Recently I got a chance to look through Paul Kurzenberger’s postcard collection and found this gem:
It was too funny not to scan and save. As you see, the caption reads “Three of a kind, from Croton, N.J.” After my chuckles subsided, I began to wonder who in Croton sent this postcard, and who received it.
Henry H. Fisher, Esq.
Part one of this story was published last year in March 2015 (The Sergeantsville Inn). It was written too quickly, and now has been revised. In its original form, the article covered the time period from the original proprietary deed to the end of the 19th century. I’ve revised that first article with more information about the last of the Thatcher family to own the property, bringing us up to 1830.
Bill Hartman was one of those people whose loss is deeply felt by anyone who knew him, including me. I have not yet seen an obituary for him in the Hunterdon County Democrat, which seems odd considering how important he was to so many of us.
April Fool’s Day is a custom with a long history. Which makes it a dangerous day to move to a new home. And yet, that was the practice in Hunterdon County in the 19th century. Well, not always on that particular day, but close to it, as Egbert T. Bush attests. It seems that by winter’s end, everyone got restless and packed up their belongings to try living in another place.
I recently came across a very moving obituary for Egbert T. Bush, written by Frank Burd, probably sometime in the 1970s. Burd had known Mr. Bush since his youth and was a relative of his. He informs us that Mr. Bush had always had an interest in fruit culture, especially fruit trees, which he pursued more deliberately once he acquired his farm in Sandy Ridge, which he bought from Wesley Rockafellow in 1892.
There is a small church in Delaware Township with a very long history. It is known as the Amwell Church of the Brethren, sometimes called the Dunkard Church for its practice of adult baptism. It seems to be a sort of outlier, quite different from the major religious groups who first appeared in Hunterdon County. Those were Quaker, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican (Episcopalian), Lutheran, Methodist, German Calvinist, and Dutch Reformed. They all had congregations throughout the county and hundreds of worshippers. But the Brethren church didn’t even have a church building until 1811, and never grew to any great size, despite two spin-off churches. And yet, it has endured for 283 years. Although that is a long time, there are eight church in Hunterdon County that were founded before 1733. They are:
Camp Ground of the Glorious Old Continental Army in 1777
by Jonathan M. Hoppock
originally published in the Democrat-Advertiser, Oct. 10, 1901
From the photograph and from Hoppock’s description, it appears that this “campground” was located along Route 523 near Sand Brook.
In My Library: “All Roads Lead to Pittstown” by Stephanie B. Stevens
Better late than never. I’ve finally read Stephanie Stevens’ book All Roads Lead to Pittstown, published by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission. What a fascinating story she has to tell. I was dimly aware of Pittstown’s role in the Revolution, but what Stephanie has found adds enormously to our knowledge of the time. She managed to find references to Pittstown (specifically the mills of Moore Furman) in the letters of George Washington, the pension application of William Anderson, and the journal of James Parker, whose farm was located on Route 513 between Clinton and Pittstown.
Here are two versions of the history of the Amwell Church of the Brethren in Hunterdon County. The first was written by Jonathan M. Hoppock and published in the Democrat-Advertiser on October 17, 1901. Short and sweet. The second one, a little bit longer, was written by Egbert T. Bush and published in the Hunterdon County Democrat on March 26, 1931. Mr. Bush’s ‘history’ is truncated, and as he put it— “it is not the intent to give here anything more than the merest sketch of church history, an indispensable part in any sketch of the community.” He was always more interested in the members of a community than institutional histories, and so he spends more time on those who were buried in the three cemeteries associated with the church members.