Spotswood Hotel Memorial


Spotswood Hotel Memorial

Death 25 Dec 1870
Burial Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 24990918 View Source
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To the memory of the victims of the Spotswood Disaster Dec. 25th 1870

"Richmond, December 25."
"The Spotswood Hotel and all the block on which it stood, the finest in the city, was burned before day this morning. . . . The weather is the coldest known for thirteen years, and the ground is covered with snow. The thermometer was five degrees above zero.
"At quarter past 2 o'clock, as the porter was walking the passengers for the Southern train, the fire was discovered in the basement. An effort being immediately made to around the guests, a scene of indescribable confusion and excitement followed. . . .
"Engines were promptly on the spot, but the water being frozen it occasioned delay. Before twenty minutes elapsed, the flames prevented escape by the staircases, and the guests commenced jumping from the windows, and lowering themselves by blankets and ropes."

"A strong wind swept the flames westward, and the sparks and ashes flew all over the city, . . . After the Spotswood, the adjoining building, occupied by the Grover & Baker machine depot, E. Currant's house furnishing store, and Mr. Hungerford's banking establishment caught fire and was speedily destroyed. Wolfdecke's cigar store and Anderson's tin and stove depot were then fired, and only the constant play of the engines upon the building on the corner of Main and 9th Streets, known as Bosher's Hall, . . . saved it from following suit. On 8th street the old frame building in the rear of the Spotswood, and belonging to the concern, was partially destroyed. At 5 o'clock the fire was stayed."

Source: Evening star (Washington, D.C.), December 27, 1870, Pg. 1.

Known to have been lost:
P. H. Clarke, the steward. Of Philadelphia, he died of injuries received by jumping from the 3rd floor.

Erasmus Ross, clerk of the Libby Prison during the war. Worked for the Underground railroad with Elizabeth Van Lew during the Civil War helping Union prisoners escape from Libby Prison.

Samuel W. Robinson, of New Orleans, "segar vender," clerk with Euker & Brother.

Capt. Samuel C. Hines, "a most estimable and popular young gentleman, who came to Richmond several years ago from Caswell County, N.C.", salesman with Milhiser & Co. Mr. Hines escaped from the building, but perished after he ran back inside to try to rescue his friends, Erasmus Ross and Samuel W. Robinson, who had rooms adjoining his. "Poor Hines has many mourning friends in his adopted city. We doubt if he ever had an enemy. Generous and charitable to a fault, he fell a sacrifice upon the altar of friendship. He could not save a brother Knight of Pythias, but attempting it, dared the danger and lost his life. He was a member of Old Dominion Lodge, No. 4, Knights of Pythias." Capt. Hines is also credited with saving the life of Capt. D. W. Bohannon by bursting into his room to wake him and tell him to evacuate due to the fire; (The evening telegraph, Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 28, 1870, 4th ed., Pg. 1)

Mrs. Emily Kennearly [name originally reported as Cornelius, also reported as Kernsly], the housekeeper. She attempted to retrieve her trunk and other personal items. She "leaves a family in Baltimore".

H. A. Thomas, agent of the Panorama of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.

W. H. Pace [also reported as Pau], of Danville, VA, US mail agent - a route agent on the Danville railroad.

J. B. Farriss, messenger of the Southern Express Company - an express messenger between Richmond and Greensboro, NC. He had a wife and two children in Greensboro.

"The hotel register has been found, and only six strangers are unaccounted for. . . .

Henry [G.] Kratte [or Krotte or Kroeth], of New York, and

John H. Halman [or Holman], Jr., of Jackson, Tennessee."

Source: The Charleston daily news (Charleston, S.C.), December 26, 1870, Page 1 [I removed the names of those listed in this article that were reported as safe on Page 4 of the 28 Dec 1870 article. This article states that "Holman, of Jackson, Tennessee, is known to be lost, making the eighth victim. Five are still missing, of whom there are little hopes."]

Others possibly lost:
Samuel Friedman, of Cincinnati
D. N. Cannegore, of Cincinnati
W. H. Stowell, Congressman elect from the Fourth district
Persons whose names are not known

A newspaper advertisement on page 2 of the 5 Sep 1865 Staunton Spectator (Staunton, VA) states that the hotel was "remodeled, renovated, refurnished, and put in perfect order throughout, . . ."


To the memory of the victims of the Spotswood Disaster Dec. 25th 1870


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees