Our community has been a crossroads in various ways for many activities that have cemented the ways of life we all enjoy today. Many civic groups and service organizations have been formed to provide fellowship, service, and recreation for residents.
On May 26, 1888, group of interested citizens met in the office of George Barker in Newbold to form a volunteer fire company for the protection of the residents of Westville, Newbold, South Westville, and Victoria. This fire company was named Union Fire company. Officers were elected as the first chief. John J. Cox was elected as assistant chief. Other officers were Joseph f. James, president; Phillip Mason, vice president; Charles Hilyard, secretary; C.R. Barker, treasurer; and George J. Stites, J. Boyd Avis, E.C. Mount, trustees.
The fire house was erected at Crown Point Road and Woodbine avenue. This property later became the business property of William Hinshillwood. It was destroyed in order to build Route 130.
The second home of the Union Fire Company was Prosperity Hall, purchased in 1921. This building had been enlarged and remodeled to the modern, large firehouse in use today.
Independent Fire Company was organized on January 11, 1907 in the home of J.K.Coombs in South Westville. Officials elected: president, J.K Coombs: vice president, O.L. Gail; recording secretary, G.H. Coombs; financial secretary, A. W. Stiles, Jr; treasurer, William R. Weaver.
Also foreman F.H. Genter; assistant foreman, C.C. Kesting; trustees, Robert Dolby; Charles Quenquel; W.A. Hinshillwood.
Independent Fire Company met in Meredith Hall, Broadway and Locust street. Later the firemen bought a lot on Chestnut Street and in 1919, the ground at Broadway and Olive Street, present site of the fire company, was purchased.
Both fire companies have new modern buildings and the finest of equipment. They have brought much fame to our town, because of the many prizes they have won in so many parades, athletic teams, social affairs, and a dependable, efficient ambulance service.
Ladies auxiliaries were organized by both companies; Union in 1910 and Independent in 1907.
An adjunct of Fire Department-Westville and Newbold Firemen’s Relief Association was incorporated in 1903. The incorporators were Harry Souder and C.A. Hilyard with Haryy Souder serving as president.
Another early organization was the sons and Daughters of Liberty-Westville Council #180 which was organized April 6, 1908. Such prominent Westville names as Schwenger, Snyder, Park Scheidhauser, Messick, Lippincott, Goldy, Flagg ehrman, Darlington, Coombs and Plotts are the surnames of some surnames of the charter members.
Boys Scout of America
Boys Scout and Girls Scout, along with the other associated units such as Brownies, Cub Scouts, Explorers, and other older groups, have long been in the forefront of Westille’s community life.
The first B.S.A. Troop was organized about 1914 with Harry F. Quenzel as scoutmaster. His successors were Calvin S. Weatherly, Jules Doriot and John F. Mehorter. Jules Doriot resigned as scoutmaster in 1917 when he left for France. The troop first met in Victoria Methodist Church and later in St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Troop 2 was organized by Frank Countan and met in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. This troop won the President’s Flag for exceptional work and were awarded a trip to Washington to receive this award personally from the President of the United States.
Troops 2 also built the old log cabin which formerly stood back of the Charles Dore property on Highland Avenue at Fifth street. The cabin faced on Fifth Street and was built between Mr. Dore’s garage and the Sewage Pumping Station. The cabin was known as the “Roosevelt Memorial Cabin”. (A playground is now located at this site.)
Troop 2 was organized by James T. O’Brien and met in St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church.
Troop 32 was organized in 1928. It was an outgrowth of Troop 2 which was the most active of the three earlier groups. L.F. Horter was appointed Scoutmaster. It was first sponsored by the American Legion and later by the Lions Club and then by the Everyman’s Bible Class of St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Troop 40 was organized and met at Indepedent Fire Company and later when scouting was really popular, troop 82 was organized.
Many Westville youth have profited from their experiences. Several became Eagle Scouts.
The Gloucester – Salem Council Bugle and Drum Corps was organized by Leon c. Hyde with the 32nd troop.
Mt. Olivet Rebekah Lodge #68
Mt. Olivet Rebekah Lodge was instituted on November 29, 1920 with 82 Charter Members. The Lodge met in Prosprity Hall which was the Odd Fellows Lodge meeting place also. Meeting are still held on the second and fourth Friday evening of each month, throughout the entire year.
Its membership is made up of the wives, daughters, sisters, or mothers of Odd Fellows in good standing. The Organization is a social and Fraternal one chartered under the Rebekah Assembly of the State of New Jersey. It sponsors activities for its members and also fund-raising activities in which residents are invited to participate.
On March 6, 1913 the civic club and Library of Newold was organized at the home of Mrs. Harry Pettit, who became the first president. It was federated as part of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s clubs within the same year and in November, 1920 the name was changed to The Woman’s Club of Westville and incorporated in 1924.
The group’s purpose was to found a local library. This project was began by members pulling express wagons full of books during house to house canvass of the town. In 1915 the library in borough Hall is also staffed by volunteers of the two Women’s Clubs-Junior and Seniors. It was a joint project of the borough and the clubs.
The club has been a very active service organization. It has sponsored activities for school children, a Camp Fire Girls group, and at least two Girl Scout Troops. Local high school girls are sent annually as delegates to Citizenship Institute at Douglass College.
The trees which still thrive around the park on Crown Point Road were planted by the club in 1929. Trees have also been planted in the borough park and around local schools for years.
The club participated in the opening ceremonies of the former borough hall in February 1927, at which time it present to the community a charcoal drawing of the Old Buck tavern (then known as Toppin’s inn.) it is still hanging in the new borough hall.
Westville Junior’s Woman’s Club was founded in 1930, during Mrs. Robert Baird’s presidency with Mrs. Jules Doriot serving as advisor. Miss Adele Williams was the first junior club president.
The Woman’s Club is conspicuous for past and present achievements. It is a vital part of the life of the community. Senior citizens will attest to the club’s involvement in community affairs. One of the high-lights the the senior citizens look forward to annually is the senior citizens dinner sponsored y the borough but organized and served by the club.
Building and Loans Associations
The two building and loan associations in Westville, Westville and Newbold Building and Loan association and the Old Buck Building and Loan Association and the Old Buck Building and Loan association have a combined total of over 166 years service.
Westville and Newbold is now in its 63rd year of service and Old Buck in its 53rd year.
The organization meeting of WNBL was held in Union Fire House on October 24, 1912 with the following stockholders present: J. W. Hannold, Harvey Hannold, C.C. Hannold, W. C. Allen, Jesse Darlington, L. D. Dilkes, W.B. Atkinson, George L. Baker, William Patterson, R.B Harbison, Harry Lyons, R. K. Hollinshed and C. B. Heritage.
The Old Buck Building and Loan association was organized on August 21, 1923 with William H. Lucas as the president; Leon Stanley, Vice President; Aaron W. Kircher, Secretary; E.M. Fisher, Treasurer. Directors included John D. Lawrence, L. H. Sinquett, William Bickerstaff, R.L.Sparks, Harry Stanley, Thomas Olsson, Daniel W. Lawrence, L.C. Dincan, Elvin Duncan, William E. Flagg, George B. Coombs, Charles K. Lacy, Paul Davis, James B. Avis was solicitor.
Westville Lions Club was organized January 3, 1927. George L. Barker was the first president with Dr. J. Claude Foster serving as secretary. There were twenty-one charter members, two of whom are still active. George T. Olsson and former Mayor Theodore E. Brown.
The club has been active in district and international programs, Various civic programs have been sponsored including Fourth of July celebrations, Halloween decorations contests, Christmas lighting contests and youth programs. The school children look forward to the annual youth week sponsored by the club which also sponsors athletic teams for both boys and girls.
Woman’s Auxiliary of Westville Lions Club was organized on October 23, 1947 in the borough hall under the supervision of Harr C. Eastlack, president of the Westville Lions Club. Mrs. Leon C. Hyde was elected first president. There were 43 members.
The auxiliary is a service club and donates to worthy causes yearly. At Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas special remembrances have been given to needy families and shut-ins. Donations have been made to Operation: Hear” Eye Clinics, and Shady Lane.
Westville Civic League
The Westville Civic League was incorporated July 2, 1937 with 19 members. Its membership grew until in 1941 it had 78 members. The first officers were M.L. Atkinson, president; Leon Hyde vice president; Edith M. Batten, secretary, and Walter Woodward, treasurer. This organization ceased to be active in civic affairs.
Elwood P. Tice, Post 89, American Legion, organized on August 26, 1919 at a meeting in Old Union Fire Company Hall on Crown Point Road. Paul Wescher presided and W. C. Farrell, Pitman, county commander, discussed the Legion program, completed the charter application, and an election of officers was held.
First commander was Paul Weschler, vice commander Jules Doriot; adjustant, Marvin L Atkinson; treasurer, Charles Dore; historian, C.B. Campbell.
The post originally was called Westville Post but on February 6, 1920 the name was changed to its present title in memory of Elwood P. Tice, killed in action during the First World War.
The post met in St. Luke’s hall, later, the basement of the public school was used. Members worked towards securing a new home. Borough council gave them the building which was used as town hall on Delsea Drive (opposite bank). In November, 1923, the post purchased a lot at Delsea Drive and center street from Mr. J.R. Jackson, owner of “Old Buck Tavern” the old borough hall was moved to that lao.
On august 20, 1929, members agreed on a larger home. A committee was formed to investigate. November 5, 1932 the post bought the property of Dr. Newsham (present Legion Home).
The Legion has been very active in many civic activities; the annual Halloween parade for children, annual Memorial Day services at the monuments in the Thomas West Borough Park, sponsoring delegates to Boy’s State and awards to local students for accomplishments as good citizens.
In 1922, an auxiliary was formed.
The Rotary Club of Westville was organized in June 1955 under the sponsorship of Mount Ephraim Rotary Club. The first president was John Barlow, followed Joseph Papovich.
During the years the club has been very active in district and local projects. There have been junior Rotarians named to interest young men in the Rotary International program, “Service Above Self”. There have been various awards and certificates of merit presented to persons in many walks of life.
The club recognizes local high school athletes, local high school students who are members of the National Honor Society, and make awards to students upon graduation from high school. The club also sponsors local boys and girls teams in various Westville leagues.
Cooper Hospital Auxiliary
A hard group about which we do not hear enough is the Westville Juniors Associate to the Women’s Auxiliary to the Copper Hospital. The Auxiliary was organized in May 1, 1954, at the home of Mrs. Harry C. Eastlack.
The Auxiliary make surgical dressing and sew “pinkie puppets”. It raises funds which it donates for needed hospital equipment. It participates in the annual Cooper Hospital Horse Show and Mart.