Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Where I Live

I have a flickr account. I have the free one and not the pro one which costs whatever it costs because I don’t really take that many pictures that need to be published and even fewer of them that I want to pay for. Recently I added a few pictures that I had taken at home to that account and tried to add them to the map program they have there. When I clicked the approximate location of where I assumed the house to be and the town Snow Hill NJ came up and I thought ,“Where the fuck is Snow Hill?” Well let me tell you.

I live in the Borough of Lawnside in New Jersey, which means that we are less than 4 square miles in size with a population of less than 5000 people. Actually I think we have about 2500 people with a mayor and 6 councilmen and 5 policemen of which 2 are part-timers. We had a police captain but he was put away for conspiracy and auto insurance fraud and I’m not sure if he was ever replaced. But we probably don’t need a police captain since apart from the murder last year at the Wayne Bryant Community Center when a teenager was shot and the petty drug sales that people do at the Exxon gas station; it’s a pretty quiet neighborhood.

Mark Bryant has been the mayor for at least the last 20 years and maybe longer than that. He lives in Cherry Hill but his girlfriend had a house here so I guess that keeps him qualified to be mayor. For a time I thought that Lawnside would have had to go Arab style, revolt and throw him out but this is South Jersey, we don't do that here. The mayor's brother, former state senator Wayne Bryant does have a house here. The house was worth between $7 and $10 million during the good times when everyone else’s homes cost about $150,000. But Wayne hasn’t been around much since his conviction on corruption and fraud charges. He is staying elsewhere for the next few years, benefit of the state.

Peter Mott House
Anyway, Lawnside was incorporated in 1926 making it the first independently self-governing African American community north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It was formed by the merger of 2 areas of land bought by abolitionists and freed slaves in the in the early 19th century known as Free Haven and Snow Hill. In fact Peter Mott, an African American farmer from Maryland, built his house in the 1840’s in Snow Hill. It’s about 3 blocks from where I live and was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad to help runaway slaves on their way north and freedom.

So that’s where Snow Hill is. It's not just a forgotten spot on a Google map, it’s where I live.


  1. Snow Hill has some history, I can't ever recall hearing of the community, city or area of Snow Hill, but I learn something new each day.

  2. Chet - You've never heard of Snow Hill? I've been here almost 20 years and I hadn't heard of it. It's just one of those names relegated to history now.

  3. What a sweet story! Nice to know it's being commemorated in some way at least.


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