David S. Rhone

Davis S Rhone - 1931

Dr. David Samuel Rhone was born in Pennsylvania on March 5, 1878. Around 1920, he and his wife Florence relocated to Camden, NJ, where he established a medical practice and a pharmacy known as the Crescent Drug Company, situated at 1202 Haddon Avenue.

As a member of the Republican Party, Dr. Rhone achieved electoral success when he was elected to the Camden City Commission on May 10, 1927, as part of an all-Republican slate. His inauguration took place on May 17, 1927, alongside fellow commissioners, including General Winfield S. Price, who served as Mayor, as well as T. Yorke Smith, William D. Sayrs Jr., and Clay W. Reesman. During Mayor Price’s administration, Dr. Rhone assumed the role of Director of Public Safety. He was re-elected in 1931 but faced defeat in the 1935 election, which resulted in Democratic control of the City Commission. Renowned for his popularity, Dr. Rhone made a triumphant return to office in 1939 and was subsequently re-elected in 1943 and 1947.

Dr. Rhone faced significant challenges during the era of Prohibition while in office, primarily related to controlling illegal activities such as gambling, bootlegging, and speakeasies within the city. He also grappled with issues concerning the police force, led initially by Chief James E. Tatem and later by Chief Lewis H. Stehr. To address these concerns, Dr. Rhone enlisted the assistance of George S. Tempest, a former Philadelphia police captain. In September of 1928, the murder of Joseph “Mose” Flannery, a key figure in the slot machine racket in Camden, drew widespread attention to the issue of illegal slot machines. Subsequent efforts to raid locations with illegal slot machines were sometimes compromised, as some sites appeared to have been tipped off. Such issues persisted within Camden’s police department for several more years.

In January of 1938, Dr. Rhone assumed the position of County Physician for Camden County. He was re-elected to the City Commission in May of 1939 and later took over the role of Director of Public Safety in March of 1942, succeeding Mary Kobus. However, in January of 1948, Dr. Rhone, along with Chief of Police George W. Frost and Police Captains Gustav A. Koerner and John T. Garrity, faced charges of negligence and corruption linked to the Van Riper probe. Charges were eventually dropped against Koerner in 1948, while Chief Frost was exonerated in the spring of 1949, leading to the dismissal of charges against Dr. Rhone and Garrity. On October 27, 1949, Dr. Rhone switched positions on the City Commission with E. George Aaron. Commissioner Aaron assumed the role of Director of Public Safety, while Dr. Rhone took on the responsibility of Director of Public Affairs.

On March 27, 1951, Dr. Rhone announced his decision not to seek a sixth term on Camden’s City Commission. Following this, he relocated to Mount Ephraim, New Jersey, where he established a practice at 19 Kings Highway. Dr. Rhone passed away in January of 1967. Notably, he had remarried late in life, and he rests beside his second wife, Henrietta, at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, NJ.


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