Industries

As the tiny town grew and prospered, new businesses sprang up in it. The first store (other than the tavern) was Isaac Doughten’s general store which was built in 1821. He was succeeded in business by Benjamin Brown and in 1858 by Joseph Conrow.

There were two other businesses which prospered in the village because of the location of the town. They were blacksmithing and wheelwrighting.

In 1836, John Chapman was the town wheelwright. In turn, he was followed by David Bowers and John Ellis. By l883, Thomas Knight had become the wheelwright and was set up In Doughten’s old shop. The last wheelwright was Henry Stanley and Sons whose building stood at the junction of Crown Point Road and Broadway.

The Stanley Wagon Shop was a busy spot as the farmers and others using horses and wagons traveled through the area enroute to the Dock Street Markets In Philadelphia via the Gloucester Ferry. The Stanleys built many kinds of buggies and wagons, even for gypsles. (Every spring
gypsies would travel up Crown Point Road in their gaily painted wagons. Each fall they would return from the north to their winter homes In the south.)

There were several buildings in the corner property owned by the Stanleys. Including the wheelwright shop, blacksmith shop, paint shop, etc. They put shoes on as many as 20 horses a day at the rate of $3.00 per set of four shoes.

There were three blacksmiths recorded up to the time of 1883. The first was Hartley Brick whose shop, founded in 1825, stood along the creek, near the bridge. Later Isaac Doughten entered the business and finally Thomas Knight was the village blacksmith. In later years, it was common practice to have both the blacksmith shop and wheelwright shop together since many of the iron pieces used in the construction of the wagons required the forge and anvil of the blacksmith.

Shad fishing was very popular in the early period of the town’s history. Howell’s Fisheries had two branches. The West Fishery was located in Newbold and the Fancy Hill Fishery was located in Washington Park. The following table gives a record of catches over a six
year period.

1817- (April 23-June 10) (Except Sundays) 58, 386 (Valued at $7,500 excluding 2,000 which were salted)
1818-111, 492
1819-159, 864
1820-170, 505
1821-107, 091
1822-107, 194

Some of the other early industries that were founded, and flourished, and then died out through the years, were as follows; a glass manufacturing plant, founded by Henry Capewell, where the railroad power station is located; a grind mill on the banks of Big Timber Creed, where the present race-way flows into the creek; a basket factor: a sawmill; and a doll-mending factory.

Old timers will remember Ott’s Ice Cream and Home Made Candies as well as “Jake” Riemer’s Home Made Ice-Cream, which he sold door to door from his truck (much like -the Good Humor man of today. )

An interesting item about the glass factory disclosed that Messrs. Capewell and Worry had the patent for making Glass Castor’s to be put under pianos. The castors were alleged to insulate the instrument and greatly improve its tone and power. Other items manufactured included flint glass and fine pots.

In 1836, there Were seven houses in the town which was still called Buck Tavern. In 1840, the community leaders agreed to change the name of the town from Buck Tavern to Westville, in honor of Thomas West.

On April 8, l8U2, James K. Polk, President of the United States ordered the establishment of a Post Office at Westville and William S. Doughten was appointed the first postmaster.

On January 12, 1852, Benjamin Brown was appointed to succeed Doughten. Brown held the office nine months. On September 24th, President Fillmore ordered the discontinuation of the office.

On August 27, 1853, President Pierce ordered the re-establishment of the post office and Darling Conrow was appointed postmaster.

Following is a list of the postmasters since that time with the dates of their appointments:
Ezekiel C. Mount – March 26, 1855
Aaron M. Wilkinst- April 17, 1868
Ezekiel C. Mount – April 4, 1870
Elwood C. Mount – January 12, 1880
Joseph W. Pratt – September 11, 1885
Elwood C. Mount – May 23, 1889
Joseph W. Pratt – August 25, 1893
Charles B. Smith – June 2, 1897
Joseph 0. Kirk- February 23, 1911
Allie Hance (Acting) – March 2, 1914
Daniel M. Fox – April 6, 1911
Richard M. Crawford (Acting) – February 19, 1925
Richard M. Crawford – December 21, 1925
Luke A. Farley (Acting) – May 23, 1931
Monroe H. Bea – August 26, 1935
Walter Darlington – 8/10/53 – 12/28/64
James A. Marley (Acting) – 12/28/64 – 6/14/65
James A. Marley – 6/14/65 – 3/20/71
William C. Kneller (Officer in Charge) – 3/20/71 – 1/13/73
George H. Earling (Officer in Charge) – 1/13/73 – 6/30/73
George H. Earling – 6/30/73 – to present

During the years the post office has been re-located several times. It was originally in a store In site of Midlantic Bank. It was then moved to the other side of Broadway in site of Edna May Beauty Salon. The next location was an addition on the home on the site of Pallante’s store-Hext, Hewitt property on Pine Street housed the office. If was then moved once again to Broadway on the site of the present Silver Cab Co. The next location was in the Union Fire Hall and finally to the modern facility adjacent to the former Boemer house (now the home of Dr. S. Thomas Camp).

By 1883, the population of Westville had increased to 250 persons. The buildings, other than homes were as follows: one tavern, kept by R. Dillmore, two stores, one kept by E. C. Mount and the other by J. W. Pratt; two wheelwright shops, two blacksmith shops an M. E. Church, a school, a post office, and the railroad station.

To enumerate all the businesses which have come and gone since that time, would make this history too lengthy. However, for the benefit of the elder residents, here are some names which you may or may not recall: E. E.Haines; Jos. W. Pratt Hardware; Harbison’s; Dunlap’s; Haiti’s Bakery; Bicker- staff’s Grocery; Peterson’s Produce; Craine’s Oyster House; Goodman’s Drug Store; Mick’s; Simpkin’s; Davis Drugs; William’s Coal and Feed; Barry and Knecht; Robert’s Bakery; Schatz’s Meats; Harrison’s Dry Goods; Mounts’s Grocery; Chinese Laundry; Kircher’s Milk House; Kotler’s Drug Store} Olsson’s Garage; Child’s Grocery; EUis Road Construction; Hussong’s; wrences’ Grocery; Taylor’s Drugs; Buzhy’s Cement; Oscar Humes’s; Wilson’s Outlet Store; Duncan’s Farm; Scharnagel’s Barber Shop; Brandola’s Barber Shop; Vadino’s Shoe Repair; Aldan’s Marker; Miller’s Candies;-and many more.

One interesting industry which deserves special mention was the Munitions Depot in operation during World War 1. The railroad spur which crosses Gateway Boulevard and Route 130 was used for trains which went to this depot. The buildings were built by the government on the tract of land known as Washington Park. The smokeless powder was weighed and put In bags. The bags were wrapped and used by large cannons to fire projectiles. Many area residents were employed at this facility.

After the war, the property was purchased, by Campbell’s and was farmed by them. In turn, it was sold to Texaco and is now the Eagle Point Refinery. One could, not write, a history of the town without making mention of the banking business. The First national Bank of Westville was established In 1913. Later it merged with the Colonial National Bank and. now has become a part of the Midlantic Banks and is known as Midlantic/South, Westville Branch. Again we have lost local autonomy and. local recognition.