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*Mission Statement
*Coopertown Meeting House
*Postcards
*2011 Holiday House tour article
*Scheduled Meetings
*Upcoming Events
*Press Releases & Beverly Bee articles
*Beverly's Nelson Fish

News

September 13, 12 Noon to 4 PM our free open house. Come to see our collection and old friends.

Thank you to all who attended "Tasting Freedom" ---on June 7th 2014. This was our Juneteenth Book signing event featuring Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin to discuss their book "Tasting Freedom" which is about Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America.

Plan to attend the 2014 holiday house tour with new homes and new displays at the meeting house.

Bill Hughes book about the Beverly Civil War Hospital is for sale from Riverfront HS for $15. It's a great book to learn about 1860's Beverly history

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"A Walk Through Beverly" DVD for sale--- $10 donation ---limited supply available

ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NEW MEMBERS...$10 A YEAR---Become a supporting member if you are out of the area

CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE OUR COLLECTION IN THE MEETING HOUSE? /// THE MEETING HOUSE IS OPEN BY APPOINTMENT, CALL THERESA 609-387-1079 FOR INFO

SEE THE BEVERLY BEE FOR MORE INFORMATION OR CALL Dennis 609-835-4438

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Click Here for Full Calendar

Members List:


President:
Dennis Rogers
Vice President:
Karl Burrows
Secretary/Treasurer:
Theresa Lowden

Links Section


ST. STEPHEN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

DELRAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

RIVERSIDE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

JOE LAUFER COUNTY HISTORIAN

STIRRING TIMES: THE LIVES OF NJ CIVIL WAR SURGEONS

CAMP OLDEN CIVIL WAR ROUNDTABLE

BURLINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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tn_coopertown.jpgWelcome to the Riverfront Historical Society 

Welcome to the Riverfront Historical Society website. Our area of interest is Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park which were once all one area, Willingborough. Beverly was incorporated in 1857, Edgewater Park in 1924 and Delanco in 1927.

Riverfront Historical Society was formed in 1976 after the bicentennial celebration. The area residents wanted to continue to study and publicize the area history. Residents of Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park formed the historical society to work together on their common history. Cresswell Stuart helped with the Willingboro farm history. We are a 501(c)3 non profit organization and were incorporated in 1982

We collect, study and preserve artifacts and items for our three towns. We have our collection on view at the Coopertown Meeting House. We also are collecting Willingboror items because there it was part of our original history.

We accept donations of items for these towns and can provide a donor sheet for tax purposes. We will accept monetary donations to help us continue our work. One of the first projects was to restore the Coopertown Meeting house which was in very bad shape. After a few years of fund raising & grants the building was restored and open to the public.

The present members hope to continue the work of our early founders and be a viable part of the communities. We hope you enjoy our website, attend our events and visit our museum.

Thank you to Pat Pirylis for helping set up this site.

 
OUR AREA HISTORY 

At one time, the three towns were part of the Township of Wellingborough which stretched from the Rancocas Creek to the Delaware River. They eventually split into Willingboro, Beverly City and Beverly Township until 1924 when Delanco and Edgewater Park became townships of their own. The area is rich in history dating back its beginning as a landing point for Duncan Williamson’s ferry appropriately called Dunk’s Ferry. The surrounding land was mostly all farmland and owned by a few select people.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR HISTORY: During the War for Independence, Dunks Ferry played a part in the Battle of Trenton in 1776. General Washington sent troops over to Dunks FerryBeverly) but due to thick river ice and fierce weather, the horses and cannons couldn’t be brought to land. The troops were called back to Pennsylvania in the morning. The ferry crossing was a strategic crossing during the war used by the patriots extensively. It was said Washington himself spent time in Dunk’s Ferry avoiding Tory spies and British troops.

During the War of 1812, Stephen Girard hid his fleet of ships in the Rancocas Creek near Delanco.

CIVIL WAR HISTORY: During the Civil War, Beverly City had a Union Army training camp from 1861 to 1863. Five regiments mustered in and trained there including the Burlington County 23rd Regiment known as “the Yahoos.” They were a nine month regiment with area farmers filling their ranks. They participated in the Battle of Fredricksburg and Salem Church In 1864, the camp and buildings were turned into a Union convalescent hospital. The soldiers who didn’t make it were interred into what became the Beverly National Cemetery. The camp and hospital was enthusiastically supported by the people of Beverly City and Beverly Township. Fresh fruit, vegetables, blankets, bibles and moral support came from the people of the Beverly, Delanco and Edgewater Park area. Their support of the troops made our area successful and attractive to investors. Later the federal government erected a statue at the Beverly National Cemetery in gratitude for our area and Burlington County's help. The "Alligator" an experimental submarine was tested in the Rancocas Creek near Delanco & Riverside.

POST CIVIL WAR: When steamboat travel increased, Beverly’s prominence as a business center flourished. Farmers and businesses shipped their goods down river, loading their products on at Beverly’s docks. The Delanco area became a popular tourist stop for many Philadelphia residents and Edgewater Park produced excellent produce and farm goods.

1900'S: In the next century, Beverly’s businesses adjusted to manufacturing goods that later supported both world wars. Beaunit Mills and Wall Rope Works were two companies whose products supported the war effort. The children of the area remember well the troops passing by in the railroad cars on their way to Europe or the Pacific. After World War Two came the building boom as farmland disappeared in favor of housing developments for young families. The face of our area changed from growing crops to growing families. Our three town area still contributed to the county, state and our nation making our little area of New Jersey, proud and prosperous.

 
What Riverfront Collects

We would accept originals or gladly accept copies of: Local pictures and postcards Family pictures, letters and writings****** Family home movies and films of public events****** Local business letterheads, business cards, advertising items, give-a-ways from local businesses and receipts from any local businesses****** Old newspapers & articles**** Old work records, paycheck stubs, tax records and bills for Beverly, EP and Delanco**** Any items and letters from local township clubs and service organizations***** Fire department badges, patches, uniforms and letters**** Military records, patches, medals, and uniforms. Any veteran information**** Scout group photos, letters, patches and items***** Old phone books, business directories and church newsletters and booklets

Items donated will be put into books for display to researchers and historians. We can make a book of one family’s pictures and letters which can be dedicated to family members.

Our area of interest is Beverly, Edgewater Park and Delanco but we will guarantee that if you donate other towns items we will deliver them to their historical society. Our object is to preserve the past for future generations so that people, businesses and places are not forgotten.

Riverfront Historical Society....... preserving your memories

 
 
Holiday House Tour

2013 HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR Saturday, December 7, 2013 2 TO 7 pm

Tour beautifully decorated homes in the Beverly/Edgewater Park area with a detailed map at your own pace. Homes and streets marked.

Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 609-871-3892 or 609-351-3532 to reserve your $10 ticket

 Holiday House Tour
TOUR BEVERLY AND EDGEWATER PARK HOMES AND HISTORIC BUILDINGS

Saturday, December 7, 2013 FROM 2 TO 7PM

 

Mrs. Margaret Morris speaks

On Friday evening September 17th at St. Stephen’s Conklin Hall, Mrs. Margaret Hicks Morris spoke to a packed house of over 100 people. Ms. Margaret opened her presentation with a joke and closed with a inspirational poem. In between, she held an audience captive with her stories of growing up in North Carolina, moving to Riverside and eventually coming to live in Beverly.

Troubling circumstances in North Carolina had her meet KKK members right in her home when she was a young girl. Her family secretly moved to Riverside NJ before eventually moving to Beverly. They lived near the baseball field along the river with their whole family playing the game. As word got around, other neighborhood children began to come to the field and play with the six Hicks sisters and their brother.

Her baseball experience started out down south when her papa made a ball with a golf ball, wrapped in tar and taped over. The bases were the chicken coop, the out house and a fence post and they played bare handed. In Riverside they played baseball with the boys catching the ball without baseball mitts.

As the girls got better and formed a team , other teams from surrounding towns wanted to play them. The Hicks girls needed help so they recruited the Anderson sisters from South Beverly. Marion, Dorothy and Pearl Anderson made a powerful line-up with Margaret, Odell, Lucy, Nell, Retha and Vi. The girls played games against anyone they could usually winning either at home or away.

One day Ms. Margaret went to Mr. Keeler, a local grocer on Cooper Street to ask if he would sponsor the team. At first he was reluctant but she persisted until he agreed to sponsor the girls. They came out looking sharp in their new “Keelers” uniforms and continued to whip their opponents so soundly that their nickname was the “Killers.”

As their reputation grew so did the crowds to come watch them play. People from all over town came to see the Beverly girls defeat all opponents. They would travel to Newark, Atlantic City, New York state and Virginia to take on top notch opponents anytime, anywhere and hosted these teams in Beverly, playing two or three games a day.

The Keelers roster was as follows Retha Hicks-3b-c, Viola Hicks lf, Margaret Hicks, P, Odell Hicks cf, Lucy Hicks 2b-p, Nina Hicks/Shaffer ss, Pearl Anderson, 1b Dorothy. Anderson c, Marion. Anderson rf-ss, Edna Tucker lf, , Eleanor Tyler 3b. Ms.Britton of, Ms.Clark sf and Ms. Braxton 2b-of

One trip to New York they were promised them food and drink when they arrived. After the long bus ride their opponents offered them nothing so the girls played hungry and thirsty. Mrs. Morris remembers winning one game of the double header there despite the conditions.

Sometimes teams would try to conceal men on their teams to beat the Keelers. At a game in Salem NJ, the Keelers challenged two of their players. Ms. Margaret said they looked like “stevedores, big husky men.” The first man ran off, the second one refused to be checked but the Beverly girls whooped them good anyway. It wouldn’t be the first or last time a team decided to sneak men on their team. The Keelers even played men’s softball teams and beat them.

In 1938 the Keeler’s won the Burlington County local league and were to play Elizabeth NJ for the state championship. Before that game, they played the county all star team and beat them decisively. Mrs. Morris said she remembers they going to Elizabeth team to capture the state championship.

The river from home plate was a long shot yet some of the Keelers players could reach the river. A local merchant, Mr. Wes Dumhardt offered the girls $5 for home runs in the river and $10 for pitching a shut out. The Hicks girls helped out their family by earning a little extra cash in the summer.

Residents throughout Beverly would come to watch the Keelers, sitting on blankets with their families and enjoying a summer day. There was a small clubhouse at one end of the field where the Keelers would host their opponents with soda pop, snacks and dance after the game.

The team continued to play and defeat teams throughout the county and state but life were changing for them. The girls were now young women and had begun to marry then have children. Eventually the Keelers retired from playing to have children and care for their families. Ms Margaret stayed in Beverly, marrying John Morris and started a family. But by the early 1950’s she once again felt the urge to play baseball and started another team.

Ms Margaret was scouted and recruited by two different women’s professional softball teams, one being the American Nettes club in California. They both offered her the chance to play for their teams but she said her Papa emphatically said “No Way!” so she stayed in Beverly. Ms. Margaret estimates she pitched in 650 softball games and recalls only losing twice. She was one of the fastest pitchers around but concedes she thought Burlington’s Mae Jardon was better. She once pitched and won all three games of a triple header.

Ms. Margaret fondly remembers the Beverly Memorial Day parade with efamilies standing along the street watching the parade. The picnics came afterwards with friends and family getting together and remembering the reason for the occasion. Ms. Margaret remembers all the delicious aromas floating around Beverly that day as families coked their favorite meals.

In the 1930’s Beverly was a nice town where most families knew each other. The town had Warren Street run down the center of it. The river side of town had many African American and immigrant families living there. On the other side where many long time residents had their homes. Everyone struggled during the post depression years and families worked hard to get by. Many Italian families lived side by side with their African American neighbors sharing their joys and sorrows. .

There were African American families scattered on the “other” side of Warren Street as well. The Harmon, Knox and Whitaker families lived on Bridge and Spruce Street. The Conway family and the Bethel AME church were on Magnolia in an Italian neighborhood.

Around 1952, the “Amazons” picked up where the Keelers left off, playing all challengers and defeating them. The team picked up some new players and continued their winning ways in the early 1960’s.

The Amazon team eventually packed away their baseball mitts but Ms. Margaret didn’t stop her involvement in baseball. Ms. Margaret decided to form a young girl’s softball team to pass on the tradition of softball to a whole new generation. She taught them the rules of the game and how to play the game respectfully.

Ms. Margaret is an ordained minister and author writing two books, one being her 1996 book, “My Meadow” about her life growing up down south and coming to New Jersey. She still does speaking engagements and stays busy. She loves to talk and tell her stories about her life. I spent a number of hours listening to her reminisce about the good old days. The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, Kevin Riordan told me he enjoyed listening to her talk about her life.

Mrs. Morris received a number of gifts from an appreciative audience including a few surprises. Beverly City and Edgewater Park Township gave her proclamations honoring both teams. Assemblymen Connors’ and Conaway recognized the achievements of the softball team in the state Assembly. John Adler honored the team and Ms. Margaret in the United States Congressional record. So the achievements of the Beverly girl’s softball team and Ms. Margaret are now a part of US history.

Everyone who attended the presentation considered themselves fortunate to be a part of the audience that evening. Thank you Ms. Margaret for teaching us history, directly from someone who lived it. You’ve led a good life and you have shared your goodness with us.


 
  RIVERFRONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
P.O. Box 172  •  Beverly, NJ 08010
phone: 609-387-1079

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