In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Research Bookmark: Matching the Photo and the News Report

I've had this photo (blurry though it is) on the Pinterest site for COLD MIDNIGHT for a while now -- it's the result of the 1909 fire in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, which retired firefighter Dave Brown told me was the disaster that moved the town to purchase up-to-date firefighting gear; the ladders then in use were simply not long enough and fatalities resulted. Now, thanks to Researcher Extraordinaire Dave Kanell (yes, I'm married to him), here's a news report of the fire. Thanks also to Stu Beitler, who posted the piece online in 2007.

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NINE PERSONS DIE AT FIRE

St. Johnsbury, Vt., Suffers Great Loss of Life.

Four-Story Block Burned so Rapidly That Firemen Were Helpless to Save Imprisoned Victims.

St. Johnsbury, Vt. -- Nine lives were lost in the fire which destroyed the principal business building of this town. Two other persons were fatally burned, and two were taken to a hospital suffering from severe but not dangerous burns. The property loss is estimated at $50,000, partly covered by insurance. Of the nine persons killed, two fell from the upper stories of the building in an attempt to reach safety by means of ropes, while seven were burned to death, their bodies not being recovered until several hours later.
The list of dead follows:
S. D. CUSHMAN and MRS. S. D. CUSHMAN and their child;
L. E. DARLING, forty years old, a laborer;
MISS MAY SLEEPER;
CHARLES TANNER, a painter;
MRS. CHARLES TANNER.

MRS. JEANNETTE DAVIS and LOUIS POPE, thirteen years old, son of MR. And MRS. WILLIAM POPE, were those fatally burned. The others injured are WILLIAM POPE and ROY SMITH, who will recover.

The block, a four-story brick building, was a combination of stores, offices, tenements and assembly halls. It was owned by the Citizens' Savings Bank. The fire is believed to have originated in a restaurant in the basement.

Though the alarm was given on the instant and the firemen came in with all speed, the inside of the four-story building was a furnace before help arrived, an elevator well having furnished a flue through which the flames swept to all of the floors.

When it was seen that the ladders would not reach, ropes, which were evidently in the building for such an emergency, were brought into use. Women apparently feared the attempt at descent and RANLETT attempted to come down, hand over hand, to reach he top of the ladder. He lost his balance and fell to the sidewalk. His skull was fractured and he died instantly. DARLING, the other man, lost his grip and fell in attempting to grasp the swinging rope from a windowsill. He lived only a few minutes.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1909-11-05

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