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 produced a significant amount of goods, most destined for markets in Philadelphia and New York City.

The earliest known “blast” style furnace – as all of the Pine Barrens furnaces were – were constructed in China during the Han Dynasty, around 100BC. This design spread throughout much of the ancient world, but with the coming of the Dark Ages (circa 476-1000 AD) the use of iron furnaces in Europe had largely petered out. The use of the blast furnace was revived in Europe from circa 1100 onwards, with much of these furnaces located in Northern Europe. Early settlers to America brought this technology with them, and finding plentiful forests and ore beds, set the task of building the iron industry in North America. The first iron furnace in New Jersey was established in Tinton Falls, Monmouth County, sometime before 1684. For the most part, the basic technology used in this early furnace is the same as what is used today.

The blast furnace consisted of a square stack, roughly twenty feet in height, and between twelve and thirty feet in width at the base, tapering in as the height increased, to form a sawed off pyramid shape. The bottom of the stack usually tapered inwards to the hearth where there was an inlet for air called the “tuyere” and arches set in the furnace masonry with separate draws for impurities and for the molten iron.

Bog Iron, or limonite ore is notorious for a high impurity rate. The downside to the Pine Barrens furnaces that used this ore versus the North Jersey forges that primarily used Magnetite or Red Hematite ore was the large amount of slag that was produced and a lower quality of finished product. The quality of the bog iron ore was primarily based on how the ore developed locally, and would vary from ore bed to ore bed. Some furnaces, such as Bergen Iron Works in Lakewood and the Batsto Works, increased the quality of their iron by mixing the local bog ore with iron imported from Europe.

The process of putting a furnace in blast was a lengthy one. First, a fire fueled with charcoal was started in the hearth until the furnace stack was heated sufficiently. Then a small charge was loaded in the furnace. The charge consisted of bog iron ore, charcoal, and oyster and clam shells for flux. Then, air was blasted into the furnace through the tuyere by way of large tub bellows powered by a water wheel. This would raise the temperature near the hearth to a blistering two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. When the furnace had reached the proper operating temperature, larger charges would be dumped into the furnace until it was nearly full.

The iron ore would melt due to the reaction with superheated carbon monoxide gas. This molten iron would trickle down towards the hearth, picking up carbon as it passed through the layers of charcoal. This iron collected in the crucible at the base of the furnace, while the calcium silicate impurities known as slag floated on top of the molten iron. The process of removing the iron, known as tapping, was done every twelve hours. During this time the slag was also removed and discarded.

Directly in front of the furnace was a wooden building called the casting house. Channels, known as sows, were dug in molding sand from the arches at the base of the furnace and fed into oblong troughs called “pigs” or directed to shaped cavities dug in the sand to make pots and firebacks. The casting house provided the rapidly cooling iron protection from the elements which if left out in the rain or snow, would adversely impact the quality of the iron. Pig iron was notoriously brittle and still high in impurities. For the most part, the furnaces did not work the iron any farther, although some operations had smaller cupola furnaces that resmelted broken cast iron objects as well as pig iron. They aided in the production of hollowware, firebacks, and pipes.

There were two different varieties of blast furnaces. Older furnaces used the “cold blast” method, in which the air that was blasted into the furnace was the same ambient temperature as the air around the outside of the furnace. In 1828 a Scotsman by the name of James Beaumont Neilson patented his “hot blast” method, in which pre-heated air was blasted into the furnace. The escaping gases of the furnace itself were used to heat the air blast. This significantly reduced the amount of fuel required to run the furnace by as much as forty percent.

In North Jersey, most blast furnaces were built at the side of hills to make it easier to add new charges. The Pine Barrens, with its mostly flat topography, made it necessary to build shorter furnace stacks, and construct long wooden ramps to allow the charge to be dumped in at the top of the stack. More elaborate furnaces, such as the forge at Howell Iron Works, actually had a special opening near the top of the stack where workers would dump their wheelbarrows directly into the furnace. Since the temperature at the top of the stack was about six hundred degrees Fahrenheit, this allowed the worker to load the charge without subjecting him to the hot winds, smoke, and burning cinders flying out of the top of the stack.

Generally, the furnaces were in blast up until the time that ice began to freeze up the raceways that fed water to the water wheel. Due to the arduous process of putting the furnace in blast, the production of iron continued around the clock, seven days a week. If a furnace went out of blast, it was a noteworthy event, and cost the owners considerable money. When the ice finally stopped the water wheel from turning, the fires were blown out quickly, and the furnace was not put back into blast until the last of the ice had melted in the spring. While the furnace was out of blast, the stack would be relined and new hearths installed.

Many furnace owners also owned forges which were much smaller operations than the furnaces. Oftentimes one furnace would feed several forges, and small forges would often source pig iron from whatever furnace had it for sale. Map makers, for the most part, often ignored the distinction between a “forge” and a “furnace,” randomly naming forges furnaces and furnaces forges. Confusion as to whether a site was a forge or a furnace continues to this day, although the careful observer will see a distinct difference in furnace and forge slag.

A bloomery forge had several smaller furnaces where pig iron would be reheated and a hammer weighing up to six hundred pounds at the end of a long wooden beam. Cams were attached between the water wheel and this beam, allowing for an up and down tilting movement as the water wheel spun. This hammer was known as the forge or tilt hammer. This hammer would fall upon an anvil on which the semi molten iron would be placed. The iron then be reheated in a second forge known as a “chafery” and would be again pounded by the tilt hammer, or in a forge known as a “finery” and worked by a water powered hammer known as a helve. This time, though, the iron would be worked into bar shape, and the finished product would be known as “bar iron.” The bar iron would be further worked into useful products in the countless blacksmith shops that peppered the landscape up until the early twentieth century, or in slitting mills or screw mills that produced nails and screws.

The decline of the iron industry in the Pine Barrens can be attributed to three things. Firstly, new sources of iron ore were found in Pennsylvania in the mid 1800s, giving the Pennsylvania furnaces a competitive edge over the Jersey furnaces. This iron was easier to mine than bog iron ore and was vastly superior in quality. Secondly, the bog iron beds were mostly depleted, and did not reform new ore as quickly as it was originally thought. Furnaces needed to import ore from other sources, driving up the prices of the finished product. Finally, the Panic of 1873, which devastated the economy of the United States, provided the final nail in the coffin for the already depressed Jersey forges. One by one the furnaces went out of blast, never to be lit again. Over the years, furnace stacks were torn down for bricks, forge hammers sold for scrap. Those who chose to stay on and live in what was left of the isolated furnace towns found life hard and work scarce.

Today none of the furnace stacks in the Pine Barrens still stand. Only piles of slag and a few scattered bricks remains where most furnaces once proudly stood.

Special thanks to Budd Wilson, Paul Schopp, and Neil Hitch of the Ohio Historical Society for their advice, input, and corrections to this article.

Emilio Carranza’s Last Flight

Few people have probably heard of the events that transpired on July 13, 1928 in Burlington County. Even fewer people would known that during the age of the great aviators, Mexico would have their own Lindbergh – a figure of great patriotism and a hero to the Mexican people.

The residents around the area of Chatsworth and Tabernacle in Burlington County, however, know of the events. Lost in the seclusion of the Pine Barrens, a lone monument made of stone quarried around Mexico City stands guard in a clearing off Carranza Road, near the ruins of Friendship and the Wharton State Forest.

Emilio Carranza, the great-nephew of President Venustiano Carranza, was chosen by the Mexican government to make a good-will flight non stop from Mexico City to Washington in formal response to a similar flight that Charles Lindbergh had flown the previous December. He took flight in his Ryan monoplane on June 11, 1928 and landed in Morresville, North Carolina, where he ran into heavy fog. He had, however, failed to complete his mission, and planned to make another flight from New York to Mexico City.

After a stay in Washington and New York, he took off from Roosevelt field on July 13th. It had been a day of severe thunderstorms, and he left thinking it would be clear as he moved south. As he headed South, he ran into another storm over the Pine Barrens, and lost control of his plane, coming down in Tabernacle Township, near where the present memorial stands today. A Chatsworth resident and his wife came upon the wreckage while gathering blueberries, and a few days later a salute was fired as the body left Penn Station on it’s sad trip back to Mexico City.

The monument was erected by the Mount Holly American Legion Post 11, and is inscribed both in English and Spanish:

Messenger of Peace. The people of Mexico hope that your high ideal will be realized. Homage of the children of Mexico to the aviator Captain Emilio Carranza, who died tragically on July 13, 1928 on his good will flight.

A Remarkable Indian

From “Salter’s History of Monmouth and Ocean Counties,” by Edwin Salter, E. Gardner & Son, Bayone, NJ 1890.

The following is an additional well-authenticated account of that noted Indian character, INDIAN WILL, originally furnished to the Shore Press:

Long, long years ago, when this section of country bordering on the Atlantic ocean was one continuous wild waste, with nothing save stinted pines and scrub oak to greet the eye of the unfortunate wanderer who might be traveling this way, there was a kind of half civilized Indian, who lived at Indian Field, at the head of Shark River, and was known to the inhabitants around as Indian Will. His old cabin was a half civilized looking affair, composed of mortar, stone, logs, and hides, the latter formerly covering the animals that were so unfortunate as to fall beneath the fatal point of his index finger -for legend has it that Will was gifted with a strange power; whenever an animal or fowl became the object of his desire all he bad to do was to point at it with his index finger, and the same would fall dead, as if stricken by a bullet or a flint-headed arrow.

According to Indian fashion, Will was a married man; his squaw came, so it is said, from the western section of New Jersey, and like himself, was from the old Delaware, tribe of Indians, whose early history is enshrined in quite a halo of glory. Will was, despite his half civilized life, a true Indian, possessing all the stoicism of his race, and the same indifference to the taking of human life, when it in any way conflicted with his whims. Hannah, like all Indian wives, of the two, — she and her husband — had the hardest time of it. She dressed the game and cleaned the fish, and, in fact, did all the work there was to be done in and around the cabin, while her lord and master, Indian Will, was off on fishing excursions, or in the forest of stinted pines, pointing his finger at a limping rabbit, opossum, or quail, as it chanced to be.

One day Indian Will was out on a hunting expedition, and left Hannah, who was sick with the measles, to get along the best she could in the lone cabin. In a little patch just back of the cabin Will had managed to get up sufficient gumption to plant some beans, and at the time to which we refer they were ripe and ready for picking. As I said just back, Hannah had the measles; her appetite was not of that kind that made what she, had been eating heretofore palatable; she hardly knew what she did want; she hankered after something, and in an unfortunate moment her eyes rested on the beans; they were just what she wanted; so, without caring, or at least heeding the consequences, she picked them and put them in the iron pot in company with a bit of opossum. The fire was soon blazing on the rude hearth, over which hung the sooty crane, from which was pendant the iron pot containing the beans and opossum. Hannah ate heartily of the savory dish, and the results were, as far as her feelings were concerned, decidedly beneficial, but as far as her future welfare was concerned it was otherwise. The legend saith naught of the extent of time Will was absent, but, at all events, when he returned he noticed, the first thing of all, that some one had been in his bean patch and annihilated all hopes of his anent the anticipated feast. Hannah was still under the influence of her pleasant repast when she was confronted by her infuriated lord.

“Who,” he exclaimed, “has eaten my beans?”

Poor Hannah, with a stoicism peculiar to her race, replied, “I did!”

“Then you shall die,” exclaimed her savage mate; “I will drown you!”

Poor Hannah made no reply, save a pantomimic one, which was the embodiment of resignation.

Indian Will was unrelenting. He commanded his dusky spouse to direct her footsteps to the neighboring river, which was in full view of the cabin, and followed with strident gait close behind her. Arriving at the water’s edge, he seized the unresisting offender, and, with apparent ease, plunged her head under the element. After holding her there for a number of minutes he drew her head out, when she gave a few gasps, indicating that life was not extinct. Will again plunged her, as before, and when he again drew her out, poor Hannah was dead. The place where she was drowned is still known as Deep Hole. Neath a gnarled willow in the immediate neighborhood, he buried her, with her feet toward the West; by her side he placed a pone of Indian bread and some game, so that she might have something to eat while on her journey to the happy hunting ground. This being done, the savage went about his business, perfectly unconcerned, but in all probability pained somewhat to know that in the future he would have to be his own servant. Time passed on, I know not bow many weeks it was, when Hannah’s brothers began to wonder why they did not hear from her, or why she did not pay them a visit, as it had been her wont in times passed. Among themselves they got to talking over the matter one day, when it was decided among them that the brother, who rejoiced under the un-Indian name of Jacob, should pay a visit to Indian Field and ascertain how matters stood. Jacob’s journey was on foot, so it necessarily took him a number of days to accomplish the task. Arriving at Will’s cabin, he found him just preparing some game for the appeasement of his gastric longings.

Jacob was surprised — that is, in the sense that an Indian is surprised – to see the mate of his sister in such an ignoble occupation, and asked Will where Hannah was.

“I drowned her,” replied Will, “because she ate my beans.”

“She was my sister,” rejoined Jacob, “and it falls on me to avenge her death, so you must prepare to die. Let the struggle between us take place by yon bank, so that the same water that beheld Hannah’s death may also witness thine.”

“Will Hannah’s brother permit me to eat, and join with me in the feast, ere we embrace in the death struggle?”

“Be it so,” replied Jacob, and both sat down and ate of the food, while their respective faces betrayed no signs of the ominous thoughts that were burdening their minds.

During the repast not a word was spoken by either Will or Jacob. The ceremony was eventually over, when the two walked in single file, Will leading the way, until they came near to the place still designated as the Deep Hole; here they stopped and for a moment stood face to face. Jacob was the first to move; he rushed forward and in an instant they closed in on one another. The struggle for mastery lasted for some time, but at last Will’s foot came in contact with a stubble, and down he went, with Jacob at the top; the latter then pulled from his belt a long keen knife, with which he intended to fulfill his mission. Jacob had his victim, as it were, pinioned to the ground, and at his mercy, but being, as it were, controlled by a spirit of magnanimity, he said:

“He who brought Hannah to an untimely end can now cast his eyes to the West, and for the last time gaze on the setting sun.”

Will availed himself of the opportunity, and when doing so, Jacob, thinking his victim secure, began fumbling around his belt for a bit of Indian weed, for he became possessed with an irresistible desire to exercise his molars, and in an unguarded moment relieved his arm from confinement, and seizing a pine knot, dealt Jacob a powerful blow in the temple, and over lie toppled, as lifeless as a defunct herring.

Having escaped from his peril, Will arose from his late uncomfortable position, and with a grunt of satisfaction gazed on the prostrate form of his would-be slayer. He did not take the trouble to bury his victim, but left him where lie died, thinking the wild beast and buzzard could attend to the case better than he could.

A number of days following the last mentioned fact some circumstances led Indian Will to pass by the spot where it occurred, when from some cause he fancied he heard the body snore, so he came to the conclusion that Jacob was only enjoying a long sleep, and fearing lie might awake at any time and give him further trouble, jumped several times on the body, and, finally, after satisfying himself that Jacob was dead, indifferently covered it with earth and leaves and passed on, and from all indications thought no more of it.

Will was an Indian, and so, for that reason, remorse was something that never bothered him. The days went by as days before the late tragic event had gone. He wandered through the echoing forests, and during moonlight nights lie indulged in his favorite pastime of bringing down the opossum and coon by the pointing of his fatal finger. When not engaged in hunting he would linger around the old village inn or his secluded cabin, and revel in imaginary bliss by drinking the white man’s firewater whenever lie could get it.

One day he was stretched out at full length, under the shade of a tree which stood by his cabin; he was not sleeping, but evidently was taking his ease, when lie was brought to a realization of imminent peril by the appearance of Jacob’s three brothers, who from the fact of his not returning according to promise, led them to come in search of him, and also to inquire into the matter that was the cause of his journey.

Will made no effort to evade the questions that were addressed to him by the three brothers. He told them poor Hannah was dead; that lie drowned her because she ate his beans; also that Jacob was dead; contrary to his expectations, in a death struggle Jacob was the victim and not he.

The three brothers heard the story, at the conclusion of which they in unison gave significant grunts, when one, who acted as spokesman, told Will his time had come, and that lie must make himself ready for death.

With evident resignation, Will told his brother that he was willing to die; that life had ceased to possess its charms; but he made one request that was that they procure a gallon of firewater, so that they together might have a happy time before he took his final departure to join his poor Hannah in the land of the Great Spirit. The brothers assented to Will’s request, the firewater was procured, and in the cabin of the condemned Will the happy times commenced. The brothers were not backward in drinking liberally of the firewater, and in due course of time were fully under its influence, and eventually dropped, one after the other, into a drunken slumber. Will, in the meantime, though be begrudged the brothers the whiskey they drank, made up his mind that life was dearer than it, and so pretended to drink a great deal more than be actually did, and from all indications was as drunk as they were; but when snoring on the part of the three avengers commenced, Will cautiously assumed a new role, and began business. Will procured a tomahawk, which was near at hand, and began the work of destruction. The brother who received the first attention evidently did not know who struck him, but the second one who was the recipient of the murderous blow was aroused to that extent that he was enabled to give birth to several unearthly sounds before he resigned his hold on life. The noise made by the expiring Indian aroused the third brother, and would have been the means of frustrating Will’s plan, had not the latter’s dog dashed to the rescue; he was a knowing canine, and seemingly comprehended the whole affair, for he seized the awakened Indian by the throat and held him in position until his master came forward and culminated his murderous plan. Will stood up in his cabin, and looking upon the bloody work lie had accomplished, stoically said: “Poor Hannah’s gone — for good brothers gone too — all because poor Hannah ate my beans! Ugh!”

Without much ado Will dragged the bodies of the defunct Indians out of his cabin, and to a spot a few rods distant gave them what lie thought to be a proper burial. He then returned to his cabin and resolved himself into a committee of investigation to ascertain the quantity of whisky left for his consumption.

Following his last achievement Will came to the conclusion that poor Hannah’s relatives would give him no more trouble. The months rolled by and lie still continued his life of hunting and fishing but for some reason a kind of cloud seemed to hang over his life; perhaps it was owing to the fact that Will’s love for firewater increased and interfered with his success in obtaining that which enabled him to purchase the “Oh, be joyful.” Near Indian Field, in Will’s time, there stood an inn, the like of which were common in those days, where whiskey was unblushingly sold, for every one was privileged to become tipsy if he only possessed the necessary wherewithal. At the bar of this old inn, at the time to which I have a particular reference, Indian Will had become an habitual hanger-on; he neglected his former occupation of hunting and fishing, and owing to this fact was frequently without means to purchase his favorite beverage. Will had already became a debtor to the innkeeper, and so, when lie asked for more whiskey on trust, he was flatly refused; his only reply to the innkeeper’s flat was an habitual “Ugh!” and with the tread of offended dignity he strutted out of the room, and directed his course toward the beach.

Whether Will’s journey to the beach was for the purpose of philosophical meditation is a question that has never been fathomed; at all events, to the beach he went, and with eyes directed toward the incoming waters proceeded to pace down shore, leaving his moccasin prints in the shimmering sand. Will had not proceeded far in his stroll when lie discovered, much to his satisfaction, a number of pieces of shining metal half buried in the sand. He eagerly stooped down and picked, them up, and, contrary to his expectations, they proved to be Spanish dollars. In these dollars Will saw visions of firewater, and pushing his search still further, he was rewarded with a handful of the Spanish coin. Thinking that the quantity of money in his possession was sufficient to purchase whiskey enough to satisfy his desire for days to come, he withdrew from the beach, and with a vigorous and consequential step directed his course toward the old inn.

Will’s entrance in the barroom was a source of surprise to those there congregated, who had so recently seen his departure, and their surprise was increased when lie strutted up to the bar and threw thereon his handful of dollars, exclaiming at the same time:

“Now will you let Indian Will I have more whiskey?”

The innkeeper surveyed with mingled greed and astonishment the profuse outpouring of that which was a scarcity in the neighborhood and before Will bad time to again express his desire, took down the whiskey decanter and tumbler, and told him to help himself. Owing to Will’s recent impecunious condition he had been without his usual portion for an uncommon long time, so the present occasion, so far as the magnitude of the potation was concerned, was an uncommon one. Owing to the transformative qualities of the whiskey, Will’s truculent demeanor gave way to one of a more affable nature. So the innkeeper also assumed the affable, and, after lie had safely stored away the Spanish dollars, persuaded Will to follow him into a private room, where he underwent a cryptic examination. The result of the interview was simply this: Indian Will agreed to conduct the innkeeper to the beach and show him where the Spanish dollars were found.

The innkeeper did not think it policy to go immediately to the beach, and so retained Will in voluntary confinement for a while. One after another left the old hotel, until finally the guests were all gone. At last the two, Will and the innkeeper, started for the beach. Arriving at the spot where the coin was discovered they began searching for additional treasures. As the waves receded the innkeeper discovered a kind of iron chest, half buried in the sand. Fortunately the tide was falling, and enabled the treasure trove hunters to obtain possession of the trunk without much trouble. With their united strength they brought it high upon the shore, and a brief examination convinced the innkeeper that he had possession of the treasure box from which came the coin obtained by Indian Will. From the action of the elements, the box had been unjointed enough to enable the coin to escape. Suffice to say that the chest was, as soon as circumstances would allow, taken to the inn, which upon examination proved to contain a princely sum of money in Spanish coins.

From the time of the discovery of the iron chest, the life of the innkeeper, or otherwise his mode of living, underwent a radical change. He soon relinquished his hostship of the inn and built a residence more to his liking in the immediate vicinity. The fact of the discovery of the treasure trove was in a measure a secret between the innkeeper and Indian Will. Of course there was a great deal of talk about the innkeeper’s sudden rise in point of wealth; there were surmises in reference to it, and they frequently fell little short of the mark; in fact the old innkeeper acquired considerable real estate, and this, when lie had done with the things of earth, passed to his children, whose descendants to this day still dwell along the shore, and can thank the old ocean and Indian Will for whatever wealth they possess.

Indian Will, after the find, ceased to live in his old cabin, and became a part and parcel of the innkeeper’s household; his wants were few, and were ungrudgingly provided by the innkeeper – the principal wants being tobacco and firewater.

Tradition has it that Indian Will bad two half grown sons, who, like the ordinary urchins of our time, delighted in having to do with pyrotechnics. They got hold of their father’s powder horn one day and in some way ignited its contents; it flashed up and horribly disfigured both of their faces. Like the Spartans of old, Indian Will did not think it to their benefit, or to those perfectly formed, for the young backs to continue longer on the face of the earth, so he killed them and buried them in Indian Field. Their names, so it is said, were Dick and Dave, and their mounds are still to be seen, as corroborations of the tradition.

Poor Hannah and her brothers — if the stories of the credulous are worthy of serious attention — “did not sleep quietly in their graves.” At intervals in the last fifty years, local gossip have said that during the moonlighted nights of autumn — about that stage of the season’s progress when the hue of decay has enstamped itself on the foliage of the forest, and the withered blades of corn rustle in the faintest breezes – they have seen the diaphanous forms of the unfortunates rise suddenly from the earth, float gracefully along for a distance, and as suddenly disappear. There is nothing traditionary that indicates that he who should have been was ever “haunted.” According to the most authentic versions, the closing years of Will’s life were in harmony with his plane of thinking; perfectly happy, he lived to a ripe old age, and died some seventy-five years ago, the last of his tribe, and was buried at Indian Field. Contrary to what should have been his just deserts, Indian Will, during the last of his career, “lived in peace, died in grease, and was buried in a pot of ashes.”

The Rise and Fall of Harrisville

The fire came without warning. Sweeping through the area, it engulfed the mostly abandoned village. Flames licked through the mill like it was candy. Large wooden supports, now dried, weakened, and blackened, gave out and with a crash the roof caved in. The remaining buildings were soon gutted – the village itself totally destroyed. A calm quiet filled the village the next day as the last people who hung on after the mill closed sifted through the charred remnants of their homes, filled their wagons, and turned their back on the place they had called home. No longer would the chorus of hymns be heard from the church. No longer would the playful laughter of the campers from the Atlantic City YMCA be heard on the lake. Except for someone passing through on the way to Chatsworth or Green Bank, the village lay totally empty – stone spires and charred timbers the only witness to one of the most successful of the Pine Barrens towns – Harrisville.

Before Harrisville was called Harrisville, it was McCartyville. Before that, the place was likely named after some of the many entrepreneurs that started operations there. The first mills started near the site that would later be known as Harrisville were a combination saw and grist mill founded by Evi Belangee, Jr. between 1750 and 1760, and the Wading River Forge and Slitting Mill, founded by Issac Potts in 1795. Potts, who also founded nearby Martha Furnace two years prior.

Martha Furnace was a large iron blast furnace a located short distance up the Oswego River from Harrisville. At it’s peak, the furnace supported nearly 400 people in the town proper as well as the nearby town of Calico. Pig iron was the chief product of Martha, although larger items such as firebacks, stoves, sash weights, etc. were also produced. There was a demand for finished goods, and as more and more settlements were built in the Pine Barrens nails became a hot commodity. Recognizing this, and the fact that there was abundant water power nearby, Potts erected his forge and slitting mill to process pig iron from Martha as well as nearby Speedwell furnace.

Potts was more of a real estate speculator than an ironmaster, and in 1797 sold the forge and slitting mill to George and William Ashbridge and Joseph Walker. A few years later he sold Martha Furnace itself. Hard times were descending quickly on the iron industry in the Pine Barrens, and the property changed hands often. Around 1832 William McCarty, Thomas Davies, and Issac Ashmead became the latest in a long series of owners of the site.

The writing was on the wall for the iron industry in the Pine Barrens. Knowing that it would be foolish to continue operating the slitting mill as furnaces nearby were closing down, McCarty and Davies turned their attention to paper after McCarty bought out Ashmead’s interest in the property. In 1834 they obtained a mortgage for $10,000 and began work on a new mill to produce paper.

Work began on a canal to divert water from the old mill pond (now Harrisville Lake) to a new mill built a short distance from the lake. This canal, designed and engineered by McCarty, ran for just over three-tenths of a mile and was dug entirely by hand labor. Fortunately labor at that time was plentiful, as there were many unemployed iron workers. Workers were paid 9¢ per hour to dig the nearly fourteen foot deep canal. In addition to the main canal, a smaller canal was dug to power the grist mill and a saw mill. This smaller canal was a diversion from the main canal and reconnected with it before it crosses modern day Rt. 563.

Paper was made from salt hay harvested from nearby meadowlands. Wagons arrived daily with new loads of hay, as well as loads of scrap paper, rags, and other old cloth products from New York or Philadelphia. Rags and old cloth were sorted, cleaned, and buttons, seams, and metal fasteners removed. This material was then sent through a rope cutter machine that reduced the material to shreds. This raw material was then wetted down and dumped down a chute into the prepared stock house. From there the stock would be brought to two stone vats in the main mill to be boiled and reduced to a pulp with rotating knives. Later, in the Harris era, these vats were no longer used and the stock brought to the rotary boiler room, where chemical action replaced the knives. (Incidentally, the paper factory at Harrisville was likely the first water polluting industry in the Pine Barrens. After cooking the pulp in the boilers, the excess waste water and acids were dumped directly into the mill tailrace.)

The salt hay itself was processed differently. The hay was brought to the bleaching house, located at the southerly end of the mill. It was cooked with soda ash in large tubs. Then it was washed several times and brought to bleaching tanks. The stock was then boiled with lime and chlorine, which further reduced the hay to pulp. Then the pulp was washed again and beaten with knives to the required consistency. Until the pulp was used to make paper, it was held in stuff-chests, which were wooden tanks that were constantly agitated to keep the pulp from settling. This also helped further clean contaminates out of the pulp that may have remained from the bleaching process. From here, the pulp was pumped to the paper making machines.

The pulp was fed into a machine which agitated and matted paper on a continuous belt screen. The paper moved through this machine at a rate of 20 feet per minute. A press squeezed the remaining water out of the pulp before it was pressed under a series of rollers. The paper then traveled up through the machine to the second floor of the mill where it was fed into the sizing machine. The sizing machine starched the paper. Finally, the paper was passed under a polished iron roller known as a glazing calendar that provided a final finish to the paper and added strength.

The paper produced was 30 inches wide, and was sold in either rolls or cut sheets. There was a power cutter that would cut the paper to required lengths. The paper would then be lowered out the Southern end of the building to barges. Around 1861 the paper was hauled by mule train to Harris Station, 11 miles away, near Hampton Furnace to make the trip by train to market.

McCartyville, as it was now known, grew prosperous very quickly. In addition to the paper mill, which was one of the most advanced in the country at the time, a grist mill, two sawmills, and a company store were also built. This store generated a profit of nearly $3,000 annually. To house his workers, McCarty built several cottages a short distance away from his mill. He also constructed a dining hall and dormitory, where workers could have a hot meal each night in exchange for a weekly fee taken from their pay. Across from this dinging hall, McCarty built himself a fine mansion. Plans were drawn up for a second paper mill to further increase output.

Disaster struck in November of 1846. A fire broke out at the paper mill and heavily damaged the building. In 1847 the Wading River Manufacturing and Canal Company, as McCarty’s enterprise was called, repaired the building and began processing paper again. However, the financial strain of rebuilding the mill was too great for the company to survive for long. The property was sold at a sheriffs sale. McCarty was able to buy back one quarter interest in the property, but at this point in time it was too late. The mill was idle, and McCarty sold his interest in the property to Thomas Albert Haven.

On May 1, 1851 Richard Harris and his brother Benjamin gained control over the property. There were some legal problems that did not get resolved until 1855 due to the death of Thomas Albert Haven and his heirs subsequent wrangling over the property. In 1856 the Harrises obtained a mortgage for $7,552.86 from John H. Simon who controlled the remaining 3/4 of the McCartyville property. Simon agreed to finance the Harrises purchase of the property if they offered their own quarter as security. The Harris brothers agreed, and on November 2, 1856 finally had full control over the property. By 1858, several other Harris brothers and their father bought and sold interests in the property. Around 1858, after the mill had been put back into operation, the sole owners of Harrisville, as it was now known, were Richard and his father John. John, however, only wanted to offer financial and management assistance to the company. The real leader behind Harrisville’s day to day activities was Richard. John Harris retired from the company in 1866 and returned to his native Philadelphia.

Harrisville went through a period of rapid expansion. In 1858 Harris obtained a mortgage for $12,000 and paid it back within 5 years. It is likely then that he built the two mansions opposite the mill, modernized the mill, created the Harrisville Public School, and added several other buildings to the property. The former McCarty mansion and opposite dining hall were split into two-family houses. The main canal was enlarged, and in 1865 a booster canal was dug between the West Branch of the Wading River to the Oswego to increase the level of the lake. In 1866 the artesian well was dug and subsequently abandoned due to the high iron content in the water.

Around 1867 the famous Springfield Gas Generator was installed at Harrisville. This allowed gas powered illumination for some of the homes, as well as streetlights along Main Street. The generator house, located under what today is Rt. 563, had a large tank for storing gasoline. Air was pumped over this tank which vaporized the gasoline and forced it under pressure to the various light fixtures throughout the village.

By 1877 the town was beginning to feel the effects of age and competition. More modern mills both outpaced production from the nearly fifty year old Harrisville mill and had better connections to railroads. A new mortgage for $20,000 was secured in 1888, but by 1891 the property was in foreclosure and sold in a sheriff’s sale. The property was subsequently bought and foreclosed on again, being bought by a mysterious stranger on June 13, 1896 for $30,000. This stranger, when called upon to pay the 10% down payment for his winning bid, announced that his pocketbook, containing a certified check for $25,000, was missing. Finally, after being verbally assaulted by several of the other bidders, the stranger fled never to be heard from again. A new auction was held, with Mark Sooy, an agent for Joseph Wharton winning the auction for $12,000. When it was time for Sooy to pay the 10% deposit on the property, Elias Wright, another agent for Wharton, collected checks from Sooy and Jerome Grigg. He presented the sheriff with three checks from Joseph Wharton, totaling $1,200. The crowd was outraged at the fact that he had employed shill bidders, and Wharton held his breath if the sale would be invalidated. It was not, however, and on July 16, 1896 the deed was presented to Wharton.

The village was still in remarkably good shape when Wharton took posession. Several of the families who had worked at the Harrisville mill still continued to live at the site, resorting to berry picking to eak out a living. The two mansions were in fine shape, one of them still containing furniture owned by Richard Harris. This was later moved to the house in New Gretna that Richard and his brother Howard were living in. The mill itself had been damaged by another fire and was nearly useless. Wright suggested to Wharton that the mill building be torn down and the machinery sold for scrap. It was estimated that $100 would be realized for that effort. Wharton, thankfully, never headed that advice. The Broome family, longtime friends and employees of the Harrises, were allowed to live in the smaller mansion rent-free if they would act as caretakers of Harrisville for Wharton. Wharton invested some money into repairing the dam at the pond as it was Wharton’s intention to dam as many of the ponds and rivers in the Pine Barrens and transport that water to Philadelphia. After the New Jersey legislature banned the sale of New Jerey water outside the state, Wharton turned to agriculture and likely leased some land to a cranberry bog operation nearby.

In 1909, after Wharton’s death, the YMCA of Atlantic City finally obtained permission to use the Harrisville site as a summer camp for boys. Wharton himself forbid it, but his estate seemed to be more open to the idea. Several of the buildings were converted into camp offices, kitchens, etc. In the spring of 1910 a group of boys became the first campers at Camp Lyon. Finally, in April of 1914 a forest fire swept through the town and obliterated the remaining structures.

Vandals and treasure hunters swept down on the village. Gone were all of the iron gas lights. Stone was carted away. Years of erosion and weather took their toll on the town. The mill walls, which were all still standing after the fire, crumbled. Today, only the South wall and a small spire from the North wall stand. Two walls from the grist mill still stand, barely. In the 1970s the state erected a chain link fence around much of the main mill to protect it. Unfortunately the damage has been done and it is very likely that much of the remaining ruins will be gone in the next fifty years.

Explore The Ruins of Harrisville with Barbara Stull, courtesy of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance

Ghosts of By-Gone Glories Haunt Quiet Lanes and the Memories of Batsto’s Old-Timers

I could lead you down ordinary ways to Taunton, Etna, Atsion and Batsto, without more to-do. I could tell how that old sailor with the Creole wife, Charles Read, listed Taunton as Tanton when he advertised its sale in 1773, or how, three years after, Tom Maybury moved there to make cannon and shot under the noses of British and Hessian soldiers in Mount Holly.

I could take you to Etna, called Aetna by the third Charles Read who inherited its headaches, and there we might dig up, if our luck held, some pig iron, a stray cannon ball or, more, surely, some buried slag near the dam where those who live in Medford Lakes stroll by unwary every day, we could follow modern concrete down to Atsion, the Atsyunk of the Atsiyonk Indians, once owned on shares by David Ogden, Lawrence Salter, and the man who fell in love and married in Antigua. There, beside a little church and some never-painted houses, an old store and the empty manorial retreat of the forge managers of long ago, we might talk of iron that was sent to equip what in those days was renowned as the Pennsylvania Navy.

Or we could go the long way to Batsto by the Nesco road from Hammonton down through Pleasant Mills, old Nescochague – Sweetwater now, a trail which for a long time was the shortest and surest route to Tuckerton and Long Beach, known well by rustic patriots who fashioned stoves, salt pans, fire-backs, Dutch ovens and even ordinary skillets, turning quickly to vital munitions for Valley Forge when the emergency came.

But I would rather follow the low roads, if you don’t mind-the Jackson road that comes over from Berlin, old Long-a-Coming, to join the Tuckerton road at what as Delilett’s, the road through Piper’s Corner and Indian Mills, once the first and New Jersey’s own Indian reservation I prefer and I know you will like the road that parallels the Mullica river and then twists through rutted sand to the Batsto river until it emerges in the back yards of Batsto, the old furnace town.

Here we can take note of the red and white signs that post the land telling us that this is the estate of Joseph Wharton and that there are rules and regulations we must observe, now that we are on what was his property.

Joseph is dead but in the days when he was Philadelphia’s mayor, even as was the first Charles Read of Batsto, he had notions of piping water from the tract-It now measures 95,000 acres-to the fair city which, from all accounts, has had need of it., The project failed by a few votes in the State Legislature and so the wilderness and water have returned, for the most part, to the condition in which God gave them-except that men have taken most of their feudal ways to the cities and numerous birds and beasts have vanished together.

You should remember, however, when you read these warnings against trespassing, that somehow from the very beginning, one dynasty has given way successively to another-first came the Reads, then the Richards, and then the Whartons whose heirs now employ men who chop wood, build cabins, lease shooting rights, and tack up more signs. So let us see now if we can bring to life a few lost lords of the wildwood, in words of these who recall some of them, in phrases of old friends who say they do, and in what remains of a New Jersey industrial empire that has vanished away.

Ghostly Region on First Visit

When first I went to Atsion it was a far more ghostly place than you will find now. The road from Berlin, Camden county, ran through the brushy clearing that was Jackson Glassworks, and the Wharton heirs had built no cabins along Burlington county’s widened Atsion lake. The dam was old, nothing at all like the modern replacement crossed today by the wide highway that cuts directly down through Columbus and Red Lion over the flats and bogs and cedar swamps.

Jim Armstrong was living then, still a tax collector of Shamong Township as he had been more than 30 years, and at 70-plus he smiled when I told him that he was, from all that his neighbors said of him, man who held the keys to all Atsion’s secrets.

“Don’t even have a key to this house,” he said, outside the place which he lived, up toward Indian Mills, “and I’ve lived in it 67 years.”

From, the way in which his choice Indian relics had a habit of disappearing, especially after the visits of collectors, I can now reflect that a lock or two would have served him well.

So, after displaying his mortars and pestles Jim Armstrong took me to the pipe that served an alien capacity under his barn. “See the letter ‘A’ at the bottom?” he asked, with quiet delight.

“Know what that means? Made at Atsion Furnace, it was, just like those pipes that people take for pillars on the porch of the old Sam Richards house at Atsion. That ‘A’ is the official stamp, yes sir!”

It is probable that Jim was one of the first who confused me, in those days, on the essential differences between forges and furnaces, an uncertainty that earned me many a dark look from the late Charles Boyer (no relation to the Hollywood Frenchman who at last report was still alive) when he used to come in to see Ben Courter. I was always saying “forge” when I meant “furnace” or “furnace” when I meant “forge” and it was not until long after, when Nat Ewan took time to set me right, that I realized how important the distinction is. I note the variance well, for there will be other furnaces and forges beyond these feudal lands:

Furnaces, you see, converted the native Jersey bog ore into pig iron and then the forges hammered the pigs into wagon tires, sheet iron, gratings and bars, or smithy and household equipment. Some New Jersey ironworks combined forges and furnaces, it is true, but usually there were separate water wheels and tilt-hammers erected in other buildings.

“Might as well begin your looking at Atsion,” Jim Armstrong advised me. “There ain’t much to show as Taunton or Etna to remind you of the old days.” He was almost right although I took occasion to remind him of the boast that Taunton was better than some of the other neighborhood furnaces because, a boast in the ancient advertisements never lacked for water power, was so accessible that a good team could haul three loads a day, or was so close to the woods that the wagons could get six loads of cut fuel.

I pointed out that old Taunton’s iron, rolled up to wharves long removed at Lumberton, went down Rancosas creek to the Delaware River for as little as 12 shillings ton. The reference made little impression, however: Jim said that 12 shillings was alot of money. “Any how, you history birds won’t like what’s at Taunton now, with picnic and new names and all-and I’ll bet you the Sunday Schools that come down for, outings to Taunton. don’t know we used to call the place Whiskey Hollow!”

Shop Remembered by Folks in 80’s

They didn’t know, either that although historians as doughty as Woodward an Hagaman passed up tracing owner of Taunton furnace or forge up to 1800, there were Medford folk of the 1880’s who remembered Richard Edwards running the iron-work there, wanderers who used to go down the low roads to see the abandoned trip-hammer and anvil-block which presumably joined a junk dealer’s collection, the blackened ground of the clearing that was Thackera’s Coal-Mill where charcoal was pulverized at another Fairview which had been another Cross Keys, or even the seldom remembered mills of the Branms, the Oliphants, or the Haineses.

I asked Jim Armstrong about Mark Reeve who was said to have made the first cut nails with heads that ever were fashioned in America but Jim said that every trace of Mark’s inventive genius was gone, along with his cumbersome horse-power machinery in Medford or the strong “pigtail” tobacco he sold at one cent per yard. Mark, the stories go, forgot to protect his system of making nails until a Yankee tin-peddler wandered in to watch the process all one day and then beat Mark to the patent by a week.

It was on the day when I first saw Jim Armstrong that I first heard of Frank Peck – and I was all ears because the Pecks had been among the first residents of Batsto. Down-country folk who didn’t always remember his name called him “the Water Wizard.” I was told first that he lived in Indian Mills and later that it I would be more likely to find him at Tabernacle or even close by Batsto itself.

Batsto’s the village that was built on the site of Batstoo, which to the Indians meant “a bathing place” and Tabernacle’s a crossroads with a church, a school and an impressive cemetery where they buried Indian Ann who returned to sell her woven baskets up and down the country roads long after her companions had been taken to Oneida, NY.

Charlie Remine, in Wrightstown, said that Frank liked wandering but that I’d probably find him closer to Red Lion than anywhere else. That was how I found “the Water Wizard” in the small weather-black house that appeared permanent enough, basking in the dubious glory of being Burlington county’s last “water-finder.”

‘Miracle Man’ located water

For years uncounted Frank had been the Pineys’ own Miracle Man, the fellow who walked across fields with a pointed stick, telling professionals where to drill for water that they always found. Out in the country Charlie said, you got water, usually from a spring, a pond, or even a creek. But sometimes, he explained, you liked a piece of land where none of these was available. That was when, unless you didn’t mind wasting days that could be used more profitably otherwise, you called on Uncle Frank.

What was more, according to the story that was being passed around even then, a legend that still bobs up in a Medford Lakes and other pinelands hideaways that have been modernized, newcomers enlisted Frank’s help to find water for lakeside cabins. Frank told me that he got $5 every time he found water and that the routine made more sense than blacksmithing, his old trade.

Frank was 77 when I talked to him. Except for a rheumy limp, he seemed younger by ten years. His frame was gaunt and his face as lean but his eyes were of that particular shade of blue which, when focused, bores through you and beyond. They were, I think, the more penetrating because they were set off by Frank’s full gray beard. And If you doubted his powers by either expression or implication, Frank, gave you one of his looks and then remembering that he was “the Water Wizard” of whom you had been told, the gushing of water from your vest pockets would have caused no surprise.

I found Frank at the back-door of the hideaway he shared with Mrs. Peck who betrayed her whereabouts occasionally furtive glances between a torn blind and the frame of a window. Frank, who said he had sons who had “moved away somewheres,” wore no coat and his shirt was wide-open even though the false spring day was damp and chill. “They told me,” I said, after some preliminary skirmishing “that you were the Water Wizard.” He stood silent, watching me for a moment, so that I concluded that he was deaf and had not heard. I repeated my words and this time, without any reply at all, he began to perform, as if his moment of concentration was a necessary part of his act. If you have never seen a “water-diviner” in action, you’ve missed something.

Prongs Twisted Despite Grasp

Uncle Frank unsheathed a murderous-looking knife and began looking for a stick which, he mumbled indistinctly, must be forked and green, must have a six-inch “handle” and must be equipped with prongs 18 inches long, with a size equal to one’s little finger. Grasping a stick be had thus prepared, he started walking over his land, first straightening himself upward to added dignity and striding forward like a man in a trance.

The first stick broke in a way that still mystifies me but a second was quickly provided. Then the walk began all over again, with Frank’s jaw set, eyes fixed on space, and long gray Whitmanesque wisps of hair flying in the cold wind. Suddenly, with the so-called handle pointed away from him, the prongs began to twist, apparently in spite of Frank’s firm grasp, so that the handle turned toward the ground.

“There’s water!” Frank Peck exclaimed, relaxing and tossing the divining rod away. I had to take for granted that water was where he said It was and the spell, obviously, was over. I spoke no word but Uncle Frank must have included mind-reading among his talents for, without explanation, he began his routine all over again.

This time he explained that the rod must be Hazelwood, although I could have sworn he cut it from a peach tree. As the second part of the double feature came to an end, Frank turned, showing me his hands as a kind of clincher: Fragments of bark clung to the skin. The old man wanted to prove that although his grip had been one like steel, nothing natural could have kept the handle from turning toward water, deep down.

“How do you do it?” I remember asking, speaking quietly because I wondered if words would cause trouble.

“Don’t know,” Frank answered. “Was getting old when I found out I could. Not anybody can. But this here way’s the trick the Indians used when they found water for the Reads and Richards down Batsto way.” I wanted to ask why the Indians were employed to find water in a place the Lenne Lenapes called “bathing pool” but I held my tongue. And so, scanning my notes, I can tell you that this was my first and last experience with a New Jersey “water wizard” although I know full well that back in the open country up in northern New Jersey and off hidden paths to the south others are still operating.

Famed Old Towns Went Fast Asleep

So, then, we go to Batsto and Atsion. Somewhere I have remarked how ironical it is that of all the landings up and down the Mullica, “The Forks” – Batsto and Pleasant Mills, so signally celebrated in every record of the countryside, should have gone so fast asleep. Here at the head of Mullica river navigation, five or six miles from Elwood, once Sailor Boy, there is a kind of island formed by the meeting of the Batsto river, Nescochague and Meschescatauxen creeks, and the Atsion or main branch of the Mullica itself.

Pleasant Mills, once Sweetwater, is on the island and Batsto, separated by the bridge, is just beyond. In Revolutionary days there were houses and barns and wharves along the shore, and in the river were hundreds of ships, privateers, and their prizes. Now there is an old church, an empty paper mill, some old houses and the mansion of Kate Aylesford.

Batsto was the objective, you remember, when the British fleet anchored at the river mouth and, frustrated in its plan to get up that far, resorted to burning Chestnut Neck and whatever else came handy. An iron furnace had been established in Batsto ten years before independence was declared, and then with the coming of war the output became exclusively cannon, shot, and shell.

Israel Pemberton, first owner of the furnace, called the place Whitcomb Manor, the second establishment of its kind in the state. Later it was sold to Charles Read and still later to Col. John Cox and Thomas Maybury. Joseph Ball, a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker, was there when peacetime manufacture gave way to wartime munitions, sending the first of the Batsto giants, Willliam Richards, to become the manager in 1784. By this time “The Forks” was well populated and a mecca for those who wanted to dodge the draft by working in the early wartime industry.

Much that was Batsto, sometimes spelled Batstow, apart from the village of the workmen, is as it always was, except for the unnatural but delightful quiet. No one goes to the old store for there is nothing to buy. The old Richards manor house, with Its 36 rooms and a tower that once was used as a forest fire lookout, remains high on the shaded knoll, restored and maintained by Joseph Wharton, who bought the vast estate in 1876, and now kept up by his descendants, the Lippincotts of Philadelphia.

The store, the manor and some of the old barns went unscathed Jan. 23, 1874 when a spark from the chimney of Robert Stewart’s house set fire to the dwelling and, before the flames were checked, laid mots of the village in ashes.

The first villagers were fisher folk and lumbermen. The cost of transportation on cedar boards and shingles taken to Philadelphia was high and although people of Batsto and its neighbor across the Batsto river, Pleasant Mills, required and still ask little from life that they themselves can’t supply and build, the going at the beginning was hard.

Perhaps Charles Read knew that he would have little trouble in gaining cheap labor from natives so content with what they had but, whether be knew it or not, Batsto gave little resistance to the coming of a new industry, the “mining” of Jersey bog ore. Charles Read, a nephew of Israel Pemberton, began buying and selling land the vicinity as early as 1754 but, although he is sometimes given credit for building the Batsto Works, actually he owned but a quarter interest, later selling out to such notables as Col. Cox, Tom Maybury and Joseph Ball, the rich Philadelphian who paid $275,000 for Batsto just like that.

Col. Cox was no small fry – a merchant who had taken an active part in the proceedings that led to the Declaration of Independence, he was a member of the first General Committee or Correspondence as well as one of the Council of Safety. An intimate of Generals Knox and Greene, his appointment as Assistant Quartermaster General in 1778 should serve as an index to a man who was more than a staunch patriot, but there are few in Batsto or Pleasant Mills who will tell you much about the Reads or Col. Cox or even Col. William Richards, who came there in 1784 to manage the iron-works for his nephew, young Mr. Ball.

Old Tory Legend Caused Reticence

The reticence of the few who know is something I have learned to share-and there is a reason. On recent journeys to the twin villages I have avoided the full measure of my usual enthusiasm. I say merely that Col. Richards, the man who was caught while wandering and who was suspected of Tory sympathies, an accusation which well may have been the price of expediency, was a good humored gentleman who, judging from, his portraits, was usually in need of a haircut.

He was fellow of “wonderful energy and enterprise” according to the records, the sole owner who “lived like a prince” when, as one of six uncles and aunts, he inherited Mr. Ball’s estate. I concern myself, usually, with the grave of Jesse Richards, his son. In the shadow of the lovely old Methodist church, built in 1808, remarking that the huge stone, the largest In the Pleasant Mills graveyard, is adequate really because Jesse “was very large and powerful, weighing close to three hundred pounds.”

Even before the death of the Colonel In 1823 Jesse had succeeded his father as master of the manor and from the house on the hill “he ruled Batsto as his father had done with great energy and success for thirty years.” This was the period when the estate was enlarged and made more prosperous, with the manufacture of glass, pottery, and iron adding companion ventures in lumber, faming, and shipbuilding. Then, to those who will listen I quote records to prove that all was well in Batsto until somebody thought of the railroads, and steam power, and better iron closer to where it was in demand by a more concentrated population in Philadelphia.

I remember sentimentally that the fires at Batsto went out in 1848 and that the heart of Jesse Richards died with them, that Jesse’s sons – Thomas, Samuel, and the second Jesse-tried valiantly to carry on against new inventions and greater competition. Sometimes I recall such stories as the one about the Quaker captain, David Mapps, who sailed away with an empty boat rather than carry as cargo a load of , Col. Richards’ best munitions which, he said loudly, “were the devil’s own pills.” But to tell you the truth, I am always a little fearful of a newer invasion, not by an overseas enemy but by people like the bus driver who, one day recently, asked me who owned Pleasant Mills corner and what I thought it could be bought for.

“I’ve got an idea,” he said earnestly, “a swell idea. I don’t want to drive a bus all my life. Give me that corner and a big hot-dog stand and I’ll clean up. It’s a natural with a great future.”

Refuse to Worry About Newcomers

Then I fly for refuge to old Bob Ford, 78, the oldest man in Batsto, who has lived in the village all his life – first in the house that Bob Stewart’s father – Bob still lives up the road toward Hammonton – set on fire. Or I seek out old Joshua Brown, who looks like Carl Sandburg at 65 and is a brother of Mrs. Bozarth with whom I used to talk in the evening on the steps of the Richards manor house. Bob and Josh assure me that there’s nothing to worry about, that they haven’t worried all their lives, and there have been and always be ways of taking care of those who have notions about importing noises and smells and carnival trinkets.

Josh and Bob sometimes wander up the road together, telling their tall tales to Batsto children of today, among them Elaine and Nancy Adams. Even so, I don’t think children of New Jersey anywhere are sufficiently aware that Batsto and Pleasant Mills was a refuge for those who fled the persecutions of the Stuart kings and that these villages must always be a sanctuary from cluttered-up living.

Unless Bob and Josh and many more speak up, no one will recall that Baxters, MacGillans, Campbells’ and Pecks, members of an exiled company maintained their own church standards, followed their own precepts and worked shoulder to shoulder every day.

No one will recall that Charles M. Peterson wrote the earliest American novel of New Jersey around the Kate Aylsford house in Pleasant Mills.

No one will remember that the little Pleasant Mills church was dedicated by Francis Asbury, first Methodist bishop in America, a guest of Jesse Richards, a Church of England man who liked Presbyterians, employed Quakers and Methodists, and built the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption for his Roman Catholic employees down the road.

Ghost Might Walk to Still Old Tales

Perhaps I had better conjure up a ghost to frighten the disrespectful. If so, I can think of no better a phantom than the Charles Read who turned up In Philadelphia in 1739 with a cargo of rum and a Creole bride. This was the Charles who was to become “the Hon. Charles Read, Esq.” and who, described In Aaron Learning’s caustic diary of Colonial days as “whimsical to the borders of insanity,” disappeared and then, long later, died as the keeper of a dirty little shop in Martinburg, NC.

“Charles sold out,” Aaron wrote, “and married the daughter of a rich planter on Antigua. She was very much of a Creole, no hansom, nor genteel but talked after the Creole accent…” For all that dusky Alice Thibou was “decently interred in the Burying Ground of St. Mary’s Church” in Burlington. So I know where Alice, the Creole, lies but-watch out for Charles.

Any man who had so many nasty things said about him when he couldn’t defend himself is likely to be back, in one shape or another, puttering about the familiar paths that lade the vicinity of a fading feudal dynasty.

First published in the Newark Sunday Star Ledger, June. 22, 1947. Reprinted with permission. Transcribed by Ben Ruset. The Star Ledger requests that you do not copy, retransmit, or link directly to this article. Please link to our homepage at

Old Jersey Forest Fire Fighter Borrowed System Used by the Indians

“An observant traveler, taking his way through the bleak woods in November, especially, along the tangled and moss-carpeted trails among forgotten towns, must sooner or later acquire something of a philosophic viewpoint.

“If he goes down to Retreat, four miles or so out of Vincentown, as we did, he will hear people recall how Charlotte Cushman, one of the most famous actresses of her time, spent Vacations there.

“If he presses on to South Park, on the trail that carries through miles and miles of desolation to Chatsworth, he may see a small truck marked “Fire Patrolâ” emblazoned with red diamonds of the Fifth Divisionâ – the carryall of hard-working Albert B. LeDuc, who guards 80,000 acres from forest fires.

“If he goes on down to Eagle, beyond Apple Pie Hill, along Bread and Cheese Run; he will find, forgotten among the trees, a line of charred wooden grave-markers, near a lone stone inscribed “Charles Wills, 1839.”

“Weighing these considerations, the traveler will consider them in relation to the information that no one now remembers how Apple Pie and Bread and Cheese Run got their names, still retained on modern maps; that Retreat once was a thriving little town with four mills and 14 dwellings; that Fire Warden LeDuc remembers his artillery service in World War I and so goes every Memorial Day to decorate the forgotten grave of a colored soldier, and, finally, that nobody recalls much about that cemetery at Eagle except that it was and is consecrated ground.

Before I go on with this record of my own, written in 1936, let me say that Albert LeDuc is dead and that what I am writing is his memorial. For much that I learned of the country on and around Apple Pie Hill came long ago from this old and kindly friend who died in the land he loved best, the pinelands he once guarded from fire long before protection became more highly organized by the state.

He lived to 74 despite asthma

Albert was 74 when he died. He had not been well for many years, almost from the day of his retirement from the forest fire service in 1944. His death was not attributable, however, to the asthmatic plague which, in the beginning, brought his uncle and thus, Albert, himself—to New Jersey. Albert’s kin, seeking relief from the disease in Death Valley in the 1880s, picked up a copy of the New York World In which, as he told me long ago, there was a full-page advertisement concerning a Jersey town named Paisley.

Paisley, as it-was called In days before it became White Horse, was proclaimed as a haven for all asthma sufferers and Albert’s aunt and uncle hurried back east. They arrived in the New Jersey pinelands of Burlington County, discovered that most of the claims about Paisley began and ended in real estate advertising, and remained even though the town’s hopes blossomed and then faded before there was a bloom.

I know that there was a Paisley newspaper and I think I have shown you a copy, it was one of those publications Issued as part of the business than went on in New York, offering “indisputable proof” that there was a town, sure enough, with a factory making mattresses of pin needles, a conservatory of music, and much more.

Albert LeDuc was a native of Marseilles but he had been a very real American almost from the moment his feet touched American soil. He had been in Burlington County since the early 1900s and I know that if my mother were here she would remember well the night that we joined Albert at a Harvest Home dinner somewhere in the vicinity of Indian Mills, a night when Albert showed his joy in eating. A veteran of World War I, he was an active member of the American Legion, having served as Commander of the Mt. Holly post. It was Albert who led other searchers to the place where Emilio Carranza, the Mexican flier, fell in the Jersey Pines and it was Albert who was a leader in the movement that brought a permanent memorial to the airman deep in the woods beyond Tabernacle.

Evolved system for forest fires

Albert, who evolved the system of fighting forest fires with fire, a plan first used by the Indians which, these long years after, has gained new acclaim, had a secret passion for discovering forgotten graves as well as towns and, as you might suspect, placing flowers where others had passed by. It was Albert LeDuc who made a point of joining other officials in a ceremony at the Carranza monument every year. In the beginning, however, I came upon Albert and his little car almost anywhere far from civilization and we became fast friends.

Albert lived in a woodsy retreat called South Park by forgotten real estate dreamers who sold lots over and over again to absentee purchasers who never bothered to find out. It wasn’t more than a year before his death that I paid him belated tribute, telling you and all who wanted to listen how Albert LeDuc was the man who pioneered in fire-fighting methods in the woods, methods belatedly receiving attention. How glad I am that I wrote what I did and how wonderful it was to know that another friend had sought out Albert to tell him about it. A letter came In from Chatsworth which began, “Dear Old Friend:

All those years ago it was Albert LeDuc, the man with the quick, erratic gait and the spasmodic way of speaking who took me down a sandy road to a forgotten cellar from which he dug faded real estate brochures of the area telling how Dr. William A. White, a New York physician, was going to build a sanitarium at Pine Crest. Then he found a bottle of “Pine Crest Water” for me, saying it was pumped from the pines and sold as magical in New York. I remember his laugh when he told me that the natives used the water in their car batteries.

That was when, although I didn’t realize it, Albert LeDuc of the little red truck was telling New Jersey authorities to burn the woods in Winter, protecting the land the way the Indians did. Albert preferred to remember the legends of Retreat and how Charlotte Cushman used to come down into the woods when she was managing the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia.

“We went to South Park where Albert LeDuc was waiting for us,” I wrote in that first record of a venture into a land of mystery which always will have its lodestone for me. “Rather, he was putting in his time by sawing wood. His fire district is certainly one of the most extensive and important in the pinelands. However, despite the breadth of his territory and the alert anxiety he must observe for breaking out of fires somewhere in that vast stretch of 80,000 acres, he maintains a cheerful mien and a surprising agility for his 57 years. That, you see, was long ago. “What is more,” I went on, “Albert knows these back trails, lined with brambles and pine and cedar scrub, like a book and so he told us why we missed that cemetery near Eagle on earlier excursions.

Apple Pie highest South Jersey hill

“Warden LeDuc did not take us to Eagle immediately. Recalling how well the late Warner Hargrove, our first guide, had spoken of him, we were only too glad to listen.

“We had been up Apple Pie Hill before, of course, but his companionship made this journey like a first visit. The hill, you see, is the highest point in southern New Jersey, 210 feet above sea level. Albert said that if the woods were cleared and the hill surfaced in packed snow, the impetus given by the slope would carry a bobsled 10 miles. The bill is scarred with sharp ravines and on its top is an emergency fire observation tower. From its lookout platform one can see far across the blue haze of the barrens, 20 miles in any direction. On a clear day the masts of the radio station at Tuckerton are etched against the sky.

That was the day Albert told me about Dr. White and, at the same time, showed me his white- painted dwelling in the midst of a cluster of small buildings on the hill, all of which have disappeared. “Down the slope, I wrote then, “is a small bottling house where Dr. White obtained and circulated a health water under a State license, water Albert said was so pure that natives claimed it to be as good as distilled.

“The fate of the hospital, called Pine Crest on the labels of the health water bottles, has been uncertain since Dr. White’s death. A key to the place was on Warden LeDue’s large jingling chain but he used it only for those interested in another broken dream of the pine country. From Apple Pie Hill he led the way to Eagle, across the Jersey Central at Sandy Ridge. There is the evidence of one large dwelling here on a surprisingly green rise, shuttered by buttonwoods, trees that do not belong in this area at all.

This is the McCaimbridge house, the warden said, and it was built of logs. The McCaimbridges and a family called Wills were the only settlers in the vicinity. The old fences leading down the hill into pine timber that was worth looking at until the fires choked it out stand forlornly askew. Then, where fires have cracked through time and again, Albert LeDuc found the cemetery for us – you’d hardly call it that – even though a wandering priest came and made it hallowed for all time. Headstones and footstones never were stone but pine boards. Today the beavers have eaten all along the ground to leave them standing on mere spindles.

Gravestone Tells of Older Homes

The one inscribed stone in the line half covered with the muck of the years gave authenticity to the legends of habitation there: “Charles Wills – 1839. So ended the record of the journey with an old friend who knows more about Charles Wills then he ever could have on [word missing].

Perhaps Albert DeLuc and Uncle Till Estlow who until he died lived in Brookville are comparing notes on Eagle now. For it was later on when something that became ‘Jersey Genesis’ was being put down in scribbled notes that Tilden Estlow took me there. Uncle Till lived in Wells Mills and I have always wondered if the Wills had become Wells in later days. When Godfrey Estlow died an entry in an old diary said that he was buried at “the Barnharts Place and some of us have always concluded that Barnharts was Eagle. I know that when Uncle Till took me to Eagle he said that his grandfather, Christopher Eatlow, lay buried in one of those graves marked by a fire-charred spindle.

I must go down along those trails again, at least to pay my respects to Albert’s widow, Maude, known throughout the area as a very real missionary on a frontier that most of New Jersey overlooked. Mrs. LeDuc founded the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church near her home and continued her philanthropies among the people of the area in a way, which to my knowledge, never has been mentioned in Albert’s obituary notice. Albert died at what is known as Johnson Place but Oak Grove is really just up the road.

There have been many changes in that pine country beloved by Albert since my first journeys down that way, at the beginning with a bored photographer who thought I was crazy, and later with a night police court reporter who had a car so full of scratches that a hundred more among the brambles of the faraway didn’t matter. Albert’s aunt was living then, in a house not far from the mythical Paisley. The house was burned, I was told the other day, when Albert allowed its sacrifice so that pinewoods firefighters might try out their equipment.

How did Palsey get its name? Reaching back for scraps of conversation, I suddenly remembered Albert’s story of his uncle, the Frenchman in search of a hideaway from asthma. “He had a Scotch maid who came from Paisley, he said, “and he named the town to please her. “Who, your uncle? I remember asking. “No, of course not, he said. “It was the real estate man. Paisley was here long before my uncle came although nobody seemed to have done much with it. The mattress factory was just a building and a few people going through the motions. The hotels and conservatory of music pictured in the newspapers were never built although work was expected to start any day. That’s what they always said.

Concrete Covers old Sand Trails

By now there are ribbons of concrete across the lands that were hard to come by even in those first journeys of my own. Most of the sand trails we traveled with an ax and a shovel kept handy have added hard surfaces where there were deep ruts. You can go through White Horse and South Park and Retreat at a high rate of speed compared to the snail’s pace of long ago. However, the ways of life that Albert LeDuc showed me up from a rise called Apple Pie Hill and a broken ridge called Chicken Bone are to be found today much as always they were.

The men who gather sphagnum moss, used by florists and, in emergencies, for surgical dressings, still find life sweet in the simple ways of living it and, I heard the other day, do much better than they did when first I knew them. One family, I am told, goes off to Florida when the cold stiffens the swamp muck. “We don’t have to dry sphagnum in the sun the way we did when you came down in the beginning with Albert, one of the Andersons said “We don’t have to bale it, either. We sell it wet.”

The cranberry men have more bogs than ever but they scoop the berries much as they always did. Go down to Hog Wallow and Haines Bog and Speedwell along the Chatsworth road when the seasons on and you’ll see the scoopers in action. Albert sold much of his uncle’s land to expanding cranberry growers.

The old tower on Apple Pie Hill should be, it seems to me, Albert LeDuc’s memorial Having escaped fire after fire, it has been replaced in service by a modern steeple of much impressive height. As for Paisley itself, only one cellar hole remains to prove it was ever there; a lone cellar hole and an apple tree, still bearing in the remnants of an orchard.

I want you to remember Albert LeDuc even if some of the firefighting experts of a new day choose to forget him. I want you to recall him not because he was my friend but because, through his kindly recollections, you have some knowledge of a never-never land in which anything can happen and often does. Whenever I go back to the Pinelands, as I like to do often, things in general get a little [word missing] tight for comfort. I don’t think I will miss the pioneer warden of the forest for his spirit, somehow will still be there.

First published in the Newark Sunday Star Ledger, Oct 14, 1951. Reprinted with permission. Transcribed by Ben Ruset. The Star Ledger requests that you do not copy, retransmit, or link directly to this article. Please link to our homepage at

Ghosts of Old Jersey Fiddlers Still Haunt the Back Woods

Whenever I walk the Tallertown road, the ghosts rise up around me. There is, to begin with, the ghost of the town itself for in these days no one seems to be sure if the village, now only a scattering of weather black houses, was Tallertown or Tylertown. Up to now, or not long ago, it had been Tylertown to me because. old men like Constant Ford and Vill and Lonzo Nichols had associated it with a long-gone family of Tylers. More recently my friends in Hermann, or Hermantown, where they used to make glass along the Mullica River and beyond Charcoal Point, from where cordwood was shipped to heat pre-coal New York, began calling it Tallertown or Tallowtown, because this was where quantities of “tallow trees” grew.

Here, then, and within the shadow of Hanover Furnace now swallowd up by Fort Dix, early Jerseyans knew how to boil what they called “tallow trees” in order to obtain a wax from which they fashioned their rude candles. I must not complain, however, for they still use the next best appropriate illumination – oil lamps. None has known that intruder, electricity, which recently spoiled the quaint interior of the ancient Green Bank Church.

For my part, I thought that I had finished with Tylertown or Tallertown, as the case may be. I went that way to Bulltown, another glass kiln, long ago, and, even in an earlier day, I traveled with Warner Hargrove along the brushy path which still is dignified with the name, Washington Turnpike. This is the road, straight as a ramrod from Batsto to Harrisville, past the cellar-holes of a little known Washington, N. J., that Joseph Wharton built with his own money across what he expected to be a Philadelphia water-shed.

It was a letter from Hoills Koster, probably written so painstakingly by the light of another oil lamp, that called me back – this time to the weird tune of phantom fiddles.

Old-time fiddlers widely known

“Hearing often of your interest in the violin,” wrote Hollis, that native of the Mullica shores whose name is known to botanists almost everywhere, “it might be well to touch upon the violin in folk lore, if you have a mind. Although we can only hope to scratch the surface, at the beginning, which is the way of most violinists, it will no doubt prove a rich subject. Relying entirely on what comes to me now, let’s talk about a few things that have happened in this section:

Many years ago, I have been told, the three taverns on the old Quaker road – Quaker Bridge Tavern, the Mount Tavern and Washington Tavern – held party nights once a week. One week the Mount will hold a party, the next the Washington Tavern took its turn, and so on. Folk from miles around attended and the region produced some particularly fine fiddlers, we are told. Their reputation, at any rate, seems to have survived a hundred years or more, Naturally, so have their ghosts.

Bill Birdsall recalled the excitement that followed when violin, music was heard in the dark of the night from the old Joe Miller place at Tallertown. Of course, Jeremiah Ford’s sons, David and Thomas, had been notable and lived nearby. I find “David Ford, Fiddler” entered in an old account book of the 1850’s, written so to distinguish him from David Ford, of Tulpehauken, and David Ford, of Frogtown. A violin heard at times in the past at Hermann was said to connect with Asa Ford. I find, however, that a later Asa Ford, who played the instrument, was indicated. But more on Asa Ford, the fiddler, later. Before Bill Birdsall died, he laughed the whole matter aside by explaining that the “music” resulted when two limbs of the trees would be rubbed together by the wind – but he always spoke of it as if he were never quite sure

Johnnie Johnson, now at Anchorage, Alaska, has been concerning himself with some of the old names along the Tallertown road – and we have exchanged a deal of correspondence. We have been trying to find out, for instance, why the king snake is known in the Pine Barrens here as a “wamper.” Naturalists had supposed that this word was a corruption of “swamper” but we felt this theory was not too strong. We soon had string of words meaning to undulate, etc., from the Scotch, Dutch, old English and other sources. We also remembered the wampum snake but feel that we have as yet proved nothing.

But Haze Wobber gave me a fine example of the manner in which words at times can be corrupted. It seems that an old-time woodchopper, having ground his blade unusually fine, tested it on a pine tree somewhere between the Mount and Tallertown. The bit broke off in the tree, that tree became known as the ax-bit pine. Many years later, Haze tells me, people were calling it the “acklby pine.”

“While we are concerned with the environs of Tallertown we might as well note Kate’s Money Tree, known also as “The Haunted Pine” and as the Haunted Stump.” Kate Ford, wife of one of the Jeremiahs, used to explore the forests with a “money spear.” And you might make a note there that the name that has troubled us so long, Aunt Bash Ford, was actually Barsheba Ford . . .”

Let me break in here to say that in company with Will Nichols and Hollis we have located the stump behind which, the legends say, an unidentified ghost is known to lurk at certain times of the year. It isn’t far beyond Tallertown and, at least by day, it appears far from extraordinary. However, it was the late Bill Birdsall, brother-in-law of Will Nichols, who said that on at least one occasion a cold hand touched the back of his neck as he passed that way. “And Bill wasn’t given to believing in that sort of thing.” Will assured me.

Money spear just pointed stick

“What,” I demanded of Hollis, as we hurried along, “was a money spear?” I had concluded that it must be some new variation of a divining rod but Hollis told me I was wrong. It was to all appearance just another pointed stick, he said. Whatever powers there were seemed to belong to Kate Ford although whether her poking about in the Jersey “desarts” ever resulted in the discovery of buried treasure is something I have not found out. It was at this point that Hollis, in the midst of an impromptu lecture on the difference between two-leaved pine, stood still as if to listen. I thought that he was about to reveal that his sensitive ears had just picked up the wavering whine confected of rosined horsehair on catgut. But it was something more important than that.

“I wanted to tell you,” he said, “that the herring are up as far as Lower Bank and that thinking of them the other night brought back an old song they used to sing here along the Tallertown road.” Hollis refused to attempt the tune but he did recall the words so that at least one more New Jersey folksong was added to my meager store:

“Looked down the river, heard the herring coming;

Looked up the road, saw the folks a-running;

Some had a saucer, others had a cup

They were all raising hell ’cause the herring was up!”

Which, while you imagine an appropriate setting full of rhythm, perhaps with fiddle accompaniment, gives me the chance to recall the occasion when a forgotten pastor of the Green Bank Church was interrupted in the midst of his sermon. A bashful member of the congregation had made his way to the platform and had handed up a note. The parson nodded and as the intruder returned to the back of the church he said: “The sermon, friends, will end right here. So will the service, however, both will be resumed this evening when, I think, we will have even more reasons to give thanks to God. The good brother has just brought me word that there are herring in the river. Go get ‘em!”

I recalled the episode and Hollis merely smiled. “As long as you are on the subject of God,” he said, “you might take note that over on the Tuckahoe River people used to answer a query as to where they might be from with ‘Tuckahoe, God bless you!’ Some say that when the herring were up and the Tuckahoe folks in no mood to tarry another word, probably profane, was substituted for bless’ . . .

“Of course,” Hollis Koster continued in his letter, “you have heard of the old statement that when the herring are about, a dweller along the Mullica River cannot remove his shirt. The explanation is, I suppose, that while the fish are in the river, every moment must be spent in catching them. As for the eating of herring, Mullica men always insist that there is but one satisfactory way in which to handle the numerous fine bones for which the species is celebrated – to forget that bones are any impediment to eating, and swallow!

“But back to our fiddlers. Asie Ford had been fiddling at the Mount Tavern one night and then at a very late hour took the ‘lang Scotch miles’ afoot down the old Quaker road toward Tallertown. Today this country is a pine barren wasteland without a dwelling for miles. Then Asa, on his way, after bidding his host, Jonathan Cramer, good-night, would have passed what was known as Noah’s Ark – this was where Noah Sooy lived alone, after separation from his wife, who in turn lived alone some distance away in what we call Polly Sooy Field.

“Asie arrived home with his face scratched and bleeding and in a generally disheveled condition. Perhaps some said, ‘Served him right to be caught on a lonely road at such an unholy hour!’ But Asie had been through a strange adventure, perhaps the natural sequel of a boast he must have made during the evening. He had said he could out-fiddle the devil any time he liked.

Challenged Asie to fiddling match

“Two or three miles southeast of the Mount, a stranger had stepped into the road, accosting Asie with words of anger. He then whipped out a violin and challenged Asie to a fiddling match right then and there. A pine log lay by the side of the road and the two sat down and commenced fiddling.

“Before long the stranger was puffing and blowing. Asie glanced at him, and in a moment deeply regretted the idle boast he had made during the evening. He had not intended to be so drawn into a contest with Old Nick himself. There was little to be done. Asie simply fiddled more furiously. Soon he noticed that the stranger had stopped his fiddling and was listening to his opponent. Asia then stopped, too.

“The devil rose from his seat gazed down at Asie, and suddenly fell upon him, striking him angrily across the face with his bow. Asia recovered in time to see his defeated opponent disappear into the pre-dawn mist which bad commenced to rise like steamy smoke from the chilled turf of the pinelands. Harve Ford’s granny said she could vouch for the tact that her brother, Asie, did return with welts across his face and with a story as startling as it was colorful.”

“To conclude with one more story of the vicinity of Tailertown – Jack Updike says to tell you that a refuge, and of the celebrated pine-robbers of Revolutionary days, was seen in flight with silver plate belonging to Joost Sooy II. The robber was shot that evening through a tavern window – perhaps one called Mount – but the silver was never discovered. Although some legends say the shooting happened near Chatsworth, the plate is believed to be somewhere near.”

Surely you can see how Hollis’s letter spilled over with unspoken invitations, I had expected to go down that way a little later when more than the shad-bush would be blooming and when I could visit with Bill Birdsall’s widow, now in her 70’s, and Abbie (Mrs. Will) Nichols, 93, in what I like to call my unofficial parish. Aunt Mary Birdsall had been ill all winter, they said, and Abbie hadn’t spoken plainly since she suffered a stroke. Now, looking back, although I will freely admit that it was the string of stories linked with the Tallertown road, especially the tale of the devilish fiddling match, that drew me Down Country, my own compensation lies in having seen these old friends.

I can never understand why people far up fading country roads are allowed to grow lonely when a call means so much to them. First time I went to the Birdsall’s you may remember, their house had burned down a few days before. Even so, the fact that nearly everything but their lives was lost failed to keep Will and ‘Lonzo home on the first day of deer season.

On the way to the Nichols’s we passed what Hollis called Molasses Hill. There’s no molasses, of course, and the hill is equally elusive now that the land back of Hermantown is so grown over. Beyond the graved hole is where, Hollis Koster says, Mary Tunis met a bear. Mary was in such a hurry to get away that the lid of her kettle slipped off and molasses dripped all over the ground. The bear, whose attention had been devoted to an ant hill until Mary’s approach, quickly switched to the molasses with evident delight.

“And just who,” I asked Hollis, “was Mary Tunis?” Perhaps, I thought, her ghost was somewhere about this Tallertown road.

“Her husband was Sam Tunis,” Hollis told me. “He was what they always called ‘a water man’ down here. That means he was a sailor. It also means, In Sam’s case, that his wife, Mary, was intensely jealous of him. Although there is no certainty that he consorted with other women, Mary always imagined that he did, especially when he was away on coasters for any length of time. She was the one, you remember, who burned her husband’s musket while be was away, just because she couldn’t show her fury to the man in person. Rare article, Mary!”

Homes for living and for dead

It was not until I sat down beside Abbie Nichols’ making believe I could understand all the things she was trying to tell me, that recalled that she Is Hazleton Birdsall’s daughter and that “Haze” who taught Sunday School in the old one-room school that has been turned into a delightful little house, was my favorite Down Jersey carpenter. “Haze,” whose name will be ever remembered In Haze’s Crossway not far down the Tallertown road, used to build houses for the dead as well as for the living. Nothing could interrupt his careful building of a house except word that someone had died.

Then he quickly brought his work to a halt, climbed down his ladder and went home to his barn to ascertain if the corpse would fit one of the “boxes” he had fashioned and put by in storage. His barn, they say, concealed coffins in all sizes, always of the best wood and Birdsall workmanship. If the measurements of the deceased required a special “fit” Hazieton’s plans would be interrupted still further. The point is, as Will Nichols admitted when Mrs. Nichols couldn’t, In spite of her smiling and chattering agreement with all I said, that from the moment someone died, “Haze” Birdsall took charge.

He prepared the body for burial on what he called a “cooling board” and he used pioneer ways to keep the body in good state until the funeral. In Hazelton Birdsall’s day even preachers were hard to find when wanted and, when a reasonable wait had been undertaken, “Haze” suggested that, in addition to driving his homemade hearse to the cemetery, the bereaved might like to have him preach the funeral sermon at the end of a service which, from all accounts, he conducted very well.

Yes, sweet Abbie, who in spite of the paralysis which has tied her tongue appears far younger than 93, remembered all that. A tear betrayed the fact that she knew all that I had said was part of familiar though fading picture. Will broke in to remember the time Al Nichols lived “up to the Housen place” and Ephraim Sooy’s horse “got scared” as he passed the haunted stump. Minutes later I had persuaded Will to desert his house long enough to travel up the Tallertown road further than he had been, by his own admission, In the last two years, “There’s the stump,” he cried, as we came upon it. “More’s rotted off since I was here but there she be, sure enough. Eph’s horse got scared when something white came out from behind the shaft of it and Eph swore neither he nor the horse knew what it was.

We had moved on to what once was Washington, or Washington Field, site of the parties Hollis described as well as the Inn where “Joe” Mulliner, the Refugee, was captured. Although I have been there many times through the years, I did not know there was ever as much of a town as Will described, “Place had its own school,” he said. “Tom Campinello was one of the last schoolmasters.” Inasmuch as Tom served as godfather for Hollis Koster, I have concluded there was a settlement in what today is a mere clearing in the heart of the pine woods much later than anyone ‘has revealed. The cellar holes are all that remain of houses still standing as late as the 1880’s, perhaps, probably the victims of a forest fire that swept all such century-old relics before it.

“People say the soil is poor,” said Will. “Not so at all. Soil’s as good as any around. I remember when this clearing was a corn field and when there were farms all around. Shreve Wells ran the Mount Tavern, then, and there was a town as big as any around here. Here where the roads meet, cutting into what was the farm, people were happy and – ” What ‘Will wanted to say was that Washington, N. J. – far from the remaining Washington in Warren County – was self-sufficient. Tallertown may have dropped from sight, Quaker Bridge may be less than an empty crossroads, and Harrisville may be but the crumbling ruins of the paper plant I’ve told you about, but there were many years in which whole families lived and moved and had their being in all of them.

There are things you can’t explain

As Will Nichols tried to hide his lost agility and moved beside me as quickly as he dared, showing me that the walls of what many have concluded were those of the tavern were really those of the barn, and then moving by me to find the deep stone-lined well that proved without doubt where the celebrated inn of Nick Sooy had stood, I tried desperately for new light on the fiddlers and their ghosts. Nick Sooy had an inn at Quaker Bridge, too, Will said, changing the subject. Then, as if in deference to me he added: “There are things you just can’t explain and shouldn’t try.”

“Lonzo’s horse, now – he’s scared along here, too. Maybe the town has dropped into a bole, or a lot of holes, and maybe it looks as if everybody but the deer has gone to glory but you just know something’s been left behind. You can just feel it. Same as over to Buck’s Point. Charlie Green used to say the Wilsons lived there and that Quakers lived on the Point before them. He remembered a time when recruiting officers came – the story had been handed down from Revolutionary days – and the women folk said there were no men. From the woods came the ringing of many axes. Demanding an explanation, the officers were told that it was only old Daddy Ford chopping down a bee tree. Odd thing is that there’s always been a bee tree, nigh onto every summer, on Buck’s Point, and that when the nights are particularity still you can hear the ringing of Daddy Ford’s ax even now. By this time he musta chopped a lot of wood, we always say.”

Uncle John was sexton of the Green Bank Church, Hollis added, remembering that still another ghost of the Tallertown road has a part to play in the mystery of the tremendous coffin, shaped like a boat, dug up unexpectedly in the 1800’s. “Body was over-size too,” Hollie said, “and the crazy thing was that the giant, whoever he was, had two full sets of teeth.”

It was, I can assure you, a shivery journey, even though I encountered neither Old Nick nor phantom fiddlers on the Tallertown road. The ghost arose from the shadows all around us, however, and it was something of a relief to return to Hermantown and see something more tangible, a violin they say was by the fiddling Fords. The instrument was proudly displayed by Nick – for Nicodemus – Ford who swore, as country musicians usually do, that hero was a true Stradivarlus. “Play it,” Nick suggested. Although I was trained, long ago, to nudge Fritz Krelsler from his throne, I demurred, pointing out that the bow that was proffered had no hair.

“Don’t need none,” Nick declared. “Hair on bows went out with horses. Fiddlers down this away never seemed to mind. When a tune was wanted they rosined the wood and played. See? Like this!” Without further preliminary, a full-bodied tune emerged, melodic in spite of the scratches required, and rhythmic as well. I knew at once that the limbs of trees, rubbed together by the wind, could never make a sound like this and that the Devil, who came upon Asie Ford In the long dark of the road toward home, could have welted Asie’s face with ease – and with such a hairless stick.

First published in the Newark Sunday Star Ledger, May 9, 1948. Reprinted with permission. Transcribed by Ben Ruset. The Star Ledger requests that you do not copy, retransmit, or link directly to this article. Please link to our homepage at

The True Story of Aserdaten

A bit of determination and hard work can sometimes pay off, especially for the ghost town hunter. Just today I had finished an article about the legend of Aserdaten, the forgotten town near the Eureka Gun Club in the Forked River Mountains. I had explored the area yesterday and, despite the success of finding Black’s Stone near the Chamberlain Branch at Eureka Gun Club, had come no closer to finding out any new information about the history of Aserdaten.

For over 20 years Beck had been unsuccessful in finding out anything more than a vague and sinister story of a man named Asa Dayton who was murdered because the deer that he was raising in a pen on his property broke free one day and ravaged the little farms that once dotted the landscape in the Forked River mountains. It had been hinted by ever so slightly by Dolf Arens, then the caretaker at the Eureka Gun Club, that he had been murdered and buried in a grave near the door to the club. It seemed that the matter had been put to rest. By the time the story was published in the Newark Star Ledger and later in the book “Jersey Genesis” it seemed like Beck’s theory of the murder of Asa Dayton was correct.

It took one of his readers to finally share the correct information regarding the truth of Aserdaten. Unfortunately this information hasn’t really seen the light of day since it was published in 1959, just six years before Beck’s death. I was fortunate to come across this article, written after Jersey Genesis was published, that finally tells the truth about Aserdaten.

Asa Dayton was a man who did tend a deer farm at Aserdaten for the Stuyvesant Estate. The deer that Asa Dayton raised were red deer, a non-native species. It would be several years later before the state would begin breeding the same type of deer. Besides raising deer, the Stuyvesant Estate was also involved with winemaking and cultivated grapes throughout the area. Dayton died a natural death, luckily escaping the terrible fate that Beck and others hinted at. After his death, a second caretaker Henry Branson took over. It was one of Branson’s ancestors who finally corrected Beck.

Branson lived at Aserdaten as late as 1884, leaving for the town of Forked River as an old man. The house where Henry Branson lived in burnt down one Halloween, leaving just an empty clearing and the remains of the deer pen, the operation having ceased before the Stuyvesant Estate was sold in 1909.

Beck claims that as recent as the 1950s there was a remarkable clearing and cellar hole. Today there is no trace of people ever living there. Aserdaten exists only as a name on old maps, it’s last great mystery now solved.

The Wells Mills Frog Farm

By Robert Blanda.

It was back in 1968, that the Wells Mills Frog Farm first saw the light of day. Even the locals were unaware of the giant 10-, 20-pound, and even larger, frogs that were being dredged up at night, from a secret Wells Mills Road lake, for shipment the following morning to the Fulton Fish Market in New York City. The record catch was a 27-pounder affectionately named Tom, who was kept as a pet, but on a chain.

At this point, for the benefit of you skeptics who may be thinking, “Sounds like another one of those Baron Munchausen tales that those Pineys are always making up,” well, perhaps you’re right – at least in regards to this particular tale.

However, at the time this story got started, there was a believer, a disc jockey known to the farmers only as “Cowboy Joe.” He had just embarked on a Saturday night, 6 p.m. to midnight, country western music and talk show, on the then new FM station WOBM in Berkeley Township.

Cowboy Falls For Frog Farm

Cowboy Joe was sharp, and he had talent. His show was really great, so they say. Apparently Joe was inspired by the homey, Jersey bayshore area atmosphere, so different from that of his regular station up north in Brooklyn.

On the other hand, Cowboy Joe was a city boy. He knew from nothing when it came to bayfolk, Pineys and such. That’s how come he bit the hook, line and pork rind when he first met and became friendly with four local guys – Cliff Oakley and Toby Spatt, both of Manahawkin; Bill Sneddon of Waretown, and Bob Kruysman, known locally as Kaptain Krunch of the same name bait and tackle shop located on Route 9 in Waretown.

It all started when Sneddon and Kruysman checked in at the recently opened radio station. Both men were police officers at that time. A pot of coffee was kept going in the office for visitors.

This was a welcome treat for the officers since there was no other place for coffee on Route 9 back then.

There they met the new announcer and got to gabbing. They were asked what it was like down here, and whether there were any things of special interest in towns like Waretown.

In reply, Bill Sneddon said, “Well, there’s the Wells Mills Frog Farm.”

“Frog farm?” exclaimed Cowboy Joe. The two men, with serious cop demeanor, but as a joke, began to embellish on the frog farm story. Neither could later recall just what made them do it.

“It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing – we got carried away,” Kruysman said, adding “Maybe there was something in the coffee.”

Oakley and Spatt were then brought into the growing conspiracy. The two schemed and they thought up the idea of buying a pair of choice frog legs from Clayton’s Restaurant on Route 70 in Barnegat. They wrapped the purchase in tinfoil and fastened a bow on the package. This they then delivered to Joe along with a bottle of fancy French wine.

The boys were invited into the broadcast room. Oakley, who loved good western music! asked if more Eddie Arnold platters could be played. Pleased with his gift, Joe agreed.

More details about the farm were sought. In unison, they said, “Sure.” Then each tried to outdo the other to dream up some of the more unusual frog farm “facts.” It went something like this.

“We pack from six to eight, sometimes 10, cases each night.”

“How much does a case weigh?”

“Oh, maybe a hundred pounds or so. Only four to six frogs can be fitted into one case. We have to pack’em in standing up.”

“How come the frogs grow so large down here ?”

“They eat up lots of big, fat Jersey skeeters lots of’em. Sometimes we camp out all night and never get bit once. Those frogs get’em all.”

“But we ain’t shipping right now.”

“Oh! Why is that?” asked Joe.

“Drove the price way down, we did. Have to hold back until the price goes up again.”

Oakley then explained how they dredged for the frogs, from a rowboat, using a special jumbosize frog dredge that Spatt had made up. Kap’n Krunch added later, “Yeah, but we trolled for them, too.”

Then one Saturday night Cowboy Joe aired the Wells Mills Frog Farm story. As it so happened, All the startled culprits had gathered in the Oakley cabin as they often did on a Saturday night. Recalled Oakley, “We laughed so hard that tears rolled down our cheeks.”

Reunions Keep Alive Big Frog Stories

The D.J never did learn of the hoax that had been played on him. But then again, who can know for sure whether or not the “Cowboy” wasn’t pulling a leg or two himself?

Thereafter, Cowboy Joe would always play at least one, or even three or four, Eddie Arnold records on his show. With that, he would say, “How are all the guys doing at the Wells Mills Frog Farm?” Soon after, he had to return to his permanent job up north in Brooklyn.

The 20th anniversary of the broadcast of the Wells Mills Frog Farm story on WOBM was celebrated at a reunion held in a backwoods cabin off Wells Mills Road (Route 532) in Waretown on a Saturday in 1988. Present were Oakley, Sneddon (now the police chief in Ocean Township) and Kruysman. Absent due to the frigid weather was Spatt. With snow in the cabin fireplace, who could blame him?

The story was re-enacted, as it is at each frog farm reunion, amidst spasms of laughter. Somehow the story keeps growing, as Piney legends are wont to do.

At the get-together, Kap’n Krunch, with a crododile tear glistening at each eyelid, remarked, “Those were the days. Haven’t caught a 21-pounder since. We overfished, I guess.”

“But we never fished on a Sunday,” added Oakley, “never frogged on a Sunday.”

Then Oakley explained what had happened to old Tom, their 27-pound pet frog. “Broke his chain, he did. I still got the piece that was left.” And breaking up, he dragged out a length of rusty chain. “Last we saw of ole Tom he was three miles west of the landing heading towards Brookville. Never saw him again. Poor Toby took it real had. Tom had taken a special liking to Toby.”

Thus ends the saga of the long-gone, Wells Mills Frog Farm. Or does it?

Note: This page is from an article that appeared in the SandPaper, Wednesday, February 10, 1988 by Cornelius Hogenbirk. Cliff Oakley is now a Park Ranger at the Wells Mills County Park. If you visit the park, look for him and ask him about the frog farm. It will make his day.

Bob Kruysman sold his interests in Waretown and is now retired in Florida.

The Magical Land of La-Ha-Way

This paper, about the area that is mostly Great Adventure Six Flags today, was written for the July 27, 1916 Allentown Messenger by R. P. Dow, Secretary of the Brooklyn Entomological Society and member of the American Museum of Natural History.

(Provided by, and reprinted with permission from John Fabiano, president of the Allentown-Upper Freehold Historical Society.)

On the excellent maps issued by the State of New Jersey and the U. S. Government from the surveys of 1883, a spot just east of the northwest edge of Ocean county is marked in letters of unusual size “Lahaway Plantations.” One might imagine from the map that quite a village was there. Two miles to the west is Prospertown, distinguished on the same map by its large mill pond. To the southeast, about four miles is a town called on the map “Cassville,” but even to-day more generally known by its original name of Goshen. The large towns are all about fourteen miles away-to box the compass, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Freehold, Hightstown, Allentown, Robbinsville (still popularly known by its original name of Newtown), Bordentown, New Egypt, Burlington and Mount Holly.

But there is no village at Lahaway, not even a highway approaching the place. The survey party had floundered long through a tangle of marsh in the pine barrens when they discovered a single inhabited house on a high dry islet. Here they met the owner, J. Turner Brakeley, graduate of Princeton College and the Harvard Law School, who in 1872 decided to forgo the society of his fellows and adopted the hermit life which endured to until his death in 1915. Brakeley knew every path of the whole region, and aided the surveyors so much that in gratitude they put a name on the map, the name of Brakeley’s choosing.

The creek which rises on the spot and flows into the Delaware River has been known for a century and a half at least as Lahaway. The accent is on the second syllable. Farther down most people pronounce it as though spelled “Lay away.” There is a legend that a Jewish pack peddler passed by and stayed a night at the house of a poor farmer. He was never seen again, but thereafter the farmer became wealthy. The peddler was supposed to have much jewelry, and it was surmised that murdered and robbed he was laid away in a secret grave by the bank of the creek. The story is rather absurd, and it is more probable that Indians named the stream. It was from nearby that the Indians carried cranberries to the early settlers near Camden. The first mention of cranberries in literature is dated 1684. They were found wild everywhere in marshy places. So the name of Lahaway Plantations was taken from the creek.

A century ago the region all around Prospertown was much more prosperous than now. Its wealth has faded, but its character remains. Its people are poor, simple, hospitable and self respecting. The stranger coming within their gates likes to come again. But the grist mill below the dam is silent. The last tenant found it too hard to make a living. The saw mill has rusted away. A mile down the road a branch stream was dammed to operate an apple jack distillery, but this dam was washed away many decades ago. People do not drink much apple jack now.

The bogs of Lahaway were famous iron mines a century ago. Prospectors walked through the wet moss thrusting an iron rod far down through the soil. The experienced touch knew every obstacle encountered. Most were cedar roots which never rot. The harder and larger boulders of bog iron ore, masses of red oxide of iron. These were dug out and smelted. The first railways were laid with them. Some of the oldest houses cling with together with nails made from the iron of home making. But this industry, too, has gone the way of progress. It cannot compete with iron digging on the Mesaba, where equally good ore is scooped out with steam shovel, loaded on cars alongside and transported to steamer at a cost of not over a dollar a ton. New Jersey is dotted with blast furnaces abandoned half a century or more ago.

The through stage from Trenton to Toms River and Atlantic City, etc., passed by Prospertown four corners. This, too, has rusted away into the eternal silences. The railroad is roundabout, but it killed coaching.

Years ago Bill Horner’s father made hand shaven baskets of white oak. They lasted a life time and no wetting could hurt them. But the industry is gone, for it cannot compete with cheap machine made baskets which warp to ruin at the first wetting. And so it has come that the people of Prospertown merely till the soil of an unfertile pine barren. No church is there. Religious meetings are in the little school house in the pine woods.

To understand, the scholar first studies his map, especially the geodetic and geological. This tells the story. Across the State, somewhat on the slant and about following the Camden and Amboy Railroad, runs the line of red shale. The whole soil is red with land which makes the pink blush on the sunny side of each peach. This was once the seashore line. The fresh water streams took down another kind of rich soil. They made the land which is now largely grown to rye, the stand of which is fair and tall. In another place, sloping to the west, the alluvium of a geological age deposited soil so rich that the hay is wonderful. The cattle now graze all the unmown lots, and it is no wonder that the place is called Cream Ridge. It flows with milk and honey.

On a line southward from Cream Ridge lies a stratum which no geologist has ever understood. Past Hornerstown as far as New Egypt there lies pockets of marl, a substance of unknown origin, possibly vegetable. The peculiar soil supported once a big industry. It is a splendid fertilizer. But, a quarter of a century ago the phosphate rock of Florida and Georgia was dug up and treated with sulfuric acid. It cost so little that it drove marl as a fertilizer wholly out of the market.

Marl is now coming again into use. It is the base of some of the scouring powders. It is strange stuff, an impalpable powder, feeling soapy to the touch, and always of bright color, green, red, blue, etc. Some remote age the sunlight kissed it and gave it rainbow hues. To Science to-day it has an absorbing interest. It preserves the bones of all animals which happened to die in it. The seashells from the Hornerstown marl are among the oldest evidences of life, perhaps tens of millions of years ago.

Less than half a mile east of Hornerstown railroad station the country changes. Great patches of bare sand support cactus and a gray-green weed peculiar to the seashore. Here begins the land which was ocean bed and which rose from the sea very shortly before mankind was evolved. In geology we call this period the cretaceous, for at this time chalk (which is merely the bones of countless sea creatures) appeared on the dry land. This sea sand now becomes the surface soil all the way to south and east. Lakewood and Lakehurst are in the same geological belt. All, except where reclaimed by cultivation, is pine barren, for this only is the vegetation springing naturally from the sea sand made dry a quarter of a million years ago.

Few readers of the Messenger are unacquainted with the aspect of the sandy seashore on all the low lands from Long Branch to Cape May. We all know how back from the shore lie the dunes, sand, sand, and sand shifted hither and thither by the winter winds. This was the soil of Prospertown, Lahaway, in fact all the way to the coast. Little by little through many centuries plants thrust down their roots and fixed the soil until it no longer shifted, except in isolated spots. Little by little the streams trickled over, dropping clay to keep the soil from blowing around and making swamps of the whole region.

The secret of Lahaway is now easier to explain. It lies exactly on the height of land, the mid-rib of New Jersey, which is almost too feeble to be noticed to the south, but which becomes mountainous west of Plainfield. For untold centuries the sand shifted year by year. Long before the pyramids of Egypt were built the pines took root and began to fasten the soil. The oaks soon followed (there are twenty species of oak tree at Lahaway). The hickory took root and the slopes were covered with mountain laurel, still white and sweet in early June. At one spot the windswept pile is still 179 feet high. At the exit of the creek from the estate the level is 97 feet. A plain was washed from six hundred springs. Underneath, from two to ten feet, lies clay, water proof and giving endless nourishment to plants having roots long enough and strong enough to reach it. On the hillside this clay may be a hundred feet below the surface. Over the clay there has developed a wonderful flora. Feeding on the diverse flora has evolved a wonderful fauna.

Lahaway has been aptly described as an islet of the Delaware River transplanted into the pine barrens. Mr. Brakeley built a lofty stand on each of his two hills, from which one may look many miles around. To the west the woods cut off the view. To the northwest lies Cream Ridge, almost of equal height at the summit. A little east of north is a hill five miles away, higher by sixty feet. To east and southeast lie miles upon miles of pine swamp, low lying, rising a few feet here and there, swamp and dry island, pathless. Anyone losing his way may easily remain lost a day to come out he knows not where.

There are almost no stones in the region, only rounded sea pebbles and irregular masses of pebbles cemented together by liquid iron rust. One such pile lies in the swamp, from which the Indians carried stones for many miles to make the little piles necessary to support their cooking pots.

The prosperity of Prospertown died when the railroads came. The Camden and Amboy was the back door route from New York to Philadelphia. It was a poor line. Passengers had to cross the river from Philadelphia to Camden by a poor ferry boat. They were landed at the shore across from the extreme south end of Staten Island. To continue to New York they had still to take a boat requiring two weary hours. Still, this was better than the old stage coaching. Some years later a railroad line was built across the State, the Seashore and Atlantic. Then branches were projected and built. “Bill” Allen projected and built one of them. It ran 25 miles across an agricultural country, from Hightstown, a thriving town, to Pemberton, which was little except a junction point on the Philadelphia-Seashore line. He got backing from the Pennsylvania Railroad, then beginning to revolutionize the East by railroad transportation, and having leased the Camden and Amboy.

The public traveled thrice as fast and as comfortably as ever before, and at first were properly grateful. But the little line did not pay. There were no factories on the line. One factory gives more freight than fifty farmers do. The farmers produced milk and they demanded an additional train, and early morning to carry milk. This spelled more loss for the railroad. The extra train was refused and the threat was made to tear up the tracks. The sturdy farmers then leased the road and ran trains to suit themselves. The result is a lesson to the entire United States, provided that heedless land might profit by example. The stock of this roadlet, which did not pay operating expenses, now pays ten per cent and never appears in market unless some one dies. It is a remarkable tribute to the zeal and will of Yankee farmers. It now runs thrice as many trains as were once considered possible.

But of course, the railroad ruined the stage line to the county seat, which ran through Prospertown. It was easier and cheaper to take the railroad, although one might have to wait a couple hours at Pemberton. This stage line was wholly forgotten, until the track through the sand was re-discovered by a New York Scientist in May 1916. This side of Bullock’s cranberry bog lie the remains of the foundation of the roadhouse where once a good dinner was served to passengers at 12 ½ cents. Thereafter the land east of Prospertown went further and further toward original wilderness. Miles and miles were without a house, without cultivation.

About 1855 a brave gentleman, Rev. John Henry Brakeley, who had founded the Bordentown College for Women, had married an heiress, and was a naturalist of no mean ability, very often consulted by the authorities of the Smithsonian Institution, tramped the country far and wide. He found Lahaway and recognized its possibilities. He bought it, at first a quadrangle of 201 acres. Later purchases extended it like a maltese cross in each direction. It was to be a mission, in a way. It was to be made a garden to teach the neighbors how scientific farming could be done. Peach orchards, cherries, apples were planted. The culture of alfalfa was subsequently introduced. Fields of fertilized corn grew where now is only pine barren. The wilderness began to blossom like the roses of Sharon. A new era of prosperity seemed impending. The plain was built up into leveled cranberry bogs at great cost. It seemed justified, for the iron fed berries were wonderful, fetching a cent per quart more than any other. Each season the picking gave employment at unusual money to all natives for miles around. Each owner of a piece of wild bog learned how to grow cranberries for himself.

One matter was overlooked. It was in a “frost belt.” There is a geologically peculiar strip of land, about fifteen miles long and four miles wide. Without apparent reason killing frost visit it any time up to June 10 and as early as August 20. The nip the crops terribly, even blighting the cranberries, killing the huckleberry blooms, reducing the strawberry yield to nil and killing all garden truck, sweet potatoes, lima beans and the like. The peanut crop assailed by an independent enemy-the moles. Little by little the peach orchards died. The alfalfa grew to grass. The strawberries yielded little. The great bodies of water grew wonderful pond lilies. But the land grew few salable things.

Here it was that J. Turner Brakeley came in 1872. He had all his father’s zeal and scholarship. Here Rev. J. Henry Brakeley died in extreme old age. The younger Brakeley a divided motive. He was just as keen as ever for the uplift of the countryside. He was a naturalist by taste. He inherited a financial independence. He harvested his berries because the pickers’ wages were needed by the countryside. That is all. If some rare orchid sprouted in his bog, berry culture gave way to the matter of botanical interest.

Once each year the recluse went away. He controlled the local cemetery of Bordentown. Years previously he had bought the Jerome Bonaparte mansion in Bordentown. It was a magnificent place, crumbling when he got it, and thereafter going much further into decay. All winter long he dwelled in the fastness of Lahaway. Little by little his fortifications were built around him. No highway approaches Lahaway, only crisscross woodroads. The way out is easy, the way in only findable by map and compass.

To the east Mr. Brakeley bought a piece of wild land to give him the height whereon he built his lookout tower. To the north he bought a piece lest some lumberman cut timber, whereas the Master of Lahaway never allowed a stick to be felled. To the west he bought a very long narrow strip of land from twofold motive. The ladyslipper orchids grew on it, and he wished to prevent their being picked. Also his purchase would keep neighbors and highways away. To the south he bought land lest some one start a cranberry bog.

Until about 1884 cranberries grew wild in New Jersey. Cultivation was a matter of getting a large number of plants in one place, weeding them, etc. Occasionally some one had by artificial cross-fertilization produced a larger, handsomer berry, but they were not so well flavored as the wild ones. During 1883 a pest was discovered in the bogs of New Jersey which threatened the whole crop. In April and May large numbers of tiny caterpillars entered the bogs and ate the vines. Rev. J. H. Brakeley wrote in alarm to Charles V. Riley, then the Government entomologist at Washington. As the force of field investigators was then small, Riley engaged a young Brooklyn lawyer, who was greatly devoted to insect study, John B. Smith, to become traveling agent at $15 a week to investigate crop pests. Smith afterwards became State Entomologist of New Jersey and Professor of Entomology in Rutgers College, dying there in 1912.

The nature of the cranberry pest was easily ascertained; the cure a much more difficult matter. There are two species of little Pyralid moths, which live for the most part on wild huckleberries, but which found easier food where the cranberries grew thick. The progeny of a hundred moths, say 300 eggs laid by each, consumed an acre a day. To poison them by spraying the vines with arsenic would cost prohibitively, the poison having to be renewed after every shower. J. Tuner Brakeley himself devised the remedy. At the foot of each leveled bog the dam was higher and stronger. At the insects laid eggs in early spring, all the bogs were covered with water, remaining covered until the middle of the following May. Unable to reach the cranberry plants, the moths had to back to their original foods. Therefore all cranberry bogs are winter flooded to this day.

At the first flooding John B. Smith was present. The water rose slowly over the fields always theretofore dry. Myriads of insects climbed every weed to get away. The two entomologists gathered them by the bushel. The whole yield was shipped to the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences to be studied for several years, for unknown forms, rarities, and to gain a comprehensive idea of fauna of this treasure-filled region. About one-third of all the hosts of insects known in the eastern United States have been registered as found at Lahaway.

Brakeley lived, as we have said, the life of recluse. His father stricken by slow creeping paralysis, the Bordentown College was closed and dismantled. Its scholarly founder died at Lahaway in extreme old age. Thereafter the son gathered the berries every year because the people from miles around depended more or less on the berry picking for wages. But his interest in life was rather to watch the bloom of every rare or beautiful flower, to note the spring arrival of each bird, to keep every stick of timber safe from wanton axe, to exercise far and wide a prudent helpful aid in public affairs. The income of his at first ample fortune went mostly to public helpfulness. A few hundred dollars a year sufficed for his simple wants. Skilled labor for the bogs is worth $2 a day as a minimum, and the workers have more than they can attend to. So the bogs deteriorated for lack of skilled repairers. Brakeley income and part of principal went for rebuilding of burned industrial plants, for the beautification of the Bordentown cemetery, and a thousand and one other things. Through Brakeley’s soul surged the melody of unwritten song. It was worked out alone.

Between Brakeley and the young Rutgers professor there grew a strange deep friendship. Brakeley’s researches into mosquito life started the latter on the career from which he is chiefly known and revered throughout New Jersey today. Smith found a second home at Lahaway. A room was known as his. Three meals a day were there for him, whether Brakeley was there or not. But overwork killed Smith at the age of 54, leaving Brakeley a little more lonesome than he understood. Smith was faithful to the Brooklyn Entomological Society, of which he had been non-resident president some years. The friendship, the kindly interest of the sweet-souled hermit was transferred to the secretary of that Society, and in this way Lahaway became far more widely known to science than ever before.

The first glimpse of Lahaway is quite unforgettable. One approaches through the level typical woods of the pine barrens. A little decline through a turn reveals the flat bogs, rusty gray in spring, white with berry blossoms in midsummer, red with fruit in September. Beyond on all sides lie the hills. To the eye at least the height of a mountain is only comparative. Mt. Everest in the Himalayas is the highest in the world, summit seems a climb of half an hour. Pikes Peak seems so close to the Colorado plain that one imagines he could throw a stone to the summit. Yet, if the observer approached for two whole days the sight of the summit would seem no nearer.

At Lahaway the bogs stretch in level plain below. The hills are less than fifty feet above. One can imagine at vast Greek amphitheater, the flat big enough to seat a million spectators, the semicircle around lined with scrub pine, the slope seemingly big enough to seat another million onlookers. Back of the path lies the house upon a knoll. It is simple, unpainted and weather-beaten. Around are barns and other outhouses. Above stand great black walnut trees. The vista to the north includes a single giant sweet gum tree. Beyond, across more bogs, is another bit of highland. It is Mink Island, so called. Another unpainted house is visible.

On the government map a contour line shows the bounds of Mink Island. It is a sandbank, once a wind swept dune. The mink have always fished around its border. In later years the otter has gotten in again, to the terror of all other creatures. A spring on the slope has the sweetest water of all. A fallen, rusted line of barbed wire marks the boundary of Brakeley land. Beyond is the estate of the Star Cranberry Company, which bought and tried for success. The bog was not suitable. The clay bottom cracked and would not hold water. No crop was ever harvested. The $5,000 that the stockholders put in is there yet. All subscribers are dead and gone.

It would be impossible to clear title to add to Natural History this land, almost absolutely worthless. Twenty centuries ago the place was famous. It was the home of a tribe of Indians. They were not aboriginal. They came each year for the fall hunting. It is not hard to trace their path. The men who made and repaired the stone arrowheads sat in one spot of sand where the sun kept them warm in the frosty Novembers. The chips of stone betray their origin. They crossed the Delaware River at Trenton, for they carried big pieces of the hard, compact Trenton stone. They passed by Allentown, Pa., for a black basaltic stone used for axes. They came from the south shore of Lake Erie, where the winter fishing through the ice kept them from hunger. Occasionally they made a long detour. A knife for skinning deer was dug up by the writer and now rests in the American Museum of Natural History. It is of rose quartz, which occurs only within two hundred miles, at Bedford, Westchester county, New York. They did not control the hunting ground undisputed. At least one terrible battle occurred in the plain below, as evidenced by the stone tomahawk, which the chance plow turns up.

The fireplaces are there. Cooking kettles were suspended on piles of bog iron stone, carried from the swamps. Sixteen encampments are still distinctly visible. Here and there around the whole countryside are the remains of smaller camps, some only a single fire where a brave and a squaw spent a week. Through the woods lost arrowheads show where they shot pigeons or partridges. A hostile tribe dwelled east of Cream Ridge. They put up at least one terrible fight in the swamps. Their cooking pots were of cut soapstone or of baked clay. All are so broken that only inch pieces are left.

The weather-beaten house has its history. It was first the center of an abandoned farm. “Bill” Horner, for whose grandfather Hornerstown was named, raised his family their and was general factotum at Lahaway. Later, a well-known physician, broken in health, brought a family and maintained a chicken farm until restored to health and usefulness, getting the place rent free from Brakeley. The timbers are sound, but the only denizens are field mice, the mason bees boring in the posts, the mud wasps building yellow fluted tubes of homes, prey of small insects. The superannuated willow behind the house has a population all its own-moths, beetles, bugs, each to remain as nature dictates, fighting the fight of survival of the fittest. In the sand the pepo spiders burrow freely. Tiger beetles seek prey without let or hindrance.

On Mink Island grows the beach plum and the trailing dewberry. The latter are so soft when ripe that they cannot be shipped. But they make most delectable pies. Hither came each July Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers, for ten years the housekeeper at Lahaway, to pick a peck of dewberries either to stew or for pie. No pie maker in the world quite like Mrs. Rogers. Years ago the writer, at a school in New England, went often with other boys to the house of a woman who eked out her income by selling home-made pie at five cents per cut. One day she announced gleefully that she had all kinds, having just baked yesterday. Being pressed for particulars, her pies were of three classes, “kivered [covered], open-face and cross barred.” So also Mrs. Rogers’ pies of many fruits. Besides, she could cook cranberries in fifty-seven different ways, each more tasty than the preceding. Nearly at the same time she picked the beach plums, relics of bygone ages when the place was seashore. Such plum jam! She picked only on the sunny side of each bush, for on the shady the plums are bitter. The beach plums grow in several places nearby, notably the roadside just east of Prospertown milldam and on the banks of old sea sand a quarter mile east of Hornerstown.

Mink Island slopes westerly into the headwaters of Lahaway Creek. Alongside is the built-up dam to impound the water of the lowest bog, still called bass pond, because in 1866 Rev. J. H. Brakeley stocked it with black bass, all long since dead. On the north side of the dam is the deep forest of deciduous trees, the cool wet ground the favorite home of the black snake. It runs like a deer. When caught it bites savagely with teeth as sharp as a rat’s, but of course it has no venom. There are no rattlesnakes here. The black snakes killed them all ages ago. In fact, there is no dangerous snake. The bright-mottled water snakes are good friends to man, for they feed upon noxious insects. In the dry pinewoods are plenty of pine snakes, much hated by the farmer, for they are most fond of hens’ eggs and newly hatched chickens. I have a specimen from Lahaway 7 feet 3 inches long, and another from whose stomach was cut an uncracked egg of a partridge.

The deer have been so hunted that there are few at Lahaway, although Blakeley hated a poacher. The raccoons moan by night from many a tree. The muskrats are a nuisance, breaking down dams by their ceaseless burrowing. The opossum comes occasionally, although preferring the persimmons and pawpaws of farther south. The gray squirrel is rare; the red squirrel chatters here and there in the woods. The chipmunk, the striped ground squirrel, is ubiquitous, heaping the wild cherrystones at its hole mouth in thousands of decaying trees.

Bird life is in its glory at Lahaway. Very occasionally a bald eagle circles high in the air, only to return to its mountain home. More often the fish hawks follow unresistingly the east wind, but they, too, go back to a seaside home. The great winged herring gulls also come up from the sea, following the lowest land from near Ocean Grove, but they find no food to their liking and they nest in the far north, Labrador or beyond. The lazy blue heron stands meditatively on one leg, especially in star pond, perhaps four feet tall, looking for frogs, taking young eels, not (if really hungry) disdaining pollywogs. On approach of man the great bird slowly expand its wings and flies to another corner of the pond. Thank God, no scoundrel who murders birds for milliners, who get the so-called egrets, has ever entered the sanctitude of Lahaway.

During my many visits to J. Turner Brakeley he conducted me over as many trips through the forest as then seemed to me possible in the time. My own progress was slow, for I often liked to linger a half hour over some ants’ nest stretching for many feet or some strange bird’s nest of some insect haunt. Only after his death I discovered that his favorite walk had been concealed from me as from everyone else. The wood road toward Hornerstown lies in the open sun and all summer long under a temperature which assails the very upper portion of the thermometer. The ruts of the path are many inches deep with dry sand, so that one can make as little distance per hour of walk as anywhere in the world, even in the desert of Sahara, southwest from Egypt, where no plant grows and where a sand storm is more terrible than a western cloudburst.

There is a by-path starting almost from the manor house of Lahaway, at first following close to the westerly road. All the natives know it, but they did not often use it, respecting Brakeley’s wish for solitude. It turns off where stand the three cottages which Brakeley built so that the berry pickers could live with families instead of having a long walk night and morning. It is far most beautiful about the end of May. Then the locust trees at the turn of the wood are in full flower, their great racemes of blossoms hanging down for the accommodation of unnumbered honey bees, their fragrance traveling far and sweet upon the night air.

Then the walk is under the shade of scrub pine and dwarf oak, to the edge of the swamp. Two flowers make it glorious. The blue lupine grows only in very sandy soil, its intensely blue spikes of blossom perhaps a foot long. They attract the bumblebee, but not the honeybee. Did you ever notice that the bees pay great attention to the color of flowers?

The honey bee comes only to those which are white, pale blue or sap green, the bumble bee those which are pink, purple or deep blue. There is a crimson Italian clover, much valued as a plough-in crop, which grows wonderfully here for a year, but does not perpetuate. The reason is that the color does not attract any of our home bees, and therefore fertilization does not go on. All flowers depend for the most part on cross-fertilization by insects.

Without the bumble bee the red clover cannot grow. Many years ago this staple crop was introduced into Australia and grew into richness the first year. But no seed was produced. This was the experience of several years, and no one knew the reason why. Finally a traveling entomologist was consulted. He noticed there were no bumble bees in the region, and finding that the red clover was imported from England, suggested that they bring five thousand bumble bees from the red clover fields there. This done the red clover in Australia produced seed at once and is now a staple crop. We must import the bee which fertilizes the Italian crimson clover. Did you ever notice, too, that the wasps visit almost entirely flowers, which are yellow, red or brown? Each and all of flower kind has its own fertilizing insect.

The lupine has long roots, often six to twelve feet, until moisture is found over the subsoil. The slender, thread-like roots were much esteemed by our great-grandmothers, for a decoction of them was held to be a sure specific for consumption-tuberculosis. This belief exists today among the elderly folks of Prospertown, and it may be safely said that the simple herb remedies of three generations ago are not wholly unfounded in reason.

The other flower giving glory, to the path is the lady slipper, the pink wood orchid, the Cypripedium. From two hairy green leaves rises the flower stalk, a single blossom being as large as a mouse. All orchids are peculiar among flowers. Each blossom has a cup and is absolutely dependent on insect fertilization. In some species the bee entering to get honey is imprisoned within the cup and cannot get out until the flower fades. But its food is so sweet and abundant that she does not care. Many flowers depend on artificial fertilization. The date palm, cultivated for numberless thousands of years, has to be fertilized by hand. A man has to climb each tree and shake the pollen of the male tree into the ovaries of the female.

Many years ago Brakeley observed a sport blossom of the lady slipper. It was a little larger than the normal and almost pure white, but again lost it. By an odd coincidence, while he was describing it, I spied the blossom itself, a little to the north of the main road. This single freak has bloomed true to its type for fourteen years. With an axe we marked it by cross bearings in the scrub pine. Just beyond, past the sand where the wild morning glory (Convolvulus) renders the ground white all around, is a unique patch where the lupine loses its color and becomes almost white or several shades of rosy pink. Near this place there is the home of several remarkable and rare insects. Of them perhaps more anon, but we are losing our way from the path to Emley’s.

Soon the path leads us near the swamp, just after the boundary of the Lahaway estate. Here for the moment the oaks grow tall, precious timber for the wanton who would murder them lumber. The under waters approach the surface, making vegetation everywhere more luxuriant. It is the northeast end of the Bullock cranberry bog. Then the walk turns through the Heyke farm.

The Heyke house is perhaps three hundred feet from the main pathway. Going straight on one comes out through the pines to Prospertown school house. The straightway in the sun is the favorite haunt of the tiger beetles, those remarkable insects which fly with the agility of a bee and creep as rapidly as a ground Carabid. They are the only beetles which catch living prey upon the wing, and I have seen them capture and devour butterflies several times as big as themselves.

The Heyke house has been long deserted, its timbers sound, but every window glass gone and the floor yielding many inches under foot. Of the family I can learn but little. Suffice it the testimony of the nearest neighbor that the Heyke children were well clothed, well bred, and that Mrs. Heyke was a good neighbor whose going left a distinct sense of loss. Nothing is left except the mortgage on sandy soil, almost worthless to the upper corner, where the cranberry bog begins.

From Heyke’s the path becomes only wide enough for single file march. It crosses the old stage route. Alongside in some seasons are piles of cranberries, many hundred bushels. For if those cranberries, held over winter for better prices, go to rot, they are not put back into the bog, but are left in the woods. The bog itself has too much fertilizer, rather than too little fertilizer. The path crosses the bog itself, one’s footsteps becoming wet. In the trees are strange frogs, such as the Hyla andersoni, which were not recently represented in the collections of great museums. Then upward again until we cross a garden patch and to the roadway, the highway from Prospertown to Cassville. Houses are few and far between. Next, to the east, is a bungalow inhabited only by summer visitors. To the west, the first house is three quarters of a mile away, at Prospertown Four Corners.

The house at the end of the path is occupied by the family of Garret Emley. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in the whole region. The farm was coveted much by Brakeley, but always withheld by inherited family pride. The house is humble enough. Its walls were reinforced by timbers taken from the abandoned stage coach house in the woods. A tool house was entirely built from the same timber. Across the road a dam ran over the stream, longer ago than our grandfathers can remember, even by hearsay. In this whole countryside, where grass is scarce, the turf is notable from its fresh short clipped green, made by cattle for a century or so. Today three cows graze, three generations in a direct line, the oldest still a good milker. Just across the road is a hill rising a hundred feet of more, the summit mounted by a grove of chestnut trees. They are now all dead, killed by the imported fungus blight which has spread out a hundred miles in every direction from New York. Their gaunt limbs are skeletons to catch the shadow of the sunset.

The Emley house has much to recall it. I do not know in what generation it was built. The doors are cut in half, upper and lower. Thus air could enter from the upper and the children prevented from straying by the lower. The latches are those used in England many centuries ago. They are on the inside and a string passes through gimlet hole to the outside. Here is exemplification of the historic phrase of the “latch string.” A French song, many centuries old, is “tirra la bobbinnete,”-pull the bobbin string and the latch will come up. Beside the old chimney is built a bin, not to keep the sweet potatoes cool, but to keep them from freezing during the long winter.

Second only to Lahaway, the historian and naturalist finds the interest of the Emley farm. The Indians camped at the foot of what is now a corn field and most of the remains of the cook fires have been ploughed under. Wherever they camped vegetation died and never sprang up again. They always chose a sunny spot, and nearby is always to be found a choice spring of water. Mr. Emley has quite a collection of arrowheads and axes picked up from time to time. The naturalist misses here the rich sphagnum bogs, the feature of Lahaway, although it grows freely around what was the mill pond. Here the cranberries grow wild, yielding an annual crop of 20 to 40 bushels, deeper red, smaller, but more distinctly flavored than the cultivated berries, and commanding excellent prices. Under the surface there are several pockets of marl, through one of which the digging of a well uncovered many fossil shells. Close by the road a petrified log, the wood resembling pine, was found, but it has now almost entirely disappeared, having been taken away in small pieces by curio hunters. A similar log about eight feet long was found at Lahaway, buried in sand in the bed of what was once a brook dried up many centuries ago. Still another petrified log of a wood resembling the present day hickory lies exposed below New Egypt.

When I began this series of papers it was with considerable misgivings, not yet cleared, lest they should lack personal interest. For, after all, they must degenerate more or less into essays on natural history, which J. Turner Brakeley loved and which I came to study, as well as to rest and to find a peculiarly pleasant companionship. But during the summer there have been not a few pilgrims to Lahaway who have read these articles and who have followed the various paths to the Indian Village, the old house on Mink Island, Observatory Hill, and the walk through the woods to the Garret Emley farm.

Entrance to Lahaway is now a little easier, since last Decoration Day I tacked up pasteboard direction signs on many trees. Visitors have generally found affable “Bill” Horner willing to take a couple of hours off and show the sights with many anecdotes of his own. He is now William H. Horner, of Lahaway Plantations, Esq., to use the English term denoting landed proprietorship, and this is well, for he has been faithful to Lahaway for many years. No doubt he has now picked his own huckleberry crop and is working overtime to gather the cranberries, the leisure coming later to sit back and enjoy with complacency the ownership of broad acres.

So while a few pilgrims are coming and going over many roads, including the rather sandy one from Freehold or the very difficulty way from Cassville, I may revisit Lahaway by one of my favorite entrances.

On summer Saturdays a train comes through to Hornerstown, but at other times it has proved pleasantest to come to Hightstown or Robbinsville, where Mr. Waddy, who keeps the general store at Hornerstown, will meet scientist or pilgrim or both and carry him by auto anywhere at less than a fourth of New York prices. There is a good road from Allentown and Imlaystown, and pretty good to Hornerstown. For light cars there is no difficulty either way direct through sandy roads to Prospertown Four Corners.

Mr. Brakeley had a favorite remark that there were twenty ways to get to Lahaway, all bad but one. The only way to know the good one was to “ask Billy Quicksill.” Mr. Quicksill is station agent, express agent, telegraph operator, etc., at Hornerstown, and knows every pathway in the whole region. William Quicksill, Sr., who last year joined the silent majority, used to like to come to the station around time and discuss matters, including the famous marl pits, of which he was superintendent for many years, and the queer fossils left in them. To make the direct road to Lahaway, turn the corner through the village, past the post office presided over by Miss Ida Quicksill. Business there is not what it used to be for Mr. Brakeley himself bought over one half of the stamps sold at this office. His letters to me averaged to cost about 40 cents each, for he was apt to enclose a quart jar of specimens and pay letter postage on the whole package!

As you go through the village, at the root of the maple tree by the roadside there lies a chunk of sandstone, weighing perhaps fifty pounds. A close observer will notice that it is well hollowed out. It was once a mortar in which Indians with stone pestle used to grind their corn. Broken pestles are frequently picked up in the fields.

It takes sharp eyes to find the arrowheads, and they are mostly in the woods or near old camp sites. Most of them were cast aside, being broke. It took at least three days to make a fine arrowhead, so the Indians hunted long before abandoning one as lost. The large and finely finished ones, often made of quartz, were designed for deer shooting.

For partridges and smaller birds the arrow was often made triangular and sunk into the shaft without tying. Many arrows found around here are roughly made of shale, a rather soft stone. These were the ones with which the Indian children practiced shooting.

Farther out on the road there lives a lady who is direct descendant of the Indians who used to traverse Lahaway and called it home. When it comes to genealogy, the descendants of the Mayflower are infants in comparison. It is probable that those same Indians owned New Jersey before the Anglo-Saxons reached Europe.

Leaving Hornerstown the road divides, the right branch being the highway to New Egypt, the other branch leading to Prospertown. One cannot miss his way, for it is followed by telegraph and telephone lines numerous enough to supply a city. It is a trunk line to the places on the coast. On either side there are some woods, but for the most part the land is plowed or in pasturage for about three miles. A range of hills to the south shows among the green one large brown wound. This is a stone quarry, the only one for miles around. It was used by the Indians and produces the mortar already spoken of. Two miles down the Prospertown road there is another branch in the road. This is the corner of RFD 2, Cream Ridge. Rain, shine or snow, a carrier delivers mail from here to the junction on the Cassville road beyond Prospertown. Nearby, in the white house close to the road, live Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Jones, both enterprising young people well past eighty and well disposed towards scientists. Their watchful white-breasted collie is on guard, but very amiable and playful when once acquainted. From time to time they have picked up many interesting fossils and there are marl pockets on their land.

The enjoyment of any tramp through the country can be heightened by taking along little bags of sugar and salt with which to make friends. Both horses and cattle get too little of either, and there is nothing more to their liking. I like to stop and give some bossy a lick at a cake of rock salt, after which she will surely follow me to the limit of the pasture. Even the big brown bull will stretch the tether attached to his nose ring to get a taste, regarding me with complete friendliness. Almost all animals and birds crave sugar, and the soft brown variety is the handiest to carry and tastiest. The dogs do not take to the rock salt, but they generally like pretzel or saltine cracker from my lunch basket. After one has passed by, the birds will come down to pick up all the crumbs.

Following still the telephone lines, a road leaves northward toward Freehold. Near the corner is an unpainted house none the less picturesque because in front of it is a grove of chestnut trees all absolutely dead. The blight disease imported from Japan has killed them, as it has everywhere around New York. It is to be feared that twenty years from now few chestnuts will grow in the eastern States.

The wayfarer passes the Lawrence farms, with their big new silos and other evidences of modern farming. On the other side of the road there is a little cottage surrounded by button balls and other old-fashioned flowers. There is little use knocking at the door, for the occupant is one of the few bachelors of Prospertown. Early and late he attends to his own five acres, but between times he is generally working on some other farm. The next one spies are five or more flat spaces north of the road, looking for all the world like magnified gray-brown tennis courts, each a few inches lower than the next. These are brand new cranberry bogs, pride of the Imlay farm. A few steps farther, at a huge imported white pine tree, the driveway goes back sixty yards to the house and here I invariably stop.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Imlay are comparatively newcomers, for it was rather less than thirty years since they came to this farm from Cream Ridge. To the elect, however, they are Uncle Henry and Aunt Beck, and no other names fit them perfectly. I have never been up early enough in the morning to ask the rising sun when Uncle Henry started his day’s work, but by nightfall he is apt to find a little leisure during which he can tell his many travels, for he was at many army posts in the sixties all the way from Virginia to New Orleans.

Aunt Beck is no less busy, for she has a large house to attend to, three meals a day to get, the bogs need watching, the incubator in the back garden works day and night, and armies of little chicks and ducklings are eternally getting caught in gateways or needing food or water. So she meets the newcomer with a puzzled frown. But if perchance he mentions that an entomologist, she is apt to decide that, although she is housecleaning, she might fix up a spare room and keep him. It requires some planning, for the school-ma’am is boarding there this year.

Soon supper is ready, and such suppers! Mrs. Dow was there with the party of scientists last Decoration Day, and ever since she has made auditors envious by accounts of Aunt Beck’s suppers. Not much “boughten stuff,” but great pitchers of that day’s milk and cream, clotted cream of that which is left over, chickens (yes, for chickens are on all sides), eggs of each gathering, night and morning, vegetables of many kinds picked daily from Uncle Henry’s garden, and jam! (Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers, the famous preserve maker, is Aunt Beck’s sister.) And, too, it costs just the same a week at Aunt Beck’s as a day on Broadway, with no better bed, and provender such as Broadway never dreamed of.

The huge bronze turkey gobbler is a mauvais sujet. Last spring Mrs. Turkey was confined in a pen, for she has a habit of walking her chicks to death. Mr. Turkey enticed away the chicks to walk with him, so he was sentenced to confinement. He resisted and flew, but arrived in a wire fence. First grasp of him was too timid, for he left all his tail feathers behind. I wished to gather up all these feathers for some New York milliner, but, taking feminine counsel, refrained. The next flight of Master Turk brought him again in a fence. Therefrom he was ignominiously dragged into the confinement of a pen. Pride certainly goes before a fall. He was too ashamed to utter a sound for days to come. The little turks stayed near home, almost out of danger of being trodden upon. The little ducks and chickens have more liberty, but they have to be closely watched. One never steps upon a twig without a gasp, lest it be some fledgling chicken. The ducklings may not go freely to the cranberry bogs, for in their unawareness they might be seized and dragged down by some snapping turtle. The humble shall be exalted. There is on record a protest of some slaves in Maryland against the constant diet of terrapin. Now, terrapin fetch something like thirty dollars a dozen on Broadway. The snapping turtle is more delectable than any terrapin ever was. Ask Mrs. Bill Horner; she knows. Moreover, if rightly approached and cajoled, she might be persuaded to set forth a supper of Lahaway turtle, soup or steaks, or a la Maryland.

From the Imlay kitchen once was a hole through the house wall, making exit for a water pipe. This disused hollow is now the home of Mrs. Jennie Wren. Mr. Wren is a useful adjunct, but he obeys his wife’s orders and has nothing further to say. The gray mare is oftentimes the better horse. There is an English folk-song hundreds of years old: “The rosemary grows where the mistress is master.” Jennie designs the taking in of the many twigs to form the nest, and she governs the entrance of all the worms for food for littlings. She scolds her man thoroughly. Mr. Brakeley was very fond of wrens, and there are many nests for them at Lahaway.

One might linger indefinitely at the Imlays, but there is still a full statute mile to Lahaway, and it seems much longer by the sandy road. If there is any local history left unwritten in our eastern States, there is no better text than Prospertown Four Corners. In the first place, its name. I suppose that it spells prosperity, which dwelled there in marked degree in the coaching days. The southwest corner has never been built upon, and carries a grove of native trees. The northwest corner accommodates a white frame house, unoccupied last year, well built, originally costly and surrounded by imported trees apparently fully a century old. It has a history, beyond a doubt, for which let some local chronicler speak.

On the southwest corner is a large cellar, the superstructure having been destroyed by fire. It was a store, and its owner did not consider business good enough to warrant rebuilding. To the south is the little blacksmith forge, itself a relic of stage coach times. Across the road is a large frame house, which looks as though it had once been a public hostelry.

At the northeast of the Four Corners still stand public horse sheds, rarely if ever occupied. These cannot but excite curiosity. A century ago public horse sheds were a recognized institution everywhere, especially beside country churches, where the congregation, if coming at all, had to spend the day. But they are becoming scarce and when age topples them over they are seldom rebuilt. Possibly the storekeeper maintained these-here again some local chronicler may say.

The road to the north passes over the mill dam. The pond runs back a long way. It contains but few fishes, for the dam breaks occasionally and the pickerel are swept down to find haven in some eddy or lose in the eternal contest of survival of the fittest. The bass-voiced bullfrogs remain and are stalked with light in the bow of a boat to be knocked on the head. Their hind legs run four or five pairs to the pound.

There are two mill sluices in the dam. One feeds the grist mill, still sound, though last year it did not have a tenant; the other long since broken down, which fed the saw mill. The old carriage for logs is still there, and even the saw blade, deeply covered with red rust. The shed has partly fallen into a picturesque mass of unpainted drab wood.

Oh, little Prospertown by the edge of the pinewoods! May thy prosperity be restored to thee? May thy mill wheels turn and thy four corners be again busy with profitable industry, thy roads carry many people, and thy citizens be both proud and contented!

But we must away toward Lahaway, lest the hour be late.

Past a couple of houses where the people speak a cheery greeting and over the branch of the mill pond, which is the mouth of the creek flowing the Emley farm, the highroad continues. To the left is a field of sand sparsely covered with grass and red cedar. Here flies in April a beetle which is common enough in the far south, but so rare in New Jersey that a couple of dozen I caught were at once seized at the meeting of the Entomological Society to go into the collections of members. They fly bumblebees, and one has to run to catch them in a net. On the other side of the road live five children who gleefully announced one Sunday afternoon as I passed that they did not want to go to Sunday school and weren’t going to. Confidentially, I think God loves them just as much as the rest, even if they do occasionally throw a handful of sand at some old patient mare jogging by. The older ones are famous scouts and can guide you by a score of wood paths to bog, moor or fen in any direction, and they know, too, the favored trees, which have the crows’ nests. From here it is a few steps to a corner. The highway is northern-most, our path comes next and may be recognized by a glimpse of the school house.

The sign over the door reads: “School No. 4, Jackson Township,” or something like it. But we shall know it only as the Prospertown School House. I have always been interested in it, for Brakeley was proud of it and was attending a school board meeting the first time I ever saw him. Happy chance brought me to Prospertown this year in time to attend the exercises of closing day. The teacher was Miss Mary Grosch, of an old Pennsylvania Dutch family, a Moravian, knowing every hymn in the books, including the simple old Moravian ones seldom heard in our generation, herself a slip of a girl only out of school and barely older than her oldest pupils. They say that this made discipline hard to maintain and vexations often well nigh unbearable.

The closing ceremonies were an event, attended by parents from far and near, by children too young to be pupils, by youths and lasses too old to be scholars. The school possesses a phonograph and a score of records, mostly Foster’s Negro melodies and national and patriotic anthems. Miss Mary herself played the parlor organ and led the singing, for the voices of the chorus were none too strong and the little boys at the end of the line were there to swell the numbers, not a sound issuing from their small throats. Pieces were spoken and a playlet given, wherein a small boy in auto goggles administered medicine of water and pink coloring matter to the dolls of several small girls, with a good moral lesson at the end. I was asked by many if I did not think the scholars made an excellent showing, I replied emphatically yes, but with the addition that if scholars do well half the credit is due to the teacher. Down there are almost as many classes as pupils, which adds greatly to the difficulty of teaching. Time will come when they will look back on Miss Mary with deep affection and gratitude. As it has been in the past it will continue that that there is far more likelihood of great men and women coming out from district country schools than from the great city places of education, where the individual is lost in the whirlpool of numbers.

I can remember but few of the pupils’ names. Bill Horner’s youngest daughter was there with pink hair ribbon, conscientious ideas of duty and an enthusiasm over the entrancing Third Reader. There were three sisters, of Italian parentage, lately moved into the district, who were neither absent nor tardy at school or Sunday school for the entire year, and whose sweet, pretty manners promise glorious womanhood and useful citizenship.

There being no church in Prospertown, the schoolhouse is also place for the Sunday school, which meets each Sunday after dinner. Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers, known to the elect as Aunt Lib, housekeeper at Lahaway, into the region. When she moved temporarily to Ocean Grove, Aunt Beck succeeded her. Then after a year came Mrs. Garret Emley. As it has to be church as well as Sunday school, the grown ups outnumber the children.

You remember that we said early in our papers that no highway went within a mile of Lahaway. The highway, telegraph wires and all, soon crosses Lahaway Creek to the northward. What used to be highway and stage road passes Bullock’s Bog.

For the distance of three stones’ throw the road now goes through tall timber, then emerges into the open where the glare of the sunlight becomes intense on the deep sand. Here the timber was cut not many years ago and the new growth is scarcely head high. It is mostly oak, or the pine tree once cut down never springs up from the root. This was known long before Christ, when a king of some land in Asia sent to a neighboring king a twig of pine. His veiled message was: “When I kill you it will be with all your descendants and relatives, so that stock shall never again appear on earth, any more than a cut pine tree.”

It is wonderful, however, how many things grow in such sandy de-timbered land. The very wagon ruts display more grasshoppers, crickets, tiger beetles, and dung beetles than elsewhere. The lazy Strategus, beetle with three great horns, breeding in rotten wood, here climbs clumsily from rut to rut. Here grows in unusual abundance checkerberries, low bush blueberries, trailing arbutus, many mosses, and many fungi rare elsewhere.

Soon again comes woodland. One path leads to Bullock’s Bog, as a sign, now almost unreadable, says; another to the Heyke house, and this is that pleasanter walk to Lahaway. The straight path is deep and dusty, even though it does go by the Indian camp, the spot of the white orchid, the pink lupine, and the honey bee tree. It is not much farther until the vista breaks through trees over the level amphitheater of the sphagnum bogs of Lahaway, the spaghnum, father of coal and petroleum, the curious formation of which makes Lahaway truly the magical land.

The manor house of Lahaway stands on a slight eminence a couple of hundred feet north of the pathway, itself artificially raised in laying out the bogs. The house was built by Rev. J. Henry Brakeley, but there was an older foundation, for the two red cedars in front of it sprout from an artificial level and have been growing much more than a century. All this mound was once covered with loam carried from a distance, making the lawn grass heavy, whereas it will not grow at all in the sandy soil on the level.

All of Lahaway slopes very gently toward its northwest corner. Here the waters join to make Lahaway Creek. The springs are too numerous to count, but come in three general lines. The best spring of drinking water on the place is on the north slope of Mink Island and was the determining factor in the location of the largest Indian village. Other springs combine to make Star Bog and the stream through it, which flows through Lahaway.

The largest volume of water flows due north, fed by springs beyond the boundary of Brakeley land, making nearly a mile of wild swamp through the tangled saplings on which one would have to flounder knee deep in wet moss. Another branch joins at the corner of the largest of the cranberry bogs, making an independent stream big enough to fill a six-inch main the year around. These combined streams have during countless centuries leveled the land, until there are three feet or so of old sea sand left above the impervious clay bed. All this land was swamp until it was leveled, sanded and grown to cranberries. On every foot of it there once grew wild sphagnum.

What is sphagnum? It is merely a moss which grows as plentifully as any other all over the northern hemisphere. There is scarcely a rain pool southward of Allentown which is not fringed with it. Each plant is a single stalk a few inches long, rich brown except for the bright green bud at the top and the dead root end, which turns pale like any other dead plant. As one generation of the plant dies another begins growth on the top of it, and in this way the beds become three to six feet deep. The plant is longer and larger in the New Jersey bogs that in most other places and is much used by florists, for it will hold water for a long time and thus keep flowers fresh. Every botanist lines his collecting box with sphagnum so that his specimens may be safe for many days.

The European war has within the last six months created a new use for sphagnum in the manufacture of high explosives. Guncotton is nitrocellulose; gun powders a mixture of saltpeter, charcoal and sulfur. In both cases the explosive power is the result of the effort of the nitrogen to get free from its compounds, which it turns from solid to gas so quickly that the air is violently shocked. Our supply of nitrates comes mostly from saltpeter, found most plentifully in Chile, in South America, and the great demand has quadrupled its price.

Nitrogen floats free in the air, being about half its weight, but the chemical abstraction has always been impracticable and exceedingly costly. Now, however, the chemists are working hard to find a cheap method to accomplish it, and a company has been formed, backed by the Standard Oil interests, ready to spend $25,000,000 to get nitrogen from the air. The chemists are also constantly working on the task of getting nitrates more cheaply from those plants, which contain that element abundantly. Among them is the sphagnum.

The sphagnum is also one of the best fertilizers in the world. Its abundance coupled with the peculiar climatic conditions is what gives to Lahaway its matchless variety of flora. It is a well-known scientific fact that many plants will only grow in a soil in which some other especial plant has previously lived and died. Thus the mayflower, the trailing arbutus (which carpets the Lahaway woodland), the chosen flower of the Pilgrim Fathers, only grows where the pine has been and might well be called “the Soul of the Pine Tree,” for the pine, when once cut down never sprouts again. The cranberry will only grow on top of a sphagnum bed. The huckleberry thrives best in a mixture of dead sphagnum and sea sand; the best high bush species is hardly found anywhere else. It cannot be cultivated, nor is it at best when wholly wild.

No friend of Brakeley, no visitor of Lahaway in July, can forget the wonderful huckleberries growing in the artificially made dykes between bogs. A bushel of berries often come from a single plant, of such size that they always fetch a fancy price in market. There are two species on the dykes, one with blue bloom and very large, and there are the marketable ones; the other black, but not in favor in the New York market, although they are sweeter and for pies or preserves are better. A different plant still is the low bush blueberry, which grows wild all through the shady woodland. It is shipped to market more than any other kind, is sweet as honey, but the picking is a backbreaking task.

Many other plants depend on the dead sphagnum, including the choicest of all the northern orchids. These were plants that Brakeley loved best of all. If they took root in the bog, cranberry culture was abandoned at the spot. There is but one clump of Arethusa bulbosa on the whole estate, far down in the wild swamp. It consisted of four roots, the rosy purple flower coming at the end of May. Now there are but three, for Brakeley some years ago yielded to the pleadings of a botanist and allowed one to be dug up, but they are in a spot hard to find and surrounded with iron pit holes, so that the searcher may find himself waist deep in water.

The two swamp pinks, Calopogon and Pogonia, are plentiful and make their glorious show in early June. The field orchid, the deep purple Habernaria, comes in July.

I was in Prospertown on the first of October this year, when the foliage is in the height of its autumnal glory of color. There I saw in great abundance the pure white Ladies’ Tresses, Spiranthes gracilis, rising six inches to a foot in every sphagnum bog, not conspicuous from a distance, but when seen close at hand as beautiful and fragrant as an orchid.

The pitcher plant, the red, yellow and magenta side-saddled flower, is another beauty, which grows only among the sphagnum. A particularly fine specimen grew just south of the pond of the wonderful pink lilies and was carefully hedged in by Brakeley, lest it be mowed down or trodden upon. In this plant last year I found the rare moth which feeds on the root. The entomologists of Newark hunted long for this moth and dug up thousands of the plants around Lakehurst in their effort to find it.

In Ireland especially, but also in Germany and elsewhere, the dead sphagnum cut out of bogs, stacked like cordwood to dry, and is the peat used for fuel. Our own species is not so good for this purpose, but it burns well. Each year it will improve. It is of the greatest interest because it illustrates the first step in the natural formation of coal, petroleum and natural gas. It is especially interesting just now, as I note in the Messenger of a few weeks ago a report that the Washington experts are to begin experiments near Lakewood to ascertain the prospects of oil and gas, and that perhaps $15,000 are to be devoted to the investigation. Every one knows that there are both in New Jersey. There is a spot in the ocean southeast of Sandy Hook known on every chart as the Oil Spot. Here the petroleum rises to the surface, but it takes a very little to make a film on the water conspicuous for a long distance. Whether oil and gas will be found in the State in paying quantities is a different matter.

In peat the process of petrifaction has scarcely begun. The pressure above the dead sphagnum sends out more or less oil to ooze through the sand until it lodges in some pocket of the impervious substratum. Dead wood half petrified by ages of pressure becomes lignite, fuel already much used, though it still has a large percentage of ash. After additional pressure for a geologic age, it becomes coal, the newer bituminous or soft coal, and the older anthracite. Petroleum and natural gas are the lighter elements of this material, driven away through the soil by accumulated pressure.

There was an age in the history of the world when vegetation was vastly more plentiful than now. It is called the Carboniferous Age, for carbon is the element making plants. This occurred before the southern half of New Jersey was raised from the sea for the final time. The whole world looked very different then. The seashore ran through Pennsylvania, northeast to southwest. Dead trees piled up for hundreds of feet along it. The Gulf of Mexico started first away up in Illinois. The Great Lakes extended into Wyoming. Dead wood piled up on all these shores. As the sea receded, or rather the earth was raised, the shoreline, still in Carboniferous Age, went through the middle of Alabama. A lake went a thousand miles north into Canada. In all these places great deposits of coal have been created from the driftwood.

After New Jersey rose from the sea level it was again submerged, to be raised again. The first time was in the so-called Secondary Period, somewhere between the Age of Mollusks and the Age of Fishes. The dead creatures cast upon the shore, the line being roughly from New Egypt to Hornerstown, are among the very oldest forms of life. The animals dying and being washed up on the shore during the second creation of shoreline in the same places were largely mammals and existed possibly so recently that they were hunted by man. A date must be wild conjecture, perhaps 25,000, perhaps 250,000 years ago.

One would imagine, then that the supply of oil and gas in New Jersey coming from vegetation of the Second Period would be too small to be of value, and that if a large supply exists it must be the seepage, the flow by gravity, under the Delaware River from Pennsylvania where the geological source of supply was immeasurably greater.

Let me, however, impress one fact upon every reader of this paper. All mankind are not honest and simple hearted. Even now there are men trying to sell stock in companies formed to search for oil in New Jersey. Nothing is so easy as to work with O. P. money (Other People’s money). At best such promoters intend to get profit without cost to themselves. At worst-well, in the past there have been some notorious swindles. No matter what money we sink, we shall get no return from treasure found on some other man’s property. He himself will take it all, unless he, in turn, is wheedled out of it.

The law of the Jungle has become a familiar term largely through the popularity of Kipling’s Jungle Books. It is the Law of Life, of the Survival of the Fittest, the Extinction of the Weakest, the law kept by all animal kind except man. To man alone belongs the element of mercy, of sparing and forgiving, but to him alone, also, belongs the habit of killing for mere pleasure, of hunting and fishing, not merely for food (for that is the justifiable Law of the Jungle), but for the joyous excitement of the chase.

Some of the cat tribe seem, indeed, to share the practice of unnecessary killing. The household cat will catch far more half-fledged birds than it needs for food, but there is probably present the instinctive idea of concealing a food supply for the day’s when game is too scarce to satisfy present hunger. It is man’s practice to hunt for pure pleasure. “It is such a pleasant day,” says he, “let us go out and shoot something.” And so he catches a hundred trout after he has had so many to eat that he has to throw the rest away. He shoots partridges of quail as long as his cartridges last, not knowing what to do with the birds, but grieving at each “miss’ and rejoicing at each “good shot.” Modern game laws do not allow him to kill as many deer as he would like.

The Law of Survival, too many hunters, has at last made game scarce. Three centuries ago, when the population of Lahaway was wholly Indian, there was plenty of game for all, and the supply did not decrease from year to year. The Indian obeyed the Law of Jungle, killing only for needed food. In this respect he was vastly above his cousin, the white man.

When the Brakeleys bought what they afterwards named Lahaway Plantations they took steps to preserve all life, both plant and animal, except that which was directly injurious. For nearly fifty years the estate was “posted” against trespass with dog or gun. Of course, violations were plenty. Many thousand rabbits have gone illicitly into the stew pot, but, after all, it was in obedience to the Law of the Jungle. They were killed to satisfy hunger, not to satisfy murderous pleasure.

Mr. Brakeley himself was an expert shot with rifle, and occasionally in season brought home a deer. Every autumn he liked to get a few partridges and quail, and took a few wood ducks from the many feeding in the ponds. But, all in all, Lahaway was the safest place in New Jersey for wild animal life, and even today is a veritable bird haven. The deer are very scarce, indeed, for they like to roam far and wide and are never safe from gun. In all my visits to Lahaway I have seen only one, a two-year-old doe cropping the branches of birch on Mink Island. Presumably a fawn was near, but kept out of sight down toward the swamp. I watched the mother for a long time in the idle hope that she might be trustful enough to taste some brown sugar, but the deer, hunted for tens of thousands of years, trusts no one. I whistled and the doe pricked up both ears. It was not the voice of any bird she had ever known. And so one long leap and away.

There is no spot on God’s earth where I love to sit as well as the sandy top of Mink Island. The soft sand retains for weeks the track of every living creature. On that particular occasion tracks were unusually numerous. Those with three toes pointing forward and one behind were the ringed-necked plover, a bird frequent in every ploughed field around Prospertown. They come to stick their long bill in the earth and find grubs. One on Mink Island looked up curiously at the sound of my whistle, then wheeled away with incredible rapidity. As well tame the waves on the shores as these wild plover. The tracks of the rabbits criss-cross like a Chinese puzzle, near together when the times are peaceful, but sometimes showing long leaps. Master Fox also has two tracks, one when he saunters, the other when pursuing.

I like to carry a lettuce leaf in my pocket in early June when I ramble through woods where rabbits breed, for the young are fairly easy to catch and after the first fright become tame enough to settle down in my hands and munch the leaf. They are content to be stroked over the back and the long ears, almost as long as the whole body. The mother Bunny cannot be tamed, but lingers near, watching her baby, and from time to time stamping her feet on the ground to make a noise designed to terrify. The rabbit has no defense except flight, but none will desert her young, even for a minute. I have caressed a little rabbit for half an hour, but the instant I released it, it darted toward the mother and with her disappeared from sight and sound in the fewest possible number of leaps.

The skunk, too, leaves many tracks on Mink Island, stopping often to nose and to dig holes in the ground. From the sand bank one can look over into the pond and watch the wood ducks. This species nests in the tall trees. Forty years ago I watched them from underneath, but it took at least three years to observe how the young birds came to the ponds. One day they would be swimming and perfectly at home. The day before they had been nestlings, stretching up their bills to take food from their constantly visiting parents. Finally I learned through a field glass. The mother took the chicks one by one on her back and flew to the water.

The woodcock roams over Lahaway, its long bill thrust into the wet ground perhaps five hundred times and hour in search of insect grubs or fresh water crustaceans. Once only in my life have I crept stilly and seen Mrs. Woodcock on her nest. The quail run through Lahaway stubble, seeking mostly insects. I have caught many chicks, to caress and let go in a few minutes. Mother generally scurries out of sight.

The partridge is a familiar denizen, frequenting the dry slopes. Her chicks are the color of the fallen leaves, and they hide among them. No little partridge was ever tame enough to take a seed or a bug from my hand, when nestled in my other hand. Each watched its mother, who circled nearby, generally pretending to have a broken wing, and each, when released, hurried to hide in the leaves. The instinct of the hunted goes through countless generations. The Law of the Jungle might spare the little partridge, but man does not.

For over forty years Mr. Brakeley kept a journal. Every evening after supper he went to his den, where he sat until bedtime, which was never before 11. Into that book he copied each daily observation. For forty years the bird movements were chronicled. His favorite was the chimney swallow, which came each spring for many years to renew her nest and never ceased to protest loudly against the wood fire which is almost a nightly necessity at Lahaway. Her coming never varied more than a week, and she left for the South with exceeding regularity. For many years it was not known where the chimney swallows wintered, although many were tagged with metal band for identification. Not long ago one was captured in the mountains of Peru, whither it had come from northern New York State.

Into the Brakeley journal went the nightly record of a particular whippoorwill which used to haunt the porch outside the dining room, attracted, no doubt, by the insects gathering to seek the light. It sometimes arrived by 7:30, but on cool evenings often waited until a little after 8. Many of the wrens were known to Mr. Brakeley as individuals, each keeping to its own nest, many boxes for which had been nailed to pole or barn side. All the birds were chronicled.

The passenger pigeons whose flight was once in such flocks that the sun was hidden have long since disappeared before their human murderers. The little ground dove is still common and quite tame, often haunting the roadway. The many kinds of warblers found Lahaway in the line of easiest progress while going north to nest or returning south. They keep to the woods and are almost never seen in an open meadow. Their nesting places are far north, Newfoundland, Labrador, and even Hudson’s Bay. Every one who knows birds them and loves them. They make sweet, but never loud song; they harm no one except the insects they devour from day to day. There are plenty of other birds which keep to the deep woods.