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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 > Religion played important role in early Cape May life

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, May 07, 2013 04:51 pm

Religion was an important part of community life in the early 18th century in what was then referred to as Cape Island. It could be said that it played a bigger role proportionately than today when church and state are supposed to be separated.

Some of the styles of the church services were similar to today’s although many modifications have taken place since then. The pulpits stood high, it was said, because the pastors were expected to stand far above the people, and “to be shining examples of Protestant principles.”

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Patriots and Tories fought for their causes in Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, May 02, 2013 12:55 pm

The tragic events in Boston on Patriot’s Day have ignited historical recollections of a time in Cape Island’s early years when Patriots and Tories fought their causes before and during the Revolutionary War.

Since 1969, Patriot’s Day has been commemorated as the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the first battles of the American Revolution, which lasted until 1783. It also is officially commemorated in Maine and Wisconsin and encouraged in Florida, although not official there.

In his comprehensive book on the history of Cape May County from 1638 to 1897, historian Lewis Townsend Stevens devotes a full chapter to those he claims were the local Patriots, and another chapter to a Tory.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > What’s in a name? Plenty of history

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:32 am

How, when and by whom Cape Island/Cape May was discovered and named have been frequent topics of discussions in the long history of what is now called the nation’s oldest seashore resort.

There are undisputed claims that the Lenni Lenape were here first, but questions remain whether they came as tourists or year-round residents. Some archeological evidence contends that once they found the hunting territory and its fishing waters they never left. Others counter that the Native Americans could not have stayed here throughout the year because of the lack of potable water.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Assemblyman was cast out for absences, but voters cast him back in

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, April 23, 2013 12:10 pm

Along with the Hands, the Hughes and the Leamings who made an early impact on the history of Cape Island there was another family of father, son and grandson whose lives and careers were linked for three centuries from colonial days until after the Revolutionary War.

They were the Spicer family and all three were named Jacob. Written history has treated them kindly, although the son, Jacob the second, was to complain in his 39-page will of “the unjust treatment by the populace” and that he was “vilely defamed and grossly abused on account of the natural privileges of which he claimed to be entirely ignorant.” What those abuses were has not been expounded.

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Bizarre History of Cape May: Cape May County was strong for Lincoln in 1860 and 1864

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, April 10, 2013 04:13 pm

Predicting the outcome of presidential elections and analyzing their results has been a popular political pastime in the history of the nation, especially since 1936 when a highly respected magazine went off the deep end and predicted that Alfred Landon would defeat Franklin Roosevelt for president.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Cape May history not immune to slavery

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, April 05, 2013 11:51 am

Unlike in Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, slavery was not a hot button issue in Cape May and in much of New Jersey before the Civil War broke out and during the war.

Some hotel owners in the pre-war days, concerned that the controversy was hurting business that came from the South, wished that the issue would go even farther south to South America, for instance. Others, who fought in the Civil War, including local hero Henry Sawyer, said they were doing it not to free the slaves but to stop the South from separating from the Union.

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Stites make their mark on Cape Island

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, March 22, 2013 01:00 am

Another family who established an early historic presence in Cape Island before it became Cape May were the Stites, who covered a period from the Colonial days to after the Civil War.

Among their claims for identity are a doctor, who cut off a man’s leg in surgery during the Revolutionary War, and another, who wrote a hymn that is still sung in churches today.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > First Cape May congressman was told to ‘Sit down, clam’

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, March 12, 2013 04:30 pm

The numbers are not as large as those of the Hand family during the days of Cape Island/Cape May, but the Hughes family has at least one historical advantage over the Hands. It holds the distinction of having produced the first congressman from the land that Henry Hudson explored and Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey is credited with having founded and named after himself.

The congressman was Thomas H. Hughes and his middle initial is important for identification because there were at least three other Thomas Hughes making the history books at that time. This one, though, was the biggest achiever, said to have been an acquaintance of President John Quincy Adams and others of the high and mighty in the new nation.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Leaming helped lead Cape May County along road to Revolution

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, February 27, 2013 05:39 am

 Their names have not lived on in historical fame as have a Washington, an Adams or a Jefferson, but in their own realm the Leamings, the Hands and the Hughes earned a place in the sun in Cape May for their roles in helping to win a revolution and pave the way for what is now claimed to be the oldest seashore resort in the United States.

Even to this day, centuries later, there is a reminder of the past as their surnames appear on street signs, on store fronts advertising businesses and in the archives of Cape May history.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Postmasters have put their stamp on Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, February 24, 2013 01:00 am

 Unless others intervene mail boxes at residences will be empty on Saturdays starting in August, breaking a postal tradition that once included two mail deliveries a day. The Postmaster General of the United States, faced with a financial dilemma, has decided to cut costs by cutting delivery on the weekends, except for packages.

If Norman Rockwell were alive today he would probably paint a picture of a mother, father and their three children waving goodbye to a forlorn letter carrier as he walks down a path to uncertainty.

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