Black History: Special Delivery!!
Patrick H. Raymond (1831 – 1892) was born in Philadelphia, PA. He was the son of Rev. John Raymond and Susan Raymond. His father was from Virginia and was formerly enslaved until he ran away. His father was also a well known abolitionist in New York City and pastored the African Meeting House in Boston. Around 1847, the family relocated to Cambridge, MA where they resided in the “Lower Port” which was considered one of the first African American neighborhoods in that area. Patrick Raymond worked as a shoe maker and then became a journalist working for the Boston Herald and the Boston Advertiser. Ray and his siblings were very fair skinned and could pass for white. He and his brother joined the Navy in 1862 to service in the Civil War.
Raymond returned from the war in 1864 and in 1869 he became editor of the Cambridge Press. In 1871 Cambridge Mayor, Hamlin Harding (who was also a former editor of the Cambridge Press) appointed Raymond as chief engineer of the Cambridge Fire Department. During his time as chief engineer he was able to triple the annual budget of the Cambridge Fire Department, establish two new fire companies, as well as build new fire houses. Though he received much criticism in the press (primarily from the Cambridge Chronicle newspaper) he successfully held the chief engineer position for 8 years.
After leaving his role as fire chief in 1878, Raymond continued working for the Cambridge Press until 1890. Raymond was elected as the corresponding secretary of the National Association of Fire Engineers in 1873. He also became a charter member of the John A. Logan Post, Grand Army of the Republic which was an organization of Civil War Veterans. Patrick Raymond died on July 28, 1892. He is buried in Cambridge Cemetery.
In case you are wondering, the first African American woman appointed as Fire Chief for a career fire department was Chief Rosemary Cloud with the East Point, Georgia Fire Department in 2002.