The Life of Samuel Solomon Yellin

The Life of Samuel Solomon Yellin

Sam Yellin was born on January 4th, 1905 in Camden N.J. He was the oldest son of nine children. His parents, Louis and Sarah ran a dry goods store in Camden, but because his father was often ill, Sam had to leave school at the age of 12, to work and help raise his siblings. He worked for Hurley's furniture store in Camden for a number of years.

During his teenage years, he took up drumming and later became the manager of The Black Cat Serenaders, a small band that played in the Camden area and also on several ocean liners traveling to Europe and the Caribbean. While performing with his band in Camden, he met Claire Rhodeside from Camden who he later married on July 27, 1939. For their honeymoon, they traveled with the band to Paris and other parts of Europe.

Afterwards, Claire and Sam decided to purchase the Stratford Diner which was located at the corner of Princeton Ave. and White Horse Pike where the Summit Bank now sits. The diner was a warm and friendly place where local residents and passersby congregated for good food and a place to chat especially during the War (WWII) years. During those years, Sam's generosity towards others was evident in the many ways he assisted and supported those patrons and neighbors who served in the Armed Forces and their families.

During this period, Stratford had no official police department, and so Sam volunteered his time as a police officer. He later became Stratford's first official police officer and later Chief of Police. Sam became involved in many civic organizations and took a special interest in helping out youngsters who were troubled or got in trouble with the law. His approach was to work directly with their families and mediate conflicts, where possible. He became recognized by police and public officials in surrounding communities for his interest in helping youth and he was an active member of the Police Chief's Association.

Sam Yellin died on July 27, 1968. After his death, a group of local residents held a fundraising event. The proceeds were given to his widow, Claire Yellin and to create a scholarship fund. Shortly thereafter, the town renamed the Warwick School to the "Samuel S. Yellin School".

Since this tribute appeared on our web page, we have received many email messages from current and former Stratford residents expressing their appreciation for Sam and his many acts of kindness. Many people have spoken of the profound, positive influence Sam Yellin had on their lives. Stratford has often been compared to the mythical town of Mayberry and Sam to Sheriff Andy Taylor.

Camden Courier-Post * October 29, 1935


Sam Yellin's Original Black Cat Serenaders, of Camden, again will headline a program of entertainment for the patients of the Lakeland Hospital tonight. Albert Chevalier will direct the show.

Featured performers include Charlotte Heart, Audubon tap dancer; Christine Fritz, of Merchantville, dancer; Betty Jones, singing and dancing specialist; the singing and dancing Lezotte sisters of Pine Hill; Evelyn Wondel, Pine Hill comedian, and Samuel Sherman, Camden pianist. Dr. I. Edward Ornaf, of Camden, will officiate as master of ceremonies.

Camden Courier-Post - February 24, 1936

13th Annual Event Staged in Moose Hall as 4 Groups Co-operate

The thirteenth annual ball of the Federation of Jewish Charities attracted more than 400 guests last night to Moose Hall.

Four organizations of Jewish community workers' have united in an extensive program of the federation engaged in civic and welfare programs. They are the Hebrew Welfare Society, the Hebrew Ladies Society, the Talmud Torah and the Sheltering Home.

A program of entertainment and dancing featured last night's event.

Among entertainers were Marci Dutkin, 10-year-old Camden "Dancing Doll", Frank Arena, of "Gold Diggers of 1935", and Eddie Peabody, stage star. Music was provided by Sam Yellin's Black Cat Serenaders. The floor show was under direction of Charles Dutkin.

Samuel Shane was chairman of the ball committee with the following co-chairman: Mrs. Martin Koll, Morris Rapkin, Lewis Weinstein, Samuel Zaslow and Alex Malamut.

Among the women Federation assisting at the affair were Mrs. H. Kaplan, Mrs. Samuel Shane, Mrs. V. Gerber, and Mrs. F. Bloom.

Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1938

Injury on Haddon Avenue Held Not Willful by Court After Testimony

A directed verdict of acquittal in Camden Criminal Court yesterday freed a Clementon driver of the "willful death" of an Audubon girl who died from injuries suffered when struck by his truck.

At the direction of Common Pleas Judge Clifford A. Baldwin, a mixed jury acquitted Lester Barney, 30, of 37 Davis Avenue, who was charged with manslaughter by automobile following the death of Miss Ida Mantano, 17, of 9 Taylor Avenue, last December 19.

It was brought out that Barney served 30 days in jail after conviction on "hit-run" charges in connection with the case.

The girl was injured December 15 at Old White Horse Pike and Haddon Avenue as she was waiting for a bus and shortly after she had left the night school where, she was a student.

Three state witnesses testified they saw the truck speed from the accident but none said he actually saw the girl struck. They are Samuel Yellin of 830 Mt. Vernon Street; Russell Thayer, of 17 Chestnut Street, Haddonfield; and John E. Bennett of Fifth and Kayser Streets, Philadelphia.

Following their testimony Anthony Mitchell, counsel for Barney, moved for a directed verdict of acquittal.

"Nothing in the testimony of these witnesses," Mitchell told the court, "has shown that Barney was guilty of the willful and wanton death of the girl. For that reason I ask for a directed verdict of acquittal."

Judge Baldwin then asked Assist ant Prosecutor Isaac W. Eason if he had any comment to make.

"The state has presented all its evidence," Eason replied. "I am obliged to concur with defense counsel that there is no evidence of willful and wanton death."