Joseph F. (Joseph Fulford) Folsom.

Bloomfield, old and new; an historical symposium online

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and capital that were influential in the opening of the
Newark and Pompton Turnpike, among the first com-
mercial highways in Essex County. It was Bloomfield
ingenuity that surmounted the engineering difficulties
in the way of the construction of the Morris Canal, and
that new and improved process of transportation, the
railroad, had scarcely been demonstrated a success when
Bloomfield enterprise and Bloomfield capital took up the
idea and gave their town the benefit of their work in
the construction of the Newark and Bloomfield Rail-
road, chartered on March 26, 1852, and completed to
Bloomfield in December, 1855, and West Bloomfield,
now Montclair, in 1856.

The incorporators, when the charter was obtained,
were Zenas S. Crane, Dr. Joseph A. Davis, Ira Dodd,
вАҐGrant J. Wheeler, Robert L. Cook, David Oakes, David
Conger, William S. Morris, and Warren S. Baldwin.

Dr. Joseph A. Davis was the first president of the
railroad, and an influential factor in furthering its con-
struction. He took up the first spadeful of earth, when
the construction work was started, at a point near
Clark Street. The occasion was one of some note, and
the Rev. Job Halsey of Montclair delivered an oration
to the assembled people. When the road was first pro-
jected the promoters opened negotiations with the New
Jersey Railroad Company for a New York connection,
but the negotiations did not prove satisfactory, and
final arrangements were made with the Morris and
Essex Railroad Company for building the road. The
Morris and Essex Company furnished $55,000 of the
capital stock, and $50,000 was subscribed, mostly in


Bloomfield. The road was subsequently leased to the
Morris and Essex Company on a guarantee of 6 per
cent, interest on its stock of $103,850, less than half
the sum that the Lackawanna Company spent in im-
provements at the Bloomfjeld and Watsessing station in

Ira Dodd, of Bloomfield, was the first superintendent
of the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad.

Three trains each way daily filled the requirements of
the traveling public. When the road first opened New
York passengers changed cars at Roseville. Some of
the trains were mixed trains, made up of freight and
passenger cars, and passengers waited patiently while
the locomotive drilled freight cars on the siding. The
Glenwood Avenue station, the first built along the line
of the road, did duty until November, 1911. The first
Watsessing station was called Doddtown, and was lo-
cated at Willow Street. A bell on a tower at the-
Glenwood Avenue station warned the people of the ap-
proach of a train.

The first conductor on the road was Samuel Arbuth-
not, afterward ticket agent at the Glenwood Avenue
station. Charles Willetts was the first engineer. Charles
Corby was promoted from baggage master to conductor,
and served the company many years. Peter Tronson
was many years an engineer on the road, and James
Patrick and Edward Cain of Montclair were among the-
early brakemen.

The important position of legal counsel for the com-
pany was held by the Honorable Amzi Dodd, who con-
ducted the negotiations with landowners for the right
of way. With the advent of railroads the traveling
public became an element in transportation matters, and;


the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad management has
always had before it the constant problem of keeping
pace with the demands upon it by its ever-increasing
passenger travel, and the daily passenger traffic now
exceeds that of a month in I860.

The Glen Ridge station was opened in I860, and
through trains to New York were run in 1865.

The marvelous growth of the patronage of the New-
ark and Bloomfield Railroad gave rise in 1867 to an-
other railroad enterprise, when a charter was granted
to the New York, Montclair and Greenwood Lake Rail-
road, and the building of the road was completed in
1872. Robert M. Henning, Julius H. Pratt, and Henry
C. Spaulding were active promoters of the new railroad.

This new road was one of the causes of the division
between Bloomfield and Montclair. The promoters
sought to have the township bonded to build the road.
The proposition was stoutly resisted here, and the mat-
ter was discussed at a stormy town meeting. A bond-
ing act was passed by the Legislature, but Bloomfield
was exempted from its provisions. Montclair was
bonded for .$200,000.

A notable day in Bloomfield was an incident in con-
nection with the construction of the New York and
Greenwood Lake Railroad. A dispute arose over the
construction of the Broad Street bridge, and the ring-
ing of the old First Church bell was the signal for the
citizens to rush to the scene of trouble and resist an
invasion of the public rights. The sheriff of the county
appeared on the scene and dispersed the assemblage.

The New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad and its
Orange Branch, which traverses the southern portion of
the town, is now operated by the Erie Railroad Com-


panj^, and under that company's mangement is giving
the town a good passenger service between here and
New York, and has built up a large commuting

The Orange branch, as yet, is chiefly a freight road,
and carries an immense tonnage annually.

Following the steam railroads, the next innovation in
transportation here was the introduction of the street
railway, designed for passenger service solely. The
increase in population and the need of more direct and
frequent communication with Newark was the stimulus
for an embarkation in the street railway business by a
number of local capitalists ; and the Newark, Bloom-
field and Montclair Horse Car Railroad Company was
chartered in 1867.

The road was originally built from near the cemetery
gate on Belleville Avenue, where the car barn was lo-
cated, and along Belleville Avenue to Broad Street,
along the west side of the park to Franklin Street to
Newark Avenue, then a new street just opened as a
part of the railway scheme, and along Newark Avenue
to the north end of Mt. Prospect Avenue, thence to
Bloomfield Avenue, to Belleville Avenue to Broad Street,

The route proved too roundabout, and too much time
was consumed in the trip, and the new enterprise was not
a success. If the present electrical equipment of street
railroads had been in vogue then, the result would have
been different, and Newark Avenue may yet fulfill its
original design as a street railway route. In 1876 the
street railway passed into the hands of the Newark and
Bloomfield Street Railway Company, and the tracks
were laid on Bloomfield Avenue, a more direct route.


The Bloorafield line figured in the various corporate
changes that have marked the history of street railway
transportation, and out of which the PubHc Service
railway eventually evolved, and which is now one of the
leading street car railway companies of the country.

In 1890 or thereabouts there was made an addition
in the street railway service of the town by the building
of the Orange and Bloomfield Railroad, now known as
the cross-town branch of the Public Service Company.
It was promoted and built by Francis M. Eppley of
Orange, and was considered at the time a risky venture,
but subsequent developments have demonstrated that
Mr. Eppley correctly diagnosed the future prospects
of the line.

Automobile transportation in Bloomfield, in so far as
passengers are concerned, has been confined to the trans-
portation of the individual and members of his family
and guests. There is a possibility, however, that pas-
senger service by automobile service may yet be added
to the transportation facilities of the town.

Unless the street railways monopolize such important
thoroughfares as Washington Street and Montgomery
Street, public auto service may yet traverse those streets.
The commercial auto, for express and delivery service,
is now a familiar sight in the streets.

Bloomfield railroad train service in 1856 consisted of
about three trains each way between here and Newark
by way of the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad.

In this year of 1912 the train service consists of
thirty-two trains each way between here and New York
on the Lackawanna Railroad, nineteen each way on the
New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad, and eight each
way on the Watchung Railroad, a total of one hundred


and eighteen passenger trains on week days, and a large
number of Sunday trains. Freight transportation is
independent of passenger service, and about eighteen
long trains of freight pass daily over the railroad lines
here, and a large part of the cargo of those trains is
either delivered or collected in Bloomfield. The num-
ber of trolley cars that traverse the town runs into the
hundreds daily.

Bloomfield's present position in the matter of trans-
portation facilities, both as to passenger travel and ex-
press and freight delivery, is a good one. The steam
railroads that traverse the town are branches of two of
the country's great trunk hnes, the Lackawanna and the

At Newark, only four miles away, the Bloomfielder
can get aboard the Lackawanna main line trains for all
points west, and at Jersey City the New York and
Greenwood Lake makes a similar connection with the
Erie main line. Tickets to almost any point in the
country are on sale at the local ticket offices, and two
of the leading express companies, the United States and
the Wells Fargo, afford all the express services relative
to travel. It is only a short ride by trolley to the
Pennsylvania Railroad station in Newark, where trains
can be boarded for all southern and southwestern

For short trips, the Public Service Corporation's
trolley lines have the town well connected up with all
the principal towns within a radius of twenty miles.
The Bloomfielder who, in 1850, got into a stage at the
center and rode to the Center Street station of the New
Jersey Railroad in Newark, and from thence went by
train to New York, would be amazed at the transporta-


tlon improvements of the past fifty years could he re-
visit his former terrestrial abode. The patron of the
old Newark and Bloomfield Horse Car Line, whose
heart ached with sympathy for the poor horses that
tugged the loaded cars, would be astonished and de-
lighted with present-day trolley cars. The ancient
mariner whose craft plied the Morris Canal and whose
bugle signal to get the lock ready was once a familiar
sound, would be the only one likely to mourn over a
decadence in commercial activity as he contemplated
upon the present deserted and neglected conditions of
that once famous and active commercial highway.

Progressiveness in transportation facilities has been
one of the foundation stones of Bloomfield's prosperity,
and a retrospective glance at the successive steps in the
progression reveals the elements of a self-made town.
Let those of the present generation, who thoughtlessly
hurl reproaches of slowness and old fogyism at the old-
time Bloomfielders, stop and compare records. Let them
point out where within the past forty years they them-
selves have taken one initiative step toward effecting
any improvements in transportation facilities. Let them
pause and reflect upon it, that the Cranes and the Dodds
of Bloomfield were leading factors in the promotion of
the first commercial highway that traversed this section,
namely the Newark and Pompton Turnpike. Let it
not be overlooked that nearly one hundred years ago
it was the ingenuity of Ephraim Morris, an honored
Bloomfielder, that contributed to the successful opera-
tion of the Morris Canal.

A little over half a century ago the energy, the enter-
prise and the capital of the Davis's, the Dodd's, the
Baldwin's, and the Oakes's, all old-time honored Bloom-


field names, gave the town its first railroad. The same
names appear also in the first efforts to give the town
a street railway system.

Citizens who take the initiative in securing improve-
ments for their town cannot truthfully be dubbed slow
and unprogressive, and it is but fitting in this Centen-
nial year that the services Bloomfield's former leading
citizens rendered for their own town be held up to the
light of the present day, and that a fitting respect be
paid to the memory of the self-made men, who by their
personal enterprise and energy gave the town a history
to be proud of.

Transportation facilities, marvelous as they are now
as compared with a half century ago, are yet in a
transitory stage, and the future has wonders in store
for the generations to come.

Art and science, stimulants of genius, are as busy to-
day as of yore, when they brought forth the canal as
a morsel of their handiwork, and followed it with a
greater wonder, the steam locomotive. Steam displaced
water power as a motor force, and is in turn being dis-
placed by a more subtle and powerful force, electricity.
It was a mental possibility to calculate the dynamics of
steam power, but the possibilities of electric energy are
incalculable, and it may be said inconceivable.

It is possible that the next generation of Bloom-
fielders may see steam power supplanted by electric
energy in all the railroads that traverse the town. There
is no question but that transportation facilities will be
increased and improved. The Lackawanna Railroad
Company, by its expenditure of hundreds of thousands
of dollars here on the improvements in its line, has
given unmistakable evidence of its faith in the future.


There is a demand for extensions of the trolley lines,
and the demand must and will be met.

The historians of the first century of the Hfe of the
municipality of Bloomfield have had a marvelous story
to tell of development and progress, and those whose lot
it may be to record the annals of the second centennial
may have a still more wonderful tale to relate. We of
the present day are inclined to self -congratulation and
compHment that we have lived in and contributed to an
age of progress. We can complacently smile upon the
enthusiasm of those who thought the acme of progress
had been reached when the Morris Canal was opened for
traffic. Will the historians of the second centennial
smile upon our egotism and compare their transporta-
tion facilities with ours, in the sense and to the degree
that we compare ours with the ox team and bolster
wagon of the pioneer Bloomfielder.?


By George Louis Curtis

The section of New Jersey of which Bloomfield is a
part was settled over two centuries ago by men of deeply
religious convictions, and the community has retained to
the present day the impress made by those early colonists.
The town is well provided with churches, attendance
upon their services is general, and their influence is felt
in a marked degree. The church life is remarkably
harmonious, and marked by a spirit of cordial co-
operation rather than competition. Six of the leading
churches, of the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and
Congregational denominations, are united in what is
known as the Bloomfield Evangelical Union, holding
quarterly union services and working together for the
public welfare. The churches are mentioned here in the
order of their organization.

The first church to be organized was Presbyterian.
For many years the early settlers of this locality were
obliged to go several miles for worship, attending either
the Newark Church or the Second Presbyterian Church
of the Township, now known as the First Presbyterian
Church of Orange. In 1794 members of a society that
had been meeting in school or private houses, in what
was then called Wardsesson, petitioned the Presbytery
of New York for organization as the Third Presbyterian
Congregation in the Township of Newark. This re-
quest was granted on July 23, 1794. On October 24,
1796, trustees who had been elected at a public meeting
held on August 9th, In the house of Joseph Davis on
Franklin Street, met in the same place and assumed the



name of "The Trustees of the Presbyterian Society of
Bloomfield." Three days later a subscription was be-
gun for the erection of a church edifice which was placed
on a knoll facing the field that soon became the "Com-
mon" or "Green." For many years this was the only
place of worship in the community, and the center of
its religious life. The building was constructed of
brown free-stone, and the mortar which cemented it was
purchased with the gift of $140 made by General,
afterward Governor, Joseph Bloomfield, in whose honor
the new name for church and town had been chosen.
Isaac Dodd, Ephraim Morris, Joseph Crane and Simeon
Baldwin were elected deacons in 1798, and served as the
first church officers. "The Church on the Green," now
known as the First Presbyterian Church, after more
than a century of service, still fulfills its original pur-
pose, as it bids fair to do for many years to come.

So much of the early history of the town is con-
nected with that of this church that the reader is re-
ferred to Chapter First of this volume for details down
to the year 1810, when the pastorate of Rev. Abel Jack-
son, its first minister, terminated. The ministerial suc-
cession has been as follows:

Rev. Abel Jackson 1800-1810

Rev. Cyrus Gildersleeve 1812-1818

Rev. Gideon N. Judd, D.D 1820-1834

Rev. Ebenezer Seymour 1834-1847

Rev. George Duflield, D.D 1847-1851

Rev. James M. Sherwood, D.D 1852-1858

Rev. Ellis J. Newlin, D.D 1859-1863

Rev. Charles E. Knox, D.D 1864-1873

Rev. Henry W. Ballantine, D.D 1874-1894

Rev. James Beveridge Lee, D.D 1894-1899

Rev. George Louis Curtis, D.D., installed in April, 1900


Great changes have occurred during these hundred
years. Candles have given way to electricity. The
posts and chain around the "Common" have disappeared
since the "Park" was graded under the engineering eye
of Dr. Ballantine. The original structure has been
lengthened, and the Sunday-school room has been added.
A new tower was built, and a clock with a Westminster
chime of bells, the gift of members of the Davis family,
was added in 1896, at the time of the centennial celebra-
tion. A fine new organ with chimes was installed in
October, 1911. The Parish House was erected in 1840.
This was designed not only for devotional meetings, but
also for those of the "Young Men's Lyceum," whose
literary exercises and debates were held there, and for
town meetings and elections as well, and for many years
it was so used.

The change from an "Associate" or independent
Presbyterian Church following the Congregational
usage, under Rev. Abel Jackson, to its perfected or-
ganization as a Presbyterian Church was made in 1812,
soon after the installation of Rev. Cyrus Gildersleeve.
It is interesting to note that this second pastor, on
removing from the South, brought his slaves with him ;
but slaves were held by other Bloomfielders also at that
time. Dr. Judd's pastorate was marked by several great
revivals of religion. Dr. George Duffield is widely
known as the author of "Stand up, stand up for Jesus."
Dr. Charles E. Knox, during whose pastorate the colony
left to form the Westminster Presbyterian Church, re-
signed to become the first president of the German Theo-
logical School of Newark, located in this town. The
membership of the church is now 778, and of the Sun-
day-school, 282.


The Broughton Memorial Chapel is an outlying sta-
tion of "The Old First Church," doing the same work,
and open to all, regardless of denomination. In 1870
an organization was formed by young men of the First
and Westminster churches for Christian work among
the boatmen on the Morris Canal. A building known
as "Hope Chapel" was completed in February, 1871,
in which a Sunday-school was started. Preaching was
soon suspended, owing to decreasing business on the
canal; but the Sunday-school flourished. The present
building on Bay Avenue was dedicated in November,
1899. In 1907 an addition was built, more land was
purchased, a pool-table and bowling alleys were installed
in the basement, making the total outlay about $10,000.

The first superintendent was N. B. Collins, who had
been active in procuring the land and securing subscrip-
tions for the erection of the first building. His term
of service lasted about six months. His successors have
been the following: John F. Seymour, 1871 to 1876;
William A. Baldwin, 1876 to 1881; John F. Wood-
hull, 1881 to 1882; John G. Broughton, 1882 to 1894;
William A. Baldwin, 1894j to the present time.

The present name was given in honor of John G.
Broughton, whose faithful service as superintendent for
twelve years, supplemented by his genial manner, drew
hosts of friends about him, and endeared him to the
whole community. The present number of officers,
teachers and pupils is 203.

Sunday evening services were begun in February,
1908. Walter S. Hertzog, of Union Theological Semi-
nary, New York City, was the preacher for the first
winter. C. Henry Holbrook, now a missionary in
Turkey, succeeded him for two years. The services are


now in charge of Laurence Fenninger, who began his
work in October, 1910.

The Beookdale Refgemed (Dutch) Church is
one of the oldest churches of a wide region. The meet-
ings from which it grew began in 1795, when this sec-
tion was known as Stone House Plains. The Reformed
Church at Acquackanonck (Passaic), organized in
1691, the First Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield, or-
ganized in 1696, and the Reformed Church at Second
River (Belleville), organized in 1700, were then the
only churches within a radius of over six miles. The
Rev. Peter Stryker, pastor of the church at Second
River, began the preaching services, the meeting-house,
it is said, being improvised out of a barn. By direction
of the Classis of Bergen he organized the church in
October, 1801, becoming its founder and first pastor
while continuing to serve the church at Second River.
For half a century the outskirts of the parish extended
to Franklin, Athenia, beyond the Great Notch, and
"over the mountain," that is, to Cedar Grove.

The first consistory was composed of Yellis Mande-
ville and Walling Egberts, elders, and Francis Speer,
deacon. The church edifice, a stone structure, was built
and used as a place of worship in 1802, but was not
finished until later. It was only forty by fifty feet, and
was without tower or bell. The land was the gift of
Abram Garrabrant. The building was rebuilt in 1857.
The steeple and bell were added through the generosity
of James G. Speer, of Cincinnati, a former member, in
1860. After having been burned, the building was again
rebuilt and enlarged in 1910. The Rev. Peter Stryker
served as stated supply and pastor from 1801 to 1826.
He has been succeeded by the following ministers of the


Reformed (Dutch) Church: The Rev. Messrs. John G.
Tarbell, Alexander C. Hillman, Eben S. Hammond,
Wilham Thompson, Robert A. Quinn, John A. Liddell,
John Wiseman, Peter Stryker Talmage, Benjamin T.
Statesir, John Kershaw, Jacob O. Van Fleet, William
G. E. See, Wilham E. Bogardus and Charles E. Wal-
dron. The present pastor, the Rev. Charles E. Waldron,
was installed in 1909. The present membership of the
church is 85, and of the Sunday-school, 105.

The Park Methodist Episcopal Church was the
third church to be organized in Bloomfield, having been
started in 1832. The Rev. Benjamin Day was its first
pastor. In the list of his successors are several names
of unusual distinction, including those of Bishop Henry
Spellmeyer and Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, D.D., the
present District Superintendent of Newark Conference.
The church building, of stuccoed brick, erected on the
west side of the "Green" in 1853, was enlarged in 1881,
during the pastorate of Rev. Richard Harcourt.

The Watsessing Methodist Episcopal Church was
started by this church in 1871, Dr. Stephen L. Bald-
win being the pastor of the Park Church at that time.

The chapel was built during the pastorate of Rev.
D. R. Lowry, 1882-5. Rev. John Ogden Winner, the
present pastor, was installed in April, 1910. A beauti-
ful and commodious parish house has lately been added,
and was dedicated December 10, 1911. The material
is light-colored brick, with stone columns and trim-
mings. The interior is attractively arranged and fur-
nished, and it is fully equipped for social and Sabbath-

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Online LibraryJoseph F. (Joseph Fulford) FolsomBloomfield, old and new; an historical symposium → online text (page 8 of 13)