Newnan, GA Fires, Oct 1891



NEWNAN, Ga., October 27. - [Special.] Newnan suffered from a disastrous fire today. At about 9 o'clock this morning fire was discovered in the cotton on the depot platform of the Atlanta and West Point railroad. A high wind was blowing to the southeast, in the direction of the fine new depot just finished. It was soon in flames, and for a while it looked as if the building of the R. D. Cole Manufacturing Company, just south of the depot, would be destroyed. Had the Cole building caught, the whole south side of town would have gone. By prompt efforts these buildings were saved. The depot and about 200 bales of cotton and several car boxes were destroyed. It is thought the fire originated from a passing engine. The losses will aggregate about $25,000.

The Columbus Enquirer-Sun, Columbus, GA 28 Oct 1891



Two Hundred Bales of Cotton and the Depot Burned.

NEWNAN, Oct. 27. - [Special.] - The freight and passenger depot of the Atlanta and West Point railway with 200 bales of cotton were completely destroyed by fire this morning. The fire was discovered about 9 o'clock in a lot of cotton on the platform. It was presumably caused by a spark from a passing engine.

There was a strong gale blowing and in a few moments the cotton was a mass of flames, which was blown with tremendous violence against the depot building. All the freight and movables, fixtures and some of the cotton on the platform was saved. The loss is estimated at $30,000. It falls on the railway company exclusively.

The Macon Telegraph, Macon, GA 29 Oct 1891




The Conflagration Evidently Started by Incendiaries -“ Talk of Lynch Law if the Guilty Party Can Be Captured.

NEWNAN, Oct. 28. - [Special.] - Since my telegram yesterday announcing the burning of the Atlanta and West Point railway depot Newnan has had two more destructive fires.

The depot fire began about 9 o'clock a. m. and the general opinion was that the fire originated from a spark from a passing engine. It is morally certain that the two subsequent ones were the work of an incendiary.

About 9 o'clock last night the alarm was again sounded, and almost simultaneously the cotton warehouse of Powell & Dent burst into flames. The fire was discovered to be inside and also in a lot of cotton on a platform outside. This fire destroyed the warehouse and 900 bales of cotton, and only the most heroic efforts prevented its sweeping away all the business houses on two sides of the public square.

The well nigh exhausted people had hardly gotten to sleep before the alarm was sounded for the third time, shortly before five o'clock this morning. It was again cotton and at the warehouse of Russell, Gibson & Co, which is a new structure roofed over entirely. By superhuman efforts the fire was kept down so that the burning bales could be pulled away from the side of the burning warehouse. This fire destroyed only the cotton on the outside platform - about seventy-five bales. The people of Newnan are thoroughly alarmed and if the incendiary who started these fires could be caught there would undoubtedly be a lynching.

A disreputable white man is under arrest and is to be tried in the justice court tomorrow.

The combined losses of the three fires will reach $200,000.

The name of the man arrested is W. T. Argo, who, it seems, has a grudge against the town of Newnan.

The Macon Telegraph, Macon, GA 29 Oct 1891


In the fall Newnan had a time of anxiety and terror only second to that caused by McCook's raid during the war, when flames burst out of the roof of the new railway station with such fury that all efforts to quench them were vain. The station, so recently completed at a cost of $8,500, and fifty bales of cotton were consumed. This fire occurred at nine o'clock in the morning; at nine-fifteen at night, T. W. Powel's warehouse was on fire and was consumed; at five the next morning the Russell-Gibson warehouse went. A disreputable man of Newnan, Wiley Argo, by name was arrested for the crimes and tried, but evidence to convict him was wanting; he had to be released. The loss was $60,375, but $54,875 insurance greatly reduced the total.

Coweta County chronicles for one hundred years; Atlanta, Ga.: Stein Print. Co., 1928, page 306