above statement in regard to general damage done in the woods, is probably true of every town in the county. The school house near W.J. Haughey’s was burned, and a bridge near Round Lake.
PENTWATER The utmost apprehension has been felt in regard to the safety of our village, but as yet no damage has been done, although the fires have approached very near. An impromptu meeting was held on Wednesday evening for the relief of the sufferers in Manistee, and a tug was at once dispatched to their assistance, laden with the contributions of our citizens.
TERRIBLE FIRES, 10/20/1871
FURTHER FROM CHICAGO. OUR OWN STATE. MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN.
AT CHICAGO, The following is the Associated Press report of the great fire in Chicago, and can be relied upon as being correct. A volume might, and undoubtedly will be written, concerning this terrible calamity, but the following will give the reader some idea of the extent and character of the disaster.- Ens.News. Chicago, Oct. 10,1871, Late Sunday evening a boy went into a stable on Duquoin street near the river, on the west side, to milk a cow, carrying with him a kerosene lamp. This was kicked over by a cow, and the burning fluid was scattered among the straw. This was the beginning of the great fire. A single extinguisher on the ground, or the active work of the police in tearing down one or two shanties, would have pre vented the spreading of the flames; but the engines were waited for, and when they arrived, the firemen, stupefied by their exertions at the fire on Saturday night, worked slowly and clumsily. Their efforts were unavailing. Their efforts were unavailing. The wind from the southwest blew a gale. Rapidly the flames shot from house to house, and board yard to board yard, until the district burned on the night before was reached. Meanwhile the flames had crossed the river north of Twelfth street to the south side, and made for the brick and stone business blocks, the railroad, freight depots and manufacturing establishments, when the full extent of the danger was realized for the first time. The fire department, already tired out, worked like heroes.
The Mayor and his city government, that had supinely rested, now began to exert themselves, but the opportunity had been lost. The time when, through organization, they could have blown up buildings or prepared for the emergency, was neglected. It was a fight for life. The wind, blowing a gale, had possession of the flames, and the beautiful buildings-Chicago’s glory-lay before them. Harrison, Van Buren, Adams, Monroe and Madison streets, were soon reached, the intervening blocks from the river to Dearborn street on the east being consumed. Three quarters of a mile of brick blocks were consumed as if by magic. It being Sunday, the proprietors and employers were at home, utterly unconscious of what was transpiring. Those who saw the flames supposed they were the remains of Saturday night’s fire, and having confidence in the fire department were unconcerned. But between eleven and twelve o’clock a rumor got abroad that the fire was in the business portion of the city. Then the people commenced running. Horses were bro’t into requisition to take proprietors and others to the conflagration. What a scene met their gaze! The Board of Trade building, Court House, Western Union Telegraph, Associated Press offices and hundreds of other buildings were all in a flame. The air was filled with live coals, which were hurled to the north and cast, a besom of destruction. Fire engines were powerless for saving. All that man could do was to blow up the buildings. But this availed but little. The Times, Tribune Post, Republican, Journal, and other newspaper offices, the Western News Company block, Field & Leiter’s establishment, The Drake block, recently built by Farwell & Co., all were soon in ashes. It seemed that no sooner had the flames struck a wall than it went directly through it, and a very few minutes sufficed to destroy the most elaborately built structure. The walls melted, and the very bricks were consumed. The wooden pavements took fire, making a continuous sheet of flame, two mile long by a mile wide; and no human being could possibly survive many minutes in the streets. Block after block fell, and the redhot coals shot higher and higher and spread farther and farther, until the north side was a vast sheet of flame from the river to the lake. At one time so hemmed in were the people that it was expected that thousands must perish.
The Sherman, Tremont and other hotels were emptied of guest, and a remarkable sight presented itself in the hurrying throngs with trunks, sacks or bags on their shoulders, fleeing amid flames for their lives. Those who could make for the remaining bridges did so. Others got next the lake shore, and one block in all the most business section remained at daylight, the Tribune block. The Custom House and Honore block, on Dearborn street, had burned, and those who had fought the flames here, thought at least this block could be saved. A patrol of men under Samuel Medill swept off the live coals and put out the flames on the sidewalks, and onother lot of men, under the direction of Hon. Joseph Medill, watched the roof. At half-past seven o’clock this appeared safe, and most of the men went to get rest or food. A number went to sleep in the Tribune building. But there was a change of wind, and the flames reached Wabash avenue, State street, and Michigan avenue, and soon McVicker’s Theatre caught fire. In a few minutes the Tribune was in flames. At the last moment sleeping men were aroused and rescued from the flames. By ten o’clock in the forenoon, this remaining block was in ashes.
Here was to be scene the most remarkable sight ever held in this or any country. There were from 50,000 to 75,000 men, women and children fleeing by every available street and alley to the southward and westward, attempting to save their clothing and their lives. Every available vehicle was brought into requisition, for which enormous prices were paid, and the streets and sidewalks presented a sight. Thousands of persons and horses were inextricably commingled. Poor people of all colors and shades, and of every nationality, from Europe, China and Africa, mad with excitement, struggled with each other to get away. Hundreds were trampled under feet. Men and women were loaded with bundles of their household goods, to whose skirts were clinging tender infants half dressed and barefooted, all seeking places of safety. Hours afterwards these might have been seen in vacant lots, or in the streets far out in the suburbs, stretched in the dust. These are the sufferings, these are the lambs whose Christ now calls on the rich world to feed and clothe. God help them if the heart of men shall prove obdurate. One of the most pitiful sights was that of a middle-aged woman on State street, loaded with bundles, struggling through the crowd singing the Mother Goose melody: “Chickery, chickery, craney crow, I went to the well to wash my toe,” etc. There were hundreds of others likewise distracted and many rendered desperate by whisky or beer, which from excess of thirst in the absence of water, they had drank in great quantities, and these spread themselves in every direction, a terror to all they met. It is fearful to think of the loss of life. It is conjectured and with great cause, that nearly 500 persons have been burned to death. We saw four men enter a burning building, and in a moment they were overwhelmed by the falling wall. There were crowds of men around the corner of a building trying to save property, when the wall yielded some of them were buried beneath it. These were on the South Side. On the North Side 12 or 15 men, women and children rushed into the building of the Historical Society, a fire-proof building, for safety. In a few minutes the flames burst up and they were burned to death. Among them was the venerable Col. Sam Stone, long connected with the society. He was 80 years of age; also John B. Gerad and wife, and Mademoiselle Depelgrone, a noted teacher of music who perished.
All the books and papers of the Historical Society, including the original copy of the famous emanci pation proclamation of President Lincoln, for which the society paid $5,500, were destroyed. It is feared that large numbers of children inmates of the Catholic Orphan Society on State street, were also burned as many of them are missing. It is feared that Dr. Frear and family were also burned, as they were in the building and have not been seen since. Mrs. Edsall, whose husband was murdered last week, suffering from illness, was carried away for protection to a building which was afterwards consumed and it is also feared that she perished. On Chicago avenue a father rushed up stairs to carry three children away, when he was overtaken by the flames and perished with them. The mother was afterwards seen on the street on the northwest side a raving maniac. In the same neighborhood a family of five persons perished. The list of such fatalities is very long and can only be verified when the smoke shall have cleared away. There are hundreds of families on that side, who saved no clothing but barely their lives. Among them is the family of Perry Smith, formerly President of the Northwestern Railroad Company.
LATER A careful survey of the insurance to-day shows that there was written on the property destroyed over $200,000,000. Add another $100,000,000 to this, and a fair estimate is reached of the loss.
FROM VARIOUS SOURCES Summary Punishment of Villains. The police continue to capture thieves, burglars and incendiaries. The generally deal with them in a manner to prevent them ever plying their vocation again.
GRAIN SAVED The amount of grain destroyed in the elevators is estimated at two and a half million bushes, while four and a half million bushels were stored in the four large elevators belonging to Munn & Scott. The Illinois Central elevator, and the Iowa elevator os Spruance & Preston, are saved and uninjured.
ESCAPE ON A BARGE About 500 persons escaped on the North Side on a barge, which, fortunately, lay in one of the slips on the North Side, floated out and down to the pier, when they were joined to one of Goodrich steamers, which towed them out into the lake, where they lay till yesterday morning. Among the persons who escaped on the barge was Mr. Baxter, of the well known firm of Webster & Baxter .
110,000 PEOPLE HOMELESS A careful estimate of the number of people rendered homeless, based upon the recent census, puts the total at not less than 110,000, distributed as follows; in North Division 85,000, or all but 5,000 of the entire population, according to the recent city census. In the South Division 20,000, and in the West Division 5,000.
VAST QUANTITIES OF PROVISIONS ARRIVING Immense quantities of provisions have been sent from every direction. Several hundred carloads reached here last night and this morning, accompanied by committees. All fear of suffering from starvation have disappeared.
PACKING HOUSES AND ELEVATORS SAVED The packing houses in Chicago and many of the elevators remain uninjured, and these two businesses of Chicago’s best property will be but slightly interrupted.
THE NORTH DIVISION GONE It is literally true to say that this side from the river north to Lincoln park, on the north, and from the north branch of the river on the west to the lake on the east, is destroyed. But one house can be seen standing.
INCENDIARISM While robbery was to be expected and riot not deemed extraordinary or improbable, the very arch demon himself could not be suspected of an intention to re-ignite what remains ofthis crushed and broken city. And yet fully ten authenticated cases of incendiarism were discovered last night and this afternoon, four of them successful in their object despite the presence of thousands of patrolmen on every street. On the North Side, west of LaSalle, one of these attempts was made and resulted in the shooting of the mad devil who did the deed; but the flames were quenched in the ruins of a single house. This is the only case recorded in what is left in that division of the city. The few squares that remain there offer no adequate temptation. On the South and West Sides, the attempts were more numerous, but, fortunately, no more successful Cottage Grove, the southern extreme of the business part of the city, in fact almost a little city in itself of residences and business houses, was the special aim of the incendiary halted. Four cases of deliberate attempts of fire setting were detected there in the space of twelve hours. Results - Two men hung, one shot, one chopped through the head with an ordinary domestic axe; three houses partially burned, and three more families wanderers. A servant girl discharged of couple of weeks since from a residence in the same section, returned last night, and was caught in the act of igniting a cotton bail soaked in kerosene. Unfortunately, she was not hung, but carried to the nearest police station.
This afternoon a man was discovered flinging a clothes line, saturated with kerosene, into the back yard of a row of cottages and 33d street. A policeman’s bullet went through his heart. Many other cases are reported whose authematic details have not been furnished from police headquarters. On the West Side a man in woman’s clothes was caught prowling about a densely populated part of the city, south and west of the Jesuit Church. Incendiary materials were in his possession, and feigned insanity. The police removed his masquerade garments and locked him up. The sidewalk on West Jackson street was set on fire by a demon, who claimed to have done so accidentally, but who saw the flames creep to the nearest fence with calm delight. The fire was extinguished, and his dead body in now at the Madison street police station. A man who had the hardihood to avow incendiary intentions was hung in the southern part of the West Side and as many as a dozen arrests were made for the use of language timetured with liked demonism. Now what is it that takes possession of these fiends and drives them on to deeds like these? Not malice, surely for maliee itself might weep at the spectacle of 7,000 penniless homeless people, who but a few brief hours ago were happy, comfortable and contented. We call it nothing but insanity.
GRATITUDE AND DEATH Chicago Tribune, The response of the men of the United States to the appalling calamity which has overtaken our city, has no parallel in the history of the world since Christ died for our sins. We cannot return out thanks for their loving kindness. Words falter on our lips. Only our streaming eyes can tell how deeply we feel their goodness. While, however, the stricken people have already rouse themselves form the first stunning bewildering effects of the terrible blow to their business and are manfully girding themselves to rebuild their ruined fortunes, the eight dead bodies already lying in ghastly rows in the Morgue, the two long colums of names of the missing in this morning’s paper, the churches and school-houses crowded still with half clothed weeping women and children, are terrible reminders of the calamity, whose horrors no words will ever be found to describe. The bodies in the Morgue were mostly found on the North Side, and it is but too certain that only a small portion of the number, who were caught in the raging sea of flames were not utterly consumed.
IN MICHIGAN Special dispatches to the Detroit Tribune, Port Sanilac, Oct. 11, 1871 - The villages of Elm Creek, Centre Harbor, Sand Beach, Huron City and New River - all in Huron county have been completely destroyed by fire. Port Hope is reported gone. Port Huron, Oct. 11, 1871, The expedition which started out from this city last evening on board the tug Frank Moffatt, with supplies for the relief of the sufferers on the lake shore above this city, returned this evening. Forestville, White Rock, Elm Creek, Sand Beach and Huron City are all consumed. Rock Falls and Port Hope are partially burned. There were on board the tug about 40 men, women and children, five of whom were badly burned. All the country back of Sand Beach is destroyed. It is supposed that a great many lives must have been lost. Cato is not destroyed. The Huron and Fessenden will bring the remainder of the people to-morrow morning. Back of Rock Falls, a woman with five children started the children for the lake, she remaining behind to look after some things about her premises. She subsequently reached the lake, but the children were not there and undoubtedly perished. A small village named Verona, just west (back) Of Sand Beach, in the interior, is entirely wiped out.
PORT HURON Oct. 11, 1871, On Tuesday afternoon the steamer Huron brought down to this city from the lake shore abut two hundred of the sufferers from the fire. The Mayor issued a call for public meeting that evening, which resulted in a large gathering, and $1000 was subscribed there for the relief of the destitute. Since then the subscription has been raised to $1500, besides a large quantity of clothing, provisions and bedding. Most harrowing incidents of suffering and adventure are related. Hundreds of people were driven in the lake to save their lives, and in numerous instances the hair was burned from their heads. Parents holding their children in their arms were protected from the falling embers by having wet sand thrown over their heads. One man, living four miles back from the lake, buried his aged parents (who were too infirm to attempt reaching the lake) in a root house, covering it with earth, leaving only space for air to sustain life. They have not yet been heard from.
HOLLAND DESTROYED From the Grand Haven Herald, The fire broke in upon the city from the woods at 3 P.M. Sunday, but no buildings of any consequence burned until dark in the evening. No one thought the city was in any special danger until the or eleven o’clock, but at that time a strong wind setting in, the fire from the woods, the fire swept over the city with wonderful rapidity. The main part of the city was soon inflames. Not a building on River and Eighth streets escaped, except one or two near the long bridge. The houses where the Mrs. Pemnoyers were staying, recently purchased by Dr. Nichols from Mr. Rerris, caught fire about 3 o’clock Monday morning. The ladies had packed their trunks, and hastily dressing themselves in wrappers, just managed to escape. The Lake View House went next, and then the fine City Mills of Werkman, Gerlings & Co. The ladies, after leaving the house, ran to a small mound near by, and soon found themselves surrounded by fire, Nr. George Howard, whose efforts were indefatigable, managed to assist them out of their precarious position. They crossed over the long bridge, and stayed at the boarding house connected with Ban Dyke’s tannery, on the north side of the lake. The portion of the city where Prof. Charles Scott resided, was completely destroyed, and the Professor, not being found, it was generally feared that he had fallen a victim to the flames. Mr. Joslin, of the firm of Breynan & Joslin, who kept the variety store, a very clever gentleman, and others of the best citizens was actively engaged in rescuing persons from the flames. He insisted on going once more to the rescue; friend advised him not to venture, be he would not be dissuaded, thinking there were still lives to be saved. He did not return, and is believed to have been suffocated and burned to death. The livery stables were emptied of the horses, which were taken to the public square as the only place of safety. Thousands of people were collected there. Women and children were then running about the streets, wailing and crying, unable to find their husbands and fathers, brothers and sisters. Many females barely escaped with their night clothes. A child, ten years of age, was picked up on the street, burnt to death. It is impossible to tell how many lives are lost. Some nine or ten citizens are missing, but some may yet be found. The bridge of the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad was burned down, but the depot, being an isolated building, was saved.
WINDSOR, CANADA Detroit Tribune, Oct. 13, 1871, At about half-past four o’clock yesterday morning a terrible fire broke out in Windsor, which resulted in the destruction of substantially the whole business portion of the town. The origin of the fire has been definitely traced to an incendiary. The burned district embraces the whole southern side of Sandwich street, east to the large new hotel recently constructed-about two-thirds of the block-and west of Ouilette street to D. & J. Langlois’ grocery store, both sides of Ouilette street from Sandwich to Pitt street, and the American House, on the corner of Ferry and Sandwich street-the very heart of the town. With the exception of the hotel above named, which is only partially burned, there is nothing but ruins to be seen. While the fire raged yesterday morning the local editor of the Windsor Record excitedly ran about, and true to his calling, jotted down all the facts that he could ascertain relative to the calamity, and while he was thus engaged his own office caught fire and was burned before he realized the situation. He then hastily folded his note book, said “shat a fool am I!” and left the scene in disgust. The loss is over $150,000. All the town records are destroyed.
MILWAUKEE, Oct. 15, 1871, Later accounts from northern Wisconsin confirm all previous reports and rumors. The loss of life in the neighborhood of the burned district of Peshtigo will reach over 1,800, and 15 per cent of those injured cannot recover. The fire tornado was heard at a distance like the roaring of the sea. Balls of fire were soon observed to fall like meteors in different parts of the town, igniting whatever they touched. People rushed with their children in their arms for a place of safety, but the storm of fire was upon them and enveloped them in flames, smoke and cinders, and those unable to reach the river were suffocated and roasted alive. The terrible scene happened on Sunday night, the 8th of October, already made famous by the Chicago horror. A member of the Relief Committee, sent from Milwaukee with supplies, says the only survivors were those who were fortunate enough to reach the water, many throwing themselves into the mill pond and clinging to floating logs. A number of these were drowned by being thrown from logs by maddened horses and cattle that rushed into the water. The fiery cyclone swept over a tract of country eight or ten miles wide. Every building, fence and timber, were licked up clean by the tongue of fire. The town of Peshtigo numbered 2,000 inhabitants, one-third of whom perished in that fearful night. Reports from the east shore of Green Bay places the loss of life full as high as at Peshtigo. The same account states that the immediate wants of the people are supplied, but large amounts of clothing and provisions will be requited for the coming winter. Mayor Ludington, of Milwaukee, published an appeal for aid.