Sometimes I’m handed a real gem. This is certainly one of them.
The photo comes to me courtesy of a longtime friend, Eric Aldrich. His grandfather Ralph was a firefighter for the city of Nashua many years ago. Ralph served with Raymond Duplissie, who, I am told, is in this photo. Raymond served many years as a firefighter and, sadly, became the seventh out of 10 firefighters who died in the line of duty.
I’d like to think he and the team were pulling a Manchester Locomotive Works engine. I’m just not sure, but just up river in the Queen City, the Amoskeag operation built, among other things, fire engines. Horses provided much-needed locomotion to the departments for a time, bringing a more efficient way to get water to flame for tired firefighters hoofing it themselves to the scene.
Duplissie died in May 1950 on his 32nd anniversary of becoming a full-time city firefighter. His obituary in The Nashua Telegraph:
“Veteran firefighter Capt. Raymond H. Duplissie (Raymond H.D. Uplissie, in the caption), 54, of 2 Arlington Ave., collapsed at the Amherst St. station shortly after returning from a fire call last evening and died while enroute to the Memorial Hospital in the city ambulance.
“Police said that Dr. Stillman G. Davis, medical referee, attributed death due to a heart attack.
“Capt. Duplissie led the Amherst St. forces which with the Central fire station responded to a bell alarm from box 113 for a call at the Daniel Webster, Inc. hotel on Main St. Steam escaping from a vent pipe was mistaken for smoke and there was no fire.
“The heart attack victim was apparently in good health as he with several others climbed ladders to inspect the roof where smoke had been reported seen.
“He was stricken shortly after returning to the Amherst St. post about 8:20 o’clock.
“Captain Duplissie had been a permanent member of the Department for 32 years and previously to that had served in the capacity of call man for five years.”
Further, the obituary reports Duplissie was “A lifelong resident of Nashua, he was born here January 17, 1896, son of the late Henry Duplissie and Lavina (Colper) Duplissie.”
Duplissie was a member of the Arlington St. Methodist Church, Rising Sun Lodge No. 39, New Hampshire Consistory, 32 Degree, Order of Masons. He belonged to the Nashua Firemen’s Relief Association, State Firemen’s Relief Association and the Hillsboro County Forest Fire Wardens Association.
He left his wife, Addie M. Alfsen Dupliossie, a daughter, Mabel, a son, Ralph, niece Joan Alfsen, nephew David P. Alfsen, and several cousins.
Could Ralph have been named for Ralph Aldrich? Perhaps. What a nice tribute.
Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or DHimsel@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Don on Twitter @Telegraph_DonH.