Charles
W.
Cooke


CHARLES W. COOKE  was born in Louisburg, North Carolina on July 2, 1890, according to Social Security and 1942 Selective Service records. In 1917 he gave the year 1887 as his date of birth.

When he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 Charles Cooke was living at 1017 Francis Street in South Camden. The 1920 Census, taken in January, show him living at 1137 South 2nd Street. His neighbors at 1123 South 2nd Street were the Alonzo Cioffi family; granddaughter Rosolia Cioffi would, after graduating from Camden High School, work for many years in Camden as a teacher and school principal.

Charles Cooke was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on November 22, 1920 and reported for duty with Engine Company 1 at 409 Pine Street on January 1, 1921. He spent his entire career as a fire fighter with Engine Company 1. Charles Cooke was one of the six Black fire fighters, the others being Walter W. Carter, Leroy Hatchett, George Johnson, Roscoe Tribbett and Benjamin Walters, who were hired when the Department was reintegrated. The following year three more were added- Byron Davis, Alfred E. Greene, and Louis Stevens. 

Charles Cooke was living at 822 Cherry Street when the 1927 City Directory was compiled. The 1929 Camden City Directory and 1930 Census both show Charles Cooke living at 955 South 9th Street. Charles Cook was living at 1025 South 2nd Street in 1931. He later moved to 1136 Baring Street. 

Charles Cook was living at 1132 Mount Ephraim Avenue by 1940. Charles Cooke retired after many years of distinguished service in September of 1954. Charles Cooke passed away in December of 1965, survived by his wife, Esther. She was still living at 1132 Mount Ephraim Avenue as late as 1970.


World War I Draft Card

The registrar who filled in this card was C. Leonard Brehm, local politician and bar-owner

Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1938

City Police Praised at Fete
Honoring Acting Lieutenant Bott

Camden police and firemen gathered last night to pay honor to Acting Lieutenant Herbert Bott, retiring president of the Policemen and Firemen's Association, heard their highest superiors make these statements:

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, director of Public Safety, declared she had heard stories about the policemen "taking" but that she wanted to say "that the entire force was honest and she was proud to say that it was as good, as honest and efficient as any in. the United States."

Mayor George E. Brunner asserted "the city had gone to ____ before the three New Deal commissioners took charge, and they had brought order out of chaos, collected taxes so thoroughly that on January 1, 1939, the policemen and firemen will be given back the last five percent reduction that had been made in their pay."

Bott, who has been at the head of the association for the past five years, retires because, as he stated, he felt he could not give such service as he felt he had rendered in the past. The affair was held at Kenney's and the ranking officials of the police and fire departments were on hand, together with guests from other parts of the state.

   LIEUT. HERBERT BOTT who quit as president of the Camden Policemen and Firemen's Association after five years' service, and who was feted at Kenney's last night and presented with cash donations.

Wallace Lauds Men

Bruce A. Wallace was toastmaster, and he emphasized the remarks of Commissioner Kobus as to "the honesty of the men."

"When you got that 30 percent reduction in pay,” said Wallace, "I know how you came to my office, worrying about how you would meet your building and loans, how you would pay various debts that you owed, and I know that some of you even gave up your homes, because you couldn't afford to pay for them longer. That would never have happened if you were doing any 'put and-take stuff'."

Mrs. Kobus started with a tribute to Bott, for his own efficiency as a policeman and his fighting qualities as shown in the battles he made for his brother policemen.

 “I knew Herb Bott," she said, "before I got into the department but once in there my sweet dream changed to a nightmare, because every day Bott was there with a delegation wanting something done for the policemen, or asking that something be not done to them.

"We have gone through stormy times together, through strikes and labor troubles and of course I have always found out, through others, naturally that 'the police are always wrong.' I have told the employers where they were wrong, and told the strikers that the police could not have abused them or wronged them because they belonged to an association of their own, fighting for the things that the policemen and the firemen felt that they wanted.

Citizens Gave Praise 

"I hadn't been four weeks in the department before I thought every­body in Camden was affected by 'letter writingitis.' But after four weeks the other kind of letters began to come in, and the police were being given the credit which they had deserved and which they had won for themselves.

"And the longer I am in the department the prouder I am of the police and the fire departments of the city of Camden. I am proud of every policeman and of every fireman in both departments. I have been out at·1.30 a. m. and heard a call come for the car in which I was riding, and in one minute and a half that car was at the scene, in two minutes there was another and in four minutes a half a dozen cars had appeared on the scene.

"I want to say for the men of the police department that nowhere in the United States is there a more honest or more faithful group of men.

"I hear a lot of talk about policemen, I hear lots of talk of how they are 'taking,' but I also want to say that I haven't found one yet who wasn't honest and to prove it crime today in Camden is at its lowest ebb.

"Crime today in Camden has been lowered 40 to 60 percent, and I say to anybody who wants to know that you couldn't have had this condition unless Camden was guarded by an honest, efficient police department.

"That crime in Camden is at its lowest ebb is due entirely to the vigilance of the police department, and to its loyalty to duty. I want to pay tribute to Chief Colsey, to Babe Clayton, to Herb Bott and the other officers of the department for having the police department where it can be proudly acclaimed as without a superior in the whole United States."

Mayor Brunner, after paying his tribute to a personal friend, Herb Bott, declared "Mrs. Kobus is your superior but I'm the man who has to find the money to pay you. And that hasn't been any easy job, I can tell you, as the tax collector's job in any community is a tough one."

"I want to say that things in Camden have gone to ___ in the past, and until the three New Deal Commissioners took charge of affairs, things continued in just that manner. And that we have given an honest, efficient administration is the thought of the average citizen of Camden today.

Promises Pay Restoration

"When we first came into power the people thought they had to pay no taxes. I say now that we have collected the taxes as they should have been collected in the past and as they will be collected in the future.

"Camden doesn't need any new taxes. We have been successful in collecting the taxes because we made those who could pay to pay. The men we put in front, for the first collection of taxes, were the politicians who thought they stood in a favored group and could get away with it.

"I want to assure you policemen that on January 1, 1939, I feel sure that we'll be able to give you back the last five percent that we had to take from you, when things were left in such a shape for us that we could not do anything else.

"People are responding to our tax collections, and the people feel that we are giving them 100 cents for a dollar and that's the reason.

"We have no favorites on the tax rolls. We saw to it that the politicians headed the list of those who were the first to pay, and we've given the little fellow a chance. We've let him pay by the week, or the month or anyway that would suit him best, because we believe that the little fellow is entitled to his own homestead, and we're going to see that he keeps it, but those who can afford to pay and wont are going to be made to pay."

Carlton W. Rowand related that his father, a former police official, had recently, told his son that "the police department today was the best in the history of Camden,"

Surrogate Frank B. Hanna also added his tribute to the department and to the guest of honor.

"The spirit of the police department”, Hanna said, "is shown to no better advantage than in the manner your association aids the underprivileged children of this city. I know, too, that whenever a committee is formed for a job to be done for the men in the department, Herb Bott jumps into action and does his level best for his associates.”

N. J. Crime Bill 10 Millions

Harry B. Gourley, of Paterson, president of the State Police Beneficial Association, declared that crime was costing the state of New Jersey $10,000,000 every year, and that the crime bill of the nation was more than $15,000,000,000.

He asked co-operation in crime prevention and declared that "any attempt to break down the morale of the police was wrong, and the way in which it was easiest broken down was when you dip into the pay check."

He cited numerous instances of the heroism of the policemen, and asked that every citizen stand squarely behind the men in the matter of pensions.

Commissioner Harold W. Bennett also lauded the guest and the police department, as did Harry Wilkers, who succeeds Bott as president of the association and Robert Wonstetler, who becomes delegate to the state convention to replace Bott.

Mrs. Emma Shriver, retiring president of the Ladies Auxiliary, presented Bott with a check, while Wallace gave him the gift of his associates, 50 silver dollars. Mrs. Bott was remembered with flowers.

Willard Schriver was chairman of the committee having the dinner in charge, and associated with him were Charles Cook, Arthur Batten, Maurice F. O'Brien, William Marter, Edward Leonard, Mrs. Schriver, Mrs. Anna Gleason and Mrs. William McGrath.


World War II Draft Card


Camden Evening Courier - March 23, 1945
CASABLANCA WITNESS MURDERED
ROMEO DeSANCTIS
lLEON GRENKWICZ
Leonard Andruzza

Camden Evening Courier - March 23, 1945
CASABLANCA WITNESS MURDERED
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
...continued...
Gustav Koerner - Clifford Carr
"Cappy" Roman - Oliver Morgan
Charles Cooke - Joseph Putek
Wilfred Dube - Gene R. Mariano
Leonard Lutz - Stephen Burns
James McBride -  Romeo deSanctis
Leon Grenkwicz
- Mt. Ephraim Avenue 
Kaighn AvenueDecatur Street

Circa 1949- Engine Company 1, wagon and pumper at front of quarters, South 4th & Pine Streets, South Camden. From left: Firemen Alfred Greene, Fred Henderson, Charles Cooke, Leroy Hatchett, Robert Thomas, Andrew Robinson, James Richardson, Eugene Alston, James Clinton, Captains Jesse Jones and Raymond Amos.


1953- Engine Company 1 with Hose Wagon at front of quarters, 1953. From left: Fireman Jesthroe Hunt, Fireman Charles Davis, Fireman Eugene Alston, Captain Jesse Jones, Fireman Charles Cooke.


September 1954- Roll Call at the housewatch desk of Engine Company 1 's old quarters, South 4th & Pine Streets, South Camden on the occasion of Fireman Charlie Cook's retirement following his last tour of duty. From left: Firemen Andrew Robinson, Eugene Alston, Theodore Primas, Charles Davis, Captain Jesse Jones presenting wrist watch, Firemen Jesthroe Hunt, Samuel Fisher, Charles Cooke, Orville Goldsboro, Captain Raymond Amos, Fireman Alfred Greene.

Photo by Bob Bartosz


 


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