Marion, AL Howard College Fire, Oct 1854

Marion ALA Howard University circa 1850's.jpg


We have already noticed the destruction by fire of Howard College, located at Marion. The Marion Commonwealth gives us the particulars:
"Howard College was burnt to the ground on Sunday night, but, alas, this was as nothing; a great many of the students were sadly burnt or injured in some way by the conflagration. The fire begun about 12 o'clock at night in the passage, and before the boys knew it, the stair steps were burned so that no one could escape by them. Most of the poor fellows rushed from their rooms, but were met by the flames which scorched their faces, arms and hands dreadfully. All of them were compelled to jump out of the windows, and in so doing a good many got their ankles sprained or broken; some their arms, others were injured in the back, and, altogether, it was the most awful thing of the kind I ever knew. A negro boy who slept in the College was so badly burnt, that he died in less than 12 hours. The citizens of Marion took the young men to their houses, and are taking the best possible care of them."
The following is a list of those known to be injured:
THOMAS McKERRAL and his brother SAMUEL, badly burned and injured.
ANDERSON TALBERT, badly burned, and for some time not expected to recover.
PROF. BROWN, badly injured.
MR. MONTAGUE, badly injured.
Besides the above, the two CLEVELANDS, HUNTER, MATTISON, CHILTON, MABERRY, GORDON, and five or six others are dreadfully mangled. Some have their arms broken, and are so badly burnt they cannot be set; others have their legs broken, and some and only sprained. A young man named MOORE had his arm broken in two or three places, and it stuck in the ground. It was thought at one time that several of the boys would die, but it is yet doubtful how it will turn out. Everything was lost -- only two or three of the students being able to save their trunks. Out of twenty five in the College, twenty-two were injured in some way. Some of them had to jump out of the fourth story windows. The school will be carried on, and the work of rebuilding is to commence next Monday. Thirteen thousand dollars have been raised for the purpose of building a new College. One hundred and ninety dollars have been subscribed for the benefit of the sufferers.

The New York Times New York 1854-11-04