WILLIAM J. LYONS was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in the spring of 1884 to serve as an extra man with Engine Company 2. He replaced Henry Miles. When the Fire Department was reorganized on July 1, 1885 and eighteen of the extra men were laid off, William J. Lyons was among that number. Active in Republican politics in Camden's First Ward, William J. Lyons was appointed to the Camden Police Department in November of 1899 and served into the 1920s.


William J. Lyons was born in Philadelphia to Scottish-born parents, James and Mary Lyons. When the Census was taken in 1860 he was living in Philadelphia with his mother, older sister Mary, and younger brothers Nelson and Samuel.

William J. Lyons married in the 1870s, and by 1878 had moved to 946 Howard Street in North Camden. City Directories and the 1880 Census show that he worked as a bakery. When the Census was enumerated William J. Lyons was living at 946 Howard Street with his wife Ellen "Nellie" Lyons and daughters Isabel and Nellie. The family remained on Howard Street into 1881. The 1882-1883 Directory gives his address simply as the corner 6th and Birch Streets.

Directories from 1883 through 1885 show that William J. Lyons had moved to 917 North 3rd Street. He briefly operated a bakery with his brother Nelson at the North 3rd Street address. The bakery was known, appropriately enough as Lyons & Brother.

The 1887-1888 City Directory shows that William J. Lyons had moved to 907 North 2nd Street and was in the grocery business. He moved to Philadelphia the next year, but by 1890 he had returned to North Camden. William J. Lyons lived at 907 North 2nd Street in 1890, and the 1892-1893 Directory gives his address as 909 North 2nd Street. He moved to 96 North Street in 1893, and began working as a deckhand on one of the ferries between Camden and Philadelphia, most likely at the Vine Street Ferry. When the 1896 Camden City Directory was published William J. Lyons had moved to 53 State Street, where he remained through at least 1906.

By 1910 William J. Lyons and family had moved to 130 State Street. His wife passed away during the 1910s. William J. Lyons was still living at 130 State Street, with his daughter Isabella and her husband William Schwab, when the Census was taken in April of 1930.

As stated above, William J. Lyons was appointed to the Camden Police Department in the fall of 1899. A news article from 1922 stated that he was 65 and was eligible to retire on pension. William J. Lyons apparently decided to keep working as City Directories and the 1930 Census indicate that he was still a member of the Police Department. 

William J. Lyons passed away during the 1930s. His daughter Isabel Schwab was still residing at 130 State Street as late as 1940.

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 27, 1883

Philadelphia Inquirer - April 7, 1899
William P. Osler - Bowman H. Shivers - William B. Doyle - William T.G. Young Jr. - John Kenney
William D. Sayrs Sr. - John R. McCabe - Ulie G. Lee
William Fithian - Martin McNeil - Joseph Cline - Thomas Thornley - George Townsend - John Sloan
Joseph Hofflinger - Horace Hewlings - Lee Mills - John Lack - Hamilton Brady - Lorenzo Berry
James Foster - Harry Hertline - Albert Gilbert - John T. Rodan - James Mellon - J.D. Cooper
Charles Powell - Walter Banks - Charles Evans - William Barr - Thomas Buchanan - John Kilmartin
William James - William Lyons - William Selby - Jesse Hillman - John Hofflinger - Caleb Williams
Adam Pettis - H.G. Morse - South 5th Street - Bridge Avenue - Chestnut Street

Philadelphia inquirer
February 16, 1914

Charles Rudolph
Margaret Rudolph
Milton Stanley
Edward S. Hyde
Elbridge B. McClong
Frank Crawford
Peter Gondolf
William Lyons
Harry Miller
Arthur Colsey
Thomas Reed
William Potter
Tabor Quinn
Charles Whaland
George W. Anderson
Albert Shaw
Thomas Cunningham
William C. Horner


Philadelphia Inquirer - November 24, 1914

William Lyons - O. Glen Stackhouse - Jesse Smith - Francisco Romano
Special Officer Brunett

Philadelphia Inquirer
September 26, 1899

Cooper B. Hatch
William Lyons
William Thompson
A. Lincoln James
Isaac Toy
James Tatem
Casper Hart
Thomas Brothers
George Purnell
John Anderson
Alfred S. Snow
David Clark
Thomas Reed
Howard McPherson
Edward R. Thomas
John Zane
William Horner

Camden Daily Courier * January 12, 1904
First Ward Republican Club - William E. Alberts - O. Glen Stackhouse - Joseph Kolb - Ephraim T. Hires
George F. Kappel - John Beard - Francis F. Patterson Jr. - George P. Pechin - Thomas Walton
Joseph Burt - Walter Banks - William Lyons - Charles Cook - William Weaver - Robert Finley
Samuel P. Jones - Antonio Mecca - John Leighton Westcott - William J. Bradley - Walter Banks
Joseph Potter - Joseph Baumeister - Dr. John F. Leavitt - Dr. William Iszard -
Joseph Logue

Bridgeton Evening News - December 31, 1906
Isaac Toy - South 3rd Street - Rev. Alfonso Dare - Wiley Methodist Episcopal Church
Charles H. Ellis - Elisha A. Gravenor - Harry Mines - Albert Shaw - Robert Colkett - Albert Keaser
William Todd -
William Lyons - Alonzo Dyer - Broadway - Berkley Street - Elm Street
Improved Order of Red Men - Camden Aerie No. 65 Fraternal Order of Eagles
 Third Ward Republican Club

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 26, 1922

E.G.C. Bleakly
John Golden
William E. Albert
John Painter
Charles Fitzsimmons 
Thomas Brothers
Edwin Thomas
Richard Golden
William Lyons
Milton Stanley - Howard Smith
Charles A. Wolverton
James E. Tatem
Edward Hyde

This story erred in reporting, as retirement at age 65 was NOT mandatory at the time. William E. Albert, Richard Golden, Frank Matlack, and Edwin Thomas did retire. John Golden, John Painter, Charles Fitzsimmons, Thomas Brothers, and William Lyons continued to work in the Police Department. John Golden was eventually promoted to Chief of Police.