Friendship Article in SJ Courier Post

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BarryC

Guest
Actually the grave in the Eagle cemetery of Charles Wills says he was born April 25th and died July 18th- born and died in 1839, not 1848. He was the son of George and Mary.
It would be interesting to find out more about the Wills' of the Pines. Perhaps someone has done a Wills genealogy.
KenDawg said:
Here is what I could come up with for the Wills families in the Pines.

Misc. List of Wills:
Zebedee Wills...deeded the site of Mount to Jonathan Cramer 3/27/1839
Charles Wills.....Grave in Eagle cemetery 1848
Ken
 

Oriental

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Apr 21, 2005
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Wills at Friendship

Hi, I'm new to the group but was reading some of the old posts about a possible connection between Charles Wills (grave at Eagle) and the Wills family at Friendship. As mentioned in previous posts, Joshua Wills and his brother-in-law Joseph Evans began growing cranberries at Friendship in 1868. They bought the land from Joshua's father (Henry) and two uncles. The father was a well established farmer from Rancocas who eventually ended up in Medford. Joshua Wills, co-founder of Friendship, owned a farm in Medford called Stokelan which he inherited from his uncle Joseph Stokes in 1866. That farm is on Eayrestown Road.

There is no evidence that I know of that would suggest that either Henry or his two brothers did anything other than visit the property prior to cranberries being cultivated there after 1868. Joshua never moved there either as his primary concern was his farm in Medford.

All of the different branches of the Wills family must have some distant connection and are probably related to the early settlers of Burlington in the 1670's (there were Wills on board those first ships). However, there appears to be no immediate link between the Rancocas/Medford Wills' and the piney ones.

If there is a relatively close connection anywhere it may tie in as follows: Remember Henry Wills and his two brothers that owned the tract prior to Joshua Wills and Joseph Evans buying it. One of those uncles (I can't remember which off the top of my head) actually sold his share of the tract to Shreve Wills first. It is my understanding that he lived there and payed rent of 5 bushels of (naturally growing) cranberries a year. At that point (prior to 1868) there was a house and a few other buildings there. Evans and Wills had to buy out Shreve Wills' 1/3 ownership to get the whole thing.

Why would the one brother have sold out to Shreve (and not the others who apparently offered) unless there was a close connection to Shreve? That may be the link between the pine folk and the town folk. Shreve Wills was, as you may know, involved in the tavern at Mount. Also, there is some evidence that he may have built the house and barn in Hampton Gate (Joe Shinske's old house) that was used as a Tavern there as well. So this, Shreve Wills was all over the place in that neck of the woods - Mount, Friendship, Hampton Gate. His family seems like the most obvious connection to Charles Wills' grave. By the way, Shreve Wills may actually have been William Shreve Wills.

Sorry for the long post!

Let me know if you are interested in the Evans side of things - its just as interesting!

Rich
 

suresue592003

Explorer
Apr 4, 2004
372
1
Browns Mills, NJ
Rich, you have went into some detail here which I have never heard of before. Where did you get your facts? Also, feel free to post more in regard to this fascinating history of Friendship.
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
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I was taught (english) by and later taught with a Ms. Evans (Joseph's great grand daughter). I asked her alot of questions and went through many of the company records which included the company history that seems to have been used in Heart of the Pines. Some other family members had recorded some things and I even visited with a few.

In talking with people about old cranberry bogs I will often here things like "oh, those old bogs were my grandfathers" or "my father's uncle built those bogs" In more cases than not, those folks never owned the property but only worked there or managed them for someone else. I don't mean to trivialize the efforts of those people. Many families spent generations working the same cranberry property and in a very real sense they were their bogs. How could you not get attached to such an enterprise or feel the pride of delivering an exceptional crop!

I only mention this because the partnership of Evans and Wills at Friendship is a fascinating story that probably needs to be better explored to gain an accurate perspective of what that cranberry town was all about. Afterall, from its creation to its demise (sale to state) the interest remained in those families hands for better than 90 years! I'm trying to finalize some thoughts on paper. I'll keep you posted.
 

Teegate

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I wonder if the Evans family is the same one from Marlton (Evesham)?

Guy
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
244
Near Mt. Misery
Hey Sue,
I know you grew up in Friendship. What was your Dads' occupation? I've read some of your past posts and I have to back Bob up in encouraging you to write a book on your experience in the region. I don't know if you know Marylin over at Buzbys' in Chatsworth, but she has published several books and I'm sure would be willing to help you in the logistics of the process.

also, I believe that the road from Speedwell to Friendship was paved the whole length at some point. Over time, the pines have reclaimed it to dirt. A similar situation can be witnessed as you take Oswego road past the Lake toward Sims Place. Sorry to get off topic, I am enjoying the geneolgy discussion.

Jeff
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
230
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Guy,
That's right. Joseph Evans was from Marlton (Evesham) and resided at the Hillside Farm adjacent to Cherokee High School and the Marlton Bypass (I don't think its called the bypass anymore). He traces his lineage back to William and Elizabeth Evans who came from Wales and were the first whites to settle the Mount Laurel/Evesham area (1677?). Only one Evans from Joseph's branch of the family is left in the area (among his 10 or so grandchildren only 1 or 2 were male and they had girls themselves so that family name is much less prevelent in the area.)
 

Teegate

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Oriental said:
Guy,
That's right. Joseph Evans was from Marlton (Evesham) and resided at the Hillside Farm adjacent to Cherokee High School and the Marlton Bypass (I don't think its called the bypass anymore). He traces his lineage back to William and Elizabeth Evans who came from Wales and were the first whites to settle the Mount Laurel/Evesham area (1677?). Only one Evans from Joseph's branch of the family is left in the area (among his 10 or so grandchildren only 1 or 2 were male and they had girls themselves so that family name is much less prevelent in the area.)


I remember in the 60's riding my bike on "Bill's Lane" that is was the dirt road that was between the High School and the Middle school. That was a picture postcard lane to match any! Sad to see it go, but you can still see the route.

There were many other Evans family around town also. (Amos, Sam, David, Isaac, etc, etc) I went through the Evesham school system and went to Evans school long before the hospital was built. It was farms and woods then...what a change.

Guy
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
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Guy,
You know that the beautiful house at Hillside is still there down Bill's Lane. I was there a few years ago before the school district cleared much of the area. At that point the farm was pretty overgrown but you could easily see how magnificent the place must have been. From the porch you would have had a view all the way down beyond the bypass. Old iron fences lined the main entrance. Barns, silos, corn cribs, and carriage houses completed the picture. I get rather melancholy thinking about these places changing and falling apart. These old estates must have been the pride and joy of their owners. To see the decline of places like this seems somewhat an insult to the memory of those who once lived there, but, reality sets in and times change. I just don't have to like it!
 

Teegate

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Oriental said:
Guy,
You know that the beautiful house at Hillside is still there down Bill's Lane. I was there a few years ago before the school district cleared much of the area. At that point the farm was pretty overgrown but you could easily see how magnificent the place must have been. From the porch you would have had a view all the way down beyond the bypass. Old iron fences lined the main entrance. Barns, silos, corn cribs, and carriage houses completed the picture. I get rather melancholy thinking about these places changing and falling apart. These old estates must have been the pride and joy of their owners. To see the decline of places like this seems somewhat an insult to the memory of those who once lived there, but, reality sets in and times change. I just don't have to like it!

Yes...I remember when it was still in use. We rode our bikes right by it all the time. We would go to the Nike Base across the street, to Tomlinson Mill, and also to Creak Run to swim. I spent many a day in the woods where Kings Grant is now at. I was there when the first piece of construction equipment arrived to start construction. I pointed the way to the bogs for them. I should have pointed the other way :(

Guy
 

Oriental

Explorer
Apr 21, 2005
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Guy,
You must know then that King's Grant was built on one the other Evans and Wills cranberry bogs. 1000 acres in that piece. As a kid I would frequently drive past the old packing house that was across the street and even then wanted to stop and look around but never did. Do you have any recollections of the place back then? It must have been pretty neat inside. I would love to get to see some old pictures from there. I should ask around.
Rich
 

Teegate

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I think we are in luck. I have somewhere around here a photo of that building that I took. I will search it out and post it. It had just been fixed up and I stopped and took a shot of it.

Guy
 

Teegate

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I am assuming you are talking about this building. This was taken in the mid 70's right after renovation. I may be wrong but I think it is no longer there. I don't pass by that way much to know for sure. This was/is directly across from the entrance to Kings Grant that is closest to the High School.


kg1.jpg


kg2.jpg


Guy
 

Gerania

Explorer
May 18, 2004
280
30
Marlton
The cranberry packing house is gone and has been for some time. I moved to that area in 1996 and it wasn't there. A few years ago the road from Bartons Run was extended from Tuckerton over to Taunton at the King's Grant main entrance. A traffic light was added at that time. Just down the road a CVS was built across from the KG lake. How lovely.

I only recently found out about the Evans farm. When my son goes to a friends house after school (Cherokee) they walk across the playing fields in that direction. He told me of an old farmhouse and silo on the edge of the school property. I did recall seeing a silo through the trees. He told me that the house is the only building left (other than silo) and that it has been badly burnt. This past week I drove over to what is left of Bill's Lane. It is as long as one house, #2, and ends in a fence and gate just beyond the side yard of the house. I walked up to the open double wide gate and although I could see that there was a building not far away, I couldn't make out any detail through the vegetation. In addition to the usual Private Property and Keep Out signs are a few Caution/Construction notices as well. I guess the house isn't long for the world.

Were there any visible remains of Tomlinson's Mill back then? I'm still trying to figure out where it was - in today's landscape.

Gillian
 

Teegate

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Gerania said:
The cranberry packing house is gone and has been for some time. I moved to that area in 1996 and it wasn't there. A few years ago the road from Bartons Run was extended from Tuckerton over to Taunton at the King's Grant main entrance. A traffic light was added at that time. Just down the road a CVS was built across from the KG lake. How lovely.

I only recently found out about the Evans farm. When my son goes to a friends house after school (Cherokee) they walk across the playing fields in that direction. He told me of an old farmhouse and silo on the edge of the school property. I did recall seeing a silo through the trees. He told me that the house is the only building left (other than silo) and that it has been badly burnt. This past week I drove over to what is left of Bill's Lane. It is as long as one house, #2, and ends in a fence and gate just beyond the side yard of the house. I walked up to the open double wide gate and although I could see that there was a building not far away, I couldn't make out any detail through the vegetation. In addition to the usual Private Property and Keep Out signs are a few Caution/Construction notices as well. I guess the house isn't long for the world.

Were there any visible remains of Tomlinson's Mill back then? I'm still trying to figure out where it was - in today's landscape.

Gillian

So the light is about where this building was then.

The mill was not there in the early 70's, but may have been there when I was younger. I just don't remember that as much. I have some photo's I took there in the mid 70's and will post if I find them.

I can picture myself riding my bike down that road like it was yesterday:)

Also, have you been to the Nike Base behind the development across from the schools?

Here are the photo's I took of the buildings that were there. This site was made by a man I know and I supplied the top photo for him. He spliced my three photo's together to make the top photo.

http://ph32.homestead.com/index.html

The cemetery near Bill's Lane holds the remains of a member of this sites wife's relatives. They owned the King farm in Marlton where the London Square development is now. You can view my amateurish site that touches on that here:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/teegate/mh/

Guy
 

suresue592003

Explorer
Apr 4, 2004
372
1
Browns Mills, NJ
My dad's occupations

Woodjin,
Thank you for the encouragement. Yes, I do know Marlyn S. from Chatsworth and talk to her on occasion. When we lived in Friendship, my father worked for a Tabernacle guy named Winnie Haines. He own blueberries on the road to Eagle. I believe the packing house standing there is the same one we worked in. Of course it has been modernized and I believe a few other buildings are missing. When we moved from there and went to live on Carranza Road, my dad cut cedar with this brothers and later got a job with another brother at Birches Cranberry Company. That is when we moved to Sooy Place and lived there over 30 years.
 

Gerania

Explorer
May 18, 2004
280
30
Marlton
Guy,

I've been to the ph32 site at least a couple of times. Nice pictures and history. I checked out some maps (more recently the Google maps,thanks Boyd) and figured out where it was. I wasn't quite sure where to park and walk in with all of the private property around there. I'm guessing that I'm going to go in from new road.

I've been to the Marlton Hills site as well. I thought it was great! I read every word. I was really pleased to find 'personal' information about the area in which I now live.

I visited the cemetery for the first time recently, too. I think that it was February and I didn't stay for very long because it was quite cold. Funny, I've lived here for nearly nine years and had never driven down that road.

Sorry suresue about the big off topic. I think that this thread is supposed to be about Friendship.

Gillian
 
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