Horneff was born in the Duchy of Wurttemburg, in what is now Germany, in
August of 1838 to Johann Jacob Horneff and his wife, the former
Katherine Elisabethe Mayer. Records differ as to when he came to
America, but seem to indicate that it would have been in 1860. A Jacob
Horneff, aged 41, operated a lager beer saloon in Camden's North
Wardwhen the 1860 Census was taken. In any event George Horneff was in
America when he was married in Camden, New Jersey on January 25, 1866 to
Emma Cairoli. She bore him a son, John, around 1867. George Horneff
supported his family by working as a machinist. The family lived at 908 South
3rd Street when he joined the Fire 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
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.
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
the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized
construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth and
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.
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.
is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest
corner of Fifth and
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
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.
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.
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
new members of the paid force were:
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).
Horneff, wife Emma, and son John were living at 908 South
3rd Street, near the corner of South
3rd Street and Joint
Alley, when he joined the
department in the fall of 1869, and were still at that address
when the Census was taken in the summer of 1870. His neighbors at 910
South 3rd Street were the John Holl family, son George
Holl, who lived there was a Civil War veteran and would become a
prominent builder in Camden in later years. At 906 South 3rd street
lived bar-owner Adam Kolb Sr.
and his son Adam Kolb Jr. By
the fall of 1871 George Horneff and family had moved to 269 Mount
Vernon Street. A daughter, Mary Horneff, was born in April of 1872.
October 23, 1872 George Horneff's nephew, Henry
Wagner, was appointed to the Camden Fire Department as an extra man
with Engine Company 1.
Horneff served with Engine Company 1
until April of 1876 when he was
promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer, serving under Claudius Bradshaw
for three years. George Horneff's brother-in-law George
H. Middleton Sr. joined him in the Fire Department at that time. George Horneff left the Camden Fire Department in 1879,
when Samuel S. Elfreth was elected Chief. George Horneff retuned to
working as a machinist. Among his employers were the Camden & Amboy
railroad in the 1880s and the Pennsylvania Railroad at the Pavonia
facility in what is now East Camden during the 1890s and early
the the time the 1878 City Directory was compiled, George Horneff and
family had moved to 267 Mount
Vernon Street. The remained in this home
through 1890. By the latter half of 1891 they had moved to 273 Mount
Horneff was a Democrat, which probably had a great deal to do with his
promotion within the Fire Department under Claudius Bradshaw
leaving when Republican Samuel S. Elfreth was elected. In 1882 George
Horneff ran for City Council from the Fifth Ward as a Democrat.
1900 Census has George and Emma Horneff, with daughter Mary, at 273 Mount
Vernon Street. George Horneff was still working as a machinist.
Horneff passed away on March 1, 1902 and was buried at Harleigh
Cemetery. Her obituary states that she was active in the several
fraternal organizations, and it is highly likely that George Horneff was
active in the men's branches, specifically with the Lenni Lenape Tribe,
No. 2 of the Improved
Order of Red Men and the Brotherhood of the Union.
1886 George Reeser Prowell wrote the following about Brotherhood of the
Union's Lydia Darrah Home Communion, No 1 of which Emma Horneff was a
DARRAH HOME COMMUNION, No. 1, meets in Mechanics’ Hall, Fourth and
Spruce, and was instituted by S.W. George L. Toy, in Independence Hall,
Fourth and Pine, May 12, 1867, when these officers were installed: G., Benjamin
M. Braker; H.S.K., Wm. J. Maguire; P., Hannah G. Ivins; H.R., Sarah
T. Winner; H.T., Philip Beaber. The Past Grand Guardians are: Hannah G.
Ivins, Susanna Quinn and Elizabeth Portz, and the Past Guardians:
Margaret Boyd, Margaret Caperoon, Mary E. Sloan, Missouri Pierce, Ruth
A. Ross, Josiah Bozarth, Emma Knipe, Margaret
Deith, Augusta Oeherle, Sarah Kirby, Rachel B. Stone, Elizabeth
Eames, Annie Curtis, Lizzie Eames, Annie M. Quick, Mary M. Davis, Rachel
Stephen, Benj. Smith, Isaac Warr, Emily Weldey, Elizabeth Cleaver,
Elizabeth Stricker, Samuel W. Stivers, Keturah
Tenner, Sarah Wiatt, Eliza
J. Leibach, Elizabeth C. Butler, Margaret A. Davis, Mary Ore, Julia
Coleman, Sallie Tracy, Emma J. Doyle.
Home has had a useful life, and after assisting many has eight hundred
dollars invested, with a membership of eighty-one. The officers for 1886
are: P.G., Mary Ore; G., Rachel Stephen; Pro., Benjamin Smith; Prophet,
Maggie Caperoon; Prophetess, Emily Weldey; Priest, Mary J. Cooper;
Priestess, Emma J. Doyle; H.S.K., Annie M. Quick; H.R., Rachel B. Stone;
H.T., Elizabeth Cleaver; W.D., Clara Davis; W.N., Emma Horneff.
1886 George Reeser Prowell wrote the following about Lenni Lenape Tribe,
LENAPE TRIBE, No. 2,
is the oldest existing tribe of the order in the State, and in numbers
and wealth the strongest and richest in the United States. It was
instituted May 10, 1850, by Great Incohonee William B. Davis, assisted
by Francis Fullerton, of Lenni Lenape Tribe, No. 8, of Pennsylvania, and
Great Chief of Records of the United States. These were the charter
members: Nathaniel Chew, William F. Colbert, John T. Davis, Timothy C.
Moore, Sylvester Rainhard, Joseph Shipley, Daniel S. Garwood, William
Beckett, George Wood, E.D. Brister, John Wood, Joseph Myers, Albert
Robertson, John W. Hoey, James B. Richardson, Robert Maguire, Joseph B.
Hawkins, James O. Stillwell and Anthony Joline. The officers were as
follows: P., Timothy C. Moore; S., Nathaniel Chew; S.S., John Wood; J.S.,
William F. Colbert; C. of R., Joseph Myers; K. of W., Albert Robertson.
Lenape has had an eventful career, at times flourishing and at other
times so short of funds that a few faithful members paid expenses and
benefits out of their private purses, but persistence won at last and a
flood tide of prosperity set in, which has continued until the Lenni
Lenapes number seven hundred and thirty-two and the wampum belt contains
members are these Past Great Sachems:’George W. Watson, John T. Davis,
Charles H. Gordon, Thomas J. Francis and Daniel M. Stevens; and of its
Past Sachems these are living: Timothy C. Moore, Henry A. Breyer, Lewis
Zeigler, Samuel J. Fenner, Edward J. Steer, William F. Farr, Samuel D.
Watson, George Horneff,
George A. Cairoli (Brother
of Mrs. Emma Horneff- PMC),
Thomas J. Rowand, Samuel A. Owens, Benjamin
M. Braker, Lambert Banes, George Pfeiffer, William Sheridan, Thomas
F. Muckelson, Hope Sutton, James P. Moore, D.D. Worts, Leonard
L. Roray, Benjamin J. Price, John A. Hall, B.S.M. Branning, Abraham
Davis, Harry B. Garrison, Walter E. Garwood, George A. Rogers, William
C. Davis, Frank P. Jackson, H. Frank
Pettit, John A. Harbeson, John
Quick, Angus B. Cameron, Lewis Z. Noble, George Leathwhite, Conrad F.
Austermuhl, John K. Seagrove, Charles L. Vansciver, Harry Hoffman, Harry
B. Tyler, James H. Reeve and George W. Davis. The officers are: P., G.W.
Davis; S., Edward Francis; S.S., Samuel Baker; J.S., Joseph Watson; C.
of R., L.Z. Noble; K. of W., C.F. Austermuhl; Trustees, T.J. Francis,
T.F. Muckelson, J.K. Reeve, Leonard
L. Roray and H.F. Pettit.
was still living at 273 Mount
Vernon Street when the 1906 Camden City Directory
was compiled. In 1909 Mary Horneff married Eugene von Glahn, who was a
clerk in the Hall of Records in the City of Brooklyn, New York. When the
census was taken in 1900, George Horneff, now a widower, had left Camden
and was living with his daughter and son-in-law at 539 75th Street in
Brooklyn. George Horneff passed away in 1917.