06/08/2015 11:55 AM

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies


William Vermilye Toffey II

William V Toffey II, 1881 - 1955. Grave, William and Clarice Koonz Toffey, Montelair Cemetery, Jersey City, NJ Cemetery, 4 of 5 "Toffey", Pawling, N.Y.




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Commercial Trust Co.

Before telling his father that he had failed at Stevens, he found a job with a bank. After a couple of years there he left that bank to join the Commercial Trust Co. The company was only a few years old at the time, but grew to be one of the largest banks in New Jersey long before the merger. He served as teller, head teller, treasurer, secretary, and was the senior vice president at the time of his death. As a young man he was a member of the Signal Corps, a pre-World War I outfit apparently similar to the National Guard. Later he served as treasurer of the Sip Building and Loan Assn. Like other S&L's of the time, it was a storefront operation that met one evening a week and folded when the depression of the 30s drove real estate values into the ground. He was also treasurer of the Jersey City Girl Scouts.

Dance number in a charity show

He met Clarice Antoinette Koonz when they were paired up for a dance number in a charity show. They were married at St. Stephens P. E. Church on a snowy day that threatened to but didn't keen guests from the wedding. Sister Beatrice Koonz used her political influence to get the city to clear Gifford Ave. so the carriages could get to the reception in the picture gallery at the Koonz home at 39 Gifford Avenue. After a honeymoon in Bermuda the couple stayed at the Koonz home while waiting for their house to be built at 145 Gifford Avenue.

The financial crash of 1929 hit my father hard. Although he later confessed that he was sure the stock market was dangerously inflated, my father accepted an invitation to join in a mutual fund called United Founders in which highly respected financial figures were particpating. He was promised that "it would hit 100 by Christmas." The stock, of course, didn't make it and since it was bought on margin, my father had to pay. The bank wrote off loans for a number of its customers, but felt it could not do the same for an officer of the company

He lost his savings and life insurance. What else it cost him I don't know. Somewhere in the 1930s, I don't recall when, he was not feeling well and mother induced him to see a doctor. He was found to be diabetic and was put on insulin, on which he depended for the rest of his life. Not long before he died he lost a toe to gangrene and he would have lost a leg if he had lived much longer.

I am sure my father would have wanted to be buried in Pawling, N.Y. However, mother prevailed, and he was buried in the Koonz plot at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. N.Y.

My father was handy with tools, although he didn't make a hobby of it. I particularly remember a car he made for me. He steamed the wood so the sides could be curved to meet, forming a sharp front. He stretched fabric over it and shellacked it. It was smart looking, but there was one problem: there was no place where I could use it. Gifford Avenue was steep and ended at busy West Side Avenue and there was no effective way of braking the car. There was no place nearby where I could coast with it, so the car eventually had to be discarded.

"Toffey": Jersey City, NJ"

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