Wilson L. Bromley


Wilson L. Bromley came into the world in New Jersey, around the year 1853, as the child of Joseph and Ann Eliza Bromley. His father, Joseph Bromley, earned his living as a boilermaker. The Bromley family was residing in South Camden when the 1860 Census was conducted. At that time, the household consisted of four children: Joseph, aged 10; Wilson, aged 8; Daniel, aged 5; and Eliza, aged 2. Notably, all three of the Bromley sons were appointed to the Camden Fire Department at various points, but it was only Wilson who chose to make a career out of it.

In 1870, Wilson Bromley found employment in a brass foundry. He entered into marriage during the 1870s, and by the time the 1880 Census was conducted, he was living with his wife, Hannah, and their son, Joseph, at 710 Oak Street in Camden’s Fifth Ward. His next-door neighbor, William Morris, shared a similar career path, as both men received appointments to the Camden Fire Department in the spring of 1884.

Around 1883, Oak Street underwent a name change and became Locust Street. Later in that same decade, the Bromley family relocated to 716 Locust Street. During this period, Wilson Bromley was employed as a boilermaker. It was in 1886 that he officially joined the Camden Fire Department.

In 1886, the Camden Steam Fire Engine Company Number 1 was based at 409 Pine Street, operating out of a three-story, 20 by 90-foot brick building (formerly the old Independence Fire Company No. 3 engine house). The company’s equipment included an Amoskeag second-class steamer (maker’s plate 6318) pulled by two horses and a Silsby two-wheel hose cart drawn by a single horse. They were also equipped with 1000 feet of hose, axes, lamps, and more. The company roster featured John Stockton as Foreman, George Rudolph Tenner as Engineer, William Deno as the driver, William W. Laird as the stoker, and Wilson Bromley and Jacob F. Nesson as hosemen. Call men included William Deith, Andrew Miller, and William Bogia. Notably, both Bromley and Bogia would later tragically lose their lives in the line of duty.

By 1890, Wilson Bromley and his family had moved to 326 Pine Street, which was only a few doors away from the firehouse where he was stationed.

On July 29, 1895, Wilson Bromley and Assistant Chief Samuel Buzine sustained injuries when Engine Company 1’s hose cart overturned at South 6th and Royden Streets while responding to a test alarm initiated by the Fire Committee of City Council.

Firefighter Wilson Bromley was also injured while responding to a fire at the Farr & Bailey oil cloth plant located at South 7th Street and Kaighn Avenue on February 15, 1896. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries and passed away on February 28, 1896.


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