SKETCHES OF CHIEF FIRE MARSHAL AND THE ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHALS.

SKETCHES OF CHIEF FIRE MARSHAL AND THE ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHALS.

D. J. SWENIE, CHIEF FIRE MARSHAL, was born in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, July 20, 1834, where he remained until he arrived at the age of fifteen. In 1849 he came to Chicago and engaged in the harness trade, and in manufacturing leather hose, fire hats, etc., etc. In that year he joined No. 3 Hose Company, and subsequently joined Niagara Company No. 3. In 1852 he became a member of Red Jacket Engine Company No. 4, and was elected Assistant Foreman. In 1854 he returned to No. 3; in 1856 he was elected First Assistant Engineer of the Department; and in 1858 was elected Chief Engineer, organizing the Paid Steam Fire Department.

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He commenced his labors in March, and was met by bitter opposition against the introduction of steam, instead of manual labor, in extinguishing fires by the entire force of volunteers. It was not the mere fact that steam was going to do all the work that they had performed so long voluntarily, and which they felt so much glory in doing, but the idea that any “ American citizen ” could be mean enough to accept pay for what they had done for glory, made them mad enough to ” lam ’em with the butt.”

In the month of May the Long John Engine was put in service in part of the old Armory building, on Adams street, and a temporary company was organized. The horses were hired by the month, and their owners to drive them. The engineer received $50 per month, and hosemen and stoker $1 per day. In December, 1858, a permanent organization was effected, the city having purchased the horses, and the members were sworn in as city officers. In the same month two more companies were organized, the engines having been bought the previous Summer. They werecalled the “ Enterprize” and the “ Atlantic.” The Enterprize was placed in service in Volunteer 8’s house, on State street, and the Atlantic was stationed in No. 8’s house, on Michigan street. During this year several of the volunteer companies got sick of trying to compete with steam, and disbanded. On January 1, 1859, Island Queen No. 4 was organized and put in service in No. 6’s house, on West Lake street. Our citizens w ere beginning to feel pretty secure in having four steamers to protect them, having seen the immense amount of labor they performed in comparison with manual labor, and in the most orderly manner. In those days it was customary for the Firemen to meet in convention and nominate their can_ didate for “ Chief,” which nomination was always accepted by both politica parties, and the candidate elected without any opposition. A convention was called in February, 1859, by the remaining volunteer companies to nominate a Chief, and they werebou d to be revenged on the man who introduced steam. They therefore nominated U. P. Harris to succeed Mr. Swenie, and he was elected in March.

In 1861 he was appointed Foreman of Liberty Engine No. 7; in 1867 the engine was transferred to another house, and he received a new engine called the Fred. Gund, No. 14. He still retained his old members, and held his position as Foreman.

On the tenth anniversary of his appointment as Foreman his many friends in the Department gave a banquet in honor of the occasion at No. 14 House, which was a grand affair. Fire Commissioner Mr. E. B. Brown President, and Commissioners Mark Sheridan and Fred. Gund were also present. After the tables were cleared, speech making being in order, Mr. C. N. Holden arose and gave a sketch of Mr. Swenie’s career as a Fireman, from the time of joining the Department, and recounted the many valuable services performed by him, and also spoke of his many social qualities and true worth as a gentleman and Fireman. Mr. Holden concluded his remarks by saying that he had been delegated by the many friends of Mr. Swenie in the Department to present to him from them a gold watch and chain, with fire hat and trumpet as charms, as a token of their esteem. The cost of the watch and appendages was $450. The occasion was one that will be long remembered by those who participated.

On the retirement of Mr. U. P. Harris as Chief Engineer of the Department, in 1868, Mr. R. A. Williams was appointed by the Fire Commissioners to fill the vacancy. Mr. Williams, on assuming the duties of Chief, tendered Mr. Swenie the position of First Assistant, but he declined for good reasons, preferring to keep his old position as Foreman instead, and continued to discharge the duties of Foreman until October 1st, 1873, when he was appointed First Assistant Fire Marshal under Chief Benner. He continued performing the duties of that position until July 3rd, 1879, when he was appointed Acting Chief by Mayor Harrison, and on the retirement of Mr. Benner, on the 10th of November, 1879, he was appointed by the Jvlayor and confirmed by the Council, Fire Marshal and Chief of Brigade; and thus, after twenty years service he was placed at the head of the Department he was instrumental in organizing.

During the thirty-one years of Marshal Swenie’s connection with the fire organization of Chicago, from 1849 to 1880, he has been recognized as a most efficient worker and one of the most skillful of Firerfffcn.

His present position as Fire Marshal of the city is a testimonial to his thorough qualification to discharge the duties of the office and of his worth as a man. One who has spent thirty-one years of his life in active fire service, and who by virtue of merit has come up through the line, is one in whom the Department justly takes pride, and in whom the city can repose confidence.

G. S. PETRIE,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL, CHIEF OF THIRD BATTALION AND SUPERINTENDENT OF REPAIR SHOP.

With the headquarters at Engine House No. 3, located on West Chicago avenue. Mr. Petrie is a native of Chicago, having been born here in 1840, three years after the city was incorporated, on the 25th of September. At the age of fifteen he entered the employ of the McCormick Reaper Company as an apprentice, meanwhile having become a member of the Volunteer Fire Department as a runner. In 1865, he was accepted as a regular member of Engine Company No. 11. During his stay he was elected Secretary of the Hose Company, belonging to the engine. In 1859 he was badly smitten with the gold fever and went to Pikes Peak, Colorado. But on recovery, a short time afterward, he came back as far as St. Joseph, Mo., and commenced steamboating on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, acting as Assistant Engineer. In 1858 he went to Nashville, Term., and resumed his business of steamboating, sailing between New Orleans and Nashville. His stay in Nashville was particularly pleasant owing to a certain young ledy, who later was made Mrs. Petrie. On the 30th of January, 1862, he returned to Chicago and took charge of the tug boat “ Union,” as Engineer. On September 16, 1862, he accepted the position of Assistant of the Atlantic Engine Company No. 3, which position he held for two years and a half, when he returned to his first employment at the McCormick Reaper Works. On Friday, February 1, 1866, he was appointed to the position of Assistant Engineer of the J. S. Rice No. io, and remained in that position till Edwin Roberts, the Engineer, died, and was promoted to the vacant position, July 2, 1867. When the Wi liam James No. 3 was organized, November 21, he was transferred to it as Engineer. When the great fire of 1871 broke out, the Steamer No. 3 was at the repair shop and was destroyed, leaving the company without any apparatus, except the Hose Carriage. But they repaired promptly to the fire, and Captain John McLean, R. J. Harmon, Harry Anderson and Mr. Petrie went to work as pipeman, doing such excellent service in the South West Lumber District that they were presented with a purse of $400 by the business men of the community. On Friday, February 14,1872, he was promoted to the position of 3d Assistant Fire Marshal in charge of the West Division, having his headquarters at Engine House No. 17, and was again promoted to 2d Assistant Fire Marshal, on Friday, March 1st, and assigned to the North Division, with headquarters at Supply House No. 3. On Friday, April 11, 1877, he was tendered the position of Superintendent of the repair shop, which he accepted, at the same time going to all fires on second alarm, and taking the place of the other Marshals when absent. Marshal Petrie, as the Superintendent of the repair shop, is considered standard authority on all matters pertaining to fire apparatus, as he is a thorough and skilled engineer. He receives quantities of letters every day asking him questions relative to his business, which he always gladly answers, as his many friends well know. After the great fire the city showed its confidence in his ability as a mechanic, by detailing him to go to the works of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, to superintend the building of the two Steamers Nos. 3 and 14. It is a remarkable fact that all of Superintendent Petrie’s promotions have taken effect on Friday, and he now believes that what is generally considered an unlucky day is to him the most fortunate day of all. The last time he came into the Department was also on Friday, making him in every sense of the word the Department’s man ” Friday.” It is well known that he has attained to his present position through his work as a man, and that he has never -been known as an office seeker.

WILLIAM MUSHAM,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL AND INSPECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT.

The subject of this sketch, was born in the city of Chicago, Feb. 9, 1839, of Scotch and Irish parents, who at that time lived on North .State street. He received a good Public School education, and at the age of sixteen learned his trade as a carpenter. His first connection as a member of the Fire Department was in 1855, when he became a member of the Philadelphia Hose Company of this c ity. Af.er a membership of about six months in the latter Company, he was prevailed on to join Phoenix Engine Company No. 8, which was at that time located at the present site of Engine Company No. 11. vVhen Engine Company No. 8 was disbanded in 1858. to give place to paid Com any Atlantic No. 3, he left the Department and had no connection with it, till in 1861, when he was appointed Pipeman on the Little Giant Engine Company No. 5. Here he remained fill the grand Firemen’s Parade in Philadelphia in 1865, cal! d him to that plac. He resolved to remain, and shortly after his arrival becam a member of the famous Fairmount Engine Company, then at the height of its glory. In 1866 he returned to Chicago, and two weeks alter his arrival was appointed Pipeman on the T. B. Brown Engine Company No. 12, and became hea l Pipeman before leaving in the fall of 1868. when he was tendered the position of Foreman of the Little Giant Engine Company No. 6. While a Captain of this Company the great fire of 1871 occurred, during which he and his company did noble duty ; they were the first at the fire at 9:30 P. M., on October 7th. working continually till 3 o’clock P. M., on October 8th, the fire being subdued on that side he was ordered home, but six hours and a half later, at 9.30 P. M. on Sunday evening on October 8th, he was again called out to face the great fire. On March 1st, 1872, the Board of F ire Commissioners, recognizing his ability as a F’ireman, a-.d his eminent services during the great fire, promoted him to Third Assistant F’ire Marshal, with headquarters at the engine house then known as No. 12, at that time located on the present site of No. 17. on Lake street, and was given charge of the whole West Division. The following year, 1873, he did as a great many had done before him, namely, got married and settled down. In April, 1877, he was transferred to the Second Battalion with headquarters at the Engine House of No. 11. Before leaving, the members of the Fourth Battalion presented him with a handsome silver tea set, and a 32-cone fire hat, as a mark of their esteem. Among the varied experience of Mr. Musham, in the fire service, our space will permit recording only one. In June, 1865. on the corner of South Water and La Salle streets, while in a burning building, a wall fell on him, but he was saved by two columns from being killed outright, although he was seriously injured, his companion being killed. On May 1st, 1880, he was relieved of the command of the Second Battalion, and was appointed Assistant Fire Marshal and Inspector of the Department, with headquarters at Hook and Ladder No. i, on Pacific Avenue, where he now holds forth. To Mr. Musham, the Department is indebted for the many improvements in the construction of Engine Houses. Ever since he was appointed Foreman in 1868, he has had charge cf all repairs and the re-building of Engine Houses, using carpenters of the Department detailed to assist him, thereby saving the Department thousands of dollars. It was he who first introduced in Chicago changing the stalls so that they face toward the engine, allowing the horses a straight run to their places, which improvement is now adopted by all the Departments in the country.

MAURICE W. SHAY,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL, CHIEF OF THE FIRST BATTALION, and Captain of the “Shay” Base Ball Nine, first beheld the light of day in the Peninsula of Nova Scotia, on theaad day of March, 1832. Little did the people of Chicago dream that one of those who was to play a prominent part in saving Chicago from total destruction by the fire e’ement, was on that day born. He lived in the county of his nativity till he was six years of age, when, with his parents, he went to Eastport, Maine, even at this early age he developed an admira’ion for the life of a Fireman, and the great fire in that city in 1839, left a deep impression on his boyish mind, seeing the sufferings and calamities it caused, he early resolved to devote his life to what he felt would be a pleasant duty. In 1840 he moved to Charlestown, Mas., where seven years later, being then fifteen years of age, he commenced running with the Warren Engine Company, No. 4. Many of the old Boston veterans will no doubt remember him as a lad of sixteen at the Haverhill street fire, which destroyed about three squares and was the largest fire Boston ever had, as he worked with the Warren, then rendering neighborly assistance. Like a gre it many other young men, Mr. Shay felt that the West was the place for the young and ambitious, and he followed the advice of Horace Greeley, and came to Cleveland. Ohio, in the year of 1849, and the next year, 1850, brxame an active member of Phoenix Engine Company No 4. After remaining in that company for about two years he left for Pittsburgh, Pa., where he immediately became identified with the ” Eagle” Fire Company, but his interests calling him back to Cleveland in 1855, he returned to his former company, the Phoenix, being cordially welcomed by his old friends, and shortly afterwards was elected Assistant Foreman, and the following year, 1856, was elected Assistant Engineer of the Fire Department of the City of Cleveland. Many will remember his labors in the largest fire Cleveland ever had the misfortune to experience to that date, and known as the New England House Fire. In 1859, driven thither by the Western Fever, he came to Chicago, arriving in October, and as soon as be became acquainted, drifted back into the channel of his former pursuit, becoming a Pipeman on the Liberty Hose Company No. 6, in 1857. One year later he was elected Assistant Foreman, in which position he remained till his company disbanded, and the paid Fire Department was organized. He remained out of the service about two years, but on the 23d day of September, 1861, was appointed Truckman on Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. While an assistant on the Hose Company No. 6, in 1858, at a large fire on Lake sir* et, he stood on the top of a wall and fell down with it, twenty-three men being killed by the fall, his foreman, Jack C. Dickey, being one of the number. In 1862 he was transferred to the Little Giant Engine Company No. 6, and in 1864 was promoted to Foreman and given charge of the Frank Sherman Engine Company, No. 9, and in 1867, he was offered the same position on the A. D. Titsworth Engine Company No. 13, which he accepted, this Company being at that time one of the finest companies in the city, as the many visiting Firemen to the City of Chicago, testified. During his command here he was agreeably surprised by receiving a handsome gold watch with the following inscription, which explains itself: ” Presented to Maurice W. Shay, Foreman of Steam Fire Engine No. 13, by his personal friends, February 13th, 1869.” This watch is said to have cost $450. The great fire of 1871 brought him opportunities for showing his capacity, and both he and his company especially distinguished themselves at that time in preventing the spread of the fire westward ; taking a position on Jefferson street, they fought hard and effectively, and prevented it from going farther west. On October 3d, 1873. Mr. Shay, received his promotion to Assistant Fire Marshal, having been detailed to duty as such while still Captain of No. 13. His first head-quarters were at the house of Hook and Ladder Company of No. 4, on East 22d street, from there he was transferred to the first battalion in November, 1874, with head-quarters at the house of Hook and Ladder No. 6, on Franklin street, from there to Engine No. 13. house on Dearborn street, where he now is enjoying all the happiness a man can get out of single blessedness. Mr. Shay has had more marriage notices written for him than Brigham Young was ever honored with, and still he says that he is ” Heart whole and fancy free.” There was not a time when he had leave of absence, if it were only to see a “ballgame” but some reporter would give him the benefit of the doubt, and write up bis coming nuptials, and always of course to some “rich widow,” but he has outlived all the slanderous machinations of the enemy. It is now thought by many of his friends that he must have met with some severe disappointment in his more youthful days, and hence “never told his love,” which leaves him to-day in that most pitiable condition, a ” bachelor.”

JOEL A. KINNEY,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL AND CHIEF OF THE FOURTH BATTALION, was born in the town of Lodi, Cattaraugus County, N.Y., on the 19th day of July, 1828. He left the East and came to Chicago in the latter part of November, 1840. Soon after, while playing among the ruins of a fire on the southwest corner of Lake and La Salle streets, he came near being crippled for life by burning his leg, but, by skillful medical aid, was fortunately saved. At the age of sixteen, in May, 1844, he joined the Bucket Company, which, in 1846, was re-organized as Engine Company No. 4. In 1852, he resigned from No. 4, and connected himself with Engine Company No. 1. During his connection with this Company he held several offices of trust, showing that he possessed the confidence of his fellow members. The positions held were those of Clerk, Treasurer, Assistant Foreman and Foreman, and in the year 1855 First Assistant Engineer of the Fire Department. In December, 1858, he was tendered the position of Foreman of the Long John Engine No. 1, by Chief Swenie, which he accepted. In April, i860, he was taken with the Colorado fever, and resigned his position in the Department and proceeded to that country of silvery prospects. During his stay there he joined the Independent Battery of that State as a private, and later was promoted by Governor Evans to the position of second lieutenant. He returned to Chicago in the Fall of 1865, and in April, 1866, was appointed to the position of Foreman of Engine Company No. 2 by U. P. Harris, then Chief, and one year later was transferred to Engine Company No. 9, a new Company just then organized. On the 14th day of February, 1874, he received his long-deserved recognition from the Department by being promoted to his present position. On March 13, 1869, while in charge of No. 9, the members of that Company, his old friends and the citizens of that locality presented him with a perfect specimen of a breech-loading shot-gun. Mr. Kinney being a great lover ot the hunting course, greatly enjoyed his friends’ kind remembrance of his tastes, and has since made good use of his handsome present. Few men in the Department are more conservative than Mr. Kinney ; he commands the esteem and respect of those under him, and is in every way fitted for the position he holds. His present headquarters are at Engine 12 House in Lake street.

THOMAS BARRY,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL AND CHIEF OF SIXTH BATTALION, was born in Ireland on the third day of March, 1832, and emigrated to this country when eleven years of age, settling first in the City of Brooklyn, N. Y. At the age of fifteen he commenced as runner with the City of Brooklyn Engine Company No. 15, and one year later was admitted as a regular member, and remained a member of that Company till he had reached the age of eighteen years. In the meanwhile he was serving as a boiler-maker in New York, on the corner of Beach and West streets. In 1850, he went West, to ” grow up with the country,” stopping at Albany, N. Y., a short time, and arriving at Chicago in the latter part of the year. On his arrival in this city he again resumed his trade, and also joined the Red Jacket Engine Company No. 4 in 1855. With this Company he remained till the Volunteer Department was disbanded and a paid one organized. When the Long John was put into service he was appointed Pipeman, and the first fire he went to with this Engine was on April 30, 1858. In 1859, he was appointed Foreman of the same Company. In 1861 he was transferred to the Economy No. 8 as Foreman, and remained in charge there till injured on the 7th of June, 1865, on South Water street, by the falling of a four-story brick wall. He was picked up for dead, having eleven different fractures, but, by skillful treatment, was finally made as good as new, and to-day is strong and hearty, although still inconvenienced to a certain extent by one of his limbs. As soon as he recovered sufficiently he was made Watchman on Giant No. 6, where he remained one year, and on the 7th of June, 1867, he again joined, and was made Captain of the Economy. On July following he was again injured at the fire in Milwaukee avenue, Armour’s Packinghouse, on January 14,1871. This time hve others besides himself receiving serious injuries. On September 31, he was transferred to the Douglas Hose, where he served during the fire of 1871. In November after that fire, he was given charge of Engine Company No. 19. After so many scars and such hard service he finally received a signal recognition of lh“ value of his services, Ify promotion to Assistant Fire Marshal in November, 1874. His headquarters are at the House ot Hook and Ladder No. 4, on East Twenty-second street, in charge of the Sixth Battalion.

M. W. CONWAY,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL, AND CHIEF OF THE FIFTH BATTALION, was born in Ireland in 1842, and in 1848 came to this country with his parents, who settled in the city of Brooklyn, N. Y. At the age of thirteen he came to Chicago. While here he received a good education, going to what was then known as the Scammon School. The year after his arrival in Chicago (in 1856) he joined the Volunteer Fire Department, being first a member of the Garden City Independent Hose Company No. 6. He remained a member of that Company until it disbanded in 1869, and the Steamer “Island Queen” was organized in its place. About this time he went South, and settled in Memphis, Tenn , where he remained until the breaking out of the war, when he came back to Chicago and enlisted in the 23d Illinois Infantry, well known as ” Mulligan’s Brigade.” After the war was over he returned to this city, and on December 1st, 1868, was appointed Pipeman on Engine Company No. 5, doing duty there during the great fire of 1871. The year after the fire (1872) he was transferred to the Tempest Hose Company, which was replaced by the First Chemical ever in service in Chicago. In 1873 he was tendered the Captaincy of Engine Company No. 17, and the following year was transferred to and given charge of Engine Company No. 7. In the July fire o£ 1874, on corner of Harrison and State streets, he performed splendid service and received the commendation of the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners for courage and faithfulness to duty, remaining where he was ordered by his superior officer until hedged in by fire and compelled to leave his S’eamer. In September,1875, he was promoted to Assistant Fire Marshal and Chief of the 7th Battalion, with headquarters at the Engine-house of No. 15, and in April loth, 1877. was transferred to the 4th Battalion, with headquarters at the Engine-house of No. 12, located on West Lake street, and on May 1st, 1880, was transferred to the command of the 5th Battalion, with headquarters at the house of Hook and Ladder No. 5, located on West Twelfth street.

JOHN H. GREEN,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL AND CHIEF OF 2D BATTALION,

was born on the 3d of September, 1842, in the city of Providence, R. I., and is now 38 years of age, and the youngest Marshal in the department. While a boy, he was a runner with the Columbia Engine Company No. 12, of Providence, where he r mained till the 18th of June, i860, when he came West, to grow up with the country. His avoca ion in this city was that of a printer, working for Andrew Wood from the time of his arrival till December 24th, 1864, when he was appointed a Pipeman on Liberty Engine Company No. 7, under Captain D. J. Swenie, he also remained in the Company which succeeded the latter, the Fred Gund No. 14, horn which he was promoted to Captain of Hook and Ladder No. 3, on January 21st, 1871, at which time the Company was organized. On leaving Engine Company No. 14, he was pleasantly surprised by the presentation to him, by the members of the Company, of a handsome fire hat and belt, as a token of their regard for him. Captain Green s speech at the presentation was not preserved, we regret to say, or we should have the extreme pleasure of handing it down to his posterity; but this speech, it is said, he delivered with his customary fluency and gracious manner, and space will not permit giving ” Keyser’s” on the same occasion. On the 9 h of April, 1877, he was promoted to Assistant Fire Marshal and assigned to duty in charge of the third battalion, with head-quarters at the engine-house of Chemical No. 2, 86 West Erie street. A pleasant feature of his experience, after-his marriage, in 1875, was having his residence next to his head-quarters, and, consequently, convenient to the enjoyment of his home, aud the proper performance and faithful attention to his duties as Assistant Marshal, in which he was ever vigilant. In the great fire of 1871, he was called out with his Company on the third alarm, working heroically at his post from 9.30 Sunday evening till 3 o’clock Tuesday morning. Marshal Green is still a young man, and has risen to his present position by application and perseverance. He is an intelligent and capable man. May 1st, 1880, he was transferred to the command of the 2d battalion, with head-quarters at the house of Chemical engine No. 4, on Dearborn avenue.

LEO MYERS,

ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHAL AND CHIEF OF TTH BATTALION,

was the first child born of French parents in the city of Chicago, consequently he can be considered one of the early settlers of this city. He was bo n on the north side on the 26th of June, 1834. At the age of 14 he began to show in marked degree the two pre-eminent characteristics of his life—his capability as a Fireman and ladies man. As early as 1847 he became a torch boy in the Volunteer Department on Bucket Company No. 1, and remained as such till that Company disbanded in 1848. Later he helped to organize the Lawrence Hand Engine Company No. 7, and was a Pipeman on that Company for one year, then he joined Niagara Engine Company No. 8, where he remained till that Company disbanded and the Paid Department organized. In 1859 he was appointed a member of the Paid Department, serving as a Pipeman on the Island Queen. From this position he was promoted to Foreman of the U. P. Harris No. 5, and in 1863 he was promoted to Assistant Fire Marshal under U. P. Harris. After holding that position one year he resigned and became Foreman of Supply Hose No. 1, which position he held till 1872 when he resigned and became a traveling salesman for the Babcock Manufacturing Company. After traveling for two years for that firm, he was tendered the position of Captain of Engine Company No. 10 which he accepted in 1874, and shortly after was transferred to Engine Company No. 23. He received his promotion to Assistant Fire Marshal on the 10th of April, 1877, and was assigned to the charge of the 7th Battalion with headquarters at the Engine-house of No. 15 on West 22d street. Mr. Meyers i:: an intelligent man, of fine personal appearance and is very popular among his men. He is sometimes called the Chesterfield of the Department. His present district is what is knowrn as the “ lumber district” and is the most dangerous one in the city, requiring promptness and skill in order to prevent conflagration. He has been very successful in the discharge of his duties, and has proved himself worthy in every way of the trust the city has reposed in him.

IOHN P. BARRETT,

SUPERINTENDENT OF FIRE ALARM TELEGRAPH,

was born in the city of Auburn, State of New York. While still a child his parents emigrated to Chicago, and brought John with them, he received a good common school education at the Kinzie school, under Mr. Wilder, then its principal. In the volunteer days of the Department, he tan with the Niagara Engine Company No. 3, and was a valuable man. When the Foreman of the Company ordered him not to do anything, it was always done with vigor ; evidently the Foreman understood his man. In 1853, he went sailing, and as the nautical expression is, doubled the cape. While off the coast of South America, on the Pacific ocean, he was seriously injured and laid up for some time, by falling from the mast head of a vessel and breaking his leg. Had he not protested against such a misfortune, but submitted quietly as other mortals would have done under similar circumstances, he probably would have no inconvenience from the accident. When he returned to Chicago, August 3, 1862, he was tendered the position of Watchman, by U. P. Harris, then Chief of the Department, on Engine Company No. 8, shortly afterwards transferred to No. 3; here he remained two years, during which time the Company was well guarded. Later he was given charge of the City Hall bell, which position he held till the city adopted the Fire Alarm Telegraph System. Mr. Barrett being a close student and hard worker quickly conquered the Morse system of telegraphy, and soon became one of the most efficient operators under E. B. Chandler, then Superintendent, and now agent for the Gamewell system. Shortly afterward he was appointed chief Operator, and on the retiiement of Mr. Chandler was promoted to Superintendent, by Marshal Benner, in 1875, which position he has filled to the present time with great credit to the city and himself. Great praise is due to Mr. Barrett [for the perseverance he has shown in studying and developing improvements in telegraphy, especially those applied to the Fire Alarm Telegraph System, and Chicago feels proud to day of being able to say, that no other city has a superior system of transmitting fire alarms to that which is now presided over by Mr. Barrett. It would be difficult for one not an electrician to explain his many inventions. I will only mention his greatest achievement known as the “joker.” With this ins’rumfnt the alarm is received in each Engine-house the moment the box is pulled, thereby doing away with waiting for the alarm to strike on the gong from the general office, this enables the Fire Companies to proceed to the fire without any delay whatever. In society Mr. Barrett is always welcome, being of a genial disposition and a gentleman. He is now in the prime of life, and lias every appearance of one who should live for many years.

OFFICE DEPARTMENT HEADQUARTERS.

The office orce of the Department is a very efficient one, and is composed of the following gentlemen: Hans Haerting, Secretary; P. H. O’Toole and Fred N Shippy, Assistants, and P. C. T. Breen, Storekeeper.

Mr. Hans Haerting is a German by birth, having been born in Dantzig, Germany; but soon after his bir.h came with his parents to New York. In 1875, Milwaukee, Wis., he commenced his career as a journalist, writing at various times for both the American and German papers of that city, making himself well known as a ready and able writer. In 187a he was tendered the editorial chair of a prominent German paper in Chicago, called the Daily Union; which posit on he filled till the latter part of 1874, when he resigned and became Legislative correspondent for The Chicago Daily Staats yeitung, when the Til den “ boom ” was organized, in 1876.He was offered the editorship of The National Democrat, a daily published in this city in the interest of that candidate; which position he held until the paper had done its work and was retired. Men of the ability of Mr. Haerting do not remain idle for any length of time, and soon after he was offered an editorial position first on the The Daily Frit Presse, and later on The Volks Frieund; and on the 30th of August, 1879, he was tendered thposition of Secretary of this Department, which he accepted. By Mr. Haerting’s career it can be easily seen that he is a man of valued ability—having always held positions where ready wit and a skillful pen, as well as executive ability, were necessary; and it has been well shown by the careful and judicious execution of his duties, that the appointing power could not have been better exercised.

P. H. O’Toole, Assistant Clerk, was formerly a book dealer on the West side. He was appointed to his present position under Chief Swenie, in 1879. He is in every way a capable man, and fills his position satisfactorily.

Fred N. Shippy, Acting Assistant Clerk, received his appointment on the 27th day of December, as a pipeman, and has since held various positions. He has served in Chemical Engine Company No. 1, Engine Company No. 16, Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, and was Clerk during the latter pan of the Benner administration : but being ill when the administration changed, another man was appointed in his place, and he was obliged, on his return, to take a subordinate position.

P. C. T. Breen, Storekeeper, commenced first as a watchman on Engine Company No. 12, receiving his appointment as such on January 1st, 1876, and a short time afterwards was promoted by Marshal Benner to Storekeeper, being a careful and judicious officer in the discharge of his duties.

THE REPAIR SHOP.

The Department Repair Shop is located on Chicago avenue, east of the NoithSide Pumping Works. The shop was first organized in June, 1876, by Mr. Henry Coleman, as Superintendent, who held the position until April, 1877. when he was relieved by Marshal Petrie (a sketch of whom is given with the other Marshals elsewhere). All the repairs of Apparatus, the building of Hook and Ladder Trucks, Hose Carts, Marshal’s Wagons, Supply Waggons, and, in fact, everything is done in the Repair Shop, except the building of Engines, and all that would be required to do that would be more help, as there are patterns for everything belonging to an Engine on hand. The Foreman, Mr. John Ashworth, is a machinist, and has held the position of Foreman for the past three years. His knowledge of the business is very extensive, and, combined with the great activity which he possesses, makes him “ the right man in the right place.” In the Machine Shop there are: Michael Ryan, machinist; Philip Clark, brass finisher; Frank Meyer, fitter and finisher; Philip Petrie, machinist’s apprentice. In the Blacksmith Shop there are as follows: James Green, blacksmith, Dennis Minogue, helper; William Forshaw, blacksmith; Thomas Farrell, helper. John Steiffels, painter; John Swenie and John McCue, woodworkers; Peter Doudican, general man. When more help than the above is required, additional workers are detailed from the Companies. Assistant Engineer Thomas Melvin, of Engine No. 27, does all the steam and gas fitting. Thomas Conway, of Hook and Ladder No. 3, does the brass moulding. James Caulford, of Hook and Ladder No. 5, does the boilerwork. It would be needless to expatiate on the merits and mechanical ability of those employed at the repair shop, as they have all been chosen after a severe examination in their different branches. Therefore. 1 will only mention one name, that the city has a right to feel proud of having in its service—Mr. John Swenie, who has charge of the woodworking department. Mr. Swenie has been engaged in the manufacture of Fire Apparatus for the past twenty-two years, having been engaged with George Hannis as superintendent for sixteen years, whose fame as a builder of Fire Apparatus was acknowlcdged^whcrever a Fire Company existed. Mr. Swenie was also engaged with the Babcock Manufacturing Co., and for the past three years has had charge of the woodwork department in the Fire Department Repair Shop, where he has designed all the new work—Hook and Ladder Trucks, Fire Escapes, Hose Carts, Waggons, Buggies, etc., etc., and also makes all the patterns for iron and brass castings. As a designer, Mr. Swenie is equalled by few ; as a workman, his thorough practical knowledge of the requirements of Fire Apparatus, together with having good taste and an eye for tl^e beautiful as a designer and finisher, proves that he is master of his business.

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