Remembering The Past: Union County Memories

by Diane Norek Harrison

Memories from William Frolich: “My old family homestead in Elizabeth still has a well, but it is covered with a flagstone. The pump there used to have a wooden base to hold it at a convenient height for hand pumping and on hot summer days wagon drivers used to draw buckets of cool water for their horses.

“A pitcher pump, unused for a period of time, may have its leather piston ring dry out, and lose its suction. A smart operator would keep a closed container of water nearby to be used to pour down the slot for the connecting rod and thus prime the pump and get it working again.


“These backyard wells were fine for normal uses, but not much good for fire-fighting. In 1903, old School Four caught fire and the only supply of water was from the pump in the schoolyard. The firemen and volunteers formed a bucket brigade but when the fire was out, only a small portion of the wooden walls remained, along with the brick chimney.”

If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at 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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