York County GenWeb: History St. Marys Fire Part 2
St. Marys Fire - October 17, 1893


Last week we read of the conflagration at St. Mary's Ferry, on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1893, a brief 4 months after the devastating fire in Devon.

The properties burned in the St. Mary's fire as listed in The Daily Gleaner follows. with the insurance, if any listed in square brackets. i.e. [ ]:

Dwelling, owned by Whitman Haines, and occupied by families of Isaac Starkey and Wm. Atkinson. These two families lost practically everything and neither had any insurance. A man named Albert Stillwell, boarding at Mr. Starkey's lost $40 cash and all his clothing. Building insured [$2,800].

Building, owned by Rev. Mr. Jaffrey and occupied by Thos. Biden as bakery, store and dwelling. [Mr. Biden had $400 insurance in British America and $500 in Manchester.]

Building owned by Samuel Dayton and occupied by him as store and dwelling. Mr. Dayton lost practically all his stock and furniture. Insured [$1,000] [$500]

Large building, owned by Whitman Haines, and occupied on ground floor by Ran Staples, dry goods; Spencer Inch, sausage factory; and Chas. King, barber. Mr. Staples also occupied second floor above his shop and had it well filled with stock. There was a public hall also in this building occupied by Foresters. Free Masons and Orangemen as a lodge room. Rainsford Staples lost nearly all his stock, saving not more than a wagon load. He had $3,400 [$1,800, $800]. Spencer Inch lost all his saugage machinery and Chas King all his chairs, fittings and tools. The foresters, Free Masons and Orangemen lost all their furniture and implements.

Double dwelling owned and occupied by Joseph Keirstead and Michael Bowlen and all barns and outbuilding. Mr. Keirstead lost all his furniture and household effects besides a large quantity of stock in his barn. His horses narrowly escaped. Mr. Bowlen saved most of his stock and got out a great deal of his furniture too. [$1,000]

Large building, erected a few years ago as a skating rink, and now owned by John McCoy, St. John,. occupied as a stable by Ran Staples. Mr . Staples saved his horse and carriage, but a large quantity of hay was consumed [Building insured for $1, 000.]

Blacksmith shop owned and occupied by Joseph Keirstead. Mr. Keirstead lost all his stock and tools. Insured [$1,700]

Hotel and barns, owned by John McCoy, St. John, and occupied by Hugh Edgar. John Staples had boot and shoes shop in this building also. Mr. Edgar lost nearly everything, and Mr. Staples lost all his stock. Staples had no insurance. It is understood that Edgar was insured [$1,000]. [Building insured in Commercial Union for $1,000]

Butcher shop, owned and occupied by Spencer Inch. [Insured for $200]

Dwelling owned and occupied by Spencer Inch. Insured for [$800]. Mr. Inch saved a good deal of his furniture.

Dwelling owned and occupied by Joseph Smith. Mr. Smith saved most of his furniture, but had a large quantity of hand and oats burned. [$1,400]

Harness shop owned and occupied by Joseph Smith. Most of stock saved. Building Insured [$2,050]

Dwelling owned by Alfred Haines and occupied by Mrs. McPherson, widow, was badly gutted. Most of furniture saved. Building insured.

Dwelling owned by Mrs. Barnett Manzer, [$600] and occupied by Richard Polley. Most furniture saved.

Dwelling owned by Miss Allen and occupied by herself, and family of James Cook. Furniture most saved [Miss Allen had $800 insurance with Frank Morrison.]

Dwelling, owned and occupied by Rev. Mr. Jaffrey, with all barns and outbuildings. Furniture mostly saved [Mr. Jaffrey had $1000 insurance in Central.]

Dwelling owned and occupied by Whitman Haines. Mr. Haines lost nearly everything. He had great difficulty in rescuing his wife, who has been a helpless invalid for three years. [Mr. Haines, who had four buildings in all burned, had $2,800 insurance with John Black.]

Tenement house, owned by Harry Nason, and occupied by four or five families, who were burned out in Gibson fire. The tenants lost nearly everything.

Two warehouses, owned by Samuel Dayton. Mr. Dayton had a large quantity of ? and potatoes in these. and lost nearly all. Insured.

Hotel, owned by James Hayes, Sr. and occupied by John Doohan. Jas. Hayes, Jr. also had store on ground floor [$700]. Hayes lost nearly all his stock and Doohan most of his furniture. [Building insured for $1,000 in Imperial.]

Building owned and occupied by Rev. W. Manzer as dwelling and store. Mr. Manzer lost nearly all his stock and furniture. Insured.

Building owned by Dr. Bridges of Boston, occupied by Robert Beaty and another family upstairs, and Wm Lewis on ground floor as store [$500].

Dwelling owned and occupied by Councillor Calvin Estabrooks. Mr. Estabrooks lost nearly all his furniture. Insured [$3,800]

Building, owned by Calvin Estabrooks, and occupied on ground floor by him as store, and upstairs by Charles Wise as dwelling. Mr. Estabrooks kept post office in his shop. He lost nearly all his stock.

Building on comer, owned by Winslow Tilley and occupied by him upstairs as dwelling, and on ground floor as drug shop, was badly gutted. Mr. Tilley got a great deal of his stock out, but most of this been stolen and destroyed. Insured [$2,600].1

The article on the fire in the Wednesday, Oct. 18th, edition of The Daily Gleaner contained the following:

There is a great deal of talk about the city firemen and city fire steamers being depended upon by St. Mary's as a soft side protection for them. The people over there are inclined to say the city will not see our places burned up without giving help. And on the other there are some in the city who find fault with the fire authorities for allowing the city property to be taken outside the city at all. This may not be neighborly, but from a business view would not be said to be unjust. Certain it is that the city has no right to wear out its engines and hose, simply for the scanty thanks given for outside help. Sometimes indeed it has been found difficult to get the actual expense of hauling the engine to and from on outside fire, and again there does not appear any good reason why the people of St. Mary's and Gibson should any longer get the services of the city firemen for nothing. Take the fire yesterday morning. There was no compulsion upon the city firemen to work the way they did for four hours, nor is there any reason for the people of St. Mary's to expect to be paid with a simple "thank you". The city has no right, strictly speaking to allow its hose to be destroyed and its fire engines to be used in such a case without being paid for it. Yet the people across the river have been going all these years and actually depending and looking to the city for fire protection and paying for this service with a card of thanks, sometimes not that.

The time has now arrived when St. Mary's should consider protection from fire on a business basis and treat it accordingly. The villages of St. Mary's and Gibson want a fire service and the sooner they take steps to furnish it the better for the property holders of these places.2

1. op. cit.;
2. op. cit.

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Last revised: February, 2001