Amanda Alloway, who was born in New Jersey in November 1843, had a notable life deeply intertwined with the historical tapestry of Camden, New Jersey. She married Joseph Alloway by 1863, and the couple had three children: Charles, born in December 1863, Joseph, born on November 22, 1865, and Ida May, born around 1867. The Alloway family initially resided in Gloucester City, New Jersey, but by 1870 had moved to Camden, settling first at 901 North Front Street in North Camden in 1872, and later at 8 Pine Avenue in South Camden by 1878. During this period, Joseph Alloway worked as a carpenter.
By the 1880s, the Alloways were living on Pine Avenue, which was later renamed Clare Street. This street, one block long, runs between South 3rd and South 4th Streets, from Pine Street south to Division Street. The family’s address changed to 510 Division Street, as recorded in the 1890 and 1896 City Directories. Tragically, Amanda became a widow by the time the 1898 City Directory was compiled.
Following her husband’s death, Amanda needed to find a means of support. She became a housekeeper for Charles H. Ellis Jr., a significant figure in Camden who ran a grocery store at South 5th and Berkley Streets. Ellis, who had progressed from a seat on the Board of Education to the City Council and then to a full-time position as Deputy Collector of Taxes for the City of Camden, required assistance in his household. Amanda Alloway moved into the Ellis home at 915 South 5th Street, Camden, in 1898 and continued to reside there until at least 1914. During this time, Charles H. Ellis Jr. remarried on April 30, 1909.
In her later years, the 1918-1919 Camden City Directory lists Amanda as residing at 1456 Mount Ephraim Avenue with her daughter Ida May and son-in-law Archibald Beckett, a railroad brakeman. She lived with the Becketts until at least January 1920, but the exact date of her passing remains unknown. Ida May and Archibald Beckett moved from Camden to Gloucester City by the spring of 1930. Archibald passed away in 1937, and Ida May, a Camden resident at her time of death, passed away in January 1942.
Amanda Alloway’s life story, marked by personal resilience and adaptability, showcases the challenges faced by women of her era, especially following widowhood. Her role in the household of Charles H. Ellis Jr. during a pivotal time in Camden’s history illustrates how personal and public lives were often interconnected in the development of local communities.
Born on April 22, 1862, in Camden, Charles H. Ellis Jr. was deeply rooted in the city’s fabric. His grandfather, Samuel Ellis, notably served as Camden’s first City Clerk and initiated the city’s first newspaper. Charles’s father, a successful grocer, established a grocery store at 5th and Berkley Street, around the time Charles was born.…