Using the URS Corp., “A Bright Pattern of Virtue and Economy” Archaeological Excavations report as a starting point for researching the property of 318 Cooper Street, I was successful in uncovering the names of several owners of the property in the early years of the nineteenth century.

Hanah Maskell, daughter of the prominent Thomas and Esther Maskell, owned the property located at 318 Cooper Street from 1811 until 1836, when she sold it to her brother-in-law Edward Smith for $2,000. The deed suggested that on the property there existed a brick house. Smith rented the house out to the family of George W. Helimbold, a 42 year old merchant. According to the Archaeological report, the house was rented out until Edward died in 1857 at which time it was inherrited by Smith’s daughter, Esther.

By paging through the city directories of Camden County, four names were listed at 312 Cooper Street in 1863. These names were Josiah Throne, Abel Reed, Watson Weetsall and Charles Bouge. Since Esther still owned the property at 312 Cooper Street, it can be assumed that these people were likely renters of the house located on the property.

In  1867 the property was sold to Thorwald Damborg. Damborg was an engineer and mechanical draughtsman who lived in Camden. He bought the property for $3,750 and the deed suggests that a two-story brick building was located on the property. I was able to trace Damborg at 312 Cooper Street until 1869 when the property was transferred to Margaret and James Snethen, Philadelphia residents who purchased the property for $6,250. Margaret Snethen owned the property until her death in 1876. The house was then sold to William Cady for $4,137 in 1877.

William Waters, a broom salesmen and grandson of William Cady, along with his wife Eunice Waters, and their children (presumably) Edgar, Lucy, and Thomas Waters would live at 318 Cooper Street until 1906.

According to the Camden City Directories, a man by the name of John Bonner lived at the property of 312 Cooper Street between 1906 and 1910, however, the USR Corp. Archaeological Report suggests that a man by the name of Joseph S. Jenkins rented the property during that same time period. I was unable to confirm Joseph Jenkins at this location in the Camden City Directories.

In 1911, Edwin Bleakly, a partner in a Camden based law firm, Bleakly & Stockwell (which would later gain new partner names), purchased the property located at 318 Cooper Street. Bleakly had the original structure removed and replaced with a house that cost $20,000 to build. In 1920, Bleakly moved into the new house with his wife, Ida, and his two daughters Edith and Helen. This family would continue to live at the 318 Cooper Street property until 1947.

Unfortunately, the city directories end and information on who lived at the property after 1947 is hard to obtain. Today, the property is occupied partly by a Rutgers University Dormitory.

Jacob Downs
Rutgers University- Camden

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