J. James
Hainsworth


 

J. JAMES "BIG JIM" HAINSWORTH JR. was the son of long-time Camden political figure John J. Hainsworth Sr. and his wife Sabina. The 1920 Census shows the family at 1009 Ferry Avenue, the corner of Ferry Avenue and Mulford Street, in what was Camden's Eighth Ward. He was one of fourteen children. John J. Hainsworth Sr. served as the Democratic County committeeman from Camden's Eighth Ward in the early 1930s, and supported Emma Hyland and Harry Maloney over Edward J. Kelleher for control of the county organization.

John James Hainsworth Jr., better known as J. James "Big Jim" Hainsworth, was also active politically. He won close election for Camden County Sheriff in 1951, where the results were disputed and court action was taken to certify the results. He served two three-year terms as sheriff, losing the position in 1956. he then was appointed Register of Deeds, and served in a number of positions in Camden County Government until his retirement in 1981.

J. James Hainsworth married around 1926. By April of 1930, when the Census was taken, his wife Anna had given birth to two sons, George and J. James Hainsworth III. The family lived at 533 Jackson Street at the time of the Census. By 1940 three more children had been born, Joseph, Renee, and Shirley. The 1940 Census and 1943 City Directory shows them at 1909 South 6th Street. By 1947 J. James "Big Jim" Hainsworth and family had moved to 1907 Fillmore Street where they remained as late as October of 1970. They later moved to Camden's Fairview section. After spending some time in hospice, he passed away at his daughter's home in Turnersville on April 3, 1990.

Son John J. "Jim" Hainsworth III, was also active in Camden city and county politics. Nephew James R. Asher, served for over 29 years with the Camden Fire Department, retiring as District Chief in 1976.

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 6, 1990

J. James Hainsworth, 82, Ex-sheriff and Ward Power In Camden County

By S. Joseph Hagenmayer,
Special to The Inquirer

J. James Hainsworth, 82, former Camden County sheriff who was a presence in Camden city politics for decades, died Tuesday at his daughter's Turnersville home. He had lived in the Fairview section of Camden for the last 20 years.

Mr. Hainsworth was born and raised in Camden's Eighth Ward, where he began his climb through the ranks of the city's Democratic Party, reaching a pinnacle in 1950 with his election as Camden County sheriff.

He scored a county first by winning re-election as sheriff three years later.

He lost the post in 1956, when an Eisenhower landslide swept many Democrats from office.

He grew up in a political family, his daughter Renee M. Spinosi said. One of 12 children, he grew up "knocking on doors and delivering brochures" in the Eighth Ward, which stretches from Mount Ephraim Avenue to the Delaware River, she said.

Around 1940, he became ward leader, a post he kept for 20 years.

"There wasn't anyone in the Eighth Ward who didn't know Jim Hainsworth," his daughter recalled of the man known as "Big Jim." When people wanted or needed anything - whether it was coal in the winter or a turkey at Thanksgiving - they came to him, she said.

Mr. Hainsworth's first job was as a truck driver with the city's highway department.

In 1937, he was named department superintendent.

However, politics was his life, according to his daughter, and after his defeat as sheriff he was appointed deputy register of deeds in 1957.

He was named assistant superintendent of county highways in 1961 and Democratic registrar of the county Board of Elections in 1963. Mr. Hainsworth became supervisor of elections in the county clerk's office in 1977, and remained there until retiring in 1981.

Mr. Hainsworth was a member of the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fairview for more than 30 years.

He is survived by his three sons, J. James 3d, Joseph C. and George A.; two daughters, Renee Spinosi and Shirley F. Incollingo; 14 grandchildren; 18 great- grandchildren; a brother, and four sisters.

A viewing will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at Gardner Funeral Home, 126 S. Black Horse Pike, Runnemede. Relatives and friends will gather at the funeral home at 10 a.m. Monday, with funeral services at 11 a.m. at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tuckahoe Road, Fairview, Camden. Burial will be in the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden.

Memorial contributions may be made to Samaritan Hospice, 214 W. Second Ave., Moorestown, N.J. 08057.. 

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