Where Have All the Pine Barrens Gone? Long Time Passing!


Jan 5, 2009
Richland, NJ
Using a car to run their sawmill???? How often did this happen or do you think it was just an anomaly?



Car-driven sawmills were actually quite common in the Pines. Every piece of equipment earned its keep. Those old vehicles were tractor-like, with plenty of torque available to navigate through sugar sand and mire. In Old Uncle Jenks' case, vehicle-driven woodcutting filled frequent gaps in employment between farm, highway, and railroad projects.

The family was not related to me. “Uncle” is a common term of respect for elders. The Evans clan were Welsh coal miners who fled the Scranton area with the coming of the Molly Maguires, a ruthless gang of coalfield activists. The ex-miners took up coaling in the Pines, filling positions previously held in part by runaway slaves. When ER Wood built the West Jersey line in 1879, the Welsh slowly abandoned their campsites at Thomas’ Cumbria Road livery stable and moved into town. The charcoal ground was based around a now-filled spung (the Mojito field - Google Richland Mojito). Uncle Jenk and his brother Thomas both passed away in 1965.

As far as can be determined, this is the sole Celtic Pinelands settlement. As Richland grew, more labor was needed. Welsh settlers then invited the Italians from Scranton who replaced them in the coalmines to come to South Jersey. The Italians were from the Trento mining region, émigrés of a potato blight and catastrophic floods that hit northern Italy during the mid nineteenth century. After all thought the Welsh, these courageous people from Trento were industrious workers who even got along with the Irish!

Figure 3. The Evans Place, now my property, taken from Main Avenue. The gable end of a blacksmith shop/saw shed can be seen in the far background.


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Jan 19, 2009
Thanks. These historical notes are fascinating. Reading your posts and those of Jerseyman and a few others, I feel like a kid at the circus: Look at that. And that. And that. Wow.

I have most of the usual South Jersey reference books (and I love Boyd's Odyssey) but there's nothing like an authentic voice.