Hose Company
No. 3

On March 24, 1899 the City of Camden annexed the adjoining municipality, the Town of Stockton, whose citizens chose to join the City after a close and hard-fought election. Stockton was comprised of what today is known as Cramer Hill and East Camden, all of Camden that lies north of the Cooper River was originally Stockton. Cramer Hill became Camden's Eleventh Ward, and East Camden the Twelfth. Camden's City Council authorized the sale of bonds to build a new firehouse in the new part of town, at North 27th Street and Federal Streets (a library and police station was also built on the same ground), and in South Camden on Kaighn Avenue between South 6th and South 7th Streets.

Prior to the annexation, Stockton had been served by five volunteer fire companies. These companies remained on active duty as part of the municipal fire department for several months after the annexation to Camden. They went off-line at midnight, February 28, 1900, relieved from their duties by the newly organized Hook and Ladder Company No. 3, Hose Company No. 1, and Hose Company No.2. 

Of the Stockton volunteer fire companies, the first to organize was the William Penn Hook & Ladder Company No.1, organized on March 15, 1885 and incorporated June 21, 1889. The  Citizens Fire Company No. 1 organized in December of 1890, and in mid-1892 the Stockton Hose Company No. 2 was organized. Pavonia Hose Company No. 3 was founded about the same time, joined lastly by Rosedale Fire Company No. 4 few years later.

The Pavonia Hose Company No. 3 was incorporated on September 9, 1892. The company occupied a one-story frame building on Cambridge Avenue at River Road and operated a hose carriage carrying one thousand feet of hose. 

In May of 1897 Pavonia Hose Company member Robert Gick was elected Chief Engineer of the Stockton fire department, coordinating the activities of the volunteer companies.

When the Town of Stockton merged with Camden in 1899, the volunteer fire companies remained active for several months brief time. On June 25, 1899 the Stockton companies rendered assistance to the Camden Fire Department when the Moro Phillips Chemical Company factory at North Twelfth Street at Linden Street was struck by fire, resulting in $60,000 worth of damage and injury to three Camden firefighters, Joseph Maxwell, David Andrews, and William Hertline.

The City of Camden assumed responsibility for fire service in Cramer Hill and East Camden at the end of February, 1900. At that time the officers of Pavonia Hose Company No. 3 were William Keaser, president; Paul Caiss, vice-president; John Lorokin, recording secretary; George Foehl, treasurer; Jacob Switzer, trustee; and Albert Switzer, foreman. The Pavonia Hose Company and the other Stockton Fire Companies disbanded. Some of the Stockton volunteers including Robert Gick of Pavonia Hose Company No. 3 ended up joining the Camden Fire Department, as did Elmer Ellsworth Stevens of Stockton Hose Company No. 2 and Christian S. Stark Sr. from Rosedale Fire Company No. 4. Josiah S. Pedigree of 104 North 36th Street, who also joined the Camden Fire Department at that time, was most likely a member of Rosedale Fire Company No. 4.

. Unfortunately, the frame firehouse which had been occupied by this company was torn down in the 1980s before its historic significance was generally known.

Pavonia Hose Company No.3

Pavonia Hose Company No. 3
Fireman's Breast Badge

circa 1895

Pavonia Hose Company No. 3
Marble Gavel Block, Breast Badge & Leather Parade Belt

Robert Gick
Pavonia Hose Company No. 3

Wearing Chief Engineer's Helmet
Robert Gick was elected
Chief Engineer of the Stckton Fire Department
May 3, 1897

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Many of the photographs on this website are from the limited edition book "Fire Department Camden NJ 125 Anniversary 1869-1994" and were taken by Department Photographer Bob Bartosz. Others are courtesy of Joel Bain of the Camden Fire Department and Vern Welch, grandson of Samuel M. Welch.