Jackson County, Iowa

Genealogy Trails History Group

Genealogy and History
Volunteers Dedicated to Free Genealogy

Fires and Arsons

- - 1846 - - FIRE AND LOSS OF LIFE.

- On the 26th ult., the wife of Mr. McCormick, residing in Farmers' Creek township, Jackson county, Iowa, went to a neighbor's for help in cutting wood leaving in the house her sick husband and two children. During her absence, the house caught fire, and on her return she found it a heap of smouldering ruins, and all that was dear to her on this earth buried therein.

- - 1872 - - John Van Horn
The wheat stacks belonging to John Van Horn, La Motte, Iowa, were set on fire on the evening of the 25th. Loss about one thousand dollars. The miscreant is, as yet, unknown.
[Source: Dubuque Daily Times (IA) Oct. 28, 1872] mkk

--1874-- CONFLAGRATIONS. (Bellevue)

At Joliet, Ill., Crawfordville, Ind., Bellevue, Iowa, New Bedford, Mass., and Other Points.

DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 2. - Schimer's brewery at Bellevue, together with his residence and barn, were destroyed by fire last night. The loss is estimated at $3,000; fully insured in Dubuque agencies. Cause unknown.
[Daily Inter Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, May 3, 1874, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

--1876-- FIRES. (Maquoketa)

A Blaze at Maquoketa, Iowa.

CHICAGO, February 14. - A special from Maquoketa, Iowa, says that early Sunday morning, Henderson's grocery store, Gardiner's photograph rooms, the book-store and other buildings were destroyed by fire. Total loss, $15,000 to $20,000. Insurance, about one-half.
[Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, Tuesday, February 15, 1876, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

- - 1876 - - Loss by Fire

CLINTON, IOWA, July 29. –A $15,000 fire destroyed the extensive furniture factory at Maquoketa at noon yesterday. No Insurance.
[The Cincinnati Daily Star, Cincinnati, Ohio, July 29, 1876, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

- - 1878 - - LOSSES BY FIRE

CLINTON, Iowa, June 10.-John Fritz's boarding house at Baldwin, nine miles from Maquoketa, was destroyed by fire Saturday night while the family were absent. Loss, $3,000.

[Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL) Tuesday, June 11, 1878, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


A fire at Maquoketa, Iowa destroyed Harrison & Sons furniture store, and also a building occupied by the Post-office. The mail was all saved. Total loss $10,000.

[The Cincinnati Daily Star, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 12, 1878, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

- - 1879 - - MAQUOKETA FIRE

MAQUOKETA, IA., June 21.-A fire early this morning destroyed five frame buildings on North Main street. Loss, $5,000.

[Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, OH) Monday, June 23, 1879, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


CHICAGO, Oct 2. - The fire at Maquoketa, Iowa, was more serious than reported last night. A special says the fire broke out in A. S. Carter's brick block, destroying that and three frame buildings. Losses, A. S. Carter, $10,000; Ringlers & Co., $70,000; Northup & Glasser, furniture $80,000. The smaller losses bring the total to $95,000. (Note . . . totals don't add up).
[Worcester Daily Spy, Worcester, Massachusetts, Tuesday, October 3, 1882, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

Carter's block and three frame buildings fell a prey to flames at Maquoketa, Ia., on the 18th inst. The loss foots up $95,000, The Masonic lodges and Tancred Commandery Knights Templar, lost their effects.
[Mower County Transcript (Lansing, MN) October 4, 1882, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


Maquoketa, Iowa.-Nearly a dozen business houses were burned on Saturday night. Loss, $30,000, insurance $15,000.
[Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA) Monday, October 2, 1882]


CHICAGO, Oct. 2.-The fire at Maquoketa, Iowa, was more serious than reported last night. A special says the fire broke out in A. S. Carter's brick block, destroying that and three frame buildings. Losses, A. S. Carter, $10,000; Ringlers & Co., $70,000; Northup & Glasser, furniture, $80,000; The smaller losses bring the total to $95,000. [totals don't add up]
[Worcester Daily Spy (Worcester, MA) Tuesday, October 3, 1882, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman] Note: an article later in the week says Maquoketa had a $150,000 fire last Sunday morning.


A Fire at Maquoketa, Ia., Friday night destroyed Nickerson's mills, including woolen mill, planning mil, saw mill and factory. Loss, $15,000; no insurance.
[Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL) Monday, October 30, 1882, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

Another article:

NICKERSON'S mills, including woolen mill, planning mill, saw mill and stave factory, at Maquoketa, Iowa, were destroyed by fire on the 28th ult.
[The Wellington Enterprise (Wellington, Ohio) November 1, 1882, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

Raines carriage factory was burned at Maquoketa, Ia., Monday night. Loss, $15,000; partly insured.
[Source: Daily Gazette (Rockford IL) Wednesday, June 2, 1886, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]


CLINTON, Iowa, Nov. 5.-A forest fire is raging on the north fork of the Maquoketa river, in Jackson county. Two houses, two horses, a large quantity of ties and about twelve miles of timber have been consumed.
[Daily Gazette (Rockford, IL) Friday, November 5, 1886, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


The Decker House, Maquoketa, Ia., was burned Monday, Loss, $400,000.
[St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, MO) Wednesday, March 5, 1890, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

- - 1891 - - MAT ALES, JR. HOME BURNS

Tuesday afternoon, March 10, while the family of Mr. Mat Ales, jr. of Maquoketa was absent from home the house was consumed by fire, including all the clothing, furniture and about $100 worth of clover seed.
[Omaha World Herald (Omaha, NE) Tuesday, March 24, 1891, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


The farm house of Davis Reynolds, between Maquoketa and Delmar, on the main road, caught fire at 8 o'clock last Thursday morning from the chimney, and was burned to the ground with some of its contents. The loss will exceed the insurance several hundred dollars
[Omaha World Herald (Omaha, NE) Saturday, January 2, 1892, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

- - 1896 - - BURNED BY ROBBERS

Maquoketa, Ia., May 11.-The general store of John Wagoner at Emeline, 14 miles northwest of this city, was entered and the safe blown open by burglars Friday night. After looting the safe of $100 and $2,000 in securities they set fire to the store, destroying the entire stock, valued at $6,000, and a portion of the building.
[Muskegon Chronicle (Muskegon, MI) Monday, May 11, 1896, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


Special to The Journal

Clinton, Iowa, May 31. - Fire at midnight destroyed two stores and a residence at Monmouth, Iowa. A severe storm is reported from Jones county. The Methodist church at Amber was wrecked and several smaller buildings were blown down. At Monmouth windmills and outhouses suffered. The station agent's barn was blown down and a barn on Dr. Stagg's farm collapsed, injuring the stock.
[Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Wednesday, May 31, 1899, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

Railway Depot and Two Cars of Live Stock Burn.
DUBUQUE, Ia., July 25. - Special: Fire this morning destroyed $14,000 worth of property at Lamotte this county.

The losses are: Milwaukee depot and stock yards, $5,000; Cahill Grain elevator and lumber yard, $6,000; Sylvestor Nestor milk depot and Goodsell milk depot, $400. Two cars of live cattle and hogs, $2,000 and other property. The origin of the fire is unknown.
[Source: The Des Moines Register (IA) July 26, 1910, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


Maquoketa Business Section Had Blaze That Caused Hundred Thousand Dollar Loss.

MAQUOKETA, Iowa, Dec. 4 - One hundred thousand dollars was the estimated fire loss sustained here today when the Stevens block was destroyed by a blaze which originated, it is said, through defecctive wiring.

The fire was discovered at 1:50 in the afternoon and brought under control about 5 o'clock, but was still burning tonight. The Clinton hose company was summoned by wire and aided in fighting the fire through the night. Carrol Phillips, a local fireman, is in the hospital. Five establishments were gutted by the blaze.

[Duluth News-Tribune, Duluth, Minnesota, Sunday, December 5, 1915, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

Also . . .

Maquoketa, Ia., Has $100,000 Fire.

MAQUOKETA, Iowa, Dec. 4 - Fire in the heart of the business disgtrict here today destroyed five establishments, causing a loss estimated at $100,000. The blaze is believed to have started from a defective electrical wiring.
[Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Sunday, December 5, 1915, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

- - 1920 - - BARN FIRE

Barn is Destroyed
Last Wednesday, shortly after the noon hour fire destroyed R. E. Watt’s barn and garage. It is supposed that the fire was caused from spontaneous combustion. None ever saw a worse looking fire than this one was right from the start. In less than a twinkling, the entire structure seemed to be a mass of flames. The alarm was turned in and it was but a short time before two streams of water were playing on the flames and the results were miraculous. While it was useless to try to save anything in the barn the other buildings were so very close it took plenty of water to keep the fire from spreading. Amos Cook’s barn filled with hay was right within a few feet of the burning one and it did not burn. There were some autos in garages just across the alley and the autos were run out, but the garages were saved anyway. Many have made the remark that many thousands worth of buildings were doomed for destruction and had it not been for the water works and the quick action of the fire company. Mr. Watts had just left a short time before for Clinton with his touring car and knew nothing of the fire until he returned home, and he was glad his car was out as it would certainly have been destroyed had it been in the barn. To give our readers an idea of how quickly the fire started, W. E. Hansen looked in the barn on his way down town to pass the time of day with Mr. Watts and he walked down town and the fire bell rang. A. C. Kellogg thinks the Miles fire company has plenty of speed when they need to have it. He heard the fire-bell when R. E. Watt’s barn burned and ran across the street to run George Koch’s car out before going to assist the firemen. He hurried as rapidly as he could and imagine his surprise when he rushed out of the alley expecting to go down and help get the hose cart and found that the cart was just turning in on the job and almost ready for business. - Miles Reporter.
[Jackson Sentinel, Maquoketa, Iowa, September 14, 1920, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


During the storm Sunday the large horse barn of Herman L. Felderman just south of the Lutheran church at St. Donatus, was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground, with one horse, hay, 600 bushess of oats and eight sets of harness. The people were all at church but saw the smoke and hurried to the scene. The fire had gained too much headway to save anything from the horse barn, but saved the other big barn that was already on fire. This is a heavy loss for Mr Felderman. - Lamotte News.
[Jackson Sentinel – Maquoketa, Iowa, September 14, 1920, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


About six o'clock Monday morning a fire was discovered near the chimney in a room at the L. B. McDonald home on South Main Street. The members of the family got busy and extinguished the blaze, no alarm being turned in, although the damage will probably aggregate $50.
[Jackson Sentinel (Maquoketa, IA) Tuesday, November 16, 1920, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


Sparks from the chimney started a fire on the roof of the Clarence Sackrider home south of town Monday. The blaze was discovered by the womenfolk who notified the men working at the barn who quickly responded and extinguished the fire. The damage wasnominal.
[Jackson Sentinel (Maquoketa, IA) Tuesday, November 16, 1920, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


Fire which broke out shortly before six o’clock this morning, practically destroyed the Al Brunson home on South Third street. A defective chimney caused the trouble and as it was a small frame house the blaze had got under good headway before the arrival of the department. Nearly all of the household goods were saved however but the building is almost beyond repair. Thru misunderstanding one of the fire companies made the run to the Al Broxam home on Matteson avenue, laid three hundred feet of hose before learning the error. Al appeared on the scene with two feet, but without hose and wondered where under the sun the fire was.
[Jackson Sentinel – Maquoketa, Iowa, Tuesday, January 25, 1921, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

LAMOTTE, Iowa, Oct. 17. - (AP) - The town hall of this village was the funeral pyre of Alfred Tenslow, 32, of Decorah, who was locked up on a disorderly conduct charge.

Last night fire razed the building, and adjoining barn and several sheds. Intense smoke withered the efforts of impromptu fire brigades and fire fighters from Dubuque to open the door of the room confining Tenslow. His body was later found in the ruins.

No evidence in the debris was found to substantiate a suspicion that Tenslow had started the fire.
[Source: Beaumont Journal (TX) Oct. 17, 1930] mkk


MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) - The volunteer fire department says the firemen need some old buildings which they may set ablaze in order to practice new fire-fighting methods. Anyone in the area having an old shed, barn or other structure he wishes to dispose of can get action by notifying the fire chief.
[Trenton Evening Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Sunday, August 29, 1954, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.]

Jackson County Home Page

Genealogy Trails

Copyright © Genealogy Trails