Pieces Of Hampton Park History

ecampbell

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Thanks for the post Lost Town Hunter, it cleared up allot of misconceptions. Do you have any idea of when the name Hampton was first used for this area? I have always assumed it dated from the furnace era.
 
ecampbell,
You're absolutely correct in your assumption that the name "Hampton" for this vicinity dates from the furnace era. In his "Early Forges & Furnaces in New Jersey" (1931), Charles Boyer refers to a May 1795 deed that mentions the conveyance of that "Certain Furnace called Hampton Furnace...." To date this appears to be the earliest documented reference to the name "Hampton Furnace." References in the literature to Hampton Furnace as a revolutionary era iron works are incorrect. There were only four revolutionary era iron works in all of the Pine Barrens: Atsion, Batsto, Aetna (Medford Lakes), and Taunton, each of which was associated with the incredible Charles Read.

Lost Town Hunter
 
Lost Town Hunter, do you happen to know who Robbin's (Robert's) Branch is named after?
Gabe:

I am not sure when Ted will return to view the forum, so if you do not mind a response from me, I will quote from the same source that Ted would likely use:

In his work, Sign Posts, Doc Bisbee notes:

ROBERTS BRANCH. A branch of Batsto River which rises on eastern border of Tabernacle Township near Paisley and flows southwesterly to unit with the river just over the border in Shamong Township. Sometimes the name is spelled Robbins Run and Robbins Branch. The junction of Roberts Branch with Batsto River is the site of Hampton Forge and, nearby, Hampton Furnace.
A 1755 survey calls the stream, “Tom Roberts Branch of Batsto Creek.” Tom Roberts Meadow is mentioned in a 1741 survey. Little information had been obtained about Thomas Roberts of New Hanover Township whose name has been given to this stream. Roberts died in 1730.
The 1876 [J.D. Scott atlas] map calls this stream Forest Branch. (pp. 210-211)

For the Skit Branch, Bisbee reports the following:

SKIT BRANCH (Tabernacle Township). A minor branch of Batsto River which rises near Apple Pie Hill and flows west through the township to unite with Roberts Branch just over the Shamong Township line. Mentioned in 1803 road returns, where name is spelled Skiff. Stream probably named for Mount Skitt Saw Mill. which was located on the stream. (p. 219)

Finally, here are Bisbee’s entries for Mount Skitt, Mount Skitt Neck, and Mount Skitt Saw Mill:

MOUNT SKITT (Tabernacle Township). Here is a place name that has been the despair of this writer. Although the surveys mention the name numerous times, its location is uncertain. There is an unnamed elevation of one hundred and thirty-nine feet about a mile west of Apple Pie Hill. Although not conclusive, this may have been called Mount Skitt in early days. Some support to this theory lies in the fact that Skit Branch of Batsto River rises just north of this elevation and curls around its western base before flowing into Roberts Branch. Mount Skitt is mentioned in a 1786 will, and a 1764 survey mentions “Road from Mount Skitt to Vincent Leeds and J. Burrs swamp.” As late as 1825 a county newspaper mentions Mount Skitt. No reasonable explanation for this name has been found.

MOUNT SKITT NECK. In the will of Arney Lippincott mention is made of "Two pieces of pine land in Mount Skitt Neck." (1805). This may be the area between Roberts Branch and Skit Branch or Batsto River or a larger area from Skit Branch to the Tulpehocken.

MOUNT SKITT SAW MILL. (Shamong Township). Site of a sawmill at the junction of Roberts Branch and Skit Branch of Batsto River. The mill was owned and operated by Tanton and Thomas Earl in 1765. Mount Skitt Saw Mill is mentioned in a 1763 survey. A 1765 survey refers to “Roberts Branch where it runs into a branch of Batsto where Mount Skitt Mill Stands.” (pp. 162-163)

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
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Lost Town Hunter, do you happen to know who Robbin's (Robert's) Branch is named after?
Gabe,

Ted and I just saw info that may answer your question. I happen to have a photo of the document here. We saw it with all of the other Rider & Wilkenson documents we got access to. I will post it later tonight.

Guy
 
Hi pinelandpaddler,
Thanks for your inquiry about the Tom Robert's Branch. Jerseyman has thoroughly responded to your question, using, as he accurately surmised, the same source, Doc Bisbee's "Sign Posts" (1971) that I would have used. I would add just one detail: the Doc found the old 1755 document in the West Jersey Proprietor's Building (the Survey General's Office), Book H, p.42, 1755.
Lost Town Hunter
 

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I misread his post and had the wrong name. It was not Roberts that we saw the info on.

Guy
 
Hi pinelandpaddler,
Thanks for your inquiry about the Tom Robert's Branch. Jerseyman has thoroughly responded to your question, using, as he accurately surmised, the same source, Doc Bisbee's "Sign Posts" (1971) that I would have used. I would add just one detail: the Doc found the old 1755 document in the West Jersey Proprietor's Building (the Survey General's Office), Book H, p.42, 1755.
Lost Town Hunter
Ted and Gabe:

For my convenience and as a time-saving measure, I left off all of Doc’s end notes from my original posting, including the one Ted cites above. Gabe, if you need to know all of those end note references, feel free to email or PM me. Likewise, I have a complete set of the SGO survey books on microfilm in my library, so, Gabe, if you need to look at the document that Doc and Ted cited, just let me know.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Apr 6, 2004
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Galloway
Jerseyman, thank you for the information. This will certainly help me along with my research. And thank you, Ted.

I thought I had once heard that a skit mill was a combination of a grist and saw mill. Is this the case? Now I'm wondering if there was even a skit mill on the Skit Branch at all, and if Skitt was a surname...
 
Gabe,

I, too, had heard somewhere that a "skit mill" was a combination of a grist and saw mill. Some 30 years ago I discussed the term with my good friend, the late Watson Buck of Rancocas, a superb historian who knew more about mills, iron works, and tools than anyone else I've ever met. He, too, was puzzled about the meaning of the term skit (skitt) in reference to a mill. Hopefully through our combined efforts we can lay this puzzle to rest.

Cheers,
Lost Town Hunter
 
Apr 6, 2004
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On pg. 70 of Iron in the Pines, Arthur Pierce says that a "skit mill" included both a sawmill and gristmill, and he says that there was one located in the vicinity of Harrisville as early as 1750.
 
Gabe,

I, too, had heard somewhere that a "skit mill" was a combination of a grist and saw mill. Some 30 years ago I discussed the term with my good friend, the late Watson Buck of Rancocas, a superb historian who knew more about mills, iron works, and tools than anyone else I've ever met. He, too, was puzzled about the meaning of the term skit (skitt) in reference to a mill. Hopefully through our combined efforts we can lay this puzzle to rest.

Cheers,
Lost Town Hunter
Lost Town Hunter:

Any mention of Watson Buck always brings a smile to my face as I recall my many trips into the countryside with him. We shared a commonality of friendship with Watson!

Lost Town Hunter and pinelandpaddler:

I think most people who know the history of Harrisville and Evi Bellangee’s “skit mill” there derived our definition of that type of mill from Mr. Pierce’s work. It appears he derived his definition from the writings of J. Braddock Rogers in the Journal of Chemical Education. You and Gabe ask a pertinent question, however, so I have turned my attention to the OED—the final arbiter of all things etymological! In looking at various definitions for the word “skit,” I find at least two or three potential sources for this mill type. Before providing those definitions, I will state that I see nothing in the OED that supports the mill being a combination of a grist and saw mill. One potential use of the term “skit” means “a squirt or small jet of water,” suggesting, perhaps, that the mill had the capacity to operate with only a small flow of water. Bellangee may have operated his mill in a fashion similar to a tide mill, allowing water to collect behind the dam and then periodically opening the gate into the mill race. Another definition of the word “skit” is “a slight stroke,” which might indicate the up-and-down saw blade had a more limited stroke than the average mill. A seemingly conflicting definition is found in “to shy or be skittish; to move lightly and rapidly.” This might suggest the blade moved more rapidly than the average sawmill. I find none of the definitions above to be entirely satisfying, but they do provide food for thought. In the final analysis, however, we can only speculate on what our ancestors meant by the term. I will say that I have never found the term “skit mill” or “skit mill” used outside of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Apr 6, 2004
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Good stuff, Jerseyman! Spung-Man and yourself always have some interesting etymological musings to consider. Perhaps it is the case then that "Skitt Mount" derives its name from the skit mill? As for Bellangee's Sawmill, I was under the impression that it was located on the East Branch of the Wading River (Oswego River) and that the Skit Mill was a separate Mill located on the West Branch.

http://www.bassriverhistory.org/uploads/6/8/7/1/6871754/hawthorne-_part1.pdf
 
Good stuff, Jerseyman! Spung-Man and yourself always have some interesting etymological musings to consider. Perhaps it is the case then that "Skitt Mount" derives its name from the skit mill? As for Bellangee's Sawmill, I was under the impression that it was located on the East Branch of the Wading River (Oswego River) and that the Skit Mill was a separate Mill located on the West Branch.

http://www.bassriverhistory.org/uploads/6/8/7/1/6871754/hawthorne-_part1.pdf
Gabe:

When I have a few minutes, I will check some sources, but it has always been my understanding that Bellangee owned the skit mill. I will double-check later this evening or tomorrow and reply again. I remember reading Hawthorne’s article when it first came out in the magazine and disagreed with it then and my viewpoint has not changed.

Best regards,
Jerseyman

P.S. It is hard to function in the world of history without the OED!! :)
 
Jerseyman, was there indeed such a mill as one that combined both a grist and saw mill?
There were all kinds of permutations of mill combinations. For example, I documented an eighteenth-century windmill in Burlington that began as a gristmill and then later was converted into a combination linseed oil and snuff mill. Certainly there are numerous examples, particularly along the East Coast, of mills—water-powered, wind-powered, and otherwise—that combined saw and grist milling operations. I can cite examples if you would like me to do so. As I stated previously, I have never found the term “skit mill” outside of the Pine Barrens. Regarding “Skitt Mount,” it may not relate to a skit mill at all, but have an implied use of some other definition for the word “skit.”

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Pinelandpaddler and Jerseyman,

Thanks (Gabe) for helping me to recall that it was in Pierce's Iron in the Pines (1957) that I first read the claim that a skit mill was a combination of a saw mill and a grist mill. When I ran that allegation past the late Watson Buck without getting a definitive reply, I knew immediately that this would be a tough nut to crack. To date I have still not turned up substantive evidence to accept that conclusion. Clearly, Pierce got his information from K. Braddock- Rogers, as Jerseyman has already pointed out. In checking my copy of Braddock-Rogers' "Fragments of Early Industries in South Jersey" (1931), I noted that the author simply stated without citations that the Skit Mill on the west branch of the Wading was built in 1750 "as a grist and saw mill which is said to have functioned for 75 years." Both Pierce and Braddock-Rogers concur with you, Gabe, that Evi Balangee' s sawmill was on the east branch of the Wading (the Oswego). A small dam was constructed just a few hundred yards above the dam replaced in the early 1970s. When the water of Harrisville Lake was completely drawn down to construct the current dam, I observed a few pilings and some flashing in the lake bed that clearly were related to earlier construction of undetermined age.

Pierce concluded that the "Skit Mill" was on the west branch "not quite half mile above the present junction with the east branch (i.e., the Oswego) at Harrisville." I bring to your attention, Gabe, that the position that you've plotted on the map is just a little over 0.1 mile above the junction of the two streams. What is even more puzzling is that Pierce (although he cites him) totally disregards Braddock-Rogers' placement of the site: "a quarter of a mile down the west branch of the Wading River from the point where the canal starts...." The canal he is referencing begins at Tumbling Dam (above
present-day Evans Bridge) and diverts water to the East Branch (the Oswego) to enhance the water supply for paper mill expansion. Braddock-Rogers posts a photo with the caption"Site and Ruins of the Skit Mill Dam" (ca. 1931). When I first began canoeing the Wading in the 1960s, several pilings at this site were still visible. I had no doubt that this was a mill site. The site that you earmarked once had a bridge that carried a road in the 1800s (now gone) from Green Bank to the foot of Harrisville Dam.

Jerseyman, I admire your efforts to go the etymological route. However, I have a hunch that our answer may be found somewhere in England.

Lost Town Hunter
 
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Gentlemen:

Just to clarify: I am not disputing the two mill locations on the Wading River branches; I merely disagree with Hawthorne’s assertions concerning who constructed and operated the skit mill. Hawthorne indicates it is unknown and I contend that Evi Bellangee, either Sr. or Jr., built and ran the mill.

Lost Town Hunter:

You may be right that the answer is in England, but it is something I have looked for off and on for some years without success. Then again, the answer might lie in another language which has not yet been checked, e.g., Swedish, Finnish, German, French, &c.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
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Lost Town Hunter said:
What is even more puzzling is that Pierce (although he cites him) totally disregards Braddock-Rogers' placement of the site: "a quarter of a mile down the west branch of the Wading River from the point where the canal starts...." The canal he is referencing begins at Tumbling Dam...
Interesting. Could this then be the spot?

http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.67578166991332&lng=-74.54221487045288&z=17&type=nj1930&gpx=

As for the bridge on the road from Green Bank to Harrisville, note the canal just to the west of the bridge site. Any ideas as to what its purpose was?

http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.66171744726433&lng=-74.52956557273865&z=17&type=nj1930&gpx=