Amedee
S.
Middleton


AMEDEE ST. CLAIR MIDDLETON was first appointed to the Camden Fire Department's Hook & Ladder Company as an extra man in April 8, 1877. He served for until April 1882, then was replaced by Robert Miller. Amedee Middleton was recalled to duty for one year in the spring of 1884, replacing Logan Bates. Again called to serve in 1886 Amedee Middleton was promoted to Tillerman of the Hook and Ladder Company. On June 1, 1890 , when Engine Company 4 went into service in 1890, Amedee Middleton was promoted to Foreman and assigned to Engine Company 4 as it first went into service at 320 Vine Street in North Camden. Other personnel initially assigned to the new company included Frank Turner, engineer, Edward Hartman, driver, Barney Harvey, stoker and the hosemen were Walter Browning and Charles Berry.

Amedee St. Clair Middelton was born to Amos Archer Middleton and his wife, the former Sarah Jane Delacour, in July of 1852, according to the 1900 Census. Of the six children born only three reached adulthood, Stanislaus, Frederick, and Amedee.

Amedee Middleton's maternal grandfather was Joseph C. Delacour, a retired United States Army officer and one of Camden's most public-spirited citizens of his time; his uncle, Joseph L. Delacour, served in the Union Army during the Civil War; and his great-grandfather had accompanied the Marquis de Lafayette to America during the Revolutionary War. Amos and Sarah Jane Middleton appear to have divorced during the mid-1850s. She married a sea captain, William Moslander and of this second marriage two sons were born, Samuel and William S. Moslander

Amedee Middleton had lived in Camden's South Ward as a little boy, and lived in the Middle Ward after his mother remarried. The 1870 Census shows him living with his mother and younger brothers, and mention that he was working at some sort of occupation relating to brass. He married around 1877, and as mentioned above, was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in April of that year. A daughter, Rena, was born in 1878. Amadee Middleton was living at 835 Penn Street and working as a dyer when appointed to the Fire Department. The 1878 and 1879 City Directories give his address as 836 Kimber Street and 830 Kimber Street, respectively, and mention that he worked as a weaver. The Middletons moved to 28 North 3rd Street prior to the 1880 Census, but had returned to familiar surroundings by 1882. From 1882 through 1888 the family lived at 835 Penn Street. Amadee Middleton secured an appointment with the Post Office as a letter carrier in the 1880s. Amedee Middleton was recalled to the Fire Department as an extra man in 1884, and served for one year. In When the Fire Department reorganized in July of 1886, he became a full time firefighter, as tillerman with the Hook and Ladder Company.

The 1890-1891 City Directory states that the Middletons had moved to 837 Penn Street. Amadee Middleton was promoted to Foreman and placed in charge of the new Engine Company 4. He commanded Engine Company 4 through 1899. The Middletons moved around during the 1890s. City Directories record there movements as follows; 1894, 603 North 6th Street; 1895, 532 Market Street; 1896 218 North 5th Street; 1897, 623 Market Street; 1898 319 North 5th Street; and in 1899 he was back at 603 North 6th Street. The 1900 Census shows Amedee Middleton boarding at 603 North 6th Street with former Camden Fire Department member Edward S. Powell, and Mary and Rena Middleton boarding at 103 North 26th Street in what had recently become East Camden.

When the Town of Stockton was annexed to the City of Camden in 1899, Cramer Hill and East Camden became a part of the City. New Fire companies were organized and a new firehouse was built at North 27th Street and Federal Streets. Similar growth had been going on in South Camden. A new ladder company, Ladder Company 3 went into service in East Camden on March 1, 1900. Amedee Middleton was placed in charge of this unit.

Of the many fires Amedee Middleton fought during his tenure with the Camden Fire Department comes this account of the Camden Storage Warehouse fire of May 1904, written by Lee Ryan for the Camden Fire Department's 125th Anniversary history book, published in 1994:

At 4:57A.M. on May 6, 1904 a phone alarm and several pull boxes were received for a fire at the Camden Storage Warehouse at Delaware Avenue and Cooper Street. The massive five-story building contained 600 rooms with furniture storage. Smoke and fire could be seen coming from the fourth floor at the southeast corner of the warehouse. Upon arrival, Chief Samuel S. Elfreth transmitted a general alarm as the blaze spread through the entire fourth floor. Within minutes, engine companies had water on the fire as additional streams were directed from the roof of the adjoining E.G. Locke Paper Company. Hoselines were stretched down Penn and Cooper Streets and along Delaware Avenue to supplement water supplies.

Shortly after 5:00 A.M. part of the fourth floor collapsed, spreading the fire to the floor below. This collapse was quickly followed by the crashing of the fifth floor. By 5:30 A.M the front section of roof collapsed onto Cooper Street in a thundering roar, creating a shower of blazing embers that threatened numerous buildings along Amber Street. Within an hour of its discovery, the fire had engulfed the entire warehouse. Only through the gallant efforts of the firefighters was the huge blaze contained. While spectators described the fire scene as waves of withering heat, Camden's Bravest held there ground within forty feet of the walls. The City of Philadelphia offered assistance but Chief Elfreth declined and by 7:00 A.M. he declared the fire under control.

While battling the blaze, Foreman Amedee Middleton was struck on the head by falling bricks. Only his helmet, which cracked, saved his life. Losses were placed at $50,000. Chief Elfreth and Assistant Chief Buzine stated that the blaze was harder to fight than the Victor Talking Machine fire two weeks prior. Engine Company 1 assigned to the foreground detail remained on the scene until 7:00 P.M. and before leaving found two black kittens still alive in an office area adjoining the ruins of the burned warehouse.

The Camden Post-Telegram newspaper described the departing crew of Engine Company 1 as "water soaked and the color of coal stained breaker boys". A crowd of onlookers cheered the weary firefighters as thy left the scene after fourteen hours at the fire.

Amedee Middleton and his wife and daughter lived at 2629 Westfield Avenue as early as 1906 through at least 1910. By 1914 he had retired from the Fire Department, and had moved out of Camden. Amedee Middleton, his wife Mary, and daughter Rena were living in Franklin Township in Gloucester County when the Census was taken in January of 1920. Mr. and Mrs. Middleton passed during the 1920s. Their daughter Rena had married Irvin Paist, who had boarded with them in Franklin Township, during the 1920s and moved to Paulsboro, New Jersey. Sadly, by April of 1930 she was a widow.


Philadelphia Inquirer * March 26, 1877


Philadelphia Inquirer
September 29, 1884

Daniel A. Carter
Barney Harvey
Benjamin Kellum
Amadee Middleton

Front Street
George Street
Market Street

West Jersey Hotel
West Jersey Ferry Company
Taylor Brothers
Penn State Mantle Works

Samuel Cooper
George Campbell

 

 


Philadelphia Inquirer - September 8, 1885

Frank Turner Amedee Middleton - John Gray
William McKinley - Engine Company 2

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 21, 1889

Amedee Middleton - Peter Gray - Mort WIlson
Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 4


Engine Company 4 - 1890

Trenton Evening Times - May 11, 1890
Engine Company 4 - Amedee S. Middleton

Philadelphia Inquirer
June 12, 1890

Samuel Dodd - Jesse Pratt 
Robert Bender - Samuel S. Buzine
John A. Stockton - Henry Grosscup
Mortimer WIlson
Amadee Middleton

Isaac McKinley

Click on Images
for Complete Article

W.B.E. Miller - E.E. Jefferis - Albert Gilbert - Chalkley Leconey
Engine Company 1 - Engine Company 2
Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 4
Thomas Murphy -
Jennings' Sixth Regiment Band

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 9, 1900
Engine Company 2 - Amedee S. Middleton - Benjamin L. Kellum
Albert C. Jones - Ladder Company 3

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 5, 1903
 
 Amedee S. Middleton 

Trenton Evening Times - May 6, 1904

Philadelphia Inquirer
May 7, 1904

William T. Bailey

Click on Images to Enlarge


 Camden
Fire
Department

East Camden
Fire
Companies

About 1905


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