This Day in History: December 21st, 1920

Milltown National Bank at Michelin Tire - 1924

“Sailor” Voorhees Is Captured With Watson In Daring Attempt to Rob Milltown Bank; Knocked Unconscious by Bullet; Two Escape

Force Way Into Vault But Abandon $3,000 in Silver When Surprised by Posse

Local Man Charged with Long Series of Crimes Captured by Posse – Bandits Fail to Get Bank Loot – Planned to Rob Post Office.

Frank “Sailor” Voorhees of this city, sought for nearly two years by the police of New Brunswick and a dozen other cities, was captured last night with a companion. Walter Watson. of Melrose, Mass., in an attempt to rob the First National Bank of Milltown. Two other men who were with them managed to escape.

Voorhees and Watson, who first gave his name as Clifford Jackson of New York, were captured after a top chase by a posse of citizens hastily gathered by Mayor Christian Kuthlthau of Milltown after Herman Willenbrock, a nightwatchman at the Michelin Tire Co. plant, had reported the robbers at work. In attempting to scale the wall in front of the bank, Voorhees was struck a glancing blow in the head by a bullet and was knocked unconscious. He was seized as he fell to the ground and Watson was captured at the same time. The two other men escaped through the rear of the bank property along Lawrence brook and eluded their pursuers there.

The robbery occurred at about midnight last night. Shortly after even o’clock an automobile, without lights, and said to contain four men and a woman, was seen proceeding along Main street, Milltown, in the direction of the bank. The car was seen by a group of young men in front of the Michelin Community House, but little attention was paid to it. The car turned into John street and stopped there.

Some time later when Night Watchman Herman Willenbrock was making his rounds of the Michelin plant the bank being located in one of Michelin buildings he saw a man standing in a doorway opposite the bank. As Willenbrock passed the man whistled, and Willenbrock saw another man inside.

Posse Called Out.

Instead of attacking the men. Willenbrock at once informed Head watchman Charles Beecher. The latter got in touch with Mayor Christian Kuhlthau of Milltown, who immediately went to the bank, gathering a  posse of about forty men, armed with rifles, shotguns and revolvers, on the way. So quick were they that they reached the bank within ten minutes after the alarm was given.

The robbers apparently had not, paid much attention to the watchman, for they were still in the bank when the posse approached. The posse closed in from all sides in an attempt to surround the robbers, but their eagerness to get Voorhees and Watson the other men eluded them.

Several volleys were fired at the escaping robbers, but apparently, the only one that took effect was the shot that hit Voorhees. It passed through his derby hat and glanced along the top of his head.

Voorhees was picked up and caried into the bank office. Dr. Riva was immediately summoned, but before he completed his examination of the man Voorhees came to and was able to sit up. Both prisoners were brought to New Brunswick and were lodged in the county jail.

County Detective John Ferguson was summoned from New Brunswick and began an investigation of the case at once.

The car which the men had used was found on John street and was seized and brought to New Brunswick by Detective Ferguson and Superintendent Robert Matlack of the Russell Playing Card Co. No trace could be found of the woman said to have been with the party and Voorhees and his companion denied that any woman had been with them.

“Sailor” Voorhees

Broke Into Vault.

It was found that the robbers had forced an entrance into the bank by wrenching a bar from a rear window and that they then dug a hole about a foot square through the brick wall of the bank vault, but. they were unable to force the safe inside the vault in which most of the money was contained.

A bag containing $3,000 to silver was found in the yard in the rear of the bank, apparently handed out by one of the men but abandoned when they were surprised.

All the safe deposit boxes in the vault had been opened and their contents scattered around, but it was impossible for bank officials to say whether anything had been taken from these or not, and it was reported that $2,400 in Liberty Bonds had been secured. Bank officials said that nothing else had been taken and they were not sure whether these bonds were secured or not.

Voorhees was quite willing to talk after his arrest and said that he had planned this to be his “last trick” and that if he had been given five minutes more he would have escaped. He said that it had also been planned to rob the Milltown post office.

A man was said to have been seen loitering around the post office last night. He also declared that it had been planned to take the loot to Trenton by automobile and then go back to New York by train.

Long Wanted Here.

Voorhees has long been a thorn in the sides of police and county officials here and has been suspected of being the ringleader in half a dozen holdups and robberies. He is wanted by the county detectives for the two Wolfson robberies, the attempt to rob Tepper Brothers, the holdup of the Hanover Shoe Store, and robberies of Houghton and Strauss, S. Spitz, Stewart and Clayton, in New Brunswick, the local Y. M. C. A. and Sol Rubenstein’s at Perth Amboy.

He is also wanted in New Bedford, Mass., where he broke Jail on July 30 last, New Rochelle, Peekskill and White Plains, N. Y., and Elizabeth and Plainfield in this State. Watson is also wanted in New Bedford.

The men have been in New York for some time, they said, and Voorhees declared this morning that on one occasion he escaped from a house there just as County Detective. Fred David entered.

Detective David has taken up the chase of the two men who escaped end hopes to have them in custody shortly. He refused to talk in reference to the statements made by the men.

It is not known yet whether Voorhees and Watson were implicated in the Stillman and Woolworth robberies, but these are being carefully investigated.

Alfred S. Puerschner, warden of the county jail, took no chances on letting his prisoner escape and he remained on guard himself all night, at the jail. Special precautions are being taken to safeguard the prisoners.

This day in History: Feb. 15, 1910

This day in History: Feb. 15, 1910


Wm. H. Crenning Made a Good Job of it — Postmaster Kuhlthau’s Salary Now Up to $2,000 a Year.

As the Milltown post office opened up its new quarters at; 7 o’clock yesterday morning, it is worthwhile to note a few items concerning its past history, as well as the present: One of the earliest postmasters was Philip Kuhlthau, when the U. S. mails were transported between Milltown and the city of New Brunswick by horse and wagon. Then the following postmasters took charge in succession: C. W. Kuhlthau, at North Mlilltown; the late George Roeder, at South Milltown; thence back again to C. W. Kuhlthau at North Milltown, and the late George Roeder at South Milltown; thence to Wm. H. Kuhlthau (the present incumbent) in the southern part of the town, where it has remained during the past 12 years. Wm. H. Kuhlthau has just received his commission for another term, and the office has risen to second class, owing to the volume of business transacted through the mails by the Michelin Tire Co. and the Wills W. Russell Playing Card CO., and the salary has been increased from a few dollars received by Phillip Kuhlthau to about $2,000. Miss Emma Kuhlthau is the assistant postmistress, and Miss anna Kuhlthau a clerk, both of whom are daughters of the postmaster. Up to the present time the Milltown post office has been invariably conducted in connection with a grocery store.

The new pest office quarters have been furnished complete by Wm. H, Crenning, who has entered into a contract with the Government for a number of years. The building in question was formerly known as the old public school house, situated on upper Main street, nearly opposite school street. It has been entirely renovated by Mr. Crenning. The first story is now being occupied the post office department, and the second story as a lodge room by Charles L, Walters Council No. 178 Jr. O. U. A. M.

The public lobby is about 6 feet 8 inches wide by 10 feet long. The work room is about 19 feet wide by 21 feet long. The postmaster also has a private room, which is about 7 feet wide by 10 feet long. There is also an additional room in the rear, which is about 12 feet wide by 28 feet long, where are located five individual wardrobes for the clerks and a large stock closet about 12 feet long by 8 feet high by 18 inches deep. The ceiling is 10 feet high.

The entire woodwork, which extends to the ceiling, is of kiln-dried quartered oak, highly polished and finished in golden oak of the latest design The chipped plate glass in the doors and overhead work is also of the latest design, and presents a fine appearance. All hardware is finished with oxidized copper. There are three doors in the equipment: one leading from tire lobby into the postmaster’s private room; one leading from the lobby into the workroom; and the other leading from the postmaster’s private room into the work room. One thousand two hundred and fifty feet of space is given to the whole office. All lettering over the doors and windows is of gold leaf, as well as the sign on the two large plate glass windows in front “Post Office, Milltown, N.J.”


There are 180 regular call boxes, with wire bottoms; 120 automatic lock boxes of different sizes, with perforated metal bottom. Also four windows; one for the money order division, one for the registered letter division, one for stamps and envelopes, and the other for call boxes. One burglar and fireproof safe, size 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep and 6 feet high, weighing approximately 5,000 lbs. The fronts of the lock boxes and drawers are constructed of solid bronze metal, lacquered, and all letters, marginal lines and frames are highly polished against a matted background, presenting an attractive appearance.  They are opened with a combination, similar to a safe. All boxes, both Wall and lock boxes, in this equipment designated for rental to the public have a brass name clip securely attached to a strip covering the intersections of wood on the postmaster’s side and hold a white card numbered in black, ready to receive name of renter.

The following furniture, etc., is also included in the equipment: One letter case containing 84 boxes 2x5x8 inches; one paper case containing 30 boxes 6×9½x12 inches; two stamp cabinets; one drop each for letters and papers; one large rolltop desk; one flat double desk, with three revolving office chairs; one standing desk, 36×60 inches, with two drawers, and one high revolving stool; one mailing case and table with slip pockets, stamp pad and 110 pigeon holes; one single stamping table; one dumping table and stamp pad: one facing slip case with 144 pigeon holes and base; one blank cabinet and bases; one money order, paid and unpaid advertising case with base; one letter press stand; five wood seat chairs; one watercooler and stand; one 4 ft. ladder; five waste baskets; two cuspidors; also one Schluter bag rack for holding 10 sacks with drop table and in fact everything for comfort of those within the office proper, including an eight-day clock. The general delivery, money order, registry, stamp and call wickets have a high grade grille of oxidized copper finish, in connection with the sash being glazed with obscure glass.


In the lobby then are two 6ft desks located in the window casings for the benefit of the public; one advertised letter case; one bulletin board; and a 4 ft oxidized copper rail for defense at the general delivery window. There is also a Terrazzo floor in the lobby, which consists of chipped marble rubbed down to a smooth finish, after being laid in a bed of cement. This floor has a magnificent boarder all around and it can not be surpassed. The flooring in the main entrance to the office is also Terrazzo. All windows have shade and iron shields on the outside. The rear room is shelved for the storage of records and supplies, and it also contains a porcelain lined lavatory. It will be thus seen that the building is fitted up with all the requirement of the Government for a first-class office. It is needless to say that it is second to none throughout the State of New Jersey, or in fact, the United States, when you take into consideration the size of the borough.

This Day in History: Feb. 4 1911

This Day in History: Feb. 4 1911


Thieves for the Second Time in Two Weeks Attack Post Office, But Are Frightened Away -Burglars Enter Raritan River Station and Get Umbrella and Collar Buttons.

When Assistant Postmaster J. Milton Brindle opened the post office building on Main street, Milltown, this morning, he noticed that the sorting table had been moved from its accustomed place against the wall. He recognized at once the fact that the post office had been entered for the second time within two weeks. He immediately, began to make- investigations and found, that the burglars had been unsuccessful as far as booty was concerned and had left the building empty handed.


After further search, he found a hole in the side of the safe about half in inch in diameter and six inches deep. Evidently the men had been, frightened before their boring was competed.

Mr. Brindle, when asked how the burglars bad effected an entrance, conducted the writer to the rear of the building. The bars had been, torn from the window in the rear by the means of shearing the bolts which held toe bars to the window.

There were two holes bored in the woodwork in the back of the safe. It is thought that the visitors hoped to affect an entrance for their powder in tins way without danger of being seen at work.

Mrs. Catherine Kuhlthau, the; mother of C. W. Kuhlthau, arose at1 4 a. m. and lighted a lamp. It is thought by some that a reflection cast by this lamp had caused the intruders-t o cease from their labors.


The ticket office of the Raritan River Railroad, on. Washington avenue was entered by a window last night and an umbrella, belonging to the agent, B. Sheppard, together with a paper of collar, buttons and 46 cents in stamp was taken.

Mr. Sheppard said this morning “Those men were gentleman, I have some expense papers, which are worth money lying on the desk. They, were opened, but not disturbed.”

The men entered the coal office of Kuhlthau Brothers and removed a wrench and chisel, but it seems that no close search was made for valuables.

Police protection for Milltown is now an imperative demand.