Welcome back to another era in the Toms River area's past, one century ago this week!
Let your mind wander as you consider life around early March 1922, courtesy the New Jersey Courier weekly newspaper and Ocean County Library archives, and peppered with items of maritime interest (around a 15 minute read).
BREVITIES AND EDITORIALS
(written by NJ Courier editor, William H. Fischer, as he sat at his desk above Main Street near Washington Street; it was much like a collection of online social media updates seen today)
Builders are planning for a busy spring and summer.
Soon be time to talk baseball, gardens and daylight saving time.
The bottoms drop out of many of our roads every time of thaw.
The bay has closed and opened more times this winter than most of us have kept track of.
A.P. Greims, of Birdville, is busy as a bee these days filling orders for rustic bird houses.
Pound fishermen are getting ready to put in their nets as soon as the weather will allow.
Frogs were heard Thursday night of last week...
P.P. Elkington has prepared plans and specifications for the addition to the Toms River Yacht Club house, and they are in the hands of builders. The bids will be in by March 15.
The cardinal bird is seen once in awhile around Hyers, Union and Walton streets.
Wasps, moths and other insects were brought out by the warm spell last week, only to be sorry for it later.
Sutton & Snyder, the contractors, have bought twenty lots in Montray Park, and figure on building some houses there as a business venture.
Guess folks who failed to fill their ice houses up till this time will use artificial ice this summer.
Reports from Double Trouble say that turkey buzzards and kingfishers have both been seen inside the past week. Up Pleasant Plains way they report having earthworms to the top of ground during the warm spell last week. Caterpillars have waked up and were crawling, in time to be caught by the freeze.
Some maples are blooming.
Boys are playing baseball.
Some bright moonlit nights.
They tell us that this will be a big summer along the shore.
A song sparrow was heard Tuesday morning. He is the jolliest little beggar of them all.
C.W. Pilch, who some years ago built the chicken farm in Berkeley, now managed by Hermon Sonder, is building a house near the Main Shore Road entrance to Pine Beach, and will start another chicken farm there, it is reported.
Just think—next winter we will have hard paved roads on Main and Washington streets both. Can it be possible?
Some of the Florida contingent are coming north.
Fruit growers are fearful of another warm spring like last year, that started the buds too early.
...Opportunity in Ocean County runs chiefly to palatable produce. Already we have heard him call Eggs, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, but he is not through. Go down along the bay shore, and you will hear him voice another shout—Oysters! The oyster may be a little more risky than some land crops, bu twhen you strike it right, you get big returns...
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Philadelphia, March 4, 1922
My dear Mr. Fischer:
Enclosed find check to cover my subscription for Courier for 1922. Your interesting and breezy little sheet has become a companion to me, and I hope you live long, longer than myself, to give me the news of the several little towns in and around Barnegat bay. Every Saturday morning in this large city of Philadelphia when I receive the Courier, I go fishing, enter into the politics of Ocean county; and get real close with a number of good folks I know. Success to you and the Courier and hoping to see you this summer, I am
G. Clifton Guest
POLYHUE YACHT A SENSATION AT N.Y. MOTOR BOAT SHOW
Beachwood, March 6.—According to the New York daily papers the exhibit of J. Howard Perrine, of Barnegat, at the New York Motor Boat Show, was most interesting and successful. The Herald stated that the largest crowds, on the opening night, were observed around the graceful 15-foot sample yacht, representing the fleet of the Polyhue Yacht Club, of Beachwood. To cap the climax, the Herreshoffs, famous builders of America's Cup defenders, purchased the model, saying that they did not see how Mr. Perrine could do it, meaning to build craft of this quality at his price. The fact of the sale was announced in the show and also published in the daily press. Before the close of the exhibition the beautiful orange sail of Commodore Robinson, of the Polyhue Yacht Club, was displayed on the boat and attracted still greater attention. A great many people expressed a desire to go to Beachwood this coming season and see the fleet with the many colored sails.
Mr. Perrine received quite a number of orders for boats and introduced the model to more than a score of yacht clubs. The New London (Conn.) Yacht Club's secretary reported that his club was much interested in the Polyhue's color scheme, and had already made some experiments in dying sails. During the show moving pictures of a race between the Perrine 15-footers were shown and some of the members of the Detroit Yacht Club took the film home for an exhibition there. Many Beachwood people visited the show.
Barnegat, the home of Mr. Perrine, is justly proud of its boat-builder, who, when a boy, built his own boat for his first race, which he won, and this led him to devote his life to the boat-building industry.
MONMOUTH SPORTS BUY BIG AND LITTLE SANDY ISLANDS
J.B. Kinsey, of High Point, has sold the Big and Little Sandy Islands, near Harvey Cedars, to a group of Monmouth County sportsmen, who will use them as gunning points and build a club house on Big Sandy.
The Big and Little Sandy Islands in Barnegat Bay, popular rendezvous for duck and geese hunters, have been purchased by several local men who have organized the Big and Little Sandy Island Gun Club. The islands have an area of about two square miles, and the coves and shallows afford some of the best opportunities for ducking in this section of the country...
LAKEWOOD RAINMAKER WILL SEND RAIN LAST OF MARCH
In order to demonstrate his power to bring down rain when needed, Charles F. Rath, the Lakewood Rainmaker, has offered to give the State of New Jersey a demonstration of his powers. He writes Assemblyman Parker that to convince the Legislature and State Board of Agriculture that he actually did break the drought last summer, and that he has the knowledge how to do it again, he will let them select any date between March 22 and March 30, and he will cause a rain within five days of any date they choose. He says that in March he cannot be sure the rain will not be snow, and for that reason he sets his date as late in the month as possible, to avoid if he can, another snowstorm.
Mr. Rath insists that if he saves the millions invested in crops in the state, he ought to be paid for what it costs him to do it, which is about $4000 for each inch of rainfall [$67,551 in 2022 dollars], though he is willing to make special rates, such as a lump sum of $10,000 [$168,878 in 2022 dollars] for three to four inches of rainfall. He says he takes all the risk, as he does not ask for the money in advance, and if he does not produce the rain, the state pays him nothing.
FALLING HOUSE ON LAKEHURST RANGE KILLS CASSVILLE MAN
While a gang of men were tearing down an observation house or tower at the farther end of the range at the war-time Lakehurst Proving Ground, on Tuesday, February 28, Emery Lane, of Cassville, was caught under the falling timbers, and was crushed to death. The observatory was used by officers to watch the results of exploding shells, and was built of heavy timbers upon puncehons or stilts, which were strongly braced. The braces had been knocked off the stilts and the men were planning to let the house fall against the wind which was sweeping side and saw that the house was swaying the other way. He called to Lane, but before the latter could get out from under the heavy structure crashed down on him. Dr. Frank Brouwer, as Coroner, was sent for, and examined the circumstances surrounding the death, giving a burial permit.
The accident was at the upper end of the range, near Cassville. Lane was about 50 years of age and had lived his life mostly at Cassville, being well known in that section. He married a daughter of Hugh Donald, of that place...
SIGNS OF COMING SPRING
March is here, the sun rises farther north and earlier every morning, and we have other unmistakable signs that Spring is on the way. Silverton reports turkey buzzards; Pleasant Plains has seen angleworms; Lanoka is killing black snakes; kingfishers and turkey buzzards have been at Double Trouble; blue herons have been picked out along the bay; Toms River has had piping frogs and sunning mud turtles, and wasps, flies, moths and caterpillars have been seen most everywhere. But old March will give us some cold days and nights yet. In fact this little paragraph was put in type during a snow storm.
WALKED THIRTY MILES A DAY AND TAUGHT SCHOOL
Down in Grover's store, where they can tell you anything you want to know, from how far it is from Barnegat to Betelgeuse, to who killed Cock Robin, or who struck Billy Paterson, last Saturday afternoon, someone brought up the tale of the man who taught school at Cedar Grove, lived at Cassville, and used to “commute,” part of the time at least, via “Shank's Mare.” Later that evening, down in Fischer's barber shop, Cap'n Ben Asay tried to elaborate a little on the story by saying he had heard it when he was a boy, from the older folks, and they said the old man used to walk home for his dinner also in the middle of the day recess, or nooning. Barzilial P. Irons says that somebody must have been joshing Cap'n Ben when they told him about the old man going home for dinner, but it was the fact that he footed in from Cassville to Cedar Grove, taught school and footed back at night, part of the time, and part of the time boarded at Cedar Grove. His name was Joshua Brown, and Mr. Irons says he was “well schooled” for his day. He also says that he could jog along the road as fast as a horse would want to travel, and he was nicknamed “The Trotting Nag of Goshen.” Ben Pierce says he heard him talked of, and perhaps saw him when he (Pierce) was a small boy. He says that Brown always wore the old-fashioned swallow-tail coat of Revolutionary days, such as Uncle Sam is depicted as wearing, and that he never wore an overcoat, no matter how cold it was. He would clasp his hands across the small of his back, underneath his coat tails, and light out along the road, often singing as he went. Ben says that he used to make up ballads and sing them, and when a newcomer in Goshen (Cassville we call the place these days) stole his wife away from him, he got his revenge by making up a ballad, giving all the weak points in the family of his enemy, and going around singing it for everybody to hear. (Better get Ben to sing it for you.) Messrs. Pierce and Irons agree that Joshua Brown was tall and spare, Irons saying that he was six feet four tall, but that he was powerful wiry, or withy. The round trip from Cassville to Cedar Grove in these days makes thirty miles. Brown probably took the short cut by Ridgway, but the roads were nothing but sand.
CAMP DIX IS TO STAY
The latest reports about the retention of Camp Dix as an active military post are to the effect that the plans recently announced for a change have been suspended. This fresh news came this week when Major General Harry C. Hale took over command of the First Division, his office confirming the riumors that the proposed plans had been reconsidered.
Some time ago it was officially announced from Washington that the First Division would be transferred to Camp Meade and that the movement would be started this month and completed during April. The reports even went so far as to inform the public that if funds were not available for the transfer of the men they would hike it and show that they were willing to assist the military service, without being asked, in the execution of its plans.
Army engineers are said to have reported that this camp is better fitted by location and terrain for a healthy army post than any other war cantonment. Its selection as a permanent training camp has been recommended to the War Department by General Pershing.
General Hale brought the First Division here on its return from duty in Europe. He was transferred to the General Staff and assigned to special duties in Germany. He returned recently from a tour of Europe and was reassigned to command of his old organization.
FISH AND GAME
The only thing the Jersey sportsman can do this time of year is to polish up his guns and fishing tackle, read the proposed game laws, and wait.
Farmers and people who live on the edges of the villages tell of seeing coveys of quail last week during and after the storm, oft times coming in to feed with the farmyard flocks. They say that they find quite a number of birds were left after the shooting season, and this winter has not yet been very hard on them.
Keeper Fred Bailey, of Mantoloking Coast Guard Station, was in Toms River one day last week, and he gave The Courier the viewpoint of the pound fishermen, as he has gathered it from them, on sea fishing. First, Keeper Bailey says that he favors pound net fishing, because otherwise the cost of fish would be prohibitive to the ordinary person. Eliminate the pounds, and depend only on handline catches, as the sportsmen and anglers keep demanding, said Captain Fred, would be to cut the supply of food fish to practically nothing, and then the price of meats and other foods would go up, and the poor man would be hit doubly, losing his fish and having to pay more for the substitute. This is a strong argument in favor of the pound, and cannot be well answered—at least I have never heard it met. It would be much stronger were it not that the combination of fish wholesalers, and the extremely high cost of handling food fish, coupled with the waste in distribution and marketing from spoilage, keep the retail price of fish to such a high figure. Once a system of marketing fish at a reasonable profit to the distributor is found, fish should be a comparatively cheap food, as the catching of fish is not a heavy expense compared with the retail cost of the food.
Keeper Bailey went on to say that there are just as many fish in the seas now as ever. He instanced the large catches of bluefish made at Mantoloking last summer as an argument that there has been no dimunition of bluefish as is so often reported, but that it all depends upon where the fish happen to strike inshore, and whether there are people there to fish for them at the time they are to be had. He said that in his lifetime on the beach he had known no other summer when there were so many blues caught as were caught at Mantoloking from the beach last summer.
His theory as to the poor fishing in Barnegat Bay is that held by the late Charles J. Smith, of Forked River; Dr. William H. Ballou, of New York and Forked River, and others—namely, that the continuous explosions of the motor-boat engines alarm the fish and drive them away from the boats, and thus end the luck of the fishermen. Captain Bailey says that when one boat has laid at a good fishing spot awhile, the fish will gather and begin to bite. Men on another boat, seeing that this party is hauling in fish, will motor over, swing around the first boat, and anchor. Then there will be no fish because they have been scared away by the second boat. If the boats went back to sails and setting poles, and discarded their explosive engines there would be good fishing in Barnegat Bay, once more, pounds or no pounds on the beaches, says Keeper Fred...
Every day one hears the complaints of the folks along shore over the oil nuisance in the sea and on the beaches. Between oil and garbage the big city of New York will lose its own playground, the beaches of New Jersey and Long Island, and will also lose its supply of fresh fish, oysters, clams, etc., if the big city and its commerce-bearing ships do not reform their habits. New Yorkers think they have the right to dump anything in the sea or rivers or bays that border New York City. No one else ought to expect any consideration from New York. As the English say, “It is n't done.” New York never considers any other spot except New York.
The lower end of the Jersey coast has the same oil nuisance from Philadelphia-bound ships that we get from Long Beach north from the New York-bound steamers, throwing over their waste oil. First there ought to be value enough in that oil to pay to keep it till the dock is reached, and it can be put where it can be utilized. Second, there should be an international agreement, subject to a stiff fine penalty against the ship for throwing this stuff into the sea within a hundred miles of any coast...
Swede fishermen along our beaches, who work at the fish pounds in the summer, often go to sea when the fishing season is over, or take up some other job. This winter the James R. Hensler crew, at Seaside Park, have staid at the fishery and have been setting trawls off shore for codfish. Last Sunday they brought in 300 pounds of large cod.
Congressman T. Frank Appleby has named Orris Shute, of the Class of 1922, Toms River High School, as second alternate for Annapolis Naval Academy. The examination will be held in April. It is a three to 1 shot, as the first two men must fail and Shuts must pass the examination to gain the prize. Shuts is the son of the late Owen Shuts, well known as a baseball player years ago in Toms River. He is himself on the high school baseball and football teams and much interested in all sports.
Arthur G. Rogers, of Asbury Park, son of “Captain” Rogers, who formerly lived on the Rogers farm, Freehold road, and also ran the packet “Josie Rogers” between Toms River and Seaside Park, is to build a three-story steel and concrete storage warehouse at Asbury Park, at Asbury Avenue and Langford Street.
When Mr. and Mrs. Edward Crabbe arrived in New York last Friday from a three weeks' trip to Bermuda, they were greeted with the pleasing news that they had a little granddaughter, in Concord, N.H., just born to Mr. and Mrs. Starr Ballou. Mrs. Crabbe went immediately to Concord. Mr. Crabbe and Miss Georgiana returned to Toms River Friday.
The many friends of J. Howard Perrine, the boat builder, who had one of his sail boats on exhibition at the Motor Boat Show in New York, last week, are very much pleased to hear that he has a number of orders to be filled right away. You may travel far and near, but you won't find another boat builder like J.H. Perrine.
J.H. Perrine's exhibit at the boat show in New York was a big success. He sold several of his famous “Barnegat Sneak Boxes” to Herreshoff, the famous boat builder, and has orders enough to keep an extra lot of men busy for some time. He just received an order from Florida. He wil build a large power boat for Capt. Oscar Eayre. With all the work ahead of him his boat shop will be a busy place for some time.
The Bay and Yacht Club's new dock, now about completed, is a big advance over the former dock, and it will be much appreciated by the yachting crowd.
Hubert Johnson, who has a machine shop and boat works here, has taken one of his new boats to enter it in the motor-boat show in New York.
The stormy weather interfered with the progress of the A.A. Thompson Company, who are moving the Bonds Coast Guard Station. Evidently discouraged by the continued stormy weather, the foreman and gang returned to their homes in Red Bank on Friday and did not return except in time to resume work on Tuesday. The station has now been moved most of the distance required down the island and across the road and about two more weeks of good weather will see the job completed.
The stork seems to be making a specialty of girl babies, at least in Beach Haven, as two were left here within the past week, and he is not traveling in circles, either, for these sets of parents live side by side. One baby came to Mr. and Mrs. Harry Pharo, the other to Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Dowel. Congratulations all around.
Capt. and Mrs. Jeremiah Sprague returned home last week from a winter's trip with Mrs. Sprague's parents and other relatives at Cullen Castle, Ireland. They report a very pleasant visit with interesting sightseeing trips. They brought back with them two children, a boy and a girl, fourteen and fifteen years, whom they will adopt and raise as American citizens.
Beachwood had a visit one day recently from a deer, that was evidently chased by hounds, and took to the river to escape. The ice was thin, and it broke through a short distance from shore, and exhausted itself in its efforts to return to the land. Beachwood people summoned Warren J.H. Evernham, who, with the aid of some of our folks, went out in a boat and brought the deer to shore. At first it seemed frightened and struggled, but afterward appeared to know that it was being treated kindly, and became quite tame. After several pictures were taken of it, the deer bounded off through the resort into the pine woods.
George Morehouse was Sunday visitor in Whitings, and spent Monday in Toms River. George never misses Sunday school, whether at home or abroad, and attended the session in Whitings, getting a certificate from that school to show his perfect attendance record at the home school. George went to Whitings in the way he likes best, walking. He went via Pasadena, stopping to call on David Webb and other friends, and at Whitings was the guest of James Estlow.
When the days get longer our boatmen begin to talk overhauling their craft.
There is considerable talk here and at Waretown about repealing the present oyster law, and making Barnegat Bay free oyster ground for all tongers again. The baymen have never fully been reconciled to having the bay leased. They wouldn't lease it themselves, and accordingly it is now largely occupied by West Creek and Tuckerton men, who saw the possibilities of Barnegat Bay as a seed producing ground. It would pay the baymen along the shore still to take up the ground that is left, plant it with shells, and sell the seed produced. A good living could be made by most any bayman in that way, some say, and some say he could make a competence, if he wanted to.
The baseball season opened in Forked River on Sunday afternoon last at the north end of the village.
The stork, after traveling fast all Sunday night, stopped to rest on the roof of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Stanwood's new home, leaving them a fine fat eight-pound boy, the image of his dad. The two “granpops” are doing as well as can be expected. The baby is named Harvey Steele, Jr.
George Ellis is building a double garage on his property, corner of Ocean and Jayne's Avenue.
Charles Grafly, the Philadelphia sculptor, who in his struggling days and before he had arrived at fame, had a studio at this resort, has created the memorial to Gen. George Gordon Meade, of Gettysburg fame, which is to be placed at the head of the Mall, Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, in what was formerly the Botanical Gardens, Washington, D.C. Ground will be broken for the pedestal on March 28. The group is allegorical.
The boys have been playing baseball these warm days.
Oysters in our creek are fine, fat as butter. Harry Worth went out one day last week and obtained fish bushels and had no trouble in selling them. Anyone who wants fine oysters wants to visit Lanoka.
Charles Hankins, the boat builder, was a visitor to Ship Bottom on Monday.
There is strong talk among the Councilmen of offering $25.00 reward [$422 in 2022 dollars] for the arrest and conviction of any person destroying electric lights or other borough property.
There are lots of wild geese and ducks in the bay. Since the ice is gone, it gives them better feeding grounds.
Oh boy! That was some masquerade dance at the Fire House last Saturday evening. The stormy night kept very few away. The costumes were all fine and the judges had quite a hard job in selecting the masqueraders for the prizes, which were awarded as follows: Best Dressed, Misses Mabel Spencer and Grace Glenn, as school girls; Comic, Misses Martha Barger and Lillian Page, as the Gold Dust Twins, and Mrs. Carl Schwindt as the clown; Original, Mrs. Ed Shane, as the old maid (sorry to say only had one tooth which put her in bad shape); William Pagem as “Old Doc Kill 'Em All;” “The Bum,” Raymond Keisel (and it's a good thing our town marshal did not see him on the streets or probably he would have taken him to the new up-to-date hotel in back of the Court House, at Toms River); Mammy was represented by Mrs. Harry D. Black, and Mrs. Alvin Black received a special prize for her services, at the piano. Numerous other costumes were to be seen. The music was furnished by the Ocean Gate Symphony Orchestra.
Howard Hutchinson is building himself a bungalow on Midland Avenue, near his former home.
The Pine Beach Yacht Club gave a card party at Buzby Hall on Wednesday evening.
William Liming is recovering from a severe illness. A clerk from Island Heights has been attending to the Pine Beach [Railroad] Station. Mr. Liming has been in charge of the station here ever since we had an agent here and has done all in his power to assist wherever he could in matters pertaining to the railroad.
It is still rumored that we are to have a new station.
The Lexington Garage was broken into on Monday night; license tags were taken from one car and oil and gas was also taken. Entrance was made by breaking a window. It is thought the work was done by inexperienced thieves, from the way they went about their work.
Tuckerton Borough has signed a contract for electric street lights with the Atlantic City Electric Company, and it is promised the lights will be on April 15. The contract price is $65 a light [$1,097 in 2022 dollars]. The company is now furnishing the “juice” for the radio station four miles below Tuckerton.
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