Orange — Fire Department

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The first fire-engine used in Orange was made in Proctorville, Vt., in 1833, and cost $200. It is alluded to by an old resident who once worked upon its brakes as "a tub-like arrangement operated by cranks." Voluntary subscriptions purchased the machine, and directly upon its arrival in the village of Orange a volunteer company was organized, and James M. Hill, but just then arrived in town, chosen foreman.
      The manner of extinguishing fires was rather primitive. A line of men passing buckets of water from a well to the engine, and another line passing the empty buckets back, was the force required, in addition to the men who manned the brakes.
      This machine and a volunteer company without special organization did duty at fires up to 1850, when, more complete appointments being deemed necessary, further subscriptions were secured, and a hand-engine was purchased from one Joslin, but it failed to meet requirements, and was eventually discarded. In 1863 the town purchased an engine of the Hunneman pattern, and Jan. 23, 1864, a number of citizens met at the town-hall for the purpose of organizing a fire company. Previously the citizens generally considered themselves a company, and turned out en masse on the occasion of a fire.
      The meeting was called to order by Rodney Hunt, Esq., and Luther P. Ramsey was chosen Chairman; Thos. E. Bridge, Sec. H. H. Whitney, Levi Kilburn, and J. C. Felt were appointed a committee to secure names of persons that would join. Hiram Woodward, Davis Goddard, and Holbrook Ward were chosen a committee to draft a constitution. At the next meeting, on the 27th, it was voted to accept the report of the committee and adopt the by-laws as presented. Fifty-eight names were secured to make up the company, which was called the "Orange Fire-Engine Company." The members held their first meeting Jan. 27, 1864, and elected Rodney Hunt, Chief Engineer; Levi Kilburn, First Assistant; Ira Wakefield, Second Assistant; E. R. Parker, Foreman; First Assistant, Wm. H. Lamb; Second Assistant, Geo. W. Kilburn; Clerk, John W. Wheeler; Treasurer, H. H. Whitney; Steward, John L. Williams; Standing Committee, Thomas H. White, Thos. E. Bridge, and J. C. Felt.
      The first regular monthly meeting was held Feb. 2, 1864. This company has since maintained its regular organization, and has at present the following officers: Foreman, H. H. Goss; First Assistant Foreman, J. S. Bryant; Second Assistant Foreman, Charles Sawyer; Clerk, F. L. Waters; Treasurer, M. C. French; Steward, George W. Kilburn; Assistant Steward, Geo. H. Carleton.
      Orange Steam Fire Company was organized Aug. 26, 1871,with the following officers: Foreman, Denison Chase; First Assistant Foreman, E. A. Goddard; Second Assistant, C. W. Barber; Clerk and Treasurer, A. W. Kilburn. About two months after the company's organization, Mr. Chase was appointed to be first engineer, and John L. Williams was chosen foreman. The present officers are John Dunbar, Foreman; C. W. Barber, First Assistant; C. L. Hubbard, Second Assistant; A. Kilburn, Clerk and Treasurer; John L. Williams, Steward. The company's steamer is an "Amoskeag."

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