A FAMOUS FIRE COMPANY.
The Shiffler Fire Company of Lancaster, Penn., was organized in 1852 by boys ranging in age from fifteen to seventeen years. The first thing in the shape of a carriage owned by them was a small affair built by a man named Smith, son of the colored housekeeper of Thaddeus Stevens, and upon this they carried hydrant hose. An old barn at the foot of Thaddeus Stevens’ lot served as a house, and the boys called their company the Independent. In less than three months after their organization they purchased the “Crab ” Reel from the Washington Hose Company of Philadelphia, the Sun Hose Company generously giving them housing for their carriage. They now changed the name to Fulton, although thy wanted to call it Shiffler, but feared to go on the street* fir subscriptions to an organization bearing a name so repugnant to the Catholic elem nt of this as well as of every other Ameii;an cry at that time.
In 1854 there was a large accession of old r men to the membership, among them Thaddeus Stevens, who was at once elected president and r tained the position to the hour of his death. The older element in the company insisted upon changing the name to Fulton, which they did, and the younger men, becoming indignant, withdrew. In less than six months the Hose Carriage stood in a chicken-coop. In the Spring of 1855 ” the originals ” hauled out the apparatus and called it the Shiffler, and in less than one year from that date the company owned a comfortable hose-house. They continued to prosper and grow in membership an 1 material wealth until in 1868 they bu.lt their present fire-house. In 1871 they received as gifts two very handsome Hose Carriages—-one from the Shiffler, No. 32, and the other from the Spring Garden, No. 36, of Pniladelphia, besides trumpets and other valuables, which those companies had no furtheruSe for when the volunteer system was abolished in Philadelphia. In 1871 they had built for them a third-class Steamer. Since calling themselves the Shiffler Company they have never had any difficulty in maintaining their organization save at one period of the war, when no of their number were volunteer Union soldiers.
Upon the death of Mr. Stevens, Hon. O. J. Dickey, who also became the successor of the old commoner in Congress, became Pres’dent, retaining the office until his death, when George M. Franklin, a member of the Lancaster Bar, became President, and so remains to-day.