Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 23, Part III

By Holice and Debbie


Then Engine No. 46 drawn by four horses with a car.

Miniature No. 33, drawn by one small pony.

No. 33, on a stage drawn by four horses, decorated with tri-colors.

No. 26, without a car, drawn by six horses, followed by members bearing miniature engine and other emblems.

No. 27, drawn by members and ornamented with American and tri-colored flags.

Lafayette Company No. 19, on a car superbly ornamented and drawn by four horses; members following bearing a banner on which was a well executed, full-length portrait of General Lafayette.

No. 14, decorated with flags and drawn by four white horses led by negroes in Turkish costume and followed by members.

Lafayette Company No. 7, drawn by two horses, the company displaying a banner on which was an excellent figure of General Lafayette, as in his youth, on horseback.

Hook and Ladder Truck No. 5, drawn by four horses.

Engine No. 13, ornamented with flags, etc., and drawn by four gray horses led by negroes in Arabian style.

No. 20 drawn by members.

No. 29, also drawn by members, the hose covered with a tri-colored case.

Nos. 41 and 44, on separate cars, ornamented as others previously described, and each drawn by four horses which were driven by members in a masterly style.

No. 11, drawn by members in full working dress, exhibiting a striking contrast to their precursors in the line which elicited the most enthusiastic plaudits from the multitude.

The celebration of the completion of the Croton Aqueduct on October 14, 1842, is a memorable page in the history of New York. Nothing contributed so much to help with the gallant firemen in their fights with the flames, and none could better appreciate the benefits derivable from this great work than the fire laddies. They felt that the odds against them in their battle with the old enemy were very considerably reduced. The weather on the day of the celebration was magnificent. A brilliant sun, a sky veiled but not clouded, and a breezy atmosphere were in harmony with the occasion and with the joyousness of the multitudinous population crowded into the city from all surrounding regions to witness and share in the grand jubilee. At sunrise one hundred guns were fired, the bells of all the churches and public places were rung, and in less than an hour the streets wre alive with moving masses. The first ceremony of the morning was the presentation of the banner to the Fire Department. C. B. Thompson, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Fire and Water, addressing the Mayor on the occasion, said:

The front (of the banner) represents the Fire Department as having achieved a victory over the devouring element, receiving the blessings and thanks of the widow and her orphans for the protection and benefits derived from it--beautiful emblems of power and beneficence, helplessness, and gratitude. They are attended by a hero of the flames. Erect above all stands old Father Neptune, evidently delighted with the victory he has accomplished over his ancient enemy, the demon of fire, by the aid of his skillful and intrepid allies, the firemen of New York. On the other side of the banner the queen of Cities, represented by a female wearing a crown--the origin of the aqueduct. On the lower part of the border surrounding the picture are emblazoned the arms of the city of New York in basso relievo. The silk on which the design is portrayed measures nine and one-half by seven and one-half feet. The color is rich mazarine blue; the fringe, tassels, and cord are amber and crimson. The banner is surmounted and greatly adorned by three separate groups of carving--the centre consisting of a fireman's cap as a base, with a trumpet affixed to the top, on which stands a large eagle with extended wings, measuring three and a-half feet from tip to tip. At each end are trophies, composed of hook and ladder, torch, trumpet, pipe and axes.

In the course of the speech which the mayor made in reply, his honor said that the banner he was deputed to present was a testimonial from the Common Council of the high appreciation in which they held the services rendered by the Fire Department. He continued:

The Fire Department was organized on the twentieth of March, 1798, from which period to the present time, by its constant vigilance and unceasing and disinterested efforts, the property of our citizens has been protected. Blended with the important services you have thus rendered, you have also performed the important functions of a charitable institution, having for its object the relief of the widows and orphans of your deceased associates; the benefits thus conferred by the Department have been as extensive as their intentions were praiseworthy. This occasion, the celebration of the arrival of the Croton Water in our city, is happily selected for the presentation of this banner, as it is to be hoped that among the important benefits to result from that work, not the least will be to relieve your Department of a great proportion of its dangerous and arduous duties. The emblem upon this standard are indicative of the foresight and energy of our citizens, and of the services and humanity of the Fire Department.

Mr. Adam Pentz, President of the Fire Department, made a suitable reply, and among other things, he said:

While some have looked merely to the introduction of pure and wholesome water into this city as being an indispensable requisite of public health nd others regarding the distance from which it has been brought and the obstacles overcome as constituting an enduring monument of the enterprise and public spirit of our citizens, the firemen of the city, while participating in the feeling of both these classes, yet with that devotion to their duties by which they have ever been distinguished, rejoice chiefly because tht great work, in giving increased efficacy to their exertions, afford additional security to the property of their fellow citizens. It is not, perhaps, too much to say that nearly all the great fires by which large portions of our city have been devastated might have been easily arrested, had the Department possessed the same facilities for obtaining an abundant supply of water, as that which we now enjoy from the introduction of the Croton.

The magnificent procession was composed of ten divisions. The Fire Department composed the Fourth division under the direction of Brigadier-General Pentz, assisted by Mr. John T. Dodge and Mr. George C. Ring, aids to the Grand marshal (General Gilbert Hopkins). Never had the Department made a finer appearance and never did it receive so great an ovation from the people as on this glorious day. The procession was two hours and ten minutes passing a given point. The following was the order of the Fire Department:

At the head of the procession was a band of music brought from Philadelphia by the Neptune Hose Company of that city.

Fairmount engine Company, of Philadelphia, numbering thirty-seven men, dressed in the uniform of the Philadelphia firemen, viz., glazed hats, drab firecoats, and pants, and oilcloth capes over the shoulders.

Neptune Hose Company, of Philadelphia, fifty-six men, in black fire dress, drawing splendid four-wheeled hose carriages, silver-mounted.

Engine Company No. 3, of Hudson, with their engine, drawn by thirty-two men, and also some members of engine Company No. 8, of Albany.

Engine Company No. 1, of Poughkeepsie, engine drawn by thirty-five men.

The Fire Department of Newark and New Jersey, consisting of engineers, firemen, and assistants, bearing the banner of Newark Fire Department. Representatives from the Hook and Ladder and engine Companies in full uniform, but without apparatus. The men from Newark numbered one hundred and fifty. The New Jersey contingent consisted of Fire Engine No. 1 and 2, each drawn by about forty men in uniform.

The Fire Department of Williamsburg, about one hundred and fifty men.

The Fire Department of Brooklyn, as follows:

Washington Engine Company No. 1, engine drawn by eighty men, dressed in dark trousers, red shirts, and fatigue caps. Neptune Engine Company No. 2, seventy-four men. Eagle Company No. 4, sixty men. Constitution Engine Company No. 7, one hundred and twenty-five men. American Engine Company No. 9, thirty-nine men. Atlantic Hose and Relief Company, with four-wheeled hose carriage, bearing one thousand feet of hose and twenty-five buckets, thirty men in citizens' dress. Clinton Hook and ladder Company No. 2, fifty-six men, in citizens' dress.


Cornelius V. Anderson, Grand marshal.

Assistant Marshals:

W. Wells Wilson Dewitt C. Mott

John B. Miller Samuel L. Liscomb

George Kerr Samuel Waddell

Alfred Carson George H. Ramppen

Charles Forrester Zophar Mills Philip B. White Joseph W. Long

Owen W. Brennan John T. Rollins

John Rese.

The Grand and Assistant Marshals were dressed in the uniform of the engineers of the Fire Department, viz., white fire caps, blue coats and trousers. The line was formed in Hudson Street and extended from Christopher to Reade Street. The procession moved at nine a.m. down Hudson to Charles Street, to Broadway, and to the Battery in the following order:


Banner of the New York Fire Department borne on a stage, richly carpeted and festooned and drawn by four white horses, elegantly caparisoned, and each horse led by a black groom in Turkish dress. The banner was supported by the Trustees of the Department. It was designed and executed by Allen smith, Jr., of New York. The silk on which the fine design was portrayed measured nine and a-half by seven and a-half feet. Its color was a rich mazarine blue. The fringe, tassels, and cord were crimson and amber. The banner was presented to the Fire Department on the morning of the procession by Mayor Robert H. Morris, and was received by the President, Adam P. Pentz.

The Grand Marshal and two aids and officers of the Fire Department Fund. The Exempt Firemen.

Hudson Fire Engine Company No. 1, drawn by one hundred and twenty-nine members. A small engine was drawn by four boys.

Eagle Hose Company No. 1, drawn by one hundred and forty men. Four wheeled hose carriage painted black and gold.

Mutual Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. Truck drawn by forty men in citizens' dress, dark throughout. A handsome banner.

Chatham Fire Engine Company No. 2. On the back of the engine a portrait of James Wallack as Rolla. Engine drawn by thirty-eight men in uniform. Banner representing the burning of the Bowery Theater.

Niagara Hose Company No. 2. Two-wheeled Hose Carriage, drawn by ten men in uniform.

Forest Engine Company No. 3. Engine drawn by thirty-two men in uniform. Banner borne by six lads in uniform.

Independence Hose Company No. 3. Two-wheeled hose carriage drawn by forty uniformed men.

Lafayette Hose Company No. 4. Two-wheeled hose carriage drawn by fifteen men in uniform.

Protection Fire engine Company No. 5. Engine handsomely ornamented, and drawn by forty-six men in uniform. A miniature engine preceded, a fac-simile of the large, borne by eight boys.

New York Hose Company No. 5. Four-wheeled hose carriage, drawn by forty men in uniform. A gilded arch spray from the top of the reel surmounted by an eagle. A banner borne by a member and supported by two boys in fire dress.

Neptune Fire Engine Company No. 6. Engine drawn by forty men in uniform. A banner.

Croton Hose Company No. 6. Four-wheeled hose carriage, drawn by twenty-five men in uniform. Large banner representing the Croton Aqueduct. Small banner with the name and number of the company.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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