Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Yates, Mrs. Frederick Washburn (Bertha Kedzie Cornwell) '15

First lived at 815 Kensington Avenue – date unknown

1919 Address: 1112 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield

1922 Address: 1112 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield

1928 Treasurer Book May 31st $5.00
1929 Treasurer Book Active $5.00
1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 Treasurer Book Active

1932 Directory* Address: 1112 Watchung Avenue
* = This directory was not dated but presumed to be from the year 1932.

1938 - 1939 Treasurer Book: Mrs. Frederick W. Yates 1/19/38 Pd. Died May 11th


Local Blogger Bernice Paglia shares July 30, 1904 Obituary for Mrs. Yates' father-in-law, Joseph W. Yates

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Joseph Yates Obit
For a glimpse into the city's past, take a look at the obituary of Joseph W. Yates. His family home is now a six-family apartment building where I live in the smallest apartment:

From the July 30, 1904 Courier-News:

"Sudden Death of Joseph W. Yates"

Contracting a Cold on His Outing with His Family, He passed Away at Minnewaska

Prominent in Plainfield

As an Orphan Boy He Took to the Sea and Finally Founded a Large Exporting Firm

Joseph W. Yates, one of Plainfield's oldest and best known citizens, died suddenly last night at Lake Minnewaska, New York, where he, with his family, had gone for the summer, as had been his custom for many years. His wife and daughter Margaret were with him at the last.
He went to Lake Minnewaska a month ago, and suffered from a severe cold, which was not thought serious until it developed with fatal results.

Mr. Yates was born in Bristol, Maine, January 30, 1826. He received such an education as could be obtained in the public and private schools in that vicinity. When he reached the age of ten years, he lost his mother, and four years later his father. Soon thereafter he commenced to earn his own livelihood by following the sea, and developing considerable ability in this direction, he was early placed in command of a vessel, which position he continued to fill until about 1854. During his life at sea, he improved his spare time by reading and study, thereby adding to his knowledge and education.

In 1854 he settled in New York city and formed a partnership with Robert Porterfield, a firm which, until within a few years, carried on an exporting and importing business with the West Coast of Africa and a general freighting business to most parts of the world. The founders of the house retired in 1884.

In 1855, Mr. Yates married Susan Gray Jackson, a daughter of Samuel R. Jackson of Providence, R.I., and in 1865 moved to Plainfield, where he continued to reside for the remainder of his life.

He took an active part in public affairs, serving the city as a councilman and the State as legislator. He was among the first to organize the city government and secured for it much favorable legislation. He was one of the original trustees of the Plainfield Public Library and continued to act in that capacity up to the time of his death.

For many years he was a trustee in the New York State Colonization Society, and was one of the oldest members of the Chamber of Commerce, with which he became identified in the early part of his business career. In 1875 Governor McClellan appointed him a visitor of the State Agricultural College of New Jersey, and for many years he had been Consul in this country for the Republic of Liberia.

Mr. Yates always took an active part in the politics of his city, State and county, and was conservative in the expression of his views and consistent in his adherence to his principles and to what he believed for the best interest of the people. Although urged by his friends several times to accept the nomination for Mayor of this city, for Congressman from this district and for other offices in the state, he never felt that the time had come when he would be able; if elected, to do full justice to the public and at the same time to those dependent upon him in private life. He was up to the time of his death, a close student, keeping fully abreast of the age and was considered one of conservative, deep-thinking, well-read men of the present time, notwithstanding his advanced years, and his loss will be deeply felt.

He leaves a wife, three daughters, Mrs. C. Dudley Holman, of Pittsfield, Mass., Mrs. Harry V. Borden and Miss Margaret G. Yates, of Plainfield, and two sons, Sam J. Yates of San Francisco, Cal., and Frederick W. Yates, of Plainfield.

Bernice Paglia's blog on Joseph W. Yates

Workers repairing windows found this lead sash weight dated 1869, the year original owner Joseph W. Yates became one of the first council members and Job Male became the city's first mayor.

By coincidence, as I was looking up information on the building online, so was a relative of J.W. Yates, who saw my 2007 blog post on the house and wrote from Florida to share information. He later sent a New York Times obituary for J.W. Yates and other family documents. In turn, I am attempting to get a copy of the Courier News front-page story on Mr. Yates' death, which tells more about his early life as well as his contributions to the community. He died on July 30, 1904.

The Yates house is now a six-family apartment building. In the early 20th century, the story goes, it was lifted on steel girders and turned sideways on the lot. A late 19th century map in the library's Plainfield Room shows its original placement with a circular driveway, dominating the block across from Grace Episcopal Church.

Once I get more information, I will share it with readers and also with the library.

NOTE: Grace Episcopal Church is on Cleveland Avenue and East 6th Street, Plainfield

New York Times June 9, 1895 Yates-Borden Wedding Announcement

Headline: MANY VISITORS AT PLAINFIELD; The Yates-Borden Wedding a Quiet Affair Because of Mrs. Yates

PLAINFIELD, N.J., June 8. – What was planned to have been a society event this week was the Yates-Borden wedding Wednesday evening, for which 500 invitations were issued, but owing to the dangerous illness of Mrs. Frederick Yates, the invitations were recalled and the wedding was celebrated quietly at the home of the bride's father, John W. Yates. The bride was Miss Kathryn Yates, prominent in society, and the bridegroom was Harry V. Borden. The event was to have taken place in the Crescent Avenue Church, the most fashionable church in town.

The New York Times
Published June 9, 1895

January 7, 1894 New York Times Article Gay Dancers at Plainfield: The Second Assembly Ball a Brilliant Affai

Mention of Fred Yates in attendance along with many other future PGC husbands.

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Jan. 6. 00 The second Assembly ball was danced at the Casino Monday night. It proved to be one of the most brilliant social affairs Plainfield society has known for many years. The regular Assembly set was out in full force, clad in gorgeous raiment and bend on having a good time.

The patronesses were Mrs. Charles E. Brooks, Mrs. R. L. Burnett, Mrs. H. G. Runkle, Mrs. Charles J. Fisk, Mrs. Pliny Fisk, and Mrs. W. F. Kaufman. The music was by Elliott of New York.

Among those present were Augustus Wadsworth, Mr. Adams, Miss Lefferts, and Laurie Bliss of New York; Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Pentz and Mr. Stevens of Fanwood, and from Plainfield Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Reinhart, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Pliny Fisk, Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Kaufman, Mr. and Mrs. McQuaide, Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Fisk, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Brooks; Major and Mrs. R. L. Burnett, Mr. and Mrs. Corlies, Miss Corlies, Mr. Corlies, Miss Lockwood, Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Booth, Mr. and Mrs. Bowne, Miss Laurence, Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Hegeman, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Scott, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Saunders, the Misses Holly, Miss Erickson, Mrs. Simmonds, Lee Simmonds, Mrs. Henderson, Archibald Henderson, Miss Opdyke, Miss Whiton, Miss Gussie Murray, James Murray, Miss Minnie Miller, Miss Kathryn Yates, Miss Margaret Yates, Fred Yates, Miss Waly, Fred Waly, Miss Cooper, Miss Huntington, Miss Annie Murphy, Clarence L. Murphy, Miss Barket, Miss Van Boskerck, Mrs W. Bloodgood, George and Thomas Bosckerck, Mr. and Mrs. Irving Brown, Miss Stewart, Walker Stewart, Percy Stuart, Ralph Payne, O.T. Waring, L.E. Waring, Mr. Patten, Mr. Freeman, A. Holly, Miss Minnie Murphy, Howard Huntington, A.L. C. Marsh, H.C. Nunger, Roger Erickson, Jules Erickson, J.P. Munn, W. F. Kirk, E. F. Field, Dr. Ord, J. N. Moore, E. Van Buren, J. S. Anthony, L. Van Buren, H.V. Borden, Mr. Dayton, A. D. Shepard, Jr., B. Shepard, C. McGee, Ralph Opdyke, Sheridan Fox, and Howard Opdyke.

The New York Times
Published: January 7, 1894

October 17, 1894 New York Times article A Silver Wedding in Plainfield

Mrs. Yates mentioned to be in attendance as well as many other PGC members including a Miss Halloway who later became one of the PGC's most prestigious members.

Responses to Bernice Paglia's blog on Joseph Yates

JMG said...
The stone house on Cedarbrook Road & Watchung (1112 Watchung) was built by Bertha K.C. Yates, I wonder if this was his granddaughter

8:12 AM
Bernice said...
Yes, his son Frederick W. Yates lived there, accodring to his descendent.

Bertha Yates

photo from "Images of America: Plainfield" by John A. Grady and Dorothe M. Pollard
Caption reads, "Evidently, this shiny new car thrilled its owner. Today, it is the house that catches the eye of the passerby. Built of Pennsylvania mica stone, this impressive Colonial-style home was built for a prominent New York attorney and his wide, Frederick and Bertha Yates."

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

May 3, 2011 Plainfield Family Heritage Lives on Through Donation of 1894 Wedding Dress

Plainfield family heritage lives on through donation of 1894 wedding dress
by markspivey on May 3rd Comment | Email

PLAINFIELD - The family heritage of one of the Queen City's founding fathers will live on thanks in part to a recent donation to the Historical Society of Plainfield.

Four great-grandchildren of Bertha Cornwell Yates, daughter of late shipping magnate and City Council representative Joseph W. Yates, arguably Plainfield's most prominent 19th-century resident, traveled to the city this weekend for the donation of the 1894 dress the bride wore to her wedding.

The garment now hangs on a mannequin at the Drake House Museum on West Front Street - albeit with a few buttons unfastened in the back, as Bertha was a petite size 2.

Judy Meyer of Bradenton, Fla., one of the visiting great-grandchildren, said her cousins found the dress while cleaning out their late mother's Massachusetts attic following her death. After having the dress restored, the family decided to donate it to the society.

"We just wanted it to be preserved, and we're happy that it came back to Plainfield," Meyer said. "It's back home."

Meyer, a retiree, said she hadn't been in Plainfield since the 1960s, but she and her family made the most of the trip. The donation was made at the Pillars of Plainfield Bed and Breakfast on Central Avenue, the 1870 Victorian mansion in which another daughter of Yates, Clementine, once lived.

The family also visited a pair of other historic homes that once belonged to ancestors, one in the 1100 block of Watchung Avenue and another in the 1000 block of Brook Lane. Another stop on Sunday took them to the Court Apartments building on East Seventh Street, the historic mansion Yates had built when he moved here in 1865.

Yates lived at that address, which today is a six-family dwelling, when he served as a member of the inaugural City Council established upon Plainfield's 1869 incorporation. Yates, a native of Maine, later served as a state legislator and was a trustee of the Plainfield Public Library from its establishment up until his death in 1904, according to an obituary that appeared in the Courier News. The obituary described Yates as "an orphan boy who took to the sea" only to become "one of Plainfield's oldest and best-known citizens:" a man who despite losing both parents by age 14 co-founded the successful Yates & Porterfield Trading

Company, which was involved in importing and exporting goods from Africa.

Former Courier News reporter Bernice Paglia, a tenant at Court Apartments, showed the family around the patriarch's former home, according to Meyer, who said she and her relatives were touched by the warm reception they received here.

"I never really knew exactly what his (Yates') full role was here," Meyer said.

Mark Spivey; 908-243-6607;

May 3, 2011 Bertha's family visits

From left to right, Eloise Tinley of the Plainfield Historical Society along with Baird Eaton, Nancy Conley, Fredrick Smith and Judy Smith Meyer, all great grandchildren of Bertha Cornwall Yates.

Photo by Frederick Yates Smith

May 28, 2011 Email from Frederick Yates Smith

Re: Bertha Cornwall Yates YATESFS
to you, bernice.paglia, j4mdret, pameaton - 1 hr agoMore Details From: YATESFS@aol.comHide
Add to: To Do, Calendar To: skf729@aol.comCc: pameaton@comcast.netBcc:Date:Sat, May 28, 2011 1:36

just read the garden club link and really enjoyed it. We had a great time in Plainfield and want to thank everyone who helped up in our research. Bertha Kedzie (Cornwell) Yates was the wife of Frederick W. Yates, the son of Joseph W. Yates. All 3 ( and others) are buried in the Yates plot in Hillside Cemetery (Scotch Plains). When Bertha and F. W. Yates were first married they lived at 815 Kennsington Ave, then built the house on Watchung Ave.

Clementine R (Yates) Holmon was Frederick W. Yates' sister and lived at 922 Central Ave (now operated as a bed n breakfast - The Pillars).

If we have other info of interest to the Garden Club please ask.

Frederick Yates Smith

In a message dated 5/28/2011 11:24:59 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
–––- Forwarded message –––-
Subject: Bertha Cornwall Yates

Hi Bernice

I really enjoyed the recent article I read about Bertha Yates ancestors donating her wedding gown! Bertha was a founding member of the garden club and we have just begun to unearth some details about her this year. (See link below) I will have to make a point to go to the library to see the dress. If by chance you have an email for the family, please send them this link as they may be interested. As we continue (probably not until next winter) to wade through the archives, I hope we find some more information about her.

Have you been to the garden? Things are shaping up. We are adding plants like mad and hoping for a nice day June 11th. Hope to see you there – Susan

Further correspondence, May 28, 2011

Clementine married Clarence Dudley Holman in 1903 see announcement.

Also attached is first 2 pages of DAR application Bertha prepared and she lists address as 815 Kensington.


Bertha's Wedding Dress

photo by Frederick Yates Smith

Bertha's headstone at Hillside Cemetary

Photo by Frederick Yates Smith

It reads:

Bertha K.C. Yates
Aug. 5 1868
May 10, 1938

Newspaper article donated by Frederick Yates Smith

Plans for $27,000 House
Handsome Stone Dwelling to be built by Mrs. B. K. C. Yates
Building Trade Brisk

Permits Issued This Week by Inspector Doane Represent a Total of $49.700– Last Week's Permits Totaled $29,000

Mrs. Bertha K. C. Yates of 803 Kensington Ave, is to have a handsome stone residence erected at Watchung Avenue and Cedar Brook Terrace, costing in the neighborhood of $27,000. The plans and specifications were passed yesterday by the Building Department. Marsh & Gette of 46 Cedar Street, New York, are the architects, and B. F. Tallmany & Brothers of this city, the contractors.

The New Jersey Society of the Colonial Dames of America

photo of certificate donated by Frederick Yates Smith

Mrs. Frederick Washburn Yates
(Bertha Kedzie Cornwall)
has been duly elected a member of
The New Jersey Society
of the Colonial Dames of America
in right of her ancestory

Capt. John Stanley
Thomas Hart
Stephen Hart
Major John Wordsworth
Samuel Appleton
Thomas Stanley

In testimony whereof, the names of the President and Secretary and the Seal of the Society are hereunto affixed.

Mary Ema Moore Sherrerd

Anne Alberston Collins

Bertha's application to DAR page 1

Bertha's application to DAR page 2

Clementine Robinson Yates Marries Clarence Dudley Holman

Published in the New York Times, April 12, 1903

From the History of The Pillars:

The Pillars has changed hands many times in its lifetime and has served many purposes. On March 31, 1874, the Stockbridges sold the house to Samuel R. Jackson, a widower. Mr. Jackson lived here for seventeen years, selling the house to Miss Clementine Yates, a spinster, in April of 1891. Plainfield must have been a fortunate place for Miss Clementine because she was soon Mrs. Clarence Holman. Clementine was responsible for the expansion of The Pillars, with a major renovation and addition in 1896. The addition gave us the library and a much larger kitchen with a servant's dining room (now part of the main kitchen), a washing room (now our office), and a butler's pantry. Her addition also gave us the magnificent Colonial Revival front porch, and the formal fluted columns that eventually were the inspiration for the B&B's name.

At the end of August 1905, the Holmans sold the house to Margaret T. Richards. By then, the Holmans had moved out of the house, which was occupied by William T. Kirk.

Email from Monday, May 30, 2011

Bertha Cornwell Yates' Wedding Gown of 1894
Pam Eaton to you - 36 min ago
More Details From: Pam Eaton <>Hide
Add to: To Do, Calendar To: skf729@aol.comCc:Bcc:Date:Mon, May 30, 2011 10:24

Hi Bernice and Hi Susan,

Thought you'd enjoy this photo of a model in Bertha Yates' wedding gown. The gentleman is my husband Baird Eaton, Bertha's great-grandson. We were also in attendance in Plainfield when the Historical Society accepted the dress.

Last year, our church held a "bridal fashion show." We had the oldest wedding dress of all ... Bertha's from 1894. We found a size two to wear the dress and she looked lovely on the runway. The dress suddenly came "alive" for us and prompted our interest in the family history. We were delighted that Judy and Fred were already interested in the family history. We are all trying to flesh out the history.

We wish we had an actual photo of Bertha herself in the wedding gown, but perhaps her descendants on the Cornwell side have one. We will be searching!

I've also attached a description of the dress, that was read while our model walked the runway. The dress is in amazing shape, little restoration was needed. Just a good ironing and fluffing. The description is to the best of my ability in researching historical fashions and fabric, so there may be some errors.

Thanks for all your help .. and Bernice, it was nice meeting you that sunny Sunday!

Pam Eaton (Bertha's great-grandaughter-in-law)

This is the description of a wedding gown for Pilgrim Church’s (Harwich Port, MA) bridal fashion show and luncheon on June 19, 2010.

The first wedding gown of our fashion show is the oldest, from 1894. This light colored gold gown is made of watermark silk taffeta, also known as moirι.* The fabric has a subtle wavy, rippled pattern throughout that resembles watermarks. This gown is two-piece; a skirt with a train and matching bodice. The bodice is high-necked with a band collar. The back is secured by 23 hooks and eyes. The 10 stays or supports are made from whalebone baleen. The large puffed sleeves are called "Leg-o-mutton" sleeves. When you think of the "Gay 90s" … this is the most recognized look, as these sleeves were wildly popular then. The skirt is plain and unadorned, but has a ruffle all along the inside hem, so as the bride walks or sits, the ruffle is noticeable. The dress comes with matching stockings, the same color as the gown, which was the custom back then. The stockings have a small monogram on them: "BKC" for the bride, Bertha K. Cornwell. The stockings are displayed on our memorabilia table. Bertha probably wore her hair in a simple upswept bun, "Gibson Girl" style, with a veil. We do know that part of the head-dress included a thin, gold head-band. This head-band has been passed down. Our model, Bridget Callahan is wearing the head-band. Isn't it a happy coincidence that she shares the same initials as Bertha Cornwell – "B.C." ?? Six descendants of Bertha have worn the head-band on their wedding day, the last being Bertha's great-great granddaughter in 1997.

Bertha was 26 years old when she married Fred Yates on June 28, 1894, in Connecticut one hundred and sixteen years ago. She and Fred had one daughter, three grand-children and fourteen great-grandchildren. In the room today are Bertha's great-grandson and two great-granddaughters-in-law, and our own Dusty Morris who married Bertha's grandson. The family tree is still growing. Besides many other descendants of Bertha and Fred, Dusty is the proud matriarch of 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great granchild.

• pronounced more-ray

School, 1893-95. Graduated LL.B., and admitted to New
York bar, June, 1895. Practicing in New York since 1895.
From 1898 to 1904 was consul in New York for the Republic
of Liberia.

MARRIED, June 28, 1894, Miss Bertha Kedzie Cornwell,
daughter of Charles H. Cornwell, Esq., of Danielsonville,

Child : Katharyn Cornwell, born April 2, 1895.

November 27, 1905 New York Times Obituary from Charles H. Cornwell

CORNWELL – At Plainfield, N.J., on Monday, Nov. 27, 1905, Charles H. Cornwell. Services at South Church Chapel, New Britain, Conn., at 2 P.M. on Wednesday November 29. Interment private.

November 14, 1895

New York Times November 14, 1895


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 Havbiland, Mrs. Samuel Huntingont, 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

Photo by Dan Damon

October 20, 2011

Members of the Plainfield Garden Club in front of the Yates marker, Hillside Cemetery

Hillside Cemetery

October 20, 2011
Photo by S. Fraser

October 13, 1895 New York Times

New York Times October 13, 1895


Entertainment by the Dorcas Society – Monday Afternoon Club

PLAINFIELD, N.J., Oct. 12 – A social event of the last week was the entertainment given by the Dorcas Society, King's Daughters, at the home of Miss Maude Lowrie, in Park Avenue, Monday evening. It was titled "The Circulating Library," and was given for the purpose of raising funds for the benefit of the poor of the city. The guests on arriving were given a blank catalogue, with only numbers on it, and they were to guess the titles of books represented. The Reception Committee was composed of Miss Bowers, Miss Brown, Miss Lowrie and Miss Langdon. Those presiding at the talbes were Mrs. Crane and Miss Wyckoff, assisted by Mrs. Clark, Mrs. C. T. Pond, Miss Minnie French, Miss Green, Miss Ella Blish, and Miss Maltly. In the library were Miss Crane, Miss Cornwell, Miss Lou French, Miss Millie Landgon, Miss Etta BLish, Miss Alice Hayners, Miss Bessie Titsworth, and Miss Kline.

S.E. Hull of Duer Street has returned from Broadway, where he spent the Summer.

The Monday Afternoon Club, Plainfield's leading woman's club, held it sifrst meeting of the Fall. On account of repairs being made at the Casino or the Union County Country Club, where the meeings are usually held, the ladies gathered in the parlors of the Congregational Church. The subject upon which papers are to be read for the coming year is "Some Great Florentines and Their Times." Two papers were read Monday – one by Mrs. Josiah Brown and the other by Mrs. Robert Lowry. Next month the paper will be read by Miss Kenyon, Principal of the Young Ladies' Seminary.

H. M. Stevens of Fanwood gave a reception at the Fanwood Clubhouse Friday evening.

Miss Nellie Saums of Ricefiled is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. R. V. Saums of Clinton Avenue.

George Barton has returned to Keyport after a visit with Mrs. Barton of Madison Avenue.

Edward Hooley of Rockview Avenue has gone to Atlanta.

The Rev. E. L. Hyde of Hyde Park, Mass., is visiting friends in Plainfield.

The Misses Anthony of Crescent Avenue have returned from Europe.

Miss Bessie Booker of Richmond, Va., has been visitng Miss Dryden of West Seventh Street.

James Smith of Elmwood Place has returned from Amesbury, Mass.

Miss May Haberle, who has been visitng her cousin, Miss Lillie Haberle, has returned to her home in Orange.

Miss Mary Ryder of Brooklyn, who has been visiting at the home of Robert Lucky of Fifth Street, has returned home.

Charles L. Case and family of Central Avenue returned this week from their European trip.

Miss Lydia Duffert of Morris County is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Van Dyke of East Front Street.

Mr. and Mrs. John Burnett of Brookyln have been visiting Mr. and Mrs. Charles Doane of Fifth Street.

Charles Potter of West Seventh Street has returned from Philadelphia.

Mrs. Florence Howe Hall of Madison Avenue is in Massachusetts delivering a course of lectures.

Miss Mary and Miss Grace Shreve of New York are guests of B. J. Shreve of Grove Street.

Miss Agnes Baldwin of Brooklyn is the guest of Miss Haviland of Washington Park.

Benjamin Terry of Bridgeport is the guest of the Misses Livergey of Park Avenue.

Thomas H. Keller of East Front Street left this week for a trip South.

C. C. Burke and family have left for their Winter home in New York, after spending the Summer at the cottage on Ravine Road Netherwood.

William Tyler of West Eigth Street has gone to Europe.

David Krymer of West Second Street has gone to Baltimore.

Dr. Frank Searles and Mrs. Searles have returned to Bayonne, after a visit with Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Lourie of Park Avenue.

Dr. John H. Carman and fmaily of Somerset Street returned this week from the Adirondacks.

Dr. B. Van D. Hedges of Watchung Avenue is home from his outing in Maine.

Miss Caroline Fitz Randolph, daughter of ex-Mayor L. V. F. Randolph of East Front Street, sailed Saturday for Europe.

Plainfield Public Library Archive


Mrs. Clifford Baker Heads Garden Club; Reports Stress Recent Civic Improvements

Election of officers of the year's work, especailly that of a civic nature recently undertaken, and an address by Mrs. Otto Lane, who gave instructions in making conservation Christmas wreaths, featured the annual meeting of the Plainfield Garden Club yesterday at the home of Mrs. George W. Fraker in Rahway Road.

Mrs. Leslie Runyon Fort, retiring president, was in charge of the business session. These officers were chosen for the coming year: President, Mrs. Clifford M. Baker; vice-presidents, Mrs. Harry P. Marshall and Mrs. Raymond V. V. Miller; recording secretary, Mrs. Anna Stewartl corresponding secretary, Miss Laura Detwiller; treasurer, Mrs. Frederick W. Yates.

Mrs. Samuel T. Carter, Jr., gave a report of the work in the Shakespeare Garden in Cedar Brook Park. During the year there were a number of plantings in the garden which have added to its attractiveness.

Mrs. Thomas R. Van Boskerck requested donations of jellies for the Flower, Plant and Fruit Guild for distribution among the sick and shut-ins. They can be sent to her home, 1232 Prospect Avenue.

The following letter was received from Edward Baker, Jr., president of the Lions club:

"I am writing you in behalf of the Lions Club of Plainfield in regarde to the very wonderful work the Plainfield Garden Club is doing around our city. Some of the members of our club have seen the work in Cottage Place and also, the brook in Watchung Avenue, which is about completed. We just want you to know that we consider this one of the finest pieces of civic service which has been rendered Plainfield. As citizens and members of the Lions Club we certainly appreciate this work."

A report of unusual interest was presented by the conservation committe of the club. It was in part as follows:

"In early October, 1931, at the request of the Chamber of Commerce a survey was made by our president, Mrs. Leslie R. Fort and the chairman of the conservation committee of the Chamber of Commerce. This report embodied suggestions for work at conscpicuous places in the city . . . be of help in unemployment relief the club made an appropriation to be used as far as possible for wages only. Great interest was at once shown not only by club members, but also by people in many walks of life.

"Two projects were undertaken. The one first begun was Cottage Place close to the railroad tracks. Following some publicity for the work being attempted, gifts came freely – top soil, manure, plants, trees and shrubs. City officials, those of the park and street departments and the New Jersey Central, co-operated gernerously.

"Today a beautiful little park awaits the spring. There have been planted 31 trees where none stood before; 26 rose bushes and over 375 other plants and shurbs have been most carefully set out. This work employed 139 hours at 50 cents an hour and 312 hours at 40 cents an hour. The expenditure was $169.50. Cottage park has been evolved.

"It was evident when the work at Cottage Place was well underway that a second piece of work could be begun. The south bank of Green Brook at the Watchung Avenue bridge was chosen as the worst eyesore in the city. Here, as in Cottage Place, advice was generously given that nothing could be done. But the gardeners just kept on working. Gifts kept coming. A tractor was brought in to cope with stones and debris impossible for men to move. Today another pleasnt little park created by the garden club also awaits the spring.

"Because in pioneer days the little stream, now called Green Brook, was called the Sahcunk River, streams, and the tribe dwelling here along its banks were teh Sahcunk Indians, this little park made by our club is now called Sahcunk Park. In those early days from Rock Avenue to Bound Brook there was located Waccaho-vo-howiohy Village, the name meaning "where you can dig into the ground."

"In two projects 28 1/4 hours at 50 cents an hour and 211 3/4 hours at 40 cents an hour made an expenditure of $99.30. The total planting of 51 trees, 89 roses and 750 other plants and shrubs cost $268.60. Every cent went for wages so the garden club has the enviable record of being able to dispense 100 per cent relief. The fine co-operative spirit shown in every direction made every moment a delight.

"Those of us who really dug in the gardens are quite conscious that many defects may be discovered easily by those so minded. But we trust that these plots, slected as behicles for helping those in distress will be filled with flowers and restful shade. And we hope that each succeeding year will find these spots a little lovelier because of our civic interest in them and that this part of co-operative effort will not be forsaken."

Among the women who were actively engaged in these enterprises were Mrs. Leslie R. Fort, president; Mrs. J. L. Devlin, Mrs. Thomas R. VanBoskerck, Mrs. Garret Smith, Mrs. Henry L. DeForest, Mrs. Clinton Ivins, Miss Elsie Harman, Mrs. Charles A. Eaton and Mrs. Henry Wells.

Plainfield Public Library Archive

Plainfield Public Library Archive

Plainfield Public Library Archive

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. F. W. Yates
1112 Watchung Avenue

1909 Plainfield City Directory

Yates Frederick W, lawyer, h 815 Kensington av
Yates Joseph J, engineer, h 556 E 2nd
Yates Susan G wid Joseph W, h 128 E 7th

Borden Anna M Miss, h 821 Third pl
Borden Charles E, h 1045 W 7th
Borden Harry V, h 832 Hillside

Cornwell Charles F, h 99 Manning av, N P
Cornwell Frank Wilbur, physician, office hours 8 to 9 a m, 1 to 3 and 7 to 8 p m, Sundays, 2 to 4 p m, 192 E Front, Tel 766, residence 207 E 7th
Cornwell George R, insurance, h 207 E 7th
Cornwell John L, insurance h 207 E 7th

815 Kensington Avenue

1915 - 1923 List of Meetings

1925 Meeting Minutes

1928 Plainfield City Directory

Yates Frank (Alice) floist d283 Duer (NP)
Yates Fredk W (Bertha) lawyer h1112 Watchung av
Yates Helen tchr r139 DeLacy av
Yates Jos J (Margt) civ eng h 139 DeLacy av (NP)
Yates Sarah student r139 DeLacy av (NP)

1918 Meeting Minutes

1919 Meeting Minutes

1920 Meeting Minutes

1997 Mansions of May

Sunday, May 4, 1997

A unique treasure, construction of this mansion took two years to complete as mica limestone was selected and hand cut by the builder on the site of the house between 1910 - 1912. Within the mansion no expense was spared. Hand carved moldings grace the doorways, leaded glass adorns the entrance, and mahogany was used throughout the home for doors and paneling. The abundant details of this home culminate in a captain's staircase that boasts a span linking three floors. A sense of symmetry and balance mark both the interior and exterior architectural design. A croquet court, wisteria arbor, and in-ground pool are situated on the property, but, pay particular attention to the "sunken garden" at the side of this remarkable estate


PLAINFIELD, N. J., June 28. Miss Caroline Frederica Streuli, daughter of H. Alfred Streuli of Hillside Avenue, a New-York silk manufacturer, was married at high noon to-day to Evarts Tracy, son of J. Evarts Tracy, a New-York lawyer, who lives in West Eighth Street here. The ceremony was witnessed by a large and fashionable gathering, which entirely filled the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dr. William R. Richards officiated.

The bride wore a beautiful gown of white satin with old lace trimmings. Miss Kathryn Yates was the maid of honor. The bridesmaids were Miss Bessie Ginna, Miss Marion Dumont, Miss May Tracy, Miss Margaret Tracy of Plainfield, Miss Lillian Brooks of New-York, and Miss Sidney Wharton of Pittsburg. Percy A. Stewart was best man. The ushers were Lewis S. Haslan of New-York, Yale Kneeland of Brooklyn, Wallace D. Simmons of St. Louis, Henry M. Sage of Albany, and Alfred Streuli and Robert S. Tracy of Plainfield.

1112 Watchung Avenue

August 26, 2013 Red Chair Travels

Has everyone heard of this blog: Red Chair Travels? It seems it stayed the night at The Pillars this month and on an excursion, went to the Shakespeare Garden where it was photographed!

This is the entry: Did you know that there is such a thing as Shakespeare's Garden? Well the Red Chair was able to visit one of the less than 100 certified Shakespeare Gardens in the entire country! What this means is that this garden is entirely composed of plants that Shakespeare himself has mentioned in any of his works. It was started in the 1920's by the Plainfield Garden Club, founded by a former owner of The Pillars and was recently completely refurbished.

The Red Chair recounted the many literary works of Shakespeare as it wandered through the gardens. Red felt as if it had traveled back in time for just a short while. Thank you Pillars of Plainfield for showing the Red Chair one of your favorite places!

UPDATE: Brenda has written in to say that she has been following the Red Chair and alerts us to this article & film in the Courier News

Watch the music video here – how fun that we are part of this national "inspiration!"

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Hillside Historic District

August 29, 2015

Hillside Historic District has announced a new website:

They have neatly listed the homes in the district in a similar fashion to our Homes & Gardens page.

It is no exaggeration to say that the PGC helped build Hillside. In fact our first club meeting took place at Mrs. Connor's home at 999 Hillside. Take a look at our PGC Hillside Historic District resident members:

807 Hillside Avenue
Browne, Miss Elizabeth B. '37

810 Hillside Avenue
Barnhart, Mrs. Noah Chisholm (Susan Stevens) '15

816 Hillside Avenue
Zerega, Miss Bertha Virginia '23

817 Hillside Avenue
Lawton, Mrs. Richard M. (Edith Clarke) '21

832 Hillside Avenue
Yates, Mrs. Frederick Washburn (Bertha Kedzie Cornwell) '15

921 Hillside Avenue
Detwiller, Miss Laura Cecelia '29
Detwiller, Mrs. Charles H. (Catherine or "Cath" Campbell), Jr. '57

922 Hillside Avenue
Atterbury, Mrs. Albert Hoffman (Emma H. Baker) '15

930 Hillside Avenue
Corey, Mrs. Ella J. '15

937 Hillside Avenue
Hunn, Mrs. John T. Sharpless (Hope Ivins) '37
Ivins, Mrs. DeWitt Clinton (Louise Morton Fox) '15
Ivins, Mrs. Clinton Fox (Marguerite Carpenter) '33

945 Hillside Avenue
Stevens, Mrs. Horace N. (Helen Coburn) '15

950 Hillside Avenue
Harlow, Mrs. Edward Dexter (Elise Cochran Martin) '15
Martin, Mrs. Francis A. (Mary Keech Turner) '22

955 Hillside Avenue
Wallace, Mrs. Frederick W. (Grace Seccomb) '15
deForest, Mrs. Henry Lockwood (Amy Brighthurst Brown) '33

966 Hillside Avenue
Warren, Mrs. Frank D. '15

970 Hillside Avenue
Barnhart, Mrs. Noah Chisholm (Susan Stevens) '15
Kroll, Mrs. Alexander (Nancy Dwinnell or Mrs. Prince H. Gordon) '60

975 Hillside Avenue
Runkle, Mrs. Harry Godley (Jennie Fitz Randolph) '15
Albin, Mrs. Leland D. (Jennie Hoag) '36
King, Mrs. Victor E. D. (Yasmina S.) '78
Whitehead, Mrs. James Harold (Jean Fitz-Randolph Heiberg) '43

980 Hillside Avenue
Hall, Mrs. Frederic L. (Anne Garrigues Wigton) '68
Stuart, Mrs. Linden (Jeanette W.), Jr. '52
Wigton, Mrs. Charles Benson (Garrigues) '45

982 Hillside Avenue
Baker, Mrs. Clifford Myron (Margaret Drayton) '32
Valiant, Mrs. John (Katharine Drayton) '40

985 Hillside Avenue
Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P.") '15
Stevens, Mrs. Horace Nathaniel (Helen Coburn) '15
Stevens, Mrs. John Peters ("J.P."), Jr. (Edith S.) '37
Stevens, Mrs. Robert Ten Broeck (Dorothy Goodwin Whitney) '37

996 Hillside Avenue
Wallace, Mrs. Frederick W. (Grace Seccomb) '15
Murray Townsend
Mooney, Mrs. Wandell McMaster (Alice Joy McGee) '47

999 Hillside Avenue
Conner, Mrs. William A. (Florence Tupper) '15
Wigton, Mrs. William Garrigues (Ann Hayes) '55

1000 Hillside Avenue
Lawrence, Mrs. Chester B. (Florence B.), Jr. '22

1005 Hillside Avenue
McWilliams, Mrs. Howard (Anna Louise Waldbridge/Mrs. Paul Taylor Brown) '22

1007 Hillside Avenue
Lockwood, Mrs. Frederick M. (Hazel Marshall) '52
Marshall, Mrs. Henry P. (Dorothy Burke) '30

1009 Hillside Avenue
Tracy, Mrs. Evarts '22
Tracy, Mrs. Howard Crosby (Minerva Bingham Lamson) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

1019 Hillside Avenue
Baker, Mrs. Clifford Myron (Margaret Drayton) '28

1030 Hillside Avenue
Stillman, Mrs. William Maxson (Ethel Lucile Titsworth) '42

1035 Hillside Avenue
Streuli, Mrs. Alfred F. H. (Frederica Michelle Dwyer Hooper) '15

1045 Hillside Avenue
Timpson, Mrs. Lewis Gouverneur (Helen Frances Waring) '15
Waring, Mrs. Orville G. (Dorothy Fleming) '35

1046 Hillside Avenue
Genung, Mrs. Alfred Gawthrop (Dorothy or "Dot" Madsen) '69
Madsen, Mrs. John (Evelyn or "Evie" Wilson) '70

1300 Prospect Avenue
Streuli, Mrs. Alfred F. H. (Frederica Michelle Dwyer Hooper) '15
Tracy, Mrs. J. Evarts (Caroline Frederica Streuli) '22

1234 Watchung Avenue
Stevenson, Mrs. E. Vickers '41

1239 Watchung Avenue
Brown, Miss Edna M. '34

November 21, 2018 Plainfield Holiday House Tour

It pays to have friends in high places! Brenda has once again used her might to secure for us advanced notice of the list of homes on the Saturday, December 1st Plainfield Holiday House tour:

* 1030 Central, Georgian Revival (1896), currently the Ducret School, former home of Mrs. Howard (Agnes Fales Strong) Huntington '19. The house is also affiliated with Mrs. Walter Miller (Mary Alice Yerkes) McGree '22 and Miss Bertha Virginia Zerega '23.
* 1023 Central Avenue, Georgian Revival Colonial (1926)
* 308 W. 8th Street, Queen Anne Victorian (1893)
* 1341 Prospect, French Normandy Tudor (1916), First the home of Mrs. Homer P. (Elisabeth Nash) Cochran '52 (who's descendant is the husband of Somerset Hills GC Tabby Cochran); and then the home of Mrs. William R. (Peggy) Barrett '67, daughter of beloved member Nancy Dwinnell Kroll (later Gordon) '60 and sister-in-law to Sally Kroll '80 and sister to Priscilla Kroll Farnum '80.
* 1420 Evergreen, Tudor (1926)
* 1112 Watchung Avenue, Georgian Revival (1921), Founding PGC Member Mrs. Frederick Washburn (Bertha Kedzie Cornwell) Yates '15 home with her sunken garden in the side yard!
* 750 Belvedere, Tudor Revival (1904)
* 1275 Denmark Road, Dutch Colonial (1935), the former home of our much beloved Mrs. Webster (Barbara Tracy) Sandford '50

Brenda adds, "If anyone wants to be a docent, the tour committee discount docents so we pay $15 instead of $35. Shifts are 10:00 to 12:30 and from 12:30 to 3:00, followed by a party at the historic art school DuCret. It's also where the boutique is held."


We have a long list of all the Plainfield homes & Gardens (in street alphabetical order) here. If you are going on the tour, be sure to check out the neighboring houses – they may have once hosted at PGC meeting!