Tag Archives: Past-Forward: A Three-Decade and Three-Thousand-Mile Journey Home

Hudson Then . . . Again – Women’s Suffrage Movement 19th and Early 20th Century

By Maureen Wlodarczyk

With about 8 months to go until the presidential election, the raging rhetoric and political pontification threatens to leave potential voters tone-deaf, disgusted, and dubious that their vote matters. That being said, it will do us all good to remember the struggle of one group of Americans desperate to have that right to vote: the ladies of the women’s suffrage movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Suffrage Leader Alice Paul

 As early as the 1850s, with the cry “Votes for Women,” suffragettes banded together in pursuit of a place at the ballot box, led by movement pioneers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Success remained elusive and as the quest for universal suffrage struggled on at the dawn of the

In the second decade of the 1900s, one Hudson newspaper carried a column titled “Woman’s Suffrage Forum,” a  regular feature that included information on local women’s suffrage lectures, events, news and campaigns and also reported national progress as individual states voted for (or against) extending the right to vote to female residents. In 1915, New Jersey suffrage supporters succeeded in getting the question on a statewide referendum to be voted on in October of that year. In August, as the election drew near and a woman’s right to vote in New Jersey lay in the hands of the men of our state, the pages of local papers carried news of the upcoming arrival of the “suffrage torch” in Jersey City. The torch, symbolically unlit to represent the enlightenment that would come from granting we Jersey girls the right to vote, was to travel throughout the state to raise awareness and popular support for the upcoming suffrage amendment vote. The torch’s travels across the Garden State were to be accompanied by celebrations and ceremonies attended by politicians, prominent citizens and the leaders and members of the Women’s Political Union (WPU).  Continue reading Hudson Then . . . Again – Women’s Suffrage Movement 19th and Early 20th Century

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Hudson Then…Again -The Gang that Terrorized Downtown Jersey City in the Late 1800s

The Lava Beds/ Featherstone Gang of the late 1800s and Downtown Jersey City

By Maureen Wlodarczyk

Super Bowl Sunday did not disappoint this year as Big Blue did Jersey proud. For Gang Green fans, there’s always next year. Speaking of gangs, I want to tell you the story of a very different gang of men, the criminal kind, that roamed the streets of Jersey City in the 1800s.

James Featherstone

While New York had its infamous gangs like those depicted in the memorable film, Gangs of New York, its neighbor was no different.  In the 19th century, Jersey City was home to many gangs who claimed specific streets and neighborhoods as their turf. These hoodlums instilled fear in residents and business owners, committing robbery, burglary, assault, extortion and even murder. Those they victimized were afraid to testify against them, making it difficult for law enforcement to arrest and incarcerate them. One of the worst of these Jersey City gangs was the Lava Beds, also known as the Featherstone gang, which operated in what was then the Sixth Ward, a poor immigrant neighborhood. Continue reading Hudson Then…Again -The Gang that Terrorized Downtown Jersey City in the Late 1800s

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