The following note was sent to by Thomas Parquette of Branson, Mo., and is printed here with permission from both.

Hi ‘Geezer’,
I thought you may find this interesting. The picture was taken sometime around 1885 and is of Eng. Co. 11 of the Chicago Fire Department. The paper it ran in 40 years later in 1925  is an unknown fire publication.

The second firefighter from left is George Geis, my great grandfather. He was killed in the line of duty about 1902 in a wall collapse. His father before him, also George Geis, was one of the first CFD firefighters and was killed in the Chicago Fire in the 1870’s.

The man in the photo’s son, also George Geis, my grandfather, was also a firefighter in Chicago and saw the transition from horse to motive power. He was part of the final call of Buck, Beauty & Dan, the last horse drawn fire team in Chicago. ( I also have a photo of that)¬† He was critically injured in the line of duty when a drunk driver t-boned the hook and ladder upon which he was the tiller driver. He died of those injuries in the early 1930’s and never received a dime in compensation from Chicago, as the union was just forming and the protections were barely starting at that time.

All three of these gentlemen were career firefighters. All of the same name excepting their middle initial. All killed in the line of duty or because of it. All CFD. My uncle, Stephen Geis, went on to become Chief of Downers Grove Illinois in the 1950s and his son, my cousin, is a full timer as well.

I thought you may find it of interest. I must thank the Fire Museum of Chicago for their help with the exhaustive research of the history mentioned. This photo is sourced from their archives. Keep up the great work. Your coverage is terrific and your writing is not only inviting but amusing.

Thomas Parquette
Branson, Missouri


Chicago Fire Department photo from 1885

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