People of Holmdel

John Conover Smock
John Smock was born in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers College in 1862, and was a tutor in chemistry from 1865-67. He became Professor-elect of Mining and Metallurgy in 1867, holding the Chair from 1871-75, ​
John Henry Heyer
John Henry Heyer was born on March 9, 1831 and died May 6, 1905. John Henry was an American Democratic party politician from New Jersey, who served on the Monmouth County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Of Dutch descent, Heyer was born in Freehold Township and at the age of seventeen his family moved to Holmdel Township, where he resided.  He worked as a blacksmith, a wheelwright and operated a grist mill before going into the flour and feed business in Holmdel.

In 1868 Heyer was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders representing Holmdel and served until 1873. In 1880 he returned to the board and served until 1900. At the May 11, 1887 annual reorganization, he was chosen as Director, succeeding Theodore Fields. He served as Director until 1898, when he was succeeded by John Guire.

John Henry Heyer died of kidney disease on May 6, 1905, and is buried in Holmdel Cemetery.
Henry E. Ackerson, Jr.
Henry Elijah Ackerson, Jr.  was born October 15, 1880 and died December 9, 1970.  Henry Ackerson was a Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1948 to 1952.  

Henry was born in Keyport and resided in Holmdel Township, New Jersey.   He served as State Senator from 1915 to 1919.   He was a New Jersey Circuit Judge from 1924 to 1947 and a Supreme Court Justice from 1948 to 1952.

He is buried in Holmdel Cemetery. The Justice Henry E. Ackerson Jr. Prize and Ackerson Hall at Rutgers School of Law – Newark are named in his honor.

1868-1941 Theron McCampbell
Theron was a flamboyant farmer turned politician.  In 1909, McCampbell moved from Indiana to Holmdel, New Jersey and bought the Ramanessen Farm from Dr. Henry G. Cooke.  Cooke's estate included a mansion on 120 acres, with a doctor's office and other outbuildings.  McCampbell paid $18,000 for the property.  Neighbors considered his land excellent for farming and he planned to make many improvements.  McCampbell said he was going to make it "the model farm in Holmdel"
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McCampbell started raising crops of hay and grain.  His produce was quick to market.  He was one of the early threshers.  He harvested potatoes and in 1917 hired Aaron Warren of Matawan to erect a new style barn.  The new barn would reduce losses assoicated with potato storage problems.

During the 1920's, McCampbell switched to growing grapes and called his place the "Holmdel Grape Farm".  He hired Ramon Molzon to manage 50 acres of vineyards with 33,000 grape vines.  Molzon bought locust tree lumber to build grape posts and an orchard sprayer with a 100 gallon tank.  McCampbell advertised for help wanted to cut the grapes, calling it "suitable work for women".  His first crop was harvested in September, 1927.  By 1930, McCampbell's Grape Farm was the largest grape farm in New Jersey.  He received a good deal of publicity in the newspapers, and photographer C.E. Eldebrecht from Fox Film Corporation, came out and took motion pictures of the grape pickers and the vineyards.

McCampbell promoted his product heavily.   He described his fruit as being the best.  "More delicious early grapes were never grown out of doors" and "We have the finest crop of grapes yet raised".  McCampbell advertised that his grapes could be eaten out of hand, or used to make jelly, juice or wine.  He coined the phrase "Jersey Muscat" used for making wine.  It was a red grape with a very unusual flavor and a particular favorite of wealthy Rumson Road residents.  The Holmdel Grape Farm had other varieties of red, white and blue grapes including Portlands, Ontarios, Moor's Early Blues, Fredonia Blues, Concords, Ives and Clintons.  The grapes sold for 2.5 to 5 cents per pound.

Holmdel Historical Society received a generous donation from Gerry and Rita Ceres of a grape basket from Theron McCampbell's Holmdel Grape Farm.  The basket was given to them from the Trapp Family who purchased the McCampbell residence.  It is an interesting artifact directly connected with the history of Holmdel and measures 9" round by 9" tall.  It has a solid bottom with a 2" wide rim and handle attached by small nails.  It can easily hold about 2 pounds of grapes. McCampbell used these"fancy gift baskets" to display and sell his grapes at harvest.

In late September 1940, McCampbell opened his grape harvest season with an advertisment that his fancy gift baskets, filled with his choice grapes, were ready to purchase for $1.00.  It was an ancient custom among Jewish people to give baskets of grapes as gifts at their New Year Celebration.  That year his baskets and grapes were ready in time for the Jewish Holidays.  The gift conveyed a message of "Love, Happiness and Long Life" to the person receiving the basket of grapes.

Sadly, in 1941 Theron McCampbell died in a car crash as he was returning home from visiting friends.
Valerie Kennedy
Valerie's parents moved to their 300-year old home on Route 34 in 1952 when her mother converted the house into a nursing home. Her father, George Cuchural raised cattle, while she attended St. Rose Elementary School.​​

Adeline Lubkert

Addy was born 1916 in the house on Crawfords Corner Road.  She died 2017 still living in that house which has now been sold to the Holmdel Board of Education.  Her Holmes ancestry goes back several hundred years. Her father John S. Holmes, Jr. served as an elected Holmdel Township committeeman.  Her husband, Harry K. Lubkert, was head of the Holmdel Township Board of Education for many years. He arranged for the township to purchase the 30-acre Cross Farm property in 1960.  Addy was a longtime NY Giants Football fan.
One by one the Holmdel farms disappeared. There are a few privately owned farms left.  Holmdel Township have purchased some farms and they are restricted to agricultural use only.
Penelope Van Princin Stout

Penelope Van Princin was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1622.  In 1643, Penelope and her first husband, John Kent, sailed from Amsterdam on a Dutch ship, headed for New Amsterdam, otherwise known as New York.  Violent storms struck their ship, drove it off course and finally wrecked it off Sandy Hook.  All survived and the passengers and crew set off for New Amsterdam (New York) on foot, leaving Penelope on the beach to nurse her desperately ill husband.  Passengers and crew were fearful of an Indian attack so they left Penelope and her husband promising they would send help.

Soon a band of Indians found them on the beach.  They promptly killed Penelope’s husband, John and then they cut, mangled and partially scalped Penelope in such a manner that they left her for dead.  Penelope had strength enough to crawl to a log or tree not too far away and nestled into a hollow one and remained there for several days, surviving on mushrooms that grew from the logs.  Penelope survived alone and gravely wounded for eight days.  At that time, two Indians appeared and started discussing her fate.  The younger Indian wanted to finish her off but the older Indian wrapped her in a blanket, tossed her over his shoulder and took her to his wigwam where he nursed her back to health.

After some time the Dutch of New Amsterdam (New York), hearing of a white woman among the Indians, concluded who it must be and came to her relief.  She was given the choice of staying with the Indians or returning to the white people.  She chose to return but remained friends with the old Indian for many years to come.  Some sources say that Richard Stout was in that party that rescued Penelope.  About a year or two later, she married Richard Stout.  

The house formerly located at 78 Crawford Corners Road in Holmdel, NJ was allegedly the home of David Stout, son of Penelope and Richard, in the 1720s.  The house consisted of three sections, the oldest section thought to date from the 1690s. The larger section of the home was built in the Revolutionary War era by the Hendrickson family.  According to family tradition, Penelope Van Princin Stout resided in the house with her son's family in her final years and was allegedly buried within sight of the home. Richard and Penelope Stout's land on Hop Brook were in the same vicinity as the house and Richard and Penelope may well be buried on land near Lucent Technology complex.

From this woman, thus remarkably saved, with her scars visible, through a long life, is descended a numerous posterity of the name Stout.  Penelope went on to have a total of 10 children, seven sons and three daughters.  She lived to reach the age of 110 with more than 500 descendants.  

  

Sheila Siegel Harmyk

Bill McFarland

Sheila was born in 1939 in Newark, NJ.  She moved to Holmdel in 1942.  She attended the beginners school in the old town hall that was demolished - just two in her class, her and Omar Sicles.  Sheila attended Hillcrest School then onto the Village School for 7th and 8th grades where she graduated with 17 others.  Some of the teachers she remembers were Mrs. Ackerson and Mrs. Zimmer.  

Sheila recalls sleigh riding on Crawfords Corner Road and Middletown Road when it was a dirt road - 1940's.  Sheila's husband Michael Theodore Harmyk grew up in the Village area, worked at Cross Farms and for Mrs. McCampbell  He walked across the little bridge at Route 34.
Bill was born May 9, 1929 in Spring Lake, NJ.  His father had a real estate office in Keyport, NJ.  When his grandfather moved to Holmdel in 1910, he purchased the old Crawford House and moved it next door and built a new house in which Bill lived.

The house was on a 165 acre farm that extended from Holmdel Road and back to the Garden State Arts Center. It contained the Bell Labs property on top of the hill, which is the highest hill along the east coast.  His Grandfather sold this to Bell Labs during WWII.

Bill loved the hunting and hound dogs that they owned.  "No deer in those days.  It was a pleasant place to live....quiet and peaceful. We had horses, mules and an old tractor.  The old barn and other buildings are still on the premises.  It is where Manzo rents the land to Atlantic Tree Service."

"It was quiet and peaceful and I loved the farm and its people. The Poole family was my Grandfather's tenant farmer and lived in the old Crawford house next door."

Bill graduated in 1946 from Keyport School.  He joined the Army in 1946 and served overseas in Japan for over a year.  

Bill and his wife built a home at 11 Hillcrest Rd. where he lived from 1955 - 2015.  He served on the Holmdel Board of Health for 28 years.  He has seen Holmdel grow from around 2,000 to 16,000 residents in his lifetime.  Progress?
 
Marge Antonides Callan
Marge was born in her parents' home that she still lives in on Everett Road.  Her father Leroy Antonides was a carpenter and farmer.  Leroy was born in 1889.  Her Antonides ancestors trace back to 1781 when Jacob Antonides bought and farmed 300 acres.  Marge grew up on the farm with horses and graduated Village School with a class of 17 students.  Mr. Ackerson was her  school bus driver.
Judd Thorne

Born and raised in Holmdel.  The Thorne Family has been in Holmdel for six generations since 1795.  Judd grew up  on his parents 31 acre farm on Route 35 and they also rented the landmark Stewart's Root Beer Stand.  He played first base for the semi-professional Holmdel Arrows Baseball Team during the 1950's.

Gary Ackerson

The Ackerson Family moved from New York in 1832 when his great grandfather bought 500-acres in Holmdel.  When the Garden State Parkway was being built, the State of New Jersey appropriated 60 acres of his grandmother's apple orchard.  He maintains the Ackerson Family Graveyard located on Bailey Lane.
Carl F. Zellers
Carl went to Colts Neck grammar school. He lived on the other side of Hop Brook, which was the dividing line between Colts Neck and Holmdel and he walked to Hance's General Store in the Holmdel Village.  He attended Red Bank High School with others from the southern area of Holmdel. Carl has been a Holmdel realtor for 40+ years.
Woody Wilson Francis
Born November 7th, 1916 in his parents' home on Middletown Road, Woody attended Village School and lived in Holmdel until 1926 and then moved to Middletown.  His grandfather owned Francis Farm which was then sold to Laura Harding, now known as Bayonet Farm. During the Great Depression, Woody helped pick asparagus on his grandfather's Francis Farm.  Later he planted grapes for Theron McCampbell and helped his father tend goats.
Diane Pappa
Diane was born in Holmdel and raised on Beers Street.  Her Father was born in Holmdel and her grandparents were Italian immigrants from Naples and Palermo.  Her father bought the 48 acre Holmdel Farm in 1946 where she lived and grew strawberries, tomatoes, apples, peppers and other produce.

Her mother, Mary, kept payroll records for the Puerto Rican laborers hired through the camp on Cat Bird Alley, run by the Farmers & Gardeners Association.  Diane knew about the labor camp barracks on Cat Bird Alley -  Farmers would fly in farm workers from Puerto Rico for the season.  They would employ four farm workers at a time. Mary recalls...They were nice and our parents learned Spanish. Friday was payday and Mom would drive them to Keyport to get groceries.  They stayed in a little house on the property.... Other farmers would also employ the workers if the farmers needed extra help for the day.

Diane went to Grade 2 at Hillcrest Schoolhouse, 3rd and 4th at Village, 5th, 6th and 7th at Centerville and was part of the first graduation class at Indian Hill School (1958).
Bob Weigand
Bob is the third of seven children.  His parents owned the Hillsdale Farm on Holmdel Road.  Bob attended the 2-room Hillcrest Schoolhouse where  he spent 1st-4th grades in one room with the same teacher for four years. He then attended 5th-8th grades in another room with a different teacher and larger desks.  Bob's punishment for saying bad words was a bar of soap in his mouth.  Bob then went to Keyport HS and graduated with Bill McFarland.