Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Miss Harriett Tilghman.

A heroic girl.

She climbs on a house top and fights fire like a steam engine.


            Roanoke News: We learn that the fine large dwelling house near Garysburg [Northampton County] owned by J. J. Long, Esq., and at present occupied by Mr. J. B. Tilghman and family, caught fire at an angle of the roof from the chimney spark (it was supposed) about three o'clock on the afternoon of Friday last. There was no male assistance nearer than a quarter of a mile. Mr. T. and his sons were absent, and nearly a mile distant at the time. Mrs. Tilghman and her two daughters Misses Harriett and Ella, Mrs. T's little grand daughter, and the school children, were the only persons in the house.
Very soon after the alarm was raised, the point of danger was ascertained, and Miss Harriett Tilghman procured a ladder which was in the yard, some twenty five steps from the back door, and with it hastened to the house, and then up a flight of stairs to the second floor and by means of it, after being placed in position, reached the scuttle.
Here she encountered a volume of smoke. Nothing daunted, however, and knowing no time to be lost, she acted without hesitation, and finally reached the burning roof through the trap door, raising the door with her head and turning it over so that she could get on the roof and make her way to the fire. On the roof a double danger awaited her in the risk of falling to the ground thirty-six feet or more, and of her clothing catching fire from the quivering flame, pressed towards her by the high wind prevailing at the time.
Buckets of water had been drawn, and carried to the second floor by the school children, and some colored friends on the premises, and soon as circumstances would permit, though Miss Harriett was on the roof ten minutes or more before aid reached her. The buckets had all to be gotten up the ladder, and Miss Harriett to reach them, had to go to and from the trap door, probably twenty feet of more, and sometimes walked upright on the highest part of the roof with a bucket of water in her hand, at others crawled along to the fire as best she could. Determined to subdue the flames she succeeded and thus through her heroic exertions and great daring, the property was saved from destruction and (perhaps) some insurance company or other from a large sum.
The young lady descended in safety and suffered no inconvenience beyond a few bruises.

Taken from The Raleigh News (Raleigh, NC) 18 May 1876

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