Marshall, MI Fire Destroys Herndon Hotel, Sept 1875

Marshall MI Circa 1908



Special telegrams to the Detroit Post give interesting details of the burning of the Herndon Hotel, in Marshall, Mich., about 3 o'clock on Friday morning last.
The correspondent says: "The hotel, which was a large and commodious four-story brick building, was full of guests, and, although the alarm was given below, the guests and boarders in the hotel did not hear or know of their dreadful peril. It is not known how the fire caught, but it is supposed that the building became full of gas, and that, by the igniting of this gas by the explosion of a lamp, the whole building was set on fire at once. The main staircase leading to the upper part of the building was on fire, and this prevented, ingress and egress, leaving the smothered inmates of the second, third, and fourth stories entirely at the mercy of the flames, which were spreading in every room at the same time. EDWARD ELLIOTT, a jeweler, and member of the hook and ladder company, at once sprang upon the ladder and rescued with his own hands MRS. THOMAS WRIGHT, her nurse-girl, and two children from the third-story window. MRS. WRIGHT escaped with but little injury, except the burning of her hands, but saved nothing, not even her children's clothing. After having saved MRS. WRIGHT, MR. ELLIOTT then went up the ladder to CLAUDE G. AVERY'S room, where he and his wife were found almost suffocated and helpless. MR. ELLIOTT grasped MRS. AVERY, and, with the help of MR. AVERY, got her to the window and out upon the ladder several steps below, when MRS. AVERY fainted and fell, injuring her spine, and her recovery is doubtful. MR. AVERY, on seeing his wife once safe on the ladder, fainted, or was smothered with smoke and fell back into his room, perfectly helpless. The fire at once swallowed him up, and he was burned to death. No help could reach him. ANTOINE GRUBER, a cigar-maker, was also burned to death. He was a German, and hails from New Haven, Conn. He was a stranger in the place. THOMAS DANDY, a guest at the hotel, lost his baggage and all his clothing. Yet with a heroism seldom seen exhibited, he walked on to the second floor balcony, and there held against his breast a ladder which was too short to reach the floor while two men mounted it and went to the room occupied by MR. COLVELL, and brought down MR. and MRS. COLVELL and their little child, who were nearly suffocated. But for this heroism the whole family must have perished. Two hat men in the fourth story escaped by attaching sheets together and descending on them, not saving their clothing. LIZZIE KING, one of the servant girls, jumped from the fourth story window and was instantly killed. DR. WOODRUFF broke his leg by jumping from his room. T. B. MANLY, from Rutland, Vt., was badly burned, but not dangerously. The porter of the hotel got both legs broken. WILL SWISS was injured by the fall of a ladder. Several other persons were badly injured. ELLEN WRIGHT, the cook, jumped from the fourth story window and died next afternoon. Four persons were killed outright, and ten very seriously injured. The bodies of AVERY and GRUBER were recovered from the ruins, but were nearly consumed. MR. CHANDLER, from Coldwater, lost $500 in money, and on man lost $10,000 in mortgages and money. None of the boarders of guests saved any of their property. Watches, silver, money, pianos, and the most costly furniture were swept away in twenty minutes from the time the alarm was given, and no time was had to save anything. MR. WATROSE did not save his clothing, and his little girl, eight years old, jumped from the third story and saved herself without assistance. MR. AVERY leaves a wife, but no children. He was a jeweler, and highly respected. The probability is that had there been a night-watch kept this disaster would have been avoided.

The New York Times New York 1875-09-27