Chief of the Lockport Fire Department, Etc.
We have the pleasure of presenting to the readers of the FIREMAN’S JOURNAL, an excel lent likeness (from a photograph by Clench), of John Hodge Esq., of Lockport, N. Y., a gentleman who not only stands in the foremost rank of enthusiastic Firemen, but is one whose energy and tact have placed his name high in the list of the successful business men of the country. Born of humble parentage, the only patrimony he inherited was an indom itable will and firmly implanted principles of probity. These qualities, with a well balanced intellect, have been the foundation of the for tunes of thousands of our men of wealth. The biography of such men should be pub lished as incentives to others.
Mr. Hodge was born in Jefferson county, N. Y.,in 1839, enjoyed the advantages of alib cral education, and with no other capital, he wended his way to Lockport, then a rising village, now a thriving city. He entered a lawyer’s office where he remained but a short time, finding that the profession of law was incongenial to his inclinations. Engaging as clerk with Mr. M. IT. Tucker, proprietor of the then little known liniment called “Merchant’s Gargling Oil,” he was at once distinguished for his faithfulness to his employer’s interests and the intelligence which he manifested in the discharge of his duties. On the death of Mr. `I’ucker, the Merchant’s Gargling Oil Co. was organized, and Mr. Hodge became secre tarv and manager. Through his energy and careful management the business has become one of the greatest magnitude, and a source of no inconsiderable revenue.
Mr. Hodge entered with heart and soul into whatever he undertook; and when he joined the ranks of the Firemen, which he did by uniting himself with Protection Hook and Ladder Co. No. t, in 1S69, he was at once distinguished for his zeal. None were earlier to man the truck when the fire bell sounded. or worked more fearlessly at a fire; and he was indefatigable in his endeavors to elevate the standard of the Fire Department. It isno disparagement to his worthy. associates to say that to him is largely due the fact of the high standing of, not only his own company, but that of the Fire Department of the city of Lock port. lie was chosen with great unanim ity as Chief Engineer in April, 1877, an office which he holds with honor to himself and credit to the Department.
I-Ic was foremost in organizing the Fire men’s Life Association of the State of New York, a beneficiary association which is fast becoming popular with Firemen, and secured its incorporation in August, 1875. He was its first president, and has been elected each year without a dissenting voice.
In 1875 Mr. Hodge was one of the Execu tive Committee of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, and at the annual session in August, `IS77, was elected presi dent. Many of our readers will recall with pleasure the courteous treatment received at the hands of President Hodge on that occa sion, and his untiring zeal to render it a suc cess. His beautiful Opera House was gener. ally proffered for the sessions. Among the companies that faced the fearful storm during the parade on the closing day of the session was Hodge Hose Company No. 4, a company of young Firemen organized and furnished with equipments, even to a beautiful hosecart, through his liberality. He takes especial pride in his proteges, and his greatest pleasure is in drilling the lads in the responsible duties of Firemen.
Allusion has been made above to the Hodge Opera House, a building which stands a magnificent monument to the enterprise and public spirit of the proprietor and an ornament to the city. It is built of Ohio sandstone in an ornamental style of architecture, three stories in height, with Mansard roof. It has a frontage of 187 feet on Market and 25 feet on Main street. The seating capacity of the Opera House proper is nearly 2,000, and is the most perfect of its size in the country in design, convenience and decoration. Other parts of the building are used for stores, Common Council rooms, post-office, law offices, etc. Adjoining this building is the massive granite structure used as the laboratory, warehouses and offices of the Gargling Oil Co. The upper story, however, is occupied by the presses and editorial rooms of the Union Publishing Co., of which Mr. Hodge is President.
Mr. Hodge is also Treasurer of the Lockport and Buffalo Railroad Co.; Grand Receiver of the Ancient Order United Workmen of the State of New York ; Director of the Masonic Life Association of Western New York, and President ol the Lockport Driving Park Association, the duties of all of which are faithfully attended to through his strict methodical habits and untiring industry.
In Masonry Mr. Hodge has enjoyed the confidence of his brethren to an eminent degree in the bestowal of responsible positions, and has attained nearly the topmost round of the Masonic ladder, being invested with the exalted grade of in 1875, and is at present an officer of the Council of Deliberation of the A.’. Rite of the State of New York.