600 HISTORY OF BROOKLYN.
and endowed with privileges similar to those enjoyed by the city of New York. In compliance with their petition, the legislature granted an Act for the better extinguishing fires in the town of Brooklyn in Kings county, passed March 15th, 1788, and which authorized the freeholders and inhabitants of the town of Brooklyn, in Kings county, residing near the ferry, within a line to begin at the East river, opposite to, and to be drawn up the road that leads from the still house, late the property of Philip Livingston,1 deceased, and including said still house and the other buildings on the south side of the same road, to and across the road leading from Bedford to the ferry,2 south of the house of Matthew Gleaves, and from thence north-westerly, including all the houses on the east side of the road last mentioned, and east of the powder magazine of Comfort and Joshua Sands, to the East river aforesaid, and from thence down the East river to the place of beginning, at annual town meeting on the first Tuesday in April in every year, to appoint eight able and sober men residing within the limits aforesaid, to have the custody, care and management of the fire engine or engines, and the other tools or instruments; and who were to be called the firemen of Brooklyn, and to be ready at all times, as well by night as day, to manage, work and exercise the same fire engine or engines, etc., and to be subject to such rules, orders and regulations as the freeholders and inhabitants of the town should impose. Each fireman was to be exempted and privileged from serving in the office of overseer of the highways, or constable, and from being empanneled upon any jury or inquest, and from militia duty, except in cases of invasion or other imminent danger. All moneys necessary for the expenses of this fire department were to be raised by the town at the same time, and in the same manner as those for the support of the poor.
In accordance with the provisions of this act, the citizens, April 1st, 1788, appointed the following persons firemen Stephen Baldwin, captain, Benjamin Baldwin, Silas Betts, Thomas Havens, Joseph Stevens, Gilbert Van Mater, John Doughty, Jr., and John Van Cott, all of whom held their office by annual reelections, for three successive years.
In consequence of the daily increase of fires, arising from the foulness of chimneys, and in accordance with the ample provisions of the act of 1788, the freeholders at their annual town meeting, April 1st, 1789, created the office of fire or chimney-inspectors.3 John Van Nostrand and Jacob Sharpe
1 Now Joralemon street.
2 Now Fulton street.
3 These inspectors, two in number, annually elected, were to inspect the insufficiency and foulness of the chimneys within the fire district, once in every six weeks, giving notice when necessary to the proprietors of faulty chimneys to have them swept or cemented properly within six days, under penalty of ten shillings for any neglect of such order; and the owner or occupant of any house whose chimneys should take fire and blaze out of the top, should be fined twenty shillings, with costs of suit. The captain of the fire company was authorized to ask, prosecute for and receive all such fines, the avails of which were to be appropriated to the use of the engine.