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Bizarre History of Cape May | Cape May Gazette

The Bizarre History of Cape May with Jacob Schaad Jr.

Bizarre History of Cape May: Summer of 1869 started Cape May’s tourism rebound

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, December 26, 2013 05:00 am

 After the Civil War ended with the surrender by General Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865 at Virginia’s Appomattox Court House, the county governed at New Jersey’s Cape May Court House began to make its tourism comeback, especially in what was then still known as Cape Island.

It was not until the summer of 1869, however, its war wounds beginning to heal, that Cape Island returned to some of its glory tourism days. Shattered by the war and still antagonistic toward the North, many southerners avoided the seashore resort to which they had brought their dollars before the Civil War broke out.

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Bizarre History of Cape May: Music offered comfort and joy in wartime Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, December 20, 2013 09:52 pm

 Music has always been a vital part of Cape May history, whether it was played for joy, for comfort, inspiration or for cultural entertainment. That is especially true in today’s troubled times, some solace coming from the annual music festival of Cape May’s Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, from the outdoor summer concerts and from other local sources.

Churches, of course, have long been the centerpiece of music in the community although everyone has not always been in accord. The different music styles of the past and the present often collide and the conflict does not enhance church attendance unless separate services or masses are held to suit each group’s tastes.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > New Jersey volunteers lost nearly a third of their number

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, December 13, 2013 05:50 am

(Editor’s note: This is the third installment in a series of columns on the 25th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Brigade.)

Peace at a deadly cost had been restored to the banks of the Rappahannock River in January, 1863 after the bloody and senseless battle of Fredericksburg during December. Fierce winds and a heavy snowfall were enough to deter any military of that time from engaging in combat.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Were Jersey volunteers led by a drunken general at the Battle of Fredericksburg?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, November 28, 2013 01:00 pm

Historians have called the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 one of the Union’s most embarrassing defeats of the Civil War. The Jersey boys from Cape May, valiantly though they fought, found themselves right in the midst of it.

They had been on the road and sometimes in the water as members of the 25th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Brigade since cheering crowds sent them on their way from Cape May in September. They went first to a town called Beverly on the Delaware River for training, then to Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and now with the Army of the Potomac in the area of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, Va.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Cape May volunteers were to see one of bloodiest battles of the Civil War

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, November 19, 2013 08:26 pm

 Amidst mixed emotions from the spectators, young soldiers-to-be from Cape Island and Lower Township gathered at the Cold Spring Academy assembly point in September 1862 and began their long journey to answer the call to arms what was described as “a bleeding country.”

As the Civil War was heating up and the demand for more bodies increased, the young of Cape May County responded by volunteering for military service, not too long before the nation began the draft. They were to begin their trip in style in carriages provided by the local gentry, but that was to be replaced in the months ahead by marching in rain and snow and mud in the bloodshed of war.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Reformers took on government, education in mid-1800’s

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, November 14, 2013 08:25 am

 While the community with the contrary name of Cape Island was growing during the first half of the 19th century, soon came the realization from its movers and shakers that it needed to be more formally organized, not only in government but in education too.

So it was that in 1849, a relatively quiet time between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, that discussions started about improvements at the cape, and two years later the changes began to happen. Six councilmen were elected annually from 1851 to 1867, but from 1867 to 1875 it was changed to three councilmen being elected every year for two-year terms.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Wet or dry?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, October 30, 2013 06:20 pm

Prohibitionists made several attempts to ban liquor in Cape May

 One of the seemingly everlasting issues in Cape May history, even when it was known as Cape Island, is the question of whether to drink or not to drink and, if so, where to do it.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Cape May police once ran down Phillies’ homerun balls

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, October 25, 2013 06:29 am

The way their players were hitting home run balls over the fence, the Philadelphia Phillies should have been happy during their spring training in Cape May in 1898.

After all, they had finished in 10th place in the National League with a record of 55 wins and 71 losses in 1897 and all this power hitting in March spoke well of the year ahead. Unofficially, some 36 balls had been hit to the outer regions of Cape May, most of them by Phillies players.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > ‘Name game’ is nothing new in Cape May County

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, October 18, 2013 05:39 am

History continues to be revived in this area as attempts are being made to give Lower Township a new name. The advocates want something with more color to it, perhaps like the name Cape May, which some people falsely claim they live in although they contribute to the taxes of Lower Township.

In the long history of this nation people have been playing “What’s My Name?” even before the British were ousted and when there were residents here in places named Town Bank and Cold Spring. As early as the discovery of America, in fact, the name was the game.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Lincoln historian coming to Cape May, but did Honest Abe?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, October 10, 2013 09:37 am

When renowned Lincoln historian Harold Holzer speaks in Cape May on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 13, he will feel right at home although it will be his first visit at the seashore resort. Abe Lincoln seems to follow Holzer wherever he goes and Cape May is no exception because a local Lincoln legend was started here 164 years ago, just a few blocks from where Holzer will be speaking.

People have been arguing about its authenticity right to this day.

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