I had planned to cut the grass yesterday. One of the sure fire signs that Summer is nigh upon us is that the lawn needs cutting weekly.
However, the temperature and humidity rose steadily through the morning.
By noon there was little chance I would get to it.
I decided to head out into the County and do some photo work instead. My destination, The Hancock House on Alloways Creek. The Hancock House dates back to 1734 and was the site of a massacre during the Revolutionary War. It is also one of the few "patterned brick" houses remaining in the area.
So how could a quiet Quaker home in bucolic South Jersey become a bloody mass murder site?
The British, it seemed, were quite upset that General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's troops had successfully conducted a foraging mission in South Jersey, especially in Salem County. The foraging mission prevented General Washington's troops at Valley Forge from starving during the harsh Winter of 1778. Determined to teach the local militias a lesson, the British set out in the early Spring. On the night of March 21, 1778 a British force, lead by then Major John Simcoe, entered into the Hancock House with orders to spare no one. Twenty people were killed, including the Quaker owner William Hancock. Twelve more were injured. The retaliation did nothing to change the course of the war. Valley Forge would be the turning point of the American Revolution.
By the time I'd gathered up my stuff, Splitty the Maul had already buckled himself into the truck.
Splitty is a big fan of all things historical.
We started out. I explained the history of the house to Splitty on the way. Splitty was upset to think that our now British allies could do such a thing. I reminded him the Americans were in the process of leaving the British Empire and that King George III was not amused.
We arrived at the house in about 25 minutes.
A quartering front view of the Hancock House.
The commemorative marker abeam the flagpole.
A front view.
Before I could stop him, Splitty the Maul ran up to knock on the front door.
He wanted to offer condolences to the Hancock family.
I told him the Hancock family had long since left the property, having sold it to the State of New Jersey in 1931.
Splitty knocked again just in case I was wrong.
Mauls dig playing the "Devil's Advocate".
Splitty and I walked around to the side of the house. Splitty wanted to see exactly what a "patterned brick" house was.
The patterned brick. The initials stand for the home's original owners William and Sarah Hancock. William Jr. was the home's owner at the time of the massacre.
A small Swedish cabin sits on the grounds. These were common structures built by farmers who settled the area originally.
The hearth inside the cabin. Not a "show home", but it allowed the settlers to survive the harsh winters.
Splitty was visibly shaken by the history he'd just learned. He returned to the truck. I wandered out to take a few more pictures.
A historical marker near Alloways Creek.
Two shots of Alloways Creek. Note the grassy marshland. That's quite common in the areas of Salem County near the Delaware River.
I got back into the truck. We headed off to our next location.
That would be lunch.
On the way to lunch I spotted a farm field laid out for the season. These flowers were planted to prevent erosion.
Soon enough, we arrived at our lunch destination.
The "Little Brown Derby" has been a South Jersey institution since the 1930's.
Taken down the carved bar inside the "Derby".
This picture speaks for itself.
Sadly, Splitty the Maul couldn't come in.
The "Little Brown Derby" has a "No shoes, no shirt, no service" policy.
Splitty, still upset over the Hancock House Massacre, was happy to stay in the truck.
After lunch, there was one more stop I wanted to make.
I'd read in the local newspaper some time ago that the Salem Country Club had gone under.
My late brother always called it "the playground of my youth". I can attest to that. Once he discovered the game of golf, he took to it like a duck to water.
The friendships he forged with the other youngsters playing golf here would last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, the country club would not.
The entrance, now overgrown.
Where once an inground pool was, now just a patch of scraggly weeds.
The former tee box for the first hole.
I always dreaded that first hole. It was a 535 yard, "dog leg" left hole, with a water hazard about halfway up. The water hazard was conveniently out of view due to a small ridge.
Many a great shot got wet on the approach.
A view of the course across some of the old fairways.
I really hated seeing the course in this condition.
It is sad that the members allowed this to happen.
Having opened in 1898, it was once one of the state's oldest courses.
Today it's just a memory.
Maybe it's best Bruce didn't live to see this. It would have broken his heart.
My agenda completed, I returned home.
The dogs were there to greet Splitty and I.
Lilly, the matriarch, was looking to be fed.
Ever see a bigger set of, "Feed Me" eyes?
Butter, the playful one, was in the backyard cleaning off the previous night's bath by rolling in the grass and dirt.
Gotta like that in a dog.
Rhondo the Wonder Idiot was still serving time for crimes against flooring.
Maybe someone will start a "Free Rhondo" movement soon.
Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.
Air Traffic Mike, ret.
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