26 April 2018

Packard's Farmers Market (1949 - 1990)

Courier News readers who made it to page 24 on March 16, 1990, surely took note of the obituary for Levi Esh. The Lancaster County, Pa. native passed away the day before, leaving 11 children, 73 grandchildren, 93 great-grandchildren, and thousands of customers who visited his Amish food stand at Packard's Farmers Market in Hillsborough over the previous four decades. Remarkably, the very next day, officials from Packard's announced that they were going out of business.

25 June 1980 Daily Record

In 1926, 25-year-old Rutgers graduate Arthur "AJ" Packard started the Atlantic Trading Corporation in New Brunswick. He and his wife Asta built up the business - which was concerned mainly with livestock feed and grain - over the next ten years before relocating to Somerville. They were successful enough to also acquire interests in other local businesses such as the Somerset Mills, and some commercial farms.  Packard became something of a public figure in Somerville during this time, even being elected to the school board in 1940.

18 September 1949 Home News

While their businesses were thriving, Mr. and Mrs. Packard's marriage was failing, and he ended up getting a Reno, Nevada divorce in 1948 citing "extreme mental cruelty" inflicted on him by his wife. Searching for a new venture, Packard began visiting open-air markets, particularly the one in Quakertown, Pennsylvania.  On April 20, 1949, he opened his own similar market on Route 31 - now Route 206 - in South Somerville just north of the Lehigh Valley Railroad crossing.

18 September 1949 Home News

Packard's Market, as it was originally known, was a huge success right from the start. Besides the outdoor stalls, indoor space was provided in a large frame building. By the fall, ten to fifteen thousand customers were visiting the market's 400 vendors on the two days a week - Wednesdays and Fridays - they were open. 

The original Packard's, 1949

According to a profile in the Home News, big sellers that first year were, "dry goods, farm produce, household furnishings and equipment, books, deep freezers and almost everything else between radio-phonographs and razor blades." Mr. Packard was justly proud of one of the largest selections of men's slacks in the state!

24 March 1950 Courier News
Vendors had the option of putting items not sold during the day into an auction held in the evenings. Packard's also regularly offered space for community groups to hold their charity and fundraising rummage sales. With hundreds of vendors, there was an overlap of some merchandise offerings. This caused Mr. Packard to be concerned about price-fixing among his vendors. He hated it. If he found collusion between two sellers, he simply brought in a third to undercut each of them!

25 June 1980 Daily Record 
One of the most popular vendors during the days of the original Packard's Market was Gertie Drake whose Odds and Ends stall was filled with thousands of household items. Ms. Drake was there from the first day in 1949 until the last in 1990.

25 June 1980 Daily Record
Leon and Helen Rubin's produce stand was also at Packard's from the beginning. On market days, they would awaken at 2 a.m. to arrive at Philadelphia's Galloway Street market by 4 a.m. in order to get the best selection of fruits and vegetables to bring to Packard's for the 9 a.m. opening.

Images from the 22 August 1972 Courier News

Undoubtedly one of the biggest, and best-remembered, draws for almost the entire run of the market was the Amish. Levi Esh began bringing his clan to Packard's on Wednesdays and Fridays in 1950 - the second year the market was open. A hired driver would pick up the goods  - cold cuts, cheese, pies, and of course their delicious pretzels. - beginning at 4:15 a.m., then collect the family members for the long three-hour ride to Hillsborough. 

Images from the 8 June 1978 Home News
The opening of Packard's Market in 1949 coincided with A.J. Packard's move to Hillsborough and marriage to second wife Alice. He once again became a fixture in the community, becoming involved in politics and civic organizations, and serving on township boards. 

8 November 1952 Courier News

In November 1952, a $100,000 fire caused by a dropped oil stove which was being moved threatened to put Packard out of business. Instead, in less than six weeks he had a plan for a $190,000 re-build - a brand new Packard's with 30,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space for vendors, and a 10,000 square foot, air-conditioned supermarket. 

19 December 1952 Home News

The final design was not nearly as elaborate as the architect's concept, as shown above, instead consisting of the familiar long rectangular block building.

The New Packard's, 1959

The supermarket required a seven day a week schedule - and Sunday was added to the Wednesday and Friday schedule of what was now called Packard's Farmers Market.

10 March 1955 Courier News

A.J. Packard passed away unexpectedly from an apparent heart attack on October 15, 1964. Alice Packard, a former Princeton elementary school principal, continued to run Packard's through the end of the decade. 

10 March 1966 Courier News

The sixties were a time of transition for Packard's. Significantly, there were far fewer vendors - decreasing from 200 in 1952 to probably around 100 in 1970. Despite being open a relatively brief twenty-one years, there was already something nostalgic about Packard's. Newspapers picked up on this and began to run the first feature stories about the market.

Images from the 26 April 1970 Home News

Favorite vendors during this period included glassblower Ray Keller, George Price with his tricks and novelties, antique salesman Harold Hayes, and Harold Hogbin who sold trees and shrubs in the evenings. In 1970 Mrs. Packard sold the market and the 30-acre lot to West Essex Industrial Park for $345,000. She stayed on as manager for a short time until Packard's was sub-leased to Mash, Inc. Becky Sanislo became the manager around this time.

8 July 1972 Courier News

Packard's suffered its second major fire in the early morning hours of July 8, 1972. Officials noted the cinderblock construction and the use of fire doors between each of the five sections of the 600-foot-long building prevented the fire from spreading from the northernmost section throughout the structure and possibly reaching the large ammonia tanks of Hammler Industries at the southern end of the property. Unlike the 1952 fire - and despite the fact that the Amish store of Levy Esh had to be relocated to another part of the building -  Packard's was up and running again fairly quickly. 

Packard's 1970s ads

No one who shopped at Packard's Market in the 1970s or 80s could have missed Carmelo Musumeci. The retired diesel mechanic sold foam in every shape and size - generally for upholstery repair, although he would tell you that his customers came up with all kinds of uses.

Images from the 25 July 1974 Courier News

Customers also frequented the ceramics stall owned by Joan Chiesa, Gus Gerhardt's antiques, and the curiosities brought by Steve Woody, who owned the Oldies but Goodies shop in Somerville.

Images from the 21 December 1975 Home News

A double booth at Packard's - like the one rented by Jean Chiesa - went for $384 a month in the mid-70s.

20 July 1976 Home News

Packard's didn't fully recover from the 1972 fire until the opening of Building #6 in July 1976. Space lost in the fire was restored - and more space was added.

Images from the 25 June 1980 Daily Record and the 11 October 1984 Home News

In 1973, Leo Nadel took over the pickle stand that had been run by his cousins since 1965 - thereby becoming the Pickle King of Packard's. Not bad for a guy who spent most of his career in women's undergarments - selling them, that is.

3 April 1982 Courier News

Another seller who began in the mid-70s and continued throughout the 1980s was Montgomery resident Kathleen Rusher who tantalized kids and adults alike with her toys, candy, and hundreds of novelty gags.

3 July 1984 Courier News

In the late 70s and 1980s, Tom McDonald was the on-site manager and also had his own business, the Jewelry Exchange. In 1985, further expansion and reconfiguration of Packard's allowed more space for the Amish stand, which remained one of the most popular attractions through the end of the decade.

16 May 1985 Courier News 

The mid-80s also saw the introduction of Pulaski Deli to the food lineup, as well as Saturday hours.

25 September 1985 Courier News

In the latter half of the decade, rising operating costs and a decline in revenue began to take a heavy toll on Packard's. On the last official day of operation, April 29, 1990, manager Tom McDonald cited insurance costs, property taxes, utilities, and waste disposal as contributors to the decision by West Essex Industrial Park to close the market. 

21 April 1990 Courier News

Packard's was no longer able to attract the customers needed to compete with the discount stores, and the 38-acre site was potentially more valuable with something else on it. McDonald scrambled to come up with a plan to at least keep part of the market open, but there was just no feasible way to do it - although he did allow some vendors to stay on for a few weeks after the official final day.

17 March 1990 Courier News

The closing was not only a blow to loyal customers, but also to the vendors, some of whom had been selling at Packard's since 1949. Gertie Drake told The Courier-News, "I never thought of leaving here." Eighty-two-year-old Betty DuFour, who had been selling eggs at the market since 1965, said she wasn't able to find anyplace else to work, and would just stay home, adding, "My customers are very faithful to me, and I'm going to miss them very much."

In the end, the Packard's site languished for a few years while West Essex tried to put together a development plan, then was in use as an auction site for a decade between 1996 and 2006.

Hillsborough residents past and present recall Packard's Farmers Market fondly. Perhaps no local business conjures up such vivid memories - the sights, the smells, the tastes, the Amish! Levi Esh and all of the vendors would probably be pleased that they are so well-remembered - even after all these years.

19 April 2018

Venis Tavern - Dachshund Tavern - Billy Jack's (1929 - 1985)

Webster's defines a tavern as "an establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold to be drunk on the premises." Hence, during the period of Prohibition between 1920 and 1933, there were no taverns in Hillsborough. Instead, there were halls. Music halls, dance halls, catering halls, etc. Farley had a hall, Palahach had a hall and Theodore and Catherine Venis had a hall.

7 October 1935 Courier News
They immigrated to America early in the century - Theodore from Greece in 1906 at the age of eighteen and Catherine from Romania in 1909 at the age of sixteen. They met, married, and settled in Hillsborough, New Jersey in 1929, soon opening the Venis Dance Hall, Boarding House, and Service Station on Route 206 across from the southeast corner of the Duke Estate. 

28 April 1936 Courier News
Much like other similar establishments in Hillsborough, we can assume that the Dance Hall served food and non-alcoholic refreshment, held dances and was available for private functions. The boarding house behind the hall, whose thirteen rooms each had two beds, catered mostly to summer boarders. Catherine Venis was one of the first proprietors in Hillsborough to apply for a beer license when they became available in 1933, and it was likely at this time that the name of the establishment was changed to Venis Tavern.

12 June 1941 Courier News
The couple continued to run the tavern for the next two decades, somehow finding the time to raise a large family whose progeny became ubiquitous in Hillsborough for decades.

17 June 1963 Courier News
At some point between 1955 and 1958, the business was acquired by Albert "Slim" Everett and the name was changed to Dachsund Tavern.  The tavern was sold again around 1975, likely to its final owner William Tepper. The name was changed once again to Billy Jack's - but was also known in the 1980s as Players Assembly Tavern. Many Hillsboroughians recall being served their first underage drink here in the 70s and 80s, and it wouldn't have been a shock to see Doris Duke at the pool table.

1979 Aerial View
The tavern made the news in January 1984 when Tepper was accused of harassing a disabled patron by telling him to keep his wheelchair in a corner and not go near the bar (he was cleared of any wrongdoing the next year) but by that time Tepper had other plans. In March he received approval from the Board of Adjustment to build a 48-lane bowling alley on the east side of Route 206 near the Raider Boulevard intersection and to extend Raider Boulevard across the highway to a planned 17-unit industrial park. He planned to transfer the Billy Jack's liquor license to the bowling alley. After spending the next year trying to make that all happen, Billy Jack's was quietly closed and the building demolished some time at the end of 1985 or beginning of 1986.

12 April 2018

Hillsborough and Montgomery Telephone Company (1903 - 1987)

The story of telephone service in Hillsborough Township begins on September 30, 1903, at the New Jersey Inter-State Fair in Trenton. It was on this date that Hillsborough Township farmer Peter A. Garretson first saw a demonstration of a telephone, and decided he would like to have one for his home.

September 30, 1903, New Jersey Interstate Fair Postcard
He purchased two telephone receivers and strung wire between his house and that of a neighbor. In less than two months Garretson had incorporated the Hillsborough and Montgomery Telephone Company with William C. Hendrickson, William M. Funkhouser, Louis E. Opie, A.J. Van Nuys, David J. Smith, and Jacob C. Gulick. Poles began to go up in 1904 in the service area of Belle Mead, Harlingen, Skillman, and Rocky Hill with 13 initial subscribers, quickly growing to 150.

19 March 1935 Courier News
Garretson was elected as president of the company, and he and co-founder Louis Opie remained on the board of directors throughout the 1920s and 1930s as service expanded to other sections of Hillsborough. When Bell Telephone erected poles in town for their long distance service in 1935, the rumor, quickly denied, was that they would soon acquire the Hillsborough company. In fact, independent phone companies were the norm in most of the US throughout the 1930s and 40s.

13 April 1941 Home News

In the 1940s, Louis Opie succeeded Garretson, who died in 1937, as president. By 1941, with 300 subscribers in Belle Mead, Harlingen, Rocky Hill, Griggstown, Millstone, and South Somerville the seven employees of the company worked out of a bungalow on Route 206. Employees consisted of one construction superintendent, two linemen, and four female operators working eight-hour shifts to provide 24-hour service - something the company was proud to have provided since 1906.

1944 Letterhead

Stock in the company was held by 100 local shareholders. In 1944, shares were going for $55.

17 June 1955 Home News
In 1951 the company announced plans to provide dial service to its growing list of 750 subscribers within five years. On June 18, 1955, Hillsborough and Montgomery residents in the service area began dialing for the first time, using numbers that began with FLanders-9. Twelve operators lost their jobs to the new technology, but most were reassigned to elsewhere in the growing company - which by 1957 had 1,250 subscribers. The new tech - installed at a cost of $175,000 - also required an across-the-board rate increase for business and residential customers - the first since 1926.

1957 and 1960 Home News
As the decade of the 1960s dawned, and the Hillsborough housing boom picked up speed, it was a given that every new home would require phone service. The subscriber base grew from 1,250 to 1,800 to 2,500 to 3,500 by the end of the decade.

South facade of the "new" H&M building on Route 206 - now Century Link
20 January 1963 Home News
The growing clerical and administrative staff, as well as the IBM punch-card computer, required a new building which was built in 1963 and is still occupied today by Century Link.

2 February 1972 Courier News
No survey of the history of H&M would be complete without a discussion of service complaints. In 1971 a group of residents calling themselves the Citizens Committee for Better Telephone Service circulated a questionnaire to residents about the quality of their phone service. Complaints included picking up the phone to find oneself in the middle of someone else's conversation, not getting a dial-tone, and the biggest - toll rates. Nearly every call outside the 359 exchange was long distance. Calls to Somerville and other nearby towns were all toll calls. Company representatives explained that because of complicated settlement agreements that every independent phone company in the US had with Bell, H&M was receiving significant revenue back from Bell - and besides, a very small percentage of H&M customers were making most of those calls, thereby subsidizing everyone else's regular monthly bill.

In January 1978 United Telecommunications announced plans to acquire the Hillsborough and Montgomery Telephone Company in a stock swap, but that the merger would not affect the rate structure. The acquisition became official the next year with all 102 H&M stockholders trading in their shares. On July 1, 1987, United Telephone merged all five of its Central Jersey telephone companies into one company called United Telephone Co. of New Jersey, and H&M ceased independent operations.

05 April 2018

Belle Mead Rest Country Club (1938 - 1942)

Between 1938 and 1942 Hillsborough Township was home to the only nightclub in the state of New Jersey that catered specifically to African-Americans. Because of pre-World War II racism, it is likely that the Belle Mead Rest Country Club was one of the few night-spots where people of color could feel welcome at all.

26 August 1938 Home News
Opened early in 1938 on Route 31 - now Route 206 - in the southern section of the township by African-American proprietor Willie Green, the club faced challenges right from the beginning. An application for a liquor license - an absolute must-have for any sort of nightclub then and now - was denied by the Hillsborough Township Committee in May 1938 on the grounds that there were already too many establishments holding liquor licenses in that section of the township. Willie Green believed it was something else, and appealed to the state Alcohol Beverage Commission. It's worth repeating Commissioner D. Frederick Burnett's remarks upon overturning the township committee:

"It is all very well to talk of the theoretical protection given to Negroes under the civil rights act which provides that no tavern-keeper shall refuse to sell drinks to patrons merely because of color. However, it is a commonplace fact that Negroes, despite the law, are frequently refused service either outright or by more subtle methods. Members of the Belle Mead Country Club have already experienced difficulty. Two of them were informed at the nearest liquor place that a glass of beer would cost them 35 cents and a glass of whiskey 50 cents [more than double]. Practical differences like these which confront the colored race must be fearlessly faced and given practical and fair solutions."
"Separate but equal" solutions such as this would of course in time be considered racist themselves, but for 1938 this was a good win.

8 December 1940 New Brunswick Sunday Times
Around 1940 Willie Green transferred management of the club to New Brunswick entrepreneur Harry Fisch and his son Abe, with an option for them to buy the place outright. This would necessitate a transfer of the liquor license - and in this Green was again stymied by the township committee. It again took the intervention of the state Alcohol Beverage Commission to direct the township committee to allow the transfer, which took place in July 1941.

12 February 1942 Home News
The Belle Mead Rest closed in February 1942. Newspapers give no account of the circumstances, but we might guess that it had something to do with the impending construction of the Belle Mead Army Service Forces Depot that April.

03 April 2018

Evelyn Wentworth Murray - The "Countess" of Somerset County - Part 2

[I wrote about the first twenty years - January 1885 through December 1904 - of the public life of Evelyn Wentworth Murray, the "Countess de Grasse" in part one which you can find here.]

Before we continue with the life of Evelyn Wentworth Murray, the "Countess de Grasse", it may be worthwhile to provide a description of the subject. Mrs. Murray had her moniker thrust upon her by the citizens of Buffalo, New York when she burst upon the scene as an eighteen-year-old adventuress in 1885 - but the following description of the Countess de Grasse and her daughter Pauline is from a story titled "The Gamber's Courtezans" which appeared in the Gentlemen's Pocket Magazine in 1829. This is the only historical mention of a Countess de Grasse that I have been able to find. Could either of these women be who the Buffalonians were reminded of when they first encountered young Lena?

It may not be uninteresting to here give a description of the
Countess de Grasse and her daughter Pauline. The Countess
was about fifty years of age. She was a beautiful brunette,
had fine lively sparkling eyes, a noble carriage, and majestic
deportment. She appeared perfectly familiar with the usages
of high life, and was a distinguished person in some fashion-
able circles where gambling was carried on. It was impos-
sible for one who did not know her, to discover, under her
dissimulation and artifice, the perversity of her soul.
Pauline was a lovely girl, shaped like her mother; she was
beautifully fair, and about seventeen or eighteen years of age.
Her light blue eyes expressed desire and voluptuousness, and
there was an archness in her manner, that unveiled the lasci-
viousness of her soul to those who had leisure to observe her
attentively. She was a most seducing creature, and was
friendly and polite; — her fine bosom was enchanting — she af-
fected an air of modesty and mildness, and abounded in fine
sentiments; but an attentive observer could easily discover
her dissimulation. 

21 January 1901 New York World

At the beginning of 1905, we find Mrs. Murray not only recovering from a bruising sleighing accident in Raritan but also from a devastating fire that gutted her home and left her in the tenant house. This was the second fire on her River Road estate since she bought the old Frelinghuysen homestead in Hillsborough Township to use as a summer retreat in 1892. A fire in June 1900 destroyed the first palatial home she built called "Wentworth."

4 July 1901 New York World

With a number of small houses still on the property, Mrs. Murray decided not to rebuild, but to refurbish the tenant house for her own use, and move some of her eight servants to other quarters. 

Well known in New York City for her efforts on behalf of working horses, headline writers had a field-day when her auto was bumped on the corner of Broadway and 48th Street in November 1906 by a car driven by the chauffeur for theatrical agent William Morris. After Mrs. Murray predictably had the chauffeur arrested New Brunswick's Home News wrote, "MRS. MURRAY AGAIN IN THE LIMELIGHT - Caused Chauffeur's Arrest for Cruelty to Her Automobile." 

7 March 1908 Plainfield Daily Press

After a relatively uneventful 1907, the Countess was back to battling with her hired help the next year. In the many documented cases of conflict between Mrs. Murray and her servants, the mistress of the manor always came out on top. Even when she lost - as in the 1908 case of farmhand John Millett - she won. Millett believed he was owed $160 for doing some extra gardening. Mrs. Murray offered to settle for $85. He initially won a judgment for $160, but on appeal, this was reduced to $80 - less than what he was offered to settle.

13 January 1909 New York Evening World
Mrs. Murray didn't always bring the crazy, sometimes the crazy found her! Like the freezing night in January 1909 when an escaped lunatic from the State Insane Asylum at Trenton ran naked across her fields before being lassoed by a posse of torch-bearing Raritaners.

18 February 1910 Asbury Park Press

A year later domicular tragedy struck for the third time, fire consuming the tenant house in which Mrs. Murray had made her residence since 1905. Neighbors offered to take her in, but as reported by the Asbury Park Press she vowed to stay on the property, "as long as there was a building left on it." Newspaper headlines erroneously trumpeted the notion that the Countess was living in the chicken coop. The actual story revealed later is just as interesting. Just a few months before the fire she built a fine one-roomed bungalow on the property so that her niece, also named Evelyn, might have somewhere to play when she came to visit. On the night of the fire, Mrs. Murray was writing in this "doll's house", while a dog that she rescued from the streets of New York was in the main house playing with her newborn pups. The dog knocked over a chair which upset the stove causing the fire - and Mrs. Murray ended up living in the doll's house!

27 August 1898 New York World

Less than two weeks after the fire Mrs. Murray announced ambitious plans to turn her 146-acre Hillsborough estate into a "sanatorium for decrepit animals", mainly horses so that they might be nursed back to health, or live out their lives in comfort. What a change from just a few years before when she had all of the cattle, horses, and even dogs on her farm euthanized to put them out of their suffering! Now she refused to leave her one-roomed bungalow to go back to her city apartment because she did not want to leave her pets!

29 November 1911 Home News

Mrs. Murray eventually left the farm and once again began commuting seasonally between Somerset County and New York City. Each hunting season she was sure to be at her River Road estate to protect the wildlife on her farm from poachers. Can you picture her in a short hunting skirt, sweater, and a pair of high-topped rubber boots chasing off poachers with a .38 caliber revolver? That's exactly what she did on November 28, 1911 - assisted by her Italian watchman carrying an automatic shotgun and two revolvers tucked in his belt. During hunting season, the watchman. clad entirely in white, would sit in a conspicuous place on the farm to warn hunters away - but on this afternoon three men deliberately fired at him, and at Mrs. Murray too after she came running up. Like a scene from a movie, the poachers escaped by hopping a freight train near the Roycefield crossing.

20 November 1918 Home News

Somehow, in a story full of contradictions, it is fitting that the next time Mrs. Murray's name appears in a newspaper it is in a classified ad offering her estate as a private game reserve! 

January 1920 New York Times

In her first confirmed acting role since the 1880s, the fifty-six-year-old Countess played the part of Jenny Lind in a pageant of the early life of New York City held at Battery Park in January 1920. 

At some point in the teens, Mrs. Murray built a new two-story house on the property, and by the end of the decade gave up her New York apartment and moved full-time to Hillsborough. It was from the porch of this new home that she sat during the summer with a rifle in her lap to frighten off passing motorists who stopped to pick her blackberries at the side of the road. 

30 January 1924 Home News

On the afternoon of January 29, 1924, tragedy struck the Murray estate for the fourth time. An overheated oil stove used in heating the second story of the house caused a fire that completely destroyed the building and all of the contents, including two valuable Persian rugs, imported English parlor furniture, an 800 volume library, and all of Mrs. Murray's jewelry and personal belongings. The Courier News, in two separate stories, described the house as both a "palatial residence" and a "bungalow" - it was probably somewhere in between. The Home News provided this description of the events:

"[After telephoning] Mrs. Murray waited about a half hour for the Raritan fire apparatus to arrive but seeing that it was not coming she jumped into her Ford sedan and proceeded toward Raritan at a lively rate of speed. On the way to town the tire blew out causing the machine to sway from side to side. Mrs. Murray, thinking that she was nervous due to the fire raging in her home did not stop until she had driven to the garage owned by Mr. Turpus in Raritan. The alarm was turned in at Somerville and the West End Hose Company responded, arriving before the first story of the building collapsed."

Having already given up her place in New York, Mrs. Murray decided to sell the farm and find another place nearby. She bought a house on Easton Avenue near Franklin Blvd. in Franklin Township. She appears to have settled quietly into her new life, staying out of the headlines until a fender bender in March 1930 led her into court once again. But this was nothing compared to what was to come.

28 September 1930 Home News

On Saturday, September 27, 1930, Mrs. Murray had a recently purchased automobile delivered to her home and was taking it out for the first time. Pulling out of her drive, she was hit by a Rutgers student, Edward Eppell, traveling east on Easton Avenue. The terrific collision left Mrs. Murray with numerable injuries - in fact, she was hospitalized at St. Peter's for nearly a year. The auto salesman, still on the scene after delivering the car, held Eppell's car up off of Mrs. Murray's head until help could arrive.

In court seven years later, the Countess must have looked like a shell of her former self. Hobbling to the witness stand, with no control of her right arm and shoulder, unable to fully close her right eye, she wore a dark hat pulled low over her face and dark glasses. She was suing for $70,000 - $50,000 of which was for pain and suffering. Although witnesses confirmed that Eppell was traveling at a high rate of speed, and had swerved to Mrs. Murray's side of the road, the jury found for the defendant.

A listing in the 1940 census for Franklin Township is the last historical mention of Evelyn Wentworth Murray, the Countess de Grasse. With no children or other close relatives, it appears her passing, despite her 50 years in Somerset County, went largely unnoticed.