Leon
Branch


LEON BRANCH was born on September 3, 1885 in Bridgeton, New Jersey. He appears to been born Leonza Harman, the son of Mrs. Harriet Harman. His mother was remarried around 1895 to William Branch. The Branch family resided at 816 Locust Street from the 1890s through 1920. By 1924 William and Harriett Branch had moved to 318 Line Street, this home would go to Leon Branch when after the deaths of William Branch in the 1920s and Harriett Brach sometime after 1930. Leon Branch was still using the name Harman as late as 1914, according to the Census and City Directories up until that time. 

By September 12, 1918 when he registered for the draft, Leon Branch had gone to work as a Camden policeman and had married. He and wife Amelia were then living at 844 Locust Street, not far from Detective George V. Murry, who lived at 649 Locust Street. Officer Branch did not, however get caught up in the scandal that wrecked Murry's career and rocked the Camden Police Department in January of 1922. Mr. and Mrs. Branch remained at 844 Locust Street into the 1930s. They were not blessed with children of their own, however, in 1930 they were raising a step-daughter, Muriel Valentine. 

Leon Branch had moved with his wife Amelia at 318 Line Street by the time he registered for the draft in the spring of 1942. He was still working as a detective with the Camden Police department, and was still on the force in early 1949. In 1948 New Jersey made 65 the mandatory age for retirement, so it can safely be assumed that Detective Branch left the force in September of 1950 or shortly thereafter.

Leon Branch is listed in the 1956 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory at 318 Line Street. He does not appear in the 1959 edition, so it would appear that he either moved away from Camden County or more likely had passed away. Amelia Branch was last a resident of Blackwood, New Jersey. She died in January of 1971.


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CAMDEN COURIER-POST - January 31, 1928

BENCH WARRANT ISSUED FOR NORTH CAMDEN MAN

A bench warrant for Herman Max Schwartz in whose home at 214 Byron Street, a 50-gallon still was seized yesterday afternoon, was issued by Judge Bertman when Schwartz failed to appear at Police Court today. Bertman was informed by a policeman sent to find him that Schwartz was in Philadelphia.

Bertman called Harry Albert, formerly active in Seventh Ward politics, to the front of the courtroom. Pointing to Mrs. Rosie Speller, 39 years old, 241 Burns Street, held as a material witness., Bertman asked Albert if he had told the woman or Schwartz to stay away from the court. Albert denied he had said anything.

"I was told you had.” Bertman declared, as Albert returned to his seat.

Mrs. Speller was detained yesterday afternoon when Police Captains Naylor and Cunningham and Detective Branch seized the still, a quantity of mash, and 24 empty cans in Schwartz’s home.


Camden Courier-Post - June 3, 1933

SLEUTH FOUND DAZED IN CAR; ACCUSES COP
W. C. Apgar, Chief of Gloucester Detectives, Names State Trooper
OFFICERS FIND HIM AT
BRIDGE
George Hayes, Off Duty, Sought After Attack
 

W. CLAYTON APGAR- Chief of Gloucester County Detectives, who was found beaten almost unconscious at Bridge plaza last night and accused State Trooper George Hayes, of Swedesboro barracks, according to Camden detectives who questioned Apgar at Cooper Hospital. 

W. Clayton Apgar, chief of Gloucester county detectives, was found beaten almost unconscious in an automobile at Bridge Plaza at 11 o'clock last night.

He accused State Trooper George Hayes, of Swedesboro, of attacking him while both were on a "party" last night. Hayes could not be found. Apgar, one of the best known police officials in South Jersey, was admitted to Cooper Hospital, suffering profuse cuts, bruises, shock, two teeth knocked out and two others loose.

Almost insensible, Apgar in his passenger sedan, passed two red lights in driving to the plaza, according to Acting Sergeant Isaac Smith, of bridge police, and upon questioning, was barely able to produce his credentials. Smith said Apgar was rapidly losing consciousness and said he didn't wish to make a

complaint. Smith summoned Bridge Motorcycle Policeman Aubrey Harper.

Harper drove Apgar to the hospital in a bridge car while Smith notified Camden detective headquarters.

Apgar was unconscious arriving at the hospital. Ten minutes later he became partly awake and was questioned by City Detectives George Zeitz and Leon Branch.

Accuses Trooper

Zeitz and Branch said Apgar first told them he was bringing a prisoner from Philadelphia when the prisoner hit him and escaped.

Later, they said, Apgar said he was hit by a "trooper from Swedesboro barracks," but would give no reason.

Apgar said he did not know the trooper's name.

Zeitz telephoned Swedesboro state police headquarters, learned from Corporal Waldinger, in charge, that the only trooper off last night was Hayes and that he would not return to duty until 8 a. m. today.

Zeitz said he asked Apgar if Trooper Hayes was the one who beat him. Zeitz said Apgar replied: "Yes, that's the one,"

Say Apgar Was Dazed

Waldinger sent word several troopers would go to Cooper hospital early today to take over the investigation.

Zeitz and Branch said Apgar had not been drinking. They said he was "still in a daze" while they were questioning him·

Apgar, rated as one of the most skillful detectives in New Jersey, won his spurs in the famous Lilliendahl case. At that time he was a state trooper. Since taking over the county detective office at Woodbury, he was credited with a succession of solutions in crime affairs with a large percentage of convictions.

He lives with his wife and child at 612 Delaware Street, Woodbury, and has been identified with Democratic political circles in Gloucester County. 


Camden Courier-Post - Evening Courier - June 3, 1933

CRASH FOILS THIEVES

Thieves who used a ladder to remove a second-story window from Corbett's Kut Price Drug Store, 725 Broadway, were frightened away early yesterday when the window crashed.

Mrs. Prossie Corbett, proprietor of the store, asleep in her bedroom in another part of the building, told the police she heard no noise.

The ladder, recently used by painters at the store, was discovered by David Hawkes, a private watchman in the neighborhood, at 4 a. m. He called the police and Detectives Leon Branch and George Zeitz responded. According to them, the thieves removed the window by using a brace and bit.

Walter Migala, 1482 South 9th Street, reported to the police that his wrist watch was stolen from the living room of his home while his family was away Thursday night. Entrance had been gained by forcing a rear window. 


Camden Courier-Post - June 5, 1933

BYRON P. COBB
 
Kidnap Suspect

PREMO FIORAVANTI

One of three South Camden youths who is accused of kidnapping and robbing Byron P. Cobb, the "Sun Doctor." Cobb told police he was slugged and robbed of $4700 early yesterday. 

Man, Robbed, Left in Road By Kidnappers
Byron P. Cobb Beaten by Autoists; Roll of $4700 Taken

Byron P. Cobb, 62, the "Sun Doctor," was kidnapped by three , men early yesterday, beaten and robbed of $4700 before, being tossed from moving automobile in Farnham Park.

Detectives found him in a sub­conscious condition laying in the middle of River Drive, after a motorist had heard his moans and notified police.

Three South Camden youths, arrested for a motor violation at about the time Cobb was found; later were identified by the awn­ing manufacturer as the ones who kidnapped and robbed him. They are Primo Fioravanti, 20, of 435 Division Street; Anthony Scanalvilli, 20, of 326 Division Street, and John Piliere, 19, of 1130 South 3rd Street.

All are being held on charges of kidnapping, atrocious assault and battery and highway robbery. They will be given a hearing today in police court. Later a charge of larceny of an automobile was placed against them.

Cobb, who for many years operated an awning manufacturing shop at Fifth and Royden Streets, told police he met the three who robbed him in a restaurant near Broadway and Kaighn Avenue. He said he bought them food and in return they offered to take him to his home in their automobile. 'This was shortly before 2 a.m.

He said two of the men were dressed in brown suits and the third wore a "greenish blue suit." All wore light hats.

As soon as he entered the machine, Cobb told Detectives George Zeitz and Leon Branch, who found him in the park, someone hit him over the head.

Two of the men then went through his clothing and took the $4700 from his pockets. He told police, that he drew the money from his bank yesterday and intended to pay off a mortgage on a property today.  

The men held Cobb, he told police, until they reached Farnham Park, where he was tossed out of the machine as the driver slowed up.

A few minutes after 2 a. m., William P. Tyler, of 1493 Greenwood Avenue, driving past the park, heard someone shout "murder" several times. He hurried to a telephone and called police headquarters .

Found In Roadway

Detectives Zeitz and Branch searched the section where Tyler had heard the shouts. Then they drove down through River Drive, where they discovered Cobb lying in the middle of the roadway.

The injured man was taken to Cooper Hospital where he was revived, and then to detective head quarters.

Meanwhile Motorcycle Patrolmen George Getley and Earl Stopfer stopped a car at Mt. Ephraim and Ferry Avenues, which had aroused their suspicions as it sped down Mt. Ephraim Avenue.

Piliere was driving the machine and could not produce either a registration card or driver's license. He said he had borrowed the car from a man he knew as "Pete.'"

The car was claimed yesterday by Pietro Tocco, 35, of 717 South Fourth Street. He told Zeitz and Branch the car had been stolen from in front of his home "sometime around 2 a. m." yesterday.

Piliere and his pals were taken to police headquarters where the former was booked on a motor-vehicle charge. When police found two pieces of rubber hose in the rear of the machine, all three were taken to detective headquarters.

There Cobb identified them as the three who had robbed him. He pointed out Fioravanti, the only one 'with a previous police record, as the man who hit him' on the head.

Police held all three without bail for the hearing before Judge Pancoast.

At the Cobb home yesterday, Mrs. Byron P. Cobb said she knew nothing about the holdup. She said Cobb "appeared to have a headache when he got up," but failed to mention anything was wrong and left the house before her return from church.

All of the suspects deny the robbery, They said they took a friend to his home in Woodlynne and were en route to their homes in Camden. when arrested.

Piliere told Detectives Zeitz and Branch that he "borrowed the car from his uncle," whom he only knew as "Pete."  


THEFT OF 3 SCREENS BRINGS 30-DAY TERM

John Rafferty, 35, of 222 Stevens Street, was sentenced Saturday by Police Judge Pancoast to 30-days in county jail on a charge of stealing three screens belonging to Giacomo Daraio, of 706 South Third Street.

Rafferty has been frequently in police court during the last year on charges of drunkenness, and, Judge Pancoast expressed surprise that he should now be accused as a thief. Leon Branch, a detective, testified that Rafferty had stolen the screens.

Camden Courier-Post
June 19, 1933

Camden Courier-Post - October 11, 1933
Peter Korkowski - Daniel Pyzek - Arthur H. Holl - Leon Branch
Stanislawa Korkowski - Stella Korkowksi - Thurman Street - West Jersey Hospital

Camden Morning Post
October 20, 1933

Elizabeth McCreight
Leon Branch - William Dolan
Arthur H. Holl
Rev. George Hemingway
North Baptist Church
First Presbyterian Church
William K. Huff Sr.
William K. Huff Jr. - Dermot Dollar
State Street - Cooper Street
Linden Street - North 4th Street
Wildwood Avenue
North Camden 


Camden Courier-Post * May 17, 1934
Click on Image to Enlarge

BOY SHOT, MANY PEOPLE HURT IN EIGHTH WARD RIOT

...continued...

South 4th Street - South 6th Street - Hale Street - Viola Street - Dr. Orris W. Saunders
George Zeitz - Nicholas Scarduzio - Walter Sekula - Edmund Walsh - Mamie Piraine
Theresa DiLello - William Tansky Jr. - Leon Branch - Fiore Troncone -  John Hess
Joseph Samenich - Nicholas Sustich - Isaac Shute


Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1938

5 YOUTHS ARRESTED AS HOLDUP SUSPECTS
Police Believe Bandit Gang Plans of Group Halted by Roundup

Police believed they had frustrated the formation of hoodlum bandit mob yesterday with the arrest of five South Camden youths after a holdup of a grocery store at Tenth Street and Ferry Avenue.

Two of the five suspects were identified by the grocer, John Jacobs, as the bandits who entered his store at 960 Ferry Avenue, held him up at gun point and escaped with $23.95. , Jacobs told Detectives Heber McCord and Clarence Arthur that he recognized one of the bandits as Anthony Mona, 19, of 947 South Third Street, a former boxer, whom he saw fighting in the ring, McCord said.

A radio call was sent to all cars to pick up Mona. A short time later, District Detectives Leon Branch and John Houston arrested Mona as he was eating in a restaurant near Broadway and Kaighn Avenue.

After questioning by McCord and Arthur, Mona implicated the others. They are Dominick Spinagotti, 17, of 251 Mt. Vernon street; Vito Brandimorto, 20, of 245 Chestnut Street; Salvatore Martorano, 21, of 344 Cherry Street, and Victor Labato, 19, of 274 Mt. Vernon street.

Mona was searched in the detective bureau. Police found $6.65 in change in his pockets. The others were rounded up at their homes by Detective Sergeant Benjamin Simon and Detectives Joseph Mardino and Robert Ashenfelter.

According to Simon the youths were "just beginning to embark on a career of crime."

When the others were brought to the detective bureau for questioning, all but $2 of the loot was recovered, Detective McCord said.

McCord said the youths signed statements saying Mona and Labato entered the store while the others waited in Mona's car outside the store, all fleeing together after the holdup.


Camden Courier-Post - June 25, 1933

BURGLAR IS ROUTED AS WOMAN SCREAMS
Grocer's Wife Aroused by Rustling of Paper in Her Bedroom

Aroused by the rustling of paper in her bedroom, Mrs. Mary Smith, of 1043 South Second Street, was awakened early yesterday to discover a. colored intruder standing over her bed.

The man fled as she screamed, escaping through a rear bedroom window in a room where her husband, Arthur, was asleep. Smith, who is a grocer, told police that on the previous Sunday his son, Leonard, had seen a man depart through his bedroom window ·on the second floor; and that about a year ago a wrist watch was stolen from under his pillow.

The thief yesterday obtained $10 and small change in a paper bag taken from a bureau drawer in Mrs. Smith's room. Smith has given the name of a suspect to Detectives Clifford Del Rossi and Leon Branch.

Mrs. Jennie Simone, of'529 South Second Street, reported to police that on returning to her home Saturday after a week's absence she found thieves had gained entrance through a rear window and taken a watch, brooch and wedding ring..


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