The Fire

Week 15: #52 Ancestors – Fire

This story was written by my grandmother about an event she recalled from her early childhood. A cousin and I have tried to verify it, but without success.

The Fire

By Clare Ransom (Davis) Smith

Our little house on the farm was just 3 rooms – kitchen, living room downstairs & a bedroom up some very steep stairs. Of course the upstairs was too hot for sleeping during the summer nights. This was solved very well by setting up two tents in the yard beneath the tall pine trees. It was even OK in the rain, as the raindrops made a soothing sound.

Moscow Farm 1914 colour draft 2
The Davis family home outside Moscow, Idaho, in 1914. Clare R. Davis is the baby being held by Sterling P. Davis. Restoration and colorization by Val Erde at Colouring the Past. (Courtesy of B. Herbel)

One black night we were awakened by terrible screams. My father & mother [Sterling P. and Clara Davis] went outside to look and saw a neighbor’s house on fire. This house was about a half a mile from ours & we were the closest neighbors. No one had water from a pump then, and we lived 6 miles from town.

My father dressed hurriedly and rushed over as fast as he could. He found that the screaming was so intensive because the young boy (about 9 or 10) was still in the house and they could not get him out. And no one could get him out. Nothing could be done at all! They just had to let the house burn to the ground. Later the next day my father had to dig in the rubble to find him – a terrible thing to be forced to do – and very upsetting to him.

As a small child at home with my mother & sister I was more frightened than at any other time in my life! It was my first brush with a fatal tragedy and one I shall never forget. In due time the house was rebuilt but I could never go by the place without a very uneasy, sad feeling.

Feature image: The view today from the Davis farm outside Moscow. (E. Lyon 2013)

23 thoughts on “The Fire

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    1. Especially given how young she probably was when it happened. I wish I had a family name or date to trace this. I think it would have been about 1920, but that’s not enough information, unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

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