the years before the Civil War William W. Mines became active as
a volunteer firefighter with Independence Fire Company No. 1. George
Reeser Prowell wrote about the two companies in his History of
Camden County, New Jersey which was published in 1886.
Independence Fire Company No. 1, organized with Lambert F. Beatty, president;
William S. Frazer, secretary ; and Joseph Wagner,
treasurer. Among the early members were Jacob Prettyman, David Page, Thomas
Stilwell, Francis E. Harpel, Restore Cook, John
Wallace, Claudius W. Bradshaw,
William H. Hawkins, Christopher J. Mines, Henry Bradshaw,
William E. Walls, William Howard, Albert Dennis, Elwood Bounds, Samuel H. Stilwell, Albert
V. Mills, Robert S. Bender, Lewis Yeager,
McCowan and William W. Mines. The company
met in a building at Third Street and Cherry for
a year, when it was burned. Lewis Yeager gave
the company free use of a lot on Third Street,
above Cherry, where an engine-house of slabs,
donated by Charles Stockham, was built. In 1853
a lot on Cherry
Street, above Third, was purchased
and on it a frame house was built. This was
used until 1859, when, owing to a defect in the title, the sheriff advertised the property for sale.
When he reached the ground on the day of the
sale he found the house, with its contents, and a number of the members of the company, on an
adjoining lot belonging to James B. Dayton, who
permitted the action. The following year, 1860,
they bought and built, on the north side of Pine
Street, above Fourth, a three-story brick, then the
most complete fire-engine house in Camden, and
which was sold for four thousand five hundred dollars to the city. The Independence was a
company until June 4, 1864, when they secured an
Amoskeag engine, being the first fire-engine in
use by the fire companies of Camden. Early in 1869 they purchased a larger engine and when
the volunteer firemen were scattered, in the latter
part of that year, they sold the Amoskeag to Millville, and the later purchase was kept until 1874,
when it was sold to the city. Lambert F. Beatty, John Wallace, William H.
Hawkins, J. Kelly
Brown, William W.
and Edward Gilbert were presidents of the Independence, while its secretaries have been
William L. Frazer, William W.
Mines, Mortimer C.
Wilson and Thomas
McCowan ; and the treasurers Joseph Wagner and
Robert S. Bender, who,
elected in 1854, served until October 13, 1874,
when, with a roll of sixty members, they met.
President Gilbert in the chair, paid all claims
against them and formally disbanded.
April 25, 1861 William W. Mines enlisted in the Union Army as a
First Sergeant. He was assigned to Company G, Fourth Infantry
Regiment New Jersey on 27 Apr 1861.
Fourth Regiment--Militia, was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr.,
serving under him were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R. Stroud and Major
Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at
Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the
state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned
officers and 743 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777.
On the evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th it was
ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a few days the
entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was honored
by a visit from the president, who warmly complimented the
appearance of the troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the
2nd and 3d regiments and about midnight took up the line of march
in silence for the bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was
crossed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted
at Roach's spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the
Alexandria road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for a section
of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important to
hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge; still
another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of the
regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to
Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th
returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861. The total strength of the
regiment was 783, and it lost by discharge 6, by promotion 2, by
death 2 and by desertion 7, mustered out, 766.
William W. Mines was among those who mustered out with Company G, 4th Infantry Regiment
New Jersey on July 31, 1861 at Trenton, NJ.
men who served with Company G became members of the Camden Fire
Department after it was founded in 1869, including Benjamin
Kelly Brown, Henry F.
Surault, Edward Mead, William
M. Lane, and William
Gleason. Other Fourth Infantry men who served
A. Zimmerman, Charles
G. Zimmerman, William
C. Lee, George B.
H.H. Clark, Cornelius
M. Brown, John
J. Brown, Benjamin
Connelly, and G.
Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played
significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.
W. Mines married Caroline Helm on February 21, 1862. The marriage
produced six children, beginning with William W. Mines Jr. in 1862, and
followed by Abraham L., Carolyn, Ella, Dillwyn Pancoast Mines, and
Maurice Rogers Mines.
opposition, on September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal
ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual
appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of
and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire
districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge
Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to
the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was
north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were
scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William
Abels, from the
Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William
W. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal
for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal
for the 2nd District. Abels
had served with the volunteer fire
departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen
years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.
Abels was replaced by Robert S. Bender as Chief of the Fire
Department, William W. Mines, who had served as a volunteer with Bender
with Independence, and William H. Shearman
stayed on in their positions as Assistant Marshals. When Bender took a
leave of absence in September of 1872, Mines and Shearman stepped down.
They were replaced by Isaac McKinley and Charles M. Olden.
W. Mines lived at 255 Pine Street when he joined the Fire Department. He
was a carpenter by trade.
He had moved to 259 Pine Street
by the spring of 1872.
in February, in March of 1873 William W. Mines ran for City
Council in Camden as a Republican. He defeated Alonzo Johnson
for that post, garnering 430 votes to 348 cast for Johnson.
The Mines family had moved to 236 Pine
by the summer of 1880. The family
remained at that address as late as 1888. By the latter half of of 1890
they had moved to 1021 South 2nd
Street. William W. Mines had moved to
328 Mount Vernon Street by the end of 1894.
to public life, by 1885 and as late as 1899 William W. Mines served the
City of Camden as chief engineer and superintendent of the city water
the census was taken in 1900 William and Caroline Mines were still
living at 328 Mount Vernon
Street. He was working as a cashier. Only son
Maurice was still at home. By 1906 he had gone back in business as a
contractor. He was still living at 328 Mount Vernon
Street when the 1906
City Directory was compiled.
1910 Census shows that William W. Mines had remarried. He was living in
East Camden at 235 North
32nd Street with his wife Mary, 43, and
step-daughter Esther Armstrong, 18. William W. Mines was in business as
a cement contractor at the time. By 1914 they had moved to 1224 Haddon
Avenue in Parkside. William W. Mines suffered from what was
described as "mental degeneration" and in 1921 was committed
to the Philadelphia Hospital for Mental Diseases at Byberry. He passed
away on January 3, 1922.
W. Mines was a member of the William
B. Hatch Post No. 37, Grand Army of the Republic.
W. Mines' brother Christopher Mines Jr. was politically active
and served as Camden County Sheriff as well as holding other
government posts. A nephew, Dr.
Marcus H. Mines, practiced medicine in Camden for many
years. William W. Mines' brothers-in-law, Benjamin
Cavanaugh and Joseph
Cavanaugh, both served as members of the Camden Fire
Department in the 1870s and early 1880s.