Hardin, TX Hardin County Courthouse Fire, Aug 1886



All the Records Destroyed

KOUNTZ, August 10. -- At 2:15 a.m. Sunday the courthouse at Hardin was discovered on fire, and it was soon burned to the ground. The building was a frame structure and burned very rapidly, so that nothing could be saved, except what was deposited in a iron safe. This has not been opened yet, but grave doubts are entertained as to whether anything within is saved. The outer doors are considerably warped, and parties who were present say that a pistol in side was discharged five or six times by the heat. All the public library, consisting of the Supreme and Court of Appeals reports, all the assessment rolls of the county, all the surveyor's records, and all the county judge's records, including the probate records and papers were consumed. The loss to this county can not be estimated, as doubtless, it will entail endless litigation, and the effects will be felt for years. Nothing was insured. This was, no doubt, the work of an incendiary, as parties present at the fire say the smell of kerosene oil was very strong and a a new can containing about a pint was found near by, where party who did the burning dropped it. Certain parties are strongly suspected, but no arrests have yet been made.

Galveston Daily News, Galveston, TX 11 Aug 1886

[After this fire, the county seat was moved from Hardin to Kountz.]