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.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1913 Report of the Firemen's Benevolent Association in Pelham

An early issue of The Pelham Sun published in early 1913 included a report on the Firemen's Benevolent Association.  The report included a brief history of the founding of the Association and was accompanied by an engraving of a fireman using a megaphone at a fire.  The engraving appears immediately below, followed by the text of the report and a citation to their source.

"Firemen's Benevolent Ass'n.

In the beginning of the year 1911, several of the leading spirits in firemanic matters, active and exempt, in the Town of Pelham, having discussed the advisability of forming an organization for benevolent purposes, also to stimulate the growth of social amenities among the firemen, and to protect and advance their interests, called a meeting at Firemen's Hall, in the first fire district, on January 21, 1911, which was largely attended, and elected the following to serve as officers:  D. McIvor McLoughran, Chairman; P. W. O'Malley, Secretary; Frank Chaloux, Treasurer; William Edinger and William B. Lyon, Committee on Ways and Means.

The first annual meeting of the association was held May 8, 1911, and a Board of Trustees were elected to serve for the ensuing year, namely:  D. McIvor Loughran, Frank Chaloux, William B. Lyon, P. W. O'Malley, William Edinger, L. James Buchanan, William H. McDonald, Frederick W. Hurttig, John B. Clegg.

The year 1911 was a successful one.  Additional members were added to the roll and finances were increased. 

The year 1912 opened under auspicious conditions.  The first annual ball of the association took place at Firemen's Hall on January 5th, and was known as 'Ye Olden Tyme Barn Dance,' the Master of Ceremonies being Brother John H. Young.  The affair was a most enjoyable one and proved a financial success.

On January 8th the second annual meeting of the association took place, and the following Trustees were elected:  For three years - D. McIvor Loughran, Wm. Edinger, P. W. O'Malley; for two years - Wm. B. Lyon, Frank Chaloux, John B. Clegg; for one year - Wm. H. McDonald, F. W. Hurttig, D. L. O'Leary.

On February 20, 1912, the certificate of incorporation was filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State, at Albany.  That year at the county games held at the fair grounds at White Plains, the association jumped to first place in athletic prowess, its team winning the greatest number of events, thereby securing the point trophy cup, -- a beautiful specimen of the silversmith's art, as well as the greatest number of medals and badges.  During the same year, the association's baseball team captured the trophy presented by John T. Logan.

The year 1913 now drawing to a close, will long be remembered by those interested in the affairs of the association, as a history-making epoch.

The third annual meeting took place at Firemen's Hall January 13, 1913.

This was the first year of the organization under the incorporation act, and the Trustees under same became a Board of Directors.  The following were elected to serve as such for a term of three years:  Daniel L. O'Leary, William H. McDonald, Frederick W. Hurttig.

On March 28, the second annual ball (calico dance) of the association took place under the able floor management of Brother Albert W. Monroe, the genial first deputy chief.  This also was a success financially and up to the standard already set by the affair of the previous year.

During this year the association became active in legislation, an appeal having been made to the firemen of Westchester County to appear before the Legislature and urge the passage of the 'Bovie bill,' an act authorizing payments to injured, or representatives of deceased volunteer firemen of the County of Westchester.

The President of the association appeared before the Senate Committee with other firemen throughout the county.  Subsequently at the hearing before the Governor, the following were present on behalf of the First Fire District:  Peter Ceder, President of North Pelham; ex-Chief Joseph Lyon, Liberty Engine and Hose Company No. 1; Charles W. Foster, President Relief Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, and D. McIvor Loughran, President of the association, armed with resolutions from the Village Board, Town Board, the several civic organizations and firemanic bodies in the Town of Pelham, endorsing the bill urging the Governor to sign same.

This bill being an important measure pertaining to volunteer firemen in the County of Westchester, received the Governor's signature, and became a law on April 1, being Chapter 150 of the Laws of 1913.

In the month of July the association had as its guests the Westchester County Volunteer Firemen's Association, who held its half-yearly meeting at Firemen's Hall.  The association was assisted by the several fire companies in the district.  It was largely attended, and proved of much interest to the firemen of the town.  A luncheon was served.  The committee in charge were Captains Dollny, Whalen and Deuscher.

During this year the association participated in the county games held at Rye Beach, September 6th, and maintained its position of first place in athletic honors, by capturing the greatest number of events.  One of the features of this meet was the hook and ladder race won by the Reliefs of Pelham, breaking all previous records.

There are now on the rolls of the association upwards of one hundred members and finances in the sum of four figures.  The association hopes to have its best report at the next annual meeting in Firemen's Hall, January 12, 1014.  Directors meetings are held on the second Friday of each month.

Qualifications for membership in the organization are as follows:  A fireman who is a member in good standing in any of the several fire companies within the corporate limits of the town, or an exempt firemen who has served his time in the Town of Pelham.

The initiation fee is $5.00 and the dues are $20 yearly, payable at the January meeting.  The objects of the association, as stated in the charter, are to voluntarily afford relief and assistance to indigent, needy, sick and disabled firemen, and to furnish and give assistance voluntarily to any families of any sick, needy, disabled or indigent firemen within the territory of the operations of this corporation, and to promote social and friendly intercourse among the members and firemen in the territory of the operations of said association, and to associate together for the benevolent and charitable purposes and principles hereinbefore set forth, and for such purposes to purchase, take, hold transfer and convey real and personal property.

The benefits are $100, payable at the death of any member from any cause whatever.  In addition, the association agrees to pay any active fireman who may be laid up sick from performing his duties at a fire, the sum of $8.00 per week for a period not to exceed twelve weeks, upon presentation of a doctor's certificate.

The following are the present officers of the association:  D. McIvor Loughran, President; Frank Chaloux, First Vice-President; John B. Clegg, Second Vice-President; Patrick W. O'Malley, Recording Secretary; Daniel L. O'Leary, Financial Secretary; William Edinger, Treasurer; William H. McDonald, Corresponding Secretary; William B. Lyon, Trustee; Frederic W. Hurttig, Trustee; John Gruber, Sergeant-at-Arms.  Auditing Committee -- August W. Schmidt, Chairman; William J. Griffin, Frederick W. Hurttig.

The association is well represented by its members in the county and state organizations, viz:  The Firemen's Association, State of New York; The Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association; The Southern Volunteer Firemen's Association, and The Westchester County Volunteer Firemen's Association."

Source:  Firemen's Benevolent Ass'n., The Pelham Sun, Vol. 4, No. 41, Dec. 20, 1913, p. 2, col. 3 (newspaper page in the collections of the Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, NY; digital copy in author's files).

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