THOMAS B. ATKINSON was born in Camden in 1815. His father, Josiah Atkinson, was a prominent citizen and county magistrate. Thomas Atkinson learned the carpenter's trade, and over the years erected several large buildings in Camden. Joining the Methodist Church during the great religious revival of 1837-1838, he built the Third Street Methodist Church, which stood for many years at Third Street and Bridge Avenue. He was a lifelong member of that church from its inception.
Thomas Atkinson became involved in politics as a Democrat. He was first elected to public office as a councilman from the Middle Ward in 1853, and subsequently to the office of recorder in 1856. He ran for mayor five times, in 1855, 1860, 1861, 1867, and 1869. In those days, the mayoral election was led annually. He was defeated for mayor in 1855 by Samuel Scull, and in 1867 and 1869 by Charles Cox, but was elected in 1860, receiving 608 votes to 578 for Paul C. Budd, American, and 547 for William F. Colbert, Republican; in 1861, the vote being,— Atkinson, 904; Budd, 634; Samuel Hufty, 480..
Thomas Atkinson lived in the latter years of his life with wife Martha at 23 Third Street in Camden. He passed away on January 3, 1886, survived by his wife.
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