Each year on the second Sunday in June, memorial services sponsored by the Charitable Association of the Boston Fire Department are held at the Firemen's Memorial at Forest Hills Cemetery in order to pay tribute to deceased members so they would be assured of a decent and final resting place and they would not necessarily end up in Pauper's Field.
At one time, the lot was strictly for indigent fire fighters. However, that rule has been rescinded. This Charitable Association was the first of its' kind in the country to be originated for the benefit of the fire fighters injured in the line of duty.
In order to protect themselves and their families back in the 1800's in the event of illness, injury or sometimes even death, these early firefighters formed associations. This was necessary because life insurance was not available. Even today every fire department still has a relief association.
James Boyd, founder of the Charitable Association of the Boston Fire Department was the son of Hugh and Mary Patton Boyd, and was born in Newtownand, Ireland on November 11, 1793. He married Margaret Curry of Cainey Caw, Ireland in 1815 and came to Boston in 1817.
In 1820, he was a manufacturer of leather fire hoses. He also manufactured fire buckets, fireman's caps and general fireman's supplies and also military equipment, knapsacks, etc. The firm was the largest of its' kind in the United States.
James Boyd became a member of the volunteer fire department and was second foreman of Hero #6 and later fireman at Brooks H1. He first suggested and promoted the organization of the Charitable Association of the Boston Fire Department and drew up its constitution and by-laws in 1828.
James Boyd was the fifth president of the board of trustees from May 1838 to January 1839 when he retired. In 1838, the Association passed a resolution of highest esteem and appreciation of his splendid services! He died in Boston in 1855.
The cemetery committee in 1856 looked at grave lots in Mt. Auburn cemetery in Cambridge and Woodlawn cemetery in Everett before they purchased grave lots in Forest Hills cemetery in Jamaica Plain, MA. Graves were purchased from the city of Roxbury in the county of Norfolk on December 19, 1857 at a cost of $3,398.50. The Fireman's lot according to the deed contains 13,594 square feet divided into 249 grave sites. The Fireman's lot holds the remains of 135 members, 13 of which are line of duty deaths. There is also one father and son combination Jackson L. Stinson Sr. and Jr., 1 New York firefighter was also buried in the cemetery in 1900, and 2 members were cremated.
The first two burials at Forest Hills cemetery were line of duty deaths; they were Francis F. Cutting, age 25 and John W. Tuttle age 36, both assigned to "Tremont #12". They lost their lives on May 2, 1858 at 133 - 139 Federal Street when they were crushed by falling walls. It was a six story granite warehouse. For some unknown reason the two men were not buried until 25 days later. Elijah Smith at age 41, former Chief Engineer of the Boston Fire Department died in 1856 of typhoid fever. He was disinterred and buried in the Fireman's lot on the same day, May 27, 1858. The last firefighter killed in the line of duty to be buried there was Firefighter Edward R. Connolly who was killed March 21, 1986 at box 7413 by a building collapse. Ed was past treasurer of the Charitable Association
The monument was erected in 1909 in memory of deceased firefighters of the Boston Fire Department. The monument consists of a granite base upon which stands a 9' 3" bronze statue of a firefighter wearing his firefighting apparel. The model for the statue is believed to be a firefighter named Cosgrove. The base of the monument was constructed at Quincy Granite by J.M. White and Sons. The bronze statue was cast at the Spaulding foundry in Chickopee, MA. We do not have any information concerning the mould.
The overall height of the monument is 26 feet. The bronze figure of the firefighter was designed by John Wilson of Boston. Wilson also designed the four bronze tablets which are attached to the four sides of the granite base. The tablets depict a steamer, a hook and ladder truck, a protective wagon, and an old-time hand tub. Imbedded in the front of the base are the words, "In Memory of Departed Comrades".
The cost of the monument was, base $3,800.00, bronze statue and four tablets $6,200.00 for a total of $10,000.00. The monument was the result of 25 years of unceasing labor on the part of the Charitable Association, Boston Protective Department, subscriptions from fire companies of Boston and Roxbury and friends. The estimated replacement cost of the monument today is $98,000.00.
The monument was dedicated on Sunday, June 13, 1909. The Boston Globe reported that the veteran and regular firemen gathered in the morning at the rooms of the Barnicoat Association hall located at 380 Tremont Street. The various organizations lined up and with several bands playing dirges the men marched to East Lenox Street where they boarded electric cars for Forest Hills Square.
At Forest Hills Square under the direction of Chief Marshall Captain Edward A. Bennett were the following aides: John A. Collicut, Henry S. Pike, Captain James F. Hutchins, Squire S. Rogers, Major George M. Quinby, George Fitzgibbons, James J. Hughes, John Durham and Lt. John P. Lane. The line of march to the cemetery and the firemen,s lot was taken up with Captain Walter McLean as adjutant. The line marched into the cemetery in following order: Boyd's Brass Band, escort of 30 men from the Protective and Fire Departments; Captain McCarthy in command; Charitable Association of Boston Fire Department; 60 men with the President Hoseman Daniel W. Mahoney Engine Company 42 in command, Chief Marshall Captain Edward A. Bennett and staff, Tenean Veteran Association; Peter J. Kelley president, Charlestown Veteran Fireman's Association, Mission Church Drum and Bugle Corps., Roxbury Veteran Association; James A. Mitchell president, Boston Veteran Association; John Taylor president, Barnicoat Association; Walter W. Delano president, Fairbank's Band, Jamaica Plain Veterans; John H. O'Brien president, Star of Jamaica Veterans Association; James E. Knight president.
At the cemetery, the marchers met the carriages which were carrying the dignitaries. In the first carriage was Chief of Department John A. Mullen, Honorable John R. Murphy the orator of the day, Fire Commissioner Samuel Parker and Captain Brown S. Flanders Superintendent of Fire Alarm. In the second carriage was ex-mayor John F. Fitzgerald, Nathanial H. Taylor, ex-commissioner Wells and Frederick J. Brand Chairman of the Board of Aldermen and acting Mayor. The following carriages carried distinguished guests, city officials and veteran firemen unable to march.
At the Firemen's lot, there was a tent for the speakers and guests and as the bands alternated playing dirges, the firemen and veterans marched within the roped-off enclosure and stood at attention when Chief Marshall Bennett opened the ceremonies. The Boston Post in their reporting of the unveiling and dedication ceremonies reported that seven hundred men formed and rode to Forest Hills Square and all marched to the cemetery. The Post further reported that the firemen's lot was surrounded by a hollow square of red shirted and blue coated figures. The Boston Herald reported that five thousand were in attendance.
The opening address was made by acting Mayor Frederick J. Brand in which he paid tribute to the bravery of the firemen of Boston, those of today as well as the noble men about whose whose last resting place the throng had gathered. Mr. Nathaniel Taylor of the Boston Globe remarked, "The many noble firemen who served the City of Boston effficiently and honorably did the best they could for the public good. The saving of life was their province. That they did all that was possible for human beings to do in their line of duty is the sincere belief of all our citizens".
"To the departed we say rest in peace. To their living comrades we say your life work is thoroughly appreciated by the City of Boston".
Following Mr. Taylor's remarks, the monument was unveiled by Margaret and Josephine McLean of Ashmont, the young daughters of Fire Captain Walter McLean of Engine Company 46. Fire Captain McLean served as Chairman of the monument committee.
After the Mission Church band played "Departed Comrades", the Honorable John R. Murphy of Charlestown who was the orator of the day spoke as follows. "We have gathered here today to dedicate this memorial in honor of the men of the Boston Fire Department. It is fitting that it should be erected here amidst the graves where sleep so many of the dead who have served our city. It is a memorial of beautiful and simple design, yet noble in its simplicity, symbols of the brave deeds of the men in whose honor it was erected.
In your day-to-day fire duty, your heroic and monumental accomplishments have, at time, become legendary - and yet you are known far and wide for helping others, even when you are off duty. It seems that many of you can always find time to help youth movements, work in community affairs or help innumerable charitable organizations. A perfect example of that of which I speak is your very presence here this morning - time you take from a precious Sunday to pay respect to your deceased brother firefighters.
In closing, I would like to repeat these most appropriate words written by the late Henry Gillen and dedicated to your most honorable profession:
"All honor unto gallantry
in reverence we pay
that others might have days to be
these gave their lives away
now glory shall enshrine each name
and times their deeds defy
since humble men who sought no fame
have taught us how to die"
Hoseman John W. Tuttle May 2, 1858 Tremont 12
Hoseman Francis F. Cutting May 2, 1858 Tremont 12
Ladderman Charles Carter Feb 18, 1860 Ladder 1
Hoseman Reuben Hanaford Feb 24, 1862 Hose 5
Hoseman Geo. Abercrombie Jul 11, 1862 Engine 7
Ladderman George Golliff May 11, 1868 Ladder 1
Hoseman James Sturks Feb 27, 1873 Engine 15
Hoseman Joseph Pierce Aug 13, 1884 Engine 4
James Sweetzer Jul 3, 1885 Protective 1
Ladderman Frank P. Loker Nov 28, 1889 Ladder 3
Hoseman John P. Brooks Nov 28, 1889 Hose 7
Hoseman Michael Murnan Nov 28, 1889 Hose 7
Firefighter Edward Connolly Mar 21, 1986 Ladder 17
Firefighter David A. Middleton May 29, 2007 Engine 51
Firefighter Warren J. Payne August 29, 2007 Ladder 25
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