Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 


Intriguing local folklore
The following tale has been told through the years and is an intriguing bit of folklore.  Whether it is true or not is of no consequence as it makes an interesting tidbit.

On several occasions the British marched through Haddonfield during the Revolution.  The townspeople would carry their silverware and other valuables, as well as herd their livestock over to Redman's Woods.

The Woods were then the outskirts of the town and uninhabited.  The possessions were buried in the Woods and it is a big question mark if all of the articles were ever recovered.  The animals were, yes, but the valuables, no?

It is hoped that this disclosure will not cause a gold rush of 1978 over in that fine residential area.

***
In the Bicentennial year of 1976 a cattle drive passed through Haddonfield on its way to Valley Forge.  It was an unusual sight to see as the animals sauntered down the highway.  The town had turned out en masse to watch the highly publicized show.  Not many of the townsfolk knew that what they were witnessing was in the early 1900's was yet a regular activity in Haddonfield.

Near Bell's Coal Yard at the Pennsylvania railroad crossing on Kings highway once there was a ramp down which cattle could be driven from the cattle cars that were parked there on the siding.  The steers were driven, usually by three horsemen with whips cracking, down the Main Street to Ellis street where a right turn took the drive down the hill to the iron bridge across Cooper's Creek.  At that point complications arose.  Smelling the water the thirsty herd detoured down the creek bank.  After drinking their fill of the cool water they just wanted to stand there in it.  With raucous shouts and much whips cracking the horsemen would force them out of the stream to continue up the hill on the Berlin road through Batesville to the farm of Mr Richard Cooper at Coffin's Corner.  Dick Cooper's farm is now the site of the Woodcrest Country Club.  The steers grazed there on the huge acreage until they were fattened up.

The farm was noted for its big barn that could be seen from the Berlin road.  It was reputed to be the largest barn in New Jersey, for a loaded hay wagon could turn in a 360 degree circle inside of it.

Later, the cattle cars were switched to the Marlton-Medford railroad tracks when a ramp facility was built at the Freeman Station on the Berlin road outside of Batesville near Brace road.  The railroad crossing was there at the foot of the hill and the drive through Haddonfield was no longer necessary.  This delighted the housewives on Ellis street, which was a dusty, dirt street.  When the drive, on a summer day was not announced by someone shouting "the cattle are coming" those girls would be furious.  Their windows would not get closed and the thick dust that was stirred up made a complete housecleaning necessary.  Charlie Lovett contributed most of the information for this article.

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