JAMES MASON LANE was born around 1838 in Pennsylvania to James S. and Mary Lane. His father was a bookbinder. The moved Camden shortly after his birth, and they were in town in time for the 1840 Census. When the census was taken in 1850 the Lane family included older siblings John, William, Charles and Ann, and younger brothers Theophilus and Barton Lane. James M. Lane appears in the 1860 Census living in Camden's South Ward with his brother, Charles M. Lane, a carpenter. It appears that James M. Lane had married, but as of the time of the Census there were no children. 

James M. Lane enlisted as a corporal in the 4th New Jersey Infantry Militia Regiment (Also known as the Twentieth New Jersey Infantry) on April 14,1861, and was subsequently assigned to Company G. The Fourth Regiment Militia was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr.; his officers 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. James M. Lane was among those mustered out on July 31, 1861 at Trenton. 

Several men who served with Company G became members of the Camden Fire Department after it was founded in 1869, including Benjamin Cavanaugh, J. Kelly Brown, Henry F. Surault, Edward Mead, William Cox, William W. Mines, and William Gleason. Other Fourth Infantry men who served included Theodore A. Zimmerman, Charles G. Zimmerman, William C. Lee, George B. Anderson, Jesse Chew, William H.H. Clark, Cornelius M. Brown, John J. Brown, Benjamin Connelly, and G. Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.

Returning to Camden from the Army, James M. Lane became a father soon afterwards, when his son John was born in 1862.

It is likely that James M. Lane became active as a volunteer firefighter during the 1860s, as did a number of other men who returned from the Civil War.

James M. Lane became one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department, entering service on December 7, 1869 as as extra man of the Hook & Ladder Company, the original designation of what is now Ladder Company 1. Prior to entering the fire department he had been working as a Superintendent with the Camden & Amboy Rail Road. James M. Lane was living at 644 John Street when he joined the department in the fall of 1869. John Street was later renamed Locust Street.

On November 10, 1869 Camden's 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 and the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth & Arch 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.   

Two 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.

Badges 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.

Although 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 December 9th.

The new members of the paid force were:   

Engine Company 1

George Rudolph Tenner, Engineer; William H.H. Clark, Driver;
Thomas McLaughlin, Stoker

Extra Men (call members)

Thomas Allibone           

Badge #1

William Deitz               

Badge #2

George Horneff  

Badge #3

John J. Brown        

Badge #4

William A.H. White            

Badge #5

James Sutton    

Badge #6

Cornelius M. Brown    

Badge #7

Alexander Peacock    

Badge #8

Samuel Buzine 

Badge #9

Jesse Chew 

Badge #10

* G. Rudolph Tenner is elsewhere listed as Reuben G. Tenner, Reuben Tenner, G. Reuben Tenner, and George R. Tenner

Engine Company 2

William J. Ross, Engineer; George Liebecke, Driver; 
William T.G. Young Sr.
, Stoker

Extra Men

Isaac Middleton 

Badge #11

Samuel Patton 

Badge #12

Elwood Cline

Badge #13

George W. Bates 

Badge #14

Robert Pine

Badge #15

Theodore Zimmerman

Badge #16 

Benjamin H. Connelly

Badge #17 

Richard Houghtaling 

Badge #18 

Abraham Bradshaw 

Badge #19 

Richard Githens (does not appear in CFD roll book)

John Graham

Badge #20

Hook & Ladder Company

Edward J. Dodamead, Tillerman; Frank Jones, Driver

Extra Men

Charles Baldwin 

Badge #21

Charles G. Zimmerman 

Badge #22

John Durkin 

Badge #23

William C. Lee 

Badge #24

James M. Lane 

Badge #25

James Cassidy 

Badge #26

Robert S. Bender   

Badge #27

Thomas McCowan   

Badge #28

Howard Lee                             

Badge #29

Abraham Lower             

Badge #30

The Board of Fire Commissioners consisted of Rudolphus Bingham, Chairman and Samuel C. Harbert, Richard Perks, Jonathon Kirkbride and Jacob Daubman.

Leather helmet of natural grain believed to have been worn by Fireman Charles Baldwin, Hook & Ladder Company 1 when paid force was organized in 1869. Number 21 at bottom of frontpiece indicates member's badge number. (Courtesy of the Camden County Historical Society Collection.)

Annual salaries for the members of the paid force were: Chief Marshal, $800; Assistant Marshal, $200; Engineer, $600; Driver, $450; Stoker, $450; Tillerman, $450; Extra Men, $50. All but Extra Men were paid monthly.

Many members of the newly organized paid department were former volunteers and had distinguished themselves as leaders through their dedication and hard work.

As an Extra Man, James Lane kept working at his regular job, which was at the Pennsylvania Railroad depot near the Market Street Ferry. According to Fire Department records, he was Superintendent of Floats for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Camden in the 1870s. James M. Lane and his family had moved to the Middle Ward by the time the 1870 Census was enumerated. By the time the 1878-1879 Camden City Directory was compiled, James M. Lane had moved to 534 South 2nd Street and was a foreman. His son John was also working for the railroad, as a clerk.

Leadership in the Fire Department at this time was not subject to Civil Service regulations. When the Democrats gained control of City Council in 1876, future mayor Claudius Bradshaw was elected Chief Engineer for the City of Camden, William H. Bassett was named as foreman of Engine Company 2, and James M. Lane was not reappointed to the Fire department. On April 8, 1877 James M. Lane was reappointed to the Camden Fire Department, as foreman of Engine Company 2. He served in that capacity for two years.

The 1878 and 1880 Census shows James M. Lane living with at 534 South 2nd Street his wife Anna and children John, Lilly, and Mary. In 1878 his occupation was listed as "foreman". The 1880 Census reveals he was then working as a railroad clerk. His neighbor, only two doors away at 532 South 2nd Street was Claudius Bradshaw, who was Chief of the Camden Fire Department from 1876 to 1879 and served as Mayor of the City of Camden from 1880 to 1886.

With Republicans regaining control of the city in 1879, Samuel S. Elfreth was elected Chief of the Fire Department and James M. Lane was promoted to Assistant. He remained in this position until July of 1882. James M. Lane did not serve again until 1884, when he took over as Foreman of Engine Company 1 from William H. Bassett. When the fire department was reorganized on July 7, 1885 James M. Lane appears to have left the Fire Department but later served a member of Camden's Fire Commission, which oversaw the Department.

Although on good terms with Democrat Claudius Bradshaw, James M. Lane apparently became a Republican by 1881 if not sooner. Always politically active, he was elected to City Councilman from the Third Ward in the mid 1880s and was still in that position when he passed away on February 23, 1892.

James M. Lane's nephew, Albion R. Lane, was well known in Camden in later years operating a butter and egg business. Albion Lane's grandson, Robert C. Lane, was killed in action in North Africa in 1943.

James M. Lane was an active member of Wyoming Tribe No. 55, Improved Order of Red Men, as were fellow Camden Fire Department members Joseph H. Minnett and Charles G. Zimmerman. George Reeser Prowell, in his History of Camden County, New Jersey, published in 1886, wrote the following about this organization:

WYOMING TRIBE, No. 55, was instituted July 8, 1880. The Great Chiefs present were Great Prophet, Wm. P. Hall; Great Sachem, James M. Smith; G.C. of R., John T. Davis. The first Chiefs of the tribe were Prophet, Joseph H. Minnett; Sachem, Alonzo Bicking; Senior Sagamore, Chas. G. Zimmerman; Junior Sagamore, Wm. F. Propert; C. of R., D.C. Vannote; K. of W., Jos. B. Fox. The present Chiefs - P., J.A. Dold; S., Henry C. Boddy; S.S., Wm. B. Bignell; J.S., Wm. J. Boddy; C. of R., D.C. Vannote; K. of W., J.B. Fox. The number of members is one hundred and fifty-eight. The lodge meets Wednesday evenings at Third and Market Streets.


Philadelphia Inquirer * March 24, 1877

G. Rudolph Tenner - William Davis - Cornelius M. Brown
James M. Lane - George S. Hunt - W. Gordon - Edmund Shaw
Benjamin L. Kellum - Edward J. Dodamead - Henry Grosscup

Camden Daily Courier
March 13, 1884

William H. Shearman
William Thomas
James M. Lane
David Baird Sr.
Harry Miller
Jacob C. Daubman


Philadelphia Inquirer
March 27, 1884



Philadelphia Inquirer * February 11, 1890


Samuel S. Elfreth. - Frank Michellon - Cooper B. Hatch - Charles S. Wolverton - Dr. W.B.E. Miler - Harry C. Sharp
James M. Lane - Frank B. Sweeten - Harvey Flitcraft - William Schregler - Dr. John D. Leckner - J. Wesley Sell - Frank A. Ward
James Ware Jr. - Frank S. Heisler - Thomas Thornley - Ulie G. Lee - Edward Weston - Dr. P.W. Beale - Charles H. Helmbold - John Carmany
Isaac C. McKinley - John N. Zanders  - Edward E. Jefferis 

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 28, 1890

John Leighton Wescott - Cooper B. Hatch - John Campbell
James M. Lane - Mahlon F. Ivins Sr. - Dr. John D. Leckner
Eugene B. Roberts - Joseph Starr - Charles H. Sharp
John Furey





Philadelphia Inquirer
May 1, 1891

John A. Furey
James M. Lane
Frank Burdsall
Charles Helmbold
Edward E. Jefferis
Dr. John W. Donges
Dr. John D. Leckner
Charles Lederman
George A. Frey
Arthur Bedell
Florence F. Hogate
Dr. Philip W. Beale
Robert L. Barber
Cooper B. Hatch
Dr. William B.E. Miller
Robert F. Smith
Joseph A. Starr
Joseph A. Ross
Howard Lee
Charles H. Sharp
Eugene B. Roberts
John Leighton Westcott
Maurice A. Rogers
George F. Hammond
Benjamin Lawton
Isaac C. Githens
Isaac Lord
Cornelius Scheperkotter
Dr. William S. Jones
Isaac Ferris Sr.

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 29, 1891

Frank L. Vinton - Howard Pine - Richard Evans
Alfred Hugg - Thomas McDowell - James S. Henry
William Sexton - John Smith Jr. - Charles Bosch
W.H. Fredericks -
James M. Lane - Robert F. Smith
John A. Furey - Andrew Rabeau - D.B. Murphy
William J. Sewell - Francis Ford Patterson Jr.
John H. Fort  - U.G. Styron - Wallace Armstrong
Joseph W. Cooper - C.C. Reeve - Frank S. Heister
Fred Newton -
Daniel A. Carter

Click on Image to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 27, 1892

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 28, 1892

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 29, 1892

South 2nd Street - Reverend Henry Cheeseman
Improved Order of Red Men - Third Ward Republican Club
Harrison Veteran Legion -
Samuel S. Elfreth - Robert L. Barber
Harry C. Sharp - Wright Cox - William Boddy- James M. Lane
Colonel William H. Cooper - Colonel Samuel Weaver

Camden Courier-Post - February 6, 1933

When G.O.P. Battled G.O.P.
Typical Convention Rumpus Stirred 'Regular' and 'True' Republicans as Gibbs and Morgan Were Nominated for Sheriff in '81

(Another in a series of articles on
Camden affairs and personalities of yesteryear


Rival factions in the political conventions of long ago were more bitter toward one another than toward the common foe. So-called "rump" conventions were by no means exceptions. By "rump" was meant mereIy those who refused to play with the regulars and who set up the nominations, as did the Bull Moose on the national scale in the historic scrap of 1912 which resulted in the three-cornered battle of Wilson, Roosevelt and Taft, giving the Princeton professor the start that was to make him a world figure. Factions we still have, of course, and it is quite proper, since too much regularity often breeds party decay. But present-day political methods are certainly lacking in the spectacular rumpuses that stirred the rank and file in the period when delegates met and made their nominations.

In a recent article allusion was made to the Democratic convention of September 20, 1878, when Nathan T. Stratton, of Millville, was nominated for Congress by the Democrats in the midst of downright fisticuffs, when "liar" and "hypocrite" and worse was hurled about the hall.

Lest it may be assumed the party of Jefferson and Jackson only was given to such methods, it is fitting to give a picture on the other side of the political house. Dr. William H. Iszard's inexhaustible scrap book, loaned me by his son, former Assemblyman Iszard comes across with a copy of a tabloid political sheet, "The True Republican," which gives a recital of a battle royal in the G.O.P. ranks which will be of interest to some old-timers I know are still about.

Rival Conventions

That was the convention to nominate a sheriff called at Gloucester City Hall on Saturday, October 8, 1881, where we find the redoubtable Colonel James Matlack Scovel once more a moving factor, but this time in the ranks of the "regular Republicans" or at least so they called themselves as opposed to the "rump" set up by a rival group. Christopher J. Mines, long Fifth ward leader and later sheriff, apparently had been selected as temporary chairman with William A. Husted, who died last year well in his 70's, as secretary. But when that part of the delegation marched up to city hall, like the famed king's horses- they marched down again.

As a matter of fact, not much marching was done in the hall- for it was asserted by the "true Republicans" that when they essayed to enter the portals they found Colonel Scovel and Henry M. Jewett, father of Harry Jewett, a Camden newspaperman of the long ago and for years later Jersey editor of the Inquirer, in command. More, it was charged "people representing the worst elements of society" were on guard and presented a phalanx which even the huskies of the opposing force could not break. Mines was strong-armed by the minions of Scovel and Jewett and there was so much hooting and yelling and cussin' that the "true" part of the outfit walked out, all 29 of them, over to Moss' hall where they proceeded to carryon their convention to their own taste.

And all 29 of these valiant Republicans voted for Eli B. Morgan as their candidate for sheriff. You old timers will be interested in recalling these delegates who refused to kowtow to 'Colonel Jim.' In the Third ward there was James M. Lane, Charles S. Cotting and George Martin, in the Fourth, Husted, the Sixth, C. C. Smith, Thad Varney, Charles A. Sawyer; in the Seventh, Stephen Walters, Charles Lederman, William Simpson; in Gloucester, John W. Wright, David Anderson, Frank Mills, Robert Lafferty, Richard Allen, Jesse Daisey, Samuel Wood; in Haddon, Charles M. Macready, Elwood J. Haines: in Delaware, William Brick, William Graff, Isaac Coles; in Merchantville, Matthias Homer, William Naylor, and in Center, James Davis, Garrett Patton and Gilbert Shaw.

Hot Statement

These "true Republicans" in a statement to the party rank and file, under the Algeresque title of "Now or Never," scathingly said: "It becomes the duty of every Republican voter of Camden county, who has the future interest of the party at heart, to administer a severe and lasting rebuke to all candidates who employ the element and encourage the means that were used in controlling the Sheriff's convention at City Hall, Gloucester City. It discounted anything within the memory of the oldest Democrat inhabitant. What with Col. Joseph Nichols urging the crowd to go elsewhere and nominate Gibbs, and the immaculate Billy Warner of the Fifth ward ordering them to burst the door in, coupled with the commanding voice of that great patriot and life-long Republican, James M. Scovel, alias Mountain Partridge, together with the curses and threats from John Furey, Jack Quigley, Pud Young, Bill Derr, "Tar Heel" Jim Hayes, the able city solicitor, and a gang of Philadelphia roughs, a beautiful spectacle was presented."

The "Gibbs" mentioned was Theodore B. Gibbs who long lived in the white mansion on the banks of Clementon lake and whose ancient grist mills ground the grain for farmers from miles around. None in the county was held in higher esteem and in later years most of the valiant 29 were among his closest friends, unnecessary proof the political animosities are, as a rule, not very enduring. Gibbs was nominated by the "regular" Convention which ousted the 29 and a mighty hot shrievalty campaign ended on November 10 with his ejection, in spite of the "now or never" demand of his opponents headed by Eli Morgan.

The latter was a real estate man, son of Randall Morgan, elected sheriff by a whisker over "Ham" Bitten in 1869, and brother of J. Willard Morgan, long a Republican chieftain. It was the elder Morgan who defeated Bitten, a rough and ready character nominated as a joke, by a narrow squeak.

In the shrievalty scrap of 1881. Gibbs received 5381 and Morgan, 1189. Angus Camerson, the Democratic candidate was given 4450 votes. Nor did the "true" nominees for coroner fare any better. Sam Bennett, William Thompson and Alexander Powell being defeated by 'Doc' John D. Leckner, Jacob Justice and William Duble.

But the "true" Republicans licked their wounds and most of them were ready to "yen their heads off" when Colonel Scovel in later campaigns made the welkin ring with his call from the rostrum to wallop the enemy. If you now come across any of the few actors of that period still in the flesh an allusion to that "spectacle" of half century ago will sure bring one big chuckle with the declaration "them was the days."