From the Richmond Dispatch, 9/5/1864, p.3, c. 2
Destructive Fire. – About 2 o’clock Saturday morning a fire broke out in the old framed building known as Myers’ negro quarters, which sets back in the yard on Seventh street, between Cary and Canal. It was occupied by a number of females, both white and black; and before they were aware of it, the fire had gained such headway as to compel many of them to leap from the second-story windows with just what clothes they had on; one of whom, Mrs. Wallace Hefflin, sustained severe injuries about the body and legs. From this building the flames extended to four other tenements, occupied respectively by Miss Josephine Douglas, Edward Fagan, ____ Swann, and a couple of old negro women, employed in cooking and washing for Captain Lock.
The destruction, financially speaking, done to Douglass’s property was greater than all the rest combined. Her house, which is a three-story brick, was completely gutted, besides which the most of her valuable furniture was burnt up, including superior wearing apparel, a full assortment of provisions, and a large truck containing a fine collection of silver tableware and several thousand dollars in gold and silver coin, which were melted into one common mass and afterwards spirited away, where she has not since heard from them. Her loss will amount to about sixty thousand dollars. The other houses were considerably damaged in the rear, and each of the occupants lost a portion of their furniture’ but the tenements being small, old, and dilapidated, the aggregate damage done to them cannot except six or eight thousand dollars. The back and front tenements, which first took fire, including the lots, belong to Mr. William H. Poindexter; the house occupied by Swann is owned by John W. Bremer, and that in the possession of Fagan is owned by Mrs. Catherine Burns. Myers’s negro quarters, together with all the furniture therein, was entirely destroyed.
About the origin of the fire there are two reports, both of which we give without expressing any opinion. One is that it originated from a fire used by an old woman named Jane, who was engaged at that hour in baking pies for sale at the early Petersburg train, as had been her practice for some time back; and the other comes from an old negro woman living in the front shanty, who says that a few minutes before it broke out she saw a man pile up some shavings under the house and then set fire to them. Before she had time to give the alarm she says the house was all ablaze.