Independent Fire Company No. 2

Here’s another image from the 200 glass negatives in the Capewell Glass Negative Collection that I’ve been publishing every Thursday for the past 38-odd weeks. This is a shot of the members of the Independent Fire Company No. 2 of Westville, New Jersey. It was shot by John B. Capewell who lived on Broadway in Westville which is just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

Westville used to be covered by two firehouses – The Independent and the Union. The two houses combined into the Westville Fire Department in 1987. Obviously, this shot was probably taken eight decades before that and before the department became mechanized. Westville’s website mentions the department starting in 1907. 1907 would be a fair guess as to when this shot was taken.This looks to be the captain of the house. I couldn’t find a name, but I’m sure some of the history buffs who have been checking out the site will readily ply me with one.

I don’t see Capewell among the men in this shot, but I do have a separate negative of him in uniform which I’m saving for a future post. John must have been behind the camera in this one.

Below is the entire glass negative. The Independent No. 2 certainly had plenty of members ready to combat whatever conflagration would erupt among the wood frame houses of Westville.

As with all of the photographs in the Capewell Collection, I placed this 5″ x 7″ glass negative on a lightbox and shot it with a digital camera locked down on a tripod. The processing was done digitally on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop.


The INCREDIBLE and INCOMPARABLE Jerseyman came through with some fascinating information regarding last week’s Chariots of Fire post. He wrote:

The patch on the front of the athletic shirt signifies membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Crown Point Lodge No. 268, the IOOF lodge in Westville. The younger members of this lodge were known far and wide for their athletic prowess. On Saturday, 19 July 1913, the IOOF District No. 25 held a picnic at Alcyon Park in Pitman. A local newspaper article about that event reads:

‘The athletic events appeared to be the main attraction. Crown Point Lodge, of Westville, captured almost all the prizes.

Grand Master George W. Shinn presented prizes to the winners of the athletic events as follows:

100-yard dash ”First prize, lodge emblem, won by W.E. Waddell, Crown Point Lodge; second, pipe, Herbert Richter, Crown Point. Time 11.2 seconds.

Running broad jump ”First prize, watch charm, won by Richter, 17 feet 8 inches; second, ticket for trip up Hudson, Waddell, 16 feet 10 inches.

Shot put ”First prize, knife, won by R.K. Hollinshed, Crown Point 42 feet, 2 1-2 inches; second, box of cigars, Waddell, 32 feet, 6 inches.

Three-legged race ”First prize, lodge emblems, won by Herbert Richter and Jules Doriot, Crown Point.

One-mile relay ”First prize, association silver cup, won by Crown Point team, Horace Kinch, Doriot, Richter and Waddell Times 4 minutes, 29 seconds.’

Thanks AGAIN, Jerseyman!!!

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2 Responses to Independent Fire Company No. 2

  1. Joe_Williams says:

    THANKS, Jerseyman!!!

    Stay tuned because in the coming weeks I’ll have some more photos relating to the fire department.

  2. Jerseyman says:


    The Chief of Independent Fire Company No. 2 of South Westville during this time period was Charles Waddell. This photograph probably dates to March 1909 because the firemen first met in their new firehouse on 3 March 1909 and formally installed their chemical engine within two weeks of that first meeting. The month of March is strongly suggested by the trees in the background being at least partially devoid of their leaves.

    Best regards,

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