Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Gibbon House, Greenwich, New Jersey

The Gibbon House is located in Greenwich, Cumberland County, New Jersey. It was built about 1730 by Leonard Gibbon and is a two and one-half brick house.

The plaque on the gable of the south elevation bears the date 1730. It was occupied by Nicholas Gibbon from 1730 to 1740, and then he moved to what is known as the Alexander Grant House in Salem NJ. The bricks are laid in checker pattern.

The red bricks are said to be imported from England, and the lighter colored ones were made from clay found on the grounds where the house sits.

Additional data and drawings of the house can be found at "American Memory." The house is open to the public during posted months and hours.

Burlington County Prison, Mt. Holly, New Jersey

The Burlington County Prison, located in Mt. Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey, was erected (completed) in 1810. The architect was Rober Mills, one of America's first native-born and trained architect, of Philadelphia.

The builders were Caleb Newbold, George Hancock and John Bispham - commissioners in charge of building for the County Freeholders. The land was purchased from Zachariah Rossell and adjoined the county court house property.

The original building recommendations included a basement or office story to consist of a kitchen, washing room, felons eating room, ten factory or work shops and other shops. The principal or ground level story to consist of keeper's office, sitting and lodging rooms, debtors common hall and 8 cells. The second story was to include 4 debtors rooms, and 8 cells together with a dungeon which is placed directly over the keeper's office. The windows of the hall and debtors chambers were to be secured with iron bars.
The toal cost of the building was $24,201.15

The prison is a National Historic Landmark, and is open to the public.

Additional photographs, drawings and data pages are available on "American Memory."

Some say it is haunted.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jonathan Pitney House, Absecon, New Jersey

Located on Shore Road in Absecon, Atlantic County, New Jersey, along the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail is one of South Jersey's treasures.

Named after the doctor who lived here. In 1833 Jonathan Pitney purchased the house (it was probably built by Samuel Reed in 1799). In 1848 he built an Italianate style addition onto the house. Jonathan Pitney is sometimes called "The Father of Atlantic City."

This home is now a Bed & Breakfast, and is listed on the National Historic Register. In addition to providing rest for weary travellers, the house is also open for tours during the Christmas holidays.

See additional photographs, inside and out.

Photograph from American Memory

Friday, November 9, 2007

William Hancock House, Hancocks Bridge, New Jersey

This house, located in Salem County New Jersey, is of blue glazed brick. It was erected in 1734 by William Hancock and his wife Sarah, whose initials are woven into the gable on the west end (W.H.S). The house remained in the possession of the Hancock family until about 1865.

William Hancock, the builder was a Justice of the Peace for the County of Salem in 1727 and a member of the colonial legislature. When he died in 1762 the house passed to his son William, who also succeeded his father in the legislature and as a Judge of the County Court of Pleas in Salem County.

The house was the scene of a massacre on the night of March 20, 1778, a few days after the battle of Quinton Bridge. Sleeping American militia were attacked as they slept here by Major John Simcoe and his troops. Sixteen were killed and eleven militia taken prisoner.

Judge Hancock, a Tory who had fled during the American occupation returned to his home earlier that night and had been captured by the Revolutionists. He mistakenly was killed by his friends in the dark. Reportedly the blood stains from this event are still visible on the floor where the militia were bayoneted

In 1932 the Hancock House was purchased by a commission, and the title passed to the State of New Jersey. The house is under the care of the Salem Historical Society, and it is now used as a museum, depicting the history of the Fenwick Colony.

Photograph from American Memory.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

C.A. Nothnagle Log Cabin, Gibbstown, New Jersey

The C.A. Nothnagle Log Cabin, located in Gibbstown, Gloucester County, New Jersey was built about 1638, and is possibly the best existing example of early log cabin construction. In the back corner of the cabin is a brick fireplace believed to have been built of imported Swedish bricks by the original builder. The original earthen floor was covered with pine boards about 1730.

This structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The house is attached to a private home owned by Doris and Harry Rink, who will sometimes allow private tours. SEE HERE for additional information (scroll down).

Also see: Art & Architecture of New Jersey

Cedarville Methodist Church, Cedarville, New Jersey

The Cedarville Methodist Church is located on Main Street in Cedarville, Cumberland County, New Jersey. It is a two-story, gable-front frame church with classical Italianate vernacular styling. It sits on a masonry foundation, and is three bays wide and four bays deep.

As early as 1800 a Methodist Society was present in Cumberland County NJ. Methodists organized in Cedarville before 1820 held meetings at the local wheelwright shop. The present church was built in 1863 [or 1868 per a second source]. Situated on both sides of Cedar Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River, Cedarville (first called Cedar Creek) is eight miles from Bridgeton. The location of Cedar Creek was renamed Cedarville in 1806 with the establishment of a post office.

For additional history of Methodism, and of Cedarville NJ, see "Built in America" data pages for this building.

New Jersey Churchscape has a current day photograph of this building, and more history.

Photograph above from "Made in America" HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey), Library of Congress

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Indian King Tavern, Haddonfield New Jersey

The Indian King Tavern is located at 223 Kings Highway East, in Haddonfield, Camden County, New Jersey. It was believed to have been built about 1750 by Matthias Aspden, a merchant and ship owner.

It is a three-story structure, with a stone foundation inside brick chimneys, and 24 rooms with five cellars. The Indian King was not the first tavern in Haddonfield, and there was at least one other building in Haddonfield that was used as a tavern before the American Revolution.

Colonel Timothy Matlack, a Free Quaker and Commisary General of the Army, and Master of the Rolls of Pennsylvania was born on the site of the present building. Some historians give Timothy Matlack credit for building the tavern, called the American House, and that he sold it soon after to Matthias Aspden.

The first assembly of the State of New Jersey was held here from January 29, 1777 to March 18, 1777 and several other times in 1777. On March 15, 1777 the Council of Safety for the State of New Jersey was created by the Legislature while it was in session here. The Council itself met in this tavern.

In 1902 the Legislature appointed a committee to purchase this property, and an appropriation was made in 1908 to restore the building.

See how this building looks today and take a virtual tour.

SEE "American Memory" for more information, drawings and photographs of this house.

Tavern Museum Visiting House.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Richard Smith House, Elsinboro, New Jersey

Located at "Moore's Corner on the Salem-to-Hancock's Bridge Road in Elsinboro, Salem County, New Jersey this house was built in 1729 by Richard Smith. Richard was a grandson of John Smith, one of the pioneer immigrants that came with Fenwick (see family info later).

Originally a story and a half house with hip roof was raised to a two story and a one-half house with a pitch roof. The house has a brick foundation and brick exterior walls, and inside brick chimneys. The interior walls were plaster.The grayish red brick shades on the west gable are peculiar to this house, it also has a diamond design.


Regarding the immigrant John Smith: The record of the Society of Friends states, "John Smith Sonn of John Smith was born in the County of Norfock in the towne of diff on the 20th of the seventh month of 1623; who in process of time tooke to wife Martha Crafts daughter of Christopher Crafts of worksay in nothingham Shire, who Afterward transported themselves with four Children to West new Jersey in America, on bord the Ship called the griffin of london, Robert Griffin being master who all Arrived, in delaware River the 23 of the 9th mo 1675, and so to new Salem in the province of west new jersey where they did inhabit."This elder John owned a "large tract of land in the Elsinboro-Lower Creek section," in a section of South Jersey also called Amblebury or Amwellbury (lying south of Salem between the Yorke street and Oak street roads).

From a 2nd source: HISTORY AND GENEALOGY OF FENWICK'S COLONY; Bridgeton, N.J.,by Thomas Shourds; pub. by George F. Nixon, 1876

John Smith, son of John Smith was born in the county of Norfolk, in England, 20th of 7thmonth 1623. The said John Smith married Martha Crafts, daughter of Christopher Crafts,of Northampshire. They were married in 1658.

The following are the names of their children born in England: Daniel Smith born 10th of 12th month 1660; Samuel Smith, born8th of 3d month 1664; David Smith, born 19th of 12th month 1666, and Sarah Smith, born 4th of 12th month 1671. John Smith, his wife and children, sailed for West New Jerseyon board the ship Griffith, Robert Griffith being master, and landed at a place theycalled New Salem, 23d of 6th month 1675.

The names of their children born in this country are as follows:--Jonathan Smith, born in New Salem 27th of 10th month 1675; Jeremiah Smith, born at Alemsbury 14th of 9th month 1678. John Smith purchased 2,000 acres of John Fenwick, the purchase extending from the head of Alemsbury creek toAlloways creek, and bounded on the east by Edward Champney's land, on the west by Samuel Nicholson. After the townships were laid off, one-half of said allotment ofland was in Alloways Creek township.

Daniel Smith, the eldest son, bought 1,000 acres in Alloways creek township, nearwhat is now called Quinton. The land lay on the north side of the creek. He built andlived on the property that was owned by the late Ann Simpson. This Alemsbury estatewas divided between Samuel, David, and Jonathan Smith. His daughter, Sarah Smith,married John Mason of Elsinborough.

[See additional Family Tree]

1. Photograph and information from: American Memory, Library of Congress; HABS NJ-348;
2. Old Houses of Salem Co NJ, by Joseph S. Sickler, Sunbeam Pub. Co. 1949

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Capt. Isaac Peterson House, Mauricetown, New Jersey

An interesting vernacular Italianate wood-frame house can be found on Front Street in Mauricetown, Cumberland County, New Jersey.

Prior to the house being built here about 1865, the area was called Mattox's Landing, named after Luke Mattox a large landowner. The historic description of this home can be found at "American Memory" on the data pages.

Captain Isaac Peterson this home's original owner, was one of several sea captains that lived in the area. According to the Historical Register, Capt. Peterson was fond of the Caribbean, especially the island of Martinique. Many ships were built in this area, including one of the largest owned by Capt. Peterson called the "Harry B. Ritter."

More about the family who first lived in this house:
Isaac Peterson, mariner, and ship captain, born September 1832 in Cumberland County, New Jersey. He married 7 Sep 1852 in Newport, Downe Township, Cumberland County New Jersey to Sarah Ann Lore. [per Cumberland County New Jersey Marriages, by Stanley H. Craig, Merchantville NJ, 1900, page 185.] Sarah was born February 1834 in New Jersey.
Census > U.S. Census > 1870 United States Federal Census > New Jersey > Cumberland > Downe
Peterson, Isaac 40 M W Mariner 5000/700 NJ [b abt 1830]
Peterson, Sarah 36 F W Keeping House NJ [b abt 1834]
Peterson, Beulah 10 F W NJ [b abt 1860]
Peterson, Wiliam 6 M W NJ
Census > U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > New Jersey > Cumberland > Mauricetown > District 77
Peterson, Isaac W M 47 Sea Captain [b abt 1833]
Peterson, A. Sarah W F 46 wife Keeping House [b abt 1834]
Peterson, Beulah W F 18 dau at home [b abt 1862]
Peterson, William W M 15 son School
Peterson, Maud, W F 5 daughter at school
U.S. Census > 1900 United States Federal Census > New Jersey > Cumberland > Commercial > District 126
Peterson, Isaac Head W M Sep 1832 67 married 46 yrs NJ NJ NJ Oysterman
Peterson, Sarah Wife W F Feb 1834 66 married 46 yrs NJ NJ NJ
Children of Isaac & Sarah A. (Lore) Peterson:
1. Clarence Peterson, b. 3 Dec 1855 in Mauricetown, Downe Twp., Cumberland Co NJ; d. June 1857 in Mauricetown NJ
2. Alonzo Peterson, b. 19 May 1858 in Mauricetown, Downe Twp., Cumberland Co NJ, d. 10 Jan 1859 in Mauricetown NJ
3. Sarah Beulah Peterson, b. 8 Oct 1861 in Mauricetown NJ
4. William L. Peterson, b. 28 Oct 1864 in Mauricetown NJ; m. 5 Jan 1898 in Commercial Twp NJ to Jessie Pritchard, dau of Griffith & Rebecca (Bowen) Pritchard. She b. abt 1878
5. Maud Peterson, b. 1875 in Commercial Twp, Cumberland Co. NJ

This house is a private residence.

Photograph from: American Memory, Library of Congress; HABS, David Ames photographer, April 1992; nj/nj1400/nj1498/data

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Walt Whitman House, Camden, New Jersey

It is "Poetic Injustice"... that in 2004 there were few if any visitors to this lovely house at 328 [now 330] Mickle Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. A more recent report in 2007 indicates the house receives on average 3,000 visitors annually (according to Dana Loschiavo, a spokeswoman for the N.J. Division of Parks & Forestry, which oversees the house).

According to American Memory, "The little house on Mickle Street, Camden, with "W. Whitman' on a brass plate on the door, was a source of pride to the aging poet. It was the only house he ever owned.

He used to sit in a front window and visit with the children on their way to school. His upstairs study, which he called his den or cabin was just as he wanted it--filled with books and pictures, with a luxurious litter of his own bold manuscript..."

"In the following summer (1885) Whitman had a slight sunstroke which rendered walking much more difficult. For months he was a good deal confined to his little house, but his friends promptly came to the rescue with a horse and a light American wagon. He was overcome with gratitude for the gift--driving, as we have seen, was one of his delights--and he promptly began to make full use of his new toy..."

This house was erected before 1884, but there is no record of the architect. It stands 2 stories high, made of wood, with a cellar. Walt Whitman bought this house for $1,750 in 1884. He invited Mary O. Davis, the widow of a sea captain to become his housekeeper, and she did so until his death. Walt Whitman referred to Mrs. Davis also as his friend.

Whitman is quoted as saying,"Camden was originally an accident, but I shall never be sorry I was left over in Camden. It has brought me blessed returns." While living there some of this country's most prominent literary figures visited him there, including Charles Dickens, Willaim M. Thackeray, and Oscar Wilde.

A tablet at the house reads:"Here lived the 'Good Gray Poet', Walt Whitman, from 1884 to the date of his death, March 26, 1892. This house is now owned and dedicated by the city of Camden to the memory of its famous citizen."

Photograph and some information from American Memory, Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey. Nathaniel R. Ewan, Photographer, April 15, 1936, Card #NJ0399


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Chalfonte Hotel, Cape May, New Jersey

The Chalfonte Hotel, on the corner of Howard and Sewell Streets in Cape May, New Jersey was built in 1875-76 by Colonel Henry Sawyer.

Built in the Italianate style, the summer resort managed to survive the great fire in 1878 that burnt and destroyed many of the Cape May hotels of the same vintage.

It is listed on the National Historic Register.

The building is charming, and worth seeing.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Mansion at Smithville (Easthampton) Burlington County NJ

Historic Smithville Mansion sits amid a 250-acre park in Easthampton, Burlington County, New Jersey. If you get a chance to tour the inside of this home, the docents "tell of the rise and fall of H.B. Smith, inventor and entrepreneur, his extraordinary accomplishments clouded by personal controversy."

In 1975, the mansion and surrounding site were acquired by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders to develop as the first Burlington County park. The squarish house, covered by a log tip roof was refurbished to its 1865 appearance. The mansion complex remains the centerpiece of the park, and houses the Offices of the Cultural and Heritage Commission.

The tourist web site for Burlington County further states: "In H.B. Smith's old schoolhouse Smithville History Exhibit, 20 photo/narrative panels depict major aspects of the mill village and its colorful founder. Tourists visit Smith's "casino" annex, including card room, billiard room and bowling alley, then passes the site of Smith's zoo, through the grape arbors and rose garden courtyards. See the restoration work done to the exterior of the Mansion complex and gardener's cottage."

The mansion is located on Smithville Road in Eastampton, 3/4 mile off of Route 38, 2 miles east of Mount Holly. The house is open from early May through late October, Wednesday and Sunday 1, 2, & 3 PM.

ADMISSION: Adults $5.00 Seniors $4.00 Student $3.00Adults groups of 10 or more: $4.00 each with reservation Grade school groups (10 or more): $2.00 each with reservation

A Tea & Tour is held at Noon, the last Wednesday of the month By reservation only: $12.00/person (609) 261-0472

-More Smithville History-


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Whitesbog Village, Browns Mills (Pemberton), NJ

Whitesbog is a cranberry company town of the turn of the 20th century. Cared for by the Whitesbog Preservation Trust, this village is what is left of the largest cranberry farm in New Jersey that thrived in the early 1900s.

Whitesbog is located in Browns Mills, in Pemberton, Burlington County, New Jersey.

The original founder of the farm, J.J. White was considered a leader in the cranberry industry. His daughter Elizabeth White worked with the USDA to produce a cultivated blueberry. It is very fitting then that the blueberry is also New Jersey's official state fruit.

Whitesbog Village has four-season educational programs, for people of all ages. The General Store (pictured here) is at the center of the Village. Tours, both guide-led and self-guided are available.

Whitesbog is seeking volunteers to help with a variety of programs and projects. Please contact them at (609) 893-4646 or by email to

Specific dates and times of events can be find on the Whitesbog Preservation Trust web site.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Emlen Physick Estate - Cape May, New Jersey

Emlen Physick was a physician (in name only, as he did not practice medicine) who lived in an 18-room estate mansion in Cape May, New Jersey with his mother and unmarried aunt.

The Physick House made news when it was built in 1879 because it was not like any other house in Cape May. Built in "Stick Style," it was in great contrast to the Gothic, Italianate, and Mansard styles of homes then in vogue. The architect is believed to have been Frank Furness.

The inside of the home is appropriately furnished, and you will find the guided tour quite fascinating (the cost is only $8). Right next door on the same property is Twining's Tearoom.

Address: 1048 Washington St., Cape May, NJ, USA
Telephone: 609/884-5404 or 800/275-4278

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

1987 Gloucester County NJ Women Who Made A Difference

In 1987 the Gloucester County Shade Tree Commission, in conjunction with the Commission on Women, planted trees at the Red Bank Battlefield Park, in National Park New Jersey. The plaque honors women who have made a difference in Gloucester County.

They are: Helen Brown, Hazel Dale, Lydia Davis, Rose Downer, Kay A. Ferrell, Ph.D., Dolores M. Harris, Ed.D., Ella Harris, Edith Huston, Grace Holdcraft, Lorraine Kiefer, Plin Matthews, Margaret Mendoza, Jeannette McConnell, Mary McGinnis, Eleanora Munshower, Alberta Perry, Mary E. Robbins, Mary Sorbello, Erma Toughill, and Barbara Wallace.

Too bad the plaque does not mention WHY they were being recognized. If anyone knows any of these women and would like to post their accomplishments, please feel free to do so.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Head of the River Methodist Episcopal Church, Tuckahoe NJ

The "Head of the River" Methodist Episcopal Church is located in Tuckahoe, Atlantic County, New Jersey. This church's society was founded in 1780, while the church was built in 1792. A monument and several plaques can be found near the church.

One plaque states: "On 12 Oct 2003 a placque was placed by the New Jersey Sarah Soper Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century to recognize the historic significance of this site and its important to the community and its people."


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Society of Cincinnati in New Jersey

In 1866 the Historical Society of Pennsylvania published the following list, and requested information regarding following-named officers and their descendants. These officers all held commissions in the New Jersey Line, Continental Army, and were original members of The Society of the Cincinnati in that State.

The notes given in connection with the names are taken from Saffell's Records of the Revolutionary War, Gardner's Army Dictionary, Hamersly's Army Register, and the Records of the Society.

1. Captain William Appleton. Practitioner of medicine. Died prior to 1808.
2. Surgeon William Barnet. Died about 1783. Represented in the Society by his won, Isaac Coxe Barnet, admitted 1822, who was United States Consul in France.
3. Captain William Barton. Died 1802. Represented in the Scoiety by his son, Gilbert Barton, admitted 1806, died 1812, and by his son, Joseph L. Barton, admitted 1812. Joseph L. Barton was appointed Captain United States Army, September, 1812.
4. Ensign John Bishop. Moved out of New Jersey prior to 1808.
5. Captain John Blair. Died out of New Jersey prior to 1808.
6. Major Nathaniel Bowman. Died 1788.
7. Captain Eden Burroughs. Died in Northampton County, Pennsylvnia, February 26, 1825. Represented in the Society by his son, Cassius Burroughs, admitted 1828.
8. Captain Samuel Conn. Died 1788.
9. Captain Ephraim Darby. Died prior to 1808.
10. Lieutenant Chilion Ford. Died out of New Jersey in 1801.
11. Ensign Peter Faulkner. Died in the District of Columbia, September 27, 1823
12. Captain James Heard. Died in Middlesex County, New Jersey, March 26, 1831
13. Major William Helms. Member of Congress from New Jersey 1801 to 1811. Major-General New Jersey Militia. Removed to Tennessee. Died 1813.
14. Captain John Holmes.
15. Captain Jonathan Holmes. Moved to State of New York.
16. Ensign John Hopper. Died in Bergen County, New Jersey, November 14, 1819.
17. Captain William Kersey. Major United States Army, June 30, 1794. Died March 21, 1800.
18. Ensign Francis Luce. Ensign United States Army, September 29, 1789. Resigned May 1, 1791.
19. Captain Absalom Martin.
20. Captain Giles Mead. Died out of New Jersey prior to 1808.
21. Captain Alexander Mitchell.
22. Captain Benajah Osman. Moved to Natchez Mississippi prior to 1808.
23. Captain John Peck. Died out of New Jersey prior to 1808.
24. Captain John Pemberton. Died 1788.
25. Major Samuel Reading. Moved out of New Jersey prior to 1808.
26. Captain John Read.
27. Captain Samuel Seeley. Brigadier-General of Militia, Pennsylvania. Died at Dingman's Ferry, Pike County, Pennsylvania.
28. Lieutenant Jonathan Snowden. Military Storekeeper at West Pint, 1810; ordnance ditto, 1821. Died 1824.
29. Captain Abraham Stout. Moved to Ohio prior to 1808.
30. Ensign Cornelius R. Suydam. Ensign United States Army, March 17, 1786.
31. Captain Abel Weyman. Died in Burlington County, New Jersey 1788.

Information is also desired concerning the two following officers and their descendants. They were both original members of the New York State Society, but by transfer connected themselves with the New Jersey State Society.
32. Lieutenant James Giles. Born in New York 1759. Died in Cumberland County, New Jersey 1825.
33. Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Hay. Although an original member in New York, his military service had been in the Pennsylvania Line. Died 1803. Represented in the Society by his son, Rev. Philip Cortlandt Hay, D.D. who was born in Newark, New Jersey, July 25, 1793. He was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Newark, where he died, December 27, 1860.

Posted by Herman Burgin, Assistant Treasurer, General Society Cincinnati, Germantown, Pennsylvania.

(Published 1886, Historical Society of Pennsylvania)


David Brearly / Brearley

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Summit House" of Glassboro NJ

The "Summit House" is an unusual structure (called Hollybush) located in Glassboro, Gloucester County, New Jersey.

This house was the location of the famous summit meeting between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin in 1967.

It is owned by Rowan University, (it was the former home of the college president) and was recently opened for one day for public view. The college plans to hold additional open houses, but there are no regular viewing hours.

The Rowan University link about does, however, have a contact should you have more questions about this building and its history.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why A Cup O'Jersey?

Some folks act as if South Jersey ends at Camden.

Fortunately if you drive just south of New Jersey's armpit, you will discover lovely towns, great forests, charming boardwalks and fantastic history.

This blog has been created to show what the real South Jersey looks like, and present its history.

The photograph was taken in the museum section of the Atlantic Heritage Center in Somers Point, Atlantic County, New Jersey.