Joseph Klosterman

Joseph Klosterman (left) and Fred Klosterman (right). Brothers, who were identified yesterday by former employes of Camden numbers operators.

Joseph Peter Klosterman was born on November 8, 1898, in New Jersey, to Frederick and Catherine Klostermann. His father was a cigar maker. By the time of the 1910 census, and through at least 1929, the family lived at 1148 Kaighn Avenue. At some point prior to 1917, Joseph stopped using the second “n” in his surname.

Joseph worked at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation when he registered for the draft. According to city directories, he and his brother Fred Klosterman worked as plumbers during the 1920s. Joseph married around 1920, and the couple lived at 1148 Kaighn Avenue through 1929.

In late December of 1929, Joseph’s father, Fred Klosterman Sr., who had been running a bar called the Campus Inn in West Berlin, New Jersey, was discovered to have committed suicide.

Along with his brother Fred Klosterman, Joseph became heavily involved in the illegal lottery, or “numbers” racket, in Whitman Park and South Camden in the 1930s and 1940s. The Klosterman brothers were very active in Camden in the early 1930s.

The 1930 Census shows that Joseph had separated from his wife Annie. He was living at 1251 Mechanic Street, which was a bar operating on a “soft drink” license as the country was still enduring Prohibition. According to the census, the premises was being rented and the bar operated by John Frenia. Joseph Klosterman ostensibly was a helper at the bar.

Joseph Klosterman was fined in December of 1931 on a disorderly persons charge. He was arrested in June of 1933 and subsequently fined $200 by Judge Garfield Pancoast for running a numbers bank on Mt. Ephraim Avenue. Also in June of 1933, both he and his brother were convicted on numbers charges, but they appealed, and the city dropped the charges the following spring. In the wake of a police crackdown on gang activity that occurred in the aftermath of the 1934 murder of Detective William Feitz of the Camden Police Department, the Klosterman brothers were sentenced to three-to-five-year prison terms by Judge Frank F. Neutze in the spring of 1935.

Fred and Joseph Klosterman were released from prison on July 9th, 1936. Joseph Klosterman left Camden by 1947 and was living in Sewell, New Jersey, when once again he was arrested on numbers charges in 1959.

Joseph Klosterman was last a resident of Pitman, New Jersey. He died in October of 1968.


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