Rahway Relics

pastBy Diane Norek Harrison

RAHWAY-I received this in an email: “Here is one I don’t remember, the Rahway Clay Pits. I just came upon a picture of (it) them while looking through photo albums around town. Where were the clay pits located and what did it come to be?”

If anyone can share what they know of the Rahway clay pits, please do. Where were they and what is there now? There is so much out there from the past, I’m hoping to hear lots of it! 

This column is from some of my own research of the area and dated 1882: FRIENDS’ SCHOOL-Probably the earliest schools established in the settlement were those of the Friends or Quakers. The first school-house of the Friends was built on the same lot as their meeting house in 1785, viz, on Main Street, or the place recently occupied by George Walker as a hardware store. William Shotwell was one of the early teachers there. The building fronted the road (now Main Street), was twenty by thirty feet in size and one story high.

In 1804 another meeting house was built by the Friends on Irving Street, and a school-house was erected a little south of it, which was removed when the railroad went through. It was a two-story wooden structure, and built soon after the meeting house. Lindley Murray Moore (named after Lindley Murray, the grammarian) was one of the earliest teachers. Then followed Eli Vail, Abel Marsh, Aaron Byllings (a descendant of Edward Byllinge, one of the proprietors of West Jersey), Henry B. Pool, Joseph Shotwell, and others. This Friends’ School was for many years the only school in the place.

One of the old schools kept for so many years was in the “White School House,” so called, in Lower Rahway, opposite the residence of John H. Lufbery, in Grand Street. Alvan Fox, William B. McGougen, Robert Dennis, and others were among the teachers.

A building called the “Academy” in Upper Rahway stood on St. George’s Avenue near Jardine’s marble-works. N. Morse and John W. Seymore were among the teachers. It was abandoned about the time the districts were consolidated in 1848.

There was an old school house, which stood on the east bank of the south branch of Rahway River, on the place now occupied by John Hults. It was a plain low building, and school was kept in it until about fifty years ago. It was built at an early time.

Plan on doing some spring cleaning soon? A lot of past material is given to me when an attic, basement, garage, closet or drawers are cleaned out! I’m hoping to hear so much more from how things were in the past in Rahway! This is a reader participation column, so put the “thinking cap” on and tell me what you remember.

If you have your own memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway you can email dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media 1139, East Jersey St,. Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201.

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