DAVID SCANNELL, CHIEF OF THE SAN FRANCISCO DEPARTMENT.
[In our issue of May 19 we published a portrait of Chief Scannell, with a brief biographical notice based on information obtained from his friends in this city. The following notice is by a gentleman of San Francisco, who knows the Chief well. We regret that we did not receive it in time to publish with the portrait, but old Firemen will be glad to get it even though delayed a couple of Weeks.—EDITOR THE JOURNAL.]
A familiar appearance on the streets of San Francisco is that of a hale, hearty and withal portly gentleman of ruddy complexion, and whose hair, to a casual observer, is reddish, but on a closer inspection is seen to be gray. He is generally clad in a dark tweed suit, with a lighter colored hat, is always seated in a red striped wheeled buggy, and has a nod, a word, or a cheery greeting for everyone. Such is a description of David Scanned, Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, whose kind face was illustrated in THE JOURNAL of May 19. Occasionally he is to be seen attired in a dirty brown waterproof and a battered helmet, driving his little brown horse “ Dave ” at a break-neck speed. Those who are intimate with Dave Scannell swear by him as a high-souled, genial, hospitable gentleman, rough, but of the “true blue,” and every inch a Fireman. Since his advent into San Francisco he has been connected with the different Fire Departments as Private, Foreman and Chief, and to-day when the Department is called out, if they even succeed in reaching the “smoke” before him they don’t “get at it” with a will until the “old man ” is on the spot.
Chief Scannell is one of us, having been born in New York City January 31, 1820, just in time to catch that year and “ hook on ” before the gong sounded. He was brought up in New York, and did his first fire duly with “ Protective Engine Company No. 5,” better known as the “ Honey Bee,” serving under such old Firemen as Wilson Small, Fred. D. Kohler, Hiram Ahrents and Henry Hempstead. Later he moved up town and joined “39” under Joseph Jackson, and “ Peterson Company No. 15” under Wm. Freeland. In 1846 he joined the First Regiment New York Volunteers under Colonel Ward B. Burnett, as Second Lieutenant of Company C, and went to Mexico. He returned in 1848 as brevet Captain in command of the company. He left New York for San Francisco in 1851, and almost immediately upon his arrival joined Empire Company No. 1, under David Broderick, Foreman. In 1854 he was elected Foreman of the company, which position he held until i860, when he was elected Chief of the Volunteer Department. In the meantime he had been apointed Custom House drayman by Major Hammond, the then Collector and present Police Commissioner. In 1853 he was appointed Under Sheriff by Sheriff Wm. B. Graham, and in 1855 he was elected Sheriff and served two years. In 1863 he was re-elected Chief of the Volunteer Department without opposition. In consequence of his active opposition to the Faid Department, he was not a candidate for the position of Chief upon its organization in 1866, and retired from active service. In March, 1871, he came again to the front as Chief of the Paid Department, which office he has held almost continuously ever since. In 1873 Frank Whitney was put in by an act of the Legislature, but at the expiration of six months the Scannell Commissioners were again in power, and he donned the white helmet, and has worn it ever since.
—Chief Littlefield, of Portland, Me., has purchased another Bangor Extension I.adder, making the third one now in use by his Department. Those ladders are highly appreciated both at home and abroad. Send for a circular to Joseph S. Smith, manager of the Ladder Company, at Bangor, Me.