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Howell Society






   Saturday. May 6, 1911, it was a great day for Farmingdale. Indeed, some say it was the  greatest day that Farmingdale had ever witnessed. Over 200 visitors were in town from  all over the huge township of Howell and from various parts of this and adjoining states. The occasion of this large gathering was the first annual dinner of the Howell Society, tendered by Hon. Aaron E. Johnston of Asbury Park.  Mr. Johnston had often discussed the formation of a society composed of residents of Howell and of former residents, and to bring matters to a focus and to bring as many Howellites together as possible, he arranged for a dinner at Farmingdale on Saturday. At one o'clock over 205 guests sat down to an eight-course dinner served by Hildebrecht of Trenton, and after the elaborate menu had been exhausted there were eight toasts responded to by eight former Howellites, which brought the time of parting all too soon for those who had thus renewed acquaintances of long ago and exchanged reminiscences and experiences of the years that are gone. 


   As Mr. Johnston rose to act as toastmaster he was greeted with cheers and applause and the waving of many handkerchiefs. He commenced his remarks with a brief statement of the history of Howell township, which was set off from Shrewsbury in 1801. It has since been reduced in size by the formation of Ocean County and Wall and other townships, but is still the largest township, as regards territory in Monmouth County.


   Referring to its early industries, he said there were many iron furnaces in various parts of the township, as bog iron could be found in almost every meadow. The most notable of these were the works at Allaire, established in 1830, and the Bergen Iron Works at what is now Lakewood. He considered it a lamentable fact that there is no historical record of the exact location of these early iron works or of the men who owned and operated them.


   Then came the marl industry, which was so long used as a fertilizer, until the commercial          fertilizers came into vogue. In time marl came to be a circulating medium and was traded at the store for goods of various sorts. They even accepted it at the hotel where a bushel of marl would purchase three cents worth of rum. This currency, he said, might be termed the "heavy green," but had been replaced by the bankers in these modern times by a good supply of the "long green," easier to handle and reaching further.

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   Referring to the Howell boys, he said they reminded him of a cement block composed of sand, grit and marl but unlike the cement  block they never "take water" and are impervious to the weather. But they had the somewhat poor characteristic of not remaining at home. Many of the Howell boys are to be found along shore, where they went at an early date in the development of that territory and soon the shore became full of little Howells. Another characteristic was that as soon as they got there, they became first citizens, and landed political jobs all the way from policemen to mayors. And reaching out beyond the local field they became Judges, Senators, Assemblymen, and had even been mentioned for Governor and Congressmen. They not only captured position but property as well, all the way from Toms River to Atlantic Highlands. It has been their business to distribute the products of their brain and blood all over the newly developed territory of Monmouth and Ocean counties, aiding very greatly in their building up.


   But while they were sorry that so many of the Howell boys had been obliged to go to other fields of labor, and glad that so many of them had succeeded so well, yet it was a matter or regret that they did not come back oftener. Those who had remained behind were lonely, it had occurred to him that it would be a good thing to have as many of the old boys as possible return on Saturday to break bread together and renew old acquaintances. And it was the further object of the meeting to form an organization to be known as the Howell Society, which would have a similar meeting once a year for the purpose of good fellowship and in order that the members  should not forget the place of their birth. Mr. Johnston next, read a list of Howell boys who had made their marks in the professions and  in banking, as follows:


   PHYSICIANS: Samuel Johnson, Asbury Park;  Harry B. Shaw and Walter Tilton, Long Branch;  James B, Wainwright, Manasquan;     

S. A. Disbrow, Asbury Park;  V. M. Disbrow, Lakewood;  Lefferts Disbrow and E. Clarence Disbrow, Toms River;  Dewitt C. Donahay, Philadelphia;  George Franklin, Hightstown;  A. H. Patterson, Georgetown, N. J.;  C. H. Howland, New Haven, Conn.


   MINISTERS: Thomas O'Hanlon, Ocean Grove;  William H. Lawrence, Southold, N. Y.;  James D. Bills. Camden;  Steadman Applegate, Asbury Park;  Charles W. Heisley, Cranbury;  Eugene Vannote,  Glen Moore, Pa.;  Richard Bayles, East Orange, N. J.;  James S. Yard, China;  Fred S. Voorhees, Long Island;  Arthur Flandreau, Long Island;  Augustus Heisley, Texas;  George Vannote, Maryland;  John Hulsehart, Manasquan;  Samuel Marks, Farmingdale; and  Lincoln Shear.


   LAWYERS: Harry E. Newman and R. TenBroeck Stout, Lakewood;  Halsted Wainwright, Manasquan;  Aaron E, Johnston, Asbury Park; W. B. Parker,  Wilbur A. Heisley and  Clarence G. Vannote, Long Branch;  N. Henry Schutts, New York;  Acton C. Hartshorne, Freehold; Samuel A. Patterson, Asbury Park.


   BANKERS: Dr. Charles E. Hall, president Freehold Banking company;  Henry C. Winsor, president Asbury Park and Ocean Grove  bank;  Oliver H. Brown, president First National bank, Spring Lake;  Nathan J. Taylor, president First National bank, Ocean Grove; William J. Couse, president Asbury Park Trust Co.


   He also read letters and telegrams from some who had been invited but who were unable to be present.


   Dr. Thomas O'Hanlon was down on the list of speakers to speak on "Milestones." He was unable to be present and Rev. John Handley, D.D., responded for him. At the outset he said he had attended school at Pennington with Aaron Johnston, who had intended being a minister, and that he was one of the "whitest" men he had ever known. He next took a shy at Former Senator Francis, remarking that he had captured practically every office worth having, he had had everything going, and that he proposes to nominate him on the Prohibition ticket next year. Speaking for Dr. O'Hanlon, he said that the Doctor always has a good word to say for old Howell township. He believed the rising generation could well get their inspiration for greater and better things from the Howell men who have become successful and great in the various fields of activity.

   Judge Wilbur A. Heisley had "Grit" for his topic. He commenced by saying that he has learned why there were so many round-shouldered men in Howell, a thing which he had often wondered at. Mr. Johnston had made it all clear. It was because they had been carrying so many bushels of marl for three cents worth of rum. He said a man might have intelligence, education and wealth, but without grit they would avail him nothing. He believed in always making a fight the best one possible in any good cause. He quoted Josh Billings saying that the secret of good card playing was not in managing to get a winning hand, but in playing a poor hand well. Grit is the quality which enables a man to persevere against all odds to the very end. He closed with a poem by Miller, apropos of the subject, entitled "Sail on: Sail on."


   A little break occurred here in the speeches when Thomas Jackson of Ocean Grove, stood up. He said he was a boy of 87 and wanted to know if there was any other older. Rev. Charles A. Heisley of Cranbury remarked that he was 86 and created a laugh by inviting the other boy ''out into the road", which invitation was not accepted. But Stephen A. Morris of Hightstown, and lively as a cricket, felt he was entitled to travel in the eighty class, announcing that he was 81. There was applause for all three. There was doubtless a 60 and a 70 class, as well as a 50 class and some others, but then man never mentions his age until he has reached four score, and most of the Howell men are modest fellows anyway.


    Henry C. Winsor of Asbury Park, spoke of "Old Memories." He quoted Whittier's poem on the "Barefoot Boy'.' and waxed really eloquent over the joys of boyhood when there were no collars to vex or shoes to grow corns. Referring to 1865, he said that perhaps 25 families enumerating them would have comprised the census of the township. He referred to the regiments who went

to the front, and to those who entered the war never to return. He gave a brief sketch of the oldest bank in Monmouth, 81 years

old, The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Middletown Point. Getting back again to early days, he said he had caught many a beautiful golden sucker in the Metedeconk, but that since that day, he had learned that there are several different kinds of suckers. In closing, he expressed the hope that all might so conduct themselves that they would receive the plaudit “well done.”


   R. TenBroeck Stout of Lakewood, was on the list to talk about "Mistakes." He said there were lots of people who seemed to be

in the wrong place in life "square plugs in round holes." He also remarked that when he was younger, he had thought that he knew something, but of late years, he had discovered that he knew very little. He was like the leaves in autumn, "blushing because they had been so very green in the spring." Mr. Stout had quite a fund of stories which he told with good effect and closed by saying

that those who had gone before were beckoning them to come to them.


   Senator Brown spoke on "Opportunity and the Man." Many present had had very little opportunity in early life, but a few months of schooling each year, and but few books, and they had been obliged to make the most of these". He closed with a few kind

words for Mr. Johnston, wishing him long life and continued prosperity.


   Halsted H. Wainright of Manasquan, spoke upon "Home." He said success was largely due to early environment. He saw

genuine smiling in the faces of those before him, which he said proved how untrue was the saying that "genius never smiles near home." It was certainly not true of the Howell brand of genius. He next referred to the religious life of the community, the constant, faithful teaching, and the consistent living of the ministers and heads of families, and the work of the Yankee schoolmasters who came to Howell to teach the young idea how to shoot. He closed with the sentiment: "To the township of Howell, our home, whose sons have made things move; may her posterity, both her sons and daughters, with the blessing of Almighty God, shine out throughout all eternity."


    W. S. B. Parker of Long Branch, was also on the list, and his topic was "Bubbles." He said he had brought a basket full of bubbles, but the time was so short that he could not exhibit very many of them. He remarked in passing that, the "barefoot boys" who had preceded him in the speaking, had nothing on him because he "was born barefooted." There were also some which he had brought with him to sing, but they too must be laid aside, and in place of them, he read an original poem, composed on the spur of the moment, which follows;


"A noble river on its way

                                                                Through cedar swamps and meadows green,

                                                                Through farms and uplands may be seen

                                                               Mingle with the ocean's spray –

                                                                'Tis the Metedeconk."


                                                                "From Howell's innermost recess.

                                                                From Bethel's lovely blessedness,

                                                                From cool Siloam's shady rill

                                                                Come waters with the living thrill

                                                                'Tis the Metedeconk."


                                                                "Ah, men, who on its borders, live,

                                                                We have a thousand thanks to give;

                                                                You still live in its magic spell

                                                                And love its wandering very well –

                                                                This dear Metedeconk."


                                                                "To all who claim in Howell's clime


To date their entrance into time.

                                                                We give a welcome warm and true

                                                                And all best wishes give to you

                                                                Down by Metedeconk."

                                                                "Many sons have left your shades

                                                              And found their world well mixed with Hades

                                                                And in their running after bubbles

                                                                Have after realized them troubles

                                                                Far from Metedeconk."

   At the close of the speeches a regular organization of the Howell Society was perfected with the following officers:

           President, Aaron E. Johnston; Vice President, Dr. Samuel Johnson; Secretary, Halsted H Wainright; Treasurer, Henry C. Winsor.

   The names of those present at the first annual dinner of the Howell Society follow:

John H. Aring, Lakewood;  J. C Ackerman,  J, R. Allaire,  W. Irving Applegate,  William T. Applegate,  William R. Allaire,  Frank T. Allaire, Farmingdale;  Rev. Steadman Applegate,  T. Frank Appleby, Asbury Park;  James H, Butcher,  Harry D. Butcher,  Arthur Butcher, Ardena;  Joseph L. Butcher,  Walter Butcher,  Charles H. Boud, Farmingdale;  Joseph Brown, West Farms;  Amos Brocklebank, Jerseyville;  William Brower, Farmingdale;  Charles C. Brower, Ardena;  William Buckalew, Point Pleasant;  Oliver M. Brown,  Peter C. Brown, Spring Lake;  Frank P. Butcher, Ocean Grove;  C. B. Barkalow,  Vela Bacon,  George Brower,  D. Schenek Borden, Farmingdale;  George Borden, Jerseryvile;  S. H. Cooper,  A. W. Cooper, Lakewood;  William H. Cranmer, Sea Girt;  John W. Conine, Adelphia;  Benjamin H. Cooper, Lakewood;  Arthur Clayton, Adelphia;  William J. Couse,  William C. Cottrell,  Arthur F. Cottrell,  Clark Cottrell, Asbury Park;  Henry Cooper, Belmar;  Rev. A. C. Cantrell, Farmingdale;  William Clayton, Jerseyville;  Edward Casion, Jr., Freehold;  William Conrow, Farmingdale;  Hon. David S. Crater, Freehold;  Elias Conover, Farmingdale;  Joseph S. Conover, Belmar;  James H. Dickerson, Lakewood;  Stephen A. Disbrow, Ocean Grove;  Joseph L. Donahay, Freehold;  Dr. Clarence Disbrow, Toms River;  Mr. V. H. Disbrow, Lakewood;  John A. Errickson, Jersey City;  J. E. Emmons, Manasquan;  D. C. Errickson, Fairfield;  Frank A. Emmons, Farmingdale;  L. D. Estell,  Parent Estell, Lakewood;  Lee W. Ferry,  Charles E. Farry, Farmingdale;  George Forsythe, Manasquan;  C. Asa Francis, Long Branch;  William Flitcroft, Farmingdale;  Earl Farry, (H. E.), Asbury Park;  A. M. T. Flandreau, Farmingdale;  Rev. Arthur Flandreau, Long Island;  J. F. Flitcroft, Atlantic Highlands;  Roland Fenimore, Belmar;  William T. Franktin, Allantic Highlands;  Edward Flitcroft, Ocean Grove;  William B. Goodenough, Farmingdale; B. L. Garrison, Point Pleasant;  William F, Grove, Farmingdale;  S. A. Hall,  William K. Heyer, Adelphia;  William Hurley,  T. G. Harvey, Farmingdale;  C. H. Howland, New Haven, Conn.;  James L. Hall,  Walter D. Havens, M.D., Farmingdale;  Aaron Hampton, Asbury Park;  Wilbur A. Heisley, Long Branch;  Rev. John H. Handley,  Steadman Hall, Ocean Grove;  Frank Hampton, Sea Bright;  Clarence E. F. Hetrick,  Theo. Hulick, Asbury Park;  Harry E. Hagaman, Lakewood;  Rev. John Hulshart, Manasquan;  George H. Holman, Toms River;  H. E. Hulshart, Farmingdale;  Acton C. Hartshorne, Freehold;  Rev. Charles Heisley, Cranbury;  Harry Hulsehart, Farmingdale;  Hamilton B. Hale, Bordentown;  Harry T. Hagaman, Lakewood;  Edward Imlay, Farmingdale;  George Irons, Toms River;  William L. Johnson, Adelphia;  Dr. Samuel Johnson, Asbury Park;  Joseph Jackson,  Thomas Jackson, Adelphia;  T. E. Jeffries,  J. Neafie Johnson,  C. Albert Johnson, Freehold;  Aaron E. Johnston, Belmar;  James Ketcham,  Howard Ketcham,  William T. Ketcham, West Farms;  Jacob Lutz, Farmingdale;  Harry W. Leland, West Farms;  John Lewis, Toms River; Rev. William H. Lawrence, Southold. N. Y.;  C.R. LeCompte,  Ernest LeCompte, Lakewood;  William Lutz, Farmingdale;  C. E. McDonald, Englishtown;  Samuel Marks,  Joseph A. Morton, Farmingdale;  Wesley K. Morris, West Farms;  Robert H. Morris, Adelphia;  Prof. Richard Morris, Rutgers College, New Brunswick;  George McCloskey, Point Pleasant;  John H. Morris, Farmingdale;  Joseph McDermott,  Alex L. Moreau, Freehold;  Henry Matz,  Ira Megill, Farmingdale;  Joseph Magee,  William Magee,  ---Magee,  --- Magee, Easton, Pa.;  William F. Madge, Adelphia;  Gilbert C. Megill, Farmingdale;  Dr. George C. McMillan, Adelphia;  Rev. Stephen Morris, Hightstown;  Frank S. Morris, Asbury Park;  Harry E. Newman, Lakewood;  Dr. Harry Neafie, Freehold;  Dr. Thomas O'Hanlon, Ocean Grove;  Charles H. Oakerson, Jerseyville;  Rev. Owen, Ocean Grove;  Halsey Polhemus, Asbury Park;  George W. Patterson, Ardena;  Revoe Patterson, West Farms;  George E. Poland, Long Branch;  Walter Pittenger, Jerseyville;  A. S. Pitttenger, Toms River;  John C. Patterson, Ocean Grove;  Edward V. Patterson, Spring Lake;  W. S. B. Parker, Long Branch;  B. Franklin Patterson, Atlantic Highlands;  Samuel A. Patterson,  Dewitt Polhemus, Asbury Park;  S. H. Patterson, Farmingdale;  Dr. A. H. Patterson, Georgetown;  William Robbins, Farmingdale;  James Richards, West Farms;  S. D. Riddle, Orange;  F. G. Russell, Farmingdale;  T. Milton Shafto, Ocean Grove;  Andrew Shafto,  Rev. C. Rowland Smith,  Edward Sandford, Farmingdale;  TenBroeck Stout, Lakewood;  Clarence Shafto, Farmingdale;  Jeremiah Stillwell, Adelphia;  Dr. Harry B. Shaw, Long Branch;  H. C. Sturz, Farmingdale;  M. D. Smith, Farmingdale;  Henry Shafto, Asbury Park;  R. Bayard Tilton. Farmingdale;  Nathan J. Taylor, Asbury Park;  Dr. Walter Tilton, Long Branch;  Grandin VanNote, Farmingdale;  Ernest VanSchoick, Lower Squankum;  Walter D. VanSchoick, Asbury Park;  Howard VanSchoick, Lower Squankum;  James M. VanNote, Point Pleasant;  Clarence VanNote, Long Branch;  Frank VanNote, Farmingdale;  Asher Woolley,  Edward Winsor,  J. C. Winsor,  B. F. Wainright,  Halsted Wainright, Sr., Farmingdale;  Halsted Wainright, Jr., Manasquan;  Edward Woolley, West Farms;  Dr. J. B. Wainright, Manasquan;  Henry G. Winsor, Asbury Park;  Herbert Williams, Red Bank;  John H. Williams, Farmingdale;  Stephen D. Woolley, Ocean Grove;  Alex. A. Yard, Farmingdale.



COPIED FROM: The Freehold Transcript and The Monmouth Inquirer, Freehold, New Jersey, 12 May 1911, Fri • Page 1, 4

Even though Aaron E. Johnston passed away in 1913 the Howell Society continued on into the mid-1930s.

During this time several reunions were held. The photos below are from two of them.

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1917 Annual Meeting of Howell Society      (in the background - Jacob Lutz store [Lutz Park], and Jacob Lutz home [Joshua House] )

1918 Howell Society photo.png

Eighth Annual Reunion of the Howell Society, Farmingdale N. J.  May 25, 1918    (in background - Red Men's Hall [33 Main Street] )

Photo;  1918 Cole and Co., Asbury Park, N. J. 271-1

Copies of these photos are on display at the MacKenzie House Museum, 427 Lakewood-Farmingdale Road, Howell, N.J.

and the Farmingdale Historical Society Elizabeth Grove Museum, 13 Asbury Avenue, Farmingdale, N.J.


At this time, both museums are closed for renovations. Hopefully, they will be opened again soon.

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