Anthony Van Doorn House Fire 1848


About 4 o-clock, Thursday morning, our citizens were aroused by the cry of fire, which broke out in Anthony Van Doorn's dwelling House, on Main Street. That building was soon in flames, and also the adjoining Store and House of Mr Frederic Franks.

They were both consumed, and nothing but the most strenuous and persevering efforts on the part of Fire-men and Citizens saved the Phoenix House, and probably the whole range of Stores and other buildings north of it.

Mr Van Doorn's house was insured in the Vermont Mutual for about $1,200, and as the building was old, the loss will not be much beyond that amount. The most of his furniture was saved.

Mr Franks building was insured for $1,600, in the Ætna company, of Hartford, which, as his stock and furniture were all saved, will probably cover his loss.

Mr Charles Fowler, who occupied a part of his building, got his furniture safely out, but suffered some damage from the use of his Carpets to protect the Phoenix House, for which he ought, and doubtless will be fully compensated. Mr N. H. May was also a tenant, but, as we are informed, saved his furniture.

Mr James Thompson, Mr Martin, and Mr Allen, were also tenants of Mr Van Doorn. Mr Thompson lost considerable furniture, but the others, as we are informed, suffered but little loss.

The Firemen were promptly on the ground with their Engines, and but for an accident which clogged their Engines, it is probable Mr Franks' building might have been saved. Their conduct on the ground was above all praise.

Where every one did his duty so faithfully it would be difficult to discriminate; but there were two whose coolness, energy and daring, as they fell under our observation, entitle them to particular mention. Mr Hinsdale Arms and John Reed, of the Hook and Ladder Company, were conspicuous and foremost wherever the hazard was greatest, and their services most needed.

Our citizens, many of them, responded with alacrity to the call to form lines with buckets, but a considerable number, to their shame be it spoken, lounged with hands in their pockets, in perfect indifference upon the side-walks, refusing every solicitation to lend a helping hand. ---

They did this when, but for the women, who, now as ever in time of need, stepped forward into the ranks, the lines could not have been extended to the water.

We must not omit our acknowledgments to the Irish laborers on the Rail Road, with Mr Garvey, their overseer, for their generous and efficient aid. They could not have been more zealous and active if their own houses had been on fire, and they stood to their places while their services were needed.

They deserve the thanks of the citizens, and especially of that portion of them, who had nothing else to do, but to admire the splendor of the exhibition.

The public spirited Fire company in the other village were on the ground with their Engine, and did efficient service, as did also citizens from the neighboring towns.

Our new Engine did wonders; its large and unfailing stream of water, judiciously directed, drove back the flames wherever they broke out on the side next to the Phoenix House. Well may the Company feel proud of her.

We have escaped a great disaster by the well directed skill of the fire department, and we saw wanting in it but a Chief Engineer, of requisite influence, firmness and skill, to give to its operations unity and order, as well as efficiency and zeal.

Vermont Phoenix, December 1, 1848.


A Card.

Engine Company No. 3 tender their thanks to Mr. Bartholomew Garvey and the men in his employ, and all other gentlemen who rendered such prompt assistance in working the Engine, also to those citizens who supplied them so bountifully with Coffee and other refreshments at the fire on Thursday morning, 30th November.

A. J. Hines, Foreman.

Brattleboro, Dec. 1st, 1848.

Vermont Phoenix, December 8, 1848.


A Card.

A. Van Doorn takes this opportunity to express his heart-felt gratitude to his neighbors and friends for their great and unremitting efforts in doing every thing that man could do to save his property in the late fire, even at the imminent risk of health and life, - which never can be erased from his mind.

Brattleboro, Dec. 11, 1848.

Vermont Phoenix, December 15, 1848.


The Late Fire.

The board of Wardens of the Brattleboro East Village Fire Society, in noticing the destructive Fire which our village experienced on the morning of Thursday last, would tender the following acknowledgments:---

To Engine Company No. 3, for their perfect steadiness in performing the arduous and long continued task of supplying water; thus preventing the further spreading of the flames in a northerly direction.

To the Hook and Ladder Company, for the prompt and valuable assistance rendered in their department of labor.

To Messrs Hines, Newman & Hunt, for the use of the Fire Engine which they, with most commendable enterprise, have recently attached to their Mill-power, and without which it is impossible to estimate the amount of destruction which might have been experienced in a southerly direction.

To the Fire Department of the West Village, for their promptness in coming to our rescue, as soon as the alarm of Fire reached them, and the aid they so cheerfully rendered, when arrived at the scene of action.

To the citizens generally, and those from adjoining towns particularly, for their well-directed efforts in the removal of property from the buildings, and in supplying water by buckets, &c.

To the Ladies, who, at the peril of health, entered so cheerfully upon the labor of passing water, maintaining their position until all danger from the further spreading of the fire was over; ---thus putting to eternal shame those miserable drones who looked on with perfect indifference, disdaining to soil their hands in the business of saving the property of their neighbors from destruction.

We would "beg leave respectfully to suggest" to the "lookers on in Venice," that hereafter, should a neighbor's dwelling be visited by fire, they had better stay at home; the influence of their presence being anything but agreeable, or useful, on such an occasion.

And lastly, we would not forget to make honorable mention of those Irishmen, who rendered most valuable service in working the Engine No. 3, which, under the influence of their broad shoulders, continued to throw torrents of water upon the flames.

The inhabitants of the village must now be fully convinced that the money they have recently expended in the purchase of their new and powerful Engine, "The Vermont," and in the general improvement of their "Fire Department," has been judiciously invested. The immense volume of water which this Engine throws, when brought to bear directly down upon a fire, will unfailingly check its progress of destruction.

It is equally apparent that no delay should be experienced in procuring an abundant supply of Hose, in order to avail ourselves of the water that may thus be obtained from the Engine and water wheel of Messrs Hines, Newman & Hunt, for the purpose of feeding the Engine "Vermont" any where upon the level of Main st., in a northerly direction. The same Hose at the paper mill, and an ample supply of water may be thus obtained, for the same purpose, should a fire occur "over the brook."

F. Holbrook,


Frederick Franks,

Z. Dickinson,

Geo. C. Lawrence

F. Goodhue,

Joseph Clark,

F. H. Wheeler,

When it is remembered that, under similar circumstances as to weather, there are not, probably, more than two or three localities in the village, more favorable than the present one, for a large fire and the spreading of its devastating influences, it must be regarded as most fortunate that this fire was confined to its present limits.

Brattleboro, Dec. 2d, 1848.

Vermont Phoenix, December 8, 1848.

The wardens are Frederick Holbrook, Frederick Franks, Zelotes Dickinson, George Charles Lawrence, Francis Goodhue, Joseph Clark, Franklin H. Wheeler.

The fireman Hinsdale Arms (1808-1866) was the son of John Arms and Clarissa Stebbins. Hinsdale's son, Robert B. Arms, served with distinction in the Civil War.








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