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, December 11, 2014

Pelhamville's First Attempt to Create a Fire Department in 1893 Failed Due to a Legal Technicality

The early history of Pelhamville's first fire-fighting units has long been known.  Recently, however, research revealed an interesting odd twist to the creation of those units.  It seems that in 1893, the tiny settlement of Pelhamville voted to authorize the creation of a fire fighting unit and the appropriation of $4,000.00 to fund the purchase of a hose carriage, a horse-drawn hook and ladder "truck," and a "house" to store the equipment.

On February 7, 1893, however, the Town Board of the Town of Pelham met and declared the earlier vote "null and void" on the ground that "electors did not secure the necessary names of property owners signed to their petition to dded a lot for their use as a fire house" as required by law.  

Pelhamville was required to start from scratch.  Next, however, it took a different tack.  Pelhamville representatives obtained a Special Act of the Legislature and subsequently, in March, two fire companies were organized:  the Relief Hook and Ladder Company and the Liberty Hose Company.  Both companies were authorized to assemble thirty men and a small hook and ladder truck and a hose wagon were purchased.  The truck and hose wagon were kept in separate locations until a small fire house was built next to the present site of today's fire house to store the equipment.  

Below is a brief article published in February, 1893 in The Daily Argus of Mount Vernon, New York describing the failed initial effort to create the fire fighting units in Pelhamville.  It is followed by a citation to its source and a list of links to earlier Historic Pelham Blog postings regarding the history of fire fighting in Pelham.

Men of the Liberty Hose Company No. 1 Standing in
Front of the Original Pelhamville Fire House in 1895.
Presumably the Three Men in Suits Behind Them Are
Several of the Fire Commissioners.  NOTE:  Click to Enlarge Image.
Source:  Image Enhanced from Image Offered for Auction Via eBay.

Men of the Relief Hook and Ladder Company No. 1
Standing in Front of the Original Pelhamville Fire 
House in 1895.  NOTE:  Click to Enlarge Image.
Source:  Image Rendered Grayscale and Enhanced
from Image Offered for Auction via eBay.

Ex-Judge Henry D. Carey, has been elected a member of the General Committee of Tammany Hall from the 13th Assembly District.  Mr. Carey is also a prominent member of the Piquod Club, and he can be seen every evening talking politics with Police Commissioner John C. Sheehan and others.

Mr. Alexander Bants, Sr., is talked of as a candidate for Excise Commissioner this spring.  This is a good selection.

At a meeting of the Town Board held on Tuesday evening, February 7th, at the Court House, Supervisor Sherman T. Pell in the chair, all the Board was present with the exception of Judges Karbach and Whann.  The recent election and appropriation of four thousand dollars, held at Pelhamville, to secure a hose carriage, hook and ladder and a house for those fire apparatus, was declared null and void on the ground that the electors did not secure the necessary names of property owners signed to their petition to deed a lot for their use as a fire house, which the law requires.  They will hold another election soon and will comply with the law."

Source:  CITY ISLAND, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Feb. 20, 1893, Vol. 1, No. , p. 3, col. 2.  

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Below is a list of prior Historic Pelham Blog postings that touch on firefighting and the history of fire fighting units within the Town of Pelham.

Thu., Jul. 24, 2014:  Dedication of the New Fire Headquarters in the Village of Pelham on December 29, 1927.

Wed., Jul. 02, 2014:  Election Shenanigans Involving Fire Commissioner Election in 1898.

Thu., Apr. 24, 2014:  Information About the History of Fire Departments in the Town of Pelham Published in 1927.

Fri., Jan. 24, 2014:  Early Days of Organized Fire Fighting in Today's Village of Pelham.

Fri., Jan. 15, 2010:  Photograph of Augustine C. McGuire, President of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the First District Fire Department in 1913.

Thu., Jan. 14, 2010:  1913 Report of the Firemen's Benevolent Association in Pelham.

Thu., Dec. 10, 2009:  More 19th Century Baseball and Firefighting References.

Tue., Dec. 08, 2009:  The Darling Triplets: Three Brothers Among Pelham's Earliest Firefighters.

Thu., Oct. 08, 2009:  Firefighting Units on City Island in Pelham During the Early 1890's.

Mon., Aug. 31, 2009:  Contest in 1891 To Determine Which Steam Fire Engine Company Could Throw a Stream the Greater Distance.

Fri., Aug. 28, 2009:  Reorganization of the Minneford Engine Company on City Island in February, 1891.

Thu., Aug. 06, 2009:  Brief History of the Fire Department in the Village of North Pelham Published in 1913.

Wed., Aug. 05, 2009:  Pelham Manor Fire Chief Pleads for Taxpayers to Authorize Purchase of Village's First Fire Engine.

Wed., July 15, 2009:  Liberty Hose Company Election in 1898.

Thu., Jan. 19, 2006:  Pelham Manor's Earliest Fire Fighting Equipment.

Mon., Aug. 01, 2005:  An 1896 Inspection and Drill of the Fire Department in Pelham.

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