|Title||Letter: Andrew Reasoner, Supt., Morris & Essex Div., D.L. & W. R.R. Co., Hoboken to Augustus C. Canfield, Succasunna, N.J., March 15, 1890.|
|Collection||Hoboken Railroad Collection|
|Credit||Museum Collections. Gift of a Friend of the Museum.|
|Scope & Content||
Holographic letter from Andrew Reasoner, Superintendent, Morris & Essex Division, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Co., Hoboken to Augustus C. Canfield, Succasunna, N.J., March 15, 1890 re Canfield's inquiry about freight rates for broken stone (gravel) and solicited opinion of Reasoner on the feasibility of starting a broken stone business.
Single leaf, railroad stationery, 5-1/2" x 8-1/4" high,  pp. With: imprinted mailing envelope (Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R.R. Co., Morris & Essex Division, Superintendent's Office, Hoboken, N.J.) Postmark is New York. Full text is in notes.
With: four 1889 newsclippings about roads and road construction in New Jersey. One refers to the advocacy by bicyclists for better roads since long distance cycling was in vogue. Clipping four is transcribed (in notes) and contains detail about proposed moneys to be spent on roads (for macadamizing) with a reference to market travel including a Martin Henion of Hoboken.
It is not believed that the clippings were sent by Reasoner, but simply an association as found in the Canfield papers, but they do have relevance to the letter's content. New or improved roads would have been a significant market for his proposed broken stone business. Reasoner's response suggests that Canfield was exploring the D.L.&W. potential as a customer.
Transcription of letter
(followed by transcription of clipping 4)
The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Co.
Hoboken, N.J. Station Mch 15th, 1890
Hon. A.C. Canfield.
I have yours of 14th inst. in reference to your going into the broken stone business and asking from Frt. [freight] rates. I will see our Genl. Frt. Agt.[agent] and furnish you the first part of next week with rates per ton to all points on Morris and Essex Division.
Regarding my opinion as to the feasibility of the scheme, I think if you have to purchase machinery - and start an entire new plant that there will not be much money in it. The demand for brokenstone on the line of our Division is very small - occasionally some party may require some for walks or roads around their residences but the demand for regular road work is very small. Mr. Lightcap who has put in a large breaker at Millburn and expended considerable money in a plant is not doing much - and practically his investment so far is a failure. The outlook for you however may be better - as I presume you intend crushing the stone from your own quarry and therefor the first cost will be only for the necessary machinery for breaking the stone which will of course lessen your monetary out put to some degree.
Wishing you success in your undertaking, I remain,
Transcription of clipping 4: New York World, Dec. 9, 1889
Some content relates to Hoboken.
Rebel Against a Tax
Some Bergen County Folk Unwilling to Pay for Better Roads.
THE OLD WAY SUITS THEM.
But a County Road Will be Built Unless the Courts Interfere.
[SPECIAL TO THE WORLD. ]
Hackensack, Dec. 9.—The road question overshadows all others in Bergen County, and wherever men meet it is the first and last subject talked of. The proposition to add $50,000 a year to the county's expense has stirred up all the blood in the hearts of the naturally tranquil descendants of the quiet staid Hollanders. Charges of a " combine " in the Board of Freeholders to squander public money are made in every village. Miles Sweeting, of Englewood, has announced his intention to apply to the courts for an injunction to restrain the County Fathers from carrying out their plan to spend $50,000 a year in macadamizing.
In 1884, according to the annual report of John W. Bogert, who then was and still is County Collector, the entire disbursements of the county, road work excepted, were $95,207.38. The Collector's report for 1889 shows the expenditure in that year, road work excepted, to have been $120,584.24, or an increase of only $25,376.86 after a lapse of six years. A sudden increase of $50,000 seems to appal the yeomen and the village folk. In 1884 a nominal road tax of $42,350 was levied, and last year the road-tax levy was $44,675. But this tax, except in the townships of Ridgefield, Englewood, Lodi and New Barbadoes, was only nominal. In the other eleven townships the taxpayers were permitted, under the law, to work out" the amount charged against them.
This working out, as it is called, usually consists of the farmers selecting an idle day to go on the roads with their teams and implements to shovel the dirt from the side ditches to the centre of the roadway. The days selected are looked upon as days of rest and jollification. Some one in the district will provide a jug of applejack or a pail of last year's cider, which gradually induces the alleged workmen to select some shady spot or a panel of fence with abroad ton rail to sit together and tell yarns in Jersey
Dutch. The writer has frequently seen groups of road-workers idle away hours in drinking and story-telling. In almost every road district one or more pieces of land are owned by city residents who pay their road tax in cash to the overseer of the highway for the year. That money is used to pay some one who is willing to work his horses.
Most of the roads m the county are no better than they were twenty-five years ago, because the taxpayers preferred to travel over rough spots and through mud holes rather than ray the road tax assessed. Some of the highways have never been made wide enough to allow two wagons to pass. On every load of fruit and vegetables taken to market it is necessary to have a rope or string around each basket or barrel, and it is common in the Paterson markets to see the Bergen County farmers straightening up or filling their packages that have tilted over on the way from the farm to the city. During the Winter and Spring it is not unusual for some marketman, whose wagon has got stuck in the mud, to awake the nearest farmer and get help to take off the load and pull out the sunken wagon. Nearly every farmer in Bergen County goes to market at least once a week the year round. In Summer many of them go three times a week or every night.
Many of these farmers sell part of their produce in Newark or Hoboken. In going to these places they drive over the smooth, hard roads built in Essex, Passaic and Hudson counties. This has made them dissatisfied with their own roads. During the past five years this discontent has increased very rapidly, and has led to public meetings to discuss plans to secure good roads all the way to market. The road that runs from Bidgewood to Paterson is used more than any other in the county. One meeting after another has been held in Bidgewood during the past Summer to fix upon some plan to improve this road, which is one of the poorest in the county. Several delegations of prominent men were selected to plead with the Board of Freeholders to improve that highway, But every time the request was refused until the last meeting of the County Fathers.
The Board of Freeholders is made up of fifteen members, one being elected in each township. After appeals proved unavailing the men who represent the townships on the western side of the county decided to put the matter through. To get eight votes, a majority of the Board, those who advocated the improvement of the Ridgewood-Paterson road agreed to extend the proposed macadamized road north and south, and decided to make a county road under the Road act passed at the last session of the Legislature. In compliance with this agreement Director Cruse, of Bidgewood. and Freeholders Albert Bogert, of Saddle River; Martin Henion, of Hoboken; Lewis Lane, of Boiling Spring: John Outwater, of Lodi; David Spear, of Franklin; Andrew Van Emburgh, of Orvill, and Arthur Van Winkle, of Union, voted to accept the road from Mahway, near the New York State line, to the Passaic River, on a point nearest Paterson: also a spur from Rutherford to the same point on the Passaic River.
By resolution the Board of Freeholders "assumes full and exclusive control of this public road, to be graded and macadamized for at least a width of sixteen feet in the centre thereof; said roads being more particularly shown on a map thereof to be filed in the office of the clerk of the county." Van Emburgh, of Orvill, offered the resolution that was seconded by Bogert, of Saddle Biver. The members from New Barbadoes (Hackensack), Englewood and Ridgefield opposed the proposition with all their might. Their districts are on the eastern side of the county away from the proposed improvement. Major Moore, of Leonia, the recently defeated Republican candidate for State Senator, said that Ridgefield had spent $67,000 during the past six years on its Highways and he thought it unfair to tax them for the benefit of other townships. The fight in the Board was the liveliest one for years and the vote on the question was a tie until Director Cruse, of Ridgewood, cast the deciding ballot in favor of the proposed improvement,
The members of the Board are paid $2 a day for each day that they have to leave home to look after county affairs instead of a fixed salary. Major Moore and Freeholder Dutton refuse to accept any remuneration for their services to the county and only collect each year their actual expenses, which were last year $76.60 and $74.08 respectively. Six years ago the pay of the members, except Major Moore,averaged $218.35 a year. Last year it averaged $265. The largest individual bills during this period were collected by James Pulis, of Washington Township, who charged $386.26 for 1885 and $442.08 for 1886. The opponents of the new county road openly charge that the majority of eight Freeholders wili arrange it so that they can charge $2 a day for every working day while the improvement is being made. The county road project will now be nut through unless stopped by order of the courts. The terms of some of the members will expire next Spring and there is sure to be a bitter fight at the polls. Those who indorse the action of the Board are nearly all young men, while those who decry it are mostly aged taxpayers.
Canfield, Augustus C.
|Year Range from||1890|
|Year Range to||1890|
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
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