Further Development of Williamstown

The growth of Williamstown contains no event of special interest until the year 1856. At that time there had been erected a row of wooden buildings on either side of Main street-scarcely a brick edifice to be seen in town.

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A child of Mr. Samuel Marksbury was amusing himself in the basement story of his father's house, then standing where Mr. Lucas has his grocery, by burning some combustible material, when the building took fire.

The flames spread up and down the street, destroying every house and tenement on the west side from where P. T. Zinn's store now stands to Mill street, and on the east side from John H. Webb's store to several houses below the residence of E. H. Smith. This was the first fatal disaster to the county seat, and thirty families were in a few minutes rendered destitute and homeless by this terrible fire-fiend. Contributions were raised for the sufferers, and the people all over the county contributed liberally.

Judge O. P. Hogan made speeches in Georgetown, Frankfort and Lexington, whose people subscribed as much as seven hundred dollars to the unfortunate ones in our midst. Three thousand dollars were soon raised in their behalf, and it was not long until the clink of the hammer was heard and the mason and carpenter were busy in erecting new and better houses on the burnt ground, so that in a few years all the lots on Main street, once covered by old wooden buildings-excellent rat harbors and food for flames-were now occupied by good and substantial houses.

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