William
Hopkins



WILLIAM HOPKINS was born in Philadelphia on August 23, 1894 to James and Margaret Hopkins, one of at least nine children born to the Hopkins. His family moved to Camden around 1896. They were living at 425 Erie Street when the 1900 Census was enumerated. The 1906 Camden City Directory shows the family at 629 Elm Street. Members of the Hopkins family were still living at 629 Elm Street as as late as the fall of 1959. 

William Hopkins served in the military during World War I. He returned to the family home on Elm Street in time for the January 1920 Census. William Hopkins married and joined the Fire Department not long after the 1920 Census was enumerated. The 1924 Camden City Directory shows him living at 566 Carman Street. By 1927 the had moved to 581 Carman Street, but returned to 566 Carman Street by 1929. The 1930 census shows the family, which included son William and daughter Mary, at 520 Grant Street in North Camden. By 1931 he had moved to 729 Cedar Street.

William Hopkins was injured while fighting the fire that destroyed the C.B. Coles lumber yard at the foot of Mechanic Street on July 10, 1933.

On April 3rd, 1942 units of the Camden Fire Department's First Battalion were responding to an alarm at Point and Erie Streets, North Camden. A group of children were on their way to a birthday party for nine-year-old, Betty Mogck. The group of excited birthday celebrants, hearing the fire engines coming, ran into the street to see where they were going. As Engine Company 2 was making the turn at Erie Street, the Chauffeur, Fireman Harry Kleinfelder pulled hard on the wheel to avoid running over the children but not before striking little Betty Mogck. The apparatus swerved to the side of the street, sheared off a utility pole and came to rest on the pavement. Two members were hurled to the ground, slightly injured. Betty's older brother, John, was down the block talking with friends and came running up the street. Betty Mogck was rushed to Cooper Hospital suffering from a broken leg. Firemen William Hopkins and Harry Haines were treated for bruises and released. Years later, Betty's brother, John J. Mogck, Jr. would himself enter the Department and rise from the ranks of Probationary Fireman to retire as Chief of Department.  

The 1940 Camden City Directory shows William Hopkins residing at 819 Grant Street. Late in the spring of 1942, William Hopkins registered for the draft, a duty that all men up to the age of 65 were obligated to perform. He then was living at 612 North 7th Street. William Hopkins was still on active duty with the fire department in 1947. The 1947 City Directory gives his address as 615 Elm Street.

On December 30, 1955, William Hopkins' son William J. Hopkins was appointed to the Camden Fire department. He reported for duty with Ladder Company 1 on January 1, 1956, and served the city for over 25 years.


Hook & Ladder Company 3, Hose & Chemical Company 1 & Engine Company 9 - 1924

Hook & Ladder Company 3: Captain Joseph B. Ayres, FF Dave Humphries, Al Dukes, John Mulligan, Bill Mountney, Bill Hopkins. Hose & Chemical Company 1: Captain Charles H. Robinson, FF William E "Pud" Jaeckel, George Townsend, Ken Naylor, Howard Gick. Engine Company 9: Captain John H. Vickers, FF Irv Lederman, Newton Ash, Joe Gentlesk, Al Palmer



Above: 1930s "Jack" with members of Engine 2 and Ladder 1
Below, November 1935, at grave site immediately following ceremony for "Jack", from left: Fireman
John Yates, Captain William Van Pfefferle, Fireman William Hopkins, Fireman Lester Anderson, Acting Captain Edgar Ellender, Deputy Chief William Harring.

Click on Images to Enlarge

The American Fire Service has always held domesticated animals as esteemed mascots and the Camden Fire Department was certainly no exception. Through the years there have been many types of mascots in the Department including monkeys, cats, goats, and of course the most popular mascot, the dog. Dating back to the days of horse drawn fire apparatus and even earlier when carriage dogs formed an integral bond with horses, canines distinguished themselves as animals especially attuned to firehouse life.

Jack was the company mascot of Engine 2 and Ladder 1 at old Fire Headquarters for over five years and he was described as an intelligent Airedale of good humored nature. Jack never missed an opportunity to climb aboard the apparatus and answer alarms with his beloved masters. The sight of Engine Company 2 roaring out Federal Street with Jack perched high atop the apparatus, wind blowing in his face amid the shrill pitch of the buckeye whistle and clanging bells was a unforgettable scene. Occasionally and as with all active canines, Jack would be out of quarters and around the corner or down the street when an alarm was transmitted. At such times he would dash down Fifth Street until he caught up with the rolling apparatus and would skillfully leap upward to his accustomed place on the rig. It was under these circumstances that Jack lost his life.

The Department phone jingled and the Housewatchman turned out both companies for an alarm at 119 N. 9th Street. Jack got a late start on the hike and chased the apparatus out Federal St. where he tangled with an automobile at Broadway. While trying to avoid the car Jack darted into the path of the apparatus and was fatally injured. The men of the Engine and Truck were heart broken. Jack was buried the next day in the rear yard of Fire Headquarters in the place that had been his home since puppyhood. Flowers were planted to adorn the fresh grave while some of the toughest Firemen in the house were visibly grief stricken. One year later on the anniversary of Jack's death a memorial service was held after Roll Call in the rear yard of Fire Headquarters. The members erected a tombstone and in a quiet service, Fireman John Yates blew taps over Jack's grave. There were no words spoken. All that needed to be said was inscribed upon the little headstone; "Our Faithful Pal Jack" died in service, November 5, 1934.


*Camden Courier-Post - July 11, 1933*
C.B. Coles & Sons Lumber Co. - Kaighn's Point - Knight Street - Front Street - Mechanic Street
Atlantic Avenue - Kaighn Avenue - South 2nd Street - Margaret Dolson - Robert Dolson
Engine Company 8 - George Tucker - Charles Voll
Dr. Arthur L. Stone - Mrs. Marion Richards
Henry C. Coles - John Bircher - John H. Lennox - James H. Long - Harry Hertline
Joseph Novack - E.H. Stewart
...continued...
Camden Clown Club - James Shay - Alice Williams - Alice Shay - William Shay
Stanley Berthelot - Henry Small - James Rice - William Haines - Anna Parker - Mary Numbers 
Engine Company 2 - Engine Company 7 - William Hopkins - Felix Bendzyn
Dennis Block - C.E. Wells - Howe Street - Cedar Street - Wiley Mission

World War II Draft Card


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