Trenton Citizens of Foreign Origin
BY RICHARD D. LA GUARDIA
I. The Early Comers
ALTHOUGH this chapter is concerned especially with citizens of foreign origin, that is, with non-English speaking or bilingual peoples of recent immigration, it would seem proper to note in passing the earlier influx of persons from the British Isles who have long been absorbed into the body of the population. In this class are also properly to be included the older representatives of the Teutonic race who came over in some numbers and settled here about the middle of the last century.
Of course in respect to the English, Scotch, Irish, Dutch, and Germans, representatives of each race were here from the earliest days and hence are not to be differentiated from the original common stock, since they actually constituted it and are present with us today in the persons of their descendants to the fifth and sixth generations. In speaking, therefore, of those coming from the above-mentioned countries, the reference is specifically to representatives who came to Trenton when the tide of immigration first set in previous to the Civil War and during the years immediately following. The following sections dealing with the English, Scotch, Irish and Germans were prepared with the assistance of persons familiar with the local history of these races.
English pottery workers from Staffordshire were attracted to Trenton from the period when the early local potteries were firmly established in the town. Well up to the beginning of the present century most of those employed were of English birth or descent, though at present they probably represent a minority. Most of these early potters have long since passed away; some of them after attaining to positions of prominence in the community either as managers or proprietors of potteries or in other branches of trade and industry. Persons of English birth in Trenton numbered 3621 in 1900, 3493 in 1910, and 2774 in 1920. Some outstanding names among early comers may be mentioned.
THE WHITEHEAD FAMILY
John Whitehead, ancestor of the Trenton family of that name, came from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, with two sons and one daughter in 1816. He settled first in Germantown, Pa., where he engaged in the manufacture of woollens. Subsequently he removed to Newtown, Bucks County, Pa., and continued the business there. In 1842 he came to Trenton, buying the mill on the Assunpink some two miles from the center of Trenton. This mill has ever since been operated under the firm name of Whitehead Brothers or Whitehead Brothers Rubber Company. During the years of the Civil War, woollen goods, principally woven underwear for the army, were manufactured. Later the mill was equipped with rubber-working machinery and mechanical rubber goods have since been manufactured in the plant.
John Whitehead's sons were William, John, Jr., Richard R., James R., Charles and Joseph. All lived in Trenton and, excepting Charles, were associated with their father in the operation of the industry. Charles was for many years connected with banking interests. For thirty years he was cashier of the First National Bank and at the time of his death (1898) was vice-president of the Trenton Saving Fund Society. At the present time his son Robert V. is cashier of the same establishment.
OTHER PROMINENT EARLY ARRIVALS
Henry and Joseph Lawton were among the oldest Trentonians born in England. Henry, who was 87 years old when he died, and Joseph, who was 82, both fought in the Civil War, serving with distinction throughout the period of this conflict, and suffering in Libby Prison and Belle Island. Their father was a potter and the sons followed in his footsteps. On leaving England the elder Lawton brought with him the Wedgwood formula. In 1861 this formula was being tested in an effort to interest capitalists in establishing a new Trenton pottery. The first sample had just been tried when the Civil War broke out.
Coxon and Thompson established what was afterwards the Trenton Potteries.
Edwin Green came to America in 1848. He was an ironworker and became superintendent of the wire mills of the Trenton Iron Company.
Moses Golding, founder of Golding and Sons, established a machine shop.
John Hawthorne was the first kiln-builder to make a big reputation in Trenton, and was followed by Lewis Lawton, still active in the business.
Walter Firth, former sheriff of Mercer County, and recently warden of the County Work House, is of English extraction, having been born in Halifax in 1861. He has the unique distinction of being one of the few English Trentonians not born in Staffordshire.
Samuel Bullock was a prominent citizen of Trenton. He was born in Staffordshire in 1861 and was educated in the old White School in Chambersburg. He was a former member of the Board of Education, a surrogate of the County and held other positions of influence and responsibility.
Frederick A. Walker was born in Longton, Staffordshire, England, April 18, 1861. He came to Trenton in 1879, where he had a brother living. His first position here was at the Anchor Pottery. In 1893 he accepted a position with the Trenton Potteries Company, becoming foreman of the Empire Pottery. In 1907 he was made superintendent of the Crescent Pottery where he remained until 1918. Walker first held public office in Chambersburg as an election officer in 1886. After Chambersburg was consolidated with Trenton in 1888, he was elected to the .School Board in 1889 from the Tenth Ward for two years. In 1891 he was elected to the Common Council from the Tenth Ward, for three years, and was reelected in 1894 for two years. He was elected alderman-at-large in April 1896 for two years, and retired from Council in April 1896. He was president for two years and leader for five years. He is a member of the Republican Club and was president in 1924-25. He is now serving on its board of governors.
Among others of English birth who were well known in the pottery industry during the last century were Thomas Maddock, who established his pottery in 1873, James Taylor of the old firm of Speeler and Taylor, Richard Millington, Isaac Davis, James Tams of the Greenwood Pottery, Jonathan Coxon, William Young with numerous descendants, and Frederic A. Duggan, born in the Province of Quebec, the son of an officer in the British Army who came to Trenton in the late '70's and established the Imperial Porcelain Works of which he is the president.
In other industries there were Joseph Stokes, the father of W. J. B. Stokes, Charles E. Stokes and J. Oliver Stokes, rubber manufacturers. Of these W. J. B. Stokes served in Common Council 1886-91 and as city treasurer 1894-1910. The brothers Adam and John Exton of Exton Cracker fame came to Trenton in 1842. The business established by them is still being carried on by their descendants. William Hancock, born in England in 1823, came to Trenton in 1872 and became superintendent of Samuel K. Wilson's woollen mill in ,which capacity he remained up to the time of his death in 1890. A granddaughter is Mrs. Newton A. K. Bugbee and a grandson is William A. Bissell, Jr.
THE SONS OF ST. GEORGE
About one thousand Trentonians of English birth and descent are included in the membership of the Sons of St. George. Whatever its original purpose may have been the society has long since become a purely social and beneficial organization. Today the organization tends to include the fourth generation settled in Trenton.
Of Scotch birth in Trenton, there were 425 persons in 1900, 532 in 1910, and 577 in 1920.
The author has been able to identify but a few scattered families of this race in Trenton, as the Scotch are usually listed as British. They have, also, been so thoroughly assimilated that they are called and known as Americans.
A FEW OUTSTANDING NAMES
The characteristics of the Scotch settlers in Trenton in the period prior to the twentieth century were the same as they are today. They were thrifty, quiet, and clannish. For the most part they were skilled workers and meddled not in politics, though some of them were elevated by election to public offices. Robert Aitken served on the old City Council, in the Board of Freeholders and in the State Assembly. Mr. Aitken was a builder and contractor. Another well-known .Scotchman was Captain John Matheson, who after a life of travel and adventures settled permanently in Trenton, became a police justice and later was identified for years with the county clerk's office.
In business .the Scotch have been successful in many different lines of endeavor. William Rhodes was part owner of the old City Pottery, and James J. Dale of the Dale and Davis Pottery was engaged in business in this city many years. David Lamont and John Love owned small stores on South Broad Street, and were well known in the city. In industry, Thomas Craig, Duncan Mackenzie, John Crawford and others ably represented the Scotch race in the city.
Scotch professional men have figured prominently in the city and included such skilled surgeons as Dr. John McKelway, who lived to the advanced age of 92. He was also a progressive citizen and was connected with the original Water Power Company. He was a typical Scotchman and proud of the land of the heath and thistle. Another physician was Thomas H. Mackenzie, born in Nova Scotia, who, besides enjoying a large practice, was the attending physician at the State Prison, was also on the staff of the St. Francis' Hospital and was for years officially connected with the public schools.
Other Scotchmen of the earlier period were John Munro, John Cochrane, Archie Richardson, Robert Smith, William Mushet and William Flett.
THE CALEDONIAN SOCIETY
In the chapter on "Social and Fraternal Organizations," the activities of the Caledonian Club receive due recognition. The society is of over twenty years' standing and besides being beneficial has contributed to the social, musical, and athletic side of life. Burns' Day customarily brings together a fine assemblage of men and women representing the Scottish race in this city.
Of Irish-born there were 3292 in Trenton in 1900, 2481 in 1910, and 1871 in 1920.
IRISH LEADERS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY DAYS AND LATER
Ireland began to be represented in the population of the city and its environs previous to the Revolutionary War. Patrick Colvin kept the Delaware River ferry at the foot of what is now Ferry .Street, in those early days, and Patrick Lamb, who resided near Quaker Bridge on the Assunpink, was one of the three trusted guides who led Washington's Army on its memorable secret march to Princeton by a back road on the night of January 2, 1777. When Washington passed through Trenton on his way to New York to be inaugurated in 1789, Colvin ferried him across the Delaware and among the incidents of his reception here was a salute fired by Bernard Hanlon's Battery. Hanlon was an important mill-owner on the Assunpink at what is now the corner of North Clinton Avenue and Nottingham Way and he was one of the deputy aldermen appointed under the city charter of 1792. Undoubtedly there were other Irish here concurrently with these more outstanding figures. Reliable tradition has it 1 that mass was first celebrated in Trenton at Thomas Kane's Fox Chase Tavern in 1782 or 1783, the worshippers being largely made up of Irish immigrants. The first Trenton pottery of which we have exact knowledge was established in 1816 by John McCully, who was of Irish stock.
1 See John D. McCormick's historical sketch.
THE LATER IMMIGRATION
The flood-time of Irish immigration, however, set in when the potato famine of 1845 and subsequent years drove the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle from their homes. Many found their way to Trenton, attracted by the opportunities offered in our mills, chiefly the New Jersey Steel and Iron Works and the Roebling wire plant. They settled near their places of employment, chiefly in the Fourth Ward with overflows in the Sixth Ward and the lower end of the Third. So thick were they in one section of the Fourth that it became known as "Irishtown," and the Ward for many years was a Democratic stronghold.
Dr. Patrick McCaffrey was the first Irish physician in Trenton, settling on South Warren Street in the '50's. Peter P. Cantwell was the first parish school-teacher and he came to Trenton about the same period. Thomas Crawford, elected president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, was at the head of Catholic charities for fifty years, Robert Wilson serving with him most of the time. Charles Lyons, a contractor, used in the early years to drive the Rev. John P. Mackin, the resident Catholic pastor and a genuine Soggarth Aroon, over many miles of territory every Sunday to administer to country missions. Before Father Mackin, who was pastor from 1845 to 1860 and again from 1871 to 1873, the Irish Catholics were served here by priests bearing such names as Doyle, Whelan, Commisky, Geoghan, Rafferty, Costello, McGorian and Gilligan, all redolent of a Celtic origin. Among the most prominent of the early Irish settlers were the McLeas; besides William MeLea, the father, there were seven sons, all at the head and front of every industrial and religious movement.
The Right Rev. John Scarborough, the fourth bishop of New Jersey, was born in Ireland in 1831 at Castlewellan, County Down, and came to this country as a mere youth. Elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey in 1875 he lived in Trenton up to his death in 1914.
IRISH IN THE CIVIL WAR
By the time the Civil War began, the local Irish population had swelled to large proportions in the Fourth Ward and had also found homes in Chambersburg and North and East Trenton. Hugh McQuade was Captain of the Irish Volunteers organized as early as 1852 and John Travers was Captain of the Sarsfield Guard organized in 1854. Many Irish-Americans enlisted in the Union Army and several rose to some prominence in the service, including Captain Lawrence Farrell, Captain Robert S. Johnston, and First Lieutenant James H. Tallon. Walter S. McCormick, a young newspaper man, was killed in the Battle of Williamburgh, Va. General R. A. Donnelly, of Irish parentage, although not enlisting from Trenton, entered into business here immediately following the war and became a notable figure in politics and the Grand Army of New Jersey, enjoying for years the honor of being Quartermaster General of the State. Like his son, the present mayor, he served as mayor of Trenton. Later the Emmet Guard (subsequently Company D of the Seventh Regiment), was organized with John H. Leary as Captain, Edward Mullen as First Lieutenant and Michael Cantwell as Second Lieutenant. Upon the death of Captain Leary, Robert S. Johnston succeeded to the captaincy and his successors in turn were Michael Hurley and John E. Walsh.
Since the Civil War, Irishmen and their offspring have risen in considerable numbers from the humbler walks of life and have taken rank in business and public affairs. John and James Moses, North of Ireland representatives, rose to high places as manufacturing potters. Charles W. Donaghue was a stilt manufacturer and member of the Common Council. P. J. Fitzgibbon was a carriage manufacturer. James Doherty, Owen Healey and others have been engaged in the clay industry also. The number of those who have become prominent in the professions of the law, journalism, pedagogy, dentistry, and medicine as well as in business is too great to attempt even to list. Representatives of the Irish stock who have figured in official public life in one capacity or another are numerous.
Various fraternal, social, and temperance societies have been maintained by men of Irish birth and descent in Trenton. The two most distinctively identified with the race are the Ancient Order of Hibernians and St. Patrick's Alliance, each with several branches in different sections of the city. They are treated in greater detail in the chapter on "Social and Fraternal Organizations."
In 1900 there were 4114 persons of German birth in Trenton and in 1910 there were 3968. The latest Federal census of 1920 showed 2338 Germans in Trenton. Illiteracy among the Germans is very low, being but four per cent. Four-sevenths of the Germans are Protestants, the remainder being almost wholly Roman Catholics.
CONSPICUOUS MEMBERS OF THE RACE
THE KATZENBACH FAMILY
Conspicuous among the German settlers in Trenton during the early part of the nineteenth century was Henry Katzenbach, who, with his wife and his son Peter, then only a small child, came to Trenton about 1824. He had been an officer in the army of the great Napoleon and fought in the Battle of Waterloo, receiving a sabre wound in the face. The family belonged to Rhenish Bavaria, their home being near the village of Katzenbach. Having lost his estates and property owing to the fall of Napoleon, Henry Katzenbach came to America and settled in Trenton mainly because of his attachment to the Bonaparte family represented in this locality by Joseph, Napoleon's brother and former King of Spain, who was then living in Bordentown. Henry's son Peter was for many years the proprietor of the Trenton House in the days when it was a famous hostelry. With Peter was associated for many years his son Frederick. Members of this family are living in Trenton today and have attained positions of eminence in the city and State. Frank S. Katzenbach, the son of Peter who died in 1906, was a prominent hardware merchant in Trenton for many years. He died in 1921. His son Frank S., Jr., candidate of the Democratic party for governor in 1907, is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey and another son, Edward L., is attorney general. Both are graduates of Princeton University as was also their father. George A. Katzenbach, a cousin, is the president of the Broad Street National Bank.
THE ROEBLING FAMILY
Another family whose name is a household word in Trenton, and known indeed all over the world as engineers and pioneers in the building of suspension bridges, are the Roeblings. John A. Roebling, the founder of the great industry which bears his name, came to America from Germany in 1831. He had received at his home the benefits of the best education afforded in .his day along architectural and engineering lines. He settled first near Pittsburgh where he purchased land in association with some of his compatriots and laid out a village afterwards called Saxonburg. In 1849 he came to Trenton and began his career here. As engineers and bridge-builders and as manufacturers of wire used for all conceivable purposes the Roeblings have enjoyed a preeminent position in the industrial world. The Brooklyn Bridge and other great public works have made the Roebling name famous. John A. Roebling was succeeded by his sons under the firm name of John A. Roebling Sons Company. Washington A., Ferdinand W. and Charles G. successfully carried on the business which the genius and enterprise of their father had established. All of these, recently deceased, were distinguished citizens of Trenton and were closely associated with its life and progress. Roeblings of the third and fourth generations are now in charge and the industry is still expanding and keeping pace with the demands of the day. 2
2 See also the chapter, "Industries and Trades."
THE KUSER FAMILY
The Kuser family is still another which has attained prominence in Trenton. Rudolph Kuser, who was born in Zurich, .Switzerland, in 1818, came to this country at the age of nineteen, settled in New York and then in Newark, where he became associated with Baxter, Kuser and Thompson who made the famous Baxter engine with boiler connected. He was a mechanical engineer. He purchased a farm near Hackettstown and finally, in 1867, came to these parts and made his home near Trenton in Hamilton Township where he purchased the Lord .Farm. He died here in 1891. He was the father of five sons, Frederick, Anthony R., John L., Rudolph V. and Benedict C., and one daughter, Louise. The sons grew up in Trenton and have been successful in various fields of industry and business, particularly in developing public utilities.
Colonel Anthony R. Kuser received his military title as a member of Governor Abbett's staff. He was also a member of Governor Wertz' staff and of Governor Griggs'. He was one of the organizers of the Inter-State Fair Association; was instrumental in consolidating the gas and electric companies of this city and was one of the organizers of the South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company and later of the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey. His twin brother, John L. Kuser, was associated with him in all of the above interests. With his brothers he started the Peoples Brewing Company of Trenton and the Trenton Hygeia Ice Company. He is living at present in Bernardsville, his summer home, and "Los Incas," Palm Beach, Fla., his winter home.
John L. Kuser is interested in various local enterprises, particularly the Lenox Incorporated of which he is the treasurer. He is secretary-treasurer of the Peoples Brewing Company and the Trenton Hygeia Ice Company. He is a director of the Fidelity Union Trust Company of Newark and of the Liberty National Bank of New York City.
Rudolph V. Kuser is president of the Peoples Brewing Company, vice-president of the Lenox Incorporated, vice-president and director of the First Mechanics-National Bank and director of the Standard Fire Insurance Company of Trenton. He is at this time president of the Inter-State Fair Association.
Benedict C. Kuser is the proprietor of the Trenton House and the American House.
Frederick Kuser is living on the family homestead in Hamilton Township in the summer and in winter at Rockledge, Fla.
Louise Kuser married Joseph R. Ribsam and lives in Trenton.
Others of the third generation of this family are identified with Trenton enterprises in various capacities.
THE BACKES FAMILY
John Backes, immigrating from Waddern, Prussia, came to Trenton in 1850. His wife had preceded him by three years. He was the father of six sons, five of whom are living and four of whom are lawyers and citizens of Trenton. John H. Backes is a vice-chancellor, William J. Backes is an advisory master and chancery reporter, Theodore Backes is an assistant attorney-general, and Peter Backes is the head of a law firm, Backes and Backes. Sons of some of these are also lawyers in Trenton.
THE FELL FAMILY
In 1832 two of the sons of Daniel Fell of Limbach, Germany, emigrated to America - Peter the eldest born in 1796 and John Jacob born in 1801. They were followed in 1835-36 by two other sons, Christian born in 1805 and Daniel, II, born 1797. The four brothers were married and brought members of their families with them. The Fell family in Trenton, descended from the above, controlled six of the twelve brick-yards located here at different periods since 1858. The offspring of these German Fells should not be confused with the family of the same name of old Pennsylvania Quaker stock which includes several representatives in Trenton today.
THE WINKLER FAMILY
Gottwald Winkler is worthy of a place in the roll of Germans who directly and indirectly made important contributions to the wholesome development of community life. A native of Saxony, he came to this country in 1848 and after some years' residence in Philadelphia settled in Trenton where he soon attracted attention by his ability as a musician and a manufacturer of musical instruments. From the period before the Civil War to the present, the Winkler family, covering three generations, has occupied a prominent place in musical circles. Not only the pioneer, but his sons, Albert, Gustav, and Emil, and Albert's son, Frank A., have been especially identified with local bands and orchestras. Albert was for many years leader of the Seventh and Second Regiment Bands, National Guard, and conducted many concerts, including those given each summer at Cadwalader Park. He was also long leader of Taylor Opera House orchestra, and Frank succeeded him. At one time Albert had one hundred musicians at his command for all kinds of engagements. The Winkler Brass Band won high praise at Washington, D.C., and other cities where they figured in important parades alongside various famous American bands.
Rudolph Ruhlman, who also had several sons musically gifted, was a contemporary of the Winklers, and Karl A. Langlotz, celebrated as the composer of "Old Nassau," belongs in the same fine category.Other prominent citizens of German birth or descent are Judge John Rellstab, Peter E. Baker, former member of Common Council, Colonel E. C. Stahl, former editor of the New Jersey Staats Zeitung, Carlman Ribsam, who came to Trenton in the '60's and was the father of Martin who now conducts the florist business on Front Street, Charles J. Woerner and Daniel J. Bechtel, mayor of the city 1891-93. There are many others mention of whom the space at command alone precludes naming.
THE STEUBEN SOCIETY
The Steuben Society has five hundred members in Trenton, having a total enrolment of over one hundred thousand in the United States. Only citizens of the United States can join this organization. It was formed in honor of Baron von Steuben, who did such glorious service for the struggling republic of America during the Revolution. M. A. E. Schoeller of Trenton is one of the active members of the Steuben Society of America. Most of the societies founded by the Germans were social or musical and had no political affiliations. During the World War many of our German naturalized citizens enlisted in the American Army and rendered exceptional service.
The oldest foreign newspaper in Trenton is the New Jersey Staats Zeitung. It was founded in 1862 and has been published ever since.
II. Representatives of the Later Immigration
THE table, on page 930, shows the population by city wards of the chief races represented in Trenton according to the Federal census of 1920. Probably the proportion of the foreign to the native population has not varied much during the succeeding eight years. It may come with some surprise to those who have hitherto not reflected upon the matter to learn that fully one-half of the total inhabitants of the city are of foreign birth or foreign parentage.
According to the census of 1920 besides the nationalities enumerated below there were of foreign birth 2,774 English, 2,338 German, 1,871 Irish, 511 Scotch, 260 Canadians, 174 French, 85 Swedes, and 481 others whose race is not given. There are just two persons in the city who came from the land of the ancient Assyrians, S. N. Hanna and his brother Otto N. They came to this country in 1899.
As the Jews may be regarded as representing a religion rather than a separate nationality references to them are included under a special head in the religious section. Under the Russian, Hungarian, Roumanian and Polish statistics the Jews of these nationalities would be included in the census though not identified as Jews. A close estimate of the Jewish population places the number at about 12,000.
1920 FEDERAL CENSUS OF TRENTON'S WHITE FOREIGN POPULATION BY WARDS
Explanation of Abbreviations
Tot. Pop. = Total population; F.B. = Foreign-born; F.P. = Foreign parentage; Aus. = Austrian; Cz.S. = Czecho-Slovakian; Hun. = Hungarian; Ital. = Italian; Pol. = Polish; Rus. = Russian; J.S. = Jugo-Slovakian; Rou. = Roumanian.
Of those included in the total figures for the foreign-born population, 8,500 belong to racial groups not listed by name in this schedule, thus leaving a total of 21,500 for the various races here designated.
In his many years of experience in the Americanization and assimilation of immigrants in various large cities of the United States, the author is convinced that Trenton has solved the difficult problem of the foreign citizen ably and well. Friction between the native residents and the newcomers is noticeable by its absence; no race discord exists and the percentage of non-citizens among the foreign element is surprisingly low.
Acknowledgment of the assistance rendered in the preparation of this chapter is gratefully made in respect to the many public-spirited men and women of Trenton, both native and of foreign origin, who are too numerous to mention here by name.
The churches representing congregations of foreign origin both Catholic and Protestant are listed under their several headings in the chapter "Churches and Religious Institutions."
THE RUSSIANS AND LITHUANIANS
The census of 1900 showed 761 Russians and Lithuanians in Trenton. That of 1910 showed 2196. In 1920 there were 2815.
Most of the Russians and Lithuanians in Trenton came to this country to escape the terrible persecutions of the Czarist government. They are, mainly, of the Jewish faith, and have prospered greatly, many of the stores and large business houses bearing their names.3
5 See the section "Jews," in the chapter "Churches and Religious Institutions."
THE BOHEMIANS, MORAVIANS AND SLOVAKS
The United States census shows that there were 1599 Czecho-Slovakians in Trenton in 1920.
Of all the foreigners who have settled in Trenton, the Slavs are among the best and most readily adapted to American customs. Although their education was neglected in their native land, they are eager and willing to take advantage of the opportunities offered in America and are desirous and apt to learn. In the majority of Slavish homes in Trenton only English is spoken; this is because the younger generation, in their contact with Americans, are compelled to speak English. The Slavs are not as a rule in business for themselves, but are skilled factory workmen, and have taken positions as toolmakers and machinists in many of Trenton's large industries, such as John A. Roebling's Sons Company and the American Bridge Company. Racially, the Slav is slow and easy-going. The good wages earned enable them to live in comfort and they are singularly contented and prosperous.
The majority of the people are Catholics, with some Protestants of various sects.
St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church is the oldest parish of the Slovaks. It was founded in 1889 by a group of twenty families and originally cost $74,000. In 1920 a new parish school and church were built at a cost of $166,645.92. It was dedicated on November 24, 1921. The Rev. John Szabo was its first pastor and at present the Rev. Desider Sim Kow holds the incumbency.
The new St. Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Church is located on Second Street. The Rev. Father Colonan Tomchany has served both the old and new church for over twenty-five years. He has always been progressive and a sincere patron of culture. He was born in Eperjes, Hungary, and completed his preparatory education there. He was graduated from the University of Kassa and ordained .to the priesthood in 1904. The branch of the Greek Catholic Church to which many of the Trenton Slavs belong, is to be distinguished from the Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, which was formerly the state religion of Russia. The Slav branch is called the United Greek Catholic Church and is under the Roman jurisdiction.
John Hatrak is perhaps the most prominent member of this race in Trenton and has lived here for almost half a century. He was one of the founders of St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church.
John Pivovarnik is another of Trenton's veteran citizens of Czecho-Slovakian origin. He came to Trenton in 1882 and obtained employment in the Roebling wire mills. He was one of the founders of the Slovak Lutheran Church.
George E. Bogdan is a type of the most advanced Slav. He has been in this country many years and is a concrete example of the opportunities America showers upon her foreign-born citizens.
John Mras is another type of the advanced Slav. He is a prosperous merchant on South Broad Street.
Andrew Bogdan and John Majernik are old settlers in Trenton and were responsible for the founding of the St. Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Slavish Church.
Michael Nemchik has been treasurer and trustee of the St. Mary's Greek Catholic Slavish Church for eighteen years. He is also active in political life.
One of the largest contractors in North Trenton is Joseph Swjansky, who came to this country in 1904 and worked as a carpenter. After the war he returned to Trenton and has built many fine houses, mostly in the Lalor tract in South Trenton.
Another well-known citizen of Trenton is Andrew M. Tomko. He came to Trenton in 1899 and in 1900 he joined the U.S. Cavalry, serving with distinction and rising to the post of sergeant. He studied for his present occupation of embalmer and undertaker while a street-car conductor in Trenton and successfully passed the State examinations. Besides the Slavic lodges to which he belongs he is also a Moose, an Eagle and an Elk.
George Varga, Jr., has a drug store at Broad and Division Streets. He served in the Austrian army during the war and fought bravely on the Russian front.
One of the largest dairy businesses in Trenton is conducted by a Slav, Josef Polak. He has a modern pasteurizing plant, and a well-equipped delivery service.
Two Slavs who are active in political, social and religious affairs are Joseph Gmitter and Michael Bodnar. John Palaschak is a real estate dealer. Five young Trentonians of Czecho-Slovakian extraction are employees of the various banking houses of the city. The Colonial Trust Company has two, John A. Ceremsak, paying teller, and John Renyo, assistant note teller. The Trenton Banking Company employs Andrew Bascso as ledger clerk. Andrew Kunca is a clerk with the Trenton Trust Company. The Mercer Trust Company employs Henry Cekerak, a bookkeeper.
The Slavs have a great number of societies, and the oldest and most interesting is the Sokol, or Gymnastic Union, a national organization which has two branches in Trenton. It is an athletic organization which aims at physical development. This society is semi-military and on parade with their colored uniforms the members make a fine exhibition. A ladies' branch of this society was organized in 1906 and they also have a uniform and attend drills.
The St. Peter and Paul's Sick and Death Benefit Society was founded in 1889 by Andrew Bogdan and John Icik and is a strictly beneficial society. St. Mary's Sick and Death Benefit Society was organized in 1893 by John Hatrak and John Breza. Branch No. 33 of the Greek Catholic Slavish Union was organized in 1893 by John Breza and Maly. The National Union is probably the largest beneficial society. The St. Peter Apostle First Catholic Slavish Union was organized in 1893 by Andrew Bogdan and Andrew Mras.
The Slavish Evangelical Society of Trenton is a Protestant organization and was organized in 1905. The Ladies' Catholic Union is a beneficial society for women. The Ladies' Greek Catholic Union is a corresponding society in the Greek Catholic Church. The Zirena or Ladies' Slavish Union was organized in 1897 by Miss Anna Briszki and Rosa Kurtz. It is a beneficial society and only English is spoken at its meetings. The Sokol Singing Society is a musical organization and the members appear at public functions whenever their services are required. The Slovak Catholic Union in Trenton is an insurance organization, having four branches in this city, and was incorporated in 1904. It pays an average of $400 at death.
CROATIANS, SLOVENIANS, SERBS AND DALMATIANS
The United States census for 1920 showed 501 Jugo-Slavians in Trenton.
It has been difficult to secure any detailed information about these peoples since they live in various districts and are largely employed by other nationalities. Their immigration has been too recent to have produced any prominent leaders, and the same is true as to organizations and buildings.
Various manufacturers and employers, however, have stated that the Jugo-Slavians are mostly engaged in rough labor, such as ditch-digging and work on the railroads. There are one or two small businesses owned by Jugo-Slavians in Trenton, but these are unimportant.
In 1900 the number of Poles in Trenton was 800, in 1910 there were 2750 and 1920 saw 4423.
Of all the foreigners in Trenton, the Poles have perhaps won the best reputation for sobriety and respect for the law. They have settled in various parts of the city, notably East and North Trenton and Chambersburg, and most of them become citizens.
The great majority of the Poles are Roman Catholic, but there are about two hundred families belonging to the Polish National Catholic Church with a building on East State Street.
Although. in their native land about one-third of the Poles are illiterate, the percentage of illiterate in Trenton is only about nine percent. The Poles of Trenton conduct, at their own expense, three up-to-date parochial schools with a total enrolment of nearly twenty-five hundred pupils. These schools afford a complete grammar school education along the lines laid down by the State Board of Education. There are also Polish literary circles which encourage interest in higher education. About one hundred and fifty Polish young men and women are attending the high schools and the State Normal School.
Their most important church is St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Polish Church at the corner of Brunswick and Olden Avenues. This church was founded in 1904 and numbers some three hundred families.
The St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Polish Church stands at the corner of Randall Avenue and Smith .Street in Chambersburg. The teachers of its parochial school are Franciscan sisters. This church was founded in 1892 and its pastor is the Rev. Ignatius Kusz, O.M.C.
The Holy Cross Roman Catholic Polish Church stands at the corner of Grand and Cass Streets, and is of a compact, Gothic appearance. The church was organized in 1892 by Father Svinarski and now numbers over four hundred families. The present pastor of this church is the Rev. Father Dr. Martin J. Lipinski.
The original families to settle in Trenton were those headed by Leon Rajznor, P. Jaruszewski, M. Ryba, R. Grabowski, M. Blazejewski, W. Majcher.
Romauld Grabowski is the best-known Pole in the city. He is a property owner and in the business of floor laying. He is also secretary of the Polish building and loan association. Dr. Casimir Grabowski is a Polish physician and has an office in Adeline Street. John Wroblewski is another well-known citizen of Polish birth and conducts a printing and publishing concern. Stephen Weczal is the owner of the Trenton Porcelain Company and director of the Security National Bank. J. J. Zielinski is engaged in real estate, and is a professor of music. M. J. Zielinski is the President of the Polish Political Association. Albin S. Bielawski is the publisher of the Polish newspapers, the Przyjaciel Wolnosci and .the Nowiny Trentonskie. Dr. M. C. Wessel is prominent because of his philanthropic work. The Right Rev. Monsignor A. B. Strenski is an eminent churchman and the chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. J. Buklad holds an executive position in the Roebling's mill. T. Ogurkiewicz is a director of the Chambersburg Trust Company and the Security National Bank. He is also interested in the Mercer Porcelain Pottery Company. Alex Glacki is city editor of the two Polish newspapers. Dr. M. Siemion practises medicine and is a philanthropist. William Kuzma is a well-known lawyer. Joseph Bulakowski is president of the Polish building and loan association. S. Renkiewics is part owner of the Mercer Porcelain Pottery Company.
The Poles are a gregarious people and for this reason they have many organizations and societies for mutual aid and recreation.
The order known as the Polish Independent Falcons has two chapters in Trenton with very large memberships. Another beneficial order is the Polish Veterans, whose aims are patriotism and good citizenship. St. Joseph's Society is a congregation of Polish folk associated together for right living and social work. The same is true of St. Florian's Association. The Polish American Civic Club of Holy Cross is well known in Trenton. Another patriotic organization is General Kosciusko and General Pulaski Association. The Holy Cross Society was organized in 1890 and is a beneficial organization. The Rev. Father Svinarski was the founder. The Sacred Heart .Society is a beneficial order of the church of the same name. The president is Stephen Josewska. The Polish Ulan Society is a military organization and presents a martial appearance on parade. The Polish Dramatic Society has among its membership many talented men and women and presents plays. The St. Kostka Society practises singing and gymnastics. It commemorates all Polish holidays by religious and athletic exercises. The Holy Cross Church has a full brass band called the White Eagle Band, consisting of twenty-five pieces. The Stanislaus Society is the oldest Polish organization in Trenton and was founded in 1888. It is a beneficial order. The St. John Kanty Society was founded in 1891 as a beneficial society. It has a uniformed organization and carry swords in their processions. The Rosary Sodality is composed of women and was founded as a beneficial order in 1890. The Children of Mary Society is a young women's organization founded in 1903 by the Rev. Father Block and is a beneficial order. Another society is the Third Order of St. Francis. It is purely religious in scope.
Besides the societies above mentioned, there are twenty-six fraternal and insurance associations. These have strict rules and regulations for the protection of widows and orphans in case of sickness, death or disablement.
THE POLES IN INDUSTRY
The potteries supply the most important of the activities of the Poles. The leading Polish-owned pottery is the Mercer Porcelain Company. The president is Mr. Wisnewiski, the secretary being his wife. The plant was started a year and a half ago.
BUILDING AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS
Trenton building and loan associations have usually been successful, and the Polish organization, the Economic Building and Loan, has especially merited success, having promoted thrift among the Polish residents of Trenton. Mr. Grabowski is president of this association, which is called Skart Poliski in the Polish language. The treasurer of the society is Thomas Ogurkiewicz. He was formerly a baker in Philadelphia and later engaged in the same business in Trenton.
In 1900 there were 1337 Italians in Trenton. In 1910 there were 4268 and in 1920 the number had increased to 6617, not including those born in this country.
The Italian colony in Trenton is most clearly defined. That portion of Trenton bounded by South Clinton Avenue, Bayard Street, Whittaker and Chestnut Avenues, is populated almost wholly by Italians. Butler Street in its entire length is settled by Italians.
The Italians are known for their joy and mirth, and their religious festivals show this. These fiestas, as they are called, are held on Butler Street, and when they take place the whole street for three blocks is a blazing canopy of brightly colored electric lights. The most important of these festivals is celebrated yearly on August 16 in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Butler Street then decks itself in its best and crowds of people gaily chattering and laughing enliven the scene. All is done in a spirit of tolerance and good humor for which the Italians are distinguished.
Many Italians are engaged in business for themselves and are prosperous merchants. Large numbers also are employed by the public utility companies in Trenton and are regarded as valuable and honest workmen.
The Italian Catholics some years ago replaced their first house of worship with a new and large church on Butler Street near Clinton Avenue. The Immanuel Presbyterian Church is situated on Whittaker Avenue near Roebling and has a fast-growing congregation. This church was dedicated in 1907. The pastor is the Rev. Vincent Serafini, who is chiefly responsible for the erection of the present edifice. He was born in Riccia, Italy, and secured his higher education in the National Institute of Technology in Naples. He came to America in 1892.
The oldest society among the Italians is the Columbus Society, organized in 1886 by John Pirola and P. Wata. The Washington-Victor Emmanuel Society was organized in 1888. The name of the society thus honors great patriots of Italy and America. The Garibaldi Society, named after the Italian Liberator, was organized in 1903 as a beneficial society. The Calabrian .Society, although a beneficial order, limits its members to those born in the province of Italy for which it is named. It was formed in 1906. The same applies to the Neapolitan Society formed in 1906. Other beneficial societies are the Roman, San Filese and Bersaglieri Societies.
All the above are Catholic societies. The Protestants also have societies, such as the Men's League for Mutual Aid, organized in 1904 by the Rev. Serafini; the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, organized by Miss Pesatura; and the Junior Christian Endeavor Society, formed in 1907 by Mrs. Serafini.
Among the most valuable Italian societies in Trenton is the Educational Circle, organized by the Rev. Mr. Serafini for the purpose of teaching Italians the English language. The Busy Bee Society answers a similar purpose.
The Italians have several bands, the latest of which is the Metropolitan Band. The Mascagni Band was organized in 1905. Other bands are the Eagle and the Philharmonic.
Despite the relatively short time which has elapsed since the Italians began to immigrate to the United .States, the Italian-American citizens of Trenton have made themselves an important factor in industry, business and the professions. This talented people has representatives among physicians, lawyers, clergymen, dentists, architects, artists, singers, musicians and editors.
The Agabiti Brothers, excavating contractors, are among the more prominent firms in the building industry. Spranza Brothers hold a strong position in the building material line. The firm of Totory and Cardinale, trading under the name of the American Ice and Coal Company, is prominent. The Colonial Ice and Coal Company is owned by Same Colletti, and the National Coal and Ice Company is controlled by the Pilla Brothers. John P. Manze was the proprietor of the Manze Hotel. Nickolas Innocenzi is a manufacturer of concrete blocks. Several builders who have contributed extensive additions to the residential districts of the city are the Acquaviva Brothers, Dominick and Frank, and Robert Russo. Also associated in the building industry are Robert Reali and Enrico Angelucci, who are known as the Trenton Mineral Flooring Company. Among the real estate and insurance firms are the Michael Commini Company, Pasquale Astore and Joseph A. Plumeri. John Fucella is the well-known owner of the Gilmore Taxicab Company. Tertulian Torretti is a shoe manufacturer, and G. Frank Travis is the Italian representative in the undertaking business. Daniel A. Brenna is a receiving teller and Anthony Vittoritto, .note teller. Guido D'Aquili is a commercial artist and has served for many years in that connection with one of the big department stores of the city.
Members of the legal profession include: Daniel A. Spair, Romulus P. Rimo, Joseph J. Felcone, Andred M. and George A. Cella, Joseph Marolda and John Boscaret.
Italian physicians are: Dr. Charles R. Sista, Dr. Samuel Sica, Dr. Joseph A. Tempesto, Dr. Raffaele Pantaleone and Dr. Rosario J. Cottone. Dr. Thomas A. Lorenzo is making a name for himself as a chiropractor. The author of this chapter was born in South Dakota of Italian parents. He is the editor of Americanism, a quadri-lingual weekly, educational and welfare director at the New Jersey State Prison School and author of The House of America and a New English System for New American Citizens.
Among the Italian-American singers of the city are Daniel Dileo, George Pellettieri, who has appeared in grand opera, and Mary Commini. Professor B. Napoliello is conductor of the Italian-American Band. Frank S. Lanza is well known for his Municipal Band. Professor Oscar del Bianco is a musician of note who has settled here recently.
The Chianese Brothers are well known, Dr. Chester Chianese having a growing practice and his brother Jean is a certified public accountant.
Publishers and editors include Joseph Mainiero of La Capitale, and Attilio Perilli, editor of the Italo-Americano. Il Secolo XX is published by Armando Perillo.
Among the prominent religious leaders of the group are the Rev. Louis Phillip Guzzardi, rector of .St. James' Church, the Rev. Alfonso Palombi, rector of St. Joachim's Church, and the Rev. Vincent Serafini, pastor of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, which is modernly equipped and has been the religious center for Italian Presbyterians. The Rev. Michael Solimene is the pastor of the Italian Baptist Church.
Among the more prominent druggists are Emile Cataldi, Gustav Napoleon and Harry Episcopo. The Domestic Laundry and the Home Laundry are owned by Italians, Lewis Salamandra and Joseph Brenna, respectively. Felice Ronca is the Italian consul in Trenton.
Besides the above there are numerous merchants and storekeepers of Italian ancestry. Brief biographical sketches of a few of the more prominent Trenton Italians follow.
Angelo Camera is the pioneer Italian business man in the Trenton colony. He came here in 1879, finding but fifteen Italian-born men and no women.
He came hoping to practise his trade of cabinet-making but as he did not know one word of English and had no friends, he found himself in a rather difficult position and ended by accepting the business end of a pick. Subsequently, having saved some money, he went into the brick business and built a handsome store and residence on Broad Street near Market. He is now retired.
One of the most successful real estate men in the city, Joseph R. Petrino, was born in Italy and came to this country as a young man. After working for several years as a boot-black, in the pottery-works and with the John A. Roebling's Sons Company, he became court interpreter for the First and Second Police Courts. Later he became associated with Hughes and Morris, real estate agents, and was the manager of the American Realty Exchange. Mr. Petrino has always been interested in civic work and without any compensation has assisted hundreds of Italians to become citizens. He is the founder and honorary president of the Italian-American Workmen's Club, which has for its purpose the instruction of its members in the rudiments of good citizenship.
The parents of Joseph J. Felcone came over to America in the steerage and settled in Trenton. Mr. Felcone today is one of Trenton's prominent lawyers.
Dr. Samuel Sica, a physician of wide note not only in Trenton but throughout the State, was born in Colliano, Salerno, Italy, and came to America in 1887 when he was two years old. His parents were Angelo Sica and Concetta Goudiosi, and they settled in Vineland. Samuel graduated from the Vineland High School in 1904 and gained his medical education at the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, where he completed the course in 1909. He was an interne at St. Francis' Hospital of this city in 1909 and 1910. He has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Trenton since November 1910. Dr. Sica is a member of the Mercer County Component Medical Society and was its president in 1917-18. He is a member of the New Jersey State Surgical Society, the New Jersey Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Dr. Sica was elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1924 and is now assistant surgeon to St. Francis' Hospital and surgeon to the Municipal Colony. He is also president of the Roma Building and Loan Association, vice-president of the Chambersburg Trust Company and secretary to the Italian Business and Professional Men's Club.
BUILDING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION
The Italians of Trenton have a prosperous building and loan association called the Roma Building and Loan Company. Its assets are almost $500,000 and it has a membership of more .than eight hundred, most of whom are Italians. This association was organized by Joseph J. Felcone, a young lawyer of wide activities, who after many discouragements due to the apathy of his countrymen finally succeeded in establishing the project on a sound basis. The chief officers of the association are Dr. Samuel Sica, president; Michael Commini, vice-president; and Joseph J. Felcone, secretary.
In 1900 there was one Roumanian in Trenton, in 1910 there were twelve, and in 1920, 395. The total population at present is about two thousand. The original families in this city were Demeter Sikrok, Demetrin Coston, Demetrin Borata, George Borata, George Jacobuti, Vasile Filip, Demeter Dobuti, Vasile Degerean, Vasile Silvasan, Alexander Gorocovic, and Alexander Jacobuti. Most of the Roumanians work for the Roeblings, the J. L. Mott Company and the American Bridge Company. There are few illiterates and about half of them have learned to read and write English.
The Roumanians are readily assimilated and most of them become American citizens. About seventy-five per cent intend to make Trenton their permanent home. They live and do business mainly in the Chambersburg section and seldom leave this country to go back to their native land.
Their principal organizations here are St. Basil's Greek Catholic Church, St. Basil's Social and Benevolent Society Club, and the Friends of Roumanians.
The best known Roumanian citizen is George Jacobs, the vice-consul.
The pastor of their principal church, the Rev. Aurel Bungardean, is a scholar of learning and genius, and is well-beloved by his flock. The first priest of this race in Trenton was the Rev. Dr. E. Lusoic, who labored here from 1909 to 1921.
The Greeks are among the more recent immigrants. The United States census of 1920 gives 127 as their number here in Trenton. As judged by the membership of the Greek Orthodox Church there are probably today about three hundred now living in Trenton.
The Greeks in Trenton live in no particular district, but are scattered throughout the city. As in other parts of the country, the Greeks in this city are mainly engaged in small businesses of their own, mostly candy stores, soda parlors, bakeries, and shoe-shining and hat-cleaning stands. Twenty-five per cent of the Greek residents in Trenton own their homes.
The first immigration consisted of fathers or sons who later sent for their families. The new immigrant, however, is commonly accompanied at the start by his family. Eighty-five per cent of the Greeks in Trenton become American citizens.
The first person of the Greek race known to have lived in Trenton and to have become a citizen was Gregory Anthony Perdicaris, who came to America in early youth and studied law in Boston. Perdicaris was appointed United States Consul in Athens in 1837 and subsequently published a work in two volumes, The Greece of the Greek. He came to Trenton in 1846 and organized the Trenton Gas and Light Company of which he was the first treasurer. He was also associated prominently with other local enterprises. Mr. Perdicaris left Trenton about 1880 and made his home with his son, Ion Hanford Perdicaris, in Tangiers, Morocco, where he died in 1883.
Peter Skokos, the most prominent Greek citizen of Trenton, came to the United States in 1892 and settled here in 1905. He started a confectionery store at State and Broad and now owns the Sugar Bowl at South Broad Street, and is also interested in the Hancock Restaurant and Bakery at Broad and Hanover. He has always been an active participant in all civic affairs.
A GREEK PATRIOTIC SOCIETY
The Greeks in Trenton have a branch of the national organization known as the Ahepa. The branch here numbers seventy-five members. This organization provides instruction in,English to the Greeks. No one can join unless he is an American citizen. The meaning of Ahepa is as follows: "A" stands for America; "H" for Hellenic; "E" for education; "P" for progress; and "A" for association. Mr. Skokos was one of the organizers of the Trenton branch and was president for the first two years. The president now is M. Nicholas. The Trenton branch is known as Trenton Chapter No. 72. It was chartered in May 1926 and its growth, like that of the national organization, has been phenomenal. It has equipped and furnished its own hall at the Hellenic Orthodox Church, where it holds its meetings and social functions. American Greeks believe that America is the nation which is carrying on the ideals and principles of the ancient republic of Athens. In the Ahepa they are expressing their love and admiration of the liberties and opportunities which they enjoy here. The Ahepa is non-political and its main object is the inspiration and direction of the Hellenic youth in the city.
The pledge which applicants for membership in the Ahepa must take includes the following clause:
"I humbly reaffirm my faith in the Supreme Being, and by Divine Help I pledge my allegiance to the flag of America and to the Republic which it represents, one nation, united and indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Other Greeks connected with the Trenton chapter in executive positions are: Michael Nickles, Adamantios Vafias and John Roumainis.
In order to develop a social and educational spirit, the wives and daughters of the Greek citizens of Trenton have organized a Ladies' Progressive Greek Society. The purposes of this organization, like the Ahepa, are to instil patriotism and teach the traditions of America to its members.
The Greeks are of the Greek Orthodox faith, and their church in Trenton, St. George's, is at 106 Jackson .Street. The Rev. Mr. Pantozopaulos is the pastor. The church building is worth about $25,000. This congregation also has a school and a large meeting hall.
There are forty-seven Armenians in Trenton today and only two persons in the colony are illiterate. The Armenians do not colonize but live mainly in the northern and western sections of the city.
They are engaged in the practice of medicine, dentistry, photography, sign painting, cleaning and dyeing, rug repairing, and own small stores such as ice cream parlors.
The original settlers in Trenton were the families of Yazujian and Esaian who left their native country early in 1909 on account of oppression and lack of opportunity. At first they settled in Philadelphia, but later came to this city because of better business opportunities and living conditions.
They have no church of their own in Trenton, but the majority are members of local Protestant churches. They have a branch of the Armenian General Benevolent Union which is a charitable organization for the relief of Armenian orphans and refugees.
Among the Trentonians of Armenian birth are Dr. D. M. Yazujian, medical specialist; Dr. V. Kachdorian, physician; Dr. Y. B. Dikian, dentist; John Esaian, proprietor of the Mercer Cleaning Company; Charles Packlaian, proprietor of the Sanitary Cleaning Company, and K. S. Tashjian, dealer in Oriental rugs.
In 1900 there were 1494 Magyars in Trenton, in 1910 there were 4980 and in 1920 there were 4042.
In Trenton the Hungarians occupy more than thirty-five different streets in whole or in part. All that section of Trenton lying south of Bridge Street, extending many blocks east and west, all the way down to what was formerly Wharton Street, now merged in South Clinton Avenue, is populated by Hungarians.
The Hungarian makes a valuable workman and is quiet, thrifty, industrious, home-loving and sturdy. By nature he is sociable and finds company necessary in his scheme of life. This accounts for the courtesy and politeness of the people. They belong to the various Hungarian churches, both Protestant and Catholic.
The Hungarians are great believers in education and the immigrants send their children to the American schools. Since Hungarian is an Asiatic language, there are many difficulties for the immigrant to overcome before he can learn to read and write English, but his natural talent is shown by the many who speak English fluently. Three newspapers in Trenton are published in the Magyar tongue: The Independence, The Jersey Hirado and The Cross.
The principal religious home of the Hungarians in Trenton is St. Stephen's Catholic Church. It was founded in 1903 and now has a membership of about four hundred fifty families. The present pastor, Father John Szabo, D.D., came to Trenton eight years ago, and has been an aggressive worker in behalf of his flock. The parish owns a picnic ground where outings are frequently held in the summer. It also has its own parochial school and night school. The leading Protestant Church among the Hungarians of this city is the Hungarian Reformed Church. Its membership is more than one thousand and the pastor is the Rev. Mr. Korocz.
Although most of the race are Catholic, there are many Hungarians in Trenton who profess Calvinism, .Lutheranism and the Reformed faiths. The Magyar Baptist Church serves Trenton and was founded in 1906. It is the largest church of its kind in the United States. St. Nicholas Greek Catholic Church also has a large membership. The pastor is the Rev. B. Ivancso. The Protestant Episcopal Church on Chestnut Street is also for Hungarians and the priest-in-charge is the Rev. George E. St. Claire.
Among the first Hungarians to come to Trenton were John Dratar, who settled here in 1876, Andrew J. Duch, Sr, in 1881 and John Sabo in 1886. Other early comers were Joseph Hartman, Stephen Hornyak, William Kish, Dan Gura, Florian Basco and Andrew Laky. The big influx of Hungarians began in 1896 on account of the heavy taxation laws in their own country. They have been coming ever since. Steve Kovacs is well known and popular among Trentonians and conducts a sporting goods store at South Broad Street. His education was gained mainly through attendance at the Rider College night school. He also deals in insurance and real estate. His interest in church work is well known and he is one of the leading spirits in his parish. Anthony Orocz, after fighting bravely on the Russian front in the Hungarian army, and after many vicissitudes as a prisoner of war before and after the Russian Revolution, came to America where he bought his newspaper, The Independence, from Alex. O. Zambory, who had founded it some years before. Julius Gyongyosy, well-known steamship agent, came to the United States in 1902 and worked as a salesman. He later entered the real estate business. He is interested in social work and especially in the Americanization of his fellow-countrymen. Anthony Kali is the president of the American-Hungarian Citizens Political and Social Circle, and one of the leaders of the Hungarian colony. Joseph Schubert is credited with doing more watch-repairing than any other jeweller in Trenton and is a well-known figure in city life. He came to Trenton in 1918. Morris Gerenday is the most prominent Hungarian publisher in the State, his plant, The Technical Print Company on Hancock Street, taking care of many weekly newspapers totalling over 30,000 copies. Mr. Gerenday came to Trenton nineteen years ago and secured a position at the old Varady Print Shop. A year later he bought the Cooperstein Shop on South Broad Street and in the same year opened his present plant on Hancock Street. There are three Hungarian doctors of note in the city
Dr. Geza M. Frank, Dr. Harry Berger and Dr. Stephen Varzi. Among the best-known lawyers are Andrew Duch, William Reich and Mrs. Rose Lerner Perlman. Andrew Nagy is one of the representative men of the Hungarian colony and is president of the Magyar Home Assqciation and of the Hungarian Federation of Societies in Trenton.
The oldest Magyar society is the First Trenton Hungarian Social, Sick and Death Benefit Society, organized in 1889. This is a strictly beneficial order. In 1894 was founded the First Trenton Francis Kossuth Hungarian Sick and Death .Benefit Society, also beneficial. The First Trenton Hungarian Reformed Church Sick and Death Benefit Society was organized in 1894. This society is affiliated with the church of the same name and has a ladies' branch.
The largest society is the Trenton King Saint Stephen's Roman and Greek Catholic Church Sick and Death Benefit Society, founded in 1899.
The Trenton branch of the Hungarian-American Federation was organized in 1907 and is one of the more important benevolent Hungarian societies. The Trenton Branch No. 13 of the Verhovay Sick and Death Benefit Society was organized in 1905. The John A. Roebling's Sons Company Hungarian Sick and Death Benefit Society was organized in i9o6. Trenton Circle No. 43 of the Count Louis Betthyany Men's and Women's Sick and Death Benefit Society was organized in 1906. The Trenton Hungarian Reformed Church Singing Society is a musical organization connected with the church of the same name. The Trenton Hungarian Social Circle was organized in 1903, being entirely social in its scope.
Other social and beneficial societies are: St. Mary's Association, the American-Hungarian Political and Social Club, the Independent Citizens Club, a branch of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and various ladies' societies such as the Lorantffy Suzsanna Hungarian Reformed Church Ladies' Aid Association, the St. Mary's Hungarian Ladies' Aid Association and the St. Nicholas Church Ladies' Aid Association.
HUNGARIAN COMMUNITY HOME
The new structure recently erected and called the Magyar Home is used for many social affairs. It is located at Genesee and Hudson Streets. The Magyar Home represents the genuine desire for enjoyment of the best community life, and their wish to give their children every educational advantage. It encourages members to keep their homes clean and looking their best and as a result many Hungarians have a high standard of living. The building and the site are valued at $100,000 and were secured largely through the efforts of Adam Nagy and Julius Gyongyosy.
The German-Hungarians are from Banat, a province now divided among Roumania, Jugo-Slovakia and Hungary.
The prominent citizens of this nationality are G. Duatshak, president of the Aurora German-Hungarian Club; Mr. Hasler, president of the German Hungarian Sick and Death Benefit Society; M. Gups, president of the German Hungarian Citizens' Club; Mr. Dietrich, prosperous bakeryman; Anastasius Parobek, city chemist; and Dr. G. M. Frank, well-known physician.
© 1929, TRENTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY