A century and a half ago, Mark Newman became the first Columbus firefighter to die in the line of duty. On Tuesday, the Columbus Division of Fire and his descendants gathered to honor him with a ceremony and the unveiling of a headstone.
On Aug. 4, 1870, Newman died while fighting a fire at the Columbus Woolen Mills Factory when a wall collapsed onto him. Newman, who was also a police officer, was buried with honors from both departments but was left in an unmarked grave in Green Lawn Cemetery.
When Columbus firefighter Chris Klein learned that in 2013, he set out to change it.
“His name has been on our rolls for a long time,” Newman said. “I have so many of these little mysteries I’m unraveling, but this has been the biggest and the longest one.”
With the help of fellow firefighter Steve Cox, a GoFundMe account was set up and raised over $6,000.