Warren County Cultural & Heritage Commission

8 Belvidere Avenue Oxford, NJ 07863

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 T H E

        F U R N A C E

                                          Or Dutch Hill Almanack

                                  For The Summer of Two Thousand & Nine

Volume II, Number 1                                                                                                   F r e e  o r  S i x  P e n c e

 

Produc’d by the Offices of The Warren County Cultural & Heritage Commission at Shippen Manor Museum, the restored circa-1754 iron master’s mansion, in Oxford , New Jersey . The Museum is open to the publick on the first and second Sundays of every month from 1-4 pm. Special tours, school and group visits are available by appointment. The Commission also maintains nearby Oxford Furnace, a source of Patriot iron in the War of Independence . Please call (908)-453-4381 for more information, or visit our websyte at wcchc.org.

 

                                               “The Furnace” Revived

  Despite the necessity of budget cuts in the current troubles, the lamented Furnace has been revived after extensive consideration AND will resume its 18th and early 19th Century character to which it had evolved in its previous incarnation.

 

 

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  T H E

        F U R N A C E

                                          Or Dutch Hill Almanack

                       For The Christmas Season of Two Thousand & Seven

Volume I, Number I new ftyle                                                                                     F r e e  o r  S i x  P e n c e

 

Produced by the Offices of The Warren County Cultural & Heritage Commission at Shippen Manor Museum, the restored circa-1754 iron master’s mansion, in Oxford , New Jersey . The museum is open to the public on the first and second Sundays of every month from 1-4 pm. Special tours, school and group visits are available by appointment. The Commission also maintains nearby Oxford Furnace, a source of Patriot iron in the War of Independence . Please call (908)-453-4381 for more information, or visit our web site at wcchc.org.

 

 Christmas Past Comes Alive At Shippen Manor

      On Sunday, December 2, 1-4 pm, we are again proud to present our annual candlelight tour of Shippen’s interiors dressed in their holiday best! Special talks on the evolution of Christmas in America will be conducted in the Victorian Parlor. In addition, Sally Shutler, our open-hearth cooking specialist will be preparing Yuletide specialties in the upstairs kitchen. No pre-registration is needed, but tours will be offered on the hour at 1, 2, & 3 pm. It should be noted that Shippen’s parking lots are extremely limited, especially if there is snow. Visitors are strongly encouraged to park on Washington Avenue ; we will have a crossing guard for escort; handicapped parking spaces will be available at the Manor. On Sunday, December 9, 1-4 pm, we will again play host to Santa when our faithful friend Kevin Rawlings, of Hagerstown , Md. , reprises his role as a 19th Century version of Saint Nick. Last year the weather was so warm, we put him out on the lower front porch so even passersby would be encouraged to stop. Kevin will either be there, or inside the lower kitchen next to the fire. He informs us that he may be debuting as an 1830-1850-period Santa this year, in contrast to his Civil War portrayals here in the past. We know Kevin is a thorough historian, and we are looking forward to this new twist. Bring the children and their wish lists! Tours of the Manor will also be available, again with special talks in the Victorian parlor, the colonial cooking demonstration, and perhaps a few Civil War soldiers in their dress uniforms. No fee is charged for these programs, but donations are gratefully received by the Friends of Shippen.

 

 Local Historian Offers Solution To Elk Problem

      In our last edition of the now-defunct Furnace Extra (more on this later), we reported the mystery of a photograph in Frank Shampanore’s 1920s History and Directory of Warren County which depicts a hunter and his trophy. Titled “Elk Shot Near Delaware”, the photo shows a very large elk suspended from a tree by the hind legs, a man with a shotgun holding up the animal’s rack of antlers. The picture has troubled us for some time, as we grew up in the country not far away, and were reasonably certain that elk weren’t too common in New Jersey . Mr. Ray Lemasters, the well-known historian in Hackettstown, called us to say that he thought it was quite likely that the elk was from a herd maintained at the Rutherford-Stuyvesant estate in Allamuchy. Some research on our part discovered that John Rutherford-Stuyvesant, in the early 1900s, maintained a game park where he kept 300-400 deer, 50 elk, and somewhere between four and five thousand pheasants. We don’t know how close to the village proper the phrase “near Delaware ” actually intended; the elk could have easily wandered through Hope Township and into Knowlton; Hope is “near” Delaware . Or, depending on a person’s degree of parochialism, and altitude, Allamuchy is technically “near” Delaware , or at least a lot closer than either are to regions where elk normally congregate. He also could have traveled a more circuitous route that would have taken him through Frelinghuysen and Blairstown. Someone in the office here recently suggested that when the elk encountered the guy with the shotgun, the hapless animal may have been on his way back to Allamuchy from someplace else. More contributions on this topic are very much encouraged.

 

                    Repairs To Manor Await State Approval

 Repairs to Shippen Manor’s porches are awaiting approval from the New Jersey Historic Trust and the State Historic Preservation Office reports Curator Andrew Drysdale. Application was made to the Trust at the beginning of September, and a letter of intent sent to HPO in October. The planned repairs include the replacement of the southeast porch column, as well as sections of the “apron” surrounding the middle of the double-deck porch complex, and portions of the decking. The porches were reconstructed about 1987, and no impact or alteration of original historic features is planned.

 

 

“Perhaps the best celebration at Christmas is to be wreathed in smiles”

                                                                                            -Anonymous

 

 

                        Notes From The Curator     Andrew Drysdale

·         What has happened to The Furnace is the result of my spending to much time alone with the computer. I originally planned to issue The Furnace in its old four-page format once or twice a year, with The Furnace Extra being produced with relative speed in between. Grant and report writing made that impractical, so the Extra became the primary newsletter. I have, though, for some time, wanted more content without reverting to the old format (which costs a lot more). I have also wanted it to be folksy, thoughtful, and fun. Some years ago I was going through some old (1990s) newspapers that had been stored in the upstairs kitchen for starting fires. Inexplicably, an original 18th Century booklet had been mixed in with these papers (my three years here have been full of surprises like this; parts of dead Indians in cigar boxes, etc.) After recovering from the thought of the disaster that nearly took place, I began to read the rescued little volume, The Worcester Magazine, printed in Massachusetts in 1787. I liked the quaint format, and began looking at other 18th and early 19th Century newspapers and magazines for some inspiration. What I learned was that most had a lot of content packed into as little surface area as possible, most, for no good reason I can determine, had two names, and many had almanac-like combinations of news, advice, humor, seasonal weather commentary and so forth. As a consequence of this influence, The Furnace (“new ftyle”) is the latest version.

 

·         Sharon Metroke, our long-time volunteer tour guide and good friend, planned on a typical day at Shippen on October 14. The ladies were upstairs, and I had the cider press out and ready to go, with two big boxes of apples from Mackey’s. Around 1:30 or so, a man stopped by with some historical documents he wanted me to look over, so I took him up to the office. I returned sometime later to find the smell of apples heavy in the air. Some visitors had arrived in my absence, and Sharon decided that this was as good a time as any to learn to make cider. Not only did she present a successful demonstration, she enlisted the help of musician Steve Miller, who was playing his hammer dulcimer outside. They ran probably twenty pounds of apples through the hand-cranked grinder and pressed I’m-not-sure just how much cider. Cider making, we’ve decided, is now Sharon ’s specialty, and we are considering turning her loose on a hand-cranked ice cream freezer next summer.

 

·         I was marveling the other day that I was able to track down a local blacksmith named Axford who lived in the late 19th Century and find all that I needed to know in ten minutes through our Ancestry.com account. Exactly ten years ago I was appealing to the museum board for which I then worked to spend the money to connect my staff, particularly a curator of education, to the “internet” which was an entity I didn’t completely understand. As it turns out, they didn’t either, one gentleman suggesting that it sounded like some sort of penalty in basketball. One board member simply waved his hands saying dreamily “it is so vast…” but couldn’t explain what that meant…It is incredible, it is exciting, but studying the sky on a star-filled night, it remains a humble thing…

 

·        The Commission’s longtime secretary, Carol Sipple, of Mountain Lake , will be retiring in December. In her twenty-year career, Carol has witnessed much, and has participated in virtually every phase of Commission activities. She will be greatly missed. Carol, for my part, the place won’t be the same without you. Many thanks for your help and friendship over the years, without which, many accomplishments would not have been possible. -AD

                                                            ALMANACK

 At this latitude, at Dutch Hill, the sun will rise on Christmas Day at 7:20 am, and set at 4:40 pm. Add or subtract approximately one to one and one half minute to ascertain sunrise or sunset for past or future dates. A full moon will be visible on December 23 weather depending. Predictions are made at Shippen Manor that Christmas Day will be clear, sunny and cold, with every apology if it is not, and every accolade if it turns out to be so. 2008 is a Leap Year and plans should be made accordingly. Inhabitants of the region are reminded of the old tradition, brought by the early German settlers, that the consumption of pork & sauerkraut on New Year’s Day to ensure good fortune throughout the year, has been proven time and again & is heartily encouraged. It is best served with hard cider.

 

A clear conscience is a constant Christmas.”

-attributed to Benjamin Franklin

 

   On behalf of the staff at Shippen Manor Museum , we would like to 

                            wish everyone a joyous holiday season

 

 

Warren County

Cultural & Heritage Commission

Shippen Manor Museum

8 Belvidere Avenue ,

Oxford , NJ 07863

   

The Furnace is published as a public service with funding from the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Commission programs are funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

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   T H E

        F U R N A C E

                                          Or Dutch Hill Almanack

                              For The Summer of Two Thousand & Eight

Volume I, Number 3 new ftyle                                                                                    F r e e  o r  S i x  P e n c e

 

Produced by the Offices of The Warren County Cultural & Heritage Commission at Shippen Manor Museum, the restored circa-1754 iron master’s mansion, in Oxford, New Jersey. The museum is open to the public on the first and second Sundays of every month from 1-4 pm. Special tours, school and group visits are available by appointment. The Commission also maintains nearby Oxford Furnace, a source of Patriot iron in the War of Independence. Please call (908)-453-4381 for more information, or visit our web site at wcchc.org.

 

Hours Extended at Shippen Manor for July 4th

 As part of our ongoing efforts to expand museum services, Shippen Manor will be open for tours throughout the July 4th weekend! Hours on Friday and Saturday will be 11 am to 4 pm, with Curator Andy Drysdale serving as host and tour guide, as well as portraying a member of the Oxford’s 18th Century militia. Musket Demonstrations will be featured both days! Our regular program of tours will be offered on Sunday, July 6, 1-4 pm, by our dedicated staff of volunteers. The Manor will again be open on Saturday, July 12, 11 am to 4 pm, Sunday, July 13, 1-4 pm. Information about August hours and the Oxford Festival, Saturday, August 9, at the fire company, will be posted soon. Note: Open hearth cooking with Sally Shutler will return to the Manor on July 12.

 

Artifacts Recovered During Garden Dig

  This past spring, we decided to plant a colonial herb garden on the south lawn adjacent to the lower kitchen.  We have no documentation for a garden here, but we have no information on 18th Century gardens at Shippen in general; 19th and 20th Century gardening at Shippen is quite well documented, and was quite extensive. The south lawn, or properly, southwest hillside was chosen primarily because of the proximity to the kitchen, and because it wouldn’t interfere with concert seating. A terraced plot with a wooden retaining wall, measuring approximately four feet wide and twenty-four feet long, was constructed in May by Andy Drysdale; the garden was then planted by volunteer Virginia Walsh, who also provided the herbs at her expense, and cooking specialist Sally Shutler. It was necessary for Andy to set six posts to support the retaining wall, at a depth of approximately three and a half feet. The topsoil layer uncovered while digging the garden was very rich, very dark, and about two feet thick. A very thick yellow clay was encountered below that while setting the posts. A few small items manifested themselves during the dig; mostly very small bits of broken pottery, china, and a very thin, round dished piece of lead about the size of a half-dollar. More exciting, however, was a find made by Andy a few days after the initial construction of the garden. While raking a portion of the surface, he discovered a cylindrical object about an inch long that turned out to be a bone with saw marks at each end; the interior was filled with yellow clay, indicated that it had been unearthed while digging the post holes.

 

   Quite a number of similar items were recovered at Shippen during archaeological digs conducted in the 1990s. Known as “faunal remains” (as in “fauna” meaning animals), they have provided great insight into the types of meats consumed by early residents. Additionally, archaeologists have determined that evidence of butchering techniques on these bones is significant as well; saw-tooth marks suggest that a person of European origin did the butchering, while hatchet marks may indicate African-American work, particularly if the site has collateral evidence of African-American occupation. About 9% of the bones recovered at Shippen showed evidence of hatchet marks. It is, of course, well within reason that a slave at Shippen, or anywhere else for that matter, could easily chosen a saw, or been directed by someone to do so. Regardless of who did the butchering, our “ham bone” may have something else to tell us. It is believed that the lower kitchen was no longer used as such after about 1810 or so, becoming just another storage room in the basement. Kitchen refuse was, then as now, frequently tossed into gardens. Our colonial garden may well be in exactly the right spot!

 

 

 

 ALMANACK

 TAKE NOTICE: That the Publishers of the Furnace & Almanack are sincerely apologetic that subscribers and readers received no forecasts since April 20. Our confidence in our subscribers to Project times for sunrise and sunset based upon the Accurate information provided in previous Almanacks is complete. We foresaw that May and June would generally be quite pleasant, with a few humid spells in June, and a number of thunderstorms, and in this we were proven correct, though we did not share it, and can only celebrate among ourselves.

 At this latitude, at Dutch Hill, on Independence Day, the Fourth Day of July, sunrise will be at 4:37 am & sunset will be at 7:32 pm. On Saint Swithin’s Day, the Fifteenth Day of July, sunrise is expected at 4:44 am with sunset at 7:28 pm.  Subtract or add approximately one to one and one half minute per day to ascertain sunrise or sunset for past or future dates. A full moon will be visible on July 18 and August 16, weather depending. Predictions are made at Shippen Manor, that Independence Day will be mostly sunny and quite humid, with a chance of a shower; much the same for Saint Swithin’s Day as well.

Saint Swithin’s Day, if it does not rain

Full forty days, it will remain

St. Swithin’s Day, if it be fair

For forty days, t’will rain no more

                                                                                -English, circa 16th century

 It is well-known that Sassafras tea is an excellent spring tonic, but readers are advised that this long-held limitation has been reconsidered by apothecaries, and it is now recommended for summertime use, particularly good with crushed ice, if the ice be clean. Our correspondent along the Delaware at Belvidere, Mr. Drysdale, reported in the last edition of the Almanack that the feeding of layer mash intended for chickens to white geese was quite effective in enhancing their well-being, and he now claims the same salutary effect upon ducks. He also reports that the layer mash is now being consumed at night by a large raccoon of increasing girth, but he is uncertain of the eventual outcome.

 

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” -Thomas Jefferson, 1788

 

 

Warren County

Cultural & Heritage Commission

Shippen Manor Museum

8 Belvidere Avenue,

Oxford, NJ 07863

 

The Furnace is published as a public service with funding from the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Commission programs are funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.