Five Aged and Insane Inmates of the Jackson, Michigan Poor House Meet a Horrible Death.

from THE DECATUR COUNTY JOURNAL, Thursday, January 28, l886.
submitted by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
 JACKSON, Michigan, January 25. The County House burned yesterday morning at l2:30 o'clock. Of forty inmates all escaped but five, who perished in the flames. The remains of the black bodies were dug from the ruins and brought to the city. The people who perished were three women and two men, named Dolly Martin, aged sixty years, insane, an inmate for twelve years; Kate Avery, seventy, insane, inmate for ten years; Jane Atkins, seventy, insane, an inmate ten years; Zina Boynton, ninety-two, deaf, and Charles Elliott, seventy-two, blind.

The County Building is four miles from the city. It was a new building and cost $l2,000. It was insured for $9,000. The fire caught in the inmates' kitchen, and no one knows how. The whole interior was destroyed. All the inmates lost their clothing and fled into the snow naked, with the thermometer ten below zero. Thirty paupers were brought to this city and housed. Some will die from exposure. John Doherty, the hired man, brought three insane persons down the fire escape in his arms, and saved their lives. An imbecile boy, nineteen years old, was found in bed with fire falling on his back, and was rescued by means of the fire escape.

Only two men besides the inmates were about the place when the fire occurred, and they rescued the inmates before help arrived. The County House is in a lonely place in the country. There should have been a night watchman to prevent such a calamity. William Mills, an inmate, was the first man to issue Sanders' spelling book, and was worth at one time a quarter of a million dollars.


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