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History of the Western New York Volunteer's Fireman's Association

In the year 1899, a few volunteer firemen representing larger cities and villages in Western New York got together in Lockport and held an informal meeting with the idea of forming an organization for the purpose of promoting closer friendship among the various fire companies and providing assistance in improving their respective operations in the Volunteer Fire Service. Mr. Joseph M. Hoffman of the Active Hose Company of Lockport, New York is credited with being the prime mover in setting up early meetings and could be unofficially considered the father of the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association (he served as our President in 1928 – 1929). From the seeds sown at the first meeting “Western” was born. Mr. Hoffman sent letters to the various Fire Companies in the Western New York area inviting them to send representatives to a formal meting to pursue the formation of the Western New York Volunteer Fireman’s Association.

This meeting was held on Sunday, November 12, 1899 in the carriage rooms of the Active Hose Company of Lockport, New York. Mr. Hoffman hosted and opened the meeting, explaining its purpose, and Mr. Daniel J. Brown, of the DeWitt Clinton Hose Company of Lockport, served as Secretary. At the meeting it was decided to officially organize a Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association. Temporary officers were elected as follows: President – Mr. William J. Rogers of Tonawanda; 1st Vice President – Mr. J.W. Larkin of Brockport; 2nd Vice President – Philip I. Brust of Medina; Secretary – Daniel J. Brown of Lockport and Treasurer – George F. Thompson of Middleport. Three committees were appointed: one to draft a Constitution and By-Laws; one to solicit membership; and one to select a site to hold a Convention. The roll call representatives at this meeting numbered 32 fire companies from Lockport, Niagara Falls, Brockport, Depew, Middleport, Medina, Spencerport, Albion, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. Counties represented were Erie, Monroe, Niagara and Orleans. A second meeting was held in the Village of Albion on January 18, 1900 to explain the objectives of the Association to the firemen of Orleans and Monroe Counties. At both of these meetings the attending who paid dues of $1.00 comprised the Association and were officially listed as charter members.

The appointed Site Committee chose Lockport as the place for our first Convention. At that time, Lockport Fire Department’s Annual Parade and Inspection was held the second Wednesday in June so the Convention was planned to coincide with the annual function. The date was June 13, 1900.

At the first convention, the official Convention meeting date was changed to the last Tuesday in July.

As taken from the 100th Anniversary Program Book of the W.N.Y.V.F.A.

Western New York Volunteer's Firemen's Association     P.O. Box 216     Niagara Falls     New York     14304-0216
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