Richard R. C. Donnelly


Richard Roscoe Compton Donnelly Sr. was born on September 14, 1890, to Roscoe C. Donnelly and Ella. The Donnelly family had a long history in Cumberland County, dating back to the 1870s. Roscoe Donnelly worked as a glassblower, and in the 1890s, he moved with his wife and sons, Richard and Adolph, to Cicero in Hamilton County, Indiana, where he continued his trade. The family appeared in the 1900 Census while residing in Cicero.

By 1910, after the passing of his wife, Roscoe Donnelly returned to New Jersey and settled in Bridgeton. Richard and Adolph were working at a glass factory as helpers while their father continued his profession as a glassblower. On June 5, 1917, Richard Donnelly registered for the draft, having married Rose Ella and becoming a father to Richard R.C. Donnelly Jr. The family moved to Camden, and Richard found employment as a “special officer” at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard.

Richard Donnelly joined the Camden Police Department in the early 1920s and rose to the rank of detective in the Third Police District, which encompassed Cramer Hill and East Camden. He frequently partnered with Detective Louis Schlam, and they even became neighbors, living on Bergen Avenue and North 34th Street, respectively.

The Donnelly family had three children by 1930 and eventually moved to 1243 North 26th Street. Richard Jr. married Grace Berry in 1936. In May 1940, while the Donnellys were at Moore’s Beach in Cape May County, a house fire broke out, causing their home at 1243 North 26th Street to collapse.

In August 1942, while fishing with former Mayor Frederick von Nieda and Louis Schlam, Schlam tragically suffered a fatal heart attack. Richard Donnelly retired on pension on April 30, 1944. By 1947, the family had moved out of Camden, and Richard was no longer on the police force as of January 1949. Richard Donnelly passed away on June 24, 1951.


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