Alexander, James To Alpha (New Jersey)

Alexander, James (b. May 27,1691; d. Apr. 2,1756). Lawyer, public official, reformer. Born in Muthil, Perthshire, Scotland, and trained as an engineer, Alexander emigrated in 1715 and quickly obtained successive appointments as surveyor general of East Jersey, West Jersey, and New York. These positions facilitated his acquisition of vast tracts of land; Alexandria Township in Hunterdon County is named for him. He was practicing law by 1720, when he served as attorney general of New Jersey and in the provincial councils of New Jersey and New York. Despite these royal appointments, Alexander’s bitter rivalry with Gov. William Cosby led to his sponsorship of John Peter Zenger’s opposition newspaper, the New-York Weekly Journal, and Alexander’s disbarment and loss of government positions, restored only upon Cosby’s death. With his interest in legal reform, Alexander assumed the role of defender of popular rights. He married the wealthy merchant Mary Sprat Provoost in 1721; Continental Army general William Alexander was one of their seven children.

Alexander, Walter G. (b. 1881; d. Feb. 5, 1953). African American physician and politician. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Walter Alexander graduated from the Boston College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1903 and set up a medical practice in Orange, New Jersey, the following year. Because the Medical Society of New Jersey did not admit African American physicians, he organized the North Jersey Medical Society, an organization for black health professionals, in 1907. Committed to the professional advancement of black physicians, Alexander served as president of the National Medical Association in 1926 and received its Distinguished Service Award in 1946. In 1920, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, becoming Speaker in 1921. In 1939, he was appointed to the state board of health, and served as vice president of the board in 1946.


Alexander, William (Lord Stirling) (b. Dec. 25, 1725; d. Jan. 15, 1783). Landowner, merchant, politician, and Revolutionary War general. William Alexander was the son of James Alexander, a Scottish immigrant lawyer, surveyor, and member of the Councils of New York and New Jersey, and Mary Sprat Provoost, a merchant. His 1748 marriage to Sarah Livingston reinforced his connections to the political elite of both colonies and made future governor William Livingston his brother-in-law.

William Alexander first assisted his mother in her business enterprises and then, with several partners, served as an army contractor during the French and Indian War. His efforts to supply the Niagara Campaign in 1755-1756 led to later accusations of profiteering. He succeeded his father as a member of the East Jersey Board of Proprietors and the Councils of New York and New Jersey. In 1761 he began to build a large country house in Basking Ridge on a 584-acre estate inherited from his parents. During this period he also spent five years in England where he not only represented the East Jersey proprietors’ interests and tried to collect payment on the army contracts, but also worked to obtain recognition of his claim to a lapsed Scottish earldom. Although rejected by the House of Lords, friends in America accepted his use of the title "Lord Stirling” when he returned to the colonies. Before the Revolution both his involvement in the nascent iron mining industry in North Jersey and his lavish lifestyle helped to deplete his financial resources. In 1772 he even resorted, without success, to selling lands via a lottery.

Bass Otis, William Alexander, Lord Stirling, possibly after the Joseph Napoleon Gimbrede engraving, c. 1858. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in.

Bass Otis, William Alexander, Lord Stirling, possibly after the Joseph Napoleon Gimbrede engraving, c. 1858. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in.

From the onset of the American Revolution, Stirling was a strong patriot. He served on the New Jersey Council of Safety and in the New Jersey militia as a colonel. With other New Jersey troops he was transferred to the Continental Army, where he served throughout the war as one of George Washington’s generals. He participated in the defense of Long Island, and fought at Trenton, Germantown, Brandywine, Monmouth, and Springfield. At one point captured by the enemy, he was later exchanged for a British officer. He was the president of the court martial of Gen. Charles Lee and served on the board that tried Maj. John Andre. Although described as "flamboyant” and an "overweight, rheumatic, vain, pompous, gluttonous inebriate,” he was loyal, brave, and a popular soldier, although not a great general. In the end he served Washington and the American cause better than his own interests. On his death Congress noted his "early and meritorious exertions” "in the common cause” and his "bravery, perseverance, and military talents.” He died in Albany, New York, from gout and the rigors of wartime service. Bankrupt at the time of his death, his property was sold to pay off his debts.

Alexandria. 28.2-square-mile township in northwestern Hunterdon County. Alexandria is bounded on the west by the Delaware River, on the east by Franklin Township, on the south by Kingwood Township, and on the north by the Musconetcong River and Bethlehem and Union townships.

The township was named for James Alexander, proprietor of West Jersey and father of Revolutionary War hero William (Lord Stirling) Alexander. In 1744 James Alexander purchased ten thousand acres of land in what became Alexandria Township. On March 5, 1765, the township was formed by royal charter out of what had been the western portion of Bethlehem Township. Incorporation took place on February 21,1798.

Alexandria is still an agricultural township made up of farms and single-family residences, and rolling hills and fields surround the villages of Everittstown, Pittstown, Little York, and Mount Pleasant. Each of these villages grew up around a mill or a church, with general stores being later amenities.

According to the 2000 census, the population of 4,698 people was 97 percent white. The median household income in 2000 was $92,730. For complete census figures, see chart, 129.

Gateway to the deserted Village of Allaire. A portrait of James P. Allaire is located in the upper right-hand corner.

Gateway to the deserted Village of Allaire. A portrait of James P. Allaire is located in the upper right-hand corner.

Algonquin Arts Theatre. Built in Manasquan in 1938 as a movie theater in the Arcadia chain, the theater was named Algonquin as a result of a contest among local residents. In 1974, the Algonquin became part of the Walter Reade chain, which closed it in 1980. In 1990, it was bought by Frances and John Drew of Manasquan, who restored and converted it to a performing arts theater with an enlarged stage, fly-tower orchestra pit, and dressing rooms. Renamed the Algonquin Arts Theatre and opened in May 1994, the Algonquin Arts nonprofit corporation presents professional and community-based theater, dance, music, and film there.

Allaire, James P. (b. July 12, 1785; d. May 20,1858). Industrialist, marine engineer, steam engine manufacturer. Allaire was born in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, the son of Peter Alexander Allaire and Frances Wilmot. A brass founder and steam engine manufacturer, he was early associated with Robert Fulton. By 1820, Allaire operated the largest marine engine building shop in the country, and shortly thereafter he purchased a bog iron furnace in Monmouth County to supply needed raw materials. His business expanded considerably between 1824 and 1836 until his New Jersey property holdings alone included nearly fifty tracts of land covering almost eight thousand acres. He died at his home at Howell Works, Monmouth County.

Allaire Village. Monmouth Furnace, an ironworks originally developed about 1810 by Burlington County attorney William Griffith, was acquired by steamship engine manufacturer James P. Allaire in 1822. He renamed the property the Howell Works and developed it into a self-contained industrial community that produced iron products, such as the pipes for the first waterworks in New York City. It flourished until 1848. In 1908 newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane purchased the village and 5,000 acres. He leased the village to the Boy Scouts in 1928, and in 1941 Brisbane’s widow donated 1,200 acres and the village to the state of New Jersey "to be used as an Historical Center and Forest Park Reservation… and for no other purpose.”The property is now Allaire State Park.

Allamuchy. 20.3-square-mile township in Warren County. Allamuchy, whose name derives from the Lenape Indian Allamucha-hokkingen or Allamucha, broke away from Independence Township in 1872. Among its significant villages are Allamuchy, Quaker Settlement, Warrenville or Wiretown, Alphano, and Saxton Falls. The first white settlers were Quakers who arrived prior to 1745 on land that was eventually deeded to them by Richard Penn, grandson of William Penn. Quaker Settlement was the birthplace of Benjamin Lundy, a founder of the abolitionist movement. The community played an important part as a station on the Underground Railroad that directed slaves to freedom. Allamuchy is the ancestral home of the Rutherford-Stuyvesant family who traced their beginnings to the first governor of New Amsterdam and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The early economy was based on employment from the large Rutherford-Stuyvesant farms. Today the affluent communities of homes and townhouses rely on income from outside the county. Saxton Falls was the Warren County entry port to the old Morris Canal, which ran thirty-three miles to the Delaware River.

According to the 2000 census of the rural-to-residential community, the population of 3,877 was 96 percent white. Median household income in 2000 was $70,107. For complete census figures, see chart, 129.

Allen, Elizabeth Almira (b. Feb. 27, 1854; d. May 3, 1919). Teacher, teacher advocate, first woman president of the New Jersey Teachers’ Association. Elizabeth Almira Allen was born in Joliet, Illinois, to James and Sarah J. Allen (Smith). She worked for forty-eight years in the Hoboken schools as a teacher, as the principal of the elementary and the high school, and finally as the supervisor of teacher education at Hoboken Normal and Training School. Allen’s campaign for teachers’ rights resulted in the first statewide teachers’ retirement fund in America. In 1913 she became the first woman president of the New Jersey Teachers’ Association (NJTA), later the New Jersey Education Association.

Allen, William F. (b. Oct. 9, 1846; d. Dec. 9, 1915). Implementer of standard railroad time schedules. Born in Bordentown, the son of Joseph Warner and Sarah (Norcross) Allen, William F. Allen was educated at the Bordentown Model School and the Protestant Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia. On April 20, 1871, he married Caroline Yorke, with whom he had four sons.

As editor of the Official Guide of the Railways and Steam Navigation Lines, the publication that contained passenger train schedules for all railroads in the country, Allen knew the confusion caused by each railroad’s choosing a time system of its own convenience. By the 1880s, railroads increasingly required a system of standard timekeeping for safe, dependable service. A strong proponent of such a system, Allen became the secretary of the General Time Convention, later the American Railway Association, an organization of railroaders seeking to solve the dilemma of timekeeping. He presented a report to the convention, which concluded that the four-zone system proposed earlier by Professor C. F. Dowd of Saratoga and Professor Cleveland Abbe and F. B. Elliott, who worked for the American Meteorological Society, was the best solution. Allen persuaded 188 railroads to adopt its implementation. Despite some resistance, the plan went into effect on November 18, 1883, and proved its value. A plaque in Union Station in Washington, D.C., recognizes Allen for his work.

Allendale. 3.1-square-mile borough in Bergen County. The name of the borough is derived from that of Joseph Warner Allen, who surveyed the area in 1846 for the Paterson and Ramapo Railroad. Originally part of Orvil Township, Allendale was incorporated in 1894. In the eighteenth century Allendale was the site of a large wampum factory, and the town had a colorful history during the Revolutionary War. The British imprisoned one of its most famous residents, John Fell, who later became a state delegate to the Continental Congress. Allendale was primarily a farming area, and it developed a reputation for the cultivation of strawberries. The advance of the railroad into Bergen County in the late nineteenth century opened up Allendale to development as a summer resort for people from New York City. Today, the Celery Farm, a nature preserve, is a popular destination for birdwatchers and hikers. The main industries, in order of importance, are professional services, retail, and manufacturing.

According to the 2000 census, the population was 6,699. Of this, 92 percent was white. The median household income in 2000 was $105,704. For complete census figures, see chart, 129.

Allenhurst. 0.3-square-mile borough on the Atlantic Ocean in Monmouth County. Bordered on the west by the Hogswamp Creek branch of Deal Lake, Allenhurst was designated on early maps as being a part of Deal Beach, Ocean Township. In 1895 the Allen family, who had operated an inn and farm on this site since 1846, and G. W. Spier sold their property to Edwin P. Benjamin. The Coast Land Development Company is credited with laying out streets for residential homes, large hotels, and guesthouses for the explicit purpose of developing the tract as a seashore resort. In 1889 the New York and Long Branch Railroad established a station. The beachfront was developed in 1895 with a wooden pavilion and horse-carriage transportation from the hotels and train station. The Atlantic Coast Electric Railroad trolley barn and powerhouse, both on Main Street, existed from 1895 to 1931. In 1897 Allenhurst seceded from Ocean Township, forming a new borough.

The community is predominantly single-family residential, with a small business district along Main Street. In 2000, the population of 718 was 97 percent white. The median household income in 2000 was $85,000. For complete census figures, see chart, 129.

Allentown. 0.60-square-mile borough in westernmost Monmouth County. Settlement of the small community, located on early major roads, dates at least from the first quarter of the eighteenth century, when Nathan Allen built a mill (c. 1706) on Doctors Creek. Rebuilt over the years, the mill structure remains the most visible landmark in town. Known earlier as Allens Town, the town is near the meeting point of three counties. It developed as a trading community for the surrounding farm area and attained borough status in 1889 after breaking from Upper Freehold Township. On the route of British forces removing from Philadelphia to New York in 1778, Allen-town saw skirmishing prior to the Battle of Monmouth and throughout the Revolution.

Allentown is the location of an important Georgian building, the 1787 John Imlay House at 28 South Main Street, and the town was home to a number of notable figures. Foremost was William A. Newell, a physician who served as governor of New Jersey from 1857 until i860 and three terms in Congress; he is also considered the founder of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. Allentown, which preserves a stock of buildings from most historic periods, has listings in the National Register of Historic Places. Although major retail trade and travel routes now pass outside Allentown’s borders, its intact Main Street has adapted to reuse, while its charm attracts visitors; the resulting congestion challenges the town in the twenty-first century.

Allentown’s 2000 population of 1,882 was 91 percent white. The median household income in 2000 was $71,193.

Johann Jenny (attributed), The House and Shop of David Alling, c. 1840-1850. Oil on canvas, 201/2 x 30 in.


Johann Jenny (attributed), The House and Shop of David Alling, c. 1840-1850. Oil on canvas, 201/2 x 30 in.

Ailing, David (b. Sept. 17, 1773; d. Feb. 25, 1855). Chairmaker. Of Welsh descent, the Alling family was in Newark by 1698. David Alling was the son of Isaac Alling, a chair-maker, and Mary Clisbie. Alling expanded his business, located in Newark from i803 until 1854, beyond that of traditional colonial artisans such as his father to an operation based on a system of specialized tasks. He bought parts from jobbers and employed perhaps ten assemblers and decorators. His retail trade consisted of ready-made and custom work for residential and commercial customers, and he developed large wholesale markets in Newark and southern New Jersey.

Alloway. 35-square-mile township in Salem County. First settled by Quakers, Al-loway was originally part of the Monmouth Precinct, so named by John Fenwick in honor of the duke of Monmouth; it was set off from that tract of land in i760. The community was known as Thompson’s Bridge until i833 when it was renamed Alloways Town. The John Dickinson house, built in 1754, is the most elaborate patterned-brick house in Salem County. The first industry was farming, an occupation that continues today. Other early industries included two shipyards, a gristmill, a bark mill, sawmills, and a canning factory. Of special note is the Wistar Glass Works, established in i739. It was the first successful glass factory in the country and produced Wistarburg glass; the factory closed in 1780. During the nineteenth century, the distinctive Ware chairs were built in this community. Settlements in the township that have retained their names are Cohansey, Friesburg, Penton, and Aldine. Alloway is the home of Ranch Hope for boys.

The township is rural in character. In 2000, the population of 2,774 was 91 percent white, and the median household income was $56,528.

Alpha. 1.80-square-mile borough in Warren County. Originally a village in central Pohatcong, Alpha was separated from that township and incorporated in i9ii. It shares its earliest history with Pohatcong and Greenwich. Clearly different from other communities in the county, Alpha was a boom-town in the heart of farmland. Its industrial history started as early as 1891, when A. B. Bonneville noticed an outcropping of limestone, referred to as cement rock, essential for making high-grade portland cement. Alpha had the potential for a successful operation: quarries, mills, and an influx of immigrant labor from Eastern Europe. The success of the industry caught the attention of Thomas Edison, who built a similar portland cement complex in nearby Franklin Township. Alpha was both the brand name and the location. Vulcanite was the second cement plant to operate within the area. Cement rock deposits were eventually depleted, and cement production ceased by i9i4, to be resumed briefly during World War I.

Alpha is now largely residential. The 2000 census showed a population of 2,482 that was 97 percent white. Median household income in 2000 was $42,209.

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