CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
TIME CAPSULE -
Camden Weekly Phenix & West Jersey Democrat Journal
May 22, 1858
The Camden Weekly Phenix and West Jersey Democrat Journal was published briefly in Camden during the late 1850s. It must not have been to succsseful or long-lived, as no mention of it appears in George Reeser Prowell's History of Camden County, New Jersey which was written in the 1880s.
The May 22, 1858 edition of this newspaper was included in the contents of a time capsule buried in June of 1858. This is how this page came to be:
In September of 2005, workmen employed by the FFC Construction Company of Gloucester City NJ were instructed to erect a fence at the south-west corner of Fifth and Federal as a safety precaution for pedestrians, as the recently installed River Line light rail tracks pass by the intersection. The workers were using a large auger to dig a hole for one of the fenceposts to be installed. At one point in the installation, the auger struck a metal box. The box, made of lead and sealed by having its seams welded, was penetrated. The workers looked at the contents, and seeing old newspapers and other artifacts, turned the box over to Mr. James Ferry, the owner of the company.
Mr. Ferry, whom I was acquainted with professionally but had only by telephone, mentioned the discovery to a mutual friend, Ed Neumann, who thought that it would be a good idea to copy as much of the printed material as possible for inclusion on this website. Mr. Ferry was in agreement. Due to circumstances beyond everyone's control, It was not until the first week of June 2006 that the contents of the box the were undamaged were turned over to me to be scanned for the Internet.
Upon examination, I determined that the time capsule was buried in June of 1858, when the new building of the Camden Mutual Insurance Association was dedicated at the southwest corner of Fifth and Federal Streets. In 1881 the business was renamed the Camden Fire Insurance Association. This building stood for about 40 years, and was replaced by a new building designed by architect Arthur Truscott, brother of then Association vice-president J. Lynn Truscott. The new building, known as the Camden Fire Insurance building, stood for about 100 years before being razed.
Among the contents of the time capsule was a copy of the May 22, 1858 edition of the Camden Weekly Phenix & West Jersey Democrat Journal, a four page newspaper published by Henry Curts. I've excerpted the articles of local interest.
Please contact me by e-mail with any comments or questions.
Soon To Come:
More June 1858 Newspapers from Camden
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