This Day in History: October 1st, 1914

This Day in History: October 1st, 1914


Aged Woman Who Lived Alone Has Her Home Destroyed – Nothing Saved – Other Local News

MILLTOWN, Oct. 1 – Mrs. Kate Rappleyea, widow of the late Jacob Rappleyea and better known as “Aunt Kate,” had a narrow escape yesterday. While resting in the front room of her home on Riva Avenue after lunch, awaiting water to heat for washing dishes, she heard a roaring sound from her kitchen. Upon investigation, she was met with a wall of flames. In under an hour and a half, her home was reduced to ruins.

The suspected cause of the fire is the flare-up of the kerosene stove. Mrs. Rappleyea mentioned that the rear door was partly open, and a strong northwest gale from yesterday had forced it completely open.

Upon seeing the flames, Mrs. Rappleyea tried to fetch water from a nearby pump to put out the fire. However, upon her return, she was met with a burst of flames that scorched her and nearly overcame her. Despite her age, she managed to exit the house and scream for help. Her cries were heard by Mrs. Titus and her son Harold, who lived a quarter of a mile away. They, along with Mrs. August Anderson and a road worker, rushed to assist.

At the same time, Councilman W. R. Evans and Addison Thompson, who were at the corner of Richter Avenue and Clay Street, heard her cries. They noticed the smoke and flames, prompting Thompson, an ex-foreman of the fire company, to run towards the fire. Evans, on the other hand, sounded the alarm.

Engine Makes Good Time

C. W. Waddington, the chief chauffeur for Eureka Fire Company, No. 1, promptly dispatched the chemical apparatus after the alarm sounded at one o’clock. He was accompanied by Chris Jensen, a patrol member. Others, including Henry A. Christ, Winfield Fine, Fred Hartlander, and second assistant foreman Martin Miller, were quick to arrive. Many neighbors and townsfolk also joined in the effort, assisting where they could.

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Heavy Gale Fuels Flames

When the local fire apparatus arrived on the scene, flames were already pouring out of the roof. Despite the firefighters’ efforts, the building burned completely to the ground. A strong northwest gale fanned the flames to such an intensity that the fire became unmanageable. At one point, even trees across the street caught fire.

Firefighters Save What They Can

About the only items the firemen were able to save were a shed at the rear of the house, several Maltese kittens, 13 chickens, and some bedclothes along with other minor articles.

Lost $30 in Flames

Mrs. Rappleyea mentioned she had thirty dollars stored in a bureau drawer in the upper part of the house. This money was earmarked for her winter coal supply. Anxious to recover it, she informed Harold Titus, one of the first responders on the scene, about the cash. Harold attempted to reach the bureau, but the heat upstairs was overwhelming. While searching, he was struck by a flying pane of glass, suffering burns on his arms. This forced him to retreat without recovering the money. Additionally, several important papers, including the deed for the property, were lost in the fire.

When Mrs. Titus arrived, Mrs. Rappleyea was nearly exhausted. Shortly after the fire team’s arrival, the injured lady was transported in Theodore Sutphen’s automobile from New Brunswick to the home of W. G. Evans. Dr. Forney was then summoned to provide the necessary medical attention.

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Mrs. Rappleyea, 74 Years Old

Mrs. Rappleyea turned seventy-four on the 16th inst. She had been living alone in her Riva Avenue home. Throughout her life, she faced numerous adversities. Her husband, Jacob Rappleyea, was tragically drowned near Parsons’ during a freshet some years ago. In a span of three weeks, she lost her three grown-up sons to diphtheria. Her brother, William DeHart, dropped dead right opposite her home just as it was completed. Yesterday, aside from the clothes on her back, she lost almost everything she owned.

For now, Mrs. Rappleyea will stay with Mr. and Mrs. Jacob DeHart on Main Street, Milltown.

Forest Fire Also Raging

While Mrs. Rappleyea’s home was ablaze on Riva Avenue yesterday afternoon, another fire ignited on the outskirts of South Milltown in the forest. The damages from this fire are not believed to be significant.

Insurance on Rappleyea Dwelling

The Rappleyea residence was insured for $1,000, but only for the house. The personal property inside is a complete loss.

Girl Faints

In the midst of the chaos and rush to the fire yesterday, a young Michelin employee, having recently finished a substantial meal, tripped over her own feet and fell face-first in the street. This left her unconscious for about fifteen minutes. When she awoke, she was astonished to find a crowd of people surrounding her, resting on a couch in a friend’s home. For a moment, she believed she was at a surprise party.

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Many at Picnic

Despite the late season and the cool evening, a significant crowd attended the first annual picnic of the Michelin Band at Parsons’ Grove. The music provided by the Michelinites was exemplary, ensuring everyone had a joyous time.

At Trenton

Local attendees at the Trenton Fair included Councilmen Charles Bauries and Albert Skewis, Messrs. Elmer Sayre, William Glock, George McGinnis, Peter Jensen and his son Peter, Edward Schlosser, William Beecher, George Detaler, Mr. and Mrs. George Kuhlthau, Miles Kuhlthau, Mr. and Mrs. Christian Kuhlthau, Mr. and Mrs. J.V.L. Booraem, Miss Mae Lins, Miss Lillian Wilenbrock, Mrs. Charles Denhard, and John Bauries.

Other Local Items

  • Charles Weyd and his son visited Newark.
  • Ferdinand Denhard injured his chin in a fall on his way home from school, requiring Dr. Forney’s services.
  • Louis Jensen visited Perth Amboy.
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Hoffer are at the Trenton Fair today, as is Charles Denhard.
  • Messrs. Harold Schlosser, James Selover, and Gilbert Gill enjoyed a bay trip aboard the “Ben Hur.”
  • C.E. Reichardt, a Michelin salesman in the Dakotas, has returned to the plant.
  • Oscar Wagner from Minneapolis is visiting his parents in the borough.
  • Chris. Crabiel has rented Jasper Field’s barns and took possession.

The Christs Surprised

Mr. and Mrs. George E. Christ were pleasantly surprised at their new Van Liew Avenue home on Tuesday evening by friends and family honoring Mr. Christ’s birthday. The celebration included musical selections, singing, games, and a delightful meal. Attendees were Misses Edith, Margaret, Martha, Elizabeth, and Mary Christ; Maria Lins; Messrs. Alfred Christ, Charles, John, and Harold Christ; Fred Lins; Russell Lins; Mr. and Mrs. Berthold Christ; Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Christ; Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Christ and son Vincent; Mr. and Mrs. George E. Christ and daughter Lorna; Mr. and Mrs. John Lins; and Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Christ.

Rally Tonight

Local Epworthians will attend a rally at St. James Church, New Brunswick, this evening, departing on the 7:18 trolley.

Entertainment Tomorrow Night

Keith Cherry, the renowned impersonator and humorist from Philadelphia, will entertain at the Methodist Church tomorrow night. Admission is 25 cents for adults and 15 cents for children.

This Day in History: August 5th, 1911

This Day in History: August 5th, 1911


Parade, Picnic and Fireworks Will Help Celebrate the Arrival of Borough’s First Fire Apparatus- Boy Badly Burned.

MILLTOWN, Aug. 5. The day of great import to Milltown history has at last arrived and every resident from the ages of 5 to 90 will do honor to the firemen who take charge of the day.

Homes and public buildings are prettily decorated with the red, white and blue and the air of the town is one of gaiety. The borough hall is covered with flags and bunting and is a fit home for the borough first fire apparatus.

Picnic at Milltown Park.

The big picnic, which is staged at Milltown Park, begins at 3 o’clock, when Sheridan’s full orchestra plays for all who care to dance. On the adjoining grounds the Crescent A. C. are battling for supremacy over Spotswood and slump or no slump a Milltown team cannot lose today.

Parade Begins at 1 O’clock.

At 1 o’clock the firemen will meet at the borough hall to form the line parade. The line will be lead by the borough’s stalwart marshals followed by the Milltown Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps, which will reel off the tunes as never before. Then will come the Mayor, Council, and other borough officials In automobiles. Following these there will be the firemen and visiting firemen and last but not least the new apparatus which will be the cynosure of ail eyes.

Line of March.

The line of march will be from the Borough Hall on Main street to Church street, to Clay street, to Ford avenue, to Main street, to Booraem avenue, countermarch to Riva avenue, Riva avenue to grove.

When darkness has sufficiently covered the town a brilliant display of fireworks will be given at the grove. Great preparations have been made to accommodate the large crowd.

Mayor Richters’ Day.

This will be a great day for Mayor Conrad Richter, who has been the instrument in organizing a fire department and whose vigor has finally obtained fire protection for the borough. This is his day too.

Boy Badly Burned.

The four year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lee, met with a painful accident last night at his home on Clay street. While passing a kerosene light on a table, his clothes caught on the table cover upsetting the lamp. In a twinkling he was In flames. His father was standing near and managed to quickly beat out the flames, but not before the son was badly burned,

The boy was removed to the hospital where it was said that he was in a critical condition. The damage to the room was slight.

Mrs. William G. Evans, Miss Pearl Evans, and Russell Evans have returned from a visit to Long Island.

Miss Alma Kuhlthau has returned from Troy, N. Y., where she has been entertained by friends.

Mrs. Charles Sevenhair returned home last evening after a visit with Mrs. Henry Dorn at Avon.

Dr. N. N. Forney has purchased a Reo touring car.

Mrs. S. E. Stelle, Miss May Evans Miss Mildred Stelle and Clarkson Stelle were Asbury Park visitors on Friday.

Miss Florence Snediker starts tomorrow for a visit with friends in New Haven.

This Day in History: August 3rd, 1911

This Day in History: August 3rd, 1911


Will Be Exhibited at Fireman’s Picnic on August 5

MILLTOWN. Aug. 3. At 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon the new fire apparatus recently purchased by the borough from Boyd Brothers, of Philadelphia, for $4,100 arrived in the borough. On the truck was a chauffeur and representative of the firm and Mayor Conrad Richter, who, being anxious for fire protection in the borough, did much in bringing about the purchase of the truck.

The apparatus certainly made a fine appearance as it came through the borough yesterday. The body of the truck is red with yellow trimmings and on the front in large letters is the name of Milltown’s first fire company. On the truck are two chemical tanks, several feet of hose, extension ladders and hooks, which make a complete outfit.

The truck is propelled by motor power and is capable of making from 20 to 25 miles an hour. The body is set upon an autocar chassis. It is equipped with solid rubber tires.

The apparatus will be on exhibition on Saturday, August 5, when the firemen will hold their first grand picnic at Milltown Park. The day promises to be one of the greatest days of celebration in the history of the borough. The dancing will begin at the park at 3 p. m. and will continue until midnight. At 7 p. m. the officials of the borough. In automobiles, and the firemen will form a parade, preceded by the Milltown Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps. The line of march has not as yet been determined, but will include the principal streets of the borough.

But this- – pageant is not all. After dark there will be a grand display of fireworks at the park, which will attract many.

Saturday will be almost a holiday in the borough. It is thought that business places will close in the early afternoon in honor of the firemen. Houses will be gayly decorated with flags and bunting.

Complimentary tickets have been sent to the fire companies of New Brunswick and a record-breaking crowd is expected.

This day in History: Mar 25, 1905 Late Edition

This day in History: Mar 25, 1905 Late Edition


President Matlaok, of the International A. & V. Tire Company, of Milltown, last evening gave a $5 gold piece to each of the 35 men who handled the hose of the company’s fire department on the night of the recent fire. These men did valuable service before the New Brunswick firemen arrived.

This day in History: Mar 25, 1905 Early Edition

This day in History: Mar 25, 1905 Early Edition

The Daily home News: New Brunswick, N.J. Saturday March 25, 1905


To the Editor of The Dally Home News:

Dear Sir:Out-of-town newspaper accounts of a small Are which occurred here on the night of the 21st Inst., have been so exaggerated that an emphatic denial Is necessary to counteract, as far as possible, the harm done to us.

The impression was given that we were put out of business. In fact, several papers stated that all the way from six hundred to a thousand employees would be idle for several months, or until the factory could resume operations.

We would thank you to advise the trade that the building destroyed was a detached warehouse used for storage purposes only. No manufacturing was done In the building destroyed and In our main plant, which consists of four large brick buildings with boiler plant and fire room attached, not even a pane of glass was broken. Our plant was not affected in any way and our regular routine of manufacturing and shipping was not interrupted for a moment. Thanking you in advance for any kindness shown us in this matter, wo remain.

Yours truly,


(The exaggerated accounts alluded to were printed in the New York World, Journal and Several Philadelphia papers)

This day in History: March 5, 1924

This day in History: March 5, 1924


Old Man Weisskraks, who can always be depended upon to supply the latest gossip, supplemented by a few original comments whenever and wherever he can corner someone willing to listen to his prattle, was the victim of circumstances, last night, and will spend considerable time and energy in telling the world about it for the next few days to come.

It seems that the Old Boy Himself met with an accident yesterday that will not happen again, by gosh, if he can help it. No Unfortunately, while trying to extract a “chaw” of cut plug which he had saved for his after-dinner session at slim-Chances cut-rate  General Store, the Old Boy Himself dropped and smashed beyond any hope of future usefulness, the gold-rim- spectacles that were, figuratively, the apple of his both eyes. That in itself was a catastrophe. But, according to the old aphorism, (which by the way is a favorite, with the Old Boy) “It never rains but it pours.” the loss of his “specs” while bad enough, was only incidental: merely contributing to the general run of hard luck which followed quickly in It’s wake.

The Old Boy, it seems, is lost without his glasses. Lost, at least so far as reading the news is concerned. And reading the news is the one thing that “he Is fondest of.” Without his glasses, the Old Boy had to forego his daily session with the Daily Home News, and therefore could not really be blamed for what happened. Had he read the news in last night s paper he would have been saved considerable energy— about an hour’s.

Had he read the news he would have known that Milltown had installed a new fire siren, and had decided to give it a trial. Last night was the time set for the trial.

However, the Old Boy was completely unaware of the plans and not being able to read he decided to retire earlier than usual. Thus at 7 p. m. last night he was just about ready for bed, was. in fact, just about to turn out the light and crawl between the sheets, when, suddenly he stopped. Could It be? Had he heard aright? He stood motionless and listened. Yes there it was again. No doubt about it this time. That was the fire siren, all right. The Old Boy had no choice. There was only one thing for him to do. As a Public-Spirited-Citizen, it was his duty to at least, witness the event so that his voice might not be found wanting when the event was discussed, as it surely would be on the following day.

Hastily getting into his clothes he dashed from the house and started in the general direction of Fire Headquarters. No doubt the apparatus was well on it’s way by this time but he could learn the location of the fire and probably reach there before it was all over.

Arriving at the Fire House, breathless, and eager, he was dumb founded see all the department apparatus, still on the floor and a general appearance of ease and contentment everywhere in evidence. Evidently they had not heard the siren, thought the Old Boy, but, by ginger, he’d tell ’em. This he proceeded to do, punctuating his loud exclamations with frantically waving arms! Well. After the general laughter laid subsided and someone had mercifully told him alt about it, he sheepishly, and with a sorry attempt at his usual proud gait, started hack home murmuring sweet nothings, as he thought, of the morrow and the razzing that was in store for him.