Clayton
Gloucester County, New Jersey


This was the residence of my Harris grandparents. The histories of Clayton and Glassboro are similar. The area was initially woodland and well populated with wild game such as deer, fox, pheasant, and quail. The first known residents of New Jersey were the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. Dutch explorers followed. Later adventurers and hunters established private hunting clubs such as the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club in New Jersey. Many individuals moved to the state because of cheaper property, richer farming land, and the enhanced quality of country living on the Jersey side of the Delaware River.

Earlier established corporate farms were later replaced by smaller versions. See the History of Agriculture in Cumberland County for a glimpse into New Jersey agriculture.


Whitney Bros. Glass Co.
Whitney Brothers Glass Company
Glassboro, N. J.
Stanger Bros. Glass Co.
Stanger Brothers
Glassboro, N. J.
Moore Bros. Glass Co.
Moore Brothers Glass Company
Clayton, N. J.
Harris Family Home
1929 Harris Family Home
Clayton, N. J.
My Harris grandparents purchased a home several blocks from the Moore Brother's Glass Company.
After working on local farms for a short time, my grandfather got a job with the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines Railroad as a railroad watchman. He later retired. It was a much better job and it greatly improved his family's financial circumstances. My grandmother worked as a domestic from time to time, but I remember her best as a good homemaker. She always had a happy disposition and baked the best sweet potato pies on the east coast. I remember my grandfather as a quiet spoken man. My Harris grandparents lived several miles from my Bright grandparents in Glassboro. The numbers of small farms increased and living became more rural as one traveled south beyond Clayton. Many African Americans, such as the Howells and Fennels owned their own farmland. I developed a close and lasting friendship with both of these families when they lived in the Franklinville, New Jersey area. Mr. Fennel purchased acreage when he moved from Philadelphia to N. J. in the late 1940s.

Franklinville Lake is one of the many lakes scattered throughout South Jersey. Many of these lakes were formed as the result of grist mill construction throughout the state. Dams were constructed across local streams and water flowing from these dams was used to power grist mill grinding stones. Pioneer farmers used these mills to grind grain harvested from their fields. The residual bodies of water around these mills provided excellent lakes and ponds for fishing and swimming. For additional information on grist mills, go to Grist Mill 1, and the Mullica Hill Grist Mill . Franklinville Lake
Franklinville Lake
Franklinville, N. J.


South Jersey had its share of small commercial chicken farms scattered from Clayton to Bridgeton, New Jersey. These farms provided urgently needed jobs for African Americans until other means of employment became available after the anti-discrimation and desegregation laws of the 1960s. Up until that time trucks used to drive to our neighborhoods looking for farm workers. This practice died in the 1950s-1960s. African American workers were replaced by imported farm workers from Puerto Rico.
Generations of Philadelphians have made their way across the Delaware River to South New Jersey in search of superb, freshly grown vegetables and fruit. The rich N. J. soil is highly prized. It was common to see oadside vendor stands distributed along the country roads stretching from Camden, N. J. to recreational destinations along the Cape May to Wildwood, N. J. seashore. My cousins, the Brown family, still reside in nearby Newtonville, N. J. Newtonville is labeled with the letter A, encircled in red, on the following map. Also, this map gives a panoramic view of most South Jersey towns and their relationship to each other.

In passing, I should note that South Jersey is a colloquial term, with no consensus definition, covering the southern portions of New Jersey between the lower Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Please see The Early Glass Blowers and African Americans.



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