ROXBURY HISTORY BEFORE 1868

This page provides readers with a history of the City of Roxbury Fire Department up to January 6, 1868, when Roxbury was annexed to Boston.

Seal of the City of Roxbury.
Seal of the City of Roxbury.

1907 Map of site of Greyhound Tavern up to 1784, then first firehouse in Roxbury
1907 Map of site of Greyhound Tavern up to 1784, then site of first firehouse in Roxbury.

An 1832 map of Roxbury showing the location of the Punch Bowl Tavern/Village.
The Punch Bowl was located in today's Brookline Village. Punch Bowl Road is now Brookline Ave. and Washington St. is now Huntington Av.

An 1832 view of much of the Town of Roxbury as it existed then.
A large segment of the Town of Roxbury as it existed in 1832.

An 1846 membership certificate of Warren Spofford of the Hook & Ladder Co. of Roxbury.
An 1846 membership certificate of Warren Spofford of the Hook & Ladder Co. of Roxbury.

Photo of the Company and 1829 Hunneman engine of Roxbury Torrent 6 on Eustis St., circa 1850.
The Company and 1829 Hunneman engine of Roxbury Torrent 6 on Eustis St., circa 1850.

1857 Announcement of the forming of the Charitable Association of the Roxbury Fire Department
Announcement of the forming of the Charitable Association of the Roxbury Fire Department.

1858 Hunneman & Co. advertisement which appeared in the Roxbury Directory, 1858.
1858 Hunneman & Co. advertisement which appeared in the Roxbury Directory, 1858.

The Chief Engineers of the Roxbury Fire Department.
The Chief Engineers of the Roxbury Fire Department.

The company of Warren Engine No. 1 pulling the hand-engine from quarters at Dudley & Warren Sts, Roxbury, circa 1862.
The company of Warren Engine No. 1, Roxbury, pulling the hand-engine, circa 1862.


Date(s) Activity
1746 A legislative act set a penalty of ten shillings upon every householder, living within ten rods of a neighbor's house or barn, who failed to provide himself with a ladder, to aid in the extinguishing of fires.
1784 First Roxbury fire-engine was in service at the Greyhound Tavern at Roxbury & Vernon Sts. Daniel Munroe was appointed Captain and the following were appointed enginemen:
David Swift William Dorr Aaron Willard
John Williams, Jr. Joshua Felton Wm. Bosson, Jr.
Elijah Weld John Swift Abel Hutchins
Joseph Weld Joseph Richardson Amos Smith
Story of the first firehouse in Roxbury
1784 Fire Wards were first chosen.
1785 The following were added to the list of enginemen:
Capt. Samuel Mellish Jeremiah Gore William Blaney
Ensign R.H. Greaton Jesse Doggett  
1787 A new engine is established near the Punch-Bowl Tavern [located in the present-day Brookline Village].
1795 Town votes to pay half the expense of repairing the 'new' fire-engine at the Punch-Bowl Village. New members of this company were:
Capt. Belcher Hancock   John Ward
Isaac Davis James Pierce Lt. William Bosson
Joseph Davenport Samuel Barry Joseph Crehore
January 21, 1800 The Washington Fire Club is formed.
Rules and Regulations (printed in 1817)
1802 A new engine, called 'Torrent No. 2' was in service and a company of twenty-one men appointed.
1819 A new engine was purchased by subscription for Engine No. 1 and the town was asked for land on the northerly corner of the burying-ground [at Washington & Eustis Sts.]
1823 The first suction [hand] fire engines were made in Roxbury by William C. Hunneman. The supply of water had previously been brought in buckets and dumped into the 'tub'. The hand-tub was Serial No. 90 and was delivered to the Boston Fire Department as 'Torrent No. 16'.
1831 Chief Engineer Joshua B. Fowle reported the town operated seven fire-engines, with four hose-reels attached.
No. 1, Dudley St. (new house) No. 5, Spring Street
No. 2, Centre St., by Poor-house No. 6, Eustis St. (new house)
No.3 & No.4, Jamaica Plain No. 7 'Norfolk' at Punch-Bowl
May 25, 1843 A fire destroyed the box factory in the Mill Dam area of Roxbury. Read a Newspaper Story on the fire.
August 29, 1843 Roxbury Fire Company No. 7 visits the City of New Bedford and is received by the company of New Bedford Engine No. 7. Roxbury brought their engine and were in full uniform during the visit. Newspaper report of the visit.
1844 1844 Report of Expenditures of the Roxbury Fire Department.
1845 1845 Report of Expenditures of the Roxbury Fire Department.
April 23, 1845 A fire destroyed the Webber & Son Rope-Walk in Roxbury. Newspaper Story
June 26, 1845 A fire destroyed the Tremont Starch Factory in Roxbury. Newspaper Story
1846 1846 Report of the Chief Engineer
March 12, 1846 The Town of Roxbury becomes the City of Roxbury.
1848-1849 Chief Engineer: Abraham S. Parker, Salary $100.
Assistant Engineers: Jerahmeel C. Pratt; Joseph H. Billings; Samuel S. Chase; Alexander Dickson; Daniel E. Page; Hiram Hall.
Engines Location Foreman
Warren Co. Dudley cr. Warren David S. Eaton
America Co. Centre Jonathan Moulton
Jamaica Co. Centre nr. Perkins Isaac Curtis
Elliot Co. Centre nr. Elliot Lebbeus H. Varney
Salamander Co. Spring Chauncey Jordan
Torrent Co. Eustis John Dove
Tremont Co. Ruggles Joseph Wiggin
Hook & Ladder Co. Dudley cr. Warren Gilbert S. May
1849-1950 Chief Engineer: Abraham S. Parker, Salary $100.
Assistant Engineers: Jerahmeel C. Pratt; Joseph H. Billings; Samuel S. Chase; Alexander Dickson; Daniel E. Page; Hiram Hall.
Engines Location Foreman
Warren Co. Dudley cr. Warren David S. Eaton
America Co. Centre Jonathan Moulton
Jamaica Co. Centre nr. Perkins Wm. H. Williams
Elliot Co. Centre nr. Elliot Lebbeus H. Varney
Salamander Co. Spring Chauncey Jordan
Torrent Co. Eustis Samuel F. Train
Tremont Co. Ruggles John Wethers
Hook & Ladder Co. Dudley cr. Warren Gilbert S. May
Cochituate Hose. Co. Wash. nr RR crossing Reuben Weeks
1851 1851 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
October 26, 1852 A horse stable fire at the Union House destroys many buildings in the Tremont & Oxford Streets area of Roxbury. Read a Newspaper Story on the fire.
1852 1852 Report of the Chief Engineer
1853 Engineers of the Roxbury Fire Department in 1853.
Engineers of the Roxbury Fire Department in 1853
1854 1854 Report of the Chief Engineer
June 6, 1855 Newspaper report of large fire on Northampton St., Roxbury
1855 1855 Report of the Chief Engineer
1856 1856 Report of the Chief Engineer
1857 1857 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1858 Chief Engineer: Samuel F. Train, Salary $225.
Assistant Engineers: Gilbert S. May; Jonas Fillebrown; John Withers; Rueben Weeks. Salary $80.
(Chosen by City Council in April, 1858)
Engines Location Foreman
Warren Co. 1 Dudley cr. Warren Adam B. Cooper
America No. 2 Centre George White
Jamaica No. 3 Centre nr. Perkins (Vacant)
Torrent No. 6 Eustis Phineas D. Allen
Tremont No. 7 Ruggles Abraham Baldner
Washington H&L Co. Dudley cr. Warren Wm. N. Hastings
Cochituate Hose Co. RR crossing Wash. Thomas A. Scott

1858 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1859 1859 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1860 Chief Engineer: James Munroe, Salary $300.
Assistant Engineers: Gilbert S. May; John Culligan; Amory T. Sherman; Robert Simpson. Salary $80.
(Chosen by City Council in April, 1860)
Engines Location Foreman
Warren Co. 1 Dudley cr. Warren John A. Foley
America No. 2 Centre George White
Torrent No. 6 Eustis Phineas D. Allen
Tremont No. 7 Ruggles John Brooks
Washington H&L Co. Dudley cr. Warren Ed. W. Murray
Cochituate Hose Co. RR crossing Wash. Thomas A. Scott
Firemen are appointed by the Mayor and Aldermen.

1860 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1861 1861 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1862 1862 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1863 1863 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1864 1864 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
1866 The organization of the Roxbury Fire Department in 1866.
The organization of the Roxbury Fire Department in 1866.
1867 1867 Report of the Chief Engineer and Roxbury Fire Dept. activity.
January 6, 1868 The City of Roxbury (in Norfolk County) is annexed to the City of Boston (in Suffolk County). Three Engine Companies, one Hook & Ladder Company and one Hose Company are added to the rolls of the Boston Fire Department. They become Engines 12, 13, 14; Ladder 4; Hose 7.


To find the historical development of early Roxbury fire companies, see the chart below.

Engine 1 Engine 2 Engine 3 Engine 4
Engine 5 Engine 6 Engine 7 .
Hose Co. . Hook & Ladder Co. .




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