Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July! Trenton Inter-State Fair Early 1900's

I thought this real-photo postcard showing the Trenton Inter-State Fair in the early 1900's would be perfect for today the Fourth of July.  Although I believe the Fair was typically held in September, with the big flag waving prominently in the front, it seems to say "patriotism" to me which is apropos for Trenton where so much of our country's early history took place.  It's a little hard to date this photo but I believe it to be from the very early 1900's (1900 - 1905) as some of sleeves on the women's dresses look very puffed up on top.

About the Inter-State Fair:  According to Grounds for Structure the Fairs were held intermittently in Trenton since 1745 when King George II granted a royal charter for the purpose of buying and selling livestock.  This was the first fair in Colonial America.  State Legislature banned all fairs in 1797 until 1858 when a revision was sought by the State Agriculture Society.  They were held sporadically in the mid-1880's.  In 1888 Trenton businessmen organized the State Fair Association and purchased more than 100 acres for a new park.  

The Inter-State Fairs were wildly successful, bringing in large crowds to see the horses and other livestock.  There were also contests in culinary arts and needlework - I have found newspaper reports in the Trenton Times where my husband's great-great grandmother and great-grandaunts won prizes in these categories.  The Midway attractions at the Fair featured daredevil stunts, horse races and special events such as a shooting match between Annie Oakley and Miles Johnson.  In the 1890's parachutists jumped from hot air balloons; at the turn of the century pioneers of aerial navigation, including the Wright Brothers, thrilled the crowds with their stunts.

Over the years people lost interest in the Fair and attendance dwindled.  In 1980 the land was sold and the last Fair was held that year.  For more information on the history of the Interstate Fair visit the Grounds for Sculpture at:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Did Great-Grandmother Wear This in Trenton, NJ?

What did the fashionable Trenton, New Jersey woman wear in 1908? According to the 3 May 1908 Trenton Evening Times edition this shirtwaist gown was one of the most popular of the new designs of that time.  It was elegant, simple and appealed to women of refined tastes.  A pattern could be purchased for ten cents from the Trenton Times to make this dress - imagine, only a dime!  For a medium sized woman it took 8 1/2 yards of fabric to make this dress.  

Box pleats ornamented either side of the front and back creating a trim waist.  The sleeves were a combination of a puffed upper and fitted, wrinkled lower.  Suggested fabrics were the new soft woolens or taffeta.

The model drawn here is quite lovely with her large, stylish hat.  As we have no pictures, I can only wonder if this is what our female Rogers ancestors were wearing at the time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Medical Monday - Dr. Alvin S. Rogers' Microscope

This photograph of the microsope used by Dr. Alvin S. Rogers, my husband's grandfather was quite an exciting find. This picture was found in the book published by a distant cousin of my husband, Dr. Fred B. Rogers, The Healing Art, The Medical Society of New Jersey through two centuries 1766 - 1966.  Fred Rogers was a son of Dr. Lawrence Rogers, who was a son of Irvin Rogers, and a brother of Elmer H. Rogers, Alvin's father.  Dr. Alvin S. Rogers practiced  between 1920 and 1947 in Trenton, NJ.  I don't know how Fred Rogers got possession of Alvin's microscope or the picture of it, there are no pictures on this side of the family so this is particularly precious. Dr. Alvin S. Rogers died of heart complications 23 May1937 at the age of 47.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Matrilineal Monday – Margaret Ann Hall 1930 - 2011

This beautiful young woman was my mother-in-law Margaret Ann Hall who was born 11 Dec 1930 in Nassau Bahamas to Margaret Louise (Smith) and Hershel Stanley Hall.  She was the youngest child of six, and the couple's only daughter.  At the age of sixteen her mother sent her to Miami, FL to work as a nanny for a wealthy family from New York who wintered in Miami.  Margie had lived a sheltered life up until this time and her mother warned her to do her job and stay away from boys.  Unfortunately for Margie she was a beautiful young woman and I suspect heads turned wherever  she went.  The family she worked for spent each winter in a luxury hotel on Miami Beach and it was here that she met the man who was to become her husband.

Alvin S. Rogers, Jr. had just gotten out of the Navy and instead of going home to Trenton, NJ to become a doctor as was expected of him, he wanted to do something different with his life.  He had seen the world while in the Navy and gotten out from under, what I believe, was a domineering mother.  He stopped in Miami to make his own way and took a job as a doorman at the same hotel where Margie was working, and history, as they say, was made.  As soon as their paths crossed, Al was smitten with the young beauty and as the story has been told in this family, could not leave her alone.  In June 1949, Margie was sent back to New York with her young charge in an effort to keep her away from Alvin.  Not be deterred, Alvin, along with his sister jumped in a car and drove all the way to New York to woo his true love.  There are a lot more details to this story that I will not bore you with, but in the end they were wed in New York, NY on 10 Jun 1949 and their first son was born nine months later in Miami in March 1950.  Another son would follow in 1951, a daughter in 1952.

On 11 May 1953, while eight months pregnant with her fourth child, my husband, Margie petitioned the U.S. District Court in Miami for Naturalization and was granted the same.  On the Petition she listed her current address: 11501 NE 11 Pl, Miami, Fla; she listed her date of birth and place of birth (Nassau, Bahamas), her height, 5’1’, her weight 100 pounds.  She listed her husband as Alvin Stackhouse Rogers (click here for a look at his ancestry chart) and their marriage date as 10 Jun 1949.  She also listed her three children, their names and dates of birth.

She stated she was 21 years of age and formerly a British citizen.  The picture here is the one that was used on the Department of Justice's Certificate of Naturalization.  I have to assume this picture was taken at or about this time so she would have been about 21 in this picture and was most likely pregnant with my husband at that time.  So few pictures exist in my husband’s family so this makes it all the more special to us.  

Margie and Alvin went on to have three more children for a total of seven.  There are many more stories I could tell, and I'm sure there were some happy times but the marriage had insurmountable issues.  Alvin's mother inserted herself into their life and many problems ensued.  Unfortunately their marriage ended in divorce in March 1971.  She later married Joseph Eaglebarger (1929 - 1986).  After her second husband's death she lived for a number of years in Margate, FL and then in Georgia with one of her sons.  She also traveled around the country and to Nassau visiting family on a regular basis.  Margie's family was extremely important to her and nothing made her more happy than to have them gathered around her. After a short illness she died 26 Aug 2011 at the age of 80 in Plantation, FL at our home.  In the short time before she died she shared with us many stories we had never heard before and we felt honored and privileged to have had that time to talk to her and hear her stories. She left behind six living children, thirteen living grandchildren, a number of great-grandchildren as well as many family members in the Bahamas.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, one son and one grandson.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Alpha Hildinger Cutler Ullrich, Trenton, NJ

The sister of my husband's great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Hildinger Johnston and great grand-uncle, Charles C. Hildinger of Trenton, New Jersey.  Alpha was first married to Clinton Charles Cutler, well-known and respected newspaperman in Trenton.  Sometime after his death in 1926, probably about 1930 she married family friend and  extremely successful, local undertaker, Frank J. Ullrich who died in 1942.  Alpha was born in Pennsylvania about 1871 to John A. and Mary Jane (Cochran) Hildinger, she died in Trenton, NY on 29 May 1945.

Trenton Evening Times 30 May 1945

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Trenton, NJ

Trenton, NJ Postcard (unused) ca 1940

Postcard of Trenton, NJ circa 1940, showing night view of State Street West from Broad Street - you can see the Hotel Stacy Trent in the rear left.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sepia Saturday #110 - Theatre - Charles C. Hildinger - Movie Pioneer, Trenton, NJ

This week's theme over at Sepia Saturday is "Theatre" and nothing screams theatre to me more than Charles C. Hildinger,  my husband's great-grand-uncle.  I've written numerous times about Charles who's known as the "Nickel King" or "Five Cent King" of Trenton, NJ one of the pioneers of moving picture theatres in Trenton at the beginning of the twentieth century.    He got this nickname because when he moved to Trenton around 1898 he didn't have a nickel to his name.  He grew up on a farm in Armstrong County, PA where he was born on 15 Dec 1876 to John A. and  Mary Jane (Cochran) Hildinger. Charles' father came to this country at the age of two years with his parents John and Margaret, and older sister Rosana by ship in 1833 from W├╝rttemberg, Germany and settled in Westmoreland County,  PA.  Charles was the youngest of seven children and when he was eleven years old his father, a Civil War veteran, died.

The story of Charles Hildinger was never passed down to my husband and his siblings and unfortuantely there are no known family pictures of him to share.  Everything I know about him I have discovered from hours of research.  I have over two hundred news clippings alone!

In 1898 after trying his hand at several professions in Pittsburgh, and McKeesport, PA, he went to Trenton with his partner and brother-in-law Clinton C. Cutler. They went to work for the circulation department of the Trenton Times and later jointly bought the circulation of Times.  While visiting Pittsburgh, perched on a curb Charles noticed people going in and out of a moving picture show and calculated the evening's take.  He went back to Trenton and created the "Bijou" at 23 North Warren Street which opened on 28 Jun 1906 to much fanfare.  The Bijou was described in a Trenton Times article as "a beautiful little white and gold palace of moving pictures.  The article also stated that "the opening was a great success and it was estimated between 1200 and 1500 persons witnessed the performances that night and half that number were turned away early in the evening."   He and Cutler created the Dream Amusement Company, but within a few years he became the sole owner and Cutler dedicated himself to the newspaper business.  

Within ten years he would own ten movie theatres in Trenton one of them being the "Nicolette" at 134 South Broad Street.  His string of movie houses would also include the "Princess" on North Clinton Avenue, the "Victory" on South Broad Street, the "Rialto" on Pennington Avenue, the "American on Princeton Avenue, the "Strand" on Hermitage Avenue and the "Garden" on North Broad Street.  He also had interests in the "Greenwood" and "City Square" theatres in which he was aided by financially interested associates.  He became associated with Milton Hirshfield and they acquired the "Stacy Theatre" on East State Street.  He was also invested in numerous other ventures in Trenton and elsewhere including amusement holdings at Belmar, Asbury Park as well as being a member of  a group that erected the Lincoln Theatre in Trenton.  Charley, as he was known, became a well-known and respected businessman in Trenton.  He was active in charity work and a member of a number of organizations, including the Trenton Lodge No 105, B.P.O. Elks, the Allied Motion Picture Theatre Association and the Trenton Republican Club just to name a few.  In 1922 he was named treasurer of the New Jersey Motion Picture Owners' Association.

Courtesy of Ken Roe, Cinema Treasures
My husband's great-grandfather, David R. C. Johnston, was the manager of several of Charley's theatres over a period of years.  He was the husband of Mary Elizabeth Hildinger, Charley's sister.  They came from Clearfield, PA around 1916 and David worked for Charley until he retired.   He was first a manager for the Park Theatre which later became the Rialto, and he was the first manager of the Strand Theatre which was on the corner of Hermitage and Edgewood.  Their only child, Luella Ruth Johnston Rogers, my husband's grandmother, was an accomplished musician and organist.  It seems the theatrical gene ran in the family.  David and Mary lived at 633 Edgewood  Drive  and rented rooms in their home to people who worked at the theatre.  The Strand closed in 1963 and was taken over by the Trenton Free Library.

Hildinger Theatres Ad in Trenton Evening Times Apr 1919

On 27 Oct 1915 Charles married Helen Beatrice Dunn, daughter of Harry and Margaret (Mooney) Dunn.  They had two children, John Clark and Claire Helen.  John Clark never married, Claire married late in life and neither had any grandchildren to pass the family theatre legacy on to.  Charley died of a heart attack on 2 Sep 1931 at the age of fifty-four and his wife took over the reins of his empire.  From all reports of what I've read, Charley was larger than life, much loved and respected.  I'm not sure what happened to all the memorabilia of this extraordinary and exciting life; it's a shame some of the memories were not passed down to other members of the family - I'm sure they would have enjoyed knowing Charley!

3 Sep 1931 Trenton Evening Times

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - James Lamb Bowers, Maryland

James Lamb Bowers 
Born:  7 Feb 1810 Maryland
Died:  4 Jan 1882 New Castle County, Delaware
Burial:  Cecil Burial Ground
            Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland

My husband's gr-gr-great-grandfather
Father of Thomas Lamb Bowers
Father of Mary Olivia Bowers
Mother of Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr.
Father of Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Jr.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Notable Trenton Homes - Trenton, NJ

On Sunday I posted the obituary of Irvin Wise Rogers, my husband's great-grand-uncle who died 12 May 1912 in Trenton, NJ.  A prosperous and well-respected businessman with the Standard Fire Insurance Company, he had just built a new home five months before he died.  I found this article in the Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser published on 8 Jun 1913:

The article below describes in detail the home inside and out from the architecture of the brick home (modified Colonial) to the garden designed by horticulturalist, Edmund C. Hill.  The home was built in the heart of the old estate of the Cadwaladers, then known as the Cadwalader Park section.  The architect was William W. Slack with much input by Mr. and Mrs Rogers.  The article goes on to describe the entrance, the vestibule, the library with many books, dining room, butler's pantry and kitchen.  There was a porch that at the last moment was turned into a glassed and heated study and after Mr. Rogers' death used by his son Dr. Lawrence H. Rogers.   Family bedrooms were on the second floor along with five closets and a thoroughly modern bathroom.  There was also a third story which was furnished along with a storeroom.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Irvin W. Rogers

Irvin Wise Rogers
10 Dec 1863 - 12 May 1912

This is the obituary of my husband's great grand-uncle, Irvin Wise Rogers, who was a well known and respected businessman in Trenton, NJ.  He was born 10 Dec 1863 in Edgewood, Bucks County, PA to Levi H. Rogers and Jane Eliza (Slack) Rogers.  He was also the brother of Dr. Elmer H. Rogers of Trenton, NJ and Dr. Benjamin H. Rogers, of Patterson, NJ.

He was married to Ida May Tallman of Bucks County, PA about 1882.  Sometime around 1890 they moved to Trenton, New Jersey where for many years he was the secretary of the Standard Fire Insurance Agency. They had four living children, Dr. Lawrence H. Rogers, Norman Tallman Rogers who later became an attorney and Superior Court Judge of New Jersey, Irvin W. Rogers, Jr. and one daughter Helen M. Rogers.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Madness Monday - Ella Rogers - Trenton Lunatic Asylum

Trenton Times 20 Jul 1902

As a follow up to my last few postings about Mary and Ella Rogers and their hospitalizations at the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, I just found this brief clipping which showed me that Ella spent more time there than I originally knew.  It appears she was admitted as early as 1902, but must have been released and readmitted a number of times.  I know this through census records and I also have other newspaper clippings where she attended social events, etc.  Sad, sad, sad........
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