LAURENCE W. NEWTON was born in what was then Stockton Township, New Jersey during the month of April, 1896 to Charles B. and Emma Newton. Stockton Township, which comprised present-day East Camden and Cramer Hill, was united with Camden in 1899, and the street on which the Newton family lived, Sherman Avenue lay in Cramer Hill. Charles Newton had been living in Stockton Township as far back as 1870, had been living in the neighborhood as far back as 1887, and in the home, 2833 Sherman Avenue, as early as 1890. When the census was taken in 1900 the Newton family, which then included older brother Harry Newton and sisters Gertrude and Mary Newton, made their home at 2833 Sherman Avenue in Cramer Hill. Charles B. Newton had worked as a carpenter, then worked as a car builder, and would later be employed as a teamster. There was another Newton sibling then not living at home.
Laurence W. Newton does not appear in the 1914 Camden City Directory, however, by 1917, when he registered for the draft, he had found work as a teamster at the Gately & Hurley Department Store at Broadway and Pine Streets. He was then married and residing with his wife Edith at 2816 Howell Street in East Camden, just across the tracks from his parents home on Sherman Avenue.
By 1924 Laurence and Edith Newton had moved to 2833 Sherman Avenue, the home of his parents. By this time he was working as a member of the Camden Fire Department. The 1929 Camden City Directory shows that they had moved to 927 Beideman Avenue in Cramer Hill, and that Edith Newton was also working as a clerk at the Stockton Coal Company at North 27th and Pleasant Streets in East Camden. The 1930 Census shows that this was still the case in April of that year, and that their son, Joseph, then 14, was still living at home.
Laurence Newton rose through the ranks of the Camden Fire Department and by the early 1940s was serving as a Battalion Chief, based out of the Engine Company 3 firehouse at 1813 Broadway. By 1942 the family had moved back to 2833 Sherman Avenue in Cramer Hill.
Saturday, November 22nd, an elderly woman burned to death in a hot,
vicious fire at Front and Danenhower
Camden; and on
Thanksgiving Day, November 25th, a spectacular third alarm destroyed the
Adams Furniture Warehouse at Locust Street and Kaighn Avenue, South
Camden. At 3:45 A.M. a milkman discovered the fire and flagged down a
passing police car who sounded the alarm. 3rd Battalion Chief Laurence
Newton as the first arriving unit, found heavy fire gaining headway in
the building and quickly transmitted a second alarm.
Chief of Department Lennox would transmit a third alarm and while the warehouse was heavily
damaged, firemen prevented the blaze from extending to nearby dwellings.
of enemy air raids in 1942 spawned a
number of Federal Decrees regulating public
conduct in the event of air raid warnings. One new Federal Regulation
prohibited fire apparatus from using sirens in response to alarms. Under
war-time regulations, sirens would be reserved exclusively for air raid
The use of audible warning devices by fire apparatus was restricted to bells only. The burden to both fire fighters and the public safety was formidable. On March 1, 1942, the inevitable happened. Engine Company 8 while responding to an alarm was involved in a collision with a ten ton truck at Third Street and Kaighn Avenue. Upon impact all of the firemen were thrown into the street. The truck driver declared that he failed to hear the bells of the approaching apparatus. The mishap resulted in injuries to six members and total destruction of the apparatus. Captain Alvin Thompson was listed in critical condition, while Firemen Mitchell Wojtkowiak, Philip Farrow, Leonard Oshushek, Lawrence Boulton and Edwin Robbins were admitted for lesser injuries. Battalion Chief Newton stated that he believed the accident might have been avoided if fire companies were not prohibited from using sirens.
headlines of the Courier Post for March 24, 1942, read "Six Flee As
the morning of February 8th, the dispatcher struck the Box for a
reported building at Sixth and Van
Hook Streets, South Camden. Arriving
first due, 3rd Battalion Chief Lawrence Newton was greeted in the street
by a hysterical woman screaming that her baby was trapped on the second
floor. The Chief bounded into the building and made his way up the smoke
filled stairway. He pushed into a rear bedroom off the stairs and found
the child in its crib, the adjoining bed ablaze with fire lapping up the
walls. Chief Newton carried the boy to safety just as the first due
engine was arriving. 3rd Battalion Aide, Fireman Anthony
placed the child in the chief s car and rushed him to West Jersey
Hospital where he was treated for bums and serious smoke inhalation.
Laurence and Edith Newton and their son Joseph appear in the 1943 Camden City Directory, still residing at 2833 Sherman Avenue. Laurence Newton passed away on June 18, 1946 and was buried at Bethel Cemetery in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
Older brother Harry Newton had a long career with the Camden Police Department
Camden Post-Telegram * December 30, 1920
Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1933
AND FIREMEN WILL ELECT TODAY
Camden Police and Firemen's Association will hold election of officers
today at its headquarters, 1175 Whitman
Avenue, from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Bott is unopposed for re-election as president. William
Thorn is unopposed to replace Richard Middleton for financial
secretary and Walter Vecander
is unopposed for the new post of assistant
financial secretary. All these are police officers.
The police trustees will be named from the following nine candidates: William Marter, George Ward, William Britner, Joseph Shreeve, William Schriber, Joseph Mardino, Joseph Dunnett, Leon Feltz and Russell Young. Two police sergeant-at-arms will be chosen from among Stanley Wirtz, Harry Cattell, Joseph Schultz and George Clayton.
Three candidates are seeking the post of vice president, which goes to a fireman. They are William Spencer, Charles Edwards and Albert Dukes. Warren Rich, a fireman, is slated to succeed himself as recording secretary and Winfield Leviseur is unopposed for the new post of assistant recording secretary, which goes to a fireman.
Four fireman trustees will be chosen from ten candidates. They are Charles Cook, Henry Baumgartel, Walter Eastlack, Arthur Batten, William Getner, William Toy, Lawrence Newton, James Young, Russell Anderson and William Taylor. Three firemen are seeking two posts as sergeants-at-arms. They are William Judge, John Mulligan and Furman Price.
Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1933
CHOSEN HEAD OF POLICEMEN, FIREMEN
by the members for his splendid work in behalf of the club, Herbert
a patrolman attached to the
Third Police District, last night was re-elected president of the Camden
Police and Firemen's Association.
praise was heaped upon the patrolman following announcement that he had received 107 of 110 votes cast
in yesterday's balloting. He was unopposed
a three-cornered fight, William
a fireman, was elected vice president of the association. He received 73
His opponents were Charles Edwards, given 12 votes, and
Dukes, 18 votes. Both are firemen.
unopposed for office were: William
financial secretary; Walter Vecander, assistant financial secretary;
Warren Rich, recording secretary, and Winfield
recording secretary. The last two are firemen while the first two are
After the ballots had been counted William H. Iszard, former assemblyman, appeared on behalf of the Elks Crippled Kiddies Committee, and asked police to support the wrestling show to be staged by that group February 13..
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