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Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company collection

Collection number: MSS-037

Scope and Contents

Bound volume of handwritten meetings minutes, 1857-1879; and a notice of a 1904 meeting of surviving members of the company organized by the city fire department. Both documents include signatures of members.


  • 1857-1904

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has no restrictions. This collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required. Apply in the Heritage Room for access.

Biographical / Historical

Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was formed in June 1858. Housed in a building on the southwest corner of Market Street (present-day Washington Street) and Jackson Street that still stands today, the company was led by Captain Henry Beusse, later to become the first mayor of Athens. According to the first annual report of the city’s fire engineers, published in November 1858, Pioneer had 19 members, the Athens Fire Company (also known as the Hope Company) had 42, and the Relief Company, also established in 1858, had 48. The first of these, the Athens Fire Company, had only been established in 1850 after efforts by the Independent Hook and Ladder Company in the 1840s had not been successful. Cisterns to store water, located on Broad Street and College Avenue, were finished by 1857; the city used property taxes to pay for them. The same year, the city began plans to purchase a fire engine, in part due to a large fire that broke out in late August-early September 1857; it had to be controlled by a bucket brigade. In addition, new ordinances were passed compelling able-bodied men to assist fighting fires, fining those who refused. Soon before the Pioneer Company was estabilshed, in April 1958, both the Hope and Relief companies had acquired engines and the city council had voted to build a station to house the engines. This building was located on Market Street between College and Lumpkin. The greater organization of the city’s fire emergency services continued apace in 1859, as the city council decided upon using church bells as fire alarms, providing compensation to those who rang the alarms or provided horses to help transport fire engines, and fining those who gave false alarms. In 1891, the city established a municipal fire department with paid employees replacing the earlier volunteer companies.


1.08 Linear Feet (One box measuring 15.5 by 13 by 2)


Meeting minutes of the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company from 1857 to 1879, including the signatures of members. Also included is a notice of a meeting held on May 26, 1904, with accompanying signatures.

Related Materials

Beusse Family collection, MSS 041 Beusse-Gibson-Eppard Families collection, Small Collections, MSS 016;

E. Merton Coulter manuscript collection II, MSS 2345, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia

Physical Description


Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company collection
Beth Whitlock, Justin Kau
December 2016, January 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library Repository

2025 Baxter Street
Athens GA 30606