Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 38, Part III

By Holice and Debbie

NO. 37. -- this company (without a name) was organized by ex-members of engine Company No. 37 on June 22, 1842, at Grand and Monroe Streets. The material of which the company was formed was not as smooth of was necessary for success. The consequence was internal and external strife, which was terminated by the company being disbanded on February 20, 1843.

Madison (the second No. 37). -- Was organized in 1848; located first at Twenty-first Street and fifth Avenue, subsequently at Broadway near Twenty-sixth street, and completed her career at Twenty-ninth Street, near Seventh Avenue in 1865. In 1850 Madison gave a sumptuous entertainment to their friends in commemoration of their new carriage, which they had just received from the painters. The body was an ultramarine blue, with a gilt and pure white stripe. The reel was handsomely ornamented with rich gilt carved work, and two paintings; on the right side was the Firemen's Monument at Greenwood, and on the left a scene on the Grecian coast, representing a storm. In the foreground was represented the mariners family, and the wife attempting to signal, in hopes of attracting the attention of those on board her husband's vessel, which is seen in the distance struggling with the waves, to warn them off a dangerous part of the coast. On the front box was "Madison Hose Company No. 37, organized Janaury 25, 1848," in gilt letters. On the side panels were the emblems of the Fire Department. On the right a hook and ladder crossed with axe and trumpet; on the left two torches, two pipes, a fire-cap. On the front box was a silver plate on which was inscribed; "Alfred Carson, Chief engineer." On the back box was a neat landscape; on the panels, right, was a fountain; left, a hydrant. The lifters were sea-horses. The running gear and wheels were carmine with a gilt and bright red stripe. The carriage was built by Joseph Pine and painted by E. Weir. At the annual meeting of Madison, held on Wednesday evening, April 9, 1851, the following were elected officers for the ensuing year; Tobias Lawrence, foreman; William Wilson, assistant foreman' George Kass, secretary; Sylvester Sparks, treasurer; and Tobias Lawrence and James Parish, representatives.

No. 38. -- Amity. -- Was organized March 8, 1842, and located at 130 Amity Street, next door to Union engine company no. 18, and a few doors from Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company No. 3. John Gillilan was one of the organizers and the first foreman of the company; he afterwards joined Engine Company No. 35, and became an assistant engineer in 1850, serving until 1853. Samuel Conover, afterwards park commissioner, was also foreman of the company in its later days. In 1849 Wm. J. Lippincott was foreman, Samuel E. Belcher assistant, and Daniel D. Conover, George D. Crary, Julian Botts, George T. Alker, and Geo. W. Engs among the members. This was in every respect a first-class company, and did service in the First and Second Districts, which comprised that part of the city lying north of Canal Street on the west side of the city, and they also took occasional runs into the lower districts. The "Amity hops," which were given each season by this company either at the Apollo Rooms, on Broadway near Canal Street, or at Niblo's saloon were quite noted at the time and were remarkable for the beauty of the ladies' toilets, and were altogether very enjoyable affairs. This company never engaged in street brawls, and about the only serious trouble of that kind they ever had was with Union engine Company 18, in 1845; there was, however, a friendly rivalry between them and Empire Hose company No. 40, in racing to fires. The company was noted for owning the finest and most expensive Hose carriage in the United States. It was of hard wood, painted snow white, very heavily silver mounted, and with red glass lamps mounted in gold on the sides, and shaped o represent pineapples. The cost of its construction was eight thousand dollars, a very high price for those times. Jacob Ostrom was foreman of the company in 1856, and Lawrence Taylor succeeded him in that position. No. 38 was the first company that ever paraded with Dodworth's full band, the parade taking place in 1851. In 1863 Gustavus Isaacs, Geo. S. Wilkinson and Wm. T. Worrall left this company, and, with others, organized Crystal Hose Company No. 35. In 1864 Jacob Bogart was elected foreman, and in 1865 Charles W. Veitch was chosen as their last officer. In the matter of fire-duty No. 38 Hose stood second to none, and in the turning out of the men and their rapidity in getting to work was highly complimented by the officers of the Department. Their discipline also was of the best, they never having been suspended from duty nor had their carriage turned into the house "tongue first," a mark of suspension and disgrace; but, on the contrary, on several occasions they were highly spoken of by the officers of the department for their general good order, near appearance and untiring vigilance.

No. 39. -- Metropolitan. -- Mohawk. -- Organized in May, 1842; located at third Avenues near Twenty-sixth Street, removed to Twenty-sixth Street, between third and Fourth Avenues, where the company remained until the closing years of the department. During the lifetime of the company the name was changed to Mohawk. In the summer of 1850 the company brought their new carriage home from the painter's. She was plain but prettily ornamented. The running gear was a light cream color with blue and red stripes' boxes and arch blue; reel, red with gilt stripes. On the front box was the following inscription: "Organized May 8, 1842," on the side panels was the number of the company, on the back box the name of the company, on one panel a painting of Neptune and on the other a fancy sketch of a female. On the arch on each side of the reel was a neat figure of an eagle, and on the front framework a figure of a fireman in full costume. The carriage was decorated with a splendid pair of lamps. She was built by Van Ness, and painted by Moriarty. The company gave a grand entertainment to their friends upon the occasion. At the annual meeting in 1850 of metropolitan Hose the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Joseph C. Davison, foreman; John Rogers, assistant; Wm. W. Seaman, secretary; Wm. H. Bowen, treasurer; Wm. J. Minard and Wm. Wines, representatives. At the annual meeting in 1853 the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Robert B. Nooney, foreman; John Meighan, assistant; Henry Allman, secretary; John Mason, treasurer; Alonzo Forbes and George Carr, representatives. At the annual meeting on May 8, 1855, the following officers were elected: Henry Allman, foreman, vice Robert B. Nooney, declined; Alex. N. Murray, re-elected secretary; George Carr, treasurer, vice John Mason, declined; Benjamin Hyde, steward, vice Abram Jones, declined; Charles E. Cannon and Robert B. Nooney, representatives.

No. 40. -- Empire. -- ("Redbird"). -- Empire Hose Company No. 40 was organized in 1843. Its organization was mainly due to James L. Miller, and one of the original members was Cornelius R. Campbell, now janitor of the Jefferson Market Police Court building. It had a four-wheeler carriage painted white and lavishly gilded and it first lay in No. 2 Leroy Street. A new carriage, built in 1848, was at the fatal Duane Street sugar house fire. It moved to a miserable shed in Barrow Street, between Hudson and Greenwich Streets. On the night of the disbanding of Engine company No. 34 "the boys" ran their carriage into No. 34's quarters. Next day they found that it had been taken to the Corporation yard, but that night they took her out and put her back in Barrow Street. Soon after new quarters were erected at No. 70 Barrow Street, and in 1851 a new carriage was built by John Sickels. A later one, constructed by (1857) Pine and Hartshorn, lasted until the company was disbanded in 1865. Its rivals were Hose No. 38 and Hose No. 33, but it was rarely beaten. Among the foreman of this company were James L. Miller, Abraham Myers, S. V. W. Jones, John A. Cregier, Wm. Evans, and W. C. Rogers; and the following were permanent members of the company: John Kettleman, Andrew Owens, Deacon Edward Wright, Alanson and Ellis Finch, Robert Wright, David Milliken, David walker, Thomas J. Forbes, Isaac P. Lockman, John T. Lockman, E. H. Brinckerhoff, John C. Brinckerhoff, C. P. Buckley, Clarence A. Burtis, Peter P. and Abraham W. Pullis, Charles A. Hilliker, Andrew Bleakley, Montgomery Maze, James B. Mingay, Abraham R. and William A. Auten, Warren Chapman, Charles P. Buckley, John A. Loinherr, De Witt C. Hammond, G. W. Quick, J. L. Forbes, R. A. McFarland, and G. W. Waterbury. Mr. Cornelius R. Campbell went to California in 1850 to become in San Francisco a member of engine 3. He there saw among other New York firemen, Dave Broderick, chief Dave Scannel of New York Engine No. 5, Recorder George Green of new York 34 engine, who was frightfully injured at a fire in Commercial Street, San Francisco, by falling from a cornice and, refusing to have a leg amputated, died of gangrene; Dave Roberts of New York engine 38, who died insane in California, and Malachi Fallon, foreman of New York Engine 33, keeper of the ivy Green at the rear of the Tombs and warden of the Tombs, afterward chief of police at San Francisco. On Mr. Campbell's return from California he joined Engine 23. The company went out of service in 1865.

No. 41. -- Alert. -- Hose Company No. 41, known as the Alert, and among the "giddy boys" variously as the "Blackbird" and the "Bucky-boys," was organized on march 24, 1843, by some of the members of Engine Company No. 27, the "North River," which had been disbanded a little while previously. In 1861 the Alert was transferred to a new house, No. 18 Renwick Street, where she remained until statutorily disbanded in 1865. Alert Hose petitioned in 1862 to be organized as an engine company to run a hand engine. The request was strange at that time, as most of the companies wanted steamers. They continued, however, to do duty as a hose company, until the end of the department.

No. 42. -- this company was organized on June 1, 1839, located at Third Street and the Bowery, and changed to Hose Company No. 30 in June 1, 1840.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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