Historian Details Story of Old Local Family

(Lawnside, N.J.) April 7, 2019–Dr. James Johnson will present his discovery of one of Lawnside’s 19th century free Black families when he delves into the lives of the Haney Family in his talk “Martha Haney: An American Life.”

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His free presentation will be featured at the April meeting of the Lawnside Historical Society, Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Lawnside Borough Hall, 4 Martin Luther King Jr. Road. The Society owns the Peter Mott House Underground Railroad Museum, named for the agent of the Underground Railroad who helped those seeking freedom from his farmhouse.

The historian and researcher, an adjunct professor in Rowan University’s Department Of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Education, has for years found leaves on this family tree, the namesake of our Heaney Avenue.

Dr. Johnson holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s from Rowan. In addition to his alma mater, he has taught at Rutgers University, Camden; Gloucester County College; Moravian College and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. He has published numerous articles on the African American history.

“We are thrilled to learn more about the courageous people who carved out free lives, served in the Civil War and grew our town from Dr. Johnson,” said Linda Shockley, Society president. “Peter Mott sold property to several people in Lawnside including a Haney.”

Show Lawnside Matters with Your Own Sign

lawnsign7.5.18Lawnside is a historic town with roots in the Underground Railroad and an independent spirit we celebrate on Lawnside Heritage Day and every day.  We have three nationally recognized historic sites within this one-square mile community: The Peter Mott House Underground Railroad Museum, the Mount Peace Cemetery and the Lawnside Public School on Warwick Road (now Lawnside Meadows).

To show your support for our historic community, purchase a lawn sign, “LAWNSIDE: This Place Matters” for $20. Call 856-889-7152 or send email to lhs@petermotthouse.org with This Place Matters in the subject line.  Checks should be made payable to the Lawnside Historical Society. Special thanks to Steve Pollard, member and borough councilman. Our history matters all year long. Find ways you can volunteer to help preserve our town.
At left, officers of the Lawnside Historical Society show their pride in the Peter Mott House. They are Jacqueline Miller Bentley, Christine Lewis-Coker, Chrissandra Butler and C. Joyce Fowler.


Volunteers of all ages gather in May 2018 at the Mount Peace Cemetery to clean up the historic burial ground, which was founded in 1902.  Many prominent people of color from the region and more than 108 Civil War military men rest there.

Volunteers clean up at old cemetery

May is Historic Preservation Month.  To mark it, the Lawnside Historical Society is asking people to go to our national historic sites and other special places to showcase places that matter.  That includes Mount Peace Cemetery, the Peter Mott House Underground Railroad Museum, the Lawnside Public School (now Lawnside Meadows), Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church, Borough Hall,  Lawnside Volunteer Fire Company and Mount Zion United Methodist Church. Contact the Historical Society at IMG_1247lhs@petermotthouse.org to get signs or download them here at This Place Matters, take pictures or make videos and post them social media with the hashtags #ThisPlaceMatters and #LawnsideMatters

Volunteers worked hard Saturday morning cleaning up Mount Peace Cemetery in Lawnside, opened in 1902 for African Americans. On the National Register of Historic Places at National Register Sites, it holds 108 Civil War vets. Thanks to ALL who show #ThisPlaceMatters @SavingPlaces