In 1714, John Mathis left his hometown of Long Island and settled into Little Egg Harbor. He soon began creating farms out of the rich ecosystem all along the Barnegat Bay. At one point in time, John Mathis owned four large farms and almost 5,000 acres in what is known today as Bass River Township. The success of these farms allowed him to develop areas of Tuckerton by building bridges and roadways from the coast to the mainland. This was a benefit not only to his business but for all of southern New Jersey because the mainland contained an abundant amount of one vital commodity– lumber. The neighboring vacant woods provided all the lumber that baymen needed to construct their garveys.
Later in the early 1900’s, Daniel Mathis, descendant of John Mathis, decided to dedicate his life to the bay as generations of his family had done before him. Daniel hauled a grocery store from New Jersey State Highway Route 9 to South Green Street to rest on the Tuckerton Creek. Here he began to purchase fresh shellfish from the hardworking baymen and sold it to the Tuckerton community.
It wasn’t until his daughter married that Daniel would pass down the business to her husband, E. Walter Parsons.
In 1935, the original ”Clamhouse” was constructed giving fishermen a place where they could unload all of their freshly harvested clams. E. Walter Parsons built and ran this clam house during their most prosperous time. The clams that came through the clam house went on to be sold to fish markets and restaurants throughout Philadelphia and New York.
In the 1940’s, Parsons also supplied approximately 9 million clams per year for their largest customer, the Campbell’s Soup Company.
Decades later, fifth generation Parsons Seafood owner Dale Parsons continues to run the business on South Green Street that was started over 110 years ago.