Rosa Collum

The Courant American
Cartersville, Georgia
February 21, 1901, page 1
Transcribed by:  

Fatally Burned By Forest Fire.
White Woman Found In Woods With Clothing Burned Off.
Cries Attract People To Her.
Was Going Afoot From Aragon to Moore’s Mill and Stopping to Warm, Her Clothing Ignited.

A white woman was found in the woods in the Stamp Creek neighborhood, about seven miles from this city, on last Wednesday night, in a pitiable plight, her clothing having been burned from her body and her flesh roasted to a crisp, and in pain and delirium, alone in a charred forest with cutting winter winds intensifying the pain consequent to her contact with fire.

Mr. J. M. Knight was going for a doctor, about half past eight o’clock, when he heard screams in the woods, and being satisfied there was some one in distress and needing assistance, he went to their houses and got several of his neighbors to join him in making a search.  Among these was Mr. John Abernathy, who said he had heard screams for two hours but didn’t know what they meant.  Going some distance up a wooded hill from the Cartersville and Canton road in the direction in which the cries were heard, they found the woman after difficult search in the dark.  She was in a crouching position, and in her delirium and pain had rolled some distance down the hill, and was in a place where the woods had burned and among the charred brush.  Her discoverers made a light and went briskly about the work of rendering what aid they could to the unfortunate woman.  Her clothing was all burned away and her roasted flesh was cracked open in places.  Her fingers were in an immovably curved shape from the violent heat.  Clothing was provided for her and a sheet was procured and she was wrapped in it, but in attempting to carry her thus she complained of the awful pain, and a chair was procured in which she sat and was thus carried by her discoverers to the house used as a court house for Stamp Creek district.  A good bed was fixed for her there. The next day she was carried to the home of Mr. John Abernathy and at 2 o’clock at night she died.

The woman gave her name as Rosa Collum.  She said she had been at work at Aragon Mills, in Polk county, and was going to some relatives at Moore’s Mills, in Cherokee county.  As she had no money she was making the journey afoot.  Above Cartersville an empty coal wagon overtook her and the men in it offered her a ride which she accepted for a mile,  Proceeding again afoot, after traveling some distance, she saw a forest fire burning away from the road, and went up to it to get warm.  While standing near a blaze her clothing caught and she was unable to put them out.  Some believe that the woman caught fire while asleep, having laid down by a blaze in the leaves.

Two of her uncles came over from Moore’s Mill to see about her after they had heard of her misfortune.

She was buried at Stamp Creek by the county.


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