Pine Barren History Shorts

OctoberRust1313

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Switlik also owned a lot of property in Jackson Twp. The land the Ocean County vocational school is built on off of 537 was donated by him.
His old house on his old family estate (now owned by Six Flags) is still standing, as far as I know. Since its Six Flags property, its not accessible to the public. As neat as it would be to check the place out, that's probably a smart move on Six Flags's part. I'm not sure if it's been discussed here or not, but despite all of his land sales and philanthropy, Stanley Switlik actually died broke and disgraced.

And also, not to nitpick, but the Votech is on 571/Toms River Road. Its easy to mix up the route numbers out that way, believe me. I grew up in Jackson (next to Butterfly Bridge, actually) and always used landmarks to give directions. No one knew "the intersection of 527 and 528", but everyone knew "the intersection where the Wawa by Switlik School is".
 

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Boyd

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Very interesting! I really know nothing about the area around Six Flags. @OctoberRust1313 (or anyone), maybe you can answer something I've been wondering since I made my 2020 topo map. Across from Six Flags, on the NW side of route 537 there appear to be a lot of old houses and roads that were destroyed, presumably when they created the Prospertown WMA. They are shown in lavendar on my map.

https://boydsmaps.com/#17.00/40.143574/-74.453746/pines2020/0.00/0.00

propertown.jpg

Looking at the aerials, this seems to have happened sometime between 2007 and 2010. Just interested in any stories about that because it stood out as an area where a lot has changed.

https://boydsmaps.com/#17.00/40.143574/-74.453746/njgin2007/0.00/0.00

https://boydsmaps.com/#17.00/40.143574/-74.453746/njgin2010/0.00/0.00
 
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OctoberRust1313

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I read where it had to do with him not liking Great Adventure creating the amusement park and spending his fortune in court and not winning.
Yep, that's the short version. It was actually a long, drawn-out, and painful ordeal, spanning 12 years.

According to Stanley's son Richard, Warner LeRoy had presented his father with plans and brochures depicting a vast African wildlife preserve. So when construction started on the roller coasters, the Switliks were pretty upset. Richard was quoted as saying, "We thought we were getting Wild Kingdom, and we wound up with Coney Island".

So they did everything they could to block the construction of the park. They showed up to town council meetings, they donated funds to conservation groups also interested in blocking construction of the park, and took Hardwick Co., the company that built GA, to court. Something Stanley also did, was write the Girl Scout Council in hopes of persuading them to retain the land that he had donated to them, named Camp Wanda, supposedly named for his mother, but his obituary lists Wanda as his wife. Camp Wanda was surrounded on all sides by GA property, and Hardwick had told the Girl Scouts that they would be definitely be building on it, so the Girl Scouts really had no other practical choice but to sell the land to GA.

In about 1973 or '74, the courts found in favor of Hardwick, claiming that the Switliks' actions showed malicious intent, which delayed the grand opening of the park by a month. In 1977, a judge decided that the Switliks' actions cost GA $4.8 million. The Switlik family, believing that they were in the right, refused to accept the judgment and appealed a few times, but the verdict remained unchanged. They fought GA's every attempt to collect on the judgment tooth and nail, with interest accruing.

The Sheriff's Sales started around January or February of '81, depending on which newspaper you read. I think the sale of their personal effects (furniture, family photos, over 100 fruitcakes) only netted around $200,000, which was purchased by none other than Great Adventure. They had intended to return all the belongings to the Switlik family, but I got the impression that the Switliks were too proud to accept them back, so I'm not sure if that ever happened or not. Stanley's 534 acre estate, which his home sat on, was acquired by GA by Sheriff's Sale for $887K in October of '81. Stanley never lived to see that, which may have been a blessing in disguise, as he passed away in March of that year, in the midst of his financial and legal battles.

In 1984, I think GA had only managed to collect $2 million aside from the Sheriff's Sales, and interest had brought amount owed up to $10 million. They actually wound up settling that year, for an undisclosed amount. In fact, the only stipulation of the settlement that was made public, was that the family's parachute company remains under the ownership of the Switliks.

Richard passed away in June of '04. His three sons are still in the area, and one of them (who is also named Stanley) still runs the parachute company with his daughter.
 
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OctoberRust1313

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Very interesting! I really know nothing about the area around Six Flags. @OctoberRust1313 (or anyone), maybe you can answer something I've been wondering since I made my 2020 topo map. Across from Six Flags, on the NW side of route 537 there appear to be a lot of old houses and roads that were destroyed, presumably when they created the Prospertown WMA. They are shown in lavendar on my map.

https://mobile.boydsmaps.com/#17.00/40.143574/-74.453746/pines2020/0.00/0.00

View attachment 15607

Looking at the aerials, this seems to have happened sometime between 2007 and 2010. Just interested in any stories about that because it stood out as an area where a lot has changed.
I looked around on newspapers.com for a while this afternoon, but couldn't find any info at all on that area. Nothing that would explain the destruction of those structures, anyway. I'd be inclined to say eminent domain, because it seems Millstone did a lot of that in the 90's and 2000's, from what I've been able to glean from my research. But I'm pretty sure that land has been state-owned way longer than that (courtesy of Stanley Switlik), so I have no idea.

Also too, I did most of my exploring on the other side of the road as a teenager, and rarely ventured over the county line to joyride. Looking back, however, I should have checked out more on the Millstone side of the road. There's a lot of stuff that was there 25 years ago, but now that I actually want to check it out, its gone. There's a lot of areas like that in Jackson, too, and its not worth me getting started on.
 
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Teegate

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Also too, I did most of my exploring on the other side of the road as a teenager, and rarely ventured over the county line to joyride. Looking back, however, I should have checked out more on the Millstone side of the road. There's a lot of stuff that was there 25 years ago, but now that I actually want to check it out, its gone.
I guess we all in some form of another have the same concerns today. Unfortunately. :(

Thanks for the info above.
 

Teegate

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I am going over some of my old Lebanon info and thought I would update or clarify some of the info in this posts and it also can relate to others.

I will copy and repost ... post number 249 from above and make it the color red.



While Beck did most of the leg work and was quite good at that, the truth of the matter was he received many important bits of information from the readers of the Courier who wrote in to voice their point of view. And during the short hiatus that apparently occurred during some of Beck's stories, he would pen articles on how the "Lost Town Hunters" were not infallible and tell the readers about individuals who had corrected some of his mistakes.

One such reader was J. Wilmer Lundy of Bucks County Pennsylvania who by the kindness of friends would have Beck's articles sent to him as he apparently could not get the Courier in Bucks County. Mr. Lundy grew up in Rancocas, and owned 12 acres along the Mount Misery Brook that was passed on to him by his grandfather who acquired the property in 1851.

Mr. Lundy disagreed with Beck's informant on the origin's of the Ong's Hat name, and gave Beck a much more plausible explanation. He also told Beck about the grave of Deborah Lincoln, the ancestor of Abraham Lincoln, and the chapter in "More Forgotten Towns of South Jersey" titled "Abe Lincoln's Kin Near Varmintown" most likely was the result of that tip. To his credit, Beck was not afraid to admit to mistakes or believing false information, and it is up to all of us to come to our own conclusion as to the accuracy of his tales.

And as I always do when someone interests me, Jessica and I took a quick jaunt to visit Mr. Lundy this morning. In a fine old interesting cemetery, in the original town he came from, we cleaned his residence and took a few photos.



As mentioned above, Lundy said his grandfather had passed to him 12 acres along the Mount Misery Brook. In this article he writes this to Henry beck.


1851.jpg



I believe that article has an incorrect date. It should say 1841 and not 1851. I will explain.


Here is the actual notes from the surveyors of Lebanon in the 1930/1940 era telling us what is written on the stone. Notice the date says RL 1841 (Richard Lundy) on the stone.

IMG_1145a.jpg



Here is the actual stone. That number partially cut off at the bottom right looks like it is the same as the 4 to the left of it, but the number on the far right aligns properly with the number 1 at the beginning.


IMG_9710a.jpg



Notice the number 4 extends down.

IMG_1145b.jpg



If his grandfather purchased it in 1851 as the article says, why would his grandfather put an 1841 on it? That don't make sense. I think the article is wrong.
 

RednekF350

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My fourth gr grandfather Micajah Brumfields brother married Nancy Hanks (Abe Lincolns mommas) sister. Would have to look up the info to get nancys sisters name or Micajahs brothers name.Some how that info never helped me find this stone.Good job Guy!
Now I can finally say I know someone who is related to Honest Abe !

This guy pictured here is as close as I could get. He is a very good friend of mine from the area that I deer hunt in Bradford County PA. Only left the house in which he was born in in PA a few times, once was to go fishing on a party boat in Barnegat Light. Salt of the earth and a hard working man. He lets us hunt his ground every year and he will bend your ear until it falls off. But that's okay. :)
 

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manumuskin

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I"m only kind of very distantly related by marriage.Most of my kin from KY were Rebs and I"m sure would never have admitted the relation.I happen to hold Abe as the best president ever in my view point.
 

Pan

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I"m only kind of very distantly related by marriage.Most of my kin from KY were Rebs and I"m sure would never have admitted the relation.I happen to hold Abe as the best president ever in my view point.

Them sound like they might be fighting words in the KY hills!

RednekF350 - The closest i cld get to that yankee was a kid in my elementary school class who showed me a framed letter on his wall purportedly written by his great great grandfather or something to Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard...but i bet it was fake.
 
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Pan

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All,

This post is somewhat personal and a little longer. I have changed names and edited the newspaper reports.



When traveling on vacation my daughters download podcasts to keep us interested and awake while driving, and the theme for this trip turned out to be murder mysteries and missing individuals. When the podcasts were not playing my mind began to wander back 40 years to an incident and my personal involvement with an individual that this subject matter is related to. While I can't give you the exact date or even the exact year, I will do my best to jog my memory and narrow it down. I unfortunately did not take photos that day or I would have been able to do just that.


In April 1975 I purchased my first Land Cruiser so the year of my incident would have been between 1976 and 1978. If it was 1978 it should have been somewhat concerning to me as you will read later. It has been 40 years so time has erased the concerns I may have had.

I believed then and still do that I most likely was the first person in my moms development to own a 4X4 that actually was used to explore the pines. However, sometime in the time frame mentioned above an International Scout 4x4 was cruising around the neighborhood. Since my friend Tom was much more in tune to the goings on in the area as he was much more of a social butterfly than I was, he informed me that it was "Billy." (I have changed the name) Billy it turns out was older than me and had lived in the development for quite a while. And Tom also informed me he had spoken with Billy in regards to me and Billy expressed his desire to to do some offroading. Sometime after this Billy and I ran into each other even though I currently don't remember how that exactly happened. In any event, I believe later that day I waited for him in the driveway to arrive. Soon we were heading to the pines with me having no idea where he was going. Our travels eventually took us to Atsion and eventually we arrived at Salter's Ditch at I believe to be this location.



http://maps.njpinebarrens.com/#lat=39.73605482422198&lng=-74.76053494613649&z=17&type=hybrid&gpx=


Now remember, this was the 70's and the road there was primitive if at all. He stopped at the ditch as I pulled up behind him and he then proceeded to plow across it. I realized then his vehicle was a beast as he crossed the ditch and the hill in seconds. I believe he purchased the vehicle "as is" because I never remember seeing it as stock. Someone had done some serious work on it. Anyway, he soon disappeared and I sat there deciding what to do. I was not a big fan of doing this but I also did not want to turn around. So I proceeded forward and soon found myself sitting in the ditch not moving. Still no sign of him at all as I hooked up my winch to try and turn my vehicle around and return the same way I came. Ten more minutes and I was just about out when he returned the same way we had come in. He obviously traveled back across the ditch at some other location and made his way back to me. I was not happy about all of this and told him our day was over. We returned home and I never spoke with him again.



On August 22, 1978 I was at home reading the newspaper when my adventure above came flooding back into my head.

Marlton man held in death

A 30 year old Marlton man was arrested Monday for the stabbing death of his 10 month old son. "Billy" of Marlton was arrested when the body of his son was found in a secluded section of Washington Township. His son was found in the trunk. Park Rangers in the early PM found "Billy" wandering along Penn_Swamp-Quaker Bridge Road in Wharton. "Billy" was rambling about leaving his son in the car. After searching the forest the vehicle was discovered and the 10 month old had been stabbed in the chest. Another article also stated that his eyes were missing.


The following day edited.

"Billy" of Marlton was transferred from the Burlington County jail to the Vroom Building for the criminally insane after being arraigned for murder. "Billy" was violent in his cell and was screaming that his son was in there with him. He was also uttering gutteral sounds and had wild rolling eyeballs. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the crime and allegedly was going to be taken to the mental unit of a Camden hospital on the day of the murder. However, the hospital denied that.


Fast forward almost a year to 5/26/1979

A Superior Judge has ruled "Billy" was insane when the crime occurred and he was transferred to Ancora for up to 60 days so he can be evaluated. He will then return for a sanity hearing. He admitted to the crime and it was reported that he was a schizophrenic who believed his son was insane and able to pass that on to other individuals by hypnotizing them with his eyes. "Hence, the eye removal." Two doctors testified that "Billy" said God had told him to do this, and "Billy" thought he was doing the right thing by saving the baby from a lifetime of misery in a mental institution.



In a photo from the first article he was disheveled with longer hair and beard which was not as he looked when I knew him. However, in this recent article about his arraignment it was mentioned he was looking well ... neatly dressed and alert.



According to a 1982 article, less than two years after the crime, "Billy" was released to live with his family. Anyone can have mental illness and it does not make me think any more or any less of "Billy". I was hoping that all would be well with him. Unfortunately, that would not be the way it ended.


An article from 8/8/1982.

Ex-Mental Patient killed in car crash

A Marlton man acquitted in the stabbing death of his son was killed in a vehicle crash on Route 40. "Billy" was pronounced dead Friday at the Emergency room of an Atlantic City hospital. His passenger, a 40 year old female from Florida and the female driver of a second car were hospitalized.


He stabbed the boy to death and they released him in less than 2 years!
 

manumuskin

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Them sound like they might be fighting words in the KY hills!

RednekF350 - The closest i cld get to that yankee was a kid in my elementary school class who showed me a framed letter on his wall purportedly written by his great great grandfather or something to Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard...but i bet it was fake.
A young girl wrote that letter to Lincoln suggesting He grow the beard.I could find her name if you like,I forget it at present.
 

Teegate

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December 11. 1963

Philadelphia Man's Skeleton Identified

Bones, Cards Are Found In Vincentown Area By Hunters; Missing Since '62

The skeleton of a man found in a thicket of scrub pines by a party of hunters has been identified from cards as that of Robert L. Burns, 28-year old Philadelphian missing since April 1962.

State Police said a tattered wallet found among the bones contained Burn's military identification card and Social Security card.

The remains were discovered yesterday by Lloyd Pugh, 26 of 308 Warren Ave, Camden, who was hunting with four other Camden men. They were in an area off of Carranza Road about 14 miles south of this Burlington County Community. State Police said the bones were scattered over a 10 foot area near a 2 1/2 foot deep, circular depression in the ground.

Investigators were hopeful that an examination of the remains could determine if death came from natural causes or violence.
Burns, a pre-medical student at Temple University, had not been seen since April 24, 1962. He lived with his wife, Ethel;, and a 6 year old son, Robert Jr., at 3343 North Park Avenue, Philadelphia.
Police records show that Burns left Philadelphia April 24 with Donald Bermender, who then lived at 1319 Ontario Street, Philadelphia, to drive to Bermender's summer home here to pick up books. Bermender told police he suffered a dizzy spell while they were still in Philadelphia, however, and he got out of the car. He said Burns was to drive around the block and return but he didn't show up and Bermender said he did not see Burns again.

The car, which belonged to Bermender, was found May 9, 1962, in the 9500 block of Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.
Burns had been reported missing by his wife the day after his disappearance.

State Police aided by Philadelphia investigators conducted an air search throughout the area, even draining some cranberry bogs, in a vain effort to find Burns.
 
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Wick

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December 11. 1963

Philadelphia Man's Skeleton Identified

Bones, Cards Are Found In Vincentown Area By Hunters; Missing Since '62

The skeleton of a man found in a thicket of scrub pines by a party of hunters has been identified from cards as that of Robert L. Burns, 28-year old Philadelphian missing since April 1962.

State Police said a tattered wallet found among the bones contained Burn's military identification card and Social Security card.

The remains were discovered yesterday by Lloyd Pugh, 26 of 308 Warren Ave, Camden, who was hunting with four other Camden men. They were in an area off of Carranza Road about 14 miles south of this Burlington County Community. State Police said the bones were scattered over a 10 foot area near a 2 1/2 foot deep, circular depression in the ground.

Investigators were hopeful that an examination of the remains could determine if death came from natural causes or violence.
Burns, a pre-medical student at Temple University, had not been seen since April 24, 1962. He lived with his wife, Ethel;, and a 6 year old son, Robert Jr., at 3343 North Park Avenue, Philadelphia.
Police records show that Burns left Philadelphia April 24 with Donald Bermender, who then lived at 1319 Ontario Street, Philadelphia, to drive to Bermender's summer home here to pick up books. Bermender told police he suffered a dizzy spell while they were still in Philadelphia, however, and he got out of the car. He said Burns was to drive around the block and return but he didn't show up and Bermender said he did not see Burns again.

The car, which belonged to Bermender, was found May 9, 1962, in the 9500 block of Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.
Burns had been reported missing by his wife the day after his disappearance.

State Police aided by Philadelphia investigators conducted an air search throughout the area, even draining some cranberry bogs, in a vain effort to find Burns.
So was any one charged?
 

Headstone
If I'm reading this right, his wife Ethel was murdered "also" (quotes because I suppose he is an open question).

 

Teegate

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I missed him at Lenape by one year. I will see if his photo is in my brothers yearbook. I doubt it since my brother was just two years ahead of me and I believe only purchased during his senior year.
 
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