Spent the evening reading Charles Boyer's books - Old Mills of Camden County, and Old Inns and Taverns in West Jersey. What a stalwart and passionate historian he must have been. Those books were fascinating. I found my family branches, Garwood and Cheesman all over the place, grist mills, saw mills, and taverns. I could picture Charles S. Boyer on his day trips to the various sites and then doing the research in thousands of deeds and wills, tracking back the places and the people along the waterways of West Jersey. Fortunately, I was able to get both books, second hand, on sale at the Camden County Historical Society on Euclid Avenue, behind Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
After lunch with a friend in Haddonfield, yesterday, I ambled on over to Camden County Historical Society Library to do more family history research. They had a heating problem and it was COLD in there, but I soon was lost in the files in their cabinets and in the books on the shelves. I was searching in Strykers for my Revolutionary War ancestors and found plenty of all three names listed there: Wright, Garwood and Cheesman.
This whole month, I've been doing Underground Railroad presentations in the school in the area as a part-time employee for Camden County Historical Society. This is my second year doing this work and it is gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the kids when they find out how many interesting places there are in their own towns to explore.
I'd like to know more about all of these things, follow the threads, the family history in this area, the Underground Railroad, the Inns and Taverns - the more I learn, the more I want to find out.
I've found it helpful to refer to a booklet that I bought at one of CCHS's spring book sales:
A Teacher's Guide to the WaterSheds of Camden County. The maps of the waterways make the relationship between taverns and mills more understandable. Every river had it's mills and every area of mills had taverns, the watermen needed a place to hang out while they waited for the change over of products being delivered and picked-up. They must have been lively places, those taverns, with the talk of politics and business, the buying and selling of livestock and land, corn and grains, the gossip and scandals.
One of these days, perhaps I'll even get lucky and find a Cheesman, Garwood or Wright through this blog. I hope so.
I'll be back to blog after my visit with the Historian's Roundtable in Mount Holly tomorrow morning. I'll be attending with Loretta Kelly, the main preservationist working on White Hill in Fieldsboro. Till then - stay warm and dry!