M. Brown was born in Pennsylvania around 1841. His parents were Patrick
and Mary Brown. The Brown family, which included an older sister,
Margaret, lived in Philadelphia's Upper Delaware ward when the 1850
Census was taken. By the time of the 1860 Census, they had moved to
Newton Township, New Jersey, and Margaret Brown was no longer living at
home. Newton Township was annexed to Camden in 1871. Cornelius M. Brown
was working as an apprentice moulder when the 1860 Census was taken. The
Browns lived three doors away from the Christopher Shields family. In
later years Cornelius Brown would board with the Shields.
April of 1861 Cornelius M. Brown enlisted in the Union Army as a
Private. He was assigned to Company C, Fourth Infantry Regiment New
Fourth Regiment--Militia, was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr.,
serving under him were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R. Stroud and Major
Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at
Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the
state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned
officers and 743 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777.
On the evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th
it was ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a
few days the entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th,
it was honored by a visit from the president, who
warmly complimented the appearance of the troops. On the evening
of May 23 it joined the 2nd and 3d regiments and about
midnight took up the line of march in silence for the bridge
that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was crossed at 2 o'clock
on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted at Roach's spring,
and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the Alexandria
road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for a section
of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important to
hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge; still
another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of the
regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to
Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th
returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861.
The total strength of the regiment was 783, and it lost by
discharge 6, by promotion 2, by death 2 and by desertion 7,
mustered out, 766.
men who served with with the Fourth Regiment became members of the
Camden Fire Department after it was founded in 1869, including Benjamin
Kelly Brown, Henry F.
Surault, Edward Mead, William
M. Lane, William Gleason,
A. Zimmerman, Charles
G. Zimmerman, William
C. Lee, George B.
H.H. Clark, William W.
J. Brown, Benjamin
Connelly, and G.
Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played
significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.
October 1, 1865 in Camden Cornelius M. Brown married Sarah Baugh,
formerly of Philadelphia. Through death, separation, or divorce, the
marriage did not last. Cornelius M. Brown was also active as a volunteer
fire fighter in Camden during the 1860s.
On September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal
ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual
appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of
and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire
districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge
Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to
the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was
north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were
scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William
Abels, from the
Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William
J. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal
for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal
for the 2nd District. Abels
had served with the volunteer fire
departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen
years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.
November 10, 1869 City Council purchased the Independence Firehouse,
the three-story brick building at 409 Pine
Street, for $4500. The
building was designated to serve as quarters for Engine Company 1
the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized
construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth and
Streets as quarters for the 2nd District. On November
25th the Fire Commissioners signed a contract with M.N. Dubois in the
amount of $3100 to erect this structure. The 2nd District would share
these quarters with
Engine Company 2 and the Hook
& Ladder Company
and the facility would also serve as department headquarters
for the new paid force. The original contract remains part of the
Camden County Historical Society collection.
Engine Company 2 with 1869 Silsby Hose Cart. Photo Circa 1890. Note badges
upon derby hats worn by Fire Fighters.
Amoskeag second class, double pump, straight frame steam engines were
purchased at a cost of $4250 each. Two Silsby two wheel hose carts,
each of which carried 1000 feet of hose, were another $550 each and
the hook & ladder, built by Schanz and Brother of Philadelphia was
$900. Each engine company received a steam engine and hose cart.
Amoskeag serial #318 went to Engine Company 1, and serial #319 to
Engine Company 2. The Fire Commission also secured the services of the
Weccacoe and Independence steamers in case of fire prior to delivery
of the new apparatus. Alfred McCully of Camden made the harnesses for
the horses. Camden's Twoes & Jones made the overcoats for the new
firemen and a Mr. Morley, also of Camden, supplied the caps and belts
which were manufactured by the Migeod Company of Philadelphia. The new
members were also issued badges.
is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest
corner of Fifth and
Streets. Originally built in 1869, the
building shows signs of wear some twenty years later. Note the
weathervane shaped like a fireman's speaking trumpet atop the tower.
Also, the fire alarm bell is pictured to the left of the telegraph
pole above the rooftop. The bell was removed from the building once
the fire alarm telegraph system was expanded and in good working
maker's plate once was attached to a harness made by A. McCully &
Sons, 22 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey. This firm provided the
first harnesses for the paid fire department in 1869.
worn by the marshals, engineers, stokers and engine drivers bore the
initial letter of their respective positions and their district
number. The tillerman and his driver used the number "3" to
accompany their initial letter. The extra men of the 1st District
were assigned badges 1-10; 2nd District badges were numbered 11-20 and
the extra men of the hook & ladder wore numbers 21-30.
the Fire Commission intended to begin operation of the paid department
on November 20, 1869, the companies did not actually enter service
until December 7th at 6 P.M. because the new apparatus and buildings
were not ready. The new apparatus was not tried (tested) until
new members of the paid force were:
first style of breast badge worn by members of the career department
in the City of Camden. 1869. (Courtesy of the C.C.H.S. Collection).
1870 Census shows Cornelius Brown living in Camden's Middle Ward, where
he boarded with Christopher Shields and family. He was then working as a
machinist. Christopher Shields' son, George
W. Shields, would become a Camden Fire Department member in 1890 and
serve with distinction until losing his life while fighting a fire at
the Sixth Regiment Armory in 1906.
M. Brown resigned from service with the Camden Fire
Department on April 18, 1871 to take a position as a police
officer. He returned to service with the Camden Fire Department on April 1,
1877 and served as Foreman of Engine Company 1
until the spring of 1882.
the Census was taken in 1880, Cornelius Brown was still boarding at 458
Kaighn Avenue. He stayed there through 1884. The 1883-1884 City
Directory states that he was working for the M.A. Furbush & Son
Company, who manufactured woolen machinery at 16 North 12th Street in
Camden and 224 Market Street in Philadelphia.
the 1885 Camden City Directory was compiled, Cornelius M. Brown had
moved to 332 Chestnut
Street. Cornelius M. Brown died suddenly on
February 20, 1887. He had been an active member of the Volunteer
Firemen's Association of Camden.