A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

MAMS Student Among State Finalists at 2012 Geo Bee

Brian Slobotsky, an eighth-grader at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School, was among the eight finalists out of 100 contestants at the state round of the 2012 National Geographic Bee, held on Friday at Rowan University in Glassboro, according to NJ.com. The winner, from Monmouth Junction, will vie for the national championship in late May.

Mr Slobotsky has been mentioned in three articles at The Patch: a 26 January 2012 piece mentioned his third place win at the local level of the VFW's Patriot's Pen national essay contest; an 18 Nov 2011 piece lauded his perfect score on the NJ ASK; and the most recent item, dated 15 Mar 2012, announced his qualification for the above geobee.

Congratulations to Mr Slobotsky, but also to his parents and the teachers and administrators at MAMS who promote such a thirst for knowledge of geography.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jeanne Ann (Dzwil) Jackson, MRHS Graduate, Dead at 53

Matawan Regional High School graduate Jeanne Ann (Dzwil) Jackson, of Bridgeton, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 53, according to a 27 Mar 2012 online article at The Daily Journal, which covers Vineland, Millville, and Greater Cumberland County. She served the City of Bridgeton for the past 17 years, most recently as director of economic development.

The deceased's mother, Shirley Dzwil, lives in Matawan.  I  wrote a blog article earlier this month about the death of Joseph Dzwil, who was very likely the brother of the deceased's late father, Stanley Dzwil.

Condolences to the deceased's family and many friends.

Moody's Lowers Aberdeen's Municipal Bond Rating

Moody's Investor Service announced on 27 Mar 2012 that it had lowered the municipal bond rating of Aberdeen, NJ to Aa3 from A1 due to the township's "weakened financial position following fund balance draws in each of the last seven years." This will raise the cost of borrowing on nearly $15 million in outstanding bonds.

It's been 3 days and I've seen nothing about this in the Asbury Park Press, the Patch, or even in Google Alerts. I had to hear about it from one of my anonymous readers. I, for one, would be very interested in some journalistic coverage of this major story.

History: Easter Fashion, Steinbach Co, Asbury Park (1926)

Below is a sampling of a full page ad from page 2 of the 26 March 1926 edition of The Matawan Journal, which urged the stylish Christian woman of the Roaring Twenties to buy her Easter clothing and accessories at Steinbach's of Asbury Park. The ad certainly testifies to the utter gravity of fashion long faced by the average woman attending worship on high holy days.  

— that great anticipated day when every whisper of Spring brings to every fashion-loving woman an impulse to match the freshness of the season with new togs and to sally forth — for this occasion and the gay days to follow, we've been preparing. With hurried trips to the fashion centers of Europe; with numerous, nimble little fingers skillfully active in our own workrooms; with interesting, new assortments — the Steinbach Shops are gloriously ready for Easter!

Frocks Gay as Spring's Own Days

And its by their simplicity of line — with of course an occasional flare or pleat here and there; by their fascinating new mezzo colors and lastly by their flattering new materials that you'll recognize the smartest new models one would choose for the Easter wardrobe. All frocks of infinite distinction — fashioned of georgettes, silk crepes and many times of lace. And priced $16.50 to $59.50.

Simplicity Marks the Smartest Coats

Debonair and slender — debonair and flaring are the ways of the new coats for Easter. But the secret of their smartness of discovered in their simplicity of styling. Many flaunt graceful capes, many are trimly appliqued with taffeta but nearly all are collared with soft, flattering furs. Strictly mannish models disclose vivid linings and facings and achieve their trig with ingenious tailoring. $24.50 to $79.50.

The Small Hat Tops the Easter Mode

The woman who would top her Easter costume smartly chooses her chapeau with the same care grandmother did her spring bonnet — and that was an occasion indeed! With the same indicism too perhaps when so many intriguing models are showing in the Steinbach Millinery Salon. Charming hats from famous Parisian ateliers and cleverest impore copies are here — the small hat with draped crown, berets, chic close fitting models and simply tailored hats. $8.50 to $50.00.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

History: Downes Pontiac, Matawan (1958)

The 27 Mar 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 2 col 4) contained this large ad for Downes Pontiac, 62-66 Lower Main Street in Matawan. Phone was MAtawan1-2299.

Wish you could afford this beauty? You can -- It's America's No 1 Value! If you've had your eye on this big, bold action car -- well, just stop dreaming and price it! You're in for a very happy surprise. . . a surprise matched only by the thrill of your first exciting turn behind the wheel. And when you see all that Pontiac gives you as standard equipment you'll agree that it's today's biggest money's worth.
  • Road-leveling 124" wheelbase on Super Chief and Star Chief.
  • Industry's most advanced V-8 Tempest 395 on every model at no extra cost.
  • Industry's widest selection of long-lasting Lucite lacquer on Star Chief and Bonneville models at no extra cost.
  • Smoother riding oversize tires on every model at no extra cost.
  • Genuine top grade leather on Star Chief and Bonneville models at no extra cost.
Get the facts and you'll get a Pontiac.

The 11 Oct 1951 edition of The Matawan Journal carried the ad below for Downes Pontiac. Little Chief Pontiac and his horse are prominently featured in this piece, which encouraged customers to winterize their cars by showing the horse outfitted in ear muffs, scarf and boots. The address appeared as 62-6 Lower Main Street in Matawan. Phone was MA1-2299.

The 29 Jan 1942 edition of The Matawan Journal contained the ad below for the Downes Pontiac service shop. They used Wolf's Head Oil. The address appeared as 62 Lower Main Street. Phone was 2299.

 The 10 Apr 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal includes an article reporting a regional sales award given to George "Goldie" Downes, the senior salesman at Robert G Thixton Chevrolet of Matawan. Downes sold over a hundred Chevrolets in a year, so he was presented a $75 award from Chevrolet's 100 Car Club festivities at the New York Athletic Club.

Harold Strickland operated the local Pontiac dealership in Matawan, according to 24 Feb 1938 edition of The Matawan Journal. Strickland's Pontiac was located at 114 Main Street in Matawan and had telephone 1688, according to the 10 May 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal. Strickland's was pushing the idea of a car as a Christmas gift in the ad below from the 20 Dec 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal.

George G Downes was born 5 Jun 1904, the son of Hiram and Sarah Downes. He lived in his parents' home in Marlboro in the 1920 Federal Census, with his widowed mother in Freehold in the 1930 Federal Census, and with his wife Irene (34 NJ), son George A (3 NJ), and niece Ellen R Mills (15 NJ) at 48 Chandler Street in Keyport in the 1940 Federal Census. He died 23 May 1988 in Red Bank. 

I hope to update this article at a later date with more details about the history of this firm.
If you happen to know something about its origins, owners, etc, send me a note.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cliffwood Beach Seawall - Where's the Gravel Going?

Most of the Cliffwood Beach seawall has gravel along the walkway.

Recently, the gravel is disappearing in whole sections. Is someone taking it or tossing it into the bay?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

History: Agriculture in The Matawan Journal (1910)

It's easy to forget how much our area was steeped in agriculture a hundred years ago.

Charles A Geran's hardware store in Matawan sold commercial and home garden seeds; farm and garden implements; and, of course, household hardware items. The above advertisement, which appeared in the 24 Mar 1910 edition of The Matawan Journal, featured Planet Jr farm and garden implements. Cole Planter Company, of Albany, Georgia, which still manufactures and sells the Planet Jr these days, was founded in 1900.

In the same edition of the paper:

W A Tanney, of Marlboro, was selling 1,000 bushels of first-class corn, 20 tons of first-class rye straw, 50 first-class small pigs, and 2 first-class Guernsey cows.

The Straw Shop in San Carlos, California, sells natural and colored straw to artists today. A quarter-pound package of artist-quality rye straw sells for $25. I'm not sure what Tanney would get for 50 small pigs these days.

Thomas Matthews, R D No. 2, was selling a two-horse farm wagon and a double set of harness, as well as asparagus plants and hot-bed sashes.

I wasn't sure what hot-bed sashes were and Wikipedia totally let me down. I eventually found a picture (left) of hot-bed sashes at an expired online sale at a popular listing site. Then I found a very old (1847) gardening book online that referred to them as being used by a farmer to cover a garden box in which one could grow grapes even where the weather wouldn't permit it.

The means of raising the finest of foreign grapes are within the reach of any man who has a garden and a few hot-bed sashes.

The vinery in question is, in fact, nothing more than a large hot-bed frame of rough boards, the back wall being a board fence about ten feet high, the front three feet high, the sides sloping to it, and rafters across of sufficient strength to support the hot-bed sashes.

Source: The Horticulturist and the Journal of Rural Taste, Vol 1, pg 269, published by Luther Tucker, 1847, found at Google Books

The Sheriff Gordon Farm in Madison Township was available for rent to a good tenant in the 1910 Matawan Journal. The property was sold four years later, according to the 30 May 1914 edition of The South Amboy Citizen, pg 10.

Sheriff Gordon Farm Sold

The Sheriff Gordon farm in Madison Township has been sold by Augustus Chandler of Long Branch, the executor of the estate, to Edward Fairer of Lyndhurst, N. J. The consideration has not been learned, although the property was held at $15,000. There were over 250 acres in the place, with two dwellings, large outbuildings and it has a small frontage on Cheesequake Creek. The property had been in the family for over a century, the late Mrs. Gordon inheriting it from her father, the late Obadiah Burlew, who also owned the Court Gordon and Alfred Burlew farms adjacent to it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

History: Eli F Cooley, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Matawan (1820-1823)

Eli Field Cooley was the first full time pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Matawan (then Middletown Point) after the church was burned to the ground by the British in 1777.  The small congregation had been served by a series of pulpit supplies for over thirty years. (Source: Presbyterians Pioneer at Matawan, pg 28)

Rev Cooley served as pulpit supply at Middletown Point on 7 Jun 1819 and was paid $3.00. He and the trustees subsequently exchanged three letters in August and September 1819 to negotiate his salary and seal the deal. Subscriptions from the congregation were solicited to fund a full time pastorate. Rev Cooley accepted the call a year later, on 31 Aug 1820. (Source: Presbyterians Pioneer at Matawan, pp 28-29)

The church consisted of only fourteen members when Rev Cooley arrived in 1820. The membership list: William Lawson, James Van Nuye, Lewis Conover, Benijah Harvey, Daniel Van Voorhees, Samuel Donaldson,William Toan, Elizabeth Schenck, Mary Walton, Margaret Donaldson, Catherine Conover, Anna Cotterill, Deborah Little, and Catherine Walton. (Source: Presbyterians Pioneer at Matawan, pg 29)

Once Rev Cooley arrived, church membership nearly tripled in less than a year. A Missionary Society was established in 1821, a formal Sunday School was formed, and a committee was named to discuss construction of a parsonage. The pastor was living in a building on a short street at the rear of the Bedle property at the corner of what is now Route 34 and Main Street. Joseph D Bedle, elected Governor of NJ in 1875, was born in that same house. (Source: Presbyterians Pioneer at Matawan, pp 29- 31)

Unfortunately the subscriptions meant to sustain a full time pastor didn't suffice. There would be no parsonage built. In fact, a pew rental scheme was devised in Apr 1822 to try to fund the Reverend's salary. Rev Cooley terminated his pastoral relationship with Matawan on 23 Apr 1823. The church would be in the hands of pulpit supplies for the next five years. (Source: Presbyterians Pioneer at Matawan, pg 31)

Biographical Notes

Eli Field Cooley was born in Sunderland, Franklin County, Massachusetts on 15 October 1781, son of Rinnah and Lucy Field Cooley. The 1850 census said he was born in Massachusetts,while the 1860 schedule said he was born in Connecticut. The death record would have been provided by his third wife, Amy, who likely didn't know his family lineage, while the 1850 record would have been provided by Eli himself. (Sources: Descendants of Henry Scudder, Ancestry Message Boards, 22 Jun 2002; 1850 Federal Census in New Jersey; 1860 Federal Mortality Schedule in New Jersey)

Rev Cooley received his BA (1806) and MA( 1809) from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). The Presbytery of New Brunswick licensed him as a preacher of the gospel in 1809. (Source: "Eli Field Cooley, DD, Family Correspondence 1820-1857," by Clark Hutchinson, 1982, published in New Jersey Postal History (NJPH), Vol X No 5, Whole Number 50, Nov 1982, pp 55-59, pp 3-7 online.)

Rev Cooley married Hannah Scudder, daughter of Colonel William Scudder, on 15 Oct 1807 by the Rev Samuel Stanhope Smith DD. She died 6 Apr 1817, aged 29, and was buried at Cherry Valley, NY. The ladies of the Presbyterian church there erected a monument saying, "To the memory of one whom it were unpardonable to lay down in silence, and of whom it were difficult to speak with justice; for her true character will look like flattery, and the least abatement of it is an injury to her memory."  (Source: "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books, pp 46-47.)

Rev Cooley and Hannah had children: a daughter, unnamed, lost in infancy; William Scudder Cooley; Sarah Lucinda Cooley; Catharine Cooley; Hannah Maria Cooley, born in Cherry Valley, NY and died 12 Oct 1843 and buried in the Ewing church graveyard;  and Samuel Stanhope Smith Cooley. (Source: "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books, pp 46-47)

He received his first call to ministry in 1810 at Cherry Valley, New York, where he served until 1820. (Source: "Eli Field Cooley, DD, Family Correspondence 1820-1857," by Clark Hutchinson, 1982, published in New Jersey Postal History (NJPH), Vol X No 5, Whole Number 50, Nov 1982, pp 55-59, pp 3-7 online.)

Incident in Cherry Valley - fate of Jane Wells (Library of Congress)
Cherry Valley was the site of a horrific massacre on 11 Nov 1778 during the American Revolution. Thirty non-combatant settlers plus a number of armed defenders were said to have been killed by a force including Loyalists, British troops, and Seneca and Mohawk Indians.

Rev Cooley took over the pulpit at the Cherry Valley Presbyterian Church from a Rev Isaac Lewis, of nearby Cooperstown, who had found the church leaderless in 1804 and began to impose his Congregationalist leanings on the church. Rev Lewis is said to have imagined that he was establishing the church anew, despite the fact that the church had been founded in 1740. Rev Cooley, arriving in 1810, found that the congregation had wandered from the Westminster Confession of Faith, adopted by the church in 1768, and instead adopted a statement of faith and covenant of a Congregational nature more to Lewis' liking.

"Mr. COOLEY, better acquainted with the Presbyterian ways, brought this anomaly in the practice of the church to the notice of session, and appended a note to the record, stating that 'the session thinks it not proper to require it of members, inasmuch as the printed confession of the Presbyterian church (i.e. the Westminster) clearly and fully express all articles of faith and practice derived from the Word of God.' (1811.)
Source: The History of Otsego County, New York, 1740-1878, by D Hamilton Hurd; Church Histories - Cherry Valley - Presbyterian Church, available online at USGENWEB)

Eli F Cooley, of Trenton, married Catharine Burrowes Henderson in 1818 and had two children. (Source: Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Early Settlers of New Jersey and Their Descendants, Vol III, by John E Stillwell, MD, p 145, published in New York, no publisher noted.)

Eli F Cooley's second wife was Catharine Henderson, daughter of Thomas and Rachel (Burrows) Henderson. (Source: Minnesota Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications (1889-1970), Ancestry.com. The applicant was James Courtenay Hening, grandson of Eli and Catharine and son of their daughter Rachel. James was born in Steubenville, Ohio.)

Eli and Catharine had children: Rachel Henderson Cooley; and Mary Green Cooley. (Source: "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books, pp 46-47)

He resigned his position at Cherry Valley in 1820, in part due to his wife's ill health, and he accepted a call at Middletown Point (now First Presbyterian Church in Matawan), where he served until 1823. (Source: "Eli Field Cooley, DD, Family Correspondence 1820-1857," by Clark Hutchinson, 1982, published in New Jersey Postal History (NJPH), Vol X No 5, Whole Number 50, Nov 1982, pp 55-59, pp 3-7 online.)

Rev Cooley's decision to locate in Middletown Point at a time of his wife's ill health is very likely connected to his wife's parents being residents of the Matawan area. Catharine's mother, Rachel (Burrowes) Henderson, born Sep 1751, was the daughter of Major John Burrowes (1718 - Sep 1785) and his wife, the widow Hope (Taylor) Watson. Rachel's father, who died in 1785, had been a prominent figure in town, having survived the burning of his mill by the British and their invasion of his homestead (known now as Burrowes Mansion, on Main Street in Matawan) during the American Revolution. John and Hope were buried next to each other at the old Mount Pleasant Presbyterian graveyard on Route 516 near Route 79. (Source: Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Early Settlers of New Jersey and Their Descendants, Vol III, by John E Stillwell, MD, pp 140-41, 145, published in New York, no publisher noted.)

{See the top of page for my notes on his 1820 - 1823 ministry at Middletown Point, NJ.}

Ewing Presbyterian Church
Rev Cooley accepted a call at Trenton First (Ewing Presbyterian Church) in 1823. He became a trustee at Princeton and earned his Doctor of Divinity from Rutgers University in 1856. He retired in 1857 and died in 1860. (Source: "Eli Field Cooley, DD, Family Correspondence 1820-1857," by Clark Hutchinson, 1982, published in New Jersey Postal History (NJPH), Vol X No 5, Whole Number 50, Nov 1982, pp 55-59, pp 3-7 online.)

Eli F Cooley was head of household in the 1830 Federal Census in Trenton, Hunterdon County, NJ.

"At the reopening of the First Presbyterian Church of Trenton - now the Presbyterian Church of Ewing - the Rev Dr Eli F Cooley preached a sermon, Sabbath morning, December 1st 1839, on the text "Your Fathers: where are they? and the Prophets: Do they live forever?" (Zechariah 1:5). In the preparation of this discourse, he gathered a large amount of genealogical information concerning the families of his congregation. This led him to engage in further research into the history of that section of the county and of families under his pastoral care. In 1842 he wrote for the 'State Gazette', at Trenton, a series of papers relative to the first settlement of Hopewell, and in 1844, Barber and Howe's 'Historical Collections of the State of New Jersey' was published, with much of the article on Mercer county known to have been prepared by Dr Cooley. His information, he said, was collected from the examination of deeds and wills, from surveys and family Bibles, and from daily conversation with aged persons of his acquaintance. During the latter part of his life, it was his intention to publish the result of his labors, but this pleasure was denied him. Prof. William S Cooley, of Philadelphia, a gentleman eminently fitted to continue the researches made by his father. For many years, he devoted much time to verifying and amplifying these family records.  .  . He, too, in the last years of his life, had begun to copy, for publication, the result of his own and his father's researches. He died Februaary 7th, 1882, and the manuscript notes of both grandfather and uncle came into possession of Miss Hannah L Cooley, of Ewing, Mercer county, NJ. Many efforts have since been made by persons interested in these records to have them printed, and at their urgent solicitation, Miss Cooley has prepared them for the press. . . ."  (Source: Preface to "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books.)

Eli F Cooley was head of household in the 1840 Federal Census in Ewing, Mercer County.

The 1850 Federal Census for New Jersey showed Eli F Cooley, 68 years old, born in Massachusetts, as head of household in Ewing Township, Mercer County. He was listed as an OSP Clergyman. He had $11,000 in property. His wife was Catherine V Cooley, age 67, born in New Jersey. Also in the household was John Stein, age 20, born in Ireland, who was listed as a farm hand.

Eli Cooley's second wife, Catharine, died in 1854 and was buried in Springfield, Illinois. (Source: "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books, pp 46-47)

Eli Cooley married a third time, to Amy Reading, daughter of Pierson Reading.  (Source: "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books, pp 47, 200)

There was an Eli F Cooley who was a manager in the NJ State Government in Mercer County, NJ in 1859. (Source: The 1859 Business Directory for Essex, Union and Hudson Counties, New Jersey, by Ann Borden, published in 1859 in Toms River, NJ, republished in 2001 by the Generations Network, Provo, UT, indexed but full text unavailable online at Ancestry.com. This record seems dubious.)

Rev Eli F Cooley, born in Connecticut; died in Apr 1860 at age 79 of paralysis (sic paryslysis) in Ewing Township, NJ. Occupation: OSP (Old School Presbyterian) Clergyman. He was married. (Source: 1860 Federal Mortality Schedule for Hamilton, Mercer County, NJ)

In 1883, Hannah Louisa Cooley published the genealogical research of her late grandfather and late uncle, Eli Field Cooley (1781-1860) and William Scudder Cooley, respectively "Genealogy of Early Settlers in Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ" (Source: Preface to "Genealogy of the Early Settlers of Trenton and Ewing, Old Hunterdon County, NJ.," by Eli Field Cooley and his son William Scudder Cooley, and published by Eli's granddaughter and William's niece, Hannah L Cooley, available online at Google Books)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

African-American Series: Robbery, Flight, and Capture in Matawan (1893)

The 5 Aug 1893 edition of The Matawan Journal carried this front page story about a young African-American man who robbed a local store, was pursued by the authorities, caught, and taken to jail in Freehold.



Her Loss Soon Learned and the Thief Pursued and Captured - Lodged In Freehold Jail

On Monday morning a colored boy, who gave his name as James F. Johnson, visited Miss Mary McDoal's store and bought a pair of socks. He left them there after paying for them and made a circuit of several other stores, making small purchases in some and inquiring for goods in others which he knew they did not keep. All the time he was making observations and revolving in his mind which store would yield him the most money by stealing. He seemed to fancy Miss MoDoal's as he went there a second time to get his socks and make another purchase, but what he wanted Miss McDoal was out of. He then inquired if she kept ice cream and when told that she did he said he wanted a plate. Miss McDoal went in a rear room to get the cream and the colored youth remained in the store part. When she went to appraise him that it was ready he could not be found, and thinking everything was not just right she went to the place where she generally kept her money and found it was gone. There were two boxes of it and he took both of them. She gave the alarm immediately and a number of small boys started after him. He was seen to go down the ally past Mr. Schock's store and over the white bridge. He was followed that far and disappeared in Mr. Hankinson's grape vineyard, where he evidently made for the railroad track. Marshal Thompson was notified and he was soon after him with Constable Winterton. Together they ran him down and captured him near Avery & Bushnell's brickyard. He was brought back to Miss McDoal's, who identified him. Mr. Winterton had taken the money away from him and put it on the counter. It was in a handkerchief securely tied up and made a heavy load. He had thrown away the boxes in which the money originally was, as they loaded him down too much and hindered his progress.

Miss McDoal was uncertain as to how much money she had, but thought somewhere about $40. After the handkerchief was untied, the bills, silver and pennies were soon overhauled and while this was being done Johnson said 32 cents of that money was his and Miss McDoal counted out the money and gave it to him. When asked what made him do such a thing, he replied, "I am in tough luck." Whether he meant it was "tough" to be caught after getting away with the money, or that his luck had gone back on him and he was induced to steal to secure the means to get along is unknown.

Constable Winterton took Johnson to Esquire Bissell's office, where Miss McDoal made the necessary complaint and he was soon on his way to Freehold. Johnson gave several places as his home, Chicago being the principal one. He afterward said he was from Indiana, but just what place was not learned. He gave his age as 17 years old last April. In appearance he was undersize, but had a pleasant face and was very fairly dressed. He had been down to Asbury Park for some time and had been in Matawan but a few hours when prompted to commit the robbery. The amount he returned was $43.70, $23 being in bills and the rest in silver and pennies.

If his demeanor before the upper Court is as bold as before Justice Bissell, Johnson will very likely get a long sentence. He has had considerable experience in this world and in actions is somewhat older than his appearance would indicate. His early capture reflects credit upon the officers as in a very short time he would have been beyond their jurisdiction.

Who Is Mitt Romney? Remember This Eminem Song?

History: Ladies Day Excursions to New York (1956)

The Jersey Central Lines Pennsylvania Railroad ran this ad in the 22 Mar 1956 edition of The Matawan Journal encouraging stir crazy housewives to send their husbands off to work and sons to who-knows-where (but well dressed) and take a train into the city, presumably to shop or do whatever it is women did during the day in the 1950s. (It's unclear what they were supposed to do with their daughters.) The Ladies Day round-trip non-peak fare from Red Bank into New York City was only $1.85.

Did you ever see Revolutionary Road? Just think, the 2012 Presidential election could bring back that perspective on the role of women and girls. And you thought that argument was mostly over...

History: Palm Sunday Church Directory, Matawan Journal (1956)

Source: sundayschoollessons.com
In anticipation of Palm Sunday services in the Christian community, the 22 Mar 1956 edition of The Matawan Journal included a Church Directory on page 5 with the following list of area churches, their addresses and their leaders:

Trinity Episcopal Church
Address: Main Street, Matawan
Rector: Rev. Bernard McK Garlick

First Baptist Church
Address: 232 Main Street, Matawan
Pastor: Rev. Lawrence R Bailey

First Methodist Church
Address: Main Street, Matawan
Pastor: Rev. Albert D Curry

Bayview Presbyterian Church
Address: Cliffwood Beach
Pastor: Rev. Francis Osterstock
Rev Charles S Webster, Moderator of the Presbytery of Monmouth, would preside over a service of dedication; Prof W J Beeners, of Princeton Theological Seminary, would preach the sermon, "What Makes A Church?" A separate article said the church held a congregational dinner on 21 March to celebrate its 6th anniversary as a church.

Spring Valley Community Church
Address: --
Pastor: A Thomas Clayton

David's Emmanuel Tabernacle Apostolic Faith
Address: Roosevelt Avenue, Cliffwood
Pastor: Rev. Ruth Dupree

Emmanuel Assemblies of God
Address: Middle Road, North Centerville
Pastor: Rev. Elias Ellison

First Presbyterian Church
Address: 216 Main Street, Matawan
Pastor: Rev Chester A Galloway
Services to be held at the Matawan High School auditorium (in the wake of the church fire months earlier)

Keyport Reformed Church
Address: Warrren Street, Keyport
Pastor: Rev. Roderick N DeYoung

First Church of Christ Scientist
Address: 84 Broad Street, Keyport

Assembly of God
Address: Farrington Road, Cheesequake
Pastor: Mrs Elizabeth Schmitt

Cliffwood Community Methodist Church
Address: --
Pastor: Rev. Richard Yausky

Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Address: Maple Place, Keyport
Pastor: Rev. Frederick Boos

Morganville Methodist Church
Address: Route 79, Morganville
Pastor: Rev. William B Magsam

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Matawan Journal Advertisers (Sep 1869)

The third issue of The Matawan Journal was published as The Monthly Advertiser in Sep 1869. Below is a rundown of the businesses and businessmen and women appearing in this 4-page leaflet, most as advertisers.

Page 1
  • Dr J G Shackleton, physician and surgeon with offices at his drug store in Matawan
  • J P Geran, dentist, Matawan (opposite the bank) and Freehold (opposite the Freehold National Banking Company)
  • William L Atkinson, house, sign and ornamental painter, with a shop in the rear of Fountain, Horner and Sons' store, Matawan.
  • Doctor McKinney, office at his drug store, Main Street, Matawan
  • William D Bailey, manufacturer of sashes, blinds, doors, moldings, etc, Main Street, Matawan
  • Vanschoick and Dunn, manufacturers of stone and earthenware and draining tile, Matawan
  • James Reid, painting, graining, marbling, glazing, etc, office at his residence on Main Street (above the tannery)
  • Doctor W Hodgson, office at Lockport, NJ
  • John Aumock, clocks and sewing machines cleaned, repaired and for sale, Matawan
Page 2
  •  C T Bailey, -- and Provision Store, at the old stand of D P Bailey, opposite the tannery, at the upper edge of the village. The store has been re-opened and stocked with the choicest groceries, provisions, and liquor.
  • George W Bell's drug store, Matawan, featuring Ring's Vegetable Ambrosia for gray hair by Philander Ring
  • Warren Ward and Company, Spring Street and Crosby St, New York
  • Timetable for the Propeller S S Wyckoff, Matawan
  • F C Wells and Company, Fulton Street, NY, featuring Butler's Balsamic Mixture
  • George W Bell's drug store, Matawan, featuring Wistar's Balsam, with a testimony by Isaiah Hoff, who lived near Keyport
  • A T Howard, Principal, Glenwood Collegiate Institute, Matawan
  • Dr Hodgson's drug store, Lockport, NJ
  • There was a fire at Mrs Scott's Fancy Store, Keyport
  • One of three furnaces caught fire at O H Dudley and Company canning factory, Keyport
Page 3
  • G W Bell's drug store, Matawan, featuring an impedient treatment for hair
  • David A Bell, Matawan, agent for Globe Mutual Life Insurance Company, New York
  • George W Bell, druggist, Matawan, featuring perfumes and fancy articles
  • A H Harris, store adjoins Longstreet and Bray's lumber yard
  • D H Wyckoff and Company, selling coal
  • Schanck and Holbrook, dry goods
  • Mealio and Sickel's, Matawan, at the stand once occupied by Theo Fountain
  • S Steinbrink, clothing and gentleman's furnishings store, opposite the bank, Matawan
Page 4
  • T E Clark, millinery and fancy store, 2 doors above M Bissell's furniture warerooms
  • Thomas I ---, Middletown, dry goods, groceries
  • Henry J James, jeweler, Matawan
  • D H Wyckoff, Matawan, selling a second-hand Lillie's safe
  • Bell's impedient for hair
  • D A Bell, life insurance agent
  • George W Bell and Son, Matawan, selling Bell's Magnetic Liniment, with personal testimonies from Peter Lambertson of Jacksonville, NJ; Daniel Mack, Matawan; William Pitman, Matawan; Dayton T Manning, Matawan; A Pitman, Matawan; Edwin Wilmer, President, Manhattan Brick Company; Daniel Mehegan (?), Matawan; Gilbert W Conover, George Hunsinger; L B Battin (?), Paterson.
  • Martin Bissell, furniture
  • Stove and Tin Emporium, Matawan, with testimony of Gordon D White.
  • S Steinbrink, clothing and gentlemen's furnishing store, opposite the bank, Matawan
  • Brannin and Company, owned by Luke Brannin, J B Reid, and A S Dunlop, operated the Matawan Carriage Factory
  • William Spader, dealer in lumber, hardware, cutlery, with offices at Washington Hall, Matawan
  •  D B Strong, agent for Singer sewing machines, Monmouth county
  •   H and K H Wyckoff, wheelwrights and blacksmiths, Main Street, Matawan

Saturday, March 17, 2012

History: Two Undertakers in Matawan (1893)

The 16 Dec 1893 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 3 col 5) had advertisements for two local undertakers.

1) Arrowsmith Brothers, undertakers and arterial embalmers, at the Old Stand, Matawan, NJ.  Whole outfit new and first class. Prices reasonable. Everything required for funerals, from the plainest to the most elaborate, constantly on hand. Have also a stock of new folding chairs for funeral and other purposes. Prompt attention day or night.

2) J G Conover, successor to J G Conover & Company, furnishing undertakers and professional embalmers, commercial block, Main Street, Matawan, NJ. Residence 2 doors above Presbyterian Church.

The 1900 Federal Census listed Henry Arrowsmith (born Feb 1845 in NJ) as an undertaker living on Main Street in Matawan Borough with wife Mary (born Jun 1854 NJ), daughters Eliza B (born Oct 1878 NJ) and Julia B (born Jan 1884 NJ), and servant Rose Popp (born Nov 1881 Hungary).

Undertaker James G Conover (born in May 1846 NJ) appeared on the next page of the census, along with wife Fannie M (born Oct 1849 NJ) and sister-in-law Mary M Applegate (born Oct 1846 NJ, single).

Note that two doors down from the Presbyterian Church at that time (presently an empty lot next to the Baptist church) is where Bedle Funeral Home is currently located.

On the same page of the census with the Henry Arrowsmith household were Herbert A Bushnell, monuments salesman, and Fredrick Lupton, monuments manufacturer, and their families. Presumably their paths crossed with the undertakers in their normal courses of business.

I happened to notice that the Glenwood Institute is listed on the same page with James Conover. The census lists principal as Caspar A Brewer and his wife Ellen; teachers William M Whyte, John Smith, and Josie Knapp; and two dozen teenaged students [12 from Cuba, 5 from New Jersey, 4 from New York, 2 from Pennsylvania, and 1 from Puerto Rico.] and a servant working as janitor who was born in Michigan.

Recycling at Lenox Road Needs Some Tweaking

I took my bound newspapers and loose mixed paper to the Aberdeen Public Works facility today. It wasn't a pleasant experience. The container is very long, narrow, and closed on top, and the container was very full, so it was hard to dump my paper recyclables into it. First I hurled my bound newspapers in as far as I could toss them, but the loose papers in a large bin were another story. I ended up climbing into the container, venturing into the mounds of loose papers and dragging my bin with me. I checked my footing along the way and eventually emptied the bin about halfway back in the container. Walking through the loose papers caused something of an avalanche behind me, though, so when I exited the container there was a residual pile of loose papers on the ground. I ended up on my hands and knees picking up those papers to keep them from blowing away. Quite a workout, all in all.

While going back and forth to my car, I noticed that the bottles/cans container was also overflowing, so I didn't bother making a second trip with those recyclables. That container, which is open on the sides with little doors, had cans and bottles jutting out of each opening.

Who is in charge of tending these containers? Presumably the full time staff during the week should be seeing to it that they are emptied regularly or compacted. It wouldn't be so difficult for citizens to handle their recycling responsibilities if those containers were less full. I felt bad for the women approaching with recyclables as I left, wondering where they would put them.

It would be helpful if the paper container could be loaded from above instead of the end. Perhaps a platform could be constructed from which citizens could toss papers into the container from above, and a canopy erected that would keep the rain off the papers?

I was surprised to find that the Aberdeen Township recycling page, sponsored by the Township's Department of Public Works, makes no mention of the Lenox Road facility or its hours of operation related to the recycling program. The only reference to that service is contained in old (2008 and earlier) press releases I discovered through a Google search on the website. The Patch has been kind enough to post the activity on its calendar, but the Public Works Department should provide complete, fresh, and accurate public information about publicly available services like this.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

History: Hoover Supreme Court Nomination Affects NJ Politics (1930)

President Herbert Hoover's Supreme Court nomination of John J Parker goes up in ashes and angers African Americans.
The 10 Oct 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal included this article (below) about the political ramifications in New Jersey of President Herbert Hoover's nomination of John J Parker to the US Supreme Court.

Incensed at the treatment of Republican leaders, a group of colored men have formed the Independent Progressive Political Organization, which has bolted the G. O. P. and endorsed former State Senator Alexander Simpson, Democratic nominee for United States senator. The forming of the organization is to be the forerunner to line up the colored voters for former Governor A. Harry Moore, for Governor next year. Tho organization held its first convention at Trenton Saturday. Senator Simpson was characterized as the "friend of the Negro." The association pledges 50.000 votes for Senator Simpson.

The bone of contention is the votes of United States Senator David Baird Jr.and Hamilton F. Kean for Judge John Parker, of North Carolina, for confirmation as a United States Supreme Court justice. It was alleged at the time that Parker was prejudicial to the colored people. Since the support of Senators Kean and Baird, the colored voters have been up in arms. They claim that they have received no courtesy from Governor Larson,  and that patronage for the colored people is nil. The movement is being led by former Assemblyman J. LeRoy Baxter, Essex County; Dr. Clement T. Branch, Camden; R. G. Thurmond, Morris County; W Cary Trueheart, Atlantic County; Robert Queen and Peyton Manning, of Mercer County.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

History: New York Telephone Co, Red Bank (1914)

New York Telephone Co advertised in the 9 Apr 1914 edition of The Matawan Journal. The ad encouraged businesses to acquire sufficient telephone service to make sure customers didn't receive a busy signal when they called. It was no different than keeping the store's front door open, the ad said. NY Tel's local commercial manager was W H Hall, 32 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ. Notice the workmen loading barrels onto horse-drawn carts in the background and the switchboard and operator in the foreground.

History: End of War in the Pacific (Sep 1945); Death of Joseph Dzwil, Local WWII Vet

and the most destructive war in history has ended with the defeat of Japan, the last of the Axis nations.
What has been the cost to us?

Three hundred billions of dollars. More than one and one quarter millions of boys killed, wounded or missing. Four years spent at maximum production of materials for destruction. Homes by the thousand with one or more members of the family gone. Shortages of food fuel, transportation, and many other things. Blackouts, air raid drills, shore patrols, aircraft warning stations, a state of feat for months.

It is high time the decent citizens of the peace loving nations get together to write a peace treaty so severe, so absolutely gangster proof, that the outlaw nations will realize at last that war is not a profitable occupation. Let their punishment fit their crimes.

This graphic and accompanying message appeared with a listing of those who served in World War II in the 6 Sep 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 13).  Among those on the Matawan Honor Roll were local brothers John, Joseph and Stanley Dzwil.

Joseph Dzwil of Matawan died at the age of 86 on Thursday 8 Mar 2012, according to his obituary at Day Funeral Home website.

According to Ancestry.com, Joseph Walter Dzwil was born 15 Jun 1925 and enlisted for service in the US Navy at Camden, NJ on 28 Aug 1943. He reported for duty aboard the destroyer escort (DE 105) USS Burrows on 19 Dec 1943 as seaman 2nd class(S2c V6). He was promoted to seaman 1st class (S1c V6) by Sep 1944; gunnery mate 3rd class (GM3cT) by January 1945; and gunnery mate 2nd class (GM2c) by Mar 1946.


Joseph W. Dzwil, 86, of Matawan, passed away, Thursday, March 8, 2012, at Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel. Born in Matawan Township, he resided in Keyport before moving to Matawan Borough 55 years ago. He retired as a material expediter foreman at Weapons Station Earle, Colts Neck, New Jersey. He enjoyed fishing, crabbing, boating and was an avid gardener. 

Joseph served his country in the Navy during WWII on the destroyer escort USS Burrows, in both the Atlantic and Pacific theater. He was awarded the American Theater Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal, European Theater Medal and Victory Medal.

Joseph was predeceased by a brother, Stanley Dzwil and a sister, Blanche Dzwil Antrim. He is survived by two sons, Joseph Dzwil of Matawan; and Thomas Dzwil and his wife, Dawn of Matawan; and a brother, John Dzwil of Little Egg Harbor. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Family and friends are invited Monday, March 12, 2012, 2-4 & 7-9PM at Day Funeral Home, 361 Maple Place, Keyport; and Tuesday, 8:30AM at the funeral home, with a 9:15AM Mass of Christian Burial at St. Joseph RC Church, Keyport. Interment to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, Keyport.

Other Notes

I was unable to find Joseph in the 1930 Federal Census.

Joseph's bridge-playing wife appeared in the society pages of many editions of The Journal in the late 1950's and throughout the 1960's. Her return home from the hospital with newborn son Thomas Michael was noted in the 20 Oct 1960 edition of The Journal (p 6 col 8). The birth of Joseph John was announced in the 10 Sep 1959 edition.

African-American Series: Use of the N Word in The Matawan Journal (1874 - 1920)

The 30 Dec 1882 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 4 col 1) has a little piece of fiction titled Wanted Spiritual Aid about a white boxer who approached his minister with an odd request. It seems that the boxer kept praying for the strength to beat up a particular black man in his town, but this opponent just kept getting the upper hand in these battles. Turns out, the black guy had been praying, too, and seemed to know all the right things to say to God. "Now sir, I want to know if a N  is to have more influence than I've got," the white boxer asked his pastor indignantly. He demanded that the parson write down a powerful prayer for him to recite that would help him beat that guy and set things right. The boxer said, "Wish you'd represent how important it is for me to whup the fellow. Throw in a few words about my standin' among the neighbors . . ." The pastor found the whole thing reprehensible and asked the man to leave. The boxer was frustrated and angry and wouldn't leave without something, so the preacher ended up having to pull a pistol from the drawer to get the boxer out of his office.

The 15 Aug 1874 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 1 col 2) has a lengthy story called A Lively Negro Wedding. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, the story is of two white men who attend an African American wedding. A lengthy rendering of the preacher's story from the pulpit, written in nearly incomprehensible dialect, takes up much of the space. The preacher makes use of the N word quite a bit.

The 7 Oct 1920 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 6 col 3) has the story Too Sanctified For Her, in which a middle aged white widow marries a black man with money and a fine plantation but isn't happy. Her white friends all thought she'd done well for herself, but one day they learned that she'd left him because he turned out to be too conservative for her. Seems he wouldn't let her drink coffee or go to the picture show, so she got a good lawyer and took half of his property in the settlement.

The 17 Jul 1913 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 2  col 2) has the short story Beats the Lawyer's Logic about an older black man on trial for making whiskey. He'd been in jail six months awaiting trial and was sentenced to six more months rest.

The 4 Nov 1909 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 2 col 2) quotes from an article in The Courier of Dover Township about how important the work of the township's Board of Protectors had been in the local temperance movement. Two of the board's members had resigned, so the paper was bemoaning the situation. The paper noted that the members claimed to have felt unsupported but apparently didn't realize they had "the sympathy and moral backing of the N part of the town."

The 14 Feb 1907 edition of The Matawan Journal (p 2 col 3) includes this short poem called Temptation about a poor black man who stole a chicken to make a meat pie. I've translated the dialect to make it easier to read:

Now why's that N grinnin'?
How come he rolls his eye?
What's that I smell a-cookin'?
Bless God! It's chicken pie!
That N stole that chicken!
He never owned a hen!

Should I pass to the other side?
Or holy counsel lend?
That N is poor and weary
They's weighted down with sin
And who's gonna ask the blessing
In case I don't go to?

The above poem is actually dealing with the Ungentlemanly Question mentioned in a column of the 7 Mar 1907 edition of the Matawan Journal. A northerner and a southerner are riding the rails and enjoying a fine meal when the northerner asks where the southerner got such fine chicken. The story ends with this exchange. (Again I've neatened up the dialect for clarity.)

The old Negro, with a twinkle in his eyes and a wink at the other passengers, replied, "I sure know you're not from the south."
"Why Uncle?" exclaimed the gentleman, "How can you tell I'm not from the south?"
"Because, sir," answered Dick, "no southern gentleman ever compromises a N by asking him where he gets his chickens."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

History: Monmouth Battle Monument Commission Accepts Design (1883)

 The 10 Mar 1883 edition of The Matawan Journal discussed the approval of a monument celebrating the Battle of Monmouth,which would be erected in Freehold in a little over a year.

Monumental - The Monmouth Battle Monument Commission had a meeting in Trenton on March 2d. They accepted a design for the monument as submitted by Maurice J Power, of the National Fine Art Foundry, of New York.  The monument is to be 100 feet high, made of New England granite, with 5 large bronze tablets illustrative of incidents of the Battle of Monmouth, and designed by James E Kelly, artist of Harper's Monthly. The monument is to cost $35,000 and to be finished by May 1, 1884.

The Welcome to Freehold website has an assortment of local Freehold history articles, including the text of an undated News Transcript article that provides a timetable of the Battle of Monmouth Monument's existence. Reading that page, I was surprised to learn that the statue of Columbia Triumphant, which stood atop the memorial, was struck by lightning during a major storm and seriously damaged in August 1894, just before the monument's tenth anniversary. A replacement statue was purchased and installed in May 1896.

The monument includes a series of plaques with the following depictions:
  • (Relief five:) WAYNES CHARGE/TENNENT PARSONAGE/LT. COL. HENRY (illegible)/M. J. POWER signed
See the Smithsonian Institution's Art Inventories Catalog for the most thorough discussion of the components of the Monmouth Battle Monument and their history.

Monday, March 5, 2012

History: Matawan Township Primary, Found Red Cow, Etc (1874)

The 7 March 1874 edition of The Matawan Journal included some interesting news items.

Black Spanish Chickens
 The newspaper received from Mr Theodore Lisk a record-breaking 4 1/2 ounce egg laid by a hen of the Black Spanish breed. The egg beat the previous record holder, John F's 4 oz egg, by 1/2 an ounce.

The trip between South Amboy and Matawan was about to get much shorter (6 miles instead of 9) by the installation of a free bridge at the mouth of Cheesequake Creek, near the location of the former bridge. The Middlesex Board of Freeholders invited officials from Matawan to come to the site for discussions. A committee was formed and movement towards a new bridge was nearly guaranteed.

Locals were buying stock in the new New York and Long Branch Railroad. Workers were making progress on the line as fast as the weather would allow.

Bishop Michael A Corrigan
"A brutal dog fight took place on Tuesday evening of last week at the Swan Hotel, East Brunswick township, in the presence of a large number of persons, the stakes being $100 a side. The dogs fought in a large barn for two hours and five minutes, when MacGhee's 'purp' was declared the victor." 

Henry Patterson's barn burned down near Red Bank. Seven cows were saved but a badly burned horse had to be put down.

"Father Hickey, formerly of New Brunswick, has been suspended from the exercise of priestly functions by Bishop Corrigan." Hmmm.

Temperance societies in Bloomfield took out a newspaper ad warning local saloon and hotel keepers that if they continued selling liquor on Sundays, the societies would take them to court.

"The last meeting of the Literary Society was very interesting. Miss Arrowsmith's selection, in which the attempt of the husband to keep house met with no signal failure while his wife went on a visit for a few days, was very well read, and Mrs Terhune's history of that part of Matawan, from the Morristown road to Spring street, from its earliest record, was listened to with special attention."

John H Farry, the owner-operator of a Matawan hotel, held the primary meeting for Matawan Township at his place of business. The first order of business was to decide that it was a Democratic primary and no Republicans would be allowed to vote that day. Next, the host was named the Democratic candidate for Chosen Freeholder, claiming the home advantage over his only competitor, Captain William S Hornor. Other Democratic candidates were:
  • Judge of Election: K H Wyckoff
  • Town Clerk: C T Bailey
  • Assessor: Benj. Griggs
  • Collector: J H Hornor
  • Overseer of Poor: W W Hartshorne
  • Commissioners of Appeal: W W Disbrow, Josiah Van Schoik, L Cartan
  • Surveyors of Highways: L Cady, W L Roberts
  • Township Committee: Hendrick Wyckoff, James Lambertson, Abram Thompson
  • Constable: J N Disbrow
  • Pound Keepers: Wm W Disbrow, Jr, R Worrell, W Stillwaggon
They directed $1,000 for the poor and $600 for roads.
Next Election would be held at J H Farry's.
Next Town Meeting would be at R Worrell's

Mr Farry's Bavarian laborer named Henry Rote was kicked by a horse and severely injured.

Came to the premises of the subscriber on Tuesday Feb 17th
 with white back and large horns, 13 or 14 years old. The owner can have the same by proving property and paying expenses.  JAMES PREST. Marlboro Township, March 7th, 1874

Sunday, March 4, 2012

History: Plans Approved for Terhune Park, Matawan (1931)

The 13 Mar 1931 edition of The Matawan Journal included this sketch by the New York landscape architect and engineer Carl F Pilat of the proposed plan for the parkland donated the year before by Henry S Terhune. The map shows South Street across the top, Main Street on the left and Broad Street on the right.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

History: J P Geran & Co, Carriage Manufacturer, Matawan (1872)

J P Geran and Co advertised its carriage business on page 4 of the 21 Dec 1872 edition of The Matawan Journal. The ad reads as follows:

EIGHT gentlemen having associated themselves under the name of J P GERAN & Co, have commenced the Carriage Manufacturing business, in all its branches, at the old CARRIAGE FACTORY, Matawan.

The business will be under the supervision of Mr JACOB TRUAX, a practical and experienced workman, and the --s are prepared to furnish to order.


Repairing promptly attended to, and general jobbing done.

Mr Edward Dayton will attend to the accounts of the firm.


J P Geran was a prominent Matawan dentist named Josiah P Geran. He appeared in the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses in Matawan. He and his business are described in my blog article about professionals and businessmen listed on the front page of a Matawan Journal in 1880.

Edward Dayton, age 46 NY, was a bookkeeper enumerated in the 1870 Census in the Marion House at the corner of East Broadway and Catharine Street in New York City.

Jacob Truax was born on 17 May 1832, the son of John Truax and Allice "Elsie" Rose. Jacob's father died in October 1834. Jacob lived in Matawan, according to the 1870 Federal Census. He was a 38 year old blacksmith born in New Jersey with $800 in personal property. His household included his wife Lenora (36 NJ), son William (15), daughter Emma L (13), daughter Lorra (Laura) (10), son Garret (7), and daughter Minnie (5/12). He was a widower living in Minden, Montgomery County, NY in the 1880 Federal Census. He was still a blacksmith. Emma, Laura, Garret and Minnie were living in the same household.

Whence Monmouth County Newsletters?

Monmouth County used to publish a variety of newsletters. Monmouth In Focus ran quarterly from Spring 2007 to Summer 2009 and then lapsed. There's a video series called Monmouth In Focus,but the undated episodes are focused on specific topics of a timeless, informational nature. The 16 Feb 2011 edition of The News Transcript said that Monmouth In Focus was beginning its fourth season.

The county's newsletter Senior Newslines ran monthly in 2007 and then quarterly from Fall 2008 to Spring 2010. The Monmouth County 4-H and Rutgers Extension ran a couple of newsletters between 2006 and 2009, but those too have disappeared. You can still subscribe to county newsletters at the county website, but don't hold your breath expecting anything.

The county is up to date on its press releases and publishes them regularly. You can also subscribe to a variety of county email lists that will push to your virtual mailbox just the sorts of information you want. When you register, you pick and choose what categories of information interest you, such as press releases, special alerts, park system notices, business, 4-H, county golf news, etc, etc.

Perhaps the email notices have supplanted the newsletters?

Cliffwood Beach Seawall Project Cut by $88,413

What did we lose with the $88k (18.6%) reduction in the township's funding of the Cliffwood Beach Sea Wall Project, which took place at the 27 December 2011 council meeting?  The minutes were just released and there's no explanation for the adjustment.

Change Order No. 1 Sea Wall Park Project: Contract for aforementioned project was awarded to B&B Construction, LLC in the amount of $472,885.00. Change Order No. 1 was prepared and executed with a net decrease of $88,413.00 for a total contract amount of $384,472.00. (Workshop minutes)

RESOLUTION NO. 2011-137 – BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council that it hereby approves Change Order No. 1 for the Sea Wall Park Project. (Meeting minutes)

The Patch covered the story at the time, saying "The resolution states that the reduction brings the cost of the project within the amount of funds available through grants."

I just don't see that the resolution offered any justification for the cut. What's up? Are we not getting something or did the contract come in under budget? Is there some significance to this action taking place at year end, just before the new Council was installed?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Surprise! Vinci Park in Aberdeen

Google Maps shows Gaston Street as Gaston Avenue.

According to the minutes of the 27 December 2011 meeting of the Aberdeen Council, Mayor Tagliarini announced that a pocket park on Gaston Street was being named Vincent Vinci Park. The 12 January 2012 edition of The Independent said that the Mayor "surprised" Councilman Vinci with the naming of the park in his honor.

I'm personally uncomfortable with the naming of parks for living persons, but it's getting to be a habit, so I guess I better get used to it. The US Postal Service won't put a living person's image on a stamp, and the US Mint won't honor a living person on coinage or currency.  As for parks, I did a quick Google search and found that Louisiana state law forbids the naming of parks after living persons, but Denver and Troy and other cities allow it, with certain caveats.

The section of land south of St Joseph's Catholic Church and north of the Garden State Parkway was once owned by Charles A Geran, Alexander Gaston, and Alfred Woolley, each of whom had a street named in his honor when that subdivision of Aberdeen Township was developed in 1908. See Aberdeen Township Street Names, written by Township Historian Edward Fitzgerald.

Alexander Gaston was born in September 1838 in New Jersey. His wife Adelaide was born in March 1842, also in New Jersey.

Alexander appeared in the 1860 Federal Census as a farmer in Matawan Township, living in his widowed mother Harriet Gaston's household, along with three younger sisters - Gertrude (19), Catharine (17), and Margaret (14).

Alexander was a brick manufacturer living in Madison Township, Middlesex County with his wife Adelaide in the 1900 Federal Census. Their black servant at that time was Mary Brown born in Virginia in September 1875.

The 1910 Federal Census showed him as a man of independent means living on Main Street in Matawan along with Adelaide Gaston (68), his wife of 32 years, and a black servant named Stella Washington (25).