Augustus Reeve was born in Alloway, Salem County, NJ, in the year 1833. In 1866, he relocated to Camden and made a significant acquisition—the Pea Shore Brick Works, situated along the Delaware River’s northern banks, just north of Camden. Through his dedicated efforts, he transformed this enterprise into a thriving brick and terra cotta manufacturing business. He renamed it the Pea Shore Brick and Terra Cotta Works and established its offices and a warehouse at 31 Market Street in Camden.
Augustus Reeve’s move to Camden was followed by his brother, Richard H. Reeve, and cousin Benjamin H. Reeve in 1868. Together, they ventured into the floor oil cloth manufacturing business in Camden and achieved notable success.
Augustus Reeve’s contributions extended beyond business endeavors. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of Cooper Hospital, becoming one of its original trustees when the hospital was founded in 1875. Following the untimely death of its first president, Alexander Cooper, Augustus Reeve was elected President of the Board of Managers and served in this capacity for a remarkable twenty-five years. During this period, his brother, Richard H. Reeve, held the positions of Secretary and Treasurer.
In March of 1890, Augustus Reeve expanded his entrepreneurial activities by acquiring 12.41 acres of land along the Moorestown & Camden Turnpike, known today as Main Street, in Chester Township, which is present-day Maple Shade, NJ. He established yet another brickworks on this site, known as the Maple Shade Brickworks. Subsequently, this operation was managed by William Graham as part of the Graham Brick Yard. The brick-making industry remained a significant presence in Maple Shade until the local clay deposits were depleted in 1956.
Augustus Reeve’s residence in Camden was situated at 301 State Street, in the North Camden neighborhood. Widely respected for his business acumen, he assumed the role of receiver in April of 1904 for the Tradesman Building and Loan Association of Camden when it faced bankruptcy.
While the book SPAN OF A CENTURY 1828-1928: 100 YEARS IN THE HISTORY OF CAMDEN AS A CITY indicates that Augustus Reeve passed away on July 19, 1918, at the age of 85, he is listed in the January 1920 Census as residing at 301 State Street, along with his son William F. Reeve and daughters Elizabeth and Laura. William Reeve was overseeing the brick works at the time. By 1922, both William and Elizabeth had relocated to Moorestown. After Laura Reeve left, the family sold the house. Unfortunately, by January of 1928, the old Reeve mansion had fallen into a state of abandonment and disrepair. It had become a target for vandals, burglars, and other delinquents.