William Abels

WILLIAM ABELS was born in Pennsylvania around 1839 to Andrew and Sarah Abels. His family was living in Wilmington in 1850. After leaving Wilmington they moved around the country, residing at times in Camden, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Mobile, Alabama. William Abels began working with volunteer fire companies in around 1853.

When the 1860 Census was taken, his parents had moved to North Camden. William Abels was then working on a farm in Delaware. It does not appear that he served in the Civil War. He married and came to New Jersey in the 1860s, and joined the Weccacoe Fire Company No. 2.

William Abels was politically active, however, he ran into some legal difficulty in January of 1871 involving a dispute over a glass factory purchased by then Sheriff Randall Morgan.

William Abels served as Chief Marshal until his replacement on September 2, 1871. City Council appointed Robert S. Bender as his successor while the Assistant Marshals remained the same.

William Abels was elected to Camden’s City Council in 1878, and was made President of that body in 1880. He served in that capacity for one year. No occupation is given in the 1880 Census records, nor is one given in later City Directory listings. The 1880 Census shows him living at 126 Cooper Street with his wife Sarah and three children- Marie, a teacher, Charles, an artist’s student, and Belle, at school.

By 1884 William Abels had been appointed Postal Inspector. His address was listed at 105 Penn Street in the 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 City Directories. While his mother and father continued to reside in Camden for many years thereafter, William Abels, his wife and children were not listed in the 1890-1891 City Directories and had apparently left the city. He was in the area in November of 1897 when he took part in a Thanksgiving parade in Stockton, the town that was made up of what is today referred to as East Camden and Cramer Hill.

William Abels passed away on June 17, 1899 at Interlaken, New Jersey, near Asbury Park. After services at the home of his son-in-law, Joseph Sweeten, 104 North 6th Street, William Abels was buried at Colestown Cemetery in Delaware Township (present day Cherry Hill), New Jersey.

William Abels younger sister. Keturah, was married to innkeeper and original Camden Fire Department member Charles G. Zimmerman.


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Representative firemen from New Jersey and Pennsylvania owned the Town of Stockton yesterday and the Knights of the Golden Eagle joined them in the annual Thanksgiving demonstration of the Volunteer Fire Department of the town. To the merry jingle of hose carriage bells and the music of a dozen brass bands the many hundred uniformed firemen, old volunteers, with engines, hose carriages, hook and ladders and fire apparatus, of all descriptions, modern and ancient, marched through the town’s most prominent streets. Chief Gick acted as marshal of the parade, with Martin J. Ryan, of the Stockton Hose Company: George Bremen, of the Citizens Fire Company;

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Post Office Agent Barrett was alarmed on Saturday by receiving a telegram requesting him to meet at the depot Postal Inspector. William Abels, then on his way from Reading, and believed to have been attacked and badly hurt. Mr. Barrett accordingly met Mr. Abels at the 5.30 train, and asked him if he had been hurt, when the latter displayed his hand, which was cut and bloody, and bore the appearance of having had some rough instrument drawn forcibly through it. Afterward he put his hand to tho back of his head, where examination showed that he had been dealt a heavy blow, which had cut through his stiff felt hat.

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An adjourned meeting of Camden City Council was held yesterday afternoon at half past four o'clock for the purpose of acting on and disposing of miscellaneous business, President Abels in the chair. On roll call nineteen members answered to their names. Deborah Clark presented a petition asking Council to indemnify her for expenses incurred in consequence of having taken care of a woman in destitute and needy circumstances, committed to her charge by Overseer of the Poor Gordon two years ago. The petition for relief came through James M. Cassady, who stated that application had been made to the Board of Freeholders, but that body referred it back to Councils, which was the proper authority to settle her claim. Referred to the Poor Committee, with power to act. A petition was presented memorializing Council to authorize the erecton of a frame building on a lot owned by Mesars, Furbush & Son, by the Providence Steam and Gas Company, in which to test their improved fire extinguishing apparatus. In compliance with the request an ordinance was also introduced, the rules suspended, and it was passed, granting the request of the petitioners. Mr. Michellon, chairman of the Finance Committee, reported having examined the bonds of George M. Thrasher, receiver of taxes; F.F. Michellon, city clerk, as being satisfactory; also of Elmer Barr, Lewis Hendrickson, H. H. Franks, T.F. Muckleson, P. Gallagher, John W. Streeper, William Fusman and Tho[mas] Bunting, constables, as being in conformity with law and they were accepted.

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The annual meeting of Camden City Council was held last evening for the purpose of organizing for the years 1878-9. The votes for city and ward officers were read. The result was the same as the figures published yesterday indicated. The members-elect were then qualified and took their seats as follows: First Ward, William Abels; Second, J.W. Morgan; Third, A. B. Cameron; Fourth, Crawford Miller; Fifth, Mr. Knight; Sixth, John Dialogue; Seventh, Elwood Kamble; Eighth, Mr. Donges. John T. Bottomly was unanimously elected president for the ensuing year. F.F. Michellon and Frederick W. Taw were nominated for clerk. Mr. Michellon was elected. Charles H. Helmbold was elected messenger of Councils. Mr. Nicholls presented a protest from William A. Turner against the admission of John Dialogue, from the Sixth Ward, to a seat in Council, claiming that he, Turner, was legally elected. Referred to a committed of five to investigate and report. James E. Hayes was elected city solicitor and John H. Shultz for surveyor. John M. Gray, Sr., was chosen as janitor of the City Hall. R.S. Bender and W. W. Mines were elected citizen commissioners of the Fire Department. Wilbur F. Rose and H. M. Sharp were elected citizen members of the Sinking Fund Committee. The hour for holding the regular meeting of the Council was fixed at four o'clock in the afternoon. On motion, Council agreed to meet on Monday afternoon next at two o'clock. Joseph A. Porter was then called and took the oath of office faithfully to discharge the duties of the treasurer of the city. Adjourned.

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Sheriff Morgan, of Camden county, has had William Abels, Frank Jones and John Mauderfield, arrested on the charge of conspiracy. They are members of the Camden Paid Fire Department, Mr. Abels being Chief Engineer. From evidence at the hearing before Justice Cassaday on Friday, it appears that the glass factory belonging to the Rosenbaum estate and Malaga, had been sold by the sheriff, and Mr. Morgan, of Camden, had purchased them. The works were placed in charge of an agent, who was directed to keep them closed until the matter was legally settled, and watch them carefully day and night.

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