John
W.
Helmbold


 

JOHN W. HELMBOLD was appointed to the Camden Fire Department as Stoker with Engine Company 3 when it went into service at 1813 Broadway on July 1, 1890. He resigned from this position on August 1, 1890. Joseph Reed, a hoseman with Engine Company 3, was promoted to Stoker and George W. Shields was brought on to take Reed's place as hoseman with the new company. 
  

As to who John W. Helmbold was, there is some confusion, as there were three John Helmbolds in Camden in the late 19th Century and two of them were father and son. Either one of them could be the perosn in question. The father would have been about 43 at the time of his appointment, while John Helmbold the son would have been 21. The 1890 City Directory seems to indicate that John Helmbold Sr. was the person who served briefly with the Fire Department.

John Whiteman Helmbold Sr. was born in Pennsylvania in 1847 to Alfred and Eliza Helmbold. The family appears in the 1860 Census in Philadelphia. John W. Helmbold was the fourth of sixth children then at home, the older children being brothers Alfred, Charles, and Thomas; the younger David and Eliza Helmbold. Another brother, Herman, had already moved from home.

John W. Helmbold Sr. married in 1867 and was living in Somerset County, Pennsylvania when, on August 4, 1868 son John W. Helmbold Jr. was born. By July 12, 1870 when the Census was taken the family was living in Philadelphia. Besides John Jr. there was another son at home, Thomas, age 4. His parents, Alfred and Eliza Helmbold, along with younger brother David had moved to what was then Newton Township in by the time the 1870 Census was taken, more than likely in the vicinity of Broadway and Ferry Avenue. Newton Township was merged into Camden in 1871.

During the 1870s Alfred Helmold's son Herman, Charles, and John W. Helmbold all came to Camden, settling in the Eighth Ward near their parents. John W. Helmbold worked a number of different jobs to support his wife and family, including work as a huckster, teamster, carpenter, laborer, and waterman. 

John W. Helmbold Sr. appears in the 1878-1879 and 1879-1880 City Directory at 1717 Fillmore Street. The 1880 Census shows John W. Helmbold Sr. and family at 418 Webster Street. He was then working as a huckster. The family then consisted of John W. Helmbold, his wife Maggie, and children Thomas, John W. Jr., Martha, Eliza, and Edward.

City Directories from 1882 through 1887 show the family at 1722 South 6th Street. By 1888 they had moved to 1806 Fillmore Street. By 1890 they had again moved, to 1643 South 6th Street. The 1891-1892 Directory shows him living at 1702 South 7th Street. The 1892-1893 Directory shows hum at 518 Liberty Street. At this point things become unclear. 

A John Helmbold was living at 1118 Cresson Street in South Camden when the 1894-1895 City Directory was compiled. The 1896 edition shows him living at 1119 Cresson Street. He does not appear in the 1897 City Directory. His wife Maggie appears in the 1898 City Directory at 1064 Ivins Street, and at 1120 Cresson Street in the 1900 Census. Of the ten children that John W. Helmbold Sr. had fathered, eight were still alive, and six were living with their mother, Ayda, Edward, Charles, Alfred, Benjamin, and Irene.

John Helmbold's brother Charles Helmbold was active in Camden politics as a Republican, and served as a City Councilman from the Eighth Ward. Son John W. Helmbold Jr. was also active.


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