Monday, July 27, 2009
Martha Parsons Remembers the Fire-Part I
In 1975, Martha Parsons, the youngest daughter of Willis Parsons, and Marion Parsons' younger sister, wrote some of her memories of life on the Parsons' farm--the re-built house still stands on the corner of Parsons Drive and W. Genesee--and what she remembered about the history of the farm and the area. Here is some of what she wrote:
In the Spring of 1890 my father, Willis A. Parsons, purchased from Burritt Chaffee a sixty acre farm located on the east midway between what is now Maple Road and Cherry Road, and on the west by what is now Parsons Drive, then a lane used for farm purposes. In August of that year I was born in this house. My older sisters (Grace and Marion) were born in a house on our grandfather's (Edwin C. Parsons) farm on Onondaga Road.
On the 10th of September, 1897, a crew came with a steam engine to fill the silo with ensilage from the corn raised on the farm. There had been a long dry spell, so when the steam engine blew up about 10 o'clock in the morning for lack of water (probably the engineer's carelessness) and the flames shot into the hay-filled barn, the fire spread rapidly. Soon the house caught fire, and little was saved from the barn or the rear of the house, but much was saved from the front of the house thanks to the efforts of neighbors and passersby. The County Fair was being held that day, and at that hour many people on their way to it hitched their horses to the roadside fences and rushed to help. There were no Volunteer Fire Companies, no telephones to summon them had they existed, no water except what was pumped from the well by hand, or had accumulated in the cistern from rain running off the roof.
(Watch this site for the next installment to be posted next week. What happens to the house and the Parsons family?)