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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Unknown Bowler Finally Revealed

All this talk about the Unknown Bowler (See the December 28th Blog entry) brought back memories of a nutsy late 1970's TV show that I somehow thought to be pretty funny. It was called the Gong Show and featured an off the wall host, Chuck Barris, and a recurring character called the Unknown Comic.

The Unknown Comic from the Gong Show.

The Unknown Comic and the Unknown Bowler share a similarity. There was a mystery surrounding their identity. There was also a difference. I never did find out who the Unknown Comic was, but I was able to solve the mystery of the Unknown Bowler.

The Unknown Bowler from Bud Steele's mid to late 1960's Atlantic Gas Station team.

I went through my electronic history newspaper clipping files in search of a clue to figuring out the identity of the Unknown Bowler. It was my only hope, as no one I had shown the bowling team photo to could identify the man. After a while, I finally hit pay dirt! A found a 1968 newspaper photo of Bud Steele's prize winning bowling team. Some of the bowlers were in the earlier photo, including Bud Steele, Owen Carty, and our Unknown Bowler. Jack Mathis and his son-in-law, Tiny Keufer, were new to the team. The caption below the newspaper photo revealed our Unknown Bowler's name - Roland Swenson.

1968 Tuckerton Beacon clipping
Photo taken by BettyJean Mathis Keufer.

But, who was Roland Swenson, and what was he doing on a New Gretna bowling team? I've never heard that name before.

The only person still living from that 1968 team is Tiny who lives on South Maple Avenue, so I gave him a call to ask about Roland Swenson. Tiny didn't remember much about Roland except that he was a friend of Owen Carty who lived on Long Beach Island, and refinished wood floors for a living. Not much information but 1968 was a long time ago, and it was all that Tiny could recall. It was enough, however, to explain why no one from New Gretna could identify Roland. He was not from New Gretna, so he wasn't recognized.

Bob Brown who was in the original bowling team photo posted on the December 28th Blog is now living in Delaware, and I don't know how to get in touch with him. He may remember other information related to his ex team mate, Roland. Perhaps someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can get in touch with Bob, ask him about Roland, and give us an update.

I did call Helen Sears Carty, Owen's wife. She remembered Roland but couldn't recall anything more than what Tiny had remembered. She thought Roland may have lived in Tuckerton rather than Long Beach Island as Tiny had mentioned.

Owen and Helen Sears Carty with their daughter, Joyce in the late 1940's. (Photo courtesy of Helen Sears Carty.)
Helen did remember Owen bowling a 299 game at Stafford Lanes in Manahawkin. She said that he lost a perfect game on the last ball which was a solid pocket hit. The six pin shook and wiggled but failed to fall. A 299 score was still a significant feat; however, and Owen became somewhat of a celebrity around New Gretna for a while.

For all those who might doubt Owen's remarkable game, the score sheet follows. I'm a little puzzled regarding the (blind) notation following Roland's name. I'm sure that he wasn't blind, so it must be a bowling term that I am not aware of.

By the way, the December 28th Blog entry contest for the first person to name all the bowlers to win a free breakfast with Jim McAnney remains unclaimed, as no one was able to name Roland Swenson. Sorry about that Jim. I guess you'll have to eat breakfast by yourself.

Well, that just about ends our little bowling escapade here at the Blog for now, unless someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere has something to add.

Pete S

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Old House by Win Salmons

I got the following email this afternoon and am hoping that one of our Blog readers may be able to shed some light on the house in question.

Pete S

Hi Mr Stemmer,

I love reading your blog. I am attaching a photo of a Win Salmon's pen and ink drawing that I purchased at an auction. I was just wondering if you or any of the readers know what house it is of.

Sandy Cullen

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Gretna Bowling Quiz

We had discussed the popularity of baseball and car racing in New Gretna here at the Blog. Another sport that was particularly popular in the 1960's and 1970's was bowling. In my reading of old Tuckerton Beacon newspapers, the posting of various bowling team and league scores were common during those eras.

The following photo shows a New Gretna bowling team from the early to mid 1960's. I thought it might be fun to have a Bowling Quiz regarding the team photo.

Can you name the person
and give his number on the above photo?

(A) He ran a local business and sponsored the team. Hint- The color of the team's shoes has recently become a nickname for the team sponsor's son who currently lives in New Gretna. It appears that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

(B) He ran a local grocery store in town and was an officer in the New Gretna Volunteer Fire Company.

(C) He owned and operated a neighboring marina on the Mullica River for many years.

(D) He lived on Frenches Lane and was the building inspector in New Gretna when Jackie and I moved to town in the early 1970's. He was a popular part time roofer for many years.

(E) He originally came to town to work in the Bass River CCC Camp and married a local girl. They first lived in Pleasantville then moved to the home of his bride's uncle, Washy Allen, on Route 9 in New Gretna. His bowling claim to fame was the rolling of a 299 game.

(F) The unknown bowler. Perhaps someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can identify him for me.

Last time we ran a contest here at the Blog, we didn't get any response, so for this contest I decided to offer a free breakfast with an esteemed Blog reader and New Gretna history buff, Jim McAnney, as a prize for the first person to answer all of the questions correctly. Now, that ought to bring in a ton of responses!

Also, if anyone out on the Blog-O-Sphere bowled on a New Gretna team, let's hear from you. What team, who were your team mates, and where did you bowl?

Pete S

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

The two churches in new Gretna, the Methodist and Presbyterian, played an important role in the celebration of Christmas in old New Gretna.

An old photo of the Methodist Church decorated for Christmas. Notice the old gas lights. (Photo courtesy of St. Paul's United Methodist Church.)

A snow covered First Presbyterian Church of New Gretna from an old Christmas card. (Photo courtesy of Betty Lamson West.)

Most of the families in town attended services, particularly at Christmas, when it was customary to hold a Special Christmas Service that featured the participation of many of the members. The following December 22, 1940 Christmas Service bulletin from the Presbyterian Church presents a variety of names of both adults and children that should be familiar to many Blog readers who are either related, know or knew them personally, or saw photos or read about them on the Blog.

HINT - Most Blog readers (It depends on your web browser) can hit their Control and + keys to enlarge the type and better read the above bulletin. Repeat the procedure to continue enlarging. Hitting the Control and - keys will reduce the type size. No charge for the computer lesson.

The Maxwell family was well represented in the 1940 Presbyterrian Church Christmas Program. I notice that Donald Maxwell, a regular Blog reader, is listed in the bulletin, along with his sister, Joyce, and brother, Jack. I wonder if Donald remembers the Christmas program?

Donald Maxwell sang "Pa Goes Ta Meetin" in the 1940 Christmas Program at the Presbyterian Church. (Photo courtesy of Donald Maxwell.)

Joyce Maxwell presented "Our Wish" in the 1940 Christmas Program at the Presbyterian Church. (Photo courtesy of Donald Maxwell.)

Jack Maxwell, Donald's brother, performed a recitation during the 1940 Christmas Program. (Photo courtesy of Donald Maxwell.)

Jackie and I attended the Christmas Eve Service at the New Gretna Presbyterian Church last evening (see photo below) where many of today's New Gretna residents participated in the service much like in the old days. We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Pete S

Photo by Debbie Swanseen

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Who Is Sarah Sooy's Father?

I got the following two emails from Janet Henriksen in Oklahoma and, unfortunately, I haven't been able to help her. I'm posting her email in hopes that someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere may have some information that would be a help to her.

Pete S


Have been trying for years to find the father of Sarah R Sooy who states is Samuel Sooy. She was born March 21, 1829. Have tried Historical societies in NJ with no luck. She is not the Sarah Sooy daughter of Joab listed in the 1850 census. She was living in the household of Josiah Sooy in Cold Springs 1870 with her 2nd husband Richard Lee. First Husband William Ross married before 1854.

Could you give me any ideas where I might find more info about her parents?

Janet Henriksen
Oklahoma - 12/18/09


I was wondering if Samuel son of Augustus and Sarah Higbee that was born in 1799 could be her father but there is no record of a marriage before he died. Her children had the first names of Samuel Augustus, and Jesse Albert. First child's named for the father. I hope to find this info one day before I die. It has me hitting a brick wall.

Janet - 12/23/09

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Tuckerton Masons and the New Gretna Connection

Most people know that the town of Tuckerton was named after its most esteemed citizen, Ebenezer Tucker, who had an influence over many aspects of the community. It, therefore, should come as no surprise that Tucker and eight of his buddies formed the Masonic Lodge at Tuckerton. The following excerpt from the June 2004 edition of the "Bass River Gazette" article on Ebenezer Tucker by Duke DuPruis deals with Tucker's role in forming Tuckerton's Masonic Lodge. You can read the entire article on page 8 of the June 2004 Gazette at:

In the year 1818, Tucker became a member of the Masonic fraternity, by petitioning Mt. Holly Lodge #18 for membership. Two years later, he along with eight other members of Mt. Holly Lodge, petitioned the Grand Lodge of New Jersey at New Brunswick to form a York Rite Lodge at Tuckerton. That request was granted, and Tuckerton Lodge #43 was given a warrant to function as a lodge. It still functions to this day, but its number has been changed to #4.

Tucker is remembered to this day as the father of Tuckerton Lodge. When the lodge was first instituted at Tuckerton, it met on the second floor of the Union Hotel on the Green Street side of the building. The lodge used that room for meetings until the death of Tucker on September 5, 1845, when the lodge moved to its present location at Wood and Church streets.

The Tuckerton Masonic Lodge is on the corner of Wood and Church Streets, a long block off Main Street. (Map courtesy of Bing Maps.)

Over the years many a distinguished gentlemen from Tuckerton and the surrounding communities, including New Gretna, became members of the Tuckerton Masonic Lodge. Recently I came across a small, 2 inch by 5 inch, 1931 booklet (shown below) from the lodge that listed the officers and members. Many of the names should be familiar to our Blog readers. Some, like Jim McAnney, may even have relatives listed in the booklet. If so, I'd like to hear from you about the connection.

It would be interesting to list the names of the officers and members who came from New Gretna, as there is definitely a New Gretna connection. Let's see how many our Blog readers can identify. Email me or list the New Gretna names in the comment section below. I may even have a prize for the person who can identify the most New Gretna names in the booklet, so let's hear from you.

Pete S

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Winter Wonderland

It snowed all day yesterday and throughout most of the night. When I got up this morning there was quite a change, as you can see by comparing the photos I took at 9 AM this morning with those that I posted from yesterday.

Here's the bench, the rectangular mound, on the side deck. What deck?

The chairs on the back deck

The snow on the air conditioner gives a pretty good indication of the accumulation. I'd say it's almost 2 feet
Where are all the birdies?

The snow on our Weber grill. Barbecue anyone?
Looks like a giant marsh mellow.

Check out the snow level on the workshop roof.

The pump house is buried in snow.

Looks like I won't get the car out of the garage for a while.

It really is a winter wonderland!

I got the following photo from Linda Magyar of Bartlett's Landing in Tuckerton who is a friend from the New Gretna Friendly Seniors Club. Wonder if she shoveled the path?

The 8th Wonder of the World - The Great Wall of Tuckerton
December 20, 2009 photo courtesy of Linda Magyar

Following is my buddy Gary's Jeep up in Leektown. I have a feeling he won't be going anywhere soon.

The Nisleymobile in hibernation in the Leektown woods.
December 20, 2009 photo by Gary Nisley.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let It Snow

I woke up this morning to our first snowfall of the 2009 winter season. That's good news and bad news. The good news is that it means pancakes for breakfast. Jackie and I have a tradition, since we've been married, that we have breakfast pancakes when it snows. This morning it was buckwheat and oatmeal pancakes with butter and maple syrup. Yummie! The bad news is that I have to shovel. Ugh!

I thought that I would post some photos throughout the day to show all you snowbirds down in Florida and out in Arizona what a beautiful winter snowfall looks like. So, stop by throughout the day to keep updated. As of 9 AM this morning, it's about 5 inches and counting!

My buddy, Gary Nisley, who lives a little ways up in Leektown, reports about 6 to 7 inches at 9 AM. My sister-in-law down in Charlottesville, Virginia called at 11:30 this morning and said they had 2 feet of snow on the ground and that it was still coming down. She had planned to be in New Gretna for Christmas, but we may not see her until New Years.

If others out in the Blog-O-Sphere email me photos of the snow in their yard, I'll post them here along with my photos. Let's see who gets the most snow!

Pete S.

9 AM with about 5 inches on the ground.

9 AM with about 5 inches on the ground.

9 AM with about 5 inches on the ground.

It's now about 1:00 PM and still snowing. There appears to be about 7 to 8 inches of snow.

1 PM and still snowing

1 PM and still snowing

1 PM and still snowing

1 PM and still snowing

Tuckertons Many Acme Markets

The other day, while driving along Stage Road to pick up a few items at Acme, I got to thinking that the Acme market was at a different location when we moved to new Gretna in the early 1970's. It was on Main Street but on the other end of town where the Village Shops are now located. We tend to think that things remain the same, but that is not the case. History is always in flux, and Acme is a case in point.

The present Acme is located on Rt. 9 (Main Street) between Stage Road and Giffordtown Lane. (Map courtesy of Bing Maps.)

The present day Village Shops, on the corner of Rt. 9 (Main Street) and North Marine Street, was the old location of the Acme Supermarket when Jackie and I moved to New Gretna in the early 1970's. (Map courtesy of Bing Maps.)

The Acme Supermarket in the late 1960's - early 1970's. The building now houses the Village Shops. (Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)
I happened to mention the two locations that I remembered for the Acme Supermarket when I was at the Tuckerton Historical Society last week. Barbara Bolton, Shirley Nugent, and Connie Woolson who volunteer at the Society's Giffortown School Museum and grew up in Tuckerton weren't surprised. In fact, they mentioned two other previous locations for the Acme in Tuckerton that I wasn't aware of.

They took a photo album off the shelf and quickly showed me photos of older Acme stores that operated before Jackie and I moved to the area. In fact, the oldest existed before we were born.

The first photo that they showed me was actually the secodn Acme Market location in Tuckerton. It was on Rt. 9 (Main Street), next to the Dynasty Diner, where the Thrift Store is now located. I seem to remember that it was a motorcycle shop when I first moved to New Gretna.

The 2nd location of Acme Market in Tuckerton.
Map courtesy of Bing Maps.

The Acme Market in the late 1940's.
(Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)

The second photo that they showed me was the original location for the Acme Market in Tuckerton. It was at the corner of Rt. 9 (Main Street) and North Green Street and was part of the American Stores chain. It reminds me somewhat of Clarence Mathis' grocery store in New Gretna.

The first Acme store in Tuckerton, circa 1930's.
(Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)

The location of the first Acme Market in Tuckerton is now a vacant lot on the north-east corner of Main and North Green Streets. (Map courtesy of Bing Maps.)

I wonder how many of our Blog readers remember shopping at the older Acme stores. I sure would like to hear from some who have.

Pete S