North West Dennis
Northwest Dennis is one of the most natural areas of the township. At the end of Jake’s Landing Road is Mosquito Point. Here is where the last “Block House” in the county stood with its portholes and palisades made of the best white cedar logs. This historic structure no longer exists but at one time it defended the area against smugglers, pirates and the British in the War of 1812. Perhaps it should have been maintained as the landing was often used by Rum Runners during the Prohibition era and thereafter. [Source: A Directional Guide for Touring the Eight Villages of Dennis Township – Prepared by: The Dennis Township School House Museum, Historical and Genealogical Society]
Jakes Landing Road/Mosquito Point
Dennis Creek Wildlife Management Area – Jake’s Landing is a well-known site, popular year-round with fishermen and birder’s alike. For fishermen, the boat launch at the end of Jake’s Landing Rd. provides easy access to Dennis Creek and from there to the Delaware Bay, which is approximately 3.3 miles from the boat launch. For birder’s, the experience begins with a slow pass along the 1.3-mile road. Majestic white pine stands, which were planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, are found among acres of dense wet forest extending far to the west. The vast expanse of the tidal wetlands comes into view as one leaves the forested area, offering numerous seasonal bird and animal sightings.
Thomas Ludlam Family Cemetery
On Jakes Landing Road nestled in the majestic white pines just before the meadows begin is the Thomas Ludlam Family Cemetery.
he land upon which the Thomas Ludlam Family Cemetery is situated was part of more than 2000 acres owned by Joseph Ludlam II (ca 1705-1753). He was the son of Joseph Ludlam, (1675-1761), a whaler who came from Long Island and settled in Cape May County about 1692.
Thomas I, (1731-1782) was willed the homestead plantation from his father, Joseph II. Thomas I willed the land to his son Thomas II (1764-1823) who built a house across from the Family Cemetery plot when he married his wife, Zilpha Smith in 1790. The house still stands today but was renoved to South Dennis.
An article appearing in the Cape May County Gazette, 12-6-1889 stated: “Ther is on the road leading to Jake’s Landing, a yard owned by the Thomas Ludlam family who possessed the estate in years gone by. Here are buried Thomas Ludlam Sr., Thomas Ludlam Jr., Zilpha Ludlam, Reuben Ludlam, and one of the children of George Lawrence, son of James Lawrence and Sarah May, his wife.”
An earlier article appearing in the Star of the Cape, 4-19-1895 stated that upon a visit to the ancient family burying ground by the writer that: “only three stones are standing although there are many graves in the yard.”
Today, the cemetery site which is Block 55, Lot 1 on the Dennis Township Tax Map is owned by a descendent of this branch of the Ludlam Family who gave permission for the restoration of the site for a Eagle Scout Project. All of the surrounding acreage is owned by the State of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Henry Ludlam deeded the school in 1801 to the citizens of the area to be used for a place of education and also as a community meeting place, and indeed it was. This structure has housed more history than any in out township. It was not only one of the earliest places of education but it housed the meetings of many groups, such as, the Whig Party, the Dennis Creek Landing Boat Captains Association, and the Township Opera Society. It was also the enlisting place for the War of 182, and the enlisting place for the New Jersey Volunteers, The Civil War Prayer Meeting Committee, as well as the meetings of the Christians For a Dry Township. Currently this historic building is owned by the Township of Dennis and is part of the Township’s 5-year plan to become a History and Genealogical Repository. During the time in which the Ludlam School building was owned by the Northwest Dennis Civic Club, it was a gathering place for local citizens as well as the site of many special events for the youth of Northwest Dennisville. [Source: A Directional Guide for Touring the Eight Villages of Dennis Township – Prepared by: The Dennis Township School House Museum, Historical and Genealogical Society]
On the 23rd of may in the year 1801, thirty four residents agreed to purchase one acre of land from Henry Ludlam. This acre was located on the north side of Dennis Creek and situated on the main stage coach road leading to Port Elizabeth. The deed indicated that the acre was located between the house of Daniel Ludlam and that of Henry Ludlam. The acre was purchased in order to build “a school house forever”.
The original building consisted of one room. Later, as enrollment increased, another room was added. The Ludlam School served its educational mission for 156 years until its closing in 1957. It served the youth of Dennisville longer than any other school in the Township.
In a registration document of the county, the boundaries of the school district were set forth in the Cape May County miscellaneous book – page 210 as follows: “Ludlam School District, Township of Dennis”. “Beginning at Dennis Creek, at the place where the Johnson mill race empties into Dennis Creek, thence up the said race and pond to beaver dam branch at the parkie field, thence a northerly course along the straight road to the county line at Ludlam’s bridge; thence along the same to the place where a southerly course will strike the head of Dillons branch thence down the same to Dennis Creek aforesaid, thence up the same to the beginning, including all the inhabitants within the above described bounds and shall be styled and known as District No. 6.” Trustees: William S. Townsend, Samuel R. Springer, Jr., Dr. Maurice Beesley. Town Superintendent: Henry Swain signed June 6, 1853.
Over the years many local organization held their meetings in the Ludlam School building. A more extensive report of these organizations was written by local historian, William Robinson, now deceased and is available in the museum files for perusal. In 1958 the Dennis Township Board of Education sold the school to the North West Community Club. In the year 2001 the Township of Dennis was given the deed to the school. The projection in the future is for the Ludlam School to become an additional repository for Dennis Township history and genealogy. [Source: Microsoft Works document found in the Dennis Township Museum computer files]
Henry Ludlam House
Added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 12, 1993. The historic Henry Ludlam house is located on Route 47 in Northwest Dennis and sits on the shore of Ludlam Pond, it is more recently a Bed & Breakfast. The marriage certificate of Henry Ludlam and Hannah Smith, his wife was granted by Governor William Franklin, Esquire son of Benjamin Franklin and bears his signature, dated June 30, 1772. [Source: A Directional Guide for Touring the Eight Villages of Dennis Township – Prepared by: The Dennis Township School House Museum, Historical and Genealogical Society]
Ludlan Pond was created by the mining of the great Atlantic White Cedar trees. In years past it is documented that there was both a saw mill, grist mill and a fulling mill opposite the Ludlam Pond and Ludlam homestead property in North West Dennis.
These mills were in operation long before the Star Of The Cape news item of May 12, 1881 saluted the product being turned out by Albert H. Ludlam when it wrote, “The grist mill of A. H. Ludlam can turn your wheat into as good flour as any mill to be found in this end of the state.” In the same newspaper under date of January 30, 1885, the reporter wrote, “Thomas C. Stevenson, formerly of Petersburg is in charge of Mr. A. H. Ludlam’s grist mill at North Dennisville and is giving entire satisfaction to his employer and to the public. He is regarded as a very conscientious young man and is active in the church work. He is held in high esteem. As a miller he is experienced and trustworthy. Ludlam’s Mill is one of the oldest and best known in our county. For custom work it cannot be excelled. Work is promptly done and well done. Farmers appreciate the truth. [Source: Microsoft Works document found in the Dennis Township Museum computer files]
William S. Townsend House
This lovely historic home is located at the intersection of Route 47 and Tyler Road and is listed on both State and National register of historic places, as are most of the historic houses in this general area and in the village of Dennisville. Henry Clay was known to have been a visitor at the home of William S. Townsend in 1844. Townsend was a man of great wealth and influence. He owned ships, mills, and was connected with the early glass industry, as well as being active in politics and other endeavors. He married Hannah Smith Ludlam, great grand daughter of the Revolutionary War soldier, Henry Ludlam. [Source: A Directional Guide for Touring the Eight Villages of Dennis Township – Prepared by: The Dennis Township School House Museum, Historical and Genealogical Society]
Henry Ludlam Family Cemetery & The Jeremiah S. Nixon House
Located on Route 47 just as the road begins to bend on the right is the cemetery and on the left is Johnson’s Pond. The first grave in this cemetery is that of Abigail Ludlam Falkenburg, daughter of Lt. Henry Ludlam and beside her grave is the of her mother, Hannah Smith Ludlam. The cemetery is situated within the confines of what once part of the extensive Ludlam land holdings. The historic house on this property know as the Jeremiah S. Nixon house during the Civil War period, is seeped in history from that point in time as well as in earlier days when owned by relatives of the Ludlams and other prominent people who at one time or another lived there. During the Civil War it was a hot-bed of political activity. [Source: A Directional Guide for Touring the Eight Villages of Dennis Township – Prepared by: The Dennis Township School House Museum, Historical and Genealogical Society]