WEBER ENGINE COMPANY NO. 1
This, the city's first permanent organization for fire protection was brought about through the efforts of Messrs. J. A. BAKER, G. W. MASON, J. W. McKINNEY, J. E. NUTTMAN, and W. T. SHERMAN. These gentlemen after discussing the urgent need of better protection from the fiery demon, before a mass meeting held on June 15, 1850, for the purpose of organizing a city government, were appointed a committee "to report a temporary plan of fire police." They recommended the formation of "a fire company of one hundred men and the selection of a chief engineer who should have sole control at fires." They also urged the citizens to contribute funds for the purchase of fire apparatus "other than the common water buckets now our sole implement of protection against the ravages of this awful element when he is raging in our midst."
Eleven days later, on June 26th, J. E. NUTTMAN, A. C. BRADFORD, and EMIL JUNGE were chosen to act as Chief, Assistant Chief, and Secretary respectively. Shortly thereafter Captain WEBER with his characteristic interest in all matters lending to the city's welfare, procured a small hand engine in San Francisco and placed it in his barn on the peninsular. Permission was given to the newly formed fire company to use the engine until after the organization of the city's first governing body when it was purchased by the Council who arranged to pay the Captain its cost price, $3,799, in three installments. The payments were made within the specified time and on January 29, 1851, Major R. P. HAMMOND, acting as Captain WEBER'S agent, delivered the machine to Chief Engineer NUTTMAN, who placed it formally in the custody of the company. The following named gentlemen comprised the organization at that time:
J. E. NUTTMAN, Chief
FRANK Q. BROWN, Assistant Chief
WM. ADEE, Foreman
W. H. BROWN, Assistant Foreman
E. B. VREELAND, Secretary
J. W. LEWIS, Treasurer
WM. WARD, Steward
A. C. BRADFORD
J. E. BUFFUM
J. E. PELLOCK
C. E. FOSTER
HARRY T. MORTON
J. E. CORCORAN
GEO. E. TABER
D. S. CLARK
G. P. MELMORE
GEO. W. NICHOLS
W. H. LYONS
E. F. PACEY
A. M. KING
G. M. JOHNSON
C. B. DURAND
The engine remained housed in Captain WEBER'S barn for several months when a subscription list was circulated among the city merchants and $1,402 raised for the purpose of erecting a suitable abode for the machine. A small frame building was erected on the bridge then crossing Stockton slough, midway between El Dorado and Hunter streets. On May 6, 1851, during the absence of the Chief and other members of the company in San Francisco, whither they had gone to view the ruins left by a large fire a few days previous, flames again swept over Stockton. Property to the amount of $1,500,000 was destroyed. All the hose possessed by the company was burned and, through the inexperience of those who assumed control in the absence of the Chief, the engine was caught in the flames and badly damaged. It was subsequently repaired, painted blue and from that time was known as "the blue engine."
With the usual spirit of "penny wise and pound foolish" economy that seems to pervade all municipal governing bodies when they are called upon for appropriations for fire apparatus, the Council delayed the purchase of new hose until the company became disgusted and threatened to disband. The Chief was thereupon commissioned to proceed to San Francisco and procure hose and a new engine at a cost not to exceed $6,000. The new machine, which later became known under the sobriquet of the "piano deck," arrived in due time and was housed by the company on the bridge until the flood of 1852 threatened the demolition of that structure when it was moved to a place on Channel street, opposite the old Magnolia Hotel.
During the early part of 1853 lack of interest in the company's affairs became manifest and a meeting was held at the Angelo House for the purpose of effecting a reorganization on May 31st of that year. E. B. VREELAND presided and J. W. UTTER was chosen to act as secretary. The former stated the object of the meeting to be the forming of a new company and establishing the department on a good basis. The following named gentlemen were present: Messrs. WEEKS, LYNCH, WILLIAMS, COLT, O'NEIL, CORTELYOU, GOODMAN, WEBSTER, WALLACE, PACEY, LESTER, CORCORAN, VREELAND, GALLAGHER, CANDEE, MANSFIELD, WALLEY, UTTER, BERQUIN, SCHERMERHORN, DeLANZ, and MURPHY. On motion of Chief NUTTMAN the election of officers was proceeded with and the following were chosen to guide the destinies of the new organization: Henry CHANFRAU, Foreman; Edward PACEY, First Assistant; James GOODMAN, Second Assistant; J. W. UTTER, Secretary; E. W. COLT, Treasurer. Messrs. COLT, O'NEIL, and NUTTMAN were selected by the chairman "to memorialize the Council for a new engine and engine house." A committee consisting of Mr. WHITING, the Foreman and Secretary was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws for the government of the company and Messrs. CHANFRAU, COLT and GOODMAN were instructed to select a suitable name. Three days later the company met and adopted the name of WEBER ENGINE COMPANY No. 1. It was agreed upon to accept the "blue engine" from the Council until the State of the city's finances would, in the judgment of that august body, justify the purchase of a new machine. On the above date we find the following additional names in the list of those present: WARD, HOLMES, SELLECK, SHARROTT, BROWN, SULLIVAN, BAUMEISTER, DAVIS, JONES, ROBINSON, and ELLSWORTH. Six days later Messrs. SAVAGE, DRIGGS, BRADY, RINGOLD, and KITCHNER were admitted to membership; the question of suitable uniforms (a weighty one, indeed, in those days) was settled by the selection of "blue shirts trimmed with white; black plants; blue tarpaulin hats with name and number of the engine on the front in white letters. The belts to be black; those of the Foreman and assistants to have name and number in gilt letters on the back." A committee was chosen to select a suitable site for an engine house and to petition the Council to erect one for the use of the company. E. M. HOLMES and James PALACHE were elected first and second assistant foremen respectively, vice PACEY and UTTER, resigned.
August 2, 1853 "on motion of Mr. Whiting a vote of thanks was tendered C. M. WEBER, Esq., for his generous donation of a lot as a site for the company's engine house." A small brick building was erected on the lot mentioned and it remained the organization's headquarters until 1803 when the building at 27 East Channel was constructed. The Philadelphia House now occupies the lot upon which Stockton's first brick fire house was built.
Following the appropriation of $4,000 for the purchase of a new engine, the Council commissioned J. W. CARLISLE to act as the agent of the city in the selection of the same. On September 13, 1853, the company met and voted to petition the City Fathers to countermand the above, "it being the sense of the meeting that their Foreman, Mr. J. E. CORCORAN, was a person better fitted to please the company in such an important matter and Mr. CORCORAN was empowered to proceed at once to New York to select an engine and such other apparatus as he deemed expedient." In due time the above named gentleman departed for the metropolis; his office of foreman of the company was declared vacant through his failure to formally notify, as called for the by-laws of the organization, the proper officers of his departure from the city, and his successor chosen in the person of Mr. MANSFIELD. The question of the legality of the latter's election having arisen, he presented his resignation on January 3, 1854, and Mr. CORCORAN'S name was again placed at the head of the company. On the last mentioned date Mr. Wm. H. H. COBB was elected Secretary and that gentleman continued to perform the duties of the office in an exceptionally able manner until January 7, 1862. Upon the acceptance of his resignation, the company tendered him a vote of thanks for his long and faithful service and his name was ordered placed upon the roll of honorary members.
That Messrs. CORCORAN and CARLISLE failed to secure an engine is evident by the absence of any further mention of the same in the records. November 30, 1854, Chief Engineer COLT was instructed by the Board of Delegates to ascertain the price of an engine that had been shipped to San Francisco for the Los Angeles department but, through that city's inability to raise the necessary money, withheld from them by Hallock & Co., the owners. Subsequently Chief COLT reported $4,000 as the lowest figure at which the engine could be procured. He stated that the Council had set aside that amount in city script, that the discount on the script was $1,000 and that despite strenuous efforts on his part the traditional "watchdogs of the city's treasury" refused to increase the appropriation to the required amount. He was directed to once more call upon the members of the council and urge "the dire necessity of newer and better apparatus for the use of the company in its gratuitous efforts toward the protection of the property of the citizens," and, if necessary, to hint at the dissolution of the company if the same was not forthcoming. Mr. COLT was a man of action and plainspoken and it is evident that he placed the wishes of his company before the Council in a manner sufficiently vigorous to awaken that body from their habitual dream of pre-eminence. He was authorized to proceed to the Bay City where he purchased the engine, paying therefor $4,500 in city script. The engine arrived in Stockton December 28th, and the entire department, arrayed in their uniforms and preceded by COGGESHALL'S band, marched to the wharf. With great care the machine was taken from the steamer and hauled, amid the cheers of the argonauts to the corner of Main and Center streets, where she was thoroughly tested. The engine which was known as a "Hunneman Hand" was subsequently sold to a fire company at Concord, Contra Costa County, where she is said to be still in service.
Death paid its first visit to the ranks of the company in the autumn of 1854, when Joseph Mansfield joined the "silent majority." Four years later C. W. BRADFORD, another prominent member of the department, died after a brief illness. He was buried with fireman's honors on December 12th. The entire department, headed by COGGESHALL'S band, marched in a body to the grave.
On February 21, 1855, the engine purchased from Captain WEBER was totally destroyed in a fire of incendiary origin which wiped out the west half of the block bounded by Main, Market, El Dorado and Center streets. Subsequently, on September 22d, the word "Los Angeles" was removed from the company's new machine and "Weber" painted in its place. Resplendent in new uniforms of blue shirts trimmed with silver lace, the entire company participated as hosts at their first annual dress ball, in the City Hall, Court House building, on Christmas Eve, 1856. Many people came from San Francisco and the surrounding country to attend and the music, supper, and company would compare favorably with similar entertainments of the present day. The committee, composed of H. S. SARGENT, Wm. H. H. COBB, Dr. P. B. MENTRU and other gentlemen prominent in the city's affairs, procured the choicest wines and confections obtainable for the occasion. "The music was excellent, the hall trimmers had ably performed their duties, the doorkeepers did well and in the early light of Christmas morn the guests sought their homes, a tired but happy lot--all voting Weber Engine Company a credit to the town."
Under date of March 3, 1857, we find the following engrossed in the minute book: "Whereas, the members of the Fire Department of the City of Stockton have, on many occasions, been the recipients of favors from the California Steam Navigation Company, through their agent, Mr. J. C. PRATT, therefore, be it resolved, that the sum of $25.00 be and the same is hereby appropriated by this company for the purpose of purchasing a suitable present for Mr. PRATT." A similar amount was set aside by the other two companies comprising the department at that time and the generous and worthy gentleman was presented with a handsome souvenir. July 29, 1857, a flag pole was erected in front of the company's quarters. The staff was of pine, 120 feet in height and was unsurmounted by an immense fireman's hat, four feet wide. Upon the completion of their new house, the second story was furnished in an elaborate manner, the furniture costing in the neighborhood of $1,000. July 4, 1858, the company paraded in full uniform and marched to Washington Gardens where a "grand dinner" was partaken of "at a cost of 50c per plate."
January 4, 1859, Mr. M. S. THRESHER addressed the meeting in support of his motion to give a "grand ball" on Washington's Birthday, saying in part: "That it was one of the many duties of a representative body of citizens like Weber Engine Company No. 1, to keep alive in the community the patriotic spirit with which the fathers of our magnificent country were imbued. And that while we are an organization formed for the purpose of ruining our best clothes and risking our lives, if necessary, in the protection of the property of our fellow citizens, we are also, in a sense, a social body and as such should always be foremost in promoting a healthy interchange of the social relations." He suggested that the company make immediate arrangements to give the ball of the season; that a committee be appointed and given carte blanche to arrange therefore and that the price of tickets should be fixed at $3.00 each. The vote on the genial gentleman's motion resulted in 34 ayes to 3 against and a committee consisting of D. M. THOMPSON, John W. HART, R. S. ELLSWORTH, L. E. YATES and M. S. THRESHER were chosen to make all the necessary arrangements. That the ball was a success in every way is evident from the minutes of a subsequent meeting when the treasurer of the ball committee was instructed to turn over to the treasurer of the company the profits from the ball given on February 22d, and a vote of thanks was tendered the committee and "particularly to our able Foreman (Mr. Thresher) for the satisfactory manner in which the affair was carried out."
The sum of $358 having been set aside for the purchase of fire hats for the members, the Foreman was given authority, on March 1, 1859, to draw on the treasurer for that amount "before the sailing of the next steamer for 'the States.' " A motion to change the color of the uniform shirts from blue to red was lost and Geo. S. Ladd and John Hart were commissioned to purchase a bear skin with which to decorate the hose carriage on the occasion of the anticipated parade on July 4th. A special meeting of the company was called on June 20, 1859 "for the purpose of selecting a suitable belt for the uniform. The style worn by California No. 4 of San Francisco, was adopted. The belt to be of patent leather skirting with the frog stationery and No. 1 on the frog." Ten days later they were again called together and told by the Foreman "that the patent leather skirting could not be found in the State." A motion to postpone the purchase of belts until the skirting could be obtained was lost. After much discussion and many motions, including one from Mr. Yates that Eastern bridle leather be used, it was voted to discharge the belt committee and a new one consisting of F. C. Andrew, H. F. Horn, and Mr. Thresher were selected to secure something suitable for the Fourth. With their brilliant new uniforms shining resplendent in the sun, the entire company turned out in the parade drawing their engine gaily decorated with flowers and its new bear skin dress. As they proceeded through the streets they were greeted with vociferous cheers by the crowd. The ladies, in particular, greeted them with an enthusiasm seldom equalled and it is safe to say that had the city been theirs to give they would gladly have laid it at the feet of this handsome body of men, for nothing appeals to the sentimental feminine heart like a handsome man in uniform.
Among the bills presented at the next meeting we note the names of the following firms, some of whom will be recalled by the pioneers who still remain with us: BRIGGS & KEEP, A. ROLLAND, LADD & BRO., JONES & HEWLETT, Wm. CHRISTIAN, GRAY & HICKMAN, John SEILER, A. ENDERS, G. W. PEACHY, John W. HART.
Orders were issued to each member to take his uniform to his home and to put it on whenever responding to alarms.
The following appearing under date of September 8, 1859, is self-explanatory: Whereas, at the Annual Fair of the State Agricultural Society, it has been the custom to award prizes to the engine company performing the best service, $10 entrance fee being required. And whereas the committee of the Society for the present year have deviated from said custom much to the detriment of those wishing to participate, by taxing each competitor the sum of $50. Be it therefore resolved, that this company deprecates in the fullest terms the unnecessary course pursued by said committee in thus demanding of each company an amount which in the aggregate will more than defray the cost and expenses of such prizes, thereby rendering the operation a matter of profit, and divesting the Society of that character of liberality and enterprise which has heretofore characterized it. Resolved, that we deem it an act of injustice to levy a tax upon our members for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the State Agricultural Society, as we believe we are doing when we contribute $50 to it. Resolved, that in consideration of the foregoing we decline visiting the State Agricultural Fair of September, 1859, and that the resolution by which the company determined to go, be hereby rescinded. Resolved, that we deeply regret that we are not to meet our brother firemen at Sacramento, as by so doing we would encourage an extortion which we are not willing to submit to. Resolved, that the foregoing be published in the Stockton papers, The Spirit of the Times and the Fireman's Journal."
At a special meeting called on January 12, 1860, Messrs. TAYLOR, BRIGGS, and HORN were appointed a committee to examine the company's flag. They were told that in the event the flag should be found to be beyond repair to purchase a new one, 16 x 34 feet in size and of the best quality of bunting obtainable. In the above action the reader will observe the same initiative that seemed a marked characteristic of all the resolute men who composed our pioneer population. The news of the attack of April 13, 1861, on Fort Sumpter, did not reach Stockton until thirteen days later when it arrived by the "Pony Express." Immediately upon its receipt the company's new flag was flaunted to the breeze from the top of the tall staff. With its brilliant colors radiant in the golden sunshine it became at once the cynosure of all eyes, and on every hand, the members were the recipients of adulation for their patriotic stand. The flag continued to wave gaily over the house until the night of September 29th, when parties, unknown, took it down and hoisted in its place the emblem of the Confederacy. This incident created intense excitement and threats were made that the culprit, if found, would be hanged to the nearest tree.
Evidence of prosperity appears under date of April 3, 1860, when Messrs. THRESHER, ADAMS, HART, LEFFLER, and BRIGGS were commissioned to loan the money in the treasury to reliable parties at the best rate of interest obtainable. Subsequently the gentlemen reported the loan of $300 to D. J. OULLAHAN at 2 1/2 per cent per month, and requested further time to arrange for the loaning of the balance on hand. September 22, 1860, correspondence was opened with a number of Eastern firms relative to the purchase of a new engine and a communication was sent to the City Council requesting them to appropriate $450 together with any money that might be derived from the sale of the old engine. Four months later letters were received from the East, setting forth the relative merits of hand engines and "the new style worked by steam." Being unable to decide which was the more reliable, Messrs. HART, HOOK, McKENZIE, THRESHER, and YATES were delegated to repair to San Francisco to ascertain the cost of running the steam engine then in use in that city. We copy herewith the minutes of a meeting held March 9, 1861, at which the above named committee submitted their report: The object of the meeting being stated, the committee reported as follows: To the officers and members of Weber Engine Company --Your committee to whom was referred the matter of ascertaining the probable cost of running a steam fire engine beg leave to make the following report: From all the Information we can get on the matter we have come to the conclusion that the expense of running and keeping in repair a steam fire engine will not exceed to any considerable amount the expense of a hand engine. Mr. T. K. HOOK then moved that the company buy a steam fire engine, the style and class to be determined on hereafter. The motion was seconded, put to a vote, and carried, the following members voting in the affirmative, viz: Messrs. J. W. HART, M. A. ROBINSON, Jere ROBINSON, G. M. DOLL, R. W. HOWES, Chas. SNEIDER, I. V. LEFFLER, C. E. TAYLOR, George DIETZ, John W. ROOT, L. E. YATES, H. DERUCK, Wm. H. BRIGGS, C. G. ERNEST, Adolph ENDERS, A. LEVY, W. T. SMILEY, J. F. KUHNS, T. K. HOOK, Edw. JEFFERIES, Wm. E. BELCHER, M. A. EVANS, M. P. HENDERSON, John GOODE, Geo. DEVOLL, Joshua BARSTOW, S. V. MASSEY, G. S. HAZZARD, B. F. HANISON, Thos. DONNYCLIFF, M. S. THRESHER and Wm. H. H. COBB, 32 votes, and William JOHNSON in the negative, one vote. It was then moved that a committee of six be appointed to solicit subscriptions from the citizens towards aiding in the purchase of the new engine. The chair appointed the following as said committee: THRESHER, EVANS, HART, HOOK, LEFFLER, and ERNEST. It was then moved that Wm. H. BRIGGS be appointed a committee of one to ascertain the cost of a steam engine similar to that of Pennsylvania No. 12, of San Francisco, complete and in working order, both with and without the extra finish and plated work. The roll was then called and the meeting adjourned. (Signed) Wm. H. H. COBB, Secretary."
On July 2d it was decided to purchase a second-class Amoskeag engine and a four wheeled hose wagon, but later the orders given to the committee were revoked and on October 1st the company voted to procure an engine from Neafie & Levy of Philadelphia. The engine was manufactured by the above named firm and shipped by them to New York where after being tested it was placed on board the clipper ship “Swallow,” sailing from there May 10, 1862. In anticipation of its arrival the company met on December 2d and elected first, second, third and fourth engineers in the persons of Wm. D. HOOKER, H. R. BABCOCK, Daniel MEADOR and Thomas S. THRESHER. A committee was appointed to engage Agricultural Hall for a grand ball and the Secretary was directed to send Captain Chas. M. Weber a written invitation to be present at the first public trial of the engine. After a long and tempestuous voyage around “the Horn” the “Swallow” dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay and the engine was loaded on to a steamer of the California Steam Navigation Company and by them conveyed to this city free of charge. On New Year’s day, 1863, the entire company attired in full uniform, participated at its first public trial. People came from all of the surrounding country to witness the event and no end of amazement was created by raising steam and playing water in less time that was usually consumed by the hand engine companies in making a play.
This engine was the second steamer placed in service in the State of California and the first used in an interior city. The attention of firemen throughout the State was attracted to the city and the company was frequently called upon to display its powers to visiting delegations from sister cities contemplating the purchase of fire apparatus. After 45 years of active life she is still in use as a relief engine, being lovingly referred to as “Old Betsy” by the Volunteers, in whose hearts she will ever hold a warm place. She is a second class, 13-inch stroke, 4 ½-inch pump, 9-inch cylinder and weighs 8,300 pounds. she cost including freight, $4,000. The money, with the exception of $1,200 received from the sale of the hand engine and $450 appropriated by the Council, was raised by popular subscription, Captain Weber being a heavy contributor thereto. the hose wagon with arrived a short time prior to the engine, cost $800 and was secured in the same manner. Following the trial of the engine the company were invited to partake of a fine collation by Messrs. Dillon & Gross, mine hosts of the Weber House, at that time the leading hotel of the city. In the evening a grand ball was given in Agricultural Hall, the use of which was donated for the purpose by Dr. E. S. Holden. The music for the occasion was furnished by nine pieces under leadership of Prof. A. A. Saunders, the musicians receiving $147 for their services.
Failure on the part of the City Fathers to show proper appreciation of the efforts of the department caused ill-feeling among a large number of members and the following appears under date of October 6, 1863: “It was then moved that this company refund from its treasury, to each Councilman who voted against a new engine house, the sum which they donated towards the purchase of the engine. The motion was put to a vote and lost.” At the same meeting a motion was made that the company meet in two weeks for the purpose of taking into consideration the disbanding of the organization. The motion was carried and the meeting held but the more conservative element prevailed and the company continued to respond to alarms and fight fire in the same old active and determined way.
Minord S. THRESHER, who had acted as Foreman of the company continuously since August 3, 1858, tendered his resignation on January 5, 1864, stating as his reason a contemplated removal to San Francisco. A vote of thanks was tendered the gentleman for the able manner in which he had performed the duties of the office and also of treasurer he having held the latter position of trust since November 1 1859. Jacob Underhill & Co., of San Francisco and Stockton, donated the sum of $100 for services rendered by the company on the occasion of a fire in the firm’s store in May, 1864. Armor & clays gladdened the hearts of the Volunteers by the presentation of a basket of champagne on a number of occasions.
The first mention of horses for the engine appears under date of April 6, 1869, when $24 was set aside to pay Chas. A. ASHLEY for services of team in hauling the engine to fires. The company had undertaken to run the steamer by hand but that was found impracticable. In the following year Mr. ASHLEY was engaged to furnish a pair of horses and act as steward and driver of the engine at a monthly salary of $100. For a number of years the hose wagon was drawn to fires by a company of boys who adopted the name of Weber Hose Company.
Later a team of horses was secured and E. ABEL appointed driver. In May, 1876, he was succeeded by Frank KINGSLEY. The horses of Mr. ASHLEY were purchased by the company in 1874, the money being procured from the San Joaquin Valley Bank, on the company's note bearing interest at the rate of 1 1/2 percent per month. F. E. HALL succeeded ASHLEY as driver and remained in the position until July 3, 1877, when the latter was reappointed. Two months later Mr. KINGSLEY was fatally injured by being thrown from the horse wagon while en route to a fire and H. VOGELSANG was selected to fill the vacancy.
A committee composed of Wm. P. MILLER, T. K. HOOK and Andy BLOSSOM who were appointed for the purpose of investigating the surplus funds of the organization, purchased ten shares of stock of the San Joaquin Valley Bank at their par value, $50 per share, in May, 1867. Upon the completion of the Central Pacific Railroad to Stockton, in August, 1869, a large delegation of firemen came from Sacramento. They were entertained in royal style by the local department. A pleasing feature of the company's twentieth anniversary was the presentation of a handsome banner to the company by the exempt members. The presentation speech was made by Mr. Charles F. WHALE, the eldest member of the Exempts living at the time, July 4, 1870. On that day a grand “blow-out” was enjoyed by the company and their friends. Bills aggregating $628 were incurred, the payment of which necessitated the hypothecation of the stock of the San Joaquin Valley Bank owned by the company.
Death again visited the ranks of the company on September 23, 1870, when P. M. JOHNSON crossed over the great divide. He was buried with fireman's honors and resolutions setting forth the esteem in which the deceased was held by his fellow members were ordered engrossed in the minutes. Alex H. THRESHER, another prominent member, passed away in February, 1874.
September 3, 1873, J. K. DOAK, JOHN NICHOLS, M. S. THRESHER, T. K. HOOK, W. E. SHAW, Geo. TILGHMAN, Henry NASH and James BROWN were appointed a "building and contract committee" with power to purchase for the company a second-class Amoskeag engine. The engine arrived early in April but was not placed in service until May 6, 1874, when she was given the sobriquet of "Young Betsy." Shortly after her entrance into the department, a challenge was received from the Eurekas in which that body set forth "their ability to get first water and throw a stream further with their steamer than any engine company in this neck of the woods." It was duly accepted and Henry NASH was directed to take out the new machine and "test her until he is satisfied he make her throw further than any distance mentioned by the vain-glorious members of that rodomontade, ostentatious body of firemen, the Eureka Engine Company." Subsequently, a Mr. CHAPMAN was engaged to try her out at an expense of $75 but we judge from the records that he failed to develop her full The company paraded on July 4th, Centennial year, in full uniform, together with the entire department. The late J. D. PETERS was grand marshal of the day and thousands of visitors thronged the streets. Mr. C. S. EICHELBERGER, as Foreman, led the company, and we have that genial gentleman's word for it "that never before nor since has Stockton witnessed such enthusiasm as was called forth by the appearance of Stockton's Volunteer Firemen in the parade." Although the company's finances were at a low ebb and the salary of the Secretary was ordered reduced from $30 to $2.50 per month in 1877, Mr. ASHLEY was instructed to have the company's old horse "Charley" turned out to pasture in peace and plenty for the rest of his days, and $300 was set aside for the purchase of another, younger and speedier animal.
April 29, 1878, the steamer City of Stockton was chartered and the company, together with a large number of their invited guests departed for an outing at Badger Park, Oakland. Arriving there early on the following morning, the day was spent in games and dancing and all reported an enjoyable time.
From the above date the records of the company are missing. With the coming of the paid system the organization passed out of existence. Throughout its long life of usefulness the company was noted for the harmony existing within its ranks and the unusual interest displayed by officers and members alike in its affairs.
Transcriber Sally Kaleta.
Proofreader Betty Vickroy.
© 2002-2007 Nancy Pratt Melton.