Crosswicks Union Fire Company #1

The inhabitants of Crosswicks met at the home of Joshua English on January 5, 1822, to form a fire company and purchase a fire engine. Committees were appointed to collect money, purchase an engine, and draw up a Constitution. Robert Vanderbeek was named Chairman and Nathan Satterthwaite, as Secretary.

At a meeting on January 26, 1822, it was reported that subscriptions totaling one hundred eleven dollars ($111.00) had been obtained and Crosswicks Fire Co. had purchased the ancient hand-drawn, hand-pumper from a pump concern in Seneca Falls, New York. The cost of the engine was one hundred dollars ($100.00).

Of more use than the historic value in those days and in as good condition today as it ever was, it turned out to be equipment dated 1744, First used by the Union Fire Co. No.1, of Philadelphia, organized in 1736, formed through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin. Several of the original buckets, made of leather and inscribed “Union Fire Co. No. I, Phila. 1744”, are part .of the equipment Crosswicks Folk have been taught to venerate, even though the purchase may have been part of an old-time trade-in.

It was the only fire protection the area had for a hundred years. The old apparatus is still in the possession of the company and is in good working order today.

The Constitution was submitted, amendments made and it was approved and signed by the membership in 1822.

Those first members who signed the Constitution were Samuel T. Bunting, Robert Vanderbeek, Nathan Satterthwaite, Jacob P. Bunting, Peter Ellis, Jr., Phineas S. Bunting, Edward Pearce, Peter Vanderbeek, Joshua English, Levi Arnold, Amos Hendrickson, Warren Tantum, Anthony Eldridge, Benjamin H. Brown, Garrett Bennett, Joseph Hendrickson, George Satterthwaite, Aaron Satterthweite, Aaron Middleton, Mordecai S. Middleton, Joshua Bunting, Aaron-Bunting, Thomas Branson, Samuel Woodward, Samuel Thorn, Abel Spraggs, Joseph Stockton, William R. Jaques. James Clutch, Jehu Lippincott, Jr., Charles Idell, Isaac P. Chapman, Matthew Forsyth, John Johnson, Peter Vanderbeek, Jr., Job Hooper, David Bowman, Gideon Middleton, Jr., Edward Middleton, Joseph D. Satterthwaite, James Taylor, Jonathon Steward, George Middleton, Edward Thorn, Jack H. Middleton, Jacob M. Bunting, and Amos E. Middleton. Many of these family names are still prominent in the area today.

Peter Ellis was the first President and Phineas S. Bunting the first Foreman. He served for two years. Peter Ellis, Jr. served from 1825 to 1828, followed by Warren Tantum 1829, Gideon Middleton from 1830 to 1831, Benjamin Brown 1842 to 1845. The office of Foreman was discontinued in March 1845 and a Board of Directors took charge until 1883.

January 27, 1827, a motion was passed that the President furnish the Captain of the Militia a list of the members of the Company. This was done to exempt the men from militia duty.

In 1841 it was agreed to sell the engine, hose, buckets, and ladders at a public sale, evidently because of a lack of members. This was later rescinded as more interest was shown.

Meetings were held annually for many years in some members’ homes and supper was served before the meeting. Then the Company met in Franklin Hall or the Post Office. An engine house was built in 1858 and the first meeting was held there on September 4, 1858. According to the Constitution, fines were levied for not attending meetings, being late for the meeting, and neglect of duty. A committee member whose duty it was to purchase hose reported that he had neglected to do so and was fined fifty cents. The fine for being late at a meeting was six and a quarter cents, for being absent without good reason, twelve and a half cents. Sometimes there would be no fires reported for intervals of one or two years.

Edgar Brick was elected a member at a meeting held on May 7, 1864. In 1874, a motion was passed for the directors to meet every two months to put the engine in order and wash it. They were paid fifty cents each they met. If they did not show up, they were to be fined fifty cents.

On October 30, 1882, upon adoption of a new Constitution, Edgar Brick was appointed by the President to be the first chief of the Company. T. Gardner Bunting served from 1883 to 1906. James W. Caldwell 1907 to 1920, Thomas G. Davidson 1921 to 1928, Joseph Herbert 1929 to 1930, Fred Tantum 1931 and 1932, Frank Ocker 1947 to 1951, Allen Woodward 1952 to 1956, William Vance Rogers 1957, Robert O. Wilson 1958 to 1961, and Fred Hendrickson to the present day.

A request was made on August 29, 1887, by the Fairmount Fire Company of Philadelphia for the loan of the old fire engine for their use in the Centennial Parade to be held September 15, 1887, was granted. Chief T. Gardner Bunting was ill and Ellis Southard was deputized to go in his place. The engine was taken to Philadelphia by boat from Bordentown.

The first firehouse and a motor chemical fire apparatus were donated to the fire company by Josiah E. Brick, Charles W. Brick, and Arthur R. Brick in memory of their father, Edgar Brick. The building was dedicated on November 25, 1922. The fire engine was a Brockway Truck with two large chemical, soda, and acid tanks. This truck was replaced by a Reo truck, one and one-half ton chassis with panel bandy nine feet long, dual tires 32×6 on May 14, 1937, and that was replaced by the present 500 gal. Ward LaFrance truck in July 1952. The fire company also had a 750 gal. 1949 Ward LaFrance truck and a 1954 Van, for auxiliary equipment. All the fire fighting equipment is now housed in our present firehouse which was converted from the old Crosswicks School. In 1996, Crosswicks-Hamilton Fire District #1 purchased a KME 2500 gal/1500 GPM Pumper-Tender 2612. In 2009,  Crosswicks-Hamilton Fire District #1 purchased a 75-foot KME with 500 gal / 1500 GPM Quint 2614.

The station was renovated in 2015 as the upstairs, engine bay, gym, and hall were all redone and were deemed more functional for the firefighters. Renovations were completed in 2018.

Chesterfield Hose Company

The Chesterfield Hose Company came into being when in the early 1940s Emery Farm’s barn caught on fire and the need for more manpower and apparatuses were seen to be needed. The Union Fire Company of Crosswicks donated a pumper to the citizens of Chesterfield Township after the fire which started the Chesterfield Hose Company. Chesterfield Hose Company was officially organized on August 10th, 1941. In 1947, a war surplus pumper was obtained, and these two engines served the community through the 1970s.

The Fire Company operated out of the old Blacksmith shop until 1977 when the current firehouse was built. In 1993, additions were made to the building to accommodate the growing department.

A rescue truck was obtained in 1991, and in 2006 our current Pierce 1000-gallon pumper was purchased.  In addition to our engine and rescue truck, we also have two tank tenders, two utility vehicles, and a fire police car. In 2017, Chesterfield Township Fire District #2 purchased a Pierce Rescue.

Chesterfield Township is served by two fire districts, each with its own group of fire commissioners.  The Union Fire Company of Crosswicks (station 261) serves the citizens of fire district 1 and the Chesterfield Hose Company (station 262) serves the population of District 2.

Chesterfield Township Fire Department

In 2019, the commissioners of Fire District No.1 and Fire District No.2 consolidated the districts and the fire companies merged. The closed station 261’s station on New Street in Crosswicks, and moved over the apparatuses, personnel, and equipment to station 262. 296 Bordentown-Chesterfield Road station will now be considered station 261 and the companies decided to change the name to Chesterfield Township Fire Department. The District downsized the fleet of apparatuses by retiring Tanker 2626, Fire Police Crown Vic, and Rescue 2618. The building was renovated as a new shower room, offices, sleeping quarters, kitchen, and lounge was put in. Today, the building is still in the renovation process and has been improving each day.