The Pre- William Frech Co.
Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shops on Main Street, Maple Shade

The William Frech Wagon Company was there on Spruce Avenue until the fire of June 1940. The "Frech Wagon Co." was started by his father Christain Frech. The ads usually stated "Est. 1847." Below through census records for Chester (Maple Shade) and Fellowship, and through a few title chains, we can trace, to an extent, the Frech family in their early days.

It wasn't just after the Shuster Tract Plan of Maple Shade in 1887, but after Christian Frech's death in 1897 sometime that buildings were moved and built to rearrange the Frech Wagon Works along Spruce Avenue.

The Frech Wagon Co.'s specialty was "undercut truck shelvings" of which was the market wagon of choice for farmers carrying their "truck" (means produce) in baskets to Philadelphia and Camden markets. Later the company made circus wagons and truck bodies.


1844- A meeting was held by about seventy local people, mostly farmers, in a hotel in Moorestown to discuss the start of the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike. Benjamin Stiles was one of those given positions.

1849 was the start of the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike. Benjamin Stiles moved to a house at the Turnpike and Fellowship Road (where OLPH Church now stands). One of the toll houses and toll gates would be located near the corner of the Turnpike and Fellowship Road.

1849 Map- The Smith & Wistar 1849- Map of Burlington County,
From original surveys by J.W. Otley & R. Whiteford.
Shows a "Smith shop" on "Main Street" near Fellowship Road.

Most William Frech Wagon Company ads stated that they were established in 1847. The first assumption would be that THEY started it.

Lets look more deeper into the Blacksmith and Wheelwright Shops on Main Street and at Fellowship (Mount Laurel).

Information From The 1850 Census-

Only those included in the brief sections with occupations or taxed (Property owners) are listed.

Chester Township-

Joseph B. Lippincott 66 M Farmer (Taxed)

Joseph W. Lippincott 22 M Farmer (Not taxed)

Michael Gorman 26 M Laborer (Not taxed)

Joseph H. Morgan 29 M Blacksmith (Not taxed)

Benjamin Hinchman 17 M Blacksmith (Not taxed)

William Leconey 36 M Carpenter (Not taxed)

Andrew Connely 11.5 M Laborer (Not taxed)

Benjamin Stiles 58 M Farmer (Taxed)

Joseph B. Stiles 23 M Farmer (Not taxed)


William Shotnell 58 M Farmer (Not taxed)

Margaret Githens 50 F (Taxed)

Allison Githens 71 M Gardener (Not taxed)

Thomas Lippincott 45 M Blacksmith and Farmer (Taxed)

Robert Hagherty 42 M Laborer (Taxed)

Stephen Farrow 23 M Blacksmith (Not taxed)

Thomas Sutton 52 M Laborer (Not taxed)

Thomas McFoy 24 M Ag (Not taxed)

Agnes Roberts 45 F (Taxed)

Conclusions- On Benjamin Stiles property was a blacksmith shop. Joseph H. Morgan and Benjamin Hinchman worked there as blacksmiths. He had the shop, or a relative, or was renting it to someone such as Joseph Morgan. ?? The shop may have been related to work for the Turnpike, which would have had alot of horses by various owners pulling wagons of gravel, and perhaps for making and storing tools for spreading the gravel. Or it had just been a good business location. Benjamin Stiles' will gives importance to one of his prized possessions- his horse riding saddle.

Advertisement from the New Jersey Mirror newspaper-
January 18, 1855, Page 2, Column 6

Two story house and Blacksmith Shop to let

Two story house and Blacksmith shop to let. They are situated on the South Side of the Turnpike Road between Moorestown and Camden, about 3 miles below Moorestown and 6 miles from Camden. Possession given on March 26, 1855. Benjamin Stiles.

Information From The 1860 Census And Deeds-

Only those included in the brief sections with occupations or taxed (Property owners) are listed.

Chester Township-

Robert Moffett 25 M Brickmaker (Not taxed)

Henry Stiles 25 M Farm Laborer (Not taxed)

Benjamin G. (J) Stiles 23 M Farmer (Taxed)

Dorothy Hahn 40 F House Keeper (Not taxed)

Martin Bout 19 M Farm Laborer (Not taxed)

Benjamin Welcher 44 M Toll gate tender (Taxed)

Christian Freck 24 M Blacksmith (Not taxed)

Catherine Freck 24 F

Charles Freck 3 M

Josiah Pancoast 26 M Farmer (Not taxed)


Jacob B. Clement 38 M Wheelwright (Taxed)

William Frankist 20 M Wheelwright (Not taxed)

Abraham Wells 49 M Farm Laborer (Taxed)

Joseph Fish 27 M Shoemaker (Taxed)

Stephen Pharo 31 M Blacksmith (Taxed)

John Kelley 32 M Farm Laborer (Taxed)


Stephen Pharo of Evesham
took title on June 6, 1854
under deed book D-8 page 349
sold by Reuben Roberts of the city of Alexandria, Virginia and Hannah his wife
for the sum of 100 dollars
lot situate at the Village of Fellowship in the township of Evesham....

Conclusions- Robert Muffett, brickmaker is living here, but doesn't buy the brickyard until 1863. Perhaps he is staying at Nathan Pancoast's house since Nathan's wife is Sarah Moffet Pancoast. The brickyard is in operation. Benjamin J. now owns his father's house. The Christian Freck family is here but doesn't own any property.

Information From The 1870 Census And Deeds-

Only those included in the brief sections with occupations or taxed (Property owners) are listed.

Chester Township-

Bridget Smith 45 F W Keeping House (Taxed)

Samuel Smith 17 M W Farmer (Not taxed)

John Needles Jr. 74 M W Retired Farmer (Taxed)

Sarah M. Needles 42 F W Keeping House

Ephraim Rockhill 24 M W Farmer (Not taxed)

Isaac Smith 19 M W Farm Laborer (Not taxed)

Powell Roberts 16 M W farm Laborer (Not taxed)

John Winter 55 M W Wheelwright (Taxed)

Edward Vandegrift 52 M W Blacksmith (Taxed)

Benjamin Welsher 53 M W Toll-gate-keeper (Taxed)

Christian Frech at Fellowship-

Christian Frech just missed being named on the census-

Joshua Roberts
took title on March 26, 1870
under deed book D-8 page 354
sold by Christian Freck of the County of Camden and Luise his wife
for the sum of Two thousand, seven hundred dollars.

"certain dwelling shop and lot of land in the Village of Fellowship in the Township of Evesham."

to nearby lots of Joseph R. Fish, Estate of James Leverty, dec'd, another property of Joseph R. Fish, and Agnes H. Roberts.


Christian Freck
took title on March 23, 1863
under deed book D-8 page 351
sold by Emmor Roberts of Evesham
Executor of the Estate of Stephen Pharo, dec'd late of the Township of Evesham..... on the one part and Christian Freck of aforesaid on the other part.

Whereas the Orphan's Court of the County of Burlington on the eighteenth day of December A.D. 1862 did order and degree that the said Executor as aforesaid should make sale of a certain house and lot of land and Blacksmith Shop situate in the village of Fellowship in the Township of Evesham......

Christian Freck being the highest bidder for the sum of Twelve hundred and fifty dollars.

Conclusions- Christian Freck had been working, I guess, at the Stephen Pharo blacksmith shop in Fellowship, and now bought it. Christian Freck had some money on hand. Edward Vandegrift now owns the blacksmith shop on the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike, and beside him is John Winter who owns a wheelwright shop. Then he sold it and appears to have moved to Camden. Read the title chain at the bottom of this page and you will see that about this time he is actually moving to "Stiles Corners," soon to be "Maple Shade" in Chester Township.

Public Sale announcement ad from the New Jersey Mirror, Feb. 1863.
Christian Freck was living at Stephen Pharo's before buying it.

Information Known For Years-

Christian Frech and John Winter Land-

William Frech
took title on June 5, 1902
under deed book 364 page 474
from the Estate of Christian Frech
Sold by William Myers executor under the last will and testament of Christian Frech, deceased.
Land to stake Spruce Avenue to Fahr's lot, Merchantville Building and Loan Association, corner William Frech's lot.

Christian Frick took title on February 23, 1877
under deed book K-9 page 539
sold by Benjamin F. Lee Sheriff
Christian Frick being the highest bidder.

Benjamin F. Lee Sheriff
took title on March 11, 1876
from Albert Hewlings
trading under the name of I.W. Hewlings & Sons.
Recovered against John Winter as Builder and John Winter as owner of a certain building and a lot of buildings herein after described.
John Winter owed 85 dollars and 35 cents and could not be found.
lands, tenements, two certain lots of ground and the buildings thereon. (a date 1875?)

Christian Freck took title on August 26, 1871
under deed book Q-8 page 49
sold by Levi L. Lippincott
Being part of the land Levi Lippincott bought from John Needles Jr. under deed book J-8 page 267.

Also- John Winter took title on August 26, 1871
under deed book Q-8 page 51
sold by Levi L. Lippincott
Being part of the land Levi Lippincott bought from John Needles Jr. under deed book J-8 page 267

Levi L. Lippincott of the township of Chester,
and Lydia B. Lippincott his wife
took title on March 25, 1871

under deed book J 8 page 267
Sold by John Needles Jr. of Moorestown, and Sarah his wife

Of note, as in Sarah Morgan Needle's chapter in "The Stiles family In America," the Morgan and Needles families, as well as the Stiles family, are all related. When Benjamin J. Stiles died, his father-in-law Thomas Wilson left at the exact same time as John Needles Jr. It was like the whole center of town changed hands just prior to the railroad changing the Station name from "Stiles Station" to "Maple Shade Station."

New Information-

Below is information which cannot be found in the deed books at the Burlington County Clerk's Office under Frech or Freck, but are listed under Frick.

The reason Levi Lippincott sold them the land was they were there when he got there. I guess they needed more. ?

Christian Frick of Camden
took title on September 13, 1870
under deed book A-11, page 214
sold by Edward Vandegrift and Hannah, his wife, of Chester.
land to the corner of the lot of John Winter.

Edward Vandegrift
took title on March 8, 1867
under deed book O-7, page 452
sold by Samuel B. Mitten and Eliza, his wife
for the sum of 1100 dollars
Bounded by lands recently sold by Deacon Brock to John Needles.
Containing One acre of land, being the same land and premises which Benjamin Stiles and Martha Stiles, his wife, by deed bargain and sale on March 25, 1862 and recorded in book of deeds U-6, page 339 sold to Samuel B. Mitten.

Samuel B. Mitten of Philadelphia
took title on March 25, 1862
under deed book U-6, page 339
sold by Benjamin Stiles and Martha Stiles, his wife
for the sum of One thousand and one hundred dollars.
Containing One acre of land, to land recently sold by Deacon Brock to John Needles. Being a part of the land Benjamin Stiles inherited from Isaac Stiles.


The below account is probably where the story is first told concerning Henry Patterson naming the place Maple Shade. It could be somewhat correct or not at all. Note that the date is 1870 the article refers about. This would be when Christian and Louisa Frech came there and bought the then "Vandegrift property" next to John Winter.

Over the years that followed this story got embellished by people not even knowing about the area's hamlet of Stiles Corners, and all they knew was the Ben Stiles mansion at Stiles Avenue. This would lend to the railroad station being moved from "Stiles Crossing" etc...

Further stories kept adding such as the station was at Henry Stiles house and he had the station there because he would paint it etc...

From The Maple Shade Progress, No. 8, Friday, December 22, 1916-


The Hamlet of Stiles Station And What It Became

Two houses beside a road with a toll gate a short distance eastward, a blacksmith shop and a wheelwright shop, constituted the hamlet of Stiles Station. The road was the main artery between a large inland city and the country adjacent to and eastward of Stiles Station.

During the spring and summer months the farmer's wagons often stuck in the mud to the hubs, in rainy weather. They often stopped at the smithy and wheelwright shops for there were none others for miles around.

All about the hamlet were farms and woods. A space had been cleared in the woods suffcient for the houses and shops, and there they stood with the virgin forest at their back fences.

Christmas Day at Stiles Station was a lonely one in the year of our Lord 1870. The families could only exchange the compliments of the season and then, perhaps watch through the windows the passing by of the farmer lads and lassies in their "one horse open sleigh." Then, too, they could look across the white fields to the railroad and see the two daily trains pass by. They could also see the little box known as Stiles Station.

The hamlet derived its name from the fact that four brothers, named Stiles, owned considerable land in the vicinity. But along came a Mr. Patterson who bought a property to the north of the station. He planted trees on both sides of a lane that paralelled the railroad, a short distance away. The trees were maples, and a after awhile, Mr. Patterson, not being much for styles, named the place Maple Shade.

Yes, that is a more or less exact account of our town's modest beginning. In the four roomed house adjoining the smithy lived Christian Frech and his family. John Winter was the wheelwright. The smithy stood where the Post Office is now. The toll gate was about where Fellowship Road joins the Main Street.

Great changes have come to Maple Shade during the passing years. Each Christmas saw the hamlet grow a little larger, until now, in the year of our Lord 1916, we number about 1200 to 1300 souls. The Main Street is not the mud- hole that it once was. The lane along which the maples were planted is now Mecray's Lane.

Maple Shade is moving onward and we must all pull together to attain our goal, a bigger and better Maple Shade!

To the kindness of Mrs. Louisa Frech we are indebted for the facts in this little tale of our town in the making; we supplied the fancy. Mrs. Frech lived in the house beside the smithy and often saw the teams in the mud. She has watched the town grow and believes that it is destined to keep on growing.

Some Early Frechs in Burlington County-

They all seemed to buy lots in Progress (now Riverside), Chester Township. The earliest one I found is Irenaus Freck of the City of Philadelphia, on July 8, 1856, under deed book Y-5, page 103 buying 2 lots in Progress.

There is also a John H. Frick and Amanda M. Frick, his wife, of Philadelphia buying lots there.

There seems to be two or three Christian Frecks, as one is married to Catherine and the other Louisa.

Christian Freck changed his name's spelling to Frech when he began his wagon works in Maple Shade. His son William continued the business with John Parker as his partner.

There was also an Adolf Frech who came and bought property when Christian was there and then left for Chicago. So what house did he build?

Also- Amos Ferro owned the old Myers house which was where John Winter lived, I believe, He tore down a very old barn on this lot at the time when he had the store front addition added as the "Ferro Building." A question, however far fetched is, is he related to the Myers who might be related to Stephen Pharo a blacksmith?