Early History of the Maple Shade Police Department




Police Chief Clarence L.E. Ward, Chief from 1914 to 1937
He was Maple Shade's one man police force until 1922.
According to the 1905 census, he was a farmer in the Village of Lenola, before moving to Maple Shade.

Robert Broadwater-

Clarence Ward according to this article wasn't Maple Shade's first police officer. It says he succeeded Robert Broadwater as Chief.

Arthur Robert Broadwater was the son of William J. Broadwater.
According to the Chester Township 1900 census he was a blacksmith. He is 24 years old.

The Chester Township 1910 census lists him as Arthur R. Broadwater living at 108 Main Street, Maple Shade. For his occupation he is working at the wagon works. He is 33 years old.

The Morning Post (Camden, NJ) Jan. 3, 1914 says IN MOORESTOWN, Robert Broadwater Succeeds Thomas Murphy as Chief of Police. A. Robert Broadwater has received the appointment from the Chester Township Committee, of Moorestown, as Chief of Police of that town for the coming year, he succeeding Thos. Murphy.

A. Robert Broadwater, according to the Chester Township 1915 census lived at 213 Chester Ave., Moorestown. For his occupation he is listed as a Police officer. He is 37 years old.

According to a 1918 Draft Registration card A. Robert Broadwater is living on Main Street in Moorestown and works as a press hand at Victor Talking Machine Co. in Camden.

He is not on the 1920 census for Chester Township. In the 1930 censuus he is a hotel proprietor in Wildwood, NJ.

If Robert Broadwater was Maple Shade's first police officer or even Chief, it was only for a short time. Looking through the 1916-17 Maple Shade Progress newspapers (The Progress of Maple Shade book) I find no mention of Clarence Ward being called "Chief." He is referred to as "Officer Ward." It is likely that he, as time went and Maple Shade developed, became the official first Chief of Police. (Or even in 1922 after Moorestown separated from Chester Township)

Thinking more on it, if you only take ONE SENTENCE from that article it might mean a lot. It says 7 years ago Ward became Chief. Okay 1925- 7 is 1918. It was the very end of 1917 that the Cutler real estate office became Police headquarters. So maybe soon following the Chester Twp. Committee at the Moorestown Town Hall elected to make Officer Ward and the Maple Shade police station a separate department in Chester Twp and gave him the title "Chief" in 1918.



From the July 13, 1917 Maple Shade Progress




From the August 10, 1917 Maple Shade Progress


The above Edward Cutler Real Estate office was first on North Forklanding Road near Main Street and then was on Main Street near North Forklanding Road. It was used at night by Chief Clarence Ward as a police headquarters.

From the September 7, 1917 Maple Shade Progress-



From the November 9, 1917 Maple Shade Progress newspaper we see that Chief Ward gained full use of the Cutler field office. It is also interesting that in that issue it states he was elected as constable.



I don't see how this jives with Arthur Cutler's writings about an office being built in 1913. If you have a copy of "The Progress of Maple Shade" book you can see what it says happened in the 1917 time period.




From the November 16, 1917 Maple Shade Progress newspaper. This improvement would have been approved at the Chester Township Town Hall in Moorestown.


From the Decmeber 23, 1917 Maple Shade Progress. Chief Ward was the local one man force. Other Chester Township police were also involved somewhat though when needed, etc...




From the Philadelphia Inquirer, January 16, 1921. The article says that Chief Ward is still a one man police force.
The sign on front of the former Cutler office is black with gold letters and reads "Police Headquarters."






The old Maple Shade Township Municipal Building soon after being built in 1927
In 1927 the Police and Fire Departments were moved to it at Main Street and South Maple Avenue.




From the 1938 South Jersey Surburban Police yearbook. It shows the 1937 Maple Shade Police Dept.

From the book "Maple Shade A Story of 300 Years" by the Cutler family, Copyright 1983-





Before the Depression. Thomas Barlow and Chief Clarence Ward in front of Maple Shade's first bank.


Obituary from the Courier Post newspaper, June 6, 1939-



Segment of obituary from the Maple Shade Progess newspaper-

Independent Fire Co. No. 1 of Maple Shade, led the procession with the new Hahn pumper as former Chief Ward at one time served as assistant chief. It was former chief Ward's horse that drew the town's first fire engine when an alarm of fire was sounded by the old bell that once hung at Poplar and East Gradwell avenues. As the funeral procession passed the Municpal Hall, the firemen sounded the gong on top of the Municipal Building, which is tolled every time a prominent local citizen dies.

Although he retired from active duty on pension on August 1, 1937, former Chief Ward always retained the title of "Chief" unofficially. Residents, visitors and friends always called him "Chief Ward" and he will (?) always be remembered as "Chief."

Chief Ward died Monday in his home at 31 North Fellowship road, of a heart attack after two years' illness. Chief Ward retired on a pension two years ago after 23 years of service. He first served as a constable of Chester Township when it embraced Maple Shade, Moorestown and Lenola. He also was a deputy tax collector.

On February 1, 1914, Chief Ward was appointed the first patrolman of the township and became chief of the one-man department. As the department was expanded he remained as chief.

Ill health two years ago forced his retirement. At that time the townspeople presented him with a gold watch at a testimonial dinner held in the German Kitchen on July 15.

Surviving Chief Ward are his widow, Mary; two sons, Clarence and Amos; a daughter, Bessie, and two grandchildren.

Chief Ward was 68. He was born at Blackwood. For years he was a member of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of New Jersey and a charter member of the Burlington County Chiefs' Association.

The funeral was held at 2 p.m., (today) Thursday at his home. Burial was in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Blackwood. John Belton, of the Belton Funeral Home, 14 West Main Street, a life-long friend of the chief's, was the funeral director.

Chief Ward's Record

Chief Ward, who retired on August 1, 1937, rounded out a quarter-century of police work, having been appointed a constable and special officer in Chester Township, which then embraced Moorestown, Lenola and Maple Shade, in 1909. In addition to his regular duties, Ward served as a deputy tax collector for Samuel Lippincott, coming to Maple Shade in 1914, when he served as police chief and in fact was the entire police force, having his office in that old two-by-four office on the present site of the Roxy Theatre. Ward was appointed road supervisor in 1914 and many of the young men and ladies today can credit Chief Ward for having opened the paths from their homes with that old familiar white horse, in order that they might attend school during the winter months.






The old Municipal Building after the Fire Department moved to South Maple Avenue.
The Tax Office was on the left. The Police Station was at the right. The Library was in the back. The Township meeting room was upstairs.




Alfred Brooks Jr. outside the Brooks home on South Coles Avenue.
His father, Alfred Brooks Sr. was Chief of the Fire Dept. His brother Frank Brooks owned a Gulf station on Main Street.




A Maple Shade Police car from I am guessing the 1970s.


You can download any of the images used in making this web page here- den's OneDrive cloud
A Thanks goes to the Maple Shade Historical Society for letting me share their Police Dept. related pictures.


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