Having spent approximately 32 years teaching in Gloucester City, and living in Mount Ephraim, it gives me the greatest delight when I find theat Jerseyman has posted an essay on some historical site in either of these towns. I grew up in Philadelphia, moved to New Jersey in my early teens and have spent my life on both sides of the mighty river, both in places I've lived and schools where I've taught. This isn't unusual even from the colonial period when many Jersey folk ferried across to live in Philly, and vice versa. Betsy Ross, for example, was actually born on the Jersey side of the Delaware not far from Gloucester City. The Griscombe family had a farm here. Scholars have debated on exactly where the farm was located, but somewhere under the supports of the Walt Whitman bridge has been mentioned.
One of my favorite characters of Gloucester City history is Billy J. Thompson. His grave is in the cemetary off Market Street, I think it is St. Mary's. His is a rags to riches story. He came as a boy with barely enough in his pocket to keep him alive. Rose in prominence in New York, Philadelphia, and finally Gloucester City, NJ. At his peak, he owned a hotel which featured the planked shad Gloucester City was famous for, a racetrack and an Amusement Park. He married, had more than a dozen children, lost his holdings first to fire and finally to bankruptcy, died on a visit back to his homeland in Ireland, then his body was returned here for burial.
Another of my favorite items on a list of things to research more at some point is the Battle of Gloucester Towne, where the Marquis de Lafayette fought alongside militia men such as my own Mount Ephraim hero William Harrison, Jr., against the Hessians on their way to Red Bank Battlefield that fateful day in October, 1777.
Anyway, I strongly suggest that if you want a good read you'll visit Jerseyman's blog today! Let us both know what you think and what you know!
By the way, I've had enquiries as to the the mysterious serpentine in the photo to the right, but I'm not telling till someone identifies it! Jo Ann