Freehold, NJ Monmouth County Courthouse and Town Fire, Oct 1873




A fire broke out soon after midnight, yesterday, in the office of The Monmouth Inquirer, in the Richard Davis building, at Freehold, Monmouth County, New-Jersey, and before the flames were extinguished. $125,000 worth of property was consumed. As the town has no engine, the flames spread rapidly, extending to the office of the Hon. Charles Haight, whose valuable law library and business papers were entirely destroyed. The first floor of the building was occupied by R. M. Hartsborne as a furniture warehouse; James T. Burtis, dry goods merchant, and the Post-Office, all of which, with most of their contents, were destroyed. The adjoining building, belonging to Conover & Thompson, clothiers, soon caught, and in half an hour it was in ashes. The Hon. W. H. Conover, jr., the Public Prosecutor, had his office in this building, but he saved most of his papers. The building of E. P. Beale, dry goods dealer, was also consumed. W. H. Vredenburg, whose office was in this building, lost his library.

The residence of Col. P. G. Vought, the old Ryall Mansion, met the same fate, and at about the same time the Court-house, in which are court-room, jail, Surrogate’s, County Clerk’s and Collector’s offices caught fire, and was destroyed. The building cost nearly $60,000, and was insured for about one half of its value. The County Clerk, Capt. T. V. Arrowsmith, succeeded in saving all of the records, and the Surrogate’s papers were also nearly all saved. The prisoners were taken out of the jail in the early part of the excitement, handcuffed, and chained in a gang. The law office of John W. Swartz, and that of the Howe Sewing Machine Company were pulled down to prevent the further spread of the fire. The entire loss was about $125,000; insured probably for one-half.

New York Herald-Tribune, New York, NY 31 Oct 1873

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