RUSSELL LEON BENSON was born in Freehold, New Jersey on September 7, 1896 to Francis and Henrietta Benson. Francis Benson and his family do not appear in the 1906 Camden City Directory. The 1910 Census shows the Benson family at 827 Woodland Avenue. This home would remain in the family well into the 1960s. Francis Benson was then working as a shirt ironer in a shirt factory. Besides Russell, the family included brother Theodore and sister Isabel. Another child had been born to the family, but had died by the time of the Census.
Russell Benson was living with his parents at 827 Woodland Avenue in Camden and working at a shipyard in Gloucester City when he registered for the draft in June of 1918. He joined the United States Army on September 5, 1918. By January of 1920 he had returned to civilian life and shipyard work. The Census then taken showed him and his wife Anna living at 900 Woodland Avenue. By 1924 through 1927 the Bensons, according to City Directories, lived at 953 Florence Street. Russell Benson's occupation is given as laborer in these books.
Russell Benson was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on March 4, 1927. He reported for duty with Engine Company 2 on March 7. Two years later, on March 19, 1929 Russell Benson was sent to Engine Company 3. That year's City Directory states that he resided at 869 Fairview Street. On October 7, 1932 Russell Benson was transferred to Engine Company 7. He spent most of the next 28 years with this unit.
Russell Benson and his wife were living at 1653 Olympia Road in Fairview when the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled. By 1956, however, he had moved back to 827 Woodland Avenue, where he had resided
Russell Benson retired on May 31, 1960. His place in the Fire Department was taken by Joseph Voorhees.
Russell Benson died February 12, 1963. He was buried at Beverly National Cemetery three days later.
Camden Post-Telegram * February 25, 1918
& Forbes - William L. Miles -
Engine Company 3 - F. Walter Toms -
William J. Kelly - Howard Marshall - Thomas Leeson - Charles H. Mills - Thomas Nicholas
Frank Chambers - William J. Rose - Daniel Smith - Robert Whitley - William Miller - Russell Benson
Arthur Wingate - Roy De Haven - Jules Hubert - John T. Garrity - John A.S. Hunt - Harry Stone
Captain Henry Zook of Engine Company 7 stands between the company's 1928 American LaFrance combination chemical and hose wagon on left (serial 6305) driven by Ray Burgess and the 1928 American LaFrance 750 gpm pumper (serial 6303) driven by Russell Benson. Photo dates from about 1936.
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