& Ladies Auxiliary
Copied from the Bicentennial Booklet One-Hundred Years
of Fire Service History 1889-1989 by Sharon Palmateer
For many years, there had been no serious fires in Ashland; therefore, no
thought had ever been given to the need for any equipment.
Then, sometime between 1893 and 1985, a large barn fire was discovered at the
Ferris farm west of Ashland. Of course, back then, before the days of
sirens, the only method of spreading a fire alarm was by riding a horse
through the town shouting "FIRE"! Quickly, the bucket brigade
was formed, but it was much too late to save the barn.
In 1919, another devastating fire destroyed the Methodist parsonage. By
this time, a real interest was aroused among the residents as to ways and
means of obtaining some much needed fire equipment.
Finally, in 1926, Vernon Ferris called a public meeting to discuss ways of
raising funds. A large interested group met and a Community Club of
thirty members was formed with Roy Cornell, President; Vernon Ferris, Vice
President and Frank Munson, Secretary-Treasurer.
The first fund raising event netted sixty-four dollars from a clam chowder
supper. Oyster suppers were held for twenty-five cents. Soon, it
was realized that there should be a better way.
In 1926, the Town Board designated the entire town as the Town of Ashland Fire
Department District. On November 3, 1926, a proposition was passed by
the voters to raise $8,000 by taxes for a fire engine with necessary apparatus
to extinguish fires.
In 1927, the Ashland Fire Company was organized in two sections -- a Hose Co.
and a Chemical Co. The same year, an American LaFrance pumper and a hose
pumper were purchased for $8,000 -- Ashland's first equipment.
In 1962, the Ashland Rescue Squad was formed, one of the first on the
mountaintop. Ashland's residents are most grateful for the untiring
services rendered by the members of the Rescue Squad, Fire Department and the
In the early 1970's, the fire department moved to its new quarters.
Deserved recognition was given the Ashland Fire Deparment for fifty years of
dedicated service at an anniversary dinner in 1976. Peter Rucka -- the
only living charter member, since deceased, and Flora Tompkins -- honorary
member of the Auxiliary, were special guests. Elmer Young was the guest
Ashland's present equipment consists of a 500 gpm pumper, a 4-wheel drive
brush truck, a 3,000 gallon tanker and the 1981 Ford Van Ambulance.
The Rescue Squad Ambulance and equipment were dedicated in memory of George
Holdridge and Sheldon N. Peck.
Ashland is just a small town on the mountaintop, but we extend a big
congratulations to the Greene County Volunteer Firemen's Association on its
Ashland Ladies Auxiliary
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Ashland Volunteer Fire Company was organized on
August 28, 1974. Sixteen ladies were made charter members. The
first officers were: Donna Tompkins, President; Cathy Euchler, Vice
President; Carol Partridge, Secretary-Treasurer; and Joan Holdridge, Sgt at
Arms. Rose Benjamin and Genevieve Lockas from the Coxsackie Auxiliary
swore the officers in that evening.
On September 11, 1974, Flora Tompkins was made honorary member. The
membership dues were set at $2.00 and have never been increased. The
auxiliary received $100.00 from the fire company to start their treasury.
Our first fund raiser was a bake sale for the WAJ Golden Agers, who held their
monthly meetings in the Ashland Hall. The firemen were holding dances
once a month at this time, so they let us have raffles. At the first
dance, we raffled two turkeys.
Our first parade was at Windham on the 4th of July. We had no uniforms.
Luckily, it was the 1976 Bicentennial parade so we wore old-fashioned dresses
and won a trophy. We have also attended parades in Prattsville for
By February 12, 1975, our treasury was looking better so we started the
process of getting uniforms. A member made our skirts and we purchased
white blouses, second-hand hats and new shoes.
In 1975, we sponsored a youth group on Saturdays between 2 and 4 p.m. at the
fire house. In September of that year, we held our first annual dinner
with ten members attending. We were happy that we made it through the
On September 25, 1976, the auxiliary assisted the firemen with their Golden
Anniversary by holding a covered dish dinner. That evening, the
auxiliary presented Flora Tompkins with a plaque as the oldest living
Fund raisers, in 1977, included our free will offering smorgasbord and nickel
socials with raffles. These were a lot of fun and all members took part.
That same year, in November, we had a newspaper drive.
In March 1978, we purchased items for the firemen's kitchen. In November, we
donated towards the rescue squad's new ambulance, and helped with a dinner to
raise money for the same. Our whole auxiliary was trained to assist the
Red Cross in case of flooding.
We decided not to hold meetings in the summer of 1980. The ladies wanted
to have fun in the sun. This year we purchased a banner with our
Each year we take an ad in the Grieene County Firemen's Convention booklet
with the firemen and rescue squad. At Christmas, the auxiliary donates
to "Toys for Tots" and the party at the Firemen's Home in Hudson.
Many donations have been made to hardship families in our community. Our
auxiliary sold many tickets for the burn unit at Albany Medical Center, which
was a County Auxiliary fund raiser.
WOW....September 1983 -- Ashland held the Greene County Firemen's
Association convention. Our auxiliary, and every county auxiliary
member, will never forget our entertainment.
Finally, in the fall of 1985, we bought new uniforms. In September, we
held our 10th Annual dinner. We were really surprised to have lasted
In September 1986, our member, Janice Knox, became President of the Greene
County Ladies Auxiliary. She served for two years. Janice has been
our president for twelve years. Sandy Rion has served as our secretary
for fourteen years. NOW THAT's HISTORY!!!
Let us not forget all those cold nights that we served coffee and refreshments
to our firemen.
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