A Quaker Incendiary.
The quiet little Quaker settlement of Plattekill, Ulster county, just across the Orange county line, has been shocked by the voluntary public confession of a great crime committed some nine or ten years ago by one of the most devout members of the society.
Albert Birdsall is one of several brothers of that name, all of whom are Quakers. Samuel Birdsall, one of the brothers, is a totally blind Quaker preacher, his field of labor being the Plattekill settlement in which his brother Albert lives. Albert is probably thirty-six years of age, and has a wife and two children. About nine or ten years ago he had a place in or near the settlement, with a neat house upon it. He apparently lived an easy and happy life. One day about noon-time his house took fire and was burned to the ground. The building had been insured in the Lorillard Insurance Company of New York. The neighbors for miles around sent Albert and his family bedding and furniture. The insurance was paid and the affair passed out of the people’s minds.
A few days ago, Albert arose in a week-day meeting, and said that he had to free his mind of a secret—that he could not stand it any longer, it weighed so heavily upon him. The fire which had destroyed his house was not accidental. He had laid all the plans, and, while his family were preparing for dinner, he had struck the match. Since that day he had not prospered, and he did’nt think he could prosper until the burden was lifted from his conscience. His brothers had all prospered, and it worried him almost to death to see how nicely they got along, while everything he touched went dead against him. This he could not longer endure. Rather than keep the secret longer, he would give it to the world, and suffer the consequences, whatever they might be. As yet, there has been no action taken in the matter by the Quaker Society.