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SETTLEMENT BY THE DUTCH IN 1636 THREE-QUARTERS of a century after the settlement of New Amsterdam by the Dutch, the West India Company organized a systematic scheme of colonization; and among those who responded to their invitation to come to America were the " Walloons," so-called to denote their foreign origin {Waalsche)' by their neighbors in Holland, whither they had come from France among the persecuted Huguenots. They had previously applied to the English for permission to emigrate to Virginia, but had been refused, and they gladly turned their faces toward New Amsterdam, in the New World. It was largely from among the Walloons that the first settlements in the future Brooklyn were peopled; but the first grant of land within its limits was made in June, 1636, to Jacob Van CORLEAR, one of Director-General Van TWILLER'S lieutenants, who shared his chiefs fondness for real estate speculation, for which their official position afforded them opportunity. His purchase, made from the Indians, was of an extensive tract at " Castateuw, on Seven-hackey, or Long Island, between the Bay of the North River and the East River." Andries HUDDE and Wolfert GERRITSEN secured adjoining property, and Van TWILLER himself soon after bought other acres. But the first house built was erected on the site afterwards occupied by the old SCHERMERHORN mansion, (on the present Third Avenue, near Twenty-eighth Street,) by William Adrianse BENNET, who soon became the sole owner of a tract originally purchased by himself and Jacques Bentyn-930 acres on Gowanus Bay, also in 1636, and erected a residence on it. - WALLABOUT, GOWANUS, "THE FERRY," AND BREUCKELEN In June, 1637, Jansen de RAPALIE bought a farm on Wallabout Bay, on a part of which now stands the United States Marine Hospital, and by 1654 the settlement thus founded was increased by so large a proportion of the Walloons as to lead to its being called the " Waal-Bogt," (Wallabout) or the "The Bay of the Foreigners." By 1642 a ferry had been established between Peck Slip on the other side of the river and the foot of the present Fulton Street, and the settlement that soon grew up near it became known as " The Ferry." The Gowanus and Wallabout settlements are regarded as constituting the original centres from which the community gradually spread, until, in the course of two and a half centuries, there had grown up from these isolated farmer-settlements the great city of to-day. But other settlements were made so nearly at the same time with those mentioned, that they really formed a part of the original nucleus of Brooklyn. Besides "The Ferry," there was one of these to which we owe the name of our city. The Dutch farmers from the New Amsterdam came across the river and laid out their plantations in the region now bounded by Fulton, Hoyt and SMITH Streets This settlement they called "Breuckelen." after a town in Holland, dear to the memory of many of them, situated about eighteen miles from Amsterdam. Thus the new Breuckelen and the New Amsterdam, like their prototypes, were near neighbors. In an interesting account of a visit to old Breuckelen, in Holland, written by the late Henry C. MURPHY, and printed in the Brooklyn Eagle of September 12, 1859 the name is said to be descriptive of the character of the land on which the town is built and signifies "marsh-land." By the older inhabitants of this city, the similarly marshy character of the ground on Fulton Street at the point described is still remembered. It was the bed of the valley which received the drain of the hills on either side of it from Wallabout to Gowanus Bay, and was marshy and springy. In the Dutch chronicles of the Dutch Breuckelen, (originally pronounced Brurkeler,} there are found as many varieties of spelling as in the colonial and county records of its New World namesake; but the final form of the name in this country, settled on about the end of the last century, retains the significance of the early name, and Brooklyn as well as Brookland - one of the recorded forms -sufficiently conveys the idea of the marsh or brook-land. But Breuckelen, Gowanus, Wallabout and The Ferry were in the beginning distinct settlements, and it was not until after the British occupation of New Amsterdam, (which in consequence became New York, in 1664,) that the name of Brooklyn was made to cover the whole community. - THE VILLAGE CHARTERED It had been recommended in the "Code of General Instructions," issued by the West India Company's Chamber of Accounts, which directed the Provincial Council's efforts to colonize the new territory, " that they do all in their power to induce the colonists to establish themselves on some of the most suitable places, with a certain number of inhabitants, in the manner of towns, villages and hamlets, as the English are in the habit of doing." In pursuance of this advice, the settlers on Long Island, in 1646, petitioned the Colonial Council for permission to " found a town at their own expense," which was granted in June of that year by a commission from the Council, appointing Jan EVERTSEN and Huyck AERTSEN as Schepens or Magistrates, " to decide all questions which may arise as they shall deem proper," and charging "every inhabitant of Breuckelen to acknowledge and respect the above-mentioned Jan EVERTSEN and Huyck AERTSEN as their Schepens, and if any one shall be found to exhibit contumaciousness toward them, he shall forfeit his share." In the following winter, Jan TEUNISSEN was appointed Schout or Constable. In 1660 some petitioners from Wallabout were permitted to settle at the "Keike" or Lookout, at the foot of South Fourth Street, there founding the nucleus of the Eastern District. Following closely on the occupation by the British, Long Island and Staten Island were constituted a shire, named Yorkshire, in honor of the Duke of York, the town of Brooklyn was established, a confirmatory patent being granted, in 1667, by Governor Nichols, and the town laws were reformed to harmonize them with the constitution of English town laws, in place of those of the Dutch. Later in the century the name of Long Island was changed to the "Island of Nassau," but the name never went into general use, and though never explicitly repealed, became obsolete, except so far as it is reflected in some of the local names still remaining, as in the streets and commercial companies. The inhabitants of Brooklyn submitted to the new-comers, and very generally took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain. The history of the town continued on the uneventful course of an agricultural community, sharing the common experience with hostile Indians, to be sure, and taking their turn at cheating, abusing, fighting and appeasing them ; but in general, living that happy life which makes no figure in history. In 1669, Brooklyn was referred to as one of "two villages of little moment," and for many decades it continued to Justify the designation. The first church (Dutch Reformed) was erected in 1654 at "Midwout." (Flatbush,) and services were held there and in New Amsterdam on successive Sundays, until 1700, when Brooklyn obtained a pastor of her own, and Dominie Selyns was installed. - BROOKLYN IN THE REVOLUTION Brooklyn's part in the Revolutionary war was an important one, but cannot receive just attention here. Her citizens contributed of their means, services and men, to the defence of the common liberties, and the town became the scene of the important Battle of Brooklyn, which resulted in the occupation of Long Island by the British throughout the war. Although the inhabitants found the intruding military to be efficient guardians of the peace, and ready to amuse, and be amused, after the fashion of troops encamped in a town, the condition of the town after the war, from pillage and wanton destruction, was deplorable, and the tragedy of the wretched " Prison Ship " in Walla-bout Bay, is commemorated to this day in the tomb of the 11,500 martyrs in the heart of the city. - FIRE ACT OF 1768-FIRST FIREMEN APPOINTED, 1772 Brooklyn was incorporated in 1816, by which time the scattered communities of the earlier day had grown toward each other and joined hands in the building up of a great and prosperous metropolis, which from that time began reaching forth and covering into its limits the outlying towns and villages, until the city of to-day, and its industries, residences, public buildings and varied interests, constitute one of the vastest and most valuable trusts ever placed in the safe-keeping of a Fire Department, such as it is the purpose of this work to chronicle and describe. There is no mention in the very early records of any fires or the means for preventing or extinguishing them, though possibly we may infer that when, in 1661, Caret de BEAUVOIS was appointed schoolmaster to the village, and there were added to his scholastic duties those of grave-digger, chorister, clerk, and bell-ringer, if it was necessary to call the villagers from their houses or from their fields for common defence against fire or against a living foe, it was his bell that summoned them; but the fires that may have occurred during the first century and a-half, and the individual and combined efforts to subdue them, are not chronicled. The first record of any organized move in this direction is of a meeting that was held on April 7, 1772, for the selection of six firemen, chosen for the protection of the village, in conformity with an act passed by the Legislature, " for the more effectual extinguishment of fires near the Ferry, in the township of Breucklin, in Kings County, passed the 3ist day of December, 1768." At this meeting the choice fell on : Joseph SHARPE, John CRAWLEY, Mathew GLEAVES, Joseph PRYOR, John MIDDAGH, and William BOERUM. -FIRST FIRE COMPANY, 1785 The year 1785 saw the organization of the first fire company. A meeting of Freeholders and inhabitants was held at the house of Widow Margaret MOSER, near the Ferry, an inn which was a common resort for meetings of various sorts for the residents. The members of the company commissioned for one year were ; Henry STANTON, captain; Abraham STOOTHOOF, John DOUGHTY, Jr., Thomas HAVENS, J. VAN COTT and Martin WOODWARD. - THE FIRST ENGINE For the purchase of an engine, it was voted to raise by tax the sum of �0, and one was ordered from Jacob Roome, of New York, who had Just begun the manufacture of engines in America, all previous engines having been imported from England. This first engine was a very primitive sort of water-tank, a wooden box, eight feet long, three feet wide, and two and a-half feet deep, holding 180 gallons of water, which was poured into it from buckets, filled at WELLS and cisterns - there being at that time no provision for procuring water by suction. A condensing-case rose from the middle of the box, three feet high, and the arms were placed lengthwise of the engine, with handles at which four men could work the pump on each end, eight men in all. There was no hose, but a goose-neck elbow at the top of the condensing-case, to which was attached a six-foot pipe with a three-quarter inch opening at the nozzle. Through this pipe, slanted toward the fire, a stream could be thrown sixty feet. This cumbersome " tank " was drawn to fires on its wooden block- wheels by means of a single rope, without a reel, and was guided by a short tongue. This crude affair was christened "Washington, No. 1," and the company from which it took its name has continued under successive reorganizations to this day. The organization effected at the meeting referred to was completed by the adoption of rules and regulations governing the duties of the firemen, which also provided for a regular inspection and practice play on the first Saturday in each month. The term of the firemen's service was fixed at one year, and they were chosen annually in town-meeting; and as the office was regarded as one of honor and respect in the community, there was an annual competition for the privilege of serving. On April 14, 1786, Henry STANTON was re-elected captain, and the following were chosen firemen: John DOUGHTY, Jr., Abraham STOOTHOOF, Anthony REMSEN. John GARRISON, John VAN NOSTRAND and James LEVERICH. A year later, the number of firemen having been increased from seven to nine, all the above except STOOTHOOF and REMSEN were re-elected, and in addition Joseph CARWOOD, George STANTON, Thomas HAVENS and Thomas BOWRANS, Henry STANTON remaining captain. - FIRST FIRE DEPARTMENT ORGANIZED, 1788 At this meeting also provision was made for the accumulation of a regular fund to meet the expenses of the company, each fireman being compelled to take out a license, for which he paid into the treasury the sum of four shillings. At this time, the firemen had little to attract them besides their interest in their work and the honor of being members of the Department. They had no special privileges, and no exemptions from any of the duties laid upon other citizens. The efficiency of the organization during three years demonstrated its value; and the immunity of property from fire with this slight equipment, together with the example of New York's Fire Department, with its fifteen companies and legislative permission to enroll three hundred men, caused Brooklynites to regard the extension of their Fire Department as a necessity. As a beginning toward this end, a meeting of the inhabitants was held in 1788, and a petition was forwarded to the Legislature for a formally organized- Department, with privileges similar to those granted to New York. The resulting act of the Legislature, passed March 15, 1788, fixed the fire limits for " the freeholders and inhabitants of the town of Brooklyn, in Kings County, residing near the ferry, within a line to begin at the East River, opposite to and to be drawn up the road that leads to the still-house, late the property of Philip LIVINGSTON, deceased, [the present Joralemon Street,] and including said still-house and the other buildings on the south side of the same road, to and across the road leading from Bedford to the ferry, [now Fulton Street,] south of the house of Matthew GLEANS, and from there northwesterly, including all the houses on the east side of the road last-mentioned, and east of the powder magazine of Comfort and Joshua SANDS, and from thence down the East River to the place of beginning." And the inhabitants of the district described were authorized to appoint annually at the town-meeting eight able and sober men residing in the limits aforesaid, to have the custody, care and management of the fire-engine or engines, and the other tools and instruments. These men were to be officially designated as the" Firemen of Brooklyn," and were to be ready at all times, day and night, to manage, work and exercise the same fire-engine or engines, tools and instruments, and to be subject to such rules, orders and regulations as the freeholders and inhabitants of the town should impose. By way of remuneration, as well as in order to secure their service in case of fire, these firemen were exempted from serving as overseers of highways or as constables, from jury duty and inquests, and from ordinary militia duty. The enrollment of firemen in the town book and their certificates of appointment were to be sufficient evidence of their right to exemption. These exemptions rendered the position of fireman even more desirable than it had been before, while the dignity attaching to service in a Department duly organized under the laws of the State gave it additional eclat. Provision was made in the act for raising the funds necessary for the expenses of the Department now in the same manner and at the-same time as the poor fund. The extension of the Department under this act was very slight; but the legislative establishment was a decided gain, and the town authorities were greatly benefited by this beginning of a duly constituted Department which could expand as the requirements of the future might require. The men chosen as firemen at the first town meeting held after the passage of this act, on April 1, 1788, were : Stephen BALDWIN, captain ; Benjamin BALDWIN, Silas BETTS, Thomas HAVENS, Joseph STEVENS, Gilbert VAN MATER, John DOUGHTY, Jr., and John VAN COTT. -CHIMNEY INSPECTORS The most common cause of fires in those days was foul chimneys, and under the powers conferred on them by the act of 1788 the freeholders, in 1789, instituted the office of fire or chimney-inspectors. It was made the duty of these officials, of whom there were two, annually chosen, to inspect the chimneys in the fire district every six weeks, with authority to order foul chimneys cleaned and imperfect chimneys cemented within six days after notice, on penalty of ten shillings fine for neglect of such order. And, to make the order self-operative with the easy-going citizens of that day, it was further provided that if a chimney should take fire and blaze out at the top, the owner or occupant of the building should be fined twenty shillings with costs of suit. This acted like a charm. The fact of a fire brought its fine, and no assertion that the chimney was clean could stand before such evidence of the real state of the case. So completely did this rule effect what it was designed for, that during the following year no persons were fined for foul chimneys though the inspectors first appointed under the rule, namely, John VAN NOSTRAND and Jacob SHARPE, seem to have been vigilant and faithful. In 1789 the firemen, too, were brought under a rather more strict control. At the annual meeting of this year it was resolved " that the firemen shall meet on the first Monday in every month, at an hour before sunrise, under the fine of four shillings for every neglect." This action was found to be necessary on account of the lax attention to their duties to which the firemen had become habituated under the infrequency of fires, and they were in danger of regarding their positions as places of honor without corresponding responsibilities. The consequence was that they turned up at the engine-house only on the occasion of a fire, and it not infrequently happened that their apparatus, through neglect, was not in a condition for effective use. Their presence at the engine-house at least once a month secured their adherence to the principle, " In time of peace, prepare for war ", which in their case meant, " In time of quiet prepare for fire " and it also brought them together in that social intercourse which has proved so valuable an element in the history of the volunteer fire organizations of this country, developing a spirit of comradeship of the highest utility in a service where men are called on to work together in the presence of danger, and sometimes to risk death for each other. Those who were distinguished by being chosen as firemen during the very early years, when the honor was the most coveted, were: 1789 John VAN NOSTRAND, captain; Theodorus HUNT, Nehemiah ALIEN, John DOUGHTY, Jr., John DEAN, Daniel HATHAWAY, and Joseph CARWOOD. 1790 John VAN NOSTRAND, captain; Thomas EVERITT, David DICK, Burdette STRYKER, Nicholas ALIEN, Peter CANNON, Abiel TITUS and John GARRISON. 1791 John VAN NOSTRAND, captain; Thomas EVERITT, John GARRISON, William FURMAN, John DOUGHTY, Jr., David DICK, Thomas PLACE and Nicholas ALIEN. 1792 John VAN NOSTRAND, captain; John GARRISON, Nicholas ALIEN, Burdette STRYKER, John DOUGHTY, Thomas EVERITT, Abiel TITUS and Benjamin DICK. 1793 John VAN NOSTRAND. captain; John GARRISON, Nehemiah ALIEN, Burdette STRYKER, John DOUGHTY, Thomas EVERITT, Abiel TITUS and Theodorus HUNT. The recurrence of the same names at these repeated elections, yet with annual changes, so that the ranks of the firemen were seldom identical one year with another, indicates that while in the main the inhabitants availed themselves of the experience of the firemen who had already served, there was such competition for the places that a certain degree of rotation in office was the established rule. Little by little the restrictions of new rules were imposed on the firemen, and that a high degree of discipline was not maintained is evidenced by the fact. that as late as 1791 it was found necessary to uphold the authority of the captain of the company by imposing a fine of two shillings for absence from duty in defiance of the orders of that officer. - THE SECOND ENGINE It was not wholly on the efforts of the firemen that the community relied for the extinguishment of fires. Then, as later, it was the custom for all good citizens to lend a hand in these emergencies, forming a line from the engine to the nearest well and passing water to the engine in buckets, of which twenty-four, the property of the town, were kept at the engine-house, which stood on a lane leading off from Front Street, near the present Fulton Street, then known as the Old Ferry Road. It was a very small territory that these primitive firemen had to protect. The entire district comprised in the fire limits contained only seventy-five buildings, all between Henry Street and the Ferry, and these were occupied by not more than three hundred and fifty persons, including about one hundred slaves : fifty five families altogether. In a district so sparsely settled and slightly built up -all outside of it being open country- there was naturally little call on the firemen for active duty; and notwithstanding the regulations requiring the men to report at intervals at the engine-house and keep their apparatus in good order, the general disuse into which the engine fell did more to deteriorate it than almost any amount of lively running and operation. So it became apparent, in 1794, that a new engine must be obtained to replace the old one, and at the town-meeting of that year it was decided to raise a fund by subscription for the purchase of a new machine. It took seven months to raise the money; but during that time the sum of �8 19s 10d was obtained, and with that amount at his disposal, the president of the Village Trustees, Joshua SANDS, ordered of Hardenbrook, the builder in New York, a new and more powerful engine, embracing all the improvements of the day. In about four months this engine was delivered, and was put to a public test in the presence of the inhabitants, called together in special meeting for the purpose, and its performance was so satisfactory that it was by vote approved and accepted. On this occasion a new office was created, that of treasurer of the Fire Department, and John Hicks was chosen the first incumbent of the office. -INCREASE OF THE DEPARTMENT After a few years' operation under the then existing charter, it became apparent that it would be necessary to extend the fire limits; and steps were taken toward that successive enlargement of the field of operations, which has gone on ever since, as the city, year after year, outgrew t he provisions that had been made for its protection. A petition was sent to the Legislature, in pursuance of which an act was passed, on March 24, 1795, enlarging the fire limits, authorizing the increase of the number of firemen to thirty, and confirming the town's action in creating, the year before, the offices of treasurer and clerk of the Fire Department. The town authorities were also empowered to require the inhabitants to supply themselves with fire-buckets, and to fine them for omission to do so. These provisions were incorporated in the action of the town at the next annual meeting in April of that year, at which the full number of thirty firemen was chosen, and each householder or owner was ordered to supply himself with two fire-buckets, under a penalty of ten shillings for failure to do so. The consequence was that over one hundred buckets were added to the facilities the town had for fighting fire, one-half of which were in the hands of private persons and the rest were among the apparatus of the Fire Department. The extent of the fire limits was now such that the earlier expedient of communicating the outbreak of a fire by word of mouth was no longer sufficient, and the need of a fire-bell was obvious. The funds for the purchase of such a bell were procured by a subscription authorized at the town-meeting of 1796, and the sum of � 4s was raised, which was put into the hands of the clerk of the Department, with instructions to get as big a bell as the money would pay for. -THE FIRE-BELL Then came the interesting question as to where the bell should be hung. The desire to be aroused from peaceful slumbers, even in so exciting an event as an alarm of fire was not prevalent among the rather sleepy Dutchmen who inhabited Brooklyn one hundred years ago; and it was found very difficult to get the consent of any one to have the bell ring out its wild alarms on or near his premises. Finally, however, consent was obtained from Jacob REMSEN, who lived at the junction of what is now Fulton and Front Streets, to have the bell erected over his venerable stone house, which stood at that time very close to the water's edge. And Mr. REMSEN himself was engaged to attend to the ringing of the bell an arrangement which spared him from being awakened by the ringing of the bell, for it made him the awakener of others. He was further compensated for his services by being granted all the privileges and exemptions conferred on firemen by the original act of the Legislature creating the Department. The bell remained over REMSEN's house as long as the latter stood. The march of improvement necessitated the removal or the pulling down of the house in 1816, and after that the bell was rung from Middagh Street, near Henry, until 1827, when it was again moved to a vacant lot where the Eastern Market was subsequently erected, and when that building was put up the bell was hung in the cupola of it. There it remained, long after the building was used for religious services instead of for a market, the town by that time having outgrown so inconsiderable a bell. In 1846, while the City Hall was building, an alarm bell was temporarily hung in a structure conveniently near the hall. The original act of the Legislature creating the Fire Department had opened the way to extend its operations by successive additional acts another of which was passed March 21, 1797, directed more especially to the question of burning chimneys, for the .better prevention of which the inhabitants and freeholders were empowered to appoint not less than three nor more than five men, with full authority to control the chimneys of the village and to enforce their orders concerning the same by stringent rules and fines: In May following. Henry STANTON, John DOUGHTY, Martin BOERUM, John VAN NOSTRAND and John STRYKER were appointed under the provisions of this act, and as soon as they had organized, a few weeks later, they enacted on the subject of fines to be imposed for fires resulting from carelessness in respect to chimneys. A list of all chimneys was prepared and kept in the Chimney .Register, and the facts concerning the burning of any of them were likewise entered in this book, as well as the fines imposed and collected. The record for nine years in this book showed a total of fines of � 7s which, as directed by the act, was set apart for lighting the streets. By this same act, the force was increased by five firemen, the special duty of whom it was to look after the chimneys of the town. About this time, or a little before, the apparatus of the Department was increased by the addition of another engine, which was named Neptune No. 2. No further increase in the number of engines was made until 1810, when Franklin No. 3 was organized, in both instances the number of firemen being increased to man the additional engines. - VILLAGE INCORPORATED l8l6, AND NEW COMPANIES ORGANIZED Little by little the Department grew in numbers, in apparatus, in efficiency, and in importance; so that, when, in 1816, the village of Brooklyn was incorporated, it was the obviously proper thing to do to give the Village Trustees full authority to make their Fire Department what in their judgment it should be. As soon as the incorporating Act was passed, therefore, they promptly organized two new companies, each composed of thirty men, increasing the total number of names on the roll of the Department to ninety-five. They also provided for the choosing of four fire wardens. The Trustees of the village under whose administration these changes were made were the first Board of Trustees the village had chosen under the provisions of the incorporating act of 1816. They were: Andrew MERCEIN, John GARRISON, John DOUGHTY, John SEAMAN and John DEAN. They appointed a day for the election of firemen and fire-wardens, and on June 2, 1817, the following persons were elected: -Washington Engine No. 1. Abraham REMSEN, Samuel WATTS, William FOSTER Jonathan MORRELL, Daniel SPINNING, John MURPHY, William C. SMITH, Barardus DEZENDORF, John ROGERS, John M. ROBINS, William JENKINS, Jerome SCHENCK, David ANDERSON, Charles HEWLETT, Ezekiel RAYNOR, Simeon RICHARDSON, Samuel SHOTWELL, Gold SILLIMAN, Jacob BROWN, John AOLERT, James FLECKER, Abraham BOERUM. -Neptune Engine No. 2. Joseph MOSER, Jeremiah WELLS, Stephen R. BOERUM, John D. CONKLIN, Elias COMBS, Edmund BUMFORD, Stephen S. VORIS, Winant P. BENNETT, Samuel S. CARMAN, Parskall WELLS, Nicholas COVERT, Cornelius WHITE, Daniel HODGES, Henry WIGGINS. Franklin Engine No. 3. -Elijah RAYNOR, Jacob GARRISON, William MORRIS, William THOMAS, Isaac NOSTRAND, James TITUS, John BIRDSALL, George STORMS, Cornelius VAN HONE, Robert MILLARD, MORRIS SIMONSON, George FRICKE, Samuel CARMAN, Aaron S. ROBINS, Ancel TITUS, John TRAPPLE, Michael TRAPPLE. John PATCHEN, John SIMONSON John R. LATHAM, Andrew DEMAREST, Sylvanus WHITE, Joseph PLACE, John TITUS, George HAVILAND, Richard STANTON, Thomas BURROUGH, James BOYD, Edmond COPE, Joshua ROGERS. -Fire-Wardens: John HARMEN, Isaac MOSER, John MOON, Noah WATERBURY. It is interesting to note, indicative of the quality of the membership of this early Fire Department, that the John MURPHY whose name appears in the roll of Engine No. 1 was the father of the late Henry C. MURPHY, whose conspicuous services at home and abroad to his city and his country made him, perhaps, the most distinguished citizen of Brooklyn in his generation. - JOHN DOUGHTY, THE FIRST CHIEF ENGINEER The interest of the firemen in the dignity of their organization increased with the growth of the Department, the effect of a larger enrolment alone conducing to the development of an esprit dc corps. Consequently, as they saw their Department growing more important, they desired to add to its importance, and to this end, in 1816, they suggested to the authorities the propriety of creating the office of Chief Engineer, and this was done, the choice being referred to the votes of the firemen themselves who unanimously conferred on John DOUGHTY, one of the most experienced of their number, the honor of being the first Chief of the Brooklyn Fire Department. This year, also, for the first time, the expenses of the Department, which hitherto had been met, from fines imposed on delinquent firemen and careless householders and contributions from the firemen, were provided for out of an appropriation included in the tax estimates, and the amount was three hundred dollars. This appropriation, while exceeding the average annual cost of the Department for the twenty-two years preceding by only sixty dollars, was expended so Judiciously as to leave an unexpended balance at the end of the year. The election of the Chief Engineer, in 1816, made John DOUGHTY the first of a long line of Chiefs who developed the Brooklyn Department and kept it abreast of the times, and in every way made it the equal of any Department in the country. The Chief Engineers from the beginning of .the Department to the disbandment of the Volunteer Department, in 1869, were as follows: John DOUGHTY, 1816-1817. During this term engine-companies Washington No. 1, Neptune No. 2 and Franklin No. 3 and Hook and Ladder Company No. I were organized. William FURMAN, Oct. 13, 1817-1821. The only company that came into existence during this term was the Hook and Ladder No. 1, which was started in 1817, but did not secure official recognition and formal organization until later. John DOUGHTY (second term), 1821-May 14, 1827.- 0rganized Eagle No. 4 and Lafayette No. 5. Jeremiah WELLS. May-14, 1827-Jan. 1, 1836 Protector No. 6 and Engine Companies Nos. 7 and 8 organized during this term. J. F. L. DUFLON, Jan. 1, 1836-Jan. 1, 1839-Engine Company No. 9, Columbia No. 10 and Engine Company No. 11 were organized under this administration, and Engine Company No. 5 was disbanded. Burdette STRYKER, Jan. 1, 1839-Feb. 1, 1849 Organized Engine Companies Nos. 12, 13, 14 (Pacific), 15, 16, and Brooklyn No. 17; Clinton Hose No. 2; Hook and Ladders Nos. 2, 3 and 4; and a Bucket Company ; disbanded and subsequently reorganized, Nos. 8 and 10, locating the former on Washington Street and the latter on Bedford Avenue, and reorganized the old No. 5. During this administration the engine-house of No. 9 was burned and the company went out of existence. Peter B. ANDERSON, Feb. 1, l849-Feb1, 1853 Organized Engine Companies, Nos. 18 and 19 and Hose Company No. 3 and reorganized No. 9, which was located at Carlton and Myrtle Avenues. Israel D. VELSOR, Feb. 1, 1853-Feb. 1 1861. Organized Engine Companies Nos. 20, 21 and 22 ; and Hose Companies Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13, the introduction of the Ridgewood water developing the use of hose-carriages and the consequent increase in the number of hose-companies; disbanded Engine Companies Nos. 2, 15 and 18; and Hook and Ladder No. 4, which last was afterwards reorganized. William H. FUREY. Feb. 1 1861-Feb. 1, 1863 Organized Hook and Ladder John CUNNINGHAM, Feb 1, 1863 -Reorganized Hook and Ladder No. 2. Chief CUNNINGHAM was the last of the noble line of Volunteer Department Chief Engineers, and it is due to the effect of this long succession of able and devoted Chiefs, covering more than half a century of growth and development, that when the city had outgrown the possibilities of a volunteer system, and CUNNINGHAM, as the first Chief under the new regime, reorganized it into a paid Department, it was ready for the foundation of the new system. John DOUGHTY, the first Chief Engineer, had been a fireman since the very beginning of the original Department, and his selection was that of the confessedly fittest man for the position. His first term lasted only one year, and was terminated by his resignation. After four years interim, during which FURMAN was the Chief, he returned to duty and began a second term of long duration, which also was terminated by his resignation, offered only when age and long service compelled him to withdraw from active duty. This resignation, dated May 14, 1827, was as follows: To the Hon. the President and Trustees of the Village of Brooklyn : The undersigned. Chief Engineer of the Fire Department, considering his advanced age and the consequent difficulty of discharging carefully the important duties imposed on him by virtue of his office, begs leave respectfully to offer his resignation of the same. JOHN DOUGHTY. The first three elections of Chief Engineer were made nominally by the Village Trustees, although, as in the case of DOUGHTY's first election, they took the nomination of the firemen themselves and confirmed that choice. That the firemen might lawfully as well as practically choose their own Chief, the law was afterwards changed, and, beginning with Chief WELLS, the elections were made directly by the foremen of the companies, the delegates being of the " instructed " sort ; so that the voice of the rank and file was manifested in the final choice. This was, doubtless, a wise concession to a body of volunteers, whose service depended on their interest in the Department, and their interest depended on their having something to say as to the personality of their superior officers. But of course, this introduced department politics into the Department, and the efforts of the two sides, each to elect its own candidate, made the election of Chief WELLS quite an exciting event. The parties were the " Up-streeters, " whose candidate was Jeremiah WELLS, Foreman of No. 3. and the " Down-streeters," who favored George FRICKE, Foreman of No. 4. The delegates met in the "ball-room," as a little parlor was euphemistically called, of the Exchange Hotel, a caravansary on Front Street, kept by C. Chester, formerly of Tammany Hall, New York. It being the first general election of the Department under the new law, and the office in question carrying all the eclat of a first "people's candidate " under the new system, the rivalry was strong and the contest waxed so lively that an adjournment was necessary before the result was reached; and the choice of Chief WELLS was finally made at an adjourned meeting, at which FRICKE was chosen Assistant. One more Chief Engineer -J. F. L. DUFLON, in 1836-was chosen by delegates from the companies; but after that the law was changed so that the firemen voted directly on the Chief, and Burdette STRYKER, in 1839, was the first one so elected. The institution of the Chief's Annual Report to the Trustees of the Village (corresponding to the present reports to the Mayor and Common Council,) was established by Chief Engineer WELLS who presented the following report in December, 1828: "To the Hon. the President and Trustees of the Village of Brooklyn: "Gents: "In accordance with the last clause of the Twenty-seventh Article of the ordinance for 'preventing and extinguishing fires in the Village of Brooklyn,' passed Feb. 4, 1828, the Chief Engineer begs leave to make the following report of the Fire Department funds: Fire Department-Expended, Fire Department-Collected. Cash paid collectors, . . $50.25 Collected for Chimney and Paid to a Fireman's Widow, 15.00 Members' Fines $454.60 printing...... 5.01 For Certificates, . . . . 167.00 For fees, ....... 14.00 For one year's interest on Case for Standard, . . . 21.34 $275, 19.25 $114.40 $640.05 Expenses..........................................114.40 Amount in the Fund....................................526.45 Loaned on B. and M................................... 475.60 Balance in Treas. hands................................51.45 "The Chief Engineer would state that in consequence of some delay of the report to the Department, he was not able to report as soon as the law directs. " All of which is respectfully submitted, " Dec. 8, 1828." JEREMIAH WELLS, C. Eng. - BANNER PRESENTATION, 1826 The pride which the firemen took in their work, in their machines, and in their Department generally, was quickly reflected in the appreciation of the public There were already enough amateur volunteers who, without any connection with the Department, pretty regularly ran with the machine-sometimes to the detriment of the service, an evil which grew with time and the frequency of fires-and this. of itself made the new Department seem quite a matter of general interest. The first demonstration of public regard for the Fire Department - a spirit which has ever since characterized a generous and appreciative community, which always has responded handsomely to every opportunity of showing the firemen that their fidelity and heroism and bravery in the presence of danger are not forgotten, was in the presentation of a banner to the Department on the Fourth of July, 1826. This was the semi-centennial of the Declaration of Independence, and it was made the occasion for a memorable celebration, which included all the pageantry available, military and other. For their part of the parade the firemen of Engine Companies Nos. I and 2 got themselves up in great shape. The engines were mounted on floats drawn by numerous horses, which were attended by grooms dressed in Grecian costume. This, with the uniformed firemen and the music, made a most picturesque and imposing scene. The parade brought the firemen to the office of the Equitable Insurance Company, in front of which they were drawn up in line, there to receive the banner at the hands of Mr. Freeman HOPKINS, secretary of the Brooklyn Insurance Company, on behalf of the two companies. Mr. Freeman addressed them as follows: " Firemen of the City of Brooklyn, Gentlemen: In behalf of the Equitable and Brooklyn Fire Insurance Companies we have the pleasure to present you this standard decorated with the emblems of the Fire Department. The insurance- companies are not insensible to the obligations they have been and may be under to your great exertions in extinguishing that fatal element so destructive to life and property. May you long retain those zealous and ambitious feelings to surpass, if possible, the enterprise and public spirit of the firemen of our great neighboring city. We wish you, gentlemen a happy enjoyment of this fiftieth anniversary of our natal day, which is now being celebrated with probably more demonstrations of heartfelt gratitude to God- and the people and the Congress of 1776, than at any former period; there is now, without doubt, a more universal sense of the obligation to the heroes of our War of Independence and the framers of our glorious Constitution, from a full conviction that our, government is the best yet formed for the happiness of man. "With our personal respects, gentlemen, we wish you many happy returns-of this day." In accepting the banner on behalf of the Fire Department, Mr. Sprague said: " Gentlemen: I am commissioned by my brethren of the Fire Department, (around. us assembled) to tender our grateful acknowledgment to the. Brooklyn and Equitable. Insurance Companies for conferring so distinguished an honor as that of presenting us this banner. We receive it as the most splendid that ever waved- upon our favored isle. " Should the fiery element burst from our dwellings, (which heaven avert!) and the: alarm bells arouse us from our midnight slumber, we will hasten to the scene and remember that we have a flag to sustain, never never to be disgraced. "But a few months ago our Fire Department began to exist; but yesterday one- third was added to the number of our engines; but a few months ago we were dependent upon yonder city for insurance and paper currency; but a few months ago we have seen hundreds of vacant lots, now covered with public edifices and private dwellings - the one has required the aid of the other, each contributing in its turn to help on the rapid march of improvement. " With feelings of gratitude to the Great Disposer of all things we reciprocate with you the happy return of the day that declared us free and independent. We hail it as the semi-centennial jubilee; it brings us peace and plenty; it brings to us, unimpaired, our favorite republican form of government; it brings to our recollection that for the love of liberty our fathers bled for such unmerited blessings, religious, civil and political, be rendered our unfeigned thanksgiving and praise." - THE CITY INCORPORATED, 1834 CONSOLIDATION ACT, l855 From the nature of the case the history of the Department is largely that of the companies composing it, there being little outside of that in reference to the volunteer Department, except its corporate history. From the incorporation on April 16, 1823, of the Fire Department of the Village of Brooklyn, there were no material legislative changes except that in connection with the city incorporation act of 1834, when it became the Fire Department of the City of Brooklyn, and a similar act followed the process of consolidation in 1855. In 1857. there was passed - An Act for the better regulation of the Firemen of the City of Brooklyn," which instituted the radical change of a transfer of the Department from the Common Council to "The Commissioners of the Fire Department of the Western District of the City of Brooklyn," a similar Board being established for the government of the Eastern District Department. From this time until the abolition of the Volunteer Department and the establishment of the paid Department the legislative modifications concerned matters of detail only. Transcribed for the Brooklyn Pages by Mimi Stevens BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Chapter 2 Back To HISTORY of the BROOKLYN FIRE DEPT. Index Back To FIRE Index Back To CIVIL Index Back To BROOKLYN Main