Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Prospect Hill Association

by Jerseyman ©2010

Researched and written at the request of a true friend to New Jersey history.

Beginning in the early nineteenth century, a variety of gentlemen societies established clubhouses along the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. Founded primarily by Philadelphians, these organizations normally formed around sporting activities such as fishing and gunning and their origins can be traced to the Colony in Schuylkill Fishing Company, which changed its name to State in Schuylkill Fishing Company after the colonies won the American War for Independence (Smith 1986:106). Writing about one these clubs—the Tammany Pea Shore Fishing Company—Isaac Mickle noted, “…the club had its origin in that old English social feeling which so strongly marked the generation of our grandfathers” (Mickle 1845:46). The Colony in Schuylkill Fishing Company, founded in 1732, is the earliest gentlemen’s club established in the English New World. Other similar associations along the New Jersey shore that existed during the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century included the Beideman Club, the Sparks Club, the Mozart Club, the Mohican Club, and the Riverton Gun Club.

On the shores of the Delaware at Gloucestertown (now Gloucester City), Quaker City residents sought a variety of entertainment venues down through the years. Anglican pastor Nathaniel Evans, who held services in Gloucestertown during the mid-1760s, wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Invitation, to Two Young Ladies at the Gloucester Spring.” Evans died prematurely at age 26 and William Smith, a friend and admirer of Evans, published a collection of his poems, including the one just referenced, posthumously in 1772 by the subscription method (Evans 1772). Another early entertainment offered to an elite membership was the Gloucester Fox-Hunting Club. Belonging to this hunt association provided a certain cachet to its members, many of whom constituted the social elite of Philadelphia. The club operated between 1766 and 1818 before disbanding (Milnor 1889:405-429). Hunts usually ended at the “Death of the Fox” Tavern, a building that still stands in East Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, next to the railroad. Twenty years after foxhunting ceased, another group of Philadelphians, led by Izaak Walton devotee and sail-maker Jesse Williamson, formed a fishing club, which met below Gloucester Point. The broad, sloping Gloucester river shore had hosted fisheries since the early eighteenth century. Names associated with the fisheries there include Harrison, Ellis, Hugg, Shivers, and Clark. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, shad hauls at Gloucester became legendary, particularly once the hotels offered a delicacy known as “Planked Shad” (Prowell 1886:604-606).

Prowell suggests that Williamson and his colleagues may have organized their club in 1828, but more contemporaneous evidence presented below appears to refute that earlier date, which earlier date Prowell provides with uncertainty. Initially, the members referred to their society as the Fish-House Company or the Williamson Fishing Club, as an homage to Jesse and his abilities “…in handling the rod and frying-pan” (Prowell 1886:604). The members, “…during the summer months, met semi-weekly under the large sycamore trees that once lined the shore of the Delaware, from Newton Creek to Timber Creek” (ibid.).

In October 1839, club members John B. Rice, William J. Young, and William F. Hughes, all Philadelphia residents, leased some of the Clark fishery lands from Joseph Howell and William Hugg. The lease agreement covered the ensuing nine years at a cost of $40 per annum. The club also received permission to construct an ice house and a clubhouse, which they did south of Gloucester Point along the beach below Charles Street (Llewellyn 1976:127). At some point subsequent to finishing the clubhouse, the membership restyled their organization “The Prospect Hill Association.” The meeting and dining hall stood on “…Prospect Hill, a high bluff overlooking the mouth of Timber Creek to the south” (Prowell 1886:604). In all likelihood, this same prominence once held the seventeenth-century Dutch trading post known as Fort Nassau. Concerning Fort Nassau and this hill, Isaac Mickle notes,

The precise locality of Fort Nassau is…a matter of much debate among antiquarians. The best opinion seems to be that it was situated immediately upon the river at the southern extremity of the high land butting upon the meadows north of the mouth of Timber Creek. That position would have struck the eye of an engineer; inasmuch as a fortress thus situated could have commanded both the river and creek, while it would have been greatly secured from the attacks of the Indians by the low marshy land which surrounded it upon all sides by the north. (Mickle 1845:58, 60)

The 1842 United States Coast and Geodetic Survey chart that shows a portion of the Delaware River includes the location of the new clubhouse:

A previously unknown painting that recently came to auction depicts the clubhouse soon after its completion:

Today this painting is in a private collection. Notice the old fish cabin featured on the left side of the painting, a long-standing fixture on the South Gloucester waterfront.

The spacious new frame clubhouse featured two primary floors, along with a garret and a basement. The members met here twice a month between May and October. The officers assessed and exacted penalties for those members who failed to attend each meeting. The attendees feasted on gastronomical offerings of their own making, often, but not always limited to, a serving of fish as the main course. The first mention of the new clubhouse appeared in two Philadelphia newspapers during June 1840. The Philadelphia Inquirer noted,

Southwark Public Schools.

On Wednesday and Friday of last week, the Reed and Catharine street Female Schools took a pleasure excursion to the fish-house below Gloucester Point. They were accompanied by their teachers and some of the directors. The children all looked remarkably well, and their happy, joyous faces gave great pleasure to all who beheld the, On Friday, as we viewed them, now at the swings and now moving about in the dance, and then running like fawns along the ground, other thoughts and associations came over us, and we were children again. The greatest care and attention was paid them by their teachers, Miss Nagle, Mrs. Craycroft, Miss M. Martin and Miss Flanagan, who joined in all their festivities and were active participants in all their amusements. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon these ladies for their active and untiring efforts to render the children happy, and they were indeed so. While upon this subject, we may say that this school was never in a better condition than it now is. The pupils are strongly attached to their teachers, which feeling they increase by devotedly performing every duty incumbent on them. Today the Female department of the Catharine street School will take a similar excursion, and on Wednesday next the male department of the Reed street School. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 22 June 1840:2)

The Philadelphia newspaper, Public Ledger, for 25 June 1840, contained a description of the male students attending the fish house at Gloucester:

SCHOOL ENTERTAINMENT.—For a week past, the new and commodious station house of the Fishing Club, in New Jersey, below Gloucester Point, near Timber Creek, has been the scene of a succession of most interesting galas, in which the chief participants were the 1200 children of the Public Schools of Southwark, with their teachers, the school directors, and a number of invited guests. On Monday last, the principal one of the district, the male school of Catharine street, numbering near 300 children, under the direction of their veteran and gentlemanly teacher, Mr. Watson, with his four lady assistant teachers, marked from the school-house to Almond street wharf, and there took the steamboat, which conveyed them to the theatre of the day’s entertainments. The appearance of the long line of men in miniature, containing, perhaps many who are destined to be the support, the pride, and the boast of their country by their ability in councils of peace or amid the rude shocks and contentions of war struck us as peculiarly pleasing. Many of them were dressed in a uniform of white pantaloons, blue roundabouts and light summer hats; all of them were neat and clean, and marched in regular order, keeping in line and step with the utmost exactness. Arrived at the Fish House, the boys divided off into parties for various amusements—bathing, swimming, diving, swinging, shouting, tumbling, climbing, running, leaping, and finally dancing, in which they had the inspiring aid of a small, but extremely good orchestra. In this the female teachers, the school directors, and all took part. Several of the ladies allowed themselves to be led out with their larger pupils, for partners, but the boys generally engaged indiscriminately in the dance, known as la grande hop, and seemed to enjoy themselves in it even more than if participators in the more regular and graceful figures of their elders. The dancing was relieved by singing. Some of the gentlemen sang, and the boys huzzaed their applause; then one of the ladies sang, and the children shouted and shouted again with delight, until they made the welkin ring—and no wonder, for the vocalists would have elicited applause from older and more critical minds. Excursions were made into the neighboring woods, and ‘’neath the shade of the greenwood tree’ the merry song, the light laugh and the cheerful shout went up, mingled with more instrumental music. At proper intervals during the day, refreshments of different kinds—hot coffee, cakes, lemonade, ice creams, &c.—were handed around. One of the young lady teachers, who appeared to be acknowledged mistress of ceremonies, wore upon her head a beautiful wreath, which had been presented to her by her scholars. Throughout the fete, the whole aim of the adults present, male and female, was devoted to rendering the children pleased and happy, in which aim they appeared to have been eminently successful. At 8 o’clock the party returned to the city. Yesterday, the male department of the Reed street school united with the Carpenter street school, and, numbering a party of more than 400, departed on the same excursion, and enjoyed themselves in much the same manner as described above. (Public Ledger 25 June 1840:2)

In an article that appeared in the 21 May 1849 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer, is the first use of the name “Prospect Hill” in connection with the association:

Presentation of a Skiff.—A number of our most respectable citizens gave a handsome entertainment at the Prospect Hill Fishing House, below Gloucester, on Thursday last, upon the occasion of the presentation of a superb gunning skiff to Mr. John Stierley, of South Second street. The skiff is one of the prettiest things of the kind we have ever seen, and it was made by David Donaldson, of Southwark. It is called the “Sarah Ann.” This beautiful testimonial of friendship and esteem was presented to Mr. Stierley by Gen. George M. Keim, on behalf of his fellow citizens, in an exceedingly neat speech, and was received for the recipient by James Hanna, Esq. After the presentation was over, the company, numbering about eighty persons, sat down to a splendid dinner, and from the testimony of our friend, Major Copple, did ample justice to the same. On the removal of the cloth, wit, sentiment, and song occupied the time of the company until sunset, when all returned to the city, much pleased with the day’s enjoyment. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 21 May 1849:1)

A similar article appeared on the first page of The North American and United States Gazette, even date.

Based on the constitution and bylaws of the Prospect Hill Association, the membership rolls could not exceed 30 individuals. The group of men elected as officers to oversee the affairs of the association apparently served without term limits, or at least were easily reelected to office, based on a notice that appeared in a December issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

PROSPECT HILL ASSOCIATION.—This Association yesterday met to receive the resignation of their President, William Young, Esq., and Vice President, Louis Pelouze, Esq., two gentlemen who have long and faithfully presided over the interests of the Association. Their resignations were accepted with regret by the members, and a ballot being taken Samuel Haines, Esq., was elected President; Aaron V. Gibbes, Esq., Vice President, and William Simes, Esq., Treasurer. The Association, which is composed of Philadelphia gentlemen, have their headquarters near Gloucester, N.J., and for thirty years past have been noted for their intelligence, their skill in gunning and fishing, and their hospitality. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 8 December 1868:3)

Notice the phrase “…for thirty years past…,” which strongly supports the 1838 formation date for the fishing club. To provide its membership with clear information on its functionality, the association published its governance documents in 1856. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania holds a copy of this 12mo, 11-page pamphlet in its collections.

The association survived the national calamity known today as the Civil War. The membership continued to meet on the prescribed days and continued to use its clubhouse. During his productive years, local Philadelphia artist David Johnson Kennedy rendered the Prospect Hill Association headquarters in watercolors:

The original painting can be found in the David J. Kennedy Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Individual members held their membership in high esteem and obituaries often invited the association membership to attend:

GAW.—On the 25th inst., CHARLES C. GAW. The relatives and friends of the family, also Solomon’s Lodge, No. 114, F. and A.M., and Prospect Hill Association, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, on Saturday afternoon, at 3 o’clock, from his late residence, No. 309 Spruce street. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 26 September 1884:5)

MORONEY.—On the 20th inst., James Moroney. The relatives and friends of the family, also Hibernian Society and Prospect Hill Association, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, on Tuesday morning at 8½ o’clock, from his late residence, 1228 Wharton street. Solemn mass of requiem at the Annunciation Church. Interment at Cathedral Cemetery. Please omit flowers. (The North American 21 July 1894:4)

With its membership growing old or dying off and with increased industrialization in Gloucester City and its attendant riverine pollution, the end for the Prospect Hill Association came in October 1897, when the members met for the its final dinner:

** The Prospect Hill Fishing Club, of Gloucester, N.J., all of whose members are Philadelphians, will give their closing dinner to-day. A number of prominent citizens have been invited and a band of music will enliven the occasion. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 5 October 1897:6)

Prowell’s history of Camden County provides a partial list of the association's membership through 1886:

Among well-known names on the list of past and present members are these,— President and Captain, E.J. Hinchen, of the Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch, who, for thirty-two years, did not miss an opening-day; James B. Stevenson, Charles W. Bender, William F. Hughes, Benjamin Franklin; Peter Glasgow, George W. Wharton, William Richardson, Peleg B. Savery, Peter Lyle, Chapman Freeman, George J. Weaver, Louis Pelouze, Mahlon Williamson, Jacob Faunce, B.J. Williams, George Bockius, Thomas F. Bradley, Joseph B. Lyndall, S. Gross Fry, Benjamin Allen, John Krider, George P. Little, Peter Lane, Samuel Collins, William Patterson, J.W. Swain, Samuel Simes, Jesse Williamson (one of the originators), and others. The membership is limited to thirty, and, as they are long-lived, the entire roll of members during the fifty-eight years of its existence contains but few over one hundred names. (Prowell 1886:604)

The clubhouse remained standing after the association ceased meeting. Its subsequent use, if any, is currently unknown. A little over five years after the last dinner in October 1897, notice of the building again appeared in the press:

Special to the Inquirer.
George Harvey, Walter Sterling, Joseph Fitzer and Chester Sterling, boys under 20 years of age, after a hearing before Mayor Boylan to-night, were committed to the Camden county jail on the charge of robbing the Prospect Hill Club House, near the old race track. The building was ransacked from top to bottom and among the articles taken were chairs, cutlery, liquors, spoons, clocks, spigots, dishes, looking glasses, pictures, shuffleboard weights, groceries, tubs, a meat block, and in fact everything movable. The plunder was removed to a boat house along the river and was offered to a second hand dealer who became suspicious and notified the police.
The boys at the hearing, it is said, admitted taking the goods but denied breaking into the building, claiming to have found the door open. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 16 December 1902:3)

With the clubhouse becoming a convenient nuisance for local miscreants, an advertisement for selling the building appeared in March and April 1903:

FOR SALE—Prospect Hill Club House, situated on the Delaware River, below Gloucester, N.J.; will be sold cheap.
WILLIAM H. PRICE, 209 S. 10th st. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 25 March 1903:15)

FOR SALE—PROSPECT HILL CLUB HOUSE, on the Delaware River below Gloucester, N.J.; easily reached by trolley; dining room will seat 60; lawn and trees around the house; kitchen arranged for planking shad. WM. H. PRICE, 209 South Tenth street. (The Philadelphia Inquirer 5 April 1903:10)

William J. Thompson, the so-called Duke of Gloucester, acquired the property as an expansion of his riverfront entertainment empire (Hopkins 1907:3). Here is a plan of the association grounds from the 1907 Hopkins atlas, showing the orientation of the buildings relative to the shoreline:

Thompson already owned the surrounding former Clark fishery and continued the tradition of fishing along the shoreline and served the shad in his hotels. When Thompson suffered financial reverses and became a bankrupt, protracted litigation ensued, with trial activity extending from April 1911 to June 1916 (The Philadelphia Inquirer 23 June 1916:3). Former Camden County Sheriff Henry J. West served as trustee in the bankruptcy proceedings and sold much of Thompson’s land holdings to satisfy the creditors, including the former Prospect Hill Association clubhouse and outbuildings. Michael Haggerty and James McNally purchased the clubhouse property and received the fishery rights as part of the transaction. McNally intended to operate a large fishing net there in 1916, but the Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Company purchased the land from Haggerty’s estate and from McNally to build a shipyard in South Gloucester. A consequence of the shipbuilding firm’s acquisition of this property was a de facto extinction of commercial shad fishing in Gloucester (Woodbury Daily Times 14 March 1916:3). Construction of the shipyard and associated buildings, along with regrading the land for such industrial pursuits brought about the demolition of the once proud Prospect Hill Association clubhouse and its existence is hardly known today.

Boyce, W.M.
1842 Vicinity of Philadelphia PA. & N.J. Manuscript chart, T-165bis. United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, Washington, D.C. Original held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

Evans, Nathaniel
1772 Poems on Several Occasions with Some Other Compositions. John Dunlap, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hopkins, Griffith Morgan
1907 Atlas of the Vicinity of Camden, New Jersey. G.M. Hopkins and Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Llewellyn, Louisa W.
1976 First Settlement on the Delaware River: A History of Gloucester City, New Jersey. Gloucester City American Revolution Bicentennial Committee, Gloucester City, New Jersey.

Mickle, Isaac
1845 Reminiscences of Old Gloucester or Incidents in the History of the Counties of Gloucester, Atlantic and Camden, New Jersey. Townsend Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Milnor Jr., William
1889 “Memoirs of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club.” Published as an appendix in History of the Schuylkill Fishing Company of the State in Schuylkill, 1732-1888. By the Members of the State in Schuylkill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Prowell, George R.
1886 The History of Camden County, New Jersey. L.J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Smith, Philip Chadwick Foster
1986 Philadelphia on the River. Philadelphia Maritime Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Written on Christmas Eve, 1513

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much,
very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can
come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within
our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering,
cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you
will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings,
but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and
forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.

~ Fra Giovanni ~

I wish all of my friends, followers, and readers a most blessed Christmas Season and a
New Year filled with history and wonder!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tetamekon, now Grenloch, Gloucester Township, Camden County

Local Gleanings.

Up the County, August 1, 1850

I went to Spring Mills and Tetamakin [sic, et seq.] Works, under the proprietorship of Wm. H. Carr, of Philadelphia, and driven by the power of that noted stream called the south branch of Timber creek. Tetamakin lying on the Gloucester county side of the stream, and Spring Mills in Camden County. Mr. Carr was not there to-day to give me all the information respecting the various manufactures that have at different times been carried on here, but his gentlemanly and intelligent superintendent, Mr. T. Loring, gave me much insight into the present business of the place, some of which you shall have to use as you please.

The manufacture of forks, hoes, and rakes, is carried on extensively at Spring Mills; and that of sad-irons at Tetamakin—the making of butt-hinges having been relinquished some time back. About a ton and a half of sad-irons are finished here daily; the casting, grinding, handling, packing &c. &c. of which occupies a number of workmen at good wages. The sad-irons vary in weight from four to ten pounds—but where on earth they find people enough to use so many smoothing irons is a mystery to me, when it is considered that a good sad-iron, well taken care of, can be used by at least three generations of “ironers.” But, perhaps, they are making most of these for coming generations; and as we have no tariff on the increase of population, nor any “compromise” as to color, there may be a good time coming when there will be juveniles enough to work all the four pound irons, and adults plenty to shove the ten pounders—if so, what a universal smoothing of plaited bosoms, and flounced skirts there will be about that time! They are also making castings for Crossdale’s Patent Seed Drill, an excellent implement for agriculturists, lately patented—also, a superior kind of mole-trap.

A lime-stone quarry is opened just below Spring Mills, and kilns erected, at which a considerable quantity of lime has already been burned. The lime from these kilns is said to be superior to the Pennsylvania lime for agricultural purposes, only—it costs, at the kilns, ten cents per bushel slaked, and fourteen cents a bushel fresh; and is considered much superior to marl in its effects on all other crops except potatoes. There is a very handsome and productive farm connected with the Spring Mills, and the dwellings belonging to the whole premises are good, and kept very neat. Mr. Carr is now having a very large and convenient hoggery or hog-pen built, with a furnace and large caldron under the same roof, in which it is intended to prepare potatoes, corn-meal &c. for hog-feed. Some of Mr. Carr’s hogs were shown me, and their appearance did no credit to their species; although they appeared to have been well-fed—but they were of a red color, shallow built before and narrow behind, and better formed for creeping through fences, and rooting up sod, than for growing into large hams and shoulders, and filling the lard firkin. I was told that Mr. C. intends improving his breed of hogs by introducing some of a superior race from Chester county. Glad of it.

Extracted from The West Jerseyman (Camden, New Jersey), 14 August 1850, p. 2.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Plantation Yclept Bromley

In present-day Borough of Mount Ephraim, Camden County, New Jersey.

by Jerseyman ©2010

The Harrison family of Gloucester Town began its West New Jersey experience with émigré Samuel Harrison, the mariner, who resided for some years on land north of the Gloucester Town bounds upon arriving. On 1 September 1697, Harrison purchased 500 acres from John Reading (West New Jersey Deed Liber Gl A:29). He married Sarah Hunt and a number of children came from this union, including Samuel, Joseph, and William, along with at least two daughters: Ann, who married Jacob Clement; and Abigail, who became the wife of Jacob Hinchman (Clement 1877:243, 273). Samuel Harrison, the mariner, also signed a partnership agreement with John Reading in 1697 to construct a brewery somewhere on John Reading’s town lots. The partners agreed to hire Anthony Blany for a period of seven years to produce “good sweet merchantable malt” and “shall likewise Brew into good and merchantable Beer [in] such quantity as shall be by ye sd Samuel or John or b[oth] of them be delivered at ye malthouse be brought” (Gloucester County Document Collection, Agreement 2). Harrison then began to build an addition to the extant malt house, which was probably a brew house.

The first batch of product was anything but good, so the partners confronted Blany, demanding to know what went wrong. Taking the interrogation as a personal affront, Blany retaliated by burning down the brewery and John Reading’s house burned along with it (Miller 1939:143-144). Harrison and Reading filed a suit against Blany to recover their costs. At the trial, John Reading testified in part:

On ye twenty first Day of May, Ano 1698 the Malthouse abovesaid, Designed by and on purpose; Did set on fire or through Ignorance, carelessness or negligence, ye same be suffered ye Malt Killne to take ffire; whereby not only ye said Malt house with about 700 Bushels of malt and Barly; But ye Brewhouse thereto adjoining; Beer therein, Mill vessels, Utensils and Materialls; so ye arts of Malting and Brewing apertain and allso a Dwelling House of ye said John Reading; with my Goods. and many Deeds, Books, evidences, Rolls and writeing of Publick concern; and belonging to ye province of West Jersey were incinerated, Destroyed, Burnt down and Totally Consumed.... (ibid.)

While there is no direct documentation to confirm the partners quickly rebuilt their fire-ravaged brewery, subsequent probate documents suggest that they did so.

Tracking the identity of the malsters at the reconstructed brewery after Blany cannot be done with absolute certainty, but it appears that a Richard Bromley may have arrived about the time the partners completed rebuilding the facility. On 1 January 1697 (n.s.), Richard Bromley Sr., a malster, of Stratford on Avon, County of Warwick, England, purchased a one-twentieth share of West New Jersey (West New Jersey Deed Liber Gl 3:229, 231). Five days later, he sold his interest to his son and heir, Richard Bromley Jr., a glover of London (West New Jersey Deed Liber Gl 3:236, 237). Sometime during the ensuing two years, it appears Bromley left his wife and family and sailed for the New World, arriving in Gloucester Town to operate the brewery.

Samuel Harrison, the mariner, died intestate sometime during the month of February 1703/04. The courts granted Sarah, Samuel’s wife, letters of administration for the estate on 1 March 1703/04 (Nelson 1901:213-214). At some point in time after 1707, Samuel Harrison’s widow, Sarah, remarried to Richard Bull of Gloucester Town, son of Thomas Bull Sr. of Pipe Hill, County of Stafford, England. Thomas Sr. purchased one-eighth of a full share of West New Jersey in concert with Thomas Rudyard, who acquired one-half of a share; Henry Beadle, a malster, who bought one-eighth of a share; and John Reading, who obtained one-quarter of a share, making a sum total of one full propriety share of the colony split among the four men (Pomfret 1956:286).

It appears Richard Bull leased a plantation he owned, located out in the Gloucester Town Liberties along Little Timber Creek, to Richard Bromley, the malster operating the brewery, even before Bull married Sarah Harrison. During March 1708 (n.s.), Richard Bull visited Bromley at the plantation and drew the brewer’s Will, suggesting that the man had contracted an illness. He died within a couple of months as Bromley’s executor entered his Will into probate on 11 May 1708 (Unrecorded Wills, Vol. 7:293-298). The plantation where Bromley lived then returned to Richard and Sarah Bull. The plantation became known as “Bromley” when the malster first took up residence there and the name remained with the property long after Bromley died. Richard and Sarah removed from Gloucester Town after Bromley died and took up residence on the plantation.

Sarah Harrison Bull outlived her second husband and the courts granted her administration of Richard’s intestate estate in November 1723. Richard’s brother, Thomas (Jr.), assented to her administration (Nelson 1901:72). She retained much of Richard’s land after his death and passed it on to her Harrison children through her own Will, dated 6 January 1742 and probated 20 August 1744. William Harrison, the son of Samuel the Mariner and Sarah Harrison Bull, received the Bromley plantation, situated between Little Timber Creek and the Kings Highway, as a devisee of his mother’s Will, which read in part, Son, William Harrison, to have the rest of lands, meadows and buildings” (Honeyman 1918:74).

Subsequent to his mother’s death and attaining ownership of Bromley according to her Will, he erected a milldam above the tide on Little Timber Creek and constructed a gristmill. The dam certainly existed by November 1760, when the colonial legislature passed an act

to enable the Owners and Possessors of the Meadows lying on Little Timber Creek…to support and maintain a certain Bank, Dam and other Water-Works, lately erected across the said Creek in order to prevent the Tide from overflowing the same, and the keep the former Water-Course of said Creek open and clear. (Bush 1982:55-57)

This act permitted a dam to be erected, thereby preventing tidal flow and allowing landowners adjacent to the creek to cultivate meadowlands. The act in part reads:

Be it enacted by the Governor, Council and General Assembly, and it is hereby Enacted by the Authority of the same, That from and after the Publication hereof, the said Bank, Dam, and all other Water-Works already erected, or that shall or may at any Time or Times hereafter, be found necessary to be erected, for the more effectual preventing the Tide from overflowing the Meadow lying on the aforesaid Creek, shall be erected, supported and maintained at the equal Expence [sic] of all the Owners and Possessors of the same, in Proportion to the Quantity of Meadow that each of the said Owners or possessors now or hereafter may hold on the said Creek, between the aforesaid Dam, and a Dam called William Harrison’s Dam, near the Head of the aforesaid Creek. (Bush 1982:56 [underlining and bolding added for emphasis])

This portion of the act indicates that Harrison’s milldam already existed. His dam must have stood above the tidal flow as Harrison required no legislative act to block the stream, considered a public thoroughfare under colonial law. At some point subsequent to building this mill, William Harrison removed his family to Greenwich Township, Gloucester County, where he established a new plantation and constructed another gristmill along with a sawmill. Sometime prior to 1 November 1762, William Harrison died and devised to his son William (Jr.) the …plantation where I formerly lived, and where he now lives, to him and his heirs…” (New Jersey Wills 795H). The devised plantation included the gristmill along Little Timber Creek.

In November 1776, William Harrison Junior heard the call of his revolutionary countrymen and mortgaged his land and gristmill to raise a company of New Jersey militia. According to the written testimony of his grandson, Philadelphia locomotive builder Joseph Harrison, William clothed and armed the men who served in his company. As America entered the second year of its rebellion against the Crown, the British sailed south from New York and landed General William Howe and his army on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at Elkton, Maryland, after rejecting a more dangerous landing on the lower Delaware River. The army marched north towards Philadelphia, engaging in the Battle of Brandywine along the way. Meanwhile, sailors of the Pennsylvania Navy prepared themselves for the upcoming river battle. The river bottom already bristled with clusters of chevaux-de-frise, iron-tipped wooden spears anchored in stone-filled wooden cribs, ready to impale any British vessel which dared to sail up the Delaware. Only a handful of colonial river pilots knew the safe passage route through these river obstacles. American laborers worked on the New Jersey side to finish defensive forts at Billingsport and Red Bank and other workers made final preparations to the fort on Mud Island (Fort Mifflin), located on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River (Jackson 1977:1-15; Jackson 1986:1-127).

First designed by British military engineer John Montressor, the Pennsylvania colonial legislature sought the construction of what would become Fort Mifflin as a defensive position for Philadelphia against Privateers. Work began on this fortification in 1772 but the workmen, lacking clear supervision, had not yet completed the facility in 1775. About the time colonial delegates signed the Declaration of Independence, American colonists gained possession of the fort (Jackson 1977:1-15; Jackson 1986:1-127). After partially completed the Billingsport fortification, the continentals determined the location to be indefensible, and withdrew four miles upstream to concentrate on completing a much smaller fortification within the rather large Red Bank defensive position. Only a small garrison remained at Billingsport to guard the lower set of chevaux-de-frise. After withdrawing from the Brandywine battlefield, the British army continued its march towards Philadelphia. On the city’s outskirts, Washington launched a surprise attack at Germantown, which proved disastrous for the American troops and Howe’s forces moved in to Philadelphia during the second part of October (Jackson 1977:1-15).

Upon achieving his primary objective—winning and occupying Philadelphia—General Howe commanded his military commanders to vanquish the American troops, destroy the Pennsylvania Navy, and open the Delaware River to British shipping under the control of Howe’s brother, Lord Admiral Richard Howe. Hessian mercenary officer Colonel Carl Emil Kurt von Donop requested the honor to crush the continental forces at Red Bank and capture the fort (Smith 1970:18). The Hessians crossed the Delaware River at Cooper’s Ferry, located at today’s Coopers Point, Camden, and marched out today’s Haddon Avenue to Haddonfield where they bivouacked for the night. The next morning, 22 October 1777, the German soldiers began their march to the fort. According to an anonymous map presumably drawn in 1777 or 1778, the Hessians moved southwest out of Haddonfield along the old Kings Highway into Mount Ephraim, where they turned more southerly and crossed William Harrison Jr.’s milldam (Anon. ca. 1778).

Old Gloucester County never established the shortcut across Harrison’s dam between Kings Highway and today’s Browning Road as an official highway, but it provided a very convenient crossing point over Little Timber Creek. The Hessians originally intended to cross Big Timber Creek on the bridge between present-day Brooklawn and Westville, but an advance scout party evidently found that the Americans had rendered the bridge impassable.

Hence, von Donop’s army turned south off of Kings Highway, crossed William Harrison Junior’s dam, and traveled east along Browning Road (a.k.a. the Irish Road or Sandy Lane) to its junction with the “Good and Convenient Road of 1768,” whereupon the Hessians turned on to that road and traveled over it until they reached Clement’s Bridge Road, which provided the force with access to the next crossing over Big Timber Creek. After moving across the bridge, von Donop marched his large army of mercenaries to attack the fort, where a small and inferior force of Americans waited within the fortifications (Leap 1981:53-55). The Hessians suffered a resounding defeat, losing many soldiers on the battlefield, including von Donop himself. The British dispatched warships to provide artillery support for the Hessians, but in maneuvering around the shallow water in front of the fort, the 64-gun ship AUGUSTA and the sloop-of-war MERLIN ran aground, representing a great military loss to the British, since both exploded and burned. Those Hessians who survived the battle uninjured assisted the wounded and dying back to Philadelphia, staying overnight in Glendora at Ashbrook’s Burial Ground, where those who had expired during the return trip were buried (Smith 1970:20-25).

During the entire British invasion period, from 2 October to 9 November, Commodore John Hazelwood’s Pennsylvania Navy patrolled the Delaware River. His small fleet of row galleys, floating batteries and fire boats harassed the British naval fleet, provided protective fire for the forts and defended the chevaux-de-frise from removal. The British had already established shore batteries on Carpenter and Province islands to cannonade Fort Mifflin, but von Donop’s defeat at Red Bank temporarily thwarted Howe’s plans for river domination. Howe ordered a large detachment of his troops stationed at the Province Island wharf, staged to invade Fort Mifflin, but withdrew the force upon the Hessian rout (Jackson 1977:15-18).

Howe became increasingly alarmed about the onset of winter and the lack of navigation on the Delaware. He knew that he must quickly eliminate Fort Mifflin as a threat to his combined naval and land forces. On 9 November 1777, Howe prepared his land batteries for saturation cannonading of the fort, particularly hammering the weak western palisade. Lord Richard Howe commanded his large warships to pound the eastern fort wall. Bombardment began on 10 November and continued for five days. The Pennsylvania Navy did what it could to harass the British, but the Americans failed to close off the fort’s back channel, allowing the enemy to move floating batteries into position for additional salvos against Mifflin. The British breached the wall and continued firing, leveling the fort in places. In its harassment campaign, the Americans broke the dikes along Carpenter and Province islands, allowing waist-deep water to encompass the enemy as it loaded and reloaded its artillery. Finally, during the night of 15 November, the continentals abandoned the fort and fled in the darkness to the shelter of the fort at Red Bank, setting fire to what remained of Mifflin. With the main fortress gone, Red Bank became indefensible and Washington ordered it abandoned on 21 November. The Pennsylvania Navy sailed upriver in an attempt to save its vessels, but the British destroyed virtually all of them. British shipping could, at last, reach Philadelphia and replenish the waning foodstuff of the Crown’s half-starved army (Jackson 1977:19-23).

Beginning on 18 November 1777, a major British force numbering some 7,000 soldiers under the command of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis landed at Billingsport with the intent of capturing the fort at Red Bank. Intelligence about the landing rippled through the American military and the garrison at Red Bank prepared for evacuation by spreading gunpowder across the fort grounds. The British remained close to their initial position in Billingsport on 19 November as they assembled a wagon train for the march north towards Red Bank. The Americans abandoned the fort at Red Bank on the nineteenth, based on rumor, but the garrison returned the following day with wagons to take away supplies. However, on 21 November, with the British closing in, the Americans touched off explosions at the fort as they withdrew (Smith 1970:38-40). Cornwallis and his forces descended upon the fort expecting a battle, but found it deserted and on fire. The British and Hessians completed the destruction, tearing down the walls and leveling all emplacements. On 22 November, the combined forces departed from the fort and marched to Woodbury, where they began foraging for food and livestock, including horses, from farms along their route. They broke camp on the twenty-fourth and moved towards Timber Creek until the Crown’s forces arrived at the bridge that the Americans had destroyed before von Donop marched to the fort at Red Bank. In one of wagons, the British had a portable bridge fabricated from hinged copper plates that folded when not in use. Using ropes and tackle, the English military engineers placed the bridge across the creek, allowing the entire army, wagon train and foraged livestock to cross (Döhla 1913[1990]:59-60; Stewart, ed. 1937:80).

By the morning of 25 November, Cornwallis had entered Gloucester Town, where he set-up his headquarters in the home of American militia Colonel Joseph Ellis while Hessian pickets guarded the approaches to Gloucester Town. During almost the entire day, the Marquis de Lafayette reconnoitered the British and Hessian forces in Gloucester Town as they loaded the cattle, horses, and soldiers for transport back to Philadelphia. Lafayette’s forces included ten light horsemen, 150 riflemen from Morgan’s rifles and some militiamen, including men under Colonel Ellis, containing Captain Harrison’s company—a total force of less than 300. During the late afternoon, Lafayette and his escort entered upon the Gloucester Road (today’s Kings Highway) and rode towards Gloucester Town. At about 2.5 miles from Gloucester Town (about where Kings Highway crosses Kings Run on the border between Haddon Heights and Mount Ephraim), the Americans encountered a Hessian outpost containing 350 soldiers and several field pieces.

Lafayette led a charge against the mercenaries, driving the Germans back more than one-half mile, making them run double-time to avoid being attacked. British reinforcements arrived twice, all the while the Americans, under Lafayette, drove them further back towards Gloucester Town. Only the descent of darkness prevented the Americans from pushing closer to Cornwallis and his shipments (Idzerda, ed. 1977:156-57). Lafayette’s gallantry at the Battle of Gloucester directly resulted in the Continental Congress commissioning the Marquis as a Major General and given command of an entire army division, a decision crucial to the war’s ultimate outcome (ibid., 158-165). When the Congress ordered a ceremonial presentation sword during 1779 for Lafayette, the guard featured engraved scenes of four critical battles in which the Marquis participated; one of these four was Gloucester (Idzerda, ed. 1979:201).

During this action, William Harrison’s Gloucester Town Company of the New Jersey militia had the opportunity to engage the enemy on Harrison’s own farmland, located between Little Timber Creek and King’s Highway west of today’s Black Horse Pike. John Zane, a member of Harrison’s Company, testified the battle

…was a smart skirmish on Little Timber Creek at Gloucester Town at Brick’s Old Field. The Battle was between Colonel Ellis’s Regiment and the British and close by Captain Harrison’s farm. Captain Harrison had about that time a House in Gloucester burnt by the British for the part he took against them. (National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 15)

The Döhla’s diary echoes the loss of Harrison’s house in Gloucester Town proper, when the Hessian writes, “This same evening the sailors set fire to a house” (Döhla 1990:60). Harrison’s company had gained combat experience through action in December 1776 at Petticoat Bridge (near today’s Jacksonville, Burlington County) and in Mount Holly at Iron Mill Hill. In August 1777, under orders from George Washington, Harrison led his company in removing ferry boats and flats along the Delaware River after the British landed at Head of Elk to begin its Philadelphia campaign (National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 15). Not knowing the true size of the force that attacked his outer guards, Lafayette’s action unnerved Cornwallis, forcing him to accelerate loading the livestock and other baggage and moving back across the river to Philadelphia. The journal of His Majesty’s Armed Schooner VIPER confirms Cornwallis’s sudden haste after the attack when Lieutenant Edward Pakenham wrote:

November 1777 Red Bank SSE 1 mile
Tuesdy. 25
AM Empd. Assisting the Flat Boats bringing Troops from the Jerseys.
Off Gloucester
…½ pt. 5 Weigh’d & ran over to Gloucester to Cover the Retreat of our Troops from the Jerseys. (Crawford 1996:595)

With Cornwallis’s retreat, the British largely withdrew from New Jersey to Philadelphia for the winter, although foraging and interdiction patrols traveled fairly regularly between Salem, Haddonfield and points north. Often these British patrols, along with American foraging units, would drive livestock and other baggage through the current project area (Stewart 1929). The Americans wintered at Valley Forge and British General Clinton relieved General Howe in Philadelphia during the spring of 1778. In a move to consolidate the British and Hessian armies back in New York, Clinton ordered the evacuation of Philadelphia and marched his forces overland through New Jersey to Sandy Hook and waiting marine transport, fighting the Battle of Monmouth on the way (Jackson 1977:22).

The mortgage that Harrison presented to mortgagee Joseph Fox to fund his military activities had a term of three years and a penalty of twice the document’s face value. With Harrison constantly on the go with military action, however, he greatly neglected his personal affairs. The due date for the mortgage, stated on the document as 1779, came and went with no payment. Fox, along with a group of other creditors, waited another three years, until 1782, before beginning foreclosure proceedings. The court action resulted in Thomas Denny,the Gloucester County sheriff, receiving a writ from the New Jersey Supreme Court to attach all of William’s property after the creditors successfully won suits against Harrison for unpaid indebtedness. No one came to Harrison’s rescue or defense and all of his holdings became the subject of a Sheriff’s Sale in September 1783. Placed in the Independent Gazetteer, published in Philadelphia, the sheriff’s advertisement read:

For sale a tract of land within the bounds of the town of Gloucester, the property of William Harrison seized at the suit of William Smith, the executors of Joseph Fox, deceased, Thomas Leaman and others. It is bounded by lands of Samuel Hugg Esq., Daniel Smith, John Glover, Jacob Albertson, lands late of Joseph Harrison, deceased, and others. It lies on the main branch of Little Timber Creek, which runs through the tract, and contains 613 acres and three-quarters, being divided as follows: a plantation of 155 acres and three-quarters with a brick house; a plantation adjoining containing 287 acres and one quarter with a brick house; a plantation of 70 acres and three quarters with a frame house and a grist mill built with stone; and three tenements adjoining the latter of 35 acres each. To view the premises and to see a map of the whole, apply to Mr. William Eldridge living on the first mentioned farm. Sale will be by vendue on 22d September at the house of William Hugg, innkeeper, in the town of Gloucester. (Wilson 1988:417-418).

The sale occurred at the time and place stated in the advertisement, but Sheriff Denny did not draft two deeds of sale for a portion of Harrison’s property until April 1784. One deed acknowledged Samuel Hugg’s purchase of a 35-acre tenement parcel for £126 (Gloucester County Deeds D:182). The second deed transferred title of the 155.75-acre plantation to William Eldridge in exchange for a winning bid of £935. The Hugg and the Eldridge bid represent the only two successful partial purchases of William Harrison’s land, so Sheriff Denny scheduled a second Sheriff’s Sale, which occurred 26 March 1785, presumably at Hugg’s Tavern (Gloucester County Deeds L:504). Ephraim Tomlinson placed the winning bid of £960 for the 287.25-acre plantation described in the advertisement (above) as possessing a brick house. Denny drafted the deed for this sale during April 1785 and Ephraim Tomlinson became the titleholder for Joseph Harrison’s former “Little Plantation” (ibid.). Of the three remaining parcels—two 35-acre tenement lots and the 70.75-acre plantation containing a gristmill and a frame house—only a deed for the gristmill property could be located; William Eldridge acquired this tract in August 1792 (Gloucester County Deeds K:473). A review of extant tax ratable lists revealed no tax was levied for the mill in 1790, indicating that no one was leasing or operating the mill. However, prior tax years, including 1773, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1784, 1786 and 1788, William Harrison paid a tax for owning or operating a gristmill (New Jersey Tax Ratables).

Following William Eldridge purchasing the gristmill, it appears he leased out the mill to a number of operators, based on the tax ratable lists available between 1791 and 1802 (New Jersey Tax Ratables). Meanwhile, at some point subsequent to his purchase of the gristmill, Eldridge constructed a fulling mill on the south side of Little Timber Creek, opposite the gristmill. He used the same millpond and dam and probably excavated only a new millrace for the fulling mill (Clement, Maps and Draughts, Vol. 6:81). Based on an inference in the road return for what today is the Black Horse Pike, it appears Eldridge constructed the fulling mill prior to 1795 (Gloucester County Road Return, Book A:190). In March 1805, Eldridge sold the gristmill and possibly the fulling mill to Abraham Fenimore, along with 115 acres on both sides of Little Timber Creek, with a right to enlarge the millpond by overflowing other Eldridge land (Gloucester County Deeds I:267). Fenimore retained the mills and millpond for three years before selling the complex with 46 acres of land to John T. Glover in March 1808 (Gloucester County Deeds Y:441). Since Glover already owned a fulling mill he had inherited from his father, located on Kings Run in Haddon Heights, he reportedly discontinued operations at the former Eldridge fulling mill (Boyer 1962:44). Although it is unknown when the gristmill ceased operations, it is probable this occurred simultaneously with the fulling mill discontinuance, thereby allowing the millpond to be drained and the cessation of maintenance on the milldam. It is unclear when Glover drained the millpond, but it appears that the John Hills’s 1808 map, A Plan of the City of Philadelphia and Environs, corrected through December 1814, shows only a stream flowing under what, today, is the Black Horse Pike and the map does not indicate a millpond:

Based on a recent visual observation, the former Atlantic City Railroad’s Grenloch Branch still uses a small section of the milldam on the Mount Ephraim side of Little Timber Creek for its right-of-way, but the remainder of the dam is gone.

The gristmill disappeared sometime in the late nineteenth century and there is only one photograph that survives of the mill after the roof had collapsed:

A number of large stones still scattered around the site denote the mill’s location, along with what, today, passes for Little Timber Creek. When the New Jersey State Highway Department constructed Interstate 295 through the Bellmawr area, they located the new freeway in the Little Timber Creek valley, pushing a portion of the stream’s water flow into what had been the tail race for the mill. The dwelling house associated with the Bromley plantation passed into the hands of the Kiker family during the twentieth century and is shown in this historic image:

In 2002, the owner of the dwelling that had once served as the main house for Bromley demolished the structure, located on the south side of Rudderow Avenue in Mount Ephraim, hoping to replace it with a modern residential subdivision. These photographs depict the house just prior to its razing:

A post-demolition visit allowed this author to view the remaining foundation, including the earliest portion of the house—a small cellar that originally supported a one-over-one-room house—where Richard Bromley and the Bulls had once resided. No development actually occurred on the land, so it is disappointing that area residents lost such an early and important dwelling to at the hands of someone who failed to recognize the historical significance of the property.

Across the creek in Bellmawr, at the crest of Summit Avenue, stands another important house, shrouded in vinyl siding:

This dwelling is a forgotten remnant of the Hugg plantation, but that is a story for another day!

1778 Draft of Roads in New Jersey. Manuscript map. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Boyer, Charles S.
1962 Old Mills of Camden County. Camden County Historical Society, Camden, New Jersey.

Bush, Bernard, compiler
1982 Laws of the Royal Colony of New Jersey: 1760-1745. New Jersey Archives, Third Series, Vol. IV. New Jersey State Library, Bureau of Archives and History, Trenton, New Jersey.

Clement, John
n.d. Maps & Draughts. Vol. Sixth. Manuscript. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1877 Sketches of the First Emigrant Settlers, Newton Township, Old Gloucester County, West New Jersey. John Clement, Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Crawford, Michael J.
1996 Naval Documents of The American Revolution. Vol. 10. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

Döhla, Johann Conrad
1990 A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution. Translated and edited by Bruce E. Burgoyne. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma.

Du Chesnoy, Michel Capitaine
1778 Carte de L’Action de Gloucester Entre un Parti Americaine D’Environs 250 Hommes Sous le Gl Lafayette et un Parti des Troupes de Lord Cornwallis Commande Par le Gel Apre Son Sorties Dans le Jersey le 25 9bre 1777. Manuscript map. Sparks Collection, Cornell University, Cornell, New York.

Gloucester County Deeds
Gloucester County Clerk’s Office, Woodbury, New Jersey.

Gloucester County Road Return Books.
Gloucester County Clerk’s Office, Woodbury, New Jersey.

Hills, John
1808/1814 A Plan of the City of Philadelphia and Environs. Annotated through December 1814. John Hills, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Map located at the Camden County Historical Society, Camden, New Jersey.

Honeyman, A. Van Doren, editor
1918 Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. First Series, Vol. XXX. Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, etc. Vol. II : 1730-1750. [New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey].

Idzerda, Stanley I., editor
1977 Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution. Vol. I : December 7, 1776-March 30, 1778. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

1979 Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution. Vol. II : April 10, 1778-March 20, 1780. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

Jackson, John W.
1977 The Delaware Bay and River Defenses of Philadelphia : 1775-1777. The Philadelphia Maritime Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1986 Fort Mifflin : Valiant Defender of the Delaware. Olde Fort Mifflin Historical Society, Incorporated, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Leap, William W.
1981 The History of Runnemede, New Jersey: 1626-1976. Borough of Runnemede, Runnemede, New Jersey.

Miller, Cedric V., Project Supervisor
1939 Transcriptions of the First Quarter Century Documents of Old Gloucester County, New Jersey. Volume One. Typescript. Works Project Administration, Washington, D.C.

National Archives and Records Administration
Record Group 15. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, Records of the Veterans Administration. National Archives Microform Publication M804. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

Nelson, William, editor
1901 Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. Vol. XXIII. Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. I. 1670-1730. [New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey].

New Jersey Tax Ratables
New Jersey tax ratables duplicates. Microform edition. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

New Jersey Wills
New Jersey Wills, Secretary of State records. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

Pomfret, John E.
1956 The Province of West New Jersey: 1609-1702. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Smith, Samuel Stelle
1970 Fight for the Delaware 1777. Philip Freneau Press, Monmouth Beach, New Jersey.

Stewart, Frank H.
1929 Foraging…. Gloucester County Historical Society, Woodbury, New Jersey.

1937 Notes on Old Gloucester County New Jersey. Vol. 3. Frank H. Stewart, Woodbury, New Jersey.

SGO (Surveyor General’s Office), Burlington, New Jersey
Survey Books, microform edition. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

Unrecorded Wills
Unrecorded Wills, Vol. 7. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

West New Jersey Deed Liber
West New Jersey Deed libers. Microform Edition. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.

Whitehead, William A., editor
1880 Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. 1. [New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey].

Wilson, Thomas B.
1988 Notices from New Jersey Newspapers: 1781-1790. Hunterdon House, Lambertville, New Jersey.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grist for the Mill: An Operational Guide

by Jerseyman ©2010

A gristmill exists to grind a variety of grains into flour, meal, or feedstock. While some mills derived their power from the wind, the water-powered mill ground the largest quantity of grain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wind could not generate the horsepower available to water-powered operations. An economy of scale existed with watermills located on never-failing streams, which remained profitable for generations, while windmills could only grind during ideal wind conditions and often suffered great damage at the mercy of the elements.

Three types of waterwheels could be used at water-powered mills, depending on the topography and location. These included:

1. Undershot wheel—water would strike the waterwheel at the bottom, forcing it to rotate clockwise; this method generated the least amount of horsepower and offered approximately 30% efficiency;

2. Breast wheels—water arrived at the wheel through a penstock, striking the wheel just above the center-point between the top and bottom, turning the wheel clockwise; this generated more horsepower and offered an efficiency of circa 65%;

3. Overshot wheels—again, water arrived to the wheel via a penstock and then dropped just beyond the top of the wheel, turning it counter-clockwise; this type of wheel generated the most horsepower available at a water-powered mill, offering an efficiency of 75%.

By damming a stream and forming a millpond, the water was directed to the waterwheel through a headrace and/or a penstock-a wooden trough or iron pipe that channeled the flowing water to strike the wheel. The water would then enter the wheel “buckets” or chambers and the weight of the water would force the wheel to turn. The greater the water velocity, the faster the wheel would turn, although water traveling at a high rate of speed, such as during a freshet, would be counterproductive and could wreak major damage to the wheel and the mill. This principle applied to any and all of the three types of waterwheels outlined above.

With the wheel brake released and the clutch engaged, the wheel began turning, generating horizontal power. That is, the wheel and its axle rotated on a horizontal plane. However, gristmills required power on a vertical plane to operate the grindstones. This perpendicular change in power was achieved through gearing. In early mills, these gears comprised all wood components.

When grain first arrived at the mill, the miller weighed it and either stored it for future grinding or dumped it into a rolling screen that removed chaff and other impurities prior to grinding. Some mills would also run the grain through a set of stones specifically arranged to remove sand and other foreign matter before the actual grinding process occurred.

The grindstones used to transform grain into flour, meal, or feedstock, were dressed with long furrows running from the inner hole to the outer edge at a set angle. These furrows would allow friction-generated heat to escape during the grinding process. They also provided a channel in which to move the finished product to the edge of the stone, into the surrounding casing or vat and out of the grinding area. Two dressed grindstones, when assembled, were known as a run of stone. The top stone, called the runner, would turn while the bottom one, called the nether or bed-stone, remained stationary. The miller would pour the grain in a hopper suspended above the run of stones. When the miller set the runner stone in motion, the grain would feed out of the hopper, onto a “shoe” and into the center of the stone assembly. The actual grinding process took place on the flat sections (called “land”) of the stone between the cut furrows. A set gap between the two stones allowed just enough room for the grain to run between them and be ground. The ground grain would drop below the grinding floor level and enter moving elevators or conveyors for transport to other processing. After the flour has moved through the grinding process, it remained warm and moist. It was necessary to cool and dry the product by spreading and raking it.

The horizontal power generated by the waterwheel also powered a series of shafts and belts to operation other equipment. Once the flour or other product had been ground, it required sifting and would be placed into a bolting chest. In this machine, three or more grades or fineness of bolting fabric wrapped around a cylindrical frame sifted the ground grain into finished flour. The bolting chest was mounted at an angle to permit gravity feed of the product. The flour entered the bolting chest and passed through the fabric, trapping any oversized clumps or other impurities in the surrounding “chest.” The flour that passed through the finest cloth the miller considered finished and it could be marketed. The flour passing through the medium grade of cloth—called “middlings”—was normally reground to make it finer. The product passing through the coarsest cloth usually included the bran and other impurities and the miller either threw it away or mixed it with animal feed. After completion of this sifting or bolting process, the miller stored the finished flour in hoppers for future distribution. It could also be bagged or placed in barrels and weighed immediately preparatory to ship the finished product to market.

Many improvements occurred in the milling industry over the centuries. In the United States, inventor Oliver Evans made a major contribution to mill design and construction. In 1795, Evans published his first edition of The Young Mill-Wright & Miller’s Guide. The Evans Mill became a standard of mill construction for many years. For those of you who do not have this work in their library, you can view a digital copy here:


The book is reproduced complete with all of the engraved illustrative plates, which will aid you in gaining a better understanding of what I have written here. In the 1850s, water turbines began being applied to the milling business. Supplanting the waterwheel, turbines had the capacity of generating higher horsepower ratings through greater efficiency and gearing.

The nineteenth century also produced other improvements, most notably the introduction of roller mills to grind the grains into flour. Manufacturers fabricated roller mills from cast iron and the equipment consisted of corrugated rollers that ground the grain into middlings, or coarse flour. The same type of rollers without corrugation then produced the finished flour. The first roller mill in the United States began operations in 1878 and, by 1890, roller mill use grew in an ever increasing proportion. The roller mill caused many small, rural mills to close, leaving flour production to large industrial establishments.

Mills used other equipment, too. Mechanical corn shellers could pull dried kernels off the husks very quickly. The miller then ground the corn either coarsely into millet, used as fowl feed, or finely ground into meal for human consumption. Over the years, millers made a concerted effort to decrease dust generated during the manufacturing process. This need resulted in the invention of numerous “dustless” machines. Dustless separators and scourers, used to further refine the ground flour, dustless sifters, dustless baggers—manufacturers produced all of this equipment to decrease the health and explosion hazards associated with any type of fine dust. As machinery became more sophisticated, it also became larger and much more expensive, providing yet another reason to create large industrial milling establishments, which displaced the smaller, rural water-powered gristmill.


Evans, Oliver
1795 The Young Mill-Wright & Miller’s Guide. Printed for and sold by the author, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Weiss, Harry and Robert J. Sim
1957 The Early Grist and Flouring Mills of New Jersey. New Jersey Agricultural Society, Trenton, New Jersey.

Zimiles, Martha and Murray Zimiles
1973 Early American Mills. C.N. Potter, New York City, New York.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

“The Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft Agley”

(From “To A Mouse” by Robert Burns, 1785)

by Jerseyman ©2010

Evidence of the London and Yorkshire Friends’ erstwhile settlement plans for the Eastern Shore of the Delaware River below the Falls and why they quickly came to naught

The Period from 1664 to 1675
After England won New Netherland, including the Zuydt or Delaware River, from the Dutch without firing a shot in 1664, James, the Duke of York, gifted the land comprising present-day New Jersey to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. The name “New Jersey” or Nova Caesarea pays homage to Carteret’s governorship of the Isle of Jersey in 1649, a location he successfully defended for the Royalists (Smith 1765 [1877]:35-51). Following the rout of the Dutch, the English sought to develop settlements along the eastern shore of the Delaware River. In February 1666 (n.s.), New Jersey Governor Philip Carteret wrote from New York to “Mr. Wm. Jones and the rest of the undertakers of the Plantation upon Delaware bay or River” (Whitehead 1880:51-54). No further records have been found regarding this “plantation” and it is unknown whether settlement actually occurred. The proposed plan does suggest, however, an English determination to quickly establish farms and communities within the new territory won from the Dutch. In July 1673 the Dutch reclaimed New Netherland, albeit temporarily, when warships from Holland sailed into New York Harbor during the third Anglo-Dutch War. In February 1674 the Hollanders surrendered all of its New Netherland lands in finality to the English under terms provided in the Treaty of Westminster, which ended the war. With the territory back in British control, King Charles II issued a new patent for New Jersey to his brother, the Duke of York. James, in turn, executed a new deed of conveyance to Carteret for the same (Prowell 1886:23).

With the Dutch governmental presence permanently removed from the territory, English settlers began arriving in earnest along the Delaware River seven years prior to William Penn establishing Pennsylvania, and occupied either new settlements or, in some cases, lands taken from the Dutch, Finns, and Swedes. The westward movement from Great Britain for settling the eastern shore of the Delaware River began with John Fenwick arriving and establishing his colony in Salem, New Jersey during 1675. Fenwick acquired title to one-half of New Jersey from Lord Berkeley in 1674 under Berkeley’s original deed of 1664. Edward Byllynge, a bankrupt London merchant and brewmaster, acted as a silent partner in the transaction. Byllynge’s creditors protested Fenwick’s acquisition of this large expanse of land, suspecting that Byllynge paid for it with money that rightfully belonged to them. Most of the creditors were members of the Society of Friends from London and Yorkshire, so, to resolve the disagreement, they collectively prevailed upon William Penn, Gawen Laurie, and Nicholas Lucas to act as trustees and mediators in deference to formal public court action. After due consideration and some rancorous negotiations, the three trustees granted one-tenth of the one-half of New Jersey to Fenwick in a tripartite deed and viewed him as a partner or tenant in common in the undivided land. However, Fenwick, always desirous of establishing his own colony, wasted no time in gathering a group of Friends to settle Salem, Fenwick’s Colony. The group of “adventurers” sailed for the New World in June 1675, an action that incensed Penn, Laurie, and Lucas as Fenwick had signed an agreement to participate in the division of the entire landmass, receiving one-tenth of the each 10,000-acre block. Instead, Fenwick chose to take his land in one block, selling 148,000 acres to fifty investors and settlers (Pomfret 1956:62-75).

William Penn, et al., Commission James Wasse, Richard Guy, and Richard Hartshorne as Agents
In an effort to counteract Fenwick’s territorial usurpation, William Penn and company requested that James Wasse, a London Churgeon (surgeon) who was planning to travel to Maryland to purchase a tobacco plantation during August 1676, serve as an agent in settling matters in West New Jersey. Penn and the other trustees provided Wasse with a set of 15 itemized instructions for directing his actions and that of Richard Hartshorne and Richard Guy in their roles as agents. Hartshorne had emigrated to New Jersey in 1669; Richard Guy had acquired 10,000 acres and James Wasse had purchased 5,000 acres from Fenwick while still in London. Guy then sailed with Fenwick to the New World in 1675. Wasse also carried a draft copy of the West New Jersey Concessions and Agreements to the New World for Penn, et al. The instruction document read as follows:

London, the 18th of 6th month called August, 1676 (o.s.).

We whose names are hereunder subscribed, do give full power, commission and authority, unto James Wasse, Richard Hartshorne and Richard Guy, or any two of them, to act and do for us according to the following instructions; and we do engage to ratify and confirm whatsoever they shall do in prosecution of the same.

1. We desire you to get a meeting with John Fenwick, and the people that went with him, (but we would not have you tell your business,) until you get them together; then show and read the deed of partition with George Carteret; also the transactions between William Penn, Nicholas Lucas, Gawen Lawrie, John Edridge and Edmond Warner, and then read our letter to John Fenwick and the rest, and shew John Fenwick he hath no power to sell any land there, without the consent of John Edridge and Edmond Warner.

2. Know of John Fenwick, if he will be willing peaceably to let the land he hath taken up of the natives be divided into one hundred parts, according to our and his agreement in England, casting lots for the same, we being willing that those who being settled and have cultivated ground now with him, shall enjoy the same, without being turned out, although they fall into our lots: Always provided, that we be reimbursed the like value and quantity in goodness out of John Fenwick’s lots: And we are also content to pay our ninetieth parts of what is paid to the natives for the same, and for what James Wasse hath purchased of John Fenwick, and he setting out the same unto him, not being in a place to be allotted for a town upon a river, but at a distance, and the said John Fenwick allowing us the like value in goodness in some other of his lots; we are willing he shall possess the same from any claiming by or under us; and for the town lots we are willing he enjoy the same as freely as any purchaser buying of us.

3. Take information from some that knows the soundings of the river and creeks, and that is acquainted in the country, and when James Wasse is in Maryland, he may enquire for one Agustine, who as we hear did found most part of Delaware river and the creeks: He is an able surveyor; see to agree with him to go with you up the river as far as over against New-Castle, or further if you can, so far as a vessel of a hundred tun can go; for we intend to have a way cut cross the country to Sandy-Hook; so the further up the way, the shorter: and there, upon some creek or bay, in some healthy ground, find out a place fit to make a settlement for a town; and then go to the Indians, and agree with them for a tract of land about the said place, of twenty or thirty miles long, more or less, as you see meet, and as broad as you see meet. If it be to the middle, we care not; only enquire if George Carteret, have not purchased some there already, that so you may not buy it over again.

4. Then lay out four or five thousand acres for a town; and if Agustin will undertake to do it reasonably, let him do it; for he is the fittest man; and if he think he cannot survey so much, being in the winter time, then let him lay out the less for a town at present, if it be but two thousand acres, and let him divide it in a hundred parts; and when it is done, let John Fenwick, if he please, be there; however, let him have notice: But however, let some of you be there, to see the lots cast fairly by one person that is not concerned, The lots are from number one to a hundred, and put the same numbers of the lots on the partition trees for distinction.

5. If John Fenwick, and those concerned with him, be willing to join with you in those things as above, which is just and fair, then he or any of them, may go along with you in your business; and let them pay their proportion of what is paid to the natives, with other charges: And so he and they may dispose of their lots with consent of John Edridge and Edmund Warner; which lots are, 20, 21, 26, 27, 36, 47, 50, 57, 63, 72.

6. If John Fenwick and his people, refuse to let the land they have taken up of the natives be divided, and refuse to join with you; you may let the country know in what capacity John Fenwick stands, that he hath no power over the persons or estates of any man or woman more than any other person.

7. What land you take of the natives, let it be taken, viz. ninety parts for the use of William Penn, Gawen Lawrie and Nicholas Lucas, and ten parts for John Edridge and Edmond Warner.

8. After you have taken the land as above, and divided for a town or settlement, and cast lots for the same as above; then if any have a mind to buy one or more proprieties, sell them at two hundred pound specie; they taking their lots as theirs do; paying to you in hand the value of fifty pounds in part of a propriety, and the rest on sealing their conveyance in London; and so they may presently settle. When any of the lots fall to us, that is to say, he that buyeth a propriety may settle on any one lot of ninety parts; which said persons that buys, and what lots falls to them, there they may settle, and acquaint us what numbers they are; and if any will take land to them and their heirs forever, for every acre taken up in a place laid out for a town, according to the concessions, they are not to have above what shall fall by lot to a propriety in a town.

9. What charges James Wasse is at, by taking up the land of the natives, we do oblige to pay the same unto him again, with what profits is usual there upon English goods; and he may pitch upon two lots, one in each town; if they be taken up before he comes away, to his own proper use, for his trouble and pains: And we do also engage to allow and pay what charges any of our commissioners shall disburse in executing these our instructions, to them or their assigns.

10. Let us be advised by the first ship that cometh for England, of all proceedings hereupon, and write to the friends at Sandy-Hook, letting them know how things are, and that we have divided with George Carteret, and that our division is all along on Delaware river; and that we have made concessions by ourselves, which we hope will satisfy friends there. If John Fenwick, or any of the people with him, desire a copy of the deed of partition, let them have it.

11. We desire that our original deed may be kept in your own custody, that it may be ready to shew unto the rest of the commissioners, which we intend to send over in the spring, with full power for settling things, and to lay out land, and dispose upon it, and for the settling some method of government according to the concessions.

12. If you cannot get Agustine to go with you or that he be unreasonable in his demands; then send a man to Thomas Bushroods, at Essex lodge, in York river, for William Elliot, who writes to Gawin Lawrie this year, and offered himself to be surveyor, and tell him you had orders from said Lawrie to send for him, and take him with you. He will be willing to be there all winter, and will survey and do other things. He had a good character in Virginia, but was not able to keep it; he is a fair conditioned sober man: Let him stay there all winter, and order him something to live upon.

13. If the said Elliot go with you, give him directions what to do. If you cannot stay ’till a place for a town be surveyed, yet we think you may stay until you have not only pitched upon a place for a town, but also upon a place for a second town and settlement, and have marked out the place round about there, and let William Elliot divide both, which no doubt but he may do before the spring, that we send over more commissioners and people; and if John Fenwick be willing to go on jointly with you there, his surveyor may go along and help ours, and the charges shall be brought in for both proportionably on all. Mind this, and speak to Richard Guy, or Richard Hartshorne, and leave orders with them to let William Elliot have provisions for himself ’till spring, and we shall order them satisfaction for the same; and if there be no house near the place you take up for the surveyors to lodge in, then let there be a cottage built for them on the place, and we will allow the charges.

14. And whereas there is tackling there already, for fitting of a sloop, as we judge, in the custody of Richard Guy: We also give you power if you see meet, and that it be of necessary use and advantage for the whole concern, you may order these ship-carpenters to build a sloop suitable for these materials, and appoint them some provision for their food, and for the rest of their wages they shall either have it in a part of the sloop, or be otherwise satisfied in the spring of the year; the said sloop to be ordered and disposed upon by you until more commissioners come over with further instructions.

15. For the goods we have sent over with James Wasse are to be disposed of for purchasing land from the natives or otherwise as need is, giving us account thereof.

(Dunn and Dunn 1981:411-414)

Eight days after Penn and the other London Friends drafted the instructions for Wasse, Hartshorne, and Guy, the same five men, along with John Edridge (Eldridge), penned a letter to Richard Hartshorne, who resided on his estate named “Portland,” located near present-day Middletown in Monmouth County. The Londoners desired to clarify their instructions to Hartshorne, whom they trusted and knew would come to no harm from Fenwick and his influences.

Richard Hartshorne.

London, 26th of the 6th month, 1676 (o.s.).

We have made use of thy name in a commission and instructions, which we have sent by James Wasse, who is gone in Samuel Groome’s ship for Maryland; a copy of which is here inclosed, and also a copy of a letter we have sent to John Fenwick, to be read to him in presence of as many of the people that went with him as may be; and because we both expect, and also entreat, and desire thy assistance in the same we will a little shew things to thee, that thou may inform not only thyself; but friends there; which in short is as follows

1st. We have divided with George Carteret, and have sealed deeds of partition, each to the other; and we have all that side on Delaware river from one end to the other; the line of partition is from the east side of little Egg Harbour, straight North, through the country, to the utmost branch of Delaware river; with all powers, privileges, and immunities whatsoever: ours is called New West-Jersey, his is called New East-Jersey.

2d. We have made concessions by ourselves, being such as friends here and there (we question not) will approve of; having sent a copy of them by James Wasse; there we lay a foundation for after ages to understand their liberty as men and christians, that they may not be brought in bondage, but by their own consent; for we put the power in the people, that is to say, they to meet and choose one honest man for each propriety, who hath subscribed to the concessions; all these men to meet as an assembly there, to make and repeal laws, to choose a governor, or a commissioner, and twelve assistants, to execute the laws during their pleasure; so every man is capable to choose or be chosen: No man to be arrested, condemned, imprisoned, or molested in his estate or liberty, but by twelve men of the neighbourhood: No man to lie in prison for debt, but that his estate satisfy as far as it will go, and be set at liberty to work: No person to be called in question or molested for his conscience, or for worshipping according to his conscience; with many more things mentioned in the said concessions.

3. We have sent over by James Wasse, a commission under our hands and seals, wherein we impower thyself; James Wasse and Richard Guy, or any two of you, to act and do according to the instructions, of which here is a copy; having also sent some goods, to buy and purchase some land of the natives.

4. We intend in the spring to send over some more commissioners, with the friends and people that cometh there, because James Wasse is to return in Samuel Groom’s ship for England: for Richard Guy, we judge him to be an honest man, yet we are afraid that John Fenwick will hurt him, and get him to condescend to things that may not be for the good of the whole; so we hope thou wilt ballance him to what is just and fair; that John Fenwick betray him not, that things may go on easy without hurt or jar; which is the desire of all friends; and we hope West Jersey will be soon planted; it being in the minds of many friends to prepare for their going against the spring.

5. Having thus far given thee a sketch of things, we come now to desire thy assistance, and the assistance of other friends in your parts; and we hope it will be at length an advantage to you there, both upon truth’s account, and other ways; and in regard many families more may come over in the spring to Delaware side, to settle and plant, and will be assigned by us to take possession of their particular lots; we do entreat and desire, that thou, knowing the country, and how to deal with the natives; we say, that thee, and some other friends, would go over to Delaware side, as soon as this comes to your hands, or as soon as you can conveniently; and James Wasse is to come to a place called New-Castle, on the other side of Delaware river, to stay for thee, and any that will go with him; and you all to advise together, and find out a fit place to take up for a town, and agree with the natives for a tract of land; and then let it be surveyed and divided in one hundred parts; for that is the method we have agreed to take, and we cannot alter it; and if you set men to work to clear some of the ground, we would be at the charges; and we do intend to satisfy thee for any charge thou art at, and for thy pains: This we would not have neglected; for we know, and you that are there know, that if the land be not taken up before the spring, that many people come over there, the natives will insist on high demands, and so we shall suffer by buying at dear rates, and our friends that cometh over, be at great trouble and charges until a place be bought and divided; for we do not like the tract of land John Fenwick hath bought, so as to make it our first settlement; but we would have thee and friends there, to provide and take up a place on some creek or river, that may lie nearer you, and such a place as you may like; for may be it may come in your minds to come over to our side, when you see the hand of the Lord with us; and so we can say no more, but leave the thing with you, believing that friends there will have a regard to friends settling, that it may be done in that way and method, that may be for the good of the whole; rest thy friends,

(Dunn and Dunn 1981:416-418)

Based on the instructional document quoted above, Penn and the other trustees designated Wasse to negotiate with John Fenwick concerning land title issues and his disregard of the signed agreement. The first two paragraphs of the instructions describe how Wasse and the other agents should deal with Fenwick and his settlers, as did various other sections in the instructional document. Penn, et al., then directed Wasse to meet with Fenwick and as many of his followers as possible, and inform them that the title to their land might be unfounded. Fenwick’s continuing capricious actions finally led to his arrest and imprisonment in New York under Governor Andros. He returned to Salem under probation in October 1677 and continued to create problems for Penn and the other trustees (Whitehead 1880:220-224; Pomfret 1956:76-79).

James Wasse and the Settlement of Lands above Fenwick’s Colony
Dealing with the Fenwick problem was not Wasse’s only assignment. In an effort to leapfrog around the issues surrounding Fenwick and his Salem colony, paragraph three of the commissioning document orders Wasse to locate land for a Town:

…thereupon some Creek or bay in some halthy Ground find out a Place fitt to make a Setlment for a Towne and then goe to the Indians and agree wth Them for a Track of Land about the said place of Tuenty or Therty myles long more or less as yee see met, and as broad as yow see meet…. (Dunn and Dunn 1981:412)

In paragraph four, Penn commissions Wasse to layout the town:

…Then Lay out four—or five Thousand Akers for a Towne and if Agustine will undertake to doe it reasonably lett him doe it for He is the fittest Man and if He think he cannot Survey soe much being in the winter time then let him lay out the less for a Towne at present If it be but two Thousand Akers and let him devide it in a hundred parts…. (ibid.)

Paragraph 13 of the instructions states that Wasse should “…not only pitched upon a place for a town, but also upon a place for a second town and settlement, and have marked out a place round about there…” (Dunn and Dunn 1981:414). Wasse carried out his orders concerning settlements with all due diligence. He did fail in obtaining the services of the surveyors suggested in the instructions, so Wasse likely employed Fenwick’s surveyor, Richard Hancock, who worked with Wasse without Fenwick’s knowledge or approval. During the period when Wasse used Hancock’s surveying abilities, Fenwick was languishing in the New York gaol following his arrest by Governor Andros. He later complained bitterly, “James Wasse and Richard Guy began vigorously to seize upon my said colony causing the same to be survey by Richard Hancock (my sworn surveyor-general) without my knowledge” (Stewart 1939:34). Upon completing his work under the terms of the instructions, Wasse most certainly provided the London Friends with a full written report, but that report has never been found, although many have searched. We only have one evidentiary exhibit that clearly delineates what Dr. James Wasse has accomplished: the John Thornton and Robert Greene undated publication, A Mapp of Virginia Mary-land, New-Jarsey, New-York, & New England.

Despite the lack of a stated publication date, we can be safe in stating that Thornton and Greene published this map in late 1677 or in early 1678, due to the depiction of both Wasse’s proposed settlements and the label “Bridlington” appearing on the map together. Whether other states of this map exists or did exist is unknown to this author.

The 1677 arrival of the London and Yorkshire Settlers
Gregory Marlow’s good ship KENT carried the first group of Quaker adventurers to West New Jersey since Fenwick departed England in June 1675. The KENT arrived in New Castle, Delaware, on 16 September 1677 and then proceeded up the Delaware to the Swedish settlement centered on Raccoon Creek, where they established temporary quarters. Meanwhile, the appointed commissioners left the remaining pioneers while still at New Castle and traveled up the Delaware to a location known as Chygoes Island. The island’s name, formerly thought to be the name of an Indian chief, is actually a corruption of Peter Jegou’s surname. Jegou, a Frenchman, had arrived on the Delaware prior to 1663 and taken up land, probably as a squatter, in present-day East Burlington near the confluence of the Assiscunk Creek and the Delaware, where he established a tavern at Lassa Point (DeCou 1945:3-4). The group of commissioners carried a number of Swedish interpreters for negotiations with the indigenous people concerning the lands the Friends desired to purchase. The commissioners departed the meeting with three transactions: all the land from Oldman’s Creek to Timber Creek; all the land from Timber Creek to Rancocas Creek; and all the land from Rancocas Creek to the Assunpink Creek near the Falls. The Yorkshire Friends chose the Falls as their settlement location and the commissioners declared the purchase of land between the Rancocas Creek and the Assunpink Creek as the First Tenth. The Londoners selected Wasse’s town location at Arawames for their settlement and the commissioners labeled the land between the Rancocas Creek and Timber Creek as the Second Tenth. The land between Timber Creek and Oldman’s Creek then became the original Third Tenth (Smith 1765 [1877]:92-98).

Based on information appearing on the Thornton and Greene map, Wasse’s Bethlem Township, a.k.a. Arawames, an old aboriginal name, would serve as the new home for the initial settlers who arrived on the Delaware from London. Historian Samuel Smith writes, “To begin a settlement there, [Thomas] Olive [of London] sent up servants to cut hay for cattle he had bought… from the Swedes (Smith 1765 [1877]:98). The Yorkshire Friends assumed control of Wasse’s second planned settlement, a 5,000-acre reserve at the Falls of the Delaware—the present site of Trenton. When the Yorkshire pioneers realized the distance that separated their settlement from that of the Londoners, however, they quickly told those at Arawames if they would agree to fix by them, they would join in settling a town, and that they should have the largest share, in consideration that they (the Yorkshire commissioners) had the best land in the woods: Being few, and the Indians numerous, they [the Londoners] agreed to it” (ibid.).

When the two groups agreed to settle together, they selected a location approximately halfway between the Falls and Arawames: Chygoes Island, where the land negotiations with the Indians had occurred just a couple of weeks before. Richard Noble, who had arrived with Fenwick, laid out the new town for the two groups of Friends (Smith 1765 [1877]:98). Initially, the nascent settlement carried several names, including “New Beverley” and “Bridlington,” before the founders agreed on “Burlington.” With the change in settlement patterns, the boundary lines for the Tenths underwent revision, with the First Tenth now extending from the Falls to the center of High Street, Burlington. The Second Tenth included the land between the center of High Street to the Pennsauken Creek, while the Third Tenth now covered the land between the Pennsauken Creek and Big Timber Creek. The new Fourth Tenth extended between Big Timber Creek and Oldman’s Creek (Snyder 1969:12, 29).

The third identified location on the Thornton and Greene map associated with James Wasse is Antioch Township, which Wasse based on the 5,000 acres he had purchased from Fenwick while still in London. It is only this toponym that appears in the early land records of West New Jersey as Wasse sold off portions of the tract (Nelson 1899:, 397, 513, 550). Notice that Antioch Township appears on the map to wrap around Salem, as if Wasse, either consciously or even subconsciously, attempted to contain Fenwick’s ambitions through the barrier of owning the land immediately outside the boundaries of the Salem colony. When the London settlers abandoned Arawames and most of the Yorkshire pioneers left the Falls and relocated to Burlington within a month after arriving, Wasse’s proposed and surveyed settlements at the Falls and Bethlem Township quietly evaporated into the fog of history and they remain missing from much of the documentary historical record. The name “Bethlem Township” quickly fell into disuse, but settlements occurred within the land it comprised beginning in 1681 with the Newton Colony. Gloucester Town followed three years later, initially under the name “Arawames” (Mickle 1845:34, 48).

It seems painfully obvious that John Pomfret and other historians who sought to provide us with substantive and factual early histories of West New Jersey never viewed the Thornton and Greene map. If they had viewed it, these scholars would have reached the same conclusions that I have discussed above.


De Cou, George
1945 Burlington: A Provincial Capital. Library Company of Burlington, Burlington, New Jersey.

Dunn, Mary Maples and Richard S. Dunn, editors
1981 The Papers of William Penn. Volume One : 1644-1679. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mickle, Isaac
1845 Reminiscences of Old Gloucester:…. Townsend Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Nelson, William, editor
1899 Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, Volume XXI, Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary of State, 1664-1703. [The New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey.

Prowell, George R.
1886 The History of Camden County, New Jersey. L.J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Pomfret, John E.
1956 The Province of West New Jersey : 1609-1702. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Smith, Samuel
1765[1877] The History of the Colony of Nova-Cæsaria, or New-Jersey…. Second Edition. William S. Sharp, Trenton, New Jersey.

Snyder, John P.
1969 The Story of New Jersey’s Civil Boundaries. Bureau of Geology and Topography, Trenton, New Jersey.

Stewart, Frank
1939 Major John Fenwick. Salem Standard and Jerseyman, Salem, New Jersey.

Thornton, John and Robert Greene
[c. 1678] A Mapp of Virginia Mary-land, New-Jarsey, New-York, & New England. John Thornton at the Sundyall in the Minories and Robert Greene at ye Rose and Crowne, in Budg-rowe, London, England.

Whitehead, William A., editor
1880 Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. New Jersey Archives, First Series, Vol. 1. [New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey].