Monday January 1, 1900
TRENTON DURING 1899
A Brief Classified Summary of the
Past Years’ Events
A RETROSPECTIVE GLANCE
Some Prominent Men and Women
Who Have Passed Away---Fires---
Events and Dates Worth Remembering---
With the first peal of the bell in the old town hall tower, more commonly designated as the City Hall, at midnight last night, another epoch of Trenton’s history was marked off. As the bell tolled off the dying moments of the year ’99 it also rang in the first glad utterances of the year that is now with us. The ringing of the church bells and the blowing of the factory whistles commemorated the advent of the new year; the town hall bell closed the old, as well as began the new. During the 365 days that have just ended, many have been the events that have occurred, which while they may be of no importance to the great outer world, have been of the utmost moment to the city in which they have taken place. All have been chronicled by the Trenton Times daily as they have taken place and are generally well known to the readers throughout the town, nevertheless a retrospective glance may not be amiss, and may, at the same time, be valuable as a summary.
Death has made its usual sad inroads upon the people of the town. With his ruthless sickle he has mowed down several of the most prominent citizens. Among the 1st may be mentioned Dr. Thomas S. Stevens, who died aged 62 years, on February 8th. He was followed on March 8th by John H. Faussett, aged 71, the well-known war veteran. On March 28th William Hancock, aged 75, the broker and banker, passed into the great beyond, to be followed on June 16th by Thomas Maddock, aged 82, the potter, founder of the large Maddock’s plants of this city. On July 2nd Joseph Stokes, father of the present city treasurer and superintendent of the New Jersey Steel and Iron Workers, died, aged 67 years.
A prominent baker, Samuel Matlack, was next stricken, on June 12th, in the 66th year of his age. On May 22nd Gottwald Winkler, the musician and founder of Winkler’s Band, died in his 77th year, while on February 1st, Joseph Ashton the leather merchant, died, aged 77 years. Cleveland Hilson also died during July.
On April 13th, Charles Howard Haven, the venerable father of City Engineer Haven, fell out of a second-story window and died, aged 83. On April 17th Captain Hemsing, the well-known prison deputy’s death was announced.
September 5th is the date of Plumber Thomas Ingram’s death. He was aged 62. Fred Walter, the grocer, died in a Philadelphia hospital on October 10th.
The most startling death of the year was that of Phillip D. Crisp, the carriage manufacturer---April 19th. A death of a man well known in Trenton, who resided in Lawrenceville, occurred on January 5th, when Rev. Abram Gosman passed quietly away.
A number of well-known women are among the missing. The three most prominent were Mrs. Mary Howarth, better known as “Clemantine,” the poetess, who died on the 23rd of last month; Mary Ashton, religious worker, August 24th; and Ella Paxton Corsan, who died on the 9th day of the same month.
Other well-known women were Mrs. Maddock, wife of Chaplain George C. Maddock, of the State Prison, who died suddenly on February 16th; and Mrs. Sarah Redner Justice, who died January 2d, aged 85 years. Grim death took away many other loved ones from earth.
The number of large fires which Trenton has suffered from during the year past is small, as compared with the many buildings, factories, and potteries and homes in the city. Much credit for this most gratifying state of affairs must be given the Fire Department.
The largest and by far the hardest fire of the year was that of the New Jersey Steel and Iron Company, on February 12th. It came in the midst of a raging snow storm, through which the firemen worked. The estimated loss was $45,000. But two other fires compare with this one in point of loss---McAvoy’s duck farm, on January 7th, when $25,000 worth of property and bird life went up in smoke, and on January 25th, at the Cresent Rubber Works, when the loss was $20,000. Other fires of note during the year were as follows: January 4th, John Mathison’s residence, $750; January 7th, Empire Rubber Works, $1,000; February 6th, Hamilton Rubber Works, $7,600; May 3rd, Match Factory, $2,000; July 1st, Prospect Pottery, $2,500; September 10th, Berry Building, $3,000; and October 22d, Charles Buckman’s stable, $2,500. Two fires occurred at Yardley---on January 19th and 20th, the joint losses amounting to $17,000. One at Hopewell, in July, $30,000.
Among important events worth remembering were: January 2d, coldest day of the season; January 17th, inauguration of Governor Voohees; January 24th, John Kean elected United States Senator; January 31st, gas, electric light, and trolley interests merged and $1 gas; February 8th, Spanish war veterans welcomed home; February 13th, the blizzard; April 3rd, pottery trust failed; June 14th, Chief of Police McChensney resigned; June 19th, Judson Hiner appointed Chief of Police; June 20th, $125,000 appropriated for new High School; July 7th, injunction allowed against Oliphant’s; July 26th, trouble broke out at Girl’s Industrial School; August 1st, investigation at Industrial School begun by Governor; August 29th, Mrs. Eyler arrested; September 20th, new reservoir dedicated; November 2d, Grand Jury dismissed complaint against Mrs. Eyler; November 7th, election, Republicans carried everything; November 28th, first field day for Second Regiment.
Trenton had its full share of crime during the year. On June 1st, Kid Miller killed John Weise, a fellow convict; July 5th, John Larkin killed Sam Cruse, at Princeton Basin; December 1st, Minnie Eysley was brutally murdered by Edward Williams, near Hamilton Square.
There was a large number of suicides, among which may be mentioned that of Francis Bruner, who hanged himself in a cell at the Second district police station on January 8th, also Hartley Higgins, who did the same thing at the same place on February 7th; Grace Miller 35 years old, on May 5th; Julia Tracey, who set fire to her clothing after pouring on kerosene oil on May 31st; Henry Mellor, the kilnman, who took nitric acid on July 13th; Lewis Smith, who took rough-on-rats at St. Francis Hospital on November 30th; and Martin McCormick, who took carbolic acid on December 4th.
There were a number of burglaries, and the homes of the following well-known persons were entered: May 25th, Henry C. Conrad, Henry Cook, and R. D. Hill on Carteret Avenue; May 11th, John Maher, on Cumberland Avenue; August 3rd, G. D. W. Vroom, on West State Street; September 9th, Mrs. Charles E. Green, of West State Street; October 31st, B. C. Kuser, West State Street.
The Trenton police made a number of good hauls against their common enemy. On February 26th they rounded up a gang of young burglaries in the borough; on March 2d the repeated the same and secured a number more; on March 20th they raided a den on South Warren Street and secured still another gang; and finally on July 10th James Miller was apprehended in Philadelphia through the Trenton police, and it was afterward proven that he was the perpetrator of many of the robberies about town. Besides these the police have rounded up a number of other desperate characters, for which they deserve the thanks of the city.