WILLIAM ANDREW HUNTER WHITE was one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department, entering service on December 7, 1869 as an extra man with Engine Company 1. Prior to entering the fire department he had worked as a wharf builder. He was living at 905 South 4th Street when he joined the department in the fall of 1869.

William A.H. White was born in Philadelphia in March of 1837. He married Henrietta Wible in the 1850s and by 1860 was living in Camden's South Ward, where he worked as an iron moulder. The Whites had one child at the time of the census, also named William, two months old in July of 1860. Two daughters were born in the 1860s, Isabella and Madge. William A.H. White did not serve in the military during the Civil War but contributed to the war effort, making cannon- balls in a foundry in Camden. He became a volunteer fireman with the Shiffler Hose Company. He also became interested in politics, as a member of the Republican party.

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 Department) 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.

On 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 and the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth and Arch 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.  

Two 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.

This is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest corner of Fifth and Arch 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 order.  


This 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.  

Badges 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.

Although 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 December 9th.

The new members of the paid force were:            

Engine Company 1

George Rudolph Tenner, Engineer; William H. Clark, Driver;
Thomas McLaughlin, Stoker

Extra Men (call members)

Thomas Allibone           

Badge #1

William Deitz               

Badge #2

George Horneff  

Badge #3

John J. Brown        

Badge #4

William A. White            

Badge #5

James Sutton

Badge #6

Cornelius M. Brown    

Badge #7

Alexander Peacock    

Badge #8

Samuel Buzine 

Badge #9

Jesse Chew 

Badge #10

The 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).


William A.H. White resigned from service with the Camden Fire Department on April 18, 1871. He served as a Camden police officer at different times in the 1870s. William A.H. White remained politically active, and was a member of the Fifth Ward Republican Club for many years. He was close with General George M. Robeson, who had served as Secretary of the Navy and as Congressman from Camden. William A.H. White also worked for Camden's Water Department in the 1890s, but for most of his working days was employed as an iron moulder with the Jesse W. Starr Iron Works and its successor company, the R.W. Woods Iron Works.

The Whites were still in Camden's South Ward at the time of the 1870 Census. Two more children would come after the Census, Joseph and Ola. As stated above, the family was living at 905 South 4th Street in December of 1869. The Camden City Directory for 1878-1879 shows William A.H. White and family living at 1022 South 5th Street. They had moved to 338 Walnut Street by the following year, and to 342 Walnut Street prior to the 1880 Census. William A.H. White and family remained at this address through 1899, when his wife, Henrietta Wible White, passed away. The 1900 Census shows him living with his daughter, "Bella" Farley and her husband Joseph and their children at 935 St. John Street in South Camden. 

In 1904 William A.H. White suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He moved in with his daughter Madge and her husband John Rice, who lived in Almonesson in Deptford Township, Gloucester County. William A.H. White died of another stroke on March 9, 1907

(written circa 1974) 

Joseph Francis Farley was the grandson of William A.H. White

My father’s name was Francis Joseph Farley. His father was Patrick Farley; his mother was Catherine, she was from the Duffs, a wealthy family. The family was a large one. Uncle George Farley was in the civil war, for years was in a Washington, D.C. hospital, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Uncle Harry was a gardener, worked in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. Uncle William stayed home with the parents at 760 N. 22nd St, Philadelphia. Uncle Jim left home when young man, was in Chicago, Ill. He had a business called Nite Watch. Francis J. (my father). Anna only daughter. 

Grandfather Patrick died in the blizzard in Philadelphia. In 1898. Grandma Catherine was already gone . What happened to Harry and William? Anna married and passed away. 

I believe my grandfather Patrick and his brother came from County Meath in Ireland 
together. James A. Farley (U. S. Postmaster General) I was told was the offspring of this 
brother. Grandfather Patrick had an only sister who had a string store about l8th and 
Catherine (Philadelphia.), she never married. She spelled her name Anna Farrelly. She was aged when as a small boy I saw her. 

Francis J. Farley was my father. He was an entertainer in his early days, had a fine baritone voice and sang in various clubs in Philadelphia. He married later in life, about when he was 30-31 (Note: from census records, he was about 28). He was a big man – 6’- and was born in Philadelphia. After his marriage he lived in Camden, N.J. He told me that as a young boy his father Patrick took him to see Abraham Lincoln, whose coffin was taken around in different cities. One thing I remember, when I was a small boy he took me to see Billy Penn’s statue—it was in the courtyard of City Hall with a fence around it. Now Penn is on top of City Hall, Philadelphia., about 500 ft. or better high. Dad died in Philadelphia. where we all lived at that time. He was stricken on the street when he went walking and riding the trolley from Bywood, Upper Darby to 69th St. He was then living with daughter Lillie. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, in our family plot. (Note: Arlington Cemetery is in Delaware Co., Penna.) 

My mother’s name before her marriage was Isabelle White. She was one of four children of William A. White and Henrietta White. She had a sister Madge, these two young women were called ‘belles’ among their friends. All these lived in Camden, NJ. Lovely pretty girls. I loved my mother very much, but refuse to say how I proved it. As a young boy I worried her, being very active, full of mischief. We lived in Camden, NJ. (Note: later addition to the story: Joe didn’t do well in public school, so they put him in Catholic school. He was afraid of the building and refused to go. Finally he returned to public school but quit at age 11 to go to work, they needed money. He said he was 14 and got working permit.) 

Dad worked hard. Rent was cheap, wages were low, food reasonable. You had to cook on a gasoline stove or a wood burning stove. If you had a heater in the cellar coal then was $4.25 long ton, coke was $1.00 cart load. Where we lived we had no cellars. Toilets were in the back yard. One thing I remember was that black stockings for me 
were 10 cents pair, but when they were washed all the black dye came out, turned gray; that I did not like. Those button shoes were hard on the instep; rather go barefoot, that we did in the summer. 

When Grover Cleveland was President (2nd term) we had a depression—no work, soup houses everywhere. Friends took Mother, small sister and I in their home in SW Philadelphia. Dad went with friends. Then some better times came and we all went back and found a four room house in Camden, NJ. Got our things out of storage. This house had no cellar. $5.00 rent a month. Water was a hydrant in back yard. Toilet also. Heat was our wood and coal burning stove. For 10 cents we bought our coal. Sure it was cold to live there, especially upstairs.

Before this time Mother had twins. Lilly, my sister, and William, who died soon after birth. Mother passed away as near as I remember about age 65. (Note: these are approximate dates): born 1861 died 1926. We then lived in W. Philadelphia. So we buried her on a Sunday, and as Penna. Law did not allow that, the Whites had a family plot in Camden, NJ, at Evergreen Cemetery and we buried her there. 

William A. White and Henrietta, her parents, had a good family. Children: William, Joseph, Madge, Ola, Isobell. Grandpa White told me how he, as a young man, worked in a foundry making cannon balls for the Civil War. This was in Camden, NJ, where all the Whites lived. He was a prominent man in Camden, interested in politics. (Note: He also was a policeman at the Centennial celebration in 1876.) Every Decoration Day he would take me out to Evergreen Cemetery where we would decorate the graves. I would find a water pump and carry it for our new plants. He and I always had a good time. On his birthday all his grandchildren would give him a 5 cent bandana handkerchief. At Christmas time he would dress as Santa Claus and present us with Christmas gifts. He died in his 70’s, but don’t know his birth or death dates. But I sure loved Grandpop White. 

Henrietta, his wife, was a small woman; always sick as I remember. Typhoid then was 
common; I think she died from it. In those days the dead were put in a tin coffin. First 
ice was packed around the corpse. One thing I remember—my mother always stayed by that coffin all night. You could hear the drip drip of the water in a can. Grandma White came from an old family named Wible. Great grandpop Wible was a sea captain and 
lived with Grandpop White. He was an old man as I remember. He also was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. How well I remember these my grandparents. The date of her birth, death, I don’t know, as I was a small boy, 6-7. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. 

That about covers the Whites. Mother thought there was some relation in south NJ., 
Richardsons, who had charge of a lighthouse at Cohansey NJ. I never met them. Down near Bridgeton, NJ. 

William her son had a very large family. He married Minnie Lach, whose parents lived on Spruce St. They made pretzels. All this was in Camden, NJ. Uncle William had a great talent as an artist. One time he had work in a store. He made a lovely drawing of every street in Camden—it was a work of art. William sometimes did door-to-door advertising in Camden. His wife Minnie was the mother of 5 children; died after her last birth. That left a large family to care for later. The birth, death of these I don’t know, but all of them took place when I was 8 or 9 years old (Note: 1893-94). 

Uncle Joe (mother’s brother) was a fine workman, paperhanger. He decorated in 
many places in NJ ad Pa., especially fine workman of the saloons. He made designs of small pieces of paper mixed with glue and water, and put these around the ceilings. His birth, death dates I don’t know, I was still a young boy when he died. Now the girl Ola (mother’s sister) was a beautiful girl. She enjoyed the way of life in those days, but a good girl. She had loads of friends. In those days people had lung trouble, they called it not TB but consumption. At age 16 she passed away, probably about 1895-96. 

Madge, whom I called Dadsey, married a friend of my Dad’s, John R. Rice. He was 
a good man, kind of a lay preacher now and then. He was manager of a very large department store in Camden about one block long but not wide. He raised gold fish, sold them in the store. I often visited in their house next door to the store. I am now growing up some. I liked their small house. He and my Dad were in show business and they performed together, singing and dancing. 

Madge and John had one daughter, Mazie, and a small brother who had a soft spot on his head and who lived some 30 years. He was helpless, never spoke a word. Had to be cared for like an infant. Mazie had great talent as an artist – never married, helped to care for her brother John. She was a beautiful person, large blue eyes, had great sense of humor. Her father (John R.) bought up small homes in Camden—he was in real estate business. When he died he left all these run down places in Mazie’s care. (Her Mother is now dead). Taxes came every year, poor people could not pay rent, so she turned all these properties over to the city. She sold other house and one time had a large property in Cape May, NJ. They lived in Almonesson, NJ, a lovely place and home. As she grew older and sickly, she turned all these over to an Episcopal home in NJ. Helen and I visited her, found it a lovely place. We had lunch with them. Mazie played the piano, but she felt out of place, so many old people there. What a lovely cousin she was. There was 9 months between our birthdays. She was about 80 when she died. One good friend she had was a Senator of NJ. She was buried near her old home in Almonesson, this is near Woodbury, NJ. A sweet, dear person born 1886. 

Comes to mind when both of us would go to her house. She had her Grandmother Wible’s organ. She would play the organ and I would sing ‘Sweet Sixteen’, was a favorite then. Her Ma would always call me Joey. 


Philadelphia Inquirer - April 19, 1871
Daniel W. Curlis - John I. Smith - Charles M. Hay
Thomas E. Mason -
James W. Ayers - Daniel Johntra
Charles Catting - William Chambers - Theodore W. Jones
Abraham Lower - William H. Hawkins - William D. Middleton
Thomas H. Coles - John W. Campbell - Samuel Mortland 

William A. White
- John J. Brown - Jesse C. Chew
Cornelius M. Brown - Joseph Muinbaeck - Jacob Hefflenger
Miles Morgan - Henry L. Johnson - William Campbell
William Howard

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 5, 1872

Officer Charles S. Cotting has resigned from his position on the police force of Camden and William A. White, ex-officer, has been appointed by Mayor Gaul in his place.  

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 19, 1872

William A. White

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 17, 1886

Jesse Pratt - Wiliam White - William Smith
James Gibson -
Cooley Smith - John Kelly
Kaighn Avenue - Mt. Ephraim Avenue

Philadelphia Inquirer * November 13, 1895

William Joyce Sewell - John R. McPhersonWilliam J. Browning
George S. West - Harry C. Sharp - Walter Phillips - Christopher J. Mines Jr.
Thaddeus P. Varney - Charles Sayrs - J.O. Smith - Jesse Carey
Joseph Bromley - William White

- March 11, 1907

Former Camden Politician Expires Suddenly At Daughter's Home. 

William H. White, aged 70 years, one of the best known men down town, died on Saturday at the residence of his daughter at Almonesson, N.J. where he had been living for about five months.  About three years ago Mr. White was stricken with paralysis of the left side rendering his arm and leg helpless. He had finished eating his supper about twenty minutes, when he suddenly lifted both arms above his head, rose from  his chair and fell back dead. A physician who was summoned said that  death was undoubtedly due to another stroke of paralysis. The funeral will take place on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the  residence of his daughter Mrs. Joseph Farley, 834 Carpenter Street. Interment will be private. The remains can be  reviewed Tuesday evening. 

William H. White was born in Philadelphia and in his early life worked as a moulder for the Jesse W. Starr Iron Works, now the R.D. Wood Iron  Works. During the Civil War Mr. White cast a number of bombs and shells for use in that deadly conflict. For years Mr. White kept a hotel at Mechanics Hall, now Washington Hall, then located in what was known as the South ward. He always took an  active part in politics and during the days of George M. Robeson was one of the latter's foremost political friends. Mr. White served as a policeman under Mayor Gaul and was connected  with the Water Department for over twenty years. He was a member of the Fifth Ward Republican Club and Shiffler Hose Company volunteers, both of which organizations and the R.D. Woods Iron Works Employees, will send delegations to the funeral. 

When first stricken with paralysis Mr. White was visited by ex-Sheriff Calhoun and several other old-time friends who talked consolingly to him. "Don' t worry about me," was White's invariable reply, " I'll outlive all of you."  His prediction came true.