Franklin E. R. Whitney was the City's second Chief Engineer, being elected on November 3, 1851. He had arrived here via Cape Horn a year previously from Boston, where he had been a foreman of that city's Fire Department and once in San Francisco he joined, and was appointed the foreman of Howard Engine Co. No. 3.
Owing to ill health Whitney resigned two weeks after election and Thomas K. Battelle became acting chief until December of 1851, when George H. Hossefross went into office. Whitney, however, was to be elected again in 1856 and served for the following four years.
With the re-organizing of the department from volunteer to paid, on October 3, 1866, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution making Franklin Whitney the first Chief of the paid department.
By: Frederick J. Bowlen, Battalion Chief, S.F.F.D. (1939)