FRANK S. JONES was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department, entering service on September 2, 1869 as the driver of the Hook and Ladder Company, the original designation of what is now Ladder Company 1

Frank S. Jones was born in Pennsylvania in May of 1845. Prior to entering the fire department he had worked as a painter. He was living at 811 Kaighn Street when he joined the department in the fall of 1869. 

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.

Frank S. Jones was living in Camden's Middle Ward when the Census was taken on June 16, 1870. Frank S. Jones was removed from service with the Camden Fire Department on June 9, 1871. The 1878 City Directory lists Frank S. Jones as a clerk, living at 427 Federal Street.

Frank S. Jones married Hannah Sapp when he was 35. Frank and Hannah Jones lived at 427 Federal Street with Hannah's mother, Mrs. Henrietta Sapp when the Census was taken on June 7, 1880. He was then working as a printer. He stayed at that address into 1883. The 1884-1885 Directory shows Frank S. Jones at 324 State Street. From 1885 through 1887 he lived at 727 Berkley Street.

Frank S. Jones went to work as a cashier at the city Tax Office in 1886 and was still employed there as late as Christmas, 1902. His last title held was First Assistant Tax Receiver. Frank and Hannah Jones made their home in the late 1890s and early 1900s at 434 South 6th Street.

Frank S. Jones was active in several fraternal organizations including Camden Lodge 293, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.

Frank S. Jones died at his home 434 South 6th Street, on June 9, 1903

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 9, 1871
Randal Morgan - William Abels - Frank Jones - James M. Cassady - John Manderfield

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 2, 1877
James M. Cassady - Frank S. Jones - George B. Anderson

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 1, 1886
J. Fred Newton - Frank S. Jones

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 8, 1897
J. Fred Newton - Frank S. Jones
William Mines - William Calhoun - Charles Shaw - Frank S. Fithian - Ulie G. Lee
Charles Hillaker -
Frank S. Jones - Bowman H. Shivers - John Kenney - William P. Osler
Earl W. Bennis - William B. Doyle -
Fred George

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 26, 1902
William H. Rightmire - William A. Husted
Frank H. Burdsall -
Harry Wolfe

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 11, 1903
South 6th Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 21, 1903
Frank S. Jones - Aaron Ward - East Camden
Tabernacle Baptist Church - Baird Avenue

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 7, 1903
Camden Lodge 293, B.P.O. of Elks - Masonic Building - North Baptist Church - George D. Borton
Rev. Dr. Clarence A. Adams -
Trinity Baptist Church - Rev. Dr. Kittredge Wheeler
Professor James C. Warhurst - Gideon H. Burt - Owen R. Jones -J. Oscar Nicholas - M.D. Dickinson Harry M. Andeson - Joseph R. Feenier - Ernest H. Longstreth - Hamilton Markley -
Howland Croft
 John S. Mathis - Rev. Dr. George Gates - Charles F. Reese - James McCormick
Charles K. McPherson - James Baird - William F. Claus -
Harry B. Paul - George S. West
Frank S. Jones -  Christopher J. Mines Jr.