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All of West Hudson Was Harrison in the 1840s

Jul 09, 2022
Town of Harrison Blue Sign

The one square mile Town of Harrison at one time was much larger.  In the 1840s, the Town of Harrison consisted of what we now call West Hudson, namely Harrison, East Newark, and Kearny.  The reason Harrison became much smaller than its original footprint was politics. 

Like today there were two major political parties in the 1840s, Democrats, and Republicans. In the 1840s, the residents of what we know as Kearny today were almost all Republicans while the residents of what we now know as the Town of Harrison were primarily Democrats.  The Democrats greatly outnumbered the Republicans, so the Democratic party candidates always won.

A resident of the Arlington Section of then Harrison (now the Arlington Section of Kearny), General N. Norris Halsted,  came up with the idea of petitioning the New Jersey State Legislature for the right to set up a separate government in what is now the Town of Kearny so that Republicans could win an election. 

General N N Halsted used his influence with the New Jersey State Legislature to have present-day Kearny become an independent municipality.  Kearny is now primarily Democratic but did into the 1980s have a strong local Republican party base of voters and Republican mayors. 

So in 1867, the Town of Kearny was born which included the present-day Borough of East Newark. In 1895, the citizens of the area that became the Borough of East Newark voted to separate from the Town of Kearny.

What are your thoughts on how Harrison got downsized?  What’s your opinion on do you think Harrison would be better off being all of West Hudson? Let Us Know Your Thoughts on our Community Discussion Board.  If you have not signed up yet to participate you can Sign Up now.