November 10, 2022




President Franzen called the meeting to order at 7:10 followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.

Members present:

Rick Franzen                  Ann Franzen                  Mary Ann Silvers

Gail Corey                      Eileen Chesla                  Peggy Pitney

Carol Riener                   Sue Shannon                  Bill & Gerry Sprague

The Secretary read the minutes from the 10-13-2022 meeting. One change was noted: under New Business the name Educational Foundation of Tabernacle should replace Tabernacle School Foundation. A motion was made by Gail Corey and seconded by Ann Franzen to accept the minutes with the correction and was unanimously approved. 

The Treasurer’s Report was read into the record.  There was a beginning balance of $21,992.68, .18 interest, $200.00 in revenue, and $197.49 in expenditures leaving an ending balance of $21,995.37.  A motion was made by Peggy Pitney and seconded by Eileen Chesla to accept the report which was unanimously approved.


President Franzen gave some background information on the ongoing Newspaper Project.  Gail Corey reported that she has been in conversation with various organizations with regard to grant monies that may be able to be secured for the project one of which would require a cash match which we are not in a position to do right now.  The Burlington County Library has indicated that they are willing to do more to facilitate the project.  Rick thought this a good idea and the membership present seemed to agree.

The Pepper House tour was a nice day although only 2 people came out to see the property.

The Friends of Cyrus Lease is still in the hands of the Chairman of the Board of the organization.  We are hoping for it to be reviewed and responded to by the next meeting.

An update was given on the Lepsis Grant and the Pension Files we are using the funds to secure.  There are over 20 Civil War Veterans buried locally.  Files have been ordered for Gilbert Knight, George Ayers and Caleb Rogers.

The Boy Scout Eagle Project for the One Room Schoolhouse has been moved to March.

Jim Cuviello organized another successful Road Cleanup.  Carol Riener suggested that maybe we can include Foxchase Road next time since she and her husband clean it up regularly. 

The shades are in and ready to be installed at the Pepper House and the window at the Cemetery Building will be repaired.

Gail Corey suggested that a History Club be formed in our schools.

The Christmas Tree lighting will be held 12-2-2022.  President Franzen is looking for volunteers to help with decorating, staffing our tent and breaking down the event.


Our request for storage space from the Township was denied.  There was some discussion about the new Town Hall and its location.  There will be a meeting on 12-10-2022 at Seneca High School to answer the communities’ questions and concerns.

A lively and entertaining discussion ensued regarding Thunking Mill v. Turning Mill as well what a sprung is.  A sprung is a spring that will dry up and we currently cannot determine what a Thunking Mill is!

The plaques for the Pepper House have been completed and delivered.

The Todd Horner Family has leant us 75 funeral cards, copies of pictures and a book on their family history.  Vice President Silvers is in the process of copying them.

We have received a donation of a Pram which has been put in the Pepper House.

President Franzen secured a Certificate of Merit from Ebay dated 1876 awarded to Lilly Cramer who was a student at the one room schoolhouse.

The 2023 budget is being drawn up but not finalized yet.


It looks like Public Works may pay for the replacement of some of our historical markers.  3 have inaccuracies and 2 need to be replaced completely.

The Russo Family has given us permission to photograph the old Haines Sawmill which is on their property and scheduled to be demolished. 

Vice President Silvers presented some information she has obtained via newsletters regarding the Teachers Desk we have in our collection.  Some discussion ensued regarding its age and size.

We are trying to identify some of the subjects in the Throop family photos.  Sadly, the elderly woman who was helping us has suffered a stroke.  We are hoping for her speedy recovery.

Several items were brought in by members to help with identification some of which we could help with, others not.  Items were also shared for our enjoyment.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:08 followed by refreshments and discussion.

Submitted by:

Carol Riener


September 14, 2022




President Franzen called the meeting to order at 7:00 followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.

Members present:

Rick Franzen                  Ann Franzen                  Mary Ann Silvers

Carol Riener                   Harry Silvers                  Barbara Toms

Lisa Giafaglione             Eileen Chesla                  Harry Worrell

Russell Firth                   JoAnn Moore                 Gail Corey

The following Officers were sworn in to 3-year terms:

President – Rick Franzen (sworn in by Mary Ann Silvers)

Vice President/Treasurer – Mary Ann Silvers (sworn in by Rick Franzen)

Secretary – Carol Riener (sworn in by Rick Franzen)

President Franzen thanked Ann Franzen for her years of hard work and dedication as Secretary.  The Society is grateful for all that she has contributed through the years.

Thank you notes were received from the family of Irene Abrams and the Tabernacle Methodist Church for donations made by the Society in memory of our longtime member and officer.  

It was noted that no members had been lost since our last meeting. Special acknowledgement was made that longtime resident Clarence Grovatt has reached the age of 106.

The Treasurer’s Report was read into the record.  There was a beginning balance of $21,992.31 on 8-1-2022 with .19 interest accrued and no expenditures leaving a balance as of $21,992.50 on 9-14-2022.  A motion was made by Harry Silvers and seconded by Barbara Toms to accept the report which was unanimously approved.


A discussion was held with regard to the AAP Grant Report.  An onsite visit to the Pepper house was done on 5-25-2022 and several recommendations were made including obtaining climate control for the property, monthly extermination and using a hydrometer.  The report has been forwarded to the Township Committee for their review.

President Franzen reported that the lease agreement between the Friends of Cyrus and the THS for the property on which the 1890 Schoolhouse is currently located is awaiting finalization by both parties.  There was also some discussion regarding the History Club which had been proposed by Friends of Cyrus which now seems to be in limbo.  President Franzen also reported that a Boy Scout has requested if he can use cleaning up the property as part of his Eagle Project.  This was enthusiastically embraced by the membership.

President Franzen reported that we had received a check of $1500 from the county. The monies will be used to offset insurance expenses which comprise a large portion of our yearly budget.

There is no update on the Severs Cabin.

We are still waiting for the Civil War pension files from the National Archives. Funds received from the Lepsis Foundation will cover the $80.00 per file cost.

We are also still waiting for an update on the ground penetrating radar study at the Old Tabernacle Cemetery.


President Franzen gave an informative report on his efforts to have more of the local newspapers digitized and available to all online through the Burlington County Library System.  A meeting was held on 9-12-22 with the County Librarian along with members of several other local Historical Societies to begin to explore the possibility. The THS was represented at the meeting by President Franzen and Gail Corey.

President Franzen reported that he had attended the dedication of Tabernacles 9/11 Memorial which was erected as an Eagle Scout project by Nathanial Zane. Lisa Giafaglione stated that the metal from The Towers had been secured by our local Student Council because the Tabernacle Rescue Squad had sent members to NYC to assist during the disaster.

Vice President Silvers reported that the THS has received over 1300 items so far all of which have been cataloged and cross referenced through extensive effort.  We were able to purchase 40 storage boxes with grant monies previously received.  President Franzen indicated that one of the topics of conversation at a recent roundtable was about which items should be retained by Historical Societies and which may not be of any historical value.  The consensus was that we will accept any donations offered.

The Pepper house will be open to the public on 10/1 & 10/15 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and will be staffed by members.

President Franzen and Gail Corey gave an overview of the grants we have applied for some of which we have received, others denied and some awards still pending.  A report is attached.

A discussion was held with regard to the difficulty maintaining our website.  We are in need some expertise.  We have an influx of new members and an uptick in views so we need to perhaps have a more easily navigable page.  Lisa Giafaglione will reach out to someone who may be able to help. President Franzen indicated that we would be happy to pay for professional services.

Our next meeting dates are scheduled for 10-13-22 and 11-10-22, both Thursdays but will have to be cleared by TRS.

President Franzen opened up the floor for discussion by simply asking what the membership thought of the current direction the society is headed and what might be areas in need of improvement.  The primary focus of the ensuing discussion was on how we could use social media to our benefit.  Lisa Giafaglione offered to help with a plan on how we can better utilize Facebook etc. to our advantage.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:30.

Submitted by:

Carol Riener


Tabernacle Historical Society

Executive Board  Meeting

August 24, 2022

This special meeting was held on the above date at the home of Rick and Ann Franzen. The President called the meeting to order at 7 PM. There were 7 members present: Mary Ann Silvers, Ann Franzen, Rick Franzen, Jim Cuviello, Carolyn Cuviello, Carol Riener and Gail Courey.

The meeting was called to discuss a recent email the President received from the Tabernacle Township Administrator, Maryalice Brown.  Ms Brown asked whether the Society was interested in buying the Junior Mechanics Building which had, until recently, been used as the Town Hall.  The Executive Board Members discussed this proposal at length.  The Society is certainly in need of storage room, as items are now being kept in the Cemetery buildings and in the homes of the officers.  We would also like to be able to display our artifacts in a museum setting.  As the discussion progressed, various questions and drawbacks were brought up.  If the building belonged to us would we responsible for the heating and airconditioning, electricity and insurance bills?  Our yearly budget for the buildings we now manage, and other expenses is about $4,000.  Maintaining the Town Hall might cost thousands more.  Also, it is understood that the building would require a number of improvements to make it safe for use.  Finally, it was decided that Rick Franzen would respond to Ms. Brown expressing interest in the idea while seeking clarification as to what was being proposed by the Township Committee.  We will await a response giving us more information.

Gail Courey gave a brief report on the grants she has been pursuing on our behalf.  One application to the Burlington County Historical Society seeks $6580 for a structural survey of the Knight-Pepper House, the purchase of historical records relating to township Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans, upgrades to our website, a speakers program, brochures and historical signage.

We were turned down for a grant to research the African American cemetery in town because we did not have sufficient input from stakeholders.  The cemetery is not sponsored by any group or church, so it has been difficult to locate stakeholders.  Another possible grant is on the back burner.  It is from Lowe’s, but has to be coordinated through a local store manager.  Gail has found that the local managers know little about the grant program and could not help us apply.

Rick reported that we are still waiting for a lease from Friends of Cyrus that would allow us to keep the Friendship School on the property formerly owned by the Tabernacle School District. The organization is forming a club that will help us with the landscaping of the tiny lot the school sits on.  The weeds are very high at the school, but it has been too hot for the individuals at the school to work outdoors.

Page 2

Rick also reported on a project he is leading to seek the digitalization of local newspapers by the County Library.  He has gathered support from various historical societies in Burlington County to persuade the County Commissioners to provide this service.

THS has recently received a collection of photos relating to the Knight family from Curtis Throop who is Gilbert Knight’s great-great-grandson.  Curt’s 92 year old mother has agreed to sit for an interview with Rick soon.  We hope this will add greatly to our information about the Knight family, the first owners of our historic Knight-Pepper House.

In a recent conversation with Tony McNichol of the Pinelands Commission it was revealed that permits had not recently been issued to raze three old houses in the area.  Permits are required to tear down any house more than 50 years old

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.  The next regular meeting will be held on September 14 at the Emergency Services Building.

Respectfully submitted by

Ann Franzen


June 9, 2022

Tabernacle Historical Society

Regular Meeting

June 9, 2022

The June meeting was held on the above date at the Emergency Services Building. The President called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM followed by a moment of silence. There were 13 members present: Harry Silvers, Ann Franzen, Rick Franzen, Mary Ann Silvers, Peggy Pitney, Russell Firth, James and Carolyn Cuviello, Neil Wilkinson, Harry Worrell, Carol Riener, Bill Sprague and Eileen Chesla. The Treasurer’s report showed a beginning balance in the regular checking account of $20,267.95 .  Income was $111.49  and there were expenditures of $217.64. The ending balance was $20,161.80.  It was explained that $6800 of this total is actually funds earmarked for the old cemetery managed by the Society. The minutes from the May12th meeting were read and found to have an error.  The Secretary will correct the minutes.

Old Business

A motion was made by Eileen Chesla and seconded by Jim Cuviello to donate $50 to the Tabernacle United Methodist Church in memory of our former Treasurer, Irene Abrams who passed away recently.

We had a visit from the consultant sent by the Artifact Assessment Program on May 25.  Joan Harris praised our efforts to maintain the furnishings of the Knight-Pepper House and the Friendship School.  She did not mention the issue of both buildings lacking air conditioning or heat.  We are awaiting a final written report.

The Friends of Cyrus group gave us some answers to requests we made of them.  They will allow us access to the building to further observe the roof line of the 1910 building now encased in the Friends of Cyrus building.  They are working on the wording for a formal lease allowing us to keep the Friendship School on their property and giving us free access to it.  Denied was a request for meeting space for insurance reasons.

Rick reported that the funds from the Burlington County Re-Grant have still not been received.  He is in contact with the County about this.  He also said that he has been working with our website consultant toward the goal of being able to make our own changes to the website rather than waiting for the consultant to do it.

The Pepper House cleaning day was scheduled for May 24th.  By that time, we will hope to have added more plaques to identify the donors of some recent acquisitions.  We also will be placing some photographs of old-time Tabernacle residents around the house.

The Tabernacle Memorial Day was held on May 28.  More than 20 people toured the Knight-Pepper House.  Our President, Rick Franzen was a featured speaker at the ceremony following the parade.

Jim Cuviello announced a road clean-up day for May 13.  Volunteers will clean the littler off two township roads earning $400 for the Historical Society.

New Business

Rick Franzen announced that the old Severs log cabin on Bozarthtown Road has been sold to Mark Cundiff.  He and his friend Janet plan to build a new house on the lot and restore the log cabin.  The cabin was removed from its foundation in Shamong and placed on its present site in 1904.  Later it was enclosed by siding and additions were added.  The previous owners wanted to sell the house to us, but the Society could not afford to take on the project.  We are delighted that the cabin will be restored.  It may even be possible to move the old foundation to the present lot and place the house back on it.  Neil Wilkinson added that the Indian Mills Historical Society has acquired the old Jennings farmhouse and will spend years restoring it.  In other renewal news, the old Haines store building adjacent to the cemetery has been purchased.  The new owners plan to rehab the building as a house.  Rick was able to take interior and exterior photos and was given permission to remove many artifacts.  Most of these objects dated back to the days when Holly’s Florist Shop was in the building.  The wheel that was used to move the freight elevator from the time of the Haines Store is still in the building.  The new owners promised we could have the wheel when it is removed.

The Lepsis Fund has donated $500 to us.  Those funds may be used to purchase the Civil War pension records for township veterans.

The annual Carranza Memorial Day ceremony will be held on July 9.  Brenda Allen and her grandchildren will present the wreath from the Society to continue a family tradition.

The President announced that there will be no meetings in July or August.

Elections were held with votes counted by Harry Silvers.  The results were that all nominees were unanimous elected to their posts.  President will be Rick Franzen, Vice President will be Mary Ann Silvers, Secretary will be Carol Riener and the Treasurer will be Mary Ann Silvers.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15. Refreshments were served, and Rick Franzen displayed posters of photos and information on the one-room schoolhouses of Tabernacle. The next meeting will be on September 8th at the Emergency Services Building.

Respectfully submitted by

Ann Franzen


May 12, 2022

Tabernacle Historical Society

Regular Meeting

May 12, 2022

The May meeting was held on the above date at the Emergency Services Building. The President called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM followed by a moment of silence for members who had passed away since our last regular meeting:  longtime member Dee Collins, former Treasurer Irene Abrams and Past President Dorothy Yates There were 13 members present: Harry Silvers, Ann Franzen, Rick Franzen, Peggy Pitney, Russell Firth, James and Carolyn Cuviello, Barbara Toms, Bill and Gerry Sprague, Gail Corey, Allen Rowles and Eileen Chesla. The Treasurer’s report (read by Harry Silvers) showed a beginning balance in the regular checking account of $20,043.99.  Income was $315.16  and there were expenditures of $91.20. The ending balance was $20,267.95.

Old Business

Rick Franzen reported on the grants the Society has applied for as a way of making up for the fund raisers cancelled because of the Covid 19 Pandemic.  We received a grant of $2,000 from the New Jersey Council on the Humanities.  This paid for 45 archival quality boxes to preserve our artifacts and ephemera.  We also used some of the funds to upgrade our website through the services of a consultant and to digitalize our oral interviews.  A Burlington County Re-Grant was requested for a structural survey of the Knight-Pepper House.  The grant for $2,000 was not large enough for that use but will be put toward our yearly insurance bill.  Both grants were obtained through the efforts of new member Gail Corey.  The President thanked her for using her expertise to garner the funds for us.

Another pending grant is from the Wells Fargo and Robert Mills Foundations through the New Jersey Humanities council.  We are hoping to receive $3500 to do a ground penetrating radar study of the old African American Cemetery and Church site.  Allen Rowles suggested we contact someone at the Dr. Still Office and Museum in Medford for help in locating resources into African American research in our area.

We also will be taking advantage of an Artifact Assessment Program offered by the state.  An expert will come and assess our holdings, the way we store and care for them and the way we keep records of our acquisitions.

The President and Vice President met with Kamilia Kamili, the head of the non-profit Friends of Cyrus which recently purchased the 1936 Tabernacle School building.  We are seeking permission to have the Friendship School remain on the property where it has been since the 1980s.  Also under discussion was the possibility of clients of the non-profit volunteering to help with the upkeep of the the schoolyard or even with the Knight-Pepper House.  Ms. Kamili will have a representative get back to us with decisions after consultation with her partner and staff.

Our website has been streamlined and many improvements made, but much still needs to be done.  The consultant takes quite a bit of time to complete the tasks put to him.

Rick displayed file folders full of ongoing research on the Paisley land development scheme, Friendship Sawmill, Sandy Ridge and the Taverns once operated in Tabernacle.

New Business

Dues for 2020 were collected, as they will be throughout the year. A road cleanup was scheduled for May 13 on Zimmerman and Bozarthtown Rds.  We will raise $400 through our efforts.  Volunteers included Rick and Ann Franzen, Jim and Carolyn Cuviello, Gerry and Bill Sprague, Eileen Chesla and Harry Silvers.

The Pepper House cleaning was scheduled for May 24.  This will spruce up the building before the visit from the Artifact Assessment Program consultant and the annual Memorial Day Parade.  The building will be open for tours on the day of the parade.  Rick Franzen will be a speaker at the ceremony.  He and Mary Ann Silvers will present a wreath.

The Cuviellos presented nominees for our election of officers.  They are: for President – Rick Franzen, for Vice-President and Treasurer – Mary Ann Silvers and for Secretary – Carol Riener. The election will be held at the June meeting and the new officers will be installed at the September meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45. Refreshments were served, and Rick Franzen displayed posters of photos and information on eight old taverns of Tabernacle. The next meeting will be on June 9 at the Emergency Services Building.

Respectfully submitted by

Ann Franzen


April 14, 2020 Executive Board Minutes

Tabernacle Historical Society

Executive Board Meeting

April 14, 2022

This special  meeting was held on the above date at the Franzen home. The President called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM. There were 6 members present: Mary Ann Silvers, Harry Silvers, Carol Reiner, Gail Courey, Ann Franzen and Rick Franzen.

Rick announced that we have been awarded three grants.  The first was for $2,000 from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.  The funds will be used for archival storage, web consultant assistance for our site, digitizing materials and insurance.  A second $2,000 grant will be used for operating expenses. It comes from the County.

The third grant is from The Artifact Assessment Program of the New Jersey State of New Jersey Historic Commission. It has experts who can assess our artifacts/holdings as well as how the items are inventoried and maintained.  We will request a visit from one of these experts soon.

A new grant request has been submitted to do a two phase study of the African American Church and graveyard. An intern, perhaps from Stockton University, will do data research and genealogies as well as write reports. Theother phase will be a full scale GPR survey of the land.

Another grant request will be made to help match required funds for the previous grant.

Rick and Mary Ann have met with Kamelia Kameli,  the head of Friends of Cyrus.  This is the non-profit group that recently purchased the 1936 Tabernacle School building.  Several topics were discussed.  The Society requested that we be granted a lease at a nominal amount to keep the renovated Friendship School on the lot now owned by Friends of Cyrus.  This is likely to be agreed to with details to come later.  We also asked whether clients of the company could do volunteer work maintaining the school yard.  That is also probably going to happen.  A request to have clients do some work on the Knight-Pepper House was more problematic.  Since this would be more skilled work (painting) the volunteers would have to be compensated in some way.  Gift cards are a possibility.  One request was denied.  That was to have a meeting room in the building.  Ms. Kameli said that their insurance company would not allow outsider use of the building.

On April 29th volunteers will be needed to organize the decorations from the Tree Lighting Event which we store in the right hand cemetery building.  At the same time, others can be working on cleaning and organizing the Knight Pepper House.

Various threads of research were discussed.  Sources include the County Clerk’s Office, the Burlington County Historical Society, Burlington County Library and the State Archives.  Rick is compiling information about the Friendship Sawmill and Amity Cranberry Farm from the earliest owners to the Spaeth Family and finally the Girl Scout Council of Camden County.

The Paisley land scheme resulted in only 14 homes actually built while the developer sold many lots to New Yorkers seeking a peaceful healthy life in the Pine Barrens.  A few of the houses were actually moved elsewhere after the development fizzled.

Two or three miles beyond the Carranza Monument was a settlement called Sandy Ridge.  Only a few foundations remain.  The Society has a video interview of a woman who once lived there.

With the permission of the Chatsworth Historical Society we will be getting copies of interviews of historic interest to us.  The interviews are now at Stockton University and have been copied for us by Heather Perez.

During the Pandemic the Society has not been having public meetings, but we have been active on many levels.  Besides our research, maintenance and planning activities we have also nurtured partnerships with neighboring groups such as the Historical Societies of Woodland, Shamong and Southampton Townships.

Harry Silvers volunteered to paint the exterior doors on the Knight-Pepper House.  We will also evaluate whether the windows are in need of paint touch ups.

The next regular meeting will be held when it is deemed safe.

Respectfully submitted by

Ann Franzen


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