|Watermills of Camden County - by William Farr - Chapter C|
Jessup sold the mill to Charles Wiltsey (variously spelled), 14 July 1829 (Woodbury, XX-369). In 1841 Wiltsey was assessed $2.50 for a sawmill, whereas the usual amount was $5.00 (CCHS, Mss. 505). Old Mills (p. 58) mistakenly locates this mill up White Horse Pike at ALBERTSON’S SAWMILL, and states that it was built by Charles Wiltsey Sr. about 1800.
Cammel’s house in the forks is shown on Warrants & Surveys No. 534, as well as in Maps and Drafts, Vol. 3, p. 6. The sawmill is shown on a survey of 372 acres between Great Swamp Branch and Bear Branch (Rutgers University, B.B. Cooper Collection, Box 11).
CHAMPION’S GRISTMILL see HOWELLS CORN MILL
CHEESMAN’S (PETER) GRISTMILL (Williams, Bispham’s, Kay’s, Pierce’s, Borden’s, Borton’s, Nash’s, Neelys, John Kay’s Stone Mill; Peter Cheesman’s Sawmill)
It is said that Major Peter Cheesman (1771-1856) built the old stone gristmill (which was on a 40-acre mill seat) near Turnersville some time prior to l809 (Cushing & Sheppard, p. 284), but it first appears that he did not acquire it until 1814 (Edward Z. Collings to Peter Cheesman, 11 August 1814 [Woodbury, T-560]). Collings had bought it from Simeon Eastlack, 27 January 1814 (Woodbury, T-113), and he had bought it from Joshua Borton two years earlier, on 6 June 1812 (Woodbury, Q-195). Borton acquired it from Jacob Borden, 10 April 1800 (Woodbury, D-282), which deed recited that it was part of a tract which Borden bought at Sheriff’s sale on 7 May 1791, but that deed cannot be found of record. The gristmill was sometimes referred to as the Stone Mill (e.g. Glo RR B-17, 1815).
A much earlier date for the gristmill has recently been discovered in a resurvey for John Bispham, 15 December 1785 (OSG, U-70). It traces the title of a 369 ½-acre tract including the millpond, and extending east, starting with a John Engle 1,100 (sometimes 1,160)-acre survey in 1720, down through Richard Valentine, Thomas Atmore and then Henry Roe, whose executors sold 350 acres to Peter Cheesman 22 August 1753. Cheesman bought 19 ½ acres from David Roe (which David bought of Walter Griffith, who bought 9 ½ acres from Henry Roe). Cheesman owned the tract some 18 years, until 21 January 1771, when he sold the 369 ½ acres to John Kay. Kay’s executors, who were authorized to sell the lands which he bought of Peter Cheesman “on which there is a sawmill and gristmill erected,” sold to John Bispham.
The last-mentioned Peter Cheesman, who was the grandfather of Maj. Cheesman, was born 1704 and died 1788. At page 19 of The History and Genealogy of the Hurff Family is printed a 1760 unrecorded deed from David Roe to John Boltus Horfe, with an accompanying survey map for land on the South Branch of Timber Creek in Deptford Township. The map shows that it fronted on “Peter Cheesman’s Mill Pond” (the deed notes a sawmill pond) to the east. It refers to David Roe’s 1757 resurvey of 185 acres (OSG, M-59), the map of which does not show a millpond on the creek, which permits the inference that the pond was created by Cheesman sometime between 1753 (when he acquired title) and 1760. The gristmill, then, would have been built at least by 1783, the date of John Kay’s will (1507 H). Although the writer has not found the deed, the sale by John Kay’s executors to John Bispham had to have been prior to his 1785 resurvey. The writer has not yet determined how title passed out of Bispham; nor to whom, but it was probably to Jacob Borden.
The Gloucester Township ratables provide clear evidence that from 1779 to 1794 there was an associated sawmill, and that both the sawmill and the gristmill were in present-day Camden County. John Kay was assessed for both types of mills in Gloucester Township for the years 1779 through 1783. Simultaneously John Kay owned the mills at Blackwood (see WARDS FULLING AND GRIST MILLS). John Bispham was similarly assessed and for 360 acres in the year 1786.
It was the Bispham name which eventually led to the discovery of the connection of him and his predecessors to these mills. The beginning point of a 1787 survey of 55 acres at present Erial to George Young was near “that branch of Timber Creek which John Bispham, Jonathan Williams and others mills stands on” (OSG, U-299), which point can be identified as at the head of Toms Dam Branch, which empties into the South Branch of Timber Creek. It is curious that Bispham’s tract, which clearly included the mills and pond, lay above Toms Dam Branch, not touching or including it. Williams Mill, which presents its own uncertainties, has not been located. It may have been mislocated on Toms Dam Branch by the Young survey.
On 26 December 1768 Jonathan Williams and wife Elizabeth made a mortgage to Samuel Blackwood on three tracts (Woodbury Mortgages A-93). The first tract was described as a 190-acre plantation and sawmill in Deptford and Gloucester townships, not by metes and bounds, but on “the main branch of Great Timber Creek & branch of said Great Timber Creek called Stephens’s Runn” (the latter is a branch, in old Deptford Township, of the South Branch of Timber Creek), bounded by Budd’s land, David Roe’s land and land of said Williams. This tract appears to be adjacent to and downstream from the 122-acre Horff (Roe) tract mentioned above, which is confirmed by Roe’s 185-acre resurvey of 1757, the map of which shows the resurveyed tract as owned by Edward Williams (Jonathan’s father or grandfather). The supposition is that Jonathan Williams had a sawmill on the South Branch down toward but not reaching SPRING MILLS, with which Jonathan was also associated. It is unclear to what extent the tract was in Gloucester Township.
In 1789 William Pierce was assessed for 275 acres and both mills. In 1791 Jacob Borden bought from the Sheriff (above). Then, in 1792 and through 1794, Borden was similarly assessed, but in 1795 for a gristmill only, and no sawmill was assessed in the years 1796 and 1797, although Borden was assessed for 300 acres. Borden sold to Joshua Borton in 1800 (above), and in 1802, when Borden’s acreage dropped to 260, Joshua Borton was assessed for 40 acres and a gristmill.
The entrance of William Pierce (variously spelled) into the chain of ownership provided some mystery and confusion to the facts. According to a deed from William Pierce and Margaret, his wife, to Thomas Taber (sometimes Taper), 6 December 1787 for 100 acres (Woodbury, GG-8), Pierce had bought it of John Kay’s executors 27 August 1787, it being part of the 350-acre tract, apparently the same tract Bispham had resurveyed two years earlier. A protraction of Pierce’s 100 acres places it along the north end of the tract and not including the millsite.
The millpond was located not far below where Toms Dam Branch empties. The 40-acre tract straddled the creek and was thus partly in Deptford Township and partly in Gloucester Township. The Cheesman Story locates the mill in Gloucester Township (p. 135) and in Deptford Township (p. 136). Map E of the 1833 Joseph H. Cheesman Division (Glo Co Surr Div Bk 2, p. 357 [GCHS, Map A-230(a)]) shows the mill on the Deptford side, but a 1959 survey made for Mary B. Neely by licensed surveyor R. M. Lord (copy in possession of William W. Leap) shows the millrace and mill in Gloucester Township.
Maj. Cheesman was assessed in 1841 for a gristmill of one run of stones (CCHS, Mss. 505). “P. Cheesman’s G. Mill,” at the site, is shown on the 1851 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia, (CCHS, M2001.74). Forty years after he bought the mill from Collings, Peter Cheesman (and wife Sarah) sold it to Thomas J. Cheesman, 19 December 1854 (Camden, X-324). The Barnes & Vanderveer l856 Map of Camden (CCHS, M83.90.646) shows “Thomas Cheesman’s Grist Mill.”
The devolution of title from Thomas J. Cheesman through Emily and Abraham Nash, and James Neely (the last operator) appears at pp. 139-140 of The Cheesman Story. A good representation of the mill was published in the Observer News-Report, 1 October 1964, calling the location the “lower dam.”
CHEESMAN’S (PETER) SAWMILL
Richard Cheesman, who probably built the mill, was assessed for it by the Gloucester County Freeholders for 1731, 1733, 1736, 1738, 1739, 1742 (Gloucester County Freeholders Minutes 1701-1797). His will, proved 5 September 1744 (297 H), gave the sawmill to his son Peter, who was assessed in 1750 by the Board of Chosen Freeholders for some kind of mill (Gloucester County Freeholders Minutes 1701-1797, p 101). According to Gloucester Township ratables, Peter was assessed for a sawmill for the years 1773, 1774, 1779 through 1783, and for 1786. Peter had only two sons, Richard and Thomas, and his will proved l788 (1620 H) gave one-half to each.
Thomas’s executors (rather than son Peter) were assessed for one-half of the mill (Richard for the other one-half) for 1792, 1793, 1794. In 1795, 1796, and 1797, one-half was assessed to Benjamin Cheesman (with the same amount of land) and one-half to Richard (with the same land as the Executors). Richard appears to have acquired the whole of the sawmill since his 1779 Will (2235 H) gave “my dwelling house and saw mill” to his son (Major) Peter Cheesman. However, the next ratable list available (1802) assesses Benjamin for one-quarter and Peter for one-quarter, and no other fractional shares possibly applicable to this mill were assessed. The precise identity of this Benjamin is uncertain.
Major Cheesman was assessed in 1841 for a one-saw sawmill (1841 Gloucester Township Ratables, Mss. 505), and he was operating the mill in 1842, with his son Benjamin being the sawyer (Sparks Collection, p. 14). It was listed as “Cheesman’s Mill” in the Kirkbride’s 1850 New Jersey Business Directory under “Sawmills,” and is shown as “P. Cheesman’s S. Mill” on the 1851 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia (CCHS, M.2001.74).
Major Cheesman was 85 when he died in 1856. Surveyor Edward Turner made a map of his lands dated 17 August 1860 (GCHS C-38). His will (probate proceedings in that year [438 D]) gave his estate (after the death of his widow, Sarah) to his children and grandchildren. Shortly before he died he executed a codicil giving the homestead farm, part of his real estate, to his youngest son, John. A caveat was entered against the codicil, and after a full trial, the codicil was denied probate. But on appeal to the Prerogative Court, the decision was reversed (5 New Jersey Equity, p. 243). A division was made of the remaining real estate among the other heirs (Cam Co Surr Divisions & Dowers Bk A-225). The sawmill could not be divided, so it and the 40-acre millseat (straddling the creek) were sold for $1,000 (deed, Catherine Shone et al. to Charles Stevenson, 4 April 1867, [Camden 52-362]). The mill itself was on the Camden County side. The deed says the larger part of the property was in Gloucester Township; the lesser, in Washington Township (Washington Township was part of Camden County from 1844 until 1871). The ownership of the mill property can be traced, by Camden County records, from Stevenson down to 1940, when Hugh C. Hicks sold it (then 34 ½ acres) to Lebanon Lake, Inc. (Camden, 905-85).
CHEESMANS (RICHARD) SAWMILL see PROSSERS SAWMILL
CHEESMANS (THOMAS) SAWMILL
CHEW’S SAWMILL see BATES’ SAWMILL
CLEMENTON MILLS (Newman Mills, Clement’s Sawmill, Lawrence’s Mills, Clement’s Gristmill, Knissel’s Mills, Wares Sawmill, Rileys Mills, Isaac Tomlinson’s Gristmill, Tomlinson’s Mills, Gibb’s Gristmill)
Fisher wrote (pp. 3-4) that Andrew Newman, in 1735, “was given permission to dam and harness the water power of two streams feeding into the North Branch,” built the dam as well as a gristmill at Clementon Lake and a dam and sawmill at Bottoms Lake. Damming permission, statutory or otherwise, has not been located. The date given by Fisher for such permission is long before Newman acquired either tract.
However, Newman was not the first person on the scene. On 14 June 1712, Benjamin Richards had surveyed to him 150 acres which included the confluence of Thorns Mill Branch and the North Branch of Timber Creek (OSG, Sharp’s Bk, p. 43). He sold the tract to Andrew Ware 10-11 December 1738 (Colonial Deeds, AC-79). Ware kept it for ten years and on 21 October 1748 sold it to Andrew Newman (Colonial Deeds, AC-81). Neither deed mentions a mill nor any specific water power within the tract. In 1759 Newman had 50 contiguous acres on the south surveyed to him (OSG, K-170). He subsequently acquired other nearby land not pertinent to this article.
Andrew Ware is of interest in another respect. The 690-acre Samuel Ward survey (OSG, Bull’s Bk, p. 71), just east of the 200 acres, was owned by Ware for some period prior to 1744, and THORNS SAWMILL was located within that survey on Thorns Mill Branch, upstream from the sawmill at Bottoms Lake (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 4, p. 22; Vol. 6, p. 28). Since Thorn did not acquire title to a portion of the Ward survey until 1744 (ibid.), Andrew Ware may have built the Thorn Sawmill. The Freeholders minutes provided no specific locations.
The 200 acres, comprising the two surveys mentioned above, became the Andrew Newman plantation, encompassing Bottoms Lake (on Thorns Mill Branch) and Clementon Lake (on the North Branch of Timber Creek), with the Landing Road running through it from east to west. It is quite uncertain by whom these two millponds were created. But it is clear that Andrew Newman had a mill at Clementon Lake. The Landing Road, laid out in 1762, from Longacoming to present Chews Landing, mentioned Andrew Newman’s lane (Glo RR A-13).
An advertisement by the Sheriff dated 3 January 1770 offered for sale, on an execution against Andrew Newman, his “250 acre” plantation, with a sawmill (note: one sawmill) and 1,000 acres of nearby pine lands (NJA, XXVII, p. 8). Newman staved off the sale and, according to the Sickler to Lawrence (below), on 28 September 1770, he conveyed 291 acres to his son John (according to Sickler to Lawrence deed, recited below), who mortgaged 231 acres north and south of the road to Jacob Shoemaker 1 October 1770 (Woodbury Mortgages, A-127). John’s executors conveyed 238 acres north and south of the road to Enos Sickler 29 June 1782 (Sickler to Lawrence deed, recited below).
We know, because of the deed hereinafter mentioned, that Sheriff John Blackwood held a sale of the property of Andrew Newman, which must have been prior to the Sheriff’s death, about 12 May 1774 (see intestacy record, NJA, XXXIV, p. 48 [1105 H]). At the sale Samuel Clement (d. 1784) bought several tracts, including one of 37 acres with a sawmill at Clementon Lake, on the Landing Road. Before the Sheriff could give a deed, both the Sheriff and Andrew Newman died, so John Newman, as heir of his father, gave a confirming deed to Clement dated 15 December 1776 (unrecorded original in Haverford College Library, Quaker Collection,). According to a later deed (Warrington to Knisell deed, recited below) this sawmill was called “Newman’s Mill.” Samuel Clement was assessed for this and another sawmill in Gloucester Township for 1773 and 1774. For the other mill see TICES BIG MILL. It is not evident from the deed, nor from anything else, whether the sale was based on a judgment or involved the foreclosure of a mortgage.
On 5 December 1783 Enos Sickler conveyed the 238 ½ acres to William Lawrence, (Woodbury, B-385) excepting a half-acre burying ground “in the place heretofore used for that purpose.” (Since Sickler owned the property for only a year and a half, the graveyard had probably been set aside by one of the Newmans; the writer has been unable to fix its location.) The tract conveyed by the 1783 Sickler to Lawrence deed almost enclosed, but did not include the 37-acre Newman’s sawmill tract at Clementon Lake.
The writer has been able to find little information about Enos Sickler except for the Gloucester Township ratables, from which it appears that he was a single man in 1774, was assessed for 175 acres from 1779 through 1782, and was assessed for the 228-acre Clementon property for 1783. The only subsequent assessment against him was for 200 acres in 1792 and 1793. In 1789 he was a subscriber for the building of St. John’s Episcopal Church at Chews Landing.
Samuel Clement died in 1784 (1385 H) and his executors sold the thirty-seven acre tract and sawmill to William Lawrence, 7 March 1785, so that Lawrence then owned two mills: a sawmill at Bottoms Lake and a gristmill at Clementon Lake, on a tract extending north and south from the Landing Road. William Lawrence and his son George owned the plantation from 1783 to 1800. William “Laurence’s” 1797 will (2106 H) left his real estate, without description, to son George. John Clement provides a map without a date (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 6, p. 28), showing a Lawrence Sawmill at about Bottoms Lake dam and a Lawrence Gristmill at the foot of Clementon Lake near the Landing Road. He also shows “Thorns (saw) Mill” upstream from the Lawrence Sawmill on Thorns Mill Branch and outside the Newman tract.
The undated Clement map mentioned above is the first substantial evidence of the existence of a gristmill at Clementon Lake. Several of the deeds of which we are aware only by being recited in other deeds might have mentioned it, but the 1776 deed from the Sheriff to Samuel Clement for 37 acres (surrounding that lake) noted “on which a saw mill is erected.” There is no mention of a gristmill. The Sheriff’s advertisement of the sale referred to Andrew Newman’s 250-acre plantation with “a valuable saw mill” (implying that there was only one such mill on the whole tract) (NJA, XXVII, p. 8).
The 1783 Sickler to Lawrence deed (which would have included the Bottoms Lake millpond) does not mention a sawmill, which presumably had existed there for a long time. On 12 April 1788, William Lawrence mortgaged to Samuel Clement’s Executors (Woodbury Mortgages, D-62) the 37-acre tract “whereon Lawrence’s Saw Mills stands” [sic]. Perhaps the Lawrences had no need for two sawmills and converted Newmans Mill at Clementon Lake to a gristmill, which it remained for quite some time.
The sawmills were assessed to William Lawrence for 1786. But in 1789, 1790 and 1792 a sawmill and a gristmill were assessed to George (nothing being assessed to William). So, presumably the conversion of the Newman sawmill at Clementon Lake was 1787-1788. Then for 1793-1795 William was assessed for a sawmill and a gristmill. In 1796 William was charged for two sawmills and a gristmill; and, surprisingly, Joseph Knissel (below) also was charged with a gristmill (but with no land assessment).
Knissel was even more deeply involved in Clementon property. On 14 November 1796 he bought from Mary Thackara what was later called the Barber Tract, supposed to contain 150 acres (Robert Bryon [sic] to Joseph Monrow, 9 September 1799 [Woodbury, M-27]), but which, on an 1815 resurvey for Monrow actually measured 192 acres. This property lay west of the gristmill race, on both sides of Landing Road, had no mills, was never owned by Samuel Clement, and the title stretched back through the Lawrences to Newman and Richards. Knissel sold to Robert Bryan, 1 March 1798.
When William Lawrence bought from Sickler, Lawrence was located in Newton Township, but he stated in his will, proved 1797 (2106 H), that he was of Gloucester Township, in which Clementon was located. Prowell (p. 679) says Lawrence built part of the house which became the Gibbs mansion.
Next comes a complex set of transactions. On 5 April 1802 George Lawrence sold a 208-acre tract (including the 37 Acres) to Enoch Warrington, a miller, of Greenwich Township. The next day, Warrington sold the Clementon Grist Mill and 208 acres to Joseph Knissel, a miller, for $5,600 (Woodbury, E-443); Knissel sold to Warrington for $2,600 a gristmill in Deptford Township (Woodbury, E-441), and Knissel mortgaged the Clementon property to George Lawrence for $3,300. (Woodbury Mortgages, E-199).
In 1797, five years before he bought the Clementon property, Knissel was again assessed for a gristmill, as was George Lawrence and Charles French, plus two sawmills, which is puzzling. In 1795 the township assessed three gristmills: Bordens, near Turnersville; Boltons, at Laurel Lake; and Lawrences; in 1796: Lawrences, Frenchs,near Fellowship, and Knissels (with no land assessment). It is possible that Knissel took over the operation of one of the other gristmills. He was, in fact, a miller, and was so described in an 1806 deed by Christopher Knissel, Administrator, to Samuel Clement. (below). In 1797 Knissel was again assessed for a gristmill, along with Lawrence and French. In 1802, having bought from Warrington, he was assessed as “Conizel” for the 208 acres, a sawmill and a gristmill. All references to assessments are based on microfilm copies of Gloucester Township ratables. In 1809 Levin Campbell petitioned for a tavern license “at the house how occupied by Samuel Clement at the place formerly known by the name of Lawrence’s Mills” (Gloucester County Tavern Records and see Old Inns and Taverns, p. 152)
Prowell (p. 679) reported that Lawrence had in his service “a German redemptionist [that is, an immigrant who obtained passage by becoming an indentured servant] named Christopher Kneiser, who succeeded to the ownership of the property, removed after a few years to Philadelphia.” This is probably a misspelling of Knissel, but the Christopher Knissel mentioned above, in view of his economic status, would seem not to qualify as a “redemptionist” in the employ of Warrington.
The Knissels themselves add some confusion to the ownership. In just a short time (1804), Joseph Knissel died, intestate, and his widow, Rebecca, was appointed administratrix of his estate (2499 H). She also died soon and Christopher Knissel, of Greenwich Township, was appointed administrator in her place (Glo. Co. Surrogate’s Administrations and Guardianships 1804-1834, p. 12). Joseph and Rebecca’s children and heirs, Maria, Elizabeth and Rebecca were all under fourteen years of age, and William Hollingshead was appointed their guardian (ibid., p. 26). Christopher was involved in gristmills in Harrison and Woolwich townships (Cushing & Sheppard, pp. 247, 309).
Christopher Knissel, as substituted administrator of Joseph’s estate, sold to Samuel Clement, Turner Risdon and Isaac Kay, 16 June 1806, the 208-acre tract, together with the mansion, gristmill and sawmills (Woodbury, K-46). But we find of record a deed from Jonathan Riley and Ann, his wife, to Isaac Tomlinson, 25 March 1853 (Camden, Q-624) for the same tract, reciting several transactions: the l802 deed from Warrington to Joseph Knissel, whose death left the three daughters as heirs; that Rebecca Zane and William, her husband, transferred her one-third interest to Jonathan Riley 7 February 1827; Elizabeth Souders and Philip, her husband, transferred her one-third to Jonathan (without recording information); and the other one-third came to Jonathan by deed of even date (25 March 1853), made to Jonathan by Joseph K. Riley, son and sole heir of Anna Marie Riley, deceased. “Reiley’s Mill” is listed under “Sawmills” in Kirkbride’s 1850 New Jersey Business Directory.
On 23 October 1816 Josiah T. Clement mortgaged to James Conley (Woodbury Mortgages, H-129) a 52-acre sawmill and glass works tract (part of the 208 acres) on the north side of the Landing Road. This was the location of a glass works built by Jonathan Haines about 1800, being succeeded in the business by Samuel Clement about 1818 (Early American Bottles, p. 132). Fisher says (p. 5) it was built about 1804, and (p. 8) implies that Clement had it built. How Josiah Clement got title is not explained. Samuel Clement had sold a one-quarter interest in the 208 acres to Josiah T. Clement 1 March 1814 (Woodbury, T-561), and since 52 acres is one-quarter of 208 acres, it may have been separated off to Josiah as his share. But an additional one-quarter interest was acquired by Josiah from James B. Caldwell and Michael C. Fisher, 1 March 1815 (Woodbury, U-567). How they got into title is not explained.
Having acquired the whole tract by the above-mentioned 1853 deed from Jonathan Riley, Isaac Tomlinson enlarged the tract, and made his residence on it, calling it Clementon Mills. By his 1868 will (988 D) he devised to his son Robert Tomlinson the 250 acres extending north from the Berlin Road to past the intersection of White Horse Turnpike and Gibbsboro Road. The part south of Berlin Road, some 250 acres (including a gristmill and a sawmill), went to son Charles Tomlinson. Charles sold to Theodore B. Gibbs, 2 April 1872 (Camden, 70-308), for $7,000, Clementon Lake and surrounding land (some 47 acres), plus the 15-acre SEEDS & NORCROSS SAWMILL tract (at Pillings Lake).
The hamlet of a few homes and other buildings, which took on the name of Clementon, was offered for sale in 1815 by “Clement, Hawson & Co.,” according to an advertisement reprinted by Fisher (p. 5). Prowell wrote (p. 679) that the “village” was owned successively by Thomas Risdon, Jonathan Riley, Isaac Tomlinson; and that T. B. Gibbs & L. W. Snyder bought the mills in 1872 and continued to operate them. Theodore Gibbs Gristmill is mentioned in Vol. 8 of the 1898 Report of the State Geologist. Fisher (p. 10) has the successive owners as Jeremiah Seeds & Uriah Norcross; and Isaac Tomlinson; followed in 1872 by Theodore P. Gibbs (this would apply just to the SEEDS & NORCROSS SAWMILL). Nunan’s 1850 Map of the Township of Gloucester (CCHS, M83.90.449) shows “J. Riely’s Mills” at Clementon Lake. The 1856 Barnes & Vanderveer Map of Camden County (CCHS, M83.90.646) shows Isaac Tomlinson Grist Mill. Kirkbride’s 1850 New Jersey Business Directory shows Isaac Tomlinson listed under both grist and sawmills (see TOMLINSON’S LITTLE MILL).
CLEMENT’S GRISTMILL see CLEMENTON MILLS
COLE’S GRIST, SAW AND FULLING MILLS (Robert’s Grist & Saw Mills)
Thomas Coles (Samuel’s son), according to Gloucester County Freeholders Minutes 1701-1797, was assessed for a “mill” in 1731, 1733, 1736, 1738 and 1742. Thomas died in 1748 (781 H). The mill was assessed to his widow, Hannah, for 1750. Presumably the assessments were for a gristmill since his will shows that he owned such a mill, but leased it out. It also mentions a sawmill on Albertsons Branch (see BATES SAWMILL (in Winslow Township).
Maurice W. Horner (History of Evesham Township, p. 47) wrote that a dam was built across the creek to power a gristmill. A deed from Samuel Coles (another son of said Samuel) to Samuel Tomlinson, 12 March 1757 (Colonial Deeds, O-27), for 43 acres on the south side of the South Branch of Pennsauken Creek, begins “a little below Thomas Coles old grist mill.” An early Burlington County road ended at Samuel Coles Grist Mill “in Evesham,” that is, on the Burlington County side of the creek. (Burl Co RR A-48 [15 December 1770]). The will of Samuel Coles, the son, was proved in 1772 (1048 H). The next year his executors were assessed by Evesham Township for two gristmills and a sawmill.
George DeCou, in Moorestown and Her Neighbors (p. 87) wrote that “Just above the bridge Roberts’ saw mill formerly stood, and the mill pond extending almost to Church Road was a favorite resort of the young people....” The bridge, dam and sawmill are all mentioned in a deed from Joseph Roberts to Joshua Roberts, 7 March 1844 (Camden, B-289) for a 56-acre tract mostly in Camden County. “Roberts G.M. [Gristmill]” is shown at Colestown on the 1851 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia (CCHS, M2001.74).
Prowell (p. 730) wrote “In late years Joseph Roberts owned a saw-mill near the hotel and its location is still discernible.” But it may not be the same one mentioned above since the hotel was apparently located on the Burlington County side of the creek.
On 25 March 1788 Samuel Coles leased to William Pine for four years a tract in both counties, described solely by reference to landmarks and adjacent owners, one call of which was to a “ditch which runs from Floodgates to the fulling mill” (CCHS, Ms. Although this mill might be thought to be the same mill as that at Church Road (see ROBERT’S SAW, FULLING AND GRIST MILL), all indications point to Colestown, about a mile downstream.
COLE’S GRISTMILL see BURROUGH’S (SAMUEL) GRISTMILL
COLLINS’ SAWMILL (near Gibbsboro) see CORE’S SAWMILL
CORE’S SAWMILL (Collin’s, Matlack’s, Gibb’s, Gibb’s & Huggs; Samuel Hugg’s Sawmill; Gibb’s & Griffiths; Wharton’s Gristmill, Watson’s, Ford’s; Lucas Paint Works)
In 1717 Enoch Core located 304 acres extending northwestward from the stream (OSG, B-59). The 1731 will of Enoch “Coore,” of Evesham Township (2221 C), directed a sale of his 300 acres of pine land, proceeds to go to his sisters, Mary Wilkins, Hannah Foster and Sarah Newbold. Clement states in Maps and Drafts, Vol. 1, p. 35, that Core’s sisters sold it to Joseph Hilliard 15 April 1741; Hilliard sold 153 acres, along the northwest side of the stream, to Thomas Atkinson 3 May 1743, who then sold that tract to John Collins 17 May 1745 (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 6, pp. 7 and 32).
Core’s will also directed a sale of “the part of my saw mill” apparently located on his pine land, which was in Gloucester (now Camden) County but not otherwise locatable. The will indicates that he owned only a part of the mill.
Thirty years after Core died, John Collins, John Matlack Jr. and Joseph Hilliard entered into a written partnership agreement, dated February 1761 (sic), to erect a dam and build a sawmill on the same stream, which then ran between the Collins and Matlack lands (Warrants & Surveys, No. 47), at about the site of the later paint works. It was a one-third each arrangement, to last for fifteen years, with each partner entitled to two weeks of use successively. This is an interesting, perhaps typical, document; however, although construction and maintenance costs were to be shared three ways, the mill, dam and the ancillary works were built on land owned solely by Collins and Matlack. Construction was to be completed by 1 May, a period of two to three months, depending on the actual agreement date. The damming created the pond which was later called Silver Lake, not to be confused with the pond of that name near Clementon.
John Collins died in 1768 leaving a will by which he gave the residue of his estate (including a sawmill) to his daughter, Mary Hugg (wife of Samuel Hugg) but if she died without issue, it was to go to Mary’s cousins, John and Job Collins (956 H). Eight years of the partnership agreement remained unexpired, and the sawmill gift was probably the Collins’ one-third interest.
Although the exact date of Mary’s death has not been discovered, she did die without issue and title passed to John and Job Collins (1796 deed from them to Jacob Haines [Woodbury, K-365], for property not connected with the sawmill). Mary must have died by 27 January 1793 since on that date a survey of the whole tract (John and Job’s pine lands) was made (Warrants & Surveys, No. 245). By an agreement dated 27 May 1805 (Gloucester County Clerk’s Boundaries & Division Book A, p. 248, and Warrants & Surveys, No. 96) John and Job agreed to divide the Gibbsboro tract, which by a resurvey was found to contain 176 acres. The actual division is shown on a map annexed to Warrants & Surveys, No. 96, from which it appears that Job received the lower portion (80 acres), on which was located “the old saw mill.” But the map states “pond formerly,” from which it would appear that the dam was breached and the pond was down.
Job sold his 80 acres to William Bate 8 February 1811 (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 1, p. 35). A legal description of this tract in a deed, William Bate to William Wharton, 1 May 1817 (Woodbury, X-273) for part of the 80 acres, also refers to “the old sawmill.”
As to John Matlack’s land, on the southeast side of the mill stream: Joseph Hilliard surveyed 166 acres 1 May 1746 (OSG BB-63), and on 9 July 1746, sold the tract to John Matlack (recital in deed, Enos Gibbs to John Clement, 11 January 1812 [Woodbury, P-398]).
John Matlack’s 1775 will (1152 H) gave his daughter Hannah Gibbs (wife of Edward Gibbs) his, Matlack’s, one-third part of a sawmill and the land adjoining. On Clement’s copy of an old map of the Matlack property is noted: “map of Edward Gibbs’ land...where the saw mill of Samuel Hugg & Gibbs is in partnership” (Maps and Drafts, Vol. 6, p. 84). There is no date given for either the old map or of Clement’s copy. This same property was bought by John Clement (the father) from Enos Gibbs in 1812 (below). The tract was 150 acres and the west line went down the middle of the millpond, with the Collins tract on the northwest and White Sands Branch on the south. The deed mentions the “old Mill Dam” (but not a sawmill).
Hannah Matlack Gibbs died 1780 (Yesteryear, p. 7). As the law stood at the time Hannah inherited, she had retained title to the real estate notwithstanding her marriage to Edward, but he had control, during the marriage and after her death, of her interest in the sawmill (Blackstone’s Commentaries, pp. 470-471).
Warrants & Surveys, No. 320 (a John Clement Jr. 1808 survey of the Gibbs tract), calls the stream “Gibbs Mill Stream” and locates the “Old Mill” and “Old Mill Dam;” thus Clement noted, “This land was devised by John Matlack (who held under John Hilyer [Hilliard], the locater) to Edward Gibbs.” The 1 June 1812 Enos Gibbs to John Clement deed (below) also refers to Gibbs Mill Stream.
The 1761 Collins-Matlack-Hilliard partnership agreement provided that upon termination “what remains of said mill such as timber wheels iron chains…to be sold and the monies…equally divided….” Notwithstanding the scheduled termination in 1776, the sawmill continued in existence and use, but about that time, Hilliard must have dropped out. In 1780, the mill was assessed to “Edward Gibbs & Hugg” (Waterford Township ratables). It was not assessed to anyone 1781-1782, but for 1784-1785 one-half was assessed to Edward Gibbs and the other one-half to Samuel Hugg. Hugg’s interest would have terminated at the death of his wife Mary.
From 1785 through 1792, the assessment was to Edward Gibbs and John Griffith (the latter being perhaps a lessee of the Collins’ cousins). For 1793 the whole mill was assessed to Edward Gibbs alone, but in 1794 only one-half was assessed to him, with no one being charged for the other one-half. There was no assessment for the mill in 1795 through 1802. The 1805 map in Maps and Drafts, Vol. 6, p. 32 mentions “the old saw mill” at the lower end of the millpond. Each assessment for Gibbs showed him owning 160 acres. Hugg’s assessments involved 100 acres, and those against Griffith also showed that amount.
Edward Gibbs died intestate in 1811 (2802 H) and his real estate was divided in 1812 (Glo Co Clerk Div Bk A-348). Hannah having apparently predeceased him, dying intestate, the land at Gibbsboro descended to her only son, Enos Gibbs; and he dying intestate, it descended to his two children, Enos, and Hannah, wife of John Stetser Jr. This information is from two deeds by which the son Enos (who, being a male, by law was entitled to two-thirds) passed title to John Clement (1 June 1812, Woodbury Q-193, and 11 January 1812, Woodbury, P-398). This was John Clement Sr., whose will, proved 1855 (Camden Will Book B-811) gave his 200 acres of “sawmill land” (one-quarter each) to some of his children: sons John, Aron and Nathaniel T., and daughter Amelia Browning, who had a division made in 1855-56 (Cam Co Surr Divisions & Dowers Bk, p. 77; Maps and Drafts, Vol. 4, p. 77). It does not appear that any of the Clements ever operated this mill.
Thomas Rowand (mentioned above) also bought from John Clement (16 December 1815 [Woodbury Y-271]) 103 acres on the southeast side of White Sand Branch. When he sold them to Isaac T. Haines in 1816 (Woodbury, X-394), he reserved the right to dam that stream to raise a pond (now Little Pond or Clement Lake) and lead it to “the old mill branch.” It now drains into Silver Lake.
John Clement conveyed to William Wharton 16.26 acres of land under water [of the millpond] and bounding the easterly side of the pond by deed 31 December 1839 (Woodbury, W3-532) (See Maps and Drafts, Vol. 3, p. 39). This was about three years after Wharton acquired the 18 acres, which lay along the northwest side of the mill pond, so that Wharton now owned it all, for a total of 34 acres. This 34-acre tract stretched northeast from the Haddonfield-Longacoming Road to the Old Longacoming Road, with the millpond along the southeast and the new (1812) Clementon-Evesham Road along the northwest. It would appear that the millpond was overflowing the Clement land, and the deed goes right around the pond on the southeast side. The deed says its purpose was “to secure to William Wharton title to said Centreville millseat and the land flowed for the use thereof” (Gibbsboro was then called Centreville).
It might appear that Wharton built the gristmill. An advertisement appeared in the Camden Mail and General Advertiser on 8 December 1841 for the sale of several of Wharton’s properties at Centreville, including the water power and a gristmill which had “three runs of burrs, two bolting clothes, smut machine” etc., having been built but four years, and occupied as a “merchant mill.” Inquiry could be made of James Troth at the mill or of Rodman Wharton in Philadelphia. But at a much earlier date “Edward Gibbs & Hugg” were assessed for a gristmill, and 160 acres of improved land (1780 Waterford Township ratables), with a probable location at Gibbsboro.
On 29 November 1842, Wharton conveyed the 34-acre mill property (plus a blacksmith shop) which Wharton had acquired in 1836 [Woodbury, Q3-340]) to Johannes Watson, also a blacksmith (Woodbury, C4-386). Clement shows the “mill property” sold by Wharton to Watson on his map at Vol. 2, p. 85. It shows a building at the lower end of the pond, just northeast of the Longacoming Road. This building is also shown on Vol. 1, p. 27 as “mill,” and is undoubtedly the gristmill. Watson, by deed 1 October 1845 (Camden, B-544) sold to John Ford, a wood merchant of Philadelphia, the 34 acres and gristmill, the blacksmith shop and lot, plus another l0 acres.
On 10 November 1847 Ford advertised in the West Jerseyman for the sale of a gristmill with three run of stones at Centreville, plus a house and a tenant house, each with two acres, 52 acres of timber, plus 25 acres of “cripple” and pond. This advertisement calls the old Haddonfield-Longacoming Road “the main road from Camden to Mays Landing.” The 1851 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia (CCHS, M.2001.74) shows “J. Ford’s Mill.”
According to the 1894 Report of the State Geologist, Vol. III (appendix), one Blakely was operating a sawmill at Gibbsboro.
Copyright 2002-2013 West Jersey History Project