George T. Boughner

Page 562-563 - George T. Boughner. The strides made in firefighting in our great American cities within the past decade or two have produced a different type of fireman, one skilled in the mechanics of the apparatus with which he works and well versed in the various types of buildings now built in our cities. With the change in fire fighting methods, only those men who were able to adjust themselves to the new ways advanced in the force, and one of those men whose versatility and willingness to accept innovations as they appeared is George T. Boughner, fire marshal of Grand Rapids since 1916. He was born in the province of Ontario, Canada, in 1866, attending the public schools of his home community until he had reached his fifteenth year. In 1888 he came to Grand Rapids where he secured employment with the Spiral Spring Buggy Company. To increase his finances, he also became a part-time member of the Grand Rapids fire department earning fifty-five cents per day. He proved to be a man possessing the moral and physical courage demanded of the members of a department engaged in such hazardous work, and the following year witnessed his promotion to the position of driver of the hook and ladder as a full time member of the department. Promotion was again his lot the following year. This time he went to the station at the corner of Bond and Crescent streets as ladder man. His work in the department won almost instant recognition, for he had lost no opportunity to improve himself and his knowledge of the department of which he was a member. With the expiration of another two year period, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant of the station to which he had been first assigned as ladder man. He was again advanced in 1895, this time taking the rank of captain. The ensuing twenty years were busy ones for him, and his work as captain now proved him more than any previous time a fire department officer of the highest caliber. During this time, he was located at headquarters where the character of his work came under the immediate observation of his superiors. One year of this time, however, he spent at No. 1 station in charge of the new aerial ladder which had just then been purchased, the year being 1914. In July 1915, a vacancy was created in the department, and Mr. Boughner advanced to the rank of battalion chief, being transferred to headquarters. Here he was able to display not only his knowledge of fire fighting but also his ability in departmental administration, and when the choice of a fire marshal was brought up the following year, 1916, George Boughner appeared as the logical candidate for that responsible office. He was accordingly appointed, and the wisdom of his selection has been apparent since first he took up the duties of his new post. His record as a fire fighter is exemplary of all that is best in the service, and he has won the respect, the admiration, and the heartfelt thanks of the citizenry of Grand Rapids. Fire Marshal Boughner first married Myrtle Findlay, the daughter of William Findlay, pioneer resident of Kent county, and she died March 23, 1902. In 1904, he married Abba Porter, the daughter of Chauncey Porter, a pioneer lumberman now operating a grist mill at Rockford, Michigan. To Mr. and Mrs. Boughner were born four daughters: Mabel, who is the wife of Herman Schoonbeck, of Grand Rapids; Hazel, who married Henry Storey and is now deceased; Beatrice, who is unmarried and lives with her parents, and Gwendolyn, who is deceased.


Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 7 January 2004