Osceola, PA Destructive Fire, July 1870


From the Altona (Penn.) Sun, July 18.
About 9 o'clock last Saturday night, flames were discovered issuing from the large saw mill at Osceola, Clearfield County, belonging to the Moshannon Land and Lumber Company, H. H. SHILLINGFORD, Esq., of Philadelphia, President.
It was but a few moments until the whole building was enveloped in the devouring element, and although the citizens of the town and vicinity were promptly on the ground, all their efforts to prevent its communicating to the vast piles of sawed lumber that occupied every available space of their extended yards, proved futile. Three dwelling houses, belonging to the company shared the fate of their splendid mill. Three truck cars, loaded with lumber and belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, were also consumed, together with the warehouse and a large portion of the trestle work on the Beaver Branch Railroad.
Word was sent to MR. CASSATT, at this place, at about 9 o'clock A.M., and in a few minutes the Vigilant fire engine, with several members of the company, were dispatched in a special train, who reached the scene of destruction shortly before daylight. The fire had then been raging about eight hours, and had destroyed pretty much everything within its reach. But this splendid engine did good service in saving what was possible to be saved, and in a few minutes all danger of further destruction was past. The fire originated in the oil room by the explosion of a kerosene lamp in the hands of a watchman by the name of PHILIP RODGERS. He has not been seen or heard of since the fire, and the supposition is that he is buried in the ruins. The loss is estimated at $275,000, distributed thus:
Moshannon Land and Lumber Company, $200,000.
JAMES P. HALE, $25,000.
A. B. LONG & Sons, $15,000.
J. M. ELLIS & Son, $15,000.
ED. PERKS, $15,000.
M. KEPHART, $150.
WELLS & HEIMS, $200.
Pennsylvania Railroad Company, $4,000.
There are different reports as to the amount of lumber destroyed, varying from seven to twelve millions of feet. The mill was one of the best in the State, having capacity to cut from sixty to eighty thousand feet per day, and cost, with its machinery, some $90,000. The Company's loss may be put down at over $200,000, which is covered by insurance to perhaps half that amount.
MESSRS. A. B. LONG & Sons are reported losers to the amount of $18,000 worth of lumber. Their insurance on the lumber unfortunately expired but a few days before. Their splendid mill, which was greatly imperiled, was fortunately saved. Other parties, including the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, sustained losses to greater or less extent. By this disastrous fire a large number of deserving workmen will be thrown out of employment until next season, as by the time the mill can be rebuilt the present season will be entirely over. Some idea of the extent of the conflagration may be formed from the fact that the reflection of the flames in the heavens was plainly visible in this city, an air-line distance of about thirty miles.

The New York Times New York 1870-07-22