Molly the Monk(ey), 1913


Molly, the Monk, is Being Trained in the Art of Fighting Fire


Rather Inexperienced When She Arrived at Headquarters, She is Rapidly Proving That Darwin Was a Chase Observer at Least-- Scales Ladders and Rescue Dolls-- Also Performs on Slack Wire-- Some Amusing Feats

A little RALEIGH school girl returned home the other afternoon and said, "Mamma, have you seen the new five-handed fireman?" Her mother expressed surprised, and said she had never seen a five-handed man. The little girl laughed, and said: "Oh! it is only a joke. I'm talking about Molly, the monk, who has four hands and a tail with which she can do more than I can with my two hands."

The little girl was right. Molly is now a regularly enlisted member on the roll book of No. 1 fire company, and the stunts she can do puts the most active of the firemen to the blush. She now has a tight wire between the ground and the top of the 75-foot tower, and this is one of her play-places. She is already so well trained that Assistant Chief Farmer says when she is up aloft on top of the tower and sees a sudden big smoke she comes down the wire like a rocket, runs to a fireman and pulls his leg to give him a tip on possible trouble ahead.

Molly climbs up and down the smooth brass sliding rods in the fire house and can go up as quick as she can come down, having made the ascent in three seconds, the best any of the two-legged firemen can do being two minutes.

As soon as the alarm bell rings she climbs on the truck, gets hold of the gong line, pulls the cord, opens the door and sounds the gong as the motor wagon races through the streets. On arrival at the fire she stays on the wagon, and no bull dog could be a better guard, for she allows nobody to get on except the firemen. If she is called by the firemen she will leave the wagon and go to the building, and she has beaten the faster climber, A. J. Martin of company No. 1, to the top of the ladder.

Will Rescue Tots

Chief Farmer is now giving Molly a special course of instruction so she will be able to rescue small children from a burning building, and after practicing rescue work several days with a large doll she was allowed to practice to bring a doll out of a house and down the ladder. Her manner of doing is very adroit. She takes two turns on her tail around the doll's neck, and holding it on one side clear of everything, skips out of the window and down the ladder laying the doll very carefully on the ground, or putting it in the hands of a fireman as directed.

An Original Stunt

Molly is very much pleased with a stunt she devised herself, this consisting of crawling through a length of disused hose and emergency with a handful of spiders. She is learning to polish brasses and has done some good work on both the motor truck and the steamer.

The other day the firemen found her seating on the side of a fireman's bed putting on his boots and trousers, the latter being turned back so that after the boots are on on the feet the trousers are pulled up.

Is Also Useful

One of the new tricks learned by this clever monkey is filling lanterns. Molly shakes them every day to see if they are properly filled with kerosene, holding one ear close, to listen. When she finds the supply is not sufficient she takes the lantern to the oil tank, fills it and puts it back in its place.

Molly is to be used for carrying life lines in case they are necessary, and she daily practices the slide for life from the tower to the ground. The firemen say she can tell the time of day by the clock, and they have seen her looking very closely at the card which gives the location of all the fire alarm boxes. Chief Brockwell thinks that by the end of the year she will have all the boxes by heart.

Washes Own Face

Molly has special room for her own use, with a little lounge, wash-stand, soap and towel. At first Assistant Chief Farmer had to wash her face, but now she needs no help. She has a brush and comb and a bit of looking glass, and is very careful in arranging her hair, particularly Sunday morning, for that is a day the firemen observe by sprucing up and this is where Molly caught the idea.

Doesn't Like Girls

Molly has only one peculiarity which marks her as different from the other firemen, this being that she doesn't like girls. When she first came to RALEIGH and enlisted in company No. 1, she was crazy about the high school girls, but now she won't play in their back yard or the front one either, but associates only with her fellow fireman. They say she seems to be getting to be a sort of woman hater, but perhaps it may be a mere monkey whim. The firemen pay this courtesy to her sex by thinking it only a whim and not a permanency.

Likes Flattering

The colored children are delighted with Molly, and like the other feminines, she seems to be not insensible to flattery. She is proudest and at her best when at a fire in the third or fourth wards. The firemen are very careful not to let her see a fire alarm box and its operation, as they are afraid she might sneak from the fire house to a box and turn in a false alarm just for the fun of the thing. Chief Brockwell says she is really quick equal to it.

From the November 18, 1913 edition of The Raleigh Times

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