Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 35, Part II

By Holice and Debbie

Tompkins (second name). -- Was organized December 28, 1847, and located in Twenty-second Street near Second Avenue; was afterwards located temporarily ina stable on East Twenty-fifth Street between Second and Third Avenues. While located here a fire took place on the corner of Hester and Christie Streets, on May 9, 1854, for which a general alarm was struck, and which destroyed a whole block of buildings. At this fire Chief Alfred Carson order the company to give their supply stream to another engine company. The members refused to obey the order, and one of them, named Gay, assaulted the chief. For this they were disbanded.

North River was organized July 5, 1858m by B. F. Grant, William F. Searing, William McGrew, and others from Eureka Hose company No. 54, and ran an old engine from the yard until 1860, when it received a new piano style of engine which was used until the company commenced running a steamer in 1863. The company had a fight with 40 Engine Company in the City Hall Park. Charges were preferred against 40 Engine Company, and they were disbanded by the Board of Fire Commissioners. The company procured an injunction restraining the Board of fire commissioners from carrying their sentence into effect, and this led to the resignation of the entire board, with the exception of Henry Wilson, the retiring members being Nelson D. Thayer, Robert h. Ellis, and William Wright.

No. 31. -- Hope. -- Was organized in 1805, was located at Church and Leonard Streets, and after 1834 on chapel Street (now West Broadway) near Beach Street. The company was disbanded on august 5, 1846; was reorganized on July 16, 1847, by the members of Engine Company No. 3, (at No. 128 West Broadway), which number it assumed, and was again disbanded on September 121, 1854.

Adriatic. -- Peterson. -- Was organized February 24, 1857, by James L. and John B. Miller, Geo. A. Perry, Geo. R. Nicholl, Geo. and Martin Braitmayer, Howard E. Coates, Wm. Rainier, and other old foremen, mostly of Engine Companies 15 and 19, and a number of the younger residents of the Tenth Ward, among whom were John McCauley, Frank Mahedy, both of whom afterwards became foreman. John B. Miller was the first foreman of Adriatic, and James L. Miller one of its first and last representatives. The company located in the old quarters of 15 engine at 49 Christie Street, and within a year after their organization changed their name to that of Peterson. During the first year of their existnece they received a first-class double deck, Jeffers style of engine, probably the finest piece of mechanism in the way of a fire engine ever seen in New York. It was placed on exhibition at the Crystal palace, and was totally destroyed in the burning of that structure, October 5, 1858. Orders were immediately give to Jeffers and Co. for another engine, and in 1859 the company received from their hands a first-class side stroke engine of great power, which they run until April, 1862, when it was taken with Mohawk Engine No. 16 to Fortress Monroe by Asssitant Engineer John Baulch under a requisition from the United States Government for the protection of the stores of army materials at that point, and where it still remains. Cornelius Gillen was foreman at the time and accompanied the engine to Fortress Monroe. In 1863 the company commenced running a steamer which they used until the Paid Department came into existence. After Eagle Hook and Ladder Company 4 was disbanded in 1864, 31 Engine Company took up their quarters in their house at No. 209 Eldridge Street. John J. O'Brien was a runner with this company.

No. 32. -- Bunker Hill. -- this company was founded in the summer of 1807 with Thomas Pennell, wheelwright, 128 Broadway, as foreman; Adam Hartell, butcher, North Street, as assistant; and twenty-three fireman, fifteen of whom had been transferred from other companies. The engine was located in 1813 in Grand Street, near the Bowery; about 1820 at Christie and Broome Street; and after 1830, In Hester Street, near Allen. The company was disbanded on May 6, 1858.

Pete Masterson was organized December 20, 1859, by John Quinn, Harrison H. and Geo. W. Ferguson, James Daley, James hart, and others, and located first temporarily ina stable, corner of One Hundred and Fourth Street and the Bloomingdale road, and in 1804 removed to a new brick house built for it at Bloomingdale Road, and Ninety-sixth Street, and which is now occupied by engine company No. 47 of the Paid Department. The company first ran an old end-brake engine, but soon replaced it for an old gooseneck, formerly used by engine company No. 35, and after this they obtained the little old gooseneck of No. 40 engine company, which they ran until the Department went out of existence. The company had applied for a steam engine, but would have procured one had not the paid system been adopted. John Quinn was the foreman until 1864, when John J. Ferguson was elected foreman and Edward Gilbert assistant foreman. The Pete Masterson Guards originated in this company, and made an annual parade until Caption John Quinn.

No. 33. -- Black Joke. -- The company, organized in 1807, were located at Grand Street market in 1813, and in 1820 they removed to a little on -story frame house on the north side of Cherry Street, between Jackson and Corlears. The house was still standing in 1886. In 1828 they removed to Gouverneur Street, near Henry, and located in the house afterwards used by Engine Company No. 6 on its organization in 1849. The first name of 33 engine company as "Bombazula," and when they moved over into the Seventh Ward a lady, who then lived in the large house on the corner of Gouverneur and Henry Streets, and who was a descendent of the Gouverneur Family, was anxious that the name be changed to that of "Lady Gouverneur," offering the company a golden trumpet to so name it, and the question of a change was agitated. The exploits of a certain privateer, called "Black Joke," which h ad performed some wonderful deeds during the war of 1812, was the talk of the men near the docks in those days, and a vote being taken the name of "Black Joke" was adopted, and on a later engine the leader jacket has a picture of the vessel in an action in which she had captured two merchantmen. The same engine has a picture of the Three Graces on the back at the fire in the shipyard of Adam & Noah Brown at the foot of Stanton and Houston Streets, East River, in March, 1824. The engine belonging to the company--old "Bombazula"--which had a square box with solid wooden wheels, was destroyed by the flames. James P. Allaire was the first foreman of 33 engine and S. P. Allaire, his son, Edward Winship, Philander Webb, Edward Penny, Harry Andrews, Tom Primrose, Malachi Fallon, Edward Fernon, Samuel Dunlop, and Thomas McIntyre were all foremen in later years.

Engine company 33 was the first fire company to start a target excursion, which practice they continued for many years, and which was soon afterwards followed by the other engine companies. In 1843 Samuel Dunlop opened a place at the junction of East Broadway and Grand Streets. This was the first great resort for 33 Engine's followers. He had a lunch between the hours of ten and one o'clock, and the boys christened it the "Ten to One." In the latter part of that year some of the opponents of 33 Engine, who were connected with Nos. 6, 15, and 44 Engine Companies, gave out that they were going to take off the "eagle," a wooden figure which decorated the front of 33 Engine's house, and on Christmas Eve down they came through Sheriff Street, tooting horns and making demonstrations towards Gouverneur Street. The boys at the engine house had no notion of having their eagle taken down, and had prepared a warm reception for their visitors. They had a howitzer loaded with slugs, chains, and bolts. The crown first turned their attention to the "Ten to One" house, and a man on that building leveled his musket at them, but before he could pull the trigger Tom Primrose, of 33 Engine, hit him and knocked his musket up, the ball going through a doctor's window opposite, and just passing over the nose of that gentleman, who was lying in bed. The shot soon brought the constables, and the crowd quickly dispersed. The officers turned their attention to the "Ten to One," from the roof of which they took thirteen muskets to the Tombs. They were so heavily loaded that the charges had to be drawn. Some of 33 Engine members were arrested. During the presidential campaign of Polk and Clay in 1844, 33 Engine company took part in a Polk and Dallas procession against the rules and orders of the Department, and a few days later the Whigs turned out, and the parade was headed by a number of horsemen, among whom was Tom Hyer. They had with them a bell belonging to the Allaires, and on coming through East Broadway some on struck the Fourth District on it. Whether this was done because they were going through the fourth district, or in a spirit of mischief, cannot now be determined; at any rate 33 engine company, always ready for an alarm, turned out, and as they met the procession, and saw the cause of the alarm, they swung around to return to their house. Some of the horses shied at the engine, and the rope upset others, and nearly upset the procession. This, in addition to other charges already in, caused the engine to be taken to the Corporation Yard, and the company was formally disbanded November 6, 1844. Thomas Conner was elected alderman of the ward that year on the issue that he would get the engine back. He was never able to do so, and Black Joke Engine Company 33 of the East river was a thing of the past.

Black Joke (second of the name). -- Was organized March 6, 1852, by Peter Masterson and others, and located in a little shed next door to his house at Fifty-eighth Street and Bloomingdale Road. James Masterson was the first foreman elected, and the company commenced doing duty with a New York style engine built in 1827, which was painted black, and which they run until 1855, when they received a Carson monument, and having bought the old engine, placed it on the top of their house. The fire commissioners objected to placing the engine there, but the trouble grew serious, but it finally ended in a victory for the company, who retained the engine in that position until the Department went out of existence. In 1854 the city bought ground and erected a brick building for the use of the company, taking the plan of No. 7 Engine House in Twenty-fifth Street, then one of the largest and finest in the city. It was afterwards raised to three stories, and extended back to a depth of sixty feet, and is now used by Engine Company No. 23 of the Paid Department. At that time a bell, weighing eight hundred pounds, was placed on the rear of the building which some members would ring on, receiving an alarm, they having an independent telegraph line running from the bell tower in thirty-third Street. In the daytime if an alarm came in on the wire, and no member was in the house, Mrs. Masterson would man the rope and call them together. Having this telegraph in the house was of great benefit to the company, and was the means of rendering them the quickest company in the upper districts. They ran the Carson Engine until 1862, when they applied for and received, the first steamer built by order of the Common Council for use in the Department. Peter Masterson ws foreman for ten years, during which time he served in the Legislature two years and in the Board of alderman four years. In 1863 they visited Newburg, N. Y., and received quite an ovation. The bunk room held twenty four beds which were all occupied.

The Black Joke Guards originated from this company, their first captain being Ex-Judge Michael Connelly; Constantine Donoho was the second captain, after which Peter Masterson was captain for several years.

When the company first got the steamer, some of the members growled terribly, and at the first fire it was run to would not man the rope, leaving the runners to do it. The second alarm proved to be a five hours' working fire, and the "kickers" were convinced that steam was superior to muscle, and from that time until the end of the Department there was no more opposition to the steamer. Robert Gamble, a coroner, afterwards one of the organizers of Hook and Ladder 16, and Wm. A. and Jas. H. Turnure were members of this company in 1855, and Alderman Peter B. Masterson was a member from 1861 until it was disbanded in 1865.

No. 34. -- Howard ("Red Rover"). -- this company was organized in 1807. In 1813 it ws located in Amos Street, and in 1820 in Gouverneur Street, in 1830 at Hudson and Christopher Streets, and in 1864 at 78 Morton Street; went out of service in 1865. It started with twenty-six men on its roll. Among the earlier names as find:

Barnard Smith house carpenter Essex Street foreman
Ebenezer Winship foundry Cherry Street assistant foreman, (Resigned February 12, 1832)
Abraham G. Depew blacksmith Vandam Street  foreman, 1924
William Hedden blacksmith Spring and Sullivan Streets assistant, 1824

Among other members about 1824 were:

Moses Springer painter 235 Hudson Street
John V. L. Hoagland carpenter Sixth Avenue
Joseph S. Shotwell blindmaker Minetta Street.
Jacob A. Roome carpenter Bedford Street.(Appointed engineer December 27, 1830.)

Bill Poole, the Washington market butcher, who was shot in Stanwix Hall on Broadway by Lewis Baker at one o'clock Sunday morning February 25, 1855, was a Volunteer of this company. The famous Dave Broderick joined 34 Engine Company May 13, 1844, and resigned April 17, 1849, to go to California.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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