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, March 30, 2011

New Tuckerton Historical Society Web Site

I've just finished developing a new web site for the Tuckerton Historical Society.

Tuckerton Historical Society

If you are interested in our local history, click on the link below. Hopefully, your visit will be informative and enjoyable. Items will be added periodically, so you may want to put it on your "Favorites" list and stop in now and then.

Be sure to check out their "Up Coming Events". There are some good programs planned throughout the rest of the year.


Pete S

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

John Headley's Mystery Bottle

I visited with John and Nancy Headley of West Creek the other day. They are always interesting to talk with, as they collect a wide range of historical "stuff" from West Creek and the surrounding area.

John Headley

During the visit, John brought out an old bottle with the following embossed words:




I asked John if he would do a rubbing of the bottle for me. Luckily, having grandchildren who visit often, John was able to quickly put his hands on a box of crayons and some paper. He soon handed me a rubbing of the embossed words on the bottle.

Needless to say, I was surprised when I read the inscription. I had never heard of a "Birmingham" in West Creek nor have I ever heard of a bottling plant in the tiny town. I remember hearing something about a glass works in Barnegat in the old days and wondered if the bottle could have been made there and shipped to to West Creek. This may be true, but it doesn't explain the P.E. Birmingham. Is he a person or is it the name of a company?

The bottle was clearly old, with a green tint and some bubbles noticeable in the glass. There was no indication on the bottle regarding the date it was manufactured. The presence of seams on the bottle indicate that it was manufactured by machine in a mold and not hand blown. I am not an expert in old bottles, so I don't have a clue as to how old it might be or what it's contents may have been. It looks like a soda bottle to me. Perhaps someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can tell from the photo below.

I Googled "P.T. Birmingham" and found that there was a Birmingham Bottle Company in Alabama who made a wide assortment of mostly soda bottles. I'm wondering if someone in West Creek may have ordered bottles from this company to fill with and sell soda, etc. If this is true, then P.E. Birmington is a bottle company rather than a person. It's a logical possibility.

The bottle was found by Tom Miller, a bottle collector from Warren Grove, in a wooded area on Route 9 in West Creek across the street from the location of the old Tower Tavern. It was with a case of the same bottles, but it was the only one that was not broken. The fact that the bottle was a part of a case and was found across the street from the Tower Tavern may indicate that it came from the tavern.

Site of old Tower Tavern

Tom gave the bottle to John, in 2009, for safe keeping until the West Creek Historical Society had a location where it could be displayed for public view. Could the place where the bottle was found be a clue for the bottles West Creek origin?

I wonder if someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere has any knowledge or another theory regarding the source of John Headley's bottle? It's a mystery I would like to solve!

Pete S

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hughie Bolton- Old Tuckerton Railroad Conductor

I know there are a lot of railroad buffs out there in the Blog-O-Sphere, particularly of the old Tuckerton Railroad. I came across a December 3, 1982 Tuckerton Beacon article featuring Hughie Bolton, an old Tuckerton Railroad conductor, who had just died at 93 years old. I found it interesting and thought I would share it with you. I particularly enjoyed Hughie's account of the first car in Mayetta. I'm also scratching my head and wondering what the world is coming to, today.

For those of you who know Bill Bolton from Otis Avenue in Tuckerton, there is no relation. Bill originally came to the Tuckerton area, from Georgia, in the 1950's to serve at the nearby Navy base at Warren Grove. He met Barbara Pancoast, fell in love, married, and decided to settle down in Tuckerton. Barbara is presently the curator at the local Tuckerton Historical Society Museum housed in the old Giffordtown School House. Stop in on a Wednesday and say hello to her!

Pete S

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Widow Greene Remarries

I had the following September 8, 1900 New York Times article announcing the remarriage of Widow Greene emailed to me by Nancy Gale out in Nebraska. I thought it particularly interesting that Widow Greene was a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I also thought those of you who had been following the news articles about Dr. Green's death near the Wading River in the 2/25/11 and 2/28/11 Blog entries might be interested in this follow up article.

Pete S

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The 1914 Tuckerton Baseball Team

I got the following photo of the 1914 Tuckerton baseball team from John Allen up in still chilly New Hampshire. I believe he scanned it from the "Downshore From Manahawkin to New Gretna" book published by Arcadia Press. Can anyone answer his email question below?

I'm also wondering if anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere is related to any of the 1914 ballplayers.

Pete S


Great job on the 1950 THS baseball team. Who other than Ditty [Walter Loveland] was from New Gretna on the 1914 team pictured below?



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parkertown's Gormley Twins - Who's Who?

Anyone driving through Parkertown can't help spotting "My Three Sons", a garden center-produce business, on Route 9 owned by the Gormley family for 46 years.

How many of you can name the three sons? Well there's Ray, John, and Tom. John and Tom are twins who were born in 1966, the same year that "My Three Sons" was started.

As it is with many twins, sometimes it's difficult to tell them apart. Who can tell who's who below? I still have difficulty when I see John and Tom in person today.

Pete S

PS- A special thank you to Shirley Whealton for clipping out the Gormley twins photos 46 years ago and sharing them with us today.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mark Ford - 2011 Carver of the Year

From time to time a New Gretna resident receives some special recognition for an outstanding accomplishment. Such is the case with Mark Ford who was chosen as 2011 Carver of the Year by the New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association.

The following article appeared in the March 2, 2011 editions of The Leader and The Sandpaper. I thought I would share it with those of you who do not get those local newspapers. We are all proud of Mark and his carving talent.

Pete S

Carver of the Year from New Gretna

COOPED-UP: Carver Mark Ford is content to work on his carved birds its a converted chicken coop behind his New Gretna home. Ford will receive his prize as New Jersey Decoy Collectors 'Carver of the Year' at the annual Best Old Decoy Show in New Jersey March 26 at the Parkertown Firehouse, Railroad Avenue in Little Egg Harbor.

New Jersey Decoy Collectors Say:

This Decoy Carver Is a Cut Above

The New Jersey Decoy Col­lectors Association has selected Mark Ford as its 2011 "Carver of the Year." Ford, a native of the Parkertown section of Little Egg Harbor Township, is the 19th recipient of the yearly award given by the collectors.

Ford is a craftsman-carpenter by trade, and several nights a week you can find kiln carving by the wood-stove in a converted chicken coop behind his carefully restored New Gretna home. A high school decoy class taught by world-class maker John Holloway (a previous award winner) started Ford on a 30-year hobby that has resulted in two "Best in Show" ribbons and last year's first place in the Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show for his working black-duck hunting rig.

Influenced by the old school baymen/decoy makers - Lloyd Parker, Bradford Salmons, Harry Shourds and his Great-Uncle - Ben Maxwell - he makes ducks, brant and song birds from Jersey cedar in the classic Barnegat style. A friend of Ford's, the late Rob Daley from West Creek sparked Ford's collecting interest. "Rob taught me to appreciate decoys from all regions," Ford said. "'And I am as interested in collecting as I am in making decoys for family and friends."

His other passions, in reverse order. are restoring old sneakboxes, his Labrador dog Abby and his wife, Frances. Frances, a recent college grad, artisan gardener and fine cook, shares her husband's love of the bay shore and can be seen on most breezy summer days sailing as crew on their catboat.

Ford will receive his award on March 26 during the NJDCA annual "Best Old Decoy Show in New Jersey." The show will be held at the Parkertown Firehouse and will feature more than 60 decoy exhibitors, gunning boat displays, a contemporary carving competition and an old-bird contest for an admis­sion of $3. Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

NJDCA is entering its 40th year as an organization dedicated to col­lecting antique and contemporary decoys and promoting decoys as "America's Finest Folk Art" The Organization has more than 200 members and enjoys a diverse group of duck people and storytellers nationwide.

For more information, contact Rich Pemberton, show chairman, at 609-652-8752, or Grove Conrad at grove@,

The Sandpaper - 3/2/2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tuckerton High School 1948 Baseball Team

I noticed that a few New Gretna boys were on the Tuckerton High School baseball team when I was posting photos for Bob Sutton's New Gretna baseball list on the March 2, 2011 Blog and thought baseball fans out in the Blog-O-Sphere might enjoy seeing a vintage photo of a Tuckerton High School baseball team.

Any comments about a player in the photo would be appreciated.

Here's the 1950 Tuckerton High School baseball team. Unfortunately, I don't have the names of the team mates. I could use some help there.

Tuckerton High School Baseball Team - 1950
Row 1 (Front, l-r): Bill Sooy, Bob Haas, Joe Marshall (from Parkertown) Jim Mascola, Howard Rossell, Ernie Thompson, William Kidd. Row 2: Bob Sutton, Walt Peer?, Bob Walton, Jimmy Hand, Mason Price, George Irons, Harvard Allen, Bob Suralik, Coach William Hendricks. Row 3: Coach Henry Boney Sr., Sonny Kunen, Nelson 'Squak' Cramer, Mike Bailey, Allie 'Inkie' Goldberger, Charlie Hartley. Row 4: Chuck Schellenberger, Bob Bourguignon, Harold Sprague?. Names from Shirley W comment below with some minor corrections from Bob Sutton.

Well, I hope that these photos have gotten you in the spirit of this year's spring training. I can't wait for the regular season to start. Go Yankees!

Pete S

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring Training - New Gretna Style

Here it is, the beginning of March. Hopefully, the worst part of the winter is behind us. It's a time when a young man's fancy turns to - BASEBALL.

A daily glance at the sports page shows highlights of Spring Training down in sunny Florida and out in the warm desert climate of Arizona. The Philadelphia sports writers are already proclaiming the Phillies' starting four the best pitching staff in the history of the game and this year's World Series Championship practically in the bag.

New Gretna also had it's share of baseball stars. I got an email the other day from Joyce Sutton with an attachment provided by her husband, Bob, containing a list of his favorite New Gretna baseball players from the "good old days."

In the spirit of Spring Training, I decided to share Bob's List, complete and in his own hand writing, with you here at the Blog.

Jack " Jelly Sandwich" Mathis
Wonder why they called him " Jelly Sandwich" ?

(l-r) Sam Carr,Rich Hickman & Jack Mathis
Baseball buddies

Orval Mathis

Lou Bourguignon - 1948

Norman Mathis

Fred Kalm - 1948

Bob Sutton - Senior Year, 1950

Harvard "Hob" Allen, Senior Year, 1951

John Barnes

Well, there you have it ! Are they a match for this year's Phillies? You be the judge.

Pete S

PS- John Yates wrote in a comment below that his grandfather, Elihu Ward Sears (1877-1927), who lived in New Gretna, was said to be an excellent baseball player. This would have been before the time of Bob Sutton's list; however, I think it appropriate to place a photo of Ward below.