James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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years he became a cleric in the -tore of hi- ancles,

.lame- K. ami Caleb Sw ay/.o, at Hope. II. re his

natural business nbilit] began to develop, and he soon
bee;, me conversant with all the details of a general
trade, lie remained as clerk in this store until June
1 8, 1842, « hen he became a partner in the o
with hi- uncle t laleb, under the firm-name of C. & J.
I.. S\t lyze. This business relation continued until
Jan. 1, 1845, when Mr. Swayze bought his unci.'- in-
terest, and carried on the -tore until April, Is 17.

lie relinquished business at Hope- at this time, and
from May 18, 1848, until April 15, 1854, carried on
a general mercantile business at Stanhope, in Sussex

In May, 1S54, he went to Trenton. X. J,, and com-
menc d the study of law under Hon. Martin K
who was subsequently a judge of the Supreme Court

Of New Jersey.

M'ter oni Mar Mr. Kversoii removed CO Newton.
N. J., and Mr. Swayze then entered the law-office of
Hon. Mercer Beasley, now chief just ice of the Supreme
i lout I of the Siate, where he remained for three years,

and was admitted a- an attorney at the June term in

1858. He at once entered upon the practice of bis

profession in Trenton, which, however, on account .it'
ill health, he continued but a short time.

In the autumn of 1858 he came to Newton, w Ii. re

he, in the spring of 1859, again entered into mercan-
tile business, which he carried on until 1865. I le was

foremost in the organization of the Merchants' Na-
tional Bank at Newton, is it- largest stockholder, and
id cashier, March ii, 1865, at the first meet-
ing of it- director-. Upon the decea-e of Col. Robert
Hamilton, it- first president, Mr. Swayze was elected

his successor, and retains that position in 1880.

In politic- Mr. Swayze formerly held to the princi-
ple- of the ..hi Jackson school, and never differed
with the platform of the Democratic party, except on
the question of slavery, lie became a member of the
Republican party upon its organization, and until
H72 unswervingly advocated it- measures of reform.
Since thai time In- ha- taken an independent stand on
political questions, and ea-t bis vote and influence for
what he conceived to he ju-t and correct principle-,

live "I' the men or parly representing them.
Believing fully in a protective tariff for all Ameri-
can industries, and protection to American labor, he



ardently supported the election of James A. Garfield
for the Presidency in 1880. He was a member of the
Constitutional Commission that proposed amendments
to the Constitution in 1873, and introduced a number
of measures of reform, several of which were adopted
in whole or in a modified form, and are now incorpo-
rated into the Constitution of the State.

He labored earnestly, industriously, and zealously
in favor of every reform measure that was introduced.
He favored an elective judiciary, the abolition of the
Court of Chancery, the abolition of capital punish-
ment, woman suffrage, the equal taxation of all kinds
of property and no exemptions (even for churches and
institutions of learning), the election of State officers
by the people, measures to prevent bribery at elections,
and several other reforms ; and he opposed a change
of representation in the Senate and the creation of
any new offices.

Mr. Swayze married, Sept. 10, 1860, Joanna, a
daughter of Jonathan Hill, of Green township, Sus-
sex County. Her mother was Joanna Price, an aunt
of ex-Governor Rodman M. Price.

Their children are Francis J., a graduate of Har-
vard in the class of 79; Mary C, William Henry
Sew ard, John Lowrenee, and Joanna H.


was chartered in I860,* which franchise constituted
Robert Hamilton, John Linn, and D. S. Anderson
commissioners, empowered to open books for subscrip-
tions to its capital stock, limited to $30,000. They
were permitted to organize and proceed to business so
soon as $15,000 was subscribed. On account of vari-
ous discouragements about that time the project was
laid aside, and nothing was done. In January, 1869,
the Rev. Myron Barrett suggested to certain citizens
who talked of getting a gas-machine of sufficient
capacity to light their dwellings that many others in
various parts of the town would like gas also, and also
suggested the putting of the several investments into
a common stock and erecting works sufficient to light
the town. He was reminded that the charter, obtained
some years before, must still be in existence. It was
found, and under its provisions subscription books
were opened, a company formed, and gas-works
speedily erected. They were completed in the fall of
1869, and are of sufficient capacity to light a town of
20,000 inhabitants, — with a six-inch main, — so there
is no immediate danger of their proving inadequate
to the demand. The first president was J. L. Swayze,
and J. L. Lawrence secretary.

The present officers are Alfred F. Fellows, Presi-
dent; Dr. Franklin Smith, Secretary and Treasurer;
Franklin Smith, Jr., Superintendent.


was incorporated March 22, 1860, with Michael B.
Titman, Moses W. Northrup, Daniel S. Anderson,

* Sou New Jersey Session Laws, 180O, for act of Incorporation.

Samuel Cassady, Nathaniel Pettit, Thomas N. Mc-
Carter, and Whitfield S. Johnson as corporators.
Several meetings were held, but the amount required
for the purpose was not obtained until 1866, when the
company was organized. Dr. Franklin Smith was
elected president, Daniel S. Anderson secretary, and
Thomas Anderson treasurer, with about $16,000 capi-
tal. The present grounds were purchased of the heirs
of Aaron Peck,— some 20 acres, beautifully situated
in the south part of the town. The first interment
was Joseph A. Linn, in August, 1867.

The present officers are Franklin Smith, President;
Thomas E. Smith, Secretary and Treasurer ; Charles
Stickle, Superintendent.


was organized in September, 1869. A. W. Price was
chosen president, Joseph Coult vice-president, John
C. Howell treasurer, and S. S. Cook secretary. The
first directors were the following-named gentlemen:
Joseph Coult, William W. Woodward, John C. How-
ell, Francis Graey, Lewis J. Martin, Henry M. Ward,
A. W. Price, William E. Taylor, S. S. Cook, Thomas
Farrel, O. B. Pellet, A. J. Landon, George Nelden.
It closed up its affairs in 1880. During its existence
it transacted a large amount of business by loaning
its money on real estate, etc.


This institution is the result of the munificent gift
of $25,000 by Alfred L. Dennis, Esq., of Newark,
N. J., to this his native town. The citizens of New-
ton added $5000 to this sum, which purchased the lot
on which the library building was erected. The cor-
porate name is "The Newton Library Association,"
yet, out of respect to the founder, the directors unan-
imously resolved to let the library bear his name and
be called "The Dennis Library."

The act of incorporation is dated April 2, 1867, and
names as incorporators Martin Rycrson, George H.
Nelden, Thomas Ryerson, Franklin Smith, Thomas
Anderson, Rev. Nathaniel Pettit, John R. Stuart,
Charles P. Rorbach, David Thompson, Benjamin B.
Edsall, John Linn, George M. Ryerson, Daniel S.
Anderson, Samuel Dennis, Theodore Morford, John
McCarter, Jonathan F. Shafer, and Robert Hamilton.

The charter provided that the capital stock should
not exceed $50,000, nor the yearly income from real
and personal property exceed $10,000. The associa-
tion was to have power to commence operations as
soon as $10,000 was subscribed. An annual stock-
holders' meeting was to be held, to elect from their
number thirteen directors, the incorporators to act
until said election should be hold. The officers
therein provided were president, vice-president, sec-
retary, treasurer, "also a librarian, and such other
officers as may bo necessary," all to be chosen by the
directors, seven of whom constitute a quorum for the
transaction of business. A supplement to the act of
incorporation, passed March 31, 1869, made it legal



for the town to vote money, not exceeding $500 in
any one year, in aid of the library.

Thefirst director* elected M:i\ U" I i Ul'rc.l

L. Dennis, Robert Hamilton, Daniel S. Anderson, Jo-

Beph Coult, Sa -1 Johnson, George M. R

Henry C. Kelsey, Thomas Byerson, Theodore Mor-
ford, Myron Barrett, Jonathan F. Shafer, John Mc-
( 'arter , and Franklin Smith. The following were the
first officers: Robert Hamilton, President ; Daniel S.
Anderson, Vice-President; Henry C. Kelsey, Secre-
tary and Treasurer ; Rev. Myron Barrett,* Librarian.

Mr. Hamilton continued to act as president until
his death, in 1878, when be was succeeded by Daniel

S. Anderson, at present oliiciating. S. II. Hunt is

the present vice-president, Dr. Jonathan Havens secre-
tary, and Tl doic Morford treasurer. The p

directors are as follows: A. 1.. Dennis, S. II. Hunt,
1 1. S. Anderson, Thomas Rj erson, Theodore Morford,
George M. Ry erson, Jonathan Havens. II. C. Kelsey,

Thomas G. Bunnell, Franklin Smith, Thomas Ander-
son. Samuel Johnson, .T. \V. Lane.

The library building was erected in 1871-72. It is
|."> feel front by 75 feel deep, three stories in height,
with a basement, and is constructed of pressed brick
with blue limestone corners. The first story is occu-
pied by the post-office and the New Jersey Herald es-
tablishment : t In* second story by the library, reading-
room, etc. ; while the t bird or upper story, extending

Over the whole area of the building, is used as a public
lecture-room, and known as " Library Hall." It is
of sufficient size to comfortably seat 600 people. The
building, with its mansard roof and ornamental tower,
i - a valuable architectural addition to the place; while

the public conveniences and literary privileges tin-rein

embodied are invaluable to the present, and will con-
tinue to be to c ing generations.

The genera] rules, adopted by the association and

governing the library, arc:

" The Library -luill I pen from 2 to c p.m., ami from 7 to 8.30 to the

■ ,

■- The Beading Room will be open fr.-m '.cm a.m. to 9.80 in ti,o evening.
■"I i mu - Tlie tosubacrl o onto a mouth, GO

ir, In advance,
"The Reading R <,,. <„ „//.-'

The library contains 8580 volumes, and is under the
superintending care of Dr. Thomas Ryerson, librarian.

assisted by Miss Elestine foster. David L. Foster i-

• To the Ror. Mj ron Barrett, who laborod .-• nali iitlj and i IBcl ly,

K'' '"K bl lira tm„. grntnltonaljr to Ilia arranging, cataloguing, and


''""in i- due t pou lit doatli thi mjil mtarj n - -

I i thai ,i tablei baplace I oral hut dealt in the reading-
room at a memorial. ThU ».,- done. The tablet I

■' Ri i Mm.is Bahbrt,

; i/,r„r;/,

andwho Indliponaaule in Ita organization,

-. 1870,
In the IWth jreai of lii- ngc."


It is a chief glory of our country that it -■■[- "an

open door" before young men. bidding them enter if

they be worthy. Among the most fascinating pages
of our history are those which record the ati

the enrage, and the successes of young men with in>
resources but their own in reaching high position
i heir fellows.
A few years ago a citizen of Newark made a large
gift in money for the establishment of a public library
in Newton, the shire-town of Sussex Co., N. J. A
.-ketch of that noble institution can hardly be re-
garded complete without giving a sketch also of the

life of the donor.

Alfred L. Dennis, the founder of the Newton Li-
brary, is the ron of Ezekiel Dennis and bis wife,

Mary Baldwin. The father was for several years in
business in Newton, and was honored with several

important trusts in the county. He was an accom-
plished surveyor, and much esteemed in every posi-
tion by those who knew him. He died in middle
life, leaving a family of five young children, Alfred

being the -ee |. He received his early education

under the instruction of the Lev. Clarkson N. Dunn

and l>r. II. 1 [alio, k. of New ton. At the age of thir-
teen he went to Newark and found employment for a
short time as a grocer's clerk. His worldlj g Is

consisted of a s.i, ;l ll bundle of clothes and his moth-
er's blessing.

Mr. William Tuttle. who bad a bookstore at the
corner of Broad and Academy Streets and was the

proprietor of th idi ertised for a

boj to learn the bookbinding business; the same

evening a lad of diminutive stature applied for the
place, it is s ;l i,i that Mr. Tuttle. alter inspecting

him, remarked. " I am afraid you arc DOt big enough

to handle the press-bar," referring to the iron bar

ii , d in pressing the sheets for binding. The boy an-
swer,, 1 with words that at once won him a lifelong

friend, and which also were the true index of his

character and the key to bis future success: •• i am
large i aough to try it '."
Heat , became an apprentice to the business,

and. what was a matter of no small importance, a

m em b r of Mr. Tut th-'s household. In those days the
master-mechanics and employers of Newark boarded
their apprentices in iluir own families and there ir.-
scores of cases besides that of Mr. Dennis where the

apprentice-boys Were made so much at home in their

employers' families as to refer to those days, even

alter they bad become men of wealth, with leal satis-
faction. Between Mr, Dennis and Mr. Tuttle's fam-
ily then- grew up a strong attachment, which not e\ on

prosperity lias weakened.

For many yean Mr. Tuttle was a director in "the

Old Bank," as the Newark Banking and Insurance

Company was comn ly called. One of the duties

which he regularly performed ».i- on Thursd
to N\-w York for the bank to effect its exchanj


was not an uncommon occurrence for the ice to drive
the boat miles from the ferry ; so that not only all day
would be taken for the Thursday trip to New York,
but sometimes a large part or the whole of the night.

This day of bank exchange became an important
circumstance in Mr. Dennis' life. He had no sooner
been placed in the bindery, under the foremanship of
John Smith, in Academy Street, a few doors from
Broad, than he began "to show the stuff there was in
him" not merely by proving that he was " large
enough to try to handle the press-bar" and to master
other details of the trade, but by studying the nature
of the business itself, especially as related to the ma-
terials used in it. In this way he studied the business
of binders' leathers, the process and cost of their
manufacture, where they were chiefly made, and even
the laws regulating their importation into this coun-
try. Of this more presently.

After Mr. Dennis had been some months in the
bindery he asked Mr. Tuttle to be allowed to act as
clerk in the bookstore at night. At once he began
to display the grand trait, as already mentioned, of
getting a thorough knowledge of the business. He
soon knew the position on the shelves of all the
books, and their cost and price, and the principles on
which the bookselling business was conducted. His
employer was not reluctant to impart intelligent an-
swers to his inquiries. Not long after this " night
service" had been in successful operation Mr. Tuttle
found it to be to his interest to have his apprentice as
clerk in the bookstore on the Thursdays when he
went to New York for the bank. So skillfully did
he conduct his sales and so well did he conciliate cus-
tomers, that the sales of books on Thursday were per-
ceptibly larger than those on other days. Of course,
it was not long before he became the trusted and ac-
tive clerk whose services were devoted entirely to the
bookstore. All this while the young man was en-
larging his stores of knowledge not merely of the
bookselling, but of books. Of this he gives evidence
to this day.

As the day of his majority was drawing nigh, the
question of his own future was one that caused young
Dennis no little anxiety. He had carefully studied
bookselling as a business, and especially the booksell-
ing at the old store, corner of Broad and Academy.
Not long before he was twenty-one he astonished his
employer by a proposition to buy out his business as
a bookseller, with all the stock in hand. He admit-
ted he had no capital, but was sure he soon would
have some if he could have a chance. After careful
consideration Mr. Tuttle — a man noted for his caution
— agreed to sell out his store to Mr. Dennis on terms
satisfactory to both.

At once a great change was effected in the stock of
books and in the business. The "dead stock" of the
upper shelves was sent to the auction-rooms to be
sold for what it would bring in cash. With great sa-
gacity he also devised and introduced into his busi-

ness a method at that time unknown — as is said — in
any salesroom of Newark, — the taking orders for
merchandise in his line and filling them by imme-
diate purchase in New York. Several times a week
he went to the city, and each night he would be ready
to furnish his customers with the merchandise or-
dered. Of course, he made quick sales, turned his
capital often, and accumulated no dead stock. Care-
ful of his credit and on the alert for custom, he soon
greatly enlarged his business. Sometimes he seemed
rash to his old employer, but rarely failed to make
his investments profitable. In due time he had not
only paid Mr. Tuttle for his books, but he had pur-
chased the valuable property on which the store was
located. This last purchase was not made until after
Mr. Turtle's death. ,

Mention has been made of the fact that when in
the bindery Mr. Dennis had carefully studied the his-
tory of binders' leathers. Sure there "was money in
it," after he had become a bookseller he quietly in-
vested a few hundred dollars in sheepskins only par-
tially finished in England. He had the process com-
pleted in Connecticut, and then among the first to
whom he offered his leathers were the Harper
Brothers, who, finding his wares excellent and his
prices reasonable, purchased largely. In a very short
time he had disposed of his stock at a fair profit and
had ordered a larger invoice from England. This
was the beginning of a large and profitable business
so shrewdly managed that it led the wealthy firm of
Abram Bell & Co., bankers, commission and shipping
merchants, of New York, in 1849 to offer him an in-
terest in their business and to give him its principal
control. This move proved to be one of large profit.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dennis continued the book busi-
ness in Newark, having taken his brother, Martin R.
Dennis, into partnership. In 1861, having disposed"
ot his interest to his partner, he retired from the firm.
Mr. Dennis proved so successful also in the invest-
ment of his surplus capital that he had become an
acknowledged authority in matters of finance, and
about twenty-five years ago he was elected a director
of the same " Old Bank" of which Mr. Tuttle had
been a director. He has continued in this position
until the present time, and is also an influential di-
rector of the Newark Howard Savings Institution,
which now stands among the best managed in this

Having married in Connecticut, he was led to ex-
amine the condition and probable outcome of the
Naugatuck Railroad, and he finally purchased a large
amount of its stock and was elected its vice-president.
Not a little owing to his tact is due the fact that this
road has cleared off its entire bonded debt and regu-
larly pays satisfactory dividends. It is said that the
Naugatuck, and the New York, New Haven and
Hartford roads are the only ones in this country that
do not owe a debt of any sort.

In 18C1 that very able railway manager John P.

^ V JZ.



road and Transportation Company, died. Mr. Den- lovers of reading might find a feaal of reason and a

Bus was elected his successor in the directorship of flow of soul. Ee did not suppose this beautiful ball

the road, and in 1864, when Gen. John S. Darcy, who would attain to the celebrity of Independence Ball,

had from the organization been president of the road, Philadelphia,— the birthplace of our great and glo-

dicd. he- was elected his successor,— a position which rious Declaration oi Independence and of the Consti-

hc tilled with great ahility until the road was leased tution of the Union, — or Faneuil Ball, Boston, which

ic Pennsylvania Railroad Company, in 1872, and ha- run;.' with the eloquence of the gnat Webster and

hcstill continues the vice-president of the corporation the magnetic Choatc; but we hope to make it the

that contracted thai lease to the Pennsylvania road, place where the vocalist, the elocutionist, the scientist,

known as " The I'nitcd Railroads of New Jersey." and the philosopher may exert their power-, and great

II nlmosf bewilders one to think of the boy of slight wisdom and solid good be imparted.

stature uttering the keynote of his poverty and also "For it we are indebted to a gentleman who is

pluck "1 am large enough to try it"— now with us,— who, though a native of our town, hat on

occupying so many positions of great responsibility abroad and prospered, and who in his Buccese forgets

in the business world: the vice-president of the Nan- not his native town and people. 1 feel assured that

ga k Itailroad, vice-president of the United Rail- you will be glad with me to express to him our grate-

of New Jersey, the fiscal and exi tive agi nt of ful acknowledgments for his generosity in the follow-

the Pennsylvania Railr >ad at New York, president of ing resolution :

tin- Jersey City Ferry Company, and of several other

railroad and bridge companies. He is also an active

director in the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western

Railroad, and, in connection with such men a- Jay

Gould, John I. Blair, and Samuel Sloan, i- building

" ' Itttvln-l, Hint wo tonder to Alfred I.. I'ennia, Es^., our most beart-
Ibit ihanka f'-r In- munificent ondowmentof twenty-five thonaand dol-
lars for the llhnuy enterprise in Newtoo,and that we present to him
• .in beat wishes for hie cnnUnucd weUare.'"

Mr. Dennis is an active patron of many worthy ob-

an extension of the road from Binghamton to Buffalo, jects thai come before him, and is a trustee, with

Whil-t this enumeration does not exhaust the list of William E. Dodge, S. B. Chittenden, William A.

lonsible trusts, it is sufficient to indicate the Booth, and others, of the Syrian Protestant College,

confidence placed in his sagacity and executive abil- at Beyrout. He married. September, 1841, Eliza, a

ity a> a business loan. daughter of Maj. James Shepard, of i\ T oriollc7Xifch-

Whilst Mr. Dennis has been investing his fortune field Co., Conn. The children horn of this union are

so advantageously in these great corporations, he has live. The oldest, Rev. Dr. James S. Dennis, is a

noi forgotten the city of his adoption, but has freely graduate of Princeton College, in the class of Tj, was

: in buildings in Newark, and in other way- one year at Harvard University Law School, was

Has helped to enlarge the city. Occasionally, as a foreign missionary at Sidon, in Syria, for a fi

railroad executive, he has t with some very marked following 1868, and afterwards called to Beyrout, in

and pleasing incidents. Such a one was bis placing Syria, and added to that magnificent band of workers

a palatial train from Jersey City to Washington at in Syria of which the venerable Thomson and Cal-

ili.- service of the < Irand Duke Alexis of Russia, then noun, Vandyke, one of the most learned of Arabic

yisiting this country, It was a graceful and compli-
mentary act in honor of " our distinguished guest."
The grand duke recognized the act by a beautiful

i ']', and also an autograph letter which he sent
to M r. I tennis.

In 1866, .Mr. Dennis determined to aid in founding
c library in Newton, the place of his birth.

lingly ho pledged the su f twenty-live thou-
sand dollars on certain conditions. On Nov. 28, 1872,
private subscriptions having been obtained sufficient
to -ei ii p> his gift, i In- building was dedicated, and ad-
dresses made by Col. Robert Hamilton. Judge Martin

>n, and mlier distinguished gentlemen of the

Col. Hamilton said in delivering the address

oi' welcome, "That it was with much pleasure that

scholars, the Jessup brothers, Bliss, and others are
members. Dr. Dennis has already become so profi-
cient in the Arabic as to have prepared several text-

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 70 of 190)