CHARLES M. BALDWIN was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department, entering service on December 7, 1869 as as extra man of the Hook and Ladder Company, the original designation of what is now Ladder Company 1. Prior to entering the fire department he had worked as driller for the Camden& Amboy Rail Road. He was living on South 4th Street below Liberty Street when he joined the department in the fall of 1869. 

Charles M. Baldwin was born in New York on March 29, 1842. He married in February of 1866. His wife, Kate, was born and raised in England. A trained nurse, she came to America in 1864. The Baldwins had one child, a son, Clifford E. Baldwin, born in Camden in 1870.

Charles M. Baldwin was active in a fraternal organization known as the Seven Wise Men. Kearney Conclave, No. 1, Heptasophs (or Seven Wise Men), was organized in Test's Hall, October 15, 1869, when George P. Oliver, of Maryland, Supreme Chancellor; Dr. G. Jennings, Supreme Ephor, of Pennsylvania, and others, initiated and installed these members and officers: A., Harry H. Franks; C, S. C. Hankinson; Pro., Charles H. Cook; R. S., Theodore F. Higbee; F. S., Charles M. Baldwin; T., D. W. Neall; I. G., James E. Carter; H., Caleb H. Taylor; W., David B. Sparks; S., Wm. Acton; Wm. Higbee, Wm. Darby, Henry Hollis, Frank Rawlings, Samuel K. Batchelor, Isaiah Morton, John D. Mahoney, Samuel Pine, George Parson, Benjamin F. Richards, George W. Williams, Absalom Dougherty, Henry Rhinehart, Wm. H. McKee, S. R. Hankinson, John Laning, Richard Bozarth, Alexander Simpson, Nathan Jacobs and William Middleton. Edward S. Andrews, who served with the Camden Fire Department in the 1870s, was also a member.

George Reeser Prowell, in his History of Camden County, New Jersey, published in 1886 wrote the follwoing; "The Conclave has paid out for benefits about seven thousand dollars. The membership is ninety-seven, and the meetings are held in Independence Hall. The officers are: A., J. A. Ross ; Pro., John W. Lamb ; Pre., William A. Rudderow ; I. G., J. S. Casto ; H., Frederick Morschauser ; W., Joel H. Stowe ; R. S., Samuel C. Hankinson ; F. S., George E. Boyer ; T., Daniel W. Neall. George E. Boyer, of this Conclave, is now the Supreme Chancellor of the order.

On September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of Department) and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William Abels, from the Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William J. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal for the 2nd District. Abels had served with the volunteer fire departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.

On November 10, 1869 City Council purchased the Independence Firehouse, the three-story brick building at 409 Pine Street, for $4500. The building was designated to serve as quarters for Engine Company 1 and the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth and Arch Streets as quarters for the 2nd District. On November 25th the Fire Commissioners signed a contract with M.N. Dubois in the amount of $3100 to erect this structure. The 2nd District would share these quarters with Engine Company 2 and the Hook & Ladder Company and the facility would also serve as department headquarters for the new paid force. The original contract remains part of the Camden County Historical Society collection. 

Engine Company 2 with 1869 Silsby Hose Cart. Photo Circa 1890. Note badges upon derby hats worn by Fire Fighters.  

Two Amoskeag second class, double pump, straight frame steam engines were purchased at a cost of $4250 each. Two Silsby two wheel hose carts, each of which carried 1000 feet of hose, were another $550 each and the hook & ladder, built by Schanz and Brother of Philadelphia was $900. Each engine company received a steam engine and hose cart. Amoskeag serial #318 went to Engine Company 1, and serial #319 to Engine Company 2. The Fire Commission also secured the services of the Weccacoe and Independence steamers in case of fire prior to delivery of the new apparatus. Alfred McCully of Camden made the harnesses for the horses. Camden's Twoes & Jones made the overcoats for the new firemen and a Mr. Morley, also of Camden, supplied the caps and belts which were manufactured by the Migeod Company of Philadelphia. The new members were also issued badges.

This is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest corner of Fifth and Arch Streets. Originally built in 1869, the building shows signs of wear some twenty years later. Note the weathervane shaped like a fireman's speaking trumpet atop the tower. Also, the fire alarm bell is pictured to the left of the telegraph pole above the rooftop. The bell was removed from the building once the fire alarm telegraph system was expanded and in good working order.  


This maker's plate once was attached to a harness made by A. McCully & Sons, 22 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey. This firm provided the first harnesses for the paid fire department in 1869.  

Badges worn by the marshals, engineers, stokers and engine drivers bore the initial letter of their respective positions and their district number. The tillerman and his driver used the number "3" to accompany their initial letter. The extra men of the 1st District were assigned badges 1-10; 2nd District badges were numbered 11-20 and the extra men of the hook & ladder wore numbers 21-30.

Although the Fire Commission intended to begin operation of the paid department on November 20, 1869, the companies did not actually enter service until December 7th at 6 P.M. because the new apparatus and buildings were not ready. The new apparatus was not tried (tested) until December 9th.

The new members of the paid force were:            

Hook & Ladder Company

Edward J. Dodamead, Tillerman; Frank S. Jones, Driver

Extra Men

Charles Baldwin 

Badge #21

Charles G. Zimmerman 

Badge #22

John Durkin 

Badge #23

William C. Lee 

Badge #24

James M. Lane 

Badge #25

James Cassidy 

Badge #26

Robert S. Bender   

Badge #27

Thomas McCowan   

Badge #28

Howard Lee                             

Badge #29

Abraham Lower             

Badge #30

The first style of breast badge worn by members of the career department in the City of Camden. 1869. (Courtesy of the C.C.H.S. Collection).


The Board of Fire Commissioners consisted of Rudolphus Bingham, Chairman and Samuel C. Harbert, Richard Perks, Jonathon Kirkbride and Jacob Daubman.

Leather helmet of natural grain believed to have been worn by Fireman Charles Baldwin, Hook & Ladder Company 1 when paid force was organized in 1869. Number 21 at bottom of frontpiece indicates member's badge number. (Courtesy of the Camden County Historical Society Collection.)

Annual salaries for the members of the paid force were: Chief Marshal, $800; Assistant Marshal, $200; Engineer, $600; Driver, $450; Stoker, $450; Tillerman, $450; Extra Men, $50. All but Extra Men were paid monthly.

Not long after Charles Baldwin was appointed to the Fire Department as an extra man, he moved to the northwest corner of South 3rd and Mechanic Streets, and opened up a grocery.

On March 7, 1873 it was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer that Charles M. Baldwin had been nominated to run for the office of Constable of the Fifth Ward by the local Democrats. He ran for office again as a Democrat in November of 1873, for the office of Coroner. He was defeated in both elections. He later changed his party affiliation to Republican and was active in local politics in the 1890s and 1900s.

Charles Baldwin served with the Camden Fire Department without interruption until May 7, 1874 when he was one of ten firemen removed from service, six of whom were from the Hook & Ladder Company. The removal may have been for political reasons, as partisan politics played a great role in appointments to the police and fire departments in those days, and Chief of the Fire Department was an elective office.

By 1878 Charles Baldwin and his family had moved to 903 North 3rd Street in North Camden. He worked as an "agent", and for a time as a paperhanger. The 1880 Census shows Charles M. Baldwin, wife Kate, and son Clifford J. Baldwin, then 10 years of age, at 903 North 3rd Street. 

By the mid-1883 the Baldwin family had moved to 524 South 3rd Street. Charles Baldwin was then working as a conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was still in that job in 1885, by which time he had moved his family to 602 Spruce Street. He stayed with the railroad until about 1895. 

During the 1880s Charles M. Baldwin was a member of Gatling Gun Company B of the New Jersey National Guard.

The 1895-1896 City Directory shows that Charles M. Baldwin had gone into the real estate business at 1023 Newton Avenue and had also been elected Justice of the Peace. He was still living at 602 Spruce Street when the 1906 City Directory was compiled, and had an office at 1023 Newton Avenue, where he conducted his business as the Justice of the Peace and alderman in what was then the Sixth Ward.

On March 6, 1907 Kate A. Baldwin passed away. Service were held at 602 Spruce Street, the she was laid to rest at Harleigh Cemetery. 

The 1910 Census shows that Charles M. Baldwin had remarried. He was living with his wife, Margaret and her three daughters, May, Maragaret, and Alice Chamberlin, at 516 Cherry Street. The 1910-1911 Camden City Directory also shows that Charles M. Baldwin had remarried and was living with his wife Margaret at 516 Cherry Street. He was still Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner of Deeds, working out of 1023 Newton Avenue

Charles M. Baldwin passed away on March 12, 1913. The 1914 Camden City Directory states that his widow, Mrs. Margaret Baldwin, was then living at 320 Mickle Street. Clifford E. Baldwin was still living at 602 Spruce Street when he passed on July 2, 1937. Grandson Clifford A. Baldwin Sr. had a long and distinguished career in Camden as a lawyer and served as Camden County Prosecutor in 1930. .

Besides his affiliation with the above-mentioned Seven Wise Men, Charles M. Baldwin was also a member of Camden's Volunteer Fireman's Association, the Legion of the Red Gross, the Knights of the Golden Eagle, the Commercial Club, and the Sixth Ward Republican Club.

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 29, 1873

George Reeser Prowell, 1886

GATLING GUN COMPANY B, of Camden, was organized in 1878 under the now law providing for the organization of two companies of infantry to be drilled in the use of Gatling 
guns. Captain E. D. French was the prime mover in its organization and the first commandant. The membership was recruited principally from old Battery B. The artillery uniform was worn, and in addition to the Gatlings, the company was armed with rifles and sabers. 

John H. Piatt was elected first lieutenant on July 24, 1879, and the first conspicuous public display made by the new company was at Grant's reception in Philadelphia, December IG, 1879. In 1880 the company participated in the State G. A. R. encampment at Bonaparte Park, Bordentown, and took a prominent part in the sham battle with their Gatling guns. Captain French resigned on April 17, 1880, and Mr. Piatt was elected captain and John J. Brown first lieutenant, George G. Randall having been elected second lieutenant on January 18th. Mr. Randall resigned in June, 1881, and Charles Shivers, Jr., was elected to his position October 13th. Two weeks after this the company turned out in the Bicentennial military parade with its Gatlings.

This command is attached to the Second Brigade under General William J. Sewell as the brigade commander. In September, 1883, Lieutenant Brown resigned and on October lst Captain Piatt and Lieutenant Shivers also resigned. Lieutenant-Colonel D. B. Murphy was placed in command until December 28, 1883, when its present efficient commandant, Captain Robert R. Eckendorf, 
was elected. The company was then recruited up to the legal standard. Gatling Gun Company B occupies quarters in the new armory adjoining the Camden Battalion. 

The following are its officers and members: Captain, R. R. Eckendorf; First Lieutenant, John R. Jones ; Second Lieutenant, G. Walter Garton ; First Sergeant, Owen B. Jones; Second Sergeant, James Duffy; Third Sergeant, Harry M. Dey; Fourth Sergeant, Harry Nichuals; Fifth 
Sergeant, Samuel Grovier; First Corporal, Louis B. Harris; Second Corporal, Harry Tobin; Third Corporal, Ulie J. Lee ; Musicians, David Mead, Charles Mead ; Privates, Charles M. Baldwin, Harry F. Campbell, Alonzo W. Powers, John J. Chambers, William Grover, David Ewan, Earnest Haines, Leander Hyatt, George H. Beard, Thomas F. Miugen, Samuel C. Grover, John Mulholland, Harry G. Rathgeb, Charles Enger, Jacob Haines, Edwin Hillman, Webster McClellan, Charles A. Fowler, James J. Duffy, Charles H. Jefferies, Frederick W. Kalt, Harry D. Nichuals, William Lawler, Dalgren Albertson, George Middleton, John E. Shannon, John Nixon, George H. Snowhill, William H. Adams, J. R. Smyth, Ralph Bond, Archie S. Royal, G. Parker Johnson, Frank Smith, D. Harry Condit, M. A. Cole, Frank T. Hayes, Charles P. Householder, 
Samuel Donaldson. 

Philadelphia Inquirer
February 8, 1891

Knights of the Golden Eagle

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 2, 1893

Abraham E. Jackson - Abraham Matlack - Charles M. Baldwin 
William Penn Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 - Engine Company 2

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 17, 1895

Talked About In Camden

Justice Charles M. Baldwin has been selected as Chief Marshal of the Volunteer Firemen's Association for the parade at Haddonfield on Thanksgiving Day..

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 5, 1896

Philadelphia Inquirer
August 22, 1897

Henry S. Scovel
Charles M. Baldwin

Philip Schmitz

Philadelphia Inquirer
August 23, 1897

Henry S. Scovel
Charles M. Baldwin

Wilson Jenkins

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 12, 1897

O. Glen Stackhouse - Philip Schmitz
George R. Thompson -
Benjamin Braker
Charles M. Baldwin - James D. Chester - Charles Kauffman

Philadelphia Inquirer
February 2, 1898

John Campbell, Jr. - John Blows
Henry B. Wilson Sr.
J. Willard Morgan
Harry Wolfe - Christopher J. Mines Jr.
John L. Westcott - Isaac Doughten
R.H. Reeve - Thaddeus P. Varney

Click on Images for Complete Article


Cooper B. Hatch - Lewis H. Mohrman- Maurice Rogers - Charles M. Baldwin
Jesse C. Bond -
Camden Republican Club

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 3, 1898
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article

George W. Jessup - David Baird Sr. - Thaddeus P. Varney - George Barrett - Harry F. Wolfe
Isaac Toone - John H. Fort - Philip Schmitz - O. Glen Stackhouse - Charles M. Baldwin
George R. Thompson - Frederick Kauffman - Benjamin Braker - David M. Chambers
William H. Davis - Dr. John W. Donges - Harry B. Paul 

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 13, 1899

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 28, 1899

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 2, 1905

Philip Knauff - Charles H. Ellis - Adam T. Davis Jr. - George Horneff - Charles M. Baldwin
Broadway - Spruce Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 20, 1906

Charles Simon  - Eliza J. Scofield - Charles M. Baldwin

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 4, 1907

Jacob Daubman - J.S. Gallagher - F.H. Goodfellow
Charles M. Baldwin - Philip Wilson - Commercial Club

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 28, 1909

Camden Memorial Day Committee

In order that Camden veterans may have an elaborate celebration on Memorial Day, Mayor Ellis yesterday appointed the following committee of citizens to act in conjunction with them: William D. Vanaman, William Sangtinette, Frank W. Tussey, William Fox, Dr. J.W. Martindale, Walter L Tushingham, Ira E. Lutte, Harry C. Kramer, John W. Coleman, Bernhard Schroeder, Edward H. Nieland, Daniel M. Stevens, W.F. Powell, Abe Fuhrman, Jacob Neutze, Francis B. Wallen, Charles A. Ackley, Louis T. Derousse, James M. Bentley, John K. Newkirk, William Schmid, John Larsen, Sigismund Schoenagle, Charles M. Baldwin, and Harry A Whaland.

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 28, 1911

Mayor Ellis - Soldiers' Monument - William Thompson - Rev. A.H. Newton
First Methodist Episcopal Church - Isaac T. Nichols - Amos R. Dease
H.L. Hartshorn - William D. Vanaman - Charles A. Ackley - Charles M. Baldwin James M. Bentley - John W. Coleman - C.K. Deacon - Malachi D. Cornish
Louis T. Derousse - William Fox - Abe Fuhrman - Harry C. Kramer - Ira E. Lute
Dr. J.W. Martindale - Jacob Neutze - Edward Nieland - Dr. H.S. Riddle
William Sangtinette - Bernhard Schroeder - William Schmid
 Sigismund Schoenagle - Daniel M. Stevens - Frank W. Tussey
Walter L Tushingham - Francis B. Wallen - Harry A Whaland

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 13, 1913

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 29, 1913