Fire Department Organized
First Chief Chosen
The Big Parade of 1891
Volunteer Engine Organized
First Firemen's Inspection
Village Plans Fire Department
Nearly seven years of hard work and planning followed the formation of Union No. 1 of Mamaroneck and Rye Neck Hook and Ladder Company and culminated in the organization of the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck Fire Department.
It was a combination of circumstances and occurrences preceding it by some six months that eventuated in the establishment of the town's first fire department and the election of its first chief. It was an event that was inevitable, and its time had come.
In the years that followed the acquisition of the jumper, Hook and Ladder operated with hose and nozzles, as well as ladders, hooks and axes. It had become in effect a virtual one company fire department, performing the work of both a ladder and a hose company.
Meanwhile, on Thursday night, Nov. 13, 1890 in the rooms of the Taylor Fife and Drum Corps in the Britt building, a new fire company was organized. It was called Mamaro Hose Company No. I of Mamaroneck. Its first officers were Charles W. Berger, foreman; Jesse F. Palmer, first assistant foreman; John W. McCabe, second assistant foreman; Charles W. Buckter, secretary; James Corrigan, treasurer, and H. A. Brower, Ray Baxter and H. J. Gedney. trustees.
Four days later Hook and Ladder held a special meeting to act on a letter from the hose company. Dated Nov. 17, 1890, the letter, in part, read as follows: "We the Mamaro Hose Co. No. 1 of Mamaroneck being duly organized and ready to respond to the alarm of fire, and work for the protection of life and property, do hereby petition the Union Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 to grant us possession of the hose carriage and appliances.
After discussion, Hook and Ladder resolved to grant Mamaro's request "when they (Mamaro) present the proper credentials showing their right to accept the same after receiving their charter..." and it was moved and seconded that Mamaro "be allowed to use the same until such time as they get their charter."
On April 6, 1891 during Hook and Ladder's regular monthly meeting, a series of motions initiated by Charles M. Baxter Sr. laid the groundwork for creating a fire department. Plans called for setting up a Joint meeting with Mamaro to form a fire department, elect a chief, and turn over the Jumper to the hose company which had Just been incorporated.
An oil dealer at that time, Baxter was elected into Hook and Ladder on Feb. 1, 1886, and before he died served 55 years, Supervisor of Mamaroneck Town from 1693 to 1901, he was elected foreman in 1896 and re-elected in 1898 through 1902. He was elected chief the following year and held that post for five consecutive years, a feat that has never been duplicated.
A Hook and Ladder committee consisting of Alfred M. Perrin, Joseph H. McLoughlin, William H. Lange and Baxter was appointed to handle the arrangements for the joint meeting, which was to be followed by a banquet prepared by Hook and Ladder to commemorate the occasion. Announcement was publicized, and citizens prominently identified with fire matters were invited.
Ten days later the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck Fire Department was born.
Fire Department Organized | BACK
Hook and Ladder's presentation of the hose carriage and 500 feet of hose to Mamaro, the election of a chief, and the emergence of a third company and its battle for acceptance highlighted the fire department's first organization meeting and convention of chiefs April 16, 1891 at the Town Hall
Fire Patrol Company No. 1 headed by Judge William A. Boyd, captain, requested admission and a row developed on the doorstep of the Town Hall when the request was denied. The Mamaroneck Paragraph reported the event, but the weekly newspaper never explained why the new company was so resisted. Fire Patrol was given the green light eventually, though the start of the meeting was delayed by 30 minutes.
Foreman Merritt Sands of Hook and Ladder called the meeting to order at 8:30 p.m., and after explaining the meeting's objectives formally presented hose carriage and appliances to Jesse F. Palmer, Mamaro's second foreman, who made an appropriate response in accepting the trust. Under the agreement Mamaro would control the fire department's hose apparatus and Hook and Ladder would retain control of the truck.
At this point the meeting was reorganized to elect a chief. Perrin was chosen chairman and Baxter, secretary.
William E. Peters of Hook and Ladder, a printer and publisher of the weekly newspaper Mamaroneck Register, stated that Fire Patrol, a regularly organized company and duly chartered, was present by representation, and asked the chair to rule as to whether it was entitled to vote at the election. This touched off a lively discussion and display of considerable acrimony, but in the end the two organizations voted to allow the new one to participate in the proceedings, and to this was added a cordial invitation to remain for the banquet.
First Fire Chief Chosen | BACK
Nominations for a chief being in order, Daniel Stuber of Hook and Ladder was nominated and elected by acclamation amid great enthusiasm. Harry Grant of Mamaro was elected first assistant chief; William S. Yale, first sergeant of Fire Patrol became second assistant chief; Augustus Anthes of Mamaro, treasurer, and Justice Boyd, secretary.
Foreman Palmer stepped forward, called the newly elected chief to the platform, and in a few well chosen words presented him a silver trumpet inscribed: "Presented by Mamaro Hose Co. to the first chief M.&R.N.F.D." Chief Stuber made an appropriate response.
Following the banquet, at which Baxter served as toastmaster, there was a general discussion on the future equipment of the fire department,
Newly elected Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Jacob Mayer offered to head a subscription list with * 100. A blacksmith who also made and repaired carriages, Mayer put a driver's seat in Hook and Ladder's truck in 1892, the year after he put himself in the driver's seat of the town when he ran on the Republican ticket and defeated Mathias Banta, a Democrat and incumbent for 14 consecutive years, in the race for supervisor in the spring election of 1891.
Contributions by six more subscribers brought the total collected to $250, and a committee of three was appointed to solicit additional subscriptions.
Daniel Stuber was the perfect man for the Job of the fire department's first chief. He was a rallying post with all the charismatic qualities of a true leader.
Stuber's popularity was extraordinary. He was elected a Hook and Ladder member Aug. 4, 1884. On June 3, 1889, he was elected foreman by acclamation, but respectfully declined with thanks, preferring instead to hold the office of steward.
Stuber, who owned and operated a beer and soda business out of a store on the East Post Road, was an outdoorsman, a sportsman, with quite a reputation for his skill in match shooting, and he would never turn down a challenge to race his roan. Paper Cutter, against another horse for a bet on the side. He was elected president of the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck Gun Club when the club was reorganized in 1890, and the following year he became game constable for the Town of Rye.
The Big Parade of 1891 | BACK
A mammouth firemen's parade, one to which companies or departments from surrounding communities could be invited, was a concept that originated in the mind of Chief Dan Stuber. It was an idea that Judge Boyd combined with an idea of his own, and that was to use the 230th anniversary of the Town of Mamaroneck, purchased from the Indians on Sept 23, 1661, as the occasion for such a parade. Chief Stuber. Alexander Taylor Jr. and Harry Summers laid out a huge parade route, and when it was held Sept 21, 1891, it attracted not only firemen from surrounding towns but from surrounding states.
A special meeting of Hook and Ladder was held July 7, 1893. It was called for the purpose of making arrangements to attend the funeral of Daniel Stuber.
Twenty days after organizing as a fire department the three companies answered their first alarm. They had been ready, waiting and raring to go, and they sprang into action on Wednesday night, May 6.1891. However, they put the brakes on quickly upon learning that the fire was not in Mamaroneck but in Long Island City, some 20 miles away. While this alarm turned out to be all for nothing the response of the companies showed that they had put down their petty differences and acted as a unit.
Nonetheless. after the organization meeting of the M&RNFD, Joseph H. McLoughlin resigned from Hook and Ladder, apparently in reaction to the slings and arrows that were aimed at Judge Boyd and Fire Patrol and had hit their mark. McLoughlin subsequently hooked up, so to speak, with his friend the judge and became a member of the patrol company. His interest in the ladder company may have been turned off, but his interest in the fire department remained as strong as ever.
Not long afterward the fire department's strength was beefed up considerably with the emergence of a fourth company. It was called Orienta Hose Company No. 2 of Mamaroneck and Rye Neck. Its origins are not known and it was short-lived, but while it did exist it served with distinction.
Volunteer Engine Organized | BACK
What the fledgling fire department needed at this point was an engine, and it got it, plus the manpower that went with it. when a fifth company, Volunteer Engine Co. No, I of Mamaroneck, was organized Sept 15, 1891 at a meeting in a hotel owned by John O'Connor in the Washingtonville section of the town.
William Martin, who in 1886 became Hook and Ladder's second foreman after McLoughlin stepped down from his second term, was elected foreman of the engine company by a unanimous vote. William H. Tilford was elected secretary: John O'Connor, treasurer, and Joseph Ford, steward.
Volunteer did not just pop out of nowhere. Toward the end of 1890 there was talk about the coming startup of an engine company, and it was the effort of a group of citizens of Washingtonville, which had a large Irish segment in its population in those days, that resulted in the completion of the company's organization.
Some 20 chapter members attended the organization meeting. They voted on the company's name, and their contribution to forming the new company gave the town complete fire coverage from the "flats," which is what the area was called also then, to the Post Road for the first time.
Martin reported he had been looking up various engines and had finally found one at Irvington-on-the-Hudson. He concluded after carefully examining the machine that it was in good condition and would give satisfaction, The engine would be extremely useful in case of a fire outside the district guarded by hydrants, and was guaranteed to throw a stream 145 feet, though Martin thought it would do even better.
This engine, Martin said, could be secured for $150. The sum of $134 was raised at the meeting. O'Connor kindly offered to advance the money for the balance. However, before the meeting had ended the balance was raised by contributions from other members who arrived late.
A vote of thanks was given Martin, who agreed to purchase the hand pumping machine. It arrived Thursday, Sept 17, 1891, and was kept temporarily in a barn owned by Edward O'Brien. The engine was the object of much interest and admiration.
There was some discussion about building an engine house on Mamaroneck Avenue near the Sheldrake River, but it was the consensus of the membership that the quarters on Franklin Avenue (Waverly Avenue today) near Winfield Avenue (Mamaroneck Avenue-Old White Plains Road) were adequate for some time to come.
Volunteer met again Sept 25. J.O. Jones who, chaired Volunteer's organization meeting, was elected assistant foreman. Plans were made to raise money to buy hose. After the hose was acquired the company was in working order.
In 1892 John Callahan, who ran a hotel in the town and who had recovered from a severe injury suffered while fighting a fire near the end of the summer of 1891, left his foreman's chair at Hook and Ladder and became the second chief of the M&RNFD, and Mathias Banta won back his town supervisor's chair, though he paid for it dearly because it cost him his health.
It was also an eventful year for Mamaro, which received a "four-wheeler" Oct. 27, 1892, and it was during this year that Orienta Hose Co. No. 2 faded away. Mamaro's new carriage, purchased with a $500 donation for a job well done at an Orients Point fire, had a colored light that surmounted an arch at the front, with a white light on either side, and it carried three bells and a large center-mounted reel capable of holding 1,500 feet of hose. It was kept at Foreman John W, McCabe's carriage shop on Mamaroneck Avenue.
In contrast to previous years, the number of fires rose sharply in the early 1890s. In 1891 there were 22 fires and in 1892 the number hit 30, but Mamaroneck firemen got a breather in 1893 when there were only eight fires, most notably, the Van Amringe pumice stone mill with store houses and sheds which fire destroyed Feb. 25, 1893. A defective flue was the supposed cause of the Van Amringe fire, and the loss was put at $50,000, half of which was covered by insurance.
First Firemen's Inspection | BACK
William H. Merritt
During 1893 a new organization, Bonny Brook Hose Company, was formed. Bonny Brook. which was not in working order in time to be present for the inspection, filled the void created by the demise of Orienta Hose Co. No. 2. Like
This was the year that William Martin, foreman of Volunteer and an engineer with a background in fighting fires with the New York City Fire
On March 3, 1894, each of the companies sent three delegates to the convention to nominate fire department officers. The names of Mamaro's foreman, John W. McCabe, and Martin were placed before the meeting for nomination for chief. McCabe won the nomination by a 9 to 6 vote. A man with the determination of a bulldog, Martin did not accept the defeat. Down but not out, he ran on an independent ticket and was elected chief at the fire department's annual meeting April 4, 1894.
Martin's victory really stung Mamaro and Hook and Ladder. Neither the hose nor the ladder company showed up for the traditional post-election parade honoring the newly-elected chief. In a shrewd political move, Chief Martin occupied a modest place in the parade at the head of Volunteer, its engine drawn by a team, but behind Fire Patrol and its wagon pulled by four horses. At the head of the parade was Harry Summers of Fire Patrol, acting as marshal, followed by the Lenz Reed Band. Bonny Brook, the latest company admitted to the fire department at that time, brought up the rear of the line with its hose carriage drawn by a tandem.
On Nov. 16, 1895 the Village of Mamaroneck was organized. John W. Goodwin of Hook and Ladder, who provided the horses to pull the truck, was chief of the fire department that year.
In 1896, Samuel Arickson was elected chief of the M&RNFD. He was the first chief who reached the top office by moving through the chairs, starting out as second assistant chief, and then moving up to first
Village Plans Fire Department | BACK
>At a meeting of the Village Board on Nov. 25, 1896 Trustee Sydney B. Griffin offered a resolution to establish a village fire department that would include the Hook and Ladder, Mamaro, Fire Patrol and Volunteer companies, and on motion the resolution carried. Bonny Brook Hose Company was not mentioned, apparently because it no longer existed.
However, the village fire department existed only on paper. While the Village Board was on the right track in attempting to form a fire department from the M&RNFD, it turned out to be no simple task. The village could not effect a direct takeover because the four fire companies owned what equipment they had, and the village had no authority to assign apparatus that it did not own. What the village did was set up a fire department committee and promise to supply the companies with whatever they needed, or would need, if they turned over all of their possessions to the village. The fire companies did not accept the village's terms readily, and the process of the transfer of property ownership was not completed right away.
In 1897, Samuel McAndless Sr. of Fire Patrol was elected chief. A rule established by precedent that a chief would hold office for one year only was broken in 1898 when Chief McAndless was re-elected to a second term.
At a meeting of the Village Board on April 6, 1898 Trustee John W. Hiney, the first foreman of Bonny Brook Hose Co. who was elected into Volunteer in the fall of 1898, moved that the fire department committee "be instructed to employ counsel to do such work as may be required to incorporate the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck Fire Department into the Fire Department of the Village of Mamaroneck." The motion was adopted.
On April 25, 1898 the Village Board, acting as a Fire Commission, officially organized the Mamaro and Volunteer companies, the two companies having agreed pre
When the village organized its fire department Hook and Ladder was not a part of it. This situation, however, did not last long, for at a meeting of the ladder company June 6, 1898 a resolution was passed that the Village Board be petitioned to admit the company to membership in the village fire department. A committee of three was appointed to put the matter
Joseph H. McLoughlin, the first foreman and a founder of Hook and Ladder, was president of the village in 1898 and 1899, and his presence at the village's helm played a key role in the incorporation of the M&RNFD into the MFD. McLoughlin gave 24 years of his life to the fire service. He died Oct. 29, 1908 at the age of 61.
A new company called Columbia Hose Co. No. 2 was organized Oct. 16, 1898 in a northwest section of the village known at that time as Haines Park and Cottage Park.
Columbia's first officers were Chauncey Haviland, foreman; H.E. Archer, first assistant foreman; John D, Donnelly, second assistant foreman; William Speechley, secretary, and Lloyd C. Harriott Sr., treasurer. Named after C. O'D.
With the addition of Columbia, the strength of the fire department was increased to five companies before the century turned.