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Watermills of Camden County - By William Farr - Chapter S








In 1791 Henry Shinn was assessed by Waterford Township for a sawmill and 100 acres of unimproved land, but he is not mentioned in any other Waterford Township ratables. He probably operated the sawmill. No deed to or inheritance of land by Shinn in Waterford Township has been found.

He may be the same Henry Shinn who, with Ann his wife, on 15 June 1793, mortgaged a 197-acre tract in Gloucester Township to Charles Pettit (Woodbury Mortgages, D-167). The mortgage recites a deed to Shinn by Isaiah and Elizabeth Hunt on the same date, but it has not been found of record. Hunt had bought from Pettit a 300-acre tract on the east side of the North Branch of Timber Creek, and 190 acres and 10 acres of meadow on the west side, 5 June 1792 (Woodbury, D-303), and it was the smaller tract which he sold to Shinn a year later.

Shinn had been assessed by Gloucester Township for 110 acres in 1792, and was assessed for the mortgaged tract in 1793 and 1795. No deed from Shinn, nor a will or intestacy record for him, has been located. The 197-acre tract begins at a large black oak by Gravelly Run, which was near a sawmill on an adjacent tract (see MASON’S SAWMILL). No connection between Shinn and a sawmill on or near the North Branch or Gravelly Run has been found.



The Sicklers of Chews Landing, although involved in business enterprises, were not known for being concerned with milling operations. Christopher owned a 50-acre farm near Chews Landing, on the south side of the North Branch of Timber Creek, extending upstream from White Horse [Somerdale] Road. He bought from Edmund Brewer, who owned the Marquedant Farm just upstream, a 5-acre strip along the creek “together with...privilege to overflow and drown such other...pieces of the meadow...contiguous...as shall hereafter appear necessary...by the raising of a sufficient head of water to put into full...operation such machinery and water power as may be expedient by said Christopher Sickler....” (13 May 1825, Woodbury, OO-538). This must have been the first concrete move on Christopher’s idea of having some kind of a mill.

Christopher, having bought of Abel Nicholson, 11 February 1823, a 10-acre tract along the north side of the creek, from Floodgates upstream (Woodbury LL-36), sold to his cousins, Jacob and Josiah Sickler, on 1 May 1833, a one-acre portion at the upper end, as well as the five-acre tract with drowning rights (Woodbury, H3-150). Inserted in the deed are the words “and in case there should be a mill or other machinery, they are to have a road from the end of the dam to the public road.” The one-acre tract was later referred to as the “mill lot” or “mill property.”

On 25 May 1838 Christopher deeded to Jacob a 2-acre tract on the south side of the creek, which was bounded also by a “mill road” and a dam extending north from it for four chains to a bridge over the creek (Woodbury T3-328). This tract was apparently opposite the one-acre tract. The deed also conveyed to Jacob the remainder of the 10-acre tract mentioned above. On 2 October 1843, Jacob, (who had removed to Tippecanoe, Indiana) sold to Josiah his interest in all the above-mentioned tracts (Woodbury, C4-212), so Josiah then owned it all.

Samuel P. Chew, squire of Chews Landing (d. 1875), acquired much property there and elsewhere. He made a map of the Christopher Sickler farm as of 1858, showing the road on “the old mill dam” up to the creek (CCHS.M.76.36.15). It shows the “public road,” mentioned in the 1833 deed, running diagonally across the farm and called the “Road to Brooklyn.” This road, connecting Floodgates with Little Gloucester Road, was authorized in 1814 (Glo RR B-157). When the Irish Road, which connected at Floodgates, went into disuse, the 1814 road was vacated from there to the Chews-Clementon Road in 1859 (Ca-121). About the only remaining strong evidence of it is a row of trees to be sighted from the intersection at the latter road.

On 1 April 1869 (Camden 60-138), Josiah sold to Charles Bee a 92-acre farm on the north side of the creek, plus the five-acres [opposite, on the south side] and drowning rights “to put into full operation such machinery and water power as may be expedient.”

Josiah’s 1869 will (proved at Camden 13 November 1876 [1511D]) gave all these tracts and drowning rights to his daughter, Ruth McDavid, for life, then to her children. He used this language: “...the intent is to devise all the land, water power, privileges &c owned by me along the creek on both sides thereof, above Floodgates Bridge and below the farm and water privileges lately sold to my son-in-law Charles Bee.” On 24 January 1896, Josiah’s heirs sold to George W. Stetser the tracts on the north side of the creek, and most of the water rights. (Camden, 212-508).

It seems clear that these grants were all in anticipation of their possible use for a mill, even though no mill had been built up to 1869, nor has any evidence been found of such a mill built thereafter.

However, there are curious entries in two account books: Josiah B. Sickler’s Day Book (GCHS) and Christopher Sickler’s Ledger No. 5 (Hagley Museum and Library). In the Day Book there are several entries for days’ work on a page headed “Saw Mill Dr. 1826.” Another sheet headed “Saw Mill” mentions Sharps Branch (where a 105-acre swamp was held by the Sickler family [see Jacob Sickler’s 1831 resurvey, OSG GG-42 and CCHS, M.83.90.54]). In Ledger No. 5 there is an entry of January 1836 for rent due to Josiah B. Sickler “for mill house.” Another in 1837 for “hauling load from Browns [Sawmill] Mill,” and similar entries in 1839. Also, on a sheet headed Josiah B. Sickler: “hauling from the mill” (1841), and several entries in 1841, 1842 and 1843 “going to mill.”

Considering that Christopher was a barge owner and operator, his involvement with a mill might well have been limited to hauling lumber and cordwood to his wharf for shipment to Philadelphia.

At the Camden County Historical Society there are copies of 1817 and 1821 surveys of the Ralph Hunt 215-acre farm on the north side of the creek, but extending on the south side for a few acres. Both show a dam connecting the two pieces, whose purpose may have been limited to a crossing. There is also a copy (in the Morgan Collection) of an undated “Map of Mill Seat from Hunt’s Dam Down to Floodgates,” showing the Sickler Mill Dam mentioned above. (Morgan Collection, CCHS) An aerial view of the area, obtained by the writer about 35 years ago, shows a berm protruding north from the south shore about 800 feet into the marsh, with the channel hugging the north shore, which appears to be what remains of the Sickler dam.

With some trepidation concerned with accuracy, we turn to some imaginative local history and some memories by Ivy Chew about some old houses “along the road the Hessian soldiers marched,” (Jane C. Bee in 1931 [CCHS typescript]). She wrote about the locale known as Buttonball [just below Floodgates]: “Here it was that the two old roads (1739 & 1712) converged, the two little bridges which are now there, were then a long way in the future. The Hessians marched upstream to a ford, passing ‘Porters old Mill’ which was erected in 1701, and seems to have terminated its cycle of usefulness with the closing of Job Kinseys [see PORTER’S MILL] turning mill, about 1795. (note Joseph Bee of Chews Landing has the last saw that was used in the old mill. J. C. Bee). All that is left to now recall the old mill is the ‘sheeting’ under the water, the house nearby, and a few prized pieces of antique furniture made from wood ‘turned’ there, now in private collections.” The statements about the Hessians and, to some extent, about PORTER’S MILL, are questionable (see also LAUREL MILLS); those about the turning mill are less so.

Ms. Bee mentioned “sheeting.” After much discussion among local historians, the writer has concluded that sheeting was a carpet of hardwood boards laid in back of the milldam to try to avoid the back-up water undermining the dam.



SMITH’S GRISTMILL (on North Branch of Timber Creek) see LAUREL MILLS


SPARK’S GRISTMILL (Inskeep’s, Hopkin’s, Matlack’s)
Evesham Road, laid out in 1808 (Glo RR B-18) had a well known landmark at each end: Clements Bridge on the west and Spark’s Grist Mill near Marlton on the east, although the east end of the road actually extended forty chains southeast of the Burlington-Gloucester [Camden] county line, and well past the gristmill.
Old Mills (p. 27), probably based on Prowell (p. 717), states that the mill “...was built by John Sparks near the close of the eighteenth century. It was later operated by George Sparks....” But the mill was built, not by a Sparks, but by an Inskeep. Abraham Inskeep owned a tract of land, mostly in Waterford Township but a little in Evesham Township, which he had resurveyed 4 June 1787 (OSG, U-214), the back title being set forth therein. This tract extended southeast to touch the Bortons Mill-Haddonfield [Kresson] Road, with perhaps half extending north of Evesham Road. The tract is bisected north to south by the headwaters of the North Branch of Coopers Creek, and a mill dam at present Evesham Road existed when the resurvey was made in 1787, as well as a mill pond extending south quite a distance.

On 2 April 1794 Abraham sold 250 acres surrounding the mill pond to George Sparks [a cabinet maker], including an existing gristmill, dam and waterworks. (Woodbury C-243). But Sparks must have been in possession as early as 1792 since in that year he was assessed for a gristmill, as again through 1803 (Waterford Township ratables).

George Sparks died intestate in 1830, and court-appointed commissioners sold to Marmaduke Burr Hopkins 49 acres [of the 250], more closely surrounding the pond, by deed 25 March 1831 (Woodbury, C3-107), describing the property as a farm and gristmill. By a deed dated 19 March 1867, Hopkins sold the mill and 149 acres to Charles E. Matlack of Evesham Township (Camden, 52-142).

“Hopkins Mill” in 1886 was “still in good repair and doing considerable business” (Prowell, p. 717). But “Hopkins” mill was no longer in use by 1894 (Report of the State Geologist, Vol. III, appendix p. 37).


SPRING MILLS (Jonathan William’s Sawmill, Bates, Glover & Troths, Troth & Glover; Bateman’s Mills; Tetamekon)
Daniel Bates (1751-1815), in 1784, married Tamzen Williams (Gloucester County Marriages, p. 4), daughter of Jonathan Williams, whose will dated 1776 was proved 27 April 1789 (1688 H), and from whom she inherited the residue of his estate. Jonathan was the son of Edward Williams, son of Edward Williams, who started to acquire land in Gloucester Township before the end of the seventeenth century (Gardner to Edward Williams, 18 February 1694/5, Colonial Deeds [Gl 3-48])

When Jonathan Williams died there were judgments against him totaling more than £450, and on 10 September 1789 two contiguous tracts of his real estate were sold by the Sheriff to pay the debt. His son-in-law, Daniel Bates, bid £580 and the two properties were struck off to him. The Sheriff’s deed to him bears the same date as the sale, although it was not recorded for some 42 years (Woodbury, B-388).

The larger tract [476 acres] straddled the South Branch of Timber Creek and thus was located in the Townships of Gloucester and Deptford. Included with it was a sawmill, but no indication is given as to which side of the creek it was on. It has been impossible to locate this tract with exactness, partly because the legal description uses streams for parts of the boundary, without being able to provide distances. A partial protraction shows that it encompassed most of the land involved in the activities described in this article, all of which were located at or near present Grenloch, which name was not assigned until many years later. The smaller tract included in the deed (103 acres) formed a substantial part of the village of Blackwood.

Bates borrowed some of his bid money from Rebecca Blackwood, widow (the estate of whose late husband, Samuel Blackwood, was one of the judgment creditors), giving her (with Bates’ wife Tamson joining in) a mortgage, also dated 10 September 1789 (Woodbury Mortgages, D-114), but the mortgage covered only 354 acres of the 476 acres. The remaining portion of the 476 acres stretched northward toward Blackwood. Apparently Bates had been living in Deptford, but upon these transactions being completed, he moved onto the Gloucester Township portion of the 476-acre plantation, and took over operation of the sawmill (GCHS, Sparks Collection, Vol. 1, Part 2. p. 34)

Bates was assessed for the sawmill in 1790, 1792-97, and 1802, owning 300 acres in 1790, 200 acres in 1795 and 100 acres in 1796 (Gloucester Township ratables).The only reference to Jonathan Williams in those township ratables is a 1786 assessment for a sawmill and 300 acres. This may have been his sawmill located upstream from present Grenloch (see CHEESMAN’S (PETER) GRISTMILL), and not for the Grenloch sawmill.

“Daniel Bates Mill Pond” was referred to in a statute concerning navigation on the South Branch (P.L. 1797, p. 157), which became the boundary between Camden and Gloucester counties in 1844.

On 25 March 1811, Jacob Glover and Jacob Troth bought from John Wilkins (Woodbury, O-496) 10 acres along the western (Gloucester County) side of the creek, from the “Poor House Tract” [Lakeland] for some distance upstream. On the same date they bought from Daniel Bates 17 acres upstream and on the Camden County side (Woodbury, P-54). Prowell refers to the sawmill as Bates & Wilkins (p. 680). John Clement provides a copy of an 1811 survey (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 1, p. 7), which shows the sawmill at about the place where the present dam and spillway are, that is, where Central Avenue crosses, although Old Mills (p. 55) states that it was about 100 feet north.

Some years later, on 18 February 1818, Troth signed over his interest to Glover, who continued the mill in operation (Woodbury, X-254). An advertisement, however, appeared in the Camden Herald, 10 May 1820, by Jacob Brown, of Glovers Mill near Blackwoodtown, that he had rented the sawmill and was prepared to accommodate customers.

Warrants & Surveys No. 344 is a handwritten description of the mill, apparently an advertisement for sale: “...mill seat...one mile above the flow of tide....The stream and water power is equal if not superior to any mill seat in said county. Tract supposed to contain forty acres...on which there is a good saw mill & dam, a small dwelling house, etc. December 19, 1820” signed by Jacob Glover. Glover eventually sold it to William Hart Carr and Martin P. Hunt, of Philadelphia, by deed 25 March 1836 (Woodbury, P3-256). Old Mills (p. 55) states that Carr & Hunt converted the mill to making iron implements and machinery. An article published in the West Jerseyman (14 August 1850, p. 2) refers to Thomas R. Loring as superintendent, and in charge in the absence of Carr. The foundry is shown on the map accompanying Cam RR 85 (1855).

Fred Bateman, in his A Few Recollections (CCHS, Genealogical Transcript, GBAT), gives a history of the involvement of his father, Stephen Bateman, with this establishment. Carr & Lunt called the place and business Spring Mills, although “Mr. Carr learned... of a tradition that the Indian name of the place was Tetamekon, and when a foundry was established later over on the far side of the creek...” it was called Tetamekon Foundry (p. 5). The foundry was built on the Gloucester County side, at a “lower power, ” and was operated under the superintendence of Thomas Loring (Prowell, p. 681). The place was called Tetamekon as late as 1864 (Cam RR 145). The above-mentioned West Jerseyman article refers to Tetamekon on the Gloucester County side and Spring Mills on the Camden County side. As to Loring, see LORINGS MILL at Clementon.

In his history Bateman also wrote “[B]etween...1826 and 1836...he [Stephen Bateman] made his appearance at ‘Spring Mills.’ ” (“A Few Recollections” p. 3). Stephen had some experience with the manufacture of farm implements and, going to work for Carr & Lunt, was compensated with one-quarter of the profits (ibid., p. 4). Soon Lunt dropped out, and the business must have experienced difficulty since there was a Sheriff’s sale, at which the buyer was Joseph Hart, an uncle of Carr, by deed of 3 February 1838 (Woodbury, Y3-207).

Old Mills (p. 56) notes that Carr continued to operate the place, but on 1 November 1841 Hart conveyed the property to Carr (Woodbury, A4-154). Bateman says Carr got into difficulty taking on another foundry, and turned the property back to his uncle Joseph Hart, who held a mortgage on it (A Few Recollections, p. 8).

Stephen Bateman bought part of the property from Hart in 1860, and in 1863 turned it over to his sons, Fred and Edward (ibid.), who successfully operated the “Spring Mills Agricultural Works.” “The lumber used in the manufacture of agricultural forks and shovels was brought by scows to Good Intent, which at that time had tide-water communications, and was there worked into handles” (Prowell, p. 681), that being the first mention discovered of the tide being used that far upstream. See WARDS FULLING AND GRISTMILLS. Edgar G. Wilson, a grandson of Stephen Bateman, became a partner in Bateman Manufacturing Company in 1881 (Biographical Review, p. 250).

The business did so well that a better means of transportation of the products than horse drawn carts was needed. The solution was to induce the Reading Railroad, which owned the Camden, Gloucester & Mt. Ephraim Railway, to extend its line from Mount Ephraim down to Spring Mills, with Fred being required to get all the many necessary right-of-way agreements (A Few Recollections, p. 9). He did so and the railroad extension was operational 10 May 1893 (ibid., p. 10).

What was the new station at Spring Mills to be called? The railroad already had a station of that name somewhere. “Bateman” and “Benham” [Fred’s wife’s maiden name] were suggested but were unacceptable. Finally Fred made up the name Grenloch “from Grene, the old English spelling of green...and the Scottish loch...a reminder of our beautiful lake.” (ibid.)

A history of the family and businesses appears in Biographical Review (p. 457).




Personal recollections of two unrelated persons verify that there was a gristmill in operation for many years at the place which used to be called Hillman, but no other verification has come to light. It was on Long Branch, a tributary of the North Branch of Coopers Creek, a little north of where Long Branch flows under Kresson Road, not far west of Springdale Road. In 1971 the late Major Lawrence Stratton told the writer the old building which had been used by Hillmans Gristmill.

Joshua Stokes bought of Jeremiah Jones, one of the heirs of Henry Jones, by dated deed 14 March 1757 (Colonial Deeds, C-266) a 181-acre tract encompassing the present intersection of Kresson and White Horse-Moorestown [Springdale] roads. Joshua Stokes’s 1779 will (1289 H) devised the farm to his son Samuel, who died intestate in 1802 (2407 H). Joshua left a son John who, although not devised any part of the real estate, may have briefly operated a gristmill at this location. A John Stokes was assessed for a gristmill and 200 acres in 1790; was listed as a resident in 1786, with 200 acres; Samuel Stokes, as a resident in 1785, with 200 acres (Waterford Township ratables).

In 1809, after Samuel’s widow, Hope, died, the farm was divided among their children (Glo Co Surr Div Bk 1, p. 74). Daughter Esther, who was married to Daniel Hillman Jr., received 24 acres, but Daniel bought some of the other tracts, and finally had a farm of 195 acres (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 7, p. 50).

The second account of a grist mill at this site was provided by the late Howard Kemble, of Haddonfield: “It is felt that ...(the) mill was built by the Stokes Family and ran for many years. My mother Blanche Stokes Hillman, stated the mill was used up until 1910. It was torn down in 1925 by Charles Collins who owned the farm at that time. I went to Hillman School [across Kresson Road from Hillman Chapel (now a residence), near the bend in the road] from 1917 to 1925 and remember the mill very well.” (GCHS, South Jersey Grist Mills, typescript, p. 34).






STOY’S SAWMILL (Stoy’s Flax Mill, Nicholson’s)
James Stoy bought a 137-acre plantation in present Haddon Township from Abel Nicholson 1 August 1828 (Woodbury, VV 501), bounded approximately by Haddon, Glenwood and Pyle avenues, Park Boulevard, and Evergreen Avenue, encompassing land on both sides of the main branch of Newton Creek.

This plantation (157 acres) for many years had been for many years known as “Little Stebbing,” and was so called in the 1761 will of Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh (proved 21 April 1762 [789 H]), in which she devised it to her kinsman Haddon Hopkins (and see This is Haddonfield, p. 73). At the Historical Society of Haddonfield is a drawing [apparently made when “West Haddonfield Land Co.” was developing the West End], of John Haddon’s 384-acre survey called New Haddonfield (HSH, Mss. Ha 43), and which included “Little Stebbing.” The writer obtained from the files of West Jersey Title & Guaranty Co. a copy of the “Little Stebbing” portion, which is slightly different in detail. (ibid.) There is a small place in Essex County, England called “Stebbing” which was in existence long before West Jersey was settled. It is of the same derivation as “Stubbins” (Lancaster County, England), both meaning “clearing” or “cleared land.” (Ekwall’s Concise Dictionary of English Place Names, pp. 440 and 451).

Haddon Hopkins died intestate in 1768 (968 H), whereupon the plantation descended to his only child, Hezekiah Hopkins, who retained it until 2 April 1804, when he sold it to Joseph Terrapin (Woodbury, H-214). Terrapin swapped a small triangular piece for a like piece (see Notes, Maps & Memoranda, Nos. 5 and 54), reducing the original tract to 137 acres, which Terrapin lost on a mortgage foreclosure to William Erwin (27 March 1813, Woodbury, T-100), Erwin sold it to William Griffith 12 October 1813 (Woodbury, T 40). Griffith sold to Benjamin B. Cooper, 7 March 1815; and he sold to James Caldwell 25 March 1815. Caldwell sold to Anthony Warrick 20 August 1816 (Woodbury, Z-245), and his executors to Abel Nicholson, 20 August 1828 (Woodbury, VV-27).

The Camden County Historical Society has a survey (CCHS, M.83.90.6) made by John Clement, dated 19 October 1813 [about when Griffith bought the tract, and some fifteen years before James Stoy acquired title] on which is shown a mill pond and “Stoy’s Saw Mill” below the dam. It also shows a house [presently 330 Westmont Avenue] and barn with a lane out to Ferry Road [Haddon Avenue].

Glo RR C-135 (1829) was laid out as Webster’s private road. It is now known as Glenwood Avenue, which runs along the northerly end of the tract. The map accompanying the road return shows a small pond but no mill.

It was not until 1832 that the road we call Crystal Lake Avenue was laid out. It is curious that the official road touched each end of “James Stoy’s Saw Mill Dam” but did not go over it (Glo RR C-209). Clement’s drawing in Maps and Drafts (Vol. 7, p. 35) shows the tract and both of the new roads.

An article appearing 11 June 1925 in The Tri-City Sun [a newspaper published for residents of Haddonfield, Westmont and Collingswood] asserts that a sawmill “was built on the banks of Crystal Lake” ten years after the American Revolution. Further, that in 1828 the sawmill and surrounding lands were sold to Stoy, whereas the above-traced title tells a different story, and “Stoy’s Saw Mill” is shown on the 1813 map. Perhaps a Stoy leased the mill that early.

The newspaper article also refers to a flax mill farther upstream, operated by the Nicholson family, with the lake being known as Nicholsons Pond. That is all quite possible since Abel Nicholson owned the whole plantation 1816-1828. This is Haddonfield (p. 217) places a “Stoys Flax Mill” near the east side of Crystal Lake “next to the Stoy homestead,” the flax mill being destroyed by fire in 1895. With no citations to support these statements, it is virtually impossible to test their accuracy.

James Stoy died intestate in 1842, but the real estate was not divided among his children until 1861. The children agreed on a division, represented on a map (CCHS, M.83.90.260), which shows the millpond extending about 1,700 feet above the dam, and the sawmill just below the dam, on the Haddon Avenue side. “Stoy’s Mill” is listed in Kirkbride’s 1850 New Jersey Business Directory.

James and John together received the eastern portion of the Homestead Farm (69.17 acres) by deed 25 May 1861 (Camden, 37-387), with the west line running along the west side of the millpond. It also included the sawmill, just below Crystal Lake Avenue. On the same date James signed over to John his one-half interest so that John became the sole owner (Camden, 37-391).

By 1872 the sawmill had been discontinued and John Stoy went into the business of manufacturing ready-mixed and colored paints with James Flinn, a former manager of Lucas & Brother’s paint works at Gibbsboro (Camden Democrat, 25 May 1872, [where will be found a detailed description of the mechanics of the process]). Prowell (p. 353) wrote that “James Flinn & Co....established the Crystal Lake Paint and Color Works...in operation under the name of Westmont Paint Works.” By a deed of 26 November 1874, James Stoy (with Rebecca, his wife) sold to James Flinn and John Gill Willits, “manufacturers” and “merchants,” the 5.31 acres below the mill dam [that is, Crystal Lake Avenue], with the use of the milldam, millpond and waterworks (Camden 78-555).

The location was picked for a paint works because of the purity of the water, and the pond was called Crystal Lake, which had also been the attraction at the Lucas Paint Works at Gibbsboro, where the millpond bears the same name. (See CORE’S SAWMILL)

A well-researched article on the sawmill and succeeding business appears in Raible’s Down a Country Lane (p. 143).




SWETT’S GRISTMILL (Coffin’s, Peterson’s, Ware’s, Roger’s; Swett’s Sawmill, Burnt Mill)
By a survey of 4th month 13th 1687, William Cooper (the immigrant) acquired a 572-acre tract of land, partly in Voorhees Township, but mostly in Cherry Hill Township (OSG Sharp’s B-48). By today’s landmarks it extended approximately from Coffin’s Corner [where Somerdale, Haddonfield-Berlin and Evesham roads meet] west to the railroad, and from Somerdale Road north to Holly Swamp Branch, including most of the length of Cuffys Run. The run divided the tract about in half.

William conveyed the tract, and several others, to his son Joseph by a deed of 24 August 1700 (Colonial Deeds, AAA-381), who devised it to his son, Joseph Jr. by his will proved in 1731 (136 H). The latter’s will, dated 23 November 1747 (418 H), gave the land to his then wife, Hannah (Dent) Cooper, for life, then to his granddaughters, Mary, Hannah and Lydia, children of his daughter Mary, wife of Jacob Howell. Lydia died a minor, without issue. Mary Cooper married Benjamin Swett, and her sister, Hannah married John Wharton. (See Clement, p. 93; Maps and Drafts, Vol 2, p. 8; Prowell, p. 719; and Warrants & Surveys No. 197). Lydia’s early death left the title vested in Mary Swett and Hannah Wharton. Hannah also died and title to her undivided one-half interest came to her husband, John Wharton (see the deed recorded Colonial DeedsX-293). In 1767, after the stepmother died, the Swetts and John Wharton divided the tract, with Cuffys Run being part of the boundary, the Whartons receiving the western portion and the Swetts the eastern [275 acres] (Clement’s notes on Maps and Drafts, Vol. 2, p. 8; Prowell, p. 719). The quitclaim deeds can be found in Colonial Deeds, X-293 and X-296.

The Swett share included a strip along Holly Swamp Branch, on which “Benjamin Swett built a sawmill...and his son, Joseph C. Swett, subsequently built a grist mill on the same site” (Prowell, p. 719). Eventually, Burnt Mill Road ran over the dam, with the saw and gristmill just below, on the north side of the stream (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 2, p. 1). Benjamin Swett also acquired a portion of the western part [107 acres adjoining the 275 acres] by a deed from Samuel Clement 9 February 1798 (Woodbury, FF-114)

Prowell wrote that the gristmill “was carried away by a freshet, and another erected, which was burned a few years since” (p. 719).

Benjamin died in 1819 (3233 H). Three years earlier, on 27 April 1816, he gave his son 30 acres on which were a gristmill, sawmill and milldam (Woodbury, AA-271). This millsite remained a separate tract for many years. The deed does not make clear whether the father or the son built the mills.

Joseph was apparently in possession of the mill property as early as 1781 (Old Mills, p. 28). There are Waterford Township ratables for 1795, 1796, 1797, and 1802, but they portray a confusing picture. In 1795 Benjamin was assessed for a sawmill and 300 acres (no assessment for Joseph); 1796: Joseph, sawmill and 300 acres; Benjamin, 265 acres; 1797: Joseph, sawmill and 195 acres; Benjamin, 265 acres; 1802: Benjamin, sawmill and 110 acres; Joseph, 250 acres. In 1793 and 1794, Benjamin alone was assessed, and without a sawmill. Glo RR B-184, in 1815, for a portion of Burnt Mill Road, refers to “Joseph’s mill dam.”

Benjamin’s will (proved 1819 [3233 H]) gave his 265-acre farm, called Cooper Hill to the son, Joseph, subject to a life estate in his mother, Mary (who died in 1821 [Stewart’s Notes, Vol. II, p. 24]). Joseph then made the first of several borrowings of money, on mortgages, over the ensuing years [for example, to Charles Shoemaker, 14 April 1820 (Woodbury Mortgages, I-325)]. Mary released her interest in the farm by a deed to Joseph on 15 December 1820 (Woodbury, GG-508).

Joseph C. Swett had many creditors, and judgments totaling some $5,500 were recovered against him in the early 1820s by five of them. Near the end of 1824 he advertised an auction sale of his 200-acre plantation, “Cooper Hill,” noting that a first rate gristmill adjoined (The Village Herald and Advertiser, 15 December 1824), but he apparently did not find a buyer. On the basis of the judgments, and pursuant to an advertisement in the same newspaper, 9 February 1825, the Sheriff sold 200 acres of Cooper Hill Farm (but not the 30-acre mill tract) to William Coffin, 12 August 1825 (Woodbury, PP-327).

The above-mentioned mortgage to Charles Shoemaker [a miller, of Philadelphia] covered the 30-acre milltract, 100 acres of the farm, and 2 unrelated tracts in Gloucester Township (Woodbury Mortgages, I-325). Shoemaker foreclosed this mortgage and bought in all 4 tracts, receiving a deed from the Sheriff dated 19 March 1827 (Woodbury, TT-l98). Shoemaker soon sold the mill tract as well as the other three tracts to William Coffin, 5 January 1828 (Woodbury, UU-296).

On 20 June 1825, Joseph had borrowed $1,500 from William Coffin on a mortgage (Woodbury Mortgages, L-459) of the 30-acre tract and 161 acres [part of the farm]. Since it covered part of the same property as the Shoemaker mortgage, it was considered in the Shoemaker mortgage foreclosure, with the result that at the sale the grist and saw mills and a total of 60 acres were sold to Coffin (19 March 1827, Woodbury, TT-187). That deed unfortunately fails to use a legal description. On 5 January 1828, Coffin then owned most if not all of the farm, including the grist and saw mills. It is not clear why the milltract was both 30 acres and 60 acres, but the 30-acre tract was undoubtedly the same as the 27-acre tract hereinafter mentioned. The road from Coffins Mill is mentioned in the deed, Hannah Thackara to John C. Hurff, 25 March 1837 (Woodbury, T3-86).

Joseph Swett died 25 October 1831, still living, apparently, at Cooper Hill (The Friend, Vol. V, p. 30).

William Coffin died in 1844. His will, probated in Atlantic County, where he lived (81 A), disposed of a large and valuable estate, including the Cooper Hill Farm. He devised that part of the farm south of Evesham Road [about 121 acres] to his daughter Parnell Peterson, and Jesse, her husband for their joint lives, and upon the death of the survivor, to their children. He also gave to Parnell alone the gristmill, the pond, and the land surrounding the pond [a total of about 27 aces], “now occupied” by her husband, Jesse. In other words, Coffin had already informally turned over to the Petersons. But Coffin’s will had given his wife, Ann, the right for her life to the rents and profits of all real estate. “Petermans” Grist Mill is shown on the 1851 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia, (CCHS, M.2001.74).

In 1847 the Petersons mortgaged the gristmill to George Raybold (Camden Mortgages, B-107). He foreclosed the mortgage in 1855, and the gristmill was bought at the Sheriff’s sale by Parnell’s sister Eliza C. Rogers, who was married to Clayton B. Rogers (Camden, Z-474). Eliza must have borrowed money from Clayton on a mortgage, or in any event she gave him a mortgage, since he foreclosed it in 1862 and bought the mill at the sale (Camden, 39-588). And about the same time, Ann Coffin [William’s widow], who was still alive, gave to Clayton Rogers a quitclaim of her right to the profits of the mill. How this right affected the Petersons from 1844 to 1862 is not evident.

There is an inexplicable deed in all these transactions, from the Sheriff to Mark Ware, 30 December 1854 (Camden, X-316). It was based on the foreclosure of a mortgage given by Peterson, and purported to pass title to Ware for the 27-acre mill pond property.

In 1860, Clayton Rogers tried unsuccessfully to have a road built through what is now Lawnside, directly connecting Burnt Mill Road [and thus his mill] with the road to Gloucester at White Horse Pike, that is, Gloucester Pike at Lawnside, (HSP, Foster-Clement Collection, Box 10, maps Nos. 10 & 15). He retained title to the gristmill until he sold it to Absalom Doughty and Lewis H. Babcock (both of Atlantic County) 24 March 1868 (Camden, 54-273). Doughty and Babcock sold to Mary Abigail Sears, of Hammonton, 5 August 1874 (Camden, 75-531); and she sold to Frederick O. Goodwin of Philadelphia, 23 April 1875 (Camden, 81-519). Goodwin sold to Benjamin H. Pitfield, also of Philadelphia, 24 April 1877 (Camden, 86-65). He, and Frances, his wife, sold to Aquilla and Albert H. Hillman, 5 October 1887 (Camden, 132-605), but the writer has not been able to trace the title further.

The road to and by the gristmill, which we now call Burnt Mill Road, was usually called by the mill owner’s name: Swetts Mill Road, Petersons Mill Road, and even Rogers Mill Road, albeit twenty years after he sold it (deed, Samuel B. Goldy to Robert T. Hurff, 20 March 1887 (Camden, 51-574). The stream was dammed at this road [although the dam probably preceded the road] to produce a millpond which reached up to Haddonfield-Berlin Road and beyond (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 2, p. 7, which shows that the mill was just below Burnt Mill Road (ibid.). On his 1846 Map of Camden County (CCHS, M.83.90.303). Clement refers to the road simply as “mill road,” which is undoubtedly what it was. And it would appear that it initially extended south only to the mill, and that portion was never sanctioned by a road return.

In Maps and Drafts, (Vol. 1, p. 89), Clement refers to the upper portion of the pond [extending somewhat above Haddonfield-Berlin Road] as “Ware & Peterson’s Pond.” Ware’s involvement [other than the 1854 deed cited above] as not been ascertained. Prowell, as of 1886, wrote, “A few years ago, ...Petersons Mill was burned down, and although the foundations of a new building have been erected, the site still remains vacant.” The road is still known appropriately as Burnt Mill Road.

Old Mills (p. 27) implies that Joseph Kay was the owner or operator of the mill, perhaps relying on the New Jersey Geological Survey Report for 1904 (Appendix, p. 37), which refers to the millsite. As mentioned in Old Mills, Joseph Kay bought the farm adjacent on the north from Samuel Wood, 25 December 1826 (Woodbury, SS-410), it having been a subject of the 1819 James Wood Division (Glo Co Surr Div Bk 1-307). Although at one point the legal description reaches the middle of the mill pond, almost to Haddonfield-Berlin Road, essentially the property abutted the north side of the mill stream [and thus the mill property], that is, its owner did not control the stream. Furthermore, the western line ran almost along Swetts [Burnt] Mill below [that is, west] of that road (Maps and Drafts, (Vol. 1, pp. 1 and 37). Joseph Kay died 1885 leaving the farm to Joseph F. Kay (Camden Wills, I-427), who sold it to Harry Earl 19 December 1894 (Camden, 203-79). A study of the foregoing leads to the conclusion that, although the locale may have been referred to as the mill site, there is no real evidence that a Kay owned or operated the mill.




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