Part 9: The Early History of the City of Gloucester City: 1845 Mail Delivery Begins; A City is Born; 1st Boy Scouts
Postal Service in Gloucester City
Local Post Office Marks Establishment of Mail Here in 1845
Too busy with war time mail and work, plus the shortage of manpower, Postmaster Louis C. Parker and his staff were unable to observe the 100th anniversary of the establishment of a post office here during the week of July 29th.
Postmaster Parker said it was regrettable that some sort of observance could not be held, but wartime conditions barred the type of observance desired.
The first post office was established here on July 28, 1845 at the southeast corner of King & Market Streets with William C. Mulford as the first postmaster. It is now the site of the Staiger store. On February 26, 1849, William H. Emery became postmaster and the office was moved to 106 N. Kings St., Mulford was postmaster again June 8, 1853, and the office was located at 2 N. King Street. Then Emery became the postmaster again in May, 1861 and the office returned to 6 N. Kings Street. Albert J. Greene became postmaster in September 1868, and then the office was moved to 38 N. King Street. On March 18, 1869, Edwin Tomlinson was named postmaster and he changed the office to 20 N. Kings Street. When Charles H. Barnard was appointed postmaster in November 1881, the office returned one more to 106 N. King Street. James McLaughlin was named postmaster in July, 1885, and moved the headquarters once more to 6 N. Kings Street, where it remained during the terms of John Gourley, who was appointed in November 1889.
Charles C. Collins was named postmaster in November 1893, and he moved the office to the southwest corner of King and Monmouth Streets where a banking business was also conducted.
David M. Anderson was appointed postmaster in January 1898, when the office was transferred to the northeast corner of Kings and Hudson Streets where it remained to March 1923. Anderson served until February 1914, when he was succeeded by Thomas J. Foley, who served until March 1923. Foley is the only living former postmaster. Marcus Cramer succeeded Foley and the office was transferred to 523 Monmouth Street, where it was located until November 1935. Cramer, who died in office, was succeeded by Alfred Powell in April 1930 and who was succeeded by his wife, Mrs. Nellie B. Powell Anderson, who served until April 1933, and was named postmaster in April 1934.
The post office took over its present headquarters at Broadway and Ridgeway Street on November 16, 1935, the new building costing $60,000.
In the early days of the post office here, the postmasters usually rented the building and equipment to the government which was probably the reason why it was moved so often during the earlier period of its existence.
Before 1845, it is believed that Philadelphia took care of mail deliveries here.
The post office did not have letter carriers until June 1, 1902. The last Benjamin E. Poole, Edgar K. Beisel and Frederick T. Gibbons were the first carriers, taking care of the First, Second and Third Wards, respectively.
The post office had a rating for years as fourth class, then third and for many years remained at second class but during the past several years it was named a first class post office, because of the volume of business it has transacted. The office has a staff of twenty.
The Incorporation of Gloucester As a City-1868
Gloucester Becomes A City
Prior to 1844 when Camden County was organized, Gloucester Town was a part of Union Township when a meeting was held in the office of Samuel D. Milford, Mayor, on March 13th, 1868 for the purpose of petitioning the State Legislature for an Act to incorporate “Gloucester City,” Camden County, New Jersey. Peter L., Voorhees of Camden was Solicitor.
Section I: Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, that all that part of the county of Camden known as Union Township, shall be and is hereby incorporated into a city, to be called “Gloucester City.” Approved April 17th, 1868.
The first officer of the City, elected in March 1868 were as follows: Mayor, Samuel D. Mulford; Recorder, Hugh J. Gorman; Assessor, Frederick Shindle; Collector, Andrew J. Greene; Surveyor of Highways, Bowman H. Lippincott; Constables, Peter Rencorn and Samuel West; Councilmen, Samuel Raby, John H. Petit, Nathaniel W. Fernald, William C. Mulford, William N. Brown, Henry P. Gaunt.
In 1871, the charter was amended under which the number of Councilmen was increased to nine. In 1883, the city was divided into two wards, each ward elected 4 members leaving the ninth to be elected at large. At the present time, 1964, the city is divided into 3 wards, three members of Council are elected yearly.
Section 15 of the by-laws governing Gloucester City Council, approved April 17, 1868 reads. That the Mayor of said city shall not be entitled to receive any compensation for the performance of his official duties other than the fees which pertain to his office as a justice of the peace, and a commission for the acknowledgment and proof of deeds; neither shall the members of common council be paid any compensation whatever for the performance of their official duties; the city clerk shall be paid fifty cents for each meeting of council he may attend and six cents per folio of one hundred words each for recording the ordinance thereof.
The following is a list of Gloucester City Mayors from 1868;
1868, Samuel D. Mulford; 1869, Charles C. Collings; 1870-71, Peter McAdams; 1872, Samuel T. Murphy; 1873, David Adams; 1874, James L. Hines; 1875-76-77, John Gaunt; 1878-80-83, William H. Banks; 1879-81-82, John Willian; 1883, Frederick Shindle; 1883-85, Samuel Moss; 1886, George Wyncoop; 1888-92, Joseph O’Kane; 1892-94, John R. Jackson; 1894-1906, John H. Boylen; 1908-13, Robert Lincoln; 1914-16, Patrick H. Mealey; 1916-22, David S. Anderson; 1923-27, James McNally; 1928-32, Patrick H. Mealey; 1932-34 Emerson R. Jackson; 1934-36, Ernest M. Ritchie; 1936-42, John F. Gorman; 1942-46, A. D. Koenemann; 1946-54 Philip V. Rea; 1954-58, Frederick Floyd; 1958-60, Wm. G. Flexon; 1960-62, Louis A. Kelly; 1962-64, Benjamin J. Gurick.
First Boy Scout Troop in Gloucester City
On Saturday, February 23, 1963, a reunion marking the 50th Anniversary of the first Boy Scout Troop in Gloucester City was held in the First Presbyterian Church, Monmouth and Burlington Streets, Gloucester City.
The photo (right) taken in 1913 shows some of the charter members. They include, back row, l. to r. Ben Ledden, Edward O’Hara, William Breckenridge, assistant scoutmaster.
Next row, Andy Hetherington, assistant scoutmaster; Park Powell, Albert Corcoran, Dwitght Powell, Joe Van Hest, Beaile Hetherington, Harry F. Green, scoutmaster.
Kneeling, Frank Breckenridge, Robert Thompson, next boy is unknown, Jack Yerkes and Harry Corcoran.
Bottom row, Chester Green, Harvey Nash; also unknown; Eldridge Weigner and William Green.
Of the group, O’Hara, Nash and Andy Hetherington are deceased.
(CNBNews EDITOR'S NOTE)--The above was copied from the booklet The History of Gloucester City, NJ. The year 1964 was the 341st anniversary of the State of New Jersey (1664 to 1964). That year Gloucester City's Mayor and Council authorized a Tercentenary Celebration with a number of events planned to emphasized Gloucester City's rich history. In 1964 a 50-page booklet titled THE HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER CITY compiled by the Gloucester City Jaycees, with the help of the Gloucester City Historical Society was published and distributed to residents. The book contained historical photos and documents, that began with the early history of the different Indian tribes that lived in and around Gloucester City.
RELATED: Gloucester City History
Part Eight: Washington Hall; United Mutual Loan Assn.
Part Seven: Gingham Mills, Iron Works, Shad, Race Track
Part Six: The Brick Building; Library; Rotary Club
Part Five: Bill Thompson, The Duke of Gloucester
PART FOUR: Fire Dept./Police Dept./Water Dept.