Title: Firefighter
Birthdate: September 5, 1865
Death Date: March 1, 1894
Plot Location: Section 121, Lot 127


James was a grandson of Irish immigrants, the first-born son of William James McFarland, who was a Civil War veteran who was wounded and held as a prisoner of war. (His “Notable” story can be found here.) After James, his parents had six girls, which must have made for an interesting upbringing. It’s not clear whether James always lived at home as an adult, but he never married.

In his early 20s his occupation was a driver, but in 1890 he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department as a hoseman (and perhaps a driver) for Engine Company 4. He was on the job for almost four years when he answered his last call. 

It was the night of March 1, 1894 when a fire broke out in a five-story building at the northeast corner of 6th and Chestnut Streets, occupied by offices of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Drexel Estate, and the Dalsimer Shoe Company. James was severely injured and died as a result.

There was no newspaper coverage and no further details other than this obituary and his inclusion on the Memorial Wall at the Fireman’s Hall Museum at 147 North 2nd Street. No photograph is presently available for him or his gravestone, or for his parents and his two youngest sisters who are also buried in the family plot in Section 121.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

Support the Friends of Mount Moriah

Help us in our mission to restore and maintain the beautiful Mount Moriah Cemetery by donating to our cause or volunteering at one of our clean-up events.