Raymond
T.
Amos


RAYMOND T. AMOS was born in Frankford, Delaware on December 28, 1905 to Albert and Catherine Amos. His father was a minister. The family had moved to Camden by the summer of 1910 and taken up residence at 1004 Central Avenue

The family had moved to 825 Walnut Street in South Camden by January of 1920. Sadly, by this time, Albert Amos had passed away. Catherine Amos worked as a domestic to support her family, which then also included daughter Mildred and a grandchild, Elva. 

Raymond T. Amos was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on May 14, 1937 and reported for duty with Engine Company 1 at 409 Pine Street on May 16. On April 1, 1948 Fireman Raymond Amos was the first black member promoted to the rank of Captain, followed some years later in 1954 by Captain Jesse 

Jones. Both members remained officers at Engine 1. Captain Amos would later request a transfer to Engine Company 8, South Camden but his Battalion Chief would not approve the transfer because of his high regard for the Captain's management skills and the efficient standing of the company.

Captain Amos retired on a service connected disability pension on February 1, 1961. Fireman Hadley Pike was promoted to replace him as a Captain with Engine Company 1. In a 1994 interview with Captain Raymond Amos, then at age 90 the oldest surviving black member of the Department, Captain Amos clearly recalled the early years before the advent of Civil Service when politics was the sole basis for meaningful employment and in particular the principal means for entrance into the Department.

Captain Amos vividly recalled his role as the acting Company Officer of Engine 1 responding second due to the great Hollingshead Fire. Also during the week before Christmas 1959 while Engine Company 1 was operating at a Second Alarm for row frame buildings in the 400 block of Mechanic Street South Camden, a major collapse trapped Captain Amos and Fireman George Dixon under tons of debris. The Captain's right leg was somehow wedged against his chest in a contortionist position. The Captain and Fireman Dixon were trapped for over two hours while Amos suffered a collapsed lung and cracked vertebrae. Fireman Gus Johnson also of Engine 1 suffered severe back injuries while attempting to lift and shore debris to free his Officer and brother member. Shortly before his retirement, Captain Amos also recalled his number one position on the promotional list for Battalion Chief and the City's failure to appoint him.

The 1947 Camden City Directory shows that Raymond T. Amos was married. he and his wife Esther were living at the 825 Walnut Street home. Raymond T. Amos was still living at 825 Walnut Street when he retired from the Fire Department in 1961. By 1970 he had moved to 109 Thompson Avenue in Chesilhurst NJ. He passed away on November 4, 1995. Captain Amos was survived by his wife Esther Q. Amos, daughters Frieda Bentley of Chesilhurst, Catherine Shepherd of Albany GA, and Nellie Davis of Williamstown; and sons Raymond S. Amos of New Haven CT, John and Charles Amos of Chesilhurst.


April 1948- In the company office of Engine Company 1, South 4th & Pine Streets. (Seated) Captain Raymond Amos; (standing) Captain Jesse Jones.


Circa 1949- Engine Company 1, wagon and pumper at front of quarters, South 4th & Pine Streets, South Camden. From left: Firemen Alfred Green, Fred Henderson, Charles Cook, Leroy Hatchett, Robert Thomas, Andrew Robinson, James Richardson, Eugene Alston, James Clinton, Captains Jesse Jones and Raymond Amos.


September 1954- Roll Call at the housewatch desk of Engine Company 1 's old quarters, South 4th & Pine Streets, South Camden on the occasion of Fireman Charlie Cook's retirement following his last tour of duty. From left: Firemen Andrew Robinson, Eugene Alston, Theodore Primas, Charles Davis, Captain Jesse Jones presenting wrist watch, Firemen Jesthroe Hunt, Samuel Fisher, Charles Cook, Orville Goldsboro, Captain Raymond Amos, Fireman Alfred Green.


 






Camden Courier-Post December 30, 1957

Engine Company 1 - Raymond Amos - Orville Goldsboro
August Johnson
- Reginald Laws - North 2nd Street
South 9th Street
- Bradley Avenue - Chestnut Street
Erie Street
- Market Street - Point Street - Washington Street


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