Sulphur Springs, TX Hopkins County Courthouse Fire, Feb 1894

Courthouse Burned

Hopkins County Loses Its Fine Courthouse and Jail By Supposed Incendiarism.

Condition of the Records in the Iron Vaults Not Known-Losses and in What Companies Insured.

Sulphur Springs, Tex., Feb. 11.-This city was visited with a very destructive fire last night. It was first discovered at about 12:30 o’clock in the Williamson block on the east side of the square in the house occupied by S.A. Bishop.

The flames spread rapidly catching and destroying the courthouse and jail situated on the north side.

J.A. Brinker & Co., and R.N. Miller buildings on the south are total losses, together with the stocks of merchandise therein.

Ed Brinker and Brinker Bros.’ building was damaged together with damage by removal of stock.

Insurance on the courthouse $12,400 in the Northern $2000, Hartford, $2000, Phoenix, Hartford, $2400, Greenwich $1000, Northern British and Mercantile $1000.

Losses: The Crittenden building $4500, insured as follows: Lancashire $1250, Commercial Union $2250, Hamburg Bremen $1000.

On the S.A. Bishop stock, occupant of Crittenden’s building, $5750; Hamburg Breman $1500, Insurance company of North American $1500, Phoenix Assuramce $1500 and L.L. & G. $1250.

J. A. Brinker & Co., building insured in Phoenix Assurance company for $2300, on stock $4500, and furniture and fixtures $650 in the Commercial Union, for $2000 North British Mercantile, for $2500 and the Queen for $650.

R.N. Miller building insured for $2200 in the Queen.

Brinker Bros.’ building damaged and stock damaged by removal; insured in North British and Mercantile.

E.R. Brinker stock damaged by removal.

Hopkins County Echo, damaged by removal; insured in Home Mutual for $900.

The jail at the time of fire held twelve prisoners. By order of Judge Terhune to Sheriff Sherman they were removed to a place of safety and Sheriff Sherman has decided to take them to Greenville. The prisoners before being removed from the burning building became very uneasy.

Mr. L.I. Mercer of Black Jack Grove, called on The News last night and furnished the following additional information about the fire at Sulphur Springs in Hopkins county.

The buildings burned comprised all on the east side of the square except the stores of W.F. Skillman and E.A. Kellogg on the north end of the block and Brinker Bros.’ store on the south end.

The stores were neat two-story brick buildings, costing from $3500 to $4000 each. The courthouse and jail were handsome two-story brick structures, costing between $35,000 and $40,000.

All record in the county offices outside of the vaults were saved, except those in the office of County Judge Morris. The most valuable records of each officer, including the records of the county and district clerks were in iron vaults and they not having been opened, the condition of the papers is not known.

It is supposed the fire was of incendiary origin.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 12 Feb 1894

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