Macoupin County Enquirer Wednes Jan 25,
Fire At The Courthouse
Fire broke out in the office of the
county clerk at the court house last night and destroyed an
alphabet case containing the original papers of all pending
and unsettled cases before the probate and county court.
Between 500 and 1,000 blank forms which were in the case, are
now charred and unrecognizable. County Clerk Hartley and
deputy clerks Seehausen and Fletcher have been working hard
these papers, so that they are nearly all on record. A most
Luckily the docket was saved and the
county officials believe there are no papers of which an
accurate record can not be obtained. The loss will entail much
extra labor on their part to get things in the same shape as
before the fire. It is believed the conflagration originated
from a box of
burning sawdust used as a cuspidor,
into which some one had carelessly thrown a lighted match or
Considerable damage was done to the
windows and walls of the building and Clerk Seehausen's desk
Macoupin County Enquirer Wednes
Jan 25, 1899, p1
Casper Saves Courthouse
But the Kodac Fiends Faile To Get a Snap Shot of the Act.
Casper Westermeier, Jr., the jovial insurance and abstract
man, was modestly receiving encomiums Wednesday on a heroic
act he performed last night "all by his lonesome." There are
no scars on his manly person to tell of the brilliant dash
made and efficient service rendered by which our "million
dollar" court house is still spared to us with its beautiful
and potent $720,000 mortgage.
'Twas ten o'clock last evening when leaving his offices in the
basement of the building, his sense of smell, sharpened by
years of insurance inspection, detected the acrid odor of
something burning. Rushing up to the main corridor he found
Circuit Clerk Homer's office filled with smoke.
To think was to act. Grasping the ice cooler in the corridor,
he fought through the blinding, stifling atmosphere, reached
the conflagration and with celerity extinquished it. 'Twas a
box filled with sawdust. Someone had cast a lighted cigar into
it which had lain there and smouldered, and after the inmates
of the office departed, had ignited.
Today that section of the courthouse presented an odor akin to
that of a smokehouse, but such will prove efficaceous in
killing any microbes daring enough to attack the musty tomes
impregnated with it.
Several Kodak fiends are lamenting that they missed securing a
flashlight shot at Casper in his now famous court house saving
Macoupin County Enquirer Wednes Feb 1, 1899, p1
Fire At The Court House
Destroys the Original Papers in All Unfinished or Pending
Cases in County Court
Fire broke out in the office of the county clerk at the court
house Tuesday night and destroyed an alphabet case containing
the original papers
of all pending and unsettled cases before the probate and
county court. Between 500 and 1,000 blank forms which were in
the case, are now charred and unrecognizable. County Clerk
Hartley and deputy clerks Seehausen and Fletcher have been
working hard for the past few weeks to record these papers, so
that they are nearly all on record. A most fortunate
Luckily the docket was saved and the county officials believe
there are no papers of which an accurate record can not be
obtained. The loss will entail much extra labor on their part
to get things in the same shape as before the fire. It is
believed the conflagration originated from a box of burning
sawdust used as a cuspidor, into which some one had crelessly
thrown a lighted match or cigar.
Cosiderable damage was done to the windows and walls of the
building, and Clerk Seehausen's desk was destroyed.
Janitor Lynch says when he came down this morning, on reaching
the Presbyterian church corner, he saw the blaze through the
windows and knew just where the fire was. He got a pail of
water and put the fire out. The room was filled with smoke and
everything within reach had been destroyed.
The windows were broken out, the walls cracked and a mirror,
five feet away, smashed by the intense heat. Soot and ashes
covered the apartment.
What puzzles those who do not believe the fire originated from
the sawdust cuspidor, is the absence of that pungent odor
which attends burning sawdust which attends burning sawdust.
Another strong rebuttal is the story of Jesse David, who
assists Janitor Lynch.
Young David swept the room about 6 o'clock last night and
found everything all right. He found several burnt matches in
the cuspidor, which he swept out, and gave it a clean, fresh
surface. he found the sawdust we from expectoration during the
Parties go home from lectlure did not notice any blaze which
such a fire necessarily must have made.
From alll evidences, whether the fire originated by accident
or incendiary means, it did its work after midnight.
No one can say just what the loss will be to the county or
anyone in particular. It is too early to even approximate such
One thing is assured, that much vexatious trouble will result,
and the work of partial settlement in various estates will
have to be done over again. Whether this can be done in every
case, cannot be foretold.
New casing and blanks will be procured at once, and the labor
of restoring things to their former condition will be hurried.
The Carlinville Democrat, Jan 25, 1899, p1
Fire In The Court House.
Probate Court Room in Court
House Burned And all Papers on File Gone
Thought To Be The Work Of Fire Bugs
At 4:45 o'clock Wednesdayl morning Janitor James Lynch, when
he turned the Presbyterian church corner coming down to build
the fire, discovered the Probate Court room was on fire; the
blaze had burnt through the window. He hastened up and by
carrying water finally extinguished the flames, but the fire
had already done its worst, and all the probate papers, notes,
bonds, letters of administrations, etc., kept in that room,
together with the clerk's desk burned.
The origin is a mystery. The janitor says after the clerks had
gone home, about 6 o'clock, he swept out the office, and that
there was no sign of fire in the cuspidors, which was a large
wooden concern, filled with sawdust. The assistant janitor
says he swept off the top of the cuspidors and noticed the
sawdust was wet, and says there was positively no fire in it.
The idea prevails pretty generally that it was the work of
The loss cannot be estimated, as the larger case which stood
back of Clerk Seehausen's desk filled with estate papers,
letters of administration, notes, claims, and all manner of
papers in process of settlement, are destroyed. The papers
that were far enough advanced to be recorded are all right, as
the records are preserved, but those not desposed of are lost.
It cannot be ascertained just what estates will be damaged by
the fire, as there were hundreds in this case, and the desk,
filled with papers, memorandums, etc., is also a total loss,
as is also the large blank case that stood under the file
The iron file boxes on the north side of the room were heated
hot, but the papers are not damaged. The room is badly smoked
and the plastering is the southeast corner of the room is
The fire will cause no little amount of litigation, and some
of the estates may be badly tangled as a result. The windows
to any part of the building are easily opened, and it is the
general opinion that the entrance was thus made, if the
cuspidors did not cause the fire.