Jamestown, NY Old Homestead Hotel Fire, Nov 1891



Jamestown, N. Y., Nov. 23 -- Three women and a boy were burned to death between 1 and 2 o'clock this morning in a fire which gutted the Old Homestead Hotel, at Third and Pine Streets. They were MRS. BUCHANAN, pastry cook, aged fifty; her son, aged seven; MRS. CARRIE MRSH, dishwasher, and MAGGIE WILSON, aged nineteen, waitress. Other servants and boarders escaped in their night clothes.
Those women occupied a room on the third floor. GRACE HARTWELL, whose mother lives in Buffalo, tells the story. She says:
"MRS. BUCHANAN woke all up by screaming, 'Oh girls, the house is on fire!' We all jumped out of bed and made a dash for the door, but for some reason could not open it. MAGGIE sobbed, 'We have got to die here together.' MRS. BUCHANAN seized a chair and broke an upper panel of the door. I helped MAGGIE through the hole, and followed her. We ran down stairs together. I went through SNOWDEN'S rooms, one of the proprietors, to the veranda and was saved. Probably MAGGIE, in her fright, turned at the foot of the first flight, with the intention of reaching the street by the stairway, but was overcome and died in the hall. We supposed MRS. BUCHANAN and MRS. MARSH would follow us. It was all an accident that the boy was with his mother, as he boarded him with a family in the north part of the city. He came Sunday to see her and pass the night. That's how he came to be in the room."
HARRY BROCKINGTON, who was on the third floor, lowered his wife to the veranda, as did others. F. F. PETTIE, in chargeof the cafe, lowered himself by his bed clothing. Those burned were not missed for an hour, when a fireman came across the naked body of MAGGIE WILSON, on the second floor. The other bodies were on the third floor. MRS. BUCHANAN was with her little son. MRS. MARSH lay on a bed. They were not badly burned, and death was apparently easy.
The fire started from a range in the wooden kitchen, and the flames gutted the main building. The hotel buildings are owned by MRS. WILLIAM H. LOWRY of Buffalo. SNOWDEN and TOMPKINS, hotel men, lost $6,000; half insured. There were a number of minor losses and a movement is on foot by hotel men, liquor men, and saloon keepers to raise a relief fund.

The New York Times New York 1891-11-24