The beautiful home of Mrs. Kearns, two and a half miles southwest of Bringhurst, was totally destroyed by fire at an early hour Tuesday morning. About two o’clock, Berdelia, the oldest daughter, who slept in a room next to the barn was awakened by odors of smoke which came into her room from an open window. She looked out and discovered that the barn was on fire, and hastily aroused the rest of the family and rang the dinner bell to call the neighbors. By this time the fire had gained such headway that all attempts to fight it were useless. At this early an hour the neighbors are necessarily very slow to respond to the call for assistance and Berdelia with the courage of a heroine attempted to save what she could from the barn. She succeeded nobly, as she rescued all of the horses which were in the barn, and this too when many a strong masculine heart would have hesitated to enter the building which was now entirely wrapped in flames. At this time the neighbors began to gather in but nothing more could be saved from the barn, and their efforts were to save the house which stood only a hundred feet or so from the barn which was one 40 by 80 feet and was now a mountain of fire.
Their efforts were futile however as the heat was so intense that it could not be endured, and the only thing that could be done was to save a part of the contents. The work of destruction was quite complete, as nothing remains. Even the out buildings and fences were burned, and the many evergreens and shrubbery which helped to beautify the lovely home stand brown and withered, the only monuments to one of Carroll countys prettiest homes.
Many people visited the scene Tuesday and expressed their sympathy for Mrs. Kearns who seems to have more than her share of misfortune. About eighteen or twenty years ago their house on this same farm was burned to the ground, and about ten years ago her husband, T. A. Kearns was killed by a keg of powder exploding in his hands in Bringhurst, leaving 6 children and a mortgage on their home of $3,500.
After his death she rebelled against the efforts of lawyers to get the estate into court, that they might fatten at the expense of these orphan children, and declared that she would pay off the debt and save their home. This looked like folly to every one, but she succeeded in accomplishing it, and beside raising her family, and raising it will, she lifted the last dollar of the indebtedness, and was just beginning to enjoy rest and comfort as the reward of her industry. Her loss will be about $5,000 with $2,800 insurance. The fire is supposedly the work of an incendiary.
Source: Flora Hoosier Democrat, Saturday, October 23, 1897, page 1
Contributed by: Lena Harper
Added: 28 Oct 2016
Mrs. Kearns, who was burned out last week, has decided to reside in Bringhurst until spring, when she will build on the farm again.
Source: Hoosier Democrat, Flora, Saturday, October 30, 1897, page 8
Contributed by: Lena Harper
Added: 21 July 2016