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, February 24, 2010

Cecil Mathis' Paternal Grandparents- Joshua & Rebecca Grant Mathis

There is always quite a bit of interest in the Mathis family, as evidenced by the recent questions regarding Cecil Mathis. We pretty much covered Cecil and his immediate family in our last Blog entry, where we also gave family information for his parents, Leon Hilliard and Verda Mathis, and his paternal grandparents, Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Their family information is reproduced below, so that you do not have to page back to last Wednesday's Blog to refresh your memory. It was transcribed from the family history from Jean and Murray Harris' "The Mathis Family of Little Egg Harbor".
Joshua H. Mathis, son of Aaron (2020) and Zelphy (Anderson) Mathis, born September 1863, died August 21,1921, married, in 1892, Rebecca A. Grant, daughter of Abraham and Matilda (Goldy) Grant, born at Chatsworth March 2, 1874, died February 16, 1963. He lived on Greenbush Road and worked in a sawmill. They are buried in Miller Cemetery, New Gretna. Children:

i Ray Etta, married (a) John Allen Jr. and (b) Harry Allen
ii Marjorie Nevada, married Benjamin Cavileer
iii Martha Elizabeth, married Leslie Parker
iv George W., married Jennie Brown
v Leon Hilliard, married (a) Betty Baker and (b) Verda Mamie Mott
vi Esther Mathilda
vii Adelia Margaret, married Arlington Conrad
viii Clarence Lloyd, born November 15, 1911, died August 29, 1974, married Margaret Ford, no children, buried Miller Cemetery
ix Herbert Franklin, married Kathryn Radar
Today, I thought that I would put a face on Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Fortunately, I have photos of them from an old Mathis family photo album compiled by Sarah Allen Ware, the late wife of Howard Ware. Howard currently lives on North Maple Avenue and is well known around New Gretna for growing the best lima beans in the area. Sarah gave the album to Ben and Elaine Allen who loaned it to me so that I could scan the photos for our Bass River Photo History Collection. I thought I would share some of the photos here on the Blog, along with some census information which, together, shed some additional light on the family.

We find a 16 year old Joshua, at the time of the 1880 Bass River Township census, living at home with his parents, Aaron and Esther Mathis, along with two sisters and a brother. His father, Aaron, a farmer, is listed as being blind. In a few conversations I had some years ago with some New Gretna old timers, they referred to Aaron as "Blind Aaron". It appears that his affliction became a part of his name.

1880 Bass River Township Census

The first census that we see Joshua and Rebecca married is the 1900 census which finds them living in Shamong Township. I have no idea regarding why they were living there. Perhaps one of our Blog readers can help out there.

1900 Shamong Townhip, N.J. census

The snapshot of the family provided by the 1900 census shows that Joshua and Rebecca have been married for 8 years and have three girls- Ray, Margie, and Martha. Joshua, born in 1863, is 36 years old, tens years older than his wife, Rebecca. His occupation is listed as "Bayman".

The 1910 census shows that Joshua and Rebecca have moved to Bass River Township and live on East Greenbush Road with a growing family which now includes 6 children - Ray, Neveda (Listed as Margie in the 1900 census), Martha, George W., Leon, and Delia.

1910 Bass River Township census

Joshua and Rebecca's home on East Greenbush house is no longer there. Elaine Allen described its location to me over the telephone. I hope that the following map accurately shows where the old Joshua Mathis homestead sat. If not, I'm sure that I will hear from Elaine, in which case I will revise the map.

Joshua and Rebecca Mathis' old homestead on East Greenbush Road
was not far from the present New Gretna Parkway exit.
Map courtesy of Bing Maps.

The last census where we find Joshua and Rebecca is the 1920 census, as Joshua died on August 21, 1921. Changes have occurred in the family. Ray, Marjorie Nevada, and Martha are no loner living at home and Clarence and Herbert have joined the family since the 1910 census. The family is still listed as living on East Greenbush Road.

1920 Bass River Township census

Having lost her husband, Joshua, on August 21, 1921, we find Rebecca, in the 1930 Bass River Township census, still living in Bass River Township but having moved to New York Boulevard (Now Rt. 9) with only sons Clarence and Herbert living at home. Clarence is listed as a State Forest laborer.

1930 Bass River Township census

Following are some photos of Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Next Wednesday, we'll follow up with photos of some of Joshua and Rebecca's children.

I find these first two photos interesting as they show Rebecca Grant Mathis with her sister, Rachel, at a young and old age.

Joshua and Rebecca had quite an influence on our area's genealogy, as evidenced by their children, 25 grand children, and 43 great grand children mentioned in Rebecca's obituary.

Obituary courtesy of Shirley Whealton

That ends today's little journey back in time to visit with Cecil Mathis' paternal grandparents, Joshua and Rebecca Grant Mathis. Be sure to join us next Wednesday for some photos of their children.

Pete S

PS- Beverly, The above are some more photos from the Mathis photo album that you have been so interested in.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cecil Mathis

There was a question posted in the Comments section of last Wednesday's Blog, asking if Cecil Mathis was related to Catherine Mathis who had just passed away. Elaine Allen called me this morning from her son and daughter-in-law's home (Mike and Helen) in Alabama with the answer. The answer is YES.

Cecil was the nephew of Herbert Mathis, Catherine Mathis' husband. That would make Catherine Cecil's aunt through marriage. Elaine's would have first hand knowledge of Cecil's pedigree as her late husband Benjamin Austin Allen's mother, RayEtta Mathis, was Herbert Mathis' sister (See Joshua H. Mathis' family genealogy below). Getting complicated, isn't it? That would make Bennie Allen and Cecil cousins. It's amazing how the Mathis family was so intertwined throughout the community in the old days. They all can keep it straight, but I need a score card!

Cecil Mathis (1928-1992)
Photo courtesy of Ben and Elaine Allen.

Cecil was the son of Leon Mathis, Sr. with Leon's first wife, Verda:
Leon Hilliard Mathis, son of Joshua H. and Rebecca (Grant) Mathis, born May 9, 1904 at Atsion, died September 25, 1976 at Manahawkin, married (a) October 1, 1924 Verda Mamie Mott, daughter of Joel Milton Sr. and Florence Virginia (Quinn) Mott, born September 28, 1906, died April 26, 2002 and (b) Elizabeth S. Baker, born 1912, died January 19, 1971 and (c) Awilda Lippincott. Leon was a supervisor of public works and lived on Stage Road, Tuckerton. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery there. He had five children with Verda and four with Betty.

i Leon Jr., married Lorraine --- (died 1999)
ii Cecil Allen Milton, born January 22, 1928, (died 1992)
iii George W., born November 14, 1929, married Mary --- (lives in Farmville, VA in 1999)
iv Mary, married --- McGill, live in L/E.H. in 1999
v Charles (adopted by Luker) (lives in Hanover Indiana in 1999)
vi Clarence, married Patricia Klein
vii Helen, married on October 8, 1966 William White, son of George White of Tuckerton, (lives in L.E.H. in 1999)
viii Margaret M., married --- Boyd, and lives in Southampton in 1999
ix William J. (lives in L.E.H. in June 1999)
Cecial was 2 years and 2 months old at the 1930 Bass River Township census, below, which showed him living on Greenbush Road with his parents, Leon and Verda Mathis, and an older brother, Leon, and a younger brother, George. The house has since been torn down. It was just a stone's throw from where Herb and Catherine Mathis lived.

1930 Bass River Township Census

Cecil's father Leon Mathis, Sr. and Herbert Mathis, Catherine Radar Mathis' husband, were brothers. That would make Cecil Herbert's nephew.
Joshua H. Mathis, son of Aaron (2020) and Zelphy (Anderson) Mathis, born September 1863, died August 21,1921, married, in 1892, Rebecca A. Grant, daughter of Abraham and Matilda (Goldy) Grant, born at Chatsworth March 2, 1874, died February 16, 1963. He lived on Greenbush Road and worked in a sawmill. They are buried in Miller Cemetery, New Gretna. Children:

i Ray Etta, married (a) John Allen Jr. and (b) Harry Allen
ii Marjorie Nevada, married Benjamin Cavileer
iii Martha Elizabeth, married Leslie Parker
iv George W., married Jennie Brown
v Leon Hilliard, married (a) Betty Baker and (b) Verda Mamie Mott
vi Esther Mathilda
vii Adelia Margaret, married Arlington Conrad
viii Clarence Lloyd, born November 15, 1911, died August 29, 1974, married Margaret Ford, no children, buried Miller Cemetery
ix Herbert Franklin, married Kathryn Radar
Cecil's obituary tells us that he was born in New Gretna, married Joyce C. Leek; had two sons and five daughters; lived in West Creek; was a bayman; drove a truck for Eagleswood Township; died April 4, 1992 after a brief illness, and is buried in West Creek Cemetery. It is likely that he was buried without a tombstone, as the West Creek Cemetery listing that I have does not list a Cecil Mathis as being buried there.

Obituary courtesy of Shirley Whealton.

Cecil Mathis served in the military during peacetime.
From a Sarah Allen photo album, courtesy of Ben & Elaine Allen.

If anyone has any photos of Cecil's wife and children, let's hear from you. They would be welcomed additions to our Bass River History Photo Archives.

Well, that's about all I know of Cecil Mathis. Hope it was helpful.

Pete S

PS- The Leon Hilliard Mathis and Joshua H. Mathis family genealogies were transcribed from "The Mathis Family of Little Egg Harbor" by Jean and Murray Harris.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Catherine Mathis Passes On

Another cherished friend to many and a connection with "old" New Gretna has gone to meet her maker. Catherine Mathis (Actually her first name was Virginia, but she went by Catherine) passed away last Saturday at Seacrest Village in Little Egg Harbor. I knew Catherine from talking with her about old times in New Gretna at various New Gretna Friendly Seniors meetings. Although not a native, she was born in West Virginia, she lived off East Greenbush Road in the Bucto section of Bass River with her husband, Herb, for many years. The road is now called Catherine Lane. She was a delight to speak with and always seemed to have a smile. She will be missed by the many people that she touched in a wide variety of jobs that she held in the area over the years.

Pete S

Catherine working at the Bass River State Park concession stand when hot dogs were only a quarter. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Allen via her nephew, John Allen.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gale-Heinemann Family Info Wanted

I received the following email from Bob Heinemann the other day. Since one of the purposes of the Blog is to exchange family history information and to help others who have genealogy questions, I hope someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can give Bob a hand.

Dear Pete,

I would like to compliment you on the fine work you do with the Bass River History blog.I've recently encountered while doing family research and have enjoyed many of the postings. Although I am not specifically from bass river township, I did grow up in Hammonton and I have fond memories of the pinelands.

I have had relatives that resided in the Bass River area. One in pariticular (a great-great-great Aunt) named Mathilda S. Heinemann was born in Harrisville, Feb 10, 1856 (the famous pine barrens papertown). Her father Christian Heinemann (a German immigrant) was a machine tender in the paper mill and later on when the company incorporated was listed as one of the board of directors.

On Oct 18, 1883 she married a William F. Gale. They were married by a Rev Albert Worthington. Which I discovered from this source:

Worthington was a minister of The First Presbyterian Church of Bass River. From your blog I discovered that this ministerer had served there from 1879-1885. Attached is the marriage certificate. An interesting name to note is of the witnesses.

Three are listed: (1) Mrs Francis Gale (I believe this to be William F Gale's Mother, not positive though); (2) Joseph McNeil; and (3) Rusha Gale Cramer

I noticed that Rusha Gale Cramer is similar to the name listed in the blog posting talking about the stained glass windows of the presbyterian church, "Window #8- Six Church Elders." This may be the second wife of Charles Pitman Cramer.

On Feb 12, 1930 Mathilda died and was buried at Miller cemetary. A photo of her and her husband's tombstones are attached.

The 1920 census list Mathilda and William F. Gale as residing in the Wading River Village and his occupation as being a farmer. They had three children named (1) Annie Frances Gale; (2) William C. Gale married Maud Wetherbee and had Frances Gale (b 1918) and Marion Gale ( b 1919); and (3) Edwin Ruthven Gale married Louise ________.

1920 Washington Township Census

1910 Washington Township Census

I just wanted to share this with you because I thought it was an interesting connection as well as let you know that your blog has been a valuable resource in providing some insight to the daily lives of my ancestors. So with that I would like to say thank you.

Also, I would like to pose a question to your readership if any of them may be familiar with this line of the Gale family or Heinemann family for that matter.

I do have a great-great-great-uncle that was a methodist minister (Henry J Heinemann married to Gertrude Allen) in the area and he and his family is internned at the Johnson Cemetary in Lower Bank. That's a different story however.


Bob Heinemann

So, let's here from someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere and give Bob some help. I know there are at least 3 readers out there (Ed, Gary, and Nancy) who are working on Gale family genealogies.

Pete S

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We're freezing our butts off here in New Gretna

Our Blog buddy, Clif Brown out in toasty, warm Arizona, sent this photo of an interesting snow sculpture. I guess he remembered that I was interested in outhouses, as I had posted photos on the Blog of those outhouses in New Gretna that I know about.

As we are now up to our @#%&%# in snow and ice here in New Gretna, I thought that Clif's photo may be appropriate for some comic relief. We sure could use some.

The photo was taken somewhere in Virginia and came with a little poem. I took the liberty of substituting "New Gretna" where "Virginia" appeared in the poem. Hope the author forgives me.

Pete S

It's winter in New Gretna
And the gentle breezes blow,
70 miles per hour at 25 below!

Oh, how I love New Gretna
When the snow's up to your butt;
You take a breath of winter air
And your nose is frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave New Gretna
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground.

PS- Here's the real thing, just down the road from my house. Wonder if there is any mail? A Sears catalog might come in handy.

February 27, 2002 photo by Pete Stemmer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Louisa Allen Wiseman - Bride Number 5

Beverly Mathis Robinson wrote the following comment to the February Blog on Bill Butcher, asking about her great-great grandmother, Louisa Allen Wiseman which is reprinted below.

Hi Pete:

Fascinating as usual. A question. Are the Wisemans mentioned in this installment related is some way to my great-great grandmother Louisa Allen Wiseman's second husband, Jacob Wiseman? I cannot find out anything about him except (I think) his son's name is John.


Beverly Mathis Robinson

The following photo shows the relationship of Beverly Mathis Robinson to Louisa Allen Wiseman which is uncovered when we know who the relationships of the people in the photo.

Eugene "Booter" Mathis, Beverly Robinson's grandfather, with his mother, Ida E. Mathis French (center), and grandmother, Louisa Allen Wiseman. Ida E. was married to Booter's father, John Oliphant Mathis, and later married Swarrow French after John's death. Ida would be Beverly's great grandmother. Louisa was Ida's mother which would make her Beverly's great-great grandmother. Hope you all got that. Who's on first? (Photo courtesy of Jean Mathis McGee, Booter's daughter.)

Our Blog buddy, Don Maxwell, now on winter vacation down in warm Key Largo, sent me an email about his memories of Louisa Allen. He's been writing in a lot lately which I am grateful for. I may have to think about putting him on the Blog payroll.


I will attempt to answer Beverly Robinson's question if her great great grandmother Louisa Allen was related to the Wiseman family mentioned in the blog about Bill Butcher. Yes she was, as there was only one Wiseman family in New Gretna, unlike the different branches of the Allens, Mathises and Cramers. I remember Louisa well. She lived in a little house attached to Elizabeth and Earl Cramer's house, as she was Elizabeth and her brother, Eugene (boot) Mathis's grandmother. She was a little old, bent over lady, always dressed in black with high buttoned shoe, and a long dress that swept the ground, just like the ones you see on tv on the old westerns. She never quite adapted to the 20th century. One day, Norman Cramer said to me lets rack up grandmother Wiseman's wood in her woodshed, as she isn't home., Most everyone was burning wood in those days in the 1930's, When she comes home, she will have a nice surprise. So, we did. We worked like beaver's, as we were small boys. We got it all done, figuring she would be tickled pink. When she came home, she was so mad at us, claiming we stacked it all wrong She made us take it all out. I went home and Norman and his dad, Earl, had to restack it. Those old people were pretty well set in their ways in those days.

Don Maxwell

One of the reasons Beverly has been having trouble finding information is that Louisa Allen's second husband was Joshua Wiseman, not Jacob Wiseman as she states in her comment above. While Joshua was Louisa's second husband, Louisa was Joshua's fifth, and last, wife. All that remarrying sure makes tracing one's genealogy quite a challenge.

Following are some genealogy notes and photos regarding Louisa Allen and Joshua Wiseman that may be helpful to Beverly and anyone else interested in Louisa Allen and/or Joshua Wiseman.

Here is family information related to Louisa's parents, Caleb and Mary Eliza Allen:
CALEB W. ALLEN (THOMAS JEFFERSON, JOSEPH, PETER, ROBERT, RALPH?) was born 15 Dec 1823, and died 08 Jul 1909. He married MARY ELIZA LEAK 1846, daughter of JOHN LEAK and ROSEANNA. She was born 12 Jan 1823, and died 04 Apr 1900. Caleb and Mary are buried in Miller Cemetery in New Gretna.

Children of CALEB ALLEN and MARY LEAK:

i. THOMAS A.7 ALLEN, b. Feb 1847; d. 16 Feb 1930, New Gretna, NJ.
ii. SARAH ANN ALLEN, b. 06 Dec 1848.
iii. MARIAH J. ALLEN, b. 12 Dec 1850.
iv. LOUISA M. ALLEN, b. Abt. 1851; d. 19 Feb 1938 in Margate, NJ. at the home of her niece, Mrs. Ferdinand Loveland. m. (1) JOHN ALLEN; m. (2) JOSHUA WISEMAN, Bef. 1925; b. 1851; d. 12 Aug 1925, Atlantic City, NJ.

The 1880 census shows a 9 year old Louisa M. Allen living with her parents, Caleb W. and Mary E, along with two brothers and a sister.

Louisa's first husband was John P. Allen. They were married about 1873. Following is their Family information. John P's roots can be traced back to Robert Allen, the first Allen to settle in the Bass River Township area.

JOHN P. ALLEN (URIAH J., THOMAS JEFFERSON, JOSEPH, PETER, ROBERT, RALPH?) was born 21 Dec 1856. He married LOUISA M. ALLEN Abt. 1873, daughter of CALEB ALLEN.

Children of JOHN ALLEN and LOUISA ALLEN are:
i. IDA E. ALLEN, b. Abt. 1869.
ii. MARTHA ALLEN, b. Abt. 1872.
iii. JOHN FRANKLIN "FLICK" ALLEN, b. 23 Nov 1874, Woodbury, NY; d. 09 Apr 1942.
iv. DORA M. ALLEN, b. Oct 1881.

The 1880 Bass River Township census records show the family of John and Louisa M. Allen. Louisa is 37 years old, and her daughter, Ida E., is 11.

As I mentioned earlier, Louisa married Joshua Wiseman after the death of her first husband, John Allen. Following is family information pertaining to Joshua Wiseman who married Louisa rather late in life. I got a particular chuckle out of Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg's comment regarding Joshua, John Bowers, and John Bowers' daughters. Myrtle is Joshua Wiseman's granddaughter.

Joshua Wiseman
Tintype courtesy of Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg

JOSHUA WISEMAN (JOHN A.) was born 1851, and died 12 Aug 1925 in Atlantic City, NJ. He married (1) SARAH MITILDA BOWERS Jul 1875, daughter of JOHN BOWERS and CATHERINE WILDERMUTH. She was born Abt. 1860, and died Bef. 1884. He married (2) HARRIET BOWERS 07 Oct 1888, daughter of JOHN BOWERS and CATHERINE WILDERMUTH. She was born Abt. 1865, and died 1895. He married (3) ELNORA V. KELLY 1896, daughter of WILLIAM KELLY and SARAH SPRAGG. She was born 24 Jun 1865, and died 1905. He married (4) MARY THERESA CAULEY 10 Jan 1907 in Manahawkin, NJ. She was born 24 Jun 1865, and died 16 Apr 1910. He married (5) LOUISA ALLEN Bef. 1925, daughter of CALEB ALLEN and MARY LEAK. She was born 1855, and died 19 Feb 1938 in Margate, NJ. at the home of her niece, Mrs. Ferdinand Loveland. Funeral services were held at Pursells and Son in Pleasantville, NJ. She was buried with her husband, Joshua Allen, in her parent's (Caleb and Mary Eliza Allen) plot on the south side of the hill in Miller Cemetery, New Gretna, NJ. Both of their graves are unmarked.

Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg tells that Joshua first married Sarah Bowers. After Sarah's death, he then married Sarah's sister, Harriet. After Harriet's death, Joshua went back to John Bowers looking for his third wife, as there were five more girls in the family, and was quickly chased away.

Louisa died at the home of her niece, Mrs. Ferdinand Loveland. Funeral services were held at Pursells and Son in Pleasantville, NJ. Louisa was buried in her parent's (Caleb and Mary Eliza Allen) plot on the south side of the hill in Miller Cemetery, New Gretna, NJ. with her husband, Joshua Wiseman. Both graves are unmarked.
Joshua and Louisa Wiseman
Photo courtesy of Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg

It is important to take note that Louisa and John Wiseman were burried in Miller Cemetery in the plot of Louisa's parents, Caleb and Mary Eliza Allen, as there is no written record of that fact that I am aware of. That information came from Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg, who attended her grandfather Joshua's home wake as a five year old.

Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg remembers attending the wake of her grandfather, Joshua Wiseman, in August, 1925, when she was five years old. Joshua's home stills stands on North Maple Avenue, just across the street from the intersection with Mink Path. (March 6, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)
The Joshua Wiseman homestead was located on Allentown Road, now North Maple Avenue, across from the the Mink Path intersection. (Map courtesy of Bing Maps.)

While Myrtle didn't attend Louisa's funeral, she remembers hearing from her parents that both Joshua and Louisa were buried in Louisa's parents' plot on the hill in Miller Cemetery. Louisa's 1938 obituary below confirms her burial in Miller Cemetery but does not identify the burial plot location as Myrtle was able to do.

I hope the above information answers some of the questions Beverly may have had regarding her great grandmother, Louisa Allen Wiseman. Hopefully, it will also help anyone who might be interested in or working on a genealogy of the Allen or Wiseman families.

Pete S

PS- A big Blog thank you to Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg and Shirley Whealton who helped me with the Wiseman genealogy.