A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

History: Middletown Turnpike Company (1900)

The 6 Dec 1900 edition of The Matawan Journal

Sale of a Turnpike

The Middletown Turnpike Company has bought out the Turnpike Company of Middletown. The turnpike is the road between Red Bank and Middletown, over which there have recently been so many legal disputes. It is the road which Ovid Tuzeneu made famous with his axe when he chopped down the tollgate. Since the axe chopping and subsequent suits, Mr. Tuzeneu and others have refused to pay toll over the road. The new company, which is made up practically of the same men who composed the old company, will probably begin suit against those who have not paid toll. The company advertises that it will demand and collect toll by legal process, if necessary. William W. Conover, Jr., is President of the new company and Henry C. Taylor, Secretary.

In anticipation of the move that has just been made concerning the sale of the turnpike, it is said that the opponents of the turnpike instituted suit in April 1898 in the name of George E Tilton against the Middletown Turnpike Company. It was claimed that the company was insolvent and had suspended operations for ten years past. A receiver was asked for and also the winding up of the company. The suit was allowed to remain in a state of suspense until ten days ago, when notice was served on the turnpike company's counsel to plead within thirty days. The claim is that the chancery suit makes liable to contempt anyone who undertakes to transact any business in the name of the alleged insolvent corporation.
I was able to find out a bit more about most of the people mentioned in the above article.

Ovid Tuzeneu was a farmer living in Middletown, according to the 1900 Federal Census. He was born in July 1843 in New York to a Canadian father and NJ mother. He and his wife Catherine had been married 25 years. Only one of their two children was still alive. A 15 year old grandson Frederick lived with them. 

The 1880 Federal Census showed Ovid Tuzenew (36 NY Canada NJ) and his wife Catherine (32 NJ NJ NJ) living in Middletown with their 14 year old son Frederick and a young niece. Ovid was a farmer.

The 1860 Federal Census shows Ovid in the Shrewsbury, NJ household of his parents Stephen (47 Canada), laborer, and Amy (40 NJ). Ovid was second of four children in this census. The last name is pretty much illegible but looks to end in -eau, a reflection of the father's Canadian birth.

There was a farmer named George E Tilton, age 65, living in Middletown in the 1900 Federal Census. He and his wife Catherine had been married 32 years and had two sons, Malcolm (32) and George (30), both of whom were living at home. They had an African American servant from North Carolina named Julia Longest. She was born in Jan 1860.

The 1900 Federal Census showed a William W Conover and Henry C Taylor in Middletown, but both were farmers, not turnpike executives. The names are too common to say the Middletown farmers are a match to those mention in the article.


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