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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 > Civil War generation also has a claim on ‘greatest’

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, September 20, 2012 01:00 am

How really great was “The Greatest Generation,” as described by Tom Brokaw, former TV anchorman turned author, in his best selling book of the same title?

Is it possible he might have the wrong generation? Perhaps the tribute belongs instead to those who lived through the Civil War.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Joseph Leach was minister, teacher, newspaper editor and politician

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:00 pm

 The word was out in 1840, even heard as far north as Shutesbury, Mass., 112 miles west of Boston, that there existed a nice place to live in the south of New Jersey, a place called Cape Island, sometimes referred to as Cape May.

The climate, it was said then, was milder than Shutesbury’s, where the temperature dropped to around 23 degrees in January, and there were growing opportunities for anyone desiring to settle there.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Cape May home to heroes of Civil War and World War II

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, September 09, 2012 01:00 am

While much fame as a cavalry soldier from Cape May has been given Henry Washington Sawyer for his capture by the South during the Civil War, and his near execution that followed, sometimes forgotten is the name of another Cape May man who was killed while acting heroically during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Edwin Joseph Hill was a chief boatswain aboard the Nevada when the Japanese dropped their destruction on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The ship’s 23 bandsmen and a Marine color guard were standing at attention on the fantail of the battleship waiting to play morning colors when a rear gunner of a Japanese plane spotted them and opened fire.

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Bizarre History of Cape May --The story of Cape Island’s first walking mayor

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, August 28, 2012 03:02 pm

The first mayor of Cape Island, so history has told us, enjoyed walking so much that when he was 20 years old he trekked 400 miles or so from Lancaster, Ohio to his birthplace in Philadelphia.

His name was Isaac Miller Church Jr. and seldom was there a more appropriate name for what life designated him to do. From 1848 to 1852 Church served as pastor of the Cape Island Baptist Church, causing parishioners to quip, “We go to two churches every Sunday morning.”

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Bizarre History of Cape May -- Cape May’s first ‘rock star’ was Anna Jonas Stose

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, August 22, 2012 04:45 pm

Long before Elvis Presley or Chubby Checker came on the scene there arrived in Cape May a woman who was a rock star in her own right.

Her name then in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was Anna Jonas, later to become Anna Jonas Stose, and her rock credentials didn’t include singing, playing an instrument or dancing the “Twist.” Instead, she became internationally famous as a geologist, defining many major geological structures in the central and southern Appalachian areas. She was considered a geological pioneer at a time when there were few women doing field work among rocks.

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Bizarre History of Cape May -- Early physicians left their mark on Cape May County

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:00 am

Imagine a time when there were no heart pills, certainly no Medicare, and when the only anesthesia was a good slug of whiskey while people held you down and extracted part of your body.

Welcome to medicine circa 1800s and 1900s in Cape Island before and soon after it was renamed Cape May. Obviously times were not that scientific then, and some today may argue in absence of tangible evidence that then was better than now, although today’s life longevity proves otherwise.

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Bizarre History of Cape May -- Cape May County saw its share of action in War of 1812

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, August 08, 2012 04:45 am

The War of 1812, more accurately described as the war of 1812, 1813, 1814 and 1815, was referred to by at least one chronicler as the war that few people at the time understood why it happened in the first place.

Today, as the 200th anniversary of the war is marked, little attention is being given to that occasion in the media or elsewhere. If the Korean War is called “The Forgotten War” then The War of 1812 certainly deserves to be referred to as “The Lost War,” despite all the history it has made.

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Bizarre History of Cape May --Town Bank was once touted as a whaling town

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, August 01, 2012 04:19 pm

 It can be said with levity that the early settlers who came to the Cape Island/Cape May area had a whale of a time here. Many historical accounts have recorded that these arrivals from Long Island and Connecticut migrated in the 17th and 18th centuries to profit from whaling, and not so incidentally to make an impact on the future of the territory.

The most popular place to catch a whale then appeared to be the waters of what is now the Town Bank section of Lower Township. So popular, in fact, that Town Bank, also known as New England Town, Portsmouth Town and Falmouth, was being touted in the 17th century as one of the most successful whaling communities in the New World.

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Bizarre History of Cape May -- Cape May County had its own little ‘civil war’ over site of new court house

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, July 26, 2012 09:02 am

 They did not fire bullets and there were no casualties, other than political, but the developments during the first half of the 19th century in Cape May County may have been a harbinger of bigger things to come in the nation during the 1800s.

This was civil war mini-style. The issues were which part of the county, the north or the south, was to dominate in government and where the county seat should be located – the middle or more toward the north of Cape May County. Sometimes it grew real nasty and war-like during the process.

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Bizarre History of Cape May -- Parkway

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:14 am

 When Horace Greeley led a delegation from New York City to Cape Island, later to be renamed Cape May, in August 1847 to interview Henry Clay, it required an overnight voyage aboard a ship. The same journey by stage coach would have consumed two days and nights.

That, of course, was long before Wilbur and Orville Wright had made an impact on air transportation, and certainly before Henry Ford and Louis Chevrolet appeared in Cape May with their land vehicles. The railroads didn’t begin to show up until the Civil War, sometimes so inefficiently that the passengers had to get out and push when the trains were mired in the mud.

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