Molly Williams was not only the first African American woman in the fire service, she was the first woman EVER to become a firefighter in the United States!
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 a 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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History of African American women of the fire service.
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