A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

History: Fourth of July in Matawan (1881-1962)

Below is the recounting of Independence Day celebrations past in the Matawan area. I've sampled Matawan Journal articles every twenty years from 1881 to 1962. More often than not, there were no public displays of fireworks, my friends.

The 9 Jul 1881 edition of The Matawan Journal:


The Fourth of July was ushered in on Monday morning by Young America, by the ringing of the truck house and carriage factory bells, shortly after midnight, and as dawn approached, the sounds of pistols and fire crackers broke upon the air, disturbing the slumbers of scores not yet ready for hours to be wakened.

The central point of interest for the day was the M. E. Church. In the morning and early afternoon the gentlemen and ladies were preparing for the fair and festival, which by the usual denominational courtesy was to be held this year by this society.

The Columbia cornet band was present and discoursed excellent music.

The fair and festival by the ladies was a perfect success. Everything was sold; over 150 took supper, and the demand was so great that stores and bakery had to drawn upon to obtain more food for the hungry throng. Ice cream was in great demand, and calls for it were made after 175 quarts had been sold. Not a vestige of anything vendible was for sale when the fair closed at the early hour of 10:45 -- not even a cent's worth of peanuts. The exact net amount is not yet positively known, but the church will clear over $125 above expenses.

At 4 PM, quite a large audience gathered in the church to enjoy the exercise announced. After music by the band, the Declaration of Independence was read by Rev John Wilson, of South Amboy. Albert S Cloke, Esq, of Jersey City, was then introduced and made an earnest and a patriotic address. . . .

The 11 Jul 1901 edition of The Matawan Journal:

Fourth of July was quietly observed by our people. There was "nothing doing" during the the day except for the small boys, and there were but few fireworks set off at night. A. M. Faye of Broklyn gave a nice display at J. L. M. Dominick's.

The 7 Jul 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal:

Except for the constant string of automobiles, which was the greatest in the history of the town, Fourth of July was quietly observed. The day was excessively hot making all who could seek cooler shores to celebrate the day. Few fire works and no rowdyism marked the Holiday.

The 9 Jul 1942 edition of The Matawan Journal

 Matawan First Aid Squad Awards 3 Tons of Coal

Three tons of coal disposed of on the cooperative plan by the Matawan First Aid Squad, were awarded at The Matawan Theater on Fourth of July. The money raised by this method took the place of the usual Fourth of July celebration sponsored by the squad, which could not be held this year because of the dim-out regulations and the lack of fireworks display.

Two tons of coal were awarded to Emerson Lisk, who donated the money the squad would pay for the coal, to the organization. One ton was awarded to Joseph Vincent.

The early July 1961 and July 1962 editions of the Matawan Journal republished articles about past Fourth of July festivities in Matawan, including fireworks, in a dedicated history column. There was no hint in the regular news of public celebrations.


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