1897 Downer School Photograph



Downer, Gloucester, New Jersey, USA


A Downer, NJ postmark

Most Gateway students might not be interested, but I was interested because a grandfather of mine had family living in Downer, NJ at one time. As far as I can determine the Post Office there closed in 1936. Click on the second link below for a higher resolution image. When this postcard was offered on eBay the seller read the postmark as 1910, but I see Dec 17, 1930 -- and US census records show Oscar Walter Huntsinger with mother, wife Emma, and niece Viola living in Downer in 1930. Viola would not have been born yet in 1910. You can click on the relevant census page link below.


Gateway: The First Day 1964

A warm September day this first day of school. My first day in Gateway Regional High School just a few yards down the road from my home.
I don't have to rush to get ready, the school is right behind my house, so I stay in bed for as long as I can, savoring the last minutes of summer vacation.
There is no way to prepare for this, to be thrown into a new building with hundreds of other kids from four different towns, four different worlds.
I and everyone else will be creating something new in this rectangle of bricks and mortar, rising up from what used to be Mr. Rizzuto's field.


Is This Any Way to Run An Airline?

You bet it is!

You can have an account by contacting me.

You'll have the power to add anything that your typing fingers can produce and some photos, too.


Downer Sand Mine and Railroad

Mining sand in Downer. Looks like it was a shovel and wheel barrow operation at the time of this photograph. Date of photograph is unknown but seller on eBay said it was when the tracks were owned by the Atlantic City RR. The Atlantic City RR was formed in 1889 from a number of other railroads. A copy of the Wikipedia article on the Atlantic City RR is attached below.


Robert Joseph Stewart, father of James, class of 1977, and Samuel Stewart

James Stewart graduated from Gateway with the class of 1977. He grew up on South Lincoln Avenue in Wenonah. His brother Sam attended Gateway for at least a year and then switched to Friends Select in Philadelphia. Recently James has been active on the the facebook.com page "You Know That You Are From Wenonah If ........" Located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/146176322130108/

In messages outside of facebook.com James shared some details about his father's role as a pilot and group leader flying B-17s in the Normandy Invasion starting with D-Day. He also provided the photo below and the chart which shows the places that Mr. Stewart's bombing missions took him. There is an attachment at the bottom of this post that shows the bombing missions in sequence as an image in a powerpoint file.

Learn more about B-17s - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-17

Robert Joseph Stewart, D-Day veteran


Dr. William Yates and Judge Arthur Yates

Looking in



"William Yates" Sapperton -

I found the following about William Yates and his son Arthur on page 461

I will post a link below the image. The book is freely available -- you could download the PDF if you want to see more of it.




The will of William Stickney of Edmeston, Otsego County, New York, 1790 - 1854

These days I live in Morris, NY. I was trying to trace the land that my house is on back to the time that it was in the hands of the Oneida tribe of the Iroquois and come up with a list of owners from them to me.


Searching for information about my grandfather's grandfather, Samuel G. Thomas

Found some more information.

He was named Samuel G. Thomas. Through another person on ancestry.com I learned that I could request copies of vital records for people in New Jersey. By doing that I got a copy of the "Return Of Marriages" for Camden County for May, 1852. On May 10, 1852, Samuel G. Thomas's marriage on February 18, 1852 was recorded. You can see a scan of the photocopy that was sent to me by clicking on the link below.


John M. Higbie 1804-1887 of Exeter, Otsego County, New York

It was over a year ago that I learned about a web site named Find A Grave.

Now, at first blush, you might not think that Find A Grave is some place that you want to visit.

I mean, who wants to go looking for a grave? What plans do we have? Do we need to be searching for a grave today?

Find A Grave doesn't help you find a grave for yourself or your relatives.

Instead it helps you find the graves of your relatives or anyone else that you think you are interested in knowing more about it/


My Older Sister Debbie

My older sister, Debbie Thomas, graduated from Gateway in 1969.

She was a good sister. Small cell kidney cancer got her in 2007. We all miss her.

You can read more about her at this site we made for her.



VanLeer - Van Leer - Finley - Finley - Estilow - Thomas - and a photo of the home of one of my third great grandfathers

Finding some of the places that my ancestors lived.

***** Update *****
Found a photo of William Finley, the father of Chester Alexander Finley - husband of Beulah M. Van Leer. I don't know much about the photo, as far as when it was taken or who the little girl was. I think that the photo was taken late in the life of William Finley, 1849 - 1935.

Chester "Pop" Finley was my great-grandfather. I realize now that I didn't really lay out the whole genealogy -- as I understand it -

Here's an image the lays it all out.


Jack Wiler performing Steven McCasland's adaptation for stage of Jack's book, "Fun Being Me"

Jack let word out that he was going to be performing a one man play in August in NYC. Through a fortunate turn of events I was able to attend and even record the audio of his play. Below I am quoting the notice about the play that Jack put on his blog about the play.


Woodstock - 1969 - two of my three tickets

They never collected the tickets at Woodstock. I bought mine in advance and brought them home with me.

Bob Harvey drove a station wagon, Alan Stahl, Jack Papovich, and I went along. Astronauts had just walked on the moon and come home. The world was changing.

Bob Thomas


Summer of '71 Chapter 01

I had dropped out of my first semester at Rutgers Camden. I didn't like college at all, and I had no idea what to do in life. I had a vague ambition about being an actor, but not the foggiest idea how to go about it. I took a job with the company I had worked for during the past two summers, unskilled labor unloading trucks, and then I ended up emptying trailer loads of magazines at the post office building near 30th Street Station in Philly. It was a dirty, thankless job, but it was easy and I was on my own and unsupervised.


Going A Long Long Ways to Find A Surprising Song Coming At Me

"A dugout, Marie", I said. "A dugout, not a canoe. A canoe is a whole 'nother level of culture."

A dugout is a log with part of the log removed.

Here's a link to a photo of a few dugouts


These were about the size of the one that I was ferried across the Niger River on when visiting a friend in the Peace Corps in Niger in 1977.


Remember Your First Days Without Training Wheels?

On Saturday May 3rd, 2009, my grandson, Mason, asked to have his training wheels taken off his bike. His father, Aaron, being a really good father, broke away from the job he had started of getting the boat out of the barn and readying it for the new season.


The Hits of 1965 - Youtube keeps them accessible - Listen!!

Jack Wiler has a blog - not really news now - but he listed the hit tunes of 1965 and I thought that it would be fun to list them with links to youtube vids of them - with the sound of course... His blog is


I don't think we had all these 45s at my house and my sister loved to listen to records.

I don't have this many now. There may only be one 45 rpm record in the house and it is not a hit.

But I can listen to them when I please long as no one takes my internet awaaaay --- sort of like don't take my kodachrome away.


A little info on the ancestors of Bob Thomas in Gloucester County - Ganttown Rd - near Turnersville, NJ

Recently I have taken an interest in Genealogy - fortunately some of my relatives have also. One of them used her/our family history in writing her master's thesis. Her name is Karen Lynn (Gant) Heiser. She is a graduate of and an employee of Rowan University. She grew up in Glassboro, NJ.

You can click on the link to download the Word Doc that she created. I recommend downloading the link and then opening the file. Enjoy!

Gant Genealogy


Teachers remembered

more from Ruth Hammell


Mr Wilkinson was one of the best teachers I can ever remember

The art room was a haven and favorite place to escape to, Thanks to Cindy Smith.



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