Davenport, IA D. A. Burrows Mill Fire, May 1870


The D. A. Burrows Mill Burned

Heavy Loss - No Insurance

Yesterday afternoon, between two and three o'clock the large frame mill on the river front, at foot of Perry street took fire in the upper story and rapidly burned to the ground. The mill was in operation, and the first the miller Mr. Thompson knew of the fire was the [illegible] of smoke from the ventilator. At the same time, Mr. D. A. Burrows who was in the mill office was notified by persons upon the street that the roof of the mill was on fire.

John Reamer, pilot of the ferry boat, saw the flames and at once sounded a fire alarm on the steam whistle, to which the fire bells on both sides of the river promptly responded. There was a stiff breeze blowing at the time and the flames spread rapidly. Fire King Engine arrived upon the scene but having green kindling was some little time in getting up steam. In the meanwhile, "Old Reliable" or the "Waterwitch" hand machine of Rescue Co. No. 2 arrived, and played the first water upon the flames.

By the time the three upper stories of the mill were in flames. The steamer of the Fire Kings, Liberty and Western No. 1 of Rock Island, soon had water on, and the pipemen despite the intense heat stood their ground well. The window and door frames of the brick block on the north side of Front street took fire, but was soon extinguished. The roof of several houses near also caught from flying cinders, but no serious damaged resulted. The large smoke stack of the mill fell, but hurt no one.

The mill was built in 1861 by D. A. Burrows, but some year or so ago was purchased by Richard Gregg of Chicago. Mr. B had a lease of it. The building and machinery were valued at $10,000. No insurance.

Mr. Burrows had some 1200 bushels of wheat and barley in the mill, this was badly damaged by fire and water. There was but little flour on hand, probably forty barrels, a portion of it was saved. Mr. B. saved his books. E. A. Tilebein [or Thebein] & Co., had two hundred bushels of ear corn, partial loss. The engine and mill machinery, of course is pretty much used up. There was no insurance upon the flour or grain, and Mrs. Burrows thinks there was none upon the mill property. The fire is attributed to the overheating of the journals of the separator, located in the topmost story. Mr. Thompson, the miller, thinks the fire was caused by sparks from the smoke stacks saw dust was used almost exclusively for fuel.

One thing is certain the mill is burned, and was not long at it either. The "Burrow's mills" are particularly unfortunate, this is the fourth of that name that has burned within a few years, though this is Mr. D. A. B's first loss by fire. He takes is philosophically and is likely already figuring to rebuild or get into the rolling business again.

Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, IA 20 May 1870