John
Painter



JOHN PAINTER was born in December of 1856 to John and Lucy Painter. His father was a ship carpenter. The 1880 Census shows the family living at 824 South 2nd Street in Camden, New Jersey. John Painter was then working at a box factory. He remained at this address through early 1884. By 1885 he had moved to 329 Walnut Street, and had married. 

John Painter was appointed to the Camden Police Department in 1884 and served for 48 years, retiring as a detective in 1932. When he was appointed he was one of only 40 patrolmen in the city.

John Painter married at the age of 28, around the same time that he was appointed to the police force. The Painters lived at 348 Cherry Street as early as 1887 through at least 1894.

By 1900 he had been promoted to detective. The Census shows him living with his wife Jennie, son John and daughter Catherine at 944 South 4th Street. Future Mayor Joseph Nowrey lived across the street at 939, and shoe merchant Henry Kobus was at 943 South 4th Street.

The 1910 Census shows the Painter family living at 941 South 4th Street.

By 1920 Jennie Painter had passed away. John Painter then lived at 1249 Princess Avenue in Camden's Parkside neighborhood. He made this his home until his death in April of 1940 at the age of 86, after a brief illness. His daughter Catherine lived with him in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 15, 1894

John Painter - Ida Burton

The North American
January 20, 1897

Daniel Lee - George Dilmore Sr.
Edward Melson - George Emley
Charles Morgan - Frederick Rex
George Dilmore Jr.
John A. Dall
John Painter
South 4th Street
Mt. Vernon Street
Kaighn Avenue
Walnut Street


Philadelphia Inquirer - October 30, 1897
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article
Emma Zane - Eli Shaw - Wilson H. Jenkins

Henry S. Scovel
Dr. William S. Jones - Dr. A. Haines Lippincott - William A. Husted - Thomas Benkert
Martin J. O'Brien - William Anderson - Charles Folwell - John Irwin
Elwin Steen
...continued...
Harry Delameter - O. Glen Stackhouse - John Foster - H. Frank Pettit
James E. Tatem - Frank B. Haines - Albert Fogg - John Painter - John H. Beard - Albert Hollingshead
...continued...
William Stein - Charles M. Lane - Elwin Steen
...continued...
John Sinclair - Mrs. Anna Knight

Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article


Philadelphia Inquirer
December 22, 1897

Eli Shaw
Dr. William S. Jones
Dr. Marcus K. Mines
Dr. A. Haines Lippincott
John Foster - H. Frank Pettit
John Painter
Charles Lane - Alonzo Lane
Elwin Steen - John Sinclair
David Shaw
George Mordorf
Lawrence Mather

Click on Image for PDF File
of Complete Article


Philadelphia Inquirer - March 1, 1899


Philadelphia Inquirer - May 14, 1899
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article

..continued...
..continued...
South 3rd Street - W. Harry Getty - Charles Metz - Walter H. Keefer - James Boone - George Armstrong
Charles Loriaux - George Smith - Victor Thompson  - George Sterling - Washington Ketline

William D. Hart
- Hugh Boyle - John Painter - Albert Shaw - Robert F. Miller
- John Foster
George W. Anderson - H. Frank Pettit - Harry Miller - Isaac C. Brown - Joseph Nowrey
South 4th Street -
Benson Street - North 17th Street - Federal Street  

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 28, 1899
Arthur Stanley - Cooper B. Hatch - Edward Hyde - John Painter - David Shaw
Mrs. Mary Mahan -
South Front Street  
Joseph Nowrey - Howard Carrow - Maurice Hertz - David B. Kaighn
Locust Street -
Kaighn Avenue
Peter Kelly - John Keefe - Marshall Hutchinson - E.G.C. Bleakly
South 8th Street - South 9th Street - Ferry Avenue - Haddon Avenue  
Carman Street - Walnut Street

Philadelphia Inquirer
April 21, 1900

Sitley & Son
Harry Kelly
Samuel Cox
John Painter
Stephen Robinson
Chelton Avenue
Railroad Avenue


Philadelphia Inquirer * September 4, 1900

John Cherry - John S. Smith - John Painter
Cornelius Preston - William Smith -
Frank T. Lloyd

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 20, 1902
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 24, 1902

H.G. Benson - John Painter - Cole Street - Isaac Lovett

October 1, 1902 to January 14, 1903

The Paul Woodward Murder Case

l l l l l l l l l l

On October 1, 1902 Paul Woodward murdered two young boys by giving them poison. Frank T. Lloyd, then Camden County prosecutor, was responsible for leading the investigation and prosecuting the case. Detective Painter was involved in the investigation. Woodward was arrested on October 4, 1902. Detective Painter was present later that day when Woodward was identified as being seen with the two victims. Woodward was indicted, tried, convicted of murder in the first degree, and on January 7, 1903 executed at the Camden County Jail. 

Click on Images for Enlarged Views and/or PDF Files

Links to pages and planned pages about people mentioned below:

Joseph Jennings - Jennings' Third Regiment Band - Frank T. Lloyd 
Dr. William S. Jones
- William D. Hart - Dr. Paul N. Litchfield - F. Morse Archer
John Foster - John Painter - John Cherry - Isaac Toone - Paul Woodward
George M. Beringer - Charles G. Garrison - J. Wesley Sell
Christopher J. Mines Jr. - Frederick A. Rex - J. Frederick Voigt
George F. Kappel - Isaac Toy -
Harry S. Scovel - Francis Ford Patterson Jr.
John S. Smith - O. Glen Stackhouse - Hugh Boyle - Charles D. Ridgley
Francis Abbatto - Eli Shaw - Lafayette Gruff - Annie Irving Keeler
David Kaighn - George Leathwhite - George J. Pechin - Elmer E. Cox - T.L. Bear
Patrick Harding - Frank S. Albright - William J. Paul - Thomas Walton
David E. Barry - Edward Wilcox - Dr. WIlliam H. Iszard - Dr. J.F. Leavitt
Dr. WIlliam H. Knowlton - Dr. William Miles - Dr. George H. Chapman

Other people involved in this case:

John Coffin - W. Price Jennings
Mrs. Edith Barber -
Rev. C.A. Adams - Rev. John Lyell
Rev. William H. Fishburn -  - Rev. Gilbert Underhill - Rev. John Warnock

Harry Bowen - Joseph Simpkins - Ann Somers -
William May - Lillian Martin
James Sheiding - Harry H. Robinson - Edwin Hillman - William Robinson
George Asay - William Powell - William Anderson - Charles Eiley
Thomas J. Atkinson - Wilson English - Harry Avis - George H. Stineford Sr.
John M. Hyde - William Heggan - John St. Clair - Charles S. Hess - William Rex
Daniel J. Horgan - Isaac Siebert - W. Wilmer Collins, Druggist - Major Edward Coffin William Coffin - William Coffin Jr.  -
Kingston Coffin -  - Fayetta Jennings
Charles May - Mary Eiler - William F. Smith - Lee Hubert - Maurice Daniels
Thomas Woodward - Bella Woodward - James Bland - James Morrisey

Samuel Paul - Fred George

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 3, 1902

John Coffin
William Coffin
W. Price Jennings
Joseph Jennings
Jennings' Third Regiment Band

 


Philadelphia Inquirer - October 4, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 5, 1902

     
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
Frank T. Lloyd - Dr. William S. Jones - William D. Hart - Dr. Paul N. Litchfield
F. Morse Archer - John Foster - John Painter - John Cherry - Charles May
David Kaighn - George Leathwhite -
Isaac Toone - George J. Pechin
Elmer E. Cox - T.L. Bear -
Paul Woodward - Joseph Jennings
Benson Street - North 3rd Street - Kingston Coffin

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 6, 1902
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
Trinity Baptist Church - John S. Smith - George M. Beringer

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 7, 1902

ff


...continued...
...continued...
O. Glen Stackhouse - Hugh Boyle - George F. Kappel - Isaac Toy
Charles D. Ridgley - Paul Woodward - Rev. C.A. Adams
Rev. John Lyell - Rev. William H. Fishburn - Cooper School

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 8, 1902
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
Harry Bowen - Joseph Simpkins - Harry S. Scovel - Eli Shaw - Mrs. Edith Baker

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 9, 1902

PAUL WOODWARD
...continued...
...continued...
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 10, 1902
...continued...
Lafayette Gruff - Anna Somers - Royden Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 11, 1902

...continued...
...continued...
Annie Irving Keeler - William May - Charles May

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 12, 1902
William D. Hart - John Painter - Frank T. Lloyd - Dr. Paul N. Litchfield
George M. Beringer - Francis Abbatto - John S. Smith
Annie Irving Keeler - John Houseman Coffin - Walter Price Jennings
Lillian Martin - Mrs. Edith Barber -
Paul Woodward


 

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 13, 1902

James Sheiding










Philadelphia Inquirer - October 14, 1902
Edwin Hillman

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 15, 1902
Harry H. Robinson

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 16, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 19, 1902
George M. Beringer - Frank T. Lloyd - Paul Woodward

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 22, 1902
Charles G. Garrison - Frank T. Lloyd - Paul Woodward

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 24, 1902
Charles G. Garrison - Frank T. Lloyd - Paul Woodward

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 25, 1902
Charles G. Garrison - Frank T. Lloyd - Paul Woodward

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 31, 1902
Charles G. Garrison - J. Wesley Sell - Paul Woodward

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 31, 1902
Charles G. Garrison - Frank T. Lloyd - Paul Woodward

 

Trenton
Evening Times

November 12, 1902


 

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 13, 1902

...continued...
...continued...
William Robinson  - George Asay - William Powell - William Anderson
Charles Eiley - Thomas J. Atkinson - Wilson English - Harry Avis
George H. Stineford Sr. - John M. Hyde - William Heggan - John St. Clair
Charles S. Hess - William Rex - Linden School

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 14, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 15, 1902















 

...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...

Daniel J. Horgan - Isaac Siebert - W. Wilmer Collins, Druggist - Major Edward Coffin
Coffin's Corner, Ashland - William Coffin - William Coffin Jr.  - Mary Eiler
William F. Smith - James Sheiding - Fayetta Jennings - Lee Hubert

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 16, 1902


 
...continued...


...continued...
...continued...
Maurice Daniels - Thomas Woodward - Bella Woodward

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 17, 1902

 

 


Philadelphia Inquirer - November 18, 1902


 
...continued...

...continued...
...continued...

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 19, 1902
James Bland - James Morrisey

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 21, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 22, 1902
 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 23, 1902

Patrick Harding
Frank S. Albright
William J. Paul
Thomas Walton
David E. Barry
Edward Wilcox
Dr. WIlliam H. Iszard
Dr. J.F. Leavitt
Dr. WIlliam H. Knowlton
Dr. William Miles
Dr. George H. Chapman
Charles G. Garrison
Paul Woodward

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 26, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 29, 1902
 

Kalamazoo Gazette - November 29, 1902

Salt Lake Telegram - December 2, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 4, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 7, 1902
Rev. Gilbert Underhill - St. John's Episcopal Church

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 9, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 12, 1902
J. Frederick Voigt

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
December 14, 1902


 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 15, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 17, 1902
Frederick A. Rex

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
December 21, 1902

 

 

 

 


 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 25, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 26, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 30, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 31, 1902
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 1, 1903
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 3, 1903
Christopher J. Mines Jr. -  Rev. John Warnock

 

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 5, 1903

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 6, 1903

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 7, 1903


 

 

Wilkes Barre Times
January 7, 1903

 

 

 

 


Philadelphia Inquirer - January 8, 1903

...continued...
Samuel Paul - Fred George

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 17, 1903
Francis Ford Patterson Jr. - Frank T. Lloyd - Paul Woodward


Philadelphia Inquirer - December 1 4, 1903

J. Oscar Till - John Foster - John Painter - William D. Hart - Edward S. Hyde Ralph Haines - William Thallman 

...continued...

J. Oscar Till
John Foster
John Painter
William D. Hart
Edward S. Hyde
Ralph Haines 
William Thallman 

 


Philadelphia Inquirer - December 15, 1903

 
John Painter - William D. Hart  - Amos Fowler - J. Oscar Till

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 12, 1905
Click on Image for Complete Article
5
Louis Simpson - William Kalt - John Painter

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 27, 1906
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
William Pfrommer - Walter Bryen - Robert Beasely
James McDonald - Theodore Forgeng
Birch Street - Milton Street - Point Street - North 24th Street - North 25th Street
River Avenue - State Street - Henry Moffett - William D. Hart - John Painter
Peerless Baseball Club of Camden
North 29th Street - Garfield Avenue
Stirling Mandolin & Guitar Club

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 10, 1909

Elmer Calloway - Cherrier Place - South 7th Street
John Painter
- Newton Avenue - Mrs. Margaret Lubbock


Philadelphia Inquirer - August 28, 1910
Click on Images for Complete Article

Frank Eldridge - Thomas Guthridge - Howard Smith - John Painter 


Camden Post-Telegram * October 14, 1912
BOY'S BRUTAL MURDERER COLLAPSES
AT HEARING


...continued...
O. Glenn Stackhouse -
John Painter - Frank B. Frost
 
Jeff Kay - William T. Boyle
...continued...
Elisha Gravenor - Grace Presbyterian Church
Bertha Skillen - Bessie Skillen - Albert Ludlow - Joseph Wittick
...continued...
Thomas Sink - Abraham L. James - William Schregler 
Henry C. Moffett -
John Brothers - William C. Horner
Arthur Colsey - Anson Kelly - Robert T. Abbott
John H. Vickers - Frederick A. Finkelday - "Indian Bill" May
Eugene McCafferty
...continued...
...continued...
Dr. E.A.Y. Schellenger Sr. - John T. Potter
Elbridge B. McClong

Philadelphia Inquirer
February 5, 1913

S.C. Childs
O. Glen Stackhouse
John Painter
 
Charles Young
Francis J. Bunker
John Cross
John Thompson
George R. Pelouze


 

Philadelphia Inquirer
July 18, 1913

John Harris
John Painter
O. Glen Stackhouse
Mrs. Harriett Reynolds
Grant Street


Philadelphia Inquirer - December 2, 1913
John Painter - John Brothers - Stella McCurdy

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 16, 1916
Kate Maney - Mrs. Mary Cassady - John Painter
John Brothers
- Fairview Street - Kenwood Avenue

Camden Post-Telegram * July 18, 1916

MURDERER AND FORGER ESCAPE JAIL AFTER SHOOTING KEEPERS, KILLING ONE
Wilson Ashbridge, Who Shot and Killed Mrs. Elizabeth Dunbar
and George E. Thompson, Check Swindler, Trap Jailor Hibbs by a Ruse and After Slaying Him Shoot Joe Ellis Who Intercepted Them in Flight.
Used Revolver Smuggled Into Prison by Confederates and Leave Jail Wide Open in Their Flight, a General Delivery Being Averted
by Police Who Were Summoned by the Wounded Men.
     
  WILSON ASHBRIDGE   GEORGE E. THOMPSON  

Murdering one jailor and wounding another with a revolver that had been smuggled into them by outside confederates, Wilson T. Ashbridge, slayer of Mrs. Elizabeth Dunbar, and Francis Murphy, alias George E. Thompson, a check forger, made their escape from the county jail a few minutes before seven o'clock last night.

Ashbridge with his wife was caught at noon in the Keystone Hotel in Chester PA where they registered at one o'clock this morning.

Thompson is still at liberty but from the confident manner of Prosecutor Kraft his early arrest seems assured.

The murdered jailor was Isaac Hibbs, aged 65 years of 913 South 8th Street. The wounded keeper is Joseph Ellis, aged 45 years, of 416 Carteret Street. Shot twice, he is in Cooper Hospital. His condition today is very satisfactory.

Thompson, who is 41 years old, forged a check for $650 which he gave to V.M. Fulton as part of the purchase price of an automobile. The forgery was discovered before the deal was completed and his arrest followed on June 8. he also passed a forged check for $15 on State Motor Vehicle Agent Kraft. He, too, was awaiting trial. In spite of the positive evidence against him Thompson had spurned all efforts to have him plead guilty and it is now believed that he was sparring for time while hatching a plan to escape. He s no doubt the master mind.

R.L. Hunter, a farmer of Bensalem Township, Bucks County PA, about four miles above Torres dale, reported to the Philadelphia police the morning that he had seen a man answering Ashbridge's description on the Bucks Road at daylight. The man asked the way to Riegelsville.

According to Hunter, the man was dressed in a dark suit, and had no hat. His clothing was wet. Hunter did not see anything suspicious in his actions, and after giving him directions, they parted.

Upon seeing the paper with a picture of Ashbridge, the farmer was struck by its resemblance to the man with whom he had talked. He hurried to Tacony and notified the police.

The State police, who patrol that section of the county, and who have an office at Langhorne, were immediately notified as were the surrounding towns.

The shootings took place in different parts of the jail. Hibbs was murdered in the exercise room just outside the cell room on the Sixth and Arch corner of the building. Ellis was shot down in the corridor just outside the Market Street end of the building when he heroically grappled with Ashbridge after the latter had pointed a gun at his head. In spite of his wounds Ellis dragged himself to a telephone and after notifying Police Headquarters of what had happened he collapsed.

Only one of the two bullets is still in Ellis. It entered the groin on the right side and is buried in the muscles of the leg, having taken a downward course for seven or eight inches. The other bullet struck Ellis in the right breast and came out in the left breast, traversing the upper fleshy parts of the body.

Hibbs was almost instantaneously killed by a bullet that went within an inch of his heart, producing a hemorrhage. The bullet was extracted this morning from the body early this morning in an autopsy performed at the morgue by County Physician Stem. In spite of the fact that it is pretty well established that three shots were fires in the attack on Hibbs, only one of the bullets took effect.

"But it makes little difference which of the two men handled the gun" said Prosecutor Kraft this morning. "Both are equally guilty of this murder and what we are concerned about now is the recapture of the gunmen." Mr. Kraft added that it his purpose to examine all of the prisoners in that part of the jail where Hibbs was murdered to determine fully who fired the fatal shot.

The escape had been carefully planned and timed to the minute. Of course the desperate prisoners were aided by confederates on the outside and it is the general belief that a high powered motor car was in waiting for them not far from the jail. They are known to have been in possession of money and openly boasted yesterday that it was their intention to leave the prison last night. These boasts were made to two young ladies connected with a religious organization who called on the tom men yesterday to offer spiritual reconciliation. The girls are frequent visitors to the jail and naturally their efforts at evangelization were directed in the main toward Ashbridge, because of the fact that he was accused of murder. These girls, whose identity officials will not disclose, were closeted with Prosecutor Kraft until one o'clock this morning. Both declared that on their visit yesterday they were told by Ashbridge and Thompson that it was the last day they expected to spend in jail.

"We are going to get away from here tonight and we've got money to help us after we are out " said Ashbridge, who further told the girls he had considerable cash sewed up in the waistband of his trousers. The girls begged the prisoners not to do anything that would  cause them more trouble and they told the Prosecutor that Ashbridge and Thompson promised them that they would not make any effort to escape. In their talks with the girls neither of the prisoners said a word that would indicate that they would kill if necessary to escape. The full force of their boast did not dawn on the religious workers and for this reason it never occurred tot hem to inform the Sheriff of what the prisoners had in said.

A general jail delivery of at least all the men confined in hat is known as the untried department, where the two were held, was only averted by the prompt arrival of the police on their beat, which was made easy by means of the keys taken from the prostrate body of Hibbs. Ashbridge and Thompson left all of the doors open and the vanguard of the inrushing police found the prisoners swarming all over the corridors on the east side of the prison. In the wild excitement following the double shooting and escape none else thought of freedom and a checking up of the inmates after they had been herded in the exercise room of the untried department accounted accounted for all but the fugitive slayers.

The department, in which the two men were confined is the same one which William Brown and Charles Berger made their sensational escape several years ago by sawing away the bars on the Federal Street front of the jail. Thrilling as it was, the former escape was insignificant in comparison with last night's tragic event.

With the full force of the keepers out of the way- one dead and the other suffering from gunshot wounds at first supposed to have been fatal- Ashbridge and Thompson had nothing between them and freedom but the door entering from the spiral stairway leading to the narrow entrance of the Sixth and Market Streets end of the Court House, With the keys taken from Hibbs they opened the door and in a few seconds were breathing the free air. It was still daylight when the daring murderers walked from the building and although they were no doubt seen by some of the scores of persons passing it is certain that they managed to control themselves to such an extent as not to arouse any undue suspicion. The exit they used to escape is that used by the general public and therefore persons passing calmly in and out of the door would not in any manner be thought to have been connected with a jail delivery. However the shots which had laid low the keepers had been plainly heard on all four sides of the building and it is strange that no one has yet been found who can give positive information as to what course the fleeing men took and whether they were aided in their flight by an automobile.

While the police and detectives of Camden and all other cities in the East are watching railroad terminals, steamship lines, and all other avenues of travel in response t the general alarm sent out last night, Prosecutor Kraft is bending all his energies to learn who smuggled in the revolver which the fugitives used. Thus far this feature of the case is as complete a mystery as it was last night. Mr. Kraft and Sheriff Haines are satisfied, however, that only one gun was used for both shootings. It was at first thought that each man had a pistol when they left the jail; that one of them armed himself with the gun that Hibbs was supposed to have carried, but it was determined that Hibbs was not armed when he went into the jail last night. There was no occasion for him to come in contact with any of the prisoners and for that reason he left his revolver in his desk in the office. even had he carried it he would have little chance to use it, so cold-bloodedly was he slain as he unsuspectingly fell into the trap laid for him by the desperate gunmen. There is also some conflict as to how at least on of the fugitives was dressed. Alfred Williams, who witnessed the murder of Hibbs, said that Ashbridge was without coat or ha when he dashed out of the cell-room, and that Thompson carried his coat and hat under his arm. However in a description of the two men given at the Prosecutor's office it was set forth that Ashbridge wore a bue serge suit and a checkered cap. The coat that he is supposed to have taken bore the mark of "Tull- the Tailor," of Jacksonville, Florida. ad had been borrowed by him from another prisoner. He wore tan shoes. Ashbridge is 27 years old, 5 feet 7-1/2 inches in height and weighs 137 pounds. He has brown hair, smooth face and is of light complexion.

Thompson wore a brown suit and a Panama hat. He is 41 years old 5 feet seven inches in height, and weighs 175 pounds. He has brown bushy hair, is minus one of the fingers on his left hand, and is light complexioned.    

The tan shoes worn by Ashbridge were also borrowed from one of the prisoners. He got them on Saturday and remarked that he wanted to look neat.

Keepers Ellis and Hibbs were reading in the prison office last evening when Hibbs glanced up at the clock and noticed that it was a few minutes of seven. "Joe, I'm going back and out the boys in their cells," he said to Ellis and with his keys in his hand he started for the cell room in the untried department. A thirty foot long corridor runs from the office to the barred and grated door opening into the department in which the cells are situated. This department is about the size of three ordinary school rooms and in the southeastern corner of the jail are the cells, in two tiers.

Around the cells is a three foot corridor into which all the cells doors open and in which all the prisoners are permitted to walk when they are not allowed out in the main room. When the inmates are ordered into their cells and their doors closed the doors are locked from the outside of the steel cage by means of a lever worked by the jailor. Thus every cell door can be made secure without the keepers coming into actual contact with the prisoners. In addition to the bars around the corridor fronting on the double tier of cells there is a fine mesh heavy wire screening.

As Hibbs approached the lever which is operated to shut the cell doors after the prisoners have retired from the corridors, Ashbridge was leaning against the grating of his cell, Number 18. Thompson was lounging a few feet away.

"Daddy, open the door, I want you to see this note," said Ashbridge to the keeper, at the same time displaying a piece of paper which he had in his hand. Never giving a thought that he was about to perform an act that which was absolutely necessary for the carrying-out of the well laid plot, or that he was going to his doom, or was even in danger, "Daddy", as the aged keeper was known to all the prisoners, opened the door without hesitation.

As he swung wide the big steel frame, Ashbridge quickly stepped out and the next instant was pressing a gun against the abdomen of the jailor.

"Throw up your hands, you ___ ___ ___" he commanded.

"What are you up to, what's this mean, asked the keeper, apparently not realizing he had been trapped.

For reply Thompson jumped out the door, wrenched the gun from Ashbridge's grasp and with an oath began firing at Hibbs, who sank to the floor at the first shot. Only a few feet away and the only other person in the exercise room, although the shooting could have been seen by any other prisoners who had not retired to their cells, Alfred Williams, trusty, is emphatic in his assertion that Thompson fired the shot that killed Hibbs and that he fired three times.

"It's a wonder they did not get me," said Williams. "Ashbridge and I could not hit it and in his desperate mood I am surprised he didn't kill me, too." Williams, who has just completed a six months' sentence for obtaining money from Italian grocers by falsely representing himself as an agent for a wholesale house in Chicago and who is wanted in the Windy City for the same offense, says the whole transaction took less than a minute and that the moves came so fast he and the other prisoners were powerless to aid.

"It was like a flash of lightning" said Williams, "and before I could fully understand what had happened Ashbridge had grabbed Daddy's keys' which had fallen to the floor, and was off like a deer for the barred door. Ashbridge had taken the smoking gun from Thompson, who had his hat and coat under his arm and who was right behind the other one.

"As they hurried through the door after Ashbridge had opened it with Daddy's keys Daddy called to me to raise him. I put my arm under his head and lifted him slightly from the floor. 'Hold my hands' he sad to me. I took hold of his hands and the next minute he died in my arms. Then I heard two more shots and I knew they got Joe Ellis."

Startled by the shots, and he is emphatic there were three in rapid succession, Ellis leaped to his feet and without taking the time to arm himself ran from the office and turned into the corridor just as Ashbridge, wild-eyed and gun in his hand, came running toward him. Halting three yards away Ashbridge pointed the revolver at Ellis' head and ordered him to throw up his hands.

For reply and without fear of himself the keeper dashed at the murderer and the next instant they wee locked in each others embrace. Working loose the hand which held the gun, Ashbridge pulled the trigger. The bullet struck Ellis in the breast, but the wound was not sufficient to render him helpless. However, before he could grip the pistol arm, Ashbridge fired again and the keeper fell back with a bullet in his groin.

"The second shot got me," said Ellis to Prosecutor Kraft and Assistant Prosecutor Butler at the hospital. "The first one wasn't bad but my strength left me when the second bullet struck. Ashbridge was the only one I saw. I did not see Thompson."

"Dragging himself to the office Ellis managed to reach a telephone and called up the police.

"This is Ellis at the county jail; come quick. Ashbridge has shot me" he weakly said over the phone to Captain Hyde. Then the receiver fell from his hand and he dropped to the floor, but after a minute or two managed to climb into chair.

 While patrol loads of policemen where being hurried to the Court House from the First and Second District station houses, Reserve Officer Charles Hose, on duty at Broadway and Federal Street, who had heard the shots, ran to the Court House and from the office of Assistant Custodian John Lack phoned up to the jail. Ellis managed to answer and in a few word told what had happened. They ran up to the jail and were admitted by Ellis, who was rapidly growing weaker from loss of blood, the trail of which plainly showed just where the injured keeper had moved.

"I guess Ashbridge got away and the jail is all open, you had better take care of the rest of the prisoners," said Ellis to Hose and Lack. The fugitive-murderers had left all doors open and the other occupants of the untried department were swarming through the corridors. Their curses and yells and the shrieks and cries of the female prisoners had turned the place into a perfect bedlam. With the aid of other policemen who swarmed into the Court House like bees, the prisoners were soon herded into the exercise room, where Trusty Williams checked the up and accounted for all but Ashbridge and Thompson.

With the faint hope that the missing pair had not risked leaving the building but had secreted themselves in the structure, the courthouse was searched from pit to dome, but no trace of the men were found.

Detective Doran was the first of the Prosecutor's staff to reach the scene. Mr. Kraft and the balance of the staff soon followed. In the lower end of the county, on official business, Sheriff Haines was reached by phone and Under Sheriff Hewitt was summoned from Pitman and until an early hour this morning the officials were is conference and examining numerous prisoners.

State Detective Walter Le Torneau furnished Prosecutor Kraft with a promising "tip" this morning when he learned that Thompson gave a letter to Freeholder Howard Marshall, of the Eighth Ward, to mail on Sunday. Mr. Marshall states that the letter was addressed to a woman by the name or Mrs. Shelton, in Baltimore MD.

Marshall was attending religious service in the jail when Thompson approached him.

"Put this is your pocket and mail it it for me when you go out," said Thompson to Mr. Marshall, who agreed to carry out the request. Dropping the letter in the mail box Marshall allowed the incident to pass without further notice.

Detective Le Torneau learned this morning that Marshall had spoken to the incident to a friend and the sleuth notified the Prosecutor, The tip will be run down the Prosecutor stated.

Funeral services for Hibbs will be held on Thursday from his late residence. The body will be taken to Langhorne PA where interment will be made in the Friends' Cemetery under the direction of the Schroeder-Kephart Company. Services will be conducted Wednesday evening by Reverend Henry Bradway, pastor of the Eighth Street Methodist Episcopal Church.

POLICE QUICKLY AT WORK

Although the murderous prisoners made their escape, it was no fault of the local police department, which threw out a "dragnet system" that covered practically every outlet fropm the city. as soon as the call reached headquarters the red lights were flashing and every officer and detective who could be reached was sent out on the "man hunt" which was pursued with vigor.

Passing automobiles were pressed into service by the detectives and officers and all haste was made for the ferries, railroad yards, terminals, and trolley points. Citizens cooperated with the police in their efforts to run down the escaping prisoners.

Assistant Chief Hyde received the call from Jailor Ellis, who though wounded himself summoned strength enough to reach the phone.

"This is Jailor Ellis. Hibbs and me have been shot  by that man Ashbridge and help quick!" was the startling message which came over the phone to Chief Hyde about one minute past seven.

It was just at the time the shifts were going on and off at the local station houses. Chief Hyde lost no time. He called to Machine Operator "Eddie" King to send the message to the station houses and flash the red lights. This was done and as fast as the men could run they covered the various points.

The auto patrols were dispatched with all hands to the Court House and the wounded men hurried to the hospital. Coroner Robert G. Schroeder reached the hospital as Hibbs and Ellis were being admitted and he tool charge of the situation and got in touch with Prosecutor Kraft and County Physician Stem.

Detective Captain Schregler was hurriedly summoned, and his men were sent in all directions. Detective Brothers boarded a waiting automobile and a record run was made for the Federal Street ferry.  Sergeant Humes was picked up and in four minutes after the call was received from Ellis Detective Brothers had the ferry covered.

 Detectives Troncone, Painter and Murray and Captain Schregler covered the Kaighn Avenue, Vine Street, and Cramer Hill ferry lines.

Detective Brothers got in touch with the Pennsylvania Railroad officials who put their detective force to work searching freight and passenger cars. The orders were sent out from the railroad office to stop and search every fright train. Dispatches were also sent to Trenton, Mount Holly, and Burlington and it was not long before the news of the atrocious deed had spread throughout the country and many distant places.

Trolley cars were stopped and searched by the police, but not the slightest trace could be found of the escaped prisoners. The police left nothing undone in the "man-hunt."

When news of the affair spread through the city phone calls began to come in to headquarters. Over fifty persons called up to tell the police that they had seen the two men at various places. The "tips" were all run down but none materialized.

Officers Arthur Colsey and Theodore Guthrie, who were on their vacations. lent their aid to Chief Hyde. Policeman Colsey pressed his automobile into service and carried the  police to various parts of the city.

Co-operating closely with Prosecutor Kraft's detectives the city officials formed a combination which in nine times out of ten would have been successful, but the escaped men cleverly eluded their pursuers.

Assisted by Coroner Schroeder, County Physician Stem held a post mortem examination on Hibbs' body. The bullet which caused the death was located in the region of the heart, It passed through the victim's lung, causing a hemorrhage, which resulted in death. Following the examination the body was taken by the Schroeder-Kephart Company at the family's orders to be prepared for burial.

ASHBRIDGE'S FIRST CRIME

The brutal crime for which Ashbridge stood indicted but untried was committed on the night of January 22 at Ninth and Market Streets. It developed that the murderer had followed his intended victim from the morning hours. He trailed her to the home of her sister, a Mrs. Meredith, of 911 Market Street, and laid in wait in the darkness of a building that fatal Saturday night.

Mrs. Dunbar came out of the house and stood on the northeast corner while waiting for a ferry-bound trolley car. She intended going to Sicklerville that night to visit her relatives. With her at the time was her 7-year-old daughter, Eleanor, and her father, Charles Dunbar. Ashbridge advanced toward the woman, who was startled when she saw him. She called to her father that she "didn't want anything to do with Ashbridge."

Before the father could interfere the young murderer whipped out a revolver and covered the father and the woman. He then struck the woman violently in the face with his fist and as she was reeling under the force of the brutal blow Ashbridge fired, the first bullet taking effect in the woman's chest. The brutal murderer then stood over his prostrate victim and holding the revolver less than five inched from his victim's body he pumped four more shots into her.

Policeman Howard Smith and Policeman Taylor were a square distant. Smith saw the entire proceedings and screamed at Ashbridge to stop shooting. A crowd quickly gathered and Dr. Maldeis, who lives nearby, came running to the scene to aid the stricken woman.

Officer Taylor espied Ashbridge in the crowd, The murderer made no effort to run, but stood his ground. Detecting the murderer trying to slip something up his sleeve, Taylor pounced upon him and bore him to the ground, at the same time taking the gun away from him and slipping the handcuffs over the murderer's wrists. Policeman Taylor had to draw his revolver to keep back the large crowd that was threatening. Showing no concern whatever, Ashbridge calmly waited until the police auto arrived. In the meantime the murdered woman's still warm body was placed in a "jitney" and with Officer Smith and Dr. Maldeis a hurry run was made for Cooper Hospital but when the institution was reached, Mrs. Dunbar was pronounced dead.

Ashbridge was taken to the hospital by Policeman Taylor in the police auto. He asked "how she is." Informed that he had accomplished his purpose, the young murderer asked to see the woman. When the white sheet covering the still form of the murdered woman was drawn from the face Ashbridge leaned over and kissed the forehead of the woman. He was then taken to the County jail and locked up. Before Recorder Stackhouse on the following Monday Ashbridge pleaded guilty.

Ashbridge was infatuated with the woman, who was a member of the Temple Theater chorus. Because of Ashbridge's persistent attentions she was compelled to give up her position. Mrs. Dunbar had previously accepted Ashbridge's attentions, thinking that he was unmarried, but upon learning that he had a wife and child she informed him that it would be best for them not to see each other, but the young man refused to discontinue his attentions.

On the day of the shooting Ashbridge was seen in various places. He is said to have followed the woman to the Federal Street ferry, but lost track of her. Around noon he was seen at Front and Pearl Streets by Policeman Boyd, who ordered him to move on. Boyd was about to arrest him as a suspicious character, but Ashbridge pleaded that he was looking for a friend. All that day Ashbridge followed the woman until night, when he cruelly murdered her.

The murderer came from a respectable family. Dissipation is thought to have caused the young man to lose his sense of reasoning. Rather good-looking, Ashbridge had tender baby-like eyes and his case excited sympathy among the more tender-hearted people.

Sweetmeats, tasty sandwiches, and other small luxuries were said to have been given the young murderer while he languished in his cell. He had many visitors. Recently Ashbridge was taken violently ill after eating some crabs which were given him by a friend. He and Jailor Hibbs were very friendly.

THOMPSON A CLEVER FORGER

Thompson, or Murphy, was a self-styled lawyer and was committed by Recorder Stackhouse in June3 for forging checks to the amount of $1,055. The worthless checks were "worked"  on the McClelland-Fulton Auto Company and Motor Vehicle Agent A.C. Kraft.

When a check for $150 presented to the automobile company by Thompson and drawn to the order of "G.E. Thompson" on the Harrisonburg, Virginia National Bank came back from the home office of the Studebaker Company as worthless, Mr. Fulton called in the police.

Thompson had previously presented a check for $890 as payment on an automobile. This check was drawn on Thompson's favor on the Coatesville National Bank and was purported to have been signed by Louis L. Gibney, a hotel man of Downington PA. This check was still in the possession of Mr. Fulton when Thompson was arrested after the first check was returned marked "no funds".

The clever swindler also presented a bad check to Agent Kraft for $15 for which he received the license to operate the automobile which he proposed buying.

Detective Troncone arrested Thompson at Fifth and Market Streets on June 2. The defendant had been living in a room at 220 North Fifth Street.

Giving his home address as Daytona, Florida, Thompson represented himself as a lawyer. well dressed and wearing nose glasses, Thompson was an intelligent appearing man, he had a bushy pompadour which was streaked with gray and talked in a persuasive manner. His forgeries on Mr. Gibney's signature were so clever that Gibney himself could not tell the difference.

After Thompson's arrest Detective Captain Schregler sent out notices to several southern cities. He received responses from Harrisonburg, Norfolk, and Petersburg Virginia and that Thompson was wanted in all three cities for check forgeries.

Bert Hibbs, a city foreman and a son of the slain jailor, was murdered early Sunday morning , December 25, 1910 when his throat was cut by Charles Ridgway, a negro, aged 22 years, of Seventh and Sycamore Streets. It was about 12:20 on Christmas morning that Hibbs while crossing the lots at Seventh and Sycamore was accosted by Ridgeway, who wanted to shake hands with Hibbs. The latter refused, a quarrel ensued and Ridgeway whipped out a razor and slashed Hibbs across the throat with such violence that his head was nearly severed. Hibbs died while on the way to the hospital. Ridgway was arrested after a battle by Detectives Schregler, Painter and Brothers and several officers at his home, 1207 Lilly Row.

Indicted for murder Ridgway pleaded non vult. On April 24, 1911, to a charge of murder in the second degree, he was sentenced to 25 years in state Prison at hard labor.

SECOND MURDER IN JAIL

This is the second murder and second escape from the present jail. The first murder took place in November, 1907, when George Stewart, a young negro, stabbed to death John Snell, who was awaiting trial for carrying in the business of fortune telling. Stewart was in jail on a charge of dealing in opium and cocaine. He had a complete opium layout in his cell. He and Snell had a quarrel and he stabbed Snell to death in his cell. He was tried and convicted and sentenced to be electrocuted during the week of February 8, 1908. He was electrocuted on February 4, being the first man to suffer the death penalty by electrocution.

On July 13, 1910 William T. Brown, alias Gillespie, who had been sentenced to seven years on a charge of forgery, and Charles Berger, who was under sentence for picking pockets, made their escape from jail after sawing the bars on the Federal Street front. They climbed over the balustrade to the roof, descended through a trapdoor, climbed down stairs and walked leisurely through the Court House building and out into the street unnoticed. They entered an automobile and were driven away. They crossed to Philadelphia on a North Cramer Hill Ferry boat.

Several weeks later Brown was arrested in New York City and was sentenced to Auburn Prison on an old charge. His term will expire shortly and he has also applied to the Court of Pardons of this State for a parole. A detainer has been lodged against him at the State prison where he his located and he will; be brought back and resentenced. Berger was captured in Chicago and was brought back and served a term at Trenton.


Camden Post-Telegram * July 19, 1916

EXTRA
ASHBRIDGE CAUGHT IN CHESTER HOTEL ALONG WITH WIFE
Fugitive Murderer Waives Extradition and Detective Schregler
Brings Couple to Camden in Motor Car
PAIR REGISTERED IN EARLY MORNING

Captured at noon with his wife in the Keystone Hotel at Chester PA, Wilson Ashbridge, who escaped from the County Prison last night with George E. Thompson, a forger, after killing Jailor Hibbs and shooting Jailor Ellis, is again in the County Jail.

Ashbridge admits that he shot both men. He said the gun was given to him by Thompson.

The coupe were captured in their room at the Keystone Hotel by Captain of Detectives Schregler and Policeman David Hunt, who hurried to Chester in Chief Gravenor's automobile in receipt of a message that a man answering to the description if the published picture of Ashbridge registered there early this morning with a woman as his wife.

Ashbridge offered no resistance when the officers entered his room. He waived extradition and being handcuffed was placed in the machine with his wife and hurried to this city.

Schregler sat in the rear of the machine between Ashbridge and his wife.

They reached City Hall at 2:10 o'clock this afternoon. Ashbridge was smoking a cigarette and looked sullen.

When the murderer saw a battery of photographers getting ready to take their pictures, Ashbridge shielded his wife's face with his hat and hid his own face as best he could in his handcuffed condition.

They were taken upstairs to the Chief's office and later sent to the Prosecutor's office.

Ashbridge takes blame for the double shooting, but insists that his wife did not give him the gun, saying that Thompson supplied the weapon.

The police knew last night that Mrs. Ashbridge was with her husband or intended to go with him. This information came in a letter turned over to the police by a Mrs. Dick, of East Camden, who was carting for the children. The envelope cautioned her not to open the letter until 7:00 o'clock last night.

Mrs. Ashbridge said in the note that she was going to do a rash act and might not see the children again.

In the cell occupied by Thompson the following note was found by Detective Painter.

"Ashbridge has made up his mind to leave this place. I have decided to go with him.

"It may seem like suicide and if anything happens send my body to the University of Pennsylvania"

"THOMPSON"

Seventeen loaded cartridges were also found in the cell.

The detectives and their prisoners were accompanied to Camden by E.S. Fry, proprietor of the Chester hotel, where the couple were caught.

There is no question but that Mrs. Ashbridge knew all bout the plan to escape. Where she met her husband has not been discovered.

A reward of $1,000- $500 for each- was today offered by the Prosecutor.


Philadelphia Inquirer
November 24, 1916

Locust Street
Mrs. Maggie Donovan
Edward Kline
James Ford
John Smith
Alonzo Fisher
John Painter
John Brothers


Philadelphia Inquirer - October 28, 1921
Click on Image for PDF File

...continued...
...continued...
Carl Carlin - Edward Stokes King - Charles E. Hemphill - East Camden
 Alice Monroe - John Painter Federal Street - William Schregler

Camden Daily Courier * January 12, 1922

$3000 MAN'S LURE TO FIRE BUILDING
Prisoner Confesses to Arson; Blames His Employer, Both Under Arrest

 Boleslaw Ziemba, 1555 Mt. Ephraim Avenue, confessed today to Captain of Detectives Schregler that he set fire to the property at 1426 Broadway at the instigation of his employ­er, John Makel, so he could obtain $3000 he had put into the business. Makel conducted an automobile agency at the Broadway address. Both men are under arrest and will face charges of arson preferred by Fire Chief Peter D. Carter.

 Ziemba told the detective chief in the presence of his aides, King and Painter, who investigated the case, that sometime ago he had loaned Makel $3000 and in turn had been given a job at the agency. He stated that he had asked Makel for his money and his employer then than said that he, Ziemba, set fire to the building and that the insurance money would provide the means to erect a new and handsome building and he could have a better job and get his money back quicker.

Firemen saved the building from destruction after the first floor had been partly consumed by flames.

On an examination of the premises, Chief Carter said he found kindling wood saturated with gasoline and oil placed in piles between joists of the second floor. He also discovered that rags soaked in oil had been placed in cracks in the flooring. Even the driveway had been liberally dosed with gasoline and oil, the chief stated. The arrests followed the examination of the arson evidence at police headquarters.


Philadelphia Inquirer
November 26, 1922

E.G.C. Bleakly
John Golden
William E. Albert
John Painter
Charles Fitzsimmons 
Thomas Brothers - Edwin Thomas
Richard Golden -
William Lyons
Milton Stanley - Howard Smith
Charles A. Wolverton
James E. Tatem - Edward Hyde

This story erred in reporting, as retirement at age 65 was NOT mandatory at the time. William E. Albert, Richard Golden, Frank Matlack, and Edwin Thomas did retire. John Golden, John Painter, Charles Fitzsimmons, Thomas Brothers, and William Lyons continued to work in the Police Department. John Golden was eventually promoted to Chief of Police.



Camden Courier-Post - September 18, 1933

JOBLESS SON KILLS JAKE SCHILLER 
WHO SAVES BOY’S WIFE FROM GUN

SLAYER CRAZED BY SEPARATION, RELATIVES SAY
Dazedly Insists He Had No Intention of Shooting Sire
ESTRANGED WIFE SEEN IN SUICIDE TRY
Slain Man Long Was Prominent Figure in Camden Politics

Jacob Schiller, 72, for 45 years a political figure here, is dead, shot by his own son.

The slayer, William Schillcr, 30, a former summer policeman now unemployed, was held over today to the grand jury on a charge of murder. He made no comment whatever during his police court hearing.

A few hours later, young Schiller's wife, Augusta, whom he lad also tried to shoot, was found wandering through the city street, in all hysterical condition.

She had written a note which police believed showed intent to 

commit suicide, and had staggered dazedly through the streets last night. Both in her note and in her incoherent statements to detectives she declared she was to blame for the tragedy.

She said her father-in-law had tried to save her and was killed in the attempt.

 The slaying occurred Saturday night at the elder Schiller's home, 2420 Carman Street. It climaxed an estrangement between young Schiller and his wife, with "Jake" Schiller attempting to reconcile the couple.

Mrs. William Schiller, who had had her husband arrested several months ago, said she believed he had become mentally deranged, but Police Judge Pancoast was informed that an alienist had examined young Schiller in July and pronounced him sane.

Couple Separated

Young Schiller had been living with his father at the Carman Street address, while Mrs. Schiller has been residing with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John I. Green, 409 North Thirty-seventh Street. The cause of the estrangement has no been revealed by police, but it is stated that young Schiller refused to consent to a reconciliation.

"Jake" Schiller was a Republican worker in the Twelfth ward for years, and was at the time or his death inspector of city street lights.

Were Alone it Home

The father and son were at home 9.00 p. m. Saturday night and apparently were quarreling when the young Mrs. Schiller, her brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. William Miller and another sister, Mrs. Lottie Bennehler, reached the house.

"Don't come in here," the older Schiller shouted as they started to enter the front sun parlor. But Miller did enter and said young Schiller was clutching a revolver in his right hand. He declared he closed in on his brother-in-law and tried to wrench the revolver from him. Two shots rang out and the father fell to the floor.

Patrolman Joseph Keefe was standing at Twenty-fifth and Federal Streets when two boys ran up and told him there was a shooting at Twenty-fifth and Carman Street. He ran to the scene and said he reached there in time to see young Schiller shooting up the street at his wife.

Keefe said Schiller ran into the house when he saw him. Aided by Miller, Keefe overpowered Schiller and placed an iron claw on his right hand after disarming him.

Jacob Schiller Jr., another son, learning of the shooting, went to his father's home and took him to Cooper Hospital in a passing automobile As he was being taken into the hospital he failed to recognize City Detective Robert Ashenfelter and died five minutes later.

Expresses No Regret

Police Sergeant John Potter joined Keefe and Miller and they took young Schiller to police headquarters.

Keefe said the son expressed no regret at shooting his father.

At about 5 a, m. today, Policeman Keefe was patrolling his "beat" when he passed the Schiller home on Carman Street. He noticed the front door was standing open, and he went inside to investigate.

The officer saw a note on a smoking stand. Picking it up, he read:

"Dear Everybody:

 "Please forgive me ... You have all been so wonderful ... But I couldn't go on to see you all suffer for what is my fault ... Lottie was right ... He killed his father because of insane love for me ... But he didn't. I killed Pop and now am sending Bibs to jail for my weakness.

 "Tell him I love him and ask my poor mother and dad to forgive me. I should have done this long ago and saved everyone all this suffering ... I love Billy and I know he loves me but I am afraid he has been turned against me. But I forgive him for all.

 “Gussie"

 "Gussie" is Mrs. Schiller.

Finds 'Gussie’ Hysterical

Keefe ran to Federal Street, but could not see Mrs. Schiller.

Meanwhile, Constable Dugan of the Twelfth Ward, saw Mrs. Schiller walking on Federal Street near the Cooper River. She was mumbling to herself and was in a hysterical condition, Dugan said.

Dugan telephoned police headquarters. City Detectives Rox Saponare and Maurice DeNicoli went out Federal Street and took her back with them to detective headquarters. There they sought to quiet her, but she continually sobbed.

"I want to take the blame- if I hadn't gone to Pop's home he would be living now."

"Pop wanted to save me," she said. "and he was shot. I can't eat or sleep. I think I'm going crazy."

Later, she was permitted to return to the home.

Young Schiller had been held in the city jail over the weekend. Today he was taken into police court. He wore no necktie and carried a raincoat over his arm. He was rep resented by counsel, C. Lawrence Gregorio, who said he had been retained "by friends" to act as attorney for the accused man.

City detective Benjamin Simon had signed the complaint in which he charged "on information received” that Schiller did feloniously and with malice aforethought shoot and kill his father.

The complaint was read to him and Gregorio told him not to say any thing, as Judge Pancoast would enter a plea of "not guilty" in his behalf. This was done by the court and Schiller was then held without bail pending grand jury action. He was taken to the county jail.

Declared Sane

After the hearing, Mrs. Etta C. Pfrommer, acting overseer of the poor, told Judge Pancoast that on July 26, Dr. Harry Jarrett, Broadway and Cherry Street, well known alienist, had examined young Schiller and declared him sane. The examination was made on the request of Mrs. Schiller in police court on the previous day. At that time young Schiller had been released by the court in the custody of his father.

County Detective Chief Lawrence T. Doran, who was among the first to question young Schiller Saturday night, said the man did not seem repentant over what he had done. He said Schiller did not give authorities much information. According to Doran, young Schiller declared he had objected frequently to his father that he did not want his wife to come to their home.

"It doesn't seem possible," said young Mrs. Schiller some hours after the tragedy. "It seems as though it was only a dream. I don't seem to remember anything.

"Poor Bill. He must have been crazy. He idolized his father. You can blame this all on the depression. He has been without work since they eliminated summer policemen two years ago. He has been worried as a result of being unable to obtain work. Just recently he started to drink.

"Bill intended to shoot me but his father tried to get the gun away from him and I believe it went off accidentally. Nothing could convince me that Bill would shoot his father in cold blood.

"I went to his father's home last night to try to effect a reconciliation with my husband. He had been drinking."

Registered as Sober

The police docket at headquarters shows Schiller registered as sober. The entry was not made until 2.15 a. m., and the shooting occurred shortly after 9.30 p.m.

Relatives said the father had attempted for months to patch up the marital difficulties of the couple.

Young Schiller had been living lately with his sister, Mrs. Bennehler, 2530 Bank Street and his wife with her parents at 409 North Thirty-seventh Street. He formerly lived at that address with his wife. He was appointed a summer policeman in 1929 and served until they were all dismissed two years ago.

Coroner Holl and Dr. Edward B. Rogers, county physician, yesterday performed an autopsy on the senior Schiller's body and ascertained that death was due to an internal hemorrhage caused by a bullet wound of the upper portion of the abdomen. They said a .32-callbre revolver had been used in the shooting.

Camden Lodge of Elks will hold services tomorrow night at the Schiller home, at which time the body will be on view. The funeral will be private on Wednesday with burial in Evergreen Cemetery.

Judge Pancoast last night recalled that young Schiller was arrested two months ago after he had kept his wife a prisoner on a lot all night. At that time "Jake," as he was affectionately known to his friends, tried to act as a mediator between his son and daughter-in-law.

The young Mrs. Schiller at that time told Pancoast she believed her husband was deranged and asked permission to have him examined by physicians she would name. Pancoast released young Schiller in the custody at his father. The police judge said the examination had apparently not been made as no commitment papers had been sent through his office.

Few political workers were better known that "Jake” Schiller. He was born in Philadelphia and was brought to Camden in early life by his parents, who conducted a saloon near Twenty-third and Federal Streets. East Camden was then the town of Stockton and the scene of Saturday night's shooting was a farm. Schiller recalled to friends that he drove cows through a pasture on which his house now stands.

 He was originally a Democrat but became a Republican through persuasion of the late U. S. Senator David Baird and remained a friend of the former leader for 40 years.

 Schiller had been melancholy over the death of his wife on February 13 last, friends said.

 When his son was arrested he remarked to Pancoast:  What is next?"

Figured In Shaw Case

None was more in the public eye 35 years ago in South Jersey than Schiller. It was the that he figured prominently in one phase of the locally celebrated Shaw murder trial.

It was during the second trial of Eli Shaw for the murder of his mother and grandmother, Mrs. Anna Shaw and Mrs. Emma Zane. They were found shot to death in September, 1897, in their bedroom of their home on Line Street near Third. Detective John Painter had found a revolver hidden in the chimney, one of several points in the circumstantial evidence that resulted in the indictment of Shaw. He was then a widely known young man about town and his arrest caused a big sensation. As time drew near for the trial feeling was intense, for there were adherents for and against the son and grandson, those arguments often grew bitter.

Henry Sidney Scovel, then one of the prominent criminal lawyers of Camden county, was retained to defend Shaw. Scovel was son of James Matlack Scovel, himself one of the leading barristers of this section. When the trial of Shaw was under way the city was astounded when it was charged Scovel had tampered with the jury. It was Schiller who made the charge.

The trial stopped abruptly. Scovel emphatically denied the story of Schiller and demanded vindication. An indictment for embracery was returned and at a trial, which had Camden on the tip toe of expectancy for days, it developed there was absolutely nothing to verify the charge, and Scovel was acquitted. He acted in two subsequent trials of Shaw, the second being a disagreement and the third acquittal for the son and grandson of the slain women.

Schiller, strangely enough, in later years became friendly with Scovel and when the latter was prosecutor from 1905 to 1912, "Jake," as he was familiarly known, was usually to be found in the office at the courthouse. Scovel was then a white haired man of flowery speech and impressive personality who let bygones be bygones.

Long Excise Inspector

For more than 20 years Schiller was inspector of the Excise Commission in Camden. It was during the days when the principal object of the inspector apparently was to keep the saloonmen in line. He was considered pretty good at that job, by no means an unimportant one from the organization viewpoint. It was also during that period the city had its troubles enforcing the Sunday liquor laws. There were those who considered they had enough pull to keep their back or side doors open on the Sabbath to let in their regular thirsty trade. Some succeeded in getting by, but "Jake" had his own troubles in keeping the boys straight and sometimes causing their arrest, although that was not frequent by any means.

His reign as inspector, too, was in the halcyon days of free lunch and schooner beers. Saloonmen themselves were against the lunch idea eventually since it meant too much of a financial burden. Jake kept tabs on the recalcitrants so that the liquor dealers knew who was obeying the order and who was "cutting corners" to get some extra trade.

Schiller was virtually raised with the saloon trade since his father was one of the old time German beer garden owners here, having had a place at Fourth and Line Streets. That was in the days when that section was largely populated by the German, English and Irish families lately come from the motherlands. When he was a boy, Schiller entered the U. S. Navy and served several years. When he came out he went to the old Town of Stockton, now East Camden, where he opened a saloon on Federal Street near Twenty-fourth. At that period, some 45 years ago, Stockton seethed with politics and it was just as natural for a young man to get into the game as it was for a duck to swim. Jake at that period was a Democrat and during the battle in the middle 90's when the West Jersey Traction and the Camden Horse Railway Company were fighting for the rail franchises in the town he was a candidate for council from the old Second Ward. The late Robert Lee was the Republican candidate and won out by the narrow margin of two votes. In later years Schiller became a Republican and was elected a constable.

Never Ran From Scrap

Throughout his career Schiller never quite forgot his training In the navy, particularly with reference to boxing or fighting at the drop of a hat. He was a scrapper in his early years and never ran from a fight. That was just as true in political battles, frequent then around the polls, as in purely personal matters. And Jake would battle for a friend just as readily as for any personal reason. He was usually in the thick of the political fracases of the years when it was the accepted thing to fight at the drop of a hat. But he also had lots of native wit which kept things interesting when he was a frequenter of the prosecutors' office during the Scovel and Wolverton regime's. In late years, with the approach of age, he had tempered his propensity to get into an argument and liked nothing more than to tell of “the good old days" when he helped the elder Baird in his organization battles.

He made his last political stand for leadership of the Twelfth Ward in 1926 when he supported the candidacy of Sergeant Ray Smith against Commissioner Clay W. Reesman for ward committeeman. Schiller was supporting Congressman Charles A. Wolverton and the late Senator Joseph H. Forsyth in a campaign against former Congressman Francis F. Patterson and State Senator Albert S. Woodruff.

Reesman won and among the first to visit the hospital after learning of the shooting was the city commissioner. Reesman was his latest chief as lights inspector as he was attached to the highway department. Commissioner Frank B. Hanna also visited the hospital.

"In all the years I have known him he has always been an enthusiastic and loyal friend with a good heart for everybody in trouble," Congressman Wolverton said when he learned of Schiller's death.

Schiller was also a familiar figure at the Elks Club, where he was an ardent card player. But after the death of his wife he gave up this pastime, contenting himself with watching the games. He was also a frequent visitor among old friends at the courthouse.


Camden Courier-Post * April 8, 1940

 

 
 
 

RETURN TO CAMDEN'S INTERESTING PEOPLE PAGE

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE