Louis
D.
Stevens


 

LOUIS DANIEL STEVENS was one of the first African-American fire fighters appointed to the Camden Fire Department when it reintegrated after a 30 year lapse after World War I. He was born in New Jersey on, according to his draft card, November 25, 1872. The 1900 Census gives a month and year of January 1876, and to confuse the issue somewhat further, he lied about his age in later years in order to secure employment as a Camden fireman. Some records also indicate that he spelled his given name as Lewis, and a Lewis D. Stevens also appears in the 1880 Census in Camden County, New Jersey is what was then Center Township. This individual was the son of a Black farmer, John Stevens, and his wife Anna, and was the youngest of four children alive when the Census was taken in 1880, coming after sisters Rebecca, Ellamina and Anna. 

Louis D. Stevens was living in Camden as early as 1900. He was then boarding at 1854 Philip Street. He married not long after the Census was taken.

Louis Stevens appears in the 1906 Camden City Directory and the 1910 Census at 747 Cherry Street. He was then working for a lumber company as a driver. He had been married for nine years, but there had been no children. The census reported his wife's name to be Ella, later records have her as Julia. He was still at the Cherry Street address as late as 1914. By September of 1918 he had purchased a house at 1012 South 9th Street, where he would live out his days. He was then working as a mechanic or a Packard automobile dealership in Philadelphia. He was still following that line of work when the census was taken in January of 1920.

In 1921 Louis Stevens was appointed to the Camden Fire Department and was assigned to Engine Company 1 at 409 Pine Street. He apparently did not report his age accurately in order to secure the position. In 1930 he gave his age to the census enumerator as 45, and Fire Department records from 1931 state that he was 34, indicating that he had shaved another 10 years off of his age. 

Louis D. Stevens was buried at Mount Peace Cemetery in Lawnside, New Jersey. Lawnside had been part of Center Township in the 1800s.

World War I Draft Card


Camden Courier-Post - June 28, 1933

HUNTON Y.M.C.A. BRANCH OPENS DRIVE TONIGHT

A membership campaign by the Hunton Branch Y.M.C.A., Sixth and Mechanic Streets, will open to night and continue until July 9.

The association has sponsored considerable activity among colored boys and, young men and has organized a women's auxiliary. Educational, musical, club, religious and athletic programs have been conducted.

The campaign organization is headed by General C. T. Branch. Three divisions headed by Majors H. W. Brown, J. C. Rooks and W. A. Jones will vie for the honors in the campaign. The workers of the campaign are: S. T. Spence, captain; Yorke Rodgers, Dr. J. M. Vaughan, George B. Hill, Anthony P. Taylor, C. R. Handcock, captain; J. A. Jones, John Houston, W. J. Townsend, captain; L. Harding, William Coleman, S. D. Buell, A. W. Smith, Louis Stevens, captain; Dr. U. S. Wiggins, I. T. Nutt, G. L. Eggleston; John Blackson, captain; L. Allen, Dr. H. E. Primas, Edward Moore, H. S. Smith, G. H. Dorsey, captain; S. Seymore, Raymond Griffin, Leon Martin, Lawrence Lawson. The drive has the backing of the Ministerial Alliance of Camden and vicinity. A. E. Flournoy is director of the campaign.

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