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In the Spring of 1918 my parents, Joseph and Mary Estomin with my brother Harold joined their relatives, the Wexlers, in a joint venture: farming. Coming from New York City to  the good clean air for Harold, who was asthmatic, was just what the doctor ordered.

In the big old house on Old Freehold Road, formerly the Samuelson Farm, lived my grandparents Hyman and Rose Wexler, my uncle Abraham, my uncle and aunt Jacob and Sonia Wexler, their children Goldie, Ida, Isadore, Bennett and Samuel, my parents Joseph and Mary and my brother Harold. They ran a general farm growing corn, cabbages, beets; raising cows, horses and 500 chickens on the outside, and a boarding house on the inside. Friends and family with all their children were always coming from the City to the country.

At that time, Old Freehold Road was the main highway between Lakewood and Toms River, and our house became the focal point of the Jewish Community.   There was  no electricity  in the rural areas so we had installed our own electric system. We had the tremendous Delco batteries which provided us with some of our needs.

My father continued to work in New York as a milkman for four years to supplement the family income. He came to Toms River every Friday night and went back every Sunday on the train from Lakewood. The trip to Lakewood by horse and buggy took longer than the train ride to NY.

Food shopping was a major outing to Lakewood to purchase flour, salt, sugar by the 100 Lb. bag and then visiting Jewish friends to exchange the current news. Once a week the Schochet came to the farms for the slaughtering of the animals for the table. Most of the food consumed was grown and canned by my mother, grandmother and aunt. Visitors from N Y brought delicacies we couldn't get here. Every Friday morning  before daybreak my grandmother was up preparing for Shabbas; baking her Challah, bread, pastries for the Sabbath and the rest of the week. Then followed meat, chicken and whatever else was on the menu. This was all done on a wood and coal stove which also was part of the heating system for the entire house.

During the month of May 1920, my mother went to NY to await my arrival. Shortly after I was introduced to the "Family" and to Toms River. At the same time as my arrival, we welcomed a new neighbor: the Hyman Friedmans and their children Ida, William, Abraham and Minnie.

In 1924 my uncle Abraham brought his bride to live with us. A year later my cousin Beatrice was born.

The Jewish families already residing in Toms River were the Samuelsons, Kaufmans, Novins, Eichenbaums and the Max Leet family. As always, there was a strong need for Jews to get together. At first there were minyuns in individual homes and then they began to meet in the Wexler house for meetings and functions.

In 1924 my parents built their own home on Church Road which was a subdivided parcel of  the  original  farm.    My  uncle  Abe,  his family  and  his in-laws, the Woloshins,  built their farm right next to ours from the same parcel. At  this  time  my  parents  started poultry farming . The Jewish Agricultural Society was quite active helping Jews resettle on farms. In 1926 my parents were awarded  an Outstanding Jewish Farmer of New Jersey Award from the J A S. Soon we had a capacity of 4,000 chickens which was considered one of the largest farms in New Jersey.

My first year of school was the first year of the motorized school bus and the opening of the brand new Hyers Street Grammar School.

Between the years of 1920 and 1925, there was an influx of Jewish families: the Newtons; Joseph Haberman family with their children Max, Rubin, Morris, Julius  and Ruth; the Karels and son Herbert; the Wallach's; Hilda and Jack Baer and their children Ramona and James; Morris Rosenberg family with their children Lillian,  Helen  and Oscar; the Meyers' with their children Charles, Rose and Morris; the Dinnerstein family; the Harris family; the Bulter's; the Kraus and the Levines had businesses in town.

The Poultrymans Service Feed Co. started as a feed Co-op servicing farmers. There was also the United Feed Co. owned by the Kaufman family .

The Federation of Egg Producers Co-op (FEPCO), an egg marketing co-op, was started in the 1930's to help the farmers sell their products.

As more and more Jews settled in Toms River, there was no place large enough to meet. So all the Jewish farm families got together and formed the Community of Jewish Farmers. The corner stone was laid in 1924. The land was donated by Max Leet and the building was built by Jacob Wexler and Morris Rosenberg. Mr. Rosenberg was later one of the Gaboyim of the Congregation B'nai Israel.

The Community  was used by all factions for all purposes:  religious,  political., educational, social. Education was always uppermost in the minds of the people. There was a Jewish shule with teachers coming from NYC to teach Yiddish speaking, reading, writing, literature and history. There was a basketball team, softball team, etc. Jewish youth from Toms River, Lakewood and Farmingdale used to meet above Wolpin's Furniture Store on 4th Street in Lakewood for a social discussion club. It was there I met my wife to be, Eta Gelbaum.

In my high school graduating class there were 11 Jewish students out of a class of 104. Four of us were in the top ten, Most us went on to further our education.

At the beginning of WW II, I had to leave college to come home and work the farm. During the war there were very few young men left on the farms; essential work; food for the country.

In 1941 I married Eta Gelbaum and we started  the whole cycle again in the big old house on the Old Freehold Road were my three children were born.

Alton Estomin