Lawrenceburg, KY Town Fire, Mar 1873

Destructive Fire in Lawrenceburg, Ky.

We are sorry to announce a destructive fire in our neighboring town of Lawrenceburg, by which principal portion was the destroyed.  It began in Crane's bar-room, about half-past 12 o'clock, on Saturday.  The wind was blowing heavily, and there being no fire-engine, the fire had uncontrolled sway.

The town has but one principal street, being built up on both sides of the turnpike leading from Frankfort to Harrisburg, thirteen miles from the former and twenty miles from the latter.  The fire originating on the western side of the main street, communicated quickly to the east side, and, the wind blowing in a northerly direction, it swept both sides of the street until the main portion of the town was consumed.  Forty-seven houses were burned, including the Galt House and Collins' tavern.  Witherspoon's bank and every business house except a tin shop.

Those acquainted wit the locality will understand the extent of the disaster when we state that the fire extended on the west side from the brick blacksmith shop opposite Pratt's stable to the Baptist church, and on the east side, from the Court-house to the residence of Dr. John Witherspoon.

The Court-house, one of the finest in the State, was extinguished.  In addition to the loss of the house, we learn that, as the fire progressed, furniture and the contents of the stores were removed into the street, but were destroyed by the advancing flames.  The farmers from the surrounding country, attracted by the fire, came to the aid of the citizens, and when the fire was over took to their homes many of the houseless sufferers.

The loss will fall very heavy upon the citizens of Lawrenceburg, as the houses were generally owned by the occupants, and there was but comparatively little insurance.  The total loss can not be less than $150,000.  Of insurance we learn that the Royal loses about $14,000, the Underwriters $10,000, and the Aetna $6,000.  The Phoenix also loses considerably, and some other companies, but the exact amounts were are not able to learn.

This disaster falls heavily upon many families, who have been suddenly deprived of every comfort of life or means of subsistence.  The occasion is one of which appeals strongly to the sympathies of our people, and a public meeting will be held at the Court-house, in this city, at 2 P.M. to-day, for the purpose of organizing relief.  We hope it will be well attended, and that the contributions will be liberal.  --Frankfort Yeoman, March 17th.

San Francisco Bulletin, San Francisco, CA 27 Mar 1873


The disastrous fire of 1873 .....the heroism of one man should be recorded in connection with that calamity.  P. D. Brown was a carpenter and undertaker, who stayed on top of the court-house while his own dwelling was destroyed.  His efforts saved all the priceless records of the town and county from going up in smoke. 

- A History of Anderson County, 1780-1936, begun in 1884 by Major Lewis W. McKee, concluded in 1936 by Mrs. Lydia K. Bond.