JOSEPH CRAMER was the brother of Alfred Cramer, who developed what came to be known as the Cramer Hill section of Camden, and for whom the Cramer School in East Camden is named. Joseph Cramer also had a long career in real estate, and was responsible for developing large tracts in East Camden and Pennsauken, including the Delaware Gardens section near River and Browning Roads.

Joseph Cramer passed away in 1932. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Camden next to his first wife, Elizabeth, and five of their children who died young. When he was developing East Camden, he named Merriel Avenue, between 36th Street and Rosedale Avenue, in honor of his wife's family.

South Jersey: A History 1624-1924

JOSEPH CRAMER—The Cramer family is one of the oldest in New Jersey. Joseph Cramer, grandfather of the present Joseph Cramer, was born in New York State, one of a large family. He was the first Protestant Episcopal preacher in the United States, and founded the Protestant Methodist Episcopal Church of Barnesboro, New Jersey, said to be the first in this country. He was a circuit-rider. His wife, Deborah Cramer, died in 1865. 

Isaac Cramer, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in 1820, at Blackwood, New Jersey. He learned the wheelwright's trade, which he followed. He married, in December, 1841, Mary Bee, and became a business man and farmer at Creesville, New Jersey, where he raised a family. He had four children: Hiram, a soldier in the Civil War, killed at Chancellorsville, May 13, 1863; Alfred, who became a builder and developed and built Cramer Hill, Camden, New Jersey; Joseph, to be mentioned further; and Mary, who died at the age of twelve years.

Joseph Cramer was born in Creesville, Gloucester County, New Jersey, March 31, 1847. He was educated in the Bethel Township public school. He worked on his father's farm for several years, and finally established a general store at Creesville, New Jersey, formerly called Cramer's Corners. He ran this store for six years in conjunction with his farm. In 1876 he came to Camden and started a general store at the corner of Twenty-seventh Street and Westfield Avenue, Cramer Hill, which he conducted until 1887, when he entered the real estate business, which he has continued until the present time. In 1910 he took his two sons, Joseph and Wayland, into his business, forming the Cramer Realty Company. He is now turning over the handling of his business to his sons, although still holding the position of chief executive of the firm. The business as a whole is divided into four distinct companies: First, the Cramer Realty Company; second, Joseph Cramer, Incorporated, of which the father is president; third, the Cramer Agency, of which he is president; and fourth, Cramer-Bilt Homes, Incorporated, of which he is director. The firm is one of the largest in Southern New Jersey. During operations of the firm it has laid out in lots and sold twenty-one different farms, of which the last was Delaware Gardens. Mr. Cramer is a member of Camden Lodge, No. 15, Free and Accepted Masons, but has retired from activity in it. He was converted in 1865 to the faith of the Baptist Church of Camden, New Jersey. He is a member and deacon in the Grace Baptist Church of Camden, and has been a member of it since its organization. He has been senior deacon since 1884. He has helped to build eight Baptist churches and missions in Camden. His hobby is church work. He had a notable part in organizing and managing the Community Baptist Church at Fiftieth and River avenues, Camden. 

In August, 1870, Mr. Cramer married, at Woodbury, New Jersey, Elizabeth Merriel, a native of Woodbury, this State, daughter of John C. and Mary A. Merriel, the former born in Coventry, England. He came to the United States in 1849, settling first in Camden and later in Woodbury. He was a tailor by trade, but later became a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Cramer are the parents of eight children—three of whom are living: Elizabeth, the fourth child, who married Clifford Shaffer, now residing in Oceanside, California. 

The seventh child, Wayland Post Cramer, was born in Cramer Hill, October 14, 1885. His early educational training was acquired in the Camden public schools, and he later attended Temple University, Philadelphia, finally covering a course and graduating from Peddie Institute at Hightstown, New Jersey, in 1908. Thereafter he entered the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in the class of 1909. His early activities were in real estate, and he has done much to promote organized effort in the general field. His name is recognized in this connection as one of influence and definite power. He was one of the organizers of the Cramer Realty Company, of which he is vice-president and general manager. He is vice-president of Joseph Cramer, Incorporated, vice-president of the Cramer Agency, and is a director and chairman of the executive committee of Cramer-Bilt Homes, Incorporated. He is also identified with constructive and allied effort as a director of the Camden Materials Company; the Jersey Mortgage Company; the Central Investment Company; the Atlas Steel Works; the Market Building and Loan Association; and he is also a director of the Camden Chamber of Commerce of which he was president in 1922, and director of the East End Trust Company. Fraternally he is affiliated with Trimble Lodge, No. 117 Free and Accepted Masons, of Camden; Siloam Chapter, No. 19, Royal Arch Masons; Crusade Commandery, No. 23, Knights Templar; and Crescent Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Trenton; and a member of Camden Lodge, No. 293, of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is a charter member of the Camden Club and Tavistock Country Club; a charter member and first president of the Camden Lions Club, and a director of the Lions International. He attends Grace Baptist Church of Camden. On June 19, 1909, he married at Highland, Pennsauken Township, Camden County, New Jersey, Marguerite Dean Brooks, daughter of Charles John and Annie D. (Scovel) Brooks. Mr. and Mrs. Cramer are the parents of four children: Dorothy, born May 30, 1913; Elizabeth Merriel, born October 14, 1915; Richard Scovel, born August 6, 1918; and Janice, born May 6, 1924. 

Joseph, the eighth child, attended the Camden schools, and then the University of Pennsylvania, prior to which he had attended Peddie Institute at Hightstown, New Jersey, from which he graduated in 1910. During the World War he was a lieutenant in aviation, and commissary commandant at Carlstron Field, No. 1, Arcadia, Florida. While at the University of Pennsylvania he obtained his letter playing football on the Varsity team, and was the captain of the football team at the Heightstown Academy. He is now in the real estate business with his father and brother. He is a charter member of the Camden Club and the Tavistock Country Club.

Partial Deed from 1894
showing partnership consisting of James Griffee and Joseph Cramer
Click on Image to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer
December 8, 1895
Rev. A.G. Lawson  - North Baptist Church - S.W. Wheeler
J.J. Stewart - Charles Tushingham - A.J. Smith -
Joseph Cramer
Charles Rudderow - D.F. Todd - Harry Barton - Dr. H.H. Sherk
Smith Townsend - William Frazier - Rev. J. Tushingham 
B.C. Rudderow - E.C. Townsend - William Miller - James K. Asay
William Morton - Harry Wilson - Charles White - Lemuel Horner
Rev. George W. Ridout - H.L. Denlinger - John Manning
John Keen -
Alfred Cramer - E. Hancock - W.J. Fox - A. Lapp
John Crawford

Camden Courier-Post - April 2, 1928

Man 80, Foster-Daughter Secretly Wed 5 Days Ago


Joseph Cramer, wealthy 80 year-old East Camden real estate operator was married last Thursday to Miss Mary L. Kerler, his foster daughter, it was learned today.


Although their intentions to be married was made known a week ago, when they applied for a marriage license at Camden City Hall, the couple kept their wedding a secret except to their most intimate friends until today.


 The Ceremony was performed Thursday morning at the Cramer Home 3311 Federal Street, over which Miss Kerler has presided since the death of the aged real estate man’s first wife about 15 months ago. Rev. E. Paul Smith, pastor of Grace Baptist Church officiated and only a small group of relatives attended. Among those were Wayland P. Cramer and Joseph M. Cramer, sons of the elder Cramer who are associated with him in business.


Mrs. Cramer is 58 years old, 22 years her husband’s junior. Since childhood she has lived with Cramer and his first wife. She describes the latter as “my dearest friend who was like a mother to me.” In marrying, the couple state, they feel that they are carrying out the wishes of the first Mrs. Cramer.


The ceremony was performed at the first possible opportunity after the expiration of the three-day period, which under law, must elapse after the application for a marriage license.


Cramer owns large real estate holdings in East Camden and is president of the Cramer Real Estate Company and secretary-treasurer of the Cramer Agency, Inc. and Cramer- Bilt Homes, Inc. His sons are the other officials of all three companies.

3311 Federal Street
Home to Joseph Cramer & Family from the 1890s through the 1930s