Newberry's famous fire horse died between 2 AM and 5 AM on May 9, 1930.
With his death came the end of one of the best advertisements the city of Newberry ever had.
"Old Joe", who had faithfully served the Newberry Fire Department since 1904, with the exception of the past five or six years, leaves a record of service to Newberry and honor to himself, having etched a place in the hearts of every Newberry firemen and also in the hearts of many other Newberrians.
When the death of the statewide famous horse was announced, numbers of citizens went to the firehouse to pay their last respects and at his burial, upwards of 250 or 300 people were present.
"Old Joe" was buried in a grave 10 feet deep by the side of the firehouse on Harrington Street on May 9, 1930 at 9:30 PM and as he was buried the fire alarm tolled 35 times, one for each year of the famous horses life.
"Old Joe"'s record stands as a monument to his service to our city. Besides his services as fire horse within the city proper, he has been entered in almost every city in the state in the fire tournaments. In Darlington, in Charleston, in Florence, in Greenville, in Greenwood, Anderson, Columbia, Sumter, Rock Hill, Union, Abbeville and in many other cities, "Old Joe" has won prize after prize. He has the record of having won more first money than possibly any other fire horse in the South.
"Old Joe" was not the fastest fire horse in the state, but with his horse sense he knew exactly what to do and how to do it.
He was almost human in his actions and the firemen loved him. Leave 'Old Joe' to himself and he would always win out in any race. Never was a whip used on him. Never was he shouted at. When given the reins, he brought honor to himself and his city. He was veritably a winged steed of the fables, a modern Pegasus.
"Old Joe" was brought to Newberry with five other horses in the year 1902 and was bought by Mr. J. H. Summer. Mr. Summer sold 'Old Joe' to T. J. McCrary who in 1904 sold him to the town. After his splendid service to the town he was later presented to the fire department, being made a gift to the firemen, who admired him, loved him and cared for him until his death.
"Old Joe" was said to be nine years old when bought by the town making his age, approximately 35 years.
At his death, Malcolm Lassene, the faithful colored driver who has cared for him since he first assisted in unloading him when shipped here, shed tears and if carefully noted, others might have been seen to dry away their eyes. Due honor has been accorded him and "Old Joe" deserved every honor that has been paid him. It can be said of him that he has done what few other horses have done and his has been a life of service to this community.
The fire boys will place a marble slab on the side of the fire building over his grave at the later date commemorative of his service to the city and the love for "Old Joe".
(In 2005 the City of Newberry converted the firehouse into a convention center and placed a bronze commemorative plaque on the Harrington Street side of the fire station).
Burial: Non-Cemetery Burial Specifically: Burial at Newberry, South Carolina Fire Department; Harrington Street