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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 > 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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Bizarre History of Cape May > Cape May has its fair share of sea tales

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, October 01, 2013 09:14 pm

The approach of Columbus Day inspires the retelling of some sea stories of war and peace in Cape Island at a time when ships and boats ruled the oceans. The stories speak of heroism and tragedy as events touched the shore and sometimes intruded on it.

The very early history of what was later to be known as Cape May features the names of such seafaring explorers as Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson and Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, the latter credited with having founded the cape and with having named it after himself. As the pages of the calendar turned into the 19th century other stories of the sea emerged with less famous names but still occupying places in the history of Cape May County.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Work came before school in early Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, September 24, 2013 05:55 pm

Check out the credentials of Abraham Reeves, circa 1857.

Born in Lower Township on Oct. 22, 1802 the man who became known as “Uncle Abe” was elected as an assemblyman in 1857 and re-elected two years later as the Civil War was growing closer. First politically aligned as a Whig and then a Republican, he had served in 1846 as a freeholder and held municipal offices.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > It took a long time before Cape May was official

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, September 20, 2013 04:58 am

The wheels of government, like those of justice, tend to grind slowly, as those in early Cape Island, later to be renamed Cape May, were to discover.
Although it was to function promisingly as an up and coming seashore resort through the arrival of the 19th century, Cape Island wasn’t formally incorporated as a municipality until 1851. It would take 18 more years and the passing of a Civil War before it was to acquire its present name of Cape May in 1869.

Cape May County became official long before that on Nov. 12, 1692 by an act of the province’s Assembly. It was part of three counties and earned its own identity, the legislators said, because it “was well situated for trade” and there was an increase in the number of families, “there being no greater encouragement to the settlement of a place.”

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Swain family has deep roots in Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, September 13, 2013 06:34 am

At the funeral of the first mayor of West Cape May, his pastor at the Cold Spring Presbyterian Church delivered a Biblical message that did not necessarily apply to the mayor but was relevant to others then and even to those of today.

“Be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh,” preached the Rev John L. Landis, who served as pastor at the historic church from 1886 to 1890.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Ocean has been a resource, and dumping ground, for Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, September 07, 2013 06:34 am

The ocean that touches the county’s shores and sometimes invades inland has been a friend and foe during the long history of Cape Island, later named Cape May.

People come here to swim in the ocean, surf in it, fish and boat in its waters and some of them to sun tan their skimpily clad anatomies on the fringes of the ocean. But there are some, history has told us, who have not treated the ocean kindly. They have dumped their sewage in its waters since as early as 1922 and as tourism began to increase in the 1960s, and as awareness increased, ocean pollution closed the waters to the public and the cape’s reputation for being a healthy place to visit was tarnished.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Did a newspaper kill one of Cape May’s favorite sons?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:00 pm

The big news in Cape May on Nov. 22, 1897 was the unexpected death of a favorite son two days after he suffered an apoplexy while reading a newspaper.

The obituary of George Hildreth does not detail what newspaper or article he was reading but some of the shocked locals may have thought that what he read influenced his sudden demise because at the age of 75 he was otherwise considered to be a healthy man. An article in the Cape May Wave, in fact, described him “as being of stalwart mould and possessing robust constitution.” Another story said “he enjoyed robust health and was active and robust as many young men.”

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