How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How's Your New Gretna I.Q.?

The other day at our Men's Breakfast, Jim McAnney gave me some old papers from Allen's Dock when it was owned and operated by Chet Allen. Two items that I was particularly interested in were a sign advertising the price of gas and a small scrap of cardboard that Chet used to keep track of who bought gas. Evidently Chet used scraps of paper for much of his record keeping rather than formal account books. Unfortunately, there were no dates on either of these items, but I suspect they were likely from the 1930's. Maybe someone out there can help pin point the dates.

This card board sign was probably placed in the window near the gas pump. (Sign courtesy of James McAnney.)

Ruby McAnney, Jim's dad, pumping gas at Allen's Dock. Ruby worked for Chet and took over ownership and operation of the business after Chet passed away in 1966. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Cramer McAnney.)

The following record of gas purchases gives us a good idea as to who Chet's regular customers were. They were all baymen, clammers and party boat captains. Most, if not all, kept their boats at Allen's Dock.

Looking through the names on Chet's list, I got to thinking how much a part of New Gretna's history these men represent. I decided to put together a list of questions, sort of a New Gretna I.Q. test, to see how well the Blog Readers know their New Gretna history. Send your answers to the Blog for scoring. You can email them to me or place them in the comments section below. Just type the question number and the anwser. Let's see who is first with a 100 % score. Who knows, I might even come up with a trophy. Any disputes will be settled by Professor James McAnney.

New Gretna I.Q. Test questions

1. What did Harry Kid have in common with the Great John Mathis?
2. Who were the Gray brothers?
3. Which of the clammers was noted for his gigantic hands?
4. Who on the list owned and operated a saw mill?
5. Who was "Keever"?
6. Who on the list captained an America's Cup winning Yacht that was, at times, anchored off Allen's Dock area? Can you name the yacht?
7. Who was "Rue"?
8. Who captained the "Saphire Lady"?
9. Who on the list was related to the famous VanSant ship building family? (Hint: He was a good ship builder, also, when you could get him to work. He was know to march to the beat of a different drummer.)
10. Who was nicknamed "Sach"?
11. Helen Carty presently lives on Route 9 across from the Speedy Deli. Her uncle, who lived in that house before her, is on the list? Who is he?
12. Who later operated the marina at Cape Horn?
13. Who on the list was an oyster watchman?
14. Who lived on New York Road, in Mathistown, just a stones throw from Munion Field Road?
15. Who lived on Allentown Road, across the street from the New Gretna School?
16. Who on the list was born in New Gretna, became a New Jersey State Senator, and was the New Jersey Secretary of State from 1931 to 1940?
17. What was Charles Henry's last name?
I'll be posting the answers in a few days. Anyone getting 15 or more correct is eligible for the New Gretna Menza Club. Maybe we can all meet at Allen's Dock!

Pete S

PS- Want to learn more about Allen's Dock? Check out Jim McAnney's article, "Boyhood Memories of Allen's Doc" in the latest Bass River Gazette issue by clicking on the link below.


  1. As of 7:30 PM Sunday evening, I've gotten 3 responses to the New Gretna I.Q. Quiz - emails from Dave Kalm and Bob Mathis and a phone call from Don Maxwell. Dave didn't quite make Manza grade, but Bob was only stumped on the last question. Don Maxwell got them all correct, so Bob and Don join the New Gretna Menza Club.

    Don also held my feet to the fire by pointing out that I was mistaken with questions #6 and #16. The name on Chet's gas list is the same as my answer to those questions, but it is not the same person. It's a case where two men had the same name, a common occurrence in New Gretna families. I'll be posting the answers to the questions and an explanation of my mistaken identity in questions # 6 and # 16 in a few days. Meanwhile, let's hear from some more of you out there in the Blog-o-Sphere.

    Pete S

  2. Don Maxwell believes that Chet's gas price sign and list of customers is more likely from the 1920's than the 1930's as I had stated.

    Pete S

  3. RE Question 8: Fred was the captain of the Saphire Lady. Otto built it.