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River Voices

Our Rivers Voices oral history project highlights how people share in the experience of the Musconetcong River from different perspectives.  Everyone interviewed has a different story and different voice and perspective, but held in common is respect for the river and its surrounding natural resources – it’s the common thread that binds us together. The best messengers about why the Musconetcong River is important are those with a connection to it. Please share in learning more about the river from these different places and views.

Asbury’s River Voices


Working in the Graphite Mills & Laboratory

Rudy Digilio, a former mill worker and laboratory manager, describes working along the Musconetcong River in some of its last remaining riverfront factories. This five minute video includes descriptions of working in the quality assurance laboratory. The lab was built circa 1930-1940 and was important to test the quality of graphite coming from domestic mines during World War II when supplies of high quality graphite from overseas were limited. Asbury Graphite Mills retained a quality assurance program in this building up through the mid 1980s, until a new modern lab was built next to Mill #2. The lab set vacant for nearly four decades and was demolished by the Musconetcong Watershed Association in 2023 to create a 1/4 park that provides public river access.

Working in the Graphite Company Office

Jean Mayberry worked with Asbury Graphite, and later Asbury Carbons, and served on the company Board as Treasurer and Secretary. She recounts the changes in technology, the Asbury Carbons company, and the village of Asbury.


Kayaking the Musconetcong

Laura Winiarski describes the experience of kayaking the Musconetcong National Wild and Scenic River before launching from Asbury. In the three minute video, she describes the frequent sightings of Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles following water quality improvements and describes the river's significance as a natural resource.

Fishing from the Bridge

Daniel Gallagher is a lifetime angler on the Musconetcong River. In a seven minute video, he describes a long tradition of fishing in Asbury as a way to unwind and enjoy nature while fishing for trout. Count how many fish he catches while being interviewed!


Reclaiming the Land

Richard, Monica, Alyna, and Bryce Cotton work on a family farm to restore the land through pasturing livestock. By selling their products locally, they develop community connections and provide opportunities to learn about how farming can co-exist with good water quality, fishing, and bird habitat restoration. In this five minute video, you will hear voices of Richard and Alyana, as Bryce is away at the farmers market.

Our Responsibilities

The Annual River Clean Up

Heather, Cadence, and their family make the annual Musconetcong River clean up a part of their family tradition since they moved into the Musconetcong watershed. In this three minute video, hear how Heather views the responsibility we have to the river and what she most enjoys fishing for.

The Lenape

The Munsee Speaking People

Asbury is rich in Native American history, with many documented village and town sites from the past 13,000 years. The Ramapough Lenape are Munsee speaking Luunape who live across northern New Jersey. Turtle Clan Chief Vincent Mann explains the Luunape connection to the landscape, including language, place names, and relationships to the other Lenape groups in the region. This is the first of four short videos with Chief Mann.

Where We Are

What does it mean to have a deep and ancestral connection to a place? Turtle Clan Chief Vincent Mann discusses the Lenape connection to the landscape and the responsibility than we all share in sustaining our lands and waters, especially as human alter the climate. This is the second of four short videos with Chief Mann.


What does it mean to have remained in New Jersey when most Native Americans left after the Treaty of Easton in 1758? Turtle Clan Chief Vincent Mann explains the Luunape experience of colonization, how it changed their culture, and the one thing that can't be taken away. This is the third of four short videos with Chief Mann.

Healing Rivers

The Musconetcong River being designated a National Wild and Scenic River is only the beginning to being absorbed into the natural world. It is a place where people can heal their connection to their natural world. Near Asbury was a large Native American town--a place of freedom and a center of culture. Turtle Clan Chief Mann explains this ancestral connection to the Musconetcong River and offers a prayer in song to the river and all that surrounds it. This is the of fourth and last video of four short videos with Chief Mann.

River Voices is an oral history project sharing perspectives on the past and present uses of the Musconetcong Watershed. Funders include the: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Hunterdon County Historical Commission through funding from the State Historical Commission, the William Penn Foundation, and National Park Service. All voices are those of the interviewees.

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