OSCAR TILL SR. was born in Pennsylvania around 1847 to William
and Catherine Till. The family appears in the 1860 Census in the
Kensington section of Philadelphia. William Till then supported
his family, which included daughters Anna, Eliza, and Catherine
by working as a shipwright.
still in his teens, Joseph Till went off to fight for the Union
during the Civil War. He apparently had made his way to Kent
County, Maryland where he enlisted as a Private in Company E of
the 2nd Eastern Shore Maryland Infantry Regiment on January 14,
1862 for a term of three years.
The 2nd Eastern Shore Maryland Infantry Regiment
was composed of eight companies. A, B,
C, D and E were recruited in Kent County; F in the city of
Baltimore; and G and H in Harford County. Its organization was commenced on
October 2, 1861, and on December 28 it was completed and the regiment was mustered in for three years. From that time
until the summer of 1863 it was on duty along the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia, in the city of Baltimore and on the
lower Potomac. When Lee began his invasion of Pennsylvania the regiment, as part of Lockwood's brigade, was ordered to
reinforce the Army of the Potomac. After the battle of Gettysburg
it was assigned to duty on the upper Potomac in Maryland and West Virginia, and was a part of
General Hunter's army in the expedition against Lynchburg. It remained in the department of
West Virginia until January 23, 1865, when it was consolidated with the 1st Eastern Shore
infantry, and then into the 11th Maryland Infantry Regiment. While in active service
it marched 1,041 miles, was transported by rail 967 miles, and by water 915 miles. It was in the engagements at Falling
Waters, Piedmont, Snicker's Ford, Winchester, Berryville and numerous minor skirmishes incident to the Shenandoah Valley and
Lynchburg campaigns. Nine men were killed in battle and 63 died of wounds or disease.
During his time in the
Army, Joseph Till was promoted to Corporal. His three years'
enlistment having expired, he mustered out of Company I, 11th
Maryland Infantry Regiment on January 26, 1865.
Till married in the early 1870s, and by 1880 there were two
sons, William and Joseph Oscar Till
Jr., who was better known
simply as "Oscar Till". Joseph Till and his family
were living at 872 Moyer Street in Philadelphia when the 1880
Census was enumerated. He was then working as a huckster. The
1881 Philadelphia City Directory shows him at the same address,
running a cigar store. Four more sons were born to the Tills
during the 1880s, Morris, Albert, Clarence, and finally on January 12, 1889
Nelson W. Till. Joseph
Till was also active during his Philadelphia years as a
Till family moved to New Jersey in the 1890s, and had located in
the town of
Stockton in the early 1890s. By 1896 the family was living at
Avenue in the town of Stockton, in what is now the Cramer
Hill section of Camden. The Tills would occupy this home through
at least 1947.
Joseph Till involved himself in local affairs
and soon had been appointed constable in Stockton. When Stockton
was united with the City of Camden in 1899, Joseph
Till secured an appointment to the Camden Fire Department. Politics
being a full-contact sport in those times, Joseph Till got into
a fight with two other men on Saturday night, November 1, 1903.
The following day he suffered a fall, and was taken to Cooper
Hospital where he died on November 13. An inquest was held and
his death was ruled accidental, from injuries sustained in the
fall. Joseph Till was buried at Arlington Cemetery in
Pennsauken, New Jersey on November 17, 1903. He was survived by
his wife and sons. Kate Till joined her husband on July 11,
worked for a time as a bridgetender at the Federal Street
drawbridge over the Cooper River, on December 3, 1904 J. Oscar Till
Jr., was appointed to the Camden Fire Department. By
April of 1910 he had left the Fire Department and had taken a
position with the Camden Police Department. Youngest son Nelson
W. Till was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in the
early 1920s and served into the early 1940s.