Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/852

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"Pines," at the head of Mullica River. Battles were fought at Chestnut Neck near the mouth of this river, at one time a large and prominent settlement, and cannon balls, old pennies, and pebbles oddly decorated on one side have been found on the beach. Skeletons of men have been bared by the winds, which some think are those of soldiers and others of Indians, since it was once an Indian village, as is indicated by potsherds, broken shells, flints, and other signs scattered all over the surface of the ground. Munitions of war were cast there for the Revolution. General Greene himself owned a twelfth interest in the Batsto furnace, but sold out his share when he entered the army.

Extending northward from the Mullica River are the "Plains," a desolate region inhabited at one time, they say, by wild hogs, pine robbers, and pirates.

Weymouth was another important place. Materials were forged there for the War of 1812, and street lamps standing today in Philadelphia and waterways in Mobile were molded there.

Scattered here and there throughout the "Pines" were active, thriving "bloomeries." Now all is silence, save for the noises of the woods. Instead of the buzz of the mill and the commotion of men at work, there can now be heard only the chirping of insects and the song of the cheewink by day and the croaking of toads and frogs at night. The ruins of forges and furnaces, the large, dilapidated houses, the overgrown roads, the wharves, the sluices, the piers, the old fences, and the masses of black coal-dirt on the landings where vessels once came for wood and charcoal, are all evidences of what the country was when iron was made from "bog ore." In the houses and ample barns even of more recent date the spiders have woven their webs, the wasps have mudded the walls, and the rats scamper at home through the deserted rooms. Many orchards are untrimmed and sterile, many meadows flooded, and many fields overgrown with briers and Indian grass.

After the death of the iron manufacture South Jersey passed into another industrial stage—the making of glass. The glory of this industry is also passing, and ruins of old factories are not uncommon.

Those furnaces and forges mark the infancy of the iron industry in America—an industry which has made this century "the age of iron." Its local decline was natural and unavoidable—due to an inadequate supply of ore, a crude manner of manufacture, and difficult means of transportation.