Ralph
W.
Wescott



RALPH W. WESCOTT was born in New Jersey in 1883 to John W. and Frances Oatman Wescott. His father, John W. Wescott, was a noted trial lawyer and judge. John W. Wescott was also known for having given both of President Woodrow Wilson's nominating addresses.  One was at the Democratic Convention in Baltimore on June 27, 1912, and the other at the Democratic Convention in St. Louis MO on June 10, 1916. Afterwards, when he was Attorney General of New Jersey he wrote a book on the events in Woodrow Wilson's life. 

Ralph Wescott grew up in Haddonfield NJ, where his family owned a home at 43 Chestnut Street. He lived his entire life at that address. He studied law at Yale, Harvard, and in London, England. After completing his education he passed the bar in 1910, following his father into the legal profession. He served in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant during World War I, retiring in 1919. Ralph W. Wescott wed in 1924. His wife Marion bore him a son in April of 1925, Roger. In the late 1920s and early 1930s as an adjunct to his law practice he taught tort law at South Jersey Law College in Camden.

After the erection of the Hotel Walt Whitman and the opening of the Admiral Wilson Boulevard, many of the same individuals involved in the hotel project became interested in establishing an athletic club on the new thoroughfare. This group was originally known as the City Athletic Club, and among its members were J. David Stern, publisher of the Evening Courier and Morning Post newspapers, James J. Scott, lawyer Ralph W. Wescott, and realtor Samuel B. Dobbs. The first part of the planned building opened in the early 1930s. This building, which was razed in 2000, was known from the 1960s on as the Oasis Motel.

Ralph W. Wescott was slated to run for the New Jersey Stae assembly when, in the fall of 1993, he was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the position of comptroller of customs for the Port of Philadelphia. He held this post from 1933 to 1938. He also was a commissioner for the New Jersey State Supreme Court, and was a vice president and president of the Camden County Bar Association. He was also a member of the Walt Whitman Foundation.

Ralph W. Wescott had a long career a a lawyer and in the civic affairs of Camden and Camden County. A Democrat, he was elected Register of Deeds for Camden County in 1940 and served in that post into he 1950s. He also served as a member of the Delaware River Port Authority. His brother, Ethan P. Wescott was at one time the Prosecutor for Camden County. 

Ralph W. Wescott passed away in 1955. He was buried at the family plot at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden NJ, where he rests with his father and other family members. 


Camden Courier-Post - January 5, 1928


Camden Courier-Post - October 16, 1931

3 DEMOCRATIC RALLIES SCHEDULED TONIGHT

A combined A. Harry Moore rally and social evening will be conducted by Democratic voters of the Eleventh Ward tonight at the Maennerchor Hall, Twenty-seventh Street below River Avenue.

Former Sheriff Joseph E. Nowrey, Mrs. Florence Melnik, Gene Mariano and Assembly candidates, Vincent de P. Costello, William French, Jr., and Frederick Stanton, will speak. Mrs. Lillian Pisko, committeewoman, will preside. Mrs. Anna Rush is chairman of the committee in charge of the affair.

 Rallies in interest of Moore and other Democratic candidates will also be conducted in Collingswood and Lawnside tonight.             ,.

Mrs. Emma E. Hyland, state committeewoman; Ralph Wescott, Haddonfield freeholder candidate, and Gene Mariano will address the voters in Collingswood at a mass meeting to be held at the Independent headquarters, Lees and Haddon Avenue.

Isaac Eason, former attorney general of the United States; Rev. Robert A. Jackson and Albert Melnik, will speak at the Lawnside A. Harry Moore Club at the Lawnside fire hall on Warwick Road.


Camden Courier-Post - October 16, 1931

VETS PLEDGE TO AID MOORE IN 14TH WARD

More than 200 World War veterans last night pledged their support to A. Harry Moore. Democratic gubernatorial candidate, at a meeting of the Camden County A. Harry Moore Veterans' League, held in the Fourteenth Ward Democratic Club, Seventh and Morgan streets.

The veterans, including members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Camden county, were addressed by Judge Frank F. Neutze, who was a lieutenant during the war; Ralph Wescott, Haddonfield freeholder candidate; Frank Suttill and Edward L. Canning.

Judge Neutze, chairman of the Camden league, announced that 678 veterans of Camden county have now pledged their support to Moore.


Camden Courier-Post - October 20, 1931

DEMOCRATS TO STAGE MEETINGS TONIGHT

Six meetings, three in the city and three in the county, will be conducted by Democrats tonight in the interest of A. Harry Moore, gubernatorial candidate, and local candidates on the Democratic ticket.

The meetings are:

Tenth Ward Democratic Club, Camden, 822 North Eighth Street, Firmin Michel Frank Connors, speakers.

Woodrow Wilson, Democratic Club, Atlantic and Louis Streets, Thomas Madden, speaker.

LFirst Ward Democratic Club, 315 North Second Street; former Assis­tant Prosecutor C. Lawrence Gregorio, and David Visor, speakers.

Haddon Heights A. Harry Moore Club, Station Avenue; Ralph Wescott, Haddonfield freeholder candidate, speaking.

A. Harry Moore Colored Club of Delaware Township; former Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Varbalow and Rev. Robert A. Jackson, speakers.

Bellmawr Democratic C1ub, At home of Harry L. Maloney, Democratic State Committeeman; Leon H. Rose and John Delaney, speakers.


Camden Courier-Post - October 29, 1931

DEMOCRATS TO HOLD MEETINGS TONIGHT
Candidacy of Moore to Be Expounded at Meetings in City and Suburbs

The campaign foe A. Harry Moore, gubernatorial candidate, and local Democratic candidates, will be carried into six wards of the city and in seven communities or the county tonight.

All meetings and speakers are as follows:

Second Ward Democratic Club, 841 Market Sktreet; Eugene Aumetre, John Crean, Vincent Gallagher, Leon H. Rose and Charles Woods. 

Fourth Ward A. Harry Moore Club, 455 Berkley Street; Samuel T. French, Victor King, Thomas Madden, Leon H. Rose, Gene Mariano, Samuel P. Orlando and Rev. Robert H. Jackson.

Sixth Ward Democratic Club, Fourth and Walnut Street; Frank Connor, Albert Melnik and Thomas Madden.

Tenth Ward Democratic Club, Fifth and Vine Streets; Boyd Morrison, Joseph E. Nowrey, Charles Degnan and David L. Visor.

Seventh Ward A. Harry Moore Club, Seventh Street and Kaighn Avenue; Dr. Leroy Baxter, of Jersey City; Isaac Eason, Dr. Clement Branch, Rev. Robert H. Jackson, Mrs. Bertha Shippen Irving and Frank Suttill.

Eleventh Ward Democratic Club, 927 North Twenty-seventh street; Boyd Morrison, Firmin Michel, Victor King, Mrs. Bertha Shippen Irving.

Gloucester City Democratic Club, 308 Monmouth street; Boyd Morrison, Gene Mariano, Joseph Varbalow.

Magnolia A. Harry Moore Club, Evesham and Gloucester avenues; Firmin Michel, Edward L. Canning, John Delaney, Marie V. Kelley and Francis Homan.

Lindenwold Colored Voters' Club, Blackstone Hall, Lindenwold, Eugene Aumetre, William Williams and Oliver Bond.

Somerdale Club, Whelen home, Somerdale road and Oggs Avenue; Marie V. Kelly, David L. Visor and Mrs. Emma E. Hyland.

Somerdale Democratic Club, Leone Hall, Warwick Road and Helena Avenue; Samuel P. Orlando, Aaron Heine, Lawrence Gregorio and E. George Aaron.

East Haddonfield Democrat Club, Crescent and Berlin Road; Edward L. Canning, Albert Melnik and Judge Frank F. Neutze.

East Haddonfield Improvement Association, Batesville, Delaware Township; Ralph Wescott, Judge Frank F. Neutze and Mrs. Florence Melnik.

More than five speakers from North Jersey will appear at as many meetings as possible.


Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1933

400 Friends Pay Homage To 'Good Gray Poet'

Mrs. Augusta K. Dole, New York woman, posed with etching on "The Song of the Open Road," as she sat in last chair Walt Whitman occupied at Mickle Street Home

 Men and Women From Many Sections Visit Walt Whitman's Tomb and Old Mickle Street Home on His 114th Anniversary
By FRANK SHERIDAN 

 “It's just a little street where old friends meet"

That's Mickle Street where Walt Whitman, the "Good Gray Poet," once lived, and old friends came back here from near and far yesterday to mingle under the portals of the house in which he wrote his famous works, on the 114th anniversary of his birth.

Among them was Mrs. Augusta K. Dole, 71, of Metuchen, whose hus­band has been a sports writer on New York newspapers for 45 years.

"They call it a dingy street and some are ashamed to return and say they lived there," Mrs. Dole said. And with a gesture of the hand she pointed out the homes of some of neighbors, who became famous.

Among, them was Button; famous artist [architect -PMC]. Another was the grandmother of J. B. Van Sciver.

"I lived at 319 Mickle Street when I was a young lady," she said. "I was one year old when we moved into the house right across the street from Whitman. I remember when he lived on Stevens Street before he moved to Mickle Street.

Knew Whitman Well

"We lived at the Mickle street address about 15 or 16 or 20 years; I knew Whitman well. He always stopped and exchanged greetings with me. I frequently, saw him on the ferryboats crossing the rivers.

"I want to take, issue right here with those, who have questioned his chastity. He was more like Christ than anyone else. I saw him admiring me as a young woman one day on a ferryboat.”

"Years later I read a description of myself in one of his works. I did not begin to read his work until 30 years ago. He wrote of the true things in life. He wrote of life as it is and as we see it. I am glad to come here today at the invitation of the committee,"

Mrs. Dole sat in the last chair in which the poet rested before his last illness. She was introduced to Dr. Alexander MacAlister, who was his personal physician in his last illness and who is a member of the Walt Whitman foundation.

Then she posed with an etching by Lewis Daniel, New York artist, at the Walt Whitman art gallery, 641 Market Street. It is one of 14 the young artist drew on "The Song of the Open Road," Two lines taken from' the book are sketched under the etching as follows:

"The earth is crude and incomprehensible at first- Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first."

400 Visit Home

More than 400 guests visited the home of the poet during the day to be welcomed by members of the foundation, Mrs. Charles A. Wolverton, wife of Congressman Wolverton, was chairman of the reception committee.

Many of the guests visited the tomb of the poet in Harleigh Cemetery where the door is ajar at his request "that his spirit may come and go as I choose.'" But no flowers were placed there as he requested none.

Born on May 31, 1819, near Huntingdon, Long Island, he had a varied career as a writer, war correspondent and poet. During the Civil War he ministered the wounded of both the North and South at Washington. He spent the last 19 years of his life in Camden, where he died in 1892. 

Under the bed in his second story front bed room today is a huge metal bathtub, which he designed for use in his invalid days. His library, horsehair furniture, his favorite rocking chair and a cane with which he knocked on the floor to call his housekeeper.

Some of his writings, manuscripts and other works are the property of Miss Ann Harned and Madge Barton Feurer. They are now, at the New Jerseyanna Exhibition at the State House at Trenton.

New Painting Viewed

A new painting of Walt Whitman has been completed by Byron T. Connor, of 4320 Manor Avenue, Merchantville, and is now on display at the Hotel Walt Whitman. The painting was completed in three weeks, so as to be ready for the birthday ceremonies.

Later it will be moved from the hotel and placed either in the Whitman home or hung in the lobby of the Walt Whitman Theatre.

Miss Harned, daughter of the late Thomas B. Harned, one of Whitman's literary executors; Joseph Praissman and Mrs. Martha Davis curator of the Whitman home, were members of the anniversary committee headed by Mrs. Wolverton.

With few exceptions, members of the Walt Whitman Foundation attended yesterday's program, including Dr. Macalister, chairman; Dr. Cornelius Weygandt, vice chairman; Mrs. Juliet Lit Stern, Joseph M. Conover, Mrs. Helen Taft Manning, Mrs. Allen Drew Cook, Mrs. Nicholas Douty, Dr. Herbert Spencer Harned, J. Frederick Harned, Roy Helton, William T. Innes, Eldridge R. Johnson, William H. Ketler, Dr. Rufus M. Jones, former Mayor Victor King, Oscar Wolf, John Frederick Lewis, Jr., Dr. Bliss Perry, Harrison S. Morris, Agnes, Repplier, former Mayor Winfield S. Price, Vernon Whitman Rich, Dr. J. Duncan Spaeth, Dr. Felix E. Schelling, Dr. Robert E. Spiller, Mrs. David Abeel Storer, Frederick von Nieda and Ralph W. Wescott.

Among the visitors was former Assemblyman William H. Iszard, who is secretary of the committee, which acquired the home as a national shrine. Iszard sponsored legislation in the Assembly for its upkeep.


Camden Courier-Post - June 20, 1933

DEMOCRATS ARRANGE FOR 'MALONEY DAY'
July 9 Set for Reception and Picnic to New Revenue Collector

"Harry L. Maloney Day" will be celebrated by South Jersey Democrats, Sunday, July 9, when the newly-appointed collector of internal revenue will be guest of honor at a picnic at Silver Lake Park. State leaders of the party will attend. Maloney, Democratic state committeeman from Camden County and Mayor of Bellmawr, was named by President Roosevelt to succeed Edward L. Sturgess and is expected to 
take office by July 1. 

Plans for the outing were made last night at a meeting in Democratic headquarters, 538 Stevens Street, at which Albert S. Marvel, Jr., was named chairman of the general committee. Vincent de P. Costello was elected secretary and former Mayor Victor King treasurer. 

The committees follow: 

Ways and means- Sidney Kaplan, chairman; Judge Samuel M. Shay, Judge Frank F. Neutze, Victor King, Vincent Gallaher, Samuel P. Orlando and Thomas N. Madden. 

Entertainment- Joseph A. Varbalow, chairman; Patrick H. Harding, Joseph E. Nowrey, Calogero Salvagio, Thomas Cavanaugh and Joseph A. Gorman.

Refreshments- Ralph W. Wescott, chairman; Raymond Hadley, Walter Bateman, Joseph Ackroyd, James Hainesworth, Joseph Harczynski.

Athletics- Frank Abbott, chairman; John Lyons, Joseph McVey and Daniel T. Hagans, 

Music- John P. Bissinger, chairman; Ventorino Francesconi, William Bell, Bernard Tracy and Matthew P. Johnson. 

District organization- Michael J. Powell, chairman; Dominick Josephs, Ralph Comilli, Herbert McAdams, William Noonan, Edward Huston, Harry Daly and William Kistner. 

Transportation - Mayor Emerson Jackson, of Gloucester, chairman; Lewis C. Parker, George Cohen, John Bennett, Horace L. Brewer and Sabba Verdiglione.

Printing- Charles J. Clark, chairman; Raymond Saltzman, Jack Goldstein, Walter Kelly and William M. Williams. 

Publicity- Edward C. Bowe, Herbert Beattie, Patrick Whalen, Alfred R. White and Luke Bates. 

Mrs. Emma E. Hyland, state committeewoman, and Miss Marie V. Kelley, vice- chairman of the county committee, will head a women's reception committee to be chosen later. 

The committees will meet again Monday night to complete arrangements. . 


CAMDEN COURIER-POST JANUARY 14, 1938

Click on Image to Enlarge


Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1939
Ralph W. Wescott comments on Walt Whitman

Camden Honors Whitman
on 120th Anniversary

A Whitman year in America found new honors and oratorical glory for Camden's Good Gray Poet, whose 130th birthday anniversary was celebrated here yesterday under auspices of the Walt Whitman Foundation. Left are seen Thomas B. Donaldson, who knew Whitman; Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Conover, and Ralph W. Wescott, member of the foundation. All three were speakers at the exercises held at headquarters of the Camden County Historical Society.

Walt Whitman Acclaimed as 'International Prophet'
Wescott Recalls Friendship with Poet at Ceremonies Here Marking
120th Anniversary of his birth; Donaldson Tells of Buggy Gift.

by Walter B. Batezel

Acknowledged by the world as the poet of democracy, Camden's own Walt Whitman was acclaimed here yesterday on the 120th anniversary of his birth as the "prophet of a new internationalism."

This interpretation of Whitman and his famous "Leaves of Grass," which introduced free verse to the world and the rugged liberty loving character of America so lustily praised in his songs, was offered by Ralph W. Wescott, of Haddonfield.

Wescott was one of three speakers for the Walt Whitman Foundation which is charged with maintenance of the Whitman home at 330 Mickle street as a literary shrine. Also speaking on Whitman were Thomas, B. Donaldson, Philadelphia insurance man,, who as a boy knew Whitman, and Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Conover, also of Philadelphia.

The meeting was held at the headquarters of the Camden County Historical Society, Euclid Avenue and Park Boulevard. Wescott, former comptroller of customs of the Port of Philadelphia and son of the late Judge John W. Wescott, who was an intimate friend of Whitman in Camden and who twice nominated Woodrow Wilson for the presidency, based his lauding of Whitman as an "international prophet" upon excerpts from Whitman's books.

Urged Universal Freedom

"It is the very catholicity of the man which causes us to celebrate his birthday anniversary," said Wescott. "He has been seen as the precursor of socialism and the completely going anti-socialist."

"We almost shrink from news abroad, and we are bound to consider what Whitman's response would have been. In his poem 'Salutation', I think we find in Whitman the prophecy of a new internationalism, a poem in which he asked for universal freedom against slavery, and called for an international brotherhood."

"It is unique and significant that on this 120th anniversary of Whitman the New York World's Fair acclaims him by statue and adulation, and in 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia Whitman indited a poem addressed to foreign readers in which he directed their attention to 'the peculiar glory of the United States' as something 'vaster, saner, more splendid in comradeship, knitting closer all nations and humanity.'"

"Whitman himself wrote poets were necessary to fulfillment of a world brotherhood because their work was needed to vitalize the message of statesmen.

Preached Good Will

"In the British-written preface to Whitman's 'Specimen Days in America,' which he wrote in Camden and Laurel Springs, there occurred the sentence 'Whitman preached goodwill between common people of all nations. In all the things written of him, Whitman said he liked that description best. "

"So, in Whitman's own words we find the real message, and as expressed in one of his poems, and so which was an obsession with him in his declining days—we instinctively seek a 'universal, comprehensive solidarity of man.' There was no braver or more humanistic American writer than Whitman, nor more humanistic statement for the world than his 'Leaves of Grass.' "


Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1950
...continued...

The
Wescott Family Plot
at
Harleigh Cemetery
Camden NJ

Click on Image to Enlarge


RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE