W. Harry Smith

WILLIAM HENRY SMITH JR., generally known in Camden as W. Harry Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on, according to some sources, March 20, 1862. It is equally possible that he was born in 1860. His parents, William Henry Smith Sr. and the former Harriet C. Stewart, lived in Philadelphia until at least April of 1873, then moved to Camden. Before that had happened the Smiths had been blessed with five more children, Carrie, Virginia, Augustus D., and Charles N., and Sue G. Smith. 

The Smith family first appears in Camden's City Directories in 1874, at 729 Carman Street in Camden. Another son, Howard M. Smith was born that year. By 1877 the family was living at 726 Federal Street. Son Charles N. Smith died in 1877,  and by the end of the year, Mrs. Smith had given birth again, to Clarence S. Smith. The Smith family was still residing at 726 Federal Street when the 1880 Census was enumerated in June of that year. Still another son, Walter H. Smith, had recently been born. Two more sons would follow, Crawford Smith and Roy A. Smith. Howard, Walter, and Roy would all go on to public service in Camden. 

Although the 1880 Census states that William Smith Sr. worked as a clerk, his really occupation was that of a "policy writer", that is to say, he was engaged is the illegal lottery business, popularly know in our time as "the numbers racket. Known in and about Camden as "Policy Bill", he was arrested a number of times during the 1880s and had been given a one-year prison sentence in early 1883, which was reduced in February to a $100 fine and a $1000 bond not to go back into the "policy" business... which he promptly did. The 1882 City Directory shows the Smith family at 14 South 8th Street and they stayed their until  1889. "Policy Bill" was arrested again during police raids in January and May of 1886.

On September 9, 1886 William Henry "Policy Bill" Smith Sr. died, leaving Harriet Smith to take care of nine children, five of them under the age of 15. One of the ways she kept the family going was by staying in the family business of "policy", and she would have a number of encounters with the law through the rest of the decade and the 1890s. Her house was raided in the first part of 1887. In November of 1889, the Smiths were living in the unit block of North 10th Street when there home was again raided.

William H. Smith Jr., popularly best known as W. Harry Smith, was already working, and by 1890 second son Augustus D. Smith found work as a blacksmith. W. Harry Smith began involving himself in local politics in Camden's 9th Ward as a Republican, and over the years this served him and the Smith family well. He also was working as a bartender as early as 1892. During the 1890s he formed a friendship with a fellow Ninth Ward Republican, Henry J. "Harry" Wagner.

By August of 1890 Harriet Smith and family had moved to 741 Carman Street. Except for a brief interruption in the 1890s, the Smith family and their descendants would remain on this block into the 1960s. As best that can be determined as of this writing, Harriet Smith stayed out of trouble until 1895. The 1894 City Directory has Harriet Smith and her family at 758 Federal Street, the 1895 edition has them at 750 Federal Street. Harriet Smith and her unmarried sons lived at that address until at least 1899. 

W. Harry Smith married Catherine "Kate" Everett around 1890, but the marriage did not survive the decade, they appear to have been living apart when the Census was taken in 1900. There were three children, Florence, born in 1892 and died the following year, Raymond H. Smith, born in 1896, and Edna May Smith, born in 1898.

Sister Virginia had married William N. Ferrell in 1887 and lived for the most part in Gloucester County until her death in 1924. Sister Sue had married John Warner Kinsey Jr. on November 26, 1892. They already had a daughter together, Ethel, born on March 21, 1892. The marriage ended in divorce, with Sue Smith Kinsey going back to live with her mother and brothers and retaining custody of her daughter.

In April of 1895 Harriet Smith was indicted by the grand jury in Camden. She was tried and on May 24 sentenced to a year in prison. Although claiming ill-health, she received no support from Camden's medical community nor the sentencing Judge. Her sentence was commuted on July 16, 1895 by the New Jersey State Board of Pardons, on the grounds that others who had been tried at the same time she was had escaped imprisonment, and to be honest, on the basis of her sex. Brother Howard M. Smith, had married Helen Goldy Penn the day before. The young couple moved in with Helen's family at 822 Kimber Street.

Before the month of July 1895 was out, daughter Sue Smith Kinsey was due in front of a judge on "policy" charges. Both Harriet Smith and her daughter were arrested again is September of 1895, and indictments were brought. These charges and those made against others were quashed. Harriet and Sue were arrested again on February 10, 1896. Augustus Smith died in Camden on November 17. 1896 and was buried at Harleigh Cemetery. 

Introduced by her brother W. Harry Smith, Sue Smith Kinsey married Harry J. Wagner, on August 23, 1897.  The two Harrys both stayed active in Republican affairs in the Ninth Ward. The Wagners set up house at 747 Carman Street, and a son Harry J. Wagner Jr. arrived shortly thereafter. Clarence Smith married Mary Thomas in Camden on September 8, 1897. The 1898 City Directory shows him at 736 Federal Street, working as a clerk. A daughter, Harriet Florence Smith, was born on November 10, 1898. 

In October of 1898 Harriet Smith and her sons were under indictment again, and appear to have moved to Philadelphia to escape prosecution. In the 1900 Census Harriet Smith and her five living sons including W. Harry Smith are listed at 506 Hope Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The accuracy of the 1900 Census is problematic, in that there are instances of people being counted twice due to being at different addresses. W. Harry Smith is shown with his mother in Philadelphia AND with wife Kate and daughter Edna at 815 Bridge Avenue, next door to his brother-in-law Harry J. Wagner Sr. Meanwhile, at the same time Kate, Edna, and Raymond Smith are listed in 1900 Census in Philadelphia with her family. 

W. Harry Smith and Kate appear at 513 Roberts Street in the 1901 City Directory but appear to have parted ways soon after. Kate went to Philadelphia, remarried and started a new family. The 1904 City Directory shows W. Harry Smith at 214 Linden Street, with Kate, this however appears to be in error. His brother Clarence S. Smith and his family were living at 609 North 6th Street were his mother Harriet Smith, brothers Walter, Roy and Crawford, as well as Clarence's wife Mary and daughter Harriet F. Smith. Both Clarence S. Smith and brother Crawford Smith had found work as ironworkers, i.e., steel construction workers employed by the Camden Iron Works. Sadly, Clarence S. Smith was killed when he fell from a 40 foot tall gas tank being erected in Moline, Illinois in 1907. Newspaper accounts of the day state that W. Harry Smith was tending bar at the Columbia Hotel at 224 Market Street. Directories from 1905 through 1908 show him at 323 Birch Street. The 1909 Directory and the 1910 Census show him at 320 Birch Street, the Census shows him working as a bartender and living at 320 Birch Street with his wife of 3 years, Jane Gertrude Smith and that his daughter Edna was with them. This situation did not last and Edna went to Philadelphia to be raised alongside her brother by her maternal grandparents. 

Well known and popular from both his political and bartending activities, W. Harry Smith was a founding member of Camden Lodge No. 111, Loyal Order of Moose when it was chartered in the spring of 1909. 

W. Harry Smith continued to working as a bartender into the 1910s. He left the Columbia Hotel that year to tend bar at 29 North 3rd Street. City Directories show him living at 626 Elm Street in 1913 and 1914, 715 Lawrence Street in 1915, and 340 Warren Avenue in 1917 and 1918. His brothers Howard, Walter and Roy all worked in these years as policemen and firemen. Howard M. Smith had been appointed to the Camden Police Department on March 20, 1906. Walter Smith was appointed to the Camden Police Department on April 30, 1914. Both brothers were promoted to Detective, and served into the 1930s. Howard M. Smith was lent out to the Camden County prosecutors office and handled many murder cases while with that agency. Roy A. Smith, served as a member of the Camden Fire Department from 1910 to 1933, before retiring on disability. Crawford Smith, lived out most of his life on Carman Street, and was in and out of the newspapers for various activities, including engaging in the family business of numbers in the 1930s. 

When the City Directory was compiled in 1920 W. Harry Smith was living at 702 Carman Street, which would remain his home until his death in 1931. The Directory indicates he was working as a Camden policeman, this is most likely an error, as a Harry W. Smith was employed as a policeman at the time. From 1921 on the directories gives his occupation as foreman. He worked during this time as an inspector for Camden's Highway Department. The 1930 Census states that he was retired, however, he was employed as the custodian of the Sixth Ward Republican Club on Chestnut Street at the time of his death. He was not named in connection with the shooting that occurred at the Broadway location of the Sixth Ward Republican Club  in 1928.

William H. "W. Harry" Smith died on January 25, 1931 at Cooper Hospital after suffering a fatal heart attack while on his way to work at the Sixth Ward Republican Club.

702 Carman Street remained occupied by the Smith family for many years. Crawford Smith moved in by the end of 1933. His wife Lillian stayed on after his passing in 1941 and remained there until her death in 1949.

As mentioned above, his other sister, Sue, had married Harry J. Wagner Sr., on August 23, 1897. The Wagner family was still living on Carman Street in the 1960s. There were four sons from this marriage. The oldest, Harry J. Wagner Jr., served as a member of the Camden Fire Department for 39 years and 8 months, reaching the rank of Acting Chief of Department. His nephew Roy A. Wagner owned Roy's Tavern on Federal Street and employed his brothers Phil Wagner and George C. Wagner as bartenders..

W. Harry Smith's nephews from his brother Crawford, Belford Edwin "Bud" Smith and Edward Baker Smith, both worked in security at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard. Bud Smith died of heart attack on the job in 1968, Edward B. Smith rose to head of security, then worked for several years as an investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. retiring in 1981. He passed away on August 29, 1994.

Camden Post
October 12, 1898

John L. Semple
Harriet Smith
Charles Gilbert
W. Harry Smith  - Crawford Smith
Clarence Smith - Howard Smith - Walter Smith
Andrew Collins - Theodore Laferta
Dyke O'Brien - Jonathan Cox
Robert Nichols - Robert Nevil
William Parker - George Dace
Sarah Brown - Lavinia Fussell

Camden Post
October 20, 1898

Harriet Smith
William "Policy Bill" Smith

Camden Daily Courier
September 9, 1910

W. Harry Smith
Birch Street
Columbia Hotel
George W. Fry
North 3rd Street

Camden Courier-Post
June 23, 1929

W. Harry Smith
Birch Street
Columbia Hotel
George W. Fry
North 3rd Street

Camden Courier-Post - January 26, 1931

W. Harry Smith - Howard Smith - Walter Smith - Roy A. Smith - Carman Street - Chestnut Street
Camden Lodge 111, Loyal Order of Moose - Sixth Ward Republican Club - Ninth Ward Republican Club
Edna May Allen - Mrs. Harry Wagner