Skip to main content

Full text of "The story of an old farm; or, Life in New Jersey in the eighteenth century"

See other formats













]:astern (iABLJ-: of the old stone house 

From a photograph by Percy Moran. 




Life in New Jersey in the Eighteenth 



XLbe *Clnionist=(5a3ctte 
Somcrville, IRcvv Jersey 


Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1889, by 


of Plainfield, New JerseV; in the office of the I^ibrarian of Congress, at Washington. 


WHEN the writing of the "Story of an Old Farm" was 
undertaken it was not anticipated that the completed 
volume would find readers beyond a limited circle. The narra- 
tive it was supposed would prove interesting only to the descend- 
ants of the founder of the homestead which had been the 
inspiration of its pages, and, perhaps, also, to a few local read- 
ers. But as the work progressed its scope broadened, until 
the compilation gradually assumed a character calculated to 
interest lovers and students of general history. Finally, valuable 
material accumulating, the author found embodied in the chapters 
so much fresh information relating to colonial and Revolutionary 
times in New Jersey as to warrant his seeking readers beyond 
the realm of kinsfolk and township residents. It was still neces- 
sary to preserve the original plan of the narrative, but it is hoped 
that the general reader will take in good part, and not find 
objectionable, the slight filament of family annals that runs through 
the successive chapters. After all, it is but a gossamer thread, 
and one that has served an excellent purpose — now as a silken 
clue to the labyrinth of historical research, and always as the 
continuous cord upon which has crystallized a mass of interesting 
facts, traditions and incidents, illustrative of times and customs 
now long bygone. 

If there is any virtue in writing from an inward impulse , the 
pages of the "Story of an Old Farm" should furnish easy read- 
ing and bear the marks of a "free and joyous expression." 
Though not by birth a son of the soil, heredity, environment 
and sympathy had made the author a Jerseyman to the core, 
and in telling the story of this old Somerset farm he brought to 

iv The Story of an Old Farm. 

the task an enthusiastic love for the subject. Throughout boy- 
hood and youth all summers were passed in Bedminster township, 
in which this ancestral plantation is located ; thus was imbibed a 
deep affection for its waving grain fields, breezy uplands, broad 
meadows and babbling streams — an affection that has grown with 
each year of later life. This love for its physical aspects and 
natural beauties inspired a corresponding interest in, and regard 
for, the memories of those men and women of previous generations 
who had passed their lives on this old homestead. So it was that 
a desire for investigation and research was incited, tending to 
divulge all that could be learned of the daily walk and conversa- 
tion, not only of such persons as had called the " Old Stone 
House " home, but of their contemporaries throughout the county 
and state. This resulted in the collection of material that, though 
the writing of this book was not in contemplation at the time, 
ultimately powerfully promoted the completion of the work. 

All of the foregoing is not properly a preface but an explana- 
tion. The true preface is to be found in the two chapters that 
open the story. They will tell of this Jersey homestead and its 
early founder, and make plain the inspiration of this volume. 
And yet, all things considered, it is for these opening pages that 
the reader's most indulgent criticism is desired. The book con- 
tains forty chapters. Of thirty-eight but little apprehension is 
felt as to their accuracy, for the statements therein have been 
subjected to the most rigid tests of severe scrutiny and repeated 
investigation. But for Chapters I. and II. it is confessed that 
allowances must be made. The picture they present of the farm, 
of its approach, and of the surrounding country, is painted by 
the hand of affection — an artist always prone to be .too lavish 
with color. Scenes that were witnessed by the boyish eyes of 
nearly thirty years ago are now reproduced with a faithfulness 
that is of the past, rather than of the present. While wi'iting 
these chapters the walls of the author's chamber, under the touch 
of a loving remembrance, fell away, disclosing the sunny slope of 
a Somerset hill on which an old coimtry house, with low eaves 
and thick stone walls, lies back from the meadows that border 
the north branch of the Raritan river, just where Peapack brook 
loses itself in that stream. This sturdy dwelling — seen with the 
eyes of memory — has a wealth of old-fashioned accessories, and 

Preface. v 

its surroundings are in perfect keeping with its happy expres- 
sions of utilitarian simplicity and homely picturesqueness. The 
short, thick turf of its dooryard is shaded by contemplative elms, 
and studded with tall, bulbous bushes of box and roses of Sharon. 
At its eastern gable, in an ancient garden, bloom hereditary lilies, 
sweet peas and many-colored asters. The little windows that 
pierce the western gable survey a colony of barns, haymows and 
strawricks ; while still beyond, an old orchard flanks the high- 
way which creeps up a long hill until it disappears over its crest, 
a quarter of a mile, or more, away. Plenteous harvests gladden 
the fields, fleecy sheep whiten the hillsides, cattle, deep in the 
clover of the meadows, are steeped in sweet content, while in 
the house, at the barns and on the surrounding acres is to be 
heard the voice of happy industry. This is memory's picture — 
one full of cherished associations. Now, alas, all is changed ! 
Adversity and the grave have played sad havoc with the aspect 
and condition of the "Old Farm," and a visitor would look in 
vain for much that is apparently promised by these pages. 

The warmest acknowledgments of the author are due to the 
many persons who by their knowledge and advice have aided in 
the preparation of this work. To enumerate them all would be 
to present a formidable list of coadjutors. It would be the sura of 
ingratitude, however, not to express the deep sense of obligations 
he is under to Doctor John C. Honeyman of New Germantown, 
N. J., whose patience and kindness have been unremitting. In 
the genealogical appendix his help has been invaluable, and the 
chapter treating of Zion Lutheran church would have been a 
mere skeleton of its present proportions without the information 
he has furnished. In many other ways the "Story of an Old 
Farm" has greatly benefited by Doctor Honeyman's intimate 
acquaintance with New Jersey's colonial and Revolutionary his- 
tory. It is also desired to make particular mention of the 
valuable services freely given by William P. Sutphen, Esq., 
of Bedminster township — a life-long resident on the "Old Farm" 
and an antiquarian by nature and habit. To him the author is 
indebted for many original papers, and much interesting lore 
regarding the old people and times of Bedminster. Much has 
also been learned from Adjutant-General William S. Stryker of 
Trenton, an eminent authority as to New Jersey's Revolutionary 

vi The Story of an Old Farm. 

period — from William Nelson, Esq. and the Honorable Frederick 
W. Ricord of the State Historical Society — and from the Reverend 
Henry P. Thompson of Readington, N. J. Efficient aid has been 
furnished by Charles W. Opdyke, Esq. of Plainfield, N. J., 
William O. McDowell Esq. of Newark, N. J., and the late 
S. L. M. Barlow, Esq. of New York, the latter having kindly 
placed at the author's disposal his valuable library of Americana. 
Here is also the proper place to recognize the courtesy of the 
editors of the Magazine of American History^ the Pennsylvania 
Magazine of History and Biography, and the New York Evening 
Post, who have permitted the reproduction in this volume of 
considerable matter that has already appeared in their columns. 

On the coming pages there will be found numerous statements 
of a historical nature, some of which have not before been pub- 
lished, while many of them appear for the first time in a con- 
secutive or connected form or oi'der. In reaching information 
that may appear fresh and new naturally some readers will 
deplore the omission of foot notes containing references to 
authorities. To such persons it is desired to explain that much 
care has been taken in preserving and tabulating the titles of 
books, the names of authors and individuals, and the evidence, 
generally, upon which aU facts and statements, new or old, con- 
tained herein arc based. The writer will at any time cheerfully 
turn to these notes in order to answer personal applications for 
sources of information. In addition, a very comprehensive list 
of authorities will be found in the appendix. 

And now ends this long and very personal prologue. The bell 
rings ! The curtain rises on the first scene, showing the Peapack 
stage, with horses harnessed and luggage strapped, only waiting 
for you, reader, to start for the '' Old Farm." 
I'l^AFNFiKLi), New Jkrsey, October 23, 1889. 



The Peapack Stage — Sunday Morning at Bedminster Church — A 
Ketired Hamlet. 1-11. 
From Somerville to Bedminster — Scenes on the Way — A Loquacious Stage- 
driver — An Ancient Tavern — The Blue Hills — The Revolutionary Village of 
Pluckamin — A Picturesque Ford — ^Van der Veer's Mills — The Venerable Church 
of Bedminster — Incidents of a Morning Service — The Foot-Path through the 
Graveyard — A Motley Array of Vehicles — The Small Boy and the Delightful 
Old Lady — The Village of the Lesser Cross Eoads — Rusty Houses and Old- 
Fashioned Gardens — A Queer Little Shop — Wiseacres at the Village Store — The 
Old Schoolhouse — Boyish Reminiscences — The Admonitory Gad — The Mine 
Brook Swimming Hole — Over the Hills to the Old Farm. 


The Old Farm — Its Upland Acres, Broad Meadows, and Ancient 
Stone Home.stead. 12-21. 
Walking North From the Village — Observations by the Way — The Charms 
of a Country Road — A Neglected God's-acre — The Confines of the Old Farm — 
A Royal Grove — The Landscape Full of Sentiment and Beauty — A Buoyant 
Country, and Grassy Cascades — The Outlook From the Long Hill — Summer 
Vegetation and the Lovely Mystery of Color — The Brawling Peapack Brook — 
A Grand Old Maple — The Old Stone House Rests on a Sunny Bank of Turf — 
Its Comely, Quaint Presence, and Wealth of Old-fashioned Accessories — A 
<;)harming Rural Picture — The Interior a Bit of the Old World — The Outer 
Kitchen and Dutch Oven — The Founders of This Old Homestead in 1752 — 
Why Their Story is Told in These Pages. 


Bendorf on the Rhine — Johannes Moelich Emigrates to America — 
The Condition of Germany in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth 
Centuries. 22-34. 
Coblentz and its Ancient Town Wall — The Vast Fortification of Erhenbriet- 

stein — Terraced Vineyards and Valleys Stored with Legend and Romance — 

viii The Story of an Old Farm. 

Bendorf Surrounded by Apple Orchards— The Aspect and Architecture of the 
Town — One of the Oldest Churches in Germany— The Home of Johannes Moe- 

lick and His Wife Mariah Katrina — He Sets Sail for America The Great 

German Exodus and its Cause— German Happiness Before tlie Thirty Years' 
War— The Miseries of that Contest— The Country People Fly From Their Dis- 
mantled Villages and Wasted Lands — Peace Banquets are Spread in 1648 — But 
Little Comfort Comes to the Khine Valley — Subsequent Continental Wars — 
Louis XIV. Devastates the Palatinate — Despotic Princes, Petty Persecutions and 
Cruel Conscriptions— The German Turns His Back on Fatherland — The Great 
Flood of Emigration to America. 


German Expatriation —The Distribution of Teuton Emigrants in the 
American Colonies. 35-49. 
First Movement to America — William Penn and Pennsylvania — Pastoriou& 
Settles Gerraantown— Neuwied — Settlement of the German Valley in New Jer- 
sey — Newburgh Founded by Kockerthal — The Great Hegira to England in 1709 
— Cause of the Movement — Camping on Blackheath— Thirty Eight Hundred 
Palatines Remove to Ireland — The Sufferings of Heidelberg — Emigrants from 
Heidelberg Found Newbern, North Carolina — Governor Robert Hunter — Ten 
Ship Loads of Palatines Brought by Him to New York — Settlement at Living- 
ston Manor on the Hudson, and in Scoharie, Montgomery, and Herkimer Coun- 
ties, New York — Disatisfaction of the Colonists with Their Treatment by the 
New York Authorities — Pennsylvania Grows in Favor with Emigrants — Arri- 
vals between 1700 and the Revolution. 


Johannes Moelich Reaches Pennsylvania in 1735 — His Experiences 
In Philadelphia And Germantown. 50-64. 
The Crooked Billet Wharf — Arrival of the Ship Mercury with Johannes 
Moelich — The Aspect and Area of the City — Johann Peter Moelich — Impres- 
sions on Landing — A Walk on Chestnut Street — A Gang of Newly Imported 
Negroes — The Slave Auction — Colonial Houses — Quaint Interiors — Dogs as 
Meat Roiisters — Whipped at a Cart's Tail — Stocks and Pillory — Flinging Eggs 
at Malefactors — The New State House — Visits of Savages to the City — Indian 
King Tavern — Christ Church — Odd Costumes — Quakers and Gallants — Old Gen- 
tlemen and Servants — Penn's House — His Second Visit to Pennsylvania — 
William Trent — The Founding of Trenton in 1719 — The Blue Anchor Tavern — 
Philadelphia Eijuipage in 1735 — Pack Horses — Introduction of Wagons — Johan- 
nes Starts for Germantown — The Ride Through the Woods — The Aspect of the 


Letters From The Old Country — Bendorf Comes Under The Dominion 
Of The Murdering Margrave of Anspach. 65-73. 
Joh. Georg Hager, the Village Praccptor Writes in 1745, Giving all the 

Contents. ix 

Bendorf Gossip- - A Great Fire Burns all the Houses Between the Stein-Gate and 
the Bach-Gate — Who Have Died, Who Have Married, Who Grown Rich and 
Poor — Bendorf Transferred to Anspach — The Many Separate Kingdoms of Ger- 
many — Frederick and Maria Theresa — Despotic German Princes —Their Taxes 
and Oppressions — The Idiosyncracies and Wickednesses of Bendorfs New 
Buler — German Lawyers — A Letter from Cousin Joh. Anton Kirberger in 1749 
— How the Second Silesian War Distressed the Inhabitants of Bendorf — The 
Banks of the Rhine a Highway for Troops Marching between Holland and 
Austra — Billets and Forages Impoverish the People — More German History. 


Johannes Moelich Appears in New Jersey in 1747 — His Brother God- 
frey — Echoes from the Ancient Walls of Zion Lutheran Church 
AT New Germantown In Hunterdon County. 74-96. 
Johannes and Godfrey Moelich in Sussex County, N. J. — In 1750 Johannes Is 
Living on 400 Acres in Readington Tp., Hunterdon County — He and His Son- 
in-law, Jacob Kline, there Establish a Tannery — Our Ancestor Is a Warden and 
Trustee of Zion Lutheran Church — Ralph Smith Conveys the Church Property 
to Johannes Moelich and His Co-Trustees in 1749 — Balthazar Pickel — David,. 
Jonas and Tunis Melick — The Religious Fervor of Early German Emigrants — 
" Father Muhlenberg" Comes from Germany to Take Charge of the American 
Churches — His Saintly Character and Life Labors — An Old Time Missionary 
Who Could Fight the Devil But Was in Terror of Women — The First Perma- 
nent Pastor of the Church Is Joh. Albert Weygand — A Pastoral Message from 
the Last Century — Reverend John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, Afterwards the 
Revolutionary General — Interesting Information Regarding Zion's Successive 
Pastors — The Worthies of the Congregation — A Letter from Father Muhlenberg 
to Johannes' Son Aaron and His Co-Trustees — William Graft's Long and Use- 
ful Pastorate — A Methodist Missionary Makes a Schism in Zion — Henry Miller 
and His Devout Wife — How Johannes Signs His Name to Church Documents — 
St. Paul's Church in Pluckamin, Somerset County — George III. Grants a 
Royal Charter to Zion and St. Paul's — Aaron Moelich, One of the Petitioners — 
The Varied Spelling of the Family Name — In 1751 Johannes Decides Where to 
Plant the Permanent Homestead — A Survey of His Family in That Year. 


Purchase of the "Old Farm" in 1751— The Title and Early New 
Jersey History. 97-111. 
Johannes Buys 367 Acres of Land in Bedminster, Somerset Co. — Bedminster 
Indians — The Algonquins and Naraticongs — Present Traces of the Red Men — 
First and Last Indian Purchases — Fair Dealings with the Natives by New Jer- 
sey People — Early New Jersey History — Charles II.'s Grant to the Duke of 
York — He Presents New Jersey to Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley 
— Origin of the Name — Governor Philip Carteret at Elizabethtown — Pepys' 
Testimony As to the Virtue of Lady Elizabeth for Whom the Town Was 
Named — The Claim of the Elizabethtown Associates Under the NicoUs Grant 
— Concessions and Agreements Published in New England Increase the Popula- 

X The Story of an Old Farm. 

lion— Settlement of Piscataway, Woodbridge and Newark— The Province 
Divided into East and West Jersey— The Sale of West Jersey. 


The Twenty-four Proprietors of East New Jersey— George Wil- 


Carteret Dies, and His Executors Sell East New Jersey— The Twenty-four 
Proprietors — Their Manner of Alienating the Whole or a Portion of Individual 
Interests— Perth Amboy, the Capital— The Origin of the Name— Population 
Under the Proprietors— Settlement of Monmouth County — Interesting Inform- 
ation Regarding the Morris and Stout Families — Ancient Dutch Settlers of 
Bergen — Governors Under the Proprietors — Surrender of the Government to 
the Crown — John Heywood, Robert Burnett and James Willocks — In 1683 
Burnett Conveys One-eighth of Ilis Right to James Willocks— Doctor George 
Willocks Inherits from His Brother James — He Emigrates to East Jersey— His 
Possessions and Important Offices— Willocks's Ferries to Perth Amboy — Saint 
Peter's Church at Amboy and Its Benefactors— Thomas Gordon Settles near 
Plaintield — The Proprietors Convey to George Willocks and John Johnstone 
the Peapack Patent — Andrew Hamilton and John Johnstone — Scotch Emigra- 
tion to East New Jersey. 


The Story of the Title Completed — Early Somerset Land Grants 

The Peapack Patent Includes Nearly all of Bedminster Township— Dis- 
tinguished People Associated with Somerset Freeholds — Interesting Facts 
Concerning Gouverneur Morris and the Duchess of Gordon — The First Real 
Estate Purchase in Bedminster— Daniel Axtell, a Son of the English Regicide 
Buys a Large Slice of the Peapack Patent — Some Corrections as to Generally 
Accepted Beliefs in the History of Somerset Land Titles— The Value of Bed- 
minster Acres in 1726— William Axtell, Patriot and Royalist— George "Willocks' 
Death — His Will and its Benefactions — It Directs Partition and Sale of Peapack 
Patent — No Record of Such Proceedings Can be Found — Disagreements Between 
the Proprietors and the Willocks Heirs — John Johnstone's Will — Authorizes a 
<Ik)mpromise as to Peapack Patent — George Leslie, in 1744, Receives a Grant of 
2,000 Acres Out of the Patent — Its Area Includes the Present Site of Bedminster 
and the Old Farm — the Deed from George Leslie to Johannes Moelich — Thomas 
Bartow, Secretary of the Province — Judge Samuel Nevill and His Laws — The 
^' New American Magazine " — James Parker, New Jersey's First Printer — The 
Bonds Johannes Gave in Buying the Farm — His Signature and Handwriting — 
The Pleasures of a Manuscript Lover. 


The Building of the "Old Stone House"— Redemptioners — White 
Slavery in the Colonies, 145-155. 
Johannes Occupies the Bedminster Land — A Temporary Log House is 

Contents. xi 

Erected — Scenes at' its Building — The Raising Dinner — The Old Stone House is 
Built in 1762 — Preparing for the Work — Caspar Berger, a Redemptioner Stone 
Mason, Lays its Walls — His Advent in the Colony and Sale — He Obtains His 
Freedom by Building Stone Houses — All About Eedemptioners — Indented Ser- 
vants and Freewillers — Fraud Practised on them in the Old Countries — Inhu- 
manities of Ship Captains — Colonial Laws as to Redemptioners — How this Class 
of Emigrants Thrived in the Province — The Walls of the "Stone House" go up 
Apace — Mariah Katrina Carries Mortar on Her Head — The Good Wife Objects 
to 80 Many Windows — The Completion of House and its Appearance — The 
Hanging of the Crane— The First Supper in the Living Room — A Home at Last 
on this Peaceful Bedminster Hillside. 


Johannes Goes to the Post Office — Bedminster and the Adjacent 
Townships in 1752, 156-168. 
Perth Amboy the Nearest Post Office — But two Post Offices in the Colony — 
Johannes Starts in the Capital of the Province — Bedminster Still a Wilderness — 
The Settlement of Morristown and Mendham — Lamington Church and Jane 
McCrea — Basking Ridge and its Flourishing Presbyterian Community — Lord 
Stirling's Residence — Jacobus Van der Veer's Log House — Establishing Van 
der Veer's Mills — E))hraim McDowell's Homestead — .Johannes Dismounts at 
Eoff's Tavern at Pluckamin — Christian Eofl as Innkeeper — The Origin of the 
Name of Pluckamin — Aspect of the Village and its First Storekeeper John 
Boylan — Early Families of the Neighborhood — Colonel McDaniel's Saw Mill — 
Somerville Not Yet in Existence — The First Court-Houses of Somerset County 
— William McDonald's Grist Mill — Johannes Smokes his Pipe as He Follows 
the Trail Over Pluckamin Hills — Wild Beasts and Bounties for Their Extirpa- 
tion — Our Traveller Descends to the "Great Raritan Road" and Reaches 
Bound Brook. 


Bound Brook in the Olden Time— The Raritan Valley in 1752, 

Somerset's Oldest Settlement — Indian Corn Grounds — How Bound Brook 
Derived its Name — The First Land Purchase in the County — Thomas Codring- 
ton's Homestead, Racawackhana — The Houses of George Cussart and Samuel 
Thompson — Lord Neil Campbell and his Plantation — The Presbyterian Church 
of Bound Brook is Founded in 1700— Michael Field's Bequests to the Congrega- 
tion — Colonial Lads and the Pedagogues — William Harris' Tavern — Van Nor- 
den's Folly — Citizens of Bound Brook at the Time of Johannes' Visit — Preva- 
lence of Lotteries — Johannes Rides Down the Raritan Valley — Country More 
Thickly Settled — English and Dutch Residents — Raritan Landing and its 
Industries — Mills in Franklin Township — Cornelius Lowe, Jr's., Stone Mansion 
— Johannes Reaches New Brunswick. 


From an Indian Path to The King's Highway — New Brunswick and 
Historic Piscataway. 182-199. 

xii The Story of an Old Farm. 

The Oldest Highway in New Jersey— The Lenni-Lenape Path From the 
Hudson to the Delaware — An Indian Thoroughfare From Minisink to the Sea 
—The Path np the Raritan— The Indian Path Beconaes the Dutch Trail— The 
English Make it Their Road Across the Jerseys— The Growth of Settlements 
Along the Path— Inians Ferry Established— The Founding of New Brunswick 
—Its First Church in 1717— The Aspect of the King's Highway in 1748— New 
Brunswick's First Charter— Its Early Citizens— The Appearance of the City at 
the Time of Johannes' Visit— Our Traveller Continues His Journey— Historic 
Piscataway— Its Ancient Importance and Present Torpor— Interesting Frag- 
ments of Antiquity From Its Town Records— The Baptists Build a " Meetinge- 
House" in 1685— Edmund Dunham, in 1707, Forms the First Seventh-Day Bap- 
tist Church in New Jersey — St. James Episcopal Church is Established in 1704 
— Early Missionary Work in New Jersey — A Graveyard Two Centuries Old — 
Johannes Rides Along the King's Highway Through Bonhamtown. 


The Ancient Capital, of The Province— Perth Amboy In 1752. 200-214. 
Perth Amboy in the Olden-Time— A Chartered City in 1718— Governors 
under the Crown — The Pomp of the Advent of Royal Governors — The Early 
Beauty of Amboy — Love Grove — Old English Fairs — George Willocks's Long 
Ferry— The Town Green and the Royal Cross of St. George— The Town Hall, 
and the Scenes it Has Witnessed — Thomas Bartow, his House and Garden — The 
Homes of Doctor John Johnstone, and His Son Andrew — John Watson, The 
First American Painter— His House and Collection of Paintings— The Dwelling 
in which John Nevill Wrote the Laws of the Province — The Parker Homestead, 
Built in 1720— George Willocks and the Old Parsonage — The Effectiveness of 
Colonial Roofs— The City's Churches in 1752— Gilbert Tennent and His Severe 
Text — The Religious Atmosphere of the Last Century. 


Social Aspect of Perth Amboy in 1752— The Gentry— Slavery — 
Travelling. 215-232. 
The Picturesqueness of Colonial Times — Local Color of Civilization at New 
Jersey's Capital — Indians, Soldiers, Hunters and Redemptionersv-The Sturdy 
German Yeomanry — Society Distinctions — The Magnificence of the Gentry — 
We Are Introduced to a King's Councillor — His Vain Hopes for Araboy's Com- 
mercial Greatness — The Ladies of the Last Century — Hallam's Theatre Company 
at the Town Hall — Sunday Morning at St. Peter's Church — Pomp and Parade 
at the Capital — The Mayor's Mace Bearer — Judicial Wigs and Robes of Office — 
The Flourish and Ceremony upon Opening Court — The Stately Minuet, and 
Royal Governor's Balls — The Many Negroes To Be Seen at Amboy — A Short 
History of Slavery in New Jersey — The British Government Fosters the Slave 
Trade — Extent of tiie Traffic in the Colonies — Cruel Punishments in N. J. — 
Burning, Maiming and Hanging Negroes — Somerset County Farmers and Their 
Slaves — Al)olition of Slavery in New Jersey — .Johannes' Choice of a Tavern — 
Travel Between New York and Philadelphia — The Miseries of the Journey — 
Clumsy Sloops, Springless Wagons, and Bad Roads. 

Contents. xiii 


Clearing the Bedminster Land — Life on the " Old Farm " From 
1752 TO 1763. 233-246. 
German Farmers in New Jersey — Johannes Attacks his Timbered Hillsides — 
Manner of Clearing Land — Primitive Agriculture — Richness of the Soil — The 
Land Exhausted Ultimately for Want of Nourishment — Lime First Used as a 
Fertilizer — Natural Meadows the Only Grass Land — Introduction of Clover 
Seed into Somerset — Homemade Ploughs and Other Implements — Wheat, Rye, 
and Buckwheat are Cut with a Sickle — Establishing the Tannery — Horticulture 
in the Olden Time — Living, in the "Old Stone House" — What Colonial Farm- 
ers Had to Eat — Some Extraordinary Dishes— The Beverages of That Time — 
The Industries of Farm Families — Old-Fashioned Frolics and Amusements — A 
Visit to the Bedrooms and Garret— Picturesque Garb and Curious Fabrics — 
Mariah Katrina as a House-Wife — A View of the Farm Kitchen — Flax and its 
Uses — Delicate Girls at a Discount — The Tribulations of Washing Day — Aaron 
Malick Marries Charlotte Miller — Changes in the Family — Another Letter 
from the Old Country. 


The Death of Johaotstes and Makiah in 1763 — Changes in the Town- 
ship — The Dutch Congregations of the Raritan Valley — The 
Building of Bedminster Church. 247-265. 

Johannes in his Old Age — He and His Wife Die in 1763 — ^Aaron Succeeds 
Him in the " Stone House " — Changes in Bedminster — Settlement on the Axtell 
Tract — Jacobus Van Doren and Captain Joseph Nevius — The Dutch Reformed 
Churches in Somerset — The Log Church at North Branch— Raritan Church at 
Van Veghten's Bridge— Three Mile Run, Six Mile Run, and New Brunswick 
Churches — The Reverend Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen as Pastor of the 
United Congregations — His Son John Succeeds Him in 1750 — Dinah Van Bergh 
Marries Dominie Frelinghuysen — The Young Divinity Student, Jacob R. Har- 
denbergh — He succeeds His Pastor, and Marries His Widow — Disparity of their 
Ages — The Religious Character and Attainments of the Juffrouw Hardenbergh — 
Reformed Dutch Congregation of Bedminster Organized in 1758 — The Building 
of the New Church — -Donations of Jacobus Van der Veer, and Guisbert Sut- 
phen — Description of the Edifice — The First Service, 


More Changes in Bedminster — The Mills on Peapack Brook — Boyish 
Reminiscences — Marriages and Deaths. 266-279. 

Aaron Improves the Farm, and Enlarges the Tannery — A Saw and Grist 
Mill Established on Peapack Brook in 1751— William Allen, the First Miller — 
His Sons Sell the Mill to Stephen Hunt in 1767— The Building of the " Folley" 
— A Famous Rendezvous for Bedminster Boys — Penetrating the Hogback — A 
Picture of the Old Grist Mill with Its Pond and Rock-paved Stream — Youthful 
Remembrances — ^Fishing and Swimming in the "Jinny-Hole" — Miss Jane Bailey, 
Bedminster's Meg Merriles — Rural Sights and Sounds — The Loss of Water in 
Bedminster Streams — Aaron's Family Increases — Little Elizabeth Is Killed in 

xiv The Story of an Old Farm. 

the Bark Mill— Philip and Peter Moelich Marrv Sisters— Borrowing Money for 
Bedminster Church— The Ancient Bond of Jacobus Van der Veer, Marcus King 
and Aaron Malick — John Van der Veer Has Five Different Ways of Spelling 
His Surname — Mariah Moelich Marries Simon Ludewig Himroth, and Removes 
to Pennsylvania— More News from Bendorf— Another Interesting Letter from 
the Herr Praeceptor. 


The Muttering That Preceded the Storm of the Revolution — 
Stamp Acts, Revenue Bills and Other Unjust Imposts Weaken 
the Loyalty op the New Jersey People — Arming for the Fray. 
The Approach of the Heroic Period of New Jersey's History — The Stamp Act 
and Its Repeal — New Jersey's Attitude of Hostility to Great Britain — The First 
Revolutionary Newspaper Is Printed at Burlington — The Boston Post Bill and 
Tea Duties — The British Government Applies the Torch of Coercion — Organiz- 
ing for Defence — The Province Sends Deputies to the Continental Congress in 
September, 1774 — Formation of Committees of Correspondence — The Meetings 
of the Provincial Congress — An Historic Journey — Minutes of the First Meet- 
ings of the Bedminster Committee of Observation and Inspection — Among the 
Members are Aaron Malick, Cornelius Lane, John Wortman — An Express- 
Rider Flies Through New Jersey Announcing the Battle of Lexington — Hud- 
rick Fisher as President of the Second Provincial Congress — Three Other of 
Its Officers are from Somerset County — John Wortman and Guisbert Sutphen 
of the Bedminster Committee Are Sent to the Congress at Trenton on May 25, 
1775 — Bedminster Proceeds to Arm for Defence — A New Brunswick Man 
Employed to Drill the Men — Stephen Hunt Is Sent to New York to Buy Arms 
— The Difficulty of Obtaining Munitions of War — Leaden Window and Clock 
Weights and Pewter Dishes Are Run into Bullets — Treating the Men When 
Training — The Third Session of Provincial Congress Convenes on the Fifth of 
August, 1775 — A Committee of Safety Is Appointed — Among the Members Are 
Five from Somerset. 


The Declaration of Independence and the Overthrow of the 
Provincial Government — The Arrest of the Royal Governor, 
William Franklin. 293-303. 
The Third Session of New Jersey's Provincial Congress — The Agitations and 
Excitements that Ruled the Hour — Complaints o"f the People — Strengthening 
the Militia — Meeting, of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia — 
Declaration of Independence Submitted by Jefierson — The Appeal for the Docu- 
ment Made by John W'itherspoon, of Somerset, Insures its Acceptance by the 
Members — The Most Important of all of New Jersey's Provincial Congresses 
Meets on June 10, 1776^0n July 18 it Assumes the Title of the Convention of 
the State of New Jersey — All the (Colonial Governors Adhere to the Crown 
Except Jonathan Trumbull of Conn. — Governor William Franklin is Arrested 
at Perth Amboy^His Character, Origin and History — William Livingston, the 
State's First Governor — He Holds the Position Owing to Repeated Re-elections 

Contents. xv 

until 1792 — A Tribute to His Services and Ability— William Patterson One of 
New Jersey's Great Men — His Residence on the Raritan — The Beginning of 
Things for the United States of America — The Condition, Area and Population of 
the Country in 1776. 


The Turbulent Sea of the Revolution — The Soldiers of Somerset 
— William Alexander, Lord Stirling ; Captain Andrew Malick; 
AND Private John Malick. 304-318. 
Notwithstanding the War the Industries at the Old Farm Continue — Peter 
Malick Inherits from his Father Land Fronting on the Lamington Road 
— He Builds a House and Settles Where is now the Village of Bedminster — 
Aaron Retains the Tannery, Homestead and the Rest of the Farm — His Brother 
Andrew Settles in Sussex County — In 1770 he Aids, in Founding St. James 
Lutheran Church Near Phillipsburg— Andrew is Commissioned as Captain in the 
First Battalion, Sussex Militia, and Serves During the War — Aaron's Son, John, 
Enlists in Jacob Ten Eyck's Company of the First Battalion — Somerset 
Militia — Lord Stirling is its First Colonel — His Home in Bernard Township 
and His Military Record — The Noble Services of New Jersey Militiamen — John 
Malick as a Minute Man — The March of Colonel Nathan Heard on Long Island 
— The Tories of Kings and Queens Counties — a Special Regiment of Hunterdon 
and Somerset Militia is Organized to Re-inforce Washington's Army — It marches 
to New York Under Colonel Stephen Hunt with John Malick in its Ranks — 
The Battle of Long Island — The Death of Col. Philip Johnston — The Capture of 
John Malick by the Enemy — He is Thrown into a New York Sugar House — 
The Inhumanities of his Jailor, Provost-Marshall Cunningham— The Brutality 
of the Provost in Conducting the Execution of Nathan Hale — John Malick is 
Exchanged and Re-enlists in the Continental Line — Washington's Army Enters 
New Jersey. 


The British In New Jersey — Washington's Retreat To The Delaware — 
General Lee In Somerset County. 319-334. 
Cornwallis Enters New Jersey — The Garrison at Fort Lee Joins the Main 
Body at Hackensack — Retreat and Pursuit — Tories and Whigs Alike Plundered 
by the Enemy — Washington Driven from New Brunswick — His Army Melts 
Away with Each Mile of the March — What Is Left of the Army Cross the 
Delaware on the Eighth of December — The British go into Winter Quarters at 
Borden town, Trenton, New Brunswick, and Other Towns — The Rapine, Violence 
and Cruelty of the English Forces — Individual Instances of Sufferings in Somer- 
set and Middlesex Counties — The Ayres, Dunns and Dunhams in the Revolu- 
tion — The Ferocity Exhibited by Tories — Cavalry Raids on Pluckamin — 
Amnesty and Protection Offered by the Enemy — Many Become Disaffected — 
Aaron, Andrew, and Philip Melick Do not Waver in Their Colonial Sympathies 
— ^Peter Melick Accepts a Protection Paper from the British — His Disaffection 
Fostered by Frequent Visits to Perth Amboy — The Royal Sentiment Openly 
Displayed at That Provincial Capital — The Attitude of the Church of England 
During the Revolution — Methodists Considered Enemies to tlie Public Weal — 

xvi The Story of an Old Farm. 

Quakers as non-Combatants — General Charles Lee's Army Reaches Bedminster 
on December 12— The Appearance His Troops Presented — Hunting-Shirts for 
Uniforms and Fowling Pieces for Guns — The Jersey Blues are Uniformed by 
Patriotic Women. 


The Capture of General Charles Lee — His Army Encamps on Peter 
Melick's Land in Bedminster Township— The Battle of Trenton. 
General Lee's Array on the Night of December 12, 1776, Encamps on Peter 
Melick's Farm — Because of His Disaffection the Troops Damage His Property — 
Peter's Daughter, Catherine, Lives until 1863 — Her Written Statement as to 
what Transpired on that Night — The "Old Stone House" Entertains a Number 
of Mounted Officers — Fresh Details as to the Capture of Lee at Basking Ridge 
— The Generally Accepted Belief that His Army Lay at Vealtown an Error — 
Lee's Cliaracter and Military Achievements — The Ridiculous Appearance Pre- 
sented by Colonel Sheldon's Connecticut Light Horse — All about the Sixteenth 
British Light Dragoons, which made the Capture — -Aaron Malick is Suspected of 
Having Notified the Enemy of Lee's Whereabouts — He is Forced to go to New 
■Germantown to Prove His Innocence — Sullivan Marches to Pennsylvania by Way 
of Ijamington and Clinton— The Efiect on the Country of Lee's Capture — The 
Darkest Days of the Revolution are those of December, 1776 — Washington 
Undaunted — By the Tenth of December His Army is Reduced to Seventeen 
Hundred Men — In Less than Two Weeks He Increases His Force to 6,000 — He 
•Crosses the Delaware and Captures the Hessians at Trenton — The Effiect of the 
Victory Upon the Country. 


The Hessians in New Jersey — Just a Little in Their Favor— A Cor- 
rection of Some False Traditions That Have Been Fostered by 
Prejudiced Historians. 352-370. 
How the News of the Battle of Trenton Was Received at the " Old Stone 
House " — Some of the Hessian Prisioners Have Probably Been Fellow Towns- 
men of Aaron Malick at Bendorf — Sympathy for the Germans — Prince Charles 
Alexander of Anspach, Bendorf's Ruler, Furnishes George III. with Two Regi- 
ments — Detailed Accounts of the British Army's German Auxiliaries — Repug- 
nance of the Hessians to Come to America— -How Germany's Despotic Princes 
Justified the Mercenary Traffic — Scliiller's Protest Against His Countrymen's 
Lives and Services Being Bartered for Gold — The Hatred of the Americans for 
the Mercenaries — The Terror They Inspired Dissipated by Better Acquaintance 
— Many of tlie Barbarities of tlie British Unjustly Cliarged to the Hessians — 
C!ount Donop's Troops Treat the People of Mount Holly with Great Civility — 
Uniforms and Equipments of Hessians — General De Heister's Treatment of 
Lord Stirling— The Courtesy and Good Breeding of Hessian Officers— Abundant 
Testimony That the Memory of the German Troops Has Been Held in Unde- 
served Obloquy — Many Desert and Settle in America — Some of Their Descend- 
ants Rank Among the Leading Men of the Country — How Christopher Ludwick 
Entertained Eight Hessians Captured at Germantown — Ludwick's Wise Policy 

Contents. xvii 

Resulted in Many Desertions — President George AVashington's Coacliman an 
Ex-Hessian Soldier. 


Washington's March From Trenton To Morristown — The Battles Of 
AssuNPiNK And Princeton — The American Army Encamped At 
Pluckamin — Death And Burial of Captain "William Leslie. 371- 
Cornwallis Marches his Army to the Delaware — The Americans Hold the 
British in Check on the Banks of Assunpink Creek — ^Washington's Army Steals 
Away under Cover of the xsight of January 2 — Some Description of the Com- 
mands Forming this Little Army — The Battle of Princeton — Why so Many 
Commisssioned Officers Were Killed — Captain William Leslie of the Seventeenth 
British Regiment Fatally Wounded — John Witherspoon, the President of 
Princeton College and the Earl of Leven — Surgeon Benjamin Rush takes Charge 
of the Wounded Leslie — His Previous Acquaintance with That Officer's Family 
— The Exhausted Condition of the American Army Prevents an Attack on 
Howe's Base of Supplies at Kew Brunswick — Washington Marches Up the Val- 
ley of the jSIillstone Seeking the Protection of the Hill Country — The Encamp- 
ment at Millstone on the Night of January 3 — The Army Reaches Pluckamin on 
the Afternoon of Saturday the 4 — Leslie Dies on Entering the Village — Inci- 
dents of the Encampment — One Thousand Laggards Rejoin the Army — The 
Troops Spent Sunday, at Pluckamin — The Country-People Flock to the Village 
— 230 Prisoners in the Lutheran Church — Aaron Maiick Visits the Camp — 
Leslie Is buried With the Honors of War — Captain Stryker's Troop of Light- 
horse Captures Cornwallis' Baggage Wagons — The Army Breaks Camp on the 
Morning of the 6th, and Reaches Morristown that Evening — Formation of the 
Column and Line of March. 


Washington's Army at Morristown in the Winter and Spring of 
1777— The Old Farm on a Military Thoroughfare. 390-407. 

Bustle and Activity in Bedminster — Continental Officers at the "Old Stone 
House" — Washington in Somerset — Farmers Made Welcome at Morristown 
Camp — The Different Spirit Animating British and American Soldiers — Form- 
ing a New Army — Where Different Generals Quartered at Morristown — Festivi- 
ties in Camp — The Death and Military Funerals of Colonels Hitchcock and Ford 
— General and Mrs. Washington Meet at Pluckamin — What Ladies Were in 
Camp — Mrs. Washington's Expenses in Going to and from Virginia — Successful 
Military Enterprises in January — Washington Orders the Disaffected to Deliver 
up their British Amnesty Papers — Peter INIelick's Political Change of Heart — 
Different Cantonments in New Jersey — Somerset Maidens and the Handsome 
Major Burr — The Military Attainments of General Greene — His Division 
Moves to Basking Ridge — He Quarters at Lord vStirling's — The Ladies of the 
Household and their Guests — Governor Livingston's Three Bright Daughters 
at the Stirling Mansion — Revolutionary Society at Basking Ridge — The Second 
Establishment of New Jersey — Colonel Daniel Morgan Arrives from Virginia — 
The Military Record of this Jersey man. 

xviii The Story of an Old Farm. 


The Coktixestal Army in Somerset CJoitsty in the Spring and Sum- 
mer OF 1777 — Scenes and Incidents at Bound Brook and Middle- 
brook — British Efforts to March to the Delaware Defeated. 
Fighting at Bound Brook — General Lincoln Narrowly Escapes Capture — Brig- 
adier-General Muhlenberg Beaches Morristown— German Lutherans Give the 
Parson-Soldier a Warm Welcome— He Visits the "Old Stone House" — Dominie 
Muhlenberg in Virginia — Hunting with Washington — He Becomes a Political 
as Well as a Religious Leader — Is Commissioned Colonel of the Eighth Virginia 
Regiment — His Farewell Sermon — A Dramatic Incident — His Military Record 
— The British Display Activity in Their Camps — The New American Army and 
Its Generals — Colonel Clement Biddle and His Wife — The Continental Army 
Takes Possession of the Heights in the Rear of Bound Brook — Camp Middle- 
brook Established — Cider Vinegar as a Remedy for Fever — The Campaign Sud- 
denly Opens — Howe Advances in Force from New Brunswick — His Endeavor to 
Entice Washington from His Stronghold— Abandons the Attempt to Reach 
Philadelphia by Land — Falls Back to New Brunswick and Thence to Amboy — 
Greene, Muhlenberg, Wayne, and Morgan in Pursuit — Washington Advances to 
New Market — Howe by a Rapid Flank Movement Vainly Endeavors to Sur- 
round the Continental Army — Lord Stirling and Morgan Fight the Enemy at 
Plainfield and Woodbridge — Howe, Outgeneraled in Every Movement, Evacu- 
ates the State on June 30 — The British Embark on Transports — Anxiety Lest 
Howe Should Combine with Burgoyne — Washington Marches to the Hudson — 
The Fleet Sails out of "the Hook" — Tiie Continental Army Hurries Toward 
the Delaware — Muhlenberg, Commanding Greene's Division, Marches Through 
Bedminster — Sword and Holster versus Prayer-Book and Sermon — After a Long 
Delay the Fleet Enters Chesapeake Bay — The Army Bids Good-bye to New Jer- 
sey for that Year. 


The State of Religion in New Jersey in the Eighteenth Century 
— TiiE Effect of the Revolution on Public Morals — The Strong 
Dutch Reformed and Presbyterian Congregations of Bedminster 
— Curious Church Customs and Practices. 427-447. 
The Continental Army Marches Down the Delaware to the Coljision on the 
Brandywine — The Reader Abandons Historic Figures for the Companionship 
of Simpler Forms of Humanity — Bedminister People Are Not Checked in Their 
Ordinary Pursuits by the War — Rigid Views Held by Our Ancestors As to 
Amusements — The Low Condition of Religion Early in the Century — The 
Preaching of Frelinghuysen, Dickinson, Whitefield, Edwards and Others Ani- 
mates the People to a More Vital Piety — The ReTolution Has an Unfriendly 
Influence on Religious Affairs — Church Edifices L'sed for War Purposes — The 
R. D. and Pres. Congregations Hold Strongly Together — The Patriotism of 
Domine Hardenberg and the Reward for His Arrest — Intellectual and Educa- 
tional Influences of the Pulpit — Sunday at the Bedminster Dutch Church in the 
Olden Time — Introduction of Singing by Note Strenuously Opposed — Sunday a 
Dreary Day for Children — How Sunday was Observed in Ashbel Green's 
Family — Ministers and Church Members Oppose Sunday Schools — Aaron 

Contents. xix 

Malick's Church Connections — Reverend John Eodgers Supplies Lamington 
Pres. Pulpit ; His Character and War Experiences — Presbyterians During the 
Eevolution — The Sacrifices and Sufferings of Its Clergy and Laity — Sunday 
at Lamington Church — Curious Practices and Observances — Betty McCoy's 
Appetite and Piety — The Elders Take a Drink with the Minister Between Ser- 
vices — An Installation Ball. 


Eevolutionary Events of 1777 and 1778 — Washington's Aesiy Again 
AT Camp Middlebrook in the Winter and Spring of 1779 — Inter- 
esting Incidents of the Encampment. 448-460. 

The Advantages Reaped by the Americans in the Campaigns of 1777 
and 1778 — Burgoyne's Surrender and the French Alliance — The Enemy's 
Retreat Across the Jerseys — The Battle of Monmouth — Curious Scenes at the 
Sandy Hook Embarkation — Condition of the Country at the Close of 1778 — 
Washington, with Eight Brigades of Infantry, the Artillery and Some Separate 
Commands, Winters in New Jersey — The British make a Futile Effort to Recap- 
ture Burgoyne's Cannon — Camps Middlebrook and Pluckamin Established in 
December — Washington Quarters at the Wallace House at Somerville — Mrs. 
Washington Joins her Husband in Camp — Guests at Headquarters — The Daily 
Dinner an Affair of Ceremony — Table Service and Appointments — Interesting 
Facts as to Household Manners and Customs — The Open Winter and Warm 
Spring of 1779 — Parson General Muhlenberg Commands Putnam's Division — 
How Soldier's Log Huts were Constructed — Muhlenberg Gives a Ball and 
Supper on New Year's Night — Where the Different Generals Quartered — Uni- 
versal Testimony as to General Greene's ability — Derrick Van Veghten, the 
aged Patriot — Mrs. Greene's Brilliant Qualities Attract Many Visitors to the 
Van Veghten House — Middlebrook Tavern — Mad Anthony Wayne's Encamp- 
ment on the Weston Road — This Officer's Reputation in Somerset. 


The Artillery Park at Pluckamin — General and Mrs. Knox at the 
Van der Veer House — The French Alliance Fete — General 
Steuben at Bound Brook. 461-473. 
An Attractive Military Village — The Capacious Academy and Its Lses — The 
Artillery Officers and Men are Uniformed in Black and Red — A Popular Error 
Corrected as to Revolutionary Uniforms — How the Different Regiments Under 
Washington were Dressed — General Knox Quarters with Jacobus Van der Veer 
near Bedminster Church — His Popularity in the Vicinity — Mrs. Knox Spends 
the Winter with Her Husband — Social Intercourse at the Van der Veer House 
— Two Yonng Lady Visitors from Boston — Tea Drinkings and Hops at the 
Artillery Park — The Grand Celebration on the Anniversary of the French 
Alliance — Washington, his StafJ and Escort, Reach the Park at Three o'clock — 
Mrs. Washington and the President of Congress Arrive in a Coach and Four — 
Distinguished Guests — The Charms of Lady Kitty Stirling Attract William 
Duer to the Fete — The Banquet in the Academy — Balls in the Olden Time — 
Washington Opens the Dance with Mrs. Knox — Judge Linn's Daughter and 
the General in a Stately Minuet — The Society Reporter in Revolutionary Days 

XX The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

— Tlie Deatli of Mrs. Knox's Infant Daughter in July — The Bigotry of the Con- 
sistory of the D. R. Congregation Pi-events the Burial of the Child in the Grave- 
yard — Drills and Inspections at Camp Middlebrook — General Steuben as a 
Disciplinarian — His Distinguished Appearance — He Quarters at the StaatsHouse, 
Below Bound Brook— Entertainments at this Old Mansion. 


Festivities and Ceremonies at Camp Middlebrook — The French Min- 
ister, M. Gerard, and the Spanish Envoy, Don Juan de Miralles, 
Visit Washington— The Grand Eeview in Their Honor. 474-492. 
Social Intercourse in the Army — Frequent Reunions at the Different Head- 
quarters — Mrs. Greene's Guests and Their Amusements — Tea Drinkings and 
Little Dances at the Van Veghten House — The Close Friendships of Cornelia 
Lott and Mrs. Greene — Brilliant Young Men Connected with the Army — Colo- 
nels Tilghman and Hamilton — Captain Colfax and Washington's Life Guard — 
Colonel Scammell's Great Sacrifice — Lady Visitors at Washington's Headquar- 
ters — Light Horse Harry Lee at Phil's Hill — Philip Van Horn and His Five 
Handsome Daughters— The Arrival of M. Gerard and Don Juan de Miralles — 
The Spanish Envoy and His Mission — The Army Parades in their Honor — A 
Gala Occasion for Old Bound Brook — The Grand Stand and the Costumes of its 
Occupants — The Appearance Presented by AVashington, His Generals, and Guests 
on the Field — Disposition of the Trooi>s — Evolutions and Field Manoeuvres of the 
Arm\' — Enthusiasm of the Multitude when the Battalions Pay the Marching 
Salute — After the Review Steuben Entertains Washington, the Foreign Guests 
and Sixty Officers — Merriment and Hilarity at the Banquet Under the Trees — 
The Clever Young Men of the Baron's Military Family — Indians in Camp — Five 
Soldiers Sit on their Coffins Under the Gallows — The Jersey Brigade in the 
Indian Campaign — In July the Troops Break Camp and March to the Hudson. 


The Wedding of William Duer and Lady Kitty Stirling — Prince- 
ton College in the Revolution — The Famous Raid of the 
Queen's Rangers Through the Raritan Valley. 493-510. 
Wedding Festivities at Basking Ridge— Civic and Military Guests — How 
Lord Stirling Lost His New Jersey Property — Princeton College Has Its First 
Commencement Since the Outbreak of the War — Nassau Hall and the Presby- 
terian Church Stripped by the Enemy — The Graduating Class of 1783 — Wash- 
ington and Continental Congress Listen to the Valedictorian, Ashbel Green — 
Echoes from the Walls of " Old Nassau " — The Name Occasioned bj' the Humil- 
ity of a Royal Governor — The Founding of Presbyterianism in New Jersey — 
Some Early Ecclesiastic History — In 1747 the College Removed from Elizabeth- 
town to Newark — Reverend Aaron Burr, Its Second President — The Beginning 
of Things at Princeton in 1757 — The Simplicity of the College Curriculum in 
Colonial Times — In October, 1779, the Queen's American Rangers Raid Through 
the Raritan Valley — Major Robert Rogers, the First Commander of This Parti- 
san Corps — Lieut.-Col. John Graves Simcoe Assumes Command in 1777 — This 
Raid Conceded to Have Been a Brilliant Military Enterprise — Its Object and 
the Details of the March — Destruction of Washington's Boats and the Dutch 

Contents. xxi 

Reformed Church at Van Veghten's Bridge — The Court House and Two Dwell- 
ings Burned at Millstone — The Rangers Meet Disaster in an Ambuscade — Sim- 
coe Is Made a Prisoner— The Raiders Charge Some Mounted Militia-men, and 
Kill Capt. Peter V. Voorhees — They Escape to South River, Joining Their Sup- 
porting Body of Infantry — Jonathan Ford Morris' Services to Col. Simcoe — The 
Sequence of This Raid Was the Founding of Somerville. 


The Cold Winter of 1780— Washington's Army Again at Morris- 
town — Varied and Interesting Camp Experiences — Fighting at 
Connecticut Farms and Springfield. 511-527. 
The Current of Bedminster Domestic Life — The Army Goes into Winter 
Quarters Between Morristown and Mendhara — Family Arrangements at Head- 
quarters — The Main Encampment on Kimball Hill — Watch Towers, Beacons 
and Alarm Guns — Xearly Five Months of Snow — The Frozen Raritan a High- 
way for Teams — The Great January Storm — Citizens and Militia Fighting Snow 
Drifts — The Army in an Extremity for Food and Clothing — Some Curious 
Examples of Currency Depreciation — Lord vStirling's Unsuccessful Enterprise on 
Staten Island — Elizabethtown Surprised and the Presbyterian Church Burned — 
Social Features of Morristown Camp Life — Elizabeth Schuyler's Arrival Causes 
a Flutter in Military Circles — Colonel Tilghman Describes her Fascinations — 
Her Engagement to Colonel Hamilton — Distinguished Foreign Visitors at 
Morristown — Another Grand Review and Public Ball. Don Juan de Miralles 
Dies at Headquarters — The Ostentation and Display at his Funeral — Dissatisfac- 
tion of the Soldiers at Remaining so Long Unpaid — A War of Plunder on the 
Inhabitants Threatened — Dramatic Scenes at an Execution — Fighting at Con- 
necticut Farms and Springfield — The Youthful but Gray-haired Captain Steele 
Commands Mrs. Washington's Guard — Members of Congress as Volunteers and 
Trencher men — The Jersey Militia Cover Themselves with Glory — Breaking 
Camp in Kimball Hill — Arrival of the French Army — The Treachery of Arnold 
and the Death of Andre. 


The Mutinies of The Pennsylvania and New Jersey Lines — The 
French Arjiy in Bedminster on the Way To Virginia — The Hang- 
ing OF Captain Joshua Huddy and the Case of Captain Asgill. 
The Last of Campaigning in Somerset and Morris Coiinties — The Penn. 
Troops Mutiny and March for Philadelphia under their Non-Commissioned 
Officers — The Country People Alarmed Lest Depredations be Committed--Gen. 
Wayne's Admirable Behavior Prevents Excesses — Sir Henry Clinton Sends 
Two Tories, Offering the Rebels his Support, and Rewards for Desertion — The 
Spies Delivered by the Soldiers to American Authorities — Congress meets the 
Insurgents at Princeton and Adjusts Their Difficulties — Two W^eeks Later the 
New Jersey Line Mutinies at Pompton — The Revolters Are Subdued, and their 
Ringleaders Punished — Gates' Disasters, and Greene's Successes at the South — 
La Fayette's Rapid March Through New Jersey — The American and French 
Armies Combine in July on The Hudson — Hoav Washington Deluded Sir Henry 
Clinton — The Operations of Cornwallis in Virginia — In August the Allied 


The Story of an Old Farm. 

Aaron Malick Pays a Government Tax for the Use of One — The People's Pro- 
test Against tliis Impost — How Somerset's Paupei-s Were Treated — Aaron and 
Daniel as Overseers of the Poor — Some Interesting Bills and Papers Showing 
Their Care — Sniiif for the Widow Bidderman, Pork for Joseph Nicholson, and 
a Shirt in which To Bury Thomas Gary — Nicholas Arrosmith Presents a Bill 
to the Overseers — All About This Worthy Citizen — Dr. Robert Henry and his 
Care of the Poor — His Revolutionary Record — Lawyer Thomas P. Johnson 
Argues and Ijoses a Case for the Bedminster Overseers — In 1792 Daniel Melick 
Goes on a Trading Voyage to Georgia — Cutting Off Negroes' Ears and Branding 
their Foreheads — Raffles and Horse Races — He Boards at the Widow Spencer's 
at Savannah — The Goods He Buys and Sells — The Voyage Home On the " Ship 
Jenny " — In 1786 Aaron Malick Buys Yombo, His First Slave — His Wife's 
Quaker Nature Rebels Against Slaveholding — Unprepossessing Yombo, and his 
Idiosyncracies — A Survey of the Occupants of the Old Stone House in 1797 — 
Aaron Buys From General John Taylor a Whole Family of Slaves — Honest 
Black Dick, Nance, and their Many Children — Death of Charlotte Malick — 
Slave Life on the Old Farm — Pleasures and Privileges of the Bondspeople — 
Dick and Nance Give a Christmas Party — They and Their Flock go to "General 
Training," — The Death and Funeral of Aaron Malick — His Will Directs the 
Future Manumission of Some of his Slaves — Scenes at the Vendue of his 
Ertects — Dick, Nance, and their Youngest Child are Bought by Daniel Melick — 
The Distribution of the Other Negroes — Daniel at the Head of the House- 


What the Old Papers Have to Say About the Drinking Habits of 
Our Forefathers— The Last Cenury's Tidal Wave of Intemper- 
ance — National Reform — Farewell to the Old Farm. 613-625. 
The Story of the Growth of Intemperance in the American Colonies — Ancient 
and Modern Laws Concerning Drunkenness Compared — Intemperance the Grad- 
ual Growth of Many Hundred Years — Its Worse Stage is Reached at tlie Close 
of the Last and the Beginning of the Present Century — The Introduction of 
Rum and Apple-Jack into the American Colonies — Sweet, Rich Brandies are 
Distilled from Peaches, Pears, Plums and Persimmons — Apple-Jack Becomes the 
New Jersey Standard Tipple— Tlie First Still for its Manufacture is Set up in 
Morris County — Some Curious Examples of the Extent of the Drinking Vice — 
Tipsy Guests Dance at Weddings, Tipsy Mourners Reel at Funerals — Even 
Clergymen do not Escape the Contagion — Drinking at Installations and at Con- 
sociation Meetings — Ministers as Distillers— The Cultivation of Lands Neglected 
and Soil Planted with Orchards — Eight Distilleries in One Township Along the 
Raritan— Early Eflbrts to Stem this Overwhelming Torrent of Human Folly — 
The Lamentations and Warnings of John Wesley, John Adams, and Israel Put- 
nam—Doctor Benjamin Rush Becomes the Pioneer of Temperance Reform — His 
Protest, in 1777 Against the Government Supplying Liquor to tlie Troops — In 
1785 He Issues His Famous Temperance Tract — The Doctor's Tireless Energy 
in the Cause Enlists Sympathy of Others — Lyman Beecher's Powerful Sermons 
for Reform— The First Temperance Society in 1808— The Progress of the 
Movement ^Exceedingly Slow — An Unpropitious Time for Instilling Restrictive 
Ideas in the Peojjle's Minds— Crude Views as to Moderate Drinking— It is 1826 
Before the Cause is Recognized as a Power for Good— The Rearing of the Grand 
Superstructure of National Reform— Farewell to the Old Farm — What Our 
Searches Have Revealed— A Final Survey of its Generations. 



BEDMINSTER CHURCH facing page 6 


THE OLD STONE HOUSE facing page 154 

[See ADDENDA, p. 713.] 

" This field is so spacious, that it were easy for a man to lose him- 
self in it: and if I should spend all my pilgrimage in this walk, my time 
would sooner end than my way." 

— Bishop Hall. 



Life in New Jersey in the Eighteenth Century. 


The PeapacJc Stage — Sunday Morning at Bedminster Church — 
A Betired Hamlet. 

THE traveller by the old highway — the post or stage road — 
leading from Somerville to Peapack, in Somerset county, 
New Jersey, will remember the village of the Lesser Cross Roads, 
which faces one when some eight miles on the journey, perched 
on the southerly side of a sloping eminence. 

"One of those little places that have run 

Half up the hill beneath the blazing sun, 

And then sat down to rest, as if to say, 
' I climb no farther upward, come what may ! ' " 

Just here is located the '■'■ Old Farm," whose story, or rather 
the story of whose early settlers and their contemporaries, it is 
purposed to chronicle. Let us visit this little hamlet and learn 
something of its history, and of the generations that have lived, 
toiled and died amid the cheerful hills and smiling valleys of 
the rolling country north of the village ; for it is the gateway of 
Somerset's most pleasing regions — the approach to scenes of 
quiet beauty and pastoral loveliness unsurpassed in this portion 
of New Jersey. 

We wiU choose one of those generous June days when early 
summer has veiled its youthful bloom in a maze of leaf, mystery 
and shade. That our approach to this secluded village may be 
with an humble spirit, in harmony with the rural calm of its 
homely atmosphere, we will journey down — or. rather up — by 
the travel-stained stage-wagon that for so many years has lura- 

2 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

bered out of Somerville eveiy afternoon about three o'clock. 
Squeezing in on the front seat by the driver's side, our legs and 
feet are soon seemingly inextricably entangled with mail bags, 
bundles, whiffletrees and the horses' tails. Well ! the stage 
is " loaded up," three on a seat — twelve inside — with quite a 
mountain of luggage piled up behind. Rattling down the main 
street, and turning north on the Peapack road, the town, with its 
outlying villas standing amid parterres of flowers and shaded 
gardens, is soon left behind. Pounding over a wooden bridge 
that spans a little stream the fair-ground is passed, and the team 
settles down to its regulation jog of five miles an hour, over 
the pleasant levels of Bridgewater township. On either side lie 
well-tilled fields, rich with the promise of bounteous harvests. 
Barn-swallows twitter in a farmyard hard by ; a kingfisher, with 
a loud cry, sails awa}' at om' approach, and another little tenant 
of the air salutes us from behind a hedge with a flood of sweet 
harmony. From over the fences come the somid of whetting 
scythes, the rattle of mowing knives, and the talk and laughter 
of the haymakers ; Avhile the breeze for miles away is fragrant 
with the perfume of freshly tossed clover-cocks. 

Insensibly the passengers grow more sociably inclined as they 
exclaim over the charming weather, the rustic beauty of the 
landscape, and the sweet sounds of nature on every side. Our 
driver proves to be loquacious, and familiar with all the gossip 
of the long road he has travelled twice daily for many years, so 
he soon has his passengers in animated talk as to the news of 
their respective neighborhoods. Stop after stop is made at farm- 
houses and cottages by the roadside ; now to leave a morning 
paper — twelve hours from the New York press — now a bundle 
or package, which latter has to be fished from under the seats, 
calling out nervous giggles from the women, with numerous 
" oh mys !'' — " that's my foot !" — and like ejaculations. Now 
and then some one is " taken up,'' or " let down," the last stop 
for that purpose having been to discharge a stout farmer's wife 
from the rear seat of the stage ; the intervening passengers must 
need crouch, half standing, holding down the backs of the seats, 
while she wades to the door, dragging after her a large news- 
paper parcel, a spreading turkey-feather fan, and a huge paper 
bandbox encased in blue checked gingham. This impedimenta 

From Somerville to Peapack. 3 

carries in its wake several hats and belongings of her fellow trav- 
ellers. The stout woman receives a warm welcome from two 
buxom girls and a sunburned farmer, who wait behind a paling 
fence, with a background of well-sweep, rusty clapboards, and 
porch o'erclambered with honeysuckle and June roses. The 
wide-open, brown eyes of the shorter and plumper girl take in 
with lively interest each occupant of the stage. While leaning 
gracefully over the gate, the sunlight burnishing her rich waves 
of chestnut hair, the maiden's glances rest a little longer, per- 
haps, on the younger men of the party. But her glimpse of the 
travelling world is transitory, for soon our Jehu, having collected 
his fare, has returned a fat wallet to his trouser-leg, and climbed 
over the front wheels to his seat. The stage rattles on, and 
reaching a short incline bounces over a " thankee-marm," send- 
ing the trunks on the shackly rack behind springing in air, 
and the rebound almost bumping together the knees and chins of 
those of us on the front seat. 

We are now on the new road — so the driver tells us. There is 
certainly nothing in the highway peculiarly applicable to new- 
ness, but like the New Forest in England, or Harper's New 
Monthly Magazine in New York, having once been new it never 
can grow old. Besides, it must be new — you can see for your- 
self the old road meandering off toward the foot hills on the east, 
taking in on its way an ancient weather-beaten tavern, that once 
did a flourishing business. But this ^'cut off" was opened some 
thirty years ago, leaving the old hostelrie stranded in the shal- 
lows of deserted traffic. Should the ghost of its former pro- 
prietor, the genial Bill Allen, ever walk its crumbling porches, he 
could easily discern across the fields the tide of travel setting along 
the new road, which once paid tribute in a silvery stream to his 
now decaying till. 

By and by the horses are tugging and straining up the long 
ascent of a spur of the "Blue" range of New Jersey hills, which 
the people hereabouts delight in calling "the mountains." 
Reaching the crest, we pause for a breathing, and enjoy an 
extended view of a charminglandscape, richly diversified with the 
variegated hues of the luxuriant June vegetation. In the fore- 
ground lies the Revolutionary village of Pluckamin; church 
spires rising above the dense foliage of the clustering trees, 

4 The Story of an Old Farm. 

mark the biding places of other little villages that dot the undu- 
lating western plain; while, far north, binding the horizon, are 
billows of verdure — the swelling hills and green valleys of Bed- 
minster and Peapack. On descending the hill and crossing 
Chambers brook, which is the line between Bridgewater and Bed- 
minster townships, one of the oldest houses of the neighborhood is 
passed. It was built in 1756 by an Irishman named Laferty, who 
afterwards became unpleasantly notorious as the father of a very 
beautiful and profligate daughter, who brought upon more than 
one prominent family in this part of Somerset much shame and 
grief. Her son, hung in Somerville the early part of this cen- 
turv, is the only white man who has suffered capital punish- 
ment in this county since the Revolution. 

Presently the stage is clattering through the main street of 
Pluckamin, and draws up in front of the tavern* door, offering 
to the village loungers who adorn the empty dry-goods boxes in 
front of the several stories, their daily ten minute dose of mild 
excitement. Here the mails are changed, and we embrace the 
opportunity to stretch our legs on the tavern porch. Some of the 
party, '^athirst with breezy progression," disappear inside, in 
search of what a jocose Californian would call ^' interior decora- 
tions," but in the vernacular of this part of the country is 
known as "a leetle apple." This is historic ground. On the 
open space facing us, where the different roads converge, Wash- 
ington, Knox, Greene and the conquerors at Princeton have 
stood about, and talked over the needs and plans of the Revolu- 
tionary army. Many of the ancient buildings in this vicinity 
are unchanged, save by the picturesque hand of time, since those 
doughty days. But we must be off! — the horses have been wat- 
ered, the driver is on his seat. While telling the- story of the 
"Old Farm," we shall more than once have occasion to visit 
Pluckamin, and repeople its streets with almost forgotten 
worthies, with whom we can gossip at our leisure over those 
stormy days of long ago. 

The next point of interest on the route is the North Branch 
of the Raritan, which the road crosses where it flows through a 
shady glen, near Van der Veer's mills. The banks are fringed 
with forest trees whose interlacing branches form over the 

♦Since destroyed by tire. 

Crossing the North Branch. 5 

devious stream a roof of almost impenetrable foliage. At times 
the waters brawl over the shallows, offering to thirsty cattle a 
convenient and picturesque ford; but now, owing to early sum- 
mer rains, the river is brimming. Rumbling over the bridge 
we hear the musical sound of falling waters, and looking up 
under the overhanging boughs discover the torrent plunging 
headlong over the dam* in an impetuous flood. The cool after- 
noon breeze blowing down the river comes to us laden with deli- 
cious, woodsy, watery odors, which quicken our recollections and 
agitate our youthful remembrances. Again we are boys, with 
cork dobbers, buckshot sinkers and hickory poles, angling in 
the pond above for the slippery catfish, the darting dace, or the 
elusive sucker. Featherbed Lane is what they call the bit of 
road beyond the bridge. Successive years have brought succes- 
sive loads of stone, until the roadway has risen above the low- 
lands on either side, and travel is no longer impeded by the 
annual spring freshets, as of yore. Time was when just here and 
beyond stood a fine forest of over four hundred acres ; but that 
was during the life of that eccentric genius. Doctor Henry Van 
der Veer, who was blessed with the good old English prejudice 
against the felling of timber. But with his death came the 
iconoclastic heir, who soon robbed the estate of its chief pride 
and glory. Let us hope that the Doctor's rest in Bedminster 
churchyard was undisturbed by the ring of the woodsman's axe^ 
and the crash of the fall of the sturdy oaks he loved so well. Let 
us hope, too, for the hastening of the time when Somerset's farm- 
ers may learn the agricultural and climatic value of timber, and 
be as eager to set out new patches of woodland as they are now 
to denude the already tree-impoverished country. 

At the next turn in the road we are suddenly confronted by 
the venerable church of Bedminster, standing with stately dig- 
nity overlooking an attractive little green. No bewildering maze 
of tower, transept, clerestory, gable, or rich ornamentation 
impresses the beholder. It is an oblong wooden structure painted 
white, with green blinds covering its double rows of square cap- 
ped windows, and with an octagonal tower which supports a 
round-topped cupola. It is not, however, without good architect- 
ural proportions, or a general effect which is imposing; in fact, 
*Fire and flood have since destroyed both mill and waterpower. 

6 The Story of an Old Farm. 

it is an excellent example of what Emerson calls the only orig- 
inal t3'pe of American architecture, the New England Meeting- 
House. But to appreciate what a religious and social factor is 
Bedminster Church in this well-ordered community, it should be 
visited on the first day of the week — on a pleasant Sunday 
morning, when a quiet spirit broods over field and wood, when 
even busy nature seems at rest and filled with calm repose. But 
the world awakens, when, with gentle swell, over the valleys and 
echoing hills sounds the sweet music of the swinging bell, peal- 
ing from the belfry windows, the old, old invitation, Come to 
prayer! Come to prayer! They come, these country worship- 
pers, from farm, from village and from mill; they come on foot, 
in wagons, on horseback; some by the dusty highways, some 
over the peaceful meadows, some through the shady lanes — the 
immense congregation gathers. Many approach the sanctuary 
over the green, stepping from the elastic sward to the broad 
portico which hospitably faces the portals. Others, leaving the 
highway at the rear of the building, enter the churchyard through 
a little wicket, and following a foot path that lies in and out 
among the graves and winds along the side of the edifice they 
reach the porch through a second gate. Others, loitering among 
the grassy mounds, read the crumbling inscrip:ions on the 
ancient headstones; while little groups of twos and threes, in som- 
bre garb, stand with bent head and reverential attitude over 
where sleep their dead, awaiting resurrection. 

Not the least interesting feature of a Sunday morning at this 
old church is the motley array of vehicles standing at the fences 
and trees on both sides of the road for a quarter of a mile or less. 
A strange collection, indeed, embracing every kind of trap in 
use for the past half century. Here, is a sulky, to which the 
spruce young fanner has driven his favorite colt to "meetin;" 
there, a long-bodied, black-covered Jersey wagon, with a rotund 
old lady backing out over the front wheel and whiffletrees, aid- 
ing her descent by clutching at the cruppers of the horses, who 
are passive enough after a week at plough or harrow. More 
modem equipages are not wanting, and occasionally is to be seen 
the old-time, white-covered, farm wagon, carpeted with straw, 
with splint chairs from the farm-house for seats. 

An old country church like this, which draws its people from 


Sunday Morning at Bedminster Chukch. 7 

miles around, means much more than one located near populous 
towns and cities. It is the beating heart, the life-giving cen- 
tre, around which all the neighborhood interests and hopes cir- 
culate. It is also a weekly interchange of news and gossip, and 
the people on Sunday morning lay in a store for the coming six 
days not altogether confined to uses of religious and spiritual 
comfort. As the hour for service approaches the women have 
passed inside, but the men gather about the door or under the 
ttees, discussing their horses, the crops and whatever may have 
been of interest during the past week. This Sunday morning 
talk is not limited to the one sex, for, on entering, we would find 
the wives and daughters in animated converse over the backs 
and partitions of the pews. When the sexton has rung the last 
bell, by stoutly pulling two ropes depending from the belfi-y to 
the vestibule floor, the men come clattering through the doors, 
which face the congregation on either side of the pulpit. The 
elders and deacons, first depositing their hats on the sides of the 
tall pulpit stair, seat themselves to the right and left of the min- 
ister, their faces settling into the dignified composures due their 
oflScial positions. Gradually a hush pervades the congregation, 
preceding the solemn invocation. The blessing over, a stir and 
bustle in the rear gallery proclaim the large choir to be stand- 
ing. The cheeiy-cheeked girls are shaking out their frocks, the 
stalwart youths are clearing their throats ; now is the ear of every 
child in the assemblage alert to hear the first twang of the tun- 
ing fork, following which comes the long concerted " do-mi-sol- 
(?o," of the choir. They have the pitch, and break away into a 
loud psalm of praise, or song of thanksgiving, the large congre- 
gation taking up the refrain, till the old church rings with that 
most jubilant of all music, hearty congregational singing. 

And so the service continues, with prayer and praise, and 
sermon and doxology, not forgetting the collection, taken up in 
funny little black bags poked down the pcAvs at the end of long 
poles. I must acknowledge it is many years since I have been 
in this time-honored church; but, doubtless, there have been few 
or no changes since the closing pastorate of Domine Schenck, 
some thirty or so years ago. How well I remember, in those 
days, the pleasure with which a certain small boy, in a round- 
about brass-buttoned jacket and nankeen trousers, looked for- 

8 The Story of ax Old Farm. 

ward to a sammer Sunday morning at the old church. His seat 
was well up toward the pulpit, and, did the service grow weari- 
some, through the open door could be seen the horses biting at 
the flies, the leaves stirring in the soft south breeze, and the hov- 
ering butterflies floating in the sweet sunshine over the close- 
knit turf of the green. Will ever be forgotten the delightful old 
lad J who sat in a great square pew immediately in front of the 
one occupied by that same small boy : and who, when he, lulled 
by the monotone of the sermon, or the droning of the drowsy 
bees that circled in and out the open door, nodded with sleep, 
would surreptitiously pass behind little bunches of penny-royal, 
or other fragrant herbs, and on rare occasions — ah happy day! — 
a store-bought peppermint lozenge. But enough of boyhood and 
Bedminster church. It is quite time for us to be looking about 
the village. 

All this -time our stage-wagon is still rolling on; not very 
rapidly it is true; the horses seem exhausted by a previous 
journey. You must remember they have dragged a heavy load 
from Peapack — twelve miles — this morning; now, when thus far 
on their return, the slackening trace and more pronounced jog 
proclaim their protest against speed. Presently our goal is in 
plain sight, facing us as we drive along the straight road which 
stretches over a level country, 'twixt meadows, orchards and 
comfortable homesteads. The attractive parsonage, with its sur- 
rounding glebe, is behind us on the left ; beyond, on the right, 
down a tree-embowered lane, a glimpse is obtained of a substan- 
tial farm house and its old-fashioned garden. On we roll, pass- 
ing the forge with its waiting horses, loud-breathing fire, and 
dusky interior, until the stage creaks and strains as it mounts 
the side hill, and comes to a stand-still at the Bedminster tavern, 
which rests on the edge of the first terrace of the incline. Here 
ends our ride; Bedminster and the Lesser Cross Roads, owing 
to a recent fiat of the Post-office Department being one and the 

First impressions are not always to be relied upon. Perhaps 
you do not like my village! I must .confess it has an air rather 
unkempt and forlorn: it can hardly be called a village, — ]uBt a 
wayside hamlet. In the last century, when these four roads met 
here, or rather, the two highways crossed each other, the nat- 

The Lesser Cross-Roads. ^ 

ural consequence was that industrial germ of all new settlements 
— a blacksmith shop. Later came the store and tavern. Little 
houses have since dropped hap-hazard along the roadsides, but 
the village has long been finished, and now seems quite in the 
decadence of age. Its most pleasing aspect is along the north 
road, where the rusty old houses with their gable ends fronting 
the highway picturesquely cluster in patches of white and gray 
on the successive terraces that form the ascending hillside. 
Trees and generous shade were e^ndently not considered 
adjuncts to rural beauty by ''the forefathers of the hamlet;" yet, 
notwithstanding the bareness of the place, it has a qiiaintness of 
its own, due to the antiquated houses with their old-fashioned 
gardens, which offer a rather pleasing contrast to the newness of 
the buildings in so many of the New Jersey villages contiguous 
to the railways. 

The small structure on the coraer, opposite the tavern, is that 
magazine of wonders, a country store. Is it not a funuv little 
shop ? Just like one of the wooden houses that come in the 
boxes of toy villages. Its interior is odd enough to satisfy the 
most diligent searcher after the queer and old. The counters 
are woni smooth by the dorsal extremities of the neighborhood 
Solons, who have gathered here for sixty years of evenings, to settle 
the affairs of the nation and comment on the gossip of the country 
for miles around. ^lanv an ancient joke has here over again won a 
laugh — many a marvelous tale has been listened to with open- 
mouthed wonder by country lads, who have tramped miles for 
the pleasure of an evening in general society. Although it is a 
wee-store, here can be found everything, from a tishhook to a 
hayrake, from a quart of molasses to a grindstone. Dress pat- 
terns and calicoes — fast colors — rest on shelves : nail kegs and 
sugar-barrels offer seats for waiting customers ; boots, pails and 
trace-chains decorate the ceiling ; while dusty jars tempt the 
school children to barter eggs for sticks of peppermint and win- 
tergreen, or the succulent Jackson-ball. 

Of the roads focusing here, the one from the south we have 
travelled, and with the one towards the north we shall soon 
grow familiar. The west road leads to Lamingtou, New Ger- 
mantown and the pleasant agricultural lands of Hunterdon } 
while the one on tlie east stretches awav bevond the North 

10 The Story ob^ an Old Farm. 

Branch of the Raritan river, over the historic hills on which rest 
Liberty Comer, Basking Ridge and Bernardsville, villages rich 
in Revolutionary reminiscences. 

Down this east road a little way — you can see it from the cor- 
ner — stands the school-house. Your guide has been soundly 
thrashed more than once in that little building, or in one on the 
«ame site ; but that was more than a quarter of a century ago, 
"when he, a brown-cheeked, barefooted boy, trudged over these 
hills each morning before half past eight, carrying his dinner in 
a tin hlicJiie. The school teacher of that day would hardly have 
appreciated Anthony Trollope's suggestion, that those school- 
masters, insisting upon following the doctrines of Solomon, 
should perform the operation under chloroform. Surely the boys 
of that time have not forgotten the Cross Roads pedagogue, who 
never spared the rod, or rather rods, for he had two. With one, 
a young sapling cut fresh each morning, he could plant a welt on 
the shoulders of a boy six feet away. This was but the admoni- 
tory gad. When serious business was meant the luckless cul- 
prit must mount the back of a larger boy, who, gathering the 
victim's legs under his arms, tightened his trousers over the 
point of attack; then would "the teacher" lay on with a short, 
sharp switch. The office of under boy was no sinecure, for did 
the descending birch miss its shining mark, it must needs fall 
upon the coadjutor's legs, to the great amusement of his com- 
rades, — boys are such unsympathetic wretches ! I wonder do 
the girls still have standing in the corner of the school lot the 
stone pla3'^house, filled with broken bits of china ; and the old 
stone fort in the opposite corner, is it still intact, and well sup- 
plied with pebbles to resist assault'^ I will go bail the boys 
of the present know, as well as did we old fellows, 'the short cut 
across lots to the Mine Brook hole, a deep pool guarded by 
gnarled oaks and overhanging sycamores. A plunge in its cool 
depths must at any time be the ultima thule of delight in a 
school boy's summer nooning. 

The day wears on. You will soon think me garrulous if I 
am allowed to continue talking of boyish times at the "Cross 
Roads." The stage has long ago lurched and jolted eastward, 
and is now creeping along the road that stretches over the bot- 
tom lands beyond the river, thus avoiding the hills which we 

Farewell to the Village. 


must proceed to climb. You are forgiven for not falling in love 
with the viDage — perhaps, it was hardly to be expected — but 
now that we approach the ''Old Farm," I shall be disappointed, 
indeed, if you fail to appreciate the singular and peculiar beauties 
of its grassy hillsides, interspersed with ancient orchards, its 
broad meadow spaces, its groves of oaks, and streams of sinuous 


The Old Farm — Its Upland Acres, Broad Meadoivs and 
Ancient Stone House. 

He who loves his fellow man, and he who loves nature, must 
be fond of a country road ; it appeals in tones both human and 
divine, for it is the bond connecting the works of the Creator 
with the productions of humanit}'. This sentiment is peculiarly- 
appropriate to highways that traverse distant and retired neigh- 
borhoods, such as we are at present visiting. The road run- 
ning north from Bedminster, up which we now bend our steps, 
is in happy accord with such suggestion, and gives most agree- 
able promises of rural loveliness as it leaves the village and 
wanders over the hills, hedged in by banks from which outcrop 
the shale forming the foundations of this part of the world. The 
reddish brown roadway lies on the sunny rise in pleasing con- 
trast to the flushed, time-stained grays of the gables of the bor- 
dering houses, which peer down over the banks from their set- 
tings of sweet briar, marigolds and snowballs. As we climb the 
hill, I, at least, am filled with the most delightful anticipations. 
In approaching a spot hallowed by memories of early associa- 
tions it is always better to alight from your carriage and pro- 
ceed on foot. You are thus nearer to nature's heart and better 
able, in "pedestrial observation and contemplation, to enjoy the 
pleasures of recollection." We mount for a quarter of a mile or 
less, and soon see, beyond, the rounded tops of a brave bit of 
timber. It is the confines of the "Old Farm." Originally its 
lines extended to and embraced much of the "Cross Roads;" had 
the early owners declined to sell, that settlement would have been 
a one-sided affair: different parcels have been conveyed, none 
within half a century, until the tract now includes about one 

Approaching the Old Farm. 13 

hundred and forty acres. The farm lies to the right, on the east 
side of the highway. Before reaching it we pass a neglected 
^'Grod's-Acre." It is the simple burial place of slaves and their 
posterity, who once formed an important element of the work-a- 
day world of this township. The headstones, if there ever were 
any, have long since disappeared ; the decrepit fences are cov- 
ered with a rambling growth of weeds and creeping vines, and 
the rains of many years have beaten level the humble mounds of 
the dusky toilers. 

But the hoary trees of the deep green wood beckon us on. 
Here we are — the "Old Farm" at last. Did you ever see a 
finer patch of woodland ? It is primitive forest. Venerable oaks 
have thrown their shade over the slopes, glades, copses and 
leafy recesses of this royal grove, since the days the Indians 
roamed at wUl over these fair lands. Looking far in the tim- 
bered acres to where the shadows and sunlight alternate, and 
" one leafy circle melts into another," does it not suggest Sher- 
wood Forest ? Free from underbrush, with the majestic trees, 
standing at stately distances, one can well imagine seeing, where 
the sunshine darts through yon sylvan bower, Robin Hood and 
his merrie men kneeling on a soft bed of green moss, at the 
base of a sacred oak, while jolly Friar Tuck invokes a blessing 
on some new marauding enterprise. 

Let us push on over the breezy uplands. The road scales a 
small ridge, then lies along a short level, and sinks into a little 
dell, only to mount higher on the farther side. Its trend is now 
eastward, and the flanking banks are surmounted by rusty grey 
rail fences, whose straddling posts rise from a tangle of milk- 
weed, sumac, wild blackberry and alder bushes. Just here a 
long lane leads to a colony of farm buildings — the Abram D. 
Huff homestead — with a backgTOund of dark woods. The eye 
ranging south and west overlooks a charming prospect for miles 
away. The ebbing sunshine, flooding down wide streams of light, 
intensifies every shade of color in nature's wonderful mosaic of 
tillage and fallow, of level sweeps of pasture and waving fields 
of grain. On the other side of the road the hillsides of the "Old 
Farm" fall away abruptly in great, grassy cascades, till they 
blend with the meadows that stretch to a line of waving trees, 
marking where winds a silvery stream hastening to join the Rari- 

14 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

tan. One can hardly phrase the harmonies that dwell in the 
peaceful atmosphere of such a landscape. It possesses what 
some one has said of the Blue Grass region of Kentucky — "the 
quality of gracefulness." The face of the country is buoyant 
and rolls away in billowy undulations, now subsiding into quiet 
valleys, now gently ascending woodland slopes, the deep soil of 
the green fields lying in continuous, lawn-like surfaces, present- 
ing between the eye and the horizon in every direction a pano- 
rama of symmetry and beauty. 

On our left a cross-country road, running north and west, 
leads to the Holland neighborhood and divides the Huff and 
Oppie farms. The latter is a little fifty-acre homestead formerly 
a part of the ''Old Farm." From here the main road runs due 
east over a high level, and soon has on both sides the broad 
upland acres of our ancestral plantation. Walking on, we reach 
the edge of a long, steep descent, known for a century past as 
the " Melick hill." Here the road plunges down over a series of 
plateaus, until, nearly two thousand feet away, it disappears 
around a graceful bend, where it crosses the brawling Peapack 
brook, in this direction the boundary of the farm. 

One may journey many miles in many countries without find- 
ing a lovelier outlook than from this hill-top. Perhaps you think 
that the fertile valley below, luxuriant with the freshness of gen- 
tle summer showers, smacks too much of utilitarian beauty? 
True, nature does not here present herself in a grand or majes- 
tic aspect; precipitous rocks, bold declivities and long ranges of 
serrated peaks are not features of the landscape. But nature in 
its various phases fits all moods, and it has other charms than 
those of the wildly picturesque ; those unveiled in the homely 
and restful scene of these peaceful hillsides have a quiet fasci- 
nation, far more satisfactory than if emanating from gorge, 
chasm, or upheaved rocks. It is the domesticity of the scene 
that charms. As you watch the slanting sun illumine the mead- 
ows with their meandering brooks, the orchards, farmsteads 
and great barns, emblems of plenty ; as you watch the afternoon 
shadows settling in the valley and slowly creeping upward and 
backward on the opposite slope, you are reminded of one of those 
lovely vales in midland England; vales which Henry James 
describes as mellow and bosky, and redolent of human qualities. 

Descending "Melick Hill." 15^ 

We are told that one born with a soul for the picturesque finds 
in American landscapes naught but harsh lights, without shade, 
without composition, without the subtle mystery of color. Is 
that true ? Standing here overlooking this charming country- 
side, do you discover anything garish, any tones that offend ? 
Color — why here is the very essence of the mystery of color. See 
yonder! that little island of cloud-shadow float over the field of 
bending grain, a field of a most delicious green interspersed with 
suggestions of yellow, the promise of golden harvests soon to 
come. Observe, beyond the river! how in those broad acres of" 
young corn the tender green stands out against the rich dark 
loam from which it draws its lusty strength. See, too, the luxu- 
riant verdure of the woodland, topping the undulating rise 
beyond yon sloping pastures. Here are light, shadow, form and 
color, and all that go to make a picture of quiet, restful beauty, 
with an atmosphere of sweet content.. Bear with my enthusiasm. 
I love these hills and all that can be seen from their kindly 

Come ! we will go down into the valley. The terraces give 
pleasant breaks to the steep incline of the road. As we pro- 
ceed, the faint sound of mill-wheels and brooks comes up from 
below, and the air is fresh and cool with the palpable breath of 
the waters pouring over the dam.. Presently, across the fields 
on the left, an antique orchard intervening, are to be seen the 
large barns, hovels and farm buildings, and not far beyond, a 
little lower down, wreaths of blue smoke curl above the long 
brown roof of the old homestead. Just before reaching the foot 
of the hill we come to a grand old maple, whose spreading 
branches have for a century of summers waved a leafy welcome 
to comers to the '^ Old Farm." To you, perhaps, it is but a 
fine tree, but I indeed would be devoid of all sensibility if deaf 
to the music of the leaves stirring amid its venerable branches. 
Their sound excites the most agreeable sensations, awakens 
memories of the many happy, youthful days that have witnessed 
my return to the refreshiment of this old maple's shade, and to all 
the pleasure that invariably followed a visit to this cherished 
homestead. Here we leave the highway, and, turning to the 
left up a short incline, are in front of the Mecca of our hopes — 
the Old Stone House.. Facing an antiquated door yard and 

16 The Story of an Old Farm. 

shaded by elms, it rests lovingly against the side of a sunny 
tank of turf, springing from the grassy slope as if part of the 
geological strata rather than a superstructure raised by the hand 
of man. They builded well in those old days, and now the walls 
of this sturdy dwelling, humanized and dignified by five genera- 
tions of occupants, are as stanch and apparently as well pre- 
served as when laid in 1752 ; as firm as when Johannes Moelich 
erected here in the then wilds of colonial New Jersey a home 
that should be to him like unto those ancient houses of masonry 
he had always known, bordering the banks of the winding Rhine, 
in far away fatherland. 

There is nothing pretentious about this dwelling ; nothing 
suggestive of the fine mansion ; just a quaint low house, with a 
comely old-time presence. Almost a cottage in size — it has but 
nine or ten rooms — the whitewashed walls, massive enough for 
a citadel, are pierced in a hap-hazard sort of way with odd little 
windows, from which twinkle queer diminutive panes of glass. 
At the west end it is one and a half stories high, but the slope of 
the hill gives another storey at the eastern gable. Formerly the 
roof was thatched with straw, and among my many treasures 
prized as souvenirs of this old farm are a pair of the original 
thatching needles, made of iron and shaped like a sickle. Build- 
ings, like people, have facial expressions peculiar to themselves. 
This homely house bears on its aged face a gentle and benign 
expression of invitation and welcome, as if reflecting a great 
interior heart, beating with generous hospitality. 

There is an air of comfort and repose about this farm- house 
that renders it distinctive among dwellings. Without the osten- 
tation of a tine villa, or the pertness of an ambitious cottage, it 
has an atmosphere of friendliness and good cheei* that fills all 
comers with pleasant anticipations. Crossing a wooden-seated 
porch tiie open door ushers us into an ample hall. An ancient 
time-piece ticks at the foot of the stair and the cool evening 
breeze draws through the upper half of the rear door, beyond 
which is a view of a pleasant stretch of meadow disappearing 
down a steep bank into a belt of trees bordering a mill pond. 
From the back porch 3'ou can see at the foot of the hill on the 
«ast the buildings of Schomp's grist and saw mills. Together with 
their contiguous dwelling, the dam and the beautifully shaded 

The Old Stone House. 17 

stream below, they present a charming rural picture. Formerly 
the bottom lands on this side of Peapack brook were checkered 
with square vats, for the owners of the "Old Farm " have not 
only been farmers, but for four generations were tanners of 
leather and grinders of bark. But the tan vats have long been 
tilled up, the bark mill is a picturesque ruin, and the waters that 
once turned its busy wheel now run to waste in their sluices and 

But to return to the Old Stone House. You see it is only a 
plain farm-house, after all, with no remarkable staircases or 
ancient tiles to interest the visitor. It is true quaint cupboards 
with curious little panes of glass peer out from the corners of 
some of the rooms, and those extraordinarily complicated locks 
on the doors are of Oerman manufacture, and were put on at the 
building of the house. The incline of the floors is not due to 
the old age of their supports or the weakening of the walls — 
the latter will not weaken till some inhuman one uses their foun- 
dations for a quarry. But when this old house was new, carpets 
were unknown among farmers, and these floors were laid on an 
incline in order that each morning, before being freshly sanded, 
the old sand and dirt could be more readily swept into the hall. 
By far the most interesting room is the farm kitchen, or living- 
room, downstairs. There is an outer kitchen resting against the 
east gable in which is built the great Dutch oven. What batches 
of rye and wheaten loaves have browned in this capacious sala- 
mander. On opening the furnace door the savory fumes of bak- 
ing cake seem in the air ; you almost see the plethoric pans 
drawn from the heated vault, the rich crusts, puffed with the 
pride of their own sweetness, towering till they burst in golden 
crevices. Picture to yourself in all the years of generous living 
the endless procession of pies, puddings, creature-comforts and 
dainty delicacies that have been discharged from the mouth of 
this broad oven. Both tradition and memory bear witness as to 
there having always been good cooks in the Old Stone House. 

To the east of this outer kitchen is a neglected garden begirt by a 
crazy fence of ancient construction. Clambering hop and other 
straggling vines partially hide the weakness of the aged inclosure, 
while a luxuriant growth of currant and gooseberry bushes, 
intermingled with all sorts of weeds and creepers, give to the 

18 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

fence an air of substantiability which it is far from possessing. 
The black loam, enriched with years of rotting leaves, plants 
and vegetables, feeds patches of hereditary lilies and old-time 
flowers, grown from seeds brought from Germany. Several 
ancient plum and twisted quince trees cluster in one corner, their 
trunks grey with the lichen of time, though still thrifty from the 
long drinking of the rich juices of exuberant vegetation. Were 
it later in the season a few choice yellow pumpkins and crooked- 
necked summer squashes would be seen turning their ripening 
backs to the warm sun, swelling with the possibility of future 
pies ; and pale green cucumbers, fattening on the black soil, 
would sprawl among the beds. But now the narrow paths are 
bordered with pinks and sweet-williams ; between them stand 
early beets in sober rows, and young bean vines just reaching 
for their rusty poles, while blossoming potato and tomato plants 
contribute their bit of color, and give a finish to this old- 
fashioned picture. 

The threshold of the farm kitchen, or living-room, even in my 
time was guarded by a double Dutch door, but the demon of 
improvement has replaced it with a more modern entrance. We 
can step directly from the grass and trees of the dooryard to its 
interior, and at once are in a bit of the old world. Coming out 
of the daylight the room seems dark, with mysterious corners 
and outlets, for it is lighted by small windows set deep in the 
thick stone walls. As for the outlets, I know well that the cor- 
ner one farthest from the door leads into the large cool cellar, 
where are firm yellow pats of butter and pans of rich cream, 
where stone crocks stand on the earthen floor filled with moist 
pot-cheeses, nut-cakes and all manner of good things, while cor- 
pulent jars distended with sweets, and rows of pies stuff"ed with 
lusciousness, adorn wooden shelves hanging from the ceiling. 
How often have big-hearted housewives disappeared within its 
dark recesses only to return laden with good cheer for my 
delectation. Most of the furniture of this room dates back to the 
last century. The hugh press standing against the west wall 
was built in Germany before 1735, and is a curiosity in its way. 
Though the wood is of walnut it is black with age, and its height 
is 80 great as to preclude the use of its round black ball legs, 
which for years have served as children's playthings in the gar- 

The Old Stone House. 19 

ret. This massive piece of brass-mounted furniture is capped 
by an overhanging cornice that projects som^ twelve inches, and 
has stood in its present position since the house was built. 

What a wealth of old associations cluster about the dusky 
corners of this low-ceilinged room. While these oaken beams 
were growing dark with the mellowing hand of time, golden- 
haired children have sat about this ancestral hearthstone, 
building in the glowing embers pictures wrought of their 
budding fancies. These same beams, still unbent by the 
burden of age, though brown with the deposits of years, 
have seen those same children, now old men and women, 
picturing in the ashes of the lighted logs the memories of their 
past lives. And so the generations have come and gone, and so 
they have moved " gently down the stream of life until they 
have slept with their fathers;" like trees of the forest, the old 
falling that the young may thrive, sending out offshoots into 
the world until, since the great crane was first hung in the cav- 
ernous fireplace, from the Gulf to the Lakes, from the ocean to 
the Rockies, nearly a thousand descendants of the builder of this 
dear old home have peopled our broad land. 

And who was the German immigrant who felled the forest of 
this Bedminster valley? Nobody ! And who were his children 
and his children's children, who have wrested from these sunny 
slopes their treasures of grain and abundant grasses, and have 
dotted the pastures below with glossy cattle ? Just nobodies ! At 
least so the world would say. You do not find their names 
emblazoned on the pages of history, nor do they appear high among 
those of the counsellers of the nation. Neither have their vices 
or profligacies distinguished them as subjects for memoirs, plays 
or novels. An honest, simple. God-fearing folk ; with the 
homely virtues of industry, integrity, frugality and hospitality, 
they have tilled the soil, tanned leather, built churches, sup- 
ported schools, occupied modest positions of public honor and 
trust in the community, and fought the battles of their country. 
Quietly have many of them passed their uneventful but well- 
ordered lives, and quietly at life's close have they lain down in 
Pluckamin or Bedminster churchyard, their memories embalmed 
in the respect and affection of their fellows. It is the characters 
and virtues of just such plain people that have constituted the 

20 Thk Story of an Old Farm. 

bulwarks and strength of the American nation. The annals of 
families and communities arc the real basis of all history. We 
are told that the history of a nation is to be read in its politi- 
cal life. An obviously true proposition, but to present to the 
mind the complete progress of a people, it is not only necessary 
to understand the superstructure of politics and civil life, but 
that substratum of society, as well, which cultivates the arts of 
peace and gradually develops the country; that substratum of liv- 
ing men and women of their time, whose acts and the daily rou- 
tine of whose existence form the true foundation of history. 

During the past ten years it has been my pleasure to make a 
study of that little slice of New Jersey embraced within Bed- 
minster township, or rather a study of its people as connected 
directly and indirectly with the settlers and occupants of the 
^' Old Farm." As such investigations and researches continued 
the field they covered gradually widened until it embraced aU 
the middle and northern counties, and to some extent included 
the state at large. Over two hundred ancient documents, letters, 
deeds, bonds, bills and manuscripts have been collected. In 
reading between the lines of these papers one finds almost a com- 
plete historical narrative of the ''old times" of this section. 
Light is thrown upon the most interesting facts as to the cost and 
manner of living, the fashion in dress, the habits, characteristics, 
personal relations and daily life of the inhabitants of New Jersey 
in the last century. Knowing that throughout this country there 
are many descendants of Joliannes Moelich, who have never vis- 
ited the "Old Farm" and have but little knowledge of its history 
associated with their own families, I have thought it a duty, and 
found it a labor of love, to give in a connected form the result of 
my researches. Having drawn on the preceding pages an outline 
picture of these homestead acres, and of the approach from the 
railvvay, in the coming chapters an endeavor will be made to give 
some idea as to what manner of people were their early settlers, 
from whence they came, and why they came. In like manner I 
shall hope to convey to the reader some impressions of the suc- 
ceeding generations that have called the Old Stone House 
home. With their story will be interwoven much fact and some 
tradition, regarding the experiences of the New Jersey people in 
the eighteenth century and such matters of local county his- 


Somerset's Historical Background. 


tory as it has been my good fortune to gather. The story of the 
"Old Farm" is the easier told because of its setting. Somerset 
landscapes present a succession of beautiful pictures, whose 
charms are greatly enhanced by their historical backgrounds. 
Every corner of the county has a story of its own full of interest^ 
and as we walk abroad pursuing our task, we shall find on all 
sides pregnant facts and well-grounded traditions moving hand 
in hand down the long avenues of the past. 


Bendorf on the Rhine — Johannes Moelich Emigrates to America 
in 1735 — The Condition of Germany in the Seventeenth and 
Eighteenth Centuries. 

The storied beauty of the winding Rhine is nowhere more 
famed than in the vicinity of the ancient city of Coblentz — the 
*■'■ Confluentes'^ of Roman days. Here have nature and man com- 
bined in forming a scene of rare and picturesque loveliness. On 
reaching this quaint settlement it is not the old town with its 
massive walls stretching along the banks of the Rhine that first 
impresses one ; nor is it the Moselle, whose waters here swell the 
flood of the greater river. It is the majestic fortress of Erhen- 
breitstein, crowning the almost perpendicular rocks on the far- 
ther shore, four hundred feet above the stream, that dominates 
the scene and dwarfs every object within its frowning presence. 
This vast fortification, the Gibraltar of the Rhine, is inaccessible 
on three sides, and dates back to the Franconian King Dagobert, 
in the seventh century. From its extensive glacies, fosses and 
towers the eye ranges over a charming and varied landscape, 
embracing hillsides terraced with vineyards, bold declivities 
stored with legends, and green valleys filled with the romance of 
the MidtUc Ages. Immediately below are the palaces, turrets 
and red roofs of the second city of importance on the river. The 
old basilica of St. Castor elevates its hoary towers above an angle 
in the town wall where the rivers join, and beyond the massive 
arches of a bridge of heavy blocks of stone take fourteen huge 
strides across the Moselle. On the south, in plain sight, are the 
stately, grey-stone battlements of the royal chateau of Stolzenfels, 
capping a timbered eminence, while down the river can be seen 
a succession of picturesque villages, whose long Rhine streets 
almost form one continuous settlemeut. About four miles away 

Bendorf and its Ancient Church. 23 

in this direction the convent island of Niederwerth splits the 
current of the stream. A little beyond and a mile or so back from 
the right bank of the river, in a valley surrounded by apple 
orchards, rests the ancient village of Bendorf. 

With us a place of over four thousand inhabitants would 
feel entitled to be considered a town, but on the continent of 
Europe a settlement requires more than population to attain such 
dignity. Bendorf has the appearance of grey antiquity common 
to most of the old settlements along the Rhine. Its narrow 
streets, without sidewalks, are lined with low, two-storey, stone 
houses, though the continuity is occasionally broken by a tall, 
steep, red roof studded with odd dormers, or an overhanging gable, 
which casts a deep shadow across the contracted roadway. Other 
architectural surprises are not wanting. The stroller over 
the rough cobbles of the ill-paved streets comes again and again 
upon an antique turret protruding from the upper storey of some 
time-stained structure, or upon picturesque wooden houses, with 
their blackened constructive timbers exposed, enclosing panels 
of white plaster. Often the quaint facades are curiously carved 
with heraldic devices, grotesque conceits and odd German letter- 

Ambushed behind a shadowy corner is a venerable Roman- 
esque church, its age-seamed walls and medieevel towers bearing 
in many places marks of the devastating hand of time. It may 
well look old, as it is claimed that the edifice was completed by 
the Counts of Sayn before the year 1205. It is certainly one of the 
most ancient in Rhineland, and although the early archives of the 
congregation did not escape the conflagrations of the Thirty 
Years' and other wars, the architecture of the main struct- 
ure bears abundant evidence of its antiquity. It is a 
three-naved basilica of purely Roman features showing no 
traces in its original outlines of the transition from that style 
to the Gothic. Its symmetry has been marred, however, by 
some "improver," who in the pointed period replaced a round 
window, that formerly adorned the circular-depressed place above 
the main entrance with a long one, and who destroyed the agree- 
able proportions of its facade by elevating and pointing the cen- 
tre of the front wall. At the same time a Gothic chapel was 
erected, and later a modern extension was constructed on 

24 The Story of an Old Farm. 

the south-west, in which the Catholics worship. The con- 
gregation housed by the original, or main building, is entitled 
the Evangelical Head-Church — Evangelische Haupt-Kirclie. To- 
gether with the congregation of the town of Winningen it was 
among the first in Germany to fall under the sway of the Refor- 
mation. In 1578, Count Henry IV of Sayn, who had become a 
follower of Luther, inherited Bendorf. He at once established a 
Lutheran congregation under the pastorate of Reverend Johannes 
Camerarius and from then till now this little toAvn has been a 
stronghold of Protestantism. More than, one American congrega- 
tion can trace its origin to this Rhenish Lutheran Society, and in 
its archives, referring to the first part of the last century, fre- 
quently appear names that a few years later became familiar in 
Hunterdon and Somerset counties. New Jersey. Among them 
those of MoELiCH (Melick), Klein (Kline), Himroth (Himrod), 
Fassbender, Wortman and others. 

To an appreciative American, one who having always lived 
amid the new loves and reveres the old, there are few experi- 
ences in foreign travel more satisfactory than the mere fact of 
being within the shadow of a building that has withstood the ele- 
ments for five or six centuries. So was the writer affected one 
summer morning a few years ago, while standing in the presence 
of this hoary temple, the church of his forefathers. Looking up 
at the crumbling window-arches that pierced its grey, gloomy 
facade, it was difficult to realize that when those walls were new 
the ruined castles which frequent this part of the Rhine were 
alive with steel-encased feudal lords and their armed retainers ; 
that Barbarossa, the red-bearded emperor, had just sunk beneath 
the Asiatic waves, while on the third Crusade ; .that the sunny 
lands of what is now southern France were running with the 
blood of those devoted peasants, the Albigenses, in the unholy 
war fathered by that most cruel of all popes, Innocent III; and 
prosecuted by that most bloodthirsty of all commanders, Simon 
de Montfort, that the haughty English barons, on the banks of 
the Thames, were extorting from wicked and degraded King 
John, Magna Charta, that precious document that proved to 
be the foundation of the liberties of all English-speaking people. 
But a truce to mediaeval history; we will pass over five hundred 

Johannes Starts for America. 25 

Here in Bendorf, in the early part of the eighteenth century, 
lived a sturdy burgher — a tanner and a freeholder of good 
repute — Johannes Moelich, who was bora on the tAventy-sixth of 
February, 1702. His family comprised four children, equally 
divided as to sex, and his wife Maria Catherina, a rotund Ger- 
man matron who prided herself upon being the daughter of 
Gottfried Kirberger, the bm-gomaster of Bendorf. Having been 
born on the sixth of January, 1698, she was nearly four years 
the senior of her husband, to whom she had been married on the 
first of November, 1723. As she is familiarly known in family 
annals as Mariah Katrina, by this name she will in future be 
designated on these pages. The children were : Ehrenreich 
(Aaron), born the twelfth of October, 1725 ; Veronica Gerdrutta 
(Fanny), born on the twenty-first of November, 1727 ; Andreas 
(Andrew), born on the twelfth of December, 1729 ; and Marie 
Cathrine, born on the sixth of December, 1 733. 

One morning, while the year 1735 was yet young, Johannes 
gathered together his family, his household goods and efi'ects, 
including considerable furniture, and taking with him his young- 
est brother Gottfried (Godfrey), departed through the Bach-gate 
of the town wall to the bank of the river. Here he embarked 
on one of the clumsy barges of that day and floated away, borne 
up by Father Ehine, to Rotterdam, where he took ship and sailed 
for America. This emigrant was the son of Johann Wilhelm 
and Anna Katherine Moelich, who came to Bendorf in J 688 from 
Winningen,* a town on the Moselle, four miles west of Coblentz. 
They had many relatives and friends in both places, and 
we can well fancy that the departure of Johannes and his 
family was an important event for these communities. It 
would be interesting to learn just what cause led to his 
emigration. It could not have been poverty, as was the case 
with many of the thousands of his countrymen who had preceded 
him across the water, for we know that he owned property in 
Bendorf and had ready money for investment in the new country. 
Perhaps he appreciated the responsibility of his little family, and 
hesitated to bring up his children under a government that 
had already brought much misery and distress on its subjects. 

* For description of Winningen and Bendorf see introduction to genealogy in 
appendix, p, 628. 

26 The Story of an Old Farm. 

He had already established relations beyound the sea, his younger 
brother Johann Peter having landed at Philadelphia in 1728, 
from the ship Mortonhouse. Doubtless he had received letters 
from this brother, and from friends among the many emigrants 
who had found an asylum in America, drawing an enticing 
picture of the liberal government of William Penn, which had 
secured to them in the fruitful valleys of Pennsylvania peaceful 
retreats where they no longer feared religious persecution or 
political oppression. Between the beginning of the century and 
the time of Johannes' emigration some seventy thousand Ger- 
mans had turned their backs on the mother country and sought 
homes in foreign lands. 

The old-world and its people, two hundred years ago, were well 
tired of each other. So some one tells us, and the student of early 
emigration to the American colonies soon discovers abundant 
evidence verifying this statement. He finds that in the latter 
part of the seventeenth and early in the eighteenth centuries a 
countless host of dissatisfied and oppressed Europeans, turning 
theii* faces from the east, embarked on the frail vessels of that 
period. For weary weeks they rolled and staggered over the 
briny troughs of an almost unknown sea, whose western waves 
broke on the shores of a vast continent that beckoned them 
thitherward as a haven of security and peace ; a new world whose 
hospitable harbors, in the faith of these migrators, seemingly 
offered promises of an asylum free from political oppressions, and 
a retreat full of that repose which they knew from bitter exper- 
iences would be denied them in their own countries. 

The birth of society is no older than is the love of man for the 
land of his nativity. All ordinary rules and principles govern- 
ing the actions of men seem contradicted by emigration from an 
old to a new country, whereby men voluntarily combat the dan- 
gers and difficulties of sarage nature in a wilderness beyond the 
seas, after abandoning the graves of their ancestors, the friends 
of a life-time, and the hearth-stones around which have centred 
all the affections and sympathetic experiences of their own fam- 
ilies and those of their progenitors. Yet, at the time of which 
we write, notwithstanding the prevalence of this universal and 
world-wide sentiment, it was powerless to stem the great tidal 
wave of humanity that rolled irresistibly America-ward. Ship 

Why Germans Left Fatherland. 27 

after ship, their decks crowded with Scotch refugees, dropped 
anchor off Perth Amboy, enriching, as Grahame writes, East 
Jersey society ^' by valuable accessions of virtue that had been 
refined by adversity, and piety that was invigorated by persecu- 
tion." Quakers and Dissenters from Old England landed in 
Pennsylvania, and Puritans from that same little island joined 
their brethren in Massachusetts, augmenting that sturdy stock 
who were laying the foundations of the future American nation. 
The forests, which had for centuries fringed both banks of the 
Delaware, were felled by the brawny arms of fair- haired Swedes. 
Huguenots, among them the best blood of France, as well as her 
most skilled artisans, swelled the population of New York and 
the more southern provinces, while rotund Hollanders, smoking 
long Delft pipesj still sailed their high-pooped shallops up Hud- 
son's river, settling on its shores, and penetrating to the little 
Dutch settlement which has since grown to be the capital of a 
great State. Though home-seekers, these latter had not left 
Holland from religious or political motives. 

But nowhere on the continent of Europe did this spirit of 
unrest hover with greater persistency than over the beautiful val- 
leys of the Rhine and its tributaries. The cycle of the eighteenth 
century had not rolled away many of its years before thousands 
of Germans had turned their backs on all they would naturally 
hold most dear and sought homes in foreign lands. Expatriation 
is a severe ordeal even when the native shores of the exile are 
stertile and barren of fruitfulness ; how much more severe must 
be this experience to one who, by unjust laws and an unright- 
eous government, is forced to sever the invisible links of affec- 
tion that bind him to a land of pleasant abundance, and a home 
seated amid environments of picturesqueness and beauty. 

The Teuton is by nature stable ; his affections intuitively take 
deep root in the soil of his native land, and no one holds in 
greater reverence the sacred names of home and fathei'land. 
How, then, do we account for this great exodus from Germany, 
especially from those fair regions bordering the valleys of the 
Rhine, the Moselle, the Nahr and the sinuous Neckar ? If his 
native hills, rivers and homesteads are so dear, how is it that at 
the present day we find the German to be in the greatest num- 
ber of all the foreign population in far-away America ? To 

28 The Story of ax Old Farm. 

properly answer this question it will be necessary to consider 
the political aspect of Germany at the time referred to, and to 
take a hurried retrospective glance at the history and condition 
of the common people for several anterior decades. 

One does not delve very deep in Continental annals of the 
eighteenth century without discovering that at this time the 
condition of Germany was most deplorable. Many of the innum- 
erable kingdoms, duchies, principalities, independent towns and 
free cities that were strewed disconnectedly over the land 
between the Rhine and the Danube had rulers wha claimed an 
almost absolute sway over their hapless subjects. They often 
demanded their lives, their fortunes, their services ; the latter not 
called upon always for the benefit and protection of their own 
country or community, but to be bartered for gold to other gov- 
ernments. Successive furious wars had raged with but short 
intermission for several generations. And the end was not 
yet ; the map of Europe was to undergo many changes, and 
the destiny of all Germany was to be determined. The great 
Frederick was yet to mould his small kingdom into the poAverful 
nation of Prussia. Even M'hen that work was accomplished, and 
fifty years after that illustrious king had returned from the Seven 
Years' War, the German people gathered themselves together 
for the greatest struggle they had yet attempted ; but it was with 
happier hearts and a more abounding faith that they entered 
into this contest, for they felt the glow of a national patriotism, 
and each blow struck was for a common cause and fatherland. 
The sun of peace, prosperity and greatness, as has been well 
said, did not rise on Germany till the year 1813, which saw the 
end of the prolonged struggle that may be considered to have 
commenced with the Thirty Years' War. 

But we must go back of the year 1700 to look for the original 
cause of German emigration. In the early part of the seven- 
teenth century the peasants, burghers and the great middle- 
class of Germany were well to do. The prosperity was occa- 
sioned by the long continued peace, giving to the people the 
opportunity of cultivating their fields and promoting agriculture, 
the foundation of opulence in all countries. Some historians 
consider tJuit garden and field cultivation in 1618 were superior 
to that of two hundred years later, arguing that the present cen- 

The Thirty Years' War Overwhelms Gerjiany. 29 

tury has only seen Grermany brought back agriculturally to 
where it was those long years ago. Tillage, of course, produced 
much less variety, many of the grains and vegetables of the pre- 
sent century being then unknown. Flax was a staple, and much 
money was made from the cultivation of anise and saffron. 
Everywhere were vineyards, and in the fields were to be seen 
hops, wheat, horsebeans, turnips, teazel and. rape. The houses 
were much inferior to those of to-day, but they were not defi- 
cient in interior comforts. Many a German matron of the pre- 
sent time exhibits with pride the curiously carved chairs and 
cupboards, ornamented spinning wheels, and treasures of earth- 
ernware and drinking vessels that, having escaped the vicissi- 
tudes of the years gone by, have been handed down to her as 
precious heirlooms of those ancient days. 

Yes, it was a happy time for the common people of Germany. 
The scars of war were healed. Of course they had their bur- 
dens. The nobles were oppressive. There was the door tax, 
the window-tax, and other heavy impositions, and much that was 
earned must go to support the comforts and luxuries of the cas- 
tles and manorial houses. But as the people knew nothing of 
true liberty they were satisfied and happy in following their 
peaceful avocations. They gave no thought to war, or to the 
fact that the politics of Germany was a bubbling cauldron of 
conflicting interests, on the verge of boiling over, and little they 
recked of the horrors in store for them in the near future. 
What did they know of the bloody horoscope that was being 
cast by the disputes of the house of Hapsburg and the German 
rulers, or of the princes that were unfurling the banners of the 
two hostile religious parties'? In Catholic communities the inhab- 
itants were well content with their parish priests, and in the 
Protestant towns and hamlets the faithful pastors filled all the 
needs of the people. In the village Gasthaus, in the evenings, 
there may have been talk of fighting and suffering in Bohemia ; 
but it mattered little to the villagers, as they drank their beer 
and smoked their porcelain pipes, except as furnishing subject 
for chat and wonder. As the months and years roUed on, 
rumors grew more rife, and localities named grew much nearer ; 
by 1623 it was in Thuringia that conflicts were reported ; by 
the next year there was no longer any doubt that Middle Ger- 

30 The Story of an Old Farm. 

many was being overrun by foreign troops ; in a few months the 
Spanish soldiers, under General Spinola, broke in the lower 
Palatinate, and all the miseries of war fell upon the entire Rhine 
valley. For over a quarter of a century the whole country was 
devastated by contesting armies. Hordes of Cossacks, Poles, 
Walloons, Irish, Spaniards, Italians, English, Danes, Finns and 
Swedes, together with their camp followers, tramped over Ger- 
man soil, settling like swarms of locusts on the comfortable vil- 
lages and fat fields, obliterating in a few months' stay in a local- 
ity every vestige of the accumulations of years of patient toil. 

Readers of German history are familiar with the bitterness 
and woe of the next three decades, — an epoch fraught with such 
distress that the mind almost refuses to contemplate the detailed 
and prolonged sufferings of the German people. Gustav Freytag, 
who has pictured in strong outline the desolations of this 
time, considers the reason that the war raged for a whole gener- 
ation and exhausted a powerful people was because none of the 
contending parties were able to prosecute it on a grand or deci- 
sive scale. He claims that the largest army in the Thirty 
Yeai's' War did not equal an ordinary corps of modern times. 
The Austrian commander, Tilly, thought forty thousand to be 
the greatest body of men that a general could properly handle; 
during the war it was rare that an army reached that magni- 
tude. The fighting was mostly done by smaller bands distrib- 
uted over a wide area of country, and the distress brought upon 
the communities was not more caused by the sacking and pil- 
lage of the soldiery than by the wretched system of camp follow- 
ers in vogue at that time. Not only the officers but the privates, 
also, were accompanied on their campaigns by wives, mistresses 
and children; they, in their train, often had a following of a 
much worse character, and all the dissolute men and women of a 
community were generally to be found about the camp of an 
occupying army. 

This condition of affairs was not confined to the foreign sol- 
diers, but the evil also attached to the German troops. Wall- 
hausen reckons as indispensable to a German regiment of infan- 
try four thousand women, children and other followers. At the 
close of the war in 1648, General Gronsfeld reports that the 
Imperial and Bavarian armies contained forty thousand drawing 

The Treaty of Westphalia Brings Peace. 31 

rations, and one hundred and forty thousand who did not. These 
figures give some slight idea of the horrors of war at that period. 
Picture an army made up of many nationalities, with its greater 
army of followers, largely composed of the depraved of both sexes 
from all parts of Europe. The troops were paid, clothed and 
fed by their respective governments; but what of the great out- 
lying camp? It could only subsist and exist by thieving, 
oppression and crime. The thatch was torn from the cottages 
that the horses of the marauders might be bedded. The cottages 
were razed to furnish materials for building huts. The carts 
were taken from the yards, the oxen from their stalls. The pas- 
sage of an army meant the entire disappearance of all the cattle. 
The immense flocks of parish sheep that nibbled the grass on 
the sides of the stony heights and roamed over the abundant ver- 
dure of the meadows found their way to the roasting-ovens and 
stew-pots of the great mob, and the national wool of Germany^ 
known in every market of the world, was lost forever. The 
large cities proved a place of refuge for the upper classes, as in 
them some semblance of government and order was maintained ; 
but for the country people there were no such retreats. They 
were robbed and maltreated ; and if they did not promptly dis- 
close the hiding places of their treasures, were beaten, maimed 
and often killed. Their lads swelled the ranks of the soldiery; 
their daughters, alas, were often kidnapped and coerced into the 
ranks of the concubines. Did an army remain long in one local- 
ity fear seized upon the inhabitants; and the effect of the feel- 
ing of terror and insecurity, and the horribly vicious associations 
with which they were surrounded, produced a condition of 
despair and moral recklessness which were appalling. Frequently 
the villagers themselves turned robbers, wives deserted their 
husbands, children their parents, and many fled to the mountains 
and forest for a place of safety. It was a time when the face of 
Jehovah seemed turned away from Germany — when the whole 
land apparently lay under the shadow of the Almighty dis- 
pleasure ! 

The middle of the century brought peace. The thirty years 
of tears and blood were over. The graves could not give up 
their dead ; the treaty of Westphalia might assert the triumphs 
of religious and political liberty in Germany, but it could not 

32 The Story of an Old Farm. 

restore the virtue of the dissolute, nor the prosperity of the com- 
munities. Nor did the sorrows end with the war ; there were 
still desolated homes, abject poverty and rampant crime ! For 
thirty years the vagrants of Europe had made Germany their 
abiding place. They did not all leave with the troops, but wan- 
dered about the country, a disorderly rabble, terrorizing the 
people. Still there was peace ! Bells were ringing, bonfires 
burning, and in the cities peace banquets were spread, and 
anthems sung. The rocky fastnesses, the distant forests and the 
larger cities gave up their refugees. The people again gathered 
in their dismantled villages and on their wasted lands, the gut- 
ted fields were inspected, holes in the barns repaired, and their 
damaged and often tottering houses were made habitable. The 
broken links of society were welded, and the forging of the great 
chain of progress and growth which had been so rudely broken 
was again undertaken. 

Recuperation, however, was slow, and the impoverishment of 
the people so great as to render them almost helpless. In some 
neighborhoods sixty per cent, of the population had disappeared, 
and three-fifths — yes, four-fifths — of all property had been dis- 
sipated. Furniture, tools and utensils were gone, and the peas- 
ants in again attempting their industrial pursuits found them- 
selves almost in a state of nature. In some principalities the 
improvement was more rapid than in others. Prussia was raised 
from the lowest depths of misery and desolation by the energy 
and wisdom of Frederic William, the great Elector, who ruled 
from 1640 to 1688, and in the south and east, where the country 
enjoyed the blessings of peace for comparatively a number of 
years, slow but continued strides Were made toward betterment. 
But on the western frontier and along the valley of the Rhine 
and its tributaries no such opportunity was given the exhausted 
people for regeneration and revival. Peace had not come to 
stay ! For nearly a century yet, these fair regions were to lie 
devastated and prostrate, the plunder and fighting ground of 
France and her allies. 

I have dwelt thus long on the detailed horrors of the Thirty 
Years' War, and the subsequent years, because it was a time fated 
to have a momentous effect on the future of our own country. 
The result of that cruel contest, and the after-paralyzed condi- 

Germany the Fighting GtROund of Europe. 33 

tion of affairs, was the tide of emigration that rose toward the 
close of that century, swelled to a great flood in the next one 
hundred years, and since then has rolled, and even now is rolling, 
a vast human sea of Germans across the American continent. 
Without doubt other influences assisted and encouraged this 
great movement. Despotic princes, petty differences between 
small states, sumptuary laws, extortions, and cruel consci'iptions 
in later wars, all helped to wean the German from his country. 
The revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, which cost France 
seven hundred thousand of her best citizens, brought much suf- 
fering on the Protestants of Germany. Huguenots from over 
the borders flocked in great numbers to the shelter afforded by 
the Lutheran Palatine elector. This insured to that prince and 
his people the vengeance of Madame de Maintenon ; she gave 
peremptory orders, through Louvois, that the Palatinate should 
be utterly destroyed, and one hundred thousand French soldiers 
were despatched by Louis XIV. to do the work. Thousands of 
Germans were forced to escape religious persecution by flight. 
But the original idea of emigration, the flrst setting in motion of 
the ball of expatriation, was due to that foundation of all Ger- 
many's subsequent miseries, the Thirty Years' War ; and had it 
not been for that prolonged conflict, which so weakened the 
country as to render the people unable to withstand their future 
trials, our nation would to-day be without millions of citizens who 
now honor it, and make it the greater, because of their intelli- 
gence, industry, frugality and virtue. 

In 1672 Louis XIV. astonished Europe by the rapidity with 
which he conquered three provinces and forty fortresses in Hol- 
land ; but the dykes were cut and the newly elected stadtholder, 
William of Orange, formed an alliance with Germany and 
Spain. In the several years of war that followed, the Rhine 
country was repeatedly ravaged, the devastation earning for 
General Turenne and the French the execration of the world. 
Hardly had this war terminated by the treaty of Nymeguen, in 

1679, before Louis XIV. laid claim to several German territor- 
ies, leading to another distressing contest of four years, the 

Rhenish provinces bearing the brunt of the suffering. The treaty 
of Ratisbon, in 1684, ended this conflict, but within two years 

William III. of England formed the league of Augsburg against 

34 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

France, and in 1688 Louis' army was again desolating the Pal- 
atinate and other portion* of Germany with fire and sword, 
destroying the towns, villages and castles, until to this day, from 
Drachenfels to Heidelberg, the line of march is marked by 
crumbling walls, ruined battlements, and blown-up towers. A 
short rest was brought the Germans by the peace of Ryswick, in 
1697 ; but it is useless to continue the narrative of Germany's 
wars through the conflict of the Spanish Succession, Frederic the 
Great's campaigns, and the continuous fighting of the eighteenth 
century. Sufficient has been recounted in the above rapid 
review to bring before the mind of the reader ample evidence 
to show why the Germans, especially those of what is now 
Rhenish Prussia, should have, notwithstanding their love of 
home, been so impoverished and disheartened as to be constrained 
to sorrowfully turn their backs on Germany, and seek in the new 
world that peace, freedom and protection which had been denied 
to them and their fathers on their native soil. 


German Expatriation — The Distrihntion of Teuton Emigrants in 
the American Colonies, 

In the preceding chapter an endeavor has been made to show 
that even early in the seventeenth century the Germans had 
good cause for deserting fatherland. When resolved on expatri- 
ation their steps nearly all turned westward, and they seemed of 
one mind as to what country offered the greatest inducements to 
home-seekers, and presented the most complete assurances of 
relief from the heavy burdens under which they had groaned in 
Europe. The tide of emigration set steadily toward America, 
and from those early days till now, the name and thought of our 
country has been as a sweet savor in the nostrils of oppressed 
Teutons. Commencing as a little rill the current gradually 
increased in volume, until, as we learn from recently published 
statistics, between 1880 and 1884 the yearly exodus from Grer- 
many averaged nearly one hundred and seventy-five thousand 
souls ; while of two millions, six hundred and one thousand Ger- 
mans now living outside of the Empire, two millions are citizens 
of the United States. 

There is no accurate record of the earliest Teuton emigration 
to America. Edward Eggleston, a diligent student of colonial 
history, claims that Germans came with the colonists of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, and, without doubt, some of the so-called Dutch of 
the New Netherlands were High Dutch, or Germans, from the 
Rhine, beyond the Holland border. Before the close of 
the Thirty Years' War the vast movement from the Rhine 
country may be said to have commenced, and the year 1640 
found Germans settled on the Delaware in the Swedish 
colony planted by the Lutheran king, Gustavus Adolphus. 

36 The Story of an Old Farm. 

But until 1682 the arrival of immigrants in this country 
was neither frequent nor regular. In the preceding year 
William Penn had advertised to the world his liberal govern- 
ment, and oflfered in Pennsylvania homes for the persecuted and 
oppressed of all nations. Penn had acquired his great American 
grant of forty thousand square miles of territory from the Crown, 
in payment of a debt of sixteen thousand pounds due his father. 
The King named the tract after the elder Penn, and it is inter- 
esting to know, as illustrating the modesty and simplicity of the 
son, that he strongly objected to this appellation, even going so 
far as to attempt the bribing of an under-secretary, that the name 
might be changed. In 1683 Francis Daniel Pastorious, a Fran- 
conian German of education, arrived Avith other immigrants at 
Philadelphia, taking up land at Germantown, commencing that 
settlement with thirteen families. Arents Klincken erected the 
first two-storey house, Penn being present, and helping to eat the 
" raising dinner." Within a few years the settlement was aug- 
mented by the arrival of over one thousand Germans, among 
whom were the ancestors of the present prominent Pennsylvania 
families (»f llittenhouse. Shoemaker, Carpenter, Potts and Van 
Wart. The most of them came from near the city of Worms, in 
Westphalia. They must have felt grateful for their quiet 
provincial homes when they heard of the dreadful ravages of the 
French, in 1689, who laid waste the entire country from which 
they had emigi'ated, the flames rising from every hamlet, market 
place and parish church in the Duchy of Cleves, in which Worms 
is situated. 

The greatest influx of Germans commenced about 1700. 
Within the following twenty-live years vast numbers fled from 
the desolations and persecutions at home to the English colonies 
in America, and it is estimated that over fifty thousand within 
that time reached the province of Pennsylvania. A few miles 
from Bendorf, on the Rhine, is the well built and attractive town 
of Neuwied ; it has now a population of about ten thousand, com- 
prising Romanists, Lutherans, Moravian Brethren, Baptists and 
Jews, who live together in harmony. Count Frederic of Wied, 
whose descendants still occupy the spacious palace at its north 
end, founded the town in 1653, on the site of the village of Lan- 
gendorf, which was entirely destroyed in the Thirty Years' War. 

The Settlement of German Valley, N. J. 37 

Here, in 1705, arrived a number of Lutherans, who had fled from 
persecutions at Wolfenbrdttel and Halberstadt. The then Count 
of Wied, who welcomed all comers without distinction of religion, 
gave them residence and protection. Here they remained 
for some time, and then went on down the river to Holland, 
where they embarked, in 1707, for New York. After a severe 
and protracted voyage a violent storm drove their small ship 
south of Sandy Hook, obliging the master to take refuge in the 
capes of the Delaware, and ultimately land his passengers at 
Philadelphia. Determined to continue to the province of New 
York the immigrants left the Quaker City, journeying overland. 
Travelling thitherward, they reached the crest of the Schooley's 
Mountain range, in Morris County, New Jersey, and were sud- 
denly confronted by the view of a charming valley. Below were 
the pleasant reaches of the Musconetcong, flowing tranquilly 
between grassy banks, with rich meadows rolling back in gentle 
undulations, seeming fairly to invite settlement. To these tem- 
pest-tossed wanderers it appeared, indeed, a land of promise ; 
what more could they desire in a search for homes ? New Y^ork 
province certainly would offer no richer or more inviting local- 
ity, so here they decided to remain. Descending the mountain side 
they drove their tent stakes, and laid their hearth-stones, as the 
commencement of a settlement which has been known from that 
day to this as the German Valley. It is claimed that many now 
well-known families in Morris, Hunterdon and Somerset Counties 
take their origin from this ancient little Lutheran community.* 

*This account of the first settlement of Gerraau Valley is based on statements 
made in Rupps' " Early German Emigrants to Pennsylvania," Mott's "First 
Century of Hunterdon County," Biauvelt's "Historical Sketch of the German 
Reformed and Presbyterian Church of German Valley," and Snell's " History of 
Hunterdon and Somerset Counties." Persons well informed in the history of 
Morris and Hunterdon doubt this story ; indeed, do not hesitate to deny the pos- 
sibility of its truth. Various objections are made to the belief that these Bruns- 
wick and Prussian emigrants wei'e the progenitors of the present resident Ger- 
man families of Clinton, Lebanon and Tewksbury, in Hunterdon, and of Wash- 
ington, in Morris county. The most tenable one advanced is that there is not a 
particle of documentary evidence to show that there were many, if any, Ger- 
mans occupying the region now forming those townships previous to the year 
1720, and that the family names of Pickel, Welch, Apgar, Alspaugh, Philhower, 
Kline, Rhinehart, Eick and others, which have been credited as being those of 
persons descended from those persecuted immigrants, can all be accounted for as 
importations after the year 1720, and most of them after 1730. 

38 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Hendrick Hudson, after his voyage in the "Half-Moon," in 
1G09, in writing of the locality on which now, a populous cres- 
cent, the city of Newburgh rests, mentions it as "a pleasant 
place to build a town on." As the Palatine parish of Quassaick, 
on this "pleasant place," a town was laid out, about one hun- 
dred years later, by emigrants from Germany. The company 
comprised forty-two persons, who, under the guidance of their 
pastor, Joshua Kockerthal, had been sent to America by Queen 
Anne, who had guaranteed them nine pence a day for a year's 
support, and a grant of land on which to settle. They had been 
driven to the fields in mid-winter by the destruction of their 
homes by the French, and had applied to the English govern- 
ment for aid, as Protestants who were suffering from abject pov- 
erty, because of their religious beliefs. On reaching New York 
Lord Lovelace had them transported to Quassaick creek, and 
ultimately his successor. Governor Hunter, issued to them a 
patent for twenty-one hundred and ninety acres of land. The 
first place of worship in Newburgh was a little Lutheran church, 
twenty feet square, built by these foreigners. The settlement 
as a German community did not prosper. The Palatines, 
who were mostly husbandmen, found the rough hillsides much 
inferior for cultivation to the rich lands they had known over the 
seas. Attracted by descriptions from friends, located in Pennsyl- 
vania, of the fertile regions they inhabited, the individual own- 
ers gradually sold the plots originally apportioned them and 
removed to that Quaker colony. By 1743 practically the place 
had changed from a German settlement to a Scotch-English 
neighborhood. Notwithstanding the comparatively short time 
the Palatines lived on Quassaick creek, they left an indelible 
mark on the country, and a record of which the people of New- 
burgh are still proud. That city's historian, E. M. Putten- 
ber, writes that "no citizens of more substantial worth are found 
under the fiag of this, their native land, than their descendants; 
no braver men were in the armies of the Revolution than Herki- 
mer and Muhlenberg. Had they done nothing in the parish but 
made clearings in its forests and planted fields they would be 
entitled to grateful remembrance; but they did more — they gave 
to it its first church and its first government, and in all its sub- 
sequent history their descendants have had a part." 

Thirteen Thousand Germans Reach London in 1709. 39 

The citizens of London were astonished to learn, in May and 
June, 1709, that five thousand men, women and children, Ger-" 
mans from the Rhine, were under tents in the suburbs. By 
October the number had increased to thirteen thousand, and 
comprised husbandmen, tradesmen, school teachers and minis- 
ters. These emigrants had deserted the Palatinate, owing to 
French oppression and the persecution by their prince, the 
elector John William, of the House of Newburgh, who had 
become a devoted Romanist, though his subjects were mainly 
Lutherans and Calvinists. Professor Henry A. Homes, in a 
paper treating of this emigration read before the Albany Insti- 
tute in 1871, holds that the movement was due not altogether to 
unbearable persecutions, but largely to suggestions made to the 
Palatines in their own country by agents of companies who were 
anxious to obtain settlers for the British colonies in America, 
and thus give value to the company's lands. The emigrants 
were certainly seized with the idea that by going to England 
its government would transport them to the provinces of New 
York, the Carolinas and Pennsylvania. Of the latter province 
they knew much, as many Germans were already there. Pas- 
torious, the founder of Germantown, had published circulars in 
Germany, extolling the colony and inviting settlement. Penn 
had also well advertised in the Palatinate the inducements for 
settlers offered by his grant. The emigrants may have heard of 
the success of Pastor Kockerthal's little colony which had gone 
to New York the previous year, and they were aU eager to be 
transported to a country where rich lauds- ivcVe to be had at no 
cost, and where their efforts for subsistt'-itifc'- would be undis- 
turbed by oppressions. ■ ; : 

The English government was much disttc^sted by the arrival 
of this vast number of impoverished eni^Pa'&fc?!. - Their coming 
not having been anticipated, no plans ha^|>iidn ;made for their 
distribution in the colonies, or their ca-n^ m ^-'Kngland. Means 
were taken at once to notify the Dutch alid German authorities 
that no more would be received. This certainly had the sym- 
pathy of the elector Palatine, who had already published an 
order punishing with death and confiscation all subjects who 
should quit their native' country. Great eff'orts were made to 
prevent suffering among these poor people; thousands of pounds 

40 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

were collected for their maintenance from churches and individ- 
uals all over England; they were lodged in warehouses, empty 
dwellings and in barns, and the queen had a thousand tents 
pitched for them back of Greenwich, on Blackheath. Here, on 
that historic moor, where Wat Tyler and Jack Cade had 
assembled the rebellious men of Kent, and where later, Claude 
Duval, and other bold riders of the road, were wont to relieve 
belated travellers of their gold and jewels, was presented the 
strange spectacle of an encampment of five thousand alien peo- 
ple, speaking an alien tongue, awaiting with patience and confid- 
ence a help and relief they felt sure would come from the sym- 
patliy and compassion of Protestant Englishmen. 

Although Mortimer, in his "History of England," says it was 
never known who encouraged them to this emigration, a com- 
mittee of the House of Commons appointed in 1711 elicited 
facts, as its report shows, going to prove that the Queen's gov- 
eniment was not altogether guiltless in provoking the move- 
ment. The Palatines testified that they had left their country 
because of books and papers containing Queen Anne's picture 
that had been distributed, urging their coming to England that 
they might be sent to Her Majesty's plantations in the colonies. 
It is hardly to be believed that they would have come almost at 
one time, and in such great numbers, without having received 
encouragement from agents or others, who must, at least appar- 
ently, have made promises with authority. The Cermans evi- 
dently expected that immediately on arrival in England they 
were to be dispatched in a body across the sea; but no one 
stood ready to carry out such a programme. If the government 
had made promises it was Avith expectation of no such liberal 
response. To carry thirteen thousand people would require a 
great fleet of the small vessels of that time, and there were no 
ships for such a service. Much time would also be required in 
preparing for their arrival in America, and in perfecting arrange- 
ments for their final settlement. Notwithstanding the great 
efforts made by the English people, very much distress followed 
this unhappy hegira. Disease decimated their ranks, and 
many wandered about England, becoming a poverty-stricken 
incubus on the parishes. Numbers of the younger men enlisted 
in the British army serving in Portugal, and some made their 

Palatines Settle in Ireland in 1710. 41 

own way to Pennsylvania, presumably by eflfecting arrangements 
with the masters of vessels, whereby, on arrival, their services 
were to be sold for a term sufficient to secure payment of their 
passage-money. This was not an unusual means of emigration 
to the colonies at that time. 

The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland petitioned the Queen that 
some of the people might be sent to him, and by February, 1710, 
thirty-eight hundred had been located across the Irish Sea, in 
the province of Munster, near Limerick. The government 
granted them temporary help, and within three years twenty- 
four hundred pounds had been expended on their removal and 
maintenance while settling. In 1715 they became naturalized 
citizens. Professor Homes recites in his monograph that they 
'' now number about twelve thousand souls, and, under the name 
of Palatinates, continue to impress a peculiar character upon the 
whole district they inhabit, both in a social and economical way." 
Farrar writes of them, in the beginning of this century, that they 
have " left off sauer-kraut and taken up potatoes, though still 
preserving their own language;" that "their superstitions savor 
of the banks of the Rhine, and in their dealings they are 
upright and honorable." Kohl, a German traveller of 1840, 
testifies that they have not lost their home character for probity 
and honor, and that they are much wealthier than any of their 

According to "Luttrell's Diary" about one-tenth of the whole 
number that reached England were returned by the Crown to 
Germany. This action of the authorities seems to have been 
provoked in consequence of the portion returned not being Prot- 
estants, and for that reason out of favor. 

Among the exiles were a large number of people from Heidel- 
berg. Professor Rupp thinks that more than six thousand per- 
sons had left that vicinity within twelve months. They had suffered 
persecution because unable to change their religion as often as 
did their government. The Elector Palatine, Frederic II., 
became a Lutheran ; Frederic III. turned Calvinist ; Ludovic V. 
restored the Lutheran Church, while his son and successor 
embraced the Calvinist faith ; he was succeeded by a Catholic 
prince who cruelly oppressed the Protestants. All travellers 
remember with pleasure the beautiful university town of Heidel- 

42 The Story of an Old Farm. 

ber^, that, almost hidden in dense foliage, occupies a narrow 
bench of land between the lofty Konigstuhl and the restless 
Neckar, which here forces its foamy way through a narrow 
gorge to the broad Rhine plain, just below. Away up on the 
side of the mountain, clinging to the very edge of a wooded 
precipice, is the most magnificent ruin in Middle Europe. The 
royal residence and stronghold of generations of electors, it was 
three hundred years in growing from a castle to a palace ; then 
came the French, with their claim to the Palatinate, and this 
royal architectural pile was battered and desolated, but fortu- 
nately not entirely destroyed. Beyond the castle, higher up, on a 
little plateau, is a restaurant and garden — the Wolfsbrunnen. 
Here the citizens of the town meet on Sundays, fete days and 
holidays to listen to music, and chat under the trees with their 
neighbors. As they blow the foam from their cool steins of beer 
and overlook the ivy-clad ruin, Avith its quadrangles, bastions, 
moated exterior walls, and graceful interior facades studded with 
sculptures and statues, they must find abundant subjects for 
thought and conversation. If they are inclined to "mourn over 
Israel " they need not give all their tears to the defacement of 
that eflFective mass of stone ; their minds and sympathies can 
revert to the miseries of their townspeople in the years gone by, 
before they had become a portion of United Germany. 

In the early part of the Thirty Years' War the imperial Count 
Tilly sacked Heidelberg, putting five hundred of the inhabitants 
to death. Later on, in the same war, the generals of the French 
captured the city, and people without number were slaughtered. 
In 1688 the French were again in Heidelberg ; this time they 
burned the place to the ground, reducing the castle, and blowing 
up its ancient and massive corner tower, although the walls were 
twenty-one feet thick ; one-half of the structure fell into the 
moat below, where it lies intact to this day, a most picturesque 
ruin. Heidelberg was rebuilt only to be once more, in 1693, 
overwhelmed by the armies of Louis XIV.; flames again rose 
from every building, and the citizens — men, women and children 
— fifteen thousand in number, stripped of everything, were 
turned at night into the fields. Not long after, the elector 
induced the inhabitants to rebuild the town under a promise of 
liberty of conscience and thirty years' exemption from taxes. 

Germans in Virginia and North Carolina. 43 

Within a few years this same elector, growing more devoted to 
his Romanist faith, served God in his fashion, Avhich was by 
breaking his promises, and beginning severe persecutions against 
his Protestant subjects. It was then, Rupp tells us, that thou- 
sands from this vicinity, despairing of a future at home, escaped to 

Before we return to Blackheath, where we left some of them 
under tents, let me place in strong contrast to the wretchedness 
just portrayed the picture a traveller draws, a few years later, of 
the happiness and peace of Germans in the American colonies. 
Some time before 1745 Germans from Pennsylvania penetrated 
the Shenandoah Valley, near Harrisonburg, Virginia. The 
traveller, before referred to, visited that neighborhood during the 
French and English war, and writes as follows of the country 
and people : 

The low grounds upon the banks of the Shenandoah River are very rich and 
fertile. They are chiefly settled by Germans, who gain a sufficient livelihood by 
raising stock for the troops and sending butter down into the lower part of the 
country. I could not but reflect with pleasure on the situation of these people 
and think if there is such a thing as happiness in this life they enjoy it. Far 
from the bustle of the world they live in the most delightful climate and on the 
richest soil imaginable. They are everywhere surrounded with beautiful pros- 
pects and sylvan scenes — lofty mountains, transparent streams, falls of water, rich 
valleys and majestic woods ; the whole interspersed with an infinite variety of 
flowery shrubs constitute the landscapes surrounding them. They are subject to 
few diseases, are generally robust and live in perfect liberty. They know 710 
wants, and are acquainted with but few vices. They possess what many princes 
would give half their dominions for — health, contentment and tranquility of mind. 
— Howe's Coll. of Va. 

The Lord Proprietors of Carolina agreed, in 1709, with Chris- 
topher de Grafienried and Lewis Michell, from Switzerland, to sell 
to them ten thousand acres of land in one body, between the Cape 
Fear and Neuse rivers. They formed a land company, and, of 
course, were much in needof settlers. They covenanted with the 
English authorities for the transferof aboutseven hundred of these 
poor Heidelberg refugees to the colony. Before the end of the year 
they had arrived with them at a point in North Carolina, where 
the rivers Neuse and Trent join. Here they established a town, 
calling it New-Benae, in honor of Berne, Switzerland, de Graffen- 
ried's birthplace. Each man, woman and child was granted one 
hundred acres of land, tools for building houses and cultivating 
the soil, and with provisions f n- twelve months' subsistence. De 

44 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Graffenried proved false to these people. In their ignorance, they 
failed to .secure titles, and later on he mortgaged the entire grant 
for eight hundred pounds, and the lands ultimately, through fore- 
closure, fell into the hands of the heirs of the mortgagee. Notwith- 
standing this great check to their prosperity, the Germans, by their 
industry and economy, acquired other property and comfortable 
homes. Many years later they petitioned the king, and were partly 
indemnified by a grant of ten thousand acres, free for ten years 
from quit-rents. As is the experience of all new colonies, they 
at first suffered great trials and privations. Before two years 
had passed, one hundred of their number had been massacred by 
the Tuscarora Indians. But, as is shown by Williamson, the 
historian of North Carolina, their industry and frugality 
triumphed over ail obstacles, and the state is to-day greatly bene- 
fited by the wealth and holdings of the descendants of these perse- 
cuted emigrants from the valley of the Neckar. 

It has not been found possible to properly account for all the 
thirteen thousand Palatines who reached England. Queen Anne 
sent some of them to Virginia, settling them above the falls of 
the Bappahanock, in Spottsylvania County, from whence they 
spread into several adjoining counties, and into North Carolina. 
Irving mentions that when George Washington, in 1748, was sur- 
veying lauds in this portion of Virginia, he was followed by Ger- 
man immigrants with their wives and children. Most of them 
could not speak English, but when spoken to answered in their 
native tongue. " Such were the progenitors of the sturdy yeo- 
manry now inhabiting those parts, many of whom still preserve 
their strong German characteristics." 

After the Irish transportation, the largest number that was 
moved in one body, and probably the final one under government 
auspices, was the fleet-load that in the spring of 1710 was des- 
patched to New York. Lord Lovelace having died, Robert Hun- 
ter was commissioned as '' Captain Genekai., Govehnor-in-Chief 
of and to the provinces of New York and New JeRvSey and 
territories thereunto belonging, and Vice-Admiral and Chan- 
cellor of the same." Gordon writes of him as a man of merit 
and personal beauty, and a friend of Steele, Addison, Swift and 
the wits and the literati of that day. His appointment was said 
to have been due to the influence of his friend Addison, who at 


that time was Under-Secretary of State. He had received in 
1705 the commission as Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, but 
while on his way to that colony his ship was captured by the 
French, who carried him a prisoner to Paris, where he was con- 
fined for some months. On reaching the colonies Governor 
Hunter, growing much interested in the province of East Jersey, 
became a large owner of its lands, acquiring tracts and planta- 
tions both north and south of the Raritan, and probably in Hun- 
terdon, for we find that in 1713-14, when that county was set 
off, it was named in his honor. The Governor established a home 
at Perth Amboy, on the bluff overlooking the lower bay and 
ocean. Here he retired when in need of rest from the labors of 
the New York administration, and while enjoying the beautiful 
panorama of hills, islands and watery expanse, and the sea 
breezes blowing fresh from Sandy Hook, employed his leisure 
by correspondence with Swift, Addison, and other English friends. 
In 1719 Hunter went to London and did not return to this 
country ; while there he exchanged with William Burnett, son 
of the celebrated bishop, who succeeded him in the executive 
office. He did not, however, lose his interest in New Jersey, 
but continued to acquire land in the province, and retained his 
friendship with the people through correspondence. 

Before this royal governor embarked for America he was 
invited by the Board of Trade to make suggestions regarding 
the disposition of the remaining Palatines. Among the many 
plans proposed it was decided to transfer them to the New York 
colony, for the purpose of engaging in raising and manufacturing 
tar, resin and turpentine for naval purposes. A fleet of ten 
ships set sail with Governor Hunter in March, having on board, 
as is variously estimated, between three and four thousand Ger- 
mans. They covenanted before embarking that after arrival 
they would labor for a sufficient time to discharge the cost of 
their transportation and settlement, after which each emigrant 
was to receive forty acres of land, exempt from taxation for 
seven years. The voyage was of nearly five months' duration, 
the ships arriving at intervals between the middle of June and 
the last of July. The immigrants were encamped on Nut, now 
Go vex'nor's Island, for about three months, when a tract of six thou- 
sand acres of the Livingston patent was purchased for them, one 

46 Thk S'I'Oky of an Old Fakm. 

hundred miles up the Hudson, the locality now being embraced in 
Germantown, Columbia County. Eight hundred acres were also 
acquired on the opposite side of the river at the present location 
of Saugerties, in Ulster county. To these two points most of the 
immigrants were removed. Professor Homes names twenty-two 
hundred and nine as the greatest number settling on the river; 
the papers signed by the Palatines themselves in the "Docu- 
ments relating to the Colonial History of New York" reduce the 
number by several hundred, and Edward Eggleston, who 
has lately been making researches in the British Museum on the 
subject, writes me that "in the manuscript report of the Board 
of Trade and Plantations, dated 1721, the number of Palatines 
settled contiguous to Hudson's river is set down at twenty-two 
hundred and twenty-seven." It is known that over four hun- 
dred died during the voyage. From one hundred and fifty to 
two hundred, mostly widows and sick persons, remained 
in New York city, and the orphans, amounting to almost as 
many more, were apprenticed by Governor Hunter in New York 
and New Jersey. Among the poor widows was Johanna Zen- 
ger, with three children, one of whom, John Peter, at that time, 
thirteen years old, was bound to William Bradford, printer^ 
His, it was, whose trial for libel, in 1734, was a cause celehre in 
the early legal history of the city of New York. 

The manufacture of turpentine and naval stores did not prove 
a successful undertaking. During the two years necessary to 
await the result of their labors, the Germans grew dissatisfied; 
they complained of ill-treatment, and especially of the bad char- 
acter of the provisions supplied by Livingston, the government 
inspector and contractor. Growing insubordinate. Governor 
Hunter attempted coercion, which but widened the breach ; 
many wandered off seeking new homes, and, in the autumn and 
spring of 1712-13, seven hundred deserted the Hudson, and, 
making their way sixty miles northwest, settled in one of the 
fertile valleys of Schoharie county. Owing to ignorance regard- 
ing land-tenure, and the carelessness with which they had taken 
up their individual holdings, much suffering was eventually caused 
these migrators by the discovery that the titles to many of their 
properties were invalid. After nearly ten years of harassing 
litigations and contests, one half the settlers for a third time moved 

German Grievances Against New York. 47 

on, floating down the Susquehanna river for three hundred miles, 
and finally finding homes under the friendly government of 
Pennsylvania. Palatine Bridge and township, in Montgomery 
County, New York, indicate the point to which a second portion 
of these Schoharie Germans removed, and a third contingent 
settled in Herkimer county, at a place since known as the Ger- 
man Flats. 

The Livingston Manor immigrants always felt that they had 
great cause for grievance against the authorities of the province 
of New York. Whether they were right or not, it is at this late 
day difficult to determine, but there is no doubt that the exist- 
ence of such feeling resulted in after years to the great advan- 
tage of Pennsylvania. Peter Kalm, a Swedish naturalist, who 
travelled in America in 1748, remarked on the populousness of 
Pennsylvania, and that the province of New York had much 
fewer inhabitants. He explains that fact in the following man- 
ner : — "In the reign of Queen Anne, about the year 1709, many- 
Germans came hither, who got a tract of land from the English 
government which they might settle. After they had lived there 
some time, and had built houses, and made cornfields and mead- 
ows, under several pretences they were repeatedly deprived of 
parts of their land. They returned violence for violence and 
beat those who thus robbed them of their possessions. The most 
active people among the Germans being taken up, they were 
roughly treated and punished with the utmost vigor of the law. 
This, however, so far exasperated the rest that the greater part 
of them left their houses and fields and went to settle in Pennsyl- 
vania. There they were exceeding well received, got a consid- 
erable tract of land and were indulged in great privileges, which 
were given them forever. The Germans, not satisfied with 
being themselves removed from New York, wrote to their rela- 
tions and friends and advised them, if ever they intended to 
come to America, not to go to New York, where the government 
had shown itself so inequitable. This advice had such influence 
that the Germans, who afterwards went in great numbers to 
North America, constantly avoided New York and always went 
to Pennsylvania. It sometimes happened that they were forced 
to go on board such ships as were bound for New York, but 
they were scarce got on shore, when they hastened to Pennsyl- 
vania, in sight of aU the inhabitants of New York." 

48 The Story of an Old Farm. 

By this time the fever for emigration was deeply seated in 
Germany. Ship after ship sailed up the Delaware from over the 
seas, black with Palatines, Hanoverians, Saxons, and Austrian and 
Swiss Germans. Spreading over the present counties of York, 
Lancaster, Berks, Adams, Montgomery and Northampton, they 
soon made their industrious presence known by the innumerable 
houses of logs that fastened themselves to the sloping sides of 
the valleys, and by the shrinking back of the forests from the 
patches of well-tilled clearings that began to mosaic the Pennsyl- 
vania wildernesses. They brought with them their axes, mat- 
tocks and mauls, and land that had lain for ages under the dark 
canopy of the trees, fattening on the richness of decaying leaves 
and vegetation, was opened to the warm sunlight, until acres of 
forest were converted into arable fields, smiling with the results 
of well-directed labor. It was not that province alone which bene- 
fited by the spirit of unrest that had seized upon Europeans. 
Maine, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Louis- 
iana received accessions to their populations by the arrival of 
emigrants. Gayarre, the historian of the last state, says that 
some of Louisiana's best citizens and wealthiest sugar-planters 
have sprung from a little colony of three hundred poor Germans 
who settled on the river, thirty or forty miles above New 
Orleans, in 1722. But it was toward Pennsylvania that the 
great tide of emigration steadily set. By 1717 such vast num- 
bers were arriving as to cause much uneasiness to some of the 
early English settlers in the province. The governoi-'s council 
in that year made note of the fact that it might be a very dan- 
gerous consequence, having so many foreigners from Germany 
daily disposing of themselves, without producing certificates 
from where they came, or what they were, and without making 
application to any of the magistrates. This led to measures 
being taken whereby all arriving immigrants were obliged to be 
registered by the secretary of the province. In that way, over 
thirty thousand names of the later foreign arrivals are pre- 
served, and on file at the state house in Harrisburg. This unnec- 
essary fear of the German influx did not prove of long duration. 
We find the royal governor saying, in 1738, "This province has 
been for some years the asylum of the distressed Protestants of 
the Palatinate and other parts of Germany ; and, I believe, it 

Arrivals in Pennsylvania before the Revolution. 49 

may truthfully be said that the present flourishing condition of it 
is in a great measure owing to the industry of those people." 

Pennsylvania continued, up to the time of the Revolution, to be 
the objective point for German emigrants. Ships, brigantines, 
scows, pinks and bilanders, mostly English bottoms, plied with 
great regularity between the Maas and the Delaware, transport- 
ing the Palatines, as they seem to have become historically 
known, from Rotterdam to Philadelphia. The vessels were 
small and the voyages prolonged, but the frequency with which 
the same craft — as shown by the records — entered the capes of 
the Delaware, implied a traffic partaking somewhat of the char- 
acter of a ferry. For, year after year, the ships '^ St. Andrew," 
" Phoenix," '' Dragon," " Patience," '' Mortonhousc," '^ Pennsyl- 
vania," "Two Brothers," "Nancy," and many others, discharged 
their human cargoes at Philadelphia, the average passenger-list 
embracing one hundred and fifty souls. In the year 1719 some 
six thousand are said to have landed, and Proud avers that in 
the year 1749 twelve thousand Germans arrived in the province. 
Sypher claims that prior to 1727 fifty thousand people, mostly 
from the Rhine country, had emigrated to the Quaker colony. 
In 1766 Benjamin Franklin testified before a committee of the 
House of Commons that he supposed that there were in Pennsyl- 
vania about one hundred and sixty thousand white inhabitants, of 
whom one-third were Quakers and one-third Germans. 

And so it was that each twelve months saw the population of 
the province much increased and enriched by a people who 
brought with them the greatest of aU wealth, industry and integ- 
rity, and characters that had been superpoised and developed by 
years of suffering and persecution. 


Johannes MoclicJi Beaches Fennsylvania in 1735 — His Experi- 
ences in Philadelphia and Germantoivn. 

In early colonial days King, now Water, street, in Philadelphia, 
lay close to the edge of the Delaware. A low, one-storey, ram- 
bling tavern-house stood fronting it, near the corner of Chestnut, 
its creaking sign bearing in dull paint the legend of a crooked 
stick of wood. It was here that Benjamin Franklin ate his first 
dinner in the Quaker City. This inn gave to the short dock 
facing it the name of the Crooked Billet Wharf, often mentioned 
in old-time Philadelphia annals. Any one loitering on this dock 
on the morning of the twenty-ninth of May, 1735, could have 
heard the splash of a right-bower, and the rattle of an anchor 
chain — but hold ! a historian is privileged to be prosy but never to 
be untrue — nearly seventy-five years must elapse before aPhila- 
delphian, or any one else, will hear the musical clank of a paying- 
out cable, and in the meantime many a stout ship will drift to its 
destruction on the rocks, because of its hawser being cut by sub- 
merged ledges. Well ! the loiterer would at least have heard 
the splash of the anchor, and, on looking up, discovered the ship 
*' Mercury," Captain William Wilson, from Rotterdam, swinging 
round to the tide. As she lies in the stream the vessel shows 
repeated marks of her weeks of battling with the fierce waves 
of the Atlantic, and her sides are streaked by the salt spray of 
many a weary gale. 

The log of this ship has not been preserved, so we know noth- 
ing of the particulars of her voyage or of the date of sailing. She 
was without doubt a small vessel, and many days must have 
elapsed since the yellow arms of Dutch wind-mills had waved 
farewells to her passengers from behind the dunes of the low Hoi- 

The "Mercury" and the Passengers. 51 

land coast. Something may be learned of the time usually occu- 
pied in such a voyage from a German MS. in the library of the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which recounts the incidents 
in the journey of David Sholtze and eighteen associate Schwenck- 
felders. They set sail from Rotterdam on the twenty-fourth of 
June, 1733, on the brigantine '^ Pennsylvania Merchant," Cap- 
tain John Stedman. The journal of these Germans tells of but 
little save head winds, seasickness, and the occasional death of an 
emigrant. The first occurred on the eleventh of Julj', and an 
account is given of the body being sewn in a sack, weighted 
with sand, and dropped by the sailors into the sea, the passengers 
singing the hymn, "JVmw lasset uns den Leih hegraheny The ship 
rested for seven days in the harbor of Plymouth, and on the 
twenty-eighth of September reached Philadelphia. It is fair to 
presume that the '^ Mercury's " passage was of equal length, and 
that it was yet February when she spread her canvas at the 
mouth of Maas, and made her first bow to the rollers of the 
North Sea. 

Among the one hundred and eighty-six sun-burned, weather- 
beaten Germans and Swiss who leaned over her taflfrail, looking 
with curious eyes upon the little entry port of Pennsylvania, was 
Johannes Moelich and his family. The aspect of this provincial 
town in its setting of dark forests must have presented a strong 
contrast to the animated quays, and the spires, belfries, lofty 
pinnacled houses and dark windmills of the quaint old city from 
which he had embarked. It would be pleasant to be able to 
narrate Johannes' impressions and experiences on landing. Had 
he known that one hundred and fifty years later many of his 
posterity would have been glad to read of his movements in 
Philadelphia, he doubtless would have kept a faithful journal. 
In the absence of such forethought on his part we must draw 
upon our knowledge of the Quaker City in those early days, 
and, with the help of Watson, that delightfully garrulous Boswell 
of old Philadelphia, we shall be able to see with Johannes' eyes 
as he and his family make their way up into the city. 

It was now over fifty years since the little ship " Welcome," of 
only three hundred tons burthen, had landed William Penn in 
Pennsylvania, and its capital had grown in population to some 
eight thousand souls, among whom were 1,621 taxables and 

52 The Story of an Old Farm. 

1,097 voters, Thomas Lawrence was mayor, Philadelphia hav- 
ing been a chartered city since 1701. It was a compact little 
town of about one thousand houses, nearly all of brick, one and 
two storeys high, with double-hipped roofs, although occasionally 
a more pretentious dwelling elevated its dormers above a third 
storey. The area was not very extensive; a very short walk 
would bring one to the outlying commons and woods. Beyond 
Fourth street the houses were but scattering ; of course 
there were no pavements, and westerly there were no streets 
marked out beyond Seventh. The highway leading out of town 
followed the line of High, now Market, street, and after crossing 
the location of the present Eighth street, the forest commenced, 
and extended to the Schuylkill. 

Did you ask was there any one to welcome Johannes? Though 
no message from below had announced the coming of the " Mer- 
cury, " without doubt the arrival of the ship was soon noised 
through the city ; let us hope that the immigrant was expected 
and that when he landed on the Crooked Billet Wharf he found 
awaiting him some warm-hearted compatriot, who seized his hand 
and bade him a hearty welcome to America. In fancy, at least, 
we will picture him so greeted. We have already learned 
that his younger brother, Johan Peter, had reached Philadel- 
phia in the ship " Mortonhouse," Captain John Coultas, on 
the twenty-fourth of August, 1728. Perhaps he was among 
those who thronged the wharf on this May morning. In all 
the thirty thousand names of foreigners preserved in the 
Pennsylvania archives as reaching that province between 
the years 1727 and 1776, those of Johannes' family and that 
of Johan Peter are the only Moelichs that appear. 

We will constitute ourselves one of the party as they leave the 
wharf and make their way along Water street, the children hang- 
ing back to look into the shop windows, for in the year 1735 
that street was the centre of the retail trade of the city. They are 
going to the State House to fulfil the first duty of all newly 
arrived foreigners, the registering of their names with the secre- 
tary of the province. What is more delightful than the first few 
hours spent in a new country, where everything is totally differ- 
ent from one's ordinary surroundings ? Weeks of pleasur- 
able experiences may be passed later, but the peculiar charm 

First Impressions of the Quaker City. 53 

of the first uproUing of the curtain will never return. Though 
their own country had been rich in the picturesque, the Moelichs 
found much to excite both interest and wonder, and in the short 
time occupied in reaching the State House they received many 
new and strange impressions. An American on visiting England 
or the C ontinent for the first time finds himself attacked by a 
strange illusion. As he feels himself surrounded by an atmos- 
phere of hoar antiquity, while wandering from one ancient town 
to another, his whole nature saturated with the charm of quaint 
architecture and picturesque effects, imperceptibly there 
steals over him a faint impression of a prior acquaintance, 
as if revisiting scenes familiar in some previous existence ; and 
he finds himself almost doubting that the retina of the eye is 
actually receiving the impression of a picture seen for the first 
time. He recognizes the illusion and fully appreciates that what 
he sees is really new because not viewed before — he recognizes, 
also, that to him, at least, it is truly old and familiar ; old in a 
thousand impressions and desires, born of books and the talk of 
travellers, consequently, he is rarely if ever confronted by the 
entirely unexpected. Johannes and his party were not troubled 
by this double vision. They had read no books descriptive of 
America, nor had they listened to the oft-told tales of returned 
travellers. To them all the panorama of the Quaker City exis- 
tence was novel and interesting. Probably the life of the streets 
affected them as the most peculiarly foreign and odd — indeed, 
not only the Germans were so impressed for we, who have 
attached ourselves unbidden to this little party, find no less cause 
for wonder at the strange sights of these provincial thorough- 
fares. Proceeding westward along Chestnut street they are met 
by such a procession as has never been seen on the highways of 
Europe ; a drove of negroes, coupled two by two, recently 
imported from the Guinea coast, and probably just landed from 
Barbadoes, which at that time was the distributing mart of the 
English slave trade. On reaching the next corner thei'e was to 
be seen an even sadder phase of this barbarous institution. In 
front of a tavern, from a rude platform resting on two upright 
hogsheads, was being held a slave auction. '' Likely negro boys" 
and "breeding wenches," as the placarded bills announced, were 
being knocked down at a few hundred dollars a head, for, as 

54 The Story of an Old Farm. 

importing at that time was brisk, slaves did not approach in value 
to those of our ante-beJhim days. 

As the Moelichs walked along the street the bordering, detached 
houses had a kindly, domestic presence, due to their comely little 
porches with pent-house roofs shading wooden seats, seemingly 
extending to the passer-by a hospitable invitation to tarry. This air 
of hospitality was further enhanced by the attractive balconies 
that faced even the smaller dwellings, on which their occupants 
were wont to gather to enjoy the air at the cool of the day. Occa- 
sional glimpses of quaint interiors were obtained, through open 
windows that swung on hinges inward, with small panes of glass 
set in their leaden-framed lattices. In some of the finer houses the 
best rooms were wainscoated in oak and red cedar, but in most 
instances the walls were plainly whitewashed. No carpets were 
to be seen, the floors being covered with silver sand drawn into 
fanciful figures by a skillful use of the sweeping brush, in which 
the housekeepers took much pride. Lofty chests of drawers, with 
round black balls for legs, extended nearly to the ceiling, and all 
the family china was to be seen through the diamond lights of 
odd little corner cupboards. On the massive Dutch dresser were 
displayed brightly polished porringers and platters of pewter, the 
dinner plates of that day being nearly altogether of that metal, 
though the use of wooden trenchers was not entirely out of date. 
Sometimes, through farther doors opening into the kitchen, our 
party was much amused at the sight of a peculiar feature of house- 
hold economy. Before cavernous fire-places, often girt with ancient 
Dutch tiles, were set baking-ovens, whose spits were turned by 
little bow-legged dogs trained to run in a hollow cylinder, like a 
squirrel, by which means was the roasting meat kept revolving. 
''Mine host" Clark, of the State House Inn, advertises about 
this time in Andrew Bradford's weekly " Mercury," and in Ben- 
jamin Franklin's " Pennsylvania Gazette," that '' he has for sale 
several dogs and wheels, much preferable to any jacks for roast- 
ing any joints of meat." 

But what means this turmoil and uproar, and from whence 
'Comes this advancing crowd, enveloped in dust ? Johannes' 
party quickly leaves the street and takes to a little foot-path 
that runs diagonally from the corner of Third to High and 
Fourth streets. Standing there, they see surge by an unfragrant 

A Parade of Evil-Doers. 55 

rabble, in the centre of which, tied to the tail of a cart, a poor 
wretch is bellowing with pain, as stroke after stroke from a con- 
stable's whip falls on his naked back. The Germans look 
stolidly on the scene ; they are too familiar with despotic punish- 
ments to be surprised or affected thereby, but their accompany- 
ing ghostly posterity — meaning you and me, reader, — find it an 
inhuman spectacle. Following the cart are a number of petty 
criminals surrounded by constables. It is the weekly market day 
parade of evil-doers. After their tour of the city, and their suf- 
fering from the turbulence of the ribald torrent of the populace, 
they will drift into no quiet eddy within the seclusion of the jail. 
They must take their places on the pillory and in the stocks that 
have been set up for their reception, opposite the prison on 
High and Third streets. This day addled eggs will sell as well 
a,s those freshly laid, for many a passer-by of this rough age 
will deem it a virtuous action to have a fling at the culprits, for 
the pleasure of seeing them dodge their heads in the endeavor 
to avoid the noxious missiles. Benjamin Franklin, in his "Auto- 
biography," says that the position of a Philadelphia constable was 
at that time one of a considerable profit. The management of 
the city -watch was in their hands. It was the duty of the officer 
of each ward to summon a certain number of resident household- 
ers to attend him each night to aid in patrolling his district. 
This service could be avoided by paying six shillings, which 
was supposed to go to hiring substitutes. The number who 
paid for the exemption was much greater than those hired by 
the constables to walk the rounds, consequently the officers put 
much unlawful money in their pockets. This system resulted 
in the night-watches being largely composed of irresponsible 
persons who undertook the duties for a little drink-money, but 
quite neglected to fulfil their obligations. Evidently that time 
was no more the golden age of municipal purity than is the 

Returning to Chestnut street our party, rambling on, is soon 
in front of that noted structure which the events of later years 
baptized as Independence Hall. The Philadelphian of the pres- 
ent day, who halts for a moment in the sturdy presence of this 
time-honored, historic building, looks with veneration on its 
homely fa9ade. To him it bears amid the surrounding turmoil 

56 The Story of an Old Farm. 

a dignified expression of peace and rest, as if emanating from 
the consciousness of a deserved repose, after a great work, nobly- 
performed. Very different the aspect it presented to the newly- 
arrived Germans. No throbbing tide of humanity ebbed and 
flowed beneath its shadows; Chestnut street, not yet the artery 
of a great city, did not pulsate at its portals. At this distance out 
it was but little better than a country road, and the State House, 
just completed, faced it square and prim, bright, from lintel to 
roof-tree, with red bricks, fresh paint and white mortar. There 
was then no beautiful park as a rich setting; the unkempt 
grounds extended but half across the square, and several small 
detached brick dwellings fronted Walnut street, at its rear. 

Upon the original book of record in the Department of State 
of Pennsylvania, there is still to be seen the signature made by 
Johannes on that day; it is evidently the writing of a man of 
intelligence, as it is not onlv legibly inscribed, but would stand 
as an example of good penmanship. Most of the arrivals by the 
same vessel, being unable to write, made their marks. The 
names are preceded by the foUoAving entry: 

At the Court House, Phihulelphia, present, tlie Tlnnoialile Patrick (lordon, 
Esq., Lieuteuant-Govornor Tliornas Lawrence and Cliarles Read, Escjuires. Tlie 
Palatines, wliose names are underwritten, imported in tlie ship Mercury of Lon- 
don, William Wilson, master, Rotterdam, hut last from Cowes, did this day suh- 
scrihe the oaths to the Government, May 29. 1735. 

The grounds about the State House, on this May morning, 
framed an interesting picture. Johannes, on leaving the build- 
ing, after registering, was a good deal surprised by the sight 
of an encampment of Indians, who happened that day to have 
taken possession of the open space. For a long time after 
this, it was the practice of bands of red-men to occasionally make 
excursions to the city for the purpose of purchase and barter. 
Generally they would remain for a week or more, and it was 
their custom to establish themselves, with their squaws and chil- 
dren, in the State House yard. While the young bucks roamed 
about the streets, shooting coins off posts with their arrows, and 
visiting the stores for trade, the squaws and old men occupied 
themselves in camp by making and selling plaited baskets, 
beaded moccasins and porcupine-quill work. The aborigines of 
this portion of the British colonies were known as ''Delawares," 

Resting at the Indian-King Tavern. 57 

because first found in the vicinity of that river, though they 
called themselves Lenni-Lenape, which means "The original 
people." The great mass of this tribe, or clan, had moved 
toward the setting sun in the year 1728, but at this time there 
remained several thousand in Pennsylvania, who were much dis- 
satisfied with the sale of their lands ; a discontent which was 
greatly increased, a few years later, by what was known as the 
"Walking Treaty," they claiming to have been swindled by the 
English in the great area of territory acquired by the Europeans 
in that famous bargain. It was not till ten or fifteen years later 
that the Pennsylvanians, by calling to their aid the Six Nations 
of the North, induced these remaining Indians to depart for the 
"Sweet Waters of the West." 

Again we find ourselves deploring the fact that Johannes neg- 
lected his journal. Where did he go on leaving the State 
House I After so long a voyage he must have desired to stretch 
his legs by a more extended walk, but, perhaps, Mariah Katrina 
and the children were not so eager for exercise. We will sup- 
pose that he established them comfortably at the Indian-king 
tavern on High street, where, before sallying out for a prowl 
about the city, he refreshed himself with his first glass of West- 
India rum, at that time the only liquor imported in quantity into 
the colony ; or with a foaming tankard of ale, which was then in 
such common use that most dwellings had small brew-houses 
connected with their kitchens. Johannes could not have been 
put to a very great expense at the tavern, as only modest charges 
for board and lodging were known in those early days. Profes- 
sor Kalm, the Swedish botanist, narrates in his account of his 
travels that, when in Philadelphia, in 1728, he lodged with a 
Quaker where he met many honest people. "I and my Yung- 
straem, the companion of my voyage, had a room, candles, beds, 
attendance and three meals a day for twenty shillings per week 
in Pennsylvania currency." Two dollars and eighty-eight cents. 

On leaving the tavern, Johannes' friends carried him to see 
Christ Church, then just completing, and, after the State House, 
at once both the pride and the wonder of the people. It reared 
its impressive bulk on an open square, adjoining a pond which 
reached from Arch to High streets, once a noted place for shoot-^ 
ing ducks. This, then considered, lofty architectural pile 

58 The Story of an Old Farm. 

appeared much as at the present day, though wanting its grace- 
ful spire — that, came seventeen years later as the result of a lot- 
tery. It lacked more than a spire ; it was new, and however 
grand a new church edifice may be, until it has been consecrated 
by years of service, it does not seem entitled to that hallowed 
reverence, born of old associations and decades of prayer and 
praise, that, involuntarily, an ancient temple evokes from its 
worshipers. Though, at the present day, this church is with- 
out many of its original quaint characteristics, such as the high- 
backed slips, bedroom pews and brick-paved aisles, their loss is 
more than compensated for by the acquisition of that mellow 
atmosphere of age, with which kindly time has enveloped the 
building's antique walls and gables, until it appears as venerable 
as the steadfast hills. 

Of course the mysterious friend, with whom we have gener- 
ously supplied Johannes, insists upon a pilgrimage to the house 
of William Penn at Second street and Morris' alley; for that is 
a shrine at which newly-arrived foreigners earliest worshiped. 
Penn's reputation was as a cherished heritage to all oppressed 
Europeans, and his memory, as the father of Pennsylvanian 
immigration, was especially revered by the German heart. 
As our visitors strolled in that direction, the streets were 
enlivened by numerous and varied odd costumes. It seemed 
very singular to meet so many long-drawn Quakers, mov- 
ing at measured pace with solemn visage, clad in lengthy 
shad-breasted drab coats adorned with horn buttons, their flap- 
ping waistcoats extending far down over the small-clothes that 
covered their sober strides. The long, straight hair of these 
peripatetic monuments of sedateness was covered by broad-brim- 
med felt hats, looped at the side with strings. These Quakers 
'offered an excellent foil to the brilliantly-arrayed young gallants, 
■who tripped jauntily by, under gold-laced cocked-hats, with their 
gaily embroidered coats cut low at the neck behind, that the 
great silver buckles fastening their plaited stocks might be dis- 
played. In that picturesque period it was the fashion for young 
gentlemen to wear short, straight, steel rapiers, often with jewelled 
hilts, which gave them quite a martial appearance, though not 
altogether in keeping with their clocked silk stockings, paste- 
buckled shoes and ruffled wrists and throats. 

Street Scenes and Colonial Costumes. 59 

Gay apparel was not confined by any means to the younger 
men. Old gentlemen, met on the way, were frequently 
resplendent in plush breeches, vests of various hues, and skirtsstif- 
fened with buckram till they stood out at an angle. Often 
double rows of solid silver buttons extended down their coats, 
and it was not uncommon to see suits decorated with conch- 
shells set in silver. A brilliant sight they presented in all the 
glint of polished metal, as they stamped along, shaking their 
powdered wigs, striking the pavement with their long silver- 
headed canes, stopping occasionally to greet some old friend and 
extend a pinch of snufF, not so much because of generous procliv- 
ities, as the desire to display their chased silver and gold snuff- 
boxes, which were generally carried in the hand. The kaleidos- 
copic changes of colors, to be noted among the people thronging 
the streets this bright May day, were not all to be attributed to 
the well-to-do of the populace: body-servants contributed their 
full share to the brilliant hues of the colonial costumes, and as 
they minced over the pavements at a respectful distance behind 
their masters and mistresses, often presented a gorgeous appear- 
ance. An absconding one is described in an advertisement of 
that year as wearing damask breeches, copper-colored cloth coat 
trimmed with black, and black stockings. A barber's servant, 
who ran away a few years before that time, wore, according to 
the notice in the "Weekly Mercury," a light wig, a gray kersey 
jacket lined with blue, a white vest faced and lined with red, 
and having yellow buttons, a pair of drugget breeches, a pair of 
black stockings and a red leathern apron. The last feature of 
his dress, his apron of leather, was at tha! time a distinguishing 
badge of servitude ; they being worn not only by workingmen, 
but by all apprentices, clerks, and employees of store and shop- 
keepers. It was also the custom for the wives and daughters of 
tradesmen, who assisted them in the business, to wear short 
skirts of green baize. 

On reaching Penn's house, it was found to be a sturdy edifice 
with bastions and salient angles. Its flanking gables fronted on 
the street, but the main portion of the building set well back, so 
that the house faced three sides of a small court. At the rear 
were beautifully shaded gardens, extending half-way to Front 
street and nearly to Walnut street. This edifice was built in the 

60 The Story of an Old Farm. 

earliest days of the city by one of its greatest improvers, Samuel 
Carpenter, and it was fitted up for Penn's occupancy on the occa- 
sion of his second coming to America. Penn brought with him 
his family and household gods, expecting to make his home 
permanently in Pennsylvania ; but within two years after taking 
possession of this mansion, owing to the distaste of his wife for 
colonial life, and owing to the fact that his enemies in London 
were dangerously threatening his powers and rights in America, 
he was forced to return to England. It was thought his absence 
would be temporary, but his affairs becoming more and more 
involved, he fretted away year after year in a vain endeavor to 
return, until he finally died, in 1718, without again visiting his 
colonial possessions. In 1704 Samuel Carpenter sold this house 
to William Trent for eight hundred and fifty pounds. This was 
the same Trent, who, in 1719, established mills on the Delaware, 
thus founding Trent-town — now Trenton. He died there, in 
1724, as Chief Justice of New Jersey. Penn's mansion ulti- 
mately became, and continued to be until many years after the 
Revolution, a fashionable boarding-house. From there was car- 
ried, in 1782, the body of the eccentric General Charles Lee, 
which was interred in Christ Churchyard. 

Our German friends, while wandering around the town visit- 
ing its many points of interest, probably found their way to 
another spot associated with the founder of the colony — the Blue 
Anchor Tavern, on the corner of Second and Dock streets, it 
being the first house he entered on reaching the city. Penn 
arrived at Newcastle by the ship " Welcome," in October, 1683. 
After spending a little 'time there, and at Chester, he proceeded 
to Philadelphia, landing at a low sandy beach fronting this tav- 
ern, at the mouth of Dock Creek, which, at that time, had grassy 
banks and rural surroundings. Ti'adition designates this inn, 
then just completing, as being the first substantial house erected 
in the city. For many years it was the point at which landings 
were made from small vessels trafficking with New Jersey and 
New England. It was also used as a ferry-house by persons 
crossing to Society Hill, to the New Jersey shore, and to Wind- 
mill Island, where a Dutch-looking structure ground the grain 
of the early settlers. 

Meanwhile, the day is wearing on, and the Moelichs have 

Philadelphia Equipage in 1735. 61 

still a journey before them, for it is not to be supposed that newly 
arrived Germans will remain in Philadelphia when but a few 
miles beyond is a thriving settlement, composed entirely of their 
own countrymen. The good Pastorius, the faithful pastor, magis- 
trate, teacher, patriarch, and friend of Teuton folk, had died fif- 
teen years before, but he left behind him, at Germantown, seven 
miles away as the road then ran, a sturdy German community, 
and a firmly established Lutheran church. It was the pole 
toward which the needles of all Rhenish emigrants turned, and 
we must conceive of some means of transporting Johannes and 
his party to that prosperous place. The human imagination is 
quite capable of bridging centuries and of creating situations, so 
there is no reason why we should not be equal to this task, 
especially as we feel confident of the assistance of Thomas Skel- 
ton, who advertises in the " Gazette " that he has " a four- 
wheeled chaise, in Chestnut street, to be hired." This was the 
only public conveyance in the city. It was twenty-five years 
later before Jacob Coleman began running the first stage — 
" with an awning " — from Philadelphia to the King of Prussia 
Inn, at Germantown. 

In 1735 the city boasted of but eight four-wheeled coaches, 
one of which belonged to Deputy-Governor Gordon. The 
streets were singularly clear of vehicles of every description. 
There were but six four-wheeled, one-seated chaises, drawn 
by two horses, besides the one that Shelton had to hire. The 
few carriages, if they could be so called, to be seen were two- 
wheeled, one-horse chairs, a cheap sort of a gig with a plain 
painted body, ornamented with brass rings and buckles, 
resting on leathern bands, for springs. The general means of 
conveyance, both for goods and people, was by horses ; farmers' 
wives came to town on pillions, behind their husbands, and stout 
market-women rode in from Germantown, panniers, filled with 
produce, flanking their horses' sides. Much of the freighting of 
the province was done by pack-horses, and it was a common sight 
to see a long line of them entering Philadelphia, laden with all 
manner of merchandise — some so enveloped in fodder as to leave 
exposed only their noses and hoofs, others bearing heavy casks 
suspended on either side, whilst still others staggered along 
beneath the weight of bars of iron, bent so to hang as to escape 

62 The Story of an Old Farm. 

the bordering trees of the contracted trails and roadways. There 
were but few carts ; the man who brought the silver sand to the 
different doors each morning owned one ; and we have seen to 
what base purpose another has been put by the town constable. 
That peculiar Pennsylvania institution, the big blue-bodied 
wagon, had not yet made its appearance, though it was not 
manv years before the prosperity of the province was such as to 
result in every farmer having his wagon. Their first introduc- 
tion caused great indignation among the owners of pack-horses, 
who feared that their business would be ruined. In 1755, when 
Postmaster-General Franklin found Braddock fretting and fum- 
ing at Frederick, in Maryland, because his contractors had failed 
to provide means of transportation, he at once agreed to furnish 
one hundred and fifty wagons, with four-horse teams, from Penn- 
sylvania, and have them at Will's Creek within ten days. 
Franklin fidfilled his agreement, and thus was Braddock's army 
enabled to move on to its disastrous overthrow. 

We will impress one of the carts into the service of aiding 
Thomas Skelton in moving our party. Johannes must return 
on some other day for his heavy luggage and furniture, as the 
" Mercury " will hardly as yet have commenced discharging 
from her hold. The Germantown road left town at the upper 
end of Front street, and, after following the river for a short dis- 
tance, wound in a northwesterly direction, and plunged into a 
dense forest, the haunt then, as it had been for centuries, of bears, 
wolves, deer and wild turkeys. The wolves seemed to have 
proved the most annoying to citizens, as we find bounties for their 
extirpation offered for many years after. The highway was not 
much more than a trail, the branches of the giant trees, that 
stood in solid phalanxes close to the wheel tracks, forming over 
the travellers' heads a roof of impenetrable foliage. Occasion- 
ally the shade was broken by the sunshine of a clearing, in the 
centre of which stood a log house, having a long sloping roof of 
thatch — the harbinger of the future greatness of suburban 
Philadelphia. Some of the clearings were already green 
meadows, in which no sign of trees appeared; others were 
studded by stumps showing the recent marks of the pioneer's 
axe. On nearing Germantown the road traversed a swamp, the 
wheels of the cart and chaise jolting over the rough logs of the 
corduroy road-bed that made the bog passable. 

Johannes Reaches Germantown. 63 

Our friends, listening to the tales of their guides, as they 
moved slowly through the woods, must have been filled with the 
most agreeable anticipations, on approaching the end of their 
journey. They found Germantown to be as thoroughly German, 
in language and in the appearance of the people, as any of the 
villages they had left, perched on the picturesque banks of the 
river of the Schoppen in the mother country. With its one 
long street bordered by straggling houses, it still presented much 
of the aspect of a frontier settlement. Many of the dwellings were 
the primitive structures of the early comers. They were built 
of logs, the interstices filled in with river-rushes and clay, and 
covered with a thin coat of plaster ; their gables confronted the 
street, and a man of ordinary size could easily touch the eaves 
of their double-hipped roofs. The more modern houses were 
of dark glimmer-stone, with little windows set deep in the thick 
walls, and with huge chimneys rising at the corners. These low 
substantial buildings, with their steep roofs and protecting eaves, 
were planted well back from the highway, and surrounded by 
fruit-trees. The comfortably-rotund matrons of these dwellings, 
who looked out at the new arrivals from the open upper half of 
their Dutch doors, were all busily knitting, for these Germantown 
housewives had already acquired au inter-colonial reputation as 
the manufacturers of superior stockings. 

The first German newspaper in Pennsylvania, and the first in 
America printed in a foreign language, was issued in German- 
town the year of Johannes' arrival. This place retained all its 
German characteristics down to the year 1793. Until that date 
all the public preaching was in German ; it was the language of 
business and society, and even that of the boys playing in the 
streets. The outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia, in the 
year '93, caused the offices of the general and state govern- 
ments, and of the city banks, to remove to this suburban town. 
This introduced an English speaking element, and a popidation, 
which proved to be, in part, permanent. Germantown thus 
becoming ffivorably known to Philadelphians, rapidly increased 
the number of its English speaking people. 

And now we must bid Johannes a many years' farewell — here 
he and his family fade for a time from our sight and knowledge. 
By the aid of a lively fancy, we have been able, for one day, to 

64 The Story of an Old Farm. 

clothe him with all the attributes of existence and experiences, 
but to continue that for a decade would be to tax the powers of 
your scribe beyond his capabilities. Family tradition asserts 
that he remained in the vicinity of Philadelphia for ten years. 
We will leave him there to acquire the language, educate his 
children, rub off his foreign characteristics, and gradually to 
assimilate himself and his family with the manners and customs 
of the people of the new country of his adoption. Our next 
knowledge of his life is from the pages of a letter he received 
from Bendorf in the year 1745. That interesting communica- 
tion will be presented in the coming chapter. 


Letters from the Old Country — Bcndorf Comes under the 
Dominion of the Murdering Margrave of Anspach. 

It is before me as I write — this old letter — a little torn in 
places, and tanned by time' to the color of old gold; yet, in a 
good state of preservation, and the penmanship almost like copy- 
plate in excellence. Its writer, Johannes Georg Hager, was an 
" Evangelical Prseceptor," (teacher of a Latin school), and clerk 
of the Bendorf church ; such a person in a German village 
being second only to the pastor and burgomaster. The parish 
register, in speaking of his death, in 1775, in his sixty-first year, 
records that he had been active for thirty-four years in his 
church and school duties. This letter served as his first intro- 
duction to Johannes' immediate family, as, in 1744, the preceptor 
had married Magdalena Christina Catharina Antonetta, the 
twenty -year-old daughter of Georg Peter Otto, whose wife, Ver- 
onica Gerdrutta, was the sister of Mariah Katrina. The com- 
munication is interesting, not only on account of the news it gives of 
the middle of the last century, but because of the piety evinced 
in its solemn invocation and benediction, and also as showing the 
stately and courteous style of writing at that time. 

torn off. 

Bendorff, June, 1745. 
Mr. cousin 
AND Lady 


— dear friend with all my heart sympathy [torn] all wish extraordinary joy by the 
long [torn] expected wish from the foundation of [torn] the heart that the Almighty 
[torn] continually bless you also for the future and all your acts [torn] and that 
although in a foreign country our friendship may get cultivated and grow 
stronger, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Amen ! You may perhaps think what 
a new cousin I may be, wherefore I commence by informing you that after the 

66 The Story of an Old Farm. 

death of Mr. [torn] pold in 1742 I was called here as preceptor and was mar- 
ried last Fall, 1744, with Magdalena Catharina, the only daughter of your 
brother-in-law, Otto, which accounts for our new relationship. To our all deso- 
lation our Lord has taken from us in 1741 my mother-in-law. in consequence of 
a fever — the same sickness which caused the death of young Mrs. Giegmann and 
many others, [torn] On 31 Jan., we had a calamity here as you will per- 
haps be aware already, whereby 75 houses were burned down. The fire com- 
menced at the Forsten house, near the Steingate, but how it originated has not 
been ascertained, so far, and from there everything burned down to the Herrschafts 
Keller House, touching also my school house ; the principal street burned down 
as far as Ciesar's house, and on the other side down to the pastor's house. So that 
between the Stein-gate and the Bach-gate there was not a single building remain- 
ing, and as you are acquainted yet with the locality you may judge for your- 
selves who are the people who are burned out, and if you had been present yet you 
would have been a sufferer too. The misery was terrible for these poor people, to see 
their fruits and corn a prey of the flames, and the whole was done so remarkably 
quick that in half an hour's time all the buildings, actually burned down, stood in 
full flames. It was lucky that it happened in day-time and not during the night, as 
otherwise many a life would have been lost ; but thousand times thanks to our 
Lord there was no accident of the kind. On a conflagration which came so sud- 
denly scarcely nothing of personal property could be saved ; many of them have 
commenced rebuilding like [several names torn out,] cousin Andreas Kirgerber, 
who sends thousand greetings, and many others. As we are now under a differ- 
ent " regime," that of the Landgraf of Anspach, which is near Nuremberg, many 
things are changed here, the town having formerly been under the dominion of 
Hackenburg, but now in consequence of an exchange we belong to the margrave 
alone, whereby changes in the manner of building are to be observed which cause 
many expenses, and no one can build up his house again on the spot it formerly 
stood on. but had to build in conformity with certain street regulations. The fire 
made many people poor, and the loss of the 1740 barrels of wine and vineyards, 
during the late war, reduced the inhabitants so much that I am afraid that Ben- 
dorff will never be again what it was before — commerce and trade in general 
being in poor condition. Amongst other news I may mention that Pastor Schmitt 
and his wife are dead, also Knobels, and your cousin, Mrs. Ruckert, away from 
seven children. 

Of your four letters we have not received one, except the first one, whereupon 
we wrote again immediately and would have written oftener since, if we had 
known of an opportunity available. I am very much surprised that cousin 
Henry in Hochstenbach, did not write to you through the op{»ortunity which was 
oflered to him. It seems, however, as if your sister dear, our cousin, had died, 
some information of the kind having reached us at tlie time my mother-in-law 
was still living. Her loss was very much lamented by my mother-in-law and all 
the friends, and they all wished she would live yet. * * * 

As regards her succession cousin Anton Kirberger has been curator over it, and 
was trying to get something out yet, but the matter was treated so copiously that 
the lawyers made the most of it. 

Although he took the matter at heart more than a brother, he could not attain 
his purpose to have bankruptcy declared, in which case everything would have 
been divided honestly. * « * 

Our Lord the Almighty restitute it to you 1000 times, and bestow upon you 
good health and a long life; 1000 greetings to all relations and friends whatever 

The Germany of Yesterday and To-day. 67 

their names may be, and that they all may prosper. I would most obediently 
request that you may avail yourself of the first opportunity offering to write 
again, and we shall surely answer by returning opportunity. You would at the 
same time do us a favor to write us something about the customs of the country, 
the description of houses, mills, furniture, gardening, vegetables and what the 
difference is between those we have in Germany, and about iron for the mechanics, 
and cloth, and anything connected with husbandry and agriculture ? And now I 
leave you all to the mercy and providence of our Lord, recommending myself to 
your continued remembrance, and remain with our best salutations and much 
esteem, Your all, sincerest friend and servant, 

JoH. Geo. Hagek, Prseceptor. 

'' On the human imagination events produce the effect of time." 
I am indebted to Cooper for this idea — No ! not for the idea, but 
for the words expressing it ; for no one discourses more eloquently, 
than does this novelist, of the links of recollection that bring 
back to the mind the innumerable changes in a comparatively- 
short period, which causes a recent date to appear as remote as 
the days of dark antiquity. A. D. 1745 is not a long time ago ; 
the span of existence of but few lives would bring us back to 
that year ; but yet, when one contemplates the astounding alter- 
ations that have taken place in the map of Europe since that 
date, events seem to mark a far greater lapse of time than do the 
intervening years. When the writer of this old letter was 
rounding his sentences, Germany was composed of hundreds 
of separate kingdoms and principalities, each with conflicting 
interests, their rulers at all times ready to pounce on each others' 
territory in defence of real or imaginary rights, or in vengeance 
for fancied wrongs. Prussia was still in the throes of its 
birth ; Frederick, not yet the Great, was in his direst stress, and 
in imminent danger of having to abandon to Maria Theresa, that 
Silesia which he had bought with so much blood and treasure. 
But, two days after this letter was written, he was saved from 
that humiliation by the battle of Hohenfriedberg, once of world- 
wide renown, now almost forgotten. 

It is when the mind reverts to the altered conditions of the 
political and personal relations between ruler and subject 
in Germany, and the great strides taken on the Continent 
in the advancement of individual rights, that one recog- 
nizes how different, as affecting the daily lives and destinies 
of mankind, is the world of yesterday from that of to-day. 
In the preceptor's letter there is no sentence weighted with 

68 The Stoey of an Old Farm. 

such meaning as the few words announcing the transfer of 
Bendorf from the sovereignty of Hackenberg to that of Anspach. 
Late in the seventeenth century Bendorf was included in the 
county of Sayn-Altenkirchen, which also comprised the districts 
of Friedewald, Freusburg and Altenkirchen. It was probably 
known to the Herr Prseceptor as the sovereignty of Hackenberg 
because of the records having been preserved in that town. 
This territory was the personal estate of Johannetta, wife of the 
Duke Joh. George I., of Sachsen-Eisenach. By her will of the 
thirtieth of November, 1685, it was to descend, under the rule 
of primogeniture, in the line of her eldest son. In 1741, the 
male line having become extinct, it passed to the descendants of 
her daughter, Eleonora Sophie, wife of the Margrave .Johann. 
Fredrick of Brandenburg- Anspach, and consequently fell to her 
grandson, the Margrave Karl Wilhelm Friedrich, of Anspach, 
who reigned from 1729 to 1757. I have already spoken of the 
despotic power of petty German princes in the eighteenth cen- 
tury. They ruled over dominions often no larger than one of our 
counties, and outside of the boundaries of Prussia and Austria, 
Germany was a patchwork of — when you include free cities and 
the estates of imperial knights — hundreds of large and small 
governments. Nor were they compact, as their several posses- 
sions were frequently at detached distances, as we see by this 
letter was the case in the margrave of Anspach acquiring Ben- 
dorf. All these princes maintained courts and armies, and their 
poor subjects were taxed and oppressed to support the luxury 
and state of the rulers and privileged classes. The peasants 
were not much better off than serfs, and hordes of officials levied 
tribute on even the middle and better classes occupying the 
towns and cities. In some localities sumptuary laws regulated 
the dress and the food of the people. As Frederick of Prussia 
grew stronger in his government, matters in this regard were 
much improved, his example having a beneficial effect on the 
better class of sovereigns, inducing them to have some respect 
for the rights of their people; but yet, freedom of the individual, 
such as was at that time known and enjoyed in the American 
colonies, had no holding or understanding in the average Ger- 
man mind. 

When Johannes read this letter, if he knew anything of 

Bendorf's Wicked Ruler. 69 

the character of the margrave of Anspach, he had good 
cause for devoutly thanking God that he and those dear to him 
were no longer citizens of Bendorf, and, consequently, subject to 
the will and caprice of a ruler who was entirely without sympathy 
for the rights and wrongs of his people, and who himself was 
governed by impulse and prejudice, rather than by a knowledge 
of justice, and an intuitive sense of what was due a community 
over which the chance of birth had placed him. Like all men 
controlled by their impulses, he could, at times, be generosity 
itself, but, nevertheless, his subjects preferred to give him a wide 
berth, acting as had done those of the previous king of Prussia — 
Frederick the Grreat's father — who used to fly around corners on 
the approach of their doughty monarch, fearing to be whacked 
over their shoulders by his stout cane. But, when the margrave 
was in a bad temper, and his judgment distorted by passion, his 
cruelties were apt to be of the most atrocious character. This 
was rendered more deplorable by the power he wielded over the 
destinies of the people he ruled ; at such a time woe betide the 
noble, burgher or peasant upon whom he set his malignant eye in 
anger. Numerous instances are given of the severity and 
excesses of this prince. In 1740 he imprisoned for life one 
Christopher Wilhelm Von Kauser, who was merely suspected or 
accused of posting up caricatures ofthe court. Once, on hearing 
that his dogs were not well fed, he rode to the house of the man 
who had them in charge and shot him dead on his own doorstep. 
In 1747 he hanged, without trial, a poor servant girl, who was 
accused of helping a soldier to desert. As the margrave was 
riding out of his castle one day, he asked the sentinel on guard, 
who happened not to be a regular soldier, for his musket ; the 
unfortunate fellow, recognizing his prince and not daring to dis- 
obey, unhesitatingly gave up his piece, whereupon the margrave 
called him a coward and no soldier, and had two hussars drag 
him through the mill-pond; of which treatment he died. It is not 
my purpose to continue the recountal of the idiosyncracies and 
wickednesses of this murdering prince. The personality of such 
a ruler could not but have a far-reaching influence for evil on all 
his representatives, and the citizens of distant Bendorf had to bear 
their proportion of the sorrows occasioned by such a government. 
Nor was escape by emigrati-^n any longer an easy matter, as 

70 The Story of an Old Farm. 

nnder the new regime, no subject could leave the dominions of 
the margrave without his permission, and that permission was 
not be had for the asking. I shall again have occasion to refer 
to Anspach, when we find, some thirty years later, the troops of 
that principality marching across Somerset county, in New Jer- 
sey, in their endeavor to assist King George III. in his hold on 
the revolted American colonies. 

Communications by post convey in their pages a subtle charm 
quite wanting in spoken words. Letters sent from persons for 
whose views and opinions one cares but little when present, are 
often received with pleasure and read with interest, when the 
writer is but a few days' journey away ; such is the mysterious 
something an enclosed missive carries within its envelope. If 
this be so, how important an event must have been the arrival 
of this long message from Grermany. Letters were great affairs 
in those days, and three, four, and often five months were occu- 
pied in their coming from the old country. We can easily pict- 
ure with what eager interest Johannes' family gathered about 
him as he read aloud these closely-written pages from Bendorf. 
Perhaps they expressed surprise at the marriage of Magdalena 
with the schoolmaster, though they were surely glad of a new 
relative who could write so good a letter. But Mariah Katrina 
could not forget his predecessor, Preceptor Kippold, whose wife 
had been her best friend, and had, stood godmother for her sec- 
ond boy, Andrew, in 1729. How they all wondered, as they 
heard of the great fire ; what words of sympathy fell from their 
lips as were mentioned the names of friends and neighbors 
whose all had been devoured by the flames. Tears doubtless fell 
as the death of this or that loved one was made known. They 
probably already knew that Maria Katrina's sisters, Mrs. Otto 
and ]\Irs. Kirberger, had died, but that the dearly-beloved pastor, 
Joh. Georg Schmidt and his wife, were no more was, indeed, a 
new grief. Had not the reverend man been the life-long friend 
of the parents ? Had he not married them, baptized all of their 
children, and stood at the open graves of the two little ones 
they had left lying under German sod? They had tender 
thoughts for the seven children that the wife of the fruit-dealer, 
Simon Ludwig Riickert, had left motherless ; and they were sorry 
enough to hear of the death of their old friend, Gottfried Knebel, 

The Kirberger Family. 71 

who had stood godfather for, and given his name to Johannes' 
youngest brother in 1724. How the good wife must have shud- 
dered at the recital of the losses and distresses caused by the 
late war, and have thanked God, too, that there was no prospect 
of war and its bitterness in America. You may be sure that all 
the gossip of the preceptor was read and re-read. That they 
regretted the copiousness of the lawyers in settling the estate of 
Mariah Katrina's sister is a matter of course, — the cormorants 
of the profession evidently did not originate on this side of the 

Anton Kirberger, the curator, who was so unsuccessful in pre- 
serving the estate from the hungry attorneys, was not a brother 
of Mariah Katrina, but probably a cousin, being the son of 
Joh. Wilhelm Kirberger of Bendorf, and a prominent citizen 
and court assessor of that place. He was certainly closely 
allied to the family, and, in 1724, stood godfather with Knebel 
to Johannes' youngest brother, Gottfried, and, in 1732, performed 
the same service for Johannes' son, Georg Anthon. It was his 
brother, Ehrenreich Kirberger, who, in 1725, acted as godfather 
for, and gave his name to, Johannes' oldest son, Ehrenreich, or 
Aaron. Their father was probably the brother of Burgomaster 
Gottfried Kirberger. This magistrate married, in 1673, the 
'' right respectable JungfraiC Veronica Gerdrutta, the daughter 
of the deceased Rev. Joh. Thumers, of Bendorf. Their children 
were Anna Barbara, Johannes Jack, Johann. Philipp, Anna 
Cathrina, Johann. Weimar, Andreas and Elizabeth. In 1694 the 
Burgomaster married, as his second wife, Elizabeth Margaretha, 
daughter of Peter Israel, of Altenkirchen. Their children were 
Veronica Gerdrutta, who married Georg Peter Otto; Maria Mar- 
garetha ; Maria Catherina, who married Johannes Moelich ; and 
Johann. Heinrich. It seems odd that the first-born of this second 
marriage should receive the name of the first wife — it certainly 
shows that the burgomaster's second choice had a patient and 
self-sacrificing nature. Her youngest child was the "Cousin 
Henry" mentioned in Preceptor Hager's letter, he being at that 
time the burgomaster of Hochstenbach. 

I have another old letter from Bendorf, dated four years later. 
Like the first, it is yellow and time-stained, though its odd old- 
German characters are as legible as if lately penned. The 

72 The Story of an Old Farm. 

writer was Johannes' wife's cousin, the curator, and he tells the 
same storj, as did the preceptor, of marriages and deaths, of 
wars, and of the great fire, which latter seems to have been the 
most important event of that age in the existence of the villagers. 
But, here is the letter ! — let it speak for itself. 

Bendorf, 25th May, 1749. 

Highly esteemed cousin and lady : I have seen with great pleasure from 
your letter that you and your good lady with your family are well, and so are 
we and our other friends and acquaintances. We are glad to hear, and so are 
these people, that you are doing well. As regards myself, my wife and our chil- 
dren, we are, thank God, in good health and spirits ; the Almighty keep them 
and ourselves so for many years longer ! Otherwise there has been transpiring a 
good deal of news which, of course, we cannot write all. I don't know whether 
you have heard of the great fire which we had here in 1743. All that part 
from the Oberbach Gate to the pastor's house, and on the other side down to the 
Cffisar's house up to Ralter house was destroyed, burning down everything to 
the ground, including the gates and your former house. Pilberger's house is the 
only one which was saved, all the rest being burnt down, so that no one could 
recognise certain places any more at all. Much cattle was burnt, too, but, 
thank God, no lives were lost. A good deal has been built up again since, but 
there is plenty of waste-ground yet, and the new buildings are erected much 
costlier than before. We belong now to the Margrave of Anspach, who ordered 
an architect to be sent who suprintends the erection of buildings, laying them 
all out in straight streets. I have, thanks to God, got through with my build- 
ing; I have put up a house about six times as large as my former dwelling was. 
Your brother-in-law, Holingshausen, lives in Pilberger's house. 

[two lines illegible.] 
but he is in bad circumstances, he cannot do much any more, because he trembles 
so much, just like his mother did. 

In consequence of the fire many people moved away, others became sick and 
many died. Your cousin, Otto, died half a year ago ; Joh. Weimar Kirberger 
died two months ago; old Hergemann died eight days ago; Pastor Schmit and 
his beloved are dead long ago, which you have, no doubt, heard already. We 
also had a good deal of war since, but have peace now. Joh. Michael Moelich 
is still living, but his wife is dead. 

I would wish that we could converse verbally, but as this cannot be the case, I 
send my greetings to all of you. 

And remain your sincere cousin, 

Joh. Anton Kirberger. 

It will be seen by this letter that Maria Katrina was now 
called upon to mourn the death of her half-brother, Johan. 
Weimar, and her sister Veronica's husband, Georg Peter Otto. 
The peace referred to by the writer of this letter was that fol- 
lowing the second Silesian war, between Prussia and Austria 
and their numerous allies. Frederick II. had withdrawn from 
the conflict in 1745, but the war was continued by Austria 

Bendorf Billets Troops in 1749. 


against France and Spain till the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 
1748. It was during these later years that Marshall Saxe 
gained his famous victories of Laufeldt, Ragoux and Fontenoy, 
the latter being fought in the presence of Louis XV. and the 
dauphin. The vicinity of Bendorf suffered but little from 
actual conflicts, but the Rhine was the highway between Aus- 
tria and Holland, which latter country was the fighting ground 
of the war. Bodies of troops were constantly passing and repass- 
ing along its banks, exacting from the villagers billets and for- 
ages, and impoverishing the people by the thefts and extortions 
always inflicted on a rural community by a foreign soldiery. 
Cousin Kirberger might well rejoice at the advent of peace, and 
the opportunity for recuperation it brought to the people of his 
neighborhood. The repose, alas ! was not to be for long. The 
Seven Years' War, but a few years ahead, was lying in wait for 
its victims — that great combat, in which nearly aU Europe was 
to be engaged, and which was to emblazon on the pages of his- 
tory, for aU time, the illustrious name of Fredericus Magnus ; 
that conflict which ultimately resulted in the unification — in the 
kingdom of Prussia — of the many electorates, duchies, bishoprics^ 
and dominions of landgraves and princes that then formed the 
inextricable jumble, and most extraordinary patch-work, called 
the map of Germany. 


Johannes Moelich Appears in New Jersey in 1747 — All About 
His Brother Godfrey — Echoes from the Ancient Walls of Zion 
Lutheran Church at Neiv Germantoivn. 

Johannes faded from our view at Germantown, Pennsylvania, 
in 1735. He emerges from the mists of the years in Decem- 
ber, 1747, in Greenwich township, Sussex, now Warren, county, 
New Jersey, where he appears as the purchaser from John F. 
Garrets of four hundred and nine acres of land fronting on the 
Delaware river and ''Pohohatacong" creek. This investment 
was made for the joint benefit of himself and his youngest 
brother Gottfried, whom it will be remembered as a lad of 
eleven accompanied Johannes to America. Gottfried — known 
in family annals as Godfrey — was born in Bendorf on the Rhine 
in 1724, and after reaching this country continued to be a mem- 
ber of our ancestor's household until he was twenty-one years 
old. On growing to man's estate he settled on this land border- 
ing '' Pohohatacong " creek and the Delaware, in which vicinity 
many of his posterity are now living. 

On the twenty-eighth of November, 1758, Johannes conveyed 
to this brother one hundred and eighty-one acres of the four hun- 
dred and nine that he had acquired from John F. Garrets. The 
deed recited that at the time of the conveyance he, the grantee, 
was in actual possession of the land conveyed, and that ''he, the 
said Godfrey Moelich, was a prime purchaser, and was to have 
been a party in the grant and conveyance of the said four hun- 
dred and nine acres, and for that purpose paid one hundred and 
forty-nine pounds, his share of the consideration money agreed 
])y them to be paid by the said Godfrey Moelich, the receipt of 
which said sum, he, the said Johannes, doth hereby acknowledge to 

Johannes, and Jacob Kline in Hunterdon. 75 

have had." From all of the above it would appear that Johannes 
acted as guardian for his younger brother, having brought funds 
with him to America to insure his proper settlement when of age. 
•Godfrey increased his possessions that same year by purchasing 
one hundred and fifty acres of land from William Lovet Smith, 
for one hundred and fifty pounds. Long before this time he had 
built a stone house on the Garrets land, and for ten years had 
been married. In May, 1748, he took unto himself a bride of 
fifteen summers, Margaret, the daughter of Christopher Falken- 
berger, a young woman of some education and refinement, as is 
evidenced by her correspondence, preserved by her descend- 

Johannes does not seem to have occupied his portion of the 
land on the Delaware. On his death it became the homestead 
of his second son, Andrew. Papers in my possession show that 
in the year 1750 he was living in Readington township, Hunter- 
don county, where he was interested in a tannery with Johann. 
Jacob Klein (Jacob Kline), who had, a few years before mar- 
ried his eldest daughter, Veronica Gerdrutta (Fanny). Though 
I have no documentary evidence in proof of the assertion, there 
is every reason to believe that at that time the homestead of 
Johannes was a farm of four hundred acres — two hun- 
dred of which was in black oak timber — located adjoining the 
present line of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, midway 
between the White House and North Branch stations. The 
land lay on both sides of the County Line road, and extended 
north to the slope of Leslie's ridge, being crossed from east to 
west by Leslie's brook. Whether the title to this land vested 
in our ancestor, or whether he merely occupied it in con- 
junction with his son-in-law 1 am not informed. Ultinaately it 
came into the sole possession of Jacob Kline, and there is no doubt 
that here he and his father-in-law established a tannery, prob- 
ably the first one in northern New Jersey. The Hon. Joseph 
Th ompson, when eighty years of age, wrote me that he well 
remembered the old bark and currying houses that stood on the 
Kline property ; and that John, the grandson of Jacob Kline, 
had often pointed out to him the location of the dwelling of his 
grandfather, Moelich, as being just south of the brook, and on the 
other side of the road from his — John's — residence. On this 

76 The Story of an Old Farm. 

property Jacob Kline and his sons and grandsons carried on an 
extensive tannery business for over seventy-five years. The 
land is no longer in possession of the family, the original four 
hundred acres being now sub-divided into the farms of George 
W. Coles, Walter Opie and George Stillwell. " The Ridge " 
obtained its name from George Leslie of Perth Amboy, of whom 
we shall learn much in a future chapter. It is a rise of land 
commencing at Leslie's brook, and in breadth extends nearly 
two miles to Rockaway creek and Lamington river. In length 
it is traversed by the New Brunswick and Easton turnpike, 
which soon after leaving North Branch village (going westward) 
attains a considerable elevation that is maintained three or four 
miles until White House is approached, where by a gradual des- 
cent the general level of the country is again reached. Here on 
this breezy upland and along its slopes, from which the surround- 
ing county is viewed like a map unrolled, have dwelt, and still 
dwell many of the descendants of Johannes' son-in-law, " Old 
Jacob Kline." 

We learn from the records of the " Kirchen Buck der Corpor- 
ation von Zion in New Germantoivn in West Jersey, ^^ that 
Johannes Moelich was an active member and officer of Zion 
Lutheran church in Tewksbury, then Lebanon, township, in 
the same county. The exact date of the establishment of this 
congregation is not known. As early as 1730 there were 
German-Lutherans in the vicinity of what is now New German- 
town, it being supposed that they came from Germantown, 
Pennsylvania. In 1749, Zion corporation had been for some 
time in existence, and in that year a new church building " was 
solemnly dedicated to the service of God by the brethren Brunn- 
holtz, Handschuch, Hartwig, Schaum and Kurtz." This 
antique structure is still standing, and its thick stone walls will 
doubtless continue to house congregations for generations to 
come. Since those early days, however, it has undergone many 
alterations, and in present appearance differs materially from 
that of the original edifice, which in outward form was not unlike 
the little church on Pohick creek in Virginia, built a few years 
later, where Washington worshiped. An inmiense roof, con- 
verging to the centre, capped the walls, in which small windows 
were set high from the ground. A huge sounding board sur- 

ZiON Lutheran Church at New Germantown. 77 

mounted the lofty pulpit, and in the center of the building, in 
the broad middle aisle, was a square pit in which bunaed 
in cold weather a bright charcoal fire. It has been suggested 
that this fire served not only for the comfort of the worshipers 
but as an illustration for the preacher, who pointed his finger at 
the glowing bed of coals when dwelling on the everlasting fire 
that awaited the ungodly. In 1831 the quaint building was 
remodeled. The old barrack -like roof made way for one more 
modern in style, Gothic windows were introduced, the 
exterior walls were covered with a composition of lime, sand and 
pebbles, and a vestibule, spire and bell added. Within ten 
years still greater changes followed, aud the auditorium was 
made to more nearly conform to the present fashion of church 

There is still in existence the original instrument by which 
Ralph Smith conveyed to the trustees of Zion congregation 
seven and one quarter acres of land, which included the site of 
the church then "newly erected." It is in the form of a lease 
running one hundred and four years, demanding an annual quit- 
rent of "nine pence three farthings for each one acre, of 
Procklaraation money." This portentous document is elabor- 
ately inscribed on a heavy piece of sheep-parchment over two 
feet in breadth, the ink of the text still being distinctly black, 
although that of the signatures has grown pale, while yet per- 
fectly legible. The leasehold was ultimately converted into a 
fee by the commutation of the quit-rent. The phraseology of 
the conveyance begins in this wise : 

This Indenture made this tenth Day of November in the Year of Our Lord 
One Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine, Between Ralph Smith, Esq., of 
Lebanon in the County of Hunterdon and Province of New Jersey, on the One 
Part, and Baltis Biokle, Hones Melek, Philip Phise, alias White, Casper Hender- 
shot, Lowrence Rulifson, Samuell Barnard, David Melek, Jacob Cline, Adam 
Vockerot, Jacob Shipmann, George Swart and Joseph Hornbaker, Trustees to 
the Luthern Congregation in the Countys of Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris, 
on the other part, Witnesses, etc. 

None of the names of the lessees are correctly spelled. The 
second one is, of course, that of our German ancestor. The writ- 
ing of the lease, which is in a good, round, clerkly hand, is that of 
Smith, the lessor, who wrote Hones for Honnes, which is Hollan- 
disch, or Low Dutch, for John. Ralph Smith was an English- 

78 The Story of an Old Farm. 

man of wealth, and a large land-holder in what is now New Grer- 
mantown. He came to Lebanon township from Boston in 1734, 
and is said to have been ambitious to found a town, which he 
desired should be called Smithfield. With the influx of Ger- 
mans, however, his influence was not strong enough to prevent 
the village from being named after the Pennsylvania town from 
which man V of these new-comers had migrated. Although all 
early documents mention this neighborhood simply as " King 
Street," or Tewksbury, Smith persisted in using the name 
Smithfield in his leases, even after the high-sheriff of Hunterdon 
plainly designated it in a public advertisement as New German- 
town. The first record of this last name appears in a legal 
instrument drawn by Richard Stockton of Princeton, dated 
the twentieth of July, 1760. While Ralph Smith was unable to 
control the nationality of new arrivals, he endeavored, at least, to 
dictate the nature of the religious observances they should intro- 
duce into the neighborhood. He inserted in the lease of the 
church lot a clause which provided that Zion society should not 
allow '' any other doctrin to be taught but that, according to the 
Lutherrien scheem, excepting a farther advance towards the 
Protestant Churches now established, according to the doctrins, 
contained in the Thirty-nine Artickles of the Church of England, 
or according to the Presbyterian scheem as professed and 
adhered to in America." The lessor was evidently solicitous 
that no popish errors should be propagated in the community. 
But imperfectly understanding the Lutherrien scheem (as he 
styled it) — for the services of that church were mostly in Ger- 
man — he was careful to provide that the preaching in the new 
house should not deviate in any essential respect from the doc- 
trines of the Thirty-nine Articles and the Westminster Confes- 
sion of Faith. 

For several reasons this conveyance from Ralph Smith pos- 
sesses an interest for the historian of Johannes Moelich. First, 
as showing who were at that time his co-trustees in Zion ; and 
second, in the fact that his name appears among the first of the 
trustees. As their names were probably placed in the order of 
their importance, it is fair to presume that Johannes ranked 
among the most prominent of the officers and congregation. 
" Baltis Bickle," or more properly speaking, Balthazar Pickel, 

Baltis Pickel and Other Worthies. 79 

was easily the first in possessions, age and social consequence in 
that German community. He was a native of Hamburg, and 
early in the century settled in Hunterdon county, purchasing a 
large tract of land at the foot of that considerable elevation which 
in consequence of that purchase lost its euphonious Indian 
appellation of Cushetunk, and has since been known as PickeFs 
mountain. Here his descendants for several generations have 
lived, and a portion of the original purchase is still in possession 
of the family. At the death of Balthazar Pickle, by his will he 
bequeathed one thousand pounds to Zion church, the intention 
of the pious donor being that the interest on this sum should pay 
the whole of the minister's salary. In this regard his expecta- 
tions were not fulfilled. The money willed must have been in 
colonial pounds, as the total amount realized from the bequest 
by the trustees was a little less than two thousand dollars. Baltis 
and his wife Charity, "good old mother Pickel," lie buried close 
to the east walls of Zion. His grave stone bears the following 
inscription : 

Here lies the body of 

Baltis Pickel 

Who departed this Life, Dec. oth, 1765, 

In the 79th year of his age. 

Remember me as you pass by, 

As you are now so onst was I, 

As I am now so must you be 

Prepare for death and follow me. 

Near by is the grave of a youth of twenty, bearing the same 
name, upon whose stone is the following curious verse : 

My Dwelling Place is here 

This Stone is got 

To Keep the Spot 
That men dig not too near. 

The date of the advent in Hunterdon county of David Moe- 
lich — mentioned as one of the church trustees — has not been 
ascertained. He is believed to have been our ancestor's cousin. 
David was born in Bendorf in 1715, being the son of Hans 
Peter, who it is supposed, was a brother of Johannes' father. 
Jonas Moelich, a bachelor brother of David, who was 
born in Bendorf in 1710, was also at this time a Hunter- 
don resident and a member of Zion congregation. There was 

80 The Story of an Old Farm. 

still another of the name then living in Lebanon township, who 
later became prominent in the affairs of Zion society. This 
fourth Moelich was Antony, Anton or Tunis, Johannes' nephew, 
he being the son of Johann. Peter, who emigrated unmarried 
from Bendorf in 1728, but who must have found himself a wife 
soon after arrival, as his oldest child, Tunis, was bom in 1730. 
It would be very agreeable to tell the whole story of the rich 
historical memories that cling to these old walls of Zion. Such 
a story would entail the narrative of the growth of population in 
this section of New Jersey; but, just now, our interest in this 
church lies with some of its early founders and their suc- 
cessors, and we must confine our notice to such incidents in the 
life of the society as relate to our German ancestor and his chil- 
dren. It may be mentioned, however, that as early as 1745 it 
appears that the Reverend Henry Melchior Muhlenberg occa- 
sionly supplied Zion pulpit, while at the same time having gen- 
eral charge of the affairs of the congregation. This divine, — 
familiarly known as Father Muhlenberg — was born in Hanover 
in 1711 ; after graduating at the University of Gottingen, which 
he had entered in 1735, he settled at Halle. The early German 
emigrants to America were essentially a religious people, and to 
them no distress connected with exile was more grievous than 
the loss of the religious instruction they had known in the old 
country. During the first four decades of the last century there 
was not in New York or New Jersey a properly-accredited 
clergyman of the Lutheran persuasion. The people of that faith 
repeatedly implored the home church to send them a minister. 
After much urging, Mr. Muhlenberg consented to accept charge 
of the American churches, and reached Philadelphia on the 
twenty-fifth of November, 1 742. The Germans realized in him 
the consummation of their highest hopes for a priest, and with 
great joy they welcomed the ministering of holy religion in the 
form and manner of the church in fatherland. The labors, suf- 
ferings and successes of this Lutheran patriarch are matters of 
eccelesiastical history. To the character of an humble and sin- 
cere Christian were joined natural qualifications and educational 
acquirements that peculiarly fitted him for the arduous and 
varied duties incidental to his position. He was a skilful sur- 
geon as well as a ripe theologian, and could preach to his con- 

Reverend Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. 81 

gregation with equal facility in English, German and Low 
Dutch. Gentleness and firmness in him were singularly 
blended; his wise counsel and tender sympathies won such 
respect and devotion that throughout his life his influence among 
the Germans was unbounded. We are told that his eloquence 
was of an order that would equally move and melt the heart of 
the wildest frontiersman, or rivet the attention of the most cul- 
tured and educated member of the synod. In 1745 he removed 
from Philadelphia to the village of La Trappe — New Providence 
— in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, which at that time con- 
tained the largest and most important German congregation in 
the country. From then until his death, in 1787, he seems to 
have had a general oversight of, and to have exercised a sort of 
presiding eldership over, the churches of the Lutheran denomin- 
ation. He was a wonderful organizer of congregations. Heat 
nor cold, storm nor wind, robbers nor Indians, could daunt his 
energies or repress the enthusiasm of the missionary spirit, which 
led him to travel thousands of miles through the Middle and 
Southern States at the call of his German brethren. The rare 
virtues and talents of this unusual man were, to a remarkable 
degree, transmitted to his posterity through successive genera- 
tions. As clergymen, soldiers, statesmen, educators, authors 
and poets, we find that his children, grandchildren and great- 
grandchildren have taken rank with the most distinguished men 
of the country. 

The first missionary of Zion church was the Reverend 
Johannes Christophorus Hartwig, (anglice), John Christopher 
Hartwick, who contributed his erratic services during the years 
1747-1748. He did not tarry long in Tewksbury as his useful- 
ness was much impaired by an unfortunate repugnance he felt 
towards all womankind. Neighborhood gossip recites that he 
would cross the road, or even leap a fence, to avoid meeting one 
of the gentler sex. The story is told that when preaching in 
New York state, on awaking one morning at the home of a 
parishioner, he found that the good woman of the house had 
arisen in the night and silently spread a thick petticoat over the 
bed, lest he should suffer with the cold ; so indignant was the 
clergyman that he made his way to the stable, saddled his horse, 

and rode off before breakfast. On the seventh of September, 

82 The Story of an Old Farm. 

1748, there arrived at Philadelphia, by the ship " Hampshire,'^ 
Captain Thomas Cheeseraan, from Rotterdam, the Reverend Joh. 
Albert Weygand. At the instigation of Father Muhlenberg, he 
was soon preaching at New Germantown as a candidate, and in 
the following year this immigrant-minister was invited to be the 
regular pastor of the congregation. Among the seventy-eight 
names signed to his call were those of Baltus Pickel, Johannes 
Moelich, Samuel Earnhardt, Jacob Kline, Joseph Hornbaker, 
Philip Weiss, Lawrence Roelifson and others. Mr. Weygand's 
services proved very acceptable to the people and it was during 
his pastorate that the church edifice was completed and dedi- 
cated. How long he officiated is not exactly known, but it is cer- 
tain that in a printed publication of 1755 he is spoken of as 
" the minister of the old Lutheran Church at New York and 
Hackensack '' — serving alternately the people of Bergen and 
Rockland counties, and the congregation of New York city. 

Following Mr. Weygand came, in about the year 1754, Pastor 
Ludolph Heinrich Schrenck ; his stay was short and his depar- 
ture is unrecorded. During these changes and vacancies 
Father Muhlenberg continued his episcopal direction of Zion's 
people. In the autumn of 1760 he sent a young man — Reverend 
Paul Bryzelius — on horseback to the " hill country of New Jer- 
sey," to preach to the waiting congregations of Zion and St. Paul. 
Of the latter church society we shall learn something shortly. 
With him he dispatched a letter addressed to his '' highly 
respected and dearly beloved Brethren Messieurs Balthasar Pickel 
and John Moelich, senior, at Racheway, etc." This last word 
expresses Father Muhlenberg's endeavor to spell Rockaway, the 
name of the stream which drains the country west and south of 
Tewksbury township, and upon the south branch of which lived 
Balthazar Pickle. The writer of this letter makes another effort 
to anglicise — this time a foreign, not a native word. The name 
" Brucelius " is written in English, and was evidently an attempt 
to convey in Roman characters the sound of the young clergy- 
man's name. In subsequent entries upon the church books 
Muhlenberg wrote it Bryzelius. Doctor Hazelius, afterwards of 
Z ion's pulpit, and himself of Swedish origin, spelled it " Brize- 
lius." But enough of preface ! Here is a translation of this 
pastoral message from the last century : 

Father Muhlenberg's Letters to Zion Church. 83 

Worthy and Beloved Fathers and Brethren : Herewith I send in mj 
place on a visit an honest teacher, namely, Ddmine Brucelius, who studied in 
Sweden and traveled several years in Germany and England, and tried many 
things. He is still in his best years, cheerful and very industrious, humble and 
friendly in company, lives sober, godly and exemplary, and understands well how 
to deal with the rich and poor, with the learned and unlearned, with the sick and 
healthy ; has a great knowledge in the true Christianity, and tries to lead souls 
to Lord Jesus ; understands good English and German. Since, however, in past 
years he preached mostly in Swedish and English, and had little practice in the 
German language, therefore, German seems a little difficult. He will very soon, 
however, regain his knowledge of German when he has had just a little practice. 
You will hear and see for yourselves wherein he will please you in doctrine and 
conversation, and write me what you think of him. 

I am for the present not able to pay his traveling expenses, and hope the dear 
brethren will take care of this out of love because he has hired from his congre- 
gation a horse for the journey, which he must himself pay for. 

Receive him in love as a true servant of Jesus, and make his conversation use- 
ful to you. To your wives and worthy relations, especially to the long-sufTering 
sick mother, Pickel, give consolation out of the abounding love of Jesus, and be 
true even unto death ; then will you receive the crown of life and glory. 

Thus wishes, worthy and beloved fathers and brethren, your old well-wisher 
and friend, Henry MuhIiENBERG. 

New Providence, 25 Nov., 1760. 

This day I have buried my youngest son. 

This young minister found such favor with the goo^ people of 
the hill country as to be regularly called as their pastor, and he 
continued preaching to the congregations of New Germantown 
and Pluckamin until 1767, when he removed to Nova Scotia. 
He was the first occupant of the parsonage near the first named 
village. In May following Mr. Bryzelius' removal, Father 
Muhlenberg was elected ^'Rector" of the united churches of Zion 
and St. Paul. As the patriarch never resided in New Jersey, 
and continued, as before, the pastor of the Lutheran churches of 
Philadelphia, the inference is that the election and formal accept- 
ance was a prudential measure intended to further the temporal 
interests of the united congregations. During the vacancy of their 
pulpits he occasionally occupied them, as did the Rev. Christian 
Streit, who was afterward the pastor of a Lutheran congregation 
at Easton, Pennsylvania. Father Muhlenberg appears, how- 
ever, at all times to have given his personal care and direction 
to the affairs of the society. Not long after the departure of Mr. 
Bryzelius he addressed to the brethren the following quaint and 
characteristic letter, advising them as to their course while with- 
out a spiritual guide. The reference to Bedminster will be 

84 The Story of an Old Farm. 

made plain, later, when we come upon the founding of St. Paul's 
congregation at Pluckamin. The superscription in English 
reads : 

To tlie Wardens and Vestries of the United Lutheran Churches in New Ger- 
mantown and Bedminster. 

The original letter is in German : 

Honorable Corporation, Beloved Brethren : I recently wrote a letter 
to you and gave it to Mr. Bartles. Rev. Kurtz, our old minister, has promised to 
make a visit to the United Congregations after the Holy days of the dear Lord. 
If he should be too feeble for so difficult a winter journey, some one younger will 
come. I beseech, however, the Honorable Corporation that she take care of her 
charter and order, and open the churches to no disorderly preachers or tramps. 
The fugitives who run where they have not been sent must stop with their equals. 
Because where the carcass is there gather the eagles. 

The Honorable Corporation will take also into consideration and provide that 
during the coming spring the parsonage may be set in habitable order. It would 
be very good if the God-fearing members of both congregations would assemble 
on Sundays in their churclies, would sing together an edifying hymn, order some- 
ting to be read, and would pray. Some one will be amongst the brethren who 
can do it. 

I send you my hearty greeting, and hope we may soon meet again. 

I am your old 

Friend Muhlenberg. 

Philadelphia, 10 Dec, 1767. 

The next incumbent at New Germantown came to New Jer- 
sey confident of possessing the affections and esteem of her 
people, for he was John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, the eldest 
son of the patriarch, who after much solicitation had consented 
to serve as resident deputy-rector for his father. He occupied 
Zion's pulpit for the first time on the fifth of February, 1769, 
and continued to supply that and St. Paul's for three years. He 
awakened an enthusiastic devotion in the members of his flock, 
and though at this time but twenty-three years old, he soon 
won their respect as well as their aflfections. In 1772 his father 
was applied to by the Germans of the valley of the Blue Pidge, 
Virginia, for a minister for their new church at Woodstock, the 
county-town of Dunmore, they asking that his son might be 
sent. This request was acceded to, and the young minister 
made his way beyond the Potomac, where he so conducted him- 
self as to insure his name ever being honorably preserved on the 
pages of history. We shall pass some interesting hours in this 

Father Muhlenberg's Letters to Zion Church. 85 

excellent man's company on his return to New Jersey, after 
exchanging his rector's gown for the blue and buff of a Conti- 
nental general. 

For several years following the loss of Peter Muhlenberg, 
Zion's pulpit appears to have been without an occupant, Father 
Muhlenberg continuing his oversight of the congregation. 
Repeated requests were made to the rector that he would send 
one of his two remaining sons to fill the office of "assistant minis- 
ter." While this desire was never gratified — at least to the 
extent of a residence of either for a continuous period — it is in 
evidence that Henry Ernst, the youngest, occasionally supplied 
the churches, and presided at regular vestry councils. His con- 
sent was at one time obtained to become the rector in place of 
his father, but the joint congregations of Philadelphia refused to 
release him from a prior engagement, and so the arrangement 
was not consummated. That, meanwhile, unsuccessful efforts 
were made to secure a minister is shown by the following letter 
of Father Muhlenberg addressed to Ehrenreich Moelich and his co- 
trustees. Our immigrant ancestor, Johannes, having by this time 
become a member of the congregation of that greater and eternal 
Zion, his eldest son had taken the sire's place among the fathei'S of 
the earthly church. As it is dated the year previous to the one in 
which Peter Muhlenberg severed his connection with the New 
Jersey congregations, it would seem that he was absent from his 
charge during some part of 1771. He may have been on a visit 
to the valley of Virginia, and evidently had already notified his 
parishioners that he intended to leave them. 

Worthy and Beloved Brethren : I received your dear letter of the 16th 
September from Bedrainster, through the dear brother, Anthony Melick, and 
understand from it : 1st, That the majority of the members of St. Paul's church 
met on Wednesday and voted for Mr. Kuntze and Mr. Buscherch. 2nd, Now^as 
far as Mr. Kuntze is concerned, he thanks the dear brethren heartily, because 
they have been so good as to vote for him. It is not possible for him to accept 
the call, since tlie corporation of Philadelphia positively will not release him, 
neither can they let him go, nor will they, and he himself also before God has 
neither conviction nor desire to leave without a cause the congregation entrusted 
to him. 3rd, And because the beloved brethren have also voted for Mr. Busch- 
erch, and I have heard that Mr. Buscherch will preach next Sunday in New 
Germantown ; if tlien the Bedminster corporation thinks that Mr. Buscherch is 
strong and qualified enough to feed your three congregations, and the corporation 
of Zion's church, likewise, thinks and agrees with you, then can you ask him by 
chance if he is willing to accept a call from you or not. The congregations have, 

86 The Story of an Old Farm. 

indeed, a right to vote, nevertheless the question remains whether the preacher 
for whom they voted truly can accept the call, or will. For this time I don't 
know anything further to answer, except that I greet you all heartily and kiss 
you in Christ, who for the comfort of the Believers has promised " Look, I am 
with you every day, until the end of the world." I remain your old wellwisher 
and intercessor, Henry Muhlenbeeg. 

Philadelphia, 22 Sept.. 1771. 

My next record of a shepherd to this Lutheran flock is that 
of William Anthony Graff, a native of Grunstadt in Rhenish 
Bavaria, and a graduate of the university of Gressen in Hesse- 
Darmstadt. This godly man came in 1775 and preached until 
his death, thirty-four years later, his memory being still pre- 
served as a precious heritage by the descendants of the fathers 
of Zion. His certificate of ordination, dated in September, 1760, 
is in the handwriting of Father Muhlenberg, and it records in 
stately, scholastic Latin that he was called in that year to the 
charges of Hackensack and Ramapo, ^' prefectures of New Jer- 
sey belonging to the kingdom of Great Britain." With those 
congregations he remained for fifteen years, until called to New 
Germantown. This certificate shows further that the newly- 
ordained one vows "to abhor all fanatical opinions, such as 
pontifical, anabaptist, sacramentarian and similar errors." And 
then to him is entrusted, with pious ceremony, '' the office of 
teaching the gospel and administering the sacraments according 
to the calling and rule prescribed in the Prophetic and Apostolic 
writings, whose sura is comprehended in the three Symbols, 
Apostolic, Nicene and Athanasian, — in the Augsburg confession 
presented to the Emperor Charles V. in the year ]530, and in 
the Apology of the same — likewise in the smaller and larger 
catechisms of Dn. Dr. Luther, and in the articles, to which signa- 
tures were appended in the assembly of Schmalcald." The 
whole closes with the handsome signatures and seals of 

Carolus Magnus Wrangel, 
S. S. Theol. Doctor Concionator Aulic. 
Ord. Suecorum Regis & Ecclesiarum, 
Sueco Luther-in America Praepositus. 

IIenricus Muhlenberg. 
Lutherani Praeses et 

Pastor Graff's Flourishing Congregation. 87 

The first signature, with its appended title, may be translated : 
Charles Magnus Wrangel, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Regular 
Court Preacher to the King of Sweden, and Head of the Swed- 
ish Lutheran Churches in America. 

About the time of the coming of Pastor Graff we may con- 
clude that this Lutheran congregation was in a flourishing condi- 
tion. Before me lies an original list of the communicants of the 
church, dated the second of May, 1773, showing their number 
to have been ninety. It is in the handwriting of the elder 
Muhlenberg, and the names present a singular mixture of Ger- 
man, Latin and English spelling. Among them are to be found, 
Ehrenr Moelich, evidently intended for Aaron Moelich, the first 
name standing for Ehrenreich ; his wife is set down as Charlotta; 
Jonas Moelich; Christian Meelich; Mr. Anthony Meelich, n fr. 
Eleonora ; Mr. Balthas Pickel ; Mr. Jacob Klein, n fr. 
Euphronica; Gottfried fein n fr. Magdelena; Marcus Koenig, n fr. 
Elisabeth ; Joh. Appelman, n fr. Ursula Magdal ; Mr. Thomas 
van Busshkerk, n fr., Esther ; Frau Miillerin Henrichs. The 
Christian Meelich mentioned above was the son of Johannes' 
cousin David ; Anthony Meelich, as we have already learned, 
was Johannes' nephew, while Frau Miillerin Henrichs was Maria 
Catherine, a sister of Anthony at Tunis, who, in 1755, 
became the wife of Joh. Henry Miiller — Anglice, Miller. 
Her husband emigrated from Germany in 1750, and 
three years later settled near New Germantown, where he 
became a valued citizen, being for thirty-four years the clerk of 
the township. Although a devoted Christian, he was of the 
German Reformed persuasion, consequently we do not find his 
name on Zion communion lists, where that of his wife for a num- 
ber of years frequently appears. Eventually she proved a wan- 
dering sheep and strayed from the Lutheran flock — the church 
of her forefathers. In the year 1782 a Methodist minister 
arrived in Tewksbury who secured the good-will of her brother, 
Tunis — ithen a church warden — with whom he lodged. Among 
the few persons that he succeeded in converting to the new, 
and generally considered heterodox, faith, was his host's 
sister. This did not accord with the views of her husband, 

Henry Miller, who, thereupon, interviewed the missionary, and | 

reported the result in writing to his wife's pastor, Mr. Graff, 

88 The Story of an Old Farm. 

declaring that he found the newcomers religious beliefs to be 
"scandalous and despicable of the church." On the following 
Sunday, the rector, from the pulpit, denounced the itinerant as 
a "proselyting upstart." This brought Tunis Melick to his feet 
in defence of his guest, and he angrily interrupted Mr. Graff, 
being joined in his protest by Grodfrey Rinehart, another church- 
warden. A great commotion was produced in the congregation, 
and the two malcontents were subsequently tried and deposed 
from the vestry. Tunis Melick and his wife adhered to the new 
faith, and with a few others stemmed the current of opposition, 
until their perseverance was finally rewarded by the establish- 
ment of a Methodist congregation, in which their descendants 
have been prominent to this day. 

Catherine Miller was much beloved, and was long remembered 
in Tewksbury because of the impress made by her strong char- 
acter and deeply religious nature upon the people among whom 
she spent her life. John Fine, who died in 1861 at the age of 
eighty-two, and who himself was as modest and humble as he was 
good, used to tell that in his boyhood he was indentured for a 
term of years to Henry Miller. He soon found his master's wife 
to be not only very pious, but exceedingly strict. She treated 
him well, but insisted that he should comprehend his duties and 
perform them all in their proper time and order. On one occa- 
sion, being seriously punished for running the milch cows from 
the field, he was inclined to resent the whipping, and did revenge 
himself by some ugly boyish trick. "In after years I regretted 
it very much," said the good old man, " and more especially did 
I grieve over it, when, upon the death of Mother Miller, it was 
discovered that she had knelt so often and so long in secret 
prayer that 'caUusses^ had grown upon her knees, resembling 
those upon the hand of a common working-man." Henry Miller 
upon the death of his wife thus recorded the event in his family 
Bible: " 1807. To-day the 22nd Jan.: at 12 o'clock noon, has my 
dear wife Maria Catherina fallen peacefully asleep in the Lord, 
and will be buried on the 25th day. After we have lived fifty- 
one years, nine months and three weeks together in the Holy 
estate of matrimony. And she is the first one who has died in 
my house. May the dear God prepare us who are left behind 
to follow piously after, for the sake of his dear Son, Jesus Christ, 

Character and Appearance of Father Graff. 89^ 

Amen." " Good old Father Fine," who has preserved to us the 
story of Catherine Miller's habit of prayer, seems to have reached 
a height of spirituality unattainable by his contemporaries, and 
he left a name that stands as a synonym for Christian piety in 
all the Tewksbury region Pie was a man of '' wise saws, sen- 
tentious apothegms and apposite anecdotes," and the tales, related 
by the village gossips of his biblical honesty, are the wonder of 
the present generation. He and his wife were early converts to 
Methodism, he being blessed with a help-mate as heavenly 
minded as himself. "Mother Fine" was renowned for sanctity, 
for charity, for every tender feeling. A clerical bull is asso- 
ciated with her name. An Irish minister said to her at a social 
meeting, " Sister Mother, please lead our devotions !" 

But these reminiscences are carrying us too far away from 
Pastor Graff, to whom we must return. At the time of his com- 
ing to Zion and St. Paul's he was in the prime of manhood, being 
about eight and forty years old. An interesting family, consist- 
ing of a wife and half a dozen children (of whom four were 
daughters), consitituted the whole of his worldly wealth — if we 
may except a traditional '^ roach-backed " horse, with riding 
equipments, and a certain weather-stained " shay" of a comically 
antique construction. Father Graff's parishioners delighted in 
his imposing appearance. He was very fond of the saddle, and 
wearing a three-cornered hat and military boots, Avas often to 
be seen astride of his faithful steed, riding between New German- 
town, Pluckamin, and on to Roxbury, where he also supplied a 
Lutheran pulpit. Mr. Graff's salary was to be the interest on 
the Pickel legacy (supposed to amount to sixty pounds), and 
sixty pounds more to be raised by contributions from the congre- 
gations of Pluckamin and Roxbury. For this the New German- 
town congregation was entitled to preaching twice monthly, while 
the lesser flocks were forced to be contented with Sunday visita- 
tions of once a month. He soon dropped from his official title 
" deputy," or " pro tern " as Father Muhlenberg, hearing of the 
excellent choice of the congregations, very willingly resigned the 

Mr. Graff preached alternately in German and English, but 
his efforts to conquer the latter tongue were never entirely 
successful. It is said that to the end of life he persisted 

90 The Story of an Old Farm. 

in calling the village of his residence " New 6'/mrrmantown/' 
and that of the location of St. Paul's church " Blook-a-meew." 
The story is told that once, when delivering a sermon on the 
temptation of Eve, the word, serpent, slipped his memory. Try 
hard as he would it continued to elude him. After an awkward 
hesitation and much endeavor he stammered out in broken 
English: ''''Dot old — dot — dot old Tut/fel, der shnaJce." The good 
rector may have been a little uncertain in his language, but there 
is no doubt that his virtues and attainments were of the most 
positive character. All testimony is concurrent as to his having 
been a devoted, diligent and loving pastor, and a truly learned 
and pious man. Possessed of an eminently happy disposition he 
was esteemed and beloved by his people, both for the many 
amiable qualities of his personality, and for the faithful perform- 
ance of his pastoral duties. During the last four years of his 
life, age and infirmity seriously interfered with his public minis- 
trations. Children, however, were brought to his house for bap- 
tism, marriage rites were not considered complete without his 
blessing, and he even performed the last offices for the dead 
while supported in his tottering steps by dutiful and affectionate 
parishioners. We shall see him standing by Aaron Moelich's 
coffin within a few weeks of his own death. At last, on the thirty- 
first of May, in the year 1809, after days and nights of wearisome 
pain, his soul was gently released from its decaying tenement, 
and good old Father Graff's pastorate was over. At the north- 
east corner of the village church, which he so faithfully served 
for nearly thirty-four years, a plain, brown-stone slab marks his 
final resting place, and chronicles in simple language the span of 
his life. With Mr. Graff we will conclude the enumeration of 
Zion's ministers, for with him ends the line of those who bap- 
tized, married and buried the descendants of Johannes Moelich. 

Among the archives of the church are two interesting docu- 
ments bearing the signatures of our German ancestor. He spells 
the name *' Molich ;" the diajresis over the o, denoting the omission 
of the letter e. The first signature is attached to an obligation 
in which he was a co-signer with twelve other elders and dea- 
cons. It reads as follows : 

Know all men by these Presence that We, to wit, I, Lorentz Ruloff's; I, Jacob 
Shuppmann ; I, Andreas Abel Sen.; I, Johannes Moelich ; I, Adam Fiikeroth ; I, 

ZiON Church Members from Bendorf. 91 

"George Schwartz; I, Phillipp Weiss; I, David Moelich; I, Casper Hindersheidt ; 
I, Samuel Bernhard, signed [Earnhardt] ; I, Joseph Hernbekker; I, Jacob Klein, 
and I, Jacob Fasbinder, at this time elders and deacons of the High Dutch 
Lutheran Congregation belonging to the Meeting house Called Zion in Lebanon, 
are held firmly bound in the name of the forsaid Congregation, and Meeting 
house unto Baltes Bickel of Reading-Taun in the County of Hunterdon and 
Province of New Jersey, his heirs etc, etc, unto the sum of Eighty Two Pounds, 
lawful Jersey money at Eight Shillings per ounce, to be paid etc. etc, Dated the 
Eighteenth day of December in the year of our Lord God, One Thousand Seven 
Hundred and Fifty. 

Of the thirteen elders and deacons, six, viz : Johannes and 
David Moelich, Fiikeroth, Weiss, Klein, and Fasbinder, signed 
in German character, two — Earnhardt and Hernbekker — signed 
in good plain English, while the remaining five were obliged to 
make their marks. It would seem the ancient congregation of 
the Evangelische Haupt-Kirche of Bendorf on the Rhine, con- 
tributed a number of officers and members to the '^ Honorable 
Corporation " of Zion church at New Germantown. We have 
already seen that Johannes, David, and Jonas Moelich, had been 
members of the German congregation, and now we find another 
of Zion's trustees, Jacob Fasbinder, to have been transferred 
from the parish on the Rhine. He was born in Bendorf in 1683, 
being the son of Jacob Fassbender, who migrated to that place 
from Homburg, and is named on the church register as a 
"reif^er," or military horsemen. Jacob Fassbender, the younger, 
was probably attracted to New Jersey, because of the number of 
his fellow-townsmen who had preceded him across the water. 
He was over sixty years old before he emigrated, as he landed 
at Philadelphia from the ship Loyal Judith, James Cowil, master, 
on the second of September, 1743. Still another member of this 
New Jersey Lutheran congregation came from the Bendorf 
church — Gottfried Klein (Godfrey Kline). He was a son of 
Christian Klein, who, in 1733, stood godfather to Johannes' 
daughter, Marie Cathrine. I have not discovered any connec- 
tion between this Christian Klein and Johan Jacob Klein, who 
married Johannes' daughter, Veronica Gerdrutta. Christian's 
son, Godfrey, was the emigrant ancestor of another Hunterdon 
line of that name. Should further researches in the Bendorf 
parish register be made, it is not improbable that additional 
names would be found identical with those of the Hunterdon 
congregation. There is good reason for believing that this inter- 

92 The Story of an Old Farm. 

esting German church was the means of founding the New- 
Jersey corporation. 

The second document on which the signature of Johannes 
appears is a faded, yellow, slightly torn, and much worn paper 
of the date of December 1st, J 757. It is a bond, written in 
German, for money borrowed in behalf of the congregation 
to be used in the erection of a parsonage on the glebe land. 
A stone dwelling was erected one mile and a half from New Ger- 
mantown, on the road to Lebanon. It has only recently disap- 
peared ; a gaping cellar choked with weeds and rubbish is all 
that is left to mark the spot where it stood. The musty, warped, 
leather-bound church-book, shows Johannes and David Moelich 
to have been appointed by the vestry a committee to superintend 
the building of this house. In the bond it is interesting to note 
their attempt to spell English words in a German fashion. It 
commences in this wise : 

Know all men by these Presence, that we, to wit, I, Dainird Moelich in Biedens- 
Dailn in Hilnder-dalln, Caiindi in the broViincs of West new Jersey, and I, Johan- 
nes Moelich in Lebanon-Dailn, same Caiinti and brovurns. 

Johannes continued his connection with Zion church until his 
death in 1763. At a meeting of the vestry in the year 1756, 
it was resolved to erect a new sanctuary for the benefit of the 
many members of the congregation living in the adjoining county, 
on the east. Consequently steps were taken for the erection of 
St. Paul's church in the village of Pluckamin, in Bedminster 
township, Somerset county. The original subscription list, 
circulated at that time in order to raise the necessary funds, is 
still in existence, and the appeal reads as follows : 

Bedminster, Ye 7th Day of December, 1766. 

A Subscription For Raising a Sum of money For Building a Cliurch In Bed- 
minster town. 

Whereas the members of the Lutheran Congregation In and near Bedminster 
town Being necessitated For a Place of Public Worship Think a Proper Place to 
Erect a House for To Worship God, and it is further agreed By us the Subscri- 
bers That one half of the Preaching, or Every other Sermon Preached By any 
minister Chosen the Said Lutheran Congregation Sball be in the English Lan- 
guage and the other in High Dutch. We, therefore, the underscribers. Do 
Promise To Pay or cause to be Paid The Sum or Sums annexed to our names for 
the uses above mentioned To any Person or Persons Chosen Collector of Said money 
by the said Congregation. Tlie Money is not To be paid until Said Church is a 
Building and the money wanted for that Use. We most Humbly would Desire 





H- 1 


h— ( 





1— 1 



) — 


»— ^ 











(— 1 











St. Paul's Church at Pluckamin. 93 

the assistance of all our well Minded friends and neighbors That are well 
wishers for Promoting So Good a deseine To Be helpful to us and subscribe 
such a matter To this our undertaking which will be Accepted with Greatest 
Humility and thankfulness, and will be Attending to the advancement of ye 
Glory of God. 

Then follow the signatures of one hundred and thirty persons, 
many of them being members of the Presbyterian congregations 
of Lamington and Basking Ridge, and of the Dutch Reformed 
churches on the Raritan, and below. Among these names are 
those of Johannes Moelich, Marcus King, Jacob Eoff Sen., James 
Linn, Aaron Malick, Hendrick Van Arsdalen, John and George 
Teeple, Guisbert Sutfin, Abraham Montanyea and Mary Alex- 
ander. The total amount subscribed was about three hundred 
and fifty pounds. The church was built on land donated by 
Jacob Eoff, senior; it stood until early in this century when it 
was taken down, its abuse during the Revolutionary war having 
so weakened the walls as to have rendered them dangerous. Its 
location was a little southeast of the present Presbyterian 
church; the burial ground of that denomination originally sur- 
rounded the edifice of St. Paul's, and in it are interred 
many members of that Lutheran flock, including Johannes 
Moelich and his son, Aaron. Among the heir-looms of the "Old 
Stone House is the altar cloth of this church, which is pre- 
served as an interesting relic of the days of the family's German 

With the turn of the century the Lutherans of Bedminster 
had in numbers become a feeble folk, and by the year 1806 St. 
Paul's communion appears to have fallen into a moribund condi- 
tion. This is shown by the original draft, now before me, in 
the handwriting of Pastor Graff, of the will of John Appelman, 
dated in that year. The testator must have died an old man, as 
in 1767 he was elected a vestryman of this church " in 
Bedminster town," with Aaron Malick, Mark King, Peter 
Melick, Jacob Eoff, David King and others. This instrument, 
which constitutes Aaron's son, Daniel, one of the executors, 
recites : 

It always has been my will and Intention sinc6 Providence gave to me no 
Heirs of my Body, to give and make a certain sum in my Last Will for the Best 
of our Lutheran church at Pluckamin to uphold our holy Religion, but since by 
all human appearance our particular Denomination in Pluckamin as Lutheran 

94 The Story of an Old Farm. 

will soon lose ground on account of the smallness of its Professors, it is, there- 
fore, now my Will and Intention, not to Limit the proposed sum of One hundred 
Pounds, intended to our church at Pluckamin only, but to give myne assist- 
ance in general towards upholding our holy Keligion under the assistance of a 
merciful God in all our united Lutheran churches in these Parts * * * * 

These ancient echoes of the walls of Zion are carrying us on 
much too fast. We must return to the dates appropriate to the 
regular progression of events in the story of our ancestor's life. 
Before doing so, however, we will make one final reference to 
these interesting Lutheran congregations. In the royal charter 
granted by George III. in 1767, "to the Rector, Church Wardens 
and Vestrymen of the united Churches of Zion and St. Paul," the 
following names appear as its petitioners; Lucas Dipple, David 
King, Jacob Eofi", John Appelman, Leonard Streit, Conrad 
Meizner, Aaron Malick, Jacob Volser, Mark King, Christofer 
Teeple and John Teeple, all being residents of the townships of 
Bridgewater, Bedminster and Bernards, in Somerset county. It 
will be seen that Johannes always adhered to the German spell- 
ing of his name. As is shown by the St. Paul's subscription list 
as well as by the petition for the charter, his oldest son, who had 
made his advent in this country as "Ehrenreich Moelich," now 
appears with his name anglicized to "Aaron Malick." In all 
the letters, bonds and papers in my possession bearing his signa- 
ture the name is spelled as above. The same may be said of his 
brother, Andrew. Johannes, his sons and their posterity have 
written their names with varied spelling ; their signatures 
appear as Moelich, Melich, Malick, Melegh, Meelick, Mellick 
and Melick. As late as 1805, old pastor Graff of Zion church 
spelled it in the old book of record, Moelich, while away back in 
1770 the Rev. Peter Muhlenberg — the afterwards distinguished 
Revolutionary general — wrote the name in the"same old book as 
Melick. As Shakespeare seems to have been a little uncertain 
in the spelling of his patronymic, we may excuse the same 
doubts in the early members of this old family during the transi- 
tional period from the German to the American. Even at this 
late day there is no uniformity in the spelling, as it is found in 
New York and New Jersey, Mellick, Malick and Melick, and in 
Pennsylvania Moelich, Malick and Melick, though in this latter 
state the accent is often placed on the first syllable and the divi- 
sion is made between the 1 and i, thus giving it the sound as if 

Changks in Johannes' Family. 


spelled with two Vs. Rector Graff, referred to above, judging 
from the church register, was often at a loss as to the spelling 
of his own cognomen. It is written draff, Graf, Graaff and 

The year 1751 approaches — one of the most important, per- 
haps, in the family annals, as it is the one in which Johannes 
finally decided where to plant the permanent homestead. Mean- 
while let us consider the changes that have taken place in his 
flock since the arrival in America. Aaron, the oldest son — the 
great-grandfather of the writer — has grov^ai to be a man of 
twenty-six years and is still unmarried. Veronica Gerdrutta 
(Fanny), who is now twenty years old, as we have seen, has 
married her father's partner, Jacob Kline, who was born in Ger- 
many on the sixth of March, 1714. Their first child John 
William is now beginning to walk and talk, having been born 
on the fifth of January, 1750. Johannes' second son Andrew 
has reached majority, while his second daughter Maria is just 
budding into womanhood, being eighteen years old. Since 
reaching America two sons have been born — Philip on the ninth 
of October, 1736, and Peter on the fifth of December, 1739. 


Purchase of the "Old Farni'^ in 1751 — The Title, and Early 
Neiv Jersey History. 

And now the current of our history changes. The stream that 
has heretofore taken wild leaps from America to Europe, from 
Germany to Pennsylvania, will for a time flow peacefully 
between pastoral banks, amid the pleasant vales and gently 
swelling hills of East Jersey. Later on, when England has let 
loose the dogs of war upon her American subjects, it will rush 
through wild and turbulent scenes. But for some years to come 
this little river of narration will flow tranquilly in quiet haunts, 
skirting broad meadow spaces, meandering through retired vil- 
lages, and turning the wheels of busy mills seated in deep val- 
leys ; telling the pleasant story, as it flows, of old Bedmins ter, 
and its transformation from a wilderness — the home of bear, deer 
and primitive settler — to a rich agricultural country, peopled by 
a well-ordered and prosperous community. 

Since the arrival of Johannes in New Jersey he had been in 
search of a location that would meet all the requirements of a 
permanent home. His needs were not confined to good agricul- 
tural lands ; a water power was also desired, advantageously 
situated for establishing a tannery. In 1751 Bedminster town- 
ship in Somerset county was decided upon as his future place 
of residence. On the first of November in that year he pur- 
chased of George Leslie of Perth Amboy three hundred and 
sixty-seven acres of wild or forest land, having a front of about 
three-quarters of a mile on the north branch of the Raritan river. 
The following is the description shown in the deed : 

Beginning at the Easter most corner of Daniel Axtell's land, where it touches 
Peapack river, below a log house that John Burd now lives in. Thence running 

The Original Boundaey of the Farm. 97 

South, seventy-three degrees West, along the said Axtell's line, sixty chains to a 
corner of the land William Hoagland now possesses, belonging unto the said 
George Leslie. Thence North, forty-eight chains. Thence South, seventy-six 
degrees. West forty-nine chains. Thence North and by East, thirty-two chains. 
Thence North, seventy-six degrees, East fifty-nine chains to Lawrence's brook. 
Thence down the said brook and Peapack river to the first mentioned place of 
beginning. Bounded East by the said river. Southerly by said Axtell's land, 
and on all the other sides by the land belonging unto the said George Leslie. 

The coufines of the property as relating to roads and adjom- 
ing owners nowadays w^ould be defined as follows : The descrip- 
tion commences at a point where the Mine brook, or Lamington 
road, crosses the north branch of the Raritan, which river was 
the eastern boundary of the estate. From there the line followed 
the centre of this road to a point in the west boundary of the 
house-lot of Clark D. Todd, in the village of the Lesser Cross 
Roads (Bedminster). Thence, northerly, to a hickory tree stand- 
ing on the side of the Peapack road, near the gate, or entrance, 
to what was lately the homestead farm of Abram D. Huff. 
Thence along this road to the Holland road, where, turning 
west, the line followed the latter road to the southwest corner of 
the Opie Farm. Here the Holland road bears north of west, 
but the line continued westerly, on the left of the highway, to a 
comer of lands, now or late of Henry Woods. Thence north- 
erly, following Woods' line, and crossing the Holland road, it 
extended twenty-one hundred and twelve feet to a corner of land, 
now or late of Edward Hight. Thence, easterly, thirty-eight 
hundred and ninety-four feet to a point in the Peapack brook 
near the head of Schomp's mill-pond, from where the line con- 
tinued down the brook and the north branch of the Raritan 
river to the place of beginning. By the above it will be seen 
that the original purchase, in addition to the one hundred and 
forty acres now constituting the farm, embraced so much 
of the village of Bedminster as lies north of the Lamington road ; 
a portion of the Huff farm on the Peapack road ; and all of the 
Opie, and a portion of the Hight and Woods farms on the Hol- 
land road. 

The price paid for this property was '' seven hundred and fifty- 
four pounds current money of the province, at eight shillings per 
ounce." This last clause of the consideration materially modifies 

the cost of the land. Money at eight shillings to the ounce meant 


98 The Stoey of an Old FAR:\r. 

a considerable depreciation from the standard values. In the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries English silver was coined 
on the basis of five shillings and two pence per ounce. The sil- 
ver coin mostly in use in the American colonies was the Spanish 
milled dollar or " piece of eight," which the English mint found 
to be worth four shillings and six pence sterling, or one pound 
equallingfour dollars and forty-four and four-ninths cents. This 
was established as the standard relative value. But early in 
the eighteenth century the weight and quality of the Spanish 
milled dollar did not continue to realize this ratio. The circula- 
tion of clipped and inferior coins rapidly depreciated all cur- 
rency values, hence, as Professor Sumner of Yale college, says, 
'' Any such rating as eight shillings to the ounce was only one 
stage in the various grades of depreciation ; it was a conven- 
tional attempt to compromise on a standard of weight allowing 
some depreciation." This rating consequently reduced the pound 
sterling from four dollars and forty-four and four-ninths cents to 
three dollars and fourteen and one-quarter cents. Thus we find 
that the actual consideration for the purchase of the Bedminster 
land was twenty-three hundred and sixty-nine dollars and forty- 
four cents, or about six dollars and forty-five cents an acre. 

With Johannes' acquisition of this property, issues may be 
said to be joined between the reader and the writer. The story 
of the '' Old Farm " will now commence for we have at last 
reached the source of the narrative. Perhaps it will interest some 
of Johannes' posterity to learn something of the title to this little 
portion of mother earth, from which so many members of the family 
have been nurtured. It is readily told, as, previous to the Leslie 
conveyance, the holders of the land had been but few. The 
Indians, of course, as far as Europeans know, \yere the first — the 
Naraticonf/s, a clan of the Lenni-Lenape, or Delawares, a branch 
of the great Algonquin family. All the lands of New Jersey at 
the time of the first settlement by the whites were vested by 
right of occupation and possession in these aborigines. The 
country lying between the Hudson and the Lenni-Wihittuck, as 
they called the Delaware river, was named by them, "■ Schcyichhi." 
Whether these natives' were, like the trees, indigenous to the 
soil, or themselves owned the land as conquerors of a dispossessed 
race, is a vexed question ; as is also that other question which 

The Raritan Indians. 99 

has been debated for so many years, Avhether Indians are des- 
cended from the Jews, the Welsh, the Mongols or the Malays. 
The Algonquins embraced about a quarter of a million souls 5 
they were divided into many tribes, among which were the 
Mohigans, Delawares, Micmacs, Illinois, Monseys, Chippewas, 
Ottawas, Pottawatamies,Sacs, Foxes and Miamis. They occu- 
pied much of the country lying between Chesapeake bay and 
the St. Lawrence river, almost surrounding their hereditary 
enemies, the Huron-Iroquois family. These latter embraced the 
Five Nations of New York, the Hurons of Upper Canada, and 
the Tuscaroras of North Carolina, who had joined the confeder- 
ated tribes. 

The clan of the Delawares roaming the country north of 
the Raritan, as has been said, were the Naraticongs, though 
the whites gave them the name of the river along which 
they were located. Their dress was a blanket, or skin, thrown 
over the shoulders, deer-skin fastened with thongs about the legs, 
and the feet covered with moccasins of the same material, so 
dressed as to be soft and pliable, being ornamented with quills 
and wampum beads. At the time of the settlement of Bedmin- 
ster there were comparatively few natives in that part of the prov- 
ince ; those remaining were of a friendly character, and proved 
of great service to the settlers in supplying them with game, 
skins and furs. The haunts of the tribe had been originally on 
the head waters of the Raritan, which O'Callaghan's History of 
New Netherlands describes as '^ a rich and fertile valley situated 
between two high mountains, some distance the one from the 
other, through w^hich flowed a fresh-water river that disem- 
boughed in the Navesink Bay." O'Callaghan further states that 
some thirty years after the Raritans were first known to 
Europeans their provisions were destroyed by a freshet, and they 
were repeatedly harrassed by the Sankhicans. Consequently 
they moved farther down the river, making a treaty of amity 
with the Dutch, which they preserved even when the other 
tribes were retaliating for the massacre of the Indians on the 
west bank of the Hudson. They established their principal 
seat where is now Piscataway, in Middlesex county, and here 
were living their two chiefs, Canacblawack and Thingorawis, 
when, in 1677, they conveyed to the whites their lands in that 

100 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

That at one time the savages must have been in plenteous 
numbers in the Bedminster neighborhood is shown by the traces 
of them still to be found. The ''Old Farm" has produced a 
generous crop of stone implements and arrow-heads planted by 
the aborigines in ante-European days. It is Hawthorne who 
writes of the " exquisite delight of picking up for one's self an 
arrow-head that was dropped centuries ago and has never been 
handled since, and which we thus receive directly from the 
hands of the red hunter. Such an incident builds up again the 
Indian village and its encircling forest, and recalls the painted 
chief, the squaws, and the children sporting among the wigwams, 
while the little wind-rocked papoose swings from the branch of 
a tree." All this, you will say, is quite foreign to the subject ! 
Yes, you are right ! but, much earlier in these pages, you must 
have learned that your scribe has a vagrant fancy — a mind that 
is easily seduced from the dry detail of a chain of title by the 
picture of a dusky Indian, with wampum belt and feathered 
crest, lurking beneath the shadows of the grand congregation of 
trees of primitive Bedminster. 

Of the extinguishment of the claims of the red men, it is 
necessary to say but little. The modes of procedure in such 
cases were much the same in all portions of the colonies. Gen- 
erally the usual number of blankets, jugs of rum, strings of 
wampum, guns and handfuls of powder were exchanged for 
treaties and deeds which conveyed great areas of territory. In 
New Jersey the early settlers, before acquiring the legal title to 
their purchases, were obliged to satisfy the claims of the natives. 
The Indian title to the territory which embraced the "Old 
Farm" was conveyed to John Johnstone and George Willocks on 
the twenty-ninth of October, 1701, by Tallquapie, Nicolas and 
Elalie. The deed called for thirty-one hundred acres, but on 
being surveyed the area conveyed was found to contain over 
ten thousand, as it included all the land lying between the north 
branch of the Ilaritan and the Lamington rivers, and a point 
above the Morris county line and the crest of the first mountain 
below Pluckamin ; — but more of this hereafter. According to 
Doctor Abraham Messier, Somerset's first historian, the earliest 
Indian sale in the county of lands lying north of Bound 
Brook was in 1683. Among the papers of the late Ralph 

The Indian Conference at Easton. 101 

Voorhees is a deed dated in 1723, made by Coion, Nutomus 
and QuATON, three Delawares. It conveyed two hundred acres 
of land lying near the Millstone river — part of the Peter Sonmans 
tract— and is thought to be the last Indian conveyance. 

As the purchases from the natives multiplied they gave rise 
to complications and disputes. In addition, during the French 
wars the agents of Louis XV. intrigued with the Indians, caus- 
ing violent outbreaks in Pennsylvania and exciting ferment 
among the natives of northern New Jersey. The authorities 
deemed it expedient to appoint commissioners to confer with the 
tribes in order to ascertain and remove -all causes of discontent. 
A series of conferences were held, extending from 1756 to 1758, 
at Crosswicks, Burlington and Easton, the final one being held at 
the last place, when Governor Bernard, together with the lieuten- 
ant-governor of Pennsylvania and five commissioners, met in 
convention five hundred and seven Indian delegates from four- 
teen difi'erent tribes. This resulted in conveyances being made 
which it was supposed entirely freed and discharged the prov- 
ince from aU native claims. In 1832, however, the New Jer- 
sey legislature 'appropriated two thousand dollars to pay forty 
Indians — the last remnant of their tribe — for a claim they made 
as to their hunting and fishing rights, which they considered had 
not been included in the transfer at Easton. The " Colonial 
History of New Jersey" bears testimony to the fact of there 
always having been the most equitable dealings between the Jer- 
sey people and the Indians. The Six Nations, at a meeting- 
held for the purpose of confirming the acts of the Easton confer- 
ence, honored the governor of the province by calling him 
Sagorighweyoghsta, or the " Great Arbiter or Doer of Jus- 
tice." The people of Somerset — the descendants of its first 
settlers — have always reflected with much pride on their clean 
and wholesome record in all Indian transactions. They delight 
in remembering the words of one of their county's most gifted 
sons, Samuel L. Southard, uttered before the legislature, 
on the occasion of the purchase of the native hunting and 
fishing rights, before referred to. ''It is a proud fact in the 
history of New Jersey," said the senator, " that every foot of her 
soil has been obtained from the Indians by fair and voluntary 
purchase and transfer — a fact that no other state of the Union, 
not even the land which bears the name of Penn, can boast of." 

102 The Story of an Old Farm. 

On this occasion the red men were respresented bj Shawrisk- 
hekimg, or Wilted Grass, a Delaware Indian of pure native 
blood. He was a graduate of Princeton college, having been 
educated at the expense of the Scotch Missionary society, which 
had given him the name of Bartholomew S. Calvin. At the age 
of twenty-three he entered the Continental army to fight for 
independence, and at the time he presented to the legislature the 
petition for pay for the Indian fishing rights, he was upwards of 
eighty years old. In advocating the claim of his people he 
warmly indorsed the just tribute paid to the state by Mr. South- 
ard. The aged Indian • closed his address with the following 
words, testifying to the honorable policy and actions which had 
distinguished the people of New Jersey in all their treatment of 
and dealings with the aborigines : 

"Not a drop of our blood have you spilled in battle;* tiot an 
acre of our land have you taJcen hut hy our consent. These facts 
speak for themselves and need no comment. They place the 
character of New Jersey in bold relief and bright example to 
those states within whose territorial limits- our brethren still 
remain. Nothing save benisons can faU upon her from the lips 
oi sl Lcnni-Lcnape. There may be some who would despise an 
Indian benediction ; but when I return to my people and make 
known to them the result of ray mission, the ear of the Great 
Sovereign of the Universe, which is still open to our cry, will be 
penetrated with our invocation of blessings upon the generous 
sons of New Jersey." 

The manner of the Avliite man's acquiring possession of and 
title to lands in New Jersey has been often and variously told ; 
it is always an interesting story. All historians agree in naming 
Friday, the fourth of September, 1609, as being'the day on which 
New Jersey soil was first pressed by the feet of Europeans. On 
the preceding day Henrick Hudson, in his little Dutch " Vhe- 
hoat^'' the " Half Moon," entered the Lower bay, and the next 

*Calvin's statement that not a drop of Indian blood liad been spilled in battles 
with .Terseymen is almost, if not literally, true. In the early days of the Dutch 
occujjation of New Ainsterdiim there were individual instances of murders of 
whites and Indians, and a few skirmishes took place on the banks of the Hudson 
and Delaware between natives and traders. But no state of war ever existed 
between the English colonists and the New Jersey Indians. So states Samuel 
Allinson — an excellent authority. 

The First European's Grave in New Jersey. 103 

day, dropping anchor in the Horse Shoe, in four and a half 
fathoms of water and two cable lengths from the Monmouth 
beach, sent some of his men on shore to discover what manner of 
men were the natives, and whether they were kindly disposed. 
When the crew landed they saw "a great store of men, women 
and children who gave them some tobacco and some dried cur- 
rants." The natives were dressed "some in mantles of feathers 
and some in skins of diverse sorts of good furres. They had 
red copper tobacco pipes, and other things of copper they did 
wear about their necks." 

When the Half Moon again crossed the bar, her sails spread- 
ing for the homeward voyage, she left one of her company lying 
at the foot of a stunted cedar on Sandy Hook, filling the first 
white man's grave in New Jersey. John Coleman, with four 
shipmates, on the sixth of September explored the harbor in a 
small boat. Penetrating " two leagues to an open sea" (Newark 
bay), he reported that the bordering lands " were as pleasant 
with Grasse and Flowers and goodly Trees as any they had 
scene, and very sweet smells came from them." While return- 
ing, the fateful arrow of a treacherous red man ended Coleman's 
voyaging for this world. And now, after nearly three centuries, 
the miniature waves of the Lower bay are still sobbing on their 
yellow sands lullabies to the lonely sleeper of this pioneer grave, 
while on the outer beach the Atlantic rollers sound eternal 
requiems. The Hollanders on learning of this fair country 
dispatched other vessels to iVmerica, and by the year 1620 had 
made settlements in New Jersey at the mouth of the Hudson 
river, and were soon in peaceful possession, and for forty-three 
years occupied what is now New York and New Jersey, under 
the title of New Netherlands. After establishing New Amsterdam 
on Manhattan Island, the Dutch soon made their way westward, 
and to some extent occupied what is now known as the counties 
of Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Monmouth and Middlesex. It is 
believed, however, that earlier than the year 1681 there were 
in Somerset county no permanent inhabitants. 

All of this time the English claimed title to this portion of 
North America, resting their right on the voyage of the Cabots, 
who in 1497-8, sailed along the coast from New Foundland to 
Florida. Under the English law, discovery and conquest 

104 The Story of an Old Farm. 

secured to the British Crown title to all heathen and uncivilized 
coimtries. In the year 1664 the English expelled the Dutch 
government from New Netherlands. Having conquered the 
country, the king's claim now rested, not only on discovery, but 
by right of conquest as well. James, Duke of York, received 
from his royal brother, Charles IT., on the twelfth of March, 
1664, a patent for an area of territory which included what is 
now New Jersey. He took immediate possession, thus establish- 
ing the first link in a chain of title emanating directly from the 
King of England. The duke's grant conveyed not only prop- 
erty but the powers of government, and, as said Courtlandt 
Parker in his address at the bi-centennial celebration of the 
Proprietors of East Ncav Jersey, in 1884, '' No other title to the 
soil of New Jersey than his was ever recognized by the law." 

The Duke of York not long after this, on the twenty-fourth 
of June, conveyed that portion of the land included within the 
present boundaries of New Jersey, together with the accompany- 
ing powers of government, to John, Lord Berkeley, Baron of Strat- 
ton,and to Sir George Carteret, of Saltrum in Devon. The nominal 
consideration was ten shillings, and an annual rent of one pep- 
percorn, to be paid on the day of the nativity of St. John 
the Baptist, if legally demanded. The true incentive for the 
conveyance was the desire to reward the grantees for their dis- 
tinguished loyalty during the civil war. The territory was 
named Nova Cesarea, or New Jersey, in honor of Cartaret who, 
while governor of the channel-island of Jersey, had defended it 
valiantly against the parliament soldiers. He was the last com- 
mander within the circuit of the British Isles to lower the royal 
standard. Sir John Berkeley had been an exile with Charles 
II., and was raised to the peerage on the restoration. The woi'd 
Jersey is a corruption of " Czarh-ey,''^ or " Cceser^s-ey" meaning 
the island of Cajsar. It was intended that Nova Cesarea should 
be properly the title, but, as the population of the province 
increased, the people preferred its translated name rather than 
the classical appellation. At the time the duke transferred New 
Jersey to these noblemen he had but a slender acquaintance 
with the value of what he called his " plantations," but it was 
soon made known to him that his act had been one of haste and 
improvidence. Governor NicoUs, Avho was already representing 

The Origin of New Jersey's Name. 105 

him on this side of the water, remonstrated warmly with the 
duke against the cession of so important a portion of his Ameri- 
can possessions. So the king and his brother at once bestirred 
themselves in an endeavor to remedy the error. Lord Berkeley, 
a victim to the variable moods of princes, was already out of 
favor and office. In order to restore himself to the good graces 
of his royal masters, he readily acceded to a proposition to sur- 
render New Jersey in exchange for a patent of Delaware terri- 
tory ; he also visited Sir George Carteret, who was then in 
Ireland as lord treasurer, and prevailed upon him to do the same. 
The proposed exchange was all but completed, when some ugly 
questions arose between the Duke of York and Lord Baltimore 
as to priority of title to the Delaware lands ; consequently, the 
transfer of New Jersey to the duke was not consummated. Had 
this been done there is every reason to believe that at present 
the state of New York would include that of New Jersey. 

In August, 1665, there arrived in the Kills the ship '^Philip," 
having on board several families, and Philip de Carteret, 
Seigneur of the Manor of La Hogue, in the parish of St. Peter, 
Jersey, who bore the commission of the owners as governor of 
the province. The baronet. Sir George, and Philip were fourth 
cousins, being the great-grandsons, respectively, of Edward and 
Richard, sons of Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen, Island 
of Jersey, who died in 1500.* The new governor landed at 
what is now Elizabeth, where he established his home and capi- 
tal, naming the place in honor of the Lady Elizabeth, wife o^ his 
cousin. Sir George Carteret. This gentlewoman, the good god- 
mother of one of New Jersey's most ancient towns, though living 
in a profligate court, was possessed of rare virtues. Pepys, in 
his diary of 1660, bears testimony that " she cries out against 
the vices of the court, and how they are going to set up plays 
already. She do much cry out upon these things, and that which 
she believes will undo the whole nation." This was the third 

* Governor Philip Carteret, in 1681, married Elizabeth, the daughter of 
Richard Smith, of Smithtown, Long Island, and widow of Captain William Law- 
rence, of Fews Neck, Long Island. He built a large white house on Elizabeth 
creek, in the centre of the present city of Elizabeth, in which he died in 1682. 
His widow, in 1685, married Colonel Richard Townley, a leading citizen of Eliz- 
abethtown, who subsequently sold the governor's house to Peter Schuyler, wha 
converted it into the " Ship " tavern. 

106 The Story of an Old Farm. 

settlement made in New Jersey, and the first bj the English. 
The statement has frequently been made that before the found- 
ing of Bergen, in 1618, by the Dutch and Scandanavians, a 
Turkish family named Houghubot had settled at Turkey, now 
New Providence, in Union county. This story has no historical 
foundation. The fact remains that the claims of Elizabeth for 
being the first English-speaking settlement in the state have never 
been refuted. 

When Governor Carteret landed he found on the site of his 
new capital four families, as the nucleus of a population. These 
people claimed title to the land they occupied. In the previous 
year a large area of territory had been purchased from Staten 
Island Indians by some Long Islanders. Governor Nicolls, act- 
ing as the deputy of the Duke of York, patented, in December, 
1664, this Indian purchase to John Ogden, Luke Watson and 
their associates, eighty in all. At the time of the governor's 
issuing this grant he had no knowledge of the duke's having 
divested himself of all rights to the lands in question by the con- 
veyance to Berkeley and Carteret. There is abundant evidence 
that Governor Carteret, on discovering that Nicolls had patented 
so valuable a portion of his principals' domain, was greatly at a 
loss what course to pursue. At first, it appears that to some 
extent he conceded to these prior settlers their rights under the 
grant, and, unhappily for the future comfort of himself and 
his grantees, attempted to disarm opposition by following 
a conciliatory course. In furtherance of this policy, before 
1666 he purchased, individually, John Bailey's interest in the 
patent, and acted in concert with the other owners. But event- 
ually the lords-proprietors refused to recognize that they had 
any rights in the premises, claiming that the grant by Nicolls 
was void and of no avail, as it was impossible that he, acting as 
deputy, could pass a title that no longer vested in the duke. 
This grant has become historically known as the Elizabethtown 
patent. The claims of Berkeley and Carteret and tlieir succes- 
sors came frequently in conflict with those of the Elizabethtown 
associates and their assigns, giving rise to legal commotions that 
continued until the Revolution. The history of these complex- 
ities is embalmed in a suit, instituted on the thirteenth of April, 
1745, by the Earl of Stair and others against "Benjamin Bond 

The '' Concessions and Agreements." 107 

and some other Persons of Elizabethtown." The bill filed at that 
time in Chancery made a voluminous document, which was pub- 
lished by James Parker in 1747, and, familiarly known as ^'The 
Elizabethtown Bill in Chancery," is to be found in the library of 
the New Jersey Historical Society. 

The recipients of this princely gift of New Jersey from the 
merry King Charles, and his more churchly but none the less 
vicious brother, James, soon found that to give value to their 
estate it was necessary to secure inhabitants. In the autumn of 
1665, through their representative, Philip Carteret, the newly- 
arrived governor, they wisely dispatched agents into New Eng- 
land, who published what was known as the "Concessions and 
Agreements of the Lords-Proprietors." These publications, by 
their liberal inducements, such as property in estates and liberty 
in religion, resulted in quite a migration to New Jersey. The 
agreements as to lands were very advantageous to settlers. They 
stipulated that the area of the province should be divided into 
parcels of from twenty-one hundred to twenty-one thousand 
acres. These plots were to be subdivided into seven parts, one 
of which was to be reserved for the lords-proprietors, while the 
remaining six-sevenths of each plot were to be held for distribu- 
tion, free of cost except quit-rents, among such persons as 
might come to occupy and plant the same. These latter were 
called headlands, and the fundamental rule by which they might 
be acquired was in this wise: all persons arriving in the pro- 
vince within a certain limited time were entitled to receive 
grants for a stipulated number of acres, paying to Berkeley and 
Carteret a yearly quit-rent of a half-penny per acre. The quan- 
tity of land to be granted to settlers depended upon the time of 
their coming, the size of their families and the number of people 
they brought with them, either as free servants, indented ser- 
vants, or slaves : the number of acres per head varied from 
thirty to one hundred and iifty. 

The immediate result of the publication of these "Concessions" 
in New England was the advent of people who established three 
important settlements in New Jersey. Among those who 
removed to the province in response to this invitation were John 
Martin, Charles Gilman, Hugh Dun.and Hopewell Hull. Mak- 
ing their way westward, along the Indian path that stretched 

108 The Story op an Old Farm. 

from Elizabethtown-point to the Delaware, they reached an 
attractive spot on the high levels bordering the Raritan, where a 
few log huts had already been erected on the site of an old native 
village. Being pleased with the locality, they applied for, and 
received on the eighteenth of December, 1666, a grant for a 
large area of territory. To this point they brought their own 
and numerous other families from Piscataqua, in the province of 
Massachusetts — now Maine, — of which the name, Piscataway, is 
a corruption. Of this place, more, hereafter. 

Another consequence of the distribution of copies of the "Con- 
cessions " in the East, was the arrival in New Jersey of John 
Pike, Daniel Pierce and seven associates, from Newbury, Massa- 
chusetts. They entered into an agreement on the eleventh of 
December, 1666, whereby, on the third of December, 1667, 
they received from Governor Carteret and some of the Elizabeth- 
town associates a grant of land, embracing what is now the 
township of Woodbridge. They, as the representatives of at 
least sixty families, on the first of June, 1669, were granted a 
charter creating a township covering six miles square. The 
name of their new settlement was derived from their late pastor, 
John Woodbridge, of Newbury. In laying out this township it 
was agreed that Amboy-point should be reserved, to be disposed 
of by the lords-proprietors as the seventh part to which they 
were entitled under the " Concessions," and which, in the origi- 
nal agreement with Pierce, Pike and others it was settled should 
stand for one thousand acres of upland and meadow. This avail- 
able and attractive spot was afterwards selected as the place of 
government. Among the persons allotted lands by the governor 
and his associates, and the most of whom, it is believed, settled 
on their estates, were the following : John Pike, Daniel and 
Joshua Pierce, Obadiah Ayres, Henry Jaques, Thomas Bloom- 
field, EHsha Parker, Pichard Worth, John Whitaker, Jonathan 
Dunham, Hugh Dun and Robert Van Quellen. Most of the new- 
comers were from Newbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts, 
though a few families had planted themselves at this point in 
1665, having reached the province with Governor Carteret by 
the ship, Philip. John Pike was the ancestor of that General 
Zebulon Montgomery Pike who in the year 1806 wrote his 
name among the clouds on one of the loftiest peaks of the 

Early Settlers at Woodbridge and Newark. 109 

Rocky mountains. Thomas Bloomfield was the ancestor of one 
of New Jersey's later governors. Obadiah Ay res and Richard 
Worth were sons-in-law of John Pike, who may be called the 
patriarch of the settlement. Worth, either because of his name 
or his virtues, seems to have been much more highly esteemed 
by his father-in-law than was Ayres, as John Pike in his 
will left the latter six-pence, while the former received the 
munificient bequest of one shilling. Another legacy of this 
will is interesting, as showing the scarcity and value of litera- 
ture in those early times. He left to his son, Thomas, a '' half 
right in my book, writ by David Dickson." Robert Van Quel- 
len, also known as De La Prie and La Prairie, emigrated from 
Holland, but is said to have been a Norman, coming originally 
from Caen. He early became an important man in the colony. 
Governor Carteret secured his services as a member of the first 
council, and for many years he was surveyor-general of East 
New Jersey. Li addition to his holdings in Woodbridge town- 
ship he became a large owner of lands on the upper Raritan, and 
his name is a frequent one in connection with old New Jersey 

The third New England migration was as follows : In the 
winter of 1665 and 1666 some of the inhabitants of Gruilford and 
Branford, in Connecticut, finding themselves in need of larger 
areas of farming lands, sent a deputation to report on the condi- 
tion and prospects of the country in the neighborhood of Eliza- 
bethtown. Their impressions being favorable, in the following 
May thirty families, under the leadership of Robert Treat, pur- 
chased of the Indians a tract embracing the present townships of 
Newark, Springfield, Livingston, Orange, Bloomfield . and Cald- 
well. Their new town on the Passaic was first named Milford, 
but two years later, with other arrivals, came an aged con- 
gregational minister, Abraham Pierson. At a salary of thirty 
pounds per annum, he was the faithful pastor of the colony 
until his death. In his honor the name was changed to 
Newark, after the town on the Yarrow, in England, where this 
minister had been ordained. These settlers from Connecticut 
were, for a time, disinclined to recognize the rights of the lords- 
proprietors, and preferred resting the claim to their holdings on 
the Indian title. They, by this disafi'ection, materially added 

110 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

to the complications growing out of the conflicting inter- 
ests of Berkeley and Carteret and those claiming under the 
Nicolls' grant. 

The first general assembly of the province, composed of the 
governor, council and house of burgesses, convened in Eliza- 
beth, in 1668, and, with the exception of occasional meetings at 
Woodbridge, Middletown, and Piscataway, continued assembling 
there until 1682. In 1686, it met at Perth Amboy, and with 
but few exceptions alternated between that place and Burlington 
until the state capital was established at Trenton. 

Lord John Berkeley was an old man, and having been greatly 
disappointed in the financial results of his American investment, 
he decided to dispose of, and did, on the eighteenth of March, 
1673, sell his share in New Jersey to two English Quakers, John 
Fenwicke and Edward Billinge, for one thousand pounds. These 
purchasers quarrelled as to their respective interests, but, under 
the arbitration of William Penn, an amicable division was made, 
Fenwick receiving one-tenth as his share. Soon after this, Bill- 
inge becoming bankrupt, his interest was sold to Penn, Gawen 
Lawrie and Nicholas Lucas, as trustees for his creditors. They, 
in conjmiction with Fenwicke, divided the whole proprietorship 
into one hundred equal parts, the trustees placing their ninety 
shares in the market. Before this time — on the twenty-ninth of 
July, 1674 — a new grant had been given by the king to the 
Duke of York, and by the duke to Sir George Carteret and to 
the grantees of Lord John Berkeley. The necessity was occa- 
sioned *by the treaty of Westminster, in 1674, in Avhich Ne\V Jer- 
sey was ceded to the King of England by the Dutch, New 
Netherlands having been captured and occupied by them during 
the previous year. In 1675, John Fenwicke, with a large com- 
pany, sailed from London in the ship " Griffin," and landing near 
the head of Delaware bay, established on its eastern shore the 
town of Salem. This was the first English settlement in West 
Jersey. The second one was made two years later when a party 
of immigrants, principally Yorkshire and London Quakers, landed 
from the ship " Kent," and laid out a town which they first called 
New Beverly, then Bridlington, afterwards Burlington. 

In the second grant of New Jersey, made by the Duke of York, 
a dividing line was mentioned as running from Barnegat creek to 

The Division of the Province. Ill 

the Rancocus. From this it would appear that previous to the 
time of issuing the patent Berkeley and Carteret had agreed upon 
a division of the province. It was not, however, until the first of 
July, 1676, that a formal partition of New Jersey was made 
between Carteret and the Quaker proprietors, it being effected 
by a conveyance known as the Quintipartite deed, because of its 
comprehending Sir George, Penn, Lawrie, Lucas and Billinge. 
Thenceforth Carteret's share of the province was what has since 
been known as East Jersey. It embraced all the territory lying 
east of a line, which, starting at a point on the Atlantic coast, on 
the east side of Little Egg Harbor inlet, ran northwesterly to a 
point in the Delaware river a few miles below Minisink island, 
in Sussex county. This line crossed the Raritan river just west 
of Somerville, the point being still marked by a surveyor's stone 
standing by the roadside, on the south bank of the river, nearly 
opposite a residence built some years ago by John V. Veghte. 


The Ttventy-four Proprietors of East New Jersey — George Wil- 
JocJcs and the Peapack Patent. 

In the year 1679, Sir George Carteret died. By his will he 
devised his East Jersey property to trustees, empowering them 
to sell the same for the payment of his debts. For over two 
years East Jersey government was administered in the name of 
" The Right Honorable the Lady Elizabeth Carteret, Baroness, 
Widow, the relict and sole Executrix of the Right Honorable Sir 
George Carteret, Knight and Baronet, deceased, late Lord 
Proprietor of the said Province, and Grandmother and Guardian 
of Sir George Carteret, Baronet, Grandson and Heir of the said 
Sir George Carteret deceased, the present Lady Proprietrix of 
the Province aforesaid." In 1682 the trustees, together with the 
widow as executrix, in consideration of thirty-four hundred 
pounds, conveyed all of East Jersey to twelve purchasers, 
WiUiam Penn, Robert West, Thomas Rudyard, Samuel Groom, 
Thomas Hart, Richard Mew, Thomas Wilcox, Ambrose Rigg, 
John Haywood, Hugh Hartshorne, Clement Plumsted and 
Thomas Cooper. They, in their turn, sold one-half of their 
undivided interests to twelve associates, Robert' Barclay, Edward 
Billinge, Robert Turner, James Brain, Arent Sonmans, William 
Gibson, Gawen Lawrie, Thomas Barker, Thomas Wame, 
James, Earl of Perth; Robert Gordon and John Drummond. 
Thus was constituted the '' Twenty-four Proprietors of 
East New Jersey," an association of land owners that has 
a corporate and active existence to this day. On the fourteenth 
of ]\Iarch, 1682, their title was further assured by a confirmatory 
deed from the Duke of York, giving to the proprietors all neces- 
sary powers for establishing a council and managing and govern- 

Oeigin of the Name Perth Amboy. 113 

ing their estate or province. We now find that one undivided 
twenty-fourth part of East New Jersey is by these conveyances 
as fuJly and completely vested in each proprietor as if the terri- 
tory was a farm or a city lot. Each one had full power to alien- 
ate the whole or a portion of his interest, or the privilege of 
locating for himself certain lands which the joint proprietors 
would secure to him in severalty by a warrant, which acted as a 
release of the interests of his associates. It also expressed what 
amount or proportion of his common stock was severed and 
represented by these located lands. 

The '^ Twenty-Four Proprietors " established their seat of gov- 
ernment at Perth Amboy, deriving the name from the Earl of 
Perth — one of their number — and from Ambo, the English cor- 
ruption of an Indian word which is generally believed to have 
meant point. The latter appears variously spelled in early 
documents; as Ompoge, Emhoylc, Amboyle and Ambo. The late 
Thomas Gordon, of Trenton, considered the derivative of Amboy 
to be the Indian word Emboli — meaning hollow, like a bowl ; so 
named because of a depression in the ground, a little north of the 
city. The Scotch word Perth is said to be a corruption of Barr- 
Tatha, or the " height on the river Tay." It is on this river 
that the ancient city of Perth is situated. 

The new proprietors modified somewhat the " Concessions and 
Agreements" of their predecessors, though retaining many of 
their most important provisions. The liberal feature of offering 
headlands to settlers, free of cost except quit-rents, was retained 
and continued in force for a number of years. Very complete 
descriptions were published in Europe of the advantages that 
would accrue to adventurers who removed to the province ; the 
manner of the disposition of the lands was explained, and a full 
account given of the physical condition of the country. In these 
published descriptions detailed statements were made as to the 
"goodness and richness of the soil;" that the country was "well 
stored with deer, conies, wild fowl" and other game ; that the 
"sea-banks were well stored with a variety of fish, such as 
whales, cod, cole, hake, etc." ; and that " the bays and rivers 
were plentifully stored with sturgeon, great bass and other scale 
fish, eels and shell fish, such as oysters, etc., in great abundance, 
and easy to take." Much stress was laid on the fact of there 

114 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

being safe and convenient harbors, affording exceUent opportun- 
ities for the export of the products of the province, qraong which 
were enumerated whale-fins, bone and oil, and beaver, mink, 
raccoon and martin skins. After dwelling on the salubrity of 
the climate, the good temper of the Indians, and the manner and 
costs of setting out from the old country, the descriptions, or 
advertisements, closed with the following excellent advice to the 
prospective emigrants : 

All persons inclining unto those parts mnst know that in their settlement 
there they will find their exercises. They must have their winter as well as 
summer. They must labor before they reap; and, till their plantations be 
cleared (in summer time), they must expect (as in all those countries) the 
mosquitos, flies, gnats and such like, may in hot and fair weather give them some 
disturbance where people provide not against them. 

The mosquitoes seem to have been early recognized as among 
the most active of the inhabitants of the new country. This is 
not the only time they ai'e mentioned by the first settlers. 
John Johnstone — whose better acquaintance we shall shortly 
make — in a letter written in 1684, though "mightily well sat- 
isfied with the country," could not forbear referring to a little 
flea that was occasionally blown toward the Raritan from Eliza- 
bethtown by an east wind. The distribution abroad of these 
plans and prospectuses induced a considerable emigration from 
Europe, especially from Scotland, which country was under- 
going at that time great political convulsions. East Jersey is 
to this day greatly benefited by the Scotch blood that was then 
transfused into her veins. The unhappy scenes that, just before 
and after the year 1700, were enacted in the Haymarket of the 
gray-castled city of Edinburgh, and the hunting of poor refugees 
through the mists of the bleak Highlands of that grim, sea-beaten 
land, resulted in the planting among the hills of Somerset of a 
sturdy stock which speedily developed into the three strong Pres- 
byterian congregations of Bound lirook, Basking Ridge and Lam- 
ington; and in many ways the immigrant Scots have contributed 
to the individual strength and virtue of the people of that county. 

When East Jersey came under the dominion of the twenty- 
four proprietors, in 1682, their historian, William A. W^hite- 
head, estimates the total population of the province to have been 
thirty-five hundred in the towns and about fifteen hundred on 
the plantations. The towns then existing were as follows : 

Colonel Lewis Morkis Founds Shrewsbury. 115 

Shrewsbury, in Monmouth county. The township, embracing 
thirty thousand acres, had a population of about four hundred, 
among whom was Colonel Lewis Morris. He was a brother of 
that Richard Morris, who, flying from England to the province 
of New York at the time of the Restoration, received a grant in 
1661 of three thousand acres on the Harlem river, which he 
called Morrisania; at his death. Colonel Lewis Morris came 
from Barbadoes, and assumed the guardianship of Richard's 
infant son, who in later life became governor of New Jersey, 
Colonel Morris married for his first wife, Tryntje Staats. His 
second wife was Tryntje's own niece, Sarah, daughter of Isaac 
Gouverneur, whose wife, Sarah, was the daughter of Major 
Abraham Staats of Albany, and an East Indian ''Begum" or 
princess, whom the Major had married in Java. These two mar- 
riages brought to Colonel Morris three distinguished sons. By the 
first. General Lewis Morris who signed the " Declaration ;" by the 
second, Gouverneur Morris, and General Staats Morris who mar- 
ried the Duchess of Gordon ; the acquaintance of this Scotch noble- 
woman we shall make later in Bedminster. Before the time of the 
twenty -four proprietors coming into possession of East New Jersey 
Colonel Lewis Morris had established at Shrewsbury extensive 
iron-works, which gave occupation to about seventy slaves, in 
addition to white servants and employees. His grant, under date 
of 1676, covered thirty -five hundred and forty acres ; he named it 
Tinturn — now called Tinton — after his home in Britain, which 
was in the vale of Tinturn, in the extreme south of Monmouth- 
shire, Wales. There it was that Theodoric, Christian king of 
Glamorgan, vanquished the pagan Saxons, though so wounded 
that he died shortly after the battle, in the near-by parish of 
Matherne. "This is the vale," writes Gray, "that is the 
delight of my eyes and the very seat of pleasure." Morris was 
also instrumental in giving Monmouth county its name, he call- 
ing it after the Welsh shire. The name Monmouth is generally 
accepted as meaning, and shortened from, Monnow-raouth, the 
English town of Monmouth being situated on a tongue of land at 
the mouth of the river Monnow. 

MiDDLETOWN, Covering about the same area as Shrewsbury, 
contained about five hundred people and many improved planta- 

116 The Story of an Old Farm. 

This township disputes with Bergen, in Hudson county, the 
claim of being the first permanent white settlement in New Jer- 
sey, and connected with the introduction of its Dutch occupation 
is a strangely romantic and interesting story. When Hendrick 
Hudson carried the news to Holland of the discoveries he had made 
in the new country, ships in numbers soon came sailing over the 
watery waste to visit this "goodly land." From then till now the 
ribs of many a stout craft have been battered to fragments on the 
bars and beaches of Sandy Hook. The first shipwreck known to 
have occurred at this point was as early as 1620, and connected 
with the stranding of the vessel there has come down to us an 
account of a most remarkable instance of the preservation of 
human life. On board was a young woman from Holland by the 
name of Penelope van Princis ; at least such was her maiden name, 
that of her husband, who accompanied her, being unkno\\Ti. 
Those of the ship's company who reached the shore in safety made 
their way on foot to New Amsterdam (New York). Penelope's 
husband, being badly injured, was unable to imdertake the jour- 
ney ; so she remained with him in the woods on Sandy Hook. 
Soon after the departure of their shipmates they were attacked 
by Indians, who left them for dead. The husband was, indeed, 
so, but the wife, though fearfully injured, revived. Her skull 
was fractured, and her left shoulder so cut and hacked that she 
never after had the use of that arm. Her abdomen had been 
laid open with a knife so that the bowels protruded and were 
only kept in place by her hands. Yet in this deplorable condi- 
tion she lived for several days in a hollow tree, sustaining life by 
eating bark, leaves and gum. 

At the end of a week Penelope was discovered by two 
Indians who were chasing a deer. One of them, an old 
man, moved by her condition and sex, conveyed her to 
his wigwam, near the present site of Middietown, where 
he di'essed her wounds and treated her with great kindness. 
Here she remained for some time, but, eventually, the Dutch of 
New Amsterdam, on learning that there was a white woman liv- 
ing with the natives in the woods beyond the great bay, came 
to her relief. Her preserver, who had cured her wounds and 
tenderly cared for her, interposed no objections to her rejoining 
her friends, by whom she was welcomed as one from the dead. 

The Settlement of Middletown. 117 

Some time after, when in her twenty-second year, this young 
Dutch widow married a wealthy English bachelor of forty, 
named Richard Stout, a son of John Stout, a gentleman of good 
family of Nottinghamshire, England. This remarkable woman 
was the ancestress of the very large and important family of 
Stouts in New Jersey, and her history, you may be sure, is often 
told by her posterity. She survived her marriage eighty-eight 
years, attaining the extraordinary age of one hundred and ten, 
and leaving at her death five hundred and two living descend- 

After Penelope became Mrs. Stout she did not forget the 
fertile soil and natural beauties of the Nau-ves-sing, or Nave- 
sink country, and there is every reason to believe that she was 
the means of interesting her husband in that locality. The 
descendants of these Monmouth pioneers claim that immediately 
after marriage they settled where is now Middletown, and that 
in 1648 they and six other families were the only white inhabit- 
ants of that region. The historian, Smith, says: "A while 
after marrying to one Stout, they lived together at Middletown 
among other Dutch inhabitants." In April, 1065, Governor 
Nicolls, as the representative of the Duke of York, patented the 
whole of Monmouth and part of Middlesex counties to Richard 
Stout and eleven associates, the patentees agreeing to " manure 
and plant the aforesaid land and premises, and settle there one 
hundred families at least." The late ex-Governor Joel Parker 
is my authority for saying that this Monmouth patent authorized 
and put in operation the first local government in New Jersey of 
which we have any authentic record. The holders imder this 
grant, as was the case with those holding under the one made by 
Nicolls to the Elizabethtown associates, came into frequent litig- 
ious conflicts with the grantees of Berkeley and Carteret. 

PiscATAWAY had about four hundred inhabitants, the township 
embracing nearly forty thousand acres. 

WooDBRiDGE contained about thirty thousand acres in the 
township, and had a population of six hundred. 

Elizabethtown, the seat of Carteret's government, possessed 
seven hundred inhabitants, with fifty thousand acres in the 

Newark also had fifty thousand acres in the township, and a 

118 The Story of an Old Farm. 

population of five hundred. In addition, it possessed jurisdiction 
over the plantations of Sandford, Kingsland, Berry and Pin- 
horne, upon the Passaic and Hackensack rivers. The latter 
estate was at Secaucus, near Snake hill, and the name of the 
present Penhorn creek is derived from that of its owner. Will- 
iam Pinhorne was an Englishman who came to this country with 
Governor Edmund Andross in 1678. Establishing himself in 
New York city he became a successful merchant and occupied 
many positions of public trust. On removing to his estates in 
New Jersey, he was appointed to the king's council, and was 
chosen member of the assembly and judge of the supreme court. 
The Sandford, Berry and Kingsland plantations were at what is 
now known as Rutherford, then called New Barbadoes' neck. 
This vicinity was first settled by Captain William Sandford, and 
Isaac Kingsland who came from the West Indies — hence the 

Bergen had three hundred inhabitants, and jurisdiction over 
several improved plantations on the bays, rivers and kills, 
besides over sixty thousand acres within its own township, 
which embraced all the present county of Hudson lying east 
of the Passaic river. Bergen was established in 1660. Among 
the earlier settlers were Cornelius Van Voorst, Englebert Steen- 
huysen, Tielman Van Vleck, Lourens Anndriessen (Van Bos- 
kerk). Christian Pieterse, Michael Jansen (Vreeland) and Gerrit 
Gerritsen (Van Wagenen). This is considered the most ancient 
permanent settlement in New Jersey, dwellings having been 
erected at Pavonia, within the confines of the township as after- 
wards established, as early as 1630. The latter name is derived 
from Michael Pauw, burgomaster of Amsterdam and Lord of Ach- 
tienhoven, who in that year obtained from the Indians a convey- 
ance of a large acreage, lying on the west shores of the Hudson. 
This is believed to be the first conveyance of lands in East Jer- 
sey. His title was further assured by the Dutch government, 
and its owner was created one of the original patroons of New 
Netherlands. Pauw gave his name to this territory, first latin- 
izing it into Pavonia, pauw in the Dutch, andipavo in the Latin, 
meaning peacock. Why should not this proud bird, significant 
of the first legal occupation of New Jersey, be impressed on the 
irreat seal of the state ? 

Subdivision of the Proprietors' Interests. 119 

Authorities differ as to the origin of the name of Bergen. New- 
Jersey's earliest historian, Smith, derives its title from the capi- 
tal of Norway, there having been Scandinavians as well as Dutch 
among its early settlers. Barber, Whitehead, and Gordon accept 
this derivation, but Taylor, in his "Annals" considers Bergen 
op Zoom, in Holland, to have been the godfather of East Jersey's 
oldest town. Winfield shows that the towns oi Bergen in both Nor- 
way and Holland received their names from their respective near- 
by hills. The New Jersey village being located on an eminence 
overlooking the marshes on the east and west, and the lowlands 
bordering the Hudson, he believes received its name from the 
same local circumstances, the word Bergen meaning hill. This 
seems by far the most reasonable explanation of the origin of 
the name. 

The first governor under the proprietors was Robert Barclay, 
one of the associates, who was appointed for life >A'ith the right 
of ruling by deputy. To represent him he selected Thomas 
Rudyard, a London attorney of distinction. On arriving out, in 
November, 1682, this deputy wrote home that he was delighted 
to find that the province was occupied by "a sober, professing 
people, Avise in their generation, and courteous in their behaviour." 
Before the end of 1683 Rudyard was superceded by Grawen 
Lawric, whose successor was Lord Neil Campbell, who in turn 
was followed by Andrew Hamilton. In the autumn of 1690 
Robert Barclay died, the power of governing reverting to the 
proprietors. Deputy-Governor Hamilton, who was then in 
England on a visit, thereupon, though after some delay, received 
the appointment of governor-in-chief. 

Many years had not gone by before the number of 
proprietors and the subdivision of their interests caused 
much disturbance and confusion in the manner of govern- 
ment, and the choice of governor was attended by great rivalry 
and discord. As each proprietor was at liberty to dispose 
of his propriety in as many parts as he pleased, these sales 
were frequently made in small fractions ; consequently the num- 
ber of proprietors was not only greatly augmented, but their dis- 
tribution in different countries caused much embarrassment. At 
this time New Jersey experienced its first political convulsion, 
finally resulting, in 1709, in an armed resistance to the authori- 


Thk Story of an Old Farm. 

ties. It must be remembered that the people had no choice in 
the selection of the chief magistrate — that right devolved on the 
proprietors or owners of propriety interests. These individual 
holdings so multiplied as to almost render concerted action 
impossible. The following list of portions of shares acquired by 
George Willocks — of whom much more hereafter — will best 
exemplify the extent to which trading was done in these propriety 
rights : 

1702, January 23— - 
1692, February 15-. 
1695, December 2-. 

1696, September 18- 

1727, July 17 

1725, October 10--- 

1708, July 6 

1716, December 28- 
1727, June 28 


Ambrose Rigg- 
Thos. Rudyard- 
Thos. Rudyard- 
Thos. Rudyard- 

John Hey wood 

John Hey wood; 
John Hey wood 
Jobn Hey wood 
Thomas Cooper 
Thos. Rudyard- 
Thomas Barker 


John Johnstone — 
Benj. Rudyard — 
Robt. Wharton- - 
Margaret, widow of 
Sam'l Winder, mar- 
ries Geo. Willocks- - 
James Willocks dies, 
and devises to George 


Robt. Gordon 

John Parker 

.John ]Iamilton 

Thomas Gordon 

Andrew Johnstone. 
John Johnstone 


1-5 of 19-20 of 1-24. 
1-2 of 1-24. 
l-2of l-4of 1-24. 

1-2 of 1-2 of 1-24. 

3-4 of 1-8 of 1-24. 

1-64 of 1-24. 

1-8 of 1-24. 

1-16 of 1-24. 

1-20 of 1-48 of 1-24. 

1-8 of 1-24. 

1-2 of 1-24. 

Willocks also purchased of William Violent the one-twentieth 
of Thomas Cooper's original twenty-fourth, the share being con- 
veyed to him and Andrew Hamilton with right of survivorship ; 
at Willock's death this interest vested in Hamilton as survivor. 
On the twentieth of February, 1698, George Willocks conveyed 
to Jeremiah Basse seven-eighths of one twenty -fourth. 

On the eighth of April, 1698, Governor Alexander Hamilton 
was succeeded by Jeremiah Basse. In the following year num- 
bers of the inhabitants refused to him obedience- on the alleged 
discovery that his appointment had not received the prescribed 
form of royal approbation, nor the sanction of a sufficient number 
of proprietors. The disturbances were further increased by the 
colonists in the hope that continued agitations would provoke the 
Crown to deprive the proprietors of authority, in which case 
the land-owners thought to be able to rest their titles on the 
Indian grants, and thus be relieved from quit-rents. The New 
Jersey magistrates imprisoned some of these malcontents, 
whereupon other citizens rose in arms, broke open the jails, 

The Proprietors Abandon the Government. 121 

and confusion and anarchy ensued. This condition of affairs 
was increased by certain of the proprietors reappointing 
Hamilton as governor. Those of the people who sympathized 
with Basse, refused support to the new administration, resulting 
in still greater turbulence. Justices were assaulted, sheriffs were 
wounded, and such general confusion prevailed among the people 
that the proprietors, weary of contentions, were glad to abandon 
their government, in 1702, to Queen Anne, reserving, however, 
to themselves every other right that had been granted them. 
The proprietors, though their importance was much abridged, 
remained a powerful association of land owners, and the fountain 
head of the title to all the undisposed acres of East Jersey, The 
owners of West New Jersey, as the assigns of Lord John Berke- 
ley, having had equal difficulties in the government of their por- 
tion of the colony, joined with East New Jersey in the surrender 
of the right of ruling. The two divisions again became one, and, 
on the fourth of August, 1702, Lord Cornbury became the first 
governor under the Crown. 

Among the proprietors, and one of the original twelve, was 
John Hey wood, a Quaker. His title to the one twenty-fourth 
part of East New Jersey emanated not only from the estate of 
Sir George Carteret — he held as well, in conjunction with his 
associates, a confirmatory grant from the Duke of York, dated the 
fourteenth of March, 1682. A copy of a deed in ray possession 
shows that on the twenty-third day of the same month Heywood 
transferred all his rights and interests in and to the province, to 
" Robert Burnet, of Lothentie, in Scotland, Gent." By an "In- 
denture," as the conveyance recites : 

Made the first day of July, in the five and thirtieth year of the reign of our 
Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, of England, Scotland, 
France and Ireland, King, defender of the faith, etc., Anno Dotn., 1683. 

Burnet upon receiving title to his share of East Jersey, con- 
veyed to James Willocks, " Doctor in Phisick" of Kenny, in the 
Kingdom of Scotland :^ 

" In consideration of" — so runs the deed — " the sum of one hundred and sixteen 
pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence, of good and lawful money of England, 
one undivided eighth part of his undivided twenty-fourth part of the said tract of 
land, and of all and every, the isles, islands, rivers, mines, minerals, woods, fish- 
ings, hawkings, huntings, fowlings, and all other royalties, profits, commodities 
and hereditaments, whatsoever, reserving always to the said Robert Burnet and 

122 The Story of an Old Farm. 

his foresaids, the right of the g;overnment, simply and allonerly as it is now 
established in the persons of the Twenty -four Proprietors." 

It does not appear that Doctor James Willocks ever visited 
America. He applied for, and on the sixteenth of April, 1687, 
received from the joint proprietors a warrant, which confirmed to 
him in severalty four acres of land at Perth Amboy, and a tract 
of eight hundred and fifty acres, lying on the east side of the 
Millstone river at its conflux with the Raritan. Soon after this 
the doctor died, his brother, George, inheriting his real estate. 

In April, 1698, George Willocks sailed from England on 
the ship " Despatch, William Fiddler, Master." He reached 
Amboy with a cargo of goods belonging to the proprietors, 
of which he had charge, and he was also empowered to 
act as attorney for his associates in collecting quit-rents from 
settlers. He soon removed to Monmouth county, and married 
Margaret, widow of Samuel Winder, daughter of Deputy-Gover- 
nor Rudyard. From that time to 1754 he lived again in Amboy, 
on Staten Island, in Elizabethtown, and in Philadelphia. Not 
long after reaching East Jersey, Willocks was appointed " Chief 
Ranger," whatever that may have been, also a commissioner for 
the court of small causes. He was deputy-surveyor of the 
province under John Reid in 1701. During Burnet's adminis- 
tration he was a member of the king's council. He does not 
seem, however, to have been in accord with the governor ; their 
repeated differences resulted, in 1722, in his suspension from 
office, being charged with acting as leader for a cabal of intriguers. 
^' His Majesty King George," under the great seal of the 
province of New Jersey, granted him, in 1719, '' the sole right, 
benefit, and advantage of keeping a ferry over the Raritan river 
from Perth Amboy." He also established a ferry across the sound 
from Amboy to Staten Island. He served the public in many 
ways, among others as that of one of the commissioners, appointed 
in 1720, for settling the boundary between the provinces of New 
York and New Jersey. 

The memory of George Willocks is most revered by the 
people of Perth Amboy from the fact of his having been one of 
the founders and a generous benefactor of St. Peter's Episcopal 
church, one of the earliest organizations of that sect in New 
Jersey. A congregation for services according to the rites of 

St. Peter's Church at Perth Amboy. 123 

the Church of England was established in 1698. For a number 
of years it worshiped in an ordinary dwelling-house, standing on 
the banks of the Raritan near the foot of High street, the pulpit 
being supplied by various missionaries sent out from England by 
the Bishop of London, and the "Society for the Propagation of the 
Grospel in Foreign Parts." Lewis Morris writes, in L700 : " We 
have made a shift to patch up an old ruinous house and make a 
church of it, and when all the churchmen in the province are got 
together we make up about twelve communicants." In 1709 the 
Reverend Edward Vavighan's services were secured, who 
officiated for two years in conjunction with his home charge at 
Elizabethtown. He was much esteemed by the people, wdiich is 
more than can be said of his successor, Mr. Halliday, who 
entirely failed in gaining their affections, he being stigmatized by 
some members of his congregation — among them Governor Hun- 
ter — as a wretch, a knave and a villain. Finally, in 17] 3, after 
openly denouncing Willocks from the pulpit, the doors of the 
sanctuary were closed against this minister, and shaking the 
dust of Amboy from his feet he betook himself to other 

Again Mr. Vaughan acted as an occasional supply, and in 1720 
St. Peter's obtained its first rector, a Scotch divine of blessed 
memory. This was the Reverend William Skinner. He was a Mac 
Gregor, by some, thought to be chief of the clan. Being obliged 
to fly from Scotland after the battle of Preston in 1715, he came 
by way of Holland and Barbadoes to Philadelphia, where while 
studying theology he supported himself as a tutor. In 1721 he 
visited England to receive ordination from the Bishop of London. 
While there he was appointed by the " Society for Propagating 
the Gospel in Foreign Parts " as missionary to Perth Amboy. 
On arrival he met with such favor from the people, that in the 
following year he was called to be the permanent pastor of the 
society, which position he filled faithfully and acceptably until 
his death at the age of seventy-one, in the year 1758. 

In 1718 a charter was granted by the Crown to the congre- 
gation, and the erection of a church edifice was commenced in 
the following year. This building withstood the elements for one 
hundred and thirty years, it giving place in 1852 to the present 
structure, which occupies the same site, a beautiful elevation 

124 The Story of an Old Farm. 

overlookinf^ the bay and ocean. St. Peters had many 
benefactors among the early Scotch worshipers. Our first 
knowledge of Mr. Willocks in such a role is from the minutes of 
the Board of Proprietors, which record that, in 1702, he and 
Miles Foster advanced six pounds for repairing the dwelling, 
then occupied for services. When the first church edifice was 
erected, the grounds (still in use) were donated by him, Thomas 
Gordon and John Barclay. Later on, he and John Harrison 
presented the congregation with twelve acres of land lying 
adjoining the town. On the first of January, 1723, he conveyed 
to trustees two acres of land fronting on Water street, upon 
which was a substantial stone and frame residence. Under cer- 
tain restrictions and limitations they were to hold the property, 
as the deed recites : 

For the use of a Presbyter of the Church of England, qualified and admitted 
into said St. Peter's Church, to serve the Cure thereof— provided always notwith- 
standing such incumbent or incumbents being admitted and qualified, &c., that any 
time liereafter such incumbent or incumbents that shall differ from the doctrine, 
discipline and rules of the Church of England, shall from thenceforth have no 
benefit, or advantage by the benefactions aforesaid. 

More of the ecclesiastical gifts of George Willocks will appear 
when we come, presently, to learn something of the contents of 
his will. 

In grateful remembrance of the above, and other generous 

donations, the congregation, in 1825, affixed to the walls of the 

church auditorium a "marble tablet, upon which is still to be read 

the following inscription : 


is designed to express the gratitude of the 

Congregation of St. Peter's Church in this city, 

to the benefactors of the said church, ■ 

whose names follow : 


who died in 1729. 


his wife, 

who died in 17?2. 


who died April 28, 1722, 



They loved the habitation of God's house and 

the place where his honor dwelleth. 

Erected A. D. 1825. 

George Willock's Importance in the Colony. 125 

John Harrison was the first sheriff of Perth Amboy, and in 
the old record his name is often met with as the agent for the 
proprietors in locating lands and buying the Indian rights. 
Thomas Gordon came from Pitlochie, Scotland, in 1684, with 
his wife, Helen, four children and seven servants, and proved no 
small addition to the virtuous and refined society that his fellow 
countrymen were establishing in East Jersey. He selected a 
plantation some ten miles from salt water, on Cedar brook, near 
the present village of New Brooklyn, or South Plainfield. In 
February of the next year, he wrote to the old country as 
follows : 

I am settled here in a very pleasant place upon the side of a brave plain, 
almost free of woods and near the water side, so that I might yoke a plough 
where I please, were it not for want of hay to maintain the cattle, which I hope 
to get helped the next year, for I have several pieces of meadow near me — 
There are eight of us settled here, within half a mile or a mile of another, and 
about ten miles from the town of New Perth or Amboy point, so that I can go 
and come in a day — Blessed be God, myself and wife and children and servants 
have been, and are still in good health, which God continue. 

His prayer was futile ; in less than two years he was the only 
one of his family alive. His wife and her six children lie in the 
old burying-ground of Perth Amboy, where a large stone with 
an antiquated inscription can yet be seen. 

Altogether we may readily persuade ourselves that George 
Willocks was a man of ability and an important personage in 
the community. Mr. Whitehead tells us that his time was 
principally employed in attending to his large landed estates, he 
having become deeply interested in real property'. He pur- 
chased other portions of propriety shares, and gradually his undi- 
vided interest in the province was converted into holdings in sev- 
eralty, he obtaining warrants and releases from his brother pro- 
prietors for large tracts of land in Middlesex, Monmouth, Hunter- 
don, Somerset, Bergen and Passaic counties. 

Among the many large bodies of land acquired by George 
Willocks from the proprietors was one lying in Somerset county, 
known as the Peapack * patent. The warrant is made to him 

* Evidently an Indian name. A native thoroughfare which ran from east to 
west through northern New Jersey, crossing the Lamington river at its falls, was 
called the " Peapack Path," and was frequently mentioned as the boundary of 
early land grants. 

126 The Story of an Old Farm. 

and John Johnstone in severalty, as joint tenants, on " the sev- 
enth day of June, in the thirteenth year of the reign of William 
the Third, over England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, 
etc., Annoque Dom. 1701," and is signed by the acting governor 
of the province, Andrew Hamilton, and five proprietors. Per- 
haps you may wonder at so few associates joining in the convey- 
ance. By this time the proprieties had become divided into 
many small parts, and their owners Avere distributed into various 
portions of the world ; consequently it was impossible that all of 
the proprietors, or even a majority of them, could join in a 
release to an associate. It was the custom, therefore, for a cer- 
tain number of them to meet with the governor and examine 
and pass upon applications for propriety lands. Those who met 
for this purpose were called the " Council of the Proprietors," 
and to secure a valid conveyance it was necessary that the 
patent, or warrant, should be issued under the great seal of the 
province, and be signed by the governor, and at least five of 
this council. Andrew Hamilton, who executed the grant to 
Johnstone and Willocks, was a brother-in-law of the latter, and 
originally a merchant in Edinburgh. He was one of that band 
of well-born Scotchmen who came to Amboy about the same 
time, establishing a little coterie of worth and aristocracy in East 
Jersey which long left its impress on the morals and manners of 
the people. He reached America in 1685 ; coming as one of the 
proprietors he occupied a seat in the council of Lord Neil Camp- 
bell and succeeded him as deputy-governor in 1686. He was 
governor from 1692 to 1698, and again from 1699 to 1701, and 
died at Amboy in 1703. 

John Johnstone, the joint owner with Willocks of the Peapack 
patent, was another of East Jersey's valued Scotch citizens. He 
had been a druggist in Edinburgh, "at the sign of the Unicorn;" 
he was also a skilful physician and much esteemed by both rich 
and poor, especially by the latter, who were his particular care. 
Doctor Johnstone arrived in the province in December, 1685, by 
the " Henry and Francis, of Newcastle, a Ship of three hundred 
and fifty Tun, and Twenty great Guns, Richard Hutton, master," 
in company with nearly two hundred of his banished and 
oppressed countrymen. This ship had been chartered by George 
Scot, THE Laird of Pitlochie. This Scotch nobleman had 

The Fever Ship "Henry and Francis." 127 

been many times fined and imprisoned " for absence from the 
King's host," attending conventicles and other offenses obnoxi- 
ous to the government, and was finally released from prison upon 
his engaging to go to the plantations. He then published that 
"Model of the Government of East New Jersey in America," 
which is to be found bound with Whitehead's " East New Jer- 
sey under the Proprietors," and is the source of much of our 
information as to the earliest days of the province, and especially 
of its Scotch immigration. The promulgation, by Scot, of all the 
facts regarding this transatlantic retreat for the persecuted, 
induced many of his countrymen to join him in the undertaking 
of removing thitherward; among them was his son-in-law, John 
Johnstone, who, on or before sailing, had married Scot's daughter 
Euphemia. The " Laird" was also authorized by the Crown to 
take with him to America one hundred and five prisoners, then, 
in the tolbooth at Leith. Many of these latter protested in. 
writing against being banished for conscience sake, in that they 
had refused allegiance to a king whom they felt bound to with- 
stand and disown, considering him an enemy to religion and an 
avowed papist. As all of these protestants were prisoners, some 
of whom are said to have suffered for their beliefs to the extent 
of the loss of a left ear, and many of whom were in danger of 
death, it seems strange that they should not have welcomed the 
opportunity for transportation to a country where safety, at least, 
awaited them, and probably prosperity. 

The " Henry and Francis" sailed from Leith on the fifth of 
September, 1685* Hardly had she reached Lands End when a 
malignant fever broke out among the passengers ; among its first 
victims were George Scot and his wife. The care of the people 
then devolved on John Johnstone. For many weeks the ship's 
company battled against disease and the fierce waves of the 
Atlantic, until finally, in December, when the vessel dropped 
anchor in the harbor of Perth Amboy, at least seventy of her pas- 
sengers had found graves at the bottom of the sea. Notwith- 
standing so inauspicious an advent into the colony, Doctor John- 
stone's character and attainments soon won for him the consider- 
ation of the citizens, whereby he was forced to accept many 
honorable and important positions in the community. He repre- 
sented the people for thirteen years in the general assembly,. 

128 The Story of an Old Farm. 

and for ten years was speaker of that body. He also 
served as judge of the supreme court of Monmouth county, 
was one of the king's council under the Burnet administra- 
tion, and held many other important offices. He seems for a 
time to have been a resident of New York, as he was mayor of 
that city from 1714 to 1718. Doctor Johnstone's Amboy resid- 
ence, a substantial brick mansion, was preserved until after the 
Revolution ; he also spent much time in Monmouth county on a 
plantation called '^Scotschesterburg," granted him and his wife 
by the proprietors as a reimbursement for his and his father-in- 
law's outlay in importing the Scotch refugees. He became an 
extensive land owner in several counties, being entitled to grants 
of headlands, and to grants because of propriety interests, he 
having purchased one-eighth of Thomas Rudyard's original 
share, one-sixteenth of John Heywood's and two-fifth parts of 
nineteenth-twentieths of Robert Barclay's. 


Early Neiv Jersey History Continued — The Story of the Title 
Completed — Somerset Land Grants. 

I wonder do ray readers grow weary of these legal chapters ? 
If so, they must turn over the leaves until they reach some they 
may consider more interesting. It is a mistake to think that an 
author desires all his pages read. Naturally you may ask, why 
then were they written ? Miss Woolson, in one of her clever 
sketches, suggests, "perhaps for the writer's own amusement." 
I think she is right, for though these legal chapters may be dull 
reading,* their writing has proved a most agreeable task. There 
is a peculiar charm in poring over the dry records of a title, and, 
while tracing the history of a familiar piece of land, in forcing it 
to divulge the various changes of owners and conditions it has 
sustained since those early days when it formed an undesignated 
part of the vast, undefined area of primitive wilderness. So it is, 
that while I have been occupied in ascertaining all that could be 
learned regarding the "Old Farm," from the days when it was 
a portion of the domain of the "Merry King Charles" down to 
the time it vested in that sturdy yeoman Johannes Moelich, my 
time has not seemed uselessly employed. It is also pleasant to 
catch occasional glimpses through the dim perspective of the 
past of those persons who have directly or indirectly been con- 
nected with these ancestral acres. Biography is said to be the 
home aspect of history; so, as research brings to light the names 
of persons who have been even remotely associated with these 
homestead lands, I cannot refrain from endeavoring to learn of 
them all that can be discovered. My readers must be patient if, 
at times, in giving the results of such research, unimportant per- 
sonages are apparently allowed undue space and prominence. 

130 The Story of an Old Farm. 

In reaching the Peapack patent it will soon be seen that we 
have rescued the " Old Farm " from the indefinite area of the 
wild lands of New Jersey, and located it within the definite 
bounds of a personal possession. The limits of this grant cannot 
to-day be readily defined by its description, which is as follows : 

Begins on Rackawack river, at tlie upper corner of a thousand acres of land, 
belonging to the said George Willocks, thence up the said Rackawack, including 
the same to the falls thereof, between two steep hills. Thence to the head of the 
eastermost crooks that unites with said Rackawack, in said Willock's land, and 
makes the North Branch of Raritan river. From thence east and by north to 
the top of that ridge of mountains that points southerly toward the Raritan 
river, thence running along the top of the said mountain southerly, as for as the 
northeast corner of a tract of land formerly Ann West's, now Michael Hawdon's, 
thence due west to said Hawdon's land, thus following the lines of said Hawdon's 
and of said Willock's Imid, to where it began. 

I have searched in vain at Trenton, at Amboy, and among the 
archives of the New Jersey Historical Society, at Newark, for a 
survey of the land included in this grant. If any exists it must 
be in private hands. The conveyance calls for thirty-one hun- 
dred and fifty acres, but its description embraces a territory 
aggregating nearly eleven thousand acres. At first thought this 
description is hardly intelligible, but a little study of early titles 
and some knowledge of subsequent transfers made of portions of 
the grant enables us to define with considerable accuracy the 
boundaries of the premises intended to be conveyed. 

The description commences at a point in one thousand acres of 
land vested in George Willocks by right of his wife, Margaret 
Winder, who had died in 1722, which land lay at the conflux of 
the north branch of the Raritan and Lamington rivers, formerly 
known respectively as the Peapack and Allametunk. This 
tract is designated as number 51, on the map accompanying 
schedule number III., in the "Elizabethtown Bill in Chancery." 
It was conveyed by George Willocks to Daniel Axtell on the 
twenty-fourth of June, 1726, and soon after that time that por- 
tion of the land lying east of the north branch of the Raritan 
came into the possession of George Teeple, the founder of the 
Teeple family at Pluckamin. The first real estate transfer within 
the limits of the present Bedminster township, was the purchase 
of this tract by Mrs. Willocks — when the widow of Samuel Win- 
der — on the twentieth of May, 1690. The description in the 
patent continues, *' thence up the said Rackawack." This is 

The Duchess of Gokdon. 131 

evidently an error, and one probably made in copying the 
grant on the book of records, although, possibly, the mistake 
may have occurred in the original, as the scriveners of that 
time had but slight knowledge of the names of the water-courses 
of the New Jersey wildernesses. Rackawack, in early deeds, 
stood for Rockaway. The line of the Peapack patent did not 
touch that stream, but ascended the Lamington to its falls, near 
the Morris county line ; thence it continued easterly to the 
head waters of the north branch of the Raritan ; thence, 
southerly, following that stream to a point where it veers west- 
erly, below the mouth of Mine brook ; thence to the top of the 
first mountain south of Pluckamin ; thence following the 
crest of that mountain southeasterly, to the northeast corner of a 
thousand acre tract of land conveyed to Ann West on the four- 
teenth of August, 1693, and which is designated as number 58 
on the map before referred to in the " Elizabethtown Bill in 
Chancery," thence, westerly, along the north line of this land, to 
the east line of George Willock's thousand acres ; thence along 
his east and north line to the place of beginning. 

Ann West was the daughter of Deputy-Governor Thomas Rud- 
yard, and a sister of Mrs. Willocks. Her husband John West, a 
merchant, dying early, she married Robert Wharton, and later 
became the wife of Governor Andrew Hamilton. The upper por- 
tion of her land adjoined on the east the lower portion of her 
sister's tract, and, lying on both sides of Chamber's brook, is in both 
Bedminster and Bridgewater townships. The title to this lot passed 
to Catherine, Duchess of Gordon, of Gordon Castle, Scotland, 
who was the daughter of William, the second Earl of Aber- 
deen, and the locality is still known as ^' The Duchess." The 
tract is at present bisected by the road leading from the village 
of North Branch to Pluckamin, and is now subdivided, or was 
within a few years, into the farm homesteads of J. T. Van 
der Veer, Jerome Van Nest, Philip Van der Veer, Jacob 
Powelson and others, they deriving their title from the 
descendants of Abram Quick and John Van der Veer, who 
purchased the land in 1801 from Gouverneur Morris, as 
agent of the Duchess of Gordon. This Scotch noble-woman 
made the acquaintance of American investments through 
having married Staats L. Morris, a brother of Gouverneur 

132 The Story of ax Old Fakm. 

Morris, who early in life entered the English army, and ulti- 
mately attained the rank of general. The Duchess visited New 
York with her husband, and is said to have been long remem- 
bered by metropolitan society for her good heart, blunt manners, 
frank conversation and masculine habits. 

In studying the old records of Somerset one cannot fail 
to notice with interest how many prominent and leading 
men of the last century have been directly or indirectly 
coimected with the freeholds of the county. Gouvemeui* Morris 
may surely be classed among this number, for, in reading 
the story of his life, discovery is soon made that he was a 
much greater man than the majority of his contempor- 
aries. Had he been possessed of personal ambition his memory 
would occupy a more exalted place in history, as his present 
fame is far less than his abilities would have insured had he con- 
sented to place himself in the front of the many prominent move- 
ments with which he was connected. His eloquence in conver- 
sation was phenomenal ; it is claimed that not only woidd 
intelligent listeners hang on his words in rapt admiration, but that 
servants, arrested by his table-talk, stood open-mouthed, dishes 
in hand, to catch his glowing sentences. Put Morris where you 
would, he was always at home and always made an impression. 
So great was his equipoise, it was impossible to disturb the tran- 
quility of his mind and presence. Wlien in France, as United 
States Minister, his marked individuality, eccentric and original 
manners, together with his undoubted intellect, made a strong 
impression on society in the French capital. Madame de Stael 
credited him with having ^' Vair tres im2)0sant" and the king 
found in his features an extraordinary resemblance to those of 
the royal family. On one occasion, while attending an audience, 
the American statesman was approached by the monarch, who, 
after looking at him fixedly for a moment, exclaimed " The like- 
ness is, indeed, too wonderful to be accidental ! Pray, Mr. Mor- 
ris, was your mother ever in France f" Morris with a respect- 
ful bow, quickly replied, " No, your Majesty, but my father 
was !" 

It is evident this Peapack patent embraced within its bound- 
aries nearly the entire township of Bedminster, and extended 
from below Pluckamin to somewhere near the Morris county 

Daniel Axtell, the Regicide. 133 

line, and from the north branch of the Raritan on the east to the 
Lamington river on the west. It included surveys numbered 59, 
62, 88, 120, 122, and those marked Daniel Axtell, and Doctor 
Johnstone Levris and Mary Johnstone, as laid down on the map 
accompanying schedule III, " Elizabethtown Bill in Chancery.'' 
In May, 1660, when King Charles 11. landed at Dover and 
made his royal progress to London, he found the people mad with 
loyal excitement. Drimk with the joy of his restoration. Crom- 
well, who had made England the leading power of Europe, was 
apparently forgotten. There no longer seemed to be any Round- 
heads, Piu'itans, Covenanters, or Papists : only a beU-ringing, 
bonfire-blazing nation, hysterical with delight at the return of a 
king. No one was more surprised at this rapture of the people 
than was Charles himself, who remarked to one of his suite that 
for the life of him he could not see why he had staid away so 
long when every one seemed so glad to have him back again. 
In his pleasure at the enthusiasm his presence everywhere engen- 
dered, he was quite ready with all manner of promises as to for- 
giveness for past offences. Hardly, however, had he grown warm 
to his seat in the saddle of government, before he became con- 
^'inced that justice to his fathers memory demanded vengeance 
on those, at least, who had been immediately instrumental in the 
suffei-ings of the late king. Among the imhappy persons who were 
consequently dragged on hurdles to their deaths was Daniel AsteU. 
He had been prominent in the CromweUian army, and commanded 
the guard preserving order in Westminster Hall, at the court in 
which Charles I, was con^^cted of treason and sentenced to be 
beheaded. After the execution of AxteU, his son, also named 
Daniel, fled to Jamaica, in the West Indies, where engaging in 
trade he acquired a fortune. On visiting the American colonies 
in search of investments, he purchased a large slice of the Pea- 
pack patent, paying therefor: "The sum of one thousand two 
hundred and fourteen pounds, money of Xew York." The deed 
to him from Johnstone and WiUocks, under date of the twentieth 
of June, 1726, conveyed as follows: 

All that tract of land situate, Ijing and being within the bounds of a cer- 
tain tract of land grantetl bv patent unto the said John Johnstone ami 
George WiUocks, bearing date the seventh day of June, Anno Domini one 
thousand seven hundreil and one, for their rights to several iparcels of land, 
shares and parts of proprieties, in the eastern division of X°^v Jersey, as 

134 The Story of an Old Farm. 

aforesaid : Beginning upon the north side of Peapack Eiver, where the 
east line of a tract of land (granted by the said George Willocks unto Daniel 
Axtell aforesaid) toucheth the said river ; and from thence up the said river, as 
it runs, until it comes about ten chains above the forks thereof; from thence 
south, seven ty-tliree degrees, west three hundred and seventy-two chains, unto 
Allametunck river, be it more or less ; from thence down the stream thereof, as 
it runs, to where the west line of the land sold by George Willocks aforesaid 
unto the said Daniel Axtell toucheth the said River, thence along the said line 
north ninety-four chains, thence east eighty chains, thence south to Peapack 
Eiver to where it is said to begin. * * * Containing four thousand and 
sixty-five acres, excepting one thousand two hundred and fourteen acres, belong- 
ing to John Hamilton, also four hundred and eighteen acres claimed by Charles 
Dunster by virtue of a survey made to Lord Neil Campbell and Robert Black- 
wood, and entered in the second book of surveys, folio 132. 

As at that time a New York pound had a present United 
States coin vakie of three dollars and fourteen and one-quarter 
cents, we find that in the year 1726 the best of Bedminster lands 
were considered worth about one dollar and fifty-six cents per 
acre. With the exception of the exemptions, and of the Winder 
tract which Willocks also sold to Axtell, the above conveyance 
covered all the coimtry bounded by the Lamington river, the north 
branch of the Raritan river, and the road leading from Benaards- 
ville to Lamington village. John Hamilton was the son of 
Governor Andrew Hamilton; his reservation I am unable to locate. 
The four hundred and eighteen acres "claimed by Charles Dun- 
ster" was situated near where the two streams merge, and is 
designated as survey nmnber 59, in schedule III., " Elizabethto^^^l 
Blil in Chancery." The recital of the area of premises conveyed 
by the Peapack patent, and by this deed from Johnstone and Wil- 
locks to Daniel Axtell, enables us to correct the following erron- 
eous statement to be foimd on page 29 of Messler's " Centennial 
History of Somerset County " : 

Between Lamington River and North Branch, Major Axtell owned a large and 
valuable tract of land, out of which Campbell and Blackwood purchased 3900 
acres, in 1693 ; Margaret Winder 1000, on May 20, 1690; Johnson and Willocks 
3150, June 6, 1701. This last survey included all the lands in Peapack valley; 
and finally Andrew Hamilton obtained a deed for 875 acres on Lamitunk, Feb. 
25, 1740. This brings us to the Morris county line. 

Like errors as to the early history of Bedminster land titles 
will be found on pages 700, 704 and 705 of SnelFs recent "His- 
tory of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties." 

Just here permit me to say that the people of Somerset are 

William AxTELL in New Jersey. 135 

greatly indebted to Doctor Messier for publishing the results of 
his painstaking researches as to the early history of the county. 
His labors have been valuable, not only in bringing to light 
facts of which, otherwise, we should have remained in ignorance, 
but because of exciting in the community an interest in local 
history, and by inciting in others the desire to still further pierce 
the dim mists that enshroud the days of long ago. Much the 
same may be said of the work of Mr. Snell in his compilation 
of facts, traditions and biography. But while man remains finite, 
so long will the best of histories be replete with errors. It 
is not belittling the efforts of these local historians to point 
out where their statements are erroneous. On the contrary, 
it is giving an added value to those historical nuggets they 
have unearthed, that contain only the pure metal of truth. As 
to the value of the materials they have collected there can be no 
dispute, and, with Macaulay, we may acknowledge an indebted- 
ness to an historian's accurate researches for the means of refut- 
ing in his work what we cannot fail to discover as errors. 

After the death of Daniel Axtell, (second), his son, William, 
who was born in Jamaica, came in 1746 to New Jersey in 
order to dispose of this estate. The result of his efforts within a 
few years was the planting, in this portion of the township, of the 
Van Doren, Van der Veer, McDowell, Teeple, Streit, Sloan and 
other families. Ultimately, while visiting New York, he ran 
away with and married the beautiful daughter of Abraham De 
Peyster, the treasurer of that province. Axtell built a substan- 
tial two storey, semi-detached brick dwelling in New York city, 
where he lived in a lavish manner as long as his money lasted. 
It stood on the present site of the Astor House, then in the out- 
skirts of the city ; the other half of the structure was the resi- 
dence of Walter Rutherford, whose wife was the sister of Lord 
Stirling. In Mrs. Lamb's " History of the City of New York," 
there is a picture of this dwelling showing it to have had 
a steep dormered roof, two small square windows on the 
main floor protected by heavy wooden shutters, and a front door 
which, opening abruptly on the side walk without step or break, 
was approached through a wooden porch. In 1754 Axtell 
removed to England, stopping on his way at Jamaica where he 
settled his father's estate. Some years later, retmiiing to 

136 The Story of an Old Farm. 

America he built a large mansion at Flatbush, Long Island, where 
he permanently settled. At the breaking out of the Revolu- 
tion he attached himself to the patriot cause, and was active in 
arousing the people of his coimty to the support of the American 
arms. After the disasters on Long Island and in Westchester 
his convictions imderwent a change, and, swearing allegiance to 
the Crown, he became a violent partisan of the British. He was 
commissioned a colonel of a regiment of foot in his Majesty's 
service, and was also given many offices of a sinecure nature, 
which brought him a fortune. By marrying his adopted daugh- 
ter to a Major Miles of the Continental army he had hoped to 
secm'e his estates, but, by an act of attainder passed by the 
New York legislature on the twenty-second of October, 1779, 
all of his property, real and personal, was confiscated, and he, 
and others who were members with him of the king's comicil, 
were proscribed. The act declared that "each and every of 
them, who shall, at any time hereafter, be foimd in any part of 
this state, shall be and are hereby adjudged and declared guilty 
of felony, and shall sufifer death as in cases of felony without 
benefit of clergy." On the evacuation of New York he removed 
to England, where he received a pension and a colonel's half-pay 
for life. 

There are descendants of a collateral branch of the Axtell 
family now resident in New Jersey. Thomas, a brother of 
Daniel Axtell the regicide, came to this country in about the 
year 1642 and settled at Sudbury, Massachusetts, where he died 
four years later. His great-grandson, Henry, removed in 1 740 to 
New Jersey, establishing himself at Mendliam in Morris coimty. 
This Henry was the great-grandfather of the Honorable Charles 
F. Axtell, of Morristown, and of the Honorable Samuel B. 
Axtell, late chief justice of New Mexico. 

George Willocks died in 1729. His executors, the Reverends 
Edward Vaughan and William Skinner, offered his will for pro- 
bate before Michael Kearney, surrogate, on the thirteenth of 
February of that year. I have in my possession a copy of that 
voluminous document. It goes to show the testator to have 
been a man of piety and good works, as it contains numerous 
generous bequests for religious and charitable pm'poses, and the 
following solemn nivocation and profession of fiiith : 

George Willocks' Will. 137 

In the name of God, Amen. I, George WiUocks, of Perth Amboy in the Prov- 
ince of New Jersey, being under a languishing distemper, but by God's goodness, 
master of my reason and memory, do think fit to make this my last will and 
testament. I acknowledge myself a great sinner, and have nothing to rely upon 
for the forgiveness of my ti'ansgressions, but the merits and mediation of my 
blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for whose sake, merciful God forgive me, 
and receive me into the arms of thy mercy, and grant at th& last day I may be 
raised among the elect, to praise Thee forever and ever. 

This last testament provided for the payment of debts, and the 
building of a tomb to cost seventy poimds ; this vaidt, though in 
ruins, is still to be seen in St. Peter's churchyard at Perth 
Amboy. It bequeathed to two negro slaves some cows and 
household furniture. The executors were directed to build a 
house and lay out a garden spot adjoining, for the slaves ; and a 
negro lad was to be bound to a cooper, who was to be paid for 
instructing him in his craft. The franchise and buildings of the 
" Long Ferry" to South Amboy were devised to trustees, who 
were empowered to let or rmi the same, and apply the income, 
as the will recites : — 

To support the incumbent serving the Cure of St. Peter's Church in Perth 
Amboy, and his successors provided always that such Incumbents have received 
ordination of Deacon and Priest from the hands of a Bishop of the Church of 
England, and do continue members of the said Church according to the doctrines 
and discipline of the said Churcli. 

Divers tracts of lands in divers counties were ordered to be 
sold, and the proceeds divided in specified sums between rela- 
tives, friends, churches and the poor, in America and Scotland. 
The bidk of his landed estate, which was very great, was devised 
to George Leslie and Ann Richie, his nephew and niece, the lat- 
ter receiving his house and lot on Smith street in Amboy. The 
will disposes of the Peapack patent as follows : 

And whereas there is a ti"act of land remaining in partnership, besides what 
has been sold to Daniel Axtell, and two thousand acres given by me to Euphemia 
Johnstone deceased and Margaret Smith, two daughters of John Johnstone, the 
remaining part of the said tract is still vested in the said John Johnstone and in 
me the said George WiUocks, (only 418 acres released by the said John John- 
stone to me the said George WiUocks). I, therefore, pray my executors to get 
the lands surveyed and a partition made between the said John Johnstone and 
me, after such partition be made, I give and grant to my executors full power 
and authority to sell and dispose of the same, and the money arising from such 
sale, after the payment of debts and legacies, the remaining part, I desire, may 
be put out upon good security and applied for the support of the children of the 
said George Leslie and Ann Riciiie, lawfnllv begotten. 

138 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

Ann Richie and George Leslie were children of George AVil- 
locks' sister, the former being the wife of John Richie, a mer- 
chant of Aberdeen, Scotland. Leslie had joined his uncle in 
America several years before the latter's death, and after that 
event resided at Perth and South Amboy — at that time within one 
corporation — until his own death in 1751. His homestead property 
embraced some twelve hundred acres of land adjoining the ferry at 
South Amboy. He also was an active member of St. Peter's 
church, being a vestryman from the year 1722 to 1729, and 
again in 1750. He occupied pew No. 11 for which he paid six 
pounds and seventeen shillings per annum. 

Neither in the Department of State at Trenton, nor on the 
records of the Board of Proprietors of East New Jersey at 
Amboy, nor among the Willocks papers in the custody of the 
State Historical Society, have I been able to find a copy of the 
survey directed by the will to be made ; nor any trace of the 
proceedings in partition. That a division, survey and map were 
made, is proven by frequent references in subsequent deeds to 
numbered lots in the Peapack patent. I have also searched in 
vain for the record of any conveyances of Somerset lands by the 
executors of George WHlocks. At a meeting of the Board of 
Proprietors of East New Jersey, held the thirty-first of March, 
1743, the surveyor-general was directed to survey two thousand 
acres of land out of the patent for George Leslie. The order 
reads as follows: 

By virtue of an order of the Council of Proprietors this day made you are 
hereby authorized and required to lay out and survey for Mr. George Leslie or 
his assigns within that tract called Peapack Two thousand acres of land and for 
so doing this shall be your sufficient warrant. 

(jiven under my hand and seal at Perth Amboy the thirtv-first day of March, 

On such survey being made, the proprietors, on the twenty- 
third of June, 1744, conveyed to George Leslie two tracts of 
land. The description of the one in which we are especially 
interested reads as follows : 

Beginning at the nortlieast corner of the land of Daniel Axtell deceased, 
where it touches Peapack river ; thence along said Axtell's line south, seventy- 
three Degrees, west one hundred and eighteen chains, to a corner of land late of 
Doctor John Johnstone deceased; tiien along said Johnstone's line, north and by 
east thirty-five chains to his northeast corner ; then along another line of said 

George Leslie's Bedminster Grant. 139 

Johnstone's land, south seventy-six degrees, west one hundred and twenty-three 
chains to a stake to the northward of a white oak tree marked on four sides, dis- 
tant therefrom forty links, which stake is upon the rising of a hill near to Julius 
Johnstone's, and is another corner of said Johnstone's land ; thence north and by 
east to the southwest corner of another tract of land belonging to the said John 
Johnst()ne deceased, called by the name of lot No. 4, forty chains ; thence north 
seventy-six degrees, east to the southeast corner of said lot No. 4 ; thence north 
and by east forty chains ; thence north seventy-six degrees, east twenty-eight 
chains to a brook commonly called Lawrence's Brook. Thence down the stream 
of said brook to where it empties itself into said Peapack river; thence along 
said Peapack river to the beginning. Containing twelve hundred and ninety-one 
acres strict measure. 

The other tract conveyed by this warrant contained '' fom- 
hundred and ninety-eight acres and thirty-two hundredths," 
lying on the east side of the Lamington river, just below its falls, 
and adjoining lot No. 13, belonging to John Johnstone's estate. 

It would thus appear that if the executors sold the portion of 
the Peapack patent set off to Willocks, the proprietors became 
the purchasers. If not, in some other manner they must have 
acquired legal title. It is well known that the great difference 
in acreage, between what the original patent called for and what 
it eventually surveyed, gave rise to complications and disputes 
between the proprietors and the beneficiaries under the Willocks 
will, Avhich greatly retarded the settlement of the estate. It is 
not impossible, therefore, that these complexities resulted in a 
compromise whereby a portion of the patent again became vested 
in the proprietors. This last vicAV of the case is made the more 
probable on the discovery of the following clause in the will of 
John Johnstone, which was proven on the seventeenth of Novem- 
ber, 1732: 

And whereas in the tract of land at Peapack formerly Patented to George 
Willocks and to me the quantity of my share thereof does exceed the quantity 
of Proprietary Rights that I may have been entitled to. Now I doe hereby 
appoint and Empower my Executors or the Major part of them or the Survivors 
or Majority of the Survivors of them to compromise and agree that matter 
with the Proprietors and for such quantity of acres, as it will be found that I 
have at Peapack beyond my proprietary Right. I Impower my Executors to 
release and convey in fee or otherwise assume to the proprietors an Equivalent 
out of That Tract of Land Esteemed in the County of Bergen, containing about 
five thousand eight hundred acres which I am entitled to by a return of survey 
in the Western Division of New Jersey. 

We may conclude, therefore, that Doctor Johnstone's instruc- 
tions being carried out, all differences as affecting his estate were 
healed by the conveyance of other lands to the proprietors. His 

140 The Story of an Old Farm. 

executors and heirs apparently came into peaceful possession of 
all that portion of the Peapack patent lying between the two 
rivers, the Morris county line, and the north line of the grant to 
Leslie Avhich crossed the township at the mouth of Peapack 
brook (Schomp's Mills). His estate also owned numerous sm'- 
veyed lots of extensive area lying east of Lamington and west 
of the Leslie tract — also the southeast corner of the patent, at 
and below where Pluckamin was later established ; the first sale 
made by Doctor Lewis and Mary Johnstone being five hundred 
acres to Jacob Eoff", which included the site of that village. 

By referring to the description in the grant to Leslie, it will 
be seen that it commenced at Axtell's northeast corner. This point 
was where " Demimd's bridge " now spans the north branch of the 
Raritan, and is the same corner at which the description contained 
in the deed from Leslie to Joljfannes Moelich began. The line of 
the grant extended westerly for nearly one and one-half miles 
along Axtell's boundary, which lay in the centre of the road 
running from Bernards ville to Lamington ; here it reached the 
southeast corner of a plot that had been allotted to John Johns- 
tone, that fronted on this road for two miles, and extended back, 
northerly, three thousand and eighty feet. Leslie's line continued 
along the east and north bomidaries of this Johnstone plot west- 
erly to its west corner, a distance of over two miles. From there 
it extended in a northeasterly direction, following the lines of 
several plots that had been set off" to Johnstone, to Lawrence's — 
then so called — now Peapack brook. From there it continued 
along the brook to its mouth, and so on down the north branch of 
the Raritan to the place of beginning. The greatest breadth of this 
tract, from east to west, was about three and one-half miles, and its 
greatest depth, from north to south, one mile. With the excep- 
tion of the natural meadows bordering the river, it Avas entirely 
covered with timber. Leslie's right to this land does not seem 
to have rested on the fact of his having been the heir of George 
Willocks. It was probably granted to him by the proprietors in 
consideration of proprietary interests, he having become the 
owner of one-sixteenth part, and seven sixty-fourths part of John 
Heywood's original twenty-fourth ; one-half of Thomas Barker's, 
one-eighth of Thomas Rudyard's, one-fortieth of Thomas Cooper's 
and one-fifth of nineteen-twentieths of Robert Barclay's. 

Some Perth Amhoy Residents in 1751. 141 

George Leslie made no disposition of any portion of this prop- 
erty until the year 1751. And so, after a long story with many 
digressions, we now find oui'selves where we started in this legal 
talk — at the conveyance, on the first of November, 1751, of the^ 
three himdi*ed and sixty-seven acres to Johannes Moelich. In 
returning to this deed it is interesting to notice that in phrase- 
ology and general form it does not materially differ from such 
instruments now in use. It was signed by George Leslie and his 
wife Elizabeth, witnessed by Griffon Disbrow and Jonathan 
Nisbitt, and recorded by Thomas Bartow, secretary of the prov- 
ince. Instead of the grantors having made acknowledgments 
as to their signatures, Samuel Nevill, one of the justices of the 
supreme court, certifies that the witnesses to the conveyance 
having been duly sworn made oath that they " saw the grantors 
seal, and, as their act and deed, deliver the same, etc." Of these 
attesting witnesses I know but little. Griffen Disbrow probably 
lived at or near Perth Amboy, as he was one of St. Peter's con- 
gregation, the minutes of that church showing that, in 1751, 
when pew No. 18 was forfeited for non-payment of dues, it was 
secm*ed by him at an annual rental of £5.2.0. Thomas Bartow, 
the secretary of state, was the son of the Reverend John Bartow, 
the first rector of St. Peter's chui'ch, Westchester, New York, 
and the grandson of the Huguenot General Bertaut, who fled 
from France in 1685. Bartow was frequently in the service of 
the province, and w^as clerk in chancery when the famous Eliza- 
bethtoAvn bill, at the suit of "John, Earl of Stair, and others. Pro- 
prietors of the Eastern Division of New Jersey against Benjamin 
Bond, and others," was filed on the thirteenth of April, 1745. By 
and by, when we shall have occasion to visit Perth Amboy with 
Johannes, we will look up this worthy secretary and learn some- 
thing of his home and surromidings. 

Judge Samuel Nevill ranked among the most important men 
of the province. He was a native of Stafford, England, and 
bred a lawyer in London, where for a time he edited a news- 
paper. The occasion of his coming to America was in this 
wise. One of the original proprietors was Arent Sonmans, a 
Hollander, who lived in Scotland. In addition to his own twenty- 
fourth part, he owned portions of the several shares that had been 
vested in Gawen Lawrie, David Barclay and Hugh Hartshome, 

142 The Story of an Old Farm. 

which, together with sundry other portions that he had pur- 
chased, aggregated five and one-quarter proprieties. Sonmans, 
while preparing to visit East Jersey and while journeying 
between Scotland and London, was set upon by some highway- 
men and fatally woimded. His son, Peter, inherited his Ameri- 
can interests and, coming to America in 1688, died in 1734, and 
lies buried in St. John's churchyard at Elizabeth. He devised 
his estates to his wife, Sarah. At her death, which occurred 
soon after, Samuel Nevill, as her eldest brother and heir-at-law, 
came into possession of the five and one-quarter proprieties, 
excepting- a small portion that had been sold by Peter Sonmans 
to John Vail. 

By this time these shares had gro-\vn to be of considera- 
ble value. Mr. Nevill, on finding himself possessed of such 
important American interests, decided to cross the ocean, 
which he did in 1736, settling permanently at Perth Amboy. 
His varied talents at once attracted attention, and he soon rose 
to eminence. The then great dignity of being the mayor of this 
ancient capital was forced upon him ; he became a member of 
the provincial assembly, judge of the court of common pleas, 
second judge of the supreme coiu't, and in many other important 
ways served with honor the people and his king. Under the 
auspices of the assembly, between the years 1732 and 1761, he 
published in two volumes an edition of the laws of the province. 
In 1758, he established and edited the first of New Jersey's 
periodicals and the second one on the continent. It was called 
the ''New American Magazine," to distinguish it from its pre- 
decessor at Philadelphia, which relinquished publication upon 
the appearance of this competitor. Nevill's magazine contained 
about forty octavo pages, and, judging from the copy to be seen 
in the library of the New York Historical Society, it compared 
favorably with many modern publications of the same character. 
It was printed at Woodbridge by James Parker, who, having 
served his time with the famous New York printer, William 
Bradford, had set up, in 1751, the first printing press in New 
Jersey. Besides the magazine he printed " Nevill's Laws," and 
Smith's "History of New Jersey " which appeared in 1765; from 
time to time he published legislative and other official docu- 
ments and did generally the work of the colony. 

How THE World Moves! 143 

Samuel Nevill died on the twenty-seventh day of October, 
1764, at the age of sixty-seven. He and his wife lie side by 
side imder the shadows of the walls of St. Peter's, of which 
church he was a warden for twenty years. 

As before recited, the consideration for the purchase of the 
three hundred and sixty-seven acres was seven himdred and 
fifty-four pounds. Of this amount Johannes paid three hundi'ed 
and twenty-four pounds in cash ; the balance by the execution and 
delivery of two bonds, payable in six months, for two hundred and 
two, and two hundred and twenty-eight pounds. These obligations 
were discharged on maturity, and, as Leslie had died soon after 
the sale was consummated, they bear the satisfaction receipt of his 
two childi-en, George and Elizabeth. Among my old papers relat- 
ing to this property are these two satisfied bonds. They are espec- 
ially valued as preserving excellent specimens of Johannes' wi-it- 
ing ; on one of them the sig- a 

nature is as plain and distinct iL.L^ /y'PVj '* ^' ^ 

as if penned within a few .^^^^^^'^^^^//^^CH^T 
years. Here isafac-simile : >^ '^ ^ 

To the manuscript lover, much pleasure is derived from 
handling an old document that, having played its part in the work 
of the world, has in some mysterious way escaped the fate of like 
papers and is preserved to testify of circumstances and events of 
an age long past. How the world moves ! Consider the changes 
that have come to people and countries since these old bonds 
were new. When these instruments — now in the sere and yel- 
low, and valueless save as relics — were vested with the poten- 
tiality of enforcing the payment of a no inconsiderable sura, the 
land for which they had been given in part consideration was in 
truth as much of a howling wilderness as it had been for a thou- 
sand previous years. Lafayette, whose name was to be as fami- 
liar as household words in this hill country of New Jersey, was 
yet unborn. Washington, stdl unknown to fame, was a lad in 
his teens ; and seventeen years must come and go before the 
Corsican babe would open his eyes on that Europe he was almost 
to master. Travellers still crossed the stormy Atlantic in frail 
pinks, ketches, snows and bilenders. France was being pom- 
padoured into a condition to make possible the fourteenth of 
July, 1789. And what of England, then as now, considered in 


The Story of an Old Farm. 

the van of civilization ! Its crown was worn by a Hanoverian 
dullard who hated " busic and boetrv." In all the island there was 
not a macadamized road, and the royal mail was carried on ''fly- 
ing machines/' protected from highway robbers, even in the sub- 
urbs of London, by guards armed with loaded blunderbusses. 
Parliament was a den of corruption, borough seats in the house 
of oommons being publicly advertised and openly sold. The 
British people knew but little of their law makers, as to publish 
the proceedings of their legislature was a misdemeanor carrying 
a heavy punishment. There were laws enough, however, and 
they were severe enough, for nearly two hundred crimes knew 
capital punishment as their penalty, and children of tender years 
were sentenced to death for petty pilfering. And yet we are 
constantly told that the world grows no better, that the move- 
ment and direction of mankind is not onward and upward. 



The Building of the " Old Stone House'''' — Bedempt'toners — 
White Slavery in the Colonies. 

Behold Johannes — the proud possessor of three hundred and 
sixty-seven fertile Bedrainster acres ! land that has lain dormant 
for centuries, imconscious of its destiny, but ever ready and 
eager to smile into fruitfulness upon the first advances of the 
husbandman. In fancy we can see our German ancestor and his 
two stalwart sons betaking themselves to the hillside. Soon, 
crash after crash denote the falling oaks that the sturdy strokes 
and keen axes of the Moelichs have marked as the most fitting 
contributors to the sills, walls and gables of a new log house ; for 
temporary shelter is necessary while the more permanent stone 
dwelling shall be rearing its massive walls. 

Days are spent in the timber ; tree after tree is attacked ; they 
fall on every side ! The undergrowth is cut down and heaped, 
and, by and by, the warm sunlight, for the first time perhaps in 
ages, breaks in upon a clearing of two acres, which from that 
time has been consecrated by the sorrows and gladnesses, 
rejoicings and repinings, and all the sympathetic experiences 
that rally around an enduring family homestead. The location 
is well chosen. Now that the trees are prostrate, it shows an 
open cheery slope, upon which the sun looks kindly down. The 
ascending uplands bar the chill north winds, and to the south and 
east the ground falls away gently to the meadows bor- 
dering the brook and river, which just here, with pleas- 
ant splash and babble, merge into one stream. Teams draw 
the big logs to the spot selected for placing the tem- 
porary dwelling. It was across the present road leading to 
the farm buildings, opposite and facing the door-yard of 

146 Thk Story of an Old Fakm. 

the stone house. The ends of the logs are squared, and so cut 
as to be let in or dove-tailed together. And now comes the 
memorable day of the '' raising." Old neighbors from Hunter- 
don are invited, and come in goodly numbers. They bring with 
them willing hearts and stout arms, and plenty of provisions, for, 
as there are no dwellings near, the raising dinner must par- 
take somewhat of the character of a picnic. Songs and merry 
stories go round, as the walls and gables slowly rise from the 
ground. How easy to imagine the happiness of Johannes, as he 
now aids in the work, and now directs his friends and 
co-laborers ! Mariah Katrina, too, is there, lending in the 
German fashion a strong and ready hand ; and the boys 
occupy themselves in keeping up brisk fires with fragrant chips, 
and crackling boughs and branches. Cannot you see the smil- 
ing, hear the laughing, and enjoy the joking, while they dine 
from off the logs and stumps, and drink to the future happiness 
of the new residents ? The walls go up apace ; by afternoon, 
skids are necessary upon which to roll the heavy logs to their 
places; and when the western sky beyond the crest of the long 
hill is aflame with the rich colors of the after-glow, the rude 
house is raised, though still without roof, doors or floor. When 
entirely completed it was nothing more than a square enclosure, 
with but one storey, and a cock-loft above, and a roof thatched 
with leaves or straw — a primitive cabin, much like many others 
scattered along the narrow tracks and trails of this newly-opened 

As it was now late in the autumn, or early in the winter, noth- 
ing could be done in the actual erection of the stone house ; 
but during the cold weather much was accomplished in 
the way of preparation. He who in building' a house calls in 
the aid of architect and artisan, and himself supplies only the 
money wherewith to pay for design and work, knows but little 
of the true sweetness of creating a homestead. Our ancestor 
must have felt to the full this supreme happiness, as with his 
boys he labored day after day in furthering the preparations for 
the building. Stones were hauled and dressed — a quarry having 
been opened in the extreme northwest corner of the property; 
materials were brought upon the ground, and round, straight trees 
selected and rough-hewed to the line, converting them into the 

A Redemptioner Stone-Ma8on. 147 

stanch, square floor timbers, that to-day, exposed in the ceiling of 
the living room, show no signs of decay — are sound to the core. 
With what interest must Johannes' wife and children have 
viewed the work, and how his heart must have leaped within 
him as they watched with delight the slow creating of the family 
nest. With the disappearance of frost the cellar under the west- 
ern gable was excavated, and early in the spring the foundations 
were laid and the building was fairly under way. 

To assist in the construction, the services were secured — so 
runs the story — of Caspar Berger, a Grerman stone-mason 
and a redemptioner. He had reached New York in 1744^ 
and, being sold by the captain of his ship to repay the costs of 
passage, was purchased for a term of years by Cornelius Van 
Home, of White House, in Hunterdon county. John G. 
Van Houten of that place, whose wife was a granddaughter 
of Van Home, informed me, when eighty-four years of age, 
that he had often heard his wife's father say that after Cas- 
par Berger had served three years of his time he obtained his 
freedom by building three stone houses. One of them was for 
Cornelius Van Home at White House, now owned by Abraham 
Pickel ; and one for Abraham Pickel in the same neighborhood, 
now owned by William Pickel, a descendant. The third house, 
near-by, he believed, was '' for a Melick," but could not remember 
the first name. As there is every probability that at this time 
Johannes was living between North Branch and White House vil- 
lageSjOn the property afterward owned by Jacob Kline, it is reason- 
able to suppose that it was for him that this third house was built ; 
if so, no trace of the structure remains, although, as mentioned in 
a previous chapter, the descendants of Jacob Kline are still able 
to locate the spot where stood the Moelich homestead. Mr. Van 
Houten was confident in his statement that Berger also built a 
stone house in Bedminster township, Somerset county. Without 
doubt this last was the dwelling of Johannes Moelich j as such a 
story is in full accord with the accepted beliefs of past genera- 
tions connected with the " Old Stone House." 

The descendants of Caspar Berger claim that his emigration 
from the old country was involuntary ; he with others having 
been enticed on board a ship by its captain, who then set sail for 
America. This is not improbable, as the masters of vessels were 

148 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

often guilty of cruel and unjust acts in this business of the 
importation of redemptioners. Isaac Weld, Jr., in his book of 
travels in America, published in the last century, asserts that it 
was the custom of ship-masters at Rotterdam and the Hanse 
towns to inveigle the people into their vessels under promise of 
free passage to America. On reaching the colonies, announce- 
ment of the arrival of mechanics and laborers would be made, 
and persons in want of such would flock to the ships, and the 
poor Germans would be sold to the highest bidders, the captains 
pocketing the proceeds. Caspar Berger, after obtaining his 
freedom, by his frugality and industry prospered in the new 
country and soon waxed well-to-do. During the Revolution he 
kept the Readington tavern, and later owned a large tract of 
laud north of Holland brook ; the mill of William Fitch, on 
that stream, was also his property. At his death in 1817 he 
divided his homestead farm of four hundred acres at Readington 
between his three sons, Aaron, Peter and Jasper. Aaron's son, 
John S., now an old man, still owns and occupies a portion of 
this home farm. 

Redemptioners, or term slaves, as they were sometimes called, 
constituted in the early part of the eighteenth century a pecu- 
liar feature of colonial society. They were recruited from among 
all manner of people in the old world, and through this channel 
Europe emptied upon America, not only the virtuous poor and 
oppressed of her population, but the vagrants, felons, and the 
dregs of her communities. There was thus established among 
the first settlers, a society that, in many places, was almost 
imbued with a moral pestilence. In Section 10, page 275, 
'^S. P. 0. Colonial Entry Book," number 92, we find the follow- 
ing recital : 

That all sturdy beggers as gipsies and other incorrigible rougues and wan- 
derers may be taken upp by constables and imprisoned until at the next Assizes 
©r sessions they shall either beacquited and assigned to some settled aboade and 
course of life here, or be appointed to be sent to the plantations for five years 
under the conditions of servants. ' 

Among the redemptioners, however, were a fair proportion of 
sturdy souls, strong in purpose and endeavor, who appreciated 
the great opportunity created for them by this complete change 
of life and country. At the expiration of term of service, many 

Indented Servants and Free-Willers. 149 

by thrift and industry elevated themselves to a respectable 
position, and were absorbed in the middle class. Of necessity 
there were improvident and shiftless ones, who contributed to 
the vicious and ignorant element of the population. 

There were two kinds of redemptioners : " indented servants," 
who had bound themselves to their masters for a term of years 
previous to their leaving the old country ; and '' free-willers," 
who, being without money and desirous of emigrating, agreed 
with the captains of ships to allow themselves and their families 
to be sold on arrival, for the captain's advantage, and thus repay 
costs of passage and other expenses. The former — indented ser- 
vants — were often trapped into their engagements by corrupt 
agents at home, who persuaded them to emigrate, under false 
promises of tender and humane treatment, and under assurances 
of remunerative employment at expiration of service. Section 
five of the "Colonial Entry Book," before referred to, testifies as 
follows in corroboration of the above statement : 

The waies of obtayning these servants have beene usually by employing a sorte 
of men and women who make it theire profession to tempt or gaine poore or 
idle persons to goe to the Plantations and having persuaded or deceived tliem 
on Shipp board they receive a reward from the person who employed them. 

The immigrants often discovered, on arrival, that the advan- 
tages represented to be obtained in America had been painted 
by the agents in much too alluring colors 5 frequently their 
masters forced them to most rigid labor, and exercised an 
unnecessary severity. Edward Eddis, a surveyor of customs in 
the province of Maryland, in his " Letters from America," 
asserts that this class of servants often groaned beneath a worse 
than Egyptian bondage, as their masters, knowing that their 
servitude could last but for a few years, treated them with a 
rigor more severe than they extended to their negro slaves, to 
whom, being actual property, they were more lenient. 

The free-willers suffered even worse treatment at the hands 
of ship-masters and agents, who had inveigled them into emi- 
gration by false and specious promises. They were led to 
believe that on arrival in America their services would be 
eagerly solicited by parties who would gladly pay the cost of 
their passages ; which, being only nine pounds, the emigrants 

150 The Story of an Old Farm. 

would soon be able to repay, and thus secure their liberty, and 
all the enjoyments and prosperity that the new country offered 
to adventurers. Agreements were entered into whereby these 
deluded ones bound themselves, that if on arrival they did not 
succeed within a certain number of days in securing employment 
on their own conditions, they could be sold for a term of years to 
defray the charges for their passages. Alas ! the " free-willers," 
with rare exceptions, had a rude awakening on reaching the 
colonies. Under their agreements, the captains had a legal lien on 
the persons of the immigrants until the ship charges were paid ; 
consequently they were not allowed to go on shore, but were 
exposed to view on deck to the people who came on board in 
search of servants. Except in cases of extraordinary qualifica- 
tions, very few of them were happy enough to make their own 
stipulations. The sanguine expectations of the redemptioners 
were doomed to disappointment, and they found themselves sold 
for several years of tedious labor and servitude. 

Professor Kalm, the Swedish botanist, reached Philadelphia on 
the seventh of September, 1748, by the ship "Mary," which had 
on board twenty-three Germans and their families. He narrates 
that when about going on shore with his captain, the latter turned 
to the second mate and strictly charged him "to let no one of the 
German refugees out of the ship unless he paid for his passage, or 
somebody else paid for him, or bought him." Masters of vessels 
often acted with needless cruelty toward their bond-passengers. 
Published accounts of travels in America during the last cen- 
tury frequently tell sad stories of the enforced separation of hus- 
bands from wives, and parents from children. Doctor Ernest 
Otto Hopp, in a book on German slavery in North America, 
recently published in Berlin, tells of a ship captain by the name 
of Heerbrand who acquired a great reputation as a kidnaj)per 
of poor Germans for the American market. He had in his pay 
a number of men whose business it was to regularly steal beg- 
gars, vagabonds and other people without connections, he paying 
the captors two florins a head for each victim delivered at his 
vessel. It is said that this man brought over six hundred such 
persons to America. 

The terms and conditions of service differed in the different 
colonies. Among the archives of the Pennsylvania Historical 

Colonial Laws Regarding Redemptioners. 151 

Society, are some original bonds, or agreements, between ship 
captains and redemptioners. From them we learn that the 
usual price paid in that colony, for three years' service, was 
twenty-one pounds, one shilling and six pence. When his time 
had expired a man was entitled to receive two suits of clothes, a 
grubbing hoe, a weeding hoe and a new axe. Children sold 
for from eight to ten pounds, and their masters were required to 
see that they were taught to read and write, and had, at least, 
one quarter's schooling. In New Jersey — according to " Learn- 
ing and Spicer " — no white servant, if sold or bound after seven- 
teen years of age, could serve above four years. If under that 
age, they were to be free on reaching their majority. At the 
expiration of service their masters were obliged to supply them 
with two good suits of clothing, suitable for a servant, one good 
falling axe, one good hoe, and seven bushels of Indian corn. 
A servant was to be immediately freed in case of being so abused 
by master or mistress as to result in the loss of an eye or a tooth. 
The laws against aiding redemptioners to escape were very severe. 
A fine of five pounds was imposed for offering assistance in such 
cases, and the aider and abettor were obliged to make full 
satisfaction to master or mistress for all loss or damage sustained 
by the absence of, or search for, the runaway. Any one who con- 
cealed or entertained an absconding redemptioner, could be fined 
at the discretion of the court, and be made to pay ten shillings 
to the owner for each day that they had harbored the servant. 
It was not uncommon for thrifty Germans, who were possessed 
of enough money to pay their passages and defray the first 
cost of settling, to allow themselves to be advantageously, and 
on favorable terms, sold. This was in order that during their 
servitude they might have an opportunity of learning the lan- 
guage and of growing familiar with the manners, customs and 
institutions of the country. Advertisements announcing redemp- 
tioners for sale are frequently to be found in newspapers of the 
last century. One in the "Pennsylvania Messenger" of the fourth 
of April, 1776, offers for sale : 

A young girl and maid-servant, strong and healthy ; no fault. She is not 
qualified for tlie service now demanded. Five years to serve. 

The same paper, on the eighteenth of January, 1774, contains 
the following notice: 

152 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Germans — we are now offering fifty Germans just arrived — to be seen at the 
Golden Swan, kept by the widow Kreider. The lot includes sclioolmasters, 
artisans, peasants, boys and girls of various ages, all to serve for payment of 

It seems rather odd that schoohnasters should be offered for 
sale in the market. You would think that they would have been 
eagerly sought for, but, on the contrary, they appear to have 
been a drug, as is shown by D. von Biilow in a book published in 
Berlin, in 1797. He says: 

It is easy to sell the farmers, but there are often men whom it is not so easy to 
dispose of, e. g., officers and scholars. I have seen a Russian captain offered for 
sale eight days, and not a bid made. He had absolutely no market value. It 
was of no use for his owner to put him up again and again, to offer to make fifty 
per cent, discount. " He is good for nothing," was all the answer to the offer. 
The captain of the ship then Jiad him walked about the town to show, but in 
vain. After waiting several weeks, he was finally sold at a ridiculously low 
price as a village schoolmaster. 

On this subject Doctor Hopp recites that Pastor Kunz of 
Philadelphia, related that in 1773 he was beginning to econo- 
mize in order to get together twenty pounds, as he wanted to buy 
a German student for a teacher. 

As late as September, 1786, the following advertisement 
appeared in the '' Pittsburgh Gazette " : 

To be sold. (For ready money only.) A German woman servant. She has 
near three years to serve, and is well qualified for all household work : would 
recommend her to her own country people, particularly, as her present master 
has found great inconvenience from his not being acquainted with their manners, 
customs and language. For further particulars enquire at Mr. Ormsby's in 

In looking back on the many peculiarities, changes and grad- 
ations of society in New Jersey's colonial days, it is curious to 
note how the well-to-do immigrants, who brouglrt with them, or 
purchased after arrival, redemption servants, often lost the 
prestige of their affluence ; being unable in the new country to 
maintain their rank and influence. Their humble servitors, 
however, inured by hardship and labor to the stern necessities 
of colonial existence, prospered and throve. The bonds-people, 
after serving their time, acquired by diligence and saving lands 
and homes ; it was not uncommon in the second generation to 
find them taking, in every way, precedence to the children of 
the master who had owned their time during their first years in 

Mariah Katrina Carries Mortar on Her Head. 153 

the country. The affluent immigrant, having been accustomed 
to ease, proved unequal to the struggle ; and his children, 
through faulty and ignorant education, rapidly deteriorated. — 
Enough of redemptioners ! 

Among the many odd tales of early days at the ^' Old Stone 
House," which have enlivened winter evenings around the great 
fire-place in the living room, is the legend that at its building, 
Johannes' wife, Mariah Katrina, carried mortar, balanced on her 
head, to the masons at work on the walls. A very exalted posi- 
tion, you may ironically say, in which to place one's great-great- 
grandmother ; but these chapters are supposed to preserve tradi- 
tions as well as facts, and the writer must put to one side any 
predilections he may have, as to the matter to be pi'esented. 
Members of the family, whose pride may rebel against belief in 
this story, are at liberty to consider it fable ; but the mortar, at 
least, must be accepted, for to this day it is as solid and imper- 
vious as the stones between which it lies. Builders of the pres- 
ent aver that its manufacture is a lost art, and that all of its 
component parts are not known. Visitors to this ancestral dwel- 
ling, who, after passing under the wide circumference of the old 
maple's shade, climb the hill, until they stand in the presence of 
the structure's kindly and venerable front, can attribute to this 
mortar the fact that it exists to-day. It has been the agent 
which has enabled these massive walls to withstand for nearly 
a century and a half of winters, the wear and tear of time ; and 
it still binds their stones together in one compact mass of 
masonry, which, without doubt, will continue to bear up bravely 
ag-ainst the assaults of manv vears to come. Grreat-great-2:rand- 
mother Moelich figures, traditionally, again, at the building of 
the house. She is said to have vigorously protested against the 
introduction of so many windows — they are ridiculously few and 
small. The good woman had probably not forgotten the window- 
tax of the old country, and had in mind, perhaps, the possibility 
of such an impost being levied in Xew Jersey. 

By early in the summer the house must have been completed. 
Very plain, both as to exterior and interior, with no fim-lighted 
door-heads, or ambitious columns, pilasters and carvings. Yet, 
as we view it to-day, its solid simplicity is truly architectural, 
for it bears on its every feature a dignified expression of truth — 

154 The Story of an Old Farm. 

of being only what it claims to be, an humble farmhouse of 
simple utilitarian porportions and fashion, the general effect of 
whose eaves, roof-tree, double Dutch doors, hall and chambers, 
but express the purposes of its construction. It is not altogether 
without picturesqueness. Bedded in the gusen of its surround- 
ing elms, its wooden-seated porch, sloping roof and rough stone 
gables coated with lime and pebbles, present a homely picture 
of comfort and domesticity, in full accord with its setting of 
turfy hillsides and verdure-clad meadows. To one who appre- 
ciates in a structure the beauty of simplicity and appropriate- 
ness, the '^Old Stone House" must ever be a delightful object. 
To those of us who claim kinship with its early builder, this 
ancestral home will always be a place of jealous regard ; a spot 
where will linger reminiscences of former days, and traditions of 
by-gone generations ; of men and women whose names have been 
associated with the sturdy walls and hospitable atmosphere of 
this brave old dwelling. 

The huge German locks, with their exposed and complicated 
mechanism, were fastened to the doors ; heavy pieces of furni- 
ture were placed in the rooms, one, at least, the stupendous 
Dutch cupboard, occupying to-day its original position ; clean 
wdiite sand from the brook was spread on the floors, and the 
great crane was hmig in the deep-chested fire-place. Mariah 
Katrina, as priestess of the household, has put the first torch to 
the hickory boughs on the hearthstone ; the crackling flames 
leap up the broad chimney, while wreaths of curling smoke soar 
heavenward, seemingly bearing in their pungent odors an 
incense of thanksgiving. The tea-kettle, suspended over the 
fire, sings its cheery note — the bubbling pot with savory breath 
joins in the chorus — the procession of generations of good-cheer 
has commenced. Let us conceive the table spread in the living- 
room, and the members of the family gathered about the board 
for their first meal in the " Stone House." While regaling them- 
selves with creature-comforts from the good wife's newly-stocked 
larder, if ever faces could be said to reflect content, so must 
have theirs, as they congratulated each other on the comfort ot 
their surroundings. And in the evening — believing, as we do, 
in the deep religious feeling that controlled all the thoughts and 
actions of the sire, we need not doubt the erection of a family 









The Bedminster House Completed. 


altar ; nor, that at the close of this all-important day, with a 
heart ov^erflowing with thankfulness, and a voice choked with 
emotion, Johannes' devout prayers of praise and dedication, 
home on the wings of faith, ascended to the Most High; to 
that kind Providence who had guarded and guided him and his, 
through the vicissitudes of all the year since leaving Germany, 
bringing them at last in safety to the repose of a happy home on 
this peaceful Bedminster hillside. 


Johannes Goes to the Post Office — Bedminster and the Adja- 
cent Townships in 1752. 

Just here it may be well to survey the appearance presented by 
Somerset county and East New Jersey at the time the Moelichs 
took possession of the " Old Farm." In no better way can we 
do this than by — in fancy — accompanying Johannes to Perth 
Amboy, thirty miles away. He is going to see if John Fox, the 
postmaster, has a letter for him from the old country ; for be it 
known that in the year of grace, 1752, the province boasts of 
but three post offices — one at Amboy, one at Trenton, and one 
at Burlington. Letters were left at those places by the Phila- 
delphia mail carrier, weekly in summer and once in two weeks 
during the winter ; rather meagre facilities for the people, but 
they had to be contented until 1 754, when the service was consid- 
erably increased. In December, 1733, the following notice 
appeared in the Philadelphia '^Weekly Mercury ": " There are a 
number of letters in the post office at Perth Amboy for persons 
living in Somerset, Monmouth and Essex counties." 

To us of the present day, Johannes would have presented a 
striking appearance, as, mounted on a stout cob, he clattered 
down the incline upon which he had built the new stone house, 
and turned west up the long hill. He is now over fifty years of 
age, with a figure not tall, but robust, having a high color, blue 
eyes, and, had the fashion of the day allowed, the whole would 
have been supplemented by an abundant reddish brown beard. 
His German origin is still readily recognized, though many of 
his foreign characteristics have been lost. He speaks English, 
but not with the facility of the mother tongue, and his dress is 
that of a well-to-do colonial yeoman. A coarse grey coat with 

Johannes in the Saddle. 157 

generous skirts cut square, buttons across his brawny chest, not 
hiding an ample leather waistcoat. His breeches, also of leather, 
meet at the knee stout blue yarn stockings, drawn over a pair 
of sturdy calves, which are further protected by deer-skin leg- 
gings extending over his buckled shoes. A short grey wig 
and a three-cornered hat complete his decently picturesque 
appearance, while his further belongings comprise a fresh cut 
whip of sapling, and a pair of saddle-bags suspended on either 
side of the horse. 

As he climbs the hill and overlooks his broad acres, he turns 
in the saddle for a good-bye glance at the new house resting so 
cosily against its sunny bank. What wonder, that as he rides 
through the fresh dewy morning air his face glows with satis- 
faction ! We can well imagine it because of his thouglits dwell- 
ing on the pleasant surroundings of his newly established home, 
and on the peaceful promise it seems to give for the future, as' 
compared with the unhappy uncertainties of the Grerman life he 
had known on the banks of the far distant Rhine. Johannes' 
first thirteen years in America have been preparatory, and 
to an extent, migratory ; but now he feels about him the atmos- 
phere of an abiding home. He recognizes and appreciates that 
he is no longer a pioneer, but a permanent member of a commu- 
nity, where each individual has an interest in the common 
wealth, and in the continued growth and improvement of the 
neighborhood. Here he expects to end his days — here be 
buried ; and here he hopes his children will live, and their gen- 
erations prosper. 

The road Johannes traveled was but little more than a broad 
path cut through the woods ; the trees pressed close on either 
side of the ruts and wheel tracks, often the bark of the flanking 
oaks and hickories showing the marks made by the hubs of 
passing vehicles. It must have been pleasant riding along for 
miles under the arching branches, the air surcharged with 
the balsam of the aromatic breath of thousands of acres of giant 
trees : monarchs of the forest that for centuries had towered 
over the hills and dales, enriching the ground with their yearly 
falling leaves, till the soil, rank with vitality, only needed the 
warm sun and man's command, to blossom into fields of abund- 
ance. Occasionally, on the roads emerging from its long green 

158 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

arcade, our traveller came upon isolated dwellings, seated amid 
little clearingSj from which, in many instances, the stumps had 
not yet disappeared. The smoke that gently cm-led heaven- 
ward from the chimneys of these dwellings perfumed the morn- 
ing air with the odors of burning fresh-cut wood— such smoke as 
can only come from fires fed by glowing oaken back -logs and crack- 
ling hickory boughs, over which the good-wife has swung the great 
black kettle. These rude homes of new settlers were few, however ; 
population had been very slow in penetrating this portion of 
Somerset. The country lay in a broad and almost unbroken 
extent of fertile waste, with but infrequent traces of human habi- 
tation discernible. As the grass covers a rolling meadow, mant- 
ling it in continuous green, so the forest buried the Bedminster 
and Bridgewater hills and valleys in vast undulations of leafy 
verdure. From the Morris county line on the north to the 
Raritan river at Bound Brook on the south ; from Bernards on 
the east to Hunterdon on the west, the whole area was a broad 
expanse of woodland wilderness, the continuity of green being 
interrupted here and there by a few houses clustering as an 
embryo village, while an occasional interval, open to the sun, 
marked the germ of a future farm. 

At Pluckamin the nucleus of a society was forming ; and at 
Laminglon — a corruption of the more majestic Indian name, 
Allamehmk — the Presbyterians had erected a church edifice in 
1740, though services had been held in a barn for several pre- 
ceding years. Among the earlier members of the congregation 
were William Hoagland, Jacobus Van der Veer, Henry Sloane, 
Ephraim McDowell, John Craig, William Logan, Richard Por- 
ter, Peter Demun, Thomas Van Horn, Mathias Lane and Guisbert 
Sutphen. At this time the church building had just been 
enlarged, and the pastor of the congregation was the Reverend 
James McCrea, he having in 1740, accepted a call from the 
congregation known as that of " Lametunk, Lebanon, Peapack, 
Readington and Bethlehem." He was the father of that Jennie 
McCrea, whose tragic death on the upper Hudson in the year 
1777 by the tomahawks of Burgoyne's treacherous Indian 
allies, was to send a thrill of horror throughout the entire country. 
Though much of Bedminster remained in a state of nature, 
beyond its borders, in adjacent townships, communities had been 

The Settlement of Bernards Township. 159 

planted and many acres of farming lands were cleared. On the 
north the settlement of Morristown by people from Newark and 
New England dated from early in the century, and its Presby- 
terian church had been established since 1738, the year of the 
organization of the county. Until about that time the neighbor- 
hood had been known as West Hanover, the first record of the 
new name, Morristown, being found in an order of the court of 
general sessions of the peace dated the twenty-fifth of March, 

By the year 1713 squatters' cabins existed at Roxiticus, now 
Mendham — the original settlers being Byrams, Drakes, Cooks, 
Careys, Thompsons and others. Its first tavern, afterwards the 
famous " Black Horse," was kept by a Byrara, and the oldest 
stone in the graveyard perpetuates the name of Stephen Cook, 
who died in 1749. Its Presbyterian congregation is first men- 
tioned in 1738, in connection with New Brunswick. In this 
year, 1752, the congregation, under the pastorate of Eliab 
Byram, possessed a small frame church building which must 
have been erected previous to 1745, as in that year it, together 
with its site, was conveyed by deed of Edward Burnet. He may 
have been a good man, but he surely was an evil speller. He 
describes himself in the conveyance, " Edmon Burnnant of 
Rocksiticus in yere County of Summerset in east nu Jareses in 
Amaracah." The description of the premises conveyed begins, 
"Scairteen pees of parsel of land on which the meeting hows 
Now Standeth." 

Basking Ridge, in Bernards township, already possessed a 
flourishing community with a well-established Presbyterian 
church under the charge of a Scotch worthy, the Reverend 
Samuel Kennedy. His education had been gained at Edin- 
burgh University, and coming to America, he was in 1751 
ordained pastor of this congregation, which he faithfully served 
for thirty-six years at a salary of one hundred and ten pounds. 
In addition to his ministerial duties he practiced medicine, and 
established and took charge of a classical school which attained 
to great celebrity. Authorities diff'er as to the time that Bask- 
ing Ridge and Bernards township were first settled. By some it 
is claimed that a Scotch congregation and a log church were in 
existence in the year 1700. Doctor John C. Rankin, in his 

160 The Story of an Old Farm. 

published "Historical Discourse," very properly asserts that there 
could have been no church before there were inhabitants. He 
goes on to show that it was not until the year 1717 that John 
Harrison, acting as agent for the proprietors of East New Jer- 
sey, purchased Indian rights to about three thousand acres, 
embracing the site of the village, and much of the territory occu- 
pied by the present congregation. John Harrison will be remem- 
bered as one of the benefactors of St. Peter's church at Perth 
Amboy, his name appearing with those of George Willocks and 
Thomas Gordon on a tablet affixed to its walls. This tract, pur- 
chased from the natives, was subsequently sold to and divided 
between four purchasers, one of whom was James Alexander, 
the surveyor-general of New Jersey and the father of Lord Stir- 
ling. Alexander's portion embraced between six and eight hun- 
dred acres of land of great beauty and fertility. This was the 
propert}^ that his son William, in 1761, on his return from Eng- 
land, after his futile efforts to secure an earldom, improved until 
it blossomed into his great estate, with a fine mansion, rich gar- 
dens and a park stocked with deer. 

The first actual settlers of Basking Ridge seem to have come 
about the time of Harrison's purchase. By 1720 the recorded 
names appear of James Pitney, Henry Rolfe, and John Ayres. 
The latter came from Woodbridge, New Jersey, though born at 
Newbury, Massachusetts, from which place he migrated, as a 
child, with his father, Obadiah. He died in 1732, and left 
seven sons, who all lived in the neighborhood, and became active 
members of the church and community. In 1731, John Ayres 
conveyed to James Pitney, Mordecai McKenne, George Pack, 
Samuel Rolfe, Daniel Morris, Thomas Riggs and Obadiah Ayres, 
trustees, one and one-half acres of land, in the centre of which, 
surrounded by a grove of trees, stood a log meeting-house. This 
primitive structure was superseded, in 1747, by a frame edifice 
that remained standing for ninety years. The oldest gravestone 
in the churchyard records the death of Henry Haines, on the 
ninth of June, 1736. There was at this time living in Bernards 
township one Abraham Southard, who in the previous year had 
migrated with eight children from Hempstead, Long Island. His 
coming had insured to Somerset, in the future a citizen who was 
to prove a great honor to the state. His son Henry, who was 

The Bedminster Van der Veers. 161 

born in 1747, lived at Basking Ridge until he died at the age of 
ninety-five, having had thirteen children. One of them, Samuel 
L. Southard, lived to have a national reputation as one of Amer- 
ica's greatest statesmen. Henry Southard, the father, also 
served faithfully and well his state and country. For eight 
years he was a member of the legislature, and for twenty-one a 
representative in congress. Before he retired from that body 
he saw his distinguished son a United States senator, and 
met him at a meeting of the joint committees of the two 
houses. The father and son were chairmen of their respective 
committees — a circumstance, as it has been said, without par- 
allel in the political history of our country. 

We have already learned how New Germantown was thriving 
in the west, and toward the south in the direction of White 
House were comfortable homesteads and cultivated lands. But 
as Johannes rode toward the Raritan he traversed almost a 
wooded solitude. As yet there were no signs of the hamlet of the 
Lesser Cross Roads, the only houses in that vicinity being the 
one of logs of John Burd, near where " Demund's bridge " now 
spans the north branch of the Raritan, and a similar structure, occu- 
pied by William Hoagland, standing on George Leslie's land west 
of the line of the '^Old Farm." The road from BernardsviUe to 
Lamington had been marked out since 1741, but was a mere 
trail, and but little travelled. South of this road the forest con- 
tinued with hardly a break to Pluckamin. In the territory 
lying between the two rivers — the Axtell tract — there was thus 
far but meagre settlement. Without much doubt a log house 
was standing where now lives Henry Ludlow (below Bedmin- 
ster church). It is known that about the year 1760, Jacobus 
Van der Veer built the house now occupied by Mr. Ludlow. 
He had purchased the land of William Axtell — two hundred and 
sixty acres fronting on the north branch of the Raritan — 
some time between 1746 and 1752 ; the records do not show the 
exact date, but it must have been before the time of which we 
write, as he was a resident in 1751. In that year he was 
appointed a commissioner of the highways — an office that could 
not have been attended with very laborious duties. He was 
a great-grandson of Cornelius Jansse Van der Veer, who, emi- 
grating from Alckmarr in the province of North Holland, a forti- 

162 The Story of an Old Farm. 

fied city of about ten thousand people, landed from the ship 
" Otter " in February, 1659, and settled at Flatbush, Long 
Island. This emigrant's son Dominicus migrated to some point 
in the Raritan valley, and one of his sons, Jacobus, who married 
Femmetje Stryker, was the father of the Bedminster Jacobus 
Van der Veer, and also of that Elias, who some years later 
improved the water-power north of Pluckamin, thus establishing 
what has ever since been a county landmark — Van der Veer's 

Some distance west of the Van der Veer land, still on the 
Axtell tract, was another clearing, in which stood a newly 
erected log house. It was the home of Ephraim McDowell, who 
on the first of May, 1750, purchased of William Axtell two hun- 
dred and thirty acres of land, a portion of which is still owned 
and occupied by his descendants. A few years later a 
frame dwelling with shingled sides succeeded the original 
log cabin ; it stood for seventy -five years, one of its rooms being 
the birth place of three successive generations. Five genera- 
tions have been welcomed to this ancestral home. Ephraim 
McDowell died, and was buried in Lamington churchyard, in 
1762. The posterity of this sturdy Scotch-Irish Presbyterian 
have left indelible marks of their individuality and strength of 
character on the society of this and other states. None more so 
than his grandsons, John and William, Avho as the pastors of 
the Presbyterian churches of Morristown and Elizabeth were, 
we are told, the means of the conversion of three thousand souls. 

At this time there was no bridge where the Pluckamin road 
crosses the north branch of the Raritan. The river was often too 
high to be forded, as in those early days when the country was 
invested as a garment with heavy timber, all of the streams flowed 
much greater volumes of water. At such times travellers south- 
ward were obliged to cross the river near Mine brook, or often as 
far north as Peapack brook, and thus make their way through 
Kernards township. On reaching Pluckamin Johannes found 
there about a dozen small houses and a tavern. This inn was 
the first place of. entertainment established in the township ; it 
was built in 1750 by Jacob Eoff, who was one of the pioneers of 
the village. He was a native of Holland, and early in the last 
century purchased five hundred acres of land of the heirs of 

Pluckamin in 1752. 163 

John Johnstone, which included the present site of Pluckamin. 
His tavern remained standing for sixty-four years, its location 
being the comer now occupied by the house of Joseph D, 
Nevius. During the Revolution it was the meeting place for 
the committee of safety, and when Washington's army was quar- 
tered in this and adjoining counties its boniface dispensed 
hospitality to many of the leading men of the country. After 
Jacob's death the tavern was kept by his maiden sister Sarah, 
who, in turn, was succeeded by Jacob's son Christian ; he 
abandoned the old structure to his brother Cornelius, who occu- 
pied it as a residence. Christian built on the opposite corner — the 
present tavern site — a long, low building called the " Barracks." 
Here he waxed famous as a popular host. With the best society 
of New York and Philadelphia, this landlord's name became 
synonymous with good living ; and summer visitors to Schooley's 
mountain — a watering-place then in its glory — always arranged 
that the night necessarily spent on the journey should be passed 
at Christian Eoff's tavern. Aristocratic coaches with the 
family arms emblazoned on their panels, and drawn by four and 
six horses were not uncommon in those good old days in this 
quaint village of Pluctamin. In the foundation wall of the 
public house, destroyed within a few years by fire and which 
took the place of the '^ Barracks," is a stone bearing the date 
1750, which was taken from the walls of the original tavern 
built by Jacob Eoff. 

Of the twelve houses standing at the time of our ancestor's rid- 
ing through the village, four are believed to be still extant. The 
one recently known as the Parker house was occupied by John 
Boylan — afterwards Pluckamin's first store-keeper, who was 
called " Captain Bullion." He was a contemporary of Jacob Eoff, 
whose daughter at the age of fifteen became his wife. Mrs. 
Boylan lived to the good old age of ninety-five, surviving 
her husband fifty years ; Mrs. Sarah Parker, the late owner of 
the house, was her daughter. Another of the original dwellings 
still preserved to us is the one known as the Harmer house, and 
owned by John Fenner, Jr. In Johannes' day it was the resi- 
dence of Matthew Lane, whose family settled about 1748 on the 
north branch of the Raritan, east of Van Vleits' mills. * The old 
Losey dwelling, in which Jacob Losey kept the post office from 
1830 to 1860, is also said to have been buUt as early as 1 752. 

164 The Story of an Old Farm. 

A few years later settlers began to multiply in the vicinity of 
Pluckamin, but at this time the inhabitants of the neighborhood 
were not many. Colonel William McDaniels, as early as 1744, 
owned a large tract of land and a saw-mill, on the north branch 
of the Raritan, where are now Kline's mills. South of this property 
resided in the same year George and Jerry Reemer ; the name 
of the former appears among the contributors to the fund for 
building St. Paul's church, in 1756. On the east side of 
the river, on part of the tract (Winder) that George Wil- 
locks sold to Daniel Axtell, lived George Teeple and his 
sons, John and Christopher. He emigrated from Germany as 
early as 1700, and his grandson William was living recently in 
Pluckamin at an advanced age. The records show George 
Teeple to have been living in the township in 1745, and his 
name and that of his son John also appear, in 1756, as sub- 
scribers to the building of St. Paul's Lutheran church. From 
a gravestone in the churchyard we learn that John married 
Margaret Castner on the tenth of January, 1756, and after liv- 
ing together for fifty-seven years they died within three hours 
of each other on the seventeenth of March, 1813, and were 
buried in the same grave. John Wortman, a native of Holland, 
in 1750 bought five hundred acres of land located west of 
Pluckamin on the road leading to Burnt mills, upon which he 
erected a long, one and a half storey, Dutch structure. The 
present Schoonmaker dwelling, recently remodelled, embraces a 
part of the original Wortman homestead, and is consequently 
one of the oldest houses in the township. 

It is fair to presume that Johannes dismounted at Eoff's tavern 
to wish Jacob ^'giitcn morgen,^^ and discuss with him the quality 
of some of his best Jamaica. It will be seen, as .we proceed with 
the telling of our story, that the Moelichs, both father and son, 
were intimately associated with the early citizens of this vicinity. 
Among their old documents and miscellaneous papers in the 
hands of the writer are many on which appear the signatures 
of the Eoffs, Teeples, Wortmans, McDonalds, Van der Veers 
and other Pluckamin worthies. It is to be regretted that Johan- 
nes, in this and other visits to the village, did not ascertain and 
transmit to his posterity the origin of its name. It has long 
been a vexed question, and has served as a subject for many 

Origin of the Name Pluckamin. 165 

arguments and communications. A popular belief among the 
villagers is that this strange cognomen was occasioned by the 
assiduously-acquisitive habits of an early innkeeper, who, in his 
eagerness to secure customers, would "Pluck-'em-in." This 
ancient tavern-porch tale is an antiquated joke, and, without 
doubt, dates back to the founding of the village. The same 
mythical tavern-keeper has been found at Mendham, (I'll-Mend- 
em). New Jersey, and in Tarrytown, New York. No one, how- 
ever, has ever known his name, or in what year he flourished. 

By many, ^^ Plaquemine" has been considered the proper 
spelling of the word, there being such a town in France, and one 
in the French portion of the Louisiana low-lands. I have long 
been persuaded that the name, in its present form, is the result 
of the linguistic efforts of our Dutch, German and English fore- 
fathers to spell and pronounce an Indian word. It is repeatedly 
written Blochhemen in the old German archives of Zion church. 
In the year 1885, when Edward Eggleston was engaged in 
researches among the manuscripts of the British museum 
in London, I wrote him, asking if he would endeavor to 
discover some trace of the word Pluckamin. I had thought 
it possible the name might appear among the minor ham- 
lets of Somersetshire, from which we have received the 
names of Bridgewater and Bedminster. His reply, under date 
of September sixteenth of that year, was as follows : 

I have tried in vain in the best English gazeteers to find I'hickamin. I think 
it may be a corruption of Pucfcamin, which, I believe, though I cannot be sure, 
was a dialect form of the Algonquin, Pulchamin, corrupted by our ancestors to 
persimmon, the fruit of that name. This seems like a wild conjecture, but I think 
it is the solution. At any rate, the name is Indian, I doubt not. 

As the present county-seat did not come into existence until 
nearly half a century later, there was at this time no road lead- 
ing from Pluckamin in the direction of Somerville. The county 
of Somerset was first erected and set off from Middlesex in 1688, 
but for twenty -five years after, it had no courts of its own, relying 
upon Middlesex for the administration of justice. The first 
court-house and jail was erected some time between the years 
1714 and 1717, at Six Mile Run, the buildings standing about 
three hundred feet east of the present church in that village, 
where its foundation stones can still be discovered. This struc- 

166 The Story of an Old Farm. 

ture being destroyed by fire in 1737, the county-seat was 
removed to Hillsborough (Millstone), where a new court-house 
and jail were erected. This last building was destroyed 
by the British in 1779, the remains of its foundation being 
still in existence. In 1783 the county erected a tem- 
porary court-house and a log jail at Tunison's tavern, or 
Raritan. The former stood just east of the present court-house 
grounds, where in 1798 permanent county buildings were 
erected. This gave a great impetus to settlement in the neigh- 
borhood, which three years later assumed the name of Somer- 
ville. The road upon which our rider pursued his way followed 
a more easterly course, and ran along the edge of the mountains 
to Middlebrook, or Bound Brook. Below Pluckamin was a tract 
of four hundred and seventy acres belonging to William 
McDonald, who had recently built on the ravine of Chambers 
brook a mill that ground the grists of Bedminster people until 
after the Revolution. Upon crossing this tract the road plunged 
directly into the forest, and from there on was but little more 
than a bare wagon track. 

Let us imagine Johannes traversing this shady way. As he 
puffs his pipe and rides musingly along, he gives rein to his steed, 
and abandons himself to agreeable reflection. While his mind 
dwells on the future grain fields, barns, miUs and improvements 
in contemplation for the Bedminster hillside, he turns his horse 
on the soft green moss that carpets either side of the trail, 
and, as he slowly moves on between the stately trees, breathes 
with delight the cool sweet breath of grass and leaves and forest. 
Now he threads a little bridle path or cut-off, which leaving the 
highAvay runs under a mass of foliage, through which wild 
honeysuckles and blossoming grape-vines clamber from bash to 
tree, filling the air with their fragrance. On every side the 
shadowy dells and bosky boAvers are vocal with the sweetest 
of natui'e's music, the chirping, twittering and singing of early 
summer birds. On the branches overhead saucy grey squirrels, 
with a whisk of their spasmodic tails, scurry up the tree trunks 
to safer altitudes, from where they peer down on the horse- 
man below through a curtain of trembling leaves. Perhaps a 
bear, with its awkward cubs, shuffles across the trail before him, 
or a startled red deer bounds away through the glades of the 

The Great Raritan Road. 167 

forest, disappearing in its sombre distances. There were other 
beasts and game at this time frequenting the quietudes of these 
Pluckamin hills, for we know that in 1730 a law was passed in 
the province offering a bounty of twenty shillings for full grown 
wolves, five shillings for whelps not able to prey, and fifteen 
shillings for panthers. Notwithstanding this inducement for the 
extirpation of wolves, they seem to have grown more numerous, 
as, in 1751, an act was passed increasing the bounty to sixty 
shillings, and to ten shillings for whelps. 

And now the thicket and undergrowth recede ; the ground 
falls away, and the trail descending to the broad level of the 
Raritan loses itself in the ^' Great Raritan Road," which had 
been the thoroughfare of early colonial travel since the year 
1700. It commenced at a point on the north bank of the river, 
opposite New Brunswick, and following the stream to its branches 
extended west to the Delaware. Here Johannes finds the 
already old village of Bound Brook (Middlebrook), its loca- 
tion then, as now, being one of much natural beauty. Seated on 
the grassy banks of the Raritan, it overlooks that stream just 
where with a graceful bend it sweeps to the south, and so 
makes its deepening way through a fertile valley to the sea. 


Bound Brook in the Olden Time — The Raritan Valley/ 

in 1752. 

Bound Brook has of late years grown familiar to the travel- 
ling public, owing to the name being used to designate one of the 
prominent railway routes to Philadelphia. Trains by this line, 
while taking their hurried flight across the state, pause for a few 
moments at the entrance door to this old village. Their passen- 
gers look from the car windows with curious eyes upon the 
ancient settlement sequestered amid its venerable trees ; but few 
of them appreciate that their glances rest on a place that has 
been the theatre of colonial and Revolutionary scenes of much 
historic interest ; and on a locality whose name dates away back 
to the year 1666. 

To one fond of the beautiful in nature this valley of the Rari- 
tan abounds in rural loveliness. It is but its superficial charm. 
He who has an appetite for the quaint and old, and is eager to 
discover localities around which memories of the past cluster 
thickly, finds much along this river upon which to feed his 
antiquarian tastes. Its associations are among the oldest in New 
Jersey — none more so, save those of the Hudson and the Dela- 
ware. After the establishment of the capital of the province at 
Perth Amboy in 1682, the Scotch and English soon made their 
way northerly as far as the forks of the Raritan. Long before 
this time the Dutch had been quick to discover the agri- 
cultural promises of this favored region. These pioneers, 
toiling in the vanguard of settlement, while making their way 
through the thick gloom of the woods bordering the river were 
attracted by the intervals of broad meadow-spaces, horizoned by 
zones of forest and rich in abundant grasses. Under the 

The Gtenesis of Bound Brook. 169 

shadow of their bordering trees often stood Indian cabins, for 
the red men had used these savannas for raising corn, beans, and 
pumpkins. The Hollanders had good cause for rejoicing at 
finding in the dense woods lands destitute of trees and ready at 
once for the plow. The secretary of the New Netherlands, Cor- 
nelius Van Tienhoven, writes in 1650 that 

The district inhabited by a nation called Karitangs is situated on a fresh 
water river that flows through the centre of a lowland which the Indians culti- 
vated. This vacant territory lies between two high mountains, far distant the 
one from the other. This is the handsomest and pleasantest country that man 
can behold. It furnished the Indians with abundance of maize, beans, pumpkins, 
and other fruits. * * * Through this valley pass large numbers of all sorts 
of tribes on their way north or east. This land is, therefore, not only adapted 
for raising grain and rearing all descriptions of cattle, but also very convenient 
for trade with the Indians. — Doc. History, N. Y. 

It is generally believed that the name, Bound Brook, is 
derived from the fact that the boundaries of the present town are 
the brooks that empty into the Raritan ; this is a natural mis- 
take, the name having a much greater and more significant 
meaning. In the year 1666, after certain portions of the Eliza- 
bethtown patent had been set off to the Woodbridge, Piscataway 
and Newark settlers, it became necessary to define the limit of 
what was left of this grant ; consequently it was declared to 
extend from the mouth of the Raritan on the west to the mouth 
of the Passaic on the east, and from the Rahway river on the 
south to the brook emptying into the Raritan on the north, which 
was from thenceforth known as Bound brook. This is the 
stream that is crossed by the Central Railroad just below the 
station, and in after years it gave its name to the hamlet that 
grew upon its banks. Bound Brook has the honor of being 
Somerset's oldest settlement, the land on which the village stands 
having been purchased, in the year 1681, by Governor Philip 
Carteret, and others, from two Raritan Indians named KoN- 
ACKAMA and QuEROMAK. Doctor Messier considers this to be 
the first land purchased in this county. It was described as 
embracing territory lying within the boundaries of the Raritan 
river on the south ; Bound brook, or Sacunk, (Indian for slow, 
sluggish stream), on the east; Middle brook, or liha-weigh-tveiros 
(Indian word meaning running from a deep hole), on the west ; 
and of a certain stony hill and Metapes' wigwam at the mouth of 

170 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Cedar brook on the north. The whole area being known as 
Raca-hova-wallahyy or "A round plain by the deep crooked 

Only two of these eight purchasers seem to have appeared in 
the county — Thomas Codrington and John Royce. The former 
had apportioned to him eight hundred and seventy-seven acres 
on the westerly side of the grant, fronting on Middle brook. 
Soon after 1683, he built upon it a large mansion, giving his 
homestead the name of JRacawackliana, an Indian word meaning 
a meadow or flat by a rapid brook. This is the same property 
now owned and occupied by George La Monte. Codrington was 
a man of considerable influence ; before removing to Bound 
Brook he had been sheriff of the city of New York, and after 
becoming a citizen of the province of New Jersey he was 
appointed a member of the governor's council, which position he 
seems to have been still holding in 1698. The name of John 
Royce is preserved in that of Roycefield, southwest of Somerville, 
where he owned twenty thousand acres of land. 

That -portion of this Indian grant, which is the immediate site 
of Bound Brook, became the property of Thomas Rudyard, one 
of the original twenty-four proprietors of East New Jersey and 
its first deputy-governor. It was his daughter who, while the 
widow of Samuel Winder, became the wife of George Willocks. 
About the year 1700 George Cussart, Samuel Thompson and 
Jacob De Groot purchased Rudyard's land, together with eight 
hundred and seventy-seven acres adjoining, belonging to John 
Royce. George Cussart built his residence where now stands 
the village hotel ; and Thompson's house stood where the 
Central Railroad line crosses the highway, and was extant until 
the construction of the railway. 

The most important Raritan resident in social and political 
consequence in the seventeenth century was Lord Neil Camp- 
bell. He lived in considerable state on a plantation of sixteen 
hundred and fifty acres situated near where the north and south 
branches of the Raritan join. He was a brother of the Duke 
of Argyle, and was connected with that nobleman's disastrous 
eflFort to aid the handsome " Pretender's" attempt to seize the 
crown of England. More fortunate than many of his co-conspir- 
ators, Lord Neil Campbell saved his head; and in October, 

Bound Brook Presbyterian Church. 171 

1685, he reached East New Jersey, bearing the commission of 
its proprietors as deputy-governor. A retinue of sixty-five ser- 
vants, that had preceded him, awaited his arrival at his planta- 
tion. His two sons, John and Charles, were here before their 
father, they also being under the ban of the home government 
for political offenses. John, with his wife, three children and 
eleven servants it is thought lived on an estate of eighteen 
hundred and seventy acres that he owned on the west side of 
the south branch of the Raritan near Corle's mills. Archibald 
Campbell, a nephew of Lord Neil, and also a refugee, is said 
about this time to have lived in baronial style on Herbert's 
island, his residence being known as Kells' Hall. He had many 
house and field servants, and hanging in the belfry of the Bound 
Brook academy is an old bell with which, it is said, he used to 
call his slaves from their labors. Within fifty years descend- 
ants of the Campbells were living in this village ; there are none 
now, though in the adjoining county they are said to be num- 

The Scotch and English multiplied in this vicinity, and by the 
year 1700 they were in sufficient numbers to warrant forming 
the '^ Presbyterian Congregation of Bound Brook,'' which 
before long became one of the most flourishing and important 
religious organizations in the colony. We have no record of 
where the first services were held — probably in one of the log 
dwellings that were distributed along the willow-fringed banks 
of the river. It was not until 1725 that the congregation elected 
its first edifice, a low one-storey house which stood within the 
present church grounds, and was preserved until far in this cen- 
tury, the uses of its later years being that of a school-house. Itin- 
erant preachers served the needs of the people until 1741, when 
the Reverend James McCrea was appointed by the Presbytery 
as a supply, which service he continued till 1749. A second 
and more pretentious building was completed about the year 
1760, the funds having been obtained from the proceeds of a 
public lottery. 

Affixed to the walls of the present church edifice is a tablet 
showing the first settled minister of the congregation to have 
been the Reverend Israel Read. He was called to the pastorate 
in 1750, "in which he was faithful to his Divine Master to the 

172 The Story of an Old Farm. 

death." In November, 1793, he was thrown from his carriage 
while riding near New Brunswick, receiving injuries of which 
three days later he died. Judging from the congregational 
records it would seem that members of the Field family have, 
from the founding of this religious society, been among its most 
active supporters and benefactors. A portion of the church 
grounds was conveyed by Benjamin and Jeremiah Field in the 
year 1749, and the large church Bible which bears a London 
imprint of 1772, has on its leaf, in the hand writing of the Rev- 
erend Mr. Read, the following : " Mr. Michael Field's Book 
1784 he Presents to the Reverend Mr. Read being the Second 
Small Legacy made by him to the Church at Bound Brook. 
Pris-1-8-0." Michael Field died on the thirteenth of January, 
1792; a copy of his will, in my possession, shows that he 
bequeathed one thousand pounds to the trustees of the congrega- 
tion, the interest of which was to be applied "towards supporting 
the gospell in the Presbiterian Church at Bound Brook." He 
also left the sum of five hundred pounds for the support of a free 
school within the congregation. This was not the first one of the 
village. The Scotch Presbyterians held the school almost in equal 
estimation with the church ; schoolmasters were brought from the 
old country and early established in the East Jersey settle- 
ments. In 1752, when Johannes visited Bound Brook, John 
Wacker taught the village children in a low one-storey building 
within the present church grounds. Doubtless the colonial 
lads found that pedagogue's name to be appropriate to his call- 
ing, for schoolmasters of the olden time considered that mental 
perceptions were precipitated by knuckles and palms being Avell 
ridged by hard rulers. One of the first teachers in the 
free academy established by the bequest of Mii^hael Field was 
Isaac Toucey, who afterwards was secretary of war under 
Buchanan's administration. 

When in 1752 our wayfarer rode doAvn this ancient high- 
way — the Great Raritan Road — through Bound Brook, he found 
a village of about twenty houses, all of one storey, guarded 
at either end by a spiritual and material sentinel, for at the 
extreme south stood the church, while equally far north was 
William Harris's tavern. This "public" continued in the same 
family until 1815, when Isaac Harris combined the duties of 

Bound Rrook Residents in 1752. 173 

being its landlord with those of the sheriff of the county. A 
portion of the original structure continues to represent the hos- 
pitalities of this neighborhood in the present Middlebrook 'hotel. 
It has been said that it was not until near the end of the century 
that Peter Van Norden erected the first two-storey house, and 
painted it a bright green. So much was this architectural extra- 
vagance condemned by the villagers, that it became known as 
'^ Van Norden's Folly." It was destroyed by fire in 1882, and 
until then was occupied by descendants in the fourth generation 
of its ambitious builder. Besides the tavern there is still another 
building standing in that vicinity, which was in existence at the 
time of Johannes' visit. It is the old Shepherd house on the 
heights back of the village, which was built before the year 

Among the citizens of this ancient burgh in the year 1752, 
besides those already mentioned, was Peter Williamson, who 
lived in a house on the bank of the river, just south of where 
now is the railroad station, built in 1684 by John, son of Lord 
Neil Campbell ; John de Groot, whose house, built by his father 
in 1700, stood just north of the main street, — his son Jacob, 
who lived to be ninety -four years of age, died in this dwell- 
ing, which was preserved until the year 1839 when it was 
destroyed by fire ; John Anderson, the remains of whose house are 
still to be seen on the property of Isaac J. Fisher ; William 
Moore, a hatter ; John Castner, a shoemaker ; and Tobias Van 
Norden, who built a store in 1849, upon the site of the one now 
or lately owned by John D. Voorhees. It was a long building of 
but one storey, with two dormer windows in its sloping gambril 
roof. Van Norden continued as Bound Brook's storekeeper until 
after the Revolution, and we can imagine Johannes dismounting, 
either going or coming, in order to fiU some little commissions 
from home, as at this time it was the nearest shop to the " Old 
Farm." A grandson of Van Norden says that for some twenty- 
five years previous to 1765 his grandfather was extensively 
engaged in baking ship bread, which he exported direct to the 
West Indies, carting it in wagons to New Brunswick where it 
was transferred to vessels. 

Speaking of a lottery as a means of raising money for complet- 
ing the Bound Brook church, brings to mind their prevalence in 

174 The Stoky of an Old Fakm. 

colonial times. It was the financial fashion of the age, and con- 
sidered quite as legitimate as is to-day the placing on the mar- 
ket of authorized railway securities. The following curious 
extract from the diary of the Reverend Samuel Seabury, father 
of Bishop Seabury, shows the pecidiar views prevailing in the 
last century as to the propriety and morality of lotteries and 
gambling : 

The ticket No. 5,886, in the Light-house and Public Lottery of New York, 
drew in my favor, by the blessing of Almighty God, 500 pounds sterling, of which 
I received 425 pounds, there being a deduction of fifteen per cent ; for which I 
now record to my posterity my thanks to Almighty God, the giver of all good 

These enterprises were under the patronage of the best people 
in the land. Among the autographic treasures of John F. McCoy, 
of Brooklyn, is the following : 

1768. This Ticket (No. 176) shall entitle the Possessor to whatever Prize may 
happen to be drawn against its number in the Mountain Koad Lottery. 

(Signed) Go. Washington. 

Judging from the advertisements appearing in the middle of 
the last century in the New York papers, there was hardly a 
settlement in the province that had not on foot some plan for a 
lottery. The beneficiaries of those extraordinary monetary 
schemes were most varied in character, and they were often for 
the aid of private as well as public enterprises. One set up in 
New Brunswick was for the relief of an insolvent debtor. Peter 
Bodine advertised another having one hundred and ninety-five 
prizes, '' many of them being lots in the heart of that growing 
place, Raritan Landing, which is a market for the most plen- 
tiful wheat coimtry of its bigness in America." It would seem 
that specidative real estate bubbles were early afloat in the New 
Jersey air. The Landing must have stopped growing very sud- 
denly, and one would need to search diligently now to find that 
number of lots in this then called market. Within a few years 
of that time the Presbyterian '' meeting-houses" at Amwell and at 
Bound Brook, the English church at New Brunswick, St. John's 
church at Elizabethtown, and Trinity chiu'ch at Newark, were 
all completed with the assistance afforded by lotteries. In Phila- 
delphia, in 1749, one was established to raise fifteen hundred 
pounds for the benefit of Nassau, now the College of New Jer- 

Lotteries in the Olden-Time. 175 

sey at Princeton ; and. in May, 1754, a Pennsylvania newspaper 
advertised that tickets in a Connecticut lottery for the benefit of 
this same college, "will be had of Mr. Cowell, at Trenton." In 1773 
that institution, in conjunction with the Presbyterian church at 
Princeton, secured by the same means fifty-six hundred and 
twenty-six pounds. ToAvard the end of the century lotteries 
had grown in bad repute and were generally prohibited ; but 
immediately after the Revolution the legislature of New Jersey 
granted the borough of Elizabethtown the privilege of holding 
one " to raise a sum of money for building a court-house and 
jail, and finishing the academy, which during the late war was 
bm-ned by the enemy." 

As Johannes left Bound Brook and rode southerly down the 
valley of the Raritan, the country quite lost that impress of soli- 
tude it had borne during the earlier stages of his journey. The 
heavy timber was now left behind, the trees grew more sparsely, 
for he had reached a region where settlers under the first prop- 
rietors earliest penetrated, and established their plantations. He 
was now in Middlesex county, and the township he traversed 
had for fifty years been occupied by the husbandman. Gener- 
ous orchards and abundant fields had long before taken the place 
of tangled maizes and impenetrable thickets, and much of the 
bottom and bench lands had been wrested by the hand of culti- 
vation from the grasp of primeval nature. No longer were the 
rude structures of logs that had housed the families of pioneers 
the sole architectural features of the landscape; in many instances 
they had made way for the more pretentious farm-house, the 
homes of permanent, well-established residents ; and ample 
barns bore testimony to the fertility and productiveness of the 
surrounding acres. The board houses were of one storey, with 
long sloping roofs extending over a porch in front and descend- 
ing nearly to the ground in the rear. Here the overhanging 
eaves sheltered the big Dutch oven, and a broad space where rus- 
set-gowned maids sang at their spinning wheels, and where busy 
house-wives did the family weaving at their clumsy looms. 
These frame houses were generally unpainted, and rapidly grew 
venerably dark in color. Their interiors were divided into but 
few rooms ; one or two sufficed for the needs of the family, while 
the others harbored pumpkins, carrots and potatoes, with dried 

176 The Story of an Old Farm. 

apples and peaches hanging in festoons from the ceiling. The 
humble log hut, which had originally done residential duty, stood 
like a poor relation at a respectful distance, often degraded to 
the menial service of sheltering pigs and kine. Sometimes it 
was converted into a rude brew-house, for the Raritan settlers 
manufactured and drank great quantities of malt liquors. 

Mention has been made before of the fact that Hollanders 
from Long Island had early learned of the fertility and desirabil- 
ity of land in the rich valley of the Raritan. By the year 
1703, they were thoroughly established on both sides of the 
river. Judging from a report made by Governor Dongan, of 
New York, to the English Board of Trade in 1687, it would 
seem that even by that time the Dutch had emigrated fi'om 
Long Island to New Jersey. English emigrants, in 1685, had 
divided into about six hundred-acre tracts nearly all the land 
between New Brunswick and Bound Brook, extending for two 
miles back from the south bank of the river ; by the year 1717 
the greater part of these lands was out of the hands of their original 
owners and occupied by the Dutch. Interspersed among the 
Hollanders that located on the north, or east, bank of the 
river, were many permanent English and Scotch settlers, as the 
names of Field, Boice, Smith, Ross, Low and others bear 

Primogeniture being now unknown in this country, instances 
are not frequent where land descends from father to son 
for successive generations. In addition to the usual necessity 
of dividing estates, too often the heir to homestead lands 
is quite wanting in that love and reverence for ancestral 
acres that distinguishes people of an older country. It is 
pleasant to be able to record and make Jionorable mention 
of so rare a preservation of a family property as that of Benja- 
min M., Benjamin B., John K., and John B. Field, who now 
own and occupy five hundred acres of land fronting on the river, 
a short distance below Bound Brook. Theirs is one of the few 
instances in New Jersey of persons being able, in walking 
over their lands, to feel the proud consciousness of overlooking 
a broad territory that has been theirs and their ancestors for 
nearly two himdred years. The New Jersey forefather was 
John Field, who, on the fom'teenth of December, 1695, pur- 

John Field's Raritan Purchase in 1695. 177 

chased ten hundred and fifty-five acres of land, fronting the 
Raritan for two miles and a half, extending about three quarters 
of a mile inland and commencing about one mile below Bound 
Brook. He came from Long Island, where he was born in 
1659, being the grandson of Robert Field, born in 1610, who it 
is supposed came to Rhode Island with Roger Williams. Rob- 
ert with fifteen associates obtained in 1645 from Governor 
William Kieft, of New Netherland, a patent for a large area of 
land on Long Island, embodying the present location of Flush- 
ing. The New Jersey ancestor was fifth in descent — in the 
direct line — from the famous astronomer, John Field, born A. D. 
1525, who introduced the Copernican system in England. While 
living in London in 1556 he published the first English astro- 
nomical tables on the basis of the new discoveries. In recogni- 
tion of this service he received from the Crown a patent author- 
izing him to bear a crest on his family arms. His son Richard 
became chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, and was the author of sev- 
eral religious works. The Fields trace their descent from 
Hubertus de la Feld, who held lands in the county of Lancaster, 
England, in the third year of the reign of William the Con- 
queror. The name, in the old English, was written, " Feld ;" 
and is merely the past participle of the verb to fell. Field-land 
is opposed to wood-land, and means land where the trees have 
been felled. When such land is spoken of by such old authors 
as Gower, Chaucer and others, it is always written '^ feld:" '^ In 
Woode, in Feld or Cittee, Shall no man steale in nowise." 

John Field purchased his Raritan lands in 1695 from Benja- 
min Clarke, who inherited the property from his father — also 
named Benjamin. The senior Clarke, who died in 1689, arrived 
in Perth Amboy in 1683, securing headlands for himself, his 
son, and eight others. He is said to have built a house near the 
junction of Market and Water streets, where he established New 
Jersey's first stationery and book store. In a letter to Scotland 
in March, 1685, Charles G-ordon writes : '^ Neither are we 
altogether destitute of Books and Clergy, for George Keith, who 
arrived three weeks since, with others — (they were all winter in 
Barbadoes) — have brought mathematics, and Benjamin Clarke a 
Library of Boohs to sell ; so you may see New Perth begins to be 
founded upon Clergy." Clarke was a Quaker, and we may judge 


178 The Story of an Old Farm. 

him a stiff-necked one after reading the folloAving extract from 
the old book of records of the Society of Friends : 

At the monthly meeting held in Amboy the thirteenth of the fifth month, 
1687, the friends appoynted to speak to Benjamin Clerk brought his answer, which 
was, that he would not come to meeting because Governor Lawry called him a 
divil (as he sayes) wherewith friends not being satisfied desires George Keith and 
John Barclay to speak to him again. 

Many of these ancesti'al acres have been the homestead lands 
of Fields from that day to this. At the time Johannes rode 
through this domain the original estate was owned and occupied 
by the grandsons of John Field — as follows : Jeremiah, bom 
in 1713, who lived on the farm lately owned by Stephen Voor- 
hees, and whose stone dwelling is still extant ; John, born in 
1714, who lived on what was lately known as the Oliver farm^ 
in a stone house still standing which has inscribed on the west 
wall the date 1743 and the initials J. F. ; Michael, born in 
1723, who lived on the mill property lately owned by Louis 
Clark; Benjamin, born in 1735, who lived on the farm now 
owned b}^ Benjamin M. Field, in a frame house still standing, 
the newer portion of which is inscribed with the date 1761 and 
the initials B. F. ; and Richard, born 1726, who lived on the 
farm lately owned by John D. Field. His house is still standing, 
its corner-stone being marked with the date 1710 and the 
initial F. ; it is thought, however, that this stone was taken from 
the original house of the first purchaser, John Field, which 
stood a few hundred yards away, its foundations and cellars 
being still plainly visible. 

You may wonder at so prolonged a narrative of the Fields 
and their property. It shoidd have an interest to the descend- 
ants of Johannes from the fact that the two families are in this 
wise connected : Jeremiah Field, born in 1753, married Jane, 
daughter of Captain Jacob Ten Eyck of Revolutionary fame. 
He settled in Bedminster township, purchasing on the sixth of 
February, 1790, from Daniel Heath a farm of one hundred and 
three acres, fronting on the Lamington river. Here Richard J. 
Field was born in 1785, who on the twenty-second of Decem- 
ber, 1808, married Mary Kline, born on the seventeenth of 
April, 1791, she being the granddaughter of Jacob Kline, and his 

Raritan Landing's Industries in 1752. 179 

wife Veronica Gerdrutta, the eldest daughter of Johannes 

On reaching Raritan Landing, two miles above New Bruns- 
wick, Johannes found it, for those days, a place of considerable 
prominence ; its marked growth of a few previous years having 
given rise to expectations of ultimate commercial greatness that 
the future was not to realize. Its prosperity was gained mainly 
from the fertile valley bordering the Raritan, and the ricli fields 
of wheat and corn that were rapidly midtiplying between that 
river and the Delaware. This, together with the fact that the 
Landing was on tide- water and at the head of sloop navigation, 
gave it an importance second only to that of Ncav Brunswick, 
and by many it was thought to be a serious business rival to that 
city. In addition to its shipping interests this point had active 
manufacturing industries. The Raritan was here dammed, and 
mills were in successfid operation, both for grinding the grain of 
the back country and for manufacturing flour and meal for 
shipment to New York and more eastern ports. Among the 
manuscript papers of the late Ralph Voorhees is the Frank- 
lin township tax list for the year 1735. This old paper testifies 
directly as to the early prosperity of this portion of Somerset, by 
showing that at that date there were already established in the 
township six grist mills : one at the Landing, owned by Coert 
Van Voorhees ; another, a mile up the river, on the Rapelye 
brook ; the third, owned and operated by John Folkers, on the 
brook emptying into the Raritan, east of the house now or lately 
occupied by Abram Sebring ; there was also the WyckofF mill at 
Six Mile Run ; the Moere mill at Rocky Hill ; and another on 
the Millstone river, owned by Benjamin Griggs who is supposed 
to have been the founder of Griggstown. This last mill in the 
year 1752 was owned and operated by Nicholas Veghten. At 
this time there was also a mill, which had been erected in 1747 
by Hendrick Schenck, located on the west side of the Millstone 
river, since known as Blackwells ; and in 1749 Abram Berean 
erected on the same river the Weston mill, lately known as 

Much testimony could be produced going to show the popu- 
lousness and growth of this part of New Jersey at that time as 
compared with other portions of the province. A correspondent of 

180 The Story of an Old Farm. 

ex-Govenior Robert Hunter, in a letter to him in England, 
about the year 1730, writes that •' New Brunswick had grown 
very rapidly for the reason that the country back of this town 
had improved quite fast. The farmers principally raised wheat, 
and the large mills in the vicinity rendered this an important 
flouring mart/' Ralph Voorhees, in one of his sketches of the 
early settlers, tells us that the water-power at the Landing was 
destroyed about the time of the Revolution by the people along 
the upper Raritan, who were exasperated because it prevented 
shad from ascending the stream. 

When Johannes reached the Landing he was miich inter- 
ested in viewing what was then considered, and properly so, 
a very grand mansion. It was surpassed by few, if any, resi- 
dences in the province. Nearly fifty feet square, it elevated a 
dormer-windowed hipped roof above two stone storeys, pre- 
senting a strong contrast to the ordinary wooden buildings of the 
surrounding country. Embowered in a luxuriant growth of ivy, 
it is still to be seen on the hillside opposite the road leading to 
the covered bridge, being owned and occupied by George W. 
Metlar. This important dwelling was built by Cornelius Low, 
Jr., who was born on the thirty-first of March, 1700, 
and settled in East Jersey about 1730, through the influ- 
ence of the Gouverneur family, he having married Johanna 
Gouverneui' in 1729. He was a surveyor, and did much 
valuable work in the province in defining the boundaries 
of important estates. Schuyler's " Colonial New York " con- 
tains the record from Low's family Bible, which recites that 
he built his new house at " Raritan Landing, on the mountain," 
in 1741. The record repeatedly mentions the burial of members 
of his family in Jacob De Groot's vaidt. This tomb was prob- 
ably in the Presbyterian churchyard at Bound Brook, as this 
was the same De Groot who in the year 1700, in company with 
Cussart and Thompson, purchased the site of that village from 
Deputy- Governor Rudyard. Cornelius Low, Jr., does not 
appear to have been of the Presbyterian persuasion, as we find 
on the minutes of the Dutch Reformed church, '' op de Mill- 
stone,^' his name entered as a communicant. This congregation 
was organized in 1727, by the Reverend Henricus Coens of 
Acquackanonk (Passaic). In this year, 1752, a new edifice had 

The Church Op De Millstone. 181 

been erected on the site of the present Harlingen church. It 
was an antiquated Dutch structure, having lofty gables and a 
long steep roof. The interior was divided by one aisle, faced 
with short pews in which sat the men, while the body of the 
church was occupied by square pews filled with chairs for the 
use of the women and children. I do not find that the name of 
Low has been perpetuated in either Somerset or Middlesex, A 
descendant married the late Charles King, president of Columbia 
college. New York, and died in Paris a few years since ; her 
only son, C. L. King, lives in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and 
a daughter is the wife of Mr. Waddington, the present French 
minister at the English court. 

Johannes crossed the river on the riffle below the dam, and 
making his way down the opposite shore he was soon in New 
Brunswick, where he dismounted in front of a tavern on Water 
street, the city's main thoroughfare. After his long ride we can 
imagine him quite ready for what some one has called the hope 
of the hmigry, the rest of the weary, the consolation of the mis- 
erable — dinner. 


From an Indian Path to the King's Highway — New Brunswick 
and Historic Piscataway. 

The antiquated college town of New Brunswick, which the 
traveller Philadelphia-ward finds perched on the high rolling 
banks of the Raritan, is located on the most ancient highway in 
New Jersey ; a road that, before the foot of the first white man 
had trod the American continent, was centuries older than were 
its flanking oaks, chestnuts and hickories. 

In those remote days — before the advent of Europeans 
— a faint path could be traced on nature's carpet of falleu 
leaves and twigs, running east and west through the thick- 
ets and undergrowth of the vast and sombre forest. It 
was the soft impress of the moccasined feet of the Lenni- 
Lenape, made while on their frequent way to the Lenni- 
Wihittuck, or Delaware river. This Indian path started at what 
is now Elizabethport and plunging into the solitudes of the 
wilderness extended almost in a direct line to a point on the 
Raritan opposite where Albany street, in New Brunswick, now 
terminates. Here the red-men at low water forded the river, or 
at higher tides paddled across in their birch canoes. Passing up 
the present line of Albany street, the foot-path traversed the 
hoary woods with but little deviation till it reached the Dela- 
ware, just above where now is the capital of the state. This was 
the Indian's thoroughfare — their main arteiy of travel. It was 
intersected by others, the most important being the one by which 
the Monseys and more northern tribes found their way to the 
sea. Commencing on the Delaware in what is now Sussex 
county, near where three states converge, this trail, known as 
the Minisink path, ran southeasterly to within five miles of 
where Carteret founded his capital, Elizabethtown. Tuniing to 

Indian Paths Across New Jersey. 183 

the right, it stretched across the country to the Raritan, three miles 
above its mouth. Following the south bank of the river and 
the shore of the Lower bay, the footpath continued along where 
now is the village of Middletown, and so onward over the pleas- 
ant rises and gentle declivities of Monmouth, till it penetrated 
the hemlock heights of the Highlands, and descending on their 
ocean side reached the river which the red-man had named 
Nauvessing,* " the place of good fishing." Another Indian 
trail branched from the first one at the Raritan ford, and follow- 
ing the river bank extended north and west, by way of the site 
of Bound Brook, to the forks of the stream, where it divided. It 
was over this trail that settlers first made their way up into 

Early in the seventeenth century other than Indian forms were 
to be seen passing along our ancient highway. Over this path, 
which had never been pressed by human feet save by those of 
the soft-stepping, stealthy savage, strode burly Dutchmen wear- 
ing hats of generous brim, broad belts and stout leather jerkins ; 
the smoke from their pipes, fragrant with the odors of the best 
Virginia, mingling with the breath of the woods and exuberant 
herbage. The Hollanders had settled New Amsterdam ; sailing 
in their high-pooped shallops through the Kill von Koll — the 
creek of^ the bay — they landed on the west shores of the Achter 
Koll — the back bay — and found this Indian trail a most conveni- 
ent route to their settlement on the Delaware. Later on, when 
the English had captured New Amsterdam, they, too, discovered 
that the natives had marked out an excellent line for a road 
across the Jerseys — and a road it has been from that day to this. 

A mutual good will soon existed between the Dutch and Eng- 
lish and the dusky occupants of the little wigwam villages that 
were planted in cool and shady glens or by the side of sparkling 

* When the Dutch first landed on the shores of this part of Monmouth, they 
wrote down the Indian name for the place as it sounded to them, thus " Nau-ves- 
sing." The English converted the word into Nave-sink, from which Neversink 
is, perhaps, a natural result. The generally-accepted significance of the name — 
" the place of good fishing" — is not endorsed by all authorities. By some the 
original word is interpreted as meaning, " high lands between the waters," while 
others claim its significance to be "pleasant fields,'" referring to all the country 
lying between the Highlands and Chingarora, as the vicinity of Keyport was 

184 The Stoey of an Old Farm. 

rills. The white man had not long used this forest trail before 
signs of human thrift began to break in upon the wildness of 
natm-e. He travelled not only with matchlock and hanger, 
but with mattock and axe as well. The wild grape-vines and 
stunted bushes that encumbered the path Avere cleared away ; 
the decaying tree-trunks, giants that had fallen from mere 
weight of years, no longer impeded the passer-by. Foot-logs 
crossed the little streams, and soon the glittering axe hewed out 
a clearing here and there on the side of the path, from which 
rose little log cabins, premonitory symptoms and prophecies of 
populous hamlets and villages soon to follow. In 1665, when 
Philip Carteret reached the place he called Elizabethtown, it was 
already a settlement of four log huts. Some of the immigrants 
who had accompanied him from England made their way along this 
trail, till reaching a convenient point their brawny arms forced 
back the forest on either side, and planted the germ of a town 
which later migrators from New England named Woodbridge. 
In the following year other pioneers, striding sturdily Avestward, 
felled the trees and let the warm simlight in on a new settlement, 
soon baptized as Piscataway. 

A few years later New Brunswick received its first inhabitant. 
Tradition gives his name as Daniel Cooper. Early in 1681 John 
Inians and some associate purchased ten thousand acres of land at 
AhanderhamocJc, as this vicinity had been named by the Indians. 
In November of the same year Inians located for himself on the 
west bank of the river twelve hundred acres, embracing the pres- 
ent site of New BrunsAvick. By 1684 a number of Holland people 
had settled on his land, among Avhom Avere the ancestors of such 
old Jersey families as the Vrooms, Andersons, Probascos, Van 
Duyns and others. A charter for a ferry was granted in 1697 
to John Inians for the term of his or his wife's life, at the 
yearly rental of five shillings. Soon quite a settlement grcAv up 
about Inian's ferry, and travellers by the old Indian path began 
to be frequent. It lost its early appellation and became known 
as the Dutch trail ; indeed, for many years later it was little bet- 
ter than a trail through the Avoods, and was used only by pedes- 
trians and horsemen. In 1716, nearly twenty years after the 
establishment of the ferry, the tariff named only " horse and 
man " and " single person." Within a few years this old Dutch 

New Bkunswick in 1717. 185 

trail began to present some of the characteristics of a road, and 
we find imposed upon the innkeepers of Elizabethtown, Wood- 
bridge and Piscataway a total annual tax of ten pounds for 
keeping the highway free from fallen timber. This impost, 
was laid for the preservation of the " lower road," which, 
following a branch Indian path, diverged from the main trail a 
few miles beyond the Raritan, its trend being southwesterly, by 
way of Craubmy, to Burlington. The necessity for this tax, as 
the act declares, was because of the unsettled condition of the 
country the road traversed, whereby it was in danger of falling 
into "decay to the great inconvenience of travelers who may pass 
and repass that way unless care be taken to maintain the same 
until such time as it may be maintained by those who inherit it.'' 

The town grew apace, and before 1717 there were people 
enough to necessitate the building of a church. A frame struc- 
ture fifty feet front, containing fifty pews, was erected under the 
superintendence of Elder Roelef Sebring and Deacons Hendi'ik 
Bries and Roelef Lucas. It faced the river on the corner of 
what is now Burnet and Schureman streets, and for more than 
fifty years housed the congregation of the First Dutch Reformed 
church of the town. This was not the earliest house of worship 
in this vicinity. One had been erected some years before, about 
one and one-half miles beyond the present New Brunswick city 
limits, and it is believed it was the first sanctuary built in the 
county of Somerset. Tradition characterizes it as a rude struc- 
ture, never entirely completed ; the settlement about Inian's 
ferry growing rapidly, the congregation preferred to transfer 
itself to a new church in '^ the town by the river " rather than 
complete the old one at a point where evidently population would 
not centre. 

From this time the tide of settlers rose, and rolled steadily on 
toward and beyond the Raritan. In 1730 the population of New 
Brunswick was augmented by the arrival of a number of Dutch 
families from the upper Hudson, who planted themselves on 
either side of the road leading up from the ferry, giving it the 
name of Albany street. Before then it had been known as 
French street, deriving its appellation from Philip French,. the 
person from whom these new-comers had acquired their lands. 
He was a large owner in Middlesex county, and was the son of 


186 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

Philip French who had been mayor of the city of New York and 
speaker of the assembly of that province. In addition to their 
native thrift the migrators introduced into East Jei-sey the good 
old Holland names of Van Dyke, Van Alen, Van Veghten, 
Van Deursen, Schuyler, Ten Broek, and others. Not only the 
town by the river benefited by this influx of new-comers ; the 
back country of Middlesex, which had been a comity since 1682, 
lost its aspect of a solitude. The old Dutch trail was rapidly 
being transformed into the King's highway ; clearings multiplied, 
and what had been clearings were now converted into arable 
fields and well-tilled farms. Immigrants from Germany landing 
in New York traversed this road, seeking that Mecca of all pil- 
grims from the Khine, the province of Pennsylvania. Finding 
their route bordered by goodly lands, many of them abandoned 
their proposed goal, and turning aside made their homes among 
the Dutch and English settlers. 

The country in the vicinity of this highway, when much of 
New Jersey was still a wilderness, had the appearance of being 
comparatively well cultivated and long occupied. James Alex- 
ander, the father of Lord Stirling, in a letter written in 1730, 
says that '' In the year 1715 there were but four or five houses 
between Inian's ferry and the Delaware river, but that now — 
1730 — the country is settled very thick ; as they go chiefly on 
raising of wheat and the making of flour, and as New Brunswick 
is the nearest landing, it necessarily makes that the storehouse 
for all the produce that they send to market ; which has drawn a 
considerable number of people to settle there, insomuch that 
a lot of ground in New Brunswick is grown to be near so great a 
price as so much ground in the heart of New York." 

Prof. Kalm, the Swedish botanist and ti'aveller, when journey- 
ing in 1748 from Philadelphia to New York, expressed the 
greatest surprise at finding so cidtivated a region, and declared 
that in all his travels in America he saw no part of the open 
country so well peopled. At Trentown, which he reached by 
sloop, his landlord told him that twenty-two years before, when 
he first settled there, there were hardly any houses, but the 
increase since that time had been so great that there were now 
nearly one hundred. Along the road to the Raritan there were 
great distances of forests, but yet on much of the way he found 

New Brunswick Chartered in 1730. 187 

extensive fields of grain, and almost every farm had abundant 
orchards. He especially noticed the great Jersey barns, which 
in many instances he thought to be as big as small churches, so 
large, in fact, that, which to the foreigner seemed most extraor- 
dinary, they housed horses, cattle, grain, mows, and thresh- 
ing floors. Their great double doors enabled farmers to drive 
loaded teams " in one side and out the other." The Pro- 
fessor attributed this generous farm architecture to the Germans 
and Dutch, whom he reports as occupying most of the country. 
On the thirtieth day of December, 1730, two weeks before 
New York was incorporated as a city. King George 11. bestowed 
on New Brmiswick, under the great seal of the Crown, its first 
city charter.* The inhabitants agreed in consideration of the 
privileges granted by this precious document to pay annually to 
the kingdom of Great Britain one sheaf of wheat. The opening 
language of this charter was as follows : 

Whereas, our Loving Subjects Thomas ffarmar, Jacob Okey, James Hude 
Dolin Hagerman, Lawrence Williamson, Duncan Hutchinson, Derrick Schuyler, 
William Okey, Paul Miller, William Williamson, Abraham Bennett, Cort Voor- 
hees, James Nelson, John Balding, and many Others have petitioned for a city 
charter, it has been granted. Also for the reason that the said Towne of New 
Brunswick, standing near the head of a fine Navigable River, and being the 
Most Convenient place for shipping off tlie produce of a large and plentiful! 
Country Lying on the back thereof is a place of very Considerable trade & 

The citizens of New Jersey in the olden-time had great confi- 
dence in the future prosperity of the province. In laying out 
their towns and cities they established corporate limits great 
enough for that extensive population, the coming of which they 
so surely anticipated. Thus Perth Amboy — already for twelve 
years a chartered city — included ^ thousand acres east of the 
Raritan, wliUe on the opposite side of the river its northerly line* 
extended from the mouth of South river westerly nearly to 
Hightstown, and its southerly parallel line ran fuUy as far into 
Monmouth county from the mouth of Cheesequake creek. New 
Brunswick, equally ambitious, extended its southerly boundary 

*New York City was first chartered by Governor Dongan in 1676, but its 
fathers, fearing that this governor's corporation might not, under pressure, stand 
a legal test, asked of the King, and received on the fifteenth of January, 1730- 
1731, the royal charter by which the city was governed for a century. 

188 The Story of an Old Farm. 

to the Amboy line, while its northerly limits stretched west- 
erly almost to Princeton. And so the two great cities of Middle- 
sex adjoined each other. The following is a list of New 
Brunswick's officers for the first year : 

Mayor, Thomas Farmar: Recorder, James Hude ; Aldermen, "VVm. Cox, 
Jacob Oakey, Dally Hagaman, William Cheasman. Josiah Davison and Lawrence 
Williamson, Esqrs. ; Sheriff" and W^ater-baliff, Evan Drummond ; Common Coun- 
cilmen or Assistants, John Thomson, Cort Voorhees, Minne Voorhees, Henry 
Longfield, William Williamson and John Van Dyck ; Chamberlain or Treasurer, 
Alexander Moore; Coroner, Tliomas Marshall; Marshall or Serjeant at Mace, 
John Dally ; Overseers of the Poor, John Van Nuys and Daniel Fitch ; Con- 
stables, John Stevens, David Lee and Michael Moore. 

It would be pleasant to know what manner of men were all 
of these political pioneers — New Brunswick's first city-fathers. 
Of some of them a measure of information as to their personality 
gleams upon us through the mists of time. Professor Austin 
Scott, of Rutger's college, in a paper entitled, "Beginnings of City 
Life in New Jersey," read before the '^New Brmiswick Historical 
Club " on the twenty-ninth of October, 1886, paid a high tribute 
to the character and attainments of Thomas Farmar, the city's first 
mayor. He is said to have lived on Staten Island and at Perth 
Amboy before removing to Ncav Brunswick : as early as 1709 
John Harrison, who was with the provincial army on the north- 
ern frontier, addressed a letter to him at Amboy. In October, 
1711, he was appointed second judge of the provincial siipreme 
court, and was its presiding judge from March, 1728, to Novem- 
ber, 1729. He ably represented his county in the assembly 
during the Morris administration, being a stanch supporter of 
that governor in his spirited fight against the aggressive tyranny 
of Lord Cornbury. Mr. Farmar had several children : one of 
of them — Christopher — assumed the name of Billop, inheriting 
with it from his wife's family a large estate on Staten Island, to 
which he removed. His residence — still standing — is a promi- 
nent land-mark at Billops'-point, at the extreme southerly end of 
the Island. This antiquated dAvelling is well worthy of a visit, 
not only because of its quaint appearance and old-time charac- 
teristics, but from its having been the place Avhere Franklin, 
Adams and Rutledge, conferred with Lord Howe in 1776 in the 
futile endeavor to establish some basis for an honorable peace. 
Two of the mayor's daughters married Peter Goelet, and his young- 

New Brunswick's First City-Fathers. 189 

est and most beautiful daughter, Sarah, became the wife of Doc- 
tor Alexander Ross, of New Brunswick, who was born in Ireland 
in 1723, and died in 1775, as his monument in Christ's church- 
yard attests. He it was who in the middle of the last centmy 
erected on the river bank, opposite and above the city, that sub- 
stantial residence which is still known as Ross HaU — a most 
interesting specimen of colonial architecture. At the death of 
Doctor Ross, his student, Doctor Charles A. Howard, succeeded 
not only to his preceptor's practice but to his wife and house 
as well. 

Recorder Hude was a Scotch Presbyterian and a prominent 
merchant of New Brunswick. His father, Adam Hude, came to 
America with John Johnstone on the ill-fated fever ship " Henry 
and Francis." He settled in Woodbridge township, building a 
house which was recently standing on the Rahway road one 
mile north of the village. His son, the recorder, the Honorable 
Colonel James Hude as he was termed, during a long and use- 
ful life, occupied almost every important office within the gift of 
the government and people. At his death in 1762 he was 
a member of the king's council and mayor of the corporation of 
New Brunswick. The "New York Mercury" of the eighth of 
November of that year, in noticing his death, " after a long and 
tedious indisposition," mentions him as " a gentleman who, for 
his great probity, justice, affability, moral and political virtues, 
was universally esteemed and beloved by those who knew him." 

Derrick, or Dirck, Schuyler, one of the petitioners for the 
charter, was a Dutch migrator from the upper Hudson. He was 
bom on the twenty-fifth of July, 1700, being the son of Abra- 
ham, and the grandson of David, the first notice of the latter being 
obtained from his marriage on the thirteenth of October, 1657, 
to Catalyna, daughter of Abraham Isaacse Verplanck. He is 
believed to have been a younger brother of the Philip Peterse 
who is known in Schuyler annals as " the immigrant." There 
was also living in New Brunswick at this time Abraham Schuy- 
ler, a four years younger brother of Derrick, whose wife was 
Katrina, daughter of Barent Staats. 

Abraham Bennet, another of the petitioners, lived near the 
old Dutch chui'ch at Three Mile Run. He was the son of Adrian 
and Angenietje Bennet and the grandson of William Bennet 

190 The Story of an Old Farm. 

who emigrated from Holland to Gowanus on Long Island early 
in the seventeenth century. He, Aldermen Lawrence William- 
son (Laurens Willianise), Dolis, or Dallius, Hagaman and Con- 
stable Michael Moore were in Middlesex county at the dawn of 
the eighteenth century ; their names are to be found on a sub- 
scription list, dated 1703, by which £10,16s.,6d. was obtained from 
thirty subscribers to aid in procuring a minister from Holland. 
Bennet, his parents and wife Jannetie ; Aldermen Williamson, 
Hagaman and Jacob Oakey (Jacobus OuJcee) ; and Councilman 
Minne Voorhees ; were all members in 1717 of the Dutch 
Reformed church of New Brunswick, as the minutes of the con- 
gregation for that year show. Minne Voorhees was a sort of a 
lay-domine, an opsinderin, or helper of the minister. He cate- 
chised the children and in the absence of the pastor conducted 
the chiu'ch services, which he did exceptionally well, being 
blessed with an extraordinary memory that enabled him to 
repeat a lecture and all the exercises without the aid of notes. 
He was the son of Lucas Stephens, and grandson of Stephen 
Courten who settled at Flatlands, Long Island, in 1660, having 
reached America in April of that year from the province of 
Drenthe, Holland, in the ship Bontehoe (Spotted Cow.) The 
name Voorhees is derived from the Holland village of Hesse, 
where the family originated ; and with the prefix Van means 
'^from before Hesse." Minne Voorhees owned a mill and a 
large tract of land on Lawrence's brook just south of the city, 
and in 1723 is said to have been living on what is now, or was 
recently, known as the '' college farm." Councilman Cort 
Voorhees, a descendant of the same immigrant-ancestor, was also 
a grinder of grists ; his miU stood at the mouth of the Mile Run 
at the Landing, about opposite the residence of the late 
Lewis Carman. As is shown by the Franklin tax list of 1735 
he owned one hundred and sixty acres of land and nine head of 
cattle, on which he paid a tax of £l,7s.,ld. Another Long Island 
migrator among the city fathers was Alderman Hagaman. He 
was the son of Denyse and Liurstia Hagaman, of Flatbush, and 
grandson of Adrian who emigrated from Holland in 1651. Law- 
rence Williamson, like many modern aldermen, seems to have been 
a publican of substance. Professor Scott has an original deed 
by which in 1742 Williamson conveyed to the city as a gift a lot 

How THE Dutch Obtained Patronymics. 191 

"near his old pot-house" on Burnet and Peace streets — now 
Commerce square. Like most of the Raritan Dutch, he came 
from Long Island ; he returned there in 1711, in search of a 
wife, being married at Flatlands on the twenty-ninth of March 
of that year to Sarah Stoothoff. 

Jacob Oakey, in his cognomen, is an excellent example of that 
peculiar fashion among the New Netherland Dutch of evolving 
a patronymic from a Christian name. Tracing genealogies from 
Holland descents is vexatious, because so few of the emigrant 
families possessed surnames ; in very many instances the 
Christian name of the father served as a surname for children. 
Thus Peter's son Michael would be called Michael Pictcrsen^ 
Pieterse, or Pieters, and should Michael have a son Jacob, he in 
his turn would be Jacob MicJiaelsen, Iflchaelse, or Michaels. 
It was not until the English immigration had become gen- 
eral that the Dutch felt the necessity of adopting surnames. 
These were variously chosen — from the Christian name of the 
father, from their occupations, their homes in the old country, or 
often some peculiar feature of the locality from which they had 
emigrated. Accordingly, in this manner were developed such 
names as Hendricks, Hendrickson, Anderson, Williams, Williamson 
and Johnson. The Van Winkles derived their names from winkel, 
" a shop," the Van Horns from Hoorn, a port on the Zuyder 
Zee ; the Van Ripens and Van Ripers from Ripen, a diocese in 
North Jutland ; the Rosendales from Rosendaalen (" valley of 
roses "), a town on the Belgian frontier ; Van Dyck means 
" from the dike " ; Van Zant, '^ from the sand " (coast) ; Van 
Boskerck, " from the church in the woods," and so on, ad 

Jacohus Ouke, as he spelled his name, was the son of Jacobus 
AuckersSj of Flatlands, and the grandson of Auke Janse, a Long 
Island carpenter who emigrated from Amsterdam in 1651. The 
records of New Amsterdam show that on the tenth of March, 
1653, a suit was instituted before the burgomasters and schepens 
by Hendrick Egbertsen, to recover from Hendrick Gerritsen 
thirty-five guilders and sixteen stivers for building a house. 
The contestants were referred to carpenters Auke Janse and 
Christian Barentsen as arbitrators. Alderman Oakey's carpenter- 
ancestor waxed so important in the new country as to feel the 

192 The Story of an Old Farm. 

need of a surname, so he assumed the name of Van Nuys, which 
is the surname of most of his descendants. The posterity of our 
alderman, however, all became Oakeys ; thus we find two dis- 
tinct families of different names emanating from a common ances- 
tor. This is not uncommon in Dutch genealogies ; the Lane 
and Van Pelt families, of Somerset and Hudson counties, origina- 
ted in Matthys Janss Van Pelt Lanen, a Walloon, who emigrated 
from Liege in 1663, and settled at New Utrecht. So with the 
New Jersey families of Garretson and Van Waggenen ; their 
ancestor was Gerritt Gerritsen, who reached New Amsterdam 
in 1660 from Wageningen, a Rhenish town in Gelderland ; some 
of the second generation assumed his name as a surname (now 
Garretson and Garrison) others took the name of Van Waggenen. 
The two old New York families of Rutger and Van W^art derive 
their names from two brothers, Rutger and Teunis, sons of Jacobus 
Van Schoenderwoert who came to Beaverwyck in about the year 
1640. The descendants of the former, on removing to New York, 
assumed the name of Rutgers, while those of the latter abbrevi- 
ated their ancestor's surname, and have since been known as 
Van Wart. Many instances of divided ancestral streams are to 
be found among New Jersey's families of Dutch and Scandinav- 
ian extraction. 

It is quite time that we return to Johannes ; we may reasona- 
ably suppose that he has finished his dinner, and before again 
taking to the saddle is looking about New Brunswick, which he 
is visiting for the first time. He finds it rather an attractive 
little town, lying mostly under the hill, on the river bank. At 
that time it had but two prominent streets, and the houses were 
generally constructed of plank, though the Dutch of Albany 
street occupied two-storey brick dwellings, they having brought 
bricks and building materials with them when they migrated. 
These latter houses presented their peaked gables to the street, 
and were approached through little wooden-seated porches 
on which the stout burghers and their families would gather in the 
cool of the summer evenings. Kalm writes that the Dutch of 
the city were an exclusive set, keeping much within themselves 
and quite looking down on their poorer neighbors. We can 
accept this statement cum grano sails, as in more than one place 
in his book of travels we find the Swede especially severe on 
America's Holland citizens. 

Elias Boudinot's Copper Mine. 193 

Besides the Dutch church on Burnet and Schureman streets, 
of which at that time the Reverend John Leydt was pastor, 
there were two other houses of worship. The Presbyterian 
church stood on Buniet street below Lyell's brook, it having 
been built during the ministry of the Reverend Gilbert Tennent, 
which continued from 1726 to 1710. At this time the pulpit 
was occupied by the Reverend Thomas Arthur. Christ church, 
of the Episcopal congregation, had been partially erected since 
1713, though it was thirty years before the biulding of a steeple 
finally completed the structure. Its first permanent rector was 
the Reverend Mr. Wood, who was installed in 1717. New 
Brunswick, in addition to its milling and shipping interests, 
rejoiced in a copper mine that at this time gave promise of 
developing into an important industry. In the year 1718 virgin 
ore was ploughed up in a field belonging to Philip French, about 
three hundred yards back from the river, and just north of the 
houses of the town. Elias Boudinot having leased the land, a 
company was formed, and in 1751 a shaft was sunk sixty feet 
and a large body of ore found. For a number of years 
many tons of pure copper were annually shipped to England, 
and the stockholders anticipated much prosperity for their enter- 
prise. But eventually, the ore vein being exhausted, New 
Brunswick awoke from its dream of becoming a great mining 
town, and settled back to the prosaic glories of its mills, and the 
much vaunted honor of being at the head of sloop navigation. 

We have loitered long enough in this Middlesex city. So 
has Johannes. And now we find him mounting his waiting- 
horse ready to proceed on his journey : on crossing by the ferry 
scow, his route lies in a southeasterly direction along the " King's 
highway ; " a ride of less than two miles brings our traveller on 
the main street of the old village of Piscataway, flanked by 
lofty trees. Those of us who are familiar with the time-stained 
houses, old-fashioned gardens and aged churchyards of this 
early settlement know it to be now a far less important place 
than when in the heyday of youth, a half century and more 
before the date of Johannes' visit. In those good old colony 
times its men stiU loved the king, and met at Hull's tavern to 
drink his health in long draughts of fiery Madeira, or in modi- 
cums of more potent West India rum. His most gracious maj- 

194 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

esty's governor, council, and burgesses have more than once 
met in this ancient burgh. On such occasions these road- 
ways, which now seem sunk in the torpor of ages of sleep, were 
enlivened by very important gentlemen wearing gold-laced 
cocked hats and full-bottomed wigs, and arrayed in broad- 
skirted scarlet coats, satin short-clothes, silk hose and burnished 
knee and shoe buckles ; who, while exchanging greetings and 
pinches of snuif, discussed the best interests of the colony. 
There were then social aspects and picturesque environments to 
the society of this old neighborhood that exist now but in musty 
traditions, and in occasional notes to be found in the town rec- 
ords — historical fragments of antiquity that, by chance, have 
floated to the shore from the swift current of the river of time. 

It will be remembered that in a previous chapter an account 
was given of how John Martin, Charles Gilman, Hugh Dun, and 
Hopewell Hull, had removed to New Jersey from Piscataqua, 
New England, in response to the " Concessions and Agree- 
ments " published in the East by the lords-proprietors, Berkeley 
and Carteret. They received a grant on the eighteenth of 
Etecember, 1666, for the large area of territory which now 
embraces the township of Piscataway. Within twenty years 
settlers from New England and the old country had augmented 
the nucleus of population formed by the Piscataway families to 
about four hundred. Among the persons to whom land was 
allotted previous to 1690 are to be found the following names : 
Nicholas Bonham, 122 acres ; Benjamin Clarke, 275 acres ; 
George Drake, 424 acres ; Hugh Dun, 138 acres ; Benajah 
Dunham, 103^ acres ; Edmund Dunham, 100 acres ; John Fitz- 
Randolph, 225 acres ; Rehoboth Gannett, 224 acres ; Charles 
Gilman, 340 acres ; Hopewell Hull, 284 acres ; Benjamin Hull, 
innkeeper, 498 acres ; John Langstaff, 300 acres ; John Martin, 
334 acres ; JefFery Maning, 195 acres ; John Mollison, 100 
acres; Nicholas ^lundaye, lOH acres; Vincent Rongnion, 154^ 
acres; John Smalley, 118^ acres; Edward Slater, 464 acres. 

The historian of East Jersey, the late W. A. Whitehead, 
avers that Benjamin Hull was an inn-keeper in Piscataway in 
1677, and that the name and business have continued connected 
up to the present day. Be this as it may, it is an extraordinary 
fact, and one well worthy of record that, with hardly an excep- 

Early Settlers at Piscataway. 195 

tion, each one of those early landowners has at the present time 
descendants living in the township. Those of Vincent Rongnion 
seem to have been well contented with the location chosen by their 
Huguenot forefather ; they have owned land in the vicinity of 
the village from that day to this, and at present persons of that 
name — since converted into Runyon — are in possession of over 
eight hundred acres, as follows : Mefford Runyon, 240 ; David 
D., 185; Peter A., 160; Noah D., 144; Isaac, 100. Vincent 
Rongnion was the ancestor of the Honorable Theodore Runyon, 
New Jersey's recent chancellor. He came from Poictiers, 
France, and must have settled in New Jersey before 1668, as 
his marriage license, signed by Governor Philip Carteret, is 
dated in that year. His wife was Anna, daughter of John 
Boutcher, of Hartford, in England. 

John Molleson, one of the original landowners, was considered 
a man of sufficient education to be town-clerk and recorder of 
the minutes of town meetings. He may have written a " darkly 
hand," but oh ! what spelling ! Here is his first entry : 

Piscataway 13 of Suptumber, 1711. At the town meting then choes William 
olding and James maning overseers for the puer and Isac Small and John Drak 
Seneor for the inshueing year asesers: which ofesses they agried execuit grates. 
The Raiets is to be used by Discration of the asesers. 

John Molleson, Clark. 

At the forsaid meting it is agried that the hiring place shall be fensed 

These town records offer some curious and interesting con- 
tributions to our knowledge of the beginning of things at 
Piscataway. From them we learn that Benjamin Hull, the first 
inn-keeper, figured in the two very different roles of judge and 
transgressor. Notwithstanding his occupation, in December, 
1692, as foreman of the grand jury he indicted several persons 
for drunkenness and breach of Sabbath ; while in June, 1694, 
he, himself, was "presented by y*^ grand jury for keeping and 
allowing gaming at Cards, and Bowie and pins at his house." 
Edward Slater, another old settler, seems early to have " come 
to grief; " we learn from the town records that he was impris- 
oned in 1681 for having " uttered very pnishouse and Squer- 
illouse words Rendering the Government of the province, the 
Governor and Counsell Odyous in the Eyes and hearts of the 
people." Judging from the above entry odd rules as to the use 

196 The Story of an Old Farm. 

of capital letters must have prevailed. Why should eyes have 
been honored with a capital, while that more important organ, 
the heart, was forced to beat with a small letter ? Slater did 
not, apparently, remain in durance very long, as in 1G83 he was 
again apprehended on the suspicion of being an escaped criminal 
from England, and iu the same year was presented by the grand 
jury in an indictment of nine counts, ''as a common nuisance 
and offence." 

Nothwithstanding the tribulations of Edward Slater, by 1685 
he seems to have been entirely restored to public favor. In that 
year he, with Hopewell Hull, John Fitz-Eandolph, and others, 
was appointed one of a committee to superintend the building of 
a church edifice, the selectmen having on the eighteenth of 
January, 1685—6, passed the following resolution : 

At the Towne Meetiiige then agreed yt tlieie should be a raeetinge house built 
forthwith, the diiuentions as followeth : Twenty foot wide, thirty foot Longe, and 
Ten foot between joyn ts. 

The Piscataway fathers appear to have been lax in prosecut- 
ing the work of erecting their first public building, for five years 
later the town-book recites that Edward Slater, George Drake, 
and Isaac Smalley, were chosen " to discorse hopewell hull about 
the finishen of the towne house, and if hopewell hidl refuse to 
finish it, that the above mentioned men have power to hire 
workmen to finish the saide house." This " meetinge-house " 
was for the Baptists, as that denomination seems to have estab- 
lished the first religious services in the township. The Duns, 
Drakes, Dunhams, Bonhams, Fitz-Randolphs and Smalleys, of 
the original settlei's, were of that persuasion, and some Irish 
Baptists from Tipperary joined them in 1683. The first minister 
was John Drake, who, dying in 1739, was succeeded by Benja- 
min Stelle, of French extraction. Descendants oi this last 
"divine" are numerous hereabouts, and the name of the first 
railway station east of New Brunswick — Stelton — was derived 
from this family. We can gain some idea of the character of 
this first "meeting-house" from a letter written by a missionary 
of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts in 1711 : 

Piscatacjua makes a much greater congregation (than Amboy), and there are 
some i>iou8 and well-disposed people among them ; some come from good dis- 

New Jersey's First Seventh-Day Congregation. 197 

tances to this meeting, but there is nothing among us like the face of a Church 
of England : no surplice, no Bible, no Communion Table, an old broken house 
in sufficient to keep us from injuries of the weather, and where likewise the 
Anabaptists which swarm in this place do sometimes preach, and we cannot 
hinder the house belonging to the Town. 

The first congregation of Seventh-Day Baptists in New Jer- 
sey had its origin in this township, in the following manner : In 
the year 1700, Edmund Dunham, a Baptist exhorter and the 
owner of one hundred and ten acres of the town lands, felt called 
upon to admonish Hezekiah Bonham for working on Sunday ; 
whereupon Bonham defied him to prove divine authority for 
keeping holy the first day of the week. Dunham, after investiga- 
tion, failed to do so to his own satisfaction, consequently he himself 
renounced the observance of the first day. In the year 1705 he 
formed a congregation of Seventh-Day Baptists, and was 
appointed its pastor. This was the second church of that denom- 
ination in America, the first having been established in 1665 
at Newport, Rhode Island. The Piscataway Satm-day worship- 
pers sent their new minister to that colony for ordination, which 
he received on the eighth of September, 1705, at the hands of 
Elder William Gibson, Avho was holding a church meeting at 

Edmund Dunham apparently gathered within his fold most, 
if not all, of the Dunns and Dunhams in the township, as 
on the early church books appear the names of Edmund J., 
Jonathan, Ephraim, Benejah, John, Azerial, Mary, Dorothy, 
Phebe, Dinah and Jane Dunham ; Hugh, Joseph. Hugh Jr., 
Micajah, Samuel Jr., Jonathan, Elizabeth, Hester, Pebecca and 
Esther Dmni The ministrations of this first pastor continued 
until 1734, when he died at seventy-three years of age, being 
succeeded by his son Jonathan, who preached until his death 
from small-pox at the age of eighty-six years in 1777. During 
the lifetime of the father services were held in private houses. 
In 1736 a church was erected on the road leading to Quibble- 
town — now New Market — and two miles south of that village. 
This building remained a sanctuary until 1802 when it was con- 
verted into a barn, for which purpose it is still used, the timbers 
being as sound as when taken from the forest. The second 
church building occupied the same site, but it gave way in 1835 
to the congregation's present structure which is located in the 

198 The Story of an Old Farm. 

village of New Market. This church, in an existence of 
nearly two hundred years, has had but eleven ministers, and at 
present is in a flourishing condition. 

The first services, according to the rites of the church of 
England, were held in Piscataway in 1704, Queen Anne grant- 
ing a charter to the wardens and congregation as " St. James' 
Episcopal Church." Services were irregular until 1724, when a 
church edifice was completed. The pioneer clergyman of this 
parish was a hard-working missionary named Brook, who 
rode a circuit of fifty miles preaching at Elizabethtown, 
Perth Amboy, Cheesequakes, Freehold, Rocky Hill and Piscat- 
away. He entered the province in 1702 under the auspices of 
the ^'London Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts," at a yearly salary of sixty pounds. " Besides preach- 
ing," as Humphries, the society's historian, says, ^' he used to 
catechise and expound fourteen times a month, which obliged 
him to be on horseback every day, which was expensive as well 
as toilsome. However, this diligence raised a very zealous 
spirit in many of the people." Mr. Brooks died while returning 
to England in 1707. His widow, who was the sister of Christo- 
pher Billop of Staten Island, seems to have been well content 
with the lot of a helpmate to a colonial pastor, as she afterward 
married the Reverend William Skinner. 

For several years after Mr. Brooks' death St. James received 
the occasional services of the Reverends Messrs. Vaughan and 
Halliday. Upon the completion of the church in 1724 Mr. Skinner 
became pastor, in which office, in connection with his home duties 
at Perth Amboy, he continued for thirty years, officiating on every 
third Simday, on which occasions, it is said, he wa,s appreciated by 
large assemblages. St. James' first church building sheltered the 
devotions of the parish for one hundred and ten years, when it was 
destroyed by the great tornado of 1835. The present structure 
was built and presented to the congregation by Joseph Foulke, 
of New York. It stands in one of the most ancient and interest- 
ing graveyards in the state. Two centuries of winds have sighed 
requiems through the waving branches of the venerable trees 
that brood over the seclusion of this little '^ God's acre." For 
we learn from the town records that, as far back as the year 
1690 ten shillings were set apart for " minding the burrial 



place, and to set it up with good white oacke or chestnut stakes, 
and bound with good withes." 

My readers, I can fancy, are crying out — " Enough of Piscat- 
away ! You are making too long a story of this township !" 
Permit me to offer the very personal excuse that it was the home 
of my ancestors. The Dunns and Dunhams are all in the writer's 
maternal ancestral line, of whom at least five generations lie 
bm'ied under the sods of the churchyard of the ancient parish of 
Saint James. Well ! your warning is heeded | at last this inter- 
esting settlement is left behind, and our cavalier rides on over 
the high levels of Middlesex. Soon another old village is in his 
path, the little hamlet of Bonhamtown, the point where Nicholas 
Bonham located his one hundred and twenty acres. This place 
would have remained unknown to fame beyond the circle of its 
immediate vicinity, had it not found itself — twenty-five years 
later — in the track of contending armies ; its name thus becom- 
ing historically embalmed in the reports of commanders of the 
opposing forces. The trend of our " solitary horseman" is now 
more easterly, and facing the salt water, he canters over a pleas- 
ant country of low hills, gently subsiding into shallow valleys, 
diversified with woods and patches of cultivated lands, orna- 
mented with homesteads. It was yet early in the afternoon 
when he came in sight of Perth Amboy — its unrivalled location 
presenting, then as now, a charming shore panorama of grove- 
crowned knoUs, meadows of waving grass, bay, rivers and 
varied beaches. 



Perth Amhoy as a Provincial Capital — The Appearance the City 
Presented in 1752. 

To one possessed of antiquarian tastes there is a singulaJ 
pleasure in looking back through the long vista of years and 
picturing in the mind the appearance that a familiar place must 
have presented in those remote, and seemingly almost poetic 
da3^s, known as colonial times. A professor of comparative 
anatomy is enabled by securing a few fossil remains to recon- 
struct a species of animal long since extinct. So the delver in 
days of yore, by the proper placing of his few historical facts, 
illumined by a well controlled imagination, and a fancy verging 
perhaps on the romantic and picturesque, essays to again bring 
to life a past social condition, and create appearances and fashions 
long out of date. 

Thus would we fain endeavor to rehabilitate in its antique 
dress this city of Perth Amboy that has dozed for two centuries 
amid its groves of sycamores and oaks, to bring out by descrip- 
tion certain aspects that will delineate society and types illustra- 
tive of pre-Revolutionary days in this portion of New Jersey. 
When in the full tide of its lusty youth this town had virile 
ambitions and aspired to be the metropolis of a new world. But 
those days, now long past, are almost forgotten, and for many 
decades — until the comparatively recent advent of new railways 
— this borough quietly slept on its pleasant banks by the wide- 
spreading waters, apparently well content to sit apart from the 
cares and vanities of its more successful rivals in trade and 
population. By drawing on Mr. Whitehead's chronicles of East 
Jersey, and by filling up the outlines of the little knowledge we 

Early New Jersey GtOvernors. 201 

may have of the place and people in those olden times, we shall 
hope to present to the reader a fairly life-like picture. An 
endeavor will be made to unfold such a scene as met Johannes^ 
eyes, when in this sprinj^; of 1752 he rode over the high rolling 
lands bordering the Raritan and entered ancient Amboy — for it 
is ancient, having enjoyed the proud distinction of a city charter, 
and all the honors of a mayor and corporation, since the twenty- 
fourth of August, 1718. 

The dignity and importance of the borough at that time were 
by no means confined to the fact of its possessing municipal 
rights. From its natal day it had been the seat of government, 
and since the proprietors surrendered to Queen Anne their rights 
as rulers, royal governors had frequently made it their place of 
residence. The first chief magistrate under the Crown was 
Lord Cornbury, who also ruled New York, as did several suc- 
ceeding governors. He was a cousin of the queen ; there his 
nobility ended, for in personal habits and character he was of a 
low order. He persecuted Presbyterians and other dissenters, 
and violated the agreement entered into between the English 
and Dutch at the time of the capture of New Netherlands, 
whereby the latter were guaranteed religious liberty. Lewis 
Morris, in a severe letter to the secretary of state, charged him 
with all manner of malfeasance in his high office, and closed 
his communication in the following words : " He dresses pub- 
licly in women's clothes every day, and puts a stop to all public 
business while he is pleasing himself with that peculiar but 
detestable magot." On attaining to the earldom of Clarendon 
in 1708, this noble Englishman fairly fled from the colonies to 
avoid paying his creditors, many of whom were poor tradesmen. 

Lord Lovelace, his successor, arrived out in December of the 
same year, but his government had but well commenced when 
he died on the sixth of May, 1709. Then came Robert Hunter^ 
of whom we have spoken at length in a previous chapter. This 
popular governor resigned in 1720 in favor of William Burnet, 
the son of the famous bishop, and god-son of the king of Eng- 
land, — William of Orange having stood as his sponsor and given 
him his name. He ruled tiU 1727, when he was removed to 
Massachusetts, and was succeeded by John Montgomerie. Both 
Governors Himter and Burnet passed much time in their comfort- 

202 The Story of an Old Farm. 

able Amboy homes on the banks of the Raritan, and added 
greatly to the importance and pleasiu-e of the society of East 
Jersey. The latter governor is described as having been a man 
of gay and condescending disposition, the delight of men of sense 
and learning, and the admired friend of the ladies to whom he 
was much devoted. He visited every family of reputation in 
the province, and letters to his predecessor, Hvmter, say that 
their Avriters do not know how the fathers and husbands may 
like the new ruler but they were sure the wives and daughters 
did so sufficiently. John Montgoraerie was a well known cour- 
tier who had been a colonel in the household troops and groom 
of the bedchamber of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George 
II. There has been preserved some account of the per- 
sonal effects and equipage of this royal governor ; we are thus 
enabled to gain an inkling of the state in w^hich a colonial mag- 
nate lived. His many articles of furniture included an eight- 
day clock valued at forty dollars in our money, and a " line yel- 
low camlet bed" estimated at seventy -five dollars. There was 
silver-ware in profusion, and the wines and liquors were set 
down at twenty-five hundred dollars. A barge with its acoutre- 
meuts, one hundred and twenty-five dollars ; books, one thou- 
sand dollars ; and eight slaves, one of them a negro musician 
being valued at over one thousand dollars. In his stables were 
one saddle horse, eight coach horses, two common horses, two 
breeding mares, two colts, and a natural pacing mare ; a coach and 
a four-wheeled chaise ; a fine suit of embroidered horse furniture, 
a servant's saddle, and two sets of coach harness, bi-ass mounted; 
a postillion's coat and cape, together with saddles, holsters and 

Montgomerie continued in ofiice till his death in 1731, when 
the government was undertaken by William Cosby, who died in 
173G. For the third time within five years death entered the 
gubernatorial mansion, smiting, this time, John Anderson, two 
weeks after he had commenced ruling as president of the council. 
For the next two years the government devolved upon senior 
councillor John Hamilton, who was an old resident of Perth 
Amboy, and the son of Andrew Hamilton, governor under the 
proprietors. He was relieved from the duties and honors of the 
office in 1738 by the arrival of a commission appointing Lewis 

Early New Jersey Governors. 203 

Morris as the first governor of the province separate from that of 
New York. He lived near Trenton, and was the son of that 
Captain Richard Morris, who in 1670 settled Morrisania on the 
Harlem river. His father died in 1672, leaving him a babe not 
yet a year old, of whom Mathias Nicholl, secretary of New York, 
wrote of as a " poor blossom of whom yet there may be great 
hope." The secretary's prophecy proved true ; this " poor 
blossom " grew to be a man of great force of character, with vir- 
tues and attainments which elevated him to important trusts and 
positions ; the influence he exerted among the people of the 
provinces of New I'^ork and New .Jersey equalled that of any 
man of his time. Lewis Morris in 1691, when but nineteen 
years old, married a " Graham of the Isles " of the family of the 
Earl of Montrose, and the daughter of James Graham, Attorney- 
General of New York. 

Morris died in 1746, and President Hamilton again came to 
the front, but, dying almost immediately, was succeeded by the 
next eldest comicillor, John Reading, who continued in office 
one year. The name of this chief magistrate has been perpetu- 
ated in that of the township of Readington in Hunterdon, he 
having owned large tracts of land in that county. He lived in 
Amwell, now Raritan, township, about two miles north of Flem- 
ington, near where is now Stover's mills ; a portion of his planta- 
tion is at present owned and occupied by Philip Brown. Doctor 
Mott, Hunterdon's historian, tell us that he was a true Jersey- 
man, being identified with the interests of his province and 
county from boyhood. He lies buried in Amwell churchyard on 
that ancient thoroughfare, the York road. Acting-Governor 
Reading's family has further associations with New Jersey 
nomenclature from the fact that his daughter married John 
Hackett, an Irishman of ability and prominence, who gave his 
name to Hackettstown in Warren county. 

The governor in office at the time of the visit of Johannes to 
Amboy was Jonathan Belcher. On the eighth of August, 1747, 
while the early morning mists still lightly hung over the broad 
expanse of the Lower bay, all the people of the town had assem- 
bled on its banks to welcome that dignitary, who disembarked from 
a barge of the man-of-war Scarborough, on which he had crossed 
the Atlantic. He was escorted to the town hall amid the accla- 

204 The Stoky of an Old Fakm. 

mations of the multitude, where he presented his commission — 
a portentous docimjent of parchment of three sheets about two 
feet square, plentifully besprinkled Avith Latin, and weighted by 
a heavy pendent disk of stiff brown wax, bearing the royal arms 
of England. In a gracious reply to the loyal addresses of the 
council and citizens, he congratulated the people on the beautiful 
location and thriving appearance of their town. Notwithstand- 
ing his fair words, the governor, after making the customary 
tour of the province, established his home in Elizabethtown, 
where he died in 1757. Senior-councillor John Reading again 
exercised the office ad interim. In the following year Amboy 
had restored to her the glories of being the home of the king's 
representative. The new governor, Francis Bernard, landed on 
the fourteenth of June from H. M. S. Terrible, and established 
himself in the old Johnstone house on the bluff between the 
Long ferry and Sandy point. He soon became a favorite with 
the people, and it was to their great regret that he received 
orders from the home government to retire from the province 
and assume command of that of Massachusetts, where, unfor- 
tunately, he did not attain to an equal popidarity. His suc- 
cessor, Thomas Boone, reached Amboy by land on the third of 
June, 1760, escorted to the Middlesex line by Captain Terrill's 
troop of horse from Elizabethtown, where he was met by Cap- 
tain Parker's troop of Woodbridge. The "New York Mercury" 
of this month has a long account of the fetes, entertainments, 
and illuminations, incidental to his first visit to the different 
prominent towns of New Jersey. 

The British ministers evidently believed in the rotation in 
office of their representatives. Before the close of the following 
year Governor Boone was appointed to the chief magistracy of 
South Carolina. The " New York Gazette" of the twenty-sec- 
ond of October, 1761, announces the arrival of " H. M. S. 
Alcide, 64 Guns," having aboard Josiah Hardy, New Jersey's 
new governor. The same paper, in its issue of the fifth of 
November, gives an account of his landing at Elizabethtown- 
point, where he was received by prominent citizens and the mili- 
tary. Captains Terrill and Parker's troops escorted him to 
Amboy, where they were met by the public dignitaries and Cap- 
tain Johnstone's militia. He relinquished the government in 

Governor William Franklin. 205 

February, 1763, the authorities " expressing their estimation of 
the just regard he had displayed for the interests of New Jer- 
sey." We now reach the last colonial governor, William, the son 
of Benjamin Franklin, who, without solicitation on the part of 
his father and when only thirty years of age, received the 
appointment. He reached Amboy on the twenty-fifth of Febru- 
ary, 1763, — an intensely cold day — escorted by the Middlesex 
troop of horse and numbers of the gentry in sleighs. The 
" New York Grazette" chronicles that he took possession of the 
government in the usual form, the ceremonies being conducted 
*' with as much decency and good decorum as the severity of the 
season could possibly admit of." The young governor is said to 
have hired one of the best houses in the town at an annual 
rental of sixty pounds — equalling one hundred and forty-four 
dollars. His salary was twelve hundred pounds — proclamation 
— or about three thousand dollars. In 1774, he took possession 
of the mansion erected by the proprietors, of late well known as 
the Brighton house, and recently converted into a home for Pres- 
byterian clergymen. The history of Franklin's administration is 
but a narration of the events preceding and the breaking out of 
the Revolution. In good time we shall have more to say of this 
royal governor. Meanwhile, we must return to Johannes, whom 
we left entering the city. 

Some portions of Perth Amboy are to this day peculiarly 
attractive because of the splendid growth of large trees. In 
early times the place is represented as having been most beauti- 
ful in this respect. The proprietors, in their published descrip- 
tion, asserted that '^ Amboy Point is a sweet, wholesome and 
delightful place ;" and it was further described as being '^ cov- 
ered with grass growing luxuriantly, the forest trees, as distrib- 
uted in groups, diversifying the landscape with light and shade, 
and all nature wearing the fresh aspect of a new creation." 
These characteristics at the time of our visitor's arrival had not 
disappeared. Great trees that cast a vast area of shade were 
still a distinguishing feature of the ancient capital, and its most 
popidar pleasure-ground was a fine bit of locust timber on the 
banks of the Raritan, just west of High street. It rejoiced in 
the suggestively tender appellation of ''Love grove." Under 
its cool shadows the towns-people gathered on summer afternoons 

206 The Story of an Old Farm. 

to enjoy the ocean breezes that came freighted with the balsamic 
odors of forest-clad Monmouth. Here in the long twilights colo- 
nial youths and maidens met to enjoy the agreeable prospect 
and each other's society ; and, in this sylvan retreat many a 
youthful troth was plighted to the pleasant musical accompani- 
ments of the river's murmuring waves. 

Another favorite resort of the citizens was the elevation over- 
looking the Raritan near Sandy point, devoted to the fairs and 
races. All ancient chronicles of the colony revert to this old 
English custom of " Fair days." The proprietors as early as 
1683 instructed their representatives that " it is not to be forgot- 
ten that, as soon as can be, weekly Markets, and Faires at fitt 
seasons, be appointed at Perth Towne." Three years later 
semi-annual fairs were authorized by the assembly, to continue 
three days in May and October. This custom prevailed till the 
time of the Revolution. These were days of great revelry and 
mirth. Horse racing and all manner of games were permitted — 
any description of goods and merchandise could be sold without 
license, and on this breezy pleasure-ground at such times were 
to be seen all the peddling, hawking, thimble-rigging, cudgel- 
playing, bustle and prevailing confusion that characterized such 
festivals in the old country. It was a time of general license, 
and, under the law, no one could be arrested during the continu- 
ance of the fair except for offences against the Crown and for 
crimes committed on fair day. 

To the cast of "Love grove", at the foot of High street, was 
the " Long ferry " that George Willocks had devised to trustees 
for the benefit of St. Peter's cliureh. The franchise and trust 
still continue, though it is nearly one hundred years since the 
last team was ferried over in the " scouw'^ to the Philadelphia 
road on the farther shore. Here, too, was the famous Long 
ferry tavern, a quaint structure of stone, with an odd sloping 
roof, dormer windows and high Dutch stoop. Built in 1684, it 
has but recently disappeared, and was considered the oldest 
house in Amboy. In early times it not only oftered rest and 
refreshment for waiting passengers, but served as a rallying 
point for the gossip-loving citizens. In warm weather it must 
have been an inviting inn in which to take one's ease ; in the 
winter we can well imagine that " mine host" Games — a giant 

Perth Amboy's Town-Green. 207 

in stature — kept thrust in the open fire, a logger head, (a red 
hot poker,) ready on the arrival of guests to be plunged into 
cups of flip — a mixture of rum, pumpkin beer and brown sugar. 
It was a favorite hot drink in the colonies and it is said was. 
far from being an unpleasant cold weather tipple. 

When our traveller rode into the rural city its plan was much 
the same as that of to'-day. Smith street, then as now, was the 
centre of the retail trade, though occupied also by dwellings. 
At least one of its stanch stone houses, then standing, has 
endured the encroachments of time, though it has been removed 
from its original site on the west side of the street to a lot on 
Broad street. It was the home of the Farmar family, who set- 
tled in Amboy early in the last century. While at the time of 
which we write the location of the streets was much as now, the 
aspect they presented differed materially from the appearance of 
the thoroughfares of the prosaic Amboy of to-day. From a talL 
pole in the centre of the town-green, which interrupts High and 
Market streets, floated the royal cross of St. George ; while in 
one corner of the square stood what would now happily be 
unfamiliar objects, the stocks, pillory and whipping post — dread 
menaces to the evil-doers of that rude and turbulent period. 

Why is it that the founders of the towns and villages of this 
country so rarely established public greens ? Those sunny 
opens that are such pleasant features of English boroughs and 
hamlets, and which must of necessity strengthen the local 
attachments of a neighborhood. The play-ground of childhood 
— the rendezvous of youth — the verdant mead on which matur- 
ity and age assemble. There is something in the beauty and 
appropriateness of such a common bit of ground, in which all 
have equal rights, that reaches much beyond the gratification of 
the eye. It suggests a community of interests, where man is 
boiuid to man by aff"ections that have been engendered by this 
little bit of sward — a sentiment that seems quite opposed to the 
selfishness that necessarily attaches to individual holdings. The 
instinctive fondness for such a spot by its joint owners must 
grow into an enlarged feeling, and expand into that expression, 
of patriotism which can only be known by men when united in 
numbers and interests. It is a nursery of virtue and unselfish- 
ness. With rare judgment the successors and descendants of the 

208 TiiK Story of an Old Farm. 

early proprietors have preserved their town-green — this attrac- 
tive relic of a by-gone age and of the wisdom of their predeces- 
sors. For over two hundred years it may be said to have been 
the theatre of all the events connected with the life of this com 
munity, and to learn all that has transpired upon its emerald 
floor would be to turn over every page of Amboy's history. For 
two hundred years it has defied the demt)n of improvement — 
may it so do for all time. 

The county court-house and jail, occupying one building, our 
traveller found a prominent feature of this public square. It 
stood on the northeast corner of High street, and from 1718, 
to 1765 when it was destroyed by fire, it continued to be the 
focus of all the important events of the colony, and much of its 
pomp, parade and ceremony. Here not only the courts were 
held, but the be-wigged and be-rufiled members of the general 
assembly sat in solemn conclave, and enacted those severe laws 
that were then considered necessary to preserve the peace of 
the province and the honor of the king. Permit me to quote 
one deemed meet for the times by those ancient legislators : 

Tliat all women of whatever age, rank, profession, or degree, whether virgins, 
maids, or widows, who shall after this act impose upon, seduce, and betray into 
matrimony any of his Majesty's subjects by virtue of scents, cosmetics, waslies, 
paints, artificial teeth, false hair, or high-heeled shoes, sliall incur the penalty of 
the law now in force against witclicraft and like misdemeanors. 

To this Jersey ^^ Hotel de Ville,^^ and the one that succeeded 
it, came with successive processions and cavalcades all the repre- 
sentatives of the English ministry from the days of the virtuous 
Queen Anne to those of the third Hanoverian king ; each telling 
the same story of the love borne by the Crowti for its faithfid 
American subjects. Such stories were always received with 
loud shouts of fealty from the loyal throats of the populace 
massed on the square. The time arrived, however, when differ- 
ent messages came from the monarch beyond the sea, and public 
tran([uillity was disturbed by the growls and threats of the 
British lion. Even then, though the spirit of liberty hovered 
around the ancient capital, and the Jersey people in general 
were electric with }>atriotic impulse and endeavor, many of 
Amboy's citizens refused to abandon their allegiance. A large 
element of its population, especially among the richer class, were 

Perth Amboy Residents in 1752. 209 

dominated in their sympathies by the many years' influence of 
royal power. At the close of the war but a very small propor- 
tion of those who had formed the colonial aristocracy remained 
residents of Amboy. 

The structure that in 1767 took the place of the court-house 
can be seen now, though no longer a public building. Its pre- 
cise fa9ade, lofty roof and antiquated belfry testify of by-gone 
days. Let us hope that no vandal hand shall be permitted to 
destroy this temple of the past. May present and future genera- 
tions guard this venerable structure that, honored by time, has 
been the sOent witness of many scenes connected with that great 
struggle for justice and humanity, which terminated in 1783 so 
happily for the American people. 

On the southwest corner of Market street and the square, in 
1752, lived Thomas Bartow, who it will be remembered, as 
secretary of the province, recorded the deed that George Leslie 
gave to Johannes. The house stood in the midst of an attractive 
garden filled with the choicest fruit of that time, and Dunlap, 
the art historian, who while still a very small boy was Bartow's 
friend and daily companion, describes his person, dwelling and 
garden as being equally neat. He mentions him as being, some 
years later, a small, thin old man with straight gray hair, pale 
face, plain dark-colored clothes and stockings to suit. His well 
polished square-toed shoes were ornamented with little silver 
buckles, and his white cambric stock, neatly plaited, was fas- 
tened behind with a silver clasp. 

It is interesting to picture in one's mind the houses of this 
provincial capital, and the worthies who occupied them when 
Johannes for the first time rode over its highways. On 
High street, in the rear of where is now the Merrit mansion, 
was *' Edinborough Castle," the home of Andrew Johnstone, a 
son of that Doctor John Johnstone who had been joint owner of 
the Peapack patent with George Willocks. He was an impor- 
tant man in the colony, holding during his life various offices, 
and dying in 1762 as treasurer of the eastern division of the 
province, and one of his majesty's council. His obituary notice 
in the " New York Mercury " of the fifth of July, 1762, reads that 
he was " A gentlemen of so fair and worthy a character, that 
truly to attempt to draw it would be throwing away words." 

210 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

The homestead of his father, Doctor Johnstone, was on the banks 
of the Raritan, and later, in Governor Boone's time, was con- 
verted into the gubernatorial residence ; it was a spacious brick 
dwelling with extensive gardens and a fine orchard. A near-by 
residence on the river-side was that of John Watson, the first 
painter mentioned in American annals of art. He came from 
Scotland in 1715, and made Amboy his home until his death at 
the age eighty-three, in the year 3 768. Mr. Dunlap, in his 
'' History of the Art of Design,'' gives an extended notice of this 
early limner. He writes : 

After the painter's first visit to America he returned to Europe, and brought 
thence to his adopted country many pictures which, with those of his own com- 
position, formed no inconsiderable collection in point of numbers, but of their 
value we are ignorant. It is, however, a fact that the fir:?t painter and the first 
collection of paintings of which we have any knowledge were planted at Perth 

Mr. Whitehead, in speaking of this artist's dwelling, says : 

There were two houses, standing near each other, both belonging to Mr. 
Watson, one of them being appropriated to these paintings, which it is said 
covered the walls; but before the Revolution this house had decayed and been 
demolished. The other, occupied by the painter himself, and which disappeared 
during the struggle, was of wood, having its window shutters covered with heads 
of heroes, and of kings ' with awe-inspiring crowns ' — owing their existence to 
the taste and talents of the painter. 

His portrait represents him as being a man of full face and 
prominent features, wearing a huge curled wig which hung to 
his shoulders. 

The houses of the colonial gentry w^ere generally sprinkled 
along the bluif, where the most favored locations were early 
sought and secured. In most instances they were simple in 
construction and unambitious in character, but here and there 
was one of architectural merit, showing (m the part of its builder 
an appreciation of a design where outline and surroundings 
should bear some relation to each other. A pleasing example of 
this latter class has been preserved in a substantial stone 
homestead, which can be seen resting on' the sloping bank of 
the sound, east of Water, and near Market, street. Its low 
eaves, solid simplicity and old-fashioned presence speak of a 
previous century, but its happy expressions of rural dignity do 
not seem at all out of place in this age of flimsy construction, and 
grotesque strivings after the extraordinary in domestic architec- 

Colonial Architecture. 


ture. It is believed to have been the dwelling of Samuel Nevill, 
before whom, as judge of the supreme court, George Leslie 
acknowledged his signature to the deed for the " Old Farm." It 
was in this year — 1752 — that Judge Nevill published, under the 
auspices of the colonial assembly, the first volume of his edition 
of the laws of the province, and it is believed the book was- 
written in this house. 

Not far ofi^ on the same street is a residential monument to* 
family cohesiveness, the well-known Parker homestead. Seven- 
generations of this family have lived within the hoary walls of 
this colonial mansion. One must be callous, indeed, to the charm 
of early associations who fails to appreciate the peculiar satisfac- 
tion which comes to those who feel that their home atmosphere 
has been consecrated by the lives and experiences of a continu- 
ous line of ancestry for so many years ; an ancestry whose 
influence has been transmitted through successive generations, 
bearing to their posterity the testimony of virtuous, useful 
and honorable lives. The more modern frame portion of this 
building was erected just previous to the Revolution, but the 
stone structure standing in the rear dates away back to the year 
1720. At the time of Johannes' visit it was inhabited by James 
Parker, his wife being the only daughter of the Reverend 
William Skinner of St. Peter's church. Mr. Whitehead 
describes him as a man of tall stature and large frame, possess- 
ing a mind of more than ordinary strength and vigor. He was a 
member of the king's council, and filled many local ofiices of the 
community, including that of mayor, which in those picturesque 
days was a position of much more honor and importance than 
it is in this practical age. 

The old parsonage, that had been devised by George Wil- 
locks to the congregation of St. Peter's, occupied a portion of 
the block bounded by Market, Water and Gully (Gordon) 
streets. Its first storey was of stone, with a wooden two-storey 
superstructure, and a roof converging to a square centre. The 
latter was probably its most attractive feature, as usually the 
quaint roofs of colonial houses, with their simple but effective 
outlines, added much to the agreeableness and dignity of their 
proportions. The date of the erection of this house is unknown, 
but it must have been some time previous to 1729, the year of 

212 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Willocks' death. It was taken down in 1844, but long before 
had lost its upper storey. But if I keep on speaking of the 
more important buildings of this provincial metropolis, you will 
think that in 1752 it was a place of fine residences. Not so ! 
these dwellings of the quality-folk were Amboy's architectural 
exceptions — not typical examples. Its houses, of which at that 
time there were about one hundred and fifty, were, as a rule, 
poor enough ; a visitor of a few years later, while recognizing 
the beauty of the location, writes, that " notwithstanding being 
the capital of the province, Perth Amboy has only the appear- 
ance of a mean village." 

So with our traveller 5 as he made his way through the 
streets, he found many of their flanking buildings slovenly in 
appearance, showing them to have been hastily put together. 
Their rough-hewn flat-boarded frames lacked the dignity of the 
log dwellings seen in the clearings during the morning journey ; 
these latter, with their feet buried in herbage, seemed less incon- 
gruous, and more in harmony with surrounding nature. Many 
of these Amboy houses were unpainted and already showed signs 
of the rustiness of age, but, bleached and patched by sim 
and shower, their crazy, weather-stained sides were less crude 
and staring than were the variegated colors of some of the newer 
houses, whose fronting gables and thick board shutters were 
painted white, while their remaining sides were covered with 
dingy red. Architectural taste was, of course, entirely wanting, 
and in most instances a single storey sufficed for the needs of the 

Of churches there were two. In a previous chapter we have 
referred at length to the ancient altars and interesting memories 
of St. Peter's, whose spire rises near where the broad river 
rushes into the bay. Amboy's second denomination, owing to 
its large Scotch and English immigration, was, naturally, Presby- 
terian. Of the erection of its first church-building no record 
has been preserved, though the minutes of the Board of Proprie- 
tors show that in 1731 permission was given the congregation to 
" build a meeting-house on the southeast comer of the Burial- 
Plac(! on Back (State) street." " Before the Revolution this 
church had disappeared ; in the present edifice, that fronts the 
square, services were first held in 1803. The Reverend John Cross 

Theology in the Last Century. 213 

of Basking Ridge is said to have first supplied the Presbyterian 
pulpit, and among that denomination's historical flotsam rescued 
from the ocean of time is the fact that in 1735 Gilbert Tennent 
preached at Amboy on the comforting and encouraging topic of 
the " Necessity of Religious Violence to Durable Happiness." 

A text of severe sentiment, you will say ! — but at this time the 
spiritual shepherds were wont to feed their flocks with food 
abounding in strength rather than sweetness. The angel of 
mercy hovered aloft, while the avenging one stood in the dwel- 
ling, at the road side, in the pew, ever ready under the tutelage 
of the pastors to wield the flaming sword of justice. The stern 
Calvinistic tenet that election and perdition were predestined by 
the divine plan irrespective of human merit was taught and 
believed, and the believing lacerated many a tender heart. 

The religious atmosphere of the middle of the last century was 
dark with the heavy clouds of doctrine and theology. Polemical 
controversy was rife in the churches. Foreordination, predes- 
tination, election, and eternal damnation went hand in hand with 
free agency ; the effort to reconcile these conflicting and appar- 
ently opposing dogmas, provoked labored sermons from the pul- 
pit, and prolonged arguments and discussions in farm-house, field 
and shop. Ministers waxed severely eloquent in their terrible 
warnings to the unregenerate ; while with equally solemn ear- 
nestness from such texts as " I could wish myself accursed from 
Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen," they preached to the 
pious and devoted ones of their congregations, ^' the doctrine of 
disinterested benevolence ;" a doctrine that proclaimed the 
necessity of entire self-abnegation, and a willingness to accept for 
one's self eternal condemnation, if such could redound to the great- 
est good of the greatest number, and God's ends be better accom- 

The interpreters of the Scriptures held before their people as 
tests of abiding faith the necessity of eliminating from their 
religion every element of selfishness, in order that they might 
have minds and affections so disposed as to be able to accept with 
complacency the possibility that it might be God's sovereign 
pleasure to damn them eternally. Such views of life and the 
future-state evolved a gloomy piety. Agonies of doubt beset the 
most faithful, when intent on severe internal examination in the 

214 The Story of an Old Farm. 

endeavor to discover evidences that they were not under the 
ban of God's wrath. Such eai'nest souls, after lives of the most 
conscientious well-doing, often died still uncertain of the attain- 
ment of eternal happiness. Jonathan Edwards, who died in 
Princeton in 1758, was capable In his sermons of producing so 
great pain to the quick sensibilities of his hearers that during 
his discourses the house would be filled with weeping and wail- 
ing auditors ; on one occasion another minister present is said to 
have cried out in his agony, "Oh ! Mr. Edwards ! is God not a 
God of mercy ?" This celebrated preacher succeeded the elder 
Burr, who died in September, 1757, in the presidency of Prince- 
ton college, but he did not take his seat until in February of the 
following year. Mr. Edwards held the position scarcely a 
month, dying while undergoing inoculation for the smallpox. 
He has been called the turning point in the spiritual existence 
of the congregations of the last century. It is asserted that New 
England and New Jersey in the age following him, under the 
guidance of such disciples as his sou, Dwiglit, Bellamy, Hop- 
kins, Brainerd and Tennent, gave more thought to religious phi- 
losophy and systematic theology than the same amount of popu- 
lation in any other part of the world. 


Social Aspects of Perth Amboy in 1752 — The Gentry — Slav- 
ery — Travelling. 

There was much of interest to Johannes in this provincial 
capital besides the churches, and the public and private buildings. 
The bustle, animation, and variety of its thoroughfares presented 
an appearance quite foreign to their present aspect ; for there 
was a picturesqueness in colonial times that must have added 
much to the light and shade and general effect of ordinary 
scenes. In those early days population occupied only the fringe 
or border of the great wastes and solitudes ; we have seen that 
New Jersey's cidtivated lands were largely confined to a narrow 
strip extending from the Hudson to the Delaware. Belts of 
wilderness stretched across New York and into New England ; 
indeed, the whole country east of the Mississippi was covered 
with vast forests, with but occasional signs of civilization and 
cultivation along the borders of the sea, and in the valleys of the 
larger rivers. At the centres of population — one of which 
Amboy at that time fairly could claim to be — the people, congre- 
gating as they did from many quarters of the globe, formed to 
each other strong contrasts, and the local color of civilization 
must to the chance visitor have made an interesting picture. 

The Indians were still in goodly numbers about New Jersey 
towns, and they appeared much more like the children of the 
forest of our imagination than do those now to be seen on the res- 
ervations of the far west, whose distinguishing badge of semi- 
civilization is often a government blanket, and a battered silk 
hat adorned with bedraggled feathers. These old-time red- 
men were much less imbued with or affected by the habits of 
Europeans. They came into the towns with skins, and also sup- 

216 The Story of an Old Farm. 

plied the people with baskets and wooden dishes and spoons. 
The redemptioners — men, women and children who for a time 
owed personal servitude to individual masters — must have 
heightened the general effect ; and the trappers and hunters, 
fresh from the woods, with their rifles, powder honis, moccasins, 
and linsey shirts fringed with deer skin, contributed their bit of 
color and form to the kaleidoscopic appearance of the streets. 
Among the expatriated Irish, Dutch, Germans and English 
inhabiting the vicinity, there must have been many curious and 
picturesque specimens of the genus Jiomo. Necessarily many of 
these later Avere worthless characters, and the pillory, stocks 
and whipping post on the public square doubtless had a marked 
influence in preserving the peace and proprieties of this rough 
age. Opposed to this latter type was the less conspicuous but 
more useful element of society, the sturdy yeomanry — the stout- 
hearted middle class ; men who themselves, or whose fathers 
before them, often had left the old country for political and 
religious motives rather than a mere desire for adventure and 
trade. " God sifted a whole nation," said stern, old Governor 
Stoughton of New England, " that he might send choice grain 
over in this wilderness." 

Those of my readers whose ancestral trees root in Rhenish 
soil, will be pleased to know that the published account of travels 
in America in the last century all corroborate each others' 
assertions in speaking of the Teuton portion of this latter class — 
the bone and sinew of the provinces. They bear universal tes- 
timony that population in the middle colonies was powerfully 
promoted by its German element ; a people who in their own 
country had been disciplined in habits of industry, sobriety, 
frugality, and patience, and were consequently peculiarly fitted 
for the many laborious occupations of a new land. Among the 
yeomen, husbandmen, and mechanics they were regarded as the 
most economical as well as the most industrious of the popula- 
tion, and the least attached to the use of rum and malt liquor. 
They were slow in contracting debts and were always endeav- 
oring to augment their means of subsistence. 

]5ut it was the gentry, richly dressed in all the magnificence 
of the times, that presented in customs, manners, and apparel, 
the strongest contrast to the other actors on this stage of " auld 

The Gentry in Old Colony Days. 217 

lang syne" In colonial times there were in the provinces 
society distinctions now unknown. Both in town and country the 
gentry were as distinctive from the people at large as were the 
upper classes in England. Extensive land-owners, persons with 
important connections abroad, members of the king's council and 
the house of burgesses, and those near the government, were held 
in high consideration and ranked as the great men of their 
respective counties. Their personal dignity was sustained by 
their di'ess, manners, modes of life, and the civil and military 
offices distributed among them. Amboy, being at this time the 
capital, was eminently aristocratic, and presented social aspects 
and phases that would now be considered both brilliant and 

New England is peculiarly rich in descriptive colonial litera- 
ture ; perhaps it woidd be difficult to add to its fund of informa- 
tion on this subject. Our poverty in this regard offers a field 
fuU of local color for the historian of old New Jersey society. 
Early church and county records, the archives of the historical 
societies and of the Board of Proprietors of East New Jersey, 
and the family manuscripts distributed throughout the state, are 
mines from which many rich historic social nuggets could be 
unearthed by the patient delver ; and a most interesting work 
compiled. In the absence of such a volume, that we may learn 
something more of the Amboy of the middle of the last century, 
let us summon a member of his majesty's council from his bed of 
mould in St. Peter's churchyard. Perhaps he may be able to 
tell us of social events and observances in old colony days. 

Here he comes ! making his stately old-fashioned way along 
Smith street. He cuts a strange figure, in this work-a-day world 
of ours, with his broad-skirted scarlet coat — white silk waistcoat 
embroidered with flowers — black satin breeches, and paste knee 
and shoe buckles. As he tickles his nose with snuff from a gold 
box, his be-wigged head shakes despondingly under its odd 
three-cornered covering. He looks disappointed — he is disap- 
pointed ! When this king's councillor stepped out of his grave 
into the busy nineteenth century, with its wonderful achieve- 
ments in science and progress, he expected to find Perth Amboy 
a great city. To him and his fellows of the olden time it had 
seemed designed by nature for an important commercial metrop- 

218 The Story of an Old Farm. 

olis. Hopes had been entertained that, owing to its nearness to 
the sea and its unrivalled harbor, commerce would centre here, 
and that for all time New Jersey's capital would be of great 
political and commercial consequence. Alas, vain hopes ! — he 
finds it a city but in name. 

The councillor in all his magnificence seems oddly out of place 
among the ugly, modern, brick shops of this business street. We 
will seat him in a high-backed chair in a broad hallway of one of 
the old houses of his own time — now he appears in a more appro- 
priate setting. You need not offer him a glass of whiskey ! he 
is not acquainted with the beverage. Rum punch I yes ! he 
will take that ; — I doubt not but that he and his co-councillors 
have swallowed many a jorum of such toddy while wrestling 
with knotty questions affecting the good of the province. Now 
that our colonial friend has washed the dust of nearly a century 
and a half from his ancient throat, let us hear Avhat he has to 
say. Evidently, when in the pristine glory of existence, he was 
a gallant man for his first topic is the ladies ; how they 
appeared — like birds of paradise, if he is to be believed ; with 
stuffed satin petticoats, taffetas and brocades, taU hats, lofty 
coiffures, long feathers, powder and patches. Their gowns were 
buoyed out one or two feet on either side of the hips, but not in 
front or behind, consequently — as he tells us with a chuckle — a 
lady of fashion when in fidl dress, in order to gain admittance to 
her own door, was forced to present her flanks first, and thus 
sidle in like a crab. 

Our " resurrected one " describes the flutter in Amboy society 
caused by the arrival of the first theatre company to the colonies 
and its presenting plays in the town-hall on the public green ; 
he says that the ladies in order to secure seats were obliged to 
send their black servants early in the afternoon to occupy them 
until the time of the performance. This theatrical company was 
under the management of the Hallams, who first opened with it 
in America in 1752. Dunlap, who was born in Amboy, asserts 
that he has heard old ladies speak in raptures of the beauty and 
grace of Mrs. Douglas — the leading lady of the company — and 
the pathos of her personation of the character of Jane Shore. 
Our New Jersey ancestors took more kindly to the stage than 
did their brethren of Massachusetts. The assembly of that 

The Keminiscences of a King's Counctllor. 219 

province in 1750 prohibited theatrical representations because — 
as the bill recited — " they tend greatly to increase immorality, 
impiety, and a contempt of religion." This action of the legisla- 
ture was occasioned by a tragedy having been acted at the 
British Coifee-house in Boston by two English officers, assisted 
by some young men of the town. 

A graphic portrayal is given by the councillor of the appear- 
ance of the gentlemen and ladies on Sunday mornings, as they 
assembled on the bluff to worship at St, Peter's : the dignified 
walk of the men, with crimson and gilt garments, silk stockings, 
cocked hats and tall gold-headed canes ; and the young lads — in 
dress, brilliant but ludicrous reproductions of their elders. 
The ^^ grand dames" with high heels and stiff stays came 
ballooning along, their voluminous skirts swaying and fluttering 
in the fresh sea breeze. With what ceremony did they greet 
each other ! As the men raised high in air their gold-laced 
hats, and bowed low their curled heads, the ladies, stopping 
short in their promenade, placed one foot twelve inches behind 
the other and dropped a formal, stately and prolonged curtsey. 

It is very agreeable listening to his tales of the ostentation 
and parade at New Jersey's capital in the hey-day of its youth : 
how one '' Moneybaird," conveyed to Lord Neil Campbell's son 
John, all his Aniboy interests, in consideration of Campbell's 
sending a footman to hold his stirrup and wait on him during the 
meetings of the assembly ; how the mayor, while acting offici- 
ally, had a mace-bearer who carried before him this ancient 
insignia of corporation rank ; how the judges, while sitting on 
the bench, wore judicial wigs and resplendant robes of office, 
and how it was obligatory for counsellors-at-law, when pleading 
before the bar of the supreme court, to be arrayed in gowns and 
bands as worn by barristers in England.* He has much to say 

* On the eleventh of May, 1791, the leading lawyers of the State, among them 
Joseph Bloomfield, Richard Howell, Elisha Boudinot, James Linn, Richard 
Stockton, Frederick Frelinghuysen and Andrew Kirkpatrick, petitioned the jus- 
tices of tlie supreme court showing : " That the wearing of Bands and Bar- 
gowns is found to be very troublesome and inconvenient, and is also deemed by 
your petitioners altogether useless. "Your petitioners therefore pray that the 
rule of this court made for that purpose may be vacated." 

" Whereupon the Court taking the said petition into consideration, are pleased 
to grant the prayer of the petitioners, and do order that the Rule of the Court, 
which requires the wearing of Bands and Bar-gowns be vacated." 

220 The Story of ax Old Farm. 

of the flourish and ceremonies attendant upon court days ; of 
the judges on circuit being met outside of the town by the sheriff, 
justices of the peace, and other gentlemen, on horse-back, who 
escorted them in honor to their lodgings. At the opening and 
closing of coiu't, in going to and from the court-house, the judges 
were preceded by the sheriff and the constables carrying their 
staves of office, and all evil-doers trembled in the presence of the 
august procession. 

And now he entertains us with descriptions of the grand balls 
given at the town-hall in honor of royal governors ; where the 
dancing was not coniined to the youthful belles and beaux, but 
all ages of the gentle-folk participated ; stepping the decorous 
minuet or going down the middle in the but little less dignified 
contre-dance. Altogether, in the last centiuy this home of om' 
narrator must often have been a gala Amboy. He coiUd give us 
more interesting information, if he woidd, as to its historic charms 
and associations, and the manners and customs of its people. But 
the old gentleman is running down ; his voice is beginning to 
cackle. We w^ill relegate him to that mysterious shade from 
whence he came. Exit, the king's councillor ! 

There was the dark side to this old-time picture — the negroes. 
The evil of slavery took deep root in colonial New Jersey. 
The reason is readily understood when we remember that in the 
early days of the province the slave trade was encouraged by 
the English people, fostered by the home government and 
enforced by the action of the British ministry. In 1702 Queen 
Anne instructed the governor of New York and New Jersey ''to 
give due encouragement to merchants, and in particular to the 
Royal African Company." Up to the time of the Kevolution 
Great Bi-itain directed her colonial governors to combat the 
attempts made by the colonists to limit the slave trade ; and 
under pain of removal to decline assent to any restrictive laws. 
Only one year before the American congress — in 1770 — prohib- 
ited the slave trade, the Earl of Dartmouth addressed the fol- 
lowing words to a colonial agent : 

We cannot allow the colonies to check or discourage, in any degree, a traffic so 
beneficial to the nation. 

During a debate in the house of commons on the question of 
the suppression of this trade, a wise legislator produced 

Colonial Slave Trade. 221 

a labored argument against its abolition, on the ground of 
injuries that would result to the market for the refuse-fish of the 
English fisheries, which were purchased in large quantities by 
West India planters for their slaves. This astute debater was 
Brook Watson, who was called an American adventurer, and who 
not only became a member of parliament but afterwards lord- 
mayor of London. We are able to relate one incident in the life 
of Watson, where he was of advantage to the world at large. It 
was to all our good fortunes that when a small boy he fell over- 
board in the harbor of Havana and just escaped being devoured 
by a shark. This gave to the brush of the great American art- 
ist, Copley, the subject for his well-known painting, "The Res- 
cue of a Boy from the Jaws of a Shark." 

The extent of the importation of slaves in the province of New 
Jersey is imknown, but it is estimated that before the Revolution 
between three and four himdred thousand negroes were intro- 
duced into the American colonies. Tha Abbe Raynal supposes 
that the number of blacks taken from Africa by Europeans 
before 1776 to have equalled nine millions. Hiine, the Grerman 
historian of the slave trade, considers these figures too small ; Mr. 
Bancroft affirms that the English importations in all the conti- 
nental colonies and in the Spanish, French and English West 
Indies to have been nearly three million souls, to say nothing of 
two hundred and fifty thousand thrown into the sea. He esti- 
mates that the profits of English merchants in this traffic, previ- 
ous to 1776, were not far from four hundred million dollars. 

This historian draws in strong outline a sad pictm-e of the 
miseries endured by the blacks while on the voyage from Africa. 
Small ships that could penetrate the shallow rivers and bayous of 
the coast were used, and often five hundred negroes were stowed 
in vessels of not over two hundred tons burden. They were 
generally chained in pairs by the ankles ; and below decks, 
when sleeping, each was allowed a space of but six feet by six- 
teen inches. For exercise they were made to dance and caper 
on deck to the tune of a whip. The Africans were chiefly 
gathered from various points in the far interior of the dark con- 
tinent, in order that the freight of a single ship might be composed 
people of difi'erent languages and nations. When they reached 
the sea-coast at unfavorable seasons of the year, diseases were 

222 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

engendered which cuhninated on the voyage ; this, together 
with the narrow space afforded their manacled bodies, the bad 
air, foul stenches and limited food and water, caused a death 
rate often equalling fifty and never falling below twelve per- 
cent of the shipment. Sailing-masters on approaching a slaver 
at sea made it the rule, when possible, to keep to the windward 
in order to avoid the horrible odors that belched from the open 
ports and hatches of ships laden with human cargoes. The 
ingenuity of man, eager to torture his fellow-beings, could hardly 
have planned a more complete hell than a crowded slave ship on 
a protracted voyage. The horrors of such a journey are best 
exemplified by the fact that no journal of a trip from Africa to 
the United States is extant, though it is well known, that slave 
ships repeatedly entered every port south of Rhode Island. 

Strange as it may seem, the men who sailed these ships 
appeared to be ignorant of the fact that they were doing the 
devil's work. Neither the captains of slavers, nor the persons 
comprising the companies who employed them, seemed to have 
considered that they were practising on their fellow-men revolt- 
ing cruelty, and hideous wrong. This was so, at least, in the 
earlier days of the traffic. Sir John Hawkins commanded the 
first English expedition to Africa for slaves. His squadron com- 
prised four vessels, and to their captains he issued the following 
sailing orders : " Serve God daily ; love one another ; preserve 
your victuals ; beware of fire ; and keep good company." So 
successfid was he in this and subsequent voyages that Queen 
Elizabeth rewarded him by granting him permission to wear on 
his crest '' a denii Moor, bound and captive." Doctor Hale, in 
the third volume of that treasury of historical writing, the " Nar- 
rative and Critical History of America " — edited by Justin 
Winsor — says that " Hawkins sailed on the ship Jesus with faith 
as serene as if he had sailed on a crusade." At one time, while 
on the first voyage, this navigator's ships were so long be-calmed 
as to nearly cause starvation. But, as this pious slaver recounts : 
^'Almighty God, who never suffereth his elect to perish, sent us 
the ordinary breeze." While Hawkins' party was gathering 
together human cargoes on the Guinea coast, the crews were 
set upon by the natives with murderous intent. But again, as 
he narrates, " God, who worketh all things for the best, would 
not have it so, and by Him we escaped without danger." 

The New England Slave Trade. 225 

In contemplating the slave trade as connected with our own 
country we must not fall into the error of thinking that the 
infamy of the traffic attached only to the people of the south, 
where the greater number of slaves were marketed. It was the 
well-to-do deacons and church members of New England who 
controlled the business : men who deemed it a sin to pick flow- 
ers on the Sabbath ; who thought it wrong to stroll along the 
banks of a stream, or wander in the woods on that day ; men 
who would dispatch the tithing man to arrest the stranger who 
was hurrying through their town on Sunday on an errand of 
mercy. The history of that time reveals Peter Faneuil, on the 
one hand piling up profits from his immense slave trade, while, 
on the other occupied in private and public charities, and in 
the erection of the cradle of liberty in Boston. In the last cen- 
tury the coasts of Mozambique and Guinea were white with the 
sails of Massachusetts and Khode Island slavers. These vessels 
on the outward voyage were loaded with New England rum, 
which was traded to African chiefs for prisoners taken in their 
tribal wars. These blacks, together with such others as the 
ship-captains had been able to steal, were then carried to one of 
the West India islands, or to a southern American port, and 
there exchanged for molasses. This cargo was brought to New 
England and converted into rum for a further shipment to 
Africa ; thus a three-fold profit was secured on each voyage. 
In the year 1 750 Newport carried on a most extensive business 
of this character ; three hundred distilleries were in operation, 
and the tonnage of the vessels lying at the town's wharves 
exceeded that of the city of New York. Mrs. Stowe in her tale, 
^' A Minister's Wooing," has portrayed in the most interesting 
manner the awakening of the New England conscience as to the 
sinfulness of buying and selling human souls. 

As at the time of Johannes' visit Perth Amboy was New Jer- 
sey's chief port of entry, the blacks were to be seen there in 
goodly numbers : many of them were freshly imported, bearing 
their tribal marks, and exhibiting their native characteristics, as 
if still inhabiting the wilds of Guinea. It was thought desirable, 
when possible, to have the slaves brought into the colonies from the 
West Indies rather than direct from Africa, as after remaining for 
a time at Barbadoes or one of the other islands they were much 

224 The Story of an Old Farm. 

better able to endure the severities of the American climate. In 
1757 the British West Indies contained a total population of a 
little less than three hundred and thirty thousand souls, of which 
two hundred and thirty thousand were slaves. Mr. Whitehead 
says that barracks stood on the corner of Smith and Water 
streets, in Amboy, from where the negroes, on landing, were dis- 
tributed in the province. They were eagerly sought for by the 
settlers and were in the service of all families able to pay from 
forty to one hundred pounds for a man or woman, according to 
age. A child of two or three years sold for from eight to fourteen 
pounds. As showing the value of slaves in the last century, Mr. 
Snell, in his Somerset historical compilations, publishes an inven- 
tory of the personal effects of Theunis Post, one of the *' helpers " 
of the North Branch Reformed church, who died in 1764 in 
Branchburgh township, near the mouth of the Lamington river. 
The following chattels are mentioned : " One negro named Ham, 
valued at £70 ; one negro named Isaac, valued at £30 ; one 
negro named Sam, valued at £70 ; one negro girl named Betty, 
valued at £10 ; one negro named Jane, valued at £60 ; one 
negro wench named Sawr, valued at £30." The last name is 
short for Saertje, the Dutch diminutive for Sarah. 

As the character of these imported, or more properly speak- 
ing, stolen negroes, were necessarily savage, and but little under- 
stood by the Jersey people, they were naturally much feared, 
and the most severe laws were enacted by the colony to insure 
their control and subjection. One of the official acts that con- 
stables were the most often called upon to perform was that of 
whipping slaves for minor offences. Any negro found five miles 
from home it was the duty of these officers to aiTest, and to flog 
with a whip, into the thongs of which fine wire was plaited that 
the severity of the punishment might be increased. For this 
service the owners of the derelict blacks were obliged to pay 
the constables five shillings, which materially augumented the 
income of those officials, and added largely to the value and 
importance of the position. 

The blacks, on arrival, were physically powerful and good 
workers, but without much power of reasoning or of controlling 
their undisciplined imaginations. Though barbarians, their 
affections were strong, and the marked progress made by negroes 

Cruel Punishment of New Jersey Slaves. 225 

in America may be said to be largely due to that fact. They 
soon outgrew their savagery, and, affiliating in their sympathies 
with their work and the lives of their masters, in a very few 
years became an attached portion of the domestic life of the Jer- 
sey people. In Somerset county, especially, the slaves soon fell 
imder the sway of kindly influences, and became almost portions 
of their owners' families. They were comfortably clad ; when 
sick, well cared for ; and even to this day old residents tell 
pleasant tales of the affection existing between our forefathers 
and the old-time family and farm servants. 

But before the whites had in part advanced and civilized the 
blacks, and learned from experience the weakness and strength 
of their bondsmen's characters, much cruelty was inflicted 
through fears of risings and rebellions. The " New York 
Gazette" of the twenty-fifth of March, 1734, gives an account of 
a threatened rising early in that year in the vicinity of where is 
now Somerville, in consequence of which several negroes, two at 
least, were hmig. Punishments were extremely severe ; murder 
and assault often insured the culprits being burned alive, and 
for even petty thefts and misdemeanors they were hung with 
short shrift. On the twenty-third of September, 1694, John 
Johnstone — he of the Peapack patent — while sitting as presid- 
ing justice of the Monmouth court of sessions, sentenced a negro 
convicted of murder in the following language : 

Caesar, thou art found guilty by thy country of those horrid crimes that are 
laid to thy charge; therefore, the court doth judge that thou, the said Caesar, shall 
return to the place from whence thou camest, and from tlience to the place of 
execution, when thy right hand shall be cut off and burned before thine eyes. 
Then thou shalt be hanged up by the neck till thou art dead, dead, dead ; then 
thy body shall be cut down and burned to ashes in a fire, and so the Lord have 
mercy on thy soul, Caesar. 

In those days of severe punishments the penalty followed 
closely after conviction. On the tenth of January, 1729, a slave 
named Prince was tried at Perth Amboy for murdering one 
William Cook, and being found guilty was sentenced to be 
burned alive '^ on ye twelfth of this Inst." He was executed on 
the day appointed. In the year 1738 a negro belonging to 
Robert Hooper was burned at the stake at Rocky Hill for hav- 
ing killed a child of his overseer. On the fifth of July, 1750, in 
a ravine just north of Perth Amboy, two negroes were bmmed at 

226 The Story of an Old Farm. 

the stake ; one for murdering his mistress, Mrs. Obadiah Ayers, 
who had mildly censm-ed him for misconduct ; and the other for 
being an accessory to the fact. Mrs. Ayres was seated at her 
own window when she was shot by the first negro, with a gun 
procured for him by the second. In these more lenient days 
the accessory would have escaped with a lighter pimishment ; 
he was a mere lad, and, as was shown at the trial, had been coerced 
by fear into aiding the elder and more vicious negro. At the 
execution all the slaves of the neighborhood were obliged to be 
present, that the scene might serve as an exemplary warning and 
a terrible example. 

Numerous instances might be given of the severity with which 
black offenders were punished. There is on record a chronicle 
of the hanging of a negro in 1750 for theft, the execution taking 
place at the junction of the Woodbridge and New Brimswick 
roads, a little way out of Amboy. We have another account of 
an auto-d('-fe, in which Sheriff Abraham Van Doren is pictured 
on his horse, riding with drawn sword between the spectators and 
a fire, in which was burning a negro murderer. This was at 
Hillsborough (Millstone) in 1752, the sufferer having been con- 
victed there of killing his master, Jacob Van Nest, who lived 
near Milltown, in Branchburgh township. This black wretch 
was large and athletic, and for a long time had been considered 
dangerous. In a tit of passion he struck his master a murderous 
blow with an axe as he dismounted from his horse at his stable 
door ; the negro's anger was occasioned by the discovery that 
his master had helped himself to some tobacco from the slave's box. 
This distressing occurrence does not seem to have prejudiced the 
family against the owning of slaves, as it will be seen by the fol- 
lowing copy of a bill of sale that the murdered man's son Peter 
purchased two, a few years later : "July 10, 1768, John Van 
Nest, of Bridgewater [now Branchburgh] sold to Peter Van Nest, 
A certain Neger Winch named Mary and a neger boy named Jack 
for the sum of £66, York cm-rency." 

In 1791, burning seems to have been abandoned as a punish- 
ment for negroes, one being hanged for murder in that year in 
front of the old court-house at Newark. As was the custom the 
condemned was taken to the First Presbyterian church, where 
his funeral sermon was preached by Doctor Uzal Ogden. Mr, 

New Jersey Slavery Statistics. 227 

Whitehead narrates that the chiirch was crowded, and that the 
good domine, in alluding to the repentance of the negro, thought- 
lessly finished his discourse by impressively expressing a hope 
that the latter end of his numerous hearers might be like the 

In the province of New Jersey slavery especially flourished 
because of its large Dutch and German population ; and the 
greatest number of slaves were to be found in the counties 
where those races predominated. New Jersey's inhabitants, all- 
told, in 1726 numbered 32,442, the negroes counting 2,581. The 
same year Somerset possessed 2,271 souls, white and black, the 
latter numbering 379. This county was in that year exceeded 
in negro population only by Monmouth and Bergen. In the year 
1738, otit of a total population of 47,369, the province possessed 
3,981 slaves. Somerset county in the previous year had a popu- 
lation of about 4,500, of whom 732 were slaves. The census for 
the year 1790 places the entire New Jersey population at 
169,954, of whom 11,423 were slaves. Ten years later — 1800 
— the total population had increased to 211,149, the slaves num- 
bering 12,422. This was a greater number of bonds-people 
than was possessed by any other state north of Maryland except- 
ing New York, which had 20,613. Delaware had but 6,153, 
Pennsylvania 1,706, Connecticut 95], New Hampshire 8, and 
Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont none at all. In. this year, 1800, 
the slaves of Somerset numbered 1,863, out of a total population of 
12,813 ; this was more than that possessed by any other county in 
the state excepting Bergen. Morris, the adjoining county to 
Somerset, at that time having a population of nearly 18,000, 
owned but 775 slaves. In 1810 slavery had entirely disappeared 
in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Khode 
Island's holdings were 108, Connecticut's, 300, Pennsylvania's, 795, 
Delaware's, 4,177, New Jersey's, 10,851, New York's, 15,017. In 
this year — 1810 — Somerset's slave population was 1,968, still far 
in advance of all other counties excepting Bergen, and only two 
hundred behind that Dutch community. Between the years 1804 
and 1 820 a series of laws were enacted tending toward a gradual 
abolition. They provided that every child born of a slave 
within the state of New Jersey after the fourth of July, in the 
year 1804, should be nominally free, but should remain the ser- 

228 The Story of an Old Farm. 

vant of the owner of the mother until the age of twenty-five if 
a male, and twenty-one if a female. So beneficial were the 
results of the operation of these laws that we find by the census 
of the year 1830 Somerset's full slaves were reduced to seventy- 
eight in number. 

At Amboy Johannes had the choice of two leading taverns ; 
one of them kept by John Gluck, the other by Obadiah Ayres. 
There was no choice as to expense, as the justices of the peace, 
at the October quarter sessions of 1748, had established the fol- 
lowing uniform and moderate rate of charges for all the taverns 
of the county: "Hot meal of meat, etc., 10*?; Cold meal do, 7^', 
Lodging per night 4^^; Rum by the quartern 4 '3; Brandy do, 
6?; Wine by the quartern 2^,8'^; Strong beer do, 5^; Cyder do, 
4'^; Metheglin do, l'',6'^'; Lunch do, 1^2*^. Provision for Horses: 
Oats by the quart 1^'-; English hay per night l^jO*?; ditto for 
24 hours l^jO*^; Salt or fresh hay per night 8'?; ditto for 24 hours 
1?,0^." These inns were rival hostelries, each being the head- 
quarters of opposition lines of boats and stages to Ncav York and 
Philadelphia. Daniel O'Brien, in October, 1750, had established, 
the first line by this route. His sloop left New York every Wed- 
nesday ; the passengers were supposed to spend Thursday night 
at John Gluck's in Amboy, a stage-wagon leaving on Friday 
morning for Bordentown, where another sloop proceeded to Phil- 
adelphia. His advertisement promised to carry passengers 
through in forty-eight hours less time than did the stage which 
travelled the old road from New Brunswick to Trenton. The 
time actually consumed was from five to eight days. O'Brien 
could be " spoke with at the house of Scotch Johnny in New 
York on Mondays." The success of the above line was so great 
as to induce some Philadelphians in 1751 to establish an opposi- 
tion. Their sloop stai'ted from the Quaker City at the "Crooked 
Billet Wharf" every week for Burlingt<m, " from where" — as 
their advertisement read — " at the sign of the Blue Anchor, a 
stage-wagon with a good awning wiU run to the house of Oba- 
diah Ayres at Perth Amboy, where good entertainment is to be 
had for man and beast." The advertisement goes on to lay 
much stress on the fact that the sloop of this line, sailing between 
Amboy and New York, had a fine cabin fitted up with a tea 

Stage Routes Across the State. 229 

The stage route referred to as passing over the old road, had 
been established in 1742 by William Atlee and Joseph Yeats. 
They sold out in 1744 to one Wilson, who ran his stage-wagon 
twice weekly, leaving the Delaware at Trenton on Monday and 
Thursday, and New Brunswick on Tuesday and Friday. Pro- 
fessor Kalm, before quoted, when on his way to New York from 
Pennsylvania in 1748, attributed the great prosperity of Tren- 
ton to the number of travellers that journeyed that way from 
Philadelphia. He remarked on the many stage and freight 
wagons starting from Trenton ; and writes that its inhabitants 
largely subsist by the carriage of people and aU sorts of goods 
across to New Brunswick. 

Wilson's charge for carrying a single passenger in his stage- 
wagon from the Delaware to the Raritan was two shillings and 
six pence, with an extra payment for luggage. The fare by 
sloop from Philadelphia to Trenton was one shilling and six 
pence, in addition each passenger being obliged to pay extra 
for luggage, and provide for himself food and drink. This last 
was important, as, though the distance was not great, adverse 
winds often prolonged the voyage into many tedious hours. 
From New Brunswick, passei:^ers had a choice of three routes 
to New York: by sloop; by way of stage-wagon to Elizabeth- 
town-point, thence by sloop ; and by way of stage-wagon to 
Amboy, crossing by Willocks ferry to Staten Island, crossing to 
Long Island at the Narrows, and thence to Flatbush and the 
Brooklyn ferry. The inhabitants of the Raritan valley and of 
the vicinity of Flatbush were at this time in close alliance. 
Late in the seventeenth and early in the eighteenth centuries 
the Dutch had taken up all of the agricidtural lands on the west 
end of Long Island ; consequently many of the second genera- 
tion of this Holland stock were forced to seek tillable acres in 
East Jersey. Thus the ancestry of such well known Somerset 
and Middlesex families as the Van der Veers, Van Nostrands, 
Van Dykes, Hagamans, Cornells, Beekmans, Polhemuses, Sut- 
phens, Suydams, and others, were all migrators from the Flat- 
bush neighborhood. 

At this time there was no well-established cross-country road 
between Trenton and Amboy, though John Dalley had in 1745 
surveyed the line of a highway, and set up marks every two 

230 The Story of an Old Farm. 

miles as a guide through the woods. In 1756 another stage 
route was established between the Quaker City and New York. 
It was called the " Swift, Sure Coach Line," and travelled the 
old York road, crossing the Delaware river at Lambertville ; 
thence to Flemington, Somerville, Bound Brook, Plainfield, and 
along the base of the mountain through Springfield to Elizabeth- 
town-point, where a packet sloop completed the journey. It 
was along this route that, about 1846, the first telegraph line 
between New York and Philadelphia was built. This round- 
about way was chosen because of the refusal of the New Jersey 
Railroad oflScials to allow the telegraph company to set up its 
poles along their line of railway. The short-sighted and witless 
reason was given that '^ the telegraph would interfere with 
travel, through enabling persons to transact business by its 
means, instead of using the railroad." In no better way, per- 
haps, could be shown the great growth of the telegraph, railway 
and express interests of this country, than to narrate the fact 
that the first telegram from Philadelphia to New York was 
delivered at Somerville, the line being completed only that dis- 
tance. The message was then carried to the metropolis by the 
Elizabethtown and Somerville Railroad in a carpet-bag j which 
carpet-bag, or rather its contents, represented the entire daily 
business of the Hope Express company, which afterward grew 
into an important corporation and was eventually consolidated 
with the Adams company. 

Picture to yourself a traveller of 1752 occupying six days — 
one hundred and forty-four hours — in traversing the distance 
between New York and Philadelphia. Imagine for a moment 
the discomforts and actual pains of such a journey during the 
winter months. Huddled on a crowded sloop for from twelve to 
forty-eight hours, fighting icy head tides, beating against Avinds, 
chill, drear and contrary, eating cold snacks supplied by your- 
self — even ^' a fine cabin fitted up with a tea table " could hardly 
have palliated the miseries of such a voyage. In October, 1723, 
Benjamin Franklin, when making his first visit to Philadelphia, 
was thirty hours on his passage from New York to Amboy. His 
sloop was nearly lost in a squall, and one of the passengers fall- 
ing overboard narrowly escaped being drowned. Over fifty 
years later a traveller tells of being twenty hours in sailing six- 

Stage-Wagoms of the Olden Time. 231 

teen miles on the Delaware in a sloop, while on a journey from 
New York to Philadephia. The same traveller was nearly ship- 
wrecked in New York bay, and lost some of his baggage at 
Amboy. On reaching Amboy passengers were lodged in micom- 
fortable taverns ; they slept on straw-filled ticks, usually with 
two or three bed-fellows, and with but little choice as to com- 
pany. The passage overland to the Delaware was none the less 
disagreeable. The stages were ordinary Jersey wagons without 
springs, with white canvass covers stretched over hoops, those at 
the front and rear being very high, which gave somewhat of a 
picturesque appearance to the rude vehicle. The wheels 
revolved on primitive boxes, kept greased by a frequent applica- 
tion of tar that was carried in a bucket suspended under the 
wagon body. Clumsy linchpins were supposed to secure the 
wheels, but they had a fashion, with but slight provocation, of 
hopping out, and letting the axle down with a thud in the mud, 
sending the passengers sprawling on the straw-covered floor of 
the stage. 

The roads were in a wretched condition with alternating 
stumps and holes. The rivers and streams had to be forded, 
and after heavy rains long delays were incurred while await- 
ing the subsiding of the waters. The men travellers were 
expected to partly work their passages by walking up the 
steep rises, and by putting their shoulders to the wheel when the 
steaming horses were stalled in a slough. But this outside work 
was not much worse than being jolted on the hard seats Avithin, 
while the lumbering vehicle lurched and strained over the uneven 
roads, or staggered across corduroyed swamps, giving the pas- 
sengers very much the feeling of having had their backbones 
driven up into their skulls. It was many years before there 
were any decent roads in New Jersey. Between 1765 and 
1768 numerous unsuccessful efforts were made to float a lottery 
for raising money to improve the highways across the province. 
Governor Franklin, in an address to the assembly in 1768, thus 
refers to their condition : '^ Even those which lie between the 
two principal trading cities in North America are seldom pass- 
able without danger or difiiculty." 

When one remembers that the railroad now accomplishes in 
one day the work of several weeks of the last century, no better 

232 The Story of an Old Farm. 

illustration can be given of the advance made by science in all 
that adds to the comfort and enjoyment of mankind, and to the 
diffusion of general intelligence. Beyond almost all the other 
improvements of this great age stands its progress made in loco- 
motion. As Johannes smoked his pipe in the taproom of Ayres' 
tavern on the evening of his arrival at Amboy, and listened to 
the traveUer's tales of hardships by land and water, how incredu- 
lous he would have been had be been told that his posterity would 
fly between New York and Philadelphia in a less number of 
minutes than it took hours for Ayres' customers to traverse that 
distance ; that in 1889 America would be bound and interlaced 
with over one hundred and fifty thousand miles of iron and steel 
roads constructed at an average cost of over sixty thousand dol- 
lars per mile, and on which carriages would roll without visible 
means of locomotion, attaining a velocity at times of a mile in forty- 
five seconds. Still more absurd would he have considered the state- 
ment that in A. D. 1889, no more time would be consumed in 
crossing the then unexplored continent, from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific — 3,322 miles — than was in his day occupied in passing 
over the comparatively short distance lying between the Hudson 
and the Delaware ; that in the place of clumsy sloops and spring- 
less wagons, there would be luxurious coaches and mammoth 
steamboats ; that passengers, instead of suffering extraordinary 
fatigues, would stroll about elegantly appointed saloons, recline 
on softly cushioned chairs, or sleep on comfortable couches, 
while being whirled at from twenty-five to sixty miles an hour 
over thousands of miles of thickly populated country. 

We will leave Johannes to make his way back alone to Bed- 
minster. In the next chapter he will claim our attention while 
in conflict with rugged nature ; while combating and subduing 
his timbered hillsides, and reducing them to productive acres. 


Clearing the Bedminster Land — Life on the '' Old Farm " 
from 1752 to 1763. 

Intelligent industry will overcome many difficulties. This 
faculty stood our ancestor in good part when he set about clear- 
ing the Bedminster farm, and to a great extent its possession 
can be ascribed to his nationality. The Germans in the prov- 
ince, generally, being a quiet industrious folk made themselves 
most valuable citizens. They were plodding, intent on their 
own business, attentive to the duties of religion, but were inter- 
ested, perhaps, too little in politics. McMaster writes that 
wherever a German farmer lived were to be found industry, 
order and thrift. Their buildings, fences, thoroughly-tilled fields 
and nurtured orchards were in marked contrast to the lands and 
improvements of their more careless English and Scotch neigh- 
bors. Other writers on the condition of the American colonies 
in the last century speak of the simple and primitive manners 
and frugal, industrious habits of the Germans, which, together 
with their contented spirits and honest dealings, made them 
valued acquisitions to the communities and most suitable infu- 
sions among the inhabitants of the provinces. 

Well ! Johannes and his sons are now fairly at work on the 
" Old Farm," and we must proceed with the telling of its story. 
He, like other early settlers, is occupied in making history ; not 
in the sense of the brilliant achievements of heroes ; his a 
more humble mission — to subdue a wilderness and civilize a 
community, to make smooth the way of future generations, and 
to secure for his posterity a comfortable and complete homestead. 
It took time to transform his heavily-wooded lands into arable 
fields ; meanwhile many privations had to be endured, and that 
labor which conquers all things vigorously and assiduously 

234 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

In clearing New Jersey lands in colonial times the settler 
began by felling the smaller trees and cutting off the stronger 
branches of the greater ones. Next, the oaks, hickories and 
other large trees were attacked. Well girdled by the axe, 
these were left to stand until the following year, by which time, 
having been robbed of their sap, they were dead and ready for 
the burning. Encircling fires at the base of their trunks were 
ignited ; the trees fell, and by midsmnmer the sun began to 
operate on land that, being formed almost entirely of rotten vege- 
tation, was rank with productiveness. Instead of rooting up the 
trees, many of the farmers after burning the stumps let them 
staiid and decay. It gave the newly-cleared land a very ugly 
appearance, but in four or five years the stumps would have so 
rotted that they could be beaten to pieces and ploughed under. 
By July of the second year the ground was ready for a crop, 
which was generally buckwheat. When harvested in the 
autumn the land was ploughed, and sown with rye. Often, 
owing to the richness of the soil from the long drinking of the 
juices of decaying vegetation, the first year's crop all grew to 
straw, and it was not uncommon for several seasons to go by 
before the ground had been sufficiently toned by cultivation to 
produce good yields of wheat. 

Agriculture was but imperfectly understood by the new set- 
tlers, and no knowledge seems to have been had of the value of 
the rotation of crops. Instances are given where new lands 
produced rye for ten years, and then for ten successive harvests 
yielded wheat. The virgin soil, having been fertilized by nature 
for centuries, was for several decades prolific, but in time became 
exhausted, and the crops correspondingly poor. Farmers who 
had wasted the early strength of their fields were slow in appre- 
ciating the value of a plentiful use of lime and manure, and it 
was not until after the Revolution that impoverished lands began 
to be properly nourished and crops again to be abundant. It is 
said that tlie fii-st Somerset farmer, who gave heart to exhausted 
land by the use of lime as a fertilizer, was Doctor John Reeve, who 
sent all the way to a quarry on the Delaware for the stone. In 
addition to profitably working a large farm near Rocky Hill, he 
was a physician in good practice. Old residents of the county 
remember hitn as a tall man of a majestic presence, and as a 

Farming Implements of the Last Century. 235 

graceful and fearless rider. His professional journeys were 
always made in the saddle, and as nearly as possible in an air 
line ; scorning such ordinary means of communication as high- 
ways and byways he rode bravely across the country, taking the 
fences as if following a pack of hounds at full cry. Although 
Bedminster township had abundant limestone within its borders, 
none was burned till 1794, and it was 1830 before Peapack lime 
came into general use. In the last century natural meadows sup- 
plied all the grass and grain for live-stock ; it was in the year 
1800 that Jacques Voorhees introduced clover-seed into Somer- 
set county ; the growing of grass on uplands inaugurated a new 
era in farming and great benefits resulted to husbandmen and 
the country. 

To one accustomed to the improved appliances that aid and 
abet the agriculturist of this age, the tools and implements that 
Johannes had at his command would seem illy contrived for till- 
ing the soil. The ploughs throughout the country at this time 
were rude and ineffective and mostly home-made. They were 
clumsily constructed of wood, the mould-board being fashioned 
from a block which had a winding grain approximating to the 
curve required- Thomas Jefferson is said to have first suggested 
the proper shape and proportion of this part of a plough. It was 
1776 before a wrought-iron ploughshare, some bolts, and a clevis 
were introduced, and the mould-boards after that time were 
often plated with strips of iron made from hammered horseshoes. 
Our state has the honor of being the first to have used cast-iron 
ploughs, they being the invention of a New Jersey farmer named 
Newbold. Their introduction was not general until the year 
1797, the people being prejudiced against their use, and it is 
said that they claimed cast-iron poisoned the soil and ruined the 
crop. Our forefather sowed his seed by hand, and when harvest 
time came, no cradler with glittering knife swung his graceful 
way through the golden grain, marking the field with lines of 
even swath. Rye, wheat and buckwheat were cut with a 
sickle, but oats, like grass, fell under the scythe. The sickles 
used were long and narrow, their sharp edges having close 
teeth on the inner side. This manner of harvesting con- 
tinued until after the Revolution, when farmers were delighted 
by the appearance of the cradle, which improvement created as 

236 The Story of an Old Farm. 

much interest as has, in modern times, the introduction of the 

During the first years of life on the farm there was much to 
do besides clearing and tillage. Gun and worm fences were 
built — the great barns and mows were erected, and their long, 
sloping roofs thatched with the big rye straw grown on the 
strong, new ground ; orchards were set out, and below the hill 
the water power was improved, and the meadow facing Peapack 
brook pierced with tan vats. A little above, the mill Avas 
planted ; on its oaken floor a huge wooden-cogged wheel slowly 
revolved, crushing the black and red oak bark. An early 
undertaking was that of making the old garden to the east of the 
house — a combined kitchen and flower garden, as was the 
fashion of the time ; in it Avas planted the still blooming bed of 
German lilies. Horticulture was then in its infancy, or more 
properly speaking, as the word is now used, unknown. Old- 
fashioned gardens contained in the way of flowers but little else 
than hollyhocks, snoAV-balls, roses, lilacs, pinks, tulips, sun-flow- 
ers, morning-glories and a few other primitive blossoms. As for 
fruit, no grapes were to be had excepting the poor native fox 
variety ; and the improved kinds of peaches, pears, plums and 
melons, had not yet been introduced. Of pears as well as of 
apples there were plenty, but no knowledge being had of nursing 
and grafting, they did not attain anything approaching their 
present perfection and deliciousness. So wdth the small berries, 
they were in great abundance, though micultivated, growing 
wild in the fields and woods. 

The vegetables of that period were few in variety and poor in 
quality. Potatoes were a staple, as were in their season cab- 
bages, beans and Indian corn ; but tomatoes, cauliflower, Mercer 
potatoes, okra, lettuce, sweet corn, egg-plant and rhubarb had 
not yet been heard of. It will thus be seen that " living" at the 
'' Old Stone House " in the olden days was much simpler than 
those of us found it who were so fortunate as to gather about its 
well-spread board in the generation just passed. Johannes' table 
was well supplied with ham, bacon and smoked meats. Tradi- 
tions smack their lips over the deliciousness of the tender juicy 
hams, that hung in rows from the ceiling timbers in the cool 
cellar. Their rich and nuttv flavor was ijainod from being cured 

Colonial Farm Diet. 237 

in the fragrant smoke of burning hickory and oak, together with 
the fact of their having been carved from young pigs that bad 
roamed the forest, fattening on acorns, hickory nuts and aromatic 
herbage. Occasionally fresh meat was had, as it was the cus- 
tom of farmers when they slaughtered a " critter" to distribute 
joints and pieces among their neighbors for miles around, relying 
for pay upon a return courtesy. The family had not yet out- 
grown its love for sauerkraut, as is shown by the writer's having 
the antique mortar — cut out of a solid block of wood — and pestle, 
which were used in the preparation of this compound, so dear to 
the German palate. A dish that garnished every meal was 
" kohl-salat," or cabbage salad. The Dutch called it " kohl- 
slaa," and from these two old country terms have come the 
degenerate word " coldslaw." Our yoeman's table, while ignor- 
ant of modem prepared dishes disguised with strange sauces, 
was abundently beset with solid substantial food : poultry, eggs, 
cheese and such farm diet there was, of course ; hot breads were 
in vogue ; short cakes, made with buttermilk and baked on a 
griddle, were in daily demand, and pies, doughnuts and olekokes, 
were features even of the morning meal. Soupaan — well salted 
Indian mush, eaten with milk and molasses — was the standard 
Sunday supper, though occasionally a raised biscuit, called 
zweibakj or twice baked, took the place of mush ; this biscuit 
was made in large quantities, bushels at a time, and then dried 
in the oven until as hard as a rock ; in a bowl of rich milk it 
made a toothsome dish, — to the truth of which more than one 
of Mariah Katrina's descendants can bear witness. 

As for beverages, a great favorite at that time was madeira, 
though except on festive occasions it was rarely found save on 
the tables of the rich. Farmers were content with hard cider, 
b«er and Jamaica rum. The latter was almost the entire tipple 
of the poor throughout the colonies, except in the East, where 
immense quantities of molasses were annually converted into New 
England rum. A hot drink common at that time was soured 
beer simmered over the fire with crusts of brown bread, and 
sweetened with molasses. Another decoction, or concoction, of 
which the Germans of New Jersey were fond, was the extraor- 
dinai-y combination of chocolate and links of sausages, boiled in 
a kettle, served in a bowl, and eaten together with a spoon ; a 

238 The Story of an Old Farm. 

feast of which I am sure but few of my readers would care to 
partake. It is said that when tea w^as first introduced in New 
Jersey its manner of use was for some time unknown. The 
people in their ignorance boiled it well, throwing away the 
liquor ; the herb was then dished, buttered, and eaten as greens. 

For sweetening purposes molasses and maple sugar were com- 
monly used, as at that time brown or "store sugar" was yet con- 
sidered a luxury. The story is current that the introduction of 
white sugar in the Moelich family was by Johannes' daughter, 
Veronica Gerdrutta, some years later, on the occasion of a social 
tea-drinking. It was then both a curiosity and a treat among 
farmers, and especially to the Germans, who were a very 
economical folk. Fanny's husband, old Jacob Kline, not having 
been informed of the surprise in store for the guests, on 
sitting down at the table used the sugar as salt, suppos- 
ing it to be such. This so annoyed his wife that she cried 
out somewhat angrily in German, " O you dumb Irishman, you 
never will know anything !" In calling her husband an Irish- 
man, the good wife poured upon his head the full vials of her 
contemptuous vocabulaiy. Among the colonists of Pennsylvania 
and New Jersey there were representatives of many nationali- 
ties, with widely dissimilar natures, but fortunately the unifying 
conditions were sufficient to ultimately blend their discordant 
elements. Yet, for a number of years the Irish and Germans 
were mutually repugnant, and each held the other in 
very low estimation ; consequently " Irish " and '' Dutch " 
were bandied between the thrifty Germans and the sons of the 
Emerald Isle as epithets of contempt. In a letter from the elder 
Muhlenberg to the fathers of Zion church in 1772, the Patriarch 
complains that his conduct in a certain financial transaction had 
been misconstrued, and goes on to say : " You must have 
peculiar thoughts of me, as if I tried to cheat you out of some- 
thing or desired to play Irish tricks on you." 

Building barns, making gardens, and raising crops, are fair- 
weather work. There was much that could be done on the " Old 
Farm " in tempest as well as in sunshine. On stormy days and 
during the long winter evenings, Johannes and his sons were 
occupied with labor that would now be done at wheelwright shops, 
factories and forges ; but shops of all kinds were then few, and at 

QuiLTiNGS, Frolics, and Donation-Visits. 239 

remote distances. Our forefathers cobbled their own shoes^ 
repaired their own harness, and at extemporized carpenter and 
blacksmith shops made much of the household furniture and 
many of the farm and kitchen utensils. The Baroness Riedesel, 
the companion in misfortune of her husband, the Hessian Gen- 
eral who was captured with Burgoyne, made and published 
many notes on the American army ; among them, one as follows : 
" Their generals who accompanied us Avere some of them shoe- 
makers, and on the days we halted made boots for our officers 
or even mended the shoes of our men." The Baroness was in 
error : they were not shoemakers, but the custom of colonial 
times was for the men to know all about the working of leather, 
they being able to make their own harness, saddles and shoes, 
just as it was for the women to spin and weave ; doubtless these 
American officers in sore need of money were glad to exchange 
this knowledge and service for German and English coin. 

There w^ere few or no luxuries in the olden time that would be 
recognized as such now ; the industries of the families were of the 
most complete character, as within each homestead was pro- 
duced, to a large extent, the necessities of its members. In 
farming communities, upon the women of the household devolved 
not only the duties of cooking, washing, milking, and dairy work, 
as at present ; in addition, they made their own garments and 
many of those of the men ; they spun their own yarn, wove the 
family linen and woollen goods, smoked and cured meats, dipped 
tallow candles, brewed beer, and made soap. Their pleasures 
were limited, being confined principally to quilting frolics, apple 
paring bees, and husking and killing frolics. The latter were 
when the men met at each other's houses to do the autumn hog- 
killing, the women coming in the late afternoon to join them at 
supper, and have a dance in the evening. The " wood frolic " 
was also an institution which brought together most of the 
people of the congregations annually at the parsonages. While 
the men occupied themselves during the day hauling the minis- 
ter's 3"early supply of wood, the wives and daughters came in the 
late afternoon and prepared a bountiful supper, to which the 
tired wood-haulers doubtless brought excellent appetites. The 
spinning-visit and the donation-visit were both made occasions 
for festivities. At the former it was the women who spent the 

240 The Story of an Old Farm. 

the day in work, the men coming at supper-time to contribute to 
the pleasures of the evening. 

Fielding writes that ^' bare walls make gadding housewives." 
Could he have visited the "living-room" of the "Old Stone 
House " he would not have expressed this sentiment without 
noting an exception. It had bare walls, it is true, but Mariah 
Katrina was no gadding housewife: 

She was a woman of a stirring life, 
Whose heart was in her house ; two wheels she had, 
Of antique form ; — this large for spinning wool, — 
That small for flax ; and if one wlieel had rest, 
It was because the other was at work. 

In many of the customs and courtesies of life she was doubt- 
less rude and unpolished. A helpmate to her husband, she did 
not disdain to aid him in the field. While occupied with house- 
hold duties her dress, and that of her daughters, was coarse 
homespun ; and often in the summer, to make her many busy 
steps in the farm-kitchen the lighter, she discarded shoes. But 
for all that, her posterity have no cause for being ashamed of 
this industrious German matron ; she was the mother of vigorous 
children, who developed into men and women useful and beloved. 
They, in their turn, transmitted to their descendants capacities 
for leading worthy and profitable lives. 

The "living-room," or farm-kitchen, was Mariah Katrina's 
kingdom, as it has been for all the housewives of the " Old 
Stone House" from that time down. It served for many pur- 
poses, and it was there that all the home life centred. With 
the exception of what was baked in the Dutch oven in the outer- 
kitchen, the cooking was done before or in the cavernous fire- 
place, around which were hung warming-pans, flat-irons, skil- 
lets, teapots and other necessaries, while from the " chimbley's" 
capacious throat depended cranes, hooks, pots, trammels and 
smokejacks. This was even before the time, in farmers' families, 
of tin roasting-jacks ; turkeys used to be suspended by twine 
before the fire, and kept revolving, while the basting gravy 
dripped to a pan below. The domestic conveniences of that age 
did not include closets ; household articles were distributed about 
the walls of this farm-kitchen, hung on cop-stocks — wooden 
pegs, driven into the beams of the low-studded ceiling. On the 

A View of the Farm-Kitchen. 241 

clresser were rows of polished pewter platters and vessels, stand- 
ing cheek by jowl with well-scoured wooden trenchers, while 
laid away on the shelves of the great walnut press were piles of 
the family's coarse linen. In the corner stood two small wooden 
mortars, in which were pounded and powdered the mustard and 
coffee ; and on a convenient shelf were placed the lights for this 
world and the next, — a round iron tinder-box with its attendant 
flint and steel, and the huge family Bible, its pages black with 
quaint German characters. Pewter and copper were the mat- 
erials from which many of the drinking vessels and utensils were 
made, china and glass being in but little use. The precious 
metals were not common, except among the very rich, although 
all well-to-do farmers carried a silver watch and snuff-box, the 
latter being in frequent requisition. Tobacco was smoked in 
pipes, of which Johannes had brought a good supply from the 
old country ; segars were unknown in the " Old Stone House," 
indeed, throughout the colony in that century they were rarely 
seen outside of the large cities. 

Much of the space of the chambers in this Bedminster dwelling 
was occupied by mammoth " four-posters," stuffed with thick 
feathei'-beds that were covered by many-colored quilts and 
counterpanes of calico, durant and calamanco — whatever the last 
two may have been. Testers of cloth and curtains of chintz 
hung from above, while vallances of dimity reached to the floor. 
Miich of the bedroom furniture was heavy, cumbersome and 
home-made, red cedar being the favorite wood, as it was consid- 
ered vermin proof and indestructible. The upper rooms, like the 
one below, then as now, were destitute of closets. People are 
not apt to feel the need of what they have never possessed ; 
otherwise we might suppose that Mariah Katrina and her 
daughters were much inconvenienced for the want of closet 
room. If you are curious to know in what kind of garments 
they were accustomed to array themselves, we may, in fancy, 
mount the oaken staircase to the garret, and there behold the 
treasures of clothing, of which women in the olden time had a 
great profusion Hanging on pegs driven in the wall, and 
depending from lines stretched from the eaves, were shortgowns, 
overgowns, outer garments and petticoats. The number of the 
last would now seem excessive, but colonial women thought at 

242 The Story of an Old Farm. 

least fifteen necessaiy, while the Germans and Dutch often had 
twice that number. They were generally of tow, flannel and 
linsey-woolsey, and the young women of a household spent much 
of their girlhood in laying in a stock of petticoats for matronly 
uses. The shortgowns were of kersey, calamanco and homespun, 
but the frocks and outer garments were made of gay fabrics, the 
names of some of which are now obsolete ; beside satins, silks and 
velvets, there were in use taffety, beaver, French tabby, milinet, 
moreen, groset, Holland linen, bombazine, and " boughten 

The men of that time, even in farming communities, were not 
insensible to the picturesqueness of variety and color in their 
garb. For daily wear, buckskin, leather, homespun and worsted 
fabrics were common, but on Sundays and on gala occasions 
prosperous yeomen were often clad in white, blue and crimson 
broadcloth coats, with short-clothes of plush, stockinet, yellow 
nankin, and even velvet. 

In the living-room, or farm-kitchen, the meals Avere eaten, 
friends were entertained, and the spinning done ; while just 
beyond the door, in the cellar on the same level, stood the clumsy 
loom, upon which the women banged away at odd times in mak- 
ing linen cloths and woollen goods for the family clothing. Flax 
was to Johannes a most important crop ; its treatment was 
largely within the province of the women of his household, from 
the pulling in the fields to the making, dressing, hatcheling, and 
spinning. This was before the days of cotton, and flax had 
many uses ; in addition to being prepared for the loom, mats and 
cushions were made from the coarse '^ hock-tow," and the rope, 
or finer tow, was twisted by the hands into long strands of yarn, 
from which were manufactured the farm cords and ropes. Deli- 
cate girls would seem to have had no place in the social economy 
of colonial farm families. They must needs have had strong 
arms and stout hips to have been able to lug the big iron kettles, 
or to have hung them on the great swinging crane of the yawn- 
ing fireplace. Strength was also necessary to handle the large 
sticks of hickory that kept the pot a-boiling, or the vast oven 
heated to just the point necessary for properly browning the 
batches of rye and wheaten loaves, the big pans of beans, and 
the cakes, puddings, and thick pies. Washing-day must have 

Washing-Day at the Old Stone House. 243 

been a sore affliction to the women-folk of the " Old Farm." 
When Monday came a roaring fire was built alongside the wash- 
house — on the bank of the brook— over which was suspended an 
iron pot in which the clothes were boiled. Washing machines 
and wringers were not — and even their predecessors, the corru- 
gated washboard and washtub, were unknown. The stream fur- 
nished a generous tub, and stout arms did the wringing. When 
the dirt and grime had been loosened by boiling the coarse 
clothing was put in the pounding barrel, and well thumped 
with a wooden pounder until the dirt was supposed to be elimi- 
nated. A rude washing machine — but it is said to have done 
eflfective service, though the fine fabrics of our day would find 
such rough handling rather severe ; not only the dirt, but the 
texture would be eliminated. 

The years roll on ! All this time the three hundred and 
sixty-seven acres of wild lands are gradually developing into a 
fine farm. Changes, too, are taking place in the family in which 
we are so much interested. Aaron, the first born, has brought 
home a wife — Charlotte Miller. Who were her parents our 
investigations do not show, nor are we any the wiser as to the 
date of the marriage ; it was probably about the year 1757, 
as their first child, John — the future Revolutionary soldier — was 
born on the thirty -first of July, 1758. If our surmise is correct, 
this would make the mother twenty-three years old at the 
time of her marriage, as she was born on the fourteenth of May, 
1734. To man Heaven gives its best gift in a good wife ; and 
so was Aaron blessed in Charlotte. Though we are ignorant of 
her parentage, she was evidently the daughter of a good mother, 
for of such are the best wives made. For over forty years she 
added to the comfort and happiness of her husband and children, 
and lived in the " Old Stone House " the life of Solomon's 
virtuous woman, for "• the heart of her husband safely trusted in 
her, and she did him good, and not evil, all her days." 

There has not been preserved to us an account of Aaron's 
marriage. It is to be regretted ; — as in the olden time there 
were many quaint customs and observances attendant upon 
weddings. They were not confined to the ceremony ; the occa- 
sion of bringing the wife home — called the infare — was one of 
great festivity, often prolonged for several days, the kinsfolk and 

244 The Story of an Old Farm. 

neighbors being bidden from far and near. The laws regarding 
marriages were then exceedingly strict. It was necessary 
for the contracting parties to have the bans published three 
times, or else procure from the governor of the province a license, 
which would not be granted unless the bridegroom appeared in 
person before the chief magistrate, accompanied by two promi- 
nent citizens. These latter were obliged to testify that they 
knew of no lawful obstacles to the marriage ; and to give a bond 
that they would be answerable for any damages that might arise 
because of any previous promise of marriage having been made, 
or for any complaints against the contracting parties by their 
relatives, guardians, or masters. All of the above preliminaries 
having been complied with, the governor delivered the license 
upon the receipt of twenty-five shillings currency, which fees 
materially added to the amount of his annual income. 

There were other peculiar marriage laws in the province. 
One relating to widows was particularly diverting. This was 
before the day of acts protecting the rights of a married woman. 
She could hold no property individually, and on the death of her 
husband had not legal ownership of her own wearing-apparel 
unless bequeathed to her ; otherwise the clothes on her back 
belonged to the estate of her husband. If that estate proved 
insolvent, and the widow remarried, care had to be taken that 
the perplexities of her iirst husband's affairs did not attach to 
those of the second. To do this it was necessary for her to be 
married in nothing but her shift, the, giving up of her clothes to 
the creditors of her deceased husband releasing her from further 
claims. After the ceremony she was at once arrayed in clothing 
presented by the new husband. Professor Kalm, the Swedish 
traveller, quotes the following account as having been read in 
1749 in the " Pennsylvania Gazette ;" the circumstances having 
occurred in New Jersey : 

A woman went with no other dress than her shift out of the house of her 
deceased hushand to tliat of her bridegroom, who met her half way with fine 
new clotJies, and said before all wlio were present that he lent them to his bride ; 
and put them on witli his own hands. It seems he said that he lent the clothes 
lest if he said he gave them the creditors of the first husband should come and 
take them from her, pretending that she was looked upon as ihe relict of her 
first husband, before she was married to the second. 

Yes ! the procession of the generations has commenced. The 


The Household in 1760. 245 

" Old Stone House " is now a home in the truest sense, for its 
rooms have echoed to the cry of a baby ; within its walls for the 
first time a mother has looked with eyes of love into those of her 
infant — the sweetest, tenderest, happiest look that can come from 
a woman. Johannes and Mariah now mount to a higher plane 
in the family circle. Clothed in the honor and dignity of their 
advancing years, they sit on either side of the fireplace with 
grandchildren at their knees. For the first little one did not 
remain king ; others followed to claim their share of the house- 
hold affections — Catharine, born the fifteenth of JiUy, 1761, and 
Daniel, the writer's grandfather, born on the twenty-eighth of 
October, 1763. The house can now be said to be furnished ; for 
it is Southey, I think, who declares that none can be called com- 
pletely so until there is a kitten on the hearth, and a child of at 
least three years playing about its chambers. 

It is now many years since Johannes, his wife, and their little 
flock passed through the Bach-gate of the ancient city of Ben- 
dorf, and turned their steps westward. He was still a young 
man then, but now his hair and that of his dame is thin and rap- 
idly frosting. As he looks back there can be no call for regret 
at his having come to America. Surveying his comfortable 
homestead and contented household, he must appreciate how 
signally he has been prospered. Successful in his avocations, 
honored by his brethren of the church, and loved by his children, 
for what more could he have asked ? Death has not crossed his 
threshold ; his family is intact though not all together. Aaron, 
his prop and stay, is to succeed him on the farm and in the tan- 
nery ; Fanny, married to prosperous Jacob Kline, is already the 
happy mother of several children. Another of the brood being 
old enough to fly, has taken wing and left the family nest ; for 
Andrew, the second son, having found a wife, has made his way 
into Sussex county. The two other boys and the daughter 
Maria, though men and women grown, are still at home, con- 
tributing their share to the family toil and joy. 

The weather-vane faces the direction of the wind ! — so the 
faithful German heart ever veers toward fatherland. As our 
immigrant-ancestor, with his gray-haired wife, slowly floats down 
the river of life toward the open sea of eternity, his barque 
freighted with pious hopes, he still remembers the village of 

246 The Story of an Old Farm. 

gray antiquity on the banks of the far-distant Rhine. Though 
he has sworn honest fealty to another government, after having 
been forced into expatriation by the unjust laws of his own, he 
has not forgotten that east of the Alantic ocean there lies a fair 
country, to which the invisible links of affection still chain his 
memory. Through all the years of his American life he has con- 
tinued in correspondence with relatives and friends in Germany. 
Among the letters preserved is one from his wife's brother, the 
burgomaster of Hochstenbach, written in 1760, with which I 
will close this chapter. It tells the same story, as have the 
others, of the miseries of continental warfare. It seems a stately, 
foni^al letter to have been written to a sister who was over 
three thousand miles away, and from whom the writer had been 
separated for a quarter of a century. 

Hochstenbach, 20 April, 1760. 

Much beloved brother-in-law and dear sister : Your honored letter of 
September 28th, 1759, we have duly received on the 9th of January, 1760, and 
noticed to our great joy that you and 3'our good children are in good health, on 
behalf of which we heartily congratulate you. 

As regai-ds ourselves we have, so far, Thanks to our Lord, also been enjoying 
good health. Our country has been marched over for several years by French 
Troops, exacting from us, even last year yet, strong forages to be delivered in 
Bendorf and Glabach, and in the winter and last spring in Limburg, so that the 
poorer class of subjects keep scarcely enough for his own use ; May the Almighty 
soon give us peace again. 

From Bendorf I have to report that cousin Job. Geo. Kirberger died a few 
years ago, leaving six children behind. Cousin Hager and his lady and their 
children are well. In the mean time we wish you our Lord's Mercy, and that he 
may bless you all. With our best salutations, I remain 

Your sincere brother and brother-in-law, 

H. Kirberger. 



The Death of Johannes and Mariah in 1763 — Changes in the 
Toivnship — The Butch Congregations of the Baritan Valley 
— The Building of Bedminster Church. 

And now Johannes' days are on the wane. Their meridian 
has long since passed, and the short afternoon having merged 
into the sober evening of life, he is reaping the comforts and 
consolations resulting from the active and useful employments of 
youth and middle age. Like a traveller who at the close of day 
has reached a high hill whose summit is bathed in the hues of 
the setting sun, he is able to look back with satisfaction over 
the pleasant country that has been traversed. Our pilgrim has 
attained that quiet dreamy hour of life, '' between the lights," 
when his ripened years bring the tranquil enjoyments of repose 
and retrospection. Relieved from labor by the children who 
have learned habits of industry by his example, they now repay 
him for many days of anxious and devoted care. 

Sooner or later all things must pass away. The undaunted 
one — the messenger of death — inevitably draws near. Johannes 
must leave his lands, his well-built house, his orchards and his 
woods, and take up his abode beyond that mysterious shade — 
that dim spectral mist which curtains time from eternity. There 
came a day, when the year 1763 was hastening to its close, on 
which Johannes' hour was come. The mellow October weeks 
had gone — the Indian summer passed — the golden-rod still stood 
thickly along the fences, but the many-colored asters which 
alone remained in the old garden were sprinkling their petals 
over its lonely beds. It was on the sixteenth day of that gloom- 
iest month of all the year, when the chill November rains were 
robbing the earth of its fruits and verdure and ,beating from the 

248 The Story of an Old Farm. 

branches of the trees their russet leaves, that our German 
ancestor folded his hands, and was at rest. Calm was his exit, 
for his end was peace. He was mourned in the "Old Stone 
House," but he foimd a companion awaiting him beyond the 
pearly gates, for his faithful old wife Mariah had died on the 
seventeenth day of October — old no longer, for we may believe 
with Mohamet that old women never reach heaven — they all 
grow young on the journey. 

Let us preserve the memory of these honest German people. 
In their dreamless sleep for over a century, they have lain side 
by side under the long grass of the Lutheran burying-ground at 
Pluckamin. Generations that followed in their footsteps have 
like them disappeared from the earth. But we, who yet linger 
amid scenes that were familiar to their eyes, may consider with 
gratitude and affection of our indebtedness to these simple Rhine 
folk and their fellow-pioneers. Their hands grew hard in mak- 
ing smooth rugged paths on which we now walk with ease. Let 
their names be revered by their kindred and their honest hard- 
working lives noted and recorded. " They rest from their labors, 
and their works do follow them." These simple-minded men 
and women — the forefathers and foremothers of Bedminster — 
found this township a wilderness. By their virtue and their 
intelligent industry they left it planted with churches, schools 
and homesteads, and guarded by laws, social and legal, in which 
were laid the foundations of the happiness of future generations. 

Johannes is dead, and his first-born reigns in his stead. The 
father left behind him the name of a good man. He also left to 
succeed him a good son, well able to t&.ke up the work where it 
had been laid down, and quite equal to perform all the duties of 
life with the same honesty of purpose and simple earnestness of 
endeavor as had characterized the daily walk of the parent. With 
the progression of the story of the '^Old Farm" there will be much 
to tell of the busy and useful life passed by Aaron on these ances- 
tral acres and in the community, before he ceased to labor, and 
at the rounded age of eighty-one, made way in his turn for the 
worthy son who succeeded him. As we shall have occasion to 
show, he was in every respect a man of affairs, and from the 
mass of his papers in my possession it is evident that for the 
forty-five years he survived Johannes in the ''Old Stone House " 

Changes in Bedminster. 249 

he played a no unimportant part in the drama of Bedminster 

Seed-time and harvest come and go ! Springtime and autumn 
slip by ! meanwhile the country roundabout has undergone 
great changes. Latent forces that have been lying buried for 
seons of time in these Bedminster hiUs and valleys, ready to res- 
pond to man's endeavor and desire, are now in active operation. 
The warm, palpitating sunlight heretofore arrested one hundred 
feet from the ground by the foliage of the rounded tree-tops, now 
bathes with its genial heat broad open spaces, here and there 
throughout the township, where children play in gardens and 
orchards, and the lusty corn tosses its yeUow tresses over well- 
tilled fields. The rude dwellings of the early inhabitants have 
undergone prosperous transformations, and during the eleven 
years that the " Old Stone House" has been standing, many 
industries have sprung into active existence. Across the brook 
a grist and saw mill are in operation, and homesteads begin to 
mosaic the hills that roll away toward Peapack. In the direction of 
Lamington, farms are multiplying; and on the Axtell tract, 
below where are now the Lesser and Larger Cross Roads, human 
thrift has been busy, until patches of open and woodland alter- 
nate, and sunlight and shadow checker all that portion of the 

Lnmediately adjoining the " Old Farm" on the south, 
Jacobus Van Doren purchased of William Axtell, about the 
year 1760, two hundred and eighty-three acres of land, and 
erected a house where is now the residence of Cornelius M. 
Wyckoff. This land he sold in 1815 to Captain Joseph Nevius, 
who, some years later, conveyed that portion lying east of the 
Peapack road to Cornelius M. Wyckoff, whose son — of the same 
name — is now in possession. The original house was taken 
down in 1820 to make room for the present Wyckoff dwelling. 
Jacobus Van Doren was the grandson of Jacobus Van Doom, 
who migrated from Long Island to Monmouth county about the 
year 1698, He was also the nephew of that Abraham Van 
Doren, who it is said was sheriff of Somerset county for twenty 
years, and whom we found in 1752 superintending the burning 
at Millstone of the negro slave murderer of Jacob Van Neste. 
Jacobus was the eldest of the seventeen children of Christian 

250 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Van Doren and Alche Schenck, who settled on the Amwell road 
in Middlebush about 1723. In Doniine Leydt's time Christian 
was an elder in the First Reformed Dutch church at New Bruns- 
wick, and Ralph Voorhees tells us in " Our Home" that it was 
his custom on Sunday mornings to ride to church, accompanied 
by his wife and ten children, all well mounted on separate horses. 
Methinks this cavalcade would serve a painter as an excellent 
subject for a colonial picture ; and that this peaceful Sabbath- 
day march of good-man Van Doren, with his household troop 
drawing rein in front of the old Dutch church, would present a 
scene quite equalling in interest those of the cavalry that often 
seem just ready to step out of a canvas of De ,TaiUe, or De 

The memory of Mrs. Christian (Alche) Van Doren is revered 
as that of one of Somerset's mothers in Israel. She was the 
life-long friend of Jufvrouw Hardenbergh — of whom much more 
hereafter — and, though living six miles distant, was a constant 
attendant at church until her ninety-fifth year. When this 
remarkable old lady died she left three hundred and fifty-two 
living descendants, among whom were two hundred great-grand- 
children and six great-great-grandchildren. The size of families 
in those early days would seem to have been commensurate with 
the needs of population. Of her children, all but one lived to an 
old age, and raised families ; and one of her grandchildren, fol- 
lowing his grandparent's example, had seventeen children. The 
most of her twelve boys were called after the patriarchs, proph- 
ets and apostles, nor would she ever permit tlieir names to be 
shortened ; there were no Jakes, Abes, Ikes, Petes or Jacks in 
her household. Mrs. Van Doren had the happiness of seeing 
all of her sons prominent in the Dutch church. Jacobus was 
active in sustaining the Bedminster church ; in an old salary 
subscription list, in ray hands, his name frequently appears as 
well as that of his cousin Aaron who, together with the latter's 
brother John, settled about this time in Peapack, establishing an 
industry, known to this day as Van Doren's mills. Lewis A. 
Van Doren, their present owner, is the grandson of John. His 
fatlier, William A. Van Doren, in about 1832 introduced and oper- 
ated the first threshing machine in Bedminster. It was a primitive 
affair requiring eight horses attached to a lever-power to do the 

Some of the Eakly Chueches. 251 

work accomplished now by two. Notwithstanding its clumsiness 
it was considered a great improvement over former methods, as 
hy it in one week as much grain was threshed as until then 
four men had been able to hammer and tread in two months 
with swingle-clubs and six horses. 

Joseph Nevius, to whom Jacobus Van Doren sold his land in 
1815, was a descendant of Johannes Nevius, who came to New 
Amsterdam from Solen in Westphalia early in the seventeenth 
century. His grandson Petrus was living at Flatbush in 1738, 
and later removed to Somerset county, and through him are the 
Raritan valley Neviuses descended. Joseph, before settling in 
Bedminster, had been the popidar host of the Blackhorse 
tavern at Mendham in Morris county. His eldest daughter, 
Ann, married John Melick, grandson of Aaron, and lived for 
many years in the '' Old Stone House," dying at the age of 
seventy-six on the seventh of October, 1876. She was a woman 
of strong character and many virtues ; throughout her life she 
held a position in the community of more than usual influence, 
and enjoyed the respect and affection of all with whom she came 
in contact. Often called upon in time of need for counsel or 
help, her noble nature was ever as ready to condemn the wrong 
as to uphold the good and the true, and the memory of " Aunt 
Ann" is cherished, not only by her kindred, but by all with whom 
she was intimate, and especially by the poor, who were always 
her care. 

Previous to the year 1763, without doubt, the most important 
addition to this Bedminster neighborhood was the organization of 
the congregation of the Reformed Dutch church and the erection 
of its first church building. If not a majority, certainly a great 
number of the settlers of the township were of this religious per- 
suasion, and were connected with one of the Dutch congrega- 
tions of the Raritan valley. When the Presbyterians had 
erected their house of worship at Lamington, and the Lutherans 
had organized Zion and St. Paul's churches at New Germantown 
and Pluckamin, many as a matter of convenience joined those 
congregations, but most of the people still made their way south- 
ward each Sunday. The nearest houses of worship were the 
" Raritan Church" at Van Veghten's bridge and the " Church of 
. North Branch" at the village of Readington. The first edifice 

252 Thk Story of an Old Farm. 

of the latter congregation was a log structure with a frame addi- 
tion, erected about 1717, that stood near the forks of the river, on 
the brow of the hill just east of the junction of the Readington 
and North Branch village highways. In 1738 a new building 
was erected near the site of the present edilice at Readington. 
The Raritan church — now the "First Reformed Church at Somer- 
ville" — was erected, probably in 1721, on land donated by Michael 
Van Veghten, on the bluff facing the Raritan river about one 
quarter of a mile below the present bridge near Finderne rail- 
way station. Doctor Messier records that this congregation was 
in existence long before it had a church building, its meetings 
probably being held in some private house or barn. The first 
consistory entry is of the year 1699 when John Tuyneson was 
installed elder and Pieter Van Neste, deacon by the Reverend 
Guillaume Bertholf. 

The name of this minister often appears among the early 
records of the Dutch churches of Somerset, and he seems 
to have been an itinerant domine, having on his conscience 
the spiritual welfare of all the people of Holland descent 
in a wide area of country. He was sent to the Netherlands in 
1693 by the congregations of Hackensack and Aquackanonck 
that he might be ordained by the chassis of Amsterdam. Mr. 
Bertholf returned in the following year, the first qualified mini- 
ster of the Dutch Reformed persuasion in the province, and for 
fifteen years was the only pastor for all the country lying 
between Tappan in New York and the upper Raritan in New 
Jersey, including Tarry town, Staten Island, Pompton, and Sec- 
ond River or Belleville. Until his death in 1724 he labored 
unremittingly to spread the field of usefidness of the Dutch 
church, and it is said that his mild .and placid eloquence and 
gentle but deeply-religious nature diffused a holy savor of piety 
throughout all the connnunities that were so happy as to fall 
under his kindly influences. The two churches of Raritan and 
" North Branch" in the beginning of the last century were " col- 
legiate'' with the one at Three Mile Run ; which before 1717 
divided and erected churches at Six Mile Run and at New 

Church buildings were primitive affairs in those days. 
The one at Six Mile Run was but a mere shell, with the 

Theodorus Jacobus Fkelinghutsen. 253 

earth for a floor. Its worshippers were ignorant of pews and 
aisles, the only seats being those brought with them each Sun- 
day from home. These four congregations were without regular 
preaching ; occasionally they would be visited by Mr. Bertholf, 
or by some missionary deputed by him, when commimion, bap- 
tism and other religious rites would be administered. It is fair 
to presume that services of some kind alternated in the different 
churches conducted by the congregation's lay preachers or " fore 
readers." The title of the official, who served the Dutch con- 
gregations in this capacity, was voorlecser. His duty it was in 
the absence of the minister to read prayers and sermons, cate- 
chise the children, and to generally maintain public worship and 
nourish the seeds of piety. 

The four congregations, about the year 1717, joined in 
applying to the home church in Holland, for a permanent 
pastor. Two years later Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen 
was sent out to them by the ship King George, Captain 
Goelet. He preached his first sermon in Somerset county 
on the thirty-first of January, 1720. We learn from Sprague's 
" Annals of the American Pulpit" that he was the son of 
Johannes Henricus Frelinghuysen, pastor of the Dutch church 
at Lingen in East Friesland, now a portion of the kingdom of 
Hanover, where he was born about the year 1691. He married 
Eva, the daughter of Albert Terhune, a wealthy farmer of Flat- 
bush, Long Island, and had seven children. His five sons all 
entered the ministry of the Reformed Dutch church, and his two 
daughters married ministers in the same communion. Singular 
to relate not one of the domine's sons was living ten years after 
their father's death. Mr. Frelinghuysen did a great work in 
thoroughly establishing the Dutch church in Somerset. He is 
said to have been a ripe scholar in Latin, Greek and his own 
language, and Doctor Messier ranks him among the Blairs, Ten- 
nents, Mathers and other eminent clergymen of his age. White- 
field, Jonathan Edwards and Gilbert Tennent have left on rec- 
ord their appreciation of the labors and unceasing diligence of 
this Dutch Calvinistic minister, whereby the " wilderness was 
converted into the garden of the Lord." Domine Frelinghuysen 
lived at Three Mile Run, just west of New Brunswick, on a farm 
of two hundred acres, lately owned by E. Vantine Bronson. 

254 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Here he died about the year 1747, and was buried in the old 
Six Mile Run graveyard, now Elm Ridge cemetery. Before his 
death his duties, which extended over three hundred square 
miles of territory, had been increased by the organization in 
1727 of the congregation ^' op de Millstone,''^ now known as 
Harlingen church. After Mr. Frelinghuysen's death, the con- 
gregations of New Brunswick and Six Mile Run withdrew from 
the others of the Raritan valley, and extended a call to the Rev- 
erend John Leydt. The remaining churches invited Theodorus 
Jacobus Frelinghuy sen's second son, John, to become their pastor. 
He was born in 1727, and preached his first sermon in the Rari- 
tan church in the summer of 1750 from the text, " Instead of 
thy fathers shall be thy children." He had just returned from 
Holland, where he had been to obtain from the classis of Amster- 
dam license to preach. He brought with him from the old coun- 
try a wife — Dinah Van Bergh — a woman of such virtue and 
piety that during her long life of fifty-six years in Somerset, it is 
said few ministers exercised more infiuence for good in that com- 
munity than did — as she was afterwards known — the " Jufvrouw 
Hardenbergh." A copy of John Frelinghuy sen's call from the 
three consistories is preserved among the archives of the Somer- 
viUe church ; after stipulating that he should preach the word of 
God in the Dutch language, faithfully exercise discipline upon 
offending church members, and generally perform the duties of 
a servant of Christ, " after the manner of our Reformed Low 
Dutch church, established at the Synod of Dordrecht, 1618, 
1619," it goes on to say : 

Now in order to be a little more definite, your Reverence will be required to 
preach, alternating, in each of the afore-mentioned churches, and, when in 
health, twice on each Lord's Day, except in winter, and then only once, as the 
custom here is, and also upon tlie so-called Feast Days, as is customary in the 
Reformed Low Dutch churches. Also, your Reverence will be required to take 
charge of the catechizing of tiie youth, of the visitation of families and of the 
sick, as time and opportunity permit. 

To assure your Reverence that this is our sincere desire, we promise you, in the 
name of our churches, besides all love and esteem which belongs to a faithful 
servant of C'iirist, to provide, first, for a yearly salary of one hundred and twenty- 
five pounds, current money at eight shillings an ounce; the half of which, col- 
lected by tlie elders and deacons, shall be paid each half year; and a suitable 
dwelling, with thirty acres of land. 

The house referred to in the call was erected in 1751, and can 

A Divinity Student's Wooing. 255 

still be seen as a portion of the residence of the late Joshua 
Doughty, on Somerset street in Somerville. It is constructed of 
bricks that the domine brought with him from Holland in the same 
vessel with his wife. John Frelinghuysen's pastorate lasted 
but three years. While visiting relatives on Long Island he was 
taken alarmingly ill, and there died in September, 1854. Mrs. 
Frelinghuysen, who had accompanied him, returned home with 
the body of her husband in a boat so contracted and inconvenient 
that, as her biographer recounts, she was compelled, with a very 
great shock to her sensibilities, to step upon the coffin in passing 
to the shore. The children of this marriage were a son and a 
daughter. The former — Frederick — grew up to be eloquent at 
the bar, wise in the councils of the nation, and valiant in Revo- 
lutionary fields. Of all the five sons of Theodoris Jacobus, John 
was the only one who left descendants, and now for over one 
hundred and thirty years each successive generation of Freling- 
huysens has presented one or more illustrious sons to the state 
and country. 

At the time of this minister's death he had with him 
in his house of Holland bricks three young men as students. 
Among them was Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, then but sixteen 
years old, who was preparing for the ministry. He was born at 
Rosendale, New York, being the great-grandson of Johannes 
Hardenbergh, who emigrated from Germany soon after 1650. 
His son, in connection with Robert Livingston, received a patent 
for all of Sullivan and a portion of Delaware county in New 
York. On this ^' Hardenbergh patent," this young divinity 
student was bom, his father, Colonel Johannes, having inherited 
a great portion of the estate. Young Hardenbergh must early 
have evinced much talent and ability, as we find that John Fre- 
linghuysen's congregations decided that as soon as ordained he 
should be their new minister. In the meantime Mr. Freling- 
huysen's widow had determined, after her short residence in 
America, to return with her two children to her parents in Hol- 
land. Within a few months preparations for the journey were 
completed, and the day fixed for leaving for New York, where 
she was to embark. But, meanwhile, propinquity, that god- 
father of so many marriages, had been doing its work on the 
susceptible heart of the young divinity student. Alarmed at the. 

256 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

prospect of the near departure of the object of his affections, he 
suddenly surprised the widow of less than a year with an offer of 
marriage. In her astonishment she is said to have cried out : 
*' My child, what are you thinking about ! " Although not imme- 
diately, the yomig lover ultimately had no difficulty in convinc- 
ing her of just what he was thinking. Her sex asserted itself. 
The good Dutch lady could not withstand the temptation of a 
yoimg and ardent husband, so her effects were unpacked and the 
voyage to the old country abandoned. They were married, and 
she retired to the manorial homestead of her new husband's 
father, near Kingston, New York, where she awaited his 
majority and the completion of his studies. Hardenbergh was 
at this time not yet seventeen, while his wife was approaching 

In May, 1758, Mr. and Mrs. Hardenbergh were again occupy- 
ing John Frelinghuysen's brick house in Somerville, or as that 
whole section was then known, Raritan, and the young man of 
barely twenty-one installed as the pastor of the four united con- 
gregations of Raritan, North Branch, Millstone, and Neshanic. 
The last named, had been organized in 1752, and set off from 
the North Branch congregation, which had long before this 
abandoned its primitive house of worship, and built a new church 
three miles away at Readington. The ecclesiastical history of 
Somerset county will never be completely written without devot- 
ing many pages to the character and attainments of this virtuous 
woman — " Jufvrouw Hardenbergh." For the fifty years that 
she bore this honored name her deeply religious nature was 
alike a prop and stay to the faith of timid believers, and a com- 
fort and encouragement to profound theologians and the ablest 
occupants of the Reformed Dutch pidpits. Doctor Messier, in a 
tribute to the ministry of Mr. Hardenbergh, avers that a large 
share of the usefulness anfl success of this divine can be attrib- 
uted to the influence of his wife. Her father was an Amster- 
dam merchant, and a man of wealth and fashion. She was 
educated in a superior manner, and her tastes cultivated to a 
high degree ; but to her parents' great disappointment, at the 
early age of fourteen her religious impressions became so fixed 
as to cause her to find no pleasure in the allurements and amuse- 
ments of the society of the metropolis. It is said that on one 

Dinah Van Bergh's Journal. 257 

occasion, when forced by her father to attend a dancing school, 
she to his great anger hid behind the seats, and resohitely refused 
to participate in what she considered frivolous amusements. At 
another time — while she was yet a child — her parents were 
entertaining some friends, and the guests, as was not unusual at 
that period, were amusing themselves by playing cards for 
money. She did not hesitate to walk into the drawing-room 
and in sevei'e tones solemnly warn her father and his friends 
against the danger of so vain and sinful a pleasure. 

Every incident in the daily life of this remarkable woman 
produced a religious influence, and it woidd seem that no exper- 
ience could be hers without resulting in an individual blessing. 
Throughout her life she had implicit confidence in special provi- 
dences, and many instances are related in which she claimed to 
have experienced undoubted proofs of direct answer to prayer. 
It was her constant habit to make affairs of either great or minor 
importance a matter of personal appeal to the Almighty. This 
religious habit was not the out-growth of years, or of ministerial 
associations, but a custom from her youth up. In the Sage 
library at New Brunswick is preserved a voluminous journal 
closely written in Dutch in a fine feminine hand, which, with 
much redundancy of expression and considerable repetition, nar- 
rates the operation of her mind under the " Divine guidance " 
for nine months during the year 1747. This, of course, was 
when she was living in Amsterdam and still a maiden. I cannot 
refrain from drawing a little upon this interesting diary to 
further illustrate the character of Dinah Van Bergh. It was 
written at the time when Louis XV. and Frederick the Great 
were pursuing their designs against Maria Theresa in the Neth- 
erlands, and when the French king, continuing his career of 
success after Fontenoy, had mastered nearly all of Flanders. 
The ^' barbarous and vile treatment " of the Hollanders by the 
French greatly disturbed this young Dutch girl's repose of mind. 
She writes in her journal : — 

It stirs me up the more to protest against them at the Throne, to imprecate 
righteous vengeance on that Assyrian and oppressor. 

Although she faithfuUy plead that the Netherlands might be 

delivered fi-om the French, she acknowledges : — 

258 The Story of an Old Farm. 

I could inwardly approve of it and justify God should He give us over to 
destruction, and bring in upon our land that boar of the wood — I mean France, 
that enemy of the heritage of God. 

During one week that this journal was in hand Zealand was 
threatened with an invasion by the French army, owing to the 
intense cold having converted the bays and rivers into ice 
bridges strong enoiigh to permit the passage in safety of horses 
and artillery. On Sunday Dinah came to the rescue of her 
imperilled country. All day she prayed that the threatened 
affliction might be averted. Her diary records : — 

On Monday I was enabled to continue in filial supplications to God in Christ 
that if it might so be a change might occur in the weather ; and, oh, adorable 
Goodness ! there was on Tuesday as powerful and delightful a thaw as was ever 
seen. Oh, how humble was I thus rendered before ray compassionate God, and 
what a lesson of confidence was I tliereby taught! Our enemies had boasted that 
they would do something with which the whole of Europe would resound, now I 
was led to say, " Oh, Enemy, the daughter of Zion hath laughed thee to scorn, and 
shaken her head at thee ; for the Lord has strengthened the bars of our gates." 

On another occasion Zealand w^as threatened wdth a dreadful 
inundation owing to very high northerly winds having prevailed 
for several days. But Dinah dammed the flood with her prayers, 
which induced the Lord, as she recounts : — 

To moderate the calamity by giving us an east wind, and that for days in suc- 
cession, connected Avith weather of a most delightful character. 

One day, being stricken with a fever in a friend's house, her 
life was despaired of. But on praying for recovery she informs 
us that an intimation was given that on a certain date — the six- 
teenth of September — convalescence would begin. She told her 
friend, and awaited with confidence the day. It came, and, 
though previously helpless, she arose and walked several times 
across the floor, and recovery was assured from that hour. The 
attendant physician, who was an unbeliever, had considered her 
death imminent ; he was so aff'ected by this sudden restoration 
to health that it resulted in his conversion. The good woman 
always insisted that this visit to her friend was heaven-directed, 
in order that her miraculous healing might be the means of 
awakening the soul of this sceptical doctor. 

Her coming to America and both of her marriages were due, 
as she believed, to a special providence. When yoimg John 
Frelinghuysen was in Holland seeking ordination, he pleaded in 

Dinah Van Bergh's Two Marriages. 


vain for Dinah Van Bergh to return with him as his wife. Soon 
after setting out on the home voyage, his vessel was disabled in 
a violent storm and forced to return to port. The young minis- 
ter renewed his suit, urging that the Ruler of storms clearly 
indicated by the disaster, and his consequent return, that the 
Divine pleasure was for her to yield to his desires. This time 
Dinah received intimations, and overcoming her scruples against 
leaving kindred and native land, she braved the opposition of 
her parents and embarked for a wilderness beyond the seas as 
Mrs. Frelinghuysen. 

The story is told that during the passage the ship sprung 
a leak. After days of arduous labor at the pumps the captain 
abandoned all hope of saving the vessel, and so informed pas- 
sengers and crew. Dinah apparently had no fears of a watery 
grave. She retired to her cabin and submitted the case to her 
Heavenly Father. Having full confidence in the efficacy of her 
prayers, she then sat down and awaited with composure the 
result. Nor did she wait long — for almost immediately the 
waters ceased rushing into the hold — the pumps again did their 
work — the ship was saved. Upon an examination being made, 
it was found that a swordfish had miraculously become wedged 
in the open seam of the bottom of the vessel, and thus effectu- 
ally closed the leak. 

The Reverend William Demarest, in a manuscript sketch of 
the life of Dinah Van Bergh, recites that her second marriage 
was also clearly the result of an intimation from on High. It 
appears that the first occasion of Mr. Hardenbergh's expressing 
his love for Mrs. Frelinghuysen was just before the day set for 
the departure for Holland. With her two children she was vis- 
iting for the last time a favorite place on the meadows between 
the house and the river, where she had been accustomed often to 
resort with her husband. While standing there, overwhelmed by 
her emotions, and ^' after," as her biographer writes, " having, 
it may be, just engaged in prayer," her attention was drawn to 
the approaching figure of young Hardenbergh. She received 
him with surprise and expressed displeasure at his thus intrud- 
ing upon her solitude. He excused himself by broaching the 
subject of his deep affection, to all of which she listened with 
indifference and distaste. We may suppose that this first attack 

260 The Story of an Old Farm. 

on the fortress of the widow's heart was several times repeated 
by the undaunted youth before the time appointed for her leav- 
ing Raritan. Nevertheless she did not abate her intentions nor 
delay preparations for the long journey. At last the day of 
departure arrived, and she was just ready to leave the house for 
the sloop that was to convey her to the seaboard when a violent 
storm arose, so wild in its character as to oblige her abandoning, for 
that day at least, all thoughts of leaving home. The detention 
resulted in the vessel on which her passage had been engaged 
sailing without her. The considerable time that elapsed before 
another ship was in readiness for the voyage offered to the young 
student abundant opportunities for pressing his suit, and the 
good woman soon feh that the God of storms for the second time 
plainly indicated the intention of directing her marital affairs. To 
again quote her biographer : — 

The vista down which she directed her view became altogether changed. Her 
bewilderment respecting the divine dealing with her gave way to the delightful 
apprehension of a purjwse on the part of" her Heavenly Father * * * and 
the consummation of the conjugal union lay as a definite thing in the future. 

So it was in all the affairs of her life, the most ordinary occur- 
rences were subjects of prayer ; her daily walk and conversation 
abounded in evidences that to her the interests of religion were 
paramount to every duty, pleasure and experience. It is said 
that so great was her confidence in the Almighty, and in herself, 
that she was resorted to by both weak and strong for pious coun- 
sel. The marked characteristic of her nature was the rounded 
harmony existing between its religious and worldly parts ; the 
spiritual and material blended, and all temporal.relations were in 
perfect adjustment with eternal conditions. Hers was a nature 
that always and under every circumstance was in complete 
correspondence with its spiritual environment, and while others 
of the brightest faith were often attacked by misgivings, her 
belief was ever as steadfast as the everlasting hills, enabling her 
at all times to say with the Psalmist : " For Thou art my hope, 
O Lord God ; Thou art my trust from ray youth." Even minis- 
ters when approaching the pulpit would pause at her pew for 
words of encouragement, which she always had in readiness. To 
quote from Ralph Voorhees' Raritan reminiscences : — 

The Beverend Doctor Ira Condit of New Brunswick, afterwards her minister, 

JuFVROuw Hardenbergh and Doctor Livingston. 261 

requently applied for consolation and advice in seasons of great despondency. 
Atone of these times he went to her, and said he "could not and wou^ri not 
preach." "Domine," said she "go and preach .' you don't know what you can do 
until you try." He had to obey. 

The closing years of Mr. Hardenbergli's life were passed in 
the pastorate of the Dutch church at New Brunswick, and in 
the presidency of Queen's, now Rutgers, college. At his death 
it was greatly desired that he should be succeeded by Doc- 
tor John H. Livingston of New York, who, however, declined 
at that time to change his field of labor. There has been pre- 
served a letter written to him by Jufvrouw Hardenbergh, as 
she was then called, urging that he alter his decision and 
remove to New Jersey. This communication is a curious and 
interesting exhibit of the freedom and authority .with which she 
addressed the eminent clergyman, for although she used the 
most elevated and respectful language, no bishojj in admonish- 
ing and warning a recalcitrant priest could have been more 
authoritative in counsel and advice. The letter begins in this 
wise : — 

Most Reverend Sir 

And worthy Brother in our blessed and 

all-worthy Lord Jesus, Zion's King : 
Constrained by a sense of duty and by love to our Dutch Zion I take the liberty 
to send your Keverence a few lines and once more to commend to you our college 
and church ? 

Mrs. Hardenbergh evidently felt that it was Doctor Living- 
ston's duty to leave New York for New Brunswick, and she did 
not hesitate to write : — 

I fear that you perhaps are not obedient to tlie voice of the Lord as sounding 
forth in the voice of the people. 

She furnished him with abundant scriptural texts whereby his 
views might be strengthened as to its being his duty to do the 
Lord's work in New Jersey, and said : — 

I have heard your Reverence say to my now departed husband that you 
regarded the college as the fountain of our churcii : why then be engaged by the 
streams and let the fountain dry up? The Holy Ghost has made you overseer 
of that part of His House. Oh that like another Zerubbabel you might be 

In another part of her letter she volunteers the information : — 

Large cities are often very dangerous * * * to labor for God is certainly 

262 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

your delight and your happiness. The Lord enable you to discover what is His 
Holy will. 

Farther on she writes : — 

Now worthy Sir I have a single request to make to you ; will your Reverence 
speedily let me know whether you have perfect peace in your mind in relation 
to your residing in New York ? 

She closes the long epistle by expressing her hearty love for 
Mi's. Liringston, and the hope that the Lord would "sustain her 
ladyship in her infirmities." And then with ceremonious sal- 
utations she subscribed herself 

Most Reverend Sir, Your Reverence's handmaid and loving friend in our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

Dinah Hardenbergh, 
by birth Van Bergh. 

Being a woman there must needs be a postscript, which was to 
inform the doctor : 

No one knows of this letter excepting one female friend. It is between the 
Lord and us. 

Mrs. Hardenbergh expressed great fear in this letter that 
the college and church would fall under the sway of a Presby- 
terian, and her apprehensions pi'oved to be well grounded. 
Her husband's successor in the pulpit was Doctor Ira Condit, a 
disciple of John Knox, who, however, conformed to all the 
requirements of the Dutch church. She spoke of him afterward 
as the "beloved Condit," so we may believe she accepted 
Doctor Livingston's refusal at that time with equanimity. 
Another instance is given of her offering advice and admonition 
to a minister. On one occasion a clergyman called to manifest 
his respect, and to profit by her counsel. Before separating 
it was proposed that they should unite in prayer, whereupon 
the domine addressed the Throne of Grace in such loud and 
boisterous tones as to much grieve and annoy the good woman. 
Upon rising from her knees she said to the vociferous supplicant : 
*' Your God, Sir, must be different from mine, for mine can liear 
even though no words be uttered, but yours it seems cannot 
unless addressed in the loudest of tones." 

This excellent woman survived her second husband seventeen 
years, dying in 1807 at the ripe age of eighty-one. It is emi- 
nently proper that we should dwell thus long upon her virt ues and 

Bedminster Church Founded. 263 


peculiarities when it is remembered that she was the first to 
occupy in the Reformed Dutch congregation of Bedmister the 
important position of minister's wife. About the time that young 
Domine Hardenbergh assumed charge of the united congrega- 
tions, many of his flock Avho lived north of Pluckamin, feeling in 
need of a church nearer home, urged the organization of a new 
congregation. The most prominent families in this movement 
were those of Jacobus Van der Veer and Guisbert Sutphen. Of 
the former we have already learned s(miething as to his settling 
on the Axtell tract, near where the Peapack road crosses the 
north branch of the Earitan. He was zealous in religious mat- 
ters ; his name is to be foimd on the books of the Lamington 
Presbyterian church, and in 1756 he subscribed five pounds 
toward the erection of St. Paul's Lutheran church at Pluckamin. 
Guisbert Sutphen lived on a farm lying half a mile north 
of the Larger Cross Roads, which is now owned and occupied 
by his great-grandson, Amos Sutphen. With his wife, Ari- 
ontje Van Pelt, he had entered the township in 1743, travel- 
ling with their children and household goods in an ox-cart 
from Monmouth county, where his father, also named Guisbert, 
had settled early in the century. 

When it was decided to build Bedminster church, differences 
of opinion arose as to the location. Both Sutphen and Van 
der Veer ofi'ered liberal inducements to have the building placed 
at points of their selection. Mr. Sutphen's choice was for the 
vicinity of the Larger Cross Roads, but eventually Mr. Van der 
Veer's views prevailed, and the new structiu-e was erected on the 
site of the present edifice below the village of the Lesser Cross 
Roads, or Bedminster. The first minute of the new con- 
gregation was made by Mr. Hardenbergh in the Raritan 
church books on Christmas, 1758. It records a meeting at the 
parsonage of the consistories of North Branch, Neshanic, o^^ de 
Millstotie, Raritan and Bedminster ; when for the last congrega- 
tion elders Jacobus Van der Veer and Jacob Banta, and deacons 
Rynier Van Neste and Cornelius Lane were appointed " opsin- 
derensP or overseers. It is probable that the church was erected 
in that or the following year. Two acres of land were donated 
by Jacobus Van der Veer, who also furnished fifty pounds 
sterling and one-third of all the oak timber. The same amount 

264 The Story of an Old Farm. 

of money, together with one-half of the oak necessary for the 
frame, was the gift of Guisbert Sutphen. Not then, as would be 
now, were architects, contractors, carpenters and masons called 
together to contribute their brains and labor toward the erection 
of the edifice. The members of the congregation assembled with 
ox-teams, axes and stout arms. By them were the oaks felled, 
the timbers squared and drawn to the spot selected ; perhaps the 
services of Caspar Berger, or some other good mason, were 
secured for laying the foundations, but without doubt much of 
the work was contributed by those most interested. 

And we can well imagine with what interest these simple 
country folk watched the growth and assisted in the completion 
of their new house of worship. The church meant much more 
to the early settlers than now — in those days religion Avas not a 
matter for Sunday's consideration alone — it stood first in every 
one's estimation, taking precedence of all matters secular. 
Philosophy had not yet opened the eyes or befogged the minds 
of these honest Jersey people, and for one of their number to 
have been a doubter, or in any way unorthodox, would have 
insured not only the passive but the active condemnation of every 
able-bodied man in the neighborhood. Nor was there at that 
time the carelessness and callousness as to spiritual things Avhich 
the distresses and demoralization of Revolutionary years subse- 
quently engendered. To a community, therefore, whose chief 
interests and hopes of life all circulated about the church, we can 
readily appreciate that to have been without a house of God 
would seemingly have endangered not only its peace in the next 
world, but the possibility of success in this. So it is easy to 
picture the rejoicing and prayers of thanksgiving that ascended to 
Heaven, when the last nail was driven and the finishing touches 
given to the. new building. 

When completed, a more bare or a more unimaginative struc- 
ture could hardly have been conceived. Prosaic to a degree, 
and entirely wanting in decorative details, it was wholly without 
architectural results save that it enclosed space and shut off the 
weather ; in other words, it was a meeting-house, nothing 
more. It. was nearly square, being a little greater in breadth 
than in length. A peaked roof, without cupola or belfry, cap- 
ped low walls, the side ones being each pierced with two square 

First Service in Bedminster Church. 265 

windows. The roof and exterior walls were similar in appear- 
ance, both being covered with shingles rounded at the ends, that 
had been riven and shaved by members of the congregation. In 
fact all of this prim and precise building was '^ home-made," 
excepting the window glass and nails. The latter were probably 
wrought at Mendham. The Dodds and Axtells of that place 
used to manufacture iron in a primitive fashion from ore that was 
packed over from Dover in sacks on the backs of horses. In the 
broad front gable of the new church was the entrance, the door 
of which opened dij'cctly on the ground without any porch or 
protecting portico. A single aisle extended to the steep stair- 
case which led up into a lofty, round, box-like pulpit, perched on 
a tall pillar or column. The interior was not plastered, the walls 
and ceiling being lined with cedar, and a short gallery stretched 
across the south end of the auditorium. There were no stoves 
or any means of warming the building ; old ladies during the 
winter months, in order to keep their feet warm, brought " to- 
meetin," perforated wooden boxes containing an inner casing of 
iron, filled with live coals. It was not until after the erection of 
the second church in 1818 that, in the face of much opposition, 
wood-burning stoves were introduced. Many of the good people 
thought that as God's grace had warmed both souls and bodies 
from the beginning it should do so till the end. 

To the worshippers, this plain, gaunt structure, destitute of 
paint, outside or in, and without comeliness or symmetry, 
appeared as a commodious temple. It is to be regretted that no 
record has been preserved of the first services held in this primi- 
tive church. We can without difficulty, hoAvever, see in imag- 
ination the rude and naked interior peopled by a homely but 
happy congregation. We know that high up in the tall, 
undraped pidpit under a broad sounding board stood the young 
minister, while below him was the precentor, or lining-deacon, 
who lined out the good old Psalm tmies to the members of the 
flock, who were seated in great square pews ; the middle-aged 
and old people with their faces toward the domine, the children 
opposite ; while to the right and left sat the stalwart youths and 
modest maidens, who lent their ears to the sermon, but like the 
lads and lasses of to-day's congregations, I doubt not, gave their 
glances to " eyes which spake again." 


More Changes in Bedminster — The MiUs on Peapack Brook 
— Boyish Reminiscences — Marriages and Deaths. 

The procession of the seasons continues, and life on the " Old 
Farm " goes bravely on. No sooner has the ermine mantle of 
winter disappeared under the kindly influences of the soft south 
winds of spring, before the crocuses cleave the still half frozen 
earth. The pond and river, swelling in volume, burst their icy 
bounds, and the drear days brought by overcast heavens give 
place to sunnier skies and longer hours. The woods that have 
so long exposed their anatomy to the keen wintry blasts again 
shows signs of awakening life ; green can be discovered among 
the sassafras branches, and yellow among the willows, while the 
maple buds redden sufficiently to give a warm hue to the entire 
tree. Leaf and blossom again take possession of the earth, 
clothing it with glory. 

Soon the hillsides are marked by plough and harrow, and the 
seed falls in generous showers. The crocuses have long since 
had their day, and June roses illumine the n^wly planted door- 
yard. And now the haymakers have come and gone in the 
meadoW'S, reapers are on the upland fields, and pyramids of 
golden sheaves adorn the landscape. Bees hum in the clover, 
the breath of all nature is sweet and redolent with wild thyme, 
mint and fragrant aromatic herbage, while harvest apples in 
heaps of red and yellow lie imder the trees in the orchard. 
Summer drifts into autumn. Pumpkins show their golden sides 
under the corn shocks, and the noise of the flail is abroad in the 
land. The world begins to glow in color as the October sun 
paints in deepening crimson and ochre, leaf, and herb, and 
lichen. The distant hill-tops now blend with the heavens, and a 

Mills on Peapack Brook Established. 267 

golden shade diffuses itself over the face of the country. In the 
mornings amber-colored mists hang lightly over the lowland 
pastures, and the landscape is veiled in the vague, yellow indis- 
tinctness of Indian summer days. The brown acorns drop from 
their browner cups ; the walnuts and chestnuts rattle through 
the branches upon the heads of expectant urchins who welcome, 
below, the toothsome hail. Again the paths through' the woods 
are deep in the dry mummies of summer's luxuriance ; the gusty 
winds blow over fields that, having lost their bloom, lie brown 
and dusky on the long hill that stretches westward toward the 
gray horizon. Once more the feathery flakes descend, covering 
the gromid with whiteness and silence ; — the procession of the 
seasons continues, and life on the " Old Farm" goes bravely on. 

Not only were the lands improved, the outbuildings increased 
in number, and fences made more substantial, but under Aaron's 
care the tannery below the hill developed into one of the most 
important industries of that character in the province. A large 
frame structure was erected adjoining the house, in which the 
leather was curried, both negroes and whites aiding in the work and 
in that of grinding the bark. The number of vats below the dam 
was increased to eighteen, and the water-power much improved. 
This latter was done in connection with the joint owners of the 
water- rights on the opposite side of Peapack brook, who, then, 
as now, utilized their portion in grinding grist and sawing lum- 
ber. The exact date of establishing a flouring-mill at this 
point has not been ascei'tained, but it is well known to have been 
the first mill erected in the township. Among the papers of the 
New Jersey Historical Society is a map of George Leslie's grant 
made by Samuel Willmot in 1751. It calls for eleven hundred 
and eighty-seven and one-quarter acres, and shows that at that 
early date a grist and saw mill were already standing on the 
west side of Peapack brook. 

There is little doubt that these mills were erected by Wil- 
liam Allen. On the twenty-first of January, 1750, the '' major 
part of the executors of the last will and testament of Doctor 
John Johnstone, dec'd," conveyed to Thomas Clandenin in con- 
sideration of twenty-eight pounds and eight shillings, eighteen 
acres of land, lying in the forks of the brook and of the north 
branch of the Raritan river. On the same day, ard on the back 

268 The Story of an Old Farm. 

of this instrument, Clandenin sends greetings, and gives notice 
" To All Christian People'" that he has sold to " William Allen, 
his heirs and assigns forever, this present indenture and all mes- 
suages, lands, tenements, and hereditaments to the same belong- 
ing." The consideration was "the sum of two hundred and twenty 
pounds, ten shillings, current money of New Jersey at eight 
shillings to the ounce." The wording of this transfer, together 
with the amount of consideration mentioned, would lead one to 
suppose that buildings of some kind — perhaps a saw and grist 
mill — had already been erected ; yet all traditions concur in 
naming William Allen as the person who first established mills 
in Bedminster township. He died in 1761, his will being dated 
on the twenty-third of May, and proved on the sixth of July of 
the same year. In it these eighteen acres are devised as follows : 

I give, bequeath and devise unto my two sons, Kobert and Joseph, the liouse I 
now live in, and the mill and lands wliei'eon they stand, and all my other rights 
or improvements of the ninety-two acres of land adjoining to said mill lot, with 
all the farming utensils and the utensils for the mill now on the same, and all 
other my movable estate, to thepi and their heirs or assigns forever equally 
between them their heirs or assigns forever. 

The new owners had not been milling ma\iy years before they 
discovered that Peapack brook did not at all times contain 
sufficient water to supply the races that turned three mill wheels. 
They consequently conceived the idea of increasing the volume 
by diverting water from the north branch of the Raritan. For 
the benefit of those unfamiliar with the locality, it Avould be well 
to explain that Peapack brook, about a quarter of a mile above 
its mouth, runs for a considerable way parallel with and some 
three hundred feet distant from the branch. These streams are 
separated by a long narrow hill known as the " Hogback, " and 
imtil within twenty years the highway climbed this ridge and 
ran along its spine, instead of following the bank of the larger 
stream as at present. At this point a dam was built which, 
checking the flow of the branch, created a reservoir. The hill 
was then tunnelled, forming an aqueduct six feet high and three 
feet broad ; it being constructed on an incline, a considerable 
quantity of additional water was, through it, led into the 
smaller stream, thus greatly augmenting the powers of the lat- 
ter in serving the mills near its mouth. With the strange fatal- 
ity that often attaches to local nomenclature in rural communities 

The Mysterious "Folly." 


this undertaking has always been known as the " Folly." It 
may have been because the results secured were not considered 
commensurate with the outlay. There is no doubt that before 
the completion of the work, the Aliens became financially embar- 
rassed and were forced on the twenty-fifth of December, 1766, 
to convey the eighteen acres, together with the mills and build- 
ings, to Stephen Hunt. 

This watery basin and its mysterious outlet have always pos- 
sessed peculiar fascinations for Bedminster boys. It was their 
rendezvous in my early days for miles around. In January its 
flanking hill shut off the north winds, securing a sheltered skat- 
ing pond of smooth firm ice. Travellers by the old highway 
over the '' Hogback," on winter Saturdays, were sure to hear the 
ring of the skaters' steel, and to be greeted by their joyous 
shouts as they " ground the bar," cut the intricate " pigeon 
wing " or mastered the " outside edge " — feats of no little diffi- 
culty on the old-fashioned, clumsy, gutter-runnered skates. In 
August the same hill guarded a cool, shady pool, which fairly 
invited a plunge into its pellucid depths. At no place along the 
branch did catfish, dace or shiners congregate in greater num- 
bers, or appear more willing to be enticed to the surface by 
the rude tackle of the coimtry lads. And then there was the 
*' Folly " ! Was there ever a more weird or forbidden spot 
upon which the imagination of a stripling could feed ? What 
horrors might not lurk within its grim and silent portals. To 
explore its interior and brave its ambushed uncertainties was the 
one supreme test of youthful valor. 

Where is the small boy that could ever withstand being 
'' double-dared " I Kotthe writer, at least, in his callow years. It 
was this goad that incited him one summer's day of long ago to 
penetrate the " Hogback " through the dread " Folly." Certain 
it is that Dante could not have felt more dismayed on reading 
" All hope abandon, ye who enter in," than did he when girt for 
the journey. With him there was no encouraging Virgil, as 
pushing aside the vines that partially hid the low entrance to the 
tunnel, he boldly groped his way into the very bowels of the 
€arth. Altogether it was a solemn sort of place for a small boy 
to find himself in. The waUs were moist and slimy, and as the 
waters flowed in a swift current about his naked ankles, imagin- 

270 The Stouy of an Old Fakm. 

ation peopled them with eels, snakes and all manner of creeping^ 
things; with every step on the rocky bed squirming creatures 
seemed to escape from beneath his halting feet. On nearing the 
centre of the dark and gloomy conduit daylight gradually disap- 
peared, and courage began to ooze away. Suddenly a jagged 
dripping wall opposed further advance. Thinking that the 
aqueduct had come to a sudden end, for a moment terror paralyzed 
all efforts at progress, but discovery was soon made that it 
turned sharply to the left. Its construction had been simultane- 
ously undertaken from both sides of the hill ; through miscalcu- 
lation the workmen had failed to meet in the centre, rendering a 
double elbow in the tunnel necessary. Feeling his way around 
these comers, the glimmer of sunlight could be discerned from 
the farther end, lightening the urchin's heart as well as lighting 
the ghostly recesses of the archway. Pressing on wdth increasing 
confidence and more hurried steps, egress was soon made into 
daylight on the Peapack brook side of the hill, where his com- 
panions received him with open arms and great honor. For 
many days thereafter your narrator was the hero of the small 
boy society of that neighborhood. 

But let us return to the miUs ; a direction in which your sci'ibe's 
steps have always turned with eager anticipation. . Even now, 
when the half-way house of the ordinary span of life has been 
passed, he never approaches this sequestered vale, and feels the 
warm breath of summer, cooled by the balm that rises from its 
rapid streams, without his heart bounding with delight. Des- 
carte writes that a person should not seek to gratify his desires 
so much as to endeavor to restrain them ; notwithstanding such 
excellent advice, and though remembering that what may give 
pleasure in the writing, may not prove equally agreeable in the 
reading, 1 cannot refrain from further youthful reminiscence. 
I must tell of these mills and of their attractive surroimdings. 

Is there any picture more completely to a boy's fancy than an 
old mill, with its alluring adjuncts of pond and dam and rock- 
paved stream ? or, for that matter, to a man's fancy, if, as I sus- 
pect is the case with many of us, a good boy has been spoiled in 
the man's making ? Just such a picture can be seen in the 
entourage of what is now known as Schomp's mills, which are 
seated in the deep valley where end the descending acres of the 

The Mill Below the Hill. 271 

" Old Farm." In attempting the description of simple scenes 
made beautiful by early associations, one finds it difficidt to con- 
vey impressions, the birth of which is largely due to the deep 
sympathies of well-remembered youthfid pleasures. Were my 
pen unchecked it would run riot with adjective and exclamation; 
while this might be sufficient for the needs of my expression, it 
would not go far toward conveying to others an idea of this old 
water-power and its pleasant surroundings. Let us suppose, 
then, that all effort at description is abandoned, and leaving the 
old homestead, together we will visit the mill below the hill. You 
can see for yourself what it is like — but remember ! I shall look 
at it with boyish eyes — be sure that you do the same. 

Passing through a decrepit wicket at the lower end of the 
garden, a little path, worn smooth by over a century of foot- 
falls, winding down the side of the hill leads to the brook below 
the pond. Time was when its bordering strip of meadow was 
pierced with vats. Memories shoulder each other just here, and 
the ground seems to exhale ancient odors, which, borne over the 
years of time, fashion in the mind a picture that includes an 
antique bark mill with its complaining wheel, great heaps of 
tan, long lines of drying hides, and piles of sacks of freshly 
ground oak-bark. Recollection paints, too, a scene in which your 
guide figures in the foreground as a truant toddler, staggering 
with the delight of forbidden joj^s among the tan vats ', while in 
the middle distance is the view of a nm*sery maid, with fluttering 
skirts and a nimbus of dishevelled hair, flyiog down the hill 
with warning cries to rescue the yoimgster from a possible 
immersion in the acid baths. But enough of youthfid remem- 
brances. Here, facing us, is Peapack brook. Is it not an invit- 
ing waterway ! Interspersed with grassy islands, and arched 
by venerable trees, it is fed by the curving waters falling in 
rhythmic melody from the dam, and on the hottest of summer 
days the air is fresh and cool with the fragrant breath of the 
descending flood. Crossing the stream by springing from mossy 
stone to slippery boulder — you must not mind wetting your 
feet — we are soon in front of the mill. It is much like many 
others planted along the numerous water-courses that swell the 
flood of the Raritan river. A succession of lofty doors rise one 
above the other to the apex of the gable, in one of which gener- 

272 The Story of an Old Farm. 

ally stands the dusty miller, drawing in fat bags of grist from the 
overhanging tackle, or guiding descending sacks of flour to the 
fanners' teams below. The great water-soaked, overshot wheel, 
which in my boyish days creaked and groaned in its ponderous, 
dripping revolutions, is no longer here. Its work is now less 
picturesquely but more powerfully and silently done by two 
insignificant turbines, sunk deep in the rapid current of the race. 

On entering, our nostrils are tickled by the floating particles of 
the floury atmosphere, and the building trembles with the 
rumbling of turning shafts and swiftly moving gear. Passing 
between bins of grain, and barrels tiered ceiling high, we ascend 
to the grinding floor, which is almost on a level with the pond. 
The interior of the building is yellow with the deposits of years 
of gently descending mealy showers, that have long since hidden 
the original color of its beams and joists ; while the burring 
sound of the grinding stones falls upon the ear as one of the pleas- 
antest of all the busy hums of human industry. The western 
gable — resting on piles — rises directly from the pond ; its image 
reflected in the tranquil water has much of the completeness of 
the mill itself. Often on a summer's afternoon have I from its 
rear door cast the baited hook, and, if not rewarded by a nib- 
ble, have been more than content in idly watching the sleepy 
bosom of the pond mirror the fleecy clouds floating in the blue 
expanse above. On such occasions the rural sights and sounds 
seen and heard on every side were always a source of delight to 
my nature-loving heart. Stretched on a soft pile of bags, 
dreaming away a few summer hours in lazily watching the float- 
ing cork swirl in the eddies, and in drinking .in the moisture- 
laden atmosphere of the watery landscape, seemed ever a happy 
occupation and never a loss of time. 

On the right are rich fields of grass and grain, and between 
them and the water on the gently ascending incline of the 
bank rests a group of farm buildings. They almost surround 
an ample barn-yard, from which come the pleasant country 
sounds of lowing cattle and bleating sheep, while awkward 
ducklings noisily quack as they waddle down to their convenient 
element. To the left is a little saw-mill — not much more than a 
timbered skeleton — through whose ribs you see flashing the 
upright saw, jagging with hoarse cry its hungry teeth into the 

A Famous Swimming Hole. 273 

slowly approaching Jogs. Beyond is the great floodgate, with 
little gurgling rills percolating through its seams and fissures ; it 
is framed with massive, slimy beams, from which the frequent 
small boy of the neighborhood spends many a happy hour in 
endeavoring to beguile the wary catfish from the cool depths. 
The stone dam, with its liquid curtain, extends from the gate to 
the farther shore which, with a graceful curve, lies in the deep 
shadows of a steep bank of bordering trees, whose drooping 
branches pressing outward overhang the peaceful pool, — Narcis- 
sus-like, in rapt admiration of their own mirrored beauty. At 
the head of the pond the waters shallow, and from their meagre 
depths rise bullrushes and reedy weeds, which finally overgrow 
the surface and harden into low banks of bog and sedge, through 
which the supplying brook slowly makes its way. 

Thinking over long ago, arresting memory brings to mind 
many interesting spots in the vicinity of this old mill that are 
associated with youthful experiences. I have one now in my 
thoughts — a famous swimming place, called the " Jinny Hole." 
It is not far from the head of the pond; the brook suddenly 
deepens, and its almost perpendicular sides admit of one's div- 
ing in safety from the sedgy banks. It must be confessed that 
ambitious plungers, who in the hey-day of my remembrance 
sank too deep beneath the wave, found plenty of soft mud lying 
in wait at the bottom ; and clambering out on the low banks was 
always a miry business. But there were compensations, not the 
least being the interest that attached to the tales that were apt 
to be told, while dressing, of the individual from whom the hole 
derived its name — Miss Jane Bailey, a simple maiden of complex 
attainments, who, like Betty Flannigan, could recollect her 
" frinds for a month" and her " inimies for a year." Jinny has 
long since gone over to the "silent majority," which has also 
absorbed most of her " frinds" and " inimies," but fifty years 
ago she was a noted character along Peapack brook. 

James Bailey and his wife Peggy were Irish Presbyterians, 
who came to this country about 1790, and settled on forty acres 
of land adjoining the ''Old Farm," at the head of the mill-p'ond. 
They both died before 1810, leaving two daughters. Jinny and 
Peggy, who continued living on the same property. Jinny did 
all the farm work, ploughing, planting, sowing and reaping, 

274 The Story of an Old Farm. 

without calling in the aid of any of the neighbors. Peggy died 
in 1831, after which Jinny lived alone until her death in 1836. 
She is remembered as a short spare woman, bent nearly double 
with rheumatism ; her face, the color of parchment, was fur- 
rowed and wrinkled by age, while coarse, white, uncombed hair 
covered her head and hung down to her shoulders. Her dress 
was always the same, a blue, linsey, home-woven short-gown and 
petticoat, with a tow string tied around her waist, and a man's 
large straw hat on her head ; she always walked with a cane much 
taller than herself. 

Jinny's appearance was in accord with her character ; she 
believed in witches, ghosts, dreams, signs and sounds, and 
among the ignorant people of the vicinity had a most uncanny 
reputation. She was Irish to her crooked back-bone, but, 
though superstitious, was always ready to fight the church 
of Rome from the lowest-down Catholic up to the pope. 
As a red rag is to an infuriated bull, so was the mention of the 
" Scarlet Woman" within Jinny's hearing. It was only neces- 
sary for predatory bands of boy-tormentors to hint that all Irish 
men and women were papists, to cause her tawny face to flame 
with passion, and to call out her richest vocabulary of vitupera- 
tion. At such times she looked a veritable Witch of Endor. 
Waving her shrivelled arms and shaking her hoary locks in 
anger, she shrieked contumely upon the heads of her tormentors 
and upon those of every Catholic that ever lived, while her hag- 
gard eyes flashed with all the rage and hate of a Meg Merrilles 
when cursing the enemies of the heir of Ellangowan. I am 
afraid that these pages are Jinny's only monum'ental stone ; there 
is none to mark the grave in Lamington churchyard where she 
lies buried. With the passing away of the present generation 
she would probably have been forgotten, so we may consider that 
we have added a little to local Bedminster history by preserving 
her memory from oblivion. Her only relics are among my 
papers. One is the inventory made after her death of her personal 
effects, which consisted mainly of spinning-wheels, thatching- 
forks, a hatchel, a flax breaker, a calabash and a few farming 
implements. Another is Jinny's note of hand given in 1812 to 
Daniel Melick for two dollars, which, notwithstanding her anti- 
Catholicism, she signed with a cross large enough to suggest the 
possibility of its having been made with the end of her long staff. 

A Cosy Nook. 275 

There is another spot about this old mill that has an especial 
charm of its own. It is reached by following the stream a short 
distance to where the highway crosses by a dusty wooden bridge, 
the centre abutments of which rest upon an elongated island that 
splits the rapid current of the brook. Dropping from the bridge 
you may make your way down this green island to where the 
divided waters join. Seat yourself, now, on this mossy bank 
under the shadowy concealments of these low-spreading branches ; 
you will find that you have penetrated deep into the heart of 
rural loveliness. Do you not think it a cosy nook ? Although 
the clear waters of the rapidly flowing stream babble at your 
feet, the green canopy above is astir with twittering birds, and 
the soft wind comes laden with the faint cadences of the splash 
of the dam's cascade, yet, such an air of repose broods over the 
spot, that you feel the environment of an atmosphere of intense 
quiet, until you imagine yourself secluded from the world, as if 
you had found your way to a place of rare beauty hitherto 
undiscovered. What a bower in which to drowse away an after- 
noon with Thoreau or John Burroughs ! or, should you have no 
book, just to lie supinely in the long grass, inhaling the woodsy- 
watery odors — the subtle emanations of earth, trees and stream- 
till your entire being seems permeated with the very essence of 
the hidden secrets of nature. 

After all, the picture we have attempted to draw is not wholly 
true. It is of the aspect of the brook in the past rather than of 
the present. What a disappointment on revisiting familiar boy- 
ish scenes to find that they differ from the picture one's memory 
has carried through all the years ! That hills grow smaller may 
be charged to the lengthened leverage of adult legs, but the 
decrease in the volume of the water-ways can be more directly 
explained. As we meet the streams of our boyhood, ranging 
through wood and meadow, they bear an altered face. Like us 
they have changed with the years. While it is to be hoped that 
we with advancing age have grown deeper and broader — not so 
with the rivers. The vandal hands that robbed the timbered 
hillsides that guarded their sources were at the same time shal- 
lowing their pools and bringing the impeding stones of their 
beds much nearer the surface. Now, in foamy agitation, they 
protest with loud voice against the loss of their former torrents. 

276 The Story of an Old Farm. 

The procession of the seasons continues, and life on the " Old 
Farm '' goes bravely on ! As the years have rolled away many 
changes are to be noted among the occupants of the " Stone 
House." Three more children have come to Aaron and his 
wife : Elizabeth, born on the eighth of November, 1765 ; Mar- 
garet, on the twenty-second of December, 1 767 ; and Maria, 
on the twenty-fourth of March, 1771. Not only have new lives 
entered into the family, a little grave is to be seen by the side of 
those of the grandparents in the Lutheran burying-ground at 
Pluckamin, for death for the third time has knocked at the door 
and claimed his own. Elizabeth, one unhappy May morning 
before she was three years old, while playing about the bark mill, 
fell under its great revolving wheel and was so crushed that 
within eight days, on the fourteenth of May, 1768, she died. 

Aaron and his family, together with his dependents, are now — 
1775 — the sole occupants of the " Old Stone House " ; his 
brothers and sisters having married and made their homes else- 
where. Philip and Peter married, respectively, Maria and 
Mary Magdalena King. The wives were probably sisters, and 
they are presumed to have been the daughters of Marcus King, 
who was a Bedminster resident at that time and active in church 
and county measures. Among my documents is a yellow, time- 
stained bond for two hundred pounds, dated the twenty-ninth 
of May, 1765, and given by Aaron, Marcus King and Jacobus Van 
derVeer, to John Van der Veer of Flatbush, Long Island. There is 
good reason for believing that this bond was to secure money 
borrowed for the benefit of the Bedminster church. This 
opinion is confirmed by the fact of the interest — as is shown 
by the endorsements on its back — having repeatedly been paid by 
Guisbert Sutphen, who was for a number of years treasurer of 
that congregation. Some of these interest receipts are written 
in Dutch ; those in English employ the following singular reiter- 
ative phraseology : '' May the first 17 — then Received the full 
Literest Upon Bond I say Received by me." It is also interest- 
ing to notice that the payee signed his name in the five following- 
various ways : Van der veer, V. D. Veer, Van Derveer, Vander 
Veer and Van Der Veer. It would seem that over a century 
ago members of this Dutch family were as undecided as to the 
correct spelling of their surnames as are those of to-day. In 

A German Schoolmaster. 277 

the body of this bond Aaron's name appears as Melogh, but in 
signing he wrote it Malick. 

Johannes' second daughter and fourth child married, sometime 
previous to 1768, Simon Ludewig Himroth, or, as the name is 
now spelled, Himrod. They remained in Bedminster until 
1772, when they removed to Northumberland county, Pennsyl- 
vania, where their descendants are now numerous. Himroth 
was a compatriot of Aaron's, being a Bendorf boy ; this is shown 
by the following interesting letter written by our old friend of 
twenty years ago — Joh. Georg Hager. To my mind there is a 
wholesome flavor about the Herr Praeceptorh letters that makes 
pleasant reading. His words have an honest ring, and seem- 
ingly flow from the pen of one whose heart beats with sympathy 
for his fellows. I can fancy him seated in his deep leathern 
chair in a quaint German parlor, its low ceilings and black- 
ened beams but half lighted by small round panes set in lea^. 
He wears ratteen breeches, and a well-worn velvet coat with 
brass buttons. On the table by his side is his cotton cap with 
its pendant tassel ; within easy reach is a great mug of blue 
ware filled with foaming beer, while from his mouth hangs a 
drooping pipe with a brass stopper and chain. On looking up 
from his letter, he can see through the open kitchen door the 
frau Magdalena, with gay bodice and blue woollen petticoat, pat- 
tering from fireplace to dresser, giving the finishing touches to 
noudels and hnoepe, or stirring^e rich flour soup whose savory 
odors mingle with those exhalecf from a pot of scJioJcolate, sim- 
mering on the hearth. 

Cannot you see the schoolmaster as he gossips over the home 
news, and fashions his courteous sentences of friendship and 
good wishes ? A little too red in the face perhaps, and a trifle 
too ample in girth, but his short, upright gray hair surmounts 
a broad, smooth forehead stamped with intelligence and 
sentiment. His smaH blue eyes twinkle with good nature,, a 
comically fierce moustache hides his mouth, and under his full 
chin there always lurks a chuckle. You may depend upon it he 
was a good man, and won the hearts of those with whom he 
came in contact. His letters show him to have been both cheer- 
ful and wise ; his merry nature and sound understanding must 
have diff'used genial influences, and we can imagine the villagers 

278 The Story of an Old Farm. 

always giving him hearty greeting, and ever being eager for a 
chat on meeting him in the street, or on spying him smoking 
a post-prandial pipe in his garden. 

Now for news from the old country : — 

Bendorf February 15th, 1769. 
My beloved friends from all parts ! 

Your letter of November 15th, 176S, as also that one of 1764, came duly to 
hand, the latter of which I answered immediately, but, as I learn from the former, 
my answer did not arrive. I received this letter of November 15 by the friend 
S. Bastian through a messenger sent for this purpose. Since I cannot speak 
to the above named friend myself, and hearing that he passes the night in Cob- 
lentz I set pen to paper instantly, so that no opportunity is lost, and you have 
news how we get on. So far no special change has arrived, but that cousin Anton 
Kirberger has died ; his children are partly happy, partly unhappy, in their 
matrimony, and in that house many things have changed. 

Concerning myself, my wife and my children, I can state that we are — thank 
God — all well. My eldest son is since three years in the employ of a wine- 
cooper in Amsterdam, and may-be, that if he can not make his fortune there, he 
will visit America. The second one works with an assessor in Wetzlar, both do 
quite well. My youngest son and three little daughters are with me. My 
brother-in-law William is safe and well with your family and will soon celebrate 
Christening with his second wife. All of them send their best regards to you. 
My wife and myself, who have not yet visited cousin judge in Hochstenbach as 
long as we are married, made a call on him last fall ; he and she are perfectly 
well; I told them all about what you had written to me. He wishes you well_ 
As I write you directly without losing any time and cannot therefore send him 
the letter yet so I shall ask him to write to you a letter; as soon as I find an 
opportunity I shall try my best to send it to you. 

I was especially pleased by the news that cousin Simon Himroth has become your 
brother-in-law, a scholar whom I have taught, and one who has kept himself 
well all the time; he will do that also henceforth. I and my wife send him our 
most cordial regards; he understands well how to write, why does he not 
write me ? 

In our country a poor time prevails at present, because of the wine-man hav- 
ing since nearly six years not brouglit a good wine-year ; therefore little food for 
the poor people. My wife sends her especial regards and kisses to her cousin 
Veronica. May the Lord redeem her the loss of her dear pirents and give wel- 
fare to the whole family and have her grow and nourish in luck and well-doing. 
If you get a chance give my compliments to Herr faesch, who is doing well I 
suppose since one does not hear much of him ; perhaps he has married there a 
nice American lady. As I do not know any other news to report I finish with 
the desire that the grace of God Almighty shall be with you as well as with our- 
selves, so that we may always have to report good respective news. Give my 
regards to the cousins all by their names. There may come a time yet, if we 
should live longer, when we shall see each other personally and entertain our- 
selves l)y word of mouth. 

Wherewith I remain my highly esteemed cousin's obedient servant and 
amiably devoted JoH. Georo Hager. 

Simon Himroth's Letter. 


The preceptor was right. Himrod certainly could have 
written to his old teacher. His first letter from Pennsylvania — 
with which I will close this chapter — in penmanship reflects 
much credit upon the tuition of the Bendorf schoolmaster. 

Northumberland County, July 27, 1772. 
My dearest brother-in-law : Your letter of the 16th has duly come to 
hand, from which I learn that you are all in good health, which I am glad to 
hear ; as regards ourselves we are also in good health, although I went through 
a dangerous illness, still our good Lord has had mercy with me and assisted me 
in recovering, wherefore I cannot be thankful enough to Him, for I had a most 
serious pain on the right side of my breast together with a severe hot fever 
which produced such a fearful collapse within a few days that everybody who 
saAV me never expected to see me up again, but our Lord be blessed for the rem- 
edies I took which enabled me within a fortnight to recover, so that I am now 
commencing to work again. I will have to postpone my returning until Septem- 
ber first, because I propose to clear yet three acres of land and to raise wheat on 
it in order to have some pastry on our return from Jersey. In regard to our 
things I think it best, if you will have them sold by the time I am coming so 
that we may get ready to start so much the sooner. You must sell all the house- 
hold goods excepting all the iron works and any thing made of iron, all the rest 
we have already ordered to be made here ; and then we must have a strong box to 
put things in. About Mr. Barker we will see and arrange when I come. My 
salutatioft to all our friends in Jersey, also from Sturm and his wife ; the Lord 
bless you all, meanwhile I remain yours very truly, 

Simon Himroth. 








The Muttering that Preceded the Storm of the Revolution — 
Stamp Acts, Revenue Bills and Other Unjust Imposts 
Weaken the Loyalty of the New Jersey People — Arming for 
the Fray. 

It requires no special sagacity to discover that the embarrass- 
ments peculiar to a work of this character are many. The 
writer often finds himself encompassed by a mass of material 
from which to choose subjects for his pages, ranging from the 
merest social and personal trifles up to those important political 
events that now begin to crowd the stage upon which his actors 
are distributed. The difficulties of selection are great, and he 
is forced to contend against the temptation of choosing those 
pleasing trifles that will embellish the page, rather than to dwell 
on more momentous affairs which would give added weight and 
value to the narration. Yet, who shall say what is important — 
which of the trifles or traditions have value, or should be pre- 
served. The warp and woof of local history are often made up of 
little motes that the sunbeams of research discover floating in 
the dusty and indistinct atmosphere of antiquity. Placed on 
the loom by the weaver of history, they soon fashion themselves 
into an interesting web, and in conjunction with other facts and 
theories gradually form a fabric that bears on its texture in the 
vivid colors of the present a picture of circumstances and events 
that fitly and beautifully illustrate a past age. 

But just here there is no need of hesitating as to the choice of 
trifles. Important events elbow themselves forward and assert 
recognition. With the telling of the story of the '' Old Farm/' 
it is also necessary to give a current picture of the times ; 

The Stamp Act. 281 

we are now reaching an heroic period of New Jersey's 
history, and scenes must be portrayed in which the men of Som- 
erset are to play a no miimportant part. Even before the time 
of the death of Johannes, the people of the American provinces 
began to be apprehensive that living the life of colonial depend-: 
ence on the British crown was not to be altogether one of 
unmixed peace and prosperity. Most irritating measures, sub- 
versive to the rights of Americans, were constantly being intro- 
duced in parliament by the Tory element of that body, and taxa- 
tion without representation seemed to be the policy of the British 
rulers. From the granite-ribbed hills of Massachusetts to the 
sandy levels of Georgia the sentiment of the people was pro- 
nounced and unanimous against so unjust a treatment, and the 
tocsin of liberty began to be sounded throughout the length and 
breadth ofthe land. By 1763 Benjamin Franklin had already 
declared that he would cheerfully be willing to spend nineteen 
shillings on the pound to test the king's right to take the other 
shilling in unlawful taxes ; — a sentiment that received endorse- 
ment from the entire country. But, in spite of the earnest 
remonstrances of the colonies, two years later parliament passed 
the obnoxious stamp act. 

At once from Boston to Savannah could be heard the 
tumultuous indignation of the populace, which voiced a 
unanimity of feeling. Spirited resolutions, similar in their 
character, were passed by both the Virginia and Massa- 
chusetts assemblies, the latter calling for a congress of the col- 
onies. On every side were to be heard the mutterings that pre- 
ceded the storm of the Revolution. In New York city, by the 
autumn of 1.765, vast processions, under the leadership of the 
popular Isaac Sears, were marching and counter-marching, pro- 
claiming by shout, image and caricature the opposition of the 
citizens to the stamp act. The coach-house of the royal gover- 
nor was forcibly entered, and his state carriage was forced to the 
service of carrying through the town images intended to repre- 
sent devils, after which, with his other carriages and sleighs, it 
was burned in the presence of the British garrison. Just at that 
time it would seem that public opinion condemned the display of 
fine equipage ; previous to the Revolution there were probably 
not over ten coaches in the city. One was owned by Robert 

282 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Murray, a Quaker merchant, whose country-place was between 
Thirty-sixth and Fortieth streets and Fourth and Fifth avenues ; 
so great was the prejudice against these aristocratic vehicles 
that he called his a " leathern conveniency." 

New Jersey was not behind the other provinces in an attitude 
of hostility to Great Britain's encroachments on the constitutional 
rights of her citizens. To her belongs the distinction of issuing 
the first Revolutionary newspaper — the " Constitutional Cour- 
ant." It was published by Andrew Marvel on the twenty -fii'st 
of September, 1765, at Burlington at the sign of the '' Bribe 
Refused on Constitution Hill, North America." The streets of 
New York were soon flooded with copies, whereby the agitations 
of the hour were much increased, but as it was outspoken in 
denouncing the arbitrary measures of parliament the government 
quickly interfered, suppressing its sale, and no more numbers 
were issued. William Coxe, who had been appointed by the 
Crown stamp officer for New Jersey, was threatened with viol- 
ence, resulting in his resignation in September ; indeed, by the 
first of November, when the odious act was to go into operation, 
it was found that the stamp agents in all the colonies had retired 
from their positions, and no one was left with authority to exe- 
cute the law. A congress of delegates from the provinces 
having met in New York in October, a declaration of rights, a 
memorial to parliament and a petition to the king were dis- 
patched to England. This action, together with the assiduity of 
Benjamin Franklin — who was then representing Pennsylvania in 
London — and the advocacy of liberty-loving members of the house 
of commons, resulted on the eighteenth of March in the repeal of 
th e stamp act. The feeling of relief throughout the country was 
in tense. As was said by Colonel Lambert Cadwalader, a native 
of Trenton and a distinguished patriot : '' The joyful news almost 
calls back youth to the aged, gives health and vigor to the sick 
and infirm." 

America was again thought to be free ; the people settled 
down to their ordinary avocations with the hope that they no 
longer need fear the invasion of their liberties. A fancied 
security. It was not long before the citizens found they had 
new cause for grievance against the home government. The 
feeling of uneasiness gradually increased, as the march of events 


showed conclusively that the policy of Great Britain was to be 
one of forcing the collection from the colonists of a revenue, with- 
out giving them representation or the right of directing their 
own affairs. The flame ignited by the stamp act had never been 
entirely subdued, but* still slumbered and smouldered beneath 
the surface, fed by continued aggressions. The passage of the 
Boston port bill in March, 1774, gave it new life ; and indigna- 
tion and protest were again ablaze from Maine to Georgia. In 
the light of subsequent history it appears most extraordinary 
that parliament shoidd persistently have continued to pursue a 
policy which the most ordinary statesmanship, it would seem, 
shoidd have divined must inevitably result in the loss of Eng- 
land's most precious colonial possessions. Ill-advised politicians, 
notwithstanding the warning oratory of Chatham and other far- 
seeing legislators, continued to pile up the fuel of revenue bills, 
tea duties and other unjust acts, until at last, in their madness, 
thej^ applied the torch of coercion, starting a conflagration which 
was only quenched by a deluge of blood, which cut off from Great 
Britain three million of subjects, and increased the public debt 
by one hundred and twenty millions. 

We have now reached a time when the mutterings of the 
coming storm could plainly be heard as an angry hum of distrust 
and resentment. The colonists were rapidly losing their loy- 
alty to, and affection for, the mother country. The people of 
the different provinces seemed of one mind; without concerted 
action, and almost without correspondence, they held informal 
meetings, and formed self-constituted committees for the purpose 
of obtaining intelligence, and of advising with the inhabitants of 
other colonies as to what means should be employed to prevent 
further encroachments on the vested rights and liberties of the 
king's subjects in America. In New Jersey a general 
committee of correspondence had been appointed by the pro- 
vincial, assembly in February, 1774, composed of nine members. 
Their duties at flrst seem to have been confined to corresponding 
and consulting with prominent citizens of the different counties in 
order to insure a unanimity of sentiment and action when the 
time should come for the people to assert their individual and 
collective rights. The committee met on the first of June in 
New Brunswick, when by letter to the people in Massachusetts 

284 The Story of an Old Farm. 

they pledged the citizens of New Jersey to act in concert with 
the other colonies in whatever steps should be generally agreed 
upon. They also called upon Governor William Franklin to 
convene the provincial assembly before the first of August. 
This the executive declined to do, giving as a reason, ''there 
is no public business of the province which can make such a 
meeting necessary." 

During the months of June and July, a series of meetings 
were held in the several counties of New Jersey for the purpose 
of organizing for defence, and for choosing deputies to represent 
the province in a continental congress, which had been called 
to meet in the following September. The resolutions passed at 
the different meetings were much of the same character. They 
bound the citizens to act in conjunction with those of other 
counties in any measures that might be decided upon insuring 
the happiness and safety of the people. They were unanimous 
in expressing the sentiment that the sufferings and injustice vis- 
ited upon the people of Boston by Great Britain should be a 
common cause of grievance for the inhabitants of the entire con- 
tinent ; and that the rights and privileges of America should be 
protected, even though necessitating the adoption of the most 
severe and extreme measures. 

Permanent committees of correspondence were appointed, 
and directed to meet in a state convention for the pur- 
pose of appointing delegates to the proposed congress. The 
committees convened on the twenty -first of July, 1774, in 
New Brunswick, holding a three days session. The sev- 
enty-two members present, by their resolution, recognized 
and acknowledged King George III. to be their rightfid and law- 
ful sovereign to whom they owed and promised faithful alle- 
giance. They declined, however, to recognize the right of the 
British parliament, in which they had no representation, to make 
laws for, or impose taxes on, the king's American subjects. 
They bound themselves to oppose with all the legal and rightful 
means in their power all unconstitutional and oppressive meas- 
ures of that body, which might be considered dangerous and 
destructive to the colonies. They advised the appointment of a 
general congress of committees of the respective colonies, who 
should have power to pledge the public honor and faith in all 

A Historic Ride. 285 

efforts that should be made to redress the wrongs of the peo- 

The meeting of this first continental congress at Philadelphia 
in September, 1774, is a matter of history. It was a fairly 
representative body, the delegates having been chosen from 
among all classes of the people. The proceedings were opened 
by its president, Peyton Randolph, of Virginia. He was followed 
by a man of the people — Patrick Henry — who spoke as ^' Homer 
wrote." Moved by the fire of genius his tall, awkward figure 
grew majestic as he exclaimed : ^'I am not a Virginian, but an 
American!" When he took his seat it is said that there was no 
longer any doubt that he was the greatest of American orators, 
and ranked among the ablest champions of constitutional liberty 
in America. He and George Washington, mounted on thorough- 
breds, had travelled together to Philadelphia from the " Old 
Dominion." A historic journey ! Picture to yourself these 
illustrious men riding side by side ; the opulent planter with a 
mature mind of almost unequalled sagacity and comprehensive- 
ness, and the plain county lawyer with already a national repu- 
tation as a political thinker ; picture them slowly traversing the 
Virginia woods, cantering over the swells and swales of Mary- 
land, fording the rapidly running streams, and climbing Penn- 
sylvania's rugged ridges. As they reasoned together of the 
dangers threatening the country, could their saddle-talk have 
been preserved, what a contribution it would now be to our 
knowledge of the springs that fed the patriotic currents of 
thought animating the hearts and actions of these heroic Vir- 

It is hardly necessary to refer to the debates and resolutions 
of the members of this first continental congress ; neither need we 
enlarge upon the elaborate exposition that was drawn of the 
rights of the king's subjects in America, or upon the favorable 
statements of the wrongs for which the colonists demanded 
redress from Great Britain. Sufiice it to say that it was recom- 
mended that during the winter throughout the colonies township 
meetings should be held, when a more direct appeal to the people 
could be made, and a more general expression of their sentiments 
obtained. Following this suggestion of congress, meetings in the 
several townships in New Jersey were held, at which committees 

286 The Story of an Old Farm. 

of observation and inspection were appointed. The members of 
these township committees then met in each county, and by a 
majority vote chose a county committee of correspondence. In 
my possession is a saffron-colored, time-disfigured, original paper 
containing what appears to be a concise digest of the minutes of 
the first four meetings of the Bedminster committee of observa- 
tion and inspection, together with the expenses incurred thereat. 
The person who penned this document may have been a patriot, 
but his spelling was woful. The paper, however, is interesting 
and valuable as showing the members of the committee to have 
been Stephen Hunt, Aaron Malick, Guisbert Sutphen, John 

Wortman, John Voorhees, Gaston and Lane (probably 


We have already learned something of some of the men form- 
ing this committee — of Hunt, as owner of the mill on Peapack 
brook ; of Sutphen, as active in the congregation of the Bedmin- 
ster church ; of Wortman, as one of the earliest settlers 
at Pluckarain. This last member was also a justice of the 
peace and the first blacksmith in the village. It was not long 
before his activity in the popular cause brought upon him the 
distinction of having a price set upon his rebel head by the enemy. 
The squire, as he was called, told in after years with much 
pride that he had not only entertained Washington at his own 
table, but had shod his horses with his own hands. Matthew 
Lane, it is believed at this time lived in the old dwelling known 
as the Fenner house, and lately occupied by Mrs. Sarah Harmer. 
He was a merchant, and in 1787 Pluckamin's leading store- 
keeper ; his store adjoined his residence, which continues to 
this day to bear many of its original Revolutionary characteris- 
tics. He was the nephew of Guisbert Sutphen, and the son of 
Matthias Lane, who came from Monmouth county in 1745, and 
purchased three hundred acres of land east of Van Vleet's mills, 
a portion of which is still in the possession of his descendants. 
John Voorhees was an associate of Aaron Malick, and was a 
well-to-do farmer living on the road running from the Larger 
Cross Roads to Peapack. At his death in 1807 Aaron was one 
of the administrators of his estate. He was a deacon of the Bed- 
minster Reformed Dutch church. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the twenty-fourth of April^ 

First Provincial Congress. 287 

1775, the Middlesex committee of correspondence received at 
New Brunswick a despatch from the New York committee 
announcing that the battle of Lexington had occurred on the 
nineteenth instant. The committee endorsed this message, and 
the express-rider flew on to Princeton, thence to Trenton, and 
on to Philadelphia, reaching there at nine A. M. on the twenty- 
fifth, having been one hour less than six days in coming from 
Watertown, Massachusetts, including stops at all the principal 
places on the way. The country was, of course, in a blaze of 
excitement. No truer prophecy was ever uttered than that 
ejacvdated in broken tones by pastor Jonas Clark of Lexington, 
over the lifeless forms of his seven parishioners that the British 
volley had stretched at his church door on the village green : 
" From this day will be dated the liberty of the world." It was 
now no longer the mutterings but the storm itself that the people 
of New Jersey were forced to face. For months the black clouds 
of strife and dissension had been slowly and surely rolling on, 
enshrouding the land in gloom and apprehension ; now the citi- 
zens awoke to the realization that civil war with its attendant 
horrors was to be the heritage of their generation. 

The general committee of correspondence, which had been 
appointed by the convention of the preceding July, was at 
once convened, meeting at New Brimswick on the second day 
of May, 1775. It directed the chairman to call a provincial 
congress for the twenty-third instant, and it desired the several 
counties to speedily appoint their respective deputies. This sec- 
ond convention or provincial congress met at Trenton on the 
twenty-third of May, remaining in session for eleven days. Its 
president, Hendrick Fisher ; its secretary, Jonathan D. Sergeant, 
and its assistant secretaries, William Patterson and Frederick 
Frelinghuysen, were chosen from among the Somerset dele- 
gates. President Fisher was ripe in years and experience, 
ha^^ng been born in Germany in 1697. Though by rea- 
son of strength he had long since passed the allotted span of life, 
he was as ardent in the cause of the colonies as was the 
most devoted of the younger New Jersey patriots. When the 
parliamentary aggressions forced the province into ah atti- 
tude of opposition to the British government, he was a member 
of the colonial assembly and at once became conspicuous among 

288 The Story of an Old Farm. 

his fellows as a champion of liberty. From that time until his 
death in 1779, he was active in his duties of serving the 
people. Mr. Fisher was a forcible debater and exerted an 
important influence in the deliberations of the provincial 
assemblies, and in those of the many executive committees of 
which he was a member. In Domine John Frelinghuysen's 
time he was a helper and lay-preacher in the Raritan church, 
and some of his sermons are reported to have been rich in doc- 
trine, and in their illustrations of spirtual Christianity. His 
home was on the south side of the Raritan river, a little below 
Bound Brook, on a property lately owned by Abraham I. 
Brokaw, and there he is buried in a little family graveyard over- 
grown with a thicket of thorns and small bushes. 

In this congress youth and old age joined hands in presenting 
an undaunted front to those who proposed warring against 
the rights of the colonies. Assistant-secretary Frelinghuysen, 
who has already been referred to as the son of Domine John 
Frelinghuysen, was barely twenty-two years old. During this 
same year he represented the province in the continental con- 
gress, and his name often appears in Somerset annals among 
its soldiers and statesmen. We shall find him doing excellent 
service at the battles of Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth, and 
he was appointed major-general and commander-in-chief of New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania troops for the western expedition, dui'- 
ing Washington's presidency. At the bar of the state he 
stood among the first, and when he died in 1804, lamented 
by his country, he left to his posterity the legacy of an 
illustrious career and an unsullied record. "Those familiar 
with the name of Frelinghuysen — and who in New Jersey 
are not f — know that many of his talents and virtues were 
transmitted to his children and grandchildren. Jonathan D. 
Sergeant was another son of Somerset of whom any 
county might with good reason be proud. He was a resid- 
ent of Princeton, having been born there in 1746, his mother 
being the daughter of the Reverend Jonathan Dickinson, 
of Elizabethtown. He studied for the bar with Richard Stock- 
ton the elder, and became distinguished as a lawyer, and 
eminent in public affairs. In 1778 he removed to Philadelphia, 
and was soon chosen attorney -general of Pennsylvania. In 1793, 

Arming for the Fray. 289 

he died of yellow fever, falling in the cause of humanity. When 
most of the population of Philadelphia fled in terror from that 
disease-stricken city, he with a few other equally noble souls 
faced the danger, and remained to assist and relieve the sick and 

This congress, recognizing the impending conflict, proceeded 
to put the colony on a war footing by passing a militia bill, 
which boldly declared it to be " highly necessary that the inhabi- 
tants of the Province be forthwith properly armed and disci- 
plined for defending the cause of American Freedom." An 
ordinance was also passed laying a war tax of ten thousand 
pounds, proclamation money, of which Somerset's proportion was 
about nine hundred pounds. Other provinces, and the second 
continental congress then in session, were notified of the steps 
taken by New Jersey ; and before adjourning a new committee 
of correspondence was appointed, which included Fisher and 
Frelinghuysen. This committee was directed to instruct the 
sub-county committees to secure the signatures of the inhabi- 
tants to articles of association of a form adopted by the 
provincial congress. These articles pledged every person to 
support and carry into execution whatever measures might be 
recommended by the continental and provincial congresses. 

With the session of this first provincial congress then sitting 
at Trenton it would appear that the Bedminster committee of 
observation and inspection had business, as in its minutes before 
referred to is the following entry : — 

May 25, 1775, John Wortman and gisbert Sutphen when sent to the Congress 
at trintown, out two Days & Expence of going 5s. 3d. & at trentown 9s. 7d. Return- 
ing 5s. 3d. in all Sutphen payd on the above 17s. 6d. John wortman 2s. 8d. — 
John wortmans to the Ride of his horse to trintown 3s. 9d. Gisbert Sutphen for 
his horse 3s. 9d. Included in the above. 

At the same meeting the following minute was made : — 
Mr. Hunt has payd to the man that Came from Brunswick to train the 
men £0.4s.8d. 

While the people in all parts of New Jersey were quick to 
respond to the recommendations of congress that they should 
arm and discipline themselves for defense, it would seem that 
Somerset county took the lead in putting muskets in the hands of 
its citizens. The '' Pennsylvania Packet " of the twelfth of June 

states that: — 

290 The Story of an Old Farm. 

The mariial spirit which prevails among the inhabitants of Somerset county, 
in New Jersey, truly merits the attention of the public. We have certain intel- 
ligence that they are forming themselves into companies, and daily exercising, to 
become complete masters of the military discipline; and particularly, that the 
township of Bridgewater, in said county, met at Earitan, tlie sixth instant, and 
chose Mr. Abraham Ten Eyck, captain, under whose command eighty-five vol- 
unteers immediately enlisted, to be in readiness at an hour's warning, to march 
for the assistance of any neighboring colony, on any emergency. Their pay and 
other necessaries are provided by said township. The other counties and town- 
ships, it is hoped, will follow their example, as it may be necessary to repel 
force by force, in order to secure our national rights and privileges. 

Bedminster did not need the example of Bridgewater to fan 
the flame of patriotism ; for its men had ah'eady taken the 
initiative, and were arming for the fray. They had even antici- 
pated the action of the provincial congress of the twenty-third of 
May, as is shown by the following minute made at a meeting of 
its committee of observation and inspection held on the eigh- 
teenth of May, at the house of Anthony J. Jacobs : — 

Borrowed from John Wortman in cash £2. Os. Od. to Gow to new york to Buy 
arms [three words blurred] Stephen Hunt chosen to go to new york to Buy 
the arms. 

At another meeting, " when the Company met to Rase men," 
the minutes show that it was agreed '' that the Captain shall 
have one Dollar per Day to treat his men when he trains his 
men that once a wick." This meeting was held on the twentieth 
of May " at the house of John phoenix " — probably at the tavern 
at the Lager Cross Roads, kept during the Revolution by John 
Sutphen, who married John Phoenix's daughter, Sarah. It 
stood on the site where is now the dwelling of David Dunham, 
and Washington and his generals, in passing westward through 
the township, always made it their stopping place. Sarah 
Phoenix used to tell her grandchildren that when the army 
marched through the Larger Cross Roads, open house was kept 
for the continental officers, . and that she distinctly remembered 
General Washington's reserved and absent demeanor one day 
at dinner, while Generals Knox, Wayne, and others were 
inclined to be merry over their wines and desserts. 

Among the many duties of the committee of observation and 
inspection, not the least arduous one was that of securing guns, 
powder and ball. As early as in October, 1774, the British 
ministry instructed all the royal governors to seize whatever 

Lead a Precious Metal. 291 

arms and ammunition might be imported into their provinces. 
Munitions of war were consequently scarce ; after the supplies 
of the cities of New York and Philadelphia were exhausted 
it became necessary for the members of the committee to ran- 
sack the country, and purchase of farmers, mechanics, and 
others, old muskets, shotguns and firelocks of every description. 
Those out of order were sent to be made serviceable to the gun- 
smiths, Henry Watkey and Joseph Robinson at New Brunswick, 
and to Lebbeus Dodd at Mendham who before and during the 
Revolution repaired all the guns and made all the clocks for that 
part of the country. The raw material for bullets was more 
easily obtained, although the people were forced to make many 
personal sacrifices in order to comply with the requirements of 
the hour. The provincial congress had directed the township 
committees " to collect all the leaden weights from windows and 
clocks, all leaden weights of shops, stores, and mills, of one pound 
weight and upwards ; also all the lead in and about houses and 
other places." Commissioners were appointed to receive the 
same from the committees, paying therefor sixpence per pound, 
proclamation money, together with expenses. Bedminster was 
soon denuded of what had suddenly grown to be considered a 
precious metal, many of the families even cheerfully sacrificing 
their pewter dishes and platters, which were much valued by 
colonial housewives. 

The next session of the provincial congress convened on the 
fifth of August, continuing until the seventeenth instant. Since 
the adjournment important events had rapidly followed each 
other. The British force in Boston had been augmented ; the 
battle of Bunker Hill had been fought on the seventeenth of 
June ; Washington, having been appointed commander-in-chief, 
had already drawn his sword under the great elm on Cambridge 
common, his army being composed of fourteen thousand five 
hundred militia, without uniformity in discipline, subordination, 
arms, dress or organization. On the twenty-eighth of June Sir 
Henry Clinton's land force of three thousand men and Sir Peter 
Parker's fleet of ten frigates and gun-ships, after fighting two 
hours and throwing fifty tons of shot, had been repulsed at 
Charleston with the loss of a frigate and one hundred and 
seventy men. All this had brought the colonists to a full realiza- 

292 The Story of an Old Farm. 

tion that they were involved in the miseries of civil strife, hwit 
little or no probability of an accommodation with what had 
always been considered the home government, until the ques- 
tions at issue had been arbitrated by many bloody conflicts. The 
deputies proceeded to deliberate upon the condition of the coun- 
try, and to pass such ordinances as the gravity of the situation 
demanded : one to increase the effectiveness of the militia ; one 
for the more thorough establishment of the civU government ; 
one to insure the moi'e prompt collection of the war tax ; and 
others of equal importance. A ^' committee of safety " was 
appointed, which during the recess of congress was to possess 
much of the powers of that body. Among its members were 
Frederick Frelinghuysen, Hendrick Fisher, Jonathan D. Ser- 
geant, Peter Schenck and Enos Kelsey, all of Somerset. The 
authority of this committee was almost dictatorial, its members 
were appointed by successive provincial congresses, and in a 
majority of their votes were vested general powers for the 
security and defence of the colony. It continued in existence 
until October, 1776, which was the date of the first meeting of 
the legislature under the state constitution. After that time the 
governor and a ^^ council of safety " (composed of twenty mem- 
bers) were invested with requisite authority to act during the 
intervals between meetings of the legislature. 


TJie Declaration of Independence and tJte Overthrow of the 
Provincial Government — The Arrest of the Royal Governor, 
William FranTdin. 

The most important of New Jersey's provincial congresses, and 
the final one for the year 1775, opened on the third of October 
and continued for twenty-two days. Its members had been 
elected by the people, the previous bodies having been provis- 
ional in character, the delegates emanating from the choice of 
informal coimty meetings or conventions. The amount of busi- 
ness transacted at this session was very great. The whole col- 
ony was in a state of intense agitation, and excitements ruled 
the hour. It was a time of civil discord, when neighbor feared 
neighbor and friend suspected friend. Disputes and difficulties 
between the people were rife, culminating in all manner of 
charges and complaints, which were poured in upon congress in 
the shape of accusations, petitions and appeals. Communications 
from township and comity committees had to be received and 
deliberated upon, charges against loyalists investigated, and many 
complaints of personal grievances considered. 

Ordinances were passed for the raising of regiments, the 
strengthening of the militia, the purchase of munitions of war, 
and, to meet the many pecuniary necessities of the hour, arrange- 
ments were effected for the issue of bills of credit to the amount 
of thirty thousand pounds, proclamation money. But we will 
not speak in detail of all the important matters that were 
patiently and ably considered by this patriotic congress, among 
whose officers were Samuel Tucker of Hunterdon, as president, 
and John Mehelm of Hunterdon and Hendrick Fisher of Somer- 
set, as vice-presidents. It is enough for us to know that at a 

294 The Story of an Old Farm. 

period when legislative difficulties of the most involved character 
had to be encountered, these deputies conducted their delibera- 
tions with wisdom and prudence, and by their intelligent and 
far-seeing devotion to the best interests of the colony laid a firm 
foundation upon which was afterward raised the superstructure 
of a great state. This important session adjourned to meet at 
New Brunswick on the first Tuesday in April, 1776. One of its 
final acts was to appoint a committee of safety to govern the 
province ad interim, among whom were Samuel Tucker, John 
Hart and John Mehelm of Hunterdon, Hendrick Fisher and 
Ruloff Van Dyke of Somerset. 

All this time the second continental congress, which had 
convened on the tenth of May, was in session, and in constant 
communication with the congresses and committees of the sev- 
eral provinces. It is unnecessary to speak in detail of the many 
important measures that were ably considered by this celebrated 
legislature, or of the ardor of its patriotic members whose soul- 
stirring debates in the historic State House at Philadelphia still 
arouse the enthusiasm of mankind, the wide world over. Wher- 
ever the name of liberty is known and loved, the broad compre- 
hensive views and deep political knowledge exhibited by the 
many distinguished men composing this congress, have been rec- 
ognized and extolled. Since the formation of society the record 
of no other representative body contributes pages of such value 
and brilliancy to the history of the cause of human progress. We 
should be false, however, to the continuity of the story of the 
times did we fail to note that by early June in 1776 Richard 
Henry Lee of Virginia had submitted a motion, declaring the 
colonies to be " absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, 
and that all connection between them and Great Britain is, and 
ought to be, dissolved." This was but anticipatory of the cul- 
minating act of the memorable second day of July which saw the 
final adoption, without a dissenting voice, of that resolution for 
independence which was to insure a name and a national exist- 
ence to the United States of America. 

The second of July was, therefore, the momentous day on 
which was broken the last political link binding the colonies and 
the mother country. A committee was at once appointed to 
draft a declaration of reasons justifying this all-important step 



taken by the delegates. Two days later, on the morning of the 
fourth, Thomas Jefferson as chairman of that committee pre- 
sented to the continental congress the immortal Declaration of 
Independence. Among the illustrious men who listened to the 
reading of this document there is one figure that stands sharply 
defined on the canvas which portrays the scene of the crowning 
act of this historic body. It is that of John Witherspoon, a 
distinguished representative from New Jersey, whose patriotism 
and foresight at a crucial moment is believed to have powerfidly 
promoted the prompt acceptance of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. After Jefferson had finished the reading of this paper, 
the members of congress were appalled by the solemnity of the 
occasion, and by the apparent realization for the first time of the 
portent of the document. The knowledge seemed suddenly 
forced upon them of what its adoption must entail upon the 
country. It meant a continuation of the war, and all the miser- 
ies that would necessarily follow a prolonged civil conflict. 
Should the American arms not prevail, complete subjection of the 
entire people must follow, and for the signers and promulgators 
of this incendiary and rebellious instrument naught could be 
expected but an ignominious death. Through the halls of con- 
gress an intense silence prevailed. It was a critical moment. 
When the painful hush shoidd be broken the temper of the first 
speaker might decide the weal or woe of the people. As has 
been said by a witness : " The very destiny of the country 
seemed to be suspended upon the action of a moment." 

Suddenly a stalwart form arose — that of a man full of years ; 
his hair whitened by the snows of many winters. With a coun- 
tenance resolute and determined, and a voice trembling with the 
intensity of his emotions, he broke the deep silence of the chamber: 
" There is," said he, " a tide in the affairs of man, a nick of 
time; we perceive it now before us. The noble instrument upon 
your table, which insures immortality to its author, should be 
subscribed this very morning by every pen in the house. He 
who will not respond to its accents, and strain every nerve to 
carry into effect its provisions, is unworthy the name of a free- 
man. Although these gray hairs must descend into the sepul- 
chre, I would infinitely rather they should descend thither by 
the hand of the public executioner than desert, at this time, the 

296 The Story of an Old Farm. 

sacred cause of my country." The speaker sat down, and a 
great sigh of relief and murmur of approval went up from his 
listeners — the tension was over, the crisis safely passed. In the 
debates which followed, the speeches of the members displayed 
much of the spirit of patriotic firmness that had characterized 
the timely appeal of this excellent man, resulting finally in the 
adoption of that portentous document * which secured the inde- 
pendence of the thirteen states. 

John Witherspoon was a Scotch divine who in 1768 had 
been called to the presidency of the College of New Jersey, 
and to the pastorate of the Presbyterian church in Prince- 
ton. This was not his first appearance in the arena of rebel- 
lion. When the Highlanders flocked to the royal standard 
unfurled by the yomig pretender in the north of Scotland, 
Witherspoon, though the pastor of a parish, raised a corps 
of militia and marched to his support. The young parson- 
soldier's enthusiasm carried him into the battle of Falkirk, where 
he was taken prisoner ; he lay captive in the castle of Donne 
until after Culloden. In America he proved a patriot of great 
influence in the councils of the nation, and served the state in 
congress with honor and ability for six years, and in 1776 was 
also a member of the provincial congress, afterwards the " Con- 
vention of the State of New Jersey." As a Princeton resident, we 
may fairly claim Doctor Witherspoon to have been a Somerset man; 
it was many years after that time before the county was shorn of 
its southern border which then included that seat of learning, in 
order to contribute to the new county of Mercer. 

It must be remembered that until early in 1776 the semblance 
of royal government continued to exist in New Jersey. Up to 

*The declaration signed that day is not the venerable parchment now so 
carefully preserved in the state department at Wasliington. This latter docu- 
ment was subsequently engrossed, and it was not for many months afterward 
that all of its appended signatures were thereon inscribed. Indeed a number 
of its signers, among them Charles Carroll and Dr. Benjamin Rush, were 
not even members of congress on the fourth of July, 1776, but were elected dele- 
gates some weeks later. The original declaration has not been preserved and 
may possibly have Ijeen destroyed by order of congress. Much interesting, and 
what to many would be considered new, information regarding the adoption of 
the Declaration of Independence, is to be found in a paper by William L. 
Stone in Harper's Magazine, Vol. LXVII., p. 208. The Witherspoon incident 
is given in Alexander Graydon's " Memoirs of His Own Times." 

Provincial Congresses of 1776. 297 

the fourth of July all official documents and proclamations ended 
with the phrase, ''God save the-King." At this time, with the 
exception of that grand old " Rebel Grovernor," Jonathan Trum- 
bull of Connecticut, there was not in all the thirteen colonies a 
chief magistrate but that was strongly prejudiced in favor of 
British interests, and zealous to check the uprising of the people, 
(rovernor William Franklin occupied the proprietor's house at 
Perth Amboy — yet extant, and used as a home for aged Pres- 
byterian ministers. His duties mainly consisted in keeping his 
government advised as to the treasonable acts of the citizens. 
The colonial assembly still had a legal existence, though the 
house had been prorogued by the governor on the sixth of 
December, 1775, until the third of January, 1776; it never 
reassembled 5 and thus terminated the colonial legislature of New 

The provincial congress of 1776 met on the first of Febru- 
ary at New Brunswick ; owing to the exigency of the times 
it was convened by the council of safety before the date to 
which the previous congress had adjourned. The business 
before this session was largely composed of following the sugges- 
tions made by continental congress as to the raising and equip- 
ping of regular battalions, and for supplying the province's 
portion of the munitions of war. Among the many ordinances 
passed was one making radical changes in the franchise 
laws, whereby all persons who had lived one year in the 
county, were worth fifty pounds in personal estate, and had 
signed the articles of association prepared by the township 
committees of observation and inspection, were entitled 
to vote for deputies. The first election under this ordinance 
took place in May, 1776, and the deputies chosen from Som- 
erset were Frederick Frelinghuysen, William Paterson, John 
Witherspoon (also member of continental congress), Jacob 
R. Hardenbergh (pastor of the Raritan Reformed Dutch 
churches), and James Linn. Judge James Linn was one of 
Somerset's aristocrats and a citizen highly esteemed throughout 
the country. He lived on a well improved plantation of six 
hundred acres, lying in the Mine brook vaUey in Bernards town- 
ship, about one mile east of the village of Bedminster. He had 
quite a retinue of servants and twenty slaves. His estate had 

298 The Story of an Old Farm. 

been inherited from his father ; on it he continued to live as 
one of the first gentlemen of the county until 1810. 

On Monday, the tenth of June, this most important of all of New 
Jersey's provincial congresses met at Burlington. Its sessions con- 
tinued until the twenty-first of August, though twice adjourned, 
the first time to Trenton and the second to New Brunswick. This 
congress enacted all laws for a time in the name of the colony, 
but, having on the second of July adopted a state constitution, 
on the eighteenth of the same month it assumed the title 
of the " Convention of the State of New Jersey," thus 
giving birth to a free and independent commonwealth. 
Another act of this body distinguishing it above all preceding 
congresses was the deposition of the royal governor. As has 
been said before, the semblance of kingly power still continued 
in New Jersey. In addition to the representative of the crown, 
the king's council still had an existence, though shorn of some 
of its members by their disaffection. Among these was Lord 
Stirling of Somerset, who had been suspended by the governor 
in September, 1775, because of having accepted a military com- 
mission from the provincial congress. 

There is no doubt that the greater part of Governor Franklin's 
administration was much to the advantage of the colony, as he 
fostered and encouraged many enterprises that promoted its pros- 
perity. Could the people of New Jersey forget his subsequent con- 
duct as a vindictive loyalist, they would be better able to look 
back upon his government with respect, and appreciate that 
during his long administration, for much of the time he dis- 
played a commendable desire for the welfare of the prov- 
ince. Such without doubt is his record, and we may even 
accord to him sincerity of opinion and purpose in identifying 
himself with those who were endeavoring to sacrifice the liberties 
of the country. But with the dissensions that arose between the 
executive and the citizens, he is said to liave become petulant 
and unwise. As the people grew to be alert in regard to every 
question touching their rights, his arrogance increased, and he 
rapidly became destitute of prudence and self-control. In the 
provincial assembly he made great endeavors to defeat the ratifi- 
cation of the actions of the first continental congress, and from 
that time up to his deposition was but little more than a spy for 
the public enemy. 

GovEENOR William Franklin's Record. 299 

As has been said on a former page, the governor was a son of 
Benjamin Franklin, — the natural son, for who was his mother is 
not known. The date of his birth — 1730 — was one year pre- 
vious to that of his father's marriage. He was taken home by 
Benjamin Franklin and reared and educated as though bom in 
wedlock. The New Jersey people, who well knew of this bar 
sinister on the Franklin escutcheon, were much chagrined on 
learning in 1762 who was to be their new governor. John 
Penn, one of the proprietors of Pennsylvania and the son of its 
foimder, wa'ote to Lord Stirling from England in September of 
that year that he thought it a dishonor and a disgrace to have 
such a man at the head of the government ; and that he hoped 
that some effort would be made before his Jersey friends would 
put up with such an insult. This letter was written from Stoke- 
Park. The manor adjoins that little ivy-clad church which 
since Gray wrote his imperishable elegy has been an interna- 
tional shrine. But few of its many American pilgrims, as they 
leave the highway and follow the little footpath leading across 
Stoke-Park to Stoke-Pogis churchyard, know that the fortune 
that established this handsome English seat had its origin on the 
banks of the Delaware. 

William Franklin, just after being appointed governor 
of New Jersey, was married in St. George's church, Hanover 
square, London, to Miss Elizabeth Downe. Strange as 
the coincidence may be, he, too, had an illegitimate son, 
born two years before. As had done his father, so did he ; 
naming the child William Temple Franklin he took him home 
to his bride, and the boy was reared with as much solicitude as 
if the offspring of marriage. Benjamin Franklin grieved much 
over the failure of his son to espouse the cause of the colonists. 
He wrote '^ that nothing had ever affected him with such keen 
sensitiveness as to find himself deserted in his old age by his 
only son ; and not only deserted, but to find him taking up arms 
against him in a cause wherein his good fame, fortmie and life 
were at stake." The grandson was a warm adherent of the 
Americans, and, deserting his father, allied his fortimes to those 
of his grandfather, with whom he remained associated until his 
death. He subsequently wrote a biography of Doctor Franklin, 
and died in France in 1823. 

300 The Story of an Old Fahm. 

The prestige and patriotism of the governor's father caused 
the people to judge leniently of the attitude the son assumed 
toward the cause so dear to the popular heart ; this, too, 
at a time when loyalists were looked upon with extreme dis- 
favor. But, as the months rolled on, his pronounced acts in 
support of the British ministry were too great for the forbearance 
of the people in their newly-born sovereign capacity. An inter- 
cepted despatch in January, 1776, had led to Lord Stirling's 
placing him under arrest, and on parole. For some months he 
continued to occupy the gubernatorial residence at Perth Amboy, 
and to nominally direct the affairs of the province, but having 
called upon the old assembly to meet on the twentieth of June^ 
the provincial congress declared this to be in direct contempt of 
the orders of the continental congress. On the fifteenth of June 
William Livingston, John Witherspoon, William Paterson and 
John Mehelm were appointed a committee to cause the arrest of 
the governor, and to depose him from office. Colonel Nathaniel 
Heard, commanding the 1st Middlesex battalion, under the 
direction of this committee made the arrest, and the governor 
was brought before provincial congress under guard. He 
treated that body with great indignity ; did not hesitate to charge 
its members with being low-bred men who deserved to be hung 
as rebels, and declared them to be without sufficient education for 
devising or carrying out plans for the public weal. When he 
had finished his violent tirade, Doctor Witherspoon sprang to his 
feet and fixing his keen eyes upon the king's representative 
poured on him a copious stream of irony, delivering a " rebuke 
so withering as to cause the boldest to hold .his breath with 
astonishment." In concluding, after referring to Franklin's illi- 
gitimacy, he said : — 

On the wliole, Mr. President, I think that the governor has made us a speech 
every way worthy of his exalted birth and refined education. 

Acting under the advice of Washington it was decided by 
congress to transfer the deposed executive to the keeping of 
Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, whereupon Franklin was 
confined in a house in East Windsor. Here he remained a pris- 
oner for two years ; upon being exchanged, he established him- 
self in New York which continued to be his home until 1782, 
when he returned to England. To cover his losses the British 

Some New Jersey Patriots. 301 

•govemment aflowed him the sum of eighteen hundred pounds 
and an annual pension of eight hundred pounds. William Liv- 
ingston was appointed governor in his stead, a position which he 
ably filled, owing to repeated re-elections, until the year 1782. * 

It will be noticed that deputies of the provincial congress were 
always inclined to call upon men of Somerset to occupy leading 
positions in their body, or to carry out their most important meas- 
ures. When the time came to depose this royal governor, two 
of the committee chosen to undertake this delicate and disgree- 
able office were from our county, while a third, John Mehelm, 
afterwards became a resident, and filled for many years to the 
great satisfaction of the people the position of surrogate. At this 
time he was living in Hunterdon county, at a place since known 
as Hall's mills, where he owned one hundred acres of land and a 
flouring mill. He was a stanch Jerseyman whose patriotism 
stood many severe tests ; from the first murmuring of the colon- 
ists against the home government he was an advocate for inde- 
pendence, and throughout the war was an associate of, and a coun- 
sellor with, the ablest and purest men of the country. He served 
as a member of the provincial congress, the convention, and the 
committee of correspondence and safety. 

William Paterson, who was New Jersey's second governor, 
has always been considered one of the great men of that time. 
He, too, displayed the most intelligent devotion to many public 
trusts in state and country ; represented New Jersey in the 
senate of the nation, and died in 1806 as judge of the supreme 
court of the United States. His residence was an antiquated 
stone mansion, no longer in existence, on a plantation known 
as the '' Paterson Fai'm," lying two miles south of Somerville on 
the Raritan rivex. Here, as the guest of Judge Paterson, 
Aaron Burr spent much of his time while an undergraduate at 
Princeton, and here he prepared for admission to the bar. 
Of Witherspoon we have already learned much, and as to the 

* His salary was fixed at £550, equal to 1466§ Spanish dollars. Marriage 
licenses, letters of administration and other perquisites increased the annual stip- 
end about £350. The salary of the chief-justice was £350 and of the other two 
.judges £300 ; treasurer £150, attorney-general £30. Delegates to congress $4 a 
day while present, and members of assembly $2 a day. During Franklin's 
administration the salary of the colonial governor had been gradually raised to 
X3,200, with perquisites amounting ,t© about $1,000. 

302 The Story of an Old Fa km. 

third member of this historic committee, William Livingston, all 
who know the a, b, c, of Revolutionary history are familiar with 
the valuable record of this distinguished war-governor. His 
sound judgment in counsel, and his coolness and courage in 
action and execution, brought inestimable benefits upon the 
comitry, and his services in the cause of freedom take rank with 
those of Washington, Hancock and Adams. His residence was 
in Elizabethtown — an ample brick mansion knowm as " Liberty 
Hall," which is still standing, owned and occupied by John 
Kean, the great-grandnephew of the governor. It has had a top 
storey added ; otherwise with the exception of modernized 
windows and fireplaces it is much the same as it was during the 
Kevolution. A large tree which faces the front door was planted 
in 1772 by Livingston's oldest daughter Susan, who afterwards 
married John Cleves Symmes. 

We have now sketched in a hurried manner the successive 
steps taken by the people of New Jersey in their progress from 
a condition of being the mere dependent subjects of a foreign 
government to that of free citizens of a free republic, able 
almost at once to assume the rights of membership in the family 
of nations. Well-informed readers may deplore the time lost in 
telling over again the well-known story of the outbreak of the 
Revolution ; but without a proper stage-setting our Somerset 
actors in the approaching drama could not well play their parts. 

As a background to the scene in which they are to figure, it is 
also necessary to consider the condition of the country in the 
spring of 1776. At that time it was truly but the beginning of 
things for the United States of America. Where is now the 
centre of population buffaloes browsed in herds, and wild deer 
had naught to fear from the crack of the woodsman's rifle. Even 
the valleys through which flow the Mohawk and the Genesee were 
almost destitute of white population, and those regions were still 
the hunting and fighting gromids of the painted wai'riors of the 
dreaded Six Nations of the North. Great cities, the pulsations 
of whose markets are to-day noted in the moneyed centres of all 
Euro])e, were not yet conceived, and their sites were solitudes of 

Eastern and Middle Pennsylvania lay quiet in the shade of a 
vast and sombre forest ; Pittsburgh, a mere collection of log 

The United States of 1776. 303 

cabins, was just becoming known as a point where emigrants 
built their keel -boats, and launched themselves and their fortunes 
on the waters of the Ohio. New York city in population was 
but little larger than is Plainfield of to-day, and smaller, by 
many thousands, than is Elizabeth ; those two populous places 
were then, respectively, but a hamlet and a small village ; while 
Somerville was not to have an existence for yet a quarter of a 
century. Newark in 1777 contained but one hundred and forty- 
one houses, and at no time during the war did it exceed one 
thousand in population. New Brunswick claimed about the 
same number. A round cupola capping a square wooden 
church-tower rising above a few clustering houses, was all that 
marked where now centres over half a million of people as the 
city of Brooklyn. Powles' Hook was represented by a ferry- 
tavern and a few scattering dwellings ; it was not till 1820 that it 
was rebaptized as Jersey City, and even then had but three 
hundred residents. Only about one-quarter of the lands of East 
Jersey had been located, and the inhabitants of the entire state 
numbered less than one hundred and fifty thousand. In the 
entire country there were but twenty-eight post offices ; as late as 
1791 New Jersey possessed but six, and at that time Somerset 
county appears to have had none. 


The Turbulent Sea of the Revolution — The Soldiers of Somerset 
— William Alexander, Lord Stirling; Cajitain Andrew 
MalicJc, and Private John llalich. 

And now we find the men of Somerset prepared to do their 
part toward manning the new ship of state, which is at last fairly 
launched on the turbulent sea of the Revolution. But notwith- 
standing the ominous notes of war, the daily routine of Bedmin- 
ster life continued. Sun-browned men went to and from the 
fields, peddlers wandered from village to farm, and women gos- 
sipped as they spun or stepped in their short kirtles to the music 
of their swiftly whirling yam-wheels. 

There was little or no break in the industries that centred 
about the " Old Stone House." The bills, bonds and corre- 
spondence preserved from that time show that work continued at 
the tannery and on the farm, their products finding a ready 
market. By this time the land had been considerably curtailed 
of its original area. At the death of Johannes a division of his 
estate was made by will among his children. Al] the provisions 
of this last testament are not known, no copy having been found, 
but references in subsequent deeds show that the tannery, home- 
stead, and two hundred acres fell to Aaron. The southern por- 
tion of the farm, embracing ono hundred and sixty-sevoa acres, 
being all the land fronting on the Bernardsville and Lamington 
road, was devised to Aaron's youngest brother, Peter, Upon 
this laud, sometime before the Revohition, he erected a house 
and farm-buildings. They were located on the site of the 
present residence of Alfred Johnson in the village of Bedmiuster. 
Here on the breaking out of rhe war Peter was living with his 
wife and three children, l>avid, John, and Catharine. 

St. James' Lutheran Church. 305 

Andrew's share of his father's estate was probably what 
remained of the four hundred and nine acres of land in Greenwich 
township, Sussex, now Warren county, which Johannes had pur- 
chased of John F. Garrits in 1747. It will be remembered that 
in 1758 one hundred and eighty-one acres of this purchase 
were conveyed to Gottfried Moelich, At any rate, this is 
where Andrew settled on leaving the homestead, and he con- 
tinued to be a resident of that township until his death in 1820. 
On the fourth of July, 1776, he received a commission as 
captain in the 1st Regiment, Sussex militia, commanded by 
Colonel, afterwards General, William Maxwell, and throughout 
the war was active in the service of his country. 

In the 3'ear 1769 Andrew was prominently connected with form- 
ing the congregation of St. James Lutheran church. Its first edifice 
was erected at the close of that year about three miles from Phil- 
lipsburg, on the road leading to Springtown. It was built of logs, 
with a breadth of thirty by a length of forty feet, having a straw 
thatched roof, from which comes its present name, " Straw 
Church." This primitive structure made way in 1790 for a 
larger stone edifice, which was followed in 1824 by the brick 
building now in use. The old records of this congregation, which 
begin with the year 1770, name as pastors. Christian Streit 
and Peter Muhlenberg. The latter was at that time the resi- 
dent clergyman of Zion Lutheran church at New Germantown, 
Hunterdon county, and for the congregation of this '' Straw 
Church," probably acted as supervising rector. This was the 
same Peter Muhlenberg who afterwards became famous as the 
Revolutionary general. Christian Streit was also the pastor of a 
Lutheran church at Easton. The records of St. James' show 
Andrew to have been continuously a communicant, and for many 
years an elder and warden. Upon the pages of its old church book 
are also recorded the baptism of four of his children, the first 
having been Catarina, who was born on the fourth of April, 1770, 
and baptised on the third of June. In the graveyard of this 
church, surrounded by his wife, children, and many of his 
descendants, Andrew lies buried. His crumbling tombstone bears 
the following inscription : 


306 The Story of an Old Farm. 

In Memory of 


Who was born December 24, 1729, and departed this life June 29, 1820, 

Agrd 90 years, 6 months and 5 days. 

Beneath this eartli the remains 
Of an old and respected fellow 
Citizen reposes. Stranger pause and 
Contemplate the frailties to 
Which human nature is exposed. 
And ere you leave this spot learn 
To know and feel that man is dust 
And to dust must return. 

His wife Catharine, who died on the twenty-ninth of October, 
1804, in the sixty-fourth year of her age, has the following 
verse upon her gravestone : 

Rest gentle corpse beneath this clay, 
Now time has swept your cares away, 
For surely now all troubles cease 
While in the grave you rest in peace. 

At the breaking out of the Revolution Aaron was beyond the 
age required by the acts of provincial congress for serving in 
the militia. As has already been shown he was a member of 
the Bedminster committee of observation and inspection, and 
furnished the sinews of war. He did more than this ; he 
buckled the armor on his oldest son John, then a lad of but 
eighteen, and sent him off with his blessing to fight the battles 
of his country. It is to be regretted that our knowledge of 
John's Revolutionary services is not more complete in its details. 
In General William S. Stryker's ^' Roster of the Men of New 
Jersey in the Revolution," published by authorify of the state, 
he appears as a private in Captain Jacob Ten Eyck's company of 
the 1st Battalion, Somerset militia, and also as a private in one 
of the New Jersey regiments of the continental line. 

At the outset of the war this 1st Battalion was commanded 
by William Alexander — known to history as Lord Stirling ; a 
son of Somerset in whose Revolutionary record the people of the 
county justly take much pride. While in England in 1756 he 
laid claim to the earldom of Stirling, which had been in abey- 

* Although Andrew's name appears on his tombstone " Melick," throughout 
life he generally spelled it "Malick," and it was so written on the muster-rolls 
of the 1st Sussex Battalion. 

LoKD Stirling's Record. 307 

ance for a number of years. Although successful in establishing 
a direct descent, the house of peers, before whom his claim went 
for final adjudication, decided against him. The title, however, 
seems to have been allowed, in this country at least, by courtesy. 
Washington, in his correspondence, invariably addressed him as 
" My Lord," and always spoke of him as " his lordship." On his 
return to America in 1761, he settled at Basking Ridge on the 
estate, as has been shown in a previous chapter, that had been 
acquired by his father, James Alexander. Here he made 
improvements which for taste and expense were much greater 
than anything of the kind ever attempted in the province. His 
grounds were laid out in the manner of an "English park, and the 
spacious mansion possessed all the characteristics of a gentle- 
man's seat in the old country. This large dwelling, together 
with its connecting offices, stables, and coach-houses, were orna- 
mented with cupolas and gilded vanes, and surrounded a paved 
court or quadrangle. There was a grand hall and an imposing 
drawing room, with richly decorated walls and. stuccoed ceilings. 
Jones, the tory historian, who, of course, bore Lord Stirling 
no love, states that while living here '' he cut a splendid figure, 
he having brought with him from England, horses, carriages, a 
coachman, valet, butler, cook, steward, hair-dresser and a mis- 
tress." Here this American nobleman lived the life of a country 
gentleman of fortune; he rode in a great coach with gilded panels 
emblazoned with coronets and medallions, and altogether affected 
a style and splendor probably miequalled in the colonies. He 
was a member of the king's council, a colonel in the militia, and 
was naturally the most conspicuous figure in the county. 

At the first sign of a severance of the relations between the 
colonies and the home government. Lord. Stirling warmly 
espoused the popular cause, and throughout the war, as is well 
known, proved himself a stanch patriot, and a soldier brave to 
rashness. On the thirteenth of October, 1775, the provincial 
congress of New Jersey, acquiescing in a recommendation of 
continental congress, organized two battalions, consisting of 
eight companies of sixty-eight privates each. This was the first 
call on New Jersey, and, together with a third battalion organized 
in February, 1776, it was known as the ''First Establishment" 
of troops from the colony for the continental army. The men 

308 The Story of an Old Farm. 

were enlisted for one year, and Lord Stirling was commissioned 
as colonel of the 1st Battalion. All readers of history are fam- 
iliar with his subsequent career. He was soon promoted to be a 
brigadier-general and fought stubbornly at the battle of Long 
Island, where he finally was captured by the enemy. Having 
been exchanged for the governor of Florida, at the battle of Tren- 
ton his brigade opened the fight. For his distinguished services 
he was elevated to the rank of major-general, and as such, in 
1777, we find him fighting with Washington at the bloody battle 
of Brandywine. The next year, he it was who, at the most crit- 
ical time on the field of Monmouth, so effectively handled his 
artillery as to dismay and check the British, while at the same 
time exciting their surprise and admiration. So, throughout the 
war, he was ever conspicuous among the leading and most noted 
of the Revolutionary generals. His appearance was imposing, 
and it has been said that, next to Washington, he possessed the 
most martial presence of any commander in the army. Lord 
Stirling never returned to his home amid the New Jersey hills. 
He died in 1784 at Albany, New York, while in command of the 
" Northern Department." 

When Colonel Alexander was transferred from the militia to 
the continental line, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Hunt was 
promoted to the command of the 1st Somerset Battalion. The 
acquaintance of Hunt we have already made as the owner of the 
mills adjoining the '^ Old Farm" on the opposite side of Peapack 
brook. He will also be remembered as a member of the com- 
mittee of observation and inspection with Aaron Malick. That 
John Malick should have enrolled himself in this -regiment can- 
not be charged to any special spasm of patriotic virtue. He had 
no choice. As early as the third of June, 1777, the provincial 
congress declared that the time had come for the people of the 
province to arm for defence. On that date, and in August and 
October of the same year, acts were passed making it obligatory 
on all citizens, between the ages of sixteen and fifty, to enroll 
themselves into militia companies that the several committees of 
safety were directed to form. These companies were then 
embodied into regiments which were distributed throughout the 
state, Somerset's quota being two. Each man was obliged to 
furnish himself with a " good musket or firelock, and bayonet. 

New Jersey Minute-Men. 309 

sword or tomahawk, a steel ramrod, worm, priming-wire and 
brush fitted thereto, a cartridge-box to contain twenty-three 
rounds of cartridge, twelve flints, and a knapsack." Militiamen 
were also required to keep in readiness at home one pound of 
powder and three pounds of bullets. The only men of proper 
age who could avoid militia service were those employed by the 
province, or who were occupied in the manufacture of government 
supplies. Of course, there were instances of individuals of cow- 
ardly nature or weak patriotism who were glad to take advantage 
of this exemption and seek such employment. In March, 1778, 
the Hibernia furnace in Morris county was engaged in produc- 
ing shot and shell, and consequentl}' offered itself to such persons 
as a city of refuge. The superintendent of the works, in speak- 
of the exemption of his employes, thus wrote to his principal. 
Lord Stirling : — 

My Lord, this is the only thing that induces the greater part of tlie men to 
work here, as they are farmers and have left their farms and come here solely to 
be clear of the militia and from no other motive. I find they are determined to 
sluiflle the time away they are exempt and do as little business as they possibly 
can. Could not your Lordship send us some of the Regular and Hessian desert- 
ers? I will do my endeavour to make thirty or forty of them serviceable. 

The militia law of August, 1775, in compliance with the rec- 
ommendation of continental congress, authorized the raising 
of minute-men ; Somerset furnished four companies formed 
in one battalion. They were uniformed in hunting shirts, took 
precedence over other militia, and were required to be in con- 
stant readiness to march to any point for the defence of New 
Jersey or a neighboring colony. So many of the miniite-men 
joined the continental army — as it was their privilege to do — that 
the battalions became much reduced, and before the first of 
March, 1776, they were disbanded and incorporated in the 
militia. The first service that the Somerset troops were called 
upon to perform was in answer to an application of the New 
York committee of safety for a force to aid in suppressing tories 
on Long Island. Seven hundred militiamen were consequently 
ordered to march under field officers Colonel Nathaniel Heard, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Thomas, and Major John Dunn. 
Of this command one hundred were minute-men from Somerset, 
and there are reasons to believe that John Malick was among the 
number. The battalion marched from Woodbridge on the sev- 

310 The Stout of an Old Fakm. 

enteenth of January. On reaching Manhattan Island they were 
reinforced by three hundi'ed men, among whom was a New York 
city volunteer organization, which, it is said, was composed of 
the most abandoned of the population. This reinforcement was 
under the command of Major De Hart of New Jersey, and on the 
twenty -ninth instant the combined forces crossed to Long Island 
and proceeded at once on the object of the mission, which was 
the apprehension of violent loyalists, and the disarming of the 
disaffected of the inhabitants. The political aspect of affairs on 
the western end of Long Island was very different from that of 
its neighbors, patriotic New England, New Jersey, and the rest 
of New York. Loyalty and rebellion blended, the balance of 
power, before the arrival of troops, being largely in favor of the 
former. The rich aristocrats, and the phlegmatic Dutch who 
were also well-to-do, were averse to disturbing the peace and 
order of the communities. This was especially so in Queen's 
comity, which was largely tory, and the county of King's was 
almost equally reluctant to show its influence on the side of the 
Revolutionary movement. 

The march of this invading force through these two counties 
spread dismay among the inhabitants. Colonel Heard was well 
fitted for his ungrateful mission, and was indefatigable in pursuit 
of the objects of the movement. So far as lay in his power he 
treated friend and foe with civility and kindness. He foimd it 
difficidt, however, to control his auxiliary force, especially 
the company from New York city ; their excesses caused him 
much pain ; and acrimony and bitterness were engendered among 
the residents of the island against the militaiy representatives of 
the colonists. To quote from the " Collections of the Long Island 
Historical Society ": — 

So flagrant and scandalous were many of the outrages perpetrated by De Hart's 
force that the officers of tlie minute-men, wlio had doubtless been chosen agreea- 
bly to the orders of Congress as prudent and discreet men, were shocked at their 
license and longed to be rid of their disorderly companions. The minute-men of 
New Jersey were respectable farmers and tradesmen, heads of families in many 
instances; and these humane men scorned the petty plunder which the others 
appropriated, as much as they commiserated the distress of which they were com- 
pelled to be the authors. 

The above quotation is a fail' example of the many warm 
tributes found in Revolutionary literature to the yeomanry 

A Tribute To Jersey Militiamen. 311 

of our state. In them was a militaiy force, unique in the history 
of warfare. Far be it from me to decry the inestimable services 
of the men of the continental line — their bones lie under the 
sods of too many well-fought battle-fields. But the New Jersey 
militiamen stand as distinct figures on the Revolutionary canvas, 
and their praises cannot be too often or too loudly sung. They 
well deserved the liberty for which they fought, and the 
remembrance of the self-sacrifice with which they exerted them- 
selves in behalf of freedom and independence is a heritage dearly 
prized by their descendants, who now enjoy all the blessings 
that flow from their valuable services. It must be acknowledged 
that for a short sixty days, or maybe forty, at the close of the 
year 1776, they faltered in their faith, and, discouraged by the 
fearful adversities of the hour, many were inclined to abandon 
the cause, and seek protection for their homes and families from 
a victorious enemy. But it was a temporary disaffection. They 
soon learned to detest the promises of the invader, and, angered 
by the outrageous injuries visited on them by the British, 
they resumed their arms. Henceforth the militia of the 
Jerseys stood pre-eminent among the defenders of the liberties 
of the people. As was written at the time by one who, though 
not a resident of the state, was a witness of and a participant in 
their glorious achievements : — 

They hovered around the enemy and lianassed him beyond his stationary 
guards; the aged watclied, explored, designed — the youth, alert, courageous, and 
ever ready for the outset, planted a hedge of pickets in General Washington's 
front to abate his painful solicitudes, to conceal his nakedness, and support the 
Revolution during a period in which a second army was totally disbanded and a 
third levied under the eyes of a British ct)mmander. 

On this head we also have the testimony of Washington. In 
a letter written to the Pennsylvania legislature in October, 1777, 
he says : — 

The exertions of tiie New Jersey militia have kept the enemy out of her 
limits, except now and then a hasty descent, without a continental regiment. 
Besides doing this, she has sent, and is now sending reinforcements to this and 
the northern army. 

John Hancock, too, writing in September of the same year to 
Governor Livingston, testifies : — 

The militia by their late conduct against our cruel enemies have distinguished 
themselves in a manner that does them the greatest honor, and I am persuaded 

312 The Story of an Old Farm. 

they will continue to merit, on all occasions when called upon, the reputation 
they have so justly acquired. 

In August, 1776, the militia was divided into two divisions — 
that is, every organization was divided into two parts. One was 
ordered to report immediately to General Washington for one 
month's tour of duty, as it was termed ; the other was required 
to be in readiness to relieve the first. In this manner, until the 
close of the war, the two divisions did alternate and valiant ser- 
vice, acting with the continental army at the battles of Long 
Island, Assunpink, Princeton, Germantown, Springfield and 
Monmouth. They also, when not on a tour of duty, were fre- 
quently called upon to defend their homes and communities, and 
performed a distinguished part in the fights and skirmishes 
known as Quinton's Bridge, Hancock's Bridge, Three Rivers, 
Connecticut Farms and Van Nest's Mills (Weston). 

Although early in 1776 campaigns were being prosecuted in 
the North and South, the main theatre of war continued to be in 
the East. But in April it was transferred to New York. Too 
soon the scene will again be shifted — the next time to the west 
side of the Hudson River, for New Jersey was yet that year to 
know the martial sound of trumpets, to grow familiar with* the 
tread of armies, and to feel the dread stroke of war. On the 
seventeenth of March the British acknowledged the superior 
generalship of Washington by evacuating Boston, embarking in 
their fleet and sailing away for Halifax. As the commander-in- 
chief felt confident that the ultimate design of the enemy was to 
attack New York, he decided to make that city his base of 
operations, and consequently marched with his army to Manhat- 
tan Island. On the ninth of July the fleet from Halifax passed 
inside of the Hook. A few days later Sir Henry Clinton with 
three thousand men arrived on Sir Peter Parker's battered 
squadron that had just returned from the misfortunes of Charles- 
ton. Almost daily thereafter ships crossed the bar laden with 
troops, until on the twelfth of August eighty-two transports and 
six men-of-war arrived, bearing a final contingent of nearly eight 
thousand Hessians and one thousand English guards. At this 
time New York bay and its vicinity presented a maritime scene 
unequalled before or since. Almost its entire surface was cov- 
ered by ships, attended by innumerable galleys, bateaux and 

Battle of Long Island. 313 

small boats. Thirty-seven men-of-war guarded four Hundred 
transports, whicli had brought to America thirty-five thousand 
soldiers and sailors, together with artisans, servants, trains of 
artillery, and all the necessary horses, provisions, and munitions 
of war for that great body of men. 

During the summer the country was in a painful tension. The 
sense of the great struggle so surely impending was uppermost 
in every one's mind. On the third of June the continental 
congress called upon the colonies for thirteen thousand eight 
hundred militia to re-inforce the army at New York. New Jer- 
sey was required to furnish thirty-three hundred men, and 
eleven days thereafter the provincial congress ordered that the 
force be raised to serve until the first of December, and to be 
formed of five battalions, composed of eight companies of seventy- 
eight men each. One of these battalions contained three com- 
panies from Somerset and five from Hunterdon, its field officers 
being Colonel Stephen Hunt, Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Johns- 
ton and Major Joseph Phillips ; Hunt became disabled, and 
resigned on the thirteenth of July, when the lieutenant-colonel 
was promoted. Colonel Johnston was subsequently killed at the 
battle of Long Island, and was succeeded by Major Phillips, Cap- 
tain Piatt Bayles being promoted to major. When this command 
marched away, John Malick carried a musket in its ranks. The 
five battalions were brigaded under Colonel Nathaniel Heard, 
who was promoted to be a brigadier-general. His brigade 
formed a part of Washington's army, which on the eighth of 
August was composed of seventeen thousand two hundred and 
twenty -five men, mostly raw troops, of whom thirty-six hundred 
and fifty-eight were sick and unfit for duty. Of this force eight 
thousand lay on Long Island between Bedford and the East 
river, the rest on Manhattan Island, the line extending as far 
as King's Bridge, the extreme points being seventeen miles 
apart. The command with which John Malick was connected 
was on Long Island. 

On the twenty-seventh of August this little army of poorly 
armed, undisciplined militia, that was stretched thinly along an 
extended line south of Brooklyn, received the shock of a vast, 
thoroughly-equipped body of British and Hessian soldiers, sup- 
ported by a great fleet. Defeat was almost a foregone conclusion ; 

314 The Story of an Old Farm. 

in the light of subsequent knowledge it seems extraordinary that 
the American army was not entirely annihilated. The total 
loss of the enemy was three hundred and sixty-seven men, of 
whom but twenty were killed, live being officers. The esti- 
mated loss of the Americans in killed, wounded and prisoners 
was two thousand, among the latter being Generals Sullivan and 
Lord Stirling, and one who served his country with equal ardor on 
that day, though in the more humble position of the bearer of a 
flint-lock — John Malick. 

Included among the dead was Colonel Philip Johnston, the 
commandant of the provisional battalion to which the Somerset 
companies were attached. At a critical period of the battle his 
command occupied the right and centre of Sullivan's advance 
line at the redoubt at Flatbush pass. Here our Jersey soldiers 
made a heroic stand against Colonel von Donop's force of German 
yagers, riflemen and grenadiers. In the heat of the action a 
musket ball tore its way into the heart and ended the life of Col- 
onel Johnston. So perished, just thirty-five years to a day from 
the date of his birth, a gallant officer, and one of the first to fall 
in the service of the new state. He was the son of Philip John- 
ston, who lived in a large stone mansion at Sydney in Hunterdon 
county, in which house the younger Philip was born in 1741. 
The colonel had acquired a military reputation before the Revo- 
lution, having gained credit as a brave soldier while serving with 
the New Jersey battalion in the French war. His behavior at 
the engagement on Long Island was most marked. General 
Sullivan, who witnessed his spirited conduct and death, said of 
him : " No officer could have behaved with greater firmness and 
bravery ;" and General Jeremiah Johnson characterized him as 
being as gallant an officer as ever commanded a battalion, and 
declared his conduct on Long Island to have been remai'kable 
for intrepidity and heroism. Colonel Johnston was a fighter by 
heredity, as his family was descended from an ancient barony in 
Anandale, Scotland, which in early days was a warlike clan and 
a great terror to border thieves. Like many brave soldiers the 
colonel was a warm friend, and a tender, loving husband and 
father. It is recorded that in 1776 when he was leaving home 
for the front he went into the room where his three little chil- 
dren were in bed, and, kissing them farewell, knelt down and 

Battle of Long Island. 


commended his family to God in prayer. One of those children, 
Mary, became the wife of Joseph Scudder, and was the mother 
of Doctor John Scudder, the world-renowned missionary to India. 
It is not within the province of this work to narrate the details 
of the battle of Long Island. When the relative condition 
of the two armies is considered, that it should have resulted 
in so dire a disaster is readily to be seen was inevitable. 
George Collier, commander of "His Majesty's Ship Rainbow, 
forty-four guns," in a letter to England, thus wrote of the calibre 
of the opposing forces. While not endorsing the sentiment or 
the conclusion of the extract, we may value the information as 
the evidence of an eye-witness, and esteem it the greater because 
written after the engagement by an enemy who, naturally, would 
not desire to rob the victors of any of their laurels by unduly 
belittling the strength and effectiveness of their opponents : — 

Mr. Washington of Virginia, who had formerly served in the last war against 
the French, had the chief command of the rebel army and took upon himself the 
title of General. The utmost of his collective force did not amount to sixteen 
thousand men, all of whom were undisciplined, unused to war, wanting in clothing 
and even necessaries, and very ill provided with artillery and ammunition. His 
officers were tradesmen of different professions, totally unacquainted with disci- 
pline, and consequently utterly unskilled in the art of war. 

The writer then goes on to speak of the English army : — 

General Howe had now the satisfaction of finding himself at the head of full 
twenty-four thousand tine troops, most completely furnished and appointed, com- 
manded by the ablest and best otfieers in the world, and having a more numerous 
artillery than had ever before been sent from England. Such was the exact 
state of both arms before any operation was undertaken. Justice on the royal 
side and treason on the other made the balance still more unequal. 

Another foreign officer who participated in the battle — Col- 
onel Von Heeringen of a Hessian regiment — also thus wrote as 
to the American soldiers : — 

No regiment is properly dressed or armed, every one has a common musket 
like those wliich citizens use in Hessia when they march out of town on Whit- 
suntide, with the exception of one of Stirling's regiments that was dressed in 
blue and red and consisted of three battalions, for the most part Germans enlisted 
in Pennsylvania. Tliey were tall tine fellows, and carried beautiful English 
muskets with bayonets. 

John Malick's campaigning for the time-being was at an end. 
A few days later he was taken over to New York and delivered 
with many other prisoners to the tender mercies of Provost- 

316 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Marshal Cunningham, of infamous memory. He was thrown into 
one of the New York sugar-houses, and his sufferings in that 
pest-prison can better be imagined than described. Lieutenant 
Robert Troup of the Long Island militia, in an affidavit made 
before Governeur Morris, gives a distressing account of the treat- 
ment of himself and other prisoners taken at the battle of Long 
Island, and placed in charge of the provost. They were allowed 
no fuel, and the provisions were so scanty and of such an inferior 
quality that, as he expressed it : — 

He doth verily believe that most of them would have died if they had not been 
supported by the kindness of some poor persons and common prostitutes who 
took pity on their miserable situation and alleviated it. 

There were three sugar-houses at this time in use as prisons: 
Rhinelander's, on the corner of WiUiam and Duane streets ; Van 
Courtlandt's, on the northwest corner of Trinity churchyard and 
Thames street ; and a third, the most noted, a five-storey 
stone building which stood a few feet east of the Middle Dutch 
church, at what is now numbers thirty-four and thirty-six 
Liberty street. During the fall and winter thousands of per- 
sons were incarcerated in these sugar-houses, and the unfortu- 
nates suffered great hardships because of overcrowding, filth, and 
disease. All persons of humanity were outraged by the treat- 
ment of the prisoners. Their rations were of the worst possible 
character, and when winter came many perished with the cold, 
they being provided with neither fire nor covering. So great 
were their sufferings that fifteen hmidred died. The dead were 
dragged from their prisons, and piled up outsijie the doors till 
there were enough to make a load. They were then carted 
away to the Potters' Field, tumbled helter-skelter in a great 
trench, and but partially covered with earth. The miseries 
endured by the prisoners were made much greater by the 
inhumanity of their jailor, Provost-Marshal Cunningham. The 
name of this man will go down through the ages as one to be 
execrated by all lovers of humanity. Not content with the 
physical sufferings he was enabled to heap upon those in his 
charge, he did not hesitate to add the most terrible mental affiic- 
tions. It was his delight to torture the minds of special 
prisoners by announcing that on a certain day they were to be 
hanged. He it was who, on the twenty-second of September of 

Provost-Marshal Cunningham. 317 

this year, executed with unnecessary brutality young Nathan 
Hale, the '^ patriot spy," whose last words were *' 1 only regret 
that I have but one. life to lose for my country." In conducting 
this execution the provost acted in a most unfeeling manner. 
The brave captain was hanged from an apple tree in Colonel 
Rutgers' orchard, near where now Market street and East Broad- 
way intersect. He was surroimded by spectators who were 
indignant at Cunningham's brutality, the women giving loud 
sobs in their sympathy for the sufferer. Notwithstanding Hale's 
appeals he was denied the services of a clergyman ; and even a 
Bible, for a moments' devotion, was refused him. The provost 
destroyed letters that the sufferer left for his mother and friends, 
under the plea that it would not do to let the rebels know there 
was a man in their army who could die with so much firmness. 
For the benefit of those who take comfort in compensations it may 
be well to state that this same Captain Cunningham was hanged 
in London in 1791 for forgery. In his dying confession he 
acknowledged that when provost in New York he had executed 
many prisoners on his own responsibility, and without trial. 
How long John Malick remained in the clutches of this monster 
is unknown. Tradition speaks of his having been taken from 
prison by a British general whom he was forced to serve until 
included in a cartel. When finally exchanged he enlisted in the 
continental line, but of his additional Revolutionary record 
nothing has been preserved. 

Our future interest in the American army lies in its experi- 
ences on New Jersey soil. We may therefore pass over Wash- 
ington's masterly retreat from Long Island under the cover of a 
dense fog; the evacuation of New York city ; the successful stand 
made by the continental army at Harlem ; the indecisive action 
at White Plains on the twenty-eighth of October ; and the fall of 
Fort Washington on the sixteenth of November, which may be 
considered the greatest disaster that befell the American arms 
during the war. Before the latter catastrophe the main British 
army had moved to the east side of the Hudson, in the vicinity 
of Dobb's Ferry. Washington, feeling uncertain as to the 
designs of the enemy, dispatched Heath to Peekskill with 
three thousand men to guard the approaches to the High- 
lands, and leaving Lee with over five thousand men at 


The Story of an Old Farm. 

Northcastle, crossed the Hudson with what was left of the 
army, and encamped in the vicinity of Hackensack. Gren- 
eral Greene was already in New Jersey with a considerable 
force, garrisoning Fort Lee, immediately opposite Fort Wash- 


The British in New Jersey — Washington's Betreat to the Dela- 
ware — General Lee in Somerset. 

Now commences New Jersey's bitter experience of the 
war. On the nineteenth of November Cornwallis's army, six 
thousand strong, crossed the Hudson in two hundred boats, 
and scaling the precipitous heights of the Palisades at old 
" Closter Landing," the scarlet-coated column with bristling 
bayonets moved rapidly on Fort Lee. This was not the 'first 
appearance of the foe in the state. Soon after the arrival of the 
British in the harbor of New York a detachment was landed on 
Constable's Hook, which place was occupied for some time. 
The necessity was occasioned by the presence of General 
Mercer's " Flying Camp " on Bergen Neck, the English fearing 
that the Americans might prove annoying to the fleet, as some of 
the vessels lay close to the shore at the mouth of the Kills. 

On the approach of Cornwallis the garrison at Fort Lee 
abandoned that post and fell back to Hackensack, joining the 
main body of Washington's army which had made a stand on 
the right bank of the river. The combined forces now numbered 
less than six thousand men, but its commander was actively 
engaged in endeavoring to procure reinforcements. Urgent 
appeals were made to Governor Livingston for militia, and 
couriers were dispatched to General Lee, who had been left with 
between three and four thousand men (not counting those whose 
time was about expiring) east of the Hudson, directing him to 
make all haste in joining the main army with his command. 

From this time up to the cessation of hostilities, the soil of 
New Jersey was the board upon which many of the most 
desperate of the Revolutionary games were played, and her 

320 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

territory was much of the time the fighting ground or plunder 
of the enemy. It is daimed that her losses in proportion to 
wealth and population were greater than that of any other state 
save South Carolina. With the exception of the winter of Valley 
Forge and the Virginia campaign against Cornwallis in 1781 the 
continental troops were constantly in, or on the confines of, the 
state. In addition, her militia was constantly called upon by the 
commander-in-chief for special services, or to swell the number 
of the American army. 

But we must proceed with the disheartening tale of the retreat 
across the Jerseys. On the twenty-second of the month Wash- 
ington reached Newark, Cornwallis having forced him to with- 
draw from Hackensack. On the following day his army was 
mustered and found to contain but fifty-four hundred and ten 
men fit for duty, of whom the enlistments of only twenty-four hun- 
dred and one extended beyond the coming January. One brigade, 
that of General Bradley, reported but sixty men present, while 
General Beale's brigade was twelve hundred strong, but the time 
of the latter's men expired within a week. Washington remained 
at Newark for six days, when the van of the enemy appearing 
his column was set in motion for " Brunswick." The British 
troops rested for several days at Newark, and their stay was 
marked by desolation and ruin. Its citizens received their first 
lesson in the miseries of being under the heels of a conquering 
host. Tory and patriot were alike plundered, women and young 
girls were much worse than insulted, and as a witness of that 
time writes, those only escaped robbery and murder who were 
fortunate enough to procure a sentinel to guard their doors. He 
further recites that " there was one Captain Nutman who had 
always been a remarkable tory, and who met the British troops 
on Broad street with huzzas of joy. He had his house robbed of 
almost everything. His very shoes were taken off" his feet, and 
they threatened to hang him." 

On leaving Newark the Americans moved in two columns, 
one marching via Elizabethtown and Woodbridge, and the 
other through Springfield, Scotch Plains and Quibbletown (New 
Market), they coming together again at New Brunswick. Wash- 
ington had hoped to make a stand on the south bank of the Rari- 
ian, having confidently expected to receive reinforcements at 

The Retreat Through Somerset. 321 

New Brunswick. He was doomed to disappomtment. Lee, 
who had been repeatedly ordered to hurry forward his command, 
had not yet come up, and the militia did not respond to the calls 
of the governor. In addition, a general spirit of insubordination 
pervaded the army, and hundreds, deserting the cause, went 
home, believing that a further struggle against the superior 
organization, arms and discipline of the British troops would be 
unavailing. Cornwallis, on the other hand, on approaching New 
Brunswick was largely reinforced by Howe, and Washington's 
weary, wayworn, shattered battalions were again obliged to take 
up their hurried flight toward the Delaware. The retreat was 
by way of Princeton and Kingston, and the inhabitants of lower 
Somerset had an unhappy first view of the continental army. 
They had good reason for despairing of the patriot cause, when 
they beheld their country's defenders, many of them bare-footed, 
and all illy protected from the wintry weather, dwindling away 
with each mile of their disheartening march, while being chased 
across the state by a well-clad, victorious force, *' tricked out in 
all the bravery of war." During the night that the column 
marched from New Brunswick the rain fell violently, and the 
roads were deep with mud caused by the passage of artillery 
and wagons. About daybreak on the following morning the 
rear-guard passed through Rocky Hill, every step of the 
exhausted men being above the ankles and often to the knees in 

Washington, anticipating the possible necessity of abandoning 
the state to the enemy, had collected at Trenton all the boats of 
the upper Delaware. He reached that place with the main body 
of what was left of the army on the third of December, having 
left Lord Stirling with a detachment at Princeton to watch and 
endeavor to check the enemy until the baggage and stores could 
cross the river. The total strength of the American force, as 
shown by a return made on the first instant, was four brigades of 
sixteen regiments, with a total apparent number of forty-three 
hundred and thirty-four men, but of these, ten hundred and 
twenty-nine were sick and absent, while those left were rapidly 
leaving the fleeing column. On the sixth, Stirling was reinforced 
by twelve hundred men from Trenton ; but on the seventh the 
enemy advanced in such force as to necessitate the hurried 


322 The Story of an Old Farm. 

retreat of the entire American army. By midnight Washington, 
with all of his men, was west of the Delaware ; as the troops 
disembarked from the last boat the music of the pursuers could 
be heard, as their advance entered the town that had just been 
evacuated. What remained of the army — less than twenty-five 
hundred men — were now safe. The enemy, after vainly endeav- 
oring to obtain boats, showed no disposition to continue the 
chase, but went into winter quarters in the different towns, con- 
tent for that campaign with the occupation of the state, and, as 
they thought, the annihilation of an army. The rebellion was 
believed to be crushed. Howe and Cornwallis returned to New 
York, and the latter, thinking his services to be no longer 
required in America, decided to sail for England. 

For the time-being New Jersey was a captured province. 
While, as will be presently shown, many of its citizens made 
their submission to the victors, the cruelties perpetrated on the 
inhabitants by the occupying army were such as to greatly 
increase among the masses the feeling of hatred toward British 
rule. The historians of England find great difficulty in hiding 
the stains blotting the pages that recount the atrocities com- 
mitted by British soldiers on New Jersey soil ; committed, too, 
with the connivance, or at least the acquiescence, of their com- 
manding noblemen — was word ever so misused? — the Howes, 
Cornwallises, Percys and Rawdons. The sufferings of the peo- 
ple were not only caused by their being forced to impoverish 
themselves in furnishing billets and forages to the British, but by 
such marauding and plundering by the troops as would have dis- 
graced the followers of an eastern satrap. General Howe's army 
was at this time given up to indiscriminate and universal thiev- 
ing, the officers not only countenancing the outrages, but parti- 
cipating as well. The men were licentious and permitted to 
commit every manner of rapine, violence and cruelty ; conse- 
quently the tartaned Scot with his flowing skirt, the natty gren- 
adier, and the dashing dragoon with scarlet coat and bright 
yellow short-clothes, looked upon a Jersey rebel as legitimate 

Max von Eelking, the German historian of the Revolution, 
writes that "Sir William Howe was much given to sensuous pleas- 
ures and enjoyments of every kind, frequently forgetting in their 

British Atrocities. 323 

pursuit the high duties of a general. He kept at all times a 
good kitchen and usually also a mistress, and liked to see others 
enjoy themselves in the same way." Governor Livingston, in a 
speech before the assembly in 1777, declared that the English 
soldiers, while in New Jersey, warred upon decrepit age and 
defenceless youth, plundered friends and foes, destroyed public 
records and private monuments, and, to quote his own words, 
" violated the chastity of women, disfigured private dwellings of 
taste and elegance, and in the rage of impiety and barbarism 
profaned edifices dedicated to Almighty God." 

When the British came marching through Middlesex county 
in pursuit of the retreating Americans, Dunlap the art historian, 
then a small boy, accompanied his father to Piscataway, who 
went to claim from General Grant, the Commandant of a detach- 
ment, protection as a subject of the Crown. Though but a lad 
he was much impressed by the lawlessness and looting of the 
troops. In later years he thus described the scenes witnessed on 
that occasion : — 

The men of the village retired on the approach of the enemy. Some women 
and children were left. I heard their lamentations as the soldiers carried off 
their furniture, scattering the feathers of beds to the winds, and piled up look- 
ing glasses with frying pans in the same heap by the roadside. The soldiers 
would place a female camp-follower as a guard upon the spoil while he returned 
to add to the treasure. 

While many instances might be given of the sufferings visited 
on the Jersey people at this time, a few illustrations will suffice 
to excuse or warrant so wholesale a condemnation of the occupy- 
ing army. Of course, those citizens most active in the patriot 
cause were especially marked for the vengeance of the British 
and their partisan allies. No feud so deadly as one between 
brothers. The ferocity exhibited at this time by the tories against 
their feUow countrymen, and often against neighbors, was inhu- 
man to a degree that in these days of peace and amity it is dif- 
ficult to comprehend. General Greene, in writing to his wife 
from New Jersey on the sixteenth of December, thus speaks of 
the sufi*erings of the inhabitants : — 

The tories are the cursedest rascals amongst us — the most wicked, villainous 
and oppressive. They lead the relentless foreigners to the houses of their neigh- 
bors, and strip the poor women and children of everything they have to eat and 
wear; and after plundering them in this sort, the brutes often ravish the 

324 The Story of an Old Farm. 

mothers and daughters, and compel their fathers and sons to behold their brut- 
ality ; many have fallen sacrifices in this way. 

In the same month Greene wrote to Governor Cook of Rhode 
Island that General Howe's ravages in New Jersey exceeded all 
description — that " houses were plundered, men slaughtered, 
women, and even little girls not ten years old, ravished in the 
presence of husbands, sons and brothers." 

In the line of the writer's maternal ancestry are the Middlesex 
families of Ayres, Dunn, and Dunham. Of the last named, fifteen 
members served in the army, nine of whom were spoliated by the 
British. David, David, Jr., and Samuel, of Piscataway, had 
their houses and barns burned; and Elisha, Jonathan, Josiah and 
John, of Woodbridge, also suifered great losses. Azariah — 
of the committee of safety — was robbed of many valuables, and 
even his aged father, the Reverend Jonathan, of Piscataway, 
was plundered by the thieving soldiery. Samuel, Jacob and 
Reuben Ayres, who were in the army, had their Woodbridge 
houses pillaged: Samuel lost cattle, sheep, hay and women's 
clothing, among the last being " one black Calamanco Cloak 
lined, new," and '' one Scarlet Cloak, part worn ; " Reuben's 
house was burned, and his horses and a " good gun " appropri- 

Fifteen members of the Dunn family were in the army, 
ranging in grade from a private to a colonel. Eleven of 
them were despoiled by the English and tories. Captain 
Hugh Dunn,* of the 1st Middlesex militia — the writer's 
great-great-grandfather — at the outbreak of the war had just 
completed a new house. It is still to be seen at the end of 
a long lane running from the turnpike, about one mile east of 
New Brunswick ; its old-fashioned well-sweep and the great tree 
in the door-yard, in which is imbedded a Revolutionary cannon- 
ball, testifying of ancient days. When the enemy overran Mid- 
dlesex county, many of the inhabitants deserted their homes. 
Not so Captain Hugh, who determined to stay on his lands and 
defend his possessions. He was forced to give up his new 
dwelling to British officers and to move with his family into the 

* He married Abigail Carman, who brought him a dowry of bedding and bed 
curtains, a silver tankard, a horse and side-saddle, and her negro servant " York." 

Captain Hugh Dunn. 325 

kitchen-part of the old house, in the main body of which was 
quartered a company of Hessians. In the end he fared much 
better than did some of his neighbors who moved back into the 
country, his losses being confined to furniture, cattle, grain and 
other personal effects, among them being — as he recites in his 
statement to the authorities, preserved at Trenton — a " new coat 
for my Negro." He and his wife paid dearly in another way, 
however, for just then a baby was born to them, and when the 
little girl began to talk, a stammering tongue and an impeded 
speech, which lasted through life, told the story of the excite- 
ments and fears of that turbulent period. Sturdy Hugh Dunn 
was a stanch patriot, and did valiant service in the cause of 
freedom. His convictions were of the strongest character, and 
they are illustrated by many curious stories preserved by his 
posterity. After the famous Boston tea-party, throughout his 
long life, he never again permitted himself to taste the " cheer- 
ing cup." He even held his own brother in contempt, who at 
the outset of the war sold his farm and moved to Canada. Many 
years afterwards, when this same brother sent him from the British 
Possessions a present of a barrel of fish, he would not even grant 
it storage, but set it out on the I'oad-side, giving all passers-by 
permission to help themselves. 

All this winter of 1776 and 1777 the Dunns of that neighbor- 
hood were marked for British vengeance. The weU-furnished 
two-storey house of Justus Dunn was burned ; Daniel's horse was 
taken; Benjamin lost books, furniture, and, as he states, a " stout 
negro man " ; Jeremiah was forced to contribute horses, cattle 
and crops to the enemy ; Major John Dunn, a member of the 
committee of observation and inspection, was robbed of horses 
and household furniture, including two clocks valued at sixteen 
and thirty pounds ; Lieutenant-Colonel Micajah Dunn, another 
member of the committee of observation and inspection, lost his 
horse, two guns and clothing. The above items are given to 
show how certain it was that those serving the country should 
suffer at the hands of the British. During their stay of a little 
over six months in Middlesex county these ungenerous foes 
ravaged the property of six hundred and fifty persons, and 
burned more than one hundred dwellings, mills and other build- 
ings. Charles D. Deshler, an authority on Middlesex history, 

326 The Story of an Old Farm. 

estimates that at that time there were but two thousand house- 
holders in the county, which would show that about one in every 
three was pillaged. 

A son of Somerset prominent at this period for valuable ser- 
vices rendered his country was that able scholar and statesman, 
Richard Stockton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. He was a man of wealth, and lived on a handsome 
estate near Princeton, which had descended to him from his 
forefathers. His homestead was repeatedly plundered by the 
enemy, and on the thirtieth of November, 1776, while visiting a 
Mr. Cowenhoven, he and his host were dragged from their beds 
by a party of refugee royalists. They were carried to New 
York, and Mr. Stockton was treated with such barbarity as to 
bring on an illness which in 1781 resulted in his death. A 
neighbor of Richard Stockton, and also a signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, was John Hart — " honest John Hart." 
He was a substantial farmer living in the vicinity of the village 
of Columbia, in Hunterdon, now Mercer county. Though an 
illiterate man, and quite wanting in the cultivation and accom- 
plishments which, with few exceptions, distinguished the mem- 
bers of the second congress, he possessed sound sense, strong 
will-power, and great tenacity of purpose, qualities which 
enabled him to be of signal service both as an actor and promp- 
ter in the drama of the Revolution, Hart's devotion to the 
interests of the revolted colonies brought upon him the malig- 
nant hatred of the tories, and the persecutions of the enemy. 
His sufferings during the iirst year of the war were most severe ; 
his property was destroyed, his family dispersed, and he himself, 
driven from the deathbed of his wife, was hunted through the 
woods, and from cottage to cave. So dire a treatment laid the 
foundation of disease which cut short his career in 1780. 

Although Bedminster township lay far north of where the 
British cantonments were located, it did not escape the miseries 
inflicted on the communities by the enemy. In December, 1776, 
a squadron of British cavalry suddenly appeared in Pluckamin, 
and visited all manner of indignities upon the place and people. 
Women were grossly insulted, dwellings robbed, and stock 
driven off. The doors of the Lutheran church Avere battered 
down, the pews broken up, and the pulpit hacked and disfigured 

Cavalry Raids in Bedminster. 327 

with sabre strokes. The object of this raid was to secure the 
person of Captain Isaac Van Arsdale, who had made himself 
obnoxious because of his activity in behalf of the colonists. On 
learning of their approach he escaped to the woods, and, in con- 
junction with some neighbors, succeeded to some extent in 
harassing the marauders. At least one man was known to have 
suffered from their musket balls, as he was brought to Eoff's 
tavern, where sheets were torn up to make bandages to staunch 
his wounds. Major McDonald, who owned the mills on Cham- 
ber's brook, was probably in sympathy with these cavalrymen, 
as they treated him with consideration ; he, in retuni, rolled out 
a barrel of '^ apple jack," and regaled them with bread and 
cold ham. 

On another occasion a troop of light-horse created great havoc 
in Bedminster. They seized Elias Van der Veer, the father of 
the late Doctor Henry Van der Veer, and carried him off to 
Trenton. The detachment had been especially ordered to make 
him a prisoner, as he had become well-known to the enemy as 
an active patriot, and a spirited co-worker in the American 
cause with his brothers-in-law. Colonel John Schenck, and 
Captains Henry Schenck and Frederick Frelinghuysen. He 
was taken from his mill and placed on a horse between two 
troopers, and, although the weather was severe, was not 
given an opportunity of putting on a hat or coat. In passing 
through Pluckamin a hat was placed on his head by a neighbor, 
who on seeing him passing ran out for that purpose. The 
exposure, and the cruelties practised upon Mr. Van der Veer 
while in prison, caused his death on the twenty-ninth of Novem- 
ber, 1778, in the thirty-third year of his age, as his gravestone 
in Bedminster churchyard bears witness. 

It is not strange that innumerable experiences of a like char- 
acter, together with the fact of Washington having been di'iven 
from the state, should have produced a profound feeling of 
despondency. The stoutest hearts began to despair of the future, 
and many commenced to think only of the safety of their families 
and property. The victorious enemy, recognizing this growing 
sentiment, offered amnesty to soldiers and protection to citizens 
if they would return to their allegiance. Disaffection spread, 
and as many as two hundred persons came in one day to the 

328 The Story of an Old Farm. 

British headquarters and pledged their faith to the Crown ; among 
these were Samuel Galloway, a member of the first continental 
congress, and Samuel Tucker, of Trenton ; the latter had presided 
over the provincial congress of New Jersey when the state consti- 
tution was adopted, and in 1776 was justice of the supreme 
court and treasurer of the state. It is claimed that Tucker 
secured protection for the purpose of preserving public funds and 
private trusts, then in his possession. Washington, in addressing 
the national legislature on the first of January, 1777, thus 
alludes to such weak-kneed patriots : '' After being stripped of 
all they had without the least compensation, protection had been 
granted for the full enjoyment of their efi'ects." 

The members of the family in the " Old Stone House " did 
not waver in their colonial sympathies, and Aaron showed no 
hesitation in his fealty to the best interests of the budding nation. 
So it was with all his brothers excepting the youngest, Peter. 
My fidelity as a family historian demands a true and unbiased 
account of ancestral failings, as well as of virtues ; and it must 
be acknowledged that Peter took advantage of the proclamation 
of the " Right Honorable Lord Howe, and his Excellency, 
General Howe," and received a protection paper from Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Mawhood, of the 17th Regiment, British line, 
who commanded a brigade of foot, whereby he was assured 
protection " both for himself, his family and property, and to 
pass and repass on his lawful business without molestation." 
Peter's disaffection does not appear to have been permanent ; he 
was never classed as a loyalist, and like them did not suffer from 
attainder or confiscation, but continued to be a' valued citizen. 
In making his submission he was doubtless influenced by his 
business relations with James Parker, whose acquaintance, it 
will be remembered, we made when Johannes visited the pro- 
vincial capital in 1752. Mr. Parker sometime before the Revo- 
lution purchased of the executors and heirs of John Johnstone, 
deceased, extensive bodies of land lying north of Peapack brook, 
within the Peapack patent. He appointed Peter Melick his 
agent for its care, improvement, and sale. Peter was obliged 
to make frequent journeys to Perth Amboy in order to consult 
with his principal. It is fair to presume that he imbibed more 
or less of the loyal sentiment there openly and ahnost universally 

Disloyalty at Perth Amboy. 329 

displayed. Being the seat of the king's government, and since 
1762 a garrison town, a large element of its population, especially 
among the wealthier citizens, were dominated in their sympa- 
thies by the ever-present influence of royal power. At the close 
of the war but a very small proportion of those who had formed 
the colonial aristocracy remained residents of the ancient capital. 
General Washington, on the fourth of July, 1776, in a commu- 
nication to congress, thus refers to Perth Amboy : — 

The disaffection of the people of that place and others not far distant, is 
exceedingly great, and unless it be checked and overawed it may become more 
general and very alarming. 

It does not appear that James Parker openly evinced hostility 
to the new order of things. He endeavored to occupy the middle 
ground of neutrality. Though in April, 1775, he was chosen a 
delegate to the provincial congress, he did not take his seat, and 
in November of that year he located his family on a farm in 
Bethlehem, Hunterdon county, his Perth Amboy home not being 
re-established until 1785. His property escaped confiscation, 
though he himself does not seem to have remained at all times 
beyond suspicion ; in 1777 he was placed under arrest by the 
authorities and for a time was confined at Morristown. Mr» 
Parker's wife was a daughter of the Reverend WiUiam Skinner, 
rector of St. Peter's church. Her family was pronounced in 
favor of a continuance of British rule, and at its overthrow the 
rector's son, Courtlandt, had for seven years been attorney-gen- 
eral for the Crown. In 1776 he was commissioned a brigadier- 
general, and authorized to raise five battalions among those men 
of New Jersey who adhered to the king. He succeeded in 
obtaining at that time but five hundred and seventeen recruits, 
although later in the war the number in his command was largely 

The strong reluctance shown by James Parker and other lead- 
ing citizens of that portion of the state, to support the Revolu- 
tion, may be ascribed somewhat to their extreme feeling of 
loyalty to the church of England. They found it difficult to 
dissever church from state. The clergy, by their oaths of con- 
formity and allegiance, felt themselves bound to sustain the 
Crown, and the communicants of the church, in a great majority 
of instances, were influenced by their spiritual guides. In 1775 

330 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Doctor Tucker, dean of Gloucester, addressed a circular letter 
to the ministers of the "■ Established Church in North America " 
warning them against teaching principles as to a civil govern- 
ment drawn from Mr. Locke rather than from the gospel. This 
admonition was scarcely needed. Both before and after that 
time the rectors from their pulpits pelted their people with Paul; 
— cried out that " the powers that be are ordained of God ;" did 
not hesitate to preach that " they that resist shall receive to 
themselves damnation;" — and so, in their weekly discourses, 
rang all the changes on the first eight verses of the thirteenth 
chapter of the epistle to the Romans. The apostle Peter, too, 
helped them with texts as to the duty of obedience and non- 
resistance to the higher powers, enabling them to show their par- 
ishioners that those who *' despised government, presumptuous 
are they." The dissenting ministers fought under the banner .of 
Saint John, and declaimed with equal vehemence against the 
idolatrous reverence paid to tyrants. They did not hesitate to 
draw comparisons between the king of England, in his rage 
against his American subjects, and that horrible wild beast with 
seven heads and ten horns, of revelation, which was ordained by 
the devil for the destruction of mankind. 

The attitude assumed by both clergy and laity of the estab- 
lished church resulted most disastrously to the sect, and 
throughout the war its adherents were ever under the ban of 
suspicion ; the people of other denominations maintained — to 
quote a writer of that period — " that a churchman and a foe to 
American liberty were synonymous terms." The effect of such 
a feeling drove the ministers from their pulpits, and brought ruin 
upon the congregations. When the British evacuated Philadel- 
phia in 1778, Doctor William White, chaplain of congress, and 
after the peace the first bishop of Pennsylvania, was the only 
Episcopal minister who remained in that state. When the war 
was over, in many of the northern states not a church was left ; 
and in all New Jersey Doctor Abraham Beach, rector of Christ 
church. New Brunswick, was the only minister who had been 
able to maintain regidar services during the struggle. Through- 
out the Revolution the chaplains of American refugee regiments 
were mainly ministers of the church of England. 

Another sect that suffered severely was that of Methodism. 

Methodists and Quakers During the War. 331 

Its adherents were yet a feeble folk ; they did not number at 
the outset of the war over one thousand souls, the American com- 
munion having been established by Philip Embury in his own 
house in New York as recently as 1766. It is claimed that pre- 
vious to 1771 there were not over fifty Methodists in New Jer- 
sey. Bishop Asbury records that in that year there were about 
two hundred and fifty in Philadelphia, about three hundred in 
New York and a few between the Hudson and the Delaware. 
Probably the first church edifice of that denomination in New 
Jersey was the one erected just before the Revolution on the 
corner of Queen and Fourth streets in Trenton. The communi- 
cants of this sect rapidly increased in the United States, and by 
1793 numbered sixty thousand. Methodists were objects of 
suspicion during the war, and it was not uncommon for their 
preachers and class-leaders to be tarred and feathered. The 
feeling against them was due in a great measure to a pamphlet 
published by Wesley, entitled '' A Calm Address to the Ameri- 
cans." It claimed on moral and legal grounds that parliament 
had a right to tax the colonies, and it held that American sub- 
jects opposing this right were actuated only by a desire to over- 
throw the government. In other words, the monograph covered 
abput the same ground as did Doctor Johnson's pamphlet, "Tax- 
ation no Tyranny." The celebrated lexicographer was much 
gratified at Wesley's support of his views, and wrote him, saying, 
'*■ To have gained such a mind as yours may justly confirm me 
in my own opinion." 

Still another body of Christians that sufi'ered much in the Rev- 
olution were the Quakers, and both amusing and pathetic stories 
are told of their experiences, growing out of their adhering to 
non-combatant principles. The Quaker was ever between the 
upper and the nether millstone. His government drafted hira into 
the ranks, — his '^meeting" disciplined him for either bearing arms 
or procuring a substitute. The old record-books of the Society 
of Friends furnish curious information as to what was consid- 
ered a falling away from Quaker grace. Benjamin Harris 
was cut off from communion with the " Plainfield meeting" 
for refusing to give any " satisfaction for his misconduct," in 
that he " signed a paper for independency" and "• suffered his 
apprentice to go in the army." Another friend — Marmaduke 

332 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

Hunt — makes confession, when disciplined by the '' meeting," 
that while confined in Morristown jail his distresses were so 
great that, as he says, "liberty was offered me on condition of 
my taking the affirmation of fidelity to the states, which through 
unwatchfulness I submitted to." It is on record that several 
Mendham Quakers were smumoned, and made to confess their 
faidt, and show penitence for having redeemed goods which the 
authorities had taken from them for refusing to train with the 

On the twelfth of December there were tumult and excitement 
on the southern border of the " Old Farm." Late on that after- 
noon, through the woods that stretched away beyond the north 
branch of the Raritan toward the Bernard hills, could be heard 
the rat-ta-ta of drums and the shrill cry of fife. At first faint, 
and in the distance, but soon louder and clearer ; then there fell 
on the ear the tramp of troops, the ring of hoofs on the frozen 
ground, and the heavy roll of artillery. It was the little army 
of General Charles Lee that Washington was so impatiently 
expecting, and which had been so many days on the march from 
the Hudson. The men trudged along the narrow road in column 
of fours, and in route step, each one carrying his gun as he liked. 
They were brown and weather-beaten ; their many bivouacs on 
the Westchester and Jersey hills had left marks on their imi- 
fonns and accoutrements shoAving the dire effects of wear, wind 
and weather; — more properly speaking on clothing, not uniforms, 
as many of these continental soldiers were without stripe, plume 
or color, and often a sash or a corded or cockaded hat was all 
that distinguished the officer. 

The Revolutionary soldiers of " seventy six " knew little of 
neatness or of the picturesque in dress. With the exception of an 
occasional militia coat of ancient design, coarse hunting shirts and 
rough linsey-woolsey suits were the rule for the first year or so 
of the war. Their guns were of various patterns, the ordinary 
carbine, fowling-piece, and rifle not being uncommon, all having 
powder-pans and flint-locks. Powder was generally carried in a 
cow's horn swung over one shoulder, while from the other hung 
a leather pouch for bullets. All the ideas prevailing at the out- 
set of the war as to soldiei's and weapons were very crude. 
Even the generally astute Franklin held pecidiar views and gave 

The Soldiers of 1776. 333 

curious advice, as is shown by the following extract from a letter 
■written by him to General Lee on the eleventh of February, 

I still wish with you that Pikes could be introduced, and I would add bows 
and arrows. Those were good weapons not wisely laid aside. First — Because a 
man may shoot as truly with a bow as with a common musket. Second — He can 
discharge four arrows in the time of charging and discharging one bullet. Third — 
His object is not taken from his view by the smoke of his own side. Fourth — 
A flight of arrows seen coming upon them terrifies and disturbs tlie enemy's at- 
tention to his business. Fifth — An arrow striking in any part of a man puts 
him hors de combat till 'tis extracted. Sixth — Bows and arrows are more easily 
provided everywhere than muskets and ammunition. 

The clothing fiu'nished the privates of the two battalions form- 
ing the first establishment of the Jersey line, called out by reso- 
lution of congress of October, 1775, was to each man one felt 
hat, one pair of yarn stockings and one pair of shoes. The 
monthly pay of the men was five dollars, but they were obliged 
to find their own arms ; the enlistment was for a single year. 
The second New Jersey enlistment, authorized by congress in 
September, 1776, was composed of four battalions to serve for 
the war, unless sooner discharged. In addition to their monthly 
pay the privates and non-commissioned officers received one 
hundred acres of land, and an annual kit of clothing comprising 
two linsey hunting shirts*, two pairs of overalls, a waistcoat of 
wool or leather, one pair of breeches, a hat or leathern cap, two 
shirts, and two pairs of hose and shoes. Some of the militia — 
notably those of Pennsylvania — often made an attempt at a more 
dashing apparel. The term " Jersey Blues " had its origin in a 
volunteer company from the vicinity of Springfield. Its uniform 
furnished by some patriotic women of the township consisted 
of tow frocks and breeches dyed a bright blue. In the matter of 
arms there was within a year a marked improvement, as the 
agents abroad became able to make purchases in behalf of the 
young republic. When Washington's army entered Philadelphia 
in 1777, previous to the battle of Brandywine, Graydon stood 
on the Coffee-house corner, and thus speaks of the appearance of 
the troops as they passed down Front street : 

They amounted to but eight or nine thousand men; though indifferently 
dressed they held well-burnished arms, carried them like soldiers, and looked in 
short as if they might have faced an equal number of men with a reasonable 
prospect of success. 


The Story of an Old Farm. 

An important element in that little army was the Jersey line 
brigaded under General Maxwell ; it opened the battle of Brandy- 
continuing in the fight the entire day. The brigade also 


distinguished itself at the engagement of Germantown, the 1st 
Battalion suffering severely, both in officers and men. 



The Capture of General Charles Lee — His Army Encamps on 
Peter Ilelick^s Land in Bedminster Township — The Battle 
of Trenton. 

At the close of this twelfth day of December, 1776, when 
Lee's army crossed the north branch of the Raritan and entered 
Bedminster, his battalions, with clank of arm and swing of 
sabre, pressed on along the Lamington highway until the head 
of the column had passed a considerable distance beyond the 
crossing of the Peapack road ; the troops then deployed to the 
right and encamped, the greater part of them occupying the lands 
of Peter Melick. When the moon climbed the heavens that night 
it illumined with its mellow gleam a strange spectacle for this quiet 
Bedminster country. The roads and fields were encumbered 
with cannon and baggage-wagons, and stamping horses were 
tethered to trees and fences. Camp fires gleamed on the hill- 
sides, around which were stretched tired, bronzed-faced men, 
with ragged blankets for a covering, and with knapsacks and 
bundles for pillows. Sorry-looking soldiers they were, with 
their patched clothing, worn shoes cobbled with strings, and 
antiquated cross-belts and cartouch-boxes. A strange spectacle, 
indeed, upon which the moon looked down, with naught to break 
the stillness of the sleeping camp, save now and then the whin- 
neying of a picketed horse, or the occasional challenge of a 
pacing sentinal. 

Poor Peter's protection papers proved of but little avail at this 
juncture. He had not anticipated a continental visitation ; his 
fears, and for these he had prepared, were of predatory bands of 
British light-horse, or more dangerous troops of partisan rangers. 
He did not think it wise to remain at home to welcome these 

336 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

military guests ; bis neighbors did this for him, at the same time 
informing the troops that the owner of the land upon which they 
had bivouacked was an " exempt." As was the fashion of the 
time, vengeance followed. Peter's fence rails fed the camp fires, 
and his recently filled smoke-house fed the troops, as did his 
chickens, shoats, and cattle. Altogether he was forced to make 
a very handsome contribution to the needs of the continental 
army. We may believe that in later years, when enjoying all the 
blessings resulting from the services of his country's devoted band 
of soldiers, he reflected without chagrin upon the sacrifices that he 
had been forced to make in those troubled times. M}' knowledge 
of the incidents of that night is gained from Peter's oldest daughter, 
Catharine, then a child of nearly five. She afterwards became 
the wife of Enos Mundy, and died in 1863 at the age of ninety- 
two. From her, many important facts have been gleaned as to 
early Revolutionary days, partly drawn from memory, but 
mainly from what she had learned from her parents and others 
of that time. Her statement of the events preceding and suc- 
ceeding General Lee's capture was taken down in writing and 
preserved by one of her descendants. 

As is well known, Lee did not continue this far with his 
troops, but stopped for the night, with a small guard and some 
of his aides, at a tavern kept by Mrs. White at Basking Ridge. 
It is probable that General Sullivan, w^ho was second in com- 
mand, quartered that night at Aaron Malick's house, as it was 
among the most substantial of the neighborhood. At least family 
traditions aver — they being corroborated by Mrs. Mundy — that 
the house was full of officers, who arrived mounted. It is pleas- 
ant to learn something of the personality of the leaders of the 
Revolution who campaigned in this Bedminster country. Sulli- 
van at this time was thirty-seven years old ; possessed a well- 
proportioned and commanding figure, animated and handsome 
features, with a dark complexion illumined by the ruddy hue of 
health. His voice was deep and melodious, and in his military 
career he used it to great advantage, ibr it was always quick to 
respond alike to stern and gentle emotions. In the morning an 
officer came in great haste to the " Old Stone House " and 
announced the capture of the commanding general. Mrs. Mundy 
-expresses it in her statement : — 

Character of General Charles Lee. 337 

There was a great fuss naade in the morning, because a big officer had been 
captured or killed, or something of that sort, and Grandfather Malick had to go 
to Germanlown with soldiers on horseback, and he did not get home again until 
in the afternoon * * * quite a number of big officers staid at Grandfather's, 
and an officer came in the forenoon and told of this officer being captured or 

It seems almost unnecessary to dwell at any length upon so 
familiar a Revolutionary incident as the capture of General 
Charles Lee, and the causes that led thereto, but perhaps this 
Bedminster story might not be considered complete should all of 
the details of the circumstance be omitted. There is no doubt 
that Lee was a brave and brilliant officer, possessing superior 
mental qualifications. He hated oppression and scorned mean- 
ness. Though when stirred by violent impulses his personal 
animosities were intense, he is said to have ever been an open 
and honest enemy. Yet at such times both in action and- word he 
was too often governed by his angered passions rather than by 
reason. He was intemperate in language and always over-zeal- 
ous as to his personal rights. One readily discovers from his 
correspondence — a mass of which has been preserved — that he 
was constitutionally, what might be in vulgar parlance termed, a 
sorehead. He fully coincided with the assurances of his admir- 
ers that he was the greatest general in the country, and the rock 
upon which his career was shipwrecked was a headstrong nature 
that could not brook command. The yellow-eyed serpent of 
jealousy coiled in his heart, and his unceasing vengeful feelings 
toward Washington were too great for his naturally generous 
nature to overcome. Could he have brought himself to the 
occupation of a second place in the hearts and admiration of the 
people, his name would probably have been remembered as one 
of the leading and successful generals of the war. 

Lee was at this time forty-five, and his years had been those 
of such varied experiences as rarely fall to the lot of man. By 
birth an Englishman^ he first becomes known to us in 1757 as a 
captain of grenadiers in Abercrombie's fatal assault upon Ticon- 
deroga. Three years were then spent in campaigning in the 
northern wilderness, when, as a lieutenant-colonel, he went with 
Burgoyne to Portugal to aid in repelling the attacks of Spain. 
He next figures as an impetuous liberal politician in England, 
and then for two years as a staff-officer of the king of Poland at 

338 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Warsaw. Then we find him with a company of Turks, ahiiost 
perishing on the Bulgarian mountains while guarding the Grand 
Seignior's treasure from Moldavia to Constantinople. For suc- 
cessive years he was on the Bosphorus, at Warsaw, and in England, 
in which latter country he grew turbulently indignant on fail- 
ing to obtain army promotion. As a major-general in the Rus- 
sian service he next campaigned in connnand of Cossacks and 
Wallachs, when the fighting was of the severest character. And 
now we hear of him in Hungary, where he killed an Italian in a 
duel ; and in the following winter in England, deep in the vor- 
tex of politics, and violent in his opposition to the government. 
The year 1772 was spent in France and Switzerland. On leav- 
ing those countries he threw himself body and soul into the 
vexed question of the American colonies, starting in 1773 for 
this country to view for himself the condition of afl:airs. 

After reaching America Lee became a violent supporter of the 
provincial claims against England, and his fearless spirit, his 
enthusiasm and brilliant wit, together with the romance of his 
life, soon gave him a prominence hardly equalled by any man in 
the country. He advised with members of congress, and inter- 
viewed deputies ; always feeding the flames of opposition he 
finally was recognized as a leader in the Revolutionary move- 
ment. To more closely ally himself with American interests he 
purchased a Virginia estate, whereupon, hostilities having com- 
menced, congress commissioned him as major-general in the con- 
tinental army. He was intensely chagrined at not being named 
for the chief command. While probably an ardent lover of lib- 
erty, and apparently wholly honest in advocating colonial rights, 
he had been quick to discover that the Revolutionary move- 
ment was to be one of the most important events of this or a past 
age, and he was ambitious to figure before the world as its leader. 
He felt keenly disappointed that congress should have failed to 
recognize his superior military qualifications, and the great 
sacrifices he had made for the country. When Washington was 
commissioned, Lee naturally scouted the idea that a man who 
knew, nothing of a greater campaign than had been Braddock's 
could vie with him, a veteran of many wars, as commander-in- 
chief of an army. Yet, at this time at least, his love of liberty 
seems to have overshadowed his ambition. He threw up his 

Lee is Highly Esteemed. 339 

commission in the English army, and ran the risk of losing all 
of his possessions across the water, which were considerable, in 
order to accept the position offered him by congress. In the 
beginning he was indefatigable in his endeavors, and his accom- 
plishments as a soldier were so great as to seem to secure for him 
a brilliant future. 

It was Lee who first suggested to Washington and congress, in 
1776, the propriety of occupying Manhattan Island with troops. 
This resulted in his marching on the fourth of February into the 
city of New York at the head of a force he had raised in Con- 
necticut ; he was immediately reinforced by Stirling's New Jer- 
sey regiment and by Pennsylvania troops. This course was at 
first strongly opposed by the New York committee of safety, who 
feared that garrisoning the city would provoke the English ships 
to an .attack which Lee's command would be too small to suc- 
cessfully meet. But the country at large held Lee in high 
esteem and gave him full support, which is shown by his corres- 
pondence with, among others, Washington, Franklin, Benja- 
min Rush, Robert Morris and John Adams. The latter wrote 
him from congress : — 

A luckier, a happier Expedition than yours to New York never was pro- 
jected. The whole Whig world is blessing you for it, and none of them more 
than your Friend and Servant. 

So it was when late in February he was appointed to the 
Canada command. Benjamin Rush then wrote him : — 

Fortune seems in a good humour with y®u. It is not enough that you have 
triumphed over external and internal Enemies at New York, but you are about 
to enjoy new triumphs in another part of the continent. * « * Should your 
blood mingle with the blood of Wolfe, Montcalm and Montgomery, posterity will 
execrate the plains of Abraham to the end of time. Your appointment to the 
Canada expedition gave all your friends here great pleasure. * * * Mr. 
Pitt conquered America in Germany. But who knows but General Lee may 
conquer Britain in Canada." 

Franklin also wrote him the same date, February nine- 
teenth : — 

I rejoice that you are going to Canada. God prosper all your undertakings, 
and return you with Health, Honor and Happiness. 

Congress changed its plans, and early in March, Lee, instead 
of going to Canada, was transferred to the southern department. 

340 The Story of an Old Farm. 

As is well known, at Charleston he added to his reputation, 
although more so than he really deserved, and when he returned 
north to assume command near New York he was in the full tide 
of popular favor. But the disasters of Long Island, White 
Plains and Fort Washington he falsely ascribed to the incom- 
petence of Washington. Upon this belief he fed his jealousy 
until it absorbed his whole being and wrecked his career. As 
has been shown, whUe Washington was making his heroic 
retreat across the Jerseys, Lee not only failed to hurry to his 
support, but deliberately disobeyed the commands of his chief. 
While the army that was being pursued by Cornwallis was 
anxiously looking for the appearance of Lee's corps, that general 
delayed crossing the Hudsqn for several weeks, and then 
advanced in a most leisurely manner, as if fearfid of being a 
help or advantage to the retreating force. His dilatoriness can- 
not be charged to his being lukewarm in the cause, or to an alto- 
gether determined disobedience on his part. He builded on the 
hope that the continued delay might furnish him with an oppor- 
tunity for striking a blow on the flank of the enemy independent 
of his chief, and thus perform a service that would redound to 
his individual honor. Like too many men before and since, who 
have occupied public trusts, his patriotism was dwarfed by per- 
sonal ambition. 

Lee's force at Newcastle had been about seven thousand men, 
but owing to the expiration of terms of enlistment, when he 
crossed the Hudson on the second of December his command was 
but twenty-seven hundred strong. His troops took up their line 
of march in a column of four files front, Nixon's brigade furnish- 
ing an advance guard of thirty men, and Glover's brigade consti- 
tuting a reserve corps, ready as circumstances required to draw 
out of the line and form one hundred yards in the rear. Flankers 
marched in single file on either side, and so the column moved 
slowly on, reaching Pompton on the seventh, and Morristown on 
the eighth, from where Lee wrote Washington that the militia 
had increased his force to four thousand men. He rested at 
jNIorristown for several days, camping on the night of the 
eleventh on a little plain southwest of the Ford mansion, now 
known as " Washington's Headquarters." Early in the following 
morning he continued across the country by way of New Vernon 


Lee at Basking Ridge. 341 

and Vealtown, and so on to where his troops encamped for the 
night, on the Melick farm, the present site of the village of Bed- 
minster, a distance of about thirteen miles. On the way, Lee, 
turning over his command to Sullivan, left his troops, and, as the 
historian Headley expresses it, " governed by some freak or 
whim, or still baser passion," took up his quarters at Mrs. White's 
tavern at the village of Basking Ridge. He retained with him 
Major William Bradford of his personal staff, several other mem- 
bers of his military family, and a small guard. 

At four o'clock on the morning of the thirteenth there arrived 
at White's tavern one Major James Wilkinson, a staff officer of 
another continental general, who felt sorely because of Wash- 
ington's superior position — Horatio Gates. The sudden and 
unexpected retreat of Sir Guy Carleton from before Ticonderoga 
to Canada had enabled General Schuyler to send several regiments 
to aid Washington. This force having entered New Jersey, Wilk- 
inson, who was barely nineteen years old, had been dispatched 
by its commandant, Gates, with a letter announcing his prox- 
imity, but on learning that the commander-in-chief was already 
beyond the Delaware, the major had turned aside and taken it 
to Lee as next in rank. Lee received the letter in bed, promis- 
ing to give an answer after breakfast, whereupon Wilkinson lay 
down on his blanket before a comfortable fire until daylight. 
The general remained in bed until eight o'clock, when he came 
down stairs, half dressed and in his slippers. Major Scammel 
of Sullivan's staff, a brave officer who afterwards fell before 
Yorktown, called to obtain orders for the morning march. After 
a map had been spread on the table and examined, Lee said, 
" Tell General Sullivan to move down towards Pluckamin." 
The general then spent some time in listening to complaints from 
soldiers of his command. He was indignant at many of their 
demands, especially at those coming from members of Colonel 
Sheldon's Connecticut light-horse, whom he charged with the 
desire to go home. These militia troopers were without doubt but 
poor apologies for soldiers. They were dressed in antiquated 
state uniforms, much the worse for long service, wore old-fash- 
ioned, full-bottomed wigs, often awry, and all their accoutrements 
were of a most ancient and obsolete order. Many of their horses 
had left the plough to enter service, and, together with their 

342 The Story of an Old Farm. 

trappings, presented anything but a military appearance. One 
of these "nutmeg" horsemen being captured at the battle of 
Long Island some British officers amused themselves by forcing 
him to canter up and down in front of their quarters, while they 
made merry over his ridiculous appearance and quaint replies to 
their questions. On being asked what especial service had been 
required of his troop by the Americans, he answered, " to flank 
a little and carry tidins." 

Lee did not breakfast before ten, and then sat down to write 
to Gates. A single quotation from this letter will show its gen- 
eral tone, and the attitude assumed by its writer toward Wash- 
ington : " Entre nous a certain great man is most damnably 
deficient." Meanwhile, Major Wilkinson had his horse saddled 
and brought to the door, and then sat down at a window and 
awaited with patience the letter. At about high noon he sud- 
denly saw a troop of dragoons turn from the highway and dash 
down the lane toward the house, which in a few seconds they 
reached and, having opened files, surrounded. " Here," cried 
the major, " are the British cavalry ! " " Where is the guard," 
exclaimed Lee, " why don't they fire ? Do, sir, see what has 
become of the guard ! " As careless as the general, the guards, 
with arms stacked, were sunning themselves on the south side of 
the house. They were soon overcome, two brave fellows who 
resisted, being killed by sabre strokes. A very short but spirited 
defence was made by Lee's suite, who, firing from the windows, 
killed several of the dragoons, including a cornet. So near was 
Harcourt, their commander, to being killed that a ball carried 
away the ribbon of his queue. Among Lee's officers was a 
Frenchman, M. Jean Louis de Virnejoux, who acted with the 
greatest bravery in defending the house, but it was soon seen to 
be useless to continue the defense. The British called upon Lee 
to surrender, threatening that five minutes delay would insure 
the burning of the building. The discomfited officer almost 
immediately appeared at the open door, saying : " Here is the 
general, he has surrendered ! " He was hastily placed on 
Wilkinson's horse, his legs being firmly bound to the stirrup 
leathers ; the trumpet sounded assembly, and just as he was, 
without a hat, and in slippers and dressing-gown, they hurried 
him off to New Brunswick. 

Ax Historical Error. 343 

The British also carried with them^ strapped on a trooper's 
horse, M. de Gaiant, a French officer who had just arrived at 
Boston to offer his services to the country. Being on his way 
to pay his addresses to Washington, he had joined Lee's column 
as a means of safe transit. History affords but few examples of 
a general officer presenting a meaner appearance than did Lee, 
as surrounded by his exultant captors he clattered through Som- 
erset. His small and restless eyes had lost their haughty glances 
— his usually satirical mouth drooped at its corners with humili- 
ation — his large nose was red with cold — his long, lank, thin 
body shivered in the December blasts — while his soiled shirt and 
fluttering dressing-gown gave him an air quite opposed to that 
of a military chieftain. 

Historians generally agree that Lee's army halted and rested 
the night preceding his capture at Vealtown, now Bernardsville. 
From Morristown this would have been a march of but seven 
miles ; his men would fairly have had to crawl to make only that 
distance since early morning, as the road in use at that time was 
well worked and travelled. In face of the evidence that can be 
adduced to the contrary, before accepting this general belief that 
the army lay at Vealtown, it may be well for us to ascertain on 
what original authority this opinion is based. In all the writ- 
ings of those living at that time the only work I can find that 
definitely locates Lee's encampment that night is the ''Memoirs" of 
General James Wilkinson. This seems to be the sole authority 
from which historians have drawn their conclusions. Nowhere 
does Wilkinson mention in his book that he visited the army — 
or that he knew of his own knowledge the location of the encamp- 
ment — nor does he say from whom, or in what manner, he 
obtained his information. In estimating the historical value of 
his " Memoirs " we may remember that they have not passed 
unscathed the test of criticism. Numerous defects can be 
pointed out in the pages relating his experiences during the 
earlier years of the Revolution. It must be borne in mind that 
at the time he witnessed Lee's misfortune he was but nineteen 
years old, and that sixty years elapsed before the work narrating 
the capture was published. It is not strange that errors should 
have crept in, and altogether we may fairly question the value 
of such testimony. From the facts heretofore given, together 

344 The Story of an Old Farm. 

with the traditions of the neighborhood, we are justified in 
reaching the conclusion that the encampment on the night of the 
twelfth of December was in Bedminster, and not in Bernards, 

Lee had supposed himself to be at least twenty miles distant 
from the enemy, and much surprise was felt that his proximity had 
been discovered by the British. On the previous afternoon Aaron 
Malick had occasion to visit New Germantown, probably on bus- 
iness connected with the Lutheran church, and did not return 
till late in the evening. This was a time when no one was 
above the suspicion of disloyalty. When Wilkinson, or some 
other officer, reached the '^ Stone House " on the morning of the 
thirteenth and found that Aaron had been absent the previous 
night, he was at once suspected of having informed the enemy of 
Lee's whereabouts. He was placed under arrest and rigidly 
examined, and was finally sent under guard to New Germantown 
to prove himself clear of any conspiracy, and to show that it was 
there he had been, rather than in the direction of the enemy. He 
had no difficulty in doing this, and was consequently released. 
On his way home, at the " round hill," about half a mile 
west of the Larger Cross Roads, he met what was now Sulli- 
van's command, pushing on towards the Delaware. While 
talking with some of the officers, the discharge of cannon was 
plainly heard which announced the arrival of Lee at New 
Brunswick. It was evidently late in the day before Sullivan 
had put his column in motion. The excitemeiits incidental to 
the announcement of the capture of Lee had probably necessi- 
tated consultation and delay. When again on the march he did 
not follow the instructions brought from Lee by Major Scammel 
as to the route, and, instead of turning south toward Pluckamin, 
pursued a westerly course. He encamped that night — the 
thirteenth — at New Germantown, where he rested till eleven 
o'clock the next morning. From there no time was lost in 
marching to Pennsylvania, where he joined Washington, moving 
by way of Pittstown and Phillipsburg, the latter place being 
reached on the night of the fifteenth at ten o'clock. 

The capture of Lee was discovered later to have been in a 
measure accidental. It seems that Elder Muklcwrath, of the 
Mendham Presbyterian church, had been with the general the 

The 16th British Light Dragoons. 345 

night before complaining that the troops had stolen one of his 
horses. On the following moniing he fell in with a detachment 
of the 16th British light dragoons, under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel, the Honorable William Harcourt, afterwards 
the third Earl Harcourt, G. C. B., which was reconnoitering in 
the neighborhood. In some manner the elder divulged the 
proximity of Lee, and, it is said, either voluntarily or involun- 
tarily, guided the enemy to the general's quarters. Presbyter- 
ianism and patriotism were in such close alliance during the war 
that we are loth to believe that the elder willingly contributed to 
this catastrophe. This regiment of Harcourt's — called the 
Queen's Own — was considered the crack cavalry corps of the 
British forces. The men were mounted on fine horses sixteen 
hands high, and in addition to sabres were armed with carbines, 
the muzzles of which were thrust in a socket at the stirrup. 
Uniformed in scarlet coats faced with white, bright yellow buck- 
skin breeches, black boots and jangling spurs, their dashing and 
formidable appearance was heightened by polished brass helmets, 
fi'om which chestnut hair flowed to the shoulders. 

When Lord Cornwallis failed to find boats with which to cross 
the Delaware and continue his pursuit of the American army, he 
marched to Pennington, where he arrived on December tenth, 
remaining there four days. While at that place he was informed 
that troops under the command of General Lee were reported to 
be crossing Morris county on their way to reinforce the main 
army. He at once decided to dispatch a mounted patrol to gain 
intelligence of the strength and locality of this corps. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Harcom't applied for the direction of the detachment, 
and a volunteer for the expedition was Cornet Banastre Tarleton, 
afterwards famous — or infamous — in the southern campaigns. 
The infinite address with which Harcourt conducted this enter- 
prise to so brilliant an issue won for him high enconiums from his 
army and government. 

Washington's magnanimous soul could not see in Lee either a 
rival or an enemy. He had great confidence in his talents as a 
soldier, and deeply deplored his capture, deeming it a serious 
loss to the country. Many of the people also held extravagant 
notions aS to Lee's merits, and the affair altogether was consid- 
ered a public calamity. His exchange and subsequent downfall 

346 The Story of an Old Farm. 

are well known. As he and his affairs have no further relations 
with Somerset county, the only additional reference I shall make 
to this singular man will be to cite the following extraordinary 
clause found in his will at his death, seven years later : — 

I desire most earnestly tliat I may not be buried in any church, or church- 
yard, or within a mile of any Presbyterian or Anabaptist Meeting House; for 
since I have resided in this country I have kept so much bad company when liv- 
ing, that I do not choose to continue it when dead. 

Perhaps Lee had the Mendham elder in mind. 

As the close of the year 1776 drew near, our state's cup of mis- 
fortune would seem to have been full and overflowing. Its leg- 
islature had been driven by an approaching enemy from Prince- 
ton to Trenton, from Trenton to Bordentown, then on to Pitts- 
town, and from there to Haddonfield where it had dissolved 
on the second of December. The army, almost destroyed, had 
abandoned the state ; a general, high in the estimation of the peo- 
ple, had been captured, and the citizens in great numbers were 
going over to the enemy. We, whose patriotism and love of 
country have been fed by the inheritance of over a century of 
national feeling, can have but a small appreciation of the doubts 
and uncertainties that attacked our forefathers in those darkest 
days of the Revolution. That so few made their submission to 
the Crown is the wonder, not that so many should have proved 
faint-hearted, and lost faith in the cause that seemed so promising 
but a short year before. It must be remembered that in the 
bays and harbors rode a lordly fleet, flying the flag that had 
been an object of affection and reverence to the colonists. Dis- 
tributed throughout New Jersey was a thoroughly equipped and 
disciplined army, officered by veteran soldiers and supported by 
the prestige of a stable and powerful government. And upon 
what opposing powers and resources were our New Jersey ances- 
tors leaning ? Upon a continental congress that was totally with- 
out power or authority of enforcing its own edicts ; upon a col- 
lection of petty provinces inexperienced in self-rule, none of 
which possessed armories, strong fortresses, or works of any char- 
acter for furnishing the munitions of war ; upon the ragged rem- 
nant of an army that had been driven across the state by a vic- 
torious enemy, an undisciplined force of raw recruits, com- 

The Equipoise of Washington's Character. 347 

manded by a man better known in Virginia than in New Jersey, 
w4io was entirely without experience in the handling of large 
bodies of men, and who, since leaving Boston, had been defeated 
in all of his military enterprises. Time, the great average- 
adjuster, had not yet declared the retreat from Long Island to 
equal some of the most important victories in history. 

But the people believed in Washington. It was one of the 
peculiar attributes of the character of this remarkable man that 
throughout his entire career his mere presence invariably pro- 
duced a feeling of confidence. And now, notwithstanding the 
repeated defeats of the continental army, hardly an eye rested 
on his distinguished form but that reflected trust and veneration. 
Best ofaU, Washington believed in himself! During this period 
of gloom and perplexity the hopeful mind of the commander-in- 
chief was never more harassed with embarrassments. Yet, in 
the face of the fearful discouragements of the hour, he was firm 
in faith, and undaunted in his belief in the ultimate triumph of 
the American cause. The magnificent equipoise of such a char- 
acter was not easily disturbed. Even at this time, the serenity 
of his countenance gave no sign of the stupendous mental exer- 
tions he was making in order to triumph over seemingly over- 
whelming adversities. Two days after crossing the Delaware 
the number of his men was reduced to seventeen hundred, of 
whom hardly more than one thousand could be relied upon for 
eff'ective service. But at once, with apparently unabated ardor, 
and by the most indefatigable exertions, Washington proceeded 
to build upon this nucleus of an army. By the twentieth of 
December his force had been augmented to nearly six thousand 
men. Proff'ered bounties, and personal solicitation and influence, 
had retained in the service soldiers whose time had expired ; the 
Pennsylvania militia had turned out in force ; regiments from 
Ticonderoga united with the army, and General SuUivan had 
brought up Lee's division. 

The crying evil that attached to the continental army dm'ing 
the first year of the war was the short term of enlistment. When 
hostilities actually commenced the people failed to realize that 
they were involved in a prolonged struggle, but thought a few 
months campaigning Avould result in the adjustment of all difli- 
culties. At the beginning of the Revolution it was said that 

348 The Story of an Old Farm. 

forty thousand armed men could be brought to Boston within 
twenty-four hours, by the displaying of a light on Beacon hill ; 
and when Washington took command at Cambridge, it was of an 
undisciplined fiirce nearly fifteen thousand strong. One year 
later, as we have seen, it was with difficidty that the general in 
his retreat across the Jerseys could keep together a mere hand- 
ful of men. Soldiers whose time had expired were too disheart- 
ened by hardships and repeated defeats to re-enlist ; while new 
recruits were not inclined to connect their fortunes in midwinter 
with an ill-clad, dispirited wreck of an army, which, without 
tents and much of the time without food, had just been driven 
from the Hudson to the Delaware by an exultant foe. In this 
matter of short enlistments we can hardly condemn the want of 
forethought in our forefathers, when we reflect that in the pres- 
ent generation the same error was committed at the breaking out 
of the late war. 

We left Washington in Pennsylvania repairing damages. 
The English commanders, Howe and Cornwallis, considered 
the war at an end, and the latter was preparing to sail for Eng- 
land on a furlough. The British were distributed in cantonments 
from the Raritan to the Delaware, vmder command of General 
Grant, New Brunswick being his headquarters and base of sup- 
plies. About fifteen hundred Germans and a squadron of Eng- 
lish cavalry were posted at Trenton under command of Colonel 
Rail, * and another body of Hessians was stationed at Bordentown 
under Count von Donop. No fears were entertained of the 
Americans, and the foreign officers, jubilant over recent successes, 
were preparing to spend the Christmas holidays with great jollity. 
And now, happily, a rift appears in the black cloud of disaster 
that has so long enveloped the American arms, and a bright 
gleam is about to illumine the page which records the close of the 
first year of our national independence. On the cold and sleety 
night of the twenty-fifth of December, when the Delaware was 
choked with ice, Washington crossed the river with twenty-five 
hundred men and twenty field-piecQS. A patriot army, whose 

*This officer's name is commonly given in histories as Rahl, but the antogniph 
collectif)n of Dr. T. Addis Emmet of New York contains the signature of the 
Hessian colonel, wherein the name is plainly spelled Rail. 

The Affair at Trenton. 349 

achievements of that night and morning have been celebrated by 
poet, painter and historian ! The command was divided into 
two divisions under Generals Sullivan and Green, which took 
up their line of march for Trenton, eight miles away. On 
reaching Birmingham, distant from the town about four miles 
and a half, Sullivan's column continued down the river road, the 
other, under Green, filed to the left, and followed the Scotch road, 
which joined the Pennington road about a mile from Trenton. 
Washington was with the latter division. 

Owing to delays occasioned by the ice in the river and the 
slipperiness of the roads, it Avas eight in the morning before 
Greene reached the outposts of the. enemy. They were soon 
driven in by the advance brigade under Lord Stirling, their 
commanding officer, a lad of but eighteen, being wounded. 
Sullivan's division, which had been guided by Captain Mott of 
the 3d New Jersey battalion, entered the westerly part of the 
town about the same time, and both commands pushed forward, 
keeping up a running fire on the retreating outposts. The sur- 
prise was complete. The Hessian officers, still in the midst of 
their Christmas festivities, were hardly in a condition to repel so 
sudden an attack. Colonel Rail had been engaged in playing 
cards with a convivial party of officers at the residence of a rich 
merchant, Abraham Hunt, on the northwest corner of King 
(Warren) and Second streets. A short time before the attack 
he had returned to his quarters considerably the worse for his 
night's festivities. On being aroused by his aide and apprised 
of the approach of the enemy the dumbfounded colonel was 
quickly in the saddle and at the head of his troops, but before 
they could be completely formed the Americans were on them 
with cannon and bayonet. A short and decisive engagement 
resulted in a complete success for Washington's army. His 
ti'oops were so disposed as to surround the enemy, who had 
no choice between being cut to pieces or surrender. The 
British light-horse made their escape, but the less fortunate 
Hessians grounded their arms. According to an accomit pub- 
lished in the ''Philadelphia Post," of the twenty-eighth of Decem- 
ber, the capture included one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, 
three majors, four captains, eight lieutenants, twelve ensigns, two 
surgeon-mates, ninety-nine sergeants, twenty-five drummers, 


350 The Story of an Old Farm. 

nine musicians, twenty -five servants, and seven hundred and 
forty privates. In addition, the victorious Americans carried 
back with them to Pennsylvania three captured standards, six 
fine brass cannon, and about one thousand stand of arms. The 
continental forces had but four casualties, while the enemy's 
dead amounted to thirty men and six officers. The colonel com- 
manding, who was badly wounded, was placed on parole ; he 
died a few days later at the residence of Stacy Potts, on Warren 
street, at the head of Perry street, the grandfather of the late 
Judge Joseph C. Potts of Jersey City. The fortunes of war 
bring about strange contrasts. Among the Trenton captives 
was the Hessian band of music. On Christmas night, to 
heighten the pleasures of the foreign officers' festivities, it had 
played loud and long, confusion to all rebels. Six months later 
the same band furnished the music at the dinner given by 
congress at Philadelphia, celebrating the first anniversary of 
American independence. After each toast the German musicians 
were called upon for patriotic airs breathing a love of liberty 
and freedom ; their fine performances contributed greatly to the 
enjoyment of the occasion. 

It was intended that Colonel Cadwalader, who commanded a 
brigade of Pennsylvania Associators, and General Ewing with 
his division, should also have crossed the Delaware, but they were 
prevented by the ice. Otherwise there is but little doubt that 
the capture of von Donop and his force would have been added 
to the brilliant achievements of this memorable December morn- 
ing. This affair of Trenton was considered, and properly so, a 
great victory. That at a time when the fortunes of Washington 
were at so low an ebb he should have been able to achieve so 
signal a triumph, had a marked influence on the army and 
country, animating the people, and inspiring the troops with 
fresh courage. This was especially felt by the New Jersey citi- 
zens and militia, who to a certain extent had been witnesses of 
both the misfortunes and glories of the past thirty days. The 
effect upon the citizens was to again instil a belief in the availa- 
bility of their army and the ability of its commanding general. 
Again they grew confident in the ultimate success of the Ameri- 
can arms, and lost the foreboding, by which they had been 
attacked, that the contest in which their country was engaged 

The Country Encouraged. 


was about hopeless. Surely the entire people had great cause 
for rejoicing, after the gloomy and trying experiences of their 
army since its first disaster on Long Island. 


The Hessians in New Jersey — Just a Little in Their Favor — 
A Correction of Some False Traditions That Have Been 
Fostered by Prejudiced Historians. 

On that cold day after Christmas, when the story of the battle 
of Trenton went flying from hamlet to farm over the hills and 
valleys of Somerset, the startling news was a matter of pecidiar 
interest to the members of the family at the " Old Stone House." 
Their rejoicing over the victory of the Americans was tempered 
somewhat by the knowledge that the vanquished were Germans, 
and that some of them with but little doubt had been Aaron's 
fellow-townsmen in the old country. 

In a former chapter we have learned from a letter of the 
a JJerr Prcpxeptor " that previous to the year 1749, Bendorf 
was transferred from the sovereignty of its former owners to 
that of Margrave Karl Wilhelm Fredrich of Anspach. Charles 
Alexander, the son of this murdering margrave, in 1791 sold all 
his territory to Prussia for a pension. He it .was who, when 
George HI. applied to the princes of Germany for troops to aid 
him in subduing his revolted American colonies, supplied the 
English government with three regiments, aggregating 2,353 
men, for which he received over five hundred thousand dollars. 
x\mong the enemy captured at Trenton was a portion of one of 
these regiments, and its flag taken on that day was afterwards 
deposited in the museum at Alexandria, Virginia. When this 
museum building was burned, a few years ago, the flag was 
destroyed together with that of Washington's life-guard and 
other interesting Revolutionary relics that had been placed there 
by G. W. P. Custis. It was the custom for German princes, in 
filling the ranks of battalions intended to be bartered to foreign 


governments, to secure recruits when possible from their outlying 
possessions rather than from their home dominions ; it is fair to 
presume, then, that Bendorf was obliged to furnish its full quota 
to the forces destined for America. Aaron was probably well- 
informed of these facts by his correspondents abroad, and 
though the news of the affair at Trenton may have added much 
to the happiness of the holiday season, yet he would have been 
quite wanting in sensibility had he reflected without concern 
upon the possibility of there being among the unfortunates who 
had been killed, wounded or captured, men who in their youth 
had been his playmates on the streets of his native town. 

When the British ministers learned that an American revenue 
could only be collected by force of arms, they had but little 
difficulty in finding German rulers who were willing to sacrifice 
their troops in a quarrel that did not concern them, provided they 
were well enough paid. Duke Ernest, the prince ruling Saxe- 
Gotha and Altenburg, though a relative of England's king, 
declined peremptorily the ofi"er of the British ministers for 
troops. Bancroft tells us that when England applied to Frederic 
Augustus of Saxony, the prince promptly answered through 
his minister that the thought of sending a part of his army to 
the remote coimtries of the new world touched too nearly his 
paternal tenderness for his subjects, and seemed to be too much 
in contrast with the rules of a healthy policy. Charles Augustus 
of Saxe- Weimar declined to permit any of his subjects to recruit 
for service in America except vagabonds and convicts. This 
ruler, who was but nineteen years old, was doubtless influenced 
by the broad and generous spirit animating the counsels of his 
minister Goethe. Frederick the Great, also, to his credit be it 
said, condemned the pi-actice of putting armies in the market, 
but other princes were only too glad to swell their treasuries 
at the cost of the loss of a few subjects. 

From Edward K. Lowell's valuable work "The Hessians in the 
Revolutionary War," we learn that the English government secured 
soldiers from five German rulers, besides that of Anspach-Bey- 
reu'il; ; Frederic II., Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, furnished 
16,902, of whom 10,492 returned home after the war ; from 
Charles L, Duke of Brunswick, were obtained 5,723, of whom 
returned 2,708 ; William, Count of Hesse-Hanau, 2,422, returned 

354 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

1,441 ; Frederic, Prince of Waldeck, 1,225, returned 505 ; 
Frederic Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbest, 1,152, returned 

Of the troops furnished by the margrave who owned Bendorf, 
less than one-half again saw Oermany. Jones, the tory histor- 
ian, avers that the British ministry stipulated to pay the German 
princes ten pounds for each man that did not return home at the 
close of the war ; for each wounded soldier, however slight the 
injury, five pounds were to be paid. Commandants were careful 
to report even the scratch of a finger, consequently, in 1786, 
when the bills came in from the German powers, the English 
were obliged to pay four hundred and seventy-one thousand 
pounds in settlement. Karl Schnizlein, '^ Royal Bavarian 
Director of the General Court of Justice, and Secretary of the 
Historical Society for Mittelfranken, Germany," in a letter 
dated the twenty-eighth of September, 1887, assures me that 
the treaty between the British government and the Margrave 
Charles Alexander of Anspach dififered materially from those 
made with the other German princes. This was especially so as 
to — as he expresses it — " paying premiums for perished soldiers." 
Furthermore, that the money allowed for the Anspachian- 
Beyreuthian troops by the British ministry was not to the per- 
sonal advantage of the margrave, but was paid into the treasury 
and used for the redemption of the indebtedness of the country. 
Mr. Schnizlein also states in his letter that while he does not 
know of any archives from which information can be obtained 
regarding enlistments in the troops that went to America, it is 
probable that among the subsidiaiy forces of the margrave there 
were men liable to serve as soldiers from the margraviate of 
Sayn-Altenkirchen (Bendorf). 

Just here it would seem eminently proper to say a few words 
in vindication of the memory of these over-maligned Hessians. 
It may fairly be considered within the scope of this work, which, 
after all, is the story of a German ancestry whose place of nativ- 
ity presumably furnished men to swell the ranks of the so-called 
mercenaries. The descendants of such an ancestry will surely 
acquiesce in an effort to relieve these people from a long-standing 
and unmerited obloquy. It is quite time that the name of the Ger- 
man auxiliaries of the English army in America was severed from 

The Jersey People Hate the Hessians. 355 

the odium attached to it for over a century past. Most of the 
barbarities and cruelties practiced upon the citizens of New Jer- 
sey by the entire British forces have been charged against the 
so-called Hessian troops, and it is only within a few years that 
some disposition has been shown to deal justly with the record of 
the conduct of the German soldiery. 

Hessians ! how they have been hated by the Jersey people ! 
the very name is still spoken by many with a prolonged hiss-s. 
For generations the word has been used even as a bug-a-boo 
with which to frighten children, and by the imperfectly read the 
German troops have been stigmatized as ^' Dutch robbers !" 
" Blood-thirsty marauders !" and " Foreign mercenaries !" Why 
blame these tools ? While many of them were not saints, 
neither were they the miscreants and incendiaries, bent on 
excursions of destruction and rapine, that the traditions fostered 
by prejudiced historians would have us believe. Many of these 
Germans were kindly souls, and probably the best-abused people 
of the time. Individually they were not mercenaries, and a 
majority of the rank and file without doubt objected as strongly 
to being on American soil fighting against liberty, as did their 
opponents to have them here. Some idea may be obtained of 
their repugnance to coming to this country from Schiller's pro- 
test against the custom of his countrymen's being sent across the 
seas in exchange for the gold of foreign governments. He tells 
how on one occasion upon orders being published directing a 
regiment to embark for the colonies, some privates, stepping out 
of the ranks, protested against crossing the ocean, and demanded 
of their colonel for how much a yoke the prince sold men ? 
Whereupon, the regiment was marched upon the parade, and the 
malcontents there shot. To quote Schiller : — 

We heard the crack of the rifles as their brains'spattered the pavement, and 
the whole army shouted, " Hurrah for America !" 

Germany's despotic princes justified their human traffic with the 
specious plea that it is a good soldier's duty to fight when his 
country requires his services — that whether it is against an 
enemy of his own government or that of another, should not be 
considered or enter into his conception of allegiance. They 
argued that there is no boon so great as a full treasury, and 
when a subject contributed by enlistments to that end, he was 

356 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

fulfilling the highest duty of citizenship. Their people, unfor- 
tunately, did not respond to such views of patriotism ; conse- 
quently, in securing recruits the most severe measures were nec- 
essary. Impressing was a favorite means of filling the regi- 
mental ranks ; strangers as well as citizens were in danger of 
being arrested, imprisoned, and sent off before their friends could 
learn of their jeopardy, and no one was safe from the grip of the 
recruiting ofiicer. This is illustrated by an interesting account 
given by Johann Gottfried Leume, a Leipsic student, who was 
kidnapped while travelling, forced into the ranks of a moving 
regiment, and dispatched to America to fight England's-battles. 
As every conceivable method of escape was devised by con- 
scripts, desertions were punished with great severity, though, as 
a rule, not wath death, as the princes found that their private 
soldiers had too high a monetary value in Em*opean markets to 
be sacrificed by the extreme penalty. 

In many principalities the laws obliged the towns and villages 
in which soldiers escaped, to supply substitutes from among the sons 
of their most prominent citizens, and anyone aiding a fugitive 
was imprisoned at hard labor, flogged, and deprived of his civil 
rights. Bancroft states that the heartless meanness of the Bruns- 
wick princes would pass belief if it was not officially authenti- 
cated. On learning of Burgoyne's surrender, they begged that 
their captured men might be sent to the West Indies rather than 
home, fearing that on reaching Germany their complaints would 
prove a damage to the government trade in soldiers. Notwith- 
standing the severe penalties visited on deserters,_yet when the 
Anhalt-Zerbst regiments on their way to embark — 1228 strong 
— passed near the Prussian frontier, over three hundred deserted 
in ten days. In 1777, when the margrave of Anspach-Beyreuth 
wished to forward some recruits to America he was obliged to 
march the detachment unarmed to the point of embarkation on 
the Main, and while on the way the recruits were guarded by a 
trusted troop of yagers. In spite of these precautions many 
escaped, and several were shot while making the endeavor. 

The late Frederick Kapp has contributed greatly to our 
knowledge of Hessian and Anspach soldiery. ]n regard to 
recruiting, he informs us that an officer in charge of a detach- 
ment of newly-enlisted men was directed, when on the march in 

Hessians Object to Fighting the Americans. 357 

the old country, to avoid large towns, also the vicinity of the 
place where any of the recruits had lived, or had been formerly 
stationed. So great precautions were considered necessary to 
prevent escape, that it was the duty of an officer when billeting 
at night with strangers to room with his men, and, after 
undressing, to deliver his weapons and the clothing of the entire 
party to the landlord or host. In the morning the men's cloth- 
ing was not to be brought in until the officer was completely 
dressed and he had loaded and primed his pistols. While en 
route should a recruit grow restive, or show signs of insubordi- 
nation, the instructions were to cut the buttons and straps from 
his trousers, forcing him to hold them up in walking, thus 
rendering flight impossible. Lieutenant Thomas Anburey, a 
British officer captured with Burgoyne, in a book descriptive of 
his experiences in America, • has much to tell regarding the 
Hessian contingent of the northern army. We may suppose that 
his following recital as to the manner of foreign enlistments was 
based on information gained from German officers : — 

The Prince caused every place of worship to be surrounded during service, and 
took every man who liad been a soldier, and to embody these into regiments he 
appointed old officers who had been many years upon half-pay, to command them, 
or on refusal of serving to forfeit tlieir half-pay. Thus were these regiments 
raised, officered with old veterans who had served with credit and reputation in 
their youthful days, and who had retired, as they imagined, to enjoy some com- 
fort in the decline of life. 

This American service was especially objectionable to the 
Germans because of their knowledge that our country was the 
home of many of their nationality. They did not wish to fight 
friends. Nor were their fears groundless, for in their first 
engagement after landing — the battle of Long Island — among 
Lord Stirling's troops opposed to them were three battalions, 
mostly composed of Pennsylvania Germans. These American 
troops were well uniformed and equipped, and looked so much 
like the mercenaries that at one time the English thought them 
to be Hessians, which error cost the British a colonel and eighty 
privates. That was not the first time that princely avarice had 
been the means of causing men from the valleys of the Rhine 
and its tributaries to contend with each other. Lowell recounts 
that in 1743 Hessians stood against Hessians, six thousand men 

358 The Story of an Old Farm. 

serving in the army of King Gleorge II., and six thousand in the 
opposing force of the Emperor Charles VII. 

When the news of the capture of the Hessians at Trenton 
spread through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the inhabitants 
thronged from every direction to view these beings whom they 
had been led to believe were monsters ; they were very much 
astonished to find them like ordinary men of German extraction. 
The people were filled with wonder, however, at their strangely 
martial appearance. Their officers, with embroidered coats and 
stifi" carriages, were in strong contrast to the easy-going com- 
manders of the continental forces, while the men in their dress 
and accoutrements presented a very different appearance from that 
of the generally poorly clad and equipped soldiers of the young 
republic. This was especially true of the grenadiers. They 
wore very long-skirted blue coats which looked fine on parade, 
but were ill calculated for rapid marching ; a yellow waistcoat 
extended below the hips, and yellow breeches were met at the 
knee by black gaiters. A thick paste of tallow and flour 
covered the hair, which was drawn tightly back and plaited into 
a tail which hung nearly to the waist. Their moustaches were 
fiercely stiffened with black paste, while above all towered a 
heavy brass-fronted cap. When in full marching order they 
must needs have had stout legs and broad backs to have sus- 
tained the weight they were forced to carry. In addition to 
cumbersome belts, a cartouche box, and a heavy gun, each man's 
equipment included sixty rounds of ammunition, an enormous 
sword, a canteen holding a gallon, a knapsack, blanket, haver- 
sack, hatchet, and his proportion of tent equipage. Max von 
Eelking, in his '' Memoirs" of von Riedesel, translated by W. L. 
Stone, writes that the English officers said the hats and swords 
of the Brunswick dragoons were as heavy as the whole equip- 
ment of a British soldier. 

These Trenton captives were sent over the Delaware into 
Pennsylvania and quartered at Newtown. Lord Stirling, who 
was there, received the officers with much consideration, saying, 
" Your General de Heister treated me like a brother when I was 
a prisoner," [after the battle of Long Island] ; and so, gentle- 
men, will you be treated by me." Corporal Johannes Reuber, 
one of the captives, writes in his journal that in passing through 

The Courtesy of German Officers. 359 

the towns and villages the Grermans were upbraided and treated 
with contumely by the populace, which continued until Wash- 
ington caused notices to be posted throughout the vicinity, saying 
that the Hessians had been compelled to become combatants, and 
should be treated with kindness and not with enmity. The 
prisoners were very grateful to Washington for being allowed to 
retain their baggage, and for their generally kind treatment. 
In their gratitude for conduct so opposed to what they had 
expected, they called their illustrious conqueror " a very good 

General de Heister, referred to by Lord Stirling, was an old 
man who, after fifty years of service, yielded to the earnest 
entreaty of his personal friend, the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, 
and consented to command the eighty-seven hundred Hessians 
who came to America to join Howe's army. During the pro- 
longed voyage the old gentleman exhausted his whole stock of 
tobacco and patience. From his transport he thus wrote to Sir 
George Collier of H. M. S. Rainbow, who commanded the con- 
voying war-ships : — 

I have been imposed on and deceived, for I was assured the voyage would not 
exceed six or seven weeks, — it is now more than fourteen since I embarked, and 
full three months since I left England, yet I see no more prospect of landing 
than I did a week after our sailing. I am an old man, covered with wounds, and 
imbecilitated by age and fatigues, and it is impossible I should survive if the 
voyage continues much longer. 

Sir George visited the veteran on his ship and raised his 
spirits by plentifully supplying him with fresh provisions and 
tobacco, and by assuring him that the voyage would soon termi- 
nate. The old German called upon his band to play, brought 
out some old hock, and Sir George left him quite exhilarated 
after drinking in many potations the health of the king, the 
landgrave, and many other friends. 

Of the German officers, Revolutionary literature teems with 
testimony as to their courtesy and good breeding ; and numerous 
instances could be given going to show that they often endeared 
themselves to the people that they were here ostensibly to sub- 
due. Among those of leading rank, de Heister, von Riedesel, von 
Donop, and von Knyphausen left on the communities most agree- 
able impressions. The latter was a man of honor, possessed a 
most kindly nature, and while stationed in Philadelphia won the 

360 The Story of an Old Farm. 

favorable consideration of the citizens. In appearance he was 
rather distinguished, erect and slender in lig-ure, with sharp 
martial features. He was very polite, bowing to all respectable 
persons met on the street, and was fair and honorable in his 
dealings. In May, 1782, when this general in company with 
Sir Henry Clinton embarked from New York for England, a 
diarist of that time recites : " Knyphausen has the good wishes 
of all people, but Sir Henry leaves a poor character behind him." 
Bancroft characterizes von Riedesel as a man of honor and activ- 
ity ; and the same historian speaks of de Heister as a brave old 
man, cheerful in disposition, good-natured, bluntly honest and 
upright. Stone in his preface to von Eelking's " Memoirs" of von 
Riedesel says that the general " possessed all the qualities of a 
good and brave soldier," that " his love of justice was well- 
known," and that ''his name honors not only his own 
state but also his common fatherland." Colonel von Donop 
it was who fell in the glacis of Fort Mercer, amid the 
great slaughter which the gallant but rash charge led 
by him had ensured. Colonel Greene, who displayed much 
bravery in repulsing the enemy, was most humane in his treat- 
ment of the wounded that his cannon balls and grape shot had 
left piled in front of the fortification's double abattis. Among 
von Donop's last words before his death, which occurred a few 
days after the action, were : — 

I fall a victim to my own ambition, and to the avarice of my prince ; but full 
of thankfulness for the good treatment I have received from my generous enemy. 

As to the Hessian officers of lesser rank, equally good tidings 
have come down to us. Mr. De Lancey, in his paper on Mount 
Washington and its capture, published in the first volume of the 
" Magazine of American History," avers that the Hessian officers 
in America were polite, courteous and almost without exception 
well educated ; he recites that as far as birth was concerned the 
English officers of Howe's army were much inferior in social 
rank to those of the Germans. Any rich Englishman could 
make his boy a gentleman by buying him a commission, but in 
Germany it was necessary for a youth to be one b}' birth if he 
aspired to be an officer. When the British army in 1776 occu- 
pied Manhattan Island, the troops were to a large extent billeted 
on the citizens. Mrs. Lamb recounts, in her " History of the 

Citizens Well-Treated by Hessian Soldiers. 361 

City of New York," that Mrs. Thomas Clark, a widow lady, 
owned, and occupied with her daughters, an attractive country 
seat near Twenty-fifth street and Tenth avenue. She was 
greatly distressed because some Hessians were quartered on her 
property. Like every one else at that time she supposed them 
to be iniquitous persons, who would visit upon her family all 
manner of indignities. To Mrs. Clark's great relief, she found 
her apprehensions groundless ; nothing was disturbed, and the 
commanding officer proved not only to be a gentleman, but so 
considerate and agreeable that he became a favorite both with 
herself and her daughters. Early in the war, experiences of 
a like character were frequent. Mrs. Ellet's " Domestic 
History " tells that after Howe's army had advanced into West- 
chester county a Mrs. Captain Whetten, living near New 
Rochelle, noticed one day that a black flag had been set up near 
her house. Upon asking an English officer its meaning, she was 
much distressed by his replying ; — " Heaven help you, madame, 
a Hessian camp is to be established here." Her fears were 
unnecessary, as when the Germans arrived good feeling soon 
existed between them and the family. One of the officers was 
quartered in the house ; when night came Mrs. Whetten was 
about sending to some distance for clean sheets for his bed, when 
he protested against her inconveniencing herself on his account, 
saying, " Do not trouble yourself, madame, straw is good 
enough for a soldier." 

Gray don, in his " Memoirs," gives an account of his spending 
the winter of 1778, in Reading, Pennsylvania. There were 
there a number of officers, prisoners on parole, of whom he thus 
speaks : — 

Among them were several Germans who had really the appearance of being 
what you would call down-right men. One old gentleman, a colonel, was a great 
professional reader, whom on his application I accommodated with books such as 
I had. Another of them, a very portly personage, was enthusiastically devoted 
to music, in which he was so much absorbed, as to seldom go abroad. But of all 
the prisoners, one Graff, a Brunswick officer, taken by General Gates' army, was 
admitted to the greatest privileges. Under the patronage of Dr. Potts, who had 
been principal surgeon in the Northern Department, he had been introduced to 
our dancing parties, and being always afterward invited, he never failed to 
attend. He was a young man of mild and pleasing manners. There was also a 
Mr. Stulzoe of the Brunswick dragoons, than whose, I have seldom seen a figure- 

362 The Story of an Old Farm. 

more martial, or a manner more indicative of that manly openness which is sup- 
posed to belong to the character of a soldier. * 

It would be interesting to learn just how so deep-seated an 
aversion to the Hessians first became planted in the minds of the 
people, particularly in those of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 
It could not have been because of their nationality, as among the 
populations of those states were many Germans who had always 
been appreciated as a worthy folk, quiet rather than bellicose in 
character. Yet, for some mysterious reason, these Teuton 
soldiers were looked upon with great dread by the inhabitants, 
especially by those who knew the least of them. The terror 
they inspired was often dissipated by a better acquaintance, as 
the private soldiers were found to be — with of course individual 
exceptions — simple-minded souls, and more afraid of their officers 
than of anything else. Mr. Onderdonk, in his " Revolutionary 
Incidents," speaks of them as: — 

A kind, peaceable people, inveterately fond of smoking and of pea cofTee ; 
their offences were of the sly kind, such as stealing at night, while the British 
and new raised corps were insolent, domineering, and inclined to violence and 

Gouverneur Morris in 1777 was ordered by the convention of 
the state of New York to prepare a narrative of the conduct of 
the British toward American prisoners. Among the papers sub- 
mitted was the affidavit of Lieutenant Troop of the militia, which 
recited that " he and other officers confined on Long Island wei**' 
much abused by nearly all of the British officers and in their 
presence by the soldiers ; they were insulted and called rebels, 
scoundrels, villains and robbers : " that when imprisoned at 
Flatbush they were given so short allowance of biscuits and salt 
pork " that," to use his own words, " several of the Hessian sol- 
diers took pity on their situation and gave them some apples, and 
at one time some fresh beef, which much relieved them." The 
following extract is from a letter written by Washington at Mor- 
ristown on the fifth of February, 1777, to Samuel Chase, one of 

* The " Graff" spoken of by Graydon was Cornet Auguste Ludwig Lucas 
Griife of the Brunswick dragoons ; after the peace he remained a year in America, 
when he returned to Germany where he died as governor of Mecklenberg-Stre- 
litz. The Mr. Stulzoe of the Brunswick dragoons was Cornet Johann Balthasar 
Stutzer, wlio died at Brunswick, Germany, in 1821, as a pensioned lieutenant- 

Good Hearted German Soldiers. 363 

a committee of seven appointed by congress to inquire into the 
conduct of the British and Hessian officers toward American 
soldiers and toward the citizens of New York and New Jersey : — 

I shall employ some proper person to take the depositions of people in the dif- 
ferent parts of the province of New Jersey, who have been plundered after hav- 
ing taken protection and subscribed the Declaration. One thing I must remark 
in favor of the Hessians, and that is, that our people, who have been prisoners, 
generally agree that they received much kinder treatment from them than from 
the British officers and soldiers. The barbarities at Princeton were all commit- 
ted by the British, there being no Hessians there. 

Max von Eelking, in his "Die Deutschen Hulfstruppen in 
Nordamerikanischen BefremngsJcriege, 1776 bis 1783," speaks of 
the effect that the landing of the Hessians on Long Island had 
upon the inhabitants. After telling that they were in great awe 
of the Germans and that many fled on their approach, he goes on 
to say : — 

When the first fear and excitement among the population had subsided, and 
people had become aware that after all they had not to deal with robbers and 
anthropophagi, they retiwned to their homes, and were not a little surprised to 
find not only their dwellings as they left them, but also the furniture, their 
effects, aye, even their money and trinkets. The fact was that the Germans, used 
to discipline, did not ask for more than they were entitled to. Their mutual 
relations now took a more friendly form, and it was not a rare case that a 
thorough' republican would treat the quartered soldier like one entitled to 
his hospitality, and carefully nurse the sick or wounded one. 

^During the winter of 1776, there was living at Burlington, a 
Mrs. Margaret Morris, who recorded her experiences in a journal 
of which a few copies were printed for private circulation. When 
Count von Donop's command penetrated as far as Mount Holly, 
she, in common with every one else, was at first much exer- 
cised over the proximity of the abhorred Hessians. On the sev- 
enteenth of December the following entry was made in her 
diary : — 

A friend made mf mind easy by telling me that he had passed through the town 
where the Hessians were said to be ' playing the very mischief ; it is certain there 
were numbers of them at Mount Holly, but they behaved very civilly to the 
people, excepting only a few persons who were actually in rebellion, as they 
termed it, whose goods, etc., they injured. 

In the '^ Personal Recollections of the American Revolution/' 
edited by Sidney Barclay, there appears the journal of a lady 
who made her home with her father, a clergyman, in the centre of 

364 The Story of an Old Farm. 

Long Island, while hei' husband was with Washington's array. 
An entry of January, 1777, recites: — 

The soldiers [liessian] take so mucli notice of the children that I fear lest 
they should contract evil, especially Charles. They have taught him to speak 
their language, he understands nearly all their conversation. They make pretty 
willow baskets for Marcia and Grace, and tell them of their own little ones at 
home, over the stormy ocean. The children are fond of them, and they feel no 
enmity toward them. What is more melancholy than the trade of a hired 
soldier ! I deeply commiserate their wretched lot. 

This little domestic scene hardly pictures the Germans in the 
guise of wicked marauders. The same diarist, in writing in 
1783 of the evacuation of the island by the Hessians, says 
further : — 

Many of the poor creatures have formed attachments, and the ties of kindness 
and gratitude are hard to break. Many of them begged to be permitted to remain 
in some menial capacity, but the ties of kindred prevailed with the greater part. 

The joiu'nal of Captain Pausch, chief of the Hesse Hanau 
artillery during the Burgoyne campaign, thus speaks of the 
behaviour of the privates of that command : — 

They never fail after reveille and tatoo, to make their ofterings to their God by 
singing morning and evening hymns; one hour afterwards they give themselves 
up to enjoyment, but in such a manner as to never give cause for complaint or 

The journal of John Charles Philip von Krafft, free corporal 
in Lieutenant-Colonel Hinter's company in von Donop's regi- 
ment of Hesse-Cassel musketeers, furnishes a most interesting 
glimpse of the daily inside life in a German regiment which 
served in America as a contingent to the British army. Von 
Krafft makes many comments on Hessian forbearance as com- 
pared with British marauding. In speaking of the march across 
the Jerseys in 1778, he tells of entering a house near Freehold 
when he was informed by its occupants that some English 
soldiers had just stripped them of everything, even taking the 
silver buckles from a woman's shoes. This woman said to him 
that " she saw very plainly there was no truth in what people 
had told her of the Hessians, namely, that they were cruel. She 
saw that it was the English alone." These people gave von Krafft 
some fresh provisions, including a rooster and three chickens 
which had been concealed in an oven. They would not name a 
price, but he gave them one shilling and ten-pence English 

Hessian Excesses have been Exaggerated. 365 

money, for which they wished him many blessings, and begged 
him to pick some cherries from the trees in the dooryard. On 
the twenty-sixth of June he reached Freehold and found, to 
quote from the journal : — 

Every place here was broken into and plundered by the English soldiers. 
The church, which was made of wood and had a steeple, was miserably 

He recites that his regiment halted for an hour and a half on 
the main street of Freehold, during which time the English 
soldiers had : — 

Been breaking and destroying everything in the city hall house, even tearing 
•down the little bell in the steeple. No Hessian was to be seen among them, 
the commanders of regiments not allowing it. 

He acknowledges, however, that some abuses were secretly 
practised by his countrymen. In September, ] 778, in writing of 
his experiences while on a foraging party near the twenty- 
mile stone in Westchester county. New York, von Krafft 
says : — 

We were not forbidden to get provisions, but very strictly admonished not to 
take anything from the people in their houses. * * * Yor a few days we had 
an abundance of food, and this was my only booty. 

Did space permit, much further of interest could be drawn 
from the journal of this Hessian soldier. It can be found among 
the collections of the New York Historical society. 

The Marquis de Chastellux, in writing of the capitulation at 
Yorktown, speaks of the contemptuous attitude of the captured 
British soldiers toward the Americans. They made friends 
with the French, but in their chagrin and disappointment held 
aloof fi'om the hated rebels. Says Chastellux : — 

After the surrender the English behaved with the same overbearing insolence 
as if they had been conquerors ; the Scots wept bitterly, while the Germans only 
conducted themselves decently, and in a manner becoming prisoners. 

The bitter feeling evinced by the people toward the subsidiary 
troops of the English army was probably engendered by 
their conduct at the battle of Long Island. Their excesses 
have been greatly exaggerated by early historians in accounts 
of that action ; it is gratifying, therefore, to read in one 
of Professor John Fiske's latest historical contributions, refer- 

366 The Story of an Old Farm. 

ring to this battle, that " the stories of a wholesale butchery 
by the Hessians which once were current have been completely 
disproved." There is no doubt, however, that during that 
engagement the Germans were guilty of some unnecessary 
cruelties, but any fair-minded person familiar with all the facts 
must admit that the circumstances of ignorance and false teach- 
ing palliate to a certain extent their behavior on that occasion. 
The Long Island Historical Society, in its account of the battle, 
publishes the letter of an officer in Fraser's Scotch battalion, 
from which I make the following extract : — 

The Hessians and our brave Highlanders gave no quarter, and it was a fine 
sight to see with what alacrity they dispatched the rebels with bayonets after we 
had surrounded them so that they could not resist. We took care to tell the 
Hessians that the rebels had resolved to give no quarter to them in particular: 
which made them fight desperately, and put all to death who fell into their 

The statement of this bloodthirsty Highland officer is corrob- 
orated by the before referred to historian, Max von Eelking. 
He records : — 

That the Hessians were very much exasperated and furious, is not to be denied ; 
* * * the course pursued by the Hessians was urged upon them by the Brit- 
ons. Colonel von Heeringen says on this subject, in his letter to Colonel von 
Lossburg : " The English soldiers did not give much quarter and constantly 
urged our men to follow their example." 

Another officer, who was present at that time, narrates that 
the Germans early learned enough English to beg for quarter 
from the savage rebels, of whom they stood in great fear. They 
acted as if they were going to be eaten, and some of them when 
taken, bawled out as best they could, '' Oh ! good rebel man, 
don't km poor Hessian ! " 

That the heart of the Hessians was not in the work of aiding 
in the subjugation of Great Britain's colonists is proven by the 
fact of their frequent desertions. It is estimated that of the 
nearly thirty thousand German troops brought to America by 
the English, more than five thousand deserted, many of them 
becoming valued citizens of the country ; and frequent instances 
can be shown of their descendants ranking among the leading 
people of the United States. Judge Jones, in his " History of 
New York," avers that Henry Ashdore was the first in America 
of the name now so well known under its anglicized form of 

Hessian Deserters. 367 

Astor. He was a peasant from Waldorf in Baden, who came to 
this country with the British during the Revolutionary war, but, 
after a short period managed to escape their service, and entered 
into that of the "Art and Mystery of Butchering." Upon the 
cessation of hostilities he induced his youngest brother — then a 
youth of twenty — to come to New York. This was John Jacob 
Astor, who died in 1848 the richest man of his day in America. 
J. G. Rosengarten, in a paper read before the Newport His- 
torical Society in 1886 informs us that the ancestor of General 
George A. Custer was a German soldier, named Kuster, who 
was among those captured by Gates in 1777. He settled in 
Pennsylvania, but subsequently removed to Maryland, where the 
distinguished general's father was born in 1806. 

John Conrad Dochlar, an Anspach sergeant, in enumerating 
in his diary the German troops made prisoners at Yorktown, 
mentions the "Prince Royal" regiment of Hesse-Cassel, as 
having once been strong, " but now a great sufferer from death 
and desertion"; and the Anspach— Beyreuthian regiments as 
having had " about forty killed and wounded, besides losing fifty 
deserters." While Burgoyne's captured army was quartered 
at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1778, many of von Riedesel's 
soldiers deserted, and enlisted in Armand's light-corps then being 
recruited at Boston. During the month of April forty -five 
men escaped, while in May the Brunswickers lost seventy-two 
soldiers. When the convention army started for Virginia in 
November fifty Germans deserted before reaching the Hudson. 
The auxiliary troops, while en route south, entered New Jersey on 
the fourth of December, halting for the night of the fifth at Sussex 
Court-house. While marching through Stillwater township, in Sus- 
sej^ county, a dozen or more "Hessians" escaped and hid until all 
the prisoners and their guards had passed by. They settled per- 
manently in the township, and several well-known families in that 
neighborhood are the posterity of these German soldiers. In Mor- 
ris county also, there are a number of resident families descended 
from thirty Hessians who at one time during the Revolution 
were employed at the Mount Hope mine. Lieutenant Anburey 
of Burgoyne's army — ^before quoted — in describing the march 
of the captured troops to Virginia, thus speaks of Germans who 
deserted : — 

368 The Stouy of an Old Farm. 

Seeing in what a comfortable manner their countrymen lived, they left us in 
great numbers as we marched tlirough New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Washington, in a letter from Englishtown on the day after the 
battle of Monmouth, wi'ites that thus far Sir Henry Clinton in 
his march through the Jerseys had lost by desertion five or six 
hundred men, " chiefly foreigners." Six days later General 
Arnold, who had been left in command at Philadelphia, reported 
that five hundred and seventy-six deserters had reached that 
city, of whom four hundred and forty-six were Germans. 
The journal of von Krafft recites that there Avere so many 
desertions among his countrymen during the retreat across the 
Jerseys that General von Knyphausen announced, through his 
regimental commanders, that the men must not believe the 
" statements in circulation that the rebels would give plantations 
and houses to those who remained behind." This general, as a 
warning to the troops, as they marched by caused a deserter to be 
hanged on a tree by the road, " which caused a dreadful uproar." 
When the English marched out of Philadelphia they were but 
eleven thousand strong. When Howe landed at the head of Elk 
he had eighteen thousand men. As a writer of that time says : — 

This terrible diminution can be only accounted for by the spirit of desertion, 
which, among the Hessians, prevailed to a very great degree. 

General Greene, in a letter to John Adams written from 
Basking Ridge in March, 1777, thus speaks of the Germans 
captured at Trenton : — 

The mild and gentle treatment the Hessian prisoners have received since they 
have been in our possession has produced a great alteration'in their dispositions. 
Desertions prevail among them. One whole brigade i-efused to fight or do duty, 
and were sent prisoners to New York. Rancor and hatred prevail between them 
and the British soldiery. 

From Lossing we leara that of the officers captured at Tren- 
ton, Ensign Carle Fried Frurer, of the Knyphausen regiment, 
and Ensign Kleinsmith, joined the American army ; and the his- 
torian Onderdonk claims that many leading families of Long 
Island trace their descent from deserters from the ranks of the 
mercenary troops. Von Eelking mentions by name twelve offi- 
cers of the Brunswick contingent who settled permanently in 
America. Among them were six who remained by permission 
after the peace, two who returned home but came back to this 

An Astute German Baker. 369 

country, and four who deserted during the war. The latter 
included Chaplain Carl Melsheimer of the dragoon regi- 
ment. On the Sunday after the battle of Princeton, Gene- 
ral Maxwell with some Jersey militia came out of the Short 
Hills, and falling suddenly on the British post at Elizabethtown, 
made prisoners of fifty VValdeckers and forty Highlanders. A 
writer who describes this affair in a letter dated at Philadelphia 
on the sixteenth of January, recites : — 

The English troops at Elizabethtown would not suffer the Waldeckers to stand 
sentry at the outposts, several of them having deserted and come over to us. 

At the time of the battle of Germantown there was living in 
that place a rich German baker, named Christopher Ludwick. 
Having learned that among the prisoners taken during that 
engagement were eight Hessians, this patriotic baker conceived 
the idea of putting his unfortunate countrymen to a more valu- 
able service than that of being guarded or paroled. He went to 
headquarters and induced the commander-in-chief to place these 
men completely in his hands, the only proviso being that there 
should come to them no bodily harm. He then constituted him- 
self their host and guide, and taking them all about Philadelphia 
and its vicinity, showed them how the Germans were prospering 
in this country ; how comfortably they were housed, what fine 
churches they had, with what freedom and independence they 
followed their avocations, and with what happiness those in the 
humbler pursuits of life were living. This wise custodian then 
dismissed his prisoners, charging them to return to their regi- 
ments and inform their fellow-soldiers of all that they had seen, 
and explain to them the happiness awaiting those who would 
desert and settle in Pennsylvania. The seed thus planted bore 
rich fruit. It is said that among the deserters resulting from 
this action, numbers afterward became prosperous citizens of 
Philadelphia. Ludwick's success in this enterprise encouraged 
him to further endeavors in the same direction ; he visited a 
Hessian camp on Staten Island, and without detection succeeded 
in causing several soldiers to flee to Pennsylvania. This honest 
German afterward became baker-general to the American army. 
He is said to have often been a visitor at headquarters, where 
Washington recognized his worth, and appreciated to the full the 
value of his services. 

370 The Stoky of an Old Farm. 

Speaking of General Wasliington brings to mind the fact that, 
while living in Philadelphia as chief magistrate of the nation, his 
coachman was an ex-Hessian soldier. It was one of the events 
of the week to see " Fritz," seated on the box of the executive's 
carriage, drawing up his four bright bays on Sunday morning in 
front of Christ chiu'ch. He was tall and muscular, looking the 
soldier, his long aquiline nose pressing closely down over a 
fierce moustache. In a livery of white, touched with red, he 
carried himself with an important air, showing a severe coun- 
tenance under his cocked hat, which was Avorn square to the 
front, but thrown a little back on his queue. Washington's 
arrival at church was always the occasion of an enthusiastic but 
a quiet and respectful ovation. Long before the hour he was 
expected Second street would be packed with a patient throng 
of citizens. On the approach of the well-known white coach, 
ornamented with medallions, the crowd silently opened a narrow 
way or lane from the curb to the church door, and, as the presi- 
dent stepped with calm dignity from the carriage, profound sil- 
ence reigned, every eye being riveted on the distinguished form. 
As Washington, stately in person and noble in demeanor, slowly 
moved across the pavement toward the sacred edifice, it was an 
impressive spectacle. From the dense crowd there came not a 
sound, but the respectful silence in which the assembled multi- 
tude stood in the presence of the '^ father of his country," testi- 
fied more strongly than would have the bravest shouts, or the 
loudest acclamations, to the admiration and veneration with 
which they viewed this " greatest, purest, most exalted of 


Washington's March from Trenton to Morristown — The Battles 
of AssunjnnJc and Princeton — The American Army 
Encamped at PlucJcamin — Death and Burial of Captain 
William Leslie. 

With the turn of the year 1776-'77 important events rapidly 
succeeded each other. Naturally one woidd say that the history 
of this time will make trite reading, but the occurrences of the 
next few weeks are too closely identified with the experiences 
of Bedminster people to be passed over without a somewhat 
extended notice. In addition, an endeavor will be made in this 
chapter to present some facts and incidents that have hitherto 
escaped the attention and knowledge of the ordinary Revolution- 
ary student. It is not my purpose to tell over again the well- 
kno^vn stories of Assunpmk and Princeton, but rather to dwell 
on the many minor scenes and events connected with the march 
of the continental army from the second to the sixth of January, 
1777 ; to relate some details of interest that historians generally 
have been forced to pass by, in order to dilate on the two noted 
engagements which at that time entirely altered the current of 
American history. While the foundation and continuity of the 
narration cannot be preserved without mentioning these actions, 
yet, whatever of interest and value may follow will be due to the 
lesser historical gleanings presented, which may be said to be, to 
some extent, the result of an intimate knowledge of the locality in 
which the scenes are depicted, and a lifelong acquaintance with 
its people. 

The Christmas holidays of the year 1776, which will ever be 
considered one of the great epochs in American history, com- 
pletely changed the aspect of the Revolutionary contest. Sir 

372 The Stort of an Old Farm. 

William Howe and Lord Cornwallis, astounded at the news from 
Trenton, were at once alive to their error in thinking that Amer- 
ican independence was a matter of the past. Abandoning his 
proposed home voyage, Cornwallis hastily marched his troops 
toward the Delaware, being joined on the way by Count von 
Donop's force from Bordentown. The British column, five 
thousand strong, reached Trenton late on the afternoon of the 
second of January. Washington was already there with nearly 
an equal number of men, although his army was largely com- 
posed of undisciplined, ununiformed militia. Intent on reoccupy- 
ing if not recapturing Nev/ Jersey, he on the thirteenth of 
December had again crossed the Delaware. 

Cornwallis on reaching Princeton had with him about eight 
thousand men. Leaving fifteen hundred there under Lieutenant 
Colonel Mawhood, and dispatching General Leslie with fifteen 
hundred more to jMaidenhead, he marched with the remainder on 
the morning of the second, intent on annihilating Washington's 
ragged army. The American general, to check this advance, on 
the evening of New Year's day sent out a strong force of rifle- 
men and artillery under Generals de Fermoy and Adam Stephen. 
They met the enemy on the following morning, arresting their prog- 
ress for nearly two hours, then falling back toward the Delaware 
continued harassing and impeding the hostile march, until it was 
nearly dark before the British faced the main body of the Amer- 
icans at Trenton. After sunset the enemy advanced in two 
heavy bodies to the north side of Assunpink creek in order to 
force the bridge, but from the opposite shore the American dogs 
of war barked from their iron throats a dubious welcome. The 
enemy's attempt to force a passage of the stream was defeated 
by the eftective manner in which General Knox handled his 
artillery, which was advantageously planted on the high southern 
bank of the creek. Owing to the lateness of the hour Cornwallis 
retired to the rear of the town, on the Princeton road, deciding 
to await daylight before renewing the attack, and when, as he 
boasted, " he would catch that old fox Washington." The 
British general's confidence in what the morrow would bring 
forth proved to be misplaced. From time immemorial a fox has 
been the most uncertain of all game, and Lord Cornwallis had 
quite neglected to remember that it was not uncommon for 

The Night of Assunpink. 373 

that wary animal, when just about trapped, to quietly steal 

Frederick the Great, on being told that a distinguished gen- 
eral had never made a mistake, replied, ''then he 'must have 
fought very few campaigns." If Washington coidd ever be 
charged with a lack of military judgment it was when he placed 
his army in the position it occupied on this night of the second 
of January. Realizing his dangerous situation he was full of 
anxiety. Should an engagement follow the dawn, defeat would 
mean the destruction or capture of the entire continental force, 
the troops being so disposed as to render a retreat impracticable. 
An engagement was certainly to be expected, the chances of suc- 
cess lying almost wholly with the enemy, as opposed to the raw 
levies of the Americans was the flower of the British army. 
Washington's decision was promptly reached, a decision that 
was probably as important in its immediate results and in its 
future effect upon the destinies of the country, as was any lie was 
called upon to make during his entire career. The British 
had left at Princeton the 17th, 40th and 55th Regiments of 
infantry and three squadrons of dragoons. They were to join 
Cornwallis in the morning, but could they be reached by the 
Americans before that time their destruction was not impossible. 
Washington, calling his generals together, disclosed his plan, 
which was to move quietly around the enemy's flank, and march- 
ing rapidly on Princeton, strike a telling blow in that unexpected 

It has been said that this strategy was the suggestion of 
General St. Clair, but Stryker, in his " Princeton Surprise," 
contributed to the " Magazine of American History," has 
conclusively proved this claim to be groundless, and such 
excellent authorities as Gordon and Bancroft insist that the 
idea was the conception of the chief. Be this as it may, 
the movement was quickly executed Silently sending off the 
impedimenta in the direction of Bordentown, the camp-fires were 
brightened, and pacing sentinels were left on guard, whose fre- 
quent challenges deluded the outposts of the enemy. Soon after 
midnight the ragged but heroic army broke camp, St. Clair's 
brigade leading the way. The other commands following, they 
pushed out far east of and around the sleeping British soldiers ',. 

374 The Story of an Old Farm. 

in the deep stillness of the night, along a narrow new road 
through the woods, the troops silently defiled over the frozen 
ground, their departure entirely unsuspected by the enemy. 

In speaking of Revolutionary armies such tenns as corps, 
divisions and brigades are not always applied in the sense of their 
present uses. To mention a division does not imply a command 
made up of the full number of regiments and brigades. When 
Baron Steuben assumed the duties of inspector-general at Valley 
Forge, in March, 1778, he found that the term division, brigade, 
and regiment did not convey an idea upon which a calculation 
could be based as to the strength of the army. In some instances 
a regiment was stronger than a brigade. Disorder and con- 
fusion reigned supreme, and the continual coming and going of 
men enlisted for three, six and nine months made it impossible 
to preserve intact either a company or a battalion. To quote 
his own words : " I have seen a regiment consisting of thirty 
men and a company of one corporal." There was no uniformity 
of formation except in the line of march, and as to manual, each 
colonel had a system of his own. With this little force that was 
stealing through the dark gloom of the forests toward Prince- 
ton there were at least eleven generals, although the entire army 
barely aggregated a modern brigade. The number of commis- 
sioned officers was also out of all proportion to the non-commis- 
sioned officers and enlisted men. As a rule, the line, field and 
staff of a regiment or battalion had under them but a handfiU of 

So far as I can learn, of this devoted band but few organiza- 
tions of foot were completely uniformed and equipped. One was 
the Dover light-infantry, clad in green faced with red, which 
was a militia company raised in the northern district of Kent 
county, Delaware, and commanded by Captain Thomas Rodney ; 
the second was four light-infantry companies of Philadelphia 
militia under Captain George Henry. A third uniformed organi- 
zaticm was Colonel William Smallwood's battalion, a mere 
fragment — barely seventy men — of what in the preceding June 
had been a noble regiment, eleven hundred strong, composed of 
the finest youth of Maryland. On the twenty-seventh day of the 
preceding August, at a point in Brooklyn where now Fifth 
avenue and Tenth street intersect, the men of this command, 

The Brave Colonel Haslet. 375 

together with Colonel Haslet's Delaware regiment, held the 
enemy in check at a severe loss to themselves, while the rest of 
the regiments of Lord Stirling's division were making their 
escape from a most dangerous position. Three times they 
rallied and charged the enemy, knowing the result must be their 
own sacrifice, yet willing to suffer at so great a cost in order 
that while holding the British at bay their comrades could 
make good their retreat. The combat over, two hundred and 
fifty-six of these Maryland lads were either lying among the 
dead and dying, or with their general. Lord Stirling, were in 
the hands of the enemy. The carnage had not been in vain, as 
the flying Americans were saved from complete destruction. 
Washington, choking with emotion, witnessed this bravery from 
a little redoubt within the present boundaries of Court, Clinton, 
Atlantic and Pacific streets, and the courage and self-devotion of 
this handful of young soldiers were the admiration of both armies. 
The battalions now marching toward Princeton were all 
similarly reduced. The Rhode Island and Virginia regiments 
had been greatly depleted ; of the latter, Colonel Scott's com- 
mand was but a corpoi'al's guard, while Weedon's, which was 
probably the strongest battalion with the army, had less than 
one hundred and forty men fit for duty. 

The 1st Delaware regiment, under the brave Colonel Haslet, 
also made a name for itself at the battle of Long Island, but at a 
fearful cost. Its strength, which at the outset had been a full 
thousand, mustered during the retreat across the Jerseys but 
one hundred and five men. The time for which this command 
was enlisted expired on the first of January, and most of the 
officers and men returned home in the hope of securing positions 
in the new continental regiments that were there forming. Six 
of them, however, refused to overlook the necessities of the situ- 
ation and abandon the continental army on the eve of an engage- 
ment. On the night march we are describing this 1st Delaware 
regiment had consequently dwindled to Colonel Haslet, Captain 
HoUand, Doctor Gilder, Ensign Wilson and two privates. The 
colonel was made second in command of General Mercer's 
brigade which numbered all told about four hundred men. As 
this spirited and distinguished young officer rode by the side of 
his troops, encouraging the soldiers in their hurried march, he 

376 The Story of an Old Farm. 

little thought that in a few short hours, with the coming of the 
dawn, he would be called upon to lay his young life on the altar 
of his country. 

The only mounted force then with the army was the 1st 
Troop of Philadelphia light-horse, commanded by Captain 
Morris. It was a militia company composed of twenty-one 
gentlemen of independent fortunes, whose services during 
their tour of duty were invaluable to the commander-in-chief. 
They furnished him with couriers, guards, patrols and videttes, 
and when discharged on the twenty-third of tFanuary Washing- 
ton tendered them his sincere thanks for the effective aid they 
had rendered the army. With each discharge was a testimonial 
which asserted that though the members were gentlemen of 
wealth they had shown a noble example of discipline and sub- 
ordination, and in several actions had manifested a spirit and 
bravery which would ever do honor to themselves, and be grate- 
fully remembered by their chief. 

Among the artillery that was jolting and rumbling over the 
stumps and frozen ruts on this cold January night was a New 
Jersey command known as the ^' Eastern Battery" of state troops, 
which a month before had been assigned to Colonel Procter's 
artillery regiment in Greneral Knox's brigade. Early in the war, 
owing to the exposed situation of New Jersey, and to its lying 
between the two prominent cities that were likely to be the 
strongholds of the enemy, it was found necessary to organize a 
force for the protection of the inhabitants. These troops were 
volunteers from the county militia, and were known as '^ New 
Jersey Levies " and " State Troops." Though primarily intended 
for home protection, they were required, when called upon, to 
serve beyond the borders of the state. The first organization of 
these lines authorized by the provincial congress were sta- 
tioned in the eastern and western divisions of the state. Among 
the officers of the Eastern Battery were Captain Frederick Fre- 
linghuysen and Second-Lieutenant John Van Dyke. This bat- 
tery did excellent service on the banks of the Assunpink and at 
Trenton on the morning after Christmas. Its men also won the 
commendation of their general for the manner in which they 
served their guns at the battles of Princeton and Monmouth. 
Lieutenant Van Dyke of this command was a native of Eliza- 

The Battle of Princeton. 377 

bethtown, and his war experiences were rich and varied in char- 
acter. When the time of service of this New Jersey battery- 
expired he became an officer in Colonel Lamb's artillery regi- 
ment of the New York line. While taking a short sea voyage, 
when on a furlough owing to illness, he was captured by the 
enemy and spent some time on the prison ship, "Jersey." He was 
one of the officers who walked with Andre to the gallows, and 
his pen has furnished us with a very full account of the incidents 
of that unhappy expiation. 

Captain Frelinghuysen retired from the artillery in May, 
1776, being succeeded in the command of the battery by 
Captain Daniel Neil, which officer, like Colonel Haslet, was 
now marching to his death. Frelinghuysen was still with 
the army and participated in this Princeton surprise, hav- 
ing in November been appointed brigade-major on the staff of 
Greneral Dickinson of the New Jersey militia. He was cam- 
paigning in a familiar country, having graduated from the college 
of New Jersey six years before at the early age of sixteen. 
There were other " Princeton men " with the continental troops, 
among them Surgeon Benjamin Rush of the class of 1760, and 
Colonel Joseph Reed — a native of Trenton — whose parchment 
was dated in 1757. The latter was a member of Washington's 
military family. Doctor Rush, who was a well-known physician 
of Philadelphia, was serving as a vokmteer surgeon with the 
Pennsylvania militia. Von Moltke claims geography to be the 
most important factor in the science of war. These two staff 
officers, because of their local knowledge of the vicinity, are 
said to have contributed greatly to the brilliant success of that 
momentous winter's day, which a rising sun and this little army 
were about to make historic. 

The morning of the third of January was clear and cold. A 
white hoar-frost sparkled and glittered on the fields, and the 
branches of the trees were gemmed with buds of ice. Soon 
after daybreak the people in the vicinity of Princeton were 
awakened by the noise of musket-shots. File-firing commenced 
pattering like drum-beats, followed by a regular fusillade of 
platoons j then came the roaring of cannon. The citizens soon 
discovered that war in its full flower was at their very dooi's. 
General Mercer with his brigade, which on nearing the town. 

378 The Story of an Old Farm. 

had been detached from the main column, came upon the British 
advance at Samuel Worth's mill, near where the King's highway 
crosses Stony brook, about one mile southwest of Princeton. He 
would have been overwhelmed, but Washington with the conti- 
nentals and militia promptly came to his support ; a sharp and 
decisive engagement followed ; in less than thirty minutes vic- 
tory perched upon the American banners, and the enemy, horse 
and foot, were in full retreat. 

I do not propose to weary the patience of my readers with an 
account of this famous battle. Able historians have made us all 
familiar with the miraculous escape of Washington when exposed 
to a cross-lire of friend and foe ; have told over and over again 
of General Mercer's having been pinned to the earth by the 
fatal thrusts of British bayonets ; of how the smoke rose above 
the combatants and hung in air, a clear, white, cumulus cloud, as 
if weighted with the souls of those who had just closed their eyes 
on the radiance of that winter morn ; of the appearance pre- 
sented by the British commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood, 
who in the heat of the action rode at the head of his men on a 
little brown pony, with two springing spaniels playing before 
him ; of Knox's training his artillery on Nassau Hall to dislodge 
a portion of the 40th Regiment which had taken refuge in the 
college building ; and of the many other incidents crowded 
within the short space of time occupied in completely routing 
the British forces. Taking into consideration the number of 
troops engaged, no action during the war was so fatal to Ameri- 
can officers. One general, one colonel, three captains, one lieu- 
tenant and an ensign were killed ; but then, as has been learned, 
officers were so numerous in this little army that even in so short 
an exposure to the enemy's fire that number of casualties was 
fairly to be expected. All told, the American loss was but 
thirty, while the British left one hundred dead on the field and 
nearly three hundred men in our hands as prisoners, including 
fourteen officers. Fifty of the captives were sent into Pennsyl- 
vania, the rest being brought along with the army. 

Among the enemy's fatally wounded was a young Scotchman, 
William Leslie, a son of the Earl of Leven and a captain in the 
17th Regiment of foot. He was of a military line, being a descend- 
ant of that old Earl of Leven who was a soldier under Gustavus, 

Captain Leslie's Death-Wound. 379 

and who at the battle of Marston Moor boldly rode at the head 
of his tough Scotch covenanters to oppose the cavalier troopers, 
massed by the thousands under the silken standard of Prince 
Rupert. It is a singular circumstance that when Captain Leslie 
received his death-wound, so far from home and kindred, the 
only two Americans knowing of him and his people were in the 
immediate vicinity, one being in the army against which he was 
contending. He fought his last battle almost within the shadows 
of the walls of a college whose president, John Witherspoon, 
was the lifelong friend of his parents. Before being called to 
America Doctor Witherspoon had been a prominent Presbyterian 
minister at Paisley, a Scottish town not far from Melville House, 
the seat of the Earl of Leven. Captain Leslie's mother, the 
countess, was a devout adherent to the kirk of Scotland, and had 
the interests of Presbyterianism much at heart. That she might 
keep informed as to its progress in America, for a number of 
years after her old friend had been called to the presidency of 
the college of New Jersey she continued with him a religious and 
friendly correspondence, and ever held him in high esteem. 

Strange as it may appear, when Leslie fell he almost at once 
received aid from another friend of his parents. Surgeon Benja- 
min Rush, before mentioned, had gained his medical education 
at the University of Edinburgh. While in Scotland he became 
acquainted with the family of the Earl of Leven. The young 
student's refined and polished manners, together Avith the 
peculiarly fascinating conversational powers with which he was 
endow^ed, made his frequent visits to Melville House always 
welcome. After his return to America he was ever held, espe- 
cially by the countess, in affectionate remembrance ; this feeling- 
was heightened to a tender and grateful regard by the doctor's 
attention and services to her wounded son. When the heat of 
the engagement at Princeton was over, Washington and his staff 
while crossing some fallow ground discovered a party of soldiers 
supporting an injured officer. Upon enquiring and learning his 
name and rank, Surgeon Rush, who was in the general's suite, 
thus addressed his chief: "I beg your excellency to permit this 
wounded officer to be placed under my care, that I may return, 
in however small a degree, a part of the obligations I owe to his 
worthy father for the many kindnesses received at his hands 

380 The Story of an Old Farm. 

while I was a student at Edinburgh." The request was, 
of course, granted ; Rush was quickly out of the saddle, and 
with the aid of an orderly placed Leslie in a farmer's wagon 
that was collecting the wounded. The young soldier at once 
received surgical treatment, and every care and attention was 
bestowed on him until his . death, which occurred during the 
following afternoon. 

The Americans had no cavalry to follow the fleeing enemy, 
and the foot soldiers were in anything but a condition for pursuit. 
After the fight Washington was sorely tempted to push on to 
New Brunswick in the hope of securing the British stores. It 
was impossible, owing to the condition of his men ; for much of 
the past thirty-six hours they had been marching and fighting, 
many of them had had neither breakfast nor dinner, and the 
entire army were completely exhausted. He was thus forced to 
seek the hill country where his victorious troops could without 
molestation obtain the rest and refreshment they so much needed. 
Re-fonning his column, the general pressed on along the King's 
highway to Van Tilburgh's inn, at Kingston, which stood, and 
until lately was still standing, on the north side of that thorough- 
fare. Here, turning to the left on the narrow Rocky Hill road, 
he marched his way-worn soldiers down the valley of the Mill- 

The first information that Cornwallis had of the affair at 
Princeton was the booming of cannon on the break of that cold 
day which he had expected to devote to catching "the old fox." 
He was much chagrined at Washington's escape,, but was soon 
in full pursuit, the rear-guard under General Leslie, which had 
rested at Maidenhead, being in the van. A stern cliase is 
always a long one. Much time was lost in crossing Stony 
brook, the bridge having been destroyed. On nearing Prince- 
ton a cannon-shot from a small redoubt brought the British to a 
halt, their generals thinking that the Americans had fortified 
themselves in the town. This gun was fired by a few militia- 
men who had then hastily retired, but an hour was lost before 
Cornwallis discovered this, and was again on the march. Having 
great fears for his military chest and supplies at New Brunswick, 
he hurriedly j)assed on througli Princeton and Kingston without 
learning that at the latter place his foes had filed to the left. 

Marching Down the Millstone. 381 

Meanwhile, let us follow Washington, who was for the first 
time penetrating Somerset county. An auspicious advent ! 
Arrayed in the continental blue and bufi", as he sat his horse 
with all that martial dignity peculiar to himself, he came as a 
conqueror, welcomed by the enthusiastic greetings of the popu- 
lace. The little army toiled along the east bank of the Mill- 
stone, the men in high spirits over the experiences of the past 
twenty-four hours, but yet, so weak from cold, hunger and 
fatigue that they defiled along in dispersed order, with heavy 
steps, guns carried in whatever way was easiest, and their eyes 
almost glued with sleep. Many fell out by the way, and stretch- 
ing themselves on the frozen ground sought that repose which 
exhausted nature refused longer to await. But few of the men 
were decently clad, much less amply protected from the wintry 
air, while sad to relate some were without covering for their 
feet. It is told that Washington while riding by the side of his 
troops noticed that William Lyon, a continental soldier from 
Middlesex county, was without stockings, and almost, if not 
entirely, without shoes. As he trudged sturdily along, his bare 
and bloody feet left their marks on the ice and gravel of the 
roadway. The general, checking his horse, tapped Lyon gently 
on the shoulder and said : '^ My brave boy you deserve a better 
fate." " Ah," replied the plucky young soldier, " there is no 
danger of my feet freezing as long as the blood runs." This 
Revolutionary hero survived that hardship and many others, not 
dying till 1841. Rumbling along in the midst of the column 
were country carts containing that sad contingent of all victorious 
armies, the wounded — poor wretches who rested wearily against 
the sides of the wagon bodies, their countenances making mute 
appeals for human sympathy ; some with arms in slings, some 
with heads bandaged, some with limbs and jaws shattered, while 
others lying in the straw were pale and wan, with eyes fast 

Much of interest appertaining to this march to Morristown is 
to be learned from the manuscript diary of Captain Thomas 
Rodney of the Dover light-infantry, which is preserved by his 
descendants. This officer's company was embodied into a regi- 
ment with the four companies of the Philadelphia light-infantry, 
under the command of tke senior captain, George Henry. When 

382 The Story of an Old Farm. 

the van of the American army reached the bridge which then 
spanned the Millstone in front of the residence of Christopher 
Hoagland, near Griggstown, British cavahy appeared in consider- 
able force on the opposite bank. Just then the condition of Wash- 
ington's men was such that he desired neither to pursue nor to 
be pursued, so, riding forward, he ordered Rodney to halt and 
break up the bridge. The captain recites that on this being done 
the enemy were forced to retire ; this would lead one to suppose 
that the river's depth at that time was much greater than now, as 
the present volume of water would hardly prove a bar to the pas- 
sage of mounted men. Commissaries were sent forward to notify 
the inhabitants of the coming of the troops, and to direct that food 
be prepared for their refreshment. It is said that this demand 
met with a fair response, and when the army at dusk reached 
Somerset Court-house — Millstone — where it encamped for the 
night, a considerable number of rations were in I'eadiness. 

Washington and some of his staff quartered at the residence 
of John Van Doren, just south of the village ; the house is still 
standing, as is the barn in which the general's horse was stabled. 
Mr. Van Doren's military guests were not always of so distin- 
guished a character. Some months later it was soldiers of the 
enemy that took possession of this old homestead. Upon their 
approach the men of the household thought it wise to disappear, 
but old Mrs. Van Doren pluckily stood her ground and defied 
the intruders. She refused to give up her keys or tell where 
the family treasures Avere secreted, whereupon the brutal sol- 
diers, after ransacking the house, hung her up by the heels in 
the cellar. After their departure she was released by her neigh- 
bors, but not until black in the face, and almost lifeless. 

During the night many laggards came into camp, and in the 
morning the column was again pushing northward, crossing the 
Raritan at Van Veghten's bridge, near the present Finderne 
railway station. Here, as Rodney states, Washington was again 
tempted to march on New Brunswick, but realizing that his 
troops must have repose he finally abandoned the project. Mov- 
ing up the river, at Tunison's tavern — now Fritt's — the army 
filed to the right and continued over the hills to Pluckamin, 
which, place was reached during the afternoon. The wounded 
were distributed in the houses of the village ; the Lutheran 

A Great Day for Pluck amin. 383 

church as a temporary prison received the captured men, while 
in the Matthew Lane house — now owned by John Fenner, Jr. — 
it is said that the thirteen captured officers were placed under 
guard. Poor Leslie was no longer a prisoner, his soul having 
taken flight while the wagon, in which he and other wounded 
men were carried, was descending the hill below Chamber's 
brook, at the outskirts of the village. The troops encamped on 
the bleak hillside just south of Pluckamin, the top of which, as 
Rodney writes, was covered with snow. Torn with the shock 
of conflict, weak from need of nourishment, and enfeebled by 
cold and exhaustion, this place of security, together with the 
prospect of rest, was most grateful to the little army. Commis- 
saries had been busy ; within a few hours the camp was pretty 
well supplied with provisions, and before the drums beat tattoo 
nearly one thousand men, who had been unable to keep up on 
the march, rejoined their commands. When the darkness of 
night closed aromid Pluckamin mountain, the ruddy glow of 
camp fires shone among the trees near the foot of its northern 
slope. The flames, flashing up, illumined groups of soldiers, 
stacks of arms, and tethered horses ; near by, baggage- wagons, 
caissons, and cannon were parked in military lines, while here 
and there the shadowy forms of sentinels could be distinguished. 
There is no such comfort as fullness and warmth after cold and 
hunger. It was not long before most of the tired men were full- 
length at the foot of the trees, forgetting the travail of a soldier's 
life in needful sleep. 

Sunday the fifth of January was a great day for Pluckamin. 
The news of Washington being in Bedminster had rapidly 
spread, and while it was yet early, on the roads and lanes lead- 
ing to the village numerous parties of country people could be 
seen, all hurrying to visit the soldiers and learn for themselves 
the latest news of the campaign. Throughout the entire day the 
place was astir with an animated multitude, and excitements of 
all kinds rided the hour. Squads of infantry and artillerjanen 
were everywhere. Farmers' wagons laden with provisions came 
rolling in from the neighborhood of Peapack, Lamington and the 
vaUey. Stern, brown-visaged officers, in heavy boots and tar- 
nished uniforms, were mounting here, dismounting there, and 
clattering through the streets in every direction. Foraging 

384 The Story of an Old Farm. 

parties were being dispatclied ; couriers and express messengers 
rode off in hot haste ; horses neighed, men shouted, and on all 
sides Avere hand-shakings and congratulations. The martial 
instinct of the people seemed alert ; eyes sparkled and all hearts 
beat quickly. Every little while brought new arrivals of coun- 
try people, and the details of the famous victory must be gone 
over again and again. Although the war was yet young the 
soldiers had plenty to tell of marches and comiter-marches, of 
camp life and bivouacs, of attacks, routs, wounds and hard- 
ships. And then the new-comers were carried off to the 
Lutheran church, which was surrounded by a cordon of sentinels. 
And through its doors and windows, what a brave show ! — two 
hundred and thirty British soldiers ; broad-shouldered, big- 
boned Scotchmen, stalwart grenadiers, and dragoons brilliant 
with color — caged lions, who looked with gloomy stares upon 
the inquisitive and rejoicing Americans, whom the experiences- 
of the past few days had taught them to better appreciate as 
soldiers and freemen. 

And so the day wore on ! Everywhere were motion and con- 
fusion. Eoff's tavern kept open table, and on its porch' conti- 
nental and militia officers of all grades mingled. It was cling- 
clang ! ding-clang! all that Sunday on the anvil of the, village 
forge, for from sunrise to the gloaming honest John Wortman 
and his brawny assistants were busy with hammer, sledge, and 
tongs, shoeing army horses and repairing army wagons. "Cap- 
tain Bullion," too — John Boylan, Pluckamin's first storekeeper — 
was robbed of his usual Sunday quiet, being obliged to expose 
his wares for the benefit of impatient soldiers and visitors. Sur- 
geons hurried from house to house, drums beat for guard-mount, 
subalterns marched reliefs to the different sentry-posts, and the 
din of war was in the very air. Amid the bustle and animation, 
in fancy, I can see Aaron Malick, clad in his Sunday breeches 
of blue cloth, his red waistcoat with flapping pockets showing 
from under an amply skirted coat adorned with metal buttons. 
He had come down from the "Old Stone House" with the hope 
of learning something of his boy John, but that poor lad was 
still in the grip of Provost Cuningham, and knew nothing of the 
happy close of a campaign which had commenced for him rather 
ingloriously. In after years Aaron often told of the aspect Plucka- 

The Burial of Captain Leslie. 385 

rain presented on those memorable days when it was occupied by 
the heroes of Trenton and Princeton. He especially delighted in 
reminiscences of the generals whose names grew gj'eater as the 
war progressed — of Greene, tall and vigorous, with the air of 
one born to command ; of Sullivan, alert and soldierly ; of Knox, 
whose broad, full face beamed with satisfaction ; but, above all, of 
the conspicuous figure of Washington, who seemed a king among 
men as he moved amid the throng, with high-born eye, lofty but 
courteous port, and a calm, strong face reflecting a mind full of 
the tranquillity of conscious power. Tradition mentions the 
Fenner house, before referred to as still standing, as having been 
the headquarters of the commander-in-chief. He spent much of 
the early part of this Sunday in preparing his report of the battle 
of Princeton, and of the movements of the army since crossing 
the Delaware. Upon the completion of the dispatch, Captain 
Henry was detailed to carry it at once to congress at Philadel- 
phia ; this left Captain Rodney, as next senior in rank, in com- 
mand of the light-infantry regiment. 

Visitors to Pluckamin on that eventfid Sunday were treated to 
an unexpected affair of ceremony. About midday a detachment 
of forty men from Rodney's regiment marched into the village, 
and drew up in line with its centre ojDposite the entrance to the 
building in which lay the dead body of Captain Leslie — proba- 
bly Eoff's tavern. The young British officer was about to be 
buried with the honors of war, the light-infantry being selected 
as escort because of their soldierly appearance and superior uni- 
form. The detachment was commanded by Captain Humphries, 
it having been turned over to him by Rodney, who had not con- 
sidered himself sufficiently familiar with the details of a burial 
ceremony. At the beat of muffled drum and wail of fife the 
men presented arms, as the corpse was borne from the house to 
the flank of the line. The escort then broke into column of 
fours, and, reversing arms, marched in slow time and with 
solemn step to the Lutheran churchyard, where they filed to the 
left, forming in line opposite an open grave which had been dug 
near the head of that of Johannes Moelich. 

There were wet eyes and true grief at that sepulchre, for 
Doctor Rush was not the only mourner present. Among the 
citizens and military clustering about the bier were the captured 

386 The Story of an Old Farm. 

British officers, whom Washington had generously permitted to 
be present in order that they might bid a final adieu to a com- 
rade in arms who had been much beloved. And then the solemn 
hush was broken by the deep voice of the chaplain, saying, " I 
am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord." As the 
simple service continued, the body of the young warrior slowly 
descended to its gravelly bed, the troops, meanwhile, resting their 
bent heads on the butts of their muskets, the muzzles being 
pressed to the ground. When the icy clods fell on the rude cof- 
fin the escort fired three volleys over the open grave, and then, 
shouldering arms, marched away, the drums and fifes striking up 
a lively tune on reaching the highway. The prisoners were 
returned to their quarters, the croAvd dispersed and again contri- 
buted to the village tumults, leaving Leslie to sleep in his remote 
and retired tomb until its deep silence shall be broken by a maj- 
estic reveilh, ushering in that eternal day which shall proclaim 
the full brotherhood of man, and in which such distinctions as 
friend and foe shall be no more, forever. 

Captain Rodney tells us that these high military honors were 
accorded because of the desire of the American army to pay 
" due respect to bravery, tho' in an enemy." Leslie's gallantry 
in action at Princeton had won the admiration of his opponents ; 
indeed, this may be said as of the entire 17th British regiment. In 
the height of the engagement, Washington, on witnessing the cour- 
age and discipline of this command, could not forbear exclaiming 
to his officers, " See how those noble fellows fight! Ah! gentle- 
men, when shall we be able to keep an army long enough 
together to display a discipline equal to our enemy's ?" The 
attention of Surgeon Benjamin Rush to the son of his friends in 
Scotland did not end with the funeral. He marked the grave 
with a brown headstone inscribed : — 

In memory of the Hon. Captain William Leslie of the 17th British Regiment, 
son of the Earl of Leven in Scotland. He fell .January 3d, 1777, aged 26 years, 
at the battle of Princeton. His friend Benjamin Rush M.D. of Philadelphia, 
caused this stone to be erected as a mark of his esteem for his worth, and respect 
for his noble family. 

This headstone stood for nearly sixty years before it suc- 
cumbed to the gnawing tooth of time. About the year 1835 
Professor John D. Ogilby of Rutgers college, when in Scotland, 

Doctor Benjamin Rush. 387 

was requested by the then Earl of Leven to find and, if neces- 
sary, re-mark the grave. Upon the professor's return to America 
he applied to the writer's father for information as to where the 
officer was buried. Together they visited Pluckamin and had 
the present stone set up, reproducing the original inscription. 

This soldier's grave is a connecting link between our quiet 
Somerset village and the busy life of one of the most gifted 
Americans of the last century. When Doctor Rush died at the 
age of sixty-eight, few men in the United States were better 
known, were held in higher esteem for genius and learning, or 
were more sincerely beloved for philanthropy and good works. 
When at Pluckamin with Washington's army he was thirty-one 
years old, his Princeton degree having been gained at the early 
age of fifteen. In person he was above middle stature, with a 
slender but well-proportioned figure. His combined features 
bespoke a strong and an active intellect, and though his whole 
demeanor was thoughful and grave, expressive blue eyes 
illumined a highly animated countenance. Doctor Rush was a 
man of wide and varied knowledge, with a talent for imparting 
it to others that was singularly felicitous. It is claimed that no 
one long remained in his presence without feeling conscious of 
an intellectual refreshment ; and a contemporaneous writer has 
recorded that ''his conversation was an attic repast, which, far 
from cloying, invigorated the appetite of those who partook of 
it." This distinguished surgeon must have left Pluckamin 
immediately after the burial of Captain Leslie, as on the follow- 
ing day he dated a letter from Bordentown, and on the same 
afternoon was summoned and went to Princeton to attend upon 
the dying General Mercer.^ Before the end of the month he had 
taken his seat in congress, which was then sitting at Baltimore. 
His figure soon became a familiar one to Somerset people, as in 
April he received the appointment of surgeon-general of the 
hospital in the middle department, and in July was made physi- 
cian-general of the army. 

Another interesting incident connected with the stay of the 
army at this time in Pluckamin, was the arrival in camp of the 
gallant Captain John Stryker's troop of Somerset horse, laden 
with spoils from the enemy. Cornwallis in his hurried march 
toward New Brunswick was so unfortunate as to disable a num- 

388 The Story of ax Old Farm. 

ber of his baggage-wagons. He left them at the side of the 
road in charge of a quartermaster with a guard of two hundred 
men. Captain Stryker, though having with him but twenty 
troopers, resolved upon the capture of these stores. In the dark- 
ness of night he distributed his small force in a circle, completely 
surrounding the camp. The guard were suddenly astounded by 
a volley of musket-shots and the whistling of bullets, while from 
under the black arches of the bordering trees came loud and 
repeated shouts, as if from a countless host. Demoralized by 
recent defeats the men incontinently fled, thinking that they had 
been attacked by a large force of the Americans. Their fright 
was not so much caused by the roar of musketry as by the 
imearthly veils of the lusty troopers which so suddenly broke the 
stillness of the night. Captain Stryker was not long in so repair- 
ing the wagons that they could be hauled to a place of safety ; 
he lost no time in making his way^ to Washington's camp with 
his treasures. The joy of the troops was unbounded when it was 
discovered that the wagons contaLned woollen clothing, of which 
the men stood in sore need. 

Early on the morning of the sixth of January, Pluckamin lost, 
as suddenly as it had gained, the distinction of being the head- 
quarters of Washington's army. Soon after sounding reveille 
the drums beat assembly, and the men were under arms. The 
different commands filed out of camp, and forming into column 
passed through the village, taking up their line of march north- 
ward. Our oft-quoted diarist has given us the formation. A 
small advance-guard led the way, followed by the-humbled Eng- 
lish officers ; then came the light-infantry regiment, swinging 
along in column of fours ; next, the prisoners, marching in a 
long thin line and flanked by Colonel tdward Hand's Pennsyl- 
vania riflemen. This young officer — he was then thirty-two — 
always presented a tine military appearance, as he had a splen- 
did figure and was considered one of the best horsemen in the 
army. He was an Irish surgeon who had settled in Pennsyl- 
vania in 1774. At the outset of the Revolution, abandoning his 
profession, he offered his services to the country. He served 
with credit during the war, attaining the rank of brigadier-gen- 
eral, and in later years was a member of congress and filled 
other honorable civic positions. After the riflemen rode 

Washington Marches Through Bernards. 389 

the doughty and intrepid Knox, sitting squarely on his horse, 
and followed by his artillery brigade as the yan of the main 
column. Distributed alongside the extended line were the 
mounted general and staff officers. 

Eested and refreshed, it was probably the most peaceful and 
satisfactor}^ march experienced by the continental army since 
leaving Hackensack, three months before, with Comwallis at their 
heels. We may presume that precautions to guard against 
surprise were not considered necessary ; it is not probable that 
squads of men were thrown out on the flanks, or that scouts and 
skirmishers ranged far in advance. Secure from pursuit, the 
little army in good heart trailed slowly along the narrow road, 
breaking in upon the country quiet with rattle of scabbard and 
snort of charger, with champ of bit and jingle of harness, with 
rumble of baggage and gun wagons, and the crunch on the frozen 
ground of thousands of marching feet. On reaching Peter 
Melick's farm at the '' Cross Roads," the advance turned to the 
right. Passing over the north branch of the Raritan river the 
army climbed the Bernards hills, awakening the echoes of their 
shaggy woods with the imaccustomed sound of drum and bugle. 
With frequent halts the column moved on through yealto■s^^l 
(Bernardsville) and New Vernon, until just before sunset it 
reached Morristown, where we, after having piloted Washington 
and his men in safety through Somerset county, may leave them 
to go into winter quarters. 



Washington's Army at Morristown in the Winter and Spring 
of 1777— The " Old Farm " on a Military Thoroughfare. 

In ringing up the curtain on the next act of our local drama, a 
scene is disclosed very different from any heretofore shown on 
these Bedminster boards. In life, as on the mimic stage, start- 
ling and unexpected changes are not only always in order but 
frequently come as unannounced surprises. And so it is with 
the era we have reached in telling the story of the " Old Farm." 
Its familiar environment of country quiet is transformed — its 
accessories are all of a different pattern. In the place of the fir 
tree and the myrtle have come the thorn and the bramble ; 
ploughshares and pruning-hooks have literally been beaten into 
swords and speai's. Though war and rumors of war had now 
long been rife, its alarms and incidents had not been a portion 
of the daily life of this agricultural communit}'. 

When Breeds' Hill trembled under its cannonade Bedminster 
repose was not disturbed, and when the battle of Long Island 
raged, the family in the ^' Old Stone House " was affected 
thereby only as it touched its members personally in their love 
of country, or in their anxiety for those engaged in the conflict. 
Even when the tide of combat, crossing the Hudson, rolled over 
the level plains of the Jerseys, and the American army, sullen 
and dispirited, fell back to the Delaware before an exultant 
enemy, Bedminster was too far distant to have the spell of war 
overturn its usual routine of existence. At times during the 
month of the year just gone its rural calm had been broken by 
military turmoil, as, for instance, when Sullivan came marching 
throug-h with Lee's division. But such occasions had not been 

Washington at the Old Stone House. 391 

many, nor for long, and the homesteads, fields, and folds had 
quickly relapsed to their accustomed quiet. Now, however, all 
this was to be changed, and the beat of drum and blare of trum- 
pet were to become familiar sounds. The " Old Farm " 
bordered a military thoroughfare, for in establishing the Ameri- 
can camp at Morristown for the winter other cantonments had 
been located in the south, east and west. There was constant 
going and coming between the different posts, and the highways 
and by ways .were alive with soldiers. Farmer-lads on their way 
to mill with sacks of corn athwart their horses' backs, rode cheek 
by jowl with spurred and booted troopers, and listened with 
open-eyed wonder to their warlike tales. The rattle of farm- 
wagons was supplemented by the heavy roll of artillery trains, 
and squads of infantry were met at every hand. 

At this time many a continental officer whose name now 
ornaments the pages of history dismounted at the " Old Stone 
House" for rest and refreshment, or for a draught from the deep 
well of its flanking dooryard, whose waters then as now had 
great repute, the wide country 'round. This dwelling lays no 
claim to the possession of a bed upon which Washington has 
slept ; exhibits no chair upon which he has sat ; or table at 
which he has dined ; but it is fair to presume that more than 
once its walls have reflected that august presence. As at that 
time this house ranked among the most important of the town- 
ship it is not probable that the commander-in-chief could always 
have passed it by. His papers and correspondence show him to 
have been that winter constantly on the road, visiting the differ- 
ent outposts and making the acquaintance of the country and 
people. We shall, therefore, not be charged with trespassing 
beyond the boundary line of possibility, when, in fancy, we see 
him giving a dignity and grandeur to the homely interior of the 
old house, as he stands, erect, serene, majestic, before the great 
fireplace in the living-room. He is questioning Aaron, perhaps, 
as to the character of some of the inhabitants thereabouts, or 
receiving at the hands of Charlotte a hospitable mug of cider or 
a cup of cream ; while the family and friends look with love and 
respect upon the illustrious man who has retrieved the honor of 
the country, and won the approbation and esteem of every grate- 
ful American. 

392 The Story ob^ an Old Farm. 

Washington had great fondness for horses. Having from boy- 
hood been at home in the saddle he presented when mounted a 
singularly graceful appearance. During the winter and spring 
of which we are now writing he was frequently seen trotting 
along the Bedminster highways, accompanied by members of 
his staff and a small guard. A chronicler thus describes his 
impressions, received a few years afterwards, on unexpectedly 
coming upon the general riding over the Somerset hills : — 

As I walked on, ascending a liill suddenly appeared a brilliant troop of 
cavaliers. The clear sky behind them equally relieved the dark blue uniforms, 
the buff facings and glittering military appendages. All were gallantly mounted 
— all were tall and graceful, but one towered above the rest. I doubted not an 
instant that I saw the beloved hero. * * * Although all my life used 
to the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, to gay and gallant 
Englishmen, the tartaned Scot, and the embroidered German of every mili- 
tary grade, I still think the old blue and buff of Washington and his aids, their 
cocked-hats worn sidelong, with the union cockade, their whole equipment, as 
seen at that moment, was the most martial of anything that I ever saw. 

And we may readily believe that the inhabitants looked with 
delight on these chance meetings Avith the commander-in-chief. 
Since the affairs of Trenton and Princeton his praises were in 
everyone's mouth and he was fully believed to have established a 
reputation for generalship miequalled in that age. As the years 
have gone by, this verdict has stood the test of time — not with 
Americans only, but with the w^orld at large. V<m Bulow the 
German, Botta the Italian, Walpole the Englishman, Guizot, 
the Frenchman, have all aided in building for him a temple of 

We may suppose that Aaron journeyed frequently to Morris- 
town during the winter ; visitors were made very welcome at the 
American camp, especially if they brought supplies. Farmers 
soon found that they had an excellent market near at home, and 
that commissaries were eager to pay fifteen cents for beef, forty- 
five cents for butter, and eight shillings for geese and turkeys. 
The main part of the army lay in the Lowantica, or Spring, 
valley, which stretches from Morristown toward Green Village. 
The camp was laid out on what have since been known as the 
Treadwell and Muchmore farms. The main street of this mili- 
tary village, which was about eighty feet wide and bordered 
with large officers' tents, occupied the slope just west of the 

The Country Jubilant. 393' 

dwelling of the late A. M. Treadwell. It was well graded and 
used as a parade-ground, a large liberty-tree being planted in 
its centre. On parallel streets, about forty feet wide, were the 
soldiers' huts built in blocks of four or five together, and, in 
addition, there were log store-houses and large cabins for the use- 
of sutlers and commissaries. Both officers and men were in 
splendid spirits, and the sentiments of all had undergone a mar- 
vellous change, an almost jubilant confidence having taken the 
place of the despondency of the close of the year. As Washing- 
ton wrote to Governor Cook, on the twentieth of January : — 

Our affairs here are in a very prosperous train. Within a montli past, in 
several engagements with the enemy, we liave killed, wounded, and taken pris- 
oners beween two and three thousand men. 

A week later he wrote in the same strain : — 

Our affairs at present are in a prosperous way. The country seems to enter- 
tain an idea of our superiority. Recruiting goes on well, and a belief prevails 
that the enemy are afraid of us. 

It was even so ! The pendulum of public opinion had 
swung to the other extremity of its arc. The people expected 
that the American army, small in numbers, poorly clad, badly 
fed, and with but little training, would prevail against Howe's 
well-appointed force of veteran soldiers. Strange as it may 
appear, this expectation was not altogether without realization. 
That at times the Americans did successfully cope with the 
enemy, and that, though often suffering privations hitherto almost 
unknown in the annals of warfare, they continued to harass the foe^ 
and ultimately triumphed, can largely be charged to the fact of 
superior generalship. In addition, the extent and variety of the 
country, with its inimical population and alert militia, made a 
British success barren of results. There always remained an 
army — though a ragged one — in the field. It was not like 
European fighting where often one great action woidd be decisive 
and end the war. As General Greene wrote at this time : — 

We cannot conquer the British force at once, but they cannot conquer us at all. 
The limits of the British government in America are their out-sentinels. 

Tolstoi claims that the real problem of the science of war is to 
ascertain and formulate the value of the spirit of the men, and 
their willingness and eagerness to fight. The Russian author is 

394 The Story of an Old Fakm. 

right. Could this always be done it would often be found that 
large armies, thorough equipment, and perfection of discipline do 
not always carry with them assurances of successful campaigns. 
Greater than these, greater than the genius of generals, is that 
element of personal spirit pervading the contending forces. Our 
own Revolutionary struggle is an excellent exemplification of 
this fact. The English soldiers had but little enthusiasm for the 
work they were called upon to do, — the subsidiary troops, none 
at all. The Americans, on the contrary, animated by a spirit 
that had the force of a religion, were ever ready and willing to 
meet the enemy — ever ready to dog their heels, harass their 
flanks, and fall upon their outposts. For liberty and their native 
land they were ever eager to fight in battalions or in small 
parties, as guerillas or as individuals. British soldiers, however 
well disciplined, were no match for American citizens who were 
fighting to avenge burned homes, ravaged families, and an 
invaded soil. 

Washington's headquarters in Morristown were at a tavern, 
which, together with the old court-house with its wooden cupola 
and shingled sides, faced the village-green, now an open com- 
mon. This tavern was kept by Jacob Arnold, who was well 
known as the commander of a troop of Morris light-horse. It 
occupied the present site of Marsh and Hoffman's large brick 
building. The original structure was removed in 1886 to Kim- 
ball avenue, where reconstructed and modernized it is still to be 
seen. At the outset of the war Morristown had but about two 
hundred and fifty inhabitants, and the most of its property was 
owned by the Johnes, Hathaway, Doughty, Ford and Condict 
families. Its two church edifices, Presbyterian and Baptist, on 
the arrival of the American army, were converted into hospitals, 
in which use they continued for about eighteen months. The 
Presbyterian congregation was forced to worship, even in the 
cold weather, in the open air, assembling in an orchard in the 
rear of the old parsonage on Morris street. It was in this his- 
toric grove that Washington partook of communion,- after being 
assured by parson Johnes that " Ours is not the Presbyterian 
table but the Lord's table, and we hence give the Lord's invita- 
tion to all his followers of whatever name." 

The commander-in-chief appointed the light-infantry to be his 

MoRHiSTOWN Camp in 1777. 395 

personal guard, reqairing twenty-six men to mount sentry around 
the Arnold tavern. That this guard might always be within a more 
convenient distance than was the general camp, the entire regi- 
ment was installed about one mile away, in the large Ford man- 
sion, now the well-known " Headquarters." General Greene quar- 
tered with a Mr. Hoffman, whom tradition mentions as a good- 
natured man, whose charming wife was a great lover of the clergy. 
It is said that Mrs. Hoffman was often perplexed with doubts and 
difficulties on religious questions raised by the general's aides, 
especially by the merry, restless, witty Major Blodget. Early 
in January Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Knox and other ladies joined 
their husbands in camp ; after that, the officers of the army knew 
many comforts and not a few pleasures. Visits were exchanged 
between hospitable, blazing hearthstones, merry sleighrides were 
enjoyed over the snow-covered Morris and Somerset hills, there 
were dinners at the different generals' quarters, little dances 
were frequent, and occasionally a subscription, ball — or assem- 
bly, as it was termed — was given. The latter affairs put 
the rural as well as the army society agog, invitations being 
extended in the neighborhood. These moi'e important dances 
were held in a large room over the commissary's store-house, 
which faced the square, and which after the war was converted 
into the Morris Hotel. 

There were occasions of sorrow in camp as well as of gladness. 
A few days after the army reached Morristown, Colonel Daniel 
Hitchcock of Rhode Island, who. had fought and marched under 
Washington from the outset, fell a victim to the fatigues and 
exposures of the campaign. This officer was a graduate of Yale 
college, and few gentlemen in the army excelled him in talents 
and ability. At Assunpink and Princeton he commanded a 
brigade of five regiments, and after the latter action Washing- 
ton warmly pressed the colonel's hand, while expressing his 
approbation of his conduct and of the behavior of his command. 
On the eleventh of January Colonel Jacob Ford, Jr. of Morris- 
town, who had commanded a regiment of New Jersey ^' State 
Troops," died of lung fever, the result of a severe cold con- 
tracted in the service. His command had been with the Ameri- 
can army in the retreat from the Hudson. On reaching New 
Brunswick Washington detached General Williamson with the 

396 The Story of an Old Farm. 

militia battalions of Colonels Thomas of Essex, Symmes of Sus- 
sex, and Ford of Morris, ordering them in the direction of the 
Short Hills and Morristown, to cover that portion of the country 
and to prevent, as far as possible, marauding bands of the enemy 
from harassing and plundering the inhabitants. Soon after this, 
General Williamson and Colonel Thomas retired from the army, 
whereupon on the twentieth of December Maxwell was dis- 
patched to Morristown to take command of the troops there. 
His orders directed him to harass the enemy, supply the com- 
mander-in-chief with information, and to do what he could to 
prevent the people from seeking British protection. His force 
was composed of the Sussex, Essex and Morris battalions, and the 
regiments of Colonels Clreaton, Bond and Porter, (about five 
hundred men), which, while marching through New Jersey under 
Gates, had been halted at Morristown. On the thirty-first of 
December Colonel Ford, while parading under Maxwell at the 
head of his command, was attacked by a sudden illness. He was 
borne off" by two soldiers and put to bed, from which he never 
arose. Colonels Hitchcock and Ford expired much lamented ; 
they were buried with military honors. Captain Rodney's light- 
infantry company acting as escort, for the same reason as had 
caused its selection for the funeral of Captain Leslie at Plucka- 
min. Jacob Ford, Sr., the father of the colonel, also died on the 
nineteenth of the same month. 

General and Mrs. Washington were much attached to each 
other, and, so far as was possible, avoided long separations. 
Greene, in writing at this time to his wife, says-: — 

Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Bland, from Virginia, are at camp, happy with their 
better halves. Mrs. Washington is extremely fond of the general, and he of her ; 
tliey are ha[>py in each other. 

It was the custom of the commander-in-chief to despatch an 
aide-de-camp each winter to escort his wife to headquarters.' 
Her arrival was a noted event, and her plain chariot, with neat 
postilions in scarlet and white liveries, was always welcomed with 
great joy by the army. After the war Mrs. Washington used 
to say that she nearly always had heard the first and last cannon- 
firing of each campaign. Mrs. Ellct, in her " Domestic History 
of the Revolution," states that on this, Mrs. Washington's first 
visit to New Jersey, she was met by her husband some distance 

Mrs. Washington at Morkistown Camp. 397 

from camp, probably at Pluckarain, he having come from Mor- 
ristown for that purpose. The lady at whose house the general 
awaited the arrival of his wife was much astonished, when the 
carriage stopped, at seeing a so plainly dressed woman descend. 
She at first thought her to be a servant, but the idea was soon 
dispelled by seeing Washington hasten to aid her in alighting, 
and by noticing the tenderness of his greeting. After satisfying 
himself as to her health and the comforts of the journey, his first 
inquiries were for the favorite horses he had left at Mount 

This was a time for ladies of monumental head-gear and exceed- 
ingly elaborate toilets ; but Mrs. Washington was very quiet in 
her tastes, and except on occasions of ceremony, always dressed 
with much plainness. In many respects the £rst lady of the 
laud afforded an excellent example to the women of America. 
Lossing depicts her at home. as looking after every detail of the 
household, going about with a bunch of housekeeper's keys 
depending from her waist, and personally directing her many 
servants. While at Morristown, one day a number of the ladies 
of the village called npon her. Considering the occasion one of 
great importance and wishing to create a favoi'able impression, 
they arrayed themselves in their best gowns. One of the ladies, 
in her old age, gave the Reverend Doctor Joseph F. Tuttle, Mor- 
ristowjo's historian, the following account of their visit : — 

We were dressed in our most elegant silks and ruffles and so were introduced 
to her ladyship. And don't you think we found her with a speckled homespun 
apron on, and engaged in knitting a stocking ! She received us very handsomely 
and then resumed her knitting. In the course of her conversation she said very 
kindly to us, while she made her needle fly, that American ladies should be pat- 
terns of industry to their countrywomen. * * * We must become indepen- 
dent of England by doing without those articles which we can make ourselves. 
Whilst our husbands and brothers are examples of patriotism we must be exam- 
ples of industry ! 

" I declare," said one of the visiting ladies afterwards, " I 
.never felt so rebuked and ashamed in all my Ufe." Mrs. Wash- 
ington used to entertain Mi's. Neilson, Mrs. Wilson, and other 
intimates of Morristown camp society with accounts of her home- 
life, and how there were always sixteen spinning-wheels going. 
She showed the ladies two morning dresses which had been made 
in her own house from ravellings of an old set of satin chair 

398 The Stouy of an Old Farm. 

covers. This material was carded, spun, and woven with cotton 
yarns, in alternate stripes of white cotton and crimson silk. 

Mrs. Neilson was the wife of Colonel John Neilson of the Mid- 
dlesex militia, one of the most active of New Jersey's sons of the 
Revolution. At the advent of the British he was driven from 
New Brunswick, his Burnet street residence being seized for 
the headquarters of General Howe. While her husband was 
serving with his regiment Mrs. Neilson spent the winter at Mor- 
ristown ; so highly was she considered at headquarters that she 
was always given a seat at the dinner-table next to that of Mrs. 
Washington. Mrs. Wilson was a yoimg and beautiful woman, 
the wife of Captain Robert Wilson of the New Jersey line who 
was wounded at Germantown, and who died at the early age of 
twenty-eight. Her father, Charles Stewart, of Landsdowne, near 
Clinton in Hunterdon county, was on Washington's staff. He 
had commanded the 1st Regiment of New Jersey minute-men, 
and in 1776 entered the family of the commander-in-chief as 
commissary-general of issues, which position he retained through- 
out the war. General Washington and his wife were warmly 
attached to General Stewart, and were often his guests at his 
spacious mansion at Landsdowne, on the banks of the south 
branch of the Raritan river. 

Life has many sides. Mrs. Washington must have appre- 
ciated this to the full, in the strong contrasts presented by her 
alternate experiences of quiet home life at Mount Vernon, with 
its comforts and luxuries, and of the excitements, discomforts and 
dangers incidental to camp life each winter. - She, however, 
always gladly braved the latter in order to enjoy her husband's 
society, and that she might aid him by counsel and consultation 
in the care of his distant estate. In the accounts which Wash- 
ington presented to the United States in July, 1783, and which 
comprehended his expenditures for eight years, the following 
entry appears : — 

To Mrs. Washington's travelling expenses in coming to and returning from my 
winter (jiiarters for act. rendered. The money to defray which being taken from 
my private purse, and brot with her from Virginia. £1064.10. 

The general doubted at first the propriety of making what 
appeared on its face to be a charge of a private natui*e ; but 
after consideration he decided that the claim w^s a just one, inas- 

American Successes Eakly in 1777. 399 

much as the exigency of public affairs had prevented his making 
an annual visit to Mount Vernon, which self-denial resulted in 
much personal loss. It is almost unnecessary to say that in con- 
gress no voice was raised against the payment of this item. 

The buoyancy of feeling pervading the community was much 
enhanced during the month of January by a series of military 
successes. Mention has already been made of Captain Stryker's 
troopers having captured valuable stores, after putting to flight 
a force of the enemy ten times their number. On the seventh of 
the month General Maxwell, with a considerable body of conti- 
nentals and militia, fell suddenly upon Elizabethtown, capturing 
fifty Waldeckers and forty Highlanders, and making a prize of a 
schooner loaded with baggage and blankets. About the same 
time a detachment surprised Spanktown — Rah way — driving out 
the enemy and securing a thousand bushels of salt. On the 
twentieth of January a foraging party of the enemy came out 
from New Brunswick to obtain flour from the mills on the Mill- 
stone. They were attacked with great spirit at what is known 
as Weston bridge by four hundred Jersey militia and fifty Penn- 
sylvania riflemen, who completely routed the enemy, killing and 
wounding a number, making nine prisoners, and securing forty 
wagons and nearly one hundred English draught-horses. The 
attacking party was led by General Philemon Dickinson, a zeal- 
ous officer who commanded all the New Jersey militia, and who 
during the war won for himself much renown. 

These many satisfactory enterprises, coming so soon after the 
affairs of Trenton and Princeton, still further increased public 
confidence. Washington deemed it expedient to take advantage 
of this prevailing sentiment by endeavoring to counteract the 
effect of the Howes's exemption proclamation. He consequently 
issued a counter one, directing all persons who held British pro- 
tection papers to deliver them at headquarters or some other 
designated point, and there take the oath of allegiance to the 
United States. Thirty days from the twenty-fifth of January 
were allowed in which to do this, and those failing to comply 
within that period were required to withdraw themselves and 
their families within the British lines. Probably it was at this 
time that Peter Melick experienced his second change of