The Beginning

In 1891, Mayor Adolph Eschmeyer, Jr., on April 25 appointed the first organized fire department. The personnel consited of the following: Henry Koepke, Henry Cook, Fred Stork, Joh Hoerath, Henry Kattman, August Heil, J. A. W. Cook, F.A. Cook, Edward Kuck, Fred Siefert, Herman Kattman, and Henry Fenneman. The department served without pay, except that the members were exempt from performing their two days road labor, poll tax, and that John Hoerath, who was chosen as chief, was awarded $3 per year. The members were subject to a fine of 15 cents for absence at any monthly trial meeting.

It seems that in course of time the idea of establishing a volunteer fire department independent from the village council was the expressed wish of the citizens and consenquently a citizens meeting was held May 23, 1895, which resulted in the organization of the Victorian Fire Department. Edward Kuck, J.A.W. Cook, Henry Koepke, Herman Wiegers, Adam Holl, John Hoerath, B.A. Fledderjohann, W. Schroeluke, Henry Cook, Henry Piepmeyer, Henry Kattman, August Heil, A.H. Stienecker, Fred Schwepe, Herman Kattman, Henry Wierwille, Ernst kuck, H.H. Ferleman, G.H. Kattmann, Henry Stienecker, and Wm. Stork. Jr., effected the organization. Amuch keener interest manifested itself, the “Fire Boys” as they were commonly called, took a great pride in their organization and set out at once to make the department more effective. They afitated a larger and better fire engine and to secure more efficient fire protection in general. For little more than a year they drifted along laying plans for the future. On June 2, 1896, the company was chartered. B.A. Fledderjohann, G.H. Kattmann, H.A. Cook, H.H. Ferleman George Bergman, August Heil, Sr., and Fred Schwepe being the charter members.

Upon receipt of the charter, the charter members called a meeting at which all the other members were formally admitted as members of the company, and soon after committees were appointed to secure donations from the farmers about the community, from the Minster Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and from the Farmers’ Home Insurance Association for the purpose of assisting the organization in the purchase of a new, better and larger fire fighting apparatus. This idea went over big and on January 29, 1897, the Department boughta Ramsey No. 4 Crane Neck hand pumper and hose cart. This bit of fire-fighting apparatus was a decided improvement, being a 25 men outfit, capable of throwing two streams. This hand pumper is yet held in reserve.

As the village grew and need of better fire protection made itself felt the Department by the help of popular subscriptions, bought a reconditioned American La France Triple Pumper in September, 1928.” (The above paragraphs were from the New Knoxville, Centennial Journal 1836-1936)

The volunteer fire department at this time consisted of 24 men. The chief and assistant chief were paid by the town, other volunteers were not paid. Summer trainings were held three times a month and winter trainings were held once a month. Volunteers were alerted of an emergency by the ringing of the bell at the town hall.

The equipment used by this department were the following: A reconditioned 1921 American La France Triple Pumper, capacity of 500 gallons per minute, one 60 gallon chemical tank with 200 feet of 1 inch hose. They also were equiped with two 2 and one-half gallon hand extinguishers, 800 feet of 2 and one-half inch cotton-lined hose, 20 feet suction hosed, 24 feet extension ladder, nozzles and a fire axe. Also the department had a hose cart with 400 feet of 2 and one-half inch cotton hose, a hook-and-ladder trailer with one 36 foot extension ladder, one 18 foot ladder, one 16 foot ladder, and one roof ladder.  

Mid 1900’s

Currently no information available

 

Late 1900’s

Currently no information available

 

**If you have information regarding the history of the fire department
Please contact us at nkfiredept@nktelco.net