This Day in Dayton, 26 September
On September 27, 1871, both papers reported a spectacular fire on the west edge of Dayton. About 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning of Tuesday, September 26, the John Royal residence, a brick structure, was destroyed by fire. The house had caught fire the previous afternoon from a “defective flue.” Furniture was carried out of the house and the flames were extinguished. The family thought the fire was out. Everything was returned to the house, but during the night the fire rekindled. This time it was discovered too late. Only a few pieces of furniture and a few possessions could be saved. The editor of the Journal reported that he could see the light of the fire plainly from his home on Ninth Street Hill. Noticing the light when he returned from putting the paper to bed, he climbed onto the roof of his home to watch. The loss was insured for the sum of $7500 (Friday, Sept. 29, 1871, Journal). A happier article on the 27th reported that W.J. Goldsberry had brought to the editor of the Journal a box containing several kinds of grapes and a sample of beet sugar. These were brought from far-off California by former resident George Patterson, who was on his first visit home in the 22 years since he left for California in 1849. Patterson had made his fortune in agriculture, but since 1849 was the year of the gold strike, it may be that it was the publicity generated by the gold fever that drew him West.