Historical information has been retrieved from microfilm from the Pentwater Township Library as published in THE OCEANA TIMES and THE PENTWATER TIMES.
Oct. 1871, PENTWATER AND MANISTEE, Action of the People of Pentwater-Public Meetings, etc. One week ago last Sabbath, the woods around the beautifully located city of Manistee, with its population of 3,500 souls, were on fire. The wind blew a hurricane, and the air was filled with burning cinders. Nearer came the fire, more dense and suffocating the smoke. Blinded, fearful , and almost dismayed, the people worked faithfully to stay its progress. The fire enters the city on the extreme east and west. All day they fight the demon with strength superhuman, and nerves strung to their utmost tension at the prospect of utter ruin and desolation. Leaping, roaring, irresistible, the flames dart and fork in every direction. Night comes on to render the scene more terrible, and make confusion more confounded. The heavens are lighted with the lurid glare of an hundred homes, that shoot their myriad embers squares in advance of the fire. Stumps twenty feet apart take fire, and each becomes a chimney, issuing its dread quota of fire and sparks. Pieces of bark and ember six inches in diameter are hurled through the air like stones, strike against the side of some home or some store-house, and are pinned there by the fury of the wind, till the building burns.
Panic, dismay, absolute abandonment seizes the people. Hemmed in on all sides by water or fiery woods, the lives of the entire population seem in jeopardy. The only bridge burns. The axle of the only fire engine breaks. Boats are seized and hurled across the lake by the fury of the gale, half or entirely filled with water. The night passes rapidly, and the vessels have many on board anchored beyond danger. The morning dawns upon a town desolate, upon families scattered and separated-children in one place and fathers and mothers in another. Tired, blinded, these people gather among the few remaining buildings. A press is saved. Its wheels are soon in motion, and the little extra announcing the sad disaster and calling for help from neighboring towns, is soon in proper hands.
Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids have each their appointed correspondents. But the roads are filled with fallen trees, and progress through the forest is impossible. The lake is rough, and no vessel could live in such a storm. They wait of necessity, and those who have been so fortunate as to have anything left to them, give liberally of shelter, provisions and clothing. There is no change in the condition of affairs by Monday night. Tuesday night arrive in Pentwater two men from Manistee who walk the entire distance. Their statement is loose, and in all probability exaggerated. They have little or no knowledge of the place, and speak but generally. Great anxiety is awakened, for the woods around Pentwater have been burning fiercely. Wednesday passes and the first reliable news of the catastrophe is received at night. People have mostly gone to their homes, but a lecture is being given at the Congregational Church to a good audience. Immediately upon its close, Dr. Weare rises and states the fact. The extra giving an outline of the disaster, and calling for aid from neighboring towns, is read. A committee of seven is instantly appointed, to receive donations of clothing, bedding and provisions. Mr. Higby being present, gives the use of his tug. Mr. Edwards suggests a money subscription, and the audience places in his hands $58.20 on the spot. The committee appointed by the audience decide to send a committee on the offered tug to find out what is most needed, and to take with them what few things could be gathered together at so late an hour. By ten o’clock the committee have flour, crackers, miscellaneous provisions, clothing, bedding, etc., packed up and on the dock. But the tug cannot be got ready for the uncertainties of such a trip under several hours, and it is four o’clock before Pentwater harbor is left astern. When within about four miles of Ludington, some of the packing of a steam pipe is blown out and the steam escapes. Enough, however is generated to bring the vessel under Claybanks, and there she anchors until daylight. Additional steam is made, the anchor is raised, and slowly they find their way to Ludington. By noon the damage is repaired.
The news spreads rapidly, and systematic efforts is made in Ludington to aid the sufferers. The little Pentwater tug, with Mr. Higby, and the committee (Messrs. Montgomer and Rastall) on board, speeds on its errand of mercy, and reaches the ruined city by three o’clock on Wednesday afternoon. Here the local committee appointed for the purpose receive the little brought on the tug with expressions of gratitude. It is the first received. Having ascertained that provisions and clothing are most needed, the committee leave the tug, owing to the rough weather detaining her, and depart on the Metropolis. Late in the evening they arrive at Ludington. The storm has increased to a gale, and she cannot leave before morning. The next morning the storm continues, and at noon the committee engage a team and reach Pentwater the same day. At night the original committee is convened in the office of Rice & Ambler, and they receive the report from Manistee. It is agreed that each member of the committee shall solicit aid the next day, and have the contributions ready by the time the storm abates and the boat arrives. On Saturday the committee do something, but it is thought not enough, and nine o’clock Monday morning is appointed as the time for a public meeting, the announcement being made from the pulpits of the several churches. Before noon, however, it is agreed that a meeting shall be called immediately, as the storm may abate, and if not , a schooner is to be sent. At three o’clock the business men of Pentwater meet at Ratzel’s Hall. Dr. Weare is called to the chair. A statement of the case is given. Mr. S.A. Browne suggests that subscriptions be made on the spot, to be given in money, clothing or provisions. E.D. Richmond heads a paper for the purpose, and Mfr. S.A. Browne, representing the firm of which he is a member, donates $600. The list is handed around, and over $1200 is the result. Immediately the warehouse at the steamboat landing is thrown open, and all the afternoon packages, barrels, boxes, furniture, stoves, etc., are carried in. Everyman feels it a privilege to give something. By none o’clock on Sunday night the packages are all made up and labeled “Manistee, from Pentwater.” The wind has gone down, and the boat from the south is hourly expected. But morning dawns and no boat has arrived. Some anxiety is felt, and to complicate matters the wind again springs up, and by noon a heavy gale is blowing.
10/20/1871, PENTWATER was indeed fortunate in being privileged to assist the people of a neighboring town in the hour of adversity. But this was not all. It so happened that our little fire steamer “Oceana” was in Chicago, on a platform car, at the time of the great fire, and under the direction of the agent of the company, Mr. Walker, was soon doing good service. The water failed, however, and she, with the others, could do little. An immense elevator (B) stood near the river, and to this Mr. Walker directed the attention of the “Oceana” and right faithfully did she work, saving the mammoth structure and its contents, valued a $3,000,000.
10/20/1871, A letter from T.J. Ramsdell, Secretary of the Manistee Relief Committee, was read and ordered printed. The letter is as follows: To the Trustees of Pentwater, Mich.: Gents” - It is with pleasure that we acknowledge the receipt of your unbounded generosity, In so speedily forwarding supplies to the sufferers of this vicinity. May you not be visited by any such calamity, and the good feeling that has ever existed between us always prevail, is our wish. We remain very truly yours, T.J. Ramsdell, Secretary of Relief Committee.
10/20/1871, Council Minuets, A proposal from Joseph Henry to build fire engine building, for $1725, was presented by the Recorder, and on motion laid on the table. On Motion, the Street Commissioner was granted till next meeting in which to secure proposals for extending Wythe street to the Pere Marquette Road. A motion was made by Mr. Hodges that a committee of three be appointed to secure a building to keep a fire engine in, and if necessary build a temporary one. Carried. The President appointed Hodges, Flagg and Dundass as such committee. A motion was made by Councilman Underhill that a committee of three be appointed to report the names of 40 men willing to serve in the fire department of the village. Carried. The President appointed as such committee Messrs. Hardy and Underhill.
10/20/1871, THE SMOKE CLEARED AWAY, The smoke has literally cleared away, and we are compelled to behold a sad picture. For two weeks devastating fires have swept over our northern country, and many a village hamlet and city is in ruins. Chicago, with its two thousand six hundred acres of burned homes and business houses, stands out in bold relief, and the long list of killed and wounded in that proud and unfortunate city, speak plainly of the terrors of that awful Sunday and Monday. Peshtigo, Wisconsin, adds to the number lost between five and seven hundred, and in the tributary country scarcely a house remains standing, while their unfortunate occupants are wanderers, burned, bruised and penniless. In our own State the fearful details to be found in the report will carry sadness to all hearts, and the springs of sympathy will open and flow in streams of plenty while necessity lasts. If there be one relieving feature of this sad picture, it is the spontaneous and universal outburst of feeling for the unfortunate sufferers by the American people. It has been stated with truth that to enumerate the sources of relief tendered the unfortunates by these disasters, would require a gazetteer of the United States. Thank God for such a country!
10/20/1871, THE GREAT FIRE AND ITS LESSONS, The great conflagrations of ancient and modern times appear insignificant when compared to this calamity. The burning of Rome in the time of Nero extended over a comparatively small area, and the buildings destroyed were not remarkable for size or beauty. The conflagration of Moscow, which causes the destruction of the invading army of the First Napoleon, extended over only about 500 acres of ground, and, with the exception of the Kremlin, the buildings were wooden structures. The great fire of London in 1666 destroyed St. Paul’s and a few more of the best buildings, but did its work principally among the abodes of the poor, and was confined to a limited section of the city. All these fires put together have no destroyed one half the amount of wealth that has been swept away by the dreaded fiend since the last issue of our jurnal reached its readers. Good sometimes comes out of evil. The smoking ruins of a magnificent city speak with a tongue of eloquence of the uncertainty of all earthly things, and verify the assertion that riches sometimes make themselves wings and fly away as easy as an eagle toward heaven. It is now seen that it is vain to depend on marble palaces for security to life, and on so called fire proof buildings, on safes and vaults for the security of property, and on insurance companies whose risks exceed their capital. If men are warned by fire to devise greater protection to human life, and to so place their possessions that all cannot be destroyed, - to insure in none but the most reliable companies and to deposit their treasures in vaults and safes that are really fireproof, good will have come of out evil.
12/3/1871, OUR STEAM FIRE ENGINE, We learn that a steamer has been shipped by Messr. Clapp & Jones, and that it is now on the way to Pentwater. We hope this engine will not be received by our Common Council, for the following reasons; 1. Mr. Walker, the agent of Clapp & Jones, has sold the engine manufactured for the village of Pentwater, and now sends us another, hastily got out, so as to reach us before the close of navigation. Our Common Council accepted his proposition on August 9 to furnish us with a fourth size engine for $3500 or $4000, according to finish, and entered into contract to that effect. This engine was in Chicago two months later, was there disposed of and in two weeks another engine is on its way to Pentwater. Why the long delay in shipping the first engine, and the promptness in getting out the second? Is it not to prevent any other engine from competing with the one furnished by Clapp & Jones? The contract allows three months only to other builders for this purpose, and this three months in now coming at a time when it will be impossible to ship another engine here. 2. Pentwater is to pay a much larger sum for this engine than is meet. We call particular attention to the following extract from a report of the Common Council proceedings at Titusville, Pa., which we take from the Titusville Morning Hearld of May 18, 1871:
WEDNESDAY EVENING, May 17, 1871, Present-Mesers, Cadwallander, President; Myers, Bryan, Jackson, Lowry, Gibbs, McCram and Coombs. The minutes of last regular meeting were read and approved. A number of proposals to furnish a new steamer to the city were received from several companies and read. Bryan then moved as an amendment to the original motion that the matter of purchasing a steamer be postponed for one week, which was withdrawn. Bosch, Chief Engineer of the Fire Department, offered to give $200 towards purchasing a Silsby engine. Myers also offered to give $100 towards the purchase of a Silsby engine. Phillips then, in behalf of the firm of Clapp & Jones, offered to furnish the city with one of their engines, second class in size, guaranteed, for $3,150.00, and to take in payment there for city bonds, running one, two and four years, at any per cent. Gibbs then moved as an amendment to the original motion, that the city accept the offer made by Phillips, and purchase of Clapp & Jones one of their second class (in size) steam fire engines for $3,150.00, payable in city bonds running one, two and three years, and bearing 8-70 interest, said engine to be delivered at the expense of said Clapp & Jones, and to be guaranteed by them to give perfect satisfaction, and to be of the best make and finish of that class of engines made by them. Adopted.
Pentwater pays $4000, and freight, for an engine two sizes smaller, of the same make and finish. Taking all things into consideration, it certainly appears as though the delay in fulfilling his contract was intentional on the part of Mr. Walker. We are strongly opposed to the acceptance of the engine so tardily furnished by him, and hope the Common Council will view the matter in the same light.
THE OTHER SIDE. We have received from Councilman Underhill the following explanatory letter in regard to the sale of the steamer ”Oceana.” This is partially satisfactory, but does not explain the difference in price between the engine sold to Titusville, and that sold to Pentwater. We want to hear an explanation in regard to this matter.
CHICAGO, OCT. 29, 1871, Messers, Dresser & Rastall: GENTLEMEN-While on my way to New York, stopping at Chicago on day, I took the opportunity to call at the Illinois Central Elevator “B,” and see our little steam fire engine “Oceana,” or rather the one designed for us; Mr. Buckingham, the gentlemanly proprietor, showed me the engine, and stated to me the amount of service she performed on the eventful Monday of the destructive fire in Chicago. He said that Mr. Walker give him a bill of sale of the engine to keep it out of the hands of the government officers, as Gen. Sheridan had already sent an order for it to protect government property. After the fire he would not give it back to Mr. Walker, since he did not feel safe, and wished to use it ten or fifteen days longer to sabdue the burning ruins, and to prevent the rekindling of the fire. Mr. Buckingham stated to me that he kept the engine at work constantly, day and night, for eight days, a length of successive hours that no engine in Chicago had performed without stopping for repairs. She threw a stream of waster entirely over the elevator, and certainly saved it from destruction. The elevator cost $300,000, and contained at the time 1,300.000 bushels of wheat. She also undoubtedly saved the lumber yard of Ludding, Wells & Van Schaick, and other property amounting in the aggregate to about $3,000,000. Mr Buckingham says no blame should be attached to Mr. Walker under the circumstances, since he had no idea of the engine being kept, and demanded it back after the fire, but was compelled to take the money for it instead. After leaving Mr. Buckingham, and while on my way to the depot, I came across Mr. Walker himself, who gave me the same particulars that Mr. B. had done. Mr. Walker says that after the fire he immediately telegraphed to Messrs. Clapp & Jones for a steel finished engine that was in the shop, that cost $700 more than the “Oceana,” and which would be in Pentwater this week. He says he will endeavor to make it all satisfactory with us. I expect that the Common Council will have concluded the purchase of Mr. Walker’s new engine before I return, and certainly hope that the same may be the result, since I think that no blame should be attached to Mr. Walker for doing what he has done, owing to the extraordinary circumstances under which he was placed, and the immense amount of property that our little steamer was the means of saving from the devouring flames. Respectfully Yours, A.J. Underhill .
ORGANIZATION OF FIRE COMPAY, PENTWATER, OCT. 31,1871. At a meeting of the citizens of Pentwater, for the purpose of organizing a Fire Company, Mr. R.L. Hardy was appointed Chairman and R.L. Rice Secretary. On motion, Amos Dresser, Jr., Fred. W. Ratzel and R.L. Hardy were appointed a committee to draft constitution and by-laws to govern the company. On motion, meeting adjourned for one week. R.L. R ice, Secretary.
Our readers will see from the above that steps are now being taken to secure an efficient organization to protect our village from fire. The want of such an organization has long been felt, and we hope that all who have consented to join the company will be present at the next meeting, and help to select competent officers.
November, 24, 1871, OUR STEAM ENGINE, On Friday last the long-expected Steam Fire Engine was received from Messers. Clapp & Jones. The question of it’s acceptance is soon to be decided by our Common Council. We have not been able to find a copy of the contract entered into, but understand that the terms of that agreement have been violated by Mr. Walker, and our Council are thus released from their obligations. We do not think that Mr. Walker is entitled to anything more than what the strict letter of his contract calls for. We know he has endeavored to obtain an exhorbitant price for his time, and we believe his representations cannot be relied upon. Our readers will remember that in the News of the 3d inst, we published an extract from the Titusville (Pa.) Herald, showing the propositions Messrs. Clapp & Jones made to that city in regard to a steam fire engine. To make assurance doubly assure, we soon after addressed a letter of inquiry to the city Recorder, and received the following in reply: To Amos Dresser, Jr., Pentwater, Mich. – Dear Sir: - Your favor of the 7th inst. Duly received. In reply I would say the statement enclosed in regard to the proposition of Messgrs. Clapp & Jones is correct. We have received one of their engines, which gives general satisfaction. Messrs. Clapp & Jones have taken our bonds (1,2,3 and 4 years,) bearing 8 per cent interest in payment for said engine. Very truly yours, Geo. A. Chase, City Recorder.
To refresh the memory of any who may have forgotten the terms of the proposition referred to, we re-publish below as it appears in the report of the proceedings of the Common Council: Phillps, then, in behalf of the firm of Clapp & Jones, offered to furnish the city with one of their engines, second class in size, guaranteed, for $3450, and to take in payment therefor city bonds, running one, two and four years, at any per cent. Gibbs then moved as an amendment to the original motion, that the city accept the offer made by Philips, and purchase of Clapp & Jones one of their second class in size steam fire engine for $3,450, payable in city bonds, running one, rwo and three years, and bearing 8 per cent interest, said engine to be delivered at the expense of said Clapp & Jones, and to be guaranteed by them to give perfect satisfaction, and to be the best make and finish of that class of enginesmade by them. Adopted.
According to the terms of the proposition made to Pentwater, a fourth size engine was to cost from $3500 to $4000 according to finish. The “Oceana.” Which was built especially for Pentwater, was to have cost $3500. A “steel finished” engine that Mr. Walker telegraphed for to fill the place of the “Oceana,” cost $700 more,” and we don’t know whether this is the best make and finish” or not. If the engine we have received is the one Mr. Walker telegraphed for, we certainly think a little improvement might possibly be made in “make and finish.” But assuming that the finish in both cases is the same, and saying nothing about the difference in size, Pentwater is to pay $4200 for what Titussville gets for $3450.
We have made inquiry in regard to the difference in price between the different classes of engines, and has been told that there is about $1000 between one class and the next higher. This may be an overestimate, but after making an allowance of on-half, we find that Pentwater is to pay $4200 for what Titusville would probably get for $2150 or less. Now we assert, and are ready to maintain, that Pentwater is able to pay as low a price for a steam fire engine, or anything else, as any other city in America. All she wants is the chance, and this she ought to have.
DECEMBER, 12,1871, “OCEANA” STEAM FIRE ENGINE Co. No. 1. The following officers were elected: Foreman – R.L. Hardy, 1st Ass’t Foreman – C.M. Baker, 2nd Ass’t Foreman-W.B.O. Sands, Secretary – Amos Dresser, Jr., Treasurer-A.J. Underhill.
TESTING OF THE “OCEANA”, DECEMBER, 1, 1871, On Wednesday last the steam fire engine “Oceana,” manufactured by Messrs. Clapp & Jones, was tested. With over 100 pounds of steam, the utmost distance reached by a 1 1/8 inch stream, through 100 feet of hose, was 188 feet. The stream would have done good service at a distance of 175 feet, but would have been comparatively useless at any greater distance. A 1 3/16 inch stream was thrown nearly as the first, but the distance was not measured. This was the extent of the trial. On yesterday morning the “little pet engine” was brought out again, and with over 100 pounds of steam succeeded in throwing a 1 1/16 inch stream 163 feet through 200 feet of hose. This distance was where the very last drops fell. The stream would not have been effective at much more than 100 feet. “Favorable circumstances” have not yet been presented, we presume. The steamer may do all that is claimed for her, but if we have not seen a hand engine do as good work as any yet shown by the “Oceana,” we are mistaken.
DECEMBER, 1, 1871, Excerpts from Council minuets, A petition was presented from Amos Dresser Jr. and others asking that the Council reject for the present the Steam Fire Engine lately received from Messrs. Clapp & Jones, and investigate the advantages afforded by the Holly Water Works. On motion the petition was laid on the table. The following resolution was presented by Councilman Underhill. Resolved that the Steam Fire Engine “Oceana,” now in our village, manufactured by Clapp & Jones, at Hudson, New York, and today exhibited and tested by Mr. Walker be purchased, and that in payment therfor seven village bonds of &500 be issued, drawing interest at the rate of eight per cent. Per annum. The first bond payable and due with interest, June first A.D. 1873, the balance due the first day of June each year following thereafter, with interest aforesaid. On motion adopted. Ayes, Flagg and Underhill. Nays, Hodges.
The following guarantee was made by Mr. Walker. The Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Co. hereby agree that the Steam Fire Engine “Oceana,” now in this city shall under favorable circumstances do full as good work as agreed upon in the proposal made to the village of Pentwater, Aug., 9,1871. We further agree if in the course of three years from the date of this agreement, the village of Pentwater wish to establish in the place of a Steam Fire engine water works, to put in Water Works of equal efficiency to any in use, for a sum not to exceed the cost of any Water Works of equal efficiency and take in part payment therefor, the Steamer “Oceana” at a fair price for said Engine when exchanged. Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Co., M. Walker, Agent.
Pentwater, Nov. 29, 1871, A bill was presented from Mr. Walker for freight on the Steamer “Oceana,” from Hudson, New York, to Pentwater, $75.00. On motion the rules were suspended, and the bill was allowed at the face. On motion Mr. Flagg was appointed a committee of one to procure three tons of coal for the use of the Fire Engine. On motion Lamuel Maxfield was put in charge of the Fire Engine until the organization of the Fire Department. On Motion Mr. Underhill was appointed a committee of one to procure stove for, and repair the Fire Engine Building. The following resolution was offered by President Rice. Resolved that if Mr. M. Walker, Agent for Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Company, shall within six months from this date bring another Steam Fire Engine to this village, in accordance with the proposition of Mr. Walker, dated Aug. 9, 1871, which Engine shall be of equal efficiency, durability and strength with the one now here, an exchange shall be made of said Engines, all expenses of said exchange to be paid by said Mr. Walker. On motion adopted. Ayes, Flagg and Underhill. Nays, Hodges.
DECEMBER 8, 1871, We suppose there is a little question in regard to the acceptance of the steam fire engine lately received from Messrs. Clapp & Jones, and do not believe Pentwater is able to purchase both the “Oceana” and the Holly Water Works. We shall therefore agitate the matter no further at present.
OUR STEAM FIRE ENGINE. On August 9, 1871, the Common Council of the village of Pentwater contracted with Clapp & Jones, for a fourth size engine, plain finish, at $3500, to be delivered on or before Oct. 10, 1871. This engine was guaranteed to throw, 1-one inch half stream 200 ft with 100 ft. hose; 1-one inch stream, 200 ft. with 500 ft. hose; 1-one inch stream, 175 ft with 1000 ft. hose; 2-one inch streams 160 ft. with 100 ft. hose, 2-7/8” streams, 200 ft. with 100 ft. hose, and other distances in proportion. No propositions from other parties had been received when this contract was made.
On Oct. 9, 1871 engines for Pentwater and Racine were in Chicago, and for their services during the destructive fire in that city, Mr. Walker states that he received $5000. He states that an additional amount of $500 was tendered him for saving Elevator “B”, but this sum was rejected by him as being too small. The engine which had been built for Pentwater was here sold to private parties, and Mr. Walker telegraphed that a steel finished engine had been ordered in its place.
On Nov. 17, 1871, this engine arrived in Pentwater, in charge of a man from Muskegon who had orders from Mr. Walker not to have the engine used except in case of fire. Mr. Walker himself having at length arrived, the engine was partially tested on Nov. 29, 1871, with the following result. 1 1/8” stream 188 ft. through 100 ft. hose. The statement had in the meantime been made, that a second size engine, of best make and finish, was sold to Titusville, Pa., by Messrs. Clapp & Jones, on May 17, 1871, for $3150, and delivered without extra charge. Mr. Walker did not attempt to deny this, but stated that a sufficient amount to make up the regular price, was donated by private parties. Our Common Council met on the evening of Nov. 29, 1871, and voted to purchase the engine received, at $3500, although she had not as yet performed the work guaranteed. A second guarantee was made by Mr. Walker that she should” under favorable circumstances do full as good work as agreed upon,” and this was considered by a majority of the Councilmen present as perfectly satisfactory, Mr. Walker hoped the Council would not force him to lose money by buying for $3500 an engine that cost from $500 to $700 more than the one contracted for, and the privilege of exchanging a plain finished engine for the “Oceana,” was at once granted. Mr. Walker’s bill of $75 for freight was cheerfully paid, and the Council adjourned.
Mr. Walker stated before the Council that the “Oceana,” on its way to Pentwater, had beaten the Silsby Engine at Muskegon. We published last week the statement of the Muskegon papers in regard to this, and wish to add the following letter published in the Grand Rapids Times, of Nov. 29, 1871.
MUSKEGON NOV. 27, 1871, Editor Daily Times-The Muskegon correspondent of you paper of Nov. 8, states that the Clapp & Jones engine accepted a challenge from the Muskegon engine to test their “xxxx xxxxx”. You will please correct by stating that there was no challenge. The fact is the Clapp & Jones engine was brought on the ground where the Muskegon engine (Silsby Rotary) was at work filling reservoirs, without any notice whatever. The Clapp & Jones engine got up steam to 40 pounds pressure in 20 minutes, commenced to pump and continued for five minutes, when their pump refused to work. After trying hard for about 20 minutes or more without success, the Muskegon engine came to their relief by administering a Rotary injection into the suction of their pump, which enabled them to work again. There was 100 pounds of steam raised on the Clapp & Jones engine, and 70 pounds on the Muskegon engine, (Silsby Rotary.) The stream from the Rotary was thrown from 22 to 28 feet farther than that from the Clapp & Jones, with 75 pounds water pressure, while the water pressure on the Clapp & Jones wowed 150 pounds, the latter thus having the advantage in steam 30 pounds, and in water 75 pounds, but notwithstanding which met with a signal defeat. The Silsby Rotary has now had three years hard service without any repairs, while the Clapp & Jones, in this case, was a new engine, on its way to Pentwater. The derangement to the pump of the Clapp & Jones was occasioned by its taking in sawdust, which prevented the effective working of the valves. There being two valves in the Rotary, and its construction being so simple, it is not liable to such accidents.
Mr. Walker while in Pentwater handed us a paper giving an account of a trial at Bondent, N.Y., where it was claimed the Clapp & Jones engine came out ahead. This engine was a third class engine of best make and finish, and was sold for $3600. Before Mr. Walker left a second trial of the “Oceana” was made, when she succeeded in throwing 1- 1/16th 103 ft. through 120 ft hose. On last Saturday a third trial was attempted, but the coupling of the new hose failed to hold. Our Common Council seem to have looked out for Mr. Walker’s interests most carefully.
ATTENTION! ATTENTION! All who have signified their willingness to join a fire company, are requested to meet at Ratzel’s Hall, on Saturday evening next, at 8 o’clock. Business of importance. A. Dresser, Jr., R.L. Hardy, Foreman.
December 1, 1871, A QUESTION, MR. EDITOR. - I see by your last issue that there was a meeting of the members of the Fire Company on Thursday, at 9 o’clock A.M. As a member of the company I would like to be informed why that meeting was not held in the evening, so the members that have to work during the day could attend. It looks as though the game was played to accommodate a few, instead of the Company. Yours Respectfully, Member of Walker’s “Pet Engine” Company.
REPLY, Inasmuch as the engine had been purchase (on conditions) the night before, a prompt organization was deemed advisable in order to get all possible benefit from the “Pet Engine” in case of fire. This was the only reason for the early meeting.
ANOTHER TRIAL OF THE “OCEANA”, On last Saturday afternoon the “Oceana” was brought out to test the new hose just received, and show her ability to protect the buildings which are situated away from Pentwater Lake. The coupling of the hose proved to be somewhat defective, and parted at four different places. The engine was not worked under a full head of steam, but nevertheless succeeded in throwing a stream of water over the school house, playing through about 800 feet of hose. This is the best work we have seen the “Little Pet” do, and we are now inclined to think that she may yet come up to her guarantee. She will be again tested as soon as “favorable circumstances” are presented.
Our citizens should learn a lesson from the trial last Saturday, and not trust too much to the new Company in case of fire. Prompt action on the part of our citizens will in many cases put out a fire, before and engine could possibly get a stream to bear upon the flames. Buckets are very serviceable if they are only used soon enough. It seems to us that an efficient Hook and Ladder Company should be organized immediately. Nothing else can fill their place. If well trained they are in many cases of more service than an engine company can possibly be.
December 22, 1871 The “Oceana” was out again last Saturday, but the hose couplings again proved deficient, and no trial was had. New couplings are to be ready this week, and the first fair day the engine will be thoroughly tested.
Unless our citizens take more interest in their fire company, we shall be worse off with our engine, than we have been without. We do not believe that this engine is what Pentwater needs, but now it is here let us make the best of it.