Cowing & Co 1859
from Handtub Junction, USA
The Citizen No.1 was built in 1859 by the Cowing & Co. of Seneca Falls, New York for the City of Glen Falls, New York. It was later purchased by Richmond, Virginia and then to Augusta, Georgia. It is amazing that the engine survived this period whereas toward the end of the Civil War most everything below the Mason/Dixon Line was destroyed by the Union Army. Shortly after the end of the war the Citizen was sold to the town of Union Springs, Alabama for the sum of $1800. After being retired from service in Union Springs it was stored for several years in a local barn.
In October, 1897 the Citizen No. 1 was purchased by the Randolph, Ma V.F.A. for the sum of $700. The name was changed to Alabama Coon and the 4 years that is was owned by them, they spent close to $3,000 on restoring the engine. In 1901, "in disgust" Randolph finally disposed of what they termed a "first-class hoodoo" to neighboring town of Stoughton, MA for a paltry sum of $410. The Stoughton boys used the machine for a year and then dismantled the engine and found the interior pump mechanism to be in very poor shape. With Cowing & Co. being out of business the interior pump was replace with one manufactured by the Button Co. and the engine was put into first class condition.
The pump work seemed to be successful as the Alabama Coon went on to capture 2 league championships in the next 10 years. In 1905 it won the 15th Annual League Tournament held in Manchester, New Hampshire with a stream of 205' 5 5/8" beating out 29 other engines to take it's first league championship. In 1910 the engine would win it's second league crown. The muster was held in Fall River, Massachusetts and the Alabama Coon best 31 competitors with a shot of 234' 7 7/8". This makes the Alabama Coon the only "Confederate Engine" to win the N.E.S.V.F.L. championship.
In the late 1940's the Alabama Coon was sold to Ipswich, Massachusetts. It mustered under it's current name through the 1953 muster season and starting in 1954 it was changed back to it's original name Citizen #1. The Citizen appears in the muster record a few times after 1955 but at this point it begins a journey the would see it end up on the west coast. Ipswich sold the engine to a Mr. Arthur Janell of Marblehead, MA and was pumped for a couple more years at musters. From there the history is a bit foggy with the engine ending up in Freedom Land, NY. The engine then went to the Roth Steel Co., of Syracuse, NY and then to Tuolume County, California. It's last known home was at the Pickering Fire Brigade of Standard, CA. It was California's Grand Champion for the years 1970, 71 & 72.
Most of the information for the above historical sketch came form the publication entitled "Cowing & Co. A story of their Fire Engines" published by the Seneca Falls Historical Society. Also the Lowell Muster book of 1908. Thanks also to Robin Symonds of Kokomo, IN. for his contributions.
Citizen #1 - Columbia 2007
This page is created for the benefit of the public by
Floyd D. P. Oydegaard
fdpoyde3 (at) Yahoo (dot) com
A WORK IN PROGRESS,
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