Clifton (Acquackanonk) March 100 Years Ago
Mar. 5, 1902
It was thought that the “kickers” of Acquackanonk would hold their primary at Richfield last night, but owing to a little dissatisfaction they could not agree upon a slate, but will endeavor to do so this evening. Their aim is to make a combination with the Democrats, but like good “kickers” they want the best end of it, which naturally, but foolishly, the Democrats will not agree to, as the Republican ticket at the present indications will win out easily. At the registry yesterday a large number of new names were added. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
As was expected, the “kickers” of Acquackanonk township made up a slate and the good-hear[t]ed Democrats have gone into the scheme with them to beat the regular Republican ticket. The ticket they made up is as follows: Joseph J. Rooney for assessor, Dayton Weaver for township committeeman, Fred Matheiss for poormaster, John F. Kearney for constable, Henry Klincken for commissioner of appeal in case of taxation, Joseph Ruffing and Garrett C. Gould for surveyors of highways. Out of the whole lot there are only three Democrats, the balance being Republicans and “kickers.” The principal fight this spring is for the assessorship. Richard Berry, the present incumbent, has given general satisfaction to the property holders, and they in turn promise to leave well enough alone and put him back again…. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 10, 1902
HOT FIGHT IN TOWNSHIP
Democrats and “Kickers” Attempt to Discredit Acquackanonk’s Republican Assessor – The True Facts of the Case – Exciting Time Expected at Polls Tomorrow – Republican Ticket and Joint Opposition.
Tomorrow is Election Day for boroughs and townships in the state.
Acquackanonk Township has one of its regular old-time fights on. The Democratic ticket is composed mostly of members of the defunct Citizen’s party, which went out of existence three years ago on account of lack of support. This year a few kickers got into the good graces of the Democratic party, and after the primary had been held they picked the original ticket apart so that now there are only three of the original nominees left. Naturally this causes a bitter feeling among the Democrats, as the ticket as it now stands is composed mostly of former opponents to this party. Their main fight is against Assessor Berry, but for what reason it is hard to conceive, as it is well known that Mr. Berry has given general satisfaction. A few years ago a party of “Kickers” got it into their heads that they were taxed too low, and complained before the state board to that effect. That body investigated and found that they were being assessed reasonably enough, and upheld Mr. Berry. Later these same parties went before the commissioners of appeal and asked to have their taxes reduced, declaring they were being assessed too high. These are the men that are after Mr. Berry’s scalp, but the good citizens of the township treat the matter with scorn. Following is the full ticket which was selected at a regularly conducted primary held at the Republican association hall, February 27, and not a single change was made but one, that of surveyor of highways, Mr. Hamilton in place of John Piaget, who resigned.
For assessor, Richard Berry, for member of township committee, Eugene F. Piaget; for poor master, Herbert Sipp; for commissioner of appeal in case of taxation, William Hoffmeister; for surveyors of the highways, John H. Frederick and William H. Hamilton; for constables, Alexander McLeod and Cornelius Laffler; for pound masters, Abraham Van Wyke, John Van Houten, Daniel Lawler, John A. Fowler, and Lyman Paxton.
The democratic and Independent tickets are identically the same, and are as follows:
For assessor, Joseph J. Rooney; for township committeeman, Dayton Weaver; for poor master, Frederick Mattheiss; for commissioner of appeal in case of taxation, Henry Klucken; for constable, John F. Kearney; for surveyors of highways, Garret C. Gould and Joseph Ruffing; for pound masters, Daniel Lawler, Albert Buenzil, Herman Kahman, Sr., Aaron Sluisman and Lyman Paxton
Lying statements calculated to injure Mr. Berry, were made in Mayor Hinchcliffe’s sheet on Saturday night. There is not a word of truth in them, according to Mr. Berry and his Republican friends. The article in question states that Mr. Berry missed about $150,000 worth of property last year. This is a delicate lie, and the assessor’s books account for every piece of property in the township.
Another statement is that the commissioners of appeal had to remit assessments amounting to $2.587.11 on account of double assessments, errors, and so on. This statement is not a lie, but it has the same effect. This amount was remitted, and there is no reason to deny it. The assessments for 1901 were made according to new map prepared by Wise & Watson. Preparing a map of this character is a difficult matter, and it is impossible to have it absolutely correct the first year. Mr. Berry made the assessments according to the new map, and that there were a few errors is not in any way remarkable. Mr. Berry had the amounts in question remitted and reassessed, so that the township did not lose a dollar.
The same schemers allege that this amount, not quite $3,000, is responsible for the fact that the tax rate is 2.15 instead of 2.04. This is the worst misstatement of the lot. The amount was discovered and not a penny was lost. The fact that the tax rate is 2.15 was caused by the crowd of Democrats and “Kickers,” who last year brought about the raising of the school tax from 82 cents on every $100 worth of property to 98 cents. This sixteen point difference tells the story in a nut-shell, and it is an outrage to attempt to saddle the blame on the Republican assessor.
Today a lying circular has been put into circulation calculated to injure Mr. Berry. The circular gives the following assessments for 1901 as examples of alleged dishonesty:
C. P. Wellingkamp (corner house) $1,000
C. E. Anderson (next to Wellingkamp) $1,100
G. F. Dinsmore (stone house) $1,200
C. Williamson $1,400
F. G. Potzch $900
E. J. Mullaney $1,100
These assessments are “for buildings only,” and they are wrong from start to finish with the exception of the first. The true figures are these:
This alone is enough to show the
character of the attacks made on Mr. Berry.
Mar. 10, 1902
While Republican in principles, The News does not believe in the spirit of narrow partisanship that leads party newspapers to support candidates for office because they are party men, irrespective of their personal fitness. But when a campaign of lies is employed to defeat a man who is eminently fitted, then we believe it is time for us to interfere.
This is the state of affairs now existing in Acquackanonk township, where a desperate attempt is to be made at the polls tomorrow to defeat former Assembly man Richard Berry, who is up for reelection as township assessor.
Mr. Berry’s record has been clean, and the attempt of the so called ‘kicker’ element to secure his defeat through combining with the Democrats, will fail if the people of the township are alive to their interests.
As we show in our news columns today, there is hardly a word of truth in the statements that have been sent out through the media of circulars and Mayor Hinchcliffe’s organ. Mr. Berry’s assessments have been remarkably fair and the reason the present rate is eleven points higher than the opposition claims it should be is that the Democrats and “kickers” themselves raised the school tax sixteen points.
It is always well to spend as much money as possible for public education, and it cannot be denied that money needs to be spent for this purpose in Acquackanonk township; but to assign the increased tax rate to the assessor’s carelessness is an intolerable outrage. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
MAR. 11, 1902
Garfield Citizens Out In Force – Freeholders Will Be Elected – Contests In Carlstadt, Rutherford and Other Places – Crowds Surrounded the Polling Places at an Early Hour This Morning. This is Election Day in staid old Acquackanonk Township.
The fight is all between Berry and Rooney for assessor. It looks like an even toss up with the chances slightly in favor of Berry, the Republican candidate. The voting is light. At three o’clock 226 votes had been polled at Clifton, 52 at Richfield and 50 at Delawanna…. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
It’s all over and the citizens of Acquackanonk Township are at ease again. During the past few weeks they had been in hot water over the selection of an assessor, but there was only one candidate whom they had centered on, he being Richard Berry, the present Republican incumbent. Despite the lying circulars and the distribution of free copies of Mayor Hinchcliffe’s newspaper, which contained distorted statements about Mr. Berry, he won easily, beating his opponent by 117 votes. The balance of the Republican ticket also won. The vote was:
Majority for Berry, 117.
262 55 103 420
Piaget’s majority, 71.
Sipp, Rep. 264 75 104 443
The other candidates are William Hoffmeister, for commissioner of appeal in case of taxation; John H. Frederick, and William H. Hamilton, for surveyor of highways; for constables, Alexander M. (Mc)Leod and Cornelius Laffler; the pound masters selected are Abraham Van Wyke, John Van Houten, Daniel Lawler, John A. Fowler and Lyman Paxton.
Following are the appropriations: For macadamizing and repairing macadam roads, $3,000, For repairing and opening roads, $1,000, For the support of the poor, $1,000.
The surprising feature of the election was the small vote received by Rooney at Delawanna. Out of a total of 118 votes he only received 12. The Republicans have elected two candidates for constables, while the Democrats had only one in the field, there is to be a legal battle on this point, as one of the men elected is to take the place of Thomas Dut(t)on, who it is claimed, was legislated out of office at the time part of the Botany district was annexed to Passaic. Dutton, however, claims that he had removed to the township before it was annexed. The township committee, it is said, will not accept his bond when he presents it for renewal.
Berry was opposed by the Democrats and Independent-Republicans, the “kickers.” The latter polled only about 70 votes in the township… As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 14, 1902
Now that the spring elections of the boroughs and townships are over in this state, these municipalities are having their attention drawn to the annual school meeting, which will be held next Tuesday evening.
In Acquackanonk Township there are three vacancies in the school board, namely, Daniel Stagg of Lakeview, John W. Barrett of Albion Place and Garret Kenter of Delawanna. The two, former, seek reelection, while Mr. Kenter does not want the office at any price. In addition to the three trustees to be selected, there will be appropriations for the various schools. The Botany school wants another addition, and undoubtedly needs it, but the question that is bothering the public, and especially the larger taxpayers, is this: Does it pay to put additions to schools every year? Only last summer additional rooms were added to the Botany school building and now this year the same thing is wanted again. Had the board at the last election asked for sufficient money to put a three or four room addition to the school it could have been done at about half the price.
The property holders are beginning to believe that the board is merely looking to give carpenters some jobs. For the official call the board asks for $2,500 for which it is proposed to bond the township in denominations of $500 each, one bond becoming due each year. The board does not state this amount is needed for the Botany school, but it is nevertheless thought that it is for this purpose. The taxpayers will favor a higher appropriation even if it is necessary to wait another year before they will vote for it and with a sum sufficiently large enough they will be able to put up a building which will last for years and which will not require, as at present, an addition every year, as such methods are the most costly in the end.
Messrs. Barrett and Stagg will, undoubtedly be opposed by strong candidates, but who they are is not at present known.
The other appropriations asked for are:
Teachers salaries $8,000
Janitors salaries $1,980
Text books, etc. $3,000
Repairs and improvements $3,475
Bonds and interest $2,050
Other school purposes $1,000
As reported in the
Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 15, 1902
The Alumni association of the Clifton school met last night at the residence of the president, William Kerr. A committee consisting of Misses Lottie Disbrow, Eva Price, Jennie Willand, Louise Clarkson and Nicholas Van Brunt was appointed to prepare for the reception, which will take place the evening following the graduation. A meeting was appointed for May 23, at William Kerr’s home. At this meeting the officers for the ensuing year will be elected, also the yearly dues collected. Another committee was appointed to interview the graduates of 1899 and accept them as members if they wish to join. The committee consists of Misses Louise Clarkson, Florence Kerr and Vanessa Furman. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 18, 1902
Today is school election day in the boroughs and townships of the state. In Acquackanonk Township there promises to be a lively time for the selection of trustees. Daniel Stagg the present president of the board will seek reelection. He will be opposed by John H. Cartwright, who is an expert machinist, and is just the man that is needed to look after boilers in the township schools. At present the heating apparatus in the Lake View and Botany schools has given such trouble that the school houses were closed at least three weeks in each place.
John W. Barrett, the retiring member of Albion Place will also be a candidate for reelection. The other retiring member is Garret Kenter of Delawanna, who will be opposed by Rudolph W. Shefler.
The News made an error in its report of last Friday on the school question. It was not the Botany school that asks for an addition, but that of Albion Place, which is sorely needed. The official call states that the $2,500 is for that purpose. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 18, 1902
Clifton, March 15. – A special meeting of the township committee was held in the post office building on the above date. The meeting was called to order at three p.m., by the township clerk. Mr. S. G. Thorburn was nominated and elected chairman of the township committee for the ensuing year. Mr. Richard Berry took the official oath as assessor, Mr. William Hoffmeister as commissioner of appeals, and Mr. Herbert R. Sipp as poor master. On motion the salary of the treasurer was fixed at $150, and that of the counsel at $300 for the ensuing year, the bonds of the constable, $2,000, the treasurer, $8,000, and the collector at $20,000. On motion Henry D. Simmons was appointed treasurer. William B. Gourley, counsel and William L. Whitmore engineer for the ensuing year. On motion the Passaic Daily News was designated as the official paper for the publication of the minutes of the township committee for the ensuing year at the cost of $50.
On motion it was decided that the regular meetings of the township committee be held on the first Tuesday of each month in the hall formerly occupied by Mosler in Main avenue, Clifton, at 8 p.m.; and that an agreement be made with the owner of said hall, for its use, for all meetings of the committee at a yearly rental of $60.
The following persons presented bills, which were on separate motions (were) ordered paid:
H. R. Sipp, $67.36; J.S. Berry, $15; R.G. Thorburn, $4.03; G.A. Hoffman, $3.00; G.A. Hoffman, $11.15; H. Fredericks, $4.63; Republican association, $15; J.H. Prentiss, $10.63; Passiac Daily Herald, $18.80; Henry Schlack, $34.87; E.H. Bogart, $13; H.O. Simmons, $26.50; Walter Frederick, $15; Peter N. Ruffing, $16; J.C. Van Riper, $16; A.L. Schoonmacker, $10; U.L. Meloney, $10; W.W. Cummins, $10; H.C. Klucken, $3; W.J. Frederick, $10. And on motion the committee then adjourned. As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 19, 1902
Annual Appropriations Were Voted – Interesting Items Gathered In The Busy Village On The Erie – Dorcas Guild Sale.
At least 400 citizens of Acquackanonk Township turned out last night to attend the annual school meeting, which was held in Eckhart’s hall in Clifton.
Mr. Stagg called the meeting to order. John H. Adamson was chosen as chairman of the meeting, there being no opposition to him. The voters decided to retire Daniel Stagg from the school board, as he had been a member and its president for a number of years. Mr. Stagg’s name was not placed on any ticket. In his place they selected John H. Cartwright, of Lakeview. Mr. Cartwright’s name appeared on all the four tickets, which were in the field. John W. Barrett, of Albion Place, was opposed by David Crawford, of Montclair Heights. Mr. Barrett, however, had an easy thing of it and was reelected by a handsome majority. Garrett Kenter, who it was thought would not be a candidate at any price, consented to run. He was beaten nearly 2 to 1 by Rudolph Shefler, of Delawanna.
The appropriations asked for by the school board were all granted, mostly by the secretary casting the ballot, the only voting necessary being the $2,500 for an addition to the Albion Place school. This was also granted by a large majority.
The appropriations granted are:
Teachers’ salaries $8,000
Janitors’ salaries $1,980
Text books, etc. $3,000
Repairs and improvements $3,475
Bonds and interest $2,050
Other school purposes $1,000
As reported in the Passaic Daily News.
Mar. 26, 1902
Matter Laid Over Until Next Month By The Acquackanonk School Board, To Which Petition Was Sent At Last Night’s Meeting. Acquackanonk Township’s new school board organized last evening at the Clifton School house by electing John W. Barrett, of Albion Place, as its president and Alonzo W. Smith, of Athenia, as clerk. There was no opposition to the two officers. The new members, John H. Cartwright, of Lakeview and Rudolph Shefler of Delawanna were present as were all the other members.
Mr. Hutchinson had a motion passed to have a committee of three appointed , consising of the president, clerk and chairman of the finance committee, to have a suitable resolution engrossed for the retiring president, Daniel Stagg, and to present them to him for the faithful duties he had performed while a member of the board.
Mr. Baker, of the Botany school, reported that the boiler at that school had given out and that he was compelled to have the school closed for two weeks, but that he had had it repaired at a cost of $50. His action was approved and the bill offered paid.
Mr. Baker wanted an assistant for the Kindergarten class in the Botany school, claiming that at present the parents refused to send their children for a half day session. Mr. Nathan thought otherwise, and asked the board to refuse the request saying that half day sessions for the little tots were sufficient. In fact, he thought it unwise to send small children a whole day to school. The matter was referred to the committee on education with power.
Lakeview wants another school, and at the meeting Mr. Gravatt of that place presented a petition which contained over seventy signatures of residents of that section. The petition had a string attached to it, however, in which it stated the style of school to be built, as the ground is to be given by Mr. Currie, who is an extensive property holder in that section. He will give twelve city lots free, provided the board build a $5,000 school within a year. The matter was laid over until next month. Mr. Cartwright was given power to have repairs made at the Lakeview School, the recent flood having damaged the sidewalks.
President Barrett appointed the following standing committees:
Education- Nathan Cartwright, Hepburn, Hutchinson, Sheffler and Baker.
Finance- Henniger, Sheffler and Hepburn.
Fuel- Members of each of their respective districts.
Bills to the amount of $625.48 for incidentals were ordered paid.
clerk received an increase in salary of $10 per year. It is now $250.
The flood mentioned in the previous article is the great flood that inundated the lower Passaic River basin during the first week of March, 1902. The following article appeared in the Passaic Daily News Wednesday 3/5/1902:
“Some idea of the amount of water flowing in the river at the time of the high water on Sunday and Monday may be judged from the report of the engineers of the Passaic Water company, and the gateman at the Dundee Dam. When the flood was highest six feet two inches of water flowed over Dundee Dam… The highest previous record for the flow over Dundee Dam was sixty-one inches, which is one foot less than that of this flood…
Men who were fortunate enough to secure rowboats reaped a harvest in the section lying between Wall, Eighth and Ninth Streets in this city [Passaic], during the flood. They charged 25 and 50 cents for passengers going to and from the flooded houses…
In some instances residents isolated from the high ground were without food for several days, depending on what could be taken to them in the boats of passed from one house to another by neighbors…
As gathered by Donald C. Lotz