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.