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Hinckley Fire of 1894: Primary Sources: Archives & Records


Root's Engine, St. Paul and Duluth Railroad Company, the engine that carried the last train load of survivors out of Hinckley during the 1894 fire, 1895.

John W. Blair Papers, 1867-1915.
This archival collection is the personal account of an African-American railroad porter's heroic rescue of train passengers and townspeople during the disastrous 1894 forest fire in Hinckley.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P1788).

"Death at My Heels," by May Gorman Newman.
A reminiscent account (typed, carbon copy) of the experiences of a 16-year-old Hinckley girl in the 1894 Hinckley fire. Newman describes the first alarm to the city, attempts to flee by train, and the arrival of survivors in Duluth.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P1193-2).

"The Hinckley Fire," by Alice A. Nelson Wilcox.
A reminiscent account (typed, carbon copy) of Alice Nelson Wilcox's experiences as a Pokegama, Minnesota, girl during the 1894 Hinckley forest fire. Wilcox gives details of the fire, how she and her family survived, the destruction of property and life, the removal of the survivors to Mora, and the rehabilitation of the land and the people.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P1193-3).

Government Records

Commission for Relief of Fire Sufferers Records (1894-1995.)
Records of a commission created to provide relief for victims of the Hinckley fire, and of fires near New York Mills and Milaca, and in Carlton, Cass, Itasca, Kanabec, and Todd counties. They include ledgers of accounts for the goods or other aid provided to individuals; relief registrations (application forms); vouchers, orders, order stubs, receipt stubs, and requisition stubs; register of vouchers and orders; correspondence, vouchers and receipts, and ledger of the commission’s Duluth agent; treasurer’s cashbook and correspondence; journal of supplies (donations) received; and minutes and cashbook of the General Relief Committee of St. Paul, which was formed by citizens of St. Paul to aid the fire victims.
MNHS call number: Digital finding aid

Minnesota Office of the Governor

  • Miscellaneous Disaster Relief Files (1871-1920.)
    This archival collection contains information on the Legislature's Pine Lands Investigating Committee, 1893-1894.
    MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Governor, Disaster Relief Records).
  • Railroad and Land Matters Files (1895-1915).
    This archival collection includes correspondence and court documents regarding the 1893-1894 pine lands investigation and a printed report of the Pine Lands Investigating Committee (1894).
    MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Governor).

Books & Other Publications

The Cyclone of Fire, or, The Hinckley Fire: a true description of the century’s most gruesome catastrophe. A sea of fire swallows up in several hours over 500 people. Horrible scenes of death. The fire’s strange caprices, by Gudmund Emanuel Åkermark.
​Translation of: Eld-cyklonen, eller, Hinckley-branden. Minneapolis, Minn. : Companion Pub. Co., c1894.
MNHS call number: Digital Copy

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