Reminiscences of David Whitehead, Lake Avenue, Boonton, N. J., July
Charlie Sammis. an old Quaker, kept the third lock in the canal. It
was back of the Presbyterian church, as that now stands, 1913. He used
to teach some of the larger boys in winter, keeping school in the lock
house. He had as many as ten or fifteen boys in his school. At this same
time a school was kept in the basement of the old Presbyterian church, and
when the boys from the two schools encountered each other at recess or at
other times, or met on the skating pond, there was trouble and some hard
fighting. The boys from the lock house were larger than the others.
The old Quaker was a practical teacher and taught them many things
that were not in the book. Their book learning was very limited. They
all had to study arithmetic and penmanship or get out. Quill pens
were used in those days. Among the boys who went to school in this lock
house with David Whitehead were Marshall Doty, Abram Masseker, and
Charles Sammis was a son-in-law of Richard Brotherton, who was the
butcher of those days. Among the scholars who went to school to Mr.
Pease with David Whitehead were Charlie, and Phebe. and Kalita Berr}-.
The father of David Whitehead of Lake street, Boonton, was David
Whitehead, an Englishman, who came over from Manchester when he was
eighteen years old. He was born in 1800, and died in 1888. He was
gardener or florist for Guy Hinchman. David Whitehead, second, also
went to school to Charles E. Xoble. The teacher who did not use the
whip in those days was no good. Little David had his experience of the
358 NEW JERSEY
correcting rod and declares it did not make him any better. He says that
Fred Dalrymple taught school in Rockaway, went to California and died in
1849. John Hiird also went to California in 1849.
John O. Hill had a farm near Franklin and died there recently. He
used'to teach in the Dover school.
Locust Hill, where the cemetery is. used to be called Kelso Hill, after
a man who lived there. There was an old house cellar where the Hinch-
man monument is or near by, and when David Whitehead was a boy there
were pear trees, currant bushes, and rose bushes there, traces of an old
home, the Kelso home.
David W. Jr. was born up Mt. Hope avenue, about half way to Rock-
away. He left Dover in i860, and has been in the employ of the Fuller-
Lord Boonton Iron Company and the J. Couper Lord estate for fifty-three
years, now retired on a pension. He is highly esteemed as a capable and
faithful workman, as Mr. Smith Condit testifies. The old Birch school was
known as the little red school house. Scrape the paint from the old end of
it, and see if it isn't red yet. An addition was added later.
In 1856, on the Fourth of July, it was so cold that overcoats were
needed — a great contrast to 1913.
Abraham Palmer, father of Rev. Mr. Palmer, of New York, was the
Methodist minister in Dover in early days; also Rev. Mr. Griffith, Ellison,
Old Billy Ford was the "father" of Dover's mechanics, machinists,
and workers in iron. He had the blacksmith shop of the town and had
a great many apprentices whom he instructed in this kind of "manual
training." They made gunstocks, etc. He sold his shop near the corner
of Dickerson and Morris streets, and moved to Sussex street, where the
Morris County Iron and Machine shop has been located since then.
David W. has a copy of the old picture of Dover in 1849. He also has
a picture in his mind. W'hen he cannot sleep these hot nights he thinks
over his boyhood days in Dover. He recalls every street, every building,
and the people whom he knew. If he could have a stenographer at hand to
write down all that passes through his mind, it would make quite a history.
Here is one of his reminiscences.
Old Jabez Mills owned property on Orchard street. He sold to the
town land to make a good wide street, where Chestnut street now is. Then
he built a board fence and set it on his lot ten feet beyond the line of the
street, encroaching on the street, and making it narrower. This act aroused
the indignation of his fellow-townsmen. Billy Young, Dover's first baker,
and a man highly respected for his upright and philanthropic life, was then
president of the Cemetery Association. He sent out word for all the boys
of the town to meet him at the Cemetery one Saturday night. He directed
the boys to line up alongside of the obnoxious fence. At the word of com-
mand each boy took hold of the fence — there were seventy-five or a hundred
of them. Then came the word to pull it out, and they "snaked" it out of
the ground, pulled it over and threw it ten feet back in Jabez Mills's grain
field. This was spoken of at the time as an instance of "Dover Law."
Along in the evening of that Saturday night. Jabez Mills said to his
wife : "Wife, I believe I'll go down and see if that fence is all right.
There was some talk of pulling it down." "'Oh !" said his wife, "they've
pulled it down already." "Well then, let's go to bed," said Jabez.
David Whitehead knew "Billy Young" when he first came to Dover.
MORRIS COUNTY 359
Mary J. King became the wife of David Whitehead. She went to Mr.
Mrs. Monroe Howell, of Boonton, once taught school in Dover. Miss
Lucy Coe went to school to her.
Letter of Miss Harriet A. Breese, Los Angeles, Calif., July 12. 1913:
Los .\ngeles, Calif., July 12, 1913.
My dear Mr. Piatt: My recollections of many of the teachers are too dis-
connected to write them out. l\Iy remembrance of Mr. and Mrs. M. Lee and Miss
Chapman is that of family friends, as my family kept up the friendship with them
for many years. Mr. Lee was a successful grain merchant in Topeka. Kansas. He
died there a few years ago. Miss Cox, sister of Mr. Hugh Co.k. with whom she
taught in the old public school, married a Mr. Morehouse of New Providence, N. J.,
and as far as I know is still living there.
The second Mr. John Wilson had red whiskers. His specialty in teaching was
mental arithmetic. I am still grateful for the drill he gave me in that study.
I think he taught about 1861, but am not sure about the date.
Mr. Bancroft, after leaving Dover, became quite a noted physician in Denver,
Colorado. Mr. Saunders became an Episcopal clerg\-man after leaving Dover. I met
his wife a few years ago and she told me that he was then in the Insane Asylum at
Miss Susan Magie — Mrs. James — taught in the Hill Top Seminary on Prospect
street during the Civil War. I remember that we, as a school, made "comfort bags"
for the soldiers, putting in each bag, beside the usual needles, pins, thread, and
buttons, a letter. We edited a paper, calling it "The L'nion." and in it were copied
all the letters we received from the soldiers in reply to ours.
My sister, Mrs. Whitlock, sent me the enclosed notice of Miss Mason's school,
which she attended.
My sister Carrie had a private school in a room over my father's store. The
room was also used for public entertainments. It was the largest room in the village
and was called Temperance Hall. The store stood on the corner of Blackwell and
Morris streets, where the George Richards store now stands. It was built by my
father and Mr. Robert Crittenden. They were in business together. It was the first
three-stor>- store building put up in the village. After my father's death it was
bought by the George Richards Company and eventually it was moved to East
Blackwell street, where it now stands on the opposite side of the street from the
Dover Lumber Company.
When my father built his house in 1842 on the corner of Morris and Blaclavell
streets, where the Lehman store now is, Blackwell street ended, as you show in your
map. My father built his house facing the meadow. People asked him why he built
his house facing that way. He said there would soon be a street there and it was
soon after that the street was opened.
I do not remember anything in particular of the Pruden corner, and of the
Billy Ford place, I only remember the big old house and garden and pond.
Your map of Dover (made by I. W. Searing) is, I should judge, very good.
I wish I had saved a map of Dover that my mother drew. It was as she remembered
it, but in some way it has been lost. Where Gen. Winds and old Doctor Crittenden
lived it used to be called "Pleasant Vallev'."
My mother was born in 1805 in the old Hurd farm house that stands back in
the fields from where Blackwell street now is. Her grandfather, Josiah Hurd, Sr.,
came to Dover from Connecticut and bought a thousand acres from the government
in that section of the town. I have often heard my mother tell of it.
Mr. Ives never taught in Dover. I do not remember Miss Harriet Ives. I
remember we used to receive rewards of merit in the shape of cards with colored
pictures on them, and sometimes we had quite large crayon pictures given us. I was
given a silver thimble, but whether for lessons or conduct I can't remember.
Mrs. Calkins and Mrs. Stickle ought to be able to give you real help in your
search, for they must remember the Dover of long ago. even before my time. Ask
Mrs. Chambre about the old library that was in her father's store. I think you will
find some of the books belonging in it in the garret at the south side school house.
We had some in our own public library-, too. I don't think the library was originally
Mr. Young's. I remember looking it over when I was quite young.
Thank you for the High School Program. The exercises must have been very
interesting, only I do not think my letter of sufficient interest to have been read on
such an occasion. I am simply writing to try and give you a little help, if I can.
36o NEW JERSEY
The only school Mrs. Smith ever attended in Dover was the little private school
kept by Miss Tompkins. * * *
Harriet A. Breese.
Los Angeles, July 15, 1913.
The old stone hotel, "Hotel Dover" — was there before my father's store was
built. Of the old teachers, Mr. M. I. Lee, Miss Chapman. Mr. Calkins, and Mr.
John Wilson second were from Massachusetts. Mr. Gage was from Vermont.
You probably have heard that he became a lawyer and practiced in Dover and
IMorristown after he left teaching. Mr. Bancroft was a Connecticut man. Mr.
Harvev's home was at Mine Hill, N. J. I think he became a lawyer. The public
school' teaching in the early days seemed to be used as stepping stones to a profession
other than teaching, but they were good teachers, too.
I taught in the Dover public school in 1872-73 under Mr. Spaulding.
H.-uiRiET A. Breese.
YOUNG LADIES' SCHOOL
Dover, N. J.
Miss L. A. Mason, Principal.
I. Reading, Writing, Spelling, English Grammar. Geography and Arithmetic. $3-00
n. History, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Botany, Latin, French, and
HL Instruction in Music on the Piano 5-O0
This school is taught in the house of Rev. B. C. Magie, who will assist Miss M.
in giving instruction.
Dover, May i, 1855.
Letter of David A. Searing, July 17th, 1913:
Pompton Lakes, July 17th, 1913.
Mr. Charles D. Piatt:
Dear Sir: I read in the Index a "notice." requesting those who went to school
in Dover before 1870 to write to you. I attended at the old school house where
Mr. Birch's place is now. It was fifty-seven years ago. (1856.") "Miss Belknap"
was my first teacher, then a Miss Dalrymple. Then I entered the higher room and
was there until I was fourteen years old. I had three teachers in that room— a
Mr. Wilson, then a Mr. Calkins,' and finished up with Mr. James Cooper of Mill
Brook. From 1856 to 1866 I got my schooling. ^Mr. Calkins, teacher, was in business
in New York the last time I saw him.
Names of mv schoolmates : Stephen Palmer, Dover ; Wm. Wrighton ; Nelson
Wrighton, Elizabeth, N. J.; Miss Malvina Sutton, Princeton Ave., Dover; Miss Sarah
Lampson. Miss Adda Lindsley, Miss Nettie Dickerson and Edward, Urvin Freeman,
D. A. Se-aring.
Pompton Lakes, N. J.
Letter of Louisa Crane Wortman :
Brookside, N. J., July 22, 1913.
Mr. Charles D. Piatt:
Sir: In reply to "Names Wanted," published in the Index, perhaps I can say
something that will interest someone.
In 1868 I entered Dover .\cademy as a pupil. It was a substantial stone building
fronting Dickerson street. The beautifully shaded lawn extended the entire distance
between Morris and Essex streets. Over the entrance was "Erected 1829." To me
as a child the building seemed gloomy. I fancied the key to the massive doorlock
looked like a prison key. But an eglantine grew near the doorstep that I thought
even then softened and made more homelike the whole. That was indeed a "bonnie
brier bush." The general schoolroom was furnished with primitive desks to accom-
modate fifty pupils, perhaps more. The panes of the lower sash of the w-indows
were painted a light tint to let in sunlight, but prevent scholars from looking out on
the street. The room across the hall was more modernly furnished and contained
a piano. The chapel, or church, as it was called, was upstairs. We attended service
:iIORRIS COUNTY 361
there every Wednesday and Friday morning. There the rector, the Rev. Mr. Upjohn,
monthly read reports of all pupils.
Miss Abbie L. Forgiis was principal and taught in the large room. She was a
beautiful, gracious gentlewoman, whose discipline was love. Some of the names of
those seated in her room were as follows : Sarah Overton, Elizabeth Taylor, Harriet
George, Rose and William Derry. Sarah Cooper, Irene Davenport, Ella Coe, George
Richards, Joseph Lambert, Alunson Searing, Sarah Lampson, Lucy, Lida, and Edward
Neighbour, Alfred and Annie Goodale, L^zal Crane. William Vail, Serena and Louise
Oram, Gussie Lindsley, Emma and Alice Ried, and Thomas Segur.
In the smaller room Miss Emma Cressy taught Mary Rose, Susan Crittenden,
Louisa Crane, Xettie Dickerson, and Jennie and Mary Berry. Miss Cressy was a
linguist, teaching Latin, German, and French, and was decidedly proficient in the
latter. Miss .'vddie Overton w'as music teacher. Before Miss Forgus w-ent to Cohoes,
N. Y., to teach. Miss Cressy resigned and Miss Louisa Crane assisted with primary
(Now) Mrs. Charles E. Wortman.
P. S. — I herewith add a bit of Dover history. The late Charles B. Crane received
the very first freight sent to Dover via Morris and Essex R. R. It was a consign-
ment of leather from Jacob T. Garthwaite of Newark, N. J., and as there w-as no
station at Dover, was locked in the corncrib of Mr. Wm. Ford.
An item of information about another Dover school teacher has
strayed my way. Mrs. Josephine Peck of Michigan, a member of the
Hurd family, related to the Byrams, has written that when she was a
school girl, attending school in the Birch building, she went on the ice on
Ford Pond one day and fell in up to her neck. Her teacher hurried to the
pond and saved her life. He afterwards gave her a present of a book which
she still treasures up. This happened about 1847-8. The teacher's name was
Mr. Lefevre Overton.
Mrs. Phebe H. De Hart, of Bloomfield, N. J., July 16, 1913:
I called on her at her home and spent the morning. She said her
memory was failing and would not attempt to answer some of the ques-
tions which I asked.
She remembered Phebe Berry, who, when a little girl, was in her
Sunday school class. Mrs. De Hart herself remembered going to Sunday
school in "a brick building," in Dover. She remembered Peter Hoagland
and his family, and Mr. Wyckoff, the first Presbyterian minister.
When asked about the religious meetings in the barn of the Daniel
Lawrence house, a mile or two beyond the Mt. Fern church on the Chester
road, she remembered distinctly attending such meetings in the big stone
barn belonging to this house. Mr. Sherman, a circuit preacher of the
Methodist church, would come around two or three times a year. When
he arrived in the neighborhood he would go to the school house and an-
nounce to the school that he would preach at such a time. Then the chil-
dren would carry the news home to their parents and the people would
all turn out and attend the preaching service. The preaching service was
held in the school house, apparently, and some other religious service in
the big barn, according to Mrs. De Hart. "Oh, how the people loved Mr.
Sherman and loved to hear him preach !"
Mr. I. W. Searing, of Dover, says that his parents first met and got
acquainted at these meetings in the big barn.
Mrs. De Hart used to visit at the Chrystal home, and at the Abijah
Abbott home on the Rockaway road. She attended church at first in
Rockaway, under Barnabas King. She is a petite old lady of dignified
362 NEW JERSEY
and gracious manners and her eyesight is failing, so that she sits with
closed eyes most of the time, but her hearing is very good. When I asked
if she remembered "Billy Ford," as I have heard him spoken of, she re-
plied with great gravity that she was indeed acquainted with "William
Ford." She was quite deliberate and wished to take time to think, and
would not let me go until I had finally stayed to lunch. She had not heard
so much about Dover in a long while and was very much pleased to have
any one talk to her about the scenes of her childhood days. Having
studied the subject so long I was able to ask questions and talk as if I
had lived in Dover since 1800, almost. "In those days did the ladies dress
up much in fine dresses when they went to church?" "I guess they did,
the best they could. They had dresses of silk and satin and so on." "Did
they have fine weddings in those days?" "Yes, they did." She was mar-
ried when she was nineteen, in 1834.
THE DOVER S.\BB.\TH SCHOOL TE,«iCHERS' SOCIETY OF 1833.
Dover, October 15th, 1834.
Brother Segur :
Dear Sir : In accordance with your request, communicated to us by your letter
of the loth inst.. and also knowing, and feeling, the necessity of unity of effort
which we have always been desirous of promoting. We, as teachers in the sabbath
school would respectfully request, that the following additional particulars may be
embodied in the Constitution (which accompanied your letter to us) under their
appropriate heads, and in appropriate language:
1st. That we recognize in our title our connection with the Rockaway society.
Our reasons for the above are that we may enjoy the spiritual, and pecuniary
advantages arising from such a recognition.
2d. That the librarian shall report at least annually the condition of the library,
the amount of the expenditures, what expended for, and also suggest the amount
of appropriations necessary for the library and such other matter as he may think
proper for the action of the teachers.
3d. That the officers of the society shall be elected annually.
To promote sabbath school instruction, and to secure a more efficient and sys-
tematic organization of the sabbath schools in this place.
We. the undersigned, do hereby agree to form ourselves into an association,
under the title of the "Dover Sabbath School Teachers' Society." and having unani-
mously adopted the following rules and regulations, pledge ourselves to submit to
and be governed by them, viz. —
Article ist. Every Teacher that shall be duly Elected shall become a member
of this Society by signing his or her name to this Constitution.
Art. 2d. This Society shall meet as often as once in each week to examine their
Lessons for the succeeding Sabbath, to appoint Teachers when necessary, and to
attend to any business connected with the school or Library, said meetings to be
opened and closed with prayer.
Art. 3d. The Officers "of this society shall consist of a Superintendent and
Librarian, and, if found necessary, other officers may be appointed, who shall be
Elected by a majoritv of the members of this society.
Art. 4th. It shall be the privilege and duty of the Superintendent to preside at
all meetings and to superintend the general concerns of the society & School. Teachers
are not to oppose his management in the school, on the Sabbath, for the time being,
but may bring up any objections to his course, at their weekly meetings, which are
designed to correct anv improprieties and secure the best interests of the school.
Art. 5. The duty of the Librarian shall be to take charge of the Books belonging
to the Library, in connection with the superintendent, and also to act as secretary
of this society.
Art. 6. The Teachers, at their weekly meetings, shall adopt such rules & regula-
tions with regard to furnishing and replenishing the Library with Books, to the
manner of giving them out, and the penalties for damages &c as shall seem to them
proper and expedient.
Art. 7. Whenever the Teachers or a majority of them shall think the interest
of the school and society will be promoted by Electing a new superintendent or
Librarian or other such officers as may belong to this society, it shall be their duty
MORRIS COUNTY 363
to do so, And shall select suitable persons from among the members of this society
to fill said offices, who shall receive 2/33 of the votes of this society, to become duly
elected. . , , . .■ .t.
Art. 8th. No Resolution passed at any meetmg of this society, touching the
General rules and regulations of the school, such as the appointment of teachers,
the Election or removal of officers &c shall be final, till approved by a majority of
the members of this society who shall be present at the next regular subsequent
meeting. ... ,
Art. 9. Each individual who shall sign this constitution gives a solemn assurance
to his associate Teachers that they will seek the best interests of the school, and
will seek God's blessing upon their Labours connected with the school. And also
endeavour to be punctual in their attendance at the time of opening the school, and
also in attending the meetings of said society.
And if, at anv time, circumstances should occur which would cause them to
be absent on the Sabbath, to endeavour to procure another person to take charge of
their class until their return. .
Art. 10. Every person who shall sign this constitution shall have the privilege
of withdrawing his or her name from this society whenever he or she may think
Art. II. These Bye Laws & regulations may be altered, improved or amended
from time to time, as the necessity of the case may require, provided 54 of the
members of this society concur therein.
Dated Julv 10. 183,?.
Agreeable to appointment, we, the undersigned, met and having perused the
above form of a constitution for the Dover S. School Society, do recommend
it to our Brother and Sister teachers and shall feel much gratified if the foregoing
Rules & Regulations shall be unanimously adopted.
F. A. HiNCHMAN, Benj'n F. H.-^rrison.
Sidney Breese, Eliezer L.\mson,
John S. Pulsifer, O. A. Harrison.
John Andrew Briant. of Rockaway, July 2, 1913.
I found Mr. Briant in his home on Maple street. He had just returned
from his trip up town. He was born Dec. 23, 1819. His grandfather
was Andrew Briant, who lived in Springfield, New Jersey, during the
Revolution. The British came and burned the town. Grandfather Briant
snatclied up such household effects as he could throw hastily into his
wagon — including one of the old-fashioned long clocks — whipped up his
horses and drove off amid flying bullets. He had his wife and children
on board, but stopped to rescue old Hanus Briant and wife, but they
refused to leave their old home, so he had to leave them to the mercies of
the British. When the British commander saw their plight, he gave orders
to leave them undisturbed and not to burn their house. The family in
the wagon then escaped to the wilds of Dover, where they evidently con-
sidered themselves far beyond the reach of the foe. The grandfather
took up land at Center Grove. Dover was then a very small village.
John A. Briant was brought up at Center Grove. He went to school
at Mill Brook in an old school house that was located on the smaller
brook, further up the stream to the right than the present school house
at the fork of the streams. Who were the teachers in this Mill Brook
school? Maria, Phebe, and Melitta Condict, sisters of Dr. L W. Condict,
then taught school there, in succession. Two of them went to China as
missionaries in 1830, and afterwards returned to this country.
Dr. A. W. Condict informs me that Melitta Condict afterwards mar-
ried a Mr. Grover, and now (1Q13) survives him, and is living in Romeo,
Michigan, at the age of 08. She bought all the bonds that Dover issued
for the building of the East Side School, also the bonds issued for the