SOME FIREMEN’S GATHERINGS.
ASTON, PA., on October 1, was the scene of a large gathering of firemen, the occasion being the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the Humane fire company of that city, and the centennial of organized fire service in the Lehigh valley—Easton being the pioneer in that line. In the parade at least 1,000 men were in line, firemen being present with their apparatus from New Jersey, New York, and from many cities and towns in Pennsylvania. The chief marshal was John R. Beers, who was assisted by a large number of able aides. The streets and windows were handsomely decorated and the city was full of spectators from far and near. Among those present were 100 members of the Volunteer Firemen’s Association of New York city, drawing their own hand engine, their banner being carried by eight sons of veteran firemen. The Volunteer Firemen’s Association, of Philadelphia, was represented by Chauncey E. Burke and II. S. Agnew. The firemen of Betlehem, l’a., had in their line a modern hook and ladder truck, and a wagon on which was mounted a hand engine, said to be the oldest in America, having been brought to Bethlehem by the Moravians in 1751.
The Humane company, of Easton, was, of course, the chief attraction. Thirty-six men drew’ their old service carriage, followed by their old suction engine, the first of its kind owned by the towrn of Easton, mounted on a float, drawn by horses. The first engine of Humane company was built by Philip Mason, of Philadeldhia, in 1797. It was but a force pump, and was supplied with water from buckets passed by men, who stood in rows, from the nearest well or most available water supply to the engine, which was usually placed as near the burning structure as possible, and the stream directed from a metal pipe attached to the engine upon the flames. The first officers of the company were: President, Abraham Horn, sr.; secretary, Christian J. flutter; treasurer, Jacob Wevgandt. The company had rowmen, guardmen, axemen, and hook and ladder men. The rowmen were obliged ‘‘to form the rows at fires; to see that the buckets passed to and from the engine with regularity; to see that no water is spilled unnecessarily; and that no idle spectators are suffered to look on.” These “fire buckets” were made of leather, and had the owner’s name and the company’s name painted upon them. According to rule they were kept in a conspicuous part of the home of each of the members, anc were used for no other purposes but for conveying water in time of fire. The guardmen were to take care of. and guard the goods saved out of any burning building. Two of the axemen would remain near the engine in case of fire and remove any impediments in way of the engine. The other two were required to work on the roofs. The ladder and hook men conveyed the ladders and hooks to fires and operated them. In 1867 the Humane men bought their first steam fire engine—one built by Haupt Bros, of Philadelpha.
In 1879, when the present paid fire department was established at Eaton, the following were the officers of the company: Fire company No. 1: President, George Finley; vice-president, John R. Beers; recording secretary, J. J. Smith, financial secretary, H. D. Osterstock; treasurer, William E. Ilammann, trustees, E. H. Ilammann ; J. J. Smith, J. J. Bishop; foreman, J. J. Smith; assistant foreman, George Freyberger; engineer. John J. Bishop; assistant engineer, John R. Beers; first stoker, J. I). Reaser, second stoker. Ed. Nungesser. There were besides thirty-three members, of whom five are dead. The chiefs of the volunteer fire department of Easton were us follows: Captain Charles Yard, 1871; the late Colonel Charles Glantz, 1872; the late James Ward, 1873-4; the late James Mutchler, 1875; the late George Finley, 1876. It was interesting to notice that in the centennial parade were present types of all the different kinds of fire apparatus, from the old leather fire bucket to the force pump hand engine of 1797; from that to the more modern hand suction engine; and from that to the steam fire engine and up-to-date chemical engine.
The fire department of Poughkeepsie. N. Y., under Chief Thompson, entertained the Volunteer Firemen’s Association in old-fashioned style on the occasion of its annual inspection. 1° the parade through the decorated streets were veterans of eighty-two years of age. not one of the Philadelphians being under fifty-two years. Among them was John H. Clay, Mechanic fire company, an enthusiastic fireman, who in three weeks built the hose carriage the Philadelphia men brought with them, and, as the Li Hung Chang fever was raging at the time, had peacocks and peacocks’ feathers painted on the car. riage. Each painting cost $100, and is a fine work of art. The members nicknamed it “ Yellow Jacket and Peacock Feathers.” The hose carriage cost $1,500, and was proceded by a band of twenty pieces. Mr. Clay was never anything else than enthusiastic. When but fifteen years of age,he ran away from school to join Miller’s battery and served during the Civil war. The Poughkeepsie men made a very fine display and their parade was swelled by visiting firemen from all quarters.
Plainfield, N. J., kept up with the procession and had a very successful and truly fine parade, in which, of course, the silver hose carriage, which recently had such a narrow’ escape from being burned, played a most conspicuons part. New York’s firemen, who had just been payig a visit to Easton, Pa., were granted the right of way, with their decorated double-decker, preceded by a handsome silk flag, the gift of the Eastonians, which was carried by Amos. H. Veritzan, a true type of the conventional pictures of Uncle Sam. Several old New York Veteran firemen and members of the Volunteer Firemen’s Sons’ Association were also present, with their hose carriage.
At the nineteenth annual convention of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association recently held at Cape May, N. J., 500 delegates were present. The association,which consists of in local organizations, has a relief fund of $525,000,and will build a $100,000 firemen’s home. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, Bird W. Spencer, of Passaic, (reelected); vice-presidents, first district, N.N. Wentz, Blackwoodtown; second district, Frank Elliott, Morristown; third district, Al. W. Die, New Brunswick; fourth district, C. F. Axtell, Moorestown; fifth district, Ed. Gruber, Englewood; sixth district, Ed. I. Conduct, East Orange; seventh district, Patrick J. Welsh, Guttenburg; eighth district, J. J. Gardner, Elizabeth; sergeant-at-arms, J. I. Parker, Rahway; treasurer John McKiernan, Paterson: secretary, Horace H. Brown, Newark; assistant secretaries, William Extall, Newark, Frank G. Tower, Bloomfield; financial secretary, George T. Everitt, Hackettstown; counsel, William A. Cotter, Newark. The convention decided to meet at Trenton, N. J., next year.