EUREKA ENGINE COMPANY NO. 2
In the original Weber Engine Company No. 1 were two factions, known as the Boston Boys and the New York Boys. When the company was reorganized on May 31, 1853, each coterie had their favorite candidate for foreman; Henry CHANFRAU being the choice of the New Yorkers while James LYNCH was placed in nomination by the Bostonians. It is presumed that even at that early day the Gothamites had become familiar with certain tricks of the political trade that have since made Tammany notorious and through their superior manipulation of the wires, succeeded in electing their man to rule over the destinies of the new organization. Being of the high-strung temperament peculiar to the natives of the city that produced the linguistic LAWSON of our day, the Boston boys were unable to stand defeat and seceded. Two days later nineteen of them met at the Angelo House for the purpose of organizing a new company. D. S. CLARK was by acclamation chosen to preside. The following named were present: Martin CAHILL, H. CATELIN, Daniel S. CLARK, W. B. CLARK, S. G. CRUMPS, Richard C. DELANEY, Wm. DUTCH, W. L. FRANKLIN, A. S. GAGE, John GALLAGHER, Edw. GRIFFIN, J. HODGKINS, W. R. JEFFERSON, J. H. KEELER, R. W. KELLY, James LYNCH, Frank STEWART, Wm. WALLACE, Elbert WEEKS, and Chas. R. WILLIAMS. Officers were elected as follows: Foreman, James LYNCH; First Assistant, Wm. B. CLARK; Secretary, Elbert WEEKS; Treasurer, Daniel S. CLARK. Messrs. WALLACE, DUTCH, and JEFFERSON were commissioned to select a suitable name for the company. These gentlemen suggested the historic exclamation of that great Greek geometrician, Archimedes, when he discovered the method of proving that the sum of the square of the sides of a right-angled triangle equaled the square of the hypothenuse, and at a meeting two days later, by a unanimous vote the organization was christened "Eureka."
June 7th Messrs. WEEKS and LYNCH were selected to "draft" a memorial stating the organization of this body as a fire company and asking for the engine now unclaimed by any similar organization in this city, and further, to obtain the signatures of as many as desire to become members and present the same to the Common Council." As previously noted, two engine comprised the fire-fighting equipment at that time. The newer one known as the "piano deck" was placed in the custody of the company and, while in the early days of its existence the company was not large in point of numbers, much was expected of it. The Weber engine at best but unreliable and Chief COLT, in his report to the Council July 19, 1854, said that "the 'Eurekas' had thirty-five members, their engine was in good order and that in case of fire the main reliance was to be placed on them."
The Constitution and by-laws of the company, as drawn up by Messrs. LYNCH, WEEKS, and WILLIAMS, were adopted August 1, 1953, and the Secretary was instructed to obtain the signatures of all those desirous of remaining members. He was also ordered to make up a list of the members and hand the same the Sheriff of the county. The first gentleman proposed for membership in the regular form was the late R. B. LANE, whose name was presented by Wm. B. CLARK at a meeting of the company held on September 1, 1853. On this date the first regular election of officers under the rules of the organization, resulted as follows: Foreman, Wm. B. CLARK; First Assistant, W. R. JEFFERSON; Second Assistant, John R. CLARK. The "vigilance committee" reported favorably on the name of R. B. LANE and he was formally declared a member on October 1, 1853. Following Mr. Lane's initiation Messrs. Thos. GODKIN, William DELLINGER, Albert RIDER, and H. S. MORTON were elected. Two months later J. R. CLARK resigned as Second Assistant and John REMSHART was chosen to fill the vacancy. The uniform adopted by the company consisted of red shirts, black pants with belt and glazed caps. Arrayed in the same they attended the benefit given to the Chapman family at the Stockton theater in January, 1854, and of which further mention is made on another page of this volume.
On February 20, 1854, an invitation was extended to the Mayor and Common Council to meet with the company "on the occasion of our festivities tomorrow night at early candle light." The celebration, the first of a long series given by the organization, was in the shape of a house-warming. The city had built for the joint use of the company and the Protection Hook and Ladder Company, a new brick house, at a cost of $11,450. The second story had been handsomely furnished and the guests of the company were treated to a royal good time. Games were indulged in, the leading speakers of the city delivered patriotic discourses, and everybody participated in a feast composed of all the luxuries of the season; champagne flowed like water" and nothing happened to mar the occasion other than a false alarm of fire turned in by a disgruntled member of the "Webers" who had failed to receive an invitation.
Timothy NEWELL, proposed by H. HODGKINS, was elected a member July 3, 1855. Roley WILHOIT was admitted August 7th and John GROSS and Dr. E. S. HOLDEN were initiated two weeks later. Mr. GROSS was proposed by J. DILLON; C. F. POWELL stood sponsor for the Doctor and the character of Mr. WILHOIT was guaranteed by A. HORTON. Wm. B. CLARK was presented with a diamond pin by his fellow members on the occasion of his re-election to the office of Foreman in November, 1855. The gentleman who was thus honored resigned the office of Assistant Chief of the department to accept again the leadership of his company, the position having been made vacant by the resignation of C. F. POWELL whose name was ordered placed upon the honorary roll. A large gong was procured by the company and placed by them in the engine house where it served to call the members to meetings, drills and "smokers" as well as occasions when danger threatened. They applied to the Council for the purchase price of the instrument but that august body, with their proverbial parsimony, turned down the request.
June 19, 1855, Howard Engine Company No. 3. of San Francisco, visited Stockton as the guests of the company. On their arrival at the wharf a salute of fifteen guns was fired. Leaving their engine in the house of the "Hooks," the marched to the Weber House for breakfast. At 9 o'clock they paraded the principal streets and at 4 o'clock a sumptuous banquet was partaken of at the engine house. The following day they visited the Asylum, dining there, and then to Oak Grove and lastly the residence of Dr. E. S. HOLDEN. They returned to San Francisco on the 21st and immediately sent an invitation to the Eurekas requesting the honor of a return visit. Preparations for the trip were begun early. The engine was newly painted, a new silken ensign secured at a cost of $125 and a committee appointed to select an appropriate motto for the company. The following were suggested: "Our Motto is Our Name," "Fearless in Danger," "The Fire Fiend's Foe," "We Are Ready For Action," "We Aim To Conquer." The last, embracing as it did, virtually all the others, was chosen and remained the symbol of the company until, upon the adoption of the paid department, it passed out of existence.
A day in June was set as the date upon which they were to repay the visit of the Howards but the Assassination of the San Francisco banker, James KING of William, by the convict James P. CASEY, on May 14th, was followed by a series of events than which none more exciting appear in California's history and which caused a postponement of the visit.
That cowardly murder revealed to the astonished citizens of the State a body of men secretly bound by oath to rid the community of the gang of outlaws who had ruled the political destiny of the State for six years. The perpetrator of the deed, CASEY, was at once seized by the agents of the organization known as the "vigilantes" and hurried off to "Fort Gunnybags," their private prison. Here he was held until May 20th, when his victim died. He was then tried, found guilty and hanged by the neck from the second story window of the vigilance committee's headquarters.
During this exciting period a letter was received by the company from Frank E. R. WHITNEY, foreman of the Howards, and later chief of the Bay City's department, advising the postponement of the contemplated visit until July 3d. The actions of the vigilantes were approved or denounced by men according to their political principles, and the San Joaquin Republican, a local paper whose editor, A. C. Baine, was said to be friendly to the interests opposed to the committee, published an article purporting to express the views of the members of the company. This called forth the following which appears transcribed in the minute book under date of June 21, 1856: Whereas, The San Francisco Chronicle in noting the proposed visit of Eureka Fire Company No. 2 of Stockton to San Francisco mysteriously coupled a parade of the Vigilance Committee with that visit, and Whereas, The San Joaquin Republican in commenting on said notice over the signature of "A Citizen" took the liberty of placing the Eureka Engine Company in antagonistic position to the Vigilance Committee, therefore be it Resolved, That the proposed visit of the Eureka Company has not the most remote connection with the present condition of things in San Francisco. That it is neither in sympathy with nor in opposition to the Vigilance Committee and that any effort to place it either on one side or the other in this controversy is a grievance and an insult to the company. Resolved, That the proposed visit alluded to is simply an interchange of kindly feeling between the Eureka Company and the Fire Department of San Francisco, more particularly a complimentary visit to the Howard Company of that City in return for the highly prized and long to be remembered visit of that company to the Fire Department of this city in June of last year. Resolved, That the foregoing resolutions be forwarded to the Chronicle of San Francisco for publication and that a copy be furnished to The San Joaquin Republican of this city.
On July 3d the following named members accompanied by a large number of their fellow citizens, boarded the steamer Urilda, chartered for the occasion, and departed for the home of the famous vigilantes: R. E. WILHOIT, A. S. RIDER, Wm. BROWN, S. PIERSALL, Mark DUGAN, L. SMITH, Wm. GRAHAM, John GROSS, Wm. DELLINGER, J. REMSHART, J. RUDDICK, J. GROTE, Frank STEWART, T. McWEIR, Wm. SELIG, Sam ELLIOTT, A. BLACKBURN, JOHN DILLON, A. P. HORTON, J. HENDERSON, ___ KIMBALL, Geo. BAXTER, W. S. FRANKLYN, P. CARWELL, W. B. CLARK, R. MILLER, Geo. TABOR, A. HAMMOND, F. SHAFFER, Geo. SANDERSON, Henry HODGKINS, and M. GOLDMAN. The Stockton Cornet Band was engaged for the occasion and that popular aggregation of musicians discoursed music along the route and, upon their arrival in the Bay City marched at the head of the company to the Howard's quarters. There the company was compelled to make an unconditional surrender to the San Francisco Department who immediately proceeded to make the visitors welcome by extending to them the freedom of the city.
Such hospitality as was on this occasion shown to the company and their friends is seldom witnessed. The banquets and the ovations to which they were subjected were certainly of a nature to overcome less hardy men; but the members of Eureka Engine Company No. 2 were evidently far from being spring chickens in any sense of the word, and it is said they never declined anything, but even stood on tip-toe to get all that happened to be flowing their way. A sumptuous dinner was given them at the American Exchange Hotel, the bills of fare being of red and white satin. Printed thereon in blue was the following: "Complimentary dinner by Howard Engine Co., No. 3 of San Francisco, to our brother firemen, Eureka Co. No. 2 of Stockton, July 5, 1856, at the American Exchange Hotel."
Following the return of the company G. S. SANDERSON, John DILLON, W. B. CLARK, Elbert WEEKS, and E. S. HOLDEN were appointed a committee to draw up resolutions and the following resulted: "Whereas, We, the members of Eureka Engine Company No. 2, having on our late visit to San Francisco met with such a warm and heartfelt reception from the entire San Francisco Fire Department, we cannot in justice to our own feelings refrain from some expression, though small it may be, of our thanks for the warm-hearted and disinterested friendship manifested towards us on that occasion; and although we feel inadequate to the task, not only from our own inability but from the fact of the English language failing even in its purity and strength to furnish us terms strong enough to express our feelings toward those noble souls, the Firemen of San Francisco; but not-withstanding all this 'our duty calls and we must obey,' therefore be it Resolved, That to Howard Company No. 3 we feel under deep and lasting obligations of friendship for their noble hospitality extended to us during our sojourn at the 'Bay City', and although we may never be able to repay them for their kindness to us, we can assure them that our visit will ever be remembered as one of the happiest events of our lives, the recollection of which will ever be a bright spot in our memory and one which time can never eradicate.
"To Captain Frank WHITNEY and through him to every individual member of Howard No. 3 we tender our warmest thanks. Were it possible for us to mention each member by name we would cheerfully do so, for we are aware that through your individual exertions, your vieing with each other, brought about the overwhelming obligations under which you have placed us. From our first landing in your city until our departure there was no 'let up.' From Telegraph Hill to the Ocean House and throughout the various ramifications of the city we were by your instrumentality and arrangements made to feel perfectly at home.
"Resolved, That to the Chief Engineer of the San Francisco Department, Mr. J. E. NUTTMAN, and his assistants, Messrs. CAPPRISE, FREE and DEVOE we tender our thanks for their kindness and attention.
"Resolved, That to California No. 4, Monumental No. 6, Pacific No. 8, Vigilant No. 9, and Crescent No. 10, we are particularly indebted for the hospitality extended to us in the shape of good wine, good edibles and a hearty welcome.
"Resolved, That we particularly remember the 'Monumental Boys' for their beautiful present to our worthy Foreman, Captain CLARK, the magnitude of the present (a horn) is equaled only by the largeness of heart and the generous hospitality of the donors.
"Resolved, That to the Ladies of San Francisco, God bless them , we tender our heartfelt thanks for their generous donations in the shape of flowers to beautify our engine and bouquets to adorn our ranks; their bright smiles still linger in our memory; may Heaven's choicest blessings rest upon them is the fervent prayer of the Eurekas.
"Resolved, That in Mayor ESTABROOK, the proprietor of the American Exchange, and Captain Jimmy PRAY, his 'right bower' who presides over the saloon, we found gentlemen far surpassed anything in that line that we have seen in this or any other country. We therefore cheerfully endorse the American Exchange as 'A-No. 1,' for with the attentions of the Mayor and the 'smiles' of the Captain no one can fail to feel at home in their house.
"Resolved, That to Mr. and Mrs. Kern and Mr. and Mrs. SELIGMAN we feel deeply indebted for their kind hospitality in the shape of 'good cheer', to which we did ample justice.
"Resolved, That we tender our thanks to the proprietors of the American Theater for their kind invitation to witness the performance at their theater on the Fourth of July, which we appreciated very much. We also return thanks to the proprietors of the 'Gem,' 'Bank Exchange,' and to Messrs. GILMAN, RUGGLES and MUDD for refreshments. That 'present' received from the 'Bank Exchange' was duly appreciated on our way up the slough.
"Resolved, That Captain PRATT, the agent of the California Steam Navigation Company, is hereby tendered our thanks for his services in our behalf and to the liberal company which he represents for their kindness towards us and our guests. We also feel deeply grateful to Captain E. Z. CLARK; the officers and Crew of the steamer 'Urilda' for the many kindnesses and excellent service extended to us during our trip to and from San Francisco.
"Resolved, That to Weber No. 1, San Joaquin No. 3, and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 of Stockton we tender our thanks for their generous assistance and courtesies extended on our departure and their warm reception on our return; we shall deem it a pleasure to return the compliment at the first opportunity. To the citizens of Stockton who so materially aided us in our preparations, we tender our thanks and to Mrs. FRANKLYN, in particular, we feel under many obligations for her generous donations in the shape of wine and cake previous to our departure."
Following the appointing of a committee to arrange for the placing of a bell on the company's house in the event that the Council should fail to place one on the court house, the delegates were instructed to use their endeavors to have the board of delegates appoint four bell-ringers, one fore each church, and whose duty it would be to repair to their respective church and ring the bell for ten minutes on the occasion of a fire. Said bell-ringers to be paid a stipulated sum for their services and in case the Council refused to pay them, each company would guarantee to donate the necessary amount. Subsequently a subscription list was circulated for the purpose of raising money with which to purchase a bell for the engine house. As will be seen by a perusal of the sketch of San Joaquin Engine Company No. 3, that company succeeded in raising the necessary amount and procured a bell, the first to be erected for fire purposes in the city.
In December, 1856, Charles WILLIAMS, a charter member, died while visiting Merced County and was there buried. As soon as the condition of the roads would permit, Messrs. Ben SANBORN and Geo. TABOR of the company visited that county and removed the body to Stockton for interment. The funeral services were held in the engine house and he was buried with all the honors due a fireman. Subsequently a letter was received stating that Charles WILLIAMS still lay in his original grave, the man who was brought to Stockton having died in 1851.
Thomas CUNNINGHAM, proposed by Jerome CLARK, was elected to membership February 3, 1857. As an added attraction to the State Fair which was held in this city in 1857, a fireman's tournament was given, the prize offered being a handsome silver trumpet for the best play of hand engines of each class. Eureka, Weber and San Joaquin competed for the second class prize and the contest resulted in a tie. Subsequently the Eurekas secured possession of the trumpet. The following year the company attended the State Fair at Marysville to compete for the prize. Starting on the Steamer Gazelle in the happiest of moods, they arrived in Sacramento in safety. A short distance above that place the steamer ran upon a snag and began to leak badly. To save themselves and their engine the machine was set to work pumping the water from the hold, and all night long the men remained at the brakes. On arriving at Marysville it was insisted that they should play, but the engine being full of gravel, failed to perform in the usual manner and the company was badly beaten. They returned much dissatisfied with the results of their trip.
Upon motion of Elbert Weekes the by-laws of the company were amended on March 2, 1858, for the purpose of reinstating Timothy W. Knowles to active membership. That prominent gentlemen had suffered expulsion from the ranks for failing to attend the meetings as required by rules on January 8, 1856. As an evidence of the gentlemen's contrition and the esteem in which he held the organization, Mr. Newell had expressed his willingness to pay all arreages for dues from the date of his expulsion to such time as the company should see fit to reinstate him. The gentlemen's popularity was made apparent five months later by his election to the office of Secretary, the duties of which office he filled in an able manner until August 7, 1860, when he declined renomination and was succeeded by C. N. Covell.
Miss Maggie McLellan was tendered a vote of thanks by the company for a handsome tidy, the handiwork of that young lady, which was presented to the organization through R. B. Lane on March 2, 1858. Subsequently the lady was further honored by a handsome testimonial in the shape of a silver goblet.
Under date of October 5, 1858, a vote of thanks was tendered to Hon. David C. Broderick for his donation of books to the company's library. Mr. Broderick was killed in the memorable duel with David S. Terry which occurred on September 13th of the year following.
Both principals in that deplorable tragedy were at one time prominent in Stockton's affairs. In 1850 Terry was defeated for Mayor of the city by Samuel Purdy. In the fall of 1855 he was elected on the Native American ticket a Justice of the State Supreme Court for a four-year term. Upon the resignation of Judge Murray in September he became Chief Justice.
The Democratic party of California, which had always been violently disturbed by factional strife, split entirely in two in 1859. The Douglas, or anti-Le Compton wing, was led by Senator Broderick, while Terry was a warm supporter of the Buchanan administration. On the 24th of June, 1850, Judge Terry delivered a speech at Sacramento, in which he referred to Broderick and the Douglas Party as "a miserable remnant of a faction sailing under false colors, and the followers of one man--the personal chattels of a single individual whom they are ashamed of. They belong, body and breeches, to David C. Broderick." Broderick, on reading the published speech, gave way to a burst of bitterness, in which he alluded to Terry as follows: "I have heretofore considered and spoken of Judge Terry as the only honest man on the Supreme Court bench, but I now take it all back." D. W. Perley, a partner of Terry's, defended the absent Judge and challenged Broderick to fight a duel. Broderick declined to meet Perley, or anyone else, until the close of the political campaign. On the day after the election, September 8, 1859, Terry resigned his seat on the Supreme bench and wrote Broderick a letter demanding an immediate retraction of the language used by him. No retraction was made and Judge Terry "demanded the satisfaction usual among gentlemen," naming Calhoun Benham and Colonel Thomas Hayes, as his seconds. Broderick accepted the challenge and chose Hon. J. C. McKibben and D. D. Colton as his seconds.
Upon the completion of arrangements they met on September 13, 1859, near the Laguna Merced, at the Lake House Ranch, about six miles from San Francisco. The weapons used were eight-inch Belgian pistols with set hair triggers. The men took their places at 7 o'clock in the morning. At the signal Broderick fired without taking close aim, the ball striking the ground in front of Terry. A moment later Terry fired and the ball struck Broderick in the right breast. The Senator fell before his seconds could reach him. He was taken to the house of his friend, L. Haskell, at Black Point, where he died about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 16th.
Mr. Broderick was a man of pleasing personality, an eloquent speaker - a man of strong intellect. He possessed the inherent quality--that indispensable basis of all high characters--unspotted integrity, unimpeached honor. His death was considered a public calamity and his life's record was one well worthy of emulation.
Judge Terry went to the Southern states and joined the Confederate Army. Following the defeat of the Southern Arms he returned and once more resumed the practice of law in this city. On January 7, 1886, he was married to Sarah Althea Hill, the plaintiff in the case of Sharon vs. Sharon, one of the famous cases in the history of jurisprudence in California and in which he acted as his wife's leading counsel. He was shot through the heart by David Neagle, the body-guard of Judge Field, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, while in the dining room of the old Southern Pacific hotel at Lathrop, August 14, 1889. Judge Terry was a man of undoubted physical courage, strong prejudices and unwavering determination. Physically he was a giant, being six feet three inches in stature and weighing about 225 pounds.
A grand ball was given by the company on New Year's eve 1859; $540 was received through the sale of tickets. A "bar" for the dispensation of liquors to the thirsty dancers was established in the hall on this occasion. It proved a popular innovation, $173 being added to the receipts thereby and at similar entertainments given by the company for several years thereafter, the "bar" was a fixed adjunct. A board of trustees were selected to arrange for the placing of the company's surplus funds at interest. Shortly after A. M. Gray applied for and was granted a loan of $681, giving as security a mortgage bearing 2 per cent per month. The company having been presented with a large and valuable collection of books during its existence, a library association was formed and Mr. B. P. Weaver appointed librarian.
Upon the suggestion of Mr. R. E. Wilhoit the company on October 12, 1859, detected to purchase of Jeffers & Co., of Pawtucket, R. I., a first-class, end-stroke hand engine at a cost not to exceed $3,200. A committee appointed to solicit subscriptions from the members reported $1,315 subscribed and A. S. Rider and S. Pearsall were delegated to circulate a similar paper among the business men of the city. A theatrical aggregation called the English Opera Troupe tendered the company a benefit performance in November and $150 was added to the engine fund thereby. The sum of $2000 having been subscribed the committee was authorized to order the engine on November 2, 1859. On the 2nd of the following January a grand ball was given for the purpose of augmenting the fund. The Stockton Blues, a military organization, at that time the pride of the city, attended in full uniforms of dark blue, trimmed with white cassimere and regulation hats with tall white plumes. This organization had their own band of twelve pieces. J. H. Webster was orderly sergeant of the company and Richard Condy leader of the band.
The engine arrived in December, 1860, thirteen months after the order was given, and cost $4000. The body was made of Rosewood, stained and highly polished, with gold scroll engravings on each side. Many of the mountings were heavily plated with silver, inlaid with pearl, this work cost the company $500 extra. While a beauty in appearance her throwing power failed to give satisfaction. Her lightness in weight, however gave the company a great advantage over the "Webers" and while the latter were usually conceded to be more fleet of foot, they were so badly handicapped by the weight of their engine that they seldom were first to arrive after the Eurekas' new machine was placed in commission. The engine was later sold to a fire company at Merced and is said to be still in service at that city.
Thomas Cunningham was elected Foreman of the company November 4, 1862. Anxious that this company should be leaders in all matters pertaining to fire affairs he brought into play all his well known powers as an organizer and executive. At every meeting he would have the names of two or more gentlemen prominent in the community placed in the hands of the investigating committee and his sponsorship was equivalent to an election. Under his leadership the company rapidly increased in numbers and efficiency. He continued to guide the destinies of the organization until he resigned to accept the office of Chief Engineer of the department.
Shortly after the arrival of the Weber's steam engine lack of interest in the company's affairs became manifest and it was evident to the officers that some action was necessary to prevent a dissolution of the organization. Accordingly it was decided that some way must be devised by which a steamer equal to the Weber's, or better, could be obtained. In the company at the time was a gentleman, Mr. A. B. Bennett, who was equal to the occasion. He set about to form what became known as "The Eureka Association" with the following compact and by-laws: "The primary object of this association is the creation of a fund to be devoted to the purchase of a steam fire engine for the use of Eureka Engine company No. 2, to be employed in the service of the fire department of the City of Stockton.
"The capital stock or fund of the association is fixed at six thousand dollars ($6,000), divided into twelve hundred shares of five dollars ($5) each, to be aided by such voluntary contributions, in the form of donations from insurance companies and other sources as may offer in aid of the enterprise.
"It is not proposed that the stockholders shall derive any pecuniary benefit advantage from the investment, they will consist of active, exempt and honorary members of the company, and others friendly to its welfare and prosperity; who shall subscribe for the number of shares equivalent to a sum of money they feel able and willing should lie unproductive for a season.
"At this present writing and before appealing to the friends of the company in behalf if the enterprise, a careful and extensive correspondence has been had with all the principal steam fire engine builders in the United States, with a view to the digesting the information thus obtained and furnishing data whereby the Eurekas, when so disposed, may secure an apparatus which shall be a paragon of beauty, mechanism and excellence, and with which they may safely challenge the entire Pacific Coast.
"For eighteen years our motto has been, 'We Aim to Conquer,' and so long as vigilance and unaided human muscle were opposed to us, the contest was equal, and the Eurekas were considered no common foe. There is not a man who has served in the company's ranks that is not proud of its record; but it will soon be a thing of the past and be forgotten, unless as in other days we prove ourselves equal to any emergency."
The spontaneity for which so many Stocktonians are noted marked the response of the public to this stirring appeal and an order was sent to Wm. Jeffers for a steam engine to be made in accordance with the views of Mr. Bennett, who was an able engineer. The machine, for which the company paid $6,000, arrived in 1872. Horses were secured and Charles Thompson installed as driver of the hose cart, a two-wheeled vehicle purchased in San Francisco, and from that time until they passed out of existence the occasion was rare indeed when they "failed to conquer."
The old engine, after thirty-six years of active service is still in use, being housed at present in the old quarters of the Eurekas on Hunter Street. Mr. Jeffers who built the steamer and who was well known to many of the old Volunteers, died on March 6, 1879, at his home in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
The books recording the doings of the company during the later years of its existence have, with those of each of the other companies been unaccountably lost. We are, therefore, unable to complete in detail the history of the organization than which no company was more deserving of praise. With the coming of the paid system the company was dissolved but for a number of years after the members could be seen at every large blaze actively engaged in assisting the paid department and even at this day there are a number of them who follow the "masheen" with all the speed at their command whenever they observe it on the way to a fire.
Transcriber Sally Kaleta.
Proofreader Betty Vickroy.
© 2002-2007 Nancy Pratt Melton.