By DON STINE
If anybody has the lineage to be a local historian, then Interlaken’s Bob Waitt is more than qualified for the job. A family member fought in the Battle of Monmouth and others fought in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. He currently is the Interlaken Borough Historian and president of the Historical Society of Ocean Grove.
“I have done a lot of research on my family’s history. The family has been here a long time and it’s interesting. The more I dig, the more I find and I have been doing this for about 25 years. And I still remain active in history with my activities.,” Waitt said.
Waitt, 79, has researched the history of every house in Interlaken and who lived in them. He is also responsible for having the borough place a plaque at its recreation field where the Asbury Park Air Show, one of the first in the country, was held in 1910.
His cousin, Morrison Remnick Waite (1816-1888), was the seventh chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1874 to 1888, appointed by President U.S. Grant.
The Waitts (the spelling of the last name changed several times over years: Waite, Waits, Wait and Waitt) came to the Boston area around 1630 and started the town of Malden, Massachusetts. The mountain there is named Waitt Mountain.
“One of my early ancestors wrote many of the laws still in effect for Massachusetts,” he said.
There were 12 Waitt family members at the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775 at the start of the Revolutionary War, with one being killed.
John Chasey, Waitt’s great, great grandmother’s father, fought at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. He served in the New Jersey State Militia in 1776 under Colonel Forman’s Brigade to reinforce the Continental Army at New York and Long Island. He enlisted in the Continental Army on March 8, 1777, at age 22, for three years as a private in the New Jersey 4th Regiment.
“Waitt family members fought in every war. They did not miss any,” Waitt said.
These wars include the King Philip War (1675-1676), the King William War (1689-1697), the Queen Ann War (1702-1713), the Quebec Canada War (1711-1712), the French & Indian War (1754-1763), the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and the Quasi Sea War (1798-1800).
George W. Waitt served in the 13th Regiment, N.J. Infantry, Co. C as a Private and Full Corporal from Aug. 25, 1862 until Nov. 1, 1863 and he took part in engagements at South Mountain, Md., on Sept. 14, 1862, Antietam, Md. on Sept. 17, 1862, Chancellorsville, Va. on May 1 to 3, 1863 and Gettysburg, Pa., July 2 and 3, 1863. On Nov. 1, 1863 he transferred to 19th Regiment, 1st Battalion Veterans Reserve Corp. until he was discharged on Nov. 15, 1865 at Elmira, N.Y. after serving three years in service to his nation.
“Some of the family came to New Jersey in the late 1790s and settled in Keyport, where they had a cigar factory, Waitt & Bond, until the 1930s,” Waitt said.
Waitt worked for 52 years in newspaper management at The Perth Amboy Evening News; the News Tribune in Woodbridge; the Asbury Park Press, the Record and Herald News of Bergen County; and at Greater Media Newspapers in Manalapan.
He is a member of The Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of the Descendants of The Founding Fathers of New England, the Society of Colonial New England, the Society of American Colonists, the Sons of War of 1812, the Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War, and area historical societies.
He was a volunteer fireman and was chief of the Sayreville Fire Department. He also served on the Sayreville Zoning and Housing Boards and Mayor’s Advisory Board.