Help on Applegate Sawmill

Joe Kelly

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Oct 29, 2014
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Has anyone done any research on the Applegate Sawmill that was on Cattus Island from 1880's time period. I am looking to find some of the early house sites that were on Cattus Island from 1700's to mid 1800's. Ive read that the Applegate Sawmill was quite large and that they also ran a Lumer boat basin. Im a disabled Iraq vet and have time on my hand to explore this area as its near by where I live. I see that there is a great area of wooded land between Cattus Island and Shelter Cove. I was also hoping on finding some of the Pennsylvania colony salt works and barracks at Shelter Cover Park area. A lot of Rev War took place in this area. Most people think that only the large Mansion site was the only occupation on Cattus Island. I have found some trash pits in the woods while hiking with my dog. Any help suggestions would be appreciated. Joe
 

GermanG

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I used to work there, and had the same questions you have. I could find no remains of the Applegate Mill at the time . When the Cattus family owned the property much of it was cleared, which could have obliterated earlier historic evidence. However, the mill could have been located outside of the cleared area. Most of the area that has not already been developed in the vicinity of where the saltworks are believed to have been has been obliterated by mosquito commission work. I scoured that area as well and found nothing. My research was done with limited resources however, almost twenty five years ago. I had no internet access at the time, at work or at home, and much of the information out there now wasn't online at the time anyway. This is a job for someone with a good collection of maps and other resources, like Guy or Jerseyman. :)
 

46er

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As I recall, there was a home site on what was called Gilmore Island, the first area of trees on your right walking toward the bay. The naturalists used to give tours and pointed this out, not sure if they still do. I would imagine any other buildings would be located on the island instead of the marsh. Perhaps Boyd can extend his LIDAR map a bit east.

http://nynjctbotany.org/njoptofc/cattusis.html

http://www.slideshare.net/CattusIslandPark/ci-history-smaller

This map from the park may be of help.

 
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Joe Kelly:

I thank you for your service to our country and I hope the VA is taking care of your disabilities.

I do have some maps that would aid you with what was located on Cattus Island, but I hesitate to post them here. Based on your email above, I discern you are someone who owns a metal detector and/or a person who digs up trash middens or other undisturbed archaeological sites for your own gain. If that is the case, then I cannot, in good conscience and as Cultural Resource professional, aid you in destroying artifactual deposits that only professional archaeologists should excavate using modern scientific methods.

Jerseyman
 
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johnnyb

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A week ago and I’d not heard of Cattus Island, and now I’ve been there and it’s a subject here on the Forum. Fantastic timing!
On 25 October 2014 I sent the following e-mail to Karl Anderson. Karl responded with several e-mails that included the comments below plus a 2000 plant list.
***
Howdy Karl:
Trip report: Cattus Island County Park
Ro had asked if I/we had ever been to it and I said, "No". So yesterday off we went.
Easy to find - east on NJ 70, east on NJ 37 to just before it begins crossing bay, turn north of NJ 549 Spur/571. After about 2 miles, right/east on Cattus Island Parkway and almost immediately north/left into the park.
It's big - drive a ways, park, and walk to Ecological Center (closed when we were there).
From Center walk main trail out. It crosses several salt water marsh areas. Ro photographed Aster growing in water at the first one. I'd never seen an Aster with its feet in water, fresh or salt. We're in the process of identifying it. The path crosses several islands, the first of which is maybe a quarter of a mile across. Big old oaks, much Pine Barrens vegetation - strange to see it next to a salt marsh. Islands covered with foot trails. I didn't go all the way to the end, where there's a beach - we'd done some walking at Greenwood Forest WMA off NJ 539 (saw lots of Buck Moth but Ro got no photograph as they were all flying some distance away) before getting to Cattus.
My impression: nice park, big, LOTS of trails, lots of people there with kids and/or dogs, but too close to heavy populations for any exotics. However, Ro tells me her birder friends have seen lots of birds there.
***
Karl responded with the following:
“Re. The interface between pine barrens and high marsh, there are as you say not many places where you can see it. Its here and there but not publicly accessible. And much of what there is, is in the part of Forsythe NWR along Barnegat Bay, which is off limits to the public. ... Seems to me that there are some lady's-tresses there, and some interesting sedges. Yeah, it sits right at the intersection of pine forest and salt marsh. ... You study it (Linda Kelly’s 2000 Cattus Island plant list) and realize that there's a real mix of habitats. A heck of a list of grasses and sedges - well, those are Linda's favorite plants. ...”
***
I can e-mail the Cattus Island plant list; I’m pretty sure Karl won’t mind......
johnny b
 

ecampbell

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I have been there. The question is how did they power the mill? It is at sea level and nothing to dam.
 

GermanG

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I have been there. The question is how did they power the mill? It is at sea level and nothing to dam.
While Applegate's ownership of the tract was early for steam powered technology, I guess it isn't out of the question. I'll leave that possibility to those better versed on that subject. A water-powered mill isn't out of the question either. The gristmill in Tuckerton, near my home and now a municipal building, is at sea level. Applegate's mill could have been fairly far inland as well. The tract of land owned by the Cattus family was once much larger than the current park tract. I was told the entrance road went all the way to what is now Bay Avenue. But the creeks flowing into Mosquito and Applegate's Coves do not have much of a flow of water, at this time at least, so the power source for the mill is an interesting topic. Maybe it was a pit-saw operation! :)
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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talking about Barrens in the salt marsh if you go down to Elliot Island Maryland on the way as your passing into the marsh from the woods it is solid Pitch pine forest fading out into the salt marsh.It was very cool the way the trees got smaller and spindlier the further they got out into the marsh.
 
German:

Steam was in use as early as the 1820s for sawmills. The 1838 Report to the United States Treasurer on steam engines is full of all types of mills powered by steam. Since Lewis Applegate did not construct his mill until 1842, it certainly possible he employed steam. An alternative is the presence of Applegate Creek at the bottom of the peninsula known as Cattus Island. Some topo maps suggest the presence of a mill pond, although such a water feature does not appear on an 1875 manuscript map of the area.

I am still investigating the type of mill power he used and will report when I find something about it.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
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Joe Kelly

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The Ocean County Historical Society provided me copies of different maps going back to 1840,s. They also sent me over to the Ocean County Court House to the deeds and map room. Turns out the maps for 1842 are in Monmouth County as it wasn't until 1850 that Ocean became a county, it was still part of Monmouth. Jersey man I am not digging up anything the only thing I take with me on my hikes is my dog and my camel bak with water. I do not own a metal detector nor would I be using one with my injuries. Applegates Cove is extremely hard to get to , there are not any trails and 3 creeks have to be crossed, anyone going in there with digging equipment is going to sink or loose it when crossing the creeks. Being retired before 50 is not fun its extremely boring so I do things to keep busy. Im interested in finding sites that have not been discovered in years. Im 6 credits short of my Degree at Thomas Edison State College. The Rev War in NJ is a fav past time for me and I read anything I can find on it. JohnnyB there are quite few exotics in Cattus as in reptiles. I have seen Green Snakes there and Eastern Mud turtles, spotted turtles which are pretty rare in NJ, you just have to put up with the tick and green flys to observe them in spring/summer. There use to be a lot of Box turtles but poachers are picking them off, the Diamond Back Terrapin population has been wiped out by the fools on jet skis. They do not obey the signs about riding close to shore. I have not seen a terrapin in Cattus in 3 years. I live a few houses down from the park entrance so Im in there a lot training my service dog. Its a shame they closed the visitor center , that was a place that gave you a look into the parks wildlife. They use to give free class's on the parks history, thats all gone now. Joe
 
Joe:

I hope you understand my reticence to display the maps until I better understood what you are doing out there. I never want to aid pot-holers in their dastardly deeds of destroying undisturbed archaeological sites.

You may have already examined some of these maps, but I will post them for others here.

In 1839, the Coast and Geodetic Survey produced topographical manuscript map T-0117 and I provide a detail here of what we know today as Cattus Island:

T-0117.jpg


And here is a close-up view:

T-0117 Close up.jpg


The Page family still owned the land, which Joseph Page purchased in 1758. Timothy Page, likely a privateer during the American War for Independence, was the last member of the family to reside here. The “Page Sgl” marks the location of the Page Signal, part of the aids to navigation during the nineteenth century.

Timothy Page died sometime during 184o and two years later, Lewis Applegate acquired the property, but the Page dwelling had burned, so Applegate had to construct a new house.

In 1872, Frederick W. Beers prepared and published a topographical map of Ocean County:

Detail, 1872.jpg


Note that this map still shows the presence of Page Station for navigation of Barnegat Bay.

In 1875, the Coast and Geodetic Survey produced topographical manuscript map T1407:

T-1407.jpg


You can that under Applegate’s ownership, the number of structures increased. I suspect Applegate’s house is the building farthest west, surrounded by a small orchard. The sawmill could be the building at the eastern end of the southernmost road. If so, then it definitely operated with steam power. This map fails to show Page Station, suggesting that the navigation aid disappeared from use between 1872 and 1875.

Regarding Shelter Cove and the Pennsylvania Salt Works, the highly detailed 1839 C&GS topographical map (T-0117) shows nothing in the area:

Shelter Cove, T-0117, 1839.jpg


I hope these maps aid you in your quest.

If you are interested in the Rev War, you may want to read through the thread on the subject in the Archaeology forum. Like you, I have a passion for the American War for Independence in New Jersey. Congratulations on being so close to completing your degree at Thomas Edison State College!

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
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I had no idea there was a saltworks on Cattus Island. I thought that the only one was the one that was near the village of Toms River that the British had destroyed.

Here's the 1930s aerial view of Cattus Island. It's interesting to see Toms River so empty.

http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.98481705852612&lng=-74.12226576011659&z=17&type=nj1930&gpx=
No salt works on Cattus Island, Ben. The one Joe refers to in his original email was the Pennsylvania Salt Works at Shelter Cove, just above Goose Creek.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
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GermanG

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Ben, the blockhouse destroyed in Toms River, along with most of the buildings in the then-small village, was charged with storing and protecting salt made elsewhere. Salt works were typically built on marhsland very close to inlets, such as the Cranberry Inlet across the bay from the Pennsylvania Salt Works, where the bay water was the most saline. While the upper Toms River was important as a local port, it was too fresh for a saltworks.
 

46er

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The grave of a Revolutionary war private, Garrett Irons, is in the Cedar Grove Cemetery. He served at the PA salt works. The Ocean County Historical Society research center has a wealth of info for this area, well worth a visit. Located in downtown Toms River. The Joshua Huddy Chapter of the DAR may have more info on the salt works. If you can find a copy of Early History of Toms River and Dover Township, ther is info within it. The OCHS probably has a copy.

http://www.oceancountyhistory.org/research-center/

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njcjhcdr/index.html

There is a painting of the salt works at Shelter Cove that hangs in the OC admin building, as mentioned in this APP article.

http://archive.app.com/article/20140123/NJLIFE/301230097/Salt-works-were-big-industry-Shore
 

Joe Kelly

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Oct 29, 2014
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Thanks everyone for the info. Next week Im to meet with a historian at the Historical Society who has apparently done a great deal of work on forgotten sites in Ocean County. Im also to meet with a Applegate descendant so Ill post anything I learn. I have not been able to get out to look for the sawmill as the weather is just not good for me and my dog right now. If I find any traces of the old sawmill I will post the info. Joe
 

Joe Kelly

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Oct 29, 2014
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I found some interesting rocks that seemed out of place and unnatural excavations I took some pics. I think this would be the 1839 Page Farm on Cattus Island.
10714262_10152596171228347_8481704102142208762_o.jpg
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885942_10152596171558347_2828544004823012896_o.jpg
 

WaretownMike

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Jul 16, 2013
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This is a great topic and a place not far from my home. I always find it interesting when new life is brought to older threads and fresh information sprouts. It's like the past comes back to life again. Maybe that's why I enjoy exploring these areas so much
 
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