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Woodside, the North End of Newark, N.J: Its History, Legends and Ghost Stories Gathered from the Records and the Older Inhabitants Now Living

100 pages
Library of Alexandria
I believe that those of long ago who wrote books frequently began with an apology to the gentle reader, and I am inclined to do likewise, or at least to rise and explain. The fact is, this narrative was originally undertaken merely as a family reminiscence, but Mr. C. C. Hine’s life was so interwoven with the later life of Woodside that what was intended as a brief sketch to illustrate a series of photographs has gradually grown into a book covering the story of the region now known as Woodside as completely as I have been able to gather it. This will account for the somewhat personal view frequently indulged in and for some of the minor details. Woodside, until it was opened as a residence section, was a purely farming region whose inhabitants went elsewhere for their groceries and religion, and as the average farmer thinks more of making hay than history, the movement must necessarily be somewhat slow. Dr. Macauley once said of Woodside: “As God made it it was a beautiful place, but as the hand of man left it I have nothing to say.” That the hand of man has desecrated it all those who knew its woodlands and waterways twenty-five or more years ago can readily testify, but one of its good points even man cannot reach, and that is its climate, for it is the coolest part of Newark. This in former times was unconsciously testified to by the drivers of the old horse cars, who were in the habit of shedding their coats upon arrival at the cemetery from the north, there to hide them among the bushes, and again resume them on the return trip to Second river. This region was then as beautiful a stretch of hill and vale and riverside as could well be found. The river was clear and sparkling, and fish abounded; the call of the whip-poor-will was heard on the evening air, and the brown thrush sang to us from the thicket, while squirrel and hare were always with us. Groves of trees were numerous and beautiful. “Bird’s Woods” along Second river with its magnificent old pines and hemlocks, the outer edge of the wood fringed with an undergrowth of laurel, while partridge berries gleamed from the depths of the moss underfoot, made an entrancing spot which has seldom been equalled, and the ruins of the old mills along the stream gave a picturesque touch that none who grew up with the region can forget. Effort has been made to give credit for information received; in some cases authority for statements made is given in connection with the statements themselves, as it is interesting and valuable to know the source, but this is not always practicable, as the same item not infrequently comes from several sources and it is occasionally difficult to blend the varying opinions. In a few instances statements made by unknown newspaper writers have been used. The stories are given for what they are worth, but all of them are part of the legend of the region and none have been invented merely for filling.