Below is a brief history of Tuckerton, which I have copied from the official Tuckerton Website, which can be found here: http://www.tuckerton.com
Little Egg Harbor Township was settled in 1698. Some of the early settlers were Andrews, Falkinburgs, Shourds, Ongs, Willets
and Osborns. Edward Andrews settled on the east side of the Pohatcong Creek; his brother, Mordecia Andrews settled on the
west side of the same creek. Edward, tired of going to Mount Holly with his grain, constructed a cedar log grist mill on the
site of a dam built by beavers at the mouth of what is known as Tuckerton Creek. He built the grist mill in 1704.
The Quaker Church (Society of Friends) was first built in 1709. It was rebuilt in 1863. The Methodist Church was first built before 1800 in the Methodist Churchyard. A larger church was constructed in 1867. It was destroyed by fire May 8, 1979. Ground is broken for the re-building of a new church. Earliest recorded burial date in the Methodist Churchyard is 1799. There are also Presbyterian, Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal churches in our small town.
It was from Ebenezer Tucker that Tuckerton received its name. In March 1789, Mr. Tucker hosted a feast at 'Clamtown' for the residents at which time they officially changed the name to Tuckerton. Tucker was prominent as its first Collector of customs; a soldier of the revolutionary War and served at the battle of Long Island. He was a member of Congress from New Jersey 1825-1829; a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas; Justice of Court Of Quarter Sessions and Judge of the Orphans Court. Tucker died in 1845, his grave marked by a most prominent obelisk.
Known in early times as Andrew Mills; Middle-of-the-Shore; Clamtown; Quakertown; Fishtown and Tuckerton, Tuckerton became the Third Port of Entry of the United States, with Ebenezer Tucker appointed Collector; his commission bearing date March 21, 1791 signed by George Washington, president and Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State. It was six years later that Tuckerton became a post town with Reuben Tucker as its first postmaster. We were part of Burlington County until 1891 when we joined with Ocean County.
Little Egg Harbor was the scene of a Revolutionary skirmish October, 1778 when Count Pulaski's Legion was surprised and massacred by the British.
Evidence of Early Indian existence in the area can be documented by the fact that Indian skeletons were removed from an old down shore farm to the Smithsonian Institute and by the shell mounds, one of which is still in existence today.
The Tuckerton was established March, 1901 with its first Mayor being Frank R. Austin.
Tuckerton was a great ship building town, and exported large quantities of lumber. Early days recall saw mill, wheelwrights and blacksmiths. It is also the home of the famous duck decoy carver, Harry Shourds, whose decoys are much sought after today. Salt works also existed in our area. Old maps show the road to the salt works as 'Salt Works Lane' now renamed Marine Street. There were Bartlett Works and Thatcher Works.
In 1816, Isaac Jenkins established the first stage line between Tuckerton and Philadelphia, making one trip a week, each trip taking two days travel each way. John D. Thompson, Esq., bought the line in 1828 and ran the stages through each way in a day and carried the mails. The stages and vessels were the only public conveyances to the cities until 1871 when the Tuckerton Railroad was built.
Tuckerton Railroad helped attract more and more summer visitors to our shores. In 1872, a short spur was built to Edge Cove, where the visitors could be ferried across the bay to Long Beach Island. The steamboats, 'Barclay' and 'Pohatcong' carried passengers and freight to Beach Haven. The spur at Edge Cove was abandoned in 1886 when direct rail service to Long Beach Island was established. There remained a flat cart and rails which baymen converted to their use by fully rigging it with a mast and sails, whereby they could easily transport their clams, fish and oysters to the railroad station. The 'Clamtown Sailcar' remained in use until it over-ran a curve and landed in a ditch.
Tuckerton Library is the oldest in Ocean County, incorporated in 1875 by the Price Women. The old library building became part of the present new library on Bay Avenue in 1972.
At the September town meeting of 1814, the Tuckerton Pennington Volunteers for the Defense of the Seacoast of Burlington and Monmouth Counties was formed. They chose Reuben Tucker, Captain; Joseph Lippincott, Lieutenant, and Samuel Shourds, Ensign. Forty-two volunteers signed up for duty.
Dr. T.T. Price practiced medicine at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Tuckerton for 17 years until it was abolished by the government March, 1896.
May 30, 1897 was the scene for the first bicycle races for the Tuckerton Wheelmen, at the Athletic Club Grounds. The Grounds also contain a trotting track and baseball diamond, with a grandstand seating capacity of 700.
Tuckerton Wireless Station was constructed by a German company in 1912, completed in 1914. Its tower originally extended 850 feet above the meadows. It was used by the Navy during World War I. In 1920 it was bought by the Radio Corporation of America and eventually sold to a developer.
What was probably New Jersey's first summer resort was on Tucker's Island off shore from Little Egg Harbor. The island sported boarding houses, private cottages and a school. In 1848 a Lighthouse was erected there, with Eben Rider as its first light keeper. In 1869 the Little Egg Harbor Lifesaving's Station was constructed there. Also known as Sea Haven, the island contained two hotels. An ad in Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser, dated Monday 28, 1798 attracted vacationers from sea bathing, fishing and fowling. The stage left every Thursday at 4 A.M. from Coopers Ferry and arrived at Mt. Evans, Tuckerton, the same evening. The ad was signed by Ebenezer Tucker. The sea took its toll; the island no longer exists.
(The proceeding article was written by Shirley J. Whealton, historian, and Norman C. Cranmer, Jr., of the Tuckerton Historical Society. ) I have posted here are some
news items from old Ocean County newspapers concerning Tuckerton. You can find them here.
To visit the Tuckerton Seaport museum, go here.
There is a good article about the Tuckerton Fish Factory here.
Also, this page has a nice
little story about the Tuckerton Railroad. I've reproduced it below:
Flaggin' Down the Train
If you think that little boys are the only ones who are bad, listen to the escapade these little cousins had. You'd never had a bad thought about these little girls. They always looked like cherubs, with their golden bouncy curls. One cousin's name was Elly Mae, the other Sadie Lou. I don't know which one first thought up the pranks they liked to do, but they pulled off a trick or two, whene'er they took a whim. But then they looked so innocent, no one suspected them. They played along the woodland, by the Tuckerton Railroad track, where everyday they saw the train roar by and then come back. One day their play got tiresome, so they thought they'd have some fun. They'd fix a signal for the train to stop, and then they'd run. Now, Sadie wore a flannel petticoat of scarlet red. "This would be the very thing to stop a train," she said. She took it off while Elly found a dead branch from a tree. They fastened them together; a distress flag it would be. They planted it between two ties, and ran away to wait. "Let's not do it," Sadie cried, but by then it was too late. The train was coming into view, and it was coming fast. It looked like it would speed on by, but slowed and stopped at last. The train man climbed down from the train; his language burned their ears. He ripped the petticoat to shreds while they looked on, in tears. "We'll never tell a livin' soul," they promised one another. "But, look at my poor petticoat! What'll I tell Mother?" And big tears streaked Sad'e's dusty cheeks, as they rolled down her face. As the engineer got steam up, they watched from their hiding place. Then Elly held Sad'e in her arms, and vowed she'd share the blame. Both worried for the loss of honor to their family name. "Maybe it would be for best, if we just ran away." "No, Sadie Lou, our folks would grieve," said trembling Elly Mae. "I guess we'll have to just stay here until our famblies miss us, and when they find us safe and sound, they'll prob'ly hug and kiss us." "We'll pretend we fell asleep and lost track of the hours." All afternoon they played, and roamed around and picked wildflowers. The girls were missed at supper, but their folks didn't look them up. Each family thought the other one had asked their child to sup. Meanwhile, the girls got hungry; they hadn't ate since noon. They found a patch of teaberries, and hoped they'd be found soon. "Guess I'll go fetch Elly," her Pa said, "'fore it gets late." But, he met Sadie's father by the pasture gate. "I was jest a comin' over; where are you off to?" "Why, I was on my way to yer place to walk home Sadie Lou." "Why, Sadie ain't to our house; didn't Elly eat with you? It's been since early afternoon we laid eyes on them two." "Now, where on earth do you suppose them thoughtless younguns are?" "Maybe they're with Jenny's girls - they wouldn'a gone too far." They made a search from house to house; none of their playmates knew where Elly Mae was hiding with her cousin, Sadie Lou. The townsmen all lit lanterns, while the mothers watched and prayed, as they searched along the woodland where the cousins often played. Someone mentioned they'd seen gypsys in a camp nearby, which made the mothers wring their hands, and their little playmates cry. When, at last, the girls were found, they really were asleep, lying in each other's arms, heads resting on a heap. "Oh, Papa," Sadie cried, when wakened, "I have been so bad. I ruined my good petticoat, and made the train man mad." When the village heard about the escapade confessed, the punishment of their disgrace was more than they had guessed. Right then and there they vowed that no more tricks they'd ever do. One of their playmates told me this old story, and it's true. The old folks, when they reminisce still tell this tale of woe that happened here in Waretown, some hundred years ago.
William Mason of Tuckerton, date unknown