Joseph “Mose” Flannery was born in Pennsylvania in 1902 to James A. and Mary Flannery, both of whom were born in Ireland. He was the sixth child born to the couple, coming after John F., Thomas, Winifred, Mary, and James. Two more children, Catherine and Francis, came later. When the Census was taken in 1910 the Flannerys and their eight children lived at 436 Jackson Street. From 1914 through January of 1920 the Flannery family lived at 1712 Broadway in Camden’s Eighth Ward, a half block north of the corner of Broadway and Ferry Avenue. Joseph Flannery attended Camden High School as a member of the Class of 1923, but dropped out after a year or two. In 1924 he married Anna Boggs. They had a son, but the marriage was a stormy one. The couple had separated by the summer of 1928. By that time he was living at 346 Jackson Street.
After World War I he became involved in organized crime in Camden and in politics in the Eighth Ward. “Mose” Flannery’s involvement in politics began before he was old enough to vote. He was active as a Republican until the municipal election of 1927, when he backed the Non-Partisan slate, and aided several Democrats. During this election he came in conflict with Mikey Brown, who was the leader of the Republican party in the Eighth Ward. The two apparently mended fences after the election.
“Mose” Flannery’s criminal activities seem to have centered around slot machines. He was arrested several times on a variety of charges, but never convicted of any offense. In January of 1928 he was held for a time as a material witness to the murder of Joseph Cimini at the Sixth Ward Republican Club at 908 Broadway.
“Mose” Flannery was mortally wounded out side the bar of James L. Hawkins at 101 Kaighn Avenue, shortly before 4:00 AM on September 18, 1928. He was taken to West Jersey Hospital, where he died that evening. Joseph “Mose” Flannery was survived by his wife Anna, his son, parents, and siblings.
In the wake of Flannery’s murder, the slot machine issue was brought to the forefront. When Assistant County Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando and Camden County Chief of Detectives Lawrence Doran organized a series of raids to seize illegal slot machines, some of the raided sites had been tipped off. This would be a problem in Camden for several more years. There was political pressure on Orlando and County Prosecutor Ethan Wescott to to go easy on the slot machines, which did not help the situation. There would be problems of this nature within Camden’s police department for several more years. Camden Commissioner and Director of Public Safety Dr. David S. Rhone received criticism for the situation, as did Chief of Police Lewis W. Stehr. There would be several shakeups within Camden’s police department for several more years, due to problems of this nature.
In April of 1929, John Doris, while being arraigned for shooting Joe O’Connor, was also charged with the murder of “Mose” Flannery. He had been indicted on September 20, 1928 but the indictment was kept secret, as Doris was a fugitive at that time. John Doris never stood trial for the Flannery murder. He was serving time at Trenton State Prison for the wounding of O’Connor when he was stabbed to death by another inmate in 1930. John Doris’ murder was never solved.
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