Firemen Of Old Saturday, July 6, 1872 Colombian Register (New Haven, CT) Page: 3
Photos From History of Newburyport, Mass 1764-1905, Volume 2 By John James Currier
Some history on Fire Societies
FIRE SOCIETIES AND FIRE ENGINES.
Dr. John Spraguc, who came to Newbury previous to 1738, was a member of one of the societies organized for the purpose of preventing, if possible, the destruction of property by fire. A leather bucket, formerly in his possession, bearing his name and the date of 1746, is shown in the half-tone print on this page. The bucket is now in the possession of Miss Jane R. Wood of Newburyport. Another bucket, an exact duplicate, is in the possession of Mrs. Margaret (Andrews) Allen of Madison, Wisconsin.
The Dernier Resort Fire Society, consisting of thirty members, was organized as early as 1760. Ralph Cross, Caleb Cross, Lemuel Collin, Nathaniel Knapp, Isaac Knapp, John Mycall, Timothy Palmer, Leonard Smith, Abraham Williams, Robert Williams and others were members of the society. According to the rules and regulations adopted at that date, and afterwards revised and printed, each member was required to keep at his residence two leather buckets and a knapsack containing two canvas bags ready for use at all times. Two of these leather buckets, formerly the property of Ralph Cross, are now in the possession of the Newburyport Marine Society.
In December, 1775, the Marine Fire Society was organized. One of the articles of association adopted provided that no person shall be elected a member of the society
"unless he be a member of the Marine Society of Newburyport."
The second article reads as follows :—
Each of us will also keep in good order, hanging up in some convenient place in our respective dwellings, two leather buckets, in which shall be two bags, each bag measuring one yard and a half in length, and three-quarters of a yard in breadth, being hemmed at the mouths, and having strong strings to draw them close; the buckets and bags shall be marked with the first letter of the owner's Christian name and with his surname at length, under a penalty of three shillings for each deficiency.'
Moses Brown, Jonathan Parsons, Peter LeBreton, William Farris, John O'Brien, Benjamin Rogers, Henry Lunt,Nicholas Johnson, Charles Hodge, David Coats, William Coombs, Joseph Newman, Michael Hodge, William P. Johnson, Edward Wigglesworth, Ebenezer Stocker, William Nichols and others were members of this society. It was not dissolved until the close of the year 1833, and perhaps later. Two leather buckets, formerly the property of William Nichols, captain and part-owner of the privateer Independence in the Revolutionary war, are now in the possession of his grandson, George E. Hale of Newburyport. A photograph of these buckets, taken for the illustration of this sketch, is reproduced in the half-tone print on this page.
The Union Fire Society was organized February 28, 1783. Benjamin Frothingham, Edward Toppan, William Cross, Daniel Balch, jr., Abraham Jackson, Daniel Coffin, Richard Pike and other well-known citizens of Newburyport were members of this association. Meetings were held usually at Wolfe Tavern. The half-tone print on the next page is reproduced from an engraving in the possession of the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.
The Federal Fire Society was organized in 1791. At that date the prominent members of the society were James Hodge, Nathaniel Knap, jr., Isaac Knap, jr., Edward Sweat, jr., Abraham Perkins, William Wyer, jr., David Wood, Joseph Swasey, jr., and John Greenough.
See Newburyport Town Records @ PEM
Articles and regulations of the Relief Fire Society, in Newburyport : formed the twenty-first of March, 1775.