ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

       Also part of History of Watertown Fire Dept


Jarvis-Quigley Fire




11 05       NEW GROCERY

[advertisement] J. D. Jarvis has opened a new stock of groceries in the store recently occupied by Amos Baum, just west of the Bank of Watertown.  He keeps constantly on hand a whole variety of the best quality of goods in his line, which are always fresh. 


The highest price will be paid for country produce, such as butter, eggs, poultry, etc., and such things taken in exchange for groceries.   WD



Watertown Democrat, 03 10 1864


Last Monday morning, between 6 and 7 o’clock, a fire broke out in the wooden Jarvis-Quigley building on Main Street, located between the Democrat block and the Bank of Watertown block, and occupied by J. D. Jarvis as a grocery store.  


The flames spread rapidly and in a few minutes extended to an adjoining building, occupied by M. Quigley as a cabinet ware room, and quickly consumed them both.


Fortunately there was no wind and the efforts of our citizens were successful in preventing the conflagration from causing greater damage.  The western wall and cornice of the Bank Block were injured by the intense heat, as were those of the block occupied by the Democrat office and Wm. C. Fountain.  The stock in Mr. Fountain’s drug store was put in readiness in case of necessity, and F. P. Brook deemed it prudent to remove most of the contents of his fruit and confectionary store.  One of the buildings burned was owned by L. R. Cady and the other by W. H. Hunt & Co., of Chicago.


Mr. Quigley had no insurance and loses about $150 worth of lumber, having succeeded in saving most of his furniture.  Mr. S. G. Roper also lost 150 bushels of oats, stored in Mr. Jarvis’ store. 


It was believed that the fire was caused by the falling of a stove pipe as Mr. Jarvis had been to his store and kindled a fire in the stove and then returned home to his breakfast, as he had been in the habit of doing.


Engine Company No. 1, or what there was of it, was promptly on the scene, but experienced some difficulty connected with the engine that was not discovered and remedied until after the fire was underway; it could not render much aid, though every effort was made by the firemen to make the machine useful. 


Two small force pumps were hurriedly brought to the scene from the nearby breweries, one belonging to Mr. Fuermann and the other to Mr. Bursinger, and these helped to keep the fire from spreading to the stables in the rear of the business establishments.  It is believed that these pumps were part of the fire-fighting apparatus owned and maintained by the breweries themselves.


The fire of last Monday proved how perfectly helpless we are when any emergency comes that requires the best exertions of a well-organized Fire Company.  We attach no blame to the present neglected and unreasonably abused company for this state of affairs, for the censure properly belongs to the mass of our citizens . . . for its size the engine we have is a powerful one and, when adequately manned and worked, is capable of doing good service . . .


An investigation should be made to ascertain what is needed to fit up and equip the engine and it should be put and kept in the best working order, ready at a moment’s notice.  Grumbling at those who have had the management of it, and who have tried to serve the community heretofore, will not improve our prospect of making the engine what it should be.  The way to do that is to fill up the old company or form a new one, and treat its members with the liberality and consideration that will be some evidence that their public spirit and efforts are properly appreciated.


Watertown Democrat, 03 10 1864


We tender our thanks to Messrs. Lindley and Moak of the Republican and to the many other kind friends who displayed such a readiness to assist us during the late fire, which came very near burning our office.  The smoke and confusion caused by the event has not improved the appearance of things around us, but has occasioned some little delay and trouble.  We shall soon be right again and “on time.”




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin