George
Rudolph
Tenner


 

GEORGE RUDOLPH TENNER was born in 1841 in Saxony (present-day Germany) to Casper and Settonia Tenner. He came to America with his parents, sister Wilhelmina and younger brothers George Adam Tenner (born 1847) and Christian Tenner (born 1850), and settled in Camden, New Jersey. Casper Tenner was among the German immigrants in South Camden who organized the Emanuel United Brethren Church. Another daughter, Amelia, was born in the United States. 

George Rudolph Tenner appears in different records and publications as G. Rudolph Tenner, Rudolph Tenner, George Tenner, George R. Tenner, Reuben Tenner, and G. Reuben Tenner. Between that and having a brother named George Adam Tenner, it took some time to sort out the various documents and articles to determine what applied to who. Fortunately, George Adam Tenner went "only" by George A. Tenner, George Tenner, and Adam Tenner.

When the Census was taken in 1860 G. Rudolph Tenner had gone out into the world. He was living in Camden and was working as a tailor, according to the Census. 

On April 13th, 1861 Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina attacked Fort Sumter, which guarded the approaches to the harbor. Two days later President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for the states to raise an army of 75,000 men to serve for three months in order to stamp out the rebellion. 116 of Camden's leading citizens, including William R. Maxwell, met the next day to consider the proclamation. George Reeser Prowell wrote the following account in his epic History of Camden County, New Jersey:

On the 16th of April, 1861, three days after the Confederates fired upon Fort Sumter, at the entrance of Charleston Harbor, a large number of loyal and patriotic citizens of Camden City and County issued the following vigorous and spirited response to the President's proclamation:

To the President of the United States:

"Peaceful reconciliation upon the form of our Constitution is repelled and scorned, and secession means, in the hearts of its supporters, both Treason and war against our Country and Nation. 

"We, therefore, the undersigned Loyal Citizens of the United States, and inhabitants of the city of Camden, in the State of New Jersey, responding to the proclamation of the President of the United States, hereby declare our unalterable determination to sustain the government in its efforts to maintain the honor, the integrity and the existence of our National Union and the perpetuity of the popular Government, and to redress the wrongs already long enough endured; no differences of political opinion; no badge of diversity upon points of party distinction, shall restrain or withhold us in the devotion of all we have or can command to the vindication of the Constitution, the maintenance of the laws and the defense of the Flag of our Country.

In response to a call, on the 18th of April an enthusiastic meeting was held in the county court-house, which was formed of a large collection of prominent citizens. The court-room was decorated with flags and mottoes. John W. Mickle was chosen president and Samuel C. Harbert and Thomas G. Rowand secretaries. The president addressed the meeting first and Rev. Mr. Monroe offered a prayer. Hon. Thomas P. Carpenter, Thomas B. Atkinson (mayor) and Joseph Painter were appointed a committee on resolutions. Judge Philip J. Grey addressed the meeting, after which the committee adopted a long series of patriotic resolutions. The Washington Grays, Stockton Cadets and the Zouaves marched into the room and were received with cheers, Samuel Hufty read a resolution which was signed by many persons, who immediately formed the Home Brigade. David M. Chambers, Captain Stafford, Benjamin M. Braker, John H. Jones and E. A. Acton each addressed the meeting. James M. Scovel was then called upon and responded in eloquent terms and with patriotic energy. S. H. Grey offered a resolution, which was adopted, that the City Council and the Freeholders of the county be requested to appropriate money for the equipment of persons who may volunteer in defense of the country, and S. H. Grey, James M. Cassady and Joseph Painter were appointed to a committee to look after the interests of the resolution. The meeting continued in session until eleven p.m. 

On the 22d of April Samuel H. Grey made an address before the Board of Freeholders in a patriotic appeal, soliciting the board to make appropriations for the relief of families of volunteer soldiers. John S. Read offered a resolution favoring the appropriation of five thousand dollars, which was unanimously adopted. On the evening of the 25th the City Council voted four hundred dollars for the same purpose. On the same evening the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden collected one hundred and fifty dollars and purchased five hundred Bibles for the volunteer soldiers of Camden County.

The State Bank of Camden loaned twenty-five thousand dollars and the Farmers and Mechanics Bank ten thousand dollars to the Governor of New Jersey to aid in the prosecution of the war. In July, 1861, the County Bible Society sent large installments of Bibles to the Camden County soldiers at Trenton. 

On April 19th the Washington Grays, of Camden, held a meeting and resolved to open the armory for recruits. By Saturday, April 20th, those two companies, the Camden Zouaves and the Union Guards were reported ready for service and the Camden Light Artillery organizing. On the 25th the same correspondent wrote that the following companies had taken their departure from Camden for Trenton: 

Washington Grays, Captain E. Price Hunt. 
Camden Light Artillery, Captain I. W. Mickle. 
Stockton Cadets, Captain E. G. Jackson. 
Camden Zouaves, Captain John R. Cunningham. 

And the following from Gloucester City : 

Union Guards, Captain Joseph B. Strafford. 
Anderson Guards, Captain John P. Van Leer. 

It was the boast of the Gloucester people that Union township, which had but four hundred voters, sent at this time one hundred and ninety-eight good men to do duty for the cause. 

Foster's history asserts that on April 18th, Captain John R. Cunningham tendered the Camden Zouaves, a well-drilled and uniformed company, to the Governor." This organization had been formed under the militia law in the preceding year, when the tour of the principal cities made by Ellsworth's Chicago Zouaves inspired thousands of young men to join companies patterned upon that famous model. It was mustered into the Fourth Regiment, on April 25th, as Company G, under command of Captain Cunningham, First Lieutenant Louis M. Morris and Ensign Joseph L. De La Cour. 

The other five companies from Camden County were placed in the same regiment. Captain Hunt's company became Company F ; Captain Van Leer's, Company H ; Captain Jackson's, Company C ; Captain Strafford's, Company D ; and Captain Mickle's, Company E. The two first were mustered on April 25th and the three last on April 27th. 

G. Rudolph Tenner enlisted under the name Rudolph Tenner as a Sergeant in Company C, Fourth New Jersey Regiment on April 27, 1861.Company C was commanded by Captain Edmund G. Jackson. First Lieutenant William R. Maxwell and Ensign William H. Hemsing were the other officers. Benjamin Connolly was the First Sergeant, David D. Helm and John W. Moore were the other sergeant. William H.H. Clark, Cornelius M. Brown, John Brown, and Jesse Chew were among the privates. These four and Benjamin Connolly later served alongside G. Rudolph Tenner as charter members of the Camden Fire Department.

Among the individual offers was that of William B. Hatch, of Camden, who had served in 1859 and 1860 in the cavalry of the Russian army ; he was commissioned as adjutant of the Fourth Regiment in the ninety days' service, and subsequently made major of the Fourth (three years') Regiment. Mrs. Hettie K. Painter, of Camden, volunteered as a nurse, and became known to thousands of sick and wounded men for her gentle and efficient ministrations in the hospitals of the Army of the Potomac. 

On the last day of April the quota of the State was complete, and it was mustered at Trenton as a brigade of four regiments, under command of General Theodore Runyon, the present chancellor of New Jersey. The next day the Governor sent a special messenger to General B. F. Butler, commanding at Annapolis, Md., requesting him to prepare to receive the brigade, which was  to be sent through the canal route in consequence of the destruction of the railroad bridges near Baltimore by the Secessionists of Maryland. The men were embarked at Trenton on May 3d, on a fleet of fourteen propellers, and proceeded down the Delaware River and through the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal to Annapolis, which they reached on the night of the 4th." 

They left Trenton without a round of ammunition. Captain Charles P. Smith was sent to New York that day to procure it, but was unsuccessful, until a Mr.  Blunt, a dealer on Broadway, agreed to let him have a certain quantity of cartridges and percussion caps on his personal security. He reached Jersey City with a dray-load, notwithstanding the New York authorities had prohibited any ammunition from being taken from the city. There he had a controversy with the railroad officials, who refused to take such freight on a passenger train, but compromised by allowing it to be packed in an iron crate, which was towed a long way astern of the train. 

At 10.30 that night Captain Smith reached Camden, where a tug was in waiting for him. The flotilla with the brigade was intercepted as it was passing the city ; he transferred the crate to the various vessels, and its contents were served out to the men as they went on down the Delaware. 

General Butler ordered its advance to Washington, and on the 5th the First Regiment, with six companies of the Second and nine companies of the Third, started forward in two trains of cars. The first of these trains reached Washington about midnight, and the second at eight o'clock the following morning. The same evening the Fourth Regiment and the remaining company of the Third arrived at the capital. The four companies of the Second left at Annapolis, were detailed to guard the telegraph and railroad between Annapolis Junction, and were left without tents and almost without a commissariat for a month. 

On May 6th the arrival of the brigade was reported to General Scott, and no camps being provided, the troops went into such quarters as were available in Washington. " On all sides," says Foster, " their arrival was hailed with pleasure. Men felt that now the capital was safe. These three thousand Jerseymen, thoroughly armed and equipped, as no regiments previously arrived, had been,  could be relied upon to repel all assaults. New Jersey never stood higher in the estimation of the loyal people of the country than at that juncture, when she sent to the nation's defense the first full brigade of troops that reached the field." On May 7th the command marched past the White House, where it was reviewed by President Lincoln and General Scott. On the 9th the Fourth Regiment moved out to Camp Monmouth, on Meridian Hill, where it was soon joined by the other regiments, and on the 10th the camp was visited by the President and Secretaries Chase and Seward, Mr. Lincoln complimenting the troops on their soldierly appearance. They remained at Camp Monmouth, perfecting their drill and discipline, until the 23d, when the Second, Third and Fourth Regiments (the First following the next day) crossed the Potomac into Virginia, and on the Washington and Alexandria road, at a most important strategic point, constructed and mounted with heavy guns a strong defensive work, which, in honor of their brigadier, they named Fort Runyon. It was the first regular fortification built by the national troops. The brigade remained in this vicinity until July 16th, when it was moved forward a few miles, and placed in the First Reserve Division, to which had also been assigned the First, Second and Third  New Jersey three-years' Regiments, which had reached the field a few days previous to the movement. The First (three months') Regiment was ordered to a point on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, three miles beyond Springfield, to guard the track repairs. On the same day four hundred and twenty-five men of the Third Regiment were detailed to escort a provision train, and a portion of the Fourth was charged with guarding another section of the railroad. One company of the latter regiment was then guarding the Long Bridge, and still another was on duty at Arlington Mills, while the remainder was ordered to Alexandria with the Second (three months') Regiment. Colonel Taylor, commanding the Third (three years') Regiment, was at the same time instructed to march to a point on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and during the night following, the First and Second (three years') Regiments were moved forward to Vienna. On the 17th orders were issued to all the regiments in the command to provide themselves with two days' cooked rations, and on the 18th, General Runyon assumed command of all the troops not on the march to the front. 

These dispositions were in view of the battle of Bull Run, which was fought and lost by the Union army on July 21st. The nearest that any of the Jersey troops came to participation in it, was that the First and Second (three years') Regiments and the First (three months') Regiment were marched toward Centreville during the day, and that the two first-named reached the town in season to arrest with fixed bayonets the rush of thousands of panic-stricken fugitives toward Washington, and rally them into something like order. They performed this duty most faithfully and the value of their services was fully recognized by General McDowell. 

On July 24th the Third and Fourth Regiments, their term of enlistment having expired, were ordered to report to General Mansfield to be mustered out. The First and Second received the same orders on the following day ; and after being formally discharged the brigade returned home to New Jersey, where it was accorded an enthusiastic reception. A majority of the men re-enlisted in the long-term regiments and were back in the field before they had time to forget a movement of the manual of arms. 

His term of service completed Sergeant Tenner mustered out with Company C, 4th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on July 31, 1861 at Trenton, NJ. 

On March 20, 1865, before the end of the war but too late to see any combat, younger brother George Adam Tenner enlisted in the 34th New Jersey Infantry Regiment. Youngest brother Christian was too young to see any military duty during the conflict. On May 25, 1865 sister Wilhelmina Tenner married Lewis F. Holl.

George Rudolph Tenner married Keturah Kensil after coming home from the war. A daughter, Clara, was born around 1865. He apparently became a volunteer firefighter, although it is not known to this writer at this time with which company he served with. His sister Wilhelmina married Lewis Holl, a carpenter who, with his brother George Holl, became very active in construction and real estate in Camden. Lewis Holl also served briefly with the Camden Fire Department; their son, Arthur Holl became Camden County's coroner and operated funeral homes in South Jersey for 65 years. 

On September 2, The City of Camden founded its paid fire department into service. George Rudolph Tenner was one of the original members. He was then living at 328 Walnut Street and had been working as an engineer, which, in the parlance of the day, meant he was an operator of a steam engine. This knowledge was vital as the horse drawn fire apparatus of the day relied on steam power to pump water onto fires.

On November 10, 1869 Camden's City Council purchased the Independence Firehouse, the three-story brick building at 409 Pine Street, for $4500. The building was designated to serve as quarters for Engine Company 1 and the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth & Arch Streets as quarters for the 2nd District. On November 25th the Fire Commissioners signed a contract with M.N. Dubois in the amount of $3100 to erect this structure. The 2nd District would share these quarters with Engine Company 2 and the Hook & Ladder Company and the facility would also serve as department headquarters for the new paid force. The original contract remains part of the Camden County Historical Society collection.   

Two Amoskeag second class, double pump, straight frame steam engines were purchased at a cost of $4250 each. Two Silsby two wheel hose carts, each of which carried 1000 feet of hose, were another $550 each and the hook & ladder, built by Schanz and Brother of Philadelphia was $900. Each engine company received a steam engine and hose cart. Amoskeag serial #318 went to Engine Company 1, and serial #319 to Engine Company 2. The Fire Commission also secured the services of the Weccacoe and Independence steamers in case of fire prior to delivery of the new apparatus. Alfred McCully of Camden made the harnesses for the horses. Camden's Twoes & Jones made the overcoats for the new firemen and a Mr. Morley, also of Camden, supplied the caps and belts which were manufactured by the Migeod Company of Philadelphia. The new members were also issued badges.

Badges worn by the marshals, engineers, stokers and engine drivers bore the initial letter of their respective positions and their district number. The tillerman and his driver used the number "3" to accompany their initial letter. The extra men of the 1st District were assigned badges 1-10; 2nd District badges were numbered 11-20 and the extra men of the hook & ladder wore numbers 21-30.

Although the Fire Commission intended to begin operation of the paid department on November 20, 1869, the companies did not actually enter service until December 7th at 6 P.M. because the new apparatus and buildings were not ready. The new apparatus was not tried (tested) until December 9th.

The new members of the paid force were:   

Engine Company 1

G. Rudolph Tenner*, Engineer; William H.H. Clark, Driver; Thomas McLaughlin, Stoker

Extra Men (call members)

Thomas Allibone           

Badge #1

William Deith               

Badge #2

George Horneff  

Badge #3

John J. Brown        

Badge #4

William A.H. White            

Badge #5

James Sutton    

Badge #6

Cornelius M. Brown    

Badge #7

Alexander Peacock    

Badge #8

Samuel Buzine 

Badge #9

 Jesse Chew 

Badge #10

* G. Rudolph Tenner is elsewhere listed as Reuben G. Tenner, Reuben Tenner, G. Reuben Tenner, and George R. Tenner


Engine Company 2

William J. Ross, Engineer; George Liebecke, Driver; William T.G. Young Sr., Stoker

Extra Men

Isaac Middleton 

Badge #11

Samuel Patton 

Badge #12

Elwood Cline

Badge #13

George W. Bates 

Badge #14

Robert Pine

Badge #15

Theodore Zimmerman

Badge #16 

Benjamin H. Connelly

Badge #17 

Richard Houghtaling 

Badge #18 

Abraham Bradshaw 

Badge #19 

Richard Githens (does not   appear in CFD roll book)

John Graham

Badge #20


Hook and Ladder Company

Edward J. Dodamead, Tillerman; Frank S. Jones, Driver

Extra Men

Charles Baldwin 

Badge #21

Charles G. Zimmerman

Badge #22

John Durkin 

Badge #23

William C. Lee 

Badge #24

James M. Lane 

Badge #25

James Cassidy 

Badge #26

Robert S. Bender   

Badge #27

Thomas McCowan   

Badge #28

Howard Lee 

Badge #29

Abraham Lower 

Badge #30

The Board of Fire Commissioners consisted of Rudolphus Bingham, Chairman and Samuel C. Harbert, Richard Perks, Jonathon Kirkbride and Jacob Daubman.

Annual salaries for the members of the paid force were: Chief Marshal, $800; Assistant Marshal, $200; Engineer, $600; Driver, $450; Stoker, $450; Tillerman, $450; Extra Men, $50. All but Extra Men were paid monthly.

Many members of the newly organized paid department were former volunteers and had distinguished themselves as leaders through their dedication and hard work. Many were also veterans of the Civil War.

G. Rudolph Tenner resigned his position with the Fire Department in October of 1872, after Henry F. Surault was appointed Chief of the Fire Department. He was reappointed to his post with the Fire Department on April 8, 1873 when Robert S. Bender was restored to the Chief's position. G. Reuben Tenner served as Engineer of Engine Company 1 until April of 1876. G. Reuben Tenner and family lived at the southeast corner of South 4th and Line Streets during these years.

G. Rudolph Tenner returned to the Fire Department in April of 1877 and served in the same position until March of 1883. He returned to service in 1884, and would remain in service until his retirement. 

Another child, son Casper Tenner, named for his grandfather, arrived around 1873. The 1878-1879 City Directory shows the family as 342 Cherry Street in South Camden. By the time of the 1880 Census the Tenner family had moved to 344 Cherry Street. G. Rudolph Tenner would live here until his passing in 1926. Brother George Adam Tenner sereved with the Fire Department in 1871, and was appointed to the Police Department in 1874. Brother Christian Tenner joined the Fire Department in 1877, as did brother-in-law Joseph Green. George Adam Tenner would later rejoin the Fire Department, while Christian Tenner later worked as a police officer. 

G. Rudolph Tenner was a member of the William B. Hatch Post No. 37 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) in Camden. His wife Keturah was also quite active in club circles, with the Lenni Lenape Tent No. 2 of the Daughters of the Forest, the Lydiah Darrah Home Communion No. 1 of the Brotherhood of the Union, the Hatch League No. 2 of the Loyal Ladies League (also known as the Ladies of the G.A.R.), which was the auxiliary to the G.A.R., the Owanee Council of the Daughters of Pocahontas, and Camden Temple No. 4 of the Ladies of the Golden Eagle.

Clara Tenner married Wilmer Davis around 1884. By June of 1900 they had brought five daughters into the world, Clara, Emma, Keturah, Amelia, and Ruth.

G. Rudolph Tenner was still on active duty with the Camden Fire Department as late as 1914. By January of 1920 he had retired from the department. Sadly, G. Rudolph Tenner's son Casper died after being struck by a motorcycle while alighting from a street car in the fall of 1922. G. Rudolph Tenner passed away on September 6, 1926. 

Clara Tenner Davis was a widow by the time the 1927 City Directory was compiled. She was still living at 344 Cherry Street. When the 1929 Directory was published, she no longer lived there.  

 


1860 Census

Casper Tenner & Family

Casper & Settonia Tenner
George Adam Tenner
Christian Tenner

Click on Image to Enlarge

 

G. Rudolph Tenner

Listed as George Trenner
(handwritten record,
age and birthplace identifies him)

Click on Image to Enlarge

 


Engine Company 2 with 1869 Silsby Hose Cart. Photo Circa 1890. Note badges upon derby hats worn by Fire Fighters.  


This is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest corner of Fifth and Arch Streets. Originally built in 1869, the building shows signs of wear some twenty years later. Note the weathervane shaped like a fireman's speaking trumpet atop the tower. Also, the fire alarm bell is pictured to the left of the telegraph pole above the rooftop. The bell was removed from the building once the fire alarm telegraph system was expanded and in good working order.  

 

This maker's plate once was attached to a harness made by A. McCully & Sons, 22 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey. This firm provided the first harnesses for the paid fire department in 1869.  


The first style of breast badge worn by members of the career department in the City of Camden. 1869. (Courtesy of the C.C.H.S. Collection).

 


Leather helmet of natural grain believed to have been worn by Fireman Charles Baldwin, Hook & Ladder Company 1 when paid force was organized in 1869. Number 21 at bottom of frontpiece indicates member's badge number. (Courtesy of the Camden County Historical Society Collection.)


This fireman's axe, Circa 1870, was removed from the basement of a building in the City of Camden many years ago. With handle missing, a replacement handle was modeled after the original and crafted by Mr. George Homan, a retired wood shop teacher at Collingswood High School.


1870 Census

G. Rudolph Tenner
Listed as George R. Tenner

George R. & Keturah Tenner
Clara Tenner
Mother-in-law Margaret Kensil
Sister-in-law Getrude Kensil
Brother-in-law Jphn F. Kensil
Sister-n-law Emma Kensil
Sister-in-law Anna Kensil

Click on Image to Enlarge

Casper Tenner & Family

Casper & Settonia Tenner
George Adam Tenner
Christian Tenner

Click on Image to Enlarge

 


Philadelphia Inquirer * March 24, 1877

G. Rudolph Tenner - William Davis - Cornelius M. Brown
James M. Lane - George S. Hunt - W. Gordon - Edmund Shaw
Benjamin L. Kellum - Edward J. Dodamead - Henry Grosscup


Philadelphia Inquirer * March 26, 1877


1880 Census

G. Rudolph Tenner
Listed as Rudolph Tenner

George R. & Keturah Tenner
Clara Tenner
Casper Tenner II

344 Cherry Street

Click on Image to Enlarge

Casper Tenner & Family

Casper & Settonia Tenner
George Adam Tenner
Christian Tenner

Click on Image to Enlarge

 


Philadelphia Inquirer * April 7, 1882

G. Rudolph Tenner
James McCracken
Daniel Bromley - John S. Kelly
Michael McCaffery
James H. Brown
Thomas McKenna
James Shinn - Smith Moore
William Irelan
William Bassett
John Hill - James Read
Robert Miller - William Marsh
George Moffett - John J. Logan
Isaac M. Shreve - Samuel Welsh
Lewis Ferrell - Logan Bates
Isaac Collings - Harry Miles
John W. Elliott - William Turner
Charles Holl - John J. Hibbs
John Seybold - James H. McCann
Edward Swope - William Suders



Philadelphia Inquirer
March 27, 1884

 

 


Trenton Evening Times * April 16, 1884


Philadelphia Inquirer
June 23, 1884
William Wagner 
Adolph Foehl
George Pfeiifer Sr.
Charles Keen
Henry Wagner
Harry Miles
William Laird
Charles Sawyer
G. Reuben Tenner
South 4th Street

Click on Image for PDF File
of Complete Article


Philadelphia Inquirer * November 30, 1893


1900 Census

G. Rudolph Tenner
Listed as Rudolph Tenner

344 Cherry Street

Click on Image to Enlarge


Civil War Pension Record * January 19, 1905


1910 Census

G. Rudolph Tenner
Listed as Rudolph Tenner

George R. & Keturah Tenner
Clara Tenner
Casper Tenner II

344 Cherry Street

Click on Image to Enlarge


Philadelphia Inquirer  * November 1, 1912


1920 Census

G. Rudolph Tenner
Listed as Rudolph Tenner

George R. & Keturah Tenner
Clara Tenner
Casper Tenner II

344 Cherry Street

Click on Image to Enlarge


Philadelphia Inquirer  * November 26, 1922

Byron Street - Spruce Street - Casper Tenner II - Richard Davidson



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