Waretown has two old cemeteries, the resting places of many of our
settlers. The largest is Cedar Grove on Bay Street which was founded in
1861, but included an ancient graveyard. It consists of some 500 graves
and is still being used (along with a recent one on Route 532).
The other, The Old Presbyterian Graveyard (also called Union) lies
between Route 9 and Main Street. It included a small church until the
1930's. There are over 250 readable headstones there. Some stones are
so very old that all traces of lettering are gone forever while some
others are beautiful monuments. They tell the story that in these
hallowed grounds are buried men who were lost in the wars and epidemics
in the early days. There are memorials to men lost at sea and, by
information from books, we know also that many mariners who lost their
lives in shipwrecks off our Coast, are interred here.
At one time there was a small graveyard across the street from the
Presbyterian Graveyard, where Abraham Waier and others were buried but
there is no trace of it today. Abraham Waier's gravestone was taken and
used as a mooring anchor for a boat by some of the local boys in the
Waretown During The Early War Years
It has been said that New Jersey was the
center of the turmoil of the Revolutionary War, and the shore villages
were no exceptions to the involvement. Even our town's settlers were
hampered in their efforts to ship their lumber, an important industry, to
New York and other markets where it was in demand. British cruisers
patrolled Barnegat Inlet, keeping watch for the whaleboats, schooners and
other boats that our local men had loaded with cargo, and which were
hidden in the coves and rivers; the Privateers were keeping close watch
for a chance to sneak out. If they escaped the watchful eye of the enemy
and had a successful trip, the profit would well be worth while. But if
they were captured, which they so often were, it meant loss of boats and
cargo, usually by fire, and the possible capture of captains and crews.
Another bone of contention was the salt works; salt was indispensable in
those days as a preservative for meat and fish as well as a gun powder
ingredient. There was a salt works near Soper's Landing (located between
Barnegat Beach and Pebble Beach) where the Colonists derived salt from
the bay water by evaporation. It was one of the orders of the "Refugees"
to destroy the salt works.
Joseph Soper and his son Reuben and their
families lived near Soper's meadows. They were Patriots under the
command of Capt. Reuben Randolph of Manahawkin and were the subjects of
harassment by Capt. John Bacon of the Refugees. The Soper men often
slept in the swamps adjacent to Lochiel Creek. On one occasion the
notorious Bacon plundered the Soper home during a robbery expedition and
stole a shirt, which later became his "winding sheet". He was killed
wearing it between West Creek and Tuckerton (Clam Town), but not before
he had led the attack on Long Beach and during that terrible massacre
Reuben Soper and others were killed as they slept.
Another dreaded Refugee leader was
Davenport. Although his usual stomping grounds were the Toms River areas
he frequently came this way. In 1782 he helped with the attack on Toms
River that left the town in burnt ruins. A few months later he led two
barges filled with eighty picaroons down Barnegat Bay to Forked River.
They went ashore and helped themselves to supplies from a farm, then
destroyed the salt works of a patriot, Samuel Brown, who barely escaped
capture by hiding in the swamp. The barges then separated, one going up
coast, and Davenport and his barge headed toward Waretown with the
intention of destroying Newlin's works and maybe some at Barnegat. As
their barge approached Oyster Creek they saw an American boat coming
toward them. Davenport would not heed his men's pleas to turn back
saying they were more in number and would make short work of the
Americans. He could not have known of the swivel cannon in the American
boat, but as he stood up to urge his rowers on, he was struck and killed
by a ball. The boat capsized in a few feet of water and the picaroons
scattered to the shore where they begged food of the Quakers, hid until
nightfall, then left the area.
A couple of miles back from the bayshore
and running parallel to it, was the King's Highway, a stagecoach trail.
There is a house nearby that was built in 1735 and a story that has been
passed down through the years how one night six men of the Continental
Army, being pursued by the British, stopped at that house. The soldiers
were hidden and the six horses slept in the dining room. At the time the
house belonged to a Camburn.
The War of 1812 found its way to our
shores also. Commodore Hardy in his 74 gun flag-ship, the "Ramillies",
patrolled the inlet blockading the coast. As before the Privateers tried
to make successful trips to other ports with cargos of lumber and other
goods. Several of our Captains - Birdsalls, Sopers and others were
caught and the area's schooners, "President", "Greyhound" and others were
captured and burned. As in the earlier war, Waretowners witnessed many
exciting scenes from the shore, shipwrecks of war and contests between
the British and Americans to capture crews and cargoes.
1876 - Centennial Year of the U.S.A.
In Waretown, on April 13th, in 1876 the
Township of Ocean was formed. The 1876 Poll book was signed by Edwin
Salter, Clerk of the election held at the Tavern Post Office. There were
three elected to the Ocean Township Committee in 1876, one being Chairman
Samuel Bennett Predmore.
The following March one hundred and ten
ballots were cast, which consisted of the whole number of names on the
poll, for candidates to various offices and commissions. Names of
candidates on the ballot equalled a quarter of the poll list. Voted for
was one hundred fifty dollars for road money, two hundred dollars for
pauper money and for incidentals, three hundred dollars.
Early Schools in Waretown
According to Salter's writings, the
earliest school in Waretown was built prior to 1750, since the Rogerines
who came here in 1739 and continued here for eleven years worshiped in
the school house. All else we know is that it stood near a grove of oak
trees just off Main Street, parents paid their children's tuition, and it
continued well into the 1800's.
Originally the schoolhouse constructed in
1875 had but one room. It had a vestibule with cloakrooms on the front
which rose to a high belfry tower. The school had wooden benches that
were placed in rows on either side of the big pot bellied stove and
separated the girls from the boys. In very cold weather the children
hovered near the stove. Two students were sent daily for the drinking
water from the mill dam, "We didn't always come right back either!" The
water bucket was kept on a shelf with a dipper for all to use. The Old
Mill Pond was a favorite place for the children to play. One teacher
rang the bell early enough for the children to have time to return from
skating or wading, depending on the season.
A primary room was added in 1890 and the
early 1900's saw many changes. Single desks were placed on one side of
the room for the boys and double desks on the other side for the girls.
The school was also remodeled and windows were installed that met State
regulations. The vestibule tower was removed and the belfry set atop the
building. Students who finished eighth grade could attend high school in
Lakewood via a 6:00 A.M. train. Later they attended Toms River High and
in 1911 five Waretown students were enrolled in ninth and tenth grades at
Early Religions in Waretown
The first recorded religious society to
settle in Waretown was the Rogerines who came here in 1737. This
peculiar sect founded by John Rogers in Connecticut, came to New Jersey
because of its tolerance to religious beliefs and customs. One of their
peculiarities was that of working at hand tasks while attending their
services, which Salter records was in a schoolhouse. They stayed eleven
years and one of their members, Abraham Waier, became so esteemed that
the town was named for him.
There were many Quakers among our early
settlers who attended the Friends Meeting House in Barnegat built in
The Old Mill
The few rotted boards, broken stones and
cement, is all that is left of the old mill adjacent to what was once
Pond Street, and now is Birdsall Street. Across the street is another
beautiful example of a Birdsall house. The street, when entering it from
Route 9, takes a sudden turn to the left to avoid the mill site. If one
were to continue straight on, this would have been the loading platform
from the grain wagon to the mill. Where there now is a small pond on the
west side of Route 9, there was once a large pond, which was part of
Waretown Creek. This was dammed up with what is more properly called a
weir from whence ran a gated sluice to the top of the mill's water wheel.
It then skirted the mill house and ran right across the Old Shore Road in
the earlier days to form a ford, or unbridged stream. Wagons, people and
stagecoaches went through it, with shallow water and a sandy bottom.
Sometimes there was a small plank bridge for travellers. In the winter
when the pond was iced over and water could not flow over the wheel, the
men cut ice and stored it in the mill and the icehouse nearby. Sheep
were taken to the stream for washing before shearing. It is believed the
mill originally belonged to Abraham Waier. The gristmill grindstones and
old millstone are being cared by Thomas Ackerman, and are in fine shape.
We will start to the north of Oyster Creek,
which in 1763 was known as Oster (Eastern) Creek, and at another time was
known as McCoy's Creek. During the charcoal days there was a wooden
railroad along its banks. At the mouth, and turning south in the bay, we
pass Sands Point Harbor which shore and inland was once called Owltown.
We pass the lagoon inlet at Holiday Beach to the one at Skippers Cove,
then we come to Shipyard Point at North Harbor, which is the exit of
Waretown Creek and the site of the old shipyard. Shortly after, we come
to the foot of Bay Road and the site of the old stone jetty, now
scattered from a century of storms. Next is Waretown Fishing Station
with a wooden pier. The water was at one time much deeper in the bay and
there is an old print showing a four masted schooner tied up at the end
of this pier, also showing the old Bayview Hotel in the distance. In
later days this area is where a brisk business was done in renting
rowboats for crabbing and fishing. Today, power boats hold sway. We
then come to South Harbor. All this area including Liberty Harbor is
devoted to big marinas. There had been marinas near the entrance to
Oyster Creek, but they are no longer in operation as the power company
bought their land.
Just south of South Harbor is a curving bay
where you will see a row of cedars. For over 100 yards or so, there was,
some 70-95 years ago, a very beautiful bathing beach, with a boardwalk,
gazebo and a bath house. All this is gone now, the water has risen
considerably in that time. Going to the southern end of this little
curved bay, we come to the site of the eastern terminus of the Old
Pancoast Road and also the site of Newlin's Salt Works. A lane goes up
towards the Old Birdsall-Westcott Farmhouse. Next, we come to Cox's
Point, which is now the entrance to two lagoons in Barnegat Beach, which,
due to much erosion in the past, was bulkheaded. Next comes a lagoon
used by the Lighthouse Camp. About half way to Locheil Creek, is where
Soper's Landing and Jerusalem were. Locheil Creek was named after the
Lord Neill Campbell's estate of that name in Scotland. The natives
called it Lawhill, (actually the "ch" in Locheil is sounded like a soft
"k", so that it comes out more like Lockeil). A part of the Pebble Beach
of today was known as Picketts Field. Speaking of Newlin's Salt Works,
during the latter part of the Revolutionary War with England, we were in
need of salt. Some of the salt had been coming from St. Martens in the
Netherlands Antilles by our schooners, but now that the British were
blockading us we had to make our own salt the slow, hard way from the
sea. Salt works were erected up and down the coast, mostly in the bays,
for several reasons such as, some protection from rough weather at sea
and for better control of the water. While today we only get a tide rise
and fall of six to twelve inches, we measured it in feet in those days.
They could trap the water in trenches during very high tides and dam it
off, let the water evaporate until it became brine, and then boil it down
in big iron pots and trays. Some used pumps to raise the waters,
sometimes powered by a windmill as it was at Brown's in Forked River and
possibly here. Huge quantities of cordwood were often used to boil the
salt down. Mosquitoes were a great hindrance to the operators, storms
and rain would also give a lot of trouble. When the brine was reduced to
a sludge, it was placed in wicker baskets and allowed to drain. It was
then thrown in pairs over the backs of draught animals and transported to
Boundaries and Landmarks
Before we venture farther afield, perhaps
we should define out boundaries, remembering that Brookville is a part of
Ocean Township, as is Wells Mills. They are about eight miles west of
Waretown. On our east, of course, we are bounded by the Barnegat Inlet,
while to the south Locheil Creek separates us from Barnegat Township.
Our southern boundary line goes across the bay, around Barnegat Light and
out the center of the Inlet, thus the name "Ocean Township". Our
northern boundary line goes to Island Beach and out the north jetty. On
the north Oyster Creek separates us from Lacey Township (Forked River).
The latter two streams converge inland on each other in a general sense
to form a rough wedge in the vicinity of Brookville and Wells Mills. The
actual search may be found in Salters History. It was approved on April
Waretown is loosely divided into sections.
Starting to the north is Sands Point, south of which is Holiday Beach
followed by Skippers Cove then Bay Haven, Barnegat Beach and Pebble
Beach, while to the west of Route 9, is Railroad Avenue, and what is
known as Dogtown. Waretown has several creeks, streams and streamlets,
Oyster Creek and near the center of town, Waretown Creek, then Toh's
Creek. West of the central area, the ground rises into a long hill going
north and south, as will be seen on Wells Mills Road, which was once
named Pancake Road.
Brookville, eight miles to our west, is
part of Ocean Township. There were perhaps 50 or 60 homes in the early
days, especially in the days of lumbering, together with Wells Mills. In
1892 it was called Millville, but there was another, bigger Milville.
The Post Office changed it to Brookville. It was noted for lumber,
charcoal and sphagnum moss. They had a lot of pigs which they let run in
the woods in the spring, and in the late fall their owners would go out
with a pocket full of corn, find the sow and drop corn in the front of
her as she headed for home, and the little ones would follow her.
Moses Headley once owned Brookville all the
way to the sea; he owned 2,300 feet on the bay and 17 acres in
Off Route 532, one would find a serenely
beautiful lake, seemingly as the Indians left it. It is a part of Oyster
Creek and was the millpond for Wells Mills. There is a stone strip at
the outlet where the mill used to be and the old and unusual millwheel is
sinking deeper and deeper into the mud.
The Wells came from Chatsworth and at one
time were joint owners of the area with Damien Thibault. However, it is
the Estlows whom most remember as its former owners. They were the sons
of Christopher Estlow whose ancestor came to this country from Holland,
the year of the "Mayflower". Francis Robiniau Estlow and his brothers
Jessie and Godfrey ran the first Estlow Mill. Francis invented the
turbine type millwheel and it was made at "Old Martha's" furnace near
Pasadena, New Jersey. As a matter of fact the Estlows were an inventive
family and had a loft full of unpatented inventions such as boating and
farming "time savers". They had a form of "telephone" with wires to
other houses and a kind of coded ring, so many bells for help, etc.
The Estlows lived in the house the Wells
had lived in on the north side of the lake, building on to suit their
needs. There were three or four houses on the rise overlooking the lake.
The one Gertrude Estlow Burke (cousin of Tilden) lived in is still
standing but going to ruin. The homestead and its location must have
been very beautiful once.
Today Wells Mills is owned by Ocean County
and preserved as a nature park.
We will now start at Locheil Creek and
going north visit what is now Pebble Beach, Barnegat Beach, Bay Haven,
Skippers Cove, Holiday Beach and Sands Point Harbor, also that portion of
Waretown that lies immediately west of Route 9.
The north side of Locheil Creek was a
beach and woodland on the "Ridge" as you approach Route 9. This was
known as Jerusalem, where years ago they used to have fishing parties.
Weak fish were said to favor this area. Most of what is now called
Pebble Beach was known as Indianola, as there had been small Indian camps
along there about half way from there to Barnegat Beach. On the bay was
once Soper's Landing and north of that reaching up and partly into
Barnegat Beach was Soper's Meadows. The lower and central portion of
Indianola became a small development first known as Indian Surf Beach,
later Barnegat Lagoons and now Pebble Beach. It was somewhere in the
center of Indianola that the first residents of Waretown lived. To quote
from Salter's History, "The first settler on the Soper Place, between
Waretown and Barnegat, according to the late Jeramiah Spragg, an aged
citizen of Barnegat, was John Perkins whose daughter married James
Spragg, father of Jeramiah. Mr. Perkins came from England during the old
French Wars and located near Sopers Landing and subsequently sold out to
Joseph Soper ancestor of the numerous Soper families in this vicinity and
That which is now known as Barnegat Beach
included the present development and woods to the north of Barnegat Beach
Drive as far as Main Street and the vicinity of Westcott Avenue that
extends down to the bay. In 1952 the Barnegat Beach Civic Association
Inc. was formed. The Clubhouse was built by enthusiastic volunteers and
promissory notes. A beach pavilion and a kiddie park was installed on
the beach. There are two lagoons with a Marina at the inner end of each.
Historically, it contains the old Headley Farm and the Birdsall -
Westcott Farm, the end of Pancoast Road and Newlin's Salt Works, and as
Hudson said, "A pleasant place to see."
Most of the land now known as Holiday
Beach, was once a thriving farm.
Sands Point Harbor
About 200 acres of the northeast corner
must have been an ancient Indian campsite, as many artifacts have been
recovered from there several feet under the surface at the site of little
knolls. There is a section of about seven lagoons with nautical names
and a section with names of trees.
Town Meadow was the name of a semi-public
meadowland reaching almost from the bay to the railroad in the early
days. The old Atlantic City Road went through it. There was a knoll
near the center of it and one large house stood on the old road with a
tower for watching ships at sea; this was the house of Birdsall-Conover.
Cows grazing and children picking flowers were a familiar site and then
one day in 1955 the bulldozers tore it up for what was to be Skippers
Cove. Mr. Henry Mellon started the project, but sold it to Suburban
Propane Company in February, 1958. The first house was completed in
1960, soon there were 237 homes with both water and sewerage. It was the
first of its type on the bay. A nice development of upland character to
encourage athletics and boating.
Bay Haven is centrally located and on the
bay, from Bay Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue. There are some homes here
but there are two large Marinas and other small lagoons. A thriving slip
rental and boat business is in operation there. It was once a busy place
at the site of the old Bayview Hotel and the Waretown Fishing Station
where, in the old days one could rent a row boat and go crabbing or
A small section at the far end of Railroad
Avenue, west of Route 9 and near Route 532, or what was once called the
Pancake Road. Dogtown was so named because an early resident, Ray
Peterson, they say trained dogs here. At the junction of this and
Railroad Avenue are the Town Hall, Firehouse and the Police Station.
Waretown's Elementary School is on Railroad Avenue. The Ocean Township
Elementary School is located on the same property facing Route 532.
From the years 1700 to 1900, Waretown was
quite a shipbuilding center. The place was Waretown Creek, which harbor
was larger than of today. It lay between Skippers Cove, of today, and
Pennsylvania Avenue, on the south the estuary was known as Shipyard
Point. This gave employment to a variety of tradesmen, such as
lumbermen, (sometimes known as Woodjins) cutting oak, cedar and other
woods for the ships. As steamboats became more popular, the delivery of
cordwood, cheaply, was needed and Waretown became an extremely busy
place. Carpenters, shipbuilders, fitters, ironworkers, blacksmiths,
caulkers, sailmakers and all specialists in the art of shipbuilding were
needed. Then came the captain apprentices, officers of various ranks,
pilots and ordinary seamen. A stone jetty a half mile long was built out
in the bay at the foot of Bay Road, so the late Leon Stackhouse told us,
with a width at its end large enough to turn around a six mule team and a
wagon. We asked Leon where they got all the stones as we had never seen
any natural ones in this area. He replied that we were no sailors and
had we not heard of ballast, which had been brought back on boats
returning from New York and other ports. Oxen, mules and horses were
used to bring the cordwood to the shallow draught schooners at the deeper
water at the end of the pier. Some lumber was floated down Oyster Creek
as far as brackish water and then barged to the ships waiting at the pier
or riding at anchor outside. Barques, barquentines, sloops, coasters,
schooners, bay boats, whaleboats down to row boats and sneakboxes were
built at the shipyard. Large ships would be built beside the water and
rolled in to launch it. Small boats would be built in a low trough, and
when finished, the watergate would be opened and the water let in to
float it. Some cordwood would be carted in on the Pancoast Road to
Sopers Landing between Barnegat and Waretown. The old sea captains had
some beautiful homes built, naturally, near the Bay. Most of them were
built on the Old Shore Road (now Main Street). The old Headley Farm was
built on a knoll (as most of them were) on the old Pancoast Road.
Another, the Camburn-Borsum House, was built on Oyster Creek. It must
have been a very interesting sight to see the seamen and the Woodjins, as
well as many various artificers, mingle on their way around town on a
weekend in Waretown in those days. The builders of these fine ships were
very skillful men; keel, ribs, masts, stem and stern, all experts, a
truly complex business. The Builders and Captains were most fastidious,
and as the saying went, each owner and operator wanted their vessel to
"fly like the wind against the wave". Captain Billy Burden was an expert
sailmaker as well as Sea Captain. The Burdens and the Homes were
shipbuilders, as Earl Warran explained to us. So was Captain (and
Doctor) Newberry. Captain John Warren operated the "Edith Olcott", a
four masted schooner used in coastal charcoal and lumber. Captain Rulon
built many ships, lived across the Shore Road opposite Captain Newberry.
Captain Birdsall built the "Emelia E. Birdsall" in 1864, sold it to
Captain Homes in 1874 for $1,800.00. Birdsall owned the schooner
"Ezekiel Birdsall" in 1840. Captain George Birdsall, Sr., and Captain
George Jr., were sailing in the 1920's. The peak of big ships was in
1790. Sea Captains were three Amos Birdsalls, Sam Birdsall, A.C.
Fiedler, Chas. Benton Bowker, Chambers, Camburn, Predmore, Bunnell,
Wilkins, Chas. Reid, Ridgeway, John Warren, Asay, Rulon, and Soper. The
biggest ship built here was the "Magellon". Others were the Schooners
"Lydia Middleton", "Eva Homes", "Marie Pearson" and many others of
course. After many years the big sails disappeared from our bay, the
ensuing storms finally broke up the big rock pile and scattered the rocks
along the shore. When you see them, remember that over 100 years ago,
someone put it in a boat somewhere else like New York, Philadelphia or
anywhere up and down the coast or in the Caribbean Islands and later
threw them into the bay. For those that fish along the shore near
Waretown, there are a couple of those rock piles where one may find the
fishing good at times. Remember, the whole character of the bay has
changed greatly since those times. Cranberry Inlet opposite Toms River
was closed by a storm in 1812, and the whole bay is many inches higher
water today than in 1915.
In the 1830's, competition between the
steamboats was very keen, it was found that cordwood was taking too much
space on deck, especially on long voyages it displaced cargo. The demand
for charcoal, in the absence of coal, grew in popularity and for a few
years was operated full blast. Men had to be trained into the skills of
making charcoal, and acquainted with its deadly fumes. Charcoal burning
entailed heat by very slow burning with a minimum quantity of air so that
the burning of the cordwood must be very even and very slow. The
following method was used around here according to Steve Hardeski who
worked at this job out toward the Forked River mountains when he was a
teenager in the 1930's. They cut down and piled eight foot logs in a
conical circle by tiers so they tapered off near the top. This was
topped off, but a small core in the lower center was left open. The
whole pile, which looked like an igloo was covered by sod with small
holes left that could be controlled and regulated to intensify heat at
The men would build several of these piles
at an area set apart and keep tearing down and setting up new ones
as the charcoal was accomplished. And eight cord pile took eight days and eight nights and there was no
sleeping "on watch" for if it burned too fast - no charcoal! The charcoal burners lived on the job. (Steve's
boss gave them a junk car to sleep in).
Some of the charcoal workers were able to
produce old time necessities and nostrums such as pitch, tar, axelgrease,
turpentine, ship caulking, gum, lamp black and pine cough syrup by using
the proper wood and temperature and position of an inserted hollow log.
This was a precise and required skill.
Shellfish in the Bay
Oysters prior to 1920 were plentiful.
William Reid had a small bed along the shore of what is now Holiday
Beach. In the late forties the winter crabbers found a bed of oysters
off Cedar Creek and caught hundreds of bushels. There was a good market
and the price was fair. I remember when there were quite a few in Oyster
Creek. There were sedge Oysters around the Islands just for the taking.
We caught what we wanted for our own use. Long since, they have been
caught up and died. In the thirties the bay was covered with eel grass
and clamming was good, an average haul of 1000 to 1500 was a good day.
Later in the thirties the eel grass died and the bay bottom became very
hard. We had about twenty years of good clamming, a growth of small
clams that was very good for the market, in the early part of the
forties, clams sold 100 for $.35, but you could catch anywhere from 2000
to 3500 in eight hours. In the beginning we used an ordinary garden rake
to catch clams with until commercial rakes were made, and they were the
best. After the grass got thick and the bottom softened, we treaded
clams catching from 2000 to 5000. After the fifties, the scallops came
back into the bay. Thousands of bushels were caught. Some sold in the
shell to commercial dealers, others opened their own and sold them by the
quarts and pints as people wanted.
Seth and Rebecca Corliss moved from
Brookville to Waretown in 1884. In 1916 their sons, Arthur and Stogton
bought a cranberry bog from the Birdsalls. It was in bearing condition
and ready for harvest and shipping. It was known as the "lower bog". In
1925, Arthur and son, LeRoy started to build what was to be the "upper
bog" with a horse and wagon and later a truck. It was hard work clearing
trees and brush and cutting ditches for irrigation. Cranberries were set
out four inches long and four inches apart. There was a four year wait.
Cranberries had to be picked before frost. Scoops with metal fingers
were used to pull them from the vines. Local help was used to put them
into barrels and stored where they were then sorted and shipped. The
cranberry house burned and Arthur Corliss built a new and bigger one near
his home on Route 9. Electricity made things easier and faster.
Cranberries were dumped into a hopper. At two conveyer belts 10 inches
wide by 8 feet long, three or four people picked bad and white berries
out and then boxed them. Later the berries were taken to Bordentown,
where the Eatmore Cranberries were sorted and shipped west for the
holidays. After the harvest, the bog was flooded, the berries floated
and were gathered with a net and dried on a coarse screen, sorted and
shipped as before. The bog was then drained, the vines pruned to stop
tangling, and the ditches clear of blocks. The floodgates on each end
were closed, to put water in the reservoir before it reached the bogs.
If it turned cold early, the bogs were then flooded, partly so that they
could be worked in boots. It was a hard and tedious job but paid quite
well. The only thing was, you had to wait a year before having any money
for the year's crop. After Stogton died, his son Eugene took over and
built his own cranberry house. An old familiar sight in town was seeing
Gene Corliss drive his early vintage Ford to the bogs. (It was later
sold to Tom Ackerman). Arthur and LeRoy also owned the "little bog" in
Union Township and three small bogs of 532, "The Morey Place".
The name of the local company was "The
American Moss and Peat Co., Corliss Brothers Proprietors" (Arthur and
Stogton). Sphagnum moss grows in the cedar swamps, it must be gathered
with a long toothed tool known as a moss drag and carried in a basket to
a truck at the edge of the swamp, it is then taken to a clearing known as
a moss landing for drying. In a day or two the sun dries the top of the
moss. It then must be turned over. When it is dry it is raked up,
packed and wired around in a moss press and covered with burlap in
preparation for shipping. Corliss Brothers had a place built to store
the moss they bought from other "mossers" in the area. Some of the
people they bought from were: Tilton Estlow, Oscar Couch, Clarence and
Fred Camburn, Will and Billy Gray, Fred Cranmer, to name a few. Sphagnum
moss was usually ordered in the early spring by florists and asparagus
and strawberry growers and the like. It has a tremendous capacity for
holding water. This was a thriving business many years ago.
Hunting and Fishing
Grover Cleveland and Babe Ruth were among
those who liked to hunt and fish at Waretown. Some of the finest duck hunting areas
in New Jersey was Barnegat Bay in Ocean Township waters. During the 1920's,
market gunners hunting from anchored locations in Barnegat Bay used 8 gauge shotguns
to kill thousands of ducks. The daily kills were shipped to the New York market in iced
down railway cars. The Sedge Islands catered to corporate executives who hunted from
custom blinds and were served lunch in the blinds by white coated butlers.
Waretown Volunteer Fire Department was
incorporated in November, 1939. Prior to this, Barnegat Fire Company
answered Waretown's calls and were appropriated a few hundred dollars in
the township budget. During the war most of the eligible men were in the
service so the Fire Company was inactive. It reorganized in 1944 and the
rules were amended to allow sixteen to eighteen year old boys to join.
The first fire truck was a 1935 Ford and it had a round tank that they
boxed in. The second one was a 1946 forest fire truck with a tank and a
small motor for a pump on the side, bought from the state for $300.00.