|Franz Xaver Habermann, New York Public Library|
The fire occurred around 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, January 29. Ten houses and two stores near the courthouse were destroyed. The courthouse, and the Klutts house across the street, also were threatened. The fire began in Ward's store which had just received a new shipment of goods. David Storch and George W. Spears also suffered considerable losses. Storch owned most of the burned houses, and Spears ran the other store lost in the fire.
Cabarrus historian Robert Washington "Wash" Allison (1809-1898), in A History of Cabarrus County and Concord, mentions the fire. According to Allison, Ward was "a Yankee clock peddler" who bought out Storch's store. When authorities suspected the fire began in Ward's store, he was arrested for arson and tried in Statesville. Acquitted on the arson charge, Ward was subsequently tried and convicted of forgery. Apparently, Ward accepted notes for six to nine dollars on several Concord men, then Ward changed the notes by adding "ty" to the dollar amounts, making the signed notes worth sixty to ninety dollars each!
|Robert Washington Allison.|
Date unknown. Photo
courtesy of Findagrave.com,
Susan I. Grills.
Allison's History of Cabarrus County and Concord is reprinted in the book A Bicentennial History of Concord: from the Pages of Progress Magazine, edited by Clarence E. Horton, Jr., and is available at all Cabarrus County Library branches. Microfilm copies of the Carolina Watchman and the Miner's and Farmer's Journal, as well as other regional newspapers are available in the Lore Local History Room at the Concord Library.
Courtesy of the Concord Library, Lore History Room