Abram Hupp Presented Old Hand Pump Still Able To Be Used-Old Members Listed
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
When the centennial is held this year one of the demonstrations to be given will be the use of the old fire pump donated to the town by Capt. Abram Hupp in 1854. This old pump, which is operated by hand will still throw a good stream of water to a height of about fifty feet. The pump is set in what appears to be a common water trough in which water was poured from buckets in the old days. This method of fighting fire will again be depicted by the department when the celebration is held, and the men will be dressed as they used to be in the days of old.
A good deal of muscle is needed to push and pull the handles of this old pump which is operated in much the same order as a hand car on the railroad. About six or eight men used on each end of this old device in order that it would shoot water with full force. A stream a little larger than that of a garden hose is thrown.
When this equipment was used, Salem had a volunteer fire department which was little more than a bucket brigade. The first record of a man being stationed at the fire house room permanently was in 1871 when a record shows that a Robert Carper was on duty at night. No telephone service was available then and when a fire was reported the news was brought in person by the reporter and then Mr. Carper rang a bell to sound the alarm. This old bell is still preserved at the town hall.
The First Department
About this time the first real fire department was organized with R. W. Page and chief. Mr. Page was a local jeweler who later moved to Lynchburg but who was buried here. Other members of that company included thirteen residents of the city who did the best they could to fight fire but had very little equipment. Members of the company were as follows:
Frank Powell, a tinner employed by Dame & Palmer, was a member for some years.
Robert Carper who died a few years ago was a member of the company for years.
Thomas Huff, a telegraph operator for the Norfolk & Western road here, helped out in case of fire.
- Vanzant, was a marble cutter and dealer in tombstones who answered fire alarms.
Robert Heslip and his brother, Jack Heslip, both aged residents of the city at the present time, were members of the department. In their younger days they were carpenters.
- R. Boon was a member of the first company and afterward was chief of the department. He was employed in a local clothing store.
- J. Ballard, father of the present chief, was one of the original fire company. He formerly carried the mail from the post office to the depot.
John Woolwine, who used to be associated with H. A. Oakey in the local funeral home was a member of that early company.
Frank Webber was in the newspaper business but had time to help fight fires.
Will Lynch worked at the tannery and helped out in case of fire. He is still living at Union, West Virginia.
It was not until February 7, 1906, that the present fire company was organized. When this company was organized some new equipment was purchased and to this equipment additions have been made from year to year until at present the Salem fire department is probably as well equipped as any volunteer department in the state.
Members of the present efficient Fire Department include: L. A. Ballard, chief; B. B. Robertson, assistant chief; Maynard Dooley, Captain; J. Star Webber, first lieutenant; J. P. Dame, second lieutenant, M. Stump, T. B. Deyerle, Chester Bain, L. D. Barnett, Earnest Robertson, H. L. Butler, George Stinett, J. C. Yates, S. H. Sears, J. C. Johnston, D. W. Garrett, Edgar Yates, J. P. Bryant and F. A. Rogers.
Among the members who have passed on who were connected with the fire company for many years are: R. E. Magee, R. H. Carper, W. A. Francis, M. J. Ballard, A. W. Huff, C. A. Sites, Terry West, T. H. White, O. W. Bain, C. L. Miller, W. C. Boon, F. C. Dame, Cliff Mowles and C. P. Wilson.
The local fire department not only has good equipment at the present time, but it has nice quarters. A club room above the fire hall is a comfortable place. Here, the chief with four men are on duty at night so that they can respond to a fire alarm immediately.
Fires have been kept pretty well under control in this vicinity of late years. When the most damaging fires have threatened aid has been received from Roanoke. The local company has also aided the Roanoke department on several occasions.
-Prepared by Lisa King