Firemen’s parades

Yosemite Fireman of Hose Company #1 coming up Depot Hill. Ca 1907. Photo provided by Danny Clemons

I’m down with the Covid. I usually write on weekends but didn’t feel well this weekend. So, I submit some history I compiled in recent years regarding fireman’s parades in Chester, Vt.

I found these articles in old newspapers. They will give you an idea what we did for entertainment. Firemen were the most respected people of their day.


Sept. 22, 1905

“The concert and ball by the firemen next week, Friday evening, Sept. 29, will be held in the town hall, and the supper served in Rhoades dining room. Watch for large posters.

“Friday, Sept. 29, is the date for the firemen’s annual parade, field day and ball, and the committees are working hard to make the occasion worthy a good attendance. The boys have set the day earlier this year in order to have the weather more comfortable than usual. Watch for big posters giving full particulars.


Oct. 6, 1905


“The program for the firemen’s day last week Friday was carried out in one of the most pleasant days of the season, and the usual good crowd got together soon after noon to witness the sports. First came the peg race, with five entries. First money was awarded to Duffy Spencer, second to A. T. Fish, and third to John Young.

“The bike race was won by Sidney Farnsworth, first, Harold Ainley, second, and Lewis Richardson, third. The tug of war was between Chester and Andover, ten men per side, was won by Andover.

“Then came the baseball game between Springfield and Chester, which was won by Springfield. Two prizes were offered, $20 to the winner, and $10 to the losers. The game was the worst played of any one of the past and any of the past season, owing to the absence of three of Chester’s best men.

“In the evening, the concert by the Chester orchestra and other local talent was given to a large house at the town hall, followed by the ball, which was attended by about 80 couples. Saxtons River cornet band furnished music during the day.

“At noon, a dinner was served to the firemen and band, being contributed by the village people.”


Sept. 15, 1906

“The annual field day of the Chester fire department will be Sept. 21, watch for posters.”

Sept. 22, 1906

“The firemen will have their sixteenth annual parade and inspection this Friday. The Grafton band will furnish music for the parade, which Mr. Wooley will marshal. There will be a ball game in the afternoon between the fire companies, and ball with music by the Chester orchestra of seven pieces; H. M. Weeden, prompter. A turkey supper will be served in Thomas Storm’s restaurant.”


1891 Firemens Ball Dance card, held at Town Hall. Photo provided by Ron Patch

Sept. 29, 1906

“The firemen had an unusually beautiful day Friday for their parade, and everything passed off successfully. The parade started at 9 a.m. with the Grafton Cornet band at the head. Grafton Company Aid No. 1 showed up with most of its members and with the steamer and hose cart; Yosemite company made a good showing, and the sound of the bell on the old hand engine brought to the mind the days when our village was not guarded by the water power system, of which we are now so proud, nor did our town own the steamer that has stopped so many fires for us. This little engine was needed and responded with all its might.

“The ball game which took place in the afternoon between the two companies was certainly an exciting event, and during the past baseball season there has not been such good attendance nor so much noise and enthusiasm. Beard and Richardson were the battery from South Street, with Farr and Phelps for Depot Street. It looked during the first half of the game that South Street was being done brown, but they turned the tables in the seventh inning and won out by a score of 15-13. The Chester orchestra gave an hour long concert at 8 p.m. and made a decided hit with the music they furnished for the dance afterward. Several of the number were demanded a third time. The march was led by Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Carpenter. A turkey supper was served by Thomas Storms in his restaurant.”


This week’s old saying is a question a down country visitor asked a Vermonter years ago: “What do you do in Vermont to pass the time?”

Reply: “Sometimes we sit and think, and sometimes we just sit.”



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