In the writing of this history the aim has been to give in a simple narrative all facts, both great and seemingly small, that tend to show how the Newark of the present day has been built up, generation by generation. Anything and everything that seemed to add life, light and color to the story, that was to be found and was authentic, has been made use of. A sincere effort has been made, also, to make the history attractive and interesting to those who, although they may care little for the reading of history, may wish to become familiar with the making of their own city from the day of its foundation as a hamlet, to the present. This is volume two out of two.
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A History of the City of Newark, New Jersey
1666 – 1913
FRANK J. URQUHART
A History of the City of Newark 2, F. J. Urquhart
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
CHAPTER XXV. Farewell to the Village — The War of 1812 — Elisha Boudinot.1
CHAPTER XXVI. Newark a City.16
CHAPTER XXVII. The Ante-Bellum Mayors — Other Newark Leaders — Early Irish Residents.38
CHAPTER XXVIII. Newark and the Civil War.62
CHAPTER XXIX. Education — The Evolution of the Newark Public Schools — 1676-1913 .104
CHAPTER XXX. Libraries — Newspapers — Literary Newark — The Early Stage.127
CHAPTER XXXI. Music in Newark.155
CHAPTER XXXII. From the Rebellion to the Present.165
APPENDIX A. CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF NEWARK.184
APPENDIX B. THE ESSEX COUNTY PARK SYSTEM... 197
APPENDIX C. NEWARK’S WATER SUPPLY.. 205
APPENDIX D. POPULATION OF NEWARK.210
APPENDIX E. MAYORS OF NEWARK.212
APPENDIX F. NEWARK CHIEFS OF POLICE.. 213
APPENDIX G. CHIEFS OF THE NEWARK FIRE DEPARTMENT.214
A CHAPTER, at least, is needed in which to say farewell to the village days of Newark, in which to take a last look backward, before setting one’s face toward the forces and influences that make directly for the Newark that we know today. The process of organizing the industries went on steadily throughout the first decade of the last century and more rapidly than ever during the next few years, but the charming village lost little of its attractiveness. Gifford’s Tavern was in the height of its fame by 1810. Writing of the period between 1805 and 1810, William C. Wallace speaks with enthusiasm of it.
‘‘Owing to the uncertainty of crossing the North River,” he says, “it had of necessity to be well kept, as all comfortable travel was in private carriages, and I have seen foreign ambassadors drive up to it and pass the night rather than risk the raging waters of the Hudson. It probably had very much to do with the early prosperity of Newark, and aided in showing the advantages of Newark to strangers. * * * Southerners visited here in great numbers. Wealthy men of pleasure made it their frequent resort. * * * The land east of New Jersey Railroad avenue was in farms on rolling ground, and more densely populated by game, large and small, than by man. * * * I emphasize the hotel for the opportunities it gave visitors to see the beauties, advantages and industries of Newark. It gave my father the opportunity to make excursions to other places, and to become perfectly acquainted with Newark. He found it pleasantly located on the Passaic River, with its beautiful bluffs, then only three depressions in its banks for docks, and it also possessed the great advantage which he required in a home for his family, religious and educational privileges. * * *
“In those days there were distinctly two classes of society. One a limited class of educated and wealthy men, the other a large class of mechanics, and between them there was a strong bond of sympathy and the highest respect, and the capital and counsel of the former was freely given and accepted by the latter to the mutual advantage of all. * * *
“Crossing the North River was a great barrier to intercourse with New York. The rowboat and the petti auger * * * were he only means of transportation. The petti auger was a two-masted vessel, without a deck, a little shelter in the stern, almost impracticable for conveying horses, which had to be hoisted in and out, unless you could make them jump. in unfavorable weather in crossing this boisterous water there was more observation and caution before starting than an ocean steamer would make now.
“I remember my father, about 1810-12, moving his family to New York, reaching Paulus Hook about noon expecting to go right over, found the ferry-master and a small crowd consulting, and deciding it was too dangerous. We were obliged to lodge there for the night. When there was much floating ice, the rowboat was the only means of conveyance, by a series of dragging and launching by the sailors as you met floating ice or clear water, to the great discomfort and danger of the passengers.
“The first improvement was in the use of twin boats driven by horse power, the horses first moving in a circle, afterward on a tread power. I am under the impression, and am almost certain, that until the twin boats were put on the North River, the travel to Philadelphia went chiefly by way of Elizabethtown. The horse power soon gave way to steam power.” * * *
About the time Mr. Wallace has reference to, the following interesting statement as to the health conditions of the community appeared in the Centinel of Freedom, on January 2, 1810:
“The remarkable and increasing healthiness of the town of Newark cannot better be attested than by the following exhibition of deaths for the last five years:
“1805 — Grown persons, 47; children, 43; total, 90.
“1806 — Grown persons, 27; children, 29; total, 56.
“1807 — Grown persons, 38; children, 31; total, 69.
“1808 — Grown persons, 38; children, 32; total, 70.
“1809 — Grown persons, 19; children, 16; total, 35.
“Thus, notwithstanding the rapid increase in population in this town, the deaths in 1809 have been considerably less than one-half the number in 1805 and much fewer than in any year for five years.”
NEWARK’S FIRST WATER COMPANY, 1801.
“Previous to 1812,” says William C. Wallace, “there had been laid water pipes to conduct water; almost every house, too, had its well till Mr. Sheldon Smith undertook to supply Newark with drinking water drawn from the many springs around into two reservoirs in Orange street, west of High street, and on his own grounds west of High street. He replaced the wooden logs with iron pipes, which sufficed until the present system was organized.”
The “present system” mentioned above was that of pumping Passaic River water into reservoirs. As a matter of fact, Newark relied upon its wells exclusively for drinking water only until 1801. An aqueduct association or company was organized in 1800. It was a patriotic enterprise, like all the other movements for public benefit at that time. Its promoters agreed to supply each family with water for $20 a year, and a book for the subscription to stock was opened in Tuttle’s Tavern on February 5, 1800. Before subscribing to stock the people of the village were asked to go and view the place from whence the water was to be drawn, apparently to satisfy themselves of its good quality. The first reservoir was about 150 feet south from the line of what is now Seventh avenue, where there were a number of springs. The water area also extended some little distance northward and westward from High street, and probably took in one or more of the most ancient quarry holes, close by Mill Brook. The first directors were: Colonel John N. Cumming,
Nathaniel Camp, Jesse Baldwin, Nathaniel Beach, Stephen Hays, James Hedden, Jabez Parkhurst, David D. Crane, Joseph L. Baldwin, Luther Goble, Aaron Ross, John Burnet and William Halsey.
“This Company,” says Alden’s New Jersey Register and United States Calendar, published in 1811 and 1812, and perhaps longer, and printed by William Tuttle, here in Newark, “furnishes about two hundred families with water, conducted two miles and a half by bored logs, from three springs situate in the Western part of the town. The company meets annually in March to choose its officers.” At that time Nathaniel Camp was president of the company, Caleb Bruen, superintendent; Stephen Cooper, engineer; Jabez Bruen, treasurer, and Joseph Walton, secretary. Not long after the first wooden pipes were laid (some of which are occasionally dug up by street excavators to this day, 1913), it is believed that the system was extended westward to take in some of the ponds and springs back of the Court House. in 1804 a dividend of $3 a share was declared. About the time the water supply was put in running order, the association adopted a by-law which shows that it found necessary at the very start to protect itself against greedy and unscrupulous individuals. The by-law explained that a stockholder would forfeit his stock if he supplied any other than his own family, “manufactory, beasts, etc.,” with water from his house connection. After a time there were as many as seventy-three different springs and wells in the system.
Sheldon Smith’s iron pipes, referred to above, were not laid until 1828. The Newark Aqueduct Board was established in 1860, under an act of Legislature, and by that authority the transfer was made to Newark of the stock, franchise, real and personal property, etc., of the old Newark Aqueduct Company. “Driven wells were also tried by the Newark Aqueduct Board, near their pumping station above Belleville, in the alluvial sand and gravel on the west bank of the Passaic. A large number of them, about forty, were driven to depths varying from forty to forty-eight feet, and they yielded to steady pumping one hundred thousand gallons each twenty-four hours. The water in the tubes rose and fell with the rise and fall of the tide, though not to the same extent. The water was probably Passaic River water which had filtered through the sand and gravel. * * * The water is raised by means of steam pumps, and forced into reservoirs in the city of Newark.”
The real estate owned by the Newark Aqueduct Company when it turned over its plant to the city in 1860 consisted of: “Eighteen different parcels, including the Branch Brook, Spring lots, Mill properties along Mill Brook, several smaller tracts in the neighborhood, and the reservoir property on South Orange avenue.” in 1889 the Branch Brook property was dedicated by the city for a public park, but it did not become one until after the Essex County Park Commission began its great work in 1895. (See Appendix B.) Newark has been blessed with its present water supply since 1892. (See Appendix C.)
INCREASING INDUSTRIAL PROSPERITY.
In 1815 a traveler wrote of Newark: “It is a beautiful village, regularly laid out in broad streets, on a fine plain, and contains nearly two thousand inhabitants. The public buildings are two places for public worship, a Court House, and an academy. Considerable manufactures are carried on here, particularly of leather. The inhabitants have likewise a pretty extensive inland trade, and have a bank to facilitate their commercial operations. The country is well cultivated in the neighborhood.”
The community was just then emerging from the turmoil of the War of 1812. The war had, however, injected new life into the town's industries. “At this time, too, the South had become a profitable market for the handicraft of the town. To increase trade the manufacturers put forth their best efforts. A Newarker whose memory is still green with the recollections of the period states  that, ‘the enterprise and energy of the manufacturers of Newark and the neighborhood, together with the superiority of their carriages, boots, shoes, hats, etc., had created a demand for all that could be manufactured.’ The army contractor was abroad at the time. From 1812 to 1815 he was kept very busy hereabouts furnishing boots, shoes, harness and other military supplies. in front of his place of business on Broad street, north of Green, Robert B. Campfield, a Newark contractor, made an imposing display of profit and patriotism. He had arranged there fourteen six-pounder cannon, one for each county then in New Jersey. It was a United States government contract.”
NEWARK READY FOR WAR, 1807.
As early as 1807 Newark and all Essex County declared itself ready for war. A mass-meeting was held in July of that year, at Day’s Hill, to protest against British outrages on the sea. The specific cause for the meeting was the taking of American citizens from the ship Leopard in Chesapeake Bay. Resolutions were drafted, and a copy of them sent to President Thomas Jefferson. Two sections of these resolutions were as follows:
“Resolved. That although this meeting greatly deprecates the calamity of war, yet should this become necessary for the preservation of the personal rights of their fellow citizens, the defense of the country, and the maintenance of the sovereignty and independence of the Union, they will engage in it with alacrity, and solemnly pledge to our country and our government, our lives and fortunes in defense of the rights of an independent nation.
“Resolved. That Thomas Ward, Silas Condit and Joseph Hornblower, William S. Pennington, David D. Crane, John N. Cumming, James Vanderpool, Isaac Andruss and Robert B. Camfield, be a committee to correspond with committees of a similar nature at other places if the same should become necessary, and that future public meetings on the subject of the resolutions if deemed necessary, be convened by the said committee.”
As the last-quoted section shows, one of the first thoughts at that moment was the restoring of the old system of committees of correspondence, which had been so useful a generation before, on the eve of the War for Independence.
MARTIAL SCENE IN MILITARY PARK, 1812.
On Friday, July 3, 1812, another meeting of the people of Essex County was held at Day’s Hill, no doubt in the open air, when resolutions were adopted sustaining the government in its resistance against British oppression and in its decision to fight, made on June 18. A copy of the resolutions were sent to President Madison.
On November 16 all uniformed companies of militia in the State were ordered to hold themselves in readiness to move on twenty-four hours’ notice, each man “to take the Field duly equipped, each man having one good Blanket, and four days’ provisions, ready cooked.”
In the New Jersey Journal for December 1, 1812, we find the following:
“The Uniform corps of the County of Essex, commanded by Brigadier General Gould, paraded on the lower [Military] Common, at Newark, on the 26th instant for the purpose of being reviewed by Governor Ogden, Commander in chief of the State of New Jersey, who was escorted to the field by Captain [John P.] Decatur’s horse artillery, accompanied by the Field officers of the Brigade; and after executing the orders of the day, and saluting him with artillery, musquetry and rifle, the Governor delivered a short and patriotic address appropriate to the momentous crisis of our country.”
The Governor concluded his address as follows: “I have only to add, gentlemen, that if circumstances should ever make it necessary (which I pray may never be the case) for me to call you into the field of danger, that you will there find me among you.” This was Colonel Aaron Ogden, seventh Governor of the State after the downfall of the royalist government, and a gallant officer in Maxwell’s Jersey brigade of the Continental Army. in announcing to the Essex militiamen that he expected to take the field with them he was really following a precedent laid down by the State’s third Governor, Richard Howell, who went to Pennsylvania at the head of the Jersey forces in the Whiskey Insurrection of 1791. It was not necessary for Ogden to buckle on his sword, however.
At the conclusion of the Governor’s address, '‘they all adjourned,” reports the Journal, “to Captain Gifford’s [tavern], where there was a very splendid dinner prepared on the occasion. The officers of the brigade, with the officers of the different corps, were highly honored with the company of his Excellency the Governor, and a number of citizens to partake of the dinner, and were attended by an elegant band of music.”
There were the customary toasts, and no doubt the usual heavy drinking.
Newark and the entire State continued in a state of excitement for many months thereafter, with war’s alarms resounding, but never menacing the commonwealth, until midsummer in 1814. Then, in the New Jersey Journal for August 16, we find this:
“Two hundred men of the patriotic uniform company of Newark have volunteered to New York to aid them in erecting their fortifications. [Brooklyn Heights was then being prepared for defense.] We wish we could see a similar spirit in Elizabethtown.”
It was there that the Journal was published. Immediately below appeared the following:
Newark, August 9.
“Patriotism of the Country Rising. — It is with pleasure that we are enabled to state that Capt. [John I.] Plume’s company of independent artillery have volunteered their services to his Excellency the Governor, as a part of the quota required by the requisition of the General Government. This company in point of numbers, brilliancy of dress, and general respectability, is not exceeded by any in this town — and, perhaps, not by any in the State.
“We also learn that in Orange, capt. Kilburn’s artillery, capt. Day’s volunteers, and capt. Lindsley’s rifle company, have volunteered; as also, capt. Crane’s rifle company at Caldwell, capt. Ball’s Columbian Greens at Bloomfield, and capt. Mitchell’s rangers at Paterson Landing.”
President Madison had just called for five thousand men from New Jersey.
PREPARED TO MEET INVASION, 1814.
Immediately thereafter General Gould, commanding the Essex Brigade, published a most interesting “plan for alarm in case of a threatened attack.” Newark and all Essex anticipated that if the British took New York they would enter Newark Bay and strive to land hereabouts. The older inhabitants could remember well when Washington had sent word to the people of Essex to remove their valuables to the hills and to destroy all forage and other material that might be useful to Cornwallis’ army. But the county was in a far better state of preparedness for invasion than in November, 1776, and proposed to make a plucky resistance.
General Gould directed that detachments of artillery be located at once at the following points: Elizabethtown, Springfield, Bloomfield, Caldwell and Paterson. Small details from the mounted militia were stationed with the guns. If one of these posts discovered the foe, the orders were to fire three shots from a cannon, in quick succession, this to be repeated at all the other stations. The horsemen at the station giving the alarm were to gallop through the country giving details of the nature of the enemy’s demonstration.
If the alarm came at night, the alarm guns were to be fired, and in addition beacon fires prepared in advance were to be lighted at the following vantage points: At Short Hills; “near the toll gate back of Cranetown,” on Montclair mountain on what is now Bloomfield avenue, in all probability; at Caldwell; on Weazel Mountain. “All to be lighted as soon as the guns are heard.” The rendezvous for the several commands were to be as follows: “First regiment,
Caldwell [Presbyterian] church; Second regiment, on the parade ground, Westfield; Third [the Newark] regiment, on Military Common; Fourth regiment, ‘at the Schoolhouse back of General Crane’s’ [Roselle Park]; Fifth regiment, ‘in front of Bloomfield Academy.’ ” Each company of cavalry was to attach itself to the regiment in whose district the greater number of its members lived.
“DON’T GIVE UP THE SOIL.”
As the State’s quota of 5,000 men did not fill up as rapidly as was desired, a draft was made. Most of the troops from this section of the State, however, were volunteers from the militia. On September 3, 1814, the Morris and Essex companies left Newark, as the Centinel of Freedom explains, “on their way to the camp, and without flattery, we must say, their appearance was the most brilliant and warlike we have ever witnessed in Newark. The drafted militia marched yesterday [September 5].”
A few days later the Centinel said:
“The citizens of Newark performed their tour of labor on Saturday last.” The following complimentary notice is from the New York Columbian of Saturday evening:
“Extraordinary Patriotism. — Nearly eight hundred (probably increased much beyond that number) citizens of Newark, transported in a line of wagons nearly covering the causeway on the road, reached Powles Hook ferry, crossed the North river and passed through this city to Brooklyn ferry, before 6 o’clock this morning. They had several bands of wind and military music, with flags, and a label on each hat, ‘Don’t give up the soil!’, and proceeded to work on the fortifications at Brooklyn, with an alacrity truly admirable and gratifying. Such an instance of patriotic enthusiasm in the inhabitants of a neighboring State from a distance of nine miles can not be too highly appreciated or recorded in terms too honorable to the zeal and disinterestedness of our fellow citizens of New Jersey. Newark will forever live in the grateful remembrance of the people of New York.”
Lawrence, who went to his death crying “Don’t give up the ship!” on June 1, 1813, was responsible for the apt expression noted above as being worn on the hats of the militia. The word “citizen” is interesting in the connection in which it is used, for the people of that day were immensely proud of their “citizen soldiery" They were even then getting a tremendous lesson as to the need of a standing army, but they persisted in believing that the salvation of the country was in the hands of its militia.
“For several days past,” said the Centinel of Freedom on September 13, 1814, “companies of troops have successively passed thro’ this town to the camp now forming at P. Hook. To the honor of the military spirit of New Jersey we have it in our own power to record that most of these have been volunteer corps. The ardor thus displayed to engage in the defense of the neighboring metropolis of N. York is worthy of the glorious days of ancient Rome; in those perilous times when every citizen was a soldier and their country the camp of the Consul. Go on, ye brave men; our hopes and our prayers are with you; and should it be your fate to meet the enemy, may your exertions for your country be crown’d with the success and glory of the Roman legion.”
RETURN OF “THE HERO OF PLATTSBURGH.”
Major General Macomb, “the hero of Plattsburgh,” returned to New York late in November, 1814, from the front, bringing with him a band of music which had left the British just before their defeat. Macomb then lived in Belleville, and the New York Evening Post for November 14 told of his return in the following paragraph:
“The inhabitants of Belleville, N. J., on the return of Major General Macomb to his family, received him in a manner the most gratifying and complimentary. * * * They tired a national salute and illuminated the village. * * * The General came forward and courteously acknowledged the compliment. * * *
In return the General ordered his most excellent Band of Music to play Hail Columbia and other national airs.”
On February 21, 1815, Newark celebrated the coming of peace with great enthusiasm. Salutes were fired at dawn and at sunset and the church bells were rung for an hour in the morning and in the evening. Services were held in the churches at 11 in the morning and, with far-seeing shrewdness, the committee of arrangements advised that collections for the benefit of the poor be taken, knowing well that the joy of the hour would work to open purse strings. There was a general illumination of the town’s buildings, public and private, and for a week before the celebration the local tallow chandlers did a big business in candles.
The Essex Brigade was at Brooklyn but a few days, in fact its real camp was at what is now Jersey City and at Hoboken. in little more than a week it was stationed at Sandy Hook with other militia ready to meet the British should they sail from the Chesapeake and attempt to land. A letter from an officer in the Essex militia while it was at Sandy Hook, published in the Centinel of Freedom, discloses the fact that the soldiers were without ammunition and that many of their muskets were out of order. He insisted that special town meetings should be called throughout the State to provide funds for the purchase of ammunition.
THE MUSTERING OUT OF “JERSEY BLUE.”
As the first quarter of the last century drew toward its close, Newark began to lose by death some of the men of light and leading who had been of incalculable benefit in shaping the town’s prosperity. One of these was Elisha Boudinot, and the facts concerning him now given are of importance far beyond that of the personality of the man, because they serve to bring us closer to the real character of the development of Newark in the years immediately following the War for Independence.
ELIAS AND ELISHA BOUDINOT.
Elias and Elisha Boudinot were brothers, of French Huguenot descent. Elias was the older and was born at Burlington, N. J., in 1740, and Elisha at Philadelphia in 1749. Both lived to good old age, Elias dying in 1821 and Elisha in 1819. Both studied law. Elias opened a law office in Elizabethtown, in 1760, and some time thereafter Elisha hung out his shingle in Newark, just when, nobody today seems to know.
Both were staunch patriots and were warm personal friends through life. We have little more to do with Elias in this narrative, except to say that he was a member of the Provincial Convention that took the government of New Jersey out of the hands of the last Royalist Governor, William Franklin, natural son of Benjamin Franklin; was in Congress throughout the greater part of the War for Independence, was made its president in 1782, and as such signed the treaty of peace with Great Britain in 1783. He was director of the mint from 1795 to 1805, was one of the founders of the American Bible Society, and was the author of several books, including “The Age of Revelation" whose object was to counteract the influence of Tom Paine’s “Age of Reason.” He was a trustee of Princeton College, of which he was a graduate, from 1772 until 1805. Such was Elias. No wonder Elisha of Newark was proud of his big brother, Elias of Elizabethtown.
JUSTICE BRADLEY’S ESTIMATE OF ELISHA.
Now for Elisha himself. This is what Justice Joseph P. Bradley, of the United States Supreme Court, wrote of him:
“For many years no professional man stood so high in Newark as Elisha Boudinot during the same period. He was a Newark lawyer (from Elizabethtown first) of high reputation, a rigid Presbyterian and a strong Federalist, a supporter of the Federal constitution and of Washington, its representative champion.
“The Federalists of New Jersey, wishing to have him on the bench, passed a law making an additional judge of the Supreme Court (there were only three before), and elected him as judge. Before his term expired the Jeffersonians (or the mob) got the political power and repealed the law, so that when his term expired there was no election to fill his place.”
Elisha was a member of Newark’s Committee of Correspondence in 1775. During the war he was commissary of prisoners for New Jersey, and, oddly enough, his brother Elias was commissarygeneral of prisoners for a goodly time. “They, the two Boudinots,” says Jane J. Boudinot in her “Life of Elias Boudinot,” published in 1896, “with William Peartree Smith, whose daughter Elisha married, in 1778, were men peculiarly distinguished by the British raiders, as view the family portraits, hewn and gashed by the Hessians in the visitations of their homes; lucky substitutes for the masters, whose absence saved their own heads, for which rewards were offered by the enemy.”
The first house Elisha Boudinot occupied after coming to Newark stood where the house in Park place, razed in June, 1913, was later reared. The British are said to have visited it during their stay in Newark late in November, 1776, when they were driving Washington across New Jersey in one of the very darkest moments of the war.
On July 5, 1780, the New Jersey Journal, then published in Chatham, published the following:
“On July 5 Mrs. Josiah Hornblower was designated with Mrs. Governor Livingston and Mrs. Elisha Boudinot and Mrs. William Burnet as a committee of Essex County ladies, with others equally prominent throughout the State, to receive subscriptions for the succor of the country’s defenders in the field.”
“At the present writing,” says Jane Boudinot, in her “Life of Elias Boudinot,” already mentioned, “there still exists in active operation a society of ladies for aiding the poor of Newark, known as the Female Charitable Society, which had its origin in Mrs. Boudinot’s parlor. It is largely carried on by the descendants of the ladies there assembled.” The society was founded in 1803.
There is a tradition that Washington, who was a personal friend of both Elias and Elisha, stopped at the Boudinot mansion in Park place, during the war, but it is difficult to find corroboration of this. If he visited there afterward the record is also elusive. He was invited, that we know, and from a letter written by Elisha Boudinot to Washington, expressing his profound joy at the happy termination of the war and paying the highest tribute to Washington’s achievement. A part of this letter, written in Newark in April, 1783, reads as follows:
JUDGE BOUDINOT TO WASHINGTON.
“My publick business [as commissary of prisoners] calls me into every county of this State, and a very general acquaintance with the inhabitants, and I am certain I should do them the greatest injustice did I not assure your Excellency that there is scarcely a man or woman among them but what entertain these sentiments, and but what have a monument erected to you in their breasts, that can only be effaced with their lives. Was it possible for your Excellency to have a view of the whole country at once, and see the honest farmers around their fires, blessing your name and teaching their children to lisp your praises, you would forget your toils and labors, and thank Heaven that you were born to bless a grateful land.
“When your Excellency is retiring from the field, will you indulge the inhabitants of this State to spend a short time, as you are passing through free from care where you have spent so much in distress and anxiety of mind?”
Boudinot inclosed in his letter an ode in glorification of Washington written by his father-in-law, William Peartree Smith.
WASHINGTON'S LETTER TO BOUDINOT.
Washington’s letter in reply came a few days later, from Newburgh, on the Hudson, to Boudinot in Newark. It was of good length, contained expressions of esteem for his correspondent, and the wish that he be remembered to his wife, and two or three most interesting paragraphs, including the following:
“Having no reward to ask for myself, if I have been so happy as to obtain the approbation of my countrymen I shall be satisfied. But it still rests with them to complete my wishes by adopting such a system of policy as will ensure the future reputation, tranquility, happiness and glory of this extensive empire, to which I am much assured nothing can contribute so much as an inviolable adherence to the principles of the union, and a fixed resolution of building the national faith on the basis of public justice, without which all that has been done and suffered is in vain, to effect which, therefore, the abilities of every true patriot ought to be exerted with the greatest zeal and assiduity.”
WINS A SLAVE HIS FREEDOM.
Elisha Boudinot returned to the practice of law at the close of the war until called to the Supreme Bench. in 1790 he was asked to take up the case of a darkey slave, whose master had promised him his freedom when he, the master, should die. The master, in his death struggles, sent for a lawyer to draw the will, but became demented before it could be signed. The heirs contended that the darkey should remain a slave. Boudinot won the man’s freedom in the courts.
In the 1790’s Newark was in grave peril from fires, as already told in this history. There was no fire department and, of course, no fire engines. A number of buildings were destroyed, and the climax came in January, 1797, when Judge Boudinot’s mansion, in Park place, was consumed. This fire was directly responsible for the first fire department, and for the purchase by an association of citizens of the two first fire engines. The house torn down in 1913 was promptly built. Concerning this structure the Rev. Dr. Henry A. Stimson, of the Manhattan Congregational Church, New York, and a member of the Boudinot family, has kindly furnished the following:
“He built it in its present form in order to enable him to dispense the hospitality which he so much enjoyed, to his neighbors and friends. The dining room, which did run across the entire rear of the house, was exceptionally large, for he gave a dinner every Monday to the officers of the Presbyterian churches of Newark. The right hand side of the house, as you enter, you will notice, is much more elaborate in all its appointments than the opposite side. This is the side that was occupied by his wife, and he spared no expense in decorating, not only her own rooms, but the whole side of the house, for her pleasure, while on the left hand side was his ofiice and the part of the house which he felt represented himself and his work more particularly, which was, and I think still is, severely plain.
“Lafayette was entertained there when he visited this country and a platform was erected on the ground in front, from which he addressed the public. A reception was given in the parlors at the right. Lafayette himself and his host standing just inside the parlor door, the procession passing through the front parlor and back into the larger rooms at the rear of the house.
“On that occasion Judge Boudinot’s son, in his enthusiasm, brought a punch bowl and a towel for the Marquis to use in washing his hands before he sat down to dinner, picking up for the purpose the silver punch bowl which had been used by Washington, in earlier days at the house, greatly to the indignation of his sister, my grandmother.
“This, the ‘Washington bowl,’ belonged originally to William Peartree Smith, whose daughter Mary was the first wife of Judge Boudinot. It came with her to the Boudinot house. Washington was present at her wedding, and Alexander Hamilton was a groomsman. Whether Washington drank punch from that bowl then for the first time, I do not know. But he did at some time, which gave the bowl its significance. I have no means of knowing whether he was ever in the Newark house. The wedding was celebrated in Elizabethtown, in the Belcher house.”
Both Mrs. Boudinots, the second of whom was Rachel Bradford, died in the house, as the Judge did subsequently.
Miss Jane J. Boudinot has contributed the following concerning the house removed by the Public Service Corporation:
‘‘It was built by Judge Elisha Boudinot, of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (my grandfather). I know by tradition in the family that when his former house had been burnt and utterly destroyed the good workmen of Newark turned out the next morning to clear the cellars, etc., saying that Judge Boudinot should not be without a house over his head so long as his fellow citizens could avoid it. My father, Judge Elias Boudinot, to whom the property descended, built another house on the corner, but I, being a mere infant when he left Newark and sold his property there, can tell nothing about it. I know that the Female Charitable Society had its origin in the drawing room of the old house. I have it from my older cousins, no longer living, that the present porch of the Elisha Boudinot house is of recent construction, the old entrance being the old-style marble stoop, led up to by several steps, flanked on each side by iron banisters, ending in the same wrought iron pedestals, each mounted by a brass ball. On either side of this stoop was an enclosure, filled with tulips, running across each side of the house.”
SOME OF BOUDINOT’S PUBLIC SERVICES.
Behind the house was a garden and an orchard, and beyond the open country sloped gently to the little bluff along the river’s edge. Two stately trees, known from Boudinot’s time, one as the Washington and the other as the Hamilton tree, that stood in the garden, were cut down to make way for the proposed terminal, in 1913. Boudinot had a summer house in his garden and there men of prominence, some with country-wide reputations, were often gathered to devise ways and means for the advancement of Newark and the State at large. Their patriotism was of sterling order. The fighting over, they turned at once to the acquirement of the blessings of peace. They saw clearly that it was through the development of the industries that the salvation of the young and untried nation was to be wrought. Their business enterprises were patriotic enterprises; their personal advantage was a secondary consideration.
This is not an opinion, but actual fact demonstrated time and again in the preserved records of the time. The very articles of agreement which they drew up when they embarked on one scheme after another show it.
Elisha Boudinot was in almost every good work for the town’s betterment from the close of the War for Independence until near the end of his life, about thirty-five years. He was one of the chief promoters of the Society for Propagating Useful Arts and Manufactures, which erected what is now the city of Paterson. Alexander Hamilton, the great power behind the whole plan, often came to the Boudinot house to arrange for the establishment of the society.
BOUDINOT A FOUNDER OF JERSEY CITY.
Elisha Boudinot was one of a little group of men who created the City of Jersey, now Jersey City. He was in the little concern that financed the first Fulton ferry boats, running from Jersey City to New York. He was in the company that built the turnpike, the Bridge street bridge and that over the Hackensack. He was active in the erection of the Newark Academy at Broad and Academy streets, was one of the foremost in providing for the building of the present First Presbyterian Church. He was the first president of Newark’s first bank, the first in New Jersey. He inspired the young men to form companies of militia. Hs daughters once made a Hag which was formally presented to one of these companies, on Military Common. He was president of the New Jersey Missionary Society for a number of years.
It is easy to see that he strove to walk in the footsteps of Washington, and was tireless in his strivings to advance the general good. He does not seem ever to have sought for lofty preferment, and in 1805, as Justice Bradley explains in the paragraph already quoted, the judgeship of the Supreme Court of the State was taken from him because he was a Federalist in politics. in Washington’s terms as President, Elisha Boudinot could have had a high national office beyond a doubt. He seems to have preferred to remain at home in his own State, and most fortunate it was for Newark that he did so. He embodies the highest type of Newark citizenship, and his character and achievements should be far better known than they are. The schools of Newark should become familiar with him, for Elisha Boudinot ranks, in the community’s annals, with Robert Treat and Jasper Crane, of the founders; Colonel Peter Schuyler, the hero of the French and Indian wars; the Rev. Dr. Alexander Macwhorter, the first Governor Pennington, Dr. William Burnet, Colonel John Noble Cumming, heroes of the War for Independence and earnest promoters of Newark’s welfare immediately thereafter; with Justice Joseph Hedden, Jr., the Newark martyr, who virtually gave his life for the cause of independence, and with Moses N. Combs, Luther Goble and Seth Boyden, Newark’s early “captains of industry.”
Two days after Judge Boudinot’s death the Centinel of Freedom for October 19, which was on the opposite side of the political fence, published this tribute:
“His long and useful life has been devoted to the temporal and eternal interest of his fellow men. Eminently useful in his earlier days in the town in which he lived, by his zeal and liberality in measures calculated to promote its prosperity, he was endeared to his fellow citizens by every consideration that can excite esteem and respect in the bosom of honest and honorable man. * * * His beneficence was large and universal. His life exemplary, his death peaceful, and his memory is blessed by his family and friends.”
DEATH OF A TOWN FATHER.
Colonel John Noble Cumming, another of the soldiers under Washington who played a potent part in the making of the Newark of a century ago, went to his long rest in July, 1821. Of him the town newspaper said: “Seldom hath death called from us a man
more worthy. Early in life he entered the tented field in the defense of our rights — and by his active, persevering bravery and patriotism through the eventful struggle of our Revolution greatly aided to establish American liberty. He fought by the side of Washington, enjoyed his confidence and reaped with him the rich reward of a nation’s gratitude.
“His counsels were sought as one of the fathers of our town. He cherished and encouraged the young, and for the afflicted and destitute he always had a heart and hand to console and relieve, long will his memory be precious with the poor.”
For more than a quarter of a century thereafter the newspapers occasionally chronicled the passing of some soldier of “Seventy Six,” always speaking of them in terms of respect and high admiration, and, towards the last, invariably referring to each one that departed as a “Jersey Blue.”
FOR more than a decade before Newark actually became a city, the township's business had grown so great that it was conducted only with the greatest difficulty. Various expedients were tried, as described in Chapter XXIV, but the business continued to increase and the call for a city government became louder and more insistent. At the annual town meeting held on Monday, April 9, 1832, the following resolution, offered by General Isaac Andruss, was adopted:
“Whereas, the Township of Newark has become so populous that it is impracticable to procure a room adequate for the accommodation of the Inhabitants of the Township when in Town Meeting assembled for the transaction of the annual business of the Township,
Be it Therefore Resolved, That a committee be appointed to digest a plan for the division of the Township into two or more Wards, with a system for the transaction of the Township business upon equitable principles, by the two, or more separate Wards, and that the Committee report to a special Town Meeting to be called for that purpose.”
The committee was made up of General Isaac Andruss, Joseph C. Hornblower, Stephen Dod, William H. Earle and Archer Gifford, the latter one of the town’s leading lawyers, and a relative of Archer Gifford, the innkeeper. On June 2 of the same year this committee reported “that owing to the numerous population of the town,” then about 15,000, “and its rapid increase,” the division as suggested in the resolutions of April 9 was advisable, but that the aid of the Legislature was necessary. It therefore recommended that another committee be appointed to draft a bill for the division of the town into two or more districts. This idea was adopted and Hornblower, Andruss and Dod of the various committees were selected to draw the bill. A special meeting was held on January 3, 1833, to hear the report of this committee, when the plan for the proposed bill was submitted, considered by sections and a committee of two from each of the informally existing wards was chosen to draft the actual bill. This committee was: North Ward — James Vanderpool, Archer Gifford. South Ward — Asa Whitehead, Amzi Armstrong. East Ward — Joel H. Condit, Joseph C. Ilornblower. West Ward — Isaac Andruss, William Pennington.
This bill was quickly made a law. It afforded some slight relief, but not sufficient to meet the ever-growing demands. The desirability of incorporation as a city became a more and more popular theme of discussion. So, another act, providing a city charter, was prepared and adopted by the Legislature, on February 29, 1836. This was approved by a popular vote on March 18 of the same year.
PEOPLE ACCEPT CITY CHARTER.
The law required that the Act of Incorporation be approved by three-fifths of the voters. The total vote was 2,195. The tickets were simply '‘Corporation” and “No Corporation.” The vote for incorporation was 1,870 “for” and 325 “against.” The opposition was not so strong as had been anticipated, and the progressive spirit of the community won with a margin of 533 votes, the necessary three-fifths. The next day the Daily Advertiser published the following:
“Newark a City. — The roar of cannon announced to the town last night the gratifying result of the election. The charter is accepted by an immense majority, and the powers and privileges of a corporation are thus secured to us. * * * The election was conducted with entire good feeling and without any mixture of political prejudice. The same public spirit, we trust, will continue to prevail in all the future arrangements and counsels of the town. * * * As we have commenced, so let us continue, in the spirit of kindness, conciliation and disinterestedness, to act with a single eye to the common interest of the whole.”
NEWARK’S FIRST CITY FATHERS.
The first charter election was held on Monday, April 11, the same year, 1836, and thus Newark became a city, with these officers: Mayor, William Halsey. Aldermen: North Ward —Abraham W. Kinney, William Lee, Isaac Meeker, John H. Stephens. South Ward — Isaac Baldwin, Thomas B. Pierson, Aaron Camp, H. L. Parkhurst. East Ward — William Garthwaite, Joel W. Condit, James Beardsley, James Miller. West Ward — Enoch Bolles, William Rankin, Abner P. Howell, James Keene. 2 Each ward had also: A ward clerk, an assessor, a collector of taxes, a commissioner of appeals, a judge of election, two representatives in the school committee, and three constables.
The following Saturday evening the city government was organized. Oliver S. Halsted (later made Chancellor of New Jersey) was chosen Recorder; Abraham Beach, City Clerk; Joseph N. Tuttle, Clerk of Common Council; Coroners, Stephen H. Pierson and J. I. Plume; Chosen Freeholders, William Stephens and Smith Halsey; Surveyors of Highways, S. S. Dickerson and Edward Jones. The organization took place in St. John’s lodgeroom, on the top lloor of the Academy building, at Broad and Academy streets.
There were thirteen standing committees: Finance, Streets and Highways, Wharves, etc., and Commercial Affairs, Lamps and Watchmen, Fire Department, Public Markets, Poor and Alms Houses, Water for the Extinguishment of Fires, Police, Assessments, Public Grounds and Buildings, Schools, Offices and Applications for Offices.
THE CITY’S SEAL.
On June 27, 1836, the committee appointed to procure a corporation seal made its report, which was adopted, and which was as follows: “On the right is a female figure seated; her right hand resting upon the hilt of a sword, her left suspending a scales, in equal balance. On the left is a female figure in a standing posture sustaining with her right hand the standard and cap of liberty, and her left arm resting on a bundle of rods, holding the olive branch. Between these figures is a shield, on which three ploughs are represented; above is the dexter arm suspending a hammer. Encircling the whole are the letters and figures following, 'Newark City Seal, Incorporated, 1836'.
THE SEVERAL HOMES OF CITY GOVERNMENT.
The town meetings were held in the town meeting house or church for several generations after the founding of the town. For a time before and after the War for Independence they convened in the County Court House. Early in the last century the session room of the First Presbyterian Church was used, and a small sum paid for cleaning the room after the meeting. Some of the meetings held immediately before the incorporation were in the lecture room of the Third Presbyterian Church, at James and Washington streets. The fact that there was no hall or room in the entire town large enough to accommodate the people at town meeting had quite as much to do with the creation of a city as all the other really larger needs. There had been talk of building a town hall for twenty years and more before the city charter was adopted. The Township Committee, which transacted the business authorized at the annual town meeting, met in one tavern or another, and toward the end of the township regime in the First Church session room.
On May 19, 1836, the new Common Council adopted the following: “Resolved, that a special committee of three be appointed to negotiate for a room for the use of the Common Council and to report at the next meeting.” At the next meeting, May 24, it was decided to lease the church building at what was then 16 Clinton street, and where the Young Men’s Christian Association building was until the institution’s removal to Halsey street. This edifice was leased for four days a week, with the privilege of using the basement for the use of the city surveyor, street commissioner and all other city officers, “the watch excepted.” The yearly rental was $150. The next meeting of the Common Council was held in the Clinton street building, which was Newark’s first City Hall, on the evening of May 27, at 7 o’clock.
But even before the Clinton street quarters were leased, the Council was looking about for a permanent home for the infant city government. A committee was appointed on April 18, 1836, to see if “the property known as the museum on Market street can be purchased, and to report whether it is expedient to purchase the same for the use of the city.”
On April 23 it was decided to buy the museum property, for $5,000. It was the old Market House property, on the south side of Market street a little east of the present Nutria street. A council chamber was fitted up in it and the first meeting held in it on April 7, 1837. This was the home of the city government until February 10, 1838, when the building was destroyed by fire, an account of it being given in the Daily Advertiser, on February 12, in part as follows:
“On Saturday afternoon the public building occupied by the city council, in Market street, (formerly known as the museum), was destroyed by fire, which appeared to break out in the third story, occupied by Mr. Joseph Burr as a paint shop. The wind was high, and the fire department were so nearly paralyzed BY WANT OF WATER that a great portion of the city appeared to be in imminent danger. Fortunately the course of the fire was confined to that and one other building on the opposite side of the street — Mr. William Johnson’s currying shop, corner of Market street and Cammack’s alley, having taken fire from the cinders, was nearly destroyed.
“The City building, a plain three-story edifice, was insured by the Council * * * for $2,000, which will probably cover the loss. The Common Council room was also used by the Central Presbyterian church, Rev. Mr. Hoover, and the basement story for various city purposes. All the moveables were saved, except in Mr. Burr’s shop, who loses about $150. The basement story was chiefly occupied by the Fire Department, and was known as 'Firemen’s Hall.’ ”
There were two fire companies stationed in the building, Hose Company No. 1, and Engine Company No. 5.
CITY HALL AND COURT HOUSE.
The Common Council held a special meeting in David D. Chandler’s hotel, on the west side of Broad street about opposite Mechanic street, but its next regular meeting was held in the unfinished Council Chamber in the Essex County Court House and City Hall, on February 16, 1838, which brings us to Newark’s third City Hall. The city fathers began negotiations while occupying its first quarters in Clinton street, with the Essex County Freeholders, with a view to erecting a building that could be used by both governments. The freeholders made the first approach in this matter, on May 12, 1836. On July 5 of the same year it was formally decided to unite with the county authorities in the building venture. It was agreed that, in the language of the joint committee of aldermen and freeholders, that the site, at Springfield avenue and Market street, should be “conveyed to the City of Newark, and the County of Essex would receive from the city a title for such part as they might occupy or have occasion for, either by lease renewable forever, or by deed, upon condition in either mode of conveyance, that in case the County of Essex should change the place of holding the courts of the County of Essex, out of the city of Newark, then the Lot should revert to the City, and all the interest of the County in and to the same; excepting their portion of the building thus erected thereon, which the City of Newark shall be obliged to take at an appraisal of its then value, to be made by persons mutually chosen and agreed upon between the parties, or by commissioners to be appointed by the Chancellor of the State.”
Reside the Court House and City Hall, it was at the same time decided to provide a prison and workhouse, the present County Jail, was to be erected, the city to have the use of such part of it as was needed. “On Wednesday last,” said the Daily Advertiser, on July 11, 1836, “the committee reported to the Common Council that an offer had been accepted from Mr. John Haviland, the architect, to erect the City Hall and Court House for the sum of $71,000. The proportion to be paid by the city, upon the principles of union heretofore reported, is $29,000. The estimates and offer of the architect for erecting the City and County prison, amounts to $30,000. Onefifth of this building it is proposed to appropriate to the use of the city upon the payment of $6,000. It being understood that the city is at liberty to dissolve this connection at pleasure, and to have the amount repaid if she shall elect so to do.”
The corner stone of the new City Hall and Court House was laid on August 24, 1836, an account of the ceremonies, given in the Daily Advertiser, being in part as follows:
“The ceremonies of laying the corner stone of this edifice took place yesterday. The Municipal authorities of the City, and Chosen Freeholders of the County, with the Chief Justice and other judicial officers of the State and County, the Chief Architect (Mr. Haviland), and his corps of laborers, &c., &c., formed a procession at the Common Council chamber at 3 o’clock, and proceeded to the site under the direction of Sheriff Robinson.
“After the Sheriff reached the place, the title of the ground was presented to his Honor the Mayor of the City, Wm. H. Halsey, Esq., by the donors, and by him transferred to the Freeholders of the County. Statements were then made by Mr. J. W. Condit and Dr. Wm. Pierson, of the proceedings of the County and City in relation to the joint erection of the building — with an exhibition of the plans, and the contract made with the architect. Previous to the laying of the corner stone, the Hon. Stephen D. Day, director of the Hoard of Freeholders, made an address. ' * * * Mr. Halsey [the Mayor] then proceeded with some highly interesting reminiscences of the history of the Court House of Essex. * * * After also briefly recapitulating the terms of union between City and County, the speaker remarked: That by this union the interest of the county has become more particularly identified with the interest of the City. A natural union, like that of a parent with a child, united to build in connection, a dwelling for the mutual accommodation — an union, the effect of which will be economy, a saving to both parties — an union, the effect of which will be a magnificent building, creditable to the State, the County, and the City — central in its situation, convenient in its construction, and of materials durable as time.' * * *”
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