Morris Factory Fire Update

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Information from a family member of Charles and Bert Morris is that the fire on December 15, 1919 was set by a disgruntled employee who had been fired for drinking on the job. The insurance company wouldn't pay, stating the fire was caused by carelessness. Charles wasn't at his Veazie home at the time of the fire, having driven with his granddaughter to Bangor, in his carriage, pulled by his horse Gypsy.

Charles Morris had the first telephone in Veazie and his phone number was "1". He also had the first flush toilet, to the fascination of his granddaughter's friends.

Very cool information. There may be more to come, and I'll share.
I think it was this one.......


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Interesting story.

A word of caution of "stories" like this. They often times are not very accurate. CONFIRM what was told to you from primary, original sources. If the fire was arson, the newspaper coverage would most likely mention it.

The fire at Thompson Boat's lumber storage warehouse at Peshtigo in 1953 during a labor strike has always been rumored to have been set by striking workers. I found the state fire marshall's report and there was no mention of arson.

Hi Andreas-- Yeah, its good to remember that stories can take on a life of their own.We did work with a captain on the Veazie fire department a couple years back, who was the one that came up with the actual fire date and sent a couple newspaper accounts. I still hope to get to a courthouse and see if there's any record of a prosecution or dropping of charges or whatever might have occurred, but the newspaper stories don't mention this angry fellow. "Further research" is on my bucket list!

This is an old thread but I went looking recently for any record from the 1920s of a person who was ever accused, arrested, or convicted of arson related to this fire. I haven't found one but did come across the article below from a Portland newspaper on December 9th, 1921. It reports that his factory burned with $90,100 of insurance as shown at but he had to accept a settlement of only $50,000. It is not surprising that he never resumed operations.


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Two pieces in The Standard A Weekly Insurance Newspaper shed light on this topic; the first concerning the likely cost, likely cause of the fire and insurance held by Morris, the second regarding the arson claim. Turns out there was an arson who burned down a barn in Veazie a few months after the factory burnt down and seems to have gotten mixed up with it.

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