NOTES ON THE DAIRY FARMS OF TABERNACLE, NJ
by Rick Franzen
Yes, there were dairy farms in Tabernacle! It’s very hard to find information on them, so we ask that if you have any additional information to contribute, please let us know. Here is a summary of our research on the farms. Most of what we have collected comes from life long residents who have been able to share with us some of their recollections.
- Haines Dairy Farm
Located at 231 Carranza Road, this dairy was operated by Robert Templeton Haines (1898-1978). In various censuses, he is listed as either a “general farmer” (1920 and 1930) or, a “dairy farm operator” (1940 census). A picture in possession of the Historical Society names this farm as “Sunnylawn.”
In the 1900 census, Robert is a one year old and lives with his parents, Carlton (1869-1935) and Anne Templeton Haines (1873-1933). The head of household is John Wesley Haines (1841-1926) and his wife Martha Carpenter Haines (1844-1911). As head of household, John is a “farmer.” The families are most likely living at Sunnylawn. No research has yet resulted in the dairy farm’s first year of operation.
An interesting side note is that prior to her marriage to Carlton in 1895, Anne Templeton was a school teacher in the local school system, then Shamong Township ( Tabernacle was incorporated in 1901).
Here is an early 1900’s picture of the homestead with Grace and Robert Haines.
- Brick’s Dairy Farm
Brick’s Dairy Farm was another of the farms located just off Carranza Road on a private road known as Haines Lane. It was owned by (Joseph) Rogers Brick (1896-1991) who lived on Main Street in Medford and also owned the Medford Concrete Company. The farm was overseen by a tenant farmer named Steve Tomsco and his wife Thelma. They had a daughter named Shirley. It had been reported that this farm had the largest herd of cows during the local dairy farm “era.”
An interesting historical connection to our Historical Society’s Knight-Pepper House rests with the Brick family. (Joseph) Rogers Brick was married to Vera Knight (1897-1971). Vera was the granddaughter of Gilbert Knight (1832-1879), the local blacksmith who built the Knight-Pepper house in the early 1860’s. Vera’s father and Gilbert’s son, Harry Knight (1868-1925), owned West Jersey Cranberry Bogs and had a small bog complex on the north side of Hawkin Road in Tabernacle.
Here is a modern day picture of the farmhouse on Haines Lane.
- Prickett’s Dairy Farm
A third dairy farm on Carranza Road, was located in the vicinity of 202 Carranza Road. By the way, before being named Carranza Road, this local road was called Hampton Gate Road. There are a few opinions about the first name of the proprietor, some say Eli and some say Clifford. Perhaps they were one and the same, but we do know his last name was Prickett. Like most area dairies, this one was small, probably with less than 50 cattle. No other information is available about this farm.
This is today’s view of the farmhouse.
- Breeze Hill Dairy Farm
The operator of Breeze Hill (288 Carranza Road) is tied to three dairy farms in Tabernacle. Mervin Fletcher (1915-2000) at one time or another, ran or was connected to Breeze Hill, Allen’s and Foulk’s dairy farms. An earlier owner of the property was Jeff Simmons. None of the federal censuses from 1940 back to 1910 show a Mervin Fletcher in Tabernacle, so his appearance in town would be after this time-frame. We do know that Mervin at one time lived in Moorestown, prior to World War Two and that he was married to Elsie and had a son named Raymond.
Jeff Simmons does not appear in any local census prior to 1940 and thus his history with the dairy farm is unknown. Perhaps someone with a similar sounding name was the early operator. None of the other “Simmonses” in the early 1900’s censuses seem to fit.
However there is a short story about Breeze Hill that is interesting. About 1939 a very youthful resident visited the farm from his home a short distance away. He had been drawn by the sound of an airplane ( in rural Tabernacle before WW2 this was a rare event) to the dairy. Taking off and landing several times was a “barnstormer” in a biplane. He was giving rides to locals for a few pennies. So the local resident went air-born, with his Dad by his side and they took a tour of Tabernacle by air!
Today the farmhouse appears like this:
- Foulk’s Dairy Farm
Located at 260 Flyatt Road, today the farmhouse is uninhabited and in great disrepair. Until the mid to late 1940’s, the farm was owned by Ferman Foulkes (1916-1995). The farm’s land was located on both sides of Flyatt Road. In its heyday it’s herd of cattle never numbered more than 20 – 25 milking cows. None of the original out buildings remain. Other animals on the farm included pigs, horses and chickens.
Foulk’s is one of two dairies in town which had it’s own milk bottle. We know of two in the possession of local residents and have been allowed to photograph one of them. At some point in time, Foulks assumed responsibility for collecting the milk from Allen’s Dairy. It’s likely that this unpasteurized milk was taken to a collection point at the intersection of Carranza and Flyatt Roads.
Here is a current picture of the old farmhouse:
- Beaumont Dairy Farm
Census data from the 1920’s through the 1940’s show that John Beaumont (1863-1950) was a local farmer. No mention is made about a dairy. This was typical of how information was recorded in our area. Discussions with his descendants and other long time residents have shed light on this farm’s history.
It had about 100 head of cattle and the milk collected was stored in 40 gallon containers. Latter it was collected and taken to Millside Farms Dairy where it was processed and home delivered. The farms pastures were located on both sides of Carranza Road while the farmhouse was located at 401 Carranza.
For those who follow the genealogy of Tabernacle families, John Beaumont was married to Euphemia Cutts (1873-1930). While John was born in England, it was Euphemia’s father, William Cutts, (1835-1914) who was the last English born Cutts.
Here is a recent picture of the farmhouse:
- Allen’s Dairy – Later Fletcher’s Dairy
The old Kemble Inn on Carranza Road was used for many years as the home of early dairyman Victor Allen (1883-1958). Today the location of the barns associated with the farm is Russo’s parking lot, at the corner of Carranza and Medford Lakes Roads.
Mr. Allen came to Tabernacle about 1915 and in the 1920 census is listed as a farmer. He was a dairyman until about 1945 when he sold his milk route to Ferman Foulkes. Later Mervin Fletcher began to operate the dairy, but that events actual start date is not known.
We do know that Allen’s Dairy did use milk bottles. Two are in the possession of the Historical Society.
The reason for Mr Allen’s arrival in Tabernacle has lain unknown for over 100 years. During this research process a startling story emerged. No long time residents spoken with had ever heard of this background.
The year is 1912, the place, very rural Carroll County Virginia, deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Floyd Allen sits in the court room prisoner’s box charged with “ forcefully taking two prisoners from two deputy sheriffs.” “Guilty” says the jury foreman and gunfire blazes throughout the room. When all is over, five are dead (judge, prosecutor, sheriff, juror and witness). Floyd and his brother are later convicted and executed for their participation.
Floyd’s son Victor Monroe Allen is cleared of any charges. He was on of the few “good guys” at this massacre. Victor tries to remain in Carroll County but soon heads north, with his wife, children and mother and settles right here in Tabernacle , NJ. While Emilio Carranza may be our most famous “one-day” visitor, Victor Monroe Allen left behind a shameful notoriety to seek the peaceful life in Tabernacle.
Here is a picture of the Allen’s Dairy home as it is today
I hope you have enjoyed a summary of the notes we have on Tabernacle’s dairies. While we do not know of any others within the current township borders, we do know of a few in nearby Shamong and Southampton. In Southampton, Roger Kumpl had a dairy just southeast of the Red Lion circle. You can still see the dairy’s barn from Route 70. And in Shamong there were two dairies – one owned by the Jennings family and the other owned by the Abrams family.
NOTES ON THE POULTRY FARMS OF TABERNACLE, NJ
by Rick Franzen
In our town today, there are many residents who raise chickens for their fresh and preservative free eggs. Little do they know that during the mid 1900’s, poultry farming was a big time industry in our little town. At least a dozen farms flourished and “candling” of the chicken’s eggs was a skill many a local child had. Thousands of eggs were taken to the auction in Lumberton ( today the site of a Goodwill store) where they were then distributed to stores and homes throughout Burlington County. In fact, the auctioneer was also a local poultry farmer!
All of the farms were usually extensions of a local household. Since most properties were multi-acred, there was ample room for this money earning activity. A parent(s) often had a “regular” job and the egg farming often was supplemental income.
Here are the farms:
- Carl Backer Poultry Farm
The Backer residence was at 321 Medford Lakes Road. The house is still there ( with a very big addition) but none of the chicken coops remain. It is believed that Mr Backer (1907-1972) was also a local plumber or carpenter.
He had three children, all girls: Joan, Gloria and Carolyn. The Backer family does not appear in the 1940 census so their farming activity may not have been operative at that time. Later censuses (from 1950 onward) are not yet available to peruse).
Mr Backer and his wife Sophie (1912-2000) are buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Hainesport, NJ.
- Timothy Campbell and James Tweedy Poultry Farm
Nothing remains of this farm. It was located on Chatsworth Road, just east of Washington Way. Today the location is an empty field in front of the development. The property stretches from Chatsworth Road to Shearer Court. In 1940, the Pennsylvania born ( Mr. Campbell in 1899 and Mr Tweedy in 1913) egg-men were listed as farmers in the census. So perhaps this was a full time profession for them.
Mr Campbell moved to Florida in 1979 where he passed away in March of 1982. He was buried in his hometown of Moundsville, WV.
- James Gerber Poultry Farm
The Gerber name has a long association with the Tabernacle community. James Gerber (1913-1974) was the grandson of Julius Gerber (1862-1916). Julius came to America from Germany about 1880 and lived in Philadelphia until 1890 or so. The farm house ( built circa 1909) on Bozarthtown Road continues to be a local farm, now growing crops for area farm markets.
The poultry business never was very extensive at this site. The owner James worked full time at Arrow Safety in Mt Holly. Interestingly, some say that an Arrow Safety employee invented the first automobile turn signal. However some research suggests that either Edgar Walsh (in 1925) or Oscar Simler ( in 1929) hold that honor.
Mr Gerber and his wife Pauline (nee Severs – 1915-2001) are both buried in the Junior Mechanics Cemetery, Tabernacle, NJ.
- Kuzenko Poultry Farm
In the area of 314 and 316 Carranza Road lies a broken down and abandoned house. It is the site of the former Kuzenko Poultry Farm. Little has been uncovered about its history. We do know that Thomas Kuzenko (1893-1954)was an immigrant who had at least four children with his wife Stella (1898-1988). The children were Nicholas, Michael, Ann and Mary.
Thomas and Stella are interred in the Junior Mechanics Cemetery, Tabernacle, NJ.
- William McLaughlin and William Buckley Poultry Farm
In the 1940 federal census for Tabernacle, both of these men are listed as “Tabernacle Road” poultry farm operators. The men were born in Pennsylvania and Buckley’s wife Margaret was born in Ireland. All three are 61 years of age. Other than this census data, nothing else is known about this property.
- Eschenberg Poultry Farm
The Eschenberg Farm appears to have been owned by two brothers, Henry (1902-1954) and Joseph. Their farm was located at 690 Chatsworth Road. Today the property is falling apart and soon will be in total ruin. No out buildings remain. Across the street was another poultry farm, owned by Bernhardt Struthoff.
Brother Joseph Eschenberg (1900-1971) lived on Buttersworth Bogs Road, just around the corner.
In the 1940 census, Henry (Ernie) is married to Emily (1900-1983) and they have two children, Ann ( born 1937) and John (born 1940). John eventually married a life long resident and she (VL) remembers the farm very well. As a child in the 1950’s she “candled” eggs for the farms’ owners. She recalls five or six chicken coops housing some 4000 chickens.
Most of the eggs were taken to the auction in Lumberton, but Joseph sold some, as well as flowers, at the Trenton Farmers Market.
Joseph and his wife Mary, as well as Henry and Emily are buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Hainesport, NJ.
- George Pogmore and David Buckley Poultry Farm
Both of these gentleman are listed in 1940 as operators of a poultry farm on Tabernacle Road. They are each listed as heads of household, living next to or with one another. George is a 59 year old widower born in England and David is 70, born in Pennsylvania.
Their neighbors are William Buckley and William McLaughlin. Thus raising the possibility that the two Buckleys are related. (Both born in Pennsylvania and somewhat close in age – 70 and 61). In 1935 George was living in Union County, NJ.
- Paul Vernachren Poultry Farm
Fox Chase – Friendship road used to be a straight line road from the old Friendship sawmill area ( today Camp Inawedewin’s western “shore.”) to Carranza Road (once Red Lion Road). The former intersection with Red Lion Road is today the main driveway for Seneca High School. In 1940 Paul Vernachren lived with his family at the road’s intersection with New Road. While the crossroad intersection is no longer, the Vernachren homestead is still there. There also are some poultry sheds still existing far back in the property.
Paul (born 1901) and his wife Emily (born 1897) had two sons, Harry (born 1925) and Ron (born 1928). Both parents were born in Germany and both children were born in New Jersey. It is said that Mrs. Vernachren was a former circus performer who had an extraordinary amount of tatoos. Certainly a lady ahead of her time!!
- Walnut Grove Farm
A mid 1930’s picture in our collection shows a 1934 or 35 panel truck with the moniker “Walnut Grove Farm – Poultry and Eggs.” A man standing aside the truck is labeled Abner Nixon, huckster. The limited research we have done on this information seems to confirm that Abner Nixon had a huckster route and did indeed sell eggs. We have heard that behind his store (New and Chatsworth roads) there once was a Walnut Grove and this most likely gave name to the farm. It’s also been said that one or two of the large trees beyond the rear of the store are walnut trees from the farm.
- Joe Zimmerman Poultry Farm
Joe Zimmerman actually had two locations for his poultry farming. One was on Haines Lane ( a private road) and the other was at the intersection of Patty Bowker and Zimmerman roads. Today the latter location still has some on chicken coops on the property. It’s believed that this house was one of the first built in Tabernacle, perhaps as early as 1780.
- Morton Sawdy Poultry farm
At the intersection of Forrest Lane and Medford Lakes Road, down the street from Harkers Auction, was the location of the Morton Sawdy poultry farm. One of Mr Sawdy’s (1919-2010) out buildings still remains on site, but is greatly changed from his era. It has been greatly expanded and updated and now serves as a backyard garage. Little else is known about the poultry other than several longtime residents do recall its operation at this location.
Both he and his wife Lucy (1915-1951) are buried in the Junior Mechanics Cemetery.
- Bernhardt Struthoff Poultry Farm
Bernhardt Struthoff (born 1903 in Wilhelmshaven Germany, died Jan 1985) and his wife Minnie (nee born 1905) were both German immigrants. In 1929 they were married in New York City and in the 1930 census are living in Middlesex County, NJ. He is a poultry man and is living in a boarding home with Henry Eschenberg. Bernhardt came to the USA in 1919 (maybe to avoid WW1?) and Henry followed later in 1926.
Daughter Clara was born here in New Jersey about 1939 as was son Bernhardt in 1932 (died 1938). In the 1940 census he is listed as a poultry farmer on Chatsworth Road. Today, his house in the area of 676 Chatsworth Road is behind an old fence and is in a very ruined condition. The wooded area behind the property was not that way when the farm was active. It was an open area with several chicken coops.
Mr Struthoff served on the Tabernacle School Board for a while and was generally know as a “nice fellow to talk with.” Reportedly he was involved with many civic activities and he spoke with a “broken” English accent.
While the 1940 census lists his occupation as a poultry farmer, he also had a job at the poultry auction in Lumberton. Some reports say he was the auctioneer there.
Mr and Mrs Struthoff are buried, along with their young son Bernhardt, in the Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Hainesport, NJ.