Lewis Van Blarcom

A member of one of New Jersey’s oldest and most prominent families, Captain Lewis Van Blarcom, of Newton, whose death occurred February 20, 1904, was one of the foremost citizens of this State, an esteemed and valued member of the legal fraternity, and a beloved and respected resident of this community. Captain Van Blarcom exercised an inspiring influence in all affairs of this vicinity, having taken an active part in the various civic organizations and in political matters as a leader of the Republican party in Sussex County, and was known to everyone as a fair and honest party chieftain. His grandfather was Garret Van Blarcom, of Bergen County, who married Mary DeGraw, and to this union were born two sons and two daughters. Garret Van Blarcom was noted for his courage and patriotism, serving with distinction in the War of 1812. He removed to Sussex County in 1820 and engaged in farming, and both he and his wife were active in community affairs and were prominently interested members of the North Hardyston Presbyterian Church. He died in 1834, and Mrs. Van Blarcom died, 1864.

William Van Blarcom, second son of Garret and Mary (DeGraw) Van Blarcom, was born in Bergen County. He devoted his activities to agriculture in Sussex County for many years. His children were: Lewis, of further mention; Garret; Lucy A., married James E. Price; Susan C., married Nelson Ackerson; Andrew J., and Hannah, who married Charles Y. Dolsen.

Lewis Van Blarcom was born in Sparta Township, July 19, 1835, and was educated in the public schools of the vicinity, being regard as an unusually bright and diligent student. He afterwards had the advantage of private instruction under E.A. Stiles, the well-known educator in Wantage Township. His youth was spent on the farm of his father, where he assisted in the various works requisite to farm operation and later, for four successive years, taught in public school. Having a desire to study law, he entered the legal office of M.R. Kimble, the prominent Hamburg lawyer, where he read law. One year later he became associated with John Linn in the latter’s office in Newton, and he was thus engaged in preparing for his chosen profession when the advent of the Civil War caused him to cease his studies. Full of patriotic enthusiasm inherited from his pioneering forefathers, Lewis Van Blarcom enlisted on August 25, 1862, as first lieutenant in Company D, 15th New Jersey Volunteers, being actuated by the desire to serve his country in this tragic time, anxious to do all in his power to further the cause of freedom which he so earnestly espoused. A brilliant soldier and fired with an inspiring zeal, it is not surprising that he was promoted to the rank of Captain of Company C in June, 1863. He saw active service in many of the fiercest battles of the war, among which were the first and second battles of Fredericksburg, Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Rappahanock Station, and Spottsylvania. In the last-named battle Captain Van Blarcom was seriously wounded and carried from the battlefield a prisoner. His leg was amputated in an enemy hospital, in which he was permitted to remain but ten days, after which he was taken to Richmond and there placed in Libby Prison, from which he was discharged September 12, and for a time received care and medical treatment in the Annapolis Hospital until he was discharged from the service, December 19, 1864.

Returning to Newton, he at once resumed his law studies and, after passing the required examination, was admitted to the bar as a practicing attorney in 1865, and as a counsellor in 1868. Shortly afterward he formed a partnership with Joseph Coult, Esq., which continued from 1869 to 1873, in which year he became associated with Lewis Cochran, and this partnership continued until 1880. In active public life he was a popular figure for many years, having been appointed by Governor Randolph on March 25, 1869, to the office of prosecutor of pleas, and served the full term of five years, while in 1864 he had been nominated by his party for the office of county clerk. For two years he served as chosen freeholder for the town of Newton, and in 1885 stood as the party candidate for Congress from the then Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Divisions in the ranks of the Democratic party made his election possible, and he carried his native county of Sussex with such a majority as had never been accorded his party. For many years he was chairman of the Republican County Executive Committee, being just as brave in the field of politics as he had been on the battlefield, and his thorough honesty and integrity, fairness and candor were recognized and acknowledged by all, even political adversaries. Captain Van Blarcom was deeply interested in the prosperity and development of Newton, and aided its progress with all his influence and support. The welfare of Civil War veterans was one of his chief concerns, and he was never too busy to assist in promoting their happiness or aid them in necessity, while he was one of the principal factors in securing the soldiers’ monument now located in the public park in Newton.

Captain Lewis Van Blarcom married, August 17, 1871, Mary Thomson, daughter of Dr. Alexander H. Thomson, of Marksboro, Warren County, and they were the parents of three children: Kate, married Judge Henry T. Kays, of Newton; Andrew, see following biography; and Lewis, a practicing lawyer in Newton.

Source: Honeyman, A. Van Doren. 1927. Northwestern New Jersey: A History of Somerset, Morris, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company.

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