Port Norris Legends

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The PNHS board voted to not hold the awards luncheon this year with all the unknowns happening at this time. However, we do not want to totally eliminate the Legends program honoring people from our community. For this year only, we nominated and honor historical Legends from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Legends of Port Norris

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Samuel C. Lake
b. September 29, 1827
d. 1894

Recognized as a Legend of Port Norris on Nov.1, 2020

Reprinted from Biographical Review Leading Citizens of
Cumberland County New Jersey, I896

Samuel Lake, a native of Port Norris, was born on September 3, 1826, and where he grew up here [in Port Norris.] Note: Some records say he was born September 29, 1827.

Samuel Lake must have possessed the force of authority as a sort of inherent faculty; for he was the captain of an oyster vessel when he was not more than fifteen or sixteen years old, beginning his career as a boatman before that time even. He was recognized as the most youthful commander in the service in that part of the country, and at an unusually early age became an oyster dealer. This was before oyster planting had become a regular industry, and the young man had but little competition to encounter. In a comparatively short time he was the owner of three schooners and one sloop, all devoted to the oyster industry; and he eventually became the largest dealer in that most popular species of shell-fish in his generation and locality. He continued in this business until five or six years before his death, giving his personal attention to the enterprise, frequently visiting his boats and looking after his men. He always lived in Port Norris with the exception of three years passed in Bridgeton, while his children were at school.

Mr. Samuel Lake was first a Whig in politics and later on a Republican. Besides his oyster beds he owned quite a large amount of land in the vicinity of Port Norris, and was a man of wealth. He married Miss Mary Robbins, a daughter of Mr. David Robbins, a large farmer in this locality, whose name has descended to the subject of the present sketch, his grandson. Mrs. Lake, who was born in February, 1833, was the mother of four children, three of whom grew up to maturity: Daniel, who lived to the age of seventeen; Myra, who is now the wife of Theophilus Newcomb, a resident of Newport; David Robbins; Robert L.

These good old people were at first members of the Baptist Church at Dividing Creek; but, when the Baptist church was established in the old school-house at Robbinstown, they were among its primary organizers. Mr. Samuel Lake was an earnest and active supporter of the Baptist denomination in this locality; and it was greatly due to his efforts that the church structure, now occupied by the congregation to which he belongs, was built. Such was his interest in the success of the deserving attempt to establish a church here that he circulated the subscription papers in and about Bridgeton, and received donations amounting to one thousand dollars, which was a great help, coming as it did from outside generosity. It was, however, hardly generosity so much as recognition, as he had for years, while he was in the oyster business, furnished the Bridgeton church fairs with his oysters free of charge; and now the grateful congregations returned his kindness with their hearty support, financial as well as otherwise, for his new church. Mr. Samuel Lake was at the time of his death one of the most highly respected and honored citizens of the place, not only because of his wisely and justly accumulated wealth, but also for his sterling integrity and general earnestness of character.

Editor’s Note: The Port Norris Historical Society has made every effort to share correct information on Samuel Lake. It was a very common name through many generations. If you recognize anything is incorrect, please let us know so we can correct it. We also are always happy to share any new findings including images if you would like to share.

Port Norris Historical Society Samael LakePort Norris Historical Society Samael Lake
West Jersey Pioneer 1855-02-17

Port Norris Historical Society Samael Lake
West Jersey Pioneer May 15, 1874

Bridgeton Evening News 1882-03-08

Port Norris Historical Society Samael Lake
Dollar Weekly News 1883-08-04

Port Norris Historical Society Samael Lake
Bridgeton Evening News 1889-08-2

Port Norris Historical Society Samael Lake
Bridgeton Evening News 2/22/1893

Port Norris Historical Society Samael Lake
Bridgeton Pioneer 1894-11-01

Bridgeton Pioneer 1894-11-01

Port Norris Historical Society Samael Lake