University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Wester, Kevin J. (ed.) / Consumed by fire : a collection of writings about the famous Wisconsin Chair Company fire, Port Washington, Wisconsin, February 19, 1899

Milwaukee Sentinel: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Wednesday, February 22, 1899,   pp. 67-71

Page 69

the morning, be treated like so many bums. It did not show much gratitude on the part of
the people, that's sure."
Accused of Stealing.
Asst. Chief Clancy briefly related some of the incidents his men were confronted
with at the town, besides being refused help and having to unload and reload their own
apparatus. "While I was at the fire," he said, "an officer of the Volunteer department
came to me and said that one of my men, Henry Porth, had his rubber coat and that the
firemen had refused to give it up. I told the officer that I did not believe my men were
stealing coats and that we had brought our own coats with us. He informed me that if the
coat was taken out of town I would have to pay for it. I later learned that the officer had
accused Porth of having his coat and had insisted that it was his. Later Porth showed him
that it had Porth's private mark and he was satisfied. I have since been told that the
officer found his coat on a small boy afterward. Think of them accusing my men of
stealing a coat or even arguing about one when their town was burning."
Mayor Arrests Fireman.
"That was only one instance. After No. 4 had shut down Asst. Engineer Callahan
came from the Wilson house, where Linehan and Hackett had been carried. Half a block
down the street he looked back and saw a fight. Somebody told him that I was being
assaulted and he motioned to our men further down the street to come back. The mayor
saw him and arrested him. Callahan paid no attention to the mayor, not knowing who he
was. Just then I came along and the mayor ordered me to take my men away and said
they were creating a disturbance. The fact is that several of the volunteer firemen, while
drunk, had been in the hotel calling our men at work vile names. Two Milwaukee
railroad men heard the volunteers do so and proceeded to thrash them. As far as our men
were concerned, they were not near the fight and had nothing to do with it. It was only a
sample of what happened from time to time. When Linehan and Hackett were hurt and
carried into a shoe store, Lieut. Scott stood at the door to keep a crowd out. The crowd
outside became very abusive and said the Milwaukee firemen were trying to run the town
and that if they did not behave, they would be thrashed. The town early in the morning
was in the hands of a drunken crowd and that accounts for the fact that our men had to
stand such abuse."
Threatened to Whip Them.
Lieut. Scott, when seen at Engine company No. 4 last evening, corroborated what
Mr. Clancy said of the threats to whip the firemen while Engineer Callahan repeated the
story of his being stopped by Mayor Mueller and placed under arrest. "I can't understand
it," said the fireman, "because I was half a block from the fight when the mayor said, 'In
the name of the state of Wisconsin I arrest you.' What did I do? Nothing. I told him he
did not know what he was talking about, that I understood the drunken crowd had
attacked Chief Clancy and that I was going there arrest or no arrest. Just then I saw Chief

Go up to Top of Page