A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

History: Elmer H Geran, US Congressman and NJ Assemblyman (1875 - 1954)

Elmer Hendrickson Geran (24 Oct 1875 - 12 Jan 1954) was born in Matawan, the son of Charles A and Lydia (Hendrickson) Geran. He attended public school and the Glenwood Academy in Matawan, then graduated the Peddie School in Hightstown in 1895 and Princeton University in 1899.

Geran was living with his parents as a law student at their residence on Broad Street in Matawan in the 1900 Federal Census. His father sold merchandise, hardware and tools. Elmer's older brother Henry was a manager at the gas company. Elmer's grandfather, Cornelius Hendrickson, born Apr 1814, lived in the household.

Geran graduated the New York Law School in 1901. He passed the New Jersey bar the same year and joined the law firm of Collins and Corbin in Jersey City. He then established his own law firm in Jersey City in 1903.

A Democrat, Geran served in the state assembly (1911-1912), where he sponsored the state's direct primary law, ending party conventions for determination of candidates for office.

He served on the New Jersey State Water Supply Commission (1912 - 1915). In that capacity, he was among those appointed by Trenton Mayor Frederick W Donnelly, President of the New Jersey Rivers and Harbors Congress, as a delegate to the Atlantic Deeper Waters Association convention in Jacksonville, Florida 18 to 21 Nov 1913, according to the 15 Nov 1913 edition of The South Amboy Citizen.

He was assistant prosecutor in the Monmouth County Court of Common Pleas (1915-1917), then Monmouth County sheriff (1917-1920). In that job, Geran was living with his parents at 185 Main Street in Matawan in the 1920 Federal Census. His father was a real estate agent.

He was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson as US District Attorney for New Jersey (1920 - 1922). (Wilson's debilitating stroke occurred in 1919, so his appointment may actually have been made by Wilson's wife.) Geran resigned and formed a law firm in Asbury Park with Isaiah Matlack.

In 1922, Geran ran for the 3rd NJ Congressional District seat of T Frank Appleby, the Republican from Old Bridge. Geran won and served in the 68th session of the US House of Representatives (1923 - 1925), according to his Congressional biography.

T Frank Appleby defeated Geran in his re-election bid in 1924, but died before taking office. There was an eight-month vacancy before Appleby's son, Stewart Appleby, was elected to fill the unexpired term.

After his Congressional term of office ended in March 1925, Geran rejoined his law firm in Asbury Park. The firm was joined by Solomon Lautman.

The 1930 Federal Census showed him as a lawyer residing in the Union Hill section of Marlboro.

The 1931 Asbury Park city directory showed Geran's residence as on Woolleytown Road in Morganville. His obituary showed his residence to be a farm called Glen Geran. His wife was a dairy farmer in the 1930 Federal Census.

Geran & Matlack, then Geran, Matlack & Lautman were located at 504-509 Asbury Park Trust Company Building and 601 Mattison Avenue in Asbury Park, according to R L Polk Co city directories for 1922 (pg 556), 1924 (pg 642), 1926-27 (pg 784), 1928-29 (pg 764) and 1931 (pg 252).

The 1940 Federal Census showed him as manager of a sand and gravel plant and residing on Hodgner Road in Marlboro. His Wikipedia article says he worked for New Jersey Gravel and Sand in Farmingdale from 1927 until his death in 1954.

Geran was a member of the First Baptist Church of Matawan. He was a Mason, an Elk, and a member of several other civic organizations.

Geran's obituary appeared in the 14 Jan 1954 edition of The Matawan Journal, pp 1, 2. He is buried at Old Tennent graveyard in Tennent, NJ. His son, Charles Ackerman Geran, took over his father's farm, where prized Guernsey cows were raised.

A photo of Geran anyone?


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