01/28/15 213 W, 3 I - + 8 - 6 An Act to Incorporate the Salem Fire Company, 1869

Let's turn from historic maps to historical legal documents, specifically Private Laws of the State of North Carolina, as passed by the General Assembly during its 1868 to 1869 session. See back in the day, municipalities had to receive legislative authorization to perform certain functions. Such as fire protection. Also, the charters of such fire companies were granted through legislative acts. (Cough, cough, at least that's my minimal understanding of how early towns and cities worked.)

Each session's laws were collected into printed books. Said volumes have been digitized by the state library, with collections dating back to 1817. With but a couple clicks, you download a searchable PDF version the book. Perform a keyword search on "fire company" or "hose company" or "engine company" or "hook and ladder" and you'll information about North Carolina's earliest fire departments. (Yes, Yours Truly is working through these early volumes. Will post collected findings at a future time.)

Here's the legislation that was ratified on January 7, 1869, authorization the incorporation of a fire company for the town of Salem, which decades later became one half of Winston-Salem. Click once or twice to enlarge the pages, or read all three as a PDF document:

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