Salem County Historical Society

Salem County Historical Society The mission of the Salem County Historical Society is to seek, document, preserve, interpret and perpetuate Salem County’s heritage, and to enhance the awareness and appreciation of that heritage.

BECOME A MEMBER! Salem County’s history, and the evidence of it that is all around us, is one of its greatest assets and a source of pride for us all. If you share this pride or you are a scholar, a teacher, a family historian, or simply have a curiosity for the past, a membership to the Salem County Historical Society has something for you!

Operating as usual

Conservation Completed! Below are some before and after images of an archival item we recently had conserved by the Cons...
09/10/2021

Conservation Completed! Below are some before and after images of an archival item we recently had conserved by the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. The document you see here is a Slave Sale manuscript showing a transaction between Grant Gibbon and his sister Jane the day before Jane married Robert Johnson (father of the famed Robert Gibbon Johnson). Grant and Jane were the grandchildren of Alexander Grant, the original owner of what is now the Society's historic house museum and both resided here for a time. On November 2, 1767 Grant gave to Jane the following items: six walnut chairs, one walnut table, a number of items containing silver, a tea chest, a bed, iron pot, pewter dishes and a slave named Phillis who was 17 years old. Because the transaction occurred the day before Jane's marriage to Robert Johnson we believe the sale was intended as a wedding gift. A number of these items are in the Society's collection and will be on display in the coming weeks along with the Slave Sale manuscript itself. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, through the Salem County Board of County Commissioners & The Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

From the many companies and industries that have called our county home, Salem County has always held a very proud tradi...
09/03/2021

From the many companies and industries that have called our county home, Salem County has always held a very proud tradition of its workers and laborers throughout its history. Today and every day we support our workers in Salem County and wish everyone a very happy Labor Day weekend! Pictured here are images of hundreds of bushels of tomatoes waiting for processing at the Heinz Plant, circa 1946 in Salem City and two groups of workers posing outside of the Ayars Machine Shop.

as we continue cataloguing the information from our 1825 Salem dry goods store ledger, we just came across these pages s...
08/24/2021

as we continue cataloguing the information from our 1825 Salem dry goods store ledger, we just came across these pages showing that at some point the ledger was used as a flower press in addition to an accounting tool! (See earlier post for more information about the ledger itself.)

For the past year we have been working our way through various manuscript documents that have been with the Society for ...
08/20/2021

For the past year we have been working our way through various manuscript documents that have been with the Society for many years but have not been searchable. We want to capture in our computers names and other relevant details so researchers are able to find their ancestors and, for others, more general information about how people lived back in the day in Salem County. We have many hundreds of these types of items. It is a slow go, but we are determined. Here are two pages from an 1824-1825 ledger for what appears to be a dry goods store in Salem NJ. It could possibly be a store run by Dr. Hedge Thompson and James Patterson, based on another similar ledger in the collection but this one is not specifically identified as such. Some people appear one time in the ledger ~ perhaps a visitor passing through ~ but most are locals buying items for everyday living in 1825.

Two full pages are shown in total, followed immediately for each by two close-up views.

In these particular entries transactions include purchase of: apples, beef, pork, to***co, sugar, rags, hogsheads barrels of liquor, various seeds, rum, vinegar, jack (aka apple jack), soap, sugar, molasses (lots of molasses!), hats, plates, pepper, tenderloin, rye, eggs, wheat flour, fabric (corduroy, silk, gingham, muslin etc.), clothing patterns, buttons, curry combs, shoes, bobbins, cotton, oats and yes, that does read o***m … legal for sale at the time. Other pages indicate sale of paper, ledger books, sweeping brushes, spices, flour, fish, clothing items, kitchen utensils, bedding, tools, wood, and ‘shot and powder’ (for guns?). Some of the entries indicate payment in trade, such as someone making a shirt as payment of their bill, and, people buying or paying on behalf of others.

We are excited about the Salem Tomato Festival! Make sure you come out on Saturday, August 21st, we have a limited amoun...
08/11/2021

We are excited about the Salem Tomato Festival! Make sure you come out on Saturday, August 21st, we have a limited amount of the Tomato Cook Book. Yummy recipes for all tomato lovers, available at the Society!

~ some photos from the Society's rear courtyard on a summer Saturday.  Enjoy!
08/07/2021

~ some photos from the Society's rear courtyard on a summer Saturday. Enjoy!

Come check out our booth at the Salem County Fair! Our booth this year is advertising our newest exhibit, “Salem County:...
08/03/2021

Come check out our booth at the Salem County Fair! Our booth this year is advertising our newest exhibit, “Salem County: The Cradle of American Glass.”

We are currently cataloguing the details of one ledger in our collection from the Fenwick Club, a social club in Salem C...
07/15/2021

We are currently cataloguing the details of one ledger in our collection from the Fenwick Club, a social club in Salem City that existed from 1848-1947. This particular ledger covers 1873-1875 and shown here is a page from April 14th, 1874, the day of their annual social held at Rumsey Hall in Salem. Those members and guests visiting the club on any day are logged in on the left, and down the right someone would make notations about current events, weather, politics, local events and gossip throughout the day on the right side of the pages. On this particular day, the comments, in part, had to do with the annual event and reads, “Our Junior Members have displayed considerable taste in decorating there room in Rumsey Building for the evening.” And later, “Our Junior batchelors are having a gay and festive time this evening in Rumsey’s Hall ‘Bully’. About one hundred and twenty-five young people participated this evening in the ball. All well pleased, the refreshment table said to be the handsomest ever set in this our city.” You'll note that in the comments they also indicate that "Dr. Waddington reports Frank O. Prior more comfortable today, may he continue so", after reporting for many days that Mr. Prior had not been well.

Mason VanMeter
R.F. Starr
Chas. N. Acton
F.M. Acton
Thos. S. Smith Jr.
W.W. Acton
B.A. Waddington
Joseph Miller
M.H. Stratton
Gilmore Dunn
J.V. Craven
Jos. H. Fogg
E.H. Fithian
David E. Davis
S. W. Miller Jr.
E.J. Cattell
F.C. Richards
C.D. Brooks
Charles Mecum
Jos. Summerill
George Stack
Frank Jacobs
Warren F. Swazey
J. Watson Atwood
Paul Herwig
Thos. Sinnickson
Harry Jorden
Frank Miller
J. Howard Sinnickson
Nat. Lippincott
Edward Cattell
T. Jones Yorke, Jr.
T. Starr
Edward Robbins
Jos. Lippincott
Will Carpenter

We are currently cataloguing the details of one ledger in our collection from the Fenwick Club, a social club in Salem City that existed from 1848-1947. This particular ledger covers 1873-1875 and shown here is a page from April 14th, 1874, the day of their annual social held at Rumsey Hall in Salem. Those members and guests visiting the club on any day are logged in on the left, and down the right someone would make notations about current events, weather, politics, local events and gossip throughout the day on the right side of the pages. On this particular day, the comments, in part, had to do with the annual event and reads, “Our Junior Members have displayed considerable taste in decorating there room in Rumsey Building for the evening.” And later, “Our Junior batchelors are having a gay and festive time this evening in Rumsey’s Hall ‘Bully’. About one hundred and twenty-five young people participated this evening in the ball. All well pleased, the refreshment table said to be the handsomest ever set in this our city.” You'll note that in the comments they also indicate that "Dr. Waddington reports Frank O. Prior more comfortable today, may he continue so", after reporting for many days that Mr. Prior had not been well.

Mason VanMeter
R.F. Starr
Chas. N. Acton
F.M. Acton
Thos. S. Smith Jr.
W.W. Acton
B.A. Waddington
Joseph Miller
M.H. Stratton
Gilmore Dunn
J.V. Craven
Jos. H. Fogg
E.H. Fithian
David E. Davis
S. W. Miller Jr.
E.J. Cattell
F.C. Richards
C.D. Brooks
Charles Mecum
Jos. Summerill
George Stack
Frank Jacobs
Warren F. Swazey
J. Watson Atwood
Paul Herwig
Thos. Sinnickson
Harry Jorden
Frank Miller
J. Howard Sinnickson
Nat. Lippincott
Edward Cattell
T. Jones Yorke, Jr.
T. Starr
Edward Robbins
Jos. Lippincott
Will Carpenter

Did You Know?We have many local genealogy charts, and here is a tree with a very famous name! Ever heard of Betsy Ross? ...
07/10/2021

Did You Know?

We have many local genealogy charts, and here is a tree with a very famous name! Ever heard of Betsy Ross? Her maiden name was Griscom, and here is the family chart we are working on right now. Elizabeth (Betsy) Griscom was one of 17 children of Samuel Griscom and Rebecca (James) Griscom. Betsy is the great-granddaughter of Andrew Griscom who came from the British Isles to West Jersey in 1680. Betsy married Mr. John Ross on November 4, 1773, and settled in Philadelphia near Arch Street. Her story continues with her being a very skilled seamstress, being asked by General Washington and her brother-in-law George Ross to help make a flag. Her simple answer was, "I'll try." The announcement of this flag as the official Flag of the United States was quietly passed by Congress on June 14, 1777.

In simpler times, mail somehow was delivered in simpler ways. In looking through our archives we found this envelope add...
07/08/2021

In simpler times, mail somehow was delivered in simpler ways. In looking through our archives we found this envelope addressed to William Smith "Farmer near Quinton's Bridge". It was sent to Mr. Smith from William Johnson in Maryland, written on June 28, 1851. The note inside invites Mr. Smith to visit and inquires about interest and principal for an amount of money previously given to Johnson by Smith.

In simpler times, mail somehow was delivered in simpler ways. In looking through our archives we found this envelope addressed to William Smith "Farmer near Quinton's Bridge". It was sent to Mr. Smith from William Johnson in Maryland, written on June 28, 1851. The note inside invites Mr. Smith to visit and inquires about interest and principal for an amount of money previously given to Johnson by Smith.

The Salem County Historical Society wishes all of our members and followers a very Happy 4th of July! Pictured here is a...
07/03/2021

The Salem County Historical Society wishes all of our members and followers a very Happy 4th of July! Pictured here is an image from the Charles Ayars Postcard collection. This card was an ad for the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition which was held in Philadelphia from June-December of 1926. The celebration was held in honor of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence!

The Salem County Historical Society wishes all of our members and followers a very Happy 4th of July! Pictured here is an image from the Charles Ayars Postcard collection. This card was an ad for the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition which was held in Philadelphia from June-December of 1926. The celebration was held in honor of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence!

Our annual raffle tickets are available!! This year's basket is a weekend stay in the heart of Lancaster County, PA. Enj...
07/02/2021

Our annual raffle tickets are available!! This year's basket is a weekend stay in the heart of Lancaster County, PA. Enjoy your stay in The Limestone Inn Bed & Breakfast, and more! The value of the raffle basket is $835.00😲 Tickets are $5.00 per ticket and can be purchased at the Society or online on our website. Here is the link https://www.salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com/annual-luncheon

Good luck😊

Our annual raffle tickets are available!! This year's basket is a weekend stay in the heart of Lancaster County, PA. Enjoy your stay in The Limestone Inn Bed & Breakfast, and more! The value of the raffle basket is $835.00😲 Tickets are $5.00 per ticket and can be purchased at the Society or online on our website. Here is the link https://www.salemcountyhistoricalsociety.com/annual-luncheon

Good luck😊

While conducting some regular museum maintenance, our museum committee discovered an etching in one of the Society's sec...
06/25/2021

While conducting some regular museum maintenance, our museum committee discovered an etching in one of the Society's second floor widows. The phrase comes from the last lines of William Shenstone's poem, "Written at an Inn at Henley" c. 1735.

"Whoe’er has travell’d life’s dull round,
Where’er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome – at an inn."

Robert Burns, a poet from the late 18th century is known for leaving engravings on the windowpanes of the hotels he stayed at. It is unclear who left the engraving on the Society's window, and our museum committee and staff are continuing to research this interesting find!

While conducting some regular museum maintenance, our museum committee discovered an etching in one of the Society's second floor widows. The phrase comes from the last lines of William Shenstone's poem, "Written at an Inn at Henley" c. 1735.

"Whoe’er has travell’d life’s dull round,
Where’er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome – at an inn."

Robert Burns, a poet from the late 18th century is known for leaving engravings on the windowpanes of the hotels he stayed at. It is unclear who left the engraving on the Society's window, and our museum committee and staff are continuing to research this interesting find!

Intern highlight! Our Library intern Claire Augustin is spending her summer plugging away at our enormous collection of ...
06/23/2021

Intern highlight! Our Library intern Claire Augustin is spending her summer plugging away at our enormous collection of materials from Today's Sunbeam! Claire is currently working on organizing the numerous film negatives within the Sunbeam collection, a monumental but much needed project. She has returned to assist us with projects almost every summer for the past 3 years and we are so happy to have her back once again! Thank you Claire for all that you do!

06/18/2021

Exciting news!!! The Annual Ghost Tour is a go for this fall. Save the date for spooky fun and tunes! More details soon 🎃

June 2021 Quarterly Meeting. Featuring Drew Shuptar-Rayvis presenting ‘Eight Coats, Seven Shirts, Fifteen Fathom Wampum:...
06/13/2021

June 2021 Quarterly Meeting. Featuring Drew Shuptar-Rayvis presenting ‘Eight Coats, Seven Shirts, Fifteen Fathom Wampum: Early Colonial Settlement and the First Deeds’.

Our museum committee did a beautiful job cleaning up our court yard for tomorrow's Quarterly Meeting! The program starts...
06/12/2021

Our museum committee did a beautiful job cleaning up our court yard for tomorrow's Quarterly Meeting! The program starts at 1:30 p.m. We hope to see you then 😄

We are now fully open, and back to our normal hours, Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. No reservation needed! Come o...
06/09/2021

We are now fully open, and back to our normal hours, Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. No reservation needed! Come on in for a tour of our museum, or researching in our library! It's been a long year and a half, but we are so happy to open our doors again for visitors and our patrons!

We also wanted to thank all the people who voted us for best research library in Salem County! ☺️

The Salem County Historical Society wishes everyone a very Happy and Safe Memorial Day! Pictured here are photos of the ...
05/28/2021

The Salem County Historical Society wishes everyone a very Happy and Safe Memorial Day! Pictured here are photos of the 1904 Civil War monument dedication at Alloway Methodist Church from the Robert Dorrell Glass Plate Negative Collection!

ATTENTION: Beginning on Tuesday, June 1st the Society's Research Library will be resuming our regular hours of Tuesday-S...
05/21/2021

ATTENTION: Beginning on Tuesday, June 1st the Society's Research Library will be resuming our regular hours of Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-4pm! Visitors will still be required to make an appointment before visiting and need to schedule their visit a week prior to their intended appointment. Materials are still limited and will need to be prearranged prior to the researcher's visit. Please call ahead to schedule a visit! Phone: (856) 935-5004.

ATTENTION: Beginning on Tuesday, June 1st the Society's Research Library will be resuming our regular hours of Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-4pm! Visitors will still be required to make an appointment before visiting and need to schedule their visit a week prior to their intended appointment. Materials are still limited and will need to be prearranged prior to the researcher's visit. Please call ahead to schedule a visit! Phone: (856) 935-5004.

Just a reminder that our museum is still open for scheduled tours from 1-3pm, Tuesday through Friday. In addition, our l...
05/05/2021

Just a reminder that our museum is still open for scheduled tours from 1-3pm, Tuesday through Friday. In addition, our library is also open for scheduled visits from 1-3pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you would like to schedule a visit to tour the museum or conduct research in our library, you can call ahead to schedule an appointment.

Below is a photo of a recent tour group in our newest exhibit, "Salem County: The Cradle of American Glass."

Just a reminder that our museum is still open for scheduled tours from 1-3pm, Tuesday through Friday. In addition, our library is also open for scheduled visits from 1-3pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you would like to schedule a visit to tour the museum or conduct research in our library, you can call ahead to schedule an appointment.

Below is a photo of a recent tour group in our newest exhibit, "Salem County: The Cradle of American Glass."

You may recall in 2019 the Society was an active participant in the Robert Cornelius database project, a collaborative p...
04/30/2021

You may recall in 2019 the Society was an active participant in the Robert Cornelius database project, a collaborative project which aimed to create an online database of the extant photographs of Robert Cornelius. Credited with taking photography's first "selfie," Cornelius was an early American photographer who made many contributions to the daguerreotype process in the mid-19th century. Our involvement in the project occurred after we discovered in our collection an early daguerreotype produced by Robert Cornelius himself. We are posting now to inform you that the database project is now live on the Library of Congress' website! Please check it out to see more about the exciting finds made by the team! Our daguerreotype is plate #50 in the collection!

Address

83 Market Street
Salem, NJ
08079

Opening Hours

Tuesday 12pm - 4pm
Wednesday 12pm - 4pm
Thursday 12pm - 4pm
Friday 12pm - 4pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm

Telephone

(856) 935-5004

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Salem County Historical Society

Since its founding in 1884, the Salem County Historical Society has been the beneficiary of the interest and generosity of residents of the county and of those whose family roots are here. This has included the acquisition of all of its buildings, the collections that make up the museum, the library facility, and most of the cost of restorations and renovations that have taken place over the years, not to mention the vast contributions of volunteer time put in by its members. The result has been an historical museum that many believe to be unique and without equal in the United States and a library that draws genealogical researchers from all areas of the country.

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Comments

Hi from Canada ! I need some help in finding out if this milk bottle cap is from Salem New Jersey as there was an English's Dairy there and as well as my province of New Brunswick . Were there phone numbers like on the cap in the late 1950's early 1960 's ? Have you seen caps like this in your area ? Thanks in advance .🙂
My mother-in-law pulled this out of a Rubbermaid container yesterday. She had picked it up from a flea market decades ago. It's a Richman's Ice Cream calendar from 1955. Does anyone recognize the girl (Miss Country Fresh) on the cover? The calendar itself was a Better Homes & Gardens calendar with recipes on the inside, but the photo on the cover was pasted onto it. This leads me to believe it was a local girl, who may have worked at Richman's, or was from Woodstown, or at least from Salem County. My mom, who graduated from Salem High School in '55, says the girl looks familiar, but couldn't place her name. Anyone have any ideas?
I was wondering if anyone would know if there were any court/legal records for children who were in the Almshouse in Mannington between 1885-1895 and were farmed out to families of means during that time? I'm trying to find records of my grandfather. He is shown living with the Lampert family in Quinton Township on the 1895 NJ census. Thank you.
VINTAGE 1963 SALEM COUNTY COOK BOOK RECIPES AND ART COLLECTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE WOMEN’S AUXILIARY SALEM COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL SALEM , NEW JERSEY
Hi. Does anyone know if The Michael Richman house is still standing? I was under the impression that it was not, due to only seeing B&W photos from the 30's. However, I recently came across a color photo of this house on a Flickr acct dated from 2011. Michael and Rebecca Richman are my 5th great-grandparents and if it still standing, I would like to photograph it myself.
Hello, I'm looking to connect with anyone that is related to Pauline Lucas (1885-1953) she was married to John N Hall (1881-1955). I'm trying to get information on Pauline Lucas's siblings. Thanks!
I have a near match with Y DNA who reports he descends from Francis Simkins born 1792 Salem County NJ. I am looking for any known male descendant of Francis Simkins or any family tree information including him. My ancestor, Daniel Simkins, according to unverified sources, was born in New Jersey circa 1776. Rachel Simkins, married 1820 in Greenwich Baptist may have been Daniel's daughter. I am looking for documented evidence that Daniel Simkins came from Jersey.
Does anyone know if the records of Salem's First Methodist Church still exist? If so, are there volunteers who might be willing to search, within a certain time frame, for members of my Haines family who lived there in the 1800s? Thank you for any reply. Wayne Pfaff, Ohio.
A shout out to the article "Salem's Cross Burnings" by James Rupert in the society's fall newsletter...I grew up in Salem and never heard of these events. I don't know that many people living in Salem my age have heard this history. Very insightful.