Saturday, October 16, 2021

Max Stiner and Disaster on Vesey Street

September 8, 1898, was a typical autumn day in New York City.  In downtown Manhattan, Vesey Street, shown here, bustled with carriage and foot traffic.  In the wine and liquor establishment of Max Stiner & Company at 36 Vesey, the staff was working at their usual tasks. The owner was absent, leaving his 19-year-old son Milton Stiner to watch over the activities.  At 5:20 p.m. an explosion, heard for blocks, shook the five story building.  A disaster quickly unfolded at Stiner’s liquor house.


In the cellar where the blast occurred three men and one young woman were working: William Witt, the foreman; Ralph Scheondorff;  a third man known as “Paul Latour,” and 19-year-old Lydia St. Clair. The shock was followed by a burst of fire.  All four were imperiled.  Although the first floor almost immediately was filled with smoke and fire, the rest of Stiner’s employees, choking, were able to make it outside.   Witt managed to reach the top of the front stair before he was overcome and engulfed in flames.  Scheondorff and “Latour” (real name Carl Herlowitski) later were found dead lying side by side in the front section of the cellar, both badly burned.  Both Witt and Scheondorff had families.



Miraculously, Ms. St. Clair, who was pasting labels on bottles, escaped unhurt up a back stairway.  Joseph Fitzgerald, chief bookkeeper, unable himself to reach the front door, rescued the woman. He headed to a rear window, jumped down and fetched a ladder for her exit.  Fitzgerald told authorities:  “She was nearly frightened to death, and I don’t blame her, for she had a pretty close shave.  If she had been a minute later she probably wouldn’t have been alive now.”


The New York Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene, pouring water on the conflagration.  Major damage was contained to the cellar of the five story building.  Despite the toll in human lives, the structure was not greatly damaged. Stiner’s wine and liquor stored underground was a total loss, estimated at $40,000. Possibly afraid of the wrath of his absent father, Milton was uncooperative with fire officials, claiming not to know how many people were at work that day, or even their names.  Said the New York Journal story:  “It was not without a good deal of difficulty that the firemen could induce young Mr. Stiner to give them any information.”  Where was Max Stiner?  “Somewhere uptown” was Milton’s vague reply. The father did not appear on the scene until hours later.


Like a man accustomed to setbacks, Stiner (sometimes given as “Steiner”) immediately directed the cleanup of the wreckage left by the explosion.  Before long the his wine and liquor enterprise was back in business.  He had not come this far in carving out a career in the “Big Apple” wine and liquor trade to let this setback deter him.


Stiner had begun life 47 years earlier in Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Jacob and Anna Hoffman Steiner.  At 19, an age that made him vulnerable to mandatory service in the Austrian army, he determined to emigrate to America.  He embarked from Bremerhaven, Germany, aboard the SS Deutschland, shown below, a ship regularly carrying immigrants from  Europe to these shores.  Disembarking New York Harbor, Stiner apparently immediately fell in love with “the city that never sleeps” — and never left.




In a 1900 passport application, Stiner was described as five feet, seven inches tall, dark blonde hair, gray eyes and a round face.  Unfortunately I have been unable to locate a photograph.  Nor have I been able to determine his occupation for his first decade in New York but assume he was working in the mercantile trades.  He was recorded in the 1880 federal census as a “retail tea merchant,” and in 1881 city directory as the manager of Steiner & Co. “teas,” located at 226 Columbia Street, not far from the port area.



By 1894, Stiner apparently had decided that his “cup of tea” more likely was a shot of whiskey and had opened the liquor store on Vesey Street.  He was dealing in both retail and wholesale goods, the latter sold to the many saloons, hotels and restaurants that dotted the Manhattan landscape.  He was receiving wines and liquors by the barrel and decanting them into smaller vessels.  Stiner’s jugs were of a quality to draw attention to his establishment.  In sizes up to five gallons, he provided his wares in salt-glazed stoneware containers with his name written in large cobalt script.  Shown throughout this post for their variety, these jugs would have been emptied by his customers into smaller vessels for pouring over the bar.



Max had married several years after his arrival in America.  His bride was Carolyn, called “Carrie.” Munch, a 22-year old woman who had been born in New York of immigrant parents from Bohemia, Cecelia (Lederer) and Benjamin Munch.  Her father ran a Manhattan cigar store.  Max and Carolyn over the next 14 years would have seven children, five sons and two daughters.  As the size of their family grew, the Stiners moved frequently.  In 1894 they were recorded living at 248 East 78th Street.  Three years later they resided at 150 West 130th Street.  By 1899, Max had sufficient wealth to move the Stiners into  fashionable quarters at 149 West 120th Street, shown here.



Max did not have long to enjoy home and family.  Suffering from heart disease he died at home in early June 1904 at the age of 53.  An obituary hailed him as “well known in this vicinity, where he had a large trade.  He was buried at the Linden Hill Jewish Cemetery in the Ridgewood District of Queens.  His grave is not identified.


In the wake of the founder’s passing Max Stiner & Company was carried on — but with changes.  In 1904 the business was incorporated.  Among the incorporators were the widowed Carrie Stiner, vice president, and son Milton, president.   Benjamin Stiner was treasurer and secretary.  The company appears to have put more emphasis on retail sales and issued at least two proprietary brands, “Old Dante Private Stock” sold as “The Connoisseurs Favorite,” and “Old Dinah,” a blended whiskey, trademarked in 1911.  Milton also seems to have scrapped the decorative jugs favored by his father for more utilitarian but cheaper containers.



The last record for the company is a 1916 listing in a New York business directory.  With National Prohibition becoming ever more likely the Stiners may have decided simply to shut the doors on their Vesey Street establishment.  As for the tragic events recounted earlier, I am unable to find any answer to the question of what triggered the fatal explosion and fire.  Several causes were suggested — alcohol from the liquor, an open gas jet, sewer gas — but none, to my knowledge, has ever been ever confirmed. 


Note:  My path to this story of Max Stiner and the horrific disaster at his liquor establishment was triggered by seeing one of his jugs, unusual for the New York City whiskey trade, and deciding to find out more about the man behind it.  Key information came from the account of the blast and fire in a New York Journal front page story of September 9, 1898.  The three line drawings also are from that source. 













































 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Scott Price: From “Runt” to Riches via Whiskey

 

Imagine if you will that you are born late and the shortest in a family of eight sons. Your father was a well known and respected physician and Civil War veteran and your older brothers have achieved notable careers.  How do does such an individual make his mark in such accomplished company?  For James Scott Price of Chattanooga the answer was simple:  Sell whiskey with your name all over it.


His father, Samuel Vance Price, born in Georgia, at age 21 joined the state’s Sixth Infantry Regiment at the time of the Civil War.  Captured at Vicksburg with his unit, he was exchanged and later fought with the Army of Tennessee from Chattanooga to Nashville.  Earlier he had married Sarah Jane Bonds and over time sired a dozen children, including eight sons. He also received a medical degree. Suggesting some lingering effects from his wartime experience, Dr. Price died at  only 45 when Scott, as he was called, was only six.


With brothers almost two decades older, Scott early on was thrust into the world to make his way.  Like his father he married early.  At 22 in June 1901, he wed Roberta Bryan in Walker, Georgia,  She was 16.  There would be no children.  Before long Scott and Roberta would move to Tennessee where his brother Samuel Price was already established in a liquor business he called “The Chattanooga Distillery.”  Shown below is a photo of six Price brothers standing with their mother.  Scott is at far left; Samuel at far right.



Scott initially may have gone to work for Samuel to learning liquor trade.  He first appeared in Chattanooga business directories in 1903 running his own saloon at 829 Market Street.  By 1906 he had moved his establishment to 254 East Montgomery.  A Price bar token exists from that location. The year 1910 was pivotal for Scott.  He moved from selling liquor over the bar to adding retail liquor sales, the Main Street store front shown far left below. The youngest Price son, Paul, came to work with him.  As Price Bros. they added soft drinks to their sales repertoire, likely a response to the growing prohibitionary forces in Tennessee.



In 1912 picture gets cloudy.  A Chattanooga firm called the Lookout Distilling Company, dating from the late 1880s, appears to have been acquired by Scott, leading him to change the name of his establishment to “Scott Price Distillery.”

Some have seen the 1880 date on the certificate  to indicate the year Scott got started in Chattanooga.  Impossible.  He was one year old in 1880.  More likely that was the year Lookout Distilling originated.


A Chattanooga website may have the answer in a vintage letter published there:  “Morg [a nickname for Samuel] & Scott Price had a small distillery on Main St. in Chattanooga. They did not bottle whiskey but sold it to barrel houses [a bar with no bottles]. They paid Uncle some $250,000.00 for barrels that never went dry; filled in the day time, drained from underneath at night.“  This suggests that the so-called distillery was, in fact, a “rectifying” or blending operation.  Confusing the picture, however, the Lookout Company was a registered distiller with the federal government from 1898 to 1904.



Scott also was selling bottled goods under his own name.  Shown above are two embossed bottles of his whiskey, a cobalt half pint mini-flask and a clear bottle of similar size.  Both bear the name Scott Price Distillery and a monogram of the liquor dealer’s initials.  Below is a labeled pint flask advertising “Old Scott Corn Whiskey.”  Other house brands were “Scott’s Pure Malt,” “Old Lookout Club” and “Lookout.”  None were ever trademarked.



When Georgia and other Southern states went dry in 1908-1909, it was a bonanza for the Chattanooga liquor houses.  As a major American railroad center, trains rolled daily out of the city bound for the “dry” South.  They were known popularly as “jug train” because of the liquor they carried.  Scott Price was quick to seize the opportunity.   Like many whiskey men, he issued advertising shot glasses clearly aimed at the mail order customer.  Four quarts of Old Scott Corn could be had for $3.00 and the express cost was prepaid.   Scott’s Pure Malt prepaid sold for $3.90 for four quarts.  Old Lookout was $4.00.



Even after Tennessee put strictures on the sale of alcohol, the jug trains, protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, continued to bring their liquid in plain packages into nearby states. Although Congress in 1913 passed a law forbidding the practice, court challenges impeded its implementation for several years.  In the meantime liquor houses like Scott Price’s took advantage.



It was not until 1915, therefore, that Scott Price was forced to shut down his liquor business.  In the meantime he had become wealthy enough to purchase the mansion home shown below for himself, Roberta, and a corps of servants.  Today it stands as Kappa Epsilon sorority house for women studying to become pharmacists.  After a time without an occupation, Scott emerged in the 1820s as the president and CEO of the Chattanooga Paper & Woodenware Company.  Of it one observer said:  “There were always trucks loading and unloading there indicating a brisk business.”   The shortest of the sons of George Price and one disadvantaged by never really having a father, Scott Price had ridden the liquor trade, his name and the “jug train” into wealth and a mansion home.



Scott Price lived to see the repeal of National Prohibition and relaxation of Tennessee liquor laws but did not restart his whiskey business.  He died in Chattanooga in March 1955 and was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery.  Roberta would join him there in 1962.


Note:  Gathered from a variety of sources, this post owes the most to Tom Carson (tcarson@ewkm.net) for an Internet article on the Scott Price Distillery. Modestly he says: “This article is not a scholarly article with all the footnotes, but is an attempt to add a little information to the history of liquor in Chattanooga.”  Additional information and photos of Price’s shot glasses are from Robin Preston’s pre-Pro site.





































Friday, October 8, 2021

Ed Wertheimer — “Dean of the American Liquor Industry”


How does an individual earns the title of  “Dean of the American Liquor Industry”?   It helps to begin working in a distillery when you are 15 years old.  It also is advantageous to have been an active whiskey man right up to your death at age 92.  It also is important that during the intervening 75 years, amid tribulations and rapid change, you have maintained a quality presence in the industry.  Based on those criteria, the Cincinnati Enquirer headline of April 22, 1960, above, is an accurate description of Edward “Ed” Wertheimer.

Shown here in his youth, Ed was born in Rodney, Mississippi, in 1870, the son of Jacob and Emily  Ehrman Wertheimer.  Both parents were immigrants from Germany, Jacob from Baden-Wurttemberg and Emily from Bavaria.  The father was recorded as a “merchant” in Rodney, a town approximately 32 miles northeast of Natchez.  Once considered as a possible capital of Mississippi, Rodney began a swift decline to a virtual ghost town after the Mississippi River changed course in April 1876 leaving the town “high and dry.”


Apparently anticipating the downturn, Jacob in the early 1880s moved his wife and family 215 miles north to Pine Bluff, Arkansas.   There he founded a retail liquor establishment under the name Greenbrier Distilling Company.  As his sons Lee and Ed entered their mid-teens, he brought them into the business.  Both youth showed an aptitude for the trade.  When Jacob retired, Lee became president and Ed vice president of a liquor house they called “The Old Spring Distilling Company.”  It proved to be a successful venture and they followed with a second company called “L. & E. Wertheimer, Inc., an outfit that apparently was a liquor brokerage, acting as “middle men” between distilleries and wholesalers.



Meanwhile, Ed was having a personal life.  In June 1901, he married Sarah Kuhn, shown here.  The daughter of Abe Kuhn, a prominent Ogden, Utah, businessman Sarah was born in the Junction City Hotel, probably owned by her father.  How the couple met is something of a mystery since Ogden is 1,500 miles northwest of Pine Bluff.  Likely there were family  connections.  The marriage of the handsome Ed, 31, and the comely Sarah, 21, on June 12, 1901, made headlines in several newspapers.  A Salt Lake City paper provided portraits of the couple, including the one that opens this post.  Over the next four years their union would produce two sons, Jean and Edward Jr.


Early in the 20th Century, the ambitions of Lee and Ed began out outgrow the prospects of Pine Bluff.  Northeast by 630 miles, Cincinnati, the leading liquor distribution city in America, beckoned.  In 1903 the brothers moved the Old Spring Distilling Company, Ed’s family, and themselves to “The Queen City” on the Ohio River.  The L. & E. Westheimer firm remained for a time in Pine Bluff with local management.



The Wertheimer liquor house in Cincinnati initially was located at 121 Produce Alley.  When the volume of business at that site required more space the brothers moved to 333 Sycamore Street in 1906.  Two years later a final move took the Old Spring Distilling Co. to 129 West Third Road.  The company was selling its brands, “Old Spring,” “Hump-Back,” and “Old Time Gin” to the public in quart and flask sizes.  These were issued in clear and cobalt blue bottles, with “Cincinnati” embossed on them.


As was customary with the liquor houses of the time, the Wertheimers were generous in bestowing gifts on the saloons, hotels and restaurants featuring their whiskeys.  Among them was glassware.  Along with the usual advertising shot glasses, the brothers provided customers with highball glasses, a signal that some of their liquor offerings were intended for mixed drinks.  These items seem to have concentrated on advertising the Wertheimer flagship label, Old Spring.  The brothers, however, never bothered to trademark name and other U.S. liquor dealers also used it.



Displaying a sense of humor, the Wertheimers also issued a whimsical trade card showing a quart bottle of Old Spring with the motto, “Belongs on Every Sideboard.”  Known in the trade as a “mechanical, on the flip side is a illustration of a worried man and the caption, “Don’t look so dam serious.”  When turned over the man is smiling and the caption reads, “It may not be so serious.”



For a number of years, Ed and his brother had no serious challenges.  A longtime bachelor, Lee eventually married and had two children.  By now wealthy, Ed was able to move his family into a spacious home at 4075 Beechwood Avenue in a fashionable section of Cincinnati.  Still standing, the house is shown below.  At the same time, however, the onrush of the prohibitionist tide was diminishing business.  In 1916 Ohio voted to go “dry” and the result was the Old Spring Distilling Company closed its doors in 1818.



As a fallback, the Wertheimers moved their Pine Bluff outfit, L. and E. Company to Cincinnati.  Whatever its principal business had been in Pine Bluff, now it became a brokerage firm with Edward and his brother in charge.  Throughout the 14 years of National Prohibition they bought and sold “medicinal” whiskey under the watchful eye of the federal authorities. This period also saw considerable activity in the buying and selling of idle distilleries that may have presented the brothers as brokers another avenue of revenue.  As Prohibition stretched on, Ed brought Edward Junior into the company.  Lee eventually left the firm and moved to Los Angeles where he died in 1943.


When Repeal came in 1934,  Ed, now age 67, was ready.  Unlike the majority of “whiskey men” who abandoned the trade permanently, this Wertheimer immediately revived the Old Spring Distilling Company and its flagship brand.  Once again the business thrived.  As Edward aged, however, he began to reduce his management responsibilities.  In 1948 he sold the Old Spring Company and brand to Schenley Industries to concentrate on L. and E. brokerage.  After two years heading that organization he ceded it to Edward Junior and became board chairman.


Meanwhile Edward was achieving a reputation for philanthropy, known for large donations made to the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Jewish causes, including the Rockvale Avenue Temple.  He also knew sorrow.  While he and Selma, his wife of 53 years, were on a Mediterranean cruise in 1953, she suffered a heart attack aboard ship and her body removed at Alexandria, Egypt.  Under the supervision of her grieving husband her body was flown back to Cincinnati for burial at the United Jewish Cemetery on Montgomery Road.  Several years later Ed established a UC scholarship in her name.  


On his 90th birthday, Ed made his daily visit to his office at L. and E. Company. There, a surprise, he received a hand-lettered plaque extolling his accomplishments and listing his contributions to the business and community life of Cincinnati.  The plaque bore the names of 60 friends and business associates. When asked the secret of his longevity on that occasion, Ed replied:  “I have always avoided overindulgence in anything.”  Clearly this did not include business.


Still active in early April 1960, Ed suffered a stroke from which he never recovered, dying a week and a half later at Cincinnati’s Jewish Hospital.  He was 92.  Following a well-attended funeral, he was buried next to Selma.  The headline from the Cincinnati Enquirer  that opens this post was no “local hero” hyperbole.  Edward Westheimer by his unbroken 75 productive years in the whiskey trade richly had earned the right to be considered “The Dean."


Note:  Using a number of sources, this post relies heavily on the extensive obituary on Edward Wertheimer from the Cincinnati Enquirer of April 22, 1960, and on genealogy references.




































 











Monday, October 4, 2021

Whiskey Men as Firefighters

 

Foreword:  Dedicated to distillers, liquor dealers, saloonkeepers, bartenders and others associated with pre-Prohibition liquor, this website frequently has documented their many contributions to the cities and towns in which they lived.Among those was service on local volunteer fire departments.  This post tells in brief the stories of five firefighting “whiskey men,”  including a father and son, from, as the song goes, “California to the New York Island.”


Born about 1831 in Ireland, at the age of 17 or so John Keenan emigrated across the Atlantic, reputedly landing in Mexico about 1848 and working his way to Texas where for a time he was a Texas Ranger.  From there he moved to California, settling in Sacramento.  The energetic Keenan hit town like a tornado.  After a large fire destroyed many of Sacramento’s saloons, the Irishman sensed opportunity. He raced to a nearby settlement where he purchased a prefabricated wooden building on the Sacramento River and had it floated to town.  With the help of his wife, Keenan decorated it, calling it “The Fashion Saloon.”  He soon moved to a more substantial building shown here.


Well aware of the dangers posed to Sacramento by its frequent fires, Keenan decided to assembled a local firefighting force.  It was a canny decision for someone like Keenan who was seeking broad community recognition.  Volunteer fire brigades served several purposes in those times.  Not only did their members provide a level of trained “first responders” to battle conflagrations, but also served as fraternal organizations.  Fire halls not only contained the requisite fire fighting equipment but also large spaces for socializing.  Crew members could be found there at all hours playing cards, throwing darts or just chatting.  The commanders of such units were elected by the members and held in high regard by townsfolk.


Keenan’s efforts resulted with his being elected its chief.  A photograph exists of the saloonkeeper, dressed in his uniform, standing casually against a pillar on which sits his helmet, identifying J.C. Keenan as chief of the fire unit.  Between them is a large horn, used for alerting the firemen and directing them when fighting a fire.  A downside of this honor was that the chief and other ranking members were expected to pay for equipment.  With Keenan’s wealth gained from the Fashion Saloon such expenditures were easily borne.


******


An 1894 directory of Houston, Texas, businesses, advised visitors to the city to pay a call at  the drinking establishment at 1105 Congress Avenue in order to view the bar at the rear, calling it “particularly striking and remarkable” for its decoration of  “sea shells and marine curiosities.”  The Seashell Bar was the creation of C. W. and Charles C. Ruger, father and son saloonkeepers also known to the community for their dedication to firefighting.



C. W. Rugers, shown right,  was one of Houston’s first volunteer firefighters, attached to Liberty Department No. 2.  He rose to be foreman (commander) of the company and later its representative to the central fireman’s body.  C.W. had sufficient wealth to fund these activities.  An immigrant from Netherlands, he started as a grocer but soon moved to the more lucrative liquor trade and became wealthy.


When his son, Charlie, shown left, grew to maturity, his father took him into the business.  C.W. apparently was a difficult taskmaster, expecting a great deal from his son.  A contemporary biography signaled that Charlie had not had an easy transition from a boy to a businessman:  “At a tender age he had duties thrust upon him that gave him experience that few young men encounter.  He has has had a ‘rough road’ to travel on the highway of life, but out of it he stands today strong and robust, ready to meet any future adversities that may be lying in wait for him.”


Despite whatever his relationship with his father, Charlie followed his father’s example and was an enthusiastic volunteer firefighter.  He was a member of the Siebert No. 19 Company, formed in 1894.  It was the last volunteer group organized in the “Old Department,” before paid fire service in Houston.  The company featured a non-motorized hose wagon that had to be rolled by hand to the fires.  “Strong and robust” as Charlie was said to be, that activity still was a strain and he may not have been displeased when Siebert No. 19 was disbanded.


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John Stump was a native-born American, coming into life in Cumberland, Maryland, shown below, in 1874 to parents both of whom had been born in that state.  He appears to have entered the liquor trade at an early age, recorded as a 21-year-old saloonkeeper.    By 1900,  according to census data,  Stump had disposed of the saloon and was concentrating his energies as a wholesale liquor dealer. 



He soon embarked on an active political career, using his role as a volunteer fireman as a launching pad.  Because of the many frame buildings in Cumberland and the presence of a number of glass factories, fires were common.  Stump had risen to the position of acting chief of the Cumberland volunteers when a major fire threatened downtown nearby Frostburg, Maryland.  He sent his fire fighters to help extinguished the blaze, gaining praise from the local press.  Subsequently Stump was elected president of the Allegany-Garrett Counties Volunteer & Rescue Association. He also became a prominent member of the Firemen’s Association of Maryland, becoming its state president in 1898.  


 


Stump, a Republican, then parlayed that post into running and being elected to the Maryland House of Delegates from Allegany County, serving from 1904 to 1906. He also served terms as both the town’s finance commissioner and its street and sewer commissioner.  Despite his Republican connections, National Prohibition came down just as hard on him as on Democrats.  Stump was forced to close up his prosperous liquor business in 1919.  The 1920 Census found him with no occupation listed. 


******


Perhaps the premier “whiskey man” first responder was Philip Engs, a New York City liquor millionaire.  Born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1789, as a youth he came to New York to work.   His passion, however, was fighting fires.  While still in his teens he joined Fulton Engine Co. No. 21,  a volunteer fire company organized in 1795 that originally met in Crooks Tavern until it acquired a fire house   Engs rose rapidly in the ranks of his fellow firefighters, after three years chosen secretary of the company and by 1815, age 26, elected foreman, a position he held until 1820.  Subsequently he became proprietor of a major liquor business.


Engs’ headquarters was at 131 Front Street in Manhattan.  From there he not only carried on a vigorous wholesale trade, he also was operating as a “rectifier,” that is, blending raw whiskeys to achieve a particular taste and color.  As he advanced in wealth Engs never forgot his first love — fighting fires.  At the time he had joined the Fulton firefighters, the scene of a blaze often was chaotic.  Volunteers companies often fought among themselves  for prominence while the flames raged on.  Engs soon recognized the need for professionalized fire services in New York.  Accordingly, he became a driving force behind a paid fire department, as one observer ironically put it, “sweeping away the romantic past.”  



In 1865 New York Legislature in 1865 created a professional New York Fire Department was born.  More than 3,800 volunteers were expunged from the rolls.   Among first five fire commissioners appointed by the governor was Philip W. Engs.  He amply had earned the post.  Earlier, with other investors he had incorporated “The Fireman’s Insurance Fund” to insure against loss or damage by fire and to afford charitable funds for firefighters and their families.  He also served a term as president of the Association of Exempt Firemen, a firemen’s social club. 


Those and other Engs' initiatives figured prominently in an 1887 history of Big Apple firefighting called “Our Firemen.”  The book contained the  portrait of the 76-year-old Commissioner Engs shown above.  The liquor dealer also was a historian of New York’s fire service.  Although he never published it, an Engs' manuscript has been cited as providing “most of the facts”  about the early days of New York City firefighting for subsequent accounts.


Note:  This website contains longer articles on each of the whiskey men described here:  John Keenan, December 6, 2020;  The Rugers, January 1, 2015;  John Stump, June 14, 1914, and Philip Engs, January 7, 2017.