WITB? Minneapolis Fire Dept Memorabilia

This posting is about memorabilia from my husband Bill’s grandfather who was a Minneapolis fireman. This is a continuation of the series answering the question “What’s in the box?” and describing family history items found recently in a metal box in our basement.

According to his obituary, Patrick Hickey worked for the 05-21-2014 08;40;31PMMinneapolis Fire Department for 32 years, from 1900-1932. Patrick’s badge, found in the box, indicates he was a Pipeman for Engine Company 18. A pipeman was the firefighter who is on the nozzle attacking the fire.

Also in the box were three certificates, one from the Minneapolis Fire Department Relief Association (dated 31 October 1906) and two from the Minneapolis Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent and Protective Association (dated 4 April 1908 and 1 June 1915). The purpose of all three certificates was to designate Patrick’s wife, Catherine, “as his beneficiary in event of his death.”

If you have an ancestor who was a Minneapolis fireman in the early 1900s, you may find a GenealogyToday.com resource helpful. They’ve indexed Annual Reports from the Minneapolis Fire Department Relief Association for 1910, 1915, 1916 and 1918. The site is searchable by name although a subscription is necessary to get more details. Here’s the  link:  http://dir.genealogytoday.com/usa/mn/hennepin/minneapolis.html

In addition to showing pension recipients, the Annual Reports indicated the varying rates of pensions. By 1918, a regular service pension was $40-$60 per month and a widow’s pension $30 per month. For each child under age 16, $5 a month was added to the widow’s pension. The three “grades” of disability pensions ranged from $15 to $40 per month.

According to a 2011 article in the Star Tribune, firefighters in Minneapolis won their first service pension of $40 a month in 1897, but a mechanism to raise money for disabled firefighters dates to 1868.

Patrick did not retire until 1932 so his record is not included on any of these indexed reports. However his older sister, Margaret (Hickey) Kehoe, is listed; she was the widow of Fire Chief George Kehoe, who died in 1908. A “Mike Hickey” is also listed in the index. Patrick had a younger brother named Michael who was a fireman, but I’m not sure it was the same person.

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