History Rocks: Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown, New Jersey

You might know that the Quakers were the first European people to settle Moorestown in the 1680’s. And perhaps you know that the Lenni Lenape Nation called this region home prior to European colonization.

But, did you know that people groups before the Lenni Lenape travelled throughout New Jersey and made camps here in Moorestown?

We do not know exactly who these people were but an exciting discovery here in Moorestown suggests that the earliest people who travelled here had contact with the Adena people of Ohio. The Adena populated the region from Ohio, spreading east to Pennsylvania and Maryland, north to New York and south to Kentucky. The Adena promoted a culture that was very particular about proper burial presentation. They constructed large mounds of earth to mark the placement of their dead and buried personal objects within these mounds.

How do we know that the Adena people had a connection with Moorestown? The exciting discovery made in Moorestown involves an archaeological survey which took place four years ago. The dig was led by Ilene Grossman Bailey, Senior Archaeologist at Richard Grubb & Associates. The team found pieces of silt stone pipe fragments indigenous to the Adena people. Why are these fragments  in Moorestown, New Jersey? What significance did these pipes have to the people who owned them? Possibly, the Adena may have traded the silt stone pipes with other people groups or perhaps the Adena themselves may have briefly camped here. Maybe other people groups made copies after seeing the Adena’s pipes. In any case, the discovery is an exciting one. This exhibition features relics from the past discovered in various locations in Moorestown including the pipe fragments.

Special thanks to professional archaeologist Jack Cresson for lending a substantial part of his collection to the exhibit and providing a flint knapping demonstration on the opening day of the exhibition. Thank you to Dr. Gregory Lattanzi, New Jersey State Archaeologist Curator for his assistance in identifying and interpreting the recent finds and his instructive presentation at the Society’s October General Meeting. Thanks to the New Jersey State Museum for the loan of early tubular pipes to compare and contrast at the exhibit.

The Historical Society of Moorestown is open every Tuesday from 1-4 pm and the second and fourth Sundays of each month from 1-3 pm. There will be a free Holiday Open House on Friday December 2, 2016 from 5:30 -8:00 pm. The exhibit will be open to the public. www.moorestown.com/history

Smith Cadbury Mansion, 12 High Street Moorestown, NJ 08057

Map of Moorestown indicating locations of early artifact discoveries

Corresponding display case to the above map

Laurel Creek section of Moorestown

RCA section of Moorestown

The pipe fragments which inspired the exhibit

Pipes on loan from the New jersey State Museum for comparison

The section of Moorestown where the pipe fragments were discovered

Professional view of pipe fragments

A collection of artifacts on permanent view at the Historical Society of Moorestown




From the Ground Up: Archaeology, Artisans, Everyday Life

Anyone who knows me has come to learn that I am quite obsessed with the earliest history of the Delaware Valley. I’ve read John Watson’s three volume set, “Annals of Philadelphia” (and drew maps and took notes) twice and would read it again if I had time.

When I heard that archaeological excavations were being performed along busy I-95 in Philadelphia, I could barely contain myself. Where and when would the discovered artifacts be presented to the public?

The answer is the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, New Jersey. But, hurry! The exhibition ends December 31, 2016.

This exhibition was everything I hoped it would be. Over 600 artifacts on display are placed in groups organized by first, contributions from Native Americans, then, potters and glassblowers, featuring the Dyottville Glass House in Philadelphia, then, fragments of household items from the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. I easily spent two hours reading the placards and examining the objects. There are maps and old photographs of the city. There are photographs of the dig itself and of the participants. There is a video on flint knapping demonstrated by Jack Cresson, local archaeologist. There is a scavenger hunt game for children within the exhibit. There really is something for everyone. Photography is permitted, which I appreciated since there is no accompanying catalog. Besides the exhibition is the excellent Museum of American Glass itself. It is a comprehensive and beautiful look at glass production through the years and is very informative. I highly recommend a visit for anyone interested in glass objects.

Another reason for my enthusiasm for this exhibition is that the Historical Society of Moorestown is also presenting an exhibition on early found objects in  Moorestown. The title is, History Rocks! Interpreting the Archaeological Discoveries in Moorestown. The focus is on the earliest people who passed through the area and what they left behind. More details on this exhibit in my next blog post.

Native American Pipe Fragments 800 - 1500 AD

Stoneware debris with focus on the Remmey Pottery

Household items recovered from the dig

Dyottville Glass Works Washington-Taylor Flask

Witch Balls

Glass Hats

I love this glimpse into another time.......

Rare Blue Vase

Pitkin Flasks

On the left, a child's thimble. Imagine a little one working on her sampler.

Discovered dishes

Children's Plates


Moorestown's Own Jack Cresson- video demonstration


Delaware Antiques Show - 2016

It is always a treat to visit the Delaware Antiques Show. Classy, sophisticated, subtle - it does not knock one out with razzle dazzle but rather, demonstrates educated good taste. It is not boring. On the contrary, the dealers are quite knowledgable and are happy to discuss the unique items in their booths. Winterthur benefits from the proceeds of this lovely show.

Below are a few highlights from 2016.

Sofa sold by Sumpter Priddy

Pair of New England fan back Windsor side chairs - Stephen/Douglas

Unique volute or "ear" on a fan back Windsor side chair - Stephen/Douglas

Beautiful starburst quilt - Lowery Antiques

Fiddle Head-  Norwood Spirit of America Antiques

Beverly Norwood, Spirit of America Antiques & Lisa Hammell, Noonmark Antiques


Meet the President

Today is election day in the United States. As I write this, the outcome of the election is not clear. But, I do know who will be the next president of the Antiques Dealers Association of America in 2017 – Steven S. Powers.

I first got to know Steven as a dealer through visiting various high end antiques shows. His booths are always fresh and edgy. I like that. I also like what he has for sale in his cases –snuff bottles, boxes and Native American items. I collect snuff bottles so Steve’s booth is always a stop on my rounds at a show. Steve is a specialist in Native American Woodlands /Sculpture and an expert in treen, burl and folk art. He is your go to for early wood objects. He has written two books, “ North American Burl Treen: Colonial and Native American” and the woodlands volume of “Art of the Spirit World, The Steven Michaan Collection.”

Steven S. Powers is also a talented and prolific painter. My husband Charlie & I were fortunate to be in the area to attend an open house where Steve has his studio. It’s great to see an artist in his world. A few years ago, Steve used one of my photographs that I post on social media as a springboard for one of his paintings. Quite an honor for me, to be sure. The painting has sold.

You can check out his websites for antiques or paintings at  www.stevenspowers.com  and www.stevenpowerspainter.com

A sample of artwork by Steven S. Powers

Steve's palette - I love the green!



Wallace Nutting and Wethersfield, Connecticut

Why would a cup of coffee lead to this blog post on Wallace Nutting? Because, we serendipitously stopped for a cup of coffee in beautiful Wethersfield , Connecticut and parked directly in front of the historic Joseph Webb House. Outside the Webb house was a placard announcing an exhibition inside. It was early Sunday morning and the house did not open until 1:00. But, there was a wonderfully helpful description board on the premises that I carefully read and learned a great deal.

I am very concerned about historic preservation and was delighted to find that Wallace Nutting shared my passion. Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) was a committed collector of antiques, an enthusiastic photographer, and prolific author. During his 80 years he managed to gather a significant Pilgrim Century Furniture collection, which was eventually purchased by J.P. Morgan, Jr. and donated to the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut. Nutting loved antique furniture and enjoyed creating household vignettes to photograph and promote historic preservation. The Joseph Webb House in Wethersfield, Connecticut was one site where Wallace Nutting could create his historically accurate settings. If a piece of furniture was not available, he had a band of trusty woodworkers create an accurate likeness. Over the years, an astonishing 1000 plus items were copied and created for Nutting. They were high quality and eventually sold to those who could afford them. His hand colored and signed photographs were synonymous with good taste at that time. I am not surprised to find these framed prints in good old collections when I am on a house call. See example we have for sale below.

In his spare time, Wallace Nutting wrote books on a variety of subjects dealing in various aspects of historic preservation and antique furniture. A few years ago, I went on a book buying spree and picked up a book by Wallace Nutting titled, “Pennsylvania Beautiful.” At the time, I intended to sell it, but, I have decided to keep it because the book contains a number of photographs of rural scenes from my childhood stomping grounds. There are also pen and ink illustrations by the author. What a prolific man!

By the way, the book “Pennsylvania Beautiful” was dedicated to J. Stogdell Stokes, who lived in Moorestown, New Jersey and was among other things, President of the Philadelphia Art Museum. I like that South Jersey connection.

The exhibition in Wethersfield ended on October 30, 2016 but, there is a Wallace Nutting Collector’s Club you can join at www.wallacenutting.org

Joseph Webb House

The Coffee House in Wethersfield, CT

This Wallace Nutting Hand colored photgraph is for sale at Noonmark Antiques

For more information and price of the above photograph, contact info@noonmarkantiques.com