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Old Tuckerton Stage Road - Tuckerton, NJ
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member 94RedRover
N 39° 47.461 W 074° 46.464
18S E 519315 N 4404586
Quick Description: Before the European settling in the Tuckerton area in 1699, the local Lenni Lenape Indians used this route through the Pine Barrens to the coast.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 3:30:55 AM
Waymark Code: WM6QEV
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member kbarhow
Views: 11

Long Description:
The Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey provided many generation of Lenni Lenape Indians with food and material sources. From their villages, they would follow this route to prime hunting areas and all the way to the seashore, where fishing and clamming were seasonal happenings. The greatest evidence of this lifestyle is preserved at the Tuckerton Shell Mound. This hummock is believed to be 1,500 years old, and sits out in the marshland.

Covering one-tenth of an acre, this shell mound, or "hummock", is literally a man-made island. The Lenape Indians would cross through the New Jersey Pine Barrens and head to the shores of Tuckerton for fishing and clamming. The shells from these excursions, over centuries, were disposed of riht here, on this spot...created this mound that is believed to reach 14 feet below the marsh surface and stand 10 feet high in places! That's a lot of clam bakes!

The first Europenas that settled here followed this same route on foot and horseback to Camden. Eventually, this route needed to be widened to accomodate wagons to bring needed supplies to this seaport and was named the Road to Little Egg Harbor. By 1791, Clam Town (as it was called) was designated as a port of entry for the United States by George Washington. At the time, it was the third largest port town in the country, after Philadelphia and New York.

Little Egg Harbor became a place of considerable commerce and prospered. In 1798, the town changed it's name to Tuckerton...and the stage line became known as the Tuckerton Stage Road.

The road again had to be widened to accomodate stage coaches as well as wagons. The Tuckerton Stage Road began in Camden and traveled through the Pine Barrens, a difficult and slow trip. Stagecoach stops, inns and taverns were established along the route in barren places, offering refuge to weary travelers. These small towns revolved around the commerce of the taverns...which also acted as the city meeting halls.

Much of this route is through the Pine Barrens and forests. The road in places may require four wheel drive vehicles, but much of the route is now pieces of minor highways in the area. I will try to let you know where you may have difficulty in a two wheel drive vehicle.

Begin your journey on the stage line at the intersection of Jackson and Atsion Roads in Atsion, New Jersey. Here, a hotel and tavern once stood in the middle to late 1800s. Nothing remains of these establishments, but historical signs are in place. The Brotherton Indian Reservation was nearby, as these were the original travelers of this route. Follow Jackson Road south to Atsion.

Atsion was a prosperous ironworks established in 1766 by Charles Read, and after the fall of the iron industry in the Pine Barrens, it became a cotton mill. Visitors today can see the mansion, old general store, church, school and the remains of a stable. A recreation park is open along the shores of Atsion Lake, created for the ironworks.

Cross over Route 206 behind the village of Atsion. You will pass the church and school as you head out into the woods. This section of the Stage Line is known as Quaker Bridge Road, because the Quakers would follow this route as well to their meeting houses at the shore.

The road here is dirt, and can be tricky when wet, but most vehicles will be fine. Follow Quaker Bridge Road for several miles, and will come to the famous Quaker Bridge. In 1772, the Quakers built a bridge that traversed the stream here, after many members drowned trying to cross. This improvement made Quaker Bridge one of the most traveled routes through to the shore...and is the location for a fantastic local legend...

One cold, rainy night, a stagecoach was attempting to reach a tavern on the other side of the river to get in out of the weather. Then, a White Stag mysteriously appeared in the road ahead of the stage, frightening the horses. With the horses bucking and rearing, the driver fastened the reigns to the stage and dismounted, rifle in hand,
only to find the White Stag had disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. The driver approached the site of the apparition, only to find the bridge had been washed out. Had it not been for the White Stag, everyone on that stage would have crashed into the swollen river. From that point, no hunter would dare shoot a white stag in the pines.

Continuing in a southeasterly direction, the road will then pass through the old towns of Mount and Washington, nothing remains at either site except for some ruins and cellar holes.

The next section of the road cannot be traveled, but Route 679 will take the traveler parallel to the route. Travelers would then arrive at the Red Tavern, another famous stage stop that no longer stands. The Stage line ends at the Tuckerton Bay, and the JD Thompson Tavern was the inn of choice. One can still stay at the JD Thompson, as it now operates as a bed and breakfast.

Once at Tuckerton, follow Great Bay Boulevard, and you will see the Tuckerton Shell Mound out on the marsh to your right just before the first bridge.

The Old Tuckerton Stage Line created the commerce needed to establish port town along the Jersey Shore. There is little information available about the route on the internet..and I plan on changing that. The best reference I've found for following the history and route is a book by Barbara Solem-Stull called "Ghost Towns and other Quirky Places in the New Jersey Pine Barrens." The author followed the route and provides as much detail as known about the stops along the way. My coordinates are at the intersection of Jackson and Atsion Roads, where you should begin your trip...
Feature Discription: Old Tuckerton Stage Line created the commerce needed to establish port town along the Jersey Shore.

Web address for the route: [Web Link]

Secondary Web Address: [Web Link]

Beginning of the road: Jackson and Atsion Roads, Atsion

End of the road: Tuckerton Sea Port

Visit Instructions:
We ask that if you visit the site, please include a unique picture with your impressions of the location. If possible, and if you are not too shy, please include yourself and your group in the photo. Extra points will be given for your best buffalo imitation or if you are licking something salty.
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