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.
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:
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
the President of the United States:
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
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:
Grays, Captain E. Price Hunt.
Camden Light Artillery, Captain I. W. Mickle.
Stockton Cadets, Captain E. G. Jackson.
Camden Zouaves, Captain John R. Cunningham.
the following from Gloucester City :
Guards, Captain Joseph B. Strafford.
Anderson Guards, Captain John P. Van Leer.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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."
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
new members of the paid force were:
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
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
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