John W. Sutton


John W. Sutton had two distinct stints of service with the Camden Fire Department while concurrently managing and owning bars in Camden for nearly five decades.

Born John W. Suthel around 1848 in Delaware to John and Welty Suthel, he relocated to Camden, New Jersey, with his family, including older sister Martha and older brother James H. Suthel, by 1860. John Suthel supported his family working as a carpenter.

James Suthel, known as James Sutton during the Civil War, served in the Union’s armed forces, as indicated by the 1890 Veteran’s Census. Unfortunately, specific details about his service remain undisclosed in the census sheets, and he did not receive a Civil War pension that could provide additional information. However, it appears he became involved as a volunteer firefighter in Camden during the 1860s, entering service on December 7, 1869, as one of the original members of the Camden Fire Department with Engine Company 1.

John W. Sutton, working as a moulder, resided at 926 Howard Street in North Camden when he assumed the role of tillerman with the Hook & Ladder Company on April 8, 1876, succeeding Edward J. Dodamead. Serving for one year, he left the position when Dodamead was recalled to the Fire Department.

In the 1878-1879 City Directory, John W. Sutton appeared as a laborer at 418 Mickle Street. By 1880, he married Eunice and resided with her at 416 South 2nd Street, working as an engineer. Reappointed to the Fire Department in April 1882, he served in the same capacity for two years. The 1884-1885 Camden City Directory listed him at 610 South 2nd Street, working as a boxmaker. He retained the same address in the following year, working as an engineer for Samuel P. Wright & Company.

Between 1887 and 1889, John W. Sutton operated a saloon at South 2nd and Line Streets. By mid-1891, he moved his business to 451 South 3rd Street, where he continued until 1898. During this period, his brother James Sutton worked as a bartender for him.

Notably, John W. Sutton was not listed in the 1899 Camden City Directory, indicating a shift in his pursuits. Sometime during the 1880s or 1890s, his marriage ended. On August 24, 1899, he married Marcella “Stella” Gillen. The 1900 Census captured him living with his wife and daughter Cecelia at 604 Federal Street, operating a saloon. By 1906, the Suttons resided at 602 Federal Street.

In 1910, John W. Sutton acquired the bar at 28 Haddon Avenue, possibly coinciding with the acquisition of real estate, prompting him to revert to his birthname, John Suthel, on certain documents. Renamed the Century Bar in later years, John and Marcella “Stella” Suthel operated it until 1931 when H. Roy Steele assumed management. The Suttons continued to live on the premises. John W. Sutton, also known as John W. Suthel, passed away on January 30, 1936, and was interred at Harleigh Cemetery. Mrs. Sutton’s demise occurred in 1945.


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  • John W. Sutton

    John W. Sutton had two distinct stints of service with the Camden Fire Department while concurrently managing and owning bars in Camden for nearly five decades. Born John W. Suthel around 1848 in Delaware to John and Welty Suthel, he relocated to Camden, New Jersey, with his family, including older sister Martha and older brother…

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