Buena Vista Fire Brigade Responds Western Union Office

“The Western Union Telegraph office was supposed to be on fire last Monday morning. The operator, Sherman McElhaney, was trying to kindle a fire in the stove and the room began to fill with smoke, so he immediately rushed over to Mr. Klein’s store and said his office was afire and asked for the bucket brigade. Mr. Klein at once furnished the brigade with buckets

The brigade consisted of the following gentlemen: Postermaster Sullivan, G A Klein, Otto Caden, Jimmie Henry, John W DeVoss, Charley Napling and Mack Scott. They were soon in line and at Captain Sullivan’s command.

When they arrived at the office, at the captain’s command McElhaney was ordered to ascend the ladder with a pail of water, trying to pour it down the flue. He found it impossible and a closer investigation showed that some of the boys had played a joke on him by laying a stone across the top of the flue, which of course kept the smoke from coming out of the top. In the meantime Captain Sullivan took down the pipe and went to look up the flue, when a stream came down it, mixed with soot, right into our good Postermaster’s face.

When the operator found the joke was played on him he ripped and tore, saying what he could do with the joker. “It was a grand display of our fire department,” and we the citizens of old Buena, are proud of our grand fire department. Otto Caden and Jimmie Henry say it was better than Daddy Nolan’s. Nick Klein said he would have given a quarter to have seen the grand display.”1

  1. Buena Vista. (1887, November 19). Portsmouth Times, p. 1.
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