R. C.


RICHARD ROSCOE COMPTON DONNELLY SR. was born September 14, 1890 to Roscoe C. Donnelly and his wife Ella. The Donnelly family was living in Cumberland County as far back as the 1870s. 

Roscoe Donnelly was a glassblower by trade. Sometime in the 1890s Roscoe Donnelly moved his family, which consisted of his wife, and sons Richard and Adolph, to the town of Cicero, in Jackson Township, Hamilton County, Indiana where he followed that trade. The family was living there at the time of the 1900 Census. 

By 1910 Roscoe Donnelly, now a widower, had returned to New Jersey, settling in Bridgeton NJ. He was still working as a glass blower, and sons Richard and Adolph were also working at a glass factory as helpers.

On June 5, 1917 Richard Donnolly registered for the draft. By this time he had wed, and his wife Rose Ella had bore on son Richard R.C. Donnelly Jr. The Donnelly's were still living in Bridgeton, where Richard Donnelly worked as a laborer at a canning factory. Shortly thereafter Richard Donnelly moved his family to Camden. He found work as a "special officer", another term for security guard, at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard at Broadway and Morgan Boulevard. When the Census was taken in January of 1920 the Donnellys were boarding at 747 Woodland Avenue with the family of William Marcus, who also was a "special officer" at the shipyard.

Richard Donnelly and his family do not appear in the 1925 Camden City Directory. His brother Adolph does, however, residing at 2205 South 7th Street, in the same neighborhood where his older brother had been living in 1920. 

Richard Donnelly joined the Camden Police Department in the early 1920s. By 1928 he had been promoted to detective in the Third Police District, which consisted of Cramer Hill and East Camden. He was often partnered with Detective Louis Schlam. By 1929 the two were neighbors, the Donnelly family living at 1017 Bergen Avenue, the Schlams at 1039 North 34th Street. Father Roscoe was living at the Bergen Avenue address in 1929, employed as a watchman at the Progressive Weaving Company at 3252 River Road. 

The 1930 census shows the Donnelly family still renting at the same address on Bergen Avenue. There were three children by April of 1930, Richard Jr., 14; James M, 9; and Rose M., two months old. Father Roscoe still lived with them. In 1932 the family moved to 1243 North 26th Street. 

On September 15, 1931 Detectives Donnelly and Schlam escorted James H. Kessler to the Skillman Village for Epilectics in Skillman, New Jersey. Kessler had been committed to Skillman by Judge Samuel M. Shay.

Richard Donnelly Jr. married Grace Berry in 1936. In May of 1940 Richard and Rose Ella Donnelly were at Moore's Beach in Cape May County when a small house fire broke out and cause their house at 1243 North 26th Street to collapse.

In August of 1942 Richard Donnelly was fishing at Green Creek with ex-Mayor Frederick von Nieda and his partner, Louis Schlam when Schlam suffered a fatal heart attack.

Richard Donnolly retired on pension on April 30, 1944. He and his wife had moved out of Camden by the time the 1947 City Directory was compiled, and he was not on the force in January of 1949. Richard Donnolly passed away on June 24, 1951.

World War I Draft Registration Card

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Camden Post-Telegram * August 19, 1925

Charles Younger - Y.M.C.A - Lewis H. Stehr Jr.
Joseph Connell -
John W. Golden
Charles T. Humes - Archie Riess
Walter A. Mertz - Engine Company 1

Everett Joslin - Joseph McDonald - Vernon Jones
Frank Nelson - William Rogers - Harold Dunnit
John Bright -
Edwin Callahan - Walter Larson
August Pflederer - Clarence Phifer - Thomas Welch
Stanley Wirtz - Charles Naylor - George Rothwell
Richard Donnelly - Lester Gleason - Joseph Keefe

Fred Schucker - Harry Wagner - Chris Moll
Harry Layton - Edgar Ellender - August Haverkamp
Frank Kuda - Harry Kleinfelder - William Foehle
Thomas Shanahan - Harrison Pike
Lester Anderson - William Wood
George Townsend - Allen Palmer - William Swartz Nelson Till - William MountneyJohn A.Strauss
Frank Obermann - Edward Menzies
John Mulligan - Frank Kates - Clifford Lane
Nelson Andrews - Harry Leigh

John Lennox - William Merrigan
Howard Walker - Harry Greenan - Peter Laird

Smith- could be David, George, Roy, or Spencer William Rudd?

Camden Motorcycle Sporting Club
Joseph Bernart
Frank DeViney
Carl Preisendanz
Edward Paul
Charles Ellis
George Gummel
Bennett Arnold
Clayton Albertson

Camden Courier-Post
January 31, 1928

Richard C. Donnolly
Louis Schlam
Elwood Antrim

Walter Gibbs
Worthing Truland

Federal Street
Friends Avenue
17th Street


Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1928

But Yeggs Must Leave Gats at Home While Cops Practice
With Camden's new Desperado Eliminators

Wanted: Targets for Camden’s new desperado eliminators. Bandits, burglars, snipers and their ilk are requested by Chief of Police James E. Tatem to apply at police headquarters Monday morning at 10 o’clock, when a practice shooting party will be held.

Chief Tatem said today Camden’s bandit-chasing squad is “just rarin’ to go” with six new automatic rifles guaranteed to shoot full of holes the toughest bandit in less time than it takes to say “Aligoop.”

For the further enlightenment of the bandit fraternity, Chief Tatem announced detailed instructions on how to use the new carbines will be given this afternoon at 3 o’clock to bandit chasing police by Captain Arthur Colsey and Herman Engle, a representative of Stein Brothers, this city.

The rifles arrived at police headquarters yesterday afternoon. They will be distributed in each of the city’s three police districts in the campaign to rid the city of desperadoes.

The weapons can fire a magazine of 20 shots in a few seconds. They will be mounted in the three red bandit chasing coupes used by the district squad members. One of the coupes is now being used by Archie Reiss and Vernon Jones in South Camden, while two others are expected to be delivered within a few days, according to Chief of Police James E. Tatem. They will be assigned to Walter Smith and Joseph Carpani, First district detectives and Louis Schlam and Richard Donnelly in the East Camden district.

Swivel attachments make it possible to fire the guns from a fixed point in an automobile. Detached they may be fired from the shoulder. Besides firing a magazine of 20 shots without stopping, they can be adjusted to single fire, using .45 caliber cartridges.

Instruction in the adjustment and use of the weapons will be given today by a representative of the company that sold them- at $175 each— to the city.

Camden Courier-Post - August 24, 1931
Robert Ashenfelter
Benjamin Simon
Charles Rettberg

American Stores
Robert Ashenfelter
Charles Rettberg 
Benjamin Simon
Pierce Avenue
North 32nd Street

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Camden Courier-Post - August 24, 1931

Robert Ashenfelter - Lawrence T. Doran
 Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - James Melbourne aka Melvin James
John Golden - Frank Evans - Gus Koerner - Charles Wainwright
Benjamin Simon - Joseph Shreeve - Elwood Humphreys - Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly - Charles Johnson - Lewis Smith - Charles Schultz
North 36th Street - Pierce Avenue - North 32nd Street - Bergen Avenue





August 24, 1931



Cleveland Plain Dealer - August 25, 1931

Camden Courier-Post * August 25, 1931
Robert Ashenfelter - Lawrence T. Doran
  Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - James Melbourne aka Melvin James
John Golden - Frank Evans - Benjamin Simon - Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly - Clifford A. Baldwin - Gordon L. McRae - Emmalinda Canilus
North 36th Street - Pierce Avenue - North 32nd Street - Bergen Avenue
Beideman Avenue

Camden Courier-Post * August 25, 1931

Two of the three purported accomplices of the burglar slain by police yesrerday, and the young woman whose statements helped to implicate them, are shown in the above  photographs. Above are James Melbourne, center, and Theodore Rettberg, left. The latter is a brother of Charles Rettberg, 1189 North 36th Street, shot in a gun battle yesterday with Detective Robert Ashenfelter, who was seriously wounded, and Policeman Frank Evans. Miss Emmalinda Canilus, a material witness, is shown at right. Melbournea and Rettberg confessed to planning the robber with the youth who was slain, the police say., 

Camden Courier-Post August 26, 1931

Gordon McCrae
Theodore Rettberg
James Melbourne


Camden Courier-Post * August 26, 1931

Robert Ashenfelter - Lawrence T. Doran
  Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - James Melbourne aka Melvin James
John Golden - Frank Evans - Benjamin Simon - Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly - Clifford A. Baldwin - Gordon L. McRae - Emmalinda Canilus
Mrs. Emma Bowden - Dr. H. Wesley Jack
North 36th Street - Pierce Avenue - North 32nd Street - Beideman Avenue

CAMDEN COURIER-POST * March 21, 1932


Three East Camden youths were a nested and held "on suspicion" early yesterday when policemen said they failed to explain satisfactorily why they were at Twenty-fourth and Howell Streets at 1:30 a. m.

Sergeant Edward Hahn and District Detective Richard Donnelly made the arrest. The youths gave their names as Charles Bowers, 17, of 1024 North Twenty-sixth street, Henry Allhiser, 17, of 2415 Howell Street, and James Devenney, 17, of 1161 North Thirty-third street. They will be questioned today. 


Camden Courier-Post
June 2, 1932

Garfield S. Pancoast
Carman Street
Benjamin Rosner
Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly
Mount Ephraim Avenue
Haddon Avenue

Newton Avenue



A man who, according to the police, attempted suicide by inhaling illuminating gas, was saved yester day afternoon by his sister who found him unconscious.

Louis Fox, 23, of 2406 Federal Street, was found in his room by his sister, Mrs. Sarah Finkelstein, of the same address. Mrs. Finkelstein and her husband conduct a store at 2501 Federal Street. When Mrs. Finkelstein returned to her home shortly before 3 p.m., she found her brother.

Detectives Richard Donnelly and Louis Schlamm took Fox to Cooper Hospital, where physicians said he would recover.

Camden Courier-Post

June 28, 1933

Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933

 Louis Fox, 23, of 2406 Federal Street, whose unsuccessful attempt at suicide landed him in Cooper Hospital suffering from inhaling gas fumes, is out of danger.

The young man was found unconscious at his apartment Tuesday with a gas jet open in the room. Detectives Louis Schlamm and Richard Donnelly took him to the hospital where he was questioned by Detective George Zeitz.

Fox will be arraigned before Police Judge Pancoast upon his release from the hospital, according to Zeitz. 


October 13, 1936

Camden Courier-Post * August 15, 1942
Richard Donnelly - Frederick von Nieda - Charles H. Ellis - Robert Ashenfelter - Victor S. King
North 30th Street