In my last post, I described a genealogical journey following my ancestors from my home in New Jersey through New York State into Michigan where I was born. That was the route taken by my grandfather’s ancestors. On the return trip home, I followed part of the journey taken by my grandmother’s ancestors.
A Genealogical Journey
Many descendants of the early settlers of old Amwell Township in Hunterdon County remained in Amwell. But many others chose to move on, always looking for new land to start afresh. Such is the case with my ancestors, who made the journey from Amwell to northwest New Jersey, then on into New York State, ending up in Michigan. Both grandparents on my father’s side came from families who made that journey, the Goodspeeds through New York State, and the Rankins through Ohio.
Because there has been some confusion about exactly where Sen. John Lambert lived, I have spent the past two articles determining that his farm was located on Seabrook Road and not on Lambertville-Headquarters Road, as some have thought. The confusion was caused by the fact that both farms were owned at one time by men named John Lambert and Gershom Lambert.
A continuation of the article on Sen. John Lambert’s home farm.
Having discovered which of two farms belonged to Sen. John Lambert, I realized how amazingly interconnected the Lambert family was. That will hold true even more so here in part two. However, I have not done all the research that could have been done before publishing this article. It was a question of when to stop.
There are two farms in southern Delaware Township that are particularly interesting. They were part of the old Dimsdale proprietary tract north of Lambertville until 1750, when John Lambert, a recent immigrant from Connecticut, purchased it.
Who really found the Delaware River boats in December 1776? the boats that Gen. Washington was supposed to rely on to carry his army across the river on Christmas Eve? For a long time I was certain it was David Johnes of Amwell, working with Daniel Bray and Jacob Gearhart. Now I’m not so sure. In fact, I now have serious doubts.
Taylor and Bray, continued.
This is the third in a series of articles about the founding of the town of Clinton in 1828. The two men who made this happen, Archibald S. Taylor and John W. Bray, Jr., came to grief in a fairly short time. The Town succeeded, but the founders failed miserably, and their original friendship turned into a deep hostility. This article focuses on what happened to them after Bray’s misdeeds were discovered.1
In my last post I wrote about how the town of Clinton came to be. The man who made it happen was John W. Bray, with the financial backing of his brother-in-law Archibald S. Taylor. Building lots were laid out and sold, merchants and residents moved in and a new town came to life. In 1832 The Newark Daily Advertiser referred to Clinton as “a flourishing manufacturing village.”
However, Bray took some shortcuts that had dire consequences for his financial backer, and for himself.
Clinton Began As a Speculative Venture
The history of the town of Clinton is a fascinating one. The borough has so much character and charm, but it had a rocky start.
The original owner of the land that became the town of Clinton was David McKinney, who built a grist mill on the South Branch of the Raritan sometime before 1763 on land purchased from Mahlon Kirkbride of Bucks County. But after falling into debt, he had to sell his property back to Kirkbride in 1770, who almost immediately sold it to one Mahlon Taylor of Lebanon Township. Taylor ran the mills during the Revolution, but he also ran into debt, and finally had to put the property up for sale in 1782. Daniel Hunt Esq. purchased the property that year, and built up the milling business enough to warrant calling the surrounding area Hunt’s Mills. He mortgaged the property to Robert Taylor in 1799,1 and was eventually forced to convey it to his sons Ralph Hunt and Daniel Hunt, Jr. in 1799 and 1803.2 By 1828 the Hunt family was forced to give up the property. It is the history of Clinton after that time, when it acquired its appearance as an early 19th century village, that I wish to write about.
Regrettably, most of the buildings lining the Main Street today do not date from its early layout in the 1820s. A large number of those buildings were destroyed in a terrible fire in 1892. Many of them were probably built in the popular Greek Revival style. But the layout remains the same. The men responsible for that were Archibald S. Taylor and John W. Bray. The story begins with Archibald’s father, Robert Taylor.3
While working on a history of the Sergeantsville Inn, I realized that this would be a good time to publish Egbert T. Bush’s article about the places that made Sergeantsville such an interesting little town. Mr. Bush did not have the advantage of adding photographs the way I do. These pictures come from the postcard collection of Paul Kurzenberger. (Note that Mr. Bush’s article is in italics; my comments are not.)