ISAAC McKINLEY served as the Assistant Fire Marshal, in charge of the First Fire District, of the Camden Fire Department, under Chief Fire Marshal under Henry F. Surault, who served when Robert S. Bender took a leave of absence. Isaac McKinley was elected to his position by City Council on September 26, 1872. 

Isaac McKinley was born in Pennsylvania according to census records, in 1834 or, according to his obituary, around 1838 in New Jersey. In all probability the Census is probably more accurate. Although his obituary states that he was born in Camden and lived his life there, the first time he appears on record is in the 1860 Census.

The 1860 Census shows Isaac McKinley living in Camden's South Ward with his wife Sophia and six year old son, William McKinley. Also at home was mother-in-law Martha Marks and brother-in-law Samuel Marks, then just a boy of 11. Three more children would follow, Adalaide, Martha, and Harry. Isaac McKinley was then working as a plumber. Isaac McKinley's next door neighbor was Claudius Bradshaw and his family; in future years Claudius Bradshaw would serve as Camden's Fire Chief and then as Mayor. Isaac McKinley and Claudius Bradshaw were roughly the same age, 26 and 24, respectively, at the time of the Census. Although they were related by marriage, they differed politically, as Bradshaw was a Democrat and McKinley deeply involved in Republican politics on a local level.

Tax records from 1866 show Isaac McKinley operating a cigar store at 5th and Plum Street. Plum Street was renamed Arch Street several years later.

On September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of Department) and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William Abels, from the Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William W. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal for the 2nd District. Abels had served with the volunteer fire departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.

Chief Abels was replaced by Robert S. Bender as Chief of the Fire Department on September 2, 1871. When Bender took a leave of absence in September of 1872, despite a petition for him to be kept on as chief, Henry F. Surault was elected by city council to lead the department. Patrick Gallagher and Isaac Mckinley were appointed Assistant Chiefs, replacing Assistant Chiefs William W. Mines and William H. Shearman. A greater crisis occurred on October 8, 1872 when most of the regular members members of Engine Company 2 resigned at once. Replacements were found quickly, although in a few cases the first ones brought in did not work out and another man was needed to replace the original replacement. John J. Olden was also brought in as Assistant Chief of the Second Fire District in November, replacing Patrick Gallagher. Isaac McKinley was living at 515 Taylor venue and working as a railroad car inspector when he was appointed to the Fire Department.

On a positive note, during his time in the Department Henry F. Surault convinced the Fire Commission to purchase hand extinguishers which he then placed strategically at Mr. Paul Anderson's, Broadway and Kaighns Point Avenue; J.S. Henry’s office at Eighth and Walnut Streets; William Ross' store on Central Avenue; and at the Flat Iron Tavern (and Hotel) at Broadway and Ferry Avenue. Each location received one fire extinguisher. 

The Camden Fire Department fought a devastating fire which began on the Morning of February 24, 1873 when a railroad employee dropped a match in the inspector's room of a railway building on South 2nd Street below Bridge Avenue. Within minutes the oil soaked floor ignited and flames engulfed the structure. Strong northwest winds extended the fire to a storage shed filled with freight. Responding fire companies could not stop the rapidly spreading fire. Five frame dwellings on the north side of Weathersby's Court, some sheds in the railroad car yard, three frame dwellings on Reed's Court, two additional dwellings and numerous outbuildings became involved. Chief Surault telegraphed to Philadelphia for six engine companies which responded by special ferry. Three apparatus were placed in service while the balance of the manpower was used for fire control.  

On May 29, 1873 City Council voted to eliminate the two Assistant Chief positions and consolidate the duties with one Assistant Chief. Isaac McKinley and John Olden left the Fire Department and Samuel S. Buzine retuned as Assistant Chief on June 4, 1873.

The 1878-1879 City Directory shows Isaac McKinley working as a plumber and living at 324 South 2nd Street. His son William McKinley was at home, working as an engineer. The 1880 Census shows Isaac McKinley living at 318 South 2nd Street Street with his wife Sophia and two daughters. He was then working as a railroad car shop inspector. Next door at 316 South 2nd Street lived Isaac McKinley's son, William McKinley, who had served with the Camden Fire Department for one year as a Stoker under Chief Claudius Bradshaw in 1876 and 1877. William McKinley was working as a "fireman", but not in the field of fire fighting, rather, he was involved in keeping steam engines and equipment fueled. He was by then married to Josephine Hickman.

Through the 1880s Isaac and William McKinley's movements are as follows. The 1881-1882 Directory show them at the same addresses as in the 1880 census, William McKinley now is an "engineer". The 1883-1884 Directory shows Isaac at the same address, but now working as a car inspector for the West Jersey Railroad. William McKinley had moved to 314 South 2nd Street, is now a driller for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The 1884-1885 shows Isaac McKinley doing the same work and at the same address. William McKinley was appointed stoker for the Camden Fire Department under Chief Daniel A. Carter in the spring of 1884. He was again let go after one year when Samuel S. Elfreth is re-elected Chief.

In 1885 Isaac McKinley moved to 566 South 3rd Street, where he staid into 1888. William McKinley was still at 314 South 2nd Street. In 1887 William McKinley went to work as a car inspector for the West Jersey Railroad. He was then living at 213 Bridge Avenue, but moved to 404 Jackson Street by the middle of 1888. William McKinley moved to 209 Berkley Street by 1890 and kept working as a car inspector into 1891..

The 1890 Camden City Directory shows that Isaac McKinley had been appointed to the Camden Police Department. He was then residing at 556 South 3rd Street. He moved to 421 South 3rd Street by the middle of 1891.

Isaac McKinley stayed at 421 South 3rd Street through 1893, and worked as a policeman during this time, reaching the rank of lieutenant. The 1892-1893 City Directory shows that daughters Adelaide and Martha were also at home. William McKinley had move to 456 South 2nd Street and gone to work as an engineer, and is listed at 307 Line Street, as a engineer for Wilkins & Company in the 1893-1894 Directory.

A shift in political winds saw Isaac McKinley return to work as a car inspector by the time the 1894-1895 City Directory was being compiled. He had by then moved to 429 South 3rd Street. Son William McKinley continued work as an engineer, and was living at 329 Taylor Avenue.

Last a resident of 413 Broadway, Isaac McKinley died on April 6, 1895. His widow, son Harry and daughter Adalaide stayed there into 1897. William McKinley is listed in the 1895 City Directory at 418 William Street, but does not appear in Camden Directories or census sheets after that.

Martha McKinley married Walter Boone around 1898. Sophia McKinley is listed in the 1898 Directory, but not the Directory for 1899. Adelaide and Harry McKinley were living at 413 Broadway in 1899. The 1900 Census shows Adalaide McKinley living with her sister Martha and her family at 722 Berkley Street. Walter and Martha McKinley Boone were still at 722 Berkley Street as late as 1910.

Philadelphia Public Ledger - September 27, 1872
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Robert S. Bender - Henry F. Surault
Isaac McKinley - Patrick Gallagher
Thomas A. WIlson - B.M. Morgan - Robert C. Cook

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 27, 1882

Isaac McKinley
B.L. Bonsall
Edward Dudley
Alexander Milliette
David Baird Sr.
John Bamford
Clayton Stafford

Trenton Evening Times - October 11, 1883

..Isaac McKinley - Andrew Raban - Thomas P. Curley

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 6, 1884
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Philadelphia Inquirer * February 11, 1890


Samuel S. Elfreth. - Frank Michellon - Cooper B. Hatch - Charles S. Wolverton - Dr. W.B.E. Miler - Harry C. Sharp
James M. Lane - Frank B. Sweeten - Harvey Flitcraft - William Schregler - Dr. John D. Leckner - J. Wesley Sell Frank A. Ward - James Ware Jr. - Frank S. Heisler - Thomas Thornley - Ulie G. Lee - Edward Weston
Dr. P.W. Beale - Charles H. Helmbold - John Carmany -
Isaac C. McKinley - John N. Zanders  - Edward E. Jefferis 

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 18,1890

Isaac McKinley - Jacob Nesson

Philadelphia Inquirer
June 12, 1890

W.B.E. Miller - E.E. Jefferis
Samuel Dodd - Jesse Pratt 
Jennings' Sixth Regiment Band
Robert Bender - Samuel S. Buzine
John A. Stockton - Henry Grosscup
Mortimer WIlson - Amadee Middleton
Thomas Murphy -
Isaac McKinley
Albert Gilbert - Chalkley Leconey
Engine Company 1 - Engine Company 2
Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 4

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Philadelphia Inquirer December 7, 1891

George Barton
Charles Pratt
David Ewen
Harry Miller
Theodore Richter
"Bum" Kelly
Mike Cleary
Isaac McKinley
Jesse Pratt


Philadelphia Inquirer - March 7, 1892
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William Stanton - Isaac McKinley - Isaac Shreeve

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 7, 1893

Harry B. Paul - Edward Cooper - Samuel Bakley - William H. Butts - Harry Mines Isaac McKinley
John Pratt - James O. Weaver - Samuel Paul - William D. Comley
Casper Hart
- Benjamin Middleton - Jacob Woodsides - O. Glen Stackhouse
Frank Matlack - John Dall - James Rutledge - Edward Richardson
Harry L. Duffee - Michael Bradley - John E. Dunn - Thomas Murphy
John Logan - William Orcutt - Patrick Clark - Joseph Sloan - Amer Green.

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 7, 1895
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Isaac C. McKinley - Jesse Pratt - Broadway