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Statesboro, Bulloch organize area's first fire brigade
Bulloch History
roger allen
Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.

Part I

The Bulloch Herald of April 13, 1900 announced the intention of organizing a fire brigade from members of the Kell Rifles, and stated the final steps were being taken to make this fire brigade come to fruition.

The "Kell Rifles" were actually Company F. of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Regular Georgia Volunteer Infantry. Their commanders were Capt. W. H. Blitch Jr., 1st Lieut. R. J. Proctor, 2nd Lieut. S. A. Hall.

It stated, “The young men of the military company are (organizing) a volunteer fire company.” It was, “for Statesboro...(which) ought to be encouraged by the businessmen.”

That was because, “every business...requires better fire protection...Statesboro has been recently been quite fortunate in respect by losses to fire.”

And, “but...we prepared for an one knows organized fire company may be badly needed. The Herald explained, “The plan is to equip the boys with hooks and ladders.”

In addition, they would provide “a number of buckets when they will organize and have practices. “Ten men who understand their business can tender better service at a fire than thirty disorganized men.”

Therefore, “the town (needs to buy) the necessary paraphernalia to equip the their laudable undertaking.” Then, the Statesboro News issue of November 29th, 1901 declared “Will Organize a Fire Brigade.”

It reported that “Mr. C.M. Cumming is circulating a list to raise money to equip a fire company for Statesboro. The property owners are liberally subscribing to the fund.”

And, “Mr. Cummings is hopeful that enough will be raised to buy a hand engine and all the necessary apparatus. It is badly needed here, and it is hoped that our wide-awake town will help along the enterprise.’

The Statesboro News of Jan. 8, 1904 announced “The Year 1904 will be a Great One...the year 1904 will be an epoch marker (in the) the ‘City of Pines’...Statesboro will then shine like Rome on its seven hills.”

This was because, “Fire protection will be provided and our business places and homes will be safer than they are today…” It listed some improvements.

They were, “The year 1903 marked the building of a $40,000 Oil Mill, a $7,000 factory, a $10,000 Methodist Church, and about 30 or 40 dwellings and other smaller buildings.”

Then, the Statesboro News of March 10, 1905 announced the intention of the city “to organize a volunteer fire company in Statesboro. It continued, “Mr. C. M. Cumming...has just returned from Dublin.”

It announced that the city had sent him there to look at Dublin’s Fire Department system and recommended the purchase of a water reel like the one in use there.”

The Statesboro News of March 10, 1905 revealed, “A meeting will be...our young men will be given an opportunity to show what they can do in case of fire in the town...we have a 150 pressure.”

It continued, “one that will throw a stream of water over the top of the steeple on the court house which is the tallest structure in the city. This will be convenient in case of fire.”

Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at

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