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Account of the Boston Fire, Boston Evening-Post, 24 March 1760, Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society


On Monday last between XI and XII o?clock at
noon, a fire broke out at the West part of this town,
whereby a joiner?s shop was consumed, and part of a
large dwelling house adjoining thereto, with many
things therein also burnt: The wind blowing very high
at N. E. it was a considerable time before it was ex-
tinguished: the roof of the West meeting house catch-
ed on fire in several places, and the houses in the
neighbourhood were much damaged; but by the
dexterity of the people, and a constant supply of water,
a stop was put to the progress of it.

The day following, between X and XI o?clock
in the forenoon, a store at the upper end of Mr. Grif-
fin?s wharf, the chamber of which was improv?d as a
laboratory by the detachment of his Majesty?s train
of royal artillery now here, by some accident catch?d
on fire, which communicated itself to some powder
which was therein, whereby the building blew up,
and some of the implements, small arms and stores
were destroy?d; tho? the damage to the train is not so
great as has been reported, or as it was at first ima-
gined to be; four or five men, who were at work at
the time of the explosion, were wounded, and two of
them much burnt; __ In the under part of the store, a
variety of merchandize, provisions, &c. belonging to
Mr. Griffin, were consumed or damaged.?A carpen-
ter?s shop was burnt; and blacksmith?s much damag?d;
this last was between the place where the fire began,
and the warehouses on the lower end of the wharf,
wherein was deposited the chief of the artillery stores,
but the wind being moderate, and near the time of
high water, a communication of the flames with those
stores, was, by the vigilance of the people, seasonably
prevented; one or two granado shells, and a few
small arms went off during the fire; but thro? the
divine favour, no lives were lsot. The explosion was
so great at first that a considerable shock was felt even
to the extreme parts of the town, and the noise so
loud that it was heard at many miles distance.

But the 20th of this inst. March will be a day me-
morable for the most terrible fire that has happened
in this town or perhaps in any other part of North-
America, far exceeding that of Octob. 2 1711, till
now termed the great fire. It began about two o?clock
in the morning, in the dwelling house of Mrs. Mary
Jackson and Son, and the brazen head in cornhill, but
the accident which occasioned it is yet uncertain.
The flames catch?d the houses adjoining in the
front of the street, and burn four large buildings
before a stop could be put to it there; but the
fire raged most violently towards the east, the wind
blowing strong at N.W. and carried all before
it, from the back sides of those houses: ?All the
stores and dwelling houses in Pudding-lane, excepting
those which front the south side of king-street, and a
store of Mr. Spooner?s on water-street, to quaker-lane,
and from thence only leaving a large old wooden-
house, and a house belonging to the late Cornelius
Waldo, Esq; it burnt every house, shop, store, out-
house, &c. to Oliver?s-dock; and an eddy of wind
carrying the fire contrary to its course, it took the
buildings fronting the lower part of king-street, and
destroy?d the houses from the corner opposite the
bunch of grapes tavern, to the warehouse of Messrs.
Box and Austin, leaving only the warehouse of the
hon. John Erving, Esq; and the dwelling house of
Mr. Hastings, standing; the other brick warehouses
towards the long-wharf were considerably damaged.
?On the south east part, the fire extended from Mr.
Torrey?s the baker, in water-street, proceeding to
Mr. Hall?s working house, and from then to milk
street, and consumed every house from Mr. Calef?s
dwelling house to the bottom of the street, and the
opposite way, from Mr. Dowse?s included, carrying
before it every house to [torn] hills, excepting the house
ments opposite; as also every house, warehouse, shop
and store, from Oliver?s dock along Mr. Hallowell?s
ship yard, Mr. Hollowell?s dwelling-house, the sconce
of the south battery, all the buildings, shops and stores
on Col. Wendell?s wharf, to the house of Mr. Hunt
ship builder.?So that from a pudding-lane, to the wa-
ter?s edge, there is not a building to be seen, except-
ing those on the side of king-street, and those men-
tioned above, all being laid in ashes.?Besides which,
a large ship, Capt. Eddy, late master, laying at Col.
Wendell?s wharf, and two or three sloops and a school-
ner were also burnt, one laden with wood, and ano-
ther with stores of a considerable value.?We have
thus mark?d the course of those flames which in their
progress consumed near 400 dwelling houses, stores,
shops, shipping, &c. together with goods and mer-
chandize of almost every kind, to an incredible value;
?but it is not easy to describe the terrors of that fa-
tal morning, in which the imaginations of the most
calm and steady, received impressions that will not
easily be effaced: At the first appearance of the fire,
there was a little wind, but this calm was soon followed
with a smart gale from the N.W. then was beheld a
perfect torrent of fire, bearing down all before it?
in a seeming instant all was flame; and in that part of
the town were was a magazine of powder?the a-
larm was great, and an explosion soon followed, which
was heard and felt to a very great distance; the ef-
fects might have been terrible, had not the chief part
been removed by some hardy adventurers, just before
the explosion; at the same time cinders and flakes of
fire were seen flying over that quarter where was re-
posited the remainder of the artillery stores and com-
bustibles, which were happily preserved from taking
fire: The people of this and the neighbouring towns
exerted themselves to an uncommon degree, and were
encouraged by the preference and example of the great-
est personages among us, but the haughty flames tri-
umphed over our engines, our art, and our numbers.?
The distressed inhabitants of those buildings, wrapp?d
in fire, scarce knew where to take refuge from the
rapid flames; numbers who were confided to beds of
sickness and pain, as well as the aged and the infant,
demanded a compassionate attention,? they were re-
moved from house to house, and even the dying were
obliged to take one more remove before their final
one. The loss of interest cannot as yet be ascertained
or who have sustained the greatest; it is said that the
damage which only one gentleman has received, can-
not be made good with £5,000 sterling. It is in
general too great to be made up by the other inha-
tants, exhausted as we have been by the great pro-
portion this town has born of the extraordinary
expences of the war, and by the demand upon our
charity to retrieve a number of sufferers by a fire not
many months past; a partial relief can now only be
afforded to the miserable sufferers, and without the
compassionate assistance of our Christian friends abroad,
distress and ruin may quite overwhelm the greatest
part of them, and this once flourishing metropolis
must long remain under its present desolation.?In
the midst of our present distress we have great cause
of thankfulness, that notwithstanding the falling of
the walls and chimnies, divine providence has so
mercifully ordered it, that not one life has been lost,
and only a few wounded.

The following is from a list of the Persons who
dwelt in the houses, which are now consumed, which
was taken by the Assessors in November last; which
tho? it may not be exact may serve to give some idea
of the vast destruction caused by the fire, and of the
distressing circumstances to which so great a number
of the inhabitants are reduced thereby.

Mrs Mary Jackson and Son
Widow McNeal
Mr Jonathan Mason
Mrs Alice Quick
Mr William Fairfield
Mr John Sterling
Mr George Glen
Mr James Steward
Widow Marshal
Mr Edmond Dolbeare
Several Stores and Barns
Upper part of Water street,
Mr Henry Laughton Jun.
An old house empty
Mrs Grice
An empty house of Mr
Mr William Palfrey
Mr Joseph Richardson
Mr Dinley Wing
Mr Benjn Jeffries
Mr Jo[illegible]ut
[at top of next column, the list continues]
A large Currier?s shop
Quaker Lane.
Mr William Hyslop
Mr Sampson Salter with a
Capt Robert Jarvis
Mr Daniel Ray
Friend?s meeting house
Towards Oliver?s dock.
Mr David Spear
Mr Thomas Bennet
Mr William Baker
Mr Ebenezer Dogget
Mr James Barnes
Mr Daniel Henchman
Mr Joseph Marion
Mr Thomas Hawkins
Shops and barns opposite
Widow Savel
Mr James Thompson
Mr Huh Moore
Widow Davis
Mr Nicholas Tabb[illegible]
Mr Michael Cars [illegible]
Two te[torn] prisoners there
?N goal. without

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