To August 1973
According to an article in the August 9, 1973 Chautauqua News, the first Sherman Fire Company was formed in 1884. There had been the fire of 1865 taking the south side of Main Street stores; The “Great Fire,” of November 1869 which destroyed all the north side and some buildings on Miller Street; in 1876 another fire consumed part of the north side again, but was stopped thanks to labors of brigades carrying water from the creek. In those days the alarm of the fire was given by church bells, in later years by a fire bell and after that by a steam whistle.
Finally in October 1884 a meeting of citizens was held to discuss the subject of fire protection. At this meeting it was bought out that letters had been received from Fredonia stating that a first class fire engine, hose cart and 500 feet of hose could be bought for $850. A committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions for each purpose and another committee was named to visit Fredonia. This committee arranged to purchase of the afore mentioned equipment for $700 including 600 feet of hose.
The fire engine and equipment having arrived in town it was obvious that Sherman needed a fire company. So, on October 20, 1884, the meeting of the subscribers to fire protection was held. A company was organized and by-laws and constitution adopted and the following officers elected: Foreman, C. H. Corbett; second assistant, A. G. Saxton; second assistant: F.L. Dutton; secretary, T. J. Newell; treasurer; G. W. Strong. A committee was appointed at this meeting also, to see to the building of fire reservoirs and act with the firemen at fires.
This committee was headed by B. J. Coffin,. The first company was known as the Sherman Fire Co. No. 1 and consisted of 33 men. Their engine was a double hand rail pump. It and the hose cart were housed in a building on Main Street along with a fire bell overhead. Fire reservoirs were built around the village, the one on the corner of Main and Church St. being a large vinegar tank buried.