Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Gilbert, Mrs. Jabez C. (Ella May Wilkins) '15

1919 Address: 318 West 8th Street, Plainfield

1922 Address: 318 West 8th Street, Plainfield

1928 Treasurer Book April 15th $5.00
1929 Treasurer Book Associate April $10.00
1930 Treasurer Book Associate

1930 Treasurer's Book: Mrs. Jabez C. Gilbert – Pd. – Died

April 26, 1911 New York Times society article

Mrs. Jabez C. Gilbert attends Mrs. Demarest's luncheon in New York.

July 23, 1895 New York Times article

Mrs. Jabez Gilbert hurt in freak lightning accident.

World War I efforts



Organization and growth of Vacation Association War Relief–Flotilla Committee and its wonderful work– Militia of Mercy–Needlework Guild of America– Committee for Men Blinded in Battle–Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania–Committee of Mercy and its contribution of over $2,000,000–Hudson River War Relief– League of the Allies-League of Catholic Women– Mercy Committee of New Jersey.

The story of the organization and growth of the Vacation Association, Incorporated (New York), is full of interest. Just twenty-seven days after the outbreak of the war the Vacation War Relief Committee of this organization was started. The Vacation Association is an integral part of the Woman's Department of the National Civic Federation, and its name is derived from its initial purpose, which was to enable self-supporting girls and women to save money for proper and healthful vacations. One of the most helpful branches of the work undertaken by the War Relief Committee was a free employment bureau for the benefit of those who had lost their positions because of war conditions. As it was found that many of these girls, who had previously earned good wages and were in no way charity cases, had been made practically destitute, it was decided to open temporary workrooms where a tide-over wage of seventy-five cents a day could be paid on garments made for the European emergency hospitals and war refugees. The War Relief Committee came into being in September, 1914, with Miss Gertrude Robinson Smith, chairman. Immediately a number of existing organizations cooperated. These included the Department of Correction, the Woman's Auxiliary to the Tuberculosis Clinic of the Department of Health, the Association of Catholic Charities, the Charity Organization Society, the State Charities Aid, the New York Association of Women Workers, and the Department Store Education Association. Results accomplished were remarkable. The Special Case Committee investigated all the destitute cases, and all those needing special relief or medical attention. During the first five weeks of its existence the Bureau registered 849 girls, of which number 188 were placed immediately.

In the first year's work of the Committee three principles were outlined as being the main object of the Committee: first, to meet here in America the very serious industrial situation resulting from the outbreak of the war; second, to further in every possible way the sending of the much needed supplies to the European war sufferers; third, to seek cooperation wherever possible with other organizations. So strikingly successful has been the work of this Committee that it has had the cordial cooperation of some of the most important organizations in America. These include the Association for Improving the condition of the Poor, the Federated Employment Bureau for Jewish Girls, the League of Catholic Women for Social and Civic Reform, the Mayor's Committee on Unemployment, the New York Association of Women Workers, the State Charities Aid Association, Women's Conference Society for Ethical Culture, Young Women's Christian Association, American Fund for French Wounded, and many other foreign relief societies.

Mrs. Coffin Van Rensselaer, as chairman of the Employment Bureau, has done excellent work. Two experiments were in progress in the fall of 1917. One has to do with vocational help to children at the point of leaving school, and the other is a health project for the benefit of wage earning girls. The latter is operated in connection with the Woman's Municipal League, a free clinic, the immediate object of which is to make examination and to suggest changes in habits, diet, kind of work, etc., when they are desired. Girls needing medical or surgical care are encouraged to go to the special physicians or dispensaries suitable to their needs. The achievements of the workroom committee have been equally notable. In fifteen months orders amounting to more than $126,000 passed through the order department, of which Miss Maude Wetmore, is chairman.

Of especial interest is the work of the Flotilla Committee organized in November, 1915, as the result of an urgent appeal sent by Mrs. Edith Wharton for surgical motors for the advanced trenches. These formations of flotillas, completely equipped, cost $12, 000 and consist of five cars each, one carrying a portable operating room with radioscopic apparatus requiring only two hours to set up; another a powerful electric lighting and heating installation; a third, a laundry capable of handling six hundred pounds of soiled linen at a time; the fourth, a drying van and the fifth, an installation for douches, disinfection, destruction of vermin, sterilizing of drinking water and shelter tanks.

The first contribution received was from Mrs. Daniel Guggenheim, who contributed $12,000, and the first Flotilla was sent to the Secours aux Blessιs Miltiaires in December, 1915. This generous contribution greatly stimulated other donations, $32,437 being raised in a month.

Madame Emma Calvι offered to assist in organizing a French Flotilla Benefit at the Metropolitan Opera House. The benefit took place on January 4, 1916, and was an enormous success.

A Militia of Mercy organized in 1916 in New York City to care for the children afflicted by infantile paralysis has used its large and powerful organization in the most effective way for war work. Its first activity was the care of the families of the Navy Militiamen. The Comforts Committee sells wool at a little more than the wholesale price to the public. The profit is used to cover running expenses, and what remains is placed in the Special Fund, which is used to purchase wool for women who have the time to knit but who cannot afford to pay for the wool. An old lady in Brooklyn sent to the Militia of Mercy a scarf which had been knitted for her husband who was a sea captain. He died twenty years ago and she had cherished this scarf in his memory. Being very poor and wanting to do her bit she sent the scarf in the hope that it might help some man in the Navy.

The Militia of Mercy appreciated the spirit of the gift and sent it with an explanatory letter to the commander of an American battleship and the scarf was given to an American sailor.

Another organization which was doing beautiful work when war was declared and which turned the current of its effort to war relief is the Needlework Guild of America, a "Bridge from the Island of Waste to the Island of Want." This society has 400 branches scattered over the United States and its large membership includes 25,000 directors whose duty it is to collect and distribute new, plain suitable garments to meet the great need of hospitals, homes and other charities. During the flood and tornado devastations of 1912 and 1913 the Needlework Guild rendered a superb service as it has done in many other disasters since it was organized thirty-two years ago. Prior to the outbreak of the European War, a branch had been established in Lyons, France, which immediately upon the declaration of hostilities took up war relief work. Its first assistance was the clothing of Belgian refugees, and as the result of an appeal to the members in the United States, $20,000 was sent to France in December, 1914, with which workrooms were opened in Lyons. More than 300 women were given employment and 25,000 garments were distributed to the hospitals for the wounded. Nearly 1,000,000 garments and surgical dressings have been distributed in France and sent to her Allies by 173 branches of the Needlework Guild in America. This splendid organization was founded by Mrs. John Wood Stewart of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and Mrs. Levi P. Morton,of New York City is honorary president.

The National office is in Philadelphia and the organization is affiliated with the American Red Cross and the General Federation of Women's Clubs and is a member of the National Conference of Charities and Correction and the National Council of Women of the United States. Mrs. Truman H. Newberry, of Detroit, Michigan, is national president, and the national vice presidents are Mrs. George Fales Baker, Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Mrs. Robert . Harding, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Mrs. Samuel Semple, Titusville Pa. and Miss Julia M. Wolbert, Tacoma, Wash. Mrs. Oliver S. Keely is recording secretary, Mrs. Heber Smith, treasurer and Miss Rosamond K. Bender, corresponding secretary. Mrs. John Wood Stewart is chairman of the War Relief Department, and other officers include Mrs. Joseph Guedy, secretary; Mrs. Oliver S. Keely, trustee and Mrs. W. A. Nichols, Wayne, Pa.; Mrs. Isaac Gimble, New York City; Mrs. William Spencer, Erie, Pa.; Mrs. H. J. Harris, Glen Ridge, New Jersey; Mrs. William T. Barber, Detroit, Mich. and Mrs. Hoffman Atkinson, New York City. The War Relief Office is at 70 Fifth Ave., New York City.

The Committee for Men Blinded in Battle was the outcome of the New York Association for the Blind, organized in 1906. Its headquarters are at Light House No. 1 in New York. The building was officially opened by the President of the United States and the work was conducted under the presidency of the late Honorable Joseph H. Choate. The Committee for Men Blinded in Battle was the first organization to be formed to aid the war blind. It has assisted in various ways, 3,000 men, including eight different nationalities, and instruction has been given to more than 300. More than 8,000 gifts have been made to the war blind, and these unfortunate men have been taught and aided in over 50 hospitals. A number of these pupils have already taken their places in the sighted world as competent wage earners. Among the professions taught in the light house are handicraft, languages, typewriting, stenography, commerce, music, modeling, etc. The Committee succors and relieves the blind whenever possible and gives re-education to such as are fitted to profit by its teaching. Mr. John H. Finley,acting president and the vice presidents are Miss Winifred Holt, William Howard Taft, Charles E. Hughes. The honorary chairman is the Bishop of New York, the secretary is Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt, the treasurer, Mr. William Forbes Morgan, Headquarters, 111 East 59th St., New York.

One of the most far-reaching organizations for war relief in the United States is the Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania, which, with 59 associate organizations and branches, 33 of which have been formed since March 1, 1917, comprises more than four thousand members. The central committee, of which Mrs. A. J. Cassatt, the chairman, has 26 separate committees, the work of each of which is distinct and which results in the carrying of relief to virtually all the Allied countries, meeting many and diverse needs and covering practically the entire gamut of war relief enterprise. The Emergency Aid is also engaged in valuable domestic activities. In all, a total of nearly $2,000,000 had been received The vice chairmen are Mrs. Edward Browning, Mrs. John C. Groome, Mrs. George Q. Horwitz, Mrs. J. Willis Martin, Mrs. Cornelius Stevenson, Mrs. E. T. Stotesbury,Mrs. Barclay H. Warburton, Mrs. Thomas Robins,secretary, Mrs. Edward K. Rowland, corresponding secretary and Mrs. J. Norman Jackson, treasurer. Headquarters, 1428 Walnut St., Philadelphia.

The Committee of Mercy was established in October, 1914, with the approval of President Wilson, to help the women and children and other noncombatants made destitute by the war. Associated in the Committees formation were Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, Miss Katharine B. Davis, Norman Hapgood, John Moffat and T. C. Glen-Coats, Mr. Elihu Root,honorary president, and the vice presidents include Dr. Charles W. Eliot,Harvard University, John Purroy Mitchel, ex-Mayor of New York, Miss Katharine B. Davis, chairman, Parole Commission of New York, and Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, Mr. August Belmont,treasurer. The Committee of Mercy, up to the summer of 1917, had collected more than $2,065,000. In addition to the relief administered through reliable agencies in France, Russia, Armenia, Serbia, Montenegro and Poland, considerable sums have been raised for other relief committees. Headquarters, 360 Madison Ave., New York City.

Immediately upon the declaration of war Mrs. H. Fairfield Osborn, organized the Hudson River War Relief Committee and sub-committees, and sewing and knitting socials were established in the small towns and villages along the Hudson River. Associated with Mrs. Osborn, are Mrs. Cornelius R. Agnew, Mrs.

Vincent Astor, Miss Grace Bigelow, Miss Catherine S. Burton, Mrs. Charles DeRahm, Miss Madeline I. Dinsmore, Mrs. Cleveland H. Dodge, Mrs. Martin H. Glynn, Mrs. Levi P. Morton, Miss Mary Haidane, Miss Irene M. Hedges, Miss Gertrude L. Hoyt, Mrs. Robert P. Huntington, Mrs. Ogden Mills, Mrs. Archibald Rogers, Mrs. James Roosevelt, Mrs. Samuel Sloan, Mrs. Clarence Page Townsley,Mrs. Frederick W. Vanderbilt, Headquarters, Room 65, 18 West 34th St., New York City.

The League of the Allies, 360 Madison Ave., New York City, has for its object relief for the sufferers in all the countries affiliated with the Entente in the prosecution of the war against the Central Empires. Money has been raised chiefly by the great Allied bazaars held in the Grand Central Palace in New York in 1916 and 1917. Among the prominent women identified with the work are Mrs. Charles B. Alexander, Mrs. Gertrude Atherton, Mrs. H. R. Beckwith, Mrs. William Astor Chanler, Lady Colebrooke, Mrs. William H. Crocker, Mrs. C. C. Cuyler, Miss M. L. de Sadeleer, Mrs. C. H. Ditson, Mrs. Newbold Leroy Edgar, Mrs. Jeanne L. Etty, Mrs. William Faversham, Mrs. Marshall Field, Jr., Mrs. Charles Dana Gibson, Mrs. Benjamin Guinness, Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, Mrs. Ernest Iselin, Lady Lister Kaye, Mrs. Maurice Kozminiski, Mrs. Charles H. Marshall, Miss Elsa Maxwell, Mrs. Walter E. Maynard, Miss Margaret Mayo, Mrs. Potter Palmer, Mrs. Gifford Pinchot, Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Mrs. James Lowell Putnam, Mrs. Ralph Sanger, Mrs. J. H. Sears, Mrs. William Payne Thompson, Mrs. H. J. Whigham,Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, Mrs. Michael Gavin is secretary and Mrs. Andrew W. Dougherty is treasurer.

The League of Catholic Women is a New York State organization with branches in various cities. Miss Teresa R. O'Donohue,is president. Mrs. Nicholas F. Brady, Mrs. Alfred C. Chapin, Miss Elizabeth Marbury, and Mrs. Francis Burrall Hoffman are vice presidents. Mrs. P. J. Gallagher offered her residence, 154 East 38th Street, New York City, as headquarters for the League of Catholic Women for the duration of the war. The League cooperates with other Catholic organizations and supplies hospital garments and other articles made according to Red Cross and French standards. Twenty-seven organizations of Catholic women are uniting in one great powerful committee which is doing nation-wide war work along all lines. Headquarters, Woodward Bldg., Washington, D. C. Father Louis J. O'Hearn is General Chairman.

The Mercy Committee of New Jersey, since the war began, has sent abroad approximately 70,000 garments and more than $10,000. The junior branches have also made bandages and have sent a large number to Europe through the Red Cross Surgical Dressings Committee. The Committee's work is now largely devoted to the equipment and reconstruction of the military hospital located at Iselin. Mrs. Charles D. Freeman is president, Mrs. Fred H. Albee, Mrs. J. Kirtland Myers and Mrs. Jabez Gilbert are vice presidents and Mrs. Chapman Fiske is secretary. Headquarters Iselin.

In February, 1917, Columbia University mobilized and sent out enrollment blanks to all men and women connected in any way with the University. About eight thousand women answered and a separate Committee of Women's War Work was formed which opened its Information Bureau on April 6, 1917. This Committee registers for volunteer or paid war work, any woman who is or has been connected with the University. It supplies information as to course and needs in war activities. It furnishes volunteer workers and fills paid positions. It is in close touch with other War Organizations in the city and with various departments at Washington. Its headquarters are in Room 301, Philosophy Hall, Columbia University, New York City; chairman of the Committee on Women's War Work, Virginia C. Gildersleeve, executive secretary, Virginia Newcomb.

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

May 12, 1915 Minutes of the First General Meeting

May 12, 1915

Minutes of the first general meeting

First general meeting of the PGC was held at the home Mrs. Conner on Wed 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 everyone's regret making a tour of Mrs. Conner's garden impossible. A few words of congratulations on the formation of the club by the president was followed by some notices given and a 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 roots, and told of exterminators for cut worms, grubs and other garden enemies.

All felt stimulated and helped by his talk and as the rain prevented us from going in the garden and his lecture of two hours secured [not legible] none too long.

After a cup of tea the meeting adjourned. Ella M. Gilbert, Secy.

June 9, 1915 Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the third general meeting is June 9th 1915

The third general meeting of the PGC was held in the garden of Mrs. Dumont on Wednesday June 9th at 3 o'clock

The President In The Chair
Roll call showed 25 members present.
Minutes of previous meeting were read and approved.

Miss R. E. Zimmerman of Brooklyn gave a most interesting and helpful talk on "[not legible] garden flowers."

In was noted to have a "Bird talk" during the year and also to have Mr. Maurice Field to give a course of lectures in 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. Approved Ella M. Gilbert, Secy.

Founders of the Hillside Cemetary Association

Founders of The Hillside Cemetery Association

• Charles Potter, Jr.

• Mason W. Tyler

• Augustus C. Baldwin

• Alexander Gilbert

• William B. Wadsworth

• John W. Murray

• Lemuel W. Serrell

• Augustus D. Shepard

Plainfield by John A. Grady and Dorothe M. Pollard

Alexander Gilbert, president of the New York Market and Fulton Bank, built this turreted residence on West Eighth Street, then one of Plainfield's finest thoroughfares. Gilbert served on the Common Council, helping revise the city charter. He served three terms as mayor, running unopposed twice. He helped establish the Plainfield YMCA and served as its first president.

318 West Eighth Street

Plainfield Library

G-506 1934 Grimstead House at 318 West Eighth Street 318 West 8th Street House at 318 West Eighth Street, image is not available. Van Wyck Brooks

Alexander Gilbert

A founding member of Hillside Cemetery, his portrait hangs in the board room at the offices of Hillside. It had been retrieved from an attic and restored at Swain's.

He is Ella Gilbert's brother-in-law.

Alexander Gilbert

New York Tribune, Saturday, February 5, 1921

PLAINFIELD, N. J. Feb. 4 – Jabez C. Gilbert, seventy-three years old, a veteran New York bond dealer, died here last night of apoplexy. He had lived in Plainfield for twenty years and was a brother of fomer Mayor Alexander Gilbert. He is survived also by his wife and a sister, mrs. George Heese of South Orange. Mr. Gilbert was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gilbert of New Haven.

New York Times February 5, 1895


Entertainmnets Which Have Helped to Make the Week Pass Pleasantly

PLAINFIELD, N. J., Feb. 16 – On Wednesday evening a cotillion was danced at the home of ex-Mayor Q. V. F. Randolph of East Front Street.

Herman Simmonds of Watchung Avenue has gone to Florida, to remain until Spring.

Mrs. Dudley Insley of Tacoma and Miss See of Sing Sing are guests of Mrs. E. E. Runyon of Madison Avenue.

Mrs. Howell of Chester, who has been visiting her sister Mrs. F. D. Whiting of East Sixth Street, has returned home.

Next Tuesday evening the ladies of the Monroe Avenue Chapel will hold their annual supper.

Mrs. Robert Downy of Madison Avenue gave a tea this afternoon from 4 to 7.

By far the largest and most brilliant social function that has ever been given in this city was the Ackerman reception at the Casino on Monday night. About 500 guests were present, the largest number that has yet gathered in that pretty clubhouse and ballroom. Mrs. J. Hervey Ackerman received, assisted by Mrs. Robert Rushmore, Mrs. Ernest R. Ackerman, and Mrs. Marion S. Ackerman.

Plainfield Countil of the Royal Arcanum celebrated the addition of the two hundredth member to its ranks Monday night with an entertainment.

William C. Ayers, one of Plainfield's oldest residents, celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday Tuesday. He was born on Feb. 12, 1809, on the same day as Lincoln.

Wednesday evening the ladies of the Seventh Day Baptist Church held a sale and supper in the church.

An interesting meeting of the Monday Afternoon Club was held in the parlors of the Crescent Avenue Church Monday, at which David P. Hall gave a talk on parliamentary usage.

The Third Regiment Cadet Corps of this city will go to Bound Brook on Washington's Birthday to take part in the parade of that place.

Several new members were received into the Plainfield Bicycle Club at a meeting Monday night.

On Thursday evening, Feb. 21, a Martha Washington tea will be given in the First Presbyterian Church.

Tuesday evening Mr. and Mrs. B. O. Bowers of Franklin Place entertained the Musical Club.

The Ladies Committee of the Young Women's Christian Association met Tuesday afternoon and elected the following officers: President – Mrs. Henry M. Maxson; Vice-President – Mrs. J. Wesley Johnson; Treasurere – Mrs. J. H. Manning; Secretary – Miss Embury.

Next month Miss Fannie Westphal will be married to George Gray of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, Mrs. Marion S. Ackerman of West Seventh Street gave a dinner in honor of her guest, Miss Cox of New York. The guests present were Miss Gertrude Waly, Miss Cox, Miss Marion Dumont, Miss Waldron, Miss Lawrence, Miss Carey, Harry Munger, Laurens Van Buren, Fred Waly, Dr. B. Van D. Hedges, Mr. Waring and Mr. Wharton.

A union meeting of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Societies of the Crescent Avenue and First Presbyterian Churches as held Tuesday afternoon at the latter church. The subject discussed as "China," papers being read by Mrs. M. E. Dwight, Mrs. Luchey, Mrs. Cornelius Schenck, Mrs. Pruden, and Mrs. Wyckoff.

Next Saturday Mrs. Henry McGee of Washington Park will give an afternoon tea. The hours will be from 4 to 7 o'clock.

During the week Miss Florence Honneger of New Brighton, S. I., has been the guest of Mrs. J. R. Hill of Belvidere Avenue.

Plainfield's handsome new Young Men's Christian Association Building was formally opened Tuesday night. Addresses were made by Mayor Alexander Gilbert, the first President of the association; the Rev. Dr. William R. Richards and William D. Murray, the present President. The building cost about $50,000.

August 26, 1894 New York Times Article: Plainfield, City of Homes

Among the most beautiful homes of resident New Yorkers are those of Plainfield's Mayor Alexander Gilber, who is Vice President of the Market and Fulton National Bank of New York and Corporation Counsel Craig Marsh. These house are only two of many handsome places, but are mentioned as the homes of the city's Chief Executive and one of the most prominent city officials.

January 1, 1891 New York Times

New York Times Newspaper - Jan 1, 1891 (pg 4)
- Plainfield, N.J., Dec 31st – The handsome new home of the Union County Country Club was thrown open to the members and their friends tonight. Dedicatory exercises were begun in the casino, the theatrical wing of the clubhouse, at 9:30 o'clock, when Rowland COX, representing the Building Committee, delivered to the keeping of Harry M. STOCKTON of the House Committee the keys of the structure, which were linked together with gold. Alexander GILBERT, Mayor-elect of Plainfield, responded for the club to Mr. COX's speech, and, after other formalities, Mr. STOCKTON announced that the clubhouse was open to the guests.
- The assemblage then passed into the main club building, where the visitors were received by the officers of the club and the members of the House Committee, who were ranged before a huge open fireplace. A New Year's Eve ball and banquet followed, and the society people of the city and country were escorted through every part of the handsome, commodious editice.
- The plan of the clubhouse is thorough and artistic in every department. It contains, besides the casino, which is one of the prettiest and most satisfactory playhouses imaginable, billiard rooms, bowling alleys, tennis courts, dining parlors, libraries, and other auxiliaries of genuine club life, all furnished in the most elaborate and luxurious style. The President of the club is Harry G. RUNKLE, the Vice President is William BLOODGOOD, the secretary William T. KAUFMAN, and the Treasurer Pliny FISK. The club membership is limited to 100. Most of the members are New York business men.

1920 Muhlenberg Hospital Womens Auxiliary

Mrs. J. C. Gilbert
318 West Eighth Street

1922 Brooklyn Blue Book and Long Island Society Register

Gilbert, Mrs. Jabez C. (Ella Wilkins) 318 W. 8, Plainfield, N. K. Plainfield 33
*Mr. Alexander Gilbert

1921 New York Tribune

Jabez C. Gilbert, Plainfield, N. J. Feb. 4 – Jabez C. Gilbert, seventy-three years old, a veteran New York bond dealer, died here last night of apoplexy

1915 - 1923 List of Meetings

1925 Meeting Minutes

1918 Meeting Minutes

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. Barrowe 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. F. Barrowe 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

Alexander Gilbert

318 West 8th Street

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Area Historic District

Post Office: Plainfiled
Zip: 07060

Hillside Avenue Historic District
Van Wyck Brooks Historic District

The Crescent Area Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.

Prior to the arrival of the white man, the Lenni-Lenape Indians, part of the Algonquin Tribe, lived in this area of New Jersey. The Ice Age had endowed this area with a protective terrain, productive farmlands and forests and "wonderful pure air and springs." Indian trails became the highways and streets still in use in Plainfield today.Watchung Avenue located in the heart of the Crescent Area Historic District was once one of those trails. Remains of an Indian village and burial grounds have been found in the locality of First, Second and Third Place which are within the boundaries of the Crescent Avenue Historic District.

The first white settlers from Scotland and Holland arrived in the area in the 1680's. The first permanent settler was Thomas Gordon whose home was on Cedarbrook Road adjacent to Crescent Avenue, and whose land holdings covered most of what is present-day Plainfield. The enthusiastic letters back home detailing the healthful climate, plentiful game, fish and fowl, good soil and water brought other settlers to New Jersey, in spite of the "Flee by the salt marshes, most troublesome in the summer." These elements continued through the years to attract new residents.

During the Revolutionary War, patriots from area families served in militia regiments as foot soldiers and officers. An important battle, the Battle of the Short Hills, was fought in the area in June of 1777 and was instrumental in repelling the British in New Jersey. Some of the homes of those who supported the cause of the Revolution still exist today: The Drake House Museum, where Washington rested and briefed his officers, and the Vermule Homestead, where the officers were quartered.
Following the war, industry and transportation began to grow and take on added importance, contributing to the economic prosperity. Plainfield became officially recognized on April 1, 1800 with a population of 215. The Gordon Gazetteer in 1834 gave a glowing account of all the rich resources in Plainfield and noted that "the society is moral and religious."

It was in Plainfield in 1847 that the model for the public school system for the state was devised. Through the efforts of Dr. Charles H. Stillman, Plainfield physician, the New Jersey Legislature empowered the city to raise money by taxation in order to establish a public school system. An account of the day declares, "No one can measure the effect of this enlightened policy in extending the fame of the city and building up its prosperity." Many of the people who were active in education and cultural activities lived within the bounds of the Crescent Area Historic District.

The most influential force to the development of Plainfield was the railroad, which brought about a change in the social and economic character of the town. When a direct connection was made between Plainfield and New York City, c.1850, Plainfield became a commuter town.

During the Civil War, many local residents were involved in the fighting. General Sterling, a general on McCleland's staff, built his home and settled on First Place after the War.

Job Male, a philanthropist, who became known as "Plainfield's Grand Old Man", settled in Plainfield in 1867, following the Civil War. An inventor, he had simplified the loading of ferry slips with a patented leveling device. He purchased with Evan Jones, twenty four acres of land "in the suburbs and laid it out in village lots and streets and erected twenty substantial residences of fine architectural design, drawing the plans for them all himself." He was his own contractor and owned a greater part of the land that includes Crescent Avenue and Watchung Avenue. He designed a particularly distinctive style of architecture "stucco-walled, Mansard roofed, still standing today." He continued to build homes in different parts of the city until his possessions included more than one hundred Plainfield houses. His obituary notice in 1891 noted that "his purse always ready to respond to the calls of deserving charity." He was a public benefactor, making possible the Public Library and the Job Male Art Gallery, and donating the land for the hospital, the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Church.

A Central New Jersey Times account in 1870 of "Our Town Improvements" wrote, "The improvements in building is the expression of a spirit that leads to progressive movements in other directions. The old houses are not recognizable with tints of brown and cream and olive, their plain roofs metamorphosed by pediments, fancy gables and cornices, their primitive simplicity converted into modern beauty by wings, bay windows, recessed projections and every variety of architectural development." The writer further comments on the "new houses, with their aspiring towers, French roofs and cupolas." It was the kind of community that led the Elizabeth Herald in May of 1888 to write, "The bustling activity of the city of remarkable." And to conclude, "The next move in Plainfield, no doubt, will be the horse cars."
Plainfield had become a fashionable summer resort and eventually attracted many wealthy New York businessmen to settle here year 'round. The Gas Light Age evokes memories of Plainfield with theatricals, minstrel shows, roller rinks and other forms of entertainment. The site of many hotels, the Netherwood was reputed to be one of the "most healthful, comfortable and accessible inland summer resorts in the country."

By 1890, with substantial wealth and improvements, Plainfield continued to advance and prosper, attracting people of substance to live here. As successful businessmen and their families settled in the Crescent Avenue area, they became active in the cultural, religious, and educational affairs of the city. James W. Jackson, William D. Murray both served as presidents of the newly-formed YMCA. Henry C. Squires established the Hope Chapel on January 1, 1888 as a branch of the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. Augustus Baldwin worked closely with Job Male in establishing the first free public library and the art gallery. In 1883 some of the first subscribers to "the last word in modern efficiency," the telephone, lived in the District: George Goddard, F.O. Herring, Leander Lovell, and the Dumond family. Many served as members of the Common Council.

After Job Male's death, Plainfield continued to be a highly desirable neighborhood and remained that way until the 1930's, when many of the large homes were converted to apartments. This process continues with single family residences almost non-existent today. The alterations for the most part are tastefully done and are not detrimental to the basic style and charm of the original building. This makes for a particularly fine collection of buildings appropriate to an Historic District.
Notes on Recollections of Long-time Residents of the Area
Longtime residents of Plainfield have been interviewed regarding their recollections of famous residents of this area. Those persons interviewed were Mrs. Lawrence Heely, Mrs. Henry Noss, Mrs. Dorothy Wills, Mrs. Helen Mygatt, Mr. John Harmon, Miss Gwen Cochran, Mrs. Dorothy DeHart, Miss Dorothy Leal, Mr. Alfred Genung, Mr. Alex Kroll, Mr. A.L.C. Marsh, Mrs. Hendrick Van Oss and others.

Many people have lived there who were outstanding in cultural fields, education and politics, as well as very successful professional and business men, active both locally and in New York City. Also educators and statesmen lived here.

John Carlson, a renown artist and member of the National Academy lived on 3rd Place as did Alex Seidel who achieved international fame for his designs for Steuben Glass. Another prominent artist who lived here was Thomas Hart Benton whose brother lived for many years on Crescent Avenue. Also William Gilbert, a well known illustrator, lived on Crescent Avenue.

The author of the White Cliffs of Dover, Alice Duer Miller, A. Van Dorn Honeyman, the famous historian, lived on 9th Street, and also Van Wyk Brooks another well-known author. Ernest Ackerman, a representative in U.S. Congress in the 1870's and his brother Marion Ackerman, who lived on Crescent Avenue, founded the Lone Star Cement Company and were deeply involved in many large national important financial and industrial enterprises.

The famous opera singer, Mario Caruso, married a Goddard and was frequently a visitor to Plainfield to the Goddard House at 213 East 9th Street. This family had a profound influence on the musical advancement of the entire area.

The area abounded in lawyers, judges and politicians, including four Mayors of Plainfield, and people in the foreign service for 25 years, such as Hendrick Van Oss, most recently served as ambassador to Madagascar and other countries.

The Crescent Avenue area was truly the heart of the town and boasted the most important and influential people of the period 1860 through 1920. The homes of these people reflect their taste, affluence and are a tangible piece of architectural history reflecting a glorious past.

The Crescent Area Historic District is a great deal more than a lot of old houses. It is probably one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the country. The term Victorian is all inclusive and embraces numerous styles that echo tastes and decorative devices of other periods of architecture from other countries and other times than the one in which the present buildings were constructed. The majority of these have what in architectural terms is referred to as Italianate which stems from the architectural styles popular in Italy going back as far as Byzantine derivative styles, and 15th century Venetian palaces. These variety of design styles result in the sudden surge of interest in European cultures and an attempt by the suddenly successful and new class of wealthy businessmen who were anxious to reflect their success in the work of finance in their homes. These interests were stimulated by their travels abroad and what they had seen, which was considered elegant. Thus we have Tuscan towers, Italian villas, Palazzo's with loggia and arcaded window and arches, Renaissance, Egyptian motifs, classical elements, and finally the exuberant eclectic styles throwing the more American traits of Carpenter Gothic and Stick style in for good measure. English architecture is also reflected with half timber, projecting gables, Eastlake influence, Queen Anne and Edwardian styles. The detail photos of these buildings reflect the painstaking craftsmanship of the builders and imaginative design abilities of the architects. It is truly a tangible record of the past which should be preserved as close to its original state as practical, in their new role of many being converted for multi-family use.

The Crescent Area Historic District is one of the finest collections of suburban Victorian architecture in New Jersey. Developed as a speculative real estate venture in the 1870's by Job Male, the buildings are an impressive presentation of Italianate and Second Empire style architecture of the mid to late 19th century. The houses were primarily designed for wealthy businessmen and, consequently, visages within the district still retain a fine elegance in their total ambiance of buildings and their association with landscaping, rustic streets, sidewalks, and trees.

Blumenson, John J.G. Identifying American Architecture
Central New Jersey Times, 1870-1885.
Clayton, W. Woodford. History of Union & Middlesex Counties, 1882.
Cochran, Jean Carter. The History of Crescent Avenue Church
The Courier News, History of Plainfield, 1964.
The Courier News, November 1-4-8, 1954.
Devlin, Harry. To Grandfather's House We Go.
Downey, Andrew Jackson. The Architecture of Country Houses.
The Drake House Museum & The Plainfield Public Library, Scrapbooks and Files.
Dunham, F.A. Atlas City of Plainfield and Boro of North Plainfield, 1894.
Fitzgerald & Co. (Pub.). Springfield, Massachusetts, Plainfield City Directory, 1876-7.
Gowans, Alan. Images of American Living.
Honeyman, A. Van Dorn. History of Union County, Volumes I, II, & III.
Lapsley, Howard G. History of Plainfield, 1942.
League of Women Voters. This is Plainfield, 1954.
McCabe, Wayne. Historic Tour – Plainfield, N.J.
Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Plainfield Area, N.J.
Pub. by Plainfield Courier News. Plainfield & Vicinity in Pictures, 1926.
Plainfield Daily Press, Friday & Saturday, January 30, 31, 1891.
Plainfield Evening News, Saturday, May 23, 1888.
Plainfield & North Plainfield City Directory, 1879-80.
Plainfield & North Plainfield City Directory, 1894-5.
Pratt, Dorothy & Richard, A Guide to Early American Homes.
Smiley, F.T. History of Plainfield, 1891.
† Charles H. Detwiller, Jr., A.I.A., Architect and Marilyn Rupp, Architectural Historian, Crescent Area Historic District, Union County, New Jersey, nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Crescent Avenue Historic District

Crescent Avenue Historic District form for the National Register of Historic Places

126 Crescent Avenue
c. 1880
In 1894, the home of Mrs. Edward Gilbert.

French derived style. Decorative molded door fram with half round fan light – paired eave brackets. Secondary fascia at the top of the Mansard roof with similar brackets and decorative trim. Window heads have heavy ornamented canopy heads supported by small brackets and window trim at the sill level – dentil molding.

Dan Damon's Blog August 21, 2010

Caption: Home of Alexander Gilbert, early Plainfield mayor, at West 8th Street and Central Avenue.
While an apartment complex is now on the site, the home to the right is undergoing restoration.

A treasure trove of early Plainfield photographer Guillermo Thorn's pictures is being mounted by Kean University Library on its ContentDM website (see here).

Many thanks to Plainfield Public Library Director Joe Da Rold for the heads up.

Thorn (1837-1920) was an early photographic chronicler of Plainfield life and people, operating out of his home and studio on East Second Street with a long career that spanned the decades of Plainfield's explosive growth as a post-Civil War railroad suburb attracting a wealthy elite of Wall Street bankers and financiers and executives in some of America's largest corporations.

The Plainfield Public Library holds a sizeable collection of Thorn's images, some of which have been organized as part of its online survey of Plainfield in photographs from 1870 to 1970 (see online exhibit here).

Kean's images are from a collection of more than 300 Thorn items that came into the possession of Prof. Frank Esposito in the late 1980s and are now part of Kean's holdings. He and his colleague Donald Lokuta organized the material into both an exhibit mounted in 2005 and a book (published by Kean U. Press as Victorian New Jersey: Photographs of Guillermo Thorn and released on the 100th anniversary of Kean's founding) – see more here.

Plainfield's own Jean Mattson, former president of the Historical Society of Plainfield, worked with Esposito and Lokuta to research much of the Plainfield material. Much background information on the photos was supplied by Mattson, who at the time was also on the faculty of Kean University.

To use the Kean collection website, go to its home page (here) and click on the BROWSE link which will take you to the two pages of items currently online. Clicking on any image will bring up a large version of that item, with the available background information.

Note that the CONTACT US link at the bottom of the page is not yet set up (you get a blank email). For more information regarding the collection or to supply background information on any of the images, contact the Kean University Librarian, Luis Rodriguez, at (908) 737-4646 or by email

February 5, 1921 New York Tribune

Ella May Wilkins Gilbert

Birth: Feb. 21, 1858
Death: May 19, 1930

Family links:
Jabez C Gilbert (1849 - 1921)

Hillside Cemetery
Scotch Plains
Union County
New Jersey, USA

Created by: Dianne Delitto
Record added: Jul 25, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 114354430

Monday Afternoon Club Membership

Monday Afternoon Club Membership