John H. Cunningham was a charter member of the Md. State Fireman’s Assoc.

John H. Cunningham, from the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1, was a charter member of the Md. State Fireman’s Association and served on the Executive Board and Officers Committee from1898 – 1899. Courtesy of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1.

John H. Cunningham was a charter member of the Md. State Fireman’s Assoc.

At the time of his death, Cunningham “was believed to be McDaniel – Western Maryland College’s oldest living alumnae… and the State’s only living charter member of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association

When John Cunningham died, he was America’s Oldest Banker in Years of Continuous Service. He was a lifelong member of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose co. No. 1.

February 24, 2019 by Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No 1 Chaplain Kevin Dayhoff

It is only fitting and appropriate that from time to time we take a moment to remember some of the many great Carroll Countians that have gone before us.

On December 31, 1965, John Cunningham passed away within a few hours of 99th birthday. Local historian Jay Graybeal wrote of “his rich life, including his interests in bicycling, walking and poker,” in a March 16, 1997 column in the Carroll County Times.

An earlier shorter version of this story appeared in the Carroll County Times on January 13th, 2019. Please find the article here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/columnists/features/cc-lt-dayhoff-011319-story.html. This version of a story about Mr. Cunningham is the long version with all the edits restored.

Finding a picture of Mr. Cunningham has been nearly impossible – except, I did finally find a picture of him at the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 – although the picture was damaged by the April 6, 1906 H. H. Harbaugh’s Palace Livery Stable fire. The livery stable and residence was located next to the Fire House on East Main St in Westminster. The fire, which destroyed the huge building, also burned a portion of the Westminster fire station and the Westminster city offices that were located on the second floor of the station.

To put 1965 and the mid-1960s into some perspective, our country was just beginning a new phase of the Vietnam War; with the introduction of the first combat troops on February 9, 1965. Before we had, “advisors” engaged in the conflict. Later in the year, on November 14, the Battle of the Ia Drang began in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. It was the first major engagement of the war between regular American and North Vietnamese forces. Shortly afterwards, the pentagon told President Lyndon Johnson that the number of troops needed to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000.

John H. Cunningham, from the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1, was a charter member of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association and served on the Executive Board and Officers Committee from1898 – 1899. Please note that the picture was damaged by the April 6, 1906 H. H. Harbaugh’s Palace Livery Stable fire. The livery stable and residence was located next to the Fire House on East Main St in Westminster. The fire, which destroyed the huge building, also burned a portion of the Westminster fire station and the Westminster city offices that were located on the second floor of the station. Courtesy of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1.

At home, the Civil Rights movement was on the forefront of many as around 1965 was the last year that restaurants and such were segregated in Westminster. Malcolm X was assassinated in New York at the Audubon Ballroom on February 21.

Bloody Sunday had occurred on March 7 as 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr. civil rights marchers were finally successful, after three attempts, to walk from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. On August 6, President Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It was 1964 that Carroll County administrator George Grier went to New York to begin negotiations with Random House to build a book distribution center in Westminster. At that time in the negotiations, adequate supplies of water was a sticking point, among many issues that were subsequently ironed out before the facility opened on July 14, 1967, according to “From Our Front Porch,” a history of Carroll County from 1900-1999, by Jim Lee.

And oh in 1964 ice cream cost 89 cents per half gallon

Graybeal shared with us Cunningham’s obituary, which appeared on January 1, 1966, in an unidentified newspaper. The obituary began: “John H. Cunningham, believed to have been the oldest banker in the United States, died yesterday at his home… His wife, the former Mary Irwin, died in 1949… He was a past master of the Masonic order and was a member of the Westminster Church of Christ.”

Cunningham was born on New Year’s Day in 1867. According to his obit, “On January 1, 1885, while a senior at Western Maryland College, Mr. Cunningham began his banking career as a clerk with the Farmers and Mechanics National Bank, [at 105 E. Main St. in Westminster] following the footsteps of his father William, who was a clerk there.”

He worked in the same office, with the same employer for his entire life – from 1885 until when he passed away in 1965. “Many days he walked the mile to work from his home at 95 West Green Street.”

Graybeal reported; “His long career in banking was recognized by a telegram from President Kennedy in 1963.”

The telegram said: “Congratulations on being named by your friends and associates in Westminster and Carroll County as “America’s Oldest Banker in Years of Continuous Service.” Your 77 years record as a banker is certainly an impressive one and you deserve all the honors, which have been given you…”

He was well-known for his punctuality and folklore attests that “fellow employees reportedly set their watches by him,” as he would arrive at his desk “every working day promptly at 9 a.m. and would not leave until 3 in the afternoon…” It was also noted “that Mr. Cunningham had not missed a town meeting in Westminster since 1883, the year he became old enough to vote.

Cunningham played poker every Tuesday night between 7 and 11 p.m. sharp, at “Thelma Hoffman’s restaurant at 216 E. Main Street [later known as Cockey’s Tavern] in Westminster.” Among his partners were Ben Thomas, Paul Whitmore, Miller Richardson, Ralph Bonsack, Frank Leidy, Theodore Brown and Norman Boyle.”

Cunningham was also well known for his New Year’s Day tradition of an all day poker game, “that began promptly at 11 a.m., broke for dinner at 5 p.m., then resumed until 11 p.m.”

At the time of his death, Cunningham “was believed to be Western Maryland College’s oldest living alumnae… and the State’s only living charter member of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association.”

The January 1, 1966 obituary reported that: “Cunningham’s interest in politics was rewarded during the Coolidge Administration with his appointment in 1923 as Surveyor of Customs at Baltimore, a post he held for nine years. In 1911, Mr. Cunningham ran unsuccessfully for State Comptroller.”

“Beside politics and poker, Mr. Cunningham loved walking. On weekends as late as 1964, he hiked along country roads, a white handkerchief tied to his cane, for safety.”

When he was 97 years old, he explained in a November 1964 interview: “I only walk half as far and about half as fast as I used to… It’s a strain to walk more than 4 or 5 miles…”

“In his earlier days… [he] was a bicyclist of renown… According to a banker’s association bulletin, in 1898 he bicycled 200 miles from Westminster to Atlantic City, N.J…” He waited to give up driving until he was approximately 92 years old.

An earlier shorter version of this story appeared in the Carroll County Times on January 13th, 2019. Please find the article here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/columnists/features/cc-lt-dayhoff-011319-story.html. This version of a story about Mr. Cunningham is the long version with all the edits restored.

In full disclosure, I met Cunningham in the early 1960s upon the occasion of one of his visits to City Hall to talk with City of Westminster Mayor Joseph L. Mathias who served on the Westminster Common Council May 1927 to May 1937 and Mayor from May 18, 1942 to December 3, 1963. To the best of my knowledge, I have only written about Cunningham a couple of times. Most notably, a portion of this column was previously published in 2006.

Carroll County is fortunate to have many great community leaders still with us. We should all take time to pause and thank them for their service to our community – whether we agree with them or disagree.

Every one of them is working hard to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. In 2019, may we all work hard to rekindle a renewed sense of civility and have as full and vigorous a life as Mr. John Cunningham – playing poker, bicycling and walking many four or five miles is optional. God Bless and Happy New Year.

https://patch.com/maryland/westminster/cunningham-was-charter-member-md-st-fireman-s-assoc

Santa Claus came to town on a fire engine

 

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 SANTA UPDATE!

By Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 Chaplain, PIO, and assist. Secretary Kevin Dayhoff, who has been known to say, “Ho, Ho, HO” from a vantage point on top of a fire engine in a jolly red suit….

All this week the firefighters of the Westminster Fire Company are assisting Santa with his rounds and escorting him around town to see all the good girls and boys in their neighborhoods.

On Tuesday December 18, 2018 “Santa 1” covered E. Green Street, Middlebrooke, and the Center Street areas – including west of Liberty St, George St., Charles St., Middlebrooke Apts., Carroll View, Avondale Run Apts., Long Valley Rd, and Fairway Dr.

Santa was excited to be out in the community again. We tried to stay as close as possible to the routes that were posted. Sometimes the routes can change without notice.

On Tuesday, Santa and all his firefighter elves got started around 6 pm. Updates were posted on the

Westminster Fire Dept. Santa Run Facebook page. Folks were advised to listen for the sirens!

As a safety reminder, parents please keep close watch of your children on the dark roadways. It is certainly understandable for kids to be excited to see Santa, but please walk with them if you plan to cross a street.

Please remember emergency calls for service, weather and other unforeseen circumstances can change, delay, or cancel our routes for the evening. We will provide updates via the Westminster Fire Dept. Santa Run Facebook page if there are any changes in plans – or if Santa and the firefighter elves need to attend

to an emergency in the community.

Also – keep in mind that Saturday – December 22 is the Westminster Fire Company’s Breakfast with Santa. If you miss us during the week come see us on Saturday. Pictures with Santa can be purchased also.

The official Facebook page for the yearly Westminster, MD Santa run is located here: https://www.facebook.com/Westminster-Fire-Dept-Santa-Run-1979153135688750/

https://patch.com/maryland/westminster/santa-claus-came-town-fire-engine

 

The work never ends at the fire service

Westminster Fire Company Chaplain and PIO Kevin Dayhoff December 8, 2018

Westminster Fire Co. Firefighter – EMS provider Josh Gursky, back-left; Lt. Kim Darby, and Treasurer Caroline Babylon, right, run hose through a cleaning sleeve after the Bowersox Road fire on Thur., Dec. 6, 2018.

The work never ends at the fire service. Cleaning-up and putting away the hose and equipment after the Bowersox Road fire on Thursday, December 6, 2018 took hours. https://www.facebook.com/kevindayhoff/posts/10215325437662770

https://patch.com/maryland/westminster/work-never-ends-fire-service

Related: Thank you for the station fill-ins Dec. 6, 2018 during the Bowersox Rd fire

The men and women of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 would like to thank the Lineboro fire company tanker crew and the Sykesville medic unit from Carroll County, the Emmitsburg tower crew from Frederick Co, and the engine unit from Lisbon for filling-in at station 3 on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

That afternoon, firefighters from the Westminster fire company were helping New Windsor, Winfield, Westminster Taneytown, Union Bridge, Manchester, Reese, Pleasant Valley, Mount Airy, Libertytown, Gamber, and Sykesville on the Bowersox Road fire. http://www.westminstervfd.org/2018/12/08/wfd-thank-you-for-the-station-fill-ins-dec-6-2018-during-the-bowersox-rd-fire/

Related: No one injured in Bowersox Road blaze

Carroll County Times writers Catalina Righter and Jon Kelvey have the full story on the fire… Winfield fire chief estimates two-alarm blaze did $300K worth of damage to home

Firefighters put out hot spots at the scene of a house fire in the 1600 Block of Bowersox Road in Westminster Thursday. Photos by (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times

By Catalina Righter, Jon Kelvey Carroll County Times

It took firefighters from Winfield, New Windsor and at least 10 other fire companies more than an hour to control a house fire Thursday in the 1600 block of Bowersox Road.

[…]

“I will tell you that had it been a newer home, it would have been sprinklered, and the fire would have been controlled by the sprinkler system,” Davis added, noting the structure was built before the requirement for sprinklers in new residential construction. “The fire would have been controlled by probably one or two sprinkler heads with probably minor damage.”

Read the entire story here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/cc-new-windsor-house-fire-20181206-story.html

WFD: Thank you for the station fill-ins Dec. 6, 2018 during the Bowersox Rd fire

The men and women of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 would like to thank the Lineboro fire company tanker crew and the Sykesville medic unit from Carroll County, the Emmitsburg tower crew from Frederick Co, and the engine unit from Lisbon for filling-in at station 3 on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

That afternoon, firefighters from the Westminster fire company were helping New Windsor, Winfield, Westminster Taneytown, Union Bridge, Manchester, Reese, Pleasant Valley, Mount Airy, Libertytown, Gamber, and Sykesville on the Bowersox Road fire.

No one injured in Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 Bowersox Road blaze

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Related: No one injured in Bowersox Road blaze

Carroll County Times writers Catalina Righter and Jon Kelvey have the full story on the fire here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/cc-new-windsor-house-fire-20181206-story.html

Winfield fire chief estimates two-alarm blaze did $300K worth of damage to home

Firefighters put out hot spots at the scene of a house fire in the 1600 Block of Bowersox Road in Westminster Thursday. Photos by (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/multimedia/photogalleries/cctnews-firefighters-battle-bowersox-road-fire-20181206-photogallery.html

By Catalina Righter, Jon Kelvey Carroll County Times

It took firefighters from Winfield, New Windsor and at least 10 other fire companies more than an hour to control a house fire Thursday in the 1600 block of Bowersox Road.

[…]

“I will tell you that had it been a newer home, it would have been sprinklered, and the fire would have been controlled by the sprinkler system,” Davis added, noting the structure was built before the requirement for sprinklers in new residential construction. “The fire would have been controlled by probably one or two sprinkler heads with probably minor damage.”

Read the entire story here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/cc-new-windsor-house-fire-20181206-story.html

No one injured in Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 Bowersox Road blaze

Carroll County Times writers Catalina Righter and Jon Kelvey have the full story on the fire here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/cc-new-windsor-house-fire-20181206-story.html

Winfield fire chief estimates two-alarm blaze did $300K worth of damage to home

Firefighters put out hot spots at the scene of a house fire in the 1600 Block of Bowersox Road in Westminster Thursday. Photos by (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/multimedia/photogalleries/cctnews-firefighters-battle-bowersox-road-fire-20181206-photogallery.html

By Catalina Righter, Jon Kelvey Carroll County Times

It took firefighters from Winfield, New Windsor and at least 10 other fire companies more than an hour to control a house fire Thursday in the 1600 block of Bowersox Road.

[…]

“I will tell you that had it been a newer home, it would have been sprinklered, and the fire would have been controlled by the sprinkler system,” Davis added, noting the structure was built before the requirement for sprinklers in new residential construction. “The fire would have been controlled by probably one or two sprinkler heads with probably minor damage.”

Read the entire story here: https://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/cc-new-windsor-house-fire-20181206-story.html

 

 

Christmas tree donated to Westminster Fire Company by Zepp Tree Farm

Zepp Tree Farm and the families, employees, and owners of Douglas Lawn and Landscaping donated a Christmas tree to the Westminster Fire Co.

Monday, December 2, 2018

Westminster Fire Company Chaplain and PIO Kevin Dayhoff, kevindayhoff@gmail.com

Sunday, Dec. 2, was a dreary, gray, and rainy December day with a hint of the bitter cold that has yet to come. However the day was made a great deal brighter by the donation of a Christmas tree to the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 by Zepp Tree Farm and the families, employees, and owners of Douglas Lawn and Landscaping.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, the B-shift at the Westminster Fire Company under the leadership of Lt. Kim Darby and Engineer Rash Agrawal took a minute out of a busy day answering calls to stop by the Zepp Tree Farm – Douglas Lawn and Landscaping Christmas Tree Lot to pick-up a Christmas tree for the fire station.

The tree lot has been located in the back of Arby’s at 120 Mall Ring Rd, Westminster, MD 21157, at the TownMall of Westminster, for about 30-years, since around 1987.

Lt. Darby and Engineer Agrawal were assisted by Santa’s elves – Westminster firefighters and EMS personnel Emily Morris, Bryce Ballard, Br

iana Seymour, Gunnar Mohlhenrich, Douglas Landscaping representative Eric Zepp, future firefighter Jayden Zepp, and Brock Zepp.

In what has become an annual tradition, for many years, the owners of Douglas Landscape have given back to the community by donating a Christmas tree for the Westminster Fire Station to help brighten the season. This year, the Westminster Fire Company will respond to over 8,000 calls. The Christmas tree in the day room helps bring some holiday cheer to the day-to-day back-to-back emergency calls that have become routine for the fire company.

Later in the month, in what has also become an annual tradition, this year’s annual Santa Run to neighborhoods throughout the Westminster area will take place on December 17-20, 2018. Keep in mind, that the schedule can change quickly if the weather gets bad or if the company receives calls for an emergency response. Please find more details here; or on the Westminster Fire Dept. Santa Run Facebook page located here: https://www.facebook.com/Westminster-Fire-Dept-Santa-Run-1979153135688750/.

For more information on the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 go here: https://www.facebook.com/WFD-Incident-Blotter-1040669702651058/ or here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Westminster.Vol.Fire.Dept/ or here: http://www.westminstervfd.org/.

Other upcoming events include Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, December 22, 2018 7-11 AM: Menu: Pancakes, Sausage, Eggs, Sausage Gravy, Biscuits, Baked Apples, Coffee, Orange Juice, Tea, and Milk. Adults: $8.00 Children under 5: $5.00.

Have your child’s picture taken with Santa on a piece of Antique Fire Equipment. 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. $10.00 for Digital Pictures via E-mail or $15.00 for a set of 4×6 Prints mailed. $5.00 each extra set of mailed prints.

Find more information on the December 22, 2018 breakfast with Santa, call: 410-848-1800 Ext. “0” or go here: http://www.westminstervfd.org/2018/11/07/2018-breakfast-with-santa/

The Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 is a non-profit 501 c (3) organization and all donations are tax deductible. To make a donation online go to http://www.westminstervfd.org/ or send a check to the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. #1, 28 John Street, Westminster, MD 21157

Posted by Kevin Earl Dayhoff on Monday, December 3, 2018

https://patch.com/maryland/westminster/christmas-tree-donated-westminster-fire-co-zepp-tree-farm

Westminster Open House Oct. 13

Save the date: The Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 will host a public education, safety, and recruitment open house on October 13, 2018 from 12 to 5 p.m. More information to come…

September 12, 2018

Save the date: The Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 will host a public education, safety, and recruitment open house on October 13, 2018 from 12 to 5 p.m. More information to come…

By Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 Chaplain and PIO Kevin Dayhoff, kevindayhoff@gmail.com

Save the date: The Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 will host a public education, safety, and recruitment open house on October 13, 2018 from 12 to 5 p.m. More information to come…

Stop, drop, and roll on over to the fire department for a fun-filled day: Chick-fil-a sandwiches; Firehouse Subs; drinks; Activities for children; Junior Fire Fighter Obstacle Course; Fire Prevention; Health Department Booth; Museum Tours with antique fire equipment; …And much more!!

Westminster Fire Dept. 28 John Street, Westminster, MD 21157

When: Saturday, October 13th, 2018 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information call 410-848-1800

Visit the event on Facebook at: Westminster Fire Dept. Open House Oct. 13, 2018http://tinyurl.com/WFD-Open-House

Visit our Facebook page here: Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1 or here: WFD Incident Blotter or here: Westminster Fire Department

The Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. 1, is dedicated to providing quality Emergency Services to our community through the combined team efforts of our members, the local government organizations, and the citizens of our community to enhance our ability to protect life, property, and the environment.

Governor Will Join Maryland State Police to Honor Fallen Heroes

May 10, 2018: Governor Will Join Maryland State Police to Honor Fallen Heroes

(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Governor Larry Hogan will join Colonel William Pallozzi and police survivor families to honor state troopers who have given their lives in the line of duty at the annual Maryland State Police Fallen Heroes Ceremony.

The ceremony will honor the 43 state troopers who made the ultimate sacrifice serving in Maryland and two troopers killed while on active military duty in World War II.

Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander Cohen will be honored during the unveiling of a new memorial honoring members of the Office of the State Fire Marshal killed in the line of duty.

Speakers will include Governor Hogan, Colonel Pallozzi, State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci, and Major Joseph Lanzi, Jr., the son of a Maryland State Police Fallen Hero. Major Lanzi currently serves as a surgeon in the US Army.

In addition to the families of Fallen Heroes, the event will be attended by current and retired state troopers and deputy state fire marshals, there to honor their fellow troopers and deputy.

WHAT: MARYLAND STATE POLICE FALLEN HEROES CEREMONY

WHEN: FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018 11:00 A.M.

WHERE: MARYLAND STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS

FALLEN HEROES MEMORIAL (QUADRANGLE)
1201 REISTERSTOWN ROAD
PIKESVILLE, MD

Governor Will Join Maryland State Police To Honor Fallen Heroes

Fires and general mayhem dominated the April news in days gone by

Time Flies  Dayhoff: Fires and general mayhem dominated the April news in days gone by:

 

“Fires captured the attention of the local newspapers in April many years ago. The American Sentinel reported on April 9, 1898 that a “large coal oil lamp, suspended from the ceiling of the office of Dr. John S. Mathias, this city, broke loose on Wednesday night, fell, exploded and the oil caught fire…”

Read more here: http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/columnists/features/cc-lt-dayhoff-042918-story.html

Saturday afternoon mulch fire at KFC in the Westminster TownMall, Carroll County Maryland

Saturday afternoon mulch fire at KFC in the Westminster TownMall, Carroll County Maryland

20160611 KFC fire (1)  20160611 KFC fire (3)

Staff report: Sat. afternoon, June 11, 2016 Westminster, Carroll County Maryland – [Sta 3 Fire] 13:50 CT: BUILDING FIRE 400 N CENTER ST @KFC BOX: 0380 DUE: E31 E91 E61 E43 RS9 TO3 T2 X39 CS6

20160611 KFC fire (2)

Pictures by Kim Royer, Caroline Babylon, a bystander, and Kevin Dayhoff. “Firefighters responded to a mulch fire at Kentucky Fried Chicken in the 400 block of Center St. on Saturday afternoon, according to Westminster Volunteer Fire Company spokesman Kevin Dayhoff,” as reported in the Carroll County Times by Jacob deNobel on June 11, 2016

20160611 KFC fire (4)

[…]

20160611 KFC fire (5)

“Though an exact cause has not been determined, Dayhoff urged residents to exercise caution in the summer months when extinguishing small flames and cigarettes, taking care to dispose of them in proper receptacles.” Click here for more information: http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/westminster/ph-cc-kfc-fire-20160611-story.html June 11, 2016 By Jacob deNobel, Carroll County Times “Mulch fire extends to KFC exterior in Westminster”