J. Lynn

JAMES LYNN TRUSCOTT was born in St. Austell, Cornwall, England on April 5, 1855, the oldest of five children born to Samuel and Susan Truscott. His father had a saddle leather shop. After completing his education, he came to America in January of 1872, joining his uncle, John W. Chaney, a Camden resident who was an insurance agent in Philadelphia. He became a U.S. Citizen of February 7, 1877, with his uncle as his witness and sponsor.

J. Lynn Truscott went to work in his uncle's firm, Brand & Cheney at 150 South 4th Street in Philadelphia. He learned the insurance business and in 1881 he was made a partner in his Uncle's firm, by then called John W. Cheney & Company. By the end of the decade he was the Assistant Secretary of the Girard and Marine Insurance Company and the title of Assistant Secretary by 1890. The following year he was hired as Vice-President and Managing Underwriter of the Camden Fire Insurance Association, became a director in 1896, and later served as President and lastly as Chairman of the 

  Board. Under his helm Camden Fire  was known as "one of American’s leading Insurance Companies”.

J. Lynn Truscott's younger brothers, Arthur and Millwood, followed him to America in 1874 and 1876 respectively, both settling in Camden. Arthur Truscott became an architect, and designed several noteworthy building in Camden in the 1880s, some still standing, Truscott-designed edifices in Camden include the Security Trust building at 301 Market Street and the Broadway Elementary School. He also designed the Camden Fire Insurance building at Fourth and Federal Streets, and played a role in the design of the present Camden High School. The youngest brother, Millwood Truscott, joined his brother at Camden Fire Insurance in 1902, was promoted to Assistant Secretary, retiring in 1935.

J. Lynn Truscott lived for many years in a mansion brother Arthur designed for him in at 627 Cooper Street. This home was sold in the early 1920s and razed to make way for the Walt Whitman Hotel. He was an active member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Market Street in Camden. Married to Mary C.P. Browning, he had nine children, seven of which survived to adulthood. J. Lynn Truscott retired from Camden Fire Insurance Company in 1930. He died on May 13, 1935 and was buried in Harleigh Cemetery.

Naturalization Papers

February 7, 1877

Cooper Street

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Cooper Street

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627 & 633
Cooper Street

627 Cooper
 designed by Arthur Truscott,
for his brother, J. Lynn Truscott. 
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Fire Insurance Association

432-434 Federal Street

Photo published 1914

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J. Lynn Truscott published this book about
The Camden Fire Insurance Association in the 1900s

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Joseph Cooper, a descendant of the Cooper family, wrote this letter about the book in 1963

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Joyce Perry wrote of her great-uncle, J. Lynn Truscott
This article appears in "The Cornish Crier" - November 2004 issue

This account is about three Truscott brothers, one of them my Grandfather, who came to the United States in the 1800’s.  Their father was Samuel Truscott (1817-1874).  Their mother was Susan Frances Matilda Cook (1834-1874), who was born in the United States.  The story was that her parents were English, but she was born in New York City.  She returned to England, perhaps because her parents had died.  Family tradition says that she then lived with her aunt and uncle, who were the proprietors of the White Hart Inn, on the square in the heart of St. Austell, Cornwall.  Samuel Truscott had a Saddler Leather shop across the street from the White Hart, and the tradition says that is how they met.  Samuel and Susan had five children:  James Lynn , born in 1855; Samuel Joseph, born in 1856 (he only lived for 15 months); Arthur, born in 1858 (my Grandfather); Millwood, born in 1861; and Susan Frances, born in 1863. 

Samuel Truscott's
Truscott Saddler Leather Seller & Co.

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Samuel’s parents were George Truscott and Christina Thomas, of Tregascoe Farm, St. Stephens, Cornwall.  George’s parents were John Truscott and Elizabeth Andrews, of Resugga Farm, St. Stephens, Cornwall.  John’s parents were Digory Truscott and Frances Andrew, of Gwendra. 

Each of the Truscott children came to the U.S. separately.  The oldest, J. Lynn, eventually became head of Camden Fire Insurance Company in Camden, NJ.  The following tale is copied from an out-of-print booklet about Camden Fire, “Cavalcade of Camden Fire A.D. 1844, Sixth Decade”:

“. . . We turn now from the story of an institution to the story of a man.  Soon, as you will see, the man and the institution become one story – and the name of the man – J. Lynn Truscott – becomes synonymous with that of The Camden Fire Insurance Company.

“At the age of sixteen James Lynn Truscott had completed his education in a private school at Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England.  His schoolmaster, a Congregational minister named Stevens, must have fired his imagination with the tale of America – the land of opportunity for a young Englishman.  The Truscott family was a substantial one residing in St. Austell, a town of about 4000 in those days, on the St. Austell Bay, which is an estuary of the English Channel.  St. Austell was in the china clay district, near the beaches, which England visited in the summer, near the harbor of Falmouth where ships sailed for America.  If St. Austell’s china clay could sail to America, why not St. Austell’s native son?

“So, in October 1871 the brig “William and Anthony”, a 300-ton vessel overloaded with china clay, and bearing a passenger named James Lynn Truscott, left the shores of Cornwall, sailed into the English Channel and headed for an eleven-week voyage that gave young Truscott thrills enough to last a life-time.  Years later he could recall it vividly.  ‘The storms we passed through were so frequent and continuous that it was a miracle that we were spared to arrive at our destination,’ wrote Truscott in 1921.  ‘The vessel’s bulwarks and stanchions on either side, from bow to stern, were carried away, as were also all boats, galley and cooking utensils which were on the deck – figurehead and mainsail suffered in like manner – the meat and water in casks on decks were made unfit by the sea for use, and so we were left for many days with only the ship bread to eat and dependent upon the rain for water to drink.

“ ‘Between the gales, efforts were made to throw cargo overboard to lighten the ship, which was much overladen, and, in addition, the ship was leaking badly and necessitated continuous pumping day and night, which added much to the dangers to which we were exposed, and you can imagine there was but little hope, and I was accustomed, the only passenger, to crawl into my bunk at night with my clothes on, with a ship biscuit in each pocket ready for any emergency and in fact was called one night with the word that the ship was sinking.  The vessel was an interesting wreck on arriving in Philadelphia and was visited by many.’

“During the time of that momentous voyage, Truscott later recalled, the city of Chicago was destroyed by fire – an event that it memorialized by the Insurance Fraternity of the United States through Fire Prevention Week.

“Once in safe harbor, early in January in 1872, Truscott proceeded to Camden and joined an uncle who was agent for several insurance companies.  [Note: the uncle was John W. Cheney, who was married to Mary Cook, sister of J. Lynn’s mother Susan.]  Soon afterward he secured a position in the office of Brand and Cheney at 150  South Fourth Street in the heart of the Philadelphia Insurance District.  Here he learned the business from the ground up and was so successful that by 1881 he was the ‘Co.’ in John W. Cheney & Co.  The next step upward was a managerial position in the downtown office of the Girard and Marine Insurance Company and the title of Assistant Secretary by 1890.

The account states that by 1891 he became Vice-President and Managing Underwriter of Camden Fire.  Later he became President and then Chairman of the Board.  By 1910, at the age of 55 he was “the dignified executive of one of American’s leading Insurance Companies”. 

After describing his work, the article tells about his personal life:  “With all his tremendous tasks he found time for a full religious and family life.  (He and his wife Mary C. P. Browning had 9 children, 3 of whom died young..  There were 7 grandchildren, and at last count 26 great-grandchildren, with 14 known great-great-grandchildren. )  He was a warden of St. Paul’s P.E.Church for 30 years.  He was more than ordinarily proud of his large family and extremely affectionate as a father.   He retired from Camden Fire in 1930 and died in 1935.

J. Lynn’s brother, Arthur (my Grandfather), came to the U.S. in 1874.   He had received his education at Weston House School in St. Austell.  By 1875 he was established as a clerk in an architect’s office in Philadelphia.  Although he did not receive any formal education in architecture, it did not take him long to establish himself as a professional architect in that area.  Over the years he worked with many architectural firms and designed many buildings in the greater Philadelphia area, as well as in Camden, NJ.  These included churches, business and office buildings, schools, and residences. 

He was a founder of the T-Square Club in 1883, and was appointed to the position of Vice-President of that club.  He had several designs in the prestigious Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1885-1886.  He was elected as a professional member of the American Institute of Architects in 1889.  He designed the second Home Office of the above mentioned Camden Fire Insurance Association in 1899, and later an addition to the building in 1904.  He also designed an elaborate home for his brother, J. Lynn Truscott, in Camden.  He also designed a home for his own family in Merchantville, NJ, in which I grew up.

From 1911 to 1913 he was an instructor at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, first as head of the School of Architecture and later the Department of Engineering.  He died in 1938 after an illness of several years.  He and his wife, Alice Emily Parry, had 4 children.  There were only 2 grandchildren, one died young.  There are now 3 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-
grandchildren.  He, like J. Lynn, was active in his church, being a warden of Grace Episcopal Church in Merchantville.  

The third Truscott brother was Millwood, and I asked one of his grandson’s to write about him.  His account follows: 

Millwood Truscott, originally from St. Austell, Cornwall, landed in Philadelphia in March of 1876 at age 15.  He had left Liverpool on the S.S. Ohio. He joined his brothers, J. Lynn and Arthur, who had come previously.  He married Carolyn (Carrie) Weatherby, and their family home was on N. Second Street in Camden, NJ, which house still stands.  He became the Assistant Secretary of the Camden Fire Insurance Association in 1904 having gone there in 1902.  He retired in 1935.  He was a very active member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Camden, and wrote a history of that parish, which was later continued by his son.  He was very conscientious and loving in the care of his wife in her latter sickly years and was referred to as a Saint in this regard.  His children were son Millwood Joseph and daughter Carrie May.  Today there are (living) 3 grandchildren (Paul Truscott, Ryland Hanger, and S. David Hanger), 8 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren. “

This article has been about the three Truscott brothers.  There was also a sister, Susan Frances Truscott.  Not much is known about her.  She did also come to the United States, married Freas Hill and they had a daughter, Ethel J. Hill.  There are no known survivors.

J. Lynn Truscott
was presented this "Insurance Policy"
on his 65th birthday!
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Camden Courier-Post * June 6, 1932

J. Lynn Truscott family plot
at Harleigh Cemetery

Thanks to Joy Parry and Barry Sims for their help in creating this page.