Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Tyler, Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck) '15

1919 Address: 520 West 8th Street, Plainfield

1922 Address: 520 West 8th Street, Plainfield

1928 Treasurer Book May 11th $5.00
1929 Treasurer Book Active $5.00
1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 Treasurer Book Active

1932 Directory*Address: 520 West Eighth Street
* = This directory is not dated but presumed to be from the year 1932

1938 Treasurer Book, Active: Mrs. Wm. S. Tyler 1/6/38 Pd 1/3/39 Pd. 1/22/40 Pd. 5/12/41 Pd. 12/5/41 Pd. 12/10/42 Pd. 12/27/43 Pd. 11/30/44 Pd. 1/28/46 5/21/46 May 7, 1947 June 28, 1948 June 23, 1949 June 30, 1950 May 1951 June 1952

1942 Address: 520 West 8th Street

Founding Member

Ethel Van Boskerck Tyler '15
aka Mrs. William S. Tyler
aka Mrs. William Seymour Tyler

See Mrs. William S. Tyler's sister-in-law: Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler

Her sister-in-law was Mrs. Thomas R. (Lucy) Van Boskerck '15

Her daughter, Miss Margaret Tyler '44

The address given for both is 520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ

Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler became a member of The Plainfield Garden Club in 1925. She was listed as an "Associate" member first in 1953 and last in 1960.

Mrs. William S. Tyler was listed as an "Associate" member first in 1958 and then in 1960.

C. Boardman's family lived at 525 West 7th and William S.'s family lived at 520 West 8th – the houses were directly behind one another on the block.

Mrs. John (Peggy) Tyler became a member in 1959 and was a contemporary of many club members today (2010) Peggy was the daughter-in-law to Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler. Peggy was listed as an "Affiliate" member of the club in 1997 and lastly in 2006 when she passed away.

There is no information about Miss Margaret R. Tyler who joined the club in 1944. She was most likely the daughter of Mrs. William S. Tyler as they shared the same address at 520 West 8th Street, Plainfield. She may have married and her membership then became listed under her married name.

Mrs. William Tyler

undated photos

Mrs. William Tyler

back of the photo

July 3, 1907 New York Times Obituary for Col. M.W. Tyler

Colonel M. W. Tyler was father-in-law to both members Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler and her sister-in-law, Mrs. William S. Tyler.

A Civil War veteran, Col. Tyler was a descendant of Gov. Bradford of the Mayflower and many other notable US citizens such as Aaron Burr, Gen. John Mason and Rev. Jonathan Edwards and Governor John Ogden.

William S. Tyler marries Miss Ethel Van Boskerck

American Tyler Reunion

William Seymour Tyler and Cornelius Boardman Tyler were the sons of Colonel Mason W. Tyler. William Seymour graduated Amherst in 1895 and received his law degree from Columbia.

Ethel Tyler was sister to fellow PGC member Mrs. Thomas R. Van Boskerck

Colonel Mason W. Tyler served in the 37th Regiment of the Massachussetts Volunteers for the Union Army in the Civil War.

June 17, 1894 Horse Show in Plainfield

This New York Times article describes the horse show held in Plainfield and mentions the Misses Van Boskercks who rode in the show. One of these "misses" was to become Mrs. William S. Tyler '15.

The article also highlights a win by Mason W. Tyler, the father-in-law to one of the Misses Van Boskercks.

1915 - 1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

page 8

1915 - 1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

page 10

page 10

"The school children had drawn lovely silhouettes of the trees, and hanging on the wall beside each one, was a living branch in a container of water. These branches were supplied by the Shade Tree Commission. Beautiful colored slides of the following members' gardens were shown; Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler, Mrs. William S. Tyler and Mrs. A. D. Seybold, with Miss Margaret Tyler commenting. Afterwards one woman said, "I didn't know there was so much beauty in Plainfield."

Two hundred adults and over seven hundred children attended the show, which also included a puppet show, a movie and exquisite water colors of trees by the late Miss Laura Detwiller.

Living Memorials
In 1945 we began honoring our deceased members with gifts of money to the Garden Club of America's Redwood Memorial Grove in California. By 1961 our fund had grown to $200.00 – enough to "buy" a tree. What a trifling sum to pay for one of these magnificent Redwoods which Charles Steinbeck has called, "mute ambassadors from another age which create a vision that stays with you always . . . a stunning memory of what the world was like once long ago."

Also, that same year we were a Founder of the Blue Star Memorial Drive on Highway 22. "Our members contributed generously to this beautiful tribute to the men who served in the armed forces." Mrs. Anderegg records, "Flowering trees were planted of members' sons lost in the war."

Christmas Wreaths
One Christmas during World War II, we made 214 wreaths and 400 boutonnieres of "enduring greens gay with bright accents of color" for Camp Kilmer. We used two tons of evergreens, spent an estimated 400 hours making the wreaths and worked in assembly-line technique at Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler's studio were "a fire crackled merrily in the stove and the smell of Christmas was everywhere". Numb arm muscles, taut backs and blackened hands were disregarded in the joy of working together. For years, Mrs. John S. Anderegg was head of this project.

When Camp Kilmer was no longer functioning, we made wreaths for Lyons Hospital. In 1951, the members were described as engaging in a "colossal project of wreath making, reaching a state of frenzy." The next year the wreath-making was confined to one very long day and described as "fun", but for the last time. From then on, we sent money for the purchase of Christmas greens.

1950 was the year we started the annual custom of creating gift packages of cigarettes for the patients at Lyons. Those imaginative, beautiful packages (which the patients used as decorations), were always displayed at our Christmas meeting, and sometimes judged. Many a member, not so nimble fingered as others, was rumored to have stayed away from that meeting! In 1964, cigarettes went out of favor and hard candies, cleverly wrapped as tree ornaments, were substituted.

1915 - 1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

page 17

1915 - 1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

page 18

1915 - 1965 History of the Plainfield Garden Club

page 19

House Tour

From Plainfield, New Jersey History & Architecture by John Grady and Dorothe Pollard:

Behind a splendid old azalea hedge (without reading this text, Sally Booth also remarked on the beautiful huge azalea hedge at Mrs. Tyler's) on West Eighth Street slumbers a half-centured Tudor carriage house. When the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District's first carriage house tour took place in 1983, the building, just as it appears here, was featured as ripe for conversion. A year later, a housewarming introduced new owners to the neighborhood admist specimen trees and shrubbery. Courtesy of Michael J. Wroble

PGC Member Anne Morrell Shepherd said Mrs. Tyler rented the carraige house. January 2011

Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Plainfield Garden Club by Lucy Von Boskerck

1941 - 1947 Club History by Etheldreda Anderegg

May 17, 1957 Club Commemorates Founding of Iris Garden

Caption: GARDEN MARKER VIEWED – Standing before the marker commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Iris Garden in Cedar Brook Park are (left to right) Mrs. Frederick Lockwood, Victor B. King, Jr., John C. Wister, Mr. Richard Tracy and Miss Harriette R. Halloway, founder of this garden. (Courier photo by E. T. Wiggins)

The Plainfield Garden Club and guests yersterday dedicated the the entranceway of the of the Iris Garden in Cedar Brook Park.

Miss Harriette R. Halloway, found of the garden and chairman of the garden of the Iris Garden [not legible] the project was started in 1932, was presented a medal by Mrs. Frederick M. Lockwood, president of the Garden Club.

The medal is [not legible] "from the grateful members of the Plainfield Garden Club Harriette R. Halloway founder and director of the Iris gardens of Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield, 1932 - 1957."

[Not legible] viewed a recently installed [not legible] tablet marking the anniversary of the garden.

"Excercise in Perfection"
Victor R. King, president of the Union County Park Commission, led the gathering [not legible] the garden display was "an excercise in perfection is [not legible]," he said.

The park commission provides the setting for the garden and have [not legible] in the project [not legible]

W. [not legible] Tracy, executive had of the Park Commission when the Iris Garden was started paid tribute to Miss Halloway for her "tireless work and painstaking effort."

Another speaker was Dr. John C. Wister of Swarthmore, Pa., president of the American Iris Society when the garden was started and author of [not legible] article about the garden in the current issue of the Journal of the New York Botanical Gardens.

Miss Halloway spoke briefly and [not legible] on the work of the [not legible] who care for the Iris Garden. She introduced Kenneth Smith, one of the largest contributors of plants to the garden [not legible]

Mrs. Lockwood presided at the program. Guests included members of [not legible] garden clubs and contributors to the garden.

The Iris Garden Committee includes Mrs. Morris E. Benton, Mrs. Alden de Hart, Mrs. Lockwood, Mrs. Donald E. Luce, Mrs. William K. Dunbar, Jr., Mrs. C. Northrop Pond, Mrs. Webster Sandford, Mrs. Arthur D. Seybold, Mrs. John R. Wells, Mrs. Willian G. Wigton, Mrs. Robert MacLeod, vice chairman, and Miss Halloway, chairman.

Special slides [not legible] for the chairman were Mrs. Charles A. Eaton, Jr., Mrs. F. Willoughby Frost ad Mrs. Edwin M. Treat, Jr.

Mrs. Victor M. King was chairman of the special committee assisted by Mrs. J. Harold Loizeaux, Mrs. E. B. Newberry, and Miss Margaret Tyler. Also cooperating were Mrs. N. C. Barnhart, Jr., Mrs. William P. Elliott, Mrs. Homer Cochran and Mrs. H. I. Flanders.

Hostesses (not legible)
Other hostesses were Mrs. William W. Coriell, Mrs. Leslie E. Fort, Mrs. William A. Holliday, Mrs. Richard M. Lawton, Mrs. Robert T. Stevens, Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler, Mrs. William S. Tyler. Mrs. Thomas Van Boskerck and Mrs. Orville G. Waring.

The Iris Garden now has more than 1,800 named varieties properly labeled, representing all types of Iris and totaling more than 75,000 plants.

The main part of the garden is [not legible] caring Iris [not legible] and is expected to be is good blooms thorugh the rest of the month.

Mrs. Tyler's famed Azalea hedge

Mrs. Tyler's famed Azalea hedge

Photo date unknown. Entry May 24, 2011

1941 - 1942 Club History by Etheldreda Anderegg, version 2

[Editor's note: The original document was too faded to scan. This is a different version of a history written by Mrs. Etheldreda Anderegg from 1941 – 1947]

Plainfield Garden Club History
Continued to 1947

On May 14th, 1941 – six years ago to-day in Cedarbrook Park – the Anniversary Dogwood Trees were formally presented to the Park Commission. In making the presentation, Mrs. Arthur Nelson, president, said the garden club wished to make a gift of lasting beauty to mark its anniversary. Mr. Tracey responding for the Park Commissioners commended the club for its civic interest and declared the trees would bring a touch of beauty to thousands of lives. The gift was identified by a large boulder bearing a bronze marker. Mrs. Holliday as chairman of the Dogwood Tree Committee and of the Boulder Committee arranged the anniversary celebration.

That year, 1941, an article appeared in Horticulture in praise of our Shakespeare Garden.

A teacher of the Jefferson School staff was sent to the Audubon Nature Camp in Maine.

Handsome new yearbooks containing a revised constitution, membership lists and permanent covers with loose leaves were issued. About this time some of our members looking back upon some of our achievements of the past, and forward for new horizons to explore, agreed that once more we should storm the ramparts of the Garden Club of America. No organization in garden club circles offers to its members such a wide field of opportunities and assured prestige. This reporter has sat in many important national and state conferences were the effect of this prestige could be observed. When important decisions were due there was an intangible inference in the atmosphere which stemmed to imply – "All those not members of the Garden State of America may now retire to the Jim Crow car."

Better to have failed in the high aim than to succeed vulgarly in the low one" said Browning.

So a committee to explore the possibilities of our being accepted for membership was named by Mrs. Nelson. With Mrs. Corriel as chairman, the committee consisted of Miss Elsie Harmon, Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler, Miss Elizabeth Browne, Miss William Tyler, Mrs. William A. Holliday, Mrs. James Devlin and your historian. Our search for new worlds to conquer began with a meeting at the home of Mrs. William Tyler, on February 21, 1941, when your historian read a letter she had been asked to write to Mrs. Frederic Kellogg, of Morristown Garden Club, prominent garden club personality. The letter would be interesting at this point, but unfortunately it has been lost. Suffice to say, our prise of ourselves was so completely uninhibited that the committee itself was profoundly impressed by the record of performance of the Plainfield Garden Club set forth therein. Shakespeare said "Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful." After all they could not know our worth unless we told them. This time we forestalled a verdict that we had "accomplished nothing."

It might be interjected here that during Mrs. Goddard's regime an effort was made to join the Garden Club of America. Mrs. Kellogg, approached on that occasion, graciously entertained Mrs. Goddard and Mrs. Holliday at luncheon, and they left with the impression that Plainfield, having rejected an invitation to become a charter member of that organization during Mrs. Herring's tenure, it would be futile ever to hope for membership.

An active campaign was launched by all who had relatives or friends in member clubs. This was accelerated when it was learned that a neighboring club had an identical ambition, and had found a sponsor. Because of geographical allocation, we realized that only one of us would be admitted. When it became apparent that we had aroused interest, and had a semblance of chance for acceptance, a special meeting was called at the home of Mrs. Corriel, and the advantages of membership in the Garden Club of America, as well as the financial obligations thoroughly explored. The club was asked to decide whether they wished the committee to proceed with the negotiations. The vote was unanimously affirmative.

Subsequently Mrs. Kellogg requested that the Morristown Club have the pleasure of proposing us, and Mrs. Lauderdale of Short Hills offered to have that club second us. While we waited for the verdict, our campaign never waned.

On May 11th, 1941, tenth anniversary of Iris Garden, the executive board gave a tea to honor Miss Halloway. Mrs. Holliday arranged a delightful affair in the field house. Members of the garden club and thirty guests were invited. Miss Halloway's friends came from far and near while the Iris Garden glowed in a rainbow of colors for the occasion.

The war which was sweeping over France while Mrs. VanBoskerck's history concluded had now reached our shores. "Come to open purple testament of bleeding war." (King Richard) Our members were working for the U.S.O., the Red Cross and Camp Kilmer, apart and in conjunction with the garden club. Plans were sent to the camp to enhance its barren scenes, and seeds to Brittain. Victory gardens were planted, two new chairmanships were added to the executive board – War Activities and Victory Gardens.

In May 1943, we provided vases and began to send flowers regularly to the chapels at Camp Kilmer. This is still being done. Garden books from the Garden Center were placed in the Public Library. Because of gasoline and food rationing it was becoming difficult to hold meetings. Speakers were reluctant to use scarce gasoline and tires for small groups. The war organizations were asking for more things, more effort and more money. The garden club was striving to provide all three.

In June 1943 a delegation from the Garden Club of America came to inspect our members' gardens. Those gardens chosen to head the list were duly explored and approved, but unfortunately the sand of time ran out before they could see them all, and they will never realize all they missed. However, they did see the dogwood planting, the Shakespeare and Iris gardens.

At the annual meeting Mrs. Samuel Carter gave a particularly interesting history of the Shakespeare garden, which was later read by request at the Shakespeare Club. Mrs. Carter said in part: "It has been said that we of the Western World love flowers for what they are, and that the peoples in the East love them for what they suggest. A Shakespeare Garden is full of suggestions, a speaking garden revealing the tradition, folklore and romance of the ancient and timeless plants." Mr. Tracey quoted an authority on the subject as saying that Mrs. Carter's was the finest Shakespeare Garden in the country and that over 15,000 people visited it last year.

Mrs. Coriell announced at the executive board meeting February 2nd, 1944, that Plainfield Garden Club had been elected to membership in the Garden Club of America, and letters of welcome received from sponsoring clubs. It had required three years to reach the new horizons, but a poet once said, "A horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight" so each one attained shows another beckoning in the distance.

Because of rationing, meetings were held in semi-public places of central location. Speakers stressed every phase of conservation. Garden club members were working hard at Camp Kilmer, for the Red Cross and the U.S.O.

In 1945 we became a Founder of the Blue Star Drive, our members contributing generously to this beautiful tribute to the men who served in the armed forces. It is hoped, and the hope is rapidly being fulfilled, that ultimately it will stretch from New Jersey to California.

A new custom was instituted, that of sending a sum of money to the Red Wood Tribute Grove in memory of deceased members. This year, 1945, a dance recital was given to help defray expenses of war activities. Naturally it was under the chairmanship of Miss Maud vonBoskerck, whose motto might well be "Music is my talent – my dearest one." It was very successful artistically and financially.

We helped the New York Botanical Garden celebrate its Fiftieth Anniversary by sending hostesses every day for a week, and by a substantial sum of money for plant research.

In 1945 Lyons Hospital was included on our flower and plant list, and we have continued to supply it weekly for two months of each year. Flowering trees were planted along Blue Star Drive in memory of members' sons lost in the war.

Mrs. Samuel Carter and Miss Harriette Halloway received awards from the Garden Club of New Jersey for their work in Shakespeare and Iris gardens respectively.

Besides bouquets were made twice a week for the wards at Camp Kilmer, beginning in May. Our members volunteered to arrange them.

By this time we were discovering that those "new worlds to conquer" for which we had longed, were providing more opportunities than we could well cope with, and so a junior membership was formed, now numbering six.

The associate membership was enlarged to thirty-five so that active members might be enabled to transfer to it. A questionnaire was sent of work they wished to do. In a Garden Club of America contest for a year's program, Miss Halloway's won honorable mention.

Beginning early in December members of the club met every day in Mrs. Boardman Tyler's studio to make Christmas decorations for the hospital at Camp Kilmer. A big fire blazed in the stove, tons of varied evergreens were provided as well as all other necessary equipment. The studio hummed like Santa Claus' workshop, and great quantities of wreaths with large red bows, small bouquets and other favors emerged to cheer the soldiers at Camp Kilmer and Lyons Hospitals. Joyce Kilmer, for whom the camp was named, wrote of his experience in the other World War: "My shoulders ache beneath my pack, Lie easier cross upon his back" We hoped we eased their burden just a little.

The opportunities offered by the Garden Club of America in the field of conservation are so many and so varied, it was necessary to choose which tangent to pursue. In view of the community and national problems of vandalism and child delinquency, it was thought wise to concentrate the major effort in combating these evils. Working through the public schools seemed the most logical procedure. Mr. Wimer of Jefferson School and Mrs. Rulison of the Park Commission have offered sympathetic cooperation. The first step in the program is the establishment of school gardens, now in process of being planted. The garden club provided the funds. A trial garden, or proving bed was started in Cedarbrook Park in 1946. This year many new perennials were added.

Mrs. Hubble's artistic ability was employed so successfully in redecorating the Garden Center, this observer could scarcely recognize it.

The Garden Club of New Jersey bestowed an award upon us for meritorious work at Camp Kilmer. Miss Halloway has made additions to the peony, Iris and Narcissus gardens. It again became necessary to raise money, and a repeat performance by request, of the dance recital was staged by Miss Van Boskerck.

A suggestion from the Garden Club of New Jersey that we plant a tree to honor garden weekled, after consultation with Mr. Tracey, to the beginning of a dogwood arboretum comprising all the varieties that will grow in this vicinity. Twenty-five varieties have already been planted.

Santa Claus helpers gathered again in Mrs. Tyler's studio to make decorations for Camp Kilmer, and surpassed their effort of the previous year. Our work in this Project was not equaled by that of any club either year.

A thrill of pride must have quivered through our membership from founders to newest recruits, triumphs of our members who exhibited in the New York Flower Show. In the realm of flower arrangement there is no more coveted award than the Fenwick Medal. Our Mrs. deHart was runner up fro that prize last year. This year four exhibits won three blue ribbons and two special awards. It was a magnificent performance which won for us third place in the sweepstakes.

Chapel flowers still are sent to Camp Kilmer. Our members arrange them. We take our turn with the other clubs supplying flowers for the entire hospital regularly from gardens when possible, from florists in cold weather. Two gray Ladies representing Plainfield Garden Club, arrange and distribute the flowers through the wards. The by-laws were again revised and new books issued for the permanent covers.

The executive committee has not overlooked the fact that a War Memorial is of paramount interest to the garden club. Much time as been spent in discussion and deep thought given the matter. Mrs. Boardman Tyler has been named a member of the committee. This year we are sending a teacher to the Audubon Nature Camp in Maine, and another to the Conservation Workshop in Trenton.

Several members have been invited to speak on varied subjects, notably Mrs. Garret Smith on Church Gardens, and Miss Halloway on horticultural subjects. Mrs. Garret has been honored as founder of the Little Garden Club of New York City, of which she is honorary president.

A big of biographical information picked up while perusing the minutes is that our new president, Mrs. Loziuex, became a member of the club in 1940, second vice president in 1942, again in 1945, first vice president in 1946 and president in 1947.

Having been a member of the club only ten years, your historian cannot speak with absolute authority, but thinks it probably that the club reached greater heights of achievement under this administration of Mrs. Tyler than during any comparable period of time. This is partly true because of the new opportunities offered by affiliation with the Garden Club of America, and partly due to Mrs. Tyler's dynamic energy and her determination that the Plainfield Garden Club take advantage of these opportunities and assume its rightful position in the vanguard of progressive garden clubs.

Junius described Mrs. Tyler perfectly when he wrote: "the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct and the hand to execute."

We notice as we go over the chronicles of the garden club, the absence of names once listed so frequently:

Those whom we loved so long, and see no more
Loved and still love,
Not dead, but gone before.

If we ever adopt a coat of arms, it might well show crossed trowels over a field of flower arrangements, the other expounding the futility of vandalism to a young cub. And the motto? It must be from Shakespeare, and it is from The Tempest: Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground.

Or if we choose to abandon the classics: Never a dull moment!

Etheldreda Anderegg
Historian, 1947

Hillside Cemetery

September 14, 2011
Photo by S. Fraser

Tyler marker to the left.

Hillside Cemetery

Hillside Cemetery

November 14, 1895 New York Times


In Aid of Muhlenberg Hospital – Good Attendance and Reason for Expecting Financial Success – The Booths.

PLAINFIELD, N. J., Nov. 13 – There was a grand opening of the kirmess at the Columbia Cycle Academy Monday night, and the building was decorated very elaborately.

Not since the charity ball have the society fold here been interested in a like event for such a worthy cause. The kirmess is given for the benefit of Muhlenberg Hospital, and, judging from the attendance at the opening night, the hospital will be greatly bettered financially.

Booths have been very prettily arranged about the academy, making an exceedingly tasty show. The equipment of the booths is as follows:

French Booth – Mrs. Albert Hoffman Atterbury, Mrs. Irving H. Brown, Mrs. Charles B. Corwin, Miss Bessie Ginna, Mrs. George C. Evans, Mrs. Charles J. Fisk, Mrs. Ellis W. Hedges, Miss E. E. Kenyon and Miss Whiton.

Florentine Booth – Mrs. I. N. Van Sickle, Mrs. David E. Titsworth, Mrs. W. M. Stillman, Mrs. John D. Titsworth, Mrs. F. A. Dunham, Miss Louise Clawson, Miss Bessie TItsworth, and Mrs. Lulu Lewis.

Gypsy Booth – Mrs. Joseph W. Reinhart, and Mrs. Howard Fleming.

Venetian Booth – Mrs. Hugh Hastings, Miss Emelie Schipper, Mrs. George A. Chapman, Miss Haviland, Mrs. Samuel Huntington, Mrs. Emil Woltman, Mrs. Samuel St. J. McCutchen, Mrs. Conklin, Mrs. C. S. West, Mrs. W. E. Lower, Miss E. R. Cock, Mrs. Frank O. Herring, Miss Huntington, Miss Maud Van Bosckerck, Miss MacCready, Miss Clara D. Finley, Miss Ahrens, Miss Aynne MacCready, Miss Mondanari, Miss Graff, Miss Yerkes, Miss Gertrude Walz, and Miss Pierson.

Japanese Booth – Mrs. Charles Seward Foote, Mrs. George Clay, Mrs. S.P. Simpson, Mrs. L. Finch, Mrs. Constantine P. Ralli, Mrs. William Lewis Brown, Mrs. L. Dennis, Mrs. WIlliam Pelletier, Miss Ellis, Miss Anthony, Miss Dryden, Miss Morgan, Miss Bowen, Miss Lawrence, and Miss Rodman.

Spanish Booth – Mrs. S. A. Cruikshank, Mrs. A. T. Slauson, Mrs. J. F. Wichers, Mrs. T. H. Curtis, Mrs. Marion S. Ackerman, Mrs. T. A. Hazell, Mrs. H. L. Moore, Mrs. D. T. Van Buren, Mrs. E. H. Mosher, Miss Harriott, Miss Louise Patton, Miss Maud Lord, Miss May Kirkner, Miss Louise Van Zandt, Miss Annie Horton, Miss Titsworth, and Miss Meredith.

German Booth – Mrs. Mason W. Tyler, Mrs. Logan Murphy, Mrs. John H. Oarman, Mrs. Charles J. Taggart, Mrs. Benjamin R. Western, Mrs. J. E. Turill, Mrs. Arthur T. Gallup, Mrs. Horsley Barker, Mrs. John Haviland, Mrs. George Wright, Mrs. Amra Hamragan, Mrs. William L. Saunders, Mrs. William Wright, Miss Annie Murphy, Miss Wright, Miss Western, Miss Bartling, Miss Helen Warman, Miss Emma Adams and Miss Ann Thorne.

Stationery Booth – Mrs. John Gray Foster, Mrs. Elliott Barrows, Mrs. A. W. Haviland, Mrs. John D. Miller, Mrs. James R. Joy, and Miss Emily R. Tracy.

Parisian Flower Stall – Mrs. Harry M. Stockton, Mrs. Evarts Tracy, Mrs. Daniel F. Ginna, Mrs. W. H. Ladd, Mrs. Frederick Yates, Miss Marlon Dumont, Miss Ginna, Miss Baker, Miss Huntington, and Miss Van Bosckerck.

Refreshments were dispensed by Mrs. Orville T. Waring, Mrs. George W. Van Bosckerck, Mrs. John Bushnell, Mrs. Gifford Mayer, Mrs. George H. Goddard, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. H. P. Reynolds, Mrs. C. C. Guion, Mrs. N. P. T. Finch, Mrs. Henry McGee, Mrs. De Revere, Mrs. Ruth C. Leonard, Mrs. George W. Rockfellow, Miss Annie Opdyke, Mrs. Van Alstyne, Mrs. Utzinger, Mrs. Nelson Runyon, Mrs. Henry Tapsley, Miss Martine, Miss Edith Allen, Mrs. J. Parker Mason, Mrs. J. K. Myers, Mrs. Walton, and Mrs. H. C. Adams

October 24, 2011

Dan Damon Reports

Butchery on West 8th Street?

Remains of Azalea hedge neatly bundled and stacked by curb.

October 24, 2011

House can once again be seen from street. Stumps are about 18" high.

October 24, 2011

Satellite view by Google shows house at very rear of lot
and Azalea hedge along 8th Street

A Plainfield resident called me Friday near sundown and was quite distraught at having driven home from work along West 8th Street through the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District to discover that a famed Azalea hedge in the 500-block had been cut down.

The hedge, estimated to be a hundred years old, was a magnificent fixture on West 8th Street in the spring, with a wall of blooms approximately a hundred or so feet long and ten or twelve feet high. (I had some pictures but can't locate them; if any reader has some shots, please send to me here and I will post with acknowledgement – thanks!)

Going out on Saturday morning to get some pictures of the situation, I found the remains of the Azaleas neatly bundled and stacked in a long row on the street awaiting pickup by the DPW when making its Fall rounds.

Neighbors told me that a yard service crew had removed the hedge on Thursday, saying that the property owners had been plagued with thefts of outdoor items and other criminal mischief which was unobservable from the street due to the height and density of the hedge.

That is certainly plausible, given that Councilor Mapp – who lives directly across the street – told me it had been some time after he moved in before he even realized there was a house across the street.

The 'house' is actually the carriage house of what had once been a magnificent estate, the land of which was subdivided many years ago to provide for the four condos built just to the west.

Those condos themselves are a Plainfield story – the present design, which emulates a large estate home but actually holds four units, was the result of sustained pressure from Van Wyck Brooks residents (mainly led by residents Helga and Murray Roberts).

Mrs. Roberts told me the originally proposed units 'looked like a Howard Johnson's motel'. The design as approved should be a model for how to develop properties in historic districts with sensitivity to both the historic nature and the developer's right to turn a buck.

As for the Azalea hedge, it looks to be pruned back to about 18", which would qualify as a 'severe pruning', designed to rejuvenate the plants and force the development of new growth according to many online pruning guides (see many online resources here). The only really questionable point appears to be that the pruning is recommended for the end of winter, and not in the fall.

We shall have to see – over a few years – how successful the pruning has been.

Mrs. Tyler's Famed Azalea Hedge

Photo by Arne Aakre of the VWB Historic District of the Azalea hedge in bloom.
Tree Committee chairperson Greg Palermo thinks it is a variety named 'Amoena'.

by Dan Damon

Comments to Dan Damon's Posting

Gregory Palermo said...
Bernice and Walter Swain told me many years ago that the azalea variety was Amoena. It is an azalea of a very distinctive and beautiful color that I think of as the Plainfield azalea. One sees it scattered about Plainfield but rarely anywhere else in this area. I assume that the variety was in vogue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when there was a lot of building in Plainfield, but then it then lost favor. To find Amoena for sale now one must search the internet. Even the azalea specialist Carlson's Gardens in South Salem, NY doesn't keep it in stock.
Photo of Amoena in bloom (not the West 8th Street hedge) here
I hope someone has photographs of our Plainfield hedge in bloom because it is not widely recognized that Amoena can grow so tall.
I agree with the previous comment that the hedge will probably regenerate itself.

Comments to Dan Damon's Posting

Anonymous said...
I remember the Azalea hedge walking to Plainfield High School many..many years ago. It was a lovely sight when they bloomed each year.

Nature is able to rejuvenate itself so the stumps that remain should revive in a few years and regain their splendor albeit not the height.

It's a shame society has regressed to the point such drastic measures have to be taken.

October 24, 2011 9:40 AM

Comments to Dan Damon's Posting

Anonymous said...
It is with much dismay that we read your report of the unfortunate pruning of Mrs. Tyler's azalea hedge. Mrs. Ethel Van Boskerck Tyler, who owned and most likely planted the hedge, was a founding member of the Plainfield Garden Club. Our oldest members (going back to 1952) claim the azaleas have always been there.

Our only hope is that the hedge will rejuvenate, but late October is not the time to trim azaleas as their buds are already set for spring 2012.

– Susan, for the Plainfield Garden Club

October 25, 2011 4:03 AM

Photo by Dan Damon

Plainfield Public Library Archive

Wednesday, May 20, 1936

Garden Club Executives and Prize Cup

. . . Garden Center flower show yesterday in Cedar Brook Park were, left to right, Mrs. . . of the Plainfiled Garden Club; Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard, president of the Garden . . .; and Mrs. James L. Devlin, chairman of the county Garden Club arrangements. . . presented by Mrs. Goddard, may be seen in the center of the table. It was won by Mrs. William B. Tyler

County Garden Center Holds First Show

First flower show in the Union County Garden Center, Cedar Brook Park, was held yesterday afternoon, with Mrs. James L. Devlin as chairman of arrangements.

Associated with her were the following members of the Plainfield Garden Club, Mrs. Leslie Runyon Fort, president; Mrs. Henry L. deForest, Mrs. William A. Holliday and Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard, president of the Garden Club of New Jersey.

Member garden clubs in the county, which exhibited, included Mountainside Garden Club, Cranford, Westfield, Watchung Hills, Fanwood, Spade and Trowel and the Neighborhood Gardeners of Rahway and Colonia.

Judges for the show were Mrs. David L. George, South Orange; Mrs. Arthur Hetherington, Bound Brook, and Mrs. Frederick Hood, East Orange.

A coveted prize award was a silver cup offered by Mrs. Frederic W. Goddard to the exhibitor winning the greatest number of points. This resulted in a tie between Mrs. Leslie Runyon Fort and Mrs. William B. Tyler. On a draw, the award went to Mrs. Tyler.

There were a total of 90 entries in each of the 12 classes, with first, second and third awards and honorable mention in each.

Typo? Relation?

Plainfield Library Archive

May 20, 1936

Union Flower Show Ends in Deadlock

Mrs. L. R. Fort, Mrs. W. S. Tyler Tie with 12 Points for Sweepstakes Honor

Mrs. Leslie R. Fort, president of the Plainfield Garden Club, and Mrs. William S. Tyler, club exhibition chairman, tied for sweepstakes honor yesterday in the first flower show of Union County Garden Center at Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield. Each won twelve points. Members of nine garden groups in the center competed.

Among striking arrangements by the two leading contestants were a small arrangement in Class 1 by Mrs. fort of blue violas and low-growing blue veronica in matching blue container, and a mass arrangement of flowers in tone of white in Class 8 by Mrs. Tyler. The latter's prize-winning economy luncheon table was set at a cost of 87 cents. The cost allowed on the schedule was $2.

Other awards were:

Class 1, small arrangement of flowers own foliage not to exceed ten inches in any one dimension – second, Mrs. Ethan Allen, Mountainside Garden Club; third, Mrs. Otto Krieger, Mountainside, and honorable mention, Mrs. George Moore, Watchung Hills Garden Club. Class 2. miniature arrangement in pair of vases – Mrs. Fort, Miss Ruth Griffen, Watchung Hills; Mrs. William S. Tyler, and honorable mention, Mrs. Moore. Class 2, arrangemnt of flowers in transparent container for window sill – Mrs. George Hansel, Cranford Garden Club; Miss Griffen, Mrs. F. W. Coles, Neighborhood Garderners of Rahway and Colonia, and honorable mention, Mrs. Fort.

Class 4, living room arrangement, tulips, cream to bronze shades in copper container – honorable mention, Mrs. Boardman Tyler, Plainfield Garden Club. Class 5, arrangement of flowers using container not originally designed for flowers – Mrs. Boardman Tyler, Mrs. Fort, Mrs. William S. Tyler, and honorable mention, Mrs. John Kyte, Fanwood Garden Club. Class 6, arrangement in clear glass bottle of cut plant material (no flowers) – Mrs. Hansel, Mrs. E. E. Angleman, garden committee Monday Afternoon Club of Plainfield, Mrs. Boardman Tyler. Class 7, arrangement of flowers in pitcher – Mrs. Krieger, Miss Dorothea Tingley, and honorable mention, Mrs. A. E. Van Doren, Mountainside Garden Club.

Class 8, arrangement of white floers, two or more tones, in white container against wall – second, Mrs. Boardman Tyler; third, Mrs. Coles, and honorable mention, Mrs. Harry Copeland, Mountainside. Class 9, arrangement in Flemish manner, featuring tulips – Mrs. Hugh Child, Fanwood, Class 11, collection of named varieties tulips – honorable mention Mrs. Stephen G. Van Hoesen, president, Fanwood club. Class 12, collection annuals and perennials – Mrs. John J. Couser, Watchung Hills, and honorable mention, Miss Maud Van Bosckerck, Plainfield Garden Club.

Plainfield Library Archive

Plainfield Library Archive

Plainfield Library Archive

Plainfield Public Library Archives


Garden Club Plans For Flower Show

Plans were about completed for the flower show of the Plainfield Garden Club at a meeting yesterday in the home of the chairman. Mrs. Wallace Coriel, 963 Central Avenue. The show is to be held May 5 and 6 in the Assembly Room of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Richard Lawton, a prize winner in many horticultural exhibitions, is schedule chairman, and is spected to have schedules printed soon for distribution.

Fully two-thirds of the 50 classes scheduled are listed as "horticultural." The flower arrangment classes are in the minority. The schedule is planned to be of educational value to both experienced gardeners and beginners.

The committee includes Mrs. Corriell, chairman, Mrs. Dudley H. Barrows, secretary; Mrs. Harry Williams, treasurer; Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler and Mrs. William K. Dunbar, decoration and floor plan; Mrs. Henry L. DeForest, properties; Mrs. Henry Marshall, staging; Mrs. Lawton and Mrs. Henry C. Wells, schedule; Mrs. William S. Tyler, exhibits.

Also Miss Harriette R. Halloway, specimens; Miss Josephine Lapslety, entries; Mrs. Garret Smith, publicity; Mrs. Leslie R. Fort and Mrs. Edward H. Ladd Jr., judges, and Mrs. Clifford M. Baker, prizes.

Plainfield Public Library Archive

April 26, 2012 Email from Caroline Potter Normann

OH, my, but have you opened a fun door to me!! There is so much information in those files, and i have only skimmed the one on the Tylers. Some of the info may confuse Susan and Ethel, who were sisters-in-law and lived in back-to-back properties, as noted in the materials. The azalea hedge was part of the William & Ethel property. In my quick read it seemed to say that Ethel planted it but that it boarded the property on W. 8th St, which was the Boardman Tyler (Susan) home. I do know that Miss Margaret Tyler was Ethel and William's younger daughter. (The older one, Edith was married to Henry Noss, a history professor at NYU (?). They moved back to Plainfield after Henry retired.) Margaret didn't marry until the late 1950s or very early 1960s. Her husband's name was Hume Clendenin.

Mom wrote extensive memoires containing much information about the family members. I know that her Van Boskereck aunts (Edith and Ethel) were very great influences in Mom's life, taking her in hand when Mom's sister, Ruth, died at age 10. My grandmother had some kind of break-down and Mom, then in her early teens, was without much attention. I will find some of what she wrote and send it on in the next day or two. I hope that is timely enough.

I am going out for dinner tonight and must get ready, but you will hear from me soon.

My quick trip through the Club membership was an experience of great familiarity with many, many names of people who were my grandmother's and mother's friends.

More soon!

Love, Caroline

Caroline Potter Normann, Susan Tyler's niece and the daughter of one of my mother's [Genung, Mrs. Alfred Gawthrop (Dorothy or "Dot" Madsen) '69] oldest and dearest friends (and mine too) [Sally Genung Booth '83]. Caroline grew up in Sesttle but spent most of her married life in Gainesville, Florida. She got divorced and finally moved back to Settle where she is having lots of fun. Her mother died last year at 98.

Tyler Genealogy

ing^), bom in Plainfield, N. J., October 18, 1873; married
there, November 2'3, 1899, Ethel Van Boskerck, bom February
5, 1879 ; daughter of George W. and Elizabeth (Rowe) Van
Boskerck. He prepared for college at Williston Seminary,
Easthampton, Mass. ; was graduated from Amherst A. B. 1895 ;
traveled in Europe in 1894; studied in Germany and traveled
in Egypt and Palestine 1895-1896; studied in Columbia Uni-
versity Law School, 1896-1899 ; was graduated LL. B. 1899.
He was admitted to the New York bar in 1898 ; practiced law
with Evarts, Choate & Beeman one year; in 1903 formed a
partnership with his father and brother under the firm name
of Tyler & Tyler, which has continued since his father's death
under the same name at 30 Church Street, New York City.
Mr, Tyler has been a member of the Common Council of the city
of Plainfield 1902-1908, and of the Board of Education since
1908, is Secretary of the Charity Organization Society of Plain-
field and North Plainfield, and a director of the Rossendale
Reddaway Belting and Hose Company of Newark. In New
Jersey he is a member of the Mayflower Society. In New York
City he is a member of the Bar Association, Military Order of
the Loyal Legion, University Club, Phi Delta Phi Club, Psi
Upsilon Club, New England Society and Railroad Club. The
children were born in Plainfield.

Children :

7922 Margaret Rowe Tyler, bora April 8, 1901.

7923 Wilham Seymour Tyler, bom May 16, 1904.

7924 Edith Edwards Tyler, bom July 31, 1905.

Whiting^), bom in Plainfield, N. J., November 15, 1875; mar-
ried, December 29, 1908, at Pittsfield, Mass., Susan Tilden

784 The Descendants of Job Tyler

Whittlesey, bom November 21, 1883, at Florence, Wis. ; daugh-
ter of WiUiam Augustus and Caroline Benton (Tilden) Whit-
tlesey, of Pittsfield. He prepared for college at Williston
Seminary, Easthampton, Mass. ; was graduated from Amherst
College A. B. 1898 ; studied at Columbia University Law School
1898-1901, and was graduated LL. B. and admitted to the
New York bar in 1901. He was one of the founders of the
Columbia Law Review in 1901, and treasurer of the first board
of editors. He practiced one year with the firm of James
Schell and Elkus. In 1903 he formed a partnership with his
father and brother under the firm name of Tyler & Tyler, which
has continued since his father's death under the same name at
30 Church Street, New York City. He traveled in Europe in
1894, in Japan in 1900, in Alaska in 1901, and in Central
America and the West Indies in 1909. He is president and
director of the Liberty Realty Company of Seattle, Wash. ;
secretary and director of the West Canada Land and Develop-
ment Company ; secretary, treasurer and director of the JaiFray
Realty Company. He is one of the trustees of the Plainfield
Public Library and Reading room, and director of the Plain-
field Trust Company ; a member of the Commandery of the
District of Columbia, of the Military Order of the Loyal
Legion, and in New York City he is a member of the Bar Asso-
ciation, Psi Upsilon Club, Phi Beta Kappa Alumni, Phi Delta
Phi Club, Mayflower Society, New England Society, and Rail-
road Club.

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. C. B. Tyler
525 West Seventh Street

Mrs. W. S. Tyler
520 West Eighth Street

Email April 29, 2012 re: Van Boskerck and Tyler Families

Hi Susan,
You are going to love this...I mean really love it.
CPN is Caroline Potter Normann, my friend, the writer. The person who wrote these notes was her mother, Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchel who grew up in Plainfield in the house where the ex governor lives on Prospect Ave. She moved to Seattle when she married. That is the garden she writes about.
If you have any questions, let me know.

––Original Message––
From: Caroline Normann <>
To: Sally Booth <>
Sent: Sun, Apr 29, 2012 9:38 pm
Subject: Tyler information

Dear Sally, I hope I haven't delayed too long. I had to do some digging. Mom wrote pages and pages of memoires, all interesting, occasionally repetitive, as they were written over many years. Happily, I had transcribed them. Some I added comments for the benefit of Jenny and Beth.

There isn't a lot about Aunt Susan. I do remember going to her home for tea when we came to visit. That would have been when I was in grade school. She died quite a while before I went to college. Their home was filled with interesting furniture, paintings and lovely rooms. It was all very formal, but she was always very kind and easy for a child to be with. You are correct about the portrait that she gave to the Met. Its companion piece hung in Aunt Ethel's home and also hangs in the Met next to that given by Aunt Susan. Needless to say I didn't know her well. Aunt Ethel was the youngest of my grandfather's siblings and lived into her late 80s, so I knew her very well and always enjoyed being with her. She was amazingly youthful, open-minded, and contemporary for one of her generation. I visited her often while I was in college.

Let me know if any of the attached are useful to you or if you have an follow-up questions.

Love, Caroline

Caroline Normann
18317 Sunset Way
Edmonds, WA 98026
(425) 771-8925
(425) 530-6687(cell)

Email April 29, 2012 by Caroline Normann
Aunt Susan Tyler started a class to teach us to make pottery. She had her own studio and kiln in a part of their garage. She was a very cultured lady, a Smith college graduate from the time when that was a rarity, and she had great artistic taste and talent and had traveled widely. She opened up the world of art to us. There were five of us, Peggy Lawrence, Jean Moment, Emilie Parsons, Ruth Foster and me. I now know that in her perceptive way she realized that we each needed something. After our work in the studio, we would go into her beautiful library and were served an elegant tea in front of the fire. She had a glamorous La Salle roadster with a rumble seat, and Patrick her chauffeur, would deliver us home afterwards. She took us to new York to the Metropolitan Museum, to lunch in a fine restaurant like Sherrys and to the opera and to plays. It was a whole new world to me. These things have been my greatest interest every since. She talked about travel and wonderful things to see in Europe. For years after I was grown she and I shared ideas, and I always went to see her when I visited in the East until she finally died at a very old age.

Aunt Ethel interested me in antiques and she was full of creative ideas. She painted stencils and was an outstanding flower arranger and won many prized in the New York Flower Show for the Plainfield Garden Club. She was a gourmet cook herself in spite of having a regular cook in her household. We always had a lot of fun together and were close friends. She had a great sense of humor and of adventure.

Aunt Edith gave me lessons in painting, perspective and color values and later guided me to go to the Art Students league. She realized that I had no skills to fall back on and after studying for a few years she had me work in her interior decorating business in New York to get some practical experience.

Aunt Susan Tyler
Tyler, Mrs. Cornelius Boardman (Susan Tilden Whittlesey)'25 President 1944 - 1947

Aunt Ethel
Tyler, Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck) '15

Aunt Edith
Noss, Mrs. Henry (Edith Edwards Tyler) '66

Email April 29, 2012 written by Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchel


Having grown up in Brooklyn, Mother didn't know anything about plants, but she was eager to learn about gardening. The property they bought had originally been a nursery and had many fine large trees, tall pines, oaks, hard wood maples, a tulip tree and locusts in the front of the house. They acquired a good strong Italian gardener, Paul Scalera, who was an immigrant from the Naples area with his wife and numerous children. They lived in South Plainfield about 5 miles away. He used to walk to work and later had a bicycle. The children became educated and eventually were important people in the community. He worked for us for years and we loved and respected him. He was small and gradually grew very stooped. He had dark piercing eyes and a felt hat always somewhat over them. He always spit on his hands before tackling a piece of work with a hoe or a shovel. He seldom washed. He brought delicious thick sandwiches for his lunch filled with sausage and garlic. One day Mother was horrified to discover me in the process of taking a bite which has had offered. She always washed and sterilized everything and my lunches were usually baked potatoes, spinach and lamb chops. I thought his much more exciting. Paul called Mother "the mist" and was "the little mist."

When he first worked for us Mother was upset because he was pulling plants out of the garden and throwing them away. "Paul, what are you doing?" she cried. "He do be die", he told her. One day he appeared with a gift of several little dogwood trees. She was delighted. "Where did you get them, Paul?" "Me catch up at Loiz." Mr. Loizeaux was our neighbor with scads of white Cornus Florida trees in his garden. Mother was embarrassed but could hardly take them back and explain, so she planted them. She bought many more from a nursery and they lined the semi-circular driveway in front of our house with more in back under the tall pine trees.

It was a beautiful garden with stretches of lawn patterned by light and shade. There was a woodsy wild garden with ferns, hypatica, bloodroot, trillium, and masses of fragrant violets, orchids, mertensia and other choice plants, lots of mountain laurel and vivid areas of azaleas. There was a large perennial garden with delphinium, lilies, double campanulas sweet William and other plants. Roses were planted below the terrace. Daddy had a big vegetable garden with grapes and fruit trees as well.

Mother was one of the founders of the Plainfield Garden Club and started the Cornus Arboretum in one of the parks. She was very active in it for years. Every June Mother and Auntie Flo gave two luncheons back-to-back in the garden when everything was in full bloom. It was lovely.

The Swains who bought the house in 1958 have kept up the garden. She was a Loizeaux, so it is fitting that she fell heir to the dogwood trees that Paul gave Mother. There are many birds in the garden: Kentucky cardinals, wrens, orioles, etc.

Sent in April 29, 2012 written by Lucy Von Boskerck Potter Mitchel

Aunt Ethel Tyler was the youngest Van Boskerck. She was also artistic in a very practical manner. Everything she did was in perfect taste. She added warmth and "fun" to whatever she did. She was a gourmet cook and taught me a lot. She had a cook and maids, but did a lot of fine touches herself (CPN: and always cooked when it was the maid's day off. I visited her often when I was in college, and she was my favorite of all the blood relatives after my grandmother Mom Mom died in early 1960). She won many prizes for her flower arrangements for the Plainfield Garden Club in the big NY flower show. Her husband, William Seymour Tyler, came from an old distinguished New England family. He and his brother, Boardman Tyler, shared a law partnership in NY. Their properties on 7th and 8th Streets in Plainfield ran together at the back with fine gardens. Several of their ancestor paintings are now in the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum. The Tylers had Greek and Latin professors from Amherst College in their background.

Uncle Will ( a century ago) was a man for this "green" era. Aunt Ethel and Aunt Susan both had electric cars which had to be battery charged when not used. They were elegant round with windows, steered with a tiller, and always a crystal vase with a rose. At Lake Sunapee he had an electric boat which glided through the water silently and smoothly. Its batteries were also charged in the boat house when not in use. When they built their summer "camp" he did not want to cut down trees, so they grew right up through the broad railings of the porch. The architecture fitted right into the setting. He bought acres of land and cut a trail through it and gave it in perpetuity to the village, as the Nature Conservancy now.

In Plainfield he started the Boy Scouts and was on the town council. Uncle Boardman was chairman of the library board. They were both active in the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. After World War I the milk was very bad, so the two brothers bought more property and started Woodbrook Farms. It was all done hygienically, well pasteurized, and the cows taken care of properly. (CPN note: pasteurization was new to the US in early 1900's and not generally required until several decades later, so these men were ahead of their time in trying to provide healthy milk at a time when typhoid, diphtheria and other such diseases were often caused by impure milk.) Our milk from there was delivered by horse & wagon. Uncle Will's cousin was president of Abercrombie and Fitch, which had the best sporting goods equipment, and was an important store then. I had an "old town" canoe from there, and Uncle Will taught me how to paddle "Indian style", kneeling on the floor. (bottom of the canoe).

Note from Sally Booth:

Jean Moment was the daughter of Dr. Moment the minister of Crescent Ave. Pres. Church. She married Walter Douglas. I don't know if she was a member...I kind of think not. Peggy Lawrence never married. She taught at Spence or Chapin (girl's schools) in NYC I don't know who Ruth Foster married and I would only know her by her married name.

William Seymour Tyler

William Seymour Tyler (1810-1897) was the Amherst College, Massachusetts, historian during his tenure as professor of Latin, Greek, and Greek literature from 1832-1893

He was born September 2, 1810 in Hartford, Pennsylvania, the son of Joab and Nabby née Seymour Tyler. He matriculated at Amherst in 1829, graduated in 1830 (cf. external links below), and completed his M.A. in (1833). He tutored at Amherst from 1832-34 and in 1836. He was a professor of Latin and Greek at Amherst from 1836-47, and Professor of Greek from 1847-93. He was named Professor Emeritus in 1893 (1893-97). From 1835-36 he studied theology under Dr. Skinner in New York, and on September 4, 1839 he married Amelia Ogden, daughter of Mason Whiting of New York. They had four sons. He was ordained a minister in North Amherst, Massachusetts on October 16, 1859. He received the honorary D.D. degree from Harvard University (1857) and two honorary LL.D. degrees from Amherst (1871) and Harvard (1886). He died in Amherst on November 19, 1897.

He edited many Greek and Latin texts, and was the author of History of Amherst College During Its First Half Century (1872) and History of Amherst College during the Administration of its First Five Presidents (1894). In the latter he claimed that Amherst was the first college to use Latin honors.

William Seymour Tyler was one of the original trustees of Smith College and one of the residential houses on campus, Tyler House, was named after him

He was born September 2, 1810 in Hartford, Pennsylvania, the son of Joab and Nabby née Seymour Tyler. He matriculated at Amherst in 1829, graduated in 1830 (cf. external links below), and completed his M.A. in (1833). He tutored at Amherst from 1832-34 and in 1836. He was a professor of Latin and Greek at Amherst from 1836-47, and Professor of Greek from 1847-93. He was named Professor Emeritus in 1893 (1893-97). From 1835-36 he studied theology under Dr. Skinner in New York, and on September 4, 1839 he married Amelia Ogden, daughter of Mason Whiting of New York. They had four sons. He was ordained a minister in North Amherst, Massachusetts on October 16, 1859. He received the honorary D.D. degree from Harvard University (1857) and two honorary LL.D. degrees from Amherst (1871) and Harvard (1886). He died in Amherst on November 19, 1897.

He edited many Greek and Latin texts, and was the author of History of Amherst College During Its First Half Century (1872) and History of Amherst College during the Administration of its First Five Presidents (1894). In the latter he claimed that Amherst was the first college to use Latin honors.

William Seymour Tyler was one of the original trustees of Smith College and one of the residential houses on campus, Tyler House, was named after him

14. *Tyler, William Seymour. S. of Joab and Nabby (Seymour), b. Harford, Penn., S. 2, 1810. M. A., A. C., 1833; D. D., Harvard, 1857; LL. D., A. C., 1871; Harvard, 1886.
Prepared Harford (Penn.) Acad.; entered Hamilton, 1827; entered A. C., 1829. Taught Amherst Acad., 1830-31; Andover T. S., 1831-32, 1834-35; tutor A. C., 1832-34; studied theology with Dr. Skinner, N. Y., 1835-36; ordained No. Amherst, O. 16, 1859; tutor A. C., 1836; prof. of Latin and Greek languages, A. C., 1836-47, Prof. of Greek, 1847-93; prof. emeritus, 1893-97. Ed. many Latin and Greek texts; author History of Amherst College during its First Half Century, 1873; History of Amherst College during the Administration of its First Five Presidents, 1895; Prayer for Colleges; Memoir of Rev. Henry Lobdell (A. C. 1849); and numerous articles in periodicals and cyclopedias. Trustee Mt. Holyoke Sem.; Williston Sem.; Maplewood Sem., Pittsfield and Smith Coll. D. Amherst, N. 19, 1897.

Married S. 4, 1839, Amelia Ogden, da. of Mason Whiting, Binghamton, N. Y. Ch. Mason W. (A. C. 1862); William W. (A. C. 1864); Henry M. (A. C. 1865); John M. (A. C. 1873). Bro. Wellington H. (A. C. 1831); Edward G. (A. C. 1841). (Portrait in possession of A. C.)

Mason Whiting Tyler

*Tyler, Mason Whiting. S. of William Seymour (A. C. 1830) and Amelia Ogden (Whiting), b. Amherst, Je. 17, 1840. M. A., A. C., 1865. Phi Beta Kappa; Psi Upsilon.
Prepared Williston Sem. 2nd Lieut., 37th Mass. Vols., 1862; 1st Lieut., 1862-63; Capt., 1863-65; Major, 1865; Lieut. Col. and Col., 1865; Columbia Law School, 1865-66; admitted to bar, N. Y. City, O., 1866; managing clerk in office of Evarts, Southmayd & Choate, 1866-69; in firm of Tremain & Tyler, N. Y. City, 1869-93; in firm of Tyler & Durand, 1893-1903; with sons William S. and Cornelius B., 1903-07; r. Plainfield, N. J., 1871-1907. Trustee A. C., 1901-07; Governor N. J. Mayflower Descendants' Soc., and member similar societies. D. N. Y. City, Jy. 2, 1907.

Married D. 29, 1869, Eliza M., da. of Rev. John F. [Schroeder], New Milford, Conn., who d. O. 14, 1906. Ch. William S. (A. C. 1895); Cornelius B. (A. C. 1898). Bro. William W. (A. C. 1864); Henry M. (A. C. 1865); John M. (A. C. 1873).

May 10, 2012 GCA Zone IV Meeting and Awards Luncheon

PGC Members Jeanne Turner, Patti Dunstan and Phyllis Alexander researched over 275 members chronicled on our website,, and chose the following ladies as "themes" for the luncheon tables:

Eight Notable Women of the PGC

George W. Van Boskerck

George W. Van Boskerck

Birth: Aug. 21, 1832
Bergen County
New Jersey, USA
Death: Apr. 22, 1911
Union County
New Jersey, USA

Former Resident Dead.

George W. Van Boskerck, a former resident of this town, died at his home in Plainfield last Saurday morning after a short illness. He was an active worker in the Episcopal church and one of its liberal supporters during his residence in Westfield. Of his life, the Plainfield Courier-News says:

"Mr. Van Boskerck was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, August 21, 1832. His father was John Van Boskerck, and his mother Elizabeth Taylor. His grandfather, George Van Boskerck, of New York City, was of old Dutch Colonial stock, and was a soldier in the Revoluntionary army.

"Mr. Van Boskerck was one of the original members of the old Corn Exchange, which became the New York Produce Exchange, of which he was at the time of his death one of the oldest members, and where he has been engaged in the commission business for the past sixty years. He was a veteran of the Seventh Regiment, N.Y.N.G., of which he became a member in 1857, in the Sixth Company, with which he saw active servie during the "draft riots," in New York City, at Webb's Shipyard. He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York.

"Mr. Van Boskerck has been a resident of Plainfield for the past twenty-two years. He is survived by his widow, two sons, and five daughters: Thomas R. and George T. Van Boskerck; the Misses Sarah M., Maude and Edith Van Boskerck, and Mrs. William S. Tyler, of this city, and Mrs. William Bloodgood, of New York."

The funeral was held from his late residence on West Seventh street, Plainfield, last Monday, and was attended by a large gathering of relatives and friends. Rev. E. Vicara Stevenson, rector of Grace Episcopal church, of Plainfield, officiated, and interment was made in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York. There was a large collecton of floral tributes from friends, who are grieved over his demise. A quartette sang with a wealth of expression and feeling, "Nearer My God to Thee," Peace, Perfect Peace," and "Now the Strife is O'er."

Published by The Westfield Leader on April 26, 1911.

Woodlawn Cemetery
Bronx County
New York, USA

Created by: Lnanaa
Record added: Jun 07, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91514578

The Daily Press, Plainfield, New Jersey Tuesday, October 20, 1908

C. B. Tyler to Wed Miss Whittlesey

Announcement was made of the engagement of Miss Susan Tilden Whittlesey, daughter of the late United States Senator William T. Whittlesey, and C. Boardman Tyler, of this city, at a dinner given at the home of Miss Whittlesey's mother on Wendel street, Pittsfield, Mass., Saturday night.

Miss Whittlesey is the granddaughter of President-elect Samuel J. Tilden. No date has been fixed for the wedding. Mr. Tyler is well-known here in social circles. His is a son of the late Colonel and Mrs. Mason W. Tyler and a brother of former Councilman William S. Tyler.

1954 Check Book

No. 1078
April 22, 1954
N.Y. Botanical Garden
dues - sustaining
1954 - 55

No. 1079
May 13, 1954
Constance T. Foster
Flowers for Mrs. W. Tyler
& Mrs. DeForest

No. 1080
May 13, 1954
Esther B. Perkins
change for cash box for Garden Fair

Mrs. Ladd, Mrs. Tyler and Mrs. Holman

CHARTER MEMBER – Mrs. William S. Tyler, center, gets a corsage from Mrs. Edward H. Ladd 3rd, chairman of the Plainfield Garden Club's 50th anniversary celebration, during a reception Saturday night at the Monday Afternoon Club. Mrs. Tyler is a charter member of the club. At right is Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, Jr., club president. (Photo by Ted Fogel)


The Plainfield Garden Club observed its 50th anniversary Saturday night with a reception at the Monday Afternoon Club. A pictorial history of the club's activities highlighted the evening.

Several past presidents and two charter members, Mrs. Willam S. Tyler and Miss Josephine Lapsley, were among the honored guests.

Members and their husbands were welcomed by Mrs. Wayne J. Holman Jr., president, and Mrs. Edward H. Ladd 3rd, chairman of the celebration and a past president.

Others serving a hostesses were former presidents Mrs. Leslie R. Fort, Mrs. C. Boardman Tyler, Mrs. J. Webster Sandford and Mrs. Frederick M. Lockwood. Mrs. Alden deHart and Mrs. Victor R. King, also past presidents, were hostesses at the coffee table.

Mrs. William P. Elliott and Mrs. David S. Foster, decorations chairmen, carried out the anniversary theme with yellow table cloths and golden urns arranged with flowers dipped in gold. Two white alabaster urns filled with red roses adorned the entrance hallway, and the buffet table featured two decorated 5-branch candelabra and a tiered anniversary cake.

The pictorial history, planned and executed by Mrs. Lockwood, included movies of club members taken many years ago by the late Leslie R. Fort. Slides showed such club activities as the planting of the Moraine locust trees in Park Ave., the planting around the YWCA., and the Salvation Army buildings, window boxes on downtown buildings, the Cornus collection and the Shakespeare and iris gardens in Cedar Brook Park.

A challenge class, in which husbands of six members participated, was directed by Mrs. Lawrence S. Heely. Alden R. Loosli was declared the winner of the arrangement competition.

The Plainfield Garden Club is a member of the Garden Club of America and the Garden Club of New Jersey.

Marge, Ethel & Elsa

Ladd, Mrs. Edward H. III (Margaret or "Marge" Cone) '39

Tyler, Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck) '15

Holman, Mrs. Wayne J. (Elsa Ezell), Jr. '58

1965 Mrs. Tyler

1915 - 1923 Book: Meetings of The Plainfield Garden Club

1915 - 1923 List of Meetings

1936 - 1937 Meeting Minutes

1938-1939 Meeting Minutes

1920 Meeting Minutes

1965 50th Anniversary of the Garden Club

Mrs. Tyler seated in the purple dress

Mrs. Frederick G. (Geraldine de M. Goutiere) Acomb holds the camera.

1965 50th Anniversary of the Garden Club

Mrs. Tyler, a founding member of the Club, cuts the 50th Anniversary cake. Marge Cone Ladd on the right.

1965 50th Anniversary of the Garden Club

Mrs. Marge Cone Ladd honors Mrs. Tyler as Mrs. Holman, President, looks on

Mrs. Tyler

at the Monday Afternoon Club, 1965
50th Anniversary of the Plainfield Garden Club

Email Exchange March 2013

Dear Caroline,

Yes, Sally shared your email address – I hope that is okay. I promise we will not pester you too much!

Thank you for your identification of Mrs. Acomb – all agree that you are absolutely correct. We never had a photo of her before and it is wonderful that we do now!

It also makes a lot of sense that she is wearing an Indian sari as she grew up in India. How beautiful!

Sally and the Detwiller family were her patrons and have sent us digital images of their portraits. If you would ever take a photograph of the two portraits you own and would share them, we would love that. In her file we have kept images of all her work that we have found.

It is interesting that you think that one man may be Mr. Noss. Edith Tyler Noss did not officially join the Club in 1966. Perhaps that is why she is not photographed? Maybe there are more photographs somewhere else? We are just so pleased to have discovered these.

I am sorry not to have spoken with your mother as well. What a long, full life she enjoyed. I know the Ladies are looking down and happy we are archiving all their work!

Enjoy Spring and thanks again – Susan

Caroline Normann
Mar 23 (1 day ago) 2013

to Sally, me
Dear Susan, how thoughtful of you to send this to me. I have to imagine that Sally Booth gave you my name and contact information. I am sorry to say the only person who looks at all familiar to me is the lady with the camera and also on the right in #15 of the pdf file, who I think might be Geraldine (Gerry) Acomb. She and my mother (Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchell) and Sally's mother were close friends. I have two portraits Gerry she did, one very large and elegant one of my mother in a Victorian gown that hung in the front hall of my grandparents' home on Prospect Avenue, and another small one of me as a very young child. Sadly none of the other people in your photos look at all familiar with the possible exception of the man on the left in #3 who could be Henry Noss, Ethel's son-in-law, husband of Edith. But I can't imagine if he were there that Edith, Ethel's daughter, would not also have been, and there is no one in any of these photos who looks like Edith. The Nosses did live in Plainfield in 1965, as I used to visit them in the early 1960s. If they attended the event, I"m sure the photographer (Gerry?) would have captured them both, likely with Ethel. Edith wrote a history of the club which is in the archives. He was a devoted gardener (and retired NYU history professor who I believe also served as dept chair for some years). Unless they were away when the event took place I cannot imagine that they were not there. There are also multiple photos and references to all of the Van Boskerck/Tyler members from the beginnings.

I regret being of little help to you and wish my mother were still living. She would have known and delighted in identifying many of them of the older set in attendance, but alas she died in 2010 at 97.

Feel free to ask anything else of me.

Best regards,

On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM, Plainfield Garden Club <> wrote:
Dear Caroline,

Today we converted old slides into digital photographs and the first event was the 50th Anniversary of the Garden Club in 1965. Attached are several photographs of Mrs. William S. (Ethel Van Boskerck) Tyler who was honored as the last founding member of the club in 1965.

Also attached is a pdf of a reduced quality (the photos are less clear and smaller) of all the slides taken that evening. Would you by chance recognize anyone else in the slides? We can send larger photographs if that would help.

You can also view all our records from 1965 at at this direct link:

1965 50th Anniversary Party

Thank you for any assistance you can offer. We would love to place a name with every face.


Susan Fraser
Plainfield Garden Club
Founded 1915

1915 Meeting Minutes

Plainfield Garden Club
Minutes of regular meetings
May 12, 1915 to March 20, 1918
From its origination

May 12 – 1915

Minutes of the 1st General Meeting

First general meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held at the home of Mrs. Conner on Wednesday, May 12th at 3.30 o'clock.

President in the chair. Roll call showed 39 members present.

During the meeting rain began to fall to everyones regret making a tour of Mrs. Conner's garden impossible.

A few ? of congratulations on the formation of the Club by the President was followed by some notices given, and request to have members offer to exchange plants when possible.

We then listened to a most comprehensive talk on perennials given by Mr. Maurice Field of New York which was greatly enjoyed and appreciated by the members. He brought specimens of many plants showing how to divide and separate grubs and other garden enemies.


All felt stimulated and helped by his talk and as the rain prevented us from going in the garden his lecture of two hours ?? too long.

After a cup of tea the meeting adjourned.

Ella M. Gilbert Secy

May 26, 1915

Minutes of the 2nd General Meeting

Second general meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held at the home of Mrs. Barrows on Wed. May 26th at 3 oclock.

President in the Chair.

Roll call showed 33 members present.

Minutes of previous meeting were read and approved.

Giving to the inclement conditions of the weather the meeting was held indoors. ?? later on the sun came out and a visit to the garden was enjoyed by all.

Mrs. E. Yarde Breeze of Raritan ? Garden Club gave a very delightful paper on foreign gardens.

A letter was read from Mrs. W. S. Tyler giving notice of sale of garden things for the benefit of a young boy that she and some others were especially interested in.

It was noted ?? bring out of town guests and the Hostess. Plainfield friends After enjoying the hospitality of the hostess tea being served the meeting adjourned.

Ella M. Gilbert secy

June 2 – 1915

Minutes of the 3rd general meeting

The third general meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held in the garden of Mrs. Dumont on Wednesday June 9th at three oclock.

The president in the chair.

Roll call showed 25 members present. Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

Miss R. E. Zimmerman of Brooklyn gave a most interesting and helpful talk in "L?? garden flowers."

It was noted to have a "Bird talk" during the year and also to have Mr. Maurice Field give a course of lectures during our next season beginning in April.

It was a most glorious June day and the garden most beautiful which was enjoyed and appreciated by those present who strolled about among the flowers. Tea was served in the tea house. The meeting then adjourned.

Ella M. Gibert Secy

June 23 -1915

Minutes of the 4th general meeting

The fourth general meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held in the garden of Mrs. Runkle, on Wednesday June 23rd at 3 oclock.

The president in the chair.

Roll call showed 25 members present.

Minutes of the former meeting were read and approved.

Mrs. L. A. Brown of Shedvira?? Garden Club Garden City L. I. read a most useful and interesting paper on color harmony in gardens she also answered very pleasantly all questions asked regarding plants and flowers.

July 14 – 1915

Minutes of the 5th General Meeting of the Garden Club was held on July 14 in the garden of Mrs. Fleming.

The day was a perfect summer one and we were addressed by Mr. L. V. F. Randolph who read an original paper on "What Some Plants Feel and Think."

An interesting discussion followed after which we took a stroll in Mrs. Fleming's charming garden and then were refreshed with fruit punch and cakes served under a ?? on the lawn. After a delightful afternoon meeting adjourned.

Ella M. Gilbert Secy
Per H. B. H.

September 15 – 1915

Minutes of the 5th General Meeting of the Garden Club

A regular meeting of the Garden Club was held at the delightful farm of Mrs. Eaton on Valley Road, on Wednesday, Sept. 15th. The President presiding.

In the absence of the Secy, Mrs. Patterson called the roll and heard the minutes of the last regular meeting. The Pres. Welcomed the members of the Club after the separation of the summer & suggested that some slight expression of gratitude for the please we had enjoyed at the Garden Club meetings or shown by a gift of 100 glasses of jelly to the Fruit & Flower ?ision. This idea was approved by the members present in that 2 glasses of fruit jelly from each member may be sent to the house of the Pres. For this purpose. A letter was read from Mr. Chester Jay Hunt extending a warm invitation to the Garden Club to visit his tulip gardens next spring and make a picnic of the day there. We then listened to a delightful talk on "Roses" by Mr. Geo. H. Peterson of Fair Lawn, N. J. and were afterwards ?? with fruit punch and cakes in an arbor on the grounds.

A visit to the farm buildings & flower garden brought to a ?? a delightful day.

Ella M. Gilbert Secy
From H. B. H.

September 22 – 1915

Minutes of the 7th General Meeting of the Garden Club

A regular meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held at the Bungalow of Mrs. Mellick on Wednesday Sept. 22nd at three o'clock.

Mrs. E. J. Patterson acting as Sec'y in the absence of Mrs. Gilbert.

The afternoon was given up to a talk on "Birds in Our Gardens" by Mr. Bucher S. Bowdish – Secty v ?? of the ?? State Audubon Society of was felt greatly moved by the pleasure of Mrs. William Dra??? Who has done so much for the conservation of Bird Life in America. The Club was entertained delightfully by Mrs. Mellick after which we adjourned.

Ella M. Gilbert – Secy
Per H. B. H.

Oct 13 – 1915

Minutes of the 8th General Meeting of the Garden Club

A regular meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held at the residence of Mrs. H. N. Stevens on Wednesday Oct 13th at 3 o'clock. Pres. In chair. After roll call & minutes of last meeting read to approved, a letter was read from our lecturer on "Birds" of the meeting before. Minutes were approved by two of the members. The day was like one in June and all enjoyed the interchange of ideas and the informal talk of our garden troubles. The lecturer of the day was Mr. Otto Shilow Sec'y & Treas. Of the Duer ? Co. who gave us a most instructive and helpful talk on "the care of our gardens." All had so many questions to ask that after a long ?? it was difficult for Mr. Shilow to get a cup of tea before his departure for Philadelphia.

All expressed the wish that we might have the pleasure of having him again. After a social gathering about Mrs. Stevens tea table, the club adjourned.

Ella M. Gilbert, Secy
Per H. B. H.

NOTE: This next entry follows in the order the Meeting Minute notebook was photographed, however the date is "1916" – not sure if this entry is from 1916 or was not recorded correctly as "1915" which seems unlikely.

Oct. 27, 1916

Minutes of the 9th General Meeting of the Garden Club

A regular meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club was held at the residence of Mrs. E. T. Barrows on Wednesday Oct. 24? At 3 o'clock.

The Pres. In the chair. After the roll call and the minutes of the previous meeting read & approved, the Pres. Brought up the subject of the mid winter lecture, to be held in the evening and for which an admission should be charged.

After some discussion it was decided to have Mr. Shilow give his illustrated lecture "Flowers From Snow to Snow" admission to be 50 center and each member to be responsible for two tickets.

The time and place was left to be determined.

The Pres. Expressed our great sorrow in the death of Mrs. Louis Hyde – the members of the Club all standing and moved that a note of condolence be sent to Mr. Hyde and his family.

The Pres. Announced that Mrs. Ackerman and Mrs. Ivins had provided a lecture from Mr. Field for the . . . instead of having a meeting of their homes this year. He then spoke to us on "Bulbs.: Late in the afternoon tea was served & the meeting adjourned.

Lucy Van Boskerck
Secy pro tem

1915 - 1918 Meeting Minutes

1954 - 1970 296 Images from Plainfield Library Scrapbook

April 7, 1961 Courier News 25 Years Ago, 1936

Members of the Plainfield Garden Club exhibiting in the International Flower Show in New York were: Mrs. Leslie R. Fort, president, Mrs. Richard M. Lawton, Mrs. William S. Tyler, Mrs. Cornelius B. Tyler, Mrs. William K. Dunbar, Miss Dorothea Tingley, Mrs. Walter M. McGee, Mrs. Arthur G. Nelson, P. Marshall, Mrs. Edward H. Ladd Jr., Mrs. Stephen G. Van Hoesen, Mrs. Elliott C. Laidlaw, Mrs. Clinton F. Ivins, Miss Edna Brown, Mrs. Harold Brown, Mrs. Orville G. Waring, Mrs. DeWitt Hubbell, Mrs. Irwin Taylor and Mrs. Harry H. Pond.

Thursday, December 17, 1964 The Courier News

Plainfield Garden Club Meets in Lee House, Scotch Plains

The Plainfield Garden Club was entertained yesterday in historic Lee House, home of Mr. and Mrs. William P. Elliott at 11 Black Birch Rd., Scotch Plains.

Two new members were welcomed by Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, president. Co-hostesses were Mrs. Victor King and Mrs. James R. Bird.

Mrs. Bird introduced the program of readings on "The Symbols and Legends of Christmas" given by Mrs. A. D. Seybold and Mrs. King. As the symbols were describe, they were displayed b Mrs. Benson Wigton Jr.

A letter of congratulations from Mayor Robert C. Maddox to the club member Mrs. Alden DeHart has received a state award in the "Green Thumb Competition" of the New Jersey Tercentenary Commission for her work as chairman of the grounds committee of Drake House.

A member of the Plainfield Historical Society, she supervised outdoor plantain at the museum with funds for the planting donated by the Plainfield Garden Club. She also was awarded a special rose bush which will be planted at Drake House in her name in the spring.

Presiding at the tea table were Mrs. Holman, Mrs. William S. Tyler, Mrs. Webster Sandford, Mrs. Noah C. Barnhart, Mrs. J. Harold Loizeaux and Mrs. Charles H. Detwiller.

Thursday, December 17, 1964 The Courier News

The Courier-News
Plainfield, N. J., Thursday, December 17, 1964

Garden Club Entertained at Historic Lee House

(Club Member)

The Plainfield Garden Club was entertained yesterday by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Elliott in the historic Lee House, located at 11 Black Birch Rd., Scotch Plains.

The ghosts of the historic homestead must be rattling their skeletons with joy this Christmas season because at last, through the efforts of the owners, the house has achieved the charm and beauty it deserves.

The guests stepped over the threshold to a scene of great charm. In the center hall stood a Christmas tree on which members hung gifts of candy, wrapped as ornaments. Later the gifts were taken to Lyons Veterans Hospital where for many years the club has contributed greens and gifts at Christmas.

The president, Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, conducted the meeting and welcomed two new members. The hostess, a member of the club, was assisted by Mrs. Victor King and Mrs. James R. Bird.

Stormy History
A varied and sometimes stormy history has characterized Lee House since 1725, when the original small structure was built at the corner of Cooper and Terrill Rds., by the Lee family. During the Revolutionary War, the house was on the line of march of both British and Colonial armies, and many a tired soldier warmed his feet at its open fires.

The little house was moved to Raritan Rd. in 1828, to be joined to another farmhouse built in 1750 by Moses Frazee. One hundred thirty-five years later, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott had the house moved to its present location. Barns and other small buildings were moved also, and now are grouped around Lee House in companionable symmetry.

The Elliotts have added a wing to the house and restored the old brick and stone, the ceiling beams and original floor boards to keep it authentic Early American home.

The program was announced by Mrs. Bird. Readings on "The Symbols and Legends of Christmas" were given by Mrs. A. D. Seybold and Mrs. King, with incidental music played on the harp b 12-year old Joyce Heiman. As the symbols were described, they were displayed by Mrs. Benson Wigton Jr.

The first of the symbols, an "Advent Wreath," was made of evergreens with four white candles, which are traditionally lighted one at a time on each of the four Sundays during the Advent Season.

Gold Angel
A gold angel brought from Oberammergau, Germany by Mrs. Seybold, was displayed as the second symbol. The reading explained that angels are used throughout the world in forms varying from rough clay figures to the finest of wood carvings and porcelains.

Among symbolic Christmas greens are holly, ivy and mistletoe. Long ago it was thought that holly was the man's plant, ivy the woman's and the one brought into the house first indicated which sex would rule the house that year.

Bells, used to proclaim the joyful tidings, were shown and that beloved yuletide symbol, the Christmas Tree. According to one story, Martin Luther in 1528 cut down a small evergreen tree and carried it into his house, where he fastened candles to the branches and lighted them to share with his family the wonders of the Christmas sky.

A beautiful creche was shown as the most holy and revered symbol. The program ended with angelic tones of the harm and the beloved Christmas blessing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Afterwards guests adjourned to the dining room to exchange greetings before the centuries old fireplace. The tea table was decorated with brilliant red poinsettia massed in an old brass milk pan. Brass candlesticks and an antique samovar, from which coffee was served, completed the picture of early American hospitality.

Presiding at the tea table at intervals were Mrs. Wayne J. Holman, Mrs. William S. Tyler, Mrs. Webster Sandford, Mrs. Noah C. Barnhart, Mrs. J. Harold Loizeaux and Mrs. Charles H. Detwiller Jr.

January 13, 2014 Scottish Christmas at the Drake House

January 13, 2014

Once upon a time in Plainfield there were three sisters (there were actually seven sisters, but to our knowledge, only three were Plainfield Garden Club members). Their names were Edith, Maud and Ethel. And each sister was more talented than the next.

Ethel was a founding member of the Plainfield Garden Club in 1915. She married a very prominent Plainfield man, built a huge house on West Eighth Street which is still beautiful today. She was a gourmet cook, despite having a cook in her employ, a blue-ribbon floral designer, an authority on antiques, an artist and lastly, a talented gardener. Ethel was described as having a great sense of humor and adventure.

Maud was a latecomer to the PGC, joining in 1920. To the best of our knowledge, she never married. Maud's great talent was music. An accomplished pianist, she had a studio at 825 Park Avenue, which is still there today, and she taught many in Plainfield the art of the piano. It was here in the large studio that the Plainfield Music Club would gather. Maud was a founding member of the Music Club, a Club that still exists and is only 1 year older than the PGC – beating the PGC out of the honor of "oldest club in Plainfield." Whenever the Club needed entertainment, Maud was always at the ready.

And then there was Edith. Edith's talent was that she was a fine artist. Like Maud, Edith never married. She did, however, have a very successful career as an interior designer. Her philosophy of design was to "make the walls recede" and she was known for wall murals, which she painted herself. Edith had a busy shop on Washington Square and exhibited other well known artists' works at her shop. She was a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and published in Good Housekeeping.

It was Edith who donated to the Plainfield Historical Society a green and red dress circa 1858. It was this dress that was featured in a Christmas exhibit at the Drake House in 1988, curated by our own Jeanne Turner. Jeanne brought in the pamphlet from this exhibit and that is why there is this story of the three sisters. Thanks Jeanne!

520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060

Mrs. Edward Hume (Margaret Rowe Tyler) Clendenin '44, Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck), and Edward Hume or "Hume" Clendenin


520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060


520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060

March 1961

520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060

520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060

520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060

Left to Right:
Lucy Van Boskerck Potter Mitchell
Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck) '15
Mrs. Edward Hume (Margaret Rowe Tyler) Clendenin '44
and Edward Hume or "Hume" Clendenin


Lucy Winslow Van Boskerck (Potter) Mitchell (daughter of founding PGC member Mrs. Thomas Rowe (Lucy Otterson) Van Boskerck, with her Aunt, Mrs. William Seymour (Ethel Van Boskerck) Tyler '15 and her cousin, Mrs. Edward Hume (Margaret Rowe Tyler) Clendenin '44 and her husband Edward Hume Clendenin in front of Mrs. William S. Tyler's home at 520 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060

1332 Prospect Avenue, Plainfield NJ 07060

1332 Prospect Avenue, Plainfield NJ 07060

Three photos of the home & garden of Plainfield Garden Club founding member Mrs. Thomas Rowe (Lucy Otterson) Van Boskerck '15 located at 1332 Prospect Avenue, Plainfield, New Jersey 07060

Sister's home

October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014

Sally does it again!

Over our 100 year history, the PGC has submitted TEN local gardens for inclusion in the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens. As you know, it has been the Garden Club of America's great initiative to document gardens across the nation and have their photos and plans preserved there. Our own Mary Kent just concluded her two-year term as the National Chairman of that GCA committee titled "Garden History & Design." GCA clubs from across the US have painstakingly documented gardens for the Smithsonian. But as most of us can recall, technology wasn't what it is today so some things became "lost" in the great vaults of the Smithsonian. One of these things were the submitted photographs of 1332 Prospect Avenue in Plainfield.

1332 Prospect Avenue was home to Plainfield Garden Club Founding Member Mrs. Thomas Rowe (Lucy Otterson) Van Boskerck '15. Later, it was home to Honorary Member Bernice Swain. Before it became the current home of Jim McGreevey, it belonged to Chris and Kathleen Onieal. Your Editor was once showed these photographs as they were told "they stay with the house" but again, they had been misplaced.

In comes Sally. Sally is friends with Mrs. Van Boskerck's granddaughter, Caroline Norman, who resides in Seattle. Sally remembers visiting 1332 Prospect Avenue often as a child and tells great stories of playing in the attics. Sally, who is a third generation member of the PGC, inquired once more of her friend Caroline if she could locate these mythical photographs. And today they were found and returned to us – and the six sepia photographs are every bit as beautiful as Your Editor remembered.

In addition, Caroline sent along never-before-seen photographs of her Aunt Ethel Tyler and her house at 520 8th Street. We also received our first photo of Mrs. Noss. And perhaps best of all, we are the recipients of some beautiful photographs of 17 year-old Sally, a dashing young Carter and Sally's beautiful children. ENJOY!!

1332 Prospect Avenue and other photos for the Van Boskerck, Tyler, Clendenin, Noss, Genung, Madsen & Booth Families