Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Tri-County Organizations
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
A Southport Namesake in Australia

New Fire Station in Southport, Queensland, Australia

 
Tri-County Genealogy & History Sites Home Page
How to Use This Site
Warning & Disclaimer
Town of Southport  Page
No Unauthorized Commercial Use
Say Hello to Joyce 
G'day Joyce, from Southport Queensland Australia. Please let me introduce myself. My name Dave Slade, I'm a retired Fire Capt from Australia. I served most of my fire career at our local Southport Fire Station. I 'm researching my family tree, I've gotten back to 1743. My hobby is collecting U.S. fire dept patches, of which I have nearly 4,0000. I have managed to trade Southport F D patches with FL,CT, ME, & NC. Would by any would you know of anyone from your local fire dept that I could contact?? 
Hoping you can spare the time to reply.
Best from OZ. Dave Slade Capt Q.F.R.S. ret
bigred2@hotkey.net.au

Old fire station shown at right and still older fire station shown below.

Another Southport Namesake in Connecticut
Dave from Australia continues to send in these lovely Southport Namesake Fire Department patches & firehouse photos which he is collecting. All very pretty. This one is from Connecticut
Another Southport Namesake in Maine
    G'day Joyce, please find scanned Southport F D ME. Best from OZ. Dave
----- Original Message -----
From: henry berne
To: dave slade
Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2004 6:17 AM
Subject: Southport FD

Hi, Dave:  This a photo of our main firehouse on the first anniversary of 9-11.  We have 3 pumper/tankers and 3 tank trucks, 1-1000 gallon and 2-2000 gallon.  Even on an island its hard to get to the water since we have a bold granite coast with 11' tidal difference, so we use a tank shuttle with portable drop tanks to keep up a water stream.

I try to get a patch to you as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Henry Berne

Another Southport Namesake in Florida
The patch from the Southport Fire Department in Florida, also submitted by Dave Slade from Oz. 
Another Southport Namesake in North Carolina
Dave from Australia (Oz) also made contact with another Southport Fire station in North Carolina and sent the photos they sent him including the patch they exchanged with him for his collection.
Another Southport Namesake in United Kingdom
Our Southport counterpart in England is in the Manchester- Liverpool area. Francis Mullen sent our friend, Dave Slade in Australia, a whole scanned booklet on the history of this fire department. Dave forwarded it to me and these photos are taken from that. 

 
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Tri-County Organizations
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Fire Department of Town of Southport
History of Southport Volunteer Fire Department
1944 -  2002
Article by Virginia WHEELER McElroy, Town of Southport Historian
Formatted & Published by Joyce M. Tice
Town of Southport  Page

      The Southport Volunteer Fire Department first came into being through discussions between some of the men of Southport Corners.  A representative group of these men appeared at the Town Hall in 1944 and leased the Voting Booth on Laurel Street.  This building had been damaged by fire and the terms of the lease were that they repair it.  They did so and began their meetings there.
Members were recruited and officers were elected.
Charter Members were:
Leon F. Andrews, Frank J. Arntz, Joseph Berry, Harold E. Brown, Henry Burdnick, Leo F. Cahill, Ralph Court, C.A. Deany, E.M.Decker, Elwin Farram, Chauncey Hammond, William Hornsby, DeVere Isaman, Donald Kinkade,
Elmer Krause, Asa Lunner, Elonzo McClure, J.O. McClure, K.L. McClure, Harry Morse, William Moss, Peter Myhalyk, Robert F. Rogers, C.H. Schmitt, L.E. Schmitt, S.C. VanHouten, Raymond H. Vater, Harry VonDeck,

     Twelve brooms and ten Indian pumps were purchased and these were stored in members homes, scattered throughout the community.  In 1948, a 1923 American LaFrance Pumper was purchased and kept at O’Hart’s Coal Yard on Leland Street.  In August 1951, the first station at 1000 Laurel Street was started.  This building was built entirely by the membership, with the exception of the roof, which was put on by a contractor.  Open house for the Laurel Street Station was held on May 3, 1954.  In July of 1952, a new truck was purchased and put into service in August of that year.  The first contract for Fire Protection was signed with the Town at that time.  Prior to August 1952, the fire insurance rates in Southport were 70 cents per $100. of assessed valuation and after the signing of the fire protection contract, they dropped to 40 cents of assessed valuation on November 11, 1952.

     In 1953, the women’s auxiliary of the Southport Fire Department was formed and began to take an active part in helping the fire department.

     The first fire alarm answered after the fire protection contract was signed, came in on September 9, 1952, at the home of Mr. Harold Sly of 505 Harcourt Drive.

     In 1954, a 1926 pumper was purchased to replace the 1923 pumper, which was sold to the Golden Glow Fire Department.

     In 1955, a squad car, which housed its’ own power plant for lighting was built by member Dave Curren from a 1940 Buick.  This squad car was in operation until 1977.

     In August 1958, a 900 series 750 gallon per minute pumper was purchased from American LaFrance.

     On October 24, 1961 a public hearing was held for the proposed amendment to purchase a lot for a training ground and possible future site for a new fire station
     -2-
on Caton Avenue and Carl Street.  This lot was purchased about three months later.

     In 1963, a combination pumper-tanker was purchased from Ward LaFrance in March.  It carried 1000 gallons of water.

     Plans for a new firehouse and a proposed five-year budget were submitted to the Town Board on August 21, 1962.  Contracts for the fire station were released on September 25, 1963.

     Ground was broken for a station at 1001 Carl Street in October 1963.  The station was completed and the equipment was moved in on May 11, 1964.

     1968 saw the addition of a new American LaFrance 100’ aerial ladder truck with a 1000 gallon per minute pump.

     Fire operations were sorely tested on June 23, 1972 and for the next months.  Tropical storm Agnes separated Chemung County, isolating the residents and the fire companies south of the Chemung River.  State Police, Sheriffs Department, State Highway Department, National Guard, Army Reserves and the Elmira Fire Department all worked at times from the Southport Fire Station in the hours before Agnes and the weeks after.  The fire department auxiliary served over 1100 meals daily under very trying circumstances.

     Two new trucks were purchased in 1972.  One was a Ward LaFrance Custom Ambassador tanker/pumper and the other a Salisbury built rescue van.

     September 1973 brought further high water problems with the members again pitching in to help the community with every conceivable problem.

     High winds, hail, and pelting rains on August 13, 1974 produced 34 calls
for help between 7:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.  This has been the largest number of calls ever recorded in such a short period of time.

     Tragedy struck Southport with a fire that killed all five members of the Daniel Beard family of 239 ½ Allen Street on December 15, 1975.  The effects of that day struck the firefighters as deeply as it did the rest of the community.

     One November 23, 2000, Thanksgiving Day, tragedy struck again as we responded to the Dalrymple Contracting Company in Bulkhead, to the largest fire in the history of the Southport Fire Department.  A long pole barn type structure, which housed much of the construction firm’s highway and road building equipment, was destroyed.  Over 100 firefighters responded from 10 departments in Chemung County and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.  While Thanksgiving turkeys were being prepared in the firefighters homes, the firefighters were being pushed to their limits and beyond trying to suppress the fire.  Many of the firefighters had never witnessed that amount of flames and the large columns of black smoke that could be seen as far away as Big Flats.  Thanks to the training

    -3-
and dedication of the brave firefighters and the officers another building housing additional construction equipment and antique automobiles was saved.
Thanksgiving dinner consisted of sandwiches, coffee, soda and cookies supplied by neighbors, friends, passersby, and the Salvation Army canteen truck.  All this nourishment being taken with and while the fire and smoke surrounded them.  None of the firefighters complained and comments such as “we’re glad we were home”, “it’s our job” and “we joined the fire department to assist our community in their time of need”.  A positive note was that there wasn’t any injuries or deaths to a member of our community.  Most of the members returned to their homes late Thanksgiving night, while others stayed at the scene to douse the small smoldering fires to prevent a flare-up or a rekindle.

     During the history of the department, up to 2002, there have been eleven active fire chiefs as follows:
 Robert Stemmerman  - August 1952 – December 1952
 Clarence J. Marnor, Jr. - January 1953 – April 1961  (death)
 F. William Pedrick  - June 1961 -   December 1970
 Donald “Ike” Robinson - January 1971 -  December 1977
 William E. Jones Sr.  - January 1978  - December 1979
 Gerald O. Manchester III - January 1980  - December 1986
 Robert Marmor  - January 1987  - March 1987  (resigned)
 James Huntley   - April 1987      - December 1987
 Gerald O. Manchester III - January 1988   - December 1988
 Frank W. Hammond  - January 1989   - December 1991
 Russell Tobey   - January 1992   - October 1996 (resigned)
 Michael S. Smith  - November 1996- Present (2002)

     Throughout the ensuing years, equipment has been updated and purchased to keep the Southport Fire Department an aggressive, innovative, up-to-date department dedicated to providing the residents of Fire Protection District #1 with a high level of quality fire protection.  Our current inventory of equipment is as follows:
Two (2) 1997 Pierce pumpers with a 1500 gpm pump and 1000 gals. of water.
1995 Pierce Heavy Rescue truck, fully equipped for rope rescue, vehicle
         extrication, forcible entry, scene lighting, emergency medical service,
         collapses, cave ins, confined space, hazardous material, incident command,
         water and ice rescue.
1992 Pierce 105’aerial ladder truck with a 1500 gpm pump.
1989 Seagrave pumper with 1250 gpm and 1000 gals. water
1969 American LaFrance pumper 1000 gpm pump and 1000 gals water
1998 Chevrolet Suburban rescue and emergency medical services
1993 GMC Brush, Grass and Forest Firefighting truck 4 wd
16’ Grumman Aluminum Boat with a 25 hp Evinrude motor and trailer.

     Over the years the Fire Service has been expanded to include many additional services aside from the traditional fire calls.  These services include emergency medical services, rescue hazardous materials, which include radioactive, biological, chemical and hazardous wastes, public fire education, fire prevention activities.  Now terrorism and weapons of mass destruction have been added to
    -4-
the services that we have had training in, in order to provide the Southport community with the best possible protection.

     Our total alarms have increased over the years to in excess of 500 call per year.

     The Southport Fire Department only has two major fund raising events each year to augment the many activities that we sponsor or participate in.  They were the annual carnival and field days in June and a turkey show in early November.  Both of these activities have been cancelled recently due to liability concerns and the shortage of volunteers.

     Many members of our company have answered their final alarm and gone on before us.  Their memories will never fade and on many occasions their stories are and will be retold many times.

     A special note to our community along with this update to the History of the Southport Fire Department.  The efforts and accomplishments of the department would not be possible without the support of the townspeople, merchants and the Town Board.  An extra special thank you to Chapel Lumber Co., Olthof Funeral Home, Dalrymple Contracting and Bulkhead Hardware for their support over the years.

     To each and every one of you, a very humble – THANK YOU!

Respectfully submitted, Glenn W. Cooper

Glenn W. Cooper at their 50th Anniversary gave this history, Saturday, August 3, 2002 at the Southport Fire Station.

On  October 14, 2002 Glenn W. Cooper also presented a copy of this history to the Southport Historical Society and the Town Historian Virginia McElroy, along with a commutative plate depicting their 50th Anniversary.
 

 Virginia R. WHEELER McElroy
 Southport Town Historian
 04/25/05
 

Picture of Glenn Cooper & Va McElroy receiving the plate Southport Fire Department Anniversary Plate
 
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Tri-County Organizations
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Fire Department of Pine City NY
HISTORY OF THE PINE CITY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

Town of Southport  Page

 Residents of the Pine City area realized that their community was growing and that the need for Fire Protection was a major issue.  On December 7, 1933, a group of residents met at the schoolhouse for the purpose of establishing a Fire District. George Holly, Sr. was appointed chairman.  An election was held and the following commissioners were elected:  George Holly, Sr., Leland Edsall, Leland Brooks, Allen Sherman and Frank Wagner.  Also elected were C.L. Mosher as Secretary, M.H. Bower as Treasurer, H.B. Morrell as Chief and Frank Wagner as Assistant Chief.

 After many joint meetings of the Fire Commission and Pine City residents, a second-hand Haun fire truck Pumper, with hard rubber tires, was bought from American LaFrance for the sum of $500.00.  These early firemen experienced their share of troubles.  One time, they drove up to a burning house, but too close.  Realizing that, they tried to move back, but the gears had locked up.  They finally got the district school bus to tow it away.  Sadly to say, the house was a total loss.

 Fire headquarters was at Best’s Garage, which was next door to the present fire station. Commissioner Sherman was appointed to contact Jay Wood and Jay Bortle to make the necessary changes in the building to accommodate the fire truck, their labor to be deducted from their pledges.  For nearly three years the Pine City Company was supported financially by pledges until it was changed to an annual budget set-up by the Fire Commission and financed by taxation.  This change was probably the turning point and start of a real volunteer fire department.

 In 1944, a Chevrolet truck was purchased and rebuilt by members of the fire company.  A 400-gallon pump was mounted and completely gave the department its first place of modern apparatus.

 In September 1947 an election was held in the Odd Fellows Hall to give the Commission permission to buy Real Estate for the sum of $800.00 on which to erect a firehouse.  The vote was 29 yes and 7 no.

 In 1948, a used 1943 Army truck was obtained to be used for grass fires.  And it was around this time that the Ladies Auxiliary was formed.

 In 1949, an ox roast was held, and the turn out was so great that we couldn’t cook the meat fast enough.  Hopefully, no one went away with raw meat.  Then we built a pit barbeque in the ground, which was real work.  We cut wood with crosscut saws, served about 2,000 pounds of roll roast to about 5,000 lunches.  Thanks to the Auxiliary who helped us handle the serving.

 Plans were started immediately to build a firehouse and incorporate the department, things moved slow and it was November 1950 that any real plans developed.
The service of an attorney was procured and on May 21, 1951 the details were completed and the department was now known as the Pine City Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.

 At the annual election on December 5, 1950, the voters of Fire District #5 gave their consent to build a fire house by a big majority, and with the aid and advice of their attorney, arrangements for a loan of $15,000 was made through an Elmira bank. This loan, combined with volunteer labor and fund raising activities by the firemen and the auxiliary gave us what once seemed like a dream, a fire house valued at $50,000.00.

 The apparatus room housed American LaFrance 750 gallon per minute pumper with a 500-gallon booster tank bought in 1953.  This pumper is also equipped with 200 feet of 2 ½ inch hose, and one portable pump. It is unique because it was painted forest green, where most fire trucks are painted red. A White truck, purchased from the Gulf Oil Company, and converted into the department’s first large-quantity of water transportable to a fire scene, is equipped with a 400 gallon per minute front end pump, has a 300 gallon booster tank, 150 feet of one inch hose, 1,000 feet of two and one-half inch hose and also carries one portable pump.  The department also has one tank truck with a 2000-gallon water capacity and one squad car equipped with a 5000-watt lighting plant.  The firemen rebuilt these last three pieces of fire apparatus.

 The building has a large meeting room, which can be used for parties, wedding receptions and suppers.  It also has a fine, fully equipped kitchen.

 In October 1958, a 70 piece marching band for formed with Bud Cantliffe as Chairman.  Band members were young people from aged eleven up.  Members and majorette came from all parts of the county.  The Band’s first performance was at Wisner Park in Elmira, for Arbor Day Ceremonies in the spring of 1959.  The Bank also paraded in Rochester, Hempstead, Long Island, and just about every fireman’s events in Central New York.  It played at the Artic League sever times.

 In 1969, a 1600-gallon G.M.C. tanker was approved for purchase by the voters of the Fire District, for a price of $18,000. from the Salisbury Fire Equipment Company.

 In 1974, two more bays were added to the station, along with many other improvements to the structure.  To help with money, Bingo games were started in March of 1974.

 Profit from the Bingo games allowed us in 1975 to buy a G.M.C. Van, used for hauling equipment and first aid to the fire scenes.

 In 1977, an American LaFrance diesel-powered 1,000 GPM pumper-tanker was purchased for $85.000.  The tank holds 1000 gallons.

 A four-wheel drive Chevrolet pick-up was purchased and paid for in 1980 by Bingo funds, in the total amount of $10,00.

 The Fire District owns all the equipment, but the Volunteer Company owns the building and the parking lot, as well as the ball fields.

 We are proud of our forest green fire trucks trimmed in cream and our fire department.  The volunteers are ready to take care of any emergency, be it fire or flood; a Volunteer Fireman is always on call 24 hours a day summer or winter.

 We are proud of our Chief’s that have served us so faithfully.  Listed are
those that have dedicated their time and efforts to protect our community:

Source : Historian’s Archives:
  Article written by Herbert Furman, Sr. 1961
  Article written by Willard Oakes 1983

 A few excerpts on three of the firemen who dedicated 50 years of fire service to the Pine City Volunteer Fire Department:  ESG  02/02/1996:
 Firefighters are a dedicated bunch but you’d have a hard time finding anyone more dedicated than Paul Brown, Bob Masia or Carl Steinhilper.  These three were honored for 50 years of service to the Pine City Fire Department.  Bob was chief for eight years, Carl for three.
 They talk about back in 1946 when the fire phone was in Fire Chief Pete Keck’s house, not too far from where Pete made burial vaults.  Bob Masia would dash from his restaurant across Pennsylvania Ave., find out from Peter where the fire was and jump on the only piece of equipment the fire department owned then.  It was parked in Keck’s three-bay garage.  Bob, Carl & Paul said they were blessed that they never had a fatal fire in their district.
 The fire they remember most damaged the Rustic Gardens, a tavern on Pennsylvania Ave., back in the late 1960’s.  The firefighters had practiced for such a fire, said Carl, who was Chief then.  “When I backed out of my driveway, I was hollering for help”.  Bob didn’t have time to holler for help when he fell through the kitchen roof, taking the hose with him.  He got out and figured he was ok until Bubbles Budnick loaded him into an Erway Ambulance and rushed off to St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Bubbles radioed ahead, and said, “You’re not going to believe who I’ve got with me!”  Bob got a snoot full of smoke but was otherwise ok.
 Old-timers still laugh about the time performed in Keystone Kop fashion.  When the alarm sounded, Bob exited his restaurant through a window to the porch, hit the door with his shoulder and ran across the road to the fire station.  One day, a relative unknowingly opened the door from the other side just as Bob was about to hit it.  His momentum carried him into the parking lot where he fell, rolled three times, got up and continued to the fire station.

Source : Historians Archives
E.S.G. Garth Wade 1996

Pine City Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief’s from 1933 to present:

H. B. Morrell  1933 – 1937                  Paul Brown  1977
George W. Holly Sr. 1938 – 1943      Frank Longwell Jr. 1978 - 1983
F.H. Wagner  1943 – 1946              Charles Aumick 1984 - 1993
Clarence Keck  1946 – 1955          Tim Hassen  1994
Robert Masia  1955 – 1962          Kent E. Casler  1995 – 2000
Paul Brown  1963 -  1965          Tim Hassen  2001 – 2002
Carl Steinhilper 1966 – 1969          Dan Baker  2003
Peter Lauper  1970 – 1973          Tim Hassen  2004 -  present
David Reese  1974 – 1976

List provided by Chuck Aumick 05/1705

Virginia R. WHEELER McElroy
Town of Southport Historian


Hello Joyce,
I have a newspaper clipping about the Pine City Fire Department Band.  I do not have the date or the newspaper it was run in but I am pretty sure it was in The Star-Gazette and based on the ages listed in the article, it would have been about 1961.

Richard Scott and Evelyn (Kipp) Scott were my great-grandparents and Richard Lauper, my grandfather.

Karen Webb

They ALL Love a Parade
By Tom Chang
Everybody has a story.
     Mr and Mrs Richard W. Scott of Pine City believe the family that "marches" together, stays together.  Ten members of the Scott family including the couple, thier daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren all belong to the Pine City firemen's marching unit.  The three generations have been appearing in numerous parades in the area.  Their marching is a fine example of family togetherness.  It's interesting to watch the three generations march.  You can easily spot them in a parade.  Scott usually leads the parading unit as a color guard carrying the Stars and Stripes.  His wife and daughter, Mrs Charlotte Wilcox of Troy, following with the unit banner.  His son-in-law, Richard Lauper of Pine City leads the men's marching unit as the officer in charge.  Mrs Lauper, his daughter marches in the auxillary unit along with his granddaughter Mrs Gerald Smith, whose husband plays trumpet in the marching band  Then come his three grandchildren.  Ramona and Richanne Lauper, 14 and 12 respectively, are majorettes.  Richard Lauper Jr., 8 1/2 is a junior drum major.
     "Going to a parade is like a family outing for us." says Grandpa Scott of 1473 Pennsylvania Ave., a former American LaFrance worker.  "We usually have a picnic together on the way."  The whole thing was started by the elder Scotts who joined the Pine City marching unit when it was organized 11 years ago.  Their son-in-law and daughter, Mr and Mrs Lauper who live next door, soon followed.  The third generation didn't appear until three years ago when the Pine City band was formed.  A year later, Mrs Wilcox and her daughter Dorothy were also persuaded to participate.  "We needed girls in the marching unit" explains Grandma Scott.  "So we started recruiting in our own family and talked them into it."  Grandson Richard Lauper Jr. is the last in the family to join.  He just started learning to be a drum major and marcher too.
  The couple has altogether five children and 27 grandchildren.  Asked why not all join in the march, Mrs Scott replies smilingly, "They either live too far away or are too young to parade yet."  Incidently, one granddaughter's romance blossomed into marriage as a result of marching together.  Mrs Gerald Smith, the former Dorothy Wilcox of Troy, met her husband in the marching unit.  They were married last Monday and now live in Troy.  "I'm very pleased with it," says Mrs Scott.  "Gerald joined the band about a year ago.  They soon got acquainted and fell in love."
     To Mr and Mrs Scott, their whole life is wrapped in the affairs of the Pine City Volunteer Fire Department, known for its many activities during the year.  He now serves as president of the department and she is a past president and charter member of the auxiliary.  They average about 12 to 15 parades during the summer plus weekly drills.  They go to almost every county, regional and state firemen's conventions.  "We haven't had a vacation for a long time," Scott Explains.  "We split our vacation by going to weekend parades and attending other firemen's activities.  They feel proud of the fact that both serve on the commitee of the 75-piece Pine City Band which has captured so far all first prizes in four Chemung County parades.  Most of the band members are youngsters.  "We follow the kids," Mrs Scott adds.  "We chaperone at their practice sessions.
     Above all, they enjoy going to firemen's parades and conventions.  They've seldom missed any.  "it's like going to a family reunion," Scott explains.  "Everytime we gain a lot of new friends and renew our old acquaintance."  In the 11 years, the couple went to all  the parades the Pine City unit had participated in except two.  That happened when the couple journeyed to the south and west.  Four years ago, Scott broke an ankle, after a parade in Penn Yan.  With cast on one foot, he kept going as usual the rest of the season.  "For a while I was unable to march in parades,' remarks Scott regretfully, "but I went along just the same."
     How long will the couple keep on marching?  "I'll march as long as I can" answers Scott, second oldest member of the men's marching unit.  "I'll not quit until they carry me out." replies Mrs Scott, the oldest member of the women's marching unit.

 
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Tri-County Organizations
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Fire Department of Webbs Mills in Town of Southport NY
HISTORY OF THE Webbs Mills VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
Article and Photos by Virginia WHEELER McElroy, Town of Southport Historian

Town of Southport  Page

WEBB MILLS VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

 The Webb Mills Fire Department, the first fire department in the Town of Southport,
Was organized on November 27, 1933.  One of the reasons the fire department was organized was that the Elmira Fire Department was the closest fire protection in the area and it took them 20-30 minutes to arrive at the scene.  Also because of the rules of the Elmira Fire Department, they had to have a guarantee of fifty dollars before they would respond and after they arrived at the scene, they couldn’t take their trucks off the roadway so they didn’t have any water to fight the fire after they expelled their water tanks.
 The first truck bought by the company was a used 1919 Reo foam truck, which was purchased in 1933, the truck was kept at the Cassidy residence which was two houses from Black’s Mill.  Earney Black was the driver of the fire engine.
 In the center of the little community of Webb Mills, on the east side of the road, stood an iron frame, from which hung a huge metal ring.  This mechanism, which never failed to arouse interest and curiosity of motorists, was an important phase of Webb Mills civic life, for it was the first means of notifying the men of a fire by striking the drive wheel from an old locomotive, which was known as the “Gong”.  This rim came off a locomotive driving wheel, five feet in diameter, which was secured from the Pennsylvania Railroad.  Franklin J. Hollenbeck and his brother George, from castings made in a shop on the Hollenbeck’s property, built the metal frame from which the rim was hung.  The gong was located at Frazer’s store, which was across from the Cassidy garage, which housed the truck. According to Robert H. Black of the Webb Mills Fire Commission, “when you hit the rim with that sledge, you could hear it a mile in any direction”.  That mile is all that was required, for the territory served by the Webb Mills apparatus takes in just that area. The LaFrance truck had a fire siren but it was a resounding blow on the old locomotive wheel rim that called forth the Webb Mills firemen.  The gong now hangs next to Station #1.
 The Webb Mills Fire Department was incorporated on May 26, 1948.  At this time, Station #1 which had two bays was built on the property owned by Charles Satterlee.  In 1949 the company purchased the deed for the property for one dollar.  In the following years three more bays were build along with a meeting hall, radio room, kitchen, members room and a Chief’s office.
 The Charter Members were: Ernest Black, R.H. Black, Walter Eaton, John Elliot, M.J. Enedy, B.J. Frasier, George Golden, Patsy Golden, F.J. Hollenbeck, George Hollenbeck, Earl Jorolomon, Lloyd Leonard, J.M. Lewis, Steve McWhorter, Frank Pedrick, Ralph (Dutch) Reese, R.W. Sampson, Charles Satterlee, Oakley Sterling, John Voorhees, Perry Voorhees, Ralph Wilson, and Ray Wilson.
 

To be continued in the March/April, 2006 issue.
Town Historian Virginia R. McElroy

Resources:  Good Neighbor Festival booklet, 1982
         Star Gazette article December 19, 1937

Gong at Webbs Mills Fire Station

CORRECTION:
      It has been brought to my attention by a “concerned citizen” that in my article in the January/February, 2006 Newsletter on the Webb Mills Fire Department, I misspelled Webb Mills.  It should be Webbs Mills. Although I was using information from the 1986 article, which spelled it that way, it has been a long time controversy as to the spelling.
      In 1784, Sestus A. Webb was born in Orange County, NY, moved to Elmira in early 1800’s and operated the former Eagle Hotel.  Later settling at a location south of Pine City, building a grist-mill, two saw mills and a store.  He died in 1858 at the age of 74.
     The settlement was first called Webb’s Mills in honor of the early settler.   However, through the years the apostrophe was dropped from the name, leaving it Webbs Mills.
     The Fire Department proudly displays the spelling as Webbs Mills on their building and fire trucks, but the sign pointing to the direction of the fire department says Webb Mills and the highway sign on Route 328 says Webb Mills.  Maybe someday they will
all agree.  Please accept my apology for incorrectly spelling of one part of our community on Rte 328 just south of Pine City in the Town of Southport. -- Virginia WHEELER McElroy


Dear Joyce, [July 2008]

My name is Noah Freeman and I am a firefighter with the Webbs Mills Volunteer Fire Department.  I have been reading through your website and i really like it.  I though you may be interested in knowing that out fire department recently got a brand new brush fire truck.  There seems to be so many brush and wildland fires in our area, i though it would be nice to get the word out because we are very willing to leave our county to come help out any other county in need of help.  The Fire Department is in Pine City in the town of Southport of Chemung County.  If you would like to do an article I can email you information back and forth if you wish or you can stop by on one of our meeting nights or make an appointment,  We meet ever monday night at 6:45 PM.

If you want to know more check out our website at http://www.webbsmillsfire.com/
 

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 17 APR 2005
By Joyce M. Tice
Email Joyce M. Tice

You are the  visitor since the counter was installed on 17 APR 2005