William
P.
Marsh


 

WILLIAM P. MARSH was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on April 8, 1876 as an extra man with Engine Company 1, filling the position of John Toy. William P. Marsh was one of the many new firemen brought into the department when Claudius Bradshaw was elected Chief. Bradshaw was Chief for just three years, and most of the men he brought into the department only served a year or two. William P. Marsh served for one year. He was replaced by Charles Sawyer on April 8, 1877. On April 5, 1882 William P. Marsh was reappointed to the Camden Fire Department as an extra man with Engine Company 2, replacing Jacob App. He served for two years and by coincidence was replaced by John Toy.

William P. Marsh was born in Pennsylvania around February of 1839. Little else is known about his early years, save that he was not in Camden when the Census was taken in 1860. In August of 1862 William Marsh enlisted in the United States Navy. He served aboard the  the USS Powhatan for four months, and was discharged in December of 1862. 

The USS Powhatan was a sidewheel steam frigate, named for Powhatan, a Native American chief of eastern Virginia. She was one of the last, and largest, of the United States Navy's paddle frigates. Powhatan's keel was laid on August 6 1847 at Norfolk, Virginia. Her engines were constructed by Mehaffy & Company of Gosport, Virginia. She cost $785,000. She was launched on February 14, 1850 by the Norfolk Navy Yard and commissioned on September 2, 1852, Captain William Mervine in command. Powhatan, under Comdr. William J. McCluney, was next assigned to the East India Squadron and arrived on station via Cape of Good Hope on June 15, 1853. Her arrival in Chinese waters coincided with an important phase of Commodore Matthew C. Perry's negotiations for commercial relations with the Japanese and the opening of two ports. She was Perry's flagship during his November visit to Whampoa. On February 14, 1854 she entered Yedo (Tokyo) Bay with the rest of the squadron and the Convention of Kanagawa was signed on March 31, 1854.

During August 1855 Powhatan accompanied HMS Rattler in a successful battle against Chinese pirates off Kowloon, and reached the U.S. on February 14, 1856 with the new treaty. 

The US-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed on her deck on July 19, 1858. On February 13, 1860, the Powhatan accompanied by a Japanese capital ship, Kanrin Maru that departed on February 9, left Yokohama, Japan, en route to San Francisco as part of the first official embassy of the Empire of Japan to the United States of America. 

Powhatan remained active throughout the Civil War. She served as Flag Officer Garrett J. Pendergrast's flagship at Vera Cruz during October 1860. In April 1861, while under the command of Lt. David Dixon Porter, she assisted in the relief of Fort Pickens, Florida, and in the establishment of the blockade of Mobile, Alabama on May 26, capturing schooner Mary Clinton on May 29. During July and August Powhatan joined the blockade of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, retaking schooner Abby Bradford on August 15. From late August to October she pursued CSS Sumter throughout much of the West Indies.

William P. Marsh was served aboard Powhatan when she operated off Charleston, South Carolina from October 1862 to December of 1862. While serving aboard the USS Powhatan, one of his shipmates was Landsman Barton Lane. Both men would later serve as members of the Camden Fire Department. Shortly after leaving the Navy William P. Marsh got married. When the 1870 Census was taken, William P. Marsh lived in Camden's South Ward with his wife Sarah, daughter Phoebe and son George W. Marsh. The Marshes had nine children altogether, sadly, by 1900 only Phoebe and George were still alive. William P. Marsh began working as a railroad car inspector for the West Jersey Railroad, a profession he would follow for quite some time. He did the same work in later years for the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

As stated above, William P. Marsh was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on April 8, 1876 as an extra man with Engine Company 1. The Marsh family was living at 827 South 5th Street, a short walk from the Engine Company 1 firehouse at 409 Pine Street. They stayed at 827 South 5th Street into 1878, then moved across the street to 840 South 5th Street. By the spring of 1880 they had moved once again, to 831 South 5th Street. Here they stayed through 1885. 

As stated above, on April 5, 1882 William P. Marsh was reappointed to the Camden Fire Department as an extra man with Engine Company 2. He served in this capacity for two years. 

The 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 City Directories show William Marsh and family at at 653 South 3rd Street. By April of 1889 they had moved to 408 Bridge Avenue. By mid-1894 William Marsh had moved to 217 Benson Street, where he would live until 1896. The 1897 City Directory places him at 223 Benson Street. Both the 1898 and 1899 City Directories state that he was living with his daughter Phoebe at the corner of Fillmore Street and Ferry Avenue.

Daughter Phoebe Marsh is listed in the City Directories in the late 1890s as a artist and as a photographer. In 1896 and 1897 she was living at 223 Benson Street, and had a photography studio at the corner of Newton and Haddon Avenues in 1896 and at South 8th and Spruce Streets in 1897. In 1898 her studio was at the corner of South 6th and Mickle Streets, and in 1899 she was in business at the 272 Kaighn Avenue

When the Census was taken on June 2, 1900 William Marsh, his wife Sarah, and daughter Phoebe were living once again at 217 Benson Street. According to the Census, William Marsh was not working, nor was Phoebe.

William P. Marsh died from a stroke on August 19, 1903. His widow and daughter were still living at 217 Benson Street in 1906, Phoebe Marsh by the having set up another studio, this time at 1434 Broadway.


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


Philadelphia Inquirer
April 18, 1889

Samuel Dodd - Benjamin Braker
William P. Marsh - David Hager
Bridge Avenue

Click on Image to Enlarge

 


Philadelphia Inquirer - April 19, 1889

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 24, 1889

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 20, 1903

RETURN TO CAMDEN'S INTERESTING PEOPLE PAGE

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE