Opposition to Quarantine 1857

The Newly-Purchased Buildings at Seguine's Point Burnt Down by Incendiaries.
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The quarantine war has began in earnest and the opening act of aggression is a conflagration at Seguine's Point, in which all the buildings there have been consumed. The place was beset on Wednesday night, about midnight, by some twenty persons, the principal house entered forcibly, by breaking down the doors, and after an indiscriminate breaking up of furniture, doors and movables, the house was set on fire while three persons were asleep on the second story, and the whole was soon consumed.

From here they proceeded to the farm house, occupied by Mr. Morrison, a most worthy and poor man, and set his house on fire, without giving a word of warning, so far as can be ascertained, and continued the work of destruction by firing all the outbuildings on the place, which by daylight were a moldering mass of ruins. The persons in the large house at the time, were SAMUEL FITZPATRICK, about 16 years of age, JAMES MURRAY, a boy, and MARY ATKINSON, a colored woman, all of whom escaped from the burning house with great difficulty by jumping from the second-story window.

There were some twenty persons concerned in the transaction, who were dressed in their ordinary clothes, and made no effort at disguise, except that they spoke not a word throughout, and ran away while the buildings wee still in flames. There was a bright moon shining, and it is thought some of the incendiaries were recognized.

The estate embraced an area of 152 acres, which was owned by T. R. Lush, Esq., of Brooklyn. Fifty acres of this has been sold to the Quarantine Commissioners for $23,000, and the deeds have been properly transferred to the State, together with the policies of insurance worth $12,000. Mr. Lush reserved from the estate a strip some 1,900 feet long, on the east side of the farm running from the beach back to the Amboy road, besides all that portion of the farm lying north of the fifty acres. Having sold the estate at a very low figure, he expected to realize his profit by the sale of house-lots from the remainder. The Commissioners had also come under an agreement to open a road through the property, from the beach northward, on a line with his reserve.

The remarkable thing about this affair is that nobody suffers by the Vandalism, except the insurance companies, and Mr. Morrison, a poor farmer, who has lost his all. The policies of insurance have all been duly transferred, and acknowledged, so that the loss falls upon the insurers; besides the costly residence, which was insured for $12,000, and was too good a house for the purposes required, will yield enough to pay for the erection of all the temporary buildings required for Quarantine. The Commissioners had only appropriated $10,000 for this purpose.

The large residence was built is modern style, and with all the modern improvements. It was 85 feet front, (including an L,) by 50 feet, and had a carriage house and other outbuildings attached. It had been occupied by JOEL WOLF, Esq., who owned the furniture in the house, which was of the best descriptions and was insured for about $5,000. The house was also insured for $12,000. The insurance upon the furniture was partly in the City, and partly in the Richmond County Mutual Insurance Company. Mr. WOLF, who now lives in the City, had sent his servants down to take care of the house, intending to remove his furniture to the City yesterday. Those servants were in the house at the time it was set on fire, and barely escaped with their lives by jumping from the window of the second story, where they were sleeping.

There are also a farm house on the place, occupied by Mr. MORRISON, and a barn and stables attached, besides sheds for the cows. In the carriage house was a splendid coupe, which cost $1,000, with sundry sets of harness, and also a light wagon. The farmer had two hay racks, two ox carts, and a wagon, which were hauled away and saved. There were two cows, one of which was burned with the sheds, and the other had its eyes destroyed, and will have to be killed. There were two horses__one a valuable brown mare, both of which were got out in season and saved.

At the store of Mr. RUDOLPH WOLFE, Beaver St., we found SAMUEL FITZPATRICK, who had just arrived from the point, and has given the following statement:

"There were three of us in the large house__myself, JAMES MURRAY and MARY ATKINSON, a colored woman; were in charge of the house, and were asleep in the second story in the L: about midnight MARY hollered out to JIM that there were people in the house robbing it, and he must get up; JIM then hollered to me there were robbers down stairs; I got up and opened the window and looked out: saw 16 persons by the quince trees, northeast from the house, and five or six more going up and down upon the front steps. In a minute a heavy stone was thrown and struck near the window, when I shut down the window, easy like, and went away. I heard men walking through the house down stairs, as if it was a market house, and soon they began to break things and made a great racket. I heard no one speak a word. I put on my pants and boots and walked about the rooms, and soon I smelt the smoke coming up from below and through the broad hall; I then knew the house was on fire. MARY and JIM jumped out of the bedroom window and ran off, a quarter of an hour before me; I went to get my gun to save it, but the smoke got so thick it nearly smothered me, and I jumped out of the window, having nothing on but my boots and pantaloons; I lost all my clothes, I struck upon a platform under the window and hurt my head. My shirt caught in a hook of the window and was torn. I saw nothing of the men after I got out of the house; by this time I saw all the house and other buildings burning. After I got out, I ran down to Mr. MORRISON'S house, which was burning, and found Mr. Morrison, his wife, and his son and daughter, and the boy, standing outside, I got the two horses out of the stables, and then went and helped Mr. MORRISON get out his things. Some of them were too large to get out. We saved only a very little. When I first saw the men from the window two of them had oyster-stakes in their hands. I think they used them to break open the doors. The men were dressed in common clothes of people who work about there; I saw no red shirts. When I saw them the second time, there were ten or twelve standing over by the ponds.

I staid with Mr. MORRISON, and in a short time ran back to the house to find MARY, fearing she might be burnt. But in a short time she came to Mr. MORRISON'S with another colored woman. I remained there until about daybreak, and then started on horse-back to bring the news to the City to Mr. WOLFE."

SAM tells a straight story, but the excitement of last night's adventure has somewhat confused his mind. When he came away from Seguine's Point there was nothing left but the smoldering embers of the former buildings.

The Vigilance Committee appointed at the Quarantine meeting held at Richmond on the 29th ult., held a meeting on Wednesday afternoon. That the burning of the buildings was agreed upon at this meeting, is not known; but a resolution to burn them, we believe, was passed at the public meeting held in Richmond. Every effort will be made to discover the guilty parties and bring them to justice. Ex-Alderman BENSON, one of the Commissioners, left last evening for Albany, to lay the facts connected with the conflagration before Gov. King. It is said that he will ask the Governor to offer a reward for the arrest of the perpetrators, and to provide a suitable armed force to guard against future depredations.

The burning of the buildings in question will not retard in the least the construction of the intended hospitals, docks, &c., for which proposals have already been advertised.

Mr. VOORHIES offered the Commissioners yesterday as a residence for the Marine Physician, the house opposite the entrance to the grounds purchased by the Commissioners. The building is a large two-story edifice, and will answer as well as the one burned. It is only a quarter of a mile distant from the site of the former building. The Commissioners have agreed to accept the offer. Upon the 14th inst., as soon as the proposals are all in, they will commence the erection of the three buildings to be used as hospitals, and they expect to complete them by the first of June. A steamboat has been chartered for the use of the Health Officer, and a barge to land from vessels in the lower bay. Four buoys have been provided to be placed in the lower bay for the anchorage of infected vessels. Nearly everything, indeed, is in readiness, except the new buildings.



Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Opposition to Quarantine 1857
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The New York Times May 8, 1857. p.1 (1 page)
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