Wharton State Forest


The Philadelphia-Tuckerton stage line stopped at Long-a-Coming (now Berlin), Atsion, Quaker Bridge, Mount, and Washington, and on to the Wading River and to Tuckerton. (McPhee 1969:34)

Arthur Thompson built Thompson's Tavern at Quaker Bridge. Just how early he was here is unknown. His first license application on file is for the year 1809. In 1821 he was succeeded by his widow, Elizabeth, and she stayed here until 1836, at which time James G. Sears took over. In 1849 William Richards was here. (Boyer 1962:79)

The Quakers of Burlington, Mount Holly, and Medford would go on annual meeting to Tuckerton. Here a group of Quakers had built a bridge over the Batsto River in 1772 in memory of numerous Quakers who had drowned while attempting to ford the stream.

A famous Pine Barrens outlaw was Joe Mulliner. He waylayed stagecoaches near Quaker Bridge. (Pierce 1957:58)

In 1805, four botanists who were staying at Thompson's Tavern went into the woods near Quaker Bridge and found the curly grass fern. (McPhee 1969:34-35)

There was a small settlement here beside the Batsto River, on the old Tuckerton Road, Washington Twp., four miles east of Atsion.  The Quakers built a bridge here in 1772 so they could get across the river to their yearly meeting in Tuckerton.

The claim to fame of this area is the discovery here of curly grass fern (Schizaea pusilla) in 1805 or 1808.   A label accompanying a specimen in the collection of the Torrey Botanical Society says: First discovered by Dr. C. W. Eddy, near Quaker Bridge in the pine barrens of New Jersey, about 30 miles from Philadelphia. Dr. Eddy was in company with J. LeConte, Pursh, and C. Whitlow and though he and Mr. LeConte found all the specimens, Pursh has claimed the honor of the discovery himself. (quoted in Pierce 1957:56) The date was around 1808.

There was a tavern located here overlooking the Batsto River (1808-09 to 1849) that became an important stage coach stop on the Tuckerton Stage Road. It was destroyed by fire. 

One of the few written records of a visit there was by John Torrey in a letter to Zaccheus Collins. The letter tells of a joint trip with William Cooper in 1818. "We remained at Thompson's Tavern (at Quaker Bridge) where we were very well entertained. About this time we found a considerable number of plants which were new to us. . . . What pleased us more than any plants we found was the Schizaea. Cooper found the first specimen. It is a singular little plant. . . ." (quoted in Pierce 1957:57)

The Quaker Bridge tavern still stood in 1849 (when it was listed on maps).

The present bridge was built in 1930.

Quaker Bridge was a meeting place of early Quaker settlers in the area. Before the establishment of the meeting at Smithville, the Quakers of Atlantic Country would pass here on their way to meeting at Tuckerton.

1772 -- the place gets its name. Several Quakers had drowned while crossing the rive and the Quakers met to build a bridge. They constructed a bride made of cedars. It lasted for many years.

36 years later naturalist Edward C. W. Eddy discovered Schizaea pusilla, the curly fern here.

At one time there was a hotel here. It was destroyed by fire some time after 1849.

McMahon, William. South Jersey Towns: History and Legend. 1997 of a 1973 publication. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. pages 126-127

Sunday, after a look-around at Atsion, the group visited the Lygodium palmatum stand at Hampton Furnace on the way to botanically historical Quaker bridge. Here a bog containing Habenaria integra was visited. This is conceivably the old station for the species mention in Britton's Catalogue of 1889, but which Witmer Stone and his contemporaries failed to find. It was relocated in 1952 by Hirst and Leisy. Associates included:

Juncus caesariensis

Xyris fimbriata

Abama (in fruit)

Sclerolepis uniflora.

Nearby, Anderdson's tree frog (Hyla andersonii) as captured for all to see and then released. At the Bridge proper fives species of Smilax were recorded rotundifolia, glauca, laurifolia, walteri, herb acea. The leaders feel that the border of the Atsion and Batsto river will yield more rarities.

David Fables, Frank Birst, and Cy Leisy 18


Ted Gordon

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer rubrum v. trilobum ( trident maple)
Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) (planted)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) (probably planted)

Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepper bush) 8/02/97
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hudsonia ericoides (golden heather) 6/02/96
Ilex glabra (inkberry)
Kalmia angustifolia (lambkill) 6/02/96
Lyonia mariana (staggerbush) 6/02/96
Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
Prunus maritima (beach plum)
Rhus copallina (winged sumac) 8/02/97
Rubus trivialis (coastal plain dewberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (high bush blueberry)
Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry)
Viburnum nudum (naked witherod viburnum) 6/02/96

Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet creeper )
Parthenocissus virginiana (Virginia creeper)
Smilax glauca (sawbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 8/2/97
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Arenaria caroliniana (pine barrens sandwort) 6/02/96
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) 8/02/97
Chenopodium album (pigweed)
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Crotonopsis elliptica (rushfoil)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 8/02/97
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 8/02/97
Euphorbia nutans (eyebane spurge) 8/02/97
Froelichia gracilis (cottonweed) 8/02/97
Hypochoeris radicata (cat's ear) 8/02/97
Iris prismatica ( slender blue flag) 6/02/96
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Lachnanthes tinctoria (red root)
Leiophyllum buxifolium (sand myrtle) 6/02/96
Lepidium sp. (peppergrass) 8/02/97
Melampyrum lineare (cow wheat)
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover)
Mentha spicata (spearmint) 8/02/97
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 8/02/97
Plantago aristata (bracted plantain) 8/02/97
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 8/02/97
Plantago major (common plantain)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black eyed Susan) 8/02/97
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) 8/02/97
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle) 8/02/97
Solanum nigrum (black nightshade) 8/02/97
Triadenum virginicum (marsh St. Johnswort)
Trifolium arvense (rabbit foot clover) 8/02/97
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 8/02/97
Trifolium repens (white clover) 8/02/97
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein) 8/02/97
Xanthium sp. (clotbur)

Juncus canadensis (Canada rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex barrattii (Barratt's sedge)
Carex folliculata (sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex striata (formerly walteriana) (Walter's sedge)
Carex stricta (sedge)
Cyperus filiculmis (fern-like nutsedge)
Dulichium arundinaceum (three way sedge)
Eleocharis tenuis (spikerush)
Fimbristylis puberula (puberulent fimbristylis)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)
Scirpus longii (Long's bulrush)

Amphicarpum purshii (Pursh's millet grass)
Andropogon sp. (brome grass)
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Bromus tectorum (downy chess brome grass)
Digitaria sp. (crab grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Erianthus giganteus (plume grass)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cut grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Muhlenbergia torreyana (Torrey's dropseed)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Panicum dichotomum v dichotomum (panic grass)
Panicum virgatum (switch grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)
Woodwardia virginica (Virginia chain fern)

Cladonia rapphii
Cladonia cristatella (British soldiers)
Lecidea uliginosa (tar lichen)

Sclerolepis (Sclerolepis uniflora) found here.

Source:  Guy Tudor.  Now You See It, Now You Don't: A selected list of New York and New Jersey wildflowers and flowerings shrubs not covered in the standard regional guides. The Linnaean News Letter. Volume 59, Number 3, May 2005.