The Tuckerton Indian at the intersection of Route 9 and Great Bay Boulevard. (February 12, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)
The Tuckerton Indian with his arms resolutely crossed, stares out over the town of Tuckerton. (February 12, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)
The inscriptions on front of the monument reveal the purpose of the memorial. (February 12, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)
The inscriptions at the base of the monument reveals the Indian originated in Camden, N.J in 1920 and was moved to Tuckerton and rededicated in 1981. (February 12, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)
INDIAN CHIEF FINDS A HOME
by Diane Freck - Press correspondent
TUCKERTON — Early settlers used to fear the arrival of Indians. But citizens here Thursday readily welcomed the bronze chieftain who entered their community.
The chief, who stood nearly 14 feet tall when mounted on a marble monument, has been a long-awaited visitor in this borough. The chief and three monument sections quietly entered the town at about 12:30 p.m.
For borough resident Ed Hagelin, a past Great Sachem for the Tuckerton Improved Order of Red Men, the event has been anticipated since 1962. Councilman Howard Francis, who is also a past Great Sachem for the local Red Men, has also tried for 1½ years to relocate the Indian statue in the borough.
“It’s been a long battle, but we finally made it,” Francis said as the bronze Indian was lowered into place. He attributed the fruition of his dreams to a committee formed by himself, Hagelin, Don Sanford and Emmanuel Brown, all Red Men, who worked to get the Indian to grace the borough.
The monument, which belongs to the Great Council of New Jersey Improved Order of Red Men, was erected in the city of Camden about 60 years ago. The Camden County Red Men put up the Indian statue to pay tribute to the various tribe members who had fought in World War I.
A bronze plate on the monument reads, “In memory of our brothers who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War 1917-1919” and then a list of the American Indian tribes which participated in the war followed.
According to Francis and Hagelin, there are few tribe members left in the Camden County area and the park in which the Indian statue once stood has been slated for hospital expansion. Camden’s housing authority agreed to pay to move the statue anywhere the Great Council decided and Tuckerton won, the men said.
The arrival of the Indian brought a small group of onlookers who watched as the chief took up residence in the borough. And the chief, his bronze skin tarnished green, stood proudly at his Route 9 vantage point looking toward the north and across Pohatcong Lake.
The local Red Men are particularly pleased to have the statue since Tuckerton has special significance for American Indian descendents. According to Francis, Lenape Indians for years had crossed over the triangle of ground that now separates Route 9 from Great Bay Boulevard and contains the statue
“The Lenapes came from Friendship and used to travel along the lakes,” Francis said. “They then went up Bartlett Lane to a campsite they had back that way. This is a regular Indian trail. They came right across this area every summer.
“The two or three other places discussed by the Great Council were off the beaten path. This spot is right along Route 9 and the heritage around here is about the Indians. Also, it’s near the lodge and near Lake Pohatcong,” Francis added.
Currently, there is no name for Tuckerton’s new chieftain but the Red Men said that might change when the lodge has a formal dedication of the statue in May.
Atlantic City Press
Article clipping undated - probably October, 1980
IS SHOWING TEST OF TIME
by Ralph Morano Jr.- Staff Writer
TUCKERTON — It has been seven years since Howard Francis brought Chief Pohatcong, a large Indian statue, across the state from
to the fork of Route 9 and Camden Great Bay Boulevardhere.
The Indian has become the most visible representation of the Pohatcong Tribe of the Redmen, which owns the statue, and a symbol of municipal pride in the seven years it has called the borough home.
However, Francis, a member of the Redmen and also a Tuckerton councilman, said the question he is most asked about the 69-year-old Indian is when is he going to get a bath.
The elements have left a green residue on the statue and Francis said a lot of people contact him, wanting to restore its original finish.
“Many of the people who call (about the statue) want to do something about cleaning it up,” Francis said. “But that is impossible.
Francis said sandblasting would be the only way to clean the statue but was told the results would be only temporary and that the statue might be ruined.
“The company that moved the statue said it wouldn’t be long before the elements would take their toll on the statue again,” he said. “And they said the sandblasting would take off some of the surface and leave the statue exposed to deterioration.
“We don’t need the arms falling off,” he said.
Before the Indian was moved to his present home, he was covered with graffiti.
The statue once stood in a park in
, susceptible to the vandals who run ramp ant in nearly every urban area. However, the Indian was moved because a veterans hospital was planned to replace the park. Camden
Homeless, the Indian was scheduled for destruction.
The chief’s fate came to the attention of Francis, then the Great Sachem (the highest ranking official) of the Redmen in
. Francis decided to form a committee in an attempt to bring the statue to Tuckerton. New Jersey
After long meetings and discussions, the committee was able to convince all concerned that Tuckerton was a better home for the statue than a scrap heap.
“The Redmen had built it and so it belonged to us,” he said.
The Indian was moved to Tuckerton in October 1980 and dedicated in August the following year.
’s Urban Housing Renewal Commission offered to pay for moving of statue and the Redmen's state chapter agreed to pay to have the graffiti cleaned off, according to Francis. Camden
“It was really something to see the statue being moved,” he said. “It was so heavy the company that moved it couldn’t even use one of their own trucks. They needed a 100-ton cherry picker.”
Francis said the state Redmen hold an annual pilgrimage to the statue, which is a statewide symbol of the Redmen.
“Even though we gave the Indian his name (coming from the chapter and the lake which the statue overlooks) we can’t make it official because everyone else in the state wants to name it after his own chapter,” Francis said. “In a way, it belongs to everybody.”
[ Tuckerton Beacon - March 26, 1987 ]
[ Tuckerton Beacon - March 26, 1987 ]