Lawrence, Charles B. To Lebanon Township (New Jersey)

Lawrence, Charles B. (b. c. 1790; d. 1864). Painter. Charles B. Lawrence was born and raised near Bordentown. A painter of landscapes, portraits, and copies, he studied with Gilbert Stuart and Rembrandt Peale. Lawrence’s earliest exhibited paintings were of Bordentown; one was engraved in the Port Folio in July 1816. Lawrence moved to Philadelphia by 1814, where he regularly exhibited new works at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts until 1830. He stopped painting by about 1835. Lawrence’s art rarely rises above the workmanlike, but he survived as a painter for almost twenty years in an era when American patrons supported few professional artists.

Lawrence, Ethel Robinson (b. Mar. 16, 1926; d. July 19, 1994). Civil rights activist. Ethel Robinson Lawrence and her mother, Mary Robinson, were charter members of the Burlington NAACP, which desegregated movie houses and drug stores in Burlington and Moorestown in the early 1940s. In 1967, Lawrence made a request for a zoning variance that would permit the construction of low-and moderate-cost housing in Mount Laurel. When the township refused her petition, Lawrence, with the support of the southern Burlington County NAACP and Peter O’Connor and Carl Bisgaier of the Camden Regional Legal Services, led a campaign that went straight to the New Jersey Supreme Court. In its 1975 Mount Laurel decision the court ruled that all communities in the state should provide for low- and moderate-income housing.

Lawrence, James (b. Oct. 1, 1781; d. June 4, 1813). Naval officer. James Lawrence was born in Burlington. His mother, Martha Tallman, died when he was a child, and his father, John Lawrence, a Loyalist, fled to Canada after the Revolution, leaving James to be raised by his half-sister, Elizabeth. He lived from 1794 to 1796 in Woodbury with his brother, studying law, but when his father died in 1796, Lawrence opted to study navigation. He joined the navy in 1798 as the Quasi-War began with France and saw service in the Caribbean. During the Tripoli War, Lawrence participated as first lieutenant on the ketch Intrepid, commanded by Stephen Decatur. His first command was the schooner Enterprise, and later a gunboat that bombarded Tripoli. When his gunboat reached Cadiz, he faced the humiliation of the British forcing him to release three crewmembers who claimed British citizenship. When the War of 1812 began, Lawrence, in command of the sloop Hornet, captured the British brig Dolphin and the privateer John in July 1812. After failing to capture the Bonne Citoyenne in Bahia in December 1812, the Hornet attacked the British brig of war Peacock in February 1813 and defeated it. Promoted to captain in March 1813, Lawrence took command of Chesapeake in May. Off Boston, Lawrence engaged the British frigate Shannon. Mortally wounded, he told his crew, "Don’t give up the ship,”which became the War of 1812 slogan. The British won this engagement on June 1,1813, and three days later Lawrence died of his wounds. Temporarily buried in Halifax by the British, his body was taken to New York in September 1813, where he was reburied at Trinity Churchyard.

Gilbert Stuart, Master Commandant James Lawrence, United States Navy, 1812. Oil on wood, 28 1/ 2 x 23 1/2 in.

Gilbert Stuart, Master Commandant James Lawrence, United States Navy, 1812. Oil on wood, 28 1/ 2 x 23 1/2 in.

Lawrence, Josephine (b. Mar. 13,1889; d. Feb. 22, 1978). Author. Josephine Lawrence was born in Newark to Dr. Elijah Lawrence and Mary Barker, and grew up in the city. She attended Barringer High School, where she won her first writing prize. In 1915 she became an editor at the Newark Sunday Call, and later the Newark Evening News. During her career she wrote more than one hundred children’s books and thirty-three adult novels, including Years Are So Long (filmed as Make Way for Tomorrow in 1937). Her series of stories entitled "The Man in the Moon,” illustrated by Johnny Gruelle of Raggedy Ann fame, broke ground when in 1921 it was the first ever to be read to children over the radio. Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis, in a 1938 Newsweek column entitled "Vie de Newark,” praised her ability to capture, in incredible detail, the life of the everyday man: "The world of [Lawrence] is America, superlatively.” In 1940 she married Arthur Platz. Lawrence died in New York City in 1978.

Lawrence Township (Cumberland County). 37.5-square-mile township on the Delaware Bay in the southwestern part of the county, formed from Fairfield Township in 1885. Over 70 percent of township land is vacant; only 21 percent is in residential use and less than 10 percent is used for farming.

Cedarville, named for the creek around which it was located and settled sometime in the eighteenth century, is a major locale in the township; sawmills and gristmills, agriculture and oystering were the main industries. An early schoolhouse in the eastern part of the township gave rise to Centre Grove. The Centre Grove School, built in 1876, was moved in 1970 and is now at Wheaton Village. The Howell Farm, Cedarville, established on land purchased before 1697 and continuously owned since 1710 by a member of the Howell family, is said to be the oldest farm and homestead still in the same family line in Cumberland County. The farm produces salt hay, soybeans, alfalfa, and beef cattle. The 1,000-acre Nantuxent Wildlife Management Area is known for its hiking and birding activities. Birds often seen here include the sandhill crane, great horned owl, screech owl, snow goose, gyrfalcon, and goshawk.

The 2000 population of 2,721 was 82 percent white and 10 percent black. In 2000 the median household income was $46,083. For complete census figures, see chart, 133.

Lawrence Township (Mercer County). 21.9-square-mile township located between Trenton and Princeton. In 1687 George Keith surveyed the line dividing New Jersey into East and West Jerseys. The Province Line would later form the eastern boundary of the township. The rich hardwood forests along the Assumpink Creek had long provided a bountiful home for the Lenape Indians. During the 1690s English settlers bought land in the area and in 1697 formed the township of Maidenhead, named for a village in England. In 1816, "for reasons of delicacy” residents petitioned the legislature to change the name to Lawrence, in memory of Capt. James Lawrence, a naval hero of the War of 1812. During the eighteenth century the village of Lawrenceville became the nucleus of the rural farming community that comprised Lawrence Township. Lawrenceville School was established in 1810, but the township remained unchanged until early in the twentieth century when it began to develop into a suburb of Trenton. The process of suburbanization accelerated after World War II and by 2000 Lawrence Township was an ethnically diverse community of 29,159 (79 percent white, 9 percent black, and 8 percent Asian). In addition to the Lawrenceville School, Lawrence Township is also home to Rider University and the Educational Testing Service. The median household income in 2000 was $67,959. For complete census figures, see chart, 133.

Lawrenceville School. A private, coeducational, secondary boarding school located in Lawrence Township, the Lawrenceville School was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy by Isaac Van Arsdale Brown, the pastor of the local Maidenhead Presbyterian Church. Beginning with nine boys, the school soon acquired a national reputation and began to draw students and faculty from all over the United States. In 1816 the village of Maidenhead was renamed in honor of Capt. James Lawrence, naval hero of the War of 1812, and the Maidenhead Academy became the Lawrenceville School. During the 1880s, the campus underwent a major expansion and architectural renovation, with buildings designed by Peabody and Stearns and the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. During this physical renovation, headmaster Dr. James Mackenzie instituted curricular reforms and a new house system modeled after English public schools. The campus today centers on a circular green and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. During the twentieth century, the school expanded steadily and acquired an international reputation for academic excellence and educational reform. In 1987 the Lawrenceville School became coeducational; it now enrolls around 750 students in grades nine through twelve from all over the United States and twenty-seven foreign countries.

Lawrie, Gawen (b. date unknown; d. 1687). Proprietor and deputy governor. A London merchant, probably of Scot background, and a Quaker, Gawen Lawrie was involved in West and East Jersey. First serving as one of three trustees for bankrupt Edward Byllynge, he then purchased shares in both provinces. In 1683 he was appointed deputy governor of East Jersey, moving to Elizabethtown and then Perth Amboy, where he directed initial construction of this harbor city on the Raritan. Lawrie was caught in an ongoing struggle between the proprietors and settlers over the Nicolls patents and payment of quitrents. After being charged with reserving prime lands for himself, failing to get the Fundamental Constitutions accepted, and not sending detailed reports back to England, he was replaced as resident governor by Lord Neil Campbell in 1686.

League of Women Voters. Founded in Newark in April 1920 as a successor to the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose purpose is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government.

During the 1920s, the league played an active role in political education, including setting up "citizenship schools” to educate the new women voters. The league also advocated legislation to shorten the workday, establish a minimum wage commission, outlaw night work for women in factories, and regulate sweatshop industries. In 1929, the league supported the establishment of the Bureau of Women and Children, with a woman head, as part of the New Jersey State Department of Labor. The league also began an educational campaign for permanent registration for elections, and lobbied for the optional use of mechanical voting machines.

During the 1930s, in spite of the Depression, several of the league’s earlier legislative efforts reached fruition. A minimum wage for women and minors was established in 1933, and a bill enforcing the Night Work Act of 1923 was passed in 1937. New initiatives included support of slum clearance and low-cost housing, social security, and unemployment compensation. In the mid-i930s, the league launched an anti patronage campaign and promoted a referendum setting up a Civil Service Commission. Most notably, the league was involved in the movement to revise the New Jersey constitution. In 1944, the league reorganized and strengthened its Voters Service program. From this year dates the systematic administration of candidate questionnaires and organization of debates.

During the 1950s, membership grew, as leagues were organized in new suburban communities. In 1955, concerned with the effects of low rainfall combined with the growth of population and industry in the state, the league began to study how to develop an adequate water supply for all New Jersey residents. The league also questioned the impact of growing population on the state’s education infrastructure, supporting a bond issue for expansion of the state colleges in i952 and a school construction program in 1956. In 1963, the league advocated the establishment of regional planning boards to address problems (such as traffic congestion) that were the result of uncoordinated growth. Although the suburban leagues continued to expand during the 1960s, it was at the expense of the older, urban leagues, whose membership, diminished by the flight to the suburbs, faced worsening social problems. In 1966, New Jersey city leagues took part in the Core City Project, which aimed to increase membership through strengthening community ties. Meanwhile, the league worked at the local and state levels to support the programs of the Office of Economic Opportunity and the creation of the New Jersey State Division on Civil Rights.

Beginning in the 1970s, membership in the suburban leagues began to decline as more women were working outside the home and had less time for volunteer activities. To counter this trend, the leagues began to schedule more evening meetings and introduced several new program areas. They placed more emphasis on women’s issues, addressing in particular women’s rights in divorce, and campaigning for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. In the 1980s and 1990s, new initiatives included school district regionalization, campaign finance and health care reform, reproductive rights, and gun control. The League of Women Voters Education Fund of New Jersey, which enabled the league to raise money for its educational activities, was established in 1983.

Learning’s Run Botanical Gardens. A thirty-acre, privately owned site located in Swainton, Middle Township, this property has been called one of the most beautiful gardens in the United States. The grounds include twenty-five annual gardens with themes such as the Yellow, Red, and Blue Garden, Evening Garden, and Reflecting Garden. In August, hundreds of hummingbirds visit the site. The grounds also contain a colonial farm with a replica of a i695 whaler’s home, the only one in the state, as well as a cottage garden that consists of common eighteenth-century herbs. Christopher Leaming owned the property in 1730, and it was purchased in the 1960s by Jack Aprill.

Leather industry. The Lenape Indians were the earliest leather manufacturers in New Jersey, using uncomplicated methods to tan animal hides (including those of deer). Cattle, the major source for most leather production, and water to aid in the tanning process and power the mills were plentiful throughout colonial New Jersey. Slaughterhouses and tanneries were frequently located side by side, often in labor-rich residential areas. In i664, the first recorded New Jersey tannery was established in Elizabethtown by John Ogden. Two tanneries were located in Newark in the latter part of the seventeenth century and in the early 1700s, the "Swamp,” a watering place for livestock at today’s Washington and Market streets, was inhabited by leather tanners.

Samuel Quay built tanneries in Allentown in 1743; they operated until 1888. Morehouse-town, now part of Livingston Township, had an important shoemaking industry that provided many pairs of footwear for the Continental Army.

At the close of the eighteenth century, leather became an important industry in Newark. The Rev. Moses Combs created an industrial climate in the city, hiring hundreds of workers to manufacture footwear that he exported to the South. In 1819 Seth Boyden developed the process of making patent leather, establishing the first factory for this product in Newark. Forty years later New Jersey produced 85 percent of all patent leather made in America, most of it in Newark. By then, New Jersey ranked ninth in the country in leather production, with 248 tannery establishments. In 1836 half of Newark’s industrial output was leather goods. Although the Panic of 1837 caused the closing of many shoe factories in Newark, the city continued to produce over 2 million pairs of shoes each year. New England took the lead in shoe production, however, while Newark dominated in tanning.

Trade with the southern states became increasingly important, even during the Civil War; the Confederacy required a steady supply of shoes and saddles for its army. Leather products ranked among the five most important industries in the Garden State, valued at over $8.6 million; luggage production alone accounted for 37 percent of the national output. In the same period, Newark began to produce specialty leathers such as reptile and alligator skins and goods from imported leathers.

Workers at the John Nieder Tannery, Newark, c. 1890.

Workers at the John Nieder Tannery, Newark, c. 1890.

Luggage, harnesses, saddles, handbags, and patent leather production replaced boots and shoes in importance after the Civil War. In 1910, leather production continued to be the leading industry in Newark; the city ranked fifth nationally in leather production, an industry valued at close to $21 million. Yet within a century the industry would become a minor one. The automobile made the manufacture of harnesses and saddlery obsolete.

Before World War II, the five largest leather manufacturers, by number of employees, were located in Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and Trenton. In 1954 the state produced 60 percent of all upholstery leather in the United States; 75 percent of all kid leather produced in the country came from Camden. Eventually, auto upholstery would become a major product of tanneries.

Today the leather industry in New Jersey is a minor one, facing strong competition with Third World nations. According to the 1997 U.S. Economic Census of Leather and Allied Products Processing, New Jersey ranked thirteenth in measure of output, valued at $323,522,000. Accounting for the general decline was the substitution of cheaper synthetic materials and the negative effect the industry has had on the environment and human lives due to the release of noxious odors and harmful tanning byproducts into groundwater.

Lebanon Borough. 0.9-square-mile borough in Hunterdon County, originally in the section of Lebanon Township that became Clinton Township in 1841, where it remained until incorporating separately in 1926. Lebanon was settled by German immigrants— a (German) Reformed Church was founded in 1731 and constructed its first building in 1760. Lebanon was a post town by 1820. When the post office moved to a stage stop along the Easton-Brunswick Road, there was a call to rename the area Jacksonville, after Andrew Jackson. The names coexisted until Lebanon won out with the coming of the Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1851. The freight station and peach exchange made Lebanon an important transportation center during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, shipping up to twenty boxcars of peaches a day during the harvest. After a blight destroyed the peach orchards, the community settled into a mixed residential and service sectors. It formed its own telephone company in 1902 and remains an important landmark for automobile travelers, a status begun with pre-World WarIautoists. It is the gateway to Round Valley Recreation Area.

A compact community of primarily single-family dwellings, its 2000 population of 1,065 was 95 percent white. The median household income was $68,542 in 2000. For complete census figures, see chart, 133.

Lebanon Township. Originally a huge township that encompassed most of the northwesterly regions of Hunterdon County, Lebanon is 31.85 square miles in area. The township was created as a political entity in 1731 and incorporated in 1798. Lebanon’s northerly border is the Musconetcong River, which separates it from Warren County. Portions of the township were partitioned off to create other boroughs and townships up until 1919.

Early industry included the Allan and Turner iron works, the first iron forge in America. The furnace was located at Andover where the iron ore was loaded on mules and horses and transported down to Lebanon to the forge. Robert Taylor took charge of the iron industry about the time of the Revolution. An ardent patriot, he had cannonballs cast for Washington’s army and shipped them in wagons to New Brunswick, Trenton, and Philadelphia. Today no large industry exists in Lebanon Township; it is a residential and farm community.

The 2000 population was 5,816 persons; 97 percent of the residents were white. The 2000 median household income was $77,662.

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