Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 38, Part I

By Holice and Debbie



Nos. 26 to 46 inclusive. -- Names That are Familiar as Household Words. -- Location and Changes. -- Nomenclature of Companies: Rutgers, Neptune, Mayflower, Metamora, Laurel, Putnam, Oceana, Amity, Mohawk, Mazeppa, Pioneer, Red Jacket.

No. 26. -- Van Buren. -- Rutgers. -- Organized June 1, 1839; located at 166 Monroe Street, and later at 6 Norfolk Street. In 1850 the company gave a grand entertainment to the ladies at their carriage house. The machine was much admired. The running gear was red, with gilt stripes; the reel was very tastefully done. It was red, ornamented with beautiful gilt carving, representing an olive and oak vine, indicative of peace and strength. On the arch one each side of the reel was a neat little equestrian statue of Washington. On the front box was a representation of the Rutgers mansion and the motto of the company: "The noblest motive is the public good." On the side panels was a shield, a beautiful ornament; on the back boxes was a well-executed likeness of Colonel Rutgers; on the side panels was a small fancy sketch of a female peeping through a lattice. The boxes were decorated with rich scroll work; the lifters were made to represent sea horses; the lamps on the carriage were about the neatest of the kind in the city. The carriage was built by Van Ness, and painted by Moriarty. The company gave to their late foreman, Mr. David H. Hempstead, as a slight token of esteem, a complimentary certificate. No. 26 possessed an excellent library. At the annual meeting, held May 8, 1850, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: J. Henry Wilkinson, foreman, vice John E. B. Fick, resigned; Thomas G. Mason, assistant; Samuel M. Farran, secretary; Geo. W. Knapp, treasurer; John S. Farran and George W. Knapp, representatives. On July 6, 1852, the following officers were unanimously elected for the ensuing year: Thomas G. Mason, foreman, vice John F. Buckley, resigned; Samuel H. Heartney, assistant, vice Joseph H. Tooker, resigned; B. J. Gallagher, secretary, vice James B. Smith, resigned; John S. Farran, treasurer, vice James H. Wilkinson, resigned; John E. Fick and William H. Christie, representatives.

No. 27. -- Third Ward. -- Although this company organized in February, 1836, it did not receive a number until June 22, 1842. It was located at Vesey and Church Streets. It was changed to Hose Company No. 21 on October 21, 1846.

Neptune was organized on November 16, 1847, located at 106 Reade Street, and after 1859 at 179 Clinton Street. It went out of service in 1865. John Corballis was one of her foremen, and James D. Hall an assistant foreman.

No. 28. -- Fifth District. -- Pearl. -- "The Fifth District" Hose Company was organized on may 25, 1839, received its number, No. 28, and was designated "Pearl" on June 22, 1842. The late George T. Hope, ex-president of the Continental Insurance Company, was the first foreman of this company. It was located in Chambers, above Centre Street. Edward W, Wilhelm, ex-chief of the battalion in the Metropolitan Fire Department, was foreman of Pearl Hose Company No. 28 in 1864 and 1865. A good many big merchants belonged to the company. At the Jennings fire on Broadway Mr. Wilhelm narrowly escaped death. He held No. 8 Engine's pipe, which, on account of want of hose, kept him from entering the house and being buried n the ruins when the building fell. At the annual meeting of Pearl Hose held at the carriage house on the first Monday in May, 1850, the following gentlemen were elected officers for the ensuing year: Albert J. Delatour, foreman; John Clancy, assistant, vice George O. Depew, declined; Abraham Halsey, Jr., secretary; John C. Thompson, treasurer; George W. Littlell and James G. Fisher, representatives. In 1851 Augustus Hurd was elected foreman; Stephen Buckhalter, Jr., assistant; James G. Sweeney, secretary; George P. Ockershausen, Jr., treasurer; John C. Thompson and John G. Fisher, representatives. In 1852 the company removed to Centre and Chambers Streets, and continued in that house till the company was disbanded in 1865.

No. 29. -- Eleventh Ward. -- Mayflower. -- Union. -- This company, which was organized from Hose Company No. 44, on June 22, 1842, first took the name eleventh Ward, subsequently changed to May flower, and then to Union. It was located at 77 Willett Street, and disbanded on September 18, 1854. At the annual meeting the following gentlemen were elected officers for the ensuing year: Joseph Goldie, foreman, vice Thos. Stack, resigned; A. Phillips, Jr., asssitant, vice Treadwell Pearsall, time expired; Thos. Stack, treasurer, vice Geo. H. Covert, time expired; John Robertson, secretary; S. B. Strickland, steward; and John J. Kelly and John Ryan, representative.

Metamora. -- Continental. -- Organized December 27, 1854, and located at Twenty-first Street and Broadway; after 1863 in Eighteenth Street, near Broadway. It went out of service in 1865. At the annual meting of Continental Hose Company, held at the carriage house on Monday evening, May 1, 1854, the following were elected officers for the ensuing year: Thomas H. Skelly, foreman; Joseph Hofman, assistant; Richard Evans, secretary; Philip Farley, treasurer; Jacob Coons and Geo. V. Dale representatives; P. H. Lauchanton, foreman; B. Rhinelander, assistant foreman; Albert B. Stanton, John R. Platt, H. L. Field, John Sidell, Thos. W, Conkling, and F. E. Ostrander.

No. 30. -- The first Hose company No. 30 had no special name, it was change from Hose company No. 42 on June 1, 1840, located at Bowery and thirteenth Street, and disbanded on February 5, 1843.

Edwin Forrest. -- Laurel. -- George B. McClellan. -- This company had the honor of bearing no less than three names--Edwin Forrest, Laurel, and George B. McClellan. They were organized July 6, 1847, and located on Twenty-seventh Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, in a two-story building, which was purchased by the City, and altered for them and Engine Company No. 10. Jacob Miller was chosen the first foreman, and served one year, and then gave way to Edward Elser, who had the honor of being at the head of the company for five years. In 1849 they brought home a neat carriage, built in a most substantial manner, and with which they performed duty until 1856. In 1850 some opposition arose among the members over the name of "Forrest." Several names were presented, when finally they selected that of Laurel. In 1854 Daniel Townsend was elected to the foremanship, and the roll immediately swelled to the full complement of men. In 1856 John T. Williams, Jr., became foreman, and another new carriage was brought home. Then came James H. Arnold as foreman, who was followed by Louis S. Richards. The latter took a deep interest in the company, so much so that he was re-elected for five consecutive years. John Brown was advanced to the foremanship after Richards. He held the post until the last day of the company's existence in 1865. Mr. Brown proved a most efficient fireman. He saved several lives at a large fire in Seventh Avenue and Twenty-ninth Street, for which he received a silver trumpet from the Common Council. During the early part 1861 they purchased a new carriage at their own expense, and when they disbanded presented it to Independence Hose, of Philadelphia. Several members of the company enlisted in the war, Henry W. Dale, Jabez C. F. Lockwood, Samuel H. Jollie, John Wilkinson, John R. Auten, and James H. Bird being among those who served the full term at the front. In 1863 they hauled down the name of Laurel, and hoisted that of George B. McClellan, who was then talked of as Democratic candidate for president of the United States. Among the many members of note at this time were Wm. H. Chapman, Charles Cusick, Richard H. Bell, Abram Vanderbilt, Hugh W. Paul, L. M. Starrete, Wm. H. Morgan, John J. Evans, Alex. T. Smith, James H. Bird, Charles H. Boardman, Andrew J. Rhine, John Wilkinson, George W. Armstrong, Philip Cusick, Samuel Hays, John McDermott, Wm. J. Gardner, and Wm. M. Vose.

On Wednesday, May 28, 1851, Forrest Hose Company received a new carriage from the painter. The carriage was one of Pine's patent, painted a rich plum color, with carmine running gear, and blue panels; on one side was a figure of Diana, the Goddess of the Chase, on the other the Nymph of the Waterfall, the side panels filled in with a wreath of flowers. On the front box was the motto, "Fearless of Danger," surrounded by the implements of the department, and on the back the date of the organization; on the back panel box the portraits of the foreman and assistant, and on the front figures representing the seasons; suspended between the bells was a splendid lamp, with the number cut in blue and red glass, made by Edwards, of Nassau Street; the deck lifters represented a girl sitting down with a basket on her arm, into which she is putting a fish. The figures are of bronze, got up by Tiffany, of Broadway. The painting, both plain and ornamental, was executed by Moriarty. The carriage was further decorated with a splendid wreath, made and presented by Miss M. L. Moriarty, and was drawn by the thirty men, in citizen dress, of whom twenty-seven were members of the company.

They visited the Institute of the Blind, by invitation of Mr. Chamberlain, the superintendent. On their arrival at the Institute they were introduced to Miss Frances J. Crosby, who welcomed them by reciting an address in verse.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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