ELMER ELLSWORTH BURKETT was born in September 10, 1866 to James Burkett and his wife, the former Elizabeth Colbert in Camden, New Jersey. He was named after Elmer Ellsworth, the Union's first casualty of the Civil War. Elizabeth Colbert Burkett's father was William F. Colbert Sr., a well-known merchant in Camden who was a volunteer fireman with Shiffler Hose Company No. 1, a member of City Council in 1858, and active in local and state affairs with the Improved Order of Red Men.

James Burkett had passed away by the time the 1880 Census was taken. Elizabeth Burkett and her children Clara, Elemer, George, and Edward were then living at 1020 Newton Avenue. By 1884 they had moved to 1016 Newton Avenue where they stayed until 1894.

Elmer married Margaret Cecelia Brossel. Margaret was born about 1872 and died in 1939 about age 67. This marriage produced three children. The first child, Elmer E. Burkett Jr., was born in January of 1896 in Camden, and who died in October of 1901 in Camden, NJ at the age of 5, and who was buried on October 7, 1901 in New Camden Cemetery. Two daughters came later, Marie Burkett in 1903, Florence Burkett in 1907.

The 1896 Camden City Directory shows Elmer E. Burkett residing at 210 North 11th Street. When the Census was taken in 1900 Elmer Burkett was working as a cabinet maker. He was still living with his wife and son at 210 North 11th Street. He was still following that trade as late as 1906. Interestingly enough the next door neighbor at 214 North 11th Street was Charles Schultz. Both Schultz and Burkett would go on to long careers as members of the Camden Fire Department.

The Burkett family had moved to 1009 Penn Street in North Camden when the Census was taken in 1910. Elmer Burkett was by then a member of the Camden Fire Department. In 1914 he was working as a stoker with Engine Company No. 7 at a yearly salary of $1020. His wife’s nephew, Sylvester "Wes" McGrath was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on March 14, 1913. He was assigned to Engine Company No. 7, 1115 Kaighn Avenue, as a Hoseman who made $960 per year according to the 1914 Chief Engineer’s Report. The Burketts were still at the Penn Street address as late as as 1918.

By January of 1920 Elmer Burkett had moved to 330 North 9th Street, where he resided until his passing 0n March 15, 1945. He retired on January 1, 1933 after completing 26 years service with the Camden Fire Department. He was serving with Engine Company No. 6, at Front and Linden Streets, when he retired.

He was buried at Locustwood Cemetery in what was then Delaware Township  (present-day Cherry Hill), New Jersey.


June 11, 1913

Elmer Burkett
Penn Street
Lawrence Street


Throngs Jam Court House While Body Lies in State for Two Hours.


Not since the memorable funeral of Chief of Police Foster ten years ago, has there been such a genuine public tribute paid an official of Camden as was in evidence last night at the bier of the lamented Fire Chief Worthington, and today at his funeral. It is hard to estimate the number of persons in a crowd, but from 7 until 9 o’clock last night there was a steady stream of men, women and children, two abreast, who passed from the main entrance, through the center corridor and beneath the illuminated rotunda, where the body lay, and thence out by the west corridor. There was never a stop, and it is estimated that at least 10,000 persons were there, perhaps more.

There could not have been a more ideal location for the repose of the casket containing the honored dead, and the great array of beautiful flowers than beneath the rotunda. It seemed to be a sacred shrine in itself where the citizenry dropped a tear for the lamented departed. The effulgence of the soft lights from above specially installed by Electrical Chief Kelly but lent to the scene and as the dark garbed escort of firemen, the active pall bearers, stood, on guard, the scene was unusually impressive.

Chief Worthington, aside from the pallor that comes to the dead, looked as he did in life, for the thread had been snapped so quickly that it was while he was in his full vigor that the vital spark had taken its flight. There were some marks on his face that indicated the intense though momentary suffering through which he passed on his fateful plunge from the roof of the burning building to his quick death, and the passing crowd remarked this. But withal there was that calmness and repose feature which seemed to indicate that the gallant leader of Camden's fire fighters but lay sleeping rather than that his soul had taken its eternal flight.

Public grief may be a mere ephemeral emotion, born of the moment and only to be succeeded by the acclaim of the newly arisen public idol, but last night's encomiums seemed to come from hearts that overflowed with genuine and permanent sorrow over the untimely passing of so excellent a public servant. Many tear-suffused eyes indicated this, many expressions of grief, of sorrow, of condolence of those left showed this. The sentiment in evidence everywhere can only be likened to the sweetness of the wonderful flowers whose odor spread thorough all the corridors and in all the rooms of the great marble building. 

High in the clock tower of the City Hall the bell began tolling at 6:30 o'clock. At half-minute intervals its doleful strains went forth on the cold blustery east wind which had succeeded at day of spring sunshine. The bell and the screeching wind seemed to combine as a knell indicating the passing grief of the city. It was the preliminaries to the marching of the funeral cortege from the stricken Chief's home on Penn Street to the resting place at the Court House.

There were forty policemen in dress uniform with Chief Gravenor at their head. There were twenty-six fire heads from Philadelphia, with Chief William Murphy in the van, a tribute in itself of more than passing moment. There was the caisson on which was the black draped casket containing the body of he who all honored. There was the little red car in which Chief Worthington was wont to speed through the city at every alarm and there was his helmet and coat. There was Acting Chief Stockton and forty of the men who fought flames under the direction of he who lay so still. There as the family in cabs with curtains drawn, the members of City Council and the active pall bearers- Daniel Leach, Peter B. Carter, James White, William Patterson, Elmer Burkett, Samuel Harring

When the cortege reached the Court House the Camden boys took up their position on the inside beneath rotunda while the Philadelphia visitors made an imposing array on the granite steps outside. And then came the public in its steady and unending stream.

Later the Philadelphia delegation was escorted to the Board of Freeholders room where tribute was paid to the dead and where a mingling of the two cities took place. Besides Chief Murphy the visitors included Battalion Chiefs William T. Barrett and George P. McConaghy, Captains L. F. Bunting, William Lindsey; H. Dinlocker, J. Higginson, J. E. Talbot, D. Campbell, T. O'Brien, F. Hughes, E. Basenfelder; H. Hutt, William McCusker, G. Rheim, R. Wilsey, J. Webb, H. Goers, H. Haines, Insurance Patrol Captain Joseph H. Shermer William Hickman, William Rodgers, John Wyatt, David Phillip, John Clyde, H. Wilkinson.

President of City Council James E. Hewitt spoke of the work Chief Worthington had already accomplished, of his plans, of his value and worth to Camden. Chief Murphy responded in a fitting way and this incident in itself was one to be remembered.

An affecting sight was witnessed by the handful of spectators, among them being other firemen, city and county officials and policemen who remained after the big doors on Sixth Street had been closed. The last to view the Chief's remains were a delegation of about twenty firemen. Solemnly the men passed by the bier and gazed upon the features of their departed brother.

As the last of the line approached Deputy Chief John A. Stockton was seen. He stopped and with his cap laid across his breast be looked down into the casket. For almost a minute Chief Stockton stood as though glued to the spot. Then he glanced about him and the sympathetic look upon his face thrilled all.

He heaved a sigh and perhaps the teardrops refused to come, but Chief Stockton, as the lines upon his face showed, was struggling with the inner man. His emotions were tugging at his heart, but a fire laddie cannot give way to his feelings although his brother superior officer and dear friend had answered his last alarm.

The floral pieces surrounding the bier bespoke the love, admiration and respect the donors held for the dead chief. One design particularly beautiful was a mammoth loving cup made of blossoms, f1owers and roses. This was the token sent by members of City Council and other city officials.

Another was the design sent by the Electrical Bureau through Chief Kelly. The original fire box, No. 134, which was pulled on the night of the fire by Chief Worthington was enshrouded by roses, carnations and lilies.

A maltese cross standing several feet high and bearing the initials of the organization was the tribute sent by the Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association. Chief Worthington was president of this association. 

The Camden police sent a large shield of flowers and Council members offered a vacant chair of roses. The New Jersey Auto Supply Company, No. 2 Engine Company and No. 1 Truck sent beautiful broken circles and a wreath was the offering from the employees of the Victor Talking Machine Company.

 A broken circle from member of the Sixth Ward Republican Club and a wreath from his friends in the sixth precinct of the Second Ward were other beautiful pieces. West Collingswood and Collingswood firemen sent two beautiful floral circles and from the Loyal Order Legion a wreath was received.

Other offerings were from the Camden Liquor Dealers league, a beautiful circle from No. 6 Engine Company, in which house Chief Worthington was captain previous to his elevation to the office of chief; sprays from the Bethany M.E. Church, Ladies Auxiliary of the Loyal Order of Moose; a wreath from the pupils of the eighth grade Sewell school, and a spray from North Baptist Church. There also were designs from members of the family and friends, all of which bespoke the great love held for the departed fire chief.

The impressive services of the P.E. Church marked the last sad rites this afternoon at St. Paul’s Church. The guard of honor and city officials left Fire Headquarters at 1:20 and proceeded to the Worthington home and escorted the remains to the church, where services were conducted by the rector, Rev. R.E. Brestell, and Rev. H.O. Jones, rector of St. Stephen’s P.E. Church. Interment was made at Arlington.

The honorary pallbearers were Mayor Ellis, Hon. David Baird, Frank F. Patterson, John W. Bell, General John A. Mather, Melbourne F. Middleton Jr., Harry R. Reed, Arthur L. Jones, Robert Gordon, David Jester, George Schneider, William Mills, J.O. Grear, William Hall, George L. Bender, and James E. Hewitt.

Camden Fire Department - 1914 Chief Engineer's Report

Engine Company No. 7

Location 1115 Kaighn Avenue. Second-class Metropolitan Engine and Combination Chemical and Hose Wagon. Went into service July 1, 1910. Carries 900 feet of 2-1/2-inch hose. 

Rank Age Residence Salary
Charles A. Todd  Captain  52  618 S. Fourth Street  $1,140.00 
Joseph Sparks  Lieutenant 31  624 S. Fifth Street $960.00 
John A. Dold   Engineer 53 1301 Park Boulevard  $1,140.00
Elmer Burkett  Stoker 47  1009 Penn Street $1,020.00 
Roy Smith  Driver 30   607 Carman Street $960.00 
William Hunsinger Driver 37   741 Walnut Street $ 960.00 
George Boone  Hoseman 38   605 Mt. Vernon Street $ 960.00 
Sylvester McGrath  Hoseman 35 605 St. John Street $ 960.00 
Horace Cairns  Hoseman 42 621 Newton Avenue $1,020.00 

Engine Company 7 on Kaighn Avenue - 1914
Camden Courier-Post * June 14, 1969
Click on Images to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer
July 11, 1922

James McDade
Clarence Madden

David Bakley
Abraham Kern
William Thompson
Elmer Burkett
Samuel Harring
Engine Company 4

Engine Company 6

Front Street
Linden Street
Tabernacle M.E. Church

Rev. James Lord

Camden Courier-Post * January 2, 1933
Roy R. Stewart - Charles T. Humes - Albert York - Clarence Thorn - David Hunt - Harry Haines Sr.
John Lutts - James R. White - William H. Miller Jr. - Major W. Greenwood - Adrian Bateman
Elmer Burkett - Robert M. Coffman - Howard L. Currie - James E. Navin - George W. Hollins
Richard S. Marter - Arthur A. WingateJoseph F. Ernst - Samuel E. Harring - Andrew "Fritz" Miller
Steward Bakley - William K. Buzine - Daniel Grimes - William H. Bennett

Camden Courier-Post
March 16, 1945

Elmer Burkett's Family

Descendants of James BURKETT
Produced by Legacy on 23 Jun 2009

First Generation

1. James BURKETT was born about 1825 in PA and died between 1870 and 1874 in Camden, NJ.

General Notes: In the 1874-75 Camden City Directory, Elizabeth was first listed as a widow. James was alive in the 1870 United States Federal Census, so he must have died between 1870 and 1874.

James married Elizabeth COLBERT, daughter of William F. COLBERT and Sophia STEVENS. Elizabeth was born on 24 May 1829 in Philadelphia, PA, died on 5 Feb 1911 in Camden, NJ at age 81, and was buried in Camden, NJ, New Camden Cemetery.

Children from this marriage were:

M i. James BURKETT was born on 15 May 1850 in Camden, NJ, died on 3 Mar 1928 in Camden County Hospital (Lakeland), Gloucester, NJ at age 77, and was buried on 5 Mar 1928 in Potters Grave. James married a person whose name at this time is not known. James next married Emma JEITNER on 8 Dec 1888 in Camden, NJ, Union Methodist Episcopal Church. Emma was born in 1869.

M ii. William BURKETT was born on 15 May 1850 in Camden, NJ, died on 13 Aug 1902 above Hollow Bridge, Bristol, PA at age 52, and was buried in Friends Cemetery. William married Margaret. Margaret was born in Nov 1859 in Pennsylvania.

M iii. Charles BURKETT was born in 1852 in Camden, NJ, died on 20 Nov 1908 in Camden, NJ at age 56, and was buried in Old Camden Cemetery. Charles married Hannah UNKNOWN. Hannah was born in 1854 in New Jersey, died in Dec 1912 in Camden, NJ at age 58, and was buried on 14 Dec 1912 in New Camden Cemetery, Camden, NJ.

M iv. Albert F. BURKETT was born in Dec 1854 in Camden, NJ, died on 24 Mar 1935 in Trenton, NJ at age 80, and was buried in Bristol Cemetery, Bristol, PA. Albert married Theresa R. GIBSON in 1876. Theresa was born on 18 Apr 1858 in Philadelphia, PA and died on 22 Jan 1938 in Beverly, NJ at age 79.

F v. Clara L. BURKETT was born between 1857 and Jan 1858 in Camden, NJ, died on 22 Jan 1888 in Camden, NJ, and was buried in Camden, NJ, New Camden Cemetery. Clara married William John COLBECK on 3 Nov 1882 in Camden, NJ, Union Methodist Episcopal Church. William was born in 1849 in England. 

General Notes: 1. Sponsor for William and Clara at their marriage was George Burkett.

F vi. Caroline S. BURKETT was born on 10 Oct 1858 in Camden, NJ, died on 23 Jan 1941 in Camden, NJ at age 82, and was buried in Jan 1941 in Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, NJ. Caroline married Thomas R. ELLIOTT about 1880. Thomas was born about 1857 in Scotland, died on 18 Apr 1929 in Camden, NJ about age 72, and was buried in Apr 1929 in Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, NJ.

M vii. George C. BURKETT was born on 6 Nov 1861 in Camden, NJ, died on 19 Dec 1933 in Camden, NJ at age 72, and was buried on 22 Dec 1933 in New Camden Cemetery, Camden, NJ. 

General Notes: George lived at 1004 Lawrence Street, Camden and worked as a sawyer for Victor (that became RCA). George married Wilhemina P. MURRAY, daughter of Issac P. MURRAY and Ella. Wilhemina was born on 14 Feb 1870 in Camden, NJ, died in Oct 1940 in Camden, NJ at age 70, and was buried on 28 Oct 1940 in New Camden Cemetery, Camden, NJ.

M viii. Ellsworth BURKETT was born between 1864 and 1865 in Camden, NJ.

M ix. Elmer E. BURKETT was born in Sep 1865 in Camden, NJ, died in Mar 1945 in Camden, NJ at age 79, and was buried on 19 Mar 1945 in Locustwood Cemetery, Cherry Hill, NJ. Elmer married Margaret Cecelia BROSEL. Margaret was born about 1872 and died in 1939 about age 67.

M x. Edward BURKETT was born in Dec 1867 in Camden, NJ.

M xi. Daniel BURKETT was born about 1870 in Camden, NJ.

It is more than likely that "Ellsworth Burkett" and E;lmer E. Burkett are the same person.