WILLIAM McKINLEY served as stoker with the Camden Fire Department on two separate occasions. He first served for one year beginning April 8, 1876, replacing Henry Grosscup. He was replaced in turn by William B. Gordon. William McKinley was reappointed in 1884 and served for one year.

William McKinley was born in New Jersey around 1854 to Isaac McKinley and his wife Sophia. The 1860 Census shows Isaac McKinley and his family living in Camden's South Ward with his wife Sophia and six year old son, William McKinley. Also at home was mother-in-law Martha Marks and brother-in-law Samuel Marks, then just a boy of 11. Three more children would follow, Adalaide, Martha, and Harry. Isaac McKinley was then working as a plumber. Isaac McKinley's next door neighbor was Claudius Bradshaw and his family; in future years Claudius Bradshaw would serve as Camden's Fire Chief and then as Mayor. Isaac McKinley and Claudius Bradshaw were roughly the same age, 26 and 24, respectively, at the time of the Census. Although they were related by marriage, they differed politically, as Bradshaw was a Democrat and McKinley deeply involved in Republican politics on a local level.

Tax records from 1866 show Isaac McKinley operating a cigar store at 5th and Plum Street. Plum Street was renamed Arch Street several years later. In September of 1871 Isaac McKinley was appointed Assistant Chief of the Camden Fire Department, in charge of the First District, south of Bridge Avenue. He served in this position until June of 1872. The McKinley family was then living at 515 Taylor Avenue. On May 29, 1873 City Council voted to eliminate the two Assistant Chief positions and consolidate the duties with one Assistant Chief. Isaac McKinley and John Olden left the Fire Department and Samuel S. Buzine retuned as Assistant Chief on June 4, 1873.

With Democrats taking control of City Council, on April 8, 1876 Claudius Bradshaw was elected Chief of the Camden Fire Department, and a host of new firemen were appointed to the Camden Fire Department. William McKinley was appointed Stoker with Engine Company 2. He was living at 214 Arch Street when appointed.  

The 1878-1879 City Directory shows Isaac McKinley working as a plumber and living at 324 South 2nd Street. His son William McKinley was at home, working as an engineer. The 1880 Census shows Isaac McKinley living at 318 South 2nd Street Street with his wife Sophia and two daughters. He was then working as a railroad car shop inspector. Next door at 316 South 2nd Street lived Isaac McKinley's son, William McKinley, who had served with the Camden Fire Department for one year as a Stoker under Chief Claudius Bradshaw in 1876 and 1877. William McKinley was working as a "fireman", but not in the field of fire fighting, rather, he was involved in keeping steam engines and equipment fueled. He was by then married to Josephine Hickman.

Through the 1880s Isaac and William McKinley's movements are as follows. The 1881-1882 Directory show them at the same addresses as in the 1880 census, William McKinley now is an "engineer". The 1883-1884 Directory shows Isaac at the same address, but now working as a car inspector for the West Jersey Railroad. William McKinley had moved to 314 South 2nd Street, is now a driller for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The 1884-1885 shows Isaac McKinley doing the same work and at the same address. William McKinley was appointed stoker for the Camden Fire Department under Chief Daniel A. Carter in the spring of 1884. He was again let go after one year when Samuel S. Elfreth is re-elected Chief.

In 1885 Isaac McKinley moved to 566 South 3rd Street, where he staid into 1888. William McKinley was still at 314 South 2nd Street. In 1887 William McKinley went to work as a car inspector for the West Jersey Railroad. He was then living at 213 Bridge Avenue, but moved to 404 Jackson Street by the middle of 1888. William McKinley moved to 209 Berkley Street by 1890 and kept working as a car inspector into 1891..

The 1890 Camden City Directory shows that Isaac McKinley had been appointed to the Camden Police Department. He was then residing at 556 South 3rd Street. He moved to 421 South 3rd Street by the middle of 1891.

Isaac McKinley stayed at 421 South 3rd Street through 1893, and worked as a policeman during this time, reaching the rank of lieutenant. The 1892-1893 City Directory shows that daughters Adelaide and Martha were also at home. William McKinley had move to 456 South 2nd Street and gone to work as an engineer, and is listed at 307 Line Street, as a engineer for Wilkins & Company in the 1893-1894 Directory.

A shift in political winds saw Isaac McKinley return to work as a car inspector by the time the 1894-1895 City Directory was being compiled. He had by then moved to 429 South 3rd Street. Son William McKinley continued work as an engineer, and was living at 329 Taylor Avenue.

The 1894 City Directory reveals that Isaac McKinley had died. His widow and son Harry were then living at 413 Broadway, and the 1897 Directory lists Sophia, Harry, and Adalaide McKinley at that address. William McKinley is listed in the 1895 City Directory at 418 William Street, but does not appear in Camden Directories or census sheets after that.

Martha McKinley married Walter Boone around 1898. Sophia McKinley is listed in the 1898 Directory, but not the Directory for 1899. Adelaide and Harry McKinley were living at 413 Broadway in 1899. The 1900 Census shows Adalaide McKinley living with her sister Martha and her family at 722 Berkley Street. Walter and Martha McKinley Boone were still at 722 Berkley Street as late as 1910.

Philadelphia Inquirer
March 27, 1884



Philadelphia Inquirer - August 11, 1885

William McKinley - Engine Company 2

Philadelphia Inquirer - September 8, 1885

Frank Turner Amedee Middleton - John Gray
William McKinley - Engine Company 2