From the original notes of Ann Nickles
with added notes and genealogical abstracts.
By Joseph Henry Bennett, 1964

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Early Settlement

The village of Jeffers or Scullville stretching from Cranberry Creek southeast along the present road leading from Mays Landing to Somers Point had its beginnings on the very early 1700's. (1)

One of the first mentions of land in this area in the records, is in the will of William Lake. He died in 1716/1717, and in his will he devises some 450 acres of land on the Great Egg Harbor River to his son Nathan. (2)

Nathan Lake married Mary Scull the daughter of Peter Scull, one of the first of the name in this part of Great Egg Harbor. In 1749/50 Nathan Lake conveyed a tract of 200 acres of this land along the Great Egg Harbor River and Lakes Creek to Return Badcock. (3)

A photograph of a very early deed on sheepskin, conveying land in Great Egg Harbor.
       Read the Text. Photo of above, Enlarged.

In this deed dated July 30, 1724, Thomas and Rachel Green of Great Egg Harbor conveyed two tracts of land and meadow totaling 350 Acres to Joseph Dole of Newton Gloucester County. The two tracts of land are described as lying between the two Egg Harbor Rivers.

The tracts except a 30 foot square Burying Ground wherein the "said Thomas Green's children are buried".

Original deed owned by Marie C. Gandy. Photograph by Joseph Henry Bennett

Return Badcock married Abigail Cressee probably of Cape May County. Return and Abigail had three sons, John (1730- ), David (1734-1812) Jonathan (1735-1807). David and Jonathan Badcock lived in English Creek. (4)

Another early family was that of John Somers (1640-1739). Job and Samuel Somers inherited equally under their fathers (John) will some 800 acres of land and marsh along the northwest side of Patcong Creek.

Job Somers who married Eunice Cressy settled, at Job's Point which still bears his name. Samuel his brother built a house some distance north on the old road. (5)

Samuel Somers (1765-1845) and his sons Jacob (1795-1849) and Chattin (1798-1885) and a grandson Samuel S. Somers (1832-1917) lived in the area of this 800-acre tract. The house in which Samuel S. Somers lived is still standing, just south of Somers Avenue. (6)

Constant Smith (1781-1861), the son of Isaac and Mary (English) Smith lived some one-half mile southeast of the present Scull's or Lee's corner. He married Eunice Somers (1783-1860), a great granddaughter of John Somers (1640-1739). The house is still standing just southwest of the Somers Point and Mays Landing Road, (7)

Another early family was the Jeffryes clan. (8)

John Jeffryes I (1735-1810) was one of the first of the name along the River. He owned land at the head of Patcong Creek and at the mouth of the Great Egg Harbor River. One of the three sons of John and Judiah Jeffryes was John Jeffryes II (1789-1834). He married Isabelle Smith (1799-1865), a daughter of James and Hester Smith an early settler of Great Egg Harbor. John and Isabelle Jeffryes had nine children who lived and worked along the reaches of the Great Egg Harbor. John Jeffryes II was the wharf master at the present Jeffries Landing in 1819. (9)

On the sheets of the U. S. Geological Survey topographic maps of New Jersey, in 1885-1906 JEFFERS is the name given to the present Scullville, named for this early family. (10)

The home of Joseph Scull, located at the northwest corner of the Steelmanville Road, and the road leading to Mays Landing.

Joseph Scull was the son of Joseph and Susannah (Blackman) Scull was born in 1826. On reaching manhood, he married Hannah Parvin Gifford, 1832-1896, daughter of James and Christianna (Sooy) Gifford.

Joseph Scull (Jr.) was the postmaster of Scullville, which was known for a time as JEFFERS. He kept a general store, and was interested in real and vessel property. He was for some 15 years, 1880-1895, a lay judge of Atlantic County, and a prominent, and well respected man in local affairs. He died in 1904.

Joseph Scull (1826-1904) the son of Joseph and Susannah (Blackman) Scull moved to the village of JEFFERS sometime before 1870 (?). He was born "along the River". The farm of Joseph and Susannah was just above Matthews Run on the Somers Point Road. (11)

Joseph Scull II married Hannah Parvin Gifford (1832-1896)of English Creek. He operated a general store and was the postmaster. His store warn in the house, which is still standing, located at the northwest intersection of the Mays Landing and Somers Point Road and the road to Steelmanville. Elisha T. Lee (1865-1935) later was the storekeeper and his daughter Ethel Lee Hand ran it until 1962. (12)

Alice Scull (18t7-1887), the sister of Joseph Scull II married Stacy Powell (1817-1883). Stacy Powell was a blacksmith, and his shop was across the Somers Point Road from the store and Post Office. Over the blacksmith shop was the Powells Hall used by the Try Company. (13)

On the same side of the Somers Point Road as the store and some 500 feet west, lived Susannah (Scull) Champion, a sister of Joseph Scull II. She married Enoch B. Champion (1823-1900). (14)

Andrew B. Scull (1814-1887) a brother of Joseph Scull II lived near the bridge over Lakes Creek. The house on the southeast bank of the Creek is still in use.

From these members of the SCULL FAMILY which goes back to John and Peter Scull, who came to the Great Egg Harbor in 1695, came the present name of the village Scullville stretching from Cranberry Creek to the Jeffers Landing Road.

Jeffers Landing

A wagon road branched off from the River Road in Jeffers and went down a long neck of land to the mouth of the Great Egg Harbor River. The old residents said they were going "down the neck" when they traveled down that road. It was Hell's Neck in the old saying, "Ticktown, Toad-town, Hell's Neck and Bargaintown", although what happened to give such names is not clear. (15)

In earlier days this landing was important commercially and was named for the John Jeffryes family who had a plantation on the River. A spacious home with upper and lower porches was built a short distance from the River on the southeasterly side. (16)

At a Town Meeting held in Egg Harbor Township on March 10, 1819, John Jeffryes (1789-1834) was named as the wharf master at Jeffries Landing. It was his duty to keep a fair account of all wharfage due. Vessels were to remain only while they were actually taking or discharging cargo. Thirty cents a day was charged for every day after that and half that sum it if were an outside berth. The wharf master was to keep the wharf in repair out of the money collected, and have a reasonable compensation for his trouble, and turn the balance of the money over to the township.

In 1827 the wharfage was raised to fifty cents a day at all public wharfs in the township.
During later years the wharfs fell into neglect and were removed. Scows still loaded there, however. Large wheeled wagons carrying produce from surrounding farms were driven body deep into the water along side of the scows. The produce was transferred and awaited the next tide to be taken to Atlantic City. Cordwood from the woods nearby were loaded on to small sailing sloops to be taken to Philadelphia and elsewhere.

Jeffers Landing became a favorite bathing site. The sandy shore of the Cove sloped gently to deeper water making a safe bathing place. In the late 1800's a bathhouse was built to accommodate bathers. A heavy wind and tide took it away some years later and it was never located.

Hollingsworth Boarding House near the River took boarders who came down from the city for fishing, bathing, hunting, or just a quiet vacation in the country. (17)

Thomas Bevis (1792-1874) was the son of Denman and Bluma (Garrish) Bevis of Blue Anchor and later Leedsville. They moved to English Creek in 1812.

Thomas Bevis was married three times, 1. to Sarah Somers (1793-1816), 2. to Eunice Somers (1790-1848), 3. to Hannah Somers (1809-1896). All are in the family plot in the old yard at Asbury Methodist Church in the Creek. T. Bevis operated a Carding Mill on Bevis Mill Road for a number of years, later he moved to the Landing near the present steel bridge carrying the Mays Landing Road over the English Creek. He ran the General Store and was for a time the postmaster. The store was destroyed by fire in latter years.

T. Bevis was one of the first trustees of the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1852. Later he became an Exhorter.

A photo copy of Thomas Bevis from an old framed picture owned by the Rev. Robt. Bevis Steelman of the N.J. Methodist Conference.

Data from "A Genealogy of the Thomas Bevis Family" from 1710 to 1962: by Robert Bevis Steelman and J.H. Bennett.

Photo by Jos. Henry Bennett

The Bevis Carding Mill The mill was built on a branch of Lakes Creek by Thomas Bevis (1792-1874) about 1835. The mill was for the carding of wool and the preparing of sumac for market. The mill was about 40 feet by 20 feet, a one story building with a loft.

Many farmers of Great Egg Harbor had flocks of sheep and by this time hand carding of wool and household manufacture of woolen cloth had mostly passed to the carding and woolen mills. Hand cards were displaced by the carding machine. The machine had a drum 3 feet in diameter and also 3 feet in length, covered with cards. Small cylinders covered with cards were placed so as to revolve against the large cylinder in an opposite direction. The wool was placed on a feed "apron". It was drawn between the two rollers and became caught by the cards of the revolving drum and were combed out between it and the cards on the small cylinders. The combed wool became a "broad, thin, gauzy fleece" which was drawn through a funnel until it became ribbon like. The customer was usually asked to supply one pound of clean grease or oil with every nine or ten pounds of wool. This was worked into the wool before the carding was begun. The wool was returned in rolls to be spun. The charge for the carding was from eight to ten cents a pound.

Other work performed at the Bevis Mill was the preparing of sumac for market. The sumac leaves from the nearby woods were dried and crushed beneath stones somewhat similar to the millstones used in grinding corn. The prepared sumac was shipped by boat from Jeffries Landing where it was sold for the tanning of leather for shoes.

This mill was closed in 1865, the machinery was taken apart, and shipped to New York by vessel. (18)

Joshua Scull, who was born in 1847, owned the land of the Bevis Mill after Thomas Bevis closed down. He liked to tell of the abundance of rattlesnakes along the Creek. Under the old mill was an enclosure housing the machinery which operated the mill. A rattlesnake made this compartment his home, and when the mill was running, the snake would hum, sounding something like the singing of a locust. (19)


Palestine Bible Protestant Church, Scullville, NJ.
First built in 1866 as a Methodist Protestant church.
Photo by Jack E. Boucher

The Union Meeting House was built on the old road leading from English Creek to Mays Landing sometime before 1805. (20)

The Union Meeting House was used by the Methodist Protestant faction after the 1830's and by the congregation of the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church in 1860 after the first Asbury Church was destroyed by fire. In 1863, a Methodist Protestant meetinghouse was erected on the land adjoining the farm of Peter and Lydia Steelman in Steelmanville. A Methodist Protestant Church was erected in Scullville in 1866.

Aaron Somers Jr. rebuilt the meetinghouse in English Creek into a dwelling house. It was last owned by Richard Lake and was destroyed by fire in the 1940's. (21)

The TRY COMPANY was a popular organization in Jeffers. It was formed on June 31, 1878. Meetings were held every Sunday afternoon above the blacksmith shop of Stacy Powell at first and later above the Union Beneficiary Lodge Hall on the Jeffers Landing Road. Young and old participated by giving a scripture verse when the roll was called. The congregation repeated the pledge:

 1. I will try to obey my parents.
 2. I will try to read my Bible.
 3. I will try to keep the Sabbath Holy.
 4. I will try to bring in new recruits.
 5. I will try to bring a dew drop. (Scripture verse)
 6. I will try to bring a mite. (Offering)
 7. I will try to love Jesus.
 8. I will try to be at roll call.
 9. I will try to be good at all times.
10. I will try to never say, "I can't, but, I will try."


Scullville's first one room school was located at the intersection of the Robert Best and Bevis Mill Roads. A second building was erected opposite the present brick school, on the Mays Landing Road.

In 1860 (c) a larger frame school was erected on the same road, (pictured above). It is now used as an apartment house.

A new four room brick school was erected in 1915, some few hundred feet southeast of the old school.

·...Ann Nickles

The village of Jeffers first school was a one room building on the Robert Best Road near the intersection with the road to Bevis Mill. A later one was built across the Somers Point Road from the present brick school. Around 1860, a larger wooden school was built with four rooms, one with a platform for school entertainments. (22) There was no janitor; the boys took turns tending the fire, bringing in the water from the pump house, and sweeping out the school.

Men teachers received thirty-three dollars ($33.00) a month. Women were paid twenty dollars ($20.00). Three trustees administered the school made formal visits, sitting in the back of the room to see that the teacher kept a strict hand on the pupils and taught them in a way as to merit their approval.

The present brick school was built in Scullville in 1915.

This is but a brief sketch of the people who were there and took part in the past history of Jeffers and the later Scullville.

From original notes of Ann Nickles
with added notes and genealogical abstracts.
Joseph Henry Bennett, 1964.

Web Page by John Dilks


This Web Page © John H. Dilks, EHTdotCOM
Reprinted from Sketches of Egg Harbor Township © 1964 by the Egg Harbor Township Terecentenary Publications Committee.
Permission to reprint this book was given to John Dilks by William F. Cullen, III, Chairman of the Egg Harbor Township Tercentenary Committee.