Muskegon County Firehouse  
The Muskegon County Firehouse Page

A Page dedicated to our Muskegon ancestors that risked all to keep others safe from fire. Do your family roots have a connection to a Muskegon firefighter? Email me to have your ancestor included. 
Do you have old picture of firefighters, or firehouses in Muskegon County? I would like to hear from you!

Our first Hero Family-

The Frederick Ridout Family of Muskegon Heights

Submited by Walt Ridout -
Both Fred & Harry Lester (usually called Lester) were fire chiefs in Muskegon 

    Fredereick Edwin Ridout (Stephen Henry, Samuel Rideout, Joseph) was born 
21 Apr 1867 London UK & died 15 May 1942 Muskegon,MI. Married Mary Holland 19 Jul 1893 in Muskegon. Mary was born 1865 in Notinghamshire, UK. She died 29 Apr 1904 in Chicago, IL. Fred then married Ida Willman 19 Oct 1905 in Muskegon, MI. She was born 15 SEP 1869 Oatergotland, Sweden and died 06 Dec 1943 in Muskegon MI.

    Fred & Mary had 2 children. Harry Lester Ridout b. 26 Nov 1894. 
d. 10 Jun 1984 Muskegon, MI. Harold Ridout b.1897 Muskegon. d. 09 Oct 1901 
Grand Rapids, MI.

    Frederick married Ida Willman October 19, 1905 Fred & Ida had 2 children. 
Laverne Ridout, b. 20 May  1907 Muskegon, MI. d. April 1979 California. 
Ethel Ridout b. 04 Jan 1911 Muskegon Hts. MI.

    Fred was the first fire chief of Muskegon Heights and Harry Lester better 
know as Lester was the 2nd chief.

    I am looking for more information on Thomas Henry Ridout (Stephen Henry, Samuel Rideout, Joseph). Thomas did live in Muskegon. He was married to 
Isabelle Chapelle and they had two adopted children Theodore & Harriet. I have 
heard that he divorced Isabelle possibly changed the spelling of his last name and remarried. That's the rest of what I do not know.


Pictures from Walt Ridout-

(For larger view and info click on picture)

Click for full view

In response to this picture, I heard from Chuck Neal.-"I found a picture of my father and other firemen on an old (1920's) fire truck in front of the very same fire station that you have on your web-site. The fire station was the main station located on Jefferson st. between Western ave. and Clay ave. And they pulled the fire-wagons with horses in those days. This of course was before the "Central Station" was built on Walton ave." Thanks Chuck!

Chuck sent me some pictures of his hero firefighting family from Muskegon. 
Details on his family below.

This is a 1920's American LaFrance Pumper in front of the Muskegon Central Station with my father (Charles Neal) at the wheel. 

Charles Neal

My father is second on right, in front of same station.

Pictures from-

Chuck Neal

The Charles Neal Family of Muskegon, MI
Submitted by Chuck Neal

      Charles (Chad) Neal born March 9,1892 Muskegon, Michigan..... He was one of seven sons, and six daughters, of William and Anna (Fuller) Neal.
   Married Kate Jenkins August 7, 1925. One son, Charles David Neal (Nov. 9, 1928).
   Chad entered the Muskegon Fire Dept. Company No. 1, Jan. 9, 1916.
    Promoted to Lieutenant of the Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, Jan.1, 1928.
    Promoted to Captain of the No. 4 Firehouse, June 7, 1935.
    Capt. Neal died Jan. 12, 1937 (44) unexpectedly at Hackley Hospital, death was attributed to a heart problem, which many firemen experienced. 


Chuck Neal also sent me these informative pictures about the Muskegon Fire Department. They have descriptive information printed on the back of them. Click on the picture to see the information printed on the back.

Picture ca. 1892
Picture ca. 1894

John Theiman of Montague

Our next hero comes from Sarah Johnson, her great-great grandpa, John Thieman, was a member of the Montague fire department for 52 years and served as fire chief from 12 to 14 years. He was born in Montague on Feb 19, 1880, to Mr. and Mrs. William Frederick Thieman.  He married Nellie Hall on June 29, 1904 in Montague.  He died Dec 7, 1956 at his home in Montague.  He and his wife had 5 children.  They are:  Katherine Ruth Thieman, Una Martha Thieman, Anna Lucille (Sally) Thieman, William Hall Thieman, and an unknown baby.  William is the only one living today.  There was a big write up in the June 23, 1954 edition of "The Muskegon Chronicle" about him and his wife celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  He was active in the Montague Methodist church as a Sunday School teacher and a member of the church board.  He has been a member of the Montague city council and the board of education.  He was a member of the board of directors of the Hackley Union National Bank, Montague branch, for many years.  Prior to becoming a construction contractor, he worked as a blacksmith for 10 years.  He retired in 1953, but continued some work until 1956. 

Picture from Sarah with caption-

Chief John Thieman, who remembers well the hand-drawn hose carts of yesteryears, sits at the wheel of one of the modern trucks of the Montague fire department. Chief the past twelve years, he has been a fireman in the community for 50 years. (Photo by Bervin Johnson)

James Nobes

Our newest hero comes from Sharon Holzhausen.
    I'm sending information about my great, great, great grandfather James Nobes.  He was a volunteer fireman in Muskegon (I think the Lakeside area firehouse).  The Muskegon Chronicle wrote an article about him because of his horrible death while serving as a fireman. 
This was a brief summary;

    James Nobes was killed in a accident in Muskegon, MI.  He was a volunteer fireman and died in the line of duty .  Someone opened the firebarn doors early (before he had finished hitching up the horses), and the horses bolted, dragging James across the street and pinning/smashing him against a tree.  He was 43 years old and it was recorded in the Muskegon Chronicle that his funeral was one of the largest in Muskegon at that time. His death occurred on Dec. 30, 1874.  He left a wife and children while serving his community.

If you have information to add to this page- Email Patti

Graphics from-

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