Proposed Devastation Prior to Belcoville

"The Bethlehem Steel Company did not take Washington into its confidence in planning for the vast land purchase—so vast that 250 deeds were recorded at the county offices at May’s Landing, and the signatures of more than 1000 persons, sought in every State in the country, into the greatest ordnance grounds in the world."

I've been involved in some elaborate land assemblages in my day, but they pale in comparison to this deal.

"Six thousand six hundred dollars, it is said, was paid by the company through its agents during the last week for a farm of 110 acres, which had several times been sold for taxes, and which had been valued by neighbors at $800. Six months ago a tract of 200 acres was offered to a Mays Landing citizen for $175. It cannot now be bought for money."

That's always the trick in a land assemblage: once word gets out that someone is trying to assemble property, the "holdout premium" becomes astronomical, and then it ripples back and forth.