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Published in the Cincinnati Volksfreund, Monday August 3, 1874, Pg. 4. Reprinted in the "Tracer" Quarterly December 1999, publication of the Hamilton County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.

CFDHISTORY ---› Volksfreund Article

Published here by permission of the Hamilton County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society

"In 1853, the Cincinnati Fire Department was organized from a collection of volunteer companies into a professional, paid department under the control of a Fire Commission. The August 3, 1874 issue of the Cincinnati Voksfreund, a local German newspaper, featured a brief history of the "Feuerdepartment," including a list of the current companies and their members. The article also contained a list of firemen who died after the 1853 organization, as well as, a list of the largest fires the Cincinnati Fire Department battled.

MILES GREENWOOD led the organization of the volunteer companies into the professional Fire Department. He served as Fire Chief  for approximately one year after the organization and was followed by FERGUSON CLEMENS who served for two years.. ENOCH G. MEGRUE, with 14 years experience as a volunteer fireman, took over as Chief following Clemens and in 1874 had been Chief for 18 years. THEODORE CHAMBERS, an experienced engineer, was Second Assistant. W.H.HUGHES, a long time meber of the "Gift" Company, replaced Chambers about fours years before.

The following is a list of the various fire companies as they existed in 1874, showing the ages and experience of the individual members:

WASHINGTON STEAM FIRE ENGINE COMPANY NO. 1, Northwest corner of Race and Commerce Streets: JOSEPH BUNKER, Captain, 41 years old, since 1862 in service. He was a long time in City Hall and member of the volunteer fire brigade. EPHRAIM STEWART, stoker, 43 years, 21 years in the Company and "old in the business." H.E. PAYNE, driver, 29 years, about 10 years in the business. Other members are comparatively young in the business; R. ALLISON, engineer, 28 years old; PAT. O'DAY, driver of the fire engine, 31 years old; ANTHONY LAHRMAN, pipeman, 33 years and JOHN YOUNG, pipeman, 45.

COMPANY NO. 2, "RELIEF," corner of 9th and Freeman Street: PIUS CHAMBERS, Captain, 55 years, since the organization in the Fire Department. He took the place of his brother, THEODORE CHAMBERS, in 1858, W.B. DAVIES, driver, 50 years, one of the oldest drivers. THOMAS COLEMAN, driver 41 years, in the department for 7 or 8 years. The following are younger in the business: A. H. COZ, engineer, 44 years, WM. GROVES, stoker, 49 years, FRITZ SNITZER, pipeman, 33 years old.

COMPANY NO. 3, "GIFT," 6th Street near Vine: J.D. H. HALSTEAD, Captain for 14 years a driver in this company and, since the reorganization last year, captain. He is 47 years old and volunteer in Company No. *. FINDLEY LATTA, engineer, 58 years old and brother of the builders of the oldest and first steam fire engine in service, the 'LATTA." He was a volunteer and had the oldest and first steam fire engine in the world, the "Uncle Joe Ross," under his control. JOHN LEONARD, watchman at the headquarters, 41 years in the fire department. Other members are: A.J. PATTON, stoker, 33 years old; ALBERT SMITH, driver, 30 years, MART. SCHULER, driver, 34 years; FRANK KEARNEY, pipeman, 45 years; GEORGE BUDD, pipeman, 28 years; W. H. IRWIN, pipeman 28 years old.

COMPANY NO. 4, "FRANKLIN," Sycamore between 7th and 8th Streets: HENRY WEITLER, Captain, 44 years old and HENRY CARROLL, engineer, 46 years old. Both were volunteers, and in the department since the organization. JOHN CROLING, stoker, 41 years and 12 years in the department. GEO. CRUSOE, JR., driver, 58 years old and is the oldest member of the department (with one exception). Other members are: JOHN KEATING, driver, J.E. CHUCK, pipeman, JOHN FINNERTY, Pipeman and FRANK HEUN, pipeman.

COMPANY No. 5, "JEFFERSON," Vine between Court and Canal: JOHN POHLMAN, Captain, 28 years old, HENRY MEYERS, engineer, 46 years old and a Veteran; W.H. ANDERSON, stoker, 25 years; JERRY BAY, driver, 29 years and 9 years in the department; GEORGE STEINEWICH, driver, 43 years old; GEORGE POSTEL, pipeman, 31 years; and DANIEL CRONIN, pipeman, 43 years old and 10 years on the department.

COMPANY NO. 6, "QUEEN CITY," Corner of pearl and Martin Streets: J.C. DONOVAN, Captain, 34 years old and 11 years in the department. The other members are younge in the business: WM. NOEL, engineer, 28 years; A. HENDERSON, stoker, 30 years; WM. MARMER, driver, 32 years, J. LEININGER, pipeman, 29 years, and WM. NEGRARD, pipeman, 33 years.

COMPANY NO. 7, "NORTHERN," Webster between Main and Sycamore: H. MEINZE, Captain, 49 years old and a captain since the reorganization. H. MEHRING, pipeman, 42years, an old veteran and early volunteer. H. SCHLEMMER, engineer, 39 years and 12 years in the department. Chris. STOEBEL, stoker, 27 years, C. HORSTMEIER, pipeman, 36 years, J. B. AHRENS, driver, 30 years and George LEIST, driver, 31 years old.

COMPANY NO. 8, "MARION," Cutter between Laurel and Betts: H.R. LEONARD, Captain, 48 years old, the oldest captain. He commanded the "Uncle Joe Ross" and the "Gift" fire engines before the reorganization. John BAKER, engineer, 36 years old, has worked for 8 years in this department. J. B. DEARWATER, pipeman, 46 years, W. H. LECOUNT, stoker, 42 years, and Frank CRUSE, driver, 39 years old, are all "Vets." B. BREITENBACH, Driver 41 years and Jesse COLLINS, pipeman, 28 years.

COMPANY NO. 9, "UNION," Corner of 2nd and Race Streets; John DANIELS, Captain, 28 years old, Jas. R. MADDOCKS, engineer, 40, H.H. HORTON, stoker,51, Len. WESCOTT, driver, 46, Herman PLACKE, driver, 30, Jas. KELLY, pipeman, 30, Ben. MYERS, pipeman, 35. The only veteran in this company is Mr. HORTON. He has always been in this department and was the first fireman or stoker for the fire engine, "Joe Ross."

COMPANY NO. 10, "DELUGE," Corner of 3rd and Lawrence Streets: E.R. MILLER, Captain, 35 years old, C.S. HORN, engineer, 31, Owen BURROUGHS, stoker, 35, John BAILEY, driver 31, J.O.E. MILLER, driver, 33, H.H. SCHELDMEIER, pipeman, 38, Dan. GALLAGHER, pipeman 35. The two Messrs. MILLER are veterans and Messrs. SCHELDMEIER and GALLAGHER have been in the company for 12 to 14 years.

COMPANY NO. 11, "FULTON," Corner of Front and Vance Streets: Jesse BENNETT, Captain, 22 years old, Wm. ESTEP, engineer, 43, Wm. H. CULVER, pipeman, 33, A.H. LAGUE, driver, 25, H.R.STILES, driver, 37. Mr. ESTEP is an old volunteer and veteran. Mr. BENNETT has been a fireman for 12 years.

COMPANY NO. 12, "MOHAWK," Hamilton Road and Vine Street: John MOORWOOD, Captain, 44 years old, Fred. UETRECHT, engineer, 55, Paul SCHOPPER, stoker, 55, Samuel COLEMAN, driver, 47, P.H.HART, driver, 44, Jos. KLEIN, pipeman, 39. Captain MOORWOOD has been a fireman for the past 18 years. Mr. COLEMAN is a veteran driver and KLEIN is also a veteran.

COMPANY NO. 12, "BRIGHTON," (there was no CO. 13 listed) Bank Street: Walter PHARES, Captain, 41 yrs old, F.S. GREGG, engineer, 44, H. ROLL, stoker, 58, Wm. WAGNER, driver, 34, M. CAMPBELL, driver 39, I.T. STEVENS, pipeman, 48, H. WALTER, pipeman, 47. Mr. PHARES was a fireman for 22 years last month. The Messrs. GREGG, ROLL, STEVENS, and WALTER are old workers.

COMPANY NO. 14, "WESTERN," 5th Street near Smith: D.W.C. LEE, captain, 48, Jacob HIRST, engineer, 41, C.E. ROBERTS, stoker, 25, H.G. SHINER, driver 41, A.B. ENGLISH, driver, 50, John BATCHELOR, pipeman, 37, T. MC'AVOY, pipeman, 37. Mr. LEE is an old veteran and in service since the organization. He has been Captain for 8 years. Mr. HIRST was an old volunteer. SHINER and ENGLISH have been drivers for many years. (Note: there was no Company No. 15 listed)

COMPANY NO. 16, "WALNUT HILLS," George MAHL, Captain, 44 years old, Theordore CHAMBERS, engineer, 57, Wm. MERREN, driver, 42, Wm. TOUSLEY, driver, 48, Martin FARRELL, pipeman, 41. Captain MAHL is one of lthe oldest "fire laddies." He has been captain since the reorganization. The Messrs. TOUSLEY and FARRELL have held their jobs for 21 years. Theodore CHAMBERS was for many years Assistant Chief.

COMPANY NO. 17, "STORRS," Corner of German and Neave Streets: Martin CRONIN, captain, 43 years old, Clem. PERHAGEN, engineer, 36, E.M. DAVIS, pipeman, 47, W.C. FISHER, driver, 42, Jacob HUST, driver, 51. Mr. CRONIN has served since the reorganization. The Messrs. DAVIS and HUST were volunteers and always served. Mr. PERHAGEN has from 8 to 9 years experience.

COMPANY NO. 18, "RELIABLE," Corner of East Front and Scott Streets: Edward EVANS, captain, 41 years old, Joseph PETERS, engineer, 42, Chas. WHALEN, driver, 40, G.W. TOTTEN, driver, 35, John WILSON, pipeman, 41. Mr. WILSON is an old veteran. He has been a member since the organization.

COMPANY NO. 19, "CORRYVILLE," Corner of Washington and Charlotte Streets: Dennis CREED, captain, 51 years old. O. RAYMOND, engineer, 44, W.H.H. HADLER, driver, 30, Andy BOLEN, driver, 30, George ACKERMAN, pipeman, 49. Captain CREED has been in service for more than 21 years. Mr. RAYMOND has been for 18 years in service and after LATTA is the oldest engineer. Mr. ACKERMAN is a veteran from the start.

HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 1, "PHOENIX," 6 Street near Vine: G.W. FORD, tillerman, 42 years old, J.W. DAVIS, driver, 45. Members: Lew. ERNST, SPENCER, 27. Messrs. FORD and DAVIS are old members.

HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 2, "UNION," Bank Street: R. BAILEY, driver, 31 years old, J. VETTER, 42, J. M. SEXTON, 33, Lafayette KENZEL, 35, H. PARIS, 30, A.M. CLIFTON, 38. Mr. J. VETTER is the only member that has been in service since the organization.

HOOK AND LADDER COMPANY NO. 3, "HOPE," Corner of East Front and Scott Streets: M.J. HIGGINSON, driver, 29 years old. H. R. BROMMELL was 32 years in service. * * * * * * * * * * * *


The following is a list of firemen who died while in the service of the Cincinnati Fire Department. Some died in the line of duty. Many died from consumption, a common lung ailment in the past, but probably more so for the men who risked their lives fighting fires.

1853, 15 May: Caspar LUDWIG, fireman, the "Joe Ross," killed in an accident in the firehouse.

1854, 21 December: Frank BIDELL, from Company No. 1, form a collapse in a house.

1855, 20 October: William NEWTON, driver for the "Gift," from a fall from a horse while he was going to a fire.

1861, 5 July: J.B. HANSELMANN, engineer for Company No.10, died of heart trouble on the fire engine while he was rushing to a fire.

1863, 10 August: E.M. COOPER, driver from No. *, in Nashville, from wounds he received in service.

1858, 7 September: Jacob NAGEL from No. 5.

1858, 4 May: Jacob EARHARD, from No. 9 of consumption.

1859, 27 November: A. BURNS, from No. 7, of consumption.

1859, 15 October: Benjamin FRANKLIN, engineer from Company No. 8. From over-straining at a fire, he died of consumption.

1860, 5 June: Marion STEWART, from No. 6, of consumption.

1860, 29 September: George W. GULICH, from No. 1, murdered.

1861, 9 June: Daniel CHRISTMAN, from No. 9.

1861, 28 July: Erastus CLIFFORD, from No. 5.

1862, 27 May: B. HAMMERS, Captain from No. 6.

1863, 1 3 February: John SHUE, died as a result of a fall from the rook of a prokhouse at the corner of Court Street and Broadway near a fire.

1863, 23 May: Lewis GUELICH, Secretary of the Fire Department for 10 years.

1863, 27 September: Oliver DAVIS, an engineer for No. 12. Near Decatur, Alabama. He was a member of the 5th Ohio Cavalry Regiment.

1863, 17 October: Henry GAUKLER, from Company No. 10, incamp at Vicksburg from fever.

1863, 18 October: Henry DRESSEL, hose leader from No. 13, from lock jaw caused by an injury to the foot received at a fire on 3 October.

1863, 19 November: Herman LAKE, earlier from No. 5, heart trouble.

1864, 11 January: Philip TWIRE, earlier from No. 6.

1865, 2 March in Somerset Penna., D. MC'GIBBON, member of No. 2l.

1865, 7 May: John HAMMER, from Company No. 6.

1865, 2 August: C.H. MOORMAN, lately of No. 4.

1866, 11 February: James TILLOTSON, from No. 4 of consumption.

1866, 17 July: F. C. DETERMAN, hose leader from Company No. 7, died of injuries which he received at a fire at Buttermillers Stable.

1867, 16 December: A.C. PARRY, lately Captain of No. 4, of consumption. (perhaps this should be 1866)

1867, 1 July: Philip SMITH, from Company No. 8, of consumption.

1858, 10 May: Charles W. PERKINS, engineer from No. 2, of consumption. (perhaps this should be 1868)

1869, 17 May: w. C. MORGAN, from No. 11.

1869, 29 October: Mathias SCHWAB, suffocated at a fire in the College Building on Walnut Street. He was Captain of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1.

1870, 11 April: Wm. PIERCY, Captain of No. 2.

1871, 20 (no month given): John FREKER, No. 6, of consumption.

1871, 15 July: Hart LINCOLN, from Company No. 3.

1871, 26 December: George HOWLAND, engineer for Company No. 1 of an enlarged heart.

1872, 2 February: Frank HARTMAN, lately an enginner form Company No. 7, of heart trouble.

1872, 26 February: Henry LINDEMAN, lately from No. 10.

1872, 3 March: Wm. CRUSE, earlier from No. 5, of paralysis.

1872, 17 May: C. RARIDAN, early from No. 5.

1872, 23 August: Wm. H. GLASS, a veteran, local politician and man with a loyal heart, earlier Captain of Company No. 1.

1873, 14 March: Peter FREICHER, lately from No. 6.

1873, 14 April: Fred. HAAB, lately from No. 5.

1874, 1 July: Frank F. MILLER, lately from No. 14.

1873 3 April: Rush THOMAS, driver from No. 13, from a fall from a horse.

1873, 12 October: Wm. A. O'REILLY, engineer from Co. No. 10, of fever.

* * * * * * * * * * *


The following is a list of some fires since the Organization in 1853 showing the estimated damages in dollars:

3 April 1853: 5th Street between Main and Walnut, $28, 750.

16 April 1853: Corner of Main and 5th Streets, $15,058

21 May 1853: Fortman's Hall, corner of Main and 12th Streets, $20,000

10 June 1853: Main Street near Columbia, Keys, Malthy & Co., $95,195

21 July 1853: Corner of 8th and Broadway, $18,800

29 Sept. 1853: Corner of 7th and North Streets, $17,670.

22 Oct. 1853: Main and Sycamore and Columbia, Sycamore, between Front and Columbia, $ 60,181.

25 Oct. 1853: D.A. Powel, Butler Street between Congress and Front, $152, 500.

12 Feb.1853: Water Street between Vine and Race, $22, 200.

22 Feb. 1853: 4th Street between Sycamore, $73,130.

14 Oct. 1855: Front Street opposite Rose, Hinkle, Guild & Co., $100,000.

2 July 1857: Smith and Front, Damer & Meader, $160,098.

23 Oct. 1857: Pearl near Western Row, Zucker-Kaffinerie, $51,555.

11 Aug.1859: Boyle & Miller, 2nd. Street between Broadway and Sycamore, $107,876.

1 Nov. 1861: Corner of Vine and Water Streets, Thomas Emery's Son, $137,000.

6 Oct. 1861: 8th Streetbelow Horn Street, W. H. Harrison's Leadworks, $40, 000.

30 July 1865: Deer Creek, north of Court Street, Wook's candle factory, $92,375.

22 Feb. 1866: Pike's Opera House, $1, 766,205.

3 May 1867: Corner of Vine and Water Streets, Thomas Emery's Son, $125,000.

23 July 1867: 8th Street, Crane, Breed & Co., $75,000.

14 Sept. 1867: 6th Street east of Baymiller Street, total: $350,000.

5 Oct. 1867: Culvert Street north of 3rd, W.H. Woods and Co. Candle Factory, $75,000.

27 Dec. 1867: Boyle & Miller's and other buildings, $557,011.

7 Jan. 1868: Corner of John and Augusta Streets, $75,000.

17 Jan. 1868: Race Street between 15th and Liberty, $58,400.

30 Aug 1869: Walnut Street between Columbian and Pearl, Chatfield and Woods, $66,500.

15 May 1871: Johnson's Mills on Sycamore Street, $153,046.

20 Feb.1872: 3rd Street between Vine and Race, W.C. Merrells's, $41,403.

8 March 1873: Southwest corner of Race and 2nd. Streets, $155,600.

8 June 1873: Southwest corner of Race and 2nd Streets, $155,600.

22 June 1873: Eggleston Avenue between 5th and 6th, $50,000."

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