MARYLAND’S FIREMEN IN CONVENTION
(Specially written for FIRE AND WATER.)
BALTIMORE, MD., June 16, 1900.
MARYLAND’S State volunteer firemen held their eighth annual convention in this city on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The rain was the only opponent of the success of the gathering, which included active firemen from all over the State, with their up-to-date apparatus, and old timers of the volunteer days, with their antique engines and hose reels drawn by long ropes, and not without difficulty on the part of some of the patriarchal exempts in their red shirts and blue uniforms of ancient cut and fashion. Among these was a goodly delegation of exempts from your city, with a f_____e band, and their old engine gilt and furbished up for the occasion
The convention opened for business on Wednesday evening at Ford’s Grand Opera house, Philip E. Porter, of Annapolis, Md., president of the association, in the chair. After prayer by Rev. Edward W. Robbins, of the Fulton avenue Presbyterian chur_____h. Mayor Hayes welcomed the delegates to Baltimore. In the course of his address he said :
Your volunteer work, often involving the greatest danger, must be admired by all. I never look into the faces of firemen but I feel that I am looking at a body of men, whose work takes them into a field giving the utmost opportunities for heroism, and American firemen never fail to avail themselves of these opportunies to become heroes. We say that men who go into battle are heroes, and so they are; but the fireman who climbs a ladder and enters a burning building to save human life is just as much a hero as he who charges upon a breastwork. In Baltimore we have always taken a great interest in firemen We have a veteran corps—a splendid body of men—and, as I look upon them in the evening of their lives, I feel that they have served their city faithfully and fully. Then, 1 think, we have the finest fire department in the country. We have a chief engineer who is already a hero He is, moreover, a man of marked intelligence, and a man who in the discharge of his duty does not know what fear means, and he possesses admirable judgment, too. Whatever the emergency, he never loses his head. Then, there is another thing that makes our department the best in the country, and that is that it is on the merit system. The man who, in the discharge of his duty, risks his life is never forgotten. No man will get into the department, nor once in will he remain or be promoted, unless he has shown the element of manhood that is requisite for that position. But when he gets there, he is going to stay there all his life. The board of fire commissioners is thoroughly in accordance with the mayor in enforcing the merit system and is working hard for the success and efficiency of the department.
The mayor’s reference to Chief McAfee of this city’s fire department, was loudly applauded.
President Porter in responding thanked the mayor for his hospitable welcome in appropriate terms,and commented upon the beauties of the city. He was succeeded by Mr. Francis P.Stevens, who seconded the welcome. He said in part:
The mayor has referred to the heroism of the firemen as being equal to that of the soldier. I think that your position is a far prouder one than that of him who wins renown by shedding blood. The mission of the fireman is to save, while that of the soldier, no matter how patriotic he may be is to destroy.
Former Mayor Ferdinand C. Latrobe was the next speaker. He referred to himself as one of the comrades of the delegates, and said that he well remembered watching in the bell-toweron a Saturday night for a fire, and that that was the way he learned to sleep in his clothes.
The volunteer departments did a wonderful work (he added). And when I look at the modern departments the wonder to me is that the old engines ever put out a fire. But it was not the engines, although, of course, much depended upon them; it was the bravery and daring of the firemen. I have seen some daring work by the old volunteers, and they saved the city time and again from absolute destruction.
S&cretary Charles V. Wantz stated that since the last convention three companies had applied for admission to the association. They were the Vigilunt hose company No. 3, of Cumberland, and the Aberdeen and Snow Hill volunteer companies. He also reported that during the year eleven men belonging to companies in the association had been injured at fires, and had received the $10 allowed by the association in such circumstances. The treasurer, Mr. Hiram G. Heck, reported a balance of $293.28 at the beginning of the year; receipts of $328; and expenses of $177.21—leaving a balance in hand of $504.07.
The following officers were elected: President,Augustus J. Albert, of Baltimore; senior vice-presidents, C. M. Newkirk, of Westport, and Chief McAfee, of Baltimore; secretary, C. V. Wantz. of Westminster; treasurer, Hiram R. Heck, of Frederick, and a long list of vice-presidents The selection of the place for the next annual meeting was referred to President Augustus J. Albert and the executive committee, to report not later than December 1 next. The Veteran Volunteer Firemen’s association was given a hearty vote of thanks for entertaining the visitors.
The parade, of which Mr. Rufus W. Applegarth was chief marshal, delegated to perform the duties by former Mayor Latrobe. who had been appointed to fill the office, was spoiled by the rain, to the great disappointment of all concerned. It took place, indeed, but the persistency of the downpour forced the paraders to drop off company by company, except the last division in command of Chief Engineer William C. McAfee, of the Baltimore department, which stuck bravely to the march, until their marshal could find no more of the parade, when he gave orders for them to return to their quarters. The men were without rubbercoats, but they sat bravely up on the apparatus while their uniforms were soaked in the downpour.
Chief Croker, of this city’s fire department, and Mrs. Edward F. Croker. have returned from their tour in the West and Southwest. The last city they visited (and from which they sailed in the Panama railroad steamer Finance) was Colon. They returned from San Francisco by way of the Isthmus, after having stayed some time in California and visited Mexico. Chief Croker called en route on Chiefs O’Connell, of Buffalo, N. Y., and Swenie, of Chicago. Mrs. Croker and he went from Mexico through Central America, and visited Nicaragua and the Republic of Colombia At Panama they made a short stay, but saw none of the revolutionists, who had not up to that time visited the city. There was no particular excitement, and business was going on as usual. There were very few troops in the city, just enough to garrison the forts, and the people were careless as to the crisis. The most exciting thing he saw was the scavenger birds, which flocked round the city in droves. At the dock. Chief Croker. who is in the best of health and very brown from the sun, was met by Deputy Chief Duane, who acted as chief in his absence Battalion Chief Ahenrn, and other officers of the department. By noon he was at work again in his office.
THE LATE ASSISTANT CHIEF McCANN
Brockton, Mass., as well as the Massachusetts State Firemen’s association, to say nothing of his numerous friends outside of his immediate environment mourns the recent death of Charles L McCann, assistant chief of the fire department of that city. The immediate cause of his death was pneumonia— the result of a cold. The deceased fireman was born at Boston, in the old North End, in 1860, and received his education in the public schools of that city, whence he removed to Brockton, whereforsome twenty-five years he carried on the business of an undertaker. Few men were more respected In the city than he was, not only for his unimpeachable integrity and solid worth, but also for his openhanded charity, the extent of which will never be known on this side of the grave. Chief McCann was a member of the Massachusetts State Firemen’s association, of which body he was a vice-president, of the Veteran Firemen’s association, the State Veteran Firemen’s association, and many other fraternal nnd beneficial associations, in many of which he held positions of trust. As a fire-fighter he was brave, intelligent, and expert—his reputation in that line being more than merely local. Asa newspaper correspondent he achieved honor in his younger days— his letters to the New York Mercury us “Syskey Lemons” winning fame for their writer. He leaves a widow, with three young sons and a daughter, Miss Ina McCann, the eldestchild, who is well known as an elocutionist and public render.
How highly the dead fireman was respected by his fellow citizens was shown by the crowds who thronged to St. Patrick’s church on the day of his funeral—which was really a public funeral, and was attended not only by the Brockton firemen, but also by fire chiefs and firemen from all over the State and by representatives of the many organizations to which he belonged.
ILLINOIS AND ITS FIREMEN S TOURNAMENT.
Secretary Walter E. Price, of the Illinois State Firemen’s association, writes from Champaign that the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of La Salle, Ill., are making great preparations to receive the State firemen, in conjunction with the soldiers of the Spanish-American war, as guests and contestants at the tournament to be held there on July 24, 25 26, The city of LaSalle, with its 15,000 inhabitants, is most conveniently situated for such a gathering— being easily reached by rail from Chicago, Ottawa, Streator, Peru, and other cities. The tournament will be held on the Fair grounds, and its celebrated race track, close to the city. Good hotels and boardinghouses are numerous, with reduced rates and good accommodation. Several thousand dollars will be given away in prizes—some of which will be for wheelmen alone Bands will be present in plenty to contest for prizes, and there will be a fine exhibit of fire apparatus and equipments. Add to these inducements the far-famed hospitality of LaSalle, and nothing further need be said.