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Clifton (Acquackanonk) November 100 Years Ago

November 1, 1902
Daily Budget of Village Happening Gathered for the News.

The Hallowe'en masquerade, which has been of such importance to the young

people for the past week, was a splendid success. Much time was spent in dancing

and guessing the dancers identity. The supper table was prettily arranged and

showed great skill and cleverness. The characters which were represented were:

Schuyler Clarkson, Mine Host – Uncle Josh.

Miss Edna Gee – Japanese.

Miss Eva Price and Miss A. Louise Clarkson – Puritan Maidens.

Miss Margaret Clarkson – France.

Eugene Genthon – A woman.

Miss Theodora Price – Old Fashioned Girl.

William Disbrow – Happy Hooligan.

Miss Lottie Disbrow – Little Red Riding Hood.

Miss Edna Disbrow – Jester.

L. Underhill – Dude.

Charles Cooper – Mr. Nightcap.

Miss Florence Ker – Little Girl.

Miss Marguerite Thorburn – Red Cross Nurse…

Raymond Langstroth – Truckman.

Miss Bertha Genthon – German Girl.

Miss Gertrude Mullaney – Columbia.

Miss Jeanette Adam – Bo Peep.

Miss Margaret Adam – Gypsy.

Neil Adam – Clown…

Miss Bessie Hatch – Japanese.

McLeod Wylie – Ghost.

Vanessa Furman – Witch of Hallowe'en.

Norman Clarkson – Dunce.

Walter Geo – Indian.

Lester Smith – Japanese.

Miss May Birdsall – Pocahontas.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 2, 1902


Daily Budget of Village Happening Gathered for the News.

There will be but one delivery from the post office tomorrow and the office will be

open only until 9 o'clock.

The Clifton Athletic club will play football tomorrow morning against the St. Agnes

team of Lakeview. The game will be called at the racetrack at 10 o'clock.

Peter Linsay and family, of Lakeview, have taken one of the vacant houses in Clifton


Miss Bessie Hatch began teaching this morning at the Hawthorne school…

The funeral services of Mrs. Edwin Cole were held yesterday afternoon at 1:30 from

the Reformed church. The Rev. J. T. Ellsworth and the Rev. Mr. Moffet conducted

the services. The interment was in Cedar Lawn…                  

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 3, 1902


Big Crowd Cheered Local Football Players


Defeated the Patersons at Olympic Park in an Exciting Contest…


In the first game in the Passaic County Football league, at Olympic park, yesterday

afternoon, the Passaics demonstrated in a most convincing manner that they will

prove dangerous foes to the Patersons, and that they will come pretty near carrying

off the pennant. Although neither side scored yesterday, according to the referee,

the local boys had much the better of the contest and if it had not ended so

unfortunately through the interference of a mob of spectators, they would have

scored a touchdown in the final seconds of the last half, which would have more

clearly evinced their superiority over the St. Bonaventures.

A big crowd gathered to witness the game. Owing to bad management, the

spectators were allowed to ramble about the gridiron, while only a few took seats in

the grand stand and on the bleachers. When time was called the constables present

had considerable difficulty in moving the crowds back to the sidelines. Captain

Carr, of the St. Bonaventures, won the toss and took the ball. On the kick off

Captain Brandes, of the Passaics, prevented Kelsey from making a good catch by

jumping in front of him. Kelsey got the ball, however, and made a desperate dash

for the left end. He frequently dodged several of his opponents in his usually clever

style and gained about fifteen yards. Captain Brandes was next sent through the line

for the first down. He followed this up with repeated rushes by big Dory Moore and

Lawler of Paterson. These big fellows were especially valuable to the Passaics, and

their line bucking proved disastrous to the St. Bonaventures…

The crowd by this time had become fidgety and worked its way up around the

players so that their play was greatly interfered with. In the second half the Passaic

boys went at their opponents with a spirit that soon began to tell on the latter and

the ball was gradually brought to the Paterson's goal by splendid line bucking on

the part of Brandes, Moore, Lawler and Meloney…   

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.



November 6, 1902


Citizens Are Being Questioned on the Subject



The District Suggested Includes About 1,000 Persons, Many Stores, and Several

Churches-Would Incorporate the Clifton Hotel in the City Limits.

An agitation has been begun by many residents of the Fourth ward, looking to a

plan to annex the upper end of Acquackanonk Township to this city [Passaic]. Such

a plan would be met with the avowed opposition of Mayor Thomas Dutton, of

Duttonville, and his followers. Recently a small section of Acquackanonk Township

was annexed to this city [Passaic]. The city line now runs directly through Highland

Avenue from Lexington Avenue west.

There is just beyond the line quite a settlement of 800 to 1,000 persons and many

houses and not a few stores. It is said that this section of Acquackanonk should be

added to the city [Passaic].

The plan is to take in (all) the township as far as Clifton Avenue and from the

Dundee canal to Main Avenue. This would give to Passaic at least two square miles

of territory and about 3,000 more population, not to speak of a large quantity of

vacant land and not a few houses, stores and saloons.

It would also include the Clifton depot, the Clifton hotel and two churches, both of

which are in the Botany district.

Such a plan can only be put through by act of the legislature, and those at the back

of the plan are feeling their way now. It is not known what opinions will be

expressed by the residents of this section on the annexation question.

Mayor Dutton had to move last year across the street to get out of this city [Passaic],

and should his present site be annexed he would be compelled to move many blocks.    

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 6, 1902


Clifton Property Owners Confer With the Freeholders



It Is Alleged That Drain Water Would Be Diverted to Their Property-A Kick

Against James Greeley's Bill as Bridge Inspector.

The freeholders held a short meeting yesterday morning, there being very little

business on hand to demand their attention. A communication was read from Mary

E. Ryerson and Jennie Gary, of Clifton, catering protest against the way the grade is

being altered on a street in Clifton, at Weasel Brook, and complaining that the

change will turn the drainage water on to the writers' property, to their damage;

also, objecting to the destruction of shade trees. The communication was referred to

the road committee. Freeholder Dillon objected to the payment of the claim of

Bridge Inspector Greeley, of Passaic, on the ground that Greeley had not been at the

bridge under his inspection for five days. The bill was "hung up" for investigation.

The light inspector reported 110 lamps out during the past month, and the matter

was referred to the finance committee to make the usual deduction. Mr. Thomas'

resolution authorizing the securing of bids for the laying of a 20 inch pipe sewer at

Main Street and Barclay Avenue, Clifton, was adopted, as were Mr. Blauvelt's

authorizing the county collector to pay the election officers and owners of polling

places, and Mr. Dillon's providing for the adoption of Mercer Street from First to

Third Street as a country road.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.



November 6, 1902


Daily Budget of Village Happenings Gathered for the News.


Election morning the Clifton Athletic club played a game of football with the team

of St. Agnes' school. The members played very well, but the Paterson team had

decidedly the advantage in weight and practice. The score was 5 to 0 in favor of St.

Agnes' school. The game was played on the racetrack and a number of people were

present. Surely the number of red and black flags showed interest.

A number of the young people had an impromptu dance Tuesday at the home of the

Misses Disbrow.

Mr. and Mrs. Simpson, of Clifton Avenue, have a little girl, born Tuesday.  

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 6, 1902


The following is the honor roll for Clifton school No. 7:


Grade V.- Emma Walker, August Kreb, Albert Meenen, Sara Pislor.

Grade VI.- Sadie Walker, Stephen Smitney, Helen Van Hassel, Bertha


Grade IV.- Mary Ann Accorsi, Mary Krebe, Jessie Baker, Paul Lau, Willie


Grade III.- Cornelius Quadland.

Grade I.- Minnie Zegel, Alice Meenen, Lena Castler, Selma Bottcher, Plorence

Hoffman, James Hilton, August Meenen, John Gregory, Jackson Zanette, Mortus

Leiber, Fritz Craft, Freddy Matthews, Calse Pasquilen, Helen Gardger, Rose

Tonan, Frances Somers, Michal Dutka, Alfred Sperling, Joe Leiber, Momolo


As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 8, 1902


He Says, "A Still Tongue Makes a Wise Head" and "Still Waters Run Deep."


The article which, appeared in the News on Thursday referring to the proposed annexation of a part of Acquackanonk township to the Fourth ward of this city; has caused considerable talk among the residents of the proposed annexed district.

A News man in talking to "Mayor" Dutton about the subject elicited but a few words from him. They were: "A still tongue makes a wise head." And "Still waters run deep." That is all Mr. Dutton would say on the subject.  In talking to another prominent resident and one who is generally mixed up in political affairs the

citizen said: "Cut it out. What does Passaic want from the township? We are all living happily and our people are satisfied as we are at present. When we want to be annexed to Passaic we will let you know." According to these statements the district as outlined in the News will make a vigorous protest should the bill be presented at the present legislature.     

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 11, 1902



In view of the great advantage Clifton and vicinity have derived from the extension

of free postal delivery, it is a matter of surprise that Athenia, Allwood and

Delawanna do not demand the same advantage.

All three places are so situated that an independent station could be created in place

of the local post office, thus disposing of the objection that they would lose their

identity. Clifton is just as much Clifton now as it was before it was made a station of

the Passaic office, the only difference being the presence there of two mail carriers,

who go from door to door with mail matter twice a day. To the New Yorker

thinking of buying or building a home in or around the village, this fact of free

postal delivery is a decided inducement. Good postal facilities rank next to good

schools in the opinion of city folks.

What we would suggest is that the Acquackanonk Township Committee take steps

to have free delivery extended to all parts of the township. Paterson could serve the

Richfield district and Passaic the rest of the territory.      

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 12, 1902


Acquackanonk Township Committee Renews Old Fight


Officials Cannot Tell Whether They Have Been Paid, as Former Collector Lawson Refused to Put Them in Evidence.


The township committee of Acquackanonk is again after the books of the late Ellis

H. Lawson, who had been collector for over fifteen years. Mr. Lawson steadfastly

refused to turn over his books to his successor, Mr. Kesse, consequently the new

collector has had a hard time of it. Recently Mr. Kesse sold a piece of property for

unpaid taxes. Now it transpires that they had been paid, as the ex-collector's

signature is attached to a receipt. Mr. Kesse had no means of ascertaining whether

they had been paid or not as they appeared on the township books as unpaid. The

matter will undoubtedly be brought to court, and the heirs of the ex-collector will

have to explain why they will not turn over the books. Other matters transacted at

the meeting appear in the official minutes which, follow:


Clifton, N. J., November 11, 1902.

The regular monthly meeting of the township committee was held on the above date

in Main Avenue hall, all the members being present.

The minutes of the meetings held on October 7 and October 18 were read and

approved as read. The treasurer reported a balance of $539.71. Several bills were

presented and on motion ordered paid. F. J. Marley presented a bill for 5 per cent.

retained on amount due on various township roads, which, on motion, the treasurer

was instructed to pay when Messrs. Chairman Thorburn and Committeeman

Frederick certified that the repairs ordered made had been completed.  A

communication was received from the Passaic County Title Guarantee Company

asking that the committee order cancelled off record the record of a sale of certain

lots in Howard Street, Passaic City, which they claimed had been sold for unpaid

taxes by the collector of taxes of the township on June 9, 1902. After discussion and

advice from counsel, it was decided that inasmuch as the land in question was

unquestionably in the city of Passaic the township officials had no right to assess

taxes against it, or to sell it for unpaid taxes not properly assessed, and his being a

fact the township committee had no right to cancel from the records any tax title

which is there. On motion these facts were ordered placed on the minutes, and the

clerk requested to so advise the Title Guarantee Company. A communication was

received from George P. Rust requesting the committee to execute a deed from the

township to B. & C. Handschuh for property in Highland Avenue sold for unpaid

taxes. The communication was accompanied by receipted tax bills from ex-Collector

Ellis W. Lawson. On Motion the matter was referred to Collector Kesse for a


On motion the counsel was instructed to take such action as he thinks best to secure

possession of the books relating to the tax matters of the township, formerly in the

possession of ex-Collector Ellis W. Lawson.

A communication was received from H. B. Gravatt relative to a outhouse

maintained by a neighbor on his property line, Vernon and Crooks Avenues. On

motion the matter was referred to the board of health.

On motion, at request of the collector, the chairman and clerk were instructed to

execute deeds from the township to Franz Klein, lot 10, block 18, Moore and Morrill

map, to Jacob Petraski and wife, lots 45 and 46 Shaw map, Clifton, and to John J.

Sullivan lot 638, N.Y. & N. J. Bridge land company, each of these parties having

paid the taxes and costs on properties mentioned.

Several employees of Edward J. Dowling appeared before the committee with the

request that the committee would see that they were paid the several amounts due

them for work done in High Avenue. They were instructed to file claims against


The resignation of John Byrnes as special officer was, on motion, accepted, and on

motion the committee adjourned.

Allison J. Van Brunt Township Clerk.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 13, 1902

Township Committeeman Thorburn, of Acquackanonk, deserves congratulations

for his good work in raiding a den in Clifton. It would be well if there were more

brave men like him and those associated with him in the raid.  

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 14, 1902


This Is the Current Rumor in Clifton Case



It Is Understood That the Complaints Against Mrs. Littlefield and Her Friends

Have Been Dismissed and That She May Sue Some of the Raiders – Another Raid Is

Now Talked of.

It is generally rumored in this city today that the grand jury yesterday threw out the

complaints against Mrs. Eva Littlefield and her friends, who were charged with

keeping a disorderly house in gilt-edged Clifton. As told in The News, a number of

citizens raided the place the other night.

The grand jury, so runs the report, suggested that if the Acquackanonk authorities

were out to make a moral reform, they close up other alleged disreputable resorts in

the township, some of which have licenses.

It is also said that the raiders had little evidence against the place, though its true

status was well known. Some of the witnesses had only heard the stories and could

give no personal experiences.

It is said that Mrs. Littlefield has under contemplation suits for damages against

some of the raiders, claiming that they violated the law in breaking into her home.

She claims that only an officer with a warrant can force an entrance and that not

one of the raiders had police powers.

There has been talk of another raid on a place in Lakeview.     

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 14, 1902


Confirmed a Class at St. Peter's Church



Parish In the Neighboring Town Stimulated by the Words of the Able Bishop of the

Newark Diocese Last Evening – Complimented the Members on Successful Work as

Shown by the New Building.

The administration of confirmation at St. Peter's Episcopal mission in Clifton

marked an epoch in the church's history. The church will celebrate its sixth

anniversary Sunday and this marks a very interesting period in its growth.

This was the first visit of the Rt. Rev. Thomas A. Starkey, bishop of Newark, to the

little church at Clifton. Great interest was shown in the exercise and the building

was crowded to the doors. Once before when services were held in the hall over the

post office, the bishop confirmed a class presented by the Rev. Ernest A. Osborn.

Last night a class of four, consisting of Arthur Redfern, Walter Williamson, William

Doherty and Gustavus Anderson, received the sacrament. The priest in charge, the

Rev. E. J. Balsey, presented the class, which he has been instructing for some time…

Bishop Starkey held his audience and made a profound impression on all. He gave

an eloquent and scholarly address on the "Meaning and Strength of Confirmation."

He spoke of the rapid growth of the church and the successful erection of such a

beautiful chapel. He spoke in the highest terms of the little village of Clifton, and

said that he took as much interest in visiting this church as any other in the diocese.

He anticipated in coming years a large edifice and a constantly growing


As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 21, 1902



Alleged Proprietor of a House In Clifton Will Have to Stand Trial on Charge Made

By Citizens – Bill Found Yesterday.

Mrs. Eva Littlefield, who was charged with keeping a disorderly house in Clifton,

and whose place was raided by a band of citizens, will not go free, as was supposed.

The grand jury at first refused to indict her, but at the closing session yesterday a

true bill was found and will be sent to Judge Scott's court.

Mrs. Littlefield might not have been indicted had she not made several bad

"breaks," it is alleged, to Prosecutor Emley and others. She defied the authorities, it

is said, and this led to renewed efforts to secure an indictment.

When the grand jury met yesterday the prosecutor insisted that the woman be

indicted. After considerable wrangling the bill was prepared and ordered sent to


Mrs. Littlefield will now have to stand trial. Only one indictment was found in the

Clifton case, that being against Mrs. Littlefield. The others caught in the raid were

held as witnesses.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 21, 1902


Daily Budget of Village Happenings Gathered for the News.

Bill boards are being erected in Main Avenue, between Price's store and the hotel

sheds. This will make traveling much safer for there was always danger from the

steep incline near the road…

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 21, 1902


It is not pertinent to discuss the influences that led the last Grand Jury to change its

mind and finally indict Mrs. Littlefield on the last day of session, but it is pertinent

to congratulate it on having done its duty.

Had the Grand Jury not indicted Mrs. Littlefield, its members would have been

open to serious criticism, for the character of the evidence, whether true or false,

was sufficient to render it impossible to slight it.

It should now be the work of the people of Acquackanonk Township to get evidence

against the viler dens that exist in their township. If such evidence were placed

before Judge Dixon, Acquackanonk Township would have a stirring up that it has

not had since the abolition of the racetrack.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 24, 1902


Daily Budget of Village Happenings Gathered for the News.


Tomorrow afternoon the Dorcas guild will meet at the home of Miss Fontayne and will make final arrangements for the "Peddlers Parade" on Thursday next…

The Fire Company will give a Thanksgiving eve dance at the firehouse Wednesday evening.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 28, 1902


Rev. Ame Vennema Delivers a Telling Address



Appropriate Ceremonies at the New Building For the Clifton Reformed

Congregation Yesterday – The Program Rendered _ Interesting Report of the

Organization and Success of the Church Read.

On Thanksgiving morning under the brightest auspices the services attending the

lying of the corner stone of the new Reformed Church of Clifton were held.

Besides the pastor, Rev. J. B. Ellsworth, Passaic and Athenia contributed several

ministers to do honor on this occasion. The Rev. J. H. Whitehead, of the North

Reformed church, who conducted the service; Rev. Ame Vennema, of the First

Reformed, and Rev. Van Arsdale, of the Athenia Reformed church, were present.

The music, by the large chorus choir, was especially good…

The address by Rev. Ame Vennema was just what was expected. His words were

very appropriate to the occasion. He congratulated the congregation on the

increasing growth of the church, which necessitated a larger building and better

facilities for worship. The day of Thanksgiving was especially appropriate on which

to gather to lay the cornerstone…

The historical sketch was read by Deacon W. J. Maharg as follows:

The church was organized by a committee of the classis of Paramus on Tuesday

evening, April 19, 1892, with thirty-four charter members. The church was the

outgrowth of the Union Sabbath school prayer meeting and preaching services, the

Sabbath school being the first organized, the first services being held May 15, 1870.

The union prayer meeting followed commencing during the fall of 1894. The

preaching services, next in order, were inaugurated January 1, 1888. Our church

thus started has shown a steady and encouraging progress along all lines to the

present time.

The chapel in which services have been held up to the present time, was deeded to

the Reformed church of Clifton by the Clifton Union Sunday School society, about

one year after the organization of the church.

The present parsonage was erected the fall and winter of 1893.

After an existence of ten years it became apparent that with the growth of the

church and community, new and larger church accommodations were a necessity.

This led to the planning for the erection of the building, the cornerstone of which

will be laid today. Our new church will have an ordinary seating capacity of 260

which, on occasion, can be increased to over 300.  The partition between the church

and Sabbath Schoolroom will be so arranged as to permit the throwing of the two

rooms into one, the entire seating space being in view from the pulpit, giving us a

room that will accommodate over 600.

The plans also call for an enlargement of both the main Sunday school room and

infant classroom; this additional space will be appreciated as the Sunday school is

becoming very much crowded.

While we have been blessed in the increase of our temporal affairs for which we

have cause to be thankful, God has also blessed us along spiritual lines, adding to

our number steadily, those that have confessed Christ, and also many from other

churches who have moved into our village.

The church starting with 34 members now numbers 127.

The Rev. William Manchee, of Passaic, who was the last minister in charge of the

union preaching services, and who was very helpful in his organization of the

church remained as stated supply for a few months.

The Rev. Edward Birdsall was called as the first pastor in the fall of 1892, and after

a faithful and helpful pastorate of over six years, was called home by his Heavenly

Father to his reward on April 8, 1899.

The second pastor was the Rev. Henry C. Van Haagen, who served the church from

September 1899, to June 1900.

Our present pastor, the Rev. J. S. Ellsworth, began his pastorate December 1,


The growth of the church since that time, its activity along all lines, has been a

source of gratification to all interested…

Elder Johnstone McCall assisted the pastor in packing the box. The list of papers

placed in the box follows:

Members of consistory, church members, officers and teachers in Sunday School,

superintendents of Sunday school, officers and members of Christian Endeavor

society, officers and members of Women's Missionary society, officers and members

of King's Daughter's society, choir, Aid society, Young Men's club, superintendents

of sewing class, records of primary class and contributions for gift windows,

photographs of pastors, historical sketch of church, church seal, Word of God,

mission field, officers of Acquackanonk, Thanksgiving proclamation by President,

Passaic and New York daily papers.

To the singing of the hymn, "The Church's One Foundation," the pastors leading

the way, followed by the choir and congregation, all assembled to see the

cornerstone laid by the Rev. J. S. Ellsworth. The few solemn words were said, the

prayer repeated and the benediction pronounced.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


November 28, 1902


Children Who Do Not Attend School In Acquackanonk Will Hear

From Him.


The monthly meeting of the board of education of Acquackanonk Township was

held at the Clifton schoolhouse on Tuesday evening. The committee on ventilation

reported its labors completed; all the classrooms in the schools having been supplied

with ventilators. On motion the committee, consisting of Messrs. Nathan,

Hutchinson and Baker, were discharged.

Messrs. Barrett and Cartwright, the committee on heating, reported that they,

together with Mr. Carshore, had visited the school buildings and made a thorough

inspection of the heating plants. These are now in first class condition. No matter

how low the thermometer may drop, no school will have to close for lack of heat, as

has been the case in the past.

The clerk was authorized to advertise for bids for coal – all bids to be opened at the

next regular meeting of the board; the board to have the right to reject all bids, if, in

its opinion, the price is considered too high.

The matter of truant children was next taken up.

A list of sixty-one names of children not attending school was handed in. The

following was adopted: To appoint Thomas Dutton as truant officer and to have

blanks printed with the law relating to truant children, calling the attention of

parents or guardians of such children to the fact that unless they send their children

to school the law will be enforced. These blanks are to be sent out by the principals

of the schools. If no attention is paid to them, they are to refer the cases to the local

trustees for further action. If, in turn, they should fail to influence the parents, then

the names are to be given to the truant officer.

A communication from County Superintendent Wilcox was received, notifying the

board that the township treasurer is the proper custodian of the school funds, and

not the collector. It was resolved that whatever the new law called for should be

complied with.

It was resolved to close the schools today and also that the schools close for the

holidays on Wednesday afternoon, December 24, and reopen Monday, January 5.

The next regular meeting of the board will be held on Tuesday, December 16,

instead of on the 30th.

As reported in the Passaic Daily News.


Gathered by Donald C. Lotz, 12/3/2002.