Sunday, October 6, 2013

119 Years Ago - Big Fire at Bovina

The Andes Recorder of October 12, 1894 reported on a fire on the William T. Black farm on Coulter Brook*.  At the time of the fire, Black was the Bovina Town Supervisor.  Here's the article from the paper:

Big Fire At Bovina
Barn and Wagon-house Burned – Origin Incendiary – Loss Nearly $5,000 – Insurance $2,800

Last Saturday night [October 6] one of the biggest fires that Bovina has had in a number of years occurred.

The barn and wagon-house of W.T. Black, which stood but a few feet apart, were burned to the ground together with their contents. The cause of the fire is unknown but it is thought that it was of incendiary origin. 

The fire was first discovered by Mr. Black, about eight o’clock, who thought he could smell smoke and on investigation fire was discovered in the upper floor of the barn, and in less than an hour both buildings lay in ruins.  No one had been in there, so far as known, for several weeks until that day and then only for a bag of feed, and no one had been in either building with a light that night. Mr. Black, who had returned from Delhi a short time before fed his horses without a lantern, and it was on coming out of the wagon-house that he discovered the fire.

Nearly everything in the buildings was burned.  The horses and one or two wagons were saved but all the farming implements, hay and about 400 bushels of grain were consumed.  Two or three stacks near the barn, were saved.

The loss is a heavy one. The buildings and contents were insured in the town company for $2,800, which will just about replace the buildings. Mr. Black will begin building a new barn immediately.

As reported in subsequent issues of the Andes Recorder, Mr. Black indeed did rebuild immediately.  The paper reported only a week later that Black was going to build a barn "sixty feet square."  In the paper's November 30 issue, it was reported that "Carpenters are busy on W.T. Black’s barn."  In the April 5, 1895 issue, the barn's completion was reported: "William T. Black’s new barn is completed and is one of the best in town.  It is a barn and wagon-house combined and has the latest improvements.  James G. Seath was the architect and builder."  Black would sell his farm in 1899 to John Irvine and move to Delhi, where he successfully ran for Delaware County Clerk.  The farm is where Isabell Irvine Russell spent much of her childhood and where she was married in 1916 to Cecil Russell.  The farm was later known as the Elms Farm, run by Gert and Cliff Hall.

(See the December 20, 2010 entry in this blog for more about William T. Black.)

*1013 Coulter Brook Road; latitude 42.252705, longitude -74.759706 (42 degrees, 15 minutes, 9.7374 seconds; -74 degrees, 45 minutes, 34.941 seconds)

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