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Guy Sabin: Town’s first fire chief memorialized

Family, friends and firefighters gather to honor Guy Sabin.


Staff Writer

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The man who organized and modernized Jonesborough Fire Department received a touching memorial service on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Old Jonesborough Cemetery.

Attendees included Sabin’s family members and the Jonesborough Fire Department.

As chief of the Jonesborough Fire Department, Sabin perished less than one year after organizing the department, falling off a building he was attempting to save.

“A hero is defined as a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his life. Heroes are ordinary people like you and I that accomplish extraordinary things on a daily basis,” Jonesborough Operations Manager Craig Ford eulogized.

“Guy Sabin was one of those heros, when he gave his life in service to his community 130 years ago today. Firefighters to me are one of the few remaining heros that we have with us today.”

Sabin’s grandson, also named Guy Sabin, was present for the memorial service and was thankful for the service as well as the information the family has learned about their relative.

“When we got the word, we were interested in what was going to be done and what the purpose was and we were invited to be present. So we wanted to take part,” Sabin said.

“He was my grandfather. I was born in 1937, so there’s a 50 year gap between us. We never knew much about him. My dad was only two years old when he was killed. He didn’t know him well. It’s good to know some of the stories and we’ve got his diaries and we’ve learned a lot from that. We have finally made some connections here.”

JFD Lieutenant Chason Freeman, who has spent much of his time investigating Chief Sabin, was grateful to the contributions Jonesborough’s first fire chief made.

“Without him wanting to take our bucket brigade and organize an actual, at the time, a volunteer fire department and try to get modern fire-fighting equipment to save the town, that was a tremendous burden on him, and he was able to do it. He set the example. He was a leader.

“I feel extremely honored to do this for Chief Sabin and (for) the family to come up. We’ve got grandchildren of Guy Sabin here. To me that’s an honor.”