LEONARD JESS MEGEE was born in Marlton, New Jersey on November 24, 1886 to Mary and Robert Megee. The family had moved to 230 Benson Street in Camden by the summer of 1900. Leonard Megee married at the age of 19 and was living with his wife Emma at 550 South 3rd Street when the 1906 City Directory was compiled. He then worked as a railroad fireman, feeding coal to the steam engines that were then employed. The Megees were still at 550 South 3rd Street when the Census was taken in 1910. By then a son, Leonard H. Megee, had been born. At least three more children would be born to Emma and Leonard J. Megee. In January of 1920 the family, which then included sons Leonard H. and Harold J. Megee and daughters Beatrice and Evelyn Megee, lived at 407 Royden Street in South Camden. Leonard J. Megee was then working as a janitor in one of Camden's public schools. On January 1, 1921 he bgan his service with the Camden Fire Department, possibly through the influence of James Tatem, who served as Camden's Chief of Police for a time in the mid-1920s. When the Census was taken in April of 1930, the Megee family lived at 613 South 5th Street, the corner of South 5th and Royden Streets. James Tatem was their next door neighbor at 615 South 5th Street, and Albert Fogg, a clerk at Camden's City Hall, resided at 617. Just around the corner at at 458 Royden Street was Camden policeman Nathan Pettit, at 456 was Camden fire fighter John Lutts. Fire Department records from 1931 show Leonard Megee living at 509 Benson Street.
Leonard Megee's son Harold J. Megee followed his father into the Camden Fire Department. He was appointed to the department on July 16, 1937 and was assigned to Engine Company 7 on Kaighn Avenue above Mount Ephraim Avenue, where he reported for duty on July 19, 1937.
Leonard J. Megee served as acting Battalion Chief in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was slightly injured while in that capacity in January of 1938.
On March 18, 1941, firemen arrived at a working fire in a vacant dwelling at Chelton Avenue and Mulford Street, South Camden. As the blaze was being extinguished, Fireman William Comerford discovered a moonshine still on the second floor. The building had been a contraband whiskey factory. Acting Chief Megee summoned police who confiscated fifteen gallons of moonshine.
A story in the Courier Post of August 14, 1941, reported that the Department used a new piece of equipment for the first time while extinguishing a blaze near South 7th and Chestnut Streets, South Camden. This new appliance enabled firemen to connect two leads of inch and one-half hose to the larger two and one-half inch line, thereby providing two independent streams of water and allowing firemen to access areas they previously had difficulty reaching. Acting Chief Leonard Magee praised this new device called the wye, and predicted its widespread use in the future.
When he registered for the draft in the spring of 1942 Leonard Megee was living at 512 Stevens Street. By the time the 1947 Directory was compiled Leonard and Emma Megee had moved to 1251 Kenwood Avenue in Parkside. The Directory states that his rank in the Camden Fire Department at that time was Captain.
In November of 1949, with Chief of Department Walter A. Mertz looking to retire, Leonard J. Megee one of two Battalion Chief's being considered for the post. Sadly, Leonard J. Megee passed away on November 16, 1949. His widow was still residing at the Kenwood Avenue address, according to the New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory, in October of 1956.
Harold Megee was promoted to Captain and transferred to Engine Company 8, 619 Kaighn Avenue, on April 6, 1948. He was reassigned on December 22, 1949 to Engine Company 6, Front and Linden Streets, where he served until June 15, 1951, when he was again transferred, this time to Engine Company 9 at North 27th Street and Federal Street in East Camden, not far from his home at 3083 Carman Street. Captain Megee served at Engine 9 until he retired on a disability pension on March 6, 1963.
Camden Post-Telegram * December 30, 1920
|Camden Courier - May 22, 1925|
|Camden Courier-Post - January 11, 1938|
|Camden Courier-Post * June 5, 1940|
CHANGES ANNOUNCED IN FIRE DEPARTMENT
Truck Disbanded, Engine Company Created; 13 Men Transferred
Commissioner Mary W. Kobus yesterday announced a number of changes in the fire department, including the disbanding of Truck Company No. 4; creation of a new engine company. No. 10, and the transfer of 18 officers and men, 12 of them captains.
Most of the new captains have been serving as acting captains and promotion to full rank will involve no pay increases, inasmuch as the men signed waivers foregoing the raises.
Commissioner Kobus explained most of the changes were made to conform with regulations of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. The board, Mrs. Kobus explained, made a survey of the department and advised appointments of acting captains to full rank.
The commissioner also announced she had appointed Junior Captain Raymond Smith as director of the school for firemen at Engine Company No. 10, Ninth and Morgan streets. Smith, one of the youngest at the recently appointed junior captains, will succeed the late Battalion Chief Rollo Jones.
Junior Captain William Spencer, of headquarters company, was named relief captain.
Engine Company No. 10 will use
the headquarters of the old truck
Other assignments are as follows:
The changes were contained in notice to the Civil Service Commission, are effective as of June 1 and will appear on the June 15 payroll.
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