Indian Mills and the neighboring towns have spawned quite a few notable people. From Indian Ann in the late 1800’s to Joe Vento in the early 2000’s here is a brief look at people who shaped our community:
Indian Ann (1804 to 1894)
Dr. James Still (1812 to 1882)
William Still (1821 to 1902)
Congressman John J, Gardner (1845 to 1921)
Joe Vento (1939 to 2011)
Joseph A. Hallinger- Civil War Vet
Last of the great Delaware (Lenni Lenape) tribe to live in New Jersey, she was the daughter of Chief Lasha Tamar. She was also a member of a small group of her tribe that refused the invitation to join another tribe in New York State when the Brotherton Reservation was abandoned. She was famous for her talent as a basket weaver. Many of her baskets are still treasured in homes in the Pinelands. Ann’s second husband, Jon Roberts, served during the Civil War in the 22nd Regiment of Colored Troops. He died in a hospital in Yorktown, Virginia after serving 13 months in the Union army. Ann recieved a pension of $8 per month, later increased to $12 a month, and lived in a small home on Dingletown Road where she died at the age of 90. She wore her hair in long thick braids and smoked a clay pipe. Her gravesite is in the Tabernacle Cemetery not far from her home. No pictures of Indian Ann have ever been discovered.
The “Black Doctor of the Pines” as he was known, was born to former slaves Levin and Charity Still. Dr. Still became a self-taught medical doctor and herbalist, with a large practice in the Medford, NJ area. Dr. Still married Angelina Willow in 1835. A year later they had a daughter whom they named Beulah. Unfortunately, Angelina died in 1838 from tuberculosis and Beulah a year later. Angelina, Beulah and Dr. Still’s parents are buried in Shamong not far from the family home.
Click here to read more about Dr. Still, his family, his associate to several local communities and his grave site project.
William Still is known as the “Father of the Underground Railroad”. He is the younger brother of Dr. James Still. He is credited with helping thousands of slaves escape the South and slavery to the North and freedom through the Underground Railroad.
Former mayor of Atlantic City and President of the New Jersey Senate in 1883. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1803 through 1913. Congressman Gardner lived in Indian Mills until his death in 1921.
Keith Jones is a former hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was drafted into the NHL in 1988 in the seventh round. He played in 491 NHL games and scored 117 goals. He later became a sports caster for NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Joseph Anthony Vento, a third generation Italian American, was born in Philadelphia. He dropped out of school to assist his father in running a restaurant and opened his famous cheese steak restaurant “Geno’s Steaks” at the corner of 9th and Passyunk in Philadelphia in 1966. While his restaurant was in Philly, he made his home in Shamong on Atsion Road.
His restaurant is know as one of the big three cheese steak restaurants and reached national notoriety primarily due to a highly publicized feud with neighboring Pat’s King of Steaks. Joe was not afraid of controversy. While being of Italian decent, he posted a sign reading “This is America: When Ordering Please Speak English”. He later won a landmark 2008 verdict over the sign’s potential violation of Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance. In a 2 to 1 decision, the commission found that the sign did not discriminate because Joe would serve anyone who wanted a cheese steak.
Joseph A. Hallinger was from Indian Mills. He was a veteran of the Civil War, part of G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic). He was featured in an early video that Fox did in 1928. He is considered to be the last surviving member of his platoon, Company F, 9th NJ Volunteer Infantry out of Indian Mills. To see a 1928 video of Mr. Hallinger click here.