Robert Ashenfelter

ROBERT PATTERSON ASHENFELTER was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 13, 18845 to Reuben Ashenfelter and his wife, the former Amelia Hipple. The family was still in Philadelphia when the 1900 Census was taken, at 3103 Cambria Avenue.

He was still living in Philadelphia in 1910, and a newlywed at the time of the 1910 Census. He and then-wife Mabel were living at 215 South Millick Street.

After serving in the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Ordnance Department, Robert P. Ashenfelter came to Camden and was appointed the Camden Police Department sometime after 1924. He was living at 800 Market Street when the 1927 City Directory was compiled. The 1929 Camden City  census shows him as working as a Camden Police officer, but living at 119 Manheim Avenue in Oaklyn NJ with his wife of nine years, Alberta, son Joseph, 8, and his father Rubin Ashenfelter, 78 and still working, as a shoe salesman. Hwas still in Oaklyn in April of 1930.

Robert Ashenfelter was promoted by 1931 to detective. During that year he broke up a store robbery in Cramer Hill. In the exchange of gunfire Detective Ashenfelter was wounded, and his assailant, Charles Rettberg, was slain. 

Robert Ashenfelter recovered and continued to serve as a detective on the Camden Police force through ought the 1930s and 1940s. His draft card reveals that by 1942 he had moved to 307 Morse Street in East Camden. The 1947 Camden City Directory shows him still residing with his wife Alberta at 307 Morse Street

Robert Ashenfelter passed away on June 13, 1952 and was buried at Locustwood Cemetery in Delaware Township (present-day Cherry Hill), New Jersey. By 1956 the Ashenfelters had all left Camden. Last a resident of West Berlin, New Jersey, Alberta Ashenfelter joined he husband in March of 1968. Son Joseph resided in Berlin until his passing in 1995.

Trenton Times - August 14, 1929


Robert Ashenfelter - William Moll - Earl Stopfer - Clay Reesman
Joe Snyder - Grover Wearshing - Elwood Bearint - Orville Danenhower
Pete Weygand - Bill Werking - Elmer Loeble - Rock Reeves

Camden Courier-Post
December 1, 1930

Robert Ashenfelter
William Stein
C. Leonard Brehm
Front Street
South 2nd Street
Federal Street

Trenton Times
August 6, 1931

Cedar Street

Camden Courier-Post - August 24, 1931
Robert Ashenfelter
Benjamin Simon
Charles Rettberg

American Stores
Robert Ashenfelter
Charles Rettberg 
Benjamin Simon
Pierce Avenue
North 32nd Street

Click on Image to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - August 24, 1931

Robert Ashenfelter - Lawrence T. Doran
 Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - James Melbourne aka Melvin James
John Golden - Frank Evans - Gus Koerner - Charles Wainwright
Benjamin Simon - Joseph Shreeve - Elwood Humphreys - Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly - Charles Johnson - Lewis Smith - Charles Schultz
North 36th Street - Pierce Avenue - North 32nd Street - Bergen Avenue





August 24, 1931



Cleveland Plain Dealer - August 25, 1931

Camden Courier-Post * August 25, 1931
Robert Ashenfelter - Lawrence T. Doran
  Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - James Melbourne aka Melvin James
John Golden - Frank Evans - Benjamin Simon - Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly - Clifford A. Baldwin - Gordon L. McRae - Emmalinda Canilus
North 36th Street - Pierce Avenue - North 32nd Street - Bergen Avenue
Beideman Avenue

Camden Courier-Post * August 25, 1931

Two of the three purported accomplices of the burglar slain by police yesrerday, and the young woman whose statements helped to implicate them, are shown in the above  photographs. Above are James Melbourne, center, and Theodore Rettberg, left. The latter is a brother of Charles Rettberg, 1189 North 36th Street, shot in a gun battle yesterday with Detective Robert Ashenfelter, who was seriously wounded, and Policeman Frank Evans. Miss Emmalinda Canilus, a material witness, is shown at right. Melbournea and Rettberg confessed to planning the robber with the youth who was slain, the police say., 

Camden Courier-Post August 26, 1931

Gordon McCrae
Theodore Rettberg
James Melbourne


Camden Courier-Post * August 26, 1931

Robert Ashenfelter - Lawrence T. Doran
  Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - James Melbourne aka Melvin James
John Golden - Frank Evans - Benjamin Simon - Louis Schlam
Richard Donnelly - Clifford A. Baldwin - Gordon L. McRae - Emmalinda Canilus
Mrs. Emma Bowden - Dr. H. Wesley Jack
North 36th Street - Pierce Avenue - North 32nd Street - Beideman Avenue

Camden Courier-Post - October 20,1931

Two Figured in Wounding of Cop and Slaying of Pal

Four members of the notorious North Cramer Hill gang, two of them participants in the robbery in which one bandit was killed after wounding a city detective, were sentenced to state prison terms by Judge Samuel M. Shay yesterday.

They were among more than a score of defendants who were arraigned in special session of Criminal Court for sentence. Among the others was Robert S. Ballentyne, 32, of 130 South Thirty-second Street, shipping clerk for Congoleum-Nairn. Inc., who pleaded non vult to embezzlement of $2985 from his employers and was sentenced to one year in the state penitentiary.

The Cramer Hill robbers and the sentences they received are:

David Allaband, 18, of 297 Sycamore Street, pleaded non vult to carrying concealed deadly weapons and participation in five robberies, six years.

Gordon McCrea, 20, of 820 Beideman Avenue, pleaded non vult to seven robberies, five years.

Melbourne James, 24, no home, pleaded non vult to carrying concealed deadly weapons and breaking and entering, five years.

Frank Tiedeman, 18, of 820 Beideman Avenue, pleaded non vult to four robberies and carrying concealed deadly weapons, five years.

McCrea and James admitted taking part in the attempted robbery of the American Store at Thirty-second and Pierce Avenue when Charles Rettberg, 21, was shot to death after he seriously wounded City Detective Robert Ashenfelter. Rettberg's, brother, Theodore, was arrested and tried for implication in the attempted burglary, but was acquitted. One more alleged member, Thomas McCrea, who was arrested in his hideout at Towanda, Pa., last week, awaits trial. James was the only one who stood trial besides the exonerated Theodore Rettberg, but he changed his plea to non vult to the weapon and entry charges, receiving a directed verdict of acquittal on the charge of attacking Ashenfelter. Allaband was given the heaviest sentence because of a criminal record. He and Tiedeman took no part in the fatal "job."

Ballentyne, who was arrested July 24, was sentenced to one year for embezzlement after his attorney made an impassioned plea for clemency stating that his client, who is married, has offered to make restitution.

James Miller, who would not reveal his address, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering the grocery store of Samuel Pearl, 1101 Cooper Street, on September 10. He was sentenced to three years.

Floyd Coates, of 3408 North Twenty-fifth street, Cleveland, was given a one-year's sentence in state's prison on a charge of deserting his wife, Edna, of 935 North Twentieth street, and two minor children, Robert, nine, and Floyd, Jr., six.

Tony Locantore, 20, of 314 Walnut Street, received a premature Christmas present from Judge Shay when he pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Jennie Balassia, 16, of 576 Walnut Street. He was sent to jail and Judge Shay instructed the sheriff to release him on Dec. 24.

Another Christmas present was handed out to Mrs. Mary Bieliniski, of 1041 Thurman Street, who was convicted of violating the child welfare act. The complaint was made by Mrs. Louise F. Walsh, secretary of the S. P. C. C., who charged that on Sept. 19 the woman became intoxicated and brutally beat her seven children and put them into the streets. The children range in ages from two to 14 years. When Mrs. Walsh visited the house, she said, Mrs. Bieliniski threw a lamp at her. She also will be released from the county jail on Dec. 24.

Given Suspended Sentence

Norman Buckingham, of Oaklyn, who pleaded guilty to the charge of breaking and entering the Puroil gasoline station, Bettlewood Avenue and White Horse Pike, Oaklyn, on September 18, was given a three-year suspended sentence when he told the court he had a position in Hawaii.

The court stated that sentence would be suspended on condition that the defendant leave Camden at once and not return. Two other defendants who received prison sentences were James Lynch, of 39 North Ohio Avenue, Atlantic City, and Edward Lynch, of 39 Atlantic Avenue, Collingswood. The complaint against the pair was made by Edwin Lovell, of 1836 South Seventh Street, who charged that on July 4 the Lynches attempted to flirt with Lovell's wife while she was walking along Morgan Boulevard. When he remonstrated with them they beat him.

They were sentenced to two months in jail and the sentence was suspended and they were placed on one year's probation.

William Moztioz, no home, pleaded guilty to carrying concealed weapons and received a suspended sentence of one year in state's prison and was placed on probation. The defendant was arrested on June 22 at Sixth Street and Ferry Avenue on a disorderly conduct charge and a black­jack was found in his possession.

A 72-year-old man, grandfather to 16 children, pleaded guilty to attacking a 12-year-old girl. The man is John Bayer, of 1329 Princess Avenue. He was given a one-year suspended sentence and placed on probation.

Judge Disbelieves Story

Cornelius Crimmins, of 5725 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, a window decorator, was found guilty by Judge Shay of deserting his wife, Ella, of 817 South Sixth Street. Crimmins was sentenced to one year in prison but the sentence was suspended and an order of $7 a week placed against him. Mrs. Crimmins said she had not seen her husband since May 22, 1931, and that after an absence of six months, he returned home and left next morning. The husband declared that his wife told him to leave because she had a friend and wanted to be free. Judge Shay told him that he did not believe his story.

Charles C. Small, 154 Texas Avenue, Atlantic City, was found guilty of obtaining money under false pretense. He was sentenced to six months in jail. The complaint was made by Mrs. Agnes Hamm, of 530 Cooper Street. She stated that on August 14 while she was standing at Fifth and Cooper Street watching a golf game, Small approached her and told her he was a retired lawyer and that his father had died and left him $38,000. Mrs. Hamm asked him to bring suit against a prominent physician and he said he would take the case for $25 and quoted Small as saying, "All the Camden lawyers are in a click."

Camden Courier-Post - October 23, 1931

Missing Girl Weds Bandit On Way to Pen
Bridegroom Linked in Ashenfelter Case; Mother Faints


A prisoner in the Camden county jail awaiting removal today to state prison, married his sweetheart yesterday afternoon.

Last flight the bride was reported as having been missing from her home in Westville Grove for two days.

The bride is Mary Lillie, 22, of Second and Cedar Avenues, Westville Grove, and here mother with the same name, was almost frantic when informed by a reporter from the Courier-Post of the marriage.

The bridegroom, Frank Tiedeman, 18, of 820 Beideman Avenue, was sentenced to five years in prison when he pleaded non vult to four robberies and carrying concealed deadly weapons, by Judge Samuel M. Shay last Monday.

Tiedeman was a member of the "North Cramer Hill gang", two of whom participated in the robbery in which one bandit was killed after wounding City Detective Robert Ashenfelter.

The marriage was performed by Rev. Carlton R. Van Hook, of First M. E. Church, at the request of the prisoner.

Mary is a dressmaker. She is the sole support of her mother and two unemployed brothers. The family lives in meager circumstances. The bride's weekly wage is their only provender.

Last night, it was learned the mother had heard from neighbors that her daughter loved Frank. Mary had expressed it by saying "I will wait ten years or longer, if he is found guilty and sent to jail"

Mrs. Little, however, laughed it off. She didn't believe Mary would marry Tiedeman.

When she heard the news she almost collapsed.

She told a reporter she would "report it to the police" and have a search made for Mary.

The girl left home Tuesday.

Mary's two brothers, George and Edward, last night started to hunt for their sister and will order her home, if successful in their effort to locate her.

The others receiving sentences with Tiedeman were David Allaband, H. Gordon McCrea and Melbourne James. The last two, each got five years apiece and Allaband 6 years.

Camden Courier-Post - October 29, 1931


Detective Robert Ashenfelter, who was shot August 24 by a burglar he later killed, returned to West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital yesterday for a second operation.

A bullet, which physicians thought they would not have to remove, has moved from a few inches above his lung to the rear of his shoulder blade and must be taken out of the detective's body to prevent it moving further.

Ashenfelter was shot by Charles Rettberg, 21, of 1189 North Thirty­sixth Street, whom he surprised while he and several others were attempting to rob an American Store at Thirty-second and Wayne Avenue.

One of the two bullets has already been removed from the sleuth's body. The operation yesterday was not a serious one and the sleuth was permitted to return home after the pellet had been recovered.

Camden Courier-Post - March 21, 1932

Take $40 From Cash Drawer, Flee After Threatening Manager 

Three armed bandits held up and robbed the manager of an American Store at 752 Ferry Avenue, Saturday night and escaped with $40 taken from the cash register.       

The victim of the robbers was F. M. Willis, of 109 Wayne Terrace, Collingswood. 

Willis told police the three men entered the store shortly before 10 p. m., all flourishing revolvers. They commanded him to stand against the wall and while two of them kept their guns leveled at him, the third man ran to the "cash register and took its contents, about $40.

"If you make any noise for the next five minutes we'll come back and kill you," one of the bandits said as they bolted out of the door.

Willis waited several minutes before venturing out of the store to summon police.

He gave Detectives Edwin Mills and Robert Ashenfelter descriptions of the bandits but was unable to tell whether they had made their escape by automobile or on foot.

Camden Courier-Post - June 8, 1932
Alexander A. Lederer - Park Boulevard

Camden Courier Post * November 3, 1932

Herbert Anderson - Robert Ashenfelter - Walter Smith - John Trout - South 6th Street - Harry Kyler
Humphrey Toomey - Frank McClernan

Camden Courier-Post
January 6, 1933

Robert Ashenfelter

Camden Courier-Post * June 10, 1933


Charged with larceny of merchandise from the Mechling Brothers Chemical Company, where he has been employed 11 years, Guido Adezio, 32, of 340 Lincoln Avenue, West Collingswood Heights, received a suspended sentence yesterday from Police Judge Garfield Pancoast

Detective Robert Ashenfelter testified most of the articles, worth about $25, have been recovered. 

"You are very foolish and ungrateful to your employers." Judge Pancoast told Adezio. "After working there for 11 years you should have been grateful for a steady job. Your children will be the ones who will suffer now."

Camden Courier-Post * June 13, 1933


After an enforced idleness of several weeks due to the amputation of one of his fingers, Detective Robert Ashenfelter returned to duty last night at detective headquarters.

Patrolman John Opfer, assigned to the detective division to fill Ashenfelter's place during his absence, has been transferred back to uniform duty, Acting Police Chief John W. Golden announced the change last night.


Two youths were arrested late last night on suspicion of stealing a radio when one of them was interrupted by detectives while attempting to sell it.

Detectives Benjamin Simon, Clifford Del Rossi and Robert Ashenfelter became suspicious of a car parked at Norris and Sheridan Streets. The occupant, Stephen Stanziak, 19, of 1279 Sheridan Street, said he was waiting for a companion who was in the store of Michael Gucik, northeast corner of Norris and Sheridan Streets. The detectives entered the store and found Joseph Fiume, 16, of 1349 Van Hook Street, attempting to sell a radio to Gucik. The youths said it had been given to them by a man they did not know.

Camden Courier-Post
June 25, 1933

Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933

Bandits Trapped in Boulevard Garage Ram Through Auto Doors and Flee
Thieves Steal Machine for Getaway; Abandon Own Loaded With Tools

Shortly after burglars rammed a stolen car through the locked doors of a Collingswood garage early yesterday and fled before shots from police revolvers, one suspect was arrested in Camden and the discovery made that one of the burglars was wounded.

The burglars, either two or three, were surprised shortly before 3:30 a. m. by Sergeant William Ruth and Patrolman Earl Wilson at the Airport Garage, Crescent Boulevard near Haddon Avenue. Three-quarters of an hour after police left the darkened garage, a woman declared she saw a man run from it, his right arm bound in a handkerchief.

The suspect, said to have a police record and now awaiting questioning at Collingswood police headquarters, is Stanley S. Geda, 19, of 1273 Whitman Avenue.

Geda is also suspected by Collingswood police of implication in the theft of three new automobiles last Tuesday from the show rooms of the Community Motors at 622 Haddon Avenue.

Recorder Herbert R. Schooley committed him without bail last night for a further hearing today so that police would have time in which to check Geda's fingerprints against specimens taken from the three recovered automobiles.

Ruth and Wilson were touring Collings wood in a police car when they found a parked car in the rear of the garage on City Line avenue.

Wilson went to the front of the garage, gun drawn, and called to Patrolman Samuel Bell, who was stationed on the Crescent Boulevard­Haddon Avenue corner. When he returned to the garage, Ruth was entering through a window. Wilson went to another window, in time to see a man inside walking toward Ruth.

When the man refused, to halt, Ruth fired and the intruder fell, presumably wounded. Just what happened after that is uncertain because the garage was dark, and many cars were parked inside at all angles. At the sound, of a shot another man, ran downstairs and a large sedan, parked facing the locked front doors, was started. Before Ruth or Wilson could interfere, the machine rammed its way through the doors and to the boulevard, nearly hitting Bell.

As the car sped away, it was fired on by the three policemen.

Three-quarters of an hour later Mrs. Charles Pinto, of Crescent Boulevard and Haddon Avenue, saw a man run from the garage, his right arm bound in a handkerchief. Mrs. Pinto called to policemen but the wounded man escaped.

Police had thought he was one of two men who escaped in the car. The bandits' original car was abandoned where it was parked.

Tools, including an electric drill, were found on the floor near the doorway, apparently ready for loading into a machine. The tools included cutters, a hack saw and other equipment. An attempt was being made, it was said, to steal a new car and one of the burglars was attempting to exchange a new battery for the get-away when the police appeared:

Geda was arrested when a car said to have been in his possession and owned by the Watson Shallcross Company was found parked near his home without tags. The arrest was made by Robert Ashenfelter and Clarence Arthur, city detectives.

Geda was arrested as a material witness in the Radio Condenser Company holdup a few weeks ago and is still under bail.

Camden Courier-Post - August 10, 1933


Two armed bandits last night held up a Camden gasoline station attendant, scooped $T from the cash register and disappeared in a maroon coupe driven by a third man.

Carlton G. Weatherby, of 1 Kings Highway, Haddonfield, attendant at the Gulf station, Ferry and Mt. Ephraim avenues, reported to Detectives John Opfer and Robert Ashenfelter the two men jumped out of the car which the driver parked a short distance away on Ferry Avenue. Entering the station, they forced Weatherby to turn away from the cash register and after one of them took the money, the other struck him on the head and warned him to make no outcry. Then they ran out and disappeared. Both bandits carried steel-colored pistols. Both were of medium build and wore dark clothes.

Camden Courier-Post - September 18, 1933


Dazedly Insists He Had No Intention of Shooting Sire

Slain Man Long Was Prominent Figure in Camden Politics

Jacob Schiller, 72, for 45 years a political figure here, is dead, shot by his own son.

The slayer, William Schillcr, 30, a former summer policeman now unemployed, was held over today to the grand jury on a charge of murder. He made no comment whatever during his police court hearing.

A few hours later, young Schiller's wife, Augusta, whom he lad also tried to shoot, was found wandering through the city street, in all hysterical condition.

She had written a note which police believed showed intent to commit suicide,

and had staggered dazedly through the streets last night. Both in her note and in her incoherent statements to detectives she declared she was to blame for the tragedy.

She said her father-in-law had tried to save her and was killed in the attempt.

 The slaying occurred Saturday night at the elder Schiller's home, 2420 Carman Street. It climaxed an estrangement between young Schiller and his wife, with "Jake" Schiller attempting to reconcile the couple.

Mrs. William Schiller, who had had her husband arrested several months ago, said she believed he had become mentally deranged, but Police Judge Pancoast was informed that an alienist had examined young Schiller in July and pronounced him sane.

Couple Separated

Young Schiller had been living with his father at the Carman Street address, while Mrs. Schiller has been residing with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John I. Green, 409 North Thirty-seventh Street. The cause of the estrangement has no been revealed by police, but it is stated that young Schiller refused to consent to a reconciliation.

"Jake" Schiller was a Republican worker in the Twelfth ward for years, and was at the time or his death inspector of city street lights.

Were Alone it Home

The father and son were at home 9.00 p. m. Saturday night and apparently were quarreling when the young Mrs. Schiller, her brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. William Miller and another sister, Mrs. Lottie Bennehler, reached the house.

"Don't come in here," the older Schiller shouted as they started to enter the front sun parlor. But Miller did enter and said young Schiller was clutching a revolver in his right hand. He declared he closed in on his brother-in-law and tried to wrench the revolver from him. Two shots rang out and the father fell to the floor.

Patrolman Joseph Keefe was standing at Twenty-fifth and Federal Streets when two boys ran up and told him there was a shooting at Twenty-fifth and Carman Street. He ran to the scene and said he reached there in time to see young Schiller shooting up the street at his wife.

Keefe said Schiller ran into the house when he saw him. Aided by Miller, Keefe overpowered Schiller and placed an iron claw on his right hand after disarming him.

Jacob Schiller Jr., another son, learning of the shooting, went to his father's home and took him to Cooper Hospital in a passing automobile As he was being taken into the hospital he failed to recognize City Detective Robert Ashenfelter and died five minutes later.

Expresses No Regret

Police Sergeant John Potter joined Keefe and Miller and they took young Schiller to police headquarters.

Keefe said the son expressed no regret at shooting his father.

At about 5 a, m. today, Policeman Keefe was patrolling his "beat" when he passed the Schiller home on Carman Street. He noticed the front door was standing open, and he went inside to investigate.

The officer saw a note on a smoking stand. Picking it up, he read:

"Dear Everybody:

 "Please forgive me ... You have all been so wonderful ... But I couldn't go on to see you all suffer for what is my fault ... Lottie was right ... He killed his father because of insane love for me ... But he didn't. I killed Pop and now am sending Bibs to jail for my weakness.

 "Tell him I love him and ask my poor mother and dad to forgive me. I should have done this long ago and saved everyone all this suffering ... I love Billy and I know he loves me but I am afraid he has been turned against me. But I forgive him for all.


 "Gussie" is Mrs. Schiller.

Finds 'Gussie’ Hysterical

Keefe ran to Federal Street, but could not see Mrs. Schiller.

Meanwhile, Constable Dugan of the Twelfth Ward, saw Mrs. Schiller walking on Federal Street near the Cooper River. She was mumbling to herself and was in a hysterical condition, Dugan said.

Dugan telephoned police headquarters. City Detectives Rox Saponare and Maurice DeNicoli went out Federal Street and took her back with them to detective headquarters. There they sought to quiet her, but she continually sobbed.

"I want to take the blame- if I hadn't gone to Pop's home he would be living now."

"Pop wanted to save me," she said. "and he was shot. I can't eat or sleep. I think I'm going crazy."

Later, she was permitted to return to the home.

Young Schiller had been held in the city jail over the weekend. Today he was taken into police court. He wore no necktie and carried a raincoat over his arm. He was rep resented by counsel, C. Lawrence Gregorio, who said he had been retained "by friends" to act as attorney for the accused man.

City detective Benjamin Simon had signed the complaint in which he charged "on information received” that Schiller did feloniously and with malice aforethought shoot and kill his father.

The complaint was read to him and Gregorio told him not to say any thing, as Judge Pancoast would enter a plea of "not guilty" in his behalf. This was done by the court and Schiller was then held without bail pending grand jury action. He was taken to the county jail.

Declared Sane

After the hearing, Mrs. Etta C. Pfrommer, acting overseer of the poor, told Judge Pancoast that on July 26, Dr. Harry Jarrett, Broadway and Cherry Street, well known alienist, had examined young Schiller and declared him sane. The examination was made on the request of Mrs. Schiller in police court on the previous day. At that time young Schiller had been released by the court in the custody of his father.

County Detective Chief Lawrence T. Doran, who was among the first to question young Schiller Saturday night, said the man did not seem repentant over what he had done. He said Schiller did not give authorities much information. According to Doran, young Schiller declared he had objected frequently to his father that he did not want his wife to come to their home.

"It doesn't seem possible," said young Mrs. Schiller some hours after the tragedy. "It seems as though it was only a dream. I don't seem to remember anything.

"Poor Bill. He must have been crazy. He idolized his father. You can blame this all on the depression. He has been without work since they eliminated summer policemen two years ago. He has been worried as a result of being unable to obtain work. Just recently he started to drink.

"Bill intended to shoot me but his father tried to get the gun away from him and I believe it went off accidentally. Nothing could convince me that Bill would shoot his father in cold blood.

"I went to his father's home last night to try to effect a reconciliation with my husband. He had been drinking."

Registered as Sober

The police docket at headquarters shows Schiller registered as sober. The entry was not made until 2.15 a. m., and the shooting occurred shortly after 9.30 p.m.

Relatives said the father had attempted for months to patch up the marital difficulties of the couple.

Young Schiller had been living lately with his sister, Mrs. Bennehler, 2530 Bank Street and his wife with her parents at 409 North Thirty-seventh Street. He formerly lived at that address with his wife. He was appointed a summer policeman in 1929 and served until they were all dismissed two years ago.

Coroner Holl and Dr. Edward B. Rogers, county physician, yesterday performed an autopsy on the senior Schiller's body and ascertained that death was due to an internal hemorrhage caused by a bullet wound of the upper portion of the abdomen. They said a .32-callbre revolver had been used in the shooting.

Camden Lodge of Elks will hold services tomorrow night at the Schiller home, at which time the body will be on view. The funeral will be private on Wednesday with burial in Evergreen Cemetery.

Judge Pancoast last night recalled that young Schiller was arrested two months ago after he had kept his wife a prisoner on a lot all night. At that time "Jake," as he was affectionately known to his friends, tried to act as a mediator between his son and daughter-in-law.

The young Mrs. Schiller at that time told Pancoast she believed her husband was deranged and asked permission to have him examined by physicians she would name. Pancoast released young Schiller in the custody at his father. The police judge said the examination had apparently not been made as no commitment papers had been sent through his office.

Few political workers were better known that "Jake” Schiller. He was born in Philadelphia and was brought to Camden in early life by his parents, who conducted a saloon near Twenty-third and Federal Streets. East Camden was then the town of Stockton and the scene of Saturday night's shooting was a farm. Schiller recalled to friends that he drove cows through a pasture on which his house now stands.

 He was originally a Democrat but became a Republican through persuasion of the late U. S. Senator David Baird and remained a friend of the former leader for 40 years.

 Schiller had been melancholy over the death of his wife on February 13 last, friends said.

 When his son was arrested he remarked to Pancoast:  What is next?"

Figured In Shaw Case

None was more in the public eye 35 years ago in South Jersey than Schiller. It was the that he figured prominently in one phase of the locally celebrated Shaw murder trial.

It was during the second trial of Eli Shaw for the murder of his mother and grandmother, Mrs. Anna Shaw and Mrs. Emma Zane. They were found shot to death in September, 1897, in their bedroom of their home on Line Street near Third. Detective John Painter had found a revolver hidden in the chimney, one of several points in the circumstantial evidence that resulted in the indictment of Shaw. He was then a widely known young man about town and his arrest caused a big sensation. As time drew near for the trial feeling was intense, for there were adherents for and against the son and grandson, those arguments often grew bitter.

Henry Sidney Scovel, then one of the prominent criminal lawyers of Camden county, was retained to defend Shaw. Scovel was son of James Matlack Scovel, himself one of the leading barristers of this section. When the trial of Shaw was under way the city was astounded when it was charged Scovel had tampered with the jury. It was Schiller who made the charge.

The trial stopped abruptly. Scovel emphatically denied the story of Schiller and demanded vindication. An indictment for embracery was returned and at a trial, which had Camden on the tip toe of expectancy for days, it developed there was absolutely nothing to verify the charge, and Scovel was acquitted. He acted in two subsequent trials of Shaw, the second being a disagreement and the third acquittal for the son and grandson of the slain women.

Schiller, strangely enough, in later years became friendly with Scovel and when the latter was prosecutor from 1905 to 1912, "Jake," as he was familiarly known, was usually to be found in the office at the courthouse. Scovel was then a white haired man of flowery speech and impressive personality who let bygones be bygones.

Long Excise Inspector

For more than 20 years Schiller was inspector of the Excise Commission in Camden. It was during the days when the principal object of the inspector apparently was to keep the saloonmen in line. He was considered pretty good at that job, by no means an unimportant one from the organization viewpoint. It was also during that period the city had its troubles enforcing the Sunday liquor laws. There were those who considered they had enough pull to keep their back or side doors open on the Sabbath to let in their regular thirsty trade. Some succeeded in getting by, but "Jake" had his own troubles in keeping the boys straight and sometimes causing their arrest, although that was not frequent by any means.

His reign as inspector, too, was in the halcyon days of free lunch and schooner beers. Saloonmen themselves were against the lunch idea eventually since it meant too much of a financial burden. Jake kept tabs on the recalcitrants so that the liquor dealers knew who was obeying the order and who was "cutting corners" to get some extra trade.

Schiller was virtually raised with the saloon trade since his father was one of the old time German beer garden owners here, having had a place at Fourth and Line Streets. That was in the days when that section was largely populated by the German, English and Irish families lately come from the motherlands. When he was a boy, Schiller entered the U. S. Navy and served several years. When he came out he went to the old Town of Stockton, now East Camden, where he opened a saloon on Federal Street near Twenty-fourth. At that period, some 45 years ago, Stockton seethed with politics and it was just as natural for a young man to get into the game as it was for a duck to swim. Jake at that period was a Democrat and during the battle in the middle 90's when the West Jersey Traction and the Camden Horse Railway Company were fighting for the rail franchises in the town he was a candidate for council from the old Second Ward. The late Robert Lee was the Republican candidate and won out by the narrow margin of two votes. In later years Schiller became a Republican and was elected a constable.

Never Ran From Scrap

Throughout his career Schiller never quite forgot his training In the navy, particularly with reference to boxing or fighting at the drop of a hat. He was a scrapper in his early years and never ran from a fight. That was just as true in political battles, frequent then around the polls, as in purely personal matters. And Jake would battle for a friend just as readily as for any personal reason. He was usually in the thick of the political fracases of the years when it was the accepted thing to fight at the drop of a hat. But he also had lots of native wit which kept things interesting when he was a frequenter of the prosecutors' office during the Scovel and Wolverton regime's. In late years, with the approach of age, he had tempered his propensity to get into an argument and liked nothing more than to tell of “the good old days" when he helped the elder Baird in his organization battles.

He made his last political stand for leadership of the Twelfth Ward in 1926 when he supported the candidacy of Sergeant Ray Smith against Commissioner Clay W. Reesman for ward committeeman. Schiller was supporting Congressman Charles A. Wolverton and the late Senator Joseph H. Forsyth in a campaign against former Congressman Francis F. Patterson and State Senator Albert S. Woodruff.

Reesman won and among the first to visit the hospital after learning of the shooting was the city commissioner. Reesman was his latest chief as lights inspector as he was attached to the highway department. Commissioner Frank B. Hanna also visited the hospital.

"In all the years I have known him he has always been an enthusiastic and loyal friend with a good heart for everybody in trouble," Congressman Wolverton said when he learned of Schiller's death.

Schiller was also a familiar figure at the Elks Club, where he was an ardent card player. But after the death of his wife he gave up this pastime, contenting himself with watching the games. He was also a frequent visitor among old friends at the courthouse.

Camden Courier-Post
August 29, 1935

South 8th Street
Robert Ashenfelter
Clarence Brown
Mrs. Alice Brown

Camden Courier-Post * September 2, 1935


Camden and Collingswood authorities joined forces Saturday to aid a Philadelphia woman, attempting to recover a motorcycle which "disappeared" last week and which was "found" on a Collingswood used car lot. 

Mrs. Mabel Bennett, of 1224 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, first asked help of Camden Detective Robert Ashenfelter. He and Sergeant William Ruth, of Collingswood, accompanied her while she swore out a writ of attachment from Justice of the Peace Edgar B. Wallen, of Collingswood, when an attendant at the lot, on the 1700 block Haddon Avenue, refused to surrender the 'cycle.  

A writ to show cause also was taken out against Mrs. Bennett's husband, Harry, of Collingswood, who is believed to have taken the vehicle from Mrs. Bennett's Philadelphia home, according to Wallen.

Camden Courier-Post * January 6, 1936
... continued...
Roy A. Smith - Robert Ashenfelter - John Sheeran - Jesse Smith - Robert Ward - Charles Gladney
Victor S. King - Roy R. Stewart - North 36th Street - Wright Avenue
Charles Rettberg - Theodore Rettberg - Melbourne James - Gordon McRae

Camden Courier-Post
January 7, 1936

Roy A. Smith
Robert Ashenfelter
John Sheeran
Jesse Smith
Robert Ward
Charles Gladney
Dr. Garnet P. Summerill


Camden Courier-Post - February 17, 1936

Friend Identifies Victim and Tells of Accident Near Railroad Here

A severely injured woman, who was found lying in snow near railroad tracks at Front and Division streets early yesterday, was identified last night as Ida Bernardi, 31. She mumbled the word automobile when she was found and after regaining consciousness at Cooper Hospital she mentioned the name of Samuel Alersi, 215 Federal Street, a friend. Police first thought she had been struck by a train as she was suffering from a compound fracture of the leg among other injuries.

Detective Sergeant Joseph Carpani, Acting Detective John V. Wilkie and Detective Robert Ashenfelter questioned Alersi, who said the woman fell on the ice and he had to walk to Second Street and Kaighn Avenue to get a telephone to call police. He declared the woman had been removed to the hospital by police before he could return to the scene.

Wilkie said an examination of the scene revealed that her foot had become wedged between a gas pump and a high curbing, causing a fracture of the leg as she fell.

Alersi's statements were corroborated by Frank Losito, 42, of 331 Benson Street. The two men said they had been companions of the woman on a drinking party during the night. Neither was held.

The woman gave her address as a taproom at 221 Federal Street.

Camden Courier-Post
July 14, 1936

Robert Ashenfelter
Pine Street
William Peterson
Kaighn Avenue


Camden Courier-Post * October 22, 1936

Lewis Liberman - Samuel P. Orlando - John Burns - John Huston
Herbert Richardson - Robert Ashenfelter - Francis Murtaugh
John Ercolani - Edward Hargrove - James Walter

South 8th Street - North 34th Street
Penn Street - Sycamore Street

Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1938

Police Believe Bandit Gang Plans of Group Halted by Roundup

Police believed they had frustrated the formation of hoodlum bandit mob yesterday with the arrest of five South Camden youths after a holdup of a grocery store at Tenth Street and Ferry Avenue.

Two of the five suspects were identified by the grocer, John Jacobs, as the bandits who entered his store at 960 Ferry Avenue, held him up at gun point and escaped with $23.95. Jacobs told Detectives Heber McCord and Clarence Arthur that he recognized one of the bandits as Anthony Mona, 19, of 947 South Third Street, a former boxer, whom he saw fighting in the ring, McCord said.

A radio call was sent to all cars to pick up Mona. A short time later, District Detectives Leon Branch and John Houston arrested Mona as he was eating in a restaurant near Broadway and Kaighn Avenue.

After questioning by McCord and Arthur, Mona implicated the others. They are Dominick Spinagotti, 17, of 251 Mt. Vernon street; Vito Brandimorto, 20, of 245 Chestnut Street; Salvatore Martorano, 21, of 344 Cherry Street, and Victor Labato, 19, of 274 Mt. Vernon street.

Mona was searched in the detective bureau. Police found $6.65 in change in his pockets. The others were rounded up at their homes by Detective Sergeant Benjamin Simon and Detectives Joseph Mardino and Robert Ashenfelter.

According to Simon the youths were "just beginning to embark on a career of crime."

When the others were brought to the detective bureau for questioning, all but $2 of the loot was recovered, Detective McCord said.

McCord said the youths signed statements saying Mona and Labato entered the store while the others waited in Mona's car outside the store, all fleeing together after the holdup.

Camden Courier-Post * July 16, 1942

American Legion Post 274
Edward Mills - Pietro Damario - Charles Flacco
Albert diGiacomo - Giustino Fizallo
Fillmore Street - Broadway - Viola Street

World War II Draft Card
One can only speculate as to the discrepancy in the age reported on this card.
Multiple sources indicate the 1884 birthdate.