STEWART SMITH was born in Camden, New Jersey in August of 1876 to
William Henry Smith and the former Harriet C.
Stewart. The Smiths had
wed around 1860, and gave their first child,
William Henry Smith Jr., on March 20, 1862 in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. By 1870 four more children
had arrived, Carrie, Virginia, Augustus D., and Charles N.; sadly,
Carrie had died before her fifth birthday. The family was still living
in Philadelphia when the 1870 Census was taken. William Henry Smith was
then working as a harbor policeman. In April of 1873 another daughter
was born, Sue G. Smith. The family moved to Camden, New Jersey shortly
after her arrival. The 1874 City Directory shows the family at 729 Carman
in Camden. By 1877 the family was living at 726
Street. Son Charles N. Smith died in 1877, another son, Howard
M. Smith had been born in 1874 and by the end of 1877, Mrs. Smith
had given birth again, to Clarence S. Smith. The Smith family was still
residing at 726 Federal
Street when the 1880 Census was enumerated in
June of that year. Another son, Walter H.
Smith, had recently been born. Two more sons would follow, Crawford
Smith and Roy A.
Smith. Howard, Walter, and Roy would all go on to public service in
Camden. The 1882 City Directory shows that the family had moved to 14 South 8th Street.
the 1880 Census states that William Smith Sr. worked as a clerk, his
really occupation was that of a "policy writer", that is to
say, he was engaged is the illegal lottery business, popularly know in
our time as "the numbers racket. Known in and about Camden as
"Policy Bill", he was arrested a number of times during the
1880s and had been given a one-year prison sentence in early 1883, which
was reduced in February to a $100 fine and a $1000 bond not to go back
into the "policy" business... which he promptly did. The 1882
City Directory shows the Smith
family at 14 South 8th Street
and they stayed their until 1889. "Policy
Bill" was arrested again during police raids in January and May of
September 9, 1886 William Henry "Policy Bill" Smith Sr. died, leaving
Harriet Smith to
take care of nine children, five of them under the age of 15. One of the
ways she kept the family going was by staying in the family business of
"policy", and she would have a number of encounters with the
law through the rest of the decade and the 1890s. Her house was raided
in the first part of 1887, and she attempted suicide in June of that
year. In November of 1889, the Smiths were living in the unit block of
North 10th Street when there home was again raided.
William H. Smith Jr.,
popularly best known as W. Harry
already working, and by 1890 second son Augustus D. Smith found work as
a blacksmith. W. Harry Smith began involving himself in local politics
in Camden's 9th Ward as a Republican, and over the years this served him
and the Smith family well. By August of 1890 Harriet
Smith and family had moved to
Street. Except for a brief interruption in the 1890s, the
Smith family and their descendants would remain on this block into the
best that can be determined as of this writing, Harriet
of trouble until 1895.
City Directory has Harriet
Smith and her family at 758 Federal
the 1895 edition has them at 750 Federal
Smith and her unmarried
sons lived at that address until at
Daughter Virginia had married William N. Ferrell in 1887 and lived for the
most part in Gloucester County until her death in 1924. Daughter Sue
had married John Warner Kinsey Jr. on
November 26, 1892. They already had a daughter together, Ethel,
born on March 21, 1892. The marriage ended in divorce, with Sue
Smith Kinsey going back to live with her mother and brothers and retaining custody of her daughter.
April of 1895 Harriet
Smith was indicted by the grand jury in
Camden. She was tried and on May 24 sentenced to a year in prison.
Although claiming ill-health, she received no support from
Camden's medical community nor the sentencing Judge. Her sentence
was commuted on July 16, 1895 by the New Jersey State Board of
Pardons, on the grounds that others who had been tried at the same
time she was had escaped imprisonment, and to be honest, on the
basis of her sex. Her son, Howard
M. Smith, had married Helen
Goldy Penn the day before. The young couple moved in with Helen's
family at 822 Kimber
the month of July 1895 was out, daughter Sue Smith Kinsey was due
in front of a judge on "policy" charges. Both Harriet
Smith and her daughter were arrested again is September of 1895,
and indictments were brought. These charges and those made against
others were quashed. Harriet
Sue were arrested again on February 10, 1896. Augustus Smith died in Camden on November 17. 1896 and was
buried at Harleigh Cemetery. Sue
Smith Kinsey married Harry J. Wagner
Sr., on August 23, 1897. They set up house at 747
Smith married Mary Thomas in Camden on September 8, 1897. The 1898
City Directory shows him at 736 Federal
Street, working as a clerk. A daughter, Harriet
Florence Smith, was born on November 10, 1898.
October of 1898 Harriet
Smith and her sons were under
indictment again, and appear to have all moved to Philadelphia to
escape prosecution. In 1900 Census Harriet
Smith, and her
five living sons were listed at 506
Hope Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, however Clarence Smith
and his family are also listed in Camden at 428 South
2nd Street, the home of Mary's parents, Stephen L. and Martha
Thomas. Clarence Smith was working as a day laborer. The 1902 City
Directory shows Clarence and Mary Smith at 830 Line
Street, and that he was working as an ironworker.
1904 City Directory shows Clarence Smith and his family living at 609
North 6th Street were his mother Harriet
Smith, brothers W.
as well as Clarence's wife Mary and daughter Harriet F. Smith. Both
Clarence Smith and brother Crawford
Smith had found work as ironworkers, i.e., steel
construction workers employed by the Camden Iron Works.
Sadly, Clarence S. Smith was killed when he fell from a 40 foot tall gas tank being erected in Moline, Illinois
Smith's daughter, Harriet Florence Smith, married John F.
Bryant, the grandson of John
Foster, who served as Chief of Police in Camden from 1899 until his
death in 1906... a peculiar case where the paternal grandparents were on
one side of the law and the maternal ones often on the opposing
Smith's brother Howard
M. Smith had been appointed to the Camden Police Department on March 20,
Smith died in 1908. Walter Smith
was appointed to the Camden Police Department on April 30,
1914. Both brothers were promoted to Detective, and served into the
was lent out to the Camden County prosecutors office and handled
many murder cases while with that agency. Brother
lived out most of his life on
Street, and was in and out of the
newspapers for various activities, including engaging in the
family business of numbers in the 1930s. The
youngest brother, Roy A.
Smith, served as a member of the Camden Fire Department from
1910 to 1933, before retiring on disability. The oldest brother,
William H. "Harry" Smith worked for many years as a
bartender in Philadelphia and Camden, was a charter member of
Camden Lodge 111, Loyal Order of Moose, worked as an inspector for
Camden's Highway Department and was employed as the custodian of
the Sixth Ward Republican Club at the time of his death in 1931.
Clarence Smith sister Virginia lived most of her life in Logan Township,
Gloucester County, New Jersey.
mentioned above, his other sister, Sue, had married Harry J. Wagner
Sr., on August 23, 1897. The Wagner family was still living on
Street in the 1960s. There were four
sons from this marriage. The oldest, Harry
J. Wagner Jr., served as a member of the Camden Fire
Department for 39 years and 8 months, reaching the rank of Acting
Chief of Department. His nephew Roy A. Wagner owned
Federal Street and employed his brothers Phil Wagner and George C.
Wagner as bartenders..
Smith's nephew, Edward Baker Smith, was head of security at the New
York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, then worked for several
years as an investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor's
Office. retiring in 1981. He passed away on August 29, 1994.