On June 11, 2009, I held my breath and pushed the “Publish” button for the first time; it was my first history blog. Since then, I have posted 152 articles, which seems incomprehensible to me. With the three-year anniversary approaching, I can’t help but ponder what this website has turned into, and what I want it to be in the future.1
Back in 2009, I began by writing about the Quaker George Fox, for reasons not entirely clear to me, except that I had always been curious about the several George Fox’s who lived near Rosemont in Hunterdon County, and wanted to find out how they were connected with the great preacher. Sure enough, there was a connection, and I found myself following that family down the generations, as long as they stayed in or near Delaware Township.
In August, 2009, I began writing about another mystery man, Samuel Green, one of my ancestors. He shows up in the records as one of the earliest settlers of my present home, Delaware Township, back when it was a part of Amwell Township. In pursuit of his story I become fascinated with the early history of the Province of West New Jersey, first settled by the English in 1677 (if you don’t count John Fenwick’s colony in Salem). I thought I would follow that history wherever it took me until Samuel Green should appear. There were a few fellow Green descendants giving me encouragement, but they must have lost faith once I allowed myself to wander off into other areas of interest. No doubt a good editor would have kept me on track.
My year-by-year study of West New Jersey was interrupted at the one-year anniversary of the blog, June 2010, when I began to write more about Delaware Township. This coincided with my switch from a Google Blog to my own website with my own design (thanks to Ivete Tecedor for making it happen). By then I knew I wanted to write not only about Samuel Green and the Province of West New Jersey, but also about Hunterdon County history and Delaware Township history. And I wanted to republish the many articles written by those who have studied these subjects long before I came along, adding my own bits of information in footnotes.
This range of subjects was an integral part of the new website design. I planned to move back and forth between all of them. But, by 2011 my emphasis turned to Delaware Township, and there is a reason for that. In 2013, the township will celebrate its 175th anniversary as a town. People began thinking about how to celebrate, and I naïvely volunteered to write a history.
Turns out, some people can write books2, and some people can’t. I fit into that latter category. I simply do not have the stamina or discipline to manage all the information I collect into a book-length publication. I keep finding that “the wider the circle of knowledge the greater the circumference of ignorance.”3 Or, in other words, the more you know, the more you know how much you don’t know, which leads to unending research.
So for the next year or so, my emphasis will continue on Delaware township, especially its origins. I have a chapter on the Lenapes that needs a little more work, and another on the first surveyors in the area. I plan to republish the series I wrote four years ago on how the legislature divided up the township of Amwell in 1838 and thereby created Delaware, Raritan and what is now East and West Amwell Townships, and I have something to say about the naming of Sergeantsville. There is the series to finish on Raven Rock, triggered by the plight of the old Saxtonville tavern, but there is also the intriguing story of Delaware Township’s own Sen. John Lambert, who voted against going to war in 1812. Then there is the touchy subject of “Copperheadism” in Locktown. I’m just scratching the surface here. The township’s history, like all matters historical, is a well that never runs dry. I hope I can let it go once in awhile and return to West New Jersey. And also, to Hunterdon County–2014 will be a big year for the County, which was created 300 years earlier, and deserves some special attention.
For me there is much to look forward to, and I hope for you too.
- At the end of last year, when I returned to blogging after a few months’ absence, I did a similar reassessment. Many of the same issues are still on my mind. ↩
- like my son, who has published 12 already ↩
- Colin Dexter, The Riddle of the Third Mile, pg 94. Dexter was paraphrasing a similar observation by Einstein. It boggles the mind to think of what Einstein knew he didn’t know. ↩