Richard Fetters

Richard Fetters - 1885

Richard Fetters, a prominent figure in Camden for numerous years, came into the world on January 19, 1791, predating the establishment of Camden itself. As a Quaker, Fetters played a pivotal role in the movement leading to Camden’s incorporation in 1828, showcasing political and civic leadership well ahead of his era, driven by a commitment to addressing the needs of his fellow citizens.

In 1833, Richard Fetters acquired land from Charity and Grace Kaighn, laying the foundation for Fettersville. Initially covering the area between Line and Cherry Streets, stretching from Third Street to the Delaware River, Fettersville experienced rapid growth. An additional tract was purchased in 1835 from the Kaighn family, extending south to Mount Vernon Street.

The lots, originally measured at 30 x 200 feet and assessed at $50 each in 1835, attracted a diverse range of buyers, including many South Jersey and Philadelphia residents, particularly from the Black community. Fetters carefully designed the town plan, with lots sold for $125, featuring a size of 40 x 100 feet and positioned to face the east-west streets, aligning with his vision for a ferry terminal at the foot of Spruce Street.

Beyond his contributions to urban development, Richard Fetters actively served as a volunteer fireman in Camden, being a member of the Fairmount Fire Company as early as 1831, alongside Elias Kaighn.

On July 3, 1863, Richard Fetters passed away at the age of 72. His grandson, Richard F. Smith, continued the family legacy, dedicating himself to the civic life of Camden, holding positions such as city treasurer and Sheriff of Camden County during the 1880s.


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