A Part of Fire Service History
Though we have covered some controversial legends and accounts in fire service history in this series of articles, the question of who were the first leaders in America’s fire service usually generates some varied opinions. When firefighters ask this question, besides some blank stares, several will respond Benjamin Franklin. There are many fire department and fire organization websites, along with history articles, that identify the early American patriot and inventor, Benjamin Franklin, as either “America’s first fireman,” or the “founder of the American fire service.”
The Honorable Mr. Franklin is certainly a historic figure who had a substantial influence on the early American colonies and the founding principles of the United States. But, did he deserve these additional honors related to the fire service? Besides Franklin, have other early fire service leaders been overlooked in history? In this article, we will take a brief look at some early American fire service leaders and their impact on the future of the American fire service.
Early Days of America’s Fire Service
Though we have already covered in this series several of the events that played a role in the early American colonies’ fire protection, we will briefly review some of them again as it applies to specific individuals and their leadership that helped shape the history and traditions of America’s fire service.
Historic references denote that the early American colonies faced numerous hardships and hazards, with fire being one of the predominant dangers. One of the first permanent settlements in North America was Jamestown which was established in May of 1607. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter “the first recorded fire in America occurred when the community blockhouse caught fire. Nearly every building in America’s first settlement was destroyed in that first year.”1 A similar incident occurred in Plymouth, Mass in 1623, where Governor Bradford reported that a fire “broke out the chimney into the thatch, and burnt down 3 or 4 houses, and consumed all the goods and provisions.”2 Thatch was a straw material that was dried and bundled and used as a roofing material. Also, in those days in Europe and America, the chimneys were of wood construction and lined with mortar or mud to make them (somewhat) fire-resistant. Because of this chimney and roof fires were a major cause of conflagrations in early colonial days. Not a very good beginning for fire protection in America.
Learning from these experiences we find that colonial governments and leaders would take some pivotal steps to control these types of hazards. Based on research it appears that Boston aldermen were the first to pass an ordinance in 1631 in which “wooden chimneys and thatched roofs were strictly forbidden. Also, chimneys had to be swept regularly to keep them clear of dangerous wood tar.”3 In 1648, New Amsterdam (to become the City of New York) under the authority of Governor Peter Stuyvesant banned wood chimneys and thatched roofs. Stuyvesant implemented fines that were used to help purchase community fire fighting equipment such as “ladders, hooks, and buckets.”4 The Governor also established a night watch to patrol the streets to look out for fires and sound an alarm. These first-night watchmen were called “Prowlers.”5
So perhaps based on the implementation of strict regulations, the outfitting of the community with firefighting equipment, and the establishment of a fire watch, Governor Peter Stuyvesant should be credited and recognized as the father of fire prevention or fire codes in the American colonies.
Taking a more in-depth look at Peter Stuyvesant’s life, he was born in the Netherlands in 1592 and died in February 1672. Over time he became director of the Dutch West India Company’s operations in the Caribbean. He lost his right leg during an expedition against the Portuguese and wore a wooden leg afterward. In 1646 he became the director general of all the North American Dutch possessions. He came to New Amsterdam in 1647 and was reported to be more determined to represent the Dutch West India Company’s interest than the rule of the local government. This caused many disputes between him and the local burghers. His desire to protect the Company’s investment in the city may have helped shape his development and enforcement of strict fire prevention ordinances. Though these ordinances helped protect the citizens and their property, these strict laws may have further distanced him from the local citizens. He did succeed in 1653 in establishing “the first municipal government for the city of New Amsterdam, modeled after the cities of Holland.”6 He was also successful in establishing peace with the local Indigenous Americans during his tenure. Unfortunately, he still had problems with gaining support from the burghers, and when the British threatened New Amsterdam, Stuyvesant was forced to surrender the city to the British in August 1664.7
Stuyvesant certainly is recorded in history as one of the early colonial leaders in establishing fire protection regulations and fire equipment stockpiles to ensure the safety of the community’s citizens. However, his authoritarian leadership and local disputes may have relegated him to a minor footnote in early American fire service history.
In 1718 in Boston, the first Mutual Fire Society was established. It operated independently of the engine or firefighting companies. Their purpose was to provide volunteer auxiliary assistance to the regular fire companies. This role consisted of helping evacuate people and save the owner’s possession from the fire by removing them. When the fire alarm was sounded each society member responded “with his own bag and bucket… together with a bed key and screwdriver.”8 Following Boston’s example, it will be seen shortly that American inventor, and statesman Benjamin Franklin, would take the lead in forming the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia, PA, to address that city’s fire problem.
As more immigrants came to the American colonies, the small settlements continued to grow into larger cities. Unfortunately, this magnified the potential social and safety problems, including “housing, sanitation, water supply, and the danger of fire.”9 Three cities that began to quickly grow because they had the best harbors that enabled trade with Europe, were Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. According to Paul Hashagen, These three cities, and the firefighters who eventually stepped forward to protect them, set the course early on as to the direction and shape the American fire service would take.10
As has been discussed in previous articles in this series, Boston and especially New York seemed to set many of the norms and customs for the early fire service which then spread across the burgeoning American fire service. As an example, the New Yorker-style fire helmet that was first developed by Henry T. Gratacap in New York in the mid-1800s became the iconic American-style fire helmet.
Up to this point, firefighting in the colonies was very basic generally using bucket brigades formed by all citizens in the community when a fire occurred. Boston facing the health and safety problems mentioned earlier, along with a sudden increase in incendiary fires and major conflagrations began to look at ways to improve its firefighting capabilities. In 1676, Boston ordered a “Newsham” hand-pumped fire engine from England. There is some historical conflict as to when the engine arrived or was installed, but generally, a date of 1678 is accepted.11
The engine was housed in a small building that was located on the grounds of the old city prison. This led it to be called “Ye Engine by ye Prison”.12 So from these accounts, one could determine that Boston had the first engine and the first firehouse in the American colonies. To take care of the engine and oversee its use, a local carpenter, Thomas Atkins, was appointed. He was also empowered “to select a body of men to operate it.”13 According to Herbert Jenness, in his 1909 book Bucket Brigade to Flying Squadron: Fire Fighting Past and Present, “this appointment secured for Mr. Atkins the undisputed title of ‘America’s first fireman,’ as well as the ‘Father of American fire service.’ ”14
Chief Engineer Atkins appointed 12 assistants to transport and operate the engine. In addition, the city fathers alluded that they were “to be paid for their pains about the worke,”15 It is unknown if they ever actually received any remuneration for their “worke”. Despite author Jenness’ identifying and proclaiming Thomas Atkins as America’s “first fireman” and “Father of the Fire Service”, over time these titles failed to endure in future historical accounts.
As time progressed, Boston was divided into fire wards overseen by a warden, and additional fire engines were acquired. The first volunteer fire society in Boston was established on September 30, 1718. This initiated the “colorful age of volunteer firemen, who were destined to play an increasingly important role in American history.”16
As will be related shortly, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston in 1706 and would have been 12 years old when he witnessed the establishment of the volunteer fire society in his hometown of Boston.
Founding Fathers and Volunteer Firemen
In addition to Benjamin Franklin, which will be covered shortly, a number of the other Founding Fathers of the United States also volunteered as firemen in their hometowns. Among these were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. Though some historians have expressed reservations about Thomas Jefferson serving in a fire company. In their day it was a great honor to perform the civic duty of protecting the community from fire as members of a fire brigade/company or fire society.
George Washington (1732-1799), who would serve as commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution and later as the first President of the United States, served as a volunteer fireman in Alexandria, VA as a youth. He was also “known throughout his distinguished military and political career to often stop and visit local fire companies.”17 He was made an honorary member of the Friendship Volunteer Fire Company of Alexandria, VA, and in 1775 he purchased a hand pump fire engine from Gibbs of Philadelphia which he donated to the company.18 George Washington, known as the “Father of His Country”, certainly had a significant number of achievements and “firsts” in his life.19 However, today he is given little credit in history for his service as a fireman in Colonial America.
Benjamin Franklin, Statesman, Scientist, and Firefighter
To better understand Franklin’s career and his contribution to the fire service we will take a brief look at his life from a historical perspective. Franklin is perhaps best known as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a member of the Continental Congress who passed the Declaration of Independence during the Revolutionary War that began the foundation of the United States. However, it was Franklin’s enthusiasm to learn and experiment that took him from his early days as a printer (newspaper printer) into many different occupational fields. Interestingly, Franklin himself in his last will downplayed his importance by referring to himself simply as “B.F. of Philadelphia, Printer.”20
Ben Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706, the 15th child of a total of 17 siblings.21 He was named after his father’s brother. He had little formal education attending the city’s grammar school and then being tutored at home. His main education came from being an avid reader saying, “All the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books.”22 As a child, he worked in his father’s candle-making business. Being unhappy there he was given the opportunity to apprentice at his eldest brother James’ print shop. At the time, printing was done using handset metal type composed of individual letters and then printed with a manually operated press. A job that was both mentally and physically demanding. In 1721, his brother, James Franklin started his newspaper, the New-England Courant.23 This provided Ben an opportunity to submit fledgling articles to the paper using various pen names, the first being “Silence Dogood.”24 In 1722 James was jailed for printing supposed insults against colonial authorities in his newspaper. Despite Ben being an apprentice, he took over the paper as editor and publisher. During his formative years, Franklin would have witnessed the major steps taken by Boston to prevent and fight fires. According to Jack Campbell, in his article “Benjamin Franklin, Fireman”, “It is likely that he [Franklin] received inspiration from a volunteer fire company [Boston Mutual Fire Society] that had formed in Boston earlier in the eighteenth century.”25 This would come into play during Franklin’s time in Philadelphia.
In 1723, Ben departed from his brother’s print shop due to personal differences and at age 17 moved to Philadelphia. He finds work with another printer and after a while takes an opportunity to travel to London, England. He returns to Philadelphia in 1726. In the fall of 1727, “he formed a club of workmen…commonly called the Leather Apron Club and officially dubbed the Junto.”26 This club would provide for the discussion of current events and issues of public service. He soon started his print shop and in 1729 began publishing his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette.27 This newspaper would provide Franklin with the springboard to write and present his ideas to the populace. In 1732 he published the famous “Poor Richard’s Almanac under the pen name Richard Saunders.28 He again promoted ideas, public discourse, and civic projects through letters to his paper under pen names. Two important civic projects he promoted were a volunteer Militia and the other the need for a volunteer fire company.
During a meeting of the Junto, Franklin first presented his ideas for improving fire protection in Philadelphia. He published these ideas in a letter to his newspaper with the letter signed simply as “A.A.”. Speaking of this initiative, Franklin in his autobiography said:
This was much spoken of as a useful piece and gave rise to a project, which soon followed it, of forming a company for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and mutual assistance in removing and securing goods when in danger.29
Franklin and nineteen others signed articles of agreement creating the Union Fire Company on December 7, 1736.30 The rules that were developed for the fire company were modeled after the original Boston Fire Society (founded in 1717) that Franklin was familiar with from his childhood in Boston.31 Even though the Boston Fire Society started first, some historians consider it a paid fire entity (even though it is disputed that they ever received any pay) and therefore credit the Union Fire Company as being the first “Volunteer” fire company in the American colonies. Because of Franklin’s first presenting the idea of a volunteer fire company in Philadelphia and his involvement in its founding, most historians credit Franklin with establishing the American volunteer fire service.
Franklin did take an active role in the Union Fire Company, responding to calls, helping fund the purchase of equipment, and serving his “share of turns as clerk at the meetings.”32 One example was a 2 a.m. fire that occurred in a “blockmaker’s shop” that Franklin responded to and lost two leather fire buckets in the incident.33 The firemen of the Union Fire Company were similar to today’s firefighters, placing their lives at risk to save others. In addition, each member was required to supply their firefighting equipment (fire buckets, salvage bags, and other tools such as axes and bed keys). Through dues, fines, and various fundraising events, the fire company assisted members in replacing damaged equipment and provided relief for the family of members injured or killed while fighting a fire.
Regarding fire company dues, Franklin “was held accountable for his missteps and not given special treatment.”34 In his career and political service to the colonies that required his extended time away from Philadelphia, Franklin continued to pay his dues and fines for missing meetings so he could remain active on the fire company’s roster. Later when his political appointments and activities sent him to England for several years beginning in 1757, “he was excused from meetings and not fined.”35
Franklin regularly published “the exploits of the Union Fire Company in his newspaper [Pennsylvania Gazette].”36 With the success of the fire company along with this public publicity, more citizens were interested in becoming members. The charter of the Company had set the membership at 25, which the members thought to be a manageable number. Franklin encouraged other citizens to form their own fire companies modeled after the Union Fire Company. In his autobiography, Franklin related that his suggestion “was accordingly done; and this went on, one new company being formed after another.”37 So even in his own time, Franklin was the inspiration and mentor of founding numerous fire companies within Philadelphia along with encouraging others throughout the colonies as his fame grew.
First Fire Insurance
Regarding early fire protection, Franklin was also one of the founders of the first successful insurance company in America, the Philadelphia Contributionship, organized in 1752.38 As another historical note, this insurance company issued the first fire mark in the colonies, the Hand-In-Hand symbol fire mark.39 The fire mark used by the Philadelphia Contributionship was a cast metal symbol of four hands clasping each-others wrist in a square shape mounted on a wood board. According to Bob Shea writing for the Fireman’s Hall Museum, this symbol “suggested both the idea of mutual support and the company’s relationship with the volunteer fire companies.”40
The Anachronism of Franklin in a Fire Helmet
Perhaps part of the persistent legend of Ben Franklin as the founder of the American fire service is perpetuated in modern times due to a portrait painted around 1850 by Charles Washington Wright depicting Ben Franklin in a fire chief’s helmet and coat. The helmet and coat depicted would not have been in use by firemen until almost 50 years after Franklin died.41 The iconic New Yorker-style fire helmet depicted in the portrait was not developed until the mid-1800s by Henry Gratacap of New York.42 It is surmised that the painting may have been commissioned by a fire company to “recognize Franklin’s contribution to the city’s volunteer fire service.” It would have been more likely that had Franklin worn a fire-related hat, other than a tri-corner hat of the period, it would have been a style developed for firemen in Philadelphia in 1788, that “was a round hat of stovepipe shape with a narrow brim.43 Certainly, this iconic painting was designed to illustrate and honor Franklin for his civic duty as a firefighter with the Union Fire Company, but it is inaccurate in its depiction of history thus perpetuating an image of Franklin in a traditional fire helmet that did not exist during his time.
Franklin truly achieved greatness in his life. Beginning as a printer and being mostly self-educated, he became a scientist, inventor, and respected political leader. His dedicated public service, or as he would have said his civic duty, eventually would be recognized in history and he would be named one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Among his many civic accomplishments was the founding of the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia which would spawn many other fire companies locally and throughout the colonies. Though he did not establish the first fire company in the colonies, his efforts to improve fire protection had a remarkable impact on the initial development and future direction of the American fire service.
Preserving the Perishable
The National Fire Heritage Center is an example of a national fire service organization that promotes the idea of Benjamin Franklin being the “Father of the American fire service” due to his “creation in 1736 of one of the first fire companies in the country.”44 The American fire service is fortunate to have a national non-profit organization that has taken on the task of preserving the history of the American fire service. The National Fire Heritage Center’s (NFHC) mission is “to collect, preserve and provide access to the historical records of the fire service and fire protection disciplines to support developments in fire safety and emergency services.”45 The NFHC came about as part of the study, “Heritage Hall”, produced by the U.S. Fire Administration in 2003.46 Since then it has become a major advocate in preserving the history and impacts of the American fire service through historic archives, collections, and initiatives. One of the initiatives is to recognize fire service authors whose works have made a significant contribution to the preservation of our history by presenting selected honorees with the NFHC’s Benjamin Franklin Writer’s Award. The award was named “in honor of Benjamin Franklin’s unique combination of being a writer and publisher and simultaneously an advocate for fire protection in the community.”47 This author along with fellow associates has been honored in receiving this award in the past.
Within the State of Missouri, the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri (FFAM) has established the Fire Fighters Historical Preservation Foundation of Missouri. The goal of the Foundation is to build an Educational and Historical Preservation Center (Museum) “to provide displays of fire history and an interactive learning center detailing the history of the fire service in Missouri.”48 This worthy project continues under construction adjacent to the Missouri Fire Fighters Memorial in Kingdom City, MO. Continued funding support is being sought to complete this historic project that will preserve for future generations the significance of Missouri’s fire service history and traditions, and honor the dedicated endeavors of those who served.
IAFC Ben Franklin Award for Valor
Other national fire service organizations also commemorate the memory and contributions of Benjamin Franklin through various awards. One of these is the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) through the annual IAFC Ben Franklin Award for Valor. This prestigious award has been presented since 1970 to honor “firefighter(s) for their expert training, professional service and dedication to duty displayed in saving human life.”49 The award was named for Benjamin Franklin for his legacy as “a prime contributor to the wealth of tradition that symbolizes the fire and emergency service worldwide.”50
Other Ben Franklin Tributes
Many other organizations and philanthropic groups honor Benjamin Franklin for his other accomplishments through various events and named awards. These include businesses in the publishing sector and non-profits such as museums and institutions recognizing developments in science and technology.
As one can see, Ben Franklin’s many avocations and fields of endeavor have left a legacy that has been used by organizations that have tied their honors to the many contributions of Franklin’s life. Though Ben Franklin lived in a time after the Renaissance Age, he truly typified a renaissance man embracing business, science, politics, and public service as he sought to define and support the principles of the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”51
Fire Service Legacy and Continuing Traditions
The early American colonies faced numerous hardships and hazards, with fire being one of the predominant dangers. Learning from a series of devastating fires in the first settlements in the colonies, colonial governments, and leaders would take some pivotal steps to institute fire protection measures. The City of New Amsterdam (to become New York) under the direction of Governor Stuyvesant would pass strict ordinances, stock firefighting equipment, and institute a fire watch. Though Stuyvesant played a major role in early fire protection, his authoritarian leadership and local disputes may have relegated him to a minor footnote in early American fire service history.
Boston took the lead in fire prevention in 1676 by purchasing the first hand-pumped fire engine, a Newsham, in the colonies. The city aldermen appointed a local carpenter, Thomas Atkins, to take responsibility for the engine and select a crew to operate it. According to Herbert Jenness, in his 1909 book Bucket Brigade to Flying Squadron: Fire Fighting Past and Present, “this appointment secured for Mr. Atkins the undisputed title of ‘America’s first fireman,’ as well as the ‘Father of American fire service.’ ”52 However, this bestowed title would not adhere to Atkins in major historical accounts that followed.
Boston would again lead the way by establishing the first volunteer fire society in 1718. This initiated the “colorful age of volunteer firemen, who were destined to play an increasingly important role in American history.”53
As historic circumstances brought the American colonies toward independence from England, many influential colonists that would become the country’s Founding Fathers would also serve as volunteer firefighters, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. George Washington who would serve as commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution and later as the first President of the United States served as a volunteer fireman in Alexandria, VA as a youth, and continued to support fire companies throughout his political career. Benjamin Franklin would witness Boston’s fire prevention successes in his youth and brought those concepts to Philadelphia when he moved there. Franklin’s writings and publications through his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, would help establish the Union Fire Company in 1736, which some historians consider the first volunteer fire company in America. Franklin, through his fame as an inventor, scientist, and statesman, would also inspire others to form additional fire companies both in Philadelphia and throughout the colonies. Franklin would also be one of the founders of the first successful insurance company in America, the Philadelphia Contributionship, organized in 1752.
So who was the historic figure and iconic firefighter that should be recognized as the first, or Founding Father of the American fire service? To determine this, one would have to agree on criteria that would be used, such as who served first, the measure of their accomplishments, or the prestige or fame that they brought to the traditions of the fire service.
Does your fire department have historic records or confirmed oral traditions that have survived to the present day? Every effort should be made to accurately preserve the history and traditions of your fire department or fire service organization. Many unsung heroic figures have served your community’s fire service entity, performing their civic duty, just as Franklin did, to ensure the protection of their fellow citizens and their property. Their service should be permanently preserved in the historical records of your department, along with recognition through the initiatives of the Fire Fighters Historical Preservation Foundation of Missouri. The memorable contributions of these past members of our fire service family helped establish the history and traditions of your department and that of the American fire service.
As is typical in many aspects of fire service history, no matter what the criteria, there is probably no definitive answer to who was first. I suspect that other settlements in the colonies with local leaders were addressing fire protection issues in their communities and yet historically remained unrecognized for their efforts. In some cases, perhaps because the events were never recorded, or those did not survive. For some the question of who was first will go unsettled and continue to be debated. Others may continue to recognize Benjamin Franklin as the individual that best exemplifies the dedication to civic duty that personifies the iconic firefighter and their pursuit of selfless service in saving lives and property. Franklin continues to be recognized in today’s fire service through a variety of awards and honors based on his historic accomplishments.
The author wishes to recognize and thank the fire service personnel and organizations for their assistance in the development of this article. In particular, the author expresses his appreciation to the National Fire Heritage Center, and the University of Missouri Ellis Library/Lending Library for assisting in obtaining various research documents and archival materials.
- Dennis Smith, History of Firefighting in America, 200 Years of Courage, Dial Press, NY/NY, 1978, p. 1-2.
- Ibid. p. 3.
- Ibid. p. 4.
- Herbert Theodore Jenness, Bucket Brigade to Flying Squadron: Fire Fighting Past and Present, Cambridge, Mass, 1909, p 2.
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Peter Stuyvesant”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 28 Jan. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Peter-Stuyvesant. Accessed 27 March 2023.
- John V. Morris, Fires and Firefighters, Bramhall House: New York, 1955, p. 27.
- Paul Hashagen, Firefighting in Colonial America (The American Fire Service: 1648-1998), Firehouse Magazine, September 1998, Cygnus Publishing, Inc., Melville, NY, p. 72;
- Jenness, p 100.
- Morris, p. 24.
- Jenness, p 100.
- Morris, p. 24.
- Ibid, p. 27.
- Editors of Country Beautiful, Great Fires of America, Country Beautiful Corporation, Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1973, p. 36
- M.J. McCosker, The Historical Collection of the Insurance Company of North America, First Edition, Breck Engraving Company, Philadelphia, 1945, p. 49.
- Graff, Henry and Nevins, Allan. “George Washington”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Washington. Accessed 30 March 2023.
- “Who was Ben Franklin?”, Benjamin Franklin History, Benjamin Franklin Historical Society of the University of Massachusetts History Club, web article accessed March 31, 2023, http://www.benjamin-franklin-history.org/benjamin-franklin/ .
- Richard Lacayo, Editor/Writer, Benjamin Franklin: An Illustrated History of His Life and Times, Time Books, Time Inc., New York, NY, 2010, p. 13.
- Ibid, p. 17.
- Ibid, p. 23.
- Ibid, p. 24.
- Jack Campbell, “Benjamin Franklin, Fireman”, Journal of the American Revolution, April 21, 2022, web article accessed March 31, 2023, https://allthingsliberty.com/2022/04/benjamin-franklin-fireman/ .
- Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin, An American Life, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2003, p. 55.)
- Lacayo, Editor/Writer, Benjamin Franklin: An Illustrated History of His Life and Times, p. 37.
- Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Dover Publications, Mineola, NY, 1996, p. 75.
- Ibid, p. 81.
- Campbell, “Benjamin Franklin, Fireman”, Journal of the American Revolution.
- Ernest Earnest, The Volunteer Fire Company, Scarborough Books, Stein & Day, New York, 1979. P. 9.
- Campbell, “Benjamin Franklin, Fireman”, Journal of the American Revolution.
- “Extracts from the Gazette, 1743,” Founders Online, National Archives, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-02-02-0099. [Original source: The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 2, January 1, 1735, through December 31, 1744, ed. Leonard W. Labaree. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961, pp. 389–393.]
- Campbell, “Benjamin Franklin, Fireman”, Journal of the American Revolution.
- Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, p. 82.
- M.J. McCosker, The Historical Collection of the Insurance Company of North America, First Edition, Breck Engraving Company, Philadelphia, 1945, p. 51.
- Bob Shea, “The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire”, Collections-Fire Marks, Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia, PA, web article accessed April 4, 2023, https://www.firemanshallmuseum.org/fire-marks/.
- Portrait, “Benjamin Franklin, The Fireman”, Collections, Smithsonian, National Museum of American History, web reference accessed April 4, 2023, https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1295900.
- David Hedrick, “Leather Fire Helmets, A Traditional Part of Fire Service History”, FFAM Magazine, Fire Fighters Association of Missouri, Warrensburg, MO, March/April 2022, Vol. 65, Issue 2, p 26.
- Arnold Merkitch, Early Fire Helmets, Self-published, West Islip, NY, First edition, 1981, p. 5.
- “Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award”, National Fire Heritage Center – Awards, web article accessed March 30, 2023, https://fireheritageusa.org/archives-news/nomination-instructions-benjamin-franklin-writers-award-2022.
- “Organizational History”, National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC) Annual Report 2021–2022, NFHC, Emmitsburg, Maryland, NFHC Report Download at https://fireheritageusa.org/about,
- “Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award”, National Fire Heritage Center – Awards.
- “Educational and Historical Preservation Center”, Fire Fighters Association of Missouri (FFAM), Fire Fighters Historical Preservation Foundation of Missouri, web article accessed April 3, 2023, https://www.ffam.org/museum/.
- “IAFC Ben Franklin Award for Valor”, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), McLean, VA, 1999-2023, web article accessed March 31, 2023, https://www.iafc.org/about-iafc/awards/iafc-motorola-solutions-ben-franklin-award-for-valor.
- Declaration of Independence, In Congress, July 4, 1776, America’s Founding Documents, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript#:~:text=We%20hold%20these%20truths%20to,their%20just%20powers%20from%20the.
- Jenness, Bucket Brigade to Flying Squadron: Fire Fighting Past and Present, p 100.
- Morris, Fires and Firefighters, p. 27.