Isaac T Nichols.

Historic days in Cumberland County, New Jersey, 1855-1865 : political and war time reminiscences (Volume 2) online

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Cumberland County, New Jersey





Two CoDles Received

APS IT 1907

rF CopyrUht Entry




The story of the Civil War and the early days of a
great political movement in Cumberland County is a theme
t of interest to the descendants of the noble men who ga\e

their lives for the Union and those who stood at the cradle
of the party of human liberty at a crucial hour in our Na-
tional history. It appeared to the writer that it was worthy
of preservation.

To the memory of those who organized the Republican
Party in Cumberland County in 1855, and the heroic sons
of old Cumberland who \-olunteered in the war for the pres-
ervation of the Federal Union — 1861-1865 — many of
whom lie in nameless graves on battlefields once red with
patriotic blood, this volume is affectionately dedicated.

Is.^AC T. Nichols.
Bridgeton, Xew Jersey, January i, 1907.



Here is a song for the private, the gallant and true
Though others may plan, he is the one that must do


Xieie lb a bUll^ lUl lllC ^llVtlLC, \.ii\- gtHiaiiL anu

Though others may plan, he is the one that mui
The world may the deeds of the leaders proclair
Here is a wreath for his brow, a song for his h

I learn from the telegraph, hear by the train,
Of the glory some general by valor has gained,
Of the ■■wing he's outflanked, " ■■the fort overthrown,"
And the poem is sung to the leader alone.

Hut tell me, uh. tell me, where would he have been.
Had tlie private not been there the play to begin?
Had he sheltered his breast from the steel or the fire,
Or dared on the march to faint or to tire?

I have heard the debt the nation will owe
The heroes that over the despot shall throw,
And only petition that this be its care —
The private shall have a Benjamin's share.

Is a fort to be stormed, a charge to be made,

A mountain to climb, a river to wade,

A rampart to scale, a breach to repair,

'Ne.-ith the blaze of artillery — the private is there.

He might tell what he suffered in cold and in pain,
How he lay all night with the wounded and slain,
Or left with his blood his tracks on the snow.
But never from him the story you'll know.

He fights not for glory, for well does he know
The road to promotion is weary and slow ;
His liighcst anibition is for freedom to fight,
To conquer the foe or die for the right.

Should he fall, perchance, to-day and to-morrow
His messmates will sigh at evening in sorrow;
But onward they march, far, far from the spot,
-And the name of the private is lost or forgot.

But oh ! on his struggle the pale stars of even
Look down from the glittering pathways of heaven,
And angels descend to take his death sigh,
.'\nd the name of the brave is emblazoned on high.

Tlien here is a song for the brave and the true;
Though others may plan, it is he that must do ;
The world may the deeds of the leaders proclaim,
Here is a wreath for the private — a song for his faine.

Found on a dead Confederate officer at Hatcher's Run. Va., after
the battle, by J. I,. Smith, of the iiSth Pa. Inf. Vols.



111". Kcpulilicaii i)artv liad organized in Xew York
State. Alicliigan and in Pittsburg, in the year
1S34. l)ut did ndt make much progress in New
Jersey prior to 1S55. In the Fall of the latter
year a number of citizens who had made the slavery ques-
tion a matter of conscience, but who had previously
been identified with the Whig. Democratic and Na-
tive American parties, resolved to inaugurate a move-
ment looking toward the organization of a new political
party in C'umberhuul County. They met at the courthouse
in Bridgeton, as near as can be ascertained, some time dur-
ing the month of September. The gathering was informal.
No resolutions were passed or ticket formed. It was a
conference of good men for the pur|)ose of talking o\'er
the situation of the country with a view to future action
when the hour should be ripe.

The fdllowing were present: — Dr. ^\'illiam Elmer,
James B. Potter, Jas. AI. Riley, Johnson Reeves, David P.
Mulford, of Bridgeton; Isaac B. Mulford, Aaron Westcott,
of Millville: Dr. Enoch Eithian, of Greenwich; Philip
Fithian, Lewis Mowell, Isaac Elwell, of Stow Creek; Robert
More, George W. J^Ioore, Isaac West. Isaac D. Titsworth,
Parnell Rainear. John S. Bonham, Archibald Minch, of
Hopewell; Ehvell Nichols, Philip Souder, of Deerfield; Dr.
B. Rush Bateman. of Fairfield.

Dr. Bateman was chosen chairman of the meeting, after
which there was a cjuiet, but firm discussion of the political
situation of the country because of the presence under our
flag of the growing and pernicious system of human slavery
then threatening the destruction of the Union.

This meeting- was the first Republican gathering held
in Cumberland County, and the forerunner of that which
was soon to follow in the building up in South Tersev of a
great political party which was hereafter to become famous
as the party of humanity and the people.


The fdlluwing- year. Augaist 16. 1856, the appended
notice appeared in the Bridgeton papers, at that time known
as tlie "Chronicle" and the "West Jersey Pioneer:"

"We are rei|uestetl to say that there will be a meeting
of tliose favorable tu the l\ei)ublican ])arty at the Session
Room at Shiloh. cm Alonday next. iKth inst. The object
of the meeting- is to organize, appoint committees, and make
arrangements for the Presidency campaign. A mass meet-
ing at an early date is talked of by the party."

The call for this meeting was signed hy thirty-five per-
sons of Shiloh and \icinity. As the pai)ers gave no pub-
lication of the names of those present it is impossible to learn
who were there beyond the fact that Lewis Howell was
elected chairman, and .Mliert R. Jones, secretary, with a
committee on resolutions consisting of W. B. Davis, G. H.
Leeds and A. R. Jones.

Hon. James Hampton, a former Rejjresentative in Con-
gress on the Whig ticket from the First District, then a resi-
dent of Bridgeton, was present and made a powerful speech.
Mr. Hampton was one of the most eloquent and convincing
speakers of his day, and his speech to the heroic men at
Shiloh was a very remarkable presentation of the evils of
liuman slavery with reasons why it should be eradicated.
His remarks aroused the meeting to a high plane of en-
thusiasm and were the o])ening gun of the party of libert}'
in Cumberland County.

The committee on resolutions reported the following
which were adopted as the views of the meeting:

"\Miereas. tlie monster, slaverv. has e\er been
stealthily coiling its slimy folds around the dearest insti-
tutions of our country, corrupting the verv fountain head,
and rendering every stream tliat em;inates from it foul and
impure; and that we view the passage of the Nebraska bill,
the consequent violation of a sacred compact — Missouri
Compromise — the brutal, barbarian and cowardly act of
knocking down a Senator in the Nati' Legislature; the
border ruffian outrages in Kansas, murdering of the citi-
zens, violating their wi\es and daughters, burning their


Bridgeton. New Jersey — lyi.'>-ls(;"»



homes and printing presses: tiie unlawful closing up of a
highway (Missouri) against 'the citizens of the United
States ; the present cruel confinement of Free State men near
Lecompton. each so many aggressions of a slave oligarchy;

"Resolved, that it is the duty of every good citizen to
resist by all just means the further extension of slavery.

"Resolved, that intriguing, unscrupulous demagogues,
among- wliom we regard Stephen A. Douglass as the leader,
have by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, involved
the Union in difficulty, arrayed one section against the
other, and thev thereby have rendered themselves unworthy
the confidence of honest men.

"Resolved, that the affairs of our country are appmach-
ing a crisis which has been hastened on by the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise; that the fate of Kansas and millions
of unborn freemen must be decided by the next administra-
tion it behooves every lover of his country to be on the alert,
and examine with jealous care the platform and past conduct
of the candidates, who are now before us for the highest
cyffice in the gift of the American people.

"Resolved, that the candidate. James Buchanan, in
swallowing the almminable platform of the Cincinnati Con-
\entii)n. thereby emlorsing sijuatter sovereignty, filibustering
and in fact everv act of the present administration, has for-
feiteil the support of ev'cry true ixitriot.

"Resolved, that in the Reiniblican platform and in the
people's candidates John C. Fremont and William L. Day-
ton, we have the guarantee that Freedom shall lie national
and ."^laNcry sectional, and as the evidence is clear and satis-
factank. Flis lirother. Captain Enoch More ran a Government
transport during the Civil War, and carried the private dis-
patches of President Lincoln. Captain More brought Jef-
ferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, and Alexander
H. Stevens, Vice President, together with the Confederate
Cabinet to Fortress Monroe on his transport after their



Hon. Providence Ludlam, First Republican Senator
Hon. Elwell Nichols Hon. Robert More

First Republican Members of Assembly
Hon. Philip Souder, First Republican Assembly Candidate


l6 niSI'dKU DAYS

capture at the close of the war. This same brother also
served under Colonel John C. iM-emont during his journey-
ings through the heart of the Rocky Mountains and across
the continent in the '5o"s. His great ancestor John More,
came to t'nis country with Fenwick's colony from England
and the loo- house in which he lived with his family is shown
in a wood cut in Thomas Shourd's History of Lord Fen-
wick and the families which accompanied him to America.

From the small beginning in '55 he lived to see the
magnificent results of the great Republican policy, which
emancipated the slave, restored the Union, and made of
the United States of America the most enlightened and
prosperous nation of the earth.

Hon. Elwell Xichols, elected on the Republican ticket
with Mr. More, as Assemblyman from the Second District,
was also a scion of Revolutionary stock, and a man of strong
convictions of duty. He was quiet in his demeanor, but a
man of ability. At the election in 1857 he succeetled in se-
curing a majority in his native township of Deerfield, a
remarkable feat considering the rock-ribbed Jacksonian
Democracy of that community. Mr. Xichols was a Com-
mon Pleas Judge of the Cumberland Courts one term, and
for years previous to his tleath was annually chosen Assessor
of his township, and enjoyed a rare popularity. Judge
Nichols was a stalwart Republican to the end. and as one
of the founders of the jiarty in Cumberland County his
memory is highh' cherished b\- many relati\'es, among whom
is tlie writer.

The campaign of 1857, which closed with the election
of Robert More and Elwell Nichols to the House of Assem-
bly as the first persons ever chosen to office in Cumberland
County, on the Rci)ublican ticket, also witnessed the election
of Providence Ludlam as county clerk, H. R. Alerseilles as
surrogate and Jcinathan Fithian as sherifif. by a fusion of
the Native .\iuerican and Republican votes. Ludlam had
336 majority o\-er his Democratic opponent: Fithian had
313 majority, and Merseiiles 38 majority.

IX cl'.\[i; couxtv, ni-:\v jersey 17

W'lieii the can\ass of 1858 opened the young Repub-
lican party found itself [)racticall\- in possession of all the
county offices save that of State Senator. The native Amer-
icans were still in existence but the seeds of disintegration
were fast decimating their numbers. Few persons at this
da_\' are aware of the fact that the Xati\e American party
was at one time a \erv powerful political organization. It
carried several important States of the L'nion and was a
power to be reckoned with. Among its adherents were
man}- of the best and most intelligent citizens of tiie country
and especially was this true of Cumberland County. The
party stronghold was found in the secret meetings of lodges
known as the "Know Nothings," whose members were
bound b\- solemn oaths to support only native born Amer-
icans for public office. The Whig and Temperance parties
in the decade preceding the formation of the Native Amer-
ican party had dissoh-ed into chaos, remnants of the two
going back to the Democratic party, others halting between
opinions waiting for the dawn of that day when they could
unite with an organization which should take up the fight
against the further extension of slavery which thoughtful
men knew must soon occupy the field of political conten-
tion. Previous to its demise, however, the Native American
party made a final effort for success. By a fusion with the
Republicans in a convention held at the Court House in
Bridgeton, October 2d, 1858, Robert ]\Iore, of Hopewell,
was nominated for Assembly in the First District, and
.\aron S. \\'estcott, of Millville, for Assembly in the Second
District. Mr. i\Iore was re-elected Assemblyman bv a ma-
jority of 386 over D. H. Hawkins, Democrat. ^Ir. ^^'est-
cott was elected Assemblyman by a majority of 157 over
Benjamin F. Lee, Democrat. In this exciting campaign
John T. Nixon, of Bridgeton, became the Republican and
American candidate for Congress in the First District and
was chosen by 3300 majority. Cumberland County gave

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Online LibraryIsaac T NicholsHistoric days in Cumberland County, New Jersey, 1855-1865 : political and war time reminiscences (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 18)