Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 34, Part IV

By Holice and Debbie

No. 21. -- Fulton. -- Fulton Engine Company No. 21, was organized in June, 1795, and was first located on Burling slip. After a short time it was removed to "Firemen's Hall" on Fulton Street, where Nos. 13, 18, and 24 were then housed. In 1802 Philip W. Engs joined the company, which held its meetings in what was known as "Crook's Tavern." In 1810 John Bedient was elected foreman and Brigham Howe assistant. In 1811 Mr. Bedient was re-elected, and J. H. Todd was elected assistant, and Philip W. Engs secretary. Among the members was William Colgate, the soap manufacturer. In this year the company was stationed at the North district meeting house in Duane Street. In December, 1815, the location was changed to Duane Market, on the same street. The foreman was then Thomas Whitechurch, carpenter, 142 Chambers Street; the assistant, James Young, cabinetmaker, 58 Reade Street, and the secretary, Albert Journeay, grocer, 64 Provost Street. In 1818 she was moved to Marketfield Street.

During the war of 1812 the company promptly tendered its services to do duty in case of an assault upon the city. In 1815 Philip W. Engs was elected foreman and re-elected from year to year up to and including 1820. In 1821 John a. Mitchell became foreman, and remained in command two years. During 1823 the company got into trouble for running on the sidewalk at the corner of Anthony and Chapel Streets. At this time Carlisle Norwood, J. K. Sylvester, J. B. Rich, Charles J. Howell, Thomas Thomas, F. w. Leeds, Samuel Low, William H. Earle, C. C. Pearsall. W. M. Vermilye and John J. Earle were members. In 1830 the members sold their old engine, which was shipped to Russia. They got a new machine which they boasted would beat anything in the Department. But they were humiliated, their engine being very often "washed," and the company began to diminish in numbers.

A split took place in No. 4, and some of their members ran with No. 21 for a while. At this time they lay ina frame building at the junction of Centre and Chatham, in front of where the Staats Zeitung building now stands. In 1834, owing to a dispute with Chief engineer Gulick at a fire in Pearl Street near Maiden Lane, the company threw up their apparatus. In 1835 the company was reorganized by some of the members of Nos. 11 and 13 Engines, Robert Walker, of No. 11, was made foreman of No. 21, and John T. Moore, of No. 13, was made assistant.

Three times within the month of January, 1831, attempts were made to set fire to the house of engine No. 21 in Tryon row, and the mayor offered a reward of one hundred dollars for the apprehension of the offenders.

From Tryon Row No. 21 went to New Street, and in 1826 they again resigned on account of the Gulick difficulty. Joseph E. Jackson, pawnbroker, was than a member, and he took the engine up to the house of No. 19 in Elizabeth Street. A new party was got together and reorganized a new company, running a hose cart. In 1837 they moved to Cedar Street, and in 1840 to Beaver Street, where they remained only a few days, thence going to the old house of No. 42 in John Street, where they stayed about three months, finally locating in Temple Street, near Liberty Street. In 1842 Michael Rupp became foreman; then came Robert Lota, next Charles Daly and James Torboss. In 1847 William Drew was elected foreman. In 1848 the company was located in Anthony Street, near Worth Street, on the south side of the old New York Hospital grounds alongside of Hose No. 25. Matthew T. Brennan was then foreman.

In 1850 we find on the roll Samuel C. Millbank, the brewer; John Boyd, soap-chandler, who died a few years ago, a very wealthy man; Joseph Keefe, on of the Matsell's detective force; James Leonard, and Luke C. Grimes, well known in social and political circles, and who for several years held the position of city librarian, was clerk of the court of Jefferson market, school trustee in the Eighth Ward, and is now one of the directors of the Volunteer Firemen's Association.

In 1852 Thomas W. Constantine was elected foreman, and was re-elected in 1853. In 1854 Charles Neary became foreman. In 1856 James Leonard was foreman. He served until 1858, when he was succeeded by James McCollough, who was twice re-elected. He had in his command P. Fitzgerald, Mortimer Sullivan, Bryan Gaughan, Edward Coppers, M. Tanneau, James Meehan, Patrick Feeney, the old City Hall bell ringer; John and William Conner, Thomas Bowlan, and the Banks Brothers. In 1861 Thomas Dunn was elected foreman, and in 1862 and 1863 Michael Fitzgerald was honored with that position. Patrick Grighan was the last foreman, and John McGowan the last man to join the company. On 1964 the company moved to Leonard Street into a new house, now occupied as a storehouse by the fire Department. The popular name of the company was the "White Ghost," which, originated with the failure of the new engine before referred to, which was designed to excel all others, but could not. The company was disbanded in 1865.

No. 22. -- Phenix. -- This company was organized in 1796 and located in a small frame building in George's (Market Street) Slip. Thomas Drake was the first foreman, and Jacob Carpenter, his assistant. The house was after wards replaced by a brick building for the use of the company, which was mostly composed of shipwrights and calkers, and who would turn out to an alarm with their hands and clothes full of tar they had been working in. The floor of the engine house was generally covered with a coating of tar tracked in by the members. James Scott was appointed an assistant engineer from this company in 1817, serving until 1822. When the company lay in the slip it was very strong in numbers, but in 1832, when William Ruck was foreman, it was removed to Hester Street, between Eldridge and Allen Streets, and a great number of its members left and joined Engine Company 33. Their new location was next to Engine Company 32.

The company did not thrive well after their removal to Hester Street, and in 1839 a majority of the company organized themselves into Phoenix Hose Company No. 22. Among the earlier members of this company were the following:

John Robbins, 1820; Thomas Megson, afterwards bell ringer 1824; Benjamin Fuller, 1825; Thomas Nourse, 1825; John Davis, 1826; George Monroe, 1826; Henry Bloodgood, 1827; Peter MacNamara, 1827; John Valentine, 1828; Joseph Monk, 1828; Simeon Abrahams, 1829; Henry Ruck, afterwards foreman, 1829; Peter Powless, 1829; Joseph H. Hobby, 1830; Gilbert G. Smith, 1830; John Davis, 1831; Sylvester S. Townsend, 1835; Samuel P. Townsend, 1835.

Protection Engine Company (Old Junk). -- Was organized June 25, 1840, and located in connection with Hook and Ladder Company No.1, in a building in chambers Street on the site of which now stands the Court House or general Sessions building. About 1849 or '50 the house on chambers and Centre Streets was build for engine 22, Hook and Ladder 1, and Hose 28. After the Big engine (Old Junk) was destroyed by an explosion of saltpetre at the fire corner of Broad Street and Exchange Place, a new engine was built for the company by James Smith. She was of the piano style, and the company ran her until about 1856, when she was sent to the shop of James Smith, in West Broadway, near Duane Street, for repairs. The shop was demolished by fire, and engine 22 and several other apparatus belonging to the city were destroyed. It was than that Torboss, of Essex Street, built the new crane-neck piano engine, which the company ran until replaced by a steamer, built by Jeffers of Pawtucket, R. I., in 1863, and continued to use until the organization of the present Department. Among the prominent members of the company were, besides those already mentioned, L. P. Murray, afterwards foreman of Hose 28; John Bennett, now of the Fifty-seventh Street Police Court; Timothy Waters, Patrick Nealis, Dan and Hugh Friel, David Freeman, of Fulton market, and Edward Hogan, now engineer of Engine 29, present Department.

No. 23. -- United States. -- After the fore at the New York Hospital in 1797, there being no fire company in that section of the city., the citizens of that locality organized United States Engine Company No. 23 with twenty-five members. Their engine was one of the old style of new York engines, and their house was on the hospital grounds, just north of the Broadway entrance gate to the hospital, about where the northwest corner of Thomas Street is now, or nearly opposite Pearl Street. Here they remained until 1826, when, the hospital authorities wishing to improve their grounds, the company was removed to Anthony (now Worth) street, just west of Broadway, being still on the grounds belonging to the hospital. They used the same engine until about the year 1834, when the company ordered a new one built, which they used until their disbandment--about 1849. The company had the reputation of being one of the most efficient and harmonious companies of those days. Peter R. Warner, ex-president of the North River Insurance Company, still living, hale and hearty, in West Twelfth Street, was also a member at that time. Among the earlier member were the following:

John L. Smith, 1820; John P. Bailey, afterwards foreman, 1824; John Ryker, Jr., afterwards assistant engineer and chief, 1824; John Westervelt, 1825; James Smith, 1826; Richard Ackerman, 1827; Frederick G, Sprigg, 1827; William Bleakley, 1827; Edward D. Cooper, 1828; John W. Stryker, 1828; Edgar Ryker, 1828; Daniel V. H., Bertholf, 1829; Samuel Waddell, 1829; afterwards foreman and assistant engineer; henry Valentine, 1830; Francis McKeon, 1830; Andrew S, Calder, 1831; Peter Thompson, 1831.

Waverly. -- On March 2, 1852, the company was reorganized, being located at No. 193 Twelfth Street, east of Broadway. At a regular monthly meeting held on December 4, 1854, Mr. James Cogan in the chair, and the following members present: McLaughlin, Coyle, Idemiller, Benner, Doran, McGinn, Sammon, and Walsh, it was moved and seconded "that we change the name from Waverly to United States." On consideration the motion was carried. After 1864 the location was changed to No. 186 East Fourteenth Street.

No. 24. -- Jackson. -- The company was organized in 1798, and had its headquarters at No. 2 Hook and Ladder House, Tryon Row, the company numbering thirty men. It was reorganized December 11, 183, with Peter Targee, foreman, Stone Street, First Ward; and Stephen Young, cabinetmaker, Broad Street, assistant foreman, and was succeeded by John Declew, confectioner, Nassau Street, who resigned May 22, 1820. Among the members were Ahasuerus Turk, grocer, corner Church and Duane Street, resigned March 18, 1822; Lawrence Meyer, measurer, Lumber Street, treasurer, resigned July 31, 1815.

At a meeting of the Common Council, October 11, 1802, the committee whom was referred the application o the members of Fire Company No. 24 reported that it would be proper to allow them the sum of five hundred and fifty dollars towards the purchase of a new engine that had been lately built by Mr. Hardenbrook, ordered that the said report be confirmed, and that the mayor be authorized to issue a warrant on the treasurer for the sum of five hundred and fifty dollars to be applied to that purpose accordingly, and that the alderman and assistant of the Seventh Ward be directed to report a proper place for the reception of the engine then used by the company with a view to the formation of a new company in that ward, and to recommend proper persons for the same. The old engine of company 24 was supposed to be good enough for the new company.

Among the names on the roll were:

Andrew M. Arcularius, time clerk and grocer in John Street, resigned September 15, 1815.

John Daddy, sailmaker, Vesey Street.

John Vanderberghs, carpenter, Thomas Street, time expired October 10, 1825.

Michael Funk, elected to company July 31, 1815; occupation, accountant, residence, 56 Fair Street.

John C. Hegeman, elected November 11, 1819, attorney-at-law, Beekman Street.

Stephen Bonner, father of Robert Bonner, was elected January, 1820, brass founder, Broome and Queen Streets, resigned September 7, 1829. 

The company was again reorganized on January 29, 1836, Was stationed at Seventeenth Street, west of Ninth Avenue, and went our of service in 1865.

No. 25. --Merchants'. -- Cataract. -- Merchants' was organized in 1801, was located at the Bridewell from 1832 to 1843 in Tryon Row. It was disbanded in September 24, 1839--"Cataract" was organized January 31, and located in a little frame building with a bell on it on the House of Refuge grounds at Bloomingdale road and Twenty-third Street, about opposite where the Fifth Avenue Hotel stands now, in the house formerly occupied by old 38 Engine Company. They afterwards moved to 1006 Broadway, and in 1850 again moved to 1146 Broadway. They commenced doing duty with a New York style of engine, and in 1851 procured a Carson Piano Engine, which was replaced by a Sickles Piano Engine in 1857, which the company used until they went out of service in 1865. Henry C. Dater was foreman in 1849, Geo. W. Varian followed in 1850, and resigned to become an assistant engineer; John Noakes succeeded him, and he was followed by Wm. Lamb, who retained the position for two years, and who was elected an assistant engineer in 1862. hotel stands now, in the house formerly occupied by old 3.

Lamb was followed by Hugh T. Powers, James J. Mooney (afterwards alderman), and Richard Flanagan. Henry Wilson was one of the last representatives of the company, and Daniel F. Tiemann one of the organizers and first foremen. During the great fire of 1845 the engine was stationed at the Bowling Green, where she took suction from the cistern there. In 1858, while Wm. Lamb was foreman, the company made an excursion to Newburgh, taking with them their new engine and being the guest of Washington Engine Company No. 4 of Newburgh. The company was composed mostly of mechanics and generally ran a full roll.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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