Port Norris Legends

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Legends of Port Norris

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Captain Amos Barnes
b. early 1900's – d. August 31, 1973

Captain Amos Barnes was born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in the early part of the 20th centry into a family of (7) brothers. All of them owned their own boat by age 15. They worked as oystermen, as well as running fishing party boats on the Patuxion and Patomac Rivers in Maryland.

In the mid 20’s, Capt. Amos relocated to NJ, with his wife Martha and son Ernest for seasonal employment as an oysterman.

Capt. Amos was instrumental in obtaining jobs for many of his friends and relatives at Tomlin and Bell Oyster Company and later for Herb Sockwell.

He was already a boat captain when he came to New Jersey. (Oyster sconers with sails). He became the first black license captain on the Maurice River, (Port Norris).

He was employed part time by Danny Newcomb/Mac Mclaine. He also worked for Clyde Phillips and occasionally Fenton Anderson. He occsionally piloted the Martha Merewald. The last boat he owned was the Elizabeth “W”.

Capt. Amos was a stern family man and the holy bible was our rule book. (Catholic). Along with his wife, Martha Barnes, my mother and the mother of all his children, they did much humanitarian work at a place called the Shell Pile. (South Port Norris) (ie) food and shelter for WW1 soliders who were homeless and destitute until he could locate proper public assistance such as it were

On one ocassion, he provided a person with money and a ticket for him to go back home to Florida and carried him to Philadelphia to catch the bus. The person sent a crate of oranges.To us for several years always at Christmas.

Capt. Amos and wife Martha raised (6) children of their own Ernest, Rose, Agnes, Amos Jr, Thelma, and Delois, and (2) of our cousin, Lilly Mae Lee, and Richard Barnes. Captain Amos Barnes died August 31, 1973.


Portr Norris Historical Society

Family of Amos Barnes with Robin Berry, PNHS at awards dinner. 11-10-13