On July 5, 1939, the song “Monmouth County” was formally adopted as our county’s official song by the chosen freeholders. With lyrics written by Captain Cyril A. Smack of Sea Bright, and music by his sister, Gertrude Smack Seaman of Long Branch, it was first performed informally several times but it’s believed that the first performance in a public setting was on May 17, when it was sung before a meeting of the Monmouth County Advertising Club.
Dorothy Doran, author of the local “Seen and Heard” gossip column, was a big promoter of the song, raising the notion of its being made the county’s official song. She wrote, “It’s stately and yet has enough musical swing while the words are sensible. Good work — it may go far.”
On July 29, 1939, Captain Smack and his sister performed their new song at a Garden Party given in honor of Senator Warren Barbour’s birthday, at Brookdale Farm in Lincroft, hosted by the “First Lady of New Jersey,” Geraldine Morgan Thompson. Captain Smack added new words just for the occasion:
Warren Barbour, we of old Monmouth greet you,
On your birthday wishing the best for you.
From our homes, all gladly we’ve come to meet you.
Quite resolved there’s never a rest for you.
On we’ll press you, right to the top, God bless you.
Happy Birthday. All of life’s best for you.
Here are the original lyrics:
Lyrics by Cyril A. Smack; music by Gertrude Smack Seaman
Monmouth County, fair are thy hills and waters;
Grand thy views of river and bay and sea.
Monmouth County, fair are thy lovely daughters-
Fairer, sweeter daughters could never be.
Hills of Highlands, villages, farms and island,
Monmouth County, county that’s home to me.
Monmouth County, in from the ocean drifting,
Rides a fragrance telling of day at hand.
Monmouth County, warmly the sun comes lifting,
Over beauty, God in high heaven planned.
Under noon glow, shadow of star and moon glow,
Monmouth County, fairest in all our land.
Monmouth County, rare are thy farms and woodland;
Molly Pitcher, here, through the battle plied,
Mid the hero’s battling to save our good land –
Let the name heard always with tender pride.
Monmouth County, county of grandest bounty,
Here in peace, may we, in our homes, abide.
An original copy of the sheet music to “Monmouth County” is preserved in the Monmouth County Archives maintained by the County Clerk’s office.
Photos and text courtesy of the Archives Division of the Monmouth County Clerk (2020).
Doran, Dorothy. (1939). Seen and Heard. The Daily Record (Long Branch), June 14, 1939, P. 6.
Freeholders Asked To Adopt Song For Monmouth County. (1939). The Daily Standard (Red Bank), June 15, 1939, P. 2.
Freeholders Adopt Local Woman’s Song As Official Piece. (1939). The Daily Record (Long Branch), July 6, 1939, P. 3.
Sen. Barbour’s Birthday To Be Honored Today. (1939). The Daily Record (Long Branch), July 29, 1939, P. 1.