Monday, March 2, 2009

Orwigsburg Fire Company Schuylkill County's First Department 1828


Found this article in an old Pottsville Evening Chronicle from August 31, 1883.

While searching through some old legal records at the prison a few days ago County Commissioners Clerk John S. Snyder discovered a dust covered box which had a peculiarly ancient look and which on being opened was found to contain the records of the First Fire Company in Schuylkill County. A large pile of papers including the original articles of association, minutes, election returns, roll lists, bills etc.
It furnishes a very complete record of the early history of the company. A chronicle reporter has inspected the papers. But a few of the original members still live. William Gilme is one of them, and he is a resident of Pottsville now. The following shows the start of the company.

“We whose names are here unto subscribed agree to associate ourselves into a company under the stile of the ORWS Orwigsburg Fire Company for the purpose of protecting the property of the citizens of the town and the county generally as far as may be practicable from destruction by fire, and bind ourselves to support such. Constitution and bye laws as may be here after adopted by the association.
F. Lauderbrun
Sam’l Huntzinger
Wm. B. Potts
James Hammer
Thomas N. Penros
Peter Frailey
Js. Rambo
J. Morgan
Sam Hoffman
John G. Woolison
George Grim
Paliip Hoffa
Pusey W. Jackson
Charles Frailey
Mike Linder
C. Loeser
Thomas S. Ridgway
J. Huntzinger
Andrew Meller
John Lieb.
John Barman
Jacob Thomas
Solomon Berger
John Coho
John Shoener Jr.
Nicholas banks
Christian Berger
Solomon Lebengood
Peter Grimm
Johan Karter
Jacob Schelley
John G. Schaffer
Henry Raush
Adw. Huntzinger
J.K. Woolison
John Biehl
Jacob Landig
Charles Hesser
Moses Rintz
Ab Hoffman
William Krehner
Fredrick Beck
Ben Becker
Sam Medlar
Charles Knarr
Daniel Lavenberg
Mike Graeff
John Kolb
Peter Angstadt
William Smith
P. May
William Gime
George Witman
Peter Mattern
Fredrick Hesser
George Rintz
John Matthews
John St. Clair
Silph Simpson
G. Raush
Joseph Sneyder
William Kasper


It appears from the documents that the company had been organized and equipped but a short time when a fire occurred at the house of George Reed, On November 26th, 1828. Meetings were held monthly. The roll was called over each meeting and absentees were fined. At the meeting held on that date, there were 14 absentees, Samuel Huntzinger, Chief Engineer, certifying to the list. The boys then as now no doubt celebrated the fire by subsequently taking a drop too much.
We are sorry to think so, for among the names is that of Mr. Gilme. If the theory is correct, the dissipation of 55 years ago left him none for the worse. In December 1828 the company got an engine as appears by the bill of David Weis, who charged for
Taking the engine to the Schuylkill and putting aboard a boat $1.00 and a total paid for $1.85.
In August 1829, the building committee reported having white washed the engine house, and were continued to do such things as necessary. The engine was reported in good order. In fact this was the report at every meeting, among the bills paid.


F.Lauderbrum President. William B. Potts, Secretary; J. Morgan, treasure and twelve engineers. In 1829 John Barman was elected President, Jacob Thomas Secretary and Jacob Hammer Treasurer. In 1830 Mr. hammer became President, Pusey W.. Jackson Secretary and Henry Rausch Treasure, and William Gleim Chief Engineer. As is the case nowadays they had great trouble with their hose and a letter from Adam Dialoguge, of Philadelphia, recommends “Dubbing keeping it dry and clean, and oiled once a year with tanners oil, but never dub oil, unless damp.
The records run for three years. How they came to be lodged in the jail has not been discovered. They are interesting relicts of the early years of the county seat and will be more carefully treasured ion the future, than they have been in the past.

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