Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 32, Part VI

By Holice and Debbie

AUGUSTUS T. ANDERSON has certainly had a varied fire existence. Born in New York City in 1829, he joined Phoenix Hook and Ladder company No. 3 September 21, 1847, where he served two years; resigned; joined Niagara Engine Company No. 4; resigned; returned to Hook and ladder No. 3; served a year; resigned; and immediately after organized Waverly Engine Company No. 23; was elected foreman; served one year; resigned; and again was at work organizing. At this time an event occurred that has no parallel in the history of company organizations: the petition for a new company was presented and passed by the board of aldermen; taken to the Board of Assistant aldermen, passed there; taken to and signed by the mayor and in twenty minutes' time from its first presentation, until the mayor's pen was raised from the official document, "Harry Howard: Hose company No. 55 became part and parcel of the new York Fire Department. Mr. Anderson was elected foreman of No. 55, and remained with the company three years, when he was forced to resign by removal to a distant part of the city. in his new location he was elected an honorary member of Valley Forge Engine Company No. 46. At a later date he became a member of the Exempt Engine Company under Zophar Mills, Mr. Anderson is a member of the Veteran Firemen's association.

TIMOTHY J. CREEDEN was a member of Hook and Ladder Company No. 4. He was severely injured during his service by falling under the wheels of Engine Company No. 31. When the tocsin of war sounded in 1861 about one-half of the members of No. 4 responded. Mr. Creeden was an Irishman, whose family had suffered for this loyalty to the "Green Flag." On April 17, 1861, he enlisted in the Second Regiment, N. Y. S. M., and served until June 15, 1864. The title of the regiment was changed to the eight-second New York Volunteers. The boys never accepted the alteration, but remained faithful to the "Old Second." During Mr. Creeden's service he rose to the position of first sergeant, and was recommended for promotion as first lieutenant. Sergeant Creeden was present in twenty-three engagements, escaping without a scratch in twenty-two of them. At the battle at Bristow's Station, a minie ball entered Creeden's left shoulder, passed over the shoulder blade, and came out at his back. At this late day the end of a finer can be inserted where the bullet entered. Mr. Creeden has been on the police force for twenty-two years, and is now sergeant at the Tenth precinct, in Eldridge Street. He is a fine specimen of a man, of medium height, erect, vigilant and courteous.

JOHN H. FORMAN joined Peterson Engine Company No. 15 in 1843, when Nicholas F. Wilson, who was afterwards assistant engineer, was foreman. He was an active member, and was elected assistant foreman when John J. Tindale was foreman. Mr. Tindale in later years was chosen president of the Fire Department. About 1850 he became a member of Lafayette Engine Company No. 19, and was elected foreman of the company in 1851; he resigned, and in 1853 was elected an assistant engineer, which office he also resigned, after a brief term of service. Later he organized Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 9. William Tapper, of Lexington engine Company No. 7 was chosen the first foreman of Hook and Ladder company No. 9. Mr. Forman was afterwards elected foreman, in which office he served nine years. he has been a fire insurance surveyor for nearly a quarter of a century, but notwithstanding, found time to become a member of the Olympic Club, which is quartered down on "Long Island's seagrit shore," and numbers among its members many who were connected with the Volunteer Fire Department, among them, Daniel D. Conover, foreman of Amity Hose Company No. 38, and Richard P. Moore, foreman of Engine Company No. 42. Of course, John was not a "silent" member. His early experience in the United States Navy enabled him to see through the schemes of the gallant tars of the Olympic who discussed nautical questions, sliced the main brace, and manned the fleet, and he always kept his weather eye open for any tricks they attempted play upon old sailors, leaving the marines to look out for themselves. Mr. Forman resides in Harlem, is still a surveyor, and a member of the Veteran Firemen's Association.

Thje following is from the Firemen's Journal of October 22, 1853:

A Presentation.--On Thursday evening, thirteenth instant, Friendship Hook and Ladder Company No. 12, presented to Mr. John H. Forman, assistant engineer, an elegant fire-cap. The presentation took place at the saloon of Messrs. Slowey and Sickles, corner of Grand and Essex Streets. The cap was presented in behalf of the company by J. B. Leverich. The speeches were brief, but to the point, and the party partook of an oyster supper, after which many sentiments were drank, and the party enjoyed themselves finely until an alarm of fire put an end to the festivities. The cap has one hundred and twenty-eight cones, and was manufactured by H. T. Gratacap, and is a beautiful piece of workmanship. It has a silver plate with the following inscription:

"Presented to John H. Forman, by the members of Friendship Hook and Ladder
Company No. 12, October 14, 1853."

JOSEPH W. WALSH joined the department August 8, 1840, and was appointed to Putman Hose Company No. 31. He served with 31 Hose for two and a half years, and after that with Excelsior Engine Company No. 2, and finished his time with that company, leaving the department in 1856. He next connected himself with Fire patrol No. 1, the only one in the city at the time, and under command of Henry Flender, who was captain. He remained with the Patrol for sixteen years, serving with Captain Flender, Franklin Waterbury, John Cornwell, Joseph W. Stanford, John Slowey, and Abram Hull, the present superintendent. Mr. Walsh is at present Surveyor of the Williamsburg Fire Insurance Company, a position he has held for the last fifteen years. He is also a life member of the Exempt Firemen's Association.

WILLIAM H. WICKHAM was born on Long Island in 1833. On the paternal side, the Wickhams date back their residence in New York to the early days when the Dutch residents emigrated from the neighborhood of the "Battery," and settled where the Ninth Ward is now located, otherwise Greenwich Village. On the maternal side his ancestors were the first settlers of Long Island. William H. joined Mutual Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 in 1850. Charles E. Gildersleve, Andrew Schenck, "Pony" Farnham, William H. Wickham, and a few others, aroused the old company from the Rip Van Winkle slumber in which it had been indulging. Their efforts changed No. 1 from a condition of "no good" to a state of eminent usefulness. There was not a truck company in the city that performed better duty than Mutual No. 1. After the new blood was infused in 1854, Mr. Wickham resigned, and organized Baxter Hook and Ladder Company No. 15, located in Frankfort Street, between West Broadway and Hudson Street. He was elected foreman and representative for several years. In 1858 he was elected secretary, in 1859 vice-president, and in 1960-'61 president of the New York Fire Department. In 1874 Mr. Wickham received the Democratic nomination for mayor; was elected by a large majority; served during the years 1875-'76, winning praise from all classes for the faithful and honest performance of his duties. Mr. Wickham is not president of the "New York Arcade Railway." He expects to beautify and benefit the city by the completion of his great project.

BENJAMIN L. GUOIN performed his first service in 1826 with engine Company No. 15, and subsequently served three years with Hose company No. 1. For four years he filled the responsible post of fire warden. When Chief Engineer Gulick was appointed in 1831 Mr. Guion was a member of the committee appointed to purchase a silver trumpet, to be presented to the chief on behalf of the department. While serving as a fire warden, Mr. Guion rendered services of incalculable value at a fire at Houston and Second Streets in 1836. The fire was almost under control when news arrived that Chief Gulick, against whom charges were pending in the Common Council, had been removed from office. The moment the intelligence reached the chief he withdrew from the scene, after briefly announcing to his men that he was no longer their commander, and went to his office at Canal Street and Broadway. At once all order was at an end. At the most critical moment, Mr. Guion, realizing that something must be done to arrest a terrible catastrophe, hired a conveyance, and hurried to the chief's office. His entreaties, joined to those of Carlisle Norwood, at last prevailed, and the chief hurried back to the scene of action, which fire, but for Mr. Guion's eloquent entreaties, would soon have spread beyond all bounds.

DANIEL PATTERSON, a native of new York City, was born in 1837, and was a volunteer with Live Oak Engine Company No. 44 for nine years; became a member of the company in 1859; served until the memorable month of March, 1865, when Volunteer organization ceased to exist; was elected member of Assembly for two terms, 1877 and 1878. He is a member of both the Volunteer and Veteran Firemen's Associations. During the rebellion he was a member of the Eighth Regiment, and served with the regiment in the field. He is a member of Dahlgren Post No. 113. In the early days of baseball excitement, he was a prominent member of the celebrated Mutual Club, an expert at the game, and considers himself one of the fathers of the diamond field. Mr. Patterson is now proprietor of the Oriental House, at Grand and Ludlow Streets. This house has a curious political history. Before, and during Jackson's time, it was the great Democratic headquarters for the east side of the city. A tall Liberty pole stood in front of the door, and a portrait of the gallant general was the sign that indicated the political pulse of the frequenters of the old inn. That lasted until 1853, when the place was captured by the Native American (Know Nothings), and remained in their hands until 1875, when the Republicans stormed and carried the fortification and held possession for ten years. Mr. Patterson became lessee, and it is again the rallying point for the unterrified Democracy.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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