All interviews were taped and documented.They are available through the Reference
Department of the Teaneck Public Library. The Library is not responsible for the accuracy
of the statements nor does it necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.
Lillian Stevenson Pinkham, Milton Pinkham,
Agnes Stevenson Reilley & Charles Montgomery
(Interview taped 5/7/1975)
Lillian and Agnes Stevenson were daughters of James Stevenson who had 16 children. Their grandfather, Robert Stevenson, was a Scotsman who had a farm extending from Teaneck Road to the Phelps property to the east (later the golf course). Route 4 was then a dirt road called Stevenson Lane. Robert Stevenson was elected to the Township Committee, taking office Jan. 2, 1911 when James E. Pearce was chairman. Also elected were Christian Benson, George V. Demarest and Davit Beck.
Charles Montgomery was brought to Teaneck in 1908 when he was 20 days old. The family came by train to Englewood, were met by a horse and buggy "taxi" and taken to their new home on Cooper Ave. His father was a horse man employed by Fiss, Doerr & Carrell on Queen Anne Rd. and Cedar Lane. They trained horses for fancy riding and for carriages. During World War I they shipped horses for use in France (1915-16). They were put in corrals around the Teaneck Railroad station and along Palisade Avenue.
James Stevenson at one time had a farm of 23 acres in the area of Teaneck Rd. and Grayson Place where they lived. He was later with the N. Y. Telephone Co. and also in real estate. Their house had large, high ceiling rooms.
Mr. Montgomery and the Stevenson girls all went to the present School 2. The first grade teacher was Miss Hazel K. Judd. Mrs. Marah was principal and Mr. Jay the superintendent. Miss Edith Tepper came later.
As a baby Montgomery worked on farm, picking beans, tomatoes, corns. Later, when Charles Clausen had a fat factory, he worked with his father on a fat route, visiting butcher shops and picking up fat and hides. Butchers bought meat with hide on. Montgomery's father got him a knife and the boy learned to skin the animals. Clausen took the hides.
Montgomerys went to St. Anastania Church. Used to got up early on Sunday mornings, make a fire in the hot air furnace, pump out the cellar and than go over to DeGraw Ave. in horse and buggy and pick up the priest--Father Peter.
The girls' aunt, Agnes Stevenson Campbell, made a trip to the holy land and brought back water from Jerusalem which was used to Christen some of the children.
Transportation? You walked, rode a horse, took a trolley or rode a bike if you were lucky. R. T. Davis had the first bus line to New York. A Kilmurray was one of the first drivers. There were wooden sidewalks you walked on going to the train. If you slipped off the walk, you went down in the mud. You caught the trolley either on Dean Street or DeGraw Ave. and you could go to Leonia, Paterson or Tenafly as well as to the ferry.
A Mr. Barnes was the ticket agent at the Teaneck Railroad Station. There were three houses in the area on Palisade Ave. (Then Heasley) where Jimmy Limone's place is. Barnes lived in one, Montgomerys in another and Grimm, the railroad a crossing guard, in the third.
For entertainment there was swimming in Hackensack River or Teaneck Creek for the boys. Also ball games at Borden's Field in the Longfellow--Beaumont Ave. area. Mi1ton Pinkham, who was with the Teaneck Post Office from 1937-73, played semi-pro baseball and was a member of the Red Devils. The Kilmurrays were wheels on the Red Devil team.
There were band concerts. They had a band stand on what is new Windsor Road where the West Englewood fire house is. Hercules LeVoque used to play in the band. There were church, school and family picnics.
Agnes Stevenson Reilly remembers going to her grandfathers farm when they were haying. While they men were putting the hay in the left, she and her cousin Joan decided to take a ride on the hay wagon. They stopped by the house and picked up the cook named Susan. She sat on the back, legs dangling. They drove the hay wagon down Cedar Lane and along came an automobile. The horse shied, the cook screamed "Jesus, Mary and Joseph! We're all going to got killed." Grandpa Stevenson, a stern Scotsman gave the girls a good scolding.
Joe and Henry Weiss had the first taxi service. They'd meet the trains and people would pile in. They lived on Congress Ave. His son had a gas station on Teaneck Rd.
As for police protection, things were so quiet in Teaneck you could blow a whistle and the sound would carry so far, you'd got help. You might be dead when they get there but you'd blown the whistle. Joe Weiss Sr. was a constable. Adam Ewald was a judge. Among the cops were Bublitz, Witham Murphy and Luthrans.
The first fire house was in a barn on Fairview Avenue -- they moved it from Englewood. Kinloch V. Ridley was the first fire chief. Montgomery joined the volunteer Fire Dept. in 1938 and the paid Dept in 1941 ($1500 a year), retired as lieutenant in charge of Fire Prevention. In his early days every fire was a TL--total loss. They had two-wheel cars for hose wagons. Some pulled it in front and others went behind to straighten the hose. The fire alarm was hanging an old locomotive steel tire with a hammer.
Bucky (William) Brahmin had the first RFD route. He used to drive a two-seated Democrat when he delivered mail out of Englewood. Ernie and Bill Haupt delivered papers. They rode a horse.
Shopping? Mrs. Lowry had a candy store on Tuxedo Square. Sitzmans had a grocery on Forest Ave. Boni's Dairy was between Queen Anne and Grange Road. The first gin mill in Teaneck was at Congress and Prospect Avenue. Libonati ran it before prohibition. William F. Brahms used to make beer in Teaneck. Later he dealt in coal, wood and ice around Cooper Ave.
The Library was a little building on the east side of Teaneck Road where a gas station is now. Mrs. Hawkey, Mrs. Sample and Mrs. Campbell, the Stevenson's aunts, were all active in the Library.