……continued from “Pinelands Connections I.
Genealogy is a numbers game, in part. Looking back from myself the number of progenitors increase by the formula x = 2^y (2 raised to the y power) where y is the number of generations back. Generation one (my parents) is 2^1 = 2. We have 2^4 = 16 double great grandparents, 8 pairs. Four pairs on my father’s side, four pairs on my mother’s. Saint Mary of the Assumption Cemetery contains one pair of my father’s side, James McCambridge and Ann Milley. The cemetery in Tabernacle contains the other, George Wills and Mary Dellett.
A dry ledger entry reveals a side of Great, great grandmother Ann McCambridge (Milley). The wife of James McCambridge had, under her own name, a savings account with the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society. Ann was a forward thinker to invest in this, the first savings institution of the United States, in the twentieth year of its existence. Work outside the home, as a cook, was her source of funding. We can also infer from the ledger information Ann’s employer was Atison furnace.
Times were prosperous in Atsion. Thomas Gordon, in his Gazetteer of the State of New Jersey, tells of the size and scope of the works at Atsion in 1834:
Atsion, post-town and furnace, on the Atsion River, partly in Galloway Township, Gloucester County, probably in Washington Township, Burlington County, 9 miles above the head of navigation, 12 miles from Medford, 17 from Mount Holly, on the road leading to Tuckerton, and 57 from Trenton. Besides the furnace, there are here, a forge, gristmill, and three sawmills. The furnace makes from 800 to 900 tons of casting, and the forge from 150 to 200 tons of bar iron annually. This estate, belonging to Samuel Richards, Esq., embraces what was formerly called Hampton furnace and forge, and West’s Mills, and contains about 60,000 acres of land. There are about 100 men employed here, and between 6 and 700 persons depending for sustenance upon the works.
Nineteen years later, Ann passed away two days after Christmas at the young age of 51, her savings may have provided for the elaborate headstone inscription. She left her husband of twenty six years and nine children, the family is listed below with ages from the 1850 U.S. census. Her fifth child, Margaret, my great-grandmother, was sixteen at Ann’s death. The youngest, Catherine, was eight.
James McCambridge Age 44
Ann McCambridge Age 44
John McCambridge Age 20
Mary Ann McCambridge Age 16
James McCambridge Age 15
Sarah Jane McCambridge Age 14
Margaret McCambridge Age 11
William McCambridge Age 8
George McCambridge Age 6
Edward McCambridge Age 5
Catherine McCambridge Age 3
James McCambridge and Ann Milley were born the same year, 1805, in or near the Pinelands. The married at the age of twenty two, February 25, 1829. A son, John, was born 18 months later, August 7, 1830. In 1850 James supported his wife and nine children as a “collier”, producing charcoal for the furnaces. He lived on for 31 years with their children.
From Bog Iron “ironmasters of the Pine Barrens made cannonballs by the thousand and sent them by wagon over the sand roads and on to the Continental Army at Valley Forge and elsewhere. They brought in seashells for flux, and used charcoal from the pinewoods to fire their forges and furnaces. They made cannon as well as shot, and they ordnance the War of 1812 as well as the American Revolution. The twenty-four-pounders (cannons) with which Stephen Decatur armed his flagship when he took his Marines to Algiers, Tunisia, and Tripoli were cast at Hanover Furnace (later named Atsion),in the Pine Barrens, in 1814, and Decatur himself were there to supervise the casting and test the product……Ironworkers in the pines made the steam cylinder for one of John Fitch’s experimental steamboats, and they made the wrought-iron fence that once surrounded Independence Hall….Iron stoves that bear the town name Atsion over their fuelling doors were made in a community that had a population of seven hundred in the early nineteenth century and has a population of fifteen today.” from “The Pine Barrens” by John McPhee, November 25, 1967.
Atsion Furnace https://www.njpinebarrens.com/atsion-part-2-prosperity-and-decline/
Philadelphia Saving Fund Society Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia | PSFS (philadelphiaencyclopedia.org)
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
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