Perspective/Atlantic County Clerk
This month I want to take all of you down the history of those that have served as our Atlantic County Clerk’s from the beginning. As you may know or not know Atlantic County became a county in 1837 and was carved out of Gloucester County. Once the county was created it was the legislature that appointed the first county clerks.
The very first county clerk to be appointed was James H. Collins who served in 1837 for only one year. The next appointee Samuel B. Westcott served from 1838-1839.
He oversaw the construction of the original clerk’s office. It is one of the oldest county buildings of which every clerk has called their home. Today as I write this letter I think of all those that have sat in this very same office and set policy and have followed every state mandate or statue that has come our way over the past 185 years. The legislature appointed the first four clerks the longest appointee lasting five years. The first election of a county clerk was in the 1844 election with the first elected clerk taking office on January 1, 1845. He served only one term until 1850. Terms are for a five year period. The next five elected clerks all only served one term, as it wasn’t until 1875 that Lorenzo Down was elected and served two terms for a total of ten years. In 1895 Lewis P. Scott held the office for fifteen years, which was a first for our County.
The 1922 election saw the election of what appears to be the youngest clerk elected. His name was William A. Blair. Who holds the distinction of being the longest elected clerk. Mr. Blair served the office for fifty (50) years. He left office at the age of 80 in 1973.
It should be noted that some of the last employees that Mr. Blair hired retired not many years ago. It’s most interesting to open the hand written documents and see Mr. Blair’s signature today.
It wasn’t until the election of 1977 that the county clerk’s office saw the election of Lori Mooney the first, and only, woman to have ever served as clerk. I can say that I knew Lori and she was an excellent clerk with a true dedication to her staff. It should be noted that some of my current staff were hired during her tenure. Fact is that one of my deputy clerks was hired by Lori Mooney.
It should be noted that longevity is something that has been a part of this office for many years. That is what clearly makes the position such an enjoyable one.
It’s not only the position but the long history that goes with it that makes it a pleasure to serve the people of Atlantic County. To date only seventeen (17) folks have served as our county clerk. Our office as well as this county has a rich and interesting past. As always my office door is open to the public and if in Mays Landing please take time and stop by we can show you our history.