Tatem Sr.


WILLIAM HOWELL TATEM SR. was born on December 17, 1878 in Camden in May of 1876 to William A. and Anna Emley Tatem. There were at least three older siblings, a sister, Mary, and brothers Edward and James E. Tatem, and a younger brothers, George Tatem. 

In 1880 the Tatem family lived at 101 North 7th Street. William Tatem was then a produce dealer. Sadly, he had passed away in 1885. In 1887 the family was then living at 422 Henry Street in South Camden. The 1890-1891 Directory shows the Tatems at 619 South 5th Street, where older brother Edward Tatem also conducted a milk business. At the age of 24 James Tatem had married Ella Lummis. The couple resided with her parents, at 435 Beckett Street at the time of the 1900 Census. He had by this time already joined Camden's police force.

James Tatem joined Camden's police department in 1899, an appointee of Mayor Cooper B. Hatch. He managed to avoid being discharged when Democrat mayor Joseph Nowrey was elected. When the Republicans returned to City Hall in 1905, new Mayor Charles Ellis saw "Smilin' Jimmy's" ability to calm a troubled situation, and by 1910 he was promoted to sergeant and by 1920 to captain. For much of Ellis' term James Tatem served as an an aide to the Mayor. He also served as a Justice of the Peace in the early 1920s. 

William H. Tatem married around 1897. His wife Minnie gave birth to a daughter, Adella in August of 1898. Sadly, she died when only two weeks old. The Tatems were then living at 434 South 3rd Street.

When the census was taken in 1900 William and Minnie Tatem were living at 330 Royden Street. Also living there were his widowed mother, brother George, maternal grandmother Elizabeth Emley, and a cousin, David Emley. Minnie Tatem, not yet out of her 20s, died not long after the census was taken. William H. Tatem was living at 506 South 4th Street when the 1906 City Directory was being put together. He married again around this time. His wife, Lottie, gave birth to a son, William H. Tatem Jr., in November of 1907. 

Quite possibly due to his brother's political influence, William H. Tatem was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on January 1, 1909, in the early years of Mayor Charles H. Ellis's administration. He served with Ladder Company 1 during the 1910s, and took over as tillerman after awhile. 

William H. Tatem and family were living at 436 Senate Street when the census was taken in 1910, and they were still at that address in 1914. Another son, Edward, was born in January of 1912. By the summer of 1918 they had moved to 511 South 5th Street, where they remained through 1920. Sadly, William H. Tatem once again found himself a widower not long after the 1920 Census was enumerated.

By 1924 William H. Tatem had been promoted to Captain. The 1924 Camden City Directory shows him residing at 557 Pine Street. His son, William H. Tatem Jr., resided with him as late as 1927. He was still at that address when the 1929 Directory was compiled. Shortly before the 1929 edition was compiled, William H. Tatem married Sara Olden, whom he had known as early as 1905. The 1930 Census shows William and Sara Tatem, son Edward, granddaughter Elizabeth and brother-in-law John Olden living at 557 Pine Street. Fire Department records from 1931 also show William Tatem at the Pine Street address.

Captain Tatem retired on March 27, 1937. By the time the 1940 City Directory was compiled, William H. Tatem Sr. had retired. He and his wife Sarah were living at 565 Mount Vernon Street. They were still at that address as late as 1946. They laster moved to 1005 South 6th Street. William H. Tatem passed away on June 26, 1951.

Hook & Ladder Company No.1
with new 1914 American LaFrance 75', 4 cyliner aerial ladder, in front of Fire Headquarters

From Left: tillerman Bill Tatem and driver Harry Burroughs.
Civilian is probably AMerican LaFrance salesman Clarence Stanford

Hook & Ladder Company No.1
with new 1914 American LaFrance 75', 4 cyliner aerial ladder, in front of Fire Headquarters

From Left: tillerman Bill Tatem, firemen Edward Finley, Charles Gladney, and Harry Green
Harry Anderson,
George Hollins and Steward Bakley, Captain Joseph Maxwell, and driver Harry Burroughs

Philadelphia Inquirer - September 3, 1898

South 3rd Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 25, 1905

Line Street - Mickle StreetWiley M.E. Church - Charles P. Tuttle Sr.
Flora Lee Matthews - J. Franklin Dorman Jr. - Rev. Alfonso Dare
Lizzie Locke - Linda Blair - Sara Olden - Gustav Hemple

World War I Draft Card

Camden Courier-Post * October 29, 1935


Members of the auxiliary to the Police and Firemen's Association will hold their annual Halloween party in the clubhouse, 1175 Whitman avenue, tomorrow night. Mrs. Sarah Tatem is president of the auxiliary.

World War II Draft Card