The following story appeared in The Ypsilanti Record of Thursday, January 3, 1918.
The Lee Newton farm, one and one half miles west of Sheldon, stocked jointly by Henry Newton, his brother, and operated by Henry Newton, was the scene of a most disastrous barn fire fire Friday morning shortly after 7 o’clock when the huge building and most of its contents was completely destroyed.
Explosion from a gasoline engine by which the milking machine in the dairy was operated, is the cause of the fire. Among the heaviest of the losses was six head of fine milk cows, a recently purchased International tractor, 52 loads of hay, 100 bushels of wheat, 250 bushels of oats, two gas engines lows drill corn planter manure spreader, milking machine and a quantity of corn in shock.
Difficulty arose in starting the engine for operating the milking machine. An overcharge of gasoline was put in, which caused an explosion which set fire from the exhaust at the northeast corner of the barn into a stack of corn fodder which stood about 10 feet distant. The fodder caught fire, the wind carried the blaze to the scale house a short distance away where hay was stored and sweeping under the doors set the hay on fire. From there the fire communicated to the barn.
Six head of cattle were saved and six burned. The horses at the north end of the barn were saved. A tool house, standing midway between the barn and house, was saved by a constant application of water, and the house was thus kept from catching.
The owner of the farm, Lee Newton is postmaster at Denton. The remaining stock and feed on the farm were sold at auction on Wednesday after hurried preparations. The barn and contents were insured, but the loss considerably exceeds the insurance.