A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Miss Elsie Gates, First Female Candidate for Matawan Township Council, 1932

Miss Elsie Gates, a Republican from Cliffwood, petitioned to run for a seat on the Matawan Township Council, according to the 22 Apr 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal. She would be the first woman in township history to run for town council, as no other candidates applied. She would vie for the seat of William Hyer Sr, the incumbent  Democrat on the Council. The paper helpfully pointed out that it wasn't too late for a man to get on the ballot for the general election through a write in candidacy in the primary.

The Elsie Gates Association held a Republican fundraiser at the Cliffwood fire house in October, according to the 28 Oct 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal. People played bridge, pinnocle, and dominoes at 7 tables and a fine time was had by all. We can only wonder at this line in the report: "Refreshments were served by the hostess at a late hour." A long list of those attending was printed.

Ms Gates lost the election to Hyer 622 to 466, according to the 11 Nov 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The following spring, Ms Gates approached the Council in her capacity with the CB Welfare Association. According to the 15 Apr 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal, she accused Thomas Sinnott, the Township's Overseer of the Poor, of unfair distribution of grocery contracts to a particular grocer over another. She had been approached with complaints by applicants for aid. The President of the welfare association came to the defense of Mr Sinnott, but Ms Gates claimed that Powers spoke in his behalf because he and Sinnott were relatives. "Were he my own brother I would not uphold him if I thought he was not on the square and in his rights." Ms Gates submitted a written complaint to the Governor. The newspaper took a rather partisan tone, titling the front page article "Miss Gates Stirs Up More Strife."Ms Gates had been elected Secretary of the Cliffwood Beach Welfare Association in November 1931, according to the 6 Nov 1931 edition of The Matawan Journal.


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