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  1. #1

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    Default Names and Rivalries...

    Hi everyone,
    I am a college student and I have been asked to find information on the names and rivalries between the early fire companies in NYC. I've tried searching on the net but have had no luck finding anything. Does anyone have any information that might help me?


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    There is a book titled:
    So others might Live
    The author is Terry Golway
    It should give you a place to start

  3. #3
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    Our Firemen, by A. E Costello. HUGE book

    http://www.amazon.com/Our-Firemen-Hi...3333272&sr=1-3
    Last edited by KyleWickman; 10-25-2007 at 01:28 PM. Reason: add link
    This space for rent

  4. #4
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    Our Firemen by:Augustine E. Costello is a good resource...covers the time period you seek to research.

    History of the New York Fire Department
    by Lowell M. Limpus
    is also a good choice. Although out of print for decades is easily obtainable on-line.

    Contact the Mand Library at Randals Island for some suggestions as well.

    Here is some info from the first book I cited:

    No. 33. -- Black Joke. -- The company, organized in 1807, were located at Grand Street market in 1813, and in 1820 they removed to a little on -story frame house on the north side of Cherry Street, between Jackson and Corlears. The house was still standing in 1886. In 1828 they removed to Gouverneur Street, near Henry, and located in the house afterwards used by Engine Company No. 6 on its organization in 1849. The first name of 33 engine company as "Bombazula," and when they moved over into the Seventh Ward a lady, who then lived in the large house on the corner of Gouverneur and Henry Streets, and who was a descendent of the Gouverneur Family, was anxious that the name be changed to that of "Lady Gouverneur," offering the company a golden trumpet to so name it, and the question of a change was agitated. The exploits of a certain privateer, called "Black Joke," which h ad performed some wonderful deeds during the war of 1812, was the talk of the men near the docks in those days, and a vote being taken the name of "Black Joke" was adopted, and on a later engine the leader jacket has a picture of the vessel in an action in which she had captured two merchantmen. The same engine has a picture of the Three Graces on the back at the fire in the shipyard of Adam & Noah Brown at the foot of Stanton and Houston Streets, East River, in March, 1824. The engine belonging to the company--old "Bombazula"--which had a square box with solid wooden wheels, was destroyed by the flames. James P. Allaire was the first foreman of 33 engine and S. P. Allaire, his son, Edward Winship, Philander Webb, Edward Penny, Harry Andrews, Tom Primrose, Malachi Fallon, Edward Fernon, Samuel Dunlop, and Thomas McIntyre were all foremen in later years.

    Engine company 33 was the first fire company to start a target excursion, which practice they continued for many years, and which was soon afterwards followed by the other engine companies. In 1843 Samuel Dunlop opened a place at the junction of East Broadway and Grand Streets. This was the first great resort for 33 Engine's followers. He had a lunch between the hours of ten and one o'clock, and the boys christened it the "Ten to One." In the latter part of that year some of the opponents of 33 Engine, who were connected with Nos. 6, 15, and 44 Engine Companies, gave out that they were going to take off the "eagle," a wooden figure which decorated the front of 33 Engine's house, and on Christmas Eve down they came through Sheriff Street, tooting horns and making demonstrations towards Gouverneur Street. The boys at the engine house had no notion of having their eagle taken down, and had prepared a warm reception for their visitors. They had a howitzer loaded with slugs, chains, and bolts. The crown first turned their attention to the "Ten to One" house, and a man on that building leveled his musket at them, but before he could pull the trigger Tom Primrose, of 33 Engine, hit him and knocked his musket up, the ball going through a doctor's window opposite, and just passing over the nose of that gentleman, who was lying in bed. The shot soon brought the constables, and the crowd quickly dispersed. The officers turned their attention to the "Ten to One," from the roof of which they took thirteen muskets to the Tombs. They were so heavily loaded that the charges had to be drawn. Some of 33 Engine members were arrested. During the presidential campaign of Polk and Clay in 1844, 33 Engine company took part in a Polk and Dallas procession against the rules and orders of the Department, and a few days later the Whigs turned out, and the parade was headed by a number of horsemen, among whom was Tom Hyer. They had with them a bell belonging to the Allaires, and on coming through East Broadway some on struck the Fourth District on it. Whether this was done because they were going through the fourth district, or in a spirit of mischief, cannot now be determined; at any rate 33 engine company, always ready for an alarm, turned out, and as they met the procession, and saw the cause of the alarm, they swung around to return to their house. Some of the horses shied at the engine, and the rope upset others, and nearly upset the procession. This, in addition to other charges already in, caused the engine to be taken to the Corporation Yard, and the company was formally disbanded November 6, 1844. Thomas Conner was elected alderman of the ward that year on the issue that he would get the engine back. He was never able to do so, and Black Joke Engine Company 33 of the East river was a thing of the past.

    Black Joke (second of the name). -- Was organized March 6, 1852, by Peter Masterson and others, and located in a little shed next door to his house at Fifty-eighth Street and Bloomingdale Road. James Masterson was the first foreman elected, and the company commenced doing duty with a New York style engine built in 1827, which was painted black, and which they run until 1855, when they received a Carson monument, and having bought the old engine, placed it on the top of their house. The fire commissioners objected to placing the engine there, but the trouble grew serious, but it finally ended in a victory for the company, who retained the engine in that position until the Department went out of existence. In 1854 the city bought ground and erected a brick building for the use of the company, taking the plan of No. 7 Engine House in Twenty-fifth Street, then one of the largest and finest in the city. It was afterwards raised to three stories, and extended back to a depth of sixty feet, and is now used by Engine Company No. 23 of the Paid Department. At that time a bell, weighing eight hundred pounds, was placed on the rear of the building which some members would ring on, receiving an alarm, they having an independent telegraph line running from the bell tower in thirty-third Street. In the daytime if an alarm came in on the wire, and no member was in the house, Mrs. Masterson would man the rope and call them together. Having this telegraph in the house was of great benefit to the company, and was the means of rendering them the quickest company in the upper districts. They ran the Carson Engine until 1862, when they applied for and received, the first steamer built by order of the Common Council for use in the Department. Peter Masterson ws foreman for ten years, during which time he served in the Legislature two years and in the Board of alderman four years. In 1863 they visited Newburg, N. Y., and received quite an ovation. The bunk room held twenty four beds which were all occupied.

    The Black Joke Guards originated from this company, their first captain being Ex-Judge Michael Connelly; Constantine Donoho was the second captain, after which Peter Masterson was captain for several years.

    When the company first got the steamer, some of the members growled terribly, and at the first fire it was run to would not man the rope, leaving the runners to do it. The second alarm proved to be a five hours' working fire, and the "kickers" were convinced that steam was superior to muscle, and from that time until the end of the Department there was no more opposition to the steamer. Robert Gamble, a coroner, afterwards one of the organizers of Hook and Ladder 16, and Wm. A. and Jas. H. Turnure were members of this company in 1855, and Alderman Peter B. Masterson was a member from 1861 until it was disbanded in 1865.

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    Fred;

    Thanks for that glimpse into your Depts history!
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    Default Names and Rivalries...

    Thank you very much for the info you shared. I know this will help me look further into the names and rivalries of other fire companies.


    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    Our Firemen by:Augustine E. Costello is a good resource...covers the time period you seek to research.

    History of the New York Fire Department
    by Lowell M. Limpus
    is also a good choice. Although out of print for decades is easily obtainable on-line.

    Contact the Mand Library at Randals Island for some suggestions as well.

    Here is some info from the first book I cited:

    No. 33. -- Black Joke. -- The company, organized in 1807, were located at Grand Street market in 1813, and in 1820 they removed to a little on -story frame house on the north side of Cherry Street, between Jackson and Corlears. The house was still standing in 1886. In 1828 they removed to Gouverneur Street, near Henry, and located in the house afterwards used by Engine Company No. 6 on its organization in 1849. The first name of 33 engine company as "Bombazula," and when they moved over into the Seventh Ward a lady, who then lived in the large house on the corner of Gouverneur and Henry Streets, and who was a descendent of the Gouverneur Family, was anxious that the name be changed to that of "Lady Gouverneur," offering the company a golden trumpet to so name it, and the question of a change was agitated. The exploits of a certain privateer, called "Black Joke," which h ad performed some wonderful deeds during the war of 1812, was the talk of the men near the docks in those days, and a vote being taken the name of "Black Joke" was adopted, and on a later engine the leader jacket has a picture of the vessel in an action in which she had captured two merchantmen. The same engine has a picture of the Three Graces on the back at the fire in the shipyard of Adam & Noah Brown at the foot of Stanton and Houston Streets, East River, in March, 1824. The engine belonging to the company--old "Bombazula"--which had a square box with solid wooden wheels, was destroyed by the flames. James P. Allaire was the first foreman of 33 engine and S. P. Allaire, his son, Edward Winship, Philander Webb, Edward Penny, Harry Andrews, Tom Primrose, Malachi Fallon, Edward Fernon, Samuel Dunlop, and Thomas McIntyre were all foremen in later years.

    Engine company 33 was the first fire company to start a target excursion, which practice they continued for many years, and which was soon afterwards followed by the other engine companies. In 1843 Samuel Dunlop opened a place at the junction of East Broadway and Grand Streets. This was the first great resort for 33 Engine's followers. He had a lunch between the hours of ten and one o'clock, and the boys christened it the "Ten to One." In the latter part of that year some of the opponents of 33 Engine, who were connected with Nos. 6, 15, and 44 Engine Companies, gave out that they were going to take off the "eagle," a wooden figure which decorated the front of 33 Engine's house, and on Christmas Eve down they came through Sheriff Street, tooting horns and making demonstrations towards Gouverneur Street. The boys at the engine house had no notion of having their eagle taken down, and had prepared a warm reception for their visitors. They had a howitzer loaded with slugs, chains, and bolts. The crown first turned their attention to the "Ten to One" house, and a man on that building leveled his musket at them, but before he could pull the trigger Tom Primrose, of 33 Engine, hit him and knocked his musket up, the ball going through a doctor's window opposite, and just passing over the nose of that gentleman, who was lying in bed. The shot soon brought the constables, and the crowd quickly dispersed. The officers turned their attention to the "Ten to One," from the roof of which they took thirteen muskets to the Tombs. They were so heavily loaded that the charges had to be drawn. Some of 33 Engine members were arrested. During the presidential campaign of Polk and Clay in 1844, 33 Engine company took part in a Polk and Dallas procession against the rules and orders of the Department, and a few days later the Whigs turned out, and the parade was headed by a number of horsemen, among whom was Tom Hyer. They had with them a bell belonging to the Allaires, and on coming through East Broadway some on struck the Fourth District on it. Whether this was done because they were going through the fourth district, or in a spirit of mischief, cannot now be determined; at any rate 33 engine company, always ready for an alarm, turned out, and as they met the procession, and saw the cause of the alarm, they swung around to return to their house. Some of the horses shied at the engine, and the rope upset others, and nearly upset the procession. This, in addition to other charges already in, caused the engine to be taken to the Corporation Yard, and the company was formally disbanded November 6, 1844. Thomas Conner was elected alderman of the ward that year on the issue that he would get the engine back. He was never able to do so, and Black Joke Engine Company 33 of the East river was a thing of the past.

    Black Joke (second of the name). -- Was organized March 6, 1852, by Peter Masterson and others, and located in a little shed next door to his house at Fifty-eighth Street and Bloomingdale Road. James Masterson was the first foreman elected, and the company commenced doing duty with a New York style engine built in 1827, which was painted black, and which they run until 1855, when they received a Carson monument, and having bought the old engine, placed it on the top of their house. The fire commissioners objected to placing the engine there, but the trouble grew serious, but it finally ended in a victory for the company, who retained the engine in that position until the Department went out of existence. In 1854 the city bought ground and erected a brick building for the use of the company, taking the plan of No. 7 Engine House in Twenty-fifth Street, then one of the largest and finest in the city. It was afterwards raised to three stories, and extended back to a depth of sixty feet, and is now used by Engine Company No. 23 of the Paid Department. At that time a bell, weighing eight hundred pounds, was placed on the rear of the building which some members would ring on, receiving an alarm, they having an independent telegraph line running from the bell tower in thirty-third Street. In the daytime if an alarm came in on the wire, and no member was in the house, Mrs. Masterson would man the rope and call them together. Having this telegraph in the house was of great benefit to the company, and was the means of rendering them the quickest company in the upper districts. They ran the Carson Engine until 1862, when they applied for and received, the first steamer built by order of the Common Council for use in the Department. Peter Masterson ws foreman for ten years, during which time he served in the Legislature two years and in the Board of alderman four years. In 1863 they visited Newburg, N. Y., and received quite an ovation. The bunk room held twenty four beds which were all occupied.

    The Black Joke Guards originated from this company, their first captain being Ex-Judge Michael Connelly; Constantine Donoho was the second captain, after which Peter Masterson was captain for several years.

    When the company first got the steamer, some of the members growled terribly, and at the first fire it was run to would not man the rope, leaving the runners to do it. The second alarm proved to be a five hours' working fire, and the "kickers" were convinced that steam was superior to muscle, and from that time until the end of the Department there was no more opposition to the steamer. Robert Gamble, a coroner, afterwards one of the organizers of Hook and Ladder 16, and Wm. A. and Jas. H. Turnure were members of this company in 1855, and Alderman Peter B. Masterson was a member from 1861 until it was disbanded in 1865.

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