Legend of Long Branch …
Beginnings of a great city —
How far back does Long Branch go? Try May 1668.
According to local folklore, five associates of the original Monmouth Patent holders from 1665 (John Slocum, Eliakim Wardell, Jasper and Peter Parker and George Hulett) had come to Monmouth County (then in the British colony of New Jersey) to find suitable land and more religious freedom. At that time the men were trying to resolve a land acquisition dispute with Indian locals.
Starting at dawn at a spot near today’s North Broadway in Long Branch, Slocum engaged in a “two falls out of three” wrestling match with Lenape tribe member Vow-a-Vapon. Under the terms, if Slocum won he could buy all the land that he could “walk off” in one day. If he lost the group left with nothing. Slocum won a tough match — defeating an opponent who was “greased from head to foot.” The agreed upon payment for the land was “20 shillings per acre.” His take ended up being about 375 acres of land.
Most shared the reward of Slocum’s struggle. He got Long Branch, the Parker’s took Rumson/Little Silver, Wardell received Monmouth Beach/Sea Bright, and Hulett disappeared.
According to a 1904 Long Branch Daily Record account, the Solcum family would hold much of the land for some 200 years. Slocum was appointed a captain in the colonial militia in 1683 and also a County Ranger. He is also responsible for first developing an old Indian trail (today’s Broadway). Born in Portsmouth, RI in March 1645; he died in February 1702. Slocum Place in the city is named for the family; they also ran the city newspaper for over 25 years.
Myth or fact, the Slocum account has added weight to it — being cited in the 1940 Long Branch city-bio book, Entertaining a Nation.
In 1849, Long Branch separated from Shrewsbury Twp. and became part of Ocean Twp. By April 1867, it had incorporated as a borough and was governed by the Long Branch Commission (officially, the “Long Branch Police, Sanitary and Improvement Commission”). The first commissioners were: Louis B. Brown, Samuel Laird, Francis Corlies, Jacob Herbert, and Cornelius Van Derveer. Joseph Cooper was the first mayor and John Lanning was the first town lawyer. The five-member city commission set-up would run things in LB for nearly half a century.
In December 1904, Long Branch was reincorporated as a city (under the Coult Charter Act). Charles Asa Francis was the first mayor under this charter making Long Branch a city. He was inaugurated amidst a celebratory parade and ball, with the state’s governor in attendance. In the city’s first election in November 1904, Republicans won big — capturing the mayor’s seat and a clear majority on city council. Just under 3,000 voters went to the polls.
“Long Branch is rich in opportunity.”
–Long Branch Daily Record, August 1930
According to a May 1954 Long Branch Daily Record story on the 50th anniversary of the city, the Long Branch Board of Trade (businesses) and Long Branch Property Holders Association (homeowners), also deserve congratulations “for launching the movement to win a new government for Long Branch.”
More political change came in February 1966, when city voters backed by nearly 3-to-1 the Mayor-Council (Plan A) form of municipal government under the Faulkner Act. In May 1966, for the first time a mayor was popularly elected — with 68% of registered voters casting ballots. Sworn-in July 1966, the first mayor was, Paul Nastasio, and the first city council members were: Henry Cioffi, Samuel Teicher, Elliot Katz, Robert Cornell, and A.V. Ippolito.
Today’s city government operates with a mayor and five-member City Council, whose members are elected at-large in nonpartisan elections to serve four-year terms of office on a concurrent basis.
First Residents: The Lenape —HERE
Mayors of Long Branch:
John Pallone – 2018-present
Adam Schneider – 1990-2018
Philip D. Huhn – 1982-1990
Henry R. “Skip” Cioffi – 1970-1982
Paul Nastasio, Jr. – 1966-1970
Vincent J. Mazza – 1965-1966
Milton F. Untermeyer Jr. – 1963-1965
Thomas L. McClintock – 1961-1963
Paul Kiernan – 1960-1961
Daniel J. Maher – 1956-1960
Dr. Alexander Vineberg – 1952-1956
J. William Jones – 1948-1952
Paul Kiernan – 1944-1948
Alton V. Evans – 1936-1944
C. Dorman McFaddin – 1932-1936
J. William Jones – 1928-1932
Frank L. Howland – 1924-1928
Clarence J. Housman – 1920-1924
John W. Flock, Sr. – 1918-1920
Marshall Woolley – 1916-1918
Bryant B. Newcomb – 1912-1916
Henry Joline – 1912
Edwin W. Packer – 1910-1912
Charles O. McFaddin – 1906-1910
Charles Asa Francis – 1904-1906
Rufus Blodgett – 1903-1904
Walter S. Reed, MD – 1901-1903
Benjamin Morris – 1900-1901
Augustus Chandler – 1899-1900
Rufus Blodgett – 1893-1898
George W. Brown – 1890-1893
Wilbur A. Heisley – 1887-1890
George W. Brown – 1884-1886
Richard Woodward – 1883-1884
Thomas R. Woolley – 1879-1883
Joseph E. Cooper – 1867-1879