In 1724 John Estaugh and his wife, Elizabeth, (Haddon)
sold to John Howell two acres of land running from a White Oak tree on
a lane that connected east Kings highway to Haddon avenue, (Kings road
and Great road). The deed granted the right to build a dam and a
sluice that would be necessary to operate a tannery. There was a
pond then where Chestnut street is now, and the stream from it ran under
the Main street and through a ditch on the tanyard property. The
water continued on down to the Hopkins Pond. Most of that stream
is now in pipes underground. As the years passed the tanyard had
many owners. The house on it was first mentioned in 1752 in a mortgage.
The holdings extended to six acres when new owners, Thomas and Benjamin
Bordon of Shrewsbury, NJ took possession in 1826. In their deed,
for the first time, the White Oak and the Lane were not mentioned, but
Tanner street appeared in the title. Samuel Allen of Shrewsbury was the
next owner of the property and he was the ninth purchaser in a little over
one hundred years. He made additions to the tannery and roughcoated
the brick house which still stands as 38 Tanner street near Wilkins avenue.
Ill health forced Samuel to actively retire from
the business and James White ran the tannery for him for a few years.
The business was phased out finally about 1870.
Drive down Tanner street, pause near Wilkins avenue
if traffic permits, or stand by the Library and visualize what the area
looked like when it was a tannery. Thirty-eight Tanner street had
the vats close by in rows, little tanyard buildings were scattered around,
and there was a wooden fence along the side of the street where the hides
hung to dry.
The workshop was there with the marble topped
tables on which the hides were made into finished leather. The marble
from the table tops eventually was cut into tombstones for Haddonfield
graves in the Colestown Cemetery.