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Monday, December 22, 2008

Have a Berry Merry Christmas

Every time I drive to Tuckerton along Route 9, I pass a delapidated, old house on the left, just before I get to the Off Shore Manor development. It's in sad condition now, just waiting for the wrecking ball.

(2003 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

It's difficult to imagine, but at one time this old abandoned house was once an attractive, well kept home of an old Little Egg Harbor and Bass River family, the Berries. It was built in the late 1880's, with loving care, by Isaac Lewis Berry for his new bride, Martha "Mattie" Chew. It's grounds were well kept with fruit trees and shrubs carefully manicured and beds of colorful flowers faithfully tended. Isaac and Mattie raised four children here . . . Clarence, Lester, Anna, and Pauline.

The Berry house, circa 1940s. (Photo courtesy of Bobby Quinn.)

Issac Lewis and Martha Chew Berry. 
(Photo courtesy of Bobby Quinn.)

Pauline Berry married Paul Quinn. Their only child, Bobby, was the last resident of the Berry house. He became ill in 2002 and moved to his cousin, Amie Lamson's home in Mayetta, and passed away on December 31st of that year. The house has sat vacant since then, falling victim to vandals.

(l-r) Pauline and Paul Quinn with son, Bobby; and Isaac Berry. Lester Berry is in back. (Photo courtesy of Bobby Quinn.)

I visited with Bobby at Amie Lamson's house in the summer of 2002 and talked with him about that old house and the many good times the family shared there. 

Bobby Quinn was the valedictorian at his 1948 Tuckerton High School graduation. (Photo courtesy of Bobby Quinn.)

Some of Bobby's fondest memories were about the old fashioned Christmases the family celebrated. He particularly remembered the eleborately decorated christmas trees and the colorful, ornate Christmas cards that the family carefully pasted in large photo albums. It was family entertainment before television.

The Berry-Quinn Christmas tree was elaborately decorated each holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Bobby Quinn.)

A 1915 Christmas postcard sent by Clarence Berry to his brother, Lester. (Courtesy of Bobby Quinn.)

The memory of Bobby Quinn and the Berry family who enjoyed so many Christmas celebrations in that old house on Route 9 calls out to us today, through the photos and Christmas cards left behind, to wish us all a "Berry" Merry Christmas.

Pete S.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting story. Do you know if Berry Street in LEH was named after the Berrys?