John F.


JOHN KOWAL, whose full name was John Francis Kowalczyk, served on Camden's Police Department as a detective from the 1920s into the 1940s. He was popularly known as John "Happy" Kowal. 

John Kowalczyk was born in Camden on November 15, 1892 to Ignatius Kowalczyk and his wife, the former Michalena Michalak. The family included an older sister, Pearl, and at least six younger children, Frank, Walter, William, Joseph, Anna, and Helen Catherine Kowalczyk.

By 1900 the family had moved to 1131 Louis Street, not far from St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, the heart and soul of Camden's Polish community. At some point between 1906 and the summer of 1910 the family moved to 1049 Mechanic Street. John Kowalczyk was still living with his parents when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. He had been working as a bricklayer up to that time. John Kowalczyk served in the armed forces during World War I. By January 1, 1920 John Kowalczyk was appointed to the Camden Police Department. He was soon promoted to Detective and eventually reached the rank of sergeant.

In late 1927 or early 1928 John Kowalczyk married. The 1930 Census shows that and his wife Mary lived at 1145 Whitman Avenue. Also then at home was Mary's daughter from a previous marriage, Florence. He was still living at 1145 Whitman Avenue and working as a detective when the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled. The Kowalczyk's are not listed in the 1956 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory, however. 

Philadelphia Inquirer
August 3, 1913

Albert L. Cornog
Camillus Appley
O. Glen Stackhouse
John Kowalczyk aka John "Happy" Kowal
Harry McCaffrey
William Jordan
John Skolski
Frank Kabinski
Mechanic Street
Mt. Vernon Street
Walnut Street
Sycamore Street
Haddon Avenue
Louis Street

Camden Courier-Post
July 15, 1915

John Kowal
Joe Hyde
Sapho Tully
John Blair
Frank "Whitey" Urban
George Clayton
Joseph Christian
Dutch Fisher
Dutch Barry
James Mangold





World War I Draft Card


Left for 'California to Testify in Murder of Former Camden Resident

 Policeman John Kowal, at the South Camden district, last night began a trip across the continent. He will travel in Pullmans, put up at the best hotels and the six thousand mile journey will not cost him a cent.

Kowal is on the way to Monrovia, California where he will figure as an important witness for the defense in the case of a wealthy Armenian hotel keeper at that place, who is charged with the murder of a former resident at South Camden named Schultz. He should not be confused with another former resident at South Camden, Gus Schultz, at one time in the bottling business on South Sixth Street, and a member of the old Excise Commission, who went to Los Angeles, California about twenty years ago. The defense for the accused California hotel keeper is that he shot Schultz in self defense when attacked, knowing him to be a desperate character. Kowal was subpoenaed by the defendant's lawyer to prove Schultz's unsavory character when a resident of South Camden, he having arrested him on several occasions in the theft of automobiles and other crimes.

Counsel for the defense came here from California to get Policeman Kowal as a witness for his client. Lawyer and witness started for the Pacific coast from Broad Street Station, Philadelphia, last night. 

Camden Courier-Post - January 11, 1928


Held for grand jury on a highway robbery charge, two Camden youths today were committed to the county jail in default of $200 bail each, following hearing in police court.

Lawrence Richards, 1227 Morgan Boulevard and Stephen Baldyga, 1226 Mount Ephraim Avenue both 19 years old, were chaged with holding up Marcy Wrule, 1183 Norris Street. City Detectives John Kowal and Joseph Ward arrested the boys after their identity had been revealed by a woman who saw the hold-up on Thurman Street. Wrule was robbed of $17.

Kowal testified the boys had played pinochle with Wrule at his store, Louis and Thurman Streets. Later when Wrule was on his way home he was held up and robbed.

Camden Courier-Post - February 21, 1928

Bernard Bertman - Joseph Carpani - John Kowal - Walter Smith
Anna May Frye - Louis Vennell
Federal Street - Stevens Street -

Camden Courier-Post - February 25, 1928

Augustine Fortune - John Kowal
Sigmund Brozozowski - Joseph Moslouski
Joseph Novachan -
Anthony Szwak
Camden Storage Battery Company

South 10th Street - Haddon Avenue - Liberty Street
Line Street - Louis Street - Sycamore Street - Whitman Avenue

Camden Evening Courier - September 19, 1928




John Kowal 
Lewis Stehr 
John Skolski 
John W. Golden 
James Hollis 
Clarence Arthur 

Frank Moll
Clarence Bunker 
Thomas Cheeseman
Sylvester McGrath
Lawrence T. Doran
Dr. David S. Rhone
William Bonner
William D. McDonaldson
Frank Leonard
Father McCorriston

Joseph "Mose" Flannery"  Joseph Moll - James Bonner - Rita Leslie
James L. Hawkins - Hotel Royal - Walter Novak - Joseph Novak
Garfield Del Duca - Eugene Murphy - Russell Sage - Joseph "Cuzzy" Scarduzio
Patrick Driscoll - Front Street 
Kaighn Avenue - Fairview Street - South 3rd Street
Camden High School - West Jersey Hospital - Sacred Heart Church

Camden Evening Courier - December 6, 1930


Dr. David S. Rhone - Charles V. Dickinson - Theodore Guthrie
James Paradise -
Clarence Bunker - Howard Smith - Clarence Arthur
Henry Lutz -
Clarence Thorn - John Kowal - Lewis H. Stehr  

Camden Evening Courier
December 11, 1930


Lewis H. Stehr  - Dr. David S. Rhone - Charles V. Dickinson
Arthur Colsey
- George A. Ward - John Kowal  - Donald Swissler
Clarence Phifer - Archie Reiss - John Skolski - Herbert Anderson
Thomas Cheeseman - Harry Kyler -  George Nowrey - Frank Truax
Ralph Bakley -  Clay W. Reesman - Clifford A. Baldwin
Winfield S. Price - Clifford A. Flennard - B.C. Schroeder
Camden Local No. 35, P.B.A. -
Cooper Hospital - Broadway
Royden Street

Camden Courier-Post * December 12, 1930

Lewis H. Stehr  - Dr. David S. Rhone - Charles V. Dickinson
Arthur Colsey
- George A. Ward - John Kowal  - Donald Swissler 
Clarence Phifer - Archie Reiss - John Skolski - Herbert Anderson
Thomas Cheeseman
- Harry Kyler -  George Nowrey
Frank Truax - Ralph Bakley   - John J. Breslin 
Cooper Hospital - Rev. Edward T. Weeks
Union Methodist Episcopal Church - B.C. Schroeder
Broadway - Royden Street - Sixth Ward Republican Club

Camden Courier-Post
sometime between 1929 and 1935 

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

Camden Courier-Post
June 1, 1932

Arthur "Gyp" Del Duca
Richard Powers
David Hickman
Austin Swackhammer
Anthony Fields
Clifford A. Baldwin
Charles V. Dickinson
George W. Frost
Fairview Street
John Kowal



 Temporary changes in the police department to offset the absence of Lieutenant George Frost, head of the First District, who is ill, and Lieutenant George Ward, of headquarters, who is away on police business, were announced yesterday by Chief Arthur Colsey

Sgt. John Potter, of the Third District, is made acting lieutenant and placed in charge of the First. Patrolman Louis Schmidt, of the Third, replaces Potter as acting sergeant.

Lieutenant Herbert Anderson, of the Fourth District, replaces Ward at headquarters, with Sgt. John Skolski acting as lieutenant in charge of the Fourth.

Sgt. Gustav Koerner, of the Second District, who has been working in plain clothes, is to report in uniform.

Patrolman John Kowal, of the Second District, is shifted to the First district, with Patrolman William Schultz going from the First district to the Second district. 

Camden Courier-Post - July 1, 1941


The Camden Police and Firemen's Association will hold an informal buffet supper tonight at its headquarters, 1175 Whitman Avenue, for Bruce A. Wallace, counsel for the association and member of the Delaware River Joint Commission. Invitations have been issued to police chiefs throughout the county, as well as to other officials.

Patrolman William Schriver, president of the association, is chairman of the committee. Other members are Fire Captain Winfield Leviseur, Sergeant Edward Carroll, and Patrolman John Kowal, William McGrath and Arthur Batten.

WWII Draft Card