Member Facts & Trivia
The volunteer fireman was expected to stop whatever he was doing, whether work or play, and rush to a fire when the alarm sounded. If he violated the rules and regulations he was fined. He was consistent, ever fervent in his duty and willingness, at all times, to gamble with his own life to save the life of another.
No Street Lights
At the conception of the Company, there were no street lights in the village so young boys with a great interest in the Company would fill kerosene lamps for the wagons and hold torches to light up the scene.
Village Board Members
Members came from all walks of life. The firemen themselves were a power in the village and wielded considerable influence by their numbers and strong organization. Six out of the seven village Board members were charter members and officers of the Menomonee Falls Fire Company Number 1.
At the establishment of the Company, applications for membership were so numerous that a limit had to be set. The limit was quickly filled and a membership in the Company became one of the most prized possessions in the village.
The "pillbox" was used for balloting of members of the Company since its incorporation in 1894 to 1971. Any person wishing to become a member of the Company needed to be proposed by a member of the Company. At the next meeting they would be balloted for with ball ballots. If not more than four black balls appeared against him, he would be elected, but if five or more appeared he would be rejected.
In 1920, a bylaw change was made providing for the ouster of non-participating members who were absent from roll call, either at a meeting or fire call. For 3 months, the member would be expelled unless he sent a written or verbal request to the Chief. A 2/3 vote of the membership was then required for the extension. Also, members absent were fined fifteen cents per meeting and $1 for the yearly inspection.
Increase in Members
In 1922 there were 19 members in good standing. At full quota the fire company should have had 31 members to properly man the apparatus. Of the Charter members of the Company, only two were still on the active rolls. Of the remaining seventeen members, the average length of service was just under five years. By the fall of 1922, the newly elected Chief solicited the press for support of the Company. Soon they saw an increase to 51 members.
A special order was issued in 1929 to improve the attendance at roll calls. The company would pay an attendance prize of $2.50. The winner was decided by placing all members' names in a hat.
During WWII the Company purchased a $500 Defense Bond and voted to purchase a $25 Bond each month thereafter for the duration of the war. The attendance prize at the monthly meetings would now be war stamps. Donations for salvage drives would be underwritten and cash payments given to the person bringing in the most salvage.