Flashback Friday - FDNY is replete with legends. In keeping with honoring Black History this month, we bring back the story of Molly Williams. Molly was introduced to us in the 1882 book, “The Story of the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York” written by George Sheldon. The NYC Fire Museum gets frequent inquiries about Molly but we have nothing more than what Sheldon tells us in his book. He says that Molly was a slave of the Aymar family and that in 1818, in the midst of a blizzard, she helped pull Engine Company 11’s pumper through the snow to a fire on William Street and that she remained closely tied to that company.
Recent research has called into question some of the details of this story, but it is however based in fact. What has been uncovered is Molly’s incredible life story that includes her husband Peter, their son Peter, Jr., their granddaughter Amy and a long line of descendants that were fervent abolitionists and clergymembers.
Molly’s story is yet another that points to the voluminous number of individuals that have worked with or for the FDNY in service to the citizens of New York, often without being appreciated or acknowledged. Thank you, Molly!!!