On this date in our extended family history . . . the 9th day of November . . . in the year 1872 . . . our distant cousin, Oliver Rice Chase, had a business building destroyed by the flames of the Great Boston Fire . . . unfortunately, it was just one year earlier (in October of 1871) when Oliver's brother, Daniel, lost his business due to the Great Chicago Fire . . . my common ancestors with this particular branch of the Chase family are Aquila Chase and his wife, Anne Wheeler . . .
Sometime after the 1872 fire, another distant cousin, Abner W. Harmon, penned the words to a poem memorializing that conflagration . . . our common ancestors with Abner are John Harmon and his wife, Sarah Roberts . . .
Here is cousin Abner's poem . . .
The Great Fire in Boston.
Composed by A. W. Harmon.
On the ninth of November,
All nature and old Boston
And Boston looked most lovely,
The evening meal was finished,
When suddenly and loudly,
The cry of fire was echoed,
The Firemen came out quickly,
but little were they thinking,
And the bravest of the Firemen,
And by the City authorities
To stop the progress of the fire;
Engines from various places,
On Summer Street and Kingston,
On Federal, Pearl and Congress,
Destroying all before it,
And what was but yesterday
Is now a scene of desolation,
Of chimney stacks and broken walls,
The merchant and the pauper,
Through iron, steel and marble,
And O, what sad destruction,
Merchants their goods were packing,
And loaded teams were hurrying
'Twas seen to rise from Boston,
One fourth of that fine City
And a great change in business
All, all are now lamenting with grief,
Hundreds of once rich merchants,
Thousands of people feel it,
They rise for their own benefit,
The wealth it took the people
The wealth it took the labor,
And grasped the best and costliest part,
When the city of Chicago
Had seen its flames ascending,
Provision, money and clothing,
But little was Boston thinking,
Sympathy and assistance,
And thousands of our merchants
Behold the noble Firemen,
See how they toil and labor,
Toil for their neighbor's comfort,
Clicking on the thumbnail to the left will allow you to view a vintage image of the 1872 poem by A.W. Harmon . . . courtesy of the Brown University Library . . . and, FYI, as mentioned in the very first paragraph of this blogpost . . . Oliver R. Chase did lose his place of doing business in this fire . . . but all youth, and those who are young at heart, can be grateful that the fire losses experienced by the Chase brothers did not put a halt to their enterprising natures . . . 'cause 'twas their 19th century endeavors that provided the very beginnings of the New England Confectionery Company . . . which still gives us Necco Wafers . . . as well as the Sweetheart candies that have become a fixture for Valentine's Day . . .
This blogpost was researched and prepared specifically for cousin Bill's Fourth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge.