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Milk & Heavy Sugar

Molly Williams (fl. 1818) was the first known female firefighter in the United States. An African American, she was held as a slave, and belonging to the New York merchant Benjamin Aymar, worked on Oceanus Engine Company #11 in New York City in 1818. There she was used to be called Volunteer No. 11. Williams made a distinguished presence in her calico dress and checked apron and was said to be “as good a fire laddie as many of the boys.” Her work was noted particularly during the blizzard of 1818. Male firefighters were scarce, but Williams took her place with the men on the dragropes and pulled the pumper to the fire through the deep snow.
When asked, Williams always replied: “‘I belongs to ole ‘Leven; I allers runs wid dat ole bull-gine.’”

Molly Williams (fl. 1818) was the first known female firefighter in the United States. An African American, she was held as a slave, and belonging to the New York merchant Benjamin Aymar, worked on Oceanus Engine Company #11 in New York City in 1818. There she was used to be called Volunteer No. 11. Williams made a distinguished presence in her calico dress and checked apron and was said to be “as good a fire laddie as many of the boys.” Her work was noted particularly during the blizzard of 1818. Male firefighters were scarce, but Williams took her place with the men on the dragropes and pulled the pumper to the fire through the deep snow.

When asked, Williams always replied: “‘I belongs to ole ‘Leven; I allers runs wid dat ole bull-gine.’”

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