The Ladysmith firehouse was founded on the ideas that have shaped it into the company that we are today.


As we all know, the importance of having a local fire department is unmeasurable. In 1954, the Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Company, Incorporated was born. We are lucky to have a rich history of dedication to the people from Ladysmith, Cedon, Golansville, and the Cedar Fork area. Each decade brings growth, made possible by a supportive community and countless dedicated individuals.

In the Fall of 1953, a group of people from Ladysmith, Cedon, Golansville, and the Cedar Fork area met to discuss the need for a fire company. Mr. William S. Jones (owner at the time of the Ladysmith Motel) was elected the president of the group. After many meetings in 1953 and most of the 1954, the fire company was on its way. Mr. Earl Baumbach was instrumental in locating and purchasing a 1945 International fire pumper. After much work from many people, this truck, was ready to go. In October of 1954, the Charter was granted and the Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Company, Incorporated was born. The charter members were William Jones, D. D. Ashby, Otis R. Major, Mack A. Wright, K. G. Trivette, G. J. Carpenter, A. W. Hart, Kenneth Taylor, P. B. Smith, G. S. Allen, Wm. J. B. Hall, Alfred L. Megeath, J. R. Allen, M. Milita, George Bobrosky, Jr., Harold L. Allen, E. C. Allen, J. A. Carneal, C. L. Hockaday, C. b. Perkins, Welford M. Bullock, John Acors, W. S. Satterwhite, Wm. Kulynych, James H. Durrett, John W. Swisher, F. W. Hall and B. A. Trivette. The first fire call was answered to a chimney fire at Cedon, Virginia, and the house was left in good condition.  

Mr. William S. Jones served as president through 1954. 

Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Hans donated approximately ¼ acre of land for a building site, just north of Ladysmith on the east side of U.S No. 1. Many concerned citizens, carpenters, block layers, business establishments and some people who were not from the area began constructing the fire house. This was not completed in 1955.  

Mr. Wilson Pemberton was elected president in January 1955. 

The fire house, consisting of two bays, was completed in early 1956.  

In the summer of 1956, Freddie W. Hall was successful in getting the fire company to order its first new fire truck. This was a 1955 Chevrolet with a 1956 fire pumper build-up, which carried 500 gallons of water and a 500 gal. per min. pump and other fire fighting tools; a unit we were all proud of and worked hard to pay for. Through the years this truck proved its worthiness and durability.  

Mr. Wilson Pemberton was re-elected president for 1957.  

We asked the Caroline County Board of Supervisors for financial help. We were told that they could only help if they owned the land. The fire company, being in need of funds, deeded our land to Caroline County and the financial help did come.  

Mr. Wilson Pemberton was re-elected president for 1958.  

In 1959 Walter T. Hart became the company’s third president and held this office through 1975 (17 years). 

Projects such as turkey shoots, carnivals, raffles and door to door campaigns to make monies were our primary objectives. With our community growing, naturally we had to grow with it.  

1963 – We purchased a 4,000 gallon tank trailer with a 1952 International tractor to pull it. This gave us an ample supply of water. After four years of use, we sold this unit to a construction company. Many members could not handle this tractor and trailer and a few problems existed because of it. We also got a cement floor put into the fire house in 1963 to hold the weight of the equipment.

1965 – A 1959 Dodge power wagon was added to the company for use in fighting forest fires.  

1967 – We purchased a 1957 G.M.G. Pumper. This was the largest of our fire trucks. It only carried 500 gallons of water, but had a 750 gal. per min. pump, which was really needed. Other equipment such as an electric generator, better ladders, more storage area, we water mixer and a larger hose carrying area were on this truck. This truck, as did the 1955 Chevrolet, did a very good job. It won a lot of trophies also.

On September 4, 1969, the Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. joined the Caroline County Emergency Units Organization. This was a big step in joining forces with all county fire departments. Through this organization we now have a central phone service and two-way radios with a central dispatcher located in the Caroline County Sheriff’s office and operated by Sheriff O. J. Moore, his deputies and the jailers (good service).  

1970 – The company had its first loss of an active member. Calvin S. Seal drowned while fishing at Lake Caroline on July 16, 1970.  

1971 – We purchased a 1967 Ford truck and put it into water tanker service. It carries approximately 2,000 gallons of much needed water for fires. Gloria S. Lane and Stuart P. Lane donated land on the north side of our fire house so we could expand our building. Two bays were added.  

1972 – brought on much fire fighting training through the Caroline County Emergency Units Organization. We added two air tank outfits for the purpose of working in smoke filled buildings and for rescue work.  

1973 – We purchased a new 1973 Ford fire pumper. This truck carries 750 gallons of water and has a 750 gal. per min. pump on it. It was fully equipped, all but the two-way radio, when we bought it. The two-way radio was added.  

1975 – The Ladysmith Clinic, Inc., was dissolved and half the proceeds were given to our fire company. We purchased a new 4-wheel drive Chevrolet with a new slide-in John Bean unit. This we put into forest fire and other small fire fighting uses. As we promised this unit bears the following sign: “Donated by the Ladysmith Clinic, Inc.”.  

The Ladysmith Rescue Squad and our company joined forces to hold bingo games to rase funds on a 50-50 basis.  

1976 – Robert (Bobby) Blanton was elected president.  

A new portable pump was purchased and put on the 1967 Ford tanker. The idea of having junior firemen was first introduced to the fire company. It was to be checked into.  

1977 – Tom Blatt, III was elected President.  

The by-laws of the company were changed so we could have 16-18 year olds as Junior Firemen. Postal permit was obtained to send out fund raising letters. 

1978 – Tom Blatt, III was re-elected president.  

First Junior Firemen were accepted in April 1978. A new siren was purchased to replace the old one on top of the fire house. Most of our firemen were out-fitted with hat, gloves, boots, and a coat for fire fighting use.  

1979 – Jerry Bailey was elected president.  

Our land which was deeded to Caroline County was deeded back to the fire company. Our first diesel powered fire engine, a 1963 Seagrave pumper, was purchased. It carries 500 gallons of water and it will pump 1,000 gal. per min. It also has many other fire fighting extras.

1980 – Jerry Bailey was re-elected president.  

Committees were set up to check into getting more land and to check into building a new fire house.

No history could be written without the mention of the excellent work and leadership of our fire chiefs. They have been the sole base of the fire fighting crews and the vehicles. Past fire chiefs are: Otis Major, Freddie Hall, Charles Hockaday, Leonard Taylor, Charles Sale and Emmett C. Farmer, who is now serving as fire chief.  

The Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Co., Inc. expresses sincere appreciation to each volunteer fireman for his hard work and sleepless nights, helping his fellow man in his time of need.  

This history written for the Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Company, Incorporated by Walter T. Hart on July 28, 1980. Typed by Marie C. Farmer. 

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