BENJAMIN COLEY was born in England on February 1, 1826. He came to America as a child, and lived briefly in Camden in the 1830s. In the mid 18409s he returned to Camden, and worked for prominent businessman Richard Fetters for five years before striking out in his own, operating a restaurant and a pool hall in Camden prior to the Civil War. He married Margaret Southwick in 1848. The Coleys had three children, all who as adults resided n Camden, Martha, Alma D., and Benjamin D. Coley Jr.
Benjamin Coley served with great distinction during the Civil War, serving as a Lieutenant with Company K., 6th New Jersey Infantry Regiment with Captain Thomas M. K. Lee Jr. before being prompted to the rank of Captain and commanding Company I of the 6th New Jersey. After being discharged in 1864, he returned to Camden, where he operated a successful grocery business at the southwest corner of 3rd and Federal Streets for many years. He made his home at 231 Stevens Street.
Margaret Coley died May 13, 1885. Benjamin Coley later remarried. He applied for his Civil War Pension in January of 1896. He passed away in 1899, his widow Mary applying for her Civil War widows pension on July 5th of that year.
1883 City Directory Advertisement
following is derived from
George Reeser Prowell's
History of Camden County, N.J.
published in 1886
CAPTAIN BENJAMIN D. COLEY, son of John and Ann (Day) Coley, born at Baddell, Bedfordshire, England, February 1, 1826, emigrated with his parents to America in 1829, landed at Philadelphia and soon afterward located in Camden. At the age of six he went to live with a farmer in Burlington County and remained there, working on the farm in summer and attending school in winter, until he was fourteen, when he returned home and for several years assisted his father at whip-making. He was next employed for five years with Richard Fetters, of Camden, and next engaged in the restaurant business and also kept a billiard saloon in Camden until the opening of the Civil War, in 1861, when, in company with the Camden Light Artillery, a military organization to which he belonged for about six years, he went to Trenton and entered the service three days after President Lincolnís first call for volunteer soldiers. As second sergeant of the company, which was assigned to the Fourth New Jersey Regiment, he remained three months, the term of enlistment, and during that time participated in the first battle of Bull Run. The company was discharged July 27, 1861, at the expiration of the term of service, and on the 9th of August following he began to recruit a company for the three years' service, which, on September 9, 1861, became Company K of the Sixth New Jersey Regiment, and he was chosen second lieutenant. This regiment formed a part of the famous "New Jersey Brigade"' which was assigned to General Hookers division, participated in 1862, under General McClellan, in the Peninsular campaign, in the siege of Yorktown, battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Seven Pines and Malvern Hill, in the Army of the Potomac under General Pope, in the battle of Bristoe Station, the second Bull Run engagement and the battle of Chantilly, and in the battle of Centreville, under General Sickles; in 1863, in the Army of the Potomac, under General Burnside, at Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville under General Hooker, and in July of the same year in the battle of Gettysburg, under General Meade, at which place he was in command of Company H of the Sixth Regiment. On November 17, 1862, he was promoted to first lieutenant, and on September 24, 1863, was promoted to captain of Company I of the same regiment. The other engagements in which Captain Coley participated were the battles of Wapping Heights, McClean's Ford and Pine Run, all in Virginia. At the last-named battle, owing to the terrible strain, he was disabled for further military duty, and on March 4, 1864, was discharged from the service on a surgeon^s certificate.
Soon after his return home he entered the employ of Thomas Clyde & Co., of Philadelphia, as an engineer, and continued with that firm until 1868, when he began the grocery business at the corner of Third and Federal Streets, where he has ever since continued and prospered. Captain Coley was married, September 9,1848, to Margaret K, Southwick, daughter of James Southwick, of Camden, by whom he has three children, all residing in Camden. Mrs. Coley died May 13, 1885. Martha, the eldest daughter, is married to Henry S. Wood ; Alma D., is married to Charles H. Thompson; Benjamin D. Coley, the only son and youngest child, is married to Hattie Wilson.
Captain Coley is prominently connected with the fraternal and beneficial orders of Camden, being a member of Thomas M. K. Lee, Jr., Post, G. A. R., No. 5; Chosen Friends Lodge, No.29; and Camden Encampment, No. 12, of International Order of Odd Fellows, Damon Lodge, No. 2, Knights of Pythias; Iron Hall; and Camden Council of Royal Arcanum..
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