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July 13, 2020

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Once upon a time in Ada

Once upon a time in Ada

Things you didn’t know about your own hometown

By Lee Crouse



According to the records, the first known chief was Agnew Welsh in 1884 (Empire Engine & Hose Company).

J.W. Kanode served as the first fire chief of the Ada Fire Department in 1889. D.A. Watt became chief in 1896 and the line of succession for the next years named Oscar Judd, Agnew Welsh, John Foit, J.F. Perry and J. Guy Deming, the later in October 1906.

Other records say John Foit, was in and out of the top post, was first elected in 1893, H.E. Neff 1894, J.S. Foit 1896, the popularity of Sherm Willard 1897, J.S. Foit, 1898, and James F. Perry 1902, S.D. Willard, 1908, served continuous for 16 years until his death in 1924. John Cribley 1923, Claude Bodell was then elevated to chief 1923. James Wallick followed in 1924, John White in 1926, Grover Carey in 1927-28 and 1929.

George Umphress became chief in 1934 and remained in that post until his death in 1957. He was then succeeded by Ralph Fisher for one term, 1959, and then his son Charles Umpherss until 1970 when Walter “Red” Anspach took the post. Charles Umphress 1962, Walter Anspach 1970, Charles Umphress 1971, John Dearth 1971-1973, Walter “Red” Anspach 1973, Darrell Kent 1975.

Jay Epley started at the department in 1971 and became chief in 1978-2016.