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J.W. Mount, J.H. Mount
John W. Mount, J.W. Mount & Bro., 1860-1908; J. W. Mount Company, 1908-1922; J.W. Mount & Son, J.H. Mount & Son, 1922-1930s; Mount-English Co., 1930s-1950s; Red Bank, New Jersey
Associated Builders
Wildanger & Co.

The J.W. Mount Company of Red Bank, New Jersey is mainly remembered today for their wood-bodied depot hack and estate wagon bodies that were especially popular with New Jersey’s coastal hotel operators and estate owners.

John W. Mount (February 18, 1838 - April 22, 1922) was born in Chapel Hill, Monmouth County, New Jersey on February 18, 1838 to Timothy B. and Mary (Walling) Mount. Timothy B. Mount, was a son of Cornelius Mount, grandson of William Mount, and a descendant of George Mount, one of the original English settlers of Monmouth County, NJ having settled there prior to 1669. 

John W. Mount worked at his father’s blacksmith shop, where he and his brother, William B., (b. Nov 19, 1836- d. Jan 29, 1914) became skilled in the trade under their father’s watchful eye. The two brothers opened their own blacksmith and wheelwright shop at Chapel Hill, Middletown Township in 1855. 

By 1860 it became clear that the Chapel Hill blacksmith shop could not support two families, so John W. Mount relocated 6 miles to the south in the growing city of Red Bank. Under his own name, Mount started out by repairing wagons and carriages and soon became proficient in their manufacture as well. 

When his younger brother, Cornelius S. Mount (b Oct 16, 1853), came of age he joined John H. and the firm was renamed J.W. Mount & Bro. By the turn of the century, a great number of Red Bank’s businesses conducted the same with an attractive Mount-built delivery wagon or carriage. 

John W. Mount married Eleanor Hendrickson of Nut Swamp, Monmouth County, soon before arriving in Red Bank and their union resulted in three offspring, Mary E., John H. and Frank. Although Frank passed away at the age of thirteen, John H. would eventually join his father’s business.

John H. Mount was born on August 22, 1864 and attended Red Bank public schools for his primary education followed by a course of study at the prestigious Peddie Institute in Hightstown, which at that time was the nation’s foremost Baptist institution of secondary education. Following graduation, he joined his father and uncle in the family’s business and became proficient in all aspects of vehicle design, manufacture and sales. 

Mount was a strict temperance man, a deacon in the Baptist Church, and an avid bicycle rider. In the late 1880s Mount & Bro. became Red Bank’s first bicycle dealer and the senior Mount continued to ride right up until his death in 1922. J.W. Mount & Bro. added two additional floors to the existing two story wooden Maple Ave. structure in the early 1890s in order to provide additional storage and manufacturing capacity. 

Unfortunately the enlarged facility, located at the northeast corner of Maple Ave & White Sts., was destroyed by fire on June 12, 1908.  The blaze began in the second story paint shop and quickly consumed the plant with its abundance of combustible fluids and materials. Nearby houses were threatened and the one next door burned. 100 carriages in various stages of construction were lost. The damage was estimated at $60,000, with only $8,000 of the loss covered by insurance. 

One block away the Mounts built a new four-story 35,000 sq. ft. brick structure at the northwest corner of Maple Ave, and Monmouth St. which is now the Red Bank Borough Hall. The plant was built with the automobile in mind and incorporated a large freight elevator that could easily transfer vehicles from floor to floor. With the new building came a reorganization of the firm as the J.W. Mount Company; John W. Mount, president; Cornelius S. Mount, vice-president and John H. Mount, secretary-treasurer. 

By the mid teens, Red Bank’s population had grown to over 8,000, and Mount was building increasing numbers of light commercial bodies for Henry Ford’s popular Model T.  Although the built an occasional automobile body, the bulk of the business involved fabricating delivery vehicles for the city’s increasing number of vendors and businesses that needed them for light hauling and package deliveries. 

Mount’s auto ambulances enjoyed a fine reputation throughout central New Jersey and the well-built vehicles were used by many municipalities and funeral directors during the late teens and twenties. 

For many years the senior Mount spent his summers in Hensonville, Green County, New York at the Mountain View Park, a private resort located in the heart of the Catskills. His summertime experiences helped the firm develop their legendary estate wagons, multi-purpose cars specifically designed for hunting, camping and other recreational activities. Introduced in the mid-teens, the firm’s depot hack, express and estate wagon bodies were especially popular with New Jersey’s coastal hotels, resorts and wealthy estate holders. 

A Cadillac advertisement in the Automobile Age included a letter dated November 13, 1905 from John W. Mount to Cadillac headquarters describing how well his new Cadillac single-cylinder touring had performed - over 3,000 trouble-free miles since July of that year. Mount liked the car so much he became central New Jersey’s first Cadillac dealer, the first on Maple Ave., which would eventually become Red Bank’s ‘automobile row’. 

By 1920, Mount employed over fifty full-time employees, many of whom were employed at their successful Cadillac dealership, which now included Red Bank’s first Chevrolet distributorship as well. 

In 1910, Mount hired an experienced German immigrant named Joseph Wildanger to take charge of the firm’s busy automobile and commercial body division. As foreman of the busy J.H. Mount shops, Wildanger became well acquainted with all of the regional suppliers and left in 1922 to form his own body building firm, Jos. Wildanger Co. 

When John W. Mount passed away on April 22, 1922 at the age of 84, legal control of the firm was transferred to his son, John H. Mount who had overseen the firm’s day-to-day activities for a number of years. John H. Mount was also a director of the Red Bank Trust Company, and was active in the city’s business community. He was a charter member of the Red Bank Rotary and became its second president during 1922. 

In the mid twenties, Mount became a Ford distributor in partnership with a local banker named English, and the Maple Ave plant became the headquarters for the Mount-English Co. on Maple Ave., Red Bank’s first automobile row.  The four story brick building was located at the northwest corner of corner of Maple and Monmouth St. 

The partner’s two sons, John H. (Jack) Mount Jr. (1913-1998) and C. Donald English (1913-2002) both attended Cornell University (PHI KAPPA PSI fraternity) and entered their family’s automotive business following their graduation in 1935. By that time, the firm no longer engaged in any coachbuilding activities as the entire building was taken up by the Ford dealership. The Mount-English Company eventually relocated to 700 Shrewsbury Ave., in Shrewsbury, New Jersey as is still in business as Rittenhouse-Kerr Ford. 

© 2004 Mark Theobald -







Frank R. Holmes - The History of Monmouth County New Jersey: 1664 -1920, (pub 1922) Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York and Chicago

Randall Gabrielan – Red Bank, New Jersey Vol. 1-4 – Images of America Series, Arcadia Publishing Co.

Donald J. Narus - Great American Woodies and Wagons

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

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