CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
Camden Lodge 111
Loyal Order of Moose
Though the Moose fraternal organization was founded in the late 1800s with the modest goal of offering men an opportunity to gather socially, it was reinvented during the first decade of the 20th century into an organizational dynamo of men and women who set out to build a city that would brighten the futures of thousands of children in need all across North America. The city of Camden NJ, and one individual in particular, Ralph W.E. Donges, played a role in the Moose organization that is still bearing good fruit well over 90 years after the good deeds were done.
When Dr. John Henry Wilson, a Louisville, Ky., physician, organized a handful of men into the Loyal Order of Moose in the parlor of his home in the spring of 1888, he and his compatriots did so apparently for no other reason than to form a string of men's social clubs. Lodges were instituted in Cincinnati, St. Louis, and the smaller Indiana towns of Crawfordsville and Frankfort by the early 1890s, but Dr. Wilson himself became dissatisfied and left the infant order well before the turn of the century.
It was just the two remaining Indiana Lodges that kept the Moose from disappearing altogether, until the fall of 1906, when an outgoing young government clerk from Elwood, Ind., was invited to enroll into the Crawfordsville Lodge. It was on James J. Davis' 33rd birthday, October 27, that he became just the 247th member of the Loyal Order of Moose.
Davis, a native of Wales who had worked from boyhood as an "iron puddler" in the steel mills of Pennsylvania, had also been a labor organizer and immediately saw potential to build the tiny Moose fraternity into a force to provide protection and security for a largely working-class membership. At the time little or no government "safety net" existed to provide benefits to the wife and children of a breadwinner who died or became disabled. Davis proposed to "pitch" Moose membership as a way to provide such protection at a bargain price; annual dues of $5 to $10. Given a green light and the title of "Supreme Organizer," Davis and a few other colleagues set out to solicit members and organize Moose Lodges across the U.S. and southern Canada. (In 1926, the Moose fraternity's presence extended across the Atlantic, with the founding of the Grand Lodge of Great Britain.)
Davis' marketing instincts were on-target: By 1912, the order had grown from 247 members in two Lodges, to a colossus of nearly 500,000 in more than 1,000 Lodges. Davis, appointed the organization's first chief executive with the new title of Director General, realized it was time to make good on the promise. The Moose began a program of paying "sick benefits" to members too ill to work--and, more ambitiously, Davis and the organization's other officers made plans for a "Moose Institute," to be centrally located somewhere in the Midwest that would provide a home, schooling and vocational training to children of deceased Moose members.
In Camden, Ralph W.E. Donges, like his father Dr. John Donges before him, became involved in politics and community affairs. On September 23, 1904 hew was named secretary of the First Congressional District branch of the Democrats. He had served as a legal aide to Woodrow Wilson prior to his election as president. An active member of several fraternal and professional organizations, he was already prominent in the Moose organization when he met the Vice-President Thomas Marshall on, Sunday, July 27, 1913. The purpose of the meeting was to arrange for Marshall to speak at the dedication of a home for fatherless children being started by the Loyal Order of Moose. Ralph Waldo Emerson Donges was presiding that year as Supreme Dictator. (The title of the fraternity's presiding officer was not changed to Supreme Governor until 1940.)
“I detest orphanages,” Marshall had irritably responded to Donges in initially trying to get out of the assignment. “When I was Governor of Indiana I was forced in the course of duty to visit a number of orphanages. I thought they were terrible places, and I won’t help you lay the cornerstone for another one.”
Donges, then 38, reassured the Vice President. “It will never be that kind of orphanage,” he said, referring to the dreary urban warehouses of abandoned children then common in the U.S.; places that got their income via donations from couples who would come to view children before selecting one to adopt. That’s not at all what the Moose were planning, Donges insisted: “It will be a home and school for the children of our deceased members.”
The orphanage the Moose opened up in 1913 is the Mooseheart Child City and School, a residential childcare facility owned and operated by Moose International. Located on a 1,200-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago, the Child City is a home for children and teens, from infancy through high school.
Besides Ralph W.E. Donges, many men from all walks of life in the city were members of Camden's Lodge. Postcards refer to the Moose Lodge as being on Federal Street. The Moose Lodge was at 635 Market Street by 1924, and a new lodge was dedicated at 808 Market Street in 1931. Thomas A. Colsey was chairman of the building committee at that time.
By 1947 the Moose were quartered at 315 Cooper Street, remaining at that location through 1959. The Lodge moved to Cherry Hill in the 1960s.
In Camden the Moose sponsored a variety of civic and social activities, including amateur boxing tournaments during the Depression years.
In 2005 the Moose have no presence in Upper Camden County. There are, however, chapters in the surrounding towns of Burlington, Hainesport, Lindenwold, Clementon, and Paulsboro.
|Philadelphia Inquirer - January 27, 1912|
|Ralph W.E. Donges - Third Regiment Armory (Convention Hall II)|
|Philadelphia Inquirer - July 5, 1912|
Jarvis - Frank
J. Hartmann Sr. - William
Jann - State
Elks - Moose - Owls - Eagles - Tall Cedars of Lebanon
|Philadelphia Inquirer - August 5, 1916|
|Charles H. Ellis|
|Camden Courier-Post - June 13, 1933|
'HURRY UP BRIDE' OFFERED BY MOOSE
The Moose Dramatic Club will present their twelfth musical comedy this evening when they offer "Hurry Up Bride" directed by George Scherer and George Stratton.
Those having prominent roles include George Hess, George Simon, Tony Guilmo, Virginia Myers, Virginia Roth and Mary Colsey. The chorus, consisting of Agnes Black, Rose Simon, Sadie Colsey, Edna Blow, Eleanor Simon, Dorothy Curry, Dot LeFevre, Lillian Evans, Alice Haley, Anna Sweeten, Al Colsey and Joseph Stauts, will add to the entertainment.
There will be dancing with music furnished by Al Pattison and Cavaliers after. the play.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 13, 1933|
|CONCERT TO PRECEDE JR. O. U. A. M. DANCE
A benefit concert and ball will be given by the Thomas Jefferson Council, No. 138, of the Jr. Order of Mechanics, on Friday evening.
The affair will be held in the Moose Hall, Camden, with the concert beginning at 8 o'clock.
Charles E. Creswell is the chairman and is being assisted by Charles Wintling, Harry Schaefer, Frank Covely, John Knowles, Daniel Eckert and Albert Bartling.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 21, 1933|
|Camden Courier-Post - June 21, 1933|
|WOMEN Of MOOSE INSTALL OFFICERS
Newly-Elected leaders Entertained by More Than 200 Members
The Auxiliary of the Camden Lodge of Moose will install officers tonight at the lodge headquarters, Eighth and Market Streets, with members of the Trenton Moose auxiliary offilciating.
To be installed are Alice Dudley, past senior regent; Helen Maisch, senior regent; Lottie Ruright, junior regent; Margaret Lewis, chaplain; Sarah Carr, recorder; Rosina Hoover, treasurer; Anna Kohl, guard; May Peard, assistant guard; Sophie Blumenstetter, sentinel; Reba Timberlake, argus, and Helen Kane, pianist.
The ceremonies will be held in the auditorium beginning at 8.30 p.m.
|Camden Courier-Post - August 10, 1933|
TEAM SEEKS SECOND TRACK WIN
Camden Moose track and field,
face its second opponent in
the A. A. U. Tournament tonight when it engages West Philadelphia A.A.,
at the Collingswood High School
opened its campaign in the tourney last week and scored an easy victory
over the Disabled Veteran. team. Tonight's events, of which there will
be 10, will get under way at 6.15 o'clock.
Philadelphia has one of the strongest teams in the tourney, and will be
the supreme test for the charges of A. G. Ungerleider. Among the
athletes who will compete for the invaders are Klemm and Detweiler,
formerly of Penn, and Thornber, A. A. U. sprint champion.
Quaker City team has other college athletes on its roster, and will be
an even favorite to defeat the Moose tracksters. However, Camden's team
also is formidable, and the meet is not expected to be decided by a
Johnson, Camden High School star, captured the 100 and 220-yard dashes
in the first meet, and will be a strong contender for honors in those
events tonight, although he faces a speedy opponent in Thornber.
is considerably strong on the track, having Frank McFadden, former
Camden Catholic High athlete, for the half-mile, and Bevados, of Camden
High, in the mile test.
Conover, captain of the local team, is expected to make a good showing
in the field events, in which the Camden team is slightly weak. Conover
won the high jump last week and placed in the broad-jump. The Moose team
has created considerable interest and last week's meet was witnessed by
a large crowd. No admission will be charged to the contest.
Another tournament meet tonight brings together Shanahan and Germantown, at the latter's grounds.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1936|
BALL SLATED BY JEWISH FEDERATION
The fourteenth annual ball of the Federation of Jewish Charities will be held in the Moose Home February 23. In existence 16 years, the Federation during the past year has merged all Jewish charitable groups in Camden into its organization. Tanya Roll and Samuel Shane head the committee in charge.
Camden Courier-Post - February 24, 1936
FEDERATION HOST TO 400 AT BALL
The thirteenth annual ball of the Federation of Jewish Charities attracted more than 400 guests last night
to Moose Hall.
Four organizations of Jewish community workers' have united in an
extensive program of the federation engaged in civic and welfare
programs. They are the Hebrew Welfare Society, the Hebrew Ladies
Society, the Talmud Torah and the
A program of entertainment and dancing featured last night's event.
Among entertainers were Marci Dutkin, 10-year-old Camden "Dancing
Doll", Frank Arena, of "Gold Diggers of 1935", and Eddie
stage star. Music was provided by Sam
Yellin's Black Cat Serenaders. The floor show was under direction of
Samuel Shane was chairman of the ball committee with the following
co-chairman: Mrs. Martin Koll, Morris Rapkin, Lewis Weinstein, Samuel
Zaslow and Alex Malamut.
Among the women Federation assisting at the affair were Mrs. H. Kaplan, Mrs. Samuel Shane, Mrs. V. Gerber, and Mrs. F. Bloom.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 27, 1936|
LODGE TO HONOR DEGREE TEAM MEMBERS
Lodge of Moose will honor its trophy-winning degree team at a special
meeting tonight in the Moose Home, Eighth and Market streets.
team, consisting of staff and drill members, won the trophy offered by the
New Jersey State Moose Association at last year's state convention in
Trenton in ·competition with degree teams of other lodges.
will be made by Carroll J. Riley, of Bridgeton, vice-president
of the state association, of which
Frank R. Wendler, of the Camden
Lodge, is secretary. This will be followed by entertainment and
Members of the degree team are Albert Saumenig, captain, Harry Schwartz, Charles Hamilton, Charles Harrison, John Jeffries, Stephen Walter and Albert Colsey, staff; and Nathan Sweeten, Harry Hart, Edward Fox, John Carson, Francis Curry, Peter McEvoy, John Evans, Harry Truran, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Edward Bray, Ralph Del Plazzo, Frank Baker, John Thompson, James Trent and Charles Shaw, drill.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1938|
LODGE HOST TO NEW MEMBERS
Camden Lodge of Moose, No. 111, will stage the first initiation of its 1938 campaign for new members tonight in the Moose auditorium, 808 Market street.
One of the largest crowds ever is expected, with the local lodge playing host to the Hammonton lodge on the same night.
new membership campaign is sponsored by the Supreme Lodge, Loyal Order
of Moose, Membership committee, in honor of the twenty-
In June, 1913, Supreme Court Justice Ralph W. E. Donges, then Supreme Dictator of the Loyal Order of Moose, dedicated Mooseheart City, now celebrating its silver anniversary.
Moosehaven Governor Thomas A. Colsey and Al Rosenheck, past dictator, have been named by Dictator George J. Scherer to head the campaign for new members in Camden.
The degree staff and team will be attired in their new uniforms for the occasion and will be headed by Leon B. Heffelfinger, Joseph B. Jones and Charles Hughes.
Another feature of the night will be a birthday party for all members who joined the lodge during February of any year. Scherer will call the meeting to order at 8 p. m.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1938|
JUNIOR MOOSE GRADS TO ORGANIZE ALUMNI
Junior Moose graduates of Camden Lodge, No. 111l, L. O. O. M. will organize a Junior Moose Alumni Association tonight.
Temporary officers are Raymond E. Hart, president, and vice-dictator of
Camden senior lodge; Stephen L. Walter, vice-president, and Frank R.
Wendler, secretary of the senior lodge, secretary.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 12, 1938|
Camden Courier-Post - July 22, 1941
DONATIONS MOUNT IN
Contributions to the United Service Organizations continued to flow in yesterday.
The money will be used for recreational programs for men in the armed forces of the nation through clubs, which are being established adjacent to army and navy cantonments.
Total receipts as announced by Ralph Vasso, chairman of the volunteer gift committee, were $14,575.58. The goal set up for Camden in the nationwide appeal for contributions is $21,000.
Funds are being sent by mail, and delivered in person to headquarters of the U.S.O. in the Camden County Chamber of Commerce offices, Sixth and Penn streets, Sidney P. McCord, city comptroller, is treasurer of the committee.
Yesterday's contributors are: I.ouis Seitchik, $50; employees of Louis Seitchik, $125; Camden County Girl Scouts, $5; Alice B. Eaton, $3; Mrs. T. T. Eaton, $2; Dealers Liquor Company, additional $5; Minters Distributors, $10; John W. Whitecar,
$10; Loyal Order of Moose, $10; General Chemical Company, $25;
house-to-house collection, Parkside
section, $7.35; collections by cans in motion picture theatres, $21.65; Sam Slutsky. $5.
Seventh & Cooper Street - 1926 to Present
|The Elks Home on Cooper Street - 1920s||The Elks Home on Cooper Street - 1920s|
|Click on Image to Enlarge|
Moose of Camden Lodge No. 111
|John A. Burke||William B.M. Burrell|
|William Penn Corson|
|Charles H. Davenport||Neil F. Deighan Sr.||Ralph W.E. Donges|
|Byron H. Edwards|
|William J. Kelly||George W. Kephart||Harry Gill Knowles|
|Wilbert V. Pike Sr.|
|Frederick Reeve||Leslie Reeve||Paul Reihmann|
|John F. Rittenhouse||John T. Rodan||Dr. Horace L. Rose|
|Raymond Campbell Thoirs||Leon Todd||Robert Turner|
|John J. Welsh||Frederick Wielandt||Albert S. Woodruff|
Women's Order of Moose Camden Lodge No. 385
|Marie B. Simon|
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