Old Fire Roster Found
The roster of Neptune Fire Company No. 1, of Quincy, Ill., has just been found. It dates hack to 1857. The names are written in round, flourishing letters. The paper has become faded and yellow-tinted by time, and has been pasted together in several places. The fire company in those days had no such facilities for reaching a tire speedily as exist to-day. Teams were organized among the different fire departments. All the men were volunteers. Races were run in tournaments held in different county seats to determine which team would be the first in arriving at a fire. The firemen’s tournament aroused as much interest in those days as many of the horse-racing events do in Quincy to-day. These were always attended with a celebration similar to a county fair. Poles were erected in Washington Park. These were greased, and prizes were offered for the one that could climb them, and capture a $5 bill that generally was tacked on the end of the pole. Greased pigs also were features of the festivities, and many pairs of trousers were ruined whose owners were eager to capture the slippery porker.
Few if any of the men’s names in this company now appear in the Quincy directory. Many of them have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren residing there. Some of them migrated to the West and their descendants are no longer inhabitants of the community. Many of the firemen joined the armed forces in 1860 and the bravery that led them to fight the fires in their home town stood them well in the ranks of battle. On the 1857 roster appear the names of 70 volunteer firemen.