This Month in History







            The month of June in Toms River history:



            1664:   On June 24, King James issued a written “ Indenture” to two of his supporters from the English Civil War, John Berkeley and George Carteret - - granting them a large tract of land in North America which became, in part, “New Jersey.”

            In 1674, the New Jersey Colony was split into two parts, and the “Province of East Jersey” would include that land that would one day become modern day Toms River.

            1767:   On June 24, the Colonial New Jersey Governor, William Franklin - - Benjamin’s son - - signed the “charter” creating the Township of Dover (re-named the Township of Toms River in 2006 by voter referendum).  In Eighteenth Century New Jersey – before independence was declared – municipalities were formed by decree from by the king or queen, county court order, or legislative act.  Dover Township was created by legislative act which Governor Franklin then signed - - creating our township. 

            1833:   On June 25, William Platt, Esquire, was chosen to replace Thomas Wallace, as the Township’s Tax Collector. 

            1863:   In the last entry in the Township Treasurer’s 1827 to 1863 ledger book, on June 11,  $73.93 was ordered to be paid to the “overseer of the poor.”  From colonial times, this official administered poor relief such as food, clothing, and money to those in need. 

            1865:   With the end of the Civil War, Union soldiers began being mustered out of military service including those from the 9th New Jersey Volunteers.  In June, those from Company D of the 9th – many of whom were from Ocean County and Toms River - were mustered out.

            1944:   On June 6th, Allied forces stormed the beaches and cliffs of Normandy, France and parachuted and landed by glider into its villages, fields, and hedgerows - - the largest military invasion in history, known as “ D-Day.”   Leonard G. “Bud” Lomell, a native of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, landed with the United States Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc and disabled five German artillery guns saving thousands of Allied lives and helping secure success of the mission.  Bud Lomell would later move to Toms River after the Second World War and practice  law in downtown Toms River.  A meeting room in the Toms River Township Municipal Building was named in his honor on the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

            1967:   The Township celebrated its 200 year anniversary in June with a parade and ceremony.  In our bi-centennial year, an official Township flag, seal, and motto were approved.  The Township flag and seal display a native American Indian as our area was once home to the Lennie Lenape - - one of New Jersey’s native tribes.  The Township motto, in Latin, is “Homo Cogitat, Deus Indicat” - - meaning “Man thinks, God Directs.”

            1992:   The Township celebrated its June 24, 1767 anniversary – its 225th - - with numerous events including the re-dedication of Huddy Park, the naming of Luker Bridge, and the adoption of Dover, Delaware as a “Sister City.”

          J. Mark Mutter is the Toms River Clerk and Historian and Chairman of the Semiquicentennial Committee that is planning the Township’s 250th anniversary in 2017.








      We’re here to remember not the greatest generation, but the greatest generations – not just the World War Two greatest generation, which we’ll recognize first, but later generations, too - those who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Of the World War Two generation – what was Toms River like back then? Who were the men from here who went off and fought?

Some of them are here with us today - men like Mr. Hirshblond who served in the Navy, in the Atlantic on a destroyer.



      Toms River was a small, bustling village. The 1940 Census on the eve of our entry into the war was just over 5,000 people (today it is 91,000).

      The war changed the world; it changed Toms River, too.

      Right across the street from here was the Toms River Service Center - a USO-type facility run by area churches, the Jewish Farmers Association and the local Masonic Lodge. It provided rest and comfort to thousands of GI’s and Navy personnel on leave, many of them from down the road

stationed at Lakehurst.

      The Center located in the “Professional Building” on Washington Street, gave out candy, cigarettes, fruit and soda pop. There were books and newspapers, and Christmas and post cards, and writing materials were given out free of charge. There was a pool table, a shuffle board and a new electric “music box”.   There were dances, socials and holiday events. And there were rules – strict rules. According to the “House Rules”: No gambling. No profanity. No liquor. And No girls admitted without an escort.

      Two blocks away, Toms River High School – now South – formed a War Stamp Club and before the war was over, 7 separate War Loan drives had been organized, raising thousands of dollars for the war effort.

      Next door, the then Bishop Library, our Township Library – now part of the County Library – was headquarters of our local war rationing effort. It was the drop off spot for much needed war materials – tires, cans and metals.


      These are of things and places here in Toms River. But what of our people? The local men - some of them just teenagers – who in Lincoln’s words, gave the “ultimate sacrifice”. They are long gone, but they are still here with us, today.

      Simple, white monuments across the street from here, dot the Court House lawn and mark their sacrifice.

      There was Edward Butow, Toms River High School Class of 1943, U.S. Army, killed in action just two years later by a mortar shell in house–to-house fighting in Germany.

      Gene Denniger, Class of ’24, killed in North Africa, in 1943.

      Ed Godfrey, Class of ’39, U.S. Navy, was killed when his submarine, the USS S-44, was destroyed in 1943.

      Calvin Johnson, Class of ’43 -killed in Germany–several weeks before V-E Day in 1945.

      Arnold Marsh, Class of ’40, who lived on Walton Street, was killed on Iwo Jima in 1944.

      Harry Pomeroy, U.S. Army, was killed in the Philippines in 1945. Mortally wounded, he kept to his machine gun on a landing craft on Biri Island, against Japanese mortar fire.

      As the war went on, August, 1945 saw the last boy from Ocean County to die during the war. William Ziemer was a 1938 graduate from Toms River High School and enlisted in the Navy Reserve Air Corps in 1941. He served as a fighter pilot aboard the carrier USS Intrepid and was shot down in the Pacific in 1944. After eluding capture, he was eventually found by an enemy patrol and was sent to a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp where he spent six months in solitary confinement. He was subjected to regular beatings and received no medical treatment.

      Bill Ziemer died in captivity on August 2, 1945, just one month before the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri, the last boy in Ocean County to die in uniform during the Second World War. While men and women were far away defending our way of life, the Service Center remained busy at home.

Private organizations made pledges of $3 or $5 or $10 per month-whatever they could afford-in support of the war effort. As their records reveal, it was only an afterthought to approach the then Dover Township Committee for a donation of public monies as well.


      The story of one little Toms River girl and her donation tells the whole story of the Service Center. Her name was Sheila Browne, a five year old girl, who gave her birthday candy to the servicemen at the Center as her contribution to the war effort. In a thank you letter to Sheila, the Center’s secretary wrote: “It is a very nice way to show that you, even though just a little miss, think of others…It is not always the size of the gift, but the motive back of the giver that counts.” The letter is dated August 23, 1943 - the height of the group’s activities.


      Whoever would understand in his heart the true spirit of our town will see it in the Service Center, The War Stamp Club, the library as a war rationing headquarters --and in the lives of heroes like Bill Ziemer and his fellow Toms River graduates who died for us, and in a little girl named Sheila Browne, who lived for us.

      It is a story of a town that is hopeful, big hearted, idealistic. It is daring decent and fair.

      It is the Toms River story in the middle of a war story. It is our story.







    This month, every four years, the Governor of New Jersey is sworn into office -
the orderly transition of power, or the continuance of that power, under our state constitution.

Read more: January

By: J. Mark Mutter

On May 2, 1782, the British Commander-in-Chief at the end of the Revolutionary War ordered an official halt to further raids along the Jersey coast.

Read more: May




By: J. Mark Mutter



            April and the American Civil War - - April 9, when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln five days later in Ford’s Theater.   For the Union, with the war’s ending, it was a time of great celebration; with Lincoln’s murder, it was a time of great tragedy. How did Toms River react to these historic events?

Read more: April




Mailing Address:
Post Office Box 728,
Toms River, New Jersey 08754-0728
Town Hall located at:
33 Washington Street
Toms River, New Jersey 08753