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Thursday, April 9, 2009

1874 :: Courthouse Burns

Galveston Daily News

April 14, 1874

Fire at Cameron
Public Records Destroyed

[Special to the Galveston News.]

Cameron, April 13, 1874.

Last Thursday, about 1 o’clock, this quiet little village was roused by a terrible roaring of fire and cracking of burning timbers. It was soon discovered that the courthouse was wrapped in flames. The discovery was made too late to effect any good, no fire engine being in the place. When discovered, the clerks' and sheriff’s offices were almost entirely gone.

All records, books and papers of the court, tax rolls for last year and assessment rolls for this year, were entirely destroyed. Nothing was saved except the indictments found at the January term, 1874. The deputy clerk, Mr. Homan, had carried these home with him to issue capiases at night.

The work is supposed to be the doings of some one who was indicted, and desired to destroy the papers of his case. A small jug, with a little kerosene oil in it, was found under the steps to the courthouse fence.

A negro has since been arrested on suspicion. It is supposed he was instigated to the act by some white man. The loss is inestimable. Messrs. Ackerman and Smith’s store caught fire several times, but was extinguished rapidly. No other house burned.

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