This Day in History: September 29th, 1914

This Day in History: September 29th, 1914


MILLTOWN, Sept. 29 – The first burglary that Milltown has heard of in a long time took place sometime last night, probably while all Michelinites were in Brunswick celebrating the winning of the second pennant in the New Brunswick Factory League.

It was at the railroad station of the Raritan River Railroad on Washington Ave. where the robbery occurred. From what could be learned this morning, the extent of the theft is a sweater owned by Winfield Fine of Milltown, an employee.

The safe, which reportedly had not been locked, was open. All papers, books, etc., were strewn about the floor. No money could be found as it had been safeguarded by the agent in another way. Thus, the robbers were evidently disappointed. Everything was topsy-turvy: chairs, filing cabinets, desks, and other movable items were out of place. Papers and other valuables from the safe were scattered on the floor. Entrance was made by breaking the lock on one of the windows, and the exit was evidently made the same way, as there was no other evidence remaining.

As of now, no clue has been found.

Miss Van Arsdale’s Party

A delightful party was held at the home of Miss Augusta Van Arsdale of South Main Street last Saturday night. Piano selections were rendered by Misses Anna K. Hoelzer of Milltown and Miss Alice Ayres of New Brunswick, and singing was also enjoyed. Various games were played during the evening, and a delicious collation was served before the guests departed.

The guests were:
From Milltown: Misses Augusta Van Arsdale, Gertrude Schildt, Anna K. Hoelzer, Mr. and Mrs. Voorhees Van Arsdale, Mr. and Mrs. Addison Thompson and daughter Margaret.
From New Brunswick: Misses A. Gourley, Alice Ayres, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Van Arsdale, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Van Hise, Messrs. James Gourley, George Gourley, Harold Hyle, Eddie Torney, Willard Thompson.

Exciting Runaway
A horse owned by W. Kubitz, a grocer of this place, and driven by Harry Moor, was frightened yesterday afternoon by the whistle of a train at the Raritan River Railroad depot. It raced down Washington Avenue at a terrific pace. As the horse neared the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue, a trolley car was blocking the crossing. The horse kept its pace and was heading straight for the car when a heroic motorman leapt from the car, grabbed the horse by the head, and steered it in front of the car and over the tracks in front of the car barns. The horse was halted by the motorman, who held onto it until the driver caught up.

W. C. T. U. Meeting

The regular full session of the W. C. T. U. is being held in the Methodist Church here today. The State president of the W. C. T. U. will deliver an address this afternoon at two o’clock and again at 7:20 this evening. Next Monday night, at the Rescue Council, there will be delegations present from Elizabeth, Plainfield, and New Brunswick. All members are requested to be present. The State Councilor, Howard S. DeHart, will be there and will likely have something to say in the interest of the order.

Borough Council Meeting

An adjourned meeting of the Borough Council will be held at Borough Hall this evening.


Arthur Beecher has resigned from his position with C. W. Kuhlthau and has accepted a position with Hermann’s bakery, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Fred Young.

Mrs. Chris Jensen and Mrs. Chas. Denbard visited New York City over the weekend.

Postmaster J. V. L. Booraem is confined to his home with a severe cold.

Michelin Band Picnic Tomorrow

Tomorrow night at Parsons’ Grove, the Michelin Band will hold their first annual picnic, to which all are invited. Michelin will provide their own music. Mr. and Mrs. D. V. Wyckoff of Brooklyn were guests at the home of Mrs. Stelle on Sunday.

The Unholy Reverend: The Mystical Life and Trials of Eugene Bagonye

The Unholy Reverend: The Mystical Life and Trials of Eugene Bagonye

1914 – 1919: Early Endeavors and Military Service

July 9, 1914
At the young age of 19, Eugene I. Bagonye married 33-year-old widow Emily M. Hodge from England in a ceremony held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City after a whirlwind romance lasting six days. However, the marriage soon faced troubles owing to their age difference, leading to their separation just three months later.

May 2, 1916
In a heartwarming display of friendship, Eugene Bagonye witnessed his friend Henry Stern convert to Christianity, abandoning his ancient Hebraic faith in a ceremony officiated by Rev. John Szabo of the Hungarian Catholic Church in South River. This change of faith was inspired by their close bond, emphasizing the depth of their friendship. Stern and Bagonye had plans to attend the American University in Chicago to study chiropractic, with aspirations to open a practice in Milltown.

October 1917
Bagonye enlisted in the army, initially continuing his work as a faculty member at the Palmer School in Davenport, Iowa, before beginning regular army training in early 1918. Bagonye’s tenure in the army saw him rise to the rank of sergeant, with his service majorly stationed at Camp Dix.

January 21, 1919
Sergeant Bagonye was honorably discharged from the army. Shortly after, he re-enlisted, planning to return to his duties at the Palmer School before resuming his responsibilities in the army, taking charge of six other individuals for their trip to Iowa.

1921-1923: Legal Troubles and Divorce

April 25, 1921
Bagonye, who now bore the title “Professor” and dabbled in spiritualistic practices, found himself arrested under the “Section 71; Witchcraft” clause of the New Jersey Penal Code. Despite the arrest, Bagonye held services at Begonia Health House in Hungry Hill, Milltown, New Jersey. Dubbed the “necromancer of Hungry Hill,” he was accused of fraudulent activities, involving the sale of a “good luck powder” and alleged theft. Bagonye’s colorful career history came to light during this time, including his experience as an assistant pastor, employment agency owner, real estate dealer, and cook’s instructor in the army, among other roles.

January 23, 1923
The clergyman Bagonye, now serving at the Themomistic Church in Milltown, was advised to be granted a divorce from his estranged wife Emily M. Hodge on grounds of her infidelity and their irrevocable differences. Their tragic marital history surfaced, highlighting Hodge’s criminal background and subsequent deportation.

January 26, 1922
Desiring to commence his new role as a Theomentatie minister with a clear conscience, Bagonye initiated divorce proceedings against Hodge, invoking her unfaithfulness as the primary reason. The divorce proceedings revealed the rapid progression of their relationship, which moved from acquaintance to marriage within a span of six days. Bagonye emphasized his commitment to his ministerial duties and expressed a strong desire to start afresh, rid of the troubled marriage that haunted his past.

1925: The Supernatural Remedy Proposal

September 2, 1925
Amidst a water shortage crisis in Milltown, Bagonye penned a letter to Mayor Herbert, offering his supernatural assistance to solve the problem. He proposed a contractual agreement wherein, for $8,000, he would employ his purported divine abilities to increase the water supply in the borough’s wells to meet current and future demands for the next three to five years. The proposal, which promised a continual and increased supply of water through supernatural means, sought to provide a cheaper alternative to drilling a new well, estimated to cost $30,000.

September 15, 1925
Bagonye’s proposal was deliberated in a borough council session, during which the desperate circumstances of the water supply were discussed in detail. The critical situation involved the emergency sourcing of water from Lawrence Brook, and restrictions imposed on water usage for car washing and lawn sprinkling. Bagonye’s solution, which brought a glimmer of hope in a trying time, was referred to the Superintendent of Water, Samuel Spiers, for careful consideration, showcasing the council’s open-mindedness in exploring diverse solutions to address the pressing issue.

This detailed chronological recount encompasses the significant events in Eugene Bagonye’s life, bringing a rich context to his personal and professional journey, marked by both service and controversy. It covers his romantic endeavors, deep friendships, military service, brushes with the law involving an arrest for witchcraft, and his rather unconventional offer of employing supernatural means to solve a community crisis, depicting a life certainly full of ups and downs.

Here is a link to his Grave location in Long Island.

Compiled and arranged by: Randy Ruth

This Day in History: September 17th, 1912

This Day in History: September 17th, 1912

Michelin to Establish French School in Milltown

MILLTOWN, Sept. 17 – A French school is currently under preparation opposite the main office of the Michelin Tire Company. The initiative is said to appoint a French teacher to run a private school exclusively for the French children residing in the borough. This modern facility will be centrally located, heated by steam from the factory, and will operate independently.

Miss Felter previously taught at the institution for around three years; however, this was approximately a decade ago when there was a pressing need for a primary room. At that time, the only school serving north Milltown was housed in the building now functioning as the present post office.

In other news from the locality, Casper Gronley along with four friends embraced the traditional sport of coon hunting last Friday night, a popular pastime among several young men in Milltown. Despite not finding the exact species they were hoping for, they managed to catch one with a distinctive streak of white running down its back.

Last Friday evening also witnessed a group of young ladies showering Miss Mamie Christ of Van Liew Avenue with gifts, celebrating her upcoming wedding in a delightful gathering filled with joy and anticipation.

In the business sphere, William Becker and Oscar Lindstrom are on the verge of founding a plumbing and hardware company, which will be named William Becker & Co. Considering the ongoing surge in construction and renovation activities in Milltown, the prospects appear bright for their venture, and the community extends its best wishes for their success.

Lastly, we received news that Mrs. Hermann visited Philadelphia today.

This Day in History: September 13th, 1909

This Day in History: September 13th, 1909

Milltown Proud of the New M. E. Parsonage

MILLTOWN, Sept. 13-William Jaeger, of New York, was a week-end guest at the home of Charles Smith. Mrs. Charles Herrmann, of Main street, entertained out of town guests over Sunday.

The manager of the football team of the Crescent A. C. has asked that all candidates for the 1909 football eleven appear ready for light practice next Thursday evening. As the Crescents are quite enthusiastic over the game, it is expected that there will be a large number of candidates on hand. Mrs. William C. Kuhlthau, who has been quite ill, is convalescing under the care of Dr. N. N. Forney.

The congregation of the German Reformed Church listened to a very excellent sermon given by Rev. J. M. C. Garmo, of Buffalo, yesterday morning. Miss Mamie Glock assumed her duties as teacher in the South River public school to-day.

The above sketch is a true representation of the new M. E. parsonage at Milltown. It presents quite an imposing appearance, and is one of the finest residences in the town.

It is provided with all the modern improvements, steam heat, electric lights, Kewanee water system, a well equipped laundry, together with a gas heating range for the kitchen. On the first floor are the reception hall, parlor, library, dining room and kitchen.

On the second floor are five good-sized sleeping apartments besides a fair-sized bathroom. The trimming is of red oak, with hardwood floors throughout.

The reception hall and parlor are separated by artiste grill work, and the winding stairway running through the center of the house makes the hall very attractive. The cost of the building is estimated at $5,500, the architect of said building being George K. Parsell, of this city.

The pastor and family are now occupying the parsonage, and expect, with the aid of the ladies of the church. to hold a reception in the very near future, to which all members and friends of the congregation will be welcome.

This Day in History: August 30th, 1909

This Day in History: August 30th, 1909


MILLTOWN, Aug. 31 – The Borough Council held an adjourned meeting on Saturday evening.

The Borough Clerk read an ordinance for the grading of Ford avenue from the westerly side of Main street to a point three hundred feet west of the westerly side of Main street. The ordinance was passed on its first reading. The clerk was authorized to post notices and intentions of the same in public places of the borough.

The profile map of Ford avenue made by the borough engineer was accepted. Mayor Perry stated that the Public Service was now busy in repairing the streets that were disturbed by the laying of the gas pipes. The meeting was then adjourned.

Miss Charlotte Heinz was a visitor of Miss Martha Brant yesterday.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams and daughter, of New Haven, Conn., are visiting at the home of Mrs. Mary Patterson, of Ford Avenue

Misses Lizzie Patterson and Elizabeth Kuhlthau start to-day for a week’s visit at Asbury Park.

Mrs. Conrad Heyl and Miss Alice Heyl, of Main street, have returned from an extended visit to George’s Road.

The Ladies’ Aid Society of the Ger man Reformed Church are busy preparing for their annual harvest home, to be held in the grove at the rear of the church on Thursday, Sept. 2. A good supper will await all that come, and a large crowd is expected.

The Ladies’ Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church will be held this evening at the home of Mrs. M. A. Evans, of Main street.

A petition is being circulated, signed by the property holders of North Main street, asking the borough, permission to oil said thoroughfare, providing the borough put the road bed in proper condition, and each property owner paying their share of the cost of oiling. It is, to be hoped that permission. will be granted, as it will greatly add to the beauty of the street and the comfort of those living along its roadbed.

This Day in History: August 26th, 1907

This Day in History: August 26th, 1907


The manufacture of the Michelin automobile tire tubes was begun at the Michelin Tire factory at Milltown, today. The company is making great progress with its buildings
M. Joseph Tansey, of the Michelin Company, left last week with J. C Matlack, for France. Messrs. Matlack and Tansey are expected back the second week in September. The trip is a business one.


The borough of Milltown is not going to be behind the times. Now that South River has voted upon having a borough hall and there is much talk of the Second Reformed Church In this city, being converted Into a city hall, the members of the Milltown Board of Education have transferred to the Borough Council the South Milltown school house to be used as a borough hall. While the new school will not be ready until the first of the year, the building will be used as a school up until that time, after which it will be turned into a borough hall and meeting place for the various borough committees.