BATSTO RIVER, August 15, 1993.

Wharton State Forest, Burlington County


Located on Route 542 along the Batsto River about a mile north of The Forks where the Batsto joins the Mullica River in Washington Twp.


Batsto means "Bath place."

Batsto Furnace  (1766-1844 or 1858) Batsto Village is a restored town started in 1766 around a bog iron furnace.

Charles Read of Philadelphia and Burlington built Etna, Taunton, Atsion, and Batsto in rapid succession, all completed by 1768. He overextended himself, taxing both his resources and his health. His wife died in 1769 and is buried in St. Mary's Episcopal Cemetery in Burlington, NJ. Charles went to live with his son in Etna Furnace. He fled from his burdens to the Carribean in 1773 leaving much of his estate to his son Charles Read, Jr.

Batsto's business boomed during the Revolution, when the factory made ammunition for the war. When iron became less profitable, the village, numbering more than a thousand people, turned to making glass (1846-1867) from the abundance of sand in the area.

The name Batsto comes from the Swedish "Batstu" meaning a sauna house.

Batsto was built in 1766 by Charles Read and his business associates, who also built forges and furnaces at Etna, Taunton, and Atsion. Some of the Batsto pig iron was transported to the forge at Atsion to be refined into bar iron. At the time of the Revolutionary, Batsto was owned by a Philadelphia merchant, John Cox and his associates. In 1778 it was purchased by Joseph Ball, who had been the manager of the works under Cox. In 1784 Batsto was sold to William Richards and associates. Son Jesse Richards saw a period of boom associated with the War of 1812. In the latter half of the 19th century, Philadelphian Joseph Wharton purchased Batsto.

The iron industry here was started in 1766 by Charles Read, Sr.   Batsto was a principal arsenal for cannon and cannon balls for America during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.   In 1784, William Richards took over.  He and his son, Jesse, took Batsto to its height between 1812 and 1830.  

In 1778 a British detachment got as close as Chestnut Neck, near the mouth of the Mullica River.

Half the town was destroyed by fire in 1867 after which, in 1876, Joseph Wharton of the Wharton School of Economics bought Batsto.  Wharton actually lived here and made major repairs and enlargements.   Wharton died in 1909.  In 1955 his entire tract of around 97,000 acres was acquired by the State of New Jersey.  (Boyd 1991)


There's a self-guided, 1.5-mile nature walk around the lake at Batsto (with a brochure written by Karl Anderson).  The Batona Trail also crosses Wharton State Forest.

Savannahs and Cedar Swamps, Batsto River, Burlington Co., NJ. Extending along ancient oxbows and coves, the cedar swamps, savannahs, and quaking bogs of the Batsto River above the village of Batsto attracted botanists as early as 1805 and, perhaps, even earlier. On a savannah well above the village, we had little difficulty finding our target species.

At the request of the N.J. Forest Service, we conducted a survey for successional herbs at a 1980-1991 cedar clearcut of 3.4 hectares at Penn Swamp Branch west of the Tuckerton Trail. Prior to the harvest, a mature Chamaecyparis stand with a sparse herb layer occupied this site, which now serves as a cedar regeneration experimental plot. The site produced a substantial sum of 40 species of herbs, vines, and ferns. Although no rare species were encountered, we were surprised by the occurrence of Bidens polylepis, an interloper. Leader: Ted Gordon.

11 September, Batsto River, Burlington Co. And Route 30, Atlantic Col, NJ. Leader: Mark Larocque.

We ventured into Long Savannah along the eastern side of the Batsto River hoping to see Spiranthes laciniata.  We were unsuccessful, although our search of the previous year had produced approximately 15 scattered plants here. Among the species seen were Aster nemoralis, A novi-belgii, Eriocaulon decangulare, Schizaea pusilla, Hypericum canadensis.

A few miles east of Hammonton along Route 30 we examined a fine station of over one hundred Gentiana autumnalis with about 50% of the plants in bloom. Associated species in full bloom were Heterotheca (Chrysopsis) mariana, Liatris graminifolia , Aster gracilis , and Aster spectabilis .


Karl Anderson, Ted Gordon, Mark Larocque

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)

Smilax laurifolia (laurel-leaved greenbrier)

Aster gracilis (slender aster)
Aster nemoralis (leafy bog aster)
Aster novi-belgii (New York aster)
Aster spectabilis (showy aster)
Bidens polylepis (Ozark beggar ticks)
Calopogon tuberosus (grass pink)
Chrysopsis mariana (golden aster)
Eriocaulon decangulare (pipewort)
Gentiana autumnalis (pine barren gentian)
Habenaria clavellata (club spur orchid)
Habenaria cristata (crested fringed orchid)
Habenaria integra (yellow orchid)
Hypericum canadense (Canada St. Johnswort)
Hypericum denticulatum (coppery St. Johnswort)
Iris prismatica (slender blue flag)
Liatris graminifolia (grass-leaved blazing star)
Lobelia canbyi (Canby's lobelia)
Lobelia nuttallii (Nuttall's lobelia)
Lophiola aurea (goldcrest)
Narthecium americanum (bog asphodel)
Nymphoides cordata (little floating heart)
Orontium aquaticum (golden club)
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum)
Pogonia ophioglossoides (rose pogonia)
Polygala cruciata (drum heads milkwort)
Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed)
Potamogeton confervoides (alga pondweed)
Proserpinaca pectinata (coastal plain mermaidweed)
Sabatia difformis (marsh pink)
Sagittaria latifolia (broad-leaved arrowhead)
Spiranthes laciniata (lace-lipped ladies' tresses)
Utricularia purpurea (purple bladderwort)
Xyris fimbriata (yellow eyed grass)
Xyris torta (slender yellow eyed grass)

Juncus caesariensis (New Jersey rush)

Carex livida (lead-colored sack sedge)
Cladium mariscoides (twig rush)
Eleocharis robbinsii (Robbin's spikerush)
Eleocharis tuberculosa (tubercled spikerush)
Rhynchospora alba (white beakrush)
Rhynchospora cephalantha (flower-headed beakrush)
Rhynchospora fusca (dusky beakrush)
Rhynchospora gracilenta (slender beakrush)
Rhynchospora oligantha (few-flowered beakrush)
Scleria reticularis (reticulate whip grass)
Sclerolepis uniflora (sclerolepis)

Calamovilfa brevipilis (pine barrens reed grass)
Muhlenbergia torreyana (Torrey's muhly grass)

Schizaea pusilla (curly grass fern)

Sphagnum cyclophyllum (sphagnum moss)
Sphagnum portoricense (sphagnum moss) (a new record)

September 24, 1944

The Autumn excursion included the following places:

Pleasant Mills, where Pickering's morning glory was a plant of particular interest, and where sand gentians and blazing star, together with typical pine barren species of aster and goldenrod were also conspicuous. At Herman a walk near the mouth of Bull Creek turned up a nice stand of Eupatorium resinosum and further species of goldenrods and aster. A delightful bit of savannah was found which gives one that feeling of strangeness and excitement which characteristic pine barren locales afford.

Along the shores of Mullica River, Smilax walteri, S laurifolia, Ilex verticillata, I laevigata, and Viburnum nudum were found.

At Batsto Pond Eriocaulon parkeri, Isoetes braunii, Lycopus sessilifolius and Spiranthes cernua were conspicuous.

Louis, Hand, attendance 5