J. Willard
Morgan


JOSEPH WILLARD MORGAN, known professionally as J. Willard Morgan, was born in Blackwood NJ on July 6, 1854 to Randal and Mary Morgan. His father was in real estate and construction, and was reputed to be one the wealthiest men in the city in the 1880s and 1890s, and had served as the Sheriff of Camden County. Randal Morgan lived though the 1890s at 432 Linden Street. Randal Morgan's place of business in the late 1880s and early 1890s was 207 Market Street in Camden. Another Morgan son, Ely, served as deputy sheriff in 1880.

J. Willard Morgan was educated in the Camden public schools and at a classical school in Philadelphia. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1877 and qualified as a counselor in February of 1881. Establishing his own law office at 207 Market Street, he acquired a large practice. By the time of the 1880 census he had married, and with wife Lizzie resided at 934 Cooper Street, the corner of North 10th and Cooper Streets. By 1887 the J. Willard and Lizzie Morgan had moved to 432 Linden Street, as Mary Morgan had passed away in August of 1881. They resided there through at least 1891.

J. Willard Morgan was elected to City Counsel as a Republican in 1877, and served until 1881. While he was serving on City Counsel in 18979, the first two telephones in service in Camden were installed on January 14, 1879 by John A. Frankes, a Western Union employee, under the direction of Heber C. Robinson. One was placed in a rear room on the south side of the corridor in the City Hall, Haddon Avenue and Benson Street, then occupied by the Chief of Police, but later the office of the Mayor. The second was placed the same day, January 14, 1879, in Simeon T. Ringel's drug store, at the southwest corner of 2nd and Market Streets. A single iron wire grounded at each end formed this private line. No central office had as yet been established and the cost of the line, nearly a mile long,, and run primarily on city poles, was $40.00 Its use was for the city, and particularly for any of the twenty-four policemen then reporting to Chief Daubman in command of the local police.

At the January 30th, 1879 meeting of Council, J. Willard Morgan, on the special committee on telephone, reported the construction of this line and recommended extensions to other points, including the fire stations.

J. Willard Morgan did not served on City Counsel in 1882. He was elected again in 1883, and served one year. In 1884 he was elected City Counselor, a position identical to what today is called city solicitor, and served in that capacity though at least the fall of 1897.

On March 18, 1893, J. Willard Morgan was appointed Receiver of the Camden Woolen Mill in North Camden, which had been operating since the Civil War. He fulfilled this position until the property was acquired by the Highland Worsted Mills in 1896. 

On January 28, 1897 J. Willard Morgan was one of several dignitaries who were in attendance at the opening of the Catholic Lyceum, attached to the the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Broadway at Market Street. Other attendees included the-New Jersey Governor John W. Griggs, late Attorney-General Samuel H. Grey, , Mayor John L. Westcott, Senator H. W. Johnson, Sheriff David Baird Sr., then-Assemblymen Louis Derousse and Scovel, Postmaster Harry B. Paul, ex-Judge Armstrong, Architect Henry S. Dagit, J. J. Burleigh, George A. Frey, and H. L. Bonsall. The Lyceum would evolve into Camden Catholic High School

By June of 1903 J. Willard Morgan was serving in the post of State Comptroller for the State of New Jersey. He had taken on Harrison H. Voorhees as a law partner, Voorhees was then also serving as a judge. His circle of friends included Camden Postmaster Louis T. Derousse, Congressman Harry Loudenslager, future Congressman William S. Browning, former Judge D. J. Pancoast and former Receiver of Taxes Frank H. Burdsall. 

J. Willard Morgan was involved in resolving Louis T. Derousse's affairs when he abandoned his post in June of 1903. Morgan also appointed Isaac Doughten of Camden to serve as his deputy in 1903.

J. Willard Morgan was an active member of Camden Lodge No. 293 of the Elks. In April of 1906 he, along with Dr. Henry H. Davis, nominated Dr. Francis Bicker for membership in the lodge.

One of J. Willard Morgan's law students, William T. Read, would have a long and distinguished career in public service, culminating in service as a delegate to the 1947 New Jersey State Constitutional Convention.

J. Willard Morgan passed away sometime prior to the 1920 Census.

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 16, 1878

William Abels - J. Willard Morgan - A.B. Cameron - Crawford Miller - 
Mr. Knight -
John Dialogue Sr. - Elwood Kemble - Dr. John Donges - Frank F. Michellon - Frederick W. Taw - William A. Turner
James E. Hayes - John H. Shultz -
John M. Gray Sr.
Robert S. Bender - William W. Mines - Wilbur F. Rose - H.M. Sharp - Joseph A. Porter


Philadelphia Inquirer - October 7, 1880
David Baird Sr. - J. Willard Morgan - Edward Delacroix
Charles A. Randall -
Christopher J. Mines Jr. - A.J. Milliette
Gabriel Johnson

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 5, 1884

E.A. Armstrong - J. Willard Morgan - Charles A. Butts
John Campbell - Thomas B. Harned - A.J. Milliette Jr.
Christopher J. Mines Jr. - Dr. John D. Leckner - John Blowe
Jacob F. Nessen - John Ware - Gabriel Johnson
Charles Bunisholtz - Thomas Goodwin - Thomas Blackwood
John P. Kennedy - William A. Husted - W.S. Thomas
John Evans - Albert Merritt - Charles Curry
Frank F. Patterson Sr. - Charles H. Peters


Philadelphia Inquirer - August 26, 1884
Thomas DudleyFrank Turner - William Parker - Charles Wolverton  
J. Willard Morgan -   Frederick A. Rex - Daniel Johntra - Richard H. Lee
George Doughten  -
Charles Henry Peters - Joseph B. Green
Amos Richard Dease - Robert Gilmore - Jesse Pratt

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 2, 1884
J. Willard Morgan
Heileman's Hall (John Heileman's saloon at 531 Market Street)

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 6, 1884
J. Willard Morgan

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 17, 1886
J. Willard Morgan

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 16, 1888

William J. Browning - Maurice A. Rogers - D. Cooper Carman
William J. Sewell - J. Willard Morgan - Adam Clark Smith
John Harris - W.B.E. Miller -
Frederick A. Rex
John Campbell Jr. -
Mahlon F. Ivins Sr. - Isaac Githens
E.A. Armstrong - Rev. Maurice Bronson
Col. A. Lowden Snowden -
Preston B. Plumb


Philadelphia Inquirer - August 3, 1889
J. Willard Morgan - William Joyce Sewell - William J. Browning
Christopher A. Bergen - E.A. Armstrong

Philadelphia Inquirer
September 4, 1889

James Ware
J. Willard Morgan
William Joyce Sewell
Stockton Park


Philadelphia Inquirer
January 14, 1890

Kaighn's Point Ferry Company
Herbert C. Felton
West Jersey Title & Guarantee Company
Samuel H. Grey -
John J. Burleigh 
William Casselman - D. Somers Risley
William J. Sewell - Peter L. Voorhees
William S. Scull - E.N. Cohn
Franklin C. Woolman -
Thomas E. French
Alexander C. Wood
Camden Heating & Lighting Company
E.A. Armstrong - J.E. Roberts
George Barrett -
J. Willard Morgan
William T. Bailey - David Baird Sr.
Howard M. Cooper - Rene Gillon


Philadelphia Inquirer - February 13, 1890
J. Willard Morgan - Robert L. Barber - Dr. A.P. Brown

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 11, 1895
...continued...
William Joyce Sewell
David Baird Sr.
J. WIllard Morgan
Thaddeus P. Varney
Robert Barber
J. Wesley Sell
Frank T. Lloyd
Thomas P. Curley
William A. Husted
William D. Brown
Arthur Bedell
Maurce A. Rogers
George Pfeiffer Jr.
Henry J. West
William Bettle
Louis T. DeRousse
Col. George Felton
Amos Richard Dease
Theodore B. Gibbs
William Barnard
...continued...

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 27, 1895
J. Willard Morgan - Henry J. West
William J. Thompson - H.M. Royal

Biographical Review  - 1897


Members of the Camden County Bar Association,
pose for a photograph during their annual shad dinner, around 1894.
Click on Image to Enlarge

From left (first row) Judge Charles Joline, Supreme Court Justice Charles Garrison, Judge Richard R. Miller, vice chancellor Henry C. Pitney, Supreme Court Justice Alfred Reed, Benjamin Shreeve, Caleb Shreeve, George H. Pierce; (second row) William Casselman, Edwin Bleakly, J. Willard Morgan, Peter Voorhees, Samuel Beldon, Frank Shreeve, Scuyler Woodhull, Lewis Starr, H. S. Scovel, George Vroom, Charles Wooster, and Howard Carrow; (third row) Samuel Robbins, 
E. A. Armstrong, Thomas Curley, unknown Philadelphia lawyer, Charles Stevenson, H. F. Nixon, Henry I. Budd, Israel Roberts.

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 14, 1897

J. Willard Morgan - John Blowe


Philadelphia Inquirer
February 2, 1898

John Campbell, Jr. - John Blowe
Henry B. Wilson Sr. - J. Willard Morgan
Harry Wolfe - Christopher J. Mines Jr.
John L. Westcott - Isaac Doughten
R.H. Reeve - Thaddeus P. Varney

Click on Images for Complete Article

...continued...

Cooper B. Hatch - Lewis H. Mohrman- Maurice Rogers - Charles M. Baldwin
Jesse C. Bond -
Camden Republican Club


Philadelphia Inquirer - October 16, 1898

William J. Browning

John Cherry
Joseph Burt
J. Willard Morgan
Harry C. Sharp
Caleb Williams
C.J. Mines Jr.
T.P. Varney
Fred W. George
James O. Smith
Edwin Hillman
Charles Hope
George W. Miles
Samuel Jaquillard


Philadelphia Inquirer
December 22, 1898

William Ilgenfritz
Jacob N. Wise - Charles Gordon
Victor Kline - Charles E. Wilson
Bessie Hughes - Mrs. Marshall
Cooper B. Hatch
John Foster
Harry C. Kramer
J. WIllard Morgan - Charles Baron 
George Cooper - Harry Miller
George Anderson
Edward Hartmann
James Ware
Joseph Nowrey
Mickle Street
Delaware Avenue -
Market Street
South 9th Street
Ferry Avenue
Vine Street
Front Street -
Arch Street


Philadelphia Inquirer - March 12, 1900

David Baird Sr. - J. Willard Morgan - Thaddeus P. Varney - John Truax

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 18, 1899

J. Willard Morgan - Camden Republican Club


Philadelphia Inquirer - January 24, 1900

J. Willard Morgan - William Joyce Sewell - David Baird Sr.
J.J. Burleigh - Col. A. Louden Snowden - Joseph P. McCall
L.B. Byers - James E. Hays - A. Seche 

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 18, 1902

 

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 31, 1903

Judge Charles V.D. Joline
Rev. Dr. J.B. Graw
Frank S. McPherson
Sig Schoenagle
Henry F. Stockwell
Joseph Leonard
Mrs. Emma Menard
J. Willard Morgan
Arthur Stanley
Frank Ford Patterson Jr.

Mahlon F. Ivins Sr.
South 9th Street
Ferry Avenue


Philadelphia Inquirer - September 5, 1903



David Baird Sr. - J. Wesley Sell - Frank F. Patterson Jr. - E.V.D. Joline
E. Ambler Armstrong -
Frank T. Lloyd - F. Morse Archer - Robert L. Barber
William J. Bradley -
William D. Brown - Thomas P. Curley - Charles F. Currie
Isaac W. Coles - E.W. Delacroix -
John J. Burleigh - John Cherry - William Graeff
Theodore Gibbs -
John S. Roberts - Henry J. West - George Pfeiffer Jr.
Irving Buckle - Samuel Wood - Jonathan Watson - Maurice Redrow
Richard R. Miller - Lwis H. Mohrman - David M. Anderson - G. WIlliam Harned
Edward H. Chew - William Coffin - Dr. John B. Davis -
Dr. Henry H. Davis
Samuel S. Elfreth - Charles H. Ellis - Levi Farnham - John Blowe - J. Palmer Earl
Samuel P. Jones - George W. Turner - Henry M. Snyder - Lewis Stehr Sr.
Charles P. Sayrs - Henry J. Rumrille - William M. Palmer - Frank Peterson
Martin J. O'Brien -
J. WIllard Morgan - J. Alpheus McCracken - John R. McCabe
A.G. McCausland - Joseph Kolb - John M. Kelly - E.E. Jefferies - Jacob S. Justice
Robert Jaggard - Harry L. Jones - Upton S. Jefferys - William Kettler
John D. Courter -
Dr. William S. Jones - Mahlon F. Ivins Sr.
Samuel G. Hufty - Ephraim T. Gill -
Francis Fithian 

Philadelphia Inquirer
February 25, 1906

Frank F. Patterson Jr.
Edward Van Dyke Joline
Howard Truax
Frank Voight
David Baird Sr.
J. Wesley Sell
Wiiliam J. Bradley
Charles G. Garrison
A.B. Endicott
Harry C. Loudenslager
J. Willard Morgan
Henry S. Scovel
Theodore Gibbs
Samuel P. Jones
John G. Horner
J. Boyd Avis
Wood McKee
W.H. Jackson
Frank Somers
Frank T. Lloyd
Edward S. Delacroix
F. Morse Archer
Harry Reeves
William D. Brown
Robert Leyburne
Theodore N. Patterson
Wolcott J. Patterson
Irving Buckle
Joseph Burt
Dr. William S. Jones
Dr. E.A.Y. Schellenger
Henry J. Cloud
Charles Middleton
Edward W. Humphreys


Camden Lodge No. 293, B. P. O. E.

CAMDEN, N. J., April 13, 1906

DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:

You are requested to attend the regular Stated Meeting, April 18, 1906, at 8 o'clock, at which time the following named applicants for membership will be balloted for:

CANDIDATE AGE OCCUPATION RESIDENCE ENDORSED BY COMMITTEE

Thomas H. Edwards

37 Shoe Man'f''g 423 Benson St.

Brother John H. Switzer

Bro. John Harris
Bro. W. Penn Corson
Bro. Asa L. Roberts

Francis. J. Bicker M.D.

46 Physician

Fillmore & Van Hook Sts.

Bro. John S. Smith

Bro. H.H. Davis
Fro. J. Willard Morgan
Bro. George B. Bond

Charles W. Bossle

31 Hatter 706 Linden Street

Bro. Joseph Bossle Sr.

Bro. J.R. McCabe
Bro. H.B. Francis
Bro. B.H. Shivers

John Morgan Jr. 

27 Real Estate Agent Merchantville, N.J.

Bro. John W. Barr

Bro. William F. Rex
Bro, D. Harry Condit
Bro. Frank E. Gardiner

Howard Callingham

23 Bookkeeper Orston, N.J.

Bro. Joseph Bossle Sr.

Bro. Thomas J. Moore
Bro. Samuel B. Crall
Bro. James H. Eyster

G. Frank Travis

34 Tailor 320 Spruce Street

Bro. John W. Barr

Bro. John H. Switzer
Bro. William G. Maguire
Bro. Charles W. Brecker

Theodore Stiles Jr.

42 Meat and Provision Dealer 27 N. Third Street

Bro. C.W. Brecker

Bro. Wm. Shillingsburg
Bro. James T. Bailey
Bro. P.S.D. Johnston

C.F. Taylor

35 General Storekeeper Collingswood, N.J.

Bro. Thomas J. Moore

Bro. Samuel B. Crall
Bro. James H. Eyster
Bro. H.I. Cooper

Frank Reiss

  Cotton Duck Salesman Collingswood, N.J.

Bro. S.H. Wilkinson

Bro. Thomas J. Moore
Bro. Samuel B. Crall
Bro. James H. Eyster

Edward M. Wright

35 Produce
Com. Merchant
Merchantville, N.J.

Bro. John Stewart

Bro. Al. L. Smith
Bro. M.W. Taylor
Bro. H.H. Voorhees

      Attest: J. FRED. NEWTON,                                                           ALEX. J. MILLIETTE,
                                             Secretary.                                                                              Exalted Ruler.

Bridgeton Evening News

February 16, 1909

J. Frank Shull - John S. Smith
Henry S. Scovel - Frank C. Sayres
E. Ambler Armstrong - Edmond O. Wilson
J. Willard Morgan - Charles B. Coles
Dr. F.R. Brace - Harry Douglass
A.C. Havens - T.W. Synott
P. Kennedy Reeves - Joseph Gaskill
H.O. Newcomb - S. Stanger Iszard
Israel G. Adams


Philadelphia Inquirer - December 27, 1909
David Baird Sr. - Edward C. Stokes - Harry Loudenslager - William J. Browning
Samuel K. Robbins - Floyd H. Bradley - Assemblyman Tatem - Albert DeUnger
George W. Whyte
- Joshua A. Borton - J. Willard Morgan - John J. Burleigh
Frank T. Lloyd - Isaac Moffett - Charles Van Dyke Joline
Judge West - Charles H. Ellis

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 23, 1912
North 5th Street - Linden Street - J. Willard Morgan

Camden Courier-Post - February 6, 1933

When G.O.P. Battled G.O.P.
Typical Convention Rumpus Stirred 'Regular' and 'True' Republicans as Gibbs and Morgan Were Nominated for Sheriff in '81

(Another in a series of articles on
Camden affairs and personalities of yesteryear
)

By BEN COURTER

Rival factions in the political conventions of long ago were more bitter toward one another than toward the common foe. So-called "rump" conventions were by no means exceptions. By "rump" was meant mereIy those who refused to play with the regulars and who set up the nominations, as did the Bull Moose on the national scale in the historic scrap of 1912 which resulted in the three-cornered battle of Wilson, Roosevelt and Taft, giving the Princeton professor the start that was to make him a world figure. Factions we still have, of course, and it is quite proper, since too much regularity often breeds party decay. But present-day political methods are certainly lacking in the spectacular rumpuses that stirred the rank and file in the period when delegates met and made their nominations.

In a recent article allusion was made to the Democratic convention of September 20, 1878, when Nathan T. Stratton, of Millville, was nominated for Congress by the Democrats in the midst of downright fisticuffs, when "liar" and "hypocrite" and worse was hurled about the hall.

Lest it may be assumed the party of Jefferson and Jackson only was given to such methods, it is fitting to give a picture on the other side of the political house. Dr. William H. Iszard's inexhaustible scrap book, loaned me by his son, former Assemblyman Iszard comes across with a copy of a tabloid political sheet, "The True Republican," which gives a recital of a battle royal in the G.O.P. ranks which will be of interest to some old-timers I know are still about.

Rival Conventions

That was the convention to nominate a sheriff called at Gloucester City Hall on Saturday, October 8, 1881, where we find the redoubtable Colonel James Matlack Scovel once more a moving factor, but this time in the ranks of the "regular Republicans" or at least so they called themselves as opposed to the "rump" set up by a rival group. Christopher J. Mines, long Fifth ward leader and later sheriff, apparently had been selected as temporary chairman with William A. Husted, who died last year well in his 70's, as secretary. But when that part of the delegation marched up to city hall, like the famed king's horses- they marched down again.

As a matter of fact, not much marching was done in the hall- for it was asserted by the "true Republicans" that when they essayed to enter the portals they found Colonel Scovel and Henry M. Jewett, father of Harry Jewett, a Camden newspaperman of the long ago and for years later Jersey editor of the Inquirer, in command. More, it was charged "people representing the worst elements of society" were on guard and presented a phalanx which even the huskies of the opposing force could not break. Mines was strong-armed by the minions of Scovel and Jewett and there was so much hooting and yelling and cussin' that the "true" part of the outfit walked out, all 29 of them, over to Moss' hall where they proceeded to carryon their convention to their own taste.

And all 29 of these valiant Republicans voted for Eli B. Morgan as their candidate for sheriff. You old timers will be interested in recalling these delegates who refused to kowtow to 'Colonel Jim.' In the Third ward there was James M. Lane, Charles S. Cotting and George Martin, in the Fourth, Husted, the Sixth, C. C. Smith, Thad Varney, Charles A. Sawyer; in the Seventh, Stephen Walters, Charles Lederman, William Simpson; in Gloucester, John W. Wright, David Anderson, Frank Mills, Robert Lafferty, Richard Allen, Jesse Daisey, Samuel Wood; in Haddon, Charles M. Macready, Elwood J. Haines: in Delaware, William Brick, William Graff, Isaac Coles; in Merchantville, Matthias Homer, William Naylor, and in Center, James Davis, Garrett Patton and Gilbert Shaw.

Hot Statement

These "true Republicans" in a statement to the party rank and file, under the Algeresque title of "Now or Never," scathingly said: "It becomes the duty of every Republican voter of Camden county, who has the future interest of the party at heart, to administer a severe and lasting rebuke to all candidates who employ the element and encourage the means that were used in controlling the Sheriff's convention at City Hall, Gloucester City. It discounted anything within the memory of the oldest Democrat inhabitant. What with Col. Joseph Nichols urging the crowd to go elsewhere and nominate Gibbs, and the immaculate Billy Warner of the Fifth ward ordering them to burst the door in, coupled with the commanding voice of that great patriot and life-long Republican, James M. Scovel, alias Mountain Partridge, together with the curses and threats from John Furey, Jack Quigley, Pud Young, Bill Derr, "Tar Heel" Jim Hayes, the able city solicitor, and a gang of Philadelphia roughs, a beautiful spectacle was presented."

The "Gibbs" mentioned was Theodore B. Gibbs who long lived in the white mansion on the banks of Clementon lake and whose ancient grist mills ground the grain for farmers from miles around. None in the county was held in higher esteem and in later years most of the valiant 29 were among his closest friends, unnecessary proof the political animosities are, as a rule, not very enduring. Gibbs was nominated by the "regular" Convention which ousted the 29 and a mighty hot shrievalty campaign ended on November 10 with his ejection, in spite of the "now or never" demand of his opponents headed by Eli Morgan.

The latter was a real estate man, son of Randall Morgan, elected sheriff by a whisker over "Ham" Bitten in 1869, and brother of J. Willard Morgan, long a Republican chieftain. It was the elder Morgan who defeated Bitten, a rough and ready character nominated as a joke, by a narrow squeak.

In the shrievalty scrap of 1881. Gibbs received 5381 and Morgan, 1189. Angus Camerson, the Democratic candidate was given 4450 votes. Nor did the "true" nominees for coroner fare any better. Sam Bennett, William Thompson and Alexander Powell being defeated by 'Doc' John D. Leckner, Jacob Justice and William Duble.

But the "true" Republicans licked their wounds and most of them were ready to "yen their heads off" when Colonel Scovel in later campaigns made the welkin ring with his call from the rostrum to wallop the enemy. If you now come across any of the few actors of that period still in the flesh an allusion to that "spectacle" of half century ago will sure bring one big chuckle with the declaration "them was the days."


Camden Courier-Post - June 19, 1933

A False Alarm of Long Ago 
Spectacular Run of Firemen and Steeds in '79 When First 
Alarm System Was Given Try-out

By BEN COURTER

THERE were two alarms of fire Saturday evening, one at Fourth and Hamilton streets at 8:29 o'clock, and another at the West Jersey Ferry, an hour later. People in the vicinity of the first-named place turned out to look at the machines propelled at lightning speed by snorting equines, and wondered what it was all about; and some of them thought the wide-awake fire boys were beside themselves, as they asked, for the particular house, in the neighborhood of box 24 upon which, with steam up, their apparatus was able to put on, the water. The firemen and people were quietly informed by a party that drove away in a barouche that it was a designed deception.

Under date of October 6, 1879, that was the introduction to a two-column story under a display headline. But, it was, a single line-"False Alarms." Readers of the period must have been as much mystified as were the firemen and citizens mentioned in the article, for it was not until more than half a column had been devoted to that incident that the public was let into the great secret. It was a test of the first fire alarm system introduced into Camden. 

Interest in that incident is revived by the city commissioners last week entering into a contract with that same concern to install in the new City Hall a system for somewhat more than $51,000. That first "system" cost the city $2000 but it was a big sum then and just about 10 times more space was devoted to it in the old Post than in the Courier-Post last Thursday week.

Paid Department 10 Years Old 

Camden's paid fire department in 1879 was just 10 years old. It already was winning approval of even the recalcitrants, who had asserted back in 1869, that the old volunteer companies would certainly be missed; that the "professionals" would not have as much interest in putting out a fire as the boys who ran with the Perseverance, the Weccacoe and other organizations, usually bitter rivals. Not infrequently the volunteers battled over hooking up their hose while the fire burned, a event by no means outgrown since that occasionally happens even now, as files of the newspapers prove.

But on that Saturday night 54 years ago, it developed that those who drove away in the mysterious barouche were J. W. Morgan, Crawford Miller and F. P. Pfeiffer; fire commissioners of city council, along with R. S. Bender and Thomas Beatty. They were but carrying out orders to see that the system worked and it was John T. Bottomley who issued those orders. He was Camden's big mill owner but more to the purpose in that particular incident, president of city Council. He had approved the fire alarm system but did not intend putting his O. K. on that $2000 bill until he had seen it in practical operation.

So unknown to the firemen, and the citizens as well, it was determined to test that system by way of turning in the alarms. So an alarm was pulled at 8.29 and "Bart" Bonsall, son of Henry L. Bonsall, publisher of the Post, narrates, in just 15 seconds flat the bell was sounded at No.1 Engine House at Fourth and Pine Streets. In two minutes hose cart No. 1 went bounding out with Driver George Hunt at the reins, followed by Ben Cavanaugh and his faithful nag "Jim" with cart No. 2. Then came Jake Kellum and William Davies with the engine No. 2 drawn by "Dolly" in 2.45. After that was engine No.1 driven by Edmund Shaw and the horse "Alec," coming along in 3 minutes and 5 seconds. It was explained Shaw was held up by the sandy roadway at Fourth and Line

Spectacular Sight 

Anyhow, it must have been a great sight for the old-time families who then resided along the Middle Ward Streets as the racing steeds bounded over Fourth Street, then into Third over a mighty bumpy roadway.

But they arrived and vainly sought the blaze. It was while they were hunting that the barouche came along and the commissioners let them into the great secret. "Bart" doesn't relate what the firemen said about the false alarm, but, like as not the heat of their expressions was a good substitution for the fire they failed to find. 

The system was one of those nine­day wonders that had the town on its toes. Everybody listened for the alarms in those days, for when they were sent in the bells in the fire houses pealed the number of the box. The strokes could be heard surprisingly far. Since there were but 11 boxes it was not long before many knew just where the fire was located and made a bee line for the scene. Old volunteers, particularly, never quite lost their interest in fires and, whenever they heard the alarm, hot footed it to the scene of excitement. 

That was all right when Camden was little more than a village, but as the community grew it became a serious proposition, since the racing citizens often interfered with the firemen. Thus about 30 years ago the fire bells were silenced. Now none know of an alarm coming in save the various houses and the Courier-Post which has a wire attached from headquarters bringing in the alarms so that reporters and cameramen may get on the scene quickly as possible. 

Ordinarily, little thought is given to the need for instant and accurate sounding of an alarm made possible through the expert work of City Electrician Jim Howell and his aides. If it were not for that perfection and the speed with which friend reach the scene the losses would he large. And the insurance companies would be around with a "pink slip" as they were some 20 years ago. That meant a 25 percent addition to fire rates. Camden's motorized department plus the work of City Electrician John W. Kelly soon rid the city of that "slip." 

That system of long ago didn't include the cops. Now it takes in both departments, as it has done since the days of Chief Samuel Dodd, back in the early 90's. 

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE