This section from the 1858 Kuhn-Janney Map of Burlington County shows Oak Island with two houses, both belonging to a D. Mathis. It's likely that they refer to Daniel Mathis Jr. who occupied the island at that date. The French house along the Bass River was the second house built by the Great John Mathis in the area that is the Viking Boat works today. In 1858, it would have belonged to Thomas French, the oldest son of Francis French who bought the property from the Mathis family. The upper left portion of the map is the intersection of the present day Rt. 9 and Maple Avenues. Notice the Bass River Hotel on the South-East corner. The North-West corner is vacant as the New Gretna House has yet to be built.
DANIEL MATHIS’ ISLAND FARM
In the year 1713, John Mathis, William Birdsall and Moses Forman, all of whom then resided on Long Island, purchased of Daniel Leeds, of Springfield, 250 acres ,of land, in which was included this island, which at that time was called Biddle’s Island. Soon after this joint purchase, Birdsall and Forman sold their shares to John Mathis, thus constituting him the sole proprietor of the island. In the year 1716 John Mathis married and settled on this island, which he soon made into a farm. He made extensive banks around the island in order to defend it against the encroachments of the tide, and also built causeways, bridges and other conveniences. This island is noted for it’s valuable fisheries and its extensive salt marshes. After Job Mathis married, his father, John Mathis, deeded him this island farm; and after Job Mathis’ death, the farm came into the possession of his Son Daniel, who spent a long life there, and bequeathed the farm to his sons, Micajah Smith Mathis and Daniel Mathis. Daniel bought his brother’s share of the farm, thus constituting himself the sole proprietor. John Mathis built a bridge across the creek, between the island and the Francis French farm, and thus had a convenient communication between his two farms. The ownership of this island has been in the Mathis name ever since John Mathis purchased it — one hundred and fifty-five years ago.
Oak Island is the patch of trees seen on the right of this photo taken from the Job's Creek bridge on Route 9. (July 22, 2004 photo by Pete Stemmer.)