(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)
(July 8, 1896)
FIRE IN BIG RUN
A House Belonging to Henry Brown Destroyed
Yesterday afternoon about 1 o'clock fire broke out in a house in Big Run, occupied by Eli Lines and owned by Henry Brown, of Bell's Mills. It was a good frame house, worth from $1,800 to $2,000, and the bucket brigade turned out in full force to try to save it. Houses belonging to Fred Kuntz and Doctor Cox were in close proximity on either side, and for a time it was believed impossible to save any of the three. But by the untiring and energetic efforts of the bucket brigade the two adjoining properties were saved. The other was burned to the ground, but nearly all of its contents was rescued from destruction. It was insured for $1,500. The fire originated from a defective flue.
The Big Run fire department, which consists of wooden buckets; pumps and willing hands, has been doing good work this summer, several destructive fires having been prevented by its energy.
A "What Is It"
An itinerant showman with a large wagon, in which is a peculiar animal, struck town a few days ago. The animal is a little smaller than an ordinary hog, with the head and teeth of a squirrel, and legs and feet a good deal like those of an otter. The man who exhibits it says it was captured in a cave in Mercer county, Kentucky, three years ago, and tries to create the impression that it is some sort of freak or hybred, possibly a cross between a hog and a coon. It is certainly a remarkable looking animal, and one seldom if ever seen in the zoos or menageries of this country. Looking up its pedigree in the cyclopedia we find that it is called the Capybara, and is the largest species of rodent being something akin to the guinea pig, the squirrel, the rabbit, and the otter, in that it has webbed toes and is acquatic in its habits. The illustration given in the cyclopedia is an exact representation of the animal so that there cannot be any mistake about it.
Killed At Walston
A Fall of Rock Suddenly Ends the Life of James Campbell
James Campbell, employed in Kurtz & Rinn's mines at Walston, was instantly killed on Monday morning by a fall of rock. He was placing props, when a large mass of rock, weighing several tons, fell upon him, crushing his head and breast in a terrible manner.
The deceased was a son of William Campbell, of Walston, and was aged 26 years. He was an industrious and trustworthy young man, who enjoyed the respect of all his acquaintances.