Cumberland County Clerks
Prior to 1776, County Clerks were appointed by the Governor to hold at his pleasure, or during good behavior. From 1776 to the new Constitution in 1844, they were appointed by joint meeting of the legislature for the term of five years. The governor filled all vacancies until the next meeting. Under the Constitution of 1844 they are elected by the people and vacancies filled as before until the next election.
Elias Cotting was the first Cumberland County Clerk to hold the position……Daniel M. Woodruff was the first Cumberland County Clerk elected by the people of the County.
Here is an historical account of the first clerk:
The first court of common pleas was held at Greenwich, May 1748. Atttorneys’ names appearing were, Daniel Mestayer, Rose, Robert Hartshorne. Court sat in meeting house. Judges, John Brick, Richard Wood, John Remington. Sheriff, Annanias Sayre. Clerk, Elias Cotting…..therefore, Elias Cotting was the first Clerk to serve Cumberland County.
The following have held office:
Elias Cotting, appointed May 1748 to hold during pleasure of governor Belcher; Reappointed December 1755 to hold during good behavior; Died 1757.
Daniel Elmer, II, Appointed December 1, 1757; Died May 2, 1761.
Maskell Ewing, Appointed May 1761; Reappointed February 16, 1762 to hold during the pleasure of Governor; Declined to serve under the State Government.
Jonathan Elmer, Appointed by joint meeting September 1776; Reappointed September 29, 1781; Resigned March 17, 1786; Reappointed same date; Resigned November 2, 1789.
James Giles, Appointed November 2, 1789; Reappointed 1794 and 1799.
Dr. Azel Pierson, Appointed November 1, 1804; Reappointed October 27, 1809; Died May 1813.
Jonathan Holmes, Appointed by Governor May 1813.
Dr. Edo Ogden, Appointed October 29, 1813; Died December 6, 1813.
Dr. Ebenezer Elmer, Appointed by Governor December 1813.
Ebenezer Seeley, Appointed February 9, 1814; Reappointed February 5, 1819, December 9, 1923, and November 8, 1828.
Samuel Seeley, Appointed February 27, 1833.
Josiah Fithian, Appointed February 28, 1838; Died July 14, 1842.
Enos Seeley, Appointed by Governor July 1842,
Daniel M. Woodruff, Appointed October 28, 1842; Reappointed by Governor Stratton October 27, 1847; Elected by the November 2, 1847.
Ephraim E. Sheppard, Elected November 2, 1852.
Providence Ludlum, Elected November 3, 1857.
Theophilus G. Compton, Elected November 7, 1862; Re-Elected November 5, 1867.
Daniel Sharp, Elected November 5, 1872; Relected November 6, 1877.
Francis L. Godfrey, Elected November 7, 1882; Re-Elected November 8, 1887, Died in Office.
Mulford Ludlam, Appointed by Governor June 1890.
William B. Trenchard, Elected November 1890; Re-Elected November 1894.
George W. Betchner, Elected November 1899.
Samuel M. Sheldon, Elected November 1904; Re-Elected November 1909.
Leonidas H. Hogate, Elected November 1914; Re-Elected November 1919. Re-Elected November 1924.
Frank Wettstein, Elected November 1929, Re-Elected November 1934.
Earl M. Wescoat, Elected November 1939, Re-Elected November 1944, Re-Elected November 1949, Re-Elected November 1954, Re-Elected November 1959, Re-Elected November 1964, Re-Elected November 1969.
John G. Nardelli, Elected November 1974, Re-Elected November 1979, Re-Elected November 1984, Re-Elected November 1989, Died in Office, February 26, 1994.
Theresa L. Van Sant, Appointed by Governor June 1994.
Gloria Noto, Elected November 1994, Re-Elected November 1999, Re-Elected November 2004, Re-Elected November 2009.
She was the first woman in 250 years to be elected Clerk of Cumberland County, New Jersey serving in this position from 1994 to 2014. As well as, being elected and serving as the first woman Clerk for 20 years; in 1993 Gloria was the first woman in 60 years to receive the Civic Award from the Fraternal Order of Eagles; in 1990 she was the first Republican woman elected to the Freeholder Board; and in 1988 she was the first female member of the local Rotary Club.
The various offices Gloria held as President were the Chestnut & West Mother’s Club, Dane Barse PTA, Our Lady of Mercy Academy PTA, Soroptimist Club, County Commission on Women and County Republican Women’s Club, She was a vice chairperson for Vineland Zoning Board of Adjustment. Gloria served as a board member for Cumberland County Board of Social Services and as advisory board member for Retired Senior Volunteer Program. She was a member of the Board of Directors for Southwest Council Inc. and Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame. Gloria was also a Cumberland County Regular Republican Organization State committee woman.
Celeste M. Riley, Elected November 2014.
Celeste M. Riley is currently serving as the Clerk for Cumberland County, New Jersey. She was elected in November 2014 and sworn into office on January 1, 2015 to serve a five-year term.
A former 3rd District Assemblywoman, Riley began her career as a public servant, becoming an educator at Greenwich–Stow Creek Elementary Partnership School from 2001 to 2014. It was through teaching that she was inspired by her students, and, recognizing the need to provide a better future for our children, Celeste Riley decided to throw her hat in the ring and run for local government.
As the first woman to serve in New Jersey Legislature’s Third District, Celeste was first appointed in 2009 to fill a seat vacated by current Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher. Celeste has since won two reelection campaigns. She served as Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, Vice-Chair of the Tourism and Arts Committee and is a member of the Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee.
In the past, she has served as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and has served on the Health and Senior Services and Housing and Local Government Committees. Her district included all of Salem County; Bridgeton, Deerfield, Upper Deerfield in Cumberland County; Clayton, East Greenwich, Elk, Franklin, Glassboro, Greenwich, Logan, National Park, Newfield, Paulsboro, South Harrison, Swedesboro, West Deptford, Woodbury Heights; and, Woolwich in Gloucester County.
Prior to joining the NJ Assembly, Celeste Riley served as a member of Bridgeton City Council and rose to become the Council President. One of her most notable accomplishments was establishing “Building a Better Bridgeton”, which was a beautification project for the aging industrial foundations of Bridgeton. The project encouraged community involvement and outside investors to focus on updating buildings and making the city more attractive for business and residents. Growing up and living in a working class neighborhood of Bridgeton, New Jersey, Celeste understands that New Jersey’s future is dependent on the growth and diversity of its people. As a result, her primary legislative priorities included job creation and economic growth. In her first term in the State Assembly, she worked to advance initiatives to promote New Jersey agriculture production and farmland preservation. According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, agriculture ranks third in importance (behind pharmaceuticals and tourism) in economic importance to the state.
Her legislative focus included:
• Investing in Higher Education which will drive economic develop and create an attractive workforce for businesses.
• Bringing jobs to high-unemployment areas of the state.
• Improving K-12 public education to ensure that New Jersey is developing its next generation of a globally completive workforce.
• Promoting shared services and public-private partnerships to make New Jersey a more affordable place to live.
Inspired by her father Joseph Riley’s work as a local doctor and working to bring a medical school to Southern New Jersey, Assemblywoman Riley, in keeping to her goal to provide a better future for our children, sponsored one of the most important pieces of legislation for South Jersey: The New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act. The law creates regional centers of excellence, including a Medical School at Rowan University, which will help the state attract and retain exceptional talent, create innovative partnerships, and draw a highly trained and capable workforce essential to New Jersey’s future.
Celeste Riley is a 1978 graduate of Cumberland Regional High School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in music from LaSalle University and holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University. Celeste currently resides in Bridgeton, New Jersey, with her husband, Rick Dawson. They share five daughters, 3 son-in-laws and 4 grandsons.
Interesting information about Cumberland’s history can be found: