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 Shinn
b. April 20, 1827
d. December 14, 1906

In 2016 Samuel Shinn was nominated as a Legend. With additional information on Mr. Shinn, we are able formally present him as a Legend in 2020.

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

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

SAMUEL SHINN, who is or was a merchant, none the less respected because retired, of the town of Port Norris, N.J., and who is also the owner of the ice plant of this place, was born on the 20th of April, 1827, in Mauricetown, Cumberland County. He is a son of the late Allen R. and Abigail (Compton) Shinn. The grandfather of Mr. Shinn, of whom this slight biography is written, was also named Samuel. He was a resident of Mount Holly, N.J., during his whole life. He was accidentally killed here while he was working on the road one day, prying out the stump of a tree. His tool slipped and struck him on the forehead, killing him instantly. He left but one child — Allen R., the father of the present Samuel Shinn.

Samuel Shinn received a common-school education, and also studied at home on his father’s farm until he was fifteen years of age, when, as his father had a large family to support, he decided to begin to earn his own living, and went off to work for a neighboring farmer. His first independent labor was driving a team and carting, and he continued to work at this and at similar odd jobs for several years. Almost as soon as he came of age, he married Miss Phoebe Ann Ladow, of Dividing Creek, and with his young wife made his first home at Mauricetown. There he took up the trade of a house carpenter, at which he worked for a few years. At the end of this period of carpentering he bought out the general merchandise store of Dallas L. Compton, at Haleyville, and carried on the business for himself very successfully for some length of time. When there was talk of the railroad coming to the adjacent town of Port Norris, with rare foresight

Mr. Shinn sold out his establishment at Haleyville, and bought a store at Port Norris. The railroad not being then constructed to that point, he was obliged to cart some of his merchandise all the way from Cedarville and Millville, and to transport a portion by water. He continued in business in Port Norris for twenty-four years, becoming the oldest business man of the town. For this long term of years lie was as successful in his trade as he was clear-headed; and he has always been recognized as the head of the mercantile business in Port Norris, as he was its pioneer. On January 20, 1888, he sold out to Mr. J. O. Heritage, rightfully considering that, as he had acquired comparative wealth by his untiring industry, and being, moreover, more than sixty years of age, it was only fair that he should rest quietly from his labors and enjoy their fruits for the remainder of his life.

Mr. Shinn lost his wife on November 11, 1891. She left two children — Mary Jane and Anna. After the death of her mother, Mary Jane, who is the wife of Captain Lucius E. Yates, moved with her husband into her father’s beautiful home. Mr. and Mrs. Yates are the parents of three children — George Christie, Phoebe, and Maggie. Anna Shinn is now the wife of Mr. Milton H. Cox, of the firm of Cox Brothers & Co., of Bridgeton.

They have three children — Mary Y. ; Milton, Jr. ; and Hannah. Amanda, another daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shinn, died in her youth, at the age of five years and eleven days. Although Mr. Shinn has retired from business he will not consent to remain entirely inactive, and to occupy his time he puts up ice winters and supplies the whole town with this commodity. His handsome house, which he built some twelve or thirteen years ago, stands on the corner of Main and High Streets, and is worthily accounted one of the finest in the town of Port Norris, attracting the eye as it does, even at sonic distance, with its smooth cement walks and shade trees. Besides his dwelling-place, he also owns his old store building, which he once occupied.

Mr. Shinn has been a most active supporter of the Republican party and a member of the Township Committee for the last ten years or more. His fellow-citizens have chosen him a delegate to party conventions a number of times. He is a member of the Order of Knights of Pythias, Lodge No. 76, of which he is Past Chancellor; and he is also a member of Ariel Lodge, No. 56, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being Past Grand and the representative of his lodge to the Grand Lodge. Mr. Shinn has been intimately connected with the church history of Port Norris, belonging to the Methodist Episcopal church here, in which he at one time held the office of steward. When he first came to Port Norris he was the builder of the first church here; and when that edifice was accidentally destroyed by fire he was again called upon and helped to build the second, being each time a member of the Building Committee. For over thirty-two years Mr. Shinn has been a loyal supporter of the church he was so instrumental in establishing, invariably proving himself as active as he is zealous.

He died December 14, 1906.

Samuel Shinn

The Samuel Shinn house still stands and is well kept on the corner of Main and High Street in Port Norris.

Samuel Shinn

The Shinn Monument in the GAR cemetery is of Jacob C. Shinn who was an enlisted man in the Civil War. He was a brother of Samuel Shinn. He is buried in Haleyville Cemetery and it was speculated that he was the only man from the area to be in the war. Perhaps his brother Samuel had some influence. Some people may not know that the Grand Army of the Republic was, in fact, a well organized Veterans group for the benefit of the civil war vets. There were posts in many towns that had civil wars veterans. Port Norris’ was Post #6. This in now our Meeting Hall on Main Street.

The Shinn Monument in the GAR cemetery
Photo: Rachel Cobb


Samuel Shinn
Bridgeton Evening News 1882-03-08

Samuel Shinn
Bridgeton Pioneer Thursday, Jan. 24,1884

Samuel Shinn
Bridgeton Evening News 1896-12-30

Samuel Shinn
Bridgeton Evening News Thursday, Sep 16, 1897

Samuel Shinn
Bridgeton Evening News 12/15/1906