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Maurice River Recollections Project
River Reaches




American Legion Convalescent Home
Post on Facebook July 1, 2016
By Ted Prohowich (lives in the former American Legion Convalescent Home)

Our home (Ted Prohowich and wife Diane Mueller Roselle) was the American Legion Convalescent Home, District No. 6 at Menantico. It was dedicated on March 2, 1924 with a few thousand in attendance. The Millville Post of the American Legion in Millville ran it. Sydney Kapp was the post commander at the time.

The home was used to care for about 15 veterans from World War I. Some of these men had experienced shell-shock, which we refer to today as post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people in Southern New Jersey donated household items, a pool table, a radio, farm equipment as well as other items as this home was being upgraded with electric and indoor plumbing.

The American Legion Convalescent Home lasted from 1924-1927.

This was sometimes referred to by locals as the Legion Farm, which included 97 acres between the Maurice River and Delsea Drive, running from what is now the last ramp on Route 55 South (Route 47 North) to the 3rd house north of us. Along the river, the property extended from the remnants of the Swedish Moravian Church and Cemetery to just south of Yawpshore Road.

Background history:
The house was built by William Madden around 1856 on a 140-acre property he purchased from James Holmes in 1823. William Madden died in 1873. Jonathan Lore was Executor of the estate from 1873-1876. Jacob T. Sharp owned it from 1876-1879. Jesse Coombs Ackley and his wife Sarah H. Hampton Ackley owned it from 1879-1903. The house stayed in the family with Willis Ackley and wife Harriet Ward Keen Ackley from 1903, when an addition was built, and the 43 acres on the east side of Delsea Drive were divided between relatives. Willis & Hattie Ackley sold the 97 acres to the American Legion in 1923.

When the American Legion Convalescent Home closed in 1927, it was sold to Irving and Jennie Kotok, who subdivided it. In 1929, the 97 acres were sold to a company in which Mr. Kotok had a stake: Ruth Harold, Co. Inc. Parts were sold off over time. In 1933 Rev. Dr. Henry Avery Atkinson from New York City bought a 10-acre parcel which included the house and outbuildings, and a 37 acre parcel which is the marsh behind it. He named this place Waubeka Estate.

In 1944, Fred and Helen Mueller bought those two parcels from Henry Atkinson and his wife Grace. Between 1945 and 1968, the Muellers ran the Waubeka Farm Market. They purchased an acre lot where the billboard now stands directly across the street from the market. At some point, Fred and Helen Mueller sold the 37-acre marshland (which has since eroded to 22 acres).

In 1970, Diane Mueller Roselle bought the house from her parents. In 1982, there was a house fire and much of the inside was rebuilt and refurnished over time. Also 6 additional acres north of the house and 3 acres south of the house were purchased.

In 2005, I married Diane and we have continued to maintain the house and grounds. We refer to our home and surrounding property as Waubeka.

Postscript:
The present Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. office is located in the original Millville American Legion mentioned in this post

 

 

Recollections