The Philadelphia Association for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Firemen was instituted on November 24, 1834 and changed its name to the Volunteer Firemen’s Funeral Relief Association on May 28, 1872 by accepting a supplement to the original charter. This newly named association was organized on June 12, 1872.
In 1843, the association purchased four plots in Monument Cemetery in Philadelphia located near Broad and Berks Streets. A vault was constructed and on September 19, 1845, Jacob Kunz of the Globe Fire Company became the first fireman buried in the vault. He had been killed while battling a raging fire on September 17, 1845 at the corner of Broad and Cherry Streets.
In February of 1850, Henry S. Tarr was contracted to build a monument over the vault. Scharff & Westcott’s “A History of Philadelphia 1609-1884” describes it as “a conspicuous monument above a vault. A white marble panel-case has at the corners representations of fire-plugs. The shaft rising above bears upon the face in relief the horn, spanner, and torch. The names of the persons who sleep below and the dates of their deaths are on the sides.
A list of names of those buried in the vault was printed in the Board of Trustees Annual Report for the year 1919.
Jacob Kunz Globe Fire Company 1845 *
Charles H. Hines Perseverance Hose Company 1847 *
Henry Mayger Assistance Fire Company 1848
Francis Lafayette Regnault Resolution Hose Company 1849
David Mulford Northern Liberty Hose Company 1850 *
Michael McLaughlin Franklin Fire Company 1851
John Wester Assistance Fire Company 1854
John W. Kean Hope Hose Company 1853
John Q. A. Logan Assistance Fire Company 1854
David B. Douglass Columbia Hose Company 1854
John Kromigh Humane Hose Company 1855
Michael W. Wheatley Resolution Hose Company 1856
George S. Cutler Columbia Hose Company 1857
William E. Naglee Hand-in-Hand Fire Company 1860
John D. Miller Perseverance Hose Company 1860
Edward K. Henk Spring Garden Fire Company 1868 *
Charles H. Carr Weccacoe Fire Company 1876
William H. Kern Spring Garden Hose Company 1876
George W. Gibson Friendship Fire Company 1877
George H. Holmes Hibernia Fire Company 1884
John Taggart Good Will Fire Company 1887
Henry S. Gardiner Southwark Fire Company 1902
*Denotes died in the line of duty
Monument Cemetery closed in 1955, the site had been selected as the future home of the Raymond Rosen housing project. In 1956 the remains of members buried in the vault that were not claimed by family were removed to Lawnview Cemetery in Rockledge, Montgomery County, PA. The monument was also relocated to Lawnview. This relocation had gone unknown until recently when museum member Ed Welch contacted us to let us know that a friend riding a bike through the cemetery discovered the monument. Ed noted that the monument was badly weathered in some areas.
Museum researcher Lee Ryan researched records of both organizations and contacted Lawnview Cemetery. A representative of the cemetery emailed Ryan a copy of the cemetery records for Lot 60 graves #3 and #4 and provided information on the relocation of the monument and remains from Monument Cemetery. The cemetery list reads as follows:
Jacob Kunz, Francis L. Regnault, Charles Hines, Henry Major (Mayger), David Mulford, Michael McLaughlin, John Wester, John W. Kean, John Logan, David Douglass, John Kromich, Michael Wheatley and William E. Naglee
John D. Miller, Charles Carr, William H. Kern, George W. Gibson, George H. Holmes, John Taggart, Henry D. Gardiner, Josiah Snyder, Harvey H. Downes and Henry Fite (Fite died on June 1, 1925 and had been a member of the Fairmount Fire Company. It’s believed that Fite may have been the last person buried in the lots at Monument Cemetery).
With additional research, Ryan discovered that Henry D. Gardiner’s middle initial was actually “S”. Josiah Snyder was a member of the Columbia Hose Company and died on April 19, 1903. Harvey H. Downes died on February 3,1918 and was buried in the vault at Monument Cemetery that year (Downes was a member of the Shiffler Hose Company). His last known address in 1912 was the Odd Fellows Home at 17th and Tioga Streets.
Additional research explains why Edward K. Henk is on the monument at Lawnview Cemetery but isn’t listed with the names of those buried in the plots listed above. Edward K. Hank was originally buried in lot 651, section C, Monument Cemetery in Philadelphia on March 15, 1868. This plot was owned by The Philadelphia Association for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Firemen. It is not known why, but on April 25,1871 his remains were removed to a gravesite in Greenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. A large stone which marks his grave reads “killed by a wall falling on him at fire in West St. above Coates St. March 12, 1868”. This stone also has his last name spelled as Henk. We’ve located military records that state that Edward’s last name was originally listed as Henk but later corrected to Hank. His death certificate also lists his last name as Hank. Edward K. Hank was a veteran of the Civil War serving from March 17, 1862 to March 17, 1865 as a musician with Company C, 67th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Susan Menefee has posted a memorial page for Edward K. Hank on Find-A-Grave.com which has the above and additional information on Hank and the photograph of his gravestone in Greenwood Cemetery that was located in a mislabeled file at Fireman’s Hall Museum.
Anyone having knowledge or information regarding these volunteer firemen, please contact Lee Ryan, [email protected].