The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers

The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers

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Although I'm now far away from Leesburg, and my health prevents me from long travels , I would hope to see all the streets of Leesburg along the route of Chief J B's final journey lined with folks to bid farewell to probably the most dedicated person to the citizens of Leesburg and Loudoun Co. I myself have ever known. I doubt anyone will ever be able to " fill his boots "! Rest In Peace JB , you will be forever in our hearts !

Established in 1803, the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company is one of the one hundred oldest still operational fire companies in America. Explore the lost history of our Volunteers and the fire service in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Operating as usual

04/30/2022

LVFC PANCAKE BREAKFAST SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 7 TO 11 AT STATION 1, LOUDOUN ST, SE
Come out for a great meal and support the Leesburg Volunteers!

(L to R) John Carr Jr, Tommy Downs and Tom Watson at a training burn.

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/25/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

EXTRA, EXTRA…SPECIAL EDITION

We have one more post dedicated to our volunteers – Hubert Welch, John Carr Jr., Terry Frye, John Pumphrey, Tommy Downs and several more of our notable members.

These are by no means all of our notable members, there are many more to be posted in the future. Please check out our previous posts for a full account of our outstanding members

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/23/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

More Notable Members - The owner of Jocks Exxon, the owner of the garage that is now Mom's Apple Pie, a founding member of Co. 13, a Chief nicknamed Dude, our oldest living member, and a man who never missed a meeting in 40 years!

04/22/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

Fond Memories Friday

Found deep in the archives, this photo of many of our well known volunteers from the late 70's early 80's, typifies the amazing camaraderie found in the fire service. Have fun naming all of them!

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/21/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

Notable LVFC Volunteers from 1930 to the 1950's

From the man who started the County's first "First Aid Squad" to the chief that brought the first lighted baseball field to Loudoun and several true Legends of Company 1.

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/19/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

Notable LVFC Volunteers from 1803 to 1930 plus Members who were Mayor and one Virginia Senator

EARLY RESIDENTS
Samuel Murrey bought the house and property of Lot 49 in 1804. He and his wife Betsy were members of the Methodist church located next door on Lot 50. They sold their property to the Trustees of the Leesburg Methodist Church for use as a parsonage on May 1, 1816 for one dollar.

FIRST CHURCH MEMBERS
On Sunday, May 5, 1804, Dr. Hall dedicated the Presbyterian Church of Leesburg, building and received into the membership of the church twenty-seven members of the Society. Two of those members were Obadiah Clifford and George Rowan.

LEESBURG POSTMASTER, 1804
William Woodly became the fifth postmaster of Leesburgh in 1804. According to the Balch Library, he and the Saunders families are credited with having held the appointment from 1804 until 1858. He was also a member of the 1803, 1819, and 1821, fire companies

JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
Presley Cordell and Samuel Hough were Justices of the Peace for Loudoun County and were listed as members of the 1803 Fire Company, the 1903 Relief Fire Company and the 1819 Leesburg Fire Company.

GRANDSON OF A SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Richard Henry Lee was born into the famous Lee family of Virginia in 1794. In 1835, he wrote a published eulogy of William Wirt and several books about his grandfather Richard Henry Lee who was best known for his motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain. He was also a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and his resolution of June 1776 led to the United States Declaration of Independence, which Lee signed. He also served a one-year term as the President of the Continental Congress, and was a United States Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792.12 Richard Henry Lee (the grandson) died in 1865.

FIRST NEWSPSPER PUBLISHER
Samuel Brooks Tobie Caldwell was a member of the 1821 Leesburg Friendship Fire Company. He was also the publisher of Leesburg’s first newspaper, the Genius of Liberty, in 1816. Mr. Caldwell Later became a Loudoun County representative in the Virginia House of Delegates. Samuel B. T. Caldwell died on 29 Mar 1866 and is buried in the Leesburg Presbyterian Churchyard.

THOMAS BIRKBY
The Birkby House, on Loudoun Street, was named for the Thomas Birkby who was a member of the 1819 Leesburg Fire Company and the 1821 Friendship Fire Company. His sons were also members. Thomas W. Joseph Birkby is listed as a member of the 1851 Union Fire Company. Henry C Birkby is listed as a member of the 1861 Virginia Fire Company. There is also a Charles Birkby, who is listed as a member of the 1871 Fire Department.

WILDMAN STREET, LEESBURG
Enos Wildman was a member of the 1821 Friendship Fire Company who ran a dry goods business in Leesburg. Wildman Street in Leesburg comes from this family name.

MAYORS OF LEESBURG WHO WERE ALSO FIRE COMPANY MEMBERS

SAM EDWARDS
• Mayor of Leesburg 1818-1819, 1830-1832, 1836-1837
• Member of the 1809 Relief Company and the 1819 Leesburg Fire Company
• Passed an act for “Better Government of Citizens on the Occasion of Fires" in 1819

ISAAC HARRIS
• Mayor of Leesburg 1819
• Member of the 1809 Relief Company

CHARLES B. BALL
• Mayor of Leesburg 1820
• Member of the 1819 Leesburg Fire Company and the 1821 Friendship Fire Company

JOHN MCCABE
• Mayor of Leesburg 1825-1827
• Member of the 1821, 1826 and 1827 Friendship Fire Companies

PRESLEY CORDELL
• Mayor of Leesburg 1833-1835
• Member of the1803 Fire Company of Leesburgh, 1809 Relief Company and the 1819 Leesburg Fire Company

GEORGE R. HEAD
• Mayor of Leesburg 1870-1885
• Member of the 1851 Union Fire Company

JAMES CLEM
• Mayor of Leesburg 1992-2000
• Member of the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company Inc.
• Acquired land for a new public safety center
LVFC Membership rosters, meeting minutes and https://www.leesburgva.gov/government/mayor-council/past-mayors-of-leesburg

Paul Harvey "Fireman" At his BEST he tells what its like to be a firefighter 04/19/2022

Paul Harvey "Fireman" At his BEST he tells what its like to be a firefighter

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

Please take a minute to watch this short video of Paul Harvey’s tribute to all firefighters, both career and volunteer. Please keep this in mind if you are looking for a rewarding career or the next time you get a donation request letter in the mail or see an ad for a dinner at a fire house. Either way, your support makes a huge difference to the volunteer firefighters in your community.

Paul Harvey "Fireman" At his BEST he tells what its like to be a firefighter A Tribute to Firefighters "Fireman" by Paul Harvey (Original "Fire and Ice" ) done in the style of the SUPER BOWL commercial "God Made A Farmer" narrated by ...

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/19/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

Please take a minute to watch this short video of Paul Harvey’s tribute to all firefighters, both career and volunteer. Please keep this in mind if you are looking for a rewarding career or the next time you get a donation request letter in the mail or see an ad for a dinner at a fire house. Either way, your support makes a huge difference to the volunteer firefighters in your community.
https://youtu.be/3-wNmLXXD8g

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/18/2022

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK APRIL 17 THRU APRIL 23, 2022

For over 200 years, volunteer firefighters have been protecting the Town of Leesburg and citizens of Loudoun County. Beginning on November 15, 1803, with the "Fire Company of Leesburgh" and continuing today as the Leesburg Vol. Fire Co. Inc., our volunteer firefighters have been risking their lives for others without any compensation other than the reward of a job well done. We are proud to remember those members who have gone before us and honored to continue this noble tradition of selfless giving.

These photos are a small representation of our volunteers over the last 97 years.

Photos from The Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers's post 04/16/2022

NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY TELECOMMUNICATORS WEEK, APRIL 10-16, 2022

"My duck is stuck!" "My pool's on fire!" - Unique Stories and Fun Facts about Loudoun Fire Rescue Dispatch

Was a Leaking Roof Responsible for Creating Loudoun Dispatch?
By the end of 1956, Loudoun County had nine fire companies and three rescue stations, which were putting a huge strain on the overburdened and inefficient methods for alerting stations of emergency calls. Emergency calls were routed from the telephone operator to the Loudoun County Sherriff’s dispatcher who then called someone affiliated with the fire company or rescue squad nearest to the emergency. This meant that someone had to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at each station to receive the call from the Sherriff’s dispatcher. It was the Hamilton fire company that took the initiative and invited representatives from each of the other fire companies to a meet and address the matter. On February 11, 1957, delegates from each company met in Hamilton to discuss the possibility of a county-wide alarm system. It was from these meetings that the new Loudoun County Fire & Rescue Association (LCFRA) was formed in 1958. From these meetings, the LCFRA worked with Loudoun’s Supervisors to implement a county-wide alarm system which has grown into the current enhanced 911 dispatch system in place today. So, what was going on in Hamilton that caused them to initiate the meeting?
In Hamilton, day time emergency calls went to the town office or the Wynkoop residence and at night Mr. Merchant was paid to sleep in the station to receive the call and activate the fire siren to alert the company. In October 1956, Mr. Merchant reported that the roof of the fire station was leaking and that the water had been dripping onto his head. Earl Wine said that he would look into the problem of the roof. Within two months, Hamilton sent out the invitations to the other Companies. In January 1957 it was noted in the Company 5 minutes that a special meeting of all the county fire companies was to be held the following month, to discuss a centralized fire alarm system. It is amusing to contemplate that Loudoun’s current; state of the art 911 system, could have been brought about by a leaking roof at Station 5. (Hamilton information found in archived old Co. 5 website notes)

Big Jim Anderson’s First Day at Dispatch
Jim Anderson recounted in a newspaper article that Conway Thompson came to visit him one day. He told Mr. Anderson that he had been recommended to become a dispatcher in the county central alarm system since he knew all of Loudoun and offered him the job. Big Jim said he’d think about it but Conway told him he must start that day. Big Jim said that he washed his face and went with him. He spent all day watching Deck Warner work the first shift and then Jim took the second.

My Duck Is Stuck!!!
Jim Anderson remembered getting a call one night from a frantic person who claimed “My duck is stuck!” What in the world were they talking about? Their pond froze over and the duck was stuck in the ice. He recounted that he punched out the call and added “Hurry boys, the duck is stuck!”

Help, My Pool is on Fire!!!
In the same newspaper article, Mr. Anderson recalled another odd call for a swimming pool on fire. That’s right, a swimming pool. It turns out the owners filled it with straw to keep it from freezing and someone threw a match in and it lit off. So yeah, the pool was on fire.

“Where are we going and How do we Get There?”
The main reason that Big Jim Anderson was selected for the dispatcher job was that he knew the County like the back of his hand. As a telephone lineman in the 1930’s, he and his crews stretched phone lines all across Loudoun. Up until the 1990’s, most properties only had a rural mail route instead of street addresses. “Mr. John Smith, Box 101, Rural Route 3, Middleburg Va.” was typical of the information on file. The dispatcher had to either know how to get to the location or get directions from the caller. Instructions such as “Turn left at the old Simpson barn, make a right at the second fork in the road and it’s the first house after the bridge,” were not only common but necessary. Eventually, run cards were developed for each address which included directions but more was needed. In the early 1970’s a decades long effort was made to create street addresses for all properties in the County. This huge task wasn’t completed until almost 2000.

What’s a Run Card?
For almost 40 years, County Dispatchers relied on a Rolodex file to store the run cards - index cards which identified the nearest fire and rescue companies due for each specific address. At the bottom of the card were directions to the address based on the route the first due company would take. When the call for assistance came in, the address was obtained and a dispatcher would flip through the Rolodex, find the card with that address, and dispatch the call. That file grew daily as more streets and buildings were added to the rapidly growing County. They were finally replaced by computer files in the 1990’s.

Dispatchers Settle Boundary Dispute
In 1969, one of the of the major projects for the LCFRA was defining company boundaries, or first due areas. Some companies wanted to have defined boundaries while others were not interested who is dispatched first. This latter group simply wanted to be notified of any emergency in their vicinity, so that they could respond. A months’ long boundary dispute between the Lovettsville and Lucketts fire companies was finally settled with Fire Control making the final decision.

“Send Everything!”
On December 1, 1974, TWA Flight 514, crashed into Mount Weather, Virginia, on the western Loudoun County border. All 85 passengers and 7 crew members were killed. Loudoun County Fire Marshal OR Dube’ was on duty and was one of the first to arrive on the scene. His initial report to dispatch included the order to “send everything you got”, as he established command and took charge of the crash site. Every Loudoun County Fire and Rescue company participated in that incident.

Dispatcher Jeff Flippo
In 1976, Jeff Flippo was hired as a fire dispatcher. Flippo began his career in the fire service as a volunteer in Aldie in 1968, eventually serving as assistant chief. After one year as a dispatcher, he moved over to the fire marshal’s office as a fire inspector in 1977 and, in 1978, was promoted to Fire Investigator. Flippo was promoted to Lieutenant and then Captain of the Fire Marshal’s Special Operations Division. He oversaw the development of the Loudoun Hazmat Team, and in 1994, was promoted to Chief Fire Marshal. He implemented an FBI accredited bomb squad and a Fire Marshal K9 team in the County, and served on several state and national committees for fire and arson investigation before retiring in 2004.

When’s my Husband Coming Home?
In 1977, Fire Control had a problem during fire calls – Wives of the firemen were calling in to ask how much longer their husbands were going to be out on the call. Attempts were made to stop this from occurring but to no avail. In September 1977, the LVFC Meeting Minutes note that Dispatch had reported that problem persisted and that “Wives are still calling fire control during emergencies and asking how much longer the department will be on the call”.

Larger Dispatch staff and a New Rolodex
In 1981 Roger Wright, was the Chief Communications Officer overseeing eight dispatchers who handled 38 phone lines. The old 8 channel recorder was replaced with a 40-channel recorder and the old Rolodex, which had been on loan to dispatch, was replaced with a badly needed new one with twice the space. That year, the dispatchers processed 41,000 phone calls, not counting routine business calls handled by administrative staff.

Enhanced 911 and Chief Brower
In 1984 Keith Brower was hired as the fire training officer for Loudoun County. He was involved with the planning and design of the fire academy, and implemented the first training programs. Chief Brower also worked to develop the Operations Division and was involved with the implementation of the enhanced 911 system in the early 1990’s. In 2004, he took over the job of Fire Marshal when Jeff Flippo retired. In that capacity, he oversaw the fire investigation of Meadowood Court in 2008. In 2010, Keith Brower was hired as the Loudoun system chief where he served until his retirement in 2018, after 45 years of career and volunteer service.

Today the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) employs more than 40 staff, and handles more than a quarter million calls for service each year. It’s a far cry from the first four dispatchers who had two phone lines and had to rely on either memory or a Rolodex card in order to get first responders to the scene. Thank you again to all of our dispatch personnel who perform and incredibly stressful and challenging job that keeps so many safe.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR MORE STORIES ABOUT DISPATCH AND THE UNIQUE CALLS THAT HAVE GONE OUT OVER THE YEARS

The Early Years

The history of the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company has been shrouded in mystery for well over one hundred years. Very few if any records of our operation were available and knowledge of the past was transferred by word of mouth from on generation to the next, causing most of it to be lost. In 2011, the Fire Company’s 150th birthday was approaching but at the time, all we knew was that the first Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company was started in 1863, and before that it was a bucket brigade called the Star Fire Company. An anniversary committee consisting of Rick Etter, Richard Wolfe, J.B. Anderson and Jim Fazekas, was established to find the exact date and it was these members who first began uncovering our history.

J.B. Anderson returned from a visit to the Loudoun County Court House Archives with a document showing the formation of the Leesburg Fire Company in 1819, forty-four years older than we thought. Furthermore, this document was an incorporation which referenced the “old fire company.” This meant that not only was there an even older fire company, but that we were no longer going to celebrate our 150th. After spending the summer pouring through the original court record books from 1775 to 1945, we found several more Company incorporation's and confirmed that November 15, 1803 is our birth date.

After two years of research, Jim Fazekas completed “The Lost History of the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company and the Fire Service in Loudoun County.” This 400-page book provides a most comprehensive and accurate description of not only the Fire Company history but that of the early fire service in Loudoun County. The book revealed the first half of our history but the second half was still missing.

The missing second half began to take shape in January 2018, when Company meeting minutes, old photos and other important documents dating back to 1925, were brought out of storage and researched. Thanks to J.B. Anderson, the history of the last one hundred years had been preserved. Now for the first time, we have compiled a rough history of the Fire Company and of Loudoun County, from 1803 to 2018. We continue to do the detailed research necessary but this is a much-needed first step in the appreciation of how we got to where we are today, and the members who made it possible. With almost ten thousand photographs, boxes of records and hundreds of newspaper articles, we are working to uncover the Lost history of the Leesburg Volunteers. With the help of this page and https://leesburgfirehistory.blogspot.com/ we are doing our best to share that history with you.

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HI SANTA!!!!!!!!
LVFC’s 32nd ANNUAL SANTA RIDES AGAIN

Address

61 Plaza St.
Leesburg, VA
20176

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