Welch Sr.

SAMUEL MAGRAW WELCH SR.  was born in April of 1856 to William Welch and his wife, the former Rachael Beckett. The couple had married in Camden County on August 21, 1854. The 1860 Census shows the Welch family living in the North Ward (North Camden). Samuel was the oldest of the three children then at home, the others being younger brothers William and Francis. The family was still in North Camden in 1870, with four more children at home, being, in order of birth,  Elizabeth, Walter, Benjamin, and John.

Samuel Welch married Scotland-born Mary Hill around 1877. City Directories for 1878-1879 and 1879-1880 show Samuel Welch at 94 Erie Street, where he and his young wife lived with his mother and siblings.

The 1880 Census shows the young couple 

living at 938 Howard Street in North Camden with their 2 year old son William. Samuel Welch was by then following the blacksmith's trade, a profession he would work at for the rest of his active days. Another son, Samuel M. Welch Jr., was born in 1882. City Directories show that Samuel Welch and his family were living at 92 Erie Street from 1882 through 1884. His widowed mother and siblings were still living at 94 Erie Street.

On April 5, 1882 Samuel M. Welch was appointed to the Camden Fire Department as an extra man with the Hook & Ladder Company, replacing William Osler. Samuel Welch served for two years, then was replaced by C.H. Allen.

Samuel Welch moved to 88 Erie Street by the middle of 1885. By 1887 they had moved to 924 Howard Street, and stayed for at least one year. By that time he was in the employ of the Camden & Amboy Railroad.

By the middle of 1890 Samuel M. Welch Sr. had moved to "Fourth and Cooper" in what was then the Town of Stockton. Today this location is 1014 North 27th Street in the  Cramer Hill section of Camden. Then as now this would be at the heart of that part of town, and soon Samuel Welch became a well-known and well-respected member of his community. He soon became a member of Citizens Fire Company No. 1, one of the our volunteer fire companies that served Stockton prior to the 1899 merger with the City of Camden. From 1893 through 1896 Samuel M. Welch was the Chief Engineer of the Town of Stockton, a post equivalent to that of Chief of a municipal fire department. It appears that he was still a member of Citizens Fire Company No. 1 through February 28, 1900 and therefore was for a brief time a member of the Camden Fire Department. Whether he served with the Camden Fire Department beyond February 28, 1900 is not known as of December 2, 2008. 

The 1900 Census shows Samuel Welch and his with wife Mary and four children at 1014 North 27th Street. The children at home are Samuel M Jr., Charles, Jerome, and Jeanette (or Jannette?). Oldest son William, also a blacksmith, had married the year before and was living with his wife Mary at 670 North 27th Street. The immediate neighborhood was quite stable, many of the families then living there would maintain a local presence for 50 years or more in Cramer Hill and East Camden. Familiar names such as Pepeta, Selah, Koerner, Schmidt, and Frenzel all lived within a few paces of the Welch home.  

Samuel M. Welch Sr. remained on North 27th Street through at least 1920. Son Samuel Jr., a machinist by trade, married after 1900 and was living at 2803 Arthur Avenue when the 1906 City Directory was compiled. He moved to the Trenton area not long afterwards.

The 1920 Census shows Samuel and Mary still living at at 1014 North 27th Street. He was still working as a blacksmith. When the Census was taken he was employed at that trade by the railroad a few blocks east of his home. None of the Welch children were living at home when the Census was taken. Brothers Jerome and Charles in time also moved to Trenton. All of the Welch brothers later bought houses in Ship Bottom, New Jersey, as did several other members of the Welch extended family.

By 1924 Samuel M. and Mary Welch had left Camden. 1014 North 27th was headquarters of the Eleventh Ward Branch Socialist Party. In later years the Eleventh Ward Democrat Club made their headquarters at that address.

Samuel M. Welch died on November 20, 1921 and was buried in Camden at Evergreen Cemetery. While the 1930 Census shows Mary Welch living with daughter Jannette Hare at 903 North 5th Street, she spent more time in her later years at the shore in Ship Bottom, New Jersey. Mary Welch passed away on May 29, 1940.

Samuel Welch's nephew Walter T. Welch, the son of his brother William, had a long and distinguished career with the Camden Police department during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Citizens Fire Company No. 1

Citizens Fire Company No.1 was organized on December 4, 1890 at a meeting in the home of Ferdinand Sell on Sherman Avenue above Cooper Avenue (present-Day North 27th Street). The company's minute journal from that meeting listed the following members: Dr. William Kensinger, Joseph Dowell, Frank Hartmann, George W. Carlin, Frederick Smith, William H. Clarkson, George Marple, W.C. Rodgers, Ferdinand Sell, John H. Pratt, Robert Law, Isaac C. Stone, Oscar Rheyno, Jonathan F. Southcott, Edward Heimach, Aquilla S. Shimp, Abner Taylor, Samuel Jaquillard, Joseph Widud, Dr. J.A. George, Antoine Kenna and Dr. H.H. Sherk. Temporary officers were elected, the meeting was adjourned for one week and then reconvened to elect permanent officers. Frank Hartmann became president, Ferdinand Sell vice-president, George Carlin secretary, Isaac Stone treasurer and George Doerfuss, Herman Ladowig, William H. Clarkson, Robert Law and William M. Petzelt trustees. Several additional men became members at this meeting.

The company was located on Cooper Avenue opposite Cleveland Avenue on lots #13 and #14, section X in Pavonia, a subdivision of Stockton. When the streets were renamed after the 1899 merger of Camden and Stockton, this address became 715 North 27th Street. The two lots had been purchased in early 1891 for $250 from Alfred Cramer, a member of the company. A temporary engine house was built and occupied 13th of that year and a used hand engine was adopted for service. Prior to that date, members met at the Pavonia School or at a member's home. The company's first new piece of apparatus, a four-wheel hose carriage complete with hose and purchased from W.W. Wunder, was successfully tested on September 7, 1891 and placed in service.

According to the company's minute journal, the Citizens Fire Company No. 1 answered its first alarm at 6:15 A.M. on November 24, 1891 at the home of R. Yeager at Front (later Harrison Avenue) Avenue and Howard (later Dupont) Streets in the Pavonia section of Stockton. This large frame dwelling sustained only $200 in damages. The company stretched 500 feet of hose from the river and played a single stream on the fire with great success.

The men of the company referred to their hand engine as the "Little Pet".

The company erected its new headquarters at Cooper and Cleveland Avenues in the spring of 1893 at a cost of $3100. Edward Elliot designed the two-story firehouse which the company occupied on June 28,1893. By the end of that year the company boasted a membership of eighty-seven men. On January 1, 1895 the membership voted to purchase a horse-drawn hose carriage for $585 - a Gleason & Bailey Pompier Hose Carriage (figure 610, number 0). On the twenty-fifth of that month the old hand engine was sold for $200 to Gleason & Bailey. The new hose carriage arrived on May 1, 1895, and a stable was built to shelter the horses. The company's motto was "Where duty calls, there you will find ·us".

Philadelphia Inquirer * April 7, 1882

G. Rudolph Tenner
James McCracken
Daniel Bromley - John S. Kelly
Michael McCaffery
James H. Brown
Thomas McKenna
James Shinn - Smith Moore
William Irelan
William Bassett
John Hill - James Read
Robert Miller - William Marsh
George Moffett - John J. Logan
Isaac M. Shreve - Samuel Welsh
Lewis Ferrell - Logan Bates
Isaac Collings - Harry Miles
John W. Elliott - William Turner
Charles Holl - John J. Hibbs
John Seybold - James H. McCann
Edward Swope - William Suders

Philadelphia Inquirer * September 18, 1885



Philadelphia Inquirer
April 24, 1895

Robert Selah - Samuel S. Elfreth - Citizens Fire Company No. 1 - Samuel Welch Sr. - John G. Schramm
George Doerfuss - Frederick Feil - John Hoosey - Moritz Gratz - Charles Voigt - Jacob Walz
Joseph Diehm -
Christopher L. Dietz - Frank Powell - Thomas O'Hara - Charles Kleeman - Jacob Schiller
Thomas Tracy - S.H. Long - John J. Trost - Mrs. Brown - Jacob Bendinger - William Denneller
August Muench - Gottlieb EIsener - John Costello - Mrs. Rugart - Harry G. Vennell
Charles Mangold - Louis Everly - William Cronmiller - Edward Grantz

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 31, 1895

William Penn Hook & Ladder Company - Pavonia Hose Company - Samuel M. Welch - Charles Eckles

Citizens Fire Company No.1
November 28, 1895

Members of the Citizens Fire Company No.1 with hose carriage are pictured in front of their new firehouse in the mid 1890s. The building was located on Cooper Avenue across from Cleveland Avenue, which, after 1899, was known as 715 North 27th Street.

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Philadelphia Inquirer
November 29, 1895


Helmet worn by
Samuel M. Welch Sr.
during his term as
Chief Engineer
Town of Stockton, New Jersey

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19th Century Volunteer Fire Companies often had children as company mascots who were attired in parade dress for official functions. This small leather tunic belt and frontpiece belonged to a company mascot of the Citizens Fire Company No. 1 of East Camden. Circa 1890.

Classic 8" high leather frontpiece was mounted upon a helmet worn by a member of Citizens Fire Company No. 1. Partial initials at bottom of front-piece indicate initials of member's name. Circa 1890.

Trenton Times

March 14, 1898

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 24, 1898

Citizens Fire Company - Samuel Welch 
Samuel S. Elfreth

Mary Welch
Ship Bottom, New Jersey
circa 1930

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