Please specify the group

SECTION 0NE

Originally published in SOUTH JERSEY MAGAZINE

Part
1

It all began soon after Millville became a township in 1801.

For some years little thought was given to fire protection until February 16, 1832 when the New Jersey General Assembly passed an act to incorporate the Millville Union Fire Engine Company. The principals were Jos. T. Ward, Lewis Mulford, Cooper Madden, Charles Garrison, and William Powell, the company membership was not to exceed fifty members.

However, it would appear that the formation of the Union Company either failed or ceased to exist over any length of time as no records of its activities can be found.

It was about this time that the township purchased a hand operated fire engine. Without an organized fire company to man the equipment, they enlisted the aid of all the citizens to fight the fire.

Apparently, this system
worked quite well until July 18, 1872. Here is an account of what took place on
that ill-fated day as it appeared in a newspaper account. (More history of the
Hand Pumpers in Section 4, below.)

            THE MULFORD AND REEVES
LUMBER YARD FIRE.

                 Northwest corner
Buck and Main Streets.

                That the city is not in ruins is a wonder to all who
witnessed the fire that visited us on Thursday last. The alarm was given
shortly after 12 noon. The carpenter shop at the lumber yard was discovered to
be on fire. Those first on the ground commenced to take from the burning
building, the contents, consisting of carpenter tools, etc.

                Three or four chests were removed and a few other
things when the fire so enveloped the building that it was impossible to do any
more good in that direction.

                The wind was blowing strongly at the time and the
combustible material burned with wonderful rapidity. Efforts were then made to
save adjoining buildings.

                In a few minutes the large barn of Mr. Furman Mulford
caught fire, a portion of the contents had previously been taken out.

                It was at once apparent that the building was doomed
to destruction. The flames rushed wildly on and seemed to bid defiance to the
exertions to the hundreds who were working with almost supernatural power to
subdue them. Save the store was the cry. This the fine large building in close
proximity was filled to its upmost capacity with several thousand dollars worth
of all kinds of store goods. In the rear and adjoining the main building is an
ice house built of brick, with a shingle roof. Buckets of water were thrown on
the roof of the ice house and the engine used to keep the fire from catching on
the west side of the main building. (Note: the building referred to above is
now Vanaman’s Feed Store 1985), [Note 2: the building referred to above is now
4 Season’s Pizzeria 2017].

                In the midst of the awful heat, the men who had
assumed the duty of firemen (and who worked as well as regulars) stood and
fought the raging element. At times it seemed as though the fire would get the
best of them, but unconquered, they meant, if possible to conquer. Out on the
roof, while the flames were cracking and the black smoke rising, they stood,
threw on water and laid down carpet soaked in the same. While they were working
so energetically, others were doing as much, although not in as warm a place to
prevent the adjoining stables from catching fire. Occasionally however they
would commence to burn, but were immediately extinguished by men who were
mounted upon the roofs. These buildings filled with hay were the rear of
Wilson’s Block and it was known if they got on fire this block would be burned
and in fact, a large portion of the city. (Note: the stables referred to above,
known as Clarks Livery Stable did burn on February 23, 1907 and the Wilson
Building burned June 25, 1898).

                Mr. Mulford’s residence, the finest building in the
city and one of the finest in South Jersey, was saved by the wonderful
exertions of the men.

                Embers from the burning buildings were taken a
distance of four squares by the wind. The Central Public School House was set
on fire by a piece of burning wood. The fire was extinguished after burning a
hole in the roof. This building is almost three squares from where the
principle fire raged. About twenty five build- ings were on fire in different
parts of the center of the city, but were, wonderful as it seems, not
destroyed, as the fire gained headway. The office, carpenter shop, store house
and a large quantity of lumber were destroyed.

                Also destroyed were Mr. F.L. Mulford’s barn, a large
number of splendid fruit trees valued very highly by Mr. Mulford, and his
garden with its fine shrubbery and flowers.

                A number of persons were overcome by the heat. The
weather was oppressively warm and added to this was the heat from burning
buildings. Mr. J.W. Newlin, J.B. Hampton, George Foster, Jonathan B. Rose,
Charles Stratton, Irving Hall and many others fainted. Doctors W.L. Newell,
E.B. Richmond, J.S. Whiticar, T. Sturdivant and assistants were on hand and
administered to the sick. A number of ladies fainted and it required
considerable time and exertion to save them. Mrs. F. Burrough had several fits,
but under skillful treatment of a physician was restored.

                Pickpockets pursued their nefarious business. George
Foster while in a fainting condition, had his pocket picked of sixty-six
dollars. Mr. Newlin lost nine dollars while in the same condition.

                A number of merchants cleared their stores of the
entire stock of goods. Those in the vicinity of the fire expected that the
buildings would be destroyed.

                The houses of the following persons were on fire: —
P.G. Ludlam, Jonathan B. Rose, Jones Hotel, Hosen Sithens, Abraham Donnelly,
J.Q. Smith, Lydia Shaw, Benjamin Downs, S.L. Garrison, John Dunham, R.S.
Freland, J.W. Newland, J. Burrough, James Chamberlain, Wm. Powell, David
Johnson, John Nabb, Clayton Sharp, F. Burrough, Benjamin Davis, Geo. R. Conover
and others we have not heard of. Also the following stores and other buildings:
— Second Ward Engine House, Kurtz’s Segar Manufactory, Tice House Buildings,
Evan’s Harness Store, Central Public School Building and a number of others.
The question will no doubt arise: How was the fire on each of the above
buildings extinguished?  We answer: On
the roof of each was one or more persons and when these buildings caught fire,
water was thrown on the fire.

                Where there were no ladders, water was drawn up with
ropes. Clothes lines, tin kettles, water buckets, jars etc., came in to
requisition and did good service. When the principle fire was subdued, the men
on the roofs felt relieved, but did not leave the posts for two or three hours.

                Councilman Lewis Mulford telegraphed to Vineland,
Camden and Bridgeton for assistance. A probability of an extensive
conflagration and the fact that we were illy prepared in the way of fire
apparatus prompted him to send for this help. One of the Camden Fire Companies
got their steam fire engine to the depot in that city, but hearing that the
fire subdued came no farther.

                Gen. W.J. Sewell the popular superintendent of the
W.J. Railroads, offered if necessary to send a special train for the
accommodation of the Camden Fire Company. A large number of citizens of
Bridgeton started immediately, on hearing the news, to assist in subduing the
fire. The hook and ladder company from that city came in town about four
o’clock.

                They were received with cheers, which were given
heartily as an appreciation of their desire to assist. Mr. Mulford, the
greatest sufferer from the fire, waved his hat and cheered. At the same time we
noticed tears running down his cheeks.

                The hotels and business places were closed during the
afternoon. A number of those who had worked hard, imbibed considerably of the
“ardent”. Their maneuvers afterward, indicated they had taken a little too
much. It is said that whiskey, Jamaica ginger and other stimulant were
furnished in abundance.

                We didn’t get any nor even see the “critter” so we
can only tell what we heard. Suffice it to say that something, (we think a
desire to save the city) prompted the men to work like Trojans; and that they
did excellent service, all are thoroughly convinced.

                There is no doubt that the fire was the work of an
incendiary. It is not perhaps generally known that a fire was discovered about
10 o’clock A.M., of the same day, in the lumber yard. Yet, such was the case.
It was extinguished without any damage. The scoundrel was determined to carry
out his infamous and diabolical plans, and after the workmen left the shop,
made a fire in the second story, and in five minutes the building was in
flames. Not content with the mischief already done, the horrors of the day not
fully satisfying the desperados, devilish nature, at nine o’clock in the
evening, he again kindled a fire in an old barn of Mr. Milford, in the same
neighborhood. Fortunately it was discovered, or the results would have been
terrible.

                The loss of Mr. Mulford’s Lumber Yard was about $8000,
on which there was an insurance in the Cumberland Insurance Company of $2000.
F.L. Mulford’s barn about $3000. Insured in the Millville Mutual & Fire
Insurance Co., for $1000. Mulford and Hogates Store and F.L. Mulford’s house
damaged considerably, but the loss was fully covered by insurance.

                On the day of the fire, a wagon load of timothy hay
which was standing in the alley in the rear of T.B. Stratton’s residence, at
the request of Mr. A.J. Marsh, was taken to a vacant lot near the railroad.

                On Friday evening an individual fired said hay and
took to his heels. The fire was fortunately discovered and immediately
extinguished. The rascal who lighted the hay ran to the woods. Efforts to catch
him proved unavailing. It is the opinion of some that it was done to create
more excitement, not to do any great damage, as the hay fire was designed to
attract the people to that locality where mischief would be done in another
quarter.  It would have been a sad moment
for the incendiary if he had been caught, whatever his motives were.

                The advent of this great fire must have caused the
city council to give consideration of additional fire equipment.

                The following dated notes were taken from Council
Minutes.  

Dec. 6, 1872 – The Committee on fire engines reported
they had ordered two hand engines.

Feb. 7, 1873 – The bill of Rumsey and Company, Seneca
Falls, N.Y. for two fire engines was ordered paid in the amount of $1043.60.

July 7, 1876 – The committee on fire apparatus be
empowered to select a site for an engine house on the west side of the bridge.

May 4, 1877 – Bill from Mulford & Reeves, Engine
House $153.89. Francis Reeves lot $40.00

June 1, 1877 – Councilman Sharp moved that the committee
on fire apparatus be authorized to purchase 250 feet of small hose and 400 feet
of the large size and two hose carriages.

Nov. 3, 1877 – Bill paid Gutta Percha Rubber Mfg. Co. for
hose carts and hose $542.50.

Jan. 25, 1879 – City of Millville and R.D. Wood would
build water plant on Sharp Street, drawing water from Union Lake at a cost of
$39,000. (This would greatly change firefighting operations in Millville).

Nov. 7, 1879 – City Council authorizes the committee on
fire apparatus to secure a suitable place for the new hose carriage on the east
side of the bridge.

Dec. 5, 1879 – Council committee on the hose carriage reported that it had been placed in Mr. Mulford’s Barn. (Location north side of Smith Street between Second and Third Streets. This building became Millville’s first fire house).   

Millville’s first fire house. Mulford’s Barn, Smith Street between Second and Third Streets. Circa 1879. Photo Dale Wettstein collection.

The Vineland Times Journal,
Millville News, of April 30, 1880
rendered an account of a fire at “Foundry”. This fire fully demonstrates the
need of a thoroughly organized fire company.

Referring once again to the Records of the Millville City Council, we discover the following dated facts.

                May 14, 1880 – Council ordered a fire company organized. Marshall Hunt granted $350.00 with which to provide hats and belts for the company which is to number forty men.

Charles W. Hunt, Millville’s first fire chief. Circa 1880. Photo Dale Wettstein Collection.

July 9, 1880 – Mr. Dunham presented City Council a
petition asking Council to exempt members of the fire company from Poll Tax of
$1.00 per year.

                Aug. 6, 1880
– Resolution whereas a number of our citizens having organized a fire company
and having volunteered their services at all fires occurring in the City of
Millville, therefore be it resolved by the Common Council of the City of
Millville that all members of said company shall be exempt from paying Poll Tax
while they are members of said company.

                Feb. 4, 1881
– Mr. Charles Hunt, Fire Marshall, presented the following report to the
honorable Council of the City of Millville – “In presenting my annual report, I
am pleased to state that I have as your honorable body directed me, did on the
14th day of May, 1880, organized a fire company consisting of forty
members. During the past year we have had twelve fires, two of which our fire
company was in active service. I would respectively suggest the importance of
having a suitable building to keep the hose in so as to void the trouble we
experienced on Sunday last from the hose being frozen.” (First annual report
after the formation of the Resolution Hose Company No. 3 which much later
became the Millville Fire Department. Also, Marshall Hunt’s suggestion of a
suitable place to house the hose was instrumental in the building of the new
City Hall Fire House at Second and Sassafras, dedicated early 1882.)

                Feb. 3, 1882
– Fire Marshall Hunt’s Second Annual Report to City Council reported nine fires
in the previous year that had come to his notice. They did little damage, chief
of which was “Moore’s Blacking Mill.” The Fire Department consisted of
forty one members equipped with hats, belts and gum coats, one hose carriage,
five hundred feet of three inch leather hose and two hose carts, one thousand
feet of gum hose, four hundred and fifty feet of two inch good, fifty feet of
bad, three hundred and fifty feet of one and one half inch good. Two hundred
feet of bad. One small engine (Millville) with seventy five feet of leather
hose. One suction engine (Progress) good. One suction engine (Diligent) which
needs repair, eight lanterns, two jacks, two axes and five ladders of lengths
from 14 to 22 feet. Balance on hand at last statement was $19.21. Amount of
money expended during year – Two lanterns for hose carriage, $5.40 and oil and
rotten stone was $1.48. Balance on hand was $12.33.

                May 5, 1882 – Total cost for building new City and Fire House at Second and Sassafras, $4292.83.

Millville Fire House and City Hall at Second & Sassafras. Built in 1882. Photo Dale Wettstein Collection.

July 7, 1882 – To J.S. Bishop for varnishing hose carriage $10.45. S.P. Clark for painting engine $20.

Sept. 1, 1882 – On motion of Mr. Dunham, committee on fire apparatus was instructed to purchase a barrel of Neats foot oil for Hose Company (used to keep leather hose in good condition).

Dec. 1, 1882 – On motion of Mr. Dunham, the fire committee was instructed to have the “Diligence” engine painted and the committee instructed to sell same.

Hand pulled hose reel and hook and ladder. Resolution Hose
Company No. 3 sometime between 1881 and 1895. James Own Photo.

Hand pulled hose reel and hook and ladder. Resolution Hose Company No. 3 sometime between 1881 and 1895. James Own Photo.

April 1, 1883 – Fire Marshall Hunt presented his annual
report. “To the Honorable Council of the City of Millville – I have the honor
to submit the Annual Report of the Fire Department of the City of Millville for
the year ending March 31, 1883. The company is composed of good reliable men, a
portion of them having been in service for a number of years. They are prompt
in responding to alarms and take an interest in sustaining the welfare and
reputation of company and department.”

                “Since my last report submitted Feb. 3, 1882, there
have been twenty six fires that have come to my notice. The company responded
to seven; the remaining nineteen being still alarms. At the Window Light Glass
Factory fire, a portion of the gum hose burst. I have had to repaired and put
in as good condition as possible.”

                “I would herewith recommend to consideration, by your
honorable body, the necessity of purchasing, as soon as convenient, one four
wheel hose carriage, the same to be placed in the Third Ward. I came in receipt
of the hose ordered by your fire committee on date of March 31, have examined
and put the same in service considering it as being an excellent and valuable
addition to the department.”

Financial Statement

Balance Feb. 3, 1882                                                            $12.33

Expenditures

March 10 2 brooms                                                                    
.60

Mar 13 3 cakes polishing
soap                                                  
.55

July 16 snap, hook 4
rings                                                           .60

Sept. 28 2 brooms                                                                       
.60

Nov. 13 Box for oiling
hose                                                      
2.21

Jan. 13 13 dust brush                                                                    .45

Feb. 8 1 gal. oil                                                                              
.50

Feb. 16 water pot                                                                         
.50                            

              Freight on hose                                                               
.62

                        Amount for expenses                                          6.43

                        Balance on hand                                                   5.90

                “In conclusion, permit me to return my thanks to your
honorable body and committee of fire apparatus for their support given to the
requirements of the Fire Department. Also to the officers and members of the
Resolution Hose Company No. 3 for promptness in responding to alarms and their
untiring interest in the work and cooperation with management of the
department. Charles M. Hunt, Chief of Department.”

                April, 1884
– Daniel Gifford elected fire chief.

                April 12, 1884 – Millville City Council – Mr. Dunham brought up the matter of the inefficiency of the fire department because of the want of proper hose and means of giving an alarm of fire; the present gong being almost entirely useless. After discussing the project of a new carriage, hose and fire alarm bell; on motion of Mr. Westcott, the Fire Committee was instructed to purchase 500 feet of hose and ascertain the cost of a new hose carriage and fire alarm bell and report at the next meeting.

Horse drawn hose carriage. Circa 1895. Nate Garrison, driver. Horses named George & Harry. Photo collection of James Owen.

May 2, 1884 – The Fire Committee reported they had purchased 500 feet of leather hose at $1.12 per foot and two branch pipes (nozzles). They had found no second hand hose carriages, but had concluded it would be better to purchase a first class one which could be done for $300 or $400. The committee also submitted letters from different bell founders in regard to a fire alarm bell. Mr. Dunham moved a bell weighing 1500 pounds be bought. Amended by Mr. Westcott, making it 1600 pounds which was accepted and carried.

Fire bell preserved at Millville Fire Station (Buck and Oak Street). Cast in 1884. Retired 1957. Dale Wettstein photo.

Mr. Wood, through the president, contacted council and made the following proposition – “He would exchange corner of Columbia Avenue and Foundry Street for Diligence Hall property, provided a building would be built at former place and one room of same be set apart for him to furnish as a reading room for the use of the laboring people in that part of the city.” (Apparently proposition never accepted as new Diligence Hall, Third Ward Hose House was built on old site on Church Street in 1885.)

June 227, 1884 – Bill for fire bell $319.15, plus freight.

Aug. 15, 1884 – On motion, the fire marshall was instructed to place the new hose carriage in the Third Ward. (Old Diligence Hall).

Oct. 3, 1884 – Bill for Hose carriage paid to Reading Fire Apparatus Works, Reading, Pa. $450.

Feb. 6, 1885 – The Committee on Diligence Hall advised
the destruction of same and the building of a new one large enough for all
purposes of the Third Ward.

 May 11, 1885 – The Committee on Third Ward Hose House (Diligence Hall) reported estimates from several contractors and asked for an appropriation of $3000 with which to build a suitable house of 27 X 40 feet. After some discussion, it was granted and the building erected.

An invitation to Council from Resolution Hose Company No. 3 inviting Council to their 5th Anniversary entertainment May 14 was unanimously accepted. R.W. Meridith was paid $37.00 for lamps for carriage.

Dec. 4 1885 – Invitation to house warming of Third Ward Hose House on Dec. 17 accepted with thanks.

Third Ward Hose House. Built
in 1885. Photo collection of James Owen.

Mar. 5, 1886 – The application of the Hose Company for a
lamp in front of the Hose House on Middle Avenue referred to Lamp Committee.

Mar.23, 1886 – Daniel Gifford elected Fire Marshall (also Chief of the Resolution Hose Co.).

Aug. 20 1886 – R.W. Meredith of the Hose Company made a statement of an opportunity to secure a hook and ladder for two of the old city hand engines and $300. A motion was made for the exchange.

Oct. 1, 1886 – A communication from Resolution Hose Company inviting Council to participate in a parade in housing of the new ladder truck was accepted. Bill paid Rumsey & Co., Seneca Falls, N.Y. for hook and ladder truck for $300.

Horse drawn ladder wagon. Circa 1895. Photo collection of James Owen

May 13, 1887 – A request from the Resolution Hose Company
was read in which they desired the conformation by Council of the election of George
Yeiter as Chief. An amended motion was made: Providing there be no conflict in
the law governing the Fire Marshall and Chief of Department. Amendment was
carried and motion prevailed. An invitation from Resolution Hose Company to
attend their 7th Anniversary accepted.

                                                      End of Part 1.

Ed. Note: We take for
granted the protection of the fire companies, not realizing the struggles that
were and are so necessary to have started them as well as their continuation.
The notations from the Minutes of the Millville City Council drive home the
personal and financial efforts required to establish this protection for the community.
(This statement carries through to present day)

We wish to acknowledge and thank the below listed sources for the information contained in this segment of the article.

  • Millville Daily on file at the Millville Public Library.
  • Records of the Millville City Council.
  • Vineland Times Journal – Evening Journal, on file at Vineland Historical Society.
  • Wheaton Village and personnel Gay Taylor, Martin Weber.
  • Bridgeton Evening News on file at Bridgeton Public Library.
  • Photographs – Dale Wettstein and James Owen.

Part
2

June 3, 1887 – It was ordered that a brick pavement 55
feet long and 6 feet wide be laid on Sassafras Street for use of the Hose
Company on which to clean and wash their hose.

July 1, 1887 – A communication from parties in Cape May in
regard to regard to establishing a fire alarm system was read and referred to
Fire Committee.

Sept. 2, 1887 – On motion, $25, was appropriated Resolution
Hose Company to defray expenses at parade in Philadelphia on the 15th
of Sept. The Company was granted permission to take a hose carriage and 100
feet of hose with it to the parade.

May 3, 1889 – Resolution Hose Company was given permission
to erect a flag pole at the corner of Second and Sassafras Streets.

June 7, 1889 – The Chief of the Fire Department was
authorized to have four tires put on the larger hose carriage.

Nov. 4 1889 – Following resolution was read and referred
to the Fire Committee to report at next meeting. “Resolved that any members of
Resolution Hose Company Number3, of the City of Millville, New Jersey, who have
been in active service for the space of seven years or any member who shall at
any time hereafter belong to said company and be in active service for the
space of seven years, shall become an exempt member thereof and be entitled to
all the rights and privileges of exemption, in accordance with the Laws of the
State of New Jersey.”

Nov. 11, 1889 – Above resolution adopted.

Exemption Certificate given firemen after seven years of active service.
Circa 1897. Wm. Felmey collection.

Nov. 16, 1889 – Meeting called to consider legality of
purchasing hose for the Fire Department. The mayor said he had been advised
that any rubber company could loan the city the hose with the agreement to
purchase same when the city should be in funds. The Hamilton Rudder Company
then offered to make such a loan on motion was accepted.

Nov. 24, 1889

T.C. WHEATON & COMPANY

FLINT GLASS WORKS

DESTROYED

                The most disastrous conflagration that has visited
this city for years, was the total destruction of T.C. Wheaton & Co.
Glassworks at 3:30 o’clock last Sunday morning.

                The entire plant consisting of glass factory, engine
room, lamp room, office, blacksmith shop and packing room became the prey of
flames and in an incredibly short time, were reduced to ashes. The fire was
discovered by the watchman, Christian Reiner, shortly after 3 o’clock Sunday
morning, who endeavored at first to quench it, but soon found it was beyond his
control.

                He then gave an alarm and although the factory is a
considerable distance away from the City Hall, the Fire Department was quickly
on the ground. The fire started in the rear of the factory and the flames
quickly shot up to the roof of the lehr.

                Five minutes later, the factory was a roaring mass of
flames, leaping high into the air and lighting up the locality for squares
around. There was no water on hand to quench the flames and the firemen turned
their attention to getting goods out of the other buildings, but very little of
the stock in the lamp room, packing house and office was saved, as the flames
soon attacked the other buildings and licked them up as if they had been paste
board boxes. The factory was situated far away from the city plugs. The nearest
plugs are located at Second and Broad Streets and Depot and High Streets and
the firemen did not have enough hose to reach either of them. It is estimated
that there were between seven and eight tons of tubing in the works and they
were melted by the intense heat and ran together in one solid mass. Most of the
tubing saved was valueless and is known as “waste stuff.”

                It is said that the furnace and pots are not damaged,
but the glass in the latter was spoiled by the uneven temperature and cannot be
used, but will have to be re-melted. There was over $1000, worth of glass in
the pots at the time of the fire. All the lamp room workers owned their own
tools and all of them were damaged beyond repair. This is a very serious loss
to the workmen.

                The glassworks consisted of a six pot factory, a lamp
room 25 X 100 feet in size, with an L recently erected and used for a packing
house and office. The entire plant with the exception of the chemical house,
was destroyed. Had the flames attacked this building, there would have been a
big explosion.

                The works are owned by Dr. T.C. Wheaton and Frederick
Van Staden, and employed over one hundred persons who are now thrown out of
employment. The firm was very busy turning out orders and expected to take on
15 additional men on Monday. It is expected that the works will be rebuilt as
soon as possible. The insurance amounts to $6300, divided between three
companies: – American of Philadelphia and Royal and Lanceshire of England. The
loss will amount to several thousand dollars. T.C. Wheaton and Company have the
sympathy of the entire community in their misfortune.

Returning to the records of the Millville City Council, we find the following items:-

Feb.7, 1890 – The Fire Committee was ordered to have the necessary repairs made to the hangings of the fire bell in the City Hall Tower at a cost of $20.65.

History of Millville fire bell. Dale Wettstein collection.

June 6, 1890 – Hamilton Rubber Company paid for fire hose
$846.

1890 CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF RESOLUTION HOSE COMPANY No. 3 MILLVILLE, NJ

INTERESTING EXCERPTS FROM ABOVE BOOKLET

  • George W. Yeiter, Chief
  • G.S. Simmerman, Pres.
  • E. Heaton, Vice Pres.
  • Harry Wettstein, Sec.
  • Jos. F. Parent, Asst. sec.
  • William Brown, Treas.
  • MEMBERSHIP
  • Chas. M. Hunt
  • R.W. Meredith
  • Geo. W. Yeiter
  • E. Heaton
  • Alex Gillen, Jr.
  • Chas. P. Terry
  • Jos. F. Parent
  • Albert Felmy
  • J.A. Stephens
  • Danl. Gifford
  • Jacob Fries
  • Geo. F. Jordan
  • Wm. Brown
  • H.W. Brown
  • Jas. Downs
  • Jos. Hogan
  • Ed Peterson
  • Ed Hutton
  • Clarence Westcott
  • John B. Honn
  • Harry F. Adams
  • David C. Campbell
  • Jas. Knowles
  • Eph. Doughty
  • Rich Carey
  • John C. Stratton
  • Harry Troth
  • Thos. Griffith
  • Lime Johnson
  • Wm. H. Felmy
  • Albert Woolson
  • Jas. I Fort
  • Jos. H. Needham
  • Frank Bullock
  • Jas. L. Wright
  • Jas. G Hand
  • Theo R. Eberhardt
  • Chas. H. Honn
  • Geo. McGonnigal
  • Geo. S. Simmerman
  • Harry Wettstein

Photo taken in 1916 of Frank Bullock and his grandson, Maxfield Wallen. Bullock joined in 1882. Wallen joined in 1935 and has now served 50 years.
Photo from Max Wallen collection.

Each member on being
admitted to active membership shall be subject to a monthly contribution of ten
cents.

On an alarm of fire it shall be the duty of each member to proceed to the hose house, equip himself and assist in conveying the apparatus to the fire.

After the fire is so far extinguished that the chief deems the services of the company no longer necessary, the members shall assist in taking up the hose, and in due order, return the carriage to the hose house. The roll being called, they shall be at liberty to depart.

The member who first arrives at the hose house shall be entitled to the horn, and be denominated as director.

He shall have all the authority belonging to the directors during the absence from the hose house and be subject to the same penalties for neglect of duty.

Any
member who shall, in the time of fire or alarm thereof, commence a quarrel or
altercation with a member or members of this or any other company, shall, for
the first offense, be fined as hereafter specified, and for the second, be
punished in such a manner as the company may deem proper.

Fines of Members

For refusing to assist the carriage or other apparatus to or from a fire or false alarm, fifty cents.

For leaving the station assigned to him in time of fire without permission of the director, twenty five cents.

For running the carriage or other apparatus on the pavement, fifty cents.

For leaving the carriage or other apparatus, at or returning from a fire or false alarm without the permission of the director, fifty cents.

For disorderly conduct at a meeting or at a fire, fifty cents.

For refusing to assist in keeping the hose house or apparatus in order, twenty five cents.

For using another member’s equipment without permission, twenty five cents.

For commencing a quarrel with a member of this or any other company, one dollar.

For appearing at a fire, at a meeting or at the hose house in the state of intoxication, or for introducing any person in the same state at the hose house, shall be fined for the first offense, one dollar. For the second offense, two dollars. For the third offense, expulsion.

For lending key of the hose house to outsiders for the purpose for harboring therein, expulsion.

For refusing to assist the fire police when called upon, one dollar.

Any member not having four marks to his credit at stated meetings, or not making two thirds of the fires without offering a reasonable excuse, shall be expelled.

The equipment of this company shall consist of a black hat, known as the New York Fire Hat, with a red front, containing the name and number of the company in white letters and characters on red ground. Also, a dark blue fatigue cap, known as the New York Fireman’s Cap, a black enameled belt, two and a half inches wide, bound in red, with the name of the company in white letters on red ground, a slide of enameled black leather, bound in red, the character three (3) in white on red ground, blue shirt with character three (3) in white on front.

Courtesy Millville Fire Department.

Sept. 9, 1892 – The Fire Committee stated the electric
company would place a fire gong on each fire house, upon which an alarm of fire
could be made from one of any six boxes in various points in the city at a cost
of $40 each gong. The company to do the work gratis. On motion, this was
accepted and ordered done.

Jan.6, 1893 – The Fire Marshall was empowered to look
after the condition of the fire plugs.

Oct. 25, 1893 – Wheaton’s Works One Fire. At ten minutes to
1 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, flames were seen issuing from the second
story of the packing house at T.C. Wheaton’s Glass Works. The packing house is
attached to the eastern end of the glass factory and across a ten foot alley stands
a large ware shed.

                A good breeze was blowing and the flames leaped
across the alley and caught on to the weather boards of the ware shed. It
looked for a few minutes as if the ware shed was doomed, but the efforts of a
bucket brigade kept the flames back and confined them to the packing house,
which was entirely consumed. Had it not been for the bucket brigade it is
likely that the entire plant would have fallen prey to the flames, for it was
10 minutes to 1 when the fire was discovered and 25 minutes before the Fire
Department had a stream of water playing on the fire. 

                Engineer Robbins of the West Jersey Locomotive No.21,
helped wonderfully to keep the fire from spreading. He ran his engine on a side
track in front of the factory and water for the bucket brigade was obtained
from the tender tank.

                The firemen labored under difficulties. The nearest
fire plug was at Depot and High Streets and it required 2100 feet of hose to
reach the burning building.

                A long freight train passing at the time, caused some
delay in getting the hose under the railroad tracks and when this was done and
the water turned on, the end of the hose was so far from the plug that the
stream did not contain much force.

                Hundreds of people swarmed through the gates into the
factory yard and watch the firemen and factory hands as they battled the
flames. Before he water was secured from the city plug the hook and ladder
truck was brought into use.

                The long hooks were used to pull the building to
pieces and the burning hay was thrown out on the ground, pulled apart and dirt
thrown on it to smother the flames. The origin of the fire is a mystery,
although many incline to believe that it was started by factory boys who were
smoking in the hay loft during the noon hour.

                Jacob Lloyd, who is employed in the packing house,
said that the fire was first discovered by a boy named Boyd, who called his
attention to it. When he saw it, the flames were coming through the roof of the
building. Mr. Lloyd says that he was not absent from the building but ten
minutes during the noon hour. He ate his dinner there and when he left there
was no one in the packing room or hay loft.

                Dr. Wheaton, managing owner, is at the World’s Fair
and the exact amount of insurance cannot be ascertained.

                The loss will not, it is thought, exceed $1000.

Nov. 25, 1893 – Two propositions for the furnishing of fire
hose to the fire department were submitted by the Fire Committee. The committee
and the chief recommend the adoption of the proposal of the Fabric Fire Hose Company,
which is 1000 feet at $1.00 per foot.

                April 21, 1894
– Mr. Parent moved that the Public Building Committee prepare
specifications and plans for an extension to City Hall, providing additional
room for the Fire Department and a cloak room for Council. So ordered.
Estimated cost $2500.

                Dec. 7 1894
Permission was given the Building Committee to remove certain bodies from the
rear of City Hall to make room for a cesspool to be placed there. (Ed. Note –
At the time of this notation, the City Hall was located at the corner of Second
and Sassafras. One of Millville’s first cemeteries was located behind the
building.)

                March 16, 1895
– The office of Kimball and Prince in Millville was destroyed by fire about
one o’clock this morning. Mr. Kimball went down on the early train and up on
the 913.

                He found conclusive evidence that the building was
set on fire. The flames were discovered soon after they started and the first
people on the scene found that the fire originated in a closet far away from
the stove. The loss has not been estimated. The building contained considerable
hardware and stock of the firm.

                The store of Mr. Troth on High Street was also
entered and ransacked last night and the night before an office at the Foundry was
robbed. It is supposed the same thieves are at work who set several houses on
fire several weeks ago. The authorities are slow in locating the evil doers.

                May 1, 1896
Mr. Parent moved the Fire Committee be Authorized to erect a suitable building
on City Hall lot, not to exceed $150, for storing hay. Passed.

                May 7, 1897
Mr. Austin moved the Fire Committee have the stone in front the Hose House
roughed to prevent the horses from slipping and so ordered. Cost $48.

                March 22, 1898
On motion of Mr. Neipling a
premium of $2 was granted to the first person who shall arrive at the Third
Ward Hose House, with a horse, on an alarm of fire, to take the hose carriage
there to the fire and return the same when through at the fire. So ordered.

                May 6, 1898
The salary of the driver of the hose carriage was made $10 per week.

                July 1, 1898
The mayor spoke of the need of a water test in the City Hall to determine the
quantity of water in the standpipe. (Water Pressure gage)

                June 25, 1898
Millville had a disastrous fire Saturday night and is now minus Wilson’s Opera
House. Smoke was seen issuing from the large building at 9:45 o’clock and in a
short time the building was gutted.

                The firemen were particularly active and succeeded in
saving the stores on the first floor. The damage by water was great and the
merchants will lose nearly all their stock. The Opera House was valued at
$12,000 with only $8,000 insurance.

                The Opera House has been closed since the High School Commencement Exercises Friday night and how the fire started is a mystery.

Front view

Back
view

Wilson Opera House Fire, June 25, 1898. Located on S.W. corner of High and Sassafras Streets. Dale Wettstein collection.

Additional pictures of Wilson Opera House Fire.
Gary Wallen collection added 2018.

May 24, 1899 – The Fire Committee reported
communication on a new hook and ladder truck and an offer by Rumsey and Co.,
Seneca Falls, N.Y. of a new truck for &875.

            They guaranteed to sell the old
truck for $150 within six months.

            Mr. Austin moved that the committee
arrange a contract for said new truck under such conditions and for such price,
and that Mr. Sithens and Brown go to the factory to examine said truck, after a
conference with the agent, if it is deemed necessary to do so. So ordered.

            June
2, 1899
– The Fire Committee reported a contact made for a new hook and
ladder truck.

            June
9, 1899
– The Public Building Committee was instructed to examine and
report what necessary extension is to be made for the housing of the new truck.

            July
7, 1899
– The Public Building Committee reported an estimate from Hoffman
on extension on fire house of $360 – $375 with iron girder, without painting.

            Sept.
1, 1899
– Mr. Sithens reported he had received a check for the sale of the
old fire truck and turned it over to the treasurer.