Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Events in Burlington County

These just in from e-mail.
Be sure to check the blog entry posted earlier for events in Camden County.

February 15, 6:30-9:00pm – Feminist Film Series (Alice Paul Institute, 128 Hooton Road, Mount Laurel 08054)Join the Alice Paul Institute for a fun and engaging film series exploring the past,present, and future of feminism in America! We will gather at Paulsdale on Thursdaynights from 6:30pm-9:00pm! Pizza and beverages available for purchase.Topic: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Register for one night ($8) or for the whole series ($20)!Tickets and more information available at: www.AlicePaul.org/newsevents

February 17, 1:00pm – The Life and Times of William Still (Friends Meeting House, corner Garden and High Streets, Mount Holly 08060)Join us for a fascinating look at the life and times of William Still who was born in Burlington County in 1821 and is known as the Father of the Underground Railroad for his efforts in moving fugitive enslaved Africans while recording their stories of despair and deep courage.  His story will be presented by his great, great, great nephew Sam Still. The presentation is sponsored by the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences Association.

February 18, 11:00am-2:00pm – Blueberry Music Jam (Whitesbog Village, 120 W. Whitesbog Road, Browns Mills 08015)Stop into the historic village of Whitesbog to listen to the tunes of local musicians, the open music jam is acoustic and FREE for musicians and listeners alike to enjoy and join. While you are here, stop in the General Store and support history and local artists and crafters! For more information visit www.whitesbog.org

February 21, 3:00pm – African American Stories (Smithville Mansion Billiard Room, 803 Smithville Road, Eastampton 08060)In celebration of Black History Month, hear stories of the African-American experience inour area, including the Underground Railroad, Martin Luther King Jr., and others. Hear about the courage of individuals and community and the impact it had on our nation.

February 22, 6:30-9:00pm – Feminist Film Series (Alice Paul Institute, 128 Hooton Road, Mount Laurel 08054)Join the Alice Paul Institute for a fun and engaging film series exploring the past,present, and future of feminism in America! We will gather at Paulsdale on Thursdaynights from 6:30pm-9:00pm! Pizza and beverages available for purchase.Topic: Feminist Activism in the 1970sRegister for one night ($8) or for the whole series ($20)!Tickets and more information available at: www.AlicePaul.org/newsevents

February 22, 6:30pm – African American Stories (Smithville Mansion Billiard Room, 803 Smithville Road, Eastampton 08060)In celebration of Black History Month, hear stories of the African-American experience inour area, including the Underground Railroad, Martin Luther King Jr., and others. Hear about the courage of individuals and community and the impact it had on our nation.

February 24, 1:00pm – African and Native American Storytelling and Music Performance (Whitesbog Village, 120 W. Whitesbog Road, Browns Mills 088015)Family friendly event with music, storytelling, sign language and dance, participants will learn about the similarities of both African American and Native American cultures. Using traditional teachings performer George Tooks will share his all ages fun program which has delighted audiences at national museums, libraries, on stage and for local special groups. Mr. Tooks is a long-time performer, singer, actor and author. For more information visit www.whitesbog.org

February 25, 1:00-3:00pm – White Hill Mansion Open House (217 4th Street, Fieldsboro 08505)Over the years plenty of people have lived their lives at the White Hill Mansion. Some ofthem may still be here.  Learn about the people who lived and died in the house. We ask for a $10 donation. 100% of all donations go directly to the restoration of White Hill Mansion. For more information visit www.whitehillmansion.com

February 25, 2:00-4:00pm – The Color Line on the Baseball Diamond (Burlington County Historical Society, 457 High Street, Burlington 08016) Join Dr. Lawrence D. Hogan as he discussed the history of African Americans in baseball.  What black baseball meant is a multifaceted narrative; the talk will include a discussion of pioneers like Jackie Robinson and the rich relationships in "Blackball" during America's era of segregation, across the nation and in New Jersey, as well as selections from the documentary "Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson." This program is funded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and is free to the public! For more information visit www.burlingtonhistorical   society.org

February 28, 2018, 5:30-7:30pm – API Connections: Networking Event (Seasons 52 Cherry Hill, 2000 NJ 38 #1145, Cherry Hill 08002)Connect @ Seasons 52 is a networking event brought to you by the Alice Paul Institute.Engage with established local professionals from our strong network. Reserve yourplace and become a part of our network. Unwind after work. Hosted at Seasons 52, thenight is sure to impress with a robust food selection and sparkling conversation.Tickets and more information available at: www.AlicePaul.org/newsevents

African/American History Month 2018

Today, Barb Some (author of Ghosttowns, and of Batsto, Jewel  of the Pines, as well as The Forks) and I went to Camden County Historical Society today to see the new exhibit room devoted to local African American History.  The first exhibit is the Moore family of Greenland (Magnolia) and it was very interesting.  The highlights of the exhibit for me were the medical bag and the story of Dr. Moore.  Barb and I both had to observe how difficult it must have been for him to make the long journey to M.D. in that time of segregation and prejudice.  

As you are possibly aware, if you visit here from time to time, I am a big fan of the 'local' in history, the lives of ordinary people which seem always to be lived in extraordinary times.  The other thing I enjoyed about the Moores of Greenland, was the sense I got of a  community sticking together and supporting one another against hard times.  

The next exhibit I would love to experience is the opening this Sunday, 2/11 of A Cast of Blues, with resin cast masks of 15 famous Blues musicians and live music FREE at 12 noon, 2 pm and 4 pm.

for more information call 856-964-3333. 

Although my interests run more toward history, literature, and art, I also enjoy music, however, the cover of Out and About has this information for those of you interested in theater:
Haddon Heights - Playbox Play BORN YESTERDAY, Fri. 2/16 Sat. 2/17 at First Presbyterian Curch, 28 Seventh Ave., Haddon Heights, tickets $13

For March Women's History Month -
Celebrating Female Artists - Through a Woman's Eyes, Feb. 24, from 11 to 5 at Haddon Fortnightly, 301 Kings Hwy East (at Grove St.) Admission free but $10 donation suggested.  

You should really try to grab a copy of Out & About.  It is free and filled with interesting events, most of which I don't list because there are too many.  There were many garden listings for example and food events!

Steve hackett at the Scottish Rite Auditorium 2/16 and 2/17.
Scott Joplin Music Award Winner Sue Keller, Tri-State-Jazz ociety concert, Sun. 2/11 from 2 to 4 Haddonfield United Methodist Church 29 Warwick Rd. Tickets $20
Songs of Love and Madness Sat. 2/10 at 8 p.m.Grace Episcopal Church 10 Kings Hwy., Haddonfield (next to PATCO train Sta.)  $25 at the door.

History and Food:
Hercules, George Washington's chef and enslaved man will be performed by Keith Henley of American Historical Theater on Sat. 2/17 at 2 pm - free program, first in a series, Culinary Experiences of the Revolution sponsored by Frieds of the Tavern. 233 Kings why. E. free (not ADA-acessible.)

Monday, February 5, 2018

White House, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

For a few years after I retired, I was a docent at the James and Anne Whitall House, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ.  It was a richly rewarding experience in many ways, not least of which was the excellent group of volunteers I came to know there.  We took many history trips together over the years and became good friends at the house dinners, that fallowed the hearth cooking exhibitions on open house days.

Sadly my bad knees and bad back made standing for tour days too demanding for me and I had to give up most of my volunteer jobs including working on the computer at the Gloucester County Historical Society.  

Anyhow, the new season is set to begin at Whitall House in April and new volunteers are being invited for training during March.  I believe the first training session is March 3.  The second ma be March 31st.

Also, the following is worth noting:
"Sunday, April 15 is our military living history encampment (this date got moved from June)"

So if you don't necessarily want to volunteer but would like to know more about this local historic treasure, attend the living history encampment and check it out!  There are several big events during the year, a gardening event, and the biggest event of all, the battle re-enacment in October. 

I will def. be at the April 15 event.  I miss the park, the people, the beautiful view of the river and the history!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

For further information on the volunteer opportunity or anything related to Whitall House, contact:

Friday, February 2, 2018

Rancocas Woods Craft Co-op & Antique Attic - Back Again!

Again today, Friday, Feb. 2, I found myself on the Marne Hwy. headed to Rancocas Woods after a delicious lunch at Maritza's on Main Street in Maple Shade.

I was with a different friend and I was on a mission.  Last year, or the year before,  I had found the cleverest and most reasonably priced Valentine cards at a little shop in Rancocas Woods and I was determined to find that shop again and get more of those cards.  I wanted one for my daughter in particular.

When we went to Rancocas yesterday, I had been to an Antique Co-op but it wasn't the same one.  This time through the vagaries of the gps, we were taken down Creek Road from the opposite direction and we found the lost co-op of a year ago and next door to it, the little card shop. Again, they had the cards, called "Papyris" and again they were on sale for $2 a card, very reasonable for cards of such detail and clever construction.  

At the Antique Co-op I found another bargain - 'Upcycled' mittens made from old sweaters.  Lined in a soft warm flannel, they are the warmest things ever and I like them for walking the dog when you really need something warm on your hands.  They were only $10 - also a very reasonable price for something so clever and so useful.

I find the Antique Co-ops inspiring and almost like a spa for the senses - the smell of the aromatic soaps and the candles, the beautiful arrangements of lovingly restored and updated furnishings, the hand-crafted objects, and the re-visiting of objects loved in the past and forgotten.

As is often the case, I found some American Girl Dolls, all dressed up in adorable winter outfits.  AS I have no doubt mentioned before, I am the affectionate owner of an Effanbee doll from the very early 1940's and my daughter has a few dolls from the American Girl Doll period.  Her dolls are packed away, my doll sits in my bedroom dressed in a new outfit as of Christmas, a 'prairie girl' set I bought after reading the new and highly praised biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  

There was a set of book ends fashioned from old classroom style pencil sharpeners that I would have liked to own.  I could have used them to make a display of the Little House books, the Wilder biography, and my Effanbee doll in her "prairie girl" attire!  I do so admire the displays in these shops and never seem to pull them off at home.

Very cold today, a penetrating and biting kind of cold.  It was nice to spend the day in the warmth of such pretty surroundings, and to drive through Rancocas Woods and admire the log cabins.  

If you are looking for a fun day trip, you might want to try this one.  Put 208 Creek Road in your gps.  Although it is Rancocas Woods, the gps needs Mt. Laurel for the town.  

Happy Trails!
ps.  You might want to soup up at Maritza's before you head out into the cold!  And pick up a pair of those up cycled mittens for yourself and loved ones, you'll be glad you did.  Also, don't forget, Valentines Day is just around the corner.  Maybe you could get that loved one something a little different this year.  Enjoy!
Jo Ann

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Rancocas Woods and More

Today, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, a friend, Dorothy, and I went to Maple Shade for lunch at Maritza's, which I cannot praise highly enough.  The food is good quality ingredients and delicious, always, and the prices are very reasonable.  My favorite is the eggplant parmesan sandwich, which I ONLY every get at Maritza's because I like the eggplant sliced thin and fried crispy and I hate it when it is thick and not cooked and fibrous!  Maritsa's eggplant is PERFECT - cooked exactly as I like it, seasoned perfectly and a very nice toasted roll.

We decided to go for a drive, and as I had found some unique and charming Valentines in a little shop in Rancocas Woods last year, I decided to take a drive out there and see if I could find more.
I didn't locate the little card shop but Dorothy and I spent quite a lot of time in the Antiques and Hand-crafted objects store MADE & FOUND, 118 Creek Road, Rancocas Woods.  The ladies who were there were warm and charming and we had a nice talk about Michael Gabrielle, the author of New Jersey's Diners, and New Jersey Music History, whom I had just heard speak at Burlington County Historical Society last Sunday.

Unusual for me, I didn't buy anything this time as I am trying to hold on to my money a little at present, but I did see things I wanted - stained glass hearts for Valentine's Day for one thing, and I LOVED the bookends made with old pencil sharpeners!  We talked about how it is clever of men to try to find different things to give their beloveds for Valentines' Day, though girlfriends, wives, mothers, and others, always love the red hearts of candy, and flowers, it is nice to be creative and think, bracelet, or necklace from MADE & FOUND, or from MAIN STREET ART, in Maple Shade, where we stopped in briefly to look around.  In fact, ART makes a lovely and unusual gift as well!

Right now I have 4 small paintings on display at Main Street Art, 1.The One Room School, 2.The Railroad Station, 3.Collins Lane Stone Silo, 4.the Historic Dairy Queen Drive-in.  The paintings are 10X12, framed, and ready to hang for $100, so if you are a Maple Shader, or a fan of railroads, or one-room schools, give it a thought!
I will be back in touch with you before Valentine's Day!

Happy Trails,
Jo Ann
ps.  I am CRAZY about log cabins, so you can be sure we drove around and picked the ones we liked best while in Rancocas!  And by the way, I took a photo of a mystery object at the shop.  Do you know what it is?  We couldn't figure it out although Dorothy is a gourmet cook, and I am a big fan of early 20th century kitchen gizmos.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sad News

While looking up the historic Bridgeton Diner, which was 77 years old and an original Silk City manufactured diner, I discovered that it had burned down.

I passed that diner so many times on my way to Greenwich and I always wanted to stop in as I love diners and I could see it was very old and probably historic.  I waited too long.  New owners finding themselves not making a profit, set fire to it and burned it down.  They were caught and prosecuted but that doesn't bring back a historic building.

And I found that the historic Hillcrest also burned down in Bridgeton.  So sad.  That building, an original stage coach Inn was built in 1782.  

What a loss for the historic building community.

New Jersey Diners

On the way over to the talk on the history of New Jersey Diners, my history pal, Barb Solem, said "How many people do you think will come?"  My answer was "Four plus us, six."  I thought that because it was a cold and rainy day and I didn't think many people would bother to come out for the book talk.

Boy was I wrong!  More than 60 people showed up and we had a really good time!  Michael C. Gabriele is my favorite kind of speaker.  He is so comfortable with his topic from having written the book, that he speaks conversationally and he doesn't mind interacting with his audience.  People like to add things, and ask things but many lecturers don't allow it.  It distracts them from delivering their message.  Michael Gabriele, however, speaks as though he is in it with us and he is perfectly comfortable digressing and diverting and returning to his thread.

Some facts I learned are that there are more than 600 diners in New Jersey and two of the reasons for the proliferation of these eating establishments are that they were manufactured here in New Jersey, and we have such as terrific highway system.  A Third reason is the population density - lots of people, lots of cars, lots of roadways and lots of diners.

I was delighted when Michael Gabriele mentioned one of my favorite diners, the Salem Oak Diner, in Salem, across the street from the Salem Oak.  I have only eaten there once, but I love the look of it.

Mr. Gabriele told us the O'Mahoney company was one of the manufacturers of the diners which were carried on flatbed trucks and put down, modular units.  They were NOT descended from railroad dining cars, as I had thought all these years - two separate categories of eating establishments.

Two local diners had donated food to be shared after the talk but we had already eaten lunch out and being vegetarians, we were both full, and unlikely to find vegetarian friendly food, so we left.  But we had enjoyed the talk immensely and we had the bonus pleasure of running into some friends from the Outdoor Club of South Jersey, and from various Historical Society Groups to which we are members, such as the Batsto Citizens.

The cold, gray, rainy day turned out to be warm, fun and interesting!  By the way, I have been a lifelong diner fan and have two other diner books besides Mr. Gabrielle's The History of Diners In New Jersey.  They are:  Diners, People and Places by Gerd Kittel, and American Diner, Richard Gutman.  Also, somewhere in my postcard collection is a postcard from the Salem Oak Diner, and now I want to visit the great little diner in Bridgeton on the Bridge over the Maurice River - the old diner not the new one!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Burlington County Historical Society Event

Sunday the 28th of January:
The history of Diners in New Jersey
2 p.m.
Burlington County Historical Society, 457 High Street
Burlington County Historical Society
Phone: (609) 386-4773 ext.1

Pinelands Preservation Lectures

In case you aren't on their mailing list, this just came to my e-mail:
Come out of hibernation for two lectures at PPA!

Today we face complicated issues that threaten life on this planet.  Finding and implementing solutions require a second Great Enlightenment.  We need to look back into the Earth's history - how did humans evolve?  And look forward through human history to explore what brought us to this point in time and how we must adapt. 

Join Pinelands Adventure's Director of Education, John Volpa, for a two-part lecture series in PPA's cozy, warm barn exploring these fascinating and complicated issues.  Each lecture can stand alone but attending both lectures will provide a more complete perspective.

These presentations are an interactive hands-on exploration of life on earth synthesizing a variety of scientific topics into a meaningful and relevant experience.  John combines thirty-seven years of public education experience and twenty years of leading outdoor adventures with his passion for the environment into two lively evenings of thought provocation. 

The first presentation looks back in time and the second presentation starts with Human history and looks to the future. 

January 25th - Pine  Barrens Time Machine
Location:  PPA, 17 Pemberton Rd, Southampton NJ - directions
Time: 7:00 pm
Pine Barrens Time Machine is a hands-on presentation taking the curious on a journey into Earth's past.  Inspect rocks, fossils and get your hands dirty exploring our planet's past.  See how the land that became New Jersey and the Pine Barrens evolved over time.

February 1st - Fire Sparks Humanity's Journey
Location: PPA, 17 Pemberton Rd, Southamption, NJ - directions
Time: 7:00 pm
The interactive Fire Sparks Humanity's Journey examines our species' place within the biosphere and our current window of opportunity to shape the future of life on Earth.  We synthesize a wide variety of topics to hopefully create a new perspective and a new level of critical thinking resulting in positive personal social action.

NOTE:  Fire Sparks Humanity's Journey is interactive (individually and group).  Participants will receive tickets to enter into an auction for prizes drawn at the close of the presentation.  
Cost: $15/per person

PPA Members receive a 10% discount! Enter Code "PPA Member" at checkout. Not a member? Join Today!
You may also call Pinelands Adventures at 609-268-0189 with questions or to reserve your Pinelands Adventure today.   

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tall Ships in Spring

Reading Facebook this morning, I came across a post worth sending along.  I know it is far away to May but I wanted to get this saved here because I saw the tall ships last time and it is an amazing sight!  Also a wonderful event when the USS New Jersey came up the Delaware to its home port in Camden, saw that too!  I actually made a painting of that event but it burned in the house fire that took my sister's home two years ago March.

TALL SHIPS: "Well, here is another great event coming to town for our 150th anniversary as a city, This year on May 28th, 29th and 30th, along the Delaware river, in the Area of the Cities of Philadelphia , Camden and Gloucester, THE PARADE OF TALL SHIP IS COMING BACK! If you missed this, a few years back, it is wonderful. We took our grandkids and they loved it. And the Gloucester City Tall ship "NORTH WIND" will be in the parade. I am so glad that this, major event, is taking place in this year of 2018. So mark the date, so you won't be late, because this is GREAT!"

Gloucester City is where I spent the 32 plus years of my teaching career and I loved the history of this place.  During the bi-centennial, Gloucester celebrated a tri-centennial since its founding!  There is a Gloucester City Historical Society located on King Street.  Along the river front are many interesting historical sites such as the Mill Block Houses 1845, and Proprietor's Park with a monument on the location of the Revolutionary War era Huggs Tavern where Betsy Ross was married.  Her family farm was located not far from Gloucester City, near where the WW bridge approach is.  Also there was a Rev. War battle at Gloucester City and the Marquis deLafayette was present at it.  You can also find out more at the Gloucester City Library.

The train station has been rescued and turned into a cafe (as they did in Woodbury, too!)  I am always happy when a town recognizes the value of its history and saves a historic site and particularly train stations.  Which reminds me, the last weekend of this month, Jan. 27 and 28, I believe the Haddon Heights Train Station has it's model railroad display open to the public.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Saturday, January 6, 2018

/Camden County Historical Society Upcoming Events

Call it ESP, I just had a feeling when I braved the bitter cold a few minutes ago that I would have magazines in the mailbox and I Did!
1.  The brochure from the Camden County Historical Society Winter 2018 was there with the following events to note:  With African American History Month coming, this issue was especially timely.  The cover story was the background on William Miles Butts, Camden Cultural and Civil Leader (1847 through 1899).  
Sunday, January 14 from 12:00 to 3:00 African American History Room Opening featuring The Moores of Greenland (Magnolia)
(Note)  I would love to see some history work on the disappearing "Snow Hill" of Lawnside.  Each time I drive through there, yet another historic landmark has disappeared.  These landmarks may not be 'historic' in the sense of age, as in being from the 19th century for example, but they are in the sense of culture, and the last vestiges of a thriving social world of music and food that once flourished at places like the Snow Hill Lounge (gone)
Sunday, February 11 12:00 to 5:00 "A Cast of Blues" Exhibition from the MidAtlantic Arts Alliance with live blues music 12 to 2:00
Sunday, March 25th at 2 pm "New Jersey Folk Revival Music, History and Tradition, ooksigning by Michael Gabriele.  Okay, you missed him at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance event last summer, here is your chance to hear him speak.  I bought his book - two copies, in fact, one to give as a gift.  He is a delightful speaker and the information is rich and valuable to those who love NJ history and music.  
All events at Camden County Historical Society 1900 Park Blvd., Camden, NJ (behind Lady of Lourdes Hospital)

For more info - 856-964-3333     or     cchsnj.org    or   Facebook under Camden County Historical Society

My second mailbox treat was the February issue of Early American Life, which I enjoy to a remarkable degree.  I love to read the articles and to look at the pictures and travel vicariously through the colonial world of the Mid-Atlantic Region and beyond.  There are always things to entertain and delight me in this magazine.  I was first introduced to it when I ran across a pile of 'give-aways' on a table at the Cherry Hill Library a few years ago.  I liked it so much I have been a subscriber ever since.  One year is $26 Early American Life, P.O.Box 221230, Shaker heights, Ohio 44122-9887
Probably I have related my favorites in this blog in past postings but if not, I will let you know my favorite articles from this issue after I enjoy reading it with a cup of fresh coffee and a slice of apple pie!  What a great way to spend a freezing winter day!

Happy Trails and Happy Mails
Jo ann

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Fearless Benjamin Lay, by Marcus Rediker.

Today, I finished the book, "The Fearless Benjamin Lay" which I found deeply moving. One hundred years before the full-scale Abolition movement, before the Underground Railroad, Benjamin Lay was a radical activist, a ceaseless goad to the wealthy educated class of his fellow Quakers, who ran the Meetings and owned slaves. He was not for "gradual emancipation" but immediate release of enslaved people. A dwarf with a spinal deformity, he suffered unending persecution yet persevered in his quest, because his soul was straight and his compassion drove him to use his life to fight this horrifying crime against humanity. I will give the book back to the friend who loaned it to me but the memory of the courage and purity of Benjamin Lay will stay with me. The author is Marcus Redicker. This is an amazing book!

The author asks and answers many of the questions I had such as why have we not heard of Benjamin Lay before? And the answers are enlightening and speak to several other interests of mine: Benjamin Lay was a self-educated commoner. Like many reformers, he had worked with his hands and taught himself. He was not the descendant of wealthy merchants educated at fine schools. Benjamin Lay had seen first-hand, as a sailor, many facets of the horrors of the slave trade, especially in Barbados where public torture and murder of enslaved people was common. Also, many of the educated and refined people of the time, people of power and social standing, were slave holders as for example Thomas Jefferson. I have read several books over the many decades, gradually revealing the sexual exploitation of Sally Hemmings and the enslavement of the offspring of this relationship of Jeffersons with this enslaved woman, including the most recent work on the dna proof of her descendants' relationship to Jefferson.

A topic rarely put at the front of the Abolition movement and the struggle is that along with the exploitation for free labor of kidnapped and enslaved people, one of the deep and powerful and abiding motivations for the oppression of enslaved African people was the access it gave men with money to the bodies of women.

Today pornography and prostitution flourish and journalists and educated men of power and social standing make jokes about it as though the exploitation of the disadvantaged is funny and acceptable, as long as they are women. The recent expose' of widespread intimidation of women for perverted sexual gratification shows us where the ongoing battle is taking place.

For people of conscience the two new fronts in the ongoing war between good and evil are in the cruelty towards animals and the sexual exploitation of women. Just as with Benjamin Lay, who was also aware of the issue of animal cruelty and exploitation, those of us who share this consciousness are continually exposed to ridicule for our beliefs that all creatures deserve justice. Just as we live in a world where people blithely pander to their base desires and justify the practice, like Benjamin Lay, those of us who have reached a conscientious awareness of the injustice must bear up and live on in our principles and hope that as with the on-going and successful struggle against enslavement of people in the U.S., the work against the enslavement and exploitation of animals will one day be seen for the wrong that it is and will cease. And the degradation of women for the entertainment of men along with it.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"
(and in that thought an expansion is treat women the way you would want your mothers, sisters, daughters treated)

Happy New Year!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Thursday, December 28, 2017

More Comments on "The Fearless Benjamin Lay'" book by Marcus Rediler

The Chapter on Benjamin Lay and his love of books and learning is particularly pertinent to the conflict between poetically powers adversarial to a free press that we are experiencing today.

In his attempts to shut down CNN and to pervert free expression by having his rich cronies buy up media outlets, Trump (whom I will NEVER call President) has made war on a basic American safe-guard, the Free Press.  Even in Benjamin Lay's time, the mid 1700's the press was under attack in various ways.  The Quaker hierarchy of the time suppressed all writing that was anti-slavery as the "meeting" had been overtaken by ministering "men of power" who acquired their wealth to a large measure by the trade in human flesh and the exploitation of the enslaved people.  Therefore when any member of the faith attempted to expand the continuous protest against this evil, the speaker was silenced through censure in Meeting or denial of publication. 

Fortunately then as now, there were those who respected and protected free speech and our own hero Benjamin Franklin published Benjamin Lay's great work against slavery and false ministry  

I believe that great danger is from money and monopoly.  Everyone understands censorship but we didn't anticipate that billionaire in protecting their wealth and the means by which they acquire it, as well as the protection of their treasure against taxation by off-shore accounts - as pirates buried their treasure in the Carribbean, that these billionaires would buy and monopolize media and pervert it to their own uses.  Hence, Fox news.  And the attempted purchase and perversion of CNN that was recently foiled.  Next the loss of Net Neutrality is a danger to us.  Well voices for truth and justice have aways found a way to make themselves heard and I have faith that will continue to be the case in this war between Good and Evil.

My view of this is that Good is for the greater good of all people, and it is loving and compassionate, that it protects and supports the poor and needy, the weakest, and most vulnerable of our society.  Evil is the pursuit of amassed riches, the exploitation of the poor the needy and the vulnerable, the misuse and abuse of people and animals, the setting off of some people as inferior because of color or religion or place of origin.  These sides are pretty clear in today's political climate.  One leader refuses to pay taxes, hides his money, brags of abusing women, denied his workers their fair pay in New York, and attacks the free press while throwing open the gates to the destruction of our planet by wealth seeking businessmen who wish to destroy our mountain tops by blasting them, poisoning our streams with pollutants, encroaching even further and faster upon those few natural lands left to us, and exploiting the workers at the same time.

If Benjamin Lay were alive today, I think I know where he would stand.

Happy Trails - enjoy the wood while you can - soon the various pipelines (through the pines as well as under the river of the invaded Dakota native American lands) will have polluted and laid waste to those woods.

In History our great war against evil was the war against the exploitation of our colony by the King, the war against enslavement of people, and now it is the war against the waste of our land by blind pursuit of individual wealth seekers.  They don't care what they do to our land in their avid urge to gather as much money as they can and hide it.

Quakers in South Jersey - some thoughts!

In the 1730's a man, Benjamin Lay, who had been born with a spinal deformity (dwarfism and hunchback) stood up in Burlington Quaker Meeting, and struck a sword through a pig bladder of red liquid spraying it upon those slave holding Quakers who were profiting from the sin and abomination of enslaving their fellow man.  An emigrant from England, immigrant to Philadelphia, Pa.  Benjamin had been cast out, persecuted, shunned and tormented for his belief that enslaving people was an immoral and un-Christian practice.  It is hard for us in our modern, post-Civil War period to imagine that a group so pious as the Quakers would betray and persecute one of their own for witnessing to what we hold to be a truth today about the enslavement of people.

A close friend of mine and fellow history aficianado, Barbara Solem, recommended the book "The Fearless Benjamin Lay" written by Marcus Reducer.  She had attended a book lecture and heard him speak.  She bought the book, loved it and loaned it to me.

This book has great interest to me for three deep reasons:  1. I was once a member of the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, which I had to leave after I moved and was so beset with employment to support my child and myself, that I couldn't and wouldn't give up my only day off from work to go to meeting in New Jersey AND I had no car which would have required me to pack up my child and take buses to the nearest meetings.  I was exhausted.  I tried to keep up my attendance in Philadelphia until the morning that my daughter and I were endangered on the bus home by a drug addicted bus driver who kept swerving into the oncoming traffic when he drifted down on the nod.  I was released from membership by retained my belief in the basic tenets of the Society of Friends, the light within that guides us to humane and righteous behavior when we listen to it, and a respect for and practice of egalitarian behavior to all creatures, human and animal.  Though the last tenet is more characteristic of early 'Primitive Quakerism' there are still many practicing Friends who believe in it.

From time to time, after I retired and my mother gave me her old car, I was able to visit various meetings and remembered with warmth and affection my years with the Friends.  Frequently I consider attending again as I have met some meetings that seem populated with truly good Friends and have amongst my acquaintance people who attend there, such as the Medford Meeting.

Also, 2.  I have always been interested in those courageous people who stand out against accepted wrongs of their contemporary society to put their safety between the exploitation of the vulnerable and the abuse of the weak by the powerful "Speaking Truth to Power"  This is as relevant in today's headlines as it has been in other periods of time.  Today we confront the evil behavior of rich and powerful men towards those who fall under their power from Harvey Weinstock abusing women to Kevin Spacey abusing and exploiting young men.  You don't have to look far to find other kinds of abuses, of farm workers, of animals, of poor workers producing products for American consumption in slave like factories in foreign countries with unregulated labor practices.

Finally, Benjamin Lay joins a pantheon of heroes of mine from my home-places Philadelphia (where I was born) and South Jersey (where I have lived all my adult life).  These people include Alice Paul who fought for women's right to vote, and Abigail and Elizabeth Goodwin who lived devoted to abolition and the support and aid of fugitives from slavery, John Woodman, and all the strands of history that unite good people doing great work - including Harriet Tubman who has ties to South Jersey history through the Underground Railroad and her employment in Cape May.  Almost every path that I take near my home, brings me in the vicinity of some good work - the Saddler's Woods for example, and my many samples over the asphalt trails of South Jersey have always taken me by Quaker Meetings from Haddonfield to Greenwich and the dozen or more in between.

I strongly recomment the book "The Fearless Benjamin Lay" to anyone with an interest in humanitarian activism, the history of our country, the Civil War, Anti-slavery movements, South Jersey and Philadelphia history, and religion and religious activism.

Sometimes the trails are sandy hiking paths, sometimes asphalt highways, backroads, and often, the trails are intellectual throughout time and allowing us to enjoy the companionship of great minds.
Happy Trails,
Jo Ann

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Living History Re-Enactments and other live performance providers

If you like history and you have an event, you might like to consider entertaintment such as storytelling for an alternative to a DJ, for example.

One of my best and oldest friends, Dorothy Stanaitis has been providing storytelling programs for adults for many years since her retirement from library work.  She was a Children's
 Program Director, and also had a story time television program for children, but when she retired she branched out into storytelling for adults.  She has many fine programs in American History such as "Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggarman, Thief"  and "Rumors, Scandals, and Dirty Rotten Lies" to name just a few, and the one I saw recently was "Don't Touch That Dial" which was a nostalgic look at Radio programs from the Golden Age of Radio.  

When I worked as a Historic Site volunteer, I met many Character re-enactors from living history programs, George Washington, Dolly Madison, Molly Pitcher, and Jane Austen, to list just those that came most quickly to mind - oh yes, and Sojourner Truth.  I myself portrayed an Abolitionist on the Underground Railroad for several years for Camden County Historical Society for a completely different set of program directors who were in charge a few years back.  I based my character on Abigail Goodwin of Salem, New Jersey.

Recently at the Coffee Shop Railroad Station in Merchantville, I picked up a card for a Living History Re-Enactor whose program was called "Notorious" and she portrays Lizzie Borden, Typhoid Mary, and the Bride of Frankenstein: Lightning Strikes Twide.  Info from her card says, "For More info on Notorious Women of History contact Kate @ 856-912-1082 and NotoriousDames.com also you can e-mail her at Decotique.info@verionnet.  A vintage apparel shop it is located at 13 N. Centre St., Merchantville, NJ 08109

This made me think of characters I would like to see portrayed, Heroic Women.  The bad girls always get so much attention but the good ones change the world:  Clara Barton, Margaret Sanger, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth White, Ida B. Wells, Billy Jean King, to name just a few - though I guess you shouldn't do women who are still alive and perfectly capable of doing themselves such as Ms King.  So scratch that name off the list, maybe put Babe Didrikson in there instead.  And of course, my personal favorites Abigail Goodwin of Salem, NJ and Alice Paul of Mount Laurel, NJ.

I wish I were younger and had more energy, I would do it myself. How much fun that would be!

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The American Holly, mistletoe and bittersweet.

Probably no plant is more symbolic of the holiday season than the American Holly.  Of course there is the Christmas Tree, the most famous symbol of all, but shrinking down to plant size, Holly has to take the crown.  And after all, though lots of people have Poinsettia in their homes and offices, Poinsettia is not native to our North American clime.  Oh, yes, there is also the mistletoe, and New Jersey is, in fact, famous for mistletoe as well as for holly.

Although holly is considered a shrub, it can grow to tree size even 245 to 60 feet tall!  I am most fortunate in having the kind of soil and yard that holly likes.  There are probably more than half a dozen good size hollies in my yard, some as tall as my house, but my house is one story.  I LOVE the bright red berries that brighten the yard in winter when all the leaves are finally gone and the yard is a dull  brown - then I look down the drive and my queen of holly shrubs shines its glossy green leaves and waves its red berry bangled branches and everything looks cheerful again.

Interesting fact:  hollies are "dioecious" meaning there are male and female plans and you must have both, and close to one another, in order for them to make berries and flowers.  Bees and Birds Love the Holly and butterflies lay their eggs at the base of the flower buds each year.

Holly is a symbol of Christmas from pre-Christian times.  Along with the evergreen tree, the bright and vigorous endurance of these hearty winter survivors gave people hope of making it through the cold Northern European winter season.  Their decorative beauty made them a top choice for decorating homes and churches in days gone by.  

A New Jersey connection:
"Elizabeth White (of Whitesbog Village near Browns Mills) experimented with one more type of plant: the American holly, ilex opaca. She even founded her own nursery business—Holly Haven, Inc.—and is credited with having helped to rescue the American holly from obscurity. She was even one of the first members of the Holly Society of America, founded in 1947.  Elizabeth White was most famous for successfully cultivating the blueberry at her family's cranberry bog plantation. 

Mistletoe:  "Mistletoe is most often found dangling over doorways at Christmastime, customarily with the promise of a kiss.
But the rare plant also drapes the forests of South Jersey, growing in twisted tree limbs 50 to 60 feet in the air. The trick is getting to it. Enter the mistletoe hunter. And his shotgun.  Squinting skyward, they stalk treetops for clumps of green. When hunters spot the coveted flora, they squeeze the trigger, pumping a bullet into the branch so it falls to the ground.  "Shooting mistletoe is how most people collect it," says David Snyder, a botanist from the New Jersey Office of Natural Lands Management. "It’s so high up that it’s difficult to get. The only other options are to cut down the tree or have utility people saw off the branches. We haven’t developed a better scientific method of collection."
The tradition continues to this day, although it is increasingly obscure. Mistletoe is categorized as endangered, protected by state law, as is bittersweet, pictured below.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Most Christmas Decorations - Pitman, Nj

Another fun day!  Today, FridayDecember 22, 2017, a friend and I drove to Pitman, New Jersey to see the house with the MOST Christmas decorations.  This house has been celebrated on tv and in the newspapers, so we decided to see it for ourselves!  

If you have never visited Pitman Grove, you SHOULD.  It is a historic district of quaint houses that date back to Pitman's early years as a Bible Camp Meeting hub.  The Grove auditorium, built in 1882, was recently renovated.  

The "most decorated house" was not a disappointment.  They had so much stuff, they had to expand into a neighboring yard!  The many unusual decorations included Santa's bathroom with Santa in the shower, and exotic figures from around the world.  

We had 'panzerotti's" at Attillio's pizzeria on Broadway, and visited all the decorations stores, primitives and country style, as well as the latest Art show at the Pitman Art Center, and the free book give-away at the library in the center of town.  Although there were many happy visitors strolling the sidewalks of the main street of Pitman, we had no trouble finding parking right off Broadway.  

It was a delightful day and lifted our spirits.  The gloomy gray threat of storm weather had us in the dumps, and Pitman cheered us right up again.  We went down 47 to get there and came home on 45 to enjoy driving through Woodbury.

Happy Trails!  And while you are there, pick up a copy of the Country Register - it is free and has tons of information, recipes, events, and locations of even more fun places to visit.  For example in this issue, I discovered some history of cranberries, of holly, and a new antique place called Cawman's Antique Mall, 529 Salem Quentin Rd., Salem, NJ open Wed. through Sun 10 - 5.  I plan to go there on my next ramble on the roads of South Jersey.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mount Laurel Day of visits

Another fun day wandering from historic spot to historic spot, this time in Mount Laurel which I didn't know was Evesham!   That solves a few small mysteries in my family history search of long ago.  One early branch of my family were under the care of the Evesham monthly meeting as per records in the Corson Poley Center in Burlington City.  I couldn't quite figure out where Evesham was.  Now I know.

We visited the Farmers  Hall which was having an open house from 1:00 to 4:00 today and serving hot cider and home-made cookies - my special favorites were the caramel chip and a layered cookie with jam, and chocolate icing!  There were also the perennial favorite snickerdoodles.  

Farmers' Hall had originally been a kind of grange where farmers met to talk over agricultural practices and seed prices.  It later became a police station and post-office, a municipal building, and finally was rescued from becoming a parking lot by the Mt. Laurel Historical Society.  This historical societies are my heroes!  They have saved so many wonderful old and irreplaceable buildings like this one, by their own sweat and tears.  They did remodeling and they always hold fund-raisers and use the proceeds for renovations and upkeep.

We walked across the corner to the oldest Friends Meeting in Burlington County, first meeting built in 1668, then the stone version built in late 1700's.  It is a beautiful native stone structure still in use for meeting.  Behind it is the brick schoolmaster's dwelling from an early school.  

We had veggie burgers at Whelihans for lunch.  It was a delightful day finished off by some browsing at Second Time Around Books in Rancocas - a charming book store!  Lots of good books on New Jersey history featured there too!

Go  on over and check them out!  Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Three fun places to visit in MERCHANTVILLE, NJ

Today, Saturday, Dec. 16th, two friends and I had lunch at my all time favorite lunch place, Maritza's on Main Street in Maple Shade.  I was dropping off a painting for the small works show at Main Street Art, same Main St. as Maritza's.  An old college classmate of mine, Diane Paul is proprietor and artist-in-residence.  By the way, looking for a great holiday party, birthday party, or just for fun place, she has great sip and paint classes and a new addition, bleached art t-shirts!  She also has a wide array of wonderful gifts.  

I was dropping off the 4th in a short series of paintings of historical places in Maple Shade, the railroad station, the one-room school, and the stone silo on Collins Lane with farmhouse, and the Dairy Queen Drive-in.  They are $100 each, 8 x 10, framed and ready to hang, so if you are looking for that special and unique gift for a 'Shader' or former 'Shader' drop in and have a look.

After lunch and our errand, we went to Merchantville to check out an all-hand-made health items store called Spirit to Sole Connection, 23 N. Centre St., where I sampled the tea, and home-made cookies and bought a fragrant lavender sachet for my daughter's Christmas stocking.  

Next we headed over to the Railroad Station for coffee and for me to show my friends the upstairs gallery where I may try to have an Art Show for my birthday one upcoming year.  I love the setting!  There was an art show up and several small works at reasonable prices that would, again, make excellent gifts.  You can also get lunch there, but we had already had lunch, so we settled for iced oatmeal cookies and hot drinks.  I had a pumpkin spice latte' - super delicious and perfect for the late afternoon of a snowy cold day - and also a perfect day for a drive around Merchantville looking at the gorgeous Victorian homes with their snowy white skirts.  Just along the railroad beside the station cafe' are several noteworthy Victorian beauties!  

Merchantville is the town where I went to high school, graduating in 1963 at age 17.  They no longer have a high school because Maple Shade, where I grew up, built their own high school and Merchantville lost the transfer population they needed to keep the high school open.  That's too bad.  It was a fine high school with dedicated and dignified teachers and a serious and hard-working student body.  I learned a lot there, and in fact, became a teacher myself many years later.  I always loved that town.

So if you are looking for a nice place to visit, right in your own backyard, give Merchantville a chance.  There are several interesting small stores worth trying too, which I am saving for my next visit:  Decotique, fine vintage at 13 N. Centre, for example.  And I would like to make a return visit to Spirit to Sole connection.
There was a little Christmas shop that we passed while driving down Centre Street that I would like to visit as well.

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Prairie Fires final review comments

I am at the end of Prairie Fires, the biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and a couple of conclusions struck me:  1.  The tv series, in which the original Little House stories were taken over by Michael Landon and remolded into his political view, glorified the prairie settlements as the way American kept fed during the depression, whereas in fact, most of the settlers were forced to leave after their ecological devastation of the plains caused the dust storms and heat and drought that followed excessive logging of the forests.
2.  The Little House tv series was popularized during the greatest period of Native American civi rights protest, and, similarly, glorified the genocide of the Indigenous people after the greedy land grabs and the fraudulent treaty deals of the Federal Government.
Also worth note, the individualistic survival simplicity is in fact, utterly delusional.  No one survived on the plains or anywhere else without help from others then or now.  "No man is an island" has always been true.  The settlers depended on federal land gifts (so much for limited the federal government preached by Republicans) and endless loans which could never be repaid after ecological disaster destroyed crop after crop and finally forced the failed small farmers off their land and into the westward migration to California to work as agricultural labor.
Still, a very informative and interesting book on many levels and I recommend it highly!  It is especially interesting to fans of the work of Willa Cather, another writer of the plains experience.

Today, Saturday, I am off to Maple Shade to put my historic places 8x19 painting of the Drive In Custard Stand in the gallery of Main Street Art to join the other three paintings on display there, The one-room school, and the railroad, and the stone silo.  Then on to a health food store I have seen on Facebook at 23 Center St. in Merchantville, all after lunch at Maritza's also on Main Street in Maple Shade.

Tomorrow, off to the Farm Museum in Marlton and Second Time Around Book Store, and lunch with pal, Barb Solem.

Have a wonderful weekend - Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

Thursday, December 14, 2017

South Phila. Childhood

Sometimes in the morning when I am drinking my first cup of

coffee, before I become engaged with reading a book, or 
paying bills, or some other activity, my mind drifts and a memory from my early childhood will come back to me.  This morning, I was thinking about the hucksters who came up the alleys behind our our row homes in South Philadelphia.  This was a remarkable event because they rode horse drawn wagons!  Their wagon beds were piled high with vegetables and they had a swinging silver panned weight hanging from the framed wagon structure.  

Housewives would go out into the alley and buy a pound of carrots or green beans (which we called string beans) and the huckster would pile them into the weighing pan.  The horse waited patiently, and other housewives gathered at their back gates for their turn.

These vegetable hucksters came from "The Neck" which was some mysterious place south of where we lived and also south of "The Dump" which was a place my parents would go from time to time in search of something.  Once we went there for a medicine cabinet which my father installed in the bathroom of our row home.  Every year in December we drove down to the Neck for our Christmas tree, which cost about $5.  

Many years later, I was idly searching around on the neck and I came across an old etching of the a farm at the neck and this interesting piece of information which I found again today from a different source:

Philadelphia RowHome magazine Winter 2009 by Omar R - issuu

Jan 5, 2010 - Senick said his family lived on Stone House Lane, around where 3rd and Pattison is now. ... The Neck apparently was first settled before the Revolutionary War by Germans, Swedes and French, among others, by people who were doing what came naturally for a time when the economy was dominated by ...

Although I visited their web site, I couldn't find the article quoted on this teaser.  In the original tidbit, it was mentioned that the original settlers were Germans, some of them left here after the Revolutionary War, when several thousand Hessian soldiers had been hired out of German (not yet a unified country) and employed as Mercenary soldiers.  Wounded, deserters, and imprisoned Hessian soldiers, left behind after the war, often settled here.  Since many of them had been originally peasant farmers in their home duchies, they returned to farming in America.  In the marshlands where the Schuylkill and Delaware meet, in the area known as the neck because of its shape between the two rivers, they drained the swamps with canals, built small truck farms, and lived harmoniously for a couple of centuries, joined by Swedes, Irish, and others who were happy to find free land where they could throw up a shack and farm, or raise ducks, pigs, rabbits and other livestock.

Since this land was considered 'waste' being marshy swamp land, it was mostly ignored until Philadelphia filled up, and then areas were turned into land-fill and dumps.  Eventually, in the early 1900's and particularly after the second World War, the land was confiscated by the government, the people driven off their small plots, their shacks and cottages burned, and the polluted marshland filled in and turned into the industrial, refineries, ship-yard and airport uses of today.

Since my father's heritage is half German, half English, I have always been interested in the early German settlers of the area where I grew up.  Also, when I was a child, my mother was a Sunday School teacher at Gloria Dei, "Old Swedes" Church, and I have also always been interested in the first Swedish settlers in the area because of that early association. 

So much of what was when you were a child disappears as time marches on, that you can't help feeling nostalgia for the irreplaceable past - a place you can only visit in your memory.