ARTHUR COLSEY was born in Kidderminster, England in December of 1872 to John and Ann Colsey. His older brother, John G. Colsey, had come to America prior to the enumeration of the 1880 Census. At that time he and his wife Ada were living in Philadelphia, and working in the wool industry. By 1887, John G. Colsey had opened a dry goods store in Camden. The store was first located at 6th and Elm Streets in North Camden. This building was later the site of a grocery run by Samuel Molotsky. By 1900 the Colsey Store had moved to 9th and Market Street..
Arthur Colsey followed his brothers to America. Thomas Colsey had come in the 1880s, and was living in Philadelphia and working as a sheep shearer at the end of the 1880s. Arthur Colsey came to America at 17, joining older brother John, and married Lillian Thompson in 1894. Thomas Colsey came to Camden in the 1890s, and the Colsey brothers were in the department store business at 9th and Market Street for years. His niece Alice M. Colsey married Camden photographer George A. Wonfor a few years after the turn of the century.
Politically active, Arthur Colsey served on City Council from the Second Ward from 1907 to 1911. In these years and through the time of the 1920 census he was living at 339 North 8th Street, the corner of North 8th and Linden Streets. The Colseys lived next door to James Daly, who operated a tavern for many years at 8th & Linden Streets. Another neighbor was Walter Rowand, who also served for many years with the Camden Police.
Arthur Colsey was appointed to the Camden Police Department as a patrolman by Mayor Charles H. Ellis on March 12, 1912. He rose through the ranks and by 1915 was a detective. Although on vacation the night of July 17, 1916, when two prisoners escaped Camden County Jail, killing Turnkey Isaac Hibbs, Arthur Colsey reported for duty, and spent the evening shuttling policemen about the city in his own automobile.
Arthur Colsey worked in plain clothes and served as personal aide to Mayor Charles Ellis until his leaving office in 1922. In 1923 Arthur Colsey was appointed chief clerk of the police force, with the rank of Camden.
In 1924 Arthur Colsey was placed in charge of Camden's vice squad, not an easy assignment during the Prohibition years. Captain Colsey serving in this capacity in 1925 when the case of Dr. Hyghcock, the "voodoo doctor" of Liberty Street, broke in April, and he was involved in the investigation of Hyghcock's "voodoo den".
A longtime resident of North Camden, by 1930 Arthur and Lillian Colsey had moved to East Camden, where they bought a home at 2937 Stevens Street. He joined the Twelfth Ward Republican Club, and was elected its president in 1932.
In December of 1931, Arthur Colsey was considered for Chief of Police, to replace Lewis H. Stehr Jr. The position, however, went to John W. Golden.
Upon the retirement of Chief John W. Golden in June of 1934, Mayor Roy R. Stewart named Arthur Colsey Acting Chief of Police. His appointment was made permanent on August 30, 1934, along with that of Fire Chief John Lennox. Sadly, a few days later Detective William Feitz became Camden's first policeman to be killed in the line of duty. Chief Colsey worked closely with Commissioner Mary Walsh Kobus when she was elected to Camden's City Commission in 1935 and made Director of Public Safety the following year. In Mrs. Kobus absence, Chief Colsey also served as Acting Director of Public Safety.
Arthur Colsey died in his sleep of a heart attack on September 15, 1939. He was survived by his wife, brother Thomas Colsey, son Arthur Jr., and two grandchildren, Arthur L. Colsey and Lillian Colsey. He was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken NJ on September 18, 1939. Captain Ralph Bakley was named Acting Chief of Police a few days later.
Colsey Family of Kidderminster, England Family Tree
|Click on Image to Enlarge|
|Philadelphia Inquirer - September 7, 1911|
Dease - John
A. Mather - Melbourne
F. Middleton Jr.
William D. Brown - Arthur Colsey William F. Kelly - R.J. Garrison
James E. Hewitt - Lawrence Reader - Dr. Grant E. Kirk - Charles Laib
George Kleinheinz - James F. Walton - David A. Henderson - John T. Rodan
|Camden Post-Telegram * October 14, 1912|
|BOY'S BRUTAL MURDERER COLLAPSES AT HEARING|
O. Glenn Stackhouse - John Painter - Jeff Kay
William T. Boyle - Frank B. Frost - Karl Kellman
Elisha Gravenor - Grace Presbyterian Church - Bertha Skillen
Bessie Skillen - Albert Ludlow - Joseph Wittick
Thomas Sink - A. Lincoln James - William Schregler
Henry C. Moffett - John Brothers - William C. Horner
Arthur Colsey - Anson Kelley - Robert T. Abbott
John H. Vickers - Frederick A. Finkeldey
"Indian Bill" May - Eugene McCafferty - Dr. William S. Jones
Dr. E.A.Y. Schellenger Sr. - John T. Potter - Elbridge B. McClong
CAMDEN POST TELEGRAM * July 18, 1916
AND FORGER ESCAPE JAIL
Murdering one jailor and wounding another with a revolver that had been smuggled into them by outside confederates, Wilson T. Ashbridge, slayer of Mrs. Elizabeth Dunbar, and Francis Murphy, alias George E. Thompson, a check forger, made their escape from the county jail a few minutes before seven o'clock last night.
Ashbridge with his wife was caught at noon in the Keystone Hotel in Chester PA where they registered at one o'clock this morning.
Thompson is still at liberty but from the confident manner of Prosecutor Kraft his early arrest seems assured.
The murdered jailor was Isaac Hibbs, aged 65 years of 913 South 8th Street. The wounded keeper is Joseph Ellis, aged 45 years, of 416 Carteret Street. Shot twice, he is in Cooper Hospital. His condition today is very satisfactory.
Thompson, who is 41 years old, forged a check for $650 which he gave to V.M. Fulton as part of the purchase price of an automobile. The forgery was discovered before the deal was completed and his arrest followed on June 8. he also passed a forged check for $15 on State Motor Vehicle Agent Kraft. He, too, was awaiting trial. In spite of the positive evidence against him Thompson had spurned all efforts to have him plead guilty and it is now believed that he was sparring for time while hatching a plan to escape. He s no doubt the master mind.
R.L. Hunter, a farmer of Bensalem Township, Bucks County PA, about four miles above Torres dale, reported to the Philadelphia police the morning that he had seen a man answering Ashbridge's description on the Bucks Road at daylight. The man asked the way to Riegelsville.
According to Hunter, the man was dressed in a dark suit, and had no hat. His clothing was wet. Hunter did not see anything suspicious in his actions, and after giving him directions, they parted.
Upon seeing the paper with a picture of Ashbridge, the farmer was struck by its resemblance to the man with whom he had talked. He hurried to Tacony and notified the police.
The State police, who patrol that section of the county, and who have an office at Langhorne, were immediately notified as were the surrounding towns.
The shootings took place in different parts of the jail. Hibbs was murdered in the exercise room just outside the cell room on the Sixth and Arch corner of the building. Ellis was shot down in the corridor just outside the Market Street end of the building when he heroically grappled with Ashbridge after the latter had pointed a gun at his head. In spite of his wounds Ellis dragged himself to a telephone and after notifying Police Headquarters of what had happened he collapsed.
Only one of the two bullets is still in Ellis. It entered the groin on the right side and is buried in the muscles of the leg, having taken a downward course for seven or eight inches. The other bullet struck Ellis in the right breast and came out in the left breast, traversing the upper fleshy parts of the body.
Hibbs was almost instantaneously killed by a bullet that went within an inch of his heart, producing a hemorrhage. The bullet was extracted this morning from the body early this morning in an autopsy performed at the morgue by County Physician Stem. In spite of the fact that it is pretty well established that three shots were fires in the attack on Hibbs, only one of the bullets took effect.
"But it makes little difference which of the two men handled the gun" said Prosecutor Kraft this morning. "Both are equally guilty of this murder and what we are concerned about now is the recapture of the gunmen." Mr. Kraft added that it his purpose to examine all of the prisoners in that part of the jail where Hibbs was murdered to determine fully who fired the fatal shot.
The escape had been carefully planned and timed to the minute. Of course the desperate prisoners were aided by confederates on the outside and it is the general belief that a high powered motor car was in waiting for them not far from the jail. They are known to have been in possession of money and openly boasted yesterday that it was their intention to leave the prison last night. These boasts were made to two young ladies connected with a religious organization who called on the tom men yesterday to offer spiritual reconciliation. The girls are frequent visitors to the jail and naturally their efforts at evangelization were directed in the main toward Ashbridge, because of the fact that he was accused of murder. These girls, whose identity officials will not disclose, were closeted with Prosecutor Kraft until one o'clock this morning. Both declared that on their visit yesterday they were told by Ashbridge and Thompson that it was the last day they expected to spend in jail.
"We are going to get away from here tonight and we've got money to help us after we are out " said Ashbridge, who further told the girls he had considerable cash sewed up in the waistband of his trousers. The girls begged the prisoners not to do anything that would cause them more trouble and they told the Prosecutor that Ashbridge and Thompson promised them that they would not make any effort to escape. In their talks with the girls neither of the prisoners said a word that would indicate that they would kill if necessary to escape. The full force of their boast did not dawn on the religious workers and for this reason it never occurred tot hem to inform the Sheriff of what the prisoners had in said.
A general jail delivery of at least all the men confined in hat is known as the untried department, where the two were held, was only averted by the prompt arrival of the police on their beat, which was made easy by means of the keys taken from the prostrate body of Hibbs. Ashbridge and Thompson left all of the doors open and the vanguard of the inrushing police found the prisoners swarming all over the corridors on the east side of the prison. In the wild excitement following the double shooting and escape none else thought of freedom and a checking up of the inmates after they had been herded in the exercise room of the untried department accounted accounted for all but the fugitive slayers.
The department, in which the two men were confined is the same one which William Brown and Charles Berger made their sensational escape several years ago by sawing away the bars on the Federal Street front of the jail. Thrilling as it was, the former escape was insignificant in comparison with last night's tragic event.
With the full force of the keepers out of the way- one dead and the other suffering from gunshot wounds at first supposed to have been fatal- Ashbridge and Thompson had nothing between them and freedom but the door entering from the spiral stairway leading to the narrow entrance of the Sixth and Market Streets end of the Court House, With the keys taken from Hibbs they opened the door and in a few seconds were breathing the free air. It was still daylight when the daring murderers walked from the building and although they were no doubt seen by some of the scores of persons passing it is certain that they managed to control themselves to such an extent as not to arouse any undue suspicion. The exit they used to escape is that used by the general public and therefore persons passing calmly in and out of the door would not in any manner be thought to have been connected with a jail delivery. However the shots which had laid low the keepers had been plainly heard on all four sides of the building and it is strange that no one has yet been found who can give positive information as to what course the fleeing men took and whether they were aided in their flight by an automobile.
While the police and detectives of Camden and all other cities in the East are watching railroad terminals, steamship lines, and all other avenues of travel in response t the general alarm sent out last night, Prosecutor Kraft is bending all his energies to learn who smuggled in the revolver which the fugitives used. Thus far this feature of the case is as complete a mystery as it was last night. Mr. Kraft and Sheriff Haines are satisfied, however, that only one gun was used for both shootings. It was at first thought that each man had a pistol when they left the jail; that one of them armed himself with the gun that Hibbs was supposed to have carried, but it was determined that Hibbs was not armed when he went into the jail last night. There was no occasion for him to come in contact with any of the prisoners and for that reason he left his revolver in his desk in the office. even had he carried it he would have little chance to use it, so cold-bloodedly was he slain as he unsuspectingly fell into the trap laid for him by the desperate gunmen. There is also some conflict as to how at least on of the fugitives was dressed. Alfred Williams, who witnessed the murder of Hibbs, said that Ashbridge was without coat or ha when he dashed out of the cell-room, and that Thompson carried his coat and hat under his arm. However in a description of the two men given at the Prosecutor's office it was set forth that Ashbridge wore a bue serge suit and a checkered cap. The coat that he is supposed to have taken bore the mark of "Tull- the Tailor," of Jacksonville, Florida. ad had been borrowed by him from another prisoner. He wore tan shoes. Ashbridge is 27 years old, 5 feet 7-1/2 inches in height and weighs 137 pounds. He has brown hair, smooth face and is of light complexion.
Thompson wore a brown suit and a Panama hat. He is 41 years old 5 feet seven inches in height, and weighs 175 pounds. He has brown bushy hair, is minus one of the fingers on his left hand, and is light complexioned.
The tan shoes worn by Ashbridge were also borrowed from one of the prisoners. He got them on Saturday and remarked that he wanted to look neat.
Keepers Ellis and Hibbs were reading in the prison office last evening when Hibbs glanced up at the clock and noticed that it was a few minutes of seven. "Joe, I'm going back and out the boys in their cells," he said to Ellis and with his keys in his hand he started for the cell room in the untried department. A thirty foot long corridor runs from the office to the barred and grated door opening into the department in which the cells are situated. This department is about the size of three ordinary school rooms and in the southeastern corner of the jail are the cells, in two tiers.
Around the cells is a three foot corridor into which all the cells doors open and in which all the prisoners are permitted to walk when they are not allowed out in the main room. When the inmates are ordered into their cells and their doors closed the doors are locked from the outside of the steel cage by means of a lever worked by the jailor. Thus every cell door can be made secure without the keepers coming into actual contact with the prisoners. In addition to the bars around the corridor fronting on the double tier of cells there is a fine mesh heavy wire screening.
As Hibbs approached the lever which is operated to shut the cell doors after the prisoners have retired from the corridors, Ashbridge was leaning against the grating of his cell, Number 18. Thompson was lounging a few feet away.
"Daddy, open the door, I want you to see this note," said Ashbridge to the keeper, at the same time displaying a piece of paper which he had in his hand. Never giving a thought that he was about to perform an act that which was absolutely necessary for the carrying-out of the well laid plot, or that he was going to his doom, or was even in danger, "Daddy", as the aged keeper was known to all the prisoners, opened the door without hesitation.
As he swung wide the big steel frame, Ashbridge quickly stepped out and the next instant was pressing a gun against the abdomen of the jailor.
"Throw up your hands, you ___ ___ ___" he commanded.
"What are you up to, what's this mean, asked the keeper, apparently not realizing he had been trapped.
For reply Thompson jumped out the door, wrenched the gun from Ashbridge's grasp and with an oath began firing at Hibbs, who sank to the floor at the first shot. Only a few feet away and the only other person in the exercise room, although the shooting could have been seen by any other prisoners who had not retired to their cells, Alfred Williams, trusty, is emphatic in his assertion that Thompson fired the shot that killed Hibbs and that he fired three times.
"It's a wonder they did not get me," said Williams. "Ashbridge and I could not hit it and in his desperate mood I am surprised he didn't kill me, too." Williams, who has just completed a six months' sentence for obtaining money from Italian grocers by falsely representing himself as an agent for a wholesale house in Chicago and who is wanted in the Windy City for the same offense, says the whole transaction took less than a minute and that the moves came so fast he and the other prisoners were powerless to aid.
"It was like a flash of lightning" said Williams, "and before I could fully understand what had happened Ashbridge had grabbed Daddy's keys' which had fallen to the floor, and was off like a deer for the barred door. Ashbridge had taken the smoking gun from Thompson, who had his hat and coat under his arm and who was right behind the other one.
"As they hurried through the door after Ashbridge had opened it with Daddy's keys Daddy called to me to raise him. I put my arm under his head and lifted him slightly from the floor. 'Hold my hands' he sad to me. I took hold of his hands and the next minute he died in my arms. Then I heard two more shots and I knew they got Joe Ellis."
Startled by the shots, and he is emphatic there were three in rapid succession, Ellis leaped to his feet and without taking the time to arm himself ran from the office and turned into the corridor just as Ashbridge, wild-eyed and gun in his hand, came running toward him. Halting three yards away Ashbridge pointed the revolver at Ellis' head and ordered him to throw up his hands.
For reply and without fear of himself the keeper dashed at the murderer and the next instant they wee locked in each others embrace. Working loose the hand which held the gun, Ashbridge pulled the trigger. The bullet struck Ellis in the breast, but the wound was not sufficient to render him helpless. However, before he could grip the pistol arm, Ashbridge fired again and the keeper fell back with a bullet in his groin.
"The second shot got me," said Ellis to Prosecutor Kraft and Assistant Prosecutor Butler at the hospital. "The first one wasn't bad but my strength left me when the second bullet struck. Ashbridge was the only one I saw. I did not see Thompson."
"Dragging himself to the office Ellis managed to reach a telephone and called up the police.
"This is Ellis at the county jail; come quick. Ashbridge has shot me" he weakly said over the phone to Captain Hyde. Then the receiver fell from his hand and he dropped to the floor, but after a minute or two managed to climb into chair.
While patrol loads of policemen where being hurried to the Court House from the First and Second District station houses, Reserve Officer Charles Hose, on duty at Broadway and Federal Street, who had heard the shots, ran to the Court House and from the office of Assistant Custodian John Lack phoned up to the jail. Ellis managed to answer and in a few word told what had happened. They ran up to the jail and were admitted by Ellis, who was rapidly growing weaker from loss of blood, the trail of which plainly showed just where the injured keeper had moved.
"I guess Ashbridge got away and the jail is all open, you had better take care of the rest of the prisoners," said Ellis to Hose and Lack. The fugitive-murderers had left all doors open and the other occupants of the untried department were swarming through the corridors. Their curses and yells and the shrieks and cries of the female prisoners had turned the place into a perfect bedlam. With the aid of other policemen who swarmed into the Court House like bees, the prisoners were soon herded into the exercise room, where Trusty Williams checked the up and accounted for all but Ashbridge and Thompson.
With the faint hope that the missing pair had not risked leaving the building but had secreted themselves in the structure, the courthouse was searched from pit to dome, but no trace of the men were found.
Detective Doran was the first of the Prosecutor's staff to reach the scene. Mr. Kraft and the balance of the staff soon followed. In the lower end of the county, on official business, Sheriff Haines was reached by phone and Under Sheriff Hewitt was summoned from Pitman and until an early hour this morning the officials were is conference and examining numerous prisoners.
State Detective Walter Le Torneau furnished Prosecutor Kraft with a promising "tip" this morning when he learned that Thompson gave a letter to Freeholder Howard Marshall, of the Eighth Ward, to mail on Sunday. Mr. Marshall states that the letter was addressed to a woman by the name or Mrs. Shelton, in Baltimore MD.
Marshall was attending religious service in the jail when Thompson approached him.
"Put this is your pocket and mail it it for me when you go out," said Thompson to Mr. Marshall, who agreed to carry out the request. Dropping the letter in the mail box Marshall allowed the incident to pass without further notice.
Detective Le Torneau learned this morning that Marshall had spoken to the incident to a friend and the sleuth notified the Prosecutor, The tip will be run down the Prosecutor stated.
Funeral services for Hibbs will be held on Thursday from his late residence. The body will be taken to Langhorne PA where interment will be made in the Friends' Cemetery under the direction of the Schroeder-Kephart Company. Services will be conducted Wednesday evening by Reverend Henry Bradway, pastor of the Eighth Street Methodist Episcopal Church.
POLICE QUICKLY AT WORK
Although the murderous prisoners made their escape, it was no fault of the local police department, which threw out a "dragnet system" that covered practically every outlet fropm the city. as soon as the call reached headquarters the red lights were flashing and every officer and detective who could be reached was sent out on the "man hunt" which was pursued with vigor.
Passing automobiles were pressed into service by the detectives and officers and all haste was made for the ferries, railroad yards, terminals, and trolley points. Citizens cooperated with the police in their efforts to run down the escaping prisoners.
Assistant Chief Hyde received the call from Jailor Ellis, who though wounded himself summoned strength enough to reach the phone.
"This is Jailor Ellis. Hibbs and me have been shot by that man Ashbridge and help quick!" was the startling message which came over the phone to Chief Hyde about one minute past seven.
It was just at the time the shifts were going on and off at the local station houses. Chief Hyde lost no time. He called to Machine Operator "Eddie" King to send the message to the station houses and flash the red lights. This was done and as fast as the men could run they covered the various points.
The auto patrols were dispatched with all hands to the Court House and the wounded men hurried to the hospital. Coroner Robert G. Schroeder reached the hospital as Hibbs and Ellis were being admitted and he tool charge of the situation and got in touch with Prosecutor Kraft and County Physician Stem.
Detective Captain Schregler was hurriedly summoned, and his men were sent in all directions. Detective Brothers boarded a waiting automobile and a record run was made for the Federal Street ferry. Sergeant Humes was picked up and in four minutes after the call was received from Ellis Detective Brothers had the ferry covered.
Detectives Troncone, Painter and Murray and Captain Schregler covered the Kaighn Avenue, Vine Street, and Cramer Hill ferry lines.
Detective Brothers got in touch with the Pennsylvania Railroad officials who put their detective force to work searching freight and passenger cars. The orders were sent out from the railroad office to stop and search every fright train. Dispatches were also sent to Trenton, Mount Holly, and Burlington and it was not long before the news of the atrocious deed had spread throughout the country and many distant places.
Trolley cars were stopped and searched by the police, but not the slightest trace could be found of the escaped prisoners. The police left nothing undone in the "man-hunt."
When news of the affair spread through the city phone calls began to come in to headquarters. Over fifty persons called up to tell the police that they had seen the two men at various places. The "tips" were all run down but none materialized.
Officers Arthur Colsey and Theodore Guthrie, who were on their vacations. lent their aid to Chief Hyde. Policeman Colsey pressed his automobile into service and carried the police to various parts of the city.
Co-operating closely with Prosecutor Kraft's detectives the city officials formed a combination which in nine times out of ten would have been successful, but the escaped men cleverly eluded their pursuers.
Assisted by Coroner Schroeder, County Physician Stem held a post mortem examination on Hibbs' body. The bullet which caused the death was located in the region of the heart, It passed through the victim's lung, causing a hemorrhage, which resulted in death. Following the examination the body was taken by the Schroeder-Kephart Company at the family's orders to be prepared for burial.
ASHBRIDGE'S FIRST CRIME
The brutal crime for which Ashbridge stood indicted but untried was committed on the night of January 22 at Ninth and Market Streets. It developed that the murderer had followed his intended victim from the morning hours. He trailed her to the home of her sister, a Mrs. Meredith, of 911 Market Street, and laid in wait in the darkness of a building that fatal Saturday night.
Mrs. Dunbar came out of the house and stood on the northeast corner while waiting for a ferry-bound trolley car. She intended going to Sicklerville that night to visit her relatives. With her at the time was her 7-year-old daughter, Eleanor, and her father, Charles Dunbar. Ashbridge advanced toward the woman, who was startled when she saw him. She called to her father that she "didn't want anything to do with Ashbridge."
Before the father could interfere the young murderer whipped out a revolver and covered the father and the woman. He then struck the woman violently in the face with his fist and as she was reeling under the force of the brutal blow Ashbridge fired, the first bullet taking effect in the woman's chest. The brutal murderer then stood over his prostrate victim and holding the revolver less than five inched from his victim's body he pumped four more shots into her.
Policeman Howard Smith and Policeman Taylor were a square distant. Smith saw the entire proceedings and screamed at Ashbridge to stop shooting. A crowd quickly gathered and Dr. Maldeis, who lives nearby, came running to the scene to aid the stricken woman.
Officer Taylor espied Ashbridge in the crowd, The murderer made no effort to run, but stood his ground. Detecting the murderer trying to slip something up his sleeve, Taylor pounced upon him and bore him to the ground, at the same time taking the gun away from him and slipping the handcuffs over the murderer's wrists. Policeman Taylor had to draw his revolver to keep back the large crowd that was threatening. Showing no concern whatever, Ashbridge calmly waited until the police auto arrived. In the meantime the murdered woman's still warm body was placed in a "jitney" and with Officer Smith and Dr. Maldeis a hurry run was made for Cooper Hospital but when the institution was reached, Mrs. Dunbar was pronounced dead.
Ashbridge was taken to the hospital by Policeman Taylor in the police auto. He asked "how she is." Informed that he had accomplished his purpose, the young murderer asked to see the woman. When the white sheet covering the still form of the murdered woman was drawn from the face Ashbridge leaned over and kissed the forehead of the woman. He was then taken to the County jail and locked up. Before Recorder Stackhouse on the following Monday Ashbridge pleaded guilty.
Ashbridge was infatuated with the woman, who was a member of the Temple Theater chorus. Becasue of Ashbridge's persistent attentions she was compelled to give up her position. Mrs. Dunbar had previously accepted Ashbridge's attentions, thinking that he was unmarried, but upon learning that he had a wife and child she informed him that it would be best for them not to see each other, but the young man refused to discontinue his attentions.
On the day of the shooting Ashbridge was seen in various places. He is said to have followed the woman to the Federal Street ferry, but lost track of her. Around noon he was seen at Front and Pearl Streets by Policeman Boyd, who ordered him to move on. Boyd was about to arrest him as a suspicious character, but Ashbridge pleaded that he was looking for a friend. All that day Ashbridge followed the woman until night, when he cruelly murdered her.
The murderer came from a respectable family. Dissipation is thought to have caused the young man to lose his sense of reasoning. Rather good-looking, Ashbridge had tender baby-like eyes and his case excited sympathy among the more tender-hearted people.
Sweetmeats, tasty sandwiches, and other small luxuries were said to have been given the young murderer while he languished in his cell. He had many visitors. Recently Ashbridge was taken violently ill after eating some crabs which were given him by a friend. He and Jailor Hibbs were very friendly.
THOMPSON A CLEVER FORGER
Thompson, or Murphy, was a self-styled lawyer and was committed by Recorder Stackhouse in June3 for forging checks to the amount of $1,055. The worthless checks were "worked" on the McClelland-Fulton Auto Company and Motor Vehicle Agent A.C. Kraft.
When a check for $150 presented to the automobile company by Thompson and drawn to the order of "G.E. Thompson" on the Harrisonburg, Virginia National Bank came back from the home office of the Studebaker Company as worthless, Mr. Fulton called in the police.
Thompson had previously presented a check for $890 as payment on an automobile. This check was drawn on Thompson's favor on the Coatesville National Bank and was purported to have been signed by Louis L. Gibney, a hotel man of Downington PA. This check was still in the possession of Mr. Fulton when Thompson was arrested after the first check was returned marked "no funds".
The clever swindler also presented a bad check to Agent Kraft for $15 for which he received the license to operate the automobile which he proposed buying.
Detective Troncone arrested Thompson at Fifth and Market Streets on June 2. The defendant had been living in a room at 220 North Fifth Street.
Giving his home address as Daytona, Florida, Thompson represented himself as a lawyer. well dressed and wearing nose glasses, Thompson was an intelligent appearing man, he had a bushy pompadour which was streaked with gray and talked in a persuasive manner. His forgeries on Mr. Gibney's signature were so clever that Gibney himself could not tell the difference.
After Thompson's arrest Detective Captain Schregler sent out notices to several southern cities. He received responses from Harrisonburg, Norfolk, and Petersburg Virginia and that Thompson was wanted in all three cities for check forgeries.
Bert Hibbs, a city foreman and a son of the slain jailor, was murdered early Sunday morning , December 25, 1910 when his throat was cut by Charles Ridgway, a negro, aged 22 years, of Seventh and Sycamore Streets. It was about 12:20 on Christmas morning that Hibbs while crossing the lots at Seventh andSycamore was accosted by Ridgeway, who wanted to shake hands with Hibbs. The latter refused, a quarrel ensued and Ridgeway whipped out a razor and slashed Hibbs across the throat with such violence that his head was nearly severed. Hibbs died while on the way to the hospital. Ridgway was arrested after a battle by Detectives Schregler, Painter and Brothers and several officers at his home, 1207 Lilly Row.
Indicted for murder Ridgway pleaded non vult. On April 24, 1911, to a charge of murder in the second degree, he was sentenced to 25 years in state Prison at hard labor.
SECOND MURDER IN JAIL
This is the second murder and second escape from the present jail. The first murder took place in November, 1907, when George Stewart, a young negro, stabbed to death John Snell, who was awaiting trial for carrying in the business of fortune telling. Stewart was in jail on a charge of dealing in opium and cocaine. He had a complete opium layout in his cell. He and Snell had a quarrel and he stabbed Snell to death in his cell. He was tried and convicted and sentenced to be electrocuted during the week of February 8, 1908. He was electrocuted on February 4, being the first man to suffer the death penalty by electrocution.
On July 13, 1910 William T. Brown, alias Gillespie, who had been sentenced to seven years on a charge of forgery, and Charles Berger, who was under sentence for picking pockets, made their escape from jail after sawing the bars on the Federal Street front. They climbed over the balustrade to the roof, descended through a trapdoor, climbed down stairs and walked leisurely through the Court House building and out into the street unnoticed. They entered an automobile and were driven away. They crossed to Philadelphia on a North Cramer Hill Ferry boat.
Several weeks later Brown was arrested in New York City and was sentenced to Auburn Prison on an old charge. His term will expire shortly and he has also applied to the Court of Pardons of this State for a parole. A detainer has been lodged against him at the State prison where he his located and he will; be brought back and resentenced. Berger was captured in Chicago and was brought back and served a term at Trenton.
February 16, 1914
|Philadelphia Inquirer - December 4, 1917|
Colsey - James
E. Tatem - Charles
Philadelphia Inquirer - May 15, 1918
|Andrews S. Heiser - Pine Street - Arthur Colsey|
|Camden Courier * April 9, 1925|
transcribed by Phillip Cohen
Discovery of the body of a white baby several weeks old, human bones and other gruesome articles in a maze of dungeon-like caves and sub-cellars under 413 and 415 Liberty Street today have led the police to hold without bail "Doctor" H.H. Hyghcock, 71 year-old negro preacher, medicine man and undertaker.
The weird discoveries were made in the fantastically furnished "torture chambers" and "witch caves" under the houses. In addition statements made to Patrolman Charles Naylor and a Courier reporter by a seven-year-old daughter of the accused man, point to a possibility of a woman having been murdered in the place only last week.
"Weirdest Ever" Says Tempest
The labyrinth of underground passages and chambers discovered under the houses is declared by Deputy Director Tempest to be the "strangest and weirdest layout" he ever has visited in all his long career in police work.
Twisting and narrow underground passages and half-buried doors in almost inaccessible portions of the underground passages led to a belief that many more chambers remain for the police to enter in their underground exploration.
Deputy Tempest has ordered that a complete search be made of every corner of the cellars and sub-cellars and that if necessary the two houses above be torn down to make examination possible. The earth of all the cave floors is being dug up by the police in search of further clues.
Bone of Forearm is Found
The white baby's body was found shortly before 1:00 PM today, lying in a large glass jar in one of the sub-cellars. What is believed to be the bone of a child's forearm had been found in one of the passages a short time before. In another glass jar the police found what they report to be a human stomach.
To count the rooms, or divisions, of the many underground passages is impossible, because of the irregular arrangement, up and down and in all directions. Some of the policemen engaged in the exploring task have estimated there are more than 75 different compartments.
Second Arrest is Made
While the police were exploring the place shortly after noon a colored man walked into the Liberty Street entrance and started down the tunnel leading to the underground chamber as if he were well acquainted with the place.
Arrested and taken into police custody was Louis Reeves, 23 years, 1061 Ivins Street. he had been employed as a chauffer to drive the voodoo doctor's automobile, he said, and he had been accustomed to visiting "Doctor" Hyghcock daily and being given a bottle of soda water. That was the only purpose of his visit today, he declared, and he disclaimed any knowledge of the activities of Hyghcock.
The little daughter of the "proprietor" of the strange "place of horrors" made her hair-raising statements while being questioned in regard to her father's recent activities.
"Shot a Woman"- Took Her Away
"How many people has your father killed here?" she was asked.
"He never killed nobody until last week" she replied with childish frankness. "Then he shot a woman, and he took her away in her automobile at night."
In his cell at City Hall, Hyghcock maintains an air of mysterious silence. He is of an impressive personal appearance. although below medium height, he has a proud bearing, made more compelling by his white hair, mustache and imperial.
He has boasted to acquaintances that he is the father of 32 children.
Bootblacks tell of him giving 50 cent tips.
Hyghcock was arrested last night when he appealed to police, demanding a warrant for an unknown thief about whom he told a weird tale of threats to return and kill him. Hyghcock styles himself a clergyman, physician, an undertaker, a real estate operator, a clairvoyant, a palmist, and a fortune teller.
Hyghcock was held on $500 bail early today on the charge of obtaining money under false pretenses and in an equal amount on the charge of practicing medicine without a license when arraigned before Police Judge Cleary this morning.
He could not raise the money and was held in jail.
Then, when the other discovered were made, he was held without bail.
A visit to his place by the police led to the exploration of the intricate series of underground chambers. They were separated by swinging doors operated by mechanical springs. Some of the cave-like dungeons contained weird contraptions, like ancient machinery of torture, believed to have been used in connection with "cures," is to which patients of the voodoo man were terrified.
Patient Believes In Him
Besides Hyghcock police arrested as material witnesses Mrs. Bipp Hyghcock, 43 years old, aid to be his wife, and Mrs. Lotte Ingram, also a negress, 43 years old, of 59 North Peach Street, Philadelphia.
Mrs. Ingram, who was found in the house at 413 Liberty Street, aid she was there to receive treatment for heart disease from Hyghcock. In a statement to Detective Hunt, Mrs. Ingram said she gave Hyghcock 25 as part payment for the cure of her disease, and that she had been visiting his house for several months. Upon questioning she revealed further that Hyghcock had given her herb medicines, adding that she had faith in his powers and believed she was being healed.
Hyghcock has no license to practice medicine, police say.
The revelation of the startling interior of the place and the practice of Hyghcock, at the Liberty Street houses, both of which were rented by him, was brought about when the "doctor" inquired for a magistrate to issue a warrant for a Philadelphia man who, he said, stole some automobile tools from him and threatened to return to slay him. Hyghcock made the first inquiry of Howard Westsell, 797 Mt. Vernon street, who was standing at Railroad and Kaighn Avenues t 6:00 o'clock last night. Westsell referred him to Howard Fisher, a negro policeman of the Second District, who approached the two.
Cops Take Him Home
Fisher, becoming suspicious, questioned Hyghcock, who became evasive and insisted that the officer could not aid him. Fisher placed him under arrest, summoned Policeman James McTaggert and William Prucella, of the Second District, who were in plain clothes at the time, and went to the Hyghcock house, where they were admitted.
In the house at 413 Liberty Street the policeman found Mrs. Ingram, Mrs. Hyghcock, and the latter's 7 year old daughter. The two women were sent to police headquarters for questioning.
The dingy front room of the house was heated with a glowing coal stove and dimly lighted with a flickering kerosene lamp, faintly disclosed several ancient and must articles of furniture, several dozen bottles of soda water inside a glass showcase most of whose sides were missing or broken, several mysterious looking grips, bed-clothing, bric-a-brac, and other odd articles scattered about, it suggested what might be found in the rudely constructed entrances to chambers beyond.
In the glow of their flashlights the officers made a hurried search of the premises.
Entering the kitchen the trio descended a narrow, winding cellar-way into a gloomy cellar
McTaggart branched into one passageway, while Fisher and Prucella each chose a different path. After stumbling upon blind tunnels which ended in closets or in compartments from which there were no exits, the three officers joined into one party.
Stooping at times under low ceilings, squeezing between the sides of converging walls, jumping over pits covered with rotted trapdoors, and pushing through a seemingly endless series of doors rudely constructed of odd pieces of lumber, and each equipped with a powerful springs, the officers wormed their way through a tunnel extending 50 feet under the yard after leaving the cellar. It ended at a trapdoor in the floor of a ramshackle refuse littered woodshed in the rear of the yard.
As soon as they emerged they took Hyghcock, who had accompanied them through the tunnels, to police headquarters
Cops Go Look For More
Hyghcock, his wife, and Mrs. Ingram were placed under arrest. Captain Arthur Colsey assembled Sergeant Charles Smith and Policemen Prucella, McTaggart, Howard Fisher, Harry Kreher, William Bryant, Herbert Anderson, and John Bryant of headquarters for a needed investigation of the premises. On the way to the house the patrol picked up Officers Enoch Johnson, Charles Smith, and William Michalak.
With the arrival of the patrol a crowd gathered in front of the unkempt buildings. Bordering the gloomy houses on each side are modest, well-kept two and three story homes, inhabited by white families.
Guided by flashlights and lanterns, a long line of policemen laboriously wound through the circuitous underground passages, scrutinizing every nook, and opening every container upon which they came.
Many Rooms Entered
At least seventy-fie rooms or compartments were entered and hurriedly examined. Contents of innumerable closets and holes in walls were left undisturbed for fear that they would litter the narrow passageway and block the progress of the searchers.
In one room was found a large cartwheel daubed with dabs of white paint on each spoke. the wheel was mounted on a short upright axis set into the ground, permitting its rotation. Above the wheel was suspended a stuffed bird. The legs could be made to twitch and the wings to flap by the manipulation of a set of strings attached to them and fastened to a stick in an adjoining den.
Beside these the room contained an old iron bed, an oil lamp. and an oil stove. Other dens were similarly furnished.
Wires and Bells and Things
Closets and alcoves revealed odd collections of preserves, trinkets, charms, and indescribable odds and ends. In one closet in the kitchen of 413 Liberty Street were discovered a complicated set of improvised signaling devices. Wires attached to sticks will ring bells and unlock doors and various rooms of the house. Each door was equipped with a spring and bolts, and contained bells of various shapes and sizes.
In the rear of 413 Liberty Street partitioned with odd boards, curtains, and rags was a chapel. This room, about 10 feet wide by 13 feet long, contained an old wheezy organ, an altar, and religious pictures. Two more organs helped furnish two other rooms.
In a bedroom by the third floor of 413 Liberty Street, evidently occupied by Hyghcock, the searchers found charms sewed up in bags, odd implements, and three high silk hats.
Mrs. Hyghcock said that she her husband and daughter had occupied the two houses for eight years. Hyghcock, she said, had been working on the tunnels and underground dens for four years, carrying out earth in small quantities and depositing it in the back yards. police doubt that all the sand extracted from the subterranean dens would have been dumped in the yard, and believe that Hyghcock must have carried it away under the cover of darkness.
The Police Knew Him
A year ago Hyghcock was arrested by District Detectives David Kates and Walter Smith on Mount Ephraim Avenue near Van Hook Street. At that time he was searching for a policeman to report a hold-up. Looking into the closed automobile, the detectives found in the tonneau a bed in which lay a young negress, a lighted lantern hung from the roof, and a kerosene lamp on the floor. After questioning at police headquarters Hyghcock so changed his first story of an alleged hold-up on Kaighn Avenue and Cooper River bridge that the police disbelieved his tale.
Captain Colsey will notify the fire department today to safeguard the buildings from fire hazards and also will call to the attention of the health department the unsanitary condition of the place.
In his seventeen years completed with the police department, Captain Colsey said he has never seen such a layout.
Camden Courier * April 10, 1925
Click on Image to Enlarge
Police investigating the "voodoo den" of H.H. Hyghcock, 413-15 Liberty Street, whose arrest on suspicion of murder made several important discoveries today.
1- The finding of a bloodstained hatchet buried under the floor of one of the underground rooms.
222- Discovery of a hidden vault, the entrance freshly cemented and covered with wall-papered boards
3- Discovery of what is believed to be a well under the "sacrifice room". When the police tore off the lid of the well today, they were driven from the underground passage by the odor that emanated from the large hole.
4- A blood-stained mattress cover, hidden in a second story rear room, was found.
5- Police digging in the underground den this afternoon unearthed the skeleton of a baby, the fourth infant's body found in the "voodoo den".
6- Lastly, police say Hyghcock is the biggest liar they have ever seen.
When informed of the finding of the supposed vault Director Tempest instructed Captain Gordon to "tear it out if you have to tear down the house".
The police questioned the "voodoo medicine man" for an hour this morning during which he admitted he is a bigamist. He confessed that he had five wives and is the father of 37 children.
Hyghcock Questioned For Hour
After spending the night in a prison cell, Hyghcock was taken before Deputy Director Tempest . In the room at the same time was Chief Tatem, Captains Colsey, Golden, Humes, and Sieh.
Hyghcock was visibly serious as he sat in a chair facing the police officials. He clasped and unclasped his hands and stroked his goatee as his eyes shifted around the room.
Director Tempest started the first shot of a barrage of questions that swept over the voodoo man before he was allowed to leave the room.
For nearly an hour the medicine man matched his wits with those of the police. Several times he seemed about to crack and reveal something startling but caught himself just as he was to fall into a trap.
As each questioned was asked him Hyghcock repeated it slowly and after thinking a few seconds made answer.
"Hyghcock" Director Tempest began, "how many children have you?"
"Newspaper reporters printed stories that I have thirty-two children" the prisoner answered. "That is all wrong. I have thirty-seven children."
Five Wives, Says Hyghcock
"How many wives have you had?"
"Five" he answered.
"Two are living."
"Are you a bigamist?"
"Yes, I guess you would call me that. I don't know where my fourth wife is now."
"How long have you been married to this wife?"
"All your children living?"
"All but two."
"Where are the other thirty five?"
"Scattered all over."
"How many women have you killed in your time?"
During the questioning of his married life Hyghcock smiled continuously as he answered the questions.
The last question had the effect of an electric shock upon the prisoner.
"Come on, come on," Director Tempest said. "How many women have you killed?" This was one question that Hyghcock did not repeat.
Says He Bought Dead Bodies
"I never killed any women" he answered as he looked at the faces of those gathered around him.
"How many operations have you performed in that den of yours?"
I didn't perform any operations"
"How do you account for the finding of those bodies of these infants in the cellar?"
"I bought those babies from Dr. White on South Street in Philadelphia."
"You are lying, aren't you?"
"No sir" Hyghcock said, as he toyed with his hat.
"Tell the truth now. How many women died in that house of yours?"
"Who said I killed anybody?"
"We have the goods on you, so you might as well come clean. Your daughter has told us she saw you kill that light skinned colored woman when your wife was away. What did you kill that woman for?"
"My daughter say that? She must be wrong."
"Why should your daughter say you killed a woman if you did not? We know you shot that woman and your daughter saw you do it. Why should your daughter say such a thing if it were not true?"
Stumped by Daughter's Tale
Beads of perspiration broke out on the prisoner's face.
"I don't know" he answered.
"Didn't you take a woman's body out of that house not so long ago?"
"How many women have died in that house?"
"Only my daughter."
"Are you a physician?"
"Sorta of a physician."
"Why do you have the stethoscope in your home?"
"What kind of thing is that?"
"Are you a physician and well acquainted with surgical instruments?"
"Yes, sorta," Hyghcock said. The stress was beginning to tell on him.
"And you don't know what a stethoscope is? You are not a doctor, Hyghcock. You are a liar."
"Yes sir" he answered.
"Are you a regular minister?"
"Sorta. I'm an evangelist."
"What do you mean? I've been an evangelist since I was a child."
"Ever been arrested before?"
"Yes, in Philadelphia. Man I was with shot a woman with a baby in her arms."
"You did the shooting, didn't you?"
"But you shot the woman in your house on Liberty Street, didn't you?
"How many women do you keep at your house at one time?"
"Four or Five"
"You are lying now, aren't you?"
"How many women have you killed?"
"What do you know about the bloody hatchet we found in your cellar?"
"I don't know anything about it. Where did you find it?"
"We are asking the questions, you just answer them."
"Did you ever have a hatchet?"
"Yes, I lost it six months ago."
"How did the blood get on it?"
"I don't know."
"Why did you cement that vault?"
"The vault in your cellar that you just cemented a short time ago. You might as well come clean and tell us about what is hidden behind that cement wall because we are going to find it out."
Hyghcock shifted in his chair and the perspiration flowed in a stream from his forehead. He bit his lips.
"There is nothing much there" he said after thinking for fully a minute.
Walls Against Water
"What did you build it for?"
"To keep the water out."
"Why didn't you cement up the rest of the cellar?"
"I don't know."
"You know that we know you are lying, don't you?"
Hyghcock did not answer that question.
"Why did you dig out all those rooms in the cellar?"
"For church services."
"Did you use about 65 small rooms underground for church services?"
"In the room way back under the yard. That was he main church?"
"How can you take nine people and put them in 35 rooms?"
"I don't know"
"The why did you have so many rooms?"
"The people wanted them".
"Are you a regular minister?"
"Mr. Johnson in Newport News told me I could be a minister."
"What was that room where the crow was swinging on the board supposed to be?"
Noah's Ark Room
"That was the Noah's ark room. The bird was on the ark."
"What was the idea of having ropes to make the stuffed bird flap his wings?"
"That was part of the church service."
"How many women are you in love with?"
"I don't know. A lot are in love with me."
"Hyghcock, you have been performing illegal operations in that house of yours, and we have more than 100 letters from women that were sent to you. Those letters contain evidence that will be used against you. What have you to say about them? You read the letters, because they were open when we found them."
"Just what particular letters are you talking about?"
Director Tempest then went through some letters and mentioned the names and addresses of the senders. Many of them were from white women. To each letter called to his attention Hyghcock said:
"I just can't recall reading that letter."
"How about this letter from Ann Miller of Philadelphia telling you that she was thorough with you because you killed the man next door?"
"I don't remember seeing that letter."
"You are lying Hyghcock, and you had better come clean and tell the truth."
"Women Stuck on me"
Then letters containing endearing terms were read to him. Asked what he had to say about them, he answered:
"They are some of the women who are stuck on me."
"How many women are stuck on you? Are there as many as 100?"
"I don't think there are that many. I know women all over the country and they write to me."
What do women all over the country write to you for?"
"I guess they like me."
"I guess they do", Director Tempest said as he gazed at the prisoner, who averted his glances."
"Ever perform any operations on any of these women?"
"Then what do they write to you about?"
"I don't know."
"What is in that well under the board in the cellar?"
"Did you throw any bodies down there?"
"No sir, I ain't hid no bodies."
"Where did you bury the women who died in your house?"
"Nobody died there."
"Why did you go out late at night in your automobile with a shovel?"
"Who said so?"
"You did, didn't you?"
"I can't recall."
Says He Took Women Into Tunnels
"Just think for a minute"
"Nope, I can't recall."
"Did you take women into those underground rooms"
"Yes, I took them down to church services."
"Didn't take any men down there, did you?"
"How did you come to dig all those rooms?"
"I was looking for money."
"What do you mean?"
"When I first moved into the house I dug in the cellar one day and found $25.00"
"What has that got to do with the rooms?"
"Well, I kept on digging and found $300.00 more."
"Yes, go on".
"Go on where?"
"What gave you the idea for all of the rooms?"
"Well, when I moved into the house there were rooms directly under the XXXXX and I dug XXXX the back yard XXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXX."
"For how long have you been live there?"
"Eight or ten years"
"Who dug that cellar with you?"
"A man by the name of ______ (Name withheld at the request of the police)."
"What did he do?"
Becomes Badly Mixed
"He helped me to make the room- the chapel."
"Did he help you get rid of the bodies?"
"Who did help you get rid of them?"
"Did it all yourself?"
"Did I do it all myself- yes, sir- no, sir."
"Well, what do you mean?"
"I mean I didn't do anything. I hid no bodies."
"What did you bury the hatchet for?"
"I didn't bury any hatchet"
"How did it happen the hatchet was covered with blood?"
"I don't know."
"What did you have those shovels and picks down in the cellar for?"
"To dig with."
"What is is this religious college you have up by Willow Grove?"
"Who told you about that?"
"You tell me about it now."
"I started a church up there."
"You built shacks and rented them to colored people for $30.00 a month and then charged them $10.00 a month extra. What was the extra $10.00 for?"
"It was for the Lord."
"What do you mean Lord Hyghcock?"
"No for the church."
Sold Willow Grove Settlement
"Do you still have the church settlement?"
"No, I sold it."
"Sold the church too?"
"Why did you tell your wife you would kill her if she went into the cellar of the house where all those rooms were?"
"Who said so"
"You did, didn't you?"
"I can't recall."
"When you would have a crowd of women in the rooms you would send our wife away, wouldn't you?"
"Speaking of illegal operations, do you know Miss....."
"Who ain't one of the women I operated on."
"Who are some of these women, then?"
"I ain't operated on any women?"
"Did you tell women to keep away from you?"
"Tell us about how you shot that woman and buried her body?"
"I ain't shot nobody"
"How did you kill her, with that hatchet?"
"Come on, tell us how you killed her?"
"I didn't kill any women."
"The woman just died in the house, oh?"
"How about the man who lived next door whom you said you killed?"
"I didn't kill anybody."
When Tempest finished, each of the police captains fired a barrage of questions at Hyghcock."
Several times under severe questioning by Captain Golden, Hyghcock became confused and gave evasive answers.
Turning to Captain Schregler, Director Tempest said:
"He's a liar, take him upstairs."
Mrs. Hyghcock Quizzed
Hyghcock was then taken up to the bureau for further questioning by detectives. His wife was quizzed in an adjoining room and when she was taken back to her cell, their seven year-old daughter, who told the police her father killed a woman in the house when she was questioned again repeated her version of the killing.
During the questioning of Hyghcock in the Detective Bureau, Commissioner Middleton came into the room. He sat with the detectives as they questioned the 71 year-old medicine man.
Where the Ropes Came From
A Broadway hardware merchant called at police headquarters today and told the police that he had been selling rope to Hyghcock for the past two years.
"He would come into the store and buy the rope in six foot lengths. He would also buy barn lanterns by the dozen. I often wondered what he intended to use them for but I never asked him."
The ceiling of the underground den was a cobweb of ropes, which operated through pulling and rang bells, opened doors, and made the raven in "Noah's Ark" flap his wings.
That Hyghcock contemplated more cement work, when discovered yesterday when the police found a load of sand in the front part of the cellar. In the afternoon a truck with fifteen bags of cement came to the Hyghcock house.
The driver, seeing the crowd, drove away, taking the cement with him.
Director Tempest sent a detail of police and firemen to destroy the maze of underground tunnels and "torture chambers" under the "voodoo" houses. The entire cellar of the two houses will be dug up to a depth of six feet in an effort to learn if any human bodies are buried there.
The 'voodoo palace" was raided early yesterday morning by a detail of police who arrested "Dr." H.H. Hyghcock, a 71 year-old "medicine man". When the police searched the house yesterday they discovered the bodies of two small infants hidden in one of the underground rooms.
County detectives who went on the case yesterday and city police are endeavoring to learn if any women were murdered in the house. The decision to tear out the thirty-five underground rooms came at a conference at police headquarters last night between Prosecutor Wescott, City Prosecutor Bernard Bertman, Director Tempest, and Chief Tatem.
Each of the officials declared that he believed a digging up of the cellar would reveal the finding of human bodies.
Will Do It Monday
'I am going to order a detail of firemen and policemen to the cellar of the two houses" Director Tempest said, "with instructions to tear out every one of those rooms in the cellar. After the cellar is cleared the policemen and firemen will dig up every foot of the cellar. I have some information which I cannot divulge that leads one to believe that our search will not be unsuccessful. It is not probable, however that the work of clearing up that underground "hotel" will be started before Monday."
"In my police experience I have never seen anything that compares with that underground voodoo den."
Hyghcock as questioned for several hours last night by detectives. He refused to make any statements, even when he was shown incriminating letters that were found in his home. The police seized more than 100 of the letters which were mailed from every state in the Union. Many will be used against the "physician" when he is placed on trial as they reveal he practiced medicine without a license.
The police place great stress upon the statement of Hyghcock's seven year-old daughter who told them that her father killed a woman in the house a week ago and buried her body. The child is being held in custody as a material witness as is the wife of the "medicine man".
Last night more than 5,0000 morbid curious people gathered at the Hyghcock house and stormed the doors seeking admittance to the underground passages. A detail o police inside the house fought back the crowd. A riot call was sounded at 9:00 o'clock and two details of police were rushed to the scene. The crowd was driven back and the street roped off. During the excitement the front door was smashed in by the crowd.
Today detectives are reading the large bale of letters found in the house. They also seized the prisoner's set of books, which show he received large sums of money from superstitious persons for "love and enemy" charms. The books contain the names and addresses of more than 1,000 of Hyghcock's customers.
Police said that although Hyghcock has only been a resident of this city for three years, he has amassed a small fortune and owns considerable property here and in Pennsylvania. They said that several years ago Hyghcock built a small chapel near Willow Grove. Around this chapel he erected 20 small frame houses. he rented them to colored folks who joined his religious sect and in addition to the rent paid him an assessment of $10 a month which he said he turned over to the Lord.
Three Years of Work
When Hyghcock was taken from his cell in police headquarters last night to be questioned he smiled as the cell doors clanged open. He was taken to detective headquarters and questioned, but refused to make any statement. he will be questioned again today.
The police said he must have spent nearly three years building the underground "chamber of horrors" So quietly did he work that none of his neighbors knew the spooky subway rooms existed. Most of the excavating was done between midnight and 3 o'clock in the morning.
Entering the house at 413 Liberty Street, a visitor sees a small counter and a candy show case. Arrayed on shelves behind the counter are bottles of pop and packages of cigarettes. Three feet away from the counter toward the kitchen is a door leading into a hallway three feet square. A winding flight of steps lead to the upper floors and a door in the hallway opens opens on to a narrow winding stairway into the cellar.
Secret Winding Passages
Once in the cellar the visitor finds himself in a small alley running toward the front of the house. In this alley are shelves filled with roots and herbs. The aisle turns at right angles to the right and one sees a large door upon which is printed "Noxvill". A heavy spring slams the door to. The visitor is then in complete darkness. In front of him is a winding, twisting passageway, barley three feet wide, Directly over his head are ropes running along the ceiling which control the opening and closing of doors and the ringing of bells.
To the right is a dark room. The rays of a flashlight thrown into the room reveals a stuffed bird resting on a swinging shelf. A pull on one of the many ropes causes the crow to flap his wings. Just ahead in the passageway, and to the right and left are three doors. Sleigh bells are fastened to each of the doors. The door to the right leads to a tunnel connecting with the house at 415 Liberty Street, next door. The other doors lead into other rooms and n the rooms are other doors leading into still other rooms.
Rooms Poorly Furnished
And so on down the entire length of the cellar.
In the rooms which are not more than four feet square there is very little furniture. The walls and partitions are made of packing box lumber covered with various pieces of wall paper, one shade bordering on the other. In each "den" a kerosene lantern, or lamp hung on ah hook. The air is stifling.
In the room known to the police as the "Graveyard" are three lanterns and several spades and picks lying on the dirt floor. The soil shows that it has recently been dug up.
Still following the dark passages the visitor find himself confronted with a door, with a glass panel in the bottom. A heavy spring makes the door hard to open, but a pull on one of the many strands of rope running along the ceiling and the door swings slowly open without the least effort. it is controlled in some mysterious manner by weights.
Hyghcock has undermined his entire back yard. Back under the yard runs the passageway with the dens turning off to the right or left. In one of the underground rooms a large clock instead of being placed high on the wall is fastened down near the ground. The clock was functioning yesterday but was four hours fast.
Tunnels Become Confusing
Now the passageways gets narrower and darker and the odor is sickening. Towards the extreme rear of the room is the "Sacrifice Chapel". This contains a baptismal bath, a large Bible, a XXXXX and a carriage wheel with various colored spokes. The wheel spins from an iron peg driven into the wall. Everywhere is seen patchwork carpenter work. A birds-eye view of the underground rooms reminds one of the futurist, or cubist, paintings. In one of the rooms the floors are covered with freshly laid cement. The police will endeavor to find if anything is buried underneath the flooring.
Just ahead is daylight. One finds a small hole in the roof where a chimney or a uphill coal stove extrudes into the yard. This follows another maze of doors. In several parts of the tunnel thick doors can be opened at the same time to form a triangle. Not twenty more feet down his dark passageway and a ladder leading upward is seen. It is a hastily constructed affair and the top rungs are covered with grips made of automobile tires.
A walk through the upper story of the two houses show that bedrooms have been partitioned off to make three rooms.
He Doted Bells
Overhead is the network of ropes operating on pulleys the XXXXX XX XXXX XXXX. In the underground rooms and tunnels, XXXX XXXXX and a door XXXX XXXX. XXXX XXXX will open or a bell will ring. Hyghcock just doted on bells. The largest bell is fastened to a door on the third floor. This one can be sounded from the rear room in the tunnel by means of the rope. Bells are everywhere. They range from baby bell rattles to large cow bells.
The rooms on the upper floors each contain beds. Yesterday they were in disorder. The bed clothing was scattered on the floor and the floors were strewn with papers, letters, books, and clothing. In a closet in a third story room was found two new dolls in a basin, glassware, phonograph records- everything imaginable. The rooms resembled "junk shops".
Yesterday the police spent most of their time searching for bloodstains on the floors and walls of the buildings. Trunks were forced open and those were found to contain soiled linens. The police questioned Hyghcock's seven year-old daughter.
"How many men did your father kill in here?" Patrolman Charley Naylor asked the girl?
Says "Pop" Killed Woman
"My Pop did not kill any men" the child answered, " but when my mother was in Washington to see my sister not long ago, a woman came to the house and started to fight with Pop. It was late at night. They fought terrible and they were in the big room in the front of the house. I saw them fighting and my Pop got a gun and shot the woman. Pop took her out in the automobile and buried her. He told me to keep quiet and said the woman was sick and died and he buried her in a cemetery.
The child was taken to police heads when she was again questioned by Director Tempest and Chief Tatem. The police tried to get her to change her story but she refused to do so and stuck to the narrative she first told in her home. Her mother was then arrested and detained as a material witness.
Persons living in the neighborhood said today that on two occasions they had seen Hyghcock place large bundles in the back of his car at night, place a shovel in the rear of the car and drive away.
The police have been unable to learn much so far about Hyghcock prior to coming to this city. They do know that he came here from Norfolk VA where he still claims to be in the undertaking business.
Strange Powders Sold
Hyghcock, the police said, manufactured powders and sold them to colored people as good luck chars. if a woman was unfriendly with another woman she went to Hyghcock and for $12 she received a small bottle of powder. This she sprinkled in front of her enemy and from then on "everything will suffer for the enemy because she would be pursued by evil spirits and her luck would be something terrible".
If a superstitious young man who "rolled the bones" as a pastime wanted to stage a winning streak, he would visit the medicine man. For $40.00 he would give the man with the gambling instinct a blue powder that he was supposed to rub on his hands just before it was his time to "roll". Powder to keep another woman from stealing one's husband went for $30.09. Hyghcock's records show. What the 9 cents was for is not known. IN one day, the police said, Hyghcock sold more than $190 worth of powder that originally cost about twenty cents.
The more serious charge against the prisoner is that he used the building for immoral purposes and for performing illegal operations.
Camden Courier-Post - January 3, 1928
Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1928
Targets for Camden’s new desperado eliminators. Bandits, burglars,
snipers and their ilk are requested by Chief of Police James
E. Tatem to apply at police headquarters Monday morning at 10
o’clock, when a practice shooting party will be held.
Tatem said today Camden’s bandit-chasing squad is “just rarin’
to go” with six new automatic rifles guaranteed to shoot full of holes
the toughest bandit in less time than it takes to say “Aligoop.”
the further enlightenment of the bandit fraternity, Chief
Tatem announced detailed instructions on how to0 use the new
carbines will be given this afternoon at 3 o’clock to bandit chasing
police by Captain Arthur Colsey
and Herman Engle, a representative of Stein Brothers, this city.
The rifles arrived at police headquarters yesterday afternoon. They will be distributed in each of the city’s three police districts in the campaign to rid the city of desperadoes.
weapons can fire a magazine of 20 shots in a few seconds. They will be
mounted in the three red bandit chasing coupes used by the district
squad members. One of the coupes is now being used by Archie Reiss and Vernon
Jones in South Camden, while two others are expected to be delivered
within a few days, according to Chief of Police James
E. Tatem. They will be assigned to Walter Smith
Carpani, First district detectives and Louis Schlam and Richard
Donnelly in the East Camden district.
attachments make it possible to fire the guns from a fixed point in an
automobile. Detached they may be fired from the shoulder. Besides firing a magazine of 20 shots without stopping, they can be
adjusted to single fire, using .45 caliber cartridges.
Instruction in the adjustment and use of the
weapons will be given today by a representative of the company that sold
them- at $175 each— to the city.
February 4, 1928
Kelley - James
|Camden Courier-Post - February 6, 1928|
|Machine Gun Bullets Await "Phantom Sniper"|
Camden's "Phantom Sniper" had best remain a "phantom" and avoid appearing in mortal form, for the Camden police have a new sort of weapon ready for him. Six machine guns, mounted in new bandit-chasing automobiles, have arrived and were placed in operation today by the police. The photograph shows Arthur Colsey holding one of the guns, at the right. In the background another officer is shown aiming the gun from one of the new "bandit-chasers".
Camden Courier-Post * March 25, 1930
Women Claim Body of 'Gimp' Thomas
Who is the legal wife of Howard "Gimp" Thomas, under cover man for Camden police, whose death in an automobile upset early Saturday morning near Ellisburg is being investigated by county authorities?
Three women have attempted to claim the body but it still remained in the morgue of Coroner Melvin Cain last night.
A mystery woman in black appeared at the coroner's office Sunday and attempted to claim it. She declared she was Thomas' wife.
"The body has already been claimed by Miss Marie Olive Thomas, 18, Harrisburg, Pa., daughter of Thomas," said Cain. ,
"Well he is my husband,” replied the woman.
"I'm not going to get into any controversy over the legal claimant of the body," Cain told her. "You will have to settle that argument with Miss Thomas."
Threatens to See Lawyers
The woman left in an angry mood and threatened to "see a lawyer."
Mrs. Harold Thomas, 6534 Sixth Avenue, Philadelphia, told the Delaware township police yesterday she believes the dead man is her husband, who deserted her two years ago. She said she was coming to Camden to identify the body.
She said her husband's name was, Harold and was of the opinion he had changed it to Howard. She said the description she received tallied with that of her husband.
Until late last night the woman had failed to visit Coroner Cain's office. The newest mystery in connection with the case, however, has not yet eclipsed that impelling the question:
How did 'Gimp' Thomas come into possession of badge No. 188 of the Camden Police Department?
The badge, taken from Thomas' pocket when his body was found has been the subject of numerous theories. The police, unable to arrive at a satisfactory explanation, it is understood, are continuing their efforts to learn under what auspices Thomas came into possession of the badge.
Captain Arthur Colsey admitted the man had done some work for the Camden police but not often. He has been unable to account for the badge's having the same number as one issued James Hollis, Detective Captain John Golden's chauffeur.
Prosecutor Clifford A. Baldwin said he has asked the state police for a report on the death of Thomas and plans to check up reports that four men were with him instead of two on the fatal ride.
Harry McClain, 726 Kaighn Avenue, and William Hernisy, 1146 Liberty Street, who were with, Thomas when he was killed, are in the county jail. Two other men, who were reported seated in the rear have escaped.
Hernisy was driving the car when Thomas was killed and is being held on a charge of manslaughter and larceny of the automobile. McClain is charged with being an accessory.
Both men claim Thomas met accidental death although McClain said the dead man was taking him "for a ride" and he "beat him to it". The pair fled from the scene of the accident because they knew Thomas had stolen the car, they told police..
|Camden Courier-Post - May 5, 1930|
Louis Street - Florence Street
Decatur Street - Mt. Ephraim Avenue
William G. Ritter - Peter English
Walter Wilkie - Ralph Bakley
Joseph Ward Sr. - E. Frank Pine
Clifford Del Rossi - Theodore Guthrie
Melvin Cain - William F. McGrath
Sylvester "Wes" McGrath, City Detective
Urquhart Ward - Robert Ward
John Smith - Maurice Mensch
Victor King - Michael Mathews
James E. Tatem - Arthur Colsey
Camden Courier-Post * March 29, 1930
HURLEY GETS CONTRACT FOR POLICE UNIFORMS
Contract for new police uniforms was awarded yesterday to the Hurley store by the city commission, which heretofore had contracted with a Philadelphia firm.
Changes in the uniforms of several of the police departments are planned by Chief Lewis H. Stehr and Captain Arthur Colsey. Because many bus companies have adopted uniforms similar to those of the police for their drivers, the new uniforms for the mounted police will include blue coat, blue hat and khaki breeches. Police attached to the ambulance patrol will wear dark gray whipcord uniforms. Traffic. police and others will wear the regular blue uniform now in use.
Uniform Inspection will be held Monday to ascertain the department's needs.
Camden Courier-Post * December 11, 1930
H. Stehr - Dr.
David S. Rhone
V. Dickinson -
Evening Courier - Morning Post
H. Stehr - Dr.
David S. Rhone
Camden Courier-Post - October 21, 1931
Camden Courier-Post - March 12, 1932
COMPLETES 20 YEARS ON FORCE
Twenty years on the Camden Police
Force were completed at 9:20 AM today by Captain Arthur Colsey.
Many friends and organizations sent baskets of flowers, transforming Captain Colsey's office into a veritable bower of bloom. Many friends dropped in during the day to shake his hand and wish him “good luck”.
A card, unsigned, on one of the large
wreaths, bears this legend: "Congratulations to Captain Arthur
Colsey, for 20 years of faithful service- to the man of men who should
have been made chief of police years ago. From an old friend who has
been in very close touch with the police department for more than 40
Colsey was appointed a patrolman on March 12, 1912 by E.A.
Gravenor, Chief of Police during the term
Charles H. Ellis.
He was driver of the district patrol wagon for a short time,
then was appointed a district detective. Shortly afterward he was
transferred to the detective bureau under Captain
Colsey served for seven years in Mayor
Ellis' office as a plainclothes detective.
In 1923 he was appointed chief clerk
with a rating as captain.
In 1924, when he was in charge of the
voice squad, Colsey made 380 liquor raids, assisted in 180 raids made by
Federal agents, raided 54 disorderly houses and 38 gambling establishments.
From 1907 to 1911 Colsey was councilman from the Second Ward and served as president of the Second Ward Republican Club. He moved to the Twelfth Ward in 1923, living at 2931 Stevens Street.
Colsey will be unopposed for president of the Twelfth Ward Republican Club at the election Tuesday night.
Camden Courier-Post * June 6, 1932
Bakley - Joseph Tumulty - Roy
R. Stewart - T. Harry Rowland
Charles V. Dickinson - Arthur Colsey - Clifford A. Baldwin - Samuel M. Shay
Austin H. Swackhammer - Manle J. Steyer - WIlliam Sharkey - Dr. C.N. Mason
Gustave Huseman - John Uboldi - Albert Cohen - James Jordan - Herman Romaine
Harold Nickturn - Howard C. Franklin - Arthur "Gyp" Del Duca
Charles Fanelli aka Charlie Mack - Harry Fleisher - John Cernivo
Thomas Gibbons - Walt Mills - Edward J. Walsh
Owen Sweeney - William Marshall - Conrad Bittner - Harry Underwood
Frank Truax - Walter Kennedy aka Walt West - Harry Willingmeyer
Fairview Street - Penn Street - Rand Street
Louis Ward - Dean Kessler - Pasquale Massi - Jacob Melzer - Frank Atwater
Louis Scott - Edward Brady - Carl Pisco - Joseph Pisco - Jim Jackson
Woodrow Jackson - Frank Mucci - W.H. Seckel - Davis Keese - Gustave Seletos
Roland Davis - William Bopergola - Tony Basile - Jospeh Gogenti - Frank Garafalo
Edward North - Joseph Carboni - Geoge Huber - George Walters
June 16, 1932
Leon N. Neulen
Camden Courier-Post - February 2, 1933
WARD PROTESTS REMOVAL Of
Opposition to abandonment of the Third District Police Station in East Camden for a more centralized police headquarters. in new City Hall, was voiced yesterday by the Eleventh Ward Republican Club.
That organization In resolutions forwarded to the city commissioners and the Republican county committee members from the Eleventh ward. also requests the return of the police patrol to the Third District Station. Furthermore the club has gone on record as favoring appointment of Captain Arthur Colsey as permanent chief of police.
"We feel that these steps are necessary for the benefit and protection of not only the Eleventh ward but the Twelfth ward as well," said Harold Mengle, recording secretary of the Eleventh Ward Republican Club in making public the resolutions.
The measures follow:
"Resolved, that the Eleventh Ward Republican Club go on record as strenuously objecting to the removal of the Third District Police Station and also request that the police patrol be replaced." Signing the resolution are George H. Simpson, Harry C. Johnson and Mengle.
"Resolved that the Eleventh Ward Republican Club go on record as supporting Captain Colsey as chief of police, and inasmuch as we have only an acting chief, strenuously endorse his appointment." Signing this measure are Louis H. Molineaux, Edward Huckel and Mengle.
Besides the city commissioners, Horace B. Beideman and Mrs. Etta C. Pfrommer. Republican county committeeman and woman from the Eleventh ward also received copies of the resolutions.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933|
Hysterical In Boy Vandal Trial
Hysterics among three mothers, one of whom fainted, as their young sons were held for court yesterday inspired another attack on Police Judge Garfield Pancoast by Frank J. Hartmann, Jr., secretary of the North Camden Civic Association.
The three women shouted frantically as their sons, each 15, were led from the court to be taken to the Juvenile Detention Home on charges of incorrigibility. They had been accused of' vandalism in North Camden. It was brought out, however, that Hartmann did not make the complaints against the boys, who will be detained until the next session of juvenile court is held by Judge Samuel. M. Shay.
Hartmann in a statement last night disclosed that a threat had been made against him by the father of one of the boys who allegedly declared he "had a gun and was going to use it."
Led from the courtroom after screaming and after one had fainted, the women cried so bitterly in the corridor that court attendants ordered them to leave.
The episode was one of the most turbulent in the history of the Camden police court, according to veteran attendants. So great was the turmoil there was question whether Pancoast would not have to recess other hearings.
Pancoast remained adamant in his decision despite the shrill protests of' the mothers; the plea of one of the boys, who begged for release with arms outstretched, and of the complainant, who urged leniency.
Pancoast criticized Hartmann for "condemning him for showing leniency in such cases, yet never making formal complaint himself against youthful vandals in a specific case.
Pancoast added that he "was compelled to act as he did because of the facts in the case and general complaints against vandalism in North Camden and other parts of the city.
The boys are: Lester Jamison, of 326 North Second Street; Frank Smith, of 521 Elm Street, and Henry Egerton, 15, of 212 Bailey Street.
Complaint against the youths was made by G.T. Moore, of 313 State Street, who charged that he had found the boys destroying a property at the northeast corner of Third and State Streets.
Value $25,000, Now 25 cents
"That property once was worth about $25,000," Moore testified, "Today it could be bought for 25 cents because of vandalism."
The youths admitted they had been on the premises, but denied they had caused any damage.
The court then directed that a disorderly conduct charge against them be changed to incorrigibility, the complaint for which was signed by Moore.
Moore testified that the defendants and other boys had been warned to keep off the property, but they would cross the street and ridicule him. He urged leniency, however, when the court revealed that the boys would be sent to the detention home. He said he did not want to see the, youths placed in confinement and their reputations blemished .
"I can't be lenient in his case," Pancoast replied. "I've been charged by Mr. Hartmann, of the North Camden Civic Association, with taking care of criminals and politicians who come to this court, and that is a lie. Also there has been a great deal of publicity about vandalism in North Camden, columns and columns of it, yet Hartmann has never made a single formal complaint against any boy in my court. As a citizen, if he knows such things are going on, it is his duty, as well as that of other citizens, to make a complaint to us.
"This occurrence by these boys is undoubtedly a part of the vandalism going on in North Camden and I'm going to send these boys to the detention home,"
Moore again pleaded for leniency for the boys, but Pancoast said he had no other alternative than to .sentence them under the circumstances.
The arrests on complaint of Moore were made by Gus Reihm and Wilbur Prentiss, motorcycle policemen.
Civic Clubs Protest
Apprehension of youthful vandals has been urged repeatedly by the North Camden Civic Association officers, including Hartmann, who said recently that damage by the vandals in the city has reached more than $500,000 and the city officials and police have “done little or nothing about it.
Hartmann and other officers of the association appeared before the city commission last week, urging prompt remedial measures by the city officials, and charging that too much leniency is shown in such cases. Mayor Stewart replied that the city had taken steps to eliminate the evil and was doing, all that could be done to end it.
North Camden Civic Association officers, including Hartmann, who said recently that damage by the vandals in the city has reached more than $500,000 and the city officials and police have done little or nothing about it. ,
Hartmann and other officers of the association appeared before the city commission last week, urging prompt remedial measures by the city officials, and charging that too much leniency is shown in such cases. Mayor Stewart replied that the city had taken steps to eliminate the evil and was doing, all that could be done to end it. The civic association’s officers protested nevertheless that this was not so, and that the police could minimize the damage if they were on the job.
Hartmann, in company with Frederick von Nieda, president of the Congress of Civic Associations, to which the North Camden association is allied, and George I. Shaw, vice president of the uptown group, conferred with Captain Arthur Colsey, at police headquarters. Captain Colsey promised further co-operation of the police in stamping out the practice of wrecking vacant dwellings and invited all citizen to report such instances to the police.
In replying to Pancoast's criticism Hartmann said:
"I learned from the father of one of the boys committed to jail by Judge Pancoast that the three boys could not be released unless I gave the word. This parent was quite alarmed, and I am told made threats against me. He declared that he had a gun and was going to use it. I can appreciate this man's feelings, because I understand that when he returned he found his wife in a terribly excited condition, an because of the fact that their son was arrested for playing tag with some chums. But I can't go to the detention home and order release of the boys. That's impossible. Only the judge can do that.
"The attitude of Judge Pancoast in criticizing me indirectly as the complainant not only is uncalled for but is the direct cause of this threat, as well as the distracted state of the boy's mother.
"Judge Pancoast is trying to throw a cloud over the real state of affairs in Camden.
"As a member of the North Camden Civic Association I have helped to point out conditions here that have existed for a long time without the police taking any notice of them, conditions which should not have been tolerated and which have caused considerable expense to property owners.
"This needless expense could have been prevented by the police and Judge Pancoast, in a quiet, yet determined manner.
Victims of Anger'
"Simply because we have criticized him and the police is not reason for Judge Pancoast to vent his anger at us upon innocent children, such as he has done in this particular case.
"He states that because we have complained it is necessary for him to hold the three young boys for court.
"On top of this he said that we never made any complaints.
"The latter is true, for we have not accused any child and do not intend to do so. It is the job of the police department to stop the wave of vandalism, not our task.
"Judge Pancoast's attempt to blame me in this situation is ridiculous. As I look at it he seems to be trying to evade the real issues.
"He made a disgraceful example of three boys, to whom a reprimand would have been sufficient had they; been brought before him for merely playing tag, but if they were accused of vandalism then I think his action in committing them to the detention home was justified. But, since the charge against them was changed from vandalism to incorrigibility it. is apparent that there is some doubt in the judge's mind.
"Even with this reasonable doubt I cannot reconcile a case with the disposition of two others, immediately prior to the hearing of the three boys. I understand that two defendants on charges of stealing pipe from a vacant dwelling were dismissed.
"The difference in these two instances, certainly does not give evidence of Judge Pancoast's sincerity in dealing with vandalism, or convince me that he is co-operating with the mayor in correcting the evils of which the Citizens and taxpayers have rightfully complained."
|Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933|
TO CURB CAMDEN VANDALS SUGGESTED TO CITY
Formation of a "Citizens Committee" to curb vandalism and the development of a "Juvenile Patrol" to encourage young boys to co-operate with police, were suggested last night at a conference in the office of Police Captain Arthur Colsey.
The committee, it is proposed, would, comprise special officers with authority to make arrests in the absence of patrolmen. The idea will be presented to Mayor Roy R. Stewart today by Captain Colsey. The latter has instructed Sergeant Richard Middleton to visit the various city playgrounds and organize groups of children into juvenile patrols.
Mrs. Stephen Pfeil, of the North Camden Civic Association, proposed the citizens' committee. She heads a group of the uptown association, including Miss Elsie A. Stein and William Couglin, which recently made a survey in Camden and estimated that more than $500,000 dam age has been caused by vandals. Others who attended the conference included Mrs. Grace Riggins, superintendent of the Camden Juvenile Detention Home; J. Louis Kollin, an attorney, and Joseph Munger, also of the North Camden Civic Association.
Mrs. Riggins suggested the civic, group send speakers to schools to address students on good citizenship and to point out "the absolute unfairness of damaging property." She advised the message also be imparted to parent-teacher associations.
The conference will result in regular meetings of the civic leaders and police, Mrs. Pfeil said.
Evening Courier - September 3, 1934
William T. Feitz - Sycamore Street - Joseph Leonhardt - Stanley Wirtz - Arthur Colsey - George Ward
Samuel P. Orlando - Gustav Koerner - Emma Heisler - Cornelius Murphy - Thomas Bonelli
Edward Grapatin - Joseph McKenna - Catherine Loughead - Edith Miller - Edna Butler
Joseph "Joey" Powell - Stanley Powell - Thomas Cheeseman - Frank T. Lloyd
| Arthur Holl
Vernon Jones - Cecelia Spencer -
Roy R. Stewart - Frank Adams - Joseph
Henry Gorba - Edward McKenna - Rox Saponare - Edward B. Rogers
Evening Courier - September 3, 1934
ABOVE LEFT: Police Chief Arthur Colsey and detectives leaving the house at 242 Sycamore Street, where Detective William T. Fietz was slain. The place, police said, was operated as a disorderly house by Mrs. Emma Heisler, 38, who is under arrest as a material witness. INSET: Detective William T. Feitz
Evening Courier - September 10, 1934
officials at the funeral service of Detective William
Click on Image to Enlarge
| Arthur Colsey
William T. Feitz - Frank T. Lloyd -
Samuel P. Orlando - Emma Heisler
George Ward - Michael Tenerelli aka Mickey Blair - Edward V. Martino - John Garrity
Walter S. Mattison - Edward Leonard - Richard Cornog - George Weber - Joseph Leonhardt
Leon Branch - Thomas Cheeseman - Frank Wilmot - John Houston - Vernon Jones
Evening Courier - September 11, 1934
| Arthur Colsey
William T. Feitz - Frank T. Lloyd -
Samuel P. Orlando - Emma Heisler
George Ward - Michael Tenerelli aka Mickey Blair - John Garrity - J. Harry Switzer
Walter S. Mattison - Edward Leonard - Richard Cornog - George Weber - Joseph Leonhardt
Leon Branch - Thomas Cheeseman - Frank Wilmot - John Houston - Vernon Jones
John Potter - Walter Welch - Herbert Anderson
BANDITS TO BE QUIZZED IN CHESTER ON FEITZ MURDER
Seven men and women held by Camden as police as material witnesses in the murder of Detective William T. Feitz two weeks ago in an alleged South Camden disorderly house will look over two men arrested in Chester PA after a store holdup here.
This was announced today by County Detective Lawrence T. Doran, who is directing the investigation for Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando.
At the same time, Chief Doran disclosed that after a conference with Police Chief Arthur Colsey, orders were issued that every person arrested in Camden, whether the charge is trivial or serious, will be placed in a police "lineup" and the material witnesses will face them to see if any of Feitz's killers are among them.
Chief Doran was not sure whether the Camden County authorities would be able to bring the two robbery suspects to Camden because they are also wanted in Pennsylvania for almost a score of other holdups and burglaries.
Will Visit Chester
In the event that Chester authorities will not turn the two men over to Camden detectives, the witnesses will go to Chester to examine them, Chief Doran said.
Those held in Chester in connection with the holdup Wednesday night of the candy store of Michael Guzik at 1301 Sheridan Street identified themselves as Peter Muraska, 10, of 342 McDowell Street, and Ray Tuttle, 30, of 2529 West Ninth Street, both of Chester.
While neither Chief Doran nor Chief Colsey believe Muraska or Tuttle may be implicated in the murder of the detective because they are not known to be killers, both declared the suspects will be questioned as to their whereabouts at the time Feitz was shot to death.
"We are letting nothing slip through our fingers at this stage of the investigation" Chief Doran said. "There is a bare possibility that either of these two suspects may be implicated or have some knowledge that would be useful to us in solving this crime".
While negotiations were under way between Camden County authorities and Chester police to bring the suspects here, Chief Colsey was making inquiry into the actions of Patrolman William Brickner during the holdup.
Questioned by Colsey
Brickner was summoned to Chief Colsey's office at City Hall today to explain why he had rushed from his home at 1263 Chase Street to the scene of the holdup when told by neighbors that it was taking place and then gave his gun to his son Elmer so he could watch the place so he the policeman could telephone police headquarters for help.
According to Guzik, the proprietor of the store, the bandits were in his store 30 minutes. They locked the doors behind them and gagged Guzik and guarded his wife, Blanche, and her sister, Mary Pitura, 18.
The bandits broke open a trunk from which they took $100 in pennies, $30 in scrip, and $4 in silver. Guzik said the pennies represented his profit in a penny vending machine over a period of time.
It was while Guzik was left alone that he shouted from one of his windows and neighbors called Brickner who was at home and off duty. His son Elmer, fired one shot at the fleeing car before the patrolman came back from telephoning for help.
Several numbers of the license plates on the bandits car were covered with tape but one of the youngsters in the neighborhood succeeded in pushing aside the tape and getting the complete number which was turned over to police. Yesterday Detective Lieutenant Ward, accompanied by Detective Sergeant Gus Koerner and Detective Joseph Carpani went to Chester and made the arrests.
The car, which carried Pennsylvania tags, was listed in the name of Archie Hendrickson of Morton Avenue, Chester, police said.
Camden Courier-Post * September 14, 1934
Blair - William
Roy R. Stewart - Emma Heisler
George Ward - Arthur Colsey
Edward V. Martino - Samuel P. Orlando
Fred Klosterman - J. Harry Switzer
Joseph Klosterman - George Clayton
John Geronio - Crawford Smith
Cooper Street - Carman Street
Mollie Schwartz - Rosedale Avenue
John Potter - Howard B. Dyer
Glenn Brown - Mt. Vernon Street
Camden Courier-Post * September 15, 1934
Blair - William
T. Feitz - Roy
R. Stewart - Frank
T. Lloyd - George
Ward - Arthur
Edward V. Martino - Samuel P. Orlando - Fred Klosterman - Joseph Klosterman - J. Harry Switzer
Lawrence T. Doran - George Frost - Benjamin Simon - Vernon Jones - Stanley Wirtz
Nathan U. Katz - Kaighn Avenue - George Clayton - John Geronio - Crawford Smith
Cooper Street - Carman Street
Camden Courier-Post * October 12, 1934
T. Lloyd - William
Emma Heisler - Roy R. Stewart
Glenn Brown - Michael Tocco
Thomas Cheeseman - Vernon Jones
George Weber - Frank Wilmot
Howard Fisher - Joseph Leonhardt
Frank F. Neutze - Arthur Colsey
Lawrence T. Doran - Samuel P. Orlando
Rand Street - Baring Street
Division Street - South 6th Street
Kaighn Avenue - Princess Avenue
|George Weber - Frank Wilmot - Howard Fisher - Joseph Leonhardt|
Martz - Erie
Street - Albert Young - North
2nd Street - Andrew Pointkowski - South
Crawford Smith - Carman Street - Charles Simonin - Fairview Street - John Studinger - Federal Street Samuel Ford - John Geronio - Cooper Street - James Davis - Mt. Vernon Street - Oscar Conway
Mitchell Street - Mary Angelo - Pine Street - Thomas Kirk - Carpenter Street - Samuel Karon
Mt. Ephraim Avenue - Walter Hart - Thurman Street - Frank Kulczynski - Orchard Street
Clarence Arthur - Clifford Del Rossi - Benjamin Simon - Leon Branch - Walter Smith - Howard M. Smith
Michael Tenerelli aka Mickey Blair - Anna Smallwood - Fred Klosterman - Joseph Klosterman
Lillian Vincent - Frank Tyson - Edmund Powell - William Kinsler - John Feitz - Walter Taylor - Joseph Rea
Harry Smith - John Lockwood - Edward Troutman - Thomas Moreland
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - AUGUST 3, 1935|
FORCE POLITICS BANNED
COMMISSIONER KOBUS DECLARES
“I want 100% efficient police department and not a political machine.”
Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, new director of public safety, made that declaration yesterday afternoon at a joint police-press conference in her office at city hall before she was served with a writ restraining her from taking that office.
Commissioner Kobus was the kindly mother talking to her “boys” for the most of the conference- but at times she became the stern parent- with the birchrod in the cupboard- as she instructed the police heads to “divorce themselves from politics.”
“For many years I have nursed in my heart a desire to see Camden with a 100% efficient police department”, the commissioner said. “Now that time is at hand.”
“I have known all of you men for many years,” she told the assembled commanders, “and I don’t care what your respective political affiliations might be. You have a right to you opinions, but I want the police department to divorce itself from politics.
“You must know what is going on in your city and you must let me know. I
must have 100 percent cooperation if I am to succeed in this new
“If you have any complaints, don’t go around and growl, undermining the department. Lay your cards on the table, I guarantee you a fair deal.
“Chief Colsey is head of the police department and not in name only. You others in the rank you occupy are also commanders in fact and not in name. It is up to you.”
The commissioner urged a closer co-operation between police and the press and concluded by saying she wanted her “family” to be honest-to-goodness policemen “because there is no room in the department for those who are not.”
Attending the conference was Chief Arthur Colsey, Lieutenant Herbert Anderson, chief clerk of the bureau; Lieutenants George Frost, Ralph Bakley, Walter Welch, Samuel E. Johnson and George Ward.
Camden Courier-Post - August 5, 1935
JURY CLEARS NUMBER SUSPECTS
men alleged by city and county authorities to have succeeded the
Klosterman brother sin controlling the Camden numbers racket last Spring,
were exonerated by the Camden county grand jury.
whose cases were “no billed” are Chester “Gassy”
Szalinski, 30, of
Street, and Joseph Putek, 29, of 2955 Tuckahoe Road.
the same time, the grand jury in its report to the County Clerk Charles S.
Wise, failed to find an indictment against Robert Bloodworth, another
suspect arrested in connection with the operation of lotteries in Camden.
the trial of the Klosterman
brothers, Fred and Joe, both of whom were convicted last spring of
number charges, Szalinski was named by Police Chief Arthur
Colsey as the “Sixty-ninth Street mobster who had taken over the Klosterman
numbers play.” Every policeman in Camden was ordered to arrest Szalinski
suspected numbers operator was arrested and later released in $1500 bail
to await the action of the grand jury.
was arrested last April after police had engaged in a sensational chase of
15 blocks after a suspected numbers pickup automobile at which they fired
a number of shots, pone of which struck a bystander.
allege Putek joined Szalinski in control of the Klosterman
numbers game. Arrests of both men climaxed orders to county police
authorities by Supreme Court Justice Frank
T. Lloyd and Prosecutor Samuel
P. Orlando to clean up the number racket in this area.
bills” were returned by the grand jury for Harry Hartman and John Burke
charged with attempts and breaking and entry; J.G. Flynn, accused of being
a fugitive from justice from Philadelphia; Ralph Latshaw, Anna Green, and
Theodore Jones, statutory charges.
Hartman and Burke were held for the grand jury last month on charges they attempted to enter the saloon of Mrs. Mamie Piraine, Republican county committeewoman from the Eighth Ward, at 1944 Broadway.
Camden Courier-Post * January 22, 1935
T. Lloyd - Isaac
W. Eason - Patrick
H. Harding - Frank
F. Neutze - Samuel
COURT TO FINE DRIVERS DISREGARDING 'TICKETS'
Police will issue summonses for all traffic violators who fail to report to the traffic bureau after receiving a "ticket" from policemen and they will be fined in police court, Police Chief Arthur Colsey announced yesterday.
Chief Colsey said about 100 tags had been unaccounted for in the recent drive to end all-day parking.
He said the license numbers of those motorists who failed to appear, which is taken by the policeman, will be checked at the motor vehicle department at Trenton and a court summons issued for each offender.
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - AUGUST 31, 1935|
GETS WARD'S JOB AS KOBUS ORDERS COP SHAKEUP
SHAW MADE ASSISTANT IN PLACE OF KOERNER
a shakeup of Camden police officials yesterday afternoon Lieutenant Samuel
E. Johnson was named acting chief of detectives by Commissioner Mary W. Kobus,
director of public safety.
A. Ward, who has been in charge
of the detective bureau for a year, was transferred to take Johnson's
place in charge of headquarters.
Detective Louis Shaw was made assistant to Johnson, replacing Detective Sergeant Gus Koerner. Koerner was transferred to the Second District, for radio car and street duty. The new order became effective at 4:00 PM yesterday
announced the changes in the bureau
after a two-hour conference with Commissioner Kobus
Di Nicuolo, who has been an acting detective, was transferred to the First
Police District, with former Acting Detective Clifford
Del Rossi returning to his old post in the detective bureau.
the only other transfer announced, Sergeant Harry
Newton was switched from the First Police District to the Third, with
Sergeant Edward Carroll going
from the Third to the First.
no other changes were made public, it is believed yesterday’s are a
forerunner of numerous shifts to be made today or early next week.’
“These changes are being made for the good of the service,” Commissioner Kobus declared. “There will be other transfers of officers and men so that all the police may familiarize themselves with all the branches of the department.”
Lieutenant Johnson was a appointed a policeman on January 1, 1910. After 10 years as a patrolman, he was promoted to a detective, where he made a splendid record. On November 28, 1928 he was made a sergeant, and again promoted on April 8, 1930, when he became a lieutenant.
Ward was appointed a policeman on August 2, 1917, promoted to detective January 1, 1927, sergeant November 14, 1928 and lieutenant on January 24, 1930.
Johnson was a detective sergeant when former Police Chief John W. Golden was head of that bureau, but later was transferred to police headquarters.
Ward has been in and out of the detective bureau several times. He served for a time as the commander of the First District and later was ion charge of the police headquarters on the 12:00 midnight to 8:00 AM shift. He was a political lieutenant of former Public Safety Director David S. Rhone.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 17, 1936|
5 Bitten by
Mad Dog in North Camden Treated for Rabies
The dog which ran amok and bit five persons in North Camden Saturday night was suffering from rabies.
was announced yesterday by Dr. David B. Helm,
Jr., city sanitary
inspector, after receipt of a telegram from the state board of health In
Trenton. Examination of the head of the dog revealed the animal had
five victims of the dog who received Pasteur treatment at Cooper Hospital
pending examination of the dog, will continue to be treated, Doctor Helm
victims were: William Wagner, 65, of 1554 Forty-eighth Street, Pennsauken
At the same time Doctor Helm announced he and Police Chief Arthur Colsey were co-operating to capture and destroy all unlicensed and stray dogs and cats found on city streets.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 19, 1936|
TO SCREENS IN SALOONS SOUGHT
of a chapter of a city ordinance
which provides that the interior of Camden saloons shall be open to public
view from the street will be sought by John L. Morrissey, chairman of the
Municipal Board of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
said he will discuss the subject with the two other members of the excise
board, after which he will take up the subject with the City
first non-partisan city commission, in 1924, during prohibition, adopted
an ordinance requiring the public exposure of the saloon interior,
Morrissey pointed out.
was so that the public could look in and see whether alcoholic beverages
were being sold," said Morrissey, "and in those days no saloon
licenses were issued. They were known as soft drink licenses.
the repeal of prohibition, and with the regulations under which the
saloons now are being operated, it seems to me that the chapter of the
ordinance requiring that curtains be drawn on windows and doors so as to
expose the interior defeats its own purpose.
it places the patrons of the saloons on public view.
frequently one can see children looking in through the curtain openings;
you would think it was the nickel movies."
under orders of Police Chief Arthur
Colsey, police of the city have been
visiting saloons, advising them to so arrange curtains that a clear view
may be had from outside.
The provision is chapter No. 8 of the alcoholic beverage ordinance adopted by the city commissioners on December 27, 1924.
|Camden Courier-Post - February 21, 1936|
Fingerprint Record Of City Jail 'Guests' Ordered by Colsey
All lodgers spending nights in the city jail will be fingerprinted in the future, Police Chief Arthur Colsey announced last night. He explained that this order has been issued to expedite the identification of lodgers in case something happens. A few nights ago a Gloucester man was found dead in the jail and the police were several hours establishing his identity.
Between 20 and 40 men seek shelter these cold nights in the jail, Colsey said. Detective Sergeant Rox Saponare, fingerprint expert, began recording their prints last night.
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - FEBRUARY 26, 1936|
ILLNESS CAUSES SHIFTS FOR POLICE OFFICIALS
Temporary changes in the police department to offset the absence of Lieutenant George Frost, head of the First District, who is ill, and Lieutenant George Ward, of headquarters, who is away on police business, were announced yesterday by Chief Arthur Colsey.
John Potter, of the Third District, is made acting lieutenant and placed
in charge of the First. Patrolman Louis Schmidt, of the Third, replaces
Potter as acting sergeant.
of the Fourth District, replaces Ward
at headquarters, with Sgt. John Skolski acting as lieutenant in charge of
Gustav Koerner, of the
Second District, who has been working in plain clothes, Is to report in uniform.
Patrolman John Kowal, of the Second District, is shifted to the First district, with Patrolman William Schultz going from the First district to the Second district.
Camden Courier-Post - March 17, 1936
POWELL REARRESTED AS COUNTY
"Joey" Powell, former boxer who was arrested by city police in
connection with a South Camden holdup and subsequently released, was
rearrested by county detectives last night.
was taken into custody on orders of Prosecutor Samuel
who also ordered the arrest of a second suspect.
Camden police turned the case over to the prosecutor's
office after the arraignment of Walter Lewandowski, who was caught in
a police trap Friday night as he allegedly attempted to steal a $800
at the Eavenson
& Levering Company's
plant at Fourth Street and Ferry
He formerly was
Two Others Implicated
Lewandowski implicated Powell, 25,
46 Woodland Avenue, and Leonard Rogalski, 20, of 1219 South Tenth
Street, in a plot to steal the payroll, according to Police Chief Arthur
Powell thereupon was taken into custody and questioned,
then, according to Colsey, he was released temporarily, in his own recognizance,
pending further investigation. Rogalski was not arrested until County
Detectives James Wren and Casimir
Wojtkowiak took him in last night. The same detectives arrested
Powell. Both suspects were charged with attempted holdup and robbery
and committed to the county jail.
Lewandoski,24, of 924 Atlantic
Avenue, also in county jail, committed without bail by Police Judge Lewis
According to Chief Colsey, Lewandowski made a statement in
which he accused Powell of plotting the holdup and making him the “goat”.
"The holdup was Powell's idea” Colsey quoted Lewandowski as saying. "He got me in on
it, and Rogalski was supposed to take part, too. Rogalski got “cold
feet” though, and Powell sent me in while he was supposed to watch
"Instead he beat it because he
had tipped off the police that the place was going to be held
Released After Quiz
On the strength of Lewandowski's statement, patrolman Edward Suski was sent to arrest Powell. After questioning, however, the former pugilist was released.
"We found no evidence against Powell," Colsey explained. "Lewandowski's story
looked like an attempt to get himself off easier.
"We turned the case over to the
prosecutor's office, as we always do after making an arrest that seems
to clear up the case."
Lewandowski was captured by Sergeant Gus
Koerner and City Detective Clifford
Carr. The detectives were tipped off that the factory office
was to be held up and laid in wait
for the man.
When Lewandowski showed up, Carr and Koerner pointed revolvers at him. He fled down a stairway and Carr fell on him. The two grappled and the detective says the man pointed a .32 caliber pistol at him. Carr overpowered him with blow on the head with the butt of his revolver.
Camden Courier-Post - March 18, 1936
ORDERED TO FACE INQUIRY BY MRS. KOBUS
Detective Stanley Wirtz, suspended by Police Chief Arthur Colsey yesterday pending investigation into charges that he supplied the guns and an automobile for a holdup, has been ordered to appear today before Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, director of public safety.
Wirtz, who has been in charge of the city accident bureau, will be asked to "give his side of the story," Commissioner Kobus said.
Detective Chief Lawrence
yesterday charged that
had supplied the guns and automobile to be used in the holdup and then
inside the plant to capture the bandits.
Wirtz, Doran said, admitted the charges in a statement given in the office of Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando.
No motive for the detective's action were revealed by Doran.
said later he had conferred with Commissioner Kobus
in regard to the case.
"I advised the commissioner," Justice Lloyd said, "to go cautiously with the investigation and gather the facts before taking any action. It is a common thing for officers to lay traps for men who are prone to commit crime, although they have no business to encourage crime. I think it is bad policy to suspend any policeman before the facts of the case have been heard."
Wirtz came after an
investigation was ordered into a statement made by Walter Lewandowski, 24 of
924 Atlantic Avenue, who was
captured when he attempted to hold up a clerk at the wool scouring
company, Ferry Avenue and
Jackson Street. Lewandoski claimed he had “been framed" and named Joseph
Powell, a police stoo1 pigeon, as the one who planned the holdup
and then informed
has been a police informer for
some time, according to Chief Colsey.
The latter said he had taken Powell
into custody for questioning and had released
him in his own recognizance. Chief Colsey
had given police the tip resulting in Lewandowski’s
Lewandowski was nabbed, his gun was loaded with blank cartridges. This
gun, according to Chief Doran,
Wirtz to Powell, who in
turn gave it to Lewandowski. Another youth, Leonard Rogalski, 20, of
1219 South Tenth Street, was
supposed to take part in the ho1dup, but "got cold feet and ran
away” police were told by Lewandoski.
"Stanley Wirtz, Camden city detective, supplied the gun and the automobile used in the attempted holdup of the Eavenson & Levering Company payroll office Friday night. Statements were given us by three suspects all tally.
Lewandoski worked at the Eavenson
plant, but was laid off there February 28. On March 3 he had money
coming to him and he returned to the plant. Joseph Powell
accompanied him. Powell talked to Lewandoski then of the payroll, and
suggested the holdup. Powell then got in touch with Stanley
Wirtz, and told him that Lewandoski was going to stick up the
payroll March 4.
on that night loaned Powell
a car but someone got cold feet, and the
holdup was not attempted. The following week, on March 13, last Friday, Wirtz
took a car to Powell’s home and there turned over to him two guns and
the automobile. Wirtz
then had detectives posted at the scene to arrest the
bandits when they made the holdup attempt.
met Lewandowski and Rogalski and drove them to the plant. There Powell
turned over to his two companions the two guns that had been given him
Rogalski got cold feet and refused to go through with the holdup. Powell
then went into the plant with Lewandowski. After Lewandowski went in the
ran from the building.
and Detective Clifford
hiding in the office arrested Lewandowski. Powell
knew where these
officers were hiding.
was outside the building. He did not catch
said that no one implicates Koerner
in any way in the statements received.
was doing police work. I was brought into this case on a tip that a
holdup was going to be staged and I had no knowledge of the guns or the car. I didn't know what it was all about
but merely was there to perform my duties as a policeman.
is 37 and lives at 1197 Thurman Street. He was one of the first of the
new policemen to be appointed to the department in 1924 after Civil
Service was put into effect following the adoption of Commission
government in 1924. He is a veteran of the World War and got a special rating
for that reason when he took the Civil Service examination. In 1931 Wirtz was appointed as an accident investigator in the detective bureau and has served in that capacity ever
since. He has a good reputation as a policeman and has never been in
four years ago
figured in an automobile accident that caused serious injury to one of
was not arrested until County Detectives James Wren and Casimir
Wojtkowiak took him in Monday night. The same detectives arrested
Powell. Both suspects were charged with attempted holdup and robbery and
committed to the county jail.
Lewandowski also is in county jail, committed without bail by police Judge Lewis Liberman Saturday.
Camden Courier-Post - March 19, 1936
TO HEAR FATE IN BANDIT QUIZ TODAY
Decision on any action to be taken
Wirtz, suspended Camden detective charged
with having furnished the guns and automobile for a holdup, will be made
today by Commissioner Mary W. Kobus and Police Chief Arthur
Wirtz, with Sergeant Gus
and Detective Clifford
Carr, was questioned yesterday, and
decision was reserved.
P. Orlando, however, said he would place the
case before the grand jury.
The charge involved the attempted holdup of the Eavenson & Levering Company payroll, in which one of the alleged bandits was captured at the scene last Friday night.
"No charges have been preferred against Wirtz,” Mrs. Kobus announced after the investigation.
"And I don't believe any charges will be made," Colsey commented, adding:
Wirtz was suspended Tuesday after County Detective Chief Lawrence T. Doran announced Wirtz had admitted supplying the pistols and car, allegedly used in the abortive attempt to obtain a $800 payroll at the wool-scouring plant.
Wirtz was still under suspension last night, Colsey announced.
William B. Macdonald, court stenographer, recorded the statements made by each man,
Koerner and Carr were "planted" in the office of the company before the holdup and frustrated the attempted crime, capturing Walter Lewandowski, 24, of 924 Atlantic Avenue.
"All three made full statements
to us;" Colsey said and then declined to reveal
what the statements contained.
Denies Stories Clash
Asked if there was any conflict
between the statements made to Doran and those made to Mrs. Kobus and him, Colsey said:
''No, I wouldn't say so."
Wirtz appeared briefly before the
commissioner and chief at the start of
probe, which was conducted in Mrs. Kobus'
office. He left the room after about two minutes and told reporters,
"I refused to make a statement. I made one yesterday and that is
Mrs. Kobus, however, said Wirtz did not refuse to make a statement but, instead,
asked for a little time to consider his statement.
"He said he had been In court all day and was nervous,” Mrs. Kobus said.
Asked for a statement at the
conclusion of the investigation, Mrs. Kobus said:
"No charges have been preferred
against Wirtz. This was not a hearing on any
charge. This was an investigation of reports which I read in the
newspapers. It is the duty of the police officials to investigate any
such report, and Wirtz and the other two detectives who
figured in the case were called in to make statements. 'This was not, a
trial and I do not care to make a statement now about what went
The suspension of Wirtz
came after an investigation was ordered into a statement made by
Lewandowski charged that he had been
Powell, a police stool pigeon. He named
as the one who "planned the holdup and, said Powell
of the plans.
Doran said Wirtz, admitted dealing with Powell and giving Powell two
pistols and an automobile for use in the holdup. As a result Powell,
who had been arrested and released by city police, was rearrested by the
In addition, Leonard “Rags” Rogalski, 20, of 1219 South 10th Street, was arrested by the county detectives. They said Lewandowski told them Rogalski originally was intended to take part in the holdup but got "cold feet", and backed out at the last moment.
Powell, Lewandowski and Rogalski are
held in the county jail.
When informed last night of the
statements made by Mrs. Kobus and Colsey, Prosecutor Orlando said:
"I have nothing to do with the discipline of the police department. I will present the full facts of this holdup to the grand jury and, that body may take any action it desires."
Jury to Get Case
Asked if he would request an
indictment against Wirtz, Orlando said:
"I will give the grand jury the full facts. The members
will decide for themselves what action to follow."
Doran was in conference briefly with Mrs. Kobus and Colsey before the three detectives were questioned. He said he gave them statements made by Lewandowski, Powell and Rogalski, and also by Wirtz.
Later Doran returned to Mrs. Kobus' office with a copy of charge of carrying concealed deadly weapons, preferred in 1930 against Lewandowski in 1930, when Lewandowski was 18.
This charge was no-billed, Doran said.
"He was listed as a mental case,"
said, "and was examined by the county physician and pronounced O.K."
Camden Courier-Post - August 28, 1936
‘Secret Six’ Rout Gamblers, Numbers Writers
now has its own “Secret Six”, a strong-arm squad working out of Chief
Colsey’s office that has already jammed down the lid on the numbers
racket and gambling in this city.
squad has been ordered to sweep the gamblers and writers out of the
picture and have been told that nobody is powerful enough to “put in a
fix” to protect a single one of the underworld nabobs.
Colsey made three revelations while insisting that Camden was a spotless
city, with not a known numbers baron operating, and no big-shot gambler
running a game.
police department head outlined how this secret detail had been working
for weeks. The gamblers recognized the official weight of their presence
by shutting up shop and taking to the tall timbers, Colsey said.
squad is secret”, said the Chief, “and has been working out of my
office for several weeks. Nobody except my self knows the names of the
squad and whether I take them from the plain clothes department or the
work separately and secretly, too, and every day the list is changed, so
that the gamblers and numbers writers won’t be able to spot the squad.
They work in zones, too, patrolling districts which have been known in the
past to be the haunts of gamblers and the districts where numbers writers
worked the most.
want to say that so far as gambling conditions in Camden are concerned, I
know the city is clean. I mean especially in regard to numbers and horse
we’re going to keep it that way, too. I get daily reports ion conditions
from my own secret squad. This detail will work without fear or favor.
will be no “fix” for anybody, high or low, and persons who are running
a numbers racket or a gambling game will be arrested as fast as we
discover that fact.
“There isn’t anybody who will have pull enough to stop our drive, either.
|Camden Courier-Post - August 30, 1936|
STORE RAIDED BY ‘SECRET 6’ SQUAD
Raiders of the “Secret 6” of the Camden police department yesterday arrested Oscar Bendler, 40, as the alleged proprietor of a cigar store at 217 Market Street, where they reported hey seized horse racing sheets, three phones and $114.
Bendler, who gave his address as 310 Erie Street, is charged with violating the city ordinance prohibiting gambling and is held in $500 bail for a police court hearing today.
The raid on Bendler’s place was made after the police squad had searched five other small shops and found only legitimate business being conducted,
Two of the shops were located on the Market Street ferry walk, two on Market Street between Second and Third Street and on Federal Street between Second and Third Street.
of establishments were it is suspected the gambling gentry may flourish
was ordered by Police Chief Arthur
Colsey. The picked
squad of men who operated as members of Colsey's
”Secret Six” yesterday were Detective Sergeant Clifford
Del Rossi, Sergeant Walter Rowand, Detectives Benjamin
Simon and Joseph Mardino.
Benevolent Association Baseball Team
Public Service Park - Federal Street & Newton Avenue - 1930s
Chief Colsey is seated, wearing police uniform, at right
PLEASE e-mail Phil Cohen if you can identify anyone in this picture
|Click Here to Supersize Picture - Click on Image to Enlarge|
Camden Courier-Post * March 13, 1937
|John S. McTaggart -
Frank B. Hanna -
Arthur Colsey -
Edward Carroll - William D. Sayrs - John Garrity - Katherine Cunningham - Eagles Hall
Camden Courier-Post * March 17, 1937
|John S. McTaggart - Arthur F. Foran - George E. Brunner - James V. Moran -
Gene R. Mariano
Arthur Colsey - Ralph Bakley - Edward V. Martino - Harold W. Bennett - Horace R. Dixon
Mary Kobus - Edward Carroll - William D. Sayrs - John Garrity - Kathryn Cunningham - Harold Hoffman
Church of the Sacred Heart
John S. McTaggart
John S. McTaggart
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - JANUARY 8, 1938|
|Mary Kobus - Arthur Colsey - Ralph Bakley - Herbert Bott - Louis Shaw - John Skolsky - George Frost Walter Welch - Nathan Pettit - Frank Evans - Gus Koerner - Edward Hahn - Harry Newton|
|CAMDEN COURIER-POST - JANUARY 12, 1938|
ORDERS CITY DRIVE ON NUMBERS RING
ISSUES DECREE FOR POLICE TO TIGHTEN UP ON GAMING RACKET
FBI Agents Join Probe Here of $50,000 Bank
PHILA. LEADERS HELD LOTTERY CZARS HERE
|Camden Courier-Post * February 1, 1938|
|Camden Courier-Post - February 2, 1938|
Hall Owners' Told Gaming Will Cost Permits
Operators of pool and billiard-halls were warned yesterday by Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, director of public safety, that permanent revocation of licenses will be the penalty if gambling is permitted on the premises.
Commissioner Kobus said she has been investigating reports that some poolroom licensees have been operating card games for large and small stakes in backrooms of their places.
The investigation, the commissioner said, failed to disclose any large gambling enterprises but a few friendly card games for small stakes were revealed.
"1 will issue an order to Chief Arthur Colsey and all district lieutenants and sergeants that a closer watch be kept on these so-called poolrooms," Mrs. Kobus said.
"In days past the average neighborhood room was only a blind for professional card games where the participants played for large stakes.
"Such licensed poolroom operators are amenable to the law, and if they are caught they will be charged as principals and their licenses will be permanently revoked. I will not accept the excuse of any proprietor that he doesn't know there is gambling in his place."
The Commissioner said she believes the majority of persons holding pool room licenses are law-abiding and that pool and billiards are played for recreation.
It was disclosed by Mrs. Kobus that a former operator of a down town poolroom, whose place was raided as a gambling resort, has been exerting political pressure to obtain a renewal of his license. Mrs. Kobus would not disclose the identity of the man mentioned by her.
"Any Camden citizen who wants a license to operate a poolroom where pool and billiards are to be played does not need to get the help of a politician or a lawyer," Mrs. Kobus added. "I am not running the department of public safety to satisfy the whims of any politicians or lawyers.
No Lawyer Needed
"Any respectable citizen can have a license. He doesn't have to pay a lawyer to help him get it, and neither does he have to depend on any politician.
"The applicant who attempts to support his application either with a lawyer or a politician will find him self behind the eight ball."
Commissioner Kobus said each applicant for such a license will be examined as to his fitness to operate such a place. Those who have any criminal record will be denied such permit, she said.
"It might be a good thing if certain forms of gambling were legalized and revenue obtained for municipalities, the State or by the government," Mrs. Kobus stated. "But so long as the law specifically states that gambling is Illegal I intend to enforce the laws. I personally am opposed to all forms of organized or commercialized gambling.
|Camden Courier-Post * February 9, 1938|
|Camden Courier-Post - February 18, 1938|
|Uncle Sam and Camden Clash After Arrest of Mail Driver
P. O. Official and Chief Colsey Will Confer On Incident; Police Warned of Federal Law Infraction Carries Fine and Jail Term
Uncle Sam had a new diplomatic worry yesterday but like other difficulties of state hoped to settle it today around the conference table.
What to do when a Camden cup violates Paragraph 2357 of the Postal laws, which states, in part, that no one, not even a Camden cop, shall stop a mail truck or driver in pursuit of his duty on pain of a $100 fine, six months in jail, or both.
It all, started when Patrolman Karl Friederichs; in plain clothes and his own automobile, arrested Postal Driver J. Edward Jacques, 805 Elm Street; on disorderly conduct and reckless driving, charges after Jacques, in his mail truck tried to pass Fredericks' car un' the right.
According to Friederichs, Jacques became abusive when he remonstrated and so he locked him up for a hearing today, Jacques, meanwhile, being released in his own recognizance.
When Superintendent, Smith heard about the arrest he got in touch with Chief Colsey in nothing flat. Jacques' story" he said, differed considerably from Fredericks, but even so, made, no difference.
Smith pointed out that Jacques was attempting the "swift completion of his appointed rounds", in that he was delivering suburban mail to the central office to meet a delivery schedule and as a result of Fredericks' interference the mails were delayed more than one-half hour.
Smith and Colsey decided that the best way out would be to have a conference in the chief's office with Jacques and Friederichs present, to determine whether Smith should proceed under Paragraph 2357.
Jacques insisted that the only reason he tried to pass Fredericks on the right was because Friederichs stopped his car to talk to another man and wouldn’t move despite all of Jacques’ horn blowing.
February 19, 1938
Roye - Loyal D. Odhner
Camden Courier-Post * February 22, 1938
COP'S GUEST BEATEN; COLSEY PROBES ROW
Police Chief Arthur Colsey yesterday detailed three detectives to investigate a street row early Sunday at Fourth and Mechanic streets in which a Fairview youth and a Camden policeman were involved.
The youth, Walter Callahan, 21, of 1375 Roanoke Road, is confined to Cooper Hospital with a slight brain concussion and head cuts he said he received when "blackjacked" by Policeman Earl Cunningham, of 448 Mechanic street.
Chief Colsey removed Cunningham from duty yesterday afternoon pending completion of the probe.
The investigation ordered by Colsey followed after Walter Callahan Sr., father of the youth, retained an attorney for the purpose, he said, "of getting at the bottom of this." Chief Colsey said that young Callahan had refused to talk to detectives at the hospital.
The elder Callahan, a Gloucester druggist, said he had learned that his son was "more or less of an innocent bystander" in a row that started in the Cunningham home and that he received a "severe beating" from Cunningham and the latter's son, "Bud."
"My son went to a party at the Cunningham home," Callahan said, "and there, I am told, a row started between young Cunningham and a girl. My son objected to a remark passed to the girl and then Cunningham and his son jumped on my boy and beat him."
"I have retained Charles A. Cogan, a Camden attorney, and have instructed him to make a thorough investigation preliminary to proceeding with court action."
Prefers Drunk Charge
Detectives Clifford Carr, Donald Switzer and John Opfer were named by Colsey to make an investigation for the police department.
Cunningham, who caused a detainer to be lodged against Callahan on a charge of being drunk and disorderly; told his superiors he was forced to use his blackjack on Callahan when the youth attacked him and tore his shirt and underwear.
According to the policeman, who was off duty at the time, Callahan attended a party in the Cunningham home celebrating the policeman's wedding anniversary. Cunningham said Callahan left the house and became engaged in a noisy argument with two girls outside. He said the youth attacked him when he came out and sought to quiet Callahan.
|Camden Courier-Post * February 23, 1938|
|CITY POLICE TO USE CODE AIR MESSAGES
System Adopted for Radio Cars to Prevent 'Tipoffs' to Lawbreakers
Important messages relayed through W3XAQ, the Camden police radio station, are being broadcast in code beginning yesterday to prevent lawbreakers from· being "tipped off" as to activities of police.
That announcement was made by Police Chief Arthur Colsey, who declared he had, received information to the effect that "at least one" Camden garage has a police receiving set and that several were believed installed in Camden homes.
The police official said it is unlawful to have a radio receiving set of the type used only by police in an automobile, garage or private home and he has ordered a probe to locate the "bootleg" sets. The system used by the Camden police is ultra low frequency and cannot be intercepted by ordinary low wave sets.
The code used by the station is in the hands of all radio car patrolmen, Chief Colsey said, and every policeman is expected to be able to decode messages from police headquarters.
The code is similar to one being used by major police departments throughout the country.
Chief Colsey said 10 two-way radio sets have been installed in Camden police cars, and eight one-way sets. Two of the one-way sets have been placed in city patrol wagons, to enable police headquarters to be in touch with the "wagon" at all times, whether it is parked at its station or "on a run."
The two-way sets enable the radio patrolmen to converse with police headquarters at all times. They have been in operation for three weeks.
Colsey announced that 75 Camden policemen have passed the third class radio operator's test, required by the Federal State Radio Communications Commission, enabling them to operate the two-way system.
Trenton Times * August 9,
Click on Image to Enlarge
|Mary Kobus - George Frost - Ralph Bakley - Walter Welch - George Ward - Arthur Colsey|
RETURN TO CAMDEN'S INTERESTING PEOPLE PAGE
RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE
at the Turn of the Century
|Kidderminster High Street around 1900|
A local tram, well decorated. This was taken in 1902 and so the decorations may have been for the coronation of Edward VII or possibly simply the opening of the tram service.
The picture of the local Kidderminster Borough Police I thought may be of particular interest.... If Arthur had remained in England and joined the Police force, he would undoubtedly have been a "Bobby" like them. Probably would have to have grown a moustache though.
|Click on Image to Enlarge|