History 1914-1916

Back to History

1914

April 30, 1914
On Thursday, April 30, 1914, a small notice appeared in the Trenton Evening Times, sandwiched between the obituary of a Princeton woman and a report on civil unrest in the Dominican Republic. Despite its obscurity, however, the one-paragraph news brief is significant because it heralded the birth of the organization now known as Lawrence Road Fire Co. The item read: “Organization of the Eldridge Park Fire Co. will be perfected at a meeting tomorrow evening at the Eldridge Park school house. Plans for the proposed company were perfected at a recent meeting when Stephen Ziegler was chosen temporary chairman and Joseph Shropshire secretary.”

May 1, 1914
The official minutes of that historic first meeting on Friday, May 1, 1914, read: “Mr. Stephen Ziegler in the chair. Mr. Joseph Shropshire acting secretary. The meeting was called for the purpose of organizing a volunteer fire company for the benefit of Lawrence Road and vicinity. After much discussion of the proposition, seventy-five signified a willingness to form such an organization and they permanently organized. The name Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association was unanimously adopted.The following officers were nominated and elected. There being no contest, the secretary was instructed to cast the ballot. They were declared unanimously elected. Stephen Ziegler, president; John H. Hutchins, vice president; Millwood Salt, recording secretary; Lambert Smith, financial secretary; Charles H. Smith, treasurer; Alexander K. Young, William Hendrickson and J.H. Darrah Sr., trustees. A motion was adopted the president appoint the necessary committees. The following committees were appointed. Constitution & Bylaws: John H. Hutchins, Millwood Salt, John Hulse, Mr. Lindley, and Mr. Shaume. Building Site: William Hendrickson, Lambert Smith and Albert Clark. Ways & Means: Joseph Shropshire, Mr. H. Piggins, Ellis Housel, Alexander Young and Paul Bobkest. Mr. Alexander Young made a proposition that he would donate $25 towards the fund, providing nineteen others do likewise. Mr. J.H. Darrah and Mr. Beddige made a like proposition. It was accepted and the Ways & Means committee was instructed to work for seventeen more. The meeting was adjourned until Friday, May 15, 1914.”

May 2, 1914
On Saturday, May 2, 1914, the Trenton Evening Times published a report that “at the organization of the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association last night Stephen Ziegler was elected president and John Hutchins vice president. The new organization was formed to ensure better fire protection for residents of Eldridge Park and vicinity. It proposes to purchase a chemical fire engine and erect a building to store it. Mr. Alexander Young pledged $25 on condition more members be added to the rolls in a short time.”

May 15, 1914
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Friday, May 15, 1914, include: “The Ways & Means committee reported that ten gentlemen have been secured to pledge $25 towards the equipment fund. They also reported about 111 members have been secured up to date. They reported that together with the membership fee and subscription there was about $400 in sight for the fund. The Site & Location committee reported they were not ready to make a definite report at the time. They told of several sites they had considered and the matter was discussed by the members in general, but no particular site was recommended. A motion was adopted that this association should be incorporated. The Board of Trustees was requested to carry out the intent of the motion. A motion was adopted that the Ways & Means committee should solicit honorary memberships of people living out of the intended district of this association. John L. Brock gave an interesting talk on chemical fire apparatus, their proper use and cost.

The gentleman also distributed a catalogue on fire apparatus, which gave the members much enlightenment on the subject. There also appeared an agent of the John Mandley Co., makers of hand fire extinguishers and accessories. He gave the much needed valuable information on their use and cost. A motion was adopted that the trustees gather facts concerning fire apparatus that would be of good use to our fire association and report at our next regular meeting. Mr. Weller made an offer to donate a flag and pole when we have our headquarters built. A motion was adopted that this association hold a strawberry festival and an Entertainment committee be appointed. A motion was adopted that each member ask their women folk to donate cakes to the festival and report on their success at our next meeting.”

May 29, 1914
During the meeting held on Friday, May 29, 1914, the Board of Trustees reported “they had gathered some information on fire apparatus. They reported a 35-gallon tank could be had off the John Mandley Co. for $300. They also reported Fire Chief James Bennett of Trenton recommended the chemical apparatus of the S.F. Hayward Co. Mr. Schwartz, agent of that company, appeared before the meeting and explained the working of their apparatus. He quoted a price of $550 for the tank and $700 for two tanks complete. A motion was made we lay the matter over for two weeks. The motion was amended that we give the trustees power to act in buying an apparatus. The amendment carried 12 to 5. The Building Site committee reported that a site could be secured from Joseph Steinert with 55.5 feet on Lawrence Road at the corner of Wilson Avenue on condition of the payment of $10 per year for five years, and option of buying at any time on payment of $500. Motion was made the trustees accept the offer. The Entertainment committee reported they had almost all arrangements made for the strawberry festival. About 1,000 tickets were reported sold. The trustees reported the association was incorporated by Lawyer Wicoff. Motion adopted the officers sign the incorporation papers.”

June 3, 1914
The certificate of incorporation was signed on Wednesday, June 3, 1914, by Stephen Ziegler Sr., John T. Hutchins, Millwood Salt, Charles H. Smith, Lambert H. Smith, Alexander K. Young, William L. Hendrickson, and J. Henry Darrah. It reads: “This is to certify that the undersigned do hereby associate themselves into a corporation under and by virtue of the provisions of an act of legislature of the State of New Jersey. First, the name of this corporation is Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association. Second, the purposes for which this corporation is formed are to protect life and property from fire, particularly in the Township of Lawrence in the County of Mercer in the State of New Jersey. Third, the location of the principal office of this corporation is on the Lawrence Road in the Township of Lawrence in the County of Mercer in the State of New Jersey, and the name of the agent therein and in charge thereof upon whom process may be served is Alexander K. Young. Fourth, the number of trustees of this corporation is three. Fifth, the names of the trustees selected for the first year of the existence of this corporation are Alexander K. Young, William L. Hendrickson, and J. Henry Darrah; the post office address of each being R.F.D. #4 Trenton, New Jersey.” The document bears the name of the Law Offices of Wicoff and Lanning, 5 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey. It further reads: “Received in the Clerk’s Office of the County of Mercer on the 4th day of June, AD 1914, at 3:45 o’clock in the afternoon, and recorded in Book J of Corporations for said county on Page 15c. Signed George R. Robbins, Clerk.”

June 12, 1914
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Friday, June 12, 1914, include: “Entertainment committee reported the strawberry festival on June 1 was a financial success and they estimated between $200 and $250 was made. They asked all who still hold tickets to settle up as soon as possible. A rising vote of thanks was extended to the ladies and all who assisted in making the festival a success. The trustees reported that the incorporation papers were secured and the lease for the building site was on file in the court house. They reported they had done nothing definite in buying a fire apparatus. A motion the trustees buy a 45-gallon tank was adopted. A motion the president appoint a Building committee of five members was adopted. The following were appointed: Joseph Shropshire, Ellis Housel, Harry DeVaul, Clark Reed, and Mr. Chew. A bill of $10 for the building site lease was ordered paid.”

June 19, 1914
News of the fire company’s first apparatus, a hand model, was reported during the meeting held a week later on Friday, June 19, 1914. “The Board of Trustees reported they had purchased a chemical fire apparatus known as the Champion No. 10 (45-gallon tank) off of the S.F. Hayward Co. The price paid was $375. The Building committee reported that they had figured on a building 20-feet by 30-feet, sheeted and weather-boarded and shingled roof, to cost about $310. Report was received and the committee authorized to proceed with the building. A motion by Elmer E. Locke inviting the ladies to form an auxiliary to this association was adopted. The president appointed the following to assist the ladies in organizing: Mr. Locke, William Weller and Alexander Young. Motion was made by Mr. Locke this association conduct a Harvest Home and a committee be appointed to make the arrangements.”

July 6, 1914
The next meeting was held on Monday, July 6, 1914, in the Eldridge Park school house. Highlights from the minutes include: “Alexander Young, reporting for the trustees, stated the apparatus had not yet arrived. Joseph Shropshire reported progress on the Building committee. Elmer Locke, chairman of coming Harvest Home, reported the ladies have organized and they are doing excellent work in promoting the undertaking. Under the head of new business, the following was transacted. Motion made by Joseph Shropshire and duly seconded that the charter be closed. Amendment by Mr. Locke and seconded by James Balaam that the time limit be extended to August 1. Amendment was carried. The matter of initiation was then brought before the meeting. A motion was made by Alexander Young and duly seconded that the fee be $10. An amendment by Mr. Balaam was offered making it $5. After much discussion, the original motion was carried. Motion by Mr. Locke, seconded by Harry DeVaul, was carried that any member becoming in arrears for one year’s dues be denied use of the engine house. The election of officers was laid over until the next meeting. By a motion of Alexander Young, the Building committee was empowered to purchase locks and 50 keys for the new building.” Also held during the meeting was a discussion of locomotive tires being used as fire alarms. “Mr. Acroyd reported that engine tires could be purchased for $7 or $8 each. The secretary was instructed to communicate with the master mechanic of the Pennsylvania Railroad shops concerning same.”

July 13, 1914
The next meeting was the first to be held in the newly-built frame firehouse. That fact is proudly recorded in the minutes: “At a regular meeting of the L.V.F.A. on July 13, 1914, in their headquarters on the Lawrence Road, President Stephen Ziegler was in the chair. The trustees reported that the building was being insured in the amount of $800. The Building committee reported that they had gone as far as the amount appropriated and would finish the building as soon as possible.” The Constitution & Bylaws committee presented its work and “a motion was made by Edward Whitehead and seconded by Alexander Young that we adopt the constitution and bylaws as a whole and discharge the committee with thanks. The motion carried unanimously. The president called for nomination of the new officers created by the constitution. Charles H. Smith was nominated chief; Joseph Shropshire, foreman; and John Moulds, assistant foreman. Nominations were closed. A motion was adopted that the secretary cast the ballot. The president appointed Mr. Weller, John H. Hutchins, and Harry DeVaul judges of the election. The ballot was cast and the above named officers elected. A motion was made by Joseph Shropshire that a House committee be appointed. Seconded by Edward Whitehead, the motion carried. The president appointed the following: Harry DeVaul, James Ziegler and Chester Fell. Committee was empowered to make suitable house rules. A motion was made by Harry DeVaul and seconded by Edward Whitehead the financial secretary sell the keys to the headquarters at 25 cents each. A motion was made by Edward Whitehead, seconded by Alexander Young, that a committee be appointed to ascertain from all those who made donations of $5 or more whether they wanted to be active or honorary members. The president appointed the following Membership committee: John Hulse, Edward Whitehead and John Hutchins to work below the Eldridge Park school on the Lawrence Road; Mr. Rickey and Mr. Skillman above the school on the Lawrence Road; and Mr. Ringkamp and J. Vognet in Eldridge Park.”

August 3, 1914
During the meeting held on Monday, August 3, 1914, the Board of Trustees reported that “the S.F. Hayward Co. informed that the fire apparatus was shipped on July 27. John Hutchins and Edward Whitehead reporting for the Membership committee said that they had secured several new members and one donation of $5. They told of several who desired to join but could not do so at this time and would later if some arrangements could be made. Motion was made by Thomas Powner, seconded by Alexander Young, that the time limit for becoming a member for $1 be extended until out next regular meeting, the first Monday in September. Motion was adopted. Joseph Shropshire, Building committee chairman, reported they had practically finished the building and presented the following bills: Samuel Heath Co. (lumber) $263.09; Weeder Co. (paint) $19.77; and Conner Millworks $37.59. Motion was made by Edward Whitehead that a committee be appointed to gather information concerning the New Jersey State Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association. A committee was appointed to ascertain the cost of fire bells. A motion by Edward Whitehead was adopted that a committee be appointed to attend the meeting of the township council and urge the changing of the light near Eldridge Avenue so it would be of advantage to the fire company. Financial Secretary Lambert Smith reported there was $563.78 in the treasury.”

August 11, 1914
During a special meeting held on Tuesday, August 11, 1914, Alexander Young, chairman of the Board of Trustees, reported that the new fire apparatus had arrived and “he had secured all the necessary materials to be used in the trial test of the new apparatus. The Building committee reported that the bills for the material and lumber had been paid and they turned $30 back to the treasury. This money represented the rebate on the bills being paid. They showed that they had come within the estimated cost of the building. A motion made by Elmer Locke that the money turned back by the Building committee be reserved as a building fund was adopted. The Firemen’s Relief committee reported they had received a communication from Mr. Gatz, secretary of the state relief association.”

August 21, 1914
Among the business attended to during another special meeting held on Friday, August 21, 1914, it was “regularly moved and seconded that we accept the donation of a bell by William Hendrickson to the fire company. The motion was carried.”

September 7, 1914
The bill for the new fire apparatus, $375 to John L. Brock, was ordered paid during the meeting held on Monday, September 7, 1914. Also during the meeting the trustees reported that the firehouse and its furnishings had been insured for $900. A resolution, which had been sent to the widow of a recently deceased member, was then recorded in the minutes of the meeting. The resolution read in part: “Whereas it has come to our notice that the grim reaper has taken from our midst one of our beloved brother members, Theodore Weaver, and whereas we feel that we have lost an earnest worker and a true friend, therefore be it resolved that we do hereby extend out heartfelt sympathy to the widow and family of our deceased brother in this hour of their deepest sorrow, and that the engine house be draped in mourning for the space of one week out of respect to the memory of our late brother.”

October 5, 1914
During the meeting held on Monday, October 5, 1914, “Chief Charles H. Smith reported that he had made arrangements to secure the fire alarms. It was regularly moved and seconded that the chief and his assistants be empowered to place the fire alarms. The Furniture committee reported that they could secure six tables and 12 chairs for $22.50. A motion was adopted they buy the tables and chairs. It was regularly moved and seconded that a sinking fund be created under the supervision of the trustees and that $200 be placed in it at the present and $100 a year thereafter to pay for the building site. It was regularly moved and seconded the House committee secure the necessary coal for heating the headquarters. The Entertainment committee reported that they had secured games for the use of the members. They also reported that the Ladies Auxiliary desired permission to hold an entertainment in the headquarters on Halloween evening and also desired the association to take part. Regularly moved and seconded that we spend $5 for the tuning of the piano.”

October 19, 1914
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, October 19, 1914, include: “Chief Charles H. Smith reported that he had been given to understand that the order for scrap (locomotive) tires had to be sent to the railroad headquarters in Philadelphia. The secretary was instructed to attend to the matter. The Entertainment committee reported they had met with the Ladies Auxiliary and decided to hold an entertainment on Halloween eve. After quite some discussion, it was moved and seconded that there be no admission charge but we have coffee and sandwiches and other refreshments for sale. The resignation of Millwood Salt was read and accepted, and Edward Whitehead was elected to fill the term of recording secretary. John Hulse stated the Entertainment committee was going to conduct a quoit tournament for the members starting on the first Thursday in November. Some of our junior members asked for the privilege of parading in the Masquerade Carnival on October 30 under the auspices of the association’s name. The request was granted.”

November 2, 1914
During the next meeting held on Monday, November 2, 1914, Chief Charles H. Smith reported that “he had been to the shops and got the locomotive tires and he and the assistant chiefs wanted to know what they were to do about having them put up. They were instructed to hire help to put them up if necessary. Harry DeVaul reported the House committee had purchased cigars and had them for sale. He also asked what the members thought about having a voluntary contribution box placed in the firehouse to help pay for the lights (electricity). After some little discussion, it was decided not to, since some thought it might be a means of keeping some of the members away. Elliot Poole suggested we hold a eucher once a month. It was referred to the Entertainment committee.”

November 16, 1914
At the meeting held on Monday, November 16, 1914, “Chief Charles H. Smith reported he had secured three tires from the Pennsylvania Railroad shops to be used for fire alarms and left one on Fairfield Avenue, one in Eldridge Park and one up the road by Mr. Skillman’s place, but had as yet been unable to put them up. But he and the two assistant chiefs would attend to that part of it as soon as possible. The House committee reported Harry DeVaul had built a coal box. The committee was authorized to order coal and wood as needed. J.H. Darrah offered to give a load of wood and Charles H. Smith offered to haul the same. Harry DeVaul stated the Ladies Auxiliary would like to hold an oyster supper but had no place to cook in. He stated that if the association would buy the lumber, he would volunteer to see that a kitchen, 10-feet by 20-feet, was built and the same would only cost about $25 as he had an offer from Mr. Goulding for enough tin for the roof. Harry DeVaul was empowered to purchase the necessary lumber and have same built. J.H.

Darrah stated the trustees had discussed the question of the financial secretary sending out notices to delinquent members and thought the secretary ought to be paid for his services. A motion was made the financial secretary be required to send out quarterly statements and be paid a yearly salary of $12 and the yearly salary of the recording secretary be fixed at $6. The secretary then read the resignation of Alexander Young as trustee. On motion, the same was accepted with regrets and a vote of thanks tendered for his services rendered. Thomas Powner was elected to fill the unexpired term. Chief Charles H. Smith then asked what the limits of the fire district were and the following limits were agreed upon: from the city line to Mr. Risley’s, south to north, and from the Princeton Road to the Johnson trolley line, east to west. Stephen Ziegler then stated that he and several other citizens had called a meeting in the firehouse last Wednesday night to protest against a certain party building out too near the road on the Eldridge estate and asked for the privilege of the use of the firehouse for purpose of forming a civic club. On motion, his action was sustained and his request granted.”

December 7, 1914
During the meeting held on Monday, December 7, 1914, “1st Assistant Chief Joseph Shropshire reported that two of the fire alarms had been placed – one on Fairfield Avenue and one on Eldridge Avenue. The other one would be put up this coming week if possible.” It was reported that about $612.50 was made during the Harvest Home fundraiser held in August. “Joseph Shropshire moved to reconsider the motion passed at out last meeting fixing the secretaries’ salaries. The motion was seconded by John Moulds. John Hulse stated there was quite some kicking amongst the members about paying the secretaries until the association was better fixed financially. Charles Crozer stated he thought we ought to pay our secretaries but he thought the recording secretary ought to get as much as the financial secretary. He said we ought not to take notice of any members complaining if they did not see fit to come to meetings. The matter was laid over until the night of the election of officers. The question will be made a special order of business prior to the election. The question of having the bylaws framed and hung was discussed and the president appointed John Hulse to attend to it.”

December 21, 1914
Lawrence Road’s annual tradition of holding an open house on January 1st was brought up for the first time during the final meeting of 1914, which was held on Monday, December 21. During the meeting “the question of holding an open house on New Year’s Day was discussed and it was agreed that we hold an all-day open house and that the expenses be defrayed by voluntary contribution. It was decided to try out our fire alarms on New Year’s Eve and the secretary instructed to notify Slackwood Fire Co. so they would not mistake it for an alarm of fire. On a motion, the Building committee was instructed to go ahead and finish the kitchen.”

1915

January 4, 1915
During the first meeting of 1915, held on Monday, January 4, the “Building committee reported that they were trying to get the kitchen finished as soon as possible. Under unfinished business, the question of reconsidering the secretaries’ salaries was taken up and lost by a vote of 4 in favor to 15 against.”

Elections of administrative and fire line officers were then held. “The financial secretary reported he had received a donation of $10 from William Conover Brearley. The president gave a few interesting remarks in which he asked for the hearty cooperation of the members with the officers and, while we had done very well since we organized, he thought we could accomplish still more this coming year and he hoped every member would work for the success of the company.”

February 10-11, 1915
On Wednesday, February 10, 1915, members of the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association responded to their very first alarm.

The Trenton Evening Times published this account of the blaze on the following day, Thursday, February 11, 1915: “Part of the dwelling of Mary Condy at Eldridge Park was destroyed last evening when fire wiped out the kitchen and the room above. The damage amounted to about $700. The Lawrence Road and Slackwood fire departments were summoned and succeeded, after a hard struggle, in saving the remainder of the home. The dwelling was a two-story frame and the flames are said to have originated in an overheated range in the kitchen. Practically all of the house furnishings were saved by the firemen.”

May 1, 1915
Chief Charles H. Smith submitted the following letter during the meeting held on Monday, March 1, 1915. “To the officers and members of Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association: Gentlemen, in giving you a report of the fire which occurred in Eldridge Park on February 10, I will say that we responded promptly to the alarm given and soon had under control a fire which had gained considerable headway – for which I think we are entitled to some credit even though the house burned down later, which was no fault of ours. And I wish to thank the members for the loyal support given me. This being our first call it gives us some experience with our engine, which worked very satisfactory. Where water is nearby, it can be re-filled in a very short space of time and for nearby property it makes a very efficient machine. In order that the active members may become more familiar with the engine, I would suggest that we have a tryout at some prearranged time and place, say in the vicinity of Fairfield Avenue. In this way, we can gain experience and have better discipline. In conclusion, I will suggest that the secretary be instructed to write a letter to Slackwood Volunteer Fire Co. thanking them for their kind assistance at the recent fire in our vicinity. I remain your obedient chief, Charles H. Smith.”

Other business attended to during the meeting of March 1, 1915, included: “Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones of the school board asked if the fire company would rent the firehouse for the balance of the school year as the board was (lacking) room for the small children. The request was granted. Motion was made we ask $15 per month. Amendment was made we ask $20. Amendment carried. Alexander Young asked what constituted an honorary membership, as both Mr. Beddige and Mr. Opdyke had received notices for dues. Lambert Smith stated he had sent out notices to all members as he did not know who wanted to become an honorary member. He said any who did not respond and had paid $5 or more would be considered an honorary member and recorded as such. On motion, the president and chief were instructed to select a design for a badge so those members who wished might order one.”

April 5, 1915
Discussion about a pool table apparently dominated the next meeting, according to the minutes recorded on Monday, April 5, 1915. “It was stated that Chief Charles Smith was willing to loan the Entertainment committee $60 if some of the members were willing to give a note of security. The following members offered to endorse a note for six months: Stephen Ziegler Sr., James Balaam, Harry Sohl, Joseph Murray, and Edward Whitehead. On a motion the Entertainment committee was empowered to purchase and have installed in the firehouse the pool table in question. The committee and those going security will have control of same until it is paid for, after which it will be turned over to the fire company as their property.”

April 14, 1915
A special meeting was held on Wednesday, April 14, 1915, to decide whether “we should celebrate our first anniversary, as there seemed to be a desire on the part of some of our members to celebrate the event. After some discussion, it was decided to hold a celebration and charge those who wished to come 50 cents each. It was decided to hold it at the firehouse on May 1 starting 1 p.m.”

May 3, 1915
During the next meeting held on Monday, May 3, 1915, the Entertainment committee reported that they had purchased the pool table and the Anniversary committee reported that the affair on May 1 had been a success. Also, “the question of our membership fee of $10 was discussed at some length. Many of the members thought it was too high as there were new residents coming into the neighborhood all the time who thought that our membership fee was too high. The following resolution was then offered by Edward Whitehead: whereas the fee of $10 for new active members seems too high, be it resolved that we suspend our bylaws and open our charter for three months and we receive new active members for a fee of $2 until August 2, 1915. On motion, resolution was adopted.” Discussion was then held about holding another strawberry festival and a committee was appointed to attend to the matter.

June 7, 1915
During the meeting held on Monday, June 7, 1915, President Stephen Ziegler Sr. “stated that on Saturday, June 5, he called up the chairman of the trustees and found that on that date there was a payment of $10 due for ground rent and no provision had been made to pay the same. Whereupon he called up Joseph Steinert and asked him if he would waive the payment of the $10 for a few days, providing we could pay the purchase price outright on or before June 10. Joseph Steinert said he would and was willing to sign an agreement to that effect. Stephen Ziegler and the secretary then went to Joseph Steinert’s place of business on Saturday at noon and had him sign said agreement. The president then stated that with what money there was in the hands of the trustees and the treasurer and the proceeds from the strawberry festival he thought we could very nearly raise the $500 required, especially since he had learned the Ladies Auxiliary had $50 which they wished to turn over to the fire company for that purpose. Alexander Young then stated that if we were short he would loan the company $50. Charles Crozer then offered to assume the payment of any of the festival bills we might be unable to pay and would loan us the money for three months. The president was then given a rising vote of thanks for his alertness in looking after the interests of the association. The trustees were instructed to see that the purchase price of the lot was paid on or about June 10 and to have the same recorded. The trustees reported they had placed $200 in the First National Bank. On motion by Edward Whitehead, the financial secretary was instructed to write to the tax collector and ascertain if all volunteer firemen were exempt from the poll tax. The question of holding a three-day carnival was then discussed at some length, after which a committee was appointed.”

August 2, 1915
The minutes of the meeting held on Monday, August 2, 1915, show that President Stephen Ziegler Sr. “reported that he and William Hendrickson had paid Joseph Steinert the $500 on the lot. Financial Secretary Lambert Smith reported he had made inquiry about the poll tax and found that only those belonging to the Exempt Firemen’s Association were entitled to exemption. The secretary read a letter from the Slackwood Fire Co. thanking us for the good time shown them on the occasion of presenting them with the horn won by their baseball team. On motion, the rule pertaining to our regular initiation fee of $10 was suspended until another meeting.”

October 4, 1915
During the meeting held on Monday, October 4, 1915, “Mr. Schwartz of the S.F. Hayward Co. was introduced. He stated he understood we were in the market for a motor apparatus. He displayed a circular showing a two 25-gallon tank apparatus mounted on a Ford chassis, which he offered to us for $1,250. Or, if we wished, the firm would furnish us with two 35-gallon tanks ready to mount including hose basket, 150 feet of hose and other equipment for $600. He offered to allow us $200 for our hand machine and allow freight charges. The secretary read an invitation from the Slackwood Fire Co. to spend a social evening with them on October 13. On motion, same was accepted. On motion, the law fixing the initiation fee was suspended for one month longer. President Stephen Ziegler reported he had got 25 more badges and any member wishing same could get them from the financial secretary for 50 cents each. The secretary was instructed to invite the officers and tug-of-war teams of Lawrenceville Fire Co. and Mercer Fire Co. of Princeton to attend a special meeting at our firehouse on Oct. 15 at which time we would present the respective teams with the loving cup and fire horn won at our carnival. The Entertainment committee was instructed to get such refreshment for the occasion as they saw fit.”

November 1, 1915
At the meeting held on Monday, November 1, 1915, “the secretary read an invitation from Mercer Fire Co. of Princeton for our officers or a delegation to spend a social hour with them on Friday, November 5. On motion, the invitation was accepted. The committee to entertain Lawrenceville and Princeton firemen on October 15 on the occasion of presenting them with the trophies won at our carnival reported a very successful and pleasant evening.”

December 6, 1915
During the meeting held on Monday, December 6, 1915, a resolution marking the death of Elmer E. Locke was read into the minutes. In his honor, the firehouse was draped in mourning for 10 days. Also during the meeting, “Harry Sohl reported the pool table was paid for and would be turned over to the fire company on the first of the year. Mr. Ziegler asked for the loan of tables and benches for the Eldridge Park Sunday School bazaar. On motion, the request was granted. Motion was made the salaries of the recording secretary and the financial secretary be fixed at $6 per year for faithful performance of duty. Motion carried. A motion was offered changing the regular meeting night from the first Monday to the second Monday of the month. Same was laid over for a second reading. We then went into the nomination of officers for the coming year. The following nominations were made. President: Stephen Ziegler Sr., James Balaam, and Edward J. Whitehead. Vice President: Harry Sohl. Recording Secretary: Edward J. Whitehead and James Ziegler. Financial Secretary: James Balaam. Treasurer: Charles H. Smith. Chief: Charles H. Smith, Harry Sohl, and Joseph Shropshire. 1st Assistant Chief: James Balaam and John Moulds. 2nd Assistant Chief: James Ziegler, John Moulds, Arthur Poole, Hiram Weller, Irving P. Wolfinger, and Joseph Murray. Trustees: J.H. Darrah Sr., John L. Brock, Joseph Murray, Thomas DeCou, Stephen Ziegler, William Weller, and Godfrey Slover. Charles H. Crozer then offered his resignation as trustee, stating he was unable to attend meetings in the summer months. On motion, the resignation was accepted.”

1916

January 3, 1916
Officers were elected during the first meeting of 1916, held on Monday, January 3. Also during the meeting, “the resolution changing the regular meeting from the first to the second Monday of each month was passed. The secretary read a letter asking for information about an auto engine or new tanks from the S.F. Hayward Co. The secretary was instructed to say we were not yet ready to buy. Edward Whitehead suggested the association purchase four hand extinguishers, one to be located at each of the fire alarm stations and one in the engine house. On motion, the matter was laid over and the secretary instructed to inquire about prices. President Stephen Ziegler, in a few well chosen remarks, thanked the members for the honor of re-election and their confidence and suggested a more progressive and efficient policy of the officers and members in the coming year. The question of apparatus and new and larger quarters was discussed at some length. The opinion of those present seemed to favor a new firehouse and the following committee was appointed to inquire into the possible cost of a suitable building: Joseph Shropshire, Thomas DeCou, and Andrew Heck. After discussing the question of the township committee putting the proposition of the purchase of a fire apparatus up to the voters of the district, the president appointed Thomas DeCou, Edward Whitehead and Joseph Shropshire to lay the matter before the township committee at their next meeting. The question of our joining the state Firemen’s Relief Association was then taken up for discussion. President Stephen Ziegler stated he thought he could get Mr. Frank Wright of the Rusling Hose Co. to explain the details and benefits to be derived from same. A special meeting was called for Monday, January 10, to discuss the proposition and the president instructed to extend an invitation to Mr. Wright to be present.”


January 10, 1916
During the special meeting held on Monday, January 10, 1916, “the question of having a fire kept to warm the building for the winter months was discussed and the House committee was empowered to hire someone at $1 per week for the balance of the winter. Secretary Edward Whitehead stated he found we could get 3-gallon extinguishers for a low as $6.75 each up to $17. On motion, the secretary and president were empowered to purchase four suitable extinguishers, providing they had the approval of the National Board of Underwriters, and have one placed at or near each of the fire alarms and one in the firehouse. Mr. Frank Wright and two other gentlemen from the Rusling Hose Co. were then introduced and Mr. Wright proceeded to explain the workings of and the benefits of the state Firemen’s Relief Association. He said the fee to join was about $25. After that, the local relief was self-sustaining. The funds of the association are derived from a tax levied upon all foreign or non-resident insurance companies by the state of 2 percent of all premiums or policies written by said companies within the state. When asked if each company in the township could form its own relief association, he said yes and it was advisable to do so for then each company got a share of the June dividend each year, whereas if our companies were all in one relief we would only get one share. But to get into the association we would be compelled to get recognition from the township committee and have a given fire district or area, and receive some sort of aid from the township committee. Mr. Wright explained that each local relief association was compelled to make an annual report to the state of all moneys received and expended and how. No local could spend more than 10 percent of its receipts for salaries, etc. On motion, Mr. Wright was given a rising vote of thanks for his courteous and valuable information. A committee consisting of J.H. Darrah Sr., Harry Sohl, and Charles H. Smith were appointed to inquire into the advisability of our joining the state Firemen’s Relief Association.”

February 10, 1916
Minutes from next meeting, dated Thursday, February 10, 1916, show that “Edward Whitehead and Thomas DeCou reported that the committee went before the township in reference to the fire districts, and Slackwood, Lawrenceville and our committee had finally agreed upon a division of territory to be covered by each company respectively. They reported that the township committee will meet in special session on February 26 to pass a resolution entering into an agreement with the companies for municipal support and to confirm a member (presumably the chief) of each company to have control and supervision of any funds appropriated – thus giving us official recognition and enabling us to become affiliated with the state Firemen’s Relief Association. On motion, the report was received and the committee continued. The secretary was instructed to write to the secretary of the state relief association asking for application blanks and general information.” Also during the meeting, a bill for four fire extinguishers, $6.75 each, was ordered paid.

February 28, 1916
During a special meeting held on Monday, February 28, 1916, “the committee to go before the township to get official recognition and have a fire zone established reported that the township committee entered into a contract with our president and secretary to pay our fire association the sum of $5 to do public fire duty for one year and set apart the following territory to be known as Fire District 2.” The agreement with the township stated, in part, as follows: “…and be it further agreed that in particular the said fire company shall do public fire duty with special reference to the territory in said township described as: beginning at the junction of Princeton Avenue and Shabakunk Creek, thence westerly along said creek to the township line, thence from the township line to the Ewing Road, thence from the Ewing Road and Bunker Hill Road in a northerly course to the southerly branch of the Five Mile Run, thence along same Five Mile Run in an easterly direction to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Traction Co., thence northerly along said trolley line to Denow’s Farm, thence in an easterly direction by Denow’s line and southerly Bromley line of the farm held by the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville to the center of the Five Mile Run, thence by course of Five Mile Run to the center of Princeton Road, thence by a southerly direction by center of Princeton Road to place of beginning. Dated February 26, 1916.” The meeting then adjourned “for the purpose of allowing those members present to organize a firemen’s relief association.”

March 13, 1916
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, March 13, 1916, include: “The trustees reported they had deposited $850 in the Trenton Trust and Safe Deposit Co. The Relief committee reported progress. The secretary read a letter from C. Bainbridge offering to drill a well free of charge provided we pay for moving his machine and buy the necessary pipe off him. Edward Whitehead reported Mr. Tilton of Ewing had offered to drill 50 feet of well for us free of charge and the balance at $1.50 per foot if needed, and would sell us the necessary pipe at the prevailing market price. On motion, the secretary was instructed to write and ask Mr. Tilton for a detailed statement. Edward Whitehead stated 2nd Assistant Chief Irving P. Wolfinger was working nights and was unable to attend meetings but was willing to perform his duties in the daytime if needed or would resign his office if the members thought he ought to do so. On motion, he was excused from attending the meetings and retained his office. On motion, the chief and his assistants were instructed to place the four fire extinguishers at or near the fire alarm stations and get a receipt or agreement signed by the parties having charge of same agreeing to return same if called upon to do so.” A bill for $30 for the relief association was ordered paid.

April 10, 1916
During the meeting held on Monday, April 10, 1916, “the secretary read a letter from the agents of American LaFrance Co. in which they offered to sell us a two 25-gallon tank Ford fire apparatus for $1,250, and allow us $250 for our hand-drawn apparatus and allow us one year in which to pay for the auto machine. On motion, the secretary was instructed to write and say we did not care to entertain the proposition at this time. The question of holding a strawberry festival was discussed and on motion it was agreed to give way this year in favor of the new church people. The time limit for new members for the $2 fee was extended to August 1.”

September 11, 1916
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, September 11, 1916, include: “Stephen Ziegler Sr. reported he had a sample regulation fire cap, which could be purchased from Harry Harold for $1.40 each if any of the members wished to have one. On motion, the matter was laid over. Under the head of new business, the question of purchasing a new fire apparatus was discussed. On motion, the following were appointed as a committee to act in conjunction with the trustees and President Ziegler to inquire about apparatus and report at out next meeting: Edward Whitehead, Harry Sohl, Arthur Poole, James Balaam, Thomas DeCou, Godfrey Slover, and William Sharp. On motion, it was decided that any expenses incurred by the committee will be borne by the company.”

October 9, 1916
During the meeting held on Monday, October 9, 1916, “Edward Whitehead of the Apparatus committee reported that the committee met on September 23 with representatives of the Stewart Truck Co., the Jeffrey Auto Truck Co., the Republic Truck Co., and the Auto Car Co. The prices for same were quoted as: the Stewart 1.25-ton, 4-cylinder chassis for $1,425, and with electric lights and starter for $1,550; the Jeffrey 1.5-ton, 4-cylinder chassis with electric lights and starter for $1,465; the Republic 1-ton chassis for $1,275, with $50 added for 4-cylinder freight; the Auto Car 2-ton, 2-cylinder chassis for $1,650. Upon being asked what they thought of the merits of the different cars shown, eight out of 10 members on the committee expressed themselves as being in favor of the Jeffrey truck. John Brock stated while the committee was pretty unanimous in favor of the Jeffrey truck, he thought the committee might do well to further consider the merits of the Auto Car and, if they wished, he would take them to Yardley, Pa., on Saturday and arrange for a demonstration of the Auto fire apparatus in that place. On motion, Mr. Brock’s invitation was accepted for Saturday, October 14. The committee also reported they were making inquiry as to the cost of equipment but were unable to report on that yet. The trustees reported receipt of a bill from Mr. Tilton for $33.50 for installing the pump but as same did not seem satisfactory the bill was laid over and the trustees instructed to have Mr. Tilton attend to same. Mr. E.E. Reed, a trustee of the Lawrence Road Chapel, asked we appoint a committee to confer with the chapel’s trustees to see if there could be a deal made in reference to purchasing the corner lot from the fire company as the church people were very desirous to acquire the same if both parties could agree upon a price.”

October 23, 1916
The minutes of a special meeting held on Monday, October 23, 1916, show that Edward Whitehead, chairman of the Apparatus committee, made the following report. “Gentlemen, we have carefully gone over each and every proposition submitted to us for consideration by the various firms and agents dealing in fire apparatus and auto trucks and the following prices were submitted by the firms: the Service Truck Co. of Wabash, Indiana, 1.5-ton chassis for $1,950, or tanks and equipment without the body for $900, or a total of $2,850; a 2-ton Auto Car chassis, offered by John Brock, for $1,640, or fully equipped for $2,640; the Stewart 1.25-ton truck for $1,425, or equipped with two 35-gallon steel tanks and (incomplete) accessories for $2,325; the Reo 2-ton chassis for $1,500, or fully equipped and ready for service for $3,100; the Republic 1.5-ton chassis for $1,315, or 2-ton for $1,725, with no estimate on equipment; and the Jeffrey Truck Co. 1.5-ton chassis for $1,465, less a $50 donation to the fire company for a total of $1,415. James Boyd and Brothers of Philadelphia offer a two 40-gallon air compression and curved steel body outfit complete in every way (except search light), finished and mounted on chassis, for $1,315. Peter Pirsch Co. of Kewanah, Michigan, offers us a body and equipment with two 35-gallon steel tanks ready to mount for $1,215. (The Boyd Co. offers similar equipment for $875.) S.F. Hayward Co. of Philadelphia offers to furnish us with two 35-gallon copper tanks, by-pass, 200 feet of hose, two extra acid holders, two ladders, two lanterns, one axe, one crow bar, one 10-inch fire bell and brackets, and two fire extinguishers and holders for $585.25. We, your committee, after carefully going over the different propositions and seeing the different trucks explained and demonstrated, feel justified in recommending to you that the fire association purchase the Jeffrey 1.5-ton chassis and the Boyd equipment consisting of two 40-gallon Kanawah tanks with the compressed air and soda and alum system, curved side steel body, and other equipment specified, the total cost of which would be $2,730. We also recommend that the balance of the money needed be raised upon a one-year note bearing 6 percent interest. Six members of our committee have expressed a willingness to endorse a standard security for same. John Hutchins made a motion that the recommendation of the committee be concurred in and the committee give full power to act in the matter. Alexander Young seconded the motion. President Stephen Ziegler asked if there was anyone who wished to ask any questions or make any remarks before the question was put. There being none, the question was put and carried without a dissenting vote.”

Other business attended to during the special meeting held on October 23, 1916, included: “Harry Sohl of the Lot committee reported the committee met and the only proposition offered was we sell the church people our lot and they would give us 50 feet off the bottom of their lot as part payment and we move the firehouse back on the side street. Mr. Ziegler suggested that all who were in favor of that proposition stand up. When about seven members stood up in favor, those opposed where in the majority. Edward Whitehead stated that if the church people could offer the fire company a suitable lot on the front road he, for one, would be willing to consider the proposition. J.H. Darrah stated there was a lot, 50-feet by 110-feet, on the opposite side of the road that could be bought for $450. On motion, the matter was referred back to the committee. Mr. Balaam stated that the township committee had been requested to replace the light opposite the firehouse back on the corner of Eldridge Avenue but would not do so without the consent of the fire company. On motion, the secretary was instructed to communicate our willingness to accede to the request.”

November 13, 1916
Although it is not clearly marked as such in the company’s minutes, what was probably the second fire in the history of Lawrence Road Fire Co. occurred on Tuesday, November 7, 1916. The blaze is documented in the minutes of the meeting held on Monday, November 13, 1916: “2nd Assistant Chief Irving P. Wolfinger reported an alarm of fire on November 7 in the afternoon, with Harvey Butterfoss, P. Ziegler, Edward J. Whitehead, and Wolfinger responding. It was only a brush fire, with no damage done and no need to use the apparatus. He asked that a vote of thanks be extended to Mr. Wiseman and Mr. John Bayce for taking the apparatus to and from the scene of the fire. On motion, report was received and request complied with.”

Also on November 7, 1916, “the Apparatus committee reported John Brock had submitted a bid of $2,700 for an Auto Car equipped with Boyd Kanawah tanks, but the committee was unanimously in favor of the Jeffrey truck with Boyd tank equipment. They reported the truck had been ordered and $250 paid on same.” The Apparatus committee also reported there was a misunderstanding with the Boyd Co. about their equipment bid, but reported they “hoped to have the matter straightened out in a few days, after which they would be able to complete arrangements for early delivery.” The trustees “reported the (well) pump was alright and the $33.50 bill for same was ordered paid.”

December 11, 1916
The final meeting of 1916 was held on Monday, December 11. During the meeting, “the Apparatus committee reported they had been held up on account of the Boyd firm refusing to furnish the two Kanawah tanks at the price agreed upon, and the committee had met and agreed to let Mr. Wallace Hough, purchasing agent for the Trenton Department of Public Safety, order us two copper Holloway tanks which he thought he could get us for $500 if bought soon, whereas the same tanks from the S.F. Hayward Co. would cost $600. On motion, the committee was instructed to go ahead and let Mr. Hough order same and have them shipped to Fitzgibbon and Crisp Co. for mounting. Edward Whitehead reported Stephen Ziegler and himself had asked young Mr. Cook of the Acme Rubber Co. for a donation of hose for our new engine and he and his father had very generously donated to us 200 feet of 3/4-inch chemical hose. On motion, the secretary was instructed to convey to the gentlemen our sincere thanks for so generous a donation. On motion by James Balaam it was decided we have a roster of members hung in the firehouse and only those members in good standing appear in same. The question of holding an open house on New Year’s Day was discussed and a committee appointed.” Nominations for officers for the coming year were held during the meeting.

Top of page