The Chariton Democrat Leader, Chariton, Iowa Saturday, January 8, 1881
Last Sunday, about one o'clock p.m., the large barn of MR. J.W. SPROTT's situated on his farm in Union Township, was discovered on fire.MR. SPROTT, and nearly all his family were away at the time, but his wife and little boy managed to save all the horses and mules in the building before it fell in.The barn contained at the time about 1,200 bushels of corn, a lot of oats, hay, and nearly every farming utensil he had; also, harnesses, saddles, etc., and a fine buggy, all of which were a total loss.
The loss will run over $2,000, but, fortunately he had $1,000 insurance on the barn and its contents, in a Cedar Rapids Company.The origin of the fire is unknown.
A funny incident of the blaze was the fact that in taking out the stock, a fine mule, and one of the best in the county, was overlooked, being tied in the farther stall from the door, but after the building had been abandoned to its fate, and the fire was raging from top to bottom, the forgotten mule walked deliberately out into the yard perfectly astonished.His halter had actually burned in two, while he escaped without a scratch or a singed hide.No animal but a mule could show such a fire record as that.