city of a hundred years

by William Hunter Maxwell

Image: Library of Congress

A Tribute to Newark, New Jersey, Honoring by Celebration the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Granting of a Charter to the City by the State of New Jersey

Our City of a Hundred Years,
Born of rugged ideals,
Conquering fears and tears,
A soul sublime reveals.
Men of might hewed the way,
For Newark’s march ahead;
Their eyes visioned another day,
And other paths to tread.
Our City of a Hundred Years,
Pride of the Garden State,
Stalwart among its peers,
Grateful for its fate.
Service is King in our Realm,
Common comfort is the goal,
Since early fathers at the helm
Inscribed the Charter Roll.
Our City of a Hundred Years,
We honor its Charter Birth;
A home each worker fain reveres,
And gives his manhood worth.
’Tis for steerers of the ship,
As a crowded future nears,
To plan for others on the trip
Of another Hundred Years.
For yea, today, we reap the fruits
Of seeds that zeal hath sown,
So for tomorrow let’s set new roots,
For the glory of a Newark now unknown.

On March 18, 1836, Newarkers approved the incorporation of the city by a vote of 1,870 to 325. Twenty-four days later, on Monday, April 11, they elected Newark’s first mayor, William Halsey. The cornerstone of the first city hall was laid during his term, which lasted one year.

Journalist William Hunter Maxwell was a member of the Committee of One Hundred overseeing the 1916 anniversary celebrations, but had resigned in protest over the racism of some of its pronouncements. Still, his love of the city was constant and he often committed its praises to verse. This ode on the centennial of Newark’s charter was printed in The Life to Live and Other Plainpoems (1937).

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