A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, January 30, 2012

History: County Neglects Aberdeen Road Bridge Over 40 Years (1935)

According to the 25 Jan 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal (page 1 col 4), for over forty years the Monmouth County Freeholders eschewed their obligation towards the bridge over Matawan Creek on Aberdeen Road. Apparently the Board had been recently reorganized back in 1892 and the matter was either forgotten or put out of their minds.

Upon the 'small' board of freeholders taking over the management of the county, and none of the new members being particularly interested in the needs of the township, the ownership of the roadway soon passed from their minds and it was grossly neglected as to upkeep by the county, altho the unjustness of the attitude was brot to the attention of several subsequent boards.

Rensselaer L Cartan, chairman of Matawan Borough Council's street committee, appeared before the Board of Chosen Freeholders armed with a copy of the 1892 minutes book and made the Borough's case for the county's obligation towards the bridge. He took the opportunity to suggest that the county work with the borough to renovate the bridge in such a way that it facilitated the borough's plan to build a second dam and form what would soon become Lake Matawan.

. . . it was suggested that now the matter of ownership being finally determined, federal aid be asked for, so that the road might be raised six feet and widened so that when the present bridge becomes obsolete the creek can be filled in, which would make a dam.

The area between the proposed dam and Lake Lefferts could be flooded to a depth of three feet, and provide another lake to Matawan's chain. The work could be arranged so that it might be done by federal loan, while the material could be provided for a trifling cost, if any. Should the project go thru, it would provide labor for all of the relief help, as well as for the trucks needed for hauling the earth.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Become a Trails Team Volunteer

An opportunity is coming up in March for you to learn the basics of being a Trail Teams volunteer for the Monmouth County Park System. Once trained, you'll spend one or two mornings per month working on new or existing trails within the county system.

Training is scheduled for Sat 10 March 2012 from 9 am to noon in Holmdel. Read this news release for more information. Sounds like fun.

Fisheries Management Budget Cuts Come to Roost

I've spoken repeatedly in this space about how the quality of life in New Jersey is at risk as Governor Christie hacks away at state budgets. Fewer government workers can mean fewer pensions paid in Trenton, but it also means less service to the community, including less oversight and monitoring in key areas.

The net effect of one realm of Christie's budget cuts rated a small if unattributed mention in today's Asbury Park Press. The NJ Bureau of Marine Fisheries has stopped an entire category of fishing -- the herring catch -- because the state lacks the staff to collect the necessary data to meet a regional commission's mandate to report on fishery sustainability. So what? Well, the implication is that the state doesn't have adequate staff to know what's happening with our fisheries, which has a much deeper significance than the status of herring. Not to diminish the impact of a change in status for one type of fish. The herring is an important food fish for other species, so its depletion can have all sorts of ramifications.

Unfortunately, the APP article made it only to page A19 in the print edition of today's paper -- just above the fold on the cover of APP's second A section. And the article needed to place more emphasis on the lack of staffing and budget. And it needed greater prominence in the paper. The incident should be viewed as a red flag, an ominous sign indicating something important needs fixing.

The article - State shuts river herring fishery - says that the Bureau of Fisheries doesn't have adequate staff to track the depletion of herring, which most recent information suggests is yielding less than 2% of what fishermen caught in the mid-1960s. Plus, herring is being inadvertently caught in net trawling operations to the tune of 3 million pounds per year. Herring is an important food fish to many fish, mammals, and birds. It is important to the striped bass, a major sports fish in our region.

Tom Fote of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association warned of the effect of state budget cuts on the Bureau of Fisheries in the February 2011 issue of Fisheries Management and Legislation Report. He pointed out that a lack of funding would cause the very problems that have forced NJ to stop the herring fishery.

Without appropriate funding, there is not enough personnel to actively participate on committees for stock assessment and technical issues at ASMFC. We risk being shortchanged in plans when we are unable to participate. When plans are developed we are unable to provide the technical information that supports our point of view. We can’t do regional breakdowns for species like tautog because we can’t accumulate the data to support decision making. As we review many of these plans in the upcoming years, this problem will be even worse.

In a 2007 report, Mr Fote had this to say:

In the last 25 years I have seen a complete disregard by the state for adequate funding for the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries Administration, Bureau of Marine Fisheries. The New Jersey treasury has only contributed a little over 1 million dollars per year from the general fund since the mid 80’s. The other 2 million dollars per year comes from Wallop-Breaux funds and interstate grants. Both of these funding sources come from the excise tax on saltwater tackle drawing money directly from user groups.
. . .  In this same period of time I have seen a huge reduction in staff in the Division of Fish and Wildlife, most seriously in the Bureau of Marine Fisheries. Even in the years where money was not tight and other agencies of state government were seeing increases in funding and staff, the Bureau of Marine Fisheries has seen no increase. This has significantly hampered their ability to manage the resource and meet the escalating responsibilities placed on them by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and state mandates. . . .
In 2007, the Bureau of Marine Fisheries was responsible for implementing over 20 Fisheries Management Plans (FMP) put in place by either the ASMFC or NMFS. Most of the plans require a monitoring of size, recreational bag limits, seasons, commercial quotas and biological information for stock assessment. To meet these additional responsibilities there has been no increase in total staff. In fact, the staff has continued to decrease to a level about 30% less. The Bureau of Marine Fisheries has been in crisis mode and unable to meet minimum requirements for the last 15 years. We have been voted out of compliance by ASMFC since we are unable to do the biological research required in some of the FMP’s. I am not blaming the Division. Everyone who works there does a fantastic job with way too few people. The fault is not theirs. What I have seen is the impact this understaffing has on morale, sometimes resulting in early retirements of valued staff.

He recommended that a portion of sales tax receipts from the fishing and boating industries be directed to supporting the Bureau of Fisheries. He wrote:

This lack of increased funding has occurred despite the contribution of recreational fishing to New Jersey’s economy. Recreational fishing alone contributes 1.3 billion dollars annually to New Jersey’s economy. It accounts for over 500,000 visitors to New Jersey each year with fishing as the goal. The boating industry is a 2 billion dollar industry, tied to fishing, a clean environment and a well-managed resource. The most recent figures I have seen suggests the commercial industry contributes 4 – 5 hundred million dollars annually. . . .  New Jersey ranks #2 in the country in the number of trips made for recreational saltwater fishing. We rank #2 or #3 in the number of anglers. We rank #3 in the commercial landings. However, we are outspent for a state Bureau of Marine Fisheries by every state. We are at the bottom of the list for funding despite being at the top of the list for income generated.

In summary, you must defend your quality of life against unwise cuts in budgets. Tax cuts are nice, but to the extreme lowered taxes can yield anarchy. But, at the same time, you must expect to pay your fair share for quality of life and a secure, sustainable future.

Extreme and Close

We saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close last night at Hazlet Rave. It has a wonderful complexity that gets beyond the terror attacks underlying the film. I loved the humanity that comes at you from so many angles. Take a couple of tissues; it's definitely a two hanky flick.

I have to say that the name of this movie is difficult to remember, much less say. I told the guy at the ticket booth that I wanted "two for Extremely" and that sufficed.

The youngsters sitting around us were too young to appreciate the flick. No idea why they came when there was a man on the ledge next door. I ended up scolding them for chatting and joking, talking on their cell phones and being generally a pain in the ass while Tom Hanks is trying to reach his son for the last time. When I look in the mirror, I don't see old and grumpy, but maybe I am. I hate being that guy, but I paid good money to see this movie. More than the money, the development of the story's mood was very important.

No doubt my aisle mates were only 3-4 years old when the Towers went down, but that's really no excuse. I can remember being moved by Tora! Tora! Tora! and Patton when they came out, and WWII was from my parents' generation, not mine. I don't recall acting like a mindless brat at the theater. When I was 6-7, yes. Oh, my God yes. But not at 14.

I guess compassion and sensitivity aren't being graded on standardized tests, and there are no good multiple choice questions that will demonstrate a student's appreciation for the human struggle. They should at least understand what it means to waste twenty bucks at the movies. If they didn't before, they know how I feel about it now. We had a momentary human struggle of our own.

History - Edward Payson Terhune (1830-1907)

St Paul's American Church, Rome, Italy, was built in 1873. (Terminartors)
The 27 Jan 1877 edition of The Matawan Journal contains this blurb on the front page.

Rev E P Terhune, the husband of Marion Harland, the novelist, and the brother of Wm L Terhune, Esq, of Matawan, has been offered the Chaplaincy of the American Chapel at Rome for two years, with a comfortable salary and three months' vacation in the summer.

Edward Payson Terhune (22 Nov 1830 - 25 May 1907) was the brother of the prominent Matawan lawyer William L Terhune. In the 1850 Federal Census for New Jersey, Edward P Terhune, age 19, was a student living with his parents, John and Etty Terhune, 57 and 58 years old, respectively. Edward's father was a publisher and bookseller worth $7,000 at the time. They lived in North Brunswick. 

Edward attended Rutgers College. (1850) (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 102)  He graduated from the Dutch Reformed seminary at New Brunswick, NJ. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 102) (Wikipedia)

Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond, VA (VCU)
Edward served as pulpit supply at the Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Va. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 102)

Village Church in Charlotte Court House, VA (VA-GENWEB)
Edward served at the Village Church at Charlotte Court House in what is now Smithville, Va (1854-1859). During his 5-year tenure, William Wirt Henry, an elder at the church, a Richmond lawyer, and the grandson of the great American orator Patrick Henry, was a close and faithful friend. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 102)  (Wikipedia)

Edward married Mary Virginia Hawes (21 Dec 1830 - 3 Jun 1922) in 1856.  (Wikipedia)

Soon after his installation he married a Richmond girl, already known to the public by her nom de plume Marion Harland. They took possession of the cozy village parsonage in 1856. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 102)

Mary V Terhune (abt 1903) (Wikimedia)
The 1850 Federal Census for Virginia shows Mary V Hawes, age 18, living with Samuel P and Judith A Hawes, ages 50 and 44, resp. Samuel was a merchant born in Massachusetts. Judith, Mary and Mary's 7 siblings (ages 21 to 4) were all natives of Virginia.

More information about Mary V Terhune, aka Marion Harland, can be found at Essortment. (Surely better than her Wikipedia page, which has errors. For example, the page suggests Mary was born in Newark when she was clearly from Virginia. Her husband's entry at Wikipedia has several errors as well.)

Edward did quite a bit to bring Reformed faith to the slaves in his area. Below is an excerpt from a Virginia piece on his ministry in Charlotte Court House. The writing, while striving to be liberal, is affected by the time and place.

One marked feature of his ministry in Charlotte was the influence he acquired over the colored people of the region. The Village Church had but one negro communicant when he became the pastor. Colored Presbyterians were very rare throughout the state. Baptism by immersion was a popular rite with them, and the camp-meetings of the "shouting Methodists" appealed powerfully to their emotional natures. The Presbyterian and Episcopal churches were shunned as cold, formal, "only fit for educated white folks." In winter, the body of the Village Church was given up to the blacks on Sunday afternoons, their masters and mistresses occupying the galleries in which their servants had sat in the forenoon. Prayers were offered, hymns given out and sung by the congregation on the floor of the house, the pastor preaching from the chancel, and without notes.With the beginning of the warm weather, the Sunday afternoon gatherings took on a more picturesque aspect. The planters of the outlying country offered their homes in town for the use of Dr Terhune and his hearers. Scores of whites and hundreds of negroes flocked together on these occasions. The scene, as described by an eye-witness to the writer, was one the like of which will never be beheld again in this country.

In the background was the mansion house, usually of dark-red brick mellowed by age, embowered by trees, one or two centuries old. At the open windows, and thronging the broad piazzas were seated the ladies and gentlemen of the family, and friends who had driven over to enjoy the service. On the shaded lawn were close tiers of "forms," or backless benches, for the servants, who were never styled "slaves" by their owners or themselves.There were usually accommodations for about five hundred, but there were more present, sitting on the grass and porch-steps, or leaning, motionless and decorous, against the tree-trunks. Beyond the lawn were the carriages of the guests, and tied to the "racks" with which every hospitable plantation was abundantly furnished, from twenty to thirty saddled hunters belonging to the gallant cavaliers of the neighborhood.

The signal for the commencement of the exercises was the upraising of a hymn from the heart of the dusky assembly; one of the weird, wondrously-sweet native airs which the jubilee singers are trying to preserve. . . . Or a colored deacon, black as ebony, his massive features showing grim under a hillock of gray hair, stood up in his place and "lined out" from memory:

Show pity, Lord! O Lord, forgive! 
Let a repenting rebel live.

. . .  Within two years, seventy colored members were added to the roll of the Village Church, giving, upon examination, most satisfactory evidence of intelligent appreciation of the solemn truths to which they subscribed, and of vital piety. Prior to the presentation of their names as candidates for admission to the visible church, the pastor organized classes for spiritual instruction, which met on two evenings of the week in his study.

When in 1858 he accepted a unanimous call to the First Reformed Church of Newark, NJ, the grief of these simple hearted neophytes was overwhelming. Among the valuable parting gifts to him from this -- the church of his first love -- was a handsome family Bible, inscribed From the Colored Members of the Village Church, of Charlotte C. H, Virginia. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, pp. 102 - 103)

First Reformed Church, Newark (Old Newark)
Edward was minister at the First Reformed Church (Old Newark, Houses of Worship, First Reformed Church and Reverends) in Newark (Mar 1859 - 1876). (A History of the City of Newark, Vol 2, by Frank John Urquhart, p. 999) (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 103) (Wikipedia erroneously states that he was minister at Old First Presbyterian Church in Newark.)

The 1860 and 1870 Federal Censuses showed Edward and family living in Newark.

Edward earned his Doctor of Divinity degree at Rutgers University (1869). (Wikipedia)

Edward was featured in an article called Pulpit Orators in the Newark (NJ) Evening Gazette in 1873.  (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 103)

Edward left his pulpit in Newark in 1876 to care for his wife, who was ill.

In 1876 this prosperous pastorate was severed -- to the people suddenly and unexpectedly. To him who had for more than a year watched his wife's failing health with grave apprehension, settling into the conviction that her life depended upon a sea-voyage and many months of restful change - the separation was a sadness but not a shock.  . . .

Dr Terhune took abroad his whole family, and the Winter of 1876-7 was passed in Rome for the invalid's benefit. While there he officiated as chaplain in the non-liturgical American Church. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 104) (Wikipedia) (Note: Possibly identical with St Paul's American Church in Rome, which, when built in 1873, was the first non-Catholic church built within the walls of Rome.)

American Church in Paris (Friendly Adventurers)
In the winter 1877-8, Dr Terhune, then resident with his family in Geneva, Switzerland, received a request that he would supply the pulpit of the American Chapel in Rue de Berri, Paris, the chaplain, the Rev Dr Hitchcock, having been summoned to America by the illness of a relative. For four months, Dr Terhune was his substitute, giving great satisfaction to the regular attendants of the handsome and commodious chapel, and to the many travelers who filled the pews throughout the Winter and Spring preceding the great exposition. (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 104)    

Edward served at a Congregational church in Springfield, Mass (1879-1884). (Wikipedia) (Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1882, p. 104)  The 1880 Federal Census for Massachusetts showed him living with his family in Springfield. He was listed as a Cong Clergyman.

He served at a Reformed church in Brooklyn, NY (1884) (Wikipedia)

He resigned his pastorate in Brooklyn to serve as pulpit supply at the Fullerton Avenue Church in Chicago, Ill. He was expected 6 Oct (Christian Work, an illustrated family newspaper, vol. 59, 1895, p. 531)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Low Tide at the Cliffwood Beach Seawall

I took some photographs this afternoon along the Cliffwood Beach seawall at low tide. It was bright and sunny and the weather was crisp and calm. Gulls and geese swam in the still waters of the Raritan Bay while white birches stood vigil on the shore.

I noticed that the pole cameras are gone -- well, to be more precise, the cameras are gone but the old poles remain. And there is a green metal waste can at each end of the seawall, plus a covered trash can at the sidewalk near the little parking lot off Beach Drive. The Lakeshore Drive end of the seawall requires some work to provide formal access. I hope there is a plan for that. I thought there were supposed to be steps.

Birches along the seawall

The Amboys are visible to the west.

Low tide at Cliffwood Beach reveals remnants of an old bulkhead

New waste receptacles have been placed along the seawall

The new World Trade Center tower is easily viewable from Cliffwood Beach

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hazlet Foodtown Awaits the End

Bare, unlit shelves in the dairy case at the Hazlet Foodtown.

We were out of town for New Year's, so we didn't see the article in Matawan-Aberdeen Patch saying that the Foodtown in Hazlet is closing on 25 February. So when we dropped in to pick up a few things tonight, well - Yikes! The shelves were nearly empty and the place was eerily quiet, like one of those post-Armageddon movies like Mad Max or The Stand. Even outside, we thought the store might be closed. There were no customers. No shopping carts rolling through the aisles. No announcements on the public address system. The stock on the shelves was only one or two products deep and selection was shockingly sparse. The deli had no staff and no pre-packaged deli meats. Nearly all of the frozen foods were gone and the section was darkened.

We chatted with a pleasant but obviously sad sales clerk. She expected to be out of work in a month.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

History: 15 Speeches Over 75 Years Reveal A Changing State of the Speech

Maybe it's an odd expectation, but when I watch the State of the Union speech, I expect the President to assure me that "the state of the union is sound" and that's that. There can be gunfire outside my door and bill collectors lurking in the bushes outside, I still like to hear those words so I can sleep at night. Even if I am sleeping in the street. When Mr Obama suggested that we will soon achieve soundness, that we are moving in that general direction, I was rather startled. Was he suggesting that things aren't sound? We all know that things aren't going well, but I wasn't expecting the patented assertion of power and authority in our times to be nuanced and projected.

I went digging in the past and found that America's status has only recently been clear enough to state categorically. There were no short declarative assertions years ago. Here is a sampling from the past 75 years of January speeches. FDR's assertion of the sad state of our affairs in 1937, after years of Depression, is particularly protracted. But they get shorter, I assure you.

Here are the pertient excerpts from fifteen State of the Union speeches from the past 75 years:

Franklin D Roosevelt - 6 Jan 1937

The recovery we sought was not to be merely temporary. It was to be a recovery protected from the causes of previous disasters. With that aim in view—to prevent a future similar crisis-you and I joined in a series of enactments—safe banking and sound currency, the guarantee of bank deposits, protection for the investor in securities, the removal of the threat of agricultural surpluses, insistence on collective bargaining, the outlawing of sweat shops, child labor and unfair trade practices, and the beginnings of security for the aged and the worker.

Nor was the recovery we sought merely a purposeless whirring of machinery. It is important, of course, that every man and woman in the country be able to find work, that every factory run, that business and farming as a whole earn profits. But Government in a democratic Nation does not exist solely, or even primarily, for that purpose.

It is not enough that the wheels turn. They must carry us in the direction of a greater satisfaction in life for the average man. The deeper purpose of democratic government is to assist as many of its citizens as possible, especially those who need it most, to improve their conditions of life, to retain all personal liberty which does not adversely affect their neighbors, and to pursue the happiness which comes with security and an opportunity for recreation and culture.

Even with our present recovery we are far from the goal of that deeper purpose. There are far-reaching problems still with us for which democracy must find solutions if it is to consider itself successful.
For example, many millions of Americans still live in habitations which not only fail to provide the physical benefits of modern civilization but breed disease and impair the health of future generations.

The menace exists not only in the slum areas of the very large cities, but in many smaller cities as well. It exists on tens of thousands of farms, in varying degrees, in every part of the country.

Another example is the prevalence of an un-American type of tenant farming. I do not suggest that every farm family has the capacity to earn a satisfactory living on its own farm. But many thousands of tenant farmers, indeed most of them, with some financial assistance and with some advice and training, can be made self-supporting on land which can eventually belong to them. The Nation would be wise to offer them that chance instead of permitting them to go along as they do now, year after year, with neither future security as tenants nor hope of ownership of their homes nor expectation of bettering the lot of their children.

Another national problem is the intelligent development of our social security system, the broadening of the services it renders, and practical improvement in its operation. In many Nations where such laws are in effect, success in meeting the expectations of the community has come through frequent amendment of the original statute.

And, of course, the most far-reaching and the most inclusive problem of all is that of unemployment and the lack of economic balance of which unemployment is at once the result and the symptom. The immediate question of adequate relief for the needy unemployed who are capable of performing useful work, I shall discuss with the Congress during the coming months. The broader task of preventing unemployment is a matter of long-range evolutionary policy. To that we must continue to give our best thought and effort. We cannot assume that immediate industrial and commercial activity which mitigates present pressures justifies the national Government at this time in placing the unemployment problem in a filing cabinet of finished business.

Fluctuations in employment are tied to all other wasteful fluctuations in our mechanism of production and distribution. One of these wastes is speculation. In securities or commodities, the larger the volume of speculation, the wider become the upward and downward swings and the more certain the result that in the long run there will be more losses than gains in the underlying wealth of the community.

And, as is now well known to all of us, the same net loss to society comes from reckless overproduction and monopolistic underproduction of natural and manufactured commodities.

Overproduction, underproduction and speculation are three evil sisters who distill the troubles of unsound inflation and disastrous deflation. It is to the interest of the Nation to have Government help private enterprise to gain sound general price levels and to protect those levels from wide perilous fluctuations. We know now that if early in 1931 Government had taken the steps which were taken two and three years later, the depression would never have reached the depths of the beginning of 1933.

Franklin D Roosevelt - 6 Jan 1945

In considering the State of the Union, the war and the peace that is to follow are naturally uppermost in the minds of all of us.

This war must be waged—it is being waged—with the greatest and most persistent intensity. Everything we are and have is at stake. Everything we are and have will be given. American men, fighting far from home, have already won victories which the world will never forget.

We have no question of the ultimate victory. We have no question of the cost. Our losses will be heavy.

We and our allies will go on fighting together to ultimate total victory.

Harry Truman - 9 Jan 1952

The United States and the whole free world are passing through a period of grave danger.   . . .

We are moving through a perilous time. Faced with a terrible threat of aggression, our Nation has embarked upon a great effort to help establish the kind of world in which peace shall be secure. Peace is our goal-not peace at any price, but a peace based on freedom and justice. We are now in the midst of our effort to reach that goal. On the whole, we have been doing very well.

Last year, 1951, was a year in which we threw back aggression, added greatly to our military strength, and improved the chances for peace and freedom in many parts of the world.

This year, 1952, is a critical year in the defense effort of the whole free world. If we falter we can lose all the gains we have made. If we drive ahead, with courage and vigor and determination, we can by the end of 1952 be in a position of much greater security. The way will be dangerous for the years ahead, but if we put forth our best efforts this year--and next year--we can be "over the hump" in our effort to build strong defenses

John F Kennedy - 11 Jan 1962

We are all trustees for the American people, custodians of the American heritage. It is my task to report the State of the Union--to improve it is the task of us all.  . . .

We sometimes chafe at the burden of our obligations, the complexity of our decisions, the agony of our choices. But there is no comfort or security for us in evasion, no solution in abdication, no relief in irresponsibility.

A year ago, in assuming the tasks of the Presidency, I said that few generations, in all history, had been granted the role of being the great defender of freedom in its hour of maximum danger. This is our good fortune; and I welcome it now as I did a year ago. For it is the fate of this generation - of you in the Congress and of me as President - to live with a struggle we did not start, in a world we did not make. But the pressures of life are not always distributed by choice.

Lyndon Johnson - 17 Jan 1968

I report to you that our country is challenged, at home and abroad: --that it is our will that is being tried, not our strength; our sense of purpose, not our ability to achieve a better America;

-- that we have the strength to meet our every challenge; the physical strength to hold the course of decency and compassion at home; and the moral strength to support the cause of peace in the world.

And I report to you that I believe, with abiding conviction, that this people--nurtured by their deep faith, tutored by their hard lessons, moved by their high aspirations-have the will to meet the trials that these times impose.

Richard Nixon - 20 Jan 1972

We have been undergoing self-doubts and self-criticism. But these are only the other side of our growing sensitivity to the persistence of want in the midst of plenty, of our impatience with the slowness with which age-old ills are being overcome.

If we were indifferent to the shortcomings of our society, or complacent about our institutions, or blind to the lingering inequities--then we would have lost our way.

But the fact that we have those concerns is evidence that our ideals, deep down, are still strong. Indeed, they remind us that what is really best about America is its compassion. They remind us that in the final analysis, America is great not because it is strong, not because it is rich, but because this is a good country.

Jimmy Carter - 23 Jan 1980

This last few months has not been an easy time for any of us. As we meet tonight, it has never been more clear that the state of our Union depends on the state of the world. And tonight, as throughout our own generation, freedom and peace in the world depend on the state of our Union.

The 1980's have been born in turmoil, strife, and change. This is a time of challenge to our interests and our values and it's a time that tests our wisdom and our skills.

Ronald Reagan - 25 Jan 1984

A rebirth of bipartisan cooperation, of economic growth, and military deterrence, and a growing spirit of unity among our people at home and our allies abroad underline a fundamental and far-reaching change: The United States is safer, stronger, and more secure in 1984 than before.

Ronald Reagan - 25 Jan 1988

Tonight, then, we're strong, prosperous, at peace, and we are free. This is the state of our Union.

George H W Bush - 29 Jan 1992

We are still and ever the freest nation on earth, the kindest nation on earth, the strongest nation on earth.

Bill Clinton - 23 Jan 1996

The state of the Union is strong.

Bill Clinton - 27 Jan 2000

My fellow Americans, the state of our union is the strongest it has ever been.

George W Bush - 24 Jan 2004

In their efforts, their enterprise and their character, the American people are showing that the state of our union is confident and strong.

George W Bush - 28 Jan 2008

And so long as we continue to trust the people, our nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure and the state of our union will remain strong.

Barrack Obama - 24 Jan 2012

The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we've come too far to turn back now.


By the way: I found a site that has a nice compendium of state of the union speeches going way back. I noticed, however, that the name of the President paired with individual speeches was no always accurate. Apparently the website designer didn't realize that some of these speeches were held before Inauguration Day on a year when Administrations were changing. So the 1961 speech was delivered by Ike, not JFK, and JFK delivered the 1963 speech, not LBJ. There are spoof sites out there, too, such as this spoof pretending to be George W Bush's 2004 speech. So, just be careful out there...

Monday, January 23, 2012

History: 85th Anniversary of Trinity Episcopal Church, Matawan (1936)

The 22 Jan 1926 edition of The Matawan Journal heralded the appointment of Reverend John H Schwacke, rector of St Peters Episcopal Church in Freehold, to succeed Reverend A P Mack, of Keyport, as priest at the Matawan Episcopal Mission. The Mission had been at Matawan since 1855.

Ten years later, the 17 Jan 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal celebrated the church's 85th anniversary.

Trinity Episcopal Church Marks Its Eighty-Fifth Year; Read History

Trinity Episcopal, Main Street, Matawan (NJ Churchscape)

The eighty-fifth anniversary of the founding of Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, Matawan, was observed last nite by the parishioners with a dinner at Buttonwood Manor. The occasion also marked the completion of ten years' service as rector by the Rev. John H. Schwacke, D. D., who is also rector of historic St. Peter's Church, Freehold.

Dr Schwacke served as toastmaster. The Rev Henry R. Fell, rector of St. Mary's Church, brot greetings from Trinity's nearest Eplscopalian neighbor, and the Rev. George Boyd, St. Peter's, Perth Amboy, also responded. Howard S.Holt, fellow of the Royal College of Organists, England, and choirmaster and organist of St. Peter's, Freehold, was in charge of a musical program which comprised numbers by Louis Tovey, baritone soloist of St. Peter's, Freehold, and of the Freehold Men's Chorus, and Leslie Willis, 14, Freehold radio soprano.

At a business session at the parish, Clifford Chapman, Sr.. was re-elected warden; Clifford Chapman, Jr., re-elected secretary; Frank A. Dell, Sr, treasurer; and Mrs Gerard A. Devlin and Amos B. Stultz were appointed a committee to organize a young people's group in the church.

Father Schwacke read a paper on the history of Trinity Church and made a few remarks on the parish's
present stats. His sketch of Trinity thru the years follows:

Parish Of Trinity Church
Trinity Church moved from Main Street to Ryers Lane in 1968.

The parish of Trinity Church, Middletown Point, was organized and incorporated May 11, 1850. It was
admitted into union with the Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey at its annual meeting in the City of Newark the same month and the same year, the day of the annual meeting being the last Wednesday in May.

At the time of its organisation, the Rev Fernando C. Putnam was appointed a missionary to Middletown Point and parts adjacent and was elected rector of the parish. He continued as the missionary and the rector-elect until November, 1852, when he resigned.

The corner-stone of the church edifice was laid by the bishop (Doane) at his visitation, April 24, 1850.

The edifice was completed and consecrated by Bishop Doane, June 19, 1851.

The organisation of this parish and the building of the church was mainly the work of John Travers, Esq, in whose family the missionary lived during his whole incumbency.

From the time of the resignation of the Rev. F. C. Putnam until the Rev. Maxwell Reilly took charge of
the parish, only occasional services took place, the church being for the most part closed. During the ministry of the last mentioned clergyman, in the parish, quite an interest was manifested by the people
in spiritual things, as may be seen by the large number, comparatively speaking, that were admitted to the church fold by the holy rites of Baptism and confirmation. And the zeal of the small band of Christian women connected with the congregation, the writer must say, is worthy of the greatest praise, and if only continued, in the end it will no doubt do much toward obtaining for each of them the blessings of those whom the Lord Jesus shall say hereafter, "Well done, you good and faithful servant, enter thou into the Joy of the Lord."

The connection of the Rev Maxwell Reilly with the Parish began on the tenth of November, 1859, and
ended on the first of May, 1861.

The following is the official list as shown by the register of the rectors of the parish with the dates of service.
  • Rev. P. C. Putnam. May 11, 1860 - November, 1862.
  • Rev. Maxwell Reilly. Nov. 10, 1859 - May l, 1861.
  • Rev. O. Theo. Leibt. Oct., 1864 - May, l866.
  • Rev. James E. Kenny.  June 1, 1867
  • Rev. L Hodgson. Feb. 1, 1868.
  • Rev. R. B. Chetwood, Jr. April 18, 1869 - August 13, 1870.
  • (Rev.) John Braser Draper.- August 18, 1878 - March 4, 1879.
  • No registration, 1879 - 1916.
  • Rev. Benjamin Dagwell. June 18, l916 - November 1, 1919.
  • Rev. Albert P. Mack. February 1, 1925 - Dec. 26, 1925.
  • Rev. J. H. Schwacke, Jan. 1,1926 -
Some Interesting Items

June, 1851. There were fifteen names on the register.

In 1865 the rector's salary was $680. In 1936, the rector's salary was just $800.

Most ministers served about one year—one served two weeks.

All during the early days of the parish, there were gaps from time to time in the service of the rectors. There seems to be a great gap from 1879 to 1914, during which time only occasional services were held, frequently with only lay readers in charge.

1879 seems to be an important year in the history of the parish. About this time a number of memorials
were placed In the church. A marble top retable (sic) in memory of Edward Torey, an alter cross in memory of Dr. J. S. H. Bartlett. The register records that he was for a long time a faithful worker in the
parish and that it was chiefly due to him that the church was "kept alive during a long period of weakness."

A credence table in memory of Mrs. Eliza Whitlock.

A pair of candlesticks in memory of Fredricka Whitlock.

An altar desk in memory of Mrs. Martha Bartlett (mother of Dr. Bartlett). (Replaced by a new altar
desk now in use).

On Advent Sunday, 1879, the parish received an iron cross from friends in Keyport. It was placed on the top of the belfry.

You can read more about Trinity's history at the church's website.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Monmouth Republicans Eye Menendez Seat in US Senate

NJ State Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) and former Highlands Mayor Anna Little (R) are looking to replace US Senator Menendez (D-NJ) this fall. An Ocean County solar power installer has also launched a campaign to be the Republican candidate this fall, but the effort is likely just for the publicity.

Menendez has yet to announce but even at this early date he is well ahead of the challengers. A Fairleigh Dickinson survey showed Kyrillos and Little polling at 31% each against Menendez, who leads both of the Republicans by 12 points (43%), according to NJ.com. A Quinnipiac poll showed Menendez favored against an unnamed Republican opponent by 11 points (46% to 35%), per NJ.com. In any event, NJ hasn't elected a Republican to the US Senate since the lengthy service (1955 to 1979) of Clifford P Case.

Menendez had a $7 million war chest as of September. Governor Christie plans to help Kyrillos with his fundraising, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Little seems an unlikely choice once things shake out. According to Politifact NJ's Truth-o-Meter, a recent Tea Party-style accusation by Little against Menendez was "Mostly False."

History: Gilbert McDermott Goes to Florida (Christmas 1881)

Page 3 of the 21 January 1882 edition of The Matawan Journal contained a 4 Jan 1882 letter to David A Bell, editor and proprietor of the newspaper, from Gilbert McDermott, a local insurance agent, who had traveled to Florida over the Christmas holidays, supposedly for health reasons.

Mr McDermott wrote to "Friend Bell" that they departed New York on Wednesday 14 December 1881 aboard the S S City of Columbus, which was commanded by Captain Fisher of Matawan. They hit high seas and most got seasick. "Many had a sad upheaving of their inward condition." The weather cleared off Cape Hatteras and life slowly returned to normal aboard ship.  Captain Fisher regaled the McDermotts with stories of his exploits at sea and gave them a tour of the pilot house. He gave Mr McDermott his spyglass and pointed out the lightship stationed off Cape Hatteras.

Revenue Cutter Dexter (left) comes to rescue survivors of City of Columbus wreck off the coast of Massachusetts (Wikimedia)

Wikipedia reports that the City of Columbus was built in 1878 and made runs between Boston and Savannah until it ran aground off Massachusetts in 1884 with a loss of life of 100.

The McDermotts debarked at Savannah on Saturday and boarded the City of Bridgeton. They sailed the Sea Island Route down to Fernandina, Florida. He found the St Johns River a "dreary waste as far as the eye could reach."

A connection to the City of Bridgeton (Sea Island Route) is mentioned in "The Official Railway Guide: North American Freight Service Edition," by the American Association of Passenger Traffic Officers (Philadelphia: 1881, National Railway Publication Service)
After an hour they reached Jacksonville, which he seemed to find uncomfortable due to the high percentage of African Americans there. He remarked that half of Jacksonville's 12,000 residents were black, with a "much thicker sprinkling of colored people" in town because it was Christmas time.

Black workers pack grapefruit at Jacksonville.
The city was well laid out, had a business district centered on Bay Street, had major utilities, many fine 3-story buildings, and a strong media (5 daily newspapers and a number of weeklies). Most anything you might want could be purchased, but the "walks of the town are mostly boards and in a poor condition, while the middle of the streets are a bed of sand, with no effort to improve them. Hence they use two-wheel carts principally for carting, with a mule between the shafts and a negro on the foreboard -- invariably."

Mr McDermott was disappointed that it had been raining a lot during their visit to Florida, with hot days in the Sun and cold, damp nights that required them to light a fire to keep warm. He pointed out that Jacksonville was surrounded by marshland and residents suffered with malaria. Board was available for $4-6 per night, even for $1/night under certain circumstances. He didn't like Jacksonville and didn't understand why doctors would refer their patients to go there.

He abandoned Jacksonville and went 120 miles south to Enterprise, Florida, where he was writing from. He found the place less cold and damp, with less fog, less "society" and more pines. They had nice accommodations on an orange grove with many fresh fruits and vegetables available.

The 1880 Federal Census enumerated Gilbert McDermott and his wife Mary as age 34 and living in Matawan Township. His occupation was as a life and fire insurance agent. David A Bell, also in the Township, was age 39 and was enumerated with his wife Isabella age 31 and their 11 month old infant son Arthur S Bell (born May 1879). David, an editor by occupation, and his mother were born in NJ but his father was born in England. Isabella and her parents were born in Maryland. Also in their household was Isabella's sister Sallie Shepard, age 24, also from Maryland, as well as a servant named Mary J Kemp, age 23.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gridlock At WTC PATH Station

True Stories From a Mosh Pit (Campus Socialite)

When the Port Authority closed its 33rd Street PATH station on Friday morning due to police action , a dangerous situation of a different sort unexpectedly arose at the World Trade Center PATH station. Dense crowds formed inside the station trying to get out to the street and nearby subways and buses, and those who took subways and buses to the WTC PATH station found a huge crowd outside trying to get in.

Passengers had headed to the WTC station in unusually large numbers -- those on their normal commute through WTC plus those who would normally have used the 33rd Street station. This excessive volume had caused a rare case of what we might call PATH gridlock. Unfortunately, the Port Authority was oblivious and left passengers to fend for themselves during this gridlock situation. Beyond the discomfort and delay, the crowding conditions became extreme and rife with potential danger.

The only sensible action taken by the Port Authority during the incident was to shut off the power to the dozen massive WTC escalators, presumably to keep passengers from reaching overcrowded landings and become injured and/or crush those already packed on the landings. People resorted to using the escalators like regular steps.

Since all but one of the escalators at WTC station were claimed by exiting passengers, only a single escalator was available for those seeking to go downstairs and catch a departing PATH train. A narrow pulse of passengers was slowly but steadily pressing through the crowd to that escalator. The rest of those hoping to enter the station massed across the station's frontage seeking a way in. The occasional stray pressed through the crowd the wrong way, not knowing the "arrangement," only to find that one "can't get there from here." The scene looked like one of those films of a cell under a microscope.

Passengers were packed like sardines on the upper platform, just outside the WTC station's newsstand. Indeed, the landing was a veritable mosh pit with currents of traffic moving this way and that. The crowd couldn't get out of the station normally because the people mobbed outside were blocking all but one of the potential exits. The crowds both inside and out were involved in the ultimate alternate merge as they pressed their respective masses of humanity into 2-abreast streams of people that could fit through the available ways out of and into the station. And you know how well New Yorkers handle alternate merges -- if not, just try it at the Holland Tunnel merges.

Those of us who had yet to reach the mosh pit landing were temporarily stranded on the steep escalators. It was take a step and wait. Wait some more. Take a step and wait. Repeat. In the meantime, we craned our necks trying in vain to see what was happening at street level. It was odd to stand motionless on the escalators. Conversations ensued as people pondered among themselves what was happening. All wanted to be on their way. Most were reasonably patient. All complained about the lack of public announcements.

I could have gone through life without this experience, but on the bright side it was reassuring to see that commuters cope well with bad traffic management. Luckily the mob remained calm, as a panic by even a few could have caused pandemonium and countless injuries, even deaths.

I have to say the Port Authority let PATH passengers down on Friday morning. Luckily things worked out okay, but it wasn't an obvious outcome. I hope officials study this occurrence and develop contingency plans for when this scenario plays out again. After all, it could have been a disaster.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Aberdeen Recycling May Become Easier in April 2012

Aberdeen Township hopes to change trash haulers as of 1 April, which should allow residents to throw cans, bottles, plastics and newspapers all into the same can and get rid of all recycling trash twice a month, according to a Township press release and APP. Such an arrangement would not only be easier for residents to manage, it would get the old cans and bottles out of the house more often. And there will be less of a penalty (a month's wait) for missing a recycling day.

If you're wondering, like I was, just how the sanitation company might deal with all our recyclables after we've jumbled them together and smooshed them into one big trash truck, see the Andela Pulverizer System for a discussion of how commingled recyclables can be processed. Presumably the new company will do something along these lines.

Until April, the current recycling regimen continues.

History: Curly Beauty Salon, Keyport (1952)

The Curly Beauty Salon at 71 Broad Street in Keyport was offering the popular "poodle cut" in its ad in the 17 Jan 1952 edition of The Matawan Journal. 

The ad read, "If you have been thinking about a POODLE CUT, here is your chance to do something about it! During January and February MR LARRY will cut and permanent wave this exquisite creation for a complete price of $12.50.

Here is your opportunity to be one of the
first to enjoy this pert, glamorous POODLE HAIRDO."

Lucille Ball, Lux Radio Theatre, 1951 (Wikimedia)
Short, soft and curly was in and straight hair was out. Lucille Ball's hair style (right) was the epitome of the poodle frenzy of the early 1950s, according to Fifties Web.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

History: $10/wk for Bus Commute Between Keyport and Port Authority (1967)

45 years ago, you could take the bus from Keyport to New York daily for a week (10 trip package) for $10, according to this ad for the Rollo Bus Terminal on Route 35 at Six Corners in the 19 Jan 1967 edition (pg 13) of The Matawan Journal. This was a typical commute for those who rode the bus in those days. (Today, Academy Lines offers a ten-trip package from Hazlet/Keansburg for $95, according to their online pricing schedule.)

Of course, in this same 1967 newspaper, Burger Chef was selling its burgers 2 for 69 cents; porterhouse steaks were selling at the grocery store for 89 cents/pound  a 3-bedroom house in perfect condition in Keyport with a formal dining room, fireplace, full basement and garage was selling for $18,500 (No money down for vets.); and a 4-bedroom 2 1/2 bath home in the Edgemere Drive section of Matawan Borough, with a formal dining room, family room, and 2-car garage was selling for $34,850.

By the way, The Matawan Journal (12 and 19 Jan 1967 editions) had nothing to say about the first Superbowl match between Green Bay and Kansas City, which was held 15 Jan 1967.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Our Inventive Region: US Patents in the Aberdeen Area Since 1976

The US Patent Office has an online database that allows you to search for details about the inventors and their inventions back to 1976.*

Feeling inventive? Check out how many patents were granted to inventors claiming the following hometowns in the last 35 years. If you dig around in the data, note how many of these inventors worked at AT&T, Merck, Hartford Insurance Co and other major corporations.
  • Aberdeen - 592
  • Belford - 102
  • Cliffwood Beach - 47
  • East Brunswick - 3,023
  • Edison -  4,451
  • Freehold - 1,925
  • Hazlet - 494
  • Holmdel -2,821
  • Keansburg - 55
  • Keasbey - 32
  • Keyport - 181
  • Leonardo - 120
  • Manalapan - 967
  • Marlboro - 1,206
  • Matawan - 1,143
  • Middletown - 2,450
  • Morganville - 1,044
  • Navesink - 18
  • Old Bridge - 758
  • Parlin - 240
  • Perth Amboy - 91
  • Sewaren - 28
  • South Amboy - 98
  • South River - 127
  • Union Beach - 31
  • Wickatunk - 2
  • Woodbridge - 522
* You can only search by patent number in this database between 1790 and 1975. Researchers must rely on the Patent Office's multi-volume annual reports during this earlier period. Perhaps I can access some random copies using inter-library loan to see what our local Matawan inventors were up to in the 19th century?

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Flu Shots

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has a flu shot finder tool at its website. Flu shots at CVS Pharmacy are $29.99, but they give you a $5 gift card. No appointment necessary but you can schedule one if you like. Walgreens was providing $10 million worth of vouchers on a first come first serve basis for the uninsured and those who cannot afford the flu shot, according to a 1 Dec 2011 article at NJ.com. You're supposed to check with your local health department for those vouchers. The Salisbury Patch says it isn't too late to get the shot, btw.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

History: Newberry's, Keyport (1953)

J J Newberry, which had a small Newberry's department store on West Front Street in Keyport at the time, ran an advertisement in the 5 March 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal. The ad coincided with the company's mass mailing of "thrift tickets" that provided customers 25 cents off on a $1.00 purchase at their stores. Shoppers were to check their mailboxes to be sure they received their tickets. If they didn't receive them, they were instructed to write to Newberry's in New York and let them know right away, presumably so they could send out new ones. And then it would be "Sandy MacTavish time!"

The ticket in the mail was meant to save customers money on purchases for their whole families. The country was about to fall into recession as the Korean War came to an end, so the economy was probably already tight. People needed to save money, and thrift stores were one way to save. Maybe that's why the Scotsman was so happy? In the ad he's jumping for joy at receiving his ticket, saying, "Hoot, mon. It's like finding a quarter-r-r!" (Note the rolling R's.That's his brogue, I presume.)

We could all use a thrift ticket these days.

Newberry's advertisement (1953)

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Happened in 1012?

Benedict VIII (Wikimedia)
A thousand years ago in 1012, there was a complex succession in the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Sergius IV died after only a year in power and Theophylactus succeeded him as Pope Benedict VIII. Gregory VI attempted to claim the shoes of the fisherman but had little support and was forced to flee Rome. After spending two years in Germany as Antipope, but the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II eventually defanged him, leaving Benedict VIII, the 143rd leader of the Catholic Church at Rom, to rule until his death in 1024.The notorious Pope Benedict IX was born in 1012. He would be one of the youngest popes and the only one to sell the papacy.

In 1012, a year after the Baghdad Manifesto, Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr al-Lah (Ruler of God's Command) entered the third of his three distinct periods of rule. This period marked an end to al-Hakim's persecution of non-Muslims and an effort towards acceptance of Christians and Jews who refused to convert to Islam. He was the first Fatimid ruler to be born in Egypt.

St Alphage is asked for advice. Painting by Vincent of Beauvais (c 1400-1410)(Wikimedia)
In 1012, Vikings killed Alphage, the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom they had taken hostage in 1011. He refused to allow payment of a ransom, so he was murdered by his captors.

Cai Xiang, Chinese calligrapher (Wikimedia)

Chinese politician Cai Xiang, the most famous calligrapher of the Song Dynasty, was born in what is now the Fujian Province in 1012. Among his accomplishments, Cai would pioneer the manufacture of an  expensive, much sought out variety of dragon tribute tea cake.

History: Matawan Creek Trestle Fire (1946)

The 12 Dec 1946 edition of The Matawan Journal (Page 1 , Page 2, col 4) featured an article (Rail Service Is Disrupted By Fire; Matawan Trestle Blaze Razes Crossing Over Creek, Meadows;  Rush Repair Project) which reported a major fire had caused the utter destruction of the 60 year old all-timber Matawan Creek railroad trestle a little past 7 a.m. the previous Friday (6 Dec 1946).

"[T]he flames from the creosoted timbers lit up the morning sky and dense clouds of smoke drifted southeast over Matawan," according to the Journal, which described the 1004 foot trestle as having stood 75 feet above the creek.

Railroad workers suspected arson, this being the third trestle fire in the region in 6 days.

It was first thought that the fire was the work of an arsonist. Police Chief Edwin C. Sloat and many firemen held to this belief in the early stages of the investigation. Investigators called attention to the fact that the Matawan fire was the third railroad trestle fire in the metropolitan district within six days. They seemed to think, too, that it might be more than mere coincidence that each of the fires began in the darkest morning period just before dawn.
The first of the series destroyed the Pennsylvania Railroad's wooden trestle at Seaside Park. The second broke out on a span of the Long Island Railroad—subsidiary of the Pennsylvania—between Hammels and Broad Channel on Jamaica Bay.

Sparks, or live coals, from steam engines might conceivably have started the Matawan and. Seaside fires, it was said, but engineers have strict orders against dumping fires at either place. The theory that sparks struck from the third rail might have started the Long Island blaze has been advanced but it was pointed out that no trains are scheduled over that span between 2:30 a.m. and 6:25 a.m.
Firemen holding to the arson theory pointed out that the Matawan fire appeared to have broken out in three different parts of the trestle and spread rapidly along the oil and-creosote-soaked timbers, despite the fact the wind was blowing from the north rather than from the east or west, the direction in which the bridge runs.

The flagman said he first noticed the flames at three different places at the trestle's base. When the engines arrived the blaze had made terrific headway and firemen fought a losing fight to save the structure.

The fire caused caused immediate confusion for 10,000+ commuters on two railroad lines, but the NY & LBRR responded quickly. Passengers were soon being re-routed via bus service provided between Matawan and South Amboy. And trains from the Freehold line were being rerouted to Jamesburg and joining service at South Amboy. Others found alternate means. "Many commuters have put wartime car pool systems into operation, driving into South Amboy where the normal train service is not affected."

The railroad contracted the J Rich Steers Construction Co of New York to replace the span. More than 150 workers were soon laboring 24 hours a day to erect a temporary trestle with one track. Tidal flooding was causing some delays, but NY & LBRR expected service to be restored on its trestle in two weeks.

Current map showing relative locations of Aberdeen-Matawan RR station (green), Main Street crossing (yellow), and Matawan Creek trestle (red). The map is oriented north. Garden State Parkway Exit 117 can be seen on right.
John Fritz, the flagman at the Main Street crossing (railroad crossings had people to tend them at this time in history), discovered the fire not long after the 5:40 am train passed through. The blaze was several hundred feet northwest of that crossing. Note that the fire was said to be east of Main Street, but that is in regional railroad terms. Trains heading from Matawan to New York are said to be eastbound because that is the direction they are going when they cross the Hudson River into New York. The trestle was actually northwest of the Main Street crossing. (see map above)

A few administrative notes:

1) A photo of the blaze was taken by a professional photographer at dawn, just before the trestle collapsed. It appeared on the front page of the newspaper. The quality of the online version of the photograph is terrible. Someone should make sure the Borough, Library, and/or Historical Society have a version of that John Mershon photograph for posterity.

2) The online image of this edition of the newspaper goes Page 1, Page 10, Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, etc.  Since this story continues on Page 2, you will want to be aware of this error if you plan to view it online.

3) New Jersey History's Mysteries has an image of a postcard labeled Matawan Creek, Matawan, NJ showing what appears to be a bridge over Matawan Creek, presumably Aberdeen Road, with the trestle looming in the background. The caption suggests that this is where the body of Lester Stillwell was recovered.

4) Railroad Picture Archives has an album called Abandoned Railroads of NJ with a 2009 image labeled Matawan Creek Trestle. The overhead catenary lines suggest the North Jersey Coast Line tracks between Long Branch and South Amboy, but the wooden trestle looks to be only a single track. I'm rather perplexed by the image.

5) I found the article below on the Matawan Creek trestle while researching this piece. It is unrelated to the above but might come in handy in your researching the span.

The NY & LBRR are storing heavy timber at Matawan, preparatory to the usual winter repair of the trestle over Matawan Creek. (17 Oct 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 5)