Pine Barren History Shorts

Teegate

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You may remember in Beck's books he mentions the bicycle artist Ned Knox quite often and here is a little bit more about him. Ned's full name was Edward Prentice Knox and he came to Toms River around 1915. He was the son of Rev. Charles E. and Sarah Fake Knox who arrived in Point Pleasant from Bloomfield in the late 1800s. It has been said that Ned was the first resident of Tom's River to sign up for military duty during WW1. As I have mentioned in a previous post Ned lived at 32 Snyder Ave which today is a parking lot. Even though Ned painted for years he became well known when Beck wrote about him. Here is how one writer oddly described that.

Ned Knox came to light when he wrote a letter to the writer of some books on the old towns of New Jersey.


Ned's bicycle riding was actually not something uncommon in that area.

Edgar Pearce is regarded by his fellow artists as a painter of unusual ability. He scours the county side between Manasquan and Point Pleasant, riding a bicycle with his canvas under his arm, looking for some bit of natural beauty which can be reproduced in color.

While Ned was mostly known as a painter he apparently had other interests. A 1933 article mentions that Edward P. Knox, Toms River, was a given a patent by the US patent office for a projector.

Now here is where it gets confusing. A 1980 article says that Ned married late in life but there is evidence that if it is true he already had a son years before. However, in 1941 his son would die in a tragic accident. A 1941 article says this.


Son of Edward P. Knox, Toms River, Killed in Fall on Rock

The Knox youth had been swimming in a pool near Lodi at Silver Thread Falls. He left the water and was walking across a bridge when he fell. His head struck the rock and he suffered a skull fracture, according to John Gordon, Senica county coroner.

Charles Knox, who was a resident of New York state, was a frequent visitor at the home of his father, 32 Snyder Ave, Toms River. The boy lived with an aunt, Miss Alice Knox of Pitman. A frequent visitor in Toms River, he was in Toms River only a few days ago to see his father, He was blond, curly-haired and always was seen on the street with his dog and bicycle.



One article mentions that Ned married late in life so the son mentioned above is a mystery. Sometime between 1941 and 1943 Ned married Angelica Clayton of Dover Township. Angelica had previously had three other husbands and two of them died in accidents. In 1945 or 1946 they moved to South Seaville in Cape May County even though other info says he had moved back to Toms River soon after. In any event, on December 23, 1947 after a six week stay at Fort Dix Army hospital Edward Prentice Knox passed away. His obituary noted he was 67 and died of a heart ailment. He was serving as a truant officer in Dennis Township.

Some of Ned's paintings were of the Oak at Ong's Hat, the meeting house at Crosswicks, the old sawmill at Dover Forge, the school house at Woodmansie, dunes along the shore, Arney's Mount and scenes of one of the earliest quarries, yielding stone for old colonial foundations. One other article says that very few of his many paintings are known to exist.

Ned will have the final word.

No matter what some of the established people say, there is something about New Jersey, something about all these half-known places that cries out for recognition. I just have to do something about it, that's all.
 

Teegate

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It is interesting to note that an article from 3/4/1902 pretty much explains why the town of Atsion is in Burlington County. Up until that time is was not and the 4 voting residents had to go 16 miles to Hammonton and 16 miles back to vote. So a man named James Wills, of Atsion, gave notice that he was applying to the Legislator to have a portion of the town of Hammonton in Atlantic county, and a portion of the town of Waterford in Camden county, annexed to the township of Shamong and Washington in Burlington county. Because of this action the avatar you see next to my screename is now the 3 county location :)
 

Teegate

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And another interesting article that may tell us something. Take notice it says Atsion is in Burlington County one year after my post above from 1902.

Atsion Carpet Weaver Commits Suicide 4/20/1903

Thomas Hyland, aged 65 years, a carpet weaver at Atsion, Burlington County, committed suicide yesterday by hanging. The body of Hyland was found in a house at stone bridge, about a mile on the road which leads from Atsion to Batsto.


Now as far as I know Stone Bridge is the bridge on Quaker Bridge road at the first bog you come to on the way from Atsion to Quaker Bridge. If that is correct we know at one time there were dwellings there.
 

Teegate

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One of the most mysterious characters Beck encountered in his travels was Dolph Arens, who in the "Adventure of Aserdaten" chapter of Jersey Genesis was the caretaker of the Eureka Gun Club at Black's Bridge which formally was the Chiselers Club and before that Tilly Collins. And before that it was the home of Zebulon Collins who is residing in the Hollowfield Cemetery at Ten Mile Hollow. Anyway, Dolph has always interested me, maybe just because he was able to show Beck Black's stone. With that in mind lets learn a little more about Dolph Arens, the Chiselers Club, and various other characters. Also keep in mind that I / we are also trying to figure out when Beck actually met Dolph at the club. Remember, when Beck talked with Dolpf in the "Adventure of Aserdaten" (Page 179 in my book) Dolph said the gun club they were in was the EUREKA club, formally Chiselers.


1914

In regards to Dolph's name, Beck spelled his first and last name wrong. Dolph Arens name is actually Adolf Arends, born in German on January 27, 1878 He eventually made it to Waretown living on the Old Road which I suspect is Route 9. He would marry his wife Ella and by 1914 they both were working at Donnelly's Hotel in Waretown. Adolf was the bartender, and Ella was the housekeeper, and she at least had been working there for 18 months when the owner of Donnelly's came to the conclusion she was stealing. Armed with a search warrant, Donnelly and the police entered the Arends home and found the items they were looking for. They consisted of a black walnut bedstead, a glass vase and a glass of crab apple jelly. By September 1914 she was indicted by a grand jury and went to trial. By October she was exonerated and charges were dropped on the grounds that it had not been proven that the goods were stolen.

So at this point we move to 1933 and Beck visits Blacks Bridge. We know this because Beck's newspaper article describing the Chiselers Club and Blacks bridge, as well as a photograph there, was published on April 11, 1933. If he had met Adolf Arends who was the caretaker of the Chiselers club at this point is uncertain; however, keep in mind what I mentioned in the first paragraph about Eureka.


1933

On Monday evening October 23, two individuals, Joel Ridgeway and Clarence VanNote from Bamber had approached Arends at the club to borrow money but were turned away. On Tuesday morning when Arends arrived at the club he found the place burned to the ground. Arends, obviously enraged, notified the state police who found automobile tracks and traced them to Ridgeway and VanNote.

Ridgeway and VanNote admitted to being there but claim the fire was an accident, not arson, which is what they were charged with. The building which was the old Tilly Collins homestead is described as a two-story, six-room frame dwelling that was one of the oldest structures in the county. By March of 1935 Ridgeway would begin a six months jail sentence for theft of carpenter's tools owned by a contractor who was building a bridge on Lacey Road. The tools were found buried in the woods. And by the middle of December VanNote would begin a 90 day jail sentence for not paying a $100 fine for using larger than the legal size shot while hunting. As of yet I have not found if they were charged on not for the arson.


I have to assume that either the Chiselers club was rebuilt, or there was another structure at the location that they could use as the gun club. It still was in use and still called Chiselers as you will see below


1935

If you did not know, Coyle Field along Route 72 is named after Col. Leonidas Coyle, a long time fire warden in NJ. On Saturday May 18, 1935 a 900 acre fire had been brought under control, and at dawn on the day after, Coyle and his pilot flew over the area observing that the fire heading towards Bamber was also out. They then returned to the landing field. At 11AM, on a second flight, Coyle noticed a fire springing up near Bamber. This new fire was 4.5 miles from the previous fire, and near the Chiselers hunting club. Coyle felt it was impossible for this new fire to have started from the previous fire, so he dropped to 150 feet and flew towards the fire. He then noticed spot fires, springing up about 250 feet apart along the roadway to the Chiselers club. Some of the spot fires had merged and as he passed the last fire he noticed a man starting a fire there with a car nearby in a gravel pit. With the fire going into the wind Coyle was certain the man was an arsonist. He took note of the peculiar paint scheme of the car but did not get a good look at the mans face. After landing nearby, Coyle could not find the car in question so he notified the state police.

With the description of the vehicle the authorities were able to go directly to the home of the suspected arsonist who lived in Waretown. That person was none other than Adolf Arends, the caretaker of the Chiselers club, and the man we all read about in Beck's Aserdaten chapter. When questioned, Arends quickly mentioned there was another man with him and they had been at the Chiselers gun club. Arends and Oscar Brown were arrested, spent the night in jail, and released on $1000 bail. Both men claim they were setting backfires but Coyle stated the fires were set to run with the wind and not against it. Coyle's testimony was corroborated by the pilot of the plane. Both Arends and Brown pleaded not guilty and awaited grand jury action. The fire burned 25,000 acres threatening to destroy Forked River, Barnegat and the hometown of both suspects, Waretown. It took over 1000 firefighter to put out the blaze. The cost of the damage was $250,000, covered many square miles, and Coyle called it the greatest forest fire in years. There were two injuries reported, a firefighter from Waretown was severely burned in the explosion of a gasoline torch used in backfiring, and a C.C.C person of color was bitten by a snake.

The facts of this story looked pretty bleak for Arends and Brown, but luck was on their side, when in September of the same year the grand jury voted no bill in the charge against Arends and Brown. Coyle had said he was not able to distinguish the faces of the men when he looked down, and that may have been the reason they were cleared.


And one final note for the year 1935, Clarence VanNote mentioned above as one of the the arsonist of the Chiselers gun club, was arrested for fighting and charged $100. He apparently did not learn his lesson.

With all of this in mind we can see that the Eureka gun club was never mentioned, only the Chiselers. This tells me Beck meeting Adolf at the gun club most likely took place long after Adolf was charged with starting the fire. At the time, Beck most likely did not even know that and may never had known that.


Today, Adolf Arends and his wife Ella reside in the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Waretown. Next to them is most likely a son.






The 1940 census is interesting. It shows Adolf as 62 and head of household, but the only other household member is a 40 year old housekeeper, also from Germany. His occupation was foreman community construction.



 
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Teegate

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I also forgot to mention that the census had his name as Alolph but his marker says Adolf. My spell checker at times had it both ways so I just went in and changed them all to Adolf as it is on his stone.
 

ecampbell

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And another interesting article that may tell us something. Take notice it says Atsion is in Burlington County one year after my post above from 1902.

Atsion Carpet Weaver Commits Suicide 4/20/1903

Thomas Hyland, aged 65 years, a carpet weaver at Atsion, Burlington County, committed suicide yesterday by hanging. The body of Hyland was found in a house at stone bridge, about a mile on the road which leads from Atsion to Batsto.


Now as far as I know Stone Bridge is the bridge on Quaker Bridge road at the first bog you come to on the way from Atsion to Quaker Bridge. If that is correct we know at one time there were dwellings there.
I was geocaching back there on the west side of the bogs and it was obvious it was inhabited by the ground disturbance. The good old days. It's nice to have a name for the bridge.
 

ecampbell

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The census was written by enumerators, I guess temporary employees, not the people they were interviewing. They were terrible at getting the facts straight. I do a lot of genealogical research and they have my family all messed up. On top of that very poor penmanship.
 

46er

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I do a lot of genealogical research and they have my family all messed up.
I'm also researching our families. I think a lot of the times they take the way the name sounds and spell it that way. In doing my fathers side, Scandinavian, I have seen Jacob spelled; Yacob, Yakob, Jakob and some I could not make out. The surnames are even more fun, at least up until 1923.
 

Rooftree

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My ancestors came from England to Boston in 1635 having a surname Farnham. Shorty, it was changed to Farnum. Later, some family members were the first pioneers of what is now the state of Maine. My G-G-G Grandfather was born in the wilderness in 1757. With bad record keeping, his last name was spelled as Varnum. I happen to follow that family branch. It was my Great Grandfather who came down from Bucksport. ME and settled in South Jersey in 1866. Conveniently, I have a two volumes of my family history, both the size of old college dictionaries. Other variations of my last name are: Farnam, Farnem, Varnam, and Varnom. Therefore, while searching by family tree, you need to be concern with seven different last names. There's been some family members born as Varnum, lived as Varnum, but buried as Farnum.
 

46er

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Therefore, while searching by family tree, you need to be concern with seven different last names.
The Scandinavian surname changed with each child; for a son the given name of an earlier relative was added to 'son' or 'sen', for a daughter it was added to 'datter' or ''dotter'. In some cases the occupation of the relative was used instead of the given name. I had always wondered why my Father and his Brother had different surnames, and my Grandfather yet a different one :confused: Certainly makes genealogy searches interesting, but tedious :rolleyes: The oldest relatives so far are from the early 1500's. The family tree is amazing :worms:
 
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Don Catts

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It is interesting to note that an article from 3/4/1902 pretty much explains why the town of Atsion is in Burlington County. Up until that time is was not and the 4 voting residents had to go 16 miles to Hammonton and 16 miles back to vote. So a man named James Wills, of Atsion, gave notice that he was applying to the Legislator to have a portion of the town of Hammonton in Atlantic county, and a portion of the town of Waterford in Camden county, annexed to the township of Shamong and Washington in Burlington county. Because of this action the avatar you see next to my screename is now the 3 county location :)

Thanks Guy, this solves an age old mystery, why was the county line moved? I always through it was moved to include all of Atsion into Burlington County and this article explains why.
 

Don Catts

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And another interesting article that may tell us something. Take notice it says Atsion is in Burlington County one year after my post above from 1902.

Atsion Carpet Weaver Commits Suicide 4/20/1903

Thomas Hyland, aged 65 years, a carpet weaver at Atsion, Burlington County, committed suicide yesterday by hanging. The body of Hyland was found in a house at stone bridge, about a mile on the road which leads from Atsion to Batsto.


Now as far as I know Stone Bridge is the bridge on Quaker Bridge road at the first bog you come to on the way from Atsion to Quaker Bridge. If that is correct we know at one time there were dwellings there.


Yes Guy, that is the correct stone bridge location. As you know the bogs were known as the Phillip's Bogs. There were several dwellings there if you recall this is our East Fruitland development. If it was ever call East Fruitland it was only for a short time. It was known as 'Stone Bridge'. Charles Jones died on his farm there in 1877 and in his will he listed his place of residence as the Stone Bridge Section of Atsion. I don't think Tom Hyland ever lived there, although he may have at one time. He was not one of the original owners. In 1880 he was living in Atsion, a widower with 9 children, oldest daughter is listed as keeping house, 3 oldest sons worked at the Atsion cotton Mill. By 1900 the children were gone and he was living alone in Atsion. By 1903 Stone Bridge (East Fruitland) was completely abandoned with only a few old houses still standing. My guess is he went back there and hung himself in one of those old abandoned houses.


1876

NJ business directory indicates a busy industrial community:

B. B. Brown Postmaster, Flour & Feed Store

Miss E. E. Brown Millinery and Notions

G. W. Hagerthy General Store

Thomas Hyland Carpet Weaver

M. Raleigh & son General Store

E. T. Thompson General Store

Jas. Wells Wheelwright
 
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Teegate

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Some interesting information about how the state acquired Howardsville.

1966

The state is (also) about to take title to 854 acres at Howardsville, Union Township, which will adjoin the lower end of Greenwood Forest. A condemnation commission awarded $170,800. for the property or $200 an acre in an action against two corporations and about a dozen individual owners. Another 160 acres remains to be acquired for that project.
 

turtle

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You may remember in Beck's books he mentions the bicycle artist Ned Knox quite often and here is a little bit more about him. Ned's full name was Edward Prentice Knox and he came to Toms River around 1915. He was the son of Rev. Charles E. and Sarah Fake Knox who arrived in Point Pleasant from Bloomfield in the late 1800s. It has been said that Ned was the first resident of Tom's River to sign up for military duty during WW1. As I have mentioned in a previous post Ned lived at 32 Snyder Ave which today is a parking lot. Even though Ned painted for years he became well known when Beck wrote about him. Here is how one writer oddly described that.

Ned Knox came to light when he wrote a letter to the writer of some books on the old towns of New Jersey.


Ned's bicycle riding was actually not something uncommon in that area.

Edgar Pearce is regarded by his fellow artists as a painter of unusual ability. He scours the county side between Manasquan and Point Pleasant, riding a bicycle with his canvas under his arm, looking for some bit of natural beauty which can be reproduced in color.

While Ned was mostly known as a painter he apparently had other interests. A 1933 article mentions that Edward P. Knox, Toms River, was a given a patent by the US patent office for a projector.

Now here is where it gets confusing. A 1980 article says that Ned married late in life but there is evidence that if it is true he already had a son years before. However, in 1941 his son would die in a tragic accident. A 1941 article says this.


Son of Edward P. Knox, Toms River, Killed in Fall on Rock

The Knox youth had been swimming in a pool near Lodi at Silver Thread Falls. He left the water and was walking across a bridge when he fell. His head struck the rock and he suffered a skull fracture, according to John Gordon, Senica county coroner.

Charles Knox, who was a resident of New York state, was a frequent visitor at the home of his father, 32 Snyder Ave, Toms River. The boy lived with an aunt, Miss Alice Knox of Pitman. A frequent visitor in Toms River, he was in Toms River only a few days ago to see his father, He was blond, curly-haired and always was seen on the street with his dog and bicycle.



One article mentions that Ned married late in life so the son mentioned above is a mystery. Sometime between 1941 and 1943 Ned married Angelica Clayton of Dover Township. Angelica had previously had three other husbands and two of them died in accidents. In 1945 or 1946 they moved to South Seaville in Cape May County even though other info says he had moved back to Toms River soon after. In any event, on December 23, 1947 after a six week stay at Fort Dix Army hospital Edward Prentice Knox passed away. His obituary noted he was 67 and died of a heart ailment. He was serving as a truant officer in Dennis Township.

Some of Ned's paintings were of the Oak at Ong's Hat, the meeting house at Crosswicks, the old sawmill at Dover Forge, the school house at Woodmansie, dunes along the shore, Arney's Mount and scenes of one of the earliest quarries, yielding stone for old colonial foundations. One other article says that very few of his many paintings are known to exist.

Ned will have the final word.

No matter what some of the established people say, there is something about New Jersey, something about all these half-known places that cries out for recognition. I just have to do something about it, that's all.
Ed C....didn't you and I converse a number of years ago when we saw a Knox painting for sale online?
 

bobpbx

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Some interesting information about how the state acquired Howardsville.

1966

The state is (also) about to take title to 854 acres at Howardsville, Union Township, which will adjoin the lower end of Greenwood Forest. A condemnation commission awarded $170,800. for the property or $200 an acre in an action against two corporations and about a dozen individual owners. Another 160 acres remains to be acquired for that project.
Very interesting. Somebody was on the ball at State, that must have taken a lot of historical research. I wonder if there was something about the property that make them eager to obtain it. I mean, to go through all that trouble, they must have known something.
 

Teegate

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There was a major push by the state in the 60s to acquire property. I did not mention all of the other locations they were trying to acquire.
 

Teegate

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1940

It is a miracle the pine plains are even here at all. In 1940 the British Purchasing Commission was looking for a 12 mile stretch of "wasteland" for an artillery and ammunition testing range. It was reported that representatives inspected possible sites in Ocean and Cape May counties. Singled out was a 12 mile stretch running from NW of Waretown past Lacey and Webbs Mill. The British planned to fence in the entire tract if purchased. Thomas A. Mathis, NJ Secretary of State, and Toms River real estate agent was asked to seek title to the tract.