Marshall Historical Society

Fires in Deansboro
Dorothy McConnell

In our small village we have never had many fires, but just one fire is too many. Fires by lightning cannot be avoided always, but nearly every other one can be blamed on carelessness or lack of forethought.

Our village school burned in February 1931. Why? It fortunately happened around 2:00am and no one was in the building. It was a very cold windy night. The fires had been banked and checked. The band met there in the evening. The room where they were practicing was cold. The drafts were put on, then someone did not check them. The furnace was powerful. It was too close to the floor and quickly caught fire.

Two fires, the Methodist Church in 1883 and the cheese factory in 1890 near the Oriskany Creek were suspicious ones. It is thought that someone set them.

The mill built by Asa Dick, a Brothertown Indian, stood some 80 or 90 years before it burned. I do not recall if the cause was ever known. Since then we have had several fire scares in the mills. The feed heats and spontaneous combustion occurs. This has happened at Mr. Hinman's mill and once at the Grange League Federation building. Mr Waterman's saw mill burned in 1922. This was another mill built by Asa Dick.

Hadcox houses on the Waterville Road burned. The first Hadcox house was this side of the MacLeods. The people had had a hot kitchen fire baking and the cause was supposed to be a chimney fire. The other Hadcox house was across from the MacLeods. The stove in an incubator for chickens in the cellar exploded.

A beautiful house where the CCC Camp now is burned in 1932. It started in the wood shed. It was thought that hot ashes on wooden baskets started the fire.

A more recent farm house fire was at the Buells' on West Hill. Defective wiring was blamed.

Defective wiring was said to be the cause of the Hinman barn fire on the former Day farm. It was a terrible one for the firemen to fight because of the -20 F temperature. The hose was laid to the Oriskany Creek and it would fill with half-frozen slush.

The burning of the large barn on Don Hinman's home farm resulted from a tractor back firing.

The cause of the barn fire on Keston Kennard's farm is uncertain. Some say it was caused by a drunken man who got off the midnight train and went over to sleep in the barn.

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