William
W.
Mines


WILLIAM W. MINES was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department, entering service on September 2, 1869 as the Assistant Marshall, a post similar in nature to that of Deputy Chief.

William W. Mines was born in Camden, New Jersey on April 12, 1843 to Christopher J. Mines Sr. and his wife, the former Elizabeth Keen. He was the oldest of eleven children, coming before Christopher Jr., Jesse K., Hannah, Marcus H., Elizabeth, Charles, Rachel, George W., Kate, Elmer E., and Henry W. Mines. Christopher Mines Sr. was active in local politics and civic affairs. A Carpenter by trade, Christopher Mines taught his son William that profession and he followed it into the 1870s.

In the years before the Civil War William W. Mines became active as a volunteer firefighter with Independence Fire Company No. 1. George Reeser Prowell wrote about the two companies in his History of Camden County, New Jersey which was published in 1886.

The Independence Fire Company No. 1, organized with Lambert F. Beatty, president; William S. Frazer, secretary ; and Joseph Wagner, treasurer. Among the early members were Jacob Prettyman, David Page, Thomas Stites, Andrew Stilwell, Francis E. Harpel, Restore Cook, John Wallace, Claudius W. Bradshaw, William H. Hawkins, Christopher J. Mines, Henry Bradshaw, William E. Walls, William Howard, Albert Dennis, Elwood Bounds, Samuel H. Stilwell, Albert V. Mills, Robert S. Bender, Lewis Yeager, Thomas McCowan and William W. Mines. The company met in a building at Third Street and Cherry for a year, when it was burned. Lewis Yeager gave the company free use of a lot on Third Street, above Cherry, where an engine-house of slabs, donated by Charles Stockham, was built. In 1853 a lot on Cherry Street, above Third, was purchased and on it a frame house was built. This was used until 1859, when, owing to a defect in the title, the sheriff advertised the property for sale. When he reached the ground on the day of the sale he found the house, with its contents, and a number of the members of the company, on an adjoining lot belonging to James B. Dayton, who permitted the action. The following year, 1860, they bought and built, on the north side of Pine Street, above Fourth, a three-story brick, then the most complete fire-engine house in Camden, and which was sold for four thousand five hundred dollars to the city. The Independence was a hose company until June 4, 1864, when they secured an Amoskeag engine, being the first fire-engine in use by the fire companies of Camden. Early in 1869 they  purchased a larger engine and when the volunteer firemen were scattered, in the latter part of that year, they sold the Amoskeag to Millville, and the later purchase was kept until 1874, when it was sold to the city. Lambert F. Beatty, John Wallace, William H. Hawkins, J. Kelly Brown, William W. Mines and Edward Gilbert were presidents of the Independence, while its secretaries have been William L. Frazer, William W. Mines, Mortimer C. Wilson and Thomas McCowan ; and the treasurers Joseph Wagner and Robert S. Bender, who, elected in 1854, served until October 13, 1874, when, with a roll of sixty members, they met. President Gilbert in the chair, paid all claims against them and formally disbanded.

On April 25, 1861 William W. Mines enlisted in the Union Army as a First Sergeant. He was assigned to Company G, Fourth Infantry Regiment New Jersey on 27 Apr 1861. 

The Fourth Regiment--Militia, was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr., serving under him were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R. Stroud and Major Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned officers and 743 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777. On the evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th it was ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a few days the entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was honored by a visit from the president, who warmly complimented the appearance of the troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the 2nd and 3d regiments and about midnight took up the line of march in silence for the bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was crossed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted at Roach's spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the Alexandria road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for a section of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important to hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge; still another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of the regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861. The total strength of the regiment was 783, and it lost by discharge 6, by promotion 2, by death 2 and by desertion 7, mustered out, 766.

William W. Mines was among those who mustered out with Company G, 4th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on July 31, 1861 at Trenton, NJ. 

Several men who served with Company G became members of the Camden Fire Department after it was founded in 1869, including Benjamin Cavanaugh, J. Kelly Brown, Henry F. Surault, Edward Mead, William Cox, James M. Lane, and William Gleason. Other Fourth Infantry men who served included Theodore A. Zimmerman, Charles G. Zimmerman, William C. Lee, George B. Anderson, Jesse Chew, William H.H. Clark, Cornelius M. Brown, John J. Brown, Benjamin Connelly, and G. Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.

William W. Mines married Caroline Helm on February 21, 1862. The marriage produced six children, beginning with William W. Mines Jr. in 1862, and followed by Abraham L., Carolyn, Ella, Dillwyn Pancoast Mines, and Maurice Rogers Mines.

Despite opposition, on September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of Department) and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William Abels, from the Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William W. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal for the 2nd District. Abels had served with the volunteer fire departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.

When Chief Abels was replaced by Robert S. Bender as Chief of the Fire Department, William W. Mines, who had served as a volunteer with Bender with Independence, and William H. Shearman stayed on in their positions as Assistant Marshals. When Bender took a leave of absence in September of 1872, Mines and Shearman stepped down. They were replaced by Isaac McKinley and Charles M. Olden.

William W. Mines lived at 255 Pine Street when he joined the Fire Department. He was a carpenter by trade. He had moved to 259 Pine Street by the spring of 1872.

Nominated in February, in March of 1873 William W. Mines ran for City Council in Camden as a Republican. He defeated Alonzo Johnson for that post, garnering 430 votes to 348 cast for Johnson.

The Mines family had moved to 236 Pine by the summer of 1880. The family remained at that address as late as 1888. By the latter half of of 1890 they had moved to 1021 South 2nd Street. William W. Mines had moved to 328 Mount Vernon Street by the end of 1894.

Returning to public life, by 1885 and as late as 1899 William W. Mines served the City of Camden as chief engineer and superintendent of the city water department.

When the census was taken in 1900 William and Caroline Mines were still living at 328 Mount Vernon Street. He was working as a cashier. Only son Maurice was still at home. By 1906 he had gone back in business as a contractor. He was still living at 328 Mount Vernon Street when the 1906 City Directory was compiled.

The 1910 Census shows that William W. Mines had remarried. He was living in East Camden at 235 North 32nd Street with his wife Mary, 43, and step-daughter Esther Armstrong, 18. William W. Mines was in business as a cement contractor at the time. By 1914 they had moved to 1224 Haddon Avenue in Parkside. William W. Mines is not listed in the 1918-1919 Camden City Directory or the 1920 Census, and given his age, it is likely that he had passed away.

William W. Mines was a member of the William B. Hatch Post No. 37, Grand Army of the Republic.

William W. Mines' brother Christopher Mines Jr. was politically active and served as Camden County Sheriff as well as holding other government posts. A nephew, Dr. Marcus H. Mines, practiced medicine in Camden for many years. William W. Mines' brothers-in-law, Benjamin Cavanaugh and Joseph Cavanaugh, both served as members of the Camden Fire Department in the 1870s and early 1880s.


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 - June 8, 1897
J. Fred Newton - Frank S. Jones
William Mines - William Calhoun - Charles Shaw - Frank S. Fithian - Ulie G. Lee
Charles Hillaker -
Frank S. Jones - Bowman H. Shivers - John Kenney - William P. Osler
Earl W. Bennis - William B. Doyle -
Fred George

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 8, 1903

Charles G. Garrison - Dr. John R. Davis - William H. Carter - Harry L. Foulke - Harry A. Goodman
Howard Lee - Robert Lee - Cyrus D. Marter - William W. Mines - Edward Mills - George J. Schneider
William D. Wilson - Joseph Goddard - Robert Washington - Charles H. Peters




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