Written and provided by Amy Petrie with South Jersey Adventures
The history of the Pine Barrens is expensive. From the stagecoach roads that line the highways to the ruins of ghost towns like Hampton Furnace & Friendship, the history cannot be beat.
On a dusty back road, Carranza Road, the same road that leads to Friendship, sits a memorial on a sandy lot. Seemingly out of place, this memorial marks the spot where a promising young pilot lost his life in a tragic crash.

Emilio Carranza was a Mexican aviator and nicknamed the “Lindbergh of Mexico” because his skills were similar to that of Charles Lindbergh. Carranza was on a good will flight, carrying messages of friendship, to New York and back to Mexico in July, 1928, just as Charles Lindbergh did the year prior.

On June 12, Carranza landed in Washington, D.C., and later that day, New York and was celebrated & honored by President Coolidge and Americans everywhere for his inspiring mission.
As he decided to embark on his trip back to Mexico, severe thunderstorms moved into the area and Charles Lindbergh, along with others, plead with him stay put and not fly into the storm. According to legend, a telegram was supposedly sent to Carranza  from Mexican War Minister Joaquín Amaro ordering his immediate return to Mexico City or “the quality of your manhood will be in doubt.”
The validity of this telegram is questionable, but during a break in weather, Carranza took off for Mexico. Once over South Jersey, he ran into some violent storms over the Pine Barrens and crashed at the exact site of his memorial. His body, found the following day by some locals picking blueberries, was initially identified because of the telegram from the Weather Bureau found in his pocket.
He had apparently been looking for a place to land when he crashed into some trees. He was only 22.
The monument that stands was purchased and placed in 1933 with thanks to heartbroken Mexican school children who saved their pennies. Around the memorial, you’ll see pennies mixed in with the sun-dried grass, undoubtedly to pay respect to the brave “Messenger of Peace”, Emilio Carranza.
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