Barrow Street

SUNDRY and sustained attachments bound William A. Whitehead early to the nation’s commercial capital. They were established just after the Revolutionary War and well before his birth, upon his father’s arrival as a young immigrant from the Caribbean. A furniture-maker’s apprentice turned promising craftsman, then cashier in Wall Street’s most enduring financial institution, the elder … More Barrow Street

White gold

A course of solid reading was pursued to advantage, and whatever works of a lighter character were indulged in, they were always read critically, their errors noticed, and their beauties and moral teachings marked. My library was not yet of much account, but … the works of reference I possessed were constantly referred to, so … More White gold

Four Corners

NEAR the end of 1915, workers for the Public Service Railway Company took up positions at the junction of Newark’s Broad and Market Streets, and began to count. On a single weekday, from before dawn until after dusk, observers at each corner tallied all pedestrians stepping off the curb or turning, all passengers on streetcars … More Four Corners

The storm of war

Hark! Hark! what sounds salute my ear? What means this thund’ring din I hear? Why roars the deep-mouth’d cannon? Why Does joy seem beaming in each eye           Which look’d of late so sad? Why are Fredonia’s flags display’d? Why beat the drums? Why this parade? Why peal the bells? Why mirth abounding? While with … More The storm of war

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

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

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

Rough seas

LIEUTENANT Matthew C. Perry guided the Shark, battered by a spell of “boisterous weather,” into Havana harbor for repairs. The damage to the schooner, though slight, signified that its next assignment, to police the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, was to be no easy affair. Of late the Shark and its steely skipper had helped deter … More Rough seas

Useful pleasures

IN the shaping of character few factors exert more influence than the pastimes of youth. An unpublished memoir by William Whitehead confirms that the days of his life between ages 13 and 18, while unburdened by conventional schooling, were varied by pursuits no less formative in his development or significant for his “future usefulness.” Fair … More Useful pleasures