Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thomas Mott's House Burned

New York, 1895

Nearly Everything in the House Lost — $30,000 Damage.

The handsome country residence of Thomas Mott, president of the agricultural society, was destroyed by fire Sunday morning, together with nearly all the contents. Mr. Mott lives in a secluded neighborhood near the west shore of Hempstead harbor, about one and one-half miles from Port Washington. The house was comparatively new. It was occupied by Mr. Mott's family during the winter, and Sunday there was also present Frederick Hicks, of Old Westbury. All the hired men, excepting one, had gone away for the day.

About 10 o'clock Mr. Mott and Mr. Hicks stood in the door-yard talking. Mr. Mott chanced to glance upward and was horrified to see flame and smoke issuing from the roof of his home. He rushed into the house and alarmed the ladies, who were seated in the dining room. A hasty examination convinced Mr. Mott that nothing could be done with the means at hand to subdue the flames, so the members of the family turned their attention toward saving as much of the contents as possible. Nearly all the furniture and bric-a-brac on the lower floor, together with a small safe containing valuable papers, was successfully removed before the fire reached that part of the building.

When first seen, the fire had gained considerable headway, and had spread so rapidly that it was impossible to ascend to the second story. The family therefore saved only such articles of clothing as they wore when the alarm was given.

Mr. Mott's loss is heavy. The house alone cost $20,000, and the upper floors were filled with antique furniture and bric-a-brac which cannot be duplicated, much of it being heirlooms of the Mott family. The building was insured, while the contents are a total loss, Mr. Mott will rebuild.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 5, 1895, p. 8.

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