Narrow Escape!

I found this a while ago but realized I never posted it here. It is a news clipping entitled “Narrow Escape” which describes a fire at my great-grandparents’ apartment in 1905 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Three children of Mr. and Mrs. John Hegarty, of 80 Howard street, Leo, aged 3 1/2 years, Margaret, 2 1/2, and Joseph, 1 1/2, had a narrow escape from being burned to death Tuesday afternoon. The children were playing in the kitchen, while the mother was upstairs, when the oldest child, with a broom, knocked a lamp off a shelf on to the stove. The burning oil ignited the clothes of the other two children. Margaret was badly burned about the head, arms and chest, and after being attended by Drs. Norton and Joseph Cunningham was sent to the Cambridge hospital. Joseph was burned about the legs. Mrs. Hegarty rescued the two younger children with some difficulty, as the whole room was in flames in an instant. The fire completely destroyed the apartments of the Hegartys, which is the rear one of a four-apartment wooden house. The house is owned by S. J. Kelley. The loss will amount to $1500. An alarm was rung In from box 145 at 1.30 o’clock.
from Cambridge Chronicle, 21 Jan 1905, page 10

I found this article at the Cambridge Public Library’s free searchable database: Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection. Worth checking out if you have Cambridge connections.

Continuing the slaughter theme

sausage ad

Squire’s sausage ad

An old ad from Squire’s slaughterhouse/meatpacking plant in Cambridge, site of ancestral employment. This place employed a lot of Cambridge and Somerville people. John P. Squire didn’t live near it though; he lived on Beacon Hill.

One time my great-grandfather Walter Murphy rescued a piglet from the back of the truck and brought it home as a pet. You would think that story would have the terrible “I love bacon” ending, but in the version I heard it did not — the pig lived happily for years and was taken for walks.

The plant burned down in the 1970s in a massive fire fueled by decades of offal and fat and grease soaked into the wooden floors of the brick warehouse. The Somerville Fire Department has a whole webpage about the fire.