"Ott"
Laxton


SAMUEL ARTHUR "OTT" LAXTON was born on May 23, 1904 in Camden, New Jersey to William Henry and Ida Jane Laxton. He was the eighth of eleven children, six of whom are listed on the 1910 census. His father was a cabinetmaker by trade. William Henry and Ida Laxton were natives of England, and had first come to the United States in 1890 with at least two of their children, William H. Jr., and Gwendolyn. The settled in Lynchburg, Virginia, where sons Harry Frank and John Frederick "Fred" Laxton were born in 1893 and 1895, respectively.

The Laxtons returned to England for 

a time. Another son, Eric, was born in 1900. The Census of 1901 shows the family living in the city of Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. The family soon returned to America, and had settled in Camden at 417 Clinton Street by 1904. 

The Laxton family was still living on Clinton Street when the 1914 Camden City Directory was compiled. Growing up in Camden, Ott Laxton, like most boys of his era, played a good deal of sports. His older brother William H. Jr. played soccer and was active with various teams in the Delaware Valley into the mid-1910s. Ott, however, gravitated to the American games, specifically basketball and baseball.

The City DIrectory for 1917 and draft records show the family at 45 North 21st Street in East Camden. The Census taken in January of 1920 shows Ott Laxton living with his mother and older siblings Gwendolyn and Eric at 31 North 24th Street in East Camden. Ott Laxton had already gone to work as an errand boy in an office by the time of the Census. One of Camden's many talented athletes, he had already started playing semi-pro basketball by the fall of 1918 and soon was well-known in local athletic circles. Ott Laxton supplemented his income playing semi-pro basketball and baseball.

Ott Laxton was living in Cramer Hill at 926 North 30th Street with his brother Eric when the 1926 City Directory was compiled. Later in the year he was staying at 802 Linden Street. He was there when his engagement to helen Kocher was announced, and befoire the year was out, they were merried. The young couple lived initially with Helen's mother at 266 Liberty Street in South Camden. By the end of the year they had moved to 1014 South 6th Street, and by April of 1930 to 578 Mount Vernon Street. By this time he had secured employment in the City of Camden's park's department, which also tended to New Camden Cemetery. A son, Samuel Arthur Laxton Jr., was born in 1932. The Laxtons were still living at 578 Mount Vernon Street when the 1959 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory was compiled. The family moved to 346 Garden Avenue in East Camden shortly thereafter. A resident of Camden till his last day, Ott Laxton passed away in April of 1983.


Samuel Arthur “OTT” Laxton

Samuel Arthur Laxton was born on May 23, 1904 in Camden NJ to William Henry and Ida Jane Laxton.   He was the 8th of eleven children, six of whom are listed on the 1910 census. “Ott’s” siblings were William Henry Jr., Gwen, Harry F., John F. and Eric R. The the family lived at 417 Clinton Street at that time. Unfortunately, little else is known of Ott’s childhood in Camden. 

In 1926, Ott married Helen Kocher. The couple resided at 266 Liberty Street with Helen’s mother, Catherine Leipert at that time.  The 1930 census shows the family moved to 578 Mt. Vernon Street, and in 1932 Ott’s son Samuel Arthur Laxton Jr. was born. Ott worked various jobs for the Parks Department of the City of Camden, beginning as a driver, and finally ending his career as a mechanic.  Sometime in the 1950’s he moved his family to 346 Garden Avenue, where he lived until he passed away in 1983. 

Ott was well known in  Camden basketball circles as a fast, clean, talented forward.  He started his basketball career at age 14, playing with the Bethany AA team of the North Camden League. He followed that  with time on the Union AA team, then he joined the  Railroad League, playing first with Supervising Agent, and later taking the 1921-22 Championship with  the Pavonia team. A stint with the Broadway Cycle club followed.

In 1924, Ott joined the Glassboro club of the South Jersey League, playing with Broadway Cycle at the same time.

By this time, Ott had made a name for himself as a fast, flashy “40 minute player”, staying in the game from bell to bell.

The 1925-27 seasons were his most successful.  As captain of the Oaklyn team of the Camden County League, Ott led other Camden greats like Grover “Worm” Wearshing, Eddie Brant and Frank Hambleton to back to back Championships.

By 1930, Ott had been a member of the   Marlton club and had played for the Eastern Camden League as well. 

It’s difficult to list all of the teams he played with in Camden over the years, as often Ott would play for whichever team was paying the $5.00 per game. Playing for two or three teams across several leagues within a year was not unusual for him. 

Ott also spent a fair amount of time playing baseball for the various city leagues in Camden.  From 1927 to 1935 he played outfield or second base for the Haddon AA of the Reesman League, the Hurley Club of the Industrial League, Lucas AA of the Lower Camden County Circuit, and the Popeye Club of the Rhone Twilight League, to name a few. 

Although he never went any further than the city Basketball and Baseball leagues, Samuel Arthur “OTT” Laxton  brought many hours of joy to the citizens of Camden with his talent on the basketball court and the baseball field. His reputation as a fine athlete, and a fair and solid sportsman does Camden proud.


Philadelphia Inquirer
February 5, 1922

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Pavonia Basketball Club
1921-1922 Atlantic Division League Champions
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Standing: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
Seated: Unknown, Unknown, Ott Laxton, Unknown 

The Sport Center Basketball team
1923-1924 Champions
Click on Image to Enlarge
Standing: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
Seated: Unknown, Ott Laxton, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

Atlantic A.C.
Basketball Team
Pennsylvania Railroad Basketball League
1923-1924

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Standing: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
Seated: Unknown, Unknown, Ott Laxton
On Floor: Unknown

 


First Ward Republican Club Basketball Team
Camden County League
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Standing: "Reds" Hines, William Boyd, "Toots" Benedict, Joseph Geoghagen. Seated: Frank Hambleton, Eddie Brandt, Charley Humes, Charley Sheets, 
Ott Laxton. Inset: "Udge" Quicksell

Hurley Baseball Club - 1930s
Industrial League
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Standing:  Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
Seated: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown boy, Ott Laxton, Unknown, Unknown


Sterling Basketball Team
1924 Champions
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Standing:  Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
Seated: Ott Laxton, Unknown, Unknown


Camden Courier-Post - 1926

 

Camden Courier-Post - 1926

 

Camden Courier-Post - 1926

 

Camden Evening Courier - January 24, 1927
...continued...
...continued...
 
Ott Laxton - Grover Wearshing - Abe Corotis - Eddie Brandt - George Boone - Bart Sheehan
Jarry Cuneff- Joe Murray - Bill Johns - Joe Burns - Charley Sheets - Russ Ogden - Bill Copeland

Camden Evening Courier - February 21, 1927
...continued...
...continued...
Ott Laxton - Grover Wearshing - Frank Hambleton - Jimmy Brown - Frank R. Ryan - Eddie Brandt
Jake Welsh - Graham Chesney - Norman Vaughn - John Gleason - Tom Ryan - Bill Copeland

Camden Evening Courier - December 24, 1927
Pennsauken, Blanked From Field In First Half, Falls Before Camden Club in County League Duel
...continued...
Ott Laxton - Grover Wearshing - Frank Hambleton - Charley Humes - Clarence Layer - Eddie Brandt
Joe Murray - Don Cragin - Johnny Chambers - Tom Tracy - Abe Corotis

Camden Courier-Post - January 26, 1928

CAMDEN COPS LOSE TO CENTRAL QUINTET
‘Caveman’ Clayton Sparkles in City League Victory; Wayne Boys Win

 Central Camden beat the Camden Police quintet to make it two straight in the Municipal basketball circuit at Convention Hall last night. By blanking Clarence Phifer, and holding Ott Laxton down to six points the Central outfit spiked the Coppers’ attack. Clayton and Grover Wearshing did the heavy work for the winners. Clayton held Phifer without a field shot and tallied four times from the field. Wearshing bagged a trio of double-deckers.

Gus Koerner was ejected from the game when Referee Keneman ruled him off the floor for abusive language.

The Wayne dribblers battled down South Camden under a 46-20 score in the other combat Jimmy Reed and Devlin were the bright stars for the winners.


Camden Evening Courier - 1928

...continued...
...continued...
 
Ott Laxton - Grover Wearshing - Frank Hambleton - Johnny Chambers - Eddie Brandt
Jimmy "Soup" Campbell - Joe Devlin - Billy Strobel

Camden Courier-Post - Fall, 1929

Hurley Store - Radio Condnser - Ott Laxton - Ollie Guthrie - Everett Cramer - Vince Conley


Camden Courier-Post - July 1934

City League Champs of the American Division

Here is Manager Bill "Fergie" McGrath's Popeye club, champions of the American Division in the Rhone Twilight League. This group of tossers yesterday annexed the crown by defeating the East End A. A. in a playoff match at the Civic Center diamond, 5 to 2.   Shown in the above photo, front row, left to right, are: Chris Miller, T. Egbert, "Min" Fingers, W. Danley and Ott Laxton. Back row, left to right, are: Manager Bill "Fergie" McGrath, George Nicktern, Jim VanderStratten, Vince Conley, Harold Roth, Charley Lenhart, "Red" McGrath, Joe Tully and W. Crim, club official.       


Camden Courier-Post - 1930s


Camden Courier-Post - 1930s

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Camden Courier-Post - sometime between 1929 and 1935 

POPEYE TURNS BACK INDEPENDENT UMPS
Nicktern Twirls Rhone Leaguers to 8-4 Win; Hanna and Fulton Play 

Fergie McGrath's Popeye club, members of the Rhone Twilight League, easily defeated the Independent Umpires' Association in their annual contest last evening at Civic Center by the score of 8 to 4. 

At times, the game turned into a clownish affair, with both clubs attempting to excel each other in fun-making for the fans. Commissioner Frank B. Hanna, in addition to officiating, acted as a pinch-hitter for the "blindmen",  while Samuel E. Fulton, president 

of the Board of Education and also prexy of the Rhone Twilight circuit, officiated and pinch hit for the same outfit, getting a single in his lone trip to the plate, while Hanna walked and also scored.

Pat Heppard worked on the hill for the "umps" and was touched for 11 hits. The winners bunching these m the third inning when they scored five runs. Nicturn twirled for Popeye and gave up seven blows, two or which were made by Leo Pusey, while Vandy [VanderStraaten], Tully, Ackerman and Nicktern each collected a brace of blows for the winners. 

John Kowal - George Nicktern  - Ott Laxton - Leon "Leo Pusey" Puszczykowski


Camden Courier-Post * August 29, 1935



Rox Gimello - Jim McGinness - Porky Hoffman - Lou Bobo - Joe Tully - Billy Denof - Ott Laxton


The Laxton Family 
circa 1940

Samuel Arther "Ott" Laxton Sr.
Helen Laxton
Samuel Arthur Laxton Jr.

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Working for the City of Camden
at New Camden Cemetery - April 8, 1941
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Ott Laxton in front on left


Working for the City of Camden
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Camden Courier-Post - May 14, 1949

Charley Humes
Hop Stoddard
Frank H. Ryan
Barney Maguire
YMHA Hall
Walnut Street
First Ward Republican Club
Kenney's
Red Haines
"Toots" Benedict
Charley Sheets
Ott Laxton
Eddie Brandt
Harriet Schwoeri
Frank Hambleton
"Udge" Quicksill
Immaculate Conception
Bart Sheehan
Joseph Sheehan
Shamus Maguire
Eddie Lobley
Doc Housner
Market Street


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