Ira
Hall


 

IRA ALBERT HALL was a Camden police office active in the early 1920s, active in Camden's Third and Fifth Wards. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island on June 25, 1889 to Henry S. and Elizabeth Hall. The family had come to New Jersey by 1894. By 1900 the family had moved to Camden. When the Census was taken in the summer of 1910, the Hall family, which included step-brother Eugene Edwards and younger brother Joseph, resided at 1810 Mulford Street in Camden's Centerville neighborhood.

When he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 Ira Hall was living at and working as a steward at the Riverton Country Club in Riverton, New Jersey. He had returned to Camden by January of 1920. The census shows that he was living on Berkley Street in South Camden, and that his occupation was "real estate". On September 2, 1920 he was appointed to the Camden police department, possibly through the influence of Detective George V. Murry.

Late in 1921 drug trafficking and police corruption in Camden's Third and Fifth Wards had become so flagrant that an investigation was launched. Office Hall along with Camden police officers William Draper, Tony Latorre, and Detective George V. Murry were summoned to City Hall to answer charges placed by City Council's police committee, Murry being the man target of the investigation. By January 21, 1922 Murry, Draper, and Latorre had resigned, and Hall was fired after a hearing.

George Murry apparently died under "mysterious circumstances" on January 29, 1922, shortly before he was to go on trial for graft. George Murry's political empire was taken over in part by Polack Joe Deven, who held sway trough most of the 1920s until sent to jail as a result of a shooting at the Sixth Ward Republican Club on Broadway

With Murry's death, the investigation collapsed. No criminal charges were brought against Ira Hall. The 1924 Camden City Directory shows that he was working as a "steward", possibly having returned to his job at the golf course. He was then living at 1016 Newton Avenue. Ira Hall does not show up in the 1927 Camden City Directory, but by 1929 he had returned to the city and had been reinstated into the police department. Ira Hall was still active as a police officer as late as 1949. He eventually retired on pension.

Ira Hall and his wife Elizabeth were living at 1132 Mount Ephraim Avenue when the 1929 Camden City Directory was compiled, and remained at that address through the spring of 1942. The 1947 Directory shows him at 220 North 11th Street.

Ira Hall was active with the Pride of Camden Lodge 83, I.B.P.O. of Elks, who for many years had a lodge at 711 Kaighn Avenue. By 1933 he had already serves as state president of that organization.

Ira Hall was last a resident of Blackwood NJ. He died in June of 1966. 



CAMDEN DAILY COURIER - JANUARY 4, 1922
Charge Detective Murry Protected Vice

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Howard Fisher - James E. Tatem - Elisha A. Gravenor - E.G.C. Bleakly 
Anthony "Babe" Paradise - "Pye" Calletino - Polack Joe Devon
William Draper - Tony Latorre - Ira Hall -
George V. Murry - Nino Mercandino
Harry "Dutch" Selby - Gus Davis - Albert "Salty" Cook - Ned Galvin - James Wilson
Rosetta Blue - Deena Howard - Minnie Draper - Harry Knox - Blanche Martin
Jesse Smith - Antonio Pelle - Ethel Murray - Paulo Genovese - Nazzara DeVecches
South 2nd Street - South 3rd Street - South 4th Street - Line Street - Pine Street
Ann Street - Baxter Street - Sycamore Street

CAMDEN POST-TELEGRAM * JANUARY 4, 1922
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Howard Fisher - Anthony "Babe" Paradise - "Pye" Calletino - Polack Joe Devon
Richard Marchmon -
George Murry - William Draper - Tony Latorre - Ira Hall
Harry "Dutch" Selby - Gus Davis - Albert "Salty" Cook - Ned Galvin - James Wilson
Sycamore Street - Pine Street - Rosetta Blue - Deena Howard

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 5, 1922
VICE GRAFT PROBE BRINGS SUSPENSIONS FOR 4 POLICEMEN
Detective George Murry and Patrolmen Draper, Hall and Latorre Affected
HEARINGS SET FOR JANUARY 11
Men Accused of Giving Protection to Tenderloin of Downtown Wards
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Elisha A. Gravenor - E.G.C. Bleakly - George Murry
Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre - Minnie Draper - Jessie Smith - Harry Knox
Line Street - Pine Street

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 6, 1922
Elisha A. Gravenor - E.G.C. Bleakly - Charles A. Wolverton
George Murry - Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre 

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 9, 1922
Elisha A. Gravenor - E.G.C. Bleakly - Charles H. Ellis
George Murry - Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre 

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 11, 1922
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E.G.C. Bleakly - J. Hartley Bowen
George Murry - Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre - Minnie Draper

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 12, 1922

IRA HALL IS DISMISSED, EVIDENCE
AGAINST FOUR MEN GIVEN PROSECUTOR

Criminal Prosecution of Murry, Latorre, Draper and Hall Looms as Result of Sensational Hearing by Police
Committee- Dope' Sellers Linked With Detective and Policemen in Lurid Testimony at Crowded Session- Predict Speedy Action
POLICEMAN AS OWN ATTORNEY GIVEN GRILLING

Criminal prosecution of Detective George Murry and Policemen Tony Latorre, William Draper and Ira Hall for their alleged "protection" of vice in the downtown underworld loomed today. At a sensational hearing before the police committee of City Council last night it was unanimously decided to turn the mass of evidence against the four men, gathered by City Solicitor Bleakly, over to Prosecutor Wolverton's office.

At the hearing, Policeman Hall was summarily dismissed from the department, classed as a "moral degenerate" and roundly flayed when, after he acted as his own attorney, he was cross-questioned by every member of the police committee.

Hall was the only one of the quartette of accused officers who made any attempt to defend himself. Murry, Latorre and Draper resigned several days ago. At the police committee session last night it was the sense of the members that their resignations was a tacit admission of guilt and that their mere removal from the police department is not sufficient punishment for their underworld activities.

The grand jury convened on Tuesday of this week. The next step will be the presentation of evidence gathered by Mr. Bleakly against the four men to the prosecutor's office who, in turn, will turn it over to the grand jury. Quick action may be expected, it was predicted today in official circles.

Policeman Hall's friendship for Anthony Paradise, charged with peddling "dope", was brought out at last night's hearing.


CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 12, 1922
E.G.C. Bleakly - Charles A. Wolverton
George Murry - Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 12, 1922
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E.G.C. Bleakly - Charles A. Wolverton - Edward West - Howard Fisher
George Murry - Ira Hall - William Draper - Anthony Latorre
Anthony "Babe" Paradise - Minnie Draper - Jessie Smith
South 2nd Street - North 26th Street - Pine Street

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 13, 1922
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E.G.C. Bleakly - Charles H. Ellis - Elisha A. Gravenor - Charles A. Wolverton
George Murry
- Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre
Howard Fisher - Albert D.  Archer 

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 16, 1922
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E.G.C. Bleakly - Charles H. Ellis - Elisha A. Gravenor - Charles A. Wolverton
George Murry
- Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre
Dr. A. Haines Lippincott - Gus Giuseppi Guarino - Benson Street
Edward West -
Lewis Stehr Jr.

CAMDEN DAILY COURIER - JANUARY 21, 1922
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John B. Kates - Walter Keown - George Ward - Howard Fisher
Anthony "Babe" Paradise - "Pye" Calletino - Polack Joe Devon
Richard Marchmon
George Murry - William Draper - Tony Latorre - Ira Hall
Harry "Dutch" Selby - Gus Davis - Albert "Salty" Cook - Ned Galvin - James Wilson
Sycamore Street - Pine Street - Rosetta Blue - Deena Howard

CAMDEN COURIER * JANUARY 25, 1922
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E.G.C. Bleakly - Elisha A. Gravenor - Charles A. Wolverton
George Murry
- Ira Hall - William Draper -Anthony Latorre
Dr. A. Haines Lippincott - Gus Giuseppi Guarino - Benson Street
Edward West -
Lewis Stehr Jr.

CAMDEN COURIER - JANUARY 30, 1922

Former Detective Murry Drops Dead In Street
SLEUTH ACCUSED OF GRAFT FOUND DEAD NEAR HOME
Tragic End Automatically Halts Probe of His Vice Activities
NEIGHBORS FIND BODY
Leaves Wife and Eight Children- Once Powerful Leader in Third Ward
FUNERAL ON THURSDAY

George Murry, ex-city detective, who resigned from the police department after being charged with promoting vice In the Third and Fifth Wards, was found dead on a doorstep near Locust and Line Streets shortly after nine o'clock last night.

 A death certificate issued by Coroner Holl ascribes Murry's death as due to apoplexy, superinduced by acute indigestion.

Grand Jury Probe Starts

Murry's death came as a tragic aftermath of his exposure as a protector of prostitution and dope selling in the downtown tenderloin, in the role of which he is said to have amassed a snug fortune.

His death automatically puts to an end the proceedings that were begun to present his activities in the tenderloin before the Grand Jury with a view of bringing criminal prosecution.

Murry will be buried Thursday afternoon at Mt. Peace Cemetery, of which he was part owner. Funeral services will be conducted at the home and in the Macedonia Church, 3rd and Spruce Street, at noon.

Neighbors Find Body

Murry was 50 years old. According to his wife, Mrs. Cora J. Murry, former city detective had been suffering for several days with indigestion.

After supper last night, Mrs. Murry said, her husband complained of feeling ill and she gave him a tablespoon of baking soda. He shortly after decided to take a walk in the belief the air might benefit him.

Half an hour later, neighbors came upon his lifeless body across a doorstep on Locust street, between Beckett and Line Streets.

The body was carried to the Murry home, at 649 Locust Street, a few doors away. Two physicians were called. Owing to the storm, the doctors were delayed in reaching the house. Dr. Clement T. Branch, of 721 Walnut Street, the first physician to arrive, said he believed Murry had died as he fell. 

Mother Died 2 Years Ago, Same Hour

 Besides his widow, Murry is survived by eight children, ranging in age from two months to 18 years. Curiously, Murry's mother died exactly two years ago, to the very hour. Murry was colored, although many persons were unaware of his race because of his light complexion. He was a tall, powerful man. He was more than six feet in height and weighed about 230 pounds. His complexion was ruddy and his hair iron gray.

Murry’s death was a passing incident in the tenderloin today. Before he was shorn of his power, which he wielded proudly and with great vigor, his decease might have caused a great flurry.

Murry, in the height of his power, was formidable, and a man whose favor the denizens and habitués of the underworld crave; stripped of that power, he was ignored and deserted as rats would desert a sinking ship

Boss For Many Years

 His loss of power probably worried Murry more than the outcome over the exposure of the criminal phase of the exposure. Murry had been the undisputed political “boss” of the Third and Fifth wards for years. The transition was to great; his fall too disgraceful.

Prosecutor Charles A. Wolverton pointed out today that with Murry dead, the presentation of evidence of vice conditions in the Fifth Ward to the Grand Jury would be dropped for the present and in all probability for good.

The reason is obvious, said Mr. Wolverton. “There’s nobody to convict.”

United States Started Probe

Murry’s downfall was due largely to the activities of attaches of the United States Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Bureau, who investigated vice conditions here at  the request of the Camp Dix military authorities.

Officers of the camp complained many of the men had contracted contagious diseases during visits to the tenderloin in South Camden.

 A series of meetings was held under the auspices of the bureau and a number of women prominent in social welfare work in the city.

With the co-operation of the Federal authorities, the local police began a “cleanup” of the tenderloin. No one was spared. Dope peddlers, prostitutes, bootleggers and gamblers fell in the clutches of the authorities. Questioned, their stories seemed to coincide on one fact- that Murry was the “invisible government” which sanctioned or frowned upon their industry and who had to be “greased” if they wished to ply their trade without molestation or criminal prosecution.

Three Other Members Accused

Three other members of the police department were accused of malfeasance along with Murry. They are Policemen William Draper, Tony Latorre and Ira Hall. The three men were dismissed by the police committee of City Council. Hall, who opposed his dismissal and demanded a trial, was excoriated by the committee and summarily dropped from the department.

Murry resigned form the force declaring that the evidence against him was untrustworthy, having been obtained from dope fiends and “other irresponsible people”. It was understood, however, that he resigned, believing it would put an end to the proceedings. He seemed to worry over the contemplated action by the Grand Jury.

Said He Amassed Wealth

Murry, however, boasted openly he had amassed wealth while he reigned as the “tenderloin boss.”

“I’ve got mine,” he declared only recently. “I’ve got enough to keep me and my family in clover for the rest of our lives. If they let up on me and don’t push this jail thing, I’m willing to lay down.”

In addition, Murry was specifically charged with accepting graft from dope peddlers and with “tipping off” criminals against whom warrants were issued in City Hall.

City Solicitor E.G.C. Bleakly drew up the complaint and charges against the detective. Commenting on the charges when the were first made public, Mr. Bleakly said:

“From the statements I have obtained it would seem this officer has been exerting himself as a protector instead of a detector of crime and criminals. If the facts elicited are true, Detective Murry, instead of protecting the good name and citizens of our city, as he was paid to do, has been accepting pay from the citizens of the underworld to protect them in their evil practices.”

In Department 16 Years

Murry was a member of the police department for 16 years, having been appointed in 1905. He was made a detective in 1913.

Charles A. Wolverton - Arthur H. Holl

CAMDEN POST-TELEGRAM * JANUARY 30, 1922
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Arthur H. Holl - Dr. Clement T. Branch - Dr. James M. Vaughan
Cooper Hospital - Dr. Gamen - Mrs. S.C. Moore
Line Street - Beckett Street - Locust Street

CAMDEN COURIER - JANUARY 31, 1922
Joseph Totarella - James Corea - John S. Roberts
Charles A. Wolverton - Arthur H. Holl

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 16, 1922
Edward Rapp - James H. Riddle - Charles H. Ellis - Clarence Arthur
George V. Murry
- Ira Hall



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