Monday, 23 July, 2018 11:08 PM

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies

145 Gifford Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. Me and Bill, 9/28/11, old Home. Corner, Lincoln Park. Teenager, William Toffey and dog to Lincoln Park.

145 Gifford Avenue, Jersey City, NJ Me and Bill, 9/28/11, old Home. Corner side, Lincoln Park. Teenager, William Toffey and dog to Lincoln Park.


"Little Bill" Toffey a 5 years old, and pony in tow!

"Little Bill" Toffey a 5 years old, and pony in tow!


Akin Toffey, boy, 145 Gifford Avenue, Jersey City.

Akin Toffey, tie and white shirt, four years younger. (M. J. Hunt [Koonz].) .



Harold Toffey, cousin to William and Akin. uncle to George, brother to john James Toffey.

Uncle Harold Toffey, cousin to William and Akin Toffey. Uncle to George, brother to John James Toffey.



Bill Toffey, boy, 145 Gifford Avenue, Jersey City.

Boy, Bill Toffey, 145 Gifford Avenue, Jersey City, John and Mary Sip Toffey.

[M. J. Hunt Koonz,.].]


Da, ;Akin, (b:190) 7&G--Born;Hatch, _Akin Toffey

In 1943, Uncle Akin & Ginny Toffey, (Akin picture), dad, middle, army, Ginny's baby, Akin "Hatch" Toffey, and William V. Toffey II & Clarice Koonz Toffey, left.

Facebook, 2011, Akin"Hatch" Toffey" and wife, Susan (died in Christ Church in Pawling, FEBRUARY, 2014) were pleased to be chosen as 1 of 6 gardens to be a part of the Dothan Area Botanical Garden Spring Garden Tour".


My dad, home in Jersey City, teenage, about 1927, walking to F. W. Woolworth Company, small brass, 1st-4th woods, 50* brass.

My father in Jersey City, teenage in 1928, walking to F. W. Woolworth Company. Small brass wood brass - 59!

Attic, back wall, 1st-4th woods tn Tenafly, till '83. Myself, fourfive time, Southeast PA, and Pennsauken, NJ, but, 2014, four let: golf, bird, roasted and cats!

See, 1961-1983, Tenafly, attic, wall brown wood, 4 ankle.


1962, William,back yard

William Vermilye Toffey III, my dad, summer, 1962, backyard in Tenafly.



Dad; William Vermilye Toffey III

"My Dad Stories"

July 16, 1913I "Was born on a desk in Jersey City"

My Dad Story's: "I was born on a desk in Jersey City" in home at 145 Gifford Avenue in Jersey City... "In my sophomore year I was made news editor, a job I really enjoyed. That sold me on the idea of a new career."

Below, my Dad's Story — "In 1928 it was scheduled for demolition to make way for a 5-and-10-cent store, when Mr. George B. Wendell, president of the Wheaten Co." Or, my dad story, "A man named E. J. Noble developed candy mints with holes in them and called them Life Savers."

And WWII, 1945 in Germany, town of Berchtesgaden, my dad story, "Next morning we made a trip to Berchtesgaden, Hitler's home, on what is probably the highest mountain in the Bavarian Alps, although I am not sure."

History "Glass-topped inlaid Mahogany Desk"
History "I Went To Military School.."
History "When I was 16.."
History "A Noble Experiment"
History "Lotteries Operated by Governmental Agencies.."
History "As a Soldier Ended October 16, 1945.."
History "Dear Family: Paris in the Spring!"
History "Dear Family: ...Subject of Paris"
History "Dear Family: Trip to Berlin"
History "Dear Family: Ludwig Castle and Hitler Estate"
History April 16, 1946, Dad Started at...

Dad's Story: "To Begin With..."

I was born on a desk in Jersey City. It seems my mother preferred to deliver at home, something that was not rare in those days. So her brother-in-law Walter Sherwood, a surgeon, came over from Brooklyn, N.Y., accompanied by an obstetrician, to bring me into the world. [July 8, 1913, and dead, November 9, 1993.]contact

Deciding that the bed was not suitable for the project, they chose instead a glass-topped inlaid mahogany desk.

Unfortunately, upon my arrival, I showed no interest in inhaling good Jersey City air. So Aunt Beatrice Koonz hopped into her car and, with Uncle Harold Koonz hanging on, drove four blocks to the drug store. While Uncle Harold dashed into the store for some oxygen, Aunt Beatrice turned the car around and they sped back, only to find that I had decided to protest being slapped on the back and was howling lustily.

Our home at 145 Gifford Avenue, which my parents's helped to design and had built in 1912, was across the street from Lincoln Park, so called because it marked the beginning of the transcontinental Lincoln Highway. The passenger car section of the highway snaked through the big park, while the truck traffic passed by our house on West Side Avenue. In addition to the truck traffic, which I don't recall as being annoyingly heavy, there were the trolleys, which were later replaced by trolley buses and eventually by diesel buses.

Sip Home and Sip Avenue

I still remember riding in a trolley with a coal stove in the center. That was when Granny took me to visit her Sip cousin at the historic Sip homestead. (I solved the grandparent nomenclature problem by calling my father's mother Granny and my mother's mother Grandma.)

The Sip home had been built in 1664 and acquired by the Sips in 1669. In the course of tim the~homestead found itself located just a short block south of busy Journal Square.

In 1928 it was scheduled for demolition to make way for a 5-and-10-cent store, when Mr. George B. Wendell, president of the Wheaten Co. [F. W. Woolworth, 5 and 10 Cent Store] in Rahway, bought it and had it moved piece by piece to be restored in Westfield, N. J., where it still stands in the residential area known as Yachted.

Learning more.. "To Begin With"

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Dad's Story: "P.S. 17: A School apart"

I went to military school in Jersey City.

The board of education hadn't planned it that way, but the principal of the school was a Civil War veteran, Gen. Brensinger, and he liked to do things in a military manner.

What were hall monitors in other schools were "guards" here, and they learned to march while other students were "enjoying" physical education. Of course, they were all boys. This was long before equal rights for females.

The pride of the school was its fife, drum and bugle corps.

Unlike today's school systems with their musical programs, there was no indication that the school authorities paid any attention to the corps. Rather, it was a self-perpetuating thing. The heads of each of the instrumental groups gave lessons in the basement after school at 25¢ per session.

Learning more.."P.S. 17: A School apart"

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Dad's Story: "JOBS"

When I was 16 and nearing 17, it seemed like a good idea for me to spend my summer profitably by getting a job. My father found one for me.

A man named E. J. Noble developed candy mints with holes in them and called them Life Savers. He made a mint of money. Although he was from northern New York, he maintained an office, probably for tax purposes, in the Commercial Trust Co. building, and my father got to know his secretary there. Noble, it seems, had a small hotel at Thousand Islands, N.Y., and needed a bellhop. I got the job.

A certain Major Boldt, former manager of the New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, had retired, moved up to Wellesley Island, opposite Alexandria Bay and the St. Lawrence River and invested there. Then he sold everything, for what reason nobody new, although it was rumored that a love affair was involved. Noble, who loved a bargain, snapped it up. The holdings included a partially finished castle on Hart Island, close to the big island, plus a large mansion, some guest "cottages" and a beautifully appointed house boat.

Noble turned the mansion into a small hotel, was able to attract wealthy guests willing to pay the high rates. I discovered that there would be only two bellhops and no uniforms. So I would have to struggle along with the two suits I brought along. The hours were 7 to noon and 6 until everyone was in bed, and noon to 6 on alternate days. In addition to the routine bellhop responsibilities, I had to handle room service and brushing up the porches, as well as occasional chores, such as helping the maintenance man load blocks of ice into the huge refrigerator.

Learning more.."Jobs"

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Dad's Story: "William Toffey Reflects on Drink"

"A noble experiment" is the way President Herbert Hoover described the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which was intended to stop forever the use of "demon rum" and other a1coho1ic beverages in our nation. The results were far from noble. It made lawbreakers out of a lot of people who refused to change their drinking habits, and it made gangsters of those who capita1ized on the nation's thirst for grog.

My parents simply switched from whiskey to gin. Whiskey was hard to imitate, but gin was simply juniper flavored ethyl alcohol. The alcohol they bought at $8 a gallon from the local drug store, and the gin flavor was easy to come by. In fact, stores opened up that specialized in liquor flavorings. We made some excellent benedictine and creme de menthe using alcohol, simple syrup (sugar water) and f1avorings.

The family favored old fashioned cocktails which were mixed in a squat glass. They consisted of a lump of sugar, a few drops of Angostura bitters and a little club soda which were crushed with a wooden rod ca11ed a muddle which was specifically designed for that purpose.  Ice and liquor were then added. Correctly, the old fashioned cocktail was made with whiskey and adorned with a cherry, an orange slice, and a stick of pineapple.

Granny (my father's mother who lived with us [my dad's granny, Mary Sip Toffey]) preferred an orange blossom cocktail, which consisted of gin and juice. Being an active member of the Old Bergen Church Temperance Society, she would only drink one cocktail, on Sundays.

Learn more…"William Toffey Reflects on Drink"

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Army at WWII

Stories to send hometown papers..

He was with the Fifth Armored Division the entire 43 months of his military service. His main equipment was the typewriter, as he wrote stories to send hometown papers. He drove a jeep half way across Europe, through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, including in the rain and snow! (And more journalism's writing to Europe's, to stories to Hometown, but typewriter! But, .doc, and paragraph, next years, 2013; 22 paper, 8 1/2 x 11.)

 He received the Six Bronze Star Metal for "meritorious service." Twenty eight years later, PFC, winter, "NOEL; 1943," my dad! After military Army, 5 - metal, in dining room wall in 2014!

Dad's Story: "World War II and Private Toffey"

Lotteries operated by governmental agencies are the popular thing these days.  Not so popular, particularly the young man of my generation, where the lottery's conducted by U.S. gov't in 1941 to 1942.  Periodically, the Selective Service Commission would dip into a barrel and draw out birthday dates.  When your date came up, you got your affairs in order, because Uncle Sam wanted you for his army and was going to get you.

Brother Akin's date came up early in the game, and he had already finished his basic training when I fell into the army's clutches

Early on the morning of March 16, 1942, I presented myself at the offices of the Selective Service Board where, together with a group of other unhappy man, I was loaded into a bus and trundled off to Fort Dix. 

On our rival at the command camp, the Army lost no time it swearing us in and with that I was no longer my own man but was a creature of the U.S. Army.

I don't recall how that afternoon was spent.  All I remember is that it was cold and it was wet.  I had worn my oldest clothes, and the puddles seeped through the holes in my shoes.  Finally it was dinnertime and I was looking forward to getting into a nice warm barracks. That was not to be. At 8 PM, we were herded into a large room and given an intelligence test.  Just how the army expected us to be able to exercise a modicum of intelligence under those conditions I have yet to figure out.

Finally were marched past a row of barracks to a group of eight-men pyramidal tents.  In the center of our tent was a fireplace – something resembling an inverted funnel. It was operated by moving sand up to and away from the base of the thing.

Here I had a "Stroke of luck!"

Here I had a stroke of luck.  Our tent was already inhabited by a fellow who had been there a week waiting for a special assignment and he had mastered the trick of operating the fireplace. The tent was toasty warm.  Shortly afterward there was a rack us next to us as fellows  came pouring out of their smoke-filled tent.

Learning more.."World War II and Private Toffey"

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Dad's Story: "WV Toffey – Veteran and Much More"

My three and a half years as a soldier ended October 16, 1945, when I arrived home wearing the "ruptured duck" emblem of the discharge, to be welcomed by my parents's Aurelia Smith, the maid, and Scrappy, the dog.

First thing I did was change to civvies. With the exception of a brief furlough at home, it was the first time since March of 1942 that I had been out of uniform.

I figured on a month of just being lazy and enjoying my freedom. However, when it was stretching into another month I decided that I had better start looking for a job.

If I had been willing to return to the Jersey Journal my job would have been waiting for me. However, I had long since decided that the Journal was not the place where I wanted to spend the rest of my working life. So I set out to hunt down a job, which proved to be not so easy. While there were a lot of men still in uniform, a lot had also been discharged. Also, companies who had hired replacement for employees who had been drafted had to find places for both those and the returning servicemen.

I answered ads and visited employment agencies

So time dragged on as I answered ads and visited employment agencies.

It wasn't until March when I visited the offices of Topics Publishing Company at 330 West 42nd St., New York City, that I finally landed a job. I was interviewed by Dan Rennick, the editorial director, who threw me a curve by telling me to interview him. I don't know whether it was that story or the fact that I was asking only $50 a week that landed me the job. (I had been making $35 at the Journal and didn't realize that inflation had set in while I was gone.)

Learning more..."WV Toffey – Veteran and Much More"

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Dad's Story: "Paris in the Spring!"

24 March 1945

Dear Family:

Paris in the Spring! I just had three wonderful days of it -- got back last night.

Darned few passes are being given to visit glorious, glamorous Paree, but by some wild stroke of fate, someone pulled my name out of a hat and Monday afternoon I set off to see the big city. It was an in-hour ride by truck and train, with accommodations none the best, but who cares if you're going to Paris.

We were put up in the Red Cross Rainbow Corner, one of the Red Cross sleeping places in Paris. The American Red Cross is doing an amazing job there. The Rainbow Corner is on the Boulevard de Madeleine, only a block from the Madeleine. It used to be the Hotel de Paris. The men on pass sleep five to the room, which might sound crowded to a civilian, but is very comfortable for any soldier. There's a bath in with each room.

Learning more..."WWII, Paris in the Spring!

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Dad's Story: "...Subject of Paris"

24 March 1945

Dear Family:

I guess I am just about talked out on the subject of Paris, because I can't think of anything else to tell you about it. I mailed home some post cards I found in a little shop, together with a souvenir folder from a night club and two pictures of Montgomery Evans' cafe in Paris.  So much for Paree.

I got three boxes recently. First to come was mailed, I believe, on February 28, and included the Barrachini chocolates (They are the most delicious I ever tasted) and Triscuits wrapped in separate packages.  Unfortunately, they got rather stale that way. Then I got that large box of cookies, which I assume were Mrs. Gallagher's because they were wonderful and we all enjoyed them immensely. Today came the box with the ginger and fruit and cigarettes from Andy as well as the snacks. Please thank Mrs. Gallagher and Andy for them for me. I believe this was mailed February 14.

You said you couldn't find Eupen on the map.  It's fairly near the German border in northern Belgium, but I can't think just how to locate it. It is listed in the gazetteer of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and is a pretty large town.  I hope you enjoy the "Road to Berlin," although the stuff is pretty old by now. The trouble was that the division was never released for publication on the material included in that book until October 1, and by that time the stuff was pretty old. The more recent actions have been far less spectacular, and there were a lot of other outfits in them.

Learning more..."...Subject of Paris"

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Dad's Story: "Trip to Berlin"

11 May 1945

Dear Family:

In my little book of "Things I Have Learned," I am adding a note never again to try to drink with a Russian officer, especially in Berlin on V-E Day plus One. I find I just can't take it.

Of course, there is nuite a story attached to this, so I'll begin at the beginning --

A few of the intelligence men took a ride to Berlin one day recently. It was not exactly authorized, and the trip was pretty far, but they just wanted to see Berlin. When they came back and told stories about it, a few of the big brass decided that they, too, would like to go. They got permission from Corps to use the ferry, then took off -­ three lieutenant colonels, two majors, two German-speaking lieutenants, and two enlisted men, one of whom spoke Russian. Lt. Burns meanwhile had gotten permission to tag along, so he loaded Hoylman and me into the peep and we raced along after them.

When we got to the ferry, we found that it would only hold three peeps, and it looked as though we were going to be left behind.

One of the lieutenant colonels, whom I had previously thought of as a rather thoughtless person, nevertheless arranged for us to ride in the other three peeps.  We crossed the Elbe, and began the long journey through Russian-held territory.

The first thing that struck us was the surrender flags. They were all white in our area, but across the Elbe every home had a red flag hanging out. Then we met some of the Russ1an soldiers. Some were dressed in the traditional Cossack uniforms with the wool black hats that looked like half of an inverted cone, some in more motley arrays of uniforms. One group was parading by on horseback -- the horses were all beautiful.  All the Russians were glad to see us. They saluted, and when we stopped they would come up, stand at attention and salute, then shake hands with us. They were very friendly, and the poor interpreters were kept busy aiding with th

Learning more..."Trip to Berlin"

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Dad's Story: "Ludwig Castle and Hitler Estate"

July 17, 1945

Dear Family:

Yesterday was my birthday. It had all the making of a pretty lousy sort of a birthday. Bob Hoylman was going to the dentist clinic, and asked me to drive Lt. Mcintire, our new assistant PRO, to Geissen, about 110 miles from here. We were looking for a place where we could have more copies of the division book printed. We took with us a young woman -- perhaps not too young, for she was thrice married -- who was to act as interpreter. We found that in the past the language difficulties made it pretty hard to arrange anything, and since she is an advertising artist and knew the technical printing terms, we figured she could help a lot. She is very pleasant, a good sport, and of "gentle" birth, being the niece of the baron here in Schwebda (I didn't mention the name of our town here before because I knew you would never find it on the map.) We went through Kassel, and there picked up a printer who place had been bombed out (Kassel is almost totally demolished) who was to direct us to the place near Geissen).  We made a side trip over miles of the worst roads I have seen in a long time, to deliver something to the Red Cross at a prisoner camp where the baron is being held, and had an awful time getting back to the autobahn. It rained intermittently on the way, but on the trip back it really poured and I didn't even have my field jacket with me. A trip in the rain in a peep is one of the most miserable experiences one could have, and I arrived back cold and wet and tired, as well as hungry, because we couldn't find any place to eat and had had only our K-rations for lunch. Hoylman and his friend, Hershel Freshour, had taken the things from my birthday package which I had opened earlier, had prepared elaborate hors oeuvres.  We got a bottle of rum and mixed rum punch, and six of us -- Charlotte, Lt. Mcintire, Hoylman, Freshour and another fellow, Bob Buchan, ate and drank. Then I took out the present from Betty and Aurelia, and we had fruit cake for dessert. It was quite a festive occasion. I forgot to mention that Hoylman had painted in watercolor on the glass chandelier "Happy Birthday to Willie". I started reading the Dorothy Parker book -- I always get quite a kick out of her stuff.  I know that Andy sent me the bill holder with that nostalgic half-dollar on it, and I can guess that the Barrachini candy came from her, but for the rest, including the high-point fish, I'll just have to thank you all for it.               

But that isn't the high point of my story. A week ago Saturday the first sergeant called up and asked whether anyone in our office would like to spend three days at the division's rest camp in Bavaria. I cheeked with Lt. Burns, he Okayed it, then Hoylman and I flipped to see who would go. It meant a trip of almost 400 miles in a GI truck each way.   The 2-1/2 ton, six-wheeled Army truck has the hardest, most uncomfortable seats of any Army vehicle, and it is probably the bumpiest next to the tank. I wasn't ready to go off on a trip. All my clothes were dirty, my front tooth had fallen out and I had an appointment on Monday to have it put in. Also, I wasn't that anxious to see Bavaria. Hoylman was going boar hunting Sunday night with the baron's son, so he didn't want to get up and start out at 3:30 Monday morning. Then we started to flip the coin, he said "Does the winner or the loser go?" We  felt just like that about it. I won the flip.

The trip was not bad at all. I selected a box to sit on, put my blanket on it, and rode fairly comfortably. Everyone was in high spirits, even with little sleep, and when you travel 400 miles in one day through any foreign country, you are bound to see a 1ot of interesting scenery and quaint places, and we saw plenty of both.

What impressed me most, I believe, was the devastation I saw.  We passed through Wurzburg, Nurnberg  (Nuremburg )  and Munich. I have become so accustomed to seeing ruined houses and buildings that I don't notice them anymore. You see so many -- half a house standing with the other half just a pile of rubble, an empty shell with the entire inside gutted, or perhaps just a heap of bricks -- that you soon forget that they were someone's homes, that they cost a lot of money and effort to build, that perhaps they were from the owner's ancestors a hundred or two years ago, and that they will have to be entirely rebuilt. I've been through Aachen and Berlin and a lot of ruined towns in between, but for some reason, traveling through those three large cities all in one day really impressed me with the countless millions of dollars' worth of devastation had been caused in this war. Wurzburg was so damaged that you wondered where the people walking on the streets could possibly be living. Life magazine of June 4 said that Nurnberg was estimated to be 50 per cent destroyed. We went in one side, rode through the heart of the city and out the other side, and I recall doubting that 85 per cent of the houses and buildings I saw could be made fit for human use again. The entire center of historic Munich was blasted to hell, and only in the outskirts were there houses that seemed habitable.   Military Government occupied one of the few building that looked fairly intact, although scarred.  I am sure I have pictures of the figures on the front of the building -- small movable figures that I believe were meant to perform when the clock struck. I am going to read up on the places I have seen when I get home.

Learning more..."Ludwig Castle and Hitler Estate"

Topic Publishing Company & Medical Economics Co.

After the war, on April 16, 1946, Dad started at Topic Publishing Company's Drug Trade New in N.Y. City, 32nd Street and 8th Avenue.

He worked there 32 years, with the last 6 years, 1972 to 1978, at offices moved to Oradell, NJ, with Medical Economics Co., Senior Journalism. Importantly, at Drug Trade News. Dad met Dorothy, who became his wife.

See: Mom and Dad.

in 1947, 10 Acres, "Top of Hill" in Pawling, N.Y.

With money he saved during WWII, Bill bought 10 acres of land on a hill top in Pawling, N.Y., in Quaker Hill, off Game Farm Rd, in 1947. Later, would he would build, Story of MyAncestry/My Dad Family/William V.Toffey/"My Dad, 1947."

 Dad's brother was Akin, born: November 27, 1917 when Bill was 4 years old. Akin married Ginny, and their first son was Akin "Hatch" Toffey, born March 15, 1943, Glen Ridge, NJ, right.

See, Toffey's in Jersey City, NJ

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"Toffey the Coffee" while you read about Toffey... Life, History & Future!