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The Maurice River Reaches Map is easy to interact with the simple controls and features provided.
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The map is fully draggable. Simply click anywhere on the map and begin dragging your mouse to move the map to specific areas.
move up click to navigate the map "up".
move down click to navigate the map "down".
move left click to navigate the map "left".
move right click to navigate the map "right".
zoom in click to "zoom in" for a closer look.
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red buoy click to learn more about that reach.
Maurice River Recollections Project
River Reaches
Debra A. Barsotti
Research Journalist
Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River
and Its Tributaries, Inc.

The Maurice River Reaches Project - River Recollections
William Wilson
A Collection of Memories… and More

Meet William Wilson, alias Captain Willie.

William and Cynthia Wilson of Millville were married in 1974. They started out with no money, and lived in a tiny, tiny cabin on the Maurice River off Yawpshore Road.

"I have water skied, fished and swam the river all my life," Captain Willie said. "I have explored the river from way up near Garden Road to the lake - by canoe," he said, talking about his teenage days when life was about camping, swimming and fishing along the Maurice River and Union Lake. "I have explored the rest of the river past the lake - and beyond the bay. I did learn to crab and fish at Matt's Landing."

Captain Willie posts his colorful recollections of the fishing and crabbing adventures on his website. One of his first outings was at Matt's Landing: "I first crabbed when I was about 12 years old. My friend’s father took us out crabbing in his boat. I was thrilled as I pulled in my first crabs - the many colors, the fierce snapping claws, the trap rattle as the creature banged around trying to escape, what a thrill on that hot summer day in Matt's Landing, NJ.”

And as a seasoned crabber, he offered his perspectives to others: "Over the years, I've explored different areas of those creeks. I learned that the tide is always moving somewhere. If it is dead in one spot, it’s moving somewhere else due to the different depths of the ditches. Even though I have crabbed many years in these areas, there are many more sections to crab and explore. Almost every trip I learn something more. But I found if you keep moving around you will catch crabs."

Memories flow with the tide:

In a conversation with one of the docents at Millville Historical Society, the name Forty Cats Island came up. The volunteer mentioned that someone had recently researched the name of this Union Lake spot. During this research, stories surfaced about one of the area residents who was known to take a few sips (of alcohol) occasionally. But on the occasions "when he took to the cups" (a saying that means getting pretty intoxicated), he would croon an old song called "Forty Cats and Forty Kittens."

Stella, a waitress at Al's Hideaway in Shellpile, remembers coming down to the Old Mauricetown Bridge with her cousin, who was related to bridge tender Albert Reeves. "We used to go down on a Saturday afternoon and wait for the boats to go by. We would get to help them turn the key to open the bridge." The boats would toot to let them know they wanted to go through and the tender would go down to the middle of the bridge, put the big key in and turn it. "The key was probably three-foot high and probably five-foot long," Stella remembered. She was about 10 years old at the time. Two youngsters, one on each end, could push to make the key turn.

Lisa Garrison also has a story about that old bridge. "We used to cross the bridge at Mauricetown - the old bridge, on our way to the shore in the 1950's. My grandmother's next door neighbor - Mr. Gibson, Sr., was associated with the bridge - he helped build it or repair it. Whenever we crossed it my sister and I would yell, 'We're crossing Yocky's bridge!' I guess Yocky was Mr. Gibson's nickname. It's just an odd bit of our family lore."

Pat from Long Reach can remember when High Street of Port Norris was paved with red brick. She recalled when the trolley stopped along Main Street, and she remembered that there was a toll collector on both sides of the street. She referred to Peak of the Moon as the "wilderness." And she remembers using bread balls to catch fish at the Mauricetown Bridge. She also came up river to fish on the reach near the grain elevator. It was a good spot for stripers and perch. She said that her ex-husband caught a hammer head shark there once. Could this be true?

Bobby Bateman mentioned that his grandfather was a "gandy walker." He walked the rails looking for problems. One of his uncles owned the  A&P in Port Norris.

Dawn Pagnini mentioned that some of her ancestors lived along the "Yock Wock Track." Dawn is of Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape ancestry and is a member of the local tribe.

Tides are a-changing

Damon Noe of The Nature Conservancy was excited about the future of the Maurice River Bluffs. A plan is being formulated to solicit input from the city and its residents for the creation of a public-use site there. The unique environment could be protected and there could still be places for trails, river access for boaters, and some interpretive signs to educate visitors about the history and natural features on the tract. While the cabin at the Owl's Cove is no longer there, the foundations of the old farmhouse remain. Plans are underway to transform this site into a natural and recreation area with an interpretive element to capture the interesting history that evolved here along this part of the Maurice River.