Samuel S.

SAMUEL S. BUZINE was born in Delaware in September of 1844 to Lewis and Sarah Buzine. The 1860 Census shows the family living in Camden's South Ward, with Lewis Buzine supporting his family working as a laborer. The family then included older brother John, 17 and younger brother William Buzine, 13, as well as a sister, Margaret Buzine. 4. All the Buzine sons had been born in Delaware. Margaret was born in New Jersey, indicating the family having moved to New Jersey and in all probability Camden during the years between the births of William and Margaret. Sons Lewis Jr. and Harry were both born in Camden during the 1860s. Lewis Buzine Sr. served for three months with Company G, 4th New Jersey Infantry from April 27 through July 1861.

The 1870 Census shows that the Buzine family were still living in Camden. At home were the five Buzine sons. During the 1860s Samuel S. Buzine had married. Two children had been born, Clara and William. During the 1860s Samuel Buzine had been active as a volunteer fire fighter. On December 7, 1869 Samuel Buzine and forty other men became founding members of the Camden Fire Department when Engine Company 1, Engine Company 2, and the Hook and Ladder Company (Ladder Company 1) went into service. Samuel Buzine was assigned to Engine Company 1, under the 

command of Engineer G. Rudolph Tenner. Samuel S. Buzine was living at 411 Spruce Street when he was appointed to the Fire Department. By September of 1871 he had moved to 506 Walnut Street.

On November 10, 1869 Camden's City Council had 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

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

Extra Men (call members)

Thomas Allibone           

Badge #1

William Deith               

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 and Ladder Company

Edward J. Dodamead, Tillerman; Frank Jones, Driver

Extra Men

Charles M. 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

Abram Lower 

Badge #30

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

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.

Leadership in the Fire Department in these years was not subject to Civil Service regulations. On June 2, 1873 Samuel Buzine was first named Assistant Chief Engineer. When the Democrats gained control of City Council in 1876, future mayor Claudius Bradshaw was elected Chief Engineer for the City of Camden, George Horneff, of Engine Company 1 was named as Assistant Engineer, and another Engine 1 member, Thomas McLaughlin, was named as Extra Engineer. Bradshaw and Horneff were both re-elected in 1877. Cornelius Brown was promoted to foreman if Engine Company 1. Samuel Buzine did not serve with the Fire Department during the years when Claudius Bradshaw was in charge of the Fire Department.

By 1879 Samuel Buzine and family had moved to 724 Spruce Street. With Republicans regaining control of the city in 1879, Samuel Buzine returned to service, this time as foreman of Engine Company 2. Cornelius Brown continued as Engine Company 1 foreman. Both men remained in these positions until March 27, 1882. G. Rudolph Tenner was then named Engine Company 1 foreman.  In 1884 Samuel Buzine was named Foreman of Engine Company 1. He was promoted to Assistant Engineer the following year, his place being taken by John Stockton, who later became Chief of the department. The Assistant Engineer title was the equivalent of today's Deputy Chief. Samuel Buzine served in that capacity until his retirement in 1911, for all but three years under Samuel S. Elfreth.

The 1880 Census shows the family residing at 724 Spruce Street. Two more daughters had joined the Buzine family, Ella and Wilhelmina. Another daughter, Stella, was born in September of 1882. Samuel Buzine again left the Fire Department when Daniel A. Carter was elected Chief in 1882, but returned again three years later, this time to stay. Samuel S. Buzine worked at the Browning Brothers dye works at Cooper's Creek and Pine Street during his time away from the Fire Department.

The 1885 City Directory lists the Buzine family at 709 Spruce Street. City Directories from 1887 through 1893 show the Buzine family at 708 Spruce Street. The 1894 through 1899 Directories lists the family at 701 Cherry Street. Sarah Buzine was also running confectionary out of the address at the time. The family moved to 757 Spruce Street late in 1899 or early in 1900.

On July 29, 1895 Camden fireman Wilson Bromley and Assistant Chief Samuel Buzine were injured On July 29, 1895 when Engine Company 1's hose cart overturned at South 6th and Royden Street. They had been responding to a test alarm sent by the Fire Committee of City Council. Sadly, Fire fighter Bromley was injured while responding the a fire at the Farr & Bailey oil cloth plant at South 7th Street and Kaighn Avenue on February 15, 1896. He died as a result of his injuries on February 28, 1896.

The 1900 Census shows Samuel & Sarah Buzine and daughter Stella living at 757 Spruce Street. Of the five Buzine children, only Stella was still living at home. The 1906 City Directory, and the 1910 Census list Samuel Buzine and his wife at 765 Spruce Street.

Of the many fires Samuel Buzine was involved with during his tenure with the Camden Fire Department comes this account of the Camden Storage Warehouse fire of May 1904, written by Lee Ryan for the Camden Fire Department's 125th Anniversary history book, published in 1994:

At 4:57A.M. on May 6, 1904 a phone alarm and several pull boxes were received for a fire at the Camden Storage Warehouse at Delaware Avenue and Cooper Street. The massive five-story building contained 600 rooms with furniture storage. Smoke and fire could be seen coming from the fourth floor at the southeast corner of the warehouse. Upon arrival, Chief Samuel S. Elfreth transmitted a general alarm as the blaze spread through the entire fourth floor. Within minutes, engine companies had water on the fire as additional streams were directed from the roof of the adjoining E.G. Locke Paper Company. Hoselines were stretched down Penn and Cooper Streets and along Delaware Avenue to supplement water supplies.

Shortly after 5:00 A.M. part of the fourth floor collapsed, spreading the fire to the floor below. This collapse was quickly followed by the crashing of the fifth floor. By 5:30 A.M the front section of roof collapsed onto Cooper Street in a thundering roar, creating a shower of blazing embers that threatened numerous buildings along Amber Street. Within an hour of its discovery, the fire had engulfed the entire warehouse. Only through the gallant efforts of the firefighters was the huge blaze contained. While spectators described the fire scene as waves of withering heat, Camden's Bravest held there ground within forty feet of the walls. The City of Philadelphia offered assistance but Chief Elfreth declined and by 7:00 A.M. he declared the fire under control.

While battling the blaze, Foreman Amedee Middleton was struck on the head by falling bricks. Only his helmet, which cracked, saved his life. Losses were placed at $50,000. Chief Elfreth and Assistant Chief Buzine stated that the blaze was harder to fight than the Victor Talking Machine fire two weeks prior. Engine Company 1 assigned to the foreground detail remained on the scene until 7:00 P.M. and before leaving found two black kittens still alive in an office area adjoining the ruins of the burned warehouse.

The Camden Post-Telegram newspaper described the departing crew of Engine Company 1 as "water soaked and the color of coal stained breaker boys". A crowd of onlookers cheered the weary firefighters as thy left the scene after fourteen hours at the fire.

All the Buzine children had married by 1909. Son William K. Buzine had joined the Camden Fire Department, as had son-in-law Joseph F. Ernst. Another son-in-law, Edward Hyde, later became the Chief of police in Camden. Daughter Clara married James Roach, who served briefly as a fireman in the 1880s, as a policeman and constable in the 1890s and 1900s, and as tender of the State Street Bridge in the 1910s.

On July 1, 1911 Samuel Buzine retired from active service with the Camden Fire Department. He was still residing at 765 Spruce Street when the 1912-1913 City Directory was compiled.

On October 11, 1912 while responding to a false alarm at South 8th and Chestnut Street, Samuel Buzine's younger brother, Camden Fire Department firefighter Lewis Buzine, suffered a stroke while at the reins of Engine Company 3's apparatus. Strapped to his seat and clutching the reins in his paralyzed hand, his plight was not discovered until his team of horses arrived, of there own volition and at a full gallop, at the Engine Company 3 fire house at 1813 Broadway. Taken to his home, Lewis Buzine died on October 13, 1912. 

Shortly thereafter, Samuel Buzine retired to Holly Beach, New Jersey which in 1912 had become a part of Wildwood. Interestingly enough, another original member of the Camden Fire Department, Thomas Grapevine, had moved to Holly Beach several years earlier. Samuel Buzine is not listed in the 1914 Camden City Directory, his obituary however, indicates that he kept his home in Camden and only spent summers in Holly Beach..

Samuel S. Buzine passed away at Holly Beach, New Jersey on August 5, 1917.

In 1956 Samuel S. Buzine's great-great-granddaughter, Henrietta Ernst, married Private William Latham Jr., who, after leaving the military, served with the Camden Police and Camden County Prosecutor's office for over forty-four years. 

Philadelphia Inquirer
March 27, 1884



Philadelphia Inquirer * April 21, 1885

Philadelphia Inquirer
June 12, 1890

W.B.E. Miller - E.E. Jefferis
Samuel Dodd - Jesse Pratt 
Jennings' Sixth Regiment Band
Robert Bender - Samuel S. Buzine
John A. Stockton - Henry Grosscup
Mortimer Wilson - Amedee Middleton
Thomas Murphy -
Isaac McKinley
Albert Gilbert - Chalkley Leconey
Engine Company 1 - Engine Company 2
Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 4

Click on Images for Complete Article


Philadelphia Inquirer * April 27, 1894

Philadelphia Inquirer * December 12, 1906

Samuel S. Buzine - Charles Robinson
Mrs. Sophia Franks -
Francis Street

Philadelphia Inquirer * December 5, 1909

Harry Prevost
William Sofield
William Buzine
Edward Hyde
Joseph Ernst
James Roach
Samuel Buzine
Click on Image to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer - February 23, 1901

Jackson Street
Colonel D.B. Murphy
Jennings Third Regiment Band
John Foster
Arthur Stanley - William E. Albert
Hugh Boyle
Sergeant Horner - Sergeant Bentley
George A. Donovan
Edward S. Hyde
Samuel S. Elfreth
Samuel Buzine - Benjamin Kellum
Ivy Fife & Drum Corps
Cooper B. Hatch

Click on Image for PDF File
of Complete Article

Camden Post-Telegram
January 16, 1909

Harry Selby
Samuel S. Buzine
Richard Marter
Charles H. Fitzsimmons IV

Camden Post-Telegram
January 3, 1910

Harry Selby
Samuel S. Buzine
Arthur Wingate
Richard Marter
Samuel S. Elfreth
George B. Wade
Peter B. Carter
Peter S. Gray
John A. Dold
Newton G. Ash
Joseph Johnson
Joseph Maxwell
Harry S. Burrough
William Elberson
Henry "Harry" Green
William Tatem
John Lennox
John Lutts

Charles H. Fitzsimmons IV

John Gardner
Charles Minckle
Harry Lee
Charles Hose

Philadelphia Inquirer * June 4, 1911

Click on Image to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer * December 31, 1911

Philadelphia Inquirer * March 7, 1916

Philadelphia Inquirer * August 6, 1917