A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

History: First Death in Lake Matawan, August 1928

The first person to die in our man-made Lake Matawan was James Cannon, the 22-year-old son of Mr and Mrs Frank Cannon of 23 Park Avenue in Matawan, according to the front page of the 24 Aug 1928 version of The Matawan Journal. The incident took place around 4 pm on Sunday 19 August 1928. The body was located a little after 5 pm with the help of Keyport first responders. Medical personnel on the scene found little water in his lungs and therefore speculated that he had been the victim of a heart ailment. Cannon worked at the Hanson-Van Winkle-Munning Company. Funeral services and burial were at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Keyport. He was survived by his parents, a brother and a sister.

The 1930 Federal Census shows Frank and Catherine Cannon living at 23 Park Avenue in Matawan along with several boarders. The Cannons had been married 27 years. They were both 50 years old and had been born in New York. Frank was a laborer in a factory. The boarders included a plant laborer named William McCormick, age 46, and two younger men who worked for the electric company.

The 1920 Federal Census shows Frank and Catherine Cannon living at 1539 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, New York with three children: Frank (14), James (13) and Mary (12). The parents were both 40 years old and born in New York. Frank was a plumber's helper at a marine company. They had one boarder, the same William McCormick, then age 35. (The two censuses provided conflicting information about Frank and Catherine's parents' nationalities. It is possible that Mr McCormick was Catherine's brother.)

As for the company Cannon worked for, it seems to have been a nickel plating company on Church Street. Sounds like the place we're still cleaning up at considerable cost.

I found the following exchange at Finishing.com:

January 20, 2009
I was looking for information about "Hanson Van Winkle Munning Company" from Matawan, NJ. I have a "good luck" coin with their name on it. I grew-up in Matawan, but don't remember this company. Anybody with some information?
Sharon Wheeler
- Somers Point, New Jersey

January 20, 2009
Hi, Sharon. I worked there from 1967 to 1972 or so, but by 1967 it was already the H-VW-M Division of M&T Chemical Co. rather than an independent company. It was located on Church Street, a block south of Broad Street. You might remember the enclosed bridge across Church Street, which joined the two halves of the factory.

Checking Google Earth, It looks like some of the buildings on the East Side are still standing, although converted to some other use. The building on the west side is gone -- that area looks like it was all simply razed and left to founder. I heard a rumor years ago that there was a toxic waste cleanup there and that's pretty much what the west side of the street looks like: like they ripped and dug and left it.

Hanson-Van WinkleMunning was a manufacturer of electroplating equipment. If you're ever in Brick, feel free to stop in and look through our trade magazine collection for articles and advertisements about H-VW-M.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Brick, New Jersey


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