A Catholic, a Jew, and an Agnostic walk into a bar. How do they pray?
Samuel J. Tilden Friday Fact
SJT and the Great Fire of New York
Guess who we find in another piece of relatively unknown American history….Samuel J Tilden. Tilden witnessed the 1835 Great Fire of New York . In that fire, the New York Stock Exchange and most of the buildings around Wall Street burned to the ground.
Here is a portion of the letter describing the fire SJT, then 21 years old, sent to his father:
My Dear Father,—The last has been the most calamitous night New York ever saw. The very centre of the commercial part of the city — from Wall Street across William and nearly to Broad, and to Coenties Slip,—all is a mass of smouldering ruins. A concurrence of unfortunate circumstances rendered the fire thus disastrous. The engines had been much disordered, in consequence of the extensive fires on the previous night — the hose, many of them, frozen and unfit for use. The atmosphere was in a state peculiarly calculated to support and extend combustion, the wind blew with great violence, and the weather was so intensely cold as to clog and almost close up with ice the hose. The flames raged through the whole night with uncontrolled violence, impressing every beholder with the utter impotency of human effort to contend with the devouring element. The spectacle was grand and awful beyond conception. I shall not attempt to describe it. All the fires that ever occurred here before were perfectly insignificant in comparison.