A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Aberdeen Township Planning Board

Aberdeen Township Council is making its annual adjustments to the membership of the Planning Board in its Resolution 2012-1.
  • Fred Tagliarini remains as ex-officio Class I member (Mayor of Aberdeen Township).
  • Robert Brady will be appointed to another year as the Class II member (Head of Public Works Department).
  • Councilwoman Margaret Montone will be appointed to another year as the Class III member (Council representative).
  • Arthur Hirsch and Joseph Vena are to be appointed to four-year terms (2012-2015) as Class IV members (At-large members). They will replace Peter Cusumano and Concetta Kelley, whose three-year and one-year terms, respectively, expire at the end of 2011. The 3 Feb 2011 edition of The Independent and the Matawan-Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce website both mention an Arthur "Artie" Hirsch as one of the owners of Snap Fitness in the ShopRite shopping center. A May 2010 edition of All-Fitness News referred to him as a new owner of Snap Fitness. This could be the new member of the board. There are numerous listings, including one at Loopnet, for an Arthur Hirsch working as a Weichert realtor in Aberdeen. Perhaps that is a previous career for Artie or a different person entirely? Vena is a well-known surname in Aberdeen but I didn't find any details about a Joseph except a minor Planning Board action in 2007. Ms Kelley is leaving the board to join the Township Council on 1 January 2012.
  • Pedro Mirabel and William Shenton remain as Class IV (At-large) members til the end of their four-year terms (2010-2013). Mr Shenton served as chair of the 2011 Planning Board. What kind of land transaction was Mr Mirabel's Non-Usable Sale in September 2011? It appears on a NJ State Taxation report of some sort. The property appears to have sold for three times its assessed value.
  • Wanda Sims will fill the unexpired term (2012) as a Class IV member (At-large member) of Robert Swindle, who is leaving the board to join the Town Council on 1 January 2012. Ms Sims seems to be the daughter of Councilwoman Wilhelmina Gumbs.
  • Vincent Vinci is to be appointed to a two-year term (2012-13) as Alternate No 1.
  • James DeMattia is to be appointed to a one-year term (2012) as Alternate No 2.
You're well advised to note the names of Class IV At-large members. Their position is a common stepping stone for Democratic candidates to Township Council positions. It would be nice if the Township website included some basic backgrounds on appointees to this board and Zoning.

Refer to my 5 January 2011 blog posting for more information about Planning Board resolutions in recent years.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Dozen Years Wasted and Counting

One of the last actions of the current Aberdeen Township Council will be 2011-134, which proposes to send the train station redevelopment plan back to the Planning Board for reassessment. The Council proposes to resubmit the question to Coppola and Coppola Associates, the firm that determined the need for renewal in the first place more than 12 years ago.

You might say, "The Council could ask anyone in town if redevelopment is necessary. They don't need to pay experts to determine the obvious. Most people have known for a dozen years that something needed to be done to improve the train station area. They've only been waiting for ground to be broken." But the law under which the redevelopment is allegedly being conducted has changed, so the Township plan has become obsolete and must be reconsidered and reassembled at considerable cost and delay.

The lack of progress at the train station was a campaign issue in the fall. This resolution could not have been presented before election day without consequences for the Democratic ticket. Now that the election is over, this resolution is being enacted before the new slate takes office to minimize any tarnish. This holiday session will also assure few people will even know what happened.

And ultimately, reassessment of redevelopment does not guarantee that the Township Council will resolve its differences with the Borough and NJ Transit et al. It just puts us back to where we were 12 years ago. Where will we be in 2024?

MAPL Offers Many Useful Services - 2011 PSA

The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library beckons. Don't forget to drop in and take advantage of their many useful services and activities. The library is located at 165 Main Street at Park Avenue in downtown Matawan.

Cause An Uproar - Support NatGEO Campaign to Save the Big Cats

You can begin to Cause an Uproar by learning more about the dire situation with big cats, by "liking" the Cause an Uproad Facebook page, and by sending a donation however small to the cause to save the big cats.

History: Local Businesses and Organizations Offer Holiday Greetings, Matawan Journal (1971)

The 23 Dec 1971 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this listing of local businesses and organizations wishing readers seasons greetings. See names, streets, and towns below. The street numbers were available in the scanned image but were too difficult to read. A better rendering of this edition would be worth considering as it is mostly illegible.

  • A Better Trip, Lloyd Road, Matawan
  • Ann's Delicatessen, North Concourse, Cliffwood Beach
  • Auto-Lawn, Conover Road, Wickatunk
  • Burger-Chef (Lambrakis Brothers), Highway 34, Matawan
  • Buttonwood Manor, Route 34, Matawan
  • Cherry Travel Agency, Route 34, Matawan
  • Cliffwood American Servicenter, Highway 35, Cliffwood
  • Cliffwood Beach Water Company, Ocean Boulevard, Cliffwood Beach
  • Cliffwood Sunoco, Highway 35 and Cliffwood Avenue, Cliffwood
  • Dell's Market (Established 1906), Main Street
  • Don's Television (Sales and Service), Tennent Road, Morganville
  • Eddie the Butcher, Main Street, Matawan
  • The Friendly Shop, Main Street, Matawan
  • Gaslight Liqueur, Main Street, Matawan
  • Happy Hour Laundromat, Main Street, Matawan
  • Harris Hardware, Main Street, Matawan
  • Johnnie's Cozy Corner, Main Street, Matawan
  • Arne Kalma (Flowers), Route 34, Matawan
  • Marbell's Coiffures, Route 34, Matawan
  • The Matawan Borough Mayor and Council
  • Matawan Chamber of Commerce, Main Street
  • Matawan Garden Center, Main Street
  • Matawan Lumber Company, Sutphin Avenue
  • The Matawan Township Mayor and Council
  • Nu-Tone Paint and Wallpaper Company (Bal and Ed), Main Street
  • Rinear's Repairs (Auto), Freneau Avenue, Matawan
  • Rural Body Works, Highway 34, Cheesequake
  • Sigismondi's Greenhouses, Lloyd Road, Matawan
  • Strathmore Lanes, Route 34, Matawan
  • TenEyck Ronson, Inc, Upper Main, Matawan
  • Town and Country Dodge, Main Street, Matawan
  • Dick's Western Auto, Main Street, Matawan
  • Paul Ziegler (Florist), Jackson Street, Matawan

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pull Up An Old Chair

Apparently one of the consequences of leaving the Greenwood Avenue gate open is that a lowlife can drive his pickup truck down the access road and leave his old armchair right on the beach. Classy.

Maybe he thought the place was abandoned and uncared for?
The bay view is still beautiful. The beach just needs a little TLC.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

History: Grinch Thwarted in Middletown (1991)

The 18  Dec 1991 edition of The Independent contained this Christmas spirit editorial. This spirit is still alive in the Bayshore. I dropped by the Hazlet K-Mart on Thursday to try to pay off a delinquent layaway Christmas purchase of toys or clothing for someone down on their luck, but all of the accounts had already been paid off by other volunteers. Nice. (The layaway payoff phenomenon is all over the web.)

True meaning of Christmas

As the Christmas season approaches, a reminder of the true meaning of the holiday has been presented to Middletown residents from an unlikely source.

Two weeks ago, an unknown arsonist saw fit to throw a lighted torch through the window of the headquarters of Middletown Helps Its Own, a Port Monmouth-based charity organization which distributes toys and food to needy families during the holidays, among its many charitable endeavors.

Two bins of toys, as well as tons of clothes destined for the needy in the township, were destroyed in the blaze; and were it not for the quick reactions of the Port Monmouth Fire Company, the entire building - a converted historic train station - may have been lost.

The results of the tragedy appeared grave. Shocked and saddened volunteers from MHIO were left with fewer toys to distribute to kids who otherwise may have found nothing in their stockings and nothing under their trees this year.

With the economy in the shape it's in, there would be more and more such children this year than ever before. But then a miraculous thing happened.

Phone calls started pouring in from volunteers, disgusted by the actions of that unknown Grinch who tried to
ruin Christmas for kids whom he's never even met, and willing to help the organization rebound from the

The Marines donated a truckload of stuffed animals from their "Toys for Tots" program. Donations from individuals skyrocketed. The Middletown police offered to pick up toys from people too busy to get to Port Monmouth to deliver them themselves.

The community responded to the actions of one isolated idiot with togetherness, caring and spirit, and the results were remarkable. MHIO officials now say that their stock of toys for the holidays is larger than it was before the fire, and they have dozens of new volunteers to help distribute them. Middletown helped Middletown Helps Its Own.

In a strange way, it took an arsonist to show everyone the true meaning of Christmas - to give of yourself to help others. When you think about it, it makes a pretty good Christmas story.

African-American Series: Manhunt, Year in County Jail for Petty Theft, 1933

At the height of the Great Depression, even a fistful of coins from a cash register warranted a manhunt and arrest. All the more so if the thief was a "burly negro." The article below appeared in the 14 July 1933 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Captured In Meadows After He Had Stolen About $8 from Hauser's Shoe Store, Keyport

A burly, six-foot Negro giving the name of William Brown and claiming he was from Greenville, Ind., was sentenced to 364 days in the Freehold county Jail last Friday morning when arraigned before Recorder Harry Bolte Jr. of Keyport, charged with stealing about $8 from Frank Hauser, a Keyport shoe merchant.

Brown entered the store of Mr. Hauser on Front Street shortly after 9 o'clock Friday morning, having just left the American Clothing Company's store where he had been begging. Mr. Hauser was standing on the street, a short distance from his store conversing with an acquaintance when he saw the Negro enter the building. Returning to the store, Mr. Hauser saw the man step away from the cash register with.his fists clenched. Upon being questioned as to why he was there and what he had in his hands, the Negro said he came into the store to ask for a dime. He denied that he had taken anything from the cash register. Mr. Hauser compelled the man to open his hands which held a dollar bill and about $7 in silver which was the amount of the money in the register. Mr. Hauser, who is of slight build, struck the Negro, who made a break for the door and ran down the street. Mr. Hauser rushed to the door and called for assistance. An alarm was broadcast and the Keyport police and State Troopers began a search for the colored man. He was traced to the meadows along the creek n the vicinity of the Maple Place bridge and after about an hour and a half search he was located by Police Captain George M. Mason and one of the troopers. The money was found on his person. The Negro was able
to keep himself concealed in the tall sedges and could watch the officers who were unable to locate him for some time.

Brown was fingerprinted by the troopers who stated they believe a check of the prisoner's record will reveal that he is wanted by police in other cities.

Friday, December 23, 2011

History: Buttonwood Manor Opens in Matawan (1933)

The Buttonwood Manor was to open for business on 1 July 1933, according to this advertisement appearing in the 30 June 1933 edition of The Matawan Journal.

There are two things I can point out in this ad that you might find surprising:

1) In July 1933, the Buttonwood was not on State Highway Route 34, which ended at Main Street in Matawan  until 1953. No, the restaurant was on State Highway Route 4, which was established by the NJ State Assembly in 1927 as a north-south route running through the state from Cape May all the way to Fort Lee, where the George Washington Bridge was still under construction. (Some consideration was actually given to calling the Garden State Parkway the Route 4 Parkway because it was going to be a bypass of Route 4.)

2) Five years before the Buttonwood was established in 1933, the "banks of Lake Lefferts" didn't exist. Matawan Creek was only dammed to form this man-made lake in 1928.

History: NJ Bell Advertisement, Matawan Journal (1946)

New Jersey Bell picked Christmastime to run an advertisement saying that they were having to raise prices because their costs were going up. The ad, which appeared in the 19 Dec 1946 edition of The Matawan Journal, attempted to offer an explanation for their increased rates and to assure customers that they weren't being gouged.

Gee, I guess corporations really are just like people after all. They've always known just how we feel.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

History: Ads for Elixirs and Christmas Gifts, Matawan Journal (1871)

The 23 Dec 1871 edition of The Matawan Journal included these advertisements, among others, on the front page, right below the listing of local marriages and deaths. Many were for elixirs and tonics, ever-present but of dubious value.
  • An old Baltimore negro who had emigrated to Liberia years ago ordered a quantity of Dr Bell's Cough Syrup a short time ago, stating that although coughs and colds were not frequent in Africa, he would not like to be without it in his family.
  • CHRISTMAS CANDIES for sale at Ben E Griggs popular grocery store.
  • If you would save yourself from Pneumonia and your children from Croup, use the "People's Sure Cough Cure" on the first appearance of a Cold. A child's life was saved the other night by having it in the house. Sold by Druggists and Merchants generally. Price 63 cts.
  • NOTICE: Persons going to New York to purchase holiday presents, etc, can have them delivered at their homes in Matawan or Keyport by ordering them sent, at the store where purchased,by Adams' or the Central Express, thus saving them the trouble of carrying them. J L M Dominick, Agent.
  • HOLIDAY GOODS: You can make no nicer or more acceptable present than a new dress, pair of shoes or gloves, towels, napkins, fine writing paper, toilet soap, perfumery, jewelry, lamps, crockery, etc, -- All the above and many other Holiday presents may be found, cheap for each, at Henry L Holbrook's.
  • What more suitable and valuable Holiday Present can you select than some article of clothing from the store of E I Brown? A half-dozen shirts, neckties, collars, cuffs, suit of clothes, a hat, etc, etc.
  • Can't go to Church? Why not? O! my cough would disturb the congregation. Cure it then with "Hale's Honey of Horehound and Tar," a pure vegetable remedy, unfailing as the Sun and mild and harmless as the summer air. Sold by all druggists. Pike's Toothache Drops cure in one minute.
  • You can buy Wishart's Pine Tree Tar Cordial at Geo W Bell's drug store.
  • NERVOUS DEBILITY, Vital weakness or depression: a weak exhausted feeling, no energy or courage, the result of mental overwork, indescretion or excuses, or some drain upon the system is always cured by Humphrey's Homeopathic Specific No 28. It tones up and invigorates the system, dispels the gloom and despondency, imparts strength and energy - stops the drain and rejuvenates the entire man. Been used twenty years with perfect success by thousands. Sold by dealers. Price, $1.00 per single vial or $5.00 per package of five vials and $3.00 vial of powder. Sent by and on receipt of price. Address: Humphrey's Homeopathic Medicine Company, 562 Broadway, New York. 
  • COAL! At Holmdel Station BY JOSEPH D HOFF AND SON, FOR CASH. Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal, as good as the best and as cheap as the cheapest. Also, Genuine Cumberland Coal, for blacksmiths, constantly on hand.   

History: Katherine Boggs, First Female on Keyport Council (1962)

Katherine E Boggs (25 Dec 1907 - 12 Dec 1988) was to become the first female member of the Keyport Borough Council when sworn in on 1 January 1962, according to the 28 Dec 1961 edition of The Matawan Journal. The Republican candidate, she had been elected in November 1961 to fill a one-year unexpired term on the board. She anticipated creating a master plan so Keyport could acquire Federal urban renewal funding and begin to move forward. (Dec 1961 Matawan Journal, Social Security Death Index)


Mrs Boggs was an incumbent Republican candidate in the 1962 election, according to page 3 col 5 of the 18 Apr 1962 edition of the Red Bank Register.  As a councilwoman in 1964, Mrs Boggs presented a parking issue before the Council (RBR 11 Feb 1964 p 2 col 2) and argued for local bars to close at 2 am instead of 3 am (RBR 9 Jun 1964 p 3 col 6). And as a councilwoman in 1965, she was at loggerheads with the Planning Board over the expansion of apartment developments in the borough. She and the school board felt that apartments did not bring in sufficient tax revenues to support all the children they tended to add to the school system. The mayor, a realtor, and the Planning Board were opposed to an apartment ban. Mrs Boggs collected signatures on petitions she presented to the Board and Council (RBR 13 Apr 1965 p 13 col 4).

In August 1969, Mrs Boggs was president of the Keyport Welfare Board. The 26 Aug 1969 edition of the Red Bank Register showed Mrs Boggs arguing with the Borough Council over the control of welfare matters.


Soon after moving to the borough from Milltown in 1946, Mrs Boggs began to attend Keyport Board of Education meetings. She founded and presided over the Keyport High School Mothers Club, an organization that served as a parent-teacher association, athletic booster club, and scholarship fund all in one. About 1948, she joined a group of community members in calling for more and better recreational facilities in Keyport, prompting Rutgers University to conduct a formal survey of available facilities. She ultimately served on the school board from 1950 to 1956, setting her up for her duties on the Council. In all things, she took an active interest and never hesitated to express her opinion.  (Matawan Journal, 1961)

Mrs Boggs graduated from Collingswood High School in southern New Jersey and studied for 2 years at Temple University's business school. She did clerical work at the Will E Cusick firm in Keyport from about 1949 to 1958, when the firm closed. Her family consisted of husband Harrison R Boggs (14 May 1907 - 21 Aug 1989) and children Harrison, Jr; Richard; and Katherine. Mrs Boggs and her husband were living in Jamesburg in the late 1980s when they died. (Matawan Journal, 1961, Social Security Death Index)


The Boggses acquired the Peter Sondergaard house on Beers Street when they relocated from Milltown after the Second World War. (Matawan Journal, 1961)

DANE (Danish Archives North East) at Rootsweb says that Peter Sondergaard of Keyport joined several others in the establishment of a terra cotta factory in Perth Amboy in the spring of 1895. The factory became a major supplier of terra cotta for the construction of building facades across the country.

Peter A Sondergaard (62 Denmark, speaks Danish) lived on Beers Street in the 1930 Federal Census along with his wife Marie (53) and sister Sophia Peterson (70). He had $17,500 worth of property and no occupation.

Peter A Sondergaard (51 Germany, speaks Danish) lived on Beers Street in the 1920 Federal Census along with his wife Marie (43) and sister Sophia Peterson (59). He was retired. (Note: Comparing the 1930 and 1920 censuses, I thought the 1920 census enumerator made a mistake with Peter's birth place, but apparently the 1930 enumeration was the incorrect record. The 1910 Federal Census also said that Peter and his parents were born in Germany but spoke Danish.)

Peter Sondergaard (42 Germany) lived on Washington Street, Keyport, in the 1910 Federal Census along with his wife Marie (33) and a Danish servant named Andrew Johnson (23). Peter worked at a manafactory (sic) of terre cotta. Peter and Marie had been married 15 years and she had had no children.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

History: Poet's Inn, Matawan (1961)

The 21 Dec 1961 edition of The Matawan Journal contained an advertisement for The Poet's Inn, which was announcing the opening of their bar and cocktail lounge on Thursday 28 Dec 1961 at 5 pm. They were accepting New Year's Eve reservations for a buffet, favors and dancing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

History: Christmas Tree Lights Are Safe (1931)

The 18 Dec 1931 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this JCP&L advertisement selling electric Christmas tree lights fire safety

Electric Christmas Tree Lights Are Safe

Back in the days of whatnots, bustles and whiskers, Christmas was a busy day for the fire department. But along came the incandescent lamp -- and that was changed. The proud papa playing Santa Claus replaced candles with electricity -- and could go through Christmas day without asbestos whiskers.

We have a complete assortment of Electric Light sets for Christmas Trees -- heavy, water-proofed circuits for outdoor lighting -- bulbs both brilliant and softly glowing. Let us help you light up for Christmas.

Jersey Central Power & Light Co

History: Hahne & Co, Newark, Christmas Ad (1911)

Page 4 of the 21 Dec 1911 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this Christmas advertisement by Hahne & Co, a huge furniture store between Halsey and Broad Streets at New Street in Newark. The ad featured a woman and her young daughter contemplating the purchase of an armchair as a Christmas gift. The woman was saying,"Mother and father would be pleased with a nice easy chair." The little girl was offering,"Merry Xmas to Grandma."

The ad bragged about the store's large selection and endless stock. "You can come to Newark assured of finding practically anything and everything you want. This is no little store with little stocks. It is the state's great treasure house." And it assured customers that delivery in time for Christmas was also not a problem.

Julius Hahne (pronounced Hayne) founded Hayne & Company in 1858. The 5 story tall flagship store was built on a 23 acre site on Broad Street in Newark in 1911. That store had 441.000 sq ft and included two restaurants and an atrium. The company suffered as Newark's fortunes seriously eroded in the 1960s and 1970s. It was eventually absorbed into Lord & Taylor in 1988.

Below is a Google map and street view of a large boarded up building where Hahne & Co once stood. The image is of Halsey Street between Bleeker and New Streets.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

History: Rabies in Matawan (1885)

A young man captures a rabid dog on a French street in this detail from a painting.

The 23 Dec 1885 edition of The Red Bank Register carried this story about a mad dog that attacked two people -- one in Matawan and another in Keyport -- bit five dogs, was hunted for two days and eventually shot and killed in Cliffwood. Treatment for hydrophobia was in its infancy, so the victims had to hop a ship to France for immediate treatment from Dr Louis Pasteur himself. The first human trial of the treatment had been in July of that very year.


Edward Bucklin, of Matawan, and Charles Britton, of Keyport, the Victims—The Bitten Persons to Sail for Paris to Be Treated for Hydrophobia—A Number of Dogs Also Bitten -- The Mad Dog Killed After a Two-Days' Chase.

Last Saturday afternoon Chas. S. Bucklin, of Matawan, with Holmes Boice and Edward, Mr. Bucklin's youngest son, went out gunning. They took with them Mr. Boice's six-month-old bird dog. The dog and boy played together all the afternoon until the dog began to act strangely. It snapped at objects and foamed at the mouth, and suddenly, without any warning.it ran up to Edward and bit him on the hand. The wound was slight, but nevertheless created some alarm, which grew almost to terror when on Sunday it was found that the animal was undoubtedly mad.

After the gunning expedition the cur was taken home and chained up. On Sunday afternoon it grew restless and barked incessantly. A young lad stole up behind tbe place where it was fastened and loosened the chain. Like a shot the dog started off toward Main Street. Down the street it ran at a headlong speed, while the people looked on and wondered if the dog was mad. He met five dogs on the way to the depot and bit all of them. Two have since been shot. From the depot the dog ran on to Keyport, and at that place Charles Britton was severely bitten. From Keyport the animal went to Cliffwood where it was hunted for two days, and was finally captured and killed.

S S Normandie (Wikimedia)
Early on Monday morning Mr. Bucklin and Mr. Britton visited the physicians in Newark who had communi- cated with M. Pasteur about the children bitten in that city, and they advised both to sail for Paris at once and undergo treatment for the prevention of hydrophobia. Accordingly this Wednesday morning at six o'clock young Bucklin sailed on the Steamer St. Germain for Havre, from whence be will proceed to Paris by rail. Mr. Britton will probably follow on the steamer Normandie next Wednesday.

Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. Bucklin. His son is a bright boy of fourteen years, and much liked by everyone who know him. Many people claim that the Commissioners should enforce their ordinance concerning dogs, but they say they have no authority, and thus the matter rests.

History: Sebastian Straniero, Keyport, Earns Bronze Medal in Germany (1945)

The 18 Oct 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal highlights two regional Bronze Medal winners (Sebastian Straniero of Keyport in Europe and Charles Schilke of Wickatunk in the Pacific) and provides that week's list of local soldiers heading home to Matawan (Charles W VanClief, Herbert H Schenck, Charles H Shinn, Joseph A Conzalina, Leo A Kalleta, and Richard V Voelker) , Keyport (Charles S Hopla, Charles Kegley, Frank Della Pietro, Clair Menzel, and Robert J Trusain?), Cliffwood (Edward T Cox, John D Boyle, Edward G Oakes), Browntown (Everett H Congrove and Frank Burlew), West Keansburg (Ira J Boyce), and Laurence Harbor (Frederick N Thomas).

The 1930 Federal Census shows Sebastian Straniero (8, NY) living on Poole Avenue in Raritan Township with his parents Grazio (41, Italy) and Mary C (35, NY) Straniero and siblings Nicholas (12, NY), John (10, NY), Salvatore (5 NJ), Charles (2 10/12, NJ), and Anthony (1 2/12, NJ). Grazio was a laborer at a truck farm. He had immigrated to the US in 1910 and was a permanent resident alien. He and Mary wed about 15 years earlier (he at age 27, she at 20).

According to his obituary in the 14 May 2008 edition of The News Transcript, Sebastian Straniero went on to serve in Korea through the National Guard. He was the owner/operator of Buddy's Barber Shop in Hazlet. He worked for the Hazlet Board of Education, retiring in 1991. He died in Morganville on 1 May 2008 at the age of 86. His brothers Nick, John, Charles and Anthony all predeceased him.  Two sisters and a brother survived, as did his wife Frances and two sons. Frances died in August 2010, according to her obituary on Day Funeral Home's website.

The article below is just one example of our area's human investment in the Second World War and how our local boys were in the thick of it. There were four Straniero brothers in the service; three would be home for Christmas in December 1945, according to the Journal.

Bronze Star Medal For Local Soldier
Raritan Twp. Youth Cited For Achievement In Germany; Expected Home For Christmas

Pfc. Sebastian A. Straniero, 23, son of Mrs. Mary Straniero, Raritan Township, R. D. 1 , Keyport, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement in action on Apr. 6, 1945, in the vicinity of Zuttlingen, Germany.

The citation accompanying the award, reads as follows —"Private Straniero was advancing as lead scout of the platoon when he was fired on by an enemy machine gun about a hundred yards away. Falling to the ground, he signalled for his platoon to provide covering fire as he advanced to bring fire on the enemy. Crawling under fire, Private Straniero advanced 50 yards and, firing two shots, killed the enemy gunner, enabling the platoon to continue its advance. The aggressive action of Private Straniero reflects great credit upon himself and upon the Armed Forces of the United States."

Straniero, who expects to be home for Christmas, entered the army in November, 1942, and was sent overseas in March, 1943. He served for two and one-half years with the 43lst Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Aircraft Warning Battalion which on Aug. 6 marked its third anniversary of overseas service. He was transferred to the 63rd Infantry Division in December, 1944.

He attended the Raritan Township schools and worked at Eisner's in Red Bank before entering service. He has three brothers in service, and they are, John, seaman first class, who expects to be home also for Christmas after a year and a half in the Pacific; Cpl. Nicholas, with the 88th Division of the Fifth Army in Italy, who has been overseas two years and in service four and one-half yearn, and Cpl. Salvatore, now in Korea, having been overseas a year and a half. Nicholas, whose wife lives in Matawan, anticipates being home for Christmas, too.

Pull The Plug On Illegal Online Gun Sales - NYC Lays It Out For Us

40% of all gun sales are through private sellers. There are no background checks in a private sale, but the seller cannot sell a weapon to someone they suspect would not be able to pass a background check. It's illegal. Check out POINT, CLICK, FIRE! An Undercover Investigation of Illegal Online Gun Sales, sponsored by the New York City mayor's office. Their private investigators found that 62% of online sellers (125 sellers, 14 states) were willing to sell a gun to someone who told them they couldn't pass a background check. They have an interesting press release detailing the investigation, its results, and their recommendations. They also have more videos like the one below.

Given the unthinkable violence we've seen in our county, it is unwise to believe this is a NYC problem. It's everybody's problem.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

History: Horses and Mules in Matawan (1886)

The 18 Dec 1886 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this shockingly stark Before & After advertisement for horse feed. A ragged looking horse begs the reader, "Send me to Peterson's or the buzzards will have me, sure." The right panel shows that same horse prancing down the lane, revitalized. The caption reads, "After eating the sweet & pure feed from Peterson & Co, Main St, Matawan."

The 7 Apr 1877 edition announced that day's grand opening of the Peterson and Smith groceries and provisions store under Washington Hall in Matawan. Under Local Miscellany, the paper reported "A show window has been put in the store under Washington Hall adjoining the drug store of Dr Shackelton. The store has been rented by Messrs. Wm A Smith and Thomas Peterson, former clerks of Mr Henry L Holbrook, for a grocery store."

The 1880 Federal Census showed Thomas L Peterson (26 NY), retail grocer, living in Matawan with his parents, Charles F (58 NY) and Susan C (56 NJ) Peterson, and his sister, Addie Peterson (20 NY). Charles was a carpenter by occupation. Susan had pneumonia at the time of the census. Wm A Smith (28 NJ), dealer in dry goods, was also living in Matawan in 1880, along with his wife Fanny (25 NJ) and his brother Israel Smith (23 NJ), a clerk in a store.

The 7 Jan 1888 edition referred to Peterson's as the Washington Hall grocer in Matawan, purveyor of groceries, hay, straw, flour and feed.

The same edition of The Matawan Journal included the above advertisement for Frank Bedle's sale and exchange stables. Apparently while the American frontier was being "tamed," enterprising businessmen were out west buying up large quantities of horses and mules and shipping them East, probably by train, for sale in places like Matawan. As the ad proclaimed, "New lots [were] being received from the West."

In 1886, people were still getting around on horseback or in carriages and using horses and mules to pull wagons, carts, trolleys and various forms of farm and road equipment. Easterners were looking for animals that were "hardy, serviceable and stylish for heavy work, carriage and saddle."  This market would all but disappear over the next 25 years as motor vehicles claimed their place in society.

Frank Bedle (32 NJ), laborer, was living in Matawan in the 1880 Federal Census, along with his wife Josephine (31 NJ), son Theron (4 NJ), daughter Lilly (1 NJ), mother-in-law Margaret Magee (54 NJ), sister-in-law Mary A Crawford (25 NJ), niece Laura Crawford (3 NJ), and a boarder named John Hollahan (21 NY), laborer.  

The same edition of The Matawan Journal also contained an advertisement for Sidney Walling, manufacturer and dealer in harness, robes, sheets, whips, etc., located on Main Street in Matawan. His shop was two doors above the Matawan House. Walling claimed "a full assortment of all goods pertaining to the trade," adding that "Goods not in stock [can be] procured at short notice" and "Repairing [will be] promptly attended to."

Sidney Walling (58 NJ), harness maker, also lived in Matawan, according to the 1880 Federal Census, along with his wife Mary J (51 NJ) and their daughter Minnie (14 NJ).

 An advertisement for S Walling and Co of Matawan appeared on the front page of the 3 Aug 1872 edition of The Matawan Journal. The ad read: "Manufacturers of and dealers in harnesses, robes, saddles, whips, sheets, brushes, currycombs, etc, at the Old Stand formerly occupied by Tunis Hubbard, dec'd."

Tunis Hubbard was the son of Elias and Eleanor (Hendrickson) Hubbard and husband of Catharine Combs.

Tunis appeared in the 1870 Federal Census in Matawan as a manufacturer, age 55, with $25,000 in real property and $4,000 in personal property. His wife Catharine was 57. Also in the household were children Kate, age 24; Dewitt, age 11, and Joseph, age 8, all born in NJ.

He also appeared in the 1860 Federal Census in Matawan Township as a harness manufacturer, age 45, with $10,000 in real property and $4,000 in personal property.  His wife Catharine was 40 and children Garret, age 15; Catharine, age 13; Tunis, age 6; and Dewitt, age 2. Also in the household were harness maker John Samblin, age 21 Ireland; harness maker's assistant Moses Emmons, age 16 NY; and servant Mary Watters, age 19, NJ. The closest post office was located in Middletown Point.

He was listed in the 1850 Federal Census in Raritan Township as a harness maker, age 35, with $3,000 in real property. His wife Cath. M. was age 31. Their children were Garret S., age 5; Catharine S, age 3; and Demp. C., age 10/12. Also in the household was harness maker Charles Truax, age 19 NJ; harness maker Garret D. Bowne, age 18 NJ; and harness maker Oscar Pamton (?), age 18 NJ.

Tunis may have been enumerated with his parents in Middletown in the 1840 Federal Census.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

History: Benjamin E Griggs, Matawan Grocer, Christmas Ad (1881)

The 10 Dec 1881 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this advertisement for fancy fruits, nuts, and groceries for the approaching holidays. The ad said that Kris Kringle had "appointed Ben E Griggs as his Matawan agent for the best Christmas and New Year's grades of oranges, lemons, raisins, currants, citron, foreign and domestic nuts, and fancy groceries for sale at reasonable prices!"

The 1880 Federal Census shows Benjamin E Griggs, age 32, grocer, living in the Matawan Township household of his father, also Benjamin E Griggs, age 60, assessor of taxes. Also living in the household were the grocer's sisters Elizabeth Griggs, age 30, and Sarah A Hendrickson, age 42, and Sarah's husband Garrett Hendrickson, age 42. All were born in NJ.

The 1889 Atlas of Monmouth County shows a lot labeled "B E Griggs" at the corner of what is now Main and Center Streets.

Benjamin was 52 years old (Sept 1847) in the 1900 Federal Census. He was still a grocer but was now head of household. His part of town had become the Borough of Matawan. He was now married to a 43 year old (Oct 1856) woman named Daphne. They had wed four years earlier. Benjamin's widowed brother William Griggs, age 60 (Nov 1839), was living in the household and working as a grocery salesman.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whither Downtown Matawan?

The Dollar Express store at 147 Main Street in Matawan is going out of business. This will be just one more vacancy for an already depressed downtown. It's truly bad times when a dollar store can't make it. Does the Borough Council actually have a plan to stop the bleeding? What's their greater vision for Main Street?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Fracking Song - My Water's On Fire Tonight

The EPA has publicly linked fracking to groundwater contamination in at least one drilling location, according to NPR's All Things Considered. But the battle rages on. The company denies the allegations. In the meantime, the EPA is conducting a broader study of the effects of fracking.

History: Fred Hendrickson Murders William Slack in Red Bank (1899)

Nineteen year old Fred Hendrickson murdered 67-year-old William Slack in a fit of jealous rage after coming upon Slack and Mrs Fanny Withington in the woods with a six-pack of beers, according to the 20 Sep 1899 edition of The Red Bank Register. Hendrickson was not pleased with the couple's sylvan rendez-vous because he considered Mrs Withington his girl, so he took one of the beers and broke it across Mr Slack's skull, killing him. He then dragged the body to the edge of the clearing and left.

Moses Withington, Fanny's husband, was out of the picture as he was taken to Long Island a week earlier by Pinkerton detectives, who arrested him on charges related to the murder of John Bunn in Bayshore, LI over the 4th of July holiday. The detectives said Withington had been working on Long Island at the time under the name Charles Richardson.

Hendrickson, Mrs Withington, and Eugene "Slick" Holmes and his wife Edith were incarcerated in the Monmouth County jail in Freehold. The Holmeses aided and abetted the crime by providing Hendrickson a place to stay the night. Hendrickson was arrested at their home the day after the murder.

Distant Cousin has a full transcript of the Red Bank Register article about this incident.

Below are some details about key players in this saga. I'll add updates to this article if I can find more information about this story.

Fred Hendrickson

Fred Hendrickson is the son of Henry Hendrickson of Shrewsbury. Initial reporting suggested that Fred was the maternal grandson of Mingo Jack, an African American who was lynched at Eatontown for assaulting the white woman, Angelina Herbert. This was soon retracted. His mother was actually the daughter of John and Rachel Holmes, according to the Red Bank Register of 27 September 1899, as cited by Distant Cousin.

Fred was educated in the Red Bank school system. "He left school about five years ago. The Red Bank boys and girls who were his school mates say that he was a very nice mannered boy and they liked him very much. . He had more companions and associates among the white young people than any other colored lad has ever had in Red Bank. A short time ago he began to go with a tough-crowd of colored people and his degeneration was rapid He lived with his father at Shrewsbury until about two months ago, when his father told him he must give up his evil companions or quit his house. The boy chose to do the latter and has since lived at Red Bank."

The 4 October 1899 edition of The Red Bank Register details the empanelment of the Grand Jury at Freehold. The names of the judge and jury are provided.

Fred served 7 years in prison for the murder of William Slack. 

New Jersey birth records show Fred Hendrickson was born 12 Oct 1876 in Shrewsbury to Henry and Charlotta Hendrickson.

The 1910 Federal Census shows a Fred Hendrickson (30 NJ) living in Red Bank with his wife of 7 years Margaret. He was a laborer at the bottling works. They were enumerated by race as mulatto.

Fred ran into Fannie again in 1911, according to the following article from the 23 Dec 1911 edition of The South Amboy Citizen, page 2.

Has Ex-Convict Arrested

With blood streaming from a gash over her right eye and her face lacerated, Mra. Fannie Holmes, of Beach street, Red Bank, staggered into police headquarters Saturday and told Police Chief J. Frank Patterson that Fred Hendrickson, a former convict had beaten her and attempted to kill her with a knife. Hendrickson was arrested a little later and committed to jail to await the action of the grand jury. Hendrickson recently served a term of seven years in the State prison for killing John Slack. Slack was talking with Mrs. Holmes when Hendrickson hit him over the head with a bottle, killing him instantly.

He was driving a carriage in Red Bank in this article in the 26 March 1913 edition of The Red Bank Register.

Two Men and a Horse Hurt, and a Wagon and Automobile Badly Damaged -- Driver's Escape from Serious Injury Was Remarkable
Two men and a horse wofe hurt and an automobile and a wagon were damaged in a lively runaway on Monmouth street Monday morning. The horse belongs to William Kelly, proprietor of the American hotel. A New York man had hired the rig to go to Oceanport. Fred Hendrickson of Red Bank was driving. Some of the harness broke when the wagon was near the railroad crossing and this caused the horse to bolt.
The horse ran down the street at top speed for a distance and then dashed into an automobile belonging to Mrs. Isaac H. Adlem. The machine was standing in front of Dr. Frances L. Cooke's house. Both Hendrickson and the New York man were thrown out. Hendrickson for a few minutes was beneath the excited plunging horse and it seemed remarkable that he was not crushed to death. The New York man landed heavily on his shoulder. He was taken into Dr. Cooke's house, and later in the morning he returned to New York. His injuries are painful but not serious.

Hendrickson was cut and bruised on his hands and legs. The horse also suffered similar injuries. The automobile is a new machine, which Mrs Adlem bought about a week ago. Both the lamps on it were broken and it was otherwise damaged. It is estimated that it will cost about $200 to repair it. The dash board of the wagon was broken and the vehicle was badly dented and bent.

Fred Hendrickson, born 12 Oct 1876, registered for the World War I draft in September 1918. He was working for Frank H Brasch as a teamster at the stable on West Street in Red Bank. His residence was also listed as West Street. Fred listed his nearest relative as his mother, Charoli Hendrickson, 12 St. Mary Place, Red Bank. He was listed as negro by race, short by height, and slender by build.

The 1920 Federal Census showed Fred Hendrickson (43 NJ) living on Central Avenue in Red Bank, along with his partner Josephine Lacey and 4 Lacey children.The family was enumerated by race as black. He was a laborer at the coal yard by trade.

The 28 June 1965 edition of The Red Bank Register, page 2, contained the obituary of Fred Hendrickson's widow.

RED BANK — Mrs. Margaret Hendrickson, 85, of 16 St. Mary's Pl., died Saturday at her home. Mrs. Hendrickson was born in Canada.
She was a member of the Shrewsbury Ave. AME Zion Church here. 

Mrs. Hendrickson was the widow of Fred Hendrickson. 

Surviving are an adopted daughter, Mrs. Grace Jeter of this place and several nieces.
The funeral will be tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the F. Leon Harris Funeral Home, Red Bank, with Rev. T. H. Coursey, pastor of the Shrewsbury Ave. A.M.E. Zion Church, officiating. Burial will be in White Ridge Cemetery, Eatontown.

William Slack

Slack was born and raised in the Trenton area, where he worked as a carpenter. He moved to Red Bank after the Civil War and lived on Broad Street for a few years with his wife and three sons. After his wife died, Slack moved West, returning to Red Bank about 1896. His sons Ralph and Joseph were living in Red Bank at the time of the murder, while his son Charles remained out West. Slack built a number of houses in Red Bank and was considered a good carpenter. He built the Hubbard house at the corner of Broad and Monmouth Streets, for example.

William Slack (30) of Princeton was called for military service in the Civil War in June 1863, according to a registry of the Second Congressional District draftees.

The 1860 Federal Census showed William Slack (28 NJ) living in Lawrenceville, Mercer County, NJ with wife Anna P (28 NJ), son Charles H (4 NJ), and daughter Elizabeth (6/12 F NJ). William was a carpenter. He and his family were enumerated as white by race.

Annie Slack (35 PA) and sons Charles (14 NJ), Ralph (6 NJ), and Joseph Slack (1 NJ) were enumerated in Lawrence Township, Mercer County, NJ in the 1870 Federal Census. They were living in the household of Israel and Mary Reed. Mary was 28 and born in Pennsylvania, so she and Annie could have been sisters. Israel was a farmer.

Ralph Slack

Slack's son Ralph, also a carpenter, died on 3 Oct 1899, less than a month after his father was murdered. He was aged 34 years 7 months at the time of his death.

The 12 October 1899 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 2, inferred that his death might have been a suicide, perhaps a response to the circumstances of his father's recent death:

Killed By a Train - Ralph Slack of Red Bank, aged 34 years, son of William Slack who was murdered at Red Bank about four weeks ago, was killed by a freight train at Red Bank last Thursday night. He was working at Lakewood that day and returned to Red Bank at 4:45 that afternoon. He did not go home immediately, but was noticed between 7 and 8 o'clock lying down in the vicinity of his house. Hearing a train whistle blow, he was seen to jump up and run toward the railroad track. Later his body was picked up between the tracks. He leaves a wife and two children.

The 1900 Federal Census showed Ralph's widow, Thasia Stack (Oct 1865 NJ) and her children Yvonne (Jul 1891) and Robert (May 1895), living in Shrewsbury with Ralph's brother Joseph (Dec 1868 NJ), his wife Bernice (Aug 1877 NY) and their 2 children Elsie (Apr 1897 NJ) and Ralph (Jan 1899). Also a carpenter, Joseph had been married to Bernice for 4 years at the time. Thasia was working as a seamstress to make ends meet. She had had 4 children, but only 2 had survived by the time of the census.

The 1895 NJ State Census showed Ralph P and Phisa (?) Slack living in Shrewsbury along with children Yvonne, Robert H, and Joseph.

The 1880 Federal Census showed a 17-year-old Ralph Slack in reform school in Jamesburg, Middlesex County, NJ.

Moses Withington

The 1900 Federal Census shows Moses Withington (Apr 1876 NJ) as a prisoner at Sing Sing State Prison at Ossining, Westchester County, NY. A waiter by occupation, Moses had been married 7 years at the time of the census. Moses was enumerated as a black man.

Moses (4 NJ) was living in his parents' household in Middletown in the 1880 Federal Census. His father Samuel Withington (55 DE) was a gardener by trade. His mother was Catherine (43 NJ) and his many siblings were Wesley (18 NJ)  Alfred (16 NJ), Caroline (12 NJ), Cornelius (10 NJ), Augustus (7 NJ), and Ida (2 NJ).

Birth records show Moses was born in Trenton on 11 May 1876 to Samuel and Catharine Withington.

First Methodist Church Responds

Pictures of Red Bank Events at the First Methodist Church.
A temperance service was held by the Sunday-school of the First Methodist church on Sunday afternoon. Rev. J. E. Parmley of Oceanic made an address and Rev. E. C. Hancock and John Chamberlain gave blackboard talks. The illustrations on the blackboard were drawn by Clarence M. Johnston. One series of illustrations was called " Snap Shots of Recent Events in Red Bank." Among the events pictured were Fred Hendrickson in jail, the finding of Ralph Slack's body on the railroad track, the eviction of a family for non-payment of rent, and a young man taking a drink at a hotel bar.

APP Sports Highlights MRHS Girls Soccer Coach Ken McCabe

The Asbury Park Press has highlighted Ken McCabe, Matawan Regional High School's girls soccer coach, as one of the region's stars.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

J Mabel Brown, Matawan Journal, Visited Hawaii (1928)

Schofield Barracks Salute (Honolulu Magazine)
J Mabel Brown and her sister went to Hawaii in 1928. There is a lengthy write up on pg 7 of the 4 May 1928 edition of The Matawan Journal. Part travelog, part history lesson, the three-column article has the occasional personal or local tidbit.

The sisters visited in Honolulu with Mr and Mrs Edgar Schanck, formerly of Holmdel.

Ms Brown tells an amusing story of taking the wheel of their chauffeured vehicle so that their driver could play them songs on his ukelele. She hadn't noticed that it was a powerful 12 cylinder car and she was totally unfamiliar with the terrain, but she was soon cruising along while the driver played for two hours.

They dropped in at Pearl Harbor. It was 13  years before the Japanese surprise attack, but already politics were surrounding the naval base there. Ms Brown reported, "The Federal government maintains a large army post with quarters for a division of 30,000 men at Schofield barracks and subsidiary forts. Here we spent a day, and a fine lot of men they are. The navy base at Pearl Harbor is one of the most discussed problems by our Government. There are also aviation fields and a powerful radio station."

Before they left Hawaii, the sisters met with Governor Wallace Rider Farrington. Ms Brown, editor of The Matawan Journal, found lots to talk about with the Governor, who was an "old newspaper man." She had a letter of introduction from Secretary of State Frank B Kellogg, which she carried at the insistence of Senator Walter Evans Edge, also a former journalist, but she didn't need it to get in to see the Territorial Governor. She also carried a letter of introduction from former Congressman Stewart H. Appleby, who had read about the sisters' trip in a piece in The Asbury Park Press.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monmouth County Board of Freeholders - Jan 2012 Reorganization and Beyond

More Monmouth Musings provides a useful brief on what the January 2012 reorganization is expected to bring to the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders. There is also discussion of Freeholder candidates for upcoming elections and their likely supporters on the current board.

History: Suspicious Death of Thomas Lynch, 28, of Keyport (1900)

The last Keyport horse-drawn trolley before electrification. The car stable in background later became the home of Rollo Bus Company. (Courtesy Keyport Kid)

A front page story in the 6 December 1900 edition of The Matawan Journal concerned the suspicious death the previous Saturday evening of Thomas Lynch at "Jerry Shehan's hotel near the car stable." Witnesses said that Lynch fell out of his chair as if poisoned. He was removed to his home in the Apple Orchard section of Keyport, where he died the following morning. An autopsy on Tuesday revealed that Lynch had died from "alcoholism." Lynch, the step-son of Edward Brown, was about 28 years old and unmarried.

Thomas Lynch

The 1900 Federal Census for New Jersey shows Thomas Lynch, born Dec 1874 in New York to Irish parents, living in the Keyport, Raritan Township household of his cousin Edward Brown, born Jan 1850 in Ireland. Mr Brown was an oysterman and Thomas was a laborer at a brickyard. Also in the household were Mr Brown's wife, Mary, born Mar 1855 in Massachusetts to Irish parents, and Mr Brown's widowed older brother, James Brown, born Feb 1843 in Ireland.  James listed no occupation. James emigrated to the US in 1865, three years after Edward; both were naturalized as US citizens. It appears that they lived on Beers Street.

Thomas Lynch could be identical with Thomas G Lynch, 6 years old, son of Michael (30 Ireland) and Mary A Lynch (34 Ireland), who were residing in Castleton, Staten Island, New York in the 1880 Federal Census. Thomas G's father was a laborer. Thomas G had an older brother John (7) and younger brothers Michael (5), Richard (3), and Peter (1 mo, born in May 1880). All of the children were born in New York.

Car Stable

Today's automobile collectors and racing enthusiasts call a garage full of expensive vehicles a "car stable," but in the late 19th and early 20th century, the term referred to a place where a trolley service stored its passenger vehicles, whether horse-drawn or powered by electric lines.

On page 1243 of The History of Essex County, Massachusetts, Vol II Part 1, written by Duane Hamilton Hurd and published in 1888 by J W Lewis & Co, the author discussed an 18th century tavern in Wenham that used to be "situated where the horse-car stable now stands."

Column 7 of the front page of the 2 July 1889 edition of The New York Sun, available at Chronicling America courtesy of The New York Public Library, tells of an apparent sexual assault that occurred near the street car stables in Keyport. (The attacker was not only negro but black, seemingly double trouble in the mind of the New York reporter. And the woman was not only attacked but assaulted, apparently a subtle reference to what seems to have been an attempted rape.)

On Thursday evening of last week, about 9 o'clock, Mrs Mary Green, aged 63 years, of Keyport, was attacked near the street car stables by a large, black, powerful negro, who attempted to assault her. She managed to escape, though seriously hurt by the attack, most of her clothing being torn from her body. The negro escaped and has not yet been caught.

Page 10 of the 20 September 1899 edition of The Matawan Journal described how the "Keyport horse car line" lost one of its vehicles to fire while parked "on the track in front of the car stables."

One of cars of the Keyport horse car line was destroyed by fire last week. The car stood on the track in front of the car stables and a lighted lamp was placed in it as a warning to passers-by. The lamp exploded and caused the fire. The loss is about $800 and is partly covered by insurance.

With the development of electric-powered trolley service in the Bayshore in the early 20th century, the term car stable may have begun to refer to a storage facility for electric-powered trolley cars. For example, page 9 of the 20 May 1903 edition of The Red Bank Register mentioned the establishment of a car stable in the Keyport-Matawan area, the direct result of electric-powered trolley development in the Bayshore. Was the facility to handle remnants of the horse-drawn business or the budding new electric-powered cars? It's unclear from the following text.

The Jersey Central traction company, which is extending its [trolley] line from Keyport to Red Bank, is building a new power house on land between Keyport and Keansburg which the company bought from John Cottrell. The building will be of brick, 90x92 feet. All the machinery will be in duplicate, so as to insure power at all times. When the plant is completed the present power house between Matawan and Keyport will be abandoned for that purpose and the building will be used as a car stable.

The 28 June 1904 edition of The New York Times included an article title Big Hippodrome for Old Car Stable Site. The General Carriage Company had operated car stables along Sixth Avenue between 43rd Street and 44th Street in Manhattan until the city began construction of a subway in 1900. The trolley company's stock suddenly dropped to nothing and the stables and associated property had to be sold. The property was about a block north and east of Times Square, where the first NYC subway line, the IRT, opened the now famous 42nd Street - Times Square station in October 1904.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

History: William Fountain, Hardware Merchant in Matawan (1904)

It has not been that long since people in Matawan used gaslight to illuminate their homes. This ad for Block Light brand gaslights distributed locally by W A Fountain appeared on page 5 of the 3 November 1904 edition of The Matawan Journal.

W A Fountain is likely identical with William Fountain, a hardware merchant enumerated in Matawan Township in the 1900 Federal Census. Mr Fountain was born in Apr 1839 in New Jersey. His wife of 30 years was named Annie S Fountain, born Aug 1849 in New York. She had had 3 children but only 2 were still living. Their son Albert F Fountain, born May 1874, was living with them, as was their daughter Emma Close, born Feb 1877, and her husband of 1 year William A Close. At age 47, William was over twice Emma's age (47 v 23). William was a merchant (Crab & Feed). A servant, Anna Vandeveer, also lived with them. Her occupation was listed as nurse.

The History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio, Vol 2, by Joseph Green Butler, pg 54, says that the Block Light Company was based in New York until 1908, when it moved to Youngstown to be more centrally located in the nation. The firm became the Block Gas Mantle Company in 1915. The book discusses the company in context of its biography of Otto Kauffman. The Gas Light Journal, vol 89 (1908), mentions Block Light's recent purchase of Cremo Mantle in Youngstown. A 40-page book titled The Block Light Company was published in 1910.

Huskies Football: The Next Act Should Be Contrition

In a recent opinion piece, The Newark Star-Ledger's Steve Politi contrasted the polar responses of the Wayne Hills and Matawan-Aberdeen communities to the Bad Boys behavior recently displayed by members of their football teams.  He criticized Wayne Hills and applauded Mat-Ab for their approaches to the discipline dilemma. "In Matawan, they’ve taught their teenagers that there are consequences when rules are broken, and that protecting the integrity of an institution is far more important than hanging a silly banner on the gymnasium wall. What, exactly, were they teaching in Wayne Hills?"

North Jersey complained about the Wayne Hills approach over a week ago, saying, "[The Wayne Hills football coach] fought to have [his team] play in the run-up to the big game, making an emotional appeal at a recent board meeting to which he brought 60 uniformed players. It was then that the board stayed the decision of its own superintendent and let the accused play. Town and school leaders were largely silent during the ensuing controversy. Many of the coach’s fans in town rallied around the team, but the incident drew a raft of negative comments and media attention from around the country as Wayne became a local touchstone for a national conversation on the culture of football at schools."

The Matawan players' misbehavior was only recently revealed by the Manasquan Police to have been a bit more criminal and little less silly than Coach Martucci had been letting on. After all, breaking into student lockers and stealing things at a host school isn't aggravated assault, but it isn't filling a favorite teacher's car with bubble gum either.

So congratulations to our local school district for disciplining those players and to the public for its toleration of their actions. But to borrow Mr Politi's question, I must ask "What are we teaching here?" This can't be the end of the story. Missing some footballs games should only be the beginning of the Matawan players' penance given their sins. After all, theirs was an act of contempt for authority, different only in degree from the demonstration of hostility towards the Aberdeen Police by a menacing group of MRHS students that occurred back in October. Let's hope MARSD has concrete plans for a more direct response by those involved. Perhaps compulsory community service next summer in Manasquan would express adequate contrition?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

History: Nellie Maxwell and Syndicated Feature "The Kitchen Cabinet," 1920

The latest in 1920's women's fashion appeared in Nellie Maxwell's The Kitchen Cabinet, a nationally syndicated feature found in The Matawan Journal. For example, in her article "Fabrics to Fit Summer Time", which appeared on page 7 of the 27 May 1920 edition, Ms Maxwell praised the then-current trend in summer dresses to use lace bodices and simple skirts instead of previous years' designs that applied velvet and other heavy materials that were uncomfortable to wear in the heat of summer.

The feature contained advertisements targeted at women, including
  • Lydia E Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, a remedy for fainting spells caused by The Change of Life.
  • Bell-ans for Indigestion - 6 Bell-ans, Hot Water, Sure Relief
  • Stove Repair Corporation, sales and service, Newark, NJ
  • Fletcher's Castoria, that famous old remedy for infants and children.
And the ladies had to endure a series of what someone apparently thought were humorous pieces for women, like this brief exchange labeled Film Fun:
  • "I see you advertise for a ticket seller and ask that ladies weighing more than 200 pounds.kindly do not apply."
  • "Yes."
  • "Isn't that discrimination?"
  • "No; merely common sense. Any lady shaping up larger than that could not get into my glass cage."
Sarasota History Alive has a 1913 edition of The Kitchen Cabinet with recipes.

The Fulton History website has an image of page 8 of the 28 Nov 1930 edition of The Cold Springs Recorder. It provides this background information on Ms Maxwell.

For two years Miss Maxwell was engaged in domestic science extension work for the state agricultural colleges of Iowa and Nebraska. In that work she was called upon to give wives advice on how to plan their household work so they could do it more easily and satisfactorily than it had been done before.
Then Miss Maxwell became a lecturer, and demonstrator at the numerous institutes which are held under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin. She has been a frequent contributor on household subjects to the publications of the university, and with her co-worker she prepared the Women's Bulletin for Wisconsin women, ten thousand copies of which are distributed annually.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cross of Glory Lutheran to Host Tree Lighting and Caroling

My friends at the Cross of Glory Lutheran Church asked me to post this notice about their upcoming Christmas tree lighting and carol sing. Sounds like fun.

Cross of Glory Celebrates Fourth Annual Tree Lighting
Family and friends welcome to join in carol singing and holiday sweets

DEC. 3, 2011, Aberdeen, NJ — To ring in the holidays in a most celebratory fashion, the Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Aberdeen will host its fourth annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing on Sunday Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. More than 200 people are expected to join in the festivities, which will be held rain or shine at Cross of Glory, at 95 Cambridge Drive.

Santa Claus is expected to make an appearance with elves in tow, and the rafters of Cross of Glory will echo with the sounds of everyone’s favorites Christmas tunes. After the carols have been sung and the 30-foot tree in Cross of Glory’s front lawn has been lit, revelers are invited into Fellowship Hall to enjoy home baked sweets and pastries alongside other refreshments provided every year by Delicious Orchards. The tree will remain lit every night from Dec. 11 until Jan. 5, 2012.

“This event is eagerly awaited by not only our growing congregation but by neighbors, family and friends, and this year we expect to be the biggest of all,” declared Jeremy Samuelson, head of Cross of Glory’s tree lighting committee. “You would have to be descended from Scrooge himself if you didn’t want to take part in this tradition of ours at Cross of Glory.” 

Each year Delicious Orchards of Colts Neck donates a generous amount of pastries, cookies and apple cider to the event. That bounty is supplemented by home baked goods provided by Cross of Glory’s churchgoers, many of whom volunteer to help Mr. Samuelson prepare for the evening’s festivities.

To volunteer, or for further information about the event, please contact Mr. Samuelson at 732- 583-1118, visit www.coglcnj.org, or check out Cross of Glory Lutheran Church’s Facebook page.

About Cross of Glory Lutheran Church

Founded in 1964, the Cross of Glory Lutheran Church is part of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and is led by Rev. Gary E. Costa. With the support of over 300 members, the church runs a nursery school, stocks and supports the Matawan food pantry and provides other services to residents of Aberdeen and neighboring towns. For more information on Cross of Glory, please visit www.coglcnj.org, or our Facebook page.