Excerpts from stories published in the Nov. 1-6, 1897 editions of The Princeton Daily Clarion.
FIRE AND RUINFort Branch was visited by the most destructive conflagration in the town’s history at an early hour Sunday morning and as a result an entire business block is a mass of smouldering ruins.
The flames began their work of destruction in the implement store of S.L. Gillespie, which was near the north end of the business block just west of the E. & T.H. depot. the fire started in the shed at the rear of the building...
The alarm was raised about 2:30 o’clock and nearly every able bodied inhabitant of Fort Branch rushed to the scene. The town has no fire department and does not possess even a trained bucket brigade.
Proceeding southward the fire attacked the building occupied by Jackson’s jewlry store and Klausmeier & Wright’s barber shop. The flames enveloped this building. The next building was the three story brick structure occupied by Cooper’s saloon and Peter Hoffman saddlery shop and the town council meeting room.
The fire then started something for sure, spreading to the lower room of the IOOF building, where William Walters, dealer in hardware and groceries was on the ground floor. The building was well nigh burned out when a terrible explosion occurred. The fire reached a large quantity of dynamite or giant powder stored in the basement.
Other business offices destroyed in the fire were the drug store of Dr. William, the tailoring establishment of John Douglas, the office of the Fort Branch Times weekly newspaper, James H. Jones’ shoe store and Carson’s repair shop.
The fire-bug theory is pretty generally accepted and is probably the true cause of the disaster. The guilty wretches will, no doubt, never be known but if they are apprehended they will suffer the severe treatment they so justly deserve.
OWENSVILLE POINTS• Harmon & Wallace are having their flour mill repainted.
• If there is any place int he world that has poorer railroad accommodations than we have, we most sincerely pity them.
• Oscar Grimwood is setting out some blue plum trees on his farm north of town. When the work is completed he will have 1,600 trees.
PRINCETON CITY ITEMS• The special bulletins in the Clarion this morning tell the story of voting yesterday sufficiently plain to be understood. It seems to have been a bad day for Republicans to be out yesterday, and what few did venture near the places of voting seem to have gotten it between the eyes in a manner that would have easily marked a victim at an Irish wake. To express it with less of metaphor and more of the concise, the Republicans were ingloriously defeated in the elections yesterday.
• The county commissioners were in session yesterday auditing the accounts of township trustees. The board will visit the orphans’ home at Patoka today.
FREE-FOR-ALL FIGHTA gang of tramps had a jug of whiskey near the south junction yesterday afternoon and all became very hilarious. One of the number kicked over some cooking utensils with which the other members of the gang were preparing a meal. The kicking member was pounced upon by the other members and given a most beautifully disfigured physiognomy. The victim of the gang’s wrath came up town and hunted up Prosecutor Stillwell and wanted an affidavit for the arrest of his assailants. He could not give the names of the persons who thumped him and Stillwell advised him to get the marshal to find the men and arrest them, after which an affidavit might be made.
Deputy Marshal Haley drilled out to the junction and arrested one of a crowd and brought him back to town where he was locked up. The disfigured tramp had in the meantime, made his disappearance and could not be found.
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