Home • Camden County News Stepping into history at the Olde Stone House Village

Stepping into history at the Olde Stone House Village

Truck festival is opportunity for people to learn site’s background

A visit to the Olde Stone House Village is a walk through the history of Washington Township and Gloucester and Camden counties.

The first building facing Egg Harbor Road is the George and Sarah Morgan House, built in 1765, when New Jersey was still an English colony. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Next is the Turnersville Post Office, built in 1864; the Quay family farmhouse, built in 1825; the Olde Bunker Hill Church, erected in 1864; and the Blackwood Railroad Station, in 1891.

And on a warm Saturday afternoon earlier this month, hundreds of people came out to learn about history, support the township historical commission and enjoy food during the second annual Old Stone House Village Food Truck Festival.

“My grandfather, James Atkinson, and his family were the last to live in the Morgan House,” said Candice Appice, whose husband, Nick, is the head of the historical commission volunteers who organized the festival.

“This is our second festival and it is a successful fundraiser, which is very important, as we are a volunteer-based organization and do not receive any funding,” Appice explained, adding that money raised will be used to maintain the village’s five buildings.

“This is a great turnout today,” said volunteer Diane Morgan, at the commission information table with Appice. 

In the Morgan House, Kathryn Saxton-Granato cooked peach pudding, stewed beef with cucumbers and Shrewsbury cakes – similar to pancakes – on a wood fire.

“I am portraying an 18th-century hearth cook. I enjoy dressing in period costumes,” noted Saxton-Granato, an independent historic site specialist for the past eight years and a high-school history teacher.

Conducting surveys among the crowd were staff members of the Margaret Heggan library in Washington Township, including Heather Dietch, teen librarian Barbara Pilling and Jen Rippman.

“We are doing intercept survey,” Pilling pointed out about a method used to gather on-site feedback from a target audience. “We want to make the library better and more useful for people in Washington Township.

“People are having fun, and everything looks great,” Dietch said of the festival.

During the year, visitors can tour the five buildings at the Olde Stone House Village’s 6.2-acre site on Egg Harbor Road in Sewell and examine artifacts with the assistance of historical interpreters and guides dressed in period costume.

The historical commission comprises a small group of volunteers who have a common interest in local history and who strive to promote public awareness of the township’s past history while keeping up with restoration projects of the site’s buildings.

The Turnersville post office in the 1700s was a small village at the headwaters of Timber Creek with about 20 residents. In the 1800s, a number of businesses were set up there, including a sawmill built by Isaac Collins and a grist mill by Peter Cheeseman.

The village eventually grew to about 150 residents, with a school and classes taught by Israel Furth. The original placement of the post office was on the Black Horse Pike near County House Road.

For information about hours and tours of the Olde Stone House Village’s historic buildings, go to www.oldestonehousehistoricvillage.org.

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