Old LBI Home Goes to Barnegat Farm With Love

Jul 13, 2016
Courtesy of: Tom Farley An early photo of the house shows it in its original form, before a front porch was added on. The author, whose family owned the home for more than 80 years, is thrilled to see it find a new lease on life at Sassafras Hill Farm in Barnegat.

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Farley family – Catherine, Theresa, Tim, Mary, Mike and Kathy – I would like to tell you a little about the house that you featured in the June 1 edition (“Old Home Leaves Island for Farm in Barnegat”).

My mother, Catherine Iesley Farley, was born in that house in 1933 during a hurricane. Dr. Dodd from Beach Haven did the delivery and called her “Tugboat Annie.” It is fitting probably that, as a result of some superficial damage by Superstorm Sandy, she sold it to the family who gave it to Sassafras Hill Farm in Barnegat.

Her grandmother, Bertha French Iesley Voorhees, built and owned the house, as well as the fishing business that was conducted out of the house, for many years with Wilson “Captain Bill” Voorhees at the end of West Bay Terrace in Ship Bottom. The mayor of Ship Bottom was the builder of the house. As a girl, my mother worked in that business when she was not in school. Sometimes she taught grown men how to bait a hook, sometimes she rescued folks who got stranded on a sandbar. Gassing up engines, hauling oars and prepping the large, wooden boats were part of her duties as a young girl. She had no brothers, so the work was hers to do.

She can tell great stories of the folks who would come from the city to go fishing – “Captain” Voorhees knew all the great spots in Little Egg Harbor and never disappointed his fishing parties. Eventually the business closed, but the house never changed, and traces of the old (motors, oars, nets, traps) remained, maybe as intentional, loving reminders.

The home eventually passed down to my mother and her sister when their parents passed. When my mother married my dad, Vincent P. Farley Jr., he would share her love for that special home on Bay Terrace and always took care of the house and property. That home had been in our family for over 80 years.

My siblings and I grew up in that house since we spent every summer there during our childhood. We crabbed off the dock and used to catch in our traps everything from eels, blue crabs, spider crabs and blowfish. We played in every nook and cranny of Bay Terrace and wandered all over Ship Bottom, usually ending up at the bathing beach at West 15th Street. We saw so many changes on LBI, some good, some not so much, but that is the nature of all things.

On behalf of my whole family, I would like to thank Sassafras Hill Farm for loving that house and preserving a bit of the history of Long Beach Island. It is terrific that it has been moved to a place where it will begin its own new era. The fact that a business is again run out of it is a fitting tribute. Knowing that this house is in the hands of folks who will care for it and love it is truly meaningful to our family. These things will serve as our last, enduring memory of a place that will always live on in our hearts.

Tom Farley

Edison, N.J.



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