The Rogers/ Collins Family Impact on Moorestown

The Collins family as well as their relatives the Rogers family had a strong impact on Moorestown. Some buildings of the John S. Collins & Son Lumber Yard at Mill Street and the railroad tracks remain today. The main one is now "Moorestown Hardware." Perhaps by the absence of the Rogers Terra Cotta Works and lumber company etc... in the Stanwick section of Moorestown one could forget the Rogers family which once likewise had prosperous business interests. Let's take a look at these families role in shaping the northern side of the village of Moorestown.

West and East of Chester Avenue-

The below is quoted from "Moorestown And Her Neighbors" by George DeCou.-

The Amos Stiles farm was located west of Chester Avenue and north of the railroad. The farm house stood near the residence of the late John S. Collins, 33 East Central Avenue and the front Lane lead to Chester Avenue about opposite the lane leading to the Collins homestead. There was a long back lane on the Stiles farm which lead to Church Street near its junction with Maple Avenue.

A group of Moorestown and Philadelphia business men who foresaw the development that would follow the inauguration of train service to Philadelphia, organized the Moorestown Land Company shortly after the opening of the Railroad. They purchased the Charles Collins farm containing fifty acres for $20,000.00 and sub-divided it into building lots. Central and Oak Avenues were laid out east of Chester. Each of the ten members of the company purchased a lot and erected an attractive home on same. Doubtless these men were the first regular commuters to Philadelphia. The commuters in the early days were often times called "crows" for the reason that they spent their days in Philadelphia or Camden and flew out to Moorestown to roost at night. Portions of the Stokes and Stiles farms were purchased a little later and Central and Oak Avenues were extended west of Chester.

The following quote is about Isaac Collins, John S. Collins' father, from the book chapter "Chester Township" by Clayton Lippincott. It says he was involved with the east of Chester Avenue tract subdivision bought by 10 businessmen.

Below is a part of John S. Collins' biography which was featured in the book set "South Jersey A History" and says that he bought the Amos Stiles farm of 100 acres on the west side of Chester Avenue.

There was also the Rogers Terra Cotta Co. in Stanwick.

The Amos Stiles Farm Subdivision-

The Amos Stiles farm was located in Moorestown, north of Third Street and west of Chester Avenue, containing about 100 acres, and would be co-owned by John S. Collins, Joseph T. Sullivan and Andrew F. Aitken and was submitted as their subdivision plan to develop the Central Avenue area with upscale housing, details including the setting back of homes a minimal of 40 feet from the street and houses to be built with a specified high quality.

Some plots were already owned and also various plots would be owned by John S. Rogers, a nephew to John S. Collins. John S. Rogers put in the Beech Street row homes for laborers, then being mostly of Irish descent, but later the street would become an African American neighborhood.

John S. Collins erected a coal and lumber yard and hardware store on it. As time past he would have branches of the lumber, coal, and feed stores in five different towns in New Jersey. Maple Shade's opened in 1917 on North Forklanding Road near the railroad tracks. His son Irving Collins controlled the lumber business' under the name of John S. Collins And Son.

The J.S. Collins & Son Lumber and Coal yard in Moorestown had a lumber mill, feed mill, hardware store, and sold farm implements. Despite the mills (the feed mill being in the multi story rear brick section) Mill Street did not get its name from it, but rather had the name already since the mid 1800s due to a steam powered mill that was between Main Street and Second Street, the building now used by Albert Ellis Plumbing and Heating. The "Locust Farm" milk bottler came between 1911 and 1913 to Mill St. and 3rd St. which was owned by the Ed Forsythe family.

Not listed is the Maple Shade branch added in 1917.

Amos A. Rogers Family-

Amos A. Rogers lived in the "Maple Shade" section of Fellowship, specifically his farm is now bisected by Route 73 and starts at about the Route 38 overpass and goes to the Mount Laurel border.
(See the GM Hopkins 1877 atlas map detail below.)

He was married to Martha Lippincott Collins a sister to John S. Collins. His children became very prominent and wealthy citizens of Moorestown. His sons, John S., was president of the Rogers Building and Contracting Company; Albert D., the head of the Rogers Terra Cotta Works, at Stanwick, and Isaac C., a nurseryman, at Danville, N. Y. A daughter Rachel L. Rogers (not to be confused with Rachel A. Rogers, wife of John S. Collins) was a successful teacher and Principal, running her own private school.

From the "Genealogy of the Stokes family..." by Richard Haines, George Haines, Charles Stokes.

From the New Jersey Mirror, May 21, 1902-
ROGERS.--May 14, at Moorestown, Amos A. Rogers, in his 70th year.

Amos A. Rogers, an old and much respected resident of this place, died on Wednesday after a protracted illness. For a number of years he had been largely interested in the enterprises of his sons, John S., president of the Rogers Building and Contracting Company; Albert D., at the head of Rogers Terra Cotta Works, at Stanwick, and Isaac C., nurseryman, at Danville, N. Y. Mr. Rogers was a member of the Society of Friends and was well known throughout this section.

From the New Jersey Mirror, March 11, 1908-
ROGERS.--March 5, at Stanwick, John S. Rogers, in his 51st year.

John S. Rogers, a prominent resident of this place and one of the best known contractors in South Jersey, died at his home on Thursday morning(presumably a reference to March 5, 1908) after an illness extending over a year with heart disease. Mr. Rogers was fifty-one years of age. He was born on a farm at Fellowship and his early life was spent in agricultural pursuits. Later he entered the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, rapidly rising until he became chief clerk for W. N. Bannard, who at that time was superintendent of the Amboy Division. About eighteen years ago he embarked as a contractor and builder and he succeeded in establishing a very extensive business. Mr. Rogers was prominent in Masonic matters(,) was much interested in the firemen of the State, at the time of his death having been president of Relief Fire Company, and was a member of Mount Holly Lodge of Elks. The funeral held on Saturday (presumably a reference to March 7, 1908) was largely attended.

1907 Ad

Beech Street-

Subdivision Plan Map 723 for Beech Street, Sept. 1892
(Click on the image for a larger one.)

From the Mount Holly News, October 17, 1893

By 1900 Beech Street was a Black (African American) neighborhood complete with the Second Baptist Church. Early on some names seemed Irish. The row homes were probably put in for John S. Rogers' workers possibly building much of the area's buildings and houses. But this is only a theory. It could've been just for low income houses to rent.

I did some research on the names of the people living on Beech St. in the Directory of Moorestown and Chester Township 1894. All the names I found and compared to census records of near to years were white people. It would seem most or all the people were white people.

In the 1900 census only 2 families were white and then in subsequent census records up to and including 1915 only one- McCloskey (or McCluskey), Maggie widow of Thomas, then Margaret, living at 2 Beech Street. Everyone else listed was black and it stayed pretty much that way from then on. It would be interesting to know generations who lived on the street.

They didn't have real nice jobs. They did things like servants for private families, coalyard workers, contractors to hire, etc... for the early decades.

A good place to research census records is-

On a related note is this excerpt from the Mount Holly News, August 1, 1893-
John S. Collins contemplates building a lot of houses in the town to rent from $8 to $15 per month. This is a class of houses that is in active demand just at present.

From the April 27, 1974 Philadelphia Inquirer (MEND article)

1916 Tax Rateables-

Note that J.S. Rogers & Co. (He died) owns Beech Street.

Sanborn Insurance Map Details-

From a Moorestown Sanborn Insurance map of 1900
Hauck's Excelsior Directory of Moorestown and Vicinity 1900 has the church as "Second Baptist."

From the book "Moorestown And Her Neighbors" written in 1929 by George DeCou-
The Second Baptist Church (Negro) on Mill Street, was organized in 1897. Rev. Samuel C. Hill is now the Pastor and the Church has a membership of two hundred and forty.

1905 map detail showing Collins Lumber and Beech Street

The lumber mill isn't there yet. It was across Mill Street and burned down in the 1970s.
The feed mill is there. The feed mill was the brick section in back.

J.S. Rogers lumber yard in 1900.

1911 map detail of Rogers Terra Cotta Works in the Stanwick section of Moorestown

This is a page from Martha Lippincott (Davis) scrapbook of her teacher memories. She taught for a time at Maple Shade's Chesterford schoolhouse. The reason I put this is to reiterate family connections. In a previous section of this report is the following-

The Amos Stiles farm was located in Moorestown, north of Third Street and west of Chester Avenue, containing about 100 acres, and would be co-owned by John S. Collins, Joseph T. Sullivan and Andrew F. Aitken and was submitted as their subdivision plan to develop the Central Avenue area with upscale housing. George DeCou gave a description of where the Amos Stiles farmhouse was and elsewhere in his book, I think, he states that Joseph T. Sullivan later lived in the house. The house might have been moved to Chester Avenue. Joseph T. Sullivan was co-owner of an insurance company, Creth and Sullivan, located in Philadelphia. He also served as president of the Moorestown Water Department.

From the "Friends Intelligencer."

From "The Insurance Press, Vol. 54," 1922

A Sad Note-

From the New Jersey Mirror, October 18, 1911-
SULLIVAN.--October 15, at Moorestown, Sarah R. Sullivan, wife of Joseph T. Sullivan, aged 55 years.

A very sad case terminated fatally on Sunday (presumably a reference to October 15, 1911) when Mrs. Joseph T. Sullivan, a widely known beloved resident of Moorestown, succumbed to injuries received the previous week while watching the rases on the Elkins' estate near Philadelphia. A thoroughbred which had thrown its rider dashed into the crowd of spectators, injuring several of them. Mrs. Sullivan was one of the unfortunates, being struck on the back of the head by the horse's hoofs and rendered unconscious. The injured woman was paralyzed from the neck down and although at first hopes were entertained for her recovery, there was a late relapse from which the patient failed to rally. The deceased was 55 years of age and the mother of several grown children, all married. ...

A Happy Note-

From the New Jersey Mirror, March 25, 1936-
Stepdaughter Gets $60,000 by Will of Mrs. Mabel Sullivan / Total Bequests Amount to $116,000--Lists of Other Beneficiaries / Widow of Joseph T. Sullivan

Bequests totaling $116,000 are provided in the will of Mrs. Mabel G. Creth Sullivan, which was probated at the Surrogate's office on Saturday. She died at her home in Moorestown on March 10, the widow of Joseph T. Sullivan. Mrs. Mabel C. S. D'Olier, of Moorestown, a stepdaughter, is the largest beneficiary. She gets $60,000 in cash and securities...

(Note- On Dec. 2, 1914 Joseph T. Sullivan remarried. He married Mabel G. Creth, the daughter of John E. Creth of Overbrook, PA. Also their daughter Mabel married Francis D'Olier.)

Another daughter of Joseph T. Sullivan, Alice, married Dudley Perkins and lived at the "Perkins Memorial" house. The house was afterward owned by the D'Olier family who gave it to Moorestown Twp. for a park. Here is a marriage clip for Alice and Dudley-

From the following page in Martha Lippincott (Davis) "teacher's scrapbook."
(See the above "like image.")

Perkins Memorial-

Straying from the topic slightly, we will see Joseph T. Sullivans' two daughters relationship to Perkins Memorial.

The following is from the Moorestown News Chronicle, March 2, 1967-

D'Olier Property Designated Park, Cultural Center

Property deeded to the township of Moorestown in 1965 by the late Mrs. Francis W. D'Olier was turned over to the Department of Parks and Recreation Monday night, when council passed a resolution designating the department's responsibilities.

The D'Olier property, "Evergreen Lawn," located at the forks of Kings Highway and Camden avenue, will be used as a park, art and cultural center, according to Michael B. Berman, Superintendant of Recreation in Moorestown.

Mrs. D'Olier stipulated that the property be considered a Perkins memorial, and at the time it was offered to the town, it belonged to the Perkins Estate. She purchased it from the estate and conveyed it to the township.

The grounds were purchased by John Perkins from the French family in 1832, and for years the land was maintained as a nursery: some of the large pines and hemlocks now standing along its edge on Kings Highway date from the original nursery.

Mrs. D'Olier's sister married Dudley Perkins and at his death, the D'Oliers came to live with her in the large house standing on the grounds. Mrs. D'Olier continued to occupy the residence until her death in August of 1966.

The Department of Parks and Recreation recommend to the township that the estate be used as a park and cultural center: that its offices be relocated on the property; that the grounds be dedicated as a "passive recreation site" for the spring of 1967 by purchasing park benches; and the establishment of the... (Cont'd on pg. 9)

Some Ads-

(John S. Rogers and Joseph T. Sullivan were brother-in-laws.)

Both ads are from the "Village Improvement," March 1906

From "The Home Cook Book
by Children's Summer House Of Cinnaminson, NJ."

(Rachel L. Rogers was a sister of John S. Rogers, a sister-in-law of Joseph T. Sullivan,
a niece of John S. Collins, a daughter of Amos A. Rogers, and a aunt to Alice Perkins and Mabel D'Olier.)

From a Moorestown Directory
She also taught at Moorestown Friends High School and Kindergarten.

Some Title Chain Segments-

AME Church-

(Aitken had plots of land on and near North Church Street.)

The African Methodist Episcopal Church of Moorestown, New Jersey
took title on July 1, 1891
under Deed book 293, page 23
from John S. Collins

John S. Collins and Rachel A. Collins his wife, first part, to William Eldridge, James Roberts, John H. Robinson, Alexander McKim, Henry Roberts, Daniel Fountain, and Cooper Gray, Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Moorestown, NJ, a corporation, second part

Land situate in Moorestown, line at westerly line of Fourth Street to corner lot of John H. Robinson...(Often Fourth Street or "below Fourth Street" would be used for lcations on North Church Street, even though it wasn't near Beech Street. Beech Street was originally going to be named Fourth Street.)

for the sum of 1100 dollars.
containing 5,784 square feet of land more or less.

Being part of the land Andrew F. Aitken conveyed to John S. Collins under Deed book 289, page 91

(Note- 1100 dollars for a little over an eighth acre of land would denote a building on it. Also Deed book 297, page 17 is AME Church selling land to John S. Collins.)

From the Mount Holly News, February 3, 1893, under "Moorestown"-
The new African Baptist Church will hold meetings for the present in the hall on the upper part of the Chronicle Building.

Second Baptist Church of Moorestown-

From the book "Moorestown And Her Neighbors" written in 1929 by George DeCou-
The Second Baptist Church (Negro) on Mill Street, was organized in 1897. Rev. Samuel C. Hill is now the Pastor and the Church has a membership of two hundred and forty.

From a Deed Recital Section of a Title (Burlington County Clerk's Office)

Here is info on the two Moorestown Black churches in the Boyd's 1903 Burlington County Directory-

Beech Street-

John S. Rogers
took title on October 22, 1889
under deed book 282, page 631
from John S. Collins
for the sum of 750 dollars

Beginning at a stake in the middle of Mill Street.... an avenue to be opened forty feet in width to extend to that width from said Mill Street to Lippincott Avenue to be called Beech Avenue... 355 feet

Land sold to John S. Collins from Joseph T. Sullivan on June 1, 1887 under Deed book P-11, page 327

Some Stanwick "Company Houses"-

John S. Rogers
took title on January 19, 1892
under Deed book 296, page 8
from the Stanwick Carpet Company

6 double houses situate on Linden Avenue

The "Stiles Farm"-

John S. Collins
took title on June 1, 1887
under Deed book P-11, page 377
from Joseph T. Sullivan

for the sum of 6,742 dollars.
Land divided into 4 tracts

(Obviously John S. Collins bought parts only.)


Joseph T. Sullivan
took title on April 6, 1881
under Deed book H-10, page 542
from Sarillia W.L. Archer, and Adaline B. Stiles, Administrators of the Estate of Samuel Archer deceased

Containing about ninety six acres known as the "Stiles Farm"

Said Joseph T. Sullivan being the highest bidder... of the sum of one hundred and sixty two dollars and fifty cents per acre amounting to the sum of fifteen thousand six hundred and thirty four dollars and twelve cents

(Also other deeds follow which seem connected)


Samuel Archer, of the City of Camden
took title on August 5, 1872
under Deed book O-8, page 360
Sold by Montgomery Stiles

For the sum of twenty eight thousand nine hundred and eighty nine dollars

... to the plantation of Amos Stiles (deceased) of which the following is a part... Second tract is bounded by the Fork Landing Road (now N. Church Street), mention to Frankin Stiles' land

the above (first 2 tracts) tracts of land and premises being a part of the same premises that were devised to said Montgomery Stiles by his father Amos Stiles in his last will and testament dated December 26th AD 1853 and recorded in the Surrogates office... Book H of Wills, page 506


J.S. Rogers was a builder. For further study on him and the Rogers family see the report "The Stanwick Section of Moorestown, NJ 1879-2004" by Philip J. Flanders, which is at the Moorestown Historical Society. Their area of industry and company housing was mainly in Stanwick. John S. Rogers built North Pemberton Railroad Station in 1892. J.S. Rogers were putting sidewalks in Philadelphia in the early 1900s.

Most of the houses built throughout Moorestown in the mid to late 1800s owe their wood to I.W. Heulings Lumber and Planing Mill and lumber yards starting with the one at Fork Landing. You can imagine this changed with John S. Rogers and John S. Colllins' lumber yards.

A whole other study would be the "Collins Tract" development in Merchantville. Interesting how that and the Moorestown development have streets called "Irving." (Irving was the "son" in "John S. Collins & Son Lumber Co.")

Ad from the 1928-1929 Moorestown Chronicle Directory

At right is an article on another old time builder of Moorestown homes.
From the Moorestown Chronicle, Anniversary of First Baptist Church
(Click on the image for a larger one.)

John S. Collins' house, 33 Central Avenue.
His other house was in Miami Beach Florida.

Dennis Weaver's Moorestown webpages-
Moorestown Our Neighbor Moorestown Out in the Country books Lenola Central Avenue area Hooton page