A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

History: Henry E Ackerson (1880 - 1970) Clears Legal Hurdles for Matawan to Create Artificial Lakes (1915)

The 20 May 1915 edition of The Matawan Journal reported that New Jersey State Senator Henry E Ackerson, Jr, introduced a bill in Trenton that would allow municipalities to build and maintain artificial lakes in their communities. Matawan's legal counsel Elmer H Geran helped draft the bill, apparently with Lake Matawan and Lake Lefferts in mind.

Henry Elijah Ackerson was born on a dairy farm in Holmdel, NJ on 15 Oct 1880, son of Cornelius and Anna B (Stillwell) Ackerson. (He was the namesake of his paternal grandfather, which should have made him Henry II, not Henry, Jr.) About 1890, the family moved to Raritan (Keyport), where Henry graduated from Raritan High School.

In the 1900 Federal Census, Cornelius had a job as a bank cashier and sons Henry (19) and Cecil (12) were in school. (Henry's obituary said Henry briefly clerked at People's National Bank in Keyport.) Henry graduated New York University Law School in 1902 and passed the New Jersey bar in 1904. Cornelius was still at the bank in the 1910 Federal Census, and his sons were both lawyers in his Keyport household.

Henry married Edith D Calef about 1912. Edith was born in Connecticut to Connecticut parents, and  she bore sons Cornelius and Calef in her home state. Henry was tied to New Jersey, so it seems unlikely they were living there. This suggests that Edith delivered her children at her parents' home in Connecticut.

Henry served in the NJ Senate (1915 - 1919), according to the NJ Historical Society Biography Index.

He was appointed to the newly-created Court of Errors and Appeals in 1919, according to his obituary. The 1920 Federal Census showed Henry and Edith with sons Cornelius (7 CT) and Calef (3 CT). Henry was listed as a judge in the court of errors in that record.

Their son Calef D Ackerson (1916 - 1920) died soon after the 1920 census and was buried at Holmdel Cemetery, according to Find A Grave.

Henry was appointed to the Hudson County Circuit Court in 1924 and served there until 1948. The 1930 Federal Census listed him as a judge in the circuit court. He and his wife, Edith (44 CT) were living in Keyport with their son Cornelius (17 CT) and Edith's mother, Laura Calef.

When he registered for the World War II draft in 1942, Henry was working for the "New Jersey Court House" at the "Hudson County Court House" in Jersey City. He was 61 years old and living at 116 Maple Place in Keyport with his wife Edith.

Henry served on the NJ State Supreme Court (1948 - 1952), according to his obituary and the NJ Historical Society Biography Index.

After his retirement from the court, Henry served as a Rutgers University trustee until his death. As chairman of the law school committee for 15 years, Henry spearheaded the building of a modern structure on the Newark campus dedicated to the study of law. What became known as Ackerson Hall served as the home of the Rutgers School of Law from 1965 to 1979, according to a 2008 centennial history of the law school. The building currently houses the Rutgers University College of Nursing.

Henry also served on the board of governors of Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch for nearly two decades and was honorary vice president of the board at the time of his death.

Henry died on 9 December 1970 at the Arnold Walter Nursing Home in Holmdel, according to his obituary in the 11 Dec 1970 edition of The Red Bank Register. His final arrangements were handled by Bedle Funeral Home and his funeral was conducted on 13 December 1970 at the Reformed Church in Keyport. He left son Cornelius and grandson Henry E Ackerson, III.

Henry's wife, Edith (1885 - 1969)  predeceased him a year earlier. She was buried at Holmdel Cemetery in Holmdel, NJ.

Henry, his brother Cecil (1887 - 1963), and their parents Cornelius (1852 - 1921) and Anna (1852 - 1929) are all buried at Holmdel Cemetery in Holmdel, NJ.


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