The store of Mr. M. T. Green and Mr. M. Scruggs, near Cliffside, was burned last Sunday morning about 2 o'clock. From reports, it was robbed and then set on fire. The dwelling of Mr. Green barely escaped as it was in close proximity to the store and the heat was so excessive that it was impossible to pass between the two buildings. Water was carried up on the opposite side from the store and poured over the roof. The residence of Mr. M. Scruggs who lives just across the street was set from falling sparks and coals of fire, but was extinguished before any harm was done. It is reported that some of the goods taken from the store was located Sunday morning at the camp of road builders near the Broad river, and that a negro made himself scarce about there. One colored man was arrested, suspected of having a hand in the matter.
The entire stock of goods and the building was totally destroyed entailing an estimate loss of $18,000, with only $2,500 insurance.
Squire R. B. Watkins issued a search warrant Sunday, which was served by Deputy A. R. Wall and the effects of the negro road workers was gone over. Some of the goods found sewed in a mattress were identified. The negro in whose bunk the goods were found made his escape. However, one arrest was made by Deputy Wall, who captured Alex Smith and landed him in jail at Rutherfordton.
It is said that great indignation prevailed in the section of the fire and that had not cooler heads prevailed a raid with shotguns would have been made on the road camp by infuriated citizens who believed that the store had been robbed and then set on fire by the negro members of the road workers' camp.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.
Copyright © 2010 The Cliffside Historical Society