Born on June 10, 1850, in Cumberland County, New Jersey, John L. Westcott relocated to Camden with his family when he was 14 years old. He embarked on a career in printing, learning the trade from his brother and working in that field until his election as Mayor of Camden in 1892, succeeding Jesse W. Pratt. His effective leadership earned him re-election in 1895, and he served a second term before concluding his mayoral tenure in 1898.
During his time as Mayor, significant developments unfolded in Camden. Under Westcott’s administration, the city acquired Cooper Park, situated at 2nd and Cooper Streets. This park later came to be known as Johnson Park.
On January 28, 1897, Mayor John L. Westcott was among the distinguished guests present at the inauguration of the Catholic Lyceum, an institution attached to the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Broadway and Market Street. The event saw the presence of notable figures such as New Jersey Governor John W. Griggs, former Attorney-General Samuel H. Grey; Camden City Solicitor J. Willard Morgan, Senator H. W. Johnson, Sheriff David Baird Sr., Assemblymen Louis Derousse and Scovel, Postmaster Harry B. Paul, former Judge Armstrong, Architect Henry S. Dagit, J. J. Burleigh, George A. Frey, and H. L. Bonsall. Over time, the Catholic Lyceum evolved into Camden Catholic High School.
John L. Westcott was married to Deborah Fortiner, who hailed from a prominent Camden family. The Westcott family resided at 315 Pearl Street in Camden during the 1880s and 1890s. However, their home was later demolished to make way for the construction of the Delaware River Bridge in the 1920s. Sadly, Deborah Westcott passed away in 1898, leaving behind three grown daughters named Mary, Helen, and Melvina “Millie” Westcott. In his later years, John Westcott lived at 221 North 3rd Street.
Tragically, John Leighton Westcott succumbed to appendicitis on January 12, 1906. His final resting place is Evergreen Cemetery, specifically in plot N127, commemorating his significant contributions to the city of Camden.
John Leighton Westcott, notable for his tenure as Mayor of Camden from 1892 to 1898, should not be mistaken for John W. Wescott, who served as a judge in Camden for many years starting in 1885.
David Baird Sr. was one of Camden’s leading citizens for well over 50 years. Born in Ireland in on April 7th of 1839, he came to America in 1858 after the death of his father, and settled in Camden the following year.
Hospitality was rampant at the First Ward Young Republican Club last night. The occasion was the annual meeting. Following the election of officers there was a delightful entertainment and a splendid feast, – the honors being done by Captain William E. Alberts, simply resplendent facially in his new bunch of whiskers; Recorder O, Glen Stackhouse,…
John H. Dialogue the ship builder of worldwide renown died yesterday afternoon at his residence. Heart disease was the cause of death.
Camden’s double murder mystery remains unsolved. The rewards for the apprehension of the murderer now amount to $1,000.