(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "History of land titles in the vicinity of Quakertown, New Jersey"

HD 268 
.03 V3 
Copy 2 



HISTORY OF LAND TITLES 



IN THE VICINITY OF 



Quakertown, New Jersey 



HISTORY OF LAND TITLES 



IN THE VICINITY OF 



Quakertown, New Jersey 



MARY C. VAIL 

If 



FLEMINGTON, N. J. 

H. E. DEATS 
1915 



V^jfer-W^Y 



2- 






Originally published in the Hunterdon County Democrat, Flemington, 
N. J., in the issues of March 10, 17, 24 and 31, 1915. Edition of 2 1 copies 
in this form, printed April 10, 1915. 



APR 2! 1815 



THE KILLGORE PRESS. 
FLEMINGTON, N. J. 



History of Land Titles in the Vicinity of Quakertown 



The following article was prepared by the late Mrs. John Vail, of Quakertown. 
It was her intention to read it at a meeting of the Hunterdon County 
Historical Society, and later to publish it in the Jersey man. 
Her untimely death prevented further research on 
the subject, and the paper is here pre- 
sented as she left it. 



In October of the year 1712, three tracts of land, all included in the 
"Third Indian Purchase" made in 1703, lying in the central part of Hunter- 
don County and abutting on each other in the near vicinity of Quakertown, 
were surveyed by John Reading and set off to Daniel Coxe, Thos. Gardiner 
and Rachel Hutchinson respectively. First in order of date was that of Col. 
Coxe, the return of the survey of which is recorded in Book A, page 126 in 
the Surveyor General's office at Burlington and bears date 9th and 10th of 
Oct., 1712, being described as follows: "Beginning at a post standing in 
Gov. Penn's line for a corner then along ye said line East 130 chains to a 
hickory corner tree of Edward Rockhill's land, then along ye said Rockhill's 
line North 62 chains to a hickory corner tree in John Reading's line, then 
along ye said line West 12 chains to a corner post of said Reading's land, then 
still along ye said John Reading's line North 130 chains to a black oak 
corner tree of Mahlon Stacy's land, then along ye line of ye said Stacy 
West 96 chains to another corner white oak tree, then still along said 
Mahlon's line North 62 chains to a corner white oak tree, then along Mary 
Tomkin's land North 84 chains to a post for a corner, then South-west 5% 
chains to a hickory corner tree, then North westerly about 60 degrees 60^ 
chains to a black oak corner tree, then South 15 chains to a Redd oak corner 
tree, then West 34 chains to' a hickory sapling for a corner, then South 200 
chains to a post standing in ye Great Swamp for a corner, then East 114 
chains to a hickory tree for a corner, then South 148 chains to ye first men- 
tioned corner" containing 4170 acres. This was the well-known Mt. Carmel 
Tract which extended northward from Flemington where it joined Goy. 
Penn's land and included what is still known as Cox's Hill and the sites of 



the villages of Klinesville (formerly called Mt. Carmel) and Cherryville. 
From the latter place it extended westward to within about a half mile of 
Quakertown including in that vicinity lands now owned by Samuel K. Ever- 
ett, Jacob West, Theo. McPherson, Kuhl Hoffman, Asa Case, James W. Case, 
Robert Hanna, Conrad Philhower and others. Col. Coxe was a resident of 
Burlington City, was one of the largest individual land owners of West Jer- 
sey in those early times and our own county records contain very many 
conveyances from his heirs to others. 

Thos. Gardiner, whose tract comes next in order of date of survey, was 
a native of England and son of Thos. Gardiner, Sr. The family appear to 
have come to New Jersey previous to the year 1680, and Thos. Jr. and Han- 
nah Matthews, also late of England, were married in the Burlington meeting 
of Friends, 25th of 4th mo. 1684. It does not appear that they ever dwelt on 
any portion of the Hunterdon County tract. The return of the survey of said 
tract dated Oct. 14, 1712, is recorded in Book A of Surveys, page 133, in the 
Surveyor General's office at Burlington, and the tract is thus described: 
"Beginning at a corner white oak tree standing in Col. Coxe's line, then 
along ye said line South 196 chains to a post for a corner standing in ye 
Great Swamp, then West 101 chains to a poplar corner tree, then North 15 ^ 
chains to another corner post, then West 25 chains to a beech for another 
corner, then North 180 chains to a hickory sapling for a corner then East 
126 chains to the first mentioned corner, containing 2225 acres, besides 60 
acres of overplus and ye usual allowance for Highways." The beginning 
corner white oak tree stood about 150 yards east of the old foundry near 
Quakertown, while the "post in ye Great Swamp" was probably about a half 
mile east of the Frog Tavern. The beech tree at the southwestern corner of 
the tract stood on the bank of the Laokolong Creek a short distance below 
Oak Grove, the western boundary line was the same as that which now di- 
vides lands of John R. Case and W. H. Lake, Dr. W. D. Wolverton and Wm. 
Dubon, Jeremiah Snyder and Wm. R. Matthews and John Opdyke, while the 
northern line now forms the boundary between lands of John Opdyke and 
the late Wm. J. Case, John Brown and Lewis R. Hiner, Morris Hampton and 
John Robinson, the Friends' meeting property and lots adjacent on the north, 
and between the farm late owned by John T. Stires and lots contiguous on 
the south. Thos. Gardiner or his heirs probably disposed of a portion of the 
tract at quite an early date as in 1727 we find Thos. Hains in possession of 
the southeastern part, probably about 500 acres, including lands of J. K. 
Roberson, W. A. C. Robinson, Jacob McCloughan and others. Daniel Smith, 
a merchant of Burlington, who came from York, England, in 1691, and mar- 
ried Mary Murfin, of Nottingham, Burlington County, in 1695, became the 
owner of 500 acres in the northeastern corner of the tract, and in 1727 con- 
veyed the same to John Stevenson of Burlington County, who married, first, 
Mercy Jennings, daughter of Governor Samuel Jennings, in 1706, and, second, 
Margaret Wood in 1724. Smith's deed to Stevenson described the 500 acres 
thus: "Beginning at a white oak marked for a corner (the same which was 
the beginning corner of the original survey) then by Col. Coxe's land South 



100 chains to a hickory sapling, thence West 52 V 2 chains by Thos. Haines' 
land to a chestnut tree, thence North by Jacob Doughty's tract purchased 
of Matthews Gardiner to a post, thence East 52 chains by Rachel Hutchin- 
son's (deceased) land to the first station, containing 500 acres with allow- 
ance for highways." This deed was not recorded until 1790. The descrip- 
tion speaks of Jacob Doughty as being owner of the land contiguous on the 
west but Doughty's deed for that tract bears date 21 and 22 of September, 
1729, two years later. Doughty, however, became a resident of Hunterdon 
County in 1725 and it is probable he rented and lived on it, which may have 
led to the error as to ownership. 

The Stevenson purchase included lands now owned by Dr. Q. E. Snyder, 
Wm. H. Garrison, John D. Case, H. D. Young, heirs of Theo. Probasco, Emley 
and Ellwood Nixon, the estate of Abram R. Vail, Morris Hampton and several 
lots in the village of Quakertown. The tract was soon divided up and 
Samuel Stevenson, Samuel Carpenter, Matthias Van Horn and others are 
mentioned in various deeds as subsequent OAvners of the southern part. 
After the death of John Stevenson in 1744 suit was brought against his estate 
by one Wm. Allen and his "lands and tenements in Bethlehem" were sold 
Nov. 8, 1744, by David Martin, Sheriff. The widow, Margaret, bought 150 
acres for 79 pounds. The description runs thus: "Beginning at a post 
corner to land of Samuel Stevenson, thence by said Stevensons' line West 26 
chains and 25 links to a corner, thence by land formerly Jacob Doughty's and 
John Coats' North 60 chains to a corner, thence East 26 chains and 25 links 
to a corner, thence by land formerly Thomas Stevenson's, South to the be- 
ginning." Thomas Stevenson, eldest son and heir-at-law of John, released 
the same tract to his step-mother by quit-claim deed, dated Sept. 18, 1744 
(recorded July 21, 1786) in which the premises are described as "all that 
messuage or tenement late of said John and tract or parcel of land there- 
unto belonging, situated in Bethlehem Township and bounded northward by 
land late of John Tantum, eastward by land of Jeremiah Williams, south- 
ward with Samuel Carpenter's land and westward with the road that leads 
from Bethlehem towards Trenton, which road divides the same from the 
land of Daniel Doughty." The northern boundary of the 150 acres was the 
same line which now divides the farm late owned by John T. Stires from 
lands of Dr. Snyder and W. H. Garrison; the eastern one is still a dividing 
line between lands of Hiram D. Young and the late Theo. Probasco, while 
the southern was probably near to the present north boundary of the Abram 
R. Vail farm. By deed dated June 20, 1749, Margaret Stevenson conveyed to 
Henry Farnsworth of Kingwood for a consideration of 225 pounds, a "cer- 
tain messuage or tenement plantation and tract of land thereunto belonging 
in his actual possession now being, containing 148 acres and 7 square chains 
besides allowance." From her 150 acres Margaret reserved for herself one 
acre near the northwestern corner, which undoubtedly included the "mes- 
suage or tenement late of said John" mentioned in her step-son's quit-claim 
deed, and it is almost equally certain that the dwelling is still standing, it 
being the western portion of the house in Quakertown now occupied by Dr. 

5 



Q. E. Snyder. A former resident of Quakertown, a gentleman of unques- 
tioned veracity, states that the late Elizabeth Clifton, whose family long 
owned and occupied the dwelling, told him when a boy that it had been built 
one hundred and sixteen years. He cannot fix the date of the conversation 
exactly, but thinks it may have been about 1840. This would indicate its 
erection to have been about two years prior to Stevenson's purchase, but as 
there is no mention of any tenement in his deed, it seems most reasonable 
to suppose it was built by him in 1727. The messuage or tenement sold to 
Parnsworth and being already in his possession was doubtless one which 
tradition says stood farther east and some distance back from the road; 
some traces of it existed within the memory of some of our recently deceased 
old people. Farnsworth may have occupied it as a tenant and farmer 
previous to his purchase. The deed to Farnsworth shows that there had 
been a small lot containing three-tenths of an acre sold out of the northeast 
corner. Anyone who is familiar with the premises will readily see that this 
was done to give water privileges to the land adjacent on the east. This lot 
was again incorporated with the original tract many years ago. 

Henry Farnsworth died in 1758 and in his will directed that the plan- 
tation he then lived on should be equally divided between two of his sons, 
Daniel and Thomas. They, with the assistance of Dr. John Rockhill, divided 
it June 4, 1759. Daniel's share included the land lying on the north side of 
the Cherryville road and south of it probably about as far as the present 
north boundary of the Nixon farm and contained 96 acres, but two acres 
were excepted out of the tract, one for the widow Stevenson and one for the 
"corner house" which was willed to another son. Margaret Stevenson who 
went to Burlington County to live with her son in 1753 is thus shown to have 
retained the ownership of the homestead for some years after she left it. 
She probably sold it to Daniel Farnsworth soon after the division of the land 
took place, as prior to 1765 he had sold to some one a lot of four acres which 
included it. This four-acre lot and "messuage" was sold Aug. 10, 1765, as 
the property of Wm. Rea by Samuel Tucker, Sheriff, to Benj. Stout. It was 
again sold after the decease of Benj. Stout, July 4, 1769, by Micajah How, 
Sheriff, to Henry Coate, blacksmith, for 75 pounds 10s. Henry Coate and 
Deborah, his wife, sold the same to Isaac Horner, March 31, 1772. The re- 
maining portion of the land lying north of the Cherryville road was sold by 
Daniel Farnsworth, of Alexandria, to John Mulliner, of Kingwood, July 1, 
1767, and John Mulliner, Cordwainer, and Rebecca, his wife, conveyed it to 
Isaac Horner, March 1, 1772. Isaac Horner thus became owner of the two 
lots about the same time and on Aug. 11, 1779, he sold to John Drinker, 
Hatter, of Philadelphia, the two lots with two houses thereon containing to- 
gether 32 acres. John Drinker and Rachel, his wife, sold the tract to Henry 
Cliffton, Hatter, June 8, 1784. Henry Cliffton, who came from Philadelphia 
in 1773, was a nephew of John Drinker and brother-in-law to Isaac Horner, 
having married his sister Amy in 1777. At Henry Cliffton's death in 1830, the 
lot passed with other lands to his daughter Elizabeth, who at her death in 
1853 devised it to Amanda A., wife of Elijah Warford, who sold it March 4, 

6 



1864, to Dr. Matthias Abel, and he in turn conveyed it in 1883 to Dr. T. A. 
Skillman, of whom the present owner, Dr. Q. E. Snyder, purchased it in 1884. 

The "corner house and acre of ground" willed to Henry Farnsworth, Jr., 
by his father subsequently became the property of Charles Hoff, who deeded 
it to John Emley, May 1, 1770. This dwelling was known within the memory 
of persons yet living as the "old yellow house" and was probably built by 
the Farnsworths. Henry Clifton afterwards became the owner of this lot 
and of the land contiguous on the east and south. His daughter Elizabeth 
sold it to Elijah Warford in 1844 and he to Abraham Lawshe in 1855, of whom 
Wm. Large purchased it in 1884. The Emleys also became possessors of the 
land southward along the Trenton road including the Nixon farm, which was 
part of the allotment made to Thos. Farnsworth. Dr. Aaron Forman, who 
married Ann, daughter of John Emley, Sr., in 1769, occupied this farm until 
1794. when he moved to Pittstown. Robert Emley, son of John, Sr., owned it 
at the time of his death in 1808. His daughter Mary, wife of Thomas Craven, 
became next owner and during their residence there they built the western 
part of the present dwelling. Mary Craven deeded the farm to her sister 
Elizabeth, wife or widow of Job Olden of Middlesex Co., Aug. 9, 1822, and 
Emley Olden, son of Job and Elizabeth, and Martha, his wife, conveyed it to 
Wm. Nixon, April 9, 1832. 

At the time of Margaret Stevenson's purchase of the 150 acres in 1744, 
the land to the south of her tract was in possession of Samuel Carpenter, 
but at the time of her sale to Farnsworth, was owned by Matthias Van Horn, 
who sold it to Thos. Lambert, July 1, 1751. Thos. Lambert sold May 1, 1790, 
to Benjamin Wooley, carpenter, a lot of 50 acres from the northwest corner. 
Robert Emley subsequently became possessed of this lot also and his daugh- 
ter Susanna, wife of Isaac Horner, Jr., sold it to John Fauss, June 14, 1808. 
John Fauss of Bethlehem Township and Sarah, his wife, conveyed the same 
to John Hartpence, May 8, 1811. He sold to Samuel Buchanan in 1817 and 
he to Samuel Willson in 1833. At the death of Samuel Willson in 1846 it 
with adjacent lots which had been purchased from time to time became the 
property of his son-in-law, Henry S. Trimmer, who sold to Samuel Groff in 
1848. Groff conveyed it in 1849 to John Snyder, of whom the late Abram 
R. Vail purchased it in 1851. The buildings are situated on the 50-acre lot 
sold from the large tract by Thomas Lambert in 1790. The old house which 
was removed some years since was probably the first dwelling on the 
premises and may have been erected by Benj. Wooley. The western 
end of the present dwelling was built by Henry S. Trimmer. The eastern 
uart of the original Stevenson tract containing about 200 acres seems to 
have been early transferred by John Stevenson to his son Thomas, who prob- 
ably sold it to Jacob Doughty, as Anmie Doughty, widow of Jacob, conveyed 
it to Jeremiah Williams of Westbury, L. I., April 29, 1742. Jeremiah Williams 
was a prominent member of the Friends meeting and active in the work of 
building and rebuilding the meeting house erected in 1747-8 and burnt in 
1752. He with his wife, Mary, conveyed the tract of land to Jeremiah King 
of Rahway, March 1, 1758, for a consideration of 400 pounds proclamation 



money. King seems to have sold that portion of the land lying north of the 
Cherryville road to Samuel Large. After Large's death about 1828 it. was 
divided into lots and sold by Wm. Probasco, guardian of Rebecca Large, a 
lunatic. The homestead lot containing 73 acres was purchased by W.m. 
Nixon, Dec. 1, 1829. Fifty-one acres of the same were sold by Nixon, May 15, 
1830, to Gilbert Deats, of whom his brother, Hiram, purchased it June 3, 1834. 
He also became owner of several other lots of the tract, on one of which 
he built a foundry in 1836 which he operated until about 1859, at which time 
he conveyed the property to Wm. D. Hires, who sold it to James Hoff, in 
1867, who granted it to Wm. Large in 1875 and he to Asa Case in 1883, of 
whom the present owner, John D. Case, purchased it in 1884. 

Jeremiah King and his wife Phebe conveyed the remainder of the farm 
together with other lots adjoining, of which King had become owner, to 
Henry Drinker, merchant, of Philadelphia, March 9, 1776, who with his wife 
Elizabeth granted the same lands to Arthur Stevenson, May 1, 1797, and 
Stevenson sold to Thos. Runyon, April 22, 1817, of whom Asa Jones pur- 
chased it Aug. 13, 1825, and sold 193 acres to Simeon and Moses Pownall, 
March 22, 1830. The dwelling and the greater part of the "old plantation" 
bought by Jeremiah Williams in 1742 were included in their purchase and 
also the "right, title and interest of, in and to a certain spring of water on 
the land of Wm. E. Elmendorf, which right was conveyed to Thos. Runyon 
by Edward Stevenson, attorney, for Arthur Stevenson, by release dated May 
25, 1817." This spring is situated on land owned by the late Theodore Pro- 
basco, which lot of 30 acres was a part of Daniel Farnsworth's tract. It was 
purchased with other lands by Jeremiah King at Sheriff's sale, July 4, 1769, 
and sold by him to Henry Drinker with the larger tract. One of the subse- 
quent owners severed it from the larger tract and we thus find it in posses- 
sion of Wm. E. Elmendorf in 1817. James B. Elmendorf and Peter D. Vroom 
deeded it to Wm. Probasco, Aug. 11, 1834. From Simeon and Moses Pownall 
the main tract descended to Morris and John Hampton, sons of Benjamin, 
who held a life right in it and resided there until his death in 1869. It was 
sold at public sale the same year to Samuel B. Hudnit, of Frenchtown, of 
whom the present owner, Hiram D. Young, bought it in 1872. Most of the 
owners of this tract dwelt on it for at least a part of the term of their owner- 
ship, Henry Drinker being probably the only exception. Joseph Drinker, 
presumably a brother, occupied it from 1776 to 1779. Henry who also owned 
the farm now belonging to Theodore McPherson (then called The Retreat) 
from 1776 to 1800 was no doubt the Henry Drinker of the firm of James & 
Drinker, prominent merchants of Philadelphia, about the time of the Revolu- 
tion and later. When and by whom the first dwelling was erected on this 
tract is not known. It may have been built by Thomas Stevenson, son of 
John, during his ownership. He married Sarah Whitehead, of L. I., in 1730, 
and their son John, born in Kingwood, 11th month 27th day, 1732, Old Style, 
was the progenitor of one branch of the Stevenson family in this county. 
The older part of the present house shows indications of there having been 
a still older portion which was removed and replaced by the stone addition. 

8 



On the western part of this tract near the spring on the Probasco lot 
there still exists unmistakable traces of an ancient tannery. Tradition is 
silent as to when and by whom it was established and operated, but there 
is in existence an article of agreement between Daniel Doughty, yeoman, and 
Joseph Willets, tanner, dated 1736, wherein it is "mutually agreed by and 
between the parties that each of them for the carrying on a joint trade be- 
tween them shall bear, sustain and be at even and equal cost and charge of 
purchasing skins, pelts and hides and of getting bark for tanning and also 
of making tan pits, vats and mills for grinding bark on the land of the said 
Daniel Doughty in Bethlehem, and for making and doing all other things 
that may be necessary for carrying on the joint management of the tanner's 
trade or business equally between them as co-partners for and during the 
full term of twenty years." Joseph Willets was to have the privilege during 
the same term of years "to get and take dead wood sufficient for fuel for 
making fires for him and his family in his dwelling house." A memoranda 
on the back of the agreement further states that Joseph Willets "shall have 
the privilege to pasture with Daniel Doughty's cattle on the said Daniel's 
plantation two cows and one horse until such time as the said Joseph hath 
gotten land clear on the land which the said Daniel hath demised unto him 
at such times as there is not sufficient pasture in the woods, and also to cut 
for his use as much green wood on ye said demised premises as may be 
necessary." The article of agreement duly signed and witnessed was placed 
in the hands of Samuel Large. While there is no positive proof that the 
tannery thus established was the one on this tract, traces of which are so 
distinctly visible, yet it seems entirely probable it was, since we find the 
Doughtys in possession of the land in 1737. If this supposition is correct 
there was in all probability a dwelling on the premises, though there was 
evidently but little of the land cleared. 

The farm now owned by Morris Hampton and occupied by Britton King 
was probably most if not all of it a part of the Stevenson purchase. It 
seems to have been early in the possession successively of Samuel Stevenson, 
Samuel Carpenter and Matthias Van Horn. The last named sold a tract in- 
cluding it to Thos. Lambert in 1751 and he was still owner in 1790. April 3. 
1808, Nathan Price, Sheriff, deeded it to Geo. Holcombe, Jr., it being sold as 
the property of Charles Thatcher, and Geo. Holcombe conveyed it to Daniel 
Snyder, May 1, 1814. Later we find it in possession of the Holcombes again 
and Jas. Manners, Sheriff, sold the same as the property of Geo. Holcombe 
to Nathaniel Saxton in 1825. It was "taken at the suit of Samuel Holcombe 
and sold towards satisfying a judgment of $20,000 obtained in 1816." As the 
property of Nathaniel Saxton it was deeded to Solomon Holcombe by A. B. 
Chamberlain, late Sheriff in 1851, and the right and interest of George Hol- 
combe in the same premises were transferred to Peter P. Runyan by deed 
from John Bodine, late Sheriff, dated May 29, 1845. George Holcombe had 
lived on the farm for fifteen years previous to his death. Solomon Holcombe 
and Peter P. Runyan sold it to Charles Bartles Nov. 26, 1851. C. Bartles and 
wife and George B. Stothoff and wife conveyed it Dec. 20, 1853, to Hiram 

9 



Nixon, of whom Elisha Warford purchased it and sold to Henry Fisher, Oct. 
17, 1855, who in turn sold it to Morris Hampton, the present owner, April 

1st, 1856. 

The western part of the Gardiner tract containing 1212 acres was con- 
veyed by Mathews Gardiner, son and heir of Thomas, to Jacob Doughty by 
indentures of lease and release dated 21 and 22 of September, 1729. Jacob 
Doughty was a native of Long Island, son of Elias and Sarah Doughty, and 
married Amelia, daughter of Major Daniel and Abigail Stevenson "Whitehead, 
of Jamaica, L. I. They came to Burlington Co., N. J., previous to 1711, at 
which date he was engaged in the mercantile business at Crosswicks. In 
1721 he went to Burlington City and from there to Hunterdon Co. in 1725. 
They had a large family, tradition says twelve daughters, but evidently only 
one son, Daniel, born in 1703, who married Ann, daughter of John Stevenson, 
in 1729. Jacob died in 1737 leaving all his lands not previously disposed of 
to his wife Amie, who died in 1742, as did also Daniel's wife and three of his 
children. Daniel married a second wife, Edith Newbold, a widow, of Bur- 
lington Co., in 1747. From the western side of this tract Jacob Doughty 
conveyed to Samuel Willson by indentures of lease and release dated 21st 
and 22nd of January, 1730, six hundred acres extending the whole length of the 
tract from north to south and including lands now owned by John Brown, 
John Opdycke, Wm. R. Mathews, Dr. W. D. Wolverton, Annie E. Wolverton, 
Isaiah Mathews, Israel Myers and W. Howard Lake. Samuel Willson was 
a son of Robert and Ann Willson and was born in Scarborough, England, in 
1681, coming with his parents and three sisters to Burlington Co. in 1682. 
He married Esther, daughter of Samuel and Hannah Overton, in 1705. They 
had a large family, several of whom were among the pioneer settlers of what 
is now Warren Co., N. J. 

Upon the extreme western edge of his tract Samuel built in 1735 the 
stone dwelling still standing and known as the old Willson homestead. The 
choice of site was probably determined by its close proximity to the home of 
his brother-in-law, Samuel Large. There was previously a .small stone 
dwelling there in which the family probably lived until the erection of the 
larger one; but tradition says this was not the first house upon that portion 
of the tract, one still more ancient, probably built of logs, stood near the 
'big spring" about a quarter of a mile southeast from the one now standing. 
This spot near the spring was a favorite resort of the red man as the numer- 
ous arrow points in various stages of completion and bits of stone chipped 
from the implements in the process of their manufacture still to be found 
there abundantly testify. Samuel Willson sold to his eldest son, Samuel, Jr., 
probably soon after his marriage in 1732 to Deborah, daughter of Joseph 
Willets, 150 acres from the northern end of his tract and also 77 acres con- 
tiguous on the eastern side, which last was sold by Samuel, Jr., to Samuel 
Large in 1743. The 150 acres included lands of John Brown, John Opdycke 
and Wm. R. Mathews and in all probability Samuel, Jr., built and dwelt in 
the stone house which was removed about the year 1853 and the present 
dwelling occupied by John Opdycke erected near the same site. 

10 



The old house was a rather curious looking structure and is thus 
described by our venerable friend, Scott Allen, who dwelt there in his boy- 
hood. "It had kitchen and cellar on the first floor, the fireplace was very 
large, we could put in a back log eight feet long. The joists were large 
enough for girders in a barn. There was a long flight of steps on the out- 
side to reach the second story, which made it look very odd. The second 
floor had three rooms, one large one, and two bedrooms. The garret was 
one long room and was used to store grain in, and it was no light task to 
carry it up those two long stairways. The roof was quite steep or would be 
for our day. The house was very old. The first summer we lived there, 
1837, a gentleman from the West visited us, who said he was born there 
just fifty years before, and it was an old house then." Samuel Willson, Jr., 
probably removed to Morris County (now Warren) about 1743. In 1747 he 
sold the 150 acres to Samuel Stevenson, Stevenson sold to Thos. Runyan in 
1753, and after Runyan's death in 1770 it was bought by his son Absalom in 
1771. Absalom Runyan and Wincha, his wife, conveyed it to Dr. James 
Willson. son of Samuel, Sr., May 1, 1772. Dr. Willson died in 1777 and be- 
queathed this tract to his eldest son, Samuel, who conveyed the same to his 
nephew, John Willson, in 1822, who deeded it to his brother Samuel in 1831, 
and in the division of his lands after his death in 1846 it was allotted to his 
son-in-law. Henry S. Trimmer, who sold a lot of 19 acres from the northern 
part to Wm. Cliffton in 1855, which lot now forms part of John Brown's 
farm, and from the southern part he sold 60 acres to Wm. R. Mathews in 
1860. The remaining portion he sold to Charles Marshall in 1872, of whom 
it was bought by David Case in 1875, and after his death was purchased by 
John Opdycke, the present owner, in 1894. Samuel Large, to whom Samuel 
Willson, Jr., sold in 1743 the 77 acres lying south of the above-described 
tract and separated from it by the road was doubtless the son of Joseph 
Large, one of the early settlers in Bucks County, Pa. He married Rebecca 
Willson, daughter of Robert and Ann, in 1710, bought the land adjoining the 
northern half of the Willson tract on the west in 1729 and lived where Wm. 
Dubon now does from that time until his death in 1765. Jacob, his eldest 
son, married Mary Bunting, of Burlington County, in 1746 and doubtless 
settled on the 77 acres which his father conveyed to him and which is now 
included in the farm owned by Annie E. Wolverton. Not many years since 
the site of an ancient dwelling was distinctly visible about 300 yards south- 
easterly from the present one. From Jacob Large, who died in 1799, the 
tract descended by will to his youngest son, William, who, with Susanna, 
his wife, conveyed it to Samuel Willson, the third, in 1801. Samuel deeded 
it to his nephew, John, in 1813, and it being sold as his property in 1819 by 
Jas. S. Manners, Sheriff, was bought by Samuel Willson, Jr., after whose 
death in 1846 it became the property of his son James, the father of the 
present owner. 

At the time of Samuel Large's purchase of the 77 acres in 1743 the land 
adjoining on the south was owned by Richard Heath, who married Sarah, 
daughter of Samuel Willson the elder, in 1736 and' doubtless purchased of 

11 



his father-in-law and settled there at once. The next owner of whom we 
have any knowledge was Wm, Coate, from whom it passed with other lands 
to Daniel Pursel, Nov. 3, 1785. Daniel Pursel, who died in 1805, left it by- 
will to his son Benjamin, who with Mary, his wife, deeded 231 acres to Jos. 
Opdycke, Feb. 15, 1828, for $3,000. After the death of Opdycke, deed for the 
land was made by his executors, Geo. Arnwine and Isaac R. Shrope, March 
23, 1850, to Opdycke Arnwine, who the same day conveyed it to Geo. Arn- 
wine, whose deed to Jos. Myers also bears the same date. It is now owned 
and occupied by Israel Myers. 

That part of the Willson tract on which Samuel, the elder, built his 
dwelling containing about 220 acres, was sold to his son, Dr. James Willson, 
in 1742. At his death in 1777 it passed by will to his youngest son, James, 
who, dying at the early age of 25, left it with other lands to be divided be- 
tween his two sons, Samuel and John, who were left to the care of their 
uncle Samuel. John Willson and his wife Ruth gave to his brother Samuel 
a quit-claim deed Dec. 20, 1813, for the 220 acres and also for a lot of 19 acres 
at the extreme southern part of the tract. On this lot Samuel built in 1805 
a saw mill, which he operated from that time until his death in 1846. In the 
division of his lands in 1847, 143 acres from the northern end of the tract 
were allotted to his son Edward, who dwelt thereon until his death in 1866, 
after which the farm was bought by his brother Samuel, and after his death 
in 1889 it was sold to Dr. W. D. Wolverton, the present owner. The southern 
part of the homestead tract was allotted to Josiah Willson, who built and 
operated in connection with the saw, a steam flouring mill until 1885, when 
he sold the property to his son-in-law, W. Howard Lake. 

We find the southeastern part of the tract purchased by Jacob Doughty 
of Mathews Gardiner in possession of Thomas Hains as early as 1743. Thos. 
Stevenson was probably the next owner. He was presumably the son of 
Samuel and Elizabeth (Searle) Stevenson, who brought a certificate to the 
Kingwood meeting of Friends in 1748 from Middletown meeting, Pa., Samuel 
being a son of Thos. Stevenson, of Bucks County, who owned large tracts 
of land both in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Stevenson dwelling stood 
a few hundred yards north of the present one on the premises now owned 
and occupied by Geo. W. and Jacob Race. Thos. Stevenson married Rachel 
Baker and was grandfather of the late Samuel C. Stevenson, of Franklin 
Township. Pursuant to directions in Thos. Stevenson's will dated Oct. 5, 
1813, his executor, Joseph Anderson, sold the tract containing 132 acres to 
John Willson and Philip Case, Oct. 27, 1819. John Willson deeded it Dec. 15, 
1831, to his son Samuel, who died in Iowa in 1844. Jos. Brown, Jos. Thomp- 
son and Jos. Besson were appointed commissioners to sell the same and con- 
veyed it to Joseph K. Potts, April 1, 1846. Joseph K. Potts sold to Andrew J. 
Race, April 2, 1860, and after his death in 1867 it was purchased by the 
present owners. The land adjoining this farm on the west was probably 
purchased with other lands by Daniel Pursel of Wm. Coate in 1785. Daniel 
Pursel and Lydia, his wife, conveyed a lot of 65 acres, being that portion on 
which the buildings are situated, to Abraham Lawshe, April 11, 1803, and as 

12 



his property it and also an adjoining lot of 24 acres bought by Lawshe of 
Peter Yawger in 1804 was sold by John Cavanagh, Sheriff, to Morgan R. 
Coxe, May 8, 1822. Coxe deeded the same lands Feb. 5, 1829, to Joseph Rob- 
bins, who conveyed them to David Burd, May 7, 1839. Burd purchased a 
small lot adjoining on the east of Jos. K. Potts in 1849 and one of the 24 acres 
adjoining on the west (which was a part of the Willson tract) of John Hoff 
in 1850 and deeded all the lots to his son Lemuel in 1879. After the death 
of Lemuel Burd the lands were deeded by his heirs to Sarah J. Trout, Nov. 
2, 1893. 

Jacob Doughty by indentures of lease and release dated 21st and 22nd 
of January, 1730, conveyed to John Coat a tract of 260 acres lying north of 
the lands last described and embracing lands now the property of Geo. W. 
Scott, Jos. R. Mathews and Lambert B. Mathews. Jan. 10, 1743, John and 
Esther Coat conveyed to Wm. Coat, weaver, of Bethlehem (doubtless a son) 
a "messuage or tenement and piece of land thereunto belonging in his actual 
possession and seizure now being" described as follows: "Beginning at a 
stone in line of Thos. Hains' land, thence west by said Hains' land 40 perches 
to a hickory corner, thence north by John Coat's land 80 perches, thence 
East by said John Coat 40 perches to another corner, thence south along the 
road that leads from Bethlehem to Amwell 80 perches to beginning, contain- 
ing 20 acres." This lot was the one on which stands the dwelling now oc- 
cupied by Geo. W. Scott and it is said the walls of the original tenement are 
still standing, forming a part of the present house. Thos. Coat conveyed the 
20 acres to Nathaniel Leforge, who also bought of John and Esther Coat 15 
acres adjoining on the north and in 1753 he deeded both lots to Gershom 
Lambert the elder. After his death his son Gershom became heir to the 
land and conveyed it to George Scott, mason, May 1, 1788. /Geo. Scott prob- 
ably became owner of other lots which were taken from the Coat tract, and 
after his death in 1821 the several lots became the property of his son, John 
W. Scott, who purchased in 1850 of Isaiah Mathews a lot of 27 acres which 
was a part of the Coat tract. On this was visible not many years since the 
foundation wall of an ancient wind-mill said to have been used for grinding 
grain, but tradition does not give us the name of the builder. After the death 
of John W. Scott in 1858 the lots all descended by will to Geo. W. Scott, the 
present owner. The western part of the Coat tract was sold to Samuel 
Schooley previous to or in 1743. In 1788 it is spoken of as "Moore Furman's 
land," and in 1794 as "Runyan's plantation where his son Evan Jives," 
Evan Runyan, Innkeeper, and Deborah, his wife, conveyed it to Peter Yawger, 
April 1, 1799. Yawger sold 40 acres from the south end to Abraham Lawshe, 
Oct. 10, 1804. This lot was sold by Gabriel Hoff, Sheriff, to Jacob Hoff, July 
30, 1825. It was long rented and occupied by John Dalrymple, but after the 
death of Jacob Hoff was deeded by other heirs in 1864 to his son Wesley, who 
sold to Joseph Myers in 1867, of whose estate it was purchased in 1892 by 
Lambert B. Mathews, the present owner. The remainder of Yawger's tract 
containing 124^ acres was deeded by John P. Yawger, administrator of 
Peter Yawger, to Isaiah Mathews, May 4, 1829. After the death of his father, 

13 



Samuel B. Mathews purchased it of the other heirs April 2, 1859, and heirs 
of Samuel B. Mathews deeded it to Joseph R. Mathews in 1880. 

The northern end of the Doughty tract remained longest in their posses- 
sion and it would seem that the homestead must have been on this portion, 
but so far all efforts to locate it have proved futile. After Daniel's second 
marriage he removed to Burlington County in 1747 and Oct. 23, 1750, he sold 
to Samuel McPerson a tract of 243 acres (possibly more) which included 
lands now owned by John Brown, John Robinson, Taylor Suydam and Wm. 
L. and Chas. B. Scott, besides some lots in the village of Quakertown. The 
McFerson homestead was on what is known as the "Still House Farm." The 
old dwelling stood eastward of the present one and .nearer the spring. 
Samuel McFerson died in 1772 and by his will directed that his wife Re- 
beckah should have the use of the north end of the plantation on which he 
dwelt, and to his son Nathaniel he devised the "said north end of the plan- 
tation containing 143 acres to be surveyed with a straight line from east to 
west, together with all buildings to be possessed by him immediately after 
the death or marriage of his mother." To his sons Samuel and John he 
devised other lands and to his son Zachariah "the south end of the plan- 
tation where I now live containing 100 acres with all that appertains there- 
unto except the house on said premises, which is to be taken off." Zacha- 
riah McFerson dying, unmarried, and before he reached the age of 21 years, 
his land passed to otber heirs and Samuel McFerson, the surviving executor 
of Samuel, the elder, and David McFerson, executor of John McFerson (the 
other executor of Samuel, the elder) gave a deed for it dated May 21, 1792, 
to Stephen Hambleton, of Solebury, Pa. But a doubt having arisen as to 
the power of said grantors, the heirs, children, grandchildren of Samuel 
McFerson. the elder, gave a second deed Aug. 1, 1794. The tract contained 
100 acres "and also one acre not meant to be included in this grant, given 
by Daniel Doughty to Friends for a burying ground." This lot was not 
deeded to Friends Meeting until 1764, but must have been used for a ceme- 
tery long before that time, probably several years before the one near the 
meeting house in Quakertown. It seems quite reasonable to suppose that 
it was devoted to that purpose soon after the Trenton road was laid out, 
which was evidently between 1727 and 1731. In the latter years a road was 
laid from the vicinity of the Kingwood Presbyterian Church eastward which, 
after it reached the western boundary of Samuel Large's land, ran directly 
east through that and Samuel Willson's land and on a line between lands of 
Jacob Doughty and Daniel Doughty "into a certain four rod road that was 
laid out some time ago." The surveyors were Benjamin Doughty and John 
Stevenson and the return of the survey is still in existence, being in pos- 
session of Dr. Race of Pittstown. This road must have run along the south- 
ern side of the graveyard lot. It is impossible to tell when the first inter- 
ments were made there, as the older graves are all unmarked. The remains 
of Samuel McFerson and many other members of the McFerson family were 
laid there, also those of William King and his wife Abigail, who was a 
daughter of Jacob Doughty, and of their daughter Amy and her husband, 

14 



John Stockton. The one hundred acres sold to Stevenson Hambleton was 
by him transferred to his son, William, who doubtless resided thereon for 
several years. He married Mary, daughter of Samuel Kester, and three of 
his brothers married three of her sisters, while his sister married Benjamin 
Kester, Samuel's only son. What delightful family reunions they must 
have had! 

In 1798 Wm. Hambleton sold the tract to John Finley, who with Eliza- 
beth, his wife, deeded 28 1 / 4 acres from the western side to Peter Yawgei, 
April 1st, 1800, and the remainder to Herbert Hummer, May 1st, 1800. The 
lot sold to Yawger or a part of it seems to have been subsequently reunited 
to the 100 acre tract. Herbert and Catharine Hummer sold to Robert Emley, 
Oct. 28, 1801, three acres from the southeastern corner, which lot was con- 
veyed by Robert Emley's heirs to Wm. Nixon in 1832 and is now owned by 
W. L. and C. B. Scott. Hummer also sold in 1801 to Jonas Cathburn four 
acres from the northeastern corner, bounding the graveyard on three sides; 
this after having changed ownership many times, successively possessed by 
several owners, is now the property of Sarah A. Coats. The remainder was 
conveyed by Hummer to George Holcombe, Jr., June 25, 1804. Later it was 
owned by John Holcombe, of whom it was probably purchased by John Allen 
about 1828. Peter Green became next owner by deed dated May 7, 1836, and 
he and his wife Nancy conveyed it to Holloway H. Race, May 7, 1838. After 
his death it was purchased by John W. Scott in 1855. from whom it descend- 
ed by will to W. L. and C. B. Scott, the present owners. The old dwelling 
which stood a little south of the site of the present one and was quite roomy 
for those days, was doubtless built by the Hambletons. 



15 



APR 191915 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



029 826 101 7