Have you noticed the green signs as you walk or drive around Indian Mills? These signs were erected by the historical society over 20 years ago to designate our cultural landmarks. Each sign, located on the original historic site, provides a brief summary of it’s relevance to our past. The map below shows the location of many of the signs and the video provides a great overview of the educational collaboration between IMHS and local schools. Click here to go directly to a narrative of several historical markers.
This map drawn in 2008 updates the original map from the 1970’s, which only had 24 markers. This new map has all 30 sites, including other sites identified by the township. The map received the Burlington County Board of Freeholders Historic Preservation Recognition Award for Achievement/Leadership. Mr. Catts, our local historian, also received a proclamation from the township for donating a framed copy of the map that hangs in the townships municipal building. There are also framed copies hanging in the library of both township schools.
Recently, the 3rd grade of the Indian Mills school district completed a project where students investigated all of the 30+ historical markers. The video below describes this exciting project which became a endeavor for students and parents alike.
The gallery below shows off many of the signs located throughout Indian Mills. A more complete listing of local markers can be found here.
When the Indian Mills Historical society was founded in 1973, one of the first projects on the agenda was to identify the historic sites in Shamong Township and place a marker at each location. Our historical maker program has been in place ever since, George Flemming, his son Scott, and Don Catts erected the first markers in 1975. Today there are 30 historical markers erected in Shamong Township by the Indian Mills Historical Society.
With the development of the “Shamong Township Master Plan”, twelve additional sites have been identified and our home, the Jennings house and Washington Forge below Hampton on the Batsto River should be added along with East Fruitland on Quaker Bridge Road.
The purpose of these historic markers is to acquaint today’s young people as well as the residents of Shamong Township with the unique and historic nature of the township in which they live. It is our hope that the information about the historic sites presented here will be one more step toward an increased appreciation of the township’s past and the need for future preservation of the rich historical heritage within our community.
1. Flyatt 2. Stage Road 3. Still Family 4. Small’s Hotel 5. Schoolhouse 6. Shamong Trail 7. Old Brick House 8. Braddock’s Folly 9. Sign of the Buck 10. Dellett 11. Treaty Tree 12. Congressman 13. Red Men’s Hall 14. Hartford School 15. Merchant 16. Meeting House 17. Sawmill 18. Brainerd 19. Country Store 20. Church 21. Thompson Home 22. Bedford Mills 23. Indian 24. Atsion Church & Cemetery 25. Pic-A-Lilli Inn 26. First Fire Station 27. Indian Mills Elementary 28. Historic Sites 29. Wharton 30. Reservation Boundary, 31. Jennings House 32. Still Burial Ground 33. Indian Burial Ground 34. Gate Tavern 35. Hampton (Forge) 36. Cline’s Tavern 37. Little Mill 38. Catholic Burial Ground 39. Ice House. 40. William. 41. Washington Forge 42. East Fruitland 43. Willow Grove Farm 44. Charter School 45. Naylor’s Corner
IMHS Historical Marker #1 Flyatt (Intersection of Oakshade and Tuckerton Road) by Don Catts
Flyatt was the name of a large tract of land called the “Flyatt Tract”. It was located about 12 miles from Cooper’s Ferry in Camden on the Tuckerton Stage Road, an ideal location for a tavern/stagecoach stop. It was at the intersection where the Tuckerton Stage Road (Tuckerton Road) intersects the Red Lion Road (Oak Shade Road), an isolated section of Evesham Township in the Pine Barrens. Today it is part of Shamong Township.
Little is known about Flyatt prior to John King opening the “Half Moon and Seven Stars Tavern” on his 101 acre Property called the “Flyatt Planation” at the beginning on the nineteenth century. The tavern sat on the northwest corner of the intersection. There it served as a tavern, hotel, and stagecoach stop during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Taverns were an important part of the nineteenth-century Pine Barrens. They served not only as a tavern, but also a stagecoach stop and a hotel for travelers. Often the tavern house was home for the tavern keeper and his family. The Half Moon and Sevens Stars tavern house also served as home for John King, his wife Margaret, and their ten children.
A small settlement sprang up around the tavern called “Fliatum”, sometimes spelled “Flayatem”, later shortened to “Flyatt”. The tavern linked this isolated settlement to the outer world. It was a place where strangers could learn of the place they were in, while the locals heard the news of the outside world. It served as a social center where folk could meet their neighbors for conversation.
Excerpt from an article in the Mount Holly newspaper around 1870 ….
Flyatt and Atsion the former in the northern part, and the latter in the southwest part, near Fruitland, are small thriving little places in Shamong Township.
The area became a thriving community, but like so many small settlements in the Pine Barrens, it only flourished for a short time. Although the settlement no longer exists, the name Flyatt remains on some of today’s maps.
John King operated the tavern/hotel on the Plantation, until his death on March 25, 1813. Reuben Lewallen continued to operate the tavern until 1815, then Amos Troth until 1818 when Isaac Lewallen bought the 101 acre tavern plantation on June 13, 1818. By 1820 it was called the Flayatem Hotel.
An advertisement in the New Jersey Mirror newspaper …..
Sheriff’s sale to be held on Saturday November 23, 1820 at the house of Samuel Swain, Innkeeper in Washington Township, Burlington County. All that Tavern house and plantation, situated in Evesham Township, Burlington County containing 101 acres. Commonly called Flayatem. Seized as the property of Isaac Lewallen and taken in execution at the suit of Joshua Stokes, Edmund Darnell, and William Sharp, Jr. To be sold by Samuel Haines, Sheriff.
In 1836, Mahlon Pettit applied for a license to keep a public house, inn or tavern at the Flayatem Hotel on a public road leading from Medford to Tuckerton, a place where an inn or public house has been kept for a number of years past.
On March 4, 1839, Mahlon Pettit bought the property from the Administrators of Isaac Lewallen. At this time, the Flyatt Plantation property was reduced to 71.82 acres and the tavern was called the Flyatt Tavern.
On March 16, 1879 John Henry Clay Jennings bought the property from administrators of Mahlon Pettit. By this time, the property was only 20.97 acres on the north side of Tuckerton Road. Jennings is credited as being the last person to occupy the tavern house. However, there is no record of John H. C. Jennings having ever lived in the tavern house. He lived in a small farmhouse across Oak Shade Road. The farmhouse is still there today and owned by the Indian Mills Historical Society.
John H. C. Jennings owned the tavern property until 1886 when he turned over ownership to his wife, Sarah Ann Jennings. Sarah Ann died in 1920. The property remained with her executors until March 2, 1942 when Joseph Wilks Booth Jennings, her oldest son and last living executor sold it to Jerome Stevenson Jennings for $1000. It is not known when, but by this time the tavern house had burned down. Wayne L. Jennings took possession of the property by last will and testament of his father Jerome Stevenson Jennings. On November 5, 2002, Wayne L. Jennings sold the Flyatt Tavern property to Clarence Reichenbach, he in turn sold it on March 26, 2019 to Deb & Steve Management LLC, the present owner.
An entry in the MARTHA FURNACE DIARY, PAGE 8 The diary tells us much, yet not enough to satisfy us. The diarist is mute about personal happenings at the ironmaster’s house. We must search other records. For instance; why no mention is made of the death of John King, a friend of Evans, is a mystery. King was a carter at Martha and owner and operator of the Half Moon Tavern at Flyatt. King died on March 25, 1813. He left eight children under 14 and three over that age. Evans and Joseph Doron were court-appointed guardians. Jesse and Lucy Ann took into their home the four youngest children, John, less than a year old, Lucy about 2, Margaret 4, and Mary 5. One of these children would figure prominently in the later years of Jesse Evans.
The Stage Road is actually today’s Tuckerton Road, one of the oldest roads in the country. It began at Cooper’s Point Ferry in Camden and traversed Shamong Township and the Pine Barrens on its way to Claimtown, today known as Tuckerton. At the time, Tuckerton was the third largest port of entry in the country, after Philadelphia and New York.
Before Europeans arrived, the Tuckerton Road was just an Indian path called the Manahawkin Trail. It was used by the Lenni Lenape Indian tribes living near what is now Camden County for their annual summer migrations, through the Pine Barrens to the shore at Tuckerton for fishing and clamming. The first Europeans that settled here followed this same path on foot and horseback from Camden to Tuckerton. This Indian path through the Pine Barrens gradually became a crude sandy road used by wagon and stagecoach.
Stagecoach stops, inns, and taverns were established along the route at convenient distances. Travel between Philadelphia and Tuckerton would be difficult, if not impossible, without these stage stops. They were an important part of the transportation process, as they were used to change horse teams and the feeding and lodging of travelers.
This was a popular trip. In those days it was believed that bathing in the salt water would cure many ailments. On a typical trip, passengers from Philadelphia in route to the Jersey Shore would cross the Delaware River on the Cooper’s Point Ferry to Camden where they boarded a stagecoach for the two day trip to Tuckerton.
After leaving Cooper’s Point in the early morning, the stagecoach, traveling at average speeds of about six miles per hour would reach the Ellisburg Hotel in a little over an hour, where it made its first stop. The next stop was at one of the hotels in Marlton. Continuing on, once past the Old Marlton Pike cutoff the Tuckerton Road was now mostly sand and the horses slowed down to a walk, around 2 to 4 miles per hour.
The next stop was the Flyatt Hotel, in Shamong for dinner and a rest while the horses were feed and a new team hitched up. Continuing the journey, the next stop was Hampton Gate Tavern also in Shamong, and then on to Washington Hotel deep in the Pine Barrens of Washington Township, the last stop of the day.
The next morning there was one more stop at Bodine’s Tavern on the Wading River then on to Tuckerton.
The Tuckerton Road follows basically the same route today. However, a 4×4 vehicle may be needed to get through some areas of the Pine Barrens.