William Laute

William Laute Saloon - 701 Fairview Street - Circa 1903

WILLIAM LAUTE was born in Germany in 1871 to Gottlien Herman “Herman” Laute and his wife, the former Henriette Caroline Emilie Behrndt. His father came to America for the first time in 1878. and reunited his family in the early 1880s. By 1890 the elder Laute had moved to 741 Fairview Street in Camden with his sons Herman and William and their wives, Emma and Lillian. William Laute was working as a “driver,” his father as a teamster and his brother as a foreman.

The 1900 Census shows that William Laute, then 28, had moved to 701 Fairview Street where he had established a saloon. His wife, the former Lillian Patterson, who he had married around 1897, was 10 years his junior and bore two children, neither of whom survived. A daughter, Florence, who would reach majority, was born in 1901. His brother Herman moved to 800 Sylvan Street by 1903.

William Laute operated his saloon at 701 Fairview Street throughout the 1900s, during which time he had several run-ins with law enforcement which culminated in his receiving a six-month sentence in the Camden County Jail in March of 1900. After his release, he conducted a bottling business at 701 Fairview Street for a couple of years. In 1913 he was again arrested, for selling liquor without a license. By the end of 1913 William and Lillian Laute appear to have parted ways, their marriage ending in divorce. In September of 1914 it was alleged that William Laute was “interfering” with the daughter of Thomas O’Connell, who, with his son James, gave William Laute a going-over.

William Laute subsequently married Jane Ryrie, who had given birth to a son, Robert di Acustu, on February 9, 1914 at the age of 18. William raised this boy as his own. Two more sons would come to William and Jane before the end of the 1910s, Frederick, who died not long after his 1918 birth, and in 1919 Herman L. Laute. In June of 1919 the family was living at 800 Sylvan Street, which had been the home of his brother Herman. Herman appears to have passed in late 1918 or early 1919, possibly a victim of the flu pandemic.

The 1920 Census shows William Laute and family living in the Gloucester Heights section of Haddon Township, New Jersey. He was then working as a carpenter. He obtained an appointment as a constable in Gloucester City, New Jersey but did not keep the job as he was caught in another illegality. The 1930 Census shows that he had returned to working as a carpenter and that five more children had been born, Doris, Blanche, Emily, William Jr., and Jane.

William Laute passed away on September 14, 1949.

William Laute’s daughter Florence married James J. Schaffer, who was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in the 1920s and served until at least 1943. James and Florence’s son, James J. Schaffer Jr., graduated from Camden High School in 1951, served with the United States Army during the Korean War, then returned to New Jersey where he had a long career in law enforcement, initially as a State Trooper. He was serving as undersheriff of Salem County when he passed away in 2003.


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