49 Rancocas Road
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060
609-265-5000
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Southern Loop Tour Page 1

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1. At the time of the American Revolution, Mount Holly was a thriving community of perhaps two hundred households which, because of its strategic location, was occupied time and again as British, Hessian, and American troops crossed and recrossed New Jersey.

Follow High St. one half block down the hill, from its intersection with Rancocas Road' and Garden St., to Brainerd St. Turn left on Brainerd and follow it .1 mile to "The Old School House" on the left.

Virtually every serviceable building was used in one way or another by the armies which so frequently occupied Burlington County towns. The 1759 schoolhouse, for example, served as a temporary stable to house British mounts during that army's retreat from Philadelphia in June 1778.

Marker
Schoolhouse

Continue on Brainerd to its end at Buttonwood St. (stop sign). Turn right on Buttonwood and follow one block to its end at Mill St. (stop sign). Turn right onto Mill. Follow to light, preparing to turn left from left lane.

The Three Tuns Tavern (on right, at light) was built in 1723. The Court of Admiralty met here during the last year of the Revolution.

Tavern

Turn left onto Pine St. and follow .3 mile, to the entrance to St. Andrew's Graveyard-"Iron Works Hill", on right.

The hill to the right was named for the iron industry located there in Revolutionary War times. It was to this point, to Iron Works Hill, that Col. Samuel Griffin withdrew his forces on 23 December 1776 having lured more than 2,000 Hessians south from points of support near Trenton. Griffin's guns answered those of the hessian von Donop who was stationed at the summit of the Mount,' across the Creek. On Christmas Eve the Americans again withdrew along the road to Moorestown leaving Mount Holly to the enemy, and the Hessians in Trenton far more vulnerable to Washington's surprise attack in the early morning hours of the day after Christmas.

Church
Church

Continue on Pine St. across Rte. 38(Iight) where it becomes Eayrestown Rd. (Rte. 612). Follow this 2.4 miles from light to the second intersection ( Eayrestown Rd : East Landing Rd. ).

2. On the land to the right (beyond this intersection) stood (until 1975) the homestead of the Eayres family which had established a saw mill here as early as 1712. It is reported that the mills, along with the Eayres' home, were burned by the Hessians in 1778. All were rebuilt soon thereafter and resumed their function as a thriving commercial center.

Eayres Site
Eayres Site

Continue on the Eayrestown Rd . .3 mile beyond the East Lan­ ding intersection to the fork and bear left onto Eayrestown­ Red Lion Rd. Follow this 1.3 miles from the fork to its intersection (stop sign) with Church Rd. (Rte. 616). Turn right onto Church Rd. and follow 1.7 miles to Kirby's Mill (on right immediately past Rancocas Creek bridge).

3. Kirby's Mill was called Haines' Mill when it was put into operation by John Haines in 1778. Serving this area as a grist mill throughout the Revolution, it later spawned an early industrial complex.

Kirby's Mill
Kirby's Mill
Kirby's Mill
Kirby's Mill
Kirby's Mill
Kirby's Mill

 

Kirby's - Inside
Kirby's - Inside
Kirby's - Inside
Kirby's - Inside
Kirby's - Inside
Kirby's - Inside
Kirby's - Inside

Continue on Church Rd. (Rte. 616) .6 - mile beyond Kirby's Mill to crest of hill and make sharp left onto New Freedom Rd. Follow New Freedom Rd. 1.6 miles to the second intersection ( Chairville Rd. ). Turn right on Chairville Rd. and follow .5 mile to a point just short of the Rte. 70 intersection.

4. This cemetery (on left just prior to Rte. 70) which is the property and burial ground of the Peacock family is noteworthy here. Because of a 1777 mishap involving a bad batch of gunpowder and a family member named Adonijah who operated a one-man powder mill not far from here. While reprocessing the bad powder for Washington's army, Adonijah allowed it to come too close to his fire. The resultant explosion and Adonijah's demise are re­counted on his tombstone in this grave yard.

Peacock Cemetery Marker
Peacock Cemetery Site

Turn right onto Rte. 70 (west) and follow 1.8 miles to Med­- ford Circle. 3 /4 around take Main St. (Rte. 541 South) into Med­ ford . Follow Main St. (later Stokes Road) 1.9 miles from the circle to a point just beyond Branin Rd. on left.

5. Cross Keys Tavern (5th building on left, past Branin Road, note marker) was opened by Benjamin Thomas in 1777. It served this area, as did countless other taverns throughout the thirteen original states as a center for news and meetings during the Country's early years.

Cross Keys Tavern Site

Continue on Stokes Road (Rte. 541) 1.2 miles from tavern to a point just beyond Settler's Inn. Note marker on left, across road from "Memorial Hall" (log chapel).

6. This area (now Medford Lakes) was called Aetna Furnace when a forge was founded here by Charles Read in 1766. One of many Read furnaces created during that period throughout Burlington County , this one closed in 1773 just prior to the increased demands placed upon the industry by the Revolution.

Aetna Furnace

Continue along Stokes Rd. - (Rte. 541) toward Rte. 206 intersection.

7. 4 miles beyond the Aetna Furnace site note the historical marker (on right) locating the boundary of the 3,284 , acres which comprised Brotherton (later Indian Mills), the reservation establish­ ed for the Indians of Southern New Jersey in 1758.. A peaceable people, the Indians here sought to remain apart from the white man's war. One account from those times recalls that a deputation from Brotherton appeared before a British officer to plead for the release of one of their number who had been "mistakenly" arrested for his alleged active support of the American cause.

Continue on Rte. 541 to its end at Rte. 206. Turn right onto Rte. 206 and follow 2 miles to Rte. 534 turn off (signs to Atco-Berlin) on north shore of Atsion Lake.

8. At this point on the Mullica River, Charles Read established another bog iron operation. This one, called Atsion Forge, func­ tioned throughout the Revolution supplying the Americans with a wide variety of implements. The Richards family, which later developed the industrial site, was responsible for the construction of the buildings currently located here (across 206 from lake).

Atsion Forge
Atsion Forge Cabin
Atsion Forge Cabin

The traveler now has two options:
(A) pursue the tour of Batsto (restored village, allow approx. Two hours) or
(B) make Batsto a separate outing and continue motor tour along Rte. 534.

To continue this tour, click here.