HOWELL TATEM SR. was
born on December 17, 1878 in Camden to William A. and Anna Emley Tatem.
There were at least three older siblings, a sister, Mary, and brothers
Edward and James E. Tatem, and
a younger brothers, George Tatem.
1880 the Tatem family lived at 101 North 7th
Street. William Tatem was then a produce dealer. Sadly, he had passed
away in 1885. In 1887 the family was then living at 422 Henry Street in South
Camden. The 1890-1891 Directory shows the Tatems at 619 South 5th
Street, where older brother Edward Tatem also conducted a milk business.
At the age of 24 James Tatem had married Ella Lummis. The couple resided
with her parents, at 435 Beckett
Street at the time of the 1900 Census. He had by this time already
joined Camden's police force.
Tatem joined Camden's police department in 1899, an appointee of Mayor
Cooper B. Hatch. He managed to avoid being discharged when Democrat
mayor Joseph Nowrey was elected. When the Republicans returned to City
Hall in 1905, new Mayor Charles Ellis saw "Smilin' Jimmy's"
ability to calm a troubled situation, and by 1910 he was promoted to
sergeant and by 1920 to captain. For much of Ellis' term James Tatem served as
an aide to the Mayor. He also served as a Justice of the Peace in the
H. Tatem married around 1897. His wife Minnie gave birth to a
daughter, Adella in August of 1898. Sadly, she died when only
two weeks old. The Tatems were then living at 434 South 3rd
the census was taken in 1900 William and Minnie Tatem were
living at 330 Royden
Street. Also living there were his widowed
mother, brother George, maternal grandmother Elizabeth Emley,
and a cousin, David Emley. Minnie Tatem, not yet out of her 20s,
died not long after the census was taken. William H. Tatem was
living at 506 South 4th Street when the 1906 City Directory was
being put together. He married again around this time. His wife,
Lottie, gave birth to a son, William H. Tatem Jr., in November
possibly due to his brother's political influence, William H. Tatem was
appointed to the Camden Fire Department on January 1, 1909, in the early years of
Mayor Charles H. Ellis's administration.
He served with Ladder
Company 1 during the 1910s, and took over as tillerman after
H. Tatem and family were living at 436 Senate Street when the
census was taken in 1910, and they were still at that address in
1914. Another son, Edward, was born in January of 1912. By the
summer of 1918 they had moved to 511 South 5th
they remained through 1920. Sadly, William H. Tatem once again
found himself a widower not long after the 1920 Census was
June 1, 1924 William H. Tatem was promoted to Captain and sent
Company 10. had been promoted to Captain. The 1924 Camden City
Directory shows him residing at 557 Pine
Street. His son, William H.
Tatem Jr., resided with him as late as 1927. He was still at that
address when the 1929 Directory was compiled. Shortly before the 1929
edition was compiled, William H. Tatem married Sara Olden, whom he had
known as early as 1905. The 1930 Census shows William and Sara Tatem,
son Edward, granddaughter Elizabeth and brother-in-law John Olden living
at 557 Pine
Street. Fire Department records from 1931 also show William
Tatem at the Pine Street address.
Captain Tatem retired on March 27, 1937. By the time the 1940 City Directory was compiled, William H. Tatem Sr.
had retired. He and his wife Sarah were living at 565 Mount Vernon
Street. They were still at that address as late as 1946. They
later moved to 1005 South 6th
Street. William H. Tatem passed away on
June 26, 1951 and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery on Mt.
Ephraim Avenue in Camden.