AUGUSTUS ZIMMERMAN was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department,
entering service on December 7, 1869 as an extra man with Engine Company
2. His brother Charles
G. Zimmerman was also an original member of the department,
serving with the Hook and Ladder Company.
A. Zimmerman was the son of Gottlieb and Mary Zimmerman. He was
born in Philadelphia on November 24, 1830. The family lived in
Philadelphia through at least 1845 before moving to New Jersey.
The Census of 1850 shows the family living in Camden's North
Ward. Besides Theodore and his parents the family included older
siblings Andrew, Rose, Caroline, and younger children
Hannah, Charles, Louisa and Henry. Gottlieb Zimmerman's
occupation was given as landlord, in 1860 his occupation was
"gentleman". The 1860 Census shows Charles, his
parents and younger siblings living in Camden's North Ward.
A Zimmerman married in the 1850s. The 1860 Census shows that he
kept a restaurant. He and wife Anna were then the parents of two
children, a boy and a girl. He drilled with the Washington
Grays, an independent militia organized by Richard H. Lee and
others. The Washington Grays entered service in 1861 as Company
F, 4th Regiment, New Jersey Infantry.
Zimmerman served in Civil War as a Second Lieutenant (also referred to
as an Ensign) with the Company F, 4th Regiment, New Jersey Infantry,
from April 27 to July 31, 1861. His younger brother Charles also served
with this unit, as did others who would play a role in Camden in future
years. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at
Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the
state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned officers and 743
non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777. On the
evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th it was
ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a few days
the entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was
honored by a visit from the president, who warmly complimented the
appearance of the troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the
2nd and 3d regiments and about midnight took up the line of march
in silence for the bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was
crossed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted
at Roach's spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on
the Alexandria road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th
for a section of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important
to hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge;
still another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of
the regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to
Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th
returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31,
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. William
Abels was also the brother-in-law of Charles
G. Zimmerman, brother of Theodore A. Zimmerman.
Prior to entering the fire department Theodore Zimmerman kept a
hotel and had worked as a mail
agent. He was living at 212 Bridge
Avenue when he joined the department.
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 Engine
Company 2 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).
A. Zimmerman was removed from service with the Camden Fire Department on
April 18, 1871. He moved to Wall Township in Ocean County, and
in time opened up a hotel known as the Osborn House. Theodore A,
Zimmerman died on August 28, 1916 in Mt. Pleasant, New Jersey. He was
buried at Atlantic View Cemetery in Manasquan, New Jersey.
Zimmerman's son, Arthur A.
Zimmerman, was the premier bicycle racer in the world in the 1890s
and early 1900s