JOHN FRANCIS GAFFNEY SR. was born in
Camden, New Jersey on September 6, 1911 to John J. Gaffney and his wife,
the former Sarah Kenny. The 1911 Camden City Directory shows the family
residing at 411 North 8th
Street, and the 1914 edition has the family at 814 Linden
Street. John J. Gaffney was working as a
bartender at that time. Sadly, he passed away around 1918, possibly during
the flu epidemic. The 1918 City Directory and the 1920 Census shows Mrs. Gaffney and her family
living at 423 North 6th
Street. Besides John, there was older brother
Joseph, 9, and sisters Madeline, 5, and Margaret, 19 months of age.
Maternal uncles Thomas and Kieran Kenny, who had come from Ireland in 1910
and 1916 respectively, also lived at the North 6th Street home. Mrs.
Gaffney also took in boarders, mostly Irish-born shipyard workers like her
brothers, and a Navy recruiter, Norris Stone. Members of the Gaffney
extended family still resided at 423 North 6th
Street in North Camden as
late as 1959, as older brother Joseph had become a dentist and made his
home and office at that address. The home was taken during the 1960s to
make way for an expansion of the bridge toll plaza.
Gaffney remarried in the mid-1920s. Her new husband, Thomas
Keough, had been one of her boarders. By 1930 he was working as
a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service.
John F. Gaffney was working when the 1929 City
Directory was compiled, as a clerk at one of the nearby American Stores
groceries in Camden.
John F. Gaffney was appointed to the Camden Fire
Department on October 1, 1943. When the 1947 City Directory was compiled
John F. Gaffney was making his home with his wife Dorothy and son John
Gaffney Jr. at 2708 Concord
Avenue in Cramer Hill. By 1956 the family had moved to 78 South
Dudley Street in East Camden. On February 24, 1964 John Gaffney Jr. joined his
father as a member of the Camden Fire Department.
John Gaffney Sr. was still working as a
firefighter as late as October of 1970. He passed away on May 26, 1976.