In July of 2023, researchers at the museum received an email with an unusual request. While we often field requests to trace the career histories of Philadelphia firefighters, mostly from relatives looking to learn more, this request was quite different. The email read as follows –

“Hi, I am a retired firefighter from Meriden Fire Dept- Meriden, Ct. I have been to your museum a few years ago and loved it.

I have an odd question for you. Do you happen to have a framed picture of FF’s from my town? We have at one of our stations, a picture of FF’s and a pumper from Philadelphia FD Truck D. Presented to Parker Hose Company (E#3) Meriden 1883. We are thinking maybe they traded pictures back in the day like we do tshirts today. Any information pertaining to my dept that you might have would be appreciated. – Thank you, Ret. Lt Maggie Bender”

Lt. Bender sent along the photos shown.

Museum researcher Lee Ryan corresponded with Maggie and began a search. Two of the firefighters in the picture would later become line of duty deaths. Fireman’s Hall Museum has spent years documenting LODD and we have built an extensive database that you can review here. An important aspect of the LODD project was to incliude photos of those we have lost. We were missing photos of these two firefighters. They have now been added to their bios.

One of the other firefighters photographed was Asst. Engineer Joseph T. Hammond. In September 2023, Ryan came to own a testimonial to Joseph T. Hammond, Foreman Truck D dated July 26, 1873. After much research, Ryan and Will Grow, another museum researcher, found research that had been done on Hammond in 2013 and 2021. Combining all the research, an intruiging portrait of his career emerged.

Hammond served with the PFD for 43 years. The story of Joseph T. Hammond is compelling. Here’s what we learned…

In 1864 he joined the Philadelphia Association for the Relief of Disabled Firemen which later became the Philadelphia Firemen’s Funeral Relief Association.

On March 15, 1871, he joined the paid fire department as a ladderman with Truck D. He was 33 years old and resided at 621 Annapolis St. (now Hancock Street) in Ward 4. His occupation was listed as a carpenter.

On February 4, 1873, he was promoted to Foreman of Engine 26. He resigned on July 1, 1873.

On December 22, 1874, he was elected assistant engineer in place of W. H. Dankel, who had been removed. Hammond was reinstated to the PFD on January 1, 1875 as Assistant Engineer.

On February 12, 1876 he was detached to the Centennial Fire Department, serving as its chief. He held that position until he returned to the PFD on January 5, 1877, serving as as assistant engineer, following the disbandment of the Centennial Fire Department. The Centennial Fire Department

was formed by the United States Centennial Commission to protect the grounds and buildings within the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia during 1876.

On December 22, 1882 he was buried in debris from a falling wall and floor during a fire at Goldsmith’s Hall. He was admitted to Pennsylvania Hospital with a dislocated shoulder.

On March 16, 1883 Hammond was seriously injured when the offside arm of the front axle on his carriage broke while responding to a fire on Fourth Street. While his horse continued at a frightful pace, he attempted to save himself when his foot became entangled in the spokes of the wheel. His foot was nearly torn from his leg. This grave injury resulted in the amputation of his foot and lower portion of the leg. The 1886 Annual Report states he is “one of our respected and efficient engineers.”

Hammond is listed as an Assistant Engineer through 1886. The Philadelphia Inquirer article dated October 9, 1886 states an increase in salary for “Joseph T. Hammond, a disabled fireman” from $1200 to $1500 by the Councils Committee on Fire Department was favorably approved. This salary is the same as the assistant engineer salary.

It is believed that Hammond was given the Inspector title due to his disability and experience. He was acting in an advisory capacity directly to the chief engineer. He held this position until his death on October 25, 1914, after serving the Philadelphia Fire Department for more than 43 years.

He was buried in Holy Redeemer Cemetery.