JACOB KELLUM was born in Camden county, New Jersey on March 21, 1851 to Benjamin Kellum and his wife, the former Emeline Ware. He was one of at least three children, coming after Anna and Benjamin L. Kellum. His father appears to have passed away in the 1850s, and his mother was remarried on May 3, 1861, to John Bodine, with whom she had at least 5 children, Sarah, Samuel, David, Charles, and Harry prior to the 1860 Census. The census shows John and Emeline Bodine living in what was then Newton Township with the three Kellum children and the the three younger children who had been born to date. John Bodine supported his family as a day laborer.

Older brother Benjamin Kellum enlisted in the Union Army in 1864, and re-enlisted in 1866 for three years, returning to Camden in 1869. 

The 1870 Census shows Jacob Kellum living with his mother, step-father, and siblings in Camden's Middle Ward. His stepfather was working in a store, while Jacob and older brother Benjamin Kellum worked as laborers. 

Jacob Kellum was appointed to the Camden Fire Department to take the place of George Leibecke, driver of Engine Company 2, who had been transferred to Engine Company 1 on August 1, 1871. His brother Benjamin joined the Camden Fire Department in May of 1874. Both men would remain Camden fire fighters for the rest of their working days.

The 1878-1878 and 1879-1880 City Directories give Benjamin Kellum's address as 122 West Street

The 1880 Census shows Jacob Kellum, married to Annie, living at 27 South 5th Street in Camden. It appears that Annie Kellum died that year. By the time the 1885 New Jersey State Census was enumerated, Jacob Kellum was living Mrs. Annie Githens. She had left her husband Samuel W. Githens; he did not pass away until 1895. Jacob and Annie lived as man and wife and apparently this did not cause any problems with his employment. 

The 1900 Census lists Jacob Kellum as being single and living at 27 South 5th Street. Also living there was Annie Githens, aged 50, occupation housekeeper. The census records of days gone by show a lot of men with "housekeepers" and women with "boarders" or "lodgers".

Annie Githens died May of 1905 and was buried at Arlington Cemetery. By the time the 1906 Camden City Directory was compiled, Jacob Kellum had moved out of the City of Camden. His date of retirement is not known as of this writing but his obituary indicates 1907. He married Harriet H. Price Shute that year.

The 1910 Census shows that Jacob Kellum had moved to a house on Broadway (also known as Railroad Avenue) in Deptford Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. The Census states that he was living with his wife of three years, Harriet, and that this was his first marriage, and Harriet's second. Harriet Kellum was the former Harriet H. Price Shute, and was previously married to Winfield S. Shute, the marriage ended by divorce due to adultery, on whose part is not known as of this writing. The 1910 census states that she was the mother of five children, three of them living, non of whom lived with Jacob and Harriet. The couple moved to a home on Mantua Pike in West Deptford Township during the 1910s. They were still living there when the Census was taken in January of 1920. Jacob Kellum was still working for the Camden Fire Department at the time of the census enumeration.

Older brother and fellow fireman Benjamin Kellum contracted tuberculosis in the early 1900s, and retired on half-pay from the Camden Fire Department effective August 1, 1903. He died on March 31, 1909, survived by his wife, nephew, and siblings. 

Harriet Kellum passed away in 1925. Jacob Kellum died in 1936. Both are buried at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken near his older brother Benjamin.

Jacob Kellum's cousins, Robert Todd and Charles A. Todd, both served with the Camden Fire Department.

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 9, 1872
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Robert S. Bender - E.J. Dodamead - Jacob Kellum
William S. Davis - Albert Doughty - George Horner
William Shearman

Camden Courier-Post - June 19, 1933

A False Alarm of Long Ago 
Spectacular Run of Firemen and Steeds in '79 When First 
Alarm System Was Given Try-out


THERE were two alarms of fire Saturday evening, one at Fourth and Hamilton streets at 8:29 o'clock, and another at the West Jersey Ferry, an hour later. People in the vicinity of the first-named place turned out to look at the machines propelled at lightning speed by snorting equines, and wondered what it was all about; and some of them thought the wide-awake fire boys were beside themselves, as they asked, for the particular house, in the neighborhood of box 24 upon which, with steam up, their apparatus was able to put on, the water. The firemen and people were quietly informed by a party that drove away in a barouche that it was a designed deception.

Under date of October 6, 1879, that was the introduction to a two-column story under a display headline. But, it was, a single line-"False Alarms." Readers of the period must have been as much mystified as were the firemen and citizens mentioned in the article, for it was not until more than half a column had been devoted to that incident that the public was let into the great secret. It was a test of the first fire alarm system introduced into Camden. 

Interest in that incident is revived by the city commissioners last week entering into a contract with that same concern to install in the new City Hall a system for somewhat more than $51,000. That first "system" cost the city $2000 but it was a big sum then and just about 10 times more space was devoted to it in the old Post than in the Courier-Post last Thursday week.

Paid Department 10 Years Old 

Camden's paid fire department in 1879 was just 10 years old. It already was winning approval of even the recalcitrants, who had asserted back in 1869, that the old volunteer companies would certainly be missed; that the "professionals" would not have as much interest in putting out a fire as the boys who ran with the Perseverance, the Weccacoe and other organizations, usually bitter rivals. Not infrequently the volunteers battled over hooking up their hose while the fire burned, a event by no means outgrown since that occasionally happens even now, as files of the newspapers prove.

But on that Saturday night 54 years ago, it developed that those who drove away in the mysterious barouche were J. W. Morgan, Crawford Miller and F. P. Pfeiffer; fire commissioners of city council, along with R. S. Bender and Thomas Beatty. They were but carrying out orders to see that the system worked and it was John T. Bottomley who issued those orders. He was Camden's big mill owner but more to the purpose in that particular incident, president of city Council. He had approved the fire alarm system but did not intend putting his O. K. on that $2000 bill until he had seen it in practical operation.

So unknown to the firemen, and the citizens as well, it was determined to test that system by way of turning in the alarms. So an alarm was pulled at 8.29 and "Bart" Bonsall, son of Henry L. Bonsall, publisher of the Post, narrates, in just 15 seconds flat the bell was sounded at No.1 Engine House at Fourth and Pine Streets. In two minutes hose cart No. 1 went bounding out with Driver George Hunt at the reins, followed by Ben Cavanaugh and his faithful nag "Jim" with cart No. 2. Then came Jake Kellum and William Davis with the engine No. 2 drawn by "Dolly" in 2.45. After that was engine No.1 driven by Edmund Shaw and the horse "Alec," coming along in 3 minutes and 5 seconds. It was explained Shaw was held up by the sandy roadway at Fourth and Line

Spectacular Sight 

Anyhow, it must have been a great sight for the old-time families who then resided along the Middle Ward Streets as the racing steeds bounded over Fourth Street, then into Third over a mighty bumpy roadway.

But they arrived and vainly sought the blaze. It was while they were hunting that the barouche came along and the commissioners let them into the great secret. "Bart" doesn't relate what the firemen said about the false alarm, but, like as not the heat of their expressions was a good substitution for the fire they failed to find. 

The system was one of those nine­day wonders that had the town on its toes. Everybody listened for the alarms in those days, for when they were sent in the bells in the fire houses pealed the number of the box. The strokes could be heard surprisingly far. Since there were but 11 boxes it was not long before many knew just where the fire was located and made a bee line for the scene. Old volunteers, particularly, never quite lost their interest in fires and, whenever they heard the alarm, hot footed it to the scene of excitement. 

That was all right when Camden was little more than a village, but as the community grew it became a serious proposition, since the racing citizens often interfered with the firemen. Thus about 30 years ago the fire bells were silenced. Now none know of an alarm coming in save the various houses and the Courier-Post which has a wire attached from headquarters bringing in the alarms so that reporters and cameramen may get on the scene quickly as possible. 

Ordinarily, little thought is given to the need for instant and accurate sounding of an alarm made possible through the expert work of City Electrician Jim Howell and his aides. If it were not for that perfection and the speed with which friend reach the scene the losses would he large. And the insurance companies would be around with a "pink slip" as they were some 20 years ago. That meant a 25 percent addition to fire rates. Camden's motorized department plus the work of City Electrician John W. Kelly soon rid the city of that "slip." 

That system of long ago didn't include the cops. Now it takes in both departments, as it has done since the days of Chief Samuel Dodd, back in the early 90's. 

Philadelphia Inquirer
March 27, 1884



Philadelphia Inquirer
May 8, 1885

Jacob Kellum - Ladder Company 1
Point Street - Vine Street - Elm Street

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Philadelphia Inquirer - February 13, 1890
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Frank Turner - Jacob Kellum - Frederick Voigt - Henry Grosscup 
Ladder Company 1 - Engine Company 2 - North 4th Street - Cooper Street - Front Street - Erie Street

Philadelphia Inquirer

May 22, 1897

George B. Wade - Jacob Kellum
Engine Company 2
Temple College Academy
Penn Street - North 2nd Street
Cooper Street - Cooper Hospital

Philadelphia Inquirer

July 3, 1911

Woodbury Daily Times - September 13, 1918