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Citizens of James City & York: Petition, Middlesex County

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(5) John S. Johnston sworn for Commonwealth When I got to the Jail, 31st March 1854, the Jail was burning, the front door was standing a little open, the roof was on fire, near the centre, above the front door upper door, The prisoner was in this upper room, had been confined there about two days - alarm of fire was given about 2 or 3 o'clock in the night, When I got there the fire was generally spread over the roof, The prisoner was gone. I believe it was set on fire from the inside of the upper room. Cross Examined by atty for prisoner. I opened the door and discovered that the roof was burnt entirely through the top above the door, I found the hinge between the two doors. The fire broke out upon the inside of the Jail above the door, both the hinges to the inside door were burnt out, there was a stove in the room, sitting about 3 feet from the back wall the stove was sitting on the piece of zink, the bed (a straw bed) was hanging at one window and a quilt at the other. Recalled by atty for Commonwealth The was no fire in the room immediately about the stove. I am certain of this[.] John Parker sworn for Commonwealth When I got there, the house was on fire on the top and at the upper door, I only helped to take away the steps. the house was too far gone to try to put it out[.]