MFD started as "Thomas Winter Hook and Ladder Co."
The following account of the origins of the Margaretville Fire Department was originally printed in the Catskill Mountain News on Aug. 15, 1963.
Some time prior to September 30, 1887, a meeting of interested individuals was held to bring about the first organized firefighting unit in Margaretville. It was through the urging of Dr. J. H. Banker that this meeting was held; thus he is considered to the founder of the Margaretville Fire Department.
The organization was named the “Thomas Winter Hook and Ladder Co.” At this meeting, J.A. Whittaker was elected foreman, A.T. Cowan, assistant foreman; J.D. Birdsall, secretary; and J.H. Hitt, treasurer.
The second meeting of the company was held September 30, 1887. At this meeting, a resolution was passed calling for the village trustees to pass an ordinance organizing a fire department and asking the village to furnish apparatus for same.
There were no further meetings until June 3, 1890. At this meeting, for some unknown reason, it was moved to change the name of the company. On the sixth ballot, the name “Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company” was chosen.
Meanwhile, on March 25, 1890, a meeting was held to organize a hose company. The name chosen for this company was “Pakatakan Hose Company.” Officers elected were: C.J. Dickson, foreman; G.E. Gladstone, assistant foreman; Charles VanDyke, secretary; and Charles Gorsch Jr., treasurer. Charter members were these four men along with E.A. Shaffer, L.D.S. Banker, O.E. Reynolds, H.B. Kelly Jr., J.D. Muir, J.W. Telford and J.B. Mungle.
Around the end of 1890, the village provided the first vehicle for firefighting, a hand-drawn hose carriage at a cost of $120.
The treasury of these companies was established through loans from the members, to be repaid when the individual companies could see their way clear to repay them. Weekly drills were held by each company to train the men.
J.A. Whittaker remained as foreman of the hook & ladder company until 1883, when O.M. Race was elected to that office. In 1894, Dr. G.L. Brown was elected foreman, an office he held until 1897, when D.W. Squires replaced him.
C.J. Dickson was foreman of the hose company until 1894 when John Grant was elected foreman. In 1896, E.A. Evans was elected foreman.
Until 1897, these companies were entirely separate from each other — each company governing itself.
In 1897, the Margaretville Fire Department was formed to act as a governing body for these two companies and to coordinate their efforts and activities.
Until this time, the foreman of the companies had been responsible to no one. Now, they maintained charge of the men in their respective companies, but they, in turn, were responsible to the chief of the fire department. The chief, in turn, was responsible to the village board.
The first chief of the fire department was J.W. Telford; first assistant chief was O.M. Race; second assistant chief was L.M. Sackett; secretary was Thomas Hill Jr. and N.R. Osborne was treasurer.
In February 1900, the Margaretville Fire Department held its first annual banquet. The first banquet was primarily a moneymaking effort that was open to the public. A total of 292 suppers were served at 25 cents a head. In 1901, 431 suppers were served at the banquet and, in 1902, 440 suppers were served, attesting to the popularity of the affair.
In 1900, the department had 48 active members — 26 in the Excelsior Hook & Ladder Company and 22 in the Pakatakan Hose Company.
Since its inception, the department has always been active in county and state fire organizations. It first joined the Volunteer Firemen’s Association of the State of New York in 1891 and joined the Delaware County Firemen’s Association when it was organized in 1899. The MFD continues to be active in both organizations.
In 1899, it was moved that a picture of J.H. Banker, founder, be purchased and hung in the department meeting room.
The village purchased the old Larrabee in 1923. At this time, it was moved to disband the Excelsior Hook & Ladder Company (36 years old) and the Pakatakan Hose Company (34 years old) and form one company known henceforth as the Margaretville Fire Department Engine Company No. 1.
As noted earlier, R.W. Marks was elected chief of this department. He held this post until 1927 when Cecil Polley was elected chief. Mr. Polley held this posted for 20 years, until 1947, when Roy
Saxouer was elected.
In 1937, the village contracted with the newly formed outside district for coverage. This outside district furnished the department with two International fire trucks. In 1948, with funds raised by the men of the department, the emergency truck was purchased. In 1952, the Larrabee was replaced with the present Dodge used for village purposes. In 1958, one of the district trucks was replaced with the Mack pumper.