1816 The Grassie Fire

Insured value: $40,000.00

On December 17, 1816, a fire broke out, and altogether, thirteen or fourteen buildings were lost, the last one being pulled down to stop the fire. Thanks were conveyed to the army, navy and inhabitants, who took an active part in fighting the fire. However, none of the city fire companies were mentioned, but as a side note, George Grassie was a member of the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company. Below is the Acadian Recorder’s account (Acadian Recorder, 4(51) 1816, p. 2).

The inhabitants of this town was [sic] again alarmed with the cry of Fire on Tuesday evening, between the hours of 8 and 9 o'clock; which was discovered through a Cooper's Shop under the stores occupied and owned by Messrs. George Grassie & Co. It raged with dreadful and destructive fury 'till about one o'clock, when by the great exertions of the Army, Navy and the inhabitants of the Town, a check was fortunately given to it.

The Buildings consumed were, the stores of Messrs. Grassie & Co., those of Messrs. Starr & Shannon; the House belonging to Mr. John Starr, and occupied by Mr. Willoughby; the shops occupied by Messrs. Joseph and David Starr, Mr. Huntington and Mr. Ridgway; the House belonging to Messrs. Charker [sic] and Cunnabel, and occupied by Mr. Lamprey; the House owned and occupied by Mr. Polegreen; two Houses belonging to Mr. John Hawe, one of which was occupied by himself; the House owned by Mrs. [unreadable], and occupied by Mr. Cozens, and the Houses and Stores belonging to Mr. George Thompson, and occupied by himself, Mr. Street, Mr. Williams, and Messrs. Gray, Hunter & Co. Coopers - and the Houses owned by Mr. James Collupy [sic], and occupied by Mr. Estano, was pulled down by order of the Firewards, to prevent extension of the Fire; as was partly so, and for some purpose, the House owned by Mr. John Patterson, and occupied by Dr. Montague. 

The loss sustained cannot fall short of £40,000.

This article is not only relevant because it is about a fire, but also because of some of its victims. For instance, “Mr. Polegreen” was George Polegreen, who ended up joining the Union Engine Company shortly after, probably as a result of his experience. Unfortunately, he died four years later, on September 28, 1821, at age 34, of a "severe illness" while still active in the Company. John Starr was a Fireward, and Joseph Starr eventually joined the Sun Fire Company.

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