Titusville, PA Refinery Fire, Nov 1870

The fire eventually attacked a small house east of the refinery on St. John Street, owned by D__ VANDERWALKER. It soon became a heap of ashes, but his family saved most of their furniture. An adjoining house and barn valued at $400, owned and occupied by Mr. KELAHER with his wife and three children, was the last that fell a victim to the flames. The family saved nothing. These two families now occupy one room in the neighboring house of Mrs. MCGERL and their condition yesterday morning was pitiable to the extreme.

The steam pumps belonging to Stewart & Van Syckel, also the steamer Colonel Drake, poured a perfect deluge of water on Moreland & Co.'s iron faced barrel houses, and the adjacent buidings on St. John Street to the south and east. The firemen worked energetically, and by their skilland perserverence, both refineries and a large amount of property were saved from total destruction.

The loss of Stewart & Van Syckel, is estimated at $5,000 on oil and $10,000 on buildings, tanks, etc. A new treating house will set them to work again. A.K. Murray & Co., estimate their loss in oil at $2,000, and the other damages at $2,000, making a total of $4000. They will be running again inside of a week.

Moreland & Co.'s refinery on the other side of the creek, was saved by the free use of Todd's fire anilhilater, which kept up a stream of sodawater on the tanks, and their surroundings. This valuable fire extinguisher is the only instrument which will effectively extinguish an oil on fire, and every refinery should be supplied with them. Messrs. Bryan & Dillingham are the agents, and they have quite a supply on hand.

Everyone is astonished that this fire was so effectually checked, as oil tanks and buildings stand in close proximity all round. Our estimate of the entire loss, $20,000, as stated yesterday, seems nearly exact.

Titusville Morning Herald, Titusville, PA 26 Nov 1870


Police Matters.- GEORGE VANDERWALKER, whose dwelling was burnt out at the Refinery fire yesterday morning, in place af attending to the wants of his young family of seven children, and taking care of his furniture, went on a spree before breakfast, and assaulted officer MILLER. The officer proceeded to arrest him, but GEORGE resisted, and his friends assisted him and attempted a rescue. In the midst of the scuffle, officer MILLER'S wife came upon the scene, and was assaulted by VANDERWALKER'S brother, who seized her by the throat, and otherwise maltreated her. A general fight was imminent, MILLER received a black eye, and in order further protect himself, he knocked VANDERWALKER senseless to the ground with his "locust," and in this condition conveyed him to the lockup.

Nor was this all; Mrs. GEORGE VANDERWALKER, mother of the seven aforesaid, hearing of her husband's arrest, also went on a spree, leaving her furniture on two wagons, and her babes in a vacant room belonging to a neighbor. She was found about 1 o'clock in a state of helpless intoxication at the foot of Franklin Street, having, meanwhile, lost all her money, some $350 in gold, silver, drafts, and currency.

Chief ROUSE carried her in a wagon to the lockup, and deposited her beside her husband. Justice STROUSE, with the humanity that always charecterizes him, when he learned the particulars went in search of the seven helpless children, the oldest which is not over ten, and found them in the house of Mrs. MCGERL, on Franklin Street. He told this lady to see that they were properly fed and cared for, and he would be responsible.The mother was released last evening.

The Titusville Morning Herald, Titusville, PA 26 Nov 1870