Thomas
McKenna


 

THOMAS McKENNA was appointed to the Camden Fire Department as an extra man with Engine Company 1 on April 5, 1882. He replaced Charles Sawyer. Thomas McKenna served with the Fire Department for two years and was replaced by Frank Webster. Thomas McKenna worked as a laborer and as a machinist during his time with the Fire Department. He later was involved in the saloon business. 

Thomas McKenna was born around 1859 in New Jersey to Irish-born parents, John and Mary McKenna. He grew up with siblings Paul, John, and Mary in South Camden, near Thomas Gordon's hotel and livery on South 2nd Street. The 1878 City Directory shows the McKenna family at 708 South 2nd Street and it correlates location-wise to Gordon's businesses.  

The 1882-1883 City Directory shows Thomas McKenna still living at 708 South 2nd Street, and he was at that address when appointed to the Fire Department. He was still at that address in 1885, at which time he was working as a hatter. By 1887 he was living at 713 Locust and working as a shoemaker. Later in that year he took over the management of a saloon at 33 North Front Street, and stayed involved at that location through 1897. Unlike many other saloon operators of the day, he did not always live on premises, although he is listed as residing there in 1890. Directories for 1892-1893 and 1893-1894 have him at 713 Locust Street. Directories for 1894-1895 and 1895-1896 place him at 268 Sycamore Street. The 1896 City Directory gives his address as 117 Centennial Avenue, while the 1897 Directory indicates that he was again staying at 33 North Front Street. 

The 1898 Camden City Directory shows Thomas and Kate McKenna at 209 Berkley Street. He was still in the bar business, but the Directory does not disclose where. The 1899 City Directory shows the McKennas at "Federal near 17th" in what was then still the town of Stockton. Stockton and Camden united later in 1899.

The 1900 Census shows Thomas McKenna, occupation saloonkeeper, at 1121 Baring Street. The McKenna family was the comprised of Thomas and Kate McKenna, sons Thomas, James, John, and Leon, and brother John F. McKenna.

By 1906 Thomas McKenna had gotten out of the bar business. He and his wife were living at 929 St. John Street in South Camden. He was then working as a boilermaker at one of Camden's shipyards. Things were unchanged when the census was taken in 1910.

Neither Thomas or Kate McKenna are listed in the 1914 or 1918-1919 Camden City Directories. Sons James, Thomas, and John were living in South Camden when the Census was taken in January of 1920.

As best as has been determined as of this writing, Thomas McKenna was not related to any of the other McKennas who ran bars in Camden.


Philadelphia Inquirer * April 7, 1882

G. Rudolph Tenner
James McCracken
Daniel Bromley - John S. Kelly
Michael McCaffery
James H. Brown
Thomas McKenna
James Shinn - Smith Moore
William Irelan
William Bassett
John Hill - James Read
Robert Miller - William Marsh
George Moffett - John J. Logan
Isaac M. Shreve - Samuel Welsh
Lewis Ferrell - Logan Bates
Isaac Collings - Harry Miles
John W. Elliott - William Turner
Charles Holl - John J. Hibbs
John Seybold - James H. McCann
Edward Swope - William Suders


   

 
 

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