Spencer Destroyed by Fire in 1896


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 11/10/1896 and 11/17/1896.

Wm. Hosey came from Spencer last night and informs us that almost the entire town was wiped out by fire Sunday night.  We have no information as to the origin of the fire, nor the estimated loss, except that all the stores were burned but two, the bank, two hotels and in fact, everything is laid desolate.  The same territory, except the court house, burned about nine years ago.

The following figures have been given out in reference to the losses to the citizens of Spencer in the recent fire:

J.P. Lowe, general store, loss on stock, $2500; insurance $1,000.
G.W. Hundley, store building, occupied by J.P. Lowe, total loss.
W.H. McConnell, groceries, $800.
G.H. Bennett, cigars and photographs, $180.
Bob Casto, restaurant, $100.
Wm. Wyatt, barber shop, $50.
Dr. Parsons, drug store and residence, $4,000; insurance, $800.
L.D. Simmons, general store, $4,000.  No insurance.
Henry Giles, harness, saddles and hardware, $1,000.
M.T. Lewellyn, dry goods and notions, $1,000; insurance, $800.
A.A. Smith, general store, $3,000; insurance, $1,000.
Frank Goff, hardware, $4,000; insurance, $2,000.
Adams & Goff, building, $3,300, insurance, $1,500.
Huddleson's feed store, $500; building $800.
H.T. Goff & Bro., groceries, $600.  Insured.
Wells & Pendleton, building, $1,500; $1,200 insurance
Masonic Temple, $3,300.
Orville McMillan, dry goods and notions, $4,000; residence $1,200.
Dr. J.N. Pfost, drugs, $3,000; no insurance.  Home, $1,000.
Henry Smith, residence, $2,000.
Chanbers Hotel, $4,000; no insurance.
D.W. Chapman, Hotel, drug and music store, 4,500; no insurance.
Wells & Pendleton, law books, 100.
J.B. Casto, residence, 4,000; no insurance.
Mrs. J.B. Casto, millinery, chinaware and bakery, 400.
Dr. McCee, dentist, 400.
McIntosh & Rudman, 4,500; insurance, 2500.
William Bishop, brick building, 1,600.
Squire Huddleson, two dwellings, 1,000; no insurance.
J.P. Bartlett, building, 300.
Holsewade & Goff, building, 700; no insurance.
John Kirk, residence, 250.
Henry Sheppard, residence, 700; no insurance.
Capt. Kidd, residence, 200.
Claude Bartlett, butcher shop, residence, barn and out buildings, 1,000; insurance, 800.
Kirchner & do., harness, saddles and hardware, 2000; insurance on stock, 1,000; on building, 500.
M.T. Lowe, livery stable, 400.
Bartlett Bros., building, 150.
G.N. Holswada, building, 2,000; no insurance
Dr. A.G. Bailey and Chambers, livery barns, 250.
George Cunningham, law books, 700.
Ed Corder, law books, 250.
W.H. Bishop, 250.
Major Cottle, household goods, 50.
Squire I.N. Morford, dockets and books, with records for past eight years.

The First National Bank will not be as heavy a loser as would be at first supposed, as all of the valuable books papers, etc., were in the fire proof vault.  This still remains too hot to be opened, so that the fire's effects upon its contents cannot be told.  The loss to the bank is in its furniture and fixtures.

The origin of the fire remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, although there is very good reason to believe it started in a gambling room over Simmons general store.  A game was running at this place which broke up in a row.  During the trouble a lamp was knocked over which set fire to the building.  A sensational fact in connection with this is that a brother of the proprietor had his throat cut from ear to ear while in the room.  The story given out by those in the trouble is that he sustained the cut jumping through a window after the fire had started but the story is discredited by nearly everyone.