Mose the Fireboy
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Basic Information

Mose the Fireboy (also known as Mose the Bowery Boy or Mose the B'hoy) is an obscure early American folk hero, most likely based on real life Bowery Boy gang leader Mose Humphrey. As the stories go, Mose was 8 feet tall, and very broad shouldered. His arms were so long he could scratch his knees without bending over. He was strong enough to carry a Trolley Car, or to blow a steamboat downriver just by puffing on his cigar. His appetite could drain a brewery, deforest a park, or trigger a market crash.

His feet were too big for normal shoes, so he made himself some custom boots with copper soles with inch-long nails sticking out the bottom. The lethal shoes weren't his only weapon, though. In a fight he'd swing the tongue of a wagon like it were a club. If that broke, he'd uproot a tree or break off an iron street lamp to swing around. If the enemy were beyond his reach, he'd rip up a pavement block with his bare hands and hurl it down the road at them. He carried a 50 gallon keg of ale on his belt like it were a canteen.

As you can see, his antics are just a tiny bit less exaggerated than those of Hercules or Paul Bunyan. Some of these tall tales were going around as early as the 1840s while Mose Humphrey was leader of the Bowery Boys and their Volunteer Fire Department, but they grew further after his death. He was a common character in stage performances throughout the 1850s, which helped further grow the reputation. There's some debate amongst scholars over whether or not he ever was a real person. He may have just been a fictional mascot the Bowery Boys borrowed from the play.

Mose is usually accompanied by his lieutenant / little buddy named Syksey.

Mose Humphrey was a printer by trade, but he's better known for moonlighting as a fire fighter working on the number 40 pump wagon. As with all Bowery Boys, he'd always be dressed in sharp-looking clothes, though due to his size they'd have to be custom-made.

Whenever possible, Mose liked to get into as many brawls as he could with his enemies the Dead Rabbits.


1. Nonfiction Book: The Big Book of Thugs - A "graphic novel"-style nonfiction anthology by DC featuring "Tough-As-Nails True Tales Of The World's Baddest Mobs, Gangs, and Ne'er-Do-Wells"
2. Website on Herbert Asbury - in 1928, Asbury wrote the nonfiction book "The Gangs of New York"

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