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CENTENNIAL HISTORY 



OF 






Somerset County, 



J. 



BY 



/ 



ABRAHAM MESSLER, D. D. 



-;.iV/^/ 




SOMERVILLE, 

C. M. JAMESON, PUBLIRHEB. 

1878. 



'V' 6, 






si 



INTRODUCTION. 



The shores of New Jersey were first trod by the feet of 
civilized men in September, 1609. The visitors were fron» 
tlie shi}) of Hendiick Hudson, who on the Third day of 
that month had brou<ijht his vessel within the waters of the 
Raritan Bay, and allowed his men to hold intercourse with 
the Indians on the Monmouth shore. On the sixth, a 
boat's Clew passed the Narro'ws, and rounding the east 
shore of Staten Island, entered the Kills, and discovered 
Newark Bay. Returning in the evening this boat encoun- 
tered two canoes full of Raritan Indians, anG one of the 
crt-w, John Colman, was slain by being shot with an arrow- 
in the neck. 

Another ship was sent frou) Holland in 1610 with goods 
to commence a traffic with the Indians. On the 11th of 
v>ctober, 1614, the West India Company was formed, the 
country named New Netherland and a regular intercourse 
and trade commenced. As early as 1620 settlers had built 
houses and occupied lands on the shores of New Jersey, 
adjacent to New Amsterdam, for which titles were granted, 
and on which improvements were made. But on the 20tli 
of March, 1664, Charles II. King of England, granted to 
his brother James, Duke of Yoik, "all that tract of land 
adjacent to New England, bounded on the East by the main 
Sea and part of Hudson River, and hath upon the West, 
Delaware Bay or River, and extendeth Southward to the 
main Ocean as far as Cape May at the mouth cf the 
Delaware River," ignoring the discovei-j, occupancy and 
improvements made for the space of Forty Three years by 
the Hollanders, and resting title solely on the voyages of 
Cabot in 1497 — 8, along the coast of Labrador to the 
parallel of Gibralter and Verazzano in 1506. 



4 INTRODUCTTON. 

I>, lull- till- l)iikeh:i'l iictdjilly taken posst'ssion of any part 
..f this tiritiry, .ii the -23, 1 and 24th of June, 1664, he 
'vxvuteil (Ifcds iif lease and ndease to Lord John Berk- 
K-y anil Sir (,jr.-.irj;t' (Jarteret for the whole of that portion of 
It itu-lmh'd w.thin tlu' hmndsoft'ie State of New Jersey," 
and called it Neo Caesaria, in ciMnplitn-^nt to Carteret, who 
had h.vti Governor <if th«- Island of Jersey, and defended it 
aj^ainst the Cr.) nwellians. 

On f'e saiiied.ay, he cujninissioned his brother Philip 
Cart»'ret as Governor, wlio at once be<i;an to make prepara- 
tions to take p isses.sion of his Province. In August, of 
tliH same year he arrived in a ship at Elizabethtown-Point, 
liavirtvT ,,n bo.rd some thirty persons, part of them ser- 
vants. He found there a settlement of four families, 
and named it Kli/.abeth in honor of the wife of his brother, 
Sir Georg.'. 

Between I5erklev and Carteret, the Province was divid- 
ed in Kast and West New Jersey. The line between the 
two parts was to rnn from "the East side of Little Egg 
Harl).)r, striight North through the country, to the ut- 
most branch of the Delaware River." This line was run 
by George Keith Snrveyor General of East Jersey, in 1687. 

The line h -gan at Little Egg Harbor and ran '"'North by 
West, 3 degrees and 4 niinutes more Westerly, ) as 
th-j compass then pointed, until it reached Dobie's Plan- 
tation on the Sontii branch of Raritan River, ( a short dis- 
tance below tiie mouth of the Neshanic Creek ) thence 
along the rear of that and other plantations, until it 
intersects that part of the North branch of Raritan Riv- 
er which descends from a fall of water commonly known by 
the Indian name of Allamitung." This line was retravers- 
od by John Chapman in 1721, but found to vary two de- 
grees and twenty-thnie minutes in thirty-four years. It 
was not satisfactory to the Western ])ro[)rietors, and in 
1743 it was again surveyed by John Lawrence. His 
line piissed near Somerville touching the white oak tree on 
the East side of the h )nsi' f)rmerly owned by John M. Mann 
jind intersecting the Delaware River near the mouth of Ding- 
man's Creek, several miles below the point originally des- 
ignated. The difference between the two lines was impor- 



INTBODUCTION 5 

tant, since the angle or gore of land between them con- 
tained about 528.640 acres of valuable laml. 

Sir George Carteret died in J 679. and by his Will, da- 
ted December 5, 1678, left his widow. Lady Klizabeth, 
Executrix and Guardian of his grand-son- Sir Pliilliji's son, 
named also George, devising East Jirsey io certain Trus- 
tees for the benefit of bin creditors (sre Whitehead 82) who 
sold it finally to Wm. Penn, with Eleven other Quaker as- 
sociates for £3400. The deed of sale bears date Feb. 1 
and 2, 1681 and 2. 

Philip Carteret, the Governor, resided permanently at 
Elizabeth where thy Propiiet.iries had a house b\iilt tor him 
having an orchard and ground attached to it He married 
a daughter of Kichard Smith, of Long [sland. a widow 
Lawrence, ia April, 1681 . Murrary in his notes on Eliza- 
beth town, says on the authority of tradition, that he died 
and was buried there. His Will is ilated Dee. 10, 1682, 
and he died soon after. He had fmm his biother a grant 
of 2000 acres of land, and owned by purchase several 
other tracts, VMit never realized any profits from any < f 
them. In his Will he directed his body to be placed in 
Gov Stuyvesrint's vault in New York, if liberty eould be 
obtained, otherwise a grave to be purchased in the Church 
of New York. Where his reuiains rest, is not positively 
known 

On the 14th of March, 1682, the Duke of York confirmed 
the sale of the Province by giving; a new grant, an<l K(d)ert 
Barclay became Governor, He was a Quaker friend ot 
W'^ra. Penn. He was superseded September of the same 
year by Thomas Rudyard. ( See Whitehead. 88, 1^2.) 
Rudyard subsequently appointed Gawn Lawrie deputy, 
and again Lord JS'eil Campbell, who remained m the coun- 
try less than a year. At the death of Baiclay, Andrew 
Hamilton became Governor-in-Chief until Ju!ie, 1689. 
He then vacated his authority and returned t>> I'^urope, but 
came back again in 1692. and resumed his position, but 
was superseded by Jeremiah Basse, The Provinces were 
united in 1702 and placed under the Government of 
Queen Anne. 

Carteret's government of the Province of East Jersev was 



(; INTRODUCTION. 

not .'itli-'i- succi'ssful or happy. Aiulros, of Nh\v York, 
claimed suprcine antliority in New Jersey as a depond'-ncy 
»)f New York, dep)sed Carteret, look him prisoner and 
conveyed liim to New York an 1 tried him, but his proceed- 
iii<rs were finally overrnle,!, and Carteret resnm 'd his p )si- 
tioii and autli'-rity in the Province; but still we find an un- 
settled stat(^ of public oi)inion and the "tumultuous spirits" 
are frequently alluded to. The claim and collecting of 
quit-rents seem to have b 'en the principal inciting caus'\ 
and though it continued under him and his successors 
some 38 years, the Proprietary Government proved finally 
a total failure Ou the 'l7th of April 1702, the proprie- 
tors of b )th East and West Jersey, sought the protection 
of the British Crown, and conceded all their rights of 
Grovernment to the English Queen. (S/e S. 211, 218.) 
She committed the administration of it to her kinsman, 
Edward Hyde Lord Cornbury, a grandson of th(s Earl 
of Clarendon, the great English Chancellor. The instruc- 
tions given him, together with the concessions and agree- 
ments which he published on assuming the government. 
formed the Constitution under which Ne\v Jersey lived and 
prospered until the Revolution. They formed, in fact, a, 
safe and liberal Constitution ! It is almost a phenomenoti 
in political history, that so much liberty should hav.5 ema- 
nated and been conceded to a new State by such a tyran- 
nical Governor. 

In Carteret's time there appear to have been only four 
Counties, Bergen, Essex, Mi Idlesex and Monmouth. We 
find in the Laws passed by the Assembly convened at 
Amboy, November 5, 1675, provision made for the hold- 
ing of two Courts in Bergen, ou the first Tuesdav in 
March, and the last Wednesday in September, for Eliza- 
beth anil Newark, the County of Essex, two Courts on the 
secoud Tuesday in March, and third in September ; for the 
two towns of Navesink, constituting Monmouth County, 
two Courts, on the last Tuesday in March and first in Sep- 
tember ; lor Woodbridge and Piscatawa, constituting the 
County of Middli^sex, two Courts, third Tuesday in March 
and second in September. 

Besides these there was to be a monthlv Court for the 



INTRODUCTION. 7 

trial of small causes under 40 SiulUngs, held on the first 
Wednesday of every month, in each town, by two or 
three persons chosen by the Freeholders, one of whom 
was to be a Justice of the Peace. _ ., -n i .„.i 

There was also a Court of Assizes, or the Bench and 
Provincial Court, held once in a year at Woodbndge, or 
where the Governor and Council appointed. This was the 
Supreme Court, and appeals could only be taken to it 
from the County Courts when the sum involved was less 
than £20. From the Supreme Court appeal was to the 
Govern(U- and Council. . , ,. ,, 

Under the Proprietors, the (rovernment consisted ot the 
Governor with his Council, and the Deputies elected by 
the Freeholders in the several Townships. The first 
Le^-islative AssembW in Carteret's time, met at I^^liza^ 
betlitown on the 25th of May, 1668, and consisted of 
the following members : 

Governor.— Philip Carteret. 

Members of Council.- Cap. Verlet, Mr. Daniel PieTce, 
Mr Kobert Bond, Mr. Samuel Edsall, Mr. Robert Van 
Quellen, Mr. Wm. Pardon, Mr. James Bollen, Seci-etary. 
Burgesses and Representatives.— Mr. Caspar Steen- 
mets, Mr. Balthazar Bayard for Bergen ; Mr. John Ogden, 
Si^n'r, Mr. John Bracket, for Elizabethtown ; Cap. Robert 
Treat, Mr. Samuel Swarne, for Newark, upon Piskawack 
River ; Mr. John Bishop, Mr. Robert Dennis, tor Wood- 
bridge ; Mr. J ames Grover, Mr. Robert Bound, for 
Middletowu ; Idem, for Shrewsburry. 

The Assembly convened on May 26th, and the sessions 
closed on the 30th, adjourning to meet again on the 3d 
of November. It met at the time appointed, but ad- 
journed finally on the fourth day, and seven years elaps- 
ed before another was convened. 

The country under all the disadvantages experienced, 
advanced in population, however, and now, when again 
united contained 20,000 inhabitants, of whom 12,000 
belonged to the East, and 8,000 to the Western portion 
They were principally Dutch, Swedes, Scotch, Enghsh and 
New Englanders. 

The following may be mentioned as Governors of New 



8 INTRODUCTION. 

Jersey after the union of the two Provinces : After Lord 
Cornhury was superceded in 1708, Lord Lovelace occupied 
his place in 1709, then Ingoldsby, Hunter, Burnet, Mont- 
gomery, Cosby, Hamilton. Morris, Belcher, Bernard and 
Franklin ; who was finally displaced by the outbn^ak uf 
the Revolution. 

The Province flourished from its first settlement, and in 
1737 contained 47.402 inhabitants. These had increased in 
1745 to 61,383. In 1790, eight years after the Revolu- 
tion, it numbered 184,139. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 



CHAPTER T. 

The first settlement on lands enibrace.l in Sumeiset 
County, Ix'gan in the year 1681. On the first day of No- 
vpmbe'r in that vear John Inians& Co., secured a title for 
two lots, embraciiij; the land on which the City c»f New 
Brunswick now stands, haviii<r ;i mile of river front and 
two miles in depth. From the North of Inians ii: Co., to 
Bound Brook, there were laid out 19 lots, having a lit- 
tle less than one-half a mile on the river, and extenamg 
two miles in depth. The last of tliese lots with an ad- 
joining plot on the south side, was owned by William Doc k- 
wra and contained 900 acre?. Behind these, facing the 
Millstone, were two other lots ; the lower containing 800 
acres, and belonging to George Willox, and the np .er 
containing 500 acres was the property of Dockwra. From 
the mouth of the Millstone three and a half miles t(. ro 
Island in the Karitan Kiver (in front of R. H, Vegl .c'* 
residence) thence South by West two miles, and east t ,vo 
miles to Millstone River, containing 3000 acres, exc! isive 
of 250 acres of meadow, had been previously deeded to 
I'apt. Anthony Brockholls, William Fenhorn, John Robin- 
son, Mathew Nichols and Samuel Edsall. The land was 
sold to John Royce & Co., of New York in l()85 and 
was t.) be known in futnro as Roycefield. The bounds as 
given in the deed of transler were "beg-nning at a place 
called Hunter's Wij'wam on Millstone River, thence north 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 11 

bv east and uorth east to the Raritaii River, opposite 
the West end of a small Island torraerly belon^m^^ to 
Robert Van Quellen, and thence down the Raritan three 
and a half miles and np the Millstone to the place ot 
beo-inning." Farther up the Millstone were twlve plots ot 
12000 ac'i-es owned by Polhemus Cortleyou. Lott .and 
others located in 1701. John Harrison and William his 
father, owned hind at Rocky Hill. It was known after- 
wards as the Berrian place; and Washington wrote _ his 
farewell address in the house in which the Berrian s 
lived For more specific information in reference to the 
earlv land titles, we can only refer to Corwin's Memorial. 

On the north side of Raritan commencing at Bound 
Brook, was secured on the 4th day of May, 1681, the first 
land Title. It was made by two Raritan Indians— 
Konackama and '^ueromak. The consideration was 100 
pornds paid them in goods, the receipt of which trom 1 hil- 
ip Carteret, Governor of New Jersey, was acknowledged 
on the deed itself. The individuals to whom it was grant- 
ed were P. Carteret, John Palmer of Staten Island, 
Gent., Gabriel Minville, Thomas Codrington, John White, 
John Delavalle, Richard Hall and John Royce, of the city 
of New York. The land embraced in it extended from the 
mouth of the rivulet, now called Bound Brook, and by 
the natives, Sacunk ; thence along the Raritan I^iver on 
the North side, to a brook called Raweighweros— Middle- 
brook and from thence northward to a certain Stony Hill ; 

thence easterly to Metapes Wigwam, at the mouth of 
Cedar Brook, where it unites with Green Brook. ^ and 
thence southerly along Bound Brook, to the place of be- 
■yinning. This purchase included all the land now covered 
by the village of Bound Brook, up to the mountain, and 
w,^st to Middlebrook, and was named by the Indians 
Rakahova-walaby. It was divided into five portions ; 
John Royce had 877 acres ; Thomas Codrington 877 acres 
next to him ; the Proprietors 1170 acres next to Bound 
Brook : Thomas Codrington 1000 on the rear, next to 
Chimney Rock and the mountain. The remainder, north 
of the plot, Mongiug to the Proprietors, was not surveyed 



J2 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

immediately ami entered, and we cannot, therefore, desig- 
nate the owners. 

Tlie deed is recorded at Amhov, in L. 1. page 146, and 
may still be seen by the antiqufiry. We have been thus 
specific, because it marks the time when civilization and 
the enterprise of improvement entered the precincts of Old 
Somerset. We may wonder why so long a time as that 
which elapsed between 1609 and 1681, should have inter- 
vened, but we must remember that all great things are 
small in their bt-ginnings, and often long delayed in their 
progress. 

The first deed, introduces us to some names wiiioh have 
an liistorical interest. Oodrington settled on the west 
side of the plot — of which he was part owner — on the 
banks of Middlebrook, and became a man of extensive 
influence in the county. His name is still borne by some 
of the inhabitants of Somerset. The location of his habi- 
tation called Racawacahana, may be. indicated by saying, 
it was recently owned by Dr. Samuel Swan ; it passed, 
soon after the Revolution into the hands of John Camp- 
bell, nephew of Lord Neil Campbell, at one time Deputy 
or Lieutenant Governor of East Jersey, and subsequently 
into others ; and finally into its present owners. It is 
one of the thre(! lirst homesteads formed in our county. 

Royce, another of the owners under the first deed, lived 
first at Piscataway and then in what has since been known 
us Roycefield, near the late residence of Jotin J. Sraats — 
He was a merchant in New York, but came to Somerset 
county — probably soon after the date of this Indian 
l)urcliape. He owned or claimed to own, a tract of 20,000 
acres on the south side ot the Raritan, about which some 
dispute existed. Andrew Hamilton, the Governor, writes 
of him in 1700, that "he had an old jjatent which contains 
20,000 acres, but i)eeause the stations were uncertain and 
the boundaries would not meet, he addressed the propri- 
etors at home for a new patinit, which he had, and ob- 
tained about 6000 acres, for which he was to pay £5 a 
year for the whole, instead of 1-2 per acre, and the pro- 
prietors, forg<>tting to make him surrender his old patent, 
li>' now claims 20,000 by it, and so takes away upon Mill- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 13 

stone River from Mr. Hart, and on tlie Karilan, from Mr. 
Plumstead and Mr. Barker, considerable tracts ot land , 
so that he uses both patents— the old one if he can, and 
the new one if tUe old fail him ; it was a great oversioht. 
He is the verv leader of the troublesome sort ol the peo- 
ple and it is he tlmt infuses the motive in them ol hold- 
iu-'to their Indian titles." This is not favorable alto-eth- 
er" to Mr Rnyce. He, however, managed to maintain his 
position and influence, and was chosen the same year one ot 
the Representatives of iNew Jersey in the Colonial Legis- 
lature ; in his oiiic- as such, he questioned the authority 
()f Gov Hamilton to call a Legislative Assembly— in- 
sistincr that it was not safe to act without the King s ap- 
proba'tion. It appears that he had been one of the council 
of Hamilton, appointed on his arrival and entrance^^upon 
office in 1692. His associates were Capt. Isaac iy"gs- 
land Cant. Andrew Browne, John Inians, David Mudie, 
James Uundas. Samuel Dennis, John Bishop and Lewis 
Morris. One of his descendants (it must have been) occu- 
pied the same position in Gov. Franklin's council when tiie 
Revolution commenced, and encouraged the capture and 
supersedure of the Governor when it became necessary to 
displace him. When the family sold their possesions and 
when they retired, is not known to the present writer. 1 he 
name is still met ^ith in New York city, and is also in 
existence in Northern New York and in Vermont. John 
Royce was a man of activity and energy in his day, and has 
left his trace upon our history in an unmistakable way. 
As one of the earlv pioneers, he is not to be forgotten, 
and ought not be suffered to pass without commanding 
his appropriate meed of honor. He was at all times a man 
of the people, and could be depended upon when resistance 
to authority was necessary to the defence of their rights. 
We esteem him as a true patriot. 

The Other names included among the signers ot the deed, 
with the exception of Gov. Carteret, do not occur again in 
any documents or history of whicli we have any knowledge^ 
They were citizens of New York, and, probai'ly, never had 
anv other connection with the affairs of our county, ex- 
cept that for a time thev had a title to a portion of land m 



14 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

IwlnnT ^'^•^^••^cf-. Hisresulencewasat Elizabeth, and 

IS onlv association with us, is, in his bein^. a native of 
tie^JshuKlofJersov ; which being under the Government 
of Enghmd, brouoht him here as a phicp man 

1 he second huid tith. in Somerset County i-s dated De- 
cember 12th 1681 in the same year in which the foitoTn^ 

a has Keneekome, Aw.ps, Xegacape and Pamascome. The 
u:^:^::'^^ ^"J^^^^^ Corm;lius Corsen and S^ib! 
• nVs ;• ^^^^'J^^^''^'/';^'-'^f^» ^« £120 ; and the bound- 

a cs ue from Raweighweros, (Middlebrouk), on both 

K e.s ot the Rar.tan to a place called Fackahackawac 
(.ipl)arently according to an ancient map ) the lin,^ h..' 
tween Caleb Miller and the late John M, 'Mann a run-" 
■nngon this hue nortl- until it reaches the nuunttn 
andah.ng the mountain until it reaches Middleb ook. a.^ 

ou„,saKl brook to the place of beginning. It included 

hrce plots based on the river, and a? leas? five o Tof 

them along the mountain. iv^^uoiin or 

Tlit' first of these west of Middlebrook were assio-ned to 
John Palmer and contained 877 acres. The second be 
onoed to John White, contained also 877 ac es The' 
thud ren^amed unappropriated ; and on the north R 

^the E'otH?"'"M''r^^^^^'' '^^^-^ Hoop^f an^l 
tne iKus of Hooper," had large possessions. The e^act 
amount included in this purchase is not stated bu it con 
tamed many broad acres, and would now be a p .Sv" 
inheritance Somerville stands on it ; and besides hh 
more than thirty farms, whose fertilitv is unsu p sed liv 



None of the original purchasers of this plot seem to 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 15 

he assumed the government of East Jersey in 168G. 
Thomas Codrington, of whom we have heretofore spoken 
was another one of the members of the same council ; the 
others were Grawen l^awrio, and Major John Berry, of 
Bergen and Isaac Kingshmd of New Barbadoes, and 
Capt. Andrew Hamilton, of Amboy, Kichard Townley, of 
Elizabetlitown, and David Mudie and John Johnstone also 
of Amboy. 

On this plot of land the earliest permanent settlements 
along this part of the Raritan, were formed. According 
to the declaration of John Worth of Elizabcthtown, Cod- 
rington, Royce, White, Peter Van Nest, Jerome Van 
Nest, the Tunison's and Graham came and located here 
sixty years previous to 1741, or in 1681, the very year 
this land was bought. The residences of Royce and Cod- 
rington we have already designated. The Van Nest 
house was, it is said, on the very spot now occupied by U. 
Frelinghuysen's residence, and the Tunison's located where 
John C, Garretson now resides. But the residence of Gra- 
ham we have not ascertained. He was a prominent man 
in the Province — more than once of the executive council, 
and he resided in the county somewhere on the river. He 
was a man of influence in those days, and yet he may not 
have remained any length of time on the Raritan, At 
all events, his name does not occur again in any histo- 
rical documents with which we have formed acquaint- 
ance, referring to the progress of events in the county, 
Jerome VanNest and Peter settled permanently on the Rari- 
tan, and their descendants are yet among our most re- 
spectable citizens. But the original farm on which they 
first located has now for many years been in other posses- 
sor's hands. The i Tunisons, Cor neliu s^ and John^ came 
here from Fort 0ra\ig?7TJ0w Albany, and were originally 
from the vicinity of Htnxdi, in Holland. The name is 
found early in coUonial annals, and was prominent in 
more than one way ; and it has become widely extended 
in our State, They were respectable from the beginning. 
When the First Church of Raritan was organized on the 
ninth day of March, 1699, John Tunison was elected the 
first Elder, and Peter Van Nest the first Deacon. On the 



16 SOMERSET COUNTV, 

Saturday previous Jerome Van Nest had a daughter t.amed 
Judith, l.apt.ml, and Peter Van Xest also a dauxhter 
Jaqu.-ni.na The place where these services were held 
nu.st hHvehet nut the house ..f either Tunison or Van 
ISest pnd.ahly the latter; and if so it would determine 
that the organization of the First Church was where D 
irelinghuysen now resides. Froiu all the circumstances, ^ye 
think tins IS alninst certain. 

If w- should attempt to realize the state of thino-s ex- 
isting at that time, it might not vary much from th^ 
hdlow.ng imaginary p,icti.re Foursmall dwellings, com- 
posed of logs standing not tar from the smooth Howin- 
river m contracted sj,aces of cleared land, with a dens? 
forest all around them-unhroken and almost impenetrable 
are the only human habitations in all the wide space now 
so th.c cly inhabited. Along the river side, in the low- 
lands, there were some open spaces on which Indians had 
practiced their rude efforts to raise a little corn and a few 
beans and pumpkins. Her. h^y could be mowed, or the 

nn ! ^- J ''71' n"'l ^'r*"'"'' ^^"''' ^'«« Pi^'"tv of game 
an hsh, but al of what we now regard as the necessaries 
life, besides these, were hard to be obtained. Amboy 
0^ hlizabethtown, or perha]>s Jnnian's Ferrv, now New 

mn tV ""^^1 'VJ'^y '^^""'^ ^^' th^»^' but\.ertainlv not 
mai.N. 1 he roads hml been cut out of the dense forest; and 
were dimcult of passage with any wheel carriages, piivid- 
ing they had such things, which is not ver)^ probable ! 
Phey may have been lonely sometimes, but they had the 

hey had no bad neighbors to annoy them. But thev 

WnU.r''' ''"''' ^'^' '^^''"- firmly* the foundations of 
agiculture, commerce, religion and education for future 
generations. 1 hey must have been earnest men, full of self ' 
sinrr//' T r^^r^ticipating much of what has 
«.nce been realized. The Van Kestes' came here fron. 
Long Jslan.l and had been in l he country from an earlv 
lt\iuf ^f.^'*'" ^"'» ^est came to New Amsterdam as earfv 
as 104/. hl,^ was the comm.)n ancestor of all those wno 
at p.esen hear the name. The family had some promi- 
nence in Holland ,n the time of Wiliam the Silent- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 17 

Ouo Vau JS^est was employed by him in Spain to ^'ive liiin 
notice, of Philp's plans and purposes ; and what is more 
wonderful, he copied eveiy night whai ever Philip had 
written during- the day, relating to the affairs in Holland, 
and sent it to William He continued to do this for sev- 
eral years and yet escaped from Spain with his head on his 
shoulders ! Those who know how suspicious the Tyrant 
of Spain was, will never think it any less than a mira- 
cle, or at least a special influence of a watchful Provi- 
dence, tLat protected him. So much depended on William 
being able to circumvent Philip, that the Almighty it 
would seem allowed him to fall into the snare laid for 
him. and all his secrets to be betrayed to his enemy. It 
must have demanded no small amount of circumspection 
to circumvent such a suspicious master of craft, and to 
deceive him for so long a time ; the success shows how 
much was ventured in those evil days from the purest 
patriotism. H" any clue to his practices had been obtained, 
the most cruel and painful death would have been his im- 
mediate punishment. Tt may even have had something to 
do with the emigration of the first Van Neste to New Neth- 
erlands, for such a man was never safe while Philip lived; 
he came to America the same year in which Frederick Hen- 
ry Stadtholder and Prince of Orange died, and when the 
troubles at home were by no means settled. But whether 
the imigrant was in anyway connected with the agent of 
William of Orange, we cannot determine. Perhaps he was 
only a farmer, and sought our shores with a view of better- 
ing his worldly estate. The first imigrant settled on Long 
Island 34 years before Peter Van Nest came to Raritan, and 
bore the same name, A part of the original farm was sold 
subsequently to the church, and on it Rev. John Frelinghuy- 
sen built his house, when he returned from Holland and suc- 
ceeded his father in the Church of Raritan. It remained 
in possession of the church until after the resignation of the 
Rev. John Duryea, when it was sold to pay the debt 
which was owing him by the disaffected in the church. 
• Another Van Nest, was Vice Admiral under De- 
Ruyter, in 1666, and fought the British under the Earl of 
'Albemarle off the JNorth Foreland ; in which engagement 



18 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

the most astonishing endurance was manifested anr] 
he sups o Van Nest and Van Trcnp were fnti -elv d - 
abl-dand hadto be abandoned, but neither of tben 
thou-ht of giving up the fight. The next year he blocked 
the monniof the Thames, whi'e De Ruyt.-.- was th eaten- 
iQg the Bntis.x coast. 'uccien 

The third purchase of bind in Somerset County is da- 
ted Nov. 19, G81, and extended from the west Hn; of the 
former plot, that ,s from the east side- of the land former! v 
mvned by John M. Mann, to the foot of the moun in at 
Pluckamin ; and on the Raritan, the west line wa the 
west point of the Island in front of R. H. Veght '^pn) erty 

the point of the mountain wheie the east line terminated 
It embraced all the land between Caleb Miller'fZ^rtv 
on the east, and the old Patterson farm on the J^t^ ami 
extended north, nearly up to the village of Pluckam'in"a 
broa, .an'J valuable tract, including son^e of the mot b au^ 
tfnl farms in our vicinity, and on it, on Peter's Brool- 
stood the old Van Neste mansion in which •'Piince 
Geoi^e" live<l and died, but which has since btn ch^mol- 

The Indians selling it, were called Pawark and Manansa- 
mit and the purchaser was Robert Van Quillen It in 
duded the Island before mentioned, which was knoln t 
tlie Indian name of Matanique. - 

The whole splendid plot of rich land when s-irveved was 
cl.vided into SIX portions. On the east side, joininl' he 
river, Graham and Winder had 1900 acres, , onh of Ihem 
Samuel Winder had 500 ; north of this, D. D DuS 
owned 760 acres. Returning .gain to the ri;er Jol n 
-Robinson had 660, Archibald Riddle, 300 ; north of this 
I^ot, .Sir John Dalrymple, 500 ; leaving a large plo nor h 
of itstill unaj)propriated. ° i i^ i noi m 

wli^^'thrib- fr "^"^ ^'V^'" ^'" '^''' ''■"'' •>^" '--^- -"'I 
Hdvise, / "!'V;''i'''''''' were erected, we are not 
T h ■ , . , f '.'-^'^f ^1« >'";^^<-^^^^'> that it vvas either wbere 
jMhnM. Mann lived, or where the residence of Rev F F 
Cornell is at present located. The large plot of low hind 
«outh of these ,,oint8 was a favorite ?orn ground of thO 



SOMEKSET COUNTY. J 9 

Indians and had no forest on it. and was called by tlicni 
Eacka-wacka-hack. 

At a very early pt^riod the Coejeman pro])erty was j)ur- 
ehased and the lVIedday;h house afterwards J. M. Mann's 
is mentioned by John Lawrence, as bein*;- on the line be- 
tween East anil West Jersey, which he ran in 1711), and 
the laro-e wdiite oak tree sliill standing on th(? easl; side < f 
the house Was lUMrked by him as being in that line. An- 
otiier mark of the sam^ line is still visible in a stone plant- 
ed on the south bank of the river by the I'oadside. nearly 
in front of the house which John V. Veghte erected for his 
own residence, previ(jus to removing to his father's. This 
line is called the "Qaintipartate line," and extended from 
Little E^^^ harbor to a point on the Delaware in 41 de- 
grees latitude. It was made for the purpose of dividing 
the clai.us of Sir George Carteret and the assigns (.)f Lord 
Berkley and separated the Province of New Jersey into F]as t 
and West Jersey ; a division continuing as long as the 
Proprietary Goveinment lasted. 

The Coejenian family came here as early as 1736. Thev 
were Hollanders, but came to the Raritan fiom Coejeman's 
on the Hudson river, and built the ancient brick house still 
standing in Raritan vibage. It was a very large and ex- 
pensive mansion tor that day. When they moved into 'it. 
it is said, they brought a "wheelbarrow^load of silver plate." 
Staats Coejeman^ an officer in the navy, some 40 years 
since^ we believe, to have been the last male descendant. 

Andrew Coejeman of Raritan, was the son of Barent Pi- 
eterse Coejeman's, who with his mother and three brothers, 
David, Jacob and Arent imigrated from Holland, to Ren- 
sellaer's Wyck 1636. They came originally Irom Utrech. 
Barent worked in the Patroons Grist Mill until 1645, then 
superintended his Saw Mill, then rented a farm and final- 
ly in 1683, with the consent of the Commissioners at Alba- 
ny, purchased from the Kaafs Kill Indians a large tract of 
land some twelve or fifteen|, miles south of the city, on the 
west side of the river. The^inducement was the favorable 
situation of the land for the erection and running of Saw 
Mills. The purchase began at a point on!the shore called 
Sieskasin opposite the middle of Jan Ryerson's Island 



20 SOMERSET COUNTY, 

and ran smith to the mouth of Peter Bronck's Kill, as 
Coxsakie Creek was then called, following up the creek to 
its scource, the line then ran west until it struck the head 
waters falling into the Hudson River. The land on the 
waters flowing west into the Schoharie Creek belonged to 
the Mohawks. Ffom this point the line went north until 
it reached the lands of the Patr(Xin, and thence along the 
south side of his patent to the Hudson River A patent 
was obtained for this land, some eight miles in length west, 
and nearly ten along the river side from Gov. Lovelace. 
April 9, 1693. A slight dispute arose with the Patroon 
about his jurisdiction, but in August 6, 1714, Queen 
Anne confirmed the whole to him and h's heirs forever. 
Barent Pieterse Coejeraans had five children, Andreas, 
Samuel and Peter, — sons, — and Aryan tye and Jannetye, 
daughters. The eldest of these sons, Andreas or Andrew 
came to Raritan and built as above. It was a large 
brick house four rooms and a hall, one and one-half stories. 

The family were buried near it but the grave stones 
are lost. 

Andrew Coejemans, of Raritan, married a daughter of 
Dr. Samuel Staats, of Albany, and had four daughters and 
a son, Samuel Staats Coejeman. The daughters married 
as follows : 

Catherine, an Irish gentleman named Neilson, by whom 
she bad three children, John, James and Gertrude, and 
resided in New Brunswick. 

Gertrude married Abraham Lett, and had four children, 
Catharine, Cornelia, Gertrude and Abraham. 

Johanna married Col. White, and had three children, 
Gen. Anthony Walton White, who resided on th,^ Raritan 
below New Brunswick, and Mrs. Governor Patersou and 
Mrs. Bayard. 

Moyaca was a crip})le and never married. She died at 
the house of Col, John Neilson, where she had been re- 
siding with her brother's children of whom Col. Neilson 
and Gov. Paterson had been appointed executors and 
Guardians. 

Andrew Coejeman, son of S. Staats Coejeman, married 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 21 

Ani'ttje Schuyler, and had two children, (irertrude and 
Andrew. 

Andrew married ■Juno Vandoren, and liad three sons, 
Samuel Staats, John Neilson and Abraham Vandoren, all 
died and with them the name became extinct on the Rari- 
tan. Gertrude married George Farmer, and Ir-id one son 
and four daughters, 

Andrew Coejeman also purchased of John Roycc 400 
acres on south side of Raritan — to be called Roycefield. 

Many yeais since, the writer of these notes spent a night 
in the old Cojeman mansion on the Hudson, and saw the 
full length portrait of the Lady Cnejemau wjiich is pi(^- 
served tiiere. In a littlj Dutch bed in a large room in the 
seccnd story of the old stone hu'use, we dreamed of the 
olden times, and had many visions of stately dames in 
rufts and high heels and stays passing before oui' mind. 
It was quite a romance in our young life, and the memory 
of it has never been defaced. It brought the past near- 
er than we had ever realized it before. 

Robert Van Quillen, the purchaser of tliis thinl tract on 
the Raritan, figures quite largely in our eariy history. His 
character, however, is somewhat dubious. He may be 
called a Frenchified Dutchman, or, perhaps more properly 
a Dutchified Frenchman. He is represented as being a 
native of Caen, in France, and called De La Prie, and 
again La Prie. He was Surveyor General of the Province 
of East New Jersey for some time, and naturalized March 
8, 1(369. Beside his valuable possession on the Raritan, 
he had at an earlier date located for himself a large tract 
of land south of the Raritan, o])posite Amboy, which one 
of the early Scotch settlers sj)eaks of as being "but mean 
land." His purchase of the Indians on the Raritan, was 
un speculation, and he did not long retain the title of his 
possessions, and never lived in Somerset. His residence 
was at Elizabethtown. 

He was one of Gov. Carteret's first council, in 16G8 — 
having as his associates Capt. Nicholas Verlett, Daniel 
Pierce, Robert Bond and Samuel Edsall. In 1674, during 
the administration of Gov. Colve, he is reported as hav- 
ing carried away a variety of goods from the house of Gov- 



22 somi^:rset county. 

iM-nor Caifcrct, in Eliz-ibt-thtown, which he (h^cliiied to re- 
store ; wliereupon an order was issued from Fort Williaju 
Henry, in New Y(n'k, for hvd ari-est, in company with one 
Singleterry, to be brought before th(^ Governor. The ex- 
planation given is, thnt lie lield the goods out of friend- 
ship to Gov. Carteret, and in his interest ; whic'.i is prob- 
able, since Carteret had been, as it is now conceded, un- 
justly expelled from his rights as proprietor and Governor 
under the Duke of York's grant, and was soon after re- 
stored to hi« f )rnier position. When such restoration had 
taken place, in 16'74, Van Quellen was appointed one of 
his CHincil together with Capt. John Berry, William San- 
ford and John Pike, and Messrs. Lawrence Anderson and 
John Bishop Sr. ; Robert Boben being Secretary of the 
Board. He s"en]s also to have been concerned in the 
Elizabeth purchase, as appears from the oath of Jeremiah 
Osborn, appended to the Elizabethtovvu Bill in Chancery. 
In fact he was a greedy, grasping adventurer in his land 
speculations. 

Though owning lands along the Raritan, his residence 
was constantly at Elizauethtown, which had become, not 
only the home of the Governor and the place where the 
Legislature met, but besides, a })lace of considerable im- 
})Oi'tance, comprising within its limits at least VOO inhabi- 
tants, with 40,000 acres of land under cultivation. Tlie 
Governor is said to have had a house, orchard and farm 
within the town limits, indicating that he was surrounded 
with all the comforts possibh^ in a new settlement. 

One of the very best [)lantations embiaced in this third 
purchase, was owned at the opening ot the Revolution by 
a lawyer named Peregrine Lagrange, who, from conviction 
and choice, took the part of the British Government in the 
conflict which ensued. As a consequence his property was 
confiscated and sold f>t })ublic auction. It was pui chased 
by William Patterson, afterwards Governor of the State, 
and one of the J ustices of the Supreme Court of the Uni- 
ted States, or soon after came into his possession ; and is 
still known as "The Patterson Farm," and on it he resid- 
ed for several years. Here, in a stone house, some eighty 
years ago, Mrs. Van Rensellar, wife of Gen. Stephen Van 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 23 

Rensellar, commonly known as '^-\;'^f'Zfrt^^!!^l 
WHS born and grew up to early gulhood. ^'^^^ /^'J!^ '^;. ;^ 
vivid and grat.ful memory ot the oh home on the K.uit.u 
atul after the death of her husband, intended to purcuse t 
and make it her residence ; but bemg urged by he. daugl - 
ters first to consent to accompany thein for ^^ yea. to 
France, she returned only to die in a tew months^ aftei 
reaching her home in Albany ; and the purpose i^^^^ed 

Tt is?>ne of the instances which prove the power o ea.lv 
associations. P.-obably wneu she came to see the oW home- 
stead she would have be<'n g.-eatly disapi^omteo, and cle- 
teried from carrvin^; out her intentions. 

Dirk MiddahVesided on the place owned by JolinJ-^^; 
Mann, as earlv as 1699. and his name i.^ among the farst 
on the Church records. U was one ol the m '« ?f j;;^' ^^.^^ 
locations on the Raritan, overlooking those ^r^^^tiful nu - 
.nvs which lav south between it and the nve.-, Ihe old 
white oak tree, already referred t^ standing on the cast 
side of the house is a .neinorial of the olden time. It stood 
there in 1743, one hundred and thirty-hve years sinct. 
When dohn Lawrence marke.l it as in the Qumtapate line, 
it was aheady a large tree, and it ought to be lett s tai d- 
incv as long as vitality remains in it, as a hmdma.dv ot the 
past. When Lawrence came to the south side of the uwu 
it was evening, and he sought for quarters for themght. 
He was promised accommodations, m the house of a Mr 
Fulkerson, {Who lived near the p.^esent cemetery), bu 
when he cLme there, the good wife did not relish he ide. 
ofadmittingst.-ange.-sto her domicile, and ^^ed hti 
husband to suchadeg.-ee, that Lawrence thought be t to 
decamp : and he went back towaids Roycefield wht?ie he 
found a house without a scolding dame, and slept in peace 
He gives quite an amusing account in his journal of his 
disappointment and the lady who occassione^d it. 

The fourMi p.irchase of land from the Indians on the 
Raritan, extended fn-u. the western boundary of the last 
mentioned plot up to the junction of the north and south 
branches, This place was called by the natives ruck-a- 
rama-hacking, From tlds point the line ran east of o. 
to a place nearly equidistant between the North Bianch 



24 SOMERSET COUJSTY, 

and Laraiii^>ton river, at or near what was the late turn- 
pike bridiic above Burnt Mills ; thence due east, until it 
met the line <>t' the fornu-'r purchase ; and thence south to 
the place of betiinnini:;. The aboriginal owners conveyino- 
this land, are called Pawark, Cowalanuck, Manamasaniet 
Agnamapaniund ! The purchasers were John Robinson,^ 
William Pinhorn, Richard Jones, and Matthew Taylor.^ 
The consideration was, "certain goods mentioned in the 
deed," and the date Nov 19, 1G81. 

This ]Tlot was afterwards surveyed and divided as fol- 
lows : William Pinhom, had deeded to him, March 8, 
1697, 500 acres on the east side and 160 on the river ; 
Lord iS'eil Campbell, Jan. 9, 1685, had 1650 acres — em- 
bracing all the land between Pinhorn and the junction of 
the two branches, and extending north as for as Pinhorn's 
grant extended. Inmiediatelv north of these two grants 
and including all that remained on the east side of North 
Branch, William Ackman had 400 acres ; Archibald 
Kiddle 300 ; and Sir John Dalrymple 500 acres. The land 
on the west side was taken by John Johnson, while Lord 
Neil appropriated to himself another 1000 acres and other 
smaller proprietors, whose deeds expended west and em- 
braced land boyond the western line of the Indian grant 
and reached the present boundary of Branchburgh township 
took the balance. Their names were Michael Hawden, 
G-eorge Willocks, Miles It'oster and Thomas Gordon, and 
their deeds all bear the date of 1703, 

JS one of the individuals who had, in this way, become 
proprieiors of land, c-ccupied their possessions except Lord 
Neil Campbell ; Matthew Tayhn' is not mentioned again ; 
Pinhorn resided on the Passaic river near Bellville, and 
was a man of some note in his day. He was a member of 
Gov, Basse's council in 1698 from Bergen county. His 
associates were Thomas Codrington, of Somerset, and 
Thomas Warne, of Middlesex. He was also interested 
with Kingsland and Berry in settling and cultivating lands 
on what has long beei. known as Barbadoes-Neck, but 
more recently, Rutherford Park ; a man of intelligence 
culture and talents ; probably an emigrant from the Island 
of Baibadoes, whence Kingsland and Berry had come. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 25 

Lord Neil Oampbell was a biother ut" the Duke of Ar- 
gyle and was concerned with him in the uiit''rtnnate expe- 
dition in favor of -'the handsome Duke of Monm )nth." tht^ 
son of Charles 11,, and Lncy Warters. Besides being 
himself implicated in an enterprise which proved a desper- 
ate failure, and sent scores of honest and lionoral^le men to 
a premature and bloody grave, he had two sons, John and 
Archibald already in New Jersey, who had been also com- 
promised in the same unfortunate rebellion against the Gov- 
ernment. John is mentioned as early as 1685, with his 
wife and three children and eleven servants, as a resident 
in New Jersey. He was the owner of 1870 acres of land 
en the west side of South Branch, beginning near Corle's 
Mills and extending west to the townshij) line. John 
Campbell, with John Dobie, John Drumond, Andrtnv 
Hamilron, owned all the land from Holland's lirook u[) to 
where the west line of Branchbnrgh meets the South 
Branch. Their deeds are dated Nov. 9. 1685, the autumn 
of the year in which he left Scotland. But it is not known 
to the present writer that he ever resided on this land. 

Lord Neil Camj)bell was a].)pointed Deputy Governor by 
the proprietors of East New Jersey tor two years on the 
4th of June 1G85, and reached the Province in the ensuing 
October. His rnsidence was on his plantation on the 
banks of the Raritan ; the property is now owned by 
George McBride. He had sent 65 servants to settle on it 
previous to his coming. He must have arrived in Septem- 
ber. On the 5th of (Jctober his commission was read, and 
on the 18th his council named. It consisted of Gawen 
Lawrie, Maj. John Berry, of Bergen, Isaac Kingsland of 
Nfw Barbadoes, Captain Andrew Hamilton of Amboy, 
Richard Townley of Elizabeth, Samuel Winder of Cheese- 
quakes, David Mudie, John Johnson of Amhoy and Thom- 
as Codrington of Raritan. 

But whatever motives may have induced Lord Neil 
Campbell to come to New Jersey and assume the adminis- 
tration of its affairs, his stay was very short. On the 10th 
of December he appointed Anthony Hamilton his substi- 
tute, being, as is said, constrained by the urgent necessity 
of some weighty affairs, to return to Scotland, What 



26 SOMPJRSET COUNTY. 

were the "weighty affairs" and wliut the necessity of at- 
tending to them is not exj)lained. He remained liowever 
permanently in his Scottish home, and hd't iiis interests 
here to be attended to by his sons. If his absence was in- 
tended tp be temporary, it was a disap}n)intment, tor it 
proved to be popetual. The reason of it is not apparent. 
The aspect of things had probably changed in Scotland, or 
else soiue important pecuniary interest required liis atten- 
tion there. He had been appointed, no doubt, so far as 
th(^ proprietors were concerned, as a matter of [)olicy, and 
it had succeeded, to a certain extent at least, for it induc- 
ed imigration to some extent. 

There are references in the Records of the province, to 
the following persons as having emigrated and settled pe r- y 
manently about this tim^, viz ; Dec. 16, 1$64, i^xawen 
(Lawrie and 8 persons ; William Haize 8 ditto ; the Pro- 
prietors, 22 besides 2 overseers ; Uaptain Thomas Peai- 
son Nov. 24, 1684, 14 ; William Dockwra Dec. 14, 1684, 
24 ; and subsequently ten more ; John Barclay, 6 in 1683; 
Robert FuUerton 9, John Campbell 8, Andrew Hamilton 
10, David Mudie 17, Lord Neil Campbell 56, Jam-^s 
Johnson 9, John Forbes 4, George Keith 6, Charles Gor- 
don 5, in all nearly 200 persons. These imigrants re- 
mained, and many of them became afterwards prominent 
men in the affairs of the ])rovince. About the same time, 
also, George Scot, of Pitlochie wrote and published a work 
entitled "the model of the Government of East Jersey in 
America ;" in which, great encouragement was attempted 
to be given to emigration to that beautiful and promising 
region. There is a curious conveyance on record (says 
Whitehead) under date of Dec. 16,1684, by which one 
Moneybaird, makes over to John Campbell, the son of 
Lord Neil Campbell, all his interests in Perth Amboy, in 
consideration of the said Camjjbell's sending a footman 
to wait on Moneybaird during Parliament in New Jer- 
sey, and holding his stiru}). Great things were expected, 
and there were men who saw visions in those days, as in 
our more humdrum and n\oney getting age — y^reater things 
than will ever be realized. Archibald Campbell, another 
son of Lord Neil Campbell, came to New Jersey in 1684, 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 27 

immediately nfter the tei'min;itit)ii of his uncles expedition. 
He had been en<>-aged in this mid from the Highlands, as 
well as his father. Two sons of Argyle, .John and Charles, 
jind their cousin, tlu^ Archibald Campbdl of wliom we arc 
writing, were sentenced to death and forfeiture of estate ; 
but the sentence vvas afterwards so far modiiied as to re- 
n)it the |)< rialty of death. Archibald Cani|)b.4l di"d in 
May 17(^2, antl it is uncertain whether lie h^t any children. 
John had died before him, in December 1689 b'aving one 
son and two cbinghteis. John Cam|)bell who l)uilt and 
owned the Herbert Mills, and Alexander Cam[)bell who lived 
last on thi^ Codrington place were descendants. There i.s 
an old Bell used in the Academy of Bound Brook, which 
belonged to Campheil. It has an insciiption datt'd 1734 at 
Amstereodam — Amsterdam — and is a valuable relic of the 
olden times. It is said that Archibald Campbell ui>ed it 
in calling in his slaves from their field lal).>rs. He liveil in 
Baronial styie on Herbert's Island and called it Kelts 
Hall, and em])loyed a numerous company of men and 
maidens in his house and fa'in labors. 

The ])lantation of Kell's Hall was owned about the time 
of the devolution, by Cornelius Van Horn, a merchant 
of New York, and about 1800 it came into the possession 
of George Smock. It has always been considered one of 
the most valuable farms on the Haritan. 

John Campbell resided in a house which stood near the 
river banks, almost directly south of tht^ Railroad Depot in 
Bound Brook. It has only recently been removed, and it 
will be remembered by the more aged inhabitants, as an 
old dihipidated mansion wl ich had had great pretentious, 
and was in its last days jnhabi ted by a family of Jews, 

Alexander the last of the Campbells resided on the Cod- 
vington place and died some 40 years since. So far as we 
know or havt^ been able to ascertain there are no male rep- 
nesentatives of Lord Neil Campbell living iti New Jerset 
at the present tinn'. 

The Argyle familv was, and i.s still, one of the most 
.prouiineht among the aristocracy of Scotland. Lord lorn 
who had married a daughter of Queen Victoria is a liu- 
fial descendant of the Duke of Argyle who -was the brother 



28 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

of Lord Neil Oampbell, and uncle of John and Arcliibald 
UaM)[)b(dl, 

The j)lantation of Lord Neil Cam[)bi 11 on the Raritan, 
in process of time passed into the hands of William Cook ; 
then John Elrnendorf inherited it, and left it to his son 
Peter, who sold it to the present proprietor, Immediate- 
ly east <;f this farm, a Mr Potter, of Philadelphia owned 
some four hunlred acres of land. It passed from him in 
to the hands of John Simonson, Esq., and is now owned 
in part by the heirs of PettM* V. Staats, deceased. A por- 
tion of it the late Gusbert B. Vroom of New York, pur- 
chased, and his family residi-d there for si)me time after 
his death. 

On the west side of South Branch, commencin;^ at Hol- 
land's Brook and proceedinjj south there were five deeds 
given, each one extentding west to the township line, viz : 
•-irst, April 25, 1687, to Andrew Hamilton 510 acres ; next 
John Drumoud 1000 acres Nov. 9, 1685 ; next, An- 
drew Hamilton same daie 750 acres ; next, John Camp- 
bell, one of the sons of Lord Neil Campbell, same date 
1874 acres ; next, John Dobie same date 395 acres ; 
which brings us up to the South Branch and the inter- 
section of the township line, in other words to "the Hookee." 
West of this line and south ot the river, was all included 
in "the Lotting [)urchase" which extentled u\) to the New 
Jersey Society's lands," That ])urchase included the 
Cushetonk Hills (Pickels mountain) Llound Valley and all 
the land west to the Delaware ! 

Beginning again at Holland's Brook, north side, there 
were twelve plots of land surveyed, and the deeds were 
given to the following persons ; viz : First to Andrew 
Hamilton Oct. 13, 1689, 250 acres ; next, Hendrick Cor- 
son June 10, 1688, 500 ; next, Thomas Gordon 500, May 
10, 1703, and in the meantime Peter Van Nest seemes to 
have been the owner of the previous 500 acres of Thomas 
Gordon, for the plot is said to begin at the Van Nest cor- 
ner ; next Miles Foster had 466 and the deed dated the 
same time as the former ; next, Michael Hawden 466 acres 
same date ; next. Lord Neil Campbell 1000 May 24, 1690; 
next, Jolinson a small plot of 61 acres ; and again John 



SOMERSET COUKTY. 29'. 

Johnson 400 May 10, 1690 ; and the ivni-iinder ninnihi;- 
up t(Tthe Lainin'j;ton river, and west to the to\vnshi[) line 
belonging to WiHocks, Johnston, Ciiiij)b>dl an I Bhickvvo.id. 
On the other side of the NorTli Bianch, And West owned 
912 acres. This hind ]);iss( d snbscqiiently into the hands 
of the I'amons Diicht'ss of Gordon, who married General 
Staats Monis a brother of Gonveinenr Morris ; and this 
Qwneiship has been the occasion of tiiat neighborhood bi_'- 
ing called ''the Duch'^ss " 

Between Lamington River and Noith Branch, Maj, Ax- 
tell owned a lar^e and valnahle tract of land, out of which 
i.in}tbell and Blackwood purchased 3900 acrrs in 1693 ; 
Margaret Winuer 1000 on May 20, 1690 ; Johnson and 
Willocks 3150 June 6, 1701. This last survey "included 
all the lands in Peapack valley ; and tinally Andrew Ham- 
ilton obtained a deed for 875 acies on Lamitunk, Feb. 25, 
1740. This brings us to the Morris County line. 

The land north of Sonierville, embracing the first and 
vsecond mountain and the valley between them beginning ."at 
or near Pluckaniin, was deeded to Alexander McDowell 
Dec. 12, 1727 ; and Margaret Tiepel, John Parker, Judi- 
ah Higgins, and others owned all the remainder until a 
point directly liorth of Bound Brook. North of the 
mountains on Dead Kiver, Paiker, Hooper, George Kisca- 
rick, Josepii Jennings, JSTathaniel Kolph and others owned 
lancis. Northeast of Bound Brook and between the moun- 
tains, David Cosart. Danit 1 Hollingshead, the heirs of An- 
thony Sharu and others, had in possession huge tracts. 
South of the Passaic, William Dockwra and Kobert Bai- 
clay had 2000 acres, Kobert Morris in trust for Aslitield's 
estate, D. D. Dunstar and James Alexander were large 
owners in the same vicinity. Their purchases dated Oct. 
1742 ; and Dunstar and Alexander, and Budd and Alex- 
ander exti^nded their titles up nt)rth, into Morris county. 
We refer those who are desirous of more specific inf>rm<i- 
tion on the subject of early land titles on the North side of 
Karitan, to the Elizibethtown-Bill-in-ChancMy, printed 
by James Parker, New York 1747, Library of the Histo- 
rical Society of New Jersey, with maps. 

A remark seems here to be called for. It will be seen by 



30 .SOMERSET COUNTY. 

adverting to the uamt^s of the original owners of land, by 
Indian purchases, along the Raritan, that they appear to 
have been nearly all Scotchmen, and that none of them 
really became })ermanent residents. The explanation is 
this. The principal and most active "proprietors of East 
New Jersey, were inabitants of Scotland, and th>'ir efforts 
to indnce emigration and settlements npon their lands 
were made in their native country. As the effect of this 
.Vmboy was fixed upon as a site lor a town and was named 
New Perth ; and i'rom thence settlements of people from 
Scotland and England spread out northwest and "'est as far 
as Scotch[)laiiis. Plainfield and Bound Brook, and single 
families even further, t'rom this immigration the Church- 
es of Bound Brook, Basking Ridge and Lamington pro- 
ceeded. It was an influx coming almost entirely, direct 
from Scotland ; and the first Pastors of these churches 
were all native Scotchmen ; Scotch Presbyterians of the 
Knox, Rutherford and Erskine stamp. Besides this, there 
were several families of German origin, and of the Lutheran 
Church, who settled about Pluckamin. The beginning of 
this influx is probably mark by one of the land titles which 
we have given above — that of Margaret Teiple 1727. The 
Lutherans built, at an early day, a house of worship in the 
village of Pluckamin, and in connection with New G-er- 
mantown and German Valley, engaged the services of a 
minister, or ministers, of their own denomination for a 
term of years. Mr. Muhlenbergh in his youth, it is stated, 
ministered to them for a time. 



CIJAPTER II, 

FTRST SETTLEMENT AND SOME OF THE EARLY INHABITANTS. 

When the title to the hxnd on the Raritan had been se- 
cured, settlers at once came to occupy it. It was, of 
course, in a state of nature, clothed with its primitive for- 
ests and inhabited by wild animals, and wilder men. 

The inducements leading those who came from Long 
Island and New York to seek a home in the wildei'ness, 
was, first, to enjoy full religions liberty in scu'ving God. 
Gov. Lovelace favored tLe Episcopal Church, and threw 
many obstacles in the way of those who belonged to the 
Di-.rch Church, of enjoying their own services in peace. 
Rather than yield one iiHa to his interference, they expa- 
triated themselves a second time and came into the Prov- 
ince of New Jersey, where the "Concession's and Agree- 
ments" secured ample religious toleration from the very be- 
ginning. We cannot but honor tht^ir spirit and commend 
their attachment to the truth as they had learned it and 
believed it. 

Another and a second motive was no doubt found in the 
rich and unoccupied lands along our beautiful river, which 
seemed to invite the imigrant and pr-omise him an abund- 
ant reward for his labor in their culture and improvement. 

The earliest reliable recorded notice which we have seen 
of the Raritan river, is found among the Albany records, 
and is dated 1663, when the trade in turs with the Indi- 
ans had begun to excite the cupidity of the English, and 
led to remonstrances on the parr of the Dutch of Manhat- 
tan Island. There is, indeed, said to be in the same rec- 
ords, a letter from Herr Van Werkhoven to Baren Vander 
Capellan, stating that the lands about Nevesink and the 
Raritan's Kill, had been purchased for him in 1649, and 
complaining that they had not been allotted to him. This 
only shows that the value of these lands was already 



32 SOMERSET COUNTY, 

known as early as 30 years r.fter the first settlements were 
formed around the -'Trading Post" on Manhattan Island. 
Ogilhy says in 1671, "that both sides of the Raritan .are 
adorned with spacious meadows, enough to feed thousands 
of catth'. The wood land is very good for com, and stor- 
ed with wild beasts ; as deer, elks, and an innumerable 
multitude of fowl, as in oiher parts of the country. This 
river is thougiit very capable for erecting of several towns 
and villages on each side of it ; no place in North Ameri- 
ca having better convenience for the maintainin<r of all 
sorts of cattle for winter and summer food." 

Asa matter of curiosity, and not from any ide-i of its 
value or importance in any historical sense, but only as 
an illustration of the way in which the Indians "lomanced" 
and practiced on the credulity of white men, we sl.all 
quote a notice of our river from a description of New Albi- 
on (as New Jersey was then called,) by Beauchamp Phin- 
tagenet. Esq , dated 1648, a year earlier than Van Wei!'- 
hover's claim. He says, "the Indians of New Jersey wert^ 
under the dominion of about twenty kings; that there 
were 1,200 under two Raritan kings ; that the seat of the 
Raritan king is said to have been called bv th'' English 
Mount Ployden, twenty miles from Sandhay S.^a, and 
ninety from the Ocean, west to Amara Hill, the retired 
Paradise of the children of tht- Ethiopean Emperor — a 
wonder, for it is a square rock, two miles compass, 150 
feet high, a wall like precipice, a straight entrance, (^asily 
made invincible, where he keeps 200 for his guards, and 
under is a flat valley, all plain to phtnt and sow." 

If we were inclined to favor such romance, we should 
claim that no place so well answers the above description 
as the bluff in the gorge of Chimney Rock, north of the 
little bridge on the west and east sides of which the two 
rivulets flow and meet a fVw yar.ls southward in the main 
gorge. But we are not disposed to practice on tlie creduli- 
ty of our readers, as the Indians evidently did, on Beau- 
champ Plantagenet, Esq. 

The savages who lived permanently on the Raritau 
(and there were only a few of the Raritan tribe who did so,) 
had very fertile corn lands on the meadows, which they 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 33 

appreciated and planted — proving that they were not 
generally wooded, but on the contrary, were of the nature 
of a prairie or savannah. This feature afterwards, formed 
one of the main attractions to settlers, and induced the first, 
who came there to locate on t\w first upland, contiguous 
to these natural meadows, where they found at once 
abundant pasturage for cattle, and a soil ready for the 
plow. H^nce in point of fact, all the first buildings from 
Bound Brook ti) the junction of the two branches, stood 
on the edge of this upland, and there our })rincipal farm 
houses are still found standing. 

Exceptions, are however mentioned^ in three instances, 
of huts standing on the meadows, inhabited by Scotch 
people. Two north of the late residence of B. Veghte, 
Jisc|.. and one near the former dwelling of 11. Grarretson, 
but we cannot imagine how they could have been inhabi- 
ted for more than one summer. Our beautiful river has a 
habit cf inundating all its meadows in the winter, which 
would make living on them extremely inconvenient if nofc 
im})0ssible. 

The Indians living on the Raritan were only the remnant 
of the large and numerous tribe once located here. It 
is said they left and went to live at Metuchen, because the 
freshets in the river spoiled the corn which they were in 
the habit of burying in pits on the low lands. Another 
inducement was the fish, oysters and clams, so easily obtain- 
ed on the shores of the Raritan Bay, The immense heaps 
of shells founCl in several localities on its shores, attest 
the rich harvest which they had gathered out of its wa- 
ters. A few huts were found on the south side of the river 
opposite the village of Raritan ; and they had a '-'burial 
place" on the second river bank at the gate of R. H. Gar- 
retson. 

We may imagine then, how the lonely river flowed on 
for centuries between its willow fringed banks, from sum- 
mer to winter, while the rich grass on its meadows wasted 
because there were no animals, except a few deer, who fed 
upon it ; and how the wild fruits afforded feasts for the 
■squirrel and the forest bird, or perished untouched, be- 
cause there was no living creature present to enjoy the 



34 SOMEKSET COUNTY, 

bountitiil repast. It might almost without romance 
be called a ^'■retired Paradise," but witlioutits ^'•Ethiopi- 
an Emperor" to rule over it. That it remained untrod- 
den so long, is certainly marvellous, unless the few white 
men in the country, and the distance from New York 
made it too great an effort to reacb silch an inviting place. 
From 1(324, when the Dutch bi-gan to colonize at first, 
until 1681 May 4th, when the first land title is dated, u 
jjeriod of 57 years, no one seems to have seen or been 
attracted by the beauty and fertility of our wide spreading 
valley, or ventured to endeavor to reclaim it from its wild, 
untrodden wilderness state. Its primitive inhabitants 
even, had deserted it almost entirely, and gone towards the 
sea shore^ attracted by the abundant tood; and only bird 
and beast claimed it as their home. But the time came 
when a different state of things began to exist. 

The titles for the fertile lands had been secured and s(^t- 
tlers came to occupy them. Some of these have been 
already mentioned and we liud tliat from 1681 to 1691J 
there had arrived from Long Island the following 
heads of families mostly of Dutch, extraction: 

Goers Vroom, Michael Hanson, Andrew Allyn, 
"Michael Van Vegbten, Dirk Midilagh, Frederick Gar- 
retson, John Wortman, Peter Van Nest, Jerunemus 
Van Nest, Jacob Sebring Isaac Bodjne, Edward Drink- 
water, James Tuuison, Cornelius Tnnjson. Pieter Du- 
mont, Maurice Maurisou, Johannes Damehl, John Hoelef- 
son, riendrick Pi\nierson, Thomas Possell. Cornelius Pow- 
elson, Jan Hans Coeverden, Folkerd Hendiik Harris, Jo- 
sias Merlet, Andrew Anderson, Elton Nyssen, William 
Olden, William Clausen, Lawrence Opdyke, William 
Mouerseu, Keuben Jansen, Gabriel Lebcrsteiu, Folkerd 
Hendricksen, 

At ^orth and South Branch, Andreas Ten Eyck,, Abra- 
ham Dubois, John Pussell. Josias Ciaeseu, Jan llendrick- 
sou, Daniel Sebriug, Coenrad Ten Eyck, Derick Van 
VeghtfU, Alexander McDowel, Jan Van Sit-kleu, Benjamin 
Bart, Jacob Stoll, '£eunis Van MieldU^§w(uth, George Hail, 
Albert Louw, VViIliaTo--HT>fia;Taulus Bulner,, Lucus Scher- 
•uierhorn, Pieter Van Nest. Emanuel Van Etten,. J.ohanes 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 35 

Grauw, John Euiens, Coert .lansen, George Dildine, Jolin 
Readiiis, Garret Van Vleet, William Brown. John Cook, 
Hendriciv Koesenbooin, Frans Waldron, Godfried Peters, 
David Busum David Subair, Abravn Broca, Jacob Rey- 
uierse^ Garret Smock. 

In the vicinity of New Brunswick, were Adrian Bennet, 
Aart Artsen, Roelif Sebring;, Johanes^ Folkerson, llen- 
drick Bries, Koelif Voorhees, Lawrens Wiliinise, Roelif Ne- 
vius, Jau Van Voorhees, Jacob Oake, Johanes Stoothoflf. 
Jaqes Foiiteyn, Jacolnis Buys, Thomas Auten, Thomas 
David is, William Klassen, Johanes Goevert, Hendrick 
Bries, Andrias Wortman, Bernardus Kuetor, Christopher 
Van Arsdalen, Jac'J) Corse, Cornelius Suydam, Joris An- 
dersen, Martin Vanderhoeve, Johanes Metselaer, Samuel 
Montfort, Jan Ateu, William Moore, Nicklas Bason. 

At Three Mile Run, Hendrick Bries, Roelf Lucas, Jan 
Voorhees, Aert Aertsen. Isaac Van Dyke, Johanes Folker- 
sen, Jan Aeteii, Laurens Willimse, Roelif Nevius. Charles 
b'onteyn, Hans Stoothoff, Thomas Bouwman, Derek Vol- 
kerse. Garret Bolmer, Jan Lavor. Simon Wickoif, Pieter 
Hotf, Garret Dorland, Andries Bort, Jan Broca, James 
Fonteyn, Adrian Mollenar, Jacob Rapleyett, Joris Hael, 
Jan Laeten, William Lambers, Peter Kinne, Hendrick 
Traphagen, Luycus Schermerhorn, Jans Van Middles- 
worth. Johannes Fisher, Joeremias Field," Luycas VVessels,^ 
Jacob Koersen, Nicholas Hay man, Cornelius Jan Onwe- 
gen, William Harrise, Andreas Ten Eyck, William Dey, 
Manuel Van Allen, Abram Elemeteren, Johannes Seigeler, 
Jaurieu Remer. 

We are not able to indicate specifically or certainly the 
place of residence of each of these families. The Sebring's 
anil Harris's lived in the vicinity of Bound Brook, Pieter 
Dumont on the south side of the Raritan, Powelson's 
near Pluckamin ; all of them evidently did not remain 
permanently or leave descendants. The names of others 
continue to occur in the records for many years, 
but some of them have at last passed away. All of them 
we judge were religious men, and aided in the formation of 
the Raritan Church, then a church in the wilderness. Most 
of them are ktiown to have imis;rated to Somerset from 



36 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Ji'Mig- Isl.mil ; Jindam()n<; them tluMe art^ several iiatues 
which indicate a F[ai!;aeiint <iri,!2;in, SoiiKM'.set County lias 
ha-l in fict a l;iiti;e infiisidii of this noble blood ; and among 
the fUinily tiM'litions, ill many instances, linger interesting 
leminisences of the night ot St. Bartholemew, at thitime 
when th(^v tied from Erance to Holhind, leaving their all 
behind an 1 never looking b icU ; rescuing only tneir life 
tlieir children and thiMr silver from tliedeadlv si)oiler ! 

As a m:itter of curio.-ity W(^ give a list of Hugenot names 
once residiMits on the Karitan and in the vicinity of Som- 
erville, viz : Jacob Gebiing, Isaac Bodyne. Pieter Dumont, 
J(ih;innes Dameld, Thomas Possell, Josias Merlette, Ga- 
briel De Beten, VVilli;im Breille, Jan Lavor, Peter L a Fe- 
vre , Jacob Piajtpleyea, Jan La Far, Frans Lukas, Isaac 
Brillne, Pieter Petrie, Kdo Montagne, Abrara Lafoy, Ja- 
cob Probasco, John La Voss, Antonie Le Grange, Jan 
Fonteyne, John Brocauw. 

Tt Would seciii as if the first settlers along the Raritan 
wei-e left in a state of almost entire religious destitution for 
; nearly 20 years. There are some notices of persons who 
labored in preaching the Gospel in the vicinity of Amboy 
and Elizabeth, but upon the Raritan no such labors are 
known to have been permanently afforded until March 9, 
1699, when the Rev. Guliam Barthulfleft a record of his 
having been at Raritan, preaching, ordaining an Elder and 
a l^eac(m, and habtising three children, Judith Van Nest, 
Abraham Tunison, and Jaquemina Van Nest. Twenty 
years in a wTTderuess without the Gospel must certainly 
have left strong traces, and these not for good, upon the 
minds of the peO[)le so circumstanced. 

Twenty years more and the inliabitants of *'01d Rari- 
tan" as it was commonly called then, felt themselves able 
to do something for the maintenance of the christian ordi- 
nances of the church, and united with others in calling the 
Rev, Theodorus Jacobus Frelingliuysen. About the 
same time they commenced the erection of a church on the 
land of Michael Van Veghten — who generously donated 
the site to the congregation — and on the 11th, of Decem- 
ber, 1721, this house was opened for divine worship. It 
continued to be the place where raligious services were held 



SOMEHSET ^OU^'TY. 37 

Until Oct. 27, 1779, wlnni it was burned In- the (Queen's 
Ranj^ers inder eoiiiniaiid of (Ji>i'Miol ISIiujo.'. It stn > I on 
the iiurtii side (if the rivei' a shnrt distance hel )vv thi- uhl 
b'idge. Around it there were <i few graves ah-e idy almost, 
forgotten But the corn and thi^ wheat growing over then], 
does not disturb the peaceful slee])ers in their resting {)[ace. 
The })rincij)al interest, centering now in that almost for- 
gotten cemetery, is in the circumstance that, in an un- 
known grave tht-ie, vast probably the remains of Mrs. \^an 
Burgh, the njotht-r of JufFvrouw Hardenburgh, who came' 
from Holland — whither Dr. Hardenburgh had gone for her 
1763 — to reside with her daughter after the death of her 
husband, and dietl in the parsonage at 8ouierville. Tlie 
yeai' of her decease is not known by any of her descendants. 
If these precious remains are not resting there, then thny 
must have been dej^js' ted on the bank of the meadows, near 
the old Parsonage, where John Hardenburgh and his wife, 
with others, are buried. But strange as it may seem to us. 
there is no monument in either })lace to commemorate oriv- 
so loved and honored in her life time. 

For half a century after the times of which we have 
been s})eakiug, not much of a::y special interest seems to 
have occurred along the Karitan. The people wern indus- 
trious and thriving, the church increased in strength under 
the labors of the two Frelinghuysens and Hardenburgh, 
and society began to bj well ordered and law abiding. Be- 
fore the Revolution therj were at least eight Dutch (Jliurch- 
es in the Valley of the Raritan and Millstone river, viz : 
At Brunswick, Six Mile Run, Millstone, Harlingen, Rari- 
tan, Neshanic, Readington and Bedminster ; besides a 
Presbyterian Church at Bound Brook, a Lutheran (Jhurch 
at Pluckamin, a Presbyterian Church at Lamington, and 
German Reformed Church at Amwell. All these had com- 
fortable houses of worship and a well ordered discipline. 
Less than a hundred years had passed since the European 
first established his home on our river and its branches, 
and all this had been done principally by a few emigrants 
from the old land of Dykes and Marshes, none of whom 
brought much besides their energies and thrift to help them 
on in life ; but they wrought earnestly and saw the effects 



38 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

of their efforts spreadini^ around their homes. The County 
was formed in 1688 only seven years after the Indian titles 
to its lands were extino;uished. Thus all the advantau:es 
of a well organized civil government were er^joyed even al- 
most from the iirst year of its settlement by the inhabi- 
tants of Somerset County. The first things were small, 
but time has made them largre and valuable. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE COUNTY FORMED. 

From the time that the first settlers came to the Rari- 
tan until 1688, they were considered as included in Middle- 
sex and depended upon the courts there for the administra- 
tion of civil justice. The act providing for a new county 
and naming it Somerset, is a curious piece of primitiv.^ 
legislation. It recites in the preamble "forasmuch as thf» 
uppermost part of the Raritan river is settled by persons, 
whom, in their husbandry and manuring their lands, are 
forced upon quite different ways and methods from the 
other farmers and inhabitants of Middlesex county, be- 
cause of the frequent floods that carry away their fences on 
the meadows, the only arable land they have, and so, by 
consequences of their interests, are divided from the other 
inhabitants of said county ; Be it therefore enacted, &c, : 
The bounds are described in the following manner : Begin- 
ning at the mouth of the Bound Brook, where it empties 
into the Raritan River, and to rati up the said brook to the 
meeting of Bound Brook with Green Brook, and from the 
said meeting, to ruu a n.n-thwest line into the hills ; and 
upon the southwest side of the Raritan River, to begin at 
a small brook, where it empties itself into the Raritan 
about 70 chams below the Bound Brook, and from thence 
to run up a south west line to the uttermost line of the 
Province, be divided from the said county of Middlesex, 
and hereafter to be deemed, taken and be a county of this 
Province ; and that the same county be called the county 
of Somerset, any statue, law or usage to the contrary not- 
withstanding. See Learning & Spicer's Grants, Concess- 
ions, and acts of the Proprietary Grovernment p 305. 

In June 21, 1709, a more definite description is given 
probably the result of an actual survey. It is to the fol- 



40 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Inving effect : Be.i^iiiniii-^ where BoiukI Brook e;a[)ti('s iii- 

V to Haritan River, thencc (lown the stream of Uaritaii to the 

month of a brook known by the name of L iwrenc.^'s br lok: 

thence rnnning up the sai(i Lawrence's brook t(» th(^ great 

^ road that leads from Innian's Kerry to Cranberry brook ; 

* from thence sontli 44 degrees westerly to San])ink Brouk; 
thence (h)wn said San])ink Brook tiv the division hue ^4' the 
eastern and western division aforesaid; and so to follow the 
said division line to the limits of the above said c )un!y of 
Essex ; thence east along the line of Essex county to greaf 
Brook, and thence running down the said Great Brook and 
Bound Brook to where it began 

These bonnds were again modihed Nov. 4th, 1741. the 
boundary as then given between Somerset and Middlesex 
Counties is the following : "Beginning at the south branch 
of Baritan Kiver where t'^e r-'ported division line of Kast 
and West Jersey strikes the same; thence along the same 
to a fall of water C()mmonly called Allamatiink; from 
thence along the boundary of Moiris County to Pass-iii- 
River ; thence down the same to the lower corner of Wm. 
Dockwra's two patents on the same river ; thence on a line 
southeast to the head of Green Brook, and thenc;^ down 
the same to Bound Brook ; thence along Bound Brook to 
the place wh<M-e it empties into the Rarit.iu river ; thenc • 
\dovvn Raritan river to the place where th • loa I crosseth 
said river at Innian's Ferry ; Irom thence along said old 
road which leads by Jedediah Hig>j[in's house towards the 
falls of the Delaware, until it intersects the division line 
aforesaid ; thence along said division line to the s )iUh 
branch of Raritan river af)resaid, where it began." 

March 28, 1749 the bounds were thus defined: Begin- 
ning at a fall of water called the Alamatunk Ealls; and 
from thence in a straight line in a course east and by north 
as the compass now points, to the main branch of Prissiic; 
river, and so down the said river as the betore sealed act 
directs. 

By an act passed Nov. 24, 17!iO, it was again enacted 
that the middle of the main six rod road, from the Ferry 
at the city of New Brunswick, formerly called Innian's Fer- 
ry, to the boundary line of the county of Flunterdon, on 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 41 

the road to Trentun. shall be the boundary line of those 
parts of the counties of Middlesex and Somerset which are 
oti tlie soutii side of the river Raritan, and that all the 
lands and tenements lying to the northward of this line 
and heretofore belonging to the county of Middlesex shall 
be and are hereby annexed to the county of Somerset, and 
all the lands and tenements on the southward of said lines, 
heretofore belonging to Somerset shall he and are hereby 
annexed t<> the county of Middlesex. 

In 1838 a portion of the Township of Montgomery, sur- 
rounding Princeton, was taken from Somerset and annexed 
to the new county of Mercer ; and linally a part of Frank- 
lin east of the Mile Run and extending to the north side 
of Albany street. New Brunswick, was annexed to the 
city limits for the purpose of the better police supervision 
of the city ; since which time no further modification of 
our county has been attempted, if we except the annexa- 
tion of the Township of Tewksbury for a short time. 

Somerset County embraces a portion of the most fertile 
lands in the State, and its productiveness is exceeded by 
no other of equal extent. For intelligence, culture and re- 
finement, its inhabitants are excelled nowhere. It has 
given the State and Nation some of their noblest men, at 
the bar, on the bench and in the pulpit. Society is no- 
where better ordered, property more secure, or comfort and 
happiness more generally diffused. 



CHAPTER IV. 

COURTS, AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. 

Somt^rst t County, though t'oimcd iu 1(588, was not fully 
oiganiztrd until 1724. It h;id no courts of its own, but 
was dependent for the adiuiuistiation of justice u})on the 
courls of Middlesex for 36 years. An act passed by the 
Teriitorial Legislature, A])ril "23, 1724. r*-fers to an ordi- 
nance of 1723, as inconvenient to the inhal»itrtnts of Somer- 
set, both as to the tinits and plact-sof holding courts, and 
fixes ihe courts ui h^omeiset "'at the court house" on Thuis- 
day alter the third Monday iu September ; Thursday after 
the second Monday in December ; Thursday after the 
fourih Monday in February, and Thursday after the fourtli 
Monday in May. P ield's I'rov. Courts, 7-11. 

The court house referred to in the above act was built at 
Six Mile Kun, a short distance east oi' the chuich ; a few 
stones, part of its foundation, are said to be still visible and 
point out the spot. Tradition furnishes n(t iviea of the 
chaiacter or tornj of the building A single precept, dated 
A})ril 3d 1729, the second year of the reign of Geoige II, 
directed to the coroner of tlie county and commanding him 
to cause to be made 14£ 148 4 \)ence of the goods and 
chatties of Adrian Bennet, Innhokb-r, late of the County 
of k omerset, recovered against him by reason of a certain 
trespass ujion the case as adjudicated by Daniel Hollings- 
head, Judge and Justiee of the county. We give this 
remnant of olden times, as a curiosity : 
^'Xlw .Jersey ) ._ George the Second, by the Grace of 
S(UiERsET j ** God of Gneat Brittain^ France and 

Ireland, King Defender of the faith, &c. 

To the Coroner of the County of Somerset Greeting : 
We Command you, that you of the Goods and Chatties of 
Adrain Bennet, Late of the County of Somerset, Innholder 
In Your Bailiwick, You cause to be made fourteen pounds. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 43 

fourteen shillings and fourpenci\ Wh, Daniel Hi»llings- 
head the Judge and Justice of our County Court for hold- 
ing of pleas for the County of Sonler^et In the Sd Court 
Recovered against him tlie said Adrian Bennet by Reason 
of a Certain Trespass upon the Case Lately Done to him 
the Sd HoUiugshead, &c , &c. 

Witness Thomas Leonard. Esq., Judge of our Sd Court 
at ye house aforesaid, ye third Day of April in ye Second 
year of our Reign. 

Wn.L HoLLlGSHR-.AD, CI, 

Vera Copia. 

Francis Harrison, Coroner. 

This house with the Jail belonging to it was accidentally 
destroyed by fire in 1737, and by an act of the Legislature 
dated the same year^ another court house was directed to 
be built at Millstone. This house stood until 1779, when 
it was also burnt, October 27 by the Queen's Rangers un- 
der command of Lieutenant Colonel Siracoe, together with 
the first Church of Raritan. After this catastrophe the 
courts were removed to Somerville, and were held at first 
in a small building known as the "Court Martial House," 
standing on Mount Pleasant east of our village ; then in 
a log house occupying part of the ground on which Dr. 
Wilson's house and premises now stand. The present 
couit house was built in 1798. 

As regards the administration of justice — Courts were 
provided for in the Concessions of Berkley and Carteret, and 
the power of originating them and defining their jurisdic- 
tion was given to the General Assembly. This body met 
for the first time at Elizabeth in 1668. It held however 
only two sessions of four days each, passed a very few acts, 
and then on account of the unsettled state of public opin- 
ion adjourned, and seven years elapsed before another As- 
sembly convened. It is therefore only in 1675 that courts 
were really established in East New Jersey. However, in 
Woodbridge and Bergen, Courts really existed as early as 
1668, and in Monmouth in 1667, It seems to have been 
by common consent, under Proprietary Concessions. 

When the assembly met in 1675. the first act passed re- 
lated to the establishment of courts of justice. It provi- 



44 



SOVIKliSET COUNTY, 



(led titst t'lr a nioiithlv eoiiit for the trial of small causes 
under 40 shillinji,s. This cuiiit was to be held on the first 
Wednesday of every month, in each township, by two or 
three persons ehuseii by the p'oplt^, oneof wlioui must be a 
J ustice of tlie Peace. Second, thi-'i'e wi're to be county 
courts to be held twice a year in each county, and the act 
provided at the same time for f »ur counties% Berjfen om*, 
Elizabeth and Newark a second, Woodbrige and Piscata- 
way a third, and the two towns of Niivesink a fourth, ma- 
kin^^ the first counties to be Berui-n, Essex, Middles :^x and 
Monmouth. In these courts all actionable causes were 
tried and there was no appeal under the sum of £20 "'ex- 
cept to the bench or court of chancery.'' By "the bench" 
was meant what ^as called the "court of assizn" — a court 
j)rovided to be held once a year at Woodbridge, or where 
the Governor and council appointed. It vv;is, in other 
words, "the Supreme Court" and appeals could be made to 
the Governor and Council, in certain cases. 

These courts were modified from time to time as circum- 
stances seemed to require and in 1682 the four original 
counties were divid^rd into townships. We give the origin- 
al Letter Patent fVom George II, for the formation of 
Bridgewater Township. Whether any of the others are in 
existence is doubtful , 

GEOKGE the Second by the Grace of God of Great 
Britain France and Ireland. King, Defender of the 
faith &c TO ALL to whom these presents shall 
come GREETING. Kuow that we of our Especial 
Grace Certain knowledge and Mere Motion Have 
Given and Granted, and by these presents do give 
and Grant for us our heirs and Successors to the 
Townships of the Southerinost part of the North- 
ern Precinct of our County of Somerset in our 
Province of New Jersey within the following 
boundaries (to wit) beginning at the Mouth of a 
Bound Brook where it Emties into Rariton. 
thence up the said Btnind Brook to the Mouth of 
Green Brook thence up the said Brook to the 
Kino-'s Road at Lawrence tiuth's Mill; thence Northerlv up 
the said Road to the Top of the Second Mountain; thence 




SOMERSET COUNTY. 45 

Westerly along the Toj) of the said Mountain to tlie Ga)) 
bv .lacoi) Brewers; whence down the said Gap to (Chamber's 
Brook l)v McDonald's Mill; thence down the said Brook to 
thr North Branch; thence U[) the said Branch to Laonia- 
tong; then U}) said Laomatong to the Division line between 
East and West Jersey; thence along said Line to the South 
Branch of Kariton Hiver; thence up said Branch to th<^ 
Mouth of the North Pranch of said Ri^^er; thence down 
sfiid Rariton to the Place where it Began, To be and remain 
a P<^'petual Township and Comniiinity, in Word and in 
Det d to be Called and known by the Name of the Town- 
ship of Bridge water. And We Further Grant to the 
•Inhabitants of the townshi]> aforesaid and their Succe.>sors 
and to Choose annually a Constable, Overseers of the Poor 
and Overseers of th»' Highways f )r the Township aforesaid 
and to Enjoy all the Privih-ges, Rights, Liberties and Im- 
munities tliat any other Township, in our said Province, do 
or may of Right enjoy and the said Inhabitants are hereby 
Constituted and appointed a Township by the Name afore 
said. — To Have Hold and Enjoy the privileges aforesaid 
to them and their Successors forev.n-. In Testimony where- 
of we have Caused these our Letters to be made Patent and 
the Great Seal of our said Province of New Jersey to be 
hereunto affixed. Witness Our Trusty and well beloved 
Jonathan Belcher, Esqr : Our Captain General and Gov- 
ernor in Chief in and over His Majesties Province of Nova 
Ceserea or New Jersey and Territories thereon Depending 
in America, Chancellor and Vice Admiral in the Same &c. 
at our City of Burlington in our said Province the fourth 
day of April in the twenty second Year of (jur Reign. An- 
no Dom MDCCXLIX ; 

Read. 

Let the Great Seal of the Province of New Jersey be 
affixed to the within Letters Patent. 

To the Sea-etary of the ) j belcher. 
Provmce oi New Jersey ) 

The early laws found upon the statute book may be 
characterized as judicious and liberal. Liberty of con- 
science waa secured, the desecration of the Sabbath forbid- 



46 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

den ii(ttin<^, drunkenness und debauchery were severelv pun- 
ished, arson, murder, niijjht walkin^ij. false wit :es.s, selling 
liquor to the savages, burglary, beggary are all condemned 
with penalties ; and everything done which a|)peared to the 
law makers fo be necessary to secure integrity, g(»(^d order, 
morality, and a pri)sperous and hap[)y state of society. 

We may indeed refer with {)ride to several enactments 
on the subject of schools and education at an early day, 
evincing a very liberal spirit and a high appreciation of 
learning, by no means common in that age and even in bet- 
ter ordered communities. In 1G93 the following ordinance 
was passed : ''Whereas the cultivation of learning and 
good manners, tends ijreatly to the good and benefit of 
mankind, which hath hitherto been much neglected within 
this Province, be it therefore enacted by the Governor, 
Council and Deputies in Greneral Assembly now met and 
assembled, and by the authority of the same that the in- 
habitants of any town within this Province, shall and »uay, 
l)y a w,:rrant from a Justice of Peace of that county, when 
they think fit and convenient, meet together and make 
choice of three or more men of the said town, to make a 
rate for the salary and maintaining of a schoolmaster with- 
in the sai l town for so long time as they think fit ; an I 
the consent and agreement of the major part of the inhabi- 
tants of the sai<l town shall bind and oblige the remaining 
part of the inhabitants of the said town, to satisfy and pay 
their shares and proportion of the said rate ; and in case of 
refusal or non payment, distress to be made upon the goods 
and chatties of such person or persons, so refusing or not 
paying, by the constable of the said town, by virtue of a 
warrant from a J ustice of the Peace of that county, and the 
distress so taken, to be sold at a public vendue, and the 
overplus, if any be, after the payment of the said rate and 
charges, to be returned to the owner." Learning and Spi- 
cer's Laws, page 328. 

Two years later, in 1695, it is enacted that three men be 
chosen year by year, and every year, in each respective 
town, to appoint and agree with a schoolmaster ; and the 
thrt-e men so chosen to have power to nominate and ap- 
point the most convenient place and places where tm 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 47 

school shall be ke[)t from time to time, that as near as may 
be, the whole inhabitants may have the benefit thereof. 

In the chnrter of Woodbridge, June 1, 1669, it is provi- 
ded that 200 acres of land should be laid out for the minis- 
ter, and 100 for the maintainance of a free school. 

There was a public school iu Newark as early as 1676, 
but the teacher's labors were confined to the children and 
servants of those who had subscribed for its maintainance 

Justice has always been fairly administered in Somerset 
County, and the laws vigorously enforced by the punish- 
ment of crime. Perhaps it is owing to this face, that so 
few henious and ca}.ital offenses have been committed 
within its bounds. It is certainly remarkable that in our 
county during the 182 years of its existence, there have 
bet-n but three persons publicly executed, and these were 
all nearly at the same timf. and soon after the Uevolution. 
We happen to have been privileged with an inspection of 
the "minutes" of the trial iu one of these cases, in the 
Docket of Jacob Van Ostrand Esq.. a Justice of the Peace 
in and for the County of Somerset. We present it as a 
curiosity, and also as being characteristic of the mode of 
proceeding iu criminal cases, in earlier days It bears 
ilatH Dec. 18, 1769, and is entitled an action in regard to 
J. Castner's Harry, and Jeronemous Van Nest complain- 
ant, for breaking his negro Jupiter's head. Harry con- 
fessed that he had hit him with a stand block, a foot 
squaie. weighing 5 or 6 pounds. Harry told Rynier Van 
.Nest that he had killed Jupiter ; wherefore I ordered him 
to be put in jail, Dec. 22, 1669. Jacob Van Ostrand hav- 
ing associate 1 with himself two Justices of the Peace, Mr. 
Van Home, and Benjamin Morgan, and 5 Freeholders, 
viz : William Crook, John Vroom, John Baptist Dumont, 
Samuel Staats Coejeman, and Matthew Ten Eyck, Sea ; 
and several witnesses baing examined, after having been 
duly sworn the three Justices and the Freeholders found 
him guilty of murder and ordered him to be executed on 
the 31 of December. Singular as such a proceeding now 
appears, it was in due form of law, and in full accordance 
with an act uassed in 1714. It applied to murders and 
other offenses ; and the penalty was to be adjudged ac- 



48 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

carding to the enormity of tlie crime in tiie jiKl;ji;ment of 
th(! three Justices and live Freeholders. See Nevilles laws 
vol. 1 page 19. There was mor-' f >rm in this than the 
Rt^gnlators ohserve, and a little more time given, but cer- 
tainly justice was sufficiently stern and s|)ee(ly. 

Again in 1788, there were two public executions in 

. Somerset county ; both slaves and both for setting fire to 
an outbuilding. Sept. 19 Sam the eldci-. and Sam the 
younger slaves of Richard McDonahl were indicted and 
tried, and in V )ctol)er the same year Dine, belmginir to 

, Peter Dumont of Bridgewater, One of ti)i' negr^>(^s was 
respited — the other wms hung in comp.uiy with Dine on 
Gallows Hill, north oi Somerville. 

Two soldiers also were h,ung on Mcuint Pleasant during 
one of the winters when there was ai\ encamprntrnt of part 

.of Washington's aimy in Souieiset. We give the account 
from Thatcher's military Journal, who was present in the 
CHiii}) and an eye witness of whai. he relates. The location of 

■the camp was on t'l.e slope to the north east t'unn Mount 
Pleasant. There'was also a cantonment on the south side 
of the residence of Henry H. Grarretson, where Wayne's 
(JoTjis was stationed and went from this point in June to 

. storm and take Stony Point. The ground near Mount 

Pleasant was a dense fore;5t and the destruction of timber 

must hav;e been extensive. But let us hear Dr. Thatcher, 

"b"'eb. 177y, having continued to live under the cover of 

.canvass tents luost of the winter, w,e have suffered exten- 

..sively from eX])osure t >. colds, oi^r soldiers have been em- 
ploy ^^d six or eight wecdts in constructing log huts which 
a,t length are complete, and both ijfHcers and soldiers are 
under comfortable covering for the remainder of tlie win- 

. ter. Log houses are constructed witli trunks of trees, cut 
into various lengths according to the size intended ; and 
are firmly connected by notches cut at their extremities in 
the manner of dovetailing. The vacancies between the 
logs are filled with plastering consisting of mud and clay. 

.The roof is formed of smaller pieces of timber and covered 
with hewn slabs. Tin- chimne\ situated at one end of the 
house is made of similar but smaller timbers; and both 
the inner and outside are coveied with clay plaster to de- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 49 

fend the wood against the tire. The doors and windows 
are formed by s'a'"ing away a part of the logs of a prop.u- 
size, and move on wooden hing.^s. In this manner have 
our soldiers withont nails and aim »st with)at toois, except 
the axe and saw, provided fir their officers and themselves 
convenient and CDinfortable quarters with little or ito ex- 
pense to the public. The huts are arranged in straight 
lines, forming a regular unif trtii com{)act village. The 
officers huts are situated in front of the line according to 
their rank — the kitchen in the rear is similar in form to 
,tent encamjiment. The ground for a considerable distance 
in front of the soldier's lin • of huts is cleared of wood and 
rubbish, and is every morning swept clean for the purpose 
of a parade ground, and roll call of tie respective regiments. 
The officer's huts are generally divided into two apart- 
ments, and are occujiied by three or four officers, who com- 
pose one mess. Those for the soldiers have but one room, 
and contain ten or twelve men with their cabins placed one 
above the other against the wall and filled with straw, and 
one blanket for each man. I now occupy a hut with our 
field officers Col, Oibson Col. Brent and Maj, Merriweather." 
The description will apply equally to tljp three encamp- 
ments ; at which of them Thatcher lived is not determined ; 
probcibly at Mount Pleasant, tie proceeds under date of 
April 20 to say : 

•'Five soldiers were conducted to the gallows, according 
to their sentences for the crimes of desertion and robbing 
the inhabitants. A detachment of troops and a concourse 
of people formed a circle around the gallows, and the crim- 
inals were brought in a cart sitting on their coffins, with 
halters around their necks. While in this awful situation, 
trembling on the verge of eternity, three of them received a 
pardon from the commander-in-chief, who is always ten- 
derly disposed to spare the lives of his soldiers. They ac- 
knowledged the justice of their sentence, and expressed 
their warmest thanksgiving and gratitude for their merci- 
ful pardon. The two others were obliged to submit to their 
fate, one of them was accompanied to the fatal spot by an 
affectionate and sympathizing brother, which rendered the 
scene uncommonly distressing, and forced tears of com- 



50 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

papsion from the eyes of numerous spectators. They re- 
peatedly embraced and kissed each other, with all the 
fervor of brotherly love, and would not be separated till 
the executioner was obliged to perform his duty ; when 
with a flood of tears and mournful lamentations, they bade 
each other an eternal adieu — the criminal trembling under 
the horrors of an untimely and disgraceful death, and the 
brother overwhelmed with sorrow and anguish for one whom 
he held most dear." 

Since these scenes were enac<^ed the gallows has not been 
seen within the bounds of Somerset. It is now a hundred 
years, and amid all the excitement of interest and sin, all 
the crimes committed under their influence, murder has 
not been proved against any one ot its citizens, in such a 
form as to necessitate the punishment of it by a public exe- 
cution. May it long continue to be so, to the distinguish- 
ed honor of its citizens. 



CHAPTER V. 

SOME OF THE MEN OF SOMERSET. 

In attempting to give a notice of some of the prominent 
men of the County of Somerset, we begin with those wiio 
hekl its lands in the first instance. We have noticed al- 
ready some of them, but think it proper to append the fol- 
lowing, viz : 

Thomas Codrington was Sheriff in New York City from 
1691, to 1692. He came and resided on his lands along 
Middlebrook, probably soon after the latter date. His 
place was called Raekahacawanna and came into the pos- 
session of Alexander Campbell. Daniel Talmage owned it 
a few years since. 

John Delavall was a son of Thomas Delavall, a captain 
under Col. Nichols when New York was captured in 1664. 
It seems from some transactions of liis that he had been in 
the city before this time, but immediately after the surren- 
der he took a prominent part in the administration of pub- 
lic affairs. He owned a farm at Harlem as well as a resi- 
dence in the city, on the south east corner of Broad Street 
and Exchange Place, embracing an orchard and a large 
garden. Visiting England in 1669, he had a conference 
with the Duke of York, who sent by him to the Mayor and 
Aldermen of the city, a mace of office and a gown to be 
worn on proper occasions. He died«,t his residence in 1681, 
leaving a large estate. His son John Delavall, who mar- 
ried Catharina Van Courtland, was interested in land 
grants on the Jlaritan, but continued to reside in the city. 
How long is not ascertained, but in a list of the inhabitants 
of New York in 1703, his name is not found, nor does it 
appear in subsequent times. He had several sisters who 
married men of prominence in that day. 

Gabriel Minvielle, merchant, was Mayor of the City of 



52 • SOMERSET COUNTY. 

New York in IG84, Alderman in 1675, and a member of 
the C<>U)nial Cmjiicil nndor Governors Sloughter, Ingolds- 
and Fletcher. He was a Frenchman by descent, but lived 
in early lite in Amsterdam, H(dland. In the year 1669 he 
established himself as a merchant, in New Amstt'rdani 
(New York) and carried on an extensive foreii^n trade. He 
marrieil Susannah, a daughter of John Lawrence, a wealthy 
merchant of the city, and fixed his residence on the -vest 
side of Broadway in a fine mansion near the Bowling 
Green. Mr. Minvielle died in 1703, leaving no children 
and the name consequently became extinct. He had bv^en 
a resident of the city for simie twelve years, when he be- 
came interested in lands on the Raritan. In 1703 there 
were three families in the city of New York bearing the 
name of Minvielle, viz : Peter Minvielle having a tamily 
consisting of one male, one female and one negress ; Mrs. 
Minvielle, probably the wife of Gabriel, who had died the 
previous year, one female, one child, two negresses ; and 
David Minvielle having in his family one male two females 
one child, one negro and one negress. He is recorded in 
1674s after the final surrender of the city to the English, as 
being worth an estate of $15,000, a large estate for that 
day; there being only three persons, viz : Jacob, Leister, 
and William Delavall, worth $30,000 each, and Samuel 
Wilson $20,000 — estimated hightn- than he was. 

Richard Hall, was the son of Thomas Hall, who died in 
the city of New York 1670. Mr. Hall's father was an 
Englishman by birth, but having joined with others from 
New England in an attempt upon the Dutch Colony at the 
mouth of Delaware River, was taken prisoner and sent to 
New York. He was treated with leniency by the authori- 
ties, and finally obtained the rights of citizenslii[). In 1639, 
with a partner, he attempted to locate a tobacco plantation 
at "Deutel bay," Turtle bay on the East River. In 1654 
he purchased property on a hill near the present Beekman 
street, and erected a house. His heirs sold it after his 
death to William Beekman. Of Richard Hall we know 
only his being a joint owner of that splendid tract of land 
west of Middlebrook The name is respectable, and nu- 
merous iu Somerset County at the present time. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 53 

Peter Soumans was --i native of liollaiid, a iiiin of activi- 
ty and energy, educated at the University "f Leyden. He 
held important offices under the Prince ofOrange after he be- 
came Wm. Ill King of Enghmd, and most probably ac- 
com]ianied him wlien he wtnt to take possession of the 
throne. He was Surveyor 'iri'neral of New Jersey for foui- 
years, a men)bcr of the Council, a Judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas, and represented the County of Berg'u in 
the House of Assembly. He was a Churchman ' by ])ro- 
fession, but gave land to build the Presbyterian Church at 
Hopewell, and aDutcii Church at Harlingen. Heownedland 
in Somerset County, but never resided within its Hunts. 
His father, Aaent Sonraans, was one of the original Pro- 
prietors of East Jersey. His resitlence was in Bergen 
County. His reputation is not spoken of as being very 
good. 

Gawen jiawrie was originally a merchant in London, 
and from his name seems to have been ot Scotch extrac- 
tion. He became at first interested iti theUifFairs of New 
Jersey by being appointed in connection with Wm. Penn 
and Nicholas Lucas, onn of the Trustees of Kdward 
ByUinge, one of the original proprietors of West Jersey. 
When the Duke of York confirmed the sale of the Province 
March 14, 1G82, to the twenty four Proprietors, by giving 
them a n^-w grant with increased and more f jll privileges. 
Lawrie is named as one of them. When Governor Kud- 
yard left the Province at the close of the year 1685, Gawen 
Lawrie was appointed in his place as Deputy of Barclay. 
He is represented as possessing qualifications well fitted 
for the place ; intelligence, activity, energy and business 
habits being made conspicuous in his management of affairs. 
He was commissioned a Gov. in July, 1683 and arrived in the 
Province, in the beginning of the following year. He 
brought with him a new code of laws, or as they are called 
"Fundamental Constitutions," deemed by the framers as 
being far superior to the Concessions of Berkley and Car- 
ter it, but it does not seem as if tliis code was ever enforc- 
ed. He was dismissed in 1686. The dissatisfaction arose 
probably from his having appropriated to his own benefit 
a tract of land on the Raritan, said to be superior to any 



4 



54 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

other land in the Pr^)vince. His resulenca seems to have 
been at Elizabethtown. He was subsequently one of the 
Council of Lord Neil Campbell, by whom he was superce- 
ded. He remained in the Province unt'l his death in the 
Autumn of 1687. His wife Mary survived him. They 
had one son James, whose dauo;hter Isabella, married \Vm. 
'Davis of New York, and inherited the estate of her (jrand- 
father, and two daughters, Mary who became the wife of 
VVni. Haize, and i^Lebecca, who ujarried Milcs Foster. — 
Nothing known of the descendants of Mr. Haize ; a son 
of Mr. Foster removed to the Island of Barbadoes and two 
daughters cimtiuued unmarried, and so none of Lawrie's 
descendants finally remained in the Province. 

The autograph of Gov. Lawrie, a copy of which is giv- 
en in Whitehead's New Jers.'y, does not by any means 
oonjmend his clerkship, whatever his business qualifications 
may have been. 

After noticing a few of the men connected with the His- 
tory of Somerset in very early days, we now turn to those 
who are more properly Somerset men. 

It would be a pleasant task to mention the name of eve- 
ry one who has adorned the Annals of Somerset County, by 
the elevation of their character, their efficiency, their in- 
telligence, their moral culture and their Christian consist- 
ency ; but we have neither the knowledge nor the space 
for such an extensive review of the past. We only men- 
tion a few. There was an emigration dii'ectly from Scot- 
land, at different times, to which we owe the names of Kirk- 
patrick, McEowen, McDowell. Logan, McKinstry, Boylan! 
Then there came from Canada, Captain Creighto McCrea, 
Colonel James Henry, Dr. John Henry, Major McDonald, 
and others. McCrea, Dr. Henry and McDonald, it is un- 
derstood, had been connected with the British Army, — 
From Long Island came the ancestors of Jacobus Van 
Derveer, who, at his death, was said to be the richest man 
in Somerset County, and Elias Van Derveer — both of Bed- 
minster — and the latter the father of the late Dr. Henry 
Van Derveer of, Pluckarain ; and of Dr. Lawrence Van 
Derveer, of Roycefield, an eminent physician, philanthro- 
phist and christian. Cornelius Van Derveer of North 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 55 

Branch, Ferdinand and Colonel Henry Van Derveor, the 
Vanarsdalens, the Schencks, Van Stays, Van Camps, Ten 
Eycks, La Tourettes, B )i;arts, Van Mtddleworths, De 
Groots, BroUavvs and others were from the same }dace ; 
Robert Bolmer, of German extraction, often an ehler in the 
church, Enos Kelly, an assemblyman, Robert Blair, John 
Simonson, Guysbert Sutphen, Christopher Hoagland, the 
Lanes and Fields, and many others, honorable in their d;iy, 
useful in church and in State, and worthy of commemora- 
tion, had we space to give it. 

From such general memoranda we now turn to copy two 
or three obitutiri^s as interesting relics of a former age ; 
from Jersey State Gazette, Sept. 1. 1779. "Died on the 
15th ultiuKj, Hon. Abraham Van Neste, Member or Coun- 
cil for the County of Somerset." In an advertis;nnent, 
Oct. 27, 1781, he is said to have been "of Millstone." 
Jan. 17, 1781, from the same source — 'On Sunday, 7th 
inst., departed this life, in an advanced age, Jacob Ber- 
gen, first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas f )r the 
County of Somerset, He was for many years a magistrate 
under the former government ; was continued under the 
present ; universally respected as an early, a consistent and 
decided patriot. The country has lost in him a faithful, 
active magistrate, and the State a useful, respectable citi- 
zen," Judge Bergen lived in Princeton, and one of his ap- 
pointments was given him in "Joint Meeting," held in the 
College Buildings, Sept 13, 1776. Peter Schenck, Abra- 
ham Van Neste, Ja mes L inn and Enos Kelly were appoint- 
ed to the same position at the same time. On November 
'26th, 1777, the Legislature of New Jersey met at liis 
house, and in the season of 1779 Abraham Van Neste, 
mentioned above, was a member of the Assembly from Som- 
erset. 

Another dated Trenton, December 6th, 1781, "on 
Thursday, 29th ult,, died at his seat on the Raritan, Der- 
rick Van Vegten, in the 84th year of his age. This gen- 
tleman possessed the virtues of patriotism and hospitality 
in a very eminent degree. Warmly attached to the cause 
of his country, he took peculiar pleasure in rendering it 
any service in his power ; and when his property was very 



56. someusp:t county, 

essentially injured by the winter quarters of a (livisi(»n of 
our army beinsj fixed on his possessions, like a good citizen 
he submitted without repining to suffer as an individual, 
to promote the public good. His benevolence and hos[)i- 
tality were not confined to the circle of hia friends and ac- 
quaintances. His doors were ever open to the friendless 
stranger — his house afforded a resting place and a cheerful 
welcome to the weary traveller. The blessings of the poor 
and needy, the widc^'^ and the orphan, dail\' ascended to 
heaven in his behalf. Providence blessed him with a good 
constitution, and he met the gradual approaches of death 
with that composure and I'esignation which j)i-oceeds from 
the consciousness oi a religious life, and a well grounded 
hope of the divine acceptance, Tlie general sorrow of the 
numerous assembly whicli attended the fnnei-al on the 
Sunday following, testified their sense of his merit and 
their loss." 

Mr. Van Veghten resided on the banks of the Raritan 
near what is now called the old bridge. The American 
army was quartered on Mr. Van Vegh ten's land, in the 
winter of 1778 and 1779. Washington's general orders to 
the troops were published in the New Jersey Gazette, Feb- 
ruary 17, 1779, but were really given at an early date. 
The location of the encampment has already been indica- 
ted. It was a valuable piece of timber land, which was al- 
most entirely destroyed as fuel and logs for the soldiers 
huts ; and there is no evidence that any compensation was 
ever made. During ihe same winter Gen. Washington 
and Mrs. Washington lived in the parlor of Caleb Miller's 
house, then just newly finished to receive them. Here 
Washington planned and arraigned all the details of Gen- 
eral Sullivan's expedition against the Indian's in western 
New York. With the reverance due to such a circum- 
stance, that parlor has not been changed in the least since 
the Father of his country lived and slept in it, and it ought 
to remain as it is, until time effects its demolition. Our 
veneration for the past is too short either for our own credit 
or the benefit of future times. 

Hendrick Fisher was horn the year 1697, in the Pala- 
tinate, and emigrated to this country as a young man. He 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 57 

was received into the church in 1721 and soon appointed a 
Deacon, then an Elder, and continued an ardent friend of 
F. J. Vrelinghuysen until his death, A mechanic by 
trade, he was yet a man of more than ordinary intelligence 
and capacity for business. He was almost constant in his 
attendance with him in the Ecclesiastical c )nventions. The 
first Convention of the Churches of the Coetas or liberal 
party in the Dutch Church which met in New York in 
1738. recognized him as the Elder from Raritan. On the 
adoption of the plan of union in 1771 he was again present, 
and his name appears on more than one of the important 
committees. He exerted an important influence in bring- 
ing about union in the church. He was one of Mr. Freling- 
huysen's Helpers and acted as a Catcchist and Lay Preach- 
er. Some of liis sermons were published, and are said to 
have been rich in doctrine and in their illustration of spir- 
itual Christianity. 

In civil life he was one of the most influential men of his 
day. When the Revolution opened he wais a member of 
the Assembly of New Jersey from Somerset County, and 
stood up firmly on the patriot side. He represented the 
County often afterwards, and never flinched from active du- 
ty whenever or in whatever form he encountered it. In the 
Provincial Consress of New Jersey which assembled at Tren- 
ton 1775, he was elected President His opening address 
is said to have been most forcible in setting forth tLe griev- 
ances of the Colonies, He was chairman of the Committee 
of Safety which had really wide extended executive powers 
when Congress was not in session. He served also in other 
afl'airs of delicacy and trust. 

His firm and decided course made him many enemies 
among the opponents of the war, and for fear of them he 
generally went armed, especially on his various journeys. 
His courage no one doubted any more than they did his 
moral integrity or the decided character of his Christianity. 

He resided below Bound Brook on the south side of the 
river, and the homestead is now owned by Abraham I, 
Brokaw, In process of time it was bought by Captain 
McCrea who devised it to his niece Maria, the wife of Wm. 
Van Duyn. He represented the county of Somerset in the 



58 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Assembly at Perth Araboy in 1772, and also in 1775 in 
company with John Royce. This x-Vssembly took part in 
the opening scenes of the Revolution, the end of which he 
was not permitted to see — since he died four years after- 
wards. His remains rest in a family graveyard on his 
farnj. In a dense thicket overgrown with thorns and small 
trees, stands a plain brown u|)right slab, bearing the fol- 
lowing inscription : "In memory of Hendrick Fisher who 
departed ihis life August 16th, 1779 in the 82nd year of 
his age." 

Col, John Mehelm came from Neshamany Fenns, and at 
first engaged in Merchantile and Milling business at New 
Bromley (StiliweU's Mills) near White House, He was 
appointed Surrogate of Hunterdon and Somerset and resi- 
ded in Pluckamin — was a member of the first Provincial 
Congress, and of the Council of Safety — was present 
when Gov. Franklin was arrested and suj^erceded, and one 
of the commissioners appointed to sell the estate of Lord 
Sterling. Wm. McEowen married his daughter, and was 
during the war. Musician and Quartermaster. He repre- 
sented Somerset County several terms as Member of As- 
sembly. Col. Mehelm was in his day a man of character 
and influence, and has left a memory which is an honor to 
his posterity. 

We must not fail to mention among those who have 
been prominent in public life the name of John Harden- 
burgh. He was the son of the Rev. Dr. Hardenbur";h, 
pastor of the church of Raritan, and JefFvrow Harden- 
burgh, a woman of eminent piety. He is commonly sjjo- 
kenofby the aged, who still remember him, ao Sheriff 
Hardenburgh, but his holding that office was a great misfor- 
tune to himself, and to the friends who became his sureties. 
He was a gentleman of popular address and manners, and 
lived a free and generous life, not regarding always the ex- 
penses in which indulgence involved him. He married Ann 
W^allace, from Philadelphia, and lived in the old house 
which was removed to make room for the ])resent mansion 
ol Dumont Frelinghuysen, Esq. He died in 1738, and his 
remains were deposited by the tide of his wife on the banks 
of the meadows east of the old Parsonage in which his fath- 



SOMERSET COUNTY'. 59 

er had resided. His wife d^'ed before him. We give their 
epitaphs: -'In memory of Ann, wife of John Harden- 
burgh, who departed this life November 26th, 1793, aged 
35 years and 6 months " "In memory of John Hardeti- 
burgh, Esq., who departed this life July 23, 1798, aged 39 
years, 3 months and 12 days." 

In the house now occupied by John Herbert, at tbe 
Mills, near Middlebrook, resided during the Hevolution, a 
merchant from New York by the name of Philip Van 
Horn ; and from him it was known as "Phil's Hill." His 
house was resorted to by the officers of the American army, 
and his daughters, one or more, married them. Col Sim- 
co called at the house on his way to Van Veghten's bridge 
and Millstone, when the church of Raritan was burnt, ex- 
pecting to find Col. Moyland there who was we believe, a 
son-iu law. The Duke DeChastellaux, Major-General of 
the French army under Rochambeau, on his way from Mor- 
ristown to Trenton, dined with Mr. Van Horn, and give.s 
an amusing account of one daughter, an officer's wife, and 
another the younger, who was flirting with a Lieutenant 
during the dinner. We have no knowledge of what be- 
came of the family, except that the property was sold after 
the war, and they must have died or moved away. 

William Mercer lived above Millstone and was a man of 
high character. He owned a mill and a store, and accu- 
mulated wealth. His descendauts reside at the present 
time in Newark and its vicinity, Theodore Frelinghuysen 
married his daughter Charlotte, and Dr. Stryker, of ISomer- 
ville, another. Dr. Stryker, besides serving in the legisla- 
tive council, was a physician of eminence and large prac- 
tice ; an earnest christian^ living to the age of nearly nine- 
ty years, and going down to his rest full of honor and in 
perfect peace. 

At Weston lived J . M. Bayard, owner of the mills, a 
citizen of influence in his day ; a christian man and an ex- 
ample of every good word and work. He assisted at the 
first meeting called to form the Somerset County Bible So- 
ciety, and was active wherever the good order of society was 
concerned. 

Rev. Balthazar Bayard, before the revocation of the edict 



60 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

of Nantes, was driven tr.)!n Franc.^ by the policy of Cardi- 
nal Kichlievv, and en)i(:;rated to Holland the only place 
where he could enjoy lil)e.rty of conscience. There his only 
daughter. Judith, married Petrus Stuyvesant, the last of 
the Dutch (xovernors of New Aiuersterdam. She prevailed 
with the Governor to persuade her three brothers to ac- 
company the-m to this country. On their arrival in 1647, 
James the youngest of the three purchased a manor in 
Cecil County, Maryland Prior to leaving Holland, he 
hatl married Blandinia Conde. They had four children. 
The youi.gest son named James inherited the manor on the 
death of his parents. He tnarried Miss Ashton. Two 
sons were born to them, John and James Ashton — John 
being the oldest in age by thirty minutes. 

JohnJ3ayard was born August 11th 1738, in the Marj^- 
land Manor House. His father dying intestate he became 
entitled by law to the whole inheritance, but on reaching 
manhood, he conveyed to hib brother one half the real es- 
tate. In early life he became a communicant of the Pres- 
byterian Church in Philadelphia, under the pastoral care of 
the Rev, Gilbert Tennent. At the con)mencement of the 
Revolutionary war he took an active part in the Patriot 
cause. At the head of the 2d Batallion of the Philadel- 
phia troops he marched to the assistance of Washington 
and was pres<!iit at the Battle of Trenton. He was a mem- 
ber of the Council of Safety, and for many years Speaker 
of the House of Representatives, In 1785 he was elected 
to Congress. Three years subsequently, he removed to 
New Brunswick, where he was Mayor of the City, Judge 
of the Court of Common Pleas, and an Elder of the Presby- 
terian Church. He died there January, 1806. 

We have said that Peter Dumont was liv^ing on the; Rar- 
itan in the beginning of 1699. He was a large landholder 
on the south side of the raritan, and the ancestors of those 
who have since borne that honorable name. He was born 
April 18th, 1679, and was the son of Walran Dumont and 
Gertie, his wife. He married first Faraetie Van Middles- 
worth, who died December 25th, 1706 ; second, Catelyntie 
Rappleyea, who died January 30th, 1709 ; and thirdly 
Janetie Veghte. Her eon John, born April 13th, 1719. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 61 

was the father of Peter 13. Dumout, of our times. Thn 
Duuiont family are of French extraction, Isaac Dnmont, 
of Bostanquet, held a Fief by Knights service in the beau- 
tiful Pays de Caux, in Normandy. A branch emigrated 
to Holland in the days of |)ersecuti()n. They were early of 
protestant principles ; and Isaac Dumont served in the 
army of William when became to England as others of the 
name had done before him in armies of the Prince of Orange. 

Among the tiaritan families the Veghte's have long been 
influential and rt^spectable. The common ancestors were 
two brothers, Hendrick and Class A reuse Veghte, who 
came to New Netherlands in 1660, and went to reside on 
Long Island, at Grovvanus. Hendrick, a son of one of the 
emigrants, built a house of bricks imported from Holland, 
with a tile roof, which bears the date 1639. He had two 
sons,' Rynier and Hendrick. Uynier settled on the north 
side of the Raritan river, on the farm owned afterwards 
and occupied by J^21L'L-'^-^^^^^®«- '^^^'^ Rynier left one 
son named Henry, who married the daughter of John V an 
Middlesworth, who lived opposite on the south sicle' oi'lTie 
river.' Henry sold his tract on the Raritan and purchased 
ix large tract of land in Roycefield, in the Millstone neigh- 
borhood, afterwards owned and occupied by Capt John 
Wyckoff, He and his wife died young, leaving three chil- 
dren — one son named Rynier, inherited his grandfathers es- 
tate on the Raritan, lived there for many years, and died in 
February 1833, in his 80th year. This Ryneier left two 
sons — Henry who was the father of R. H. Veghte, now 
living on the homestead farm, and also of Benjamin T.. 

John and Henry Veghte and Rynier, who left one son 

John V. Veghte, who resides now on the farm where his 
father died in 1871, aged 83 years. 

The name of Vroom is found early on the records of the 
church. Court Vroom seems to have been the first of the 
name residing on the Raritan. Col. Peter D. Vroom, of 
revolutionary days, was a prominent citizen of Somerset 
County in his time. He was born Jan. 27th, 1745, 0, S., 
two miles from Raritan Landing. Early in life he lived in 
New York, whence he came to reside on the Raritan, near 
the junction of the North and South Branches, The home- 



(J2 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

stt'iid is novvo\vr)e(l by Saxton WyckofF. He married Elsie 
Bogart, and died on this Plantation. He was one of the 
few individuals who raised the first military company in 
the beginning of the revolutionary war, in which he served 
as lieutenant and captain, and was appointed major of the 
S()n)erset battalion by joint Meetini:^ in 1777; and after- 
wards a lieurenont-co'onel. He led a comijany at the 
battle of Grermantowii and was in the service during the 
war. During his life he occupied almost every office of 
trust in tlie county. At the close of the revolution, he 
was made High 8heriiF, and them Clerk of the Pleas, after- 
wards a Justice of the Peace, a Member of Assembly in 
1791 and several succeeding years — member of council for 
1799 to 18()4, and a long time Presiding J udge of the court, 
afterward an elder in the church; and always a leading 
counsellor. He enjoyed an unblemished reputation, and 
died in November 1831, in the 87th year of his age — hav- 
ing, in his time, filled as large a si)ace in public life as any 
of the prominent uk^ of his day in Somerset County. He 
was the father of the late Gov. P. D. Vroom. 

William Churchill Houston was born in South Carolina, 
about the year 1746. His father was a planter, a man of 
distinction, and William lived at hon\e until after his 
majority. Witli very limited means he made his way to 
Princeton and entered the Eresiiman Chiss in the college, 
and graduated with high honor in 1768. Soon after his 
graduation he was appointed a tutor, and two years after 
was elected Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philos- 
ojjhy, being the first occupant of that chair in the institu- 
tion. He resigned in 1783 antl was succeeded by Ashbel 
Green, afterwards i)resident of the college. While con- 
nected with the college, Mr. H. found time to study law, 
and in April 1781, was admitted to the bar of New Jersey. 
During the time that he occupied the chair of Professor he 
served one sessi(m m the legislature, viz: 1778. His associates 
were Roelif Sebring and David Kirkpatrick, of Somerset. 
In the Assembly 1781, Edward Bunn was chosen to fill his 
place. From 1782 to 1785 he was Receiver of Continetal 
Taxes, and in September 1786, was appointed Clerk of the 
Supreme Court, and was succeeded in the office by Gov. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 63 

Howell, in 1788. In May, 1782, he was elected a member 
of the Congress of the Confederation, and was fonr times 
re elected to the same position. He was a delegate from 
New Jersey, at the assembling of Commissioners from tiie 
States, at Annapolis, in 1786, and signed the report and 
address issued by that body. In November 1787, he was 
appointed a deleg;ite from New Jersey to the Convention 
which met at Philadelphia and framed the Constitution of 
the United Slates. "But I can not discover that he ever 
took his seat in that body, being most probably prevented 
from di)ing s >, by his rapidly declining he'ilth," He died 
at Philadelphia, in 179.5, while on a journey to the South 
— and was there interred, He was a learned and profound 
lawyer, and distinguished in the halls of science and legis- 
lation. 

Mr. H., while in Princeton, must have lived as Dr. 
Witliei'spoon .lid, on the Somerset side of the street, which 
was the common boundary betwepn this county and Middle- 
sex. 

David Kirkpatrick of Mine Brook, the father of Chief 
Justice Kirkpatrick, was entirely a Soruerset man, though 
born in Scotland. He emigrated to New Jersey with his 
father, Alexander Kirkpatrick, when 12 years of age, in 
1736, landing at Nevi^ Castle, Del.^ after a stormy passage, 
during which their provisions were almost entirely consum- 
ed and the passengers in danger of starvation. Wander- 
ing up from Delaware they finally reached Bound Brook, 
and went on over the mountains on foot by an Indian path. 
On their way they encountered ''a land-turtle, sticking up 
hi.T head and hissing fearfully." They had heard of rattle- 
snakes, and were sure this terrible monster must be one of 
them ; so turning cautiously aside, they left his -Hortlesl-ip" 
in full possession of his quarters, and went on their way 
giving him a wide berth. Coming to a spring of water on 
the south side of Mine Brook or Round Mountain, they 
rested ; and fancying the outlook of the place, settled and 
built a log house. David Kirkpatrick. the subject of our 
sketch, was born at " Wattiesneacli," Dumfrieshiie, Scot- 
land, February 17, 1724. and was a plain but earnest man 
living four score years and ten to see and enter upon his 



64 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

ninety first year. He was often a member i)f the Xew 
Jersey Legislature ; and it is pleasantly said of him, that 
on going to Trenton, he usually commenced his journey 
on horseback ; but soon dismounted and walked, leading 
the animal all the way to Trenton. He was always a pub- 
lic spirited, earnest christian man ; a man with the tem- 
per of the Scotch worthies larg(dy developed in his char- 
acter, and left posterity who have borne honorable names 
among the honorable men of Somerset. His descendants 
have in many ways proved themselves worthy of their sire, 
at tiie bar, in the pulpit, and m many other branches of 
public life, A. plain, simple-hearted almost uneducated 
man, he obtained ai extensive influence in his day and 
died full of years and honors. 

Gen. Frederick Frelinghuysen, the only son of Rev. 
John Frelinghuysen and Dinah Van Burgh, of Amsterdam, 
Holland. He was born in Soraerville, April 13th, 1753, 
and died on April 13th, 1804, aged fifty-one years exactly. 
He entered public life early, and in 1775 when only 22 
years of age, was sent to the (Jontinental Congress, He 
served in his place for two years and resigned in 1777, 
on account of the expense attending it, and the claims 
upon him from the exigencies of his own private ati-iirs. 
His letter, which has been preserved and published, is 
highly honorable to his patriotism and his sense of duty. 
He was, at first, a Captam of a Volunteer Artillery com- 
pany for one year on the opening of the revolution. He 
fought in the battles of the Assinpink, and of Monmouth; 
and generally during the war he was active as a colonel of 
the militia of his native county. After receiving rep'eated 
evidences of the confidence of the public, he was in 1793 
elected to the United States Senate. He served in his 
place until domestic bereavements and the claims of his 
own ajffairs obliged him again to resign in 1796. In the 
Western expedition, or the ''Whiskey War," he served as 
a major-general, commanding the troops from New Jersey 
and Pennsylvania. He enjoyed a large share of public con- 
fidence and was one of the prominent men of his time, Som- 
erset has long cherished his memory with pride. 

Earlier in public life than Frelinghuysen, was William 



I 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 65 

Paterson, the sec )nd ^ )vernor of New Jersay, after Inde-^ 
pendence. He is called one of the most talented men of 
his day We have not ascertained the place of his birth, 
but his father resided at Princeton, and he graduated from 
the college in 1763. Though mostly a resident of New 
Brunswick, he lived for several years on the Raritan, on 
■ what is called the -'Paterson Farm." Here he attended 
to the business of his plautation, and at the same time en- 
gaged in the practice of the law. In the little office which 
stood aside from his dwelling and near the road side, he 
transacted his business and attended to the instruction of 
several studentb, of whom we shall make mention in an- 
other connection as a matter of interest and pride. He 
was appointed in 1776 a Judge of the Supreme Court of 
New Jersey, and elected Grovernor of the State in 1790, as 
a successor of William Livingston. Previous to this he 
had been a member of the convention to frame the U. S. 
Constitution and Senator of the First Congress. He was 
at the time of his death, 1806, a Judge of the Supreme- 
Court of the United States. New Jersey claims his mem- 
ory as one of her most honored and cherished possessions, 
and the County of Somerset, enrolls him with pleasure 
among her great men. His character is singularly pure, 
unstained even by one blot. He was evidently a most hon- 
est, honorable upright man. 

Somerset has a right to claim as one of her prominent 
men William Alexander, best known as "Lord Sterling," a 
major-general in the armies of the revolution. He was a 
son of James Alexander, surveyor general of New Jersey 
and born in New York City, 1726. His father, James 
Alexander, fled from Scotland, 1716, having been implica- 
ted in the outbreak in favor of the Stewarts in that year. 
His mother was the widow David Provost, facetiously 
called -'Ready Money" Frovost, He spent several years of 
his life near Baskingridge, where he built a splendid man- 
sion, had a park filled with deer, and lived in baronial 
style. He joined the army in his youth, and was aide- 
camp to Gen. Sherley in the French and Indian war. He 
claimed the Earldom of Sterling, in Scotland, and went to 
England to prosecute his claims, but failed in obtaining 



66 SOMERSET COUNTY, 

the acknowlpclgmeiit of what was considered his just rights, 
but his friends iisually gave him by way of compliment the 
title. He acted a conspicuous part during the war of the 
revolution, and stood high in the confidence of Washing- 
ton. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Long Is- 
land, but was taken prisoner ; and again at Germantown 
and Monmouth. On Long Island his brayery was the 
means of saving a large part of the American army. At 
(rermantown his division, with the brigades of Nash and 
Maxivell, f<irme(l a corps 'f reserve ; and at Monmouth 
he commanded the left wing of the army and met the fierc- 
est onset of Sir Henry Clinton, and aided. essen<^ially in se- 
curing the victory achieved by our arms on that bloody 
field. His ])atriotism was ardent and steady, inspired 
largely by his love for the commander-in-chief and the no- 
ble cause for whcih he fought. Before the revoluti.m he 
served in the provincial council several years. His wife 
was a sister of Gov. Wm. Livingstone, of New Jersey. He 
died at Albany, January I5th, 178o}, aged 57 years, leaving 
behind him the reputation of a brave, skillful and . intrep- 
id commander, and an honorable, honest and })ure man. 
The sacrifice which he made and the efforts he put forth in 
the cause of Indepennence will embalm his memory in all 
coming time. 

No catalogue of the men of Somerset would be complete 
which should omit a conspicuous place to Richard Stock- 
ton of Princeton. Mr. Stockton graduated at Priceton 
College at an early day, 1748. Devoting himself to the study 
of the law, he rose almost immediately to a conspicuous 
place on account of the superior mental abilities which he 
displayed, and the unbending integiity of his conduct. He 
received an appointment to the judicial bench under the 
provincial administration, and was continued after the 
adoption of the constitution in 1776. He uniformly dis- 
charged the duties of his office with great judgment and 
integrity, securing for himself the reputation of a clear 
judgment and unbending uprightness. He was a member 
of congress at the opening of the revolution, and signed 
the Declaration of Independence, On account of his hav- 
ing done this his Seat, called "Morven," was ransacked 



I 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 67 

and spoiled by the British and Hessians in the autanin of 
1776, and he himself kept long in exile in Monmouth coun- 
ty. Even his valuublH library and })a})ers were destroyed. 
Mr. Stockton left behind him a very high reputation for 
talents, scholarship, oratory and statesmanship, and crown- 
ed it all, by living the life of a consistent christian. He 
died on the 1st of March, J781. He was the father of 
Richard Stockton, an eminent lawyer and statesman in 
more recent times, and grandfather of Commodore Stock- 
ton. 

We cannot omit the name of Dr, John Witherspoon but 
must refer to his biography for information. 

John McPherson Berrian, born in the old mansion at 
Rocky Hill. He resided principally in the State of Geor- 
gia. Held the office of Senator of the U. S. A. and was 
Attorney General under Gen. Jackson. 

James Linn owned a handsome property at Mine Brook. 
Served in the Legislature in 1777, was elected to Congi-ess 
in 1798, He gave the casting vote for Thomas Jefferson, 
in the New Jersey delegation. Was chosen Secretary of 
State in 1809, and died in Trenton 1820. 

Henry Southard; Samuel H. Southard, his son; Andrew 
Kirkpatrick, Chief Justice; Gen. John Frelinghuysen; 
Richard Stockton; Frederick and Theodore Frelinghuysen, 
and Peter D. Vroom, and Wm. L. Dayton claim mention 
as eminent and honorable men, but our space forbids any- 
thing more than a mere record of their names. They will, 
however, live though we shall not embalm thera. 



CHAPTER Vr. 

SCENES (tF THE REVOLUTION, IN SOMERSET COUNTY. 

When Freedom from her mountain height 

Unfurled her standard to the aii-, 
She tore the azure robe of night, 

And set the stars in glory there. 
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes 
The milky baldric oi the skies, 
And striped its pure celestial white 
"With streakings of the morning light ; 
Then from his mansion in the Sun 
She called her Eagle-bearer down, 
And gave into his mighty hand, 
The symbol of her chosen land. 

The causes which operated in effecting the separation of 
the American colonies from Great Britain, hiy as tar back 
as 1763, when Parliament first proposed to draw from them 
a ''revenue" in support of the home government. The 
popular mind was excited, and there sprang up at once an 
almost unanimous determination to make resiutance to this 
unjust demand, in all the Colonies. Tliey considered it an 
unjustifiable, oppressive and unprovoked violation of their 
"chartered rights and privileges." In the caseof ISIew Jer- 
sey, there was on record a justifiable reason for such re- 
sistance. In the "Concessions and Agreements," an arti- 
cle existed providing that "the Governor and Council are 
not to impose or suffer to be imposed any tax, custom or 
subsidy, tollage, assessments or any other duty whatsoever, 
upon any color or pretense how specious soever, upon the 
said province oi inhabitants thereof, without their consent 
first had," They considered this agreement between them- 
selves and the Proprietors under whose auspices they and 
their fathers had settled in the province, so valuable and so 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 69 

important, that nothing ought to induce them to submit 
to its infraction ! No taxation without rejiresentation 
and conscMit. became, therefore, a war cry, in this and in 
all the other Colonies also. Hence, New Jersey syn5j)athiz- 
ed entirely in th.e opposititm raised to Mr, Greenville's tax 
bill ; and when the stamp act bill was passed, March 22, 
1765, and the duty on tea was attempted to be levied, she 
stood firmly to her rights. 

When, on motion of the Legislatures of Massachusetts 
and Rhode Island a Congress was called to mett in New 
York, on the tirst Tuesday in •'"'ctober. 1765, she sent R')b- 
ert Ogden, Hendrick Fisher and Joseph Borden ti> repre- 
sent her, and continued her representatives in the subse- 
quent Congresses, until the Declai-ation of Independence! 
was issued on the^th of July, 1776, In these Assemblies, be- 
sides Hendrick Fisher, we find tin names of William Pat- 
erson, Frederick Frelinghuysen, John Royce, Peter Sclienck 
Abraham Van Neste, Enos Kelsey, Jonathan 0, Sergeant, 
Archibald >tewart, Edward Dumont, William Maxwell, 
Ephriam Martin, Cornelius Ver Meule, Ruloff Van Dyke, 
as representatives from Somerset County, at different times. 
When the "Provincial Congress," as it was called, met at 
Burlington, June 10th, 1776, she sent Dr. Harchmburgh 
to assist in framing a constitution for the State ; and when 
Gov, Franklin was superceded, arrested and confined, and 
William Livingstone appointed Governor on the 31st of 
August 1776, she was present by her representatives to as- 
sent to and assist in forwarding the good cause. 

She had already called out her military when the battle 
of Lexington was fought, April 19th, 1775 ; and when 
that of Bunker Hill, on the 17th of June occuired, 
she was active in arming for the fight. But fortunately, 
our State and County continued exempt from the ravages 
of armies, as well our own, as those ot our enemies, until 
the next year ! Clinton and Corn wa His, driven out of 
Boston, came with their re-inforced troops and landed 
35,000 men on Long Island early in June 1776 ; and on 
the 20th of August, the battle of Long Island was fought. 
Then came the abandonment of the city of New York, Sep. 
tember 15th, the taking of Fort Washington and For^ 



70 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Lee. Nov, 10. and the transfer of both the armies into the 
^State of New Jersey. Our State and county were now at 
first called apon to realize the bitterness of the contest in 
which they had engaged ; and henceforth she was, in a 
measure, the battle ground of the war. 

At this point, properly, the military operations of the 
Revolution, so far as Somerset is concerned, commenced, 
and we shall endeavor to give them, as far as it is possible, 
separate from the other actions in the great drama ; hoping 
in this way to enable the reader to f )rm a distinct idea of 
her sufferings in the cause of liberty. After the 16th of 
November, 1776, Washington crossed over the Hacken- 
sack and Passaic rivers, and as his troops were being daily 
diminished by desertion only [)aused when he had reached the 
Delaw ire. Penetrating the design of the enemy, to pass 
into New Jei'sey and march to the capture of Philadelphia, 
Washington had promptly crossed the Hudson with the 
main body of the American ariny, after securing some po- 
sitions on the east bank, between Kings' bridge and the 
Highlands. He paused at Hackensack in the rear of 
Fort Lee, where Greneral Lee was in command. Lord Corn- 
wallis also crossed the Hudson at Dobb's Ferry, with all his 
men, on the IStli, and landing at Closter. a mile and a 
half from English Neighborhood, proceeded to attack Fort 
Lee. The gan-ison made a hasty retreat, and joined 
Washington at Hackensack, five miles distant. All the bag- 
gage and military stores at Fort Lee fell into the hands of 
the enemy. It was an easy conquest for Cornwallis, and 
had he followed up this successful beginning with energy 
there is every probability that he would have captured 
Washington and his whole army. When Cornwallis ap- 
proached, he at once commenced a retreat towards the 
Delaware, hoping to be sufficiently enforced by the New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania militia to enable him to make a 
successful stand against the invaders at some intermediate 
point. 

But the late reverses had sorely disappointed the militia 
as well as the people, and Washington found his army to 
diminish at every step, rather than augment. By the last 
of November scarcely 3,000 troops remained under his com- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 71 

raand. For three weeks he fled before Gornwallis across the 
level districts of New Jersey, Newark, New Brunswick, 
Princeton and Trenton were successively evacuated by the 
Americans -imd occupied by the eneray: often the music of 
the pursued and the pursuers would be heard by each oth- 
er. Having arrived at Trenton on the 8tli of December, 
Washington and his army crossed the Delaware in boats, 
which had been pressed into this service by proclamation 
from all parts of the river. The last one had reached the 
Pennsylvania shore just as one division of Cornwallis's ar- 
my, with all the pomp of victors, marched into Trenton. 
This was about 12 o'clock at night. The main body of 
the British troops, however, halted about six miles from 
Trenton. The long agony was at last over ; and the 
cause of liberty, though surrounded with gloom and dis- 
couragement, was not yet quite lost. Washington had 
hoped to make a stand at New Brunswick, but abandonnd 
the idea as the eneuiy approached The service of the 
New Jeisey and Maryland brigades expired on the day he 
arrived there, and no persuasion could induce them to re- 
main, and -without them a stand was hopeless. 

When Washington commenced this retreat. Gen. Chas. 
Lee had been left at White Plains, east of the Hudson, 
with a corps of nearly 3000 men. When at Hackensack, 
Washington wrote to him, requesting hira to hasten to 
New Jersey, to reinforce him ; but Lee did not see fit to 
regard this reasonable request. The Commander-in-chief 
made the order peremptory and positive ; but he still lin- 
gered and delayed, and so tardy were his movements that 
after three weeks he only reached Morristown, It seems 
he coveted independence of command, and expected by 
some fortunate juncture of circumstances, to perform a 
striking and splendid feat of arms, and eclipse his com- 
mander in the eyes of the people. How miserably he fail- 
ed we have now to relate. 

On the 13th of December the main body of Lee's troops 
were at Vealtown, (now Bernardsville,) but Lee himself 
lodged at Mrs. White's tavern at Baskingridge, two miles 
distant, having with him only a guard of a few men for 
his protection. We quote from Wilkinson's Memoirs. — 



72 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

"Gen. Lee wasted the morning in altercations, with cer- 
tain militia corps who were of his command, particularly 
the Connecticut light horse ; one wanted forage, one his 
horse shod, one hisj)ayand a fourth his provisions, to 
which the General replied. Your wants are numerous, 
but you have not mentioned the last ; you want to go 
home and shall be indulged, for you are no good here. Sev- 
eral of them appeared in large full bottoned perukes and 
were treated ver}- irreverently. 

"The call of the Adjutant General ibr orders also occu- 
pied some of his time, and he did not set down to break- 
fast before 10 o'clock. Gen. Lee was engaged in answer- 
ing Gen. Gate's letter, and I had risen from the table and 
was looking out of an end window, down a lane, about one 
hundred yards in length, which led to th(^ house from the 
main road, when I discovered a party of British turn the 
corner of the avenue in full charge. Startled at this un- 
expected appearance I exclaimed : "Here, Sir, are the 
British Cavalry." "Where" asked the General, who had 
signed the letter on the instant, "xlround the house" fur 
they had opened tiles and encompassed the building. 
General Lee appeared alarmed and yet collected, and his 
second observation mai'ked his self possession. "Where 
is the guard ? d — m the guard ; why don't they fire ?" 
and after a momentary pause he turned to me and said : 
"Do Sir, see what has become of the guard ?" The woman 
of the house at this moment entered the room, and propos- 
ed to him to conceal himself in a bed ; which he rejected 
with evident disgust. I caught up the pistol which lay on 
the table ; thrust thj letter he had been writing in my 
pocket, and passed into a room at the opposite end of the 
house, where 1 had seen the guard in the morning. Here 
I discovered their arms, but the men were absent. I step- 
ped out of the door, and saw the dragoons chasing them in 
different directions, and receiving a very uncivil salutation, 
I returned into the house. 

"Too inexperienced, immediately to penetrate the mo- 
tives of this enterprise, I considered the reconotre acciden- 
tal, and from the terrific tales spread over the country, of 
the violence and barbarity of the enemy, I believed it to be 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 73 

a wanton marauding party, and determined not to die 
without company. I accordingly sought a position where 
1 could not be approached by more than one person at a 
time, and with a pistol in each hand awaited the expected 
search, resolved to shoot the first and second person who 
might appear, and then appeal to the sword. I did not 
lona: remain in this unpleasant situation, but was ap])rised 
of the incursion by the very audible declaration. "It the 
General does not surrender in five minutes, I will stt fire 
to the house," which after a short pause was repeated with 
a solemn oath ; and within two minutes I heard it pro- 
claimed "here is the General, he has surrendered \" A 
general shout ensued, the trumpet sounded the re-assem- 
blinor of the troop, and the unfortunate Lee, mounted on 
my horse which stood ready at the door, was hurried off in 
triumph, bare-headed, in his slippers and blanket coat, his 
collar open, and his shirt very much soiled from several 
days use/' 

The capture of Gen. Lee was felt to be a public calami- 
ty ; it cast a gloom over the country and excited general 
sorrow. The matter is explained by later intelligence. It 
seems that a certain Mr. Mukle wraith, an elder in the 
Presbyterian Church of Mendham, had passed Mrs. White's 
tavern, and had. been told of the presence of Lee there, 
and while travelling on foot on his private busmess, was 
overtaken by Colonel Harcourt and pressed into service as 
a guide ; but whether Harcourt was only reconnoitering 
and accidently heard of the place where Gen. Lee had 
slept, or had followed him up intending to capture liirn, is 
not explained. He was taken by way of Bound Brook to 
New Buunswick and delivered, as a prisoner, to the British 
commander. At first he was claimed to be a deserter, and 
treated accordingly, but finally exchanged in May for Gen. 
Prescott and returned to the army. 

Col. Harcourt had no sooner retreated with his prize, 
than Gen. Wilkinson hastened to the stable and mounting 
the first horse at hand, hurried to join the main body of 
the army which he found on the road toward Pluckamin, 
The command now devolved upon Gen. Sullivan ; and 
continuing on his march by way of Lamington, Potters- 



74 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

town and Clinton, he finally crossed the Delaware at Phil- 
ijishuro;, and joined Washinjj^ton in Pennsylvania. 

These, then, are the militaiy niovenients in Somerset 
County in 1776; the year when Independence was declared. 
Washington passed our county on its south-eastern and 
southern bender, along the public road leading by Six 
Mile Run, and Kingston to Princeton and Trenton ; and 
Lee and Sullivan led another division from Totowa, (now 
Paterson,) by the Valley of the Passaic to Morristown, 
Bernardsville, Lamington and Clinton, to Phillipsburg ; 
and the two united on the west side of the Delaware about 
December 20th, 1776. 

New Jersey was thus in December, given up almost en- 
tirely into the hands of the enemy ; and all tradition 
unites in averriiig that their hands were not restrained. 
Private property was but little respected ; no allowance 
made in favor of non-combattants ; and vii'tue and purity 
were often brutally outraged, 

Cornvvallis lingered in New Brunswick during the whole 
of the succeeding winter, collecting a large depot of stores 
and forage from the sui'rounding country for the subsist- 
enc« of his army. He at first purposed to continue his 
march to Philadelphia, but finding that Washington had 
secured all the boats on the river, decided to delay it until 
the ice should form and enable him to pass his troo[)s over 
in that way ; but befoie this came he had other work on 
his hands. 

While at Brunswick he issued a }.roclamation inviting 
all the inhabitants of the State to come in and take out 
"Protections," promising exemption for the past and safety 
in the future ; and in the discouraging aspect of the pub- 
lic affairs, the timorous and the doubtful almost univer- 
sally took advantage of it. The following is a copy of one 
of these papers : 

I do hf^reby Certify that the Bearer Abraham Sedam, of 
Middlebush, in the County of Somerset, came and sub- 
scribed the declaration specified in a certain Proclamation 
published at New York, on the 13th day of November last, 
by the Right Honorable, Lord Howe, and his Excellency 
General Howe. Whereby he is entitled to the protection 



SOMERSET C0U:NTY. 75 

of all Officers and Soldiers, serving in his Majesties' Army 
in America, both for himself, his family and property, and 
to pass and repass on his lawful business without molesta- 
tion. 

Given under my hand this IStli day of December, 177(). 

C. Mawhood. lit. Col. 

The tendency was to weaken and discourage the cause 
of patriotism greatly. Even some men who had bt-en 
active until this time, wavt-red and sought safety in 
••Protection." It was the darkest hour of the struL'^ffle, 
but fortutiritely it did iiot last long. 

We do- e the tirst year of Independence then with the 
British troops occupying New Brunswick, and extending 
their outposts to the J)elaware at Trenton, while Washing:- 
ton, with his little army almost ci>mpletely demoralized, is 
just savfd by a timely retreat to the west side of the river. 
New Jersey is in the possession of its enemies, except the 
counties of Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon, and the spirit 
of the people is being debauched by deceitful offers of pro- 
tection and peace. The State government had hardly been 
organized bef)re it was dispersed. War, therefore, not 
only, but anarchy, threatened the State ! No doubt many 
wept in secret, and others prayed almost in despondency 
and total despair ! But the agony, though intense, was 
brief. 

The year in which the Declaration of Independence was 
made really seemed to close in almost helpless desponden- 
cy ! Washington had only 2,200 n?en under his com- 
mand when he reached the western side of the Delaware on 
the 8th of December ; and even a part of these waited on- 
ly to be dismissed, as their term of service had already ex- 
pired. Indeed, there were scarcely 1000 men upon whom 
he could depend, until he was joined by Sullivan from 
Phillipsburgh. The whole State of New Jersey was at 
the mercy of the British. Sir Wm. Howe took this op- 
portunity to issue a Proclamation offering a full and free 
pardon to all who would lay down their arms, with full 
and ample protection, also to those who after doing so 
consented to take the oath of allegiance to the British 
crown. The effect of this was to bring great numbers of 



76 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

the tiinerous and wavering to desert the cause of Indejjend- 
eiicc The following was issued on Long Island ; 

Whereas, it is represented that many of the lo\ml in- 
habitants of this conntiy have been Ci)n)pelled by the lead- 
ers in rel)ellion. to take np arms against H.is Majesty's 
Grovernraent. Notice is hereby given to all persons so f )ic- 
ed into rebelli(jn, that on delivering themselves up at head 
quarters of the Army, they will be received as fairhful snl)- 
jects, have permits peaceably to return to their respective 
dwellings, and meet with full protection for their persons 
;ui 1 property. All those who chose to take up arras for 
the restoration of order and good government within this 
Island, shall be disposed of in the best manner, and have 
every encouragement that can be expected. 

oriven under my hand at Head(|uarters on Long Island 
Aug, 23, 1776. VVm. Howe. 

By his Excellency's command Robert Makensie, Sec. 
. The finances of Congress were in disarrangement ; the 
troops in the field were ill provided for, ill fed and greatly 
deuioralized as the effect of alt this. It was in fact thb 
darkest hour of the conflict. 

But it did not last long. 

On Christmas day in seventy-six, 

Our gallant troops with bayonet.s fixed. 
To Ti-enton marched away. 

From the 8th to the evening of the 24th of December 
nothing had been done, but early on the morning of the 
25th, Christmas day, in the midst of a cold sleet, the in- 
habitants of Trenton were startled by the noise of a sharp 
conflict in the streets of the town. The result of which 
was, the capture of the entire corps of Hessians stationed 
there. Washington himself was there, present in person, 
aided by Generals Green, Mercer, Sterling, Sullivan and 
Stevens. 

The conflict was brief but decisive. Col. Rail was 
wounded by a shot fired, it is said, by Col. Frederick Fre- 
linghuysen, and surrendered the troops under his command 
amounting to 1000 prisoners, with 6 brass field pieces, 
1000 stand of arms and 4 flags. 



iSOMKPSET COUNTY. 77 

In the evenin*;-, Wnsliinjxtot), with his men and i)ris(»n- 
ers ictuined again to the west side of the Delawaie, hav- 
ing; loat only tuur men, iwo of which were frozen to death. 
He returned again, however, on the 30th, t(. tind all the 
British from Bordentown removed to Princeton, except 
Cornwallis, who, with strong i'orco was waiting for him 
on the south side of the Assinpink. Here a conflict oc- 
curred on the 2d of January, lasting until it became too 
dark to continue it, neither having obtained any decided 
advantage, and lighting their fires on opposite sides of the 
narrow little river. Cornwallis boasted that he would cer- 
tainly "catch the fox" in the morning, when urged by Sir 
William Erskine to attack in the evening ; but "the fox" 
was not caught ! Leaving his camp fires burning brightly, 
Washington stole away under the cover of the darkness, 
and appeared early in the morning at Princeton, where he 
defeated the British troops stationed there with great 
slaughter, and sent one regiment flying precipitately back 
to Trenton ; but his victory was saddened by the unfor- 
tunate death of General Mercer. Pursuing the other de- 
feated regiments as far as Kingston, he halted, and after 
consulting with his officers, decided to turn aside and se- 
cure his army by leading them to a place of safety. Break- 
ing down the bridge at Kingston, he led his troops on the 
east side of the Millstone to Rocky Hill, when he crossed 
again to the west side, and following the course of the riv- 
er crossed the Raritan at Van Veghten's bridge, and ren- 
devouzed the next day at night-fall, at Pluckamin. The 
morning of the battle at Princeton was bright and frosty, 
and the air being calm the canonading was iieard as far 
north-west as New Germantown, and spread consternation 
far and wide ; and when the camp fires gleamed the next 
evening the 4th of January, on the side of the Pluckamin 
mountain, the alarm was most intense. Many a horse- 
man, during the night, dashed onward to the point, to as- 
certain what it portended, and when the news was brought 
back, that it was Washington, the joy was almost raptur- 
ous everywhere. 

This hurried march on the 2nd of January, 1777, was 
the second military movement through Somerset County. 



78 .SOMERSET COUNTY, 

It WHS made amid the most intense sufferings of the poor 
soldiers A.11 of them had been without sleep the previous 
night ; tiie weather w is uery cold — they hacl not had time 
t(j supply thiMuselves with even one regular maai, aiid the 
march from Kingston, after tlie batth^, was a long and a 
fatiguing one. Many of them became exhausted and laid 
down to sleep by the way side. 8>me cjf them became ex- 
hausted and laid down to sleep by the wayside. Some of 
the inhabitants along the Millstone supplied them as they 
j)assed, with such food as they had })!epared ; but the ex- 
haustion of the whole was almost com})lete, when they rest- 
ed at last at Pluckamin on the evening of the 4th. 

Beside the death ot Gen. Mercer the battle of Princeton 
ton is memorable on account of another victim. Captain 
William Leslie, son of thi- Earl of Levin of Scotland, was 
wounded in the first on-set, carried to Plut;kamin, and died 
on the i)orch of the small inn, almost immediately on reach- 
ing there. Mr. Gr. W. P. Custis in his recollections of the 
life of Washington, gives the following account of this in- 
cident of the battle : "It was while the Commander in 
Chief reined up his horse, where lay the gallant Col. 
Harshlet mortally wounded, that he perceived some Brit- 
ish soldiers supjjorting a wounded officer, and upon in- 
quiring his name and rank, was answered Uapt, Leslie. 
Dr. Benjamin Kush, who formed a part of the Genl's. 
suite, earnestly asked "a son of the Earl of Levin?" to 
which the soldiers replied in the affirmative. The Doctor 
then addressed the General-in-Chief, "1 beg your excellen- 
cy to permit this wounded officer to be placed under my 
care, that I may return, in however small a degree,' a part 
of the obligation, I owe to his worthy family for the many 
kindnesses received at their hands while a student at Bdin- 
burgli." The request was granted, but poor Leslie wa s 
soon past all surgery, "After receiving all })ossible kind- 
ness in the march, he died, was interred at Pluckamin in 
the old Lutheran Cemetery, and after the war Dr. Kush 
placed a monument over his remains, yet in existence. 
It has the following hiscription : 

"In memory of Capt. William Leslie, son of the Earl of 
Levin, who died January, 1776, after being wounded m the 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 79 

Battle of Princeton." This nionument has been erected by 
Dr. Benj. Kush, out of respect to his noble family, and in 
testimony of his exalted worth. 

Many years since money was smit from Scotland to build a 
stone wall in front, and more recently the Presbyterian 
Church was erected on a part of it. 

The following extracts will be of interest to many of our 
readers : 

'•Many persons in this country will recall with pleasure 
the visit to this country last year of the Hon. Roland Les- 
lie Melville, brother of the Earl of Levin and Melville, wh j 
some time iv^o beci'.ne a pirtn..^r in Lnidon of Mr. 
McCulloch. ex-Secretary of the United States Treasury. 
While here Mr. Melville mentioned the fact that one of his 
"Forbyes," a young British otficer, had fallen in America 
during tlip. Revolutionary war, and that tLe family had 
never been able to learn where he was hurried. There was 
tradition that his remains had been dt>posited in a certain 
^'Trinity" church yard, but that vague description gave 
ttiern little clue to the spot. 

Only the other day an American friend of Mr. Melville, 
searching our early national history with quite another ob- 
ject, stumbled on the story of his ancestor's death, and 
tinding that he fell at the battle of Princeton, January 3, 
1777, pursued the inquiry, and discovered his burial place 
still well preserved. 

As the story throws an agreeable light on the courtesies 
which mitigated the terrois of those days of strife we lay 
it bufore our readers. The young officer in question was 
the Hon. William Leslie, and the account of his fate is ta- 
ken from "Custis's Recollections of the Life of Washington." 

As an interesting addition to this item of Revolutionary 
history, I make the following extract from the journal of 
Col. Thomas Rodney, who commanded a body of Delaware 
militia during the campaign of January, 1777, and partici- 
pated in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. The Col. 
licslie he mentions is undoubtedly the same referred to 
in the above paragraph, and the coincidence is the more re- 
markable from the great lapse of time since the occurrence 
of the event ; 



80 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

FLUCKAaiiN, N. J., Jan. 5, 1777. 

" The General continued lune this day also to refresh the 
army. He ordered 40 of our light infantry to attend the 
funeral of Col Leslie, to bury him with the honors of war. 
He was one of the enemy who fell at Princeton ; they 
readily obeyed in paying due respect to bravery, tliough in 
an enemy. 

Ca])t. Henry was now gone home and 1 myself had com- 
mand of the five companies of infantry, but as I had not 
paid any attention to the military funeral ceremonies I 
requested Capt Humphries to conduct it. 1 had nothing 
to cover me here but my great coat, but luclvily got into a 
house near the mountains, where I fared very comfortably 
while we stayed here. 

These troops, Col. Rodney further states, were the only 
soldiers in the whole army in comjdete uniform, and while 
they remained at Morristown acted as General Washing- 
ton's body-guard, doing all the parade duty, and acted al- 
so as the funeral escort to Col. Ford and Gen, Hitchcock." 

Caesak a. Rodney. 

The army only remained at Pluckamin for a few days, 
and then went into winter quarters near Morristown, shel- 
tering themselves in huts on the south side of Kimball's 
mountain. The winter passed a.wa.y in quietness, not, how- 
ever, without suffering from sickness and want of sufficient 
provision. Often there were only three day's rations in the 
camp. Somerset County lay at the mercy of the enemy, 
whose foraging parties went out from New Brunswick, 
where Howe had quartered his troops, across the Millstone 
as far as Neshanic, and the South Branch, gathering eve- 
rything they Cf uld lay their hands on, and maltreating the 
inhabitants most cruelly, svhenever any resistance was oiSF- 
ered. It seemed as if the idea that they were or might be 
rebels, formed a sufficient excuse in the minds of the sol- 
diers for any outrage, that their })assions j'^'O^ipt^^^ tham 
to commit. They did not, however, always escape with 
impunity. On the 20th of January, sixteen days after 
Washington had passed Weston with his victoiious army, 
a large party of the British, foraging as usual, was met 
there, routed, and 43 baggage wagons, 164 horses, 118 



I 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 81 

cattle, 70 sheei» ami 12 prisoners captured . The Ameri- 
can party was under Gen. Dickenson, and ineluded two 
companies from the Valley of Wyoming. We find the 
follow account of this little fight giyen in the "Field Book 
of the Revolution." " A line efforts had been established 
along the Millstone river, in the direction of Princeton, 
One of these, at Somerset Court House, (the village of 
Millstone), was occupied by (xen. Dickenson with two 
companies of the regular army, and ab;)ut 300 militia. A 
mill on the opposite ])art of the stream contained consider- 
able flour. Corn wal lis, then lying at New Brunswick, 
dispatched a forai^ing party to capture it. The party 
consisted ol about 400 men. with more than 40 wagons. 
The British arrived at the mill at Weston, in the morning 
and iiaving loaded their wagons with flour, were about to 
return^ when Gen. Dickenson leading a portion of his force 
through the liver, middle deej), and filled with ice, at- 
tacked them with so much spirit, that they fled in haste, 
leaving the whole of their plunder with their wagons, be- 
hind them." Dickenson lost five men in this skirmage, 
and the enemy about 30 Washington warmly commend- 
ed Gen. Dickenson for his enterprise and gallantry evinced 
itt this little skirmish." 

But the discomfeitui'e in one of their ravages^ did not 
prevent them from repeating them almost daily in one di- 
rection or another around the whole country. 

The whole region of the Raritan and Millstone was 
stripped. The farmers threshed their wheat and then hid 
it under the straw in the barn, in order to preserve it from 
the greedy enemy. In many instances not enough was 
saved to serve for seed in the autumn. Cellars, houses, 
pig pens and hen roosts, were all carefully explored, and 
everything desirable carried off to feed the insatiate cormor- 
ants. 

Let us now leave Washington's soldiers in their tents 
near Morristown, undergoing innoculation for the small 
pox, as a "precautionary measure," and consuming lots of 
butter-nut pills in substitution for better medicines," 
While the wintermonths thus are passing, let us look to- 
wards the future. The prospect for the coming summer 



82 SOMEKSET COUNTY. 

in deed was not bright, hut it was not quite so discourag- 
ing as the auturan had been. Trenton and Princeton, 
coming after Long Island and White Plains, and the sur- 
render of Forts Washington and Lee, had shown that the 
British were not quite invuhierable and omnipotent. 

Gen. Putnam was placed in observation at Piinceton, 
soon after the defeat of the British. He h-id only a few 
hundred troops : sometime not as manv as he had miles of 
frontier to guard. In January, Washington issued a proc- 
lamation from Morristown, directed t ) those who had ta- 
ken protection, "discharging them from the obligitions of 
their oath to the King, and directing them to repair to 
head-quarters, or tlie nearest genei'al officer, and swear al- 
legiance to the United States, as the condition of a full 
pardon, for wh;it they had done in a moment of fear and 
despondency/' It had a good effect ; tue people soon 
flocked from all quarters to take the oath, and all i (ea of 
British protection was abandoned. 

Howe, at New Brunswick, as the spring opened, was the 
principal object of solicitude to Washington. It was evi- 
dent he must attempt one of two things ; either to move 
up the Hudson, and co-operate with Burgoyne approach- 
ing Albany from Ticonderoga, or attempt to reach Phila- 
delphia by marching across the State of New Jersey. He 
determined so to place himself and his troops, as to shield 
them from attack, and at the same time have them ready to 
attcick, if any movement was made. Sending the northern 
troops to the Highlands, he stationed his own on the 
heiglits north of Midd'ebrook, and repaired to the camp in 
person, on the 28th of May. He had only 8,398 men in 
all, inclusive of cavalry and artillery ; and of these more 
than 2,000 were sick ; so that the effective rank and file 
were only 5,738. Howe and Cornwallis had been employ- 
ed during the winter in enlisting every loyalist possible, 
offering large and special rewards to deserters ; and, 
strengthened in this way, far outnumbered the little array 
of Washington. What he had not in numbers, he en- 
deavored however, to provide for by the advantage of his 
position and his superior vigilance. The drama was one 
of tlie most interesting in the whole war. Washington's 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 83 

skill as a tactition was nowhere and on no occasion, more 
triumphantly displayed, than on the plains south of our 
mountain and east of Bound Brook, in June 1777. It is 
enough to say that he foiled his enemy completely, and fi- 
nally forced him from the State. 

He had seen early in the winter, that the campais^n of 
this year must be an important one — perhaps the ultimate 
decision of the contest ; and th;it, so far as his antagonist 
Sir William Howe was concerned, it would t;mbrace three 
points ! One an attempt from Canada by Burgoyne, to 
form a junction with the British at New York, by way of 
Albany and the Hudson ; and so by cutting off and isola- 
ting the eastern states of New England, divide and weak- 
en the colonies. Another, to maintain British ascendency 
in New York, and by preventing commerce, weaken and 
discourage the people. Lastly, to obtain possession of the 
city of Philadelphia, preparatory to the efforts to conquer 
the southern states. These three objects attained, he felt 
that the cause of Independence would be lost, or at best 
only a question of time. The British might rest in their 
conquests, and leave the Americans to waste their strength 
in vain ; and it would not take long to do it ! It was 
therefore, his business to frustrate all these designs. With 
the view of preventing the junction between Burgoyne and 
the British forces in New York. He threw, early in the 
spring, additional forces into Ticonderoga, collected men 
and stores at Albany, and strengthened the defences at 
West Point and Peekskill ; and planted himself behind 
the mountain at Middlebrook, within striking distance of 
New Brunswick, and near enough to New York, to act in 
any emergency that might arise there in the progress of 
the pending operations. 

We may sufficiently indicate the precise place of the 
encampment, by saying that it was on the right of the 
road leading through the mountain gorge in which Chim- 
ney Rock is situated, just where it rises up from the bed 
of the little stream, and attains the level of Washington 
valley. A strong earth work was thrown up about a 
quarter of a mile to the north west, almost in the centre of 
the valley, as a protection to any movement approaching 



84 SOMEKSET COUNTY, 

from Pliickamin ; and the whole of the defile leading 
through the narrow mountain valley was strongly guard^^d 
while the brow overlooking the plain bristled with cannon. 
Just at the edge of the wood, east of Chimney Rock, huts 
were erected as quarters for the officers, and everything 
done which either safety or coraf )rt demanded in the 
emergency. At Bound Brook a strong redoubt was con- 
structed, commanding the bridge over that miery little 
stream, just north of the present Railroad crossing, looking 
to any attack to be made from the way of New Bruns 
wick. Having taken, in this way, all possible precaution 
against surprise, he felt strong to abide the issue of events. 
The result justified his sagacity as a military tactition. 

In, the strong position described, guarded in front by 
the abrupt mountain wall and the wood crowning it ; and 
almost equi-distant from New York and Philadelphia, he 
was equally {)repared for any movement made in either di- 
rection. While from the elevation of the mountain itself 
the whole plain upon which the enemy had to travel was 
visible to his watching eye. It would be difficult for Sir 
William Howe to change his position in any way, or at- 
tempt to come out of New Brunswick without finding 
some one on his heels who would not allow him a single 
mistake without taking advaitage of it. 

There was however no equality in the relative strength 
of the two armies, when the contest commenced. The 
British forces were well clothed and provisioned, and flush- 
ed with their success in the preceeding campaign. The 
army of Washington was a feeble band — the whole effect- 
ive rank and file, when at Middlcbrook, amounting only to 
5,737 men ; more than half of which had never seen any 
service. And beside, there were elements of weakness in 
the corps itself, A large portion of it was composed of 
foreigners; many of them servants — upon whose attach- 
ment to freedom it was not safe to depend. This circum- 
stance was known to Sir William Howe ; and he had en- 
deavored to profit by it, offering pardon and protection to 
all deserters, and bounties to any slaves who might bring 
in their arms and accoutrements. It was a dastardly stroke of 
policy ; and its meanness seems to have been its weakness. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 85 

Few took udvaiitage of the offer, and the slaves remained 
content -vith their masters. As soon as Washington had 
taken his position at Middlebrook. Gen. Benedict Arnold 
was directed to form an army of Militia on the east side 
of the Delaware, and be prepared to dispute the passage of 
Howe, should he escape from Washington, and attempt to 
cross on his way to Philadelphia. And to give strength to 
his corps, a few companies of regulai- troops were detailed 
to assist him in making his dis].ositions effective. 

At the same time Gen. Sullivan, who had remained in 
the vicinity of Princeton with a })art of the regular army, 
and whose force was increasing daily by recruits from the 
South and the Militia of New Jersey, was ordered to hold 
himself in perpetual expectation of attack — to be prepared 
to send his bagage and provisions to a place of safety, and 
to move at a moment's warning — to preserve a communi- 
cation with the main army at all times open ; by no means 
to risk a general engagement, but to act as a partizan 
corps ; and on the first movement of the British from their 
encampment at New Brunswick, after having placed his 
main body in safety, to harrass and annoy them by detatch- 
ing active parties for that purpose. The whole militia of 
the state were also called out, and instructed to hang up- 
on the main body of the British army ; and by ranging 
the country in small parties, harrass their flanks and rear, 
cut off their supplies, and injure them as much as possible. 

Such was the state of things in Somerset County at the 
end of May, 1777 ; and now if we take a map of \he State 
and place it before us, we shall have a chess-board, upon 
which to trace the subsequent movements of the opposing 
forces in that grand contest of stratagem and skill, which 
was about to commence, It is equal in interest and in 
ability to anything in the military text book. Its results 
entered largely into the ultimate success which crowned 
American valor, and gave liberty to these United States, 
so proud in their career of glory, so magnificent in their fu- 
ture prospects. 

Leaving now Burgoyne to Schuyler and Gates, and 
Cornwallis looking anxiously for news from the north at 
New York, we concentrate our attention upon the two ar- 



86 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

mies in Somerset County. Wasliinj^ton looking from the 
mountain summit in the lear of Bound Broi>k, and Howe 
at New Brunswick contrivin<> to escape him, or to bring 
him down from his eirey, to fight him on the plains on 
more advantageous terms. The city of Philad^^lphia was 
the stake, and the play for it was magnificent. 

The British General had two ways of attaining his ob- 
ject. One by marching through New Jersey and crossing 
th*^ Delaware by a portable bridge, constructed for thafc 
purpose, during the winter at New Brunswick, and make 
his way directly to his object. The other to embark his 
armv and attempt the city by the way of the Delaware or 
Chesapeak Bay. The first was preferable, and was there- 
fore to be attempted befire the other was resorted to, — 
The demonstration was made on the l4th of June. Gren. 
Sir William Howe, leaving 2000 men at New Brunswick 
under the command of Gren. Matthews, advanced in two 
columns towards Princeton, The first under Lord Corn- 
wallis reached the village of Millstone by break of day ; 
the other under DeHester arrived about the same time at 
Middlebush, having taken a route more to the south than 
that which the former pursued. 

To meet the movement thus begun, Washington 
brought his army forward and posted it to great advan- 
tage in order of battle, on the south side of the mountain 
east of the gorge in which Chimney Rock is situated.- This 
position he maintained during the whole day, and at night 
the troops slept upon their arms. In this condition things 
remained from the morning of the 14th to the evening ot 
the 19th. Howe threatening and making every eff"ort to 
induce the Americans to abandon their high ground and 
fight him on the plain ; and Washington resolutely dis- 
regarding his taunts and maintaining his superior position; 
but perfectly prepared and willing to give him battle where 
lie was. 

Nor had he been idle at other points in anticipation of 
these movements. The troops from Peeks Kill, with the 
exception of 1000 effective men left there on guard, had been 
summoned to his aid, and were present and ready to act. 
A select corps of riflemen under Col. Mergan had been or- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 87 

ganized early in the season, and was acting as a partizea 
corps between the Raritan and Millstone, with instructions 
to watch the left flank of the enemy and fall on at the first 
favorable moment ; but not to permit himself to be sur- 
rounded, and his retreat to the main, body cut off. Mor- 
gans's men soon became a perfect scourge to the British 
regiments. >ir William Howe could not throw out a pick- 
et guard at any distance from the main array, but Morgan 
would drive it in ; and of woods and grain fields the ene- 
my soon had a complete horror, and would at any time 
march a mile round to avoid them ; for they were almost 
sure to receive from eveiy one which they approached a sa- 
lute of Morgan's rifles. Ranging the whole country on the 
south side of the Raritan, from that river to Rocky flill, 
he kept the inhabitants during the whole time that the 
British army remained on the east side of the Millstone, 
almost in a state of perfect security, and many a farmer 
owed to the fear of Morgan's men, the preservation of his 
tenements from the flames. 

It has been a common mistake to assert that Morgan 
during this period was encamped on the ridge of land be- 
tween the present residences of Mr. Henry Grarretson and 
what was formerly that of C. Brokaw, west of the Weston 
road. That encampment consisted of 1st, 2d and 7th 
Regiments of Pennsylvania troops, commanded by Gen. 
Anthony Wayne, and the time of their encampment there, 
was the winter of 1778 and 9, They came upon the 
ground in November, and remained until May, Their huts 
formed quite a town with its streets and parade ground in 
beautiful order, and when the encampment was broken up 
they proceeded to the Highlands, immediately after which, 
Stony Point fell, being stormed and taken by Glen. An- 
thony WayTie ! In the meantime Gen, Sullivan had 
changed his position from Princeton as soon as Howe mov- 
ed towords Millstone, and lay on the high grounds of Rocky 
Hill, looking over the plains on which the scene was act- 
ing ; and the militia of New Jersey, rallying with an alac- 
raty unexemplified at any previous time, took the field in 
great numbers, principally joining Gen. Sullivan, who 
again, when Howe threatened him from Middlebush and 



88 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

the village of Millstone, retired behind the Shannock moun- 
tain, in the neighborhctod of Clover Hill, and was forming 
a formidable army there to resist his progress to the Dela- 
ware. 

When General Howe determined on leaving a part of 
his army at JSTew Brunswick, marched out towards Mill- 
stone, with two divisions, stationing one at Middlebush, 
under the command of General De Heister, where two 
forts or redoubts were thrown up, one across the Amwell 
road, a few yards west of the house in which Moses Wol- 
sey at present resides ; the other was about three hundred 
yards south of the former, adjoining the present railroad, 
on land then owned by Denice Van Liew. 

The other division, under command of Lord Cornwallis, 
was stationed at Millstone, and a fort thrown up on the 
IVorth side of the road, a few yards West of the present 
dwelling of John V. C. WyckofF, on the land then owned 
by Hendrick Probasco. Another fort was thrown up on 
the opposite side of the road on land of Ann, widow of 
Cornelius Van Liew. 

While the army was encamped there a great amount of 
property belonging to the inhabitants of the neighborhood 
was taken and destroyed, The Dutch Church was dam- 
aged. General Cornwallis, in marching with his division 
to Millstone, took the amwell road, which then came into 
the Princeton road but a bhort distance above the Mile 
Run Brook near New Brunswick, which he followed, until 
he reached Millstone, while General De Heister followed 
the one running along the West bank of the Raritan for 
more than three miles, until he came to the then Van 
Duyn place, where he turned to the left and followed the 
road leading from thence into the Amwell Road, a few 
yards east of the present Middlebush Church, about half a 
mile west of which he encamped with his troops. 

This was the state of things from the 14th to the 19th 
of June. On the night of the 19th, Sir William Howe, 
finding the American army could not be drawn from its 
strong position, and seeing the crowds which flocked to join 
Sullivan in his front, determined to waste no more time in 
attempting to reach Philadelphia by land^ returned to New 



SOMERSET C0U:NTY. 89 

Brunswick. Here he remained only two days, and on the 
22d, proceeded to Amboy, when he threw over the Kills the 
bridge of boats intended to cross the Delaware, and com- 
menced passing over his bagge acd some of his light troops 
to Staten Island. His whole retreat was precipatous and 
was marked by the smoking ruins of barns and farm hous- 
es ; but it was not peaceable. Morgan's eye was upon 
him, and at sun rise on the mornhig of the 22d the sharp 
report of his rifles sounded in his ears, as he attacked and 
drove in his picket guard, and when they threw them- 
selves into the redoubts on the hill west of New Brunswick, 
Wayne was there to second Morgan's attack. These were 
soon abandoned, and the whole army having cros?ed the 
Raritan, was seen in full flight towards Amboy. Some 
sharp skirmishing took place between the rear guard and 
Morgan's riflemen, but the march was conducted in such a 
guarded manner that nothing efl'ectual could be accom- 
plished. Sullivan was now ordered to move his division 
and co-operate with Green and Maxwell, who had been di- 
rected to watch the enemies flanks and rear, and molest 
them in every possible way. But from the distance at 
which he was encamped, he was unable to come up in time. 
And the express sent to Maxwell either deserted or was 
taken ; and the rear guard being stronger than was ex- 
pected, Green with his three brigades could make no effec- 
tual impression on them. In consequence the retreat to 
Amboy was less disastrous than it might have been, had 
circumstances favored our troops ! An aged man who was 
a native of Middlebash, and as a boy was taken prisoner 
when the British retreated, related that in returning from 
the movement above described, the troops crossed below 
Bound Brook to the north side of the Raritan, on their 
way to New Brunswick. It is difficult to see the occas- 
ion of such a movement, and yet more difficult to discredit 
the testimony of an eye witness. Perhaps it was in the 
hope of tempting Washington to attack them. 

While the movements indicated above were being made, 
the whole army of Washington had remained paraded 
every day on the heights north of Bound Brook, really to 
act as circumstances might require. But now, in order to 



/ 



90 SOMERSET COUNTY, 

cover his light parties which hung on the British rear, he 
descended from his position and advanced to New Market, 
some six or seven miles eastward, and the division under 
Lord Sterling proceeded still further, to Metuchen meeting 
house, heing directed to act ^»'ith the several parties of 
Green and Morgan already on the lines and harrassing the 
rear of the retreating army. 

As soon as Washington had made this movement, Sir 
Wm. Howe thought the moment had arrived to bring on a 
general engagement, a thing which he had sought and ho[)- 
ed for from the commencement of active operations. With 
this view, on the night of the 25th he hastily recalled the 
troo[)s which had been transported to Siaten Island, and 
early next morning, made a rapid movement in two col- 
umns, toward Westfield. The right, under command of 
Lord Cornwallis, took the route by Woodbridge^ to 
Scotch Plains, and aimed to seize the strong pass through 
the mountains west of Plainfield, and thus, by gaining the 
rear of Washington, force him from his advantageous position 
on the high grounds, and oblige him to fight on the plains. 
The left, under the personal direction of Sir Wm Howe, 
marched by Metucheu meeting house, and intended to at- 
tack the Americans at New Market, and, ultimately, gain 
also the heights on the left of the camp at Middkbrook. 
If this well concentrated movement had succeeded, Wash- 
ington would have either been obliged to fly towards the 
Highlands, on the Hudson River, or to fight th6 well ap- 
pointed army before him with his feeble force, upon such 
terms and in such a position as to afford but slight hopes 
of success. But a kind Providence averted the well aimed 
blow. 

Howe's own account is in the following words : The 
necessary preparations being finished for crossing the troops 
to Staten Island, intelligence was received that the enemy 
had moved down from the mountain and taken post at 
Quibbletown, (New Market) intending, as was given out, 
to attack the rear of the army removing from Amboy — 
that two corps had advanced to their left — one of 3000 
men and eight pieces of cannon, under the command of 
Lord Sterling, Gen's. Maxwell and Conway ; the last, 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 91 

said to he a captain in the French service. The other corps, 
consisted of about. 700 raett with only «)ne piece of cannon. 
In this situation, it was thought advisable to make a move- 
nienr, that might lead on to an attack, which was done on 
the 26th in tlie morning, in two columns. 

At Woodbiidge, the right column of the British fell in 
with the light ])arties sent out to watch their motion, and 
thus acquainted Washington with the movement. He at 
once penetrated the whole design, ordered his army back 
with the utmost celerity to their original position at Middle- 
brook^ and sent out a party to guard the heights which the 
enemy intended to seize. The left, under (yornwallis, en- 
countered Lord Sterling, and after a severe skirmish, drove 
him from his position and pursued him over the hills as far 
as Westfield, where they halted. But the pass in the moun- 
tain west of Plainfield being guarded, and Washiuirton, like 
an eagle, perched again upon his eyry, and Sterling beyond 
the reach of Cornwallis, the British commander saw that 
the object in view of which his whole raauoeuver had been 
made, was beyond his reach, turned his face again towards 
the seaboard; and on the 30th of June crossed over to Stateu 
Island with his whole army. His course was a clear 
acknowledgment that he was beaten ; and that too, by a 
force far inferior to his own. Both his designs were de- 
feated. He had neither gained an op^u road to Philadel- 
phia, nor brought on a general engagement ; and after 
raanoeuvering a month and more, was obliged to change 
the whole object of the campaign ; or seek to gain its end 
by a circuitous route, in which there was both danger and 
uncertainty. 

As the result of his contest with Sterling's command, the 
British General claims to have captured three brass cannon 
and three captains ; and computes the American loss at 
60 men killed and more than 200 wounded, while he avers 
that Cornwallis had only 5 killed and 30 wounded, and 
ends by excusing the want of success, from the day prov- 
ing so intensely hot, that the soldiers could with difficulty 
continue their march. In fact there was always something 
the matter with the British commander. His most suc- 
cessful feat seems to have been that moonlight race from 



92 SOMEKSET COUNTY. 

the battle of Monmouth in the next sumnier . It was so 
swift and successful, that when the morninoj dawned, 
VVashin<^ton dispaired beinoj able to come up with him, and 
let him go until another time. 

So now, from WestHeld and Scotch Fiains, he glories in 
having made a saf^ retreat again to his shi[)s at Amboy. 

Even in this he was not left unmolested. Scott and 
C(»nway were despatched to watch his motions, and annoy 
him in every way ; and the rear guard of the British army 
was not yet out ot Ambt)y, before the former marched into 
it, and to;)k possesion. But the guarded and soldier like 
manner in which the whole retreat was managed, prevent- 
ed any successful attack, and so the prize fled from our 
State in safety. 

Such were some of the busy scenes enacted in the coun- 
ties of Somerset and Middlesex, in the spring and early 
summer of 1777. Armies were marching and counte-"- 
marching daily. The tread of the war horse echoed 
through their peaceful solitudes, and the glitter of steel 
flashed in the sunlight, while the vast interests dependent 
upon every movement, filled the minds, not only of the 
actors, but also of all the inhabitants, with the most in- 
tense interest. 

On the apex of the Round top, on the left of the gorge, 
in which Chimn(iy Rock stands, there are yet to be seen 
rude remains of a hut, which Washington sometimes fre- 
quented, during these anxious months of 1777. On the 
east side of the gorge, also, fronting the plain north of 
Middlebrook, there is a rock, which has been named 
"Washington Kock," because there he often stood to gaze 
anxiously u[)on the scene it overlooks. 

On the mountain, west of Plainfield also, there is a very 
lavgfi rock, which has received the same appellation, from 
this circumstance. On the 30th of June, while Sir Wm. 
Howe and Cornwallis were moving in the plain between 
the Raritan and Amboy, no more favorable position from 
which to see every motion, could be desired, and it is not 
improbable that there, the noble i'ovm of the American Fa- 
bius was often seen from morning until evening, during all 
these anxious days. Perhaps we owe to these spots, more 



iSOMEPSET COUNTY. <j3 

than has yet been imagined. .1 l^s-; |)eiiect kno'vledge t)n 
the part of Was> ingr.on, of every tnovenient of his enemies, 
might have involved him in a false position. Had he not 
been in a situation, when on his rock elevation, to see at 
once the aim of Sir VVm. Howe in that well concerted 
n)ov'ement from Amboy, his regiments might have been 
captured after he left his strong camp at Bound Broolc 
and advanced upon the plain, and then our soil too, would 
have been saturated with human ^>ore, and our vicinity 
celebrated as another of the battle fields of liberty. But 
as it was, life was spared, the designs of our enemies frus- 
trated, and the triumph of t'^e principles of human liberty 
secured. Let the memory of all such places live, and let 
l)ilgrims visit them as consecrated spots, as long as the 
glory of the great deeds and the enduring fiime of the 
noble man with whom they are associated shall continue. 

The British remained on Staten Island until the middle 
of July, and then embarked and sailed for the Chesapeake. 
Washington, after a few days, hearing of Burgoyne's ap- 
proach to Ticonderoga, moved his araiy to Morristown, 
and advanced Sullivan as far as Pompton Plains — and then 
again to Peeks Kill, while he hiaiself took position at 
Pompton. But as soon as Howe had passed out of Sandy 
Hook, knowing well that his aim was to the city of Phila- 
delphia, he returned through the county of Somerset, and 
crossed the Delaware at New Hope, hastening to the scene 
of action. The result was tlie battle of Brandy wine on the 
11th of Sept. Germantown Oct., 4th, and finally the oc- 
cupation of the city of Philadelphia by the British forces. 

The route of this march across the State is no where 
stated so far as we have read. It was probably by the 
way of Newark and New Brunswick, by the troops from 
Peekskill ; and by Morristown and Millstone, by those 
from Pompton. The State was now cleared of all Milita- 
ry companies and warlike action, and remained so until the 
evacuation of Philadelphia, June 18th, 1778. It was al- 
most a year of sweet rest for its wasted inhabitants. — 
When the British entered it again, there was a very diff- 
erent state of feeling existing among the people. 

For some time after Sir Wm. Howe had embarked his 



94 SOMERSKT COUNTY. 

troops rtt Ainboy, there hnwj^ i^n-ut uncertainty over his 
destination, baton the 30th ofJuly the fleet appeared off 
the Capes of Dehiware apparently desirinj^, but tearing to 
enter tin- river, and only finally reached the Chesapeake 
on the 16th ofAuiiUst. Washington, upon learning this, 
concentrated his army ;it nnce in the vicinity of Philadel- 
phia. On tliH 25th of Atigust the British landed at the 
IVrry of Klk tlun. Tlie whole force was computed at 
18,000 men. On the 15th of September, occurred the 
Battle of Braiidywine. Various movements and skirmish- 
v-s succeeded, the taking of the forts on the D -laware, then 
came the battle of Germantown, and finally the oc- 
cupation of the city of Pl)iladelpiiia, liie great object of 
solicitud'^, nn the part of Howe, during the wh(de sum- 
mer. Tlien came news of the capture of Burgoyne at 
Saratoga, ()(;tober 13, and Washington encain[)ed for the 
winter at Valh^y Forge, on the Schuylkill, and the active? 
ojjerations of another year ended 

We have seen the British resting in Philadel[thia, in the 
winter of 1777 and 1778, and Washington watcuing them 
along the Schuylkill from Valley Forge and Whitemarsh. 
Tlie winter was a weary and discouraging one. The 
American troops were ill clad, ill fed, and exposed to sick- 
ness, but they endured it all with patriotic patience, and 
waited for the opening of the next spring for action — 
And a stirring scene it was indeed. The British army 
had been comfortable in their quarters in the city, and 
the officers had sought to ingratiate thems^lvc^s with the 
inhabitants by "theatricals, balls, and suppers ;" but their 
success had hardly corresjiondetl to the efforts put forth. 
They lingered through the whole sj)ring, but finally, on 
the 18th of June, crossed the Delaware at Camden and 
Burlington, and |.roceeded on their march to the city of 
New York, by the way of Allentown, Washington put 
his troops in motion to follow their footsteps, and if possi- 
ble, bring on an engagement before they had reached their 
ships on Monmouth shore. He crossed his army at Cor- 
yelle's Ferry and marching by the way of Pennington and 
Kingston, aj)proached his enemy. 

From the lines on which the two armies were marching, 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 95 

it soon becaiTK:! evidtiiit that there wouUl bo a iiuieting and 
conflict, somewhere in tne vicinity of Freehold or Englisli- 
town, in Monmouth county. Washington was greatly em- 
barrassed however, by differing opinions among his officers. 
Lee, with five othe.- general officers, was in favor of the 
[tolicy of a perpetual annoyance of the enemy on the march; 
Green, Wayne and Lafayette, thought with Washington, 
that it was possible to defeat the British army and make 
them prisoners, before they couhl e.Ktricate themst-lves and 
reach their shii)s in the Raritan Bay. Finally, soon after 
l)assing the Millstone, jit Kingston, the Commander-iii- 
(Jhief determined to take the responsibility and to carry 
ont his own private views, by attacking his enemy with 
his whole f )rce. Detatching Wayne, with 1000 men to 
the front, and giving Lafayette conmiand of all the ad- 
vanced i)arties, he moved forward the main body of his 
troops to Cranberry on the 26th of June. On the 27th, 
Lafayette reached Englishtown. Sir Henry Clinton ap- 
prehending an immediate attack, placed all his baggage in 
his front, and took up a strong position at Freehold. 

In this situation the morning of the 28th of J une dawn- 
ed- It was the Christian Sabbath. The sky was cloud- 
less over the plains of Monmouth, and the sun came up 
with all the fervor of the summer solstice. It was the 
sultriest day of the year, but twenty thousand men had 
girded on the implements of cruel war, and stood ready 
for the battle which decided a long conflict and gave us 
our freedom. We refer to the published description of the 
battle for particulars. 

We only remark that notwithstanding the misconduct of 
Lee, for which he was tried and dismissed from the army, 
the victory of the Americans was so complete, that during 
the night the British forces retreated to their ships at Mid- 
dletown shore, and so made their escape before Washing- 
•ton had time to reach them in the morning. Sir Henry 
Clinton's moonlight raid from Freehold to the waiting 
ships, of which he wrote a brilliant account to his friends 
at home, may be quoted as one of the most successful run- 
nings of the war, if not among its most brilliant exploits. 

On the day of the battle of Monmouth the French fleet 



96 SOMERSET COUNTY, 

arrived off the coast, one month earlier the British ships 
wonkl have been caught at Phibidelphia. It was proj)Osed 
to attempt the same thing in the harbour of New York, 
but unfortunately they drew so much water, that they 
were unable to pass tlie Bar at Sandy Hook, and went to 
Newport, and Washington marched his army again to the 
Nerh Kiver above New York, sending a |)art of it into Rhode 
Ishmd to assist in the attack made by the French fleet up- 
on Newport. He himself continued with his troops at 
Haverstraw. 

In a few desultory movements the season was spent, and 
the French fleet in December, went to winter in the West 
Indies and tlie campaign closed. 

Washington with tie remainder of his troops came to 
the vicinity of Somerville and selected as the place for en- 
campment, the slopi! of woodland north east of Mount 
Pleasant, the officers oceupied the huts which had been 
erected on the south side of the mountain east of the 
gorge of Chimney Rock. He himself took u}) his quarters 
at the house of William Wallace, in Somerville, and here 
Mrs. Washington came and joined him, and they passed 
the wint<3r. 

There were about 7000 men at Mount Pleasant and at 
Chinmey Rock ; the principal part at the former place. 
The (.'ommander-in-Chitf had, on the 26th of October 
through Lord Sterling, caused the following resolutions of 
the Continental Congress to be published to the army, sub- 
scribed by Francis Barber, Adj. Gen'l. viz : 

Whereas, religion and good morals are the only solid 
foundation of public liberty and happiness ; 
Resolved, That it be, and hereby is earnestly recom- 
mended to the several States to take the most effectual 
measures for the encouragement thereof, and for the sup- 
pression of theatrical entertainments, horse racing, gaming 
and such other diversions as are productive of idleness, dis- 
sipation, and general depravity of principles and manners. 
Resolved, That all officers in the army of the United 
States, be hereby strictly enjoined to see that the good and 
wholesome rules provided for the discountenance of pro- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 97 

faneness and vice, and the preservation of morals araoDg 
the soldiers, are duly and punctually ohserved. 

In consequence whereof, the Comniinder-in-Chief of ihe 
army in this Stctte, directs, that strict obedience to the 
foregoing resolves be paid by all offisers and soldiers within 
the same, By order of Major-G.meral L )rd Sterling, Com- 
mander of the C mfederate troops of New Jersey. 

FuANcis Barber, Adj. -Gen. 
On the 6th of February, 1779, when the encampment 
was just completed and regular order fully established, 
Washington himself supplemented the above by the fol- 
lowing additional orders : 

The Commander-in-Chief approves of the order issued 
by Major Gen. Lord Sterling during his command at the 
camp, and thanks him for the endeavor to pres'^rve order 
and discipline, and the property of the farmers in the vi- 
cinity of the camp. He doubts not but the officers of eve- 
ry rank, from a just sense of the importance of sncuring to 
others the blessings they themselves are contending for, will 
use their utmost vigilance to to maintain those privileges 
and prevent abuses, as nothing can redound more to their 
personal honor and the reputation of their respective corps. 
Extract from general orders, 

Alexander Scammil. Adj. -Gen. 
Pr'^cisely when the encampn>ent broke up in the next 
summer is not readily ascertained Gen. Wayne, whose 
corps lay on the scuth side of the Raritan River, left there 
on the last days of June for Stcmy Point, which he as- 
saulted and captured on the 15th of July. It is probable 
that the troops were gradually withdrawn, and from this 
time our County ceased to be the resting place of the ar- 
mies fighting in trie cause of liberty, and the foot of a 
British soldier trod it no more except in one hasty visit, 
which is to be related. 

The alliance which had been formed with France in 
consequence of which, Rochambeau and Count De Grasse 
were sent to the United States, was, during the winter 
1779, a matter of universal congratulation. After the ar- 
my, had been comfortably hutted, the officers of the artill- 
ery stationed in the vicinity of Pluckarain, gave an enter- 



98 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

tainra<^nt, consisting of" a hall and supper in honor of the 
event. We extract th'^ following account of this joyous 
occasion from cotenij)orary records. It is in the following 
words : "The anniversary of our alliance with France was 
celebrated on the 18th ultimo at Pluckamin, at a very ele- 
gant entertainment and display of fireworks given by Gen. 
Knox and theofficeisof the Corps of Artillery. It was 
postponed to this late day on account of the Commander 
in Chief being absent from the camp. Gen. Washington, 
the principal officers of the array, with Mrs. Washington. 
Mrs. Green, Mrs. Knox, and the ladies and gentlemen of 
a large circuit round the cam{), were of the company. 
Besides these, there was a vast concourse of spectators from 
every part of the Jerseys. 

The barracks of the artillery are at a small distance from 
Pluckamin, on a piece of rising ground, which shows thera 
to great advantage. The entertainment and ball were held 
at the Academy of the Park. About 4 o'clock in the af- 
ternoon, the celebration of the Alliance was announced by 
the discharge of 13 cannon, when the company assembled 
to a very elegant dinner. The room was spacious and the 
tables were prettily disposed, both as to prospect and con- 
venience. The festivity was universal and the toasts de- 
scriptive of the happy event, which had given certainty to 
our liberties, empire and independence. In the evening 
was exhibited a very tine set of fire works conducted by 
Col, Stevens arranged on the point of a temple 100 feet in 
length and proportionately high. The temple showed 13 
arches, each displaying an illuminated painting. The 
centre arch was ornamented with a pediment larger than 
the others, and the whole edifice supported by a colonade 
of the Corinthian order 

The illuminated paintings were disposed of in the follow- 
ing order. The 1st arch on the right represented the 
commencement of hostilities at Lexington, with this in- 
scription — '-The scene opened ;" 2d, 'British Clemency/ 
represented in the burning of Charleston, Falmouth, Nor- 
folk and Kingston ; 3d, "The separation of America from 
Britain." "By your tyranny to the people of America, 
you have separated the wide arch of an extended empire ; 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 99 

4th, '-Britain iV'piesenteJ as a decaying eiui)iri', by a bar- 
ren Country, broken arches, fallen spires, shij)s deserting 
its shores, births of t)i"ev hovering over its luoulderinQ- citi(\s. 
and a gloomy setting sun. Motto : 

The Babylonian spires aie nunk 

Aohciia, Rome and Eirypt iiiuuldered down : 

Time siiakes the stable tyiaiiny of thrones. 

And totteritiu Empires crushed b}- theii own weiyht." 

5, America re])resetited as a rising Em; ire, [)rospect (d' a 
feride country, hai'bors and rivers covered with ships, new 
ca als opening, cities rising amidst woods, splendid sun 
emerging from a bright horrizon. Motto, 

"New worlds are seen emer<j:ing from the deep 
The old descending in their turn to rise." 

6. A grand illuminated representation of Louis 16, the en- 
courager of letters, the sn})porter ut' the rights of humani- 
ty, the ally and friend of tie American people ; 7th, the 
centre arch, "The Fathers in Gongre.'^s." Motto, Nil dcs- 
perandum Reipiihlicae ;" 8th, The American Philosopher 
and Ambassador, exti acting lightning from the clouds ; 
9th, Battle near Saratoga, Oct. 7, 1777 ; 10, The Conven- 
tion of Saratoga ; 11th, A representation of the sea-tight 
off Ushant, between Count De Orvilliers and Admiral 
Keppel ; 12th, Warren Montgomery, Mercer, Wooster, 
Nash, and a crowd of heroes who have fallen in th ■ Amer- 
ican contest, in Elysium, receiving the thanks and praises 
of Brutus, Cato and those other spirits, who, in nil ages, 
have gloriously struggled against tyrants and tyranny. 
M.tto, "Those who shed their blood in such a cause shall, 
live and reign forever ;" 13th, represented peace, with all 
her train of blessings, her right hand displaying an olive 
bran; h, at her feet lay the honors of harvest, the back- 
ground was filled with flourishing cities, por s crowded 
with ships and other elements of an extended Empire and 
unrestraint d commerce. 

When the fireworks were finished, the company return- 
ed to the Academy and concluded the celebration by a 
very splendid ball. 

The whole was conducted in a style and manner that 
reflects srcat honor oh the task of the managers. 



100 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

The news announced to Congress, from the Spanish 
branch of the house of Bourbon, arriving at the moment of 
Ci^h^bration, notliing coukl so opjiortunely have increased 
the good humor of the company, or added to those anima- 
ted expressions of pleasure which arose on the occasion." 

The exact locality of the 'Academy' tradition fixes on the 
east side of the village street, a short distance north of the 
late Boylan residence, and the edge of the wood, on the 
farm of the late Dr. Henry Vanderveer. There are many 
graves yet visible near the encampment at the foot of the 
mountain. 

During the time that the troops were at Pluckamin, the 
child of Gen. Knox died, and was buried in the Cemetery 
of Bedminster Church. The following is found on the 
tomb : 

" Under this stone are deposited the Remains of Jidia 
Knox, an infant, who died the 2nd of July, 1779. She 
loas the Second Daughter of Henry and Lucy Knox, of 
Boston, in New England. 

This grave is situated directly west of the front doors of 
the Church, and about 25 feet from the building. 

The Spring of 1780, while Washington lingered with 
his army near Somerville, was a characteristic season of 
the war. It was earnestly hoped, and by many believed, 
that the French alliance would bring peace and independ- 
ence very soon. So they thought at pluckamin and rep- 
resented in one of their illuminated paintings. In some 
respects it was an unfortunate delusion, for it tended to 
paralyze the exertions of Congress and the people generally 
and produced delay in all the departments of the civil and 
military service. 

Then the currency had become largely depreciated. The 
dollar which in 1777, was worth 7 shillings and six pence, 
in 1780, passed for only 3 pence. We have had the use 
of an old list made as a memorandum of this progress of 
the downfall of the circulating medium, and append it as 
a curiosity. 

September 1777, the Continental dollars passed for 7 
shillings and 6 pence ; October, 10s ; November, 6s 3p ; 
December, 5s 8p ; January 1778, 5s 2p ; February 4s 8p; 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 101 

March, 4s 3p ; April 3s 9p ; May, 3s 3p ; .lime, 2s lOp ; 
July, 2s 6p ; August, 2s 2p ; September, Is 10 l-2p ; 
October, Is 7 l-2p ; November, Is 4p ; December, Is 2p ; 
January 1779. Is; February. 10 l-2p; March, 9p ; April, 
8p ; May. 7 l-2p ; June, 6 l-3p ; July, 6p ; August,- 
5 l-2p ; September, 5p ; October, 4 l-2p ; November, 4p; 
December, 3 l-2p ; January 1780, 3p ; February, 3p ; 
March, 2 l-2p, and up to the 18th of May 1780, 2 1-lOp 
and then 0. IIuw the people managed in such a state of 
things, to sell or traffic at all, is a mystery, and h )\v the 
armies were kept in the field is almost a miracle. It is 
only another confirmation of the adage 'what is to be done 
will be done.' Robert Morris's immense fortune was often 
the only confidence which floated the Continental currency, 
and kept the armies in the field. 

In June the army broke up its encampment and moved 
to the vicinity of Hackensack. Stony Point was taken by 
Gen. Anthony Wayne on the 15th of July, and on the 
18th of August, Lord Sterling, aided by Major Lee. as- 
saulted and took the fort at Paules Hook, now Jersey 
City, making prisoners <jf 150 men and officers. 

Somerset was exempt from any disturbance, and the 
armies did not in any way intrude on the pursuits of hus- 
bandry. Only once the army passed through this county 
on its way to Yorktown, and at the close of the war, while 
Congress was in session, at Princeton, Washington and hi s 
guard and officers attended there for a short period, and 
W3 therelore close here the Revolutionary history of our 
county, so far as active operations are concerned. 



CHAPTER VII. 
simooe's raid, and concluding scenes of the revolution. 

One of tlie most celebrated incidents of the war, especially 
in Somerset County, was the raid of Lieut. Col. Simcoe 
froin Amboy to Van Veghten's Bridge, in which he suc- 
ceeded in the burning of a number of boats lying in the 
liaritan, one and a half miles below Somerville, the Church 
of Raritan, the Cc^irt House at Millstone, and reached the 
ambuscade formed to protect and receive him and his 
Corps at Spotswood, with the loss of only three men killed 
and six taken prisoners, one of which was Simcoe himself. 
Col. Lee says in his "Memoirs of the War," that it was 
considered by b^-tli armies among the handsomest exploits 
ot the war. The Corps called the "Queen's Rangers," 
which made this raid, c nsisted. mostlv of native Ameri- 
cans who favored the Royal cause, enlisted chiefly in the 
vicinity of New York and Connecticut. It had mustered 
at one time four hundred men ; but was reduced in num- 
bers when Col. Simcoe assumed the command in 1777. He 
soon made it as a corps, a model of order, bravery and 
military skill ; and it w;is in its very best condition when 
acting in New Jersey. We are then to understand that it 
was not British soldiers who committed the outrage on 
property devoted to religious purposes, but renegade 
Americans ; and the pilot is said was Jim Stewart, a na- 
tive of Somerset C(junty. We have an account of this 
raid from Lieut. Col. Simcoe himself; and we shall let 
him give his own version and then append our comments. 
The following is an extract from his Military Journal, j)ub- 
lished under his own supervision : 

"On the 25th of October, by 8 o'clock at night, the de- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 103 

tachment, which had been detailed, marched to Billop's 
Point where they were to embark. That the enterprise might 
be efFectnally concealed, Lt. Col. Simcoe described a man, 
as a rebel 8j)y, said to be on the island, and endeavoring? 
to escape to New Jersey, a great rewai'd was offered for 
taking him, and the militia of the Island were watching 
all the points where it was possilde for any man to hide 
in order to apprehend him. The batteaux and boats, 
which were appointed to be ready at Billop's Point, and to 
pass the whole over by twelve o'clock at night, did not ar- 
rive until three o'clock in the morning. No time was lost. 
The infantry of the Queen's Rangers were landed ; they 
ambuscaded every avenue to the town. The cavalry fol- 
lowed as fast as possible. 

As soon as it was formed, Lieut. Col. Simcoe called to- 
gether the officers ; he told them of his plan, "that he 
meant to burn the boafs at Van Vacter's bridge, and 
crossing the Raritan at Hillsborough, to return by the 
road to Brunswick, and, making a circuit to avoid that 
place as soon as he came near it, to discover himself when 
beyond it, on the heights where the Grenadier Redoubt 
stood while the British troops were can<"oned there, and 
where the Queen's Rangers afterward had been encamped ; 
and to entice the militia, if jjossible, to follow him into an 
ambuscade which the infantiy wouhi lay t'ov them at South 
River bridge." Mnjor Armstrong was to re-embark as 
sopn as the cavalry marched, and land on the opposite side 
of the Raritan, at South Amboy. He was then, with the 
utmost dispatch and silence, to proceed to South River 
bridge, si.x; miles from South Amboy, where he was to am- 
buscade himself, without passing the bridge or taking it 
up A smaller creek falls into this river on the South 
Amboy side ; into the peninsula formed by these streams, 
Liut. Ciil. Simcoe hoped to allure the Jersey militia. In 
case of accident, Mhj, Armstrong was desired to give credit 
to any messenger who should give him the parole of 
"Clinton and Montrose." It was daybreak before the 
cavalry left Amboy. The procuring of guides had been 
by Sir Henry Clinton intrusted to Brigadier Skinner ; he 
either did not or could not obtain them ; for but one was 



104 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

found who knew perfectly the cross-road he meant to take 
to avoid the main road fmni Somerset Court House, or 
Hillsborough, to Brunswick. Capt, Sanford frmed the 
advance guard, the Huzzars followed, and Stuart's men 
were in the rear, making, in the whole, about eighty. A 
Justice Crow was soon overtaken ; Lieut. Col. Sirncoe ac- 
costed him roughly, called him "Pory," nor seemed to be- 
lieve his excuse when, in the American idiom for court- 
ship, he said "he had only been a sparking," but sent him 
to the rear guard, who, being Americans, easily compre- 
hended their instructions, and kept up the justice's belief 
that the party was a detatchment +rom Washington's ar- 
my. Many jjlantations were now passed by, the inhabi- 
tants of which were up, and whom the party accosted with 
friendly salutations. At Quibbletown, Lieut. Col. Simcoe 
ba'l just quitted the advance guard to speak to Lieut. 
Stewart, [ Lieut. Stewart was a native of Somerset Coun- 
ty, a partisan Royalist, and extensively known as "Tory 
Jim." If he had been recognized anywhere about Bound 
Brook or Raritan, it would not have been well for him. ] 
when, from a public house on the turn of the road, some 
people came out with knapsacks on their shoulders, bear- 
ing the appearance of a lebel guard. Capt, Sanford did 
not see them t'll he had passed by, when, checking his 
horse to give notice, the huzzars were reduced to a mo- 
mentary halt opposite the house. Perceiving the suppos- 
ed guard they threw themselves off their horses, sword in 
hand, and entered the house. Lieut. Col. Simcoe instant- 
ly made them remount ; but they failed to discover 
some thousand pounds of paper money which had been ta- 
ken from a passenger, the master of a priyateer, nor could 
he stay to search for it. He told the man "that he would 
be aLswerabb to give him his money that night at Bruns- 
wick, where he should quarter," exclaimed aloud to his 
party, "that these were not the tories they were in search 
of, although they had knapsacks," and told the country 
people who were assembling around, "that a party of To- 
ries had made their escape from Sullivan's army, and were 
trying to get into Staten Island, as Iliff (who had been 
defeated near this very spot, taken and executed) had foi - 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 105 

merly done ; and that he was sent to intercept them." 
The sight of Justice Crow would, probably, have aided in 
deceiving the inhabitants ; but unfortunately, a man per- 
sonally knew Lieut. Col. Simcoe, and an express was sent 
to Gov. Livingston, then at Brunswick, as soon as the par- 
ty marched. It was now conducted by a country lad 
whom they fell in with, and to whom Capt. Sanford (be- 
ing dressed in red, and without his cloak) had been intro- 
duced as a French officer. He gave information, that the 
greater part of the boats had been sent on to Washington's 
camp, but that eighteen were at Van Vacter's bridge, and 
that their horses were at a farm about a mile from it. He 
led the party to an old camp of Washington's, above 
Bound Brook. [This encamptnent was on the mountain 
side east of the gorge of Chimney Rock.] Lieat. Go\. tSim- 
coe's instructions were, to burn these huts, if possible, in 
order to give as wide an alarm to the Jerseys as he could. 
He found it impracticable to do so — they not being joined 
in ranges, nor built of very combustible materials. He 
proceeded without delay to Bound Brook, whence he in- 
tended to carry off Col, Moyland ; but lie was not at Mr, 
Vanhorns. [It is understood 'that Col. Moyland had 
married a daughter of Mr. Phillip Van Horn, and was 
known to be frequently there on visits to his wife.] Two 
officers who had been ill were there ; their paroles were 
taken, and they were ordered to mark "sick quarters" over 
the room door they inhabited, which was done ; and Mr. 
Vanhorn Wiis informed that the party was the advance 
guard of tht? left colum.n of the army, which was command- 
ed by Gen. Birch, who meant to quarter that night at his 
house, — and that Sir Henry Clinton was in full march for 
Morristown. with the army. The party proceeded to Van 
Vacter's bridge. Lieut Col. Simcoe found 18 new flat 
boats, upon carriages ; they were full of water He was 
determined effectually to destroy them. Combustibles had 
been applied for, and he received, in consequence, a few 
port fires ; every huzzar had a hand-grenade, and several 
hatchets were brought with the party. The timbers of 
the boats were cut througli, they were filled with straw and 
railing, and some grenades being fastened in them, they 



lOG SOMEKSET COUNTY. 

were set on fire. Forty minntes were employed in this 
business. The eonntry bef2;an to assemble in their rear; 
and, as Lient. Col. Sinicoi^ went to the Duteh meeting, — 
where the harness, and some stores, were reported to be 
— a rifle-shot was. fired at liim from the opposite bank of 
the river. This house, with a magazine of forage, was now 
consumed, ['"The Dutch Meeting" Wiis the Clinrch of 
Raritan, built in 1721 on land donated to the congregation 
by Michael Van Veghten. Some of tlie ro])es used in 
hauling the boats from the Delaware, had been thrown un- 
der tile portico of the church, but anything else that could 
be called property or "stores" th':'re was not ; the rifle shot 
fired from the opposite side of the river was only a shot 
gun loaded for shooting pigeon^, and fired by a young man,, 
at such a long range, as to do no possible execution ; who, 
immediately took to his heels and ran away. There was 
no "magaze of forage" anywhere near the bridge, with the 
exception of the ropes ; and there had been nothing else 
there at any time. The boats were intended to be floated 
down the river and employed in making a descent on 
{Staten Island and attacking the British encampments there; 
and it is a mistake, to say that a couimissary and his peo- 
ple were made prisoneis. We say this on the authority of 
a witness living ( n the Ravitan at that very time and per- 
fectly cognizant of all the particulars from whose lips we 
are giving our testimony. Simcoe's account wae written, 
prolably, long after the time when the event occurred and 
])articulars were forgotten ; and the burning of the Church 
therefore, stands unexcused as a wanton outrage for which 
there was no provocation in the circumstances of the case, 
or in the recognized rules of civilized warfare.] the com- 
missary and his people being made prisoners. The party 
proceeded to Somerset Courthouse, or Hillsborough, Lieut, 
Col, ISimcoe told the prisoners not to be alarmed, that he 
would give them their paroles before he left the Jerseys; 
but he could not help heavily lamenting to the officers with 
him, the sinister events which ])revented him from being 
at Van Vacter's bridge some hours sooner, — as it would 
have been very feasible to have drawn off' the flat boats to 
the South river, instead of destroying them. He proceed- 



SOMERSET COUNTY, 107 

ed to SoiiK'i-st't Coiirthoiise. Three loyalists who were 
piisoners there, were liberated. One <>f thein was a dread- 
ful spectacle ; he a|)[)eur.s to ha^'e been almost starved, and 
was chained to the Moor. [Wo have no information in re- 
gard to the ])risoner.'. in the jail at Millstone ; hut we be- 
lieve the scene described to be an exaggeration. The par- 
tiz;!ns of the British, it is true, were not much respected 
in Somerset County, Init humanity was never foigotten in 
dealing with them. They had coats of "tar and feathers" 
bestowed on th' m ; but ''almost, starvation" is (;vi(lently 
an hy[)erbolic form of e.xpression .] The soldiers wished 
and it was peinutted, to burn the court house. It was 
unconnected with any other building, and, by its flamifs 
showed ( n wdiich side of the Rarilan he was, and would, 
most pi obably, operate lo assemble the neighboihood of 
Brunswick at itsbiidge, to prevent him fi'om returning by 
thatroaii. The party proceeded toward Brunswick. — 
Alarm guns were now heard, and some shots were fired at 
the rear, particularly by one person, who, as it afterward 
aDpeared, being out a shooting, and hearing of the incur- 
sioti,) had sent word to Gov. Livingston, who was at 
Brunswick, that he would follow the party at a distance, 
and tiiCn give a shot, that he might know which way they 
directed their march. Passing by some houses, Lieut. C</1. 
Simcoe told the women to inlbrni four or five peo[)le who 
were pursuing the rear, "that if they fired another shot, he 
would burn every house which he passed." A man or two 
weie now slightly wounded. As the l>arty approached 
Brunswick, Lieut. Col. Simcoe began to be anxious for 
the cross-road diverging from it into the Princeton road, 
which he ment to puisne, and which having once arrived 
at, he himself knew the by-ways to the heights he wished 
to attain, where having frequently done duty, he was mi- 
nutely acquainted with every advantage and circumstance 
of the ground. His guide was periectly confident that he 
was not yet arrived at it ; and Lieut. Col. Simcoe was in 
earnest conversation with him, and making the necessary 
inquiries, when a shot, at some little distance, discovered 
there was a jiarty in front. He immediately galloped 
jhither ; and he sent back Wright, his orderly sergeant to 



108 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

jicquMint Capt. Sandfonl "that the shot had not been fired 
at the piuty," when, on the iii;ht at some distance, he saw 
thu rail t'lMice (\vh)ch was very Itisj^h on both sides of the 
narrow road between two woods) somewhat broken down, 
iiiid a man oi- two near it, when, pnttin*:; his horse on the 
canter, he joined tix^Jidvance men of the Hnzzars, (h'terinin- 
ini!; to [lass throng'h this o[)enini^, so as to avoid every ani- 
bnscade that might be hiid fir him, or attack, n.pon more 
e]na\ terms, Col. Lee, (whom he nnderstood to b.^ in the 
D'^ighborhood, and apprehended might be opposed to him,) 
or any other paitv ; when hi- saw some men concealed be- 
hind loos and bnshes, between iiim and the opening he 
meant to puss througli, and he heard the words ''Now, 
n;»w," and fonnd himself, when he recovered his senses, 
prisoner with the enemy, his horse being killed with five; 
bnllets, and himself stnnned by the violence of his fall. 

[Th<> n^snlt near DeMott's Tavern, two miles west of 
New Brnnswick reqnires more additions, than any other 
part of the narrative, to render it complete. Col. Simcoe's 
horse was shot under him and he hiniself thrown violently 
to the gronnd and rendered insensible. James Schnrernan, 
of !New Brunswick, saved his life by thrusting aside the 
bayonet of a soldier of the militia who attempted to stab 
him ; he was braced u[) against a tree, and Dr. Jonathan 
Fold Morris, afterwards of Som^^rville, then a student of 
medicine in New Brunswick, bled him, and administered 
such restoratives as could be obtained. He was then taken 
to New Brunswick and properly cared for. He recovered 
and was exchanged ; entered on his command again, and 
was present with his Corps, the Queen's Raui^ers, at Spen- 
cer's Ordinary on James River, July 1781 ; at King's 
Bridge, January 1778, and at Oyster Bay, Long Island, 
1778-9, where there was literally a "nest of Tories," of 
whom William Franklin, late Governor of New Jersey, 
was Chief He became, after the Revolution, Governor 
of Uj)per Canada, and wrote to enquire for the young man 
who had so kindly and humanely assisted him at DeMott's 
Tavern ; and again, a second titue, to Dr. Morris himself, 
thanking him for his attentions, and offering him advance- 
ment and active assistance, provided he would visit him in 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 109 

Caniula ; which Or. Morris saw reasons to (h^cline. Sim- 
coe died in England, in 1806, and has a niurai inonu- 
HKnit with sevcMcil scnl[)tni('d fignn^s, in Exeter (Jathedi'al, 
executed by Fhixniaii, ilie i"aniou>* English Scul[)tor It is 
said to bean unfavorable example of his ability, having lit- 
tle poetic character in its design, and no refinement of form 
in execution. 

Among the pursuers of the Hangers from Millstone was 
Capt. G. P. Voorhee«, a brave man, wiio in his ardor 'lut- 
stripped his comrades Seeing him alone, several of the 
Rangers turned up'>n him, an I in attenuting to leap a 
fence to escape frotn their assault his horse became entan- 
gled and hung on the rails. In this situation h*^ was ter- 
ribly hacked with tLeir swords, and carried bleeding to 
New Brnnswick^ where Ik:" dieu in a few hours. 

After the loss of their leader, the Rang(^rs hastened to 
the appointed rendezvous at South River ; and there Dr. 
Ryker and Mr. John Folhemus were made prisoners, by the 
covering party sent from Amboy to protect them as they 
came in. The whole enterprise was certainly conducted 
with spirit, and resulted in the loss of fewer lives than 
could have been f^xpected. The benefits were nothing, but 
the disabling of eighteen flat boats, which >vould not have 
been used, had they not been burned. As to the prisoners, 
at Millstone, no out- specially careti ; it was probably re- 
garded as a good ridaance ; but the Church and the Court 
House had done no harm ; and the first, especially, was 
not amenable to military execution ; and its destruction 
was neither justifiable or necessary, in any way, except as 
an annoyance to the citizens of Somerset County.] 

CONCLUDING SCENES. 

After this the tide of war drifted away almost entirely 
from Somerset County. It was a great relief to its inhabi- 
tants, and left them time to recuperate a little from their 
severe losses. The armies had eaten out their substance 
almost entirely. The farmers often had not been able to 
save grain enough to give their families bread, and supply 
seed for their fields for another harvest. But their firm pa- 



110 SOMEEISKT CO UN FY. 

triotisin was not evajjorati^J. Tht; (k'preciation of the 
''contiiivnfcal curmnc^y" wis lu )rc i)jr!)lexinj^ an\ c'atailed 
moie roal loss, than all tlit^ jirevious injuries of the war. 
('ontracts f »r the arinv coiihl ni>t be inaile ; ;uk1 in tlie 
winter of 1780, th;^ ariny at AL)i-ristown were reiliiC'd to 
''famine rations." A military requisition had t(^ b' mide 
by Wasliing'ton upon the oeople for supi)lies to fe('(i his 
starving troops. With this necessary im[)osition New-ler- 
SHy [)romptly conij;)lied : am! Somerset county hastened to 
b:"ing in her alloted contribution am ;ng the very first. 

The winter proved to be one of the most severe on rec- 
ord. The Kai-itan was compbitely frozen, and the inhabi- 
tants employed its icy surfice as a public highwiy. Por 
almost four months, it was more used than, any road in the 
county. 

Washington was confine 1 to his cam|) at Morristown, 
but he was not unwakeful to suirounding scenes. As soon 
as the ice had formed between 8taten Island and the main- 
land to such a state of solidity as so admit of the passage 
of wagon and cannon^ he thought ot renewing the (h^sign 
entertained in the ])receeding autumn, of attacking the 
British Post on the Island. The enter[)rise was committed 
to Lord Sterling, but the Jjritish w^^'e early apprised of his 
indentions, and the attempt filled — faih^d indeed, in con- 
siderable loss to the American forces. 

Discontent arising out of the scarcity of i'oo'l was so rife 
in the camp at Morristown and so much magnified by re- 
ports that that the British were led to think a favorable 
sentiment towards them was growing up, and even that a 
return of the peo{)le to their former allejiiance was possi- 
ble. This idea led to an effort to aid the supposed m;il- 
contents. Gen. Knipiiausen crossed over to Elizabeth- 
town point, and marched as far into the country as 
Springfield on the sixth and seventh of June ; but he 
soon found how terribly he had mistaken the temper of the 
people. Gov. Longston called n\)on the militia to rally 
for defense, and the British troops were so perpetually har- 
rassed, that they soon only thong!) t of revenge and a safe 
return. The village of Connecticut Farms, with the 
church was given to the flames, and Mrs. Caldwell, the 



SOMERSET COUNTY. Ill 

wifo of the Rev. .Jain.'s CaldwcIl, of Elizib^lhtown, was 
shot in litn- own h(M,ise with lior cliiKh-cm aroun;l her and a 
babe in her arnis ! It was cUiimed to have l.een an acci- 
dent, bat it appears to have had the impnlse of reven<;"e 
f2^r.iwini>; ont of disappointai'nt, as its incitin:^,' canse The 
incident, iiad :i, hiri^e share in enibitterino- the feelings of the 
inhabitants of tlie State ai!;ain:^t th'ir enemies, and inflani- 
iii'j; their determinate resistance. After a short si^irmish at 
Sprino-fiehl, Kniphaasen made his wav back to rttaten 
Ishiud. 

Almost simultaneously with this raid into New .Jersey 
the t'rench auxiliaries arrived at N'ewport, July 18th. — 
Washington inimediaioly planuMl an attack upon the city 
New York in conjunction with the French forces ; but so 
many squadrons of British siiips arrived on tlie coast about 
the same time that the French were confined to the har- 
bor of Newport, and unable to CO operate with the army 
at Morristown. While Washington was absent at Hart- 
ford in consultation with Count Rochambeau. Arnold 
found an oj)po:tunity to attempt his long meditated trea- 
son of betraying West Point, the key to Highhmds, to 8ir 
Henry Clinton at New York, How it was defeated and 
h' w the amiable and accomplished Majre Andre lost his 
life in consenting to be concerned in it, is too well known 
too re(][uire to be told here. Fviily in Dt'cember the army 
went into winter quarters : the Pennsylvania troops near 
Morristown, the New Jersey troops on Pompton Plains, 
and the New England troops near West Point, on both 
sides of the North river. 

The season of 17S1 opened in gloom. The disappointment 
from tne unavailable nature o| the French aid was deep ! 
Almost the only hope from abroad seemsil to be confined 
to the disposition which had b.!en manifested by the Hol- 
landers, to unite in assisting the American patriots Ma- 
ny in the army were still discontented, lAostly from a mis- 
understanding in regard to the proper interpretation of the 
terms of enlistment, which read "f)r three years or during 
the war." The soldiers claimed discharge at the end of 
"three years." but the officers insisted on the other clause 
"or during the war." The Pennsylvania line broke out in 



112 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

)pen revolt and iiiarcln^d from Pompton as far as Trenton, 
where they wern met by President Reed and indnced tf) 
submit oil certain specified conditions — having rej-^cted 
with disdain the treacherous overtures made to them by 
Sir Henry Clinton. They had suffered indeed, but they 
were not justified in attemjjting to redress their own 
grievances in such a summary way, and the revolt was 
crushed before It had time to s|)read among the corps from 
the other States. 

Washington still adhered to his plan of beseiging the 
city of New York, and capturing Sir Henry Clinton 
and his army Tlie French troops were even ordered to 
Newport eaily in June in anticipation of such a movement, 
but in August this idea was abandoned, and instead of it, 
Lord Cornwallis was besieged in Yorktown ; the French 
fleet under Count De Grasse blockading the pf.>rt and 
Washington surrounded him on the land side. On this 
occasion all the troo])s in New Jersey, as well as those at 
West Point, hastened to the scents of active operations. 
This was the last time that any large military force was 
seen in Somerset County, and then only on its southern 
borders. It is said Clinton might easily, by a sudden at- 
tack, have interrupted this movement, greatly to the relief 
of Cornwallis, had he not been deceived by letters upon 
which he relied, and wiiich represented it only as a feint ; 
the real point of intended attack bluing himself in the city 
of New York. 

Finally on the sixth day of October the troops wee all 
present, and the first cordon was drawn around the devot- 
ed city, and on the 19th after a defense of thirteen days, 
Cornwallis capitulated ; but not before almost every gun 
on the British fortifications had been dismounted and all 
their batteries silenced. The surrender included York- 
town and Gloucester Point, with their garrisons and the 
shipping in the harbor, and the seamen, the army, the 
arms, the military chest, with all the stores and ammuni- 
tions. 

It was a proud day, and it virtually ended the war. A 
show of hostilities was indeed kept up and skirmishing 
continued for a few months longer in the vicinities of 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 113 

Charleston and New York, but every one saw that the ruin 
brought upon the British interests, by the hiss of such an 
army as that which surrendered at Yorktown, was findl. 
The state of feeling in Enghmd, forbade even an attempt 
to repair it. 

During the summer of 1782 the border warfare, especial- 
ly in Monmouth county, was excee<'ingly bitter, but in 
our own county, there was cornj)arative quiet ; and at once 
peaceful industry and commence revived. The feeling of 
the people really grew stronger in their determination to 
stand out to the last. They hoped for peace, but they felt 
resolute to endure to the end and to conquer it. 

On the 30th of November. 1782, the Americrn Commis- 
sioners, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and 
Htnry Laurens, signed a treaty in the city of Ghtmt, which 
acknowledged the Independence of the Thirteen United 
Colonies, and gave them peac(^ The treaty however, did 
not take effect until the Twentieth of January, 1783, when 
the general pacification was to go into operation. These ti- 
dings, so happy and so ardently desired, were first com- 
municated by LaFayette, in a letter received on the Twen- 
ty-fourth of March, Early in April a copy of the treaty 
arrived, and on the the nineteenth of that month, 1783, a 
proclamation suspending hostilities was issued. It was 
done, but no one thought then, what a great thing really 
had been effected. How great the event really was we 
scarcely yet know. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

WASHINGTON AND DR. H AliDENEURGH. 

In the winter of 1778 anil 1779 while VVashln2:ton had 
his quarters in Caleh Miller's house, Dr. Hardenbiircjh was 
residing next door in the parsonage. A friendshi[) grew 
up naturally between them as the result of almost diily 
intercourse. They were, in many respects, men of the 
same spirit, alihough one was a warrior and the other a 
minister of the gospel of peace. Dr. Hardenburgh had not 
yet lost his church, and there can be little doubt that 
Washington, sometimes at least, attended divine service on 
the banks of the Raritan in the liouse which was after- 
w-ards burned, for he was a respecter of re'igion and car^^ful 
not to seem to neglect, far less to oppose it. 

The fruits of this intercourse and iriendship are seen in 
several public orders i.'^sued to the army while at Raritan. 
His general orders quartering his army, dated September 
17th, 1778, cautioning against unnecessary injury to i)er- 
sons or property belonging to thw inhabitants, and f)rbid- 
ing peremptorily any tres})asses — again, on Octobvrr 28th, 
an order against horse-racing ; and what marks the coinci- 
dence and the inspiration, is that the minutes of the 
church show a protest about the same time written no 
doubt by Dr. Hardenburgh against "cock-lighting, shoot- 
ing matches and horse racing," — still ngain, JSIovemi'er 19, 
1778, another series of orders directed against the prevail- 
ing practice of ])rofane swearing, repiobating and forbid- 
ding it in the army. Attest this. 

But there are two other papers arising out of this inter- 
course and friendsliip, which we have reserved for this 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 115 

place. The first is entitled an address of the Minister,^ 
Elders and Deacons of the Dutch Reformed Chnrch of 
Raritun, presented to His Excellency. George Washing- 
ton, Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United 
tS.tates of North America, and is as follows : 
May it please your Excellency — 

We, the Consistory of the Dutch Reformed Chnrch of 
Raritan, heg leave to emhrace this opportunity to declare 
to your Excellency the real sentiments of our hearts. 

As we would wish to adore the directing hand of Provi- 
dence, so we aie bound to acknowdedge that, spirit, of pa- 
triotism, which has induced your Excellency to sacrifice 
the swe ets of an affluent domestic life, to put yourself and 
your rn'^^st amiable a.id virtuous consort to repeated and 
afflicting- separations, for no other reason than defending 
the just rights and liberties of our bleeding country. 
Here, sir, permit us to express our grateful sense of your 
Excellency's care and vigilance for this part of our country 
in the trying winter of the year 1777. when after two mem- 
orable victories, your Excellency by masterly strokes of 
generalship defended us by a handful of undisciplined mi- 
litia, against the depredations of a formidable army of our 
enemies, collected and quartered in our vicinity. We can 
not help admiring that gracious Providence which has 
made the success and victories of your arms to bear down 
the remembrance of discouraging disappointments ; and 
we cordially hope that the agreeable prospect of a speedy 
termination of the present troubles, in favor of our distress- 
ed nation, may support your Excellency under the pres- 
ent weight of perplexing cares and concerns, inseparable 
from your station. p 

Though the quartering of armies among f citizens is al- 
ways attended with unavoidable inconveniences to the;lat- 
ter ; yet we are agreably constraiced lo acknowledge thaj; 
your Excellency has been pleased to take particular care, 
throughout the course of this last winter to prevent and 
alleviate these calamities, as much ■• as Possible. Your 
Excellency's concern for the support of civil government in 
its just and equitable execution, rhas endeared you to 
our fellow citizens ; and the strict discipline which the 



116 SOMERISBT COUNTY. 

genlleriianly dfficers under your Excellency's more immediate 
coiuinaad al this time. Iiave observed not only at head quar- 
ters, but also throughout the body of the army, we are per- 
suaded has merited the approbation and applause of the 
good peo})le ot this neighborhood. We beg your Exceilen- 
C}' will do us the justice to believe us sincere, when we de- 
chire our affection and true regard for your person, and the 
deep sense wiiich we entertain of the important t^ervices 
your Excellency and the gentlemen oflicers under your com- 
mand, have rendered their country in the course of this se- 
vere contest ! And we assure you, sir, that we shall deem 
it our duty and privilege to nialce our warmest addresses 
to the God of armies, for the preservation of your health 
and your invaluable life — as also that of the brav-e officers 
and soldiers of your ariny — praving that indulgent Heaven 
may direct your counsi-ls ami crown your exertions in the 
ensuing campaign, with such victories and success, as shall 
compel a haughty and relentless enem}^ to consent to the 
terms of a safe, honorable and lasting peace. 

Signed by order of the Consistory. 

Jacob R. Hardenburgh, V. D. M. 

June 1, 1779. 

This is quite a courtly document indeed ; but it ex- 
presses the sentiments of a noble man, in a case where pa- 
triotism and humanity were both concerned. Its warmth 
breathes not only admiration but friendship, and it forms 
a reminescence of those rimes, the value of which cannot 
be well overestimated. It proves the I'riendship of Wash- 
ington and Hardenbugh. 

This int(M-esting document was succeeded the next day, 
Ju!ie 2d, 1779, by an answer, of which the following is a 
literal coj)y, dated at Camp Middlebrook, and addressed : — 

Gentlemen : To meet the the ap]>robation of good men 
cannot but be agreeable. Your affectionate expressions 
make it more so, In quartering an ai'my and supplying 
its wants, distress and inconveninnce will often occur to the 
citizens. T feel myself hapi)y in the consciousness that 
these have been strictly linnted by necessity ; and in your 
opinion of my attention to the rights <.f my fellow citizens. 
I thank you gentlemen sincerely for the sense you enter- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 117 

tain of tho conduct of the army, and for the interest yoii 
take in my welfare. I trust the goodness of the cause and 
the exertions of the peo])le, under ]Hvine ])rotection, will 
give us that honoi'ahJe peace for which we are contending. 
Suffer me. gentlemen, to wish the Dutch Heformed Church 
at Karitan a long continuanc(> of its present minister and 
consistory, and all the blessings which flow from piet}' and 
Religion. 

I am, &c., Tteorge Washington. 

A noble answer, showing how fally he appreciated the 
noble sentiments to which he was responding. These doc- 
uments are alike honorable to both [ arties, and firm a pre- 
cious memorial of the times, and of the sentiments and 
men who uttered them. 

We append to these interesting memorials of our revolu- 
tion two other public documents which seem to find here 
their most appreciated place. 

General Orders, Morris House, July 29, 1779. 

Many and pointed orders have been issued against that 
unmeaning and abominable custom of swearing, notwith- 
standing which, with much regret, the geneial observes 
it ])revails, if possible, more than •-•ver ; his feelings are con- 
tinually wounded by the oaths and imprecations of the 
soldiers whenever he is in hearing of them. 

The name of the Being from whose bountiful goodness 
we are permitted to exist and enjoy the comforts of life, is 
incessantly imprec ated and profaned in a manner as wan- 
ton as it is shocking. For the sake therefor, of religion, 
decency and order, the General hopes and trusts that offi- 
cers of every rank ,will use their influence and authority to 
check a vice which is as unprofitable as it is wicked and 
shameful. If the officers would make it an invariable rule 
to reprimand, and if that does not do, to punish soldiers 
for offenses of this kmd, it would not fail of having the 
desired effect. 

The following minutes of a public meeting at Millstone, 
are interesting as evidence of the pressure of the burdens oif 
the war, and the patriotic spirit in which it is proposed to 
meet them : 



118 80MKUSET COUNTY. 

At a meeting of the electois of the (Joiuity of Somerset. 
purs\iant to notice by advertisement on Thursday, 3il Inst., 
at tlie Court House of said county. 

The business of the meeting being introduced and dis- 
cussed, the folliivving resolutions were adopted : 

Whereas, Thf^ cimeurrence of a variety of causes, the bills 
of credit emitted under authority of the Unitetl States in 
Congress assembled, have greatly depreciated in their val- 
ue, and in addition to the quantity circulating, will tend 
to increase such depreciaton ; therefore 

Resolved, That a petition be presented to the legislature, 
requesting them to make application to Congress on be- 
half of this State, that the emission of bills of credit be 
henceforth discontinued. 

Resolved, that the Legislature be requested to make ap- 
plication as aforesaid, that a plan be adopted and recom- 
mended for a general limitation of prices throughout the 
United States, according to which, such prices may be di- 
minished slowly from the present time or at stated periods 
and by small differences, until the quantity of money be 
reduced by taxation to what is necessary for a circulating 
medium. 

And, Whereas, taxation is the most natural and bene- 
ficial source from which to dt-rive the supplies necessary for 
suppoting the army and carrying on the war, 

Resolved, That the Legislature be requested to make ap- 
plication as aforesaid that requisitions of taxes be hence- 
forward made on the States for the above purposes ; and 
that to avoid as far as possible the expense of purchasing 
in the modes hitherto practiced, and the necessity of such 
large circulations of money through thq public treasury, 
a just quota of provisions, forage and other necessaries for 
the army, be laid upon each State, in such kind as they are 
severally suited to produce, to be paid in the way of tax 
at regulated prices by those who raise them, while those 
who do not, pay a fair proportion in money. 

Resolved, That it be expressed to the Legislature as the 
sense of this meeting, that on levying all future taxes and 
aids for the use of the State and Union in general, the as- 
sessments be made according to the value of all property 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 119 

possessed by each individual ; it being reasonable that 
persons should be taked for their mone_y, their income, the 
faculty and means of acquiring property, or for any estate 
whatsoever 

Whereas, There is great reason to believe that many 
persons employed in va/ious branches of the public de[^art- 
ment of the United States are guilty of mism-inagement 
and fraud, in the ext^cution of their trust and ap[)lying the 
public money, and there being no ready and regular mode 
pi'esented by public authority, of which such as are dispos- 
ed may avail themselves, to furnish the necessary informa- 
tion to those who have the power to correct such abuses 
and thereby prevent unnecessary increase of the public 
burdens, 

Rns'^lved, That the Legislature be requested to direct 
some convenient and adequate means of collecting and 
transmitting to Congress, or to such Board or Committee 
by them appointed, as may be adequate in point of juris- 
diction, or to the executive power of the State in cases 
where that is competent, all such authentic evidences and 
documents as can be procured, that the guilty may be pun- 
ished and the iaithful seryants of the public may be res- 
cued from teat indiscriminate censure which the bad and 
unworthy bring upon all, and that we will exert our ut- 
most endeavors for effecting so laudable a purpose. 

Whereas, virtue and good morals are not only product- 
ive of individual happiness, but have a great and extensive 
good effect upon the political state of every government 
when they are cultivated. 

Resolved, That we will by our example and influence en- 
deavor to promote these, and will look upon it as the 
course of duty to support and strengthen the arm of the 
civil authority in detecting and bringing to deserved pun- 
ishment all such as are guilty of profanity, immorality, 
extravagance, idleness and dissipation, of extortion, sharp- 
ing and oppression, and of all such practices as tend to the 
unjust advantage of individuals and detriment of the com- 
munity. 



120 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Ordered, That a representation and petition to the Leg- 
islature be drawn up pursuant to these resolutions and 
signed by the chairman, and that the re]»resentatives of 
this county be requested to lay the same before the respec- 
tive house. 

Extracted from the minutes of proceedings and publish- 
ed by order. 

Wm. C. Haston, Chairman. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE LADIES IN THE REVOLUTION, 

The sufferings of the poor soldiers in their log huts on 
the south side of Kimbal's Mountain, west of Morristovvn, 
during the dreadful winter of 1780, when f )od w,is so 
scarce and many of them so poorly and scantily clothed, 
excited a wide spread and deep sympathy in the public 
mind. It manifested itself most prominently and perhaps 
the earliest among the Ladies of Philadelphia. They 
aroused themselves immediately, and began by forming an 
association for the sufferers relief, ''Never, says one, was 
the energy of a noble and genuine sympathy more nobly 
expressed than by the noble matrons of the Quaker City 
on this occasion. Mrs Esther rleed, the wife of General 
Joseph Reed, though feeble in health and s-urrounded by a 
numerous family, entered witli hearty zial into the service, 
and was by the united voice of her associates placed at the 
head of the Society. Mrs. Sarah Bache, daughter of Dr. 
Franklin, was also a conspicuous actor in the formation of 
the association and in carrying out its plans. All classes 
in the city became interested and the results were glorious. 
All ranks of society seemed to have joined in the liberal 
effort, from Philis, the colored woman, with her seven shil- 
lings and six pence, to the Marchioness DeLafayette whose 
husband contributed in her name one hundred guineas in 
specie, and the Countess de Luzerne who gave six thous- 
and dollars in Continental paper. Those who had no 
money to contribute gave the labor of their hands iu ply- 
ing the needle ; and in almost every house the work went 
on." It was charity in its genuine form, and from its pur- 
est source — the voluntary outpourings of the heart. It 



122 SOMERSET COUiS'TY. 

was not stimuliired by the exciteinciirs of our ilay — neither 
fancy fairs uur bazars had anything to do vritli it. It was 
not jileasure and conspiciiity llnit they sought, but tiie 
coiutort of the suffeiiug })at2iots in the winter huts, scan- 
tily ied and clothed, who appealed to their noble and lov- 
ing hearts ; and they met, counselled, acted and brought 
them relief. The Ameiican woiuen woiking for the com- 
fort of a starving American patriot army was indeed a no- 
ble exhibition of patriotic kindness. That army needed 
relief and they provided and brought it. They Avent out 
and solicited money and other necessaiies from door to 
door, stating what it was for, and carried it to the army di- 
rectly as the result of their activity. They had in the 
first instance given tl^eir trinkets and jewtliy and wrought 
with their needles, and when the need was more pressing 
they claimed from the public what they themselves were 
unable to supply. 

The Marquis DeChastellax who was in Philadelphia 
while this work was in progress, was delighted with the 
spirit excited by it. In describing a visit to several of the 
ladies, he says : "We began by Mrs. Bache. She mer- 
its all the anxiety we had to see her, for she is the daugh- 
ter of Dr. Franklin. Simple in her manners, like her re- 
spectable father, she possesses his benevolence. She con- 
ducted us into a room filled with work, lately finished by 
the ladies of Philadelphia. This work consisted neither of 
embroidered tambour waistcoats, nor net work edgings, 
nor of gold and silver brocade — It was a quantity of shirts 
for the soldiers of Pennsylvania. The ladies bought the 
linen ficm their own private purses, and took a j^leasure in 
cutting them out and sewing them themselves. On each 
shirt was the name of the married or unmarried lady who 
made it, and they amounted to 2200." 

The result of this sympathy and industry was great and 
very timely. The aggregate amount of the contributions 
in the city and county of Philadelphia was 9,500 dollars 
in specie value; added to this was a princely donation from 
Ptobert Morris of a ship fully loaded with military stores 
and clothing which had just arrived. 

It went further. The ladies of almost all the populous 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 123 

towns en.uLited the kindness of fhcir sisters in Philadel- 
phia. We are most interested in what was done in onr 
native State, and we <jjive a remeniscence of the f)atriotisni 
of the ladies of Trenton. We record it with great ])leas- 
nre as anotlx^r proof of the ini[iortant influence which onr 
dear wives and daughters always give in trying times, of 
their tender hearts and their devotion to the right. It 
consists of an article, printed in the New Jeisey Gaztitte 
at Trenton, July 5, 1780, to the following effect, sho^-ing 
that all the kindness e.xhihited for the suffering soldiers 
was not confined to Philadelj)hia and Pennsylvania, hut 
New Jersey furnished also ladies who seconded the efforts of 
those of Pennsylvania with all their might. 

'"The ladies of Trenton, New Jersey, emulatitig the no- 
ble example of their patriotic sisters of Pennsylvania, and 
being desirous of manifesting their zeal in the cause of 
American liberty — having this day assembled for the pur- 
pose of promoting a subscription for the relief and encour- 
agement of those brave men in the continental army, who, 
stimidated by example and regardlcvss of danger, have so 
repeatedly suffered, fought and bled in the cause of virtue 
and their oppressed country, and taking into consideration 
the scattered situation of the well disposed throughout the 
State, who would wish to contribute to so laudable an un- 
dertaking, have, for the purpose of the convenience of such 
and the more effectually to carry their scheme into execu- 
tion, unanimously appointed Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Dicken- 
son, Mrs. Forman and Miss Cadwallader a committee, 
whose duty it shall be immediately to open a subscription 
and correspond with the ladies hereinafter named of the 
different counties throughout the State, requesting their 
aid and influence in the several districts ; and in order 
the more expeditiously to carry the scheme into execution, 
the ladies now met, have taken the liberty to solicit the 
interest of the following ladies in promoting said subscrip- 
tioD, viz : For the county of Hunterdon, Mrs, Vice Presi- 
dent Stevens, Mrs. Judge Smith, Mrs. Charles Cox, Mrs. 
R. Stevens, Mrs. Hanna, Mrs. Loweriey, Mrs. I. Sexton, 
Mrs. B. Van Cleve, Mrs, Col. Berry, Mrs. Dr. Barnes ; 
County of Sussex, Mrs. Councelor C)gden, Mrs. Colonel 



124 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

' Thompson. Mrs. Maj. Hoops, Mrs. T. Anderson ; County 
of Bi'iojt-n, Mrs. Col. Dey, Mrs. Fell, Mrs. Kuypcr, Mrs. 
Erkskine, Mrs. Maj. Dey ; County of Morris, Mrs Uoiin- 
celor Ctmdict, ]\Irs. Parson Jones, Mrs. Col. Rnrastn, Mrs. 
Van Zandt, Mrs, Carniichuel, Mrs. Col. Cook. Mrs. Fa- 
esch ; County of Esse.x, Mrs. Governor Livingston, Mrs. 
0. Camp, Mrs. Dr. Burnet, Mrs. Elisha Boudinot, Mrs. 
Hornblower ; County of Middles(;.\, Mrs Neilson, Mrs. 
Counct^lor Dean, Mrs. George Moigan, Mrs. Col. Neilson, 
Mrs. 'Neils, Mrs. Daniel Marsh ; Countv of Monmouth, 
Mrs. Gen. Formaii, Mrs. Col. Scudder, Mrs. Newell, Mrs. 
Peter Forman. Mis. Jacob Wyckoii, Mis. Peter Coven- 
hoven ; Connty of Burlington, Mrs. I'ol. Cox, Mrs. Coun- 
celor Tallman, Mrs. Col. Borden, Mrs. Secretary Reed, 
Mrs. Capt. Ke(nl ; County of Soiperset, Lady Sterling, Mrs 
Gen. Morris, Mrs. Co! Martin, Mrs, Attorney Gen. Pat- 
erson, Mi's. R. Stockton ; Countv of Gloucester, Mrs. 
Col. Clark, Mrs. Col, VVestcot. Mrs. Col. Ellis, xMrs. Col, 
Hugg, Mrs, Bloonifield ; County of Cumberland, Mrs. 
Conncellor Buck. Mrs, Harris, Mrs. Elmer, Mrs. Bowen, 
Mrs, Fithlan ; CouiUy of Cape May, Mi\s. Counceior 
Hand, Mrs. Whilden", Mrs. Townsend, Mrs. Heldreth, 
whose well known patriotism leaves no room to doubt of 
their exertions in the proniotion of our undertaking, so lui- 
n>ane and jn-aiseworthy, and that they will be happy in 
forwarding (he amount of I heir several collections either 
with or without the names of the donors, which will im- 
mediately be trnnsmitted by Mrs. Moore Forman, who is 
hereby api)oiDted Treasuress. to be disposed of by the 
Commander-in-Chief agreeably to the general plan. 

As the ladies here would wish to expedite the good 
work as much as possible they have appointed Mis, Dag- 
worthy of Trenton, tlieir Secre'tary, who will receive and 
answer all letters that the ladies of the different counties 
may think proper tufavor her with on the occasion, and 
to furnish them with proper subscription papers as soon as 
possible. In Spark's correspondence of Washington there 
is printed a letter from Mrs. Diigworthy of Trenton, trans- 
mitting to him the sum of L').408 dollars, the amount col- 
lected in New Jeisey up to July 17, 1780. This is not to Ik? 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 125 

understood as the Avhi>le amount collected by the exertions 
of the '-Ladies of New Jersey;" Suhsequent to thiti (hite, 
tlie good work is known to have progressed, ceasing only 
when the occasion for exertion had ceased. We arc not. 
tlierefore, able to say what were all the fruits <^f this move- 
ment. No record of it sm^ns to have heen made at the 
time, which has been transmitted to the future. It is 
however, an understood tradition, that large supplies wer(* 
sent in, both in provisions and clothing, as well as in mon- 
ey, to relieve the [)ressing necessities of tht^ aiiny and en- 
courage the men to remain steadfast in their etFurts to free 
the country from its oppressors^. Indeed, when has the 
sympathy of the female heart been appealed to in vain. 
Tne womeii of the Revolution were the noblest of their 
sex. and the encouragement which they gave, on promi- 
nent occasions and in all pro])er ways, had no small share 
in sustaining the patriotism of their husbands and broth- 
ers, in the dark hours of the ])rotracted cutest. Many 
instances are remembered when it displayed itself in beau- 
tiful firmness or in tenderest sympathy, and the history of 
those times will not be written until these things find a 
pen to record them. There were many as noble and devo- 
ted Women as Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Bache, iu the other 
States of the Union, and it has been a real pleasure, to 
rescue from an obscure place the action of the ladies of 
New Jersey, and give it at least a temporary resuscitation 
iu these remeniscences of our Revolution. It is a valuable 
record in many ways. It presents to us the names of la- 
dies who were piominent in their day and who wielded an 
influence from which good was expected, and we are glad 
to know them. 



CHAPTER X. 

SERVITUDE AND SLAVPIS. 

We giv(^ sotne note8 ou the subject of servitude and slaves. 

hf-rvitnde was early introduced in New Jersey in at least 
three different forms. Which was the worst form we shall 
not determine, but leave it as an open question for each one 
for himself to decide. 

In the first instance the Proprietors sent over their ser- 
vants to occupy and improve their lands for them. Among 
the individuals who are most cons{)icuous for their efforts 
in this direction, were Lord Neil Campbell, William Dock- 
wra, Thomas Pierson^ ihe Scotch Proprietors, Capt. xln- 
drew Hamilton, Gov Gawen Lawrie, Robert Fulton and 
David Mudie. These servants, perhaps, did not absolute- 
ly forfeit their personal liberty by their enijfagements with 
their masters, but still they were in all essential particu- 
lars "lx)nd men," held in servitude and controlled entirely 
j)ersonally and socially, by those who had brou<^ht them 
into the })rovince for their own profit. They were slaves 
in everything but the name ; and their relation to their 
superiors was unquestionably a form of what we may call 
"white slavery," and continued for life ; and in some in- 
stances included their children also. But as it had no 
legal sanction in the laws of the Province, it ceased of it- 
self from causes which the authors of it could not control. 

At a later |)eriod, many persons from the "Palatinate" 
came to New Jersey as well as New York, under what has 
l>een called the "apprentice system." The captains of the 
vessels who brought over the emigrant, did so under a bond 
signed by the emigrants, which gave the captain liberty to 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 127 

sell his time on his arrival in America for his passage 
money. This included fewer or more years, as the pur- 
chaser might be willing to accept ; and in this he was 
guided by the age, the health and the working power of 
tho apprentice or emigrant. Many of these ap[)rentice8 
became prosperous citizens after serving out their time. 
Some of them even died wealthy. But while they were 
bound, their condition did not differ essentially from that 
of a slave. Nor were they better treated, except in one 
particular, having relation to their color. They were not 
negroes ; and were not kept with them in social equality. 
The third form was negro slavery. The earliest instance 
which we have seen of negroes being held in bondage as 
slave in New Jersey, is that of Col. Richard Morris, of 
Shrewsberry, who is noticed as having sixty or seventy 
slaves about his ''iron mill and plantation/' as early as 
1680. Whether Codrington, or Royce, or Palmer or 
White, had any negro slaves on their plantations in Som- 
erser. County, we have not ascertained. We do not think 
the fact has been noted anywhere, and yet we hardly think 
there can be any doubt of it ! At all events, the iirst in- 
habitants on the Raritan, all had slaves as early as 1685 
or 1690 The slave trade was active in the harbor of New 
York, and cargoes direct from the African coast, were sold 
to the planters in the various parts of the State. As a 
general thing these slaves were humanly treated, well 
clothed, and not Dver- worked. In the various homesteads, 
children were boru and reared, until, sometimes, the ne- 
groes in them were more numerous than the whites. There 
was a difference in social position, and in the duties and 
employments assigned to them respectively, but this was 
nearly all the distinction. Authority was exercised by 
the one, and obedience exacted from the other. The two 
races were kept distinct when eating and sleeping, as well 
as in the employments and occupations of daily life. They 
were not clothed alike. They did not frequent the same 
places as amusement or pleasure might incline. But not- 
withstanding all these things, it would not be true to 
state that both were not comfortable in every essential par- 
ticular necessary to the well being of the individual man ; 



128 SOME KSET COUNTY. 

and as the effect of all this there was a great deal of har- 
mony of action between them ; even in the most instances, 
a mutual and zealous co-operation in business and in so- 
cial necessities in all the important matters of life, and also 
so much amity and attachment '"n all actions, that serious 
collisions seldom occurred. The slaves, in most instances 
would have defended their masters and their master's house- 
hold with their lives. Indeed it is remarkable in how 
few instances theft, or arson, or murdtM' occurred, as the 
effect of having such persons in so many families. Pilfer- 
ing in various t''>rms, there altvays was, but it was of a. 
petty character, and perpetrated generally for the pu.rpose 
of obtaining some luxuries or personal indulgences, not al- 
lowed them, because not beneficial or unnecessary to their 
comfort, 

We have notice of a case of arson succeeded by a pub- 
lic execution, and also oneOf the murder of one slave by 
another. VVe have obtained the relation of another of a 
white man by his slave, as the consec{uence of which the 
slave was burned at Millstone, th«^n the county seat in the 
presence of a large concourse of negroes, who were express- 
ly brought there to witness it. We give the narrative as 
it was written out for us. The sauje thing also occurred 
in other places about the same time. 

Jacob Van Nest was murdered in what is now B'^anch- 
hurgh township, by his black man, somewhere about the 
year 1753. The occasion is said to have been, taking a 
leaf of tobacco out of the negroe's box by his master as he 
was going up the kitchen stairs. Mr, Van Nest had been 
out on horseback and returned home at night. The ne- 
gro stood inside of the stable door, and struck hira with an 
axe as he came to put his horse in his j)lace. He then 
turned the horse loose with the saddle under liim, but bur- 
ied the body under some le^-ves and brush nesir the house. 
He was an athletic fellow, and when taken had on his per- 
son his master's pocket knife. He was purposely sent cut 
of doors to bring in a back log, and was then taken by the 
officers when he could not defend himself. What form of 
a trial was irjstitutcul is not related, but when condemned 
he was pul)licly burnt at the stake as a punishment for his 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 129 

crime. It is noticed that the effect upon the slaves present 
\v;us so sreat that they did not eat any meat for a long 
time aftei'wards. 

The propeity where this murder occurred is now in po- 
session of Gilbert Kershaw, son-in-law of Andrew Hage- 
man, who purchased the farm from Peter D. Vroom, a son 
of Hendrick D Vroom. The barn in which the murder 
was committed was removed to make room for a better 
some thirty years since. Hendrick D. Vroom who possess- 
ed it, ujairied Jemimah the only daughter of Jacob ■ Van 
Nest, and came into its possession \ri right of his wife. 
Jacob Van Nest was a son of Peter — the son of that Peter 
who originally purchased the 600 acre tract of land from 
the Proprietors iirst north of the junction of the Branches, 
and was in his day one of the most popular men in Somer- 
set County, if we may judge so from his representing the 
county almost constantly in the Legislative Council and in 
other public trusts during his life time. 

The peaceful con lition of the negroes, notwithstanding 
these exceptionable executions, is universally attested ; 
and yet there had been a sort of rebellion among them 
along the Raritan in 1734, in consequence of which, one at 
least, if not more was hung. It is called a "rising," and 
the design was to obtain their freedom, kept from them, as 
they believed, contrary to the express directions of the 
king ; and the plan was to murder all ''the whites," and 
then join the Indians in the interest of the French, but it 
failed to do any real harm or have any results. That 
slaves were numerous in Somerset is not to be questioned; 
nor is it doubtful that as a general thing they were human- 
ly treated : and yet circumstances also show that crimes 
were committed, and their punishment was meeted out to 
them swiftly and not always considerately. Burning was 
not an exceptionable mode. At t^erth Amboy two were 
burnt within two weeks of the the time after which the 
crime — the murder of their mistress — was perpetrated ; and 
as in the case ot Millstone, the negroes were all summoned 
from their homes to witness it, under the belief not yet 
exploded, that the effect of it would be salutary. 

There seems to be, and there no doubt was, a conaection 



130 SOMERSET COUKTY. 

between these transactions, and the famons "nefijro plot" 
in New York, in 1741. The public mind had leen p;ivat- 
ly excited with fear by the devehipments then made and 
the instinct of self-preservation is not apt to be, either tol- 
erant or considerate They believed in the wholesonn^ness 
nt terror as a conservator of the peace of society, and em- 
ployed it freely. 

Another "rising" among the negroes was feared in 1772, 
but precautionary measures were adopted and the excite- 
ment passed oif. In connection with this disturbance an 
•'abolitionist" appeared, and in the public prints and oth- 
erwise, urged the propriety of the passage of a law by the 
Parliament in london, obliging every master to free his 
vslave and secure his being sent back to his native jdace. 
It made the slaves for a time dissatistied and dangerous, 
but it effected no good — rather the contrary. 

An act had been passed as early as 1713 levying a duty 
on the importation of negroes, but it seems not to have 
been enforced. The tariff was forty shillings in East New 
Jersey, and £6 in West New Jersey, This inequality in 
levying the tax was obviated by another act in 1767, and 
again by another act in 1749, which was in force at the 
time of the revolution. 

When Sunday Schools were introduced the negroes were 
largely benefitted by them and received the religious in- 
struction given in them extensively. In christian familes, 
also, they were brought under christian influences, and 
many of them became members of the different Christian 
Churches. When properly cared for at home, they main- 
tained generally a creditable course of conduct ; but like 
the missionary converts in heathen lands, for the most 
part in time of temptation they were but weak christians, 
and liable to fall under the passion engendered by strong 
drink ; and yet th.ere is no doubt, many of them were tru- 
ly pious, and soujiht to be better than they were. All the 
churches in the country had them among their members; 
but in the old Church of Ilaritan, after the Great Revival 
there was the largest number. At one communion season, 
sixty eight colored persons came down from the galleries 
and sat down at the table, spread then, according to oiler 



SOMERSET COUI^T Y. 131 

customs, in the middle aisle of the church. Most of thesn 
are now no moie, but during their life they miiintauied a 
consistent demeanor and died in the hope <;f a better condi- 
tion. 

We make these references because we think them of 
practical importance in the future ! Slavery is hap[)ily 
abolished in our beloved state ; but the questions, having 
reference to the future of the descendants of slaves, are 
yet living questions ; aud their solution will press upon 
the future, more than they do upon the present. To ig- 
nore them is not more proper for us, than it is for the wel- 
fare of the unfortunate creatures, to whom they relate. 
God has been in this pai't of history, as in all others, and 
his designs, when wraught out, will be worthy of his wis- 
dom and purity. We rest our anxieties all upon this foun- 
dation. 

It ought to be noted also as an evidence in favor of the 
gentleness and amenity of domestic slavery in our country 
that when the slaves were invited by the British in the 
revolution, to abandon their homes and seek refuge in the 
armies, so few of them took advantage of the opportunity 
to abscond. If there had not been attachment on their 
part, to those whom they served, it would not have been 
so. There were, in fact slaves enough in the country to 
have decided the contest against us, if they had generally 
entered the array of our enemies. The Indians were de- 
ceived into activity, and fought bravely for their natural 
enemies, but the slaves remained in quietness ; aiding on- 
ly as their attachments influenced them to do — and for the 
most part favored those who had been called their tyrants 
and oppressors. Their course indicated clearly what they 
thought, and what in fact was the truth. They would not 
trust strangers as against their national protectors and 
friends; and who will say it was not the course of prudence 
and wisdom ? 

The first Legislative action looking to the abolition of 
slavery in New Jersey, occurred on the February 24th, 
1821. It determined that the children of all slaves in the 
state, born after July 4, 1804 should be free — the males 
at 25 years aud the females at 21 years. Under this wise 



• l32 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

and safe provision the evil ceased of itself, so impercepta- 
bly and gradually, that no interest or feeling was in any 
way disturbed by it. The sentiment of Somerset county 
was largely in favf r of this law, and rejoiced in the effects 
•of it upon an unfortunate race of human beings, whose 
hiippiness has been too much the sport of nnprinci})led pol- 
iticians. They had treated them humanely while in bond- 
age and they rejoiced to see them making successfully the 
attempt to provide for their own well beuig. 

It will always be accounted as a special honor that Dr. 
Finley, a Somerset man, wiis the first to move in the for- 
mation of the American Colonization Society ; an institu- 
tion which has already done so much for the colored peo- 
ple and for Africa, but whose work is just beginning to 
show its real grandeur, and to demonstrate its immense im- 
portance in the developments of the plans of mercy to this 
our world. It will christianize Africa and save at least a 
remnant of her children given over to bondage, from all 
extermination. 



CUAPTEK XI. 

HISTORICAL HOUSES. 

We cannot, in our new country, make any pretentions 
to the possession of historical localities, such as abound in 
England, Scotland and on the continent of Europe, gener- 
ally. We have, as yet, no "hoary antiquities" to buast, 
no castellated crags or hill-top forts and strong-holds. 
Comparatively, we are but of yesterday, and know nothing; 
and yet we are beginning to possess some things in which 
we may take a little pride — a very little, perhaps — on ac- 
count of the historical associations connected with them. 
We have, on this account, ventured to name a few histori- 
cal h u>es in tS,omerset County. Notice has already been 
taken of Kcll's Hall, (Archibald Campbell's house), Phil's 
Hill, (Philip Van Horn's house), the Codrington house, 
the old house of John Campbell on the river side, just 
above the Bound Brook turnpike bridge. Tliere are oth- 
ers besides these around which memories cluster, also, which 
will live long — long after the houses themselves have moul- 
dered into dust and are visible no more. 

The old Abraham Staats house, just below Bound Brook 
on the east side of the turnpike and near the river, m 
which Baron Steuben had his wmter quarters in 1778 — 9, 
stands yet in a comfortable state of preservation. Here 
that noble Prussian, whose love of liberty induced him to 
give the aid of his personl influence to our almost fainting 
cause, slept, and thought, and planned, during those long 
winter nights, when hope had hardly yet dawned upon the 
struggling efforts for American liberty. His dignified man- 



134 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

ners, his s})len(h*d gold medal sot in diamonds, a present 
from old Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, designating 
the order nf '-Fidelity," are visible to our iu)agination when 
we visit the sacred spot ; General and Mrs. Washington 
coming to dine with him, and other genth^men and ladies 
accompanying them — the entertainment of "the Bir," giv- 
en hy the American officers, when the tables were spread 
in a grove near by, all give the old Staats house an abid- 
inii; interest in future times. This was early in June, 
1779, just before the encampment at Middlebrook was 
broken up, and was a great dis{)lay of its kind. Yes, the 
old Staats hoi.iae is "an historical h mse." 
—^ We append the following account of the Unveiling of 
the Steuben Monument, September 30, 1873 : — 

Large delegations from neir Utica, with several repre- 
sentatives of the press and German societies of New York, 
went to Remsen and Steuben this morning to be present at 
the unveiling of the Steuben monument. A line of wagons 
nearly three miles long, extending from Kerasen to the 
monument, were furnished by farmers for the convenience 
of visitors. The Citizens' Corps, of Utica, guarded the 
speaker's stand at the monument. Abf)ut 4,000 per- 
sons were present. Mayor Butter Held, of Utica, was the 
chairman, and prayer was offered by the Rev Owen F. 
Perry, after which followed the presentation of the monu- 
ment to the people of America, by Carl Sixtus Kapf, of 
New York, on behalf of the Steuben Monument Associa- 
tion. As Mr. Kapf concluded the ceremony of presenta- 
tion, the clouds cleared away for an instant, and a single 
shaft of sunshine fell on the monument. Ex-Gov. Seymour 
received the monument on behalf of the people, and ad- 
dresses were made by ElHs H. Roberts in English, and W. 
Zarth, in German The benediction was pronounced by 
the Rey. Dr. Brown, of Hamilton College. The ceremo- 
nies having ended, the party went on an excursion, and on 
the return attended a pic nic at Trenton Falls. There 
were no accidents, and the day was pleasant though 
cloudy. The excursionists returned to Utica at forty-five 
minutes past six P. M. 

The house in which Hendrick Fisher resided below 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 135 

Bound Brook, on the road to Middlebash, is yet in a good 
state of preservation, and will long be remembered as hav- 
ing a memory not to be lost. We have given a brief as- 
couni of liim in another phice. 

Passing over "'the mountains we visit Lord Sterling's 
mansion" house, on the flats south-east of Baskingridge, 
built about 1761, as a summer retreat, but adopted after- 
wards as a permanent residence. Sterling, when coming 
to Baskingridge, had just returned from Europe, and told 
the following anecdote oi his having buen introduced to a 
Mrs. Drummond, by her husband, at a dinner, after he 
had informed her that he had that day invited '*a native 
American" to dine with him. When the introductiion 
took place the good woman, mystified by the words "na- 
tive American," exclaimed in broad Scotch, "MieGod! 
the awnimaal is wheete." She expected to see the "oop- 
})er color" of an American Indian. Sterling resided at 
Baskingridge improving his manor and developing the 
manufactory of iron in Morris county, until the war of the 
revolution called him to the field. The place was long 
known as '"Sterling's buddings." 

Another is the house in which G-en. Charles Lee was ta- 
ken prisoner by Col. Harcourt, leading a scouting party of 
British cavalry on the 11th of December, 1776. It was 
then calhid "Whi e's Tavern," and kept as a public house 
by a widow lady named White. It is the last house on 
the south end of the main street of the village, and since 
destroyed. Lee was blamed greatly fur his dilatoriness 
and disregard of orders. lie was completely surprised 
when he imagined himself secure : taken out of his bed 
and hurried away in a most unceremonious manner as a 
prisoner, into the British camp. Though exchanged in 
1778 for General Prescott, he never recovered the lost con- 
fidence resulting from his capture, and was finally court- 
martialed for his conduct in the battle of Monmouth. 

In Bedminster Township, on the south bank of the North 
Branch, half a mile below Kline's Mills, and formerly the 
residence of Job Lane, Esq., stands the house in which re- 
sided the Rev. Mr. McCrea, minister of the Presbyterian 
Church of Lamingron, and the father of Jane McCrea, 



136. SOMERSET COUNTY, 



murdered by the Indians near Fort Edward, July 27, 1777, 
when Burgoyne was on his wav to Sarato<;a, and defeated 
and surrendered there. The Rev. Mr. McCrea had pre- 
viously lived in a house on the west side of Lauiinj^ton river, 
which was removed to be joined to another, and formed a 
part of the old mansion, since burned, in which the Rev. 
Dr. Messier was born. The kitchen standing a few feet 
from the mansion house was always said to have been Rev. 
Mr. McCrea's study. The romance connected with Jennie 
McCrea's death, gave it a wide notoriety, and had no little 
influence in exciting indignation against Burgoyne for em- 
ploying the savages against the peaceful inhabitants of 
Washington county ; many of whom were in fact •' royal- 
ists," and even Captain David Jones, the lover of Jennie, 
and the McNiels, in whose house she was staying, were all 
inclined to the British side. Mrs. McNiel, was in fact, a 
cousin of General Eraser, of the British army, killed at 
Saratoga, and strongly sympathized with Burgoyne. 

The Miller house in Somerville, built by William Wal- 
lace, and inhabited by General and Mrs. Washington, in tlie 
winter of 1778-9, and kept in exactly the state in which it 
was then, is a proud historical monument. How uiany 
fond memories cluster around it; and what a pity, that that 
large old white-oak tree, under which Mrs. Washington 
so often sat in the spring of 1779, was sacrificed to " the 
woodman's axe," It would have been a precious relic now, 
if it had been spared from destruction. 

The old parsonage in Somerville. built in 1750-1, by Rev, 
John Frelinohuyscn, with bricks imported from Holland; 
in which Dr. Hardenburgh resided during the whole of the 
revolution, sleeping with a loaded gun beside his bed, and 
where Gen, Washington so often visited him and his ac- 
complished wife. What a pleasure to recall these com- 
munings between two such noble men! What an interest 
they would inspire now, had they been preserved! We 
should probably be entirely satisfied in reference to the 
truly religious character of the Commander-in-Chief, if we 
had a narrative of these conversations. Dr. Hardenburgh 
probably knew him more intimately than any other minister 
of the gospel, except his own pastor in Virginia.' Here 



SOMERSET COUNTY. li57 

Haiclenburgh, Leydt, Van Nest, Jackson and others, stiul- 
ied tlieolo2:y with J. Freliti«;fhiiysen. It was, in fact, the 
first Theological Seminary in the Dutch Church. ,. 

The Paterson house, unfortunately raised to the ground, 
where Mrs. Steplien Van riensellaer spent her youth, and 
which she remembered so ft)ndly; where Aaron Burr, Gen. 
Morton, of New V'ork and John Young Noell studied law, 
and probably also, Frederick Frelinghuysen, Andrew Kirk- 
patrick, and George M. Tr(»uii, Gov. of Georgia. It ouglit 
to have been spared by the spirit of iraprovem-nt. In the 
Old Countries they do not sacrifict- such precious relics, but 
keep them as a sacred trust; and so we should do — our 
pride ouglit to be their protection; i'or the memories around 
them are precious. How many years Gov, Paterson lived 
on the Raritan is not knoTn to the writer. He removed 
after the v7ar to New Brunswick, and died there in 1806. 
His name is one of our proud and most fivored possessions. 

On Rock Hill stands at the present time the former man- 
sion of Judge Berrien, in which Washington wrote his 
larowell address to the army. Congress being in session at 
Princeton, Nov, 2d, 1783. 'The President of Congress, it 
is said, addressed him in a complimentary manner, to which 
he replied, and then retired. A house was provided for 
him at Rocky Hill, where he resided, holding conference 
from time to time witL committees and members of Con- 
gress and giving counsel on such subjects as wt-re referred 
to his consideration. A large part of the officers and sol- 
diers had been permitted, during th" summer, to retire from 
the army on furlough, and Congress issued a proclamation 
on the 18th of October, discharging them from further du- 
ty, together with all others who had been engaged io 
serve during the war. The army was, in effect, disbanded. 
A small force only remained, consisting of such troops as 
had been enlisted for a definite time till the peace est ib- 
lishment should be organized. This house is a landmark 
which ought to be preserved. Time is working changes 
enough without desti'oying these old homes of history. 
This proclamation was followed by Washington's farewell 
address to the army and then his circular to the States. 
To his cordial and affectionate thanks for the devoteduesa 



138 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

of the officers and soldiers to him throuorh the war, and 
for the manner in which they had discharged their duty, 
he adds reasonahle advice as to their conduct in resuming 
the characters of pi ivate citizens and in contributing to 
the support of civil governmert. "Let it be known and 
remembered," said he, "that th(^ reputation of the Feder- 
al Armies is established beyond the reach of malevolence ; 
and let the consciousness of their achievements and fame, 
still incite the men who composed them, to honorable ac- 
tions ; under the persuasion that the private virtues of 
economy prudence and industry, will not be less s,miablH 
in civil life, than the more splt-ndid qualities of valor, per- 
severance and enter])ise, weve in the field. Every one may 
rest assured that much very much of the future happiness 
of the officers and men will depend upon the wise and man- 
ly conduct which shall be adopted by them, when they 
are mingled with the great body of the community. Al- 
though the General has so frequently given it as his opin- 
ion, in the most public and explicity manner, that unless 
the principles of the Federal Government were properly 
supported, and the powers of the union increased, the hon- 
or, dignity and justice of the nation will be lost forever; 
yet he cannot help repeating on this occasion so interesting 
a sentiment, and leaving, as his injunction to every officer 
and every soldier, who may view the subject in the same 
serious point of light, to add his best endeavors to those of 
his worthy fellow citizens towards effecting these great 
and valuable purposes, on which our existence, as a nation, 
so naturally depends. 

On the east side of North Branch there stands a brick 
house in which resided Capt. Isaac Brokaw, killed in the 
battle of Gerraantown, To this house Washington went 
while he was living in Somerville, on a visit of condolence 
to the widow. We have always thought this incident one 
of the most beautiful exhibitions of his most extraordinary 
life. What a heart the great man had 1 and he could 
well conceive of the grief of a lone widow, made so in one 
of his battles, and ride several miles to see her and express 
his sympathy for her great loss. Of what other hero is 
the same tenderness recorded ? The house is now owned 



SOMERSET COUNTY, 139 

l)\' Mr. Nevius, whose wife irf a great-grand daughter of 
Captain Brokaw. 

On the south side of Karitan near the junction of the 
North and South Branches, is the former residence of Col. 
Peter D. Vrooiu, and the birth phice of Governor P. D. 
Vrooni. The old house remains just as it was in early 
days, only an addition has been annexed to it. It deserves 
to be remembered among the venerated localities of our 
beloved country. 

While Greneral and Mrs. Washington were living in the 
Miller house, Gen. Knox antl .Gen Green and their 
wives were also quartered in the vicinity of Soraeiville ; 
but where exactly, we have not been ab!e to ascertain. — 
There were officers at Van Horn's, near Middlebrook, at 
Van Veghten's on the Raritan, and at the D union t house 
owned at present by Mr. Gildersleeve, Ca|)t. Esty recol- 
lected carrying messages from the latter place often to 
Washington, but did not state from whom they came. It 
is remembered that one of them was a French officer, but 
the names are lost. 

For a short time, during the Revolution, Queen's Col- 
lege was located at the John Protest Dumont House, near 
the junction of the Branches in 1779, and Col. John Tay- 
lor, who was the principal instructor in the institution, 
wrote from thence Sept. 25, excusing his delay in render- 
ing a full report of the officers and the condition of the va- 
rious regiments in the State, on account of his duties in 
the College, and the imperfect reports he had received 
from subordinates. Indeed, the College had for several 
years quite a perapatetic character, being temporarily lo- 
cated in more than one place. At one time, at least, it 
was at Millstone. 

Then we are reminded of Tusculm, the residence of Dr. 
Wetherspoon, and Morven, the seat of the Stocktons for 
three or four generations, standing yet as land marks in 
the flowing tide of time. 

The Kirkpatrick house at Mine Brook built by David 
Kirkpatrick, as if it was to stand forever with solid two 
feet stone walls, and a double white oak floor of two inch 
planks, is also worthy of remembrance. 



140 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

The Linn house, the old Boyd house at Lamington, neg- 
lected and almost in ruins, where so many young men 
were trained for college l\y the good Domine before acada- 
mies were known ; Dr. Finley's house and the Southard 
house in Baskingridge, the Ludlow house on Long Hill, 
the Frelinghuysenhouse at Millstone, and that in whicli Dr. 
liawrence Vanderveer resided in lioycefield, and tlie Sehenck 
house below Millstone, are all worth remembering by 
the generation to come. 

I am assured also, that there was in a very early day, a 
mill on the Raritan just above the Flemington Railroad 
Bridge, and below it was the ford used in crossing until 
the covered bridge was erected. There was also a dam in 
the river a short distance above the landing bridge, the only 
one in the river, which gave dissatisfaction to the inhabi- 
tants above because it prevented their shad fishing in the 
spring. With these local remembrances we close our no- 
tice of the interesting localities and historical houses. 



CHAPTER XII. 

ROADS. 

There was an Indian path, very much travelled by the 
aboriginees, leading from Minisink Islands in the Delaware 
below Port •] eryis, to Shrewsbury and the ocean side. It 
passed north of Morristown, crossed the mountains west of 
Springfield, followed Rahway River, and passed the Rari- 
tan at a place known as Kent's Neck, about four miles 
West of Amboy. But it was not in any sense a road. 

There was a kind of road or way yyhen the country was 
discovered, between the Raritan and Delaware, kuown as 
the Indian Path, which seenjs to have been formed by the 
aboriginees for the purpose of transition to the sea shore. 
It diverged from the jiresent road about 300 yards west of 
the mile run brook, and ran in a more northerly direction 
between the present French and Somerset streets, passin-g 
\i\ front of Mr. French's residence to the river, a short dis- 
tance above the Ferry and below the ford, wher^i the Indi- 
ans had long crossed at low tide. The French house stood 
on the right side near where the residence of Judge T^r- 
hune is now located. He was a highly respectable citizen, 
but his house was humble and unostentatious, consisting 
•of wood, long and low, and of one story only. Indeed 
there were few which aspired so higli as have added to them a 
second story. The well which supplied water is the same 
that contains to day the pumj) in Washington street, a tew 
feet west of George street in New Brunswick. It stood as 
late as the year 1812. Philip French owned in 1745, 400 
acres of land in Franklin Township, and was a prosperous 
<)pulent farmer. Just beyond the mile run bro>«)k: in earlj 



142 SOxMEKSET CUUNT Y, 

days, a Public House was in exisfeucii call Frtmcli's Mile 
Run House. The earliest names which occur as land 
owners along this road are John Van Houten, Tunis 
Quick, Dollius Hagcman, Frederick Van Liew, Jacob Ben- 
net,. Abraham Bennet, Fulkard Van Nostrand. 

Along the Indian path the first settlers in Franklin 
Township purehasini lands and built • houses. When it 
began to be passable for vehicles we are not able to state, 
probably soon after 1699. In that year there is an account 
of a traveller named Edmonson, wli ) attempted to pass 
from the Raiitan to the Delaware, and procured an Indian 
guide to conduct him, but he lost his way, and aftn* a fa- 
tigutiing march through the forests found himself some 
where beyond iSix Mile Bun, overtaken by the closing day, 
and after encamping all night in tlie woods, succeeded in 
etlecting a return to Innian's Ferry the next day. Later, 
Jvalm, a tSweedish traveller, coming from Princeton says : 
"the country is pretty well peopled ; there were however, 
great Avoods in many ])laces. The ground was level and 
did not seem to be everywhere of the richest kind. Al- 
most near every farm house were great orchards ; the hous- 
es commonly built of timber and at some distance from 
themselves stood the oven for baking, consisting common- 
ly of clay. 

• Previous to 1675 and 1677, when the legislature adopt- 
ed some general regulations for the opening of roads, the 
only road laid out properly within the limits of New Jer- 
sey, appears to have been that by which the inhabitants at 
New Amsterdam communicated with their settlements on 
the Delaware. It ran from Elizabeth Point, o\ its neigh- 
borhood, to where New Brunswick now stands ; and was 
probably the same as that since (widened and improved) 
knowh as the old road or Indian path between those places. 
At New Brunswick the river was fordable at low water, 
and the road thence ran almost in a straight line to the 
Delaware, (above where Trenton is now situated,) which 
was also fordable. This was called the ''upper road," 
which branched off about five or six miles from the Rari- 
tan, took a sweep toward the east, and arrived at the Del- 
aware at the site of the present Burlingtou. These roads 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 143 

however, ^ere very little more than foot-paths, and so con- 
tinued for many years, affording facilities f )r pedestrians 
and horsemen })rincipally. Even as late as 1716, when In- 
nian's firrv had been established at New Brunswick for 
twenty years, provision was only made, in the rates allow- 
ed by the assembly, for 'horse and man,' and 'single per- 
son.' Previous to -that tinie, the road had been improved 
eastward, and was considered the main thorough hire to 
Pennsylvania ; for, in 1695, the Inkeepers at Piscataway, 
Woodbiidge and Elizabethtown, were taxed for five years, 
to prevent its falling into decay. The sura required at 
that time, was only ten pounds. An opposition road was 
opened by the Proprietaries, in the hope of drawing the 
principal travelling to Amboy, their seat of government ; 
but without success. They express a wish to Deputy-gov- 
ernor Laurie, in 'July, 1683, that 'it might be discovered 
whether there may nor a convenient road be found between 
Perthtowu (Perth Amboy) and Burlington, for the enter- 
taining of a land conveyance that way.' This was done by 
Laurie the ensuing year, and he connected with the road a 
ferry boat, to run between Amboy and New York, 'to en- 
tertain travellers.' Finding however that the other road 
continued to be preferred. Gov. Basse, in 1698, was direct- 
ed to bring the matter before the assembly, and have an 
act passed that would cause the public road to pass 
through the port-town of (Perth Amboy,) from New York 
and New England to West Jersey and Pennsylvania ; but 
Basse's authority was of such limited duration that noth- 
was done. 

"kSuch were the two routes travelled between New York 
and Philadelphia, under the Proprietary Government ; 
but no public conveyance for the transportation of either 
goods or passengers existed in either place. One Delaman 
was permitted by Gov. Hamilton to drive a wagon on the 
Amboy road about this time, but had no regular prices or 
set time for his trips. 

In April, 1707, the assembly, enumerating their griev- 
ances to Lord Cornbury, complained that patents had 
been granted to individuals to transport goods on the road 
t'roni Burliugton to Amboy, for a certain number of years, 



144 SOMERSET C0U:NTY. 

to the exclusion of others ; which was deemed not only 
contrary to the statute respecting monopolies, but also de- 
structive to that freedom wliich trade and commerce ought 
to have. The governor, in Ids reply, gives us an insight 
into the facilities afforded by Dehiman's wagon. After 
Htating the difficulties which had previously attended the 
carriage of goods upon the road, he says, '*at present, eve- 
ry body is sure, once a fortnight to have an opportunity of 
sending any quantity of goods, great or small, at reasona- 
ble rates, without being in danger of imposition ; and the 
settling of this Avagon is so far from being a grievance or a 
monopoly, that by this means and no other, a trade has 
been carried on between "Philadelphia, Burlington, Amboy 
and New York, which was never known before, and in all 
probability never would have been. As none of the griev- 
ancts suffered under Lord Cornbury's administration were 
removed until his recall, in 1710, it is probable this wagon 
continued to perform its journey once a fortnight till then, 
if not longer. Soon after, however, the road seems to have 
been more open to competition. 

''The first advertisement respecting the transportation 
on this route, which I have met with, is in Andrew Brad- 
ford's Philadelphia Mercury, of March, 1732—33. It is 
as follows : 

"This is to give notice unto gentlemen. Merchants, 
Tradesmen, Travellers, and others, that Solomon Smith 
and James Moore of Burlington, keepeth two Stage Wag- 
ons intending to go from Burlington to Amboy, and back 
from Amboy to Burlington again, 'Once every Week' or 
oflft'er if that Business presents. They have also a very 
good store house, very comodious for the Storing of any 
Bort of Merchants Goods free from any Charges, where 
good Care will be taken of all sorts of Goods." 

About this time, also, aline by the way of New Bruns- 
wick commenced, and in 1734 another via Bordentown 
was established, running from South river, the proprietor 
of which would be at New York once a week, if wind and 
weather i)ermit, and come to the Old-slip. 

In 1744 the stage wagons between New Brunswick and 
Trenton ran twice a week. 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 145 

In October, 1750. a new line was estalilished, the owner 
of which resided at Perth Aniboy. He informed all gen- 
tlemen and ladies who have occasion to transport them- 
selves, goods, wares, or merchandise, from New York to 
Philadelphia, that he had a stage boat well fitted for the 
purpose, which, wind and weather permitting, (that never- 
forgotten proviso,) would leave New York every Wednes- 
day for the ferry at Amboy on Thuisday, where, on Fri- 
day a stnge wagon would i)e readv to proceed immediately 
to Bordentown, whi-re they would take another stage boat 
to Philadelphia — nothing being said of the time when they 
might expect to arrive there. He states, however, that 
the passages are made in forty eight hours, less time than 
by any other line. This was probably the case, for the 
route was so well patronized that, in 1752, th^^y carried 
passengers twice a week instead of once, endeavoring to 
use people in the best manner, keeping them, be it observ- 
ed, from five to seven days on the way. 

The success of this line seems to have led to an opposi- 
tion, in 1751, originating in Philadelphia, which professed to 
go through in twenty-four or thirty hours, but which nev- 
ertheless, appears to have required the same number of 
days as the other. Great dependence was placed u})on the 
attractions of the passenger boat between Amboy and New 
York, described as having a fine commodious cabin, fitted 
up with a tea table, and sundry other articles. 

In 1756, a stage line between Philadelphia and New 
York, via. Trenton and Perth Amboy, was established, in- 
tended to run through in three days. This was followed 
in 1765, by another to start twice a week ; but nine years 
had worked no increase of speed. The following year a 
third line of good stage wagons, with the seats set on 
eprings, was set up, to go through in two days in summer, 
and three in winter. These wagons were modestly called 
"^Flying Machines.' The title soon became a favorite with 
all the stage proprietors. These lines ran, I believe, by 
the way of Blazing Star Ferry and Staten Island, and soon 
put an end to the transportation of passengers on the old 
Amboy route. 

From 1765 to 1768, attempts were made by the legisla- 



14G SOMERSET COUNTY, 

tare to raise funds, by lottery, for shortening and improv- 
ing the great thoroughfares ; but without success. Gov. 
Franklin, alluding to them, in a speech to the assembly, 
in 1768, states that even those which lie between the two 
principal trading cities in North America, are seldom 
passable without danger or difficulty. Such being the 
conilition of the roads it was a great improvement to have 
John Mersereau's 'flying machine,' in 1772, leave Paulus 
Hook three times a week, with a reasonable expectation 
that passengers would arrive in Fhiladelphia in one day 
and a half This time, however, was probably fjnnd too 
short, for two days were required by him in 1773 — 74. 

The mails, being carried on horseback, moved at this 
time with rather greater speed than passengers ; but they 
had been a long time acquiring it. To Col, John Hamil- 
ton, son of Gov. Andrew Hamilton, of New Jersey, (him- 
self at one time acting governor, as president of the coun- 
cil,) were the colonies indebted for devising the scheme 
by which the Post-Offlce was established. This was about 
the year 1694. He obtained a patent for it, and afterward 
sold his right to the crown. It is presumed that it was soon 
made to carry the mails regularly ; but speed was little 
regarded. 

In 1704, in the pleasant month of May^ a New York 
paper says, the last storm put our Pennsylv::nia post a 
week behind, and is not yet com'd in. 

In 1717, advices from Boston to Williamsburg, in Vir- 
ginia, were completed in four weeks, from March to Decem- 
ber, and in double that time in the other months of the 
year; but there is a probability that th3 mails south of 
Philadelphia d'd not continue to be carried regularly until 
some years later. 

About 1720, the post set out from Philadelphia every 
Friday, left letters at Burlington and Perth Amboy, and 
arrived at New York on Sunday night; leaving there Mour 
day morning, on its journey eastward. 

In 1722, a Philadelphia paper states that the New York 
Post was three days behind his time, and not yet arrived. 

InT729, the mail between the two cities went once a 
»,week in s-ummer, and once a fortnight in winter; and thi* 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 147 

continued to be the case till ).7.'54, when Dr. Franklin be- 
came snnerintencienb, and improved the condition of the 
Post Office materially. In October, notice is given that un- 
til Christmas the Post would leave the two cities three 
times a week, at ei^lit o'clock, A. M. ; makini^it thirty three 
hours After Christmas, being frequently delayed in 
crossing New Yoik Bay, (the route being via. Blazing 
Star ferry,) it would leave only twice a week. Further im- 
provements were made in the foHowing years, and in 1764, 
'if weather permitted,' the niaiis were to k^ave every alter- 
nate day, and ^o through in less than twenty-four hours ; 
and such was the rate at vvliich they travelled until the 
revolution put a stop to their regular transmission. 

In 1791, there were only si.x: Post-offices in New Jersey — 
Newark, Elizabethtcwn, Bridgetown, (now Rahway,) 
Brunswick, Princeton, and Trenton. Somerset seems to 
have had no mail facili*^ies at all. The total of the re- 
cdipts, for the year ending October 5th, 1791, was $530, 
of which the postmasters received $108.20 — leaving 
$421.80 as the nett revenue. 

The first road along the Raritan branced off from what 
we have called the "old road" at New Brunswick, and fol- 
lowed the north side of the river uj') to the junction of the 
two Branches, from which it ran west to New Hope, on 
the Delaware. Below Bound Brook its location has not 
been altered in any essential particular up to the present 
time ; but the opening of the New Jersey Turnpike led to 
its being closed westward of Bound Brook. Its location 
was south of the turnpike all the way between Somerville 
and the turnpike gate at Bound Brook — just north of the 
farm houses on the banks of the river; and it came into 
Somerville where the shop of Leonard Bunn still stands; 
passed quite close to the front of tlie Brick Church, and 
went north of the houses in Main Street, crossing the 
turnpike again where John Whitenack's shop was since 
built, and so continued up until near Raritan, where ttie 
present road is located. Opposite the mansion of the late 
Gen. John Frelinghuysen it th'-ew off a branch which r;iw 
to the Mills at North Branch, and on to Easton. How 
soon, after the first families settled on the Raritan, this 



148 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

road was opened we are not informed. It was probably a 
giadual alfair. The earliest legislative action in reference 
to roads in Somerset County which we have seen was in 
1694 ; and it refers to a previous action of the same char- 
acter, by which John Royce, Peter Vaness and John T uni- 
son were appointed commissioners of highways, in the 
place of several who had died; and it was enjoined upon 
them not to change the localities of roads without necessi- 
ty, and to lay out and open new ones wheie required. 
These acts jM'obably mark the time when what were really 
roads, first began to be formed for the convenience of the 
residents of Somerset County. 

There was a road at any early day from New Brunswick 
to Millstone by way of Middle bush; and the road from 
Bound Brook to Pluckamin was also opened before the 
Revolution. From the Raritan road there also branched 
off another which crossed the river a little west of the old 
church, and went to Millstone. On this road the first 
bridge across the Raritan was built, some time before the 
Revolution, but what year we have not ascertained. This 
bridge was situated some distance below the site of what 
we now call "'the old bridge." The church stood in the 
second field east of the present road, not near the river, 
but on the high ground north of it. By this bridge Wash- 
ington's army crossed after the battle of Princeton on their 
way to Pluckamin; but the exact line of march we are not 
able to point out ; if by the usual public highway then it 
must have been through Somerville, along the road to the 
mountain by Fritt's Hotel. The road from the uppt^r part 
of the village is later in time and it could not have been 
by this, because not then in existance 

The Landing bridge was begun previous to 1772, as is 
evident from the fact, that in that year, an act was passed 
to enable the inhabitants of Middlesex and Somerset to 
tax themselves to complete that bridge, said to have been 
"already begun." These bridges continued for many 
years to be the only points of passage along the river ; the 
other places of crossing were fords. The New Jersey 
Turnpike built their bridge about 1809, and the "covered 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 149 

• bridge," at first m "chiiin bridge," was erected in 1815 or 
1816. 

How the first settlers made their way up to Bound 
Brook and Somerville, we are left to conjecture. It may 
have been on horseback, and it may have been by means 
of canoes or small boats ; both w.^-e used in transporting 
their produce to a considerable extent in early times ; and 
in winter they had a splendid road on the ice and used it 
to their comfort and advantage. Wheat and corn are 
known to have been brought down, even out of the South 
Branch in boats in the early days, when the water in the 
riv< r was full, 

The necessity of the case, made the work to be done, 
difficulties notwithstanding. 

The road from Brunswick to Pluckamiii ought to be mem- 
orable for a Revolutionary incident, which, singularly 
enough, has found no record in any history of those times. 
We refer to a visit of ceremony and congratulation made 
to Major McDonald, of Pluckamin, by a company of 
mounted men from Gen. Howe's army at New Brunswick. 
It must have been in the autumn of 1776 or the spring of 
1777. As a matter of precaution, on their way up, they 
threw out videttes on both sides of the road tVom Bound 
Brook upward ; but they were not mcjlested until they ar- 
rived at "LafFerty's Hill " immediately east of the village, 
when they were fired upon by some person or persons con- 
cealed in the woods on the mountain side, and one of the 
party was wounded. This attack incensed them greatly 
and when they arrived at the hotel in Pluckamin, then 
kept by Christian Eofi", they were very violent and noisy, 
and forcibly possessed themselves of some of the sheets from 
the beds in the house, which they tore up for bandage? for 
the wounded soldier, Having provided lor fiis immediate 
wants, they repaired to Major McDonald's house, and sa- 
luted him It is understood that he had been an officer 
in the British service, in his early life, and was living here, 
probably on half pay. He received the compliment, and 
to show his appreciation of it, rolled out a barrel of whiskej 
from his cellar, and gave them such refreshments as could 
be extemporized for the emergency. After tasting the 



150 SOMERSET COUNTY, 

";ipl)le jack" and consumin<i^ the bread and cold liani oifer- 
ered to them, they again mounted rather hastily, calling in 
their videttesas tlipy proceeded on their return. At Bound 
Brook, a few men had collected, hut niaUing a iiish. they 
passed that point in safety, and reached the canjp at New 
Brunswick without any serious molestation The fact 
was, that the inhabitants had suffered so severely from the 
British foraging ])arties, in the autumn, winter and spring 
of 1776 and 1777 that they were afraid to molest ;iny com- 
pany of military men, for it only provoked them to inflict 
increasing damages. The people were at their mercy and 
could only endure. The time had not yet arrived for them 
to avenge their injuries but it came ; ami bi-jf )re the y(^ar 
1777 closed, Gen. Howe had evacuated New Brunswick, 
h'aving Somerset County to return no more forever. Tiie 
question of where was the McDonald House, seems to be 
settled by the fact that he is represented as owning a Mill 
on Chamber's brook. This Mill stood east of the little 
bridge over Chamber's brook on the roa'l along the moun- 
tain from Somerville to Fluckamin. It seems to have 
been afterwards called the Laffertv house. 



CHAPTER Xill. 

WASHINGTON IN SOCIAL LIFE. 

When the Pennsylvauid troops revolti'd on the 21st of 
June, 1783, the Congress was in session at Trenton ; and 
the disaffected men, three hundred in number, marched 
thither, surrounded the State House, phiced guards at the 
door, and demanded a redress of their grievances within the 
space of twenty minutes, at the peril of having on enraged 
sohliery let in upon them. But Congress was firm in the 
pressing emergency, refused to act under restraint, declar- 
ed that ihey had been grossly insulted and adjourned to 
meet in Princeton. 

On the 26th, after the mutiny had been quelled, they 
re-assembled therf-, holding their sessions in the College 
buildings. Tiiither Washington was summoned from 
Newburgh to consult with them on important matt^^rs i-ela- 
tive to tlie close of the war. Leaving General Knox in 
command of tlie army, he repaired to New Jersey, in obedi- 
ance to this request, accompanied by Mrs. Washington and 
a part of his miiitary family. He fixed his qijarters at 
Rocky Hill, in a house OP the east side of the Millstone 
river, about one-eighth of a mile from the present village, 
then the residence of Judge Berrian, a description of it has 
already been given. Here he remained until November, 
when he returned to Newburgh, preparatory to the enter- 
ing of the army into the city of New York after its final 
evacuation by the British troops, on the 25tL of Novem- 
ber 1783. 

While residing in this house Washington was in the 
habit of riding in company with some of his aids into 
Princeton almost every morning, for the purpose of confer- 



152 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

encc with Congress, on the many new and important ques- 
tions, which pressed tor a solution in the existinj^ emergen- 
cies ; and as he had always, atter such conft-rence, the 
leisure of the whole day to dispose of. he indulged himselt 
in social intercourse with the different ftimilies residing in 
the village and in its vicinity 1 Among these was that of 
Mr. John Van Horn, a wealihy and intelligent farmer liv- 
ing near his quarters at Rocky Hill. 

Washington frequently after his morning ride, called on 
Mrs. Van Horn, and spent an hour in conversation with 
her and the ladies of the family. He delighted in this way 
to unbend himself from the dignity of commander in chief 
and give })lay to his social spirit ; and it is sufficiently at- 
tested, that grave as he was in his public life, there could 
be no more fascinating gentleman in the social circle, than 
he, on such occasions, showed himself to be. 

On one of the mornings when he calUd on Mrs. Van 
Horn, a ludicrous incident occurred, the description of 
which has been preserved by Dunlap the painter, in his 
"Reminescences of Washington." He was a mere youth 
at the time, and had taken board for a few weeks at Mrs, 
Van Horn's, at Rocky Hill. His object in visiting Prince- 
ton was to take the portraits of some of the members of 
Congress; and he found the ftirmer's house and table, most 
appropriate and convenient both to his means and to the 
leisure which he required, in order to be better able to se- 
cure the needed progress in his work. We shall now let 
him speak in his own words, because no others could more 
graphically describe the scene. It throws at least a new 
gleam of light upon the character of the man in whom all 
feel so deep an interest; but who is not fully and familiar- 
ly known, even by those who have been most careful in 
s'.udying the numerous biographies which have been writ- 
ten of him. Circumstances not unfrequently reveal us to 
ourselves, and they do so also to others. Washington at 
Van Horn's is a new revelation of the hero and the sage. 
Let us hear Dunlap : 

"Before I left Princeton for Rocky Hill, I saw for the 
first time the man of whom all men spoke — whom all wish- 
ed to see. It was accidental. It was a picture. No 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 153 

painter could have grouped a cnrapaay ot military men 
better, or selected a background better suited for etfect. 
As I walked on the road leading from Princeton to Tren- 
ton, alone, for I ever loved solitary rambles, ascending a 
hill, suddenly appeared a brilliant troop of cavaliers, 
mounting and gaining the summit in my front. The clear 
autumnal sky behind them equally relieved the dark blue 
uniforms the buff lacings and glittering military appenda- 
ges. All were gallantly mounted — all were tall and grace 
fill— but one towered above the rest, and I doubted not an 
instant, that I saw the beloved hero. I lifted my hat as I 
saw that his eye was turned toward me, and instantly eve- 
ry hat was raised and every eye was fixed on me. They 
fiassed on and I turned and gazed as at a passing vision. 
I had seen him; although all through my life used to ''the 
pomp, pride and circumstances of glorious war" — to the 
gay and gallant Englishman, the tarrared Scott, anJ the 
embroidered German of every military grade; I still think 
the old blue and buff of Washington and his aids, their 
cocked hats worn side long, with the union cockade — their 
whole equipment, as seen at that moment, was the most 
martial of any thing I ever saw. 

A few days after this incident I took up my abode at 
Mr. John Van Horn's by invitation, within a shord dis- 
tance of the head quarters of the commander-in-chief. He 
had frequently called when returning from his ride an I 
passed an honr with Mrs. Van Horn and the other 
ladies of the family, or with the farmer if at home. I was 
of course introduced to him. I had brou^rht with me ma- 
terials for crayon painting and ommonced the portrait of 
Mr. and Mrs. Van Horn ; these were admired far beyond 
their merits and shown to all visitors, I had also with 
me a iSlute and soms music books. One morning, as 1 cop- 
ied notes and tried them, the General and suite passed 
through the hall, and I heard him say ''the love of music 
and painting are frequently found united in the sime per- 
son." The remark is common place, but it was delightful 
to me at that time. 

The assertion that the great man never laughed, must 
have arisen trom his habitual^perhaps his natural reserv- 



154 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

edness. He had from early youth been conversant with 
jiiiblic men and employed in public affairs — in affairs of 
life and death ! He was not an austere man, either in 
ap})jarance or manners, but was unaffecteilly dignified and 
habitually polite. But I remember, during my opportuni- 
ty of observing his deportment, two instances of unre- 
strained laughter. The first and most inodeiate was at a 
"bon mot," or an(^cdote fi'om Judge Peters, then a member 
of Congress and dining with the G-eneral ; the second was 
on witnessing a scene in front of Mr. Van Horn's bouse ; 
which was, as I recollect it, sufficiently laugh-provoking ! 
Mr. Van Horn was a man of uncommon size and strength, 
and balky with all. His hospitable board required that 
day, as it often did, a roasting pig in addition to tbe many 
other substantial dishes, which a succession of guests, civil 
and military put in requisition. A black boy bad been 
ordered to catch tbe young porker, and was in full but un- 
availing chase, when the master and myself arrived from a 
walk. "Pooh, you awkward cur,'' said the good natured 
yeoman, as he directed Cato or Plato (for all the slaves 
■were heathen ])hilosophevs in those days), to exert his 
limbs — but all in vain — the pig did not choose to be cook- 
ed. "Stand awa}''," said Van Horn, and throwing off his 
coat and hat, he undertook the chase, determined to run 
down the pig. His guests and his negroes stood laughing 
at his exertions, and the pig's manifold escapes. Shouts 
and laughter at length proclaimed thesuccess of 'chasseur,' 
and while he held the pig up in triumph, the big drops 
coursing each other from forehead to chin, over his mahog- 
any face, glowing with the effects of exercise, amid the 
squealing of the victim, the stentorian voice of Van Horu 
was heard, "Pll show you how to run down a pig," and as 
he spoke he looked up in the face of Washington, who with 
his suite had trotted their horses into the court-yard un- 
heard amid the din of the chase and the shouts of triumph- 
ant success. The ludicrous expression of surprise at being 
so caught, with his attempts to speak to his heroic visitor, 
while the pig redoubled his efforts to escape by kicking and 
squeaking, produced as hearty a burst of laughter from the 



SOMERSET COUNTY. If).') 

(li'j^uifie'l Wivshiiigton, ;i.s iitiy that shoook tin; sides of tho 
most vulgar s[)t'(;t;i,tur«tt' thr scene." 

An anecdnte ot'ii diffreiit character is tokl of the Blath- 
er of his Country, whil-r' he was living in Mew York, in a 
house on Brnidway oi)])')site the Bowling Green, (ie was 
in the habit of walking in the ganh^n fnr recreivtiun, with 
his hands crossed behinti him, and lixdcing down on the 
ground before hiuj, in a serious and [>ensive mood. Among 
the 'dticers wlio were in attencianco on him and admitted to 
terms of intimate and confidential course, tiiere was one 
wiio p-oposed as a joke, to com- up b.^hitrl him and as he 
stoojH'd somewhat, to h^ap upon his back. A bet was 
made that m* one among them (hired to attempt sncii a 
thing. The young officer accepted it ; and the nexc day 
when Washington had again c)min.-nced his walk up and 
down tne garden |)ath, he stoh^ softly up and leaped upon 
his back, and clasped his arms around his neck — he straigh- 
tened himself up, shook the intrutler off, and facing him 
gave him such an annihilating look that the young man 
tied in terror ; and afterward averred that the indignation 
expressed in Washington's countenance frightened him to 
such a degree that no amount of money could ever induce 
him to attempt a similar familiarity. If the pig chase 
niadi- him lau;h heartily, the unwarranted familiarit}' call- 
etl forth siimething which sent terror into the lieart of the 
thoughtless young man. His indignation was as prompt 
and decisive us his mirth. He was iti fact nut a tame man 
in any moode, 



(JIlAPTKLi XIV, 

THE OLD RED SCHOOL HOUSE, 

In the period which elapsed before tlie Revolution, but 
little p: ogress had been wiide in providing for the proper 
education of the young, in Somerset County. Circumstan- 
ces were such as to make any proper provision almost im- 
possible. The popuLition was sparse, the people were poor 
and had to struggle hard to build themselves houses and 
cultivate and iuiprove their homesteads. Hence, sciiool 
houses were few, and it was no common tiling for children 
to be obliged to walk two and three miles in going and re- 
turning from school. Even when they had a school to at- 
tend, only the mere rudiments, such as reading, writing 
and arithmetic, were taught even in the best schools. The 
teachers were generally emigrants from Ireland, England, 
and Scotland, and they took upon themselves the ttisk ot 
giving tuition mostly as a mode of self su})port, in prefer- 
ence to manual labor, or mechanical industry. New Eng- 
land had not yet sent forth her young men and maidens to 
enlighten their country and occupy its places of influence. 

There is evidence however to show that if learning was 
not deep, it was good as far as it went, and answered sub- 
stantially the pirposes of the honest yeomanry of that day, 
and of their children. There was not much improvement 
before the commencement of the present century, but edu- 
cation was not entirely neglected, and there was some 



SOMERSET.COUNTY. 107 

progress. The |):>i)ulatiMir of our country was alimst 
t^utirely Dutch {Uicl PreshyU-rian, ixwl the early teachings 
at home and in the church led to the desire for further at- 
tainments. 

The good old custom, inherited from their ancestors, of 
making the iSabbath evening a seasi)n for reciting the cate- 
chism, was almost universally })revalent, and then when 
the pastor came on his accustomed rounds to hear the pt)r- 
tions Committed to'memoiy, and eX])lain the doctrin(^s 
taught in them, tiiere was an interest which brought the 
old as well as tht^ young to hear and profit. It was a 
blpssed custom, and tended largely to perpetuate the truth 
and preserve the unity of the • Church, (iur youth may 
learn more of the Bible ; but thin* fail to attain that sys- 
tematic knowledge of what the Bil^le teaches, which those 
who carefully committed the catechism were sure to ])os- 
sess. It was laying di^ej) and broad a foundation for f;iith 
and practice, which certainly made many eminent Chris- 
tians — men who were largely concerned in preparing for 
the more extended privileges which vve enjov. 

At the period to which we refer, school houses were not 
oidy few in number, but very unconif irtable and ill con- 
trived, if indeed theie was anything like contrivance about 
them. It is impossible at this time to give all the differ- 
ent localities in Somerset County, and we must confine 
onrselvL • to a few of those of which we have the bt:'st in- 
formation 'ither by history or tradition. 

There was a school house at Karitan, now Somerville, 
in which English was taught until the Acarlemy was built 
in 1801, after vvhich the English school was transferred to 
that building. Tlie last teacher before its removal was a 
Mr. Tenard, who gave an evening exhibition in the Com t 
House, which was the first of its kind, and the wonder of 
all the [)eople. There was a school house also at Bound 
Brook, Pluckamin and near the Two Bridg^^s, of which no 
trace now remains. There was one on the mountain road 
north of Someiville, which remained staniling yet as late 
fts 184). It was the scene of an outrage during the Kevo- 
lutioii, when a tory had given him a coat rf tar and feath- 
ers by some entlmsiastic p itri )ts. It was an outbroalc td 



158 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

temper, (.'xcascd in some measiite by the times and circum- 
stances, but still an outrage of perf.onal and indiviilual lib- 
erty, which cannot be justified There was a fourth on»» 
on the south side of the river situated on a little knull on 
the roadside, near the point where the properties formerly 
of Jacobus Quick and Peter Dumont joined. It was small 
and unpretending- and was abandoned as a school house to- 
ward the latter ])art of the last century, and occupieil for 
some years afterward by a poor and wwrthy family of the 
neighborhood. It is understood that at an early day one 
William Parrish taught in this house, and fr«>m papeis 
once in our possessi<in, it would S(>em that he was a man 
of considerable attainment. Owing to changes continually 
occurring in the neifrhborhood, it was concluded to build a 
new school house about a mile turther west, so as to accom- 
odate the peo[)le from what is now called the South Branch 
and castas far as the farm of Mr. H. V-^ghte on the river 
below, and also the back neighborhood. In that district 
there was at that time a large number of children. 

A little srrip of land between the road and the river 
bank on the north end of the farm then owned by John 
,Van Middleswoith, was chosen for the site of the new 
house. Near it on the east was a small stream, tributary 
to the Raritan, known by the Indian name of Paw-ne-pack. 
It was then a constantly running brook, taking its rise in 
the hills and large tracts of woodland to the south. A 
fine row of cedar and hemlocks graced the river banks to 
the west for some distance above, and on the opposite side 
of the road was a row of walnut trees in full growth. The 
space between the river and road was large enough for a 
pleasant play ground, and the urchins of that day enjoyed 
their ball plays quite as much as the base ball champions 
of the present time can do. 

This new school house was built about the year 1795. It 
was perhaps 24 feet square, having one room only, and one 
door. On one side of the room there was a spacious fire 
})lace, which would hold wood of almost any length. Tho 
furniture of the room was of the simplest kind. Plain 
wooden benches, without backs, sufficed for the younger 
scholars. A long table with benches on each side was de- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 159 

voted to such as could write and ciplK^r, wliile near the 
phice for the teacher vveiv two square tables ot diffi.M-ent 
hei!j;hts at which were phiced the little out-s who were \k^- 
<!;iiinini; to write. In outward a;)))earance the hou^e was 
m advance ((fall others in that vicinity. It was built of 
oood materials, and more than all was painted reel, and 
with white casinj^s to the doors and windows Eroui this 
it touk the name of "thr Red School House." In later 
years, when the gereration which wa. ; first gathered with- 
in its walls had passed into the busy crowd of men and 
women, and those who had built tiie house had disappear- 
ed, it was known as the '-Old tied School House," antl by 
that familiar name we propose to speak of it 

It was opened for scholars, (or as we would now say, in- 
augurated) in the spring of the year above referred to. The 
youngest scholar was called on to say the first lesson in it, 
and it is from this source, that most of the particulars in 
this paper have been derived. John Warburton better 
knowu as '-Master VVarbui ton" presided in the school. 
He was an Englishman by birth, and was supposed to 
have been attached to the^ British army in the war of^ the 
revolution, and to have remained here after the close of the 
war. He had tau";ht in tiie nei<rhborhood at the old sch'^ol 
house, and was respected and well known to parents and 
children. He was a man of more than middle age, of 
careful habits and respectable deportment, decided in the 
government of his school, sometimes hasty, but generally 
pleasant and encouraging. He was kind and affectionate 
to (he younger chiklreu and made the school attractive to 
them. The master was a firm believer in the eflicacy of 
the birch when necessary. A rod nicely trimmed was kept 
near him as he sat in his leather seated arm chair in one 
corner of the room, and close by were two ferrules, a large 
and a small one ; the latter oiie having as he said a hard 
side and a soft side, by which he graduated or pretended 
to graduate his punishments. Master Warburton was not 
a mere pretender. What he taught was thoroughly 
taught, and he made no pretentions of teaching what he 
did not know. The English Primmer, Dilworth's Spelling 
book and Arithmetic, the New Testament and then the 



IGO SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Bil)l(^ \v(Te all the books knoT^n in the school. Dilworth 
has \o\\'^ siiK^e been siipersinled, tlionoh as some siii)})ose(l 
not improved on. Webster's s[telling book made but slow 
progress in that conuDunity, 

Tf.e indiments of education had been faitht'ally attend- 
ed to iVom the early settlement of the country. We have 
seen ancient documents, with the signatures of whoh' neigh- 
bo- hoods attached to them, audit was remarkable with 
what strength and boldness, thej)eo()le wiote, not a marks- 
man was found among them. 

The general charactei- of instructi(»n throughout the 
communitv was about the same as in the Hed School 
House. In some schools the catechism was taujjht, either 
Hellenbrook or the Westminster, but profane history, geog- 
raphy and m;ithemat'cs were of no account, and yet the 
men of that day were not ignorant men. Their minds 
were not enlarged by much reading, but they were strength- 
ened and built up by reading a few good books and read- 
ing them well — and by observation and thought. They 
were honest, industrious, faithful men, not given to strife 
or sedition. TiuMinpress of theii- character is still visible 
in the old po|)ulation and their descendants. The parents 
of that day took an interest in their children's education, 
j)lain as it was. They felt it to be their duty. Th"y se- 
lected their school masters, and attended to their moral 
character. 

We have made gn^at chaiigvis an<l improvements in our 
system of common school education of late years, but it 
is still a [)roblem whetiier the abandonment of individual 
and parental responsil)ility. and holding up the idea that 
education is a matter that belongs to the public or the 
k>tate to regulate and (enforce, will bring with it the bene- 
fit so fondly anticipated by n^auy. If we look back to the 
community in which stood tiie old Red School House for 
so many years, and s«;e who they were that received their 
learning within its walls, we may well doubt whether sound 
li-arning has advanced as mu(;h as some imagine. The 
same r<.'mark may no doubt be applied to other parts of 
the c )untry. The old ciMumon school, with its elementary 
instruction, and the pulpit, have made the {)eo{)le of this 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 161 

country what they are. The precepts of the inspired 
books, which were constantly read, ma(h} iinprcv^sioiis 
which were never hist. Will the time ever come when 
these books shall be l)anished from oar schools. 

There are some things connected witii the (dd Red 
School House, which although local and personal we may 
be excused for noticing. Every one who has knowledge of 
this ancient seat of learning, associates with it the charac- 
ter, if not the person, of the good old master to whom we 
have referred, and who for years led the children up the 
little hill of science — for steep they cei"tainly were not. 
We have spoken of liim somewhat, but we could add, that 
he had quiliries well fitted to his vocation. His great 
points were order an 1 method. He allowed no sloveliness 
in his school. Exact himself in all that he did, he requir- 
ed exactness in his scholars. The writing books and cyph- 
ering books of the children were patterns of neatness. — 
Every line was fixed by scale and dividers, and every figure 
had its proper phice. In this quiet way he made the 
children proud of themselves and of their work, and incul- 
cated useful habits. At the call for *M)ook" in the morn- 
ing, all took their places at once. When the shadow at 
the door mark high "twelve" a tap of the ruler gave notice 
ofit, andthe hour-glass was turned. Tiiis glass deserves 
a passing notice. It was an old clumsy affair, as though 
made for hardships. It always stood upon the master's 
table, and was an object of great interest to the scholars. 
They all thought that I'y long use, the passage way for 
the sand had become enlarged, and that they lost at least a 
quarter of an hour by it. Sometimes the master, if in a 
very good humor, would ])retend not to see that the up{)er 
end of the curious machine was empty, but generally when 
the last sand dropped, the call was made for books, and 
the lessons of the afternoon commenced. 

The manners and morals of the pupils were carefully 
attended to. In this duty he was aided by the fticility he 
possessed of gaing the affection, of the very young, and by 
setting a proper example to all. 

It was the custom in early days ft)r country teachers tp 
board alternately, week by week, among their employers— 



1S2 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

thus lessening the expense of eiliication by t;-ivin<x free 
hoard. The practice of Mr. Warbiirt.on, in regards to this 
\v;).s jK'culiar. lie lived aIto<:;ether in the school house, ft 
was his abide by day and hy night, but he was su[)p1ied 
with food by tlie employers, and after this fashion : Each 
employer I'urnished him provisions for a wek. On every 
Sunday morning !?e would rejiair be+'ore bieakfast, in his 
best attire;, which was v^-ry ])!ain and neat, to the house of 
the person who was to supply him fir the week, carrying 
with him a small sized wicker basket and a handsome 
glass bottle, that would hold about a quait. He would 
breakfist witU the family, and as his c;)ming was known, 
parents and children were careful to receive him very 
kindly. It was quite an event. After breaki'ast his bas- 
ket would be tilled with the best the hous(^ could afford, 
suitable f )r his coiufort, and his bottle filled with rich 
rnilk. After a little conversation, he would take his leave 
and retiie to Ids quiet home. The next moining a fresh 
bottle of milk would be cari'ied to him by tiie children, and 
St) he would be siipplied daily with all he desired, and 
much mor(; — both of meat and drink. His favorite diet 
Was milk and brown bread. He never visited except on 
the occasions referred to. In the school house was a gar- 
ret, which was reached through a trap door by tiie aid of a 
small ladder. In ihis he may have slept at times, but he 
had no bed, and usually slept in the school room. Two 
benches [)laced side by. with a couple of blankets, formed 
his resting place for many years Th<" garret was his sanc- 
tum, and many were tlie conjectures as to what was in it. 
It was generally suj)pose(l there wa>< money concealed some 
where. Once on a time the school house was left unguard- 
ed, and was entered by some country burglar, (^uite a 
darcel of old i)istareens and quarteis, and other sm.-ill 
change was fumd upon the culprit, and it was said they 
ha 1 been discovered stowed away in little nooks and corn- 
ers all around the garret where they might best be con- 
C'aled Fortunately the whii)pirig-i)i)st was in fashion in 
those days, and thirty nine lashes were laid on, served as 
a j>rotection against future anoyance. 

The old master was never known to go to church. The 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 163 

Rchnol room was liis temj)le, and miiny curious speculations 
were iiululged iu as to what his religion was. He had on 
a particular part of his table, a cou[)Ie of very nice lookinjjj 
books, the contents of which w^-e a mystery to all. Some 
supposed that as hd was an Englishman, they were the 
Book of Common Prayer and some other g;ood book used 
in the English Church, and that he worshiped according 
to that forni, although no one seemed ho know what the 
torm was. Among the suj)erStitious it was reported that 
strange noises were heard at different times in the night, 
and it was even whispered by the more censorious that the 
old master must have some communication with evil spir- 
its. Such imaginings, which always attach to persons who 
lead somewhat of a hermit life, did not effect the character 
of the good man. Whatever may have been his eccentrici- 
ties, ur his religiiMis creed, he wtis a good preceptor, and 
resj)ected by all who knew him, foi- his probity ana up - 
riglitiiL'SS, He had strong filial treblings, and htis been 
known to walk to New Brunsv/ick and back in a day to 
dej)osit in the post offict^ a smtdl remittance for his aged 
[)arents in England. 

For a series oi years the old master had charge of the 
children in the Red School House and its vicinity. Scarce 
any are left who i-emember him, but his name was as fa- 
miliar as a household word. The effect of his teachings 
will out live his memory. Late in life he left the little 
tenement on the river bank, and taught for a time in a 
school house, near the old Raritan bridge. He had saved 
up a little [)roperty, with which he bought a few acres of 
land on the mountain north of Somerville There he had 
j)Ut up a small house, near to which was a cave construct- 
ed for his own use at, t)art.icular seasons. To this place he 
finally retired, living a lonely life during the residue of his 
days. A few tried friends who had long known him at- 
tended to his wants. Nature at last gave wfiy. His spir- 
it departed, and he vvas laid to rest in his ujother earth. 
Peace to his memory ! 

The school house, after master Warburton left it con- 
tinued to stand on the little knoll by the road side. It 
was used for a time as a place to teach in. The Sunday 



164 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

School of tlie neisjhbnrhood was for a time hold in it, and 
then some little family would occupy it by permission 
of the iniiahirants. But t^era seemed to be no one to 
keep it up. The paint wore off, the weather boards loos- 
ened, and all parts of it showed marks of decay. Year af- 
ter year it became more and more ruinous and desolate, 
and there was a sympathy in many hearts attendinti; this 
desolation. The hemlocks and evergreens that had adorn- 
ed the river bank, were from time to time washed out by 
the current, until cnly here and there (me remained. The 
walnut trees, with their grateful shade, wasted gradually 
away. The Pawneoack, from natural causes, became 
'smaller and smaller, until it almost ceased to flow. A few 
years later, and the house itself disappeared, It had ful- 
hlled its office. 

If there be a gray-headed pilgrim who spent joyous days 
in and around it in early life, and who shall })ass by it 
now, he will pause, while memory traces the scene as it 
was, and shed a tear over the sad change which has taken 
place. For many years to come the inhabitants of that 
beautiful valley will point the passing stranger to the sa- 
cred spot where in early days the fathers learned their first 
lessons under the good Master Warburton, and where once 
stood so long the Old Red t^.chool House. 

We have experienced a special gratification in giving these 
remeniscences from the pen of Gov. P. D. Vroom of his 
early school days. We have a i)leasant recollection of the 
Old Red School House, as it stood 46 years ago in its de- 
serted dilapidation, a monument ol the past. It hid an 
important influence in its time. Men and women were 
educated in it who acted prominent parts in active life. If 
it were proper we could give a list of names which would 
be recognized by the present Uving as conferring no small 
honor on this humble Seminary, because it was the place 
where they acquired the rudiments of a culture which gave 
them prominence and influence in their subsequent life. 



CHAPTER XV. 

SOMERVILLE, 

There were at least three farm houses in the vicinity as 
early as 1683, yet it is not one of the oldest towns in the 
county. It was first known as Raritan, then the Court 
House. The ])resent name when first proposed was not 
popular. It was considered to be too fine, or fanciful, and 
it took a \ourr time to reconcile the popular mind to its 
use, B>)und Brook. Millstone and Pluckamin are all older 
in point of time. In the times of the Revolution there 
were only two houses within the present limits of the 
villiige. One is now the eastein part of -'Fritt's Hotel,' 
th ■ other the west end of what was long called the 'Low- 
er Tavern.' B-side these the Tunisonfauiily lived in a 
house were John Garretson, Esq., now resides. There was 
also a house near the Cemetery in which the Fulkerson's 
had lived at an earlier day, a house part of which remains, 
where Col. Southard once lived; the Parsonage built by 
Rev. John Frelinghuysen in 1751' and 1752, a small stone 
house where Caleb Miller lives, which was removed and 
the present housp built in 1777 or 1778 by William Wal- 
lace, and not yet finished in the winter of 1778 and 1779, 
ana a small house owned by Derrick Middagh, where 
John M Mann formerly resided. A little later than the 
time we are speaking of a two story house was built where 
.Duniont Frelinghusen now resides and was occupied by 



lf)6 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

Shpiiff H;inlen1)iirg]i, Tlii.-? house remained until 1834 or 
1835 when it was reniovf^d hy Rev. Charles Whiti^liHiul and 
*the presen* mansion erected Jn its place. This i>^ ab )ut 
what tlien^ was of SomtM-vim^ when the Kevolution o[)ened. 
Aftrr the destruction of the Court House at Millstone by 
Col. Simcoe, Oct. 18. 1779 the seat of justice was removed 
to teomnrville. In 1789 affi.lavits in the Orphan's Court 
were taken by Frederick Frelin^huysen as Surro>;ate at 
Millstone. In June, 1794 th_Te was a Court of Common 
Pleas setting in Bridgewatrr, the Judges bein.'jj, Robert 
Stockton, Robert Blair, Nicholas Dub.)ise, John Stryker 
and Archibald Merc^T. The removal must have taken 
place between these two dates. 

At first the courts were held in a small building, which 
had stood on Mount Pleasant and had been known as the 
court 'martial house,' and after its revoval stood on the 
corner at present occupied by the store belonging to Mrs. 
Keed, It was removed and fitted up at the joint expanse 
of the Freeholders and the Consistory of the Church, at 
Raritan. After being abandoned by both the County and 
the Church it was nMUoved across the street and fitted up 
as a store house. In it for many years Mr. Latourette and 
subsequently Willi irn J. Hedges transacted mercantile 
business. It was finally taken away and the present build- 
ing owned by William C. V^-ghte erected in its place. 

Tl)e road through Somerville crossed the brook near the 
R. R. Bridge and entered the present street nearly where 
Leonard Bunn's shop was located, thence it passed near 
the front of the Brick Church, and onwards where S, 
S. Hartwell's office stood, back of all tie houses in the 
main street and coming into it again where John Wiiite- 
nack's carriage shop stands at present. The laying of the 
Turnpike in 1807 or 1808 was the occasion of its being 
changed to its present course. 

Precisely where the road from Pluckamin united with 
the Raritan road, we are not able to say, probably where 
it is now, between Mrs. Reed's store and the Hotel of 
Jacob A. Fritts. 

Precisely when the village received its present name is 
not known. The oldest documentary evidence dates July 



SOMERSET COUNTY, 167 

18. 1801, After tlie Bevolution the extreme admiration 
for every^'hing French, excited by the aitl extended to our 
slru2;<>:lin<jr colonies in their efforts for independence, made 
it ahnost a necessity to liave a "ville," attached to the 
name of of every town however insignilicant, and so the 
countv seat of Somerset, came natarallv to be called Som- 
ville." 

There was early a Post Office opened in the vil^ago kept 
by a Mr Mcldrnm, and a semi-weekly mail from New 
York Probably this had a tinal effect in bringing the 
name into general use. In the time I'f William Mann it 
was kept in his bar, the whole business anjounling to 
some dozen letters a week. The first thing which ri'ally 
ensured its prospeiity and growth, wa.s the fact that i'li 
1778 the Raritan Congregation determined to build their 
Chuich here. They had o?en without a suitable place to 
hold religious services in ever since November 18, 1779. 
Perhaps it was procrastinated by the circumstance that for 
some time their services had been held in the small I'rame 
building called the Court House. It had been so long 
deferred because the Revolutionary war left every one poor 
in money at least ; but now they were encouraged and 
determined to build a respectable house 40 feet by GO, of 
brick, surmounted by a cupcla with a bell. It was the 
first church in the county pretending to anything like the 
same elegance and expensiveness. 

Ten years more elapsed and the Freeholders of the 
County determined to erect a respectable Court House. 
The motion created great division of sentiment on the 
part of the inhabitants of the North and South side of the 
river. Meetings were held, discussions had, advice asked, 
but decisions could not be reached. The Board of Free- 
holders was equally divided. At length one of the mem- 
bers of HilLsboroLgh decided the question by voting in fa- 
vor of Somerville, and the work was undertaken and finish- 
ed. The walls of this house still stand, and although 
many alterations have been made internally, and some ad- 
ditions externally, the building remains essentially the 
same as it was in the beginning. It has become one the 
old land marks of the old village. 



16S SO-MEUSET COUNTY. " 

Before the Court House there had been erected fi build ■ 
iug at the lower end of the viUarije, connected with a tan 
yard. It was occupied once by Samuel Hall, and directly 
t)])pi)site to it, in early days there was a sni;ill house in 
whith dosiah Bryan resided. 

Nearly cotemporary with the buildini^ of the Court 
House, was the erection of the house opposite to it by Mr. 
Isaac DaVis, and afterwards occui)ied by Jacob R. Hiirden- 
bur^h, Esq., as a store. Daniel LaTourette lived in it, 
and then for niany years William J Hed<ijes. The lot ex- 
tended from the west line ot J u li^e Van Derveer's proper- 
ty, to the road leading fron. ilie covered biidge. The barn 
which was large, was finally converted into a house and 
now forms a part of th(i County Hotel. This change was 
the work of Mr, LaTou)-ette, and was effected about 1805 
or 1806. 

In the meantime Job Van Arsdale bought a lot and 
erected a small two story house, on the corner where S. iS. 
Hartwell's residence stood. He was a blacksmith, and 
had his shop a little further west, and next to it Abel Stu 
art built a house. This house was subsequently enlarged 
hnd converted into a hotel, lirst kept by Meldrum, and af- 
terwards by Daniel Sergeant. In this house the first meet- 
ing in reference to the formation of the Somerset County 
Biblt^ Society convened October 1, 1816. The meeting 
was organized by appointing Peter B. Dumont chairman, 
and John Frelinghuysen secretary, and then f )rmed a com- 
fuittee consisting of Rev. Peter Studdiford, Rev. John S. 
Vredenbnrgh, Rev. Robert Fin ley, Rev. Peter Labaugh, 
with Mnssrs. John M. Bayard, John Frelinghuysen and 
Peter E'lmendorf to draft a constitution and report at a 
subse(iuent time ! The final meeting for adopting the 
constitution was held in the church December 10th, 1816, 
a Board of Managers was tht-n appointed for the year, viz : 
Bridgewatef, Rev. Peter Studdif>rd and J. Frelinghuysen ; 
HiHsborough, Rev. J. Zabiiskie and Nicholas Dubois, 
Esq. ; Franklin, Rov. Mr. Huntington, and J. M. Bayard, 
Es(|. ; Bernards, Rev. Charles Hardcnburgh and Joseph 
Annin ; Bedminsttjr. Rev, Horace Galpin and Nicholas 
Arrowsmith : Warren, Alexander Kirkfoatrick and Fred- 



SOMERSET COUNTY, 1G9 

erick Vermenle. The Bofird wpre to serve until the third 
Tuesday of August, which had been fixed upon as the 
day for the first annual meetitii^ of the society. In this 
unpretending way an oiganization was set in motion, 
which has been as a fountain of lite in Somerset County 
eve/ since. The little hotel perished in the flames some- 
time afterwards, but the action will give its memory so 
much interest as to keep it bright in many coming years. 

The academy was built in the sumUier of 1802 ; and 
about the same time Isaac Vactor, a tailor, built a small 
hou5e nearly opposite to it, in which he resided for many 
years. Feihaps a year or two anterior to this a house in 
which Philip Tunison lived, in the lower part of the village 
was built. He was sexton of the church, and his widow 
lived there for a long time. It was removed for the pur- 
pose of o[)ening a street only very recently. The Dav>'n- 
port house, in which Dr. Vredenburgh resided was coteui- 
porary or nearly so with the last mentioned. Then, next 
in point of time, came the tlulofsen h'Uise, once the Up[)er 
Tavern, the Van Natta house, the George Van Neste 
house, forming a pajt of the large house second bjlow 
Fritt's Hotel. There was also at the same time, a small 
house converted into a store, and belonging since to Henry 
Cook, in which Ricliard Compfeon and his wife lived. She 
was known as "Aunt Yauney," and kept ginger cake and 
spruce beer. Here the young gentlemen of tliat day es- ' 
corted their lady loves on Sunday, during "intermission," 
to regale them with her savory stores It was a noted 
place, and "Aunt Yauney" was a noted woman. In all 
the surrounding community none were more so in her day. 

Cotemporary with the days of which we are now writing 
the Stewart bouse was built on South street, in which his 
widow and family resided until a very recent period. It is 
now owned by Mr. Onderdonk. Samuel Brant built a 
shop about the same time next below Greorge Van Keste's 
house, and manufactured chairs. He was a brother of 
Mrs. Stewart, and a long time resident of Somerville. In 
1809 Peter B. Dumont built a house opposite the hotel of 
Mr. "Fritts ; and George McDonald erected the house next 



170 SOMERSET COUi^TY. 

jibovcit, in wliich Goy. VroDin re.s'uled many years ; and 
Hiibscquently John M. Mann lived an.l died there. 

Tlien nixt in point of time came the store and dwellin;^- 
of 0. ixi.Tnjiison ; and Soniervilie bej^jan really to he w )r- 
thy of its name. Those who art. living can write the re- 
maining history of its growtii. 

The charter iW an Aqneduct Company was obtained in 
the fall of 1807, and an enterprise soon completed wliicli 
in that day was a grand effjrt for the few who composed 
the inhabitants of onr village. Water was brought in )):^r- 
foratt-d pine logs from the nionntain north of the town, 
and a fine stream could bo s(^en constantly gushing out 
from a pen stnck near Fritt's Hotel, then kej t by William 
Mann, si)aikling as bright and as pr.re as its mountain 
.^oui'ce ! Uiiibrtunatcly the weight of the column intro- 
duced through the logs, was too much fm* their adhesive 
])roperties ; and a break was the consequence. These 
breaks soon became so frequent that the logs were aband- 
oned and clay pipes tried without success. Then an etTi>rt 
was made to procure pure water by boring down deep 
through the red shale. The well of Ferdinand Vander- 
veer was selected for the })urpose. and a bore of many feet 
made, but finally abandoned. Since Ihis time no effort 
has been made to supjdy our village with {)ure wat(n-. It 
is one of its most important enterprises waiting completion. 
Half the effo't made in that eai^ly day by a few enterpris- 
ing men, would now be enough to rt-medy the deficiency. 
It is vvonderiul how content men can become, under a 
nuisance, when they are once accustomed to it. Waiter 
and gas are now the pressing demands of the *own ; and 
they ought to be both introduced before another year ends. 
It is a reproach to our enter[)rise that they are not ; and 
the want of them dei)resses the value of our property in 
amount more than their cost. 

The Water Power at Raritan was incorporated by an 
act of the Legislature, Feb. 28, 1840, by appointing John 
Gaston, Gari<it D. Wall, Samuel L. Lyman, Luther Loom- 
is, Kobert Van Rensalaer. Abraham Suydani, Rynier 
Veghte, Thomas A. Hartwell and William Thompsun in- 
cor J );-a.t >rs, wifh a eipitii ;>f ,•$2)0,01),), Thss company 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 171 

formed the canal from head of Raritan and commenced 
activ'^e operations in carrying out the phm of m ikino;, what, 
is now the village of Raritan, a manufacturing centre; but 
failed. Auditors were appointed and finally the new act 
was obtained in which Jo«hua Doughty, John M. Mann, 
Bezekiah B. Loomis, John M. Martin, Steven B. Ransom, 
Edward F. Loomis, and Hugh M. Gaston are named as 
incorporators, and the title is changed to the Raritan 
Water Power Company, and is dated March 24th, 1863. 

Under this act the original design has been carried out 
with some success and a village has grown up, which 
promises to be a flourishing place of business and manu- 
factories. 

In 1809, John Davenport, who owned one hundred 
acres of land fronting on the main street in Somervide. had 
it divided off in lots and streets in the form of a village, 
and disposed of the whole in the form of a lottery Every 
ticket costing thirty dollars was assurt-d to draw a prize, 
and fortunate ones might become entitled to the htuise in 
t^.omerville^ or to one of the lots fronting on the main 
street. Most of the tickets were sold in New York ; ami 
the land itself was thrown out and bec'>me a village com- 
mon, and is known as the "Lottery Field." It has in late 
years been appropriated principally by the colored popula- 
tion. It was a fine speculation in its day, but the effect of" 
it has by no means tended to increase the pros[)erity of 
Somerville. 

About 1807 the need of books being much felt, anJ el- 
fort was made to establish a public library in the village. 
Quite liberal contributions were made for that day, and a 
respectable number of books were purchased, a book case 
was procured, and they were kept in Mr. LaTourette's 
store. 1 wouhl give a great deal for a catalogue of those 
books, just to see how they would contrast with books of 
the present day used in libraries. There was some of the 
best historical works, ancient and modern, Shakespear and 
the best of the English Poets, and the Essayists such as 
Johnson, Addison, Steele, &c.^ an aportioument uf good 
sermons, besides other rural and religious works, books ot 
travel, and others of a lighter kind. It was an important 



172 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

acquisition to the neio;hborhood, and was kept for a num- 
ber of years, but after the generation that had gotten it 
u]), had passed away, it began to decline, and there being 
no one to take care of it, there was a kind of distribution 
of the books made that had been preserved, and that was 
the end of it. 

At an early day tho importance (^f a newspaper was felt. 
The Somerset Messenger was not the fir&t paper printed 
in Somerville. The first one was CDinianiced ab.).ifc 1814 
Of 1815. It was called the Intelligencer or Sonierset In- 
telligencer. James E. Gore commenced the publication of 
the Messenger as a continuation of it, as early as 1822, 
and it is still ])ublished. 

There is a history about the old Hotel. When I first 
recollect it. which was about 1800, it was kept by John 
Meldnim, and well ke{)t. He was a jolly old soul and 
his family respectable, everybody liked them. The prop- 
erty was owned by an association of gentlemen, called the 
Somerset Hotel Company, consisting chiefly of the public 
men in the county, and some of the lawyers who attended 
the Courts. About 1800 Judge Van Derveer removed 
from Cooperstown, N. Y., and purchased a property 
which comprised quite a little farm, running back some 
distance North, beyond the brook. He som3 timi after- 
wards traded the tavern house with Gilb.u't A, Line of 
the North Branch, for his farm, afterwards owned by Ar- 
thur Schenck. Lane removed to Somerville and kept the 
Hotel. Meldrum's friends were unwilling to lose him and 
his family, and procurred for him the house that Job 
Van Arsdale, a blacksmith, had built, where T. A. Hart- 
well lived, and some additions having been made to it, he 
moved there and kept it until he died, some years after. 
Lane was not calculated to keep a public house, and the 
old Hotel passed from him to William Mann, tvho occupied 
it until about 1823 or 1824, when it passed into the hands 
of John Torbet, and since Jacob Fritts has occupied it. 
The County House was of a later date, and was built and 
owned by a company called the Hotel Company. It has 
had many owners in its time. 

With these notes of some of "The First Things," in 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 173 

our beautiful village, vvtxlisniiss the subject and hand it 
over for completion to those who ra;i.y come after us. Our 
purpose is only to put on record such things as are in dan- 
ger of being lost, for the information of some one who 
may undertake to write the history of our county as it 
ought to be written. 

THE ACADEMY. 

Any account of Somerville would be incomplete that 
did not embrace a notice ot its Academy. In the early 
history of the village it was a prominent feature. The 
idea of erecting such a building and attempting to main- 
toin a classical school, in which young men could by fitted 
fm* college, at such an early day was an honor to the in- 
habitants of the village. 

It came in this wise : A nuiuber of gimtlemen from 
Somerville and its vicinity met together to celebrate the 
Fourth of July, 1801. Some suitable preparations had 
been made to give interest to the occasion. The public 
exercises of the day were held in the church. Two young 
b.ys, one a son of J. R. Hardenburgh, Esq,, and the other 
a son of Col. Peter D. \^room, made each an oration ; one 
upon the discovery of America, the other on the death of 
George Washington. These juvenile orators afterwards 
became conspicuous citizens of the county of Somerset. 
One was Cornelius L. Hardenburgh of New Brunswick ; 
the other Peter D. Vroom, Esq,, Governor of the State, 
and Envoy Extraordinary and Ambassador to the King- 
dom of Prussia, 

After the exercises in the church the gentlemen repaired 
to the hotel, where a dinner had been prepared. Among 
them weie several who had sons to be educated. After a 
free conversation on the subject of education, it was re- 
solved to make an effort to establish a classical school 
where young men might be instructed in Latin and Greek, 
and prepared to enter college. Immediate action was ta- 
ken, and on the eighteenth of July, at another meeting, 
a constitution was adopted^ which provided for the erec- 
tion of a building and the organization of an association 



174 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

aiding in its support and patronage. The preamble re- 
cites that ^Svhernas an attempt had been made by the in- 
habitants of Somerville and vicinity, to raise by subscrip- 
tion in shares of ten dollars each, a sum sufficient to erect 
a suitable building for a classical school, and had succeed- 
ed so far as to warrant the commencement of such build- 
ing ; that, theref)re, it becomes necessary to form a con- 
stitution for the government of the said association. The 
first article fixes as its name "The Proprietors of the 
Academy of Somerville," and defines it as an institution 
expressly set apart for the instruction of youth in the 
learned languages, the English, the arts and sciences, and 
public speaking ;" each proprietor to be entitled to one 
vote for each share of tpn dollars. Aftpr the usual officers 
for such an association had been provided for, the annual 
meeting was fixed for the first day of April. The instru- 
ment was signed by Peter Studdiford, John Bryan, John 
Frelinghuysen, Andrew Howell, Jonathan Ford Morris, 
Thomas Talmage, John Elmendorf, Jacob R. Harden- 
burgh, John Simonson, John VV. Hall, Joseph Doty, 
Dickenson Miller, Cornelius Van Deventer, Brogun Bro- 
kaw, Edmund Elmondorf, John Brokaw, John Cox, Gaij 
ret Tunison, Philip Herder, Roelnf Nevius, Peter B. DiH 
monf and Matthew A. Lane. The subscription amounted 
to $1,701. Besides the persoDS who subscribed the Con- 
stitution, there were present at this meeting John Wort- 
man, James Van Derveer, John Meldrum, Israel Harris, 
Richard McDonald, John Whitenack, Joseph Annin, 
William McEowen, Andrew Coejeman, and Johannes 
Van Neste, 

The officers of the association who were first elected 
were Peter Studdiford, President ; John Bryan, Vice 
President ; John Frelinghuysen, Treasurer, and Andrew 
Howell, Sec'y. The Board of Regents consisted of Jona- 
than F, Morris, John Wortman, Thomas Talmage, John 
;^. Vredenburgh, John Elmendorf, Jacob R. Hardenburgh, 
Dickinson Miller, John Simonson, Garret Tunison and 
the President. 

At an adjourned meeting on the fourteenth of Decem- 
ber ensuing, Messrs. Studdiford, Vredenburgh, and Har- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 175 

denburgh wore appointed a committee to contract for the 
erection of a suitable building for the contemplated school. 
The price of tuition in the Latin . and Greek lauj^iuages 
was fixed at four dollars per quarter, nnd the canunittee 
were authorized to offer fifty dollars in addition to the tui- 
tion fees, to procure a suitable teacher to open tlie school. 

On the first of March, 1802. at a meeling of the associa- 
tion the accounts were referred to a committee consisting 
of Andrew Howell, Thomas Talmago and John Elmendorf. 
and an order made to have the house lathed and ])lastered 
and the wood work painted ; also to erect a suitable form 
and benches. The accounts were to be submitted to an- 
other meetinj; on the second Mondav in April. This meet- 
ing was convened, officers appointed and the exeicises in 
the school commenced almost immediately ; The teacher 
employed, we learn, was Lucas George, an Irishman, who 
proved himself to be a fine scholar and an efficient in- 
structor. The school went into operation in MavorJune 
of 1802. 

Lucas George remained at its head for some four years, 
and the Regents then raised the price of tuition to five dol- 
lars per quarter instead of four. In 1804 the incorpora- 
tion of the association was effected under the laws of the 
State, and a general satisfactory progress was made in all 
the afi\iirs of the school. Mr. George resigned at the 
close of 1804, and in March, 1805, Jacob Kirkpatrick was 
engaged as principal, at the rate of $182 per half year. 

Then W. C. Morris, a sou of Dr. J. F, Morris, taught 
for a time. Then on November 26th, 1808, Stephen 
Boyer, was engaged as Principal. He was still principal 
in 1810. Afterwards Isaac N. WyckofF and Rev. John 
Cornell taught, and the school had flourished extensively. 

It had no rival except Baskingridge, and enjoyed an ex- 
tensive patronage for some time. Somerville, in that day, 
was a point to which many eyes were directed ; and it was 
A power in the State. It had in it, and around it, a num- 
ber of citizens of large influence and commanding force of 
character. 

After the days when Rev John Cornell had charge of 
the school, Rev. Peter Studdiford taught in it, then Mr. 



176 SOM E PtSET COUNTY, 

Nevil, then John Walsh, then William Thompson, then 
Charles Hageman, then William D. Waterman and John 
L. See. But ultimately other views be;^an to be entertain- 
ed by many of the citizens of the vilhige ; other wants 
grew up ! Young men began to look more to business 
than a ccllege diploma, and the importance of the Eng- 
lish department over-lopped the classical in public esti- 
mation. The building itself grew to be too contracted for 
the number of pupils desiring instruction ; and the en- 
larged views of education prevalent in the community 
pointed to another school. The following minute records 
the mode in which it was abolished. 

Whereas, on the 16th day of April 1804 the original 
Constitutiori of said association was by the Stockholder s 
thereof altered and amended as follows, to wit : 

"If it should so happen that a sufficient sum arising 
from the tuition of students in the said institution, and 
from voluntary subscription, shall not be procurred suc- 
cessively so as to enable the trustees to procure a teacher 
of competent abilities for instruction in the dead languages, 
it shall in such case be the duty of the trustees for the time 
being, to dis[)0se of the ])roperty belonging to the associa- 
tion, by way of public vendue to the highest bidder and 
for the best price that can be procurred for the same, and 
the net proceeds arising from such sale shall be divided 
by the number of shires subscribed. The product thence 
arising shall be the same each subscriber shall be entitled 
to receive for each and every share by him or her subscribed. 
And it shall also be the duty of the sfiid trustees to give 
public notice in a newspaper printed at New Brunswick, 
in one of the newspapers printed at Trenton, and also in 
one of the newspaper printed in the city of New York, 
for the space of one month, what may be the dividend eaidi 
share is entitled to receive, and requesting the proprietoi s 
to call f )r the same in six months from the (Lite, or it will 
be considered a donation and appropriated to the founding* 
of an English school in the neighborhood of Somerville." 

And VVhereas, the Trustees of said association have been 
unable to obtain and procure a sufficient sum from the 
tuition of students in the said institution, and from volun- 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 177 

tary subscriptions, so as to enable them to procure a teach- 
er of competent abiHties for instruction in the dead hm- 
guages, for any part or portion of the period of four full 
years next before tiiis tune, therefor. 

Resolved, That the said property belonging to the said 
associaticul be sold and the proceeds be disposed of pursu- 
ant to the power and direction contained in the said arti- 
cle of association. 

At a meeting of the Trustees, at the office of S. S. Hart- 
well, December 4th, 1855, it was on motion resolved that 
the resolution of the board of trustees on the 5th day of 
September 1855, be confirmed and carried out in all things, 
and that the real estate of the Academy lot be disposed 
of at Public sale, at the house of Jacob A. Fritts, Inn 
keeper, in Somerville, on Tuesday, the 19th day of Feb- 
ruary next, between the hours of two and five P. M., and 
that the same be advertised according to law. 

In conformity with these resolution, a decree in Chancery 
was obtained directing the sale of the property and the di- 
vision of the money among the original stockholders and 
their heirs, and after due notice, the house and lot was sold 
to S. S. Hartwell. 



(JHAPTER XVI. 

BOUND BROOK. 

The earliest settlem(?nts in the county of Somerset, were 
made in the village of Bound Brook and its vicinity. The 
oldest land title, dated May 4, 1681, in tins portion of the 
State, secured at once all the land on which the villao-e 
now stands, extending from Bound Brook to Middle- 
brook and from the North side of the River to the Moun- 
tain. We have given in another j)lace the names of the 
Indian grantors and the purchasers. 

Out of this tract the proprietors to(dc 1,170 acres, em- 
bracing the site ol the village ; and after being surveyed 
by Phillip Wells, surveyor, September 25th, 1683, it was 
patented to Thomas Rudyard, an eminent lawyer of Lon- 
don. 

The only one of tiie proprietors under this Indian grant 
who actually settled on any part of it, was Thomas Cod- 
rington. He had 877 acres apportioned to him Septem- 
ber 25th, 1683 ; and built a house upon it soon after, and 
called his place Racavvackhana, He also owned 1,000 
acres more, lying on the rear of his farm, running uu to 
the apex of the mountain. 

Thomas Codriny-ton was livinij: at Racawackhaua on the 
26th of November 1684, and was at that date appointed 
one of Governor Barclay's council. He was a man of in- 
fluence in his time, and received the same appointment 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 179 

from Lord Neil Camj)b('ll, Oct 18th, 1686, and again from 
Governor Bass, May 6, 1G98. The place was owned about 
the commencement of the present century, by Alexander 
Campbell. 

Thomas Rudyard, who owned the land uj)on wli'ch tJie 
village now stands, was one of the twenty-four projirietorH , 
to whiim the Duke of York confirmed March 14th, 1682, 
the previous sale of the Province of East New Jersey, by . 
giving them a new grant. Under this grant Robert Bar- 
clay was appointed governor for life, September 16th, 
1782, with peimission not to reside in the Province, and 
Thomas Rudyard becan)e his deputy. He arrived in the 
Province November 13th, of the same year — having with 
him as Surveyor General, Samuel Groome, also one of the. 
Proprietors. He was superceded in 1685 and went to 
Jamaica, West Indies. He resided at Amboy and had 
with him two ot his daughers, ladies of education and cul- 
ture named Anne and Margaret. They were great 
prizes in such a land, and w^re soon "woo'd and won," by 
two gentlemen from New York City. Anne marri.^'d JohU; 
West ; Margaret became the wife of Samuel Winder, and 
resided on a plantation near Middletown, in Monmouth 
county. The. Episcopal Church at Perth Amboy is even at 
this day enjoying the fruits of her liberality. It does not 
a\ pear probable that Thomas Rudyard ever resided ia 
Bound Brook — not even that he ever visited it. 

As early as 1700, or before that, the lands of Rudyard, 
with 877 acres adjoining it, belongmg to John Royce, were 
])urchased by a company consisting of George Cussart, 
Samuel Thojnpson and Jacob DeGroot. Rudyard's orig- 
inal 1,170 acr(-'s were divided between Thompson and 
DeGroot equ illy, but the Royce land was held iu company. 
There is no authentic record of their havmg sold any pare 
of this land previous to 1720. The highway thmugh 
Bound Brook was laid out bv this company, and was known 
as the "Great Raritan Road," })revious to which the travel 
had been on the banks of the river near the stream. The 
Thompson residence, built at an early day, stood on the 
road just where the railroad now crosses it, and was pur- 
chased by the company and demolished to form their 



180 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

roadway. This property was conveyed first to Thomas 
Olawson, then to William Wortman, then to David Mc 
Kinney, then to Michael Shoolev, and then March 27th, 
1786, to Clarkson Freeman, M." D. 

On the Royce plot, Yivdd as early as 1720, John Ander- 
son, whose residence was just south of the lane leadin<r to 
the late Thomas Codring^on residence, and on the east 
side — some remains of this house are still standing Then 
Israel Brown built a house where Peter Brown now resides. 
Then next Joseph Bonney lived in the present Rockafellow 
house. The rear part of this building is the old Bonney 
homestead. Then next was the residence of Garret Van 
Wagener, M. D., next below Bonne}'s on the opposite 
side : and then Daniel Van Corts, where A. Cammann at 
present resides. These were the first houses in Bound 
Brook 

On the Codrington plot was the house of Wi'liara Har- 
ris, who built the Middlebrook Hotel. It continued in 
possession of the Harris family as late as 1815, when Isra- 
el Harris, sheriff of Somerset county, was its landlord. 
On the same plot resided Thomas McElworth, in the house 
where Stephen Brown lived. 

The Codrington homestead, "Racawackhana," was own- 
ed in 1700 by Aaron Lazarder ; then about ]720 by his 
son Moses Lazarder ; then by his son David Lazarder ; 
afterwards by Michael Van Tyle, Alexander Campbell and 
Samuel Swan, M. D. 

Jacob DeGrool's land, including 1,023 acres, extended 
to the mountain ; and the old house, in which Jacob De- 
Groot, Esq., a grandson lived, and died there July 22, 
1843, aged 94 years, was only recently burned to the 
ground. 

George Cussart's house is now the Bound Brook Hotel. 
He sold three hundred acres to Ebenezer Trimbly, which 
was inherited by his son Peter, who died May 20, 1797, 
and left it to his two daughters, one of whom married Tu- 
nis Ten Eyck, and the other Col. John Staats. 

Wm, Dockwra resided betow the village ou the South 
side of the Raritan, as early as 1703 — he had purchased 
900 acres of the Proprietors in 1682. The house is still 



SOMERSET COUISTY. 181 

standing It was long the ivsidencd of Hendrick Fisher, 
and is now owned by A. J. Brokaw. Dockvvra returned 
to London, and died in 1717. He was a Scotchman, l>ut 
before becoming interested in lands in Somerset County, 
had been employed in mercliantile pursuits. Some ot the 
first permanent settlers in Bi)und Brook, besides those al- 
ready named, were Hendrick Hendrickson, Pleudrick Van- 
derbelt. Fletcher Van Nortwick, Jan Van Doren, Pieter 
Jansen Van Deventer. Garrei Garretson, Jan An ten. 

In the year 1700, the 1,171 acres of the original propri- 
etors were purchased as we have said, bv George Oussart 
and Jacob OeGroot. In 1720 Ebenezer Triuibly, Hen- 
drick Harpending, Tornelius Prant, Hendrick Fisher, 
William Riddle and John R. Meyers had become purch;is- 
ers of parts of this original tract, and subsequently, in 
1746. Peter Williamson, James Hude, Esq., Anthony 
Blackford, Bartholomew Kelso, Char/es McEvers, Thom- 
as Irvine, Josepli Stansberry. David Cussart, Tobias Van 
Norden, Thomas (Jooper and John De Groot occuj)ied parts 
and parcels belonging to it ; the particulars cannot be more 
minutely specified. 

In the days succeeding the revolution there were three 
public houses of entertainment kept in Bound Brook, viz : 
The Middlebrook Hotel kept by Israel Harris, thn Fre- 
linghuysen Hous^^, the site of which was occupied by the 
house of B. B. Mathews. It swung out a greaf. sign con- 
taining a portrait of Major-Cxeneral Frederick Frelinghuy- 
sen, and was k<q)t by Peter flarpending, son of Hendrick 
Harpending, a cord-wainer from Lingery, Holland ; and 
thirdly the Washington Hotel. At this house Col. Sim- 
coe halted on his way to Van Veghten's Bridge and Mill- 
stone 

John Campbell's house built as early as 1685, on the 
banks of the Raritan, has long since disappeared. It was 
a mansion of some pretentions in its day, and served to 
shield an unfortunate exile from turbulent Scotia, during 
many a lonely year. His remote descendants are yet 
among the citizens of Bound Brook. 

Majur-General Benjamin Lincoln had his quarters at the 
house yet standing at the east end of the village. It was 



182 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

the only house having two stories which Boiuul Brook 
could boast. It was inhabited at the time by Peter 
Williamson, General Lincoln himself, when giving an 
account of his retreat from this place uses the following 
language ; "Being stationed at Bound Brook on the Kari- 
tan, he had an extent of five or six miles to guard, with a 
force of less than 500 men fit for duty. On the 13th of 
April; 1777, owing to the negligence of his patrol, he was 
surprised by a large party of the enemy under Cornwallis 
and Grant, who came upon him so suddenly that the Gen- 
eral and one of his aids had barely time to get on horse- 
back ; the other aid was taken, as were also a few pieces 
of artillery." 

Near this house, a blockhouse or fortification had been 
erected commanding the crossing over Bound Brook creek, 
connected with an earthwork reaching to the banks of the 
river. 

It stood on the ground occupied at present by the old 
shop which Mrs. Giles owns. When Gen. Lincoln letreat- 
ed, the inhabitants all fled to the mountain leaving a dead 
soldier's corpse in the block house, as the only occupant of 
the village. It would be possible to detail a great variety 
of reminiscences of family and personal history belonging 
to these times, but properly they do not belong to our sub- 
ject. 

The 'first school house in Bound Brook stood a little 
west of the Presbyterian Church, Its site is now included 
in the church grounds. It was a low one story building, 
and used also as a rpeeting house by the early settlers. 
The first teacher was called John Wacker. His name oc- 
curs as early as 1742. When he came, and when he re- 
tired from his position, are things not known. He was 
succeeded by William Hedden, who resided in a small 
house standing on the site of the lecture room of the Pres- 
byterian church. Hedden sold this property to Thomas 
Coon, tvho again sold it to Ambrose Cooke, M. D. The 
house was subsequently removed to the rear of the lot, and 
forms part of a carriage house. Hedden continued to act 
as principal of this school until 1768, when he removed to 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 183 

Newark. An interesting; notice ot him was published in 
tue Newark Sentinel during the list winter. 

He was succeeded b}' Pester Walsh, a Scotchman, who 
continued to teach in the same buildinj;, until the erec- 
tion of the buildino; known as the "Academy." This 
house, like others, has been demolished and has 
made room for a better structure. It was a respectable 
building of two stories, with a small cupola ; and the old 
bell of Kidl's Hall, rang thi; children to their morning and 
afternoon exercises, it was built in the year 1800 in pari 
from money bequeathed for thh,t purpose by Michael Fii^ld. 
The object of the bequest is conveyed in the words of his 
will. "I give the sum of £i50v) lawful money of the State 
of New Jersey, towards a free school, that may be erected 
hereafter within the Presbyterian congregation of Bound 
Brook, which my executors are hereby required to put in- 
to the hands of the trustees of the congregation aforesaid, 
and the trustees are required to put the same at interest, 
and to ket-p the interest money arising therefrom in their 
custody and possessit)n, until the said "Free School House" 
shall be built, and tlien apply the said interest money for 
that purpose, and supporting said school, and for no other 
uses." This was dated on October 14tli, 1791. and Mr. 
Field died on the 13th of January, 1792, aged 97 years. 
Peter Walsh was the first teacher employed after the acad- 
emy was built ; and \va ; succeeded by Isaac Toucy, Presi- 
dent Buchanan's Secretary of the Navy. During the pe- 
riod in which Mr. Toucy was in charge a female depart- 
ment was in existence on the second floor, under the super- 
vision and instruction of Miss Joannah Deeds. This ven- 
erable structure, so long a land mark in the village, was 
finally demolished in 1857, and succeeded by the present 
building. 

Religious services were commenced in Bound Brook, as 
early as 1700, and resulted in the formation of a Presbyte- 
rian Church, which has been among the most respectable 
and intelligent congregations in the State, but as our prov- 
ince is not to write the ecclesiastical hist.ry of our county 
we forbear. We give however a single remenit cense. The 
Rev. Mr, McOrea. the father of Jane McCrea was ordain- 



184 SOMERSET UOUJSTY. 

eel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, Anccust 4, 1741, 
served the church at Bound Broiok until 1749, wlien he 
was succeeded by Rev. Israel Reed, Avho was installed pas- 
tor DecrmberGti), 1749 

The story of Jane McCrea, as told by Lossinfi^, who had 
it from a grard-daughter of her friend Mrs. McNeil, with 
whom she was staying at the time of her death, is a simple 
tale of love and misfortune ; and her death an accident of 
the war of the revolution, not ])remeditated even by the 
Indians, and. resulting from the effort made by her in- 
tended husband, Capt. David Jones, of Burgoyne's airay, 
to rescue her from the dangers by which she was surround- 
ed. Her father was also for a time the minister of the 
Presbyterian Church at Lamington, and died a widower 
previous to the unfortunate uealh of Jane, his daughter ; 
v,t Paulis Hook, now Jersey City, May 10, 1769. It was 
the occasion of her going to Fort Edward to reside with 
Mrs. McNeil. Jones was a neighbor of the McNeil's, and 
inclined to the side of the King. When the rev')lution 
opened he joined the paitv of the British and obtained the 
position of Ca})tain in Burgoyne's army. He was so 
atfected by the death of Jane McCren that he left the army, 
went to Canada, and never saw Fort Edward again. 

Rev. Israel Read, installed pastor of the Bound Brook 
Presbyterian Church in 1750, sleeps quietly in the rear of 
the church, over which he had presided for nearly half a 
century, commencing his pastorate at a time when the 
frontier line of civilization was within bow shot of the 
tombstone that now marks his grave. During his 
ministry the wilderness around Bound Brook way changed 
to fruitful fields, in which thousands were added to the 
settlement, in which hundreds of marriage ceremonies were 
performed by the minister — children were baptised and 
the word ot God planted in the hearts of many. Mr. 
Read was thrown from his carriage near Raritan Landing, 
on Novemoer 25, 1793, and fatally injured. He died 
three days afterwards, aged 75. His monument records 
tliat he was the first settled minister of this church, in 
which he was faithful to his divine master to death." He 
L^ft one daughter named Mary, who subsequent to the 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 185 

death of her father, became the wife of Capt. John Pow- 
ers. John Powers was born in North Carolina, and com- 
manded a company in a ref^iment from that State, during 
the revolntion. He bore a distiugnished part in the for- 
lorn hope at the battle of Stony Point, Jily 15 and 16, 
1779, for which he, in an official document, received the 
thanks of Gen. Wayne. He c.ime to Bound Brook at tlie 
time of thedisbandment of the army, aiul was soon after- 
wards united in marriage to Mrs. Elizabeth B>)uney, who 
at that time was the widow of Benjamin Bonney, whose 
tragical death by ihehand of the notorious Tory Bill Stu- 
art, is still chronicled among the traditions of tiie place. 
She died September 10th, 1795, aged 45 years, Ca{)t. 
Powers afterwards wooed and wed Mary, (hiughter of the 
Rev. Israel Read. She died May 4th. 1819, and sleeps by 
the side of her father. 

At the time of the Revolution the inhabitants of Bound 
Brook were, with a few exceptions, on the Patriot side, 
and suffered as much, if not really ni )re than others, from 
the war. The a.-my was quartered near them twice, and 
during the military operations in Somerset County in 1776, 
they were for a time alnaost directly between the two ar- 
mies, and exposed in every possible way to annoyance from 
both 

Perhaps one of the most interesting incidents illustra- 
ting what we have said, may be told in the following words: 
While a party of Washington's army was stationed at 
Pluckamin, a company of British cavalry made a raid from 
New Brunswick through Bound Brook, accompanied by 
a number of 'Tories,' among them the noted Bill Stewart. 
On aeaching the house of Benjamin Bonney, he took his 
little son Peres, then about four years of age and secreted 
himself in the cellar of his house. Stewart prowling round 
the house saw him sitting on the steps of the cellar and 
fired upon him while the child was on his lap. The ball 
took effect in his left groin, just missing the child. Bon- 
ney died of this wound after the third day. This catas- 
trophe occurred in what is now the Rockafellow house, and 
the room to which he was taken and in which he died, ex- 
ists still in the rear of the building. From Bonney's resi- 



186 Sf)MEESET COUNTY. 

dence they went to DeGrroats, brolce open the cellar, con- 
sumed all the i)rovisions, threatened and attempted to 
strike DeGroat with a sword which his wife turned aside 
by seizing it, but cut her hand ba ily. They then obliged 
him, by threatening his lite, to swear allegiance to "the 
King, and also committed violence upon Archibald Van 
Norden. On their return however, they were met below 
Bound Brook by Col. John Staats, attacked so fiercely 
that they lost all their plunder and their prisoners escaped. 
Mischief had been done, liie sacrificed and property de- 
stroyed ; but any benefit to either of the contending [)ar- 
ties it is difficult to indicate. 

During the 'troublesome tim.z-s' the sabbath worshipers 
in Bound Brook often came to church on Sunday armed, 
and their muskets could be seen at the end of their pews 
or perhaps some leaned upon them when in the act of 
prayer. They had faith in God, but like Cromwell, be- 
lieved in keeping their powder dry, and in the safety of a 
good musket held firmly in hand as a defense from enemies. 

On the Sabbath day two services were attended before 
the people were dismissed. During the intermission of 
half an hour an old colored woman remembered as "OM 
Susanna," stood ready by the side of the church to refresh, 
customers with ginger cake and spruce beer The young 
gentlemen and their sweethearts were her best customers, 
and to spend sixpence in 'treating the girls' was considered 
an act of noble generosity, if not really a little extravagant. 
How things d(> change. 

The prosperity of Bound Brook dates from 1830 when 
the Delaware and Raritan Canal was begun. Previoifs to 
this time it was as ragged a little town as one would wish 
to see. What the canal began, the raiiroatl comi)lete(i, 
and Bound Brook is now one of the most prosperous vd- 
lages in the State. 

We append a note endeavoring to offer a meaning to 
the four Indian names associated with Bound Brook. 

1. Sacunk seems to be a compound of clsqua, muddy 
»x\d conk or tonk or tmik, a stream, a slow sluggish stream, 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 187 

and so means the stream of mud, or stream flowing 
through the mud. 

2. Kaca-hova-wallaby. Baca is a loomy piece of 
land, hogua bent like a fish hook, wallaby, deep water, 
i. e., Tht; round plain by the deep crooked water. 

3. Kha-weigh-weiros. Ragaioeighioeros running from 
a deep hole or gorge. 

4. Raca-wack-hanna, Raca loomy again, waqua, flat 
or low, hanna rivulet or brook, a loomy flat by a running 
brook or by a rapid noisy rivulet. 

And so we see all these words are expressive of the nat- 
ural features of the places which they designate. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

In the brief sj^ace which is left me, a few words can only 
be said of 

BASKINGRIDGE. 

It was settled by imigrants from Scotland and the north 
of Ireland, probably as early as 1730. Alexander Kirk- 
patrick came to Mine Brook and bnilt a log house in 1736. 
In his memoir no mention is made of any families in that 
vicinity. He travelled on foot from Bound Brook over the 
mountains and through the woods, reaching at last a 
spring of water on the South side of Round Mountain, he 
admired the out look and determuKHl to settle there. The 
title to his land was not secured until Nov. 24, 1747. At 
a later date, 1762, Lord Sterling (Wm. Alexander) com- 
menced to build a mansion on his property, which ivas long 
known as Sterling's buildings. Between these datos the 
lands seem to have been taken up and settlers located The 
first names include the Southards, Linn. Bavkely, McEown, 
Guerin. McMartin, Ayres, Johnson, Whitecar, Oonklin, 
Cross, Mehidm, Dayton, Annin, Lewis, G-aston, and others. 
A Presbyterian Church was oi-ganiz^d, and was served by 
Rev's. Cross, Kennady, Finl'\v, Brownlee, Sso. Its nr^st 
prominent feature was the Academy, commenced by Fin- 
ley, and continued by Brownlee, in which many young men 



SOMERSET COUNTY. 189 

afterwards eminent iu the learned professions, reopiv^ed 
their early trairiing. The region has always been distin- 
guished by the. intelligence and the decided christian char- 
acter of its inhabitants. 

LAMINGTON 

Had a Church organized as early as 1740. Its early set- 
tlers were of the sann^ national itv of those at Baslcingridg • 
Henry, Logan, Suydam, McKinstry, Kennadv, Diinha-n, 
McDowell,' Sloan," Boylen, Todd. McBride, Field, Blair, 
Blackwell, Vandervoort. and others, are names which are 
to be found engraven on the niDnaments in the grave yard 
beside the church. Kev. Jaraes McCrea, Jeremiah Hals^'y, 
William Boyd, Horace Galpin and VVni. Blauvelt have 
served this church. Boyd, like Finley, devoted himself to 
teaching the classics, and prepared a number of young men 
for college, who were eminently useful in their day in 
church and state. We may mention John and Wm. Mc 
Dowel, J. T. Field, Sloan, J. C. Vandervoort, and 
l^rown as among his students ; then subsequently S. C. 
Henry, Oliver Ogden, Abm. Hageman, who served in the 
christian ministry and did honor to their native place. 

Somerset County has from its first days been distin- 
guished for its religious character, its pure morals, its in- 
dustry and thrift, and its general prosperity. It embraces 
a population which in wealth, intelligence, virtue, respect 
for law, and general culture is not excelled by any other 
community in our State. Fewer great crimes have been 
committed, fewer public executions have taken place, few- 
er great scandals have occurred. Its public men have been 
eminent, filled places of honor which are a source of pride 
to all right thinking men. Occupyino; a central place, it 
has been denominated the garden of New Jersey, it is cer- 
tainly not behind the foremost or the best. Its churches, 
schools, roads, and public improvements are abreast of the 
times, if not actually in advance. Hence its verdant 
plains are being sought as a residence by many from the 
overflowing cities on its borders. Its climate is mild and 
healthy, not subject to contamination from malarial influ- 
ences. In a word it offers as many advantages and enjoy- 



190 SOMERSET COUNTY. 

meats to those who are seekino^ homes as can he found iu 
any portion of our proud old State. 

The Rail Road facilities of the County are ahundant. We 
cannot say that every man has them at his door, but he 
at least has them within an easy distance. Hence prop- 
erty has advanced in every part of it, and capitalists who 
have invested their funds have not h-id occasion to 
recjret their action. Its fature is bright and encouraging. 
It will not be long before many of its choice locations will 
be occupied by mansions, and improvements which will 
at once gratify and enrich its prosperous inhabitants. In- 
deed, when ail its advantages are properly estimated, it 
presents attractions to the public which few can offer to 
an equal extent. All honor to our goodly land — may its 
future be equal to the highest wishes of those who love it 
best. 

Its past memories are a proud inheritance, and we fondly 
hope its future may not develope anything to mar or de- 
preciate them ; and when another Centennial has arrived, 
may those who celebrate it feel as much pride in their an- 
tecedents as we really feel now in ours. Let them emu- 
late our example, and they will not fail to enjoy the ani- 
mating distinction, which has been so unanimously conce- 
ded to us, their antecedents. 

Industry never looses its reward. Public virtue is a 
public blessing. Temperance and good morals are essen- 
tial elements in the prosperity and happiness of every com- 
munity. Political integrity is as important as the equal 
administration of justice. As long as these virtues are 
cultivated by a people and demanded from those trus- 
ted with influence and called to offices of profit and honor, 
ive may hope to see our good county advancing and pros- 
pering as she has until now done. The school, the church 
and the law, can operate in perfect harmony, and be made 
to combine in maintaining correct principles and public in- 
tegrity ; and all those who have intelligent conceptions of 
their own best interests, will unite in upholding them and 
extending these influences in their separate flelds of opera- 
tion. 

Somerville June 17, 1878. 



APPENDIX. 



When the spirit of resistance to British oppression h;ul formed itself 
into a resolution to contend, preparations weie made to oriranize, and to 
call out the military of the country. The first public act looking to ii 
"plan for regulatinjr the militia of the colony,'' was passed iu the Pro- 
vincial Congress, at Trenton, June 3J, 1775. Tinder this act two Regi- 
ments were raised in Somerset Co.; August 16, nii), five companies 
from Somerset were added to the former enrollment. 

When the first Batallion was formed, William Alexander (Loid Ster- 
ling) was made Colonel, Stephen Hunt, Capt, Col.; Frederick Freling- 
huyson, Capt. Col. ; Abraham Ten Eyck, Lieut. Col.; Derrick Middah, 
2d Maj. Lieut. Col ; James Linn. Capt. 1st Maj.; Rich. McDonald, Capt. 
2d Maj,; Thomas Hill, Cipt. 2d Maj. 

Of the 2d Batallion, Abraham Quick was made Col.; Hendrick Van 
Dyke, Col.; Berij. Barrd,"~nTlPniJTTeter D. Vroom, Capt. 1st Maj. Lieut. 
Col.; William Verbryck, Capt'. 2d Maj.; William Baivd, Capt. 1st Maj.; 
Enos Kelsey, 2d Maj. For a complete list of all the oftioeis and men 
who served in the Revolutionary War, we can only refer our readers to 
Adj. G-en. Stryker's official Register, published in Trenton, in 1872. 

The foUowiiJg Resofutic)ns of a meeting iu Hillsborouirh Township, 
show the form i;i which action was taken in enrolling the Militia in 
Somerset County. They are interesting as being the only memoranda 
referring to this early period in the action of the people in defense of 
their liberties. The oriirinal was found accidentally among some old 
oapers on a book stand in New York. 
/' At a meeting of the principal Freeholders, and Officers of Militia., of 
' the Township of Hillsborough, County of Somerset and Piovince of New 
Jer.sey, held this 3d of May, 1775, at the house of Garret Garrison, it was 
agres;d as follows, viz : 

1st. That the Companies of Militia this day assembled here, do choose 
officers for their respective Companies. 

2d. That the officers so devised, shall choose officers for a Company of 
Minute Men, who are to beat up for volunteers to raise said Company 
to consist of GO men, who who are to be exercised twice per week, and to 
be ready at a minutes warning to march in defence of the liberty of our 
country. 

("Sd. That (the men so voluntarily enlisting in said Company, shall 
receive one shilling aud six pence for every pan, of a day they are cm- 



2 APPENDIX. 

ployo.i in l.cinjf oxercised by any of rhf>ir uftii.ers, luid the (.ffic■.el■^* in 
prop(irti(iii. 

4ih that ill case waid Compiiny .shall march in defense ot their country, 
the C.ipuiin t" receive six Khillmgs, the 1st Lieut, five shilliiiirs. t.h<- 2d 
Lieut, torn- MhillinjfH. and etch ot the interior offi !ors, three shilliiiir.s, all 
I'roc. per day ; with provision-* and aminuiMtion. and t( those who are 
able. Amis ; and all the above money to bo raised by tax >ii the inhabi- 
tants of .said To wuship, in the same manner the Provincial Taxes are 
raised. 

5tb. In pursuance of the first article of the above a<rreemcnt, the Oom- 
t'u ies here assembled choose the following >rentlemen their oflicers, viz : 

bOH THS. HiLi.sHOitoUGii CoMP.VN Y.— John Ten EycK, Capr. ; Pctor 
). Vroom, Lieut. ; Jacobus Quick, 2d Lieut. 

Fou THE Mll.LSTONK CoMP.\NY. Ilendrick Probasco. Capt. ; Jidn. 
Smock, 1st Lieut.; Casparus Van Nostrand, 2d Lieut. 

FoH THE Sh.vnnuk CoMi'ANY.— William Vcr Bryck, Ctpt.; Roelif 
Peterson, 1st Lieut.; Cornelius Petersim, id Lieut. 

P'ou THE CoMi'.vNY OK GuENADiEus.— Cornelius Lott, Capt.; .lohn 
Bennet, Lieut.; Cornelius V^m Darv er, 2d Lieut.; Garret Garrison, 
;M Lieut. 

6th. The above officers proceeded accordiiiij to the authority ^'iven 
them in the second article, to the choice of ofSceis for the Company of 
Miuute Men, when the foUowinj? men were uiianimously chosen : For 
Capt., Cornelius Lott ; for lat Lieut., John Nevius : for "2d Lieut., Gar- 
ret R. Gar-iuon. 

?th. The officers of the Militia, and the Committee of Observation are 
desired to meet together and appoint a Committee to provide the above i 
Company with Arms and Ammunition. 

May 16, 1775. The Officers of the Militia, and the Committee of Ob- 
servation having met, unanimously, chose Hendrick Van Middlesworth, 
Conrad Ten Eyck and Dirck Low,fo provide ammuKition for said Com- 
pany, and arms for those that are not able to buy for themselves, and 
the aforesaid ijentlcmen are desired to take £40 Proc, in money on the 
credit of the Township, to buy 140 pounds powder, 420 pounds lead, and 
210 flints ; and if the said Company .should be called to march in de- 
fense of their country, if not provided for, then the aforesaid Hendrick 
Van Middlesworth, Conrad Ten Eyck and Dirck Low, are to find pro- 
visions on the credit of the township as above said. 

It is further agreed that the above agreement thall be subject to such 
alterations, and additions as the Provincial Congress shall think proper. 
By order of the As.sembly, 

John Baptist Dumont, Chairman, 
Peteu D. Vroom, Clerk. 

We give a list of the members of Capt. P. D. Vroom's Company, en- 
rolled after the above action ; it is evidently not complete, but it con- 
tains all now recoverable : 

Jacobus Amerman. Albert Amerman, John Amerman, Thomas Auten, 
John Br.c^kaw, Lieut, Capt. Vroom's Co. killed at German town, Oct. 4th 
1777 ; Abraham Brokaw, Peter Brokaw, Corp'l ; George Brokaw, Jaco- 
bus Bergen, Corp'l ; Jacob Cook, Jacob W. Cook, Jacobus Corshow, Ber- 
prun Coevert, Fifer ; Thomas Coevert, Corp'l ; Poier Ditmas, Nicholas 
Dubois, Peter J. Dumont, Thomas Dwore, Jacobus Dubois, Minne Du- 
bois, Serg't ; William Grijfge, Augustus Hartshough, Harmon A. Hoag- 



APPENDIX. 3 

land. Lucas Hoatrlnml, Peter HoagUind, Dirck Huif, Abrain Low, Peter 
Leyster, Hujrh MoAUum, Hendrick PdsI, Ser<j't ; Peter Perlee. Thom- 
as Skillraan, Joakira^Qnick, Eti-iirii ; Peter Quick. Serg't ; Abr.im Stry- 
ker, Jonathan Spader, Albert Stotliott, Benjamin Taylor, Serjf't ; Willet 
TayL>r, Abram Taylor, Abraham Van Arsdalcri. Ser<j't; John Van 
Arsdale, Garret Van ATfiilaie, Jolia Van Dyok, William Van Dyck, An- 
drevv Var Middlesworth. Serjj't ; Tunis Van Middleswortb, -lacobus 
Van Nuyse, Coert Van Wairgoner, JacoVms Voorhees, Rynier Veyrhfe, 
Lieut 2d Batallion. Capt. ditto ; Peter Voorhees. Peter Vroom, Jacob 
Winter Corp"! ; Peter Winter ; Goert Van Voorhees. 

We Hive the followint; enrollment subscribed by the men who enlisted 
in Gapt. Jacob Ten Eyek's Company ot Somerset Miliiia. 

We the subscribers do coluntirily enlist our^idvos in the Gi)mpa'iy of 
Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck, in the Township of BriJg'Wite •, in the County 
of Somerset, under the coinmmd nf G )!. S'eplien Hunt, and do promise 
to obey our offi !ers in such servii'.e-t as thev shall app tint, us, a.^^reeahie 
to the wishes and orders of the Pidvineial Gcngre.-^s. "Witne.-is our hands 
this 2M day of June 1785 : 

Capt., Jacob Ten Eyck. tal Lieut., Abm. Puinont, '2cl bleul ., .rolui Rrokaw, Kn- 
slgn, Isaac Vauarsdalen ; Sergeants. Derlck Dnmont. \\ ni. Van Dine, I'hlilp Falk, 
Jacob Ten Eyck. Jr., AnJreas Ten Eyck, Jacobus Voorliees ; C'or|ioralp> Daniel 
Ammerman, John Dow, Jr., George .Anten, Abrani Van Voorhees ; Diinimer, 
Fred. K. Dltiuars ; Privates, Peter Low, Aaron Craig. AialrewTeu Eyck 'iariufi, 
•loUn Tunison, Jacob Ten Eyck Tartus, Morines Miller, Jolin_Evens, John Dowty 
Jr., Henry Brokman, 2«ickolas Broknian, Thomas I'mphrey. Godfi ey Clear, 1-eier 
Post, Wlillam \Vllson, John Beeknian, John Uownc, Cornelius Suyri; ni, Peter 
Bodlne, Fulkert Dow, David Helebmnt, John Stnait. Jas Wintfrsteln, lavld 
Vanarsdalcn, Chrs. McMons, Peter 'leeple, Mlnard Johnson. Peter Sutphen. JeMs- 
mlah Doty, Christian Frazer, George A"an Neste, Hugh Clark.. Jacobus Van Voor- 
hees, John Storm. John .Myers, Amos .Smalley, cor. Van Dike, .lohn Mortinan, 
John Ross, Luke Teeple. Peter Ten Eyck, Peter Duniont. Abm. Billion. Heiidrlck 
Suydam, Jeremiah Britton, Samuel Williamson. Jamc'^ Koss (;ilberl Lane. Barn- 
ard Klsden, Nls C, Hendrick Teeple. Jacob Sneiloker. James Duycktiick. William 
Milllken, Evert Brokaw, Samuel Brittaln, Lucas Vosseller, Jacob Vo^ seller. Lewis 
Heartsont, Ambrois .\pplebee, BoLuid Cihaml^ers, Ulcharrt Brokaw, Kdwaid Mon- 
tanye, Dlrck Dowe, Peter Van Derbarge, John Powelson. Abraham Btiton. 

CoMMiTTKE Chamber. Hkidegwatkk, Feb. 2-ith !T7(>. 

Whereas, by the orduances lately made by the Provincial Congress, for n'gt-la 
ting the Militia of New Jerse.^', It ai)pears necessary that (-ach Caplaii) sliould 
have a District for the Company he eoinnntnds, we the committee. ac(;or(lingly 
grant unto Capt. Jacob Ten P^yck. the command of all the men within ilie follow- 
ing bountlaries or District : Beginning ai the line of Hunterdon Co.. on the river 
Allamatunek, thence down said river and also down the North Bvniich to the 
mouth ot Chamber"'; Brook, then up the said brook to the phne where Wllliarii 
McDonal's MUl formerly stood, then to th(^ top of the moiinialn to Capt. Stile's 
line, then on a direct line down between Philip A'an Narsdalen, and Chris. Van 
Narsdalen's, \\esterly of Win. Black Halls, to the rear of Karltan River Lots, then 
along the real of said Klver Lois to a line of William Laee's B1\er lot, then 
northerly and westerly, then down said branch to the line which 'divides the 
lands ot Borgen Brokaw, and Mr. Conovers, then along said Utie to liunteidon 
Co., line, then along the same to the beginning. 

By order of the Committee. 

ED BVNX. Chairmati. 

Boundaries of the Millstone Company.— At a meeting of the Coumilttee of the 
Township of Hillsborough held at the house of Garret Garret>on. the 3d day of 
July, 1775, It was unanimously agreed that the boundaries of the Company called 
Millstone Company, are as follows, viz : Beginnin.g at the mouth of Millstone 
Klver, thence along the said river to the house ofGeretie Cornetry. then along 
her westward bound to and still continuing westwardly to the house of Ccuri, 
Van Vorehase, then westwardlv to a small brook, and thence down the said 
brook to the Ainwell Road, then westwardly along the said road till it comes tn 
the 2 rod road that leads to Millstone road, contimiine' along said road, thence 
along Millstone Road to Uaiitan Bridge, thence along the Karltan River to the 
pJ ice of beginning. PETER D. vnoo.M. 



4 APPENDIX, 

A ll.st or tinf ni'-n \v!io served under Capt. .J;i-ob Ten Tyck in the lieroluUouarj- 
W.ir, liOM ilie yiMr i7T5 to r.he y<;iir ITsi, at dUTcrenl tliiirs : 

Arasraltli Kdiiiiin, Andr.nv.-. Joliii. An Irews Malcolm, Abiiylon Aaron, Aiifen 
'riK);niis, Andrews Koliert. Aiiitn .Idini, Applenian David, Uerii.oii .Jeremiah. 
Jjrolvuvv IMeliurd, I'.erit m S unuel. Beriron David, llroKaw Dirk, Drokaw JJer),'en. 
1$ nil lie idrl>-k, tiuine'r Garret. Kodlue CDrnelle.s. Hin-anan Aihmi. Ho<,'ert <;is- 
l)-it, l!,is'<f;)rt I'eler, Berp'iUJenidls. IV.Uiim J.ihn, Buiin Kdward. Bodine .Tohn. 
Brawer \\'illl.iiM, Bo.iiiie AhralKini Boss (' ii I'.eliiis, ]>r(iwn Abraliani. Buss C'or- 
ii"lH!.s, BnsliMtl 1 'l'le)ni i.s. BaniHr I,"\vls. Btiim llenr.\. Burner Besijandu, JJiowu 
(ir 'I'a. Bum 'r (i.'orj^.', Biii'^ODii.s Irederli-K'. Brown Jolin. Buorun Hi-nrw Beiiier 
K'.chird, B.iclilcw ured'k, Bulrner Itob 'rt. Brewer (i^orffe. Brewer Wliliiin. Brii\- 
I 'n .l.mi's. Colter, John, cauipb-il Archibald, (Miandler John, 4_;uini.iloa IM-hard. 

\<'()m -H i{|enai-di,<"'>in'.'s Charles.- Cr.it,'' .;■ .lehn. (.^asbern CiirisTbplier. Toruellson 
.fiiiin, Colter Alexan ler. Cornelison WlUiini. Cla\*!-rin Henjjniin. Clawson B irnet 
Cnrn"lis()n (iarret colli-r Peter. Chtvns William. Caslner.Idhn. Chandier.sWllliaiiii 
Conine David, Coole I'eier. Clawsnn Bra' I. Calwell .folin, rii;,inbns Jri-;eph. CoUer 
.Ml:hael, (;hapnian John, Doty .ferMulaii, Iniyekins James, llerrod John. Hoatr- 
lind Sinniel, Henry Job. 1, Mall (i'0!-;:e. llo'.ri- James. lluiT John. Ileipencllnj; l'\- 
ter. Hall Isaae. Hay A'llliaui, Harris Benjiini!), Hail Wiiliani. Hal! Nieols. Hesa- 
men Jun^s, HoiiJland William, Hoaj,rland Derrick, Iladenbreok I'eter, Hall Thom- 
as. Hadentirook Isiv. Harris J mies, llarrlni John. Harris Joiin. Johnson Mlnanl.- 

- Johns )n Wiliiam, .roitnson, James, .lemlman Jaeobns, Jones Benjamin, KeUe\ 
D ivid, Kln< David. ICInjj 'ITiomas. Kirkpatrick Andrew, Lane Tunis. Damoni 
Jolin, Damont Klbert, Dow P'lilkcrt Dennis Kubin, D.ieker I'eter, Dailey William, 
DoiiKhtv iSkiUinan. Drene Thomas Drake Dirk. Defraste Isaac. Duyekinan John. 
Dnyekman Williaiii. Davis (Jairei. Davii John. Kwlns John. Klveiv John. Fiaser 
Christopher. Kusler laike. Ful.ls Jere.niaii. Fulker Pder, Fnsler JaVob, Fulkerson 
Henr.v. French William, (Joldtraii Jonn. (Jorden John, Carrel son Jeremiah. Cilmer 
Timthey. Helcbrant D ivid, Harlson Lewio, Harris Carnt. Ilerutu^-h 1 ewis, Liieas 
John, I.onjj William. Lon^'John. l.ane Tlioma.-:. I.fddlc Hobcrt. Le(? 'I'homa.s, Lane 
John, Lane Jacob. Lellls .laines. More John. .Mapes Heiirv. .Miiuir Samuel. Mulner 
Joseph, Montlninore William, MeMurtry TliOinas. McKinslev SauiueL ^Ma-iwll 
Robert, Misbet Peter. More Luke. .McDowell Kiihraim. Mali^'-li .'rohii, .Millln Janies. - 
Mechleni-alh 'i'luiin if+, IMulbrln John.Oilaw ful Samuel. .Maybeck John. Mnrfey 
Thomas. Messier Cta-neiious, Mannin Isaac. McDonald Sainuei. .Mi'all^h l'et(>r. Mii- 

--Un John, McMans WUll.im. iMcCraln Daniel. Mccarty HuHh, .McDowel Joim. Mea- 
beaeh John, Kortwlek John. Nevlus Christopher, Nevus John. Off Chrlsloplier. 
Oliver Nicolas, Prine John, I'owelson Henry, Post I'cter. Prav.l L>-aae. Packsen 
William. Probasco Garret. Poner William. Fowl Arelilbald, Powel James. Peaeh 
William. Powelson Mina, Probiise'o Christopher. I'ossJohn, Uoss J.imes. IHchson 
Joseph. Kolan John, Kiinyon IHchard, Koscbome Hendriek. Hoseboiue Hoberl. 
P.lirhtmer James, Klekey Israel, Heimir Benjamin. Bunyon Vincent. Bolan I'eter, 
Siekel Zaehariah, strvker Barrant, Stryker Chrl.stopher. Stuard John. Suvdani 
t:oriiilHis. Suydam Byke. Storm Jolin, Smnlley Amos.^itgiil&ilohn. Smo'."k Banant 
suydain Charles, Stephens Joseph, Sebrlnj? Fnlkert, StuIT'Josenh, SHiiKerlan 
Henry. Scuyler liarrant. sparks .lolin, stul John, Sebron GcoiKe, Stephens Henrv, 
Suddard Kiehard. Sm.illey Jonas, Stuart James, soms .Andrew, ! harp Johii. 
Sharp Matthias, simasnn John, Si'brln Abraham. Sparks Gabriel, Stephens Joseph, 
Schenk Abrah;ini, Sill !)hen Glsbirt. Smith John. SnialUiy Isaac, Stillwell John, 
Ten Kyck Peter, Tunlson John, Tee)ile Luke, Tecple Luke. Teeple Hendricks. 

—Thompson Thomas, Teeiile (!eort;e. Todd .Ceorffo, t'mphrey Tliomas. Van Nars- 
dalen Dow, Van Nest (J'oive. Van Dike Cornelius, Van DebeVfce Peter, Van Nars- 
dalen (Miri.stopher, Van Debrodk Peter, Van Nest Peter, Van Narsdalen John. Van 
Horn Janies, Van Narsdalen Perlck, Van Xarsdalen Hendriek, Vossler Peter. 
Valentine .Jacob, Van Natten John. Van Cort John, Van Nest Barnard, Van Camp 
John. Van Nest Abraham. Van Doren Ciirlstopher, \'an Vest .Liromas, Van Nars- 
Irand Jacob, Van Nest Frederick. Van Nest Cornelions, Van Deventer Aliraliam, 
Van Vln^-ie Isaac, Van Tln^rle Abraham, Van I)e\cntcr I'eter, Van 'lingie John. 
Van Wa','ener Coonrad, Van Narsdalen Philip, Voorliees Fulkert. Van Doren Lsaac, 
Van Pelt RullIT, Van Cort Michael, Van Deveer Matthew. Nan Norilen Toblah, 
\'an Doren Bergen. \'room IhMidrlrk. \'rooin (icorne, \room .lohn, Voorliees Isaac, 
Van Hoiilen John, Van Nortwiek John, Wormian John, Wilson William, Wlnter- 
sleln Janies, Williamson Samuel, WyckolT ,101111. Wlte Matthew, Williamson Cor- 
nelius, Walker Thomas, Waldron Wllllar:. Whealer James, Wooderd Daniel, 
Wortman Andrew, WInans William, Worley Pcier. Wilson John, Waldron Cor- 
nelius, Wortman Peter, Younjjc George, Young- John. 



APPENDIX. 5 

Members of Capt. Conrad Ten Eyck's Company : 

David Am merman, Powel Aminerman, Benjamin Arrosmlth, John liPimet2tl 
Lieut., Daniel Blew, Hendrick Blew, John Board, Oeorge Brewer, Abraham Bro- 
kaw, corsparus Brokaw, Adain Uallas, .lacob Coach, Henry Cook, Abraham Co- 
shaw, Tliomas covert, Tunis covert. Samuel Davis. John Decamp, John Decker, 
Ilencliick Duinon, Peter Dmnon, Mancias Dnboys. Seig"t ; Abraham Dumott, Ben- 
jamin Dumott, Lawrence Duiiiott, Henry Fislier, Joseph I-'reneh, Fnlkert Fulker- 
son, Chvl^llan Herder, Heruianus iloagland, J()luinn( s Hong-la 'id, John Hoagland, 
'I'unis Ho ;.<j:laud, Nicholas Huff, Klchaid Huff, H<'nry KiuneUy, Tliomas La\vker- 
inan, Thomas Light, John Lotev,. Jr., \lirahim Lott, Abraliam Low, D:!niel 
McKwen, Simon Van Nortvvick, Thomas Peterson, Abrahaiiri Post, Peter I'cryn 
(Perrlne), Jolm Powek-on, I-eroy Kalpli, Hendrick Hosebroom, John H. Sihenck, 
serg't, Hoellf Sebrlng', Thomas Skillman. Isaac Strykcr, John Stryker, Andries 
Ten Ryck, Garret 'I'erhune. Cornelius Van Aisdalen. /Isaac Van Cleefe, Corpwal, 
Paryas Van Cleer, Abram Van Arsdalen, Corporal, Jifcob Vauderbilt, Chrystoyan 
Van Dorn, John Van Dorn, ('ornellus Van Dorn, Abufiham Van Dorn, Ensl',''iy Cor- 
tii'iius Van Dorn, John Vandike, John Van Houten, .Tohn Van Mi1rilesworth,i'l"hom- 
:is\'a'i Middl'-svvorth. Hendri':'k Van Xoitwick, John Van Nortwlck, Ensign, Jarob 
\"aii Xuvs. John Van Voorliecs, Conrad 'l'(!U Kyck, Ensign, Conrad Van Wagoner, 
.-\bfahaui Voorhecs. Corp 1, Jacob Voorhecp, Peter Vooi-hees, John Van Ars.lalen, 
Serg'i, Adolphus Weavour, William Whllson, Jacob Wintei', Barent Dumott. 



:o:- 



Minutes of the First .Meeting of the Iiihabitaats of 
the Township of Bridgewater, after it had been 
fornned. 

Thr Township of Bridgewater, 1750. 
At a meeting lieM this 12th day of March, 1750, att the 
House of Greorge Middagh, l)y the Inhabitants tiforesaid, 
for chusing othcers according \o the Patent Granted as 
aforesaid, and according to an act of Assembly provided 
for that purpose, &c., Viz ; 

John Broughton — Chirk. 

Daniel Blackford — Constable, 

Richard CoixLpton, Henry !:*tevens and John Vroom — 
Freeholders 

Thomas Authen, Jr,, Lucas Tipple, John Harris, Lucas 
Belyou — Commissioners, of which two is to be choesing by 
ye Court. 

Francis Cossart — Assesr^- fjr the Township. 

Tobias Van Norden — Collector for aforesaid. 
Hendrick Van Stay and Abraham Bodine, Lsaac's son — 
Assessors for the Poor. 



6 APPENDIX, 

Overseers of ye Highway, for ye year 17S1. 
For Overseers of the Highway, 

Harjjer Hoes — In the room of Frederick Boilirie. 

Edward Hall — In the room of Richard Hall. 

Samnel Stats Coejamin— In the room of Jeretniah 
Van Nest. 

James Willson — In the room of Andris Cossiue. 

Andris Ten Eyck, Jr. — In the room of Wm M. Kinney. 

liynear Van Nest — In the room of Jerry Reemer, 

Powel Autheu — In the room of John Nealor. 

Denicp Tnnison — In the room of Folkert 8ebring. 

John Sebring — In tlie room of Joseph Colter. 

The aforesaid meeting of the Inhabitants is adjourned 
till on the second Tuesday of March next at the hour of 
ten a Clock in the morning, according to an act of Assem- 
bly provided for that purpose, att the time and place 
aforesaid, &c. 

JOHN BROUGHTON, 

Clark. 



COMMOM PLEAS JUDGES. 

1778, "79, Peter Schcnck, 1778, '79, so, .facob Bergen, 1778, '"'.», Abrabani Van Neste. 
1779, '80, 81, Nathaniel Ayers, 1779, Kllslia Ayers, 1780, 'si, 82. S3, Wm. Verbryckf 
1781, Roellfrsehrlnjf, 1782, '83, '84, '85, '80, '87, '88, '89, '90, '91. Tliomas Berry. 1782f 
83, '84, '87, '89, KotMTt StOCklon. '1783. '84, '85, 'Sf, '88, '90, 'iM, Mo.scs ScOtt,''17S5, '86, 
Matttilas Bilker, IT^^S '89, '90, '91, '92, '9.5, '96, '97, "98, '99, isoii, NMchohis Dulxils, 1788, 
■m9, '90, •<)>.), isiio, I'ftcr I) Vroom, 1788, '89, '90, '91, '92, '9:^, '9^1, .I(is<>|)h Annln. 1789, '91, 
•92, I{olj<M-l (Jaslon, 1791, '92, '93, '94, '95. '97, '98, '99, Arclilb.ikl M'Tccr, 1792, '94, '96, 
97, HolXTt Blair, 1792, '93, '9.">, '9C,, Jolin Beatty, 1793, 'g.'i, '90, Uoljcrl Stockton, 1795, 
■'96, '97, '9S, ISOO, 'Ol, '02, 'IKt, '04, 'OS. 'OO, '(17, Ds, '09, Davlcl Kelly, 1795, "oo, '97, Johii 
Strykpr, 1795, W., '97, '98. 'm, Pet^r Diiinont, 1797 to IHoo. .JoUn Biiyard, 1798 to is04. 
John Bryant, lH(n to 1806, Jacob K. Hardenbergh. 



SHERIFFS. 



1777, 78, '79. Pct^r Duiuunt, l7so, Peter T. Schenck. 1781, '82, "83, Peter I). Vroom 
1784, 'HTy, Hobert Stf)ekton, I7.so, •n7. .fohn HarclenberKh, 17ss, '89, '90, William Wal- 
laee, 1791. '92, '93, John Hardenbergh, 17W. 95, '96, Joseph Annln, 1797, '9s, Kobert 
Blair. 1799, 1800. Joseph Doty. 



APPENDIX. 7 

Somerset County — Its Physical Aspect. 

It contains about 189,800 acres, and 297 square miles, 
Htid is divided into nine Townships, viz : Bridijewater. 
Bedminster Bernards, Warren, North Plaiufield, Frardilin, 
Hdlsborough, Montijjomery, and Branchbur<^h. Its cen- 
tral Latitude is 40 deg. 34 ruin, Longitude 2 deg. 15 luin. 
The clinjate is mild and most healthfuL The whole Coun- 
ty rests on and is composed of the seccmdary or transition 
formation, of the old red sand stone, or red shale. The 
northern pait is hilly or mountainous, the central undula- 
ting, and a part of the southern is i>f tht^ sa ue character 
Its mountains are of Tra[) f)rmation rising from lot) to 
300 feet, but they nowhere exhibit any ot^the columnar form 
which the Basalt or Trap sometimes assumes. North of 
Somerville there is a double range of Tiap Mountains. 
The first mountain begins near Pluckamin, lying in the 
form of a horse shoe, and extending to Paterson. The 
second commences at Bernardsville, and terminates at the 
little falls of the Passaic Between them there is an 
elevated valley from a mile to halt a mile in width, in 
wLich, at different places, grey flag and building stone is 
obtained. These two ranges are almosL unbroken, and 
have had the effect of changing the course of all the small 
rivers which flowed off the primative granite and gneiss 
hills north of them, and f(jrcing them all to the north east, 
unil thfy reach Paterson Falls, over which the Passaic 
precipitates itself on its way to the ISea. Dead River evi- 
dently at first flowed into the Raritan at Bound 
Brook. 

All these Trap Hills were unquestionably protruded from 
below by volcanic force in a semi-fluid state. In many 
places portions of the trap includes broken pieces of red 
shale, hardened by the effect of heat until almost vitrified. 
The Neshanic Mountain, on its northern extremity, show.s 
the effect of intense heat, and the loose shale is burnt to 
such an extent that it rings like clink stone or cast iron. 
It is, in many respects, a curious formation, coming al- 
most to a point on its northern end, and spreading out 
like a triangle to the south, broken in some places and fur- 
rowed by the action of water. 



8 appp:ndix. 

Ill the little valley at Chiiniujy Rock, the place vvlien 
the Tiap was protruded is luaiked [)y the falls of the east 
branch of Middlebiook creek, and the overlapin^ of the 
red shale is ])lainly marked for more ihan a hundred yanl.N. 

There is also another lower range noith of Princeton, 
known as Rocky Hill, through which the Millstone has 
found an outlet, where the same thing, though not so whII 
defined, may be seen. It it weie not for tiie conchoidal 
fracture of the Traj), it would be a most useful and excel- 
lent building material ; being less dense than granite and 
gneiss, its temj^erature is higher, and consequently a house 
built of it would condense less moisture and be dryer and 
much morci healthy 

The Red k>liale of our County is compcjsed of silicious 
and angilacious substances, and its color is owing to the 
presence of the red oxide of iron in small quantities. It 
has sometimes been ground fine and used as paint, but it 
is not valuable as a pigment. 

As it lies in the central ])arts of our county, it has a 
general dip or inclination of about fifteen degrees to the 
north west, and everywhere exhibits the effect of disturb- 
ances ; being broken up and uneven on its surface. 

At some remote period it has evidently been denuded oi 
the superabundent material whicii originally rested on it. 
The Sand Hill west of Soihervllle, that at the Compton 
burying ground on the noith, the hill west of the North 
Branch at Milltown, and the one north west from the 
North Branch Church, are instances of the character of the 
material which originally rested on it and has been re- 
moved in some way^ not now recognizable. 

It has resting on it clayey loom, forming the soil of th<; 
endulating grounds wiiich rises above the alluvial along 
the water courses. It varies in thickness from a foot to 
twenty or thirty feet, and is capable of being made ex- 
ceedingly fertile and valuable for agricultural purposes. 

In the valley of the Peapack, there are extensive beds of 
limestone, which are used extensivi-iy in enriching the soil^ 
as well as for mechanical })urposes. Copper ore exists in 
the mountains north of Somerville, but has not been ol>- 
tained in quantity to make it valuabb\ 



itiJejA 



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