Paterson, NJ Murray Mill Fire, May 1869

Great Fire in Paterson.

Mr. Michael Morris's wearhouse[sic], Paterson, and adjacent buildings were burned on Monday. The warehouse owned by Mr. Morris was used as a waste house. ---The flames communicated with the Murray Mill, a superb brick building on Mill street, owned by Messrs. John Ryle & Co., as a silk manufactory. Day & Co., silk weavers, also occupied a part of the building. The flames spread rapidly and communicated with the tenement houses on each side and in the rear, and thence to the Murray Mill. After a short time all the buildings were enveloped. So intense was the heat that the fire spread in various directions, and eighteen or twenty tenement houses were speedily reduced to ashes.

The loss to the Messrs. Ryle is very heavy. The mill and machinery have been destroyed, and they were valued at $250,000. The only insurance was of one thousand dollars on the dye house. ----Scarcely any of the tenements destroyed were insured. The loss on them will be $50,000 or $80,000. Day & Co.'s loss will amount to $50,000; no insurance. The total loss is $300,000.

Daily State Gazette, Trenton, NJ 12 May 1869


Extensive Fire in New Jersey---Great Destruction of Property, &c.

NEW YORK, May 10.---The Murray Silk Mills, owned by Ryle & Co., in Paterson, New Jersey, took fire this afternoon and were entirely destroyed. Loss $250,000; no insurance. About a dozen tenement houses adjoining, occupied by mill operatives, were also burned.

The flames communicated to the Catholic Church, near by, but were extinguished before great damage was done. The fire originated in Morris's rag store, next to the mill and it is thought to have been caused by spontaneous combustion. A large number of female employees are houseless, and thrown out of employment.

The Sun, Baltimore, MD 11 May 1869


The Murray silk mills, owned by Ryles & Co., in Paterson, N. J., were entirely destroyed by fire Monday. Loss $250,000; no insurance. About a dozen tenement houses adjoining, occupied by the mill employees, were also destroyed.

The Pittsfield Sun, Pittsfield, MA 20 May 1869


May 10th, 1869, the Murray Mill was burned to the ground, and Mr. Ryle lost a clear half million, not having a dollar of insurance, the mill being considered fire proof. He was, however, to have insured it the next week. This was a case almost or quite without a parallel in the record of so important a manufacturing concern. The fire was communicated from the waste houses of Michael J. Morris, adjoining, where it originated. Fifteen or more tenement houses in the neighborhood were also burned, and scores of families rendered homeless. The mill was rebuilt at once in the form as it now stands, by the Ryle Silk Manufacturing Co., which was then formed, with John Ryle as President; capital, $100,000.

A History of Industrial Paterson: Being a Compendium of the Establishment, Growth and Present Status in Paterson, N. J. of the Silk, Cotton, Flax, Locomotive, Iron and Miscellaneous Industries..., 1882, page 181