Rediscovering Mamaroneck’s Civil War Veterans

For decades, Mamaroneck’s Civil War veterans were presumed lost – no one remembered them or their sacrifices. But on Sunday, February 5th at 3:00 pm at the American Legion Post 90 in Mamaroneck, John Jay College Professor Ned Benton will present newly recovered information that begins filling some important gaps in our local history.

In 1917 Civil War veterans are honored at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck. Third from right is John O'Neal who served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War aboard the U.S.S. Malvern, President Lincoln’s flagship of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

In 1917 Civil War veterans are honored at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck. Third from right is John O’Neal who served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War aboard the U.S.S. Malvern, President Lincoln’s flagship of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Professor Benton began his own research wondering: Why is there no memorial to Civil War veterans in Larchmont or Mamaroneck? The villages had yet to be incorporated, but in the 1860s, the Town of Mamaroneck was a thriving community. J. Thomas Scharf explained in an 1886 history; “I regret much that there is no reliable official record accessible of the names of men, bona fide residents of the different towns in the count, who enlisted therefrom and died in the service.”

“That is not the case anymore,” says Professor Benton, a member of the Historical Fire Company.

Using rediscovered documents in Mamaroneck Town and recently digitized military records available on the internet, Professor Benton and the members of the Historical Fire Company have been able to learn much about the local Civil War soldiers, retrieving 62 names.

He credits Mamaroneck Town Clerk Christina Battalia and her staff for their assistance in finding important old files. They found the town’s original record of the 1862 draft that listed all eligible young men, including those who had already enlisted.

Professor Benton’s presentation on February 5th will focus on three infantry regiments of “Fire Zouaves” (the NY 5th, 11th and 73rd) consisting mostly of volunteer firefighters from New York City and the surrounding area, including Mamaroneck.

The Historical Firefighters visited the gravesite of Nicholas Hoyt at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery in Virginia

The Historical Firefighters visited the gravesite of Nicholas Hoyt at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery in Virginia

The 11th was led by Colonel Charles Loeser, who years after the war lived in the Larchmont Manor House. The 5th included Private Lucius B. Watson, who is buried in the Gedney Cemetery in Mamaroneck, and Corporal Nicholas Hoyt, who was born in Mamaroneck, attended our schools and lived with his wife and children in Mamaroneck, and who gave his life in the Civil War and who is buried at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery in Virginia. Hoyt Avenue in Mamaroneck is named in his honor.

We will also learn about John O’Neal who served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War aboard the U.S.S. Malvern, President Lincoln’s flagship of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

The program will honor these and others whose service and sacrifice can now be appreciated.

Happy 100th Birthday Engine One!

MobileMuseum_01

Larchmont’s Engine One is turning 100 next year! Help us celebrate this big birthday by contributing to Engine One’s Second Century Fund, dedicated to keeping the pumper running for the next 100 years.

Click here to help! DONATE

Or mail a check made out to “Larchmont Historical Society” to Larchmont Historical Society, P.O. Box 742, Larchmont NY 10538, and write “Engine One” in the memo section. Donations are eligible for itemized tax-deductions.

WHERE THE DOLLARS WILL GO

  • Maintain our 100-year-old Pumper Engine One;
  • Develop our Mobile Fire Museum:
  • Restore our antique Fire Cart and Chief’s Car;
  • Restore more 1908 flaming fire helmets;
  • Research our Mamaroneck Civil War Veterans — we have identified 60 of them — many were firefighters;
  • Support our Fire History archive.

WE’LL PUT IN THE TIME AND EFFORT: With your financial support, we can be ready for the next  parade or community event.

Or mail checks made out to “LHS Fire History” to
Larchmont Historical Society
P.O. Box 742,
Larchmont NY 10538.

Serving Larchmont and Mamaroneck, the Historical Fire Company is part of the Larchmont Historical Society.

 

 

Hook and Ladder Cartoon from 1932

LarchmontVolunteers32The Historical Fire Company is always searching for historical material about firefighting, in Larchmont and around the world. Larchmont and the Sound Shore was a center for the cartoon production in the earlier decades of the 1900s, and we have located a cartoon titled “Hook and Ladder Number One” produced by Terrytoon Cartoons.

LarchmontVolunteers04The cartoon features a firehouse that looks a lot like Larchmont firehouse from the 1890s including the old bell towers. At the start, a chorus sings a ditty about the members of Hook and Ladder Company.

  • We’re the Larchmont Volunteers
  • When the sirens call you’ll always find us on the go
  • We’re a gosh darn bunch of men
  • We’re as tough as any fireman at the scene
  • Every man is his own boss
  • And we fight with every fire til the day is long
  • So we give ourselves this cheer
  • We’re the Larchmont Volunteers

You can see the entire cartoon here. It begins with a short credit, but in about 30 seconds the cartoon starts. To see the video in a larger format click here: Hook and Ladder Cartoon from 1932.

 

Mystery of the Purloined Pumper!

It started with a recent call to the Historical Society Archives from the Division of Motor Vehicles. A Senior Investigator needed to inspect Engine One! Someone in New Jersey was attempting to register a America LaFrance Pumper with the same vehicle identification number (VIN). Had Engine One been stolen? Was Engine One the victim of identity theft? Was LHS going to get a ransom note?

A quick check revealed that Engine One was ready for service, no parts missing or broken, in the Historical Fire Company Barn.

The DMV investigator was determined to solve this unusual mystery.

The Historical Fire Company went to work as it would responding to any emergency. We produced the 1922 order for the Engine, the factory assembly records, the original Larchmont records of purchase, and a complete chain of ownership custody records including the title from Washington State containing the VIN number that was used to transfer the engine when it was brought back to Larchmont from the west coast.

While the investigator was convinced that LHS owned the vehicle we had, and that it was the original Larchmont 1922 pumper, why did another 1920s American LaFrance pumper have the same VIN number? Maybe this was a factory error – like mistakes on stamps and coins – that always add enormous collector’s value to the items involved? Was Engine One a clone? Did it have a long-lost twin brother? If there was an amazing mistake, LHS and the Historical Fire Company could suddenly be fabulously rich!