Guardians of The City SFFD Home Page - San Francisco Fire Department Museum
SFFD - Those Who Died in the Line of Duty:
Black Ribbon A. Edward Davis Black Ribbon

A. Edward Davis - June 7, 1893 (#29)
Engine Co. No. 13 - 1458 Valencia Street

Black Ribbon Charles Joseph Madison Black Ribbon

Charles Joseph Madison - June 7, 1893 (#30)
Appointed April 8, 1893
Engine Co. No. 13 – 1458 Valencia Street

Black Ribbon Richard Windrow Black Ribbon

Richard Windrow - June 7, 1893 (#31)
Badge No. 240
Engine Co. No. 13 - 1458 Valencia Street

Boxes 386 - Oak & Divisadero Sts., 392 - Page & Lott Sts.
3.25 A. M
In 1893 a third alarm was the highest of alarms of fire.

Hoseman Charles Madison, Richard Windrow and A. E. Davis of Engine 13 were killed while In the discharge of their duty at the Page street fire by a falling chimney. Fire started in rear of 1203 Page street and consumed about 20 buildings before being extinguished.
Source: Department records

Funerals of the Three Firemen.
Madison, Davis and Windrow Sincerely Mourned.
The Dead Leave Little Else to Their Dear Ones Than a Legacy of Love and Poverty.

1893 June 10
"Their sun set while it was yet day."
The story of the lives and deeds of Edward Davis, Charles Madison and Richard Windrow has been written, and the grave-digger's spade yesterday added "finis." In the prime of manhood, with the best years of life before them, the three brave men went to their death fighting for the lives and homes of their fellowmen, who were strangers.

They left to their loved ones a legacy of sorrow and poverty, but with it a halo of heroism which will ever shed its luster upon the memories of the men who dared do their duty and die in the service of a I community which should not prove ungrateful.

The good book says that "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for friends," but hundreds of fathers and mothers, who never knew nor heard of one of the three brave firemen until they were dead, will clasp their little ones closer in their arms to-night and thank God that there are men who for duty's sake give their lives for strangers.

When one stops to think of the torture, mental and physical, that must have been crowded into the few seconds of consciousness left to the three men killed on Wednesday morning, when the weight of tons of red-hot brick crushed them; when they stop to think of the wives who are widowed, the little children who are left fatherless; when they stop to think of the strong arms which kept the wolf from the door, but are now paralyzed and useless in death, then they will begin to realize the sacrifice that three men made, not for gain, not for a friend, but for the safety of the people.

It must have been a man with a heart of stone who could have stood unmoved in the parlors of the little homes of the dead firemen yesterday and witnessed lie scenes attendant upon the last good-by before the coffin lids closed down forever on the bruised, burned and mangled bodies of the husbands and fathers. It was heartrending, and strong men were not ashamed of their tears as the babies were lifted up for a last look at the faces they learned to love and trust.

"Papa won't come home no more; will he, mamma?" lisped a tiny tot, and then thoughtfully added, "and he won't bring us no more candy, too."

That was the whole story. The loving father, not rich in this world's goods but with a wealth of love for the wife and babies at home, had always remembered the little ones and had always found a nickel to spare for sweets for them when he came home from work. His home was his world; a poor world, maybe, when compared with the millionaires' palaces, but for all that a happy one, and its inhabitants loved him. How they will miss him, how they will grieve for the touch of his kindly hand, the music of his cheery voice, only those whom death has robbed can comprehend.

Two long lines of carriages, headed by hearses draped in somber plumage, wound their way slowly along Valencia street to Golden Gate avenue, and thence on out to the cemeteries, about 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon. On every street corner stood crowds of men and women, who watched the cortege not with curiosity alone, but with heartfelt sympathy for those bereaved and feelings of sorrow and regret at the loss of those who went to their final rest in the silent city. Seldom has there been such a manifestation of sorrow upon the part of the people of San Francisco over the death of men to fortune and to fame unknown. The people, the populace, seemed to realize the cruelty of the sacrifice demanded of the dead men by a city they had helped to build and for long years had helped to protect. That these lives might have been spared; that the widows might have yet been happy wives; that the little children now orphaned might have a father's love and protection had the city done its duty to the people, were perhaps for the first time fully understood by the thousands who watched the slow-moving procession through the streets.

There was an unusual quiet everywhere prevailing along the route traveled by the double funeral, broken only by the toll of the deep-toned bells in the fire-engine houses situated along the way. It is to be hoped that the sorrow so generally shown yesterday will result in something more than a mere verbal expression of sympathy. There are the families of the dead men to care for, and almost every one can do something to help them. Let no one hesitate because he can give but little. Many nickels make many dollars, and if the good people of San Francisco, and especially those living in the Western Addition, really wish to show their appreciation of the efforts of the firemen on Wednesday morning let them do it in a substantial manner.

The funeral of Charles Madison took place yesterday morning at 9 o'clock from St. Paul's Church, and the funerals of Edward Davis and Richard Windrow yesterday afternoon from their late residences, at 436 Twenty-seven in street and Madison and Twenty-sixth streets. Two hundred firemen belonging to the department acted as a guard of honor, the men being equally divided between the funerals of their late comrades.

The cortege moved from the Davis residence by the shortest route to 13 engine-house on Valencia street, where it halted and awaited the arrival of the remains of Windrow. From the engine-house down Valencia street the two funerals moved side by side, there being upward of 200 carriages and other vehicles in each line. At Sixteenth and Valencia streets the 200 firemen acting as a guard of honor opened ranks and allowed the double cortege to pass, then took their places in carriages reserved for them and accompanied the procession to the cemetery. Both the caskets containing the bodies of Davis and Windrow were completely hidden by flowers, and two large express wagons were needed to convey the large floral pieces sent by prominent citizens from nil over the city to the graves.

At the Masonic Cemetery the interments of Davis' and Windrow's bodies were made in different portions of the grounds, and services at each of the graves were held at the same time.

His Funeral a Great Demonstration of Respect.

The funeral of Charles T. Madison, one of the three firemen of engine 13 who lost their lives at the Lyon-street fire, was a touching demonstration by his comrades and friends.

Early in the morning crowds of people gathered around his late home at Twenty-ninth and Church streets. Many were the offerings of sympathy to the bereaved household, and kindly words showed how sincerely was compassion extended by the visitors.

It was long after 9 o'clock before the remains were taken from the house to St. Paul's Church, just a block away. The people present walked to the place of worship and filled the pews. Meanwhile the casket was laid upon a catafalque in front of the altar by William Walsh and William Murphy of engine 18, and Henry McGrath, John White, Thomas Reynolds and Eugene O'Donnell, who acted as pallbearers.

Rev. Father Connolly, pastor of St. Paul's, celebrated a requiem mass for the dead fireman, and made a brief address.

He spoke of the dangers to which firemen were exposed and said that this was a case for practical charity. These three men died in the discharge of their duty and consequently the people should show, in a practical manner, their appreciation of what they had done. The office for the dead was recited, after which the services came to a close.

Madison's father, a white-haired old man, sat behind his son's widow in church. His two sisters were also among the chief mourners.

There was a large wagon-load of flowers in all sorts of beautiful designs, the largest of which was a great column seven feet high, surmounted by an engine, and bearing the inscription, "Last call, box 392— died at his post." This came from the young men of the neighborhood where Madison lived. An immense broken wheel, with the words, "Last call, box “392" was sent from his engine company.

The funeral went past the engine-house on Valencia street, and the firebell tolled mournfully as it passed.

Following the hearse were about 350 firemen with draped badges, and inarching in order. Then came a long line of carriages that look over forty-five minutes to pass. The firemen broke ranks at Thirtieth street, and the procession passed on to Holy Cross Cemetery, where the body was interred.

Tribute of Respect to the Memory of a Hero.

It was a little parlor in a little home at 436 Twenty-seventh street in which the casket containing the terribly burned and mangled remains of Edward Davis rested yesterday afternoon awaiting the burial service of the episcopal Church before its removal to the Masonic Cemetery. Small as was the home it showed evidences of the love and care of the husband and father who had been called away so suddenly on Wednesday morning.

There was no lack of friends in the little home, for every room was crowded with kind-hearted men and women who grieved with the bereaved wife and sought to comfort her. In the street in front of the house fully 1000 people had collected, not out of idle curiosity, but because they had known Davis when alive and had liked him and were anxious to pay a last tribute to the brave fellow who had lost his life while doing his duty. Most of these people accompanied the cortege to the cemetery.

On the coffin in the parlor there were a score of bouquets of beautiful flowers, sent by intimate friends. Around the casket were a dozen floral pieces the principal one being a floral fire badge, sent by engine company 13, bearing the words "The Last Call." and at the base "Box 392." A floral chair was sent by "friends at Valencia and Twenty-fourth streets." A second floral chair, bearing the inscription "Rest. Eddie," and a pillow with the word "Eddie" in the center," were among the pieces.

The services at the house were conducted by Rev. W. A. M. Breck, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church. Mrs. Davis, the wife, well-nigh prostrated with grief, seemed for the first time to full, realize her loss when the coffin was closed. It was all that kind friends could do to coax her away from the casket, and her sobs were pitiful to hear.

S. F. Thompson, Frank Casement, Martin H. Fallon, E. C. Arnold, E. H. McCarthy and M. F. McAuliffe acted as pallbearers.

At the cemetery the burial service was read, no more time being consumed in the final service than was absolutely necessary, as it was very cold and a heavy wind was blowing, making it not only uncomfortable, but dangerous for the people to stand about with uncovered heads. Then the grave was filled in. and, so far as this life is concerned, Edward Davis had passed forever from it.

Everywhere in the neighborhood of his late home yesterday people were talking of Davis and of him had nothing to say but in praise. It was not upon the theory that of the dead nothing but good should be said, but it was because Davis deserved the words of praise and commendation. A faithful and considerate husband, a kind and liberal father, temperate, trustworthy and brave. Davis was a citizen whom his district could ill-afford to lose and his death is generally regretted.

Funeral Honors Paid to a Victim of Duty.

The remains of Richard Windrow, who fell fighting the great fire of June 7, were laid in the ground yesterday afternoon.

His was one of the grandest funerals that have been seen in the Mission district for a long time, and if there is any softening of the anguish of bereavement his relatives and friends must have been gratified by the marked evidences of wide respect tendered the dead hero.

The funeral took place from the residence of Mrs. Windrow, on the southwest comer of Mission and Twenty-sixth streets. At an early hour in the afternoon the doors were thronged with carriages and the sidewalks were lined with sympathizing friends. As many as possible were permitted to take one last look at the battered features of him whom they had loved so well and whose familiar face had been cruelly marred by the falling masonry, which cost him his devoted life. As much as possible had been done to disguise the sad disfigurement, but all his friends knew that they were honorable wounds like the soldier's who has fallen in the van of battle.

Round the casket the walls were lined with handsome floral tributes, the perfume of which filled the entire house. Engine Company 13 sent a magnificent stand of rare flowers inscribed with the words. "The Last Call" and "Box 392" (the box of the company).

The special friends of the dead man — those in the immediate neighborhood of his home— sent a beautiful token in the form of 'Gates Ajar." It was composed of rare lilies, maidenhair fern, heliotrope, svringa and white exotics. In the midst was inscribed "240," the number of the deceased's badge.

Windrow's two little boys had a lovely pillow, inscribed "Dear Papa"; Samuel McKee had sent an immense anchor of hope; Mrs. Chandler, a beautiful cross; Mrs. O'Connell and Mrs. Bernard. sheaves of grain ; Mr. McLaughlin, a huge wreath; Mr. Gibean, a large floral stand, with many more.

As the friends came together many a kind word was spoken of the dead man :md many of his deeds of good-nature were recalled.

His brother, Christopher Windrow, took charge of the ceremonies, assisted by other brothers— Joseph, John and Albert. Soon after 2 P. M. Father Connolly of St. Paul's Church arrived and read the prayers for the dead, alter which the procession formed in line.

The pall-bearers were: Samuel McKee, John Rutherford, John Pendergast, John Ward. J. Aitkeu, J. Ford, J. Sullivan and D. Murphy.

They reverently transferred the casket to the handsome hearse in waiting and surrounded it in readiness for the downtown march.

Behind them came a detail of fifty-six men, walking two by two. They were members of the Fire Department, two from each company in town, and were headed by George Kennard, District Engineer of the Mission District, and Commission Edwards.

They filed along Mission street to Twenty-seventh, and that thoroughfare to Valencia, where they mingled with the stream of mourners attending the funeral of another victim of the great fire, the detail from the companies here being headed by Assistant Engineer Edward McKittrick.

Behind those on foot followed an apparently endless line of closed carriages and every kind of vehicle. The relatives and near friends came first, and were succeeded by others who admired and respected the late fireman and honored him in his noble death.

The line, which took ten minutes to pass a given point, slowly wound its way down Valencia street, passing the engine-house of company 13, to which the deceased belonged, where the bell was tolling solemnly, and where the whole face of the building was hung with black and white streamers with the legend, "Mourning our loss." The interment took place at the Masonic Cemetery, where the file-- of the order constituted a fitting close to the imposing last honors to the man who died doing his duty.

The Funeral of Davis
The Funeral of Davis Passing the Valencia-Street Engine-House

Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 10, 10 June 1893 — HONOR TO HEROES [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION]

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

Back to the Top

SFFD Home Page Guardians of The City Home Page