RECORD GROUP: Other County Records
RECORD SERIES #: 8900
SERIES: County Superintendent of Schools
VOLUME: 7 cubic feet
In the winter of 1866, New Jersey established the State Board of Education. On March 21, 1867, Governor Joel Parker, who was from Monmouth County, signed a law which abolished the office of Town Superintendent and created the office of County Superintendent. The County Superintendent of Schools was responsible for examining and licensing teachers in the county with the assistance of County Examiners.
Reverend Samuel Lockwood (1819-1894) was the first Monmouth County Superintendent, having previously served as Raritan Superintendent of Schools and as one of the first two men to hold the position of Monmouth County Examiner of Teachers, appointed in 1866. Lockwood was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, and immigrated to New York as a boy. He graduated from the University of the City of New York and the New Brunswick, NJ, Theological Seminary. His residence in Monmouth began when he obtained a pastorate in Keyport, where he remained until his employment by the County prompted his move to Freehold in 1870. In addition to his role as County Superintendent, Lockwood lectured on natural science at the Rutgers Grammar School, served as secretary of the New Jersey State Microscopical Society, President of the National Hay Fever Association, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He made many research contributions in botany, zoology, and microscopy; his many published works include, The American Oyster: Its Natural History, and the Oyster Industry in New Jersey (1883). Ellis’ History of Monmouth County (1885) includes a biographical sketch and picture of Lockwood on pages 444-450. Several years after his death, Lockwood’s vast personal library was sold at auction in New York City. Lockwood’s nephew, Ferris Lockwood, who as a teenager lived with him in Keyport, became a locally prominent photographer in Keyport and Freehold. See The Gilboa Fossils by Linda VanAller Hernick (Albany: New York State Museum, 2003) for Lockwood’s important discovery of the Gilboa fossil forest in 1854.
As Superintendent, the first Examiners under Lockwood’s direction were two experienced teachers, J.D. Denison of Red Bank and W.S. Murphy of Keyport. Under the new organization, all teachers in the county had to be examined, a tremendous challenge during the first year of Lockwood’s long tenure, which lasted until his death in 1894. Today, the County Superintendent of Schools provides assistance in regard to teacher certification but the State of New Jersey is responsible for certifying the teachers.
The 1867 law also provided that townships could tax its residents a maximum of $4 per child per year for school financing. Since not all townships charged residents the maximum amount, that left inequities from town to town, a problem that was resolved with an 1871 law which abolished the local taxes and made the schools “free” by enacting a state two-mill tax, for public school support, on all taxable property.
By 1876, Monmouth had 115 School Districts. In that year, Professor Lockwood prepared Historical Sketch of Education in Monmouth County, New Jersey, from the Earliest Times to the Present, published by the Board of Freeholders in November 1977 and available in the Monmouth County Archives’ Book Collection (Box 26). Lockwood’s manuscript of this work is at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
In 1894, the New Jersey State Legislature established a new classification of school districts. All the school districts in the state were placed in five classes: cities, boroughs, incorporated towns, townships, and special charter districts, the last of whose boundary lines were fixed by special legislative act and which, in some instances, included one or more municipalities.
In 1903, the Court of Errors and Appeals declared the 1894 law unconstitutional, primarily because of the special charter districts. In response, the Legislature passed the Colby Act which established four classes of districts conforming to municipal lines. Township districts “in which there were boroughs had these boroughs separated and the specially chartered districts, the most notable of which were Long Branch and Morristown, were dismembered. The splendid school district of Long Branch was divided like ancient Gaul into three parts, an incorporated town, a borough and a portion of a township.” “School Districts Created by Colby Act of 1903,” mimeograph, filed with Monmouth County School Superintendent John Enright’s Annual Report for 1903 in this record series.
Altogether, the result of the Colby Act in Monmouth County was the creation of ten new borough school districts, some of which voted subsequently to consolidate with their respective township school districts. John Enright, Annual Report for the school year ending June 30, 1904, p. 2.
A published history of education for all of Monmouth County after 1876 is not available; the documents in this record series, including but not limited to annual reports of the Monmouth County school superintendents, are useful resources for the educational historian. Another resource on the history of education in the Monmouth County Archives are two rolls of microfilm consisting of approximately 2,000 Red Bank Register newspaper clippings about education in Monmouth County, ca. 1971-1987, grouped by Regional School District and arranged chronologically thereunder. These are Rolls 9 and 10 in the Red Bank Register Clippings series.
Monmouth County Superintendents of Schools:
Samuel Lockwood, 1867-1894
John Enright, 1894-1915
C.J. Strahan, 1915-1922
William M. Smith, 1922-1936
Thomas B. Harper, 1936-1949
Joseph E. Clayton, 1949-1951
Earl B. Garrison, 1951-1975
Harold Y. Bills, ca. 1976- ca. 1977
Milton G. Hughes, 1978-1992
Michael Maddaluna, 1992-2003
Eugenia E. Lawson, 2003-2007
Carol Knopp Morris, 2008-
In addition to the records described above, approximately 8 cubic feet of teacher certification cards, received from the School Superintendent’s office with the other materials, are held by the Archives on microfilm and are restricted from public access due to inclusion of personal information. The Archives staff can provide researchers with a reasonable number of lookups of teacher names and, if found, will provide copies with the confidential personal information redacted. There are two series of cards, arranged alphabetically by surname: a main series for certified teachers; and a small subseries of “provisionally certified” teachers who did not get certified.
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726