On March 24, 1899 the City of Camden annexed the adjoining municipality, the Town of Stockton, whose citizens chose to join the City after a close and hard-fought election. Stockton was comprised of what today is known as Cramer Hill and East Camden, all of Camden that lies north of the Cooper River was originally Stockton. Cramer Hill became Camden's Eleventh Ward, and East Camden the Twelfth. Camden's City Council authorized the sale of bonds to build a new firehouse in the new part of town, at North 27th Street and Federal Streets (a library and police station was also built on the same ground), and in South Camden on Kaighn Avenue between South 6th and South 7th Streets.
Prior to the annexation, Stockton had been served by five volunteer fire companies. These companies remained on active duty as part of the municipal fire department for several months after the annexation to Camden. They went off-line at midnight, February 28, 1900, relieved from their duties by the newly organized Hook and Ladder Company No. 3, Hose Company No. 1, and Hose Company No.2.
Of the Stockton volunteer fire companies, the first to organize was the William Penn Hook & Ladder Company No.1, organized on March 15, 1885 and incorporated June 21, 1889. The Citizens Fire Company No. 1 organized in December of 1890, and in mid-1892 the Stockton Hose Company No. 2 was organized. Pavonia Hose Company No. 3 was founded about the same time, joined lastly by Rosedale Fire Company No. 4 few years later.
According to the minutes of the Citizens Fire Company No. 1, a meeting was held on Wednesday, November 6, 1895 to form this new company. John S. Coleman and Thomas Leas spearheaded the movement. There is other information, however, that a Rosedale Fire Brigade was formed by these same men at a meeting in Argosy Hall, 3016 Federal Street, during 1894 and that its first firehouse was opened on January 18, 1895 at the corner of North 36th Street and Rosedale Avenue. The company did incorporate on April 28, 1896 as the Rosedale Fire Company No. 4. The incorporators were Benjamin S. Hewitt, George Keefe, Joseph H.K. Johnson, Edwin S. Matlack, Jesse B. Milby, Daniel Rich, William A. Radcliffe, Herman H. Rose, Frederick W. Schorber, Loring Sparks, Christian S. Stark, Alfred Taylor, and Simon Watkins.
The company purchased land near the northeast corner of Thirty-sixth Street and Federal Street and moved their existing building to this location. In the spring of 1898 additional ground was purchased and a new two-story firehouse was built at a cost of $1200. It was used as a firehouse for less than two years, as Stockton became a part of the City of Camden the following spring.
When the Town of Stockton merged with Camden in 1899, the volunteer fire companies remained active for several months brief time. On June 25, 1899 the Stockton companies rendered assistance to the Camden Fire Department when the Moro Phillips Chemical Company factory at North Twelfth Street at Linden Street was struck by fire, resulting in $60,000 worth of damage and injury to three Camden firefighters, Joseph Maxwell, David Andrews, and William Hertline.
The City of Camden assumed responsibility for fire service in Cramer Hill and East Camden at the end of February, 1900. The Rosedale Fire Company and the other Stockton Fire Companies disbanded. Some of the Stockton volunteers including Rosedale's Christian S. Stark, Elmer Ellsworth Stevens of Stockton Hose Company No. 2, Robert Gick of Pavonia Hose Company No. 3 were hired by the Camden Fire Department. Josiah S. Pedigree of 104 North 36th Street, who also joined the Camden Fire Department at that time, was most likely a member of Rosedale Fire Company No. 4.
The Rosedale Fire Company No. 4 fire house was occupied by Cartun Hardware in 1923 and served the firm, first as retail space and later as a warehouse, into the 1950s.
Rosedale Hose Company
The only known photograph of the Rosedale Fire Company No. 4. The ornate cornice above the second floor displays the company's date of incorporation.
Click on Image to Enlarge
Fire Company No. 4 Membership Certificate
September 21, 1897
|Click on Image to Enlarge|
|Philadelphia Inquirer - November 26, 1897|
Gick - Martin J. Ryan - George Bremen - Millard Daly
Jesse Milby - Samuel N. Johnson - J.C.T. Trachsel
William Abels - Samuel S. Elfreth - Colonel A.H. Troth
Stockton Hose Company - Citizens Fire Company - Rosedale Fire Company
William Penn Fire Hook & Ladder Company
|Philadelphia Inquirer - January 8, 1899|
A.L. Sherk - Improved
Order of Red Men
Rosedale Fire Company
Joseph H.K. Johnson - Clarence Furman
Simon Watkins - Eber Hutchinson - John W. Coleman
Jesse Milby - B. Reed - W,T, Waller
Citizens Fire Company
Be Sure to Click on Images for Enlarged Views
Many of the photographs on this website are from the limited edition book "Fire Department Camden NJ 125 Anniversary 1869-1994" and were taken by Department Photographer Bob Bartosz. Others are courtesy of Joel Bain of the Camden Fire Department.
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