Allen McPhaul was born in 1892 in Whiteville, North Carolina. He spent his early life in North Carolina. In 1910, he was living as a boarder in a home and working as a hackdriver. He was drafted into the Army in 1918 and served for 2 years, including with the 519th Engineers Company in Europe and at Camp Furlong in Lima, New Mexico. In 1922, Allen, age 30, married Eva Pittman, age 21.
Their travel to New Jersey is not documented, but in 1924, they purchase 157 Liberty Street and two years later add another property at 176 Liberty Street, where they will reside for their married life. In the 1930 and 1940 Census, the McPhauls’ reported having 3 children; Allen is working as a Laborer for the Town (which town is not specified). They attend St. John’s Baptist Church on Morse Avenue. Allen died in 1949 and was buried at Fairview Cemetery. Eva remained living at 176 Liberty Street until her death in 1971, which points to an interesting story.
The McPhaul home was included in the 1943 Board of Realtors Report to the Town which recommended the area be for rezoning to apartments. It was also identified for acquisition by the Town of Westfield in 1964. The McPhaul family, lead by Allen McPhaul, Jr., opposed the Town’s proposed action and started acquiring other properties from other residents facing acquisition of their property. When the Town filed condemnation proceedings against the McPhauls in 1968, it was for five properties, not just the two they had owned for decades. The end result was the McPhaul’s home at 176 Liberty Street was excluded from acquisition, in return for them agreeing to selling the other parcels to the Town for $23,500. The home at 176 Liberty Street still exists today and is still owned by Bertha McPhaul, second wife of Allen McPhaul, Jr. It can best be seen from Liberty Street in Scotch Plains (it is the one-story house just outside the Park’s chain-link fence).
Brightwood Park is on the North end of Prospect Street. Go past Franklin School and look for the entrance on the left.