Biographies

Thomas Champion

Born & raised in Belleplain. Korean War Veteran, front-line medic. Champion’s Saw Mill in Belleplain. Former Dennis Township Committeman, planning board member in the 60’s. Belleplain State Forest Night Ranger. Founder of the Smokey Bear Birthday Party Program. Charter member of the Belleplain Emergency Corp. The Museums first Oral History Project interview.

Listen to the interview containing historical knowledge of Belleplain, Belleplain State Forest/Lake Nummy and the families and businesses that made up that village.

Jesse Diverty

Jesse Diverty was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1822 but most of his life was spent in Dennis Township. He served for 47 years as the superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School in Dennisville. He was named an elder in the church in 1871.

In addition to his religious duties, Diverty operated a shipyard that bore his name. More than 30 seagoing vessels were built and launched from Diverty’s shipyard on Dennis Creek.

Diverty was also active in politics, serving three terms in the state senate. He was also a member of Dennis Township Committee and involved himself in a number of civic functions including tax collector, judge on the county court, and public school trustee. He died on March 9, 1890. [Source: DT Museum newsletter Winter 2013 & Cape May County Dateline, a book by Bill Robinson]

Dr. Maurice Beeseley

Dr. Maurice Beeseley was born on May 16, 1804 at Dennisville. His grandfather Janathan was killed during the Revolutionary War. Beeseley began his medical practice at age 24. His first office was located in Cape May Court House. After a year, he made his first and last career move, relocating his office to Dennisville. There he remained for the next 53 years. Beeseley was also active in state government, serving a term in the assembly. He was this county’s first superintendent of public schools from 1866 to 1881. Beeseley managed to find time to write. In 1857, he published “Sketches of the early History of Cape May County”. Beeseley also managed to find time to study local trees and was a respected authority on the Great Cedar Swamp. Dr. Beeseley died on January 1, 1882 at the age of 78. He is buried at Union Cemetery in South Dennis. A plaque honoring him has been laid in the front of our Museum. [Source: DT Museum newsletter Winter 2013 & Cape May County Dateline, a book by Bill Robinson]

Gallery of Local People