A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

History: Brickyard Payroll Ambush (1917)

The 16 Aug 1917 edition of The Matawan Journal Pg 8 col 3) told of five masked robbers who attempted to abscond with the payroll of The New Jersey Brick Company, which was being carried to the company's factory on Matawan Creek the previous Friday afternoon.

Ray Robinson, company treasurer, arrived from New York at Matawan train station with approximately $3,000 in pay receipts. He was met by Alfred Everham, who drove him by horse and buggy toward the brickyard. Highwaymen fired upon the carriage, winging both men, but the assault was thwarted by Robinson and Everham, who returned fire and prompted the attackers' hasty retreat. Investigation revealed the highwaymen to be a group of Italians from Newark. The case was cracked when the torn shreds of a personal letter were pieced together by an expert in Asbury Park and the letter translated in Newark, revealing the home address of one of the robbers. Soon the men were brought to Matawan for trial.

The ambush took place "near the junction of the road leading from the Morristown Road to Cliffwood Avenue at the H S Little farm." This sentence seems to describe Cross Road, which lies between the intersection of Ravine Drive, Morristown Road, and Aberdeen Road, and Cliffwood Avenue. (Remember that Ravine Drive was Morristown Road in those days.)

H S Little would have been Henry Stafford Little, born 17 August 1823 in Matawan, a prominent lawyer and politician. Mr Little died on 24 April 1904 in Mercer County, NJ and buried in Matawan. The H S Little farm seems to have been a known landmark.


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