Moses C. Crocker
A Sketch of the Senior Editor of Vineland's first Weekly Newspaper
Moses C. Crocker, a descendant of Robert Cushman, one of the Pilgrim Fathers, was born in 1802 at Halifax, a small town in Massachusetts, but a few miles distant from the landing place of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
He improved his early advantages and acquired an education, which fitted him for a teacher and for some time taught school. Desirous of seeing more of the world he shipped on board a whaling vessel bound on a three-year cruise. While absent he had numerous adventures and visited several foreign cities.
The greater portion of his life, however, was spent in Halifax, cultivating a small farm on which he settled on marrying. At the age of forty-five he moved to Lawrence, a growing manufacturing town, where he remained until 1860. During the "hard times" that prevailed a few years previous he met with reverses in some real estate transactions in which he was engaged, losing the accumulation of years. Two of his sons having bought the Milford (Mass) Journal, he was installed chief editor, continuing to hold that position during the exciting period of the Civil War. On July 19, 1865, his son, Francis P. Crocker, visited Vineland, then without a newspaper, save the Vineland Rural, an occasional publication circulated by Mr. Landis to advertise the advantages of the new settlement. He was followed by his father, who thoroughly investigated the claims of Vineland, and feeling assured of the success of the enterprise, with his son removed from Massachusetts and set up a printing office in a portion of the building known as the Vineland House.
Here was issued, September 9, 1865, Vineland's first weekly paper, the Vineland Weekly, under the editorial management of M. C. and F. P. Crocker. The editors "promise to encourage sound morality; to be true to the Union; not to foster any sectarian spirit; give the general news of the day and work to promote the best interest and prosperity of Vineland." The paper starting with two hundred subscribers proved a success and secured the patronage of Mr. Landis, the founder of the place. In three years Mr. Crocker was able to remove to a building erected for the weekly and build a substantial dwelling for himself and family.
Mr. Crocker was sixty-three years of age when he came to Vineland, a period of life when few men begin new enterprises, and naturally much of the business management devolved upon his son, whose urbanity of manner and pleasing address made him a favorite in society.
Of the Congregational faith, Mr. Crocker welcomed a society of that denomination in Vineland and became one of its most earnest supporters. He was a good man rather than a great one, with little of that aggressive spirit commonly held to be essential to success. His was a generous nature, and he tried to do his part in making the world better and increase the sum of general happiness.
Failing health compelled Mr. Crocker to relinquish his professional duties, and after several months of sickness he died March 14, 1874, aged 71 years and 10 months. His remains were taken to his native town and laid among his relatives and friends. His widow died January 28, 1887. His son, Francis P. Crocker, died March 13, 1885.