Endeavor Fire Company

Endeavor Fire Company Like most cities of its time, early Burlington constantly faced the threat of fire. The first settlers remembered the London conflagration of the 1660s, and so constructed their buildings of brick wherever possible. Bucket brigades were in use by 1700. In 1742, the City received permission to form fire companies, and the bucket brigades were gradually replaced by companies such as the Old City, Washington, and Fulton Engine Companies, who used hand-drawn pumps.

In 1795, surviving members of these early companies played key roles in organizing the city's first permanent fire company, Endeavor Fire Company #1. The oldest company in the city, Endeavor is also one of the oldest in the United States still bearing its original name. The company maintains a record of its minutes, dating from its first meeting in 1795.

Endeavor was originally composed entirely of men from the Society of Friends, including John Hoskins, Jr., Daniel Smith, Jr., and Robert Smith, Jr. Each member was required to pay one dollar upon joining, and to purchase a bucket bearing his name, at a cost of eight dollars. According to local lore, the "Quaker Boys" were also required to pass a morals test. Many prominent residents of the City have been members of the Endeavor over the years, including Samuel J. Gummere and members of the Woolman family.

In 1798, Endeavor purchased their first engine for 150 pounds, and John Griscom built a home for it in front of the Friends Meeting House on High Street. Meetings of the Company were held in the Friends School House until 1801, then in the homes of members until 1874, when the old Union Street market house was purchased by the City and given to Endeavor as a permanent home. The clock and spire which stood on the City's original town hall were placed atop the new fire house at 19 East Union Street. Endeavor's fire bell, donated in 1871, had previously announced the arrival of trains at the Camden and Amboy Railroad depot.

The Ladies Auxiliary was formed to join Endeavor Fire Company #1 in 1929, and the Endeavor Emergency Squad was formed in 1940.

8/25/14

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