Atlantic Heritage Spring 2015 - Atlantic County Historical Society


Atlantic Heritage Spring 2015 - Atlantic County Historical Society
Volume 13,Issue 1
Newsletter of the Atlantic County Historical Society
In 1937, Frank S. “Hap” Farley was elected to represent
Atlantic County in the New Jersey Assembly, and in 1940 he was
elected to the New Jersey Senate. In 1941, Enoch "Nucky" Johnson,
the “boss” of the Atlantic City and Atlantic County Republican political
machine, was convicted of income tax evasion and sent to prison.
Farley succeeded Johnson as the leader of the organization. Farley rose
through the leadership ranks of the State Senate to become Senate
majority leader in January of 1944. By early 1945, he was Senate
President and served the state of New Jersey for, what was then, a
record 34 years.
Among the projects that Farley is credited with accomplishing
are the Atlantic City Race Course, the Garden State Parkway, the
Atlantic City Expressway, the Atlantic City Marina (now Senator Frank
S. Farley State Marina), Stockton State College (now Stockton
University), and the construction of county community colleges. The
New York Times described Farley as "probably the most powerful
legislator in New Jersey history" further noting that he was "an artful
negotiator whose backroom wheeling and dealing were legendary", and
that he "was credited with pushing through more special legislation for
his district, Atlantic City and Atlantic County, than any other legislator”.
ACHS Trustee Frank J. Ferry was a law partner of Farley and
has been collecting the Senator’s memorabilia from family, friends and
associates since his death on September 24, 1977. Ferry has donated the
collection to the Atlantic County Historical Society and this collection is
being developed into a special exhibit. Among the items are two of
Farley’s desks - one from his tenure in the Senate, given to him by his
Senate colleagues, and one from his law firm, bearing the seal of the
State of New Jersey (see photos at left).
Ferry, who is writing a book about Farley’s life, has been culling
through the records of Farley’s legislative activities and will be donating
those as well, along with countless awards received by the Senator.
For information about the planned exhibit or to donate Farley
memorabilia, please contact Joan Frankel, Museum Curator,
ACHS:(609) 927-5218 or email: [email protected] Donations
would be most welcome!
The Atlantic County Historical
Society will be closed:
Friday & Saturday,
April 2nd & 3rd, and
Saturday, May 23rd
Atlantic Heritage 1
Events and Happenings
Program Logistics
8 Virginia Avenue
(near 400 block of Shore Rd)
Northfield, NJ
Each Saturday 11:00am – 4:00pm
Each Sunday 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Free Admission –Donations Appreciated
907 Shore Road,
Somers Point, NJ
Program Description
The Risley Homestead is one of two 18th century houses in Atlantic County individually
listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was home to many generations of
Risley oystermen. The ACHS received the Homestead and its furnishings by bequest
from Virginia Risley Stout in 1989. Open weekends from May through October. The
Homestead is open for individual and small group guided tours. Closed on major
Several local authors with books on a variety of subjects will speak about what inspired
them to become writers and will present a brief overview of their book(s). Following the
program, authors will have the opportunity to sign and sell their books.
Monday, March 23rd, 7:00pm
907 Shore Road,
Somers Point, NJ
Learn more about women WWII veterans in this conversation with historian Patty
Chappine, Adjunct Professor of History at Stockton and author of the upcoming book
Women of New Jersey in World War Two.
Wednesday, March 25th, 3:00pm
Delilah Rd., Egg Harbor Twp. Inside the Tent
The Atlantic County Historical Society will have a booth at the Earth Day EcoFair at the
Atlantic County Utilities Authority’s annual event, which draws thousands of adults and
children. Come out to see us and get acquainted with all that the ACHS has to offer.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
10:00am – 4:00pm
907 Shore Road,
Somers Point, NJ
Saturday, September 12th
In conjunction with Somers Point’s Good Old Days, Saturday, September 12, 2015, The
Clayton/Bennett Blue Grass music players will present Another Evening of Blue Grass.
It will take place upstairs at the Atlantic County Historical Society as a fitting conclusion
to your day of fun at Good Old Days. Be sure to get here early before their regular
followers arrive and fill up the seats. This event will take place rain or shine.
Saturday, September 26th
Phone: (609) 927-5218 ~ Email:
[email protected]
Ye Olde Flea Market @Greate Egg Harbor Township
Historical Society
Saturday, October 17
Atlantic County Historical Society
Annual Luncheon @ Harbor Pines Golf Club.
Thursday, October 22nd
Visit our Facebook page - Newsletter available online
ACHS Hours: Wed – Sat: 10:00am to 3:30pm
Parking & entrance in the rear of the building
Newsletter Editor, Layout & Graphics : Ellen Hyatt
Contributors to this Issue:
Boscov’s “Friends Helping Friends” Day.
Sid & Pat Parker, Freda Heintz, Diane Miller, Helen
Walsh, Frank Ferry, Skip Bellino, & Charlene Canale
In Memoriam
Allan P. Eaves,
Pleasantville, NJ
Need to Contact Us?
Richard F. Veit,
Galloway, NJ
The Atlantic County Historical Society received an
operating grant from the Atlantic County Office of
Cultural & Heritage Affairs.
Atlantic Heritage 2
We welcome young volunteers aged 16 or
or older to the Atlantic County Historical
Society. When they join us, we are somehow
refreshed. When they leave us as their lives
move forward, it is with the hope that we
have helped promote within them a love of
history which will stay with them for the rest
of their lives.
Matthew Canale, son of Heather and Timothy Canale
of Egg Harbor Township, joined us in September of 2013
shortly after turning 16 to fulfill a requirement for the
National Honor Society. His grandmother, Charlene Canale,
who is the Society’s treasurer and program chairperson, was a
big influence in his choice to volunteer with us. She had
brought Matthew to visit our library and museum when he
was young. One can’t miss how proud she is of her
grandson’s involvement here.
When asked what he has enjoyed most about his time
at ACHS, he replied, “I like going through the old pictures.
It’s not all the time you see old pictures of Atlantic City to see
how much it has changed.” It is also rumored that he
especially likes working with Sid Parker, our vice president.
By volunteering on select Saturdays, Matthew was
able to work around his studies at Egg Harbor Township
High School where he plays baseball and is active in the
school Media Club, Interact Club (for community service) and
the Senior Ambassador Program which helps orient freshmen.
As the baseball season gets underway, February 28th will be his
last day with us. This will soon be followed by high school
graduation and then he’s off to college. At the time of this
interview, Matthew, who is now 17 ½, plans to attend either
Rutgers University in New Brunswick or Montclair State
University with a business-related major.
“I’m going to miss working with everyone,” said
Matthew. “Being a lot younger, it was nice to hear everyone’s
We wish him the best!
This is one way to pay tribute to our many volunteers, for as a volunteer-run
organization, we could not exist without their dedication and enthusiasm. If
you think that you would like to join our volunteers, please contact us.
The Atlantic County Historical Society
is pleased to welcome our new members:
William Rozell, Somers Point, NJ
William M. & Rosemary Wallace, Ocean City, NJ
Carl Baker, Naperville, IL
Henry J. Hoffman, Silver City, NM
Our thanks to the following friends and members for
their generosity and continuing support:
FRIEND: $1 - $49
Earl F. “Skip” Sutton, Sr., Ed & Charlene Canale,
Marjory Standiford, John B. Roberts,
Gary Giberson, Joan Berkey & Scott Smith,
Tony Marino & Rosalia Valenti, James Foreman,
Howard Gant, Thomas Kinsella,
Lorraine Merryman, Marianne Caruso,
John & Evelyn Rush, Phyllis Morris
PATRON: $50 - $249
Edward T. Stephenson, Kenneth & Susan Goff,
Elaine M. Pinfold, Anthony B. Musarro,
Mary Ellen Turner, Ellen Hyatt, Donald Perry
Diane Cordon, In Memory Of: Genevieve Sooy Jensen
Sally Bridwell, In Memory Of: her grandparents,
Dr. & Mrs. John Milton Sooy,
SPONSOR: $250 - $1000
Farley Memorial Foundation
Ronald C. Headley,
In Memory of: Anthony Harris (“Harry”) Headley
And…A special thank you to Susan Karibjanian, a new
member from Greenville, DE, who purchased for the Society a
new toner cartridge for the microfilm printer. Now she can
continue to research her greatgrandfather, James Cimino,
former Atlantic County Sheriff, with the assurance that she
can print out articles from our newspapers on microfilm and
others can benefit from her generosity!
Atlantic County Historical Society Governing Board
President: Richard Squires
Vice-President: Sid Parker, Jr.
Recording Secy: Barbara Perry-Silva
Treasurer: Charlene Canale
Asst. Treasurer: Pat Parker
Financial Secretary: Ellen Hyatt
Assistant Librarian: Diane Miller
Curator: Joan Frankel
Asst. Curator: Kevin Little
Historian: Diane Bassetti
Chaplain: Rev. Norman Goos
Diane Bassetti, Skip Bellino, Ben
Brenner, Sheryl Collins, Frank Ferry,
Richlyn Goddard, Freda Heintz, James
Mason,V, Donald Perry, Ruth Taylor, &
Helen Walsh.
Atlantic Heritage 3
Library Accessions
Diane Miller, Assistant Librarian
Source / Description
Gift of Unknown Donor: Report - The Sindia.
Gift of Deborah Mayor: 39 Photos - Hurricane of 1944, Atlantic City.
Gift of Mary Beth Ortzman: Book - The West Jersey Pioneer of Bridgeton, NJ, Marriage and Death: Nov. 1852 - 1859.
Gift of Dorothy Lodovico: Paper - Orphans Court Division of Lands of Nicholas Sooy 1821.
Will - Nicholas Sooy, Burlington 1823. Inventory - Joseph Sooy 1813.
Gift of Alvin Brown: Photo - Robert Cordery holding Charles 1911.
Gift of Edward Stephenson: 2 V-Mail Letters addressed to Mary Stephenson.
Gift of Richard Squires: Photo - Central Methodist Church.
Newsletter - Atlantic County Recycles, ACUA 2014.
Atlantic City Expressway Celebrating 50 Years 1964 - 2014
Magazine - Egg Harbor Township, 2014 Community Guide
Calendar - Compliments of Firefighters Museum on Southern New Jersey 2014
Newspaper - Atlantic City Expressway Celebrating 50 Years 1964 - 2014
Gift of Diane Miller: Newspaper clipping - A Hunt for Old Jersey.
Photos - Re: Simon Lake home and exhibits in Milford, CT, 5 pages.
Gift of Frank Ferry: Map - Absecon Island 1926.
Purchase: Book - Nova Caesarea.
Gift of Linwood Historical Society: Photos - Ocean Highway 1922-23, four 8 x 10, in frame.
Poster - Aero View of Atlantic City, 1909. Map - Parkway Survey Map.
Map - Atlantic City, copyright 1900. Map - Atlantic City, 1877.
Map - Atlantic City, 1904 A H Mueller. Photo - Diving Horse. Photo - Panoramic View of Atlantic City Skyline.
Archival Storage Boxes.
Gift of Charlotte Kemp: Four boxes and three bags of books, ledgers and files from Atlantic City and other fire
departments and railroads.
Book: Along Absecon Creek
Gift of Mary Beth Ortzman: Book - Down Jersey: From Bayshore to Seashore.
Gift of Robert D. Warrington: Photo - Connie Mac, umpire of softball game in Atlantic City.
Gift of Edith Delcher: Four hats, ledger book from M. E. Blatts, various magazines.
Gift of Linwood Historical Society: Photo - Board of Chosen Freeholders Atlantic City 1948.
Photo - Atlantic City High School 55th Annual Commencement 1933.
Deed - John Cambern to Wesley Ingersoll 1880. Deed - William Smith to Greensbury Cannon 1838.
Deed - William B Smith to Henry Somers 1852. Book - Atlantic City Manual, Official Blue Book 1910.
Book - County of Atlantic 1982 Manual.
Directory - Atlantic County Services Directory 1982.
Brochure - Emory Ty Helfrich Day 1949. Illustration - W. Somers Roundabout, Patented Jan. 3, 1893.
7 Microfilm Reels - Wreck of Sindia -see notes. Archive Set - US Patent Office, William Somers, Roundabout 1893,
6 pages Newspaper clippings - Sentinel Ledger 1988.
Five paste board binders. Museum items: Prohibition Ticket for David Johnson and Official Ballot for County
Assembly 1893. Black box with sticker: Jacob Shilling.
Gift of Warren Gager: 3 Caulking tools used by William Cavileer of Port Republic.
2 Shucking implements used by William Cavileer of Port Republic.
Plate - St. Paul's Methodist Church.
Books: Sketches of Old Port Republic.; The Mullica.
Gift of Wayne Meeks: 15 Photos - Atlantic City Electric.
Gift of Susan Genova: Book - Ocean Lifeguard by Bob McNesby.
Gift of Ocean City Historical Museum: Oil painting - Lyman M. Law.
Wallet - Ezra Lake.
11 Diaries - John Lake.
Books: The True Americans Text Book; Guide to the Passaic Falls, Patterson, NJ.; Golden Hymns.; New
Testament.; Autograph Book 1884.
Box of Letters and clippings, ephemera.
Letters to Ezra Lake. Scrapbook - 12 x 14" blue.
Photo Album 11.5 x 15" black. Photo Album 11.5 x 15" white. Photos and Tin Types.
Wooden box.
Award Metals: Local Union No. 842; Local Union No. 213.; American Red Cross Service.
Atlantic Heritage 4
150th Anniversary of The Civil War
By Skip Bellino
On January 5, 1865, contrary to all actions so far by President Lincoln, he issues a pass of safe conduct through
the Union lines to James W. Singleton, an official, unofficial emissary of the Confederate government. The purpose of
this pass is to allow Singleton to conduct the start of peace negotiations between the two governments. President
Lincoln is convinced that peace cannot be negotiated under the conditions previously set forth by the Union. However,
the issuance of the pass does indicate Lincoln’s “nod” at the effort.
Later this month, Francis Blair, a prominent politician, meets with Jefferson Davis in Richmond for another
round of peace negotiations that are not sanctioned by President Lincoln. However, on this occasion, Blair suggests to
Davis that the North and South put aside their differences long enough to join together to force the French out of
Mexico. The impetus here is the desire to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. Not surprisingly, neither Lincoln nor Davis
approve of this action. Davis does however, promise to send a representative to Washington in February to attend the
now famous “Peace Conference” that would be held on the 3rd.
After protracted discussions, Jefferson Davis convinces Robert E. Lee to become the General in Chief of all the
Confederate forces. I think even at this time, Lee sees the futility of continuing the War and sees himself being set up to
be responsible should the end be in fact near.
General William T. Sherman continues his march up the eastern seaboard through the Carolinas with the
ultimate plan to meet up with the forces of General Ulysses S. Grant. While his present goal is to attack Goldsboro, he
feints toward Charleston to confuse the Confederate troops under the command of General Joseph Johnston.
On January 31, 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passes in the House of
Representatives by a vote of 119 to 56. The amendment must still be ratified by the states and requires a ¾ majority to
become the law of the land. Illinois leads the ratification process by becoming the first state to ratify the amendment on
February 1st
As promised, President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton meet with Confederate emissaries
Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America; Robert Hunter, President pro tem of the
Confederate Senate; and John Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, on board the River Queen anchored off Hampton
Roads. After many hours of discussion, the two sides still find themselves miles apart on what they would insist upon as
terms for ending the War.
In the meantime, the siege of Petersburg continues with the Army of the Potomac under the command of
General Grant stalled with no real progress taking place. Sherman on the other hand is going through the Carolinas like
a warm knife through butter. On February 15th, Sherman’s troops cross the Congaree River and turn both wings of his
army toward Columbia. On February 17th, Sherman’s army takes control of Columbia. By mid-afternoon the next day,
the city had been abandoned by Southern troops and reduced to a smoking ruin by the marauding Sherman army.
Sherman has been reported to have said, “This is where this war started, and this is where this war will end.”
Early March finds General Philip Sheridan continuing his campaign eastward with the ultimate goal of meeting
up with Grant at Petersburg.
On March 25th, General John B. Gordon CSA, attacks Fort Stedman and completely takes Grant’s army by
surprise. The Confederates easily overrun the Union troops and capture the Fort. It is not without cost however, with
the Union losses at 1200 killed, missing or wounded and the Confederate losses at over 4000 killed, missing or wounded.
The Federals however, reorganize and counter-attack and drive the Southern forces back to where they started. While
later, Grant denies that his army was surprised by the attack, it seem the evidence says different.
General Sheridan has now arrived in Virginia and has rendezvoused with General Grant and the move of both
armies to the Appomattox area has begun, setting things up for the final major battle of the American Civil War.
In the next installment, we will cover the official surrender by Lee to Grant, and Johnston to Sherman. Also we will
have the assassination of the President at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865.
Atlantic Heritage 5
March is National Women’s History Month, an opportunity to acknowledge and thank women who have
made personal and professional sacrifices to serve our country during time of war. For most Americans the history of
women in the military consists of stories about Molly Pitcher or female spies of the Civil War. But the stories and the
contributions of women are much more extensive than that. Thanks to the Library of Congress Veterans History
project many of the real life stories of women are now being collected and preserved. As more and more women
respond to the call of duty in our present day military, those stories will only grow.
While we honor and thank all those who have served, we would like to shine the spotlight on several of the
World War II women veterans whom we have interviewed.
Helen Neidinger of Ocean City, NJ was born in Elsworth, Pa in 1919 and, like many women of her day,
chose nursing as her career. She joined the Army as an Army Nurse in 1942 serving aboard the USHS Charles A.
Stafford. Her service included assignments in North Africa and the Pacific Islands including the Philippines. She met
and married a soldier convalescing on the hospital ship. Upon her discharge in 1945 she had attained the rank of First
Lieutenant. Her interview includes many photos and informational documents of her time of service.
Selma Boudov was a 1939 graduate of Pleasantville High School (Selma Cowan) who joined the Women’s
Army Corps without her parent’s approval in 1943. Commenting on her basic training Selma reflected “the discipline
was great for me for the whole of my life. I attribute my longevity to the fact that I had a good army training and
discipline.” Selma’s assignments covered many areas of administration and eventually returned her to her civilian
career of broadcasting and all aspects of public relations where she excelled. Because of medical issues within her
family she left the military in late 1945. She had attained the rank of Sergeant.
Betty Steelman joined the WAVES in May 1944 and served until July 1946. After Basic Training in New
York, Betty’s assignment was to the Personnel Department of the Navy located in Arlington Va. She replaced a
serviceman assigned to active duty. Across the river from Washington DC, Betty was in the thick of wartime activities
and close enough to visit the wounded servicemen at Bethesda Veterans Hospital and to be reminded of the cost of
war. She has memories of the death and funeral of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Ada Marie McClinton, a native of Atlantic City, enlisted in the WAC’s after two years in college at Hampton
Institute in Virginia. She served stateside at Laurenburg/Maxton AFB in North Carolina as Barracks Chief and
Secretary to the Master Sergeant. This base was the training site for soldiers preparing to be shipped overseas. She was
discharged with the rank of Corporal in late 1945. In her interview Ada reflected on how the military had widened her
horizons and given her self-discipline and a strong work ethic. She was involved in political and community activities
all her life.
Frances Wyand, a native of West Virginia joined the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943 one of the
“Blue Streak Platoon.” Her training was at Fort LeJeune, North Carolina where she was later assigned to “Free a
Marine to Fight”. Frances spent her service years at Fort LeJeune as a Field Cook. She met and married fellow Marine
William Wyand, an Atlantic City native, and upon the end of the war they returned to AC where they raised a family
of nine children and Frances continued her career in Home Economics. Very proud of her service, Frances remained
active in the Marine League until her death.
We honor and thank these outstanding women and all their colleagues and fellow servicewomen. If you
would like to learn more of the women who served in World War II join us on March 25 th for a conversation with
historian Pat Chappine, author of the forthcoming book Women of New Jersey in World War II. The program will be
held in the Atlantic County Historical Society library from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
L: Elizabeth M. Steelman, US
Navy (Waves).
R: Frances Wyand, US Marine
Atlantic Heritage 6
Library & Museum Spotlights
Carol Raph, Librarian, Asst. Librarian, Diane Miller,
Joan Frankel, Museum Curator
A Mysterious Donation
In the pursuit of tracking down a person’s ancestry, we often feel like detectives.
Often, one clue leads to another clue leads to another…….A recent donation in the form
of a tombstone set this whole process in motion. On this rather small stone is inscribed
the words “J. Somers, Died Nov 28 1896.” That’s it.
Deepening the mystery is the route it took before coming to us. We were contacted by Vince Jones, Director of the Atlantic County Department of Public Safety, Office of
Emergency Management. The department had a grave headstone in their possession.
Believing that it might be from one of the local Somers family, he asked if they could turn
it over to us. In an email, he said its circuitous route began when the Hamilton Township Police had turned it over
to the County Medical Examiner’s office where it remained for possibly 10 years or more. He added that the police
had found it along with other missing and/or stolen items that were in the possession of some juveniles. It was
thought that the juveniles might have acquired it along with other items during a scavenger hunt from the Somers
family plot on Route 559.
We accepted the donation and began the process of trying to give J. Somers an identity. Without knowing
the deceased’s first name or whether we were looking for a male or female, we hoped that the date of death might
link him or her to a family in our genealogy and cemetery files. Even with a team of our most able researchers
working on this, however, our records have not yet relinquished a clue.
Not willing to accept defeat, we turned to, where we found a record which opened the
door in its “New Jersey Death and Burials, 1720-1988” collection. It was for a Jacob Somers, male, who died 26
Nov 1896 in Egg Harbor Twp., Atlantic County, NJ, at age 85. He was born in the US in 1811, and was recorded
as white and single.
With this date of death only two days before the date on the tombstone, had we found our J. Somers?
U.S. Census records for 1850, 1860 and 1870 have recorded a Jacob Somers who lived in Atlantic County
with two different families (the Browns and the Jeffreys). In all three censuses, though his estimated birth year
ranges from 1820 to 1828, he worked as a laborer, did not appear to be married, could not read and write, and was
described as “deaf and dumb.” These latter characteristics would have limited Jacob’s ability to communicate,
leaving others to guess about the details of his life.
Professional researcher, Ann Boldt, found a death record at the Trenton, NJ, State Archives which closely
matches the information cited on Her findings are:
Found a death report for Jacob Somers, d. 26 November 1896; age unknown (about 80
yrs.)occupation, None; Single; birthplace and last place of residence, Egg Harbor Twp.;
place of death, Atlantic Co. Almshouse, Egg Harbor Twp.; father, unknown, b. unknown;
mother, unknown, b. unknown; cause of death, Suppression of [remaining 5 words not
legible], General Asthenia; burial, Alms House Cemetery, Egg Harbor Twp., Atlantic Co.,
Source: 1896-97 Atlantic County Death Certificate, Drawer 755, Place 1, Certificate S17,
Microfilm 160 (Trenton, NJ: State Archives)
[Asthenia is defined as a loss of energy and strength.]
Though our findings don’t place our J. Somers within a family, it looks like we found our man. If anyone
else has information which would add another piece to this puzzle, you are welcome to send it to
[email protected]
Howard Gant, a life member of ACHS, has a request:
“In the course of my genealogy research I have joined the "Guild of One-Name Studies" in England. One of my family names is Leeds
(Thomas and Daniel) and I have been in touch with Everett Leeds, of Surrey, England. who is handling the English Leeds research. They
are doing a Leeds family DNA research project and asked if I knew any male Leeds who would participate in this project. They are trying
to establish the relationship between the Leeds in England and the Leeds in America. I am asking for any male Leeds to contact Everett by
e-mail to find out about this project. [email protected] ”
Atlantic Heritage 7
Pleasantville, NJ 08232
907 Shore Road
Post Office Box 301
Somers Point, New Jersey 08244-0301
Our Mission:
To collect and preserve historical materials exemplifying the events, places, and lifestyles of the people of Atlantic County
and southern New Jersey.
To encourage the study of history and genealogy.
To provide historical and genealogical information to our membership and the general public.
Atlantic Heritage 8

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