J. DODOAMEAD was born in New Jersey around 1848 to Thomas and
Louisa Dodamead. Thomas Dodamead was a brass finisher who
brought his family to Camden in the 1840s from Pennsylvania.
Edward was the youngest of at least five children, according to
the 1850 and 1860 Censuses, which shows the family living in
Camden's South Ward.
October 20, 1863 Edward Dodamead enlisted in the United States
navy as a landsman. He mustered out on October 19, 1864.
Dodamead was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department,
entering service on September 2, 1869 as the tillerman of the Hook and
Ladder Company, the original designation of what is now Ladder
Prior to entering the fire department he had worked as an brass
moulder, which is to say he worked pouring molten brass into
moulds at a brass foundry.. He was living at the West Jersey
Hotel when he joined the
department in the fall of 1869.
On September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal
ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual
appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of
and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire
districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge
Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to
the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was
north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were
scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William
Abels, from the
Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William
J. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal
for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal
for the 2nd District. Abels
had served with the volunteer fire
departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen
years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.
November 10, 1869 City Council purchased the Independence Firehouse,
the three-story brick building at 409 Pine
Street, for $4500. The
building was designated to serve as quarters for Engine Company 1
the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized
construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth and
Streets as quarters for the 2nd District. On November
25th the Fire Commissioners signed a contract with M.N. Dubois in the
amount of $3100 to erect this structure. The 2nd District would share
these quarters with
Engine Company 2 and the Hook
& Ladder Company
and the facility would also serve as department headquarters
for the new paid force. The original contract remains part of the
Camden County Historical Society collection.
Engine Company 2 with 1869 Silsby Hose Cart. Photo Circa 1890. Note badges
upon derby hats worn by Fire Fighters.
Amoskeag second class, double pump, straight frame steam engines were
purchased at a cost of $4250 each. Two Silsby two wheel hose carts,
each of which carried 1000 feet of hose, were another $550 each and
the hook & ladder, built by Schanz and Brother of Philadelphia was
$900. Each engine company received a steam engine and hose cart.
Amoskeag serial #318 went to Engine Company 1, and serial #319 to
Engine Company 2. The Fire Commission also secured the services of the
Weccacoe and Independence steamers in case of fire prior to delivery
of the new apparatus. Alfred McCully of Camden made the harnesses for
the horses. Camden's Twoes & Jones made the overcoats for the new
firemen and a Mr. Morley, also of Camden, supplied the caps and belts
which were manufactured by the Migeod Company of Philadelphia. The new
members were also issued badges.
is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest
corner of Fifth and
Streets. Originally built in 1869, the
building shows signs of wear some twenty years later. Note the
weathervane shaped like a fireman's speaking trumpet atop the tower.
Also, the fire alarm bell is pictured to the left of the telegraph
pole above the rooftop. The bell was removed from the building once
the fire alarm telegraph system was expanded and in good working
maker's plate once was attached to a harness made by A. McCully &
Sons, 22 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey. This firm provided the
first harnesses for the paid fire department in 1869.
worn by the marshals, engineers, stokers and engine drivers bore the
initial letter of their respective positions and their district
number. The tillerman and his driver used the number "3" to
accompany their initial letter. The extra men of the 1st District
were assigned badges 1-10; 2nd District badges were numbered 11-20 and
the extra men of the hook & ladder wore numbers 21-30.
the Fire Commission intended to begin operation of the paid department
on November 20, 1869, the companies did not actually enter service
until December 7th at 6 P.M. because the new apparatus and buildings
were not ready. The new apparatus was not tried (tested) until
new members of the paid force were:
first style of breast badge worn by members of the career department
in the City of Camden. 1869. (Courtesy of the C.C.H.S. Collection).
Board of Fire Commissioners consisted of Rudolphus Bingham, Chairman and
Samuel C. Harbert, Richard Perks, Jonathon Kirkbride and Jacob Daubman.
helmet of natural grain believed to have been worn by Fireman
Charles Baldwin, Hook
& Ladder Company 1 when paid force was organized in
1869. Number 21 at bottom of frontpiece indicates member's badge
number. (Courtesy of the Camden County Historical Society
salaries for the members of the paid force were: Chief Marshal, $800;
Assistant Marshal, $200; Engineer, $600; Driver, $450; Stoker, $450;
Tillerman, $450; Extra Men, $50. All but Extra Men were paid monthly.
J. Dodamead moved from the West Jersey Hotel after joining the Fire
Department, and made his home at the "2nd District Engine
House", the equivalent of Fire Headquarters, on the northwest corner of
Streets. He resigned from the Fire Department on October 8,
1872, and moved to 451 Henry
Street. Edward J. Dodamead was reappointed to the Camden Fire
Department on April 8, 1873 along with William
S. Davis, G. Rudolph
Tenner, William B.
Gordon Jr., Henry Grosscup,
George Leibecke, Jacob
Kellum, and William
J. Dodamead served more or less continuously as the Foreman (present-day
Captain) of Engine Company 1 into the early 1880s. He was last
re-appointed on April 7, 1878. He was not re-appointed in the spring of
1882, when records indicate that the Fire Commissioners reviewed all
the 1870s Edward Dodamead moved at least four more times. He stayed at
Street through the spring of 1874. By the spring of 1875 he
had gone to 445 Berkley Street and by April of 1878 to 421
1880 Census lists Edward Dodamead as boarding at the home of Benjamin
Middleton at 311 Benson
Street. The 1881-1882 Directory shows him at 308
Benson Street, and still working as a fireman. The 1882-1883 Directory
lists him at 428 Stevens
Street, but no occupation is given. Edward
Dodamead does not appear in city directories after this edition, nor is
he listed in the 1900 Census.