ANNUAL CONVENTION OF TEXAS STATE FIREMEN
One of the largest attended and most successful conventions of the State Firemen’s Association of Texas, the fortieth annual, was held in Waco, Tex., May 4, 5 and 6, at which a large amount of business was transacted and action taken on measures of importance to the volunteer and paid firemen of the state. More than 2,000 delegates and visiting firemen were in attendance from all over Texas including the chiefs of several paid departments. The citizens of Waco threw wide open the gates to the city, which was practically in the possession of the firemen of the state for three days. The firemen were the recipients of lavish hospitality. New Braunfels was selected as the next meeting place beginning the first Tuesday in May, 1916. Corpus Christi and Waxahachie made a very spirited contest to land tthe 1916 convention.
Election of Officers.
The following officers were elected to serve during the coming year: H. J. Braunig, HalIcttsvillc, president; Tom S. Wright, Temple, firse vice-president; Roger Byrne, Smithville, second vice-president; W. D. McCilley, Brownwood, third vice-president; Geo. J. Kcmpen, Seguin, fourth vice-president; J. Ed. Schmitz, Dallas, recording secretary; James L. Storey, Houston, treasurer; W. L. Talbot, San Marcos, assistant recording secretary; W. P. Walker, Luling, corresponding secretary; Rev. Father P. A. Heckman, Temple, chaplain; P. J. Beyette, Jr., Denton, aged 7, mascot; Mrs. J. J. Clinton, Abilene, “mother” of the association. The president of the association serves one year, and at the end of that period the first vice-president is advanced to the presidential chair, and so on. J. Ed. Schmitz, who is the well known Southwestern representative of the American-LaFrance Fire Engine Company, and ex-chief of the Denton fire department, has held the office of recording secretary for a number of years, being re-elected each year without opposition. Treasurer Storey also was re-clected. The new president, Mr. Braunig, is chief of the Hfclletsville volunteer department, and is well known among the firemen of Texas. Father Heckman, of Temple, the chaplain, is one of the best known Catholic priests in Texas. He was appointed chaplain of the association several years ago and is exceedingly popular among the firemen throughout the State and is an earnest champion of their interests. The convention opened on Tuesday morning, with business session held at the Majestic Theatre. Prior to the morning session there was a parade of the entire Waco department, led by Chief Bauerle, and participated in by all the visiting firemen and delegates. Peter Schramm, of Taylor, the retiring president, called the convention to order, after which the invocation was pronounced by Father Heckman, in the course of which he laid his hand on a floral helmet, a tribute to the late chief, A. M. Prescott, and offered prayer in behalf of the large assembly for the old chieftain and for all the hosts of firemen who have passed to the great beyond. This was followed by a moving picture showing the late chief, and a reel showing a run of the Waco fire department. The address of welcome on behalf of the city was delivered by Mayor J. W. Riggins, who spoke words of praise on behalf of the firemen of the state. He presented a large gold key to President Schramm, saying as he did so: “This key contains the key of all Waco homes and Waco hearts, welded together and it represents the great hearty welcome of our citizenship. In Waco we all stand aside for the firemen, and due to our efficient department, manned by a valiant set of fire fighters, there is less fire waste in Waco than in any other Texas city.” The response was made by President Schramm, who in the course of his remarks, paid a glowing tribute to the late Chief Prescott, of whom he said: “The firemen of Texas have lost in him the truest and most devoted friend they ever had and the City of Waco has lost as valiant and brave a fire fighter as it was ever the privilege of any city to have.” Another speaker was J as. L. Storey, treasurer of the State Association. Miss Bertha Muhlcnbruch, sponsor of the Waco fire department, delivered the address of welcome to the sponsors and visiting ladies. Mrs. Clinton, of Abilene, who is the wife of Chief J. J. Clinton, of that city, made the response and as she appeared upon the stage, the entire audience arose and gave hearty cheers. In the afternoon that was a street car ride over the city for the visiting ladies and sponsors, a water display at night and other events, including reel races, with the winners as follows: Hillsboro, 28 2-5 seconds, first prize, $250; Coleman, 27 4-5 seconds, second prize, $100; Yoakum, 28 2-5 seconds, third prize, $50; Taylor, 29 seconds, fourth prize, a billy goat; Rosebud No. 1, 29 2-5 seconds, prize, 100 cigars; San Saba, 32 seconds, prize, 50 cigars; Rosebud No. 2, 37 seconds, prize, a meal ticket; Ballinger, 37 4-5 seconds, prize, presented with an armadillo by Austin fire department. Following were the cup winners: Conner cup, awarded yearly, won by West Austin team, time, 20 seconds; the Clark trophy, the second prize in this event, won by Larcdo, time, 20 1-5 seconds. At the Wednesday morning session, a brief address was made by Assistant State Fire Marshal A. W. Peninger, of Fort Worth and by Father Heckman. Secretary Schmitz referred to injunction proceedings of Attorney General Looney, of Texas, proposing to do away with all free transportation to any one except bona fide employees of railroads while in the actual discharge of their duties. After considerable discussion, it was voted to create a legislative committee with the object of taking care of matters pertaining to the Volunteer Firemen’s Association and employ competent legal talent to protect the interests of the association. The first anti-pass law excluded firemen, but exemption was later granted by the Legislature.
Recommend Motorizing Fire Departments.
A paper by Ed. Daggett, of Mineral Wells, on “The Best Method of Perfecting a Telephone Alarm System,” was read and briefly discussed, it being the opinion of City Electrician Clarence George, of Houston, and others, that a regular fire alarm system was preferable to a telephone alarm. There was a discussion as to the merits of motor-drawn apparatus versus horse-drawn apparatus, which was decided overwhelmingly in favor of motor equipment, with the further recommendation that every city and town in the state that has not already done so, motorize their fire departments, as tending toward greater efficiency. Chief Parker, of San Angelo, who has an Ahrens-Fox motor pump, also horse-drawn apparatus, said that during the past year they had 24 bell and 21 still alarms. He said the motor apparatus responded to all alarms, while the horse-drawn apparatus only responded to six alarms. Also that his motor apparatus had cost in oil and gasoline during that period only $100, while the department horses had been maintained at a cost of $330, and that he intended to shortly discard all horses for motor-drawn apparatus. Wednesday night firemen’s ball was held at the Cotton Palace Coliseum. The building was decorated for the occasion, and several hundred couples participated in the dancing.
Memorial Committee Report.
At Thursday morning’s meeting, the memorial committee reported that the following members died during the year: Abilene, Fred Ingman; Austin, H. M. Metz, V. Frithoff, C. C. Freezel, Tom Quinn, Henry Schrocder and Henry Banwert; Belton, Charlie Jacks; Cleburne, J. H. Cashions; Corsicana, Tom Graves; Cuero, F. C. Hanna; Dalhart, Colly Gilliam; Del Rio, Edwin Bonnet; El Campo, E. O. Isaacson; Ennis, V. L. Blakey; Garwood, J. J. Pinchback; Gonzales, Hugh Lewis and Albert Coutant; Hallettsboro, E. R. Harvey; Honey Grove, W. T. Shortal; Laredo, A. W. Schmitt; Lott, Tom Green; Seguin, Max Mae; San Marcos, A. T. Ellis; Stamford, B. R. Bickers; Sweetwater, R. B. Howells; Taylor, J. J. Morris; Terrell, Henry Ruoers; Tulia, J. P. Huckabee; Victoria, Wm. Weiseger; Waco, P. L. Moore and A. M. Prescott; Wolfe City, A. B. Royal; Yoakum, Jim Murphy. Tributes were paid the deceased by Mrs. Clinton, Chief White of Austin; J. L. Storey, of Houston. “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere” was sung by Misses Gladys Collins and Mary Philips as a part of the service. A tribute was paid the memory of the late Chief Prescott by Father Heckman and Chief Bauerle, of Waco, successor to the late chief. At the conclusion, the audience arose and sang “Nearer My God to Thee.” Jas. L. Storey also spoke in memory of the late Captain O. C. Connor, of Paris, and told of the unselfish work done by the veteran fire fighter.
The following topics were ordered published in the official proceedings of the association: “Should the Amount of Insurance on Property be Regulated by Law,” “The Importance of Sending Representative Men to the State Conventions,” “The Advantage of Selecting an Active Fireman as Fire Marshal,” “Should Not Each Incorporated Town or City Have Laws Regulating the Construction of Buildings, and a Building Inspector to Enforce the Same.” The report of Treasurer Storey showed the association to have on hand a balance of $3,296.81. Total receipts from all sources during the past year were $4,674.52, while the expenditures were $1,467.71. The report was adopted. The report of Chief Fritz, of Victoria, delegate from the State Firemen’s Association to the 1914 meeting of the International Association of Fire Engineers at New Orleans, was adopted. Resolutions were read opposing a change in the dates for state conventions and thanking the firemen and citizens of Waco for the splendid reception accorded them. Thursday afternoon the first, second and third vice-presidents were promoted to the next stations and all the newly elected officers made brief addresses to the convention. Ex-Governor Colquitt was introduced; he was given a rousing reception and made an address, paying a warm tribute to the firemen of Texas. When railroad commissioner and later when governor he did much to advance firemen’s interest. Chief Bauerle, of Waco, was elected by acclamation a delegate to the 1915 chief’s convention at Cincinnati and $100 appropriated to pay his expenses, and he was also authorized, on behalf of the firemen of Texas, to invite the chief’s association to meet in Waco in 1917. Peter Schramm, of Taylor, the retiring president of the association, was presented by Chief Wright, of Temple, on behalf of the entire body, with a handsome gold badge as a token of the love and esteem in which he is held by the firemen of the State. During the convention a demonstration of the workings of the Waco fire department was given under the direction of Chief Bauerle. A number of companies responded to a test alarm and within a very few minutes eleven streams were in operation. The visitors expressed themselves as highly delighted with the exhibition. The next convention will meet at New Braunfels on the first Tuesday, in May, 1916.