A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lewis H. Stemler - Matawan Township Committee Chairman

Lewis H. Stemler, a.k.a. Louis Stemler, was born in New Jersey in November 1864, the son of German emigres John and Mary E Stemler of Matawan Township. Lewis and at least two brothers grew up in the township, where their father worked as a truck farmer and served terms as a local Roads Overseer and Superintendent of Roads.

Stemler had the longest record of service on the Township Commitee, serving from 1903 to 1934. He twice held the position of chairman -- the equivalent of township mayor -- from 1903 to 1911 and again from 1923 to 1934. He replaced Paul R. Dolan, who served for one year (1922) after a five-year run by Thomas J. Sinnett (1917-1922). Stempler was replaced by William Hyer, Sr., who served for one year (1934) before turning over the reigns to John Marz, Jr. (1935-1957+)

Stemler served concurrently for three months at the end of 1933 as the township's Chief of Police to fill a nagging vacancy left by Patrick A. Hagan, who died in office on 20 July 1932. Stemler is said to have worked as police chief without pay for the last quarter of 1933, and then for $200 annual stipend in 1934. Stemler was the last of the police chiefs under the old constabulary system. Thomas F. Powers, D.D.S., was the first chief of police under the modern system, serving from 1936-1942 and briefly again after World War II from 1946-1947.

Stemler also served on the Board of Education for at least twenty years until a law was passed in 1930 prohibiting simultaneous service on a governing body and a school board. He was serving as President of the Board of Education at the dedication of Matawan High School on 19 February 1909.

A Stemler Drive was supposed to be included in Heritage Estates circa 1986 in his honor, according to the Township Historian's report on township street names. Google Maps shows a Stemler Drive in Cliffwood just off County Road. (Is that Heritage Estates?)

View Larger Map

Sources for the above include the US Censuses for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930, the township historian's biography on Stemler, a report on the history of township officials, and the centennial publication Township of Matawan, 1857-1957, compiled by Mrs. Frank Tiemann, and Google Maps.

1 comment:

  1. Patrick A. Hagan is my great grandfather.
    His son Jimmy A. Hagan.

    Jim Hagen