Jumbo, Oldmans Twp

Neil in SJ

Scout
May 22, 2006
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Cherry Hill, NJ
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I know this is technically not the Pine Barrens, but can someone shed some light on a place showing up on maps simply as "Jumbo". Oddly enough, it appears to be in the middle of the creek! My guess is that at one time the creek may have been re-routed, flooding the area. I tried to find some history on it, but I have had no luck. Has anyone ever heard of this place?

Jumbo, Oldmans Township
 

Lorun

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Apr 10, 2004
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Woolwich
I lived about a mile away from that spot a few months ago and now only 10 minutes away. I can’t figure out where that spot is. Can you give the GPS numbers and I can check it out tomorrow morning. My friend has a farm that backs up to old mans creek, but I don’t think it is this part of the creek.

Ron
 

Teegate

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Well, the actual GPS coordinates where the word Jumbo is on the map in D/M/S is:

39°46.24.82
75°23.56.89

Or

39°46.414
75°23.948

or

39.77356
75.39914

Guy
 
Folks:

Jumbo was a railroad station along the Delaware River Railroad that served a small community of cottages--probably not much more than fishing shacks--along both banks of Oldmans Creek flanking the movable railroad bridge over the same stream. It appears the original station may have stood on the Salem County side of this watercourse, but later moved to the Gloucester County side of the intercounty boundary line, but I can't be certain. The railroad may have closed the station in the winter since its patrons probably only alighted from the train there in the warmer months, but, again, I can't be certain.

Regarding its name, I cannot speak authoritatively. Neither the Salem County Historical Society nor the Gloucester County Historical Society list the answer to the name's origin in their respective pamphlets on place names. However, based on two stories in the 1967 pamphlet on Logan Township history, I can surmise its origin. The first story is about men "of foreign extraction" bringing around a "single large bear" in late September and early October of each year, presumably beginning in the late 1890s. I will quote verbatim from the story:

The men were sure that the children would dash home for money so they waited till the children returned before they had the bear perform. This bear was scraggly and quite old and just about able to move around. It had a muzzle with a ring attached to the nose by a long rope. By this arrangement the bear was controlled.

The children were warned by their parents in no uncertain terms to stay away from both the bear and the men. For the few pennies that were put in the hat which the men passed, the bear climbed a tree, rolled over and did tumblesaults much to the delight of the children.

Usually there was a performance in the early evening. ...By the next morning the men and the bear had departed for another town. Since they had to walk they did not cover many miles in a day.


Although the authors of the Logan pamphlet failed to link the above story with a second tale, I think the next story is too coincidental not to be connected. "The exact date is difficult to pinpoint. It was probably about 1900, give or take a little." It seems the morning train traveling north from Penns Grove spotted a bear somewhere between Center Square Station and Raccoon Creek. Stopping at Bridgeport Station, the engine crew reported the bear sighting and a group of men gathered in Center Square to hunt down the bear. The story fails to provide many details about the hunt and subsequent shooting, but I think the hunters shot the bear near the shore of Oldman's Creek. Furthermore, I think the "single large bear" mentioned in the first story answered to the name "Jumbo" and that the would be Nimrods shot the bear belonging to the men "of foreign extraction." Hence, the area received the name "Jumbo." This is my $0.02 worth.

Best regards,
Jerseyman

P.S. One or two of the fishing cabins still appear on the most recent edition of the USGS Chester, Pa--NJ topographical quadrangle map. However, in a quick check of the color ortho images used in Google Earth, I fail to find any of the buildings remaining in situ.
 
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Teegate

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Thank you Jerseyman. I called my mom and read what you posted since she grew up in Repaupo and knows the area, but she had never heard of Jumbo. I will most likely see her sister and the rest of my family next Saturday at a memorial service at the Repaupo Church for a recently deceased family member. There we be an abundance of people there with ages that makes my mom seem like a teenager, so I will see what they can remember if anything.

BTW, she thought your post was very very nice :)

Guy
 
Thank you Jerseyman. I called my mom and read what you posted since she grew up in Repaupo and knows the area, but she had never heard of Jumbo. I will most likely see her sister and the rest of my family next Saturday at a memorial service at the Repaupo Church for a recently deceased family member. There we be an abundance of people there with ages that makes my mom seem like a teenager, so I will see what they can remember if anything.

BTW, she thought your post was very very nice :)

Guy
Thank you, Guy and Lorun. And thanks to your mother, too, Guy.

I'm sorry to hear of the loss to your family.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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Pestletown, N.J.
P.S. One or two of the fishing cabins still appear on the most recent edition of the USGS Chester, Pa--NJ topographical quadrangle map. However, in a quick check of the color ortho images used in Google Earth, I fail to find any of the buildings remaining in situ.
I have taken my jon boat several miles up Raccoon Creek several times catfishing over the years. Raccoon Creek is near Oldmans.
I was always amazed at the remanants of smalll piling arrangements and small bulkheads that were built along the shoreline of that creek.
Summer fishing or fall duck hunting shacks would be the best expalnation.
 
I have taken my jon boat several miles up Raccoon Creek several times catfishing over the years. Raccoon Creek is near Oldmans.
I was always amazed at the remanants of smalll piling arrangements and small bulkheads that were built along the shoreline of that creek.
Summer fishing or fall duck hunting shacks would be the best expalnation.
Scott:

All very good descriptions of what might have been there. The other information I have yet to discover is whether the community contained a seasonal population composed primarily of African American. This is a distinct possibility and I would love to either confirm or refute the theory!

Regarding Raccoon Creek, the Wright Brothers (not to be confused with Wilbur and Orville!!) operated truck boats out of Bridgeport, along with tugs and barges. At last report, one of the boats was rotting away at the old wharf while the family sold the other one to folks in Panama (IIRC). The whole area down there fascinates me!!

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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Scott:

All very good descriptions of what might have been there. The other information I have yet to discover is whether the community contained a seasonal population composed primarily of African American. This is a distinct possibility and I would love to either confirm or refute the theory!

Regarding Raccoon Creek, the Wright Brothers (not to be confused with Wilbur and Orville!!) operated truck boats out of Bridgeport, along with tugs and barges. At last report, one of the boats was rotting away at the old wharf while the family sold the other one to folks in Panama (IIRC). The whole area down there fascinates me!!

Best regards,
Jerseyman
Every time I fished there I launched at Raccoon Creek Boat Club .
Nice little club with a pay to launch ramp.
From there we always went upstream.
There are substantial bulkheads and wharfs immediately above and below the Route 130 drawbridge, indicating now-gone commercial port activities.
When you see things from the water side, especially further upstream, it's hard to visualize the roads that lead to these spots.
Now with a hand held GPS one can plot where these are observed and plot them later.
 

Neil in SJ

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May 22, 2006
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Cherry Hill, NJ
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Jerseyman:

Thank you for the info. I think some of the other replies have shed some additional light on the location. I noticed a structure on one topo as well, but as you can see by Google Earth, now the location seems to be covered by mud and water.

Scott:
The other information I have yet to discover is whether the community contained a seasonal population composed primarily of African American. This is a distinct possibility and I would love to either confirm or refute the theory!

Best regards,
Jerseyman
This would explain the name "Jumbo". Below is the origin of the word as provided answer.com:

jumbo
from Mandingo
This word originated in Gambia and Mali

One of the biggest words in the English language is an import from Africa. Before it attained its current meaning, it was imported in the phrase mumbo jumbo... ."






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Jerseyman:

Thank you for the info. I think some of the other replies have shed some additional light on the location. I noticed a structure on one topo as well, but as you can see by Google Earth, now the location seems to be covered by mud and water.



This would explain the name "Jumbo". Below is the origin of the word as provided answer.com:

jumbo
from Mandingo
This word originated in Gambia and Mali

One of the biggest words in the English language is an import from Africa. Before it attained its current meaning, it was imported in the phrase mumbo jumbo... ."






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neil in SJ:

I am well aware of the etymology of Jumbo, which is why I raised the issue and possibility of African Americans comprising the seasonal population. However, I cannot invest any more confidence in this etymological explanation than I can in the bear story without compromising my quest for the truth. Hence, my dual suggestions for the toponymic origin of Jumbo.

Here is a detail from the 1953 USGS Marcus Hook, PA.--DEL.--N.J. 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle map that might show the fullest extent of the Jumbo settlement. The pre-1900 15-minute quad for the area fails to show a single building along the riverbank.




Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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I asked the one person (relative) who I felt might know something and he didn’t. He grew up in Pedricktown. He said my grandfather and his brothers would have been the ones to ask, but unfortunately all but one is gone. I talked to him today but he could barely hear me, and I don’t think he remembered who I was. My grandfather was a game warden and would hunt black ducks in that area, and may have even been at Jumbo doing it. My relative who I talked with today would drive my grandfather around that area every Thursday when he was in the nursing home, and he told me my grandfather was like a little kid when he saw one of the very few black ducks around. I remember him telling me years ago they blackened the sky when they flew over because there were so many of them.

So no help here, but a few interesting stories and memories from days gone by. We dove around the area where all my relatives have lived and died and drove past some of their homes. Some is total disrepair and some still looking quite well. My grandfathers brother has locked in his farm from future development so one day my kids still should be able to go there and see at least one piece of land not developed.

Next to the Repaupo church is now a mosque of some sort. Recently built, I hear that on some weekends there are many many cars with NY tags there. The Repaupo church received a rude awaking when the land they thought they owned was not theirs. They had been parking their cars on it for years and when this mosque was built they learned the property was not theirs. I guess with the changing of the guard over the years nobody actually checked into property ownership, all of them thinking they owned the property. That happens still in rural area’s. This is the second time in as many weeks I have heard of that happening.

Guy
 
I asked the one person (relative) who I felt might know something and he didn’t. He grew up in Pedricktown. He said my grandfather and his brothers would have been the ones to ask, but unfortunately all but one is gone. I talked to him today but he could barely hear me, and I don’t think he remembered who I was. My grandfather was a game warden and would hunt black ducks in that area, and may have even been at Jumbo doing it. My relative who I talked with today would drive my grandfather around that area every Thursday when he was in the nursing home, and he told me my grandfather was like a little kid when he saw one of the very few black ducks around. I remember him telling me years ago they blackened the sky when they flew over because there were so many of them.

So no help here, but a few interesting stories and memories from days gone by. We dove around the area where all my relatives have lived and died and drove past some of their homes. Some is total disrepair and some still looking quite well. My grandfathers brother has locked in his farm from future development so one day my kids still should be able to go there and see at least on piece of land not developed.

Next to the Repaupo church is now a mosque of some sort. Recently built, I hear that on some weekends there are many many cars with NY tags there. The Repaupo church received a rude awaking when the land they thought they owned was not theirs. They had been parking their cars on it for years and when this mosque was built they learned the property was not theirs. I guess with the changing of the guard over the years nobody actually checked into property ownership, all of them thinking they owned the property. That happens still in rural area’s. This is the second time in as many weeks I have heard of that happening.

Guy
Thanks for the stories, even if no one you spoke to could confirm the origins of Jumbo. Sorry to hear about the Repaupo church receiving a rude awakening. There's a lot of interesting history down Repaupo way!!

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
donkeydoodle:

What a great way to revive a very old thread! Thanks so much for the link to those photographs. They are rare images of a bygone age and I appreciate you sharing them online!

Alas, I have no additional new information to offer on the origins of Jumbo, but your photos may just inspire me to redouble my efforts.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Teegate

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Very very nice photo's! I see Socony Vacuum signs in one of them. My grandfather worked there and lived in Repaupo not far from there.

Guy
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,288
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Pestletown, N.J.
Ahhhhh, Parker shotguns. If only I had the money.
The old VH that the boy has across the front of the sneak box would be worth about $5000.00 today in just fair condition.
The fancier grades are in the $20,000.00 range.

The deer picture too has a classic gun, the Savage 99. It is the lever gun being held by one of the hunters. It was produced from 1899 to 1997 and was a popular gun in the Pa. woods over the years.

I would have loved to have lived in those days along the creek.
Today, I still fish for catties in that general area and the remnants of houses, docks and hulks always fascinate me.