« PreviousContinue »
agement, and upon his death David M. White was installed as manager. Several years after Jennings' death the hotel property was transferred to the late William J. Thompson, "The Duke of Gloucester," of Gloucester, N. J.
In 1877 William and John Smith, of Brown's Mills, N. J., built the Atlantic House at Harvey Cedars, and this hostelry was managed by Howard Lukens for a number of years until destroyed by fire.
Many tales of the "Barnegat Pirates" have attained the antiquity of legends on Long Beach, but their verification is another matter. One of the favorite stories is to the effect that in the "good old days," when legitimate wrecks along Long Beach were too few, the "pirates" would hang a lantern to a mule's neck and parade the animal along the beach in the darkness of midnight. Mariners at sea, seeing the slowly moving light, would assume it to be that of a ship, and would deem it safe to venture nearer shore. The result would be a wreck, and loot for the "pirates." It is a beautifully simple old legend, and important if true.
Another pirate tale is that of a number of these beach-combers rowing out to the wreck of the sloop "Adelaide," owned and captained by James Lamson, of Cedar Run. The craft was overturned, and when the pirates reached the hull they heard a noise within. With an axe they cut a hole through the bottom and rescued the captain's little daughter Edith. The child had been caught in a partition in the cabin and hung with her head barely above water. All the rest of the ship's company were lost.
The Hotel De Crab, a Beach Haven landmark, formerly one of the first U. S. Life-Saving Stations on the Island of Long Beach, was erected in the early days of that resort by Captain Tilt Fox and James Kelly, and the new house of entertainment was given the name "Hotel De Crab" by Colonel Gray and George C. Pierie, who happened to visit the island at the time, having sailed up the bay from Toad Hall, a small shanty near Bond's.
The original Parry House at Beach Haven was located on Center Street, northward from the present site of the Hotel Engleside. Soon after the Parry House burned down Mr. Parry erected a small hotel known as the "Arlington Inn." At the expiration of a year he enlarged the Arlington Inn and changed the name to the "Baldwin Hotel," now known as the "New Hotel Baldwin." Subsequently the Engleside Hotel was built, and this was followed by the Beach Haven House, the Ocean House, the Dolphin Inn and the Spray Beach House.
On July 7,1874, Captain "Billie " Gaskill, of Tuckerton, inaugurated and maintained for thirteen summers the first boat line between Tuckerton and Long Beach. During these years the boats "Pohatcong," "Avabell" and "Berkeley" were in commission, and an old-time Tuckerton resident named John Smith drove a stagecoach from the Tuckerton wharf to Camden, transporting Philadelphians to and from the shore.
The stoutest heart would quail before the tales of terrible shipwreck along the Long Beach coast if these stories could be inserted here. Some 400 or 500 ships have gone down near this beach since the early days, and perhaps many more of which no record was ever made.
Notable among the catastrophes was the wreck of the "Powhatan," a clipper immigrant ship, which went down in a terrific snow storm off the Long Beach coast, about two miles above Little Egg Harbor (old) Inlet, on April 16, 1854, carrying 365 souls to a watery grave. A heavy sea was running when the vessel struck, and she broke up rapidly beneath the terrific pounding of the waves. Many bodies were later washed ashore, and much gold and silver coin was scattered the length of Long Beach Island.
The " Manhattan " was wrecked by the same storm on the same day the "Powhatan" was driven ashore, and only one man was saved from this vessel. He had floated through the tumbling surf and was found in a little hut on the beach, where he had crawled for protection from the elements.
During the war of the Rebellion an English vessel came ashore at Barnegat, and the only survivor of this wreck was a cat with short front legs, long hind legs and no tail. "Uncle" Caleb Parker, a quaint and unique character who "kept" the Barnegat Light, found the cat clinging to some wreckage and took it home. A few days later he found himself the possessor of a family of cats, all with short forelegs, long hind legs and no tails. These cats were considered nature freaks by the simpleminded shore folk until an Englishman visiting the island explained that they were of a distinct "breed of cats" from the Isle of Man, off the English coast. Although frequently crossed with the common and wellknown variety, several good specimens of these Manx cats, with "gait like a rabbit and a hopping lope," are still to be found on Long Beach.
But the wreck of the good ship " Francis" on the Long Beach coast is the occurrence from which all local historical events take their dates, at least in the conversation of the old-timers. The " Francis" had sailed around the Horn from California, and was laden with salmon and with the finest of wines, liquors and brandies. To this day the old salts and ancient mariners living on Long Beach wrinkle their faces in smiles and smack their lips involuntarily when the "Francis" is even named.
When the ship started to break up under the pounding of the waves the cases of salmon floated ashore and were picked up by the frugal shore folk against a fishless winter. Then the casks of port, madeira, sherry, champagne, burgundy, claret, moselle and tokay began coming ashore, together with many barrels of brandy and liquors. The news spread wildfire-like, and soon in Beach Haven, along the island, and from the mainland farms and villages, good, staid Quakers, Methodists, Presbyterians, and free lances alike were running back and forth along the beach waiting for a cask. Wheelbarrows, wagons, anything with running gear, were pressed into service, and some of the natives even rolled their barrels home.
The cellars of Beach Haven resembled those of some ancient baronial castle or medieval abbey, and temperance advocates looked sheepishly downward when meeting inquisitive neighbors eye to eye. "I guess pretty much everybody was a-feelin' pretty good," one Beach Haven pioneer put it, and smiled at the recollection.
Men became cronies, and dated their friendship from the wreck of the "Francis," and sentiments similar to those entertained by Tam O'Shanter were engendered:
"Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;
And not only the men but the women folks partook, and became blithesome and gay. One eye witness states that a resident who had never known the taste of port smashed in the head of a cask, baled the fluid out into tin pails with a dipper, and offered a pailful to anyone who passed. Everybody who had no cask had at least a five-quart pail full of the wine, and it was swallowed like so much red lemonade on circus day.
Two demure young ladies, strangers to "the cup that cheers," sipped a little sherry, and, liking the taste, sipped a little more. Then they sampled the port. The claret came next, and by the time their scandalized mammas had tucked them into bed the maidens had lost track of the different brands.
And even today a glass of the good ship "Francis'"