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Old News Stories
Major Fire at Spring Place, 1914

From The Murray County Messenger
published at Eton, Ga., November 12, 1914

The Fire Fiend Invades Spring Place


Tuesday Witnessed A Very Bad Fire in
That Town


Had the Wind Been In Any Other Direction, There is No Doubt But the Whole
Town Would Have Been Completely Wiped Out

Tuesday, just after the noon hour, the word was received in Eton of a very bad fire in progress at the neighboring town of Spring Place. The information was that the store of W. H. Steed was on fire, and that in a short time, if help was not forthcoming, there was every chance that the town would be entirely destroyed, as the flames were then threatening the Johnson property, just north of the Steed store.

The Eton fire department, under the command of Chief Horace Jones, made all possible haste to get to the scene of the conflagration. In autos and in every possible way, they made their way to Spring Place, and woe to those who were so unfortunate as to get in their way. On arriving at Spring Place, it was found that the Steed property was entirely burned to the ground, as well as the four other buildings just south of that property. The flames had spread across the street and had consumed the buildings recently vacated by the Cohutta Banking Company, as well as those formerly occupied by the Murray News, and the residence of W. B. Robinson, Clerk of Court for the county. The office of Dr. J. E. Bradford, with all its contents, was also a victim of the flames.

At the time of the fire the Superior Court was in session at Chatsworth, as was adjourned for the purpose of letting all who wished to do so to go to the fire. It was only a short time before all or nearly all in attendance were on their way to the scene of the conflagration. They went in autos, teams, horseback, on foot, and in all manners of ways. And when they got there they rendered valuable assistance, for the heavy wind threatened for a time to wipe the town off the map altogether. In fact, had the wind been blowing in any other direction but from the south, it is doubtful whether or not there would have been anything left of the town but a mass of smoking ruins.

The fire was gotten control mainly by the efforts of the women and children of the town, who were practically all left to fight the blaze, everybody else, nearly, being in attendance at the court or at other avocations. But it is to be said for the credit of the women that they worked like Trojans in their efforts to subdue the flames and were successful in holding them down to a very great extent until male help arrived.

The flames caught on the old court house two or three times, but were subdued. The stable of George Jones estate was one of the danger points, but the fire never reached there. The jail was also threatened, and the occupants of that edifice, were turned out to care for themselves as best they might. It is to be remarked, though, that after the fire, the negroes, especially, were much in earnest to get locked up again, and had their wished complied with.

The losers were Dr. Bradford, who lost nearly everything. Mr. Robinson, not quite so heavy. W. H. Steed, loss $3,000; insured for $2,000, and Frank Shirlin and Home Chancy. The latter two residents of the small stores, just south of the Steed store. The Messenger has not been able to ascertain who the owners of the buildings are.

In addition to the property savers from Chatsworth and Eton, there were a number who arrived from Dalton in autos to do all in their power to aid the people of the stricken town.

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