A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Facebook Friends and Privacy

I've been getting posts on my Facebook wall from friends urging me to jump through a few odd hoops that they assure me will protect their privacy. The process isn't difficult, but it isn't accomplishing what they think. All they are effectively doing is asking all of their friends to stop receiving any of these friends' photographs, comments, etc.

The best thing you can do is make sure your privacy setting is set to "friends" or narrower. And make sure one's friends on Facebook do the same. Don't select "public" or "friends of friends" or your personal pictures and comments will go everywhere. Asking your friends not to receive your Facebook activity is only going to make you very lonely.

Check the article at SNOPES titled Facebook Privacy before you launch a privacy campaign with your Facebook friends.

Eleanor Van Brakle, Teacher (1869 - 1956)

Public School, Matawan, NJ
I purchased a post card this week of the old Matawan High School on Broad Street. The image is of the building before the 1908 addition, suggesting that the photo was taken between 1895, when the building was built, and 1908. You can see an image of the building in 1909, after the addition was constructed, in Around Matawan and Aberdeen, by Helen Henderson, pg 118.

The post card was addressed to an Eleanor Van Brackle of Keyport. Someone named Mary, perhaps her student or a fellow teacher, thanked Ms Van Brackle for the "postal" (post card or letter) and "the lessons you sent". The card is postmarked October at Keyport, but the precise date and year are illegible.

I found the following about Eleanor in the census and local newspapers:

The 1870 Federal Census showed Ella Van Brackle (2) in the Matawan household of her parents, Thos E (34) and Elizabeth (30) Van Brackle. Thomas was a farmer. Also in the household were Ella's elder brother Frank Van Brackle (4), (her uncle?) George Van Brackle (28), and (her grandmother?) Ann Van Brackle (60).  Note: Thomas and Elizabeth had another son named Frank born about 1863 who died 18 Dec 1864 in Matawan.

The 1880 Federal Census showed Eleanor Van Brackel, age 11, daughter of Thomas (44) and Elizabeth (39) Van Brackel. Thomas listed no occupation. The family was living on Broadway in Raritan. Eleanor's siblings were Franck (14), Mary (8), Fred (7), and Thomas (2). Note: Son Fred was born 22 Sep 1872 in Matawan.

The 1900 Federal Census showed Eleanor Van Brakle born Aug 1869 in New Jersey. She was living with her parents, Thomas (Dec 1835 NJ) and Elizabeth (Nov 1840 NJ) Van Brakle, and sibling Frank Van Brakle (Feb 1868 NJ), in Raritan. Her parents had been married 39 years and her mother had four surviving children from among the six she'd borne.

The 1910 Federal Census showed Eleanor Van Brakle, age 40, born in New Jersey to NJ parents, single, living on Warren Street in Keyport. Her occupation was listed as teacher, high school.

The 1920 Federal Census showed Eleanor Van Brakle, age 51 NJ, as vice principal in a high school. She was living on Holmdel Turnpike in Holmdel and was listed as the sister-in-law of the head of household Charles I Young (50 NJ) and his wife, Mary (48 NJ). Charles owned a farm.

The 1930 Federal Census showed Eleanor Van Brakle, age 61 NJ, as a teacher at a school. She was born in Matawan to parents born in Holmdel. She was still living with Charles and Mary. Note that Mary was also born in Matawan to Holmdel parents and is very likely Eleanor's sister.

The 19 Jun 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 3 col 3) contained a society piece saying that Donald Van Brackle, of Crown Point, NY, was visiting his aunt Eleanor Van Brackle to attend a class reunion at Rutgers University.

The 1940 Federal Census showed Eleanor Van Brakle, age 71 NJ, living at 138 Main Street in Keyport. She was not employed and was not seeking employment.

The 27 Feb 1941 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 23 col 4) said that Eleanor Van Brakle was elected to the board of trustees of the Keyport Free Library in the position of treasurer.

The 3 May 1945 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 20 col 3) said that Eleanor Van Brakle was re-elected secretary of the missionary society at the First Baptist Church in Keyport.

The 18 Sep 1947 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 17 col 4) said Eleanor Van Brakle attended a meeting of the Women's League of the First Baptist Church of Keyport.

Eleanor Van Brakle (2 Aug 1869 - 2 Oct 1956) is buried at Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, according to Distant Cousin. (Image of her gravestone)

The First Baptist Church of Keyport had an Eleanor Van Brakle Girls' Guild, according to the 19 May 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Happy New Year 2013!

All the best in the coming year to all my readers.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

History: Major Fire Consumes Downtown Keyport (1877)

There was a massive fire in downtown Keyport on 22 Sep 1877, destroying more than two dozen businesses and making many homeless with only the clothes on their back. The lack of a Keyport fire company condemned the town to much destruction. While word was sent to Matawan to bring its engine company, the towns people created a bucket brigade from the Raritan Bay to do what they could to fight the fire. Those residents who had time removed furniture and other possessions from their homes as they waited for assistance.

The New York Times covered events on the day of the fire. Keyport Fire Department has a website with a brief history and some historical photographs. The 29 Sep 1877 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 2, provided the following rather colorful reporting that summarized the previous week's events.

Terrible and Destructive Fire 


Of all the conflagrations that have visited Monmouth County, it has been left to Keyport to have the most extensive and perhaps the moot disastrous.

On Friday night of last week, at the hour of 11 o'clock, when the greater part of her citizens had retired and were slumbering, the cry of fire rang upon the quiet night through the streets of Keyport, arousing the people and striking them with terror at the possibilities, yea the probabilities, before them. A fire in the very heart of the business portion of a town, with scores of frame buildings all about to feed, and a stiff breeze to fan, the flame, and with no fire apparatus nor organized fire company, the most cool and collected saw disaster and ruin as the fate of Keyport.

The fire was first discovered in the rear part of the building owned by Abram Morris, opposite the Pavilion. The first floor was used by him for a meat market, and tbe four upper rooms were rented to Mrs. Ann Riley and Mary McGerry, well known as "big Mary." Ann says she was awakened by a cracking noise and on going in the next room discovered that the place was on fire. As to its origin all is conjecture, and we do not deem that we hare any right to circulate the mere rumors that are prevalent.

The flames spread rapidly and soon the entire building was on fire. Proceeding toward the steamboat wharf, the next building was that of Mary Hill, the residence of Wm. H. Madden, and next to it the shoe and tobacco store of H. Dougherty. These were entirely destroyed, and here the fire was spent in a north westerly direction, by the space to the Pavilion stables.

Meanwhile the flames had communicated to Charles Miller's barber shop and dwelling, only a narrow opening separating it from Morris's building. Mr. and Mrs Miller, with the two children, jumped from bed and rushed from their burning home without being able to save anything. Mrs. Miller and the two children had nothing but their night clothes; Mr. Miller only a pair of pants, undershirt and stockings, and the man employed in the barber shop only his pants and shirt, and Mr. Wm. Miller, of Matawan, found his brother and family on the street in this condition and hurried home  for clothing from his own and his wife's and children's wardrobe.

The great fight was now made on the Pavilion opposite, which was already about taking fire. A line was formed to the bay, and water passed in buckets and thrown on the front. Cornelius Britton, Jr., stood before the burning flame with a blanket thrown over him and dashed alternate buckets on himself and the building, and only by grim desperation was the hotel saved, though the weatherboards on the lower part were burned to a charcoal.

On the flames leaped from building to building, maddening as they progressed, and licking up dwellings more rapidly than water melts sugar. The brick building in which Adam Huyler kept a grocery store stood next to the Pavilion, but was saved by being almost fireproof.

Mr. John Morrell had started with his team and wagon for Matawan to give the alarm and solicit the aid of the Matawan firemen, with their engine. Foreman Sickels was routed out; the alarm shouted; the fire-bell rung, and very soon a force of men were on their way to Keyport. They reached there just as the Atlantic Hotel on one side of Front street and Decker's shoe store on the other, were in flames. Running their engine in the yard back of Geran's stove store,they played on that building, thoroughly
wetting it. Then, as the side of Decker's store was pushed in, they played on that heap of flames and stopped the further progress on that side.
Much credit is given to the Matawan firemen, and it is conceded by all that the entire street must have been swept had it not been for the aid of their engine.

Without extending our description of the scene, we will give a summary of the families made homeless and the businesses destroyed —Wm. H. Madden and family; Mrs. Ann Riley and Mary McGerry; Chas. Miller and family; Joseph Maurer and family; Amos Wolcott and wife; Wm. Matthews and family; Andrew Campbell and family and several boarders; Cyrenius and Timothy Wait and wives; Robert West and family; Sands Selleck and family; Mrs Lizzie Cowdrick and two children; Montz. Naftal and a family of seven; F Eckhardt and wife; John Bedle and family; Rich. West and family; Wm. Storms and family; Jacob Brown and wife; Fred'k Hoffman and wife; Abram Murdock and family; Jas. Brown and family; John Hunzinger and family; Mrs. Topping and two daughters; Wm. Howard and family.

The Mansion House, Necorsuli Johnson, proprietor, was entirely consumed and all the furniture destroyed.

The finest building burned was the large brick store belonging to the heirs of Wm. Walling, dec'd, and occupied on the first floor by Mr A. Block.

Mr. Wm. Bedle carried his furniture from his house to his barn, and some fiend was seen carrying a bundle of burning straw toward the barn with the evident intention of setting it on fire. When discovered he dropped the straw and ran. A lot of rags on the upper floor of Geran's store was also discovered on fire, after the flames had been subdued, and it is thought it was done by an incendiary.

Twenty-five buildings were destroyed and twenty-six families turned into the street without a home.

The losses sustained amount to about $150,000, on which there were insurances amounting to between $50,000 and $60,000.

The large brick building occupied by A. Block and owned by the Walling estate we understand is to be rebuilt by the insurance companies.

Dr. E. McKinney has opened his drug store at E. Geran's.

The Post office is in the store next adjoining Stout's grocery.

Alfred Walling, Jr. has opened his office for the present over Brown's store, Lockport.

Chas. Miller's barber shop is under the Pavilion, and Eckhardt's barber shop is in Conover's building.

Mr. Decker's shoe store is removed to Lockport.


I checked the census for information about the people affected by the fire. Below is some of the information available:

The 1870 Federal Census showed the following about people in the above Matawan Journal article:
  • John R Bedle (38 NJ) was a painter living in Keyport, along with wife Carrie (28 NJ) and two children.
  • Benjamin Decker (27 NY) worked in a clothing store in Keyport.
  • William Madden (54 NJ) was a butcher living in Keyport, along with wife Eliza (52 NY); son Joseph (33 NY), carman; son William (24 NY), butcher; and daughter Mary (23 NY).
  • Abram Morris (35 NJ) was a butcher living in Keyport, along with wife Emma (28 NY), four children and a Sidwell Roberts (61 England)
The 1880 Federal Census showed the following about people in the above Matawan Journal article.

a) These persons were enumerated on two census pages of households on Broad Street in Raritan:
  • William Bedle (72 NJ) was an undertaker. He was enumerated with wife Jane (66 NJ), three daughters; and son Melville (28 NJ), sash and blind maker.
  • James Brown (45 Ireland) was an oyster laborer. He was enumerated with wife Mary (45 Ireland) and a daughter.
  • Andrew Campbell (63 Ireland) was a hotel keeper. He was enumerated with wife Maria (43 Ireland) and seven children.
  • Mary Hill (34 Ireland) was the wife of restaurant keeper John Hill.
  • Fredrick Hoffman (30 NJ) was a livery stable keeper. He was enumerated with wife May (25 PA) and an infant. 
  • John Holzenger (Hunzinger)  (48 Germany) was a baker. He was enumerated with wife Agusta (42 Germany) and three children.
  • Neucorsili (Necorsuli) Johnson (40 NJ) was a hotel keeper. He was enumerated with wife Jenny (34 NJ), three children, a cook, a servant, and six boarders. 
  • Joseph Maurer (55 Germany) was a "lager b. saloon" (worked at a lager beer saloon?). He was enumerated with wife Catharine (49 Germany);  son Joseph (23 NJ), bartender; plus three other sons.
  • Charles Miller (28 Germany) was a barber, enumerated with wife Emma (23 NY) and three children.
  • Ann Riley (36 Ireland) was a restaurant keeper, enumerated with son Mathew (19 NY).
  • Amos Wolcott (44 NJ) was a juler (jeweler), enumerated with wife Anna (37 NJ), two children and a boarder.
b) These persons were also enumerated in Raritan:
  • Alexander Block (53 Bahamas) was a merchant. He was enumerated on Main Street with his wife Annie (50 Bahamas); son Joseph (19 NY), clerk in store; daughter Clara (17 NY), clerk in store; and three more daughters.
  • Cornelius Britton, Jr (37 NJ) was an oysterman. He was enumerated on Broadway with his wife Amelia (35 NJ) and two children.
  • Benjamin Decker (37 NY) was a merchant. He was enumerated on Second Street with his wife Emma (26 NJ) and three children.
  • Huey Dougherty (38 NY) was a cigar maker. He was enumerated with his wife Sarah (41 NY) and three children.
  • Adam Hyler (Huyler) (60 NJ) was a sash and blinds maker. He was enumerated on Broadway with his wife Hannah (55 NJ); son Abram (25 NJ), caulker; son Charles (18 NJ), laborer; and two other children.
  • There were two Richard Wests on Main Street. 1) Richard West (27 Ireland) was a carpet dealer. He was enumerated with his wife Luesa (23 NY), two children, a servant, and two boarders. 2) Richard West (53 VA) was an oyster laborer. He was enumerated with his wife Elanor (51 NJ); son Charles (29 NJ), sailor; and two adult daughters. 
Necorsuli Johnson moved to Staten Island, where he operated a hotel until his death in 1887, according to an obituary found at Distant Cousins.

No luck identifying John Morrell or Mary McGerry in the 1870 or 1880 censuses.

Where Have the Adults Been?

In an interview with Ezra Klein on The Rachel Maddow Show on Friday night, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) interjected this comment into a discussion of the fiscal cliff: "The question that ought to be asked is How is it that in this country we would let ourselves get in this position? Where have the grownups been to make sure it doesn't happen?"

Indeed, where are the grownups? And, by extension, who are the children that need babysitting? I think I can identify the bad boys in this sad drama, Senator Coburn. The guilt isn't balanced between the two sides of the aisle. No, Tom, the dysfunction in Washington is personified by a Republican-led House of Representatives that struggles in vain with a radical wing that would see us all on the street with a tin cup, or selling pencils if we're lucky. Oh, and it resides in a Senate minority sworn to rabidly thwart all programs promoted by President Obama.

Don't come out at the end of December, Tom, and pretend to be the reasonable faction of the Republican Party. Ask where YOUR leadership has been. And while you're at it, ask where your party's spirit of civil service is? And where is your party's understanding of democratic politics? What's gone on for the past two years is sickening and things are only getting worse.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

JCP&L Needs to Go

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, we had a power outage in Cliffwood Beach. My power backups beeped in the middle of the night to warn me that the electricity had failed, then those batteries died. My house grew cold by morning and I had to get candles out to get around. In the end, my power was out for about six hours and I missed a day of work.

My neighbor was outside with his dog and witnessed the outage. He heard a loud pop and saw the street lights in the neighborhood go dark, so he called JCP&L to report the outage. They challenged his account, noting that no one else had called (at 4 am). Then they warned him that filing a false report would result in a large fine.

JCP&L is obviously not working to improve their public image or customer service. In comparison, Optimum Online called and sent an email apologizing for the outage of service we'd experienced. I never heard anything from the electric company. Perhaps it is time that JCP&L found a new line of business and got the heck out of New Jersey? We couldn't do any worse.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hawkins the Hatter, Matawan (1872)

The 21 Dec 1872 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 4, contained an advertisement for Hawkins the Hatter. The ad read:

"Excelsior! Hawkins the Hatter has opened the fall and winter trade with an entire new stock of men's and boys' hats and caps. Call and examine the quality and compare prices with those of other houses in the trade."

The 1870 Federal Census showed John H Hawkins, age 37, born in England, as a hatter living in Matawan. His wife was Johanna A Hawkins, age 33, born in Switzerland. They had daughters Albertina (12), Margarit (11) , Susan (9), and Carrie(2), and sons Frederick (9) and Charles(5/12). Susan and Frederick were twins. The youngest two children were born in New Jersey after a seven year gap; the older children were all born in New York.

John was a liquor dealer in the 1880 Federal Census. He and his family were living at 30 Charles Street in Manhattan. His wife was going by her middle name, Albertina. Their son Frederick was a bartender. There were two new children: Henry (5 NJ) and William (3 NY), while Margarit and Carrie were no longer listed. The birth places of the boys suggests that the family moved back to New York circa 1876.

I had no luck finding John in the 1860 Federal Census. He should have been found in New York with his wife and one or two children. They are likely misindexed or were not enumerated for some reason.

2012 Marching Huskies Have Winning Season

The Matawan Regional High School Marching Huskies did so well this year in marching band competition that they qualified to attend the Tournament of Bands 2012 Atlantic Coast Championships at Hershey Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the impact of Hurricane Sandy on our community kept the band from participating in those early November championships. Just another local victim of the storm.

On the bright side, congratulations to Livingston High School, which was able to compete and took the prize. And I recently heard that the Marching Huskies held a special performance of their championship show for parents and friends. Nicely done.

Friday, December 21, 2012

History: Matawan and the Great Storm at Galveston (1900)

The Great Storm at Galveston hit 8 Sep 1900 (1900 Storm)

The 22 Nov 1900 edition of The Matawan Journal had a small item on the front page about a mournful family gathering that took place at the home of Mr and Mrs Jacob Doll of Matawan. The Dolls' step daughter, Laura Feigle, and her son, Charles, were visiting from Galveston, Texas, where they had lost practically everything, There had been an especially nasty hurricane back in September, in which they had not only lost their home, belongings and property, but the storm had taken Laura's husband, John, and two of her three children.

Laura's sister, Louisa Mehrtena, also visited the Dolls'. Louisa would be taking in Laura and son at her home in Brooklyn for the immediate future due to the situation. The Dolls' son, Jacob Doll, Jr, of Asbury Park, and a Lizzie Burns, of Brooklyn, also visited the Dolls as well.

The 1900 Federal Census for Texas showed the Feigle household in Galveston as it was a few months before the storm struck. John Feigle was born Feb 1865 in New York to German parents. His wife Laura was born Nov1866 in New York to a French father and German mother. The children were son Charles, born Oct 1887 in Texas, daughter Georgie, born Nov 1889 in Texas, and daughter Mabel, born May 1894 in Texas. John was a cabinet maker and his two eldest children were in school. John and Laura had been married 13 years and Laura's three children were all living.

1900 Galveston Storm Recorded Deaths, published by the Galveston and Texas History Center, has death listings for a John Feigle, Jr; and Mable Feigle, daughter of John Jr. The listing for Georgie Feigle is either missing or could be muddled in the listings for a George Feigle and daughter of George. I could find no George Feigle in Galveston in the 1900 Federal Census.

Laura's son was Charles Francis Feigle, who was born 28 Oct 1887 in Galveston, Texas. His World War I Draft Registration showed him living in Brooklyn and working as a machinist for a local spring hinge company in 1917. He had already served 5 years in the US military and attained the rank of Corporal. His World War II Draft Registration Card showed him living in Brooklyn and working for Brooklyn Union Gas Co in 1942.

I couldn't find Laura Feigle in the 1910 Federal Census. Perhaps she remarried.

Jacob Doll and his wife (difficult to read her name - possibly Phelessa) lived in Matawan in the 1900 Federal Census. He was born in Mar 1827 in Germany, while his wife was born in Mar 1831 in Germany. Jacob was a farmer who came to America in 1850 and had since become a naturalized citizen.

The "younger" Jacob Doll was a wallpaper dealer in Asbury Park in the 1900 Federal Census. He was born Mar 1852 in New York to German parents.

History: Alice Cartan of Matawan Dead at 24 (1900)

Gravestone of Alice Cartan and her brother, Andrew J Cartan. (Find-A-Grave)

The 22 Nov 1900 edition of The Matawan Journal included the front page obituary of Alice Cartan, who died in her mid-twenties from complications of typhoid fever. The text is rich and colorful, a wonderful example of obituaries of the era.

OBITUARY. - Alice Cartan

Another bright and beautiful life has gone out from us, another voice which has so often been heard singing the sweet songs of Zion is forever hushed. Alice Cartan, daughter of Lawrence and the late Ellen Cartan, died at her home in this place on Thursday last, after an illness of five weeks' duration of typhoid fever and pneumonia, aged 24 years and 9 months. During the past year the Angel of Death has entered many Matawan homes, plucking here and there a loved one, but in the removal of this estimable young lady, the blow is a peculiarly severe one, and seldom has a death produced a more painful effect than the one that we regretfully record in this obituary, the announcement of her death causing deep sorrow throughout the community. In her home life she was the light of the household, making home a bright and happy place. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church and in her church relations, her many gifts and graces made her most invaluable, being prominently identified with the Sunday School, the Christian Endeavor Society, and the Mission Band, and her lovable example inspired others engaged in church work, and her beautiful, Christian life, though early closed, will shed a fragrance over all who shared her acquaintance.

The funeral occurred on Sunday afternoon, Rev. A. H. Young, D. D., officiating, assisted by Rev. Mr. Irwin. The services opened with a duet by Mrs. Mary McDoal and Miss E. G. Fisher, entitled "Sweet Peace, the gift of God's love," followed by reading of scriptural selections by Rev. Mr. Irwin. Miss Fisher then sang a solo "That Beautiful Isle," after which Rev. Dr. Young made a brief address, taking for his text the words contained in Luke 10, 42 "She hath chosen that good part which shall never be taken away from her," and in his remarks paid a touching tribute to the sweet life and Christian character of the departed.

Miss McDoal and Miss Fisher sang the hymn beginning "Some day the silver cord will break," and prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Young, after which an opportunity was given to all to look for the last time upon the face of her whom in life they had loved so well. Aud then the sad procession wended its way out to Rose Hill Cemetery where the mortal remains were committed to the ground, there to peacefully sleep until the mists have rolled away, the dawn shall break, and the shadows flee away.

Besides her father she leaves one sister, Miss Kate Cartan, and her brothers, A. J. Cartan, Rens, Garrett and Bert.

Many persons residing out of town were present at the services, among whom were Misses Bagen, of, N. Y.; E. L. Murphy, of Mount Vernon, N. Y.; Misses Rue, of Perth Amboy; Mrs. Edwin Furman, of South Amboy; Misses Wllllams of Jersey City; Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Henderson, Miss Lambertson and Harry Lambertson, of Newark; Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Petit, of Hempstead, L. I.; Miss Magee, of Jamesburg; E. E. Dayton of Asbury Park; Mr. and Mrs. Mung of Keyport; the Misses Schanck, of Holmdel; Mrs. Charles Gehlhaus, Miss Gehlhaus and William Gehlhaus of Atlantic Highlands.

The floral tributes were many in number and beautiful in design. The bearers were: R. F. Fountain; Edsell W Bissell; H. O. Wyckoff; W. G. Bedle, Fred F. Schock, P. J. Devlin.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mike's Sub Shop Being Rebuilt in Keyport

Mike's Sub Shop in Keyport,which was severely damaged in Hurricane Sandy, is expected to reopen in February 2013. If you drive by the Keyport Post Office, you'll see that the sub shop next door has been demolished and only a hole is left at the corner where Mike's used to be. Well, actually the foundation is down there and lots of work is going on. But, sad to say, they're not making sandwiches down there, at least not for the general public. We'll just have to wait for the place to be rebuilt.

If you want to follow their progress, check Mike's Facebook page. Lots of pictures of the construction, etc.

Reigning Cats and Dogs

Sorry for the brief ad. You can skip it after a few seconds. This is just so funny.

History: A J Cartan's Department Store, Matawan (1913)

The 18 Dec 1913 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 8, right column) contained a large Christmas advertisement for A J Cartan's Department Store. Check the prices! (See bottom)

A J Cartan's Department Store, 92 Main Street, Matawan was owned and operated by Andrew Johnson Cartan (1865-1927), of the same place. He was the son of Lawrence (1832-1903) and Ellen Cottrell Cartan (1840-1888). His father, originally from Ireland, operated a lumber and flower business. Andrew's wife was Sarah (1873-1933).

Photographs of the store dated 1910 and 1925 can be found on page 32 of Around Matawan and Aberdeen, by Helen Henderson. A photograph of Cartan Coal and Feed, situated at 90 Main Street in 1910, is available on page 33 of the same volume.

Andrew J Cartan died in 1927 and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, according to Find-a-Grave. (There's no photographs of the Cartan family's Rose Hill Cemetery gravestones at Find-a-Grave, so an industrious reader with photography and web skills and an interest in history might want to take some shots and add them to the Find-A-Grave site. Or take the photos and send them to me by email for uploading.)

Andrew's wife, Sarah Cartan, died in 1933 and was buried at Green Grove Cemetery in Keyport, according to Find-A-Grave. A nice photo of the gravestone is available at the site.

Andrew J Cartan (age 54, born in New Jersey to an Irish father and NJ mother) was enumerated at 83 Main Street in Matawan with the occupation of retail merchant at a general store in the 1920 Federal Census. He was listed as married but no wife appeared with him.

Andrew J Cartan (44 NJ) appeared with wife Sarah (36 NJ) in the 1910 Federal Census. Children were Helen (16) and Johnson (8). Andrew and Sarah had been married 18 years and Sarah had had two children, both surviving. Andrew was listed as a retail merchant in a grocery store. A notation said he was an employer. (The 1910 Census distinguished between those who employed persons, workers who were employed by others, and those who worked "on their own account." The enumerator noted these as EMP, W, and OA.)

Lawrence Cartan died in 1903 and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan, according to Find-A-Grave. No photo of gravestone.

Johnson A Cartan (Aug 1865, 34 NJ) appeared with wife Sarah (Nov 1873, 26) and daughter Helen (Jun 1893 NJ) in the 1900 Federal Census. Johnson was listed as a store keeper, groceries. His widowed father, Lawrence (Jun 1832, 67 Ireland) appeared on the same page with children Katie (Sep 1871, 28 NJ), Garret (Dec 1873, 26 NJ), Alice (Feb 1876, 24 NJ), and Bert (Jun 1879, 20 NJ). Only Bert was employed, as a bank clerk.

Caroline Cartan died in 1888 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, according to Find-A-Grave. No photo of gravestone.

A Johnson Cartan (14 NJ) was enumerated in the Matawan household of Lawrence (50 Ireland) and Ellen (40 NJ) Cartan in the 1880 Federal Census. His father was a dealer in flour and lumber. A J had three brothers: Lawrence, Jr (7), Garrett (5), and Birdie (1) and two sisters, Katie (9) and Alice (3). The elder Alice (16?) and Ella (11?) were missing from the household and are presumed to have died. Some families in those days would use a name again to memorialize a child who had died.

Andrew J Cartan (age 4 NJ) was enumerated in the Matawan household of Lawrence (39 Ireland) and Ellen Cartan (30 NJ) in the 1870 Federal Census, along with his siblings Alice (6) and Ella (1)..

In the 1860 Federal Census, Lawrence Cartan (age 30, Ireland) was enumerated in the Matawan household of master carpenter Reuben (Reban, sic) Brown and his wife Caroline. Lawrence was a master miller with $3,000 in real property and $200 in personal property.

If someone will check the Matawan Journal obituaries index at Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library and email me the dates the obituaries appeared in the newspaper, I'll grab whatever additional information might be available and provide links to those papers. The indices are large, floppy printouts with plastic covers that can found in the Reference section of the library. Ask at the Reference Desk if you're unfamiliar with that great resource for local history and genealogy information. 
A J Cartan's Department Store, Christmas ad (Matawan Journal, 18 Dec 1913)
A J Cartan's Department Store Christmas ad (Matawan Journal, 18 Dec 1913)
A J Cartan's Department Store, Christmas ad (Matawan Journal, 18 Dec 1913)
A J Cartan's Department Store, Christmas ad (Matawan Journal, 18 Dec 1913)

History: Charles Appleby, Real Estate Tycoon, Dead at 89 (1913)

When the New York real estate magnate Charles Appleby died in New York City at 89, a brief obituary appeared on the last page of the 18 Dec 1913 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 8, col 5).  A Middletown, NJ native, Appleby maintained his New Jersey residency until he died.

Appleby was of local interest because his nephew, T Frank Appleby, was an Old Bridge native who had recently served as Mayor of Asbury Park. (A photo of his real estate agency in Asbury Park appears at Monmouth Plus.) He would later represent New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District (1921-23), lose the next election, then win his seat back in the 1924 election, but die before taking office. His son, Stewart H Appleby, would take his place in office (1925-27). The 3rd Congressional District would be Matawan's local district until 1993, the seat most recently held by James Howard (1965-88), and Frank Pallone (1988-93).

Appleby had an amazing sense for real estate. His holdings included exclusive properties along the edge of Central Park and on Riverside Drive. Appleby purchased farmland in Glen Cove, Long IslandNew York in the 1870's, according to Glen Cove Heritage. Just before he died, Appleby solidified his massive holdings on West 57th Street, according to the 7 Oct 1913 edition of The New York Times. At the end, he left a $50 million estate to his two sons, according to Dynastic America and Those Who Own It, by Henry H Klein, pg 37.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Time to End the Gun Bazaar Fueling the Madness

Gun hobbyists, hunters and Second Amendment aficionados who demand unlimited access to the purchase and possession of weapons and then flood the airwaves with their propaganda about various threats to gun ownership do so at a cost: mass killings in our schools, our shopping malls, shootings in our homes, our groceries, and elsewhere in our communities.

Women think they're safer with a gun in the house, but more often than not they become victims. Like this recent madman's mother, who owned three guns and died at her son's hands before he killed so many others. It's simply wrong-headed to think having a gun in the house makes you safer. The statistics tell us otherwise. But the NRA and its associated groups won't tell you that.

Guns -- legal and illegal -- are everywhere these days. The US is an armed camp. And people who are depressed or sadistic or angry can get hold of a weapon and ammunition without much trouble.

The money from nearly unrestricted gun sales in some states feeds the gun lobby in Washington and brings terror to those who have strict gun controls.. States Rights means gun dealers can go to Virginia and purchase guns in bulk and sell illegally in the North. NRA lobbyists have the most money to hand out in Washington, and they pull our representatives' strings.

The Second Amendment wackos think the Blue Helmets are coming for their treasured guns. They have visions of hopping into their uncle's pickup truck to fight Soviet paratroopers in the Montana hills. They want you to know that you'll have to take their guns from them when they've died trying to protect their Second Amendment rights. They will tell you guns don't kill people, people kill people; so if you only would enforce the laws already on the books you wouldn't need to consider adding more intrusive and annoying gun control legislation. That's what they'll tell you. Maybe not today, when a man with a gun exercised his Second Amendment right to kill lots of children. But they'll start telling you this as soon as the coast is clear.

My personal gun rights muse emerged last week to tell me over the fence that the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty was a devious scheme to take away his Second Amendment rights. ATT would give his rights to a world power determined to harm America. He read it somewhere and wouldn't believe my evidence to the contrary. He told me we were wasting our money at the UN, that even though we helped the Dominican Republic after their hurricane, the Dominicans couldn't be bothered to help us after ours. He was glad that the Senate had voted down the international arms treaty last week because the Blue Helmets were surely out to get us all.When he came out today to spew his ill-informed nonsense over the fence, he was walking on eggshells. Even he knew that today's shootings were beyond the pale. But his hesitance wasn't a change of heart. No, he's still a true believer. It was a mere pause to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

So, what is to be done now?
  • We need to make it clear to President Obama that he must challenge the NRA's stranglehold on our lives. We need immediate action.
  • We need to remember 12/14 like 9/11. We mustn't forget. 
  • We must nag all our Congressional leaders to do something substantial and do it right away. There have been countless such shootings and each time we say it must stop. Then more people die. Just think how far back this could have been fixed. There have been many perfect occasions to have drawn the line on gun violence.
The alternative to doing something about gun sales and violence is to start training our children at a painfully young age to defend themselves in armed combat. At school. At the movies. At the mall. You name it, guns are invading that space. Even the Hunger Games didn't involve elementary school age children going off to fight for their lives.It's wrong and we need to do something about this sad state of affairs as soon as possible.

Delays Persist as NJ Transit Repairs Storm Damage Between Aberdeen-Matawan and South Amboy Stations

NJ Transit rail service has been particularly slow on the portion of the North Jersey Coast Line between South Amboy and Aberdeen-Matawan since Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to the Morgan draw bridge, signals, and tracks. A conductor told me last night that NJ Transit can only run one train at a time through this gauntlet but expects to have full service restored sometime early next year.

Click the following links to see NJ Transit's flickr photos of the damage to the Morgan draw bridge, photos taken on 31 October 2012. Or you can also view the slide show, which starts out with these same pics but moves on to other venues.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bank of America to Close Cliffwood Branch

The Bank of America is closing its banking center at the A&P grocery store on Route 35 in Cliffwood on 22 February 2013. The local branches of BOA were once operated by Franklin State Bank. The Franklin branches were bought out by Summit Bank and then by United Jersey Bank. The UJB branches were acquired by BOA. Before the Cliffwood branch moved into the grocery store as part of a major A&P renovation, the bank was in the building where the post office is today. All that parking in the back used to be a series of drive-thru lanes. Let's hope another bank will move into the grocery store space being vacated by BOA. Cliffwood customers can use one of the area's other BOA branches - on Main Street in Matawan, Route 34 in Aberdeen, Middle Road in Hazlet, and Maple Place in Keyport. I'm unhappy with the branch closing and will likely move my accounts to PNC Bank.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Manna House Fashion Show Rescheduled for January 2013

Manna House is holding its 2012 Fashion Show on Saturday 26 January 2013 from 11 am to 3 pm at The Addison Park on Route 35 North in Cliffwood. These annual festivities, which include a luncheon and auction, were previously scheduled for early November but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.

I hope you'll consider supporting Manna House as it passes 25 years of service to homeless women and children in our area. Tickets for this benefit are $56.00 per person. Full tables of 10-12 persons can be reserved. You can find more details on Facebook and make reservations at the Manna House website.

The Addison Park is a beautifully appointed banquet facility (the completely renovated former location of the Garden Manor and,before that, the Fountain Casino) situated just north of Cliffwood Avenue at the intersection of Route 35 and County Road.

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Cross of Glory Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing

 Cross of Glory Lutheran Church plans to hold its fifth annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing on Sunday 9 December 2012 at 5 pm. The congregation welcome friends, family and neighbors to attend. Revelers are invited into Fellowship Hall after the 30-foot tree is lit and songs have been sung to enjoy home baked sweets and pastries as well as refreshments provided every year by Delicious Orchards.

Cross of Glory Lutheran, located at 95 Cambridge Drive in Aberdeen, was founded in 1964 and is part of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is led by Rev. Gary E. Costa. With the support of over 300 members, the church runs a nursery school, stocks and supports the Matawan food pantry and provides other services to residents of Aberdeen and neighboring towns.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

History: End of Prohibition, Formulation of Liquor Sales Rules in Matawan (1933)

According to the 8 Dec 1933 edition of The Matawan Journal (pp 1, 2), Matawan Borough was meeting to establish local liquor sale regulations and fees as Prohibition had come to an end.
  • There would be 6 permits for taverns and bars (sales for use on and off premises) and 2 permits for liquor stores (sales for off premises only).
  • Liquor dealers would have to be visible from the street, none in back rooms, etc.
  •  Liquor dealers could be open from 7 am to midnight every day except Sundays and election days, when they must be closed.
  • Those under the influence of alcohol would be prohibited from purchasing alcohol.
  • Annual liquor license fees would only be available on 1 July 1934; in the meantime, fees would be pro-rated to $1/day for taverns and bars and $0.60/day for stores.

Monday, December 3, 2012

All Mine to Give

I like stumbling on old movies with people I recognize from later movies and TV shows. This weekend, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) showed All Mine to Give, a 1957 flick about an ill-fated Scottish couple who emigrated to Wisconsin in 1850, established a farm, and raised a large family. I hadn't seen the movie before, but I recognized lots of the actors.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

History: Renovation of Second Baptist Church, Matawan (1972)

The 22 Jun 1972 edition of The Matawan Journal included the article below about a planned renovation of the Second Baptist Church of Matawan.

MATAWAN — Plans are underway to modernize the facilities of the Second Baptist Church, 45 Orchard St.

Mrs. Luvenia (Wicker) Wall, 83 years old, a member of the church, though inactive, remembers attending Sunday School in Bissel Hall, the Reform club rooms, and at one time services were held in a schoolhouse on Rabbit Lane. From this congregation began the Berean Baptist Church, located on Jackson St., which was incorporated Apr. 8, 1890. The Seacost Baptist Association of New Jersey was organized in this church.

The congregation needed larger quarters and a church was erected on Orchard St. In April 1894, the name was changed from the Berean to the Second Baptist Church of Matawan. The current pastor is the Rev. Joseph K. Butts, who has been a member of the church since early childhood. William Rice, chairman of the building committee, and Roy Mancel, chairman of the trustees, concluded that in order to meet the needs of the membership and the community it was necessary for the church to be completely modernized.

The modernization will take place in three phases, the first renovating of the exterior of the parsonage and paneling of walls in two rooms. The work on the church will consist of installing brick veneer to the exterior walls and new stained glass windows. The third and final phase will be the landscaping of the church grounds.

Total cost of the project is estimated, at $50,000. The work will be completed at funds become available, but it is hoped that most of the work will be completed prior to Christmas of this year. The architect is Preston C. Moore, Matawan, and contractor, Robert Vargo, Old Bridge.


Given that the Reverend Butts retired in 2000 after serving the church for over 27 years, the above article would have marked the beginning of his ministry. Since he planned major renovations to the building, he obviously started his ministry with a bang.

Reverend Anthony L Hodges filled the vacant pulpit at Second Baptist in 2003, according to the 19 Mar 2003 edition of The Independent.

Just Know You're Not Alone

Home, by Phillip Phillips, has been getting a lot of airplay in the greater New York City area in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The song came out before the storm, but the lyrics resonate with people who have battled the demon winds and waters.

The King Is Dead. Long Live King Curley

The chain of events that led to Peter Burnham, former President of Brookdale Community College, landing in jail, has been pressed and strained to extract praise for the fiduciary wisdom of the actions of John Curley and the Monmouth County Freeholders. Anyone with a halfway decent grasp of business as usual in New Jersey politics can see that the Freeholders led a politically driven fishing expedition into Burnham's vouchers after the Chosen became annoyed with him over a supercharged budget issue related to Brookdale tuition hikes and county funding of the school. Something had to give, and it was Burnham's career and now even his freedom.

Have you noticed how local news stories always mention Burnham's supposedly outrageous pay and benefits package? Keep in mind that the Freeholders oversaw his pay and benefits during all those years. The whole shock and awe campaign is an apparent effort to justify the Freeholders' probe. Curley and company were lucky they found something to hang their hats on during their witch hunt. I doubt they would have gotten a court order for a search warrant to dig around to see what they could find. Burnham, after all, isn't going to jail for sending his kids to college on the school's nickel, or for his spa membership, or his fancy vehicle. Yet those things always get churned in press articles.

When the Freeholders found that Burnham had been using his office credit card for personal purchases for eight years, the Freeholders were praised in the media for their amazing sleuthing, when in fact they should have been reprimanded for exercising inadequate oversight of the school's auditing procedures. A few of the Freeholders serve on a special board of oversight at Brookdale. Their job is reviewing the budget and assuring proper financial management. They obviously weren't minding the store. And now we're congratulating them for a job well done?

Let's say I used my company credit card to buy sneakers and Costco memberships. It wouldn't be long before my accounting department would be calling me on the carpet. Failing that, auditors would come down on both me and the accounting department - me for the misuse of my company card and the accountants for failing to call me to task and for exercising inadequate financial controls. That's called proper financial management.

So, Peter Burnham used his Brookdale credit card to spend the royal sum of about $10 a day, something that should have been stopped long ago through routine financial controls. And he screwed up in his handling of a transaction involving his kid's college tuition banking. The fraud charges stuck and he's off to jail. But just keep in mind that he gave the County Freeholders a major political headache over school funding and prompted them to dig into something they hadn't bothered to look at for years. And here we are.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

History: Edward Farry & Co, Matawan (1891)

The above advertisement for Edward Farry and Company, Main Street, Matawan, successor to Farry Brothers, appeared in the 21 Nov 1891 edition of The Matawan Journal. Edward Farry was a wholesale and retail dealer in the following:
  • Hardware, Coal, Wood, Hay, Grain, Feed, Lime, Cement, and general Building Materials.
  • Wheels, Hubs, Spokes, Shafts, Rims, Poles, Etc, Etc.
  • Norway and Refined Iron,
  • Spring, Scroll and Tool Steel of all dimensions.
  • Phoenix and Perkin Horse Shoes,
  • Steel and Iron Axles, all sizes.
  • Seeds for Farm and Garden.
  • Agents for Victor Safety Bicycle Co.
The Rhode Island Perkins Horse Shoe Company was based in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, according to a real estate liquidation sale in the 28 Oct 1918 edition of The Milwaukee Sentinel.

Norway was a major supplier of iron in the late 19th century. The Moss ironworks is producing the smoke behind the big house on right. (Wikimedia)

This 1909 post card from an Oregon business was an advertisement for Phoenix horse shoes. The caption says that the horse is bucking because the carriage driver didn't get him Phoenix horse shoes. (Card Cow)

Victor Safety Bicycles catalog.
The 2 Jan 1892 edition of The Matawan Journal showed another ad for Edward Farry and Co. That ad included a number of additional services and items for sale.

Farry Bros, successor to John O Conover, advertised in The Matawan Journal in the Oct 1890 - Jan 1892 period. The ad below appeared in the 22 Nov 1890 edition.

Edward Farry was born 11 Feb 1868 and died 21 Sep 1936. He was the son of John Haggerty Farry (1830 - 1895) and Delia Jane Haywood. Edward was living in Matawan in the 1900 Federal Census with his wife Louise, son Edward (2) and infant daughter Louise. Edward was occupied as a brick manufacturer at the time. The 1880 Federal Census showed Edward as son of John H Farry (50, New York), hotel proprietor in Matawan. Edward had a younger brother, John H Farry, Jr, age 7, and three sisters.. The 1870 Federal Census said his father was a hotel keeper and that his real property was worth $50,000 and personal property was valued at $15,000. Perhaps John Sr retired circa 1890 and the hotel business or the proceeds therefrom passed briefly to the sons?

There's a mention of John H Farry, Jr in the 16 Feb 1895 edition of The Matawan Journal. There had been a great snow storm that marooned John at his sister's house in Wickatunk. He tried to cut a way down the road but was upset in a snowbank and had to walk back to his sister's house. His sister was Mrs Charles Conover.

The Matawan Township Committee paid Farry Brothers $52.34, according to the committee's minutes dated 13 Jun 1891.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekday PATH Service to WTC Restored

PATH just announced that they are restoring weekday service to the World Trade Center on Monday 26 November 2012. Trains will run 5 am to 10 pm Monday thru Friday. So those riding the North Jersey Coast train who work in downtown Manhattan can once again get off at Newark Penn Station and ride the tubes to WTC. For further information, see Recent PATH Alerts.

Larry Hagman Dead in Dallas

I was watching BBC this evening when they announced the death of Larry Hagman. BBC emphasized his role as J R Ewing on Dallas to the exclusion of almost anything else. The Americans they interviewed were always quick to point out his role on I Dream of Jeannie, but the BBC kept returning to Dallas.

Above, I thought I'd point out his role as the President's interpreter in the classic Cold War flick Fail Safe.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mediterranean Chateau Opens in Matawan

Mediterranean Chateau finally opened on 16 Nov 2012 in the old Charlie Brown's Restaurant location on Route 79 in Matawan. I plan to drop by in coming weeks.

UPDATE 2 Dec 2012: The restaurant's Facebook page includes a series of images of their menu. The main dish categories are Fish ($17-21), Shellfish ($16-28, with a $14 vegetarian paella), and Meats ($14-34).

History: Matawan Hook and Ladder Co No 1 Election (1879)

The 22 Nov 1879 edition of The Matawan Journal reported recent election results for officers of the Matawan Hook and Ladder Company No 1 for the coming year.
  • Foreman - S A Lockwood
  • 1st Assistant - Benjamin Van Dorn
  • 2nd Assistant - Henry Fisher
  • President - W K Harris
  • Vice President - J Van Schoick
  • Secretary - J A Walling
  • Treasurer - T L Peterson, C P Van Brackle
  • Auditors - Uriah Sickels, T R Mount
  • Investigating Committee - Allen Van Pelt, James Roberts, Holmes Boyce
1880 Federal Census
  • There was a Samuel A Lockwood, age 27, in Shrewsbury; a Seth Lockwood, age 29, in Woodbridge;  and a Samuel Lockwood, age 51, in Freehold.
  • There were two Benjamin Van Dorns on the same page of the census in Matawan Township. One (Benj G, 44 years old, wife Jane) was a farmer and the other (Benj D, 44 years old, wife Cecelia) worked in pottery.
  • There was a Henry Fisher, age 46, born in Germany, harness maker, living in Matawan Township.
  • There was a W Kramer Harris, age 23, clerk in store, son of Alex H Harris, age 62, dealer in hardware. He lived with his parents and siblings in Matawan Township.
  • There was a John H Van Shoick, age 29, in Middletown; a John C Van Shoick, age 59, in Manalapan; and a John H Van Shoick, age 55, in Howell.
  • There was a Joel A Walling, age 29, in Matawan Township.
  • There was a Thomas L Peterson, age 26, born in New York, in Matawan Township.
  • I found no C P Van Brackle in Matawan or environs.
  • There was a Uriah Sickles, age 52, blacksmith, in Matawan Township.
  • I found no T R Mount in Matawan or environs.
  • There was an Allen Van Pelt, age 31, painter, in Matawan Township.
  • There was a James H Roberts, age 32, living in Matawan Township.
  • There was a Holmes Boyce, age 36, laborer, living in Matawan Township.

Matawan-Aberdeen School Board Write In Election Results Remain Incomplete and Inaccurate at County Website

The Monmouth County Clerk continues to display preliminary results for the 6 November 2012 elections as of 21 November. After more than two weeks, why don't we have official results?

So far, the preliminary data on school board write in results are not only delayed, they are incomplete and wrong. They display the Matawan 3-year slot results as if they were the Aberdeen 1-year results. As a consequence, the site has no heading for Matawan's 3 year slot and displays no results for the Aberdeen 1 year slot. See below for the erroneous posting as of Wednesday afternoon.

Matawan-Aberdeen Reg BOE (Aberdeen) (1Yr Unexp)
13/13 100.00%
Under Votes 6144
Over Votes 0

Vote Count Percent
Write-In 181 57.28%
- James Shea (Write-In) 56 17.72%
- Kathleen Gentile (Write-In) 79 25.00%
Total 316 100.00%

The Matawan-Aberdeen Patch reported that Kathleen Gentile was running as a write-in candidate for the Matawan 3-year slot being vacated by Gerald Donaghue. Gentile is a Matawan resident and ineligible for the Aberdeen slot.

Even if Aberdeen residents incorrectly wrote her in, why are there no posted results for Matawan and no posted results for any of the Aberdeen write in candidates? I hope the county gets their act together soon and gives us our BOE write in election results, official or otherwise.

UPDATE (27 Nov 2012)

The preliminary results have been updated at the Monmouth County Clerk's website.

The one-year unexpired term as an Aberdeen representative on the school board looks to have been won by Joelle Nappi with 91 votes (21%). Art Perri came in a close second place with 82 votes (19%), followed by Pat Phillips with 49 votes (11%) and L William Lamb with 17 votes (4%). 192 write in votes (45%) were not elaborated upon by the county clerk, presumably because voters chose to write in Mickey Mouse, themselves, et al. If there is some other reason behind nearly half the votes not being attributed to particular candidates, such as voter errors or machine errors, I wonder if and how that might possibly come to light?

Check the updated and as yet still unofficial results here.

History: Marc Woods Development, Matawan (1960)

Howard Siegel built a major development in the Borough of Matawan. These so-called "Siegel homes" became the Marc Woods development, which is bounded by Ravine Drive, Aberdeen Road and Matawan Avenue. Below are links to an assortment of early news articles documenting some of the main events in the approval process in 1960 and 1961. The tracts used for the development are identified by name but I didn't find anything solid on those families. Presumably the lands were local farms.

The Matawan Borough Planning Board received Siegel's plan for 167 homes on the 117-acre Siano tract on 15 Aug 1960, according to the 18 Aug 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal. Karl Heuser, the borough's engineer, suggested that the property might better be used for a third lake, but the developer was unwilling to provide the land for municipal use considering his investment in land.

The 1 Sep 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal said Marc Woods would include 172 houses on 117 acres of land called the Siano tract, plus another 70-80 homes on 52 acres adjacent to the Siano property, just to the west, called the Esposito-Kravitz tract. The latter tract, also referred to as the Esposito-Kravitz-Smith tract, had recently come available because the school district's option to buy it had been abandoned after a local $2.5 million bond issue to build a new school failed.

The 27 Oct 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal (pp 1, 14) reported that the first 75 homes of the new Marc Woods development would not be connected to the sewer lines because the State had determined the borough sewer system was so overtaxed that it was polluting Matawan Creek.

The borough was planning a million dollar improvement to the sewer system that would increase both capacity and reach. The new system would expand to include all but the Freneau section of the borough. In the meantime, however, the Council could not approve such a major use.

The 27 October edition of the paper happened to record the 22 October dedication and first use of the new borough hall in the former Farmers and Merchants National Bank building on Main Street in Matawan.

The 6 Mar 1961 edition of The Red Bank Register said the new development would be attached to the borough sewer system and would include both tracts mentioned above. Units were expected to be available by September 1961 and sell for $15,000 to $17,000.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Reddi-Made Gender Roles

Lots to chew on about gender roles in this short whipped cream commercial.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Eve and NJ Transit

Ah! The Jersey Coast commuter has to be a hearty soul. Holiday eve and our train left NYP 20 min late then developed mechanical difficulties at Secaucus and was eventually terminated at Newark. So we needed another train but NYP suddenly developed indefinite signal problems. At this point NJT is seeking a spare train in the yard to take us to the shore. If that happens, we'll be the only westbound train on the tracks. How cool is that? I'm trying to remain positive. The train approacheth. Supposedly. ... I feel like I'm in Trains, Planes and Automobiles 2.

UPDATE: My commute home on the night before Thanksgiving ended up taking slightly over 3 hours when it should have been about half that. To be fair, this commute was a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy and the system has had many problems. Then again, investment in public transportation is embarrassing low, so these problems aren't simply a result of a bad storm.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NJT Coastline Train Slow But Sure on 1st Day Back

I caught the 647 at Ab-Mat, which arrived at 7:30. Slow ride to South Amboy; got there over half an hour later. Ride over Raritan trestle to Perth Amboy a bit slow. Lots of leaves and branches on tracks until we joined the NE Corridor. So far an uneventful quick ride along the corridor.

Trains Back. Commuters? Not So Much

The trains are back but where are the commuters? The lots at Ab-Mat are light as are the platforms. Perhaps the holiday or the high cost of one way tickets is keeping folks away? The crew seem glad to be back to work and are being nice. Its a slow ride as they work out the kinks.

Ticket Machines at Ab-Mat Rail Station Glitching

I went to the Aberdeen-Matawan train station this evening and bought my train tickets for the morning. All of the machines were registering a Windows error, but I was able to overcome the software glitch and buy my tickets. However, the error returned to the machine when I was done. Should be interesting in the morning since no one, not even regular commuters, will have tickets except those with mail subscriptions.

History: Rochester Lamp Company (1891)

Rochester Lamp Company, 1891

The 21 Nov 1891 edition of The Matawan Journal included an ad for the Rochester Lamp Company, 42 Park Place, New York City. Matawan area residents would have taken boats into downtown Manhattan in those days to do shopping, thus the local advertising. 

The ad said their lamp's "marvelous light [was] purer and brighter than gas light, softer than electric light and more cheerful than either." It's interesting to see an oil lamp company wrestling to maintain a market share of the lighting market as electricity was cutting into the gaslight business. Just like oil heating companies today, the argument was safety. The ad said the lamp was "all metal, tough and seamless, and made in three pieces only, it is absolutely safe and unbreakable."

42 Park Place is near the intersection of Park Place and Church Street, not far from the World Trade Center and the Woolworth Building.

The Lampworks, of Hurleyville, NY, purveyors of antique lighting and accessories, has a brief online history of the Rochester Lamp Company. Included on the page is a biography of Charles Stanford Upton, who founded the company in 1884. Edward Miller and Company manufactured the Rochester lamp from 1884 to 1892.

See also How Rochester Lamps Helped Light Up the World, by Donovan A Shilling (The Crooked Lake Review, Dec 1993)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Obtain Credit from Optimum Online for Recent Service Outage

Those who lost service with Optimum Online can get credit by visiting the company's website and using their Live Chat Support feature. It isn't too easy to find. Click Support, then Contact Us, then Chat. The Chat icon is buried at the bottom of the Contact Us page under a secondary Contact Us section.

Once you click on Chat, fill in your account details and select Hurricane Sandy Service Issue as the reason for your chat. I was first in line. You'll need to confirm your name, address and phone and provide them with the outage date range.

It took me about 5 minutes to get my credit. It was quite painless. I received just over $40 credit for an outage of 12 days. Don't wait too long as you might only have 30 days to apply for your credit.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Middletown EMT Arrested After 4 Month Investigation

According to North Jersey, the Passaic County Sheriff's Office snared a Middletown, NJ first aid squad member in what they allege was attempted lewdness with a minor under 13 years old and attempted endangerment of the welfare of a minor. The sheriff's office pretended to be a 12 year old girl from Passaic County while  this retired Army sergeant allegedly exposed himself in live webcam sessions and tried to lure her into meeting him at the mall and going horseback riding together. These cops do God's work.

12th Annual Music of Gratitude

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Lincroft is hosting the 12th annual interfaith Music of Gratitude event on Sunday at 4 pm. Given the stormy times we've been through and storms yet on the horizon, it may seem odd to pause and show gratitude, yet if you're reading this maybe there is cause for thanks.

Oklahoma Baptists to the Rescue on NJ Bayshore in Wake of Sandy

A hundred Baptists from Oklahoma came rushing to New Jersey's Raritan bayshore to help us with downed trees and muddy, flooded basements in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This team was based out of a Baptist church in Middletown and expected to be in the area for a couple of weeks.

I stopped by one of their first work sites in Cliffwood Beach to seek help. They were at a scene of absolute devastation at the corner of Cliffwood Avenue and Greenwood Avenue. The workers were like ants, cutting tree branches and trunks and hauling and moving the remains of a large tree that had crushed at least two roofs when it fell. A woman took my information and within days they were in my backyard, dealing with a tree that had damaged my roof and gutters and continued to menace my home. It was still attached to the trunk and leaning hard against the deck, ready to fall. It threatened to kill or injure any unfortunate soul who got under it and to crush my deck if not taken down properly. They did a great job.

Here are some photos of them at work.


Maria Diaz, the writer of Inkspeare ("To blog or not to blog. . . ."), published a blog article with photographs about her neighborhood in Cliffwood Beach in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and in anticipation of the Nor'easter that was then approaching. She also wrote a blog article about her preparations for Sandy, again with a lot of interesting photographs chronicling the steps she took to ready her house and precious keepsakes.

Maria is a free-lance writer and writes about that, but some of those articles can easily apply to anyone who runs their own small business. For example, she recently wrote a broadly-applicable series on building your brand (Building Your Brand, Building Your Brand - The Challenges, and Building Your Brand - The Rewards). She writes poems, posts photos of her watercolors, tells us about her cat, and updates us on a wide range of projects she's pursuing.

Her blog is quite interesting and of local origin. I recommend it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Train Service Returns Monday to Ab-Mat Station

While morning traffic jams at NJTPK Exit l4 are always nice, Im glad to hear the trains will be back at Ab-Mat on Monday after a lengthy suspension in the wake of Sandy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Commute Courtesy Sandy

Lots of buses at Ab-Mat station this morning. Long ride in rush hour to Liberty State Park, so 6 am is likely better than 7l5 am. Incoming took 3 hrs after short subway ride. Connections are easy.

History: Horse Car Railway Bill in New Jersey (1887)

Robert S Green, Governor of New Jersey (Wikimedia)
According to the 7 May 1887 edition of The Matawan Journal, New Jersey Governor Robert Stockton Green signed a horsecar railway bill on 30 Apr 1887. The article was mostly an opinion piece by the editor, who made vague complaints of unfair competition by Keyport against Matawan's potential interests in the development of a horse-drawn tramway in the Bayshore.

The 9 Apr 1887 edition had reported that the bill passed the Senate 14-0 and the Assembly 35-6. This second page item contained the full text of the bill.

The Horse-Car Railway Bill

     An act relating to the turnpike roads within incorporated towns and boroughs in this state.

    1. Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That any street railway company duly organized pursuant to the law may construct and with horses may operate street railways for the transporting of passengers and chattels for hire upon and along such portion of any turnpike road as enters and is located within the limits of any incorporated town or borough in this state, and upon and along such portion of such turnpike as extends outside such limits for the distance of thirteen hundred yards in either direction, after having obtained the consent of the owners of such turnpike so to do; provided that an ordinance or resolution authorizing the construction of such railway shall have been first passed or adopted by the commissioners of any such town or borough, and that the written consents of not less than two-thirds of all the persons owning lands abutting on such portion of such turnpike in each and every incorporated town or borough shall have been first obtained and filed in the office of the clerk of the county wherein such turnpike is situate.

Manchester, New Hampshire added horse car in 1877. (Wikimedia)
     2. And be it enacted, That any turnpike or plank road company may sell, convey, assign and by written instrument of conveyance transfer and set over to any such street railway company any such portion of any such turnpike or plank road, together with all rights, title and interest to and in such turnpike or plank road, together with all franchises and appurtenances thereto pertaining, including the right to impose and collect tolls thereon, whereof such turnpike or plank road company shall be seized, enfranchised or invested, and any such street railway company may purchase, acquire title to and hold and enjoy the same, and may become invested and enfranchised with, and may exercise all such franchises and rights to the same extent and fully and in similar manner as therefore held, enjoyed and exercised by such turnpike or plank road company and subject to the same penalties and liabilities thereto attached for failure to maintain such road in good condition and repair, provided that the provisions of this section shall not take effect until the provisions of the first section shall have been fully complied with.

     3. And be it enacted, That the track and road bed of any such street railway upon such turnpike road shall be constructed in such manner as shall offer no unnecessary obstruction to travel upon such turnpike, and where any repairs thereunto may afterwards become necessary, it shall be the duty of such street railway company to make the same without delay, and if not so made, and after five days' notice shall have been given to such company the commissioners of the town or borough which such repairs may be necessary may cause the same to be made at the expense and charge of such street railway company, and the property of such street railway company shall be liable to distraint therefor; nothing in this act contained shall apply to any street railway within any city of this state.

     4. And be it enacted, That all laws and parts of laws conflicting herewith, in so far as they conflict herewith, are hereby repealed, and that this act shall take effect immediately.