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Plummer Hook & Ladder Museum


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A Brief History - the 1800s
Newly freed blacks, recognizing a dire need for fire protection in the mid-1800s, formed the Plummer Hook & Ladder Company with 18 members who were prominent businessmen and proud owners of considerable property.  They rose to positions of authority in private and political life and were quick to take their place in civic endeavors.  John S. Plummer was one such Citizen.

Under John Plummer's leadership as founder and first fire chief, the fire company grew from the original 18 members to 34 members between 1869 and 1899.  

In 1868, the fire company received its official charter.  Charter members were:  Haywood Arrington, Harry Plummer, Jimmie Ransom, Vick Falkner, Daniel John and John S. Plummer.  Jimmie Ransom and his brother were skilled craftsmen and ran Ransom and Sons wagon shop.  The Ransoms built the first piece of equipment for the volunteer fire company: a wagon that was equipped with a hook and ladder and several dozen buckets. 

By 1888, the Plummer Hook & Ladder Company had bonded together with other black fire companies in the state to form the North Carolina Colored Volunteer Firemen's Association.  Men from the Plummer Hook & Ladder Company attended most of the association's state conventions and tournaments, returning home with awards for their skill and speed.

In 1976, the town of Warrenton donated the Ransom bucket wagon and other artifacts to the NC Museum of History in Raleigh, where the items have been displayed.

Artifacts currently on exhibit include the department's second apparatus, a 1938 Ford fire truck; a circa 1800s hose reel, photographs, fire equipment and written documents.


Mission Statement
To preserve the memory of those brave men, who through courage, selflessness and dedication established not only the first African-American fire department but the very first fire department in Warren County, and to inspire those who follow that with these same attributes, other great achievements can be accomplished.


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