The seeds of industry

VACATION memories for most American children are faded by October, but early Newark’s school-age population, generally speaking, enjoyed no summer break. In a period when planting and harvesting called many older students and probably some teachers to farm work, it was left to fall or spring to bring any lengthy respite from the summons of … More The seeds of industry

A quiet lady

TRACES in the historical record such as are found for William A. Whitehead’s father are lacking for his mother. No letters, no images have surfaced, the nearest thing to a portrait being the briefest of sketches by a great-niece that simply reads: “Mrs. Abby Whitehead, a quiet lady tall, thin and stately.”1 If she was … More A quiet lady

In a country town

AS the last-born of his father’s children, William A. Whitehead would have wished to learn from his older siblings, and his parents too, about circumstances that formed him, even though he did not experience them directly. For he well understood that the constituents of a family, no less than of a people or state, not … More In a country town

Brother in arms

HOW was it that Christmas Day of 1829, just nine months after his departure from Havana for Key West and home, found William A. Whitehead back again, luxuriating in the pleasures of the Cuban countryside? Three of his published “Letters from Havana” are occupied with reminiscences of this return trip which, as he had “passed … More Brother in arms

What’s in a name

IT was mid-May, and winter had yielded finally to spring. Perth Amboy’s proliferation of trees shimmered in the unbroken warmth, while every garden put on its most daring scents and colors. In harmony with the outdoors the Whitehead home was a place of merriment, most of all on the twin anniversary of the 12th, when … More What’s in a name

Inside, out

EVERY night at 9 o’clock, regardless of season or weather, a detachment of cadets fires a cannon across Havana harbor at the heart of the old town. Begun centuries ago to warn residents of the nightly closing of the city gates, the cañonazo is now a pageant played out year-round for tourists. Acting the part … More Inside, out

Dust and din

IN the presence of friends and fellow votaries of history assembled in an upper room of the National Newark Bank, the normally serene William A. Whitehead confessed to having suffered from “something like outraged feelings.” A half century earlier, he had stood in awed silence at the sepulchre of the man who “gave a new … More Dust and din