Fries Mill

stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
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713
Medford
Just after Christmas, I headed way down south to several sites on the Delaware Bay for photos. On the way back, I stopped in Cumberland to finally check out the ruins of Fries Mill.

On the walk along the tracks out to the old carriage road there were some people in front of me, including some other hikers and duck hunters who were setting up decoys on the Manumuskin.

A7501101.jpg


When I arrived at the one-chimney ruin close to the creek's edge, I was very disappointed to see that the chimney has toppled. It could be that it finally gave way, or someone could have intentionally pushed it over. It did not look like this in the 2020 video that originally got me interested in this location. Either way, it's a shame.

A7501120.jpg

I then continued on to the "tavern" site, with the two chimneys. This looked more like I expected it to.
There are more modern cinderblock-lined cellar holes around here as well.

A7501147.jpg


After that I continued on for a bit up the trail. The one information sign is in bad shape and it's not very legible anymore.

A7501153.jpg


Close to here there are some much older-looking cellar holes; seems like homes in the town of Fries Mill proper.
A7501157.jpg

I wanted to continue further than this, to explore this clearing which may have been a large building foundation (?), as well as the real Potter's Cabin and many features of the adjacent Camp Hollybrook site, but this was my fourth or fifth stop for the day and I was losing sunlight. I plan to come back and explore the rest, hopefully soon. I would still be open to a group outing as well, if there is interest in that, as we were discussing some months ago in this thread. Certainly the best time to come out here would be in the winter, without the annoyance of ticks, heat, and undergrowth.
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,554
1,081
Atco, NJ
Just after Christmas, I headed way down south to several sites on the Delaware Bay for photos. On the way back, I stopped in Cumberland to finally check out the ruins of Fries Mill.

On the walk along the tracks out to the old carriage road there were some people in front of me, including some other hikers and duck hunters who were setting up decoys on the Manumuskin.

View attachment 19036

When I arrived at the one-chimney ruin close to the creek's edge, I was very disappointed to see that the chimney has toppled. It could be that it finally gave way, or someone could have intentionally pushed it over. It did not look like this in the 2020 video that originally got me interested in this location. Either way, it's a shame.

View attachment 19037
I then continued on to the "tavern" site, with the two chimneys. This looked more like I expected it to.
There are more modern cinderblock-lined cellar holes around here as well.

View attachment 19038

After that I continued on for a bit up the trail. The one information sign is in bad shape and it's not very legible anymore.

View attachment 19039

Close to here there are some much older-looking cellar holes; seems like homes in the town of Fries Mill proper.
View attachment 19040
I wanted to continue further than this, to explore this clearing which may have been a large building foundation (?), as well as the real Potter's Cabin and many features of the adjacent Camp Hollybrook site, but this was my fourth or fifth stop for the day and I was losing sunlight. I plan to come back and explore the rest, hopefully soon. I would still be open to a group outing as well, if there is interest in that, as we were discussing some months ago in this thread. Certainly the best time to come out here would be in the winter, without the annoyance of ticks, heat, and undergrowth.
I’ve never made it down there. I will have to try and make time.
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
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When I went to Camp Hollybrook in the 70's they told us Potters cabin was the Fries Mill tavern,you have info that this was wrong? The Tavern stood then.we went right past the house you show but it was in the dark and I don't remember it standing.The tavern stood into the early 90's,used to have a piano in it.I have been in the clearing you want to visit.it is all woods now but quite open woods.I was just in Hollybrook a couple days ago giving a friend a tour of the chapel and old screen house sites we camped in at the Camp.Couldn't show him the girls side since thats Garrisons property.Its ashame that chimney fell in.I had my little brother out there in the late 80's,I truned around and he was free climbing the chimney.I gave him hell and no he's not the one that knocked it over.Chimneys eventually succumbed to gravity,It was built on a hill and hills slump when their made of sand,Could have been gradual slumping toward the marsh that toppled it.The other chimmneys are on flat ground and built better,hopefully they will last a long time.
 
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stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
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Medford
When I went to Camp Hollybrook in the 70's they told us Potters cabin was the Fries Mill tavern,you have info that this was wrong? The Tavern stood then.we went right past the house you show but it was in the dark and I don't remember it standing.The tavern stood into the early 90's,used to have a piano in it.

I am sure your information and experience is more accurate than mine, I would defer to you. Honestly I am still confused on which location is really "Potter's Cabin" and which one is the "Fries Mill Tavern," or if they are even distinct structures. I am not sure where the name "Potter" has come from, either. I would really like to see some maps of the settlement. There is one printed on the information sign I showed, as well as a historic photograph, but they are really weathered and hard to read. I will have to do some more digging and see if I can find anything else available online.
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
The tavern stood into the early 90's,used to have a piano in it

Have never been, I need to get down there one of these days myself! Is the tavern the structure that shows here on the 1970 and 1977 aerials? Also visible in the 1980 and 1995 aerials. I have it and a few other buildings on my 2020 topo, not sure of the source for the others offhand. The 1977 aerials show another building that I missed on my map.
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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Boyd This is the Fries Mill tavern ruins,a cellar hole,two chimneys a few cedar poles with nails in them on the ground and some flagging stones bracketing where the front door used to be is all thats left,along with many people plants.The biggest persimmon trees I"ve ever seen along with a nice crop usually,grape vines ,yucca etc. https://boydsmaps.com/#18.00/39.345078/-74.963282/njgin1930/0.00/0.00
 
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manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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I am sure your information and experience is more accurate than mine, I would defer to you. Honestly I am still confused on which location is really "Potter's Cabin" and which one is the "Fries Mill Tavern," or if they are even distinct structures. I am not sure where the name "Potter" has come from, either. I would really like to see some maps of the settlement. There is one printed on the information sign I showed, as well as a historic photograph, but they are really weathered and hard to read. I will have to do some more digging and see if I can find anything else available online.
I am no expert on the history of the area but am ancient enough to have actually attended camp Hollybrook for two years.It was an event at the end of the summer all night campout to take the kids down to "Potters Cabin" and scare the crap out of them in the dark with ghost stories of Potter.They took us to the Tavern and told us that was Potters cabin..There was a piano in it and the ineterior was quite dry.Years later in my late teens I went back to it and found a WW2 Readers Digest from the 40's in good condition in the cabin.We walked right by the ruin you call Potters Cabin in the dark so I don't know if it stood then or not but when I went back in the 80's it was down. I would love to see pics of the Tavern and the other cabin as well.Never been much a photographer always exploring on the fly.Did you see the Mill house ruin just north of the interpretive sign and along the mill race? I ahve looked for the stones shwon on the map and could locate none. If you find out where the real Potters Cabin was and who Potter was by all means let us know.The Camp staff could have been just as misguided as anyone.I doubt they were historians and I was a six year old kid that was having fun in the dark and not the least concerned about ghosts.
 
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stiltzkin

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Feb 8, 2022
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Medford
An update! I recently reached out to the Maurice River Township Heritage Society regarding the history of Fries Mill. Specifically, I was wondering if they might have copies of the maps used to create that information sign. While they did not have those, I received a very friendly response and some documents that I have never seen posted anywhere else before.

The following are all courtesy of the Society, and are posted here with their express permission.

Hand drawings of the gristmill and sawmill:

IMG_0240.JPG


IMG_0244.JPG


A contemporary photograph, which is the most interesting one to me:

IMG_0241.JPG


It is undated, but I would think based on the woman's attire, late 19th or early 20th century.

I believe this is written on the back of the photograph:

IMG_0242.JPG

Finally, attached was a newspaper article from 1896 about the murder of Stultz Carlisle, which took place in town. I am nearly 100% positive that this article is in the public domain, but just to be extra careful, I won't include it directly here and will rather link to it at the Library of Congress. It's well worth a read for the insight into the goings-on there at the end of the 19th century. The article also has an additional drawing of a house in the town and of some of the residents.

You can find the article here under the headline "Shaw The Slayer" - it begins on Page 1 and continues on Page 2.
 

bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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Pines; Bamber area
I think Al might of taken us to that spot (or what he tought was) on the Manumuskin. Upstream from the railroad on the west side of the creek.

I wonder if Daniel Heisler's family started Heislerville.
 
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manumuskin

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I think Al might of taken us to that spot (or what he tought was) on the Manumuskin. Upstream from the railroad on the west side of the creek.

I wonder if Daniel Heisler's family started Heislerville.
Bob I did take the PBX to Fries Mill,I showed the Mill foundations and where the saw mill sat,just a concrete pad there with bolts in it ,Camp Hollybrook used the pad to put a Diving Board on back in the day.
 
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manumuskin

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I've just realized that the article I linked is the second in a series. The first one is also available from the Library of Congress and is even better from a historical perspective.

The article describes a clubhouse used as a hunting retreat by sportsmen from Philadelphia, on the east side of the mill pond. I hadn't seen reference to that before.

It looks like Shaw's grave may be found nearby.
Thanks Stiltzkin! You are the man! I downloaded those articles.
 
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66C10

Explorer
Aug 4, 2023
100
185
South Vineland
IMG_0251.jpeg

Those articles are fascinating. I would like to add this photo here for anyone who might stumble apon this thread as I did. It is Fries Mill with the sawmill building pictured in the background. Note the wheel leaning against the building. This has been confirmed by Manumuskin who went to camp Holly Brook and learned to swim in this very pond. The photos this was with are dated 1937 so I believe this is the same aprox. year but could be wrong. My mother says 40s based on the attire worn by those pictures what do you think? Manumuskin and I intend to return to this area and capture the same photo if the same 2 large trees are still present.
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
495
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Medford
Keep me posted if a trip is in the works to Fries Mill. I do want to go back there. Ideally in the fall or winter again - exploring should be easier than in the summer.

I think the sandy beach area in the photo is almost completely swallowed up by the woods now. If you look at it on aerial photos you can see it getting smaller and smaller over the decades.
 

66C10

Explorer
Aug 4, 2023
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South Vineland
I second that idea we should go soon as the leaves begin to fall and vegetation subsides. I have walked out here once or twice and accidentally ridden by it on dirt bike a few times never deciphering each ruin which I would like to do especially the sawmill picture. Funny enough throughout my childhood I was always told there where “small people houses” out here by my siblings but they could never find the ruins (this was before internet) and I finally stumbled across the foundations maybe 10 years ago. Just a few days ago I learned that picture I shared was actually part of Fries Mill thanks to Manumuskin. How interesting!
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
495
713
Medford
Your photo, and the photo I posted above from the Maurice River Township society, are the only two photographs I've ever seen of the settlement. I'm sure that more exist, but I haven't seen any.

I'm not sure if the mills in either of the two photos match up with the line drawings. Doesn't look like a close match. Perhaps the drawings are of even older structures from when the place was still known as Reeve's Mill.
 
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66C10

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Aug 4, 2023
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South Vineland
Your photo, and the photo I posted above from the Maurice River Township society, are the only two photographs I've ever seen of the settlement. I'm sure that more exist, but I haven't seen any.

I'm not sure if the mills in either of the two photos match up with the line drawings. Doesn't look like a close match. Perhaps the drawings are of even older structures from when the place was still known as Reeve's Mill.
One would assume the drawings would be created whilst looking at the buildings they were representing so I wonder pre 1896? When that article was written about the murder since it does mention Fries mill rather than Reeve’s mill? I grew up at Leamings mill and although just a grist mill I would love to see photos from this era one day at Leamings mill
 
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manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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View attachment 20569
Those articles are fascinating. I would like to add this photo here for anyone who might stumble apon this thread as I did. It is Fries Mill with the sawmill building pictured in the background. Note the wheel leaning against the building. This has been confirmed by Manumuskin who went to camp Holly Brook and learned to swim in this very pond. The photos this was with are dated 1937 so I believe this is the same aprox. year but could be wrong. My mother says 40s based on the attire worn by those pictures what do you think? Manumuskin and I intend to return to this area and capture the same photo if the same 2 large trees are still present.
I do remember a very big holly tree in the clearing and isn't that a small hollyjust left of the house? hard to tell but it might be the giant holly of today.
 
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