George A. Day: General Manager of Idylease from 1904-1920

George Day at Idylease
George A. Day Served as General Manager of Idylease from 1904-1920. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

Early in life the Day family developed very close relationships and remained so throughout their lives. One of the family’s ties was that Dr. Edgar A. Day, who established Idylease Inn in 1902, hired his nephew George A. Day to serve as manager. After the death of Dr. Day in 1906, George assumed the responsibility of operating Idylease Inn.

About 1855, Anthony L. and his wife, Elizabeth S. Strait Day had settled on a 356-acre farm on Paradise Road in West Milford. They reared six children: Judson Frank who was called by the family members “Frank”, Alfred L., Edgar Arthur, Susan B., Mary F. and Elizabeth S. Day. They were a very close family and the parents had taught their children that to succeed in life one must be educated. Anthony L. Day had donated land for a school to be built in Stockholm. Books, newspapers, and magazines were readily available for the children to read. Though Anthony was not religious inclined, Elizabeth had deep religious convictions which she instilled in her children.

Their son, Judson F. Day, became a school teacher and taught schools around the old Stockholm area. He had married Annie Eckhart, Nov. 12, 1872. Many of the families in the Paradise, Clinton and Newfoundland area of West Milford intermarried as the families developed close relationships with their neighbors.

judson day and annie ekhardt
From the Grace E. Day photo collection are cameo portraits of Annie Eckhart at age 17 and Judson F. Day at age 25. Image courtesy of Beth Willis from the Day Photo Collection. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

Annie Eckhart Day was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Post Eckhart who lived on a 200-acre farm that occupied  both sides of Union Valley Road, north of Idylease. The family was listed on the 1860 West Milford Township census records as: William, farmer, age 51; Elizabeth, wife, age 50; Adaline, age 22; Harriet, age 20; Mariah, age 19; John, age 16; Anna, age 13; Martha L., age 11; Susan, age 9 and William, age 4. His property was sold to the East Jersey Water Company for building of the Clinton Reservoir. These families remained close to each other during their lifetime.

In 1973, Beth Willis had the opportunity to visit with another relative, Percy C. Davenport, son of Louis N. Davenport and Lillian Crayon (daughter of Joseph P. Crayon). Louis’s father, Lewis Davenport had married Christiana Eckhart, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Post Eckhart.

One of the items he had given Beth was a 4 x 4.25-inch card of a photograph of the Eckhart family including Annie Eckhart Day. It is undated. On the back of the card was typed, “The two in center first row were my grandmother and her twin sister Charity Thurston. After her husband’s death, she lived with my grandparents and her two sons were brought up same as my uncles.

Day Eckhart at Idylease
Photograph of the Eckhart family including Annie Eckhart Day. Image Courtesy of Beth Willis from the Crain Family Photo Collection. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced.

After Dr. Edgar A. Day had the Idylease Inn in 1902, he established the Newfoundland Valley Improvement Society and the North Jersey Poultry Association. William Eckhart had served as committee chairman of the public highway of the Newfoundland Valley Improvement Society. Several of his sons were listed as members of both or either of the organizations.

Judson and Annie had raised a family of five children: Charles F., George A., May, Robert, and Grace E. Day.

George Day General Manager of Idylease
Portrait of George A. Day from the Strait Family Collection. Courtesy of Beth Willis. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

About 1874, Judson moved his family to Brooklyn, New York where he went into business with his brother Alfred. There, George Anthony Day was born on May 25, 1876. About 1877, Frank and Annie returned to the farm on Paradise Road. There is reference in the Day family history that the area was called “Burdock Point”. In 1892, Frank and his family relocated back to Brooklyn. It was here that George A. Day married May Beyer on Feb. 20, 1907. They had twins, Charlotte and Albert Edgar. Charlotte was born Feb. 10, 1910 and died Nov. 1, 1918 at Newfoundland. Albert Edgar was born Feb. 10, 1910 and married Edith Harrison, they had no children.

When Dr. Edgar A. Day built Idylease Inn, he brought in his nephew George to be General Manager of the resort hotel in 1904. After Dr. Day died in 1906, George continued operating the Inn for another fourteen years.

After he left Idylease Inn, George became a New York supplies manager at Remington Rand. George and May had lived in Ridgewood, N.J., where they were members of the First Presbyterian Church for over thirty-five years. George retired in 1945. When May died Oct. 12, 1952, George went to live at 1021 Alps Road, Preakness, N.J. with his sisters, May and Grace.

George, May and Grace Day
From the Grace E. Day Collection is a September 1953 photograph, left to right: Grace E., George A., and May E. Day. All rights reserved, may not be reproduced.

George died March 25, 1955 and was buried next to his beloved wife, May, at the Preakness Reformed Cemetery in Wayne where they had been members of the church since living in Preakness.

As with most of the Day family, George A. Day had a long productive life based on his deep religious convictions.

Beth Willis, June 20, 2017
Support Graphics by Richard Zampella

Beth Willis is a history writer and regular contributor to the Idylease History Blog. She currently resides in Lockport, New York. Beth is the curator of the Strait, Walther and Day genealogies and photo collections. Recently, she completed a 639-page manuscript entitled, “The Inhabitants of the Neighborhood……… A Pictorial History of Snufftown, now Stockholm, Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey and its Vicinity” that includes over 900 historical photographs.

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The West Milford Argus Newspaper

James L. White was the Editor of The West Milford Argus from 1915-1947

“The West Milford Argus actually dates back to 1893 when is was called The Pequonnock Valley Argus”

Some will remember the West Milford Township Argus. It was the official legal advertising newspaper for the Township of West Milford for many years before it ceased publication. Before the West Milford Argus existed it was preceded by the Pequannock Valley Argus that covered the many villages that dotted the area over 100 years ago. In 1915, The West Milford Argus was purchased by Princeton University graduate James White, who served as editor in chief until his death in 1947. Below is an article printed about him posthumously in the The Princeton Alumni Weekly.


On the 26th day of November 1947, It is said, “Jimmy White died.”

In the physical sense this is true, for on that day his great heart stopped beating. But the spirit of Jimmy White will never die as long as those who knew and loved him still live.

His death was unexpected. He had recently undergone a medical examination which indicated that he was in good health. A heart attack brought about his death at Ardmore. Pa., where he and his wife had gone to spend the holiday weekend with his son-in-law and daughter, Colonel and Mrs. Justin Duryea, and to celebrate the birth of their son, Jimmy’s fourth grandchild.

He was born on January 30, 1891, in Bloomingdale, N.J.. where he resided all his life. Jim prepared for Princeton at Paterson Grammar School and entered Blair Academy. On August 22, 1912, he married Miss Clara Marie Kampfe.

Within two years of his graduation from Princeton he entered into his life’s work. In partnership with Judge Alexander McLeod he purchased The Butler Argus. Soon thereafter he became sole owner. Under his leadership his beloved Argus became an institution, With it, and his four other weeklies. The Bloomingdale Argus, The Pompton Lakes Ledger, The Wanaque Borough News, and The West Milford Argus, he demonstrated the influence of hometown newspapers in a suburban area. To this community he was sage and philosopher whose editorial preachments were followed with regularity. He was a true American of the richest cracker barrel tradition, and all his neighbors believed in him.

Not content with being a country editor, Jimmy took an active and ardent interest in community affair. For a quarter of a century he was President of the Bloomingdale Board of Education, retiring in 1945. For more than twenty years he distributed Christmas baskets to needy children in Bloomingdale, with the recipients never knowing whence they came.

He was a member of the Butler Methodist Church, The Silentia Lodge. A.A.N., of Butler. Butler Rotary Club, Elm Club and Triangle Club of Princeton University, and a member (and past president) of the Pica Club, a newspaper organization.

He glorified in his civic responsibilities, and was proud of his membership In the local fire department and the Butler Band. Our own feelings are best expressed in the heart-felt eulogy prepared by the editorial staff of The Butler Argus;

Jimmy is gone. To some he may have been James White, but to us on his staff and to hundreds of others, he was Just Jimmy or Jim.

It’s hard to believe. but his genial smile is gone and his ready laughter has been stilled. No more the witty tale to bring a hearty laugh; no more the boundless humor that always could look on the bright side of life. It’s hard to believe but there it is.

There will be those who will lay muck stress on his civic and educational activities and rightly so. But to those of us who lived so close to him for many years, these facets of his character are for the more formal obituary. We prefer to remember him as he was in his relations with us—a good boss, a friend in need. a regular guy.

Yes, “30,” the end in newspaper parlance, has come for Jimmy after a career of which anyone could be proud. He was good, he was kind, he Was a friend. Coming from those who worked for him, what greater eulogy could any man want?

Jim loved Princeton. The Bard of Butler was the sparkplug of all midwinter dinners and re-unions. His after-dinner speeches, full of his inimitable stories and Jests, made him the most popular figure at all class gatherings. His kindly humor and generosity of spirit, which endeared hint to his home community, made him one of the most beloved members of his class.

The little “Will Rogers” of Butler has passed away, but in the great bourne to which he has gone he will receive his reward for a good life. We record with profound sorrow the passing of James White. Our sympathy goes out to his widow, Mrs. Clara Kampfe White; his son, Ger-ald White of Brookline. Mass.; bis daughters. Mrs. Justin Duryea of Ardmore, Pa., and Misa Esther White of Bloomingdale; his father, Walter C. White Sr.; and his two brothers. DeGray and W. Clayton White, all of Bloomingdale.

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