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, April 18, 2012

Tuckerton Cub Scout's 1949 Minstrel Show

I've posted a couple of Blog entries on New Gretna Minstrel Shows over the past few years. Minstrel shows were popular from the late 1920's through the mid 1950's in our area. Last Friday, at the monthly New Gretna Friendly Seniors meeting, Pat Steinhauer surprised me with a photo and program booklet of a 1949 Minstrel Show staged by the Tuckerton Boy Scouts, Pack 7, in the Tuckerton High School auditorium which I thought I would share with you. Her husband, Gerry, is at the far right in the second row.

Two other boys who appeared in the photo, Sam Leifried and Russell Mathis, were particularly interesting to me, as I see them frequently on Wednesdays at the Tuckerton Historical Society. 

I wonder if anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere knows any of the other boys in the photo. If so, I'd like to hear from you.

Pete S

Click on the photo above
and the pages below for a clearer view.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Harrisville Ruins Location

I got a request today for the location of the Harrisville Ruins. Seems that a visitor to the lake couldn't find the ruins. The following map should solve the location problem. You have to look closely among the trees for the remains of a brick wall from the paper mill. It's behind a chain link fence, just a stones throw from the old artesian well.

Pete S

Brick wall ruins behind the chain link fence with artesian well in foreground.
(March 9, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jim McAnney - Census Detective

Last week I published a link to the 1940 Bass River Township Census. I hope everyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere with Bass River roots found the names of family and friends among the lists. The information should also be helpful to those working on their Bass River family tree.

I should have cautioned those of you who are not familiar with doing census data research that census information is not always complete and can contain errors. The information is only as accurate as the reliability of the census taker and the information provided by the informant in the household. Families can be missed and errors in name spellings and personal information occasionally occur.

Jim McAnney, one of our regular Blog Readers with roots in Bass River, was quick to notice families that were incomplete or omitted entirely from the census. Following is Jim's email listing some omissions that he is aware of. If anyone else out in the Blog-O-Sphere is aware of other omissions or mistakes in the 1940 census data, I would appreciate hearing from you. It would be helpful if you could provide the street where the family lived.

Pete S


I can come up with at least 15 names that I think should have been in the census. I’m sure there are more but I came up with these.  Les Allen’s wife and any children that were born by 1940.  Edna Adams (Walter Adam’s wife).  I don’t know when he died but she was living living in the house when I was young.  Walter (Ditty) Loveland, the Leepas, Reuben McAnney, the Lemunyon family, the Sooy family, Harry Allen and family, and the Jack Wiseman family. 


PS- I see that Beverly Robinson also noticed some census omissions and errors regarding her Bass River ancestors, as posted in her comments to the April 5th Blog entry on the 1940 census (reproduced below). Both she and Jim noticed the Leepa family omission. Sherlock Holmes had his Watson, Batman had his Robin and, now it appears, that Census Detective Jim McAnney also has an assistant -Deputy Census Detective Beverly Robibnson. What a team!

Hi Pete: Thanks for posting the census. One problem; I cannot find a listing for the Leepa family. I looked at names, place of birth and language and no Leepas. Could their farm be considered a part of another township or something? I also find it interesting that my mother Pauline and her younger sister Julia are listed as servants??? I know my mother worked in Phila. as a maid for a while but the listing indicated she was living at home at the time. A mystery. Thanks again. Beverly Mathis Robinson

Thursday, April 5, 2012

1940 Bass River Township Census

The 1940 Bass River Township Census has been posted on the Bass River Township History Web Site. You may view it by clicking on the poster below.

Two of my favorite Blog buddies, 12 year old Don Maxwell (Household 61 on Sheet 5) and 14 year old Clif Brown (Household 168 on Sheet 12) are listed in the census. Also listed is Blog regular Beverly Robinson's grandfather Eugene "Booter" Mathis (Household 62 on Sheet 5). You may want to drop by and pay them a visit.

Pete S

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

England Or Bust! Doug and Helen Handcock

One of the things that I enjoy about writing the Blog is finding photos and stories about people from old time New Gretna that I have heard or read about. Today, while looking through some old copies of the Tuckerton Courier newspaper, I came across a photo and story about  previous owners of the old Rustic Inn which now stands, abandoned, on the north-east corner of Route 9 and North Maple Avenue. 

The Rustic Inn sits, abonded, on the northeast corner 
of Route 9 and North Maple Avenue.

Doug and Helen's photo leaped out at me from the front page of the December 28, 1969 edition. I had done a Blog story on December 8, 2008 on the ownership of the Rustic Inn in which Doug and Helen were mentioned. You can read that posting by clicking on the above photo of the Rustic Inn.

I had known that Doug and Helen owned and operated the Rustic Inn, but knew little else about them, so it was nice to read the story about their trip to England. I learned that they had something in common with Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Read on to find out the connection. 

The connection with the Hancocks and Tom Cruise and John Travolta is Scientology. The Hancock's endeavors into Scientology shows that New Gretna was a more diverse community then is generally thought.

If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere remembers the Hancocks, I would appreciate hearing a story or two about them.

Pete S