215-221 Kaighn Avenue

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Established in 1862, the William J. Cooper Company dealt in millwork, i.e., finished lumber, such as moldings, windows, and doors. Early in the 20th century, William J. Cooper became a principal and officer in the Broadway Trust Bank at 938-944 Broadway, in association with John J. Burleigh and Anthony Kobus. 

William Cooper was born at Kaighns's Point in Camden to John and Mary M. (Kaighn) Cooper in 1851. He was a direct descendant of William Cooper, one of the first Englishmen to settle in the area, and for whom Cooper's Point and the Cooper River is named.

John Cooper, William J. Cooper's father, was born in Woodbury NJ, and spent his youth on a farm in that place. When a young man he went to Camden, and engaged in the wood and coal business, building up a large trade. He was in business in Camden many years, with John W. Stone, at 32-34 Kaighn Avenue John Cooper retired around 1888, and passed away on April 18, 1894 at the age of 80. At that time he was vice-president of the Camden National Bank. Mary M. Cooper was the daughter of Joseph Kaighn and Sarah Mickle, both members of prominent families in early Camden. William J. Cooper's older brother Howard M. Cooper was a prominent attorney in Camden in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century.

William J. Cooper made his home at 633 Cooper Street in Camden. The city directories show him there from 1887 through 1891. By the 1920 census he was living, with his wife Emma, at 715 Cooper Street. Having worked in his father's business, he had moved that enterprise to 221 Kaighn Avenue by 1890. The original business dealt with wood and ice and hardware, but by 1897 William Cooper had specialized in millwork and window sashes. 

William Cooper remained a principal in the Broadway Trust after the death of John J. Burleigh in 1916 and Anthony Kobus in 1920. He does not appear in the 1930 Census for Camden. The business was listed in October 1936 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory. 

The William J. Cooper Company closed in the 1930s. It later reopened under the management of John P. Williams as the Williams-Cooper Millwork Company. By 1947 the Williams-Cooper Millwork Company was gone, and the building had been subdivided for use by two separate businesses.

Historical and Industrial Review of Camden, N.J. 1890


ONE of the distinctive industries of every commercial, manufacturing and agricultural center of the country, and which contributes not a little to its material prosperity, is the hardware and building material trade. The vast variety of implements, utensils and materials incidental to this line of trade are indispensable and almost illimitable. Among the houses engaged in this industry in Camden, and which have gained a wide reputation for reliable goods and honorable dealing, and worthy of deserving mention in the pages of this review, is the house this article purposes to sketch.

Mr. William J. Cooper is a native of Camden, and having acquired a thorough knowledge in this business by spending a life's career in it, he inaugurated this present enterprise in 1888, after a successful connection with the old firm of Cooper, Stone & Co.

The salesroom occupied for business purposes is 2ox 65 feet in dimensions, heavily stocked with a comprehensive line of Builders' and Shelf Hardware, Mechanics' Tools of every description, Spades, Agricultural Implements, Table and Pocket Cutlery, Contractors', Miners' and Blacksmiths' Supplies, Manufacturers' Tools, Bar, Rod and other Merchant Iron, Cast Steel, etc., Tin, Copper, Zinc and Sheet Iron Ware, Paints, Brushes, and everything in the builder's line, such as Sash, Doors, Blinds, Shutters, Window and Door Frames, etc., etc.
Extensive dealers in Coal, they are prepared to furnish fuel for family and manufacturing purposes, having facilities to fill the largest orders. The original founders of this enterprise were the first concern to deal in coal and wood in the city of Camden. Their yards are eligibly located at Front and Mechanic streets, the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railroad having a side track running into their yard.

In the rear and side of the salesroom are three warehouses, running back 250 feet. Here is stored mill stock and every conceivable article for builders' use, as well as heavy iron and steel goods.

Six assistants are employed in the prosecution of the affairs of the business and three teams used for hauling purposes. Every facility is at hand for the prompt fulfillment of orders, and no means spared that may in any way foster the interests of the patron.

The subject of this article is a courteous and responsible business man and a public-spirited citizen, universally esteemed by all with whom he forms business relations.

Kaighn Avenue East of North 2nd Street -1908
The three story building on the corner is the The Victoria Hotel

1912-1913 Camden City Directory


February 28, 1915

Charles S. Boyer
George M. Beringer
William J. Cooper
Charles M. Curry
John Dialogue Shipyard

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 19, 1915

Dr. Emma M. Richardson - William J. Cooper - William F. Rose
Harry C. Sharp - Frank Van Hart - H.C. Dole - Lawrence B. Reader
Mrs. Stephen Pfeil - Mrs. J.W.F. Bleakly - Mrs. John W. Croft
Mrs. Rose Batters - Mary J. Ball Day Nursery

Philadelphia Inquirer * March 19, 1915

John Clemento - Joseph Romano - Charles Azedi - Louis Azedi - John Breidenbach
Samuel Dobbins -
William J. Cooper - Antonio Morganzi - Black Hand - John Scott

Camden Courier-Post June 1, 1932

Camden Courier-Post * February 24, 1938
John P. Williams - William S. Holmes