Grayson County TXGenWeb
 
West Hill Cemetery
Sherman, Texas



Mary Miller
15 May 1876 - 29 June 1886

Dallas Morning News
29 June 1886
 

TWO GIRLS ROASTED ALIVE
A SAD CALAMITY IN GRAYSON COUNTY

Mr. Miller's House Takes Fire and Before the Flames are Discovered a Horrible Feast of Death Ensues

Special to The News
SHERMAN, June 28, - A terrible holocaust occurred seven miles west of this city last night about 11 0'clock, the following graphic account of which was given The News correspondent by Mr. J. C. Anderson:
"I was stopping at Mr. Miller's residence last night, and we remained up, sitting on the front proch, until a reasonably late hour - probably 10 o'clock - before we retired.  After I was in bed I thought I smelled something like smoke, but supposed it was from a locomotive which passed on the Texas and Pacific Railroad about that time, and I did not say anything, for there seemed to be no disturbance of any kind in the house.  I would have gotten up and made an investigation, but I disliked to on account of being a stranger in the house.  About 11 o'clock, a rumbling noise began to become audible, and it soon developed into the unmistakable

ROAR OF FIRE.
"In a few moment the occupants of the other rooms down stairs became aware of the dreadful presence of the fire.  Mr. Miller opened the door which led from his sleeping apartment into the hallway, but the intense volume of smoke which rushed into the draft from the burning stairway, drove him and his wife back into the room, compelling them to leave by the way of the window.  In the excitement of the first moments it was forgotten that four members of the family were in one of the second story rooms, completely at the mercy of the greedy flames, which had already burst into their sleeping apartment.  Mr. Miller and his wife both made frantic endeavors to reach their children by way of the staircase, but it was impossible.  Mr. Miller then, with my assistance, climbed to the top of the front porch, upon which opened two windows of the second story.  These he kicked in and rushed into the room regardless of the 

BLAZING FLAMES AND TERRIBLE HEAT
with which the room was filled.  I remained at the foot of the post at which Mr. Miller had ascended and braced myself to receive the children as Mr. Miller handed them down.  The smoke was so dense that the agonized father, assisted by his oldest son, who happened to be on the first floor at the time, grouped about in the room and picked up the bodies one by one, and handed them to me.  This was kept up until three girls, aged respectively 12, 14 and 16, and a small boy, aged about 4, were taken out.  Mr. Miller and his son were so blinded by the smoke that they did not realize the fearful work of the flames until the work of resuscitation was commenced, when the terribe discovery was made that

ONE GIRL WAS DEAD
and that another was burned to that extent which almost precludes the possibility of recovery.  The one who was taken from the building dead was the youngest, and the one who is perhaps fatally burned is the next oldest.  The oldest was burned painfuly on the right side of the face, while the little boy's injuries are confined to a very ugly blister on the right arm."
Since the information above was given by Mr. Anderson the girl whom he thought fatally burned died and both bodies were buried in West Side cemetery this afternoon at 4 o'clock.  A very large crowd was present at the burial, and the bereaved parents had the sympathies of the entire community,

HOW IT STARTED
The belief of the family is that the fire originated from a match, probably lighted by one of the girls on their way upstairs and thrown down on the floor.  There is another theory that it was caused by the explosion of a kerosene lamp in the hallway.  The parents are wild with grief, and they have no correct idea of the events which transpired during the time of the fire.
A subscription paper was started here for the benefit of the unfortunate family and a large amount was collected and given them.

MR. MILLER'S STORY
Mr. Miller was examined by the Coroner's jury, and substantiated the story of the calamity as related by Mr. Anderson.  He said that he discovered the upper part of the house to be on fire about 10:30 o'clock, and finding he could not get up the stairway to where the children slept, he climbed up on the porch with Mr. Anderson's assistance, broke through the windows and got the children out.  One of the girls, named Mary, age 12, was dead when he brought her out.  The other, Minnie, aged 10, died at 6 o'clock this morning.
He said his eldest daughter, Angeline, as she went to bed lighted a match wherewith to light the lamp and threw the match on the staircase, upon the walls of which the paper was loose, and it is supposed the fire originated from this.
The jury found the following verdict:
We the jury find that the deceased, Minnie and Mary Miller, came to the death on the night of the 27th of June, 1886, by being burned and suffocated by fire whilst asleep in their room.
The funeral services were conducted by Rev. J.S. Moore, of the First Presbyterian Church.

West Hill Cemetery
Elaine Nall Bay
2013