Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 19, Part III

By Holice and Debbie

The President, James R. Whitney, being absent, on motion of Mr. Townsend, Mr. Ingraham was called to the chair. The following message was received from his honor the mayor:

Mayor's Office, New York, December 17, 1835. Gentlemen of the Common Council: I have requested your meeting this afternoon for the purpose of taking such measures as you may deem necessary for the protection of the immense amount of property exposed to the dreadful conflagration of last night. I propose that the watch be doubled, which will give about three hundred additional guard, and that the mayor accept the volunteer aid of one thousand citizens, together amounting to thirteen hundred.

I deem it essential that the property now exposed should be protected as far as  practicable. So large a number of citizens in the streets would be likely to notice any appearance of fire, and would doubtless in case of need, be prepared to aid the firemen in the discharge of their arduous duties.

I need not refer to the occurrence of last night, and to the valuable services rendered by our citizens, but I feel it my duty to acknowledge the aid furnished by Commodore Ridgely and the active personal service of Captain Mix, Lieutenant Nicholas, and the officers, seamen and marines under their command. Our acknowledgments are also due to Lieutenant Temple, of the Untied States Artillery, and to Geo. Swift.

In conclusion I would suggest to your consideration the propriety of inviting a meeting of the citizens to consider the emergency in which our business community is placed, and to devise measures as may be proper for remedying, as far as possible, the effect of the serious calamity by which our city ha been visited. If it be the desire of the Common Council, I will, under you authority, invite the citizens to meet at such time and place as may appear to be expedient.

After reading the above message, the chairman offered the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted, and sent to the Board of Aldermen for concurrence:

By Mr. Ingraham--Resolved. That during the present emergency his honor the Mayor be invested with full power to employ such additional aid, and either to the police watch, or firemen, as in his judgment shall be necessary, and that this Common Council will recognize all engagements which he may think proper to make for the protection of the city from fires, and guarding the property of the citizens, and that the Comptroller pay the necessary expenses that may be incurred thereby.

Resolved. That his honor the Mayor be requested to call a meeting of the citizens at such time and place as to him may appear expedient, to devise such measures as may be proper for remedying the effects of the serious calamity with which this city has been visited, and from preventing any further extension of the same.  Mr. Cleavland offered the following resolution: 

Resolved. (If the Board of Aldermen concur) that a special committee of five members from each board be appointed to institute an inquiry into the cause or causes originating the destructive conflagration in the First Ward, on the night of the sixteenth instant, with power to conduct such inquiry in any manner which to said committee shall seem judicious, and to report the result of their investigations to the Common Council Committee on the part of the Board of Assistants, and that Assistant Aldermen Cleavland, Jordan, Clark, Stewart, and Townsend, be the committee on the part of this board. The resolution was sent to the Board of Aldermen for concurrence.

Mr. Brady offered the following resolution:

Resolved. (If the Board of Aldermen concur) That suitable apartment in the City Hall, or other public buildings, be offered to the postmaster of this city, for the accommodation of the post-office, until the general government shall make arrangements therefore. Adopted unanimously and sent to the other Board for concurrence.

Mr. Clark offered the following resolution:

Resolved. (If the Board of Aldermen concur herein) That the Mayor of this city be requested to apply forthwith to the proper department of the Government of the United States, and respectively request said government to extend every possible facility to all the Banks in this city, and especially by loaning to said banks a large portion of the surplus revenue of the United States, and affording relief tot he citizens who have sustained loss by the late fire in this city.

At the suggestion of the chairman, the above resolution was amended by adding, after the word "requested," the words, "in connection with the presidents of the Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce." The resolution thus amended was adopted unanimously, and sent to the Board of Aldermen for concurrence.

The resolutions of Mr. Ingraham were sent back from the Board of Aldermen with an amendment, by adding the word "military" to the other classes of citizens to employ, and the amendment was concurred in.

The resolution of Mr. Brady was received from the Board of Aldermen with the following additional resolution, which was concurred in:

Resolved.  That a committee of three be appointed on the part of this Board with the powers to carry the above resolution into effect.

Aldermen Delamater, Banks, and Stilwell were appointed the committee. The resolution of Mr. Cleavland was received from the Board of Aldermen, that Board having concurred in said resolution, and appointed Aldermen Benson, Taylor, Nixon, and Lovett as their part of the committee.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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March 2001

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