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Kent County Firemen, Policemen and Sheriffs


Chief Officers of the Fire Department

1859: Chief Fire Engineer-Wilder D. Foster
Source: 1859 Grand Rapids City Directory
Year Chief Marshals Assistant Marshals (Fire-Chiefs) (Assistant Chiefs)
1860 Benj. B. Church James Cavanaugh
1861 David Caswell George H. White
1862 Abram A. Lawyer Wm. E. Grove
1863 Philip H. Edge George R. Pierce
1864 George R. Pierce Benj. A. Harlan
1865 Josiah M. Cook Charles Hilton
1866 Josiah M. Cook Elliott Judd
1867 Wm. A. Hyde James Paul
1868 Wm. A. Hyde Benj. F. Porter
1869-1870 Wm. A. Hyde John Gezon
1871 Wm. A. Hyde Isaiah Peak
1872 Wm. A. Hyde Elisha O. Stevens
1873-1875 Michael Shields Anthony Hydorn
1876-1879 Israel C. Smith Chas. E. Belknap
1880 David L. Stiven Chas. R. Swain
1881-1894 Henry Lemoin Solon Baxter
1895-1915 Henry Lemoin Henry C. Bettinghouse
1915-1916 David B. Walker George T. Boughner
1916-1938 George T. Boughner Fred Higgins
1938-1943 Fred Higgins Edward C. Palmer
1943-1947 Edward C. Palmer Frank H. Burns
1947-1948 Frank H. Burns Ernest Esbaugh & Lewis Johnson
1949-1950 Frank H. Burns Ernest Esbaugh & Ralph Long

As early as 1844 three fire departments were partly organized under the names of Bucket Company and Hook and Ladder Companies, Nos. 1 and 2. In the fall of 1849, Alert Fire Company, No. 1, was organized.  The same season was organized Protection Fire Company, No. 2. On January 15, 1850, Hook and Ladder, No. 1, was organized.  February 25, 1850, Wolverine Fire Company, No. 3, was organized. This was a West Side Company, a reorganization of the partly formed "Cataract, No. 3." A hose company was organized the first of February, 1859, called the Young America, No. 1.

In the fall of 1854 a lot was purchased on the west corner at the junction of Monroe and Spring streets, and a brick engine house, the first of the sort, was built there the following season. That was Engine House No. 1. The second engine house provided by the city, was on a lot now comprising the north end of the site of the present much enlarged building at the corner of Kent street and Crescent avenue. The next one was on a lot purchased in 1859 a little north of Bridge street on Scribner street. The earlier brick engine houses were considered good for their day, but have been superseded by much finer structures. The engine houses in 1888, the property of the city, are:

No. 1. Built in 1868 at 49 Lagrave street. Captains: Richard Roberts, John Smith. Lieutenant: Isaac Sonke

No. 2. At 220 Barclay street, built in 1879. Captain: J. Anthon Brown. Lieutenant: Fred N. Jennings

No. 3. Corner Front and Second streets. Captains: William Scott, Frank Lemon, Charles Berger. Lieutenants: George Rowley, Charles Spencer.

No. 4. Corner Kent street and Crescent avenue rebuilt in 1876. Captains: David Walker, Archie McDougal. Lieutenant: William Tuffts.

No. 5. Corner Canal and Leonard streets. Built in 1879. Captain: Truman Smith. Lieutenant: Theodore E. Bellaire.

No. 6. Junction of Grandville and Ellsworth avenues. Erected in 1877. Captain: Luke Kerwin. Lieutenant: Thomas M. McMullen.

No. 7. Established at 348 Scribner street. Not fully equiped.

No. 8. Corner Jefferson and Veto streets. Built in 1883.  Captain: W. B. Fitzpatrick. Lieutenant: Edward Porter.

Superintendents of Alarms:
Preston V. Merrifield, 1875-80
John W. Chase, 1881
Henry C. Bettinghouse, 1882-89

Source: The History of  the City of Grand Rapids by Albert Baxter; 1891
Source: The Story of Grand Rapids by Z. Z. Lydens, Editor; Kregel Pub. 1966

Father Dennis Morrow, who is Chaplin of the Fire Department, has informed me that the Grand Rapids Fire Department has an extensive database on all their firefighters. If you have an ancestor who served with the Grand Rapids Fire Department, you may request information from their archives by writing to them at:

Grand Rapids Fire Department
Administrative Offices
38 LaGrave S. E.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503


Images of G.R. Policemen

Grand Rapids Motorcycle Policemen circa 1933.

Melvin Charles Pease, Police, on Harley, Taken June 1938, Grand Rapids.

Contributed by Barbara Jones . Thanks Barb!

Roster of Grand Rapids Police Chiefs
1871-1878 James  L. Moran
1879 Isaac Sigler
1880  James L. Moran (again)
1881 Horace W. Davis
1882 Van Epps Young
1883-1886 John Perry
1887-1889 Israel C. Smith
1889-1892 William H. Eastman
1893-1914 Harvey O. Carr
1914-1935 Albert A. Carroll
1933-1934 Mallery M. Kincaid
1935-1946 Frank J. O'Malley
1946-1951 Albert F. Scheiern
1951-1957 Dewey Beaver
1957- William A. Johnson

Source: The History of the City of Grand Rapids by Albert Baxter; 1891
Source: The Story of Grand Rapids by Z. Z. Lydens, Editor; Kregel Pub. 1966

Members of the police force, other than Superintendents, since the organization of the Board, up to 1888, with the year of appointment of each:
Ansley Daniel 1879
Bettie Charles H. 1881
Behan Dennis 1883
Bement Harley 1887
Billings Albert F. 1887
Bonnell Leslie 1881
Breese S. A. 1883
Britt William 1885
Brown George F. 1888
Brownell S. R. 1882
Bush Wm. S. 1881
Catlin F. W. 1882
Catlin Mrs. F. W.
(Matron) 1885
Chaffee Charles H. 1886
Coggswell D. F. 1884
Cook L. D. 1884
Conlon John 1886
Connelly John 1883
Connolly James 1872
Connolly John 1879
Connor C. O. 1882
Cowell David 1873
Curry Alexander 1887
Cutler W. P. 1883
Davison Edward 1885
De Bruyne Marius 1881
Denison James R. 1887
Doherty Patrick 1883
Duga William 1887
Engle Thomas E. 1887
Ennis Alex 1882
Erb Oliver 1881
Fee F. B. 1883
Fisher Van E. 1886
French Elbert E. 1886
Fritz Nelson 1882
Gardner John M. 1882
Gast Cornelius 1872
Gates Charles H. 1886
Gault C. A. 1883
Gill M. P. 1883
Gould Emmett 1887
Gould Mrs. F. 1887
Gitchell Harry 1885
Graves Wm. H. 1884
Grimson Theo L. 1881
Groff Hubert 1872
Guild William 1887
Healey Bryant 1883
Hemstreet Alfred 1887
Hennessey James 1881
Hinzleman Adolph 1888
Hirnburger John 1882
Howe Cornelius 1880
Howell James 1883
Howell Thomas 1885
Hurley Wm. J. 1881
Hyland Patrick W. 1886
Jakeway Sherm'n G. 1887
Johnson Jacob C. 1885
Johnson John 1879
Johnson John B. 1880
Johnson S. A.  1885
Kearney Patrick 1880
Klyn John C. 1881
Latham Jackson E. 1887
Leatherman C. 1883
Lecompte Joseph 1881
Lucia Jefferson 1886
Lynch Michael 1887
McCarthy John F. 1887
McCarthy Thomas 1887
McCaul Frank 1885
McCulloch Sam'l 1886
McDorman Geo. W. 1885
McHugh James 1883
McKay James 1882
McLean Thomas 1871
Madden John 1882
Madden Timothy 1881
Madigan Timothy 1885
Maher Thomas 1881
Manly J. L. 1883
Millalley D. 1884
Miller George 1881
Mooney James 1885
Moran Charles L. 1885
Murphy Michael 1873
Nash Mort 1885
O'Neil Charles C. 1885
O'Neil Patrick 1881
Partington W. I. 1882
Pelton E. L. 1881
Pimpert Frederick 1885
Platte A. 1883
Post Charles 1882
Price Thomas C. 1882
Purple Thomas 1872
Quigg John 1880
Raynor Aldelbert D. 1885
Robbins Thomas 1883
Robie John F. 1882
Rowland Dwight P. 1885
Rubedew James 1883
Ryan Thomas 1883
Saunders C. H. 1871
Sauter Gotlieb 1880
Schobey John 1881
Scoby John M. 1882
Scoby H. V. 1883
Scott John 1882
Sears C. H.  1883
Seeley Charles A. 1886
Shields Patrick 1887
Slattery Thomas J. 1887
Sliter Emmery J. 1887
Smith Emmett 1886
Smith Joseph U. 1885
Smith L. O. 1883
Traxler George W. 1881
Tubbs George W. 1887
Van Dine N. J. 1887
Viergiver Daniel 1881
Wade Charles 1881
Walsh Wm. P. 1881
Ware Howard R. 1885
Warren Robert 1885
Washburn Wm. E. 1881
Webb Ralph S.  1887
Webber Fred W. 1885
Wells George 1883
Whalen Wm. 1887
Wheeler George W. 1887
Wiersma C. D. 1882
Willey E. F. 1883
Willey F. W. 1883
Williams Delano S. 1887
Worden George 1888

Source: The History of the City of Grand Rapids by Albert Baxter; 1891.

Sheriffs of Kent County
Ezra Reed 1837-38
Aaron Russell 1839-40
Harry Eaton 1841-42
Solomon Withey 1843-44
C. P. Babcock 1845-46
DeWitt Shoemaker 1847-48
Harvey K. Rose 1849-50
Leonard Snyder 1851-54
Daniel S. T. Weller 1855-56
Anson N. Norton 1857-60
Sluman S. Bailey 1861-64
William Thornton 1865-66
Sluman S. Bailey 1867-68
Jesse F. Wyckoff 1869-72
Isaac Haynes 1873-76
Freeling W. Peck 1877-80
Isaac F. Lamoreaux 1881-82
Lyman T. Kinney 1883-86
Loomis K. Bishop 1887-

Transcriber: RA
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net//histories/policefire.html 
Created: 25 July 1999[an error occurred while processing this directive]