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Maghan, James (1811-1893)

The Maghan Insurance Company is one of the oldest businesses in Matawan. The family has deep Monmouth County roots, with the forebearer of the current Maghan Matawan line being James Maghan (1811-1893), who married Alice Holman (1817-1908) around 1838 in Monmouth County. They subsequently had seven (7) children, the fifth being George D. Maghan (1849-1934). He married Elizabeth Ann Tully (1852-1937) on May 15, 1878, and at that time relocated from East Freehold to Matawan. Census records indicate he was employed as a grocer, and an 1889 he opened a meat and vegetable market in Keyport. He served as a deacon and trustee of the Matawan Baptist Church, and both he and his wife are buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery.

George and Elizabeth had two children, Adelaide “Addie” Romaine Maghan (1878-1942) and George Knecht Maghan (1885-1963). Adelaide married Elwood Outwater in 1905 and had one child, George Outwater, Jr. She is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.

George Knecht Maghan married Edith Warne (1886-1901) in 1907. He was a shipping clerk at the Munning Company in Matawan in 1910, and in December 1919, took a position with the W.E. Mount Company as an automobile salesman. In 1923, Mount incorporated with George S. Barrett as the Mount-Barrett Company and sold Fords and Lincolns, and George K. was a shareholder in this company. He subsequently worked for Buhler & Bitter selling Hudson and Essex cars in Keyport. In January of 1930, George and Seaboard Schanck purchased the Keyport Nash Company.

George and his wife had one child, Ross Warne Maghan (1910-1986). Both George and Edith are buried in the Old Tennent Churchyard.

Ross Warne Maghan contracted tuberculosis and went to a New JerseyMaghan Insurance sanitorium for a cure, eventually taking a job with the Mutual Life Insurance Company in California. He returned to Matawan and purchased a local insurance concern from Henry S. Devlin in 1935. He married Ann Lora Holmes (1911-2009) in April 1936 at her parent’s residence in Holmdel, and they subsequently had two children, Ross, Jr and Phyllis.

He operated his business at 58 Middlesex Avenue (now 922 Highway 34) with the office in front and his residence in the rear. In 1937, the Matawan Council awarded city liability and workmen’s compensation policies to the Maghan Agency. The Democratic council awarded it to Maghan over longtime Dem politico William Bedle. In July of 1947, he moved his agency into the newly built office on Main Street and Ravine Drive, where it remains to this day.

Ross, Sr was a past Master of the Matawan Masonic lodge and served as Chairman of Monmouth County Parks Commission. He was on the board of the Carteret Savings Bank, acted as treasurer for the First Baptist Church of Matawan, and was a charter member of the Matawan Rotary Club. Ross and his wife are buried with his parents in the Old Tennent Cemetery.

Ross Maghan, Jr subsequently took over the business, and will pass it on to his son Ross Warne Maghan III.

Click here to View Descendant Report for James MaghanDescendants of James Maghan

In 2022, Ross Maghan, Jr, donated to the Matawan Historical Society a needlepoint made by Ann Crawford Holmes (1821-1894), his maternal 2nd great grandmother, in 1835 while a student at the Middletown Point Academy. This artwork is on display in the Burrowes Mansion in Matawan.

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Barry Orr


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