Sometimes the stories of our ancestors are passed down from generation to generation and give us a personal glimpse into their lives. Unfortunately, after a few generations, the stories are often forgotten, like this one about my 3rd great-grandfather, John "Clark" Harvey's home catching fire. It was printed in the Harford Mills section of Cortland Democrat on March 8, 1894. Clark was about 70 years old at the time and died about four years later, around 1898. His wife, Betsey, lived until 1906.
The fire started in the pipe of their wood stove, which assuredly was the home's primary source of heat at the time. With the average temperature in Cortland County in March being between 24 and 42 degrees (Fahrenheit), a wood stove was absolutely essential. In fact, a wood stove was necessary year round, as it was used for cooking and for heating water for baths and laundry.
"Clark Harvey's house caugh[t] fire on Tuesday last from the stove-pipe. They succeeded in putting out the fire without much damage being done."