ROBERT CHARLES WARD was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 24, 1888 to John Alexander Ward and his wife, the former Katherina Heffner. He was the second of four children, coming after Elizabeth and before Urquhart Ward and Joseph Ward. Sadly, Elizabeth died quite young. John A. Ward brought his family to Camden in the early 1910s.

The 1920 Census shows the Ward family at 1264 Mechanic Street. Robert Ward, after serving in the United States Navy during World War I, had recently been appointed to the Camden Police Department. Urquhart Ward was working as a plumber, and his father as a plumbers helper. Joseph Ward, an Army veteran, was working as a steamfitter, was appointed to the police department in the mid-1920s. Sadly, Joseph Ward died in May of 1930 in a boating incident. 

Robert Ward married Matilda Cromeyn in 1920. The young couple lived with his parents at 1264 Liberty Street through 1923. By 1926 they had moved to 1268 Liberty Street. The 1930 Census shows the Ward family which by then included sons Robert C. Ward Jr. and John A. Ward, was still living at 1268 Liberty Street. Sons Joseph and Urquhart A. Ward II were born in 1931 and 1932, and a fifth son, Edward, was born around 1938. By 1940 the Wards had moved to 1275 Mechanic Street.

On June 6, 1925 Patrolman Robert Ward was shot at South 6th and Everett Streets as he stepped up to an automobile to question its occupants. One of these suspects was captured. Ward recovered and returned to duty after being in the hospital for weeks. 


By October of 1931 Robert Ward had been promoted to Detective. As a result of injuries suffered when he was shot, Robert Ward retired from the police department early in 1933. Robert Ward died on June 24, 1940 as a result of hemorrhages from the bullet wound he had received on June 16, 1925. He was 51 years of age. After a funeral mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart he was interred at New Camden Cemetery. His wife joined him in October of 1951.


Camden Courier
June 6, 1925

Robert Ward
Joseph Ward
Fred Klosterman
Whitman Avenue
Charles Eldrin
Edward Branin
Edward Dillon
John Schilke



The shooting occurred at 2 o'clock at Sixth and Everett streets and was witnessed by Urquhart Ward, Thirteenth Ward plumber and brother of the injured patrolaman, Policeman John Searock and former Policeman Carl Quinton.

The two Wards an Quinton had been in attendance at a political meeting and were on their way home in an automobile when the met Searock, who had gone off duty at midnight. Urquhart Ward, driving the car, offered to take Searock home.

They were on theri way down Sixth Street when they saw a car parked in the shadows near Everett Street. There was no tail light on the car and Policeman Ward, becoming suspicious, told his brother to stop the car and he got out and went over to the other machine.

When Ward reached the side of the automobile, he demanded to know what the party was doing on the street at that hour of the morning.

Gang Opens Fire

"Stick 'em up" were the words that came from the car and floated across the street to the ears of Searock, Quinton, and Urquhart Ward.

Simultaneous with the demand came a volley of revolver shots from the car. The fist shot hit Ward, who was within inches of the machine and he dropped to ground with a loud groan. Two other shots were fired as the policeman lay on the ground but went wild. Ward attempted to pull his revolver as he went down, but he did 
not have the strength to use his weapon.

Searock, with drawn revolver, Quinton, and and Ward's brother dashed towards the machine. As they did so, the machine started down the street, but the driver evidently was all excited as the car had proceeded only a few yards when it ran 
ahead onto a fire-plug and the engine stalled.

Shots Are Exchanged

Seeing that escape was impossible in the automobile, the bandits scrambled from the machine one after the other and fled in all directions at top speed. Searock emptied his revolver at the fleeing forms but it was not known if any of the men were hit. Neither of he captured men was wounded.

Three of the bandits fired shots back at Searock, Quinton, and Urquhart Ward as they ran.

The shots aroused the entire neighborhood and several civilians joined in the chase and subsequent hunt for the men throughout the neighborhood, Ward was sent to headquarters by Searock and police in all parts of the city as well as at the suburbs were notified as to be on the lookout for the men.

Klosterman Tells Story

It was shortly after three o'clock that Klostermn met up with the other five bandits and had the big thrill of his life. Klosterman is a six-foot, athletic chap and is known for his ability to take care of himself. He had heard the shooting and joined in the chase.

"I was driving along Lansdowne Avenue near Louis Street shortly before 3 o'clock when the five men suddenly jumped out of the darkness and 
commanded me to stop." Klosterman said this morning in describing his thrilling experience.
"Two of the men had revolvers and I decided it would be foolish not to obey."

"When I asked them what they wanted, one of the men spoke up and said 'drive us to the ferry.' I asked what ferry and he replied 'Gloucester'."

"Realizing that it would be foolhardy to refuse, I told the men to jump in. One of the men got in beside me in the front seat and jammed a revolver into my side and telling me that I had better not try any 'monkey business'."

"Thinking that the men were not familiar with Camden, I decided to take a long chance, in spite of the revolver in my side, and I drove up to Chestnut Street and down to Sixth, where the Second District police station is located, hoping some of the officers would be outside."

"The man sitting beside me was quick to notice the station, however and he commanded me to step on the gas, violently exclaiming "What in the he__ did you drive past that police station for, don't try anything like that again or I'll blow your damned head off."

"I tried to tell them that it was a firehouse, but they told me I was a liar and told me to get to Gloucester as quickly as I could or else they would knock me off and drive the car themselves."

"I thought is best for my health to obey orders after that and I took the to the Gloucester ferry. When I got there the bandits evidently changed their plans when the saw there was no boat in the docks."

Held Whispered Confab

"One of the men held his hands over my ears while they had a whispered conversation, after which they told me to drive them to Buena Vista Park, which I did."

"After we got there, the bandits climbed out and the two men with the guns pointed at me and told me to get back to Camden as fast as that old boat will go and don't stop to talk to anybody."

Klosterman said he considered himself fortunate to get away from the bandits and he put on full speed and went to the Camden police headquarters and informed the night sergeant of his experience. The police were combing the Whitman Park section for the bandits at that time, and then immediately shifted their 
activities to Gloucester and that vicinity.

According to Klosterman, the driver of the car was wounded in the face. He wore a handkerchief over the wound.

Policeman Ward was taken to the Homeopathic Hospital in the police ambulance. The bullet hd just missed his heart and physicians believe it punctured one of his lungs. His condition was reported as critical this morning. little hope is being held for his recovery.

Chase Precedes Capture

The capture of Dillon and Branin was preceded by a thrilling chase over the railroad bridge at Kaighn Avenue and through a number of streets in that vicinity. The two bandits proved fleet of foot and out distanced their pursuers, They 
tried to borrow hats during the chase and also pleaded with a woman to let them hide in her house, admitting that "the cops are after us".

Several persons who attended a ball at Tenth and Kaighn Avenue joined Policeman Schilke and Pflederer in the pursuit of Dillon and Branin. 

Several of the dancers were standing outside the hall talking about the shooting when one of them saw two forms skulking across the railroad bridge that crosses Kaighn Avenue, neat Tenth. 

The men crouched down as the crossed the bridge in an effort to avoid being seen.

Schilke, Pflederer and several of the civilians started down the street and reached the bridge just in time to see the men dash down the incline and disappear into Sycamore Street. An exciting chase through the streets followed but the two bandits finally eluded their pursuers and dropped out of sight. The searchers then spread out in a dragnet fashion to comb the neighborhood.

Schilke and two civilians were walking along Ninth Street when they noticed two forms in the darkness on a porch.

"Come out of there" yelled Schilke as he pulled his revolver.

"Don't shoot, we'll come out" came back the frightened response and the two bandits meekly, but sullenly, gave themselves up.

Dillon Is Identified

Prior to being sent to police headquarters, the men were taken to the hospital where Policeman Ward positively identified Dillon as the man who fired he shot that hit him. Ward's brother also identified Dillon as the bandits were standing at the patrol box at Mt. Ephraim and Kaighn avenues awaiting the arrival of the wagon.

The machine abandoned by the bandits is a Buick touring car with a Pennsylvania license. It is believed to be a stolen car.

Detective Wood, of Philadelphia, today declared he is sure the bandits are the same gang that ran wild in Philadelphia two nights this week. Last Sunday night Branin us said to have engaged in a revolver duel with Lew Pistoff at Second and South Streets. Two weeks ago the Bauley gang took part in a battle at Seventy-ninth and Tinicum Streets, Philadelphia during which more than 690 shots were exchanged by the bandits and police.

Policeman Ward is 35 years of old and lives atr 1288 Liberty Street. He has a wife, Matilda, and a four-year-old son, Robert Jr. He was appointed on teh force May 28, 1918 and has been in the motorcycle squad for some time.

Benjamin Allen, 38 years old, colored, Eighth and Van Hook Streets, was arrested in suspicion this morning. He likely will be released today, however.

Dillon Changes Name

Dillon was grilled this morning by Prosecutor Wescott, Chief of Detectives Doran and Captain of Detectives Schregler. He sad his correct name is Edward C. DeGora. He admitted serving a term in the Glen Mills reformatory when he was 17 years 
old and that he had served a year in the Eastern Penitientiary in 1922 for stealing automobiles.

DeGora told the police he was driving the car at the time it hit the fireplug. His right wrist is fractured, a souvenir of the collision, he said.

Joseph Branin, brother of the other man under arrest appeared at police headquarters this morning to learn the charges against his brother, He said the abandoned car belonged to him and that he loaned it to Edward last night. He said 
that he had loaned the car on many other occasions.

Police were satisfied that Joseph was not a member of the party of bandits, but he was held in $500 bail as a material witness.

Camden Courier
June 8, 1925


Camden Courier
June 8, 1925


Robert Ward - Fred Klosterman
Edward Dillon - Edward Brennan
South 6th Street - Everett Street

Francis Bailey Gang

Camden Courier
June 12, 1925

Robert C. Ward - Bernard Bertman - John T. Cleary - Walter Keown - Edward Dillon
Edward Brennan - West Jersey Hospital -
South 6th Street - Everett Street - Joseph Brennan

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 * October 16,1931


Police last night cleaned up an old case of highway robbery that occurred at Second and Mt. Vernon Streets last August when Edward A. Turner, 48, of 1104 Cresson Street, was robbed of his watch, chain and knife.

At the time of the hold-up, Turner told police there were four or five colored men in the robbery. Detectives Robert Ward and Clifford Carr arrested Earl Bundy, 17, of 819 Sycamore Street, who they said had the articles in his possession; also Charles Wing, 17, of 1012 Francis Street; Sherman Smith, 17, of 161 Ivins Street and William Jackman, 16, of 152 Sycamore Street. The last three pleaded guilty and were sentenced to Rahway Reformatory by Judge Samuel Shay.

Bundy pleaded not guilty and was lodged in the local jail. 

Last night Ward and Carr with Patrolman Luke captured Oscar Moore, 19, of 135 Mt. Vernon Street as the fifth bandit. He will be held without bail on the same charge as the others..

Camden Courier-Post - October 26,1931

Four Suspects Caught as Series of Weekend Robberies Keep Police Busy
Trio Held at Gloucester for Robbing Store at Westville Grove

Loot valued at several hundred dollar was recovered and four men arrested over the weekend as many robberies were reported to police throughout South Jersey.

Three of the men arrested were captured in Gloucester when merchandise stolen from a Westville Grove store and garage was found in their automobile. The fourth man was arrested in Camden.

Those under arrest in Gloucester, are Joseph Rietseh, 47, of 1245 Palmer street; Joseph Dorman, 18, of 103 Chango street, and Charles Headley, 18, of 936 North Fourth street, all of Philadelphia.

The loot found in their car consisted of automobile tires, cigarettes, safety razors, tubes and other articles. It had been stolen from the store and garage of George A. Fields, Delsea Drive, Westville Grove.

The three men were arrested by Patrolmen Walter Lane and William Fowler. who stopped their car because it had but one headlight.

Taken back to Westville the three men were held without bail for the grand jury by Recorder Charles H. Benner.

Held For Theft

When he walked down Federal Street with an oil stove Armstead Saunders, 56, of 314 Taylor Avenue, was stopped by the police Saturday night.

An investigation revealed he had picked it up as he passed the second-hand store of W. L. Ernest, 408 Federal Street, according to Patrolmen Walter Patton and Raymond Stark. Saunders will have a hearing today before Police Judge Pancoast, on a charge of larceny.

James Josephson, 3320 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, a salesman for the Household Institute of New York reported the loss of two cases of aluminum ware and an investigation was conducted by Detective Sylvester McGrath. Upon information he entered the apartment alleged to have been tenanted by John Harrigan, of 1289 Dayton Street and found the merchandise. Harrigan is said by the police to have left the apartment. The goods are valued at $150.

William H. McMakin, of 119 West Pine Street, Audubon, reported to Detective Robert Ward that he was held up at Pine Street near Fifth on Sunday morning by three young men. They relieved him of his watch, valued $35, and his drivers license. McMakin was unable to describe the culprits.

William Harris, 53, of 1731 Fillmore Street, told Detective Clifford Carr he was relieved of his wallet containing $6.90 by an unknown man at Haddon Avenue and Copewood Street, Sunday morning. He described the man as being about 27 years old and wearing a light cap.

Thieves entered the candy shop of Jones Wilson, Park Boulevard and Kaighn Avenue, Saturday night and took three cartons of cigarettes, some candy and soda valued at $23.

Hair Clipper Stolen

Waclaw Hermanolski, 1322 Mt. Ephraim Avenue, reported to police that someone entered his barbershop through a rear window and stole an electric hair clipper, massage vibrator and $15.

A grocery store operated by Joseph S. Eskowitz, of 1022 Broadway, was entered early yesterday and the thieves took three dozen cans of malt syrup valued at $12. Detective Benjamin Simon discovered the burglar gained his entrance by cutting a pane of glass out of the back window.

Louis E. Barnes, 21, colored, employed by the police department to catch a colored man who has been reported preying on unemployed and collecting money from them in promise of a job, has informed police that such a man got away from him on October 24. He is known to the police and will be picked up, they said.

Barnes said the man being sought told him to give him $2.50 for a white coat and he would get him a job in the kitchen of the Cooper Hospital. When Barnes returned with the money the man had disappeared..

Robert C. Ward
Early 1920s

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Robert C. Ward Family
circa 1930

Matilda Ward
with sons John  & Robert Jr.

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Robert C. Ward Family - circa 1933 
Robert C. Jr., Urquhart A., Joseph G., & John A. Ward

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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
June 25, 1940

Mechanic Street
West Jersey Hospital
Sacred Heart Church
Urquhart Ward
South 6th Street
Everett Street
Camden Lodge 293, B.P.O. Elks







Invoice For the Burial of Robert C. Ward
from Harry Leonard, Funeral Director

Invoice For the Burial of Matilda Ward
from Harry Leonard, Funeral Director