A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Power Out in Cliffwood Beach; Traffic Lights on Route 35 Not Working

Power has been off in Cliffwood Beach for about 2 hours. Traffic lights at Amboy Road and Cliffwood Ave are off and cones block traffic from crossing Route 35.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

History: Esso The Giant Power Fuel (1929 Advertisement)

The 16 Aug 1929 edition of The Matawan Journal contained the above advertisement for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. The company was lauding the virtues of its Esso gasoline in what looks to me to be a rather sexually suggestive ad, both in wording and image.

I've rendered the text of the ad below:

Smoothes Out The Hill Roads And Gives You Greater Power

For Esso is a red giant for power. More pent-up energy than a swollen river or a cyclone. But Esso is flexible power. Throttle down to a lazy crawl. Or open up to seventy. It's all the same to Esso.

Of course, Esso has the best anti-knock qualities. But it does more than cut out motor "pings". Gives new life to any car.

And there is only one Esso - uniform in quality - sold at thousands of silver Esso pumps with Esso shields. You can't mistake the name or the results.

Esso contains tetra-ethyl-lead.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Matawan Fireworks - Could It Be?

I have reasonably good sources saying that the Borough of Matawan will resume its annual fireworks display this year. Get out your pencils and mark your calendars for the evening of Saturday July 6th. And cross your fingers that this is true.

Monday, June 17, 2013

History: Biddle Aviation Field, Matawan (1930)

Albert Biddle, 24, of Mamaroneck, NY and Red Bank, and two area residents were killed when Biddle's biplane crashed near Matawan on 27 July 1930, according to the 1 Aug 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal. The crash was also mentioned in the 30 Jul 1930 edition of The Red Bank Register.

Biddle, who had logged 400 hours of flight time, and another pilot had been providing joy rides to local thrill seekers throughout the day, carrying a total of 17 passengers over Matawan and neighboring areas in two biplanes. The flights -- $3 for one passenger, $5 for two -- took off from Biddle Aviation Field, a Matawan airport that young Albert and his brother, John Biddle, of Freneau, had opened only the Sunday before.

At 6:15 pm, as the daylong event was nearing an end, two exuberant Cliffwood passengers disembarked from Biddle's plane and quickly lined up to buy tickets for the next ride. Biddle then took two more passengers up to experience his stunt flying. He had completed one loop the loop and started a second when the plane stalled at about 1,500 feet. The plane went into a steep dive, engine off, and the pilot simply could not recover.

The plane lost its wings and trees their branches as the plane crashed into a fifty-foot deep wooded gully about a mile outside of Matawan. The plane came to rest with its nose embedded in a clay embankment on the John Orsha farm, property better known to locals at the time as the old Heuser farm. The crash site was  about a mile from the airfield.

The crash gravely wounded the pilot and Edward D Haseman, 22, of Wickatunk. Both were rushed to the Matawan Private Hospital, where they died. George Schrank, 19, of Freneau, died at the scene of the crash. Rescuers were quick to respond but the injuries were simply too severe to overcome.

At the airfield for this horrible occasion were Biddle's father, Albert Biddle, Sr; the young pilot's fiancĂ©e, Miss Gladys Snyder, of Red Bank; and Louis Branin, of Alice Place, Riverside Heights, Red Bank, at whose home young Biddle routinely stayed when visiting the area. Many local residents, eyes attracted to the skies above them by the planes' noisy antics, also witnessed the crash, but from various vantage points in the area.

The Red Bank Register mentioned that the Biddles were staying at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank at the time of the accident.


Albert N Biddle Jr was 22 years old and born in Mamaroneck, when he was enumerated in the 1930 Federal Census in the Mamaroneck, Westchester County, NY household of his parents, Albert N Biddle, Sr (64 born in NYC to NYC parents) and Nanette C Biddle (48 yrs old NY NY NY). Also in the household was a younger brother, George Biddle, 18 years old, and a servant couple from Germany, Emil and Augusta Ledogar. The elder Biddle was a retired stock broker with $40,000 in property. The younger Albert was listed as a pilot in the aviation industry.

Edward D Hasemann, 22 years old, carpenter, was enumerated in the Marlboro household of his brother Charles F Hasemann, a truck farmer, sister-in-law Gertrude, and the latters' seven children in the 1930 Federal Census. Edward and Charles' brother, Conrad Hasemann, also lived in the household. The three brothers were born in New York to a German father and New York mother.

Born 28 July 1911, George A Schrank would have celebrated his nineteenth birthday the day following the crash. He was the son of Ralph Jones Schrank and his wife Elizabeth Mary (DeLoskey) Schrank. In the 1930 Federal Census, George, 18, born in Pennsylvania, laborer, was living with his widowed mother in the Freneau section of Matawan.

John Johnson Orsha,  was born Ivan Umnikoff on 20 July 1887 in Russia and died in Matawan on 22 Oct 1954. He is buried at the Old Tennent Graveyard, according to Find A Grave.

The "Matawan Private Hospital" was likely the "Old Hospital" on Ravine Drive, a photo of which appears on page 62 of Around Matawan and Aberdeen, by Helen Henderson.

It is unclear where Biddle Aviation Field was situated. The plane crash seems to have ended the enterprise.

As for the Heuser farm, a couple of choices exist.
  • The 1880 Federal Census shows a Charles Heuser, age 50, wife Anna, age 42, and sons George, Frederick, August, Christopher, and Richard and daughter Annie with a farm in Matawan.
  • The 1910 Federal Census shows a James Heuser, 43, born in NJ to German parents, who was a truck farmer. James was enumerated in Matawan with a wife Margarite, 40, also from NJ with German parents, plus three daughters -- Ethel, Mabel and Nellie.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

History: Local Miscellany, Matawan Journal, 3 Jun 1876

The 3 Jun 1876 edition of The Matawan Journal, included the following sampling of items under Local Miscellany:

  • Rev Andrew Jackson, of the African M E Church, near Matawan, preached his farewell sermon last Sunday evening. 

  • The Sheriff's sale of the 60 building lots at Mechanicsville has been adjourned to Wednesday, June 23rd at the hotel in that place. 

  • The first shipment of thirteen crates of strawberries was sent up on the propeller Wyckoff, on Wednesday evening. 

  • The work was begun on the new session room of the Presbyterian Church, on Wednesday. It is to be located on the east side of the church, and will cost between two and three thousand dollars. Mr D l Walker is the builder. 

  • Dr Geran, always up to the times in matters connected with his profession, has been getting a machine for working upon cavities in the teeth, by which he accomplishes so much for his patients in less than half the time formerly required. Call in and have some of your molar excavations excavated, and see how nicely it operates. 

  • On Monday morning the conductors and brakesmen on the N Y & L B Railroad, received new caps. Those of the conductors have gold tape bands, with the word "conductor" on a front plate; while those for the brakesmen and baggage-carriers have silver tape bands, with a similar plate bearing the name of their position.