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Cohoes Public Library Online Collections

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Cataract Fire Engine Co. No. 1

The Village of Cohoes was incorporated in July 1848. One of the first items of business concerned the organization of a fire department. On October 4, 1848 it was resolved "that two fire companies be organized in this village for the extinguishment of fires, and that one of the said companies be known and styled as the Parmelee Engine Co., No. 2, and that the other company by styled Cataract Engine Co., No. 3, and that said companies be composed of not more than fifty men each….On motion of Mr. Abbott, the following were appointed members of Cataract Engine Company No. 3: Wm. T. Palmer, Samuel Wilkinson, Chas. E. St. John, Henry E. Robbins, Patrick H. Moore, Wm. Green, John Van DerMark, Wm. Ferrell, Joseph Hahn, Alexander Hay, Joseph M. Brown, Marcus S. Deyo, George Jackson, Alonzo Wilmot, John Eastwood, S. M. Swart, Jacob I. Lansing, Isaac I. Ayres, Joseph B. Prescott, Wm. Manning, Lucien Fitts, I. F. Overpaugh, Wm. H. Doty, John P. Warwick, George W. Miller, Darius Parkhurst, Wm. B. Barrett"

In 1850, on petition of the company, the Cataract Engine Co., No. 3, changed its name to Cataract Engine Co., No. 1. The following Cataract Engine Co., No 1 record book contains the Company’s handwritten Constitution and By-Laws, 1852; the Record of Proceedings, 1852-1858; and the Company Roll 1852-1858. The Company Constitution includes 17 articles and 15 by-laws that set forth how the Company shall operate. The Record of Proceedings cover routine meetings and issues as well as special meetings to report on fire calls responded to. The Company Roll records the names and attendance records of members.

In July 1870, the Cataract Engine Company No. 1 was reorganized and became the George Campbell Hose Company.

 

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Constitution & By-Laws of Cataract Fire Engine Co. No. 1, 1852

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Record of Proceedings
Cataract Engine Co. No. 1, 1852-1858

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Roll of Cataract Engine Co. No. 1, 1852-1858

 

Minute Book for Cataract Engine Co. No. 1, 1858-1865

This minute book for Cohoes Fire Department (then formally called Cataract Engine Co.No 1) records the regular and special meeting of the fire company. The minutes of regular meetings typically record matters of general organization business such as election of officers, membership issues, dues collection, equipment purchase, and annual events such as summer excursion and fundraisers like the Fireman's Ball. The minutes of special meetings record summary accounts of fire calls responded and special or extraordinary business such as the death of a company member.

This particular minute book, spanning the Civil War years, contains several references to fire company members' participation in the war. The minutes record the company's involvement in numerous funeral processions and a homecoming parade. Few details of the circumstances of the members' deaths are recorded, except in the case of Robert Ellison "who was shot in the Front of Petersburg, which shot caused amputation of a leg necessary from which he died at (City Point?) Va...." (p.237,238) November 1864.

Other entries of interest:

  • February 15, 1859 Fire of a bridge over the Erie Canal.
  • May 10, 1862 Account of a very large fire in Troy, sparks from RR Engine, burned warehouses, stores, churches, hotels and dwellings (p.85).
  • Major fire recorded August 17, 1863 (pages 172,173) Mill lost - Hurst Fire - Hurst, Shoddy, & Knitting Mill - Could not save the mail - 30 workers injured from jumping.

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Minute Book for Cataract Engine Co. No. 1, 1858-1865

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By Laws, Rules and Regulations of the Cohoes Fire Department, 1896

 

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