THE YEAR 1917

SPAN OF A CENTURY
1828-1928

100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY

COMPILED FROM NOTES ANDS DATA COLLECTED BY
CHARLES S. BOYER

PRESIDENT CAMDEN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PUBLISHED BY
CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE
OF CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AND NOTES BY PHILLIP COHEN IN 2003

Parkside Baptist Church dedicated December 9, 1917.

Parkside M.E. Church dedicated June 10, 1917.

Reverend Gilbert R. Underhill, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church for fifteen years, left early in the year for a mission in the Philippine Islands.

It was reported in January 1917 that Camden citizens at that time contributed $14,000 to war sufferers in Europe.

   

General John A. Mather died suddenly on February 11, 1917. He had a distinguished career, rising from private in the National Guard to be a Brigadier General. He commanded the 3rd Regiment, National Guard of New Jersey, from August 13, 1903 to February 25, 1913.

   

Richard H. Reeve, one of the founders of the firm of R.H. & B.C. Reeve, pioneer manufacturers of oil cloth in Camden, died at the age of 77 years on February 10, 1917.

   

Camden County Chapter of the American Red Cross was organized in February of 1917. Dr. Daniel Strock was chosen president.

   

John J. Burleigh, for many years a prominent railroad man and financier in Camden, died on February 18, 1917, aged 62 years.

   

The first preparatory move in America’s entry into the World War came on February 27, 1917 when a telegram came to the Camden County Chapter, American Red Cross, to make “adequate preparation to carry out the work for which the Red Cross is chartered by Congress"

   

The large tower on the Victor Building, containing the picture, “His Master’s Voice” was illuminated for the first time March 5, 1917.

   

The historic Carpenter Mansion, at 38 North 2nd Street and the home of the later Judge Thomas P.O. Carpenter, was torn down in April 1917

  

Mayor Charles Ellis appointed 200 prominent merchants and businessmen as a Public Safety Committee to safeguard the property of Camden citizens in case of war.

   

Upon the declaration of war with Germany on April 2, 1917 the Camden police, under Chief Gravenor, began a house-to-house canvas in preparing a war census of the city.

   

A patriotic mass meeting was held in the Tabernacle, April 21, 1917. Vice President Thomas R. Marshall was the speaker.

  

A City Garden Farms Committee was appointed in May 1917 to encourage gardening in vacant lots, etc., as a war measure.

   

In the first call for 500,000 men, under the Selective Draft Law, Camden was required to furnish 531 men. The U.S. War Department estimated that there were in Camden 10,623 young men eligible for military service.

   

Rocco Palese, the first lawyer of Italian birth to be admitted to practice in Camden County, was tendered a banquet May 29, 1917.

  

Camden’s official enrollment on June 5, 1917 under the Selective Service Law was 11,299. In Camden County 4,969 were enrolled, making a grand total of 16,268.

   

Red Cross War Council formed in May 1917 with Charles K. Haddon, Chairman; Harry Humphreys, Vice Chairman, David Baird, Treasurer, and William L. Hurley, Secretary. The first campaign for money resulted in subscriptions amounting to $173,140.42

   

New building of Parkside M.E. Church dedicated June 10, 1917.

   

The personnel of the County Draft Boards first appointed in Camden County were as follows:
Dr. Grant E. Kirk

 

Women as guards at unprotected crossings were first placed on duty by the West Jersey & Seashore Railroad on July 1, 1917.

   

No fireworks were permitted in Camden on July 4, 1917 because of the war.

The 3rd Infantry Regiment, National Guard of New Jersey, Battery B, Field Artillery, and the newly formed Company of Engineers, who were called into duty by President Woodrow Wilson, were given a fitting farewell by the citizens of Camden on July 25, 1917. Men, women, and children wept as these fine men marched off to the greatest war in history. The soldiers first trained at Sea Girt NJ and went from there to Anniston AL.

   

Drafting men from those registered on June 5, 1917 for the new army began in Camden on August 6, 1917. On the first physical examination about 75  percent of the men passed.

Camden’s unit of the new State Militia was mustered in by Major Harry C, Kramer on August 24, 1917.

   

Camden’s first contingent of selective servicemen for the army left September 4, 1917 for Camp Dix, Wrightstown NJ. The second contingent left on September 19, 1917. Patriotic demonstrations occurred when these boys left for camp..

The women of Camden were busy knitting sweaters and making other comforts for the soldiers during the fall and winter of 1917-1918.

The campaign for U.S. War Savings Stamps was first started in Camden on December 11, 1917 with Charles K. Haddon in charge.

   

Walter J. Staats, Fuel Administrator for Camden, opened an office at 311 Market Street on December 17, 1917.

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