The parting hour

GIRLS and young women peopled William Whitehead’s childhood, connections kept up when his family moved to Perth Amboy in 1823. The youngest child of his parents, William was the only son to relocate with them. Following the sudden death of a half-sister, a nomination to West Point secured for him was forfeited, and the promise … More The parting hour

Renaissance man

EAST New Jersey’s seat of government was, in the earliest records, referred to as the Town of Perth, New Perth, Perth Town or Perth tout court before it acquired the surname Ambo or Amboy, from an indigenous word for the locality.1 The first element of the combination linked the settlement to Scotland, a country then … More Renaissance man

The king’s peace

THAT quiet foothold onto which imperial designs projected a future “London of America” enjoyed some modest communion with the city far away on the Thames. The first settlers located their government here, yet its fortunes diminished when the two Jerseys became one province–the Assembly convening now in this capital, now in the other, and the … More The king’s peace

Fathers of invention

NEARLY ten times its breadth from stem to stern, powered by a compound engine that rendered the ride both swift and smooth, the John Potter offered as elegant and efficient a link as could be had between Manhattan and the railhead of the Camden and Amboy. Its passengers continued their trip from wharves on the … More Fathers of invention

The entrepôt

GULLS danced a ballet around the spars of the Mary Lord with a semblance of exultation at her journey’s end. Laborers and clerks, meanwhile, joined in their own peculiar revels, hefting wooden crates from the hold, inspecting and recording the cargo dockside, wheeling it away to a waiting storehouse. Chests of exotic shape and design … More The entrepôt

Progress and place

FOR all that it has gained or lost in the tides of politics and war, Perth Amboy’s history attests to the power of place, the environment’s ability to span time and distance through the agency of human memory and motivation. For so many who spent the bulk of their lives elsewhere–and William Whitehead was by … More Progress and place