How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at bassriverhistory@gmail.com 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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Postcards- A Valuable Historical Resource

Last Monday we discussed postcards that came from the Allen Variety Store on Allentown Road in New Gretna. The Allentown Road (Now North Maple avenue) street scenes were especially interesting and valuable to me. The postcards, from the 1920's, showed early views of houses that I hadn't seen before and may not be available anywhere else. It makes me, as an amateur historian, want to shout, "Thank God for postcards and those itinerant postcard photographers!"


This postcard of the lower Allentown neighborhood, showing five houses, is an historian's dream. (Postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

You're probably saying "Yes, but the houses are so small in the postcard view, you can't see much." Well, modern technology to the rescue! With today's computers and scanners that situation can be rectified. It's a simple procedure to place the postcard on the scanner, make a few mouse clicks, and divide the postcard image into a series of larger photos of the individual houses. In the case of the above postcard, these are the only 1920's photos of these houses that I have.

While obtaining a photo of an individual house from a postcard might not interest or excite most Blog readers, it would be of interest to someone with a family connection to that house. With that in mind, the following are enlargements of the five houses in the lower Allentown neighborhood postcard. I've also included some photos of people who lived in those houses at one time or another. After all, the most interesting thing about a house is who lived in them. If you are aware of others who lived in any of the houses, please email me or write a comment below. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

House #1

This is "Ry" and "Rita" Allen's house where the Allen Variety Store occupied the front room. (Enlargement from postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)


"Ry" and Rita" Allen scanned from an old tintype. (Courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

House #2 and #3

The house on the left was owned by Woodrow and Dorothy Allen for many years. The house on the right belonged to Otto and Monica Kalm at one time. (Enlargement from postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

Woody and Dorothy Allen with daughters Marjorie (left) and Eleanor in June, 1945. (Photo courtesy of Almira Steele.)


Otto and Monica Kalm by their Allentown Road, now North Maple Avenue, home (Photo courtesy of Alston and Claire Kalm Allen.)

House #4


This house belonged to Harold and Evelyn Elberson, parents of Betty Petzak who now lives, with her husband, Joe, in the yellow house next door. Harold and Evelyn lived at Sym place before moving to New Gretna. (Enlargement from postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

A young Harold "Toots" Elberson before moving to New Gretna. Anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who can identify the make and year of the car? (Photo courtesy of Joe and Betty Elberson Petzak.)

A young Evelyn Scott Elberson deer hunting near her home in Sym Place, circa 1920's. Sure looks like Annie Oakley to me. (Photo courtesy of Joe and Betty Elberson Petzak.)

House #5


The final house in the postcard belonged to Thomas Jefferson Gaskill many years ago. It was torn down by Frank and Ethel Archer in the late 1950's a few years after they built a brick ranch house at the back of the property on the Bass River. Charlotte and Ricky "White Shoes" Steele now live in a modern ranch house that was built at the front of the property. (Enlargement from postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

Thomas Jefferson Gaskill (1855-1936). Photo courtesy of Norman and Ann Mathis.


Eliza Cramer Gaskill (1859-1896), Thomas Jefferson's first wife. (Photo courtesy of Norman and Ann Mathis.)

You can see how one postcard, with a little ingenuity, can produce valuable photographs that otherwise would be lost. What a valuable historic resource!

So, search your attics, scrapbooks, cigar boxes, etc. for old postcards. They may hold a treasure-trove of information. If you find any of New Gretna, I would be happy to scan and enlarge them for you.


Pete S

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Gretna Postcards

A few weeks ago the Tuckerton Historical Society had a Saturday afternoon program on old postcards from our area. Statistics show that postcard collectors, called deltiologists, are involved in the third most popular collecting hobby in the world, behind coin and stamp collecting. Baseball card collecting moves postcard collecting to fourth place in the United States.

I always have my eyes peeled for New Gretna postcards in my history travels. Unfortunately there seems to be very few available. Gets me to wondering how many old New Gretna postcards might be hidden away in attics around town.

I thought I might share some of the New Gretna postcards that I have scanned into my computer over the years. Hopefully they will prove interesting to you, and they may motivate someone to look through their old scrapbooks or attic for some to add to our history collection.

Local postcards were prolific in the early 1900's. Itinerant photographers would travel from town to town in panel trucks advertising family portraits and postcards. They would travel through neighborhoods hawking their services and, also, stop by small local stores and offer to take local photos and provide postcards for the store proprietors to sell. Often these postcards are the only historic record we have. A few of the following New Gretna postcards fall into this category.

This photo of the Thomas Wood's store on Hammonton Road shows an itinerant photographer's truck to the left. The lettering on the truck reads "FRED HESS & SON - PHOTOGRAPHERS". Fred or his son probably took the above photo and, likely, also travelled the streets of New Gretna hawking photos and postcards for anyone who showed an interest in their services. What a valuable resource they have been to historians of later generations! (Photo courtesy of Lucy Lehneis, Tom Wood's daughter.)

I cannot think about New Gretna postcards without thinking about Sarah Maria Mellette Allen. She was known by her nickname "Rita", pronounced "Rye-Tee", derived from her husband Uriah Jackson Allen's nickname, "Ry". The linking of a husband and wife's nickname was not uncommon in New Gretna, as evidenced by Almira Cramer Steele's "Bass River Nicknames" article on page 5 of the October, 1988 edition of the Bass River Gazette. Click on the link below to read Almira's Nicknames article:


"Rita" operated Allen's Variety Store out of the family home on North Maple Avenue for many years. Many of the New Gretna old timers that I have spoken to remember buying penny candy, as a kid, from "Miss Rita".


"Rita" Allen (1862-1935) operated Allen's Variety Store for many years. (Photo courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

"Ry" and "Rita" Allen's Allentown Road (Now North Maple Avenue) house, circa 1920's. Allen's Variety Store was located in the front room. (Photo courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

Today, Alston and Claire Allen live in the house where Rita ran Allen's Variety Store. Although they share the same surname and New Gretna roots, there is no relationship between Alston Allen and "Ry" and "Rita" Allen. "Ry" was a Short Allen while Alston is a Tall Allen. See the May, 1999 edition of the Bass River Gazette for an explanation of the Tall and Short Allens at http://bassriver-nj.org/pdf/h-gazette04--may-1999.pdf. (March 6, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Allen's Variety Store ad from a late 1920's or early 1930's New Gretna Minstrel Program.


An old cardboard candy box from Allen's Variety Store. I wonder if anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere bought candy cherries from "Rita"? (Box courtesy of Pat and Geary Steinhauer.)

"Rita" Allen also sold postcards at Allen's Variety Store. Some were of local scenes and were probably taken by itinerant postcard salesmen. Following are some postcards from her store. Her husband, "Ry", is pictured in the first two. See if you can spot him.


"Ry" Allen owned and operated a cranberry bog off Mink Path Road, not far from his Allentown Road home. He employed many local women during picking season. Notice, no cranberry scoops here, just hand pickin'. (Postcard courtesy of Pat and Geary Steinhaurer.)

Looks like a successful catch for "Ry" and three of his buddies. (Postcard courtesy of Pat and Geary Steinhauer.)

This postcard shows the lower Allentown neighborhood, including Allen's Variety Store on the left. Can anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere name any residents who lived in the surrounding houses? (Postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

Scene looking north from the Presbyterian Church on Allentown Road (Now North Maple Avenue), circa 1920's. Notice the gravel sidewalk and telephone poles. Looking at the poles, I don't believe electricity had yet come to New Gretna. (Postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

Looking south on Allentown Road (Now North Maple Avenue) toward New York Highway (Now Route 9), circa 1920's. The Presbyterian Church can be seen on the right. It's stained glass windows have yet to be installed. (Postcard courtesy of Paul Steinhauer.)

It's not surprising that "Rita" would have a postcard of the New Gretna Hotel, circa 1920's, on her rack, as it was a popular destination for fishermen and hunters who would board at the hotel while enjoying the ample supply of fish and game in the area. It was an important part of the local economy in the 1920's through the 1940's. (Postcard courtesy of Pat and Geary Steinhauer.)

There were also generic postcards that were sold in the early 1900's. These were usually scenic cards with no distinct objects to identify them with any specific town. The following generic cards were sold at "Rita's" store. Evidently cows were popular. I wouldn't be surprized if the same cards were sold in Tuckerton with the notation "GREETINGS FROM TUCKERTON" at the bottom.


Postcard courtesy of Pat and Geary Steinhauer.

The back of the above card. Both the sender and addressee are related to "Ry" and "Rita" Allen. Virginia is the grandaughter of "Ry" and "Rita". She is writing to her parents - Mr. & Mrs. R.M. Allen. R.M. is Ruy M., "Ry" and "Rita's" son. He married Marietta Corliss and had 5 children: Myrtle Elizabeth, Frances Rita, Lillian Ann, Virginia Mary, and Etta Malett.

Postcard courtesy of Pat and Geary Steinhauer.

The back of the above card simply reads "Dear Mom, Be sure and come up Sunday. From Sister Virginia" It appears it was never mailed as there is no stamp or postmark.

Writing today's Blog makes me want to take a walk down Allentown Road to Allen's Variety Store and buy some penny candy from "Rita's" glass case and pick a postcard or two off the postcard rack. I might even think about having a grape Nehi. The bottle cap would look great adorning my vest or hat. Remember those days? Care to join me? I know Leslie Whealton will, as he always has a cold grape soda waiting for me in the refrigerator when I pay a visit to the Whealton household to work on a history or genealogy project with his wife, Shirley.




We'll be featuring more New Gretna postcards and postcards from neighboring communities in future Blog entries, so stop by now and then for a look-see.

Pete S

PS- Did you notice that the postcards from Allen's Variety Store were from either Paul or Geary and Pat Steinhauer? Paul is the great grandson of "Ry" and "Rita" Allen and the son of Virginia Allen Steinhauer who wrote the two cow postcards above. Geary is Paul's brother. Pat is Geary's wife. You can view photos of Ry, Rita, Virginia, Geary, Pat, etc. on the December 21, 2008 Blog entry by clicking on the following web link:

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Allard

Last Tuesday's Blog dealt with the Cramer Oyster House. In that article we posted a 1994 letter from Arnold Nathan Cramer, the grandson of Arnold "Bisquit" Cramer who founded the family oyster and clam business in Tuckerton, New Gretna, and Townsend's Inlet.

Arnold's letter, reprinted below, was a response to an article in the Fall 1993 "South Jersey Magazine" article entitled "Townsend's Inlet in the Twenties" and gives some interesting insight into the Cramer family business. The photo has been added for the Blog.

Dear Mrs. Bailey:

It is with much interest I read the article concerning my grand­father - Capt. D. Arnold Cramer and his catboat "ALLARD". Grandpop would sail fishing parties in the summer from Townsends Inlet and oyster and clam the remainder of the year in the Tuckerton/New Gretna area (Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor Bay and Barnegat Bay) (his permanent home was in New Gretna). In the off season the ALLARD would be converted to oystering by changing the cabin and installing a winch for dred­ging. Grandpop also had two permanent oyster boats named the "JESSIE-G" and the "DREAD­NAUGHT".

The oyster/clam business was later run by my father (Harold F. Cramer) and my uncle (A. Pratt Cramer). In the spring and summer Uncle Pratt would move to the Townsends Inlet/Sea Isle City area and sail fishing parties with boats named the "CAPT. CRAMER". Both brothers are now deceased.


A. Pratt Cramer, son of Arnold "Bisquit" Cramer, operated the party boat, Captain Cramer, from VanSant's Pier on 86th Street at Townsend's Inlet, Sea Isle City.

The ALLARD was sold following Grandpop's death in 1944 (the only portion I know that remains is the winter cabin that lays on the bank of Tuckerton Creek). The last I ever saw the ALLARD was in Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City, minus its mast (approximately 1950).

Sincerely,

Arnold M. Cramer

P.S. A model of the ALLARD can be seen in Allen’s Clam Bar in New Gretna.

South Jersey Magazine, Winter Issue 1994


The model of the Allard, made by the late Don Helfridge from Tuckerton, located in Allen's Clam Bar. Stop in and take a look and, while you are there, try Allen's famous oyster stew. You'll be glad you did.

Allen's Clam Bar on Route 9 in New Gretna. The gps coordinates are N39.35.521/W074.27.191. (April 27, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Reading Arnold's letter whetted my appetite for addition information on the Allard, the first boat used in the Cramer shellfish and fishing party business. I located the Fall, 1993 issue of "South Jersey Magazine" at the Bass River Community Library and thought I would share that portion of Jim Doyle's article that dealt with the Allard. It really brings history alive! The rest of his article is worth reading, but it was not connected with the New Gretna area, and I thought it too long for the Blog. You are welcome to stop by the Bass River Community Library (Located in the Bass River Elementary School and open Wednesday & Friday evenings from 6-9 PM) to read the entire article. I am there during those hours and would be glad to meet you and talk about New Gretna history. The library also has a good selection of local and New Jersey history and genealogy books.



Townsend’s Inlet in the Twenties

by Jim Doyle

Through the efforts of Michael Stafford, President of the Sea Isle City Historical Museum, South Jersey Magazine presents this memoir written by Jim Doyle who first came to Townsend's Inlet in 1926 and his memories of those times are vivid. Jim went to sea early and became a professional merchant seaman. After retiring from the sea, Jim discovered he had a talent for the theatre as an actor, director and writer. He has been active in the theatre in New York for over the past twenty years particularly as a playwright. He is currently working on a play about Sea Isle City.

Following is an excerpt from the article.

Photos have been added by the Blog.

The Allard

Every morning before 8 o’clock, people would begin to congregate out near the end of Vansant’s Pier. They were mostly men, though there would usually be a few women amongst the men, they were almost all white, though there might be three or four African Am­ericans who had taken the dollar excursion train down from Cam­den — the only blacks ever seen, or probably, even tolerated in the Sea Isle area in those days. All were dressed casually, even roughly dressed, quite a few wearing foul weather gear, black or yellow sou'westers and rain caps, some in shoes or sneakers, some in short rubber boots, called "gum boots.'' and almost all with rods and reels in one hand and tackle boxes in the other. These were the fishermen and they had come for their days fishing out in the ocean, or, as we said. ''outside."

About the same time the party boats would start to arrive and tie up out at the end of the pier. When I say “party, I don't mean to imply that kind of event where the word, `'party", is preceded by the words, ''birthday" or "card". "Party" here had a much more profound mean­ing. It meant that for a couple of dollars you could join in with the above group and with others of a like mind assembling out on the pier, resolved to enjoy the day out on the ocean, rocking and fishing. The price included bait and a hand line to fish with for those few who didn't bring their own.

I can only remember two party boats working out of Townsend's Inlet in the late twenties, though I think there might have been more, maybe a third. There were Captain Cramer and his sail boat, the Allard, and another party boat, the Eunice, which was a very large, open boat of the type that they called a "whale boat". It was sup­posed to be a former life boat from the U.S. Navy left over from World War I. A man they used to call "Shoutie" owned and ran it and named it for his niece, Eunice, whom I knew, and who was a few years older than I. The Eunice had an inboard engine, a big one, from an automobile like a Cadillac or a Packard that Shoutie seemed to have to work on every afternoon, "To keep her f'in' goin' ", Shoutie once shouted at me when I had the temerity to ask why they were always working on it. I'm pretty sure there was another party boat, but I can't remember what it was.

The Allard sailed out of Townsends Inlet in the summers.


An excursion on the Allard, circa 1916, out of Townsend's Inlet. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)

As I've said, these boats fished "outside", that is, out in the ocean, which was very different from fish­ing ''inside'', i.e., in the bay. I'll explain why. First, when you got outside and the boat started to roll, you could experience that queasy sensation known to the people who also used the phrase, "up chuck", as "mal de mer". I per­sonally didn't get sea sick, but a lot of people did. Another thing about fishing outside is that the fish caught out in the ocean could be very different from what you caught in the bay. Outside the fish were usually much bigger and there were more of them. Also there was much more variety. Sea bass, porgies, kingfish and weak fish, croakers, mackeral and floun­der were all caught, and in quantity! It was nothing to fill three big pretzel cans full of fish in a day!

Now Captain Cramer — rather "Cap'n Cramer" — we locals never called him anything but "Cap'n" —only the city people from Philadel­phia addressed him as "Captain" — Well, Cap'n Cramer sailed the Allard out of Vansant's Pier every morning during the summer. The Allard was a large boat with both a sail and a powerful inboard engine. It also had a cabin with benches inside it and a toilet which flushed its contents directly into the water below. It was painted white and had lettered in black on each side of the bow its name, ALLARD, fol­lowed by a number which was its registration number as required for all motor boats in the state of New Jersey. Across the stern was let­tered, ALLARD, NEW GRETNA, N.J., which I discovered, to my surprise, was its home port and not Townsend's Inlet as I had sup­posed. It was berthed there in New Gretna during the winter. I believe Cap'n Cramer berthed there during the winter also, but I don't know. I never learned what ''Allard'' meant. Probably because I never asked. I should have.


The Allard operated out of Townsend's Inlet in the summer and wintered at the Cramer Oyster House on the Bass River in New Gretna. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)

Cap'n Cramer's son, and my friend, Pratt Cramer, was the mate. Besides Pratt, The Allard usually carried a youngster or two, a bit older than I, to do what I did too. when I got older, that is, to perform the menial chores, to give out fishing lines, cut and pass bait, to sell the soda pop, and to assist in extricating fish hooks, and trying to comfort the sea-sick. These kids would also clean fish for the lucky fishermen when the boat was coming back in after a good day's fishing, and then clean the boat itself when the day's work was over.

The pay for the day's work was a dollar. A dollar was a lot of money for a youngster, especially in those days. But you didn't crew on the Allard for the money. No, you worked there for a lot more than money. There was pride in it, and real status to be a member of the crew of the Allard. You knew it when you were the subject of the envious stares of the other kids who stood on Vansant's Pier and watched as, at the end of the day, you tossed your galvanized pail in­to the bay, hauled up a bucket of bay water with the rope tied to the handle and sloshed the clean bay water along the deck, washing away all the grime and gore left from a'day's fishing. And, though you knew by name every one of those kids standing there, en­viously watching you from Van Sant's Pier, you kept on scrubbing the deck, and never once looked up at them from your job!

As I said, the Allard had both a sail and an engine, though the sail seemed mostly a decoration, Cap'n Cramer knew how to use it when he wanted. When all the customers were on board, the lines would be cast off, and away she'd go, motoring down the bay, with her sail up.

When she got to the inlet, the railroad bridge would swing open, Cap'n Cramer would steer her through into the channel where she'd start to roll. Then he'd navi­gate her very carefully across the sand bars that partially blocked the inlet. Waves broke acorns the bar and she'd start to pitch, too, as we crossed the bar. Then, pitching and rolling. we'd burst out into the ocean! Ah. what a feeling! I guess that's why most of us kids later followed the sea. I know it's why I did!

Then Cap'n Cramer would sail the Allard to some submerged wreck that he knew about and everybody would fish. But, if the fishing was not as good as he felt it ought to be, he'd hoist the an­chor and away we'd sail to anoth­er place that he knew about until he found the right spot. Then he'd have a bottle of Coca Cola — no beer permitted on the Allard in. those days — and let himself relax while the customers hauled in the fish.

I can see Cap'n Cramer yet, in his soft yachting cap and dunga­rees, and his ever-present gum boots, sitting there at the helm, as the Allard, graceful as a gull, luffed lightly in the wind, Cap'n Cramer, sunburned and squinting, his hand on the wheel, every inch the mari­ner. He even walked bowlegged when he was ashore.

South Jersey Magazine, Fall Issue 1993



Jim Cramer, Harold Cramer's oldest son and Arnold "Bisquit" Cramer's grandson, holds up a photo of the model of the Allard before it was placed in Allen's Clam Bar. Jim is also called "Bisquit" which shows that nicknames sometimes traveled down through families, sometimes even skipping generations. (July 24, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

While taking the above photo, I had an informative and entertaining chat this afternoon with Jim and his brother, Arnold, in Jim's West Creek kitchen. We'll be talking more about what I learned of the Cramer family and Oyster business in future Blog issues.

Pete S

PS- Sorry about being late with the Blog today. I got confused regarding when it was due. Oh well, they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I hope that is the case with the Blog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Cramer Oyster House

I got the following email from Ryan D. and thought I would try to provide some information and photos to satisfy his curiosity.

Hello,

I love reading your blog. I am trying to locate some history on and pictures of the oyster house on Amasa Landing road. Do you have anything?

Regards,

Ryan D.


Daniel Arnold Cramer started the oyster business around 1900 on Tuckerton Creek. In 1937 he decided to expand the business to New Gretna. He gave the Tuckerton business to his son, Harold, and built the Oyster House on the Bass River at the end of Amasas Landing Road.



The Cramer Oyster House is located at the end of Amasas Landing Road in New Gretna. (Map courtesy of Google Maps.)

The New Gretna business passed to Daniel Arnold's wife, Gertrude, upon his death in 1944. Harold went to New Gretna to run the business for his mom. Upon her passing, in 1948, the business went to her sons, Harold and Pratt.

The two main boats used at the Oyster House were the "Jesse G", the oldest, and the "Dreadnaught". The "Jesse G", built in 1903, was an old ferry used between Toms River and Sea Side. Daniel Arnold purchased it from it's builder and captain, Jesse Grant from the Bayville area. The boat was named after Grant. It was scrapped in 1971.


The "Jesse G" taking on clams off Atlantic City. 1- Arnold Pratt Cramer; 2- Daniel Arnold Cramer; 3- Harold Cramer; and 4- the Claridge Hotel. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)

The "Dreadnaught" blew it's engine around 1981 and was sunk, a stone's throw from the Oyster House, in the pond that was created when sand was dredged for the construction of the Garden State Parkway.


Shoveling oyster shells off the Dreadnaught. 1- Ike Bowers with his trademark cigar; 2- Jim Cramer; 3- Ben Allen; and 4- Steve Potter, Jr. .

The Oyster House was sold outside the Cramer family in 1982, after Harold's death. The buyer, Donald Metzger, bought the property to develop into a restaurant, but his plans never panned out due to complications regarding the fragile wetlands environment in the area.

Arnold Cramer & Co. Letterhead from the 1940's. (Courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)

There may be some confusion regarding my statement that Daniel Arnold Cramer started the shellfish business, as he went by the name of Arnold throughout his life. His friends simply called him "Bisquit". Most of his contemporaries were not aware that his first name was Daniel. The 1880 census documents this by listing Daniel A. as the youngest of Caleb S. and Mary J. Cramer's four children.


The 1880 Federal Census

The name issue is further confused by the 1900 census which does not mention the name "Daniel" but lists "Arnold". It's a genealogist's nightmare! The tip off that they are the same individual is that their ages correspond and Daniel's middle initial in the 1880 census is "A".


The 1900 Federal Census

All of the documentation that I have seen, with the exception of the 1880 census, regarding Daniel Arnold lists his name as simply Arnold. His World War I and World War II Draft Registration Cards are examples of this. They were even signed as Arnold Cramer.

World War I Draft Registration Card


World War II Draft Registration Card

Daniel Arnold's obituary also identified him as "Arnold" rather than "Daniel".

Tuckerton Beacon Obituary


His tombstone is also inscribed with the first name of Arnold.


Arnold Cramer's tombstone on the hill in Miller Cemetery, New Gretna. The GPS coordinates are N39.35.650, W074.26.866. (July 21, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Daniel Arnold Cramer (1879-1944) married Gertrude French (1876-1948). Gertrude's obituary also lists Arnold, not Daniel Arnold, as her late husband.

Tuckerton Beacon Obituary

The paperwork I was finding with Arnold as the first name got me to doubting the 1880 Federal Census listing of his first name as Daniel, so I called Bisquit's grandson, Arnold Nathan Cramer, to clarify the situation. Arnold told me that his grandfather's first name was, indeed, Daniel but emphasized that he never went by it. Even many family members were unaware of his real first name. Evidently, the use of a middle name as a first name was a Cramer family tradition. Daniel Arnold had two brothers, Caleb Earl and John Pratt. They both went by their middle names, Earl and Pratt.


Daniel Arnold "Bisquit" Cramer, his wife, Gertrude, with two of their grandchildren, Jim and Helen, in 1934. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)

Arnold and Gertrude lived and raised their family in their New York Road, now Route 9, home which sits adjacent to the present New Gretna Post Office.


The Cramer family home in New Gretna as it looks today. The GPS coordinates are N39.35.487, W074.27.412. (April 27, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Arnold and Gertrude had two sons - Harold French Cramer and Arnold Pratt Cramer. Harold went by his first name, but his brother, in the family tradition, was called Pratt, his middle name, rather than Arnold, his first name. So we have a siutuation where Daniel Arnold, whose first name was not Arnold, was called Arnold and Arnold Pratt, whose first name was Arnold, was not called Arnold. He was called Pratt. Following Me? Confused? Welcome to the club!

Harold French Cramer (1907-1982) married Florence Cox (1907-1996) from West Creek. Their children were James H., Arnold Nathan, Helen Marie, and Edith Mae.


Tuckerton Beacon Obituary

Tuckerton Beacon Obituary


Arnold Pratt Cramer (1911-1978) married Vera M. Jewell (1916-2005). Their children are Barbara Gertrude and Donald P.

Tuckerton Beacon Obituary

The Cramer Oyster business also operated out of Townsends Inlet where it mostly catered to fishing and sailing parties in the summer. Pratt handled most of the Townsends Inlet business. Arnold Nathan Cramer, Bisquit's grandson, wrote an informative letter to Shirley Bailey, the owner and editor of "South Jersey Magazine". It gives an excellent overview of the family business and the boats that they owned and operated. Note that Arnold's middle initial is misprinted "M" instead of "N".

"South Jersey Magazine" - Winter, 1994 edition.


The Allard on an August, 1916 Summer cruise out of Townsend's Inlet. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


Daniel Arnold "Bisquit" Cramer and his son, Harold, on the Allard. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)

Following are some photos of the Cramer Oyster House on the Bass River at the end of Amasas Landing Road.


(l-r) Harold Bicken's "Vigilante", the "Dreadnaught", and the "Jesse G" tied up at the Cramer's Oyster House dock. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


The shell pile by the Cramer Oyster House in 1981. The GPS coordinates of the Oyster House are N39.34.607, W074.27.060. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


The "Dreadnaught" docked at the Cramer Oyster House in 1981. The "Dreadnaught" was built in the late 1920's for Walt Allen from Tuckerton and sold to D. Arnold Cramer about 1930. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)



Steve Potter's garvey (foreground) and the "Dreadnaught" tied up at the Cramer Oyster House in 1981. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


The "Dreadnaught" (left) and Harold Bicken's "Vigilant" tied up at the Cramer Oyster House. (Photo courtesy of Harold Nathan Cramer.)


1- Arnold Pratt Cramer, 2- Stan Bozarth, 3- Jim Cramer, and 4- Harold French Cramer culling oysters. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


Break time! (l-r) Donald Cramer, Arnold Pratt Cramer, and Harold French Cramer. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


The 1950 storm at the Cramer Oyster house. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


(l-r) Harold French Cramer, Arnold Pratt Cramer, and Stan Bozarth on the Dreadnaught docked at the Cramer Oyster House. (Photo courtesy of Arnold Nathan Cramer.)


Well, I hope I was able to satisfy Ryan's curiosity about the Cramer Oyster house and provide some family information for all the genealogists who may be reading the Blog.

Pete S

PS- Is there anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who can tell me how Arnold got the nickname "Bisquit"?

PPS- You may have noticed the GPS coordinates in some of the photo captions. Our history group has acquired a handheld GPS unit, thanks to the encouragement of John Yates and the advise of Jim McAnney. We will be using it to identify the location of various history related sites here on the Blog.