THE OLDEST FIRE COMPANY.
In the parade of firemen to be held in Philadelphia, during the first week in next October, when the convention of the Pennsylvania Firemen’s association takes place, will be a fire company organized twentyfour years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Of course, there will be none of the organizers of this ancient body of firefighters in line; but the present members of the company will carry all that remains of the crude paraphernalia used by the organizers in subduing flames. The company, now known as Relief fire engine company No. 1, of Mount Holly, N. J„ was instituted on July 11, 1752, in the village of Bridgeton, Burlington county. It was named “Britannica,” and commenced sendee with leather buckets and ladders. The ladders long ago fell to decay, but many of the original buckets, which, filled with water, were passed along in line from watercourse or well to the blaze, have been preserved as relics of the early methods of extinguishing fire, and will be carried by present members of the company in the big parade of firemen from this and nearby States. In 1765 the company felt that its crude paraphernalia was not sufficient for coping with fire, so it voted to purchase a fire engine. This apparatus was purchased in London for $170,and after long delays it was finally dragged to the house of the company, and there was much rejoicing on the part of Bridgeton’s citizens. In 1787 the name of the company was changed to the Mount Holly fire company. In 1805, another company having been organized, the name was again changed to Relief fire company, of Mount Holly. This company is now undoubtedly the oldest fire company in active service in the United States today. It owns a handsome brick and stone enginehouse fully equipped, and will send sixty finely uniformed men, with modern apparatus, to participate in the parade in October.