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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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This article was contributed by Kay R.

Plymouth Reporter - September 7, 1918

{There are two very old photo's of the men who volunteered for the Fire Department}


Fire Company History

{By H. C. BADE, Plymouth}


As the year 1918 will bring home to us that it is fifty years since our fire department was first organized, the writer will try to give to the public his recollections and memories of matters and incidents pertaining to the same.

The farthest back that I can remember of a fire in our little village, was one that occurred in the blacksmith shop of Carl SCHWARTZ, now LANGJAHR's, where a fire had gotten considerable headway in the outer wall between the siding and the plaster wall. A family was living upstairs at the time, but as this occurred in the day time, a number of people soon gathered and by breaking through the plaster wall it was gotten under control by the use of buckets with water.

I do know, however, of a previous fire having occurred which destroyed a saw mill, which stood on the site of the later Wm. SCHWARTZ mill, this saw mill which was destroyed, I think belonged to Geo. BARKER.

The next fire which occurred was one which totally destroyed the store of H. N. SMITH, who had remodeled same, to be occupied by his son Stafford. The latter, however, meeting sudden death in a railway accident at Sheboygan Falls, the building was then leased to BENFEY and HORATZ, who put in a stock of general merchandise. The second story was partly occupied as a watch maker's shop and I think Mr. Wm. KIRKLAND was the proprietor. This building stood on the site now owned by FELD & FELD (SMITH's brick building) and the former MERGET building and had a frontage of about forty feet. This fire broke out during the night, and the only way to sound an alarm was to yell fi-er-r-r, whilst running on the street or from your window and every one was supposed to bring a pail or washtub or any thing else that would hold water. A crowd soon assembled and there was always someone who acted as leader and a line formed from the river to the fire in order to protect the P. H. SMITH frame store building. Full and empty pails were passed back and forth by the same line, but as more people came a second line was formed; men and women all working together. Two strong men acted as water throwers, these were Hiram BISHOP and John CARROLL and thus the SMITH building, though only twelve or fourteen feet away, was saved. All the pails the stores possessed were put into commission.

Soon after this fire, which occurred in 1868, agitation was started to get some fire protection and meetings were held and it was decided to try for a hand fire engine. A committee was appointed and by voluntary subscription the sum of eight hundred dollars was raised. (The firms of SMITH & ELWELL and HOTCHKISS and PUHLMAN each contributing $100), which was the cost of the hand engine and two hundred feet of hose. A Fire company was now organized among the business men, nearly every one becoming a member. In October, 1868, the first meeting was held and there were elected the following officers:

Foreman - Em. ELWELL
First Ass't. - Andrew SCHNEIDER
Second Ass't. - John ROSSMAN
Hose Capt. - Jacob ROSSMAN
Secretary - Otto PUHLMAN
Treasurer - Ernst KAESTNER

The company consisted of about twenty-four members.

The engine arrived during the month of October and I well remember the first engine trial. It was at three o'clock in the afternoon and the engine was taken to the little creek where now the GAFFRON and LEIFER store is situated. Foreman ELWELL mounted the engine, and while he was working his arms in regular motion with the men at the brakes cheering them on, assistant foreman Andrew SCHNEIDER, was bringing out an eighth of beer, the first water being thrown over the brewery. At the first rest, the beer was tapped, and all partook of the assistant foreman's hospitality, and so they kept it up, first they would throw water and then beer and a notable thing must here be remarked, this combination has not been separated up to the present day by the boys.

The next thing in order was to find a suitable room for the engine, it was no easy task, but finally P. H. SMITH offered his building, the one next to E. Mill street bridge, which had been Mr. FREUTEL's wagon shop, for a rental of twenty dollars a year. This was accepted and the engine placed there, but they had no hose cart and no money to purchase one, but as two hundred feet was the extent of the hose, it was carried on the engine. They company were now anxious to get uniforms and called for bids, but no bids were offered so a suit composed of a red shirt with blue collar, a gloss cap and a belt was decided on and made up by a local tailor. Each member was taxed three dollars for the outfit. The first fire after receiving the engine broke out on the stage of the large hall connected with the now Central House, then the property of John ROSSMAN. This fire occurred during the night and the alarm was given in the usual manner, every one yelling fi-reeee at the top of his voice. Gottfried WILLWEBER was the first to reach the engine room in the SMITH building near the bridge and the engine was taken to a small opening on Stafford street at SCHWARTS' foundry, the water being led over from the creek near the site of MUELLER's Bakery. The Central House as it appeared then was a two story building on the east, the large hall to the west and a one story building (saloon) connecting the two. The hose was just long enough to reach the roof of the one story building, but not to the gable and the scramble for more hose was so great that they pulled the engine away from the water hole. Then the hose was pulled back again and Albert WITTE, who had the nozzle, could hardly hold himself on the roof. The water could not reach the back part of the burning building so they had to wait until the fire came up within reach and when it did the water did good service and the fire was prevented from consuming the saloon part, and cut off. The fire had consumed an out building, and one of the firemen, in his eagerness to be helpful, fell into the vault of this outbuilding; he was gotten out but had to be isolated forthwith, though he was not infected with chicken pox, the modern smallpox either.

The firemen now had the first reward for getting the new engine, but had they had twenty feet less hose all would have been in vain so they set out at once to get more hose. The money always was gotten by soliciting committees, getting up dances and celebrations on Independence days. Albert WITTE was not hose captain at the time of this ROSSMAN fire but he had become such a hero by sticking to his post that he was subsequently made hose captain.

The next fire occurred in March, 1870, when the Jac. ROSSMAN building, comprising a bowling alley, the latter extending way out the rear, was consumed. This building was on the present site of the Eagle hotel. The fire broke out about ten P.M. The alarm was given, and spread with the usual yell, but the engine was now in its new quarters, the building now owned by the Jac. BUB estate. The cost of this building was $250, which was paid to Philip ROSSMAN, the rest was donated by individuals, MC GRAW furnished lath; BOECHER and LAACK, nails; A. WITTE, sand; J. ROSSMAN, lime; several members, brick for chimney, etc. and the members did the lathing.

The fire was beyond control from the start, coming out of the middle of the roof and the engine was stationed at the river and the work of the fire company was to save the Aug. SCHMIDT building only eight feet away, but there was barely hose enough again, and it was Aug. SCHMIDT himself, who took up his position on the roof and kept the roof wet while water was hauled him freely by buckets through a formed line to the river, another line was formed to P. H. SMITH's store and here again it was Hiram BISHOP and John CARROLL who did the strong arm with the buckets. When the building was well down the Aug. SCHMIDT barn caught fire from the extended bowling alley, which was up about ten feet from the ground, and the hose men had to take care of both the SCHMIDT store building and the barn which the latter was badly burnt inside, but the same building is still in use, new shingling only being necessary, so here again the engine which was named "Plymouth," redeemed herself.

During this fire all liquors and cigars were saved by residents, who helped carry them across the street, but when inventory was taken after the fire most of the stock was saved for some one else but not for Mr. ROSSMAN.

Later, I had the pleasure to listen to a word war between the two ROSSMANs,who had become enemies or rather to dislike each other very much, though brothers, during which they openly accused each other of setting fire to their respective buildings. How near they came to telling the truth I can not say, but they seemed to know more about it than I had surmised.

The members of the Fire Co. very much desired to have a bell for the little belfry of the fire house, but still no funds, so very much to their delight Wm SCHWARTZ offered to present them with a bell which was gladly accepted. The small bell in the City Hall belfry is the very one, but it always had too pleasant a sound for an alarm bell, it was more of a meeting bell.

The Fire Co. from the start was composed of English and German citizens, but one by one the Americans dropped out until only German speaking members were left and as it was like pulling teeth for the then secretary to keep up the records in English it was voted to carry on the minutes in the German language.

It was a serious matter to get enough money at all these times, to get additional hose and only by voluntary subscriptions could fifty feet at a time be procured. The only protection the village really had up to this time was such as could be reached from the river and the quiet little creek running through Quit Qui Oc. This creek was fed mostly from seepage from the upper pond but when Mr. PAASCH filled up his lowland this source was stopped and the creek was inadequate as a supply.

Later on the matter of cisterns was taken up and after the city was incorporated cisterns were built in various parts of the city.

The writer joined the Fire Co. in 1874 and is a member still, or rather a still member. The company in 1874 felt the necessity for a Hook and Ladder truck, but when they found out it would cost $200 to get a home made truck, including pails, they were up against it again but in 1875 a truck was built here in town and in order to get sufficient room the engine house was raised, a basement built, and an addition for the truck. Most of the money was secured by two dances, July 4 and January 1, the latter netting over $1,000; the remainder was loaned.

After the incorporation of our village as a city the common council was given the privilege to hold their meetings in the company's meeting rooms and the council in return was to keep the building in repair and pay for the addition in which the truck was housed. In 1878 the company purchased the fire bell for $44 which is now stationed near the Plymouth Furniture Co. One-half dozen chairs were also bought for the company officials, as we only had benches up to this time the common council was also graciously permitted to sit on these chairs when in session, and they were no reclining chairs either.

I will now endeavor to mention other fires in our then little city although I may not get them in order of rotation. One fire I remember was in a one story building corner of Main and Division street. It was occupied by a man by the name of GUENTHER. He had a good sized knitting machine with which he did all kinds of knitting. The fire had broken out at the chimney on the east end of the building with a strong wind from the west and was only making slow progress against the wind. An effort on the part of the citizens to save the knitting machine by taking it through a large window placed there purposely and through which the machine was originally taken in was frustrated by the man guarding his machine with ax in hand. It was afterwards learned that it was well insured. The engine was placed at the little creek where the bottom of the creek was very muddy and the fire in the roof was smothered with a coat of mud, but there was some water with it later, as the mud gave out.

A fire broke out in the store and residence of Herman SULZE upon the site where now Dr. MUTH is located; the buildings were a total loss. This fire occurred during the night and the writer missed this he being away with the members of the Choral Band to play at a church dedication at Batavia, but it is related that much furniture, pictures and looking glasses were destroyed after it was saved, when, after carrying it across the street it was thrown down recklessly and broken, in order to be on hand to save more.

One night when returning from a wedding in company with my better half, when crossing Stafford street bridge I noticed a strong smell of burning pine and looking up I discovered the THURMAN Foundry ad Machine Shop to be on fire. I made a quick run for the engine house when at the same time the fire bell began to sound the alarm. M. SWEET had seen the blaze from his window, living over TIMM's building just across the street, and it was Mr. SWEET and myself who were first to hurry the engine to the fire. The building having a double roof, into which the fire had gotten, it was quite difficult to get at it, but by making openings above and below it was soon under control.

The writer had often tried to interest some of the members of this firm in the fire department but to no avail, but after this fire they appreciated the service of a protective department and became good live members thereafter.

Another fire occurred on a Sunday afternoon at the saloon and boarding house of Casper MAURER, on the site of now REINHOLT & MEYER. One of the boarders lay down on the bed in his room for a rest smoking a cigar and went to sleep. He barely escaped, while the building did not. The fire being in the center of the building it did considerable damage before being extinguished. The building was afterwards torn down and rebuilt.

A bad fire in Feb., 1875, had its origin supposedly in a box of rags which was stored on the second floor in the BOECHER Block which contained the dry goods, grocery and hardware store of BOECHER, SCHORER and MEYER. The first alarm was given in the dead of night and such a night - twenty-six below zero - by the clerk of R. R. SCHORER, Bernhard TRAGSDORF, who occupied a room upstairs. He ran to the front window and gave the usual yell. This was heard by Will KAESTNER who slept over the KAESTNER Shoe Store just across the street, who after hurriedly dressing, ran to the Episcopal church and began ringing the bell. I awoke and wondered if it were Christmas morning but my parents called to me and now being fully awake I knew what it meant. I was soon out on the street making for the fire house. As I passed the BOECHER Block I could just see a little smoke coming out of the window. It was slow work bringing up the hand engine, which was placed on the ice of the river back of the now Eagle hotel barn. A hole was cut for the suction while the hose cart was dragged through the snow over a board fence (some snow) through the lot of Aug. SCHMIDT. When all was ready for action the pump would not draw simply froze in. Now hot water had to be procured and as it took half an hour before enough hot water could be had to commence the thawing out process the fire had its own way. Finally the engine was thawed out and began to work but the fire had gotten so well along that all efforts were directed to saving the large oak timber which rested on the front pillars and carried the front wall. This was accomplished and the walls remained intact. Now imagine being out in 26 below, some cold, and in order to keep up circulation the ladies had made coffee which was passed around and at the same time a jug of whiskey made the rounds. The wise ones took the coffee and those less wise took the whiskey. I belonged to the latter - result - after I reached home by special delivery my mother gave me all the hot coffee I could hold but that was the last I remember.

The next day the hose and apparatus were picked up and returned to the engine house, but the hose had been left full of water and frozen solid so each section was uncoupled and carried upon the shoulders of ten or twelve men to the foundry to be thawed out.

Another fire alarm brought us out one night when the railroad bridge over the river was found to be on fire, some of the boys did not care to help out the railway company but about twelve of us took out the engine and extinguished the blaze. The Railway Co. (C. M. & St. P.) presented each of us with a pass for one round trip ride over their Wisconsin system.

A fire which was one of the most disastrous in the history of Plymouth as to number of buildings was the fire at the depot grounds. The writer and Mr. MAHLSTED on this particular day were invited , as guests, to an out-door picnic of the Fish-Frosch and Krebs Gesellschaft of Sheboygan which was held on the banks of the Sheboygan river on the old DENNISON farm near the old Sheboygan Falls fair grounds. The chief entertainment was eating and drinking, not water either. Nearly a bushel of frog shanks were devoured which were caught at Long Lake. On our way home with Mr. MAHLSTED's conveyance I noticed something like smoke in the direction of Plymouth. I said nothing but kept my eye on the smoke, as we came nearer home it appeared greater and then I mentioned it to Mr. MAHLSTED and felt uneasy about it as it was suggestive of a fire. The horse of Mr. MAHLSTED now made a good clip and upon reaching the fire was surprised to find the engine inactive. Upon inquiring I found that the fire had broken out in the Hub House located near the depot and when the fire was nearly under control the hose burst and after repair had burst again and as we had no extra hoses and the line had thus become too short were incapable of rendering further assistance and the fire now had its own way burning the Hub House, depot, COLLIN's elevator, cheese and freight warehouses, GILMAN's warehouse and Wm. SCHWARTZ's elevator. Now we first realized that we had been buying the cheapest kind of hose and how expensive it finally became; after this the Anchor brand of rubber hose was bought and the old black strap hose was abandoned, a costly lesson was learned, and yet, we might have had very serious consequences in purchasing this very popular hose, for I know soon after buying a consignment of this hose during the interval that we were using it we experienced the bursting of one or more sections every time we tried the engine, although this hose was guaranteed for four years. We would send these sections back to Chicago to be replaced, but they would only refit the coupling and return the same sections, this kept up until one day a representative of the house came along and took up the entire hose and replaced it with new. It was said that at the factory some employee, who had a grievance put some solution with the rubber that destroyed its usefulness, probably not realizing what fearful consequences might have been the result, as thousands of this kind of hose had been sold throughout the United States.

On another occasion, late at night, some on leaving the saloon of Rich MICHI in the former ZERLER building opposite the Odd Fellow block, noticed a light of unusual appearance in the third story of the Odd Fellow Block and it was discovered to be a fire. An alarm was sounded and the fire put out, the engine was again placed at the little creek on the now Otto CARTHAUS premises. This creek had been boxed up with a plank floor and a sluice way put in to back up the water in case of emergency. When the company was about to retire, someone went to the rear of the building and discovered the whole basement afire. Now, a severe task was on hand but by hard work the fire was extinguished.

Just four weeks to the day this basement was again afire, having been accompanied by an explosion of powder which ripped up the floor of the bank, and fire under the main stairway. This fire was more fierce than the first but was again extinguished by dogged work, Theo. BAUMAN handling the nozzle. These fires have always remained a mystery.

In 1888, the fire bell on Sunday evening called out the department and as I was running to the engine house upon reaching Joe RIECK's corner, was informed by a little girl that the Furniture factory was afire. This was a shock for me, but I turned for our plant. As I turned KRONFELD's corner I saw the flames coming out of two windows and upon reaching the premises, I uncovered the well near the boiler room and then ran to meet the engine and help hurry them along. I met them near Wm FREUTEL's residence and though the boys were tired I urged them to come as the well and engine were our only salvation, I knew. The Hook and Ladder company quickly raised a ladder three stories up and conquered which flames were pouring out and as soon as the engine was placed and hose strung out, it was Adolph SCHRAM who took the nozzle and faced the flames, and at this very window he stuck to this post on a ladder three stories up and conquered the blaze. And while the water was giving out men went down and dug away the gravel in the well to get the suction hose in a little further, though she sucked air, and it was just nip and tuck, still it was enough to put out the fire. To the end of my days I shall feel grateful to the boys and our gallant hand engine. She has been a hero, and that is one reason we have not delegated her to the scrap heap.

A fire in the western part of our city was the burning of John MUELLER's barn. We were just having our flues repaired in the steamer thus putting same out of commission, when we were called out to the aforesaid fire. Upon reaching the fire, with out hand engine, we found only a neighboring well with a good supply of water but we soon had this drained and our labors were at an end. So was the barn.

This is as far as I can remember the record of our old Hand Engine, "Plymouth," where she claimed the field alone, a record to be proud of and we feel toward the old machine as a person with feeling would towards a true and trusty animal, a horse for instance who has arrived at an old age. We hate to turn it over to any one else, and at the same time hate to kill it, owing to fond remembrances of the past.

Before going into the record and history of our Steamer era, I want to just wander a little on things and incidents. The fire company was first organized by the business men of Plymouth, mostly men of middle age and over, in fact, our fathers. We of the present age, well along in years, were then children. My father retired when he proposed me for membership. We were young men then and those of us still living are approaching the eve of life. Of the first organization, as far as I know, only two are among the living, G. W. ZERLER and Otto PUHLMAN. Over 2,000 different persons have joined our fire department, only to be removed by death or as happens to be the greater number, fully three-fourths to be expelled for noninterest, while some are placed upon the honor roll, and some moved away.

It is, with an organization of this kind, like a great many others, brass bands, singing or other societies, you have got a sound kernel which stays. You have those, that for purpose, duty, inclination or otherwise will stay, stick to it, regardless of what happens. While those around may fall, others will rise and gather around the same kernel or core and these are the people that count, that never say can't, but I'll try.

Now to show you how hard some of our early members tried to master the English language, I remember when returning from an engine trial, some American non-members inquired from one of our members, Chas. HOPFER, where we had tried our the engine, replied, "Ve spritz uber dat big high building, BUHLMANS muehl, und de vaater run down the doak und joost like rain."

One of the greatest disappointments in a volunteer department like ours is the disinterestedness so many people, business men and other property holders show when it comes to do their share in keeping up a fire department. This is not play, this is not joy, this is for no other purpose than to save life and property, and why is it my duty to save your property any more than it is yours to save mine? Still I have seen business men, when we were pulling along the hand engine in the mud, stand and sneer as we passed and yet they would expect these same men to be their servants in case of danger. I say, by what right?

The ginger was brought into our department when the younger element got into it and four-fifth were non-property owners. On of our most active boys was Willie KAESTNER. After he returned from Milwaukee to this city with his parents, he had city ideas and was nearly always appointed on committees. He was progressive and it was not long before he was foreman and I know he got himself an outfit, suit and rubber boots, into which he could just slide at an alarm of fire, and I remember how he missed a fire altogether after being thus equipped and how provoked he was not to have been at the fire at all. But he was a good live fireman up to the time he removed to Milwaukee.

Out minutes were kept in the German language from 1872 to about 1888, Herman NAETHER, H. BADE, H. HOSTMAN, Otto SCHNEIDER and H. NICKEL serving as secretaries during this time. We had three American members: Tom DAVIDSON, Lester BISHOP and E. L. POOLE, and got along nicely with us.

In July 1881, the fire company bought new suits, the first having too many beer stains for parade uniforms. The three American members had left us again but in 1884 we got a line on M. H. HAND and he was considered a good German-American by alliance and he was unanimously admitted. In 1886 A. H. SCHRAM was elected as the first fire chief of the Fire Department and he proved a very efficient official.

July 4, 1886, the company had a large photograph taken by Chas. VOLQUARTS and this picture is a prize, as the years roll by. Out of thirty members on this photograph, twelve have passed away; the last being L. W. TILLOTSON. In the afternoon of the same Fourth of July they had a private picnic in KARPE's park and the enjoyable time that was had will be remembered by the survivors. Only those who were photographed, together with their families, took part.

The cisterns, which the city built, were located as followed: one at Eastern avenue (WEEK's), one at Reed street (near SAEMAN's), one at Main street (near cheese factory), one at Milwaukee street and Forest avenue, one at Main and Division; a live cistern at Western avenue and Factory streets, a live cistern at Elizabeth and Caroline streets. When we filled the cistern at Elizabeth and Smith streets we had the engine placed at the river back of Joe HILDEBRAND's and we pumped the water for nearly three blocks, being up hill as far as the Lyceum hall. This was the hardest work ever done with the hand engine and it took three kegs of beer to keep up courage and imaginary strength. We did not want to give in or up, but dear me, how we did long for the end. We let Hy JONES fill the others. Nothing more doing for us.

As to length of service, I think Mr. John LAUFFER is the oldest member and has always been a faithful member. I think he joined in 1872. So has Mr. Philip ZINKGRAF been a loyal fireman for a long long time, always handly (sic) on lunch committees. But I would commit a wrong if I should neglect to speak of our departed member, who considered no duty on earth higher that that to be a fireman and he knew the details of the whole apparatus from the steam engine down to the thread of the nozzle and when it came to leaky hose he knew every leak, and as a fire man he was brave, never shirking, and the engineer's assistant and handy man. Such a member was Herman HANNEMAN.

By a great many it was always looked upon as a joke, to be a volunteer fireman and beneath their dignity. While at New Orleans, on our trip south it was considered of the highest honor to be a volunteer fireman. In those days they had their separate cemetery with the large statue of a fireman near the entrance, and it was considered the greatest privilege to be allowed burial in these grounds. A true blue fireman never thinks of danger at the time and I can recall a number of instances where they seriously endangered their lives unknowingly.

In as much as it was found difficult to man both the engine and Hook and Ladder truck by the engine company, it was considered best to organize a separate Hook and Ladder company, and the apparatus was turned over to the new organization. The truck only contained ladders and buckets, the extension ladder being so heavy that it required fifteen men to raise it. Now additional tools were purchased, axes, bars, hooks, etc. The first chief, in the person of A. H. SCHRAM was elected at this time and Emil POKRIEFKE as assistant chief. This was in 1886. In 1892, Theo. ACKERMANN was elected chief of the department. In 1893, A. H. SCHRAM was again chosen as chief.

Along about this time, agitation was started for better fire protection, and as the writer was mayor of the city at the time, the matter was brought to the attention of the Common Council and after due investigation it was decided to purchase a Watrous Steamer. The steamer arrived in due time and was on the car at the depot when the fire occurred at the Foundry. In order to provide for better facilities for more new apparatus in sight, the present City Hall was soon erected, wherein fine quarters were provided for the apparatus, and meeting rooms for the department. A new hose cart and a new hook and ladder truck were built by Mr. Louis FIEDLER, same being in fine condition today.

When the first steamer trial was held, two lines of hose were laid, the engine being stationed on Stafford street bridge. One line was to the tower wind mill of H. H. HUSON and mill started to running by the stream of water; probably the first time a wind mill was ever run by water, and both the mill and steamer worked to the entire satisfaction of all. We from now on used only canvas hose, and discarded rubber ever since.

The first fire after receiving the engine was at the SCHWARTZ Factory. It appears that the night watchman, after firing up usually went to the bakery for his midnight lunch, and upon his return found the fuel room ablaze and from there it communicated to the factory proper. After some prompt and hard work, but not at the brakes of the Hand pump, the fire was overcome. At this fire, Chief A. H. SCHRAM was directing the work from the roof of the engine and boiler room and in the smoke stepped off the roof and fell to the ground. He spine was very seriously injured and he was internally shaken up and for a week he was lying in the balance. He has never fully recovered from this injury to this day. The Fire Department gratefully came up for his physician's expense, for which he is ever grateful. I have always felt the city should never have allowed this as the firemen in a voluntary department work and risk their health and life gratuitously. It is the moral obligation of any community to look after the welfare of its citizens under like circumstances and not ask the Brother Fireman to come up for it. As it was only an act of kindness on their part and not obligation. Mr. SCHRAM was incapacitated to further act as chief and Mr. Theo. ACKERMANN was chosen instead. A resolution expressing regret for the chief's misfortune, wishing him a speedy recovery and thanking him for his efficient services as such, was spread upon the minutes of the Department.

As the Department had no one to take care of the steamer, it was found that Mr. Chas. VOLQUARTS was an efficient engineer and he was appointed to that position and has proved himself capable and trustworthy. In later years Mr. Wm. HOLLING served in that capacity.

The former engine house was sold for $350 and it was set aside as a fund bearing interest and from which members may receive assistance in case of injury while in service.

In 1901, a Fireman's Association for Eastern Wisconsin was formed, consisting of the cities and villages of Plymouth, Elkhart Lake, Kiel, Chilton, Hilbert and Brillion, and it was decided by representatives from these towns, to hold the first tournament at Elkhart Lake, same to take place in June that year and was a grand success as it did not rain. These tournaments have been kept up annually ever since, alternating at different places.

I will now record other fires that occurred in the city, which were soaked by water from the steamer, "Aug. SCHEIBE," in recognition of whose valuable services, the steamer was named.

A fire at FREMY's bakery, originating from hot ashes stored up against the building, was successfully battled against and extinguished after a damage of about $400. Another fire at the home of Aug. HOSTMAN, which started near the chimney, was discovered at an early hour by Mr. Hy. SEIDEL, brother of ex-mayor SEIDEL of Milwaukee. When I reached the engine house, some of the apparatus was gone and with several others we started off with the hose cart for the home of H. W. HOSTMAN as we were told the fire was there. Upon reaching the railroad tracks near the depot Mr. HOSTMAN came along and asked, "Where is the fire?" We said at his place, but he thought not as he had just come from there. Then he thought of his brother's and sure enough, there it was. This fire was at first mishandled but when the roof was opened up it was soon under control. It was six degrees below zero at this fire. Another fire occurred at the store of MUELLER and Son in the old R. R. SCHORER block where a clerk had gone to the basement for gasoline. Not being sure as to whether the measure was full he struck a match to see and he saw. He immediately ran upstairs and half scared to death, he called out: "die ganze luft brennt im keller." Both the steamer and the hand engine were put in service at this fire, and as a stream from the steamer nozzle knocked out the faucet from the linseed oil barrel, the entire contents ran out and was a burning mass on top of the water over the entire basement. We simply had to wait until this oil burned itself out. The gasses formed here were so great that several firemen became ill.

Another fire took place at the home of P. K. WHEELER, caused by one of the sons experimenting in developing pictures. The fire spread to the roof and did considerable damage before being subdued.

Quite a serious fire at Quit Qui Oc House, now Commercial, had its origin under a closed stairway leading up to the second floor. The steamer was attached by ropes to another wagon. I am not sure whose it was, I think Peter WOLF's and a regular city run was witnessed up Mill street to the pond at the mill, the steamer slueing from one side to the other but luckily not upsetting. Two streams were laid from the steamer and here also the hand engine was in action. The fire was in the partitions also under the roof of the wing, and the entire stairway. One stream was working under the roof of the third story, one in the wing and one the stairway, and soon the fire was under control. The third story of this building was cut down and reduced to a two story building.

A fire which destroyed the hide house of GOODSTEIN and FOX in the northern part of the city was not brought to my attention until I heard the Hook and Ladder boys going by my house in the early morning hours, homeward bound. I quickly arose and I heard the engine working at the cistern corner of Milwaukee and Forest avenues. After dressing I ran to the engine and Engineer VOLQUARTS told me of the fire. I ran there and found not a soul there, the Number eight building down, and the water rushing from the nozzle in great shape. I returned to the engine and Mr. VOLQUARTS was surprised to learn how he was manless at the other end of the hose, so he put a stop to the waste of water. This building was rebuilt and burnt a second time never to arise again.

The city some years ago, decided to still further add to its fire protection by putting in waterworks, and the pressure derived from our reservoir is so great, that it is only equalled by few cities. We now depend upon this system for protection. But in addition we have a chemical engine which is a valuable asset to our fire department.

At the fire in the LAACK block which originated from a burning lamp in 1903, the engine proved a valuable asset in addition to the waterworks, as this fire happened at a time when water was low in the reservoir which had to be in order to clean the reservoir. When this fire occurred the writer at once saw the seriousness of the situation and communicated with Elkhart Lake and Sheboygan for assistance. Mayor BORN offered their steamer but I replied that hose and firemen were all that was necessary. Upon arrival their couplings would not fit our hydrants, so we had to get along without, but we had the benefit of the chief's valuable knowledge together with the assistance of his men in fighting this fire. At one time it looked as if the fire was getting into Hotel LAACK and it was thought best to have their steamer come out, but just as their engine was about to start, the fire was pronounced conquered. We certainly felt very grateful to have Chief BEDFORD with us and in recognition of their kindly assistance, our Department voted both the Sheboygan as well as Elkhart Firemen $25.00 each for their pension fund. This is another instance where the city should have interested itself in place of allowing the Firemen themselves to reward those men. Thanks were also extended to the C. & N. W. Ry. for two special runs from Sheboygan, free of charge.

A serious fire occurred at the City Hall, having its origin in waste in the barn of Wm .CHAPLIN. The City Hall building being newly painted, quickly ignited from the blaze coming through a window of the barn. The heat breaking the glass in the windows of the Council Room soon spread to the ceiling and under the roof of the building. Most of the officers and men of the department being away this Sunday afternoon, the work was handicapped. Some one not acquainted with the hydrants only partly opened them after the hose was connected, and no pressure was had. After cursing the Water Works and everything connected therewith, some one suspecting trouble, opened up the hydrants. The fireman handicapped as they were owing to the lack of their best men, were lost. A. H. SCHRAM, who had not taken active part in fire work owing to his previous injury, was an onlooker, but seeing the situation, in company with Mr. Fred ELMER plunged into the work. They managed to get under the roof from the council room and together with John HUSON, who had chopped a hole through the roof to also get under there, they fought the fire to the last ditch, although about $2,000 damage had been done. Mr. HUSON, who worked through the roof, received unstinted praise for his work whilst Mr. SCHRAM and Mr. ELMER, who were invisibly working their way forward under the roof fighting the fire back, were overlooked. This so provoked Mr. ELMER that the department lost his valuable services ever since. Mr. SCHRAM, who was instrumental in saving City Hall from total destruction, was rewarded by the common council however by being turned down when it came to furnishing the furniture for the council chamber. Both he and Mr. ELMER had spoilt a good suit of clothes, it being a Sunday.

Another fire occurred at the Clark MEAD house on a fearful stormy might and snow was falling thick and fast. I had just remarked to my folks if only no fire breaks out tonight, when away went the "siren." An overheated furnace caused the blaze, which had gotten into the partitions and up under the roof. This fire was hard to get at, but was finally overcome.

A third fire at the SCHWARTZ factory, which in my opinion started from hot ashes left over Sunday in a wooden wheelbarrow, was a stubborn one, owing to the inflammable material in the factory. This fire proved plainly to us one thing, that it is folly to keep doors and windows closed to keep the fire from coming out. This was done here until the smoke formed gas, and like a flash the whole building was afire at once, and so much harder to subdue. Open doors and windows and clear the smoke, the fire can then be gotten at and arrested.

Another fire at Henry WOLF's building was a hot one, but the boys after an hour's work got the better of it.

A fire at the barn of the Plymouth Furniture company, in the early morning was accompanied by the loss of the factory team, probably suffocated. A feature in this connection was, we carried insurance on everything except the barn and contents, Since then we include that also.

The fire of Mr. P. M. WOLF's factory was a total loss as this plant was practically beyond protection.

On another occasion a stranger walking along the sidewalk past FEDERER's store in the evening, noticed smoke coming through the keyhole of the door, and becoming suspicious he mentioned the incident to several people he met nearby. I think Wm LAWRENCE was one of them, who satisfying themselves of the presence of fire, immediately gave the alarm. The fire was discovered in the basement in a pile of paper and refuse surrounding a large kerosene tank. After the fire was put out and the proprietor brought to the scene, he and a friend volunteered to stay there the rest of the night to keep watch, which is usually done by members of the department. They watched until the entire store was ablaze, and then turned in a second alarm. This time the damage was quite heavy before the blaze was extinguished.

In the year 18878, the Fire or Engine company decided to purchase a new flag, and we paid the neat little sum of $80.00 for same. We were then beginning to feel our oats a little bit. In a meeting held April 2, 1888, it was voted by the Plymouth Fire company to again keep minutes of the meetings in the English language, as most of all the older members had dropped out and new and younger members had taken their places.

In 1896, the Fire company joined the State Firemen's Association, and sent delegates to the State meeting for several years, but found our dues were more welcome than our delegates. The Hooks learned still more, upon which I will touch later. We soon discontinued both Dues and Delegates.

In 1893, the new Engine House and City Hall was dedicated to its future use, and it was made quite a memorable occasion. The Fire Departments of the surrounding cities and villages were invited for the occasion and were well represented. a banquet was held at this time and toasts and humorous and spicy little speeches were much in evidence, Chief A. H. SCHRAM delivering the principal address. This building has and is now serving its purpose well and the council, under Mayor Wm. SAEMAN, built wisely and well as it has all the necessary and commodious appointments and no one need feel ashamed to take visiting friends to our Fire House, and show them our fire apparatus.

The Hook and Ladder company joined the State Firemen's Association in 1895, and sent their first delegate to Juneau, where the State Tournament was held, and continued to send delegates in the following years. In 1897, they sent a team of 22 men to go to the races at Lake Geneva, the following year they sent a team to Waupun, and in 1899 they went to Columbus. The boys made a very good showing though being in fast company. Plymouth had been urged to take the State Tournament for the year 1900 and was prepared to do so, but by some underhanded work Jefferson was given the choice. This so disgusted our boys that they left Columbus very much out of humor and this was the beginning of the Eastern Wisconsin Association. Later a delegation consisting of HENRY of Jefferson, BROWN of Oconomowoc, and GRELL of Johnsons Creek, came to Plymouth for a meeting with our Department to plead guilty, and promised anything if our Fire Boys would come back, but to no avail, our boys had been deceived and could not forget it, as it was done underhandedly. So from this incident, sprang the Eastern Wisconsin Association, which has been a success on the whole ever since, and is a source of pleasure, as an annual outing and at very little expense.

The first Tournament of the Association was held in 1900, at Elkhart Lake, and the event was pulled off at the Race grounds, and a number of comical features were included in the parade. Leave it to Joe HOLZSCHUH for a cake walk, clown, donkey rig, or anything comical and you never get left.

In 1901, the Firemen's Tournament was held in Plymouth, and it was a great success, something new then for the public. The "Review" got out an extra edition for this event on regular book paper and gave numerous illustrations of past and present officials, and other views relative to the occasion, and received handsome compliments from the outside press, for its effort.

When at the Tournament at Brillion the Hooks were to make a record breaking run, they certainly were in fine trim, and after the word "go" you could only see the hub and the rim of the wheel, the spokes were out of sight, in fact they went so fast that they pulled the wagon out from under the ladder, the latter remaining enroute, whilst the wagon finished the run. They tried to run over, this time retaining the ladder, but lost the weights. They were thus ruled out, being too fast. Well, in one respect, they had to be fast in order to keep from freezing, as people in the grand stand had to wear furs and overcoats to keep comfortable. Lemonade did not sell at all and it was no circus lemonade either. Brillion's hospitality took away a good portion of the chill however. The tournaments at Kiel, Chilton, Hilbert, New Holstein all enjoyed great turnouts, though Hilbert managed to get hold of some of Plymouth's wet weather at their tournament, and whilst their out door doings were soaked, the indoor amusements and good times were not even dampened.

The Hooks deserve credit for getting the present fire whistle at the Power House. At first the coarse whistle at the power house was used for an alarm of fire. Whilst this was very good, yet one would get accustomed to the sound and likely to slumber on, but the ghastly siren, if you like it one time, then there are a variety of shrieks to disturb your pleasant dreams, and you simply have to wake up. Our present system of telephone and electric alarm at the bell, is as near perfect as we can get it. But Hooverizing with our arc lighting system during the war, is bound to curtail the promptness at the power house as one man can not attend to both the alarm and ward whistle and the arc light at the same time, but this will right itself again.

We have had a good many minor fires in the years past, which were held down and extinguished by the promptness and efficiency of our department for which the following are some. In 1890, the barn of H. BOWERS was partly destroyed; in the same year the warehouse at PUHLMAN's mill caught fire in the roof but was quickly extinguished; same year the barn of Mrs. CLARK was entirely destroyed, a cow of J. STAHLMAN perishing. In 1892 M. O'GRADY's office got a scorching; the same year the shoe shop of John HOPFER, just north of the BREITUNG dwelling, was burned, the fire extending to the BREITUNG dwelling which was partly destroyed. Were it not for Dr. Thomas FITZGIBBONS who happened to pass late in the night, Mr. HOPFER would have perished in the fire. As it was the doctor broke in the door and pulled him out of bed to safety. The dwelling of Fred OSIUS nearing completion was completely destroyed, being just outside the city limits, this fire started from a stove being used for drying plaster. Water was too far away in this case. FREMEY's bakery fire mentioned heretofore, occurred in 1893. The fire at J. MUELLER's occurred in 1894. The first fire at the SCHWATRZ factory was also in 1894, as was the fire at MUELLER's Hardware store. In 1895, the barn of T. F. ACKERMAN on North street, was totally destroyed. This fire was caused by Mr. ACKERMANN and his lantern going through a scuttle hole, and in the mixup the barn got the worst of it. Wm. EDEN's barn on Factory street was also burned in this same year. I think this was caused by lightning. In 1897 the wood shed of Chas. CLEMENS was burned during the night. This building adjoined the Catholic parsonage and the dwelling of Mr. CLEMENS was scorched. A line of hose was laid from the cistern at the cheese factory. I remember of a number getting slight shocks coming in contact with a guy wire of a light pole. Loss here was about $200. The same year a fire had gotten into a partition wall near the boiler room at A. SCHREINER's brewery and was extinguished after a loss of $100. The burning of the summer kitchen at Louis GRIESE's also occurred this same year, loss here was about $150. In 1898 the second fire occurred at the SCHWARTZ factory during the night and in the boiler room, and after burning the roof the fire was extinguished, loss about $250. The same year a fire at O. POKEL's bakery was easily extinguished. Another fire also in 1898 was at P. K. WHEELER's dwelling. This was mentioned elsewhere. A fire at the dwelling of Mrs. SANTEE also in 1898 was discovered in and under the roof, but was soon extinguished. The third fire at SCHWATRZ factory occurred in 1899 and is fully described elsewhere. The two fires at GOODSTEIN and FOX's hide house occurred in 1899 and 1900. The building in each case was practically destroyed before fire being discovered. The dwelling of John FELLBERG on the southern extreme city limits was destroyed in 1899, a collection being taken up after the fire and a new house built for him. In 1900 the barn of Mrs. John EGAN was destroyed, supposedly started by a tramp and what a time we did have in getting the steamer to the river near H. H. HUSON's barn, mud and mud way down. We got water on the building but it was beyond repair. A hot fire occurred during 1901 at the barn of Tom FRANEY on E. Main street. The roof was badly burned before the blaze was extinguished. We did not save the hay. I am sure of this. In the year 1903, the barn of Adam WOLF containing an experimental cider press was destroyed, same was supposedly caused by a lamp chicken brooder. The principal loss was the press. I remember Theo. ACKERMANN had his garden hose at work but the fire did not seem to mind it. The fire at the barn of the Plymouth Furniture company also occurred in this year. August FEDERER's fire occurred in 1904. The same year a fire broke out in the dwelling of Miss DIESTELHORST then occupied by L. HELMER. This fire had its origin in the clothes closet and had worked to the roof. All clothing was lost and quite a little damage to building. In 1904, the third and most serious fire occurred at the SCHWARTZ factory described heretofore. In 1905 the fire at the BANFORD Cheese warehouse took place. As no one was in the building at the time the fire got under considerable headway, communicating to the nearby offices of J. H. WHEELER Co. The department though quite distant from the fire made a quick run and after some hard work, put it under control though the loss to cheese was quite heavy. This same year a fire at the dental office of Dr. THIEDEMAN in the SCHORER block caused quite a serious loss to stock and tools, though the building was not much damaged. In 1906, a fire alarm brought the department to the harness shop of Sug. HILLER, where a smouldering fire had destroyed a lot of blankets, filling the building with dense smoke. It took some time to locate this owing to the denseness of the smoke, This same year the coal shed of the C. M. & St. P. R.R. Co., at the depot fire, the roof burning briskly, but a stream soon put it out. In 1908, the kitchen part of A. WOLF's dwelling on Forest avenue, took fire from a gasoline stove and it was but a short time after the firemen fot to work when it was eztinguished. This same year one of Theo. ACKERMANN's houses on N. Milwaukee street took fire, starting in or near the kitchen cabinet during the absence of the occupants. The blaze did about $200 worth of damage by the time it was put out. In 1910, the MEAD home was visited by a bad fire during a fearful snow storm. Particulars of this fire are given elsewhere, also the fire at the plumbing shop of Henry WOLF occurred this same year. This fire had made great headway before being discovered. Several lines of hose were laid from nearest hydrants and after an hour's hard work by the fire boys the fire was mastered, loss was considerable. Fire was supposed to have started from the chimney. Fire at the millinery shop of Miss ULRICH caused by an electric flat iron was quickly extinguished but the smoke did considerable damage to stock. Fire at H. THIEDEMAN's barn and at L. HELMER's residence also took place during 1910. P. M. WOLF's plant was destroyed this same year. A blaze among some rubbish started by children communicated to the barn back of HILDRBRAND's store building and was soon subdued after the water got after it. This was in 1911. In 1913 a fire had it origin through an oil or gasoline stove in the rear part of the Fred TIMM building, but quick work put a check to this blaze. A fire which made a quick start in the Hy. SCHWALENBERG building from gasoline getting afire, this was a hot one for a little time, but the fire boys also made both a quick start and finish. This was in 1915. In the same year a fire at the residence of Otto WEIHER, which occurred during the night, cut off Otto's retreat and he managed to call for help from the front porch from whence he was rescued. Upon the arrival of the department the fire had gotten much headway and it was some time before it was extinguished. Another fire at the residence of J. E. KENNEDY, the same year, 1915, which had its origin by children starting a fire in the furnace which had only been partly connected up, and thus set fire to the partitions and then spread to the roof caused a quick run of the department and this also was quickly brought under control though quite a little damage had been wrought in the meantime. A fire in 1917 in the L. J. KAESTNER building caused by an oil stove set fire to the kitchen and in the attempt to remove the stove downstairs more oil was spilt and the entire stairway ignited. Here also considerable damage was done, but as usual the fire boys were promptly on the job. Mr. HAUSLER also suffered considerable loss.

The slaughter house of LAUER & KLEIBER was entirely consumed in short order though the department responded promptly. In 1918 the siren whistle brought out the department to the FELD & FELD brick building which ignited presumably from spontaneous combustion. The fire had a good start but although in the middle of the night it was not long for the fire fighters to be on the grounds, though they had to take the sidewalk on account of snow. The fire was called to a halt with which it promptly complied.

The fire department in 1900 consisted of 180 members of which the Hook & Ladder Co. had ninety-eight, Fire Co fifty-two and the Chemical Co. thirty-five. Although the Hooks have a surplus of men they make no distinction, but help where help is needed and this is the right kind of spirit. There is no jealousy amongst the various companies and all work is harmonious. The Hooks, since their organization, have admitted to their company just 599 members. Some of the members of the fire department have peculiarities, there are those that every time they get wet on the outside, hasten to get a bracer or two and get wet on the inside in order to strike a balance. But when this is repeated too often they again lose their balance and need a bracer, and some live one at that. Even some do this that don't get wet on the outside. The department usually has to pay for these bills.

In former years a great deal of shouting was going on at fires but our chief had remedied that a great deal. Way back in the early days of our department as soon as the hose was laid and the nozzle attached the front would shout, water!!! and the line would take it up and nearly every one was shouting water. If more hose was needed the front would shout "more hose" and then the "more hose" shout was continued in chorus. It reminded one of the times, fifty years back, when bull frogs would give a loud grunt or two and then one after another would fall in until the chorus reached its height and then slowed down again. We did not hunt frogs in those days.

I remember of an advertised game of baseball in 1887 between the Firemen and the Hooks. Theo VOLK was captain of the Hooks. The companies were to parade in uniform to see their respective nines battle at ball. The net receipts of the game were just twenty-six cents. This patronage of the public was certainly ungrateful, but possibly they may have seen them at practice and that may account for it.

When coming from one of the tournaments at Brillion where the boys had captured a big share of the prizes and whilst on my way home from the railway station about three o'clock in the morning, the whistles of the various industries began blowing. I ran back to the engine house and people began to assemble wondering where the fire was when some one came up and advised us that this had been arranged as a welcome by some of the folks back at home. I always considered this poor judgement on the part of those that arranged this frightful welcome. But at the return from the Chilton tournament there was a real fire alarm just as the boys had disembarked from the train and the boys did not first take their girls home but let them shift for themselves, but the duty of a fireman is thus.

In looking over the records of the Fire Co., I was depressed to note the careless manner in which they are kept when compared to the work of such former officials as H. H. HUSON, Number twelve.

O. PUHLMAN, H. W. HOSTMAN, Otto SCHNEIDER, Aug. SCHEIBE Jr., Henry NICKEL, G. L. GILMAN and G. A. ALBRECHT. These officials took a pride in their work, whilst the present records for the past ten years have been jotted down with a soft pencil. I would suggest that these records for this particular period be neatly rewritten in ink so they may be preserved for the future.

I just happened to think of a fire which might have been a serious one and this was at the J. H. TIMM Co. building. But for quick action this might have proven a disastrous one. I believe this was the first fire ever to occur in this dangerous square. It may not be generally known that lightning has struck a number of high objects in our city, the tower of the former Catholic church, I believe was struck twice, the Lutheran church tower once, the Reformed church tower once, the Evangelical church tower once and the power house chimney once, while a moving railroad train is never struck if my knowledge serves me right. These members of the Fire Co have served as Foreman:

Wm. ELWELL from 1868 to 1869.
Otto PUHLMAN from 1869 to 1877.
Frank KNOEPPEL from 1877 to 1878.
Aug. SCHEIBE from 1878 to 1879.
John MEYER from 1879 to 1880.
Wm .KAESTNER from 1880 to 1882.
Aug. SCHEIBE from 1882 to 1883.
H. C. BADE from 1883 to 1894.
Hy. NICKEL from 1894 to 1895.
H. C. BADE from 1895 to 1899.
Hy. NICKEL from 1899 to 1900.
M. H. HAND from 1900 to 1908.
Wm. LAWRENCE from 1908 to 1909.
John LAUFFER from 1909 to 1913.
Wm. HASSON from 1913 to 1918.

Hook and Ladder Co. Captain:
A. H. SCHRAM from 1879 to 1880.
Phil ZINKGRAF from 1880 to 1882.
Robt. OBBERREICH from 1882 to 1883.

Hook and Ladder Foremen:
Emil POKRIEFKE from 1883 to 1888.
Elmer PELTON from 1888 to 1893.
Herm LUEDTKE from 1893 to 1902.
Wm. PIEPKORN from 1902 to 1903.
Chas. LAACK from 1903 to 1905.
Wm. PIEPKORN from 1905 to 1918.

Chemical Co.:
R. H. KOEHLER from 1897 to 1910.
Wm. GRAEF from 1910 to 1912.
John F. GOELZER from 1912 to 1914.
Fred STEPHAN from 1914 to 1917.
J. F. GOELZER from 1917 to 1918.

Chiefs:
Aug. SCHEIBE from 1883 to 1884.
A. H. SCHRAM from 1884 to 1895.
Theo. ACKERMAN from 1895 to 1904.
Chas. WILKE from 1904 to 1904.
Herm LUEDTKE from 1904 to 1918.

I can not but feel that it is my duty to speak of one who was a dutiful, careful, painstaking and exacting servant at the City Hall and Engine House, Henry BUBB. Never need any fire official feel that something might be wrong. Whoever has been accustomed to visit the rooms containing the fire apparatus knows how particular he is about people touching and handling anything about the fire house. Every piece of brass was kept shining, hose carefully put up and not as we have had it happen heretofore, that the hose was reeled up wrong end to. Just imagine such a thing at a fire! I don't want to think of it. Look where you might, and you would note the work and cleanliness of Henry BUBB. I only hope his successor will be his equal but he can never be better.

I remember the time when we did not muster men enough to take out the engine and truck for practice, or we had to pull until we were winded. So one day I set out to get additional members and I proposed seventeen new names at the next meeting and this helped quite a little. Very seldom a non-member would lend a helping hand not even when going to a fire, they would run past thinking to themselves "Let George do it."

When I look at the beer bills which are being constantly paid for, I just wonder what our boys will do when the "dry" period sets in, especially the Hooks and then have to hear them sing, "How dry we are,. how dry we are, nobody knows how dry we are," with the wet all around them, but it is sociability that keeps quite a good number in the ranks, business keeps some and politics keeps others and a fireman's duty keeps the rest. When the Hooks can't get water they always drink beer, but I notice that for the last year and a half they have been drinking outside beer, what is the matter with you? Now boys, this is certainly "bad" taste and I personally know, that our home beer has a "good" taste. The people connected with our home brewery have always stood by Plymouth and you certainly should do as much.

I remember an incident at the foundry fire when the building was full of smoke and we had only a few lanterns. When one of our firemen went to one of our leading business men, who stood on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, and asked him for his lantern and he flatly denied him the use of his lantern. This same business man had reasons later on to be thankful to the fire boys. You can never tell what will happen next.

In the latter part of 1896 the fire department agitated for a chemical engine to be added to our apparatus, in order to make more complete the efficiency of our department and it was during Mayor G. A. ALBRECHT's term of office, that steps in this direction were taken, and the purchase of our present chemical engine concluded. I remember speaking to former Chief SONDROCK of Sheboygan about our purchase at one time and he gave me a laugh saying: "Give me water and I will take care of the fires." I do know however, that Sheboygan has added chemicals and we know the value of our chemical at interior blazes and have had excellent results.

The first meeting for the organization of the Chemical Co. took place on January 22, 1897, and on January 27 the following officers were elected: Foreman, R. H. KOEHLER; assistant, L. A. KAESTNER; pipeman, Mart LARSON; assistant, H. REINHOLD; secretary, G. F. KEGLER; treasurer, L. J. KAESTNER. The company started with about thirty-five members and have more than held their own since having an enrollment of fifty-eight members at the present time. I used to think the Chemicals were a dry sort of a bunch, but this is where I made my big mistake and talk about cigars, they must take home enough from every meeting to last them a week, according to the cigar bills they continually pay, and they do like a lunch, and they get it too. Well I just want all the boys to get as much sociability out of their duty as firemen as they can for the day will come to all of you when you can't enjoy it may more.

The Hooks in order to check profane language in heated discussions, used to fine the offenders ten cents or in other words used to charge ten cents for swearing at their meetings. To be candid, boys, I have sworn for less then that.

If you take into consideration the number of runs made in the past fifty years to chimney and other small fires and false alarms it would amount to quite a bit of time if added together and spread over the whole department.

Our department today consists of 120 members in the Hook and Ladder Co., 58 members in the Chemical and 76 acting members and 17 honorary members in the Fire Co.

Before closing my write up, I want to go back to the period of installing the water system for our city. It was during ex-Mayor A. H. SCHRAM's term of office that agitation was begun for better fire protection and a water system for the city. This was in the eyes of all our citizens a great undertaking and the amount involved seemed insurmountable, for it was deemed prudent that the electric Light plant, owned and operated by the Plymouth Refrigerating, Water, Light and Power Co., should be taken over in order to make it one or a joint system. A satisfactory settlement was agreed upon and the plant was taken over by the city. But before the common council had gotten to this point, they repeatedly and urgently asked the citizens and tax payers to meet with them and discuss matters. But the citizens acted so indifferent that but few ever went near the council rooms. This acted very distressingly upon our City Fathers who were only too anxious to get the views and opinions of the taxpayers. But as it had come some time and as Plymouth was always known to be progressive and as it had to be decided one way or another the council went ahead and purchased from Wm. SCHWARTZ, the mill property and the overflow rights of the mill pond, the former mill now being Wm GRIESE's blacksmith shop, which was removed to its present site. The pond was drained, two artesian wells sunk which gave an abundance of water by overflow, but later dwindled down to a point where it was inadequate. The large reservoir up on the hill was erected and the water mains laid down, arc lighting system was installed and private lighting generally extended and in this manner municipal ownership began. J. H. TIMM was the first superintendent and manager of the plant, Perry DOUGLAS being employed as engineer soon after the starting of the plant and is still at its head as a trusty engineer. The plant proves the success of municipal ownership, if carefully managed. Wm. THURMAN was Mr.TIMM's successor and is successfully serving at the present time.

The city was first bonded for $70,000. which amount must be about half paid off, but the plant has been so much reconstructed that it hardly is itself any more and hundreds of representatives from other cities have come to visit our model plant. It has been tried repeatedly to have current furnished by outside corporations, claiming a large saving to us, but to take away the electricity would leave us a hopeless plant.

Though it was a trying time and a great undertaking for the then common council, yet we today can thank those men for the wisdom and forethought displayed. Our water pressure is almost too great for comfort in our homes, but we have drinking water that needs no constant bacteriologist to tell us when we can drink and when we can not, no little fishes in ours, to clog up the faucet.

Before closing, I wish to congratulate the department as a whole for having maintained such efficiency during all these years and I see no reason why it should not so continue as there is no selfishness shown in any degree anywhere and all are working for a common duty, to overcome the enemy "fire" be it day or night. As an efficient Volunteer Fire Department our record as fire fighters is well known to the underwriters, for there is no dust on our apparatus nor on our boys.


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