Descendants of Phillip Kuhlthau, Who Emigrated to America in 1848, Prominent in Milltown’s Life and Development
New Brunswick owned its early growth to the people of several nationalities—English, Scotch, Irish, German, French and Hungarian. Milltown owes its development largely to citizens of German birth and extraction. Milltown, which was originally known as Bergen’s Mills in honor of the mill proprietor, Jacob L. Bergen, and German names have been synonymous for many years, especially the name Kuhlthau,
The Bergen mill disappeared in 1843 when Christopher Meyer, a citizen of Germany, used the water power for his rubber manufacturing plant, which really gave Milltown its start. In 1816, it could boast of a population of twenty-five, one mill, a tavern, five or six houses and only two or three of them dwellings. By 1872, it had a box factory, two stores, two mills, two meat markets, two taverns, a church, and a number of dwellings to house a population of 400.
The first Kuhlthau to arrive in Milltown was Phillip. It was about 1850. He was the son of John Henry Kuhlthau and his wife, Barbara Lins, both of Oberzell, Germany. They had eleven children, and Phillip was born October 22, 1829. He went to school in his native town and when quite young went to work on the public roads there. In 1848 he came to America and some time later located in Milltown. For two years he engaged in farm work, and for the three following years was employed by the Ford Rubber Company. In 1852, he went abroad to see his grandfather, and when he returned he brought with him his parents and their family.
In 1855, he went into business for himself, opening in Milltown a small grocery store, which prospered. He soon became one of Milltown’s leading business men. In 1856 he married Catherine Klein of Milltown, by whom he had eight children.
He was active in Republican politics and held responsible offices in the county. He was a freeholder and a member of North Brunswick township for ten years, justice of the peace, commissioner of deeds, collector and postmaster at Milltown for several terms. The keynotes of his life were reliability and industry—characteristics that make for success today as they always have. They made Phillip Kuhlthau Milltown’s first citizen. His descendants have been and today are among the borough’s first citizens, leaders in improvement and in development.
There are about thirty-five Kuhlthaus living now in Milltown. Not long ago Christian Kuhlthau was renamed as the borough’s postmaster, giving him the distinction of serving under three presidents. At about the same time, Henry Kuhlthau was re-elected president of the Milltown Building and Loan Association, a position he has held since the association was founded in 1910. He is president of the National Porcelain Company and vice-president of the. Royston Paper Company. He was formerly a borough councilman and was first foreman of the fire company. He is associated, with his brothers, William H. and George, in the coal, flour and grain business, and the firm is known throughout central New Jersey for its excellent policies. He is vice-president and general manager. George Kuhlthau is the president of the company. His brother, William H., was formerly councilman and postmaster. He is secretary and treasurer of the company.
Other Milltown Kuhlthaus have been and are prominent in the life of the community. Still are others rising to prominence in various fields—business, medicine, law, politics, etc. For eighty years, there always have been Kuhlthaus in Milltown and Though it did not realize it at the time, Milltown was fortunate when Phillip Kuhlthau, picked the place for his home and business and political life.