Brussels, Williamsonville, Peshtigo forest fire, Oct 1871
Several Villages Utterly Destroyed - Appalling Loss of Life - Four Hundred Dead Bodies Already Recovered.
From the Green Bay (Wis.) State Gazette, Extra, Oct. 10.
On Sunday night, about 9 o'clock, fire broke out in the southern part of the Belgian settlement at Brussels, in Door County, and raged with terrific violence, destroying about 180 houses, and leaving nothing of a large and flourishing settlement but five houses. Nine persons are missing - supposed to have perished in the flames. The names are as follows: Mrs. JOHN B. WENDRICKS, and three children; three children of JOS. DANDOY; one child of JOS. MONFILS, and a young man by the name of MAURICE DELVEAUX. The remains of some of the clothing of the latter person were found, by which he was identified.
On Monday morning, 200 people breakfasted on four loaves of bread. Houseless and homeless, they camp out on their land, and seem struck dumb with their great losses. Their houses, barns, implements of farming, house furniture and cattle were burned and destroyed. The roads are filled with carcasses of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, suffocated by the smoke and heat. At Sturgeon Bay WILLIAMSON's mill is reported burned, and fifty persons are said to have lost their lives. Our informant reports the most pitiable state of things all through the district devasted by the fire, and hunger and starvation staring the wretched inhabitants in the face.
The inhabitants during the conflagration only saved their lives by throwing themselves on the ground and covering their heads. They had no warning of the approach of the fire, except the ringing of the church bell for a few minutes in advance. Then suddenly a great fire came down on them from the woods, roaring like a cataract, and they had no time to save anything. The heavens were all ablaze, and the earth also seemed on fire.
The New York Times, New York, NY 17 Oct 1871