Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Darling Triplets: Three Brothers Among Pelham's Earliest Firefighters

In the early 1890s, firefighting units sprang up on City Island, in Pelham Manor and in Pelhamville within the Town of Pelham.  Shortly after New York City annexed City Island and nearby areas in 1896, an interesting article appeared in The Evening Telegram about triplets who had served as volunteer firefighters in the Minneford Engine Company on City Island for seven years.  The men were William, Thomas and James Darling.  The text of the article appears below.

Three of a Kind and Name Don the City's Uniform and Will Run with the Engines.
Brothers Served Seven Years on the City Island Volunteer Force.

City Island, in the Annexed District, has made an unique addition to the City Fire Department.  The recruits are the Darling brothers, triplets, sons of William Darling.  They are named respectively William G., Thomas G. and James G. Darling.  Their common age is thirty-four years.  All are straight-backed handsome fellows, with crockery blue eyes and big blond mustaches. 

The brothers are just completing their terms as probationary men in the school of instruction in Sixty-seventh street:  James donned his uniform for the first time to-day.  The two others will complete their training and be assigned to stations in a day or two.  None of them is without experience in climbing roofs and ladders and handling hose and lines, which the training school teaches.

All three served for seven years in the Minneford Engine Company, the volunteer force in Island City, before its annexation in 1896.  Under J. O. Fordham, chief of the Minnefords, they earned reputations as men almost recklessly brave.  James saved the life of Mrs. George Bell on July 4, 1897.  She had upset a kerosene stove upon herself.  James wrapped her in carpet he tore from the floor.  Then he put out the fire in the house without troubling to call for aid.

I saw James this afternoon at the house of hook and ladder company No. 4, at Forty-eighth street and Eighth avenue, where he has been assigned for duty.  He was engaged in the unheroic duty of mopping the engine house floor, and he wouldn't let anybody past the floor till they wiped their feet carefully on the cocoa mat. 

James said that he and his brothers were all sailmakers, like their father.  He is of athletic build, 5 feet 7 1/2 inches high and strips at 133 pounds.  Brother William is a half inch taller and Thomas a quarter inch shorter, but it requires minute inspection to note any difference in their appearance.

William Darling is with truck No. 6, in Canal street and Thomas with truck No. 11 at Fifth street.  Both will probably get permanent assignments to these stations.  All are married, and William and James have three children each."

Source:  Darling Triplets Will Fight Fire, The Evening Telegram, Jan. 28, 1898, p. 8, col. 1.

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