James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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wealth honestlj earned, as well as the richer legacy
of a good name won. In the consistent practice of
those moral and social virtues which all admire and
few emulate. . . . Sincere, unaffected, and humane;
upright and exact in all his dealings ; forbearing to
the erring; kind to all; exhibiting the same courtesy

and consideration towards the poor ami dependent

that he did to the rich and influential, -he was a

man : ' lake him for all ill all, we ne'er shall look upon
his like again.' "

Besides his editorial and official labor-, Judge I [all
was closely identified throughout his life with the
general growth and development of the section of

country in which he lived, and took an active interest
in all objects tending to improve the moral, religious,
and educational tone of society, lie was a regular
attendant at town-meetings, and his portly form could
be Been bIowIj ascending and descending the court-
house bill, according as he voted "Yea" or "Nay" on
questions submitted to the meeting, as was the custom
in earlier day-. Jle felt a friendly interest in the
Cause of religion and education, and donated the land,

in the rear of his homestead in Newton, on which
were erected the "old academy" and the first Metho-
dist Episcopal church edifice. For a number of years
he was engaged in the mercantile business in Wan-

nship and at Newton, in partner-hip with the

late William Johnson, under the firm-name of Hall
>\ Johnson. He passed away on Dec. 4, 1865, and
lies interred in the village cemetery at Newton, where

a modest tombstone marks his last resting-place, bear-
ing upon its face the truthful legend, "The memory
of the just is blessed." It is believed that he never
made an enemy in the world. Though not devoid of
strong traits of character, and at tines of great posi-
tivene-s of conviction, bis manner was uniformly
courteous and kind, conciliating rather than antag-
onizing persons of opposite \ ii ws and opinion-.

Judge Hall married Elizabeth, daughter of William
Bailsman, of Newton, N". J., who died May 1, lsii-j. in
her sixty-seventh year. Of the union were born ten
children,- namely, Susan, who married I bur, 15.
Stoll, of Sussex County, and who now resides at Terre
Haute, Iud.; Amelia, who married William ],. Ann-,
of St. Paul, Minn., and who is dead: William, who
died Unmarried in earl] manhood; Sarah, who married
Kiebard Ii. Westbi'ook, of Philadelphia, and wdio re-
sides in Newton ; Anna, who married Matthew Arm-
strong, of Greenville, N. .T., and who is also deceased ;

( 'atharine. who became the wife of < b'H. John B. Sail-
born, of St. Paul, Minn., and who is dead ; < 'aroline.

deceased, wife ol John Armstrong, of Greenville, V J. ;

John, w ho dir.l young; ISathshcba, who married John
I'. Conger, of N'ewton, also deceased; and Frederick
W., wdio died in his youth.


Benjamin B. IM-all. son of Benjamin and Nancy
(Denton IM-all, was bom at Maspeth, I.. [., onthe
26th of January, 1811. His father was a Bea-captain,
and died when Benjamin B. was about ten year- of

age. His tier was a woman of great moral worth

and Christian excellence, a member of the .Middle-
village Methodi-t Episcopal Church, on Long Island,

and in hi- early life educated her son in the principles
Of morality and integrity. She died in Newton,
N. J., at the age of seventy-live.

At the age of seven young IM-all. as if by intui-
tion, -bowed the bent of his mind by ingeniously
acting a miniature printing-press, and thus

early began to lav the foundation for a life business,

in the faithful prosecution of which be afterward-



became so noted in Northern New Jersey, and espe-
cially in Sussex County.

His parents were poor and unable to afford him
even a common-school education. Upon the death
of his father he commenced an apprenticeship with
Joseph Harper, now the well-known Harper &
Brothers, printers of New York City, who was an
own cousin of his mother. Here he remained until
he was twenty years of age, and became thoroughly
educated as a printer by profession. For some time
thereafter he was employed on the Orange County
Patriot, at Goshen, but in 1833 was introduced by the
editor of that paper — Mr. Hendric — to Judge John
H. Hall, then editor and proprietor of the Sussex
Register, at Newton, N. J. Here a new field of use-
fulness was opened to him ; he embraced it with all
the fervor of an ardent nature, and subsequent events
showed he was eminently qualified to fill it. Noth-
ing could have been more fortunate than his associa-
tion with Judge Hall in the control and management
of the Register, which from a struggling, obscure
newspaper was ultimately, through their joint man-
agement, made a prosperous and thriving journal.

The judge's sober age, his mild and gentle manner,
and his experience in life were well calculated to
moderate Mr. Edsall's naturally sanguine tempera-
ment, and as years passed on this early acquaintance
ripened into firm and earnest friendship ; and, in
1855, Mr. Edsall was offered an equal copartnership
in the Register office, which continued until the death
of Judge Hall, and to the last each maintained the
greatest respect for the other. We relate these events
in Mr. Edsall's earlier career as an incentive to other
young men who, without friends to aid them, are
about to assume responsibility, and to show that
patient industry and economy, in the long run, form
the surest road to competency and fame.

So thoroughly was Mr. Edsall identified with the
paper that his name became a household word wher-
ever it circulated. He continued in charge of the
Register, after Judge Hall's decease, until his own
death, which occurred March 27, 1868. Mr. Edsall
was exceedingly industrious; he prepared all, or
nearly all, the editorial matters for his paper, and
selected with great care the miscellaneous reading
which rendered its columns so attractive. Yet he
still found time to do a large share of the severe phys-
ical labor of the office, and many of his readers re-
member him toiling at the large hand-press upon
which the paper was printed during nearly the
whole time of his connection with it. Without any
of the aids now within the reach of the humblest, he
stored his mind with a vast fund of information, from
which a wonderful memory enabled him to draw at
will as from an inexhaustible fountain. His style of
writing was terse and forcible, and so peculiar to
himself that the habitual reader could easily detect
the occasional articles from other pens which appeared
in editorial garb.

In politics Mr. Edsall was a Whig of the Henry
Clay school, and followed the fortunes and earnestly
advocated the measures of that organization until it
sank beneath the heavy load which its pro-slavery
adherents sought to place upon it. When the Repub-
lican party rose out of its ruins, he was among the
first in New Jersey to join in this new movement, and
by his pen and voice contributed in no inconsiderable
degree to its success. Firm in his adherence to prin-
ciple, bold in his advocacy of measures which met
his approval, fearless in his denunciation of corrupt
and venal men, he was nevertheless fair and honor-
; able with political opponents, giving praise wherever
due ; so that among his warmest personal friends were
numbered many with whom he combated strenuously.
Among the members of his own party he had the
love and respect of all. He was so far above the
tricks of the mere politician that no one ever accused
him of duplicity or unfairness.

Up to 1846 the discussion of public questions was
frequently marked with the grossest personalities.
Political lampooning was the fashion of the age, but
as Mr. Edsall grew older and ripened in experience
he changed his manner and style to strictly -polemic
discussion. Here he displayed the greatest strength
and vigor of his masculine mind. Naturally analytic
and vituperative, he seldom resorted to these weapons
unless hardly pressed by his opponent, and then no
one knew better than he how to use them. He might
wound, but it was not in his nature to trample upon a
fallen enemy. Upon the contrary, his strong arm and
generous heart were invariably extended to lift one

Starting out in life a Democrat, contrary to the
generally-received opinion he gave his first vote, in
1832, in favor of Gen. Andrew Jackson for President.
He also was opposed to the re-charter of Bidclle's
Bank, was opposed to high protective tariffs, favored
the repeal of the law imprisoning men for debt, and
advocated the adoption of the present New Jersey
State constitution. In fact, in habits, manners, and
associations he was the antipodes of an aristocrat,
and enjoyed himself best in the company of plain,
straightforward men.

He was a patriot and well-wisher of his country,
and no man held more exalted views of personal
rights than he. In the exigencies of the war he be-
lieved it to be conscientiously his duty to go with the
anti-slavery party, without reference to its ulterior
effect upon a Union of the States. In the fall of 1860,
Mr. Edsall was placed in nomination for member of
Congress in his district (Fourth) by the Republicans,
but, the party being largely in the minority, he failed
of election, although he ran far ahead of his party

In dealing with public questions his method was
always straightforward and manly. Possessing reten-
tive memory, great power of language, and always
" well read," he usually had the advantage of an op-

Jis^c^L a^/L (F -Wc



ponent from the outM'i in dealing with figures and
fact-. To this he united the severe analytical knowl-
edge of the printing-office, which t-;i ri nowhere be
learned so well in any other school; so that in en-
countering his opponent, if opportunity presented, he
overwhelmed him with n regular broadside of Paix-
lian vriins. This was the secret of his sin-el ie power,
and those wlio had to confront him in the political
arena preferred to draw his lire rather than rush up
in the face of a masked battery.

This was Benjamin ]!. Fdsall in the editorial sanc-
tum : out of it, he was the kindest and most genial of
lie n. A friend or a stranger was ever welcome to
partake of the hospitality of his home, which he had
surrounded with many comforts. Political differences
wen never allowed to sever his personal friendships.
Hie opinion- of men and things were seldom changed
in the light of either prosperity or adversity.

So strong a hold had this man upon public opinion,
even in a county where he was never an acknowledged
political leader, that he may be said to have moulded
public sentiment upon many subjects in a manner
ipute unconscious to those who supposed they enter-
taineil different sentiments from his. This was the
result of an integrity of character never questioned.

Although not a member of any church, he had for a
long time prior to his decease been a generous sup-
porter of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the
jecular affairs of which he took a deep and active


His wife was Eliza A., a daughter of Smith F. and
Phebe (Walling) Williams, whom he married Jan.
24, 1852. She was born in Morris County. April 20,
1822, and survives in 1880, residing in Newton, N. J.

Mrs. Edsall is a woman of keen foresight, possessed
of more than ordinary business ability for her sex,
and to her frugality and constancy her husband was
largely indebted for his accumulations. They had no
children, but an adopted daughter was an inmate of
their home.


This gentleman is descended from Samuel ( iood man,
ffho, With his brother Kiehard, came from Hertford,
nd, in 1633, and with a party of colonists from
Salem, Mas-., traveled across the country to the ( 'mi-
necticut River, and, settling there, named the place
Hartford, adopting as a coat-of-arms and motto those
of Hertford, England, after which it was named.

- members of the Goodman family have ever

since resided in Hartford, Edward Goodman, the
father of Kiehard, is still a practicing attorney, and
his uncle, Aaron C, president of the Phoenix Mutual
Insurance ( lompany.

Kiehard F. Goodman, born April 12, 1841, al Hart-
Conn., was graduated from Hani- Military
Academy in 1858, and the following year entered
Trinity College, from which he was graduated with
honor in 1863. Altera short vacation, early in Feb-
ruary following, he was appointed an acting assistant

paymaster in the United States navy and stationed
at the Brooklyn Navy-yard. He was then ordered to
tin- United State- Steamer " Nightingale," which lay-
in the ( lull' of Mexico, but after a short cruise of two
months returned North. The department compli-
mented Paymaster Goodman upon the fact that in

this hi- lir-l report his accounts were found to be com-
plete and without error-. In August he wa- ordered
tO join the " Miami" at 1 lampion Koad-, Va., in a more

responsible position.

Tie "Miami" was the tir-t vessel of the navy to

a-ceiid the .lame- River, and Paymaster Goodman

was sent there to take charge of the Store-ships of the
large fleet which followed, performing that important
duty until they returned North in May, 1865. The
cruise being ended, he declined a place among the
regular assistants, with the promise of speedy promo-
tion, and resigned al the end of leave granted for

making up hi- accounts, and a further leave of two
months wa- accorded, at the end of which he was ex-
cused from active duty and given leave without date,
and in 1868 lie was honorably discharged.

Entering the Albany Law University, he- received
the degree of Bachelor of Laws, was afterwards ad-
mitted to the bar in Connecticut, and went into part-
nership with his father, Edward Goodman, remaining

until be- purchased the Stutex Beguter and ved to

Newton. Oct. 1, 1869.


This new-paper was established by Col. Grant Fitch

in the fall of 1829, it being the third enterprise of the
kind within the present limits of the county of Sussex.
A brief sketch of it- founder seems necessary as an in-
troduction to a history of the paper it-elf.

Col. Fitch was born in Norwalk, Conn., in 1782.
lie wa- a son of llaine- Filch, and a grandson of

Tl ias Fitch, who was for ten years Governor of the

colony of Connecticut. The education of ( i rant Fitch,

which included the higher branches of learning, was

completed at Norwalk, but, in-lead of studying any
of the learned professions, he chose a mercantile lit',-,
in which pursuit he spent a short time in Burlington,
Vt., but very soon removed to Westtown, Orange Co.,
N. Y.. where he married a daughter of Judge Benja-
min Halsey, who was subsequently a well-known citi-
zen of Busses i lounty.

When quite a young man Col. Fitch removed to New-
ton and engaged ill mercantile pursuit-, in which lie
was successful. 1 1 i- place of bu-ine— was in the -mall
brick building, now Used a- a meat-shop, 0D the cor-
ner opposite the Library building, which he erected.

About the year 1820, acting upon the advice of true
but nun ise friends, he removed to Mark-hum', Warren

Co., and established a cotton-factor] jusl below the
village, on the Paulinskill. With this enterprise there
are no pleasant reminiscences connected, so lar as he
was concerned, or any of those who succeeded him.
In the spring of 1829 he returned to Newton, :i



wiser if not a richer man, but with no special inten-
tion of founding a newspaper. It was not until after
the death of his wife, which occurred in September
of that year, that he conceived the idea of embarking
in this, to him, new and experimental business. It
may have been an expedient suggested by preceding
misfortunes, and accepted as an available resource.
The field of operations was broad enough, for at that
time there was but one newspaper published in the
county, — the Sussex Register, established by John H.
Hall sixteen years before, which was Whig in poli-
tics, whereas Democracy of the old Jefferson and
Jackson school was largely in the ascendant in the
county. This advantage, however, was confronted
by a formidable array of drawbacks. It was the time
of slow coaches, when matters great and small were
alike subject to the most mature deliberation ; when,
if a man subscribed for a newspaper, it was because
he was convinced that he could not get on without it.
A tri-weekly stage brought the mails from New York
City, and there were two or three weekly side mail-
routes in the county, which furnished the postal fa-
cilities and means of travel for several years thereafter.
What still further added to the difficulties in the way
of success was the strong hold which the Register had
gained upon the people of the county. Judge Hall
was one of the most genial and popular of men, and
much of his time was spent in canvassing the differ-
ent townships and becoming personally acquainted
with and making friends of the people. Hundreds of
Democrats continued to patronize the Register from
force of habit and pure regard for its publisher. It re-
quired time, patience, and hard labor for Col. Fitch
to establish his paper, but he lived to see it success-
fully accomplished.

The Herald was first printed in an old building on
Main Street, opposite the Cochran House, where
William W. Woodward's hardware-store now stands.
The size of the paper was twenty by twenty-eight
inches, the reading-matter being set in clean bour-
geois and the advertisements in bourgeois and brevier
type. The subscription price was two dollars per
year. The first press was an old-fashioned Washing-
ton lever press, which was worked by hand. This
answered the purpose until 1840, when it became
necessary to enlarge the paper. To avoid the expense
of a new press the experiment of enlarging the old
one was tried, and it was successfully accomplished
by the skillful workmen in the Lafayette foundry,
then owned and operated by that irrepressible Demo-
crat Alexander Boyles. Twice during the first ten
years of the Herald's existence its proprietor was
awarded the contract for printing the Legislative Jour-
nal. The gross proceeds of each contract amounted
to about six hundred dollars, and it required about six
months, with such mechanical facilities as were avail-
able, to complete the work.

In 1842, after thirteen years of arduous labor, Col.
Fitch retired from the editor- and proprietorship of

the Herald, which he had founded. He was suc-
ceeded by his son, Charles W. Fitch, now of Wash-
ington, D. C, who published it just one year.

During the period the paper was owned by the
Fitches the location of the office was several times
changed. For a little while it was in a building on
Spring Street, where Jacob Kimble now resides, and
later, for several years, it occupied the site of the
O'Leary building, opposite the court-house. ' From
there it was removed to the Beach building, on Bazaar
Corner, where Samuel Johnson's store now stands.
Here Charles W. Fitch left it, in the fall of 1843.

The next editor and proprietor was Gilbert Judson
Beebe, a son of Elder Gilbert Beebe, of Orange Co.,
N. Y. He assumed control in November, 1843, and
continued until November, 1845. Mr. Beebe was a
young man of splendid natural abilities and fine edu-
cation. In addition to being an accomplished writer
he was a brilliant stump-speaker, and in the Polk and
Dallas campaign of 1844, in connection with Judge
Martin Eyerson, he addressed the people of every
township in the county, and aroused their enthusiasm
for the Democratic nominees.

After two years of editorial life in Sussex, Mr.
Beebe retired, in 1845, and in November of that year
he was succeeded by Victor M. Drake, of Goshen,
N. Y. Mr. Drake, the oldest son of Rufus J. Drake,
was born at Milford, Pike Co., Pa., in 1813. In 1824
he entered the office of the Independent Republican, at
Goshen, to learn the printer's art under Henry H.
Van Dyck, who was then the publisher of that paper.
After learning the trade he became the copartner
with Mr. Van Dyck as the owner and editor, and
subsequently became the sole owner. In 1840 he
sold the Independent Republican and removed to New
York, where he became connected with Hunt's " Mer-
chants' Magazine," and where he remained until
November, 1845, when he came to Newton and be-
came editor and proprietor of the Herald.

Under Mr'. Drake's management the circulation of
the paper was largely increased. In addition to his
labors in the office, he managed to spend much time
among the people both in Sussex and Warren Coun-
ties, distributing his papers, collecting subscriptions,
and soliciting new subscribers. His genial manner
and sympathetic nature made him very popular with
the people. It is believed that he was better ac-
quainted with and could call more persons by name
than any man living in the county. The paper,
which had been slightly enlarged under Mr. Beebe,
was expanded to twenty-eight columns by Mr. Drake,
and the general appearance of the paper greatly im-

In December, 1853, Mr. Drake was succeeded by
Thomas Anderson, — now Judge Anderson, — who was
the editor and proprietor until Aug. 4, 1855, when ho
was succeeded by Col. Morris R. Hamilton, a native
of Oxford, Warren Co., and a son of Samuel Hamil-
ton, Esq. Col. Hamilton was a graduate of Prince-



Ion College, and had been admitted to the liar as a
member of the legal profession. He came to Newton
and took oharge of the Herald *\ the solicitation of
Col. Samuel Fowler when the wave: of political Know-

Nothingism was at its highest In the first issue of
the paper under his editorship Col. Hamilton assailed
that proscriptive organization, and kept in the tight
with great ability and e;i rn.-i ness until he had the

satisfaction of witnessing the demise of that political

Col. Hamilton remained in charge of the Herald

until August, 1868, when he was succeeded by James

.1. McNally, of Orange Co., N. Y., who, assisted by
Victor M. Drake, conducted the Herald until August,

1861. In the mean lime, the Suttex Democrat, under

the editorship of tleorge R. AfcCarter, had been
started, had gained a large subscription among the
Anti-Lecnnipton Democrats of the county, and
had materially interfered with the prosperity of the

Another change in the management of the Herald
became necessary, and Henry C. Kelsey, now the'
Secretary of Slate of New Jersey, became Mr. Mc-
Nally 's successor. In March. 1 sr.'J. Mr. Kelsey pur-

chased the Democrat and merged it with the Herald,
John W. Gillam, who had been foreman and assist-
ant editor of the Democrat, becoming Mr. Kelsey's
partner as editor and proprietor. In February. 1 366,
Mr. Kelsey became the editor, and Mr. (lillam the
publisher. The form was then changed from a four-
page to an eight-page paper.

The office had been removed by Thomas Anderson
to the old chair-factory building, above the park, by
Col. Hamilton to the Park Hall building, on Main
Street, and from there to the Snook building, on
Spring Street, and by Mr. McNally to the Nelden .V
Bodine foundry-building, on Spring Street. from
there Mr. Kelsey removed it to the old Sussex
foundry-building, where ex-Sheriff Smith's building
now stands, when-, on Friday morning, July 7. L866,
the office, with presses, type, books, hies, and furni-
ture, was destroyed by tire. The Sussex Irue !>■
which was started after the sab- of the Sustex Dcmo-
orat to Mr. Kelsey. bad also been purchased by Mr.
Kelsey alter being published one year by George D.

Wallace. The pre— and material- of this office -till
remained in the Nelden ,V Bodine building, and were

brought into use on the morning after the tire. With



this press and material, and with the generous aid of
the Sussex Register, the Herald was enabled to continue
its publication without missing a single issue.

On the 28th of June, 1866, Mr. Kelsey sold his
half-interest in the Herald to William H. Bell, of
Branchville, and Bell & Gillam became editors and
proprietors. Mr. Bell was editor only in name.
The paper was edited by Mr. Gillam, assisted by
George R. McCarter, until March 4, 1867, when
Thomas G. Bunnell succeeded Mr. McCarter as local
editor, in which capacity he served until August of
the same year, when a company of leading Democrats
purchased the establishment of Bell & Gillam and
took possession of the office. Thomas G. Bunnell,

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 56 of 190)