HENRY SMITH JR., generally known in Camden as W. Harry Smith was born in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on, according to some sources, March 20,
1862. It is equally possible that he was born in 1860. His parents, William
Henry Smith Sr. and the former Harriet C.
Stewart, lived in Philadelphia until at least April of 1873, then
moved to Camden. Before that had happened the Smiths had been blessed
with five more children, Carrie, Virginia, Augustus D., and Charles N.,
and Sue G. Smith.
Smith family first appears in Camden's City Directories in 1874, at 729 Carman
Another son, Howard
M. Smith was born that year. By 1877 the family was living at 726
Street. Son Charles N. Smith died in 1877, and by the end of
the year, Mrs. Smith
had given birth again, to Clarence S.
Smith. The Smith family was still
residing at 726 Federal
Street when the 1880 Census was enumerated in
June of that year. Still another son, Walter H.
Smith, had recently been born. Two more sons would follow, Crawford
Smith and Roy A.
Smith. Howard, Walter, and Roy would all go on to public service in
the 1880 Census states that William Smith Sr. worked as a clerk, his
really occupation was that of a "policy writer", that is to
say, he was engaged is the illegal lottery business, popularly know in
our time as "the numbers racket. Known in and about Camden as
"Policy Bill", he was arrested a number of times during the
1880s and had been given a one-year prison sentence in early 1883, which
was reduced in February to a $100 fine and a $1000 bond not to go back
into the "policy" business... which he promptly did. The 1882
City Directory shows the Smith
family at 14 South 8th Street
and they stayed their until 1889. "Policy
Bill" was arrested again during police raids in January and May of
September 9, 1886 William Henry "Policy Bill" Smith Sr. died, leaving
Harriet Smith to
take care of nine children, five of them under the age of 15. One of the
ways she kept the family going was by staying in the family business of
"policy", and she would have a number of encounters with the
law through the rest of the decade and the 1890s. Her house was raided
in the first part of 1887. In November of 1889, the Smiths were living in the unit block of
North 10th Street when there home was again raided.
William H. Smith Jr.,
popularly best known as W. Harry
already working, and by 1890 second son Augustus D. Smith found work as
a blacksmith. W. Harry Smith began involving himself in local politics
in Camden's 9th Ward as a Republican, and over the years this served him
and the Smith family well. He also was working as a bartender as early
as 1892. During the 1890s he formed a friendship with a fellow Ninth
Ward Republican, Henry J.
By August of 1890 Harriet
Smith and family had moved to
Street. Except for a brief interruption in the 1890s, the
Smith family and their descendants would remain on this block into the
best that can be determined as of this writing, Harriet
of trouble until 1895.
City Directory has Harriet
Smith and her family at 758 Federal
the 1895 edition has them at 750 Federal
Smith and her unmarried
sons lived at that address until at
Smith married Catherine "Kate" Everett around 1890, but
the marriage did not survive the decade, they appear to have been
living apart when the Census was taken in 1900. There were three
children, Florence, born in 1892 and died the following year,
Raymond H. Smith, born in 1896, and Edna May Smith, born in 1898.
Sister Virginia had married William N. Ferrell in 1887 and lived for the
most part in Gloucester County until her death in 1924. Sister Sue
had married John Warner Kinsey Jr. on
November 26, 1892. They already had a daughter together, Ethel,
born on March 21, 1892. The marriage ended in divorce, with Sue
Smith Kinsey going back to live with her mother and brothers and retaining custody of her daughter.
April of 1895 Harriet
Smith was indicted by the grand jury in
Camden. She was tried and on May 24 sentenced to a year in prison.
Although claiming ill-health, she received no support from
Camden's medical community nor the sentencing Judge. Her sentence
was commuted on July 16, 1895 by the New Jersey State Board of
Pardons, on the grounds that others who had been tried at the same
time she was had escaped imprisonment, and to be honest, on the
basis of her sex. Brother Howard
M. Smith, had married Helen
Goldy Penn the day before. The young couple moved in with Helen's
family at 822 Kimber
the month of July 1895 was out, daughter Sue Smith Kinsey was due
in front of a judge on "policy" charges. Both Harriet
Smith and her daughter were arrested again is September of 1895,
and indictments were brought. These charges and those made against
others were quashed. Harriet
Sue were arrested again on February 10, 1896. Augustus Smith died in Camden on November 17. 1896 and was
buried at Harleigh Cemetery.
by her brother W.
Harry Smith, Sue
Smith Kinsey married Harry J. Wagner, on August 23, 1897.
The two Harrys both stayed active in Republican affairs in the
Ninth Ward. The Wagners set up house at 747
Street, and a son Harry
J. Wagner Jr. arrived shortly thereafter. Clarence
Smith married Mary Thomas in Camden on September 8, 1897. The 1898
City Directory shows him at 736 Federal
Street, working as a clerk. A daughter, Harriet
Florence Smith, was born on November 10, 1898.
October of 1898 Harriet
Smith and her sons were under
indictment again, and appear to have moved to Philadelphia to
escape prosecution. In the 1900 Census Harriet
Smith and her
five living sons including W. Harry
Smith are listed at 506
Hope Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The accuracy of the 1900 Census is problematic, in that there are instances of
people being counted twice due to being at different addresses. W. Harry
Smith is shown with his mother in Philadelphia AND with wife
Kate and daughter Edna at 815 Bridge
Avenue, next door to his
brother-in-law Harry J. Wagner Sr. Meanwhile, at the same time
Kate, Edna, and Raymond Smith are listed in
1900 Census in Philadelphia with her family.
and Kate appear at 513 Roberts Street in the 1901 City
Directory but appear to have parted ways soon after. Kate went to
Philadelphia, remarried and started a new family. The 1904 City
Directory shows W. Harry
at 214 Linden
Street, with Kate, this
however appears to be in error. His brother Clarence S.
Smith and his family
were living at 609
North 6th Street were his mother Harriet
Smith, brothers Walter,
as well as Clarence's wife Mary and daughter Harriet F. Smith. Both
Smith and brother Crawford
Smith had found work as ironworkers, i.e., steel
construction workers employed by the Camden Iron Works.
Sadly, Clarence S.
Smith was killed when he fell from a 40 foot tall gas tank being erected in Moline, Illinois
in 1907. Newspaper accounts of the day state that W. Harry
Smith was tending bar at the
Hotel at 224 Market
Directories from 1905 through 1908 show him at 323 Birch
The 1909 Directory and the 1910 Census show him at 320 Birch
Street, the Census
shows him working as a bartender and living at 320 Birch
with his wife of 3 years, Jane Gertrude Smith and that his daughter Edna
was with them. This situation did not last and Edna went to
Philadelphia to be raised alongside her brother by her maternal
known and popular from both his political and bartending
was a founding member of Camden Lodge No. 111, Loyal Order of
Moose when it was chartered in the spring of 1909.
Harry Smith continued
to working as a bartender into the 1910s. He left the Columbia
Hotel that year to tend bar at 29 North
3rd Street. City Directories show him living at 626 Elm
Street in 1913 and
1914, 715 Lawrence Street in 1915, and 340
Avenue in 1917 and 1918. His brothers Howard, Walter and Roy all
worked in these years as policemen and firemen. Howard
M. Smith had been appointed to the Camden Police Department on March 20,
1906. Walter Smith
was appointed to the Camden Police Department on April 30,
1914. Both brothers were promoted to Detective, and served into the
was lent out to the Camden County prosecutors office and handled
many murder cases while with that agency.
Smith, served as a member of the Camden Fire Department from
1910 to 1933, before retiring on disability.
lived out most of his life on
Street, and was
in and out of the
newspapers for various activities, including engaging in the
family business of numbers in the 1930s.
the City Directory was compiled in 1920 W. Harry
Smith was living at 702
which would remain his home until his death in 1931. The Directory indicates he was working as a Camden
policeman, this is most likely an error, as a Harry W. Smith was
employed as a policeman at the time. From 1921 on the directories gives his occupation
as foreman. He worked during this time as an inspector for
Camden's Highway Department. The 1930 Census states that he was
retired, however, he was employed as the custodian of
the Sixth Ward Republican Club
on Chestnut Street at the time of his death. He was not named in
connection with the shooting that occurred at the Broadway location of
the Sixth Ward Republican Club
H. "W. Harry"
Smith died on January 25, 1931 at Cooper Hospital after suffering a
fatal heart attack while on his way to work at the Sixth Ward Republican Club.
remained occupied by the Smith family for many years. Crawford Smith
moved in by the end of 1933. His wife Lillian stayed on after his
passing in 1941 and remained there until her death in 1949.
mentioned above, his other sister, Sue, had married Harry J. Wagner
Sr., on August 23, 1897. The Wagner family was still living on
Street in the 1960s. There were four
sons from this marriage. The oldest, Harry
J. Wagner Jr., served as a member of the Camden Fire
Department for 39 years and 8 months, reaching the rank of Acting
Chief of Department. His nephew Roy A. Wagner owned
Federal Street and employed his brothers Phil Wagner and George C.
Wagner as bartenders..
from his brother
Belford Edwin "Bud" Smith and Edward Baker Smith, both
worked in security at the New
York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard. Bud Smith died of heart
attack on the job in 1968, Edward B. Smith rose to head of
security, then worked for several
years as an investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor's
Office. retiring in 1981. He passed away on August 29, 1994.