SPAN OF A CENTURY, 1828-1928
100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY
Compiled from notes and data collected by Charles S. Boyer, President Camden County Historical Society. Published by Centennial Anniversary Committee of Camden, New Jersey. Additional Photos and Notes by Phillip Cohen in 2003.
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The Camden Cemetery, known in modern times as Old Camden Cemetery, adjoining the Newton Friends’ burying grounds, through an action of a town meeting of the Township of Camden, was founded on March 10, 1836. The control was vested in trustees appointed by the township meeting. A plot of ground containing 2.94 acres was purchased from Isaac Cooper for $590.
The old grounds, donated by Isaac Cooper about 1832 “at the forks of the Roads leading to the (Cooper’s) Ferries and Kaighntown”, situated at the south side of the Camden & Amboy Railroad at Twelfth Street and Newton Avenue, then called Brace Road, were sold to William Carman for $405 upon the condition that the Trustees would have all of the bodies removed at their expense. This was accomplished by November 14, 1836.
The first sale of lots was held on May 29, 1837. The first interment was that of Franklin Burroughs on June 6, 1837. As the old township of Newton was partially absorbed into the City of Camden it became necessary to apply to the Legislature to have the trustees selected in a different manner, and on February 26, 1855 it was incorporated with certain trustees and managers named in the act. By the revised charter of the City of Camden, approved in 1871, the control of the Camden Cemetery was placed with City Council.
In 1864 one acre of land on the south side along the Friends’ Meeting House Lane was purchased from John M. Kaighn for $1000 and in 1868 another addition of two acres on the north side was secured at a cost of $900. In 1876 the old cemetery was enlarged by the purchase of an half acre of land at a cost of $1000.
In 1887 the plot of ground on Mount Ephraim and Ferry Avenues, consisting of twenty-seven and one-half acres, was purchased and laid out as the New Camden Cemetery.
On March 5, 1836 the Camden & Philadelphia Steamboat Ferry Company was incorporated. This Company began operating in May of 1838. The oldest ferry between Camden and Philadelphia was that established by William Cooper in the early part of 1700 which gave the name Cooper’s Ferry to what later became the City of Camden.
The first ferry was known as the Old Ferry and Lower Billy’s Ferry. The ferries were known in the early days by the names of the proprietors of the hotels adjacent to them. For years passengers between Camden and Philadelphia were served by ferries from the foot of Federal Street; foot of Market Street; foot of Kaighn Avenue; and foot of Vine Street. The ferries at Market and Federal Street were combined when the Pennsylvania Railroad Company erected its new Terminal Building in Camden. This terminal was opened to the public on June 23, 1901. On October 1, 1926, the old ferries from Camden- those operating from Vine Street in Camden to Vine and Shackamaxon streets in Philadelphia were discontinued.
The opening of the Delaware River Bridge in 1926 spelled the end of the remaining ferries across the Delaware at Camden. They too would close. Ferry service returned to Camden in the 1990s with a small boat operating between Wiggins Park at the foot of Mickle Boulevard and Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.
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