William
R.
Harring Sr.


WILLIAM RUSSELL HARRING SR. was born in Camden on April 18, 1894, apparently to Walter H. and Lottie Harring. The 1895-1896 City Directory shows the family at 605 North Front Street. Walter Harring's brother Samuel E. Harring and his wife Josephine lived on the same block, at 619 North Front Street.

When the Census was taken in 1900, he was living with his grandparents, Samuel and Rosa Harring, in Philadelphia. Walter Harring also living there, it is unclear at this time what had become of Lottie Harring, but it is probable that she passed shortly before or after the 1900 census was taken. By the time he turned 16, William Harring had returned to Camden.

William Harring's uncle, Samuel E. Harring, was a bricklayer by trade, but at some point during the 1900s had traded in his mason's trowel to become Camden fire fighter. When the Census was taken William Harring was living with his Uncle Samuel at 125 Linden Street in North Camden, a short walk from the Engine Company 6 firehouse. Samuel E. Harring's career as a Camden fire fighter lasted into the 1930s.

When William Harring Sr. registered for the draft in June of 1917, he had already married Ida May Banks. The couple lived in North Camden at 130 Main Street, the home of Ida May's parents, Walter and Alice Banks. A son, Quentin was born in 1918, and William Jr. joined the family in 1920.

By 1924 the Harrings had moved to 812 North Front Street, a stone's throw from their previous residence. Sadly, Ida May Harring died of tuberculosis on April 2, 1925. William Harring Sr. remarried in 1926. His second wife Marie Wade was 18 at the time. 

By 1927 William Harring Sr. had been promoted to Junior Captain, and on April 4, 1928 to senior Captain of Ladder Company 1, based at Fire Headquarters, North 5th Street and Arch Street. He further advanced to the rank of Deputy Chief by  the fall of 1935.

Son Quentin Harring was active in Boy Scouts in the early 1930s.

The Harring family continued to reside at 812 North Front Street through at least the spring of 1942. William Harring Sr. reached the rank of Deputy Chief by the time his career ended.  He was still an active member of the Camden Fire Department in April of 1948.

Son William Harring Jr. was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on March 2, 1948, and served for over 23 years. He retired from the Camden Fire Department on July 1, 1981. 


World War I Draft Card - June 5, 1917

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130 Main Street

Photo taken in 1959. 130 Main Street is the right half of the twin house across the street, as seen from in front of 125 Main Street. 

The other half of the twin is 132 Main Street, and was a hardware store from the 1950s until well into the 1990s.

Mabel Knox Toner and her dog Nipper are in the foreground.

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Camden Courier-Post - April 4, 1928

...continued...

Thomas Nicholas - John H. Lennox - Rollo Jones - William Harring - Clarence Madden
George B. Wade
- William W. Patterson - George Hunt - David Ellis - George Saunders
Eli Hunt - William Van Pfefferle - William H. Toy - Leo Tomkins - Horace T. Molan
Laurence Boulton - George W. Garner - Felix E. Bendzyn - Harry H. Hess - Charles Jones
Thomas F. Gibbons - Byron Davis - John S. Anderson
Ladder Company 1 - Engine Company 3
Engine Company 6
- Engine Company 7 - Engine Company 9
 27th Street - Arch Street - Broadway Clinton Street
Federal Street
-  Ferry Avenue
-
York Street


Above: 1930s "Jack" with members of Engine 2 and Ladder 1
Below, November 1935, at grave site immediately following ceremony for "Jack", from left: Fireman
John Yates, Captain William Van Pfefferle, Fireman William Hopkins, Fireman Lester Anderson, Acting Captain Edgar Ellender, Deputy Chief William Harring.

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The American Fire Service has always held domesticated animals as esteemed mascots and the Camden Fire Department was certainly no exception. Through the years there have been many types of mascots in the Department including monkeys, cats, goats, and of course the most popular mascot, the dog. Dating back to the days of horse drawn fire apparatus and even earlier when carriage dogs formed an integral bond with horses, canines distinguished themselves as animals especially attuned to firehouse life.

Jack was the company mascot of Engine 2 and Ladder 1 at old Fire Headquarters for over five years and he was described as an intelligent Airedale of good humored nature. Jack never missed an opportunity to climb aboard the apparatus and answer alarms with his beloved masters. The sight of Engine Company 2 roaring out Federal Street with Jack perched high atop the apparatus, wind blowing in his face amid the shrill pitch of the buckeye whistle and clanging bells was a unforgettable scene. Occasionally and as with all active canines, Jack would be out of quarters and around the corner or down the street when an alarm was transmitted. At such times he would dash down Fifth Street until he caught up with the rolling apparatus and would skillfully leap upward to his accustomed place on the rig. It was under these circumstances that Jack lost his life.

The Department phone jingled and the Housewatchman turned out both companies for an alarm at 119 N. 9th Street. Jack got a late start on the hike and chased the apparatus out Federal St. where he tangled with an automobile at Broadway. While trying to avoid the car Jack darted into the path of the apparatus and was fatally injured. The men of the Engine and Truck were heart broken. Jack was buried the next day in the rear yard of Fire Headquarters in the place that had been his home since puppyhood. Flowers were planted to adorn the fresh grave while some of the toughest Firemen in the house were visibly grief stricken. One year later on the anniversary of Jack's death a memorial service was held after Roll Call in the rear yard of Fire Headquarters. The members erected a tombstone and in a quiet service, Fireman John Yates blew taps over Jack's grave. There were no words spoken. All that needed to be said was inscribed upon the little headstone; "Our Faithful Pal Jack" died in service, November 5, 1934.


Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1938
7 Men Overcome by Gas Fumes in Tank Car at Pavonia Yards
5 RESCUERS FELLED REMOVING WORKERS AT REPAIRING SHOP
Pulmotor Used to Revive Two Victims; Patrol Driver Injured
NEW RADIO AIDS POLICE

 Seven men were overcome by an intoxicating gas in a railroad tank car yesterday at the old Pavonia car shop, Twenty-fourth street and Sherman Avenue.

Two of the victims were working inside the car and the other five were overcome while rescuing the unconscious men,

Three of the victims were taken to Cooper Hospital where pulmotors were required to revive them.

The victims:

 Earl Hawk, 20, of 2906 Buren Avenue.

James Christy, 22, of 2710 Pleasant Avenue.

Fred W. Dickman, 30, of 123 Holly Avenue, Maple Shade.

Anthony Alexander, 32, of 2800 Sherman Avenue.

Samuel Ritterbach, 27, of 2836 Pleasant Avenue.

Robert Selah, 28, of 1237 North Thirty-third Street.

Charles Visconti, 22 of 6128 Irving Avenue, Pennsauken.

Hawk, and Christy did not regain consciousness until an hour after being taken to the hospital and were admitted. The other four were treated and released.

Gas Fells Worker

The trouble started when Hawk entered the car to remove residue of the compound by loading it into buckets which were pulled to the top by Selah.

Bucket after bucket reached the small opening of the car. Then they stopped coming up. Selah peered into the car and saw Hawk lying on the bottom in about a foot of the compound.

Selah, last night in describing the incident, said he descended into the car and tried to lift Hawk up the ladder.

"All of a sudden I started to feel as if I was drunk," Seelah said. "I climbed the ladder myself and yelled for help just before I passed out. That is all I remember until I came to at the hospital."

Selah's call for aid was heard by the workmen in the yard who rushed to his rescue. One of the first to reach the car after Selah's call was Alexander.

Rescuers Stricken

"I heard his call and climbed up the car and then into it," Alexander said. "I tried to push Selah to the top but the gas got me, also. When I reached the hole in the car I saw Selah dancing and singing on the bottom of the car. I finally came to in the patrol wagon on the way to the hospital."

The same feelings seemed to come upon each of the rescuers as they attempted to lift the victims to the top of the car by means of a rope tied around their waist. As each was overcome they began to exhibit different forms of drunkenness. Some were singing, some laughing and some crying. 

Hawk and Selah are employees of Edward Thomas, of Riverside, who has a contract to clean the cars while they are being repaired in the shop.

Warned of Fumes

Thomas said both men were instructed in the uses of gas masks as late as yesterday and were warned never to go into any of the tank cars without their masks.

Selah said he had been into the car with a mask on before Hawk entered.

"I came out of the car, taking off my mask, and then I saw Hawk going in without his. I yelled to warn him but he apparently didn't hear my warning.”

When police were informed of the men being overcome, all radio cars were called to the scene through the new two-way equipment. The radio patrols reached the car shop within two minutes due to the greater efficiency of the new system by which they were able to receive exact instructions after the first alarm on where to proceed.

Walter Patton, driver of the patrol which took the men to the hospital, was treated for an eye in jury after he was struck by a piece of flying stone.

Safety Heads Respond

Deputy Chief William R. Harring responded with firemen when the alarm was sounded. There was no explosion or fire, Harring said.

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, director of public safety, rushed to the scene immediately after the first report and began an investigation.

The five workers employed out· side the car were the first to respond to Selah's call for aid, and entered the car one at a time in an attempt to remove the victims. When the five failed to come up, other workers joined in the rescue.

A volunteer, equipped with a gas mask attached to an airline hose, went into the car and brought out one of the victims.

Workers then alternated in entering the car until all seven men had been brought out.

The old Pavonia yards now are used by the Eastern Tank Gas Company, which repairs and rebuilds cars for hauling gas, oil and similar materials.

The men were working inside one of the cars which recently had contained the road paving compound, Harring said. The tank contained a benzol solution, which generates a strong gas.


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 1, 1939

Group Disbanded 25 Years Ago;
Old Members to Meet at Dinner

A reunion-dinner of members of the old Aquinas Club, disbanded nearly 25 years ago, will be held during the latter part of June, Pasquale Iarossi, committee chairman, announced.

With Iarossi, widely-known North Camden barber, as the active worker in plans for the reunion, nearly 40 of the old members have signified their intentions of attending.

The dinner reunion will be held at Tom Kenney's restaurant at 531 Market Street. Other members who expect to join in the reunion, are asked to communicate with Iarossi at Third and Elm Streets.

Some of the charter members who have been reached and are expected to attend the reunion dinner are: 

Tom Kenney, former Freeholder Samuel D. Payne, Police Sergeant Herbert Bott, William H. White, former secretary-treasurer of the Camden Housing  Authority Charles (Homo) Marion.

Deputy Fire Chief William Harring, Freeholder John Daly, Pat and Louis Iarossi, Edward Bihn, Frank Cavallo, Joseph German, William Easterbrook, Walter Stevens, Carl Glendening, Herbert Schaefer, Bert Morris, Phillip Gorman, Joseph Loeffler, Pete Walker, Joseph Wells, Joseph Jones, Benjamin Taylor.

William (Chick) Simon, James Daly, Frank Bott, Hartley Pike, William Sayres, William Floagus, Dan McConnell, Walter McEntee, Sam Molineaux, William McCormick, Samuel Harring, Dan Market, Gerald Garner, John Molineaux, William Kistner, Alex Urban, William Brandt, H. Hambach, Roy Breitenstein, John Plum, Charles Berry, George Demellion, and L. Harter.


World War II Draft Card - Spring 1942

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Camden Courier-Post
April 24, 1948

William Earl Toy
William Harring Sr.
Harry Wagner Jr.
Frank Oberman
Morris Odell
Ervin Brennan
Christopher Moll
William Van Pfefferle
Lemuel Toy
Margaret Voll Toy
William Earl Toy Jr.
West Street
Federal Street
South 17th Street

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