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Watermills of Camden County - By William Farr - Chapter M




MARPLE’S MILLS (Marple’s Sawmill, Marple’s Big Mill, Martin Gibbs & Co., Richard’s Sawmill, Hay’s Mill)
George Marple Sr. acquired vast tracts of land in Waterford Township, as did his son George. When the father died intestate in 1766 (941 H), his lands descended to George, who was his oldest son. Waterford township ratables show two Marple sawmills assessed from 1780 through 1791. One of these was the Big or Upper Mill, and the other was the Lower Mill or BURNT MILL below Atco.

George, the son, accumulated many creditors and a Sheriff’s sale was held, resulting in his land being conveyed Lower Mill to one of them, Joseph Ellis, 9 May 1787. Ellis therefore, was given preference in having his debt retired over the other creditors. The others were going to get nothing. On 8 February 1790, many of the creditors executed a document (Warrants & Surveys, No. 232) approving the acquiring of a deed from Ellis., It also authorizedand authorizing creditors Joseph Bolton, Edward Gibbs, Samuel W. Harrison and John Clifford to act as Trustees to divide the lands and sell the various tracts, with the proceeds being used to pay Ellis in full, and the balance to be distributed proportionately among the other creditors. For a consideration of £1,356, Ellis conveyed all the tracts to Joseph Bolton, and others, trustees, 27 December 1790 (Woodbury, D-211). Clement (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 2, p. 31) reports that George MarpleJr. conveyed to the trustees any interest he might have by an unrecorded deed dated 12 March 1790.

Some of the foregoing events are recited in a deed from the Trustees to Marmaduke Cooper, 18 June 1792 (Woodbury, B-377) for a 4,100-acre tract on the southwest side of Machescatauxin Branch, but they are also recited in other deeds by the trustees. See BURNT MILL.

On 10 January 1792 the Trustees agreed to sell the Upper (Big) Mill tract and sawmill to Martin Gibbs, Solomon Thomas and Benjamin Atkinson (Warrants & Surveys, Nos. 24l, 242). The tract, being 5,250 acres, extended from Jacques Bridge over the Atco Branch in the north to Bates Landing Road on the south, and from somewhat west of present Atco Lake east about three 3 miles. Atco Lake was the pond for the “big mill.” The mill stream was Machescatuxin (the basis of this name, the writer now concludes, is machk-achsin [red stone] or machk-achsin-hanne [stone stream], as noted in Johnson’s Geographia Americae, p. 339). The upper reaches were called by names pertaining to the mill, that is, Marples Mill Stream, and later Hays Mill Stream and Richards Mill Stream. (all of the above-mentioned streams are treated with in Waterways). The deed given was from Samuel W. Harrison and others, trustees, to Benjamin Atkinson, Martin Gibbs and Solomon Thomas, dated 18 June 1792, and recorded at Woodbury, O-292, it described describing the tract as “formerly George Marple’s old homestead place wherein the old or upper saw mill now stands.” The buyers’s consortium was sometimes referred to as “Martin Gibbs & Co.” The Big Mill was assessed to that consortium 1792-1793-1794; to Martin Gibbs Jr. 1795-1796, and again to Martin Gibbs & Co. for 1797 and apparently through 1802 (Waterford township ratables). Martin Gibbs and Company was the terminus of the 1812 road return laying out Cooper Road (Haddonfield-Bortons Mill Road to Marples Big Mill) (Glo RR B 102).

Benjamin Atkinson died in 1810 (12437 C) and his executors sold his undivided one-third interest in the Big Mill Tract to Caleb Scattergood and John Aaronson by a deed 26 March 1811 (Woodbury, T-435). Scattergood and Aaronson sold it to Benjamin B. Cooper 25 March 1812 (Woodbury, T-439). Solomon Thomas’ one-third interest was sold to Wallace Lippincott, October, 1810 (Woodbury, O-297). The one-third interest in the Big Mill Tract owned by Martin Gibbs (the elder) was conveyed by him to his son, Martin Jr. 25 April 1812 (Woodbury, L-347).

In October 1812 the Big Mill Tract was divided by commissioners among the then three owners, Wallace Lippincott receiving 1,458 acres at the north end; Martin Gibbs Jr., 2,189 acres at the south, below Machescatuxin Branch; and Benjamin B. Cooper, 1,473 acres to the east, above that branch. In addition, Cooper received 208 acres above the mill, between the road to Longacoming and the head of the stream (see JACKSON SAWMILL). The sawmill, lumber yard, pond and water works, comprising the focal point of the big tract, were not divided—the three owners agreeing to hold them and 73 acres (sometimes 69 acres), on which they were located, in common ownership. The division was accomplished in the usual manner, i.e. by the each new sole owner being “released” (quitclaimed) by the other two. The record of those deeds, all dated 26 October 1812, is given below. They apparently shared the profits of the mill equally, but it is not clear who actually operated it. Eventually their undivided interests went separate ways, as did the individually owned tracts of timber land.

The quitclaim deed by Lippincott and Gibbs to Benjamin B. Cooper (1,551 acres, plus 208 acres, plus 49 acres) was recorded at Woodbury, Q-425. On 21 April 1818 Cooper mortgaged a number of tracts to the State Bank at Camden (Woodbury Mortgages, H-396). On 11 January 1823 (for what reason is not apparent), Cooper transferred to the bank title to several tracts including his 1,551 acres, a 49-acre tract on Atco Branch on both sides of Jake’s (Jacque’s) Bridge (which included a millseat, apparently on the Burlington County side), and the 208 acres above the pond (Atco Lake) at Marple’s Big Mill (Woodbury, KK-11). The State Bank eventually sold the big tract (1,551 acres) and the 49 acres to Thomas and Augustus Richards 22 April 1833 (Woodbury, G3-299). The bank’s disposition of the 208 acres is set forth in JACKSON SAWMILL.

On 6 June 1815, Anthony S. Earl and Mark and Thomas Richards had entered into a partnership agreement to operate Taunton Forge [in Burlington county, recorded (recorded as a deed at Woodbury, AA-708, which recited that Mark had bought from Benjamin B. Cooper the right, for six years, to all wood on Cooper’s land set off to him in the division. It also stated that Mark Richards had brought, and that he had also bought from Wallace Lippincott the 1,447 acres set off to him, as well as Lippincott’s one-third of the sawmill and its 77 acres. Earl released his interest in this partnership to Mark and Thomas Richards 6 June 1815 (Woodbury, AA-708), and Mark transferred his interest to Thomas on 22 August 1815 (Woodbury, AA-704). On 1 December 1815 (Wodbury, X-40), Cooper sold his one-third interest in the mill (mistakenly stated as 100% of the mill) to Thomas Richards, Mark Richards and Anthony S. Earl even though Earl had already signed off, taking back a mortgage from those three for $1,000. (Woodbury Mortgages, H-10). In an 1823 deed from the State Bank to Oswald Hays (Woodbury, MM-309) reference is made to “Thomas Richards and Company’s Mill Seat.”

The 1812 quitclaim deed from Lippincott and Cooper to Martin Gibbs Jr., for their undivided one-third interests in his 2,189 acres and a one-third share of the mill, was recorded at Woodbury, R-153. Gibbs mortgaged both to Samuel Shreeve 15 July 1819 (Woodbury Mortgages, I-53). Gibbs was sued for money by Shreeve and Cooper, and at a Sheriff’s sale (subject to the mortgage) the 2,189 acres and the one-third mill interest were sold for $300 to William Sharp of Evesham, by deed 12 May 1824 (Woodbury, MM-302)

Sharp died suddenly, intestate, and since the legal title to what was equitably Cooper’s passed to Sharp’s minor children, Cooper applied to the New Jersey Legislature for relief. The lawmakers passed an act on l4 November 1825 authorizing Sharp’s widow, Elizabeth, and Sharp’s administrators to execute a deed for the legal title, which they did on 13 February 1826, conveying to Cooper whatever title Sharp had (Woodbury, RR-197). It appears from that deed that Sharp’s purchase was on behalf of Cooper, who paid the $300, and they entered into an agreement whereby Sharp would hold the interests for Cooper and sell what he could for Cooper’s account. He did sell the one-third interest in the mill (subject, presumably, to the mortgage) to Thomas Richards by deed 5 June 1824 (Woodbury, MM-301). The whole operation was then a Richards family operation. “Richards Mill” is listed under Saw Mills in Kirkbride’s 1850 New Jersey Business Directory.

Cooper then sold the 2,189 acres to Joseph S. Coates 14 May 1828 (Woodbury, WW-94), and he to James Cain, 1 July 1829 (Woodbury, XX-502). See Clement’s notes in Maps and Drafts, Vol. 2, p. 31. A description or recording of these transactions appear in Clement’s notes in Maps and Drafts, Vo. 2, p. 31.

Between 1820 to 1845 Oswald Hays bought numerous tracts in the neighborhood, as well as on Albertsons and Blue Anchor branches. He also apparently acquired an interest in the Big Mill and it took his name.
One of his purchases was the one-acre lumber yard which Benjamin B. Cooper had established on the north side of the pond (Cooper to Hays, 17 April 1826 [Woodbury, QQ-464]). Hays bought and sold real estate intermittently, occasionally in partnership with John Rogers. Eventually Hays could not pay his debts and lost all his remaining real estate by a series of Sheriff’s sales in 1840. These transactions may be examined by reference to the Gloucester County Clerk’s deed records.

Hays’s surname was sometimes spelled Haze. His given name was variously spelled Oswell, Oswel, Auswell, Oszel and Oszell. This may be explained by the fact that neither he nor his wife, Rebecca, could write their names, and they both signed with their marks Xs.

Hays Mill was of sufficient notoriety that the name became attached to the millstream (see Waterways, p. 72). Factory Road, laid out in 1851 from New Freedom through Tansboro to White Horse Pike, is shown on some current maps as Hays Mill Road, although in that year the mill was known as Richards Sawmill (Cam RR 44). The old road from Chesilhurst to Atco Lake is also known as Hays Mill Road.

The mill was the best known landmark for miles around, and was mentioned in, and perhaps was a justification for, several road returns: Cooper Road (Glo RR B-102, [1812]), Batsto (Burnt Mill) Road (Glo RR B-135, [1813]), Longacoming-Waterford Road (Glo RR C-130, [1828]). That part of Cooper Road from Taunton-New Freedom Road to the mill was obliterated and apparently used as right of way when the Camden & Atlantic Railroad opened in 1854.



MARSHALL’S MILLS (at New Brooklyn) (Marshall’s Sawmill, Marshall’s Gristmill at New Brooklyn)
Brooklyn, on the Great Egg Harbor River, in Gloucester County, was settled by John Marshall (1768-1852) about 1803. Prior to that time, as well as subsequently, it was known as Seven Causeways (Glo RR B 2, 1802; Foster’s 1831 Map of Deptford Township (GCHS, GCM 3); and Monroe Township Centennial Official Program, p.18, with a charming story of the place), presumably from numerous causeways required to cross several waterways and swampy areas. It is located where the roads from Chews Landing, Woodbury, New Freedom, Cedarbrook, Blue Anchor, Malaga and Sicklerville meet, and about half a mile above where Four Mile Branch empties into Great Egg Harbor River. All of the roads join to cross the Great Egg Harbor River, on Seven Causeways Road, which presumably replaced the old gristmill dam and which now creates New Brooklyn Lake. The Williamstown Quad gives a good representation of the area and its many converging roads.

Marshall (the same who had the sawmill in Pine Hill [MARSHALLS SAWMILL]) dammed Four Mile Branch and built a sawmill on the east side of that branch, However the lead story in Bulletin, Gloucester County Historical Society, Vol. 12, No. 4 (June, 1970) says the sawmill was “astraddle” the Four Mile Branch with a flutter wheel and upright saw. “The old dam embankment may still be seen on the west side of the New Brooklyn-Malaga Road just south of the Atlantic City Expressway [which now slices through the area].”
Marshall later built a gristmill, powered by damming Great Egg Harbor River, but it ultimately did not prosper since there was insufficient grain grown in the vicinity. It was located below the dam, on a race which emptied into Four Mile Branch. The millpond is now known as New Brooklyn Lake, within Camden County’s New Brooklyn Park.

The two mills resulted in the locality extending in both Winslow and Monroe townships, being frequently referred to as Marshall’s Mills (History of Monroe Township 1859-1976, undated map at pp. 102-103; Glo RR B-54, 1809). “...[A]t one time it promised to be of some importance...the town lying as it does, two miles from the railroad, will probably never be any larger than at present.” (Cushing & Sheppard, p. 274). Few of its identifying features remain, and motor vehicle traffic on all the roads is substantial (2002). More details of the place and about John Marshall will be found in the above-mentioned GCHS Bulletin.

The mill locations are shown on Harry Marvin’s 1928 Map of Winslow Township (GCHS, J-18). Both mills burned down in 1855. The sawmill was rebuilt, but burned down again in 1879.
A good account of the place, now called New Brooklyn, will be found in a softcover history entitled New Brooklyn United Methodist Church 1860-1990.

Washington Township became part of Camden County when that county was set off from Gloucester County in 1844. Monroe Township was formed from Washington Township in 1859, and was transferred from Camden County back to Gloucester County in 1871. So that the entire area in question was located in Camden County from 1844 to 1871 (Civil Boundaries, pp. 140, 141).




MARSHALL’S SAWMILL (at Pine Hill) (Hinchman’s, Appleby’s, Bishop’s, Earl’s; Ireland’s Mill, Mount Pine Sawmill, Marshall’s Gristmill)
On the basis of the 1841 Gloucester Township Tax Book (CCHS, Mss. 505), which assessed John Marshall for a one-saw sawmill and a one-run grist mill, Old Mills (p. 50) states that he had a gristmill and a sawmill at the head of the third pond “below” Clementon (i.e. upstream). That location is at Irelands Lake on the Camden County Boy Scout Reservation. But the 1841 gristmill assessment was probably for Marshall’s establishment at MARSHALLS MILLS, located at Brooklyn. There was a sawmill at the Irelands Lake location as early as the middle of the eighteenth century but the writer’s research never turned up a mention of a gristmill at the Boy Scout location. The neighborhood gristmill was just downstream at Clementon Lake (see CLEMENTON MILL’S).

It appears that John Hinchman, III of Haddonfield had 484 acres surveyed to him below the Clementon-Longacoming Road on 28 September 1759 (OSG, H-299), and he apparently owned additional lands in the neighborhood (the 1781 act mentioned below refers to four tracts). He erected a sawmill on the survey, and on 3 January 1763 entered into a written agreement to sell it to Randall Marshall of Deptford Township. In the sale agreement, Hinchman reserved the right to use the mill for 20 years, “carefully,” for 17 days a year. Marshall was assessed by Gloucester Township for a sawmill in 1773 and a gristmill in 1774. That may have been an assessor’s error.

It further appears that, although Marshall paid the price, he never got a deed from Hinchman. In the meantime Marshall’s son Thomas took possession. When Randall Marshall died in 1780, his will (not mentioning a gristmill) gave “the saw mill and the land thereunto belonging, where he now dwells” to Thomas (1304 H). Hinchman was a Loyalist at the time of the Revolution, and all his property was forfeited to the State of New Jersey.

Thomas petitioned induced the Legislature to pass an act on 21 September 1781 (Acts of the General Assembly, Ch. XLVI, p. 121 [P.L.1781, p. 641]) authorizing a conveyance of the title to him. Accordingly, a deed dated 10 January 1785 (Woodbury, A-218) was made to Thomas by the Gloucester County Commissioners of Forfeited Estates, from which document and said act much of the above information is taken. It took some ingenuity and persistence to find a record of this deed since it was not indexed under Hinchman’s name.

Thomas Marshall lived at the mill and presumably operated it until he died in 1790. He was assessed for a sawmill from 1779 through 1790. His will (1723 H) gave to son John “my house, saw mill and land thereto belonging.” John was assessed for the sawmill from 1792 through 1797 and again in 1800. John Marshall (1768-1852) was a successful and respected man who, from time to time, engaged in surveying, and building and operating mills and glassworks at Clementon. He is mostly associated with MARSHALLS MILLS at New Brooklyn (Seven Causeways), to where he removed about 1803 (Winslow Township Centennial Official Program, p. 18), but he continued to own the mill and extensive land at Clementon.

He may have leased the Clementon sawmill to one Appleby. Clement provides two maps: one (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 2, p. 54), a “Draught of John Marshall’s ‘Appleby’s Tract,” copied from a map made by Marshall in 1828 on an 1815 running of the courses and distances by Marshall, showing “Appleby’s Saw mill;” the other (Vol. 4, p. 468) of the same tract, dated 1861, shows “Mill (called Appleby’s)” “now Walter Earl.” The writer has not been able to identify Appleby. He has come across several references to “Appleby’s Mill Road” as an alternate name for Marshalls Sawmill Road: Jacob S. Day to David S. Siner Jr., 28 April 1883 (Camden, 105-42); and John N. Shinn (by Sheriff) to The Cooper Hospital, 5 June 1896 (Camden, 216-496). That old road still exists on the Boy Scout Reservation, running down to the old millpond. The 1850 Nunan Map of the Township of Gloucester (CCHS, M.83.90.449) shows “Marshall’s Saw Mill.” John Marshall was assessed in 1841 for a sawmill, as mentioned above. It; it was also listed in Kirkbride’s 1850 New Jersey Business Directory. But no mill is shown on the 1851 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia, (CCHS, M.2001.74).

John Marshall died intestate 1 September 1852. His heirs filed a bill in Chancery Court (in a state court rather than a county court because he owned lands in several counties) for a partition of his vast real estate holdings. The sawmill tract at Clementon, referred to as the “Mount Pine Saw Mill Tract,” was assigned to daughter Ann Strang. She sold it (448 acres) to William F. Norcross and Walter Earl, 26 February 1856 (Camden, 21-117); they sold it to Patrick H. Kelly, 20 December 1864 (Camden, 44-385); his executors sold it to Seth C. Bishop, 1 March 1873 (Camden, 73-366). Prowell (p. 679) refers to the “lumber mill of Seth C. Bishop.” A deed from Bishop to William and George Passant, 2 February 1887 (Camden, 138-149) for 7.46 acres, near the mill tract, refers to the road from Clementon to “Bishop’s Saw Mill.” Before his death intestate in 1890, Bishop sold off most of the mill tract. He retained 77 acres, including the pond, millpond and presumably the mill. Sarah, and Anna Hunt, his “widow and heirs,” sold that piece to Anna L. Sumner, of New York City, 27 February 1893 (Camden, 184-141), who, on 15 April 1896 (Camden, 262-373) sold the mill site and other tracts to Virginia E. Ireland. “Ireland’s Mills” is shown on Albertson’s 1919 Road Map of Camden County (CCHS, Boyer Collection, Map 306).




Martin Gibbs & Co. was assessed for a sawmill (but no land) in Gloucester Township for the year 1793 but not for any other year for which township ratables are available (Gloucester Township ratables). No other information about such an operation has been located. For this company’s involvement in a Waterford Township sawmill see MARPLE’S MILL.

In 1688 Anthony Sharp took up and had surveyed a 414-acre tract which encompassed the junction of Gravelly Run with the North Branch of Timber Creek, which is the westernmost point of Lindenwold, and extended upstream about a mile as the crow flies (OSG, Sharp’s B-13). The immediate area up in the forks eventually became known as Hunts Neck.

On 16 March 1775, Joseph Sharp, by a deed not found of record, conveyed all or almost all of the 414 Acres to Solomon Mason I, whose 1777 will (1231 H) devised small portions of it to several of his children, and to son Solomon II the balance of the home plantation he “bought of Sharp.” The son apparently erected a sawmill in the neck and was assessed for it by Gloucester Township for 1794 through 1797.

Solomon II, after acquiring several pieces from a brother and a sister, conveyed about 97 acres all the way up in the neck to Isaiah Hunt on 2 January 1798 (Woodbury, D-308). The legal description started at a black oak by a sawmill on Gravelly Run, and proceeded up the west side of the millpond, bordering on the lands of William Matlack. Isaiah [“Esaiah”] Hunt’s will (proved 1813 [2928 H]) gave to his son Samuel that part of the neck up at the confluence. Since the neck is in Lindenwold, the sawmill was within what became that Borough.

We have help in fixing with some exactness the location of the mill (or more accurately, the landmark black oak), not from the above-mentioned documents, but from conveyances for the land adjoining on the west, some of which was also part of the 414 acres. By a deed of 27 July 1734 (Colonial Deeds, EF-192), Abraham Porter’s executors sold to Daniel Hingston a tract of 190 acres extending from the North Branch westward, with a beginning point being a “black oak...on the west side of Gravelly Run about five chains and forty links from the mouth thereof.” In 1787 that tract was sold by the descendants of Hingston to Charles Pettit and by him to Isaiah Hunt, 5 June 1792 (Woodbury, D-303), and it became the Hunt family’s plantation.

Part of what Solomon Mason I bought of Joseph Sharp was a tract of 183 acres adjoining the 190 acres on the south, and extending from the 97 acres westward to Kelly-Driver Road. It passed by Mason Sr.’s will to son Solomon, who sold it to Nathan Clifton, 3l March 1777. That and subsequent deeds down to the one from Ralph Hunt to Joseph B. Hunt, 24 November 1854 (Camden, X-160) used the same beginning point of the black oak by the sawmill, not necessarily meaning however that the sawmill was still there, since conveyancers were reluctant to change the property description.

In 1846, John Clement prepared a plan for a proposed new road from Levi Ellis’s corner past the White Horse Tavern to Blackwood (HSP, Foster-Clement Collection, Box 5), on which he shows an existing “Hunts Mill Pond.” The writer locates the pond on Gravelly Run extending upstream from about the location of the sawmill. But since the 1841 Gloucester Township Tax Book (CCHS, Mss. 505) shows no assessment for a sawmill there, it was probably gone, with the millpond remaining.

The writer, with some friends, went looking for the black oak and the sawmill site in August of 1993. No evidence of the mill as such was found but at the approximate location of the black oak were the remains of a big stump.







MATLACK’S SAWMILL (at Lindenwold) see HILLIARD’S SAWMILL (at Lindenwold)

Old Mills’s account of this Camden County sawmill (p. 22), located a short distance downstream from where Kings Highway crosses the South Branch of Pennsauken Creek, is supplemented in Weiss’s Early Sawmills (p. 27). These accounts are based on “A Retrospect,” by the late Chalkley Matlack (who lived on the Matlack farm), the manuscript of which can now be found at Burlington County Historical Society. It supplies the following additional information.

This Matlack farm was in Burlington County but extended a little over the creek into Camden County, where the sawmill was located. It was not unusual for landholdings to straddle creeks, even county boundaries. Chalkley wrote that the date 1818 having been found on several pieces of machinery iron, “it [the mill] may possibly have been built by Asa Matlack Sr. somewhere about that year...The big upright saw was worked by a water-wheel laid across the entire width of the creek...and was turned by the water striking it at the back....” He several times referred to floodgates, and keeping “the creek...to its full head,” from which it may be inferred that the creek was dammed above the mill.
“Asa Matlack Jr. followed his father in charge of the sawmill and he in turn gave way to his son, Walter, who in 1875 enlarged the south end of the mill to take care of increased demands of a cabinetmaking business.” (Early Sawmills of New Jersey, p. 28, which also mentions an article by N. R. Ewan about this mill, published in the Moorestown Chronicle, 15 August 1940).

The Old Salem Road passed through the farm and across the creek. It served as the lane in to the farm from Fellowship Road and as the back lane down to the sawmill, a quarter-mile south of the homestead, across the creek.

Chalkley included a sketch made by him of the property, showing not only the property lines but also the creek, the location of the mill, and where the Old Salem Road crossed. The recent building of the road complex to handle the traffic of the intersection of Route 38, Kings Highway and Route 73 in effect demolished the farm. As of October 1994, when the writer visited the site with the late Lindley Gardner [who had farmed an adjacent tract and whose wife was a Matlack], the 1751 Matlack farm house was still occupied, the landmark buttonwood tree shown on the sketch was a few feet off the entrance onto Route 38, and the millsite could be located opposite the end of the 600 building of the Ryans Run Apartment complex. The mill site is on a small “S” curve in the creek, and the road crossing would have been just downstream.

The sawmill is sketched in on an 1839 survey of William Thorne’s meadow on both sides of the creek, locating it just upstream from Old Salem Road (GCHS, Map C-11).


In 1786 (and for no other year available) Middleton & Scull were assessed for a sawmill, but no land, by Waterford Township. Without their given names, it has been impossible to identify either them or their mill.








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