NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – When Carl R. Schultz wanted to know more about his ancestors 19 years ago he did not expect to spend the next two decades looking for distant family members. However, he found a half-sister and an expanded family clan of the late Carl H. Schultz and their life stories worth not only a book, but potentially a miniseries. Consequently, his research brought him to New Providence, where his Great Grandfather Carl H. Schultz was a prominent figure who greatly influenced the Murray Hill area.
Carl H. Schultz was remembered at the Monday, July 11 council meeting. Mayor Al Morgan read a proclamation with the presence of Carl R. Schultz and his wife Janice along with several other Schultz family members and representatives of the New Providence Historical Society.
Carl H. Schultz was born in Prussia in 1827. He moved to New York with his wife Louise to work at the New York Crystal Palace, eventually becoming one of the leading businessmen in New York. A chemist by education, Schultz created a formula to artificially produce mineral water, and consequently became the largest artificial mineral water producer in the world. According to the younger Schultz, at the time mineral water was prescribed as medicine by doctors, which helped Carl H. Schultz to expand his business.
Schultz and wife Louise had 11 children; 4 boys and 7 girls, all born in New York City. They resided in the Washington Heights section of New York. However, Carl H. Schultz, seeking a place for his family to spend quality time away from the city, came to New Providence and grew fond of the area. Between 1868 and 1890 he purchased 400 acres of land in the Murray Hill section of New Providence. The family built a 16 room home with all the modern conveniences at the corner of South St. and what now is Oakwood Rd.
By 1885, the railroad had come through New Providence and Schultz offered to donate land for a spacious new station. He only requested that the station be called Murray Hill, after the New York City Murray Hill Hotel. Railroad officials quickly agreed. He also introduced macadamized roads as well as gas streetlights, installed between Murray Hill Station and his home. The streetlights, which were extremely bright, were powered by acetylene gas manufactured in a small plant located in an out building near his home.
As each of the Schultz children married they were given property and funds to build a home of their own design. By 1903 ten homes, plus a club house, adjacent to the pool and tennis courts, made up the Schultz Compound. At the entry to the Schultz Compound the roads had two stone pillars erected, on either side of the road. One set still remains at the property of 160, 163 Oakwood Dr.
In 1894, the Schultz’s oldest son, Carl H. Jr. was tragically killed in a railroad accident at the age of 24. Carl Jr. had been groomed to take over the mineral water business. Carl H. Schultz died suddenly at his Murray Hill home from pneumonia on May 29, 1897. He was 69 years old.
After passing, his two younger sons ran the business with Louise. According to Carl R. Schultz, the brothers received a salary while the seven sisters, who did not work for the company, received an allowance. However, problems arose when Louise decided to remarry in 1910. Although the prenuptial agreement was signed, the Schultz sisters were not pleased and started to demand more money. A lengthy legal battle continued for years and drained the business financially. Louise died in 1921 and the company went bankrupt in 1929.
Although the home of Carl H. and Louise was destroyed in a fire in 1973, several other Schultz family homes are still standing in New Providence. Daughter Pauline Schultz and first husband Fritz Von Bernuth resided in a still standing home at 163 Oakwood Dr. Daughter Marie Schultz’s former home at One Eggers Court has been restored to its former grandeur. The home of another daughter, Elsie, was purchased by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in 1960. The main house and Carriage House are still standing.
.The members of the expanded Schultz family were active in local politics. Ernest B. Rubsamen Sr. (daughter Orla Schultz’s husband) served as a councilman 1899-1900 and 1904-1906. He was also the Mayor of New Providence 1902-1904. Fredrick Von Bernuth (daughter Pauline Schultz’s husband) was a councilman 1906-1908. Walter Aufermann (daughter Marie Schultz’s husband) served on the Borough Council 1904-1912. Carl Rudolph Schultz was a councilman 1900-1904.
On Tuesday, Carl R. Schultz spent a couple of hours at the Historical Society’s Archives with his wife and research partner Janice along with his half-sister Barbara Doyle, her son Tom Doyle (also a chemist) and daughter-in-law Vanessa.
The amount of history embedded in the Schultz family saga “blows your mind,” Carl R. said. So fa,r his 19 years of research has produced file upon file of information. Each new piece of the puzzle provides a window into “a new branch” of the family, he said. The research is snowballing and there seems to be no end in sight.