Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Fire! - Percival in Walton, Kentucky

From the Covington Journal. Covington, Kentucky, 14 January 1871.


Three Persons Burned to Death

The thriving town of Walton, Boone county, was the scene of a heart rending calamity last Wednesday morning. At 1:20 a fire broke out in the cook-room of the Farmer's Hotel, owned by Mr. Ira Percival. The building was a frame structure and the flames spread with great rapidity. A boy about 9 years old, son of the proprietor, a girl a few years older, the daughter of a widow named Raensler and a negro woman, the cook, perished in the flames. These persons were in or near that part of the house in which the fire started. They were completely surrounded by the flames, before the alarm was given. Persons who were early on the ground thought they heard the screams of the victims as the flames gathered around them, but all efforts to save them were fruitless. After the outer portion of the house was consumed the bodies of the victims were distinctly seen, but the flames still surrounded them, and they could not even then be recovered. The harrowing sight will forever remain impressed upon the memory of those who witnessed it.

 (Although the 9 year old son of Ira Percival is not named in this article, once I took a look at the evidence, I have ascertained this was Orville Percival. Indeed he was 10 and not 9, but I suppose age did not matter in this tragic death.)

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. I live in Cincinnati and know exactly where Walton is. I find it interesting that they describe it as a "thriving town". Perhaps, but I don't believe it is still all that large. However, the Greater Cincinnati area keeps expanding in all directions.

  2. Hard to say what it was like 140 years ago!