Recently I gave a talk at the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society on how to research the history of one’s house. While preparing for the talk, I decided to look over the history I did for my own house back in 1981. It was the first one I had ever done, and I hadn’t a clue about how to go about it. I found most of the owners of my home, but some of them were absentee owners, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. On reviewing my chain of title, I got curious about one of those absentee owners, and began to do some more serious research. It paid off with a pretty interesting story.
crime and punishment
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.
When writing about Pine Hill Cemetery recently, the name of John Lewis came up. This reminded me of a wonderful article written by Jonathan M. Hoppock back in 1905 about a mysterious character named Ticnor Lewis who lived not far from Pine Hill. It is one of Mr. Hoppock’s most colorful yarns, and one of his many stories of the early settlers in Amwell Township. This one is based entirely on folklore or family tradition. A bowl-full of salt is highly recommended.
Law Once Compelled Every Town
to Have a Drinking Place
How “Amwell” Originated
by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, NJ
published in the Hunterdon County Democrat, May 7, 1931
Sundry notes from old histories and other sources though jotted down in a haphazard way may serve to awaken thought or to throw light upon the ways of the past.
Whilst paging through the abstracts of the Hunterdon Republican by Bill Hartman, I came across this wonderful bit of news from the February 18, 1869 issue: