Port Gibson, MI Town Fire, June 1839


Accounts were received at New Orleans on the 3d inst. stating that Port Gibson, the seat of justice in Claiborne county, Mississippi, had been visited by a dreadful conflagration. It broke out on the 1st. inst. The cause or first origin of the fire is not mentioned, or whether it occurred at night or in the day time. The extent of its ravages was very great -- for a country village perhaps unequalled.
The court house, the jail, the bank, the principal taverns, the stores, and two-thirds of the whole town were consumed !.
Port Gibson is a flourishing inland village, situated on the Bayou Pierre, about 8 miles from the Grand Gulf, on the Mississippi. It has a population of about 1,500 inhabitants and many tasteful and elegant buildings. The calamity that has thus suddenly bereaved it of wealth and comeliness, will add greatly to the afflictions that have thus far borne so heavily upon the people of Mississippi.

A letter to the editor of the Louisianian dated at Grand Gulf, June 1, thus speaks of the destructive fire which has destroyed the town of Port Gibson:
"The loss of property is estimated at not lest than seven hundred thousand dollars -- by some persons at one million. Most of the principal merchants are utterly ruined. The court house was totally destroyed, and the whole of the principal business street is nothing but a heap of ruins. The houses were principally of brick. I have just returned from the scene. Never in my life have I been more moved by the sight of calamity than by this. The citizens and the strangers in twon were in the greatest agitation: some of the unfortunate inhabitants were frantic with loss. The Circuit Court of Claiborne County was in session last week, but this terrible calamity has caused the judge to adjourn the court, the records and papers rescued from the burning court house being in too much confusion to be arranged easily for several days. It is to be hoped the sympathies of the whole country will be for the poor unhappy people of Port Gibson."

The Adams Sentinel Gettysburg Pennsylvania 1839-06-17