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Closed Sea: From the Manasquan To the Mullica - A History of Barnegat Bay

Overview

Pirates and whalers, Revolutionary patriots and loyalists, fishermen, iron masters and vacationers - all are part of the colorful history of New Jersey 's Barnegat Bay region. Filled with historical anecdote and keen observations of sea and shore, Closed Sea is a compelling portrait of this unique environment and its history.

You will learn of the Lenni Lenape, follow the earliest explorers as they first set eyes on the pristine bay, the Dutch and British settlers who came after...

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Overview

Pirates and whalers, Revolutionary patriots and loyalists, fishermen, iron masters and vacationers - all are part of the colorful history of New Jersey 's Barnegat Bay region. Filled with historical anecdote and keen observations of sea and shore, Closed Sea is a compelling portrait of this unique environment and its history.

You will learn of the Lenni Lenape, follow the earliest explorers as they first set eyes on the pristine bay, the Dutch and British settlers who came after them and the intrigues and battles of the "Colonial Rebellion." You will meet the whalers who migrated from New England to New Jersey's coastal waters, and the many others who harvested the sea's bounty. You will go with the men of the U.S. Life Saving Service into the icy, treacherous surf of a winter storm. Tales of shipwrecks and of pirate treasure buried on barrier beaches alternate with tales of the Pine Barrens, a place you will visit when it was a thriving center of 18th century industry. And, finally, you will join early summer vacationers for rollicking times in the first guest houses of the Jersey Shore.

With a naturalist's eye and a sailor's experience, Kent Mountford describes the Shore's past, its shifting inlets, disappearing islands, dangerous tides and shoals. Moving inland, he documents the Pinelands environment and the industries it has supported over the centuries. As the coast and the forest have shaped the lives of their inhabitants, so people have influenced the land and the waters.

Closed Sea tells the remarkable history of a fascinating place, a place of great beauty, danger and opportunity, a place that has cast its spell on generations of people - those who came to make a living and those who came to play. Both have brought enormous changes to a sensitive ecosystem - a coastal environment that today is under more pressure than ever.

Begun in 1956, Closed Sea was well ahead of its time. In was environmental history before that discipline had a name or a following. Published now for the first time, the book has tremendous relevance for today's residents and visitors to the Jersey Shore.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirk Moore
It is a masterful guide, before its time in many ways.
Ashbury Park Press
Larry Savadove
Kent Mountford grabs you with his first sentence.. Closed Sea is a carefully put together account of the bay, its history, ecology, industries and people.
The Sandpaper
New Jersey Monthly
Ecologist and environmental historian Kent Mountford, chronicles the history of this important body of water from the days of the Leni-Lenape and the earliest European explorers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945582847
  • Publisher: Down The Shore Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 207
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Eleven: Rails and Resorts

So it went, product of many motives: religious, medical, economic, and the beaches changed. Where solemn, round dunes once shouldered alone against the sea, a hundred thousand lights run a gamut of honky-tonk from one end to the other. Alas, for the social critic, there remain only a few islands of the primeval and all too many of the old ways are lost.

We shall omit the morbid tale of the sprawl which followed World War II. A fungus of housing developments has virtually encrusted the sea-beaches. They serve, no doubt, the wishes of a mass population flux to the shore, bringing accommodations there within reach of those who would otherwise be unable to afford them. Yet, on the Island Beach peninsula, hundreds of tiny cubes march in ordered monotony across miles of broiling naked gravel. There was so little of the beautiful coastline to begin with, why could it not have been utilized with intelligence and imagination?

Even the silent marshes are being pumped over with shaky footings of sand and mud for development.

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Table of Contents

Barnegat Bay area map 8
Introduction 9
Chapter one - They Led the Way 13
Chapter two - Of Burning Hole 17
Chapter three - Harbors: Something Old, Something New      24
Chapter four - Cranberry and the Captains 29
Chapter five - The Land of the Lenape 36
Chapter six - The Fate of Scheyechbi 53
Chapter seven - A Thorn for the Crown 57
Chapter eight - The Iron Masters 79
Chapter nine - From the Land 96
Chapter ten - From the Sea 116
Chapter eleven - Rails and Resorts 141
Chapter twelve - Ships and Sailing 156
Chapter thirteen - Wrecks, Lights, and Pirates 172
Acknowledgments 200
Bibliography 201
Index 204
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First Chapter

Chapter One: They Led the Way

It was, perhaps, a morning in August, the year, AD 1011. The shoals off Barnegat were calm at slack tide, brushed only by the catspaws of an indefinite morning breeze. Eastward, resting on the sea, was the long dragon-ship of Thorfinn Karlsefni. Her ornate sail panting slowly in the calm heat, she lay waiting for a south wind to bear her up the coast.

Hauk Book, from the many volumes of Norse sagas, tells us that Karlsefni, having spent the previous winter in the sheltered Hudson River - which on discovering he called Straumfiord - set out with the coming of April and worked southward with two or three of his ships. Here his party entered Chesapeake Bay, naming part of it H'op and remaining a time in that land. Towards August, Thorfinn coasted northward, born close inshore by the prevailing southerlies.

It was against the true Viking code to ignore any sizeable break in a coastline, so it is probable that Karlsefni entered our coast at least in the Delaware. It would also be convenient to hypothesize his landing at either Egg Harbor or Barnegat, but since this would be merely hypothesis, let it suffice that he was probably the first white European to see New Jersey.

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