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(authors icon)1918

The Marinette and Peshtigo Eagle

Vol. I. MARINETTE, WIS, SATURDAY, OCT. 14, 1871. No. 17


Holocaust of Flame.


500 LIVES LOST ! ! !



$2,000,000 worth of Property Destroyed ! !

Terrible Destruction of Life and Property!--Menekaune Destroyed and Marinette in Great Danger--Buildings in Suburbs Burn--McCartney's Mill Gone--Pioneer Manufacturing Co.'s Works destroyed--Catholic Church & New York Mill destroyed--Hundreds Starving and Dying--1500 people Homeless--Peshtigo Harbor, Marinette and Menominee Crowded with Fugitives!--We Must have Help--Heart-Rending Details--Noble efforts of the People to Succor the Distressed--Incidents, &c.

[From the EAGLE Extra of Oct. 9th.]

The fires which have been lurking in this vicinity for weeks have at last culminated in the holocaust of destruction. Last night the wind raised and blew fearfully from the south. The swamp lying back of Dr. Hall's became ignited, and the flames spread through it with inconceivable rapidity.

The fire was about three fourths of a mile distant from Marinette, and shooting above the tallest tree tops, lit up the whole country with a fierce lurid flare. The fire fiend was holding high carnival having selected the towns of Peshtigo, Marinette and Menekaune as its prey. Every available force that could be brought to bear, to stay the force of the fire was brought into requisition.

Standing out on the Peshtigo road, we were a witness to the awful scene. The fire swept through the swamp and destroyed several out buildings in the rear of the Boom Co.'s place and Dr. Hall's together with a large barn containing nearly 100 tons of hay. The hay was the property of Mr. Bentley of Marinette. At this time the direction of the wind changed rapidly blowing from several points of the compass alternately. First from the south-west, then from the west, then from the north-west, then back again to the south, during which time we were visited by a series of whirlwinds which showered cinders and sparks in every conceivable direction. The fire having partly spent its fury here, cries of distress were heard down the river in the direction of the mouth. Steam whistles of the mills and tugs in the harbor blew the first alarm, and every man that could be spared went to the scene of disaster. From the rear of J. S. Dickey's store in the direction of the Bay all was one broad lurid sheet of flame as far as the eye could reach.

At this time no hopes were entertained of saving anything. Men worked with the energy of despair.

Sickening rumors came up from the scene of the devastations of the fire fiend. Rumors that Menekaune was destroyed--the catholic church, the Union School house, McCartney & Hamilton's mill, Bagley & Crury's sash, door & blind factory, a new and splendid edifice just completed and in operation, and the whole lower part of Marinette were in flames. In company with A. M. Fairchild we were driven to the forks of the road leading to Menekaune.

Just below the Marinette Iron Works, the fire was raging so fearfully, that it was impossible to go any further. It was evident that the rumored which we had heard were alas, too true, with the exception that the buildings in the lower portion of Marinette, were not yet in flames. The fire had burned clear up to the fences, and here by the hardest work, its progress was stayed.

The streets were lined with men, women and children fleeing for their lives. Many of the families were engaged in making excavations in the sand and burying their household goods. Any quantity of goods was hauled over on to the Island. The sick were being removed to places of safety, and thus, with alternate hope and despair, the long, weary hours of the night wore away.

The wind had at last settled to blowing steadily from the south-west, but still it blew with tremendous fury, and the flames in the swamp immediately in the rear of the town, raged with corresponding fearfulness.


At daylight we got more definite information from the scene of devastation at the mouth of the river. Everything of any particular value was destroyed. Spalding, Houghteling & Johnson's mill, valued at $80,000 (known as the New York mill) the Exchange House, Mill Co.'s store and Boarding House, Dr Sherman's Drug Store, John Lundquist's Store, Doyle's Shoe Shop and many other places of business we are not now able to call to memory, together with all the dwellings of any note, were in ashes. The luckless inhabitants houseless and homeless.


From Mr. Place, who had just returned from the scene of the disaster, we learn that the town is destroyed; the Peshtigo Co's wooden ware factory, valued at several hundred thousand dollars; their water saw mill, grist mill, machine shop, sash factory, store and boarding house, ware houses--everything is gone. Stores, houses, churches, school houses, dwellings and everything was destroyed. The fire came upon them so suddenly that it was not in the reach of mortal power to stay its fury.

was awful--awful to contemplate. Mr. Place informs us that he counted ten dead bodies in the streets as he passed. The loss of life at the present time is unknown, but it is estimated that over 100 have either perished or were rendered cripples for life. We have not yet been able to ascertain the names of the dead.

One of the must terrible calamities that ever visited any country has befallen us. We know we can rely upon the sympathies of the good people outside; and if ever a case demand material aid prompt to allay some of the terrible suffering this is one. At present writing the people of Marinette are engaged in saving what little there is left.

has suffered to some extent how much we are unable to tell. It is conceeded some of the mills and some dwellings have been burned. The mill on the Point, known as the Gillmore mill, the property of R. Stephenson & Co., has been destroyed. We will try and give the public the particulars from all these points as fast as we can ascertain them. Some errors, both in expression and fact may have crept into the foregoing, for we write this with our eyes nearly blinded from the smoke and flames of last night.

Four children were burned, up the river State Road on the Menominee side.

LATER.--McCartney has $8,000 insurance; loss at least $20,000.

Bagley & Curry have no insurance, loss $10,000.

Mill and buildings at Menominee known as the Spafford & Gilmore mill, all burned. Loss $50,000, supposed to be insured for $25,000. It was sold last week by R. Stephenson & Co. to a company, of which Andrew Kirby of Menominee owns a third interest.


Peshtigo is burnt clean as a prairie. The survivors are flocking into Marinette. The Dunlap House and several private families are already well filled up with the victims, many of them terribly burned. The people here and the resident physicians both here and at Menominee, are nobly rendering all the aid in their power.

TUESDAY, Oct. 10, 1871.    

A glorious rain last night abated the fire for the present. Victims of Peshtigo and the surrounding country are constantly arriving. Relief is being sent to the Sugar Bush, where it is said some survivors are left without shelter. The suffering is terrible indeed.