SAMUEL JONES TILDEN FRENCH SR. was born January 23, 1877 to William Nelson and Mary Caroline Collins French. He was a great-great-grandson of American naval Captain Micajah Smith, of Chestnut Neck, on Little Egg Harbor in Atlantic County NJ. Captain Smith brought in the large British freighter Venus, of London, in August, 1778. This and other American activities in and near Chestnut Neck brought about a British attack, which was unsuccessful in the first week of October 1778. This became known as the Battle of Chestnut Neck.
Samuel J.T. French Sr. was named for the 1876 Democrat presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden, who had lost the election to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 due to electors from Florida switching their votes when the Electoral College was convened. The 1880 Census shows the family living in Atlantic City NJ, where the elder French was working as a huckster .
Early in 1888 the French family moved to Camden NJ, and lived at 212 South 5th Street. During the late 1880s and 1890s William N. French was in the produce business, while oldest son William Collins French is recorded in the city directories as a clerk. Samuel J.T. French Sr. graduated from Camden Manual Training & High School. This school was renamed Clara J. Burrough Junior High School upon the opening of the present Camden High School. Both he and his brother were fine athletes, playing football for the Camden Athletic Association team, which which played its games at 3rd and Erie Streets in North Camden. The French brothers' teammates included future Camden mayor Frank S. Van Hart, Tom Peterson, George Bergen, and Martin Bergen. The two Bergens would also become noted lawyers in Camden.
After graduation from Camden High, Samuel J.T. French followed older brother William's example and studied law. By the time the 1920 Census was taken, Samuel J.T. French Sr. had established a successful legal practice in Camden with older brother William. One month short of his 43rd birthday, Samuel J.T. French Sr. was well respected by government leaders of both parties. Besides his law business, he served as the president of New Jersey's first Delaware River Bridge and Tunnel Commission, the group that eventually evolved into that which arranged for the construction of what today is called the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. When the census was taken in January of 1920, Samuel French and his wife Alma had owned their home at 513 State Street in North Camden for seven years. The French family then included sons Nelson, Samuel J.T. Jr., and daughter Lillian. Another son, Richard French, would arrive later.
By April of 1930, when the next census was taken, Republican Congressman Charles A. Wolverton and family had bought a home at 505 State Street in North Camden. Samuel J.T. French Sr. ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat against Wolverton in 1932, which must have been interesting, as the two candidates lived only six doors apart at the time. The Wolverton's only son, Donnell, would, like Samuel J.T. French Jr., follow law as a profession in Camden. Sadly, Sarah Wolverton would pass away in 1938.
After serving as a judge, brother William C. French passed away in early 1930. Shortly afterwards son Samuel J.T. French Jr. joined his father in his law practice. The firm, with offices at 305 Market Street, the Security Trust Building, was known as French and French, and would remain at 305 Market as late as 1977.
Samuel French Sr. maintained his residence in North Camden throughout his life. He also had a summer home in Port Republic NJ, where he spent much time, for many years.
Camden Courier-Post - October 14, 1931
MRS. HYLAND TO OPEN NEW DEMOCRATIC CLUB
The Eleventh Ward Democratic Club, 923 North Twenty-seventh Street, will be opened formally tonight by Mrs. Emma E. Hyland, Democratic state committeewoman, and Samuel T. French, prominent attorney and worker for the party. Honor guests will be Mrs. Lillian Pisko and Charles Goldy, both members of the county committee, organizers of the club.
Camden Courier-Post - October 21, 1931
OF G.O.P. FLAYED BY FRENCH
Directing questions at David Baird, Republican candidate for governor, Samuel T. French, former president of the New Jersey Bridge and Tunnel Commission, last night attacked the sincerity of Baird's campaign speeches.
French addressed more than 200 voters at the headquarters, of the Woodrow Wilson Democratic Club, Atlantic and Louis Streets, in appealing for suffrage in the interest of A. Harry Moore, Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
"In a campaign speech at. Plainfield on October 17," French said, "Baird pledged himself to quick relief of the tax burden. In view of past events, I do not know what has come over Mr. Baird; I do not know what has changed his heart. He was a director of Public Service and the controlling power of the legislature when the legislature passed a bill, which relieved the Public Service of keeping the roadways and street surfaces in good condition between the rails on eighteen inches of either side. This resulted in a saving of millions of dollars to Public Service and put the bill in the hands of the taxpayers. Yet, Mr. Baird says conditions must be changed by a change of the taxation system. Is that the way to change taxation- by increasing it for the citizens and lowering it for the corporations?
Asks Seven Questions
"If Camden County is where Mr. Baird derived inspiration for his Plainfield speech, I ask him to publicly answer these questions:
"First, what was the idea of buying the ground upon a portion of which is erected the county court house and city hall, when the city owned a plot of land much better located on which it would have been unnecessary to destroy property, which was paying into the city treasury annually approximately $70,000 in taxes?
"Secondly, why was it necessary to buy that whole tract of land and destroy all the tax producing property when the city only had use for less than 25 percent of it?
"Thirdly, from whom did the city purchase a large portion of this tract? Why was it necessary to build a city hall at the particular time? What was the total cost of the city hall and court house annex? And, of utmost importance, why was the contract price paid in full on or about December 1, 1930, when the work was only about 80 percent completed?
"Fourth, did Senator Baird approve of all the acts of the City Commission and the Board of Freeholders in the city's and county's activities in the purchase of all the land and the erection of the building?
"Fifth, if Mr. Baird's answer is 'yes,' to that question, then I ask him why were former Mayor Price and Commissioner T. Yorke Smith, dropped from the Republican ticket in the municipal election? If Mr. Baird's answer is 'no,' then I ask him why were not the entire five commissioners dropped from the Republican ticket at the last municipal election, instead of making Price and Smith the goats?
“Sixth, I ask Mr. Baird if he offered objection to the selection of the site or the expenditures in connection with the enterprise?
"Seventh. I ask the Republican candidate for governor, believing as he says he does in his Plainfield speech that the spending orgy must stop: What would have been the saving to the taxpayers of Camden city and county if the new city hall had been erected at the Civic Centre instead of its present location?"
Praises Moore's Record.
French lauded the record of A. Harry Moore, the Democratic candidate for governor, and charged the Republican state administration with "wanton expenditure and gross extravagance of the first water."
"Property will be led to the point of confiscation if the Republicans are allowed to continue their orgy of spending." French concluded, "and the only remedy in election of Moore with a Democratic legislature to support him."
Thomas Madden also spoke at the meeting.
Democratic rallies were also held last night in three wards of the city and in Ashland.
C. Lawrence Gregorio, former assistant prosecutor, and David L. Visor spoke at the First Ward Democratic Club, 315 North Second Street; Firmin Michel and Frank Connors at the Tenth Ward A. Harry Moore Club, 822 North Eighth Street; Albert Melnik, Gene Mariano and John Crean, at the Ninth Ward Democratic Club, 543 Washington Street, and Isaac Eason, former assistant attorney general of the United States at the A. Harry Moore Club of Ashland, Burnt Mill Road.
Camden Courier-Post - October 23, 1931
7 DEMOCRATS RALLIES IN COUNTY TONIGHT
Democratic speakers, urging suffrage in the interest of A. Harry Moore, gubernatorial candidate, and the local Democratic ticket, will invade seven political clubs in the city ar.d county tonight.
County meetings, all at 8 p. m. and speakers are as follows:
First Ward Democratic Club, Gloucester, Mercer and Burlington streets, E. George Aaron, Firman Michel and Marie V. Kelly.
Pennsauken Colored A. Harry Moore Club, Magnolia and Scovel avenues, Merchantville, Dr. Clement T. Branch, Eugene Aumaitre and Albert Melnik.
Somerdale Democratic Club, fire hall, Mrs. Emma E. Hyland, Edward L. Canning, Thomas Madden and John Delaney.
Camden Courier-Post - October 29, 1931
TO HOLD MEETINGS TONIGHT
The campaign foe A. Harry Moore, gubernatorial candidate, and local Democratic candidates, will be carried into six wards of the city and in seven communities or the county tonight.
All meetings and speakers are as follows:
Ward Democratic Club, 841
Market Sktreet; Eugene Aumetre, John Crean,
Vincent Gallagher, Leon H. Rose and Charles Woods.
Sixth Ward Democratic Club, Fourth and Walnut Street; Frank Connor, Albert Melnik and Thomas Madden.
Seventh Ward A. Harry Moore Club, Seventh Street and Kaighn Avenue; Dr. Leroy Baxter, of Jersey City; Isaac Eason, Dr. Clement Branch, Rev. Robert H. Jackson, Mrs. Bertha Shippen Irving and Frank Suttill.
Magnolia A. Harry Moore Club, Evesham and Gloucester avenues; Firmin Michel, Edward L. Canning, John Delaney, Marie V. Kelley and Francis Homan.
Lindenwold Colored Voters' Club, Blackstone Hall, Lindenwold, Eugene Aumetre, William Williams and Oliver Bond.
Somerdale Club, Whelen home, Somerdale road and Oggs Avenue; Marie V. Kelly, David L. Visor and Mrs. Emma E. Hyland.
East Haddonfield Democrat Club, Crescent and Berlin Road; Edward L. Canning, Albert Melnik and Judge Frank F. Neutze.
More than five speakers from North Jersey will appear at as many meetings as possible.
Camden Courier-Post - October 31, 1931
RALLIES TONIGHT IN 3 WARDS, ASHLAND
Rallies in the interest of A. Harry Moore, gubernatorial candidate, and local candidates on the Democratic ticket will be conducted tonight in Ashland and in three wards of the city.
The meetings and speakers are as follows;
Ashland Democratic Club, home of Ida May Heidrick, Burnt Mill road and Second Avenue: Thomas Madden, Leon H. Rose and Eugene Mariano,
Camden Courier-Post - June 28, 1933
S. TAXI TRANSFER RULED FRAUDULENT
with the contention that transfer of the Public Service Cab Company to
Public Service Coordinated Transport was fraudulent, Vice Chancellor
Francis B. Davis late yesterday ordered the latter to pay $10,000 in
damages to Ralph M. Chorpenning for injuries suffered by his daughter,
Ida M., when she was struck by a taxicab.
sum was part of a verdict for $15,000 awarded by a Circuit Court jury
in October, 1927 as a result of Miss Chorpenning being injured by a
car of the Public Service Cab Company at Twelfth and Federal
Streets in August, 1927.
taken by Vice Chancellor Davis showed Chorpenning sued Public Service
Cab Company to recover damages for his daughter, then a minor. It was
contended the cab company paid $5000 of the verdict but sold out to
Public Service Coordinated Transport and never made settlement for the
balance. Public Service Coordinated disclaimed knowledge of the
judgment and responsibility.
F. Carr and Samuel T.
French instituted the action
against Public Service in Chancery Court to recover the balance for
Chorpenning. Prosecutor Clifford A. Baldwin and Patrick H. Harding
were counsel for Public Service.
the hearing before the
vice chancellor, Charles Aceto admitted he acted as agent for Public
Service in purchasing the cab company from George Falkenstein, general
manager, and Phillip Messina, secretary. On the same day Harding, who
was counsel for Public Service, was elected president of the Yellow
Cab Company, controlled by Public Service Corporation, which absorbed
the Public Service Cab Company, testimony revealed. Harding, Mildred
Atkins, his stenographer, and Thomas J. Comerford were elected
the stand Falkenstein, who is now garage manager for Public Service;
admitted he received $29,000 from Aceto
for the equipment and name of
the taxi company. Harding admitted he received a fee of $1000. A
similar fee was paid Aceto. When questioned before Vice Chancellor
Davis on the damage suit, Falkenstein declared he forgot to mention
the suit in the settlement. Public Service held it was not liable for
any damages awarded prior to taking over the company.
the March hearing Vice Chancellor Davis suggested appointment of a
receiver to inquire into the transfer. But in a written opinion handed
down yesterday he says:
"I do not think it is necessary to appoint a receiver for the Public Service Cab Company for the reason there appears to be no creditors other than the complainants within."
another paragraph he says; "It is the contention of the
complainants that the transfer of the physical property of the Public
Service Cab Company to the Yellow Cab Company was without
consideration and therefore fraudulent and void under the Uniform,
Fraudulent Conveyance Act. With this contention I agree."
Miss Chorpenning, who is now 23, lives with her parents at 2758 Mickle Street.
Camden Courier-Post - June 30, 1933
JUDGES GUESTS ON LAWYERS CRUISE
Millville, June 29.-A number of South Jersey jurists were guests to day of the Cumberland County Bar Association on a cruise of Delaware bay and a fishing trip.
Among them were Judge Samuel M. Shay, Camden; Circuit Court Judge V. Claude Palmer, Mt. Holly; Vice Chancellor W. Frank Sooy, Atlantic City; Judge Palmer M. Way, Cape May; former Judge Austin H. Swackhamer, Woodbury; William B. Knight, Camden, special master in Chancery; Judge J. Forman Sinnickson, Salem, and Judge Francis A. Stanger, Jr., of Bridgeton.
The party consisted of 60 barristers, who embarked on the state guard boat Firman M. Reeves, which left Bivalve at 11 a. m. The boat went as far as Cape May Point. Stops were made at the fishing banks and some large catches were repeated. Luncheon and dinner were both served aboard the boat, which docked at Bivalve at 9 p. m.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 28, 1936|
Argues Case So Fluently Judge Predicts Law Career
Henry F. Chmura, 11, of 1245 Kaighn
grows up he may become a member of the United states Supreme Court.
Well, anyway, Henry. demonstrated in the City District Court today that
he has a legal mind.
boy delivered one of the snappiest legal arguments ever heard in that
courtroom. Judge Joseph
Varbalow and a score of attorneys
sat with opened mouths listening to the youth plead his case in a damage
suit in which he was the plaintiff.
appears from what Henry told the court. that on September 19, 1934, he
purchased a ticket to enter a Parkside motion picture theatre. He ran
into the theatre after depositing his ticket in the box.
manager of the theatre saw him run in and went after him, thinking that
the boy had "sneaked in"' according to suit papers. He grabbed
the boy who struggled, and the youth's head banged against a wall
knocking him unconscious, the suit stated. His mother, Mrs. Anna Chmura,
through her attorney, Samuel
T. French, brought suit against the theatre in the district court.
The boy sought $300 damages and his mother $200 damages.
case was listed for trial Wednesday but in the interim a settlement was
suggested between the opposing parties. The attorneys, Mrs. Chmura and
her son appeared before Judge Varbalow.
One of the attorneys told the court that a settlement had been reached
for $200 and asked to have the case dismissed.
asked Mrs. Chmurs: "Is the amount of the settlement for your son
satisfactory to you?"
certainly is," the woman replied.
about you, Henry?" the court asked, "are you satisfied to get
boy rose, glanced around the courtroom and, facing the court,
"Your Honor, the amount of the settlement may be satisfactory to my mother, but it certainly is not to me. When my head banged against that wall it felt as if 500 pounds of. iron fell on me. I still have headaches from it."
why don't you think $200 is a proper settlement?" asked the court.
do not think it is a proper settlement for the simple reason it is only
$200 and $200 is not much money these days. I think about $500 would be
the proper amount," the boy stated,
He'll Be Judge
court looked flabbergasted at the boy. and the attorneys looked in
astonishment at each other. Judge Varbalow
stroked his chin in thought for several seconds and then broke into a
"What are you going to be when you grow up to be a man?" the court asked.
"I want to be a lawyer," the lad replied.
make a bet you reach the United States Supreme Court," the judge
court then held up the settlement until and unless he receives a letter
from the boy's physician stating he is in perfect health. If
such a letter is received the settlement will stand.
If Henry is not satisfied with the decision' he can carry his appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.
Camden Courier-Post - February 5, 1938
Camden Courier-Post - August 26, 1941
Magin Laid to Rest By War Veteran Buddies
Funeral services for City Commissioner Henry Magin were held today with his colleagues in official and veterans circles participating.
were conducted in city commission chambers on the second floor of city
hall, in charge of Rev. Dr. W.W. Ridgeway, rector of St. Wilfrid's Episcopal
The casket was carried by war veteran associates of the public works director, who died from a heart attack Friday. A color guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion preceded the casket, followed by the four remaining members of the city commission, Mayor George Brunner and commissioners E. George Aaron, Mrs. Mary W. Kobus and Dr. David S. Rhone.
A guard of honor lined both sides of' city hall steps, 22 policemen on one side and 22 firemen on the other, representing Magin's age, 44 years.
Hundreds of men and women waited
outside the building to pay their respects as the solemn procession
filed by. Mayor Brunner had declared this morning a holiday for city
employees. The casket was borne by Thomas Jackson and Samuel Magill,
both past Legion commanders; Leon McCarty, past commander of August
Walter Chapter, Disabled American Veterans; Richard Jermyn, past
commander of Post 1270, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Benjamin P.
Thomas, past captain of Sparrow Ship No. 1269. V. F. W.; and William
Miller, past State commander, D. A. V.
Three trucks were required to carry
the floral pieces from the scene of the services to the National
Cemetery at Beverly, where burial took place.
An estimated 8000 persons from all walks of life paid their respects to the late official by viewing the body as it lay in state in the commission chambers.
The throng of mourners of Camden city and county was the largest to converge on a public building since the funeral of Fire Chief Charles Worthington, who was killed while fighting a fire almost 20 years ago. His body was placed on public view in the rotunda of the old county courthouse.
File Past Bier
A continuous progression of people filed past the flag draped bier for more than three and one-half hours. Scores of Republicans and hundreds of Democrats joined in the tribute.
Services were conducted by Camden
lodges of Elks and Moose. Military rites were conducted by the
Fairview Post, American Legion, of which Magin was a founder and past
commander. The tribute was led by Mitchell Halin, post commander, and C.
Richard Allen, past department commander.
James W. Conner, chief clerk of the
city water bureau and past State Commander of the V.F.W., conducted
rites at the grave.
Mayor Brunner and Commissioners
Kobus, Aaron, and
came early and remained throughout the hours of
viewing. Mrs. Helen Magin, the widow, and daughter Helen, attired in
deep mourning, arrived shortly after 7:00 PM.
Embraces Widow, Daughter
Commissioner Kobus, who knelt in
prayer before the bier, arose and went over to Mrs. Magin and her
daughter. Mrs. Kobus
embraced and kissed the widow and daughter of the late commissioner.
They were in tears.
American Legion and V. F. W. members in uniform alternated as members of the military guard of honor. A detail of 50 policemen was under command of Acting Lieutenant John Garrity. Fifty firemen, under supervision of Deputy Chief Walter Mertz, assisted the patrolmen in handling the crowd, which at times choked the stairways leading to the second floor.
Albert H. Molt, director of the Board of Freeholders and
John J. Tull, Oscar Moore, Ventorino
and Emil J. McCall arrived shortly after 7:00 PM. Moore and Tull wore American
Legion overseas caps. Albert S. Marvel, clerk of the board, accompanied
of the various bureaus in the department of public works, headed by
Commissioner Magin, came in delegations with the highway bureau having
150, the largest number.
A. Abbott, acting director of the department, accompanied by James P.
Carr, superintendent of Streets;
highway bureau employees.
Abbott is deputy director of revenue and finance and first
assistant to Mayor Brunner. He was named by Brunner as
director until the City Commission elects Mr.
Clerk Frank J. Suttill, City
Clerk Clay W.
Fire Chief John H. Lennox and
James A. Howell, chief of
city electrical bureau, attended, as did Albert
Austermuhl, secretary of
the board of education. Every city department sent a floral piece.
Outstanding Floral Tribute
floral chair was sent by the Camden Police and Firemen’s Association.
The word “Rest” was made up of flowers. The offering of the Veterans League
an organization formed by Commissioner Magin and of which
was the first president, was a large floral pillow.
The freeholders and county officials
gave a large floral basket. Floral tributes came from the employees of
the board of education, the RCA Manufacturing Company, the police and
fire bureaus, Pyne Point Athletic Association, the Elks, Moose and
several Democratic clubs.
The floral tributes came in such
numbers yesterday afternoon that Funeral Director Harry Leonard and his
assistants could not find room for them in the commission chamber
proper. They were banked on both sides, in the rear and over the casket.
Among prominent officials and
citizens who came to pay their respects were Congressman Charles A.
Wolverton and his son, Donnell, Assemblymen Joseph W. Cowgill and J. Frank Crawford, Sidney P.
comptroller, Thomas C. Schneider, president of Camden County Council No.
10, New Jersey Civil Service Association.
Others at Bier
Others were Sue Devinney, secretary
to Mrs. Kobus; Fred S. Caperoon; Henry Aitken, city sealer of weights
and measures, Horace R. Dixon, executive director of the Camden Housing
Authority; George I. Shaw, vice president of the board of education.
Smith, chairman of the Elks
Crippled Children Committee and commander of East Camden Post, V.F.W.; Albert
Becker, commander of Camden County Post 126, Jewish War Veterans; Dr.
Howard E. Primas and Wilbur F. Dobbins, members of the Camden Housing
Authority; Postmaster Emma E.
Hyland; Samuel E. Fulton, member of the
Camden local assistance board.
former Assemblyman Rocco Palese, former Freeholder Maurice Bart and
wife, County Detective James Mulligan, Deputy City Clerk William D.
Sayrs, Mary King, secretary to City Clerk Reesman, Charles W. Anderson
and John W. Diehl Jr., former members of the housing authority, Walter
P. Wolverton, chief clerk of the public works department; Thomas J.
Kenney, Maurice Hertz, Isadore Hermann, chief of the city tax title
bureau; S. Raymond Dobbs; acting chief of city property, John Oziekanski,
building inspector, Harry Langebein, city assessor.
Oliver H. Bond,
housing manager of
Clement T. Branch Village; former Judge Joseph
Varbalow, acting city
counsel John J. Crean, assistant City Counsel Edward V. Martino, Paul
Day, secretary of city board of assessors, former Assemblyman William T.
Iszard, Harry Roye, district director of NYA; Victor J. Scharle and
Martin Segal, Democratic and Republican registrars, respectively, of the
Camden County permanent registration bureau.
Mrs. Marian Garrity and Mrs. Mary F. Hendricks, vice chairman and secretary respectively, of the Republican City Committee; Dr, Ethan A. Lang and Dr. Richard P. Bowman, members of the board of education; Edward J. Borden, Carl Kisselman, Harry A. Kelleher, Samuel T. French Sr., former Freeholder Walter Budniak, Coroner Paul R. Rilatt, County Treasurer Edward J. Kelleher, William Shepp, of the city legal bureau, Marie Carr, stenographer, mayor's office; Samuel T. French Jr., member, board of education.
Also John C. Trainor, member of the
Camden County Board of Elections; Antonio
Mecca, funeral director;
Alexander Feinberg, solicitor of the housing authority, former
Freeholder John T. Hanson, Sterling Parker and Paul Reihman, member of
the county park commission.
James O’Brien, commander of the
Camden Disabled American Veterans, was in charge of services by veterans
at the cemetery. Former Freeholder Edward J. Quinlan, county
vice-commander of the American Legion, directed last night memorial
services and was in charge of the firing squad at the grave.
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