William
P.
Spencer


 

WILLIAM PHILIP SPENCER was born on September 24, 1890 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Richard and Lizzie Spencer. His father was a machinist. The family, which included younger sisters Lizzie and Viola, was living in Philadelphia when the 1900 Census was taken. 

After serving in the military during the 1910s, William Spencer returned to Philadelphia. When the census was taken in January of 1920 he was living with his father and working as a patternmaker. William Spencer married Ida Barrett around 1920. 

The Spencers do not appear in the 1924 Camden Cuty Directory. By 1924 William Spencer had brought his family to Camden. In 1925 he secured an appointment to the Camden Fire Department. When the 1927 City Directory was compiled the Spencers lived at 314 Byron Street in the Poet's Row section of North Camden. When the Census was taken in April of 1930, mother-in-law Ida Barrett and brother-in-law Randolph Barrett also lived there. William and Ida Spencer had three children when the Census was taken, Richard, Emma, and Ida Spencer.

Fire Department Records show that William P. Spencer was still living at 314 Byron Street in 1931. He soon moved to 916 North 3rd Street. At some point during the 1930s William P. Spencer was promoted to Captain, and he moved to East Camden.

William P. Spencer was a charter member of the Box 315 Association. Organized on January 1, 1928, the Box 315 Association was chartered for the mutual benefit of Camden Firemen, its principal purpose being to fund a commemorative badge for all members of the Department retiring at twenty or more years of service. In the event that an active member died before achieving retirement status, a death benefit in the sum of $20.00 would be paid to the member's estate. Its title, 315, was arbitrarily chosen as the number of the first Box transmitted over the circuits, following the organization's formation. A cabinet of Officers; a By-Laws Committee; Auditing Committee; and a Board of Trustees comprised of one representative from each fire company in the City, were designated by election and appointment.

All active members of the Department were expected to join the organization. An initiation fee of $1.00 and regular dues assessed at ten cents per month, funded operations. Any member of the Department that failed to join the organization within three months after completing his probationary period in the Uniformed Force, was required to pay an initiation fee of $5.00, plus the average of all dues and assessments incurred from the time he was eligible to join. The association met on the first Wednesday of each month.

Charter members of the By-Laws Committee were Chester Andrus, Chairman; Harry Wagner, Henry Zook, Harrison Pike, William Spencer and Nelson Andrews. The association is believed to have actively functioned until sometime during the 1940s. He was also active in veterans and Masonic circles.

The 1940 Camden City Directory shows William P. Spencer,  then a captain with the Camden Fire Department. living at 36 South 32nd Street, apartment 2, in East Camden. When he registered for the draft in the spring of 1942, William P. Spencer was living at 38 South 32nd Street. When the 1943 City Directory was compiled, William Spencer and family had had moved to 109 Terrace Avenue. He was still working as a Captain with the Fire Department at that time. William Spencer  died on July 20, 1946 prior to the compilation of the 1947 Camden City Directory. His wife and three children are all listed, however, at 109 Terrace Avenue in East Camden.


Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1933

COPS AND FIREMEN WILL ELECT TODAY
Herbert Bott Is Unopposed for Presidency of Camden Association

The 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.

Herbert 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

BOTT CHOSEN HEAD OF POLICEMEN, FIREMEN
Spencer Wins 3-Corner Fight for Vice-President of Association

Lauded by the members for his splendid work in behalf of the club, Herbert Bott, a  patrolman attached to the Third Police District, last night was re-elected president of the Camden Police and Firemen's Association.

The praise was heaped upon the patrolman following announcement that he had received 107 of 110 votes cast in yesterday's balloting. He was unopposed for reelection.

In a three-cornered fight, William P. Spencer, a fireman, was elected vice president of the association. He received 73 votes. His opponents were Charles Edwards, given 12 votes, and Albert Dukes, 18 votes. Both are firemen.

Others unopposed for office were: William Thorn, financial secretary; Walter Vecander, assistant financial secretary; Warren Rich, recording secretary, and Winfield Leviseur, assistant recording secretary. The last two are firemen while the first two are policemen.

Lieutenant George Ward, Patrolman William Marter, and Firemen William Taylor, William Getner, James Young and Lawrence Newton were elected to the board of trustees.

Sergeants-at-arms named were Stanley Wirtz and George Clayton, police, and William Judge and John Mulligan, firemen. All had opposition.

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..


CAMDEN COURIER-POST - FEBRUARY 28, 1938

M.F. Middleton Felled by Gas In House Here
Former City Commissioner Found Unconscious in Old Home

With gas flowing from a pipe detached from a gas range, former City Commissioner Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., was found unconscious in the kitchen of his former home at 538 Cooper street early Saturday night.

Middleton was reported last night to still be in a critical condition at West Jersey Hospital, where he was taken. The Camden Fire Department First Aid Squad worked over him for an hour at the house in a vain effort to revive him.

Middleton, a former president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and one time city councilman, was found by a son, C. Barry Middleton, and a friend, John Williams Rossell, who lives with the Middletons on Laurel road, Moorestown. Middleton was clad in overalls and two large pipe wrenches were lying on the kitchen floor near him.

Young Middleton said his father told his family he intended to take up some linoleum in the kitchen of his former home. Middleton first went to his office Saturday and then to St. Paul's Episcopal Church to a service. From there he was traced to his former home, which is owned by him.

When Middleton failed to return home for dinner at the usual time Saturday his son and Rossell decided to search for him. When young Middleton discovered his father's plight he notified police. Patrolmen Frank Cavallo, Henry Lutz, Walter Vecander and George Getley responded in radio cars and gave first aid until the fire department squad arrived.

The firemen worked on the former commissioner one hour with an inhalator before ordering his removal to the hospital, where they continued to work on Middleton for another hour but were unable to revive him. Hospital physicians continued working on him without success. They said his condition was critical.

Gas Man Called

At 4 p. m. Saturday the family living next to Middlemen's home telephoned Public Service that gas was coming from the house. Public Service sent a man to investi­gate but he was unable to get into the house.

Young Middleton and Rossell said they reached the house at 6.17 p. m.

While he was a member of the first city commission Middleton was director of finance but never missed responding to all alarms of fire. He was a member of the fire committee while serving in City Council as a member from the Second ward. In that capacity he also answered all alarms.

Members of the Firemen's First Aid Squad responding to the call were Deputy Chief William R. Harring, Hosemen Christopher Moll, William Spencer, Harry Haines, Russell Anderson, William Harry Deitz and Nelson Andrews.

City Detectives Benjamin Simon, Joseph Mardino and William Marter are investigating the cause.  


Camden Courier-Post * June 5, 1940
CHANGES ANNOUNCED IN FIRE DEPARTMENT
Truck Disbanded, Engine Company Created; 13 Men Transferred

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus yesterday announced a number of changes in the fire department, including the disbanding of Truck Company No. 4; creation of a new engine company. No. 10, and the transfer of 18 officers and men, 12 of them captains.

Most of the new captains have been serving as acting captains and promotion to full rank will involve no pay increases, inasmuch as the men signed waivers foregoing the raises.

Commissioner Kobus explained most of the changes were made to conform with regulations of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. The board, Mrs. Kobus explained, made a survey of the department and advised appointments of acting captains to full rank.

The commissioner also announced she had appointed Junior Captain Raymond Smith as director of the school for firemen at Engine Company No. 10, Ninth and Morgan streets. Smith, one of the youngest at the recently appointed junior captains, will succeed the late Battalion Chief Rollo Jones.

Senior Captain Leonard Megee was appointed acting battalion chief to succeed Jones. He will continue at the Fifth and Arch streets fire headquarters.

Junior Captain William Spencer, of headquarters company, was named relief captain.

Engine Company No. 10 will use the headquarters of the old truck
company, at Ninth and Morgan streets.

To the new company Mrs. Kobus assigned Senior Captain Mortica Clark and Firemen Frank Burt, Frank Esperance and Clifford Lane.

Junior Captain Frank Oberman was transferred from Engine Company No. 10 to Engine Company No. 1, at fire headquarters.

Other assignments are as follows:

Junior Captain Robert Wonsetler, Engine Company No. 11, to Engine Company No. 2.

Fireman Harry Kleinfelder, Engine Company No. 6, to Engine Company No. 2

Junior Captain Edgar Ellender, Engine Company No. 2, to Engine Company No. 6

Junior Captain Ralph Bingemann, Truck Company No. 2, to Engine Company No. 7.

Fireman David Humphries, Truck Company No. 3, to Engine Company No. 11.

Junior Captain Nelson Andrews, Engine Company No. 2, to Truck Company No. 1.

Fireman Albert Dukes, Jr., Truck Company No. 1, to Engine Company No. 2.

Junior Captain Winfield Levisuer, Truck Company No. 2, to Truck Company No. 3.

Junior Captain Edward McDowell retains assignment to Engine Company No. 3.

Junior Captain Maurice O’Brien assigned to Engine Company No. 10.

The changes were contained in notice to the Civil Service Commission, are effective as of June 1 and will appear on the June 15 payroll.


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