a number of his neighbors Stephen L. Thomas did not enlist in
April of 1861. He did go to war the following year. Stephen L.
Thomas enlisted as a Private on September 2, 1862, and was
assigned to Company G, 25th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on
September 26, 1862.
Twenty-fifth Infantry was commanded by Colonel Andrew Derrom;
with Lieutenant Colonel Enoch J. Ayres and Major John K. Brown
as staff officers. Among the 9-months regiments sent to the
field from New Jersey, few performed more signal service or
made a finer record than the 25th. The
regiment, composed about equally of citizens of the northern and
southern sections of the state, was fortunate in securing as
its commander a man of thorough soldierly qualifications, combined
with great energy and force of character, whose heart was in the
work in which he was engaged, and who, enjoying the entire
confidence of his command, was able to make it, in the
highest degree, useful and efficient. Moreover, the men composing
the regiment were of the best class, whether as to intelligence
or personal physique, and adapted themselves readily and
cheerfully to all the requirements of the service.
regiment left its camp at Beverly on Oct. 10, 1862, and arrived
at Washington on the following day. Going into camp at Capitol
hill, it was assigned to the 2nd brigade of Casey's division,
consisting of the 27th N. J., 12th and 13th Vt. and 12th
Mass. battery, Col. Derrom being placed in temporary command
of the brigade. Acquia creek was reached on Dec. 8, the regiment
crossing the Potomac in transports from Liverpool Point,
and on the following day proceeding directly to Falmouth, where
it was assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d division, 9th army
corps. It took a conspicuous part in the battle of
Fredericksburg and met with a loss in the conflict of 9
killed, 58 wounded and 18 missing. It also participated in an
engagement near Suffolk in May, 1863, in which the behavior of
the men was most admirable, the loss of the regiment being 2 killed
and 9 wounded. That was the last fight in which the 25th was
engaged. On June 4 it was ordered to proceed to Portsmouth and
take transportation for New Jersey, and four days later
reached Camp Cadwallader at Beverly, where on June 20 it
was mustered out of the service. The total strength of the
regiment was 1,019, and it lost during its term of service, by
resignation 11, by discharge 92, by promotion 13, by transfer
3, by death 57, by desertion 18, by dismissal 1, not accounted
for 5, mustered out, 819.
L. Thomas was among those mustered out with Company G, 25th
Infantry Regiment New Jersey on June 20, 1863 at Beverly, NJ. He
returned to Camden, and very probably became involved with one
of the volunteer fire companies in the city.
L. Thomas was making his home at 1110 Locust Street when he was appointed to the Fire
Department. He had previously worked as a "catcher"
and as a laborer. He married Martha Olive Chadwick on May 16,
1867. When the Census was taken he was living with his wife and
his widowed mother. There were no children as of then. Just 5
doors away, at 1118 Locust Street, lived another Camden Fire
Department member, William
Deith. At 1108 Locust Street lived Stephen Thomas' in-laws,
George and Martha Chadwick.
was removed from service with the Fire Department on May 7,
1874. He was still living at 1110 Locust Street at that
time. Stephen L. Thomas is not listed in the 1878-1879 Camden
City Directory, but it is more likely that was due to omission
rather than he having left the city. The 1880 Census shows him
2nd Street with wife Martha and children Martha, George, and
Mary, another son, James, had not survived. He was working as a
laborer. The 1882-1883 Directory has the family at 701 Oak
Street. He subsequently moved to 225 Pine
Street, where he lived through 1891. By the end of 1892 he
had moved to 643 Locust Street, and by the end of 1894 had again
relocated, this time to 707 Berkley
Street, where he stayed through 1895. The 1896 Directory
shows Stephen L. and Martha Thomas at 704 Carman
Street, occupation fireman, most likely not in the
firefighter sense of the word, but rather that of one who worked
around steam engines and boilers. 1897 has Stephen and Martha at
Street, with the same occupation. The 1898 Directory shows
another move, to 516 Edmunds Street, and he is again working as
a laborer. Stephen and Martha Thomas are at 529 Newton
Avenue in 1899.
1900 Census shows the Thomas family at 428 South
3rd Street. There had been seven children, six of whom were
still alive in 1900. Living with Stephen and Martha are son
George, 27, a brass finisher; daughters Ida 16, and Florence,
11; daughter Mary, 27 and her husband Clarence Smith; a grand-
daughter, Harriet Smith; and Stephen Thomas' mother-in-law,
Martha Kelley Chadwick. Stephen Thomas and Clarence Smith worked
as day laborers.
L. Thomas is not listed in the 1906 City Directory. Martha Olive
Thomas died on May 1, 1903. The obituary published in the
Philadelphia Inquirer indicates that Stephen L. Thomas was then
staying at the Soldier's Home in Vineland, New Jersey. This
would indicate that Stephen and Martha Thomas had left Camden
prior to the compilation of the 1906 Directory.
L. Thomas is to be found in the 1910 Census. At that time he was
living at 750 Cherry
Street, living with his daughter Ida, 25 and her husband
Howard Dewey, a shipyard worker.
is a Stephen L. Thomas listed in the 1910-1911 City Directory.
This person was working as a fireman and living at 723 North
9th Street. As Howard and Martha Dewey were still at 750 Cherry
Street, it would appear that the person living on North 9th
Street is not the Stephen L. Thomas who is the subject of this
is no listing in the 1914 Camden City Directory for Stephen L.
Thomas. He may have by this time passed away.