THE DEADWOOD, S. DAK, HOSE COMPANY
[Special correspondence FIRE AND WATER.]
DEADWOOD, S. DAK., November 28 1897.
EARLY in the month of May. 1887, the Deadwood hose company was organized and from its very beginning it has made a record of which any company might well feel proud. Its mettle has been tested at many a hard fought fire, and has ever been found to be of sterling quality. At the time of the company’s organization there were but three fire companies in the city—two hose companies and one hook and ladder company. The need of better protection against fire was so apparent that efforts were made to increase the facilities in that respect. These efforts resulted in the organization of the Deadwoods. Its rank and file was recruited from among the best young men in the city, and its members have ever taken that interest in company affairs so necessary in keeping any fire organization in the front rank. Since its establishment the company has responded to every alarm of fire, and by its promptness on more than one occasion has averted serious conflagrations. Its praise has been sounded in the daily press; while the city council, at a regular meeting, deviated from its usual course in its treatment of the citv’s volunteer firemen and passed resolutions commendatory of the company’s good work ; and, as a further mark of the company’s efficiency the presiding officer of the department in 1889—Chief Engineer N. Nitbeck—presented the company with a valuable gold medal. That the com any deserves these marks of commendation its record bears out, and today, as it always has been, it is one of the most efficient f.rc fighting machines in the West. The services required of its members by the company are hard and exacting, so that it is not altogether a picnic to belong to it. Discipline is strictly enforced; and this part is strongly impressed upon the candidate for membership; and should he, after initiation, fail to accord implicit obedience to every order issued by a superior officer, his name is at once dropped from the roster, and the further disgrace of a trial in the police court awaits him should his offence be so serious as to demand it—a fact, which, possibly, accounts tn no small degree for the company’s general excellence and efficiency.
The present foreman. Edward Curley, while he has many advanced ideas on the management of fires, still adheres to those rules of discipline which he learned while serving in the ranks ; and his experience has much to do with keeping the company at its present high point of excellence. Me is an old Bostonian, an experienced fireman, and a stickler for discipline. In this he is a martinet; but, when the social features of a firemen’s life are to be discussed, he can be just like the rest of his men. In his first assistant, Thomas Green, he has a capable and efficient aide, whose every effort is to supplement those of his foreman in an intelligent an painstaking manner. Eddie Carr—the second assistant—was a good fireman until he took the Klondike fever. He is now in Seattle, where he will winter, and early in the spring will leave for the land of gold and cold. P. N. Carr, the treasurer, who has just been elected second assistant chief of the department,is one of Deadwood’s most substantial business men.and although his private affairs keep him hustling, still he can find time to at tend every meeting and to work as hard and get just as wet at a fire as any of the rest. John Wheeler, the secretary, is one of those fellows who would just as soon think of neglecting his duties as he would of forgetting to eat, and a glance at him in the picture (he stands in the background of the group— the second man from the left) would make the assertion that he is partial to a good dinner unnecessary. Last, but not least of the company’s officials—and he thinks he is just as big a man as any of them – is little Louis Parker, the company’s mascot. Me is a beautiful child of five summers, witn abundant masses of golden curls, blue eyed, and rosy-cheeked, who seems to absorb the sunlight and make it a part of his everyday nature. Me not only runs the company, but every one of its members bows to his will and obeys him in his tyranny, which is the tyranny inspired by love.
The accompanying picture does not show the full company, which now has a membership of thirty—nnny of the men, at the time when it was taken having been absent from the city.