Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 58, Part I

By Holice and Debbie

CHAPTER LVIII

SOME WELL KNOWN CHIEFS OF FIRE DEPARTMENTS

Heads of Fire Departments Throughout the Country. -- Big Cities with Distinguished Fire Chiefs. -- Men Who Have Risen Through Merit. -- Their experiences and Responsibilities. -- The National Association of Fire Engineers.

S. E. Combs, chief of Fire Department, Worcester, mass., was born in the town of Holden, Mass., May 10, 1826. He joined the Worcester Fire Department in 1848, since which time he has been in continued fire service. An act to establish a Fire Department in the town of Worcester, Mass., passed the Legislature of this Commonwealth February 25, 1835. The first Board of engineers were Lewis Bigelow, John f. Clarks, Isaac Davis, Francis F. Merrick, George T. Rice, General Nathan Heard, Lewis Thayer, Samuel Ward, and Ichabod Washburn. At the first meeting of the Board, May 2, 1835, Isaac Davis was elected chief engineer; Lewis Bigelow, assistant chief; and Ichabod Washburn, clerk.

 

The following table shows the chief engineers since 1835:

Isaac Davis

1835 to 1836

Gen. Nathan heard

1837 to 1839

Henry W. Miller

1840 to 1844

Joel Wilder

1845 to 1849

Erastus N. Holmes

1850 to 1854

L. W. Sturtevents

1855 to 1859

S. A. Porter

1859 to 1860

L. N. Hudson

1860 to 1861

Alyirus Brown

1861 to 1865

A. B. Lowell

1866 to 1868

R. M. Gould

1869 to 1872

S. E. Combs

1872 to 1887

WILLIAM KAESS, chief engineer of the Poughkeepsie Fire Department, was born in New York city on August 26, 1842. He moved to Poughkeepsie in February, 1866. He has held the office of chief engineer of the Poughkeepsie Fire Department longer than anyone ever held it before. He is a member of the veterans' Firemen's Association of this city, and also a life member of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York.

M. E. Higgins, chief of Fire Department, Albany, N. Y., on January 16, 1865, was elected a member of Niagara engine company No. 6; served as such until December 17, 1866, when transferred to Hook and Ladder Company No. 2 as a member; served as such until the organization of the steam Department in 1867, when he was reappointed by the board of fire commissioners as a ladderman, attached to the same company; served until May 14, 1869, when he was promoted to the position of relief engineer, and on December 22, of the same year, was placed in charge of steamer No. 6 as the regular engineer; served until August 1, 1878, when he resigned as engineer and was appointed a hoseman of the same company; served as such until December 27, 1880, when he was promoted to the position of foreman of the same company; served until June 1, 1885, when he was promoted to an assistant engineer, and at the death of the late Chief James McQuade, July 25, 1886, was placed in charge of the department; served as acting chief until August 3, 1886, when he ws promoted to chief.

HUGH F. SWEENEY, chief engineer of the Wilmington, Del., Fire Department, was born in that city on the twenty-fourth day of July, 1850; has been a fireman from boy hood, an a member of Fame Hose Company No. 1 for eighteen years. the department has flourished under his management, and is reported to be equal to any Volunteer Department in the country. Chief Sweeney is considered by citizens and firemen to be one of the best chiefs the city ever had.

W. R. JOYNER, chief of the Fire Department, Atlanta, Ga., was born in Cobb County, Ga., June 30, 1854, and moved to Atlanta when quite young.

At the age of fifteen he was appointed torch bearer of Hook and ladder Company No. 1 (Volunteers); at sixteen was elected a regular member of the same company/ In November, 1872, when just part the age of eighteen, he was elected second assistant foreman; November, 1873, was elected first assistant foreman; November, 1874, was elected foreman (each time without opposition), and held that position until January, 1877, when he was elected chief of the Volunteer Fire Department., also without opposition, being only twenty-two and a half years old, and holding the record at that time of being the youngest chief in the United States. January, 1878, he was re-elected without opposition. Was again nominated for 1870, but declined to run. He was then put back as foreman of Hook and Ladder Company, and remained in that position until the Paid Department took charge, which was in July, 1882. The general council elected him chief of the paid service, but he declined to take it, as he was then city marshal, and that placed was worth more money. In July, 1885, he was elected chief by the general council, and the salary was raised to two thousand five hundred dollars per annum to induce him to accept, as he was still city marshal, and would not change places, as the chief's salary was one thousand three hundred and fifty dollars per annum. So the change as above stated was made. When he took charge the department was in bad shape, and insurance was high. Now the department is willing to show up with any, and claims to be as well equipped as the best. The insurance has been reduced, and the department is the pride of Atlanta.

JOHN LINDSAY, Chief of Fire Department, St. Louis, Mo., was appointed a member of the Fire Department June 1, 1867, and was connected with Hook and Ladder No. 1 for seven years; was appointed assistant chief in 1874, and first assistant in 1881, and chief in April 1885, on the retirement of Chief H. C. Sexton.

HENRY E. FARRIER, chief of the Jersey City Fire Department, was a volunteer of Diligent Hose Company No. 3, Jersey City Fire Department. Upon the breaking out of the war he enlisted in the Twenty-first New Jersey Volunteers. After the war he became a member of his old love, Diligent 3, and remained as such until 1871, when he was appointed the first chief of the Paid Fire Department. He held this office un 1877. The political complexion of the Board was then changed, and he was dismissed, but was reinstated in 1881 as Chief, and continues to discharge the duties of that office to the present day.

JOHN T. DENMEAD, assistant chief engineer of the Jersey City Fire Department, was in his early days as a member of Peterson Engine Company No. 15 (Old Maid), of the city. he moved to Jersey City, and became a member of the Fire Department of that city. In 861 he enlisted in the Thirteenth new Jersey Volunteers. When the war was ended he became a member and assistant foreman of 2 Truck; he held this position until June 6, 1971, when he was made clerk to the new Board of Fire Commissioners. In 1877 he was dismissed for political reasons. He was reinstated in 1881 as assistant chief, and occupies that responsible position to the present day.

J. LOUIS MEYER, chief engineer, Hoboken Fire Department, new jersey, is thirty-one years of age. He commenced doing fire duty as a runner with Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, of Hoboken, at the age of sixteen; continued until the age of twenty-one, and joined as a member of Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, on March 2, 1877, and since has served the company and Fire Department in the following capacities:

May 3, 1878 elected trustee of Washington Hook and ladder Company 1, for three years.
June 7, 1878 elected trustee to the Widows' and Orphans' Fund of the Hoboken Fire Department, for two years
March 21, 1879 re-elected trustee of the Widows' and Orphans' Fund, for two years.
March 5, 1880 re-elected trustee to the Widows' and Orphans' Fund, for two years.
March 18, 1880 re-elected secretary of the Widows' and Orphans' Fund.
May 7, 1880 elected assistant foreman of Washington Hook and Ladder Company 1.
May 6, 1881 elected foreman of Washington Hook and Ladder company No. 1.
March 18, 1881 re-elected secretary of the Widows' and Orphans' Fund.
March 3, 1882 re-elected trustee from Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 12 to the Board of Trustees of the Widows' and Orphans' Fund, for two years.
May 5, 1882 re-elected foreman of Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 1.
March 9, 1881 elected secretary of the Board of Officers of the Hoboken Fire Department.
April 15, 1882 re-elected secretary of the Board of Officers.
March 23, 1883 re-elected secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Widows' and Orphans' Fund.
May 4, 1883 elected treasurer of Washington Hook and Ladder company No. 1.
May 9, 1885 elected chief engineer of the Hoboken Fire Department.
May 10, 1886 elected chief engineer of the Department.
September 29, 1886 elected vice-president of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association, at the convention held in Phillipsburg, N. J., on the above date.

 

The foregoing offices have been filled by him for their full terms.

The Hoboken Fire Department has seven companies, composed as follows:

Hoboken Engine Company No. 1
Washington Hook and Ladder Company No. 1.
Excelsior Engine Company No. 2.
Oceana Hose Company No. 1.
Liberty Hose Company No. 2.
Empire Hook and Ladder Company No. 2.
Meadow engine Company No. 3.

Total number of active members, two hundred and twenty-five.

After a great number of troubles and difficulties the fire telegraph system has been introduced and adopted.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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