Claremont, NH Tremont House Fire, Mar 1879




CLAREMONT, N. H., March 29.----March 29.----It was discovered at 1 o'clock this morning that the Tremont House was on fire. The building was leased by F. H. Gibson & Co., with Riley Deming as manager and Frederick Marvin as clerk. The flames were first discovered by Mr. Deming, who, with his family, occupied rooms on the first floor. His wife was awakened by what seemed to be the shattering of a window. She immediately aroused Mr. Deming, who went directly to the office. He detected an indication of fire and an unusual amount of smoke. He started for water, but before it could be procured the room was filled with flames. He then aroused his guests, so far as he was able, and returned to his family, consisting of his wife and son, about 12 years of age.

In this short space of time the fire had gained such headway that Mr. Dening was obliged to leave the rooms through the window. Mr. Gibson, the proprietor, had rooms on the next floor above. He put his wife out of the window, and instructed her to hold on by the blinds until he could rescue his son. She thought little of her own danger, but appealed to her husband to save Harry. Mr. Gibson succeeded in passing his boy to Mr. Currier, who was on the roof of the dining-hall. He then reached the ground by the aid of the lightning-rod. Putting up a board, He ascended to the rooms of his wife and succeeded in rescuing her. Frederick Marvin and his wife had rooms on the third floor. When the alarm was given all other avenues of escape were cut off by the flames, and they were compelled to take a leap for life. They fell the distance of four stories. Mr. Marvin escaped with little injury, but his wife was not so fortunate. She was immediately conveyed to Dr. Way's office and received every attention. It is feared that she had suffered spinal injuries, and slight hopes of recovery are entertained.

Five of the occupants of the hotel were burned to death. These were: Mrs. GIBSON, mother of the proprietor; Mrs. S. A. PLACE, pastry cook; Miss ANNIE JOHNSON, chamber-maid; Miss LYDIA MERRILL, table girl, and CHARLES MORGAN. Almost superhuman efforts were put forth for their rescue, but without success. At the time help arrived the rooms of all the victims save Miss MERRILL's were inaccessible. Efforts were made to secure the bodies of the victims, and they have been partially successful, but the remains found are without the least semblance of humanity. Among the guests of the house were J. G. Kimball, of Nashua, and Col. L. W. Cogswell, of Henniker, Bank Commissioners of New-Hampshire; E. C. Cummings, of Boston; G. D. Mosher, of Pine Meadow, Conn. and William Butler of Brattleboro, Vt. These gentlemen lost only a portion of their effects, and escaped without injury, except Mr. Butler, who badly sprained his ankle in jumping from his window to the pavement. Dr. William Jarvis escaped by a ladder, first safely letting down his valuable dog Elcho by a rope made from the bed linen. Considering the number of people in the house, it seems about miraculous that so few should lose their lives.

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