NAVESINK – A panel of three local historians and authors will present a program on the impact local churches had on the history of Monmouth County on Thursday, March 19 at All Saints Memorial Church.
Joe Grabas, Muriel J. Smith, and Donald Burden will present different views of the importance of local churches at various points of American history, their use as alarm centers and hospitals as well as their importance to genealogists and historians searching for information from earlier centuries.
Grabas, a noted authority on historical land title research and one of only a few dozen individuals in the State a Certified Title Professional designation is also recognized as a National Title Professional by the American Land Title Association. He has searched, examined and/or insured over 100,000 land titles in five states and all 21 counties in New Jersey over the last four decades, and is qualified as an Expert in land title and real estate matters by the Superior Court of NJ. He is a visiting lecturer at Monmouth University and serves on the NJ Tidelands Resource Council. Grabas is the author of the award winning book Owning New Jersey: Historic Tales of War, Property Disputes and the Pursuit of Happiness. His discussion will include explanations and reasons concerning the importance of Monmouth County in the transition of the nation from slavery to freedom.
Smith, an award winning journalist for more than 60 years, like Grabas, is a member of the Monmouth County Historical Commission as well as several local historical societies. She is the author of four books, most recently, Hidden History of Monmouth County, which she co-authored with Rick Geffken, telling the stories of the people, places and events that molded Monmouth County over several centuries. She is the former editor of The Courier in Middletown, as well as managing editor of one of Malcolm Forbes weekly newspapers in Somerset County and continues to be a contributing writer to numerous newspapers throughout the United States. She has a regular column, History and Happenings, in the Atlantic Highlands Journal. A former member of the Highlands Board of Education, and secretary to both the Atlantic Highlands Highlands Regional Sewerage Authority and the Highlands Planning Board, Smith’s other books include a history of the World War II draft in New Jersey as seen through the eyes of a newspaper reporter, and a history of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, a cohort of governmental, business and union leaders and the roles they played in restoring the infrastructure of New Jersey. In her presentation, Smith will trace the history of churches and synagogues in New Jersey and how important they were to the immigrants who settled here, highlighting the role All Saints Church has always played in the community.
Burden, a former member of the Monmouth County Historical Commission and former Mayor of Shrewsbury, is borough historian and president of the Shrewsbury Historical Society. A world traveler, Burden is also the co-author of the Story of Shrewsbury: Revisited 1965-2015. A Connecticut native, he began his publishing career with the McGraw-Hill Companies, and taught both marketing courses at Moorpark College and professional publishing programs at Aubrey Cohen College in New York during his nearly half century with the firm. He and his wife Mary Lea and their family have lived in Shrewsbury since 1974; he is a former member of the Board of Education, committee chair of the Shrewsbury Shade Tree Commission for a quarter of a century and committee chair for the local Boy Scout troop. He also served as chair of the Two River Council of Mayors and is a trustee of the National Association of College Stores, President of the College Store Research & Education Foundation and the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. He was president of the Middle Atlantic Association of College Stores and served two terms as a director of the California Association of College Stores. At the March 19 event, Burden will provide an overview of the prominent early role Shrewsbury played in the religious life of Monmouth County together with the establishment of historic churches and Shrewsbury's religious influence played a significant role serving a community of many. Today Shrewsbury's "Historic Four Corners" is readily identified by the century old edifices that populate this treasured corner in Monmouth County.