Digging New Jersey’s Past

Archaeology. The word conjures up images of Indiana Jones, lost Mayan temples hidden in the jungles of Central America, and treasure beyond compare. Seldom do we think of New Jersey when it comes to archaeology, which is a shame since there are plenty of knowledge to be found once you dig beyond the surface. In … Read more

Batsto and the Bloomaries

BATSTO AND THE BLOOMARIES, BY CARMITA DE SALMA JONES The silence that pervades South Jersey is musical to one upon whose sympathetic imagination the past plays keenly. It seems to echo the humming of the mill wheels, the ringing anvils and the rattling sails of the boats that plied the Mullica. The Mullica, known to … Read more

A Canal Through the Pines (Part 2)

I set out yesterday to explore the Southern part of the canal through the pines, running from Mount Misery Brook to Bisphams Mill Creek. The day was heavy and ominous, the beginnings of the first Nor’easter of the Winter of 07-08 could be felt. Wisely, I stopped off and picked up a new pair of … Read more

A Canal Through the Pines (Part 1)

Henry Charlton Beck’s Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey and More Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey are the books that inspired me to explore the Pine Barrens. The copies that I own are well worn, subject to years of research, and travel in the field. These are books that always seem to offer avenues … Read more

An Adventure Through the Pines

It was a hot July afternoon in 1997 when I pulled onto a Pine Barrens dirt road for the first time. Armed with a copy of “The Pine Barrens” by John McPhee, a map of Burlington County, a 1989 Mercury Cougar, and my courage, I began my first foray into Pine Barrens exploring. Around that … Read more

An Introduction to the New Jersey Pine Barrens

The New Jersey Pine Barrens, also known as the Pinelands, is a heavily forested area covering 1.1 million acres (4,500 km²) of coastal plain across southern and central New Jersey. The name “pine barrens” refers to the area’s sandy, acidic, nutrient-poor soil, which didn’t take well to the crops originally imported by European settlers. However, … Read more

Wandering Around South Jersey

Wandering Around South Jersey is the first book by author Ryan Stowinsky, which chronicles some of the lesser known, out of the way places in South Jersey. I tore through the one hundred seven page volume in the course of two sittings, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because … Read more

The Battle of Chestnut Neck

New Jersey is often called the “crossroads of the revolution” and indeed it was. Being located between New York City and Philadelphia, both rebel and British troops crossed the state several times. Several notable battles including the Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, and the Battle of Monmouth marked turning points in the war. The … Read more

A Listing of the Forges and Furnaces of South Jersey

The following is a list of iron forges and furnaces located in Southern New Jersey prior to the 20th Century. Most of this list came from the excellent book “Early Forges and Furnaces of New Jersey” by Charles Boyer, and was checked against “Place Names of Ocean County” by Vivian Zinkin. I make no claim … Read more

Towers of Fire: Iron Production in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

The production of iron is perhaps the most famous of the Pine Barrens industries. Fortunes were made and lost nearly overnight, and entire towns and communities would grow, thrive, and ultimately die based on the success of the enterprise. From the late 1700’s to the mid 1850’s, the furnaces and forges of the Pine Barrens … Read more