A rare photo of Incline Plane Ten East of the old Morris Canal. My grandfather, Watson Mabey was the last working engineer of this plane house, prior to the canal closing. That may well be my grandfather in this picture.
Hold Dear, Proud Heritage
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Hold dear this proud heritage, from wooden ships set from England’s coast when New Jersey was still a colony. Drawn by Divine call to the foothills of Hook Mountain, on the earth and clay wherein the Passaic and Pompton Rivers meet. To wooded valley, to plant seeds, to harvest, to live off this fertile land in harmony in spirit with the men and women of red skin, native to this land.
A view of the hill of Incline Plane Ten East. Note the old Francisco Sawmill on the right hand side in this picture.
With pick and shovel doth they dug into hard earth, created crevice, a canal. Proud heritage, the vital role in building the incredible wonder of the old Morris Canal. What called our forefathers and foremothers to this earth of New Jersey, to plant cornfields, to farm the rich soil; now called them to the still, murky waters of New Jersey’s magnificent canal. Hold firm the reins of mules, echo still heard of the conch of the shell of the old canal boat, beneath sweltering sun, coal was moved across the state.
A photo of the abandoned Incline Plane Ten East, a few years after the Morris Canal closed.
In stroke of genius, in early 1830’s, William Mabey dug into the earth and clay, beside the old canal and built an icehouse of rock and boulder. For nearly a hundred years, ice sold to canal boat captains supported these sons and daughters from England’s shores. Hold true this heritage, this way of life, passed on from fathers to sons.
A photo of my Great Uncle Earl, who was killed in battle, in France during World War I.
Hold true this love of family, not without its heartbreaking tragedies. O’ still tears fall, in reverence of memory of Earl’s sacrifice. O’ earnest son, in dedication, working with father and brother; cutting ice blocks from frozen canal in whirling winter winds. And, in summer’s sun, carrying blocks of ice from icehouse to hundreds of canal boats. Precious still remains, the echo of Earl’s trust in his nation.
A photo of my Great Uncle Earl, taken before he left for France.
O’ dear Earl, to never have left the village of Beavertown, to have never traveled more than a mile from home, the call came to cross the Atlantic; to defend precious democracy. Still sad mourning calls, for in battle Earl fell in what was known as the Great War, before the Roman numeral one gave the conflict distinction.
A postcard of the old Mabey Homestead, circa 1900.
Beneath the sweltering sun, the men built homes, the women warmed the homes with their love for family. O’ forget not Beavertown, forget not the still waters of the old canal. Hold true in heart this proud heritage of hard work and courage and service to country. Hold dear in heart, these precious ancestors. Be true to this heritage, hold proud this English name.