of the Second Annual Convention
Five County Volunteer Firemen's Association of Northern Pennsylvania
Thursday and Friday, September 2nd and 3rd, 1897
HISTORY OF THE Five-County Volunteer Firemen’s Association OF NORTHERN PENNSYLVANIA
|CHARLES A. BOWMAN
President of Five-County Volunteer Firemen’s Association of Northern Pennsylvania. Active member of E. P. Wilbur Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1, of Sayre, Pa., Ex-Chief Engineer Sayre Fire Department, and an active fireman in actual continuous service for thirty-two years.
(Photos scanned from poor quality photocopies)
The idea and credit of this noble organization of fighting fire laddies without a doubt belongs to the firemen of Towanda, Pa. Early in the spring of 1895, the question of a county or district convention was agitated among the Towanda fire companies. A committee of five were appointed, one from each of the five companies, to write the fire companies of Susquehanna, Wyoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Bradford counties to appoint delegates to meet at Towanda, September 12th, 1895, to be present at a preliminary meeting to perfect an organization. The following delegates were present:
E. J. Cleveland, Canton, Pa.
Dr. L. B. Denison, Sayre, Pa.
J. A. Wilkings, Sayre, Pa.
John Hammond, Sayre, Pa.
G. S. Hanks, Wyalusing, Pa.
Chas. Klinefelter, Factoryville, Pa.
Wm. Lawler, Athens, Pa.
J. E. Stewart, Athens, Pa.
E. G. Reed, Mansfield, Pa.
W. H. Taylor, Towanda, Pa.
Clark B. Porter, Towanda, Pa.
H. C. Osbourn, Towanda, Pa.
J. F. Harrington, Montrose, Pa.
The meeting was called to order by F. C. LaMent, member of the Franklin Steamer and Hose Company, No. 1, of Towanda, temporary association chairman. Burgess J. A. Wilt gave an address of welcome in behalf of the Towanda Fire Department. C. P. Welles, of Towanda, was elected president; Chas. Kinefelter, of Factoryville, elected vice-president; E. G. Reed, of Mansfield, elected secretary; E. J. Cleveland, of Canton, elected treasurer. Dr. L. B. Denison, J. F. Harrington, and E. J. Cleveland were appointed committee on by-laws. By a unanimous vote the name of the organization was called Five-County Volunteer Firemen’s Association of Northern Pennsylvania. Towanda was the place decided upon to hold the first tournament and convention, the date, Sept. 10-11, 1896. Clark B. Porter was elected chairman of the executive committee with instructions to appoint one member of each company in Towanda, to be known as the executive committee. This gives about the actual business of the meeting. The success was now awaited for the first tournament and convention at Towanda. And a success it was. Towanda historians were amazed at the beautiful pageant; the cortege was a sea of colors; many uniforms were vivid, while others were milder; but all covered that form, manly to the man, characteristic with the volunteer firemen. Every one was surprised, everybody glad, and today the Five-County Volunteer Firemen’s Association of Northern Pennsylvania exists with no peer by similar organizations of its kind. Without a doubt with its thirty-five companies and twenty bands at Athens this week, will be seen more handsomely uniformed companies, better drilled companies, equality in bands , and better looking firemen, than ever has been seen on similar occasions.
These few notes from Towanda last year will be of interest to many.
Towanda had a very big day yesterday. Early in the morning trains from east and west began bringing loads of passengers to town, and by noon the county seat contained one of the largest crowds it has ever had.
The prize contests took place in the morning on Main street. Pitts Hose company, of Mansfield, won the hub race; the R. H. Sayre company, of Sayre, the hose race, and the Wilbur Hook and Ladder company, of Sayre, the prize drill. The drilling of the latter was pronounced superb. The boys well deserved the honor.
The Wyalusing Hose company made a splendid showing, and, it is said, stood well to win the hose race if it had not changed carts.
The parade was started about 2 o’clock in the afternoon and in this section of the country it has never been surpassed. Every company was handsomely uniformed and all did excellent marching. The line was as follows:
Fire Chief Humphrey, assistants and visiting chiefs.
Delegates to convention.
Crarey Hose, Westfield.
Baldwin Hose, Westfield.
Franklin Steamer company, No. 1, Towanda
R. A. Packer Hose, Sayre.
Pitts Hose, Mansfield.
Naiad Hose, No. 2, Towanda.
Wilbur Hook and Ladder Drum Corps.
Wilbur Hook and Ladder company, Sayre.
Union Hose, Athens.
Linta Hose, No. 3, Towanda.
R. H. Sayre Hose, Sayre.
Protection Hose, Athens.
Mantua Hook and Ladder company, No. 4.
New Albany band.
Wyalusing Hose, Wyalusing.
Triton Hose, Tunkhannock.
W. H. Hawes hose, No. 5, Towanda.
Borough council in carriages.
Franklin Hose carriage.
Linta Hose carriage.
Mantua Hook and Ladder truck.
Hawes Hose cart.
The decorations along the line of march were profuse and many were exceedingly handsome. The public street decorations were also very fine.
Passing along Main street many of the companies drilled and most of the work was exceedingly good. The effect was grand.
None of the companies made a handsomer appearance than the two Athens companies. The dun suits of Protection Hose and the gray suits of Union Hose were tasty and handsome, and both were much admired.
Athens is proud of her firemen, and she has a right to be, and it gives general satisfaction to know that one of our companies won the $25 prize offered for the best appearing and best marching company in line. When the four judges voted on the question, no other name was mentioned that that of Protection Hose company, No. 1. They were unanimous.
The parade practically ended the first convention of the Five-County Firemen’s Association, and it was in every way a pronounced success.
For this happy outcome of the first efforts of the association much credit is due the firemen and citizens of Towanda. Every detail was carefully looked after and the affair throughout was well managed. The visitors were welcomed with a cordial hospitality, that made them feel that "they owned the town." And from the fun the boys had after the parade and until they departed for their respective homes.
The following chiefs of departments and assistants were the guests of
Chief E. G. Humphrey and registered at his headquarters at the Ward House:
Chiefs, John Keefe, Athens; C. Berge Little, Tunkhannock; T. J. McNamara,
Wyalusing; F. F. McQueen, Sayre; W. N. Reynolds, ex-chief Tunkhannock;
H. C. VanDusen, ex-chief, Waverly, N.Y. Assistants, L. S. Stacy, Athens;
Joe Ellers, Sayre; L. S. Barlow and F. B. Jennings, Tunkhannock; W. Frank,
|C. P. WELLES
Ex-President of the Association.
Treasurer of the Association.