A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

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.


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