Every once in a while, I have to throw my hands up and admit to being stumped.
As you've seen, Hidden New Jersey is dedicated to shining light on lesser known (and often lesser noticed) aspects of history, culture and nature around the state. Much of the time, we've noticed these things in our travels, and sometimes I've got to do some reading or rooting around to get to the hidden story. Even when we talk about better known people and places, it's with an eye toward sharing an aspect you might not have known.
Then there are the things that even we can't explain.
Mankiller Bay seems to be one of them. Just northwest of Atlantic City, it joins Absecon Bay with the Inlet of the same name. It even has a namesake spit of land within it, the uninhabited and likely very marshy Mankiller Island.
This is one I've admittedly been hanging onto for a while. I jotted it in my notebook during a road trip, likely enroute to Brigantine Island to look for wintering shorebirds. But try as I might, I haven't been able to discover why these Mankillers deserve such an ominous name. Old sporting guides state that the island is good for hunting, and a bunch of fishing resources cite the bay's finned bounty, but its history? It eludes me.
Any ideas, folks?