Atlantic Highlands & the Indians

Elizabeth K. Clarke was the sixth grade teacher at the Atlantic Highlands Elementary School in 1985, teaching the Social Studies Challenge Class.

Her students that year were Alissa Deakin, Susia Gaskill, Ryan King, Jeremy Krempert, Jennifer Maddalena, David Millard, Jennifer Pollack, Jared Rutberg, Katherine Steadman, and John Wabisky.

Through the efforts of Ms Clarke, each of them was a published author before the end of the school year. Her assignment to her students was to research and write stories about American History. Each student contributed a chapter to the book.

The stories range from Henry Hudson and Joshua Huddy who was hanged in Highlands during the Revolution, the Sea Fox of the 19th century, prohibition and the Monmouth Tea Party. Some chapters are half a page long, one is only four lines long.

The teacher contacted the First Fidelity Bank who financed the printing and publishing of the book, and whose ad then appeared on the back cover. It noted that “First Fidelity will continue to support the town and its economic growth with quality service of a “full service bank.”

The book was ready for distribution in time for the 1988, centennial year for the founding of Atlantic Highlands.

In the forward to the chapters, Ms Clarke also advised readers that the stories were written for children to read, “although adults may enjoy them as well.” Furthermore, this astute and ever educating instructor said, “should the reader wish to pursue this topic, the local library and the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society can provide excellent reference sources.”

The dedication page in the book, written by the Atlantic Highlands Class of ’85 reads:

“Atlantic Highlands is a wonderful place to live. It is a safe and quiet little town, small enough to know most of your neighbors, but big enough to have a library, a supermarket a movie, and lots of interesting little shops. There are restaurants and churches of all kinds, and two schools. Because it’s small, you can walk or ride your bike everyplace. You can get a bus to Red Bank or New York.

Atlantic Highlands is an old town with many beautiful Victorian houses, and some nice new modern ones, too. There are hills to sled on in the winter, and a beach to play on in the summer. There are docks to fish from, and boats to rent. You can hear sea gulls and smell the salt air almost all of the time. You can look out over the bay to New York and Sandy Hook. It is especially pretty at night.

It’s nice to walk downtown and meet people you know. We are happy to be living here.”

The book does not identify the authors for each specific chapter of the book.

The first chapter: First…The Indians.

Long ago, only Indians lived here. They were called the Leni Lenape Tribe. They were also referred to as the tribes of the “Neve sinck.” They hunted in the woods and fished and caught oysters in the bay.

During the summer Indians who lived even as far away as Pennsylvania and Delaware would first plant their spring crops, and then travel to our shores to enjoy the bounty of the Bay. They would fish, clam, and make ‘wampum’ (Indian beach money ) from shells.

Today it is possible to find arrowheads buried in the cliffs at ‘landslide bridge.’


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