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Livingston Celebrates Founders Day with Residents, Local Dignitaries and Founder Descendants

By KIMBERLY A. BOLOGNINI

February 6, 2013 at 7:33 AM

LIVINGSTON, NJ - In honor of the yearlong Bicentennial festivities, Livingston celebrated Founders Day Tuesday night at Town Hall, with founder descendants, residents and local dignitaries, including former Governor
Tom Kean.

The night began with Mayor Rudy Fernandez giving a brief historical background on how the township of Livingston was formed and then welcoming all those who came out to the event.

“I want to thank Governor Tom Kean for agreeing to participate in our celebration and sharing his thoughts of Livingston,” Fernandez said.

The night continued as the Livingston High School Bicentennial Singers and Players performed “The National Anthem” and “Livingston High School Alma Mater.”

Actor Ed Schiff performed a reenactment of Governor Aaron Ogden, who was governor at the time, while spiritedly reading the township charter.

Fernandez and Bicentennial Chairperson, Scott Maynard, recognized all founding father descendants in attendance, and presented them with proclamations and certificates.

Fernandez noted that four descendants are currently residing in Livingston, including Richard Meeker, John Collins, Wilbur Hoffman and Arlene Newcomb, while the rest traveled from other areas of New Jersey and states even as far as California, where Aaron Beach descendant Scott Morehouse traveled from.

Bicentennial Co-Chair Ellie Cohen welcomed and introduced former Livingston resident Kean.

Cohen said she fondly remembered supporting Kean since the beginning of his career.

“I was so thrilled for this man who supported the equal rights movement,” Cohen said. “I think NJPAC is your gold mark in this world. You are truly a man of this county and it is my honor to welcome you.”

According to Cohen, Kean is a descendant of Founding Father Robert Livingston and also has a historical past in which Kean’s ancestors have signed documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Kean recollected his childhood spent in Livingston, where “only” 5,000 people lived at the time.

“I remember this community so well growing up, it was a farming community at the time,” Kean said.

Kean reflected on his everyday happenings such as trips to stores and interactions with town residents.

“It was a wonderful, warm community. My memories of people from Livingston are extremely warm,” Kean said.

Kean added that the pride that Livingston residents and governmental officials have for the town, are incomparable.

“I don’t know a town that had more great elected officials than Livingston,” Kean said.

The former governor concluded by stating that history and Livingston’s residents are what made the town what it is.

“Livingston is a wonderful community because of you, people who came before you and the people who came before them,” Kean said.

Former Mayor and Bicentennial Co-Chair Arlene Johnson concluded the event by explaining the power of history.

“What a wonderful evening in which history has come to life," Johnson said. " History is about people, and
numerous people have invested their lives in this town."

The night concluded with numerous desserts that were made from their original 1813 recipes for attendees to enjoy.

Johnson told TheAlternativePress.com that the amount of Livingston pride in the room was evident.

“The whole evening made everyone so proud of Livingston and really set the tone of the whole Bicentennial,” Johnson said.