JOHN WILLIAM FLETCHER BLEAKLY
South Jersey: A History 1624-1924
WILLIAM FLETCHER BLEAKLY—North Camden owes its development to John
William Fletcher Bleakly, one time builder and real estate man in Camden
and now an official of the Camden Board of Education. Mr. Bleakly is one
of the most active citizens of the city and is a leading club member.
William Fletcher Bleakly was born in Wellsville, Ohio, March 12, 1862, the
son of William Bleakly, a native of Ireland, who came to this country and
lived in Ohio, Philadelphia and later in Camden, and who on his return
from California whither he had gone in the gold rush settled in Camden and
went into the lime and building material business, remaining in it until
he was killed in the Reading Railroad accident at Haddon Heights, and
Elizabeth (Armstrong) Bleakly, also a native of Ireland. The boy was
educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and in Pierce Business
College, Philadelphia, wherein he remained six months.
1878, when the family moved to Camden, Mr. Bleakly joined his father in
the lime and building material enterprise, which was known as the Cedar
Valley Lime Company. When the elder Bleakly was killed, on September 7,
1898, his son took over
the business, conducting it for several years, but eventually selling out
in order to establish the firm of J. W. F. Bleakly Company, Incorporated,
a building concern. As head of this company, Mr. Bleakly virtually
developed all of North Camden beyond State
Street. In 1902, he became secretary and business manager of the Board
of Education, from which he resigned on February 1, 1924, at which time he
returned to the real estate and insurance business with offices at 2600 Federal
Bleakly is a Free and Accepted Mason, a Scottish Rite Mason and belongs to
the Camden Chapter and the Crescent Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; he is also a member of the Camden Lodge of
the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Ninth Ward Republican
Club, of which he is the organizer. He at one time affiliated with the
Junior Order United American Mechanics.
Bleakly married Fannie (Bartine) Smith, a native of Philadelphia and
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Wesley Bartine, in Philadelphia, March 16,
1886. They have four children.
children are William Bleakly, born April 7, 1887, Fletcher
Stanley Bleakly, born February 16, 1890. Ruth Marie Bleakly, born
September 27, 1898. and Edwin Gilbert Bleakly, born November 17, 1900.
Mr. Bleakly has one sister and two brothers, who are Helen Marie Bleakly; E. G. C. Bleakly, a lawyer; and Howard Graham Bleakly, also a lawyer. The Bleakly family is affiliated with the Centenary Methodist Church of Camden.
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