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Full text of "History of the Hunterdon county historical society"

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The 



Hunterdon County 



Historical Society. 



HISTOKY 



OF THE 



HUNTERDON COUNTY 



HISTORICAL SOCIETY 



By Klin«s Vosseller. 









FLEMINGTON, N. J., 

Printed for the Society. 

1894. 



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qn3 

'OS 

(I. W. BURROUGHS, 

Book and Jon Printkk. 

CRANBURY, N. J. 



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4HE Hunterdon County Historical Soci- 
^ ety was organized September nth, 
1SS5, by Doctors Henry Race, Geo. H. Lari- 
son, N. B. Boileau, Geo. N. Best and Rev. 
Dr. Geo. S. Mott, Rev. C. S. Conkling and 
William T. Srope, E. M. Heath, John W. 
Lequear, Jacob Servis, Richard H. Wilson, 
Walter F. Hayhurst, Jos. C. Exton, E. T. 
Bush, Asher W T . Carroll and Elias Vosselkr. 

Doctors G. H. Larison, Henry Race and 
Rev. C. vS. Conkling were appointed a com- 
mittee to draft a Constitution and By-Laws. 
In the Constitution the object of the Society 
is declared to be "to discover, procure and 
preserve whatever relates to any department 



of the History of Hunterdon County, natural, 
civil, genealogical, literary or ecclesiastical : 
and generally of other parts of the State." 

"It shall also act in auxiliary relations 
with the New Jersey Historical Society ac- 
cording to the plan adopted by that Society." 

Doctor George H. Larison was elected its 
first President. The yearly business meet- 
ing is held on the third Saturday of October, 
in the chapel of the Presbyterian church of 
Flemington, at which time officers are elected 
for the coming year, reports of the officers 
made, the more important items that have 
been added to our Collections during the 
year, exhibited, one or more papers of his- 
torical value read, and plans for the good of 
the Society discussed. 

During the summer at such time and place 
as the Executive Committee may select, a 
more general meeting is held, and often 
largely attended. Such meetings have been 
held in the M. E. Church, of Frenchtown, in 
the grove of W. F. Holcombe, at Mt. Airy, 
in connection with the Holcombe Re-union, 



terization of a would-be Reformer. 

.- Day bv day he gave the Almighty advice, 
Which he deemed of great woith. 
And his wife took in sewing, 
To keep things going, 
While he superintended the earth 

From Miss Kate Taylor. "Shuster's Hol- 
low School and its Teachers." 

From Dr. Havhurst "A Memorial of Jacob 
Servis " one of our most enthusiastic mem- 
bers From our Corresponding Secretary, 
Mr. Elias Yosseller, "A Sketch of the Copper 
Mining Enterprises near Flemington. 1 Ins 
also was published in pamphlet form by Mr. 

H. E. Deats. . 

From Mrs. Mary C. Vail '"A Historical 
Sketch of the Friends Meeting at Quaker- 
town." From Walter F. Havhurst an 
appreciative Sketch of the Life of George H. 
prison, M- I)- our first President, whose 
death was greatly deplored. 

One of our members discovered that k, 
, ()hn Atkinson, the founder ol the M. B. 
Church of Flemington was living in Benton 
Harbor Mich. Through his daughter, Mrs. 



Sarah Wirians, a considerable correspondence 
was carried on with him and many interest- 
ing items relating to the early history of 
Flemington and snch families as the Alex- 
anders, Flemings, Lowreys and Atkinsons 
were secured. He died in the spring of 189 1 
of La Grippe in his ninety-fourth year. 

Our Society sent the following Communi- 
cation to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, 
which explains itself. 

The members of the Hunterdon County 
(New Jersey) Historical Society desire to call 
your attention to the Bill now pending 
before your legislature relating to the pur- 
chase by your state of Valley Forge. We 
hope you will pass this, or a similar Bill, so 
that this historic spot, dedicated to the spirit 
of Liberty, may be preserved. We are of 
opinion that Valley Forge stands for a crisis 
in our Country's history of no less magni- 
tude than Gettysburg. At Gettysburg amid 
the roar and flame of battle, our brave troops 
showed that our country was able to conquer 
the Military power of the Rebellion. At 



ill the Baptist Church at Baptisttovvn, at 
Deer Park, Perm, in connection with the 
Buck's county Historical Society, in the 
room of the W. C. T. U. in Clinton, in the 
Baptist Church of Sandy Ridge, in the home 
of Jacob Servis, in Lambertville, in the Pres- 
byterian Church of xMilford and in the Hall 
at Pittstown. 

The first paper read before the Society was 
by George N. Best, M. D., on the "Duties of 
the Historian." Other papers of importance 
have been prepared and read by the following 
members ; — By Henry Race, M. D., on "Jane 
Mc Crea," who at one time lived in Hunter- 
don County, and who was brutally murdered 
near Fort Edward, N. Y., in 1777. This 
paper was afterward read before the New 
Jersey Historical Society and incorporated 
by them in their "Proceedings." He also 
prepared and read a "Historical and Genea- 
logical Account of Col. Thomas Lowrey and 
Esther Fleming, his wife," and showed their 
photographs. This article has been pub- 
lished in pamphlet form, by Mr. M. E. Deats. 



of Flemington, including the pictures, and 
has been of great interest to the numerous 
branches of those families. Also "A His- 
torical Sketch of the Rockhill Family," and 
other shorter papers. 

From Geo. H. Larison, M. D,, we have 
had "A Genealogical History of the Hol- 
combe Family," "The dead in Barber's 
Burying Ground," "The mode of life in our 
Karly Settlements," "Elnathan Stevenson 
Family," including the "Sharps" and the 
"Fields," "A History of the Sandy Ridge 
Baptist Church," "A Sketch of the Life of 
Dr. Gershom Craven," who practiced medi- 
cine in Ringoes and vicinity from 1771 to 
fSiq. 

From our Recording Secretary, Mr. John 
W. Lequear we have had "The Early Settle- 
ment and History of the Baptists in Hunter- 
don County," " History and Settlement of 
the Rittenhouse Family in Hunterdon 
County," "History of the branch of the Ing- 
ham Family in Hunterdon County," "The 
Culture of Flax, and making of Flax seed 



Oil ; their labor and importance in the early 
wealth of Hunterdon County," with samples 
of home-spun and home-made linen, ging- 
ham, and calico. Also, "Biography of 
Robert Rittenhouse," "Some Recollections 
of Lambertville over fifty years ago," "The 
Rodman Tract" once owned by Col. Thos. 
Lowrey, The "Rio Grande Mills," "Rem- 
iniscences of the Border between Kingwood 
and Delaware Townships," and "Recollec- 
tions of Pittstown General Training of 
Militia." 

From Mr. Stacy B. Bray, we have had an 
important paper on "The Life and Times of 
General Robert Hunter," the Colonial Gover- 
nor after whom Hunterdon County was 
named, showing an oil painting on wood of 
his Excellency. Also " Some accounts of 
General Daniel Bray's Efforts in procuring 
the Boats for Washington's Crossing the 
Delaware" bringing to our minds an impor- 
tant act in our National History, of which 
every Jerseyman is proud, as it was the 
turning point of the Revolution. 



From Rev. George S. Mott. D. D., we 
have had "The old churches, more particu- 
larly the Presb}^terian Churches of Hunter- 
don Count}'." 

From Mr. Jacob Servis, "The Early Mar- 
riages in old Amwell Township from Official 
Records of Rev. William Frazer from 1769 to 
1793." Also an account of a "Visit to the 
Mc Neely Farm and Grave Yard, near New 
Hope." Here a number of Revolutionary 
soldiers were buried. 

From Mr. W. T. Srope, "Baptisttown and 
Kingwood History," " The Sheriffs of Hun- 
terdon County," and obituaries of Hugh E. 
Warford and Rev. C. S. Conkling, deceased 
members of our society. 

From Rev. W. W. Bullock, "The Founda- 
tions on which our Fathers Built" and "The 
Rittenhouse Manual Labor School." This 
school was established by Robt. Rittenhouse 
in 1830 near Locktown. It was not a finan- 
cial success and Mrs. Rittenhouse soon 
complained that all the manual labor came 
on her. It reminds one of this clever charac- 



i 



Valley Forge our forefathers by heroic endur- 
ance, amid manifold discouragements, even 
the elements of nature seeming to augment 
and protract their misery, proved their abil- 
ity to maintain their war for Independence. 

We cherish their memory. We would 
honor them by preserving, as nearly intact 
as possible, this spot the very mention of 
which recalls such worthy deeds." 

The Bill passed both Houses and was 
signed by Governor Pattison on last Memor- 
ial Da}*, an act appropriate to the day and 
the day worth}' of the deed. 

The Columbian Liberty Bell Committee 
appealed to Historical Societies and Mu- 
seums for filings from objects of Historical 
value, especially those that had any bearing 
on the struggle for Freedom, to be cast in 
the Bell. Our Society responded as below ; 
"On the 14th of December, 1776, Cornet 
Francis (xeary with about twenty picked 
men of the 16th Regiment (Queen's Light 
Dragoons, the pet Cavalry Regiment of the 
British Army, led a raid from Trenton, New 



Jersey, on the village of Flemington, Hun- 
terdon County, New Jersey. 

' ' By a clever ruse on the part of Col. Thom- 
as Lowrey he was frightened out of the vil- 
lage without doing much harm. 

1 ' On his retreat he was ambushed by Capt. 
John Schenck, home on a furlough from the 
Patriot Army, who hastily collected a half 
dozen farmers for that purpose. In the skir- 
mish Geary was killed and was buried near 
the spot where he fell. 

"A committee of the Hunterdon County 
Historical Society opened his grave in May, 
1891, and took from it the silver buttons 
from which these filings were taken." 

Our Society has stirred up a new interest 
in local history and in genealogical research 
and we receive many inquiries relating to 
families that were prominent in the earlj' 
history of the County. In some cases we 
are able to furnish the information desired, 
in others, are able to suggest probable sources 
of information. 

We are making a Collection of Books, 



Pamphlets, Newspapers, old Deeds &c relat- 
ing especially to Hunterdon Count}'. We 
invite all to co-operate with us in this. We 
have even undertaken to collect complete 
files of all the newspapers ever published in 
our County. Stray numbers of any of these 
that precede 1880 will be welcomed by our 
Librarian Mr. H. E. Deats. We have the 
nucleus of a very interesting Historical Col- 
lection which some day will be an honor to 
our County, and of sufficient interest to at- 
tract the attention of visitors. 

At present we have fifty-four Resident 
members, and eleven Corresponding and 
Honorary Members. 

Elias Vosseller, 

Corresponding See'y. 



LofC 



OFFICERS 
OF THE 

Hunterdon County Historical Society 



President, E). T. Bush, Stockton, N. J. 

i st Vice-Pres., I\. Thomas, Milford, N. J. 

2d Vice-Pres., A. W. Carroll, Tocktown. N. J. 

3d Vice-Pres., W. F. Hayhurst, L,ambertville, N. J. 

Kec. Sec, J. W. I^equear, Frenchtown, N. J. 

Cor. Sec, K. Vosseller, Flemingtou, N. J. 

Librarian. H. R. Deats, Fleniington, N. J. 

Treasurer, X. 15. BoiLEAU, M.D., Jutland. N. J. 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 

III 



■ 014 224 971 6 

The Jerseyman 




Is a Quarterly Magazine of Local History 
contributed to by members of the Hunter- 
don County Historical Society and others, 
and contains all the papers read at the 
meetings of that vSociety. 

Now in its Third Volume. 

Subscription, 50 cents a year. 



H E. DEATS, 



Kditor aii(i Rul>li«lier, 



FLEMINGTON, N. J.