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March 23, 2018

Mings Hotel 101 South Holden, Arson Fire Kills 4, 1873, Guest Saved by Jumping from the Third Story with An Umbrella

West Pine Street Fire Station No.1  Today the building houses Those Were the Days.
SAVED BY An Umbrella- Ming Hotel Fire
There was not even a rope fire-escape in his room on the second floor which Felix Kraemer, a salesman for Steinway & Sons, of New York, occupied; and had it not been for Kraemer experience at hotel fires and an umbrella he probably would have been numbered among the victims. Had not I had a strong umbrella I should either have been burned or killed by jumping," said Mr. Kraemer. I have been burned out at hotels three times now. I was burned out at a hotel at Warrensburg, MO., and also at Elsworth, Kan., and I learned something about how to act when at a fire on those two occasions. At the fire in Warrensburg a guest escaped by using an open umbrella to ease his plight from an upper story window I never forgot the way in which he escaped and since have always been provided with a strong umbrella for emergency. 
As soon as I reached the window I opened my strong umbrella and carefully put a shawl strap over it to prevent it from turning inside out then I made a leap. I did not go sailing gracefully out into the air and landed lightly on the ground beneath, but I landed without any broken limb and am alright now. The umbrella partially turned Inside out just before I reached the ground and I got something of a jar, but I should think myself lucky if I had escaped with a broken leg.

Warrensburg Fire Department about 1900
James Lester Prouty, b. Nov. 13, 1851. James, was burned to death at the age of twenty-two years while on his way to attend the Normal School he perished in the fire which destroyed Mings Hotel, Nov., 1873. 4 people died. Warrensburg Missouri, 101 South Holden Street.


Warrensburg, Mo., Nov. 13, A serious conflagration occurred in this city last night, commencing at '9 o'clock, and burning the Mings Hotel and two brick buildings belonging to H. F. Clark, and the Johnson County Savings bank. The fire originated in the lamp room of the hotel, from the explosion of a coal-oil lamp, and soon the flames enveloped the whole building. Sad to relate it was the fire devils preying upon human bodies. Three bodies were taken from the burning embers last night. Another body is missing. 

THE DEAD - M. E. MULVEHILL. The deaths and losses are summed up as follows: M. E. Mulvehill, proprietor of the hotel, was sitting in the hotel office at the time of the fire and at the alarm of fire hastened to the scene, and in making his exit was smothered or choked to death by the smoke and flames. His body was taken from the debris charred and crisped at 1 o'clock A. M. It was found in the ruins of the hotel office.

J. W. POLAND. The next body recovered was that of J. W. Poland, an artist from Kansas City. His body was found in the debris of the hotel saloon. The unfortunate man occupied a room over the saloon. 

J. L. PROUTY. J. L. Prouty of Clintonville, Mo. .arrived on the evening train with the intention of joining the Normal school. A few bones of his remains only were found. Another guest of the hotel is missing. 

LOUIS ROISTER. On the register appears the name of Louis Roister, Sedalia, Mo. This body is supposed to have been completely burned, as no trace can be found. 

BADLY INJURED. Allen Durmeit, the steward of the hotel, is badly burned and scarred, and hopes of his recovery doubtful . Thos. Higgius, stone cutter, received a broken ankle and burned face while escaping. Geo. Crone, the clerk, was internally injured by inhaling fire.
Similar scene in Seattle. Warrensburg lost a hotel and two brick buildings 1873.

NARROW ESCAPE. Other inmates of the house barely escaped with their lives, many jumping from the second and third stories of the building and sustaining slight injuries. 

THE BURNED BUILDINGS. The hotel building was constructed of pine, and was built in the spring of 1865. The building was soon consigned to the flames. It was insured for contents for $4,000. Tho adjoining building, belonging to H. F. Clark, and the Johnson County Savings bank were totally burned. Clark's building was insured for 3,700, the saloon contents for 1,500. The bank building was insured for 1,000. The books and papers in the safe are saved. Tho hotel barber-shop was an almost total loss. Peter Kuitz, tailor, was insured for 500, Ruthraff, jeweller, saved his entire stock. Considerable money was deposited in the hotel safe, which was taken from the debris this morning in a good condition. Great exertion was made to save the contiguous building and fortunately the wind favored. Even tho stable buildings of wood were saved from the scorching elements.

Mings Hotel Site, Warrensburg, Missouri
Ming Hotel Fire - 1873 ARSON
It is believed at Warrensburg that the incendiaries who set fire to and destroyed the Ming Hotel in that city last month have been identified and captured. On Thursday last Capt. Filley, City Marshal of California, received a letter from L. Collins. Marshal of Warrensburg, giving a description of two men who had escaped from the Warrensburg jail about six weeks ago, and who were believed to be the parties who fired Ming's Hotel. Capt. Filley of course, was on the lookout for developments, and was rewarded for his sagacity by the discovery of two men stopping at California exactly answering the description given in Collins' letter. The names of the suspected parties were David McGonnoghny and Frank Pago; they had escaped from jail in Warrensburg about the first of December, and came to California on Wednesday last in company with two women of questionable character. They had rented rooms and "done the town" two days before being "gobbled up" by the City Marshal. It is believed they are notorious thieves, and that evidence convicting them to burning Ming's Warrensburg Hotel will lie forth coming. 
The state journal. (Jefferson City, Mo.) 1872-1886, January 16, 1874


There is a chapter of fires in this prosperous town. The town has been burned and built again, but this last calamity is the most appalling one in its brief history. There, is a deep gloom cast over us this bright Sunday morning. It is the charred remains of the unfortunates who perished as if by magic. A coroner's inquest is now being held. 


Of other losses we mention J. M. Shepherd, lawyer, books and papers; Griggs and Cress, dentists' materials, W. P. Ashbury, justice of the peace, books and papers, D. W. Reed and G. Will Houts, books and papers. They occupied rooms over the bank. These statements are briefly and correctly detailed and we shall apprise you of further particulars. 


Of the many citizens who diligently labored to prevent the progress of the devouring elements we make especial mention of Jas. D. Morris. He was the first one to rescue the charred bodies from the fire, and while it was raging did his work nobly and heroically.

M. E. Mulevehill, J.W. Poland, J. L. Prainty, Louis Roister  Died in Mings Hotel Fire
101 South Holden,
1873 Warrensburg, Missouri
Mr. M. E. Mulvehill, Warrensburg, Mo, also Pine
Township, Indiana County 1873

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