I am happy to share a breakthrough in my family research of our time in Western New Jersey, 225 years for my branch from the 1677 landing of the Kent on Rancocas Creek until my grandfather left for Asbury Park.
In this rectangle (10 miles by 15 miles) taken from the 1900 US Geological Survey, Rancocas Quadrangle, New Jersey topographic map is shown, upper right hand corner, Apple Pie Hill the starting point of this history where the author John McFee climbed the fire watchtower there, a view encompassing endless acres of pines. I learned an ancestor, third great-grandfather James McCambridge and his wife Mary owned the Old Eagle Tavern less than two miles south of there. The site is marked in red.
The Eagle Tavern existed for 28 years under various owners and names when James and Mary took over in 1926 serving a clientele, workers and visitors, from the struggling Speedwell Ironworks. Samuel Richards was a brother of Jessie Richards who owned the Batsto Ironworks and who provided the land for St. Mary of the Assumption (see my post Pineland Connections V). St. Mary’s is marked in red, bottom center. Samuel purchased Speedwell December 23, 1833 from Ann Randolph, made improvements and started operations without success before closing for good.
On June 30, 1850, James McCambridge purchased Speedwell from the estate, eight years after Samuel’s passing, for $1,750. At this time he had accumulated over 2,000 acres. In this same year his son, James and wife Ann (Milley) (see my post Pineland connections VI) are listed on the US Census. The family lived either in the Eagle Hotel or close by raising nine (9) children: John (20), Mary Ann (16), James (15), Sarah Jane (14), my great grandmother Margaret (11), William (8), George (6), Edward (5) and Catherine (3). The younger James is employment was making charcoal for the ironworks, most likely for Atsion where Ann was employed. By the 1860 US Census Ann had passed away at the age of 50 and James (97) was living with the younger James and family.
Here is a land ownership map from 1876 on which I marked with red asterisks James McCambridge, Apple Pie Hill, and the Delletts, the family of the second greatgrandmother, Mary Dellett. Dellett landownership is also indicated on the rectangle topographic map.
Around the 1850 US census George and Mary Wills lost their two month old son, Charles (See my post Pineland Connections III) who is buried in a family cemetery, land owned by James McCambridge marked in red on the rectangle topographic map. Charles was my greatUncle.
Another breakthrough was identification of the Buttonwood Hill Tavern, Crowleytown as the hotel run by George Wills on the 1850 census. Marked in red on the rectangle topographic map. There was not yet a family union between McCambridge and Wills. That would come with great grandparents George Wills and Margaret McCambridge. The family connection at this time was their shared Roman Catholic faith and Saint Mary of the Assumption church.
I found this information in the book “Heart of the Pines, ghostly voices of the Pine Barrens” by John E. Pearce, Batsto Citizens Committee, 4110 Nesco Road, Hammonton, N.J. 08037-3814.
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