WILLIAM W. LAIRD was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania about 1856 to Granville Laird and his wife, the former Mary Eckel. By 1870 the family, which included older siblings Ferdinand, Charles, and Louisa had relocated to Newton Township, where Granville Laird was in business as a tobacconist. By the late 1870s the family home was at 1728 Fillmore Street. Granville Laird later went into real estate at 1620 Broadway and served as a Justice of the Peace in the 1870S and 1880s. Newton Township was annexed to Camden in 1871. 

The 1878 Camden City Directory lists William Laird at Fillmore Street below Van Hook. 

The 1880 Census shows William Laird living in an unnumbered house on Van Hook Street with his wife, the former Mary V. Mears, and a son, William J. Laird. 

Directories from 1883 through 1885 show William Laird at 418 Webster Street. He had continued to work as a hat maker until his appointment to the Camden Fire Department as Stoker of Engine Company 1. 


In the spring of 1884 William W. Laird was appointed to the Camden Fire Department to serve as stoker with Engine Company 1. Daniel A. Carter was then the Chief of the Department. When Samuel S. Elfreth was elected Chief in 1885, William Laird was kept on as stoker.

In 1886 the Camden Steam Fire Engine Company Number 1 was located at 409 Pine Street in a three story 20 by 90 foot brick building (the old Independence Fire Company No. 3 engine house). The company's apparatus was an Amoskeag second class steamer (maker's plate 6318) drawn by two horses and one Silsby two wheel hose cart drawn by a single horse. The company was equipped with 1000 feet of good hose, axes, lamps, etc. The company roster included John Stockton, Foreman; G. Rudolph Tenner, Engineer; William Deno, driver; William W. Laird, stoker; Wilson Bromley and Jacob F Nesson, hosemen. Call Men were William Deith, Andrew Miller and William Bogia. Bromley and Bogia would later suffer line of duty deaths.

The 1887-1888 City Directory shows William Laird, a laborer, at 611 South 7th Street. The 1888-1889 editions show William W. Laird living at 717 Blaine Street, an working as the fireman in the boiler room at Camden's City Hall. He was still living at 717 Blaine Street when the 1890-1891 edition was compiled. He was then working for the Pennsylvania railroad as a conductor. The 1893-1894 Directory shows him at 428 South 2nd Street, and the 1895-1896 edition states that he lived at 729 Clinton Street and was working as a car inspector for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

It appears that William Laird moved to Philadelphia in the late 1890s. A daughter, Josephine Winifred Laird, was born in Philadelphia late in 1898. Sadly, she died of gastroenteritis on July 8, 1899. She was buried at Evergreen cemetery in Camden on July 11. 

William W. Laird passed away at some point prior to March of 1910. His widow Mary lived in Philadelphia until her passing on March 10, 1910. 

Philadelphia Inquirer * March 4, 1891

Philadelphia Inquirer * March 11,1910