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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Mysterious Mrs. Seel Identified

Last Wednesday I posted a 1924 advertisement, reprinted below, from the New Gretna Methodist Church Directory regarding a Mrs. G. Seel and asked for help in identifying who Mrs. G. Seel was and where her business was located.

I specifically appealed to Dave Kalm, Clif Brown, and Don Maxwell, as they have a wealth of New Gretna knowledge from their earlier days in New Gretna. I didn't hear from Dave or Clif, so I'm going to assume that they have no recollection regarding Mrs. Seel. I also put eagle eye Jim McAnney on the case but, he too, came up empty. He had a few wild theories, including one which had Mrs. Seel running a house of ill repute and thus keeping a low profile in town, but nothing concrete.

Happily, I did hear from Don Maxwell. Unfortunately he didn't remember hearing about Mrs. Seel; however, he did remember Supplee ice cream being sold in New Gretna and told about another, often forgotten, New Gretna restaurant located where Munchies now sits. I thought I would share Don's email with you, as his stories are always informative and interesting. I wish I could get him to write more often.


I can't say that I can recall any Seel's restaurant in New Gretna. however my earliest recollection of the little restaurant on the S.E. corner of South Maple Avenue (commonly called Eel Street in those days), sort of diagonally across from our house next to the Rustic, had a Supplee ice cream sign hanging out in front of it for years. My dad, Curtis Maxwell, told me he built it for Harry "Nic" Mathis and his wife, Aunt Sally. She was my mother's aunt (my Grandmother Allen's sister) who was Keefer Allen's wife and my mother's mother. They ran a restaurant there for a number of years. I don't know who they sold to.

Don Maxwell's parents, Curtis and Dorothy. Don inherited his story telling abilities from his dad, Curtis. (Photo courtesy of Marian Broome.)

My earliest recollection of the proprietors of that place was William Cramer and his wife. He was called Bill Butcher, as he went into the butcher business after he and his brother, Ward, retired from the glassblowing business somewhere down in South Jersey. He had a butcher shop in the back with sawdust on the floor with a big walk in box, and his wife (I know her name, but it eludes me at the present) ran a restaurant in the front.

I remember mom sending me over for a quart of ice cream (Supplees) and she would dip it out with a large spoon into a quart container that had the top folded up after filling. When she finished, before replacing the spoon back in the water, she would lick it first. I remember a lot of people complaining about that practice.

A 1904 Supplee ice cream poster
(Photo from Google Images)

The Cramers had no children and didn't get along very well, as he was always complaining about how nosy she was. Every time he had a meat customer she would peek around the corner, and he would say here comes the old battle axe.

After he retired from that business, Delwyn Downs took it over; however, he didn't last long. Delwyn clerked in Clarance Mathis' store for a number of years. After that, he went into the well drilling business. He drilled a lot of wells around New Gretna for years.

Don Maxwell

Delwin Downs worked behind the counter and delivered groceries throughout New Gretna from Clarence Mathis' store for many years. (Photo courtesy of Norman and Ann Mathis.)

Now, back to the case at hand. Every good detective knows that if you keep working on a case and get the word out that, eventually, you will get a breakthrough. Such was the case here. My history buddy, Steve Eichinger, came to the rescue. The name "Seel" didn't ring a bell with him; however, he suggested that we visit the Township Tax Office and check the old tax books from the mid 1920's. If the Seels owned property in town, their names should appear in the tax records.

Steve and I spent an hour or so this afternoon in the Bass River Township Tax Office pouring over dusty tax books from the mid 1920's. Unfortunately the 1924 tax book, the year of Mrs. G. Seel's advertisement, was missing. My expectations were dashed. We then set out to look at the years before and after 1924 and hit pay dirt.

Suddenly, as Steve was reading through the 1925 tax book, the name "Seel" lept from the bottom of page 13, and Steve let out a loud "Yippie". I knew that was a good sign. Who said that 13 was an unlucky number? Nestled between Sadie Downs and Kirk Loveland on West Main Street, the present day Route 9, was Gustav Seel. The handwritten record showed that he was taxed on 2 acres of land, a dwelling, and an outbuilding.

Tax records don't list the family members, so I can't tell you the first name of Gustav's wife, the Mrs. G. Seel listed in the ad. Probably, the "G" referred to her husband, Gustav. Back in the old days, the wife was often referred to in terms of her husband. Such was likely the case here. Of course the "G" may have been for Gertrude or Gail, but I doubt it.

Fortunately the manner in which they kept the tax books in the 1920's was a help in figuring out just where the Seels lived. The names were listed in the order of the houses on the street. While we were unsure as to just where the Seel house was, we were familiar with the house location of some of the adjacent names. This allowed us to determine the Seel house location which is shown on the map below.

The Seel home was located on the present day Route 9 on your right as your are approaching the intersection with Amasas Landing Road. (Photo from Bing Maps)

This is the present day Route 9 house that Steve and I believe belonged to the Seels in the mid 1920's. (January 24, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer)

Since no one seemed to remember the Seels nor did they leave much of a paper trail, it is likely that they didn't live in New Gretna for long. The tax books confirmed that viewpoint. The Seel name was absent from the 1923 tax book. A "L.V. Brewin" occupied the same house in the 1923 tax notations which documented the dwelling on 2 acres and also listed a store at the same location. This established that a business was run from that house just prior to the Seels obtaining the property. It would not be surprising that Mrs. Seel would also choose to run her food enterprise from the same location, as the house would have already been configured for a home business. Somehow, it seems her business escaped the eyes of the tax assessor.

Even though the 1924 tax book was unavailable, we know that Mrs. Seel was operating a business, likely from her home, by her ad in the 1924 New Gretna Methodist Church Directory. Some elementary deduction tells us that the Seels moved to New Gretna between the end of 1923 and July, 1924.

The front cover of the July, 1924 Methodist Church Directory which contained Mrs. Seel's ad tells us that the Seels were in New Gretna in July, 1924. (Methodist Directory courtesy of Marian Broome.)
An examination of the 1925 tax book failed to find the Seels listed, indicating that they left New Gretna somewhere between July, 1924 and the beginning of 1925. Their stay in New Gretna was, indeed, a short one.

Well, that ends our little journey concerning the Seels brief business dealings in New Gretna. I haven't had a chance to track them down in the 1920 census, prior to their coming to New Gretna or in the 1930 census after they left New Gretna. I would like to find out Mrs. Seel's first name. Perhaps an enterprising Blog reader will take on that challenge.

I did find a Gustave Seel in the Social Security death records. He was born June 21, 1889 and died December 1975 in Pleasantville, New Jersey, not far from New Gretna. He applied for Social Security in New York prior to 1951. That indicates a definite New York connection which may be a clue, if this is our Gustave, in fitting some more pieces of the puzzle together. The hunt never seems to stop in this history business.

P Stemmer

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Mysterious Mrs. Seel

I've been collecting old New Gretna business ads for over ten years and, recently, came across an interesting ad in a 1924 St. Paul's United Methodist Church Directory found in Marian Broome's attic. I stumbled across it while looking for some photos to illustrate Marian's autobiography in the January 20, 2010 Blog entry. It's interesting to me because I have no idea who Mrs. G. Seel was, what type of business she ran (restaurant, luncheonette, etc.), where her business was, or where she lived. I've never come across the Seel surname while doing any New Gretna history or genealogy work.

I searched the 1920 and 1930 Bass River Township census and couldn't find a Seel listed. I also gave Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg, who just turned 90 this week, a call to see if she recognized the name but, unfortunately, she wasn't familiar with it. I knew the ad was printed when Myrtle was only 4 years old but was hoping that she may have heard her mom or dad mention the Seel family as she grew up.

I'm hoping that one of our Blog readers will recognize the name and, perhaps, answer some of my questions. Maybe Dave Kalm, Clif Brown, or Don Maxwell can put on their "thinking caps" and come up with some answers.

Also, I encourage anyone with an old New Gretna business ad or two to let me know via email or the comments section below. I'm always looking to expand my New Gretna Business Ads collection.

Pete S

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Marian Broome and the Class of 1932

This is the last Blog posting regarding the 1932 Tuckerton High School 50th Class Reunion, and I've saved the best for last. Following is the autobiography of Marian Broome, who was a dear friend and a big help to me in gathering information and understanding New Gretna history from the 1930's through the 1990's. I spent many enjoyable hours with Marian just chewing the fat about the "good old days" in New Gretna. She was a remarkable woman with a detailed memory of so many people and events. If you've ever known Marian, you would never forget her. She was one of a kind! By the way, the middle initial "C" was for Chestnut.

Marian (Ben) C. Broome
P.O. Box 13
New Gretna, N.J. 08224

"Honor Student"

After graduation in 1932 I spent the Summer as a Waitress in my Uncle's Hotel in Ocean City, N.J., and continued that practice through the following Summers, including 1936. In September, 1932 I entered Temple University in the School of Business Administration and graduated in June 1934. In '34 I was employed as Secretary to the Branch Manager of Hajoca Corp., Camden, N.J. (a large plumbing and heating company with thirty-seven serving the Eastern Seaboard. On October 17, 1936 I married Alfred L. Pannebakker who was Credit Manager for American-Standard in Philadelphia the Suburban areas, whom I met while attending Temple. Knot was not tied securely and ended in divorce in 1942.

Marian Broome and husband to be, Al Pannebakker, at the Broome home on North Maple Avenue, New Gretna. Easter, 1934. (Photo courtesy of Marian Broome.)

In 1937 I was transferred to the General Office in Philadelphia as Secretary to the General Office. It was great and an ideal company to work for. I was active in of their business and social groups and a member of their Bowling Team. In 1945 my Mother, Sister and I joined the Order of Eastern Star, Tuckerton Chapter #54, on the same night.

Marian (right) was installed in the Order of the Eastern Star with her mother, Elizabeth, (center) and her sister, Jennie, (left). (Photo courtesy of Marian C. Broome.

A cousin had married a Commander in the and moved to England. So in 1953 I was invited to be their guest the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. I sailed from New on May 14, 1953 the S.S. Maritania and, after spending six weeks, returned home on the S.S. QE 1, This was my most outstanding vacation and truly a great experience.

While I was in England I was privileged to visit several other Countries. Travelled by plane from London to Paris, on to Geneva, Switzerland, then to Berne and back to London. Flying through the Alps is both thrilling and beautiful. In 1955 I was made Secretary to the Purchasing and Assistant Purchasing Agents of Hajoca Corp. In 1957 the General Office moved to Ardmore, Pa. so I too moved my residency to Ardmore. Through the years I have taken numerous trips through the United States and Canada. Had a most enjoyable ten day Boat trip from Montreal up the St. Lawrence and back to Quebec. Have crossed the United States twice by auto and three times by plane. My last extensive trip was in 1980 when I flew to Oregon and covered the Pacific Northwest. At present I have visited forty-five of the fifty States and am looking forward to including the remaining five before the good Lord calls. In 1964 I was the victim of a mugging in Philadelphia and was unable to work for six weeks. So when Hajoca Corp. announced they were opening a Branch in Linwood, N.J. in 1966, I asked to be transferred. The request was granted and I moved back to New Gretna. The Linwood Branch was not a success and was closed. In 1970 I became private Secretary to Mrs. Ethel Marie Noyes, Owner and Operator of Historic Smithville Inns. This was a real challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed. Knowing & working for Fred Noyes was an education in itself. I grew to love both of them. Mr. & Mrs. Noyes sold the Smithville complex to American Broadcasting Companies Inc. in August 1974 and vacated the premises in September; I left in December. The Noyes opened Ram's Head Inn on November 17, 1976 and again I became their Secretary. Mrs. Noyes passed away suddenly in January, 1979. Mr. Noyes sold the establishment to Barry Knowles, owner of The Manor in East Orange, N.J., and he took possession in November 1979. I only worked for Mr Knowles a short time and left November 16, 1979 to enter the hospital and never returned to work so I have been enjoying retirement for three years. Mr. Noyes has built a Museum on what was formerly known as Lily Lake in Oceanville, N.J., which will be opened to the Public in the near future. I have been asked to be the Secretary so I may return to the business world. I always received so much pleasure from meeting people, and this has been achieved beyond my expectations as I have met and made friends with so many lovely people, both in business and travelling.

Fred and Ethel Noyes
Photo courtesy of Google Images

I had always maintained my membership at the New Gretna Methodist Church where I now serve on the Board of Trustees, Administrative Board, and a member of the United Methodist Women's group, Vice President of the New Gretna Old Home Society, and an Officer in O.E.S.

Marian at the May, 1999 Old Home Society dinner.
(Photo courtesy of Elaine Webber Mathis)

I have no children (regret losing one), no pets, and I am so happy to be able to be on the move. God has been so very good to me and I never cease to praise Him for blessing me so abundantly in every way.

Following are a few photos of Marian and some of her Tuckerton High School friends. I wonder if anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere knew or are related to any of the gang.

(l-r) Leila Mathis, Charlotte Cramer, Helen Mathis, and Marian Broome. June 12, 1930 photo taken at Tuckerton High School. (Photo courtesy of Marian Broome.)

(l-r) Rodney Mathis, Marian Broome, Harold "Eppie" Falkinburg, Charlotte Cramer, Helen Mathis, and Lou Speck on June 12, 1930, the last day of the school year at Tuckerton High School. (Photo courtesy of Marian Broome.)

Well, that ends our little visit with the New Gretna members of the class of 1932. Hope you all enjoyed it.

Pete S

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tuckerton High School Class of 1932- The New Gretna Girls

I had posted some information from a 1982 Reunion of the Tuckerton High School Class of 1932 in the January 13, 2010 Blog entry. I stated that there were two students from New Gretna in that graduating class - John Barnes and Marian Broome. Elaine Allen sent in a comment stating that there were three more New Gretna students listed in the 1932 class - Margaret Allen Griggs (Sam Allen's daughter and Lizzie Gerew's sister), Linda Allen McNeil (Les Allen's sister), and Julia Archer Purdy (Frank Archer's sister). I had planned to highlight Marian Broome in next Wednesday's Blog entry, so I thought I would fill in today with the autobiographies of the 3 New Gretna girls, mentioned by Elaine Allen, as presented in the 1982 Reunion Booklet.

The cover of the Tuckerton High School 1982 Reunion Booklet. (Courtesy of Franklin Gray)

Margaret (Peggy) Allen Griggs

Box 42 - Mockingbird Lane

Diamond City, Ark. 72644

After graduation I went to work for a Lawyer in Margate, N.J. and it was there I met Walt, my husband-to-be. "Gin" (Horner) Price and Ellison Price were with us when we were married in 1935. Our only child, Connie, was born in October, 1937 and was married in 1957 to John D. Daugherty, and they make their home in Wauwatosa, Wis. They have a son aged 22, and a daughter aged 20; both are presently in College at the University of Wis­consin. My husband Walt, went to work for The Washington National Insur­ance Company in 1940, and retired after thirty-one years there. Then we moved to our present home in Diamond City, Ark., where we have enjoyed al­most eleven years of a beautiful retirement together. We enjoy our home area, so much we rarely do any traveling, but I have kept in touch with several of my High School friends. We belong to the local Country Club and enjoy golf, swimming, and good fellowship. We are blessed with an abundant life: spiritually, materially and physically, and offer our thanks daily to the One who makes it all possible.

Tuckerton High School 1944 Postcard (Courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)

Linda (Lindy) Allen McNeil

62 Cozy Oaks Park Cardiff, N.J. 08232

Graduated in 1932 and married in 1933 for thirty-six years. After having reared five daughters I moved to the Pleasantville area in 1969, and worked for Lenox Inc. over eight years. Retired in 1979. Have nine grand-children; three grand-sons, and six grand-daughters. I now enjoy doing Home Crafts - knitting, crocheting, etc. I belong to the Pomona Senior Citizens' Club and enjoy many trips with them.

* * * * * * *

Julie (Judy) Archer Purdy

19244 Meadow Brook

N. Ft. Myers

Florida 33903

215 Surf Avenue

The Surfsider

North Wildwood, N.J. 08206

Julia Archer

Graduated 1932 and married the same year.

Five years later son, James C. MacDonald II was born in Tuckerton. He is presently a Math and Science teacher at Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, N.J. He recently received a $38,000. Federal Grant to erect, for study, a 95 ft. energy producing Windmill. I have two grand-children; Jimmy III, 15 years of age, and Heather, nine. While still living in new Gretna, worked at Chalfonte Haddon Hall (Resorts International Casino) in the Publicity Dept. During Second World War lived in Chester, Pa., worked in the Philadelphia office of John A. Roebling Steel Co., did general Clerical duties, but then became one of the first female Expediters, due to men going in the Service. Was divorced in 1943 and moved to Collingswood, N.J. Went to work at New York Shipbuilding Corp. (navy Dept.) as Chauffeur, Re­ceptionist, and Hostess. A very interesting career - meeting such notable people as Margaret Mitchell ("Gone With The Wind") , Admiral Halsey’s wife an family, President Franklin D. Rosevelt's aide, Harry Hopkins and family, the DuPont and Spruce families, to name just a few. I was privileged to board many Aircraft Carriers for the Launchings, and Trial Boards such as the Guam, Saipan and Bataan. Stayed with the Company two more years after the war. In 1943 I attended Night Classes of the Bessie V. Hicks, Dramatic Art School, and in 1944 attended Night Classes in Millinery at Spring Garden Institute; both schools located in Philadelphia. In 1947 went to work at Camden Courier Newspaper in the Advertising Dept. which was another interesting position. Married Robert L. Purdy, graduate of The Wharton School, University of Penna., in the New Gretna Presbyterian Church on April 24, 1948. Bob retired in 1975 from Singer Company as Systems Business Machines’ Manager of the Phil. office. While living in Moorestown and Cherry Hill I was involved in Republican politics. The biggest disaster was when I headed up the campaign for the N.J. State Women's Republican Federation (Charlie Sandman for Governor), who was badly defeated in 1963. From 1960 to 1965 worked at the Garden State Race Track in Cherry Hill, Mutual and Admissions Dept., during their 3.prin.; Spring and Fall Meets. In 1904 received an appointment to work In the N.J. State Racing Commission office. This lasted only one year due to change of party ruling in Cherry Hill. When not working, did Volunteer Service work for West Jersey Hospital, Camden, N.J. Received a 1000 hour gold pin with diamond. Also, served four years as President of an Auxiliary associated with the Hospital. Having a Summer home at the Seashore (Wildwood Crest) and Bob playing golf, prompted me to take up golf seriously. After several years of playing and several interfering health problems, I became very much interested in the game. In 1976 and 1977 served as President of the Wildwood Women’s Golf Asso. comprising a group of eighty-seven members. Have been fortunate enough to have had two HOLE-IN-ONES; one locally and one in Stuart, Fl. Have won many trophies at both outside Clubs and at the W.W.G.A. Especially proud of “OUT OF STATE SWEEPSTAKES" in 1976 at the Mission Inn Golf & Country Club, near Orlando, Fl. Our retirement interest is golf, so last year we bought a home at Lake Fairway's Golf & Country Club in Ft. Meyers, Fl. We are located on a lake and the 18th Hole Fairways. We have done a bit of traveling within the States, Hawaii, Ireland and London, returning on the famous QE2. In September we plan a trip to Alaska, In January 1982 we moved (suddenly) from a condo in Stone Harbor to the above mentioned address. Would enjoy hearing from old friends.

Stop by next Wednesday for our last posting regarding the 50th Reunion of the 1932 Tuckerton High School class. We will feature an autobiography by Marian Broome. Those of you who knew Marian won't want to miss it.

Pete S