Anthony
Valentine


ANTHONY VALENTINE was born in New York City, New York on February 4, 1888 of Italian parents, Achille Valentine and his wife the former Benedetta DeGiudice. The family appears to have come to Camden after 1900. An "A. Valentine" is listed at 338 Cherry Street in the 1906 City directory, working as a bartender, this could possibly be Achille Valentine and family. Anthony Valentine married Anna May Maier on March 4, 1908.

The 1910 census shows that Anthony Valentine lived with his wife and their son, Charles A. Valentine, at 346 Spruce Street. Anthony Valentine worked as a laborer at an oilcloth factory. His parents lived across the street, at 345 Spruce Street, along with Anthony Valentine's eleven year-old cousin, Joseph DiGiuidice (or DelGiodice). By the time the 1914 City Directory was compiled, Achille Valentine had passed away. Anthony Valentine and family, including his widowed mother and cousin Joseph lived at 820 South 4th Street. Anthony Valentine had by this time learned to drive, and worked as a chauffer, a term then also used to describe truck drivers. When he registered for 

the draft on June 5, 1917 Anthony Valentine was working as a truck driver for the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden. He was living at 346 Spruce Street with his wife, three children, and his mother. By the summer of 1918 he had moved to 344 Spruce Street. The 1920 census shows Anthony Valentine working in the boiler room of a factory, and living with his wife Anna, children Charles, Michael Elmer, Catherine, and Albert, and cousin Joseph at  344 Spruce Street

On January 11, 1921, Anna May Valentine appears to have passed away, and by the tine the 1921 City Directory was compiled, Anthony Valentine was appointed to the Camden Fire Department. Anthony Valentine remarried, and his wife, the former Helen Corsen, bore a son, Robert Joseph Valetine, in 1923. The 1924 Camden City Directory shows that Anthony Valentine was working as a fire fighter, and was living at 415 Webster Street. By 1927 he had moved around the corner, 447 Jackson Street. The 1930 census shows that oldest son Charles A. Valentine had married and had moved out of the home, and son Michael Elmer Valentine was living with his maternal grandparents, leaving the household comprised of Anthony and Helen Valentine, and children Albert, Catherine, and Robert. Living next door at 445 Jackson Street has a brother firefighter, Charles J. Clements. Anthony Valentine was still at 447 Jackson Street in 1931. By the end of 1940 he had moved to 428 Jackson Street, where he resided as late as the spring of 1942.

In the early 1940s Anthony Valentine served as aide to Battalion Chief Laurence Newton, who commanded the Third Battalion, based out of the Engine Company 3 firehouse at 1813 Broadway. 

On Thanksgiving Day, November 25th, 1941 a spectacular third alarm destroyed the Adams Furniture Warehouse at Locust Street and Kaighn Avenue, South Camden. At 3:45 A.M. a milkman discovered the fire and flagged down a passing police car who sounded the alarm. 3rd Battalion Chief Laurence Newton as the first arriving unit, found heavy fire gaining headway in the building and quickly transmitted a second alarm. Chief of Department Lennox would transmit a third alarm and while the warehouse was heavily damaged, firemen prevented the blaze from extending to nearby dwellings.  

Fear of enemy air raids in 1942 spawned a number of Federal Decrees regulating public conduct in the event of air raid warnings. One new Federal Regulation prohibited fire apparatus from using sirens in response to alarms. Under war-time regulations, sirens would be reserved exclusively for air raid warnings.

The use of audible warning devices by fire apparatus was restricted to bells only. The burden to both fire fighters and the public safety was formidable. On March 1, 1942, the inevitable happened. Engine Company 8 while responding to an alarm was involved in a collision with a ten ton truck at Third Street and Kaighn Avenue. Upon impact all of the firemen were thrown into the street. The truck driver declared that he failed to hear the bells of the approaching apparatus. The mishap resulted in injuries to six members and total destruction of the apparatus. Captain Alvin Thompson was listed in critical condition, while Firemen Mitchell Wojtkowiak, Philip Farrow, Leonard Oshushek, Lawrence Boulton and Edwin Robbins were admitted for lesser injuries. Battalion Chief Newton stated that he believed the accident might have been avoided if fire companies were not prohibited from using sirens. 

The headlines of the Courier Post for March 24, 1942, read "Six Flee As Heroic Fire Chief Shuts Gas Off Amid Flames". A second alarm for Constitution and Argus Roads, Fairview, was transmitted for a fire in two dwellings. Chief Laurence Newton of the 3rd Battalion was credited with preventing a potential "conflagration" when he dashed into a burning building and turned off a leaking gas pipe that was feeding the flames. This action of course, by Department standards was little more than routine, but to the media and citizens at the scene of the fire, Chief Newton was deserving of remarkable praise.

On the morning of February 8th, 1943 the dispatcher struck the Box for a reported building at Sixth and Van Hook Streets, South Camden. Arriving first due, 3rd Battalion Chief Laurence Newton was greeted in the street by a hysterical woman screaming that her baby was trapped on the second floor. The Chief bounded into the building and made his way up the smoke filled stairway. He pushed into a rear bedroom off the stairs and found the child in its crib, the adjoining bed ablaze with fire lapping up the walls. Chief Newton carried the boy to safety just as the first due engine was arriving. 3rd Battalion Aide, Fireman Anthony Valentine, placed the child in the chief s car and rushed him to West Jersey Hospital where he was treated for bums and serious smoke inhalation.  

Anthony Valentine was still serving with the Camden Fire Department in the spring of 1942. He retired shortly after registering for the draft and went to the Devon neighborhood of  Milford, Connecticut.

Sadly, Anthony Valentine's youngest son, Storekeeper First Class Robert Joseph Valentine, died of peritonitis at the United States Naval Hospital in Philadelphia in January of 1946, while still on active duty.

Anthony Valentine was last a resident of Woodbury, New Jersey. He passed away in November of 1966. His wife Helen joined him in 1989.


Philadelphia Inquirer - April 28, 1915

Mary Dewalt - James E. Edwards - W.P. Miller - Anthony Valentine
Spruce Street - Broadway - Mickle Street - Pearl Street


Anna May Maier Valentine (1891-1921)

Helen Corson Valentine (1902-1989)


World War I Draft Card


World War II Draft Card








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