Stockton Students Uncover History at Timbuctoo

For Immediate Release; photos on flickr and captions below;

Editor’s note - This release was written by Travis Nagiewicz, a Communications Studies major at Stockton University 

Contact:         Maryjane Briant
                        News and Media Relations Director
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205
                        (609) 652-4593

Galloway, N.J. - Stockton students on Saturday surveyed a location known as “Timbuctoo” in Westampton, N.J. which is thought to hold the remains of a 19th century clay and brick works. The students were there as part of the Underwater Archeology class at the university, and were aided by local historians.

This expedition was possible through the cooperation of the University and the 14 townships whose borders run along the Rancocas Creek Watershed area. Many other trips are planned to the area in order to gather the information required to designate the Rancocas as a National Water Trail. 

The National Water Trails System is maintained by the National Parks Service, and characterizes a group of water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained, according to the National Parks Service. Currently, there are only 21 National Water Trails. 

John Anderson, a local historian and president of Rancocas Pathways Inc., hopes that the cooperation between Stockton University and the creek’s neighboring communities will help bring the prestigious title of National Water Trail to the creek, drawing experienced kayakers and tourists alike.

The students on the expedition were Rachelle Falls, a senior from Williamstown, N.J. who is majoring in Marine Science,  Jesse Baroni, a sophomore Marine Biology major from Haworth, N.J., Nick Lang, a junior majoring in Marine Science from Bergenfield, N.J.,  Christina Price, a senior Marine Science major from Haddon Township, N.J., and Cassidy Vincent, a freshman from Ashville, Pa. who hasn’t decided on a major yet.                                                                

They were led by adjunct instructor Steve Nagiewicz, who also organized the joint expedition between Stockton University and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2014 to map the wreck of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Robert J. Walker, a steamship which sank off the coast of Atlantic City in 1860.                                                                                               

The brick factory was operational from the 1820s through the 1870s, according to period maps which have been recently uncovered. The archeological students were there in order to map out Grubbs Run Creek, which would have serviced the factory during its operational period. Several artifacts were found in the creek, including a sheave (a wheel with a groove for a rope to run on, as in a pulley block) and a long boat hook, which would support the theory that this location was indeed the brick works labeled on the map. The bricks would have been floated downstream on rafts from this location to Philadelphia.

Timbuctoo is also believed to be a destination or way station for runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad. In fact, a number of freedmen that fought in the Civil War are interred at the cemetery there.

The Underwater Archeology Class at Stockton University is part of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NAMS). Stockton presently grants almost 22 percent of all the science and mathematics undergraduate degrees among New Jersey's senior state colleges and universities. Stockton graduates in the sciences and mathematics have a high success rate in graduate and professional school admissions, as well as securing employment within their areas of study.

For more information about Stockton University, visit


Caption Sheet for photos on flickr

Image #


Photo By

Unspecified 1

Stockton Students kayaking along the Timbuctoo waterfront

J. Anderson

Unspecified 2

Stockton Students kayaking along the Timbuctoo waterfront

J. Anderson


Wading through the creek searching for archaeological evidence

J. Anderson


Stockton students mapping the stream

J. Anderson

Img 3725

Stockton students recording data point along the stream.

T. Nagiewicz

Grubbs Run

Grubbs Run Creek  as it branches off the Rancocas Creek at the entrance to Timbuctoo

T. Nagiewicz


Cemetery honoring fallen African-American soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic

T. Nagiewicz


Memorial dedicating the Cemetery and maintained by Westampton Township Historical Society.

T. Nagiewicz