Joseph A. Ware (1878 – 1914) Fallen Firefighter

Joseph A. Ware, son of Emma and James Ware, Jr. of Camden, NJ.

Joseph, a firefighter for the City of Camden, was fatally injured while engaged in a fire operation in that city.

Ware had been ordered, by the officer in charge, to relocate an apparatus to a safer location.

Bear in mind, electric starters on heavy equipment had yet to be standard

at this period in time. Still some years away yet.

While attempting to hand crank the heavy engine, the engine “backfired” causing the hand crank handle to strike Ware in the face.

Attempts at surgery, for what appeared to be a broken nose, failed to slow complications, which caused Ware to be blinded and paralyzed. Ware died just a few days after the accident.


Ware was survived by his wife, Harriet, and small son, James.

Also survived by his father, step mother, also named Harriet, and several step brothers and sisters, as well as two brothers, John Ware, and James Ware.


The full particulars on this tragedy can be found in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspapers, June 8th, 22nd, and 27th, 1914


In 2006, the Camden Fire Department dedicated a monument to it’s fallen  members. After an extensive search, relatives of all but nine of the 21 fallen men were located and present at the ceremonies.

Among those present were Joseph Ware’s granddaughter, Ginney Shapleigh, and her husband, Robert.


A very sad but interesting item..



There happens to be a Ware St, in downtown Camden, just off I-676.

You don’t suppose,—nah.

(Probably named for his grandfather, James Ware Sr, big in Camden politics around the turn of the century. He may be worth doing a story on.)


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