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

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Civil War Enrollees

While the Tuckerton Beacon was published from the late 1880's, only copies from 1917 have been preserved and are available on microfilm. The nearest locations that have the microfilm available are both in Toms River - the Ocean County Library Main Branch on Hooper Avenue and the Ocean County Historical Society on Hadley Avenue. You can Google their web sites for their open hours.

One of the features in most of the available editions of the Beacon is their "Out of the Past" Column where they reprint a column from an earlier newspaper. This allows us to read reprints of news from unavailable older newspapers. I am in the process of collecting "Out of the Past" columns to preserve this valuable resource. They will be featured on the Blog from time to time.

Today's Blog presents an "Out of the Past" column that lists Little Egg Harbor Civil War participants. It was furnished by Dr. Theophilus T. Price and originally published in the May 26, 1904 edition of the Tuckerton Beacon. Since Bass River Township was a part of Little Egg Harbor Township until March 30, 1864, Bass River residents names appear on the list.

The following February 8, 1865 letter from the Little Egg Harbor Township Committee gives T.T. Price certain authority to ascertain procedures in conducting the draft in Little Egg Harbor during the Civil War era. This documents that he had an official capacity in the Little Egg Harbor draft and thus had intimate and accurate knowledge regarding the names of the Civil War draftees, so I feel confident that the list published in the Tuckerton Beacon is accurate. I apologize for the small size of the letter, but constraints in Google's Blog development procedures make it impossible to enlarge while still fitting within the allotted screen width.

Letter, courtesy of Dan Melega, from the estate of Minnie Courtney and Clara Salmons. It is believed to have come from a Cramer family in Lacey Township.

Following is a transcription of the letter:

Tuckerton, N.J.
February 8th 1865

This is to certify that Theophilus T. Price is hereby commissioned by the Township of Little Egg Harbor Burlington County New Jersey, to visit the city of Trenton and if need be the city of Washington to ascertain all particulars, and to obtain whatever modifications may be necessary or required, in all matters pertaining to the impending Draft so far as the enrollment lists- credits, and quota of the Township is concerned.

Township Committee of the Township of Little Egg Harbor Burlington Co N.J.
Joseph B. Sapp
Archs R Pharo

Evidence that the trip was made to Trenton is found at the bottom of the letter where $9.75 in expenses are listed, probably in the handwriting of Theophilus T. Price:

Expenses - Fare from Mt. Holly to Trenton & back $1.30
Hotel fare at Trenton 1 day 3.00
Do. [ditto] At Mt. Holly & horses 4.85
? fees - cars & c .60

Dr. Theophilus Townsend Price (born May 21, 1828 - died April 27, 1908). The above photo was taken at age 60. Dr. Price was a graduate of Haverford College and Crozier Seminary, a surveyor, a civil engineer, a physician, a Surgeon at the Marine Hospital in Tuckerton, a Secretary of the Tuckerton Railroad, the Superintendent of Schools for Little Egg Harbor, and a volunteer surgeon in the Civil War. He was also an author and historian, writing the history and compiling the statistics for the book "Atlas of the New Jer­sey Coast" in 1878. Originally from Cape May, Theophilus married Eliza Pharo in 1854 and became quite active in the affairs of Little Egg Harbor Township. (Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to compare Dr. Price's list of Little Egg Harbor actual enrollees with the Mount Holly Herald's list of Bass River Township draftees presented in last Friday's Blog entry. I suspect that none are on both lists, as the "From the Past" article states " . . . Fifty were drafted in three drafts in 1864 and 1865. Only four drafted men were held for service. All of the others furnished substitutes or were exempt by disability." Perhaps, some enterprising Blog reader can do a comparison and report back.

Pete S

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bass River Civil War Draftees

From time to time I get requests from a few local Civil War buffs to publish information regarding Bass River residents who served in the Civil War. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of information on that topic; however, this past week I came across a transcription of an April 8, 1865 article from the Mount Holly Herald which listed Bass River residents who were drafted into the Union Army. I don't know who on the list actually served.

I thought it might be interesting to identify relatives of our present Blog readers who may be on the list. I would appreciate hearing from anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who has a relative listed below and how they are related to you. An added bonus would be if you have a story or photo of your Civil War relative.

Hope to hear from someone.

Pete S

The Draft, for Burlington County,

commenced in Trenton, on Thursday,

with the following results:

BASS RIVER- Enrolled 125 - Deficiency, 27 - Drawn, 54

Edward Adams

John Killpatrick

Benjamin M. Butler

Jesse Mathews

William T. Leek

William C. Allen

William H. Mathews

Hezikiah Adams

Sylvester Mathis

Charles D. Loveland

Wm. Darby, son of John

Oliver B. Loveland

James R. Adams

Levi M. French

Franklin B. Adams

Robert Mathis

W. H. Shimp

James D. Cramer

Elisha M. Sears

Caleb J. Mathis, son of Zebulon

Clarkson Algar

William Cramer, son of Darius

William N. French

Levi French

George W. Patterson

Adolphus Lamson

James W. Cavileer

Samuel Mathis

Micajah Mathis

Samuel F. Sooy

James Adams

Marmaduke Cramer

William M. Cale

Theodore F. Adams, son of David

Job Gasakill

Charles F. Cale

Samuel Albertson

James Kaywood

James I. Loveland

William A. Cramer

William Lamb

William Prince

Joseph H. Leek

Henry Howell

Josiah C. Sears

Benjamin Headley

Edghar Butler

Caleb W. Allen

John Hennealy

John F. Cramer

James M. Darby

Abrahem Prince

Henry P.S. Loveland

Joseph B. Allen

(Mount Holly Herald - 4/8/1865)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Comments About the Blog - Steve Eichinger

Most of the old timers in town don't have computers, so are unable to read the Blog. To remedy this situation, I print each Blog entry and place it in a notebook which I pass around to those New Gretna natives that I know will enjoy reading about the good old days.

A few weeks ago, I loaned the notebook to my buddy, Steve Eichinger, who is computer challenged. He wrote down some of his reflections on the Blog after reading the Blog Notebook. I choose a few to share with you today.

December 9, 2008
Some Thoughts About Pineys - Part 2

The man in the photo by the wood pile is George Crummel. When he used to burn charcoal in Jenkins Neck his mounds would be along the swamp between Route 542 and Godfrey's Bridge, near today's Wading Pines Campground. Many times, when he burned the piles, the smoke would follow the river down steam to the south. One time it got so bad that Paul Ludwig, who managed Chip's Folly at that time in the 1940's, called the Fire Company. That is when we had only one fire truck, an American LaFrance. The road into Chip's Folly was a 2 rut gravel and sand road. George Crummel's smoke sure caused some excitement.

George Crummel at his charcoal pile.
(Photo courtesy of the William Augustine Collection, Rutgers University.)

January 13, 2009 Blog Entry
A Happening in the Old Civic Hall - Beverly Mathis Robinson

A little help for Beverly . . . I don't remember the occasion she speaks of, but I can answer some other questions regarding the old Civic Hall.

The old Civic Hall.
(Photo courtesy of Franklin W. Gray.)

It didn't have a basement, but it did have a deep crawl space of about four feet high. It also had a heater or furnace room that was entered from the outside. There was no inside entrance. The heating system was a steam system, until the sewing factory was started.

I worked in the Sewing Factory as a presser in my teens with a steam iron that looked like a regular household iron, but it was about 4 times bigger and weighed about ten pounds. Mt station was in the rear of the building, next to the kitchen.

I remember the layout of the building. There was no attic. There were 4 access doors - one at the center for the kitchen; two rear doors, one on each side for the main room; and a double front door. It had a vestibule and there was a second set of double doors to enter the main room.

This Civic Hall was suppose to have been the original Fire House, but too much disagreement between the Civic Association and the newly formed Fire Company prevent it. The Fire Company built their own building next door on a piece of land given to them by the Civic Association.

The Civic Hall was used for the following civic associated purposes: PTA parties, card parties, minstrel shows, and Old Home Society dinners. When it came into private hands it hosted a movie, skating rink, and a sewing factory. A deer club also used the building for 2 or 3 years for a week in December.

In the early days there was no indoor plumbing for the patrons. There was a WPA type double out house that had a double seat on the women's side and one seat on the men's side with a sand box type urinal. This was used until the Sewing Factory installed indoor plumbing.

February 12, 2009
Levi Downs Reprized - Don Maxwell, etc.

I remember getting my hair cut by Levi Downs in the barber shop shown on this page. 25 cents was the charge which included being entertained by Skeets Hickman, Alvie McAnney, and Booter Mathis. They would talk about deer hunting and fox hunting and were always full of teasing, I don't remember whether they teased me or not, but they probably did.

The barbershop was on the right hand side of the little building. It had one barber chair, a mirror on the left wall, and 4 or 5 chairs along the right wall for customers. The lighting was poor.

Levi's Barber Shop.
(Photo courtesy of Norman and Ann Mathis.)

Levi used to have a two door 1928 Chevy with a driver's seat and rear seat. The front passenger seat was removed and in its place there was a kerosene heater, probably a Ivanhoe, that was a fox hunter's warming place.

I want to thank my buddy, Steve, for his thoughts on various Blog topics and have a favor to ask of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere. Please don't tell Steve that I called him an "old timer".

Pete S

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Tragic Tale of Little Pearl Barton

Now and then I find myself looking through back issues of the Tuckerton Beacon. It's a good way to learn about the everyday life of previous generations. The other day I noticed a brief front page account in the September 13, 1917 Beacon of a tragic accident involving a little Bass River Township girl that tugged at my heart. Eight year old Pearl Barton was killed in an accident on the Bass River Bridge while walking home from school with her younger brother, William.

I couldn't help thinking of the pain that must have been suffered by those touched by the accident. As I read the 82 year old account, my heart went out to Pearl's parents, William and Ada Barton, young William who witnessed his sister's death, and Charles Atkinson who found himself in an unavoidable nightmare. They all had to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

On page 5 of the same newspaper, I spotted an advertisement placed by Charles Atkinson for his automobile and bus service that ran from Tuckerton to Absecon. I glanced at the schedule which showed that one of his "automobiles" would be passing through New Gretna on that fateful afternoon; however, it was his school bus that was involved in the accident. Today, Pearl and her brother would not have been in harms way on the narrow Bass River bridge. The bridge has been replaced with a wider bridge with adequate sidewalks, and bus transportation to and from the New Gretna School is now provided for the East Greenbush Road area.

The Atkinson family ran a variety of transportation services in the Tuckerton area for many years, including busing New Gretna School children. One of my favorite old New Gretna photos is of an Atkinson horse drawn bus stopped at the original Mullica River bridge.

Before the advent of the automobile, the Atkinson family ran a bus service from Tuckerton to various towns in Atlantic County. Above, an Atkinson horse drawn bus is stopped on the Bass River side of the original Mullica River Bridge. (Photo courtesy of Charles and Patricia Atkinson Richmond.)

A review of census data showed that William and his wife, Ada, lived on Tub Street in Port Republic with their 10 month old daughter, Pearl, in 1910.They had been married for 2 years and lived next door to William's parents, John and Kate Barton. William's occupation was listed as a "Sawyer". They moved to Bass River Township sometime between this 1910 census and the tragic September, 1917 accident.

Ben Allen, who was born December 10, 1917, just 3 months after the accident, remembers the Barton family and hearing about Pearl's tragic death. He told me that the Bartons had a farm on East Greenbush Road. It was on the east side of the road, just before the present day Bass River Township yard that was previously the Burlington County Mosquito Commission yard. Ben remembered that they had a son, William, and that Mrs. Barton moved back to Port Republic, probably after her husband died. He, also, told me that the old farmhouse was since destroyed by fire, but couldn't remember exactly when. Mrs. Barton moving back to Port Republic and the fire had to have happened after 1930; however, as I was able to find William Barton, age 48, and his wife, Ada, age 40, living on East Greenbush Road in the 1930 Bass River Township census which is the last census to be published. William, Jr., who would have been 19 years old, was not living with his parents at that time.

My genealogy records showed that Pearl was buried in New Gretna in the family plot located in the West Section of Miller Cemetery in New Gretna. A trip to her grave site was clearly in order and showed a small, lonely stone.

Pearl's tombstone simply reads "Pearl K. Barton" with the dates "July 9, 1909 and September 10, 1917". (September 18, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

The only other stone on the Barton family plot was for Pearl's brother, William, who was on the Bass River bridge with Pearl on that tragic day, and his wife, Esther. Some quick math regarding the 1911 birth date on the tombstone and the September, 1917 accident date tells us that William was about 6 years old when he witnessed his sister's death on the Bass River bridge.

William was reunited with his sister, Pearl, in the family cemetery plot. (September 18, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

There were no other stones on the family plot. Either Pearl and William's parents, William and Ada Barton, are buried here without a stone, or they are buried at another location. Unfortunately, there are no cemetery records that can tell us if the former is the case. Should anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere have any knowledge about where they are buried, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Well, that ends the sad tale of little Pearl Barton. It may be inconsequential in the history of Bass River Township, but it spoke to me. That's the beauty of having one's own Blog. I can write about whatever inspires me at the time. Today, it was Pearl! Tomorrow, who knows?

Pete S

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PTA Past Presidents (1930-1975)

The other day I had mentioned that Kemp Wetmore stopped by the Bass River Community Library with a box of old New Gretna PTA files. One of the more interesting items in that box was a 1975 note book that was kept by Joyce Eichinger who was corresponding secretary that year. The first two pages of entries contained a list of the Past Presidents of the Nerw Gretna P.T.A. from 1930 to 1975. I'm thankful that Joyce took the time to make these entries and preserve a piece of New Gretna history.

Many of the names on the list will be familiar to those in the Blog-O-Sphere who grew up in New Gretna, so I thought I would share the list with you. I've added a few photos to help bring back some memories of those days gone by.

Pete S

PS- If anyone has a photo of a past P.T.A. President whom I didn't place a photo with, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Past Presidents – New Gretna P.T.A.

1930-32: Lillian Lindsley

1932-34: Margaret Maxwell

1934-35: Bess Mathis

A young Bess Cramer before she married Zeb Mathis.

(Photo courtesy of Norman and Ann Mathis.)

1936-38: Helen Mathis

1938-40: Marietta Maxwell

Marietta Maxwell

(Photo courtesy of Myrtle Falkinburg.)

1938-40: Julia McDonald

1940-41: Elizabeth Cramer

1941-42: Minnie Shropshire

Minnie Shropshire

(Photo courtesy of Murray and Jean Shropshire Harris.)

1942-1944: Monica Kalm

Monica Kalm with daughter, Claire.

(Photo courtesy of Alston and Claire Kalm Allen.)

1944-45: Josephine Adams

1945-47: Olga Pflaum

1947-48: Gladys Storey

1948-50: Frances Brown

1950-51: Dorothy Allen

Dot Allen with son Woody, Jr.

(Photo courtesy of Dorothy Allen.)

1951-52: Mary Clifton

1952-53: Myrtle Falkinburg

Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg

(Photo courtesy of Catherine Wiseman Heinrichs.)

1953-54: Kay Bergh

1954-55: Josephine Adams

1955-56: Maxine Schumacher

1956-58: Helen Hancock

Helen Handcock

1958-59: Mildred Kauflin

Mildred Kauflin

(Photo courtesy of Ron and Carol Kauflin Nicklow.)

1959-60: Almira Steele

Almira Steele with daughters, Susan and baby Ethel.

(1958 photo courtesy of Almira Steele.)

1960-62:Lillian Cunningham

1962-64: Betty West

Betty West with youngest daughter, Rebecca.

(1966 photo courtesy of Floyd and Betty West.)

1964-66: Millie Potter

Millie Potter with daughter, Sheryl.

(1956 photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)

1966-68: Betty Adams

1968-70: Lila Cramer

Lila Cramer with son, Doug

(1956 photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)

1970-71: Emma Tozer

1971-72: Marjorie Conover

1972-73: Carol Tilley

1974: Pearl Koteles

1974: William Bomberri

1975: Geraldine Killmaier