JAMES E. TATEM was born in Camden in May of 1876 to William A. and Anna Emley Tatem. There were at least two older siblings, a sister, Mary, and a brother, Edward, and two younger brothers, George and William H. Tatem. In 1880 the Tatem family lived at 101 North 7th Street. William Tatem was then a produce dealer. Sadly, he had passed away by 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.

James 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 an aide to the Mayor. He also served as a Justice of the Peace in the early 1920s. 

James Tatem remained on with the Camden police department when Mayor Ellis retired to become Postmaster in 1922. The following year Victor King was elected mayor. King also took a liking to the ever-diplomatic Tatem, and saw that he was appointed Captain of the newly created traffic bureau. When Commissioner Frank Hitchner, then the director of public safety, fired Chief Edward S. Hyde, Tatem was chosen to be the new Chief.

James Tatem faced a daunting challenge in his new post, one that in retrospect he may not have been prepared for- not that many police officers of his generation were. Commissioner. He was an officer who came up in the 1890s and 1900s faced with the new organized crime model that took hold in America when Prohibition was instituted in 1919. That and his dalliance with the Democratic Mayor King foretold Chief Tatem's replacement. After a shooting in a downtown bar, the Bluebird Cafe, in late 1927, Commissioner David S. Rhone, the new director of public safety, took a more active role in the affairs of the department. Finally, on March 2, 1928 Mayor Winfield S. Price replaced Chief Tatem, appointing Captain Lewis H. Stehr Jr. as acting Chief of Police. This was a surprise to many, who had assumed that the popular Chief Charles T. Humes would get the post. James Tatem then retired on a full pension. It is worth noting, however, that his service to the city was recognized in that he had been granted a raise on March 1, 1928 which had the effect of locking in his pension at a higher amount. 

The marriage between of James and Ella Tatem appears to have been a stormy one. By 1910 the couple had separated, and he appears to never have remarried. He then lived with his mother, grandmother Elizabeth Emley, widowed sister Mary Gahan, and nephew Edward at 535 South 5th Street. James Tatem would remain at this address into the 1920s. Hr moved to 615 South 5th Street by 1924. James Tatem was still living there with his sister as late as April of 1930. The Census shows them living at 615 South 5th Street, next door to Camden firefighter Leonard Megee, and on the same block where he had resided as a boy.  

James Tatem's younger brother, William Howell Tatem, served as a member of the Camden Fire Department from the late 1900s into the 1930s.

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 30, 1897
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article
Emma Zane - Eli Shaw - Wilson H. Jenkins

Henry S. Scovel
Dr. William S. Jones - Dr. A. Haines Lippincott - William A. Husted - Thomas Benkert
Martin J. O'Brien - William Anderson - Charles Folwell - John Irwin
Elwin Steen
Harry Delameter - O. Glen Stackhouse - John Foster - H. Frank Pettit
James E. Tatem - Frank B. Haines - Albert Fogg - John Painter - John H. Beard - Albert Hollingshead
William Stein - Charles M. Lane - Elwin Steen
John Sinclair - Mrs. Anna Knight

Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article

Camden Daily Courier * September 25, 1899

Cooper B. Hatch - William Lyons - William Thompson - A. Lincoln James - Isaac Toy - James Tatem
Casper Hart - Thomas Brothers - John Anderson - George Purnell - Alfred S. Snow
David Clark -
Thomas Reed - Howard McPherson - Edward R. Thomas- John Zane - William C. Horner 

Philadelphia Inquirer
September 26, 1899

Cooper B. Hatch
William Lyons
William Thompson
A. Lincoln James
Isaac Toy
James Tatem
Casper Hart
Thomas Brothers
George Purnell
John Anderson
Alfred S. Snow
David Clark
Thomas Reed
Howard McPherson
Edward R. Thomas
John Zane
William Horner

Philadelphia Inquirer - December 13, 1903


David Loughead
Ferdinand F. Sell

J. Oscar Till Jr.

Ralph Haines
Allen Stewart
Howard C. Trueax
William Schregler
James Tatem
Thomas Reed
Cullis B. Errickson
Policeman Joseph Schmid




Philadelphia Inquirer * March 30, 1907

James Tatem - George Cooper - Charles H. Ellis

Philadelphia Inquirer
December 9, 1908

Dr. H.H. Sherk
George Bird
Rev. Isaac Bagley
Robert Colkett
Alfred Snow
James Tatem
Edward Hyde
E.B. McClong
James Ware
George Anderson
George Cooper
Allen I. Palmer
Thomas Reed
Daniel Clifford
Lysander Burton
William Baldwin
John Spiegel

Cooper Hospital
Mathis Shipyard

North 2nd Street
Kaighn Avenue
Haddon Avenue


Philadelphia Inquirer - November 14, 1909
Frank Ford Patterson Jr. - James Clay - George Cooper - Fiore Troncone
Edmund Pike - Walter Stanton - Oscar Weaver - Albert Shaw
William Schregler - James Tatem - Edward Hartman

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 14, 1910
J. Oscar Weaver - George W. Anderson - James Clay - Edward S. Hyde
James E. Tatem - Charles Whaland - Howard Smith - George Cooper 
Albert Shaw - Harry Mines - Elbridge B. McClong

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 4, 1912
James E. Tatem - O. Glen Stackhouse - Charles Caffrey - Harry Virtue
Roberts Street - North 36th Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 25, 1915
Caleb B. Williams - Royden Street - Rev. Dr. John Handley
Broadway Methodist Episcopal Church - Rev. J.H. Townsend
Rev. D.B. Green -
John A. Stockton - James E. Tatem
James E. Hewitt - Ralston Sickler - John Baker - Harry Dease
St. John's Episcopal Church

Philadelphia Inquirer
December 4, 1917

Police Beneficial Association - Camden Day Nursery
Camden Home for Friendless Children
West Jersey Orphanage - West Jersey Hospital
Y.M.C.A. War Fund
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Arthur Colsey - Thomas Cunningham
Edward Hyde - James E. Tatem
E.B. McClong - Charles T. Humes
Charles Whaland - Howard Smith
Ralph Bond - John Develin

Charge Detective Murry Protected Vice


John B. Kates - Walter Keown - George Ward - Howard Fisher
James E. Tatem - Elisha A. Gravenor - E.G.C. Bleakly
Anthony "Babe" Paradise - "Pye" Calletino - William Draper
Tony Latorre -
Ira Hall - George V. Murry - Harry "Dutch" Selby
Gus Davis - Albert "Salty" Cook - Ned Galvin - James Wilson
Sycamore Street - Pine Street - Rosetta Blue - Deena Howard
Minnie Draper - Harry Knox - Blanche Martin - Jesse Smith
Antonio Pelle - Ethel Murray - Paulo Genovese - Nazzara DeVecches
Nino Mercandino -
South 2nd Street - South 3rd Street - South 4th Street  
Ann Street
- Baxter Street - Sycamore Street - Line Street - Pine Street

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 26, 1922

E.G.C. Bleakly
John Golden
William E. Albert
John Painter
Charles Fitzsimmons 
Thomas Brothers
Edwin Thomas
Richard Golden
William Lyons
Milton Stanley - Howard Smith
Charles A. Wolverton
James E. Tatem
Edward Hyde

This story erred in reporting, as retirement at age 65 was NOT mandatory at the time. William E. Albert, Richard Golden, Frank Matlack, and Edwin Thomas did retire. John Golden, John Painter, Charles Fitzsimmons, Thomas Brothers, and William Lyons continued to work in the Police Department. John Golden was eventually promoted to Chief of Police.

Trenton Evening Times - June 27, 1923

Elbridge B. McClong - Edward S. Hyde - James E. Tatem - Victor S. King
Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. - Carroll Sherwood - Frank F. Neutze
Frank Hitchner - Howard L. Miller

Letter written to Mrs. W.D. Black of Eubank, Kentucky
by Captain of Detectives Edward S. King
January 17, 1927
Edward S. King  - James E. Tatem

Camden Courier-Post
June 9, 1927

William C. Horner
Arthur Colsey
James Tatem
William Schregler
Edward Stokes King
John W. Golden


Camden Courier-Post * July 9, 1927

Harry Kreher - James W. Tatem - Motorcycles in Camden

Camden Courier-Post * January 7, 1928

Loot Valued at $2000 Taken From Broadway Shop;
Second Visit of Thieves

Climbing to the roof of a shed in the rear of the Greenetz & Pellicoff jewelry store, 833 Broadway, burglars entered the shop early today and carried away $2,000 in loot. 

At noon today, Joseph Shapiro, 29 years old, 215 South Fifth Street, a clerk in the store, was being grilled by Detectives George Ward and Thomas Cheeseman, after being booked at police headquarters as having been arrested “on suspicion.” 

August 29 four suspected robbers were captured by police only a few minutes after they had smashed the plate glass window and snatched a tray of jewels at the same store. 

Policeman John McTaggart reported the burglary this morning. He is the brother of Policeman James McTaggart, who participated in the capture of the four suspects last August. 

Included in the loot of the burglars this morning were 35 watches left at the shop by their owners for repairs. At the shop it was said the owners of the watches would be reimbursed. Other articles stolen included 26 bracelets, 12 diamond bar pins, 15 pair of earrings, three fountain pen sets, and six strings of beads. 

At 7:30 this morning, Patrolman McTaggert noticed several men standing in front of the jewelry store. He learned that they had just discovered an open window and, investigating, found the shop had been robbed. 

The watches and other articles of jewelry were taken from trays and showcases. A safe in the store was left untouched. 

The building next to the jewelry store at 831 Broadway is unoccupied and it was through this structure that the burglars entered. They climbed to the roof of a shed at the rear, entered a second story window and followed a corridor to an inner door of the jewelry store, forced open the door, and entered. 

The capture of the four men at the store more than four months ago resulted in commendation from Chief James E. Tatem for the three officers who participated. With Policeman Edward Smith and Frank Truax, Patrolman James McTaggert took the four men at revolver’s point. The men arrested at that time, still awaiting trial, are James Toner, 54 years old, 1204 Vine Street, Philadelphia; Mervin Campbell, 24 years old, 2309 Carlisle Street; James J. Kelly, 25 years old, 2121 Brandywine Street; and Frank MacCrossan, 33 years old, of 1328 Pearl Street. 

The proprietors of the store are Joseph and Michael Greenetz, 1468 Haddon Avenue, and Abraham Pellicoff, 1417 Haddon Avenue.

Camden Courier-Post * February 4, 1928

But Yeggs Must Leave Gats at Home While Cops Practice
With Camden's New Desperado Eliminators

Wanted: Targets for Camden’s new desperado eliminators. Bandits, burglars, snipers and their ilk are requested by Chief of Police James E. Tatem to apply at police headquarters Monday morning at 10 o’clock, when a practice shooting party will be held.

Chief Tatem said today Camden’s bandit-chasing squad is “just rarin’ to go” with six new automatic rifles guaranteed to shoot full of holes the toughest bandit in less time than it takes to say “Aligoop.”

For the further enlightenment of the bandit fraternity, Chief Tatem announced detailed instructions on how to use the new carbines will be given this afternoon at 3 o’clock to bandit chasing police by Captain Arthur Colsey and Herman Engle, a representative of Stein Brothers, this city.

The rifles arrived at police headquarters yesterday afternoon. They will be distributed in each of the city’s three police districts in the campaign to rid the city of desperadoes.

The weapons can fire a magazine of 20 shots in a few seconds. They will be mounted in the three red bandit chasing coupes used by the district squad members. One of the coupes is now being used by Archie Reiss and Vernon Jones in South Camden, while two others are expected to be delivered within a few days, according to Chief of Police James E. Tatem. They will be assigned to Walter Smith and Joseph Carpani, First district detectives and Louis Schlam and Richard Donnelly in the East Camden district.

Swivel attachments make it possible to fire the guns from a fixed point in an automobile. Detached they may be fired from the shoulder. Besides firing a magazine of 20 shots without stopping, they can be adjusted to single fire, using .45 caliber cartridges.

Instruction in the adjustment and use of the weapons will be given today by a representative of the company that sold them- at $175 each— to the city.

Camden Courier-Post
February 4, 1928

Anson Kelley - James E. Tatem
Arthur Colsey - Mary Kelley
Anson J. Kelley - John Golden



Camden Courier-Post - February 15, 1928


 Confiscated slot machines being stacked in front of police headquarters today,    preparatory to being carted to Civic Center and destroyed.

Civic Center

Lewis Stehr

James Tatem

Charles Laib

Camden Courier-Post - February 22, 1928


Factory of Evans Leather Co. Saved by Valiant Work of Firemen
Metal Stamping Firm, Textile Concern Heavy Losers; Pattern Shop Saved


Thomas Nicholas - James Tatem
Manuel Kane
Harry M. Leigh
- David Ellis
Engine Company 2
Engine Company 4
Engine Company 5
Engine Company 6
Segal Street
Click in Images to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - February 23, 1928

Camden Courier-Post - May 5, 1930
Joseph G. Ward
Louis Street - Florence Street
Decatur Street - Mt. Ephraim Avenue
William G. Ritter - Peter English
Walter Wilkie - Ralph Bakley
Joseph Ward Sr. - E. Frank Pine
Clifford Del Rossi
- Theodore Guthrie
Melvin Cain - William F. McGrath
Sylvester "Wes" McGrath, City Detective
Urquhart Ward - Robert Ward
John Smith - Maurice Mensch
Victor King - Michael Mathews
James E. Tatem - Arthur Colsey


Camden Courier-Post * June 1, 1932

Joshua C. Haines - Isabella C. Reinert
Elizabeth C. Verga -
David Baird Jr. - Walter Keown
Frank B. Hanna - Etta C. Pfrommer - Howard B. Dyer
William D. Sayrs Jr. - Lottie B. Stinson - Anna G. Holl
Mrgaret Wermuth - Carlton M. "Cy" Harris
J.C. Remington -
Charles A. Wolverton
Carl Kisselman - Edward Deibert - L. Scott Cherchesky
William E.A. King - J. Claud Simon
T. Phillips Brown - J.H. Reiners -
Rocco Palese
Morris Praissman - George R. Pelouze
Albert S. Woodruff - Clay W. Reesman
William Wimer -
Horace G. Githens
J. Wesley Sell - A.C. Middleton




Robert Brennan - Marie Mackintosh - William H. Heiser - Mary McCready
James Corea - Susie Marchiano - James E. Tatem - Mary A. Ivins
Martin A. McNulty - Madeline Salvatore - Howard B. Dyer - Mary S. Hartung
Edward A. Kemble - Mary D. Guthridge - Edmund A. Walsh - Mamie F. Piraine
Edward Holloway - Deborah Schuck - Henry I. Haines - Lillian M. Walker
Horace B. Beideman - Etta C. Pfrommer - Carlton M. Harris - Mary E. Hamel
Henry Knauer - Louella I. Whaland - Jesse M. Donaghy - Lottie B. Stinson

Camden Courier-Post - June 11, 1932
Princess Avenue - George A. Tatem Sr. - George A. Tatem Jr.
James M. Tatem - Mrs. Mabel W. Tatem

Camden Courier-Post - May 14, 1934

Camden Courier-Post
January 16, 1935

Zuni A.A.
Eagles Hall

Frankie Moles & his Jersey Cavaliers
Gene R. Mariano
James E. Tatem
Michael Greenetz - Joseph Greenetz
Joseph Wood
Frank A. Giordano
Angelo A. DePersia
Dr. Lawrene R. Palses
Peter Zizak

Dominic Radogna
Anthony Fabrizio
Victor Price
John Natanni
William Flamini - Joseph Flamini
Dave Marcozzi
Nichlas Levecchia
Paul A. Giordano
Frank Devone
Emil Aceto
Ralph Bantivoglio
Felix Meschini
Leonard Garaguso
Harry Larusso
Dominic Giordano