Friday, April 6, 2018

January 27, 1777--Robert Nixon Elected Captain of Light Horse Troop

by Ed Belding South Brunswick Historical Society

Things were looking up for the American forces under General George Washington in January of 1777.  The patriot army had won the First Battle of Trenton, avoided defeat at the Second Battle of Trenton, and defeated British forces at the Battle of Princeton.  Things were also looking up for the New Jersey Militia in the South Brunswick area at this time.  Robert Nixon, who did not hail from South Brunswick, became one of our local heroes during 1777.  It all started for him when the local men in the Light-Horse Troop of Militia, Third Regiment, Middlesex County, elected Robert Nixon as their Captain.  He served with distinction in this capacity until advancing in rank later in the year.  While he was Captain, he led his men against loyalist foragers.  There may have been a number of British soldiers in this band of foragers, but that is not for certain.  Nixon and his men were successful in repelling this foe in what became known as the "Cranberry Skirmish," even though the action took place just south of Cross Roads (lka: Dayton) on March 12, 1777.  This confrontation and rout of enemy forces took place along Georges Road near where Route 130 is today.  The Light-Horse Troop then chased after the foragers in order to discourage them from returning to the area.  Captain Nixon lived in Hide's Town (aka: Hight's Town), which is known today as Hightstown.  He owned over two-hundred acres of land there.  He was a tanner by trade, but he may also have tried his hand at running a tavern.  Robert Nixon was a strong, gruff man, well-suited to lead lead local militia men.  He was as much respected by them as he was feared.  His story is told in Ed. Belding's THE CAPTAIN'S RULE, which is available at the Reference Desk of the South Brunswick Public Library.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

January 26, 2013--Sanchitha Balasubramanian--First Prize at Carnegie Hall

by Ed Belding South Brunswick Historical Society

Bet you can't guess the longest name of all the musicians who hail from South Brunswick.  You would be correct if you said Sanchitha Balasubramanian of Monmouth Junction.  She answered the age-old question--"How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?" . . . answer--"Practice, Practice, Practice . . . "  She performed there on January 26, 2013, and took first place in the music and voice competition for her age category.  At that time, Miss B. was a Sophomore at the Hun School.  She had started training on the piano just four years earlier, and training as a vocalist one year earlier.  In the Carnegie Hall competition, Sanchitha chose Chopin's Waltz Opus 64, No. 2 for piano, and Handel's Lascia Ch'io Pianga for an aria.  Miss Balasubramanian admits coming from musical family.  Her mother loves to sing and her father loves to listen.  Their gift of a toy xylophone when Sanchitha was little, started her on the pursuit of excellence in music.  She always sang.  She took up the violin in third grade.  By age thirteen she was in competition at Steinway Hall, Performance Hall, and Baruch Hall.  After her triumph at Carnegie Hall, Sanchitha performed at the Golden Key Music Festival in April of 2013.  She continues to play and contribute to South Brunswick's claim to be a place where musical talent can thrive.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

January 25, 2016--Jeanette Muser, Author, Dies

by Ed Belding
South Brunswick Historical Society

Jeanette K. Muser passed away on January 25, 2016.  She was born in Vienna, Austria, to American parents on November 16, 1940.  Her father, Dr. Frederick J. Krueger, worked for the U. S. Public Health Service and was on assignment in Europe at the time Jeanette was born.  Upon their return to the States, the Kruegers settled in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.  While there, Jeanette furthered her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a B.A. in Education and an M.A. in History.  Jeanette married Franz Josef Moehn in 1962.  The couple moved to Princeton, New Jersey, in 1965.  Jeanette received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1967 and spent the year in Germany.  After the birth of her second child, the family moved to Pennington, New Jersey.  Jeanette earned an M.A. in Library Science from Rutgers University in 1971.  She served as a librarian at the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School until 1995.  In 1982, she and Franz divorced.  After her children finished high school, Jeanette married Rainer Karl Martin Muser in 1987.  They moved to Rocky Hill.  After retiring, she pursued volunteer work, including the Rocky Hill Heritage Project; the Rocky Hill Remembers Newsletter; and a book project--ROCKY HILL, KINGSTON, and GRIGGSTOWN (Arcadia, 1998).  For her years of dedication to local history, Jeanette received an award from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission in 2002.  She also served on the Rocky Hill Planning Board, the Committee for the Millstone River Valley National Scenic Byway, and helped publish a booklet entitled--"1783: General George Washington's Departure from Military Service."  We can thank Jeanette Muser for including all of Kingston in her book, thereby adding to our understanding of the early history of that part of our township.

January 24, 1947--Pioneer Grange No. 1 Marks 75th Anniversary

January 24, 1947-Pioneer Grange No. 1 Marks 75 Anniversary
by Ed Belding South Brunswick Historical Society

When an organization is labeled "Pioneer" and "No. 1" it has to mean that it is the first of its kind.  Yes, here is another first that South Brunswick Township can be proud of.  When farmers in the Monroe/Jamesburg area formed a "secret organization" and called it the "Homestead Grange,"  little did they know that their organization would outlast the Rhode Hall Farmers' Alliance and the Monroe Farmers' Club.  Neither did they know at that time that they would end up in Dayton.  It all started on January 24, 1872, thanks to the leadership of Oliver Hudson Kelley.  He later went on to serve as the first Secretary of the National Grange.  Grange meeting places moved from Stelton to Prospect Plains to Cranbury, and finally to Dayton.  Its fiftieth anniversary was celebrated on this day in 1922, with an all-day session at the Presbyterian Church in Dayton.  Close to four-hundred Grangers attended.  The Diamond Jubilee was held in 1947, on Friday evening, January 24th.  By this time, the Grange had its own hall on Ridge Road.  And, by this time, everyone involved insisted that this was "New Jersey's Oldest Grange."  Mistress of Ceremonies, that evening, was Anna J. Alsheimer.  Speakers included Franklin Nixon, Master of the New Jersey State Grange; Historian, Myra Spratford; Maurice Hagerman, Deputy of Mercer County; and James B. Kirby, Secretary of the New Jersey State Grange.  Music for dancing was provided by the Paul Stewart Orchestra.  A good time was had by all in attendance.  The Grange Hall still stands on Ridge Road, but the Grangers are long gone--not even a Lone Granger left to bring back the good old days!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

January 23, 1841 Clarence Mulford Slack was born

January 23, 1841 Clarence Mulford Slack was born.
By Ed Belding South Brunswick Historical Society
On January 23, 1841, in Hightstown, New Jersey. He studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, then enlisted in the Union Navy and served as a physician during the Civil War. Upon returning from military service, Dr. Slack looked for a suitable place to live and work. In 1866, he found property north of Five Corners on the east side of Georges Road in Dayton. The land was purchased from S. Pullen. Slack had a house built on this land in 1870. This is where he also set up his medical practice. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Slack met with a few others to discuss plans to have a Presbyterian Church built in the vicinity. Slack had bought more property for just such a purpose. One such acquisition was the Mershon farm (56.8 acres) in 1879. Eight years later, Dr. Slack sold all his South Brunswick properties to Dr. Edgar Carroll. Included in this transaction was the first house in Dayton to have a bathroom. Slack moved to New Brunswick and set up an office on George Street. He bought a house on Livingston Avenue. Later, he moved his medical practice to his place of residence. Fifteen years later, Slack retired and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he lived out his final years. Dr. Slack was married twice. His first wife was Mary Elizabeth Conover of Middletown, New Jersey. His second wife was Lizzie Helm of New Brunswick. Besides serving the Dayton area for years as a doctor, Clarence Slack served as the Middlesex County Clerk by filling the deceased Charles S. Hill's unexpired term. In the next election, Slack won by popular vote and served a full term. Thus, our Dr. Slack served the public in more than one significant capacity. He was a person who gave much more than he received.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

January 22, 2004--Carolyn Galos Introduces The "Be My Buddie" Plush Pillow

January 22, 2004
by Ed Belding South Brunswick Historical Society
Feb 3 (4 days ago)

South Brunswick Township, and especially Kendall Park, was, and still is, a hotbed for new ideas.  Take for example, Carolyn Galos, who introduced her "Be My Buddie" product on January 22, 2004.  This is a pillow, containing a satin pull-out, that was designed by Galos to help soothe and comfort a fussy child.  She came up with the idea while shopping with her fussy first baby.  She took out her silk scarf at the checkout counter, when her child was at his worst, and stroked it by his cheek.  The baby quieted down.  Galos knew she was on to something.  Since silk is rather expensive, Carolyn decided to experiment with less expensive fabrics.  She finally decided to work with satin.  Next came developing various pillow shapes and choosing kid-friendly characters for the satin pull-outs for a child to play with.  Among those chosen were Pooh Bear, Piglet, Tweetie Pie, and Blue from Blues Clues.  A velcro strap was added to fasten the item to wherever the child might be.  The product is marketed through Techniform, Inc., which has a licensing agreement with Crown Crafts Infant Products, Inc.  The inventor is a commercial sculptress with degrees in Art Education and Design/Fine Arts from the State University College at Buffalo, New York.  Galos has garnered awards from the Industrial Arts Society of America and the Industrial Design Excellence Award for Medical and Scientific Products.  Carolyn Galos is a member of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners and the U. S. Women's Chamber of Commerce.  Many folks in South Brunswick Township may not have known of the accomplishments of this successful idea person, but they do now!

History Under Our Feet

History Under Our Feet
by Paul Weiner
South Brunswick Historical Society
Recently avid metal detectorists in New Jersey have uncovered numerous dug examples of the once rare George Washington first inaugural button made in 1789 for use by men he gave it to who served under him in the Revolutionary War or befriended him. The button at that time was looped onto vest coats, three to a side to be worn in some cases by those that came to the country’s first inauguration in New York City on April 30, 1789. In some cases these buttons detached from the vest coats and landed on parade grounds to be encased in soil and lost forever until discovered 5 inches under the ground by a treasurer hunter. One such button classified as A-12 in Alphaeus H. Albert’s Record of American Uniform and Historical Buttons was located in a parade grounds used by American Revolutionary troops in Kingston, New Jersey. The button is fashioned with a heraldic eagle and a six point estoile (star). It is composed of brass, bronze and copper and is 35mm in size. The village of Kingston is contained in South Brunswick Township and Franklin Township and was founded in the early 18th century after purchase of 1,000 acres from Native Americans. The areas was frequented by George Washington who lived about one mile outside town at Rockingham, a historic home still extant. British officers were housed in the town and several small battles took place in the area. The dug button was found near dropped musket balls and colonial coinage such as Spanish reales. A school built in 1926 and a church built in 1723 abut the area. The school and church are located on the Franklin Township side of Kingston.