Acquisition: The records of the Pioneer Fire Company (1847-1850) were donated by Harvard University professor Ephraim Emerton on February 13, 1925. No accession records exist for the Union Engine Fire Company records; the volume was presumably purchased or donated to the Cambridge Historical society.
Access: There are no restrictions on items in this collection.
Permission to Publish: Requests for permission to publish from the collection should be made to the Executive Director.
Copyright: The Cambridge Historical Society does not hold copyright on the materials in the collection.
Union Engine Fire Company
No additional information about the Union Engine Fire Company has been found. However, present-day Cambridge Engine Company #2 formed out of a predecessor entitled ‘Union Engine Company #2’ in 1846. Therefore, it is possible that the Union Engine Company was also the predecessor of a modern Cambridge fire company.
Pioneer Engine Company Number 6
The language and constitution of the first pages of this volume support the idea that the Pioneer Engine Company Number 6 was founded in 1847. A Cambridge city directory from 1848 lists Pioneer Engine Company Number 6 with a brief description: “There is a Volunteer Company which has charge of the Pioneer Engine, No.6, who are not obliged to turn out, unless they feel disposed so do to; their object being, mainly, to protect their own immediate neighborhood – near the Hancock Free Bridge”.
Engine 2, Cambridge Firefighters Local 30, http://www.cambridgelocal30.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&HomeID=123329, accessed on August 14, 2009
The records of the Hancock Fire Brigade at the Cambridge Historical Commission contain administrative records, financial records and certificates of a late 19th century fire company.
The records of the Union Engine Fire Company (1805-1827) consist of a single volume. This volume begins with a constitution and records mostly administrative detail such as meeting minutes, membership updates, appointments to various positions, and updates to by-laws. The last pages contain a list of members and financial data (e.g. fines paid per member, expenditures, etc). There is no evidence to indicate that Union Engine Fire Company disbanded after the last entry in the volume. Therefore, there are likely missing records for later years during which the Union Engine Fire Company was still in existence.
The records of the Volunteer Pioneer Engine Company (1847-1850) consist of a single volume that begins with a constitution. In addition to administrative detail such as membership updates, updates to by-laws, financial data (e.g. fines paid per member, expenditures, etc), the volume also records detail about the day-to-day operation of a mid-19th century fire company. The volume documents each fire that they attended; including the address, length of time it took to fight the fire, and where the company went for ‘refreshments’ afterward. After the last entry dated August 15, 1850, some of the remaining pages have freehand drawings and the signatures of a subsequent owner. There is no evidence to indicate that the Volunteer Pioneer Engine Company disbanded after the last entry in the volume. Therefore, there are likely missing records for later years during which the Volunteer Pioneer Engine Company was still in existence.
Volunteer Fire Departments—Massachusetts—Cambridge—History—19th century
Fire Clubs (cooperative societies)