Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 52, Part I

By Holice and Debbie

CHAPTER LII

THE ROLL OF MERIT

Deeds Of Self-Sacrifice and Heroism Which prove that the Age of Chivalry is not of the Past. -- Names that will Live in History and in the Hearts of an Appreciative Community --  The Bennett and Stephenson Medallists. -- A chapter on Life Saving.

A system of recording conspicuously meritorious acts by officers and members of the Paid Fire Department was begun in 1868 under the following resolution in the Committee of Appointments, dated November 22, 1868:

Resolved, That the secretary be instructed to open and keep under his personal supervision, a book of record, which shall be called "The Roll of Merit M. F. D.," in which shall be entered the names of such officers and members of the department as may have, in the judgment of the board of commissioners, distinguished themselves in the discharge of their duties, with a full record of the act which they have become entitled to the honor of being there enrolled. Opposite to each name shall be stated the action taken by this Board in making rewards in each case.

The roll of merit is as follows:

MINTHORNE D. TOMPKINS

Assistant Foreman--Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1

On the fourteenth of November, 1868, at the Stewart House, Nos. 476 and 480 Broadway, where the tenants, fourteen in number, sustained, rescued sic persons, one of whom, a woman, he carried from the fourth floor to the street.

PATRICK DONOHUE

Assistant Foreman--Hook and Ladder Co. No. 9

Aided Tompkins in the rescue of some of the imperiled persons.

JAMES HEANEY

Hook and Ladder Co. No. 9

Saved the lives of two persons at the Stewart Building fire.

JOHN KAVANAGH & CHRISTOPHER FLICK

Firemen-Engine Co. No. 20

Rescued at the Stewart Building fire a woman and child who were in direct peril on the second floor. Flick's intrepidity nearly cost him his life.

MICHAEL BRENNAN

Fireman-Engine Co. No. 20

On the twentieth of January, 1869, at No. 80 Prince Street, rescued John Miller, who was surrounded by flames, and who dared not brave them and the dense smoke by which he was cut off.

RICHARD D. HALL

Fireman-Engine Co. No. 30

On the sixteenth of March, 1869, at No. 437 Canal Street, learning that an old woman was perishing in the attic, struggled through the dense smoke, and rescued her by carrying her down a ladder.

JOSEPH WEIDMAN

Foreman-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 2

Ws placed on the roll for arresting two men who had committed a burglary at Mrs. Thomas Cochrane's, No. 48 East Forty-ninth Street.

MATTHEW HICKS

Foreman-Engine Co. No. 5

At No. 615 East Fourteenth Street, on the Thirtieth of March, 1869, forced his way to the third floor, through smoke which came from a fierce fire in the cellar, and rescued toe half suffocated boys.

WILLIAM H, NASH

Foreman-Engine Co. No. 28

At the Above fire gallant and ill-fated officer, after calming and advising the members of twenty families, first rescued an old and helpless woman on the second floor, and then, standing on the top rung of a ladder, passed down five persons who were at the window of the fifth floor.

JAMES H. MONROE

Foreman-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 8

On the thirteenth of April, 1870, at No. 88 Bayard Street, discovered on arriving at the fire that the inmates were unconscious of their peril. Arousing them, he went to the top floor, and found two men, two women, and a child unconscious from the smoke, and, calling for aid, handed them to firemen who had run up ladders.

WILLIAM F HAYES

Assistant foremen-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 8

Was conspicuous in aiding his commanding officer at this fire.

ANDREW LYNAR

Firemen-engine Co. No. 15

At No. 564 Grand Street, on the sixth of April, 1870, forced his way up stairs and rescued a little child who was imploring aid at a window of the upper floor, Lynar was burned in returning to the street, but the child was not hurt.

ELI BATES

Chief-Fourth Battalion

At No. 73 Montgomery Street, on the twenty-sixth of September, 1870, found twenty families in danger and imploring help from the windows. On one of the first ladders which was raised, Bates ascended to t a mother who stood at the fifth story window with a babe in her arms, saying, "Save my child! Oh, do save my child!" and brought them to the street.

BENJAMIN A. GICQUEL

Foreman-engine Co. No. 9

At this fire, was, with other officers and firemen, driven to the streets by the flames. Ladders were raised, and after many had been passed down them there was a rumor that two widows and their two children had perished on one of the upper floors. Gicquel carried his life in his hands when he entered the building by a ladder , but he found and rescued all four, who were partly suffocated, and for his gallantry was promoted to be a battalion chief.

WILLIAM F. HAYES

Foreman-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 6

Rescued four persons at this fire at personal risk.

JUSTIN A. PATTEN

Foreman-Engine Co. No. 11

At this fire, rescued three person from the roof.

DENTON E. HEMSWORTH

Fireman-Hook and ladder Co. No. 6

Was Foreman Gicquel's chief aid in rescuing the four persons at the same fire.

WILLIAM F. CRAFT

Fireman-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 6

Rendered like service here.

JOHN McDERMOTT

Fireman-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 6

Was equally brace and efficient.

GILBERT J. ORR

Chief-Tenth Battalion

At No. 23 Seventh Avenue, on the Sixteenth of June, 1870, entered the building in spite of smoke, which was suffocating, and rescued from the fourth floor Patrick Dyer, his wife and six children.

JACOB VAN ORDEN

Foreman-Hook and Ladder Co. No. 5

At this fire, rescued Mrs. Burns, a visitor, and a servant girl who were suffocated. Van Orden first went down-stairs, with Mrs. Burns and the servant hanging from each arm. Afterwards saved other lives.

THOMAS L. JACOBS

Fireman-Van Orden's Company

At this fire, rescued a helpless woman and aided in saving three other persons.

JACOB VAN ORDEN

Foreman-hook and Ladder Co. No. 5

At the Phoenix Plaster Mills, No. 426 to 430 West Thirteenth Street, on the nineteenth of December, 1870, rescued, at great personal risk, two women who were in tenement houses in front of the mills, and which had taken fire.

JOHN D. SULLIVAN

Firemen-Van Orden's Company

Saved two lives at this fire.

CHARLES McNAMEE

Fireman-Engine Co. No. 13

At No. 75 Grand Street, on the fourteenth of January, 1871, in fierce flames and dense smoke from burning jute, entered the attic by a ladder and rescued a girl who had lost her presence of mind and was in most serious peril.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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