The Hunt for Red Oak Grove by Scott Wieczorek

Ben Ruset

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Scott Wieczorek has been kind enough to allow me to post his article, The Hunt for Red Oak Grove. You can find it on the front page at http://www.njpinebarrens.com, or by clicking right here.

Thanks Scott!

Incidentally, I am looking for articles on a variety of topics. If you have something that you'd like to have published - even if you feel you're writing isn't that good - let me know. I can help you polish it up.
 

Teegate

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His last paragraph mentions that he is positive that more info exists, and I have been working on and have found just that. The Estellow stones I have found are part of the story of Red Oak Grove, and there is much more to tell. I have more info on the property's in that area and will be working on that through the summer and fall. I have some deed info that I will be passing on to him when I get it all sorted out. It just at this moment is not clear.

It is interesting to note that the spelling of Estellow that I have is different than his. Bobpbx has mentioned he has viewed the spelling in different forms.

estellow.jpg


Thanks Scott for the article.

Guy
 

bobpbx

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Good article Scott. One puzzle though; you mention he and Leeann (nice name) were into lumber and you hint there was a mill there. That does not seem plausible due to the lack of water power near there. That location is the origin of rivers. None of them actually run through there with any considerable power, so you would need a dam and lake. Where did he cut his lumber? Did he cart it all the way to Wells Mill?
 

Teegate

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I just checked and I have the survey map of the property that Red Oak Grove is actually on. It was owned by John L. Gray and was like the Estellow property 100 acres exactly. The next piece of property was owned by Andrew L. McCall which also was 100 acres. That property was then purchased by Allen C. Middleton.

This is the rectangular property that is shown on the aerial maps. It is 200 acres split in three lots, with the top owned by Estellow, the middle by Gray, and the bottom by McCall.


http://terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?T=1&S=12&Z=18&X=689&Y=5511&W=2&qs=|chatsworth|NJ|

EDIT: The above should read 300 acres and the property it is on is Estellow not Gray.

Guy
 

Ben Ruset

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bobpbx said:
Good article Scott. One puzzle though; you mention he and Leeann (nice name) were into lumber and you hint there was a mill there. That does not seem plausible due to the lack of water power near there. That location is the origin of rivers. None of them actually run through there with any considerable power, so you would need a dam and lake. Where did he cut his lumber? Did he cart it all the way to Wells Mill?

It could have been another steam powered mill, or they could have carried it up to Webbs Mill.
 

diggersw

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bobpbx said:
Good article Scott. One puzzle though; you mention he and Leeann (nice name) were into lumber and you hint there was a mill there. That does not seem plausible due to the lack of water power near there. That location is the origin of rivers. None of them actually run through there with any considerable power, so you would need a dam and lake. Where did he cut his lumber? Did he cart it all the way to Wells Mill?

Good observation. As I mentioned in my article, I do not have all of the answers, but I am sure that over the next few years they will all be pieced together. Guy has a good deal of information regarding this area, and I am sure so do many others. Once all the information is collected, then we can fully understand the site. All I provided was an introductory primer.

I cannot wait to see what information surfaces.
Scott W.
 

diggersw

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Another possibility for where lumber was shipped could be Cedar Bridge, especially since it shows up on maps as early as 1833. There were a number of places to ship lumber for milling. It is also plausible that they used a steam-powered mill, though I would need to double check when they were in popularity to verify this.
Scott W.
 

Ben Ruset

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diggersw said:
Another possibility for where lumber was shipped could be Cedar Bridge, especially since it shows up on maps as early as 1833. There were a number of places to ship lumber for milling. It is also plausible that they used a steam-powered mill, though I would need to double check when they were in popularity to verify this.
Scott W.

I believe steam powered mills were in vogue from the 1880s to the early 1930s, which would put them out of the timeframe for ROG. However, ROG could have just been an area for harvesting trees and not necessarily for milling them. Bob makes a good point - there isn't really any good source of water around there to use for a mill. The Yellow Dam Branch starts up by ROG, but it would be a trickle up there.

I wouldn't mind trying to hike it, though.
 

aserdaten

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The Hunt For Red Oak Grove

Just noticed today in reading through this forum that TeeGate indicated that he had a map of the properties owned by Estellow, Gray and McCall, and that they were laid out side by side to form a rectangle of 200 acres. This was shown on an aerial map linked to the site. Now it was earlier stated that both the Estellow and Gray properties were basically exact squares of 100 acres apiece. So shouldn't the total of the three of them be 300 acres, assuming McCall's was also 100 acres? Don't mean to be nitpicking here, but maybe I misunderstood something.

Aside from the above comment, the story of Red Oak Grove was fascinating. It sure took a lot of research to come up with all those deeds, etc., which were listed at the end of the story. It reminds me of work I did early in my career with the NJ Dept. of Transportation back in the 1950's when I had to prove the "ancestry" of property being purchased by the state for highway construction. Since I had to research at least 60 years back, and since many properties were in a family for much longer than that, I found that sometimes I had to go way back into the 1700's for proof I needed. And all of the deeds had to be plotted (on the same sheet) to prove the chain of ownership.
 

Teegate

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aserdaten said:
So shouldn't the total of the three of them be 300 acres, assuming McCall's was also 100 acres? Don't mean to be nitpicking here, but maybe I misunderstood something.

I looked back at that post and there are two errors. One is it should be 300 as you said, and Red Oak Grove is/was on the Estellow property not the Gray property as I said.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I will add an edit to that post.


Guy
 

Teegate

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Scott and All,

I acquired this today. Notice it shows the "Factory Lot" where the Brooksbrae factory is located. It also mentions his wife in small letters I may add. And the Brooksbrae Land Improvement Company.

It is interesting to note that survey shows the exact locations of the property with bearings. I need to find one location and I can find the rest. Something to work on.

IMG_6828.jpg


Other info some of you may be interested in.


I also learned that route 539 was once called Bowman's road. I'll have to check but I think the very early 1900's.

I also have a map from 1959 that mentioned that the dam at Cedar Bridge at the old Cedar Bridge Tavern was "recently destroyed".

I also have a map that shows the wooden cabin at Union Clay Works. It also shows the location of a "framed privy". I know a man who was a member of the gun club there and hopefully will find a day where we can visit the location together. He has asked me at least 10 times but I was only able to meet him for a few minutes one day.

And bobpbx I also have a map showing the location of Zebulon Colliers House on the Chamberlains branch, and a quick comparison of present maps makes me believe it is at Black's bridge at the gun club. I am not certain as of yet. This info is quite old and may be before 1859. That could be the reason there is no mention of any stones if you know what I mean.

Steve...remember when we were looking for a stone on the Lawrence Line just off of 539 on the edge of the Chamberlain Branch of the road to the FRM? Well, we may have not looked hard enough. There is/was one there.


Guy
 

Teegate

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Yea...so it may not be there. But I have bearings now so I can be much more exact. In the future we can check it out.

Guy
 

bobpbx

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TeeGate said:
And bobpbx I also have a map showing the location of Zebulon Colliers House on the Chamberlains branch Guy

Ol' Zeb you say! Guy, are you sure its not "Collins"? I think a grave at ten mile hollow used to carry that name.
 

Teegate

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I will post a photo tomorrow but it is spelled as I spelled it. The map may be wrong, but I saw two maps that mentioned it. I may have photo's of the other one here but I have 200 photo's to go through. Check back tomorrow.

Guy
 

aserdaten

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The Hunt for Red Oak Grove

Interesting property map posted by TeeGate on 4/25 in this forum thread. Too bad the portion posted wasn't a little bigger in order to locate more adjacent properties in this area, but that may not have been possible. Some of these old maps are quite brittle, and excessive handling could damage them.

I noticed one curious thing which may just be a coincidence. On that map the property conveyed to Brooksbrae Brick Co. showed the notation "301-174", which is the usual way of indicating the recorded book and page number of the deed; adjacent to it is the parcel deeded to Brooksbrae Land Improvement Co., with the notation "300.69", which I assume to be the acreage of that property. Or should that have been "300-69" for the book and page number? Unusual that both numbers are that similar, which would likely have happened if both deeds were recorded within a few months (or weeks?) of each other.

I find that trying to interpret these property maps can be quite intriguing (sp?), and one can usually come up with a lot of interesting and little-known information from them. Knowing specific properties you are looking for, and finding them, adds to the excitement of the hunt. And the maps certainly help in finding property stones, should they still exist.
 

Teegate

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aserdaten said:
Interesting property map posted by TeeGate on 4/25 in this forum thread. Too bad the portion posted wasn't a little bigger in order to locate more adjacent properties in this area, but that may not have been possible. Some of these old maps are quite brittle, and excessive handling could damage them.

I have the complete map showing the area all around Brooksbrae and all of the property owned by Harry L. Neall and sold by him. There is info on the fringes of that map which I want to keep to myself. I need time to figure them all out and search for the property stones.

Guy
 

Teegate

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bobpbx said:
Ol' Zeb you say! Guy, are you sure its not "Collins"? I think a grave at ten mile hollow used to carry that name.


Bob,

Here is the map. Look it over closely and compare it to the portion of the Chamberlain at Black's Bridge. The map clearly shows the bridge and the bearings say N7° 30' W 3.6 chains To Zebulon Colliers House.

It works this way. Standing at the bridge looking north you would go 7 1/2 degrees west 237.6 feet. That would put you on the left side of the river.


IMG_6727.jpg


Guy
 

Teegate

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Scott and All,

I have been acquiring much info on this area, and want to put some of it out for discussion and ask a few questions.

First, let me say all of this may not exactly be on Red Oak Grove, just the area in general: however, as you mentioned these places are all intertwined. My questions concern a few minor errors I believe you have accidentally made.


First, the village of Red Oak Grove existed sometime in the nineteenth century. It was situated somewhere in the Ocean/Monmouth County Pine Barrens, in what is now Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, and near the Burlington County line. Its name can be found on 1880s United States Geological Survey maps, and its borders are currently within what is now Lacey Township, Ocean County, New Jersey. Finally, there are several foundation pits located in its vicinity and it was serviced by what is commonly known as the Egg Harbor Road. However, beyond this very little is known about the village.

Is Monmouth the correct county you wanted to mention? That is over 25 mile as the crow flies away. I believe it should be Burlington County there. Am I wrong? And Union Clay Works, Old Half Way, and Red Oak Grove are all in the Greenwood Forest and not a part of Brendan Byrne.


Mining reemerged in this region, however, just before the turn of the century. Near Woodmansie were the Old Half Way clay mines, the same that were used to supply Neill’s works. The mines were purchased by Alfred A. Adams, a hotel owner in Woodmansie, who started mining and selling local clay again in 1896

The southern 'pit' that most of us know as Old Half Way was purchased from a John L. Miller by Adams. It consisted of 30.75 acres. I have visited one of the property corners and have a map of the lot. Actually, one of the property corners in the map is just where it reaches the Lacey line and not the actual corner so I am guessing on the SE corner location until I can actually find it. The property is in Ocean County Manchester township except the bottom right corner which crosses into Lacey. The second small map below shows the Ocean/Burlington county line cutting across the bottom left corner of the lot, but that is incorrect. I found that map to be shifted too far west in that regard. You can see where the lot was actually located in regard to the town and county lines in the aerial photo below.


The red line is the Lacey Manchester border, the yellow line is the Burlington/Ocean county border, and the points on the map are the property lines of the lot owned by the Adams Clay Mining Company.

ohw.jpg


lot01.JPG



And regarding the lots at Red Oak Grove, here is the property owners around 1907.

map1907.JPG


And here is a survey of all of the same lots at a future date that I have not determined. Most likely the 1950's. Notice the lots have been divided up again so instead of 4 lots we now have 7. And for the first time we have a lot owned by someone other than a private citizen. Lacey township now owns the left lot, with Silverman, Latcovich, and a hard to decipher name which looks like EL2asar owning all of the other lots.

IMG_6795.jpg



And the present tax map in Lacey township showing only the Lacey township lots, and reversed, displaying that all of the lots are not state owned, which I believe to be wrong. They have not been updated apparently.

tax01.JPG




Getting back to the clay pits.... from the photo's above we can say that Adams owned that pit before 1907 and so your mid 1890 dates of the new startup should be very valid.

The small round pit that is directly south is across the township line in Lacey township totally, and was owned at the turn of the century by J. C. Harvey. The property consisted of 33.98 acres.

One thing that seems odd is that one of the maps I have shows many of the major acquisitions in that area from 1743 until 1907 and there is not a mention of a Lewis Neall. There are quite a few mention's of Harry L. Neal and two partners named William L. Kelly and C.Y. James purchasing and selling a few pieces of property in the first few years of the last century, buying one of them from a William Weaver that was 5144 acres. I would have to assume Harry was the son of Lewis.


Two points.

Deed: Harry L. Neall Ex. Vs. To Adams Clay Mining Company Dated March 19th 1902

This property was years earlier a portion of the Hanover Furnace tract and ran basically from just north of 72 along and east of the Central Railroad and included the east side of Woodmansie. It continued on the east side of the JCRR to just above Brooksbrea and then headed south and east to the area of Union Clay and then south back towards 72. The only exceptions were a small Bullock tract on the east side of the Jersey Central, and the property Neall sold to The Brooksbrea Land Improvement company. And a surprise to me there was also a 146 acre tract of land right near the intersection at Bullock that was called the Webb State Park. I am assuming the state was just starting their purchasing of the land in that area by 1907. I have the survey and have just started trying to find the stones for this park. One of the stones is described just like one other I just found. Large Stone 2 1/2 high. This is within 400 feet of the Bullock intersection along the swamp!!! I did not find the stone :(



Then in a Deed dated February 7th 1905 he and his partners purchased 5144 acres just north of Union Clay in the exact location you mention the Brighton Land Company was going to build 'Red Oak Park" but went bankrupt. The seller was William Weaver and his wife who may have been the people who had planned the failed development. Harry Neall may have gotten the property cheap because of the failure. This property extended all of way across 539 to almost Black's Bridge and up to Wells Mills.

By 1947 much of the property in this area was owned by Stanley Switlik and was called the Greenwood Forest Tract.

Guy
 
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