Robert
Bumbrey


 

ROBERT BUMBREY, along with Edward Phillips, were involved in the illegal lottery, or "numbers" racket which was the focus of much attention on the part of law enforcement in Camden in the years after the repeal of Prohibition. Bumbrey was reputed to be a "big shot" in the operation, and received a suspended sentence in January of 1939.

Looking at this from the point of view of 2003, in a state which has run a lottery for about 30 years, the idea that law enforcement spent time and resources on this activity seems rather silly. On the other hand, the bureaucracy that was created by Prohibition had to find something to do to justify its existence. Imagine if drugs were decriminalized or the need for welfare eliminated. All the DEA agents and social workers would be unemployed!

Robert Bumbrey appears to have been born in New Jersey around 1881. The census for 1930 lists his occupation as merchant. The cigar store mentioned in the news article below had been established before January of 1920. It was later run by Louis Bumbrey, and was known as Lou's Smoke Shop in the 1947 Camden City Directory. Robert Bumbrey appears in the 1930 Census at 735 Walnut Street.

A well known baseball team known as the Bumbrey Giants played in the independent amateur leagues that flourished in Camden in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. This team was most likely sponsored in whole or part by Robert or Louis Bumbrey.

Robert Bumbrey was struck by a car and killed on Kaighn Avenue on January 1, 1939.


725 Kaighn Avenue - November 9, 2003

CAMDEN COURIER-POST - JANUARY 12, 1938

CAMDEN COURIER-POST - JANUARY 27, 1938


New Jersey Mirror - January 4, 1939

Camden Man Killed

Robert Bumbrey, 57, colored, of 735 Walnut Street, Camden, a pedestrian, was killed at 4:40 on Friday morning when he was struck on the sidewalk at Eighth street and Kaighn Avenue, Camden, by an automobile that was hurled onto the walk by a collision with another car. Bumbrey died in West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital from internal injuries and a compound fracture of the leg. 

Drivers of the cars in the collision were Augustus Fisher, 25, of 1839 South Eighth street, Camden, and Ralph H. Deubel, 31, of 115 South Poplar avenue, Maple Shade. It was Fisher's car that killed Bumbrey.

Richard H. Watson, 50, of 26 South Spruce Street, Maple Shade, a passenger in Deubel's machine, suffered a head injury which was treated at West Jersey Hospital. Two other passengers, James A. Wharton, 22, of Company F, 18th Infantry, U.S.A., Staten Island, and Harry C. Bechler, 30, of 16 West Main Street, Maple Shade, were arrested by Policeman Fred Mueller, as the result of an altercation as he was taking them to the police accident bureau in a patrol wagon. 

Policeman Mueller charged Wharton with assault and battery on an officer and Bechler was held as a material witness. Bechler's wife, who was also in Deubel's car, reported the loss of a wrist watch valued at $15. Fisher and Deubel were held in $1,000 bail each on charges of death by automobile.


New Jersey Mirror - March 9, 1939

Damages aggregating $150,000 are asked by Mrs. Charlotte Bumbrey, 27, for the death of her husband, Robert Bumbrey, widely known sportsman who was fatally injured on New Year's Day when he was crushed by an automobile. 

The suit was filed last week in Camden county Supreme Court by Walter S. Keown, counsel for the plaintiff. Defendants named in the action are Augustus Fisher, of 1389 South 8th street, Camden, and Ralph H. Deubel, of 1125 South Poplar avenue, Maple Shade. 

Both were drivers of cars that collided at 4.40 a. m. on January 1 at Eighth Street and Kaighn Avenue, Camden. Bumbrey was walking along Kaighn Avenue with Thomas Mitchell, of 1858 South Eighth Street, when the cars skidded and crashed on the icy paving. The Fisher car careened to the sidewalk and Bumbrey was crushed between the car and steps in front of a store. He died three hours later in the West Jersey Hospital. Mitchell was not injured.


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