Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 40, Part IV

By Holice and Debbie

No. 11. -- Knickerbocker. -- Organized March 23, 1852, located at 153 Franklin Street, and disbanded July 12, 1855. In the second year of its organization Michael O'Hara was killed at a fire on the corner of Fulton and Nassau Streets.

Harry Howard (the second No. 11) Was organized on august 26, 1857. It was located at 295 East Broadway, and after 1859 at 180 Clinton Street, and went out of service in 1865. Among the members were Charles L. Kent, foreman; John Brown, assistant; John B. Bassford, Daniel Brown and Thomas H. Beebe.

No. 12. -- Friendship. -- Was organized February 26, 1852. F. A. Ridabock was foreman from 1852 to 1856, Edward Marriner, assistant. They served in Fifth Street. The truck was a small one, a hose carrier lengthened, so that they had to have ladders hung from them. The company moved to Thirteenth Street in 1856. E. Marriner was then foreman, James A. Caroline, assistant. In 1858 Thomas Sullivan was foreman, and Patrick Fagan assistant, to 1860. In 1861 Thomas Sullivan was elected assistant engineer, remaining as such up to 1865. Among the members were John Garvey, Peter Delancott, Joseph J. McDonnell, Joseph B. Clancy, Patrick H. Hennessy, H. Coyle, John Cahill, George Delaney, John Stacey, Peter J. Gillen, John A. Thompson, Thomas W, Kennedy, George Cooney, Bernard M. Tully, and Calvin A. Simons. At the torchlight procession in 1860 in honor of the Prince of Wales, No. 12 was conspicuous with a calcium light, then considered a curiosity. The company temporarily located at Fifth Street and Second Avenue, and after 1856 in Thirteenth Street, near Fourth Avenue. At the World's Fair in the Crystal Palace, Friendship's truck, with two others, was on exhibition, the apparatus attracting much attention in those days. When the palace was burned this truck was the only one of the three saved. When the company went out os service in 1865 it resolved itself into a social club, admitting old firemen of other companies to membership. John r. Farley was president; Charles A. McManus, vice-president; and Frank McNicol, secretary. Its annual balls were most enjoyable affairs.

No. 13. -- Marion. -- On the seventeenth of August, 1852, Robert Place, Charles Wakefield, James R. Davies, Nelson Sampson, Michael H. Fisher, John H. Hicks, William H. Manning, John Harding and others, from Engine Company 44, organized this company and located in a new three-story brick house on the north side of Third Street, between Avenue D and Lewis Street. They were the "Quills" of 44 Engine Company, and being somewhat dissatisfied with the election just held, started off for themselves. Michael H. Fisher was the first foreman. He afterwards went to New Orleans, and was presented with a gold watch and chain by his comrades before leaving. In 1855 they received a new truck built by Torboss. During the year 1856 this company saved lives at two fires--one in Sixth Street, near Avenue C, and again in Elizabeth Street, near Grand. At the latter fire John A. Cregier, assistant engineer, met the company on the Bowery, corner of Grand Street, and hurried them around to the building, where a ladder was soon raised, and the members succeeded in carrying down an old man and two children and placing them in safety. John H. Hicks was elected foreman in 1857, and he was succeeded by John Angus, James M. Grey, Abram C. Hull (now superintendent of the Insurance Patrol and an excellent officer and fireman), and John H. Roberts, who was their foreman at the time of their disbandment in 1865.

This company received Americus Engine Company No. 6 on their return from their Canada trip, and the reception was without doubt the largest and finest ever gotten up for a returning company. The excursionists arrived at the Twenty-seventh Street Depot at 9 o'clock, P.M. During the evening Fourth Avenue was lined with red shirts and resonant with the sound of martial music. The scene was exceedingly picturesque. The torches, the colored lights, and the various beautiful machines made a most attractive ensemble. As the train arrived, and the white coats of "6's fellows" were seen, cheers were given, and they were warmly welcomed home. Fireworks were let off, and the old Empire Club gun was called into requisition to salute the guests. There was no speech-making at the depot, (firemen are not apt to indulge in long palavers on such occasions), but as soon as was practicable a line was formed, and the procession filed down the avenue on the following order:

Detachment of Policemen--Band--Marion Hook and Ladder company No. 13.--Band--Assistant Engineers of the New York Fire Department, in which coats and caps, and each carrying a lighted lantern--The guests--Americus Engine Company No. 6, dressed with white overcoats, red shirts, black pants, numbering one hundred men, and with the engine nearly decorated--Bank--Lady Washington Engine Company No. 40--Band--Adriatic Engine Company No. 31, with their new first-class engine, which was much admired. Inside the rope were lads drawing a cannon.--Phoenix Hose Company No. 22.--Band.--Putnam Hose Company No. 31.--Union Hook and Ladder Company No. 5.--Manhattan Engine Company No. 8--Liberty Hose Company No. 10--Band--Empire Hose Company No. 40, with Drummond light mounted on top of their carriage--Jefferson Engine Company No. 26--Independent Hose Company No. 3--Band--Clinton Hose Company No. 17--Guardian Engine Company No. 29--Band--Victory Engine Company No. 13, of Williamsburg--Continental Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, of Williamsburg, dressed in blue shirts--Valley Forge Engine Company No. 11, of Greenpoint--Band--Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 9, with a detachment of Gulick Hose Company No. 11--Band--National Engine Company No. 3--Band--Lexington Engine Company No. 7--Zephyr Hose Company No. 61--Band--Rutger's Hose Company No. 26--United States Engine Company No. 23--Band--Fulton Engine Company No. 21--Franklin Hose Company No. 18--Peterson Hose Company No. 15--Jackson Hose Company No. 13--Band--Neptune Hose Company No. 27--Lafayette Hose Company No. 34--Band--Washington Engine Company, No. 20--Nassau Hose Company No. 56--Band--Harry Howard Hook and Ladder Company No. 11--United States Hose company No. 25--Band--Pacific Engine Company No. 28.

The procession moved down Broadway to the City Hall Park, to Chatham Street, to the Bowery, to Grand Street, and finally to 6's house in Henry Street, where extensive preparations had been made for giving the company a magnificent and fitting reception on their return. The engine house, together with the residence of Wilson Small, immediately opposite, was brilliantly illuminated both in front and rear, one hundred and fifty-four candles being placed in the windows of Mr. Small's house, and one hundred and fifty-eight in those of the engine house, which were lighted soon after eight o'clock and kept burning until the arrival of the firemen. These, with the thousands of blue lights, sky-rockets and other pieces of fireworks which were set off from the roofs of the two houses on the arrival of the company, presented a peculiarly brilliant and imposing spectacle. It was after eleven o'clock when the procession arrived at the house of No. 6, at which time there could not have been less than three or four thousand people on the ground, who gave the firemen, as they passed through the passageway that had been cleared for them, a most enthusiastic welcome home. After housing the engine, the members of No. 6 were mustered in the meeting room, where the foreman returned his thanks for the courtesy that had been manifested. The company was then formed in line and escorted by the members of 13 Truck to their house, where they found a feast awaiting them.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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