(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "History of Asbury Park and Long Branch, together with the traditions of the Indians & settlers of Monmouth & Ocean counties, N.J"

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



014 205 079 1 



< 



Hollinger 

pH 8.5 

Mill Run F3|.1719 



\\ 



F 144 
Copy 1 



x-Iistory of Asbury Park 
and Long Branch 

Together with the Tradi- 
tions OF THE Indians 
& Settlers of Mon- 
mouth & Ocean 
Counties, 
N.J. 

% 

COMPILED AND WRITTEN 
BY 

GEORGE C. MARTIN 



Second Edition 

PRIVATELY PUBLISHED 

1903 



Early History of Long Branch 

From Salter's History of Monmouth Co. 




I HE earliest mention of Long Branch in 
any historical works that the writer of 
this has found is in Watson's Annals of 
Philadelphia, published in 1830, as 
follows : 

" This place before the Revolution, was 
owned by Colonel White, a British officer and an inhab- 
itant of New York. The small house he occupied as a 
summer residence was existing among a clump of houses 
owned by Renshaw in 1830. In consequence of the war 
the place was confiscated. The house was first used as a 
boarding house by Elliston Perot of Philadelphia, in 1788. 
At that time the whole premises were in charge of one 
old woman left to keep the place from injury. Of her 
Mr. Perot begged an asylum for himself and family, 
which was granted, provided he could get beds and bed- 
ding from others. Being pleased with the place he re- 
peated his visit there three successive years, taking his 
friends with him. In 1 790-1, Mr. McKnight of Mon- 
mouth, noticing the liking shown for the place, deemed 
it a good speculation to buy it. He bought the whole 
premises, containing one hundred acres for ^700 and 
then got Mr. Perot and others to loan him $2,000 to im- 
prove it. He then opened it for a watering place, and 
before his death it was supposed he had made forty thou- 
sand dollars by the investment. The estate was sold to 
Renshaw for $13,000. Elliston Perot was really the 
founder of Long Branch as a summer resort. 

I 



' ' Long Brancli takes its name from a brook, a branch 
of the South Shrewsbury River which runs in a direct 
line northward along the coast. 

" Tradition points to an Indian Fishery, established 
in 1734, as the first occupation of this place which was 
styled at that time Lands' End. A legend tells us that in 
those early times four men, Slocum, Parker, Wardell and 
Hulett, came from Rhode Island in quest of land. They 
found the Indians friendly but not disposed to sell. It 
was proposed by the Yankees that a wrestling match 
should be made up between one Indian and one of the 
whites, to be decided by the best in three rounds. If the 
champion of the white man won, they were to have as 
much land as they could walk around in a day ; if other- 
wise they were to leave peaceably. John Slocum was 
selected for the struggle — a man of great proportions, 
athletic and of great strength. 

' ' Great preparations were made to witness the en- 
counter. The spot chosen was the present Fishing Land. 
Slocum proved too much for the Indian, and after a hard 
struggle won. 

' ' The land was divided and the descendants to this 
day own a portion of the land gained by the struggle." 

HISTORY OF ASBURY PARK. 

By James A. Bradley. 

ONE afternoon in May, 1870, I was walking down 
Broadway, New York, and suddenly' ran against 
my friend, David H. Brown, Esq., Treasurer of 
the Ocean Grove Association ' How is Ocean Grove 
getting along? ' I asked. ' Very fairly,' said he, ' why 
don't you buy a lot ? Those who have their names put 



down now have first choice,' ' well put me down for two,' 
said I. A few days after, iu company with some friends 
we started for Ocean Grove. We took the boat for Port 
Monmouth, thence by railroad to Eatontown. The sea- 
shore route was opened a few days afterwards. After 
dining at Mr. Brown's country house at Eatontown, we 
drove to Ocean Grove in carriages. The turnpike com- 
pany had just commenced operations, and from Great 
Pond to Ocean Grove was one of the worst roads that 
could be imagined. I was completely taken i,vith Ocean 
Grove and its surroundings — so much so that I purchased 
the first lot ever sold there, the premium being $85. 

" Having for some time previous been in bad health, 
I concluded to try what I had been recommended — sea air. 
Too close application to business had made inroads on my 
constitution and my nervous system was seriously affected. 
So a few days after purchasing the lots, taking two horses, 
carriage and tent, and John Baker, my colored man, I 
left the hnm of the city behind, to become an inhabitant 
of the wild woods, where my wearied body and brain 
might rest, lulled to sleep by the murmuring sea at night 
and awakened in the morning by the songs of birds in 
the pine trees surrounding my couch. 

" John and I arrived at Ocean Grove just at night- 
fall, and having got our horses under shelter in a barn 
belonging to Charles Rogers, near the present Ocean 
Grove school house, we entered the woods, and about 
half a mile off", erected our tent, it was too dark to get 
poles, so we hung the tent on the beams of what was 
afterwards the Association office, the first building ever 
erected in Ocean Grove. (This building stood near the 
Auditorium and was afterward torn down or removed). 

3 



The building at that time was without roof. We were 
without light, and soon after lunching on some crackers 
we lay down to sleep, our heads resting on the carriage 
cushions, and our covering being carriage blankets. So 
we spent our first night at Ocean Grove, and so began an 
entire change in my mode of life, and which led event- 
ually to an almost complete restoration to health. 

" In the morning Baker sighed and said, ' Mr. B., 
this is a wilderness place. ' He was homesick ; for let 
the reader, who perhaps has been on the same spot dur- 
ing the busy summer season, and heard the continuous 
click of the telegraph instrument and seen the vast throng 
of men and maidens call for their letters when the mail 
arrives, remember it was far different on the morning of 
which we are writing ; although it was the loth of June, 
not a soul was within hearing distance of us, I cheered 
him by saying : ' Oh ! don't be cast down ' and soon we 
were eating our morning lunch. That finished, we pro- 
ceeded to my lots on the lake, and pitched our small tent 
on the ground now built upon and owned by Rev. Alfred 
Cookman's widow. My large tent was erected, and so 
we began our Crusoe life. During the day we occasion- 
ally saw Forman Franklin's men who worked about the 
grounds, and at night we were left to our solitude. Mr. 
Franklin's men tented on the lots now covered by the 
Hay ward cottage, but on Sundays went to their homes in 
the interior of the township. 

" Baker was my steward, housekeeper and cook. I 
procured a box and dug a hole in the ground and put it 
in, and that was our ice house. We would sometimes 
drive to Long Branch, six miles away, and procure food, 
principally canned goods. Mr. Fra.iklin's men indulged 

4 



more in fresh meats than Baker and I, so I would trade 
canned goods for the old fashioned savory stew that 
gave muscle to the men who first removed briars and 
brush from Ocean Grove and made its streets. 

" One evening Baker and I took a stroll along the 
ocean and I proposed a bath. Baker smiled and said, 
' No, no.' ' But remember, John, cleanliness is next to 
godliness.' I took an ocean bath ; but, oh, how different 
from the waj' bathers usually enjoy the surf, the waves 
dashing over their heads. I laid down on the soft sand 
and allowed the water to just touch my body, and I can 
tell you, reader, it is somewhat lonely to trust yourself 
in the great ocean in the twilight and alone. After I had 
been lying on the beach for a little while, I looked around 
to see what had become of Baker. He had plucked up 
courage by my example and had really divested himself 
of his clothes, and, coward, like myself, barely allowed 
the water to touch him. His dusky skin was somewhat in 
contrast with the white sand, and the whole scene forciblj^ 
reminded me of Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday. 

"During the camp-meeting that took place in 
August, we often heard the inquiry, ' who owns the land 
on the other side of the lake ? ' One day Rev. Wra. B. 
Osborne and m)'self went over, and at the risk of having 
our clothes torn off, worked our way through the briars 
until we reached Sunset Lake. And, like the red man 
of whom we read in tradition, we could say ' Alabama — 
here we rest ; ' for we stood on the banks of as beautiful 
a sheet of water as can be found anywhere. We returned 
to the Grove by way of the beach, and soon set to work 
to make up a company to purchase the land. We learned 
the owner would not sell the land in parcels, but the pur- 

S 



chaser must take the whole or none. Here was a diflS- 
culty ; five hundred acres ! — wilderness and barren sand- 
waste, without a house or inhabitant, and not a foot of 
cultivated soil in the whole tract. ' Never mind,' said 
some, ' the more land we have the more profit we will 
have.' Our company was to consist of eight persons, 
some of whom were very enthusiastic ; but when the cool 
nights of autumn came along, it chilled their enthusiasm, 
and their example had its chilling effect on me. But I 
often thought of the matter, and as soon as I heard that 
Bishop Simpson, of the M. E. Church, urged the Ocean 
Grove Association to purchase it, to prevent its falling 
into tlie hands of some one who was not in sympathy 
with the enterprise they had in their hands, I called on 
David H. Brown, and proposed he should join me in the 
purchase by taking one-eighth, the price asked being 
$90,000. 'No,' said he, 'I am determined to have 
nothing to do with any enterprise in that neighborhood 
that would seem to place me in an inconsistent position, 
as I am now treasurer of the Ocean Grove Association. 
This I will do ; I will write to every member of the 
Association, and if they say buv it, I am inclined to think 
I shall not oppose it, although I think we have enough 
land now. But if they do not buy it, you can. And as 
you wish me to negotiate the purchase, I will do so, on 
condition that you advance the requisite amount to secure 
the property, and if the Association decide to take it, 
your money to be refunded, we are to have a week's 
option to consider the matter.' A majority of the Asso- 
ciation decided not to purchase the land, although some 
urged it very strongly ; so the property became mine — I, 
at the same time assuring them that the property would 

6 



be resold only to such parties as would appreciate the 
situation of the place. 

" After the purchase, the briars before alluded to, 
with the tangled underbush, were removed at a cost of 
several thousand dollars, and very few would now sup- 
pose that the choice spot upon which are now erected 
beautiful cottages was so recently a jungle. 

" As stated above, it was supposed that immense 
profits would result from the purchase of the land known 
as Asbury Park, but the man who has tried to meet every 
emergency that has arisen is wiser now than when he 
first risked a fortune in an entirelj' new and untried 
scheme. There was not, so far as he knew, a seaside re- 
sort, an incorporated town, on the American continent 
or in Europe, where in the deeds the sale of intoxicating 
liquor was prohibited. ' With your restriction you can 
never make a seaside resort a success so near New York, ' 
said the timid and the croakers, but the founder of Asbury 
Park, with an intense and life long hatred of the liquor 
traffic, has given hundreds and hundreds of deeds, which 
are on record at the County Clerk's office, and contain a 
protest against the curse of society which the American 
people strangely allow to exist ; and yet Asbury Park 
notwithstanding, did grow, and its success has been so 
great that the anti-liquor clause is now a feature in the 
deeds of many seaside resorts started on the New Jersey 
coast within the past ten years. 

"In 1 87 1, the only means of reaching New York 
from Ocean Grove and what is now Asbury Park was by 
stage to Long Branch, which was then the nearest rail- 
road station, thence by railroad to Sandy Hook, and by 
steamer Jesse Hoyt across the bay to New York. The 

7 



travel between Long Branch and what is now Asbury 
Park was so light that daily trips could not be sustained. 
To keep up daily trips, the founder of Asbury Park gave 
the use of his rockaway, with a horse, to William Poland, 
Jr., as a subsidy. Poland added his own horse. The 
horse donated was used up in the servdce, but the old car- 
riage remains, and has since been used as a plaything to 
amuse the children who were born since the time of the 
historical facts here recorded. 

' ' There are more than eight hundred cottages, be- 
sides hotels. The finest Masonic lodge-room in Mon- 
mouth county was erected by the late Allen R. Cook, 
who was for a long time the esteemed Superintendent of 
Asbury Park. We have also one of the best planned 
school hou.ses in the State, with a daily attendance of 
seven hundred ; the school lot fronts on three streets. 

"Asbury Park was assessed in 1869 at $15,000. 
The assessed valuation in 1896 was $3,376,300.00 

' ' Streets running at right angles to the sea are from 
one to two hundred feet wide, an advantage possessed by 
no other seaside resort on the New Jersey coast. The 
depot grounds are the finest on the line of the Long 
Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, 
and with adjoining streets cover four acres. 

' ' In the matter of electric lights, Asbury Park was 
the pioneer along the Monmouth County coast. 

" The First National Bank of Asbury Park was or- 
ganized for business in the early part of 1886, and the 
Asbury Park and Ocean Grove Bank in 1889. Their 
success has been great, the deposits in the summer of 1896 
running up to nearly $1,250,000.00. 

" The first street car line in Monmouth county had 



its birth in Asburj' Park. The cars are propelled by 
electricity, and besides a belt line encircling the town, 
they are now running between Belmar and Pleasure Bay, 
with prospects of continuing the road all along the coast 
in the near future." 

INDIAN WILL. 

IN days gone by, the singular character and eccentric 
acts of the noted Indian Will formed the theme of 
many a fireside story among our ancestors, many of 
which are still remembered by older citizens. Some of 
the traditionary incidents given below differ in some par- 
ticulars, but we give them as related to us many years 
ago by old residents. Indian Will was evidently quite a 
traveler and well known from Barnegat almost to the 
Highlands. At Forked River, it is said he often visited 
Samuel Chamberlain on the neck of land between the 
north and middle branches and was generally followed 
by a pack of lean, hungry dogs, which he kept to defend 
himself from his Indian enemies. The following tradi- 
tion was published in 1842 by Howe, in " Historical Col- 
lections of New Jersey ' ' : 

" About the year 1670, the Indians sold out the sec- 
tion of the countrj^ near Eatontown to Lewis Morris, for 
a barrel of cider, and emigrated to Crosswicks and Cran- 
berry. One of them, called Indian Will, remained, and 
dwelt in wigwam between Tinton Falls and Swimming 
River. His tribe were in consequence exasperated, and 
at various times sent messengers to kill him in single 
combat ; but, being a brave athletic man, he always came 
off conqueror. 

9 



' ' One day while partaking of a breakfast of suppawn 
and milk with a silver spoon at Mr. Eaton's, he casually 
remarked that he knew where there was plenty of such. 
They promised that if he would show them where, they 
would give him a red coat and cocked hat. In a short 
time he was arrayed in that dress, and it is said the 
Batons suddenly became wealthy. About 80 years since, 
in pulling down an old mansion in Shrewsbury, in which 
a maiden member of this family had resided, a quantity 
oi cob dollars, supposed to have been Kidd's money, was 
tound concealed in the cellar wall. These coins were 
mostly square or oblong shape, the corners of which wore 
out the pocket ' ' 

A variation of this tradition is as frequently heard 
in the following manner : 

"Indian Will often visited the family of Derrick 
Longstreet at Manasquan and one time showed them 
some silver money which excited their curiosity. They 
wished to know where he got it and wanted Will to let 
them have it. Will refused to part with it, but told them 
he had found it in a trunk along the beach, and there 
was i)lenty of yellow money besides ; but as the yellow 
money was not as pretty as the white, he did not want it, 
and Longstreet might have it. So L,ongstreet went with 
him and found the money in a trunk covered over with a 
tarpaulin and buried in the sand. Will kept the white 
money and Longstreet the yellow (gold) and this satis- 
factory division made the Longstreets wealthy. 

" Captain Kidd did not .sail on his glorious cruises 
until 1696, and as the money found by Will was dis- 
covered in 1 670, it is impossible that it could be a portion 
of that wonderful Captain's treasures. 

10 



"Will was, from the description ofmen who knew him, 
stout, broad-shouldered, prominent Indian featured with 
rings in his ears and one in his nose. Among other 
things which Will had done to excite the ill-will of other 
Indians, was the killing of his wife. Her brother Jacob 
determined on revenge. He pursued him, and finding 
him unarmed, undertook to march him off captive. As 
they were going along, Will espied a pine knot on the 
ground, managed to pick it up and dealt Jacob a fatal 
blow. As he dropped to the ground, Will tauntingly ex- 
claimed, ' Jacob, look up at the sun — you will never see 
it again. ' 

' ' When five Indians set out to kill Will once he got 
them intoxicated and despatched them with a hatchet." 

Following told by Thomas Cook : Origin of the 
name of " Will's Hole " Squan River. 

"Indian Will lived in a cabin in the woods near 
Cook's place. One day he brought home a musk-rat, 
which he ordered his wife to cook for dinner ; she obeyed, 
but when it was placed npon the table she refused to 
partake of it. 

" ' Very well,' said he, ' if j-ou are too good to eat 
musk rat you are too good to live with me,' and there- 
upon he took her to the place or hole in the river and 
drowned her." 

The following tradition is also told by Mr. Cook : 

" Indian Will had three brothers-in-law, two of whom 
resided on Long Island, and when in course of time, 
word reached them that their sister had been drowned, 
they crossed over to Jersey to avenge her death. When 
they reached Indian Will's cabin, he was inside eating 
clam soup. Knowing their errand he invited them to 

II 



dinner telling them lie would fight it out with them after- 
ward. They sat down to eat, but before concluding their 
dinner Will pretended he heard some one coming, and 
hurried to the door, outside of which the visitors had left 
their guns, one of which Will caught up and fired and 
killed one Indian. He then shot the other as he rushed 
at him. l,ater on Will met his other brother-in-law, and 
was told by him that he would kill him. Will picked up 
a large log of pine and crushed in his enemy's head. 
Indian Will finally died alone in his cabin." 

INDIAN PETER. 

(A Tradition of Imlaystown.) 

ABOUT a century and a quarter ago an Indian 
named Peter, said to have been connected by rela- 
tionship and business with the noted Indian Tom, 
after whom some, we think erroneously, consider Tom's 
River to be named, resided at Tom's River, but owing to 
an unfortunate habit of mixing too much whiskey with 
his water, he became unfortunate, and about the time of 
the war removed with his family to the vicinity of Imlays- 
town, where he built a wigwam by a pond not far from 
the village. 

Shortly after he located here, his wife sickened and 
died. Peter loved his squaw dearly, and was almost heart- 
broken on account of the unlucky event. He could not 
bear the idea of parting with his wife, or putting her 
under the ground out of sight. For a day or two he was 
inconsolable and knew not what to do ; at length a lucky 
idea occured to him ; instead of burying her where he 
never more could see her, he would put a rope about her 
neck and place her in the pond and daily visit her. This 



plan he at once put into execution, and as he daily visited 
her, it somewhat assuaged his poignant grief. On one 
of his melancholy visits to the departed partner of his 
bosom, he noticed in the water around her a large number 
of eels. To turn these eels to account was a matter of 
importance to Peter, for though he loved his wife, he 
loved money too. So he caught the eels daily, and for a 
week or so visited the village regularly and found a ready 
sale for them among the villagers. 

But at length the supply failed — his novel eel trap ■ 
gave out. A few days after he was in the village and 
numerous were the inquiries why he did not bring any 
more of those good eels. 

" Ah," said Peter verj^ innocently, drawing a long 
sight, ' me catch no more eels — me squaw all gone — boo 
— hoo!" 

His grief aud singular reply called for an explana- 
tion, and he, thinking nothing wrong gave it. 

The result was a general casting up of accounts 
among the villagers, terrible anathemas upon the Indian, 
and a holy horror of eels among that generation of Im- 
laystown citizens, and even to this day it is said some of 
their descendants would as soon eat a snake as an eel. 

(The above tradition we have no doubt is substanti- 
ally correct ; we derived it from Hon. Chas. Parker, for 
many years State Treasurer, father of Gov. Parker, who 
some eighty years ago while at Toms River met with 
some of the disgusted purchasers of ludian Peter's eels. ) 



13 



A SAVORY DISH. 

BATHSHEBA, an Indian Queen who resided in 
Burlington County, was very hospitably inclined 
and entertained many white guests though she may 
have occasionally prepared Indian delicacies for the table 
which the whites seldom appreciated. Some years ago 
Eli Collins, a well remembered aged citizen of Barnegat 
told the writer of this, that when he was a young man, 
one time he had been out from home all day, and on his 
way back stopped at the hut of Moluss. His wife Bash, 
or Bathsheba, was boiling something in a pot which sent 
forth a most delightful odor to a hungry man, and he 
was cordially invited to dine. As he had been without 
anything to eat all day he willingly accepted the invita- 
tion ; but he soon changed his determination when he 
found the savory smelling dish was hop-toad sotip. 

THE INDIAN FIELD. 
Shark River. 

WHERE Shark River narrows almost to a brook 
and makes a sharp turn toward the south lies the 
Indian Field. It is about two hundred and fifty 
feet long and is shaped something on the order of a 
triangle. Here the Indians for generations planted their 
com and from the small pieces of broken half-baked 
pottery found in one corner it may be said was used as a 
work shop. 

Not many years ago a person might walk across the 
field and find arrow-heads and chips of flint or possibly a 
stone hatchet but now, at this late day, a find is rare. 

14 



About fifty feet from the Indian Field is a clearing 
in the woods slightly smaller than the one already de- 
scribed. This is the House Field. In the north eastern 
corner their huts were made and their families reared. 
Somewhere in the woods, back of the House Field (so 
the older inhabitants of that part of the country tell me), 
lies a large mortar in which the Indians used to grind 
their grain into flour. * It is said to be too large for any 
persons to cart away unaided by machinery. Still farther 
into the woods to the south of the House Field on the 
right hand side of the old wood-road (once an Indian 
trail) lies the burying ground. It is situated on the 
edge of a gully the feet of the graves facing west. So 
many years have passed since the last Indian was buried 
here that all trace of mounds have disappeared but people 
living in that vicinity from childhood remember visiting 
them and seeing about about forty graves stretched along 
three hundred feet of space. 



* I am indebted to Dr. Peter Davison and others for iuformation about this 
stone. I have made several fruitless attempts to find it. 



l<i 



LIBRftRY OF CONGRESS 

"""'|lll Ijllllll [|I(«n-- 



014 205 079 i 



< 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



I 

014 205 079 1 



< 



HoIIinger 

pH8.5 

Mill Run F3I-1719 



V 



n;