This Day in History: September 20th, 1909

This Day in History: September 20th, 1909


Couple Charged With Robbing Milltown Man, Located at Perth Amboy and Confess Their Crime

MILLTOWN, Sept. 30 – The details surrounding the robbery of Frank Le Roy, a resident of Washington Avenue and an employee at the Michelin Tire Company, have been disclosed. On Friday, Mr. Le Roy visited South River, withdrawing $102 from a bank there around 11 o’clock in the morning. That evening, with the money still in his possession, he stopped at Sayer’s Hotel before proceeding home along Washington Avenue.

Approximately thirty minutes later, he returned to the hotel, bleeding profusely from his nose and mouth. Since Mr. Le Roy does not speak English, an interpreter was brought in to help him communicate what had transpired. He reported that he had been assaulted, held up, and robbed by two individuals he had noticed earlier in the hotel.

Constable A. Neldlinger was immediately assigned to track down the suspects. The constable followed their trail first to South Amboy and then on to Perth Amboy, where he involved the local police in the search. By Saturday afternoon, authorities had apprehended and detained the two men in question.

The suspects, identifying themselves as Henderson and Nelson, confessed to the crime promptly upon arrest. They also stated that they were both employed by the P. & C. Company. While they did confess to the crime, it remains unclear whether all of the stolen money was recovered.

Rumors have circulated suggesting the involvement of a third individual in the incident; however, this information has yet to be confirmed. The investigation is ongoing as officials work to verify the details provided and explore the potential participation of a third party in the criminal act.

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 16th, 1913

This Day in History: September 16th, 1913

Nobody Running for Mayor in Milltown

Democratic and Progressive tickets are practically blank—Republicans alone have named councilmen.

The political situation in Milltown is unique. The tickets are being printed for the primary election next Tuesday, but none of the three tickets has a candidate for mayor.

A reporter sought out a prominent resident of Milltown to find out the reason and he got this answer: “The simple reason is, that it is hard to get good men to go on the tickets anymore. There are men who are willing enough to be mayor, but the moment their names go on the ticket there is an opposition crowd set out to beat the man, no matter who he is. They do not want to elect their own man, but simply to beat the other fellow. The result is that good men will not allow themselves to be made monkeys of.”

The primary tickets in the borough are mostly blanks this year. The only borough man on the democratic ticket is Spencer Perry, for County Committeeman. The Democrats have no nominees for councilmen or mayor, nor do the Progressives.

The Republicans have put up William R. Evans and Clarence H. Crenning for councilmen and William Kuhlthau for County Committee. They would have put up a mayor but did not do so, because no man would stand for being made a target of opposition. Borough Clerk, Robert Harkins, is having the ballots printed now, and voters may write their choice in the blank spaces if they wish to.

This Day in History: September 15th, 1925

This Day in History: September 15th, 1925


Spiritualist Would Give Borough’s Wells More Water for $8,000; Asks Council for Contract

MILLTOWN, Sept. 15 – The Milltown Borough Council convened in its regular session last night to discuss a matter concerning the recent water shortage in the borough. A few weeks ago, the water supply became insufficient, leading to the need for pumping water from Lawrence Brook to address the emergency. In an attempt to resolve this issue, Reverend Eugene Bagonye, a renowned spiritualist, submitted a letter to Mayor Herbert, proposing supernatural solutions to prevent future droughts and enhance the community’s water supply. The letter sought an $8,000 contract with the council. Here is the text of the letter:

MILLTOWN, Sept. 2, 1925

Mayor Herbert
Milltown, N.J.

Your Honor:

Following our conversation this afternoon at your suggestion, I am writing this letter, which I kindly request you to present to the esteemed officials of our borough.

I, Reverend Eugene L. Bagonye, have received a divine calling from Our Lord Jesus Christ to invoke rain and increase the flow of springs to wells. Having read in the Daily Home News, and being a resident of Milltown, about the water shortage issue, I understand that the cost of drilling a new well would amount to approximately $30,000. I propose an alternative solution: for a sum of $8,000, I will enhance the well’s water flow and ensure a continuous supply to Milltown to address current emergencies and accommodate growth over the next three to five years. If this proposition aligns with your honorable body, I request a contract.

The contract terms can involve monthly payments or include partial upfront payment, based on the measurement of the current water supply, with the goal of providing an additional nine inches of water per well. If you find this proposal agreeable, please notify me, and I will arrange a meeting to provide further details about my work. I have held Milltown’s well-being close to my heart since their inception. I recall visiting the wells when they were initially dug and predicting that Milltown would face water shortages in the future. I mention this to establish the historical context.

Yours Sincerely,

The council referred Rev. Bagonye’s letter to Samuel Spiers, the Superintendent of Water, who is carefully considering the matter. Mr. Flynn from the New Brunswick Water Works informed officials last night that the water currently used in the borough meets safety standards. Mr. Flynn, a chemist at the nearby facility, conducted tests on both brook and well water in the local area, approving their quality. To meet the water demand, the borough is temporarily using additional water, which is sufficient unless residents become wasteful. The restrictions on car washing and lawn sprinkling remain in place due to the ongoing water supply concerns.

Borough Sidewalks

The council also discussed sidewalk concerns, particularly on Broad Street, where residents requested improvements. Broad Street’s proper grading will be established in the coming weeks, after which the council may draft an ordinance for sidewalk installation.

Street Committee Update

Charles Christ, the Chairman of the Street Committee, reported that property owners in North Milltown are cooperating well in regards to sidewalk construction. Contracts have been awarded, and work is expected to commence within the next week or ten days.

Light Collections

John Christ, Chairman of the Light Committee, reported that collections for August amounted to $1,361.58.

Local News

  • Mrs. Mary B. Montgomery, after spending a week with her son John Montgomery on First Street, has returned to her home in Philadelphia.
  • Raymond Mather, former traffic manager of the Michelin Tire Company but now residing in Holyoke, Massachusetts, visited Milltown, renewing old acquaintances.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wagner from Brooklyn enjoyed a weekend visit with Mr. and Mrs. John Mulvey on First Street.
  • Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Montgomery had the pleasure of hosting Mrs. Elizabeth Fox, Mrs. Montgomery’s sister from Philadelphia.
  • A group of local fishermen had a successful Sunday at Beach Haven, catching 115 fish. Participants included M. Martinot, Claude Cerey, Rene Fontlex, Jacob Van Deursen, Charles Gerst, Fred Moetz, Peter Cercy, and Emil Betzler.
  • Fred Brunning, a local confectioner, has enhanced his establishment with a modern mirror-backed fountain, considered the finest in Milltown. Mr. Brunning plans to put it into use soon, boasting that it includes every possible feature for a splendid experience.

This Day in History: September 14th, 1907

This Day in History: September 14th, 1907


Vice-President Emile Fontaine’s residence on Main Street, Milltown, was burglarized last evening. The thief made off with jewelry and money, managing to escape without being detected.

Mr. Fontaine is the vice-president of the Michelin Tire Company and resides in the recently purchased Sine residence by Dr. Ferdinand Riva. The family retired at 10 p.m. The nurse and interpreter, Miss Anlee Holohan, was partially awakened by someone passing through her room before dawn. She also heard noises downstairs but, as she had asked the cook to wake her early, she didn’t pay much attention to it.

When the cook came downstairs at 6 o’clock this morning, she was startled to find the kitchen door wide open with the doormat in place, and the window screen on the steps. It was evident that the thief had entered through the window.

A thorough search of the house had been conducted, but some items were overlooked. One hundred dollars belonging to Miss Holohan had disappeared.

Clothing Stolen from His Room
Superintendent Fontaine noticed early this morning that his clothing was missing from his room but found it at the top of the stairs. His silver watch and chain, purchased in Paris, were gone. A silver dollar had been taken from his vest pocket, along with some loose change.

Mrs. Fontaine discovered a small decorative platter halfway down the stairs, and her silver watch, along with a fine long gold chain for her neck, was missing. The chain was valued at $32 in Paris. An old gold watch of English make and a gold brooch, both belonging to Miss Holohan, were also taken. These items held significant sentimental value for her.

It was clear that the thief had moved silently through the house and taken great care not to disturb anyone further.

At half-past six this morning, Superintendent Fontaine called Justice Headley to conduct an investigation in his home. Naturally, the family was highly alarmed but relieved that no more had been stolen.

It seems that there has been recent prowling by thieves in this area of Milltown, likely taking advantage of the darkness resulting from malfunctioning electric lights.

Thief Spotted Multiple Times
Mrs. Frederic Bauries spotted a man near her kitchen door at 1 o’clock one morning. He disappeared immediately. She had also noticed someone prowling around Justice Headley’s property around midnight on another occasion.

On a separate occasion, she frightened off a man attempting to enter her neighbor Charles Sevenhair’s window.

The same thief proceeded to David Nevius’ house and woke him up around 5 o’clock this morning. The thief was seen searching through Mr. Nevius’ trouser pockets. Mr. Nevius attempted to confront the thief but had trouble loading a cartridge into his gun, allowing the thief to escape. The thief managed to steal some money during this encounter.