Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 34, Part III

By Holice and Debbie

In the early part of the next year, or to be more particular, on February 5, 1834, the company was reorganized as Chelsea Engine Company No. 16 by Chas. H. Haswell, who was the first foreman, and others, as a "silkstocking" company and located on Twenty-first Street just below Eighth Avenue in a little frame building. During the Gulick troubles this company, like many others, sent their engines to the Corporation Yard, and when matters were made serene for the firemen, the company reorganized as Croton Engine company No. 16, with John P. Teale as foreman, George Styles, from 23 Engine, as assistant, Jacob Reise, Philip Ecker, and James McCully; taking the old house as their location. They afterwards enrolled a number of 34 Engine men, among whom was Depeyster (Spice) Hopper, whom they elected foreman. They soon got in trouble, however, and were disbanded on May 6, 1841.

On May 10, 1842, the company was reorganized, the location having been for some time at 152 West Twentieth Street ina house built for them, and again commenced doing duty. They were more fortunate this time, and were free from any serious trouble for ten years. Moses Jackson was the foreman for several years, being elected an assistant engineer in 1851. Stephen Mitchell succeeded him in the foremanship. About this time the company got into hot water again, several companies, among whom were 34, 24, and 46 Engines being bitter rivals. On one occasion some of 16's members visited the house of 46 Engine Company and borrowed their engine for a little run. They got her to Bond Street, where the engine was broken. The authorities thinking that 16 had carried the joke too far (from Twenty-fifth Street to Bond Street), disbanded the company on September 18, 1852.

On October 20, 1852, the company was again organized. This time under Mark R. Thomas as foreman and James Gregory as assistant, taking the location 165 West Twentieth Street. They did not run quite two years, for they ran foul of their old rivals, 46 Engine, and were again disbanded June 13, 1854, this time for good, as the next 26 Engine Company was organized September 29, 1854, in the lower districts, being first located at 126 West Broadway under the name of Gotham. Edward Beadle was the foreman, and Corra Osborne assistant. Thomas Flender, an old fireman and afterwards fire commissioner, was one of the organizers, as were Thomas Roe, David Decker, and Silas G. Butler. In 1857 the company elected Thomas Roe foreman, changed the name of the company to Mohawk and bought a new engine, which was placed on exhibition at the Crystal Palace and destroyed by the burning of that building October 5, 1858.

Anthony Carracciolo, one of the members of this company, was killed May 8, 1855, by being crushed between the front wheel of the engine and a heavy cart. Thomas Roe was elected an assistant engineer in 1860, and John J. Glass was elected as foreman to succeed him, and the company moved to their new house at 7 North Moore Street, receiving at the same time a new first class double deck, Jeffers engine. The company was than placed in charge of the piano engine formerly used by Engine Company No. 2, and afterwards the engine which 13 had been running. Edward Byrnes (brother of Inspector Thomas Byrnes) was elected foremen in 1860. He went to the war in 1861, as captain of Company A of Ellsworth Zouaves. He was succeeded in the foremanship by Henry Webb, who took the engine to Fortress Monroe. Then came Walter J. Young, Jr., who held the office of foreman for several terms, being the last foreman of the company.

Sixteen members of his company enlisted during the war of the rebellion, John J. Giles, a lieutenant in the Second Fire Zouaves, being killed at the battle of Williamsburg, Va., and Andrew Nesbit, Jr., being killed at the naval fight at Hampton Roads, he being at the time an engineer on the gunboat "Whitehall." His remains were brought to this city and buried with honors by the Fire Department.

The company went out of service in 1865.

No. 17.-- Scott-Mutual. -- Archibald Kerley, in behalf of himself and neighbors residing in Cherry Street, petitioned the Common council in December, 1787, setting forth that they had purchased a fire engine which they were willing to appropriate to the public use, and to erect a house and furnish a piece of ground therefore, and praying the board to accept their propositions and appoint a proper number of men to take charge of the same. The petition was granted, and the engineer directed to report the names of ten men in accordance with the petition. At a meeting held on January 12, 1788, the engineer presented the following names to comprise the new company: Archibald Kerley, Theophilus Beekman, Peter Bogert, Peter R. Kissam, John Collet, Samuel Ackerly, Andrew Morris, William Fosbrook, Francis Jans and Robert Gosman.

East River was organized February 13, 1852, located at 38 Mangin Street, and after 1858 at 7 Goerck Street. Went out of service in 1865. The company was organized through the efforts of Wm. P. McCormack, John Gunson, and C. H. Reynolds and several others, after a large fire which had occurred in the neighborhood. Carson was then chief engineer, and the company was known as an anti-Carson one. They did duty in the Sixth and Seventh districts. Chief Carson being opposed to the company, he had them transferred to do duty in the Fifth and Sixth Districts, but, owing to the efforts of William P. McCormack, the Common Council passed a resolution causing them to do duty in the Sixth and Seventh Districts, thus obtaining a victory over Carson. The foremen were as follows, serving in the order named: William P. McCormack, John Gunson, Christopher H. Reynolds, Charles Doane, Patrick F. Russell, Joseph Sellick, Stewart Carson, and Christopher H. Reynolds (his second term). Mr. Reynolds joined the New Department as foreman of Hook and Ladder 11, and in 1870 was made chief of the Second Battalion. After twenty years' service he was relieved from duty.

No. 18. -- Union ("Shad-Belly"). -- Union ("Dry Bones"). -- Atlantic. -- Mr. N. Kelsey in 1787, in behalf of himself and his neighbors, made a proposal to build an engine house and to provide ground for it. The site was in Water Street, near Fulton, and the company so referred to is believed to have become No. 18. Be this as it may, the authentic records show that "Union" Engine Company No. 18 was organized on April 30, 1792, and was located in 1796 on the hill at John Street, near Pearl Street. Its first members were: Abraham Franklin, foreman; William Bowne, assistant; Nathaniel Hawxhurst, Thomas Demilt, Alexander Mowat, John Vernon, John Mowat, Jr., Ezek white, James Hawxhurst, Richard Seaman, Robert Wardel, Walter Bowne, Richard Hallett, George Fox, peter Talman, Albert Ryckman, Isaac Sharpless, Daniel Hawxhurst, James Harvey, Orange Webb, Robert Mott, Alexander Masterson, Christopher Lot, and James Parson, Jr. In 1813 its location was changed to No. 228 Water Street, and later to Firemen's Hall in Fulton Street. The company was disbanded in 1828, and the engine was sent to the Ninth Ward, and stored there ina stable in Cornelia Street, between Bleecker and Fourth Streets. On August 6, 1829, a company was organized, resuming the old name and number, namely, "Union No. 18," and was located at the junction of Waverly Place and Christopher Street on the ground now occupied by the Northern Dispensary. While the company was down town it was nicknamed the "Shad-Belly"; but upon the reorganization, this name was dropped, for the more suggestive one of "Dry bones," in consonance with the boast of the members that their engine had thus far never been "washed."

In 1831 another change of base was made to No. 132 Amity Street, near sixth Avenue, to a new house built for the company, where it remained until 1846, when it was again disbanded, on account of a difficulty with Hook and Ladder No. 3, on the same block, the members of which were "a split" from the original No. 18m and with whom it seemed to be difficult to establish friendly relations after the separation. About 1836 Henry Wilson was foreman, William McClelland, assistant, and among the members were Charles W. Cornell, Nelson D. Thayer, John Kettleman, Martin B. Wallace, William H. Wilson, William E. Noble, David J. Chatfield, and John Youman.

Again the company was reorganized on March 2, 1852, under the name of "Atlantic" Engine Company No. 18, and was located at No. 421 East Tenth Street. For the third time it was disbanded on December 27, 1854.

Another reorganization under the name of "Union," took place on September 3, 1856, and the location was at Thirty-eighth Street and Broadway. James Connelly was foreman. In 1859 the company removed to a house built for it at 78 West Fortieth Street, where she remained until the general mustering out of the Department in September, 1865.

The services rendered by this company during its last term of existence were of such a satisfactory nature as to almost obliterate the disagreeable experiences and unpleasant reminiscences of former days. Looking over the company's rolls, we find men among their members who were prominent in their day, and many of whom became leading citizens at later times. For instance: John R. Willis, Townsend Cox, Samuel Leggett, John L. Embree, Effingham L. Embree, and Cornelius W. Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence being the fir st mayor of New York elected by the people. Again in 1829 Samuel J. Gillespie, foreman, Sylvester H. Jones, Peter Westervelt and John Westervelt, Azel McCannon, and Jacob N. Bates.

The Harrington Guards emanated from this company in 1849.

No. 19. -- Lafayette. -- Was organized on June 29, 1792, and was located in Hester Street near Bowery Lane. In 1813 she lay in First (Christie) Street; from 1823 to 1832 at Eldridge and Division Street; in 1834 in Elizabeth Street, near Grand, and after 1844 at 199 Christie Street. Among the first names on the roll in 1793 are those of James Bartine, George Brown, W. A. Hardenbrook, Smith Hicks, John Keyser, David Marsh, William Messerre, William Perrin, Cornelius Tier and Isaac Varian, Junior. At other times there were Thomas White, Zeno Weeks, 1793; John Whitehead, 1796; Simon Demarest, 1793; George T. Dominick, 1794; Thomas Johnson, 1796; John Pell, 1794; Joseph Owen Bogart, 1798; Albert Kennard, 1799; Robert Leaman, 1797; William D. Vermilyea, 1797; Jacob Freeman, 1800; Thomas Bashford, 1805; James Brown, Josiah Cox, George Hyde, Jacob Lobb, Henry Lownsbury, John Ricard, and William Ryan, 1800; Thomas Austin, 1807; John Enikis, 1806; Andrew Pessenger, resigned 1807; Oliver Hicks, 1807; Leonard Kline, resigned 1807; Charles Nash, Hyer Somerindyke, Richard Van Voorhis, Jacob Weeks, 1807; Edmund Fisher, George Aaron Fritz, Michael Crawbuck, 1809; Elnathan Underhill, 1808; Thomas Winship, 1809; Dennis Croft, 1810; William Doughty, 1810; Thomas Holmes,1811; Thomas Truslow, George Armpits, Abraham Fisher, Thomas Foster, George F. Harper, Joseph Hyde, James Reynolds, Jacob Van Pelt, 1812; and Henry Willett, 1812; William Matthews and Henry Pessenger, 1815.

On December 16, 1793, the company petitioned the Common council for an increase of two members, on the ground that "from the remote situation of the said engine from the body of the city they find it difficult to transport the engine." The petition was granted.

In 1823 we find the company with twenty-six men on the roll. In later year there belonged to No. 19, Philip E. Heiser, broker, 1850; George R. Nicholl, attorney, 1850; Robert A. Coffin, who kept a hotel in Division Street in 1850; Isaac B. Ostrander, accountant, 1850; John B. Miller, merchant of 22 Stanton Street, 1852; Jesse Rodman, merchant of 59 Hester Street, 1852. The company was disbanded in 1865.

No. 20. -- Washington. -- this company was organized on June 25, 1792, and first located in Greenwich Street, at what used to be called the new Albany Pier. Among its first members were the following: Jacob Abrams, William Barton, Peter Black, Daniel Burges, John Dawson, John Ellsworth, Abraham Labagh, Michael Lavrere, William Post, Moses Roff, Thomas Smith, Isaac J. Stagg, Isaac Torboss, Paul Vandewater, Peter Van Houten, George Walgrave, Joseph Webb, George Smith, William Alburtis, Alexander Campbell, Abraham Rich, Henry Ridabock, Arthur Smith, Jacob Berry, Amaziah Dusenburg, John Evans, Benjamin Everston, Anthony Glean, Elias Hatfield. Also Edmund Livingston, Thomas Rich, Thomas Taylor, Joseph Thompson, Cornell Compton, David Covert, John Day, John Evans, Isaac Little, Geo. Lord, Geo. Smith, Paul Vandevoort, Stephen Callow, John Disbrow, Nevington Greenard, Henry J. Kip, John J. Labagh, David Pullis, John Webb, Jacob Crigier, Louis Decker, Benjamin J. Hendrickson, Gilbert B. Mott, Luke Torboss, William J. Van Allen, Peter Aymar, Peter Ely, William Timpson, William Guest, William McKinney, Samuel Ward, Garrett Cosine, and Allen Frost, Thomas Chisholm, Jac. Cram, Reuben Knapp, Robert Gordon, Charles O'Neil, Samuel G. Pearsall and John M. Reed, Wm. Brown, Thomas Rose, Jacob Day, Thomas Joralemon, Richard Ryan, Robert Stewart, John Tallman, Henry Banker, Peter Bushes, William Cooper, and Henry Buckle, William Torboss, William Bull, William Butler, William Blakely, James Durbrow, John Guest, Peter Aymar, Thomas Ronalds, Alex. Wiley, Thos. Hopper, Peter Wilson, Thos. Kidney, B. Sanford, Robert Wiley.

In 1813 the company was located "at the Albany Basin;" in 1832, at 126 Cedar Street; in 1846, at 3 Temple Street; after 1861, at 100 Cedar Street. The company was disbanded in 1865.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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