Maurice River Recollections Project
Debra A. Barsotti
Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River
and Its Tributaries, Inc.
The Maurice River Reaches Project
Somes Buckshutem Creek
On Buckshutem Road, in the community of Laurel Lake, there was once a local business owned and operated by brothers Glenn and Sidney Somes. When Everett Turner worked with his older brother, they'd often visit the Somes facility. As plumbers, the Turners purchased the septic tanks manufactured by the Somes brothers.
The Burcham twins knew Glenn Somes, and knew that he was "older than they were," they chuckled. While they didn't know the river's reach by the name Somes, they knew that the Somes owned property across the river from them and that the Somes brothers were involved in some kind of plumbing-related business there.
Undated clippings from two local papers reported the death of Glenn Somes:
Somes, who resided on the Millville-Mauricetown Rd., south of Laurel Lake, served in World War II as an instructor in bacteria to prepare medical men for jungle diseases.
With his brother Sidney, he operated a septic tank and burial vault business for years."
The Somes concrete business operated into mid-1900. Later it became the site of DePalma's Real Estate Office. On the southern shore of Laurel Lake is a short run of road called Somes Road.
This reach encompasses the outlet of Buckshutem Creek, a two-armed waterway that facilitated the establishment of mills further inland. The dam on Buckshutem Creek forms Laurel Lake. The name Buckshutem has its own unwritten legends. Many locals will repeat the lore about the Native American who, at the sight of a male deer, said "Buck. Shoot 'em." Others say that the name is derived from the creek's rapid flow of water as it empties into the vigorous wake of the Maurice River, producing a cross current that causes a boat to "buck and shoot" through that section.
Local historian Fola Bevan reported that in the NJ Archives the name was spelled Buckshuton, then Buckshutom, and finally Buckshutem. In her article "The History of Buckshutem," Bevan cites several wills from the NJ Archives, Abstracts of Wills, that mention the cedar swamps at Buckshutem. The earliest of these was recorded in 1772.
In an article "A few Short Notes on Local History,"(Millville Historical Magazine 1980) historian Herbert Vanaman writes that Daniel England's saw mill at Buckshutem Creek may have been the very first mill established in the Maurice River valley.
In the article, Vanaman also posed these questions: "What does 'shutem' mean?" and "Did you know that the name Buckshutem is fairly well known, but did you know there was a Pennshutem?"
In fact, an original map held by the Millville Historical Society shows the 1748 survey of over 19,000 acres of land which was deeded by William Penn to his sons Thomas and Richard. The Penn property stretched along the shores of the Maurice River. Could Buckshutem once have been called Pennshutem? 6/06.