Shepard Kollock

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Shepard Kollock, Jr. (September 1750 – July 28, 1839) was an editor and printer, who was active in colonial New Jersey during the period of the American Revolutionary War and held various government positions in the state of New Jersey during the early 1800s. The New Jersey Journal, which became the third newspaper published in New Jersey, was established by Kollock at his press during 1779 in the village of Chatham, New Jersey, which had been settled in 1710 within the British Province of New Jersey. The newspaper, which was renamed the Elizabeth Daily Journal, was a driving force in galvanizing support and disseminating information about the Revolutionary War efforts. His newspaper continued to be published until January 3, 1992 after 212 years since its original publication.


Shepard Kollock Jr., who was the son of Shepard Kollock and Mary Goddard, was born September 1750 in Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware, and died July 28, 1839 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He married Susan Arnett on June 5, 1777, daughter of Isaac Arnett and Hannah White. They had 12 children. He is buried in First Presbyterian Church (New Brunswick, New Jersey).[1][2]

He went to learn the printing trade from William Goddard of Philadelphia, editor of the Pennsylvania Chronicle. He remained in Philadelphia until he was twenty. With health failing, he then went to St. Christopher's in the West Indies, where he carried on the business of printing. When he heard of the Battle of Lexington, he returned to the States. He received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Flying Camp in New Jersey, and in January 1777, was made 1st Lieutenant in the company of Colonel Niell of the Continental Artillery Regiment. He was at the Battles of Trenton, Fort Lee, Short Hills, and other engagements.

He resigned his commission in 1779 and established, at the insistence of U.S. Congress, the New Jersey Journal, in the village of Chatham.[2] The New Jersey Journal became the third newspaper that started publication in New Jersey[3]

His New Jersey Journal became a catalyst in the revolution. News of events came directly to the editor from George Washington's headquarters in nearby Morristown, boosting the morale of the troops and their families, and he conducted lively debates about the efforts for independence with those who opposed and supported the cause he championed.

During the evacuation of New York in 1783, he moved his press to that city and established the New York Gazetteer, published first weekly and then three times weekly, and also started a paper in New Brunswick, New Jersey.[2]

In 1787, he relocated and established his last publication location in Elizabethtown and adopted the name of the new location into his original newspaper title. He remained its owner and editor until 1818 when he sold his printing establishment. The Elizabeth Daily Journal, which had advocated for presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe while Kollock was its owner and editor, ceased publication on Friday, January 3, 1992 after 212 years from its original start, the fourth oldest newspaper published continuously in the United States and the oldest newspaper published in New Jersey.[2][4]

By 1808, he was publishing the "Journal of the Proceedings" and "Minutes of Joint Meetings" of the New Jersey Legislative Council.[5]

He was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in New Jersey for thirty-five years. At different times, he held all the more important offices, including alderman, in Elizabethtown. He was appointed aide-de-camp for New Jersey Governor Joseph Bloomfield, and was re-appointed by his successor Aaron Ogden.[2]

After he sold his printing establishment, he was appointed under President Monroe as Postmaster of Elizabethtown, which office he held until his retirement in 1829. He was one of the original members of the Society of the Cincinnati, the New Jersey Society, which was formed in 1783.[2]

Kollock published several books in Chatham:

  • The United States Almanack, for the Year of our Lord 1780 in 1779
  • The New-England Primer Improved, for the more easy attaining the true Reading of English, To which is added, the Assembly of Divines, and Mr. Cotton's Catechism in 1782
  • Ebenezer Elmer, Surgeon of the Regiment, An e[u]logy on the late Francis Barber, Esq: Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Second New-Jersey Regiment in 1783.

Today, a recreational field named after him exists in Chatham, NJ bordering the Passaic River.[6]


  1. ^ "Shepard Kollock (b. September 1750, d. July 28, 1839)". Retrieved May 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Staff. "Lieut Shepard Kollock, Jr". Find A Grave. Retrieved May 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Eighteenth-Century American Newspapers in the Library of Congress (New Jersey)". Serial & Government Publications Division - Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room. Library of Congress. May 8, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Staff. "New Jersey Loses Oldest Paper", The Palm Beach Post, January 3, 1992. Accessed March 21, 2012. "The Daily Journal, the state's oldest newspaper, will close Friday after losing money for two years. Publisher Richard J. Vezza wouldn't say how much money the 212-year-old newspaper had lost. Most of its 84 employees will be laid off."
  5. ^ Journal of the proceedings of the Legislative Council of the State of New Jersey
  6. ^ Shepard Kollock Park, ChathamPatch, accessed March 27, 2013.

Bibliography/recommended reading[edit]

  • Anderson, John R. Shepard Kollock: Editor for Freedom. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Historical Society, 1975.
  • Cunningham, John T. Chatham: At the Crossing of the Fishawack. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Historical Society, 1967.
  • Philhower, Charles A. Brief History of Chatham, Morris County, New Jersey. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914.
  • Thayer, Theodore. Colonial and Revolutionary Morris County. The Morris County Heritage Commission. (government publication)
  • Vanderpoel, Ambrose Ely. History of Chatham, New Jersey. New York: Charles Francis Press, 1921. Reprint. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham Historical Society, 1959.
  • White, Donald Wallace. A Village at War: Chatham and the American Revolution. Rutherford, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1979.

External links[edit]