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Albert Blair and Samuel Barrow

The deaths of Albert Blair and Samuel Barrow was one of the saddest chapters in Tombstone’s history.

Summary

Albert Blair was born on October 26, 1876 and died May 9, 1892. He was 15 years, 6 months, and 14 days old when he died. Samuel Barrow was born on September 9, 1888 and died on May 9, 1892. He was three years, eight months old when he died. Both boys died in a house fire at Samuel M. Barrow’s (baby Samuel’s father) house on Toughnut street. The boys were cousins and Albert was living with the Barrow’s while he worked at the New Auction House, a business owned by Mr. Barrow.

Newspaper Accounts

The following stories about the boys were found in the Tombstone Epitaph. Note that the Epitaph was a weekly paper at the time of this fire, so the report about the fire and the funeral were in the same edition.

A Fatal Fire.

Two Victims Taken from the Flames While Others Barely Escape With Life.

The Residence of Samuel M Barrow Destroyed – Origin of the Fire a Mystery.

The saddest chapter and Tombstone’s history of fire was finished this morning when the firemen who had hastened in answer to an alarm from Engine House No. 1, rushed into the building in season only to rescue two lifeless bodies.

At about 5 o’clock this morning flames were seen issuing from the residence of Samuel M Barrow on Toughnut Street, and pistol shots were fired and the alarm quickly sounded. Meanwhile the unconscious family were fast asleep, little dreaming of the horrible fate so soon to overtake them. The first to awaken was Miss Lydia Blair, a sister of Mrs. Barrow, who sprang out of bed and opened the door of her room, only to be met by dense volume of smoke. She hastily gave the alarm, and seizing a child in her arms, rushed out of the burning building. Half dazed with smoke and flames, which now seemed to envelop the whole building, Mr. Barrow succeeded in getting his wife, who had been ill for some time, and one child to a place of safety, when he realized that his little boy Sam and Albert Blair, his wife’s brother, were yet inside the burning building, and rushed frantically back to their rescue.

Before he reached the house, however, Mr. B Hattich had dashed fearlessly into the flames, and, barely escaping with his own life, brought out the lifeless body of little Sam, who had evidently perished from suffocation. Attention was also turned to the rescue of Albert Blair, who sleeping apartment was in the eastern wing of the house. An entrance was speedily effected through the wall of the house, and Frank Ryan was the first to rush in, but shrank for a moment from the ghastly sight that met his eyes. Kneeling by the side of his bed, with clenched hands on which the flesh was burned to a crisp, and almost past all human semblance, was found the lifeless body of the young man, who, doubtless, barely realized his peril before being rendered insensible by suffocation.

The body was taken to the undertaking rooms of C. B. Tarbell, and all hopes of rescue having now vanished, attention was turned to the living. Dr. Hamilton was brought to their aid, at the residence of Mrs. Lowery, where everything possible was done for their comfort and solace. Efforts made to bring little Sam back to life were unavailing. He had, doubtless perished from suffocation before being rescued from the flames.

Arrangements have been made for the double funeral, which will take place tomorrow at 9 o’clock from the undertaking parlors of C. B. Tarbell, on Allen Street.

The origin of the fire is a complete mystery, no theory seeming at all plausible. The cook who sleeps away from the house had not yet arrived for his day’s work, and no lamps were left burning when the family retired.

The fire companies responded promptly to the call and soon had three streams turned on. Everything possible was done to save the property but the flames had made such headway before the water was turned on that only a charred frame remain standing to tell the sad tale. Everything was utterly destroyed, and the home so lately a source of pride is a pitiful sight, with the trees scorched and blackened and the flowers and shrubbery drenched and trampled underfoot.

The resident insurance of $800 on the place, which will cover but a small fraction of the loss as the house was elegantly furnished, and not even an article of clothing was saved.

Tombstone Epitaph, May 15, 1892, Page 4, Column 2 (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95060905/1892-05-15/ed-1/seq-4/)

S. M. Barrow and family are domiciled at the Palace for the present.

Tombstone Epitaph, May 15, 1892, Page 4, Column 1 (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95060905/1892-05-15/ed-1/seq-4/)

Albert Blair, the lad who met such a frightful death this morning, was very well known in Tombstone, having been sometime in the employ of his brother-in-law, Mr. Barrow. He was the youngest of a family of seven children, of whom all but himself and sister, Ms. Lydia Blair, were married. His aged parents reside at Pima, Graham County, Arizona.

Tombstone Epitaph, May 15, 1892, Page 4, Column 1 (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95060905/1892-05-15/ed-1/seq-4/)

The funeral of the unfortunate victims of the late fire, Sam Barrow, Jr. and Albert Blair, took place this morning from the undertaking parlors of C. B. Tarbell. The scene was a most affecting one. The floral offerings were profuse and appropriate to the surroundings. The bereaved parents have the sympathy of the entire community in their loss, which was shown by the almost universal attendance.

Tombstone Epitaph, May 15, 1892, Page 4, Column 4 (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95060905/1892-05-15/ed-1/seq-4/)

Albert and Samuel are buried together in the Tombstone City Cemetery, Section A, Row 26, Plot 15.


By George

I was born and raised in Missouri and have been an elementary school teacher, an EMT, an electronics technician, and a dean at a community college. I retired in July 2019, so I now have time to follow my dream and lead tours in Tombstone, Arizona. I work at the Goodenough Silver Mine and lead tours down into the mine, trolley tours around Tombstone, and ghost tours every weekend.

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