Genealogy Trails

Jackson County, Illinois

Carbondale Free Press, Carbondale, IL

25 December 1886

A fire occurred at 5 o'clock Wednesday morning that was more than ordinarily disastrous to the business interests of our city. At the hour specified a locomotive whistle at the I. C. Depot sounded the alarm. People rising from their beds discovered flames issuing from the building in which WATSON’s machine and blacksmith works were located.  

Already the fire had taken firm hold of the structure, and it was impossible to save it or any material portion of the contents. In addition to the building, the machinery and tools, a traction engine that was in the shop for repairs, was rendered worthless. Mr. WATSON’s loss foots up about $5,000, upon which there was no insurance whatever.  That gentleman has been in business in this place for about 12 years beginning with a few hundred dollars capital when quite a young man. By toil and frugality he had accumulated the necessary machinery and tools to do the general machine repairing of this section, and was at that stage, when he could have made money rapidly. As it is, in one short shout he is deprived of his all. He has the heartfelt sympathy of our people in his misfortune.

RAYNOR'S woolen factory was in close proximity to the WATSON building. The structure was a light frame and stored with considerable material of combustible character. It soon took fire and burned like a tinderbox. A small portion of the machinery only was saved. The property belonged to RAYNOR & MILLER, but for quite a number of years has been controlled by Mr. RAYNOR alone. The building and contents were valued at $5,000. Like Mr. Watson, Mr. RAYNOR has no insurance. He is a poor man and a hard worker and the financial loss is one he is unable to bear.

The destruction of these two industries, though not large in a financial sense, is a serious blow to our town. Both were operated by intelligent and practical men. Whether they will be rebuilt we presume is a question that the public must assist in solving. It seems to us that now would be a proper time for another exhibition of that spirit which secured the re-building of the Normal University. A fortnight should not elapse until sufficient capital is subscribed to place WATSON and RAYNOR in condition to rebuild their works on a more extensive scale. What do our people say?

[Note: While Mr. Watson did get financing to rebuild his business, Alonzo RAYNOR did not.]

Submitted by Karima Allison

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