VULCAN SOCIETY INC. FDNY
Official web site of the Vulcan Society Inc.
Wesley Williams was the third black male to join the New York Fire Department. The first was William H. Nicholson who was appointed in 1898 and shortly after detailed to the veterinary unit. He retired in 1912. The second was John H. Woodson, 1914 - 1936, assigned to L-106 in
The source of much of the above information was from a speech by Charles F. Williams, grandson of Chief Wesley Williams given at the Fire Department Museum during Black History Week on February 5th, 1990
The Crisis November 1916
The Crisis, founded by W.E.B. Du Bois as the official publication of the NAACP, is a journal of civil rights, history, politics, and culture and seeks to educate and challenge its readers about issues that continue to plague African Americans and other communities of color…..
Molly Williams was the first known female firefighter in the United States. An African American, she was held as a slave belonging to a New York City merchant by the name of Benjamin Aymar who was affiliated with the Oceanus Engine Company #11 in 1818. During her time in the company she was called Volunteer No. 11.
Williams made a distinguished presence in her sturdy work clothes of calico dress and checkered apron and was said to be "as good a fire laddie as many of the boys." Her service was noted particularly during the blizzard of 1818. Male firefighters were scarce due to an influenza outbreak, but Williams took her place with the men on the dragropes and pulled the pumper to the fire through the deep snow.