As with all small towns, fires have always been a cause of much concern, our small town
was no different. Following a couple major fires in 1941 a group of Sherman men decided
that the town was in bad need of a fire department. Not that the New Milford and New
Fairfield fire departments hadn’t done a good job but it just took so long for them
to get to the fire from their towns that in most cases the fire had to much head start
to stop. In late 1941 and early 1942 these men obtained a 1937 GMC 2 1/2 ton farm truck
from John Blantin which they took to Will Giddings garage to start the transformation of
a hay truck into a fire truck to protect their town. On Feb. 26, 1942 the first official
meeting of the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department took place. At this meeting the following
men were picked to run the department.
Captain----------------Roger W. Munch
1st Lt.-----------------Howard Smith
2nd Lt.----------------Edward Goldspink
Steward----------------William H. Giddings
The second order of business at this meeting was to pick a bylaw committee consisting of
Stetson Ward, Howard Smith and Albert Amazeen. Next there was a group formed to go to
Woodville, Mass. to look at a pump and other equipment for the truck. This group was
Stetson Ward, Howard Smith, Will Giddings, Howard Hueston, Roger Munch and LeRoy Booth.
On March 26th, the second meeting of the department took place, at this meeting a
report was given on the trip to Woodville as well as a report from the bylaw committee.
It was decided that the vote on the bylaws would be put off until the next meeting when
more men would be present.
At the April 9th meeting the bylaws were presented, after some discussion they were
approved, and the newly formed Sherman Volunteer Fire Department was well on it’s way
into the history books. Chesed Wakeman suggested that the department look into the
purchase of a fire siren from Pawling at a cost of $150.00, he was empowered to see
if we could get this also to make financial arrangements for same.
The May meeting approved the suggestion of sending thank you notes to all the people
who had contributed to the department and also to send a follow up letter to those
who had not responded. It was also approved to pay members expenses to take the
truck to Woodville, Mass.
At the June 11th meeting it was voted on and passed that all Sherman residents in
the Armed Forces be considered Charter Members of the department. Albert Amazeen
and Howard Smith were picked to talk to the telephone company in regards of setting
up some sort of alarm system. The members also voted to approve sponsorship of a
4th of July celebration and to dedicate a service flag.
The morning of July 4, 1942 found the dawn of a new era in the history of Sherman,
this was the first non-fire related service performed by the Sherman Volunteer Fire
Department, for the town. All the town’s residents were invited to the Town Hall
where a double flagstaff was set over the door, from this staff hung an American
flag and a service flag containing 19 stars, the number of town residents serving
on that day in the armed forces. About 150 people were also shown a plaque made
by Marshall Munch with the names of these 19 people on it. On July 10, 1942 the
first annual meeting was held and the following is a list of the Officers picked
to lead the department into the future.
1st Lt.-------------Howard Smith
2nd Lt.------------Emerson Osborn Sr.
Steward----------William H. Giddings
It was also decided at this meeting to purchase 250 picture cards of the truck,
at a cost of $9.00, to be sent out with a letter requesting funds. The morning
of July 8, 1942 will be recorded in the history books as being the date of the
first fire fought by the newly formed fire department. The record reads, “ no
damage by fire or water”, this occurred at Mrs. Beckwiths home, it was a
chimney fire, the prompt response to the fire prevented any damage. Those
in attendance at that first fire were, Howard Smith, Emerson Osborn, Marshall
Munch, Will Giddings, James Brinsmade, H. Kohl, Charles Munch and Jack Quinn.
On the afternoon of Aug. 10th the department was called to it’s second fire after
lightening struck the Stuart barn, this fire was put out by, “a thorough soaking”.
At the August meeting it was reported that a private phone line at a cost of
$6.00 per month was the only thing that the phone company could offer in the
way of a fire alarm, it was decided to table this matter and to reconsider
the Pawling fire siren. On the 16th of August a demostration of 2-1/2 “ hose
over our present hose was held at Judd’s brook by Capt. Munch, following
this drill the department bought 200’ of 2-1/2” hose and several fittings.
In October the department decided to collect scrap iron for the government.
Howard Hueston reported trouble in getting rubber boots as they had been put
on the rationing list. At this meeting a questionnaire was handed out to all
those present to take to their neighbors to fill out information on the exact
location of their home and any water supply available.
The November meeting finally approved the purchase of the fire siren
from Pawling for the sum of $150.00. This meeting also approved the purchase
of 2 sets of boots, helmets and raincoats.
On Dec. 10th Stetson Ward reported that the $157.00 received for the scrap
iron was turned over to the Defense Council which in turn presented the department
a check for $100.00. The matter of heat for the firehouse was discussed, Capt. Munch
will talk to Willard Thorpe about this.
During the year of 1942 the following members were voted into the department:
May 14, 1942----------Lewis Taylor, Jack Ormiston, Emerson Osborn Sr.
June 11, 1942----------Theodore Alfredson
July 10, 1942----------Irwin Atchison, Malcolm Cowley,Vincent Green, Andrew Potter
Sept. 13, 1942----------Joseph Thomas
Nov. 12, 1942----------Harold Stevens
All members who started the department and anyone voted into membership prior to July 1, 1942
were considered Charter Members as well as those who were in the armed forces at that time if
upon their discharge they joined the department.
Lester Bennett Sr.
Howard Hueston Sr.
Robert A. Judd
Robert R. Judd
Rev. V. Lawson
Roger Munch Sr.
Emerson Osborn Sr.
Joseph Warrick Sr.
With the passing of Ted Giddings and Marshall Munch in 2006 we said goodbye to the last two surviving
charter members of the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department.
Hilights of the early years
- Feb. 26, 1942
- First meeting was held.
Prior to this meeting a 1937 GMC farm truck was given to the
department by John Blantin, this truck was driven to Will Giddings
garage by Ted Giddings to start the transformation of hay truck to
- April 9, 1942
- Bylaws were accepted
- July 4, 1942
- The department put on a service flag dedication at the Town
Hall, this was the first of a long line of non fire related functions
performed by the department.
- October 1942
- The department sponsored a scrap iron drive for the government
$157.00 was raised that was then turned over to the Defense Council.
- January 1943
- The department purchased a pool table for $50.00,
This table was a source of much entertainment for the members over the years
and is still in use today.
- February 1943
- A siren purchased from Pawing was put into service to alert
members of a fire.
- July 1943
- The department starting sponsoring movies at the Town Hall
- November 1943
- The department decided to take Edna Allen up on her offer of
$7.00 cash and one years dues, ($3.00), as a contributing
member, for a wood stove to heat the meeting/pool room.
To go along with this Nick Power agreed to keep the stove
going at night in return he received free dues for the winter
- January 1944
- The department voted to send a floral arrangement to the family
of any member of our community that past away, also to put flags on veterans graves.
- July 1945
- The first Jr. members were voted into the department.
- December 1945
- The department placed a lighted Christmas tree in front of the
Town Hall and also donated $10.00 to the Sherman Church to
help with the cost of dinners they provided to the needy.