Reenactment of the Hanging at the Old Spye Inn

Morgan Moments – Reenactment of the Hanging of Abe Mussey at the Old Spye Inn

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-1Every so often something prompts me to finally create the page on one of the many unwritten topics still on my list of Morgan topics.  Typically it is because someone posts something on Facebook either in “You know you grew up in Morgan if:”, “The Historical Society of South Amboy”, “You Know You’re from Sayreville”, “Sayreville Memories”, or the “Sayreville Historical Society” groups.  In this case, it was something written by Steven Bloodgood, who I believe used to live across the street from me, on the “You know you grew up in Morgan if:” group.

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-2In January 2014, Steven posted that he was looking for a copy of Stanley L. Wojcik’s “Ye Old Spye Inn” book (a copy of which is every once in a while available on eBay) or the play bill from the August 15, 1976 reenactment of “The Hanging at Ye Old Spye Inn.”  I do happen to have both. Fortunately for both of us, Dee Dee, who also used to live in Morgan (down the street from Steven and me), volunteered to loan Steven her book.  My contribution is this page which has the content from the program.  Thanks for the prompting, Steven!

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-3One of my big regrets from childhood was having a very nice 35 mm Single Lens Reflex camera but never having personally taken a photo of the Old Spye Inn!  Of course as a kid in those pre-digital days, every image taken cost money for both the film as well as for the developing.  Remember when taking 36 photos was a lot?

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-4As for the reenactment, I don’t remember actually going to it yet someone in my family obviously did, most likely my brother, Doug.  While the reenactment occurred during the bicentennial year when many things relating to the founding of the country were highlighted, it appears to me that this reenactment was actually Stanley Wojcik coming up with a way to peddle his book.  As I look at the names of those people listed in the program, I see some names which look familiar to me – primarily those people making up the “Jury” who were many of the Sayreville politicians of the day.

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-5No doubt the song “Hang Down Your Head Abe Mussey” mentioned in the program would have been based on the old North Carolina folk song “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley” made popular by the 1958 recording by the Kingston Trio.

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-6Marie Chiasson used to have a music store on Route 35 North off of 10th Street and right across the street from the last surviving building from the T. A. Gillespie Loading Company.

1976 0815 - Ye Old Spye Inn-7One of the things which I was also told is that this event was recorded by some television station perhaps from the eastern Pennsylvania area or maybe Trenton area.  It is my hope that perhaps this write-up will inspire someone in the Morgan area to make it their cause to go find that station and get the reenactment onto something like YouTube so everyone can enjoy it all these nearly 40 years later and into the future.  I’ve heard tell that my one time Morgan neighbor, Bob, quite likely would have been recorded in this video making a comment about the quality of the hanging.  I’d prefer to not give any additional details on that.  If you know or knew Bob, you would understand what he would have said…

6 thoughts on “Reenactment of the Hanging at the Old Spye Inn

  1. Elaine Chiasson Maher

    Marie L. Chiasson was my mother, she passed in 2000. I still have copies of the music New Jersey To Thee and The Greatest. Country on Earth. The music store was Chiasson Music owned by my father Joseph Chiasson, and it was on the corner of Ninth St and Rt. 35. My friend, Joyce Helmstter Elyea is on a Morgan, South Amboy historical committee. I will forward this on to her. If I can be of any more help. Feel free to contact me. Thank you. Elaine Chiasson. Maher

    Reply
    1. morgannjadmin Post author

      Hi Elaine,
      Thanks for your message. I remember your Mom, the store and her music. Your friend Joyce is wonderful and a great friend!
      Verne

      Reply
    2. Don Fruehwirth

      i was in that music store many many times. i was in a band back in the late 70s and early 80s. MR Chisson and his son Rod were great people. i bought many guitars and amps there. as well as many other items. i really missed that place when it closed up. great memories for sure.

      Reply
    3. Danny Ladd

      Hello Elaine,
      My name is Danny Ladd and your Dad had a huge impact on my life. Your father was a big supporter and inspiration to my music career. Rod was also my repair guy and good friend. I was lost and saddened when your Father passed, I had heard rumors about Rod’s passing but I can’t find anything to confirm it. I never met you, but knew Darlene well. I’m in my 14th year recording my music project titled “Ride That Riff”. I would love to get you a copy to have in the family. If you could go to my website dannyladd.com and email me an address, I would be honored to send you a copy.

      Regards,
      Danny

      Reply
  2. Janice (Wojcik) Faucher

    I am Stanley Wojcik’s daughter and I attended the mock hanging at Ye Olde Spy Inn. My dad also wrote GHOSTS ARE EVERYWHERE. The gift of the written word goes back to my grandfather who published a newspaper in Poland. I have diaries my dad kept of his life from the 1930’s, some outlining life during the great depression. He also published the B.O.P. Newsmobile newsletter for Linden, New Jersey General Motors Corporation. I attended several seances he performed that are outlined in his book, Ghosts Are Everywhere. He wrote from a very young age and I am in possession of these manuscripts and his newsletters. He taught paranormal courses in a New Jersey college. He was interviewed on the Joe Franklin TV Show in the 1970’s. He had a fantastic library of books which made him an extremely interesting man knowledgeable on many subjects.

    Reply
    1. morgannjadmin Post author

      Thanks for writing! Your dad does indeed sound like an interesting man. Per chance do you know which production company videotaped the mock hanging? That would be a really interesting video to share with everyone.

      Thanks,
      Verne

      Reply

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