After this article was published, some careful readers alerted me to a few errors which merit attention.
In a recent post on the life of John P. Rittenhouse, I mentioned that his parents, Samuel & Hannah Rittenhouse, lived near the covered bridge in Delaware Township. This reminded me of the interesting article written by Egbert T. Bush about the history of the area around Sergeant’s Mill, The mill once stood just east of the bridge, on a tributary of the Wickecheoke. It was taken down in the 1930s, but before that happened, it was well-photographed, and the pictures were frequently used in postcards. Shown above is just one of the many views of the old mill.
In 1929, Egbert T. Bush wrote an article about the neighborhood of Brookville, a hamlet just south of Stockton, on the Delaware River. It seems appropriate to publish the article now because it discusses a neighborhood near the homes of John and Gershom Lambert, who’s farms were described in my previous posts (The Two Lambert Farms, Sen. Lambert’s Farm and The Gershom Lambert Farm). It also happens that Mr. Bush himself lived not far from Brookville; his farm was on Sandy Ridge Road close to Route 523, just north of Stockton.
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.
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
This is a continuation of the story by Egbert T. Bush of the “Biggest Log Ever Brought to Stockton,” in which he wrote about the owners of the Stockton Sawmill and the Stockton Spoke Works. These Hunterdon industrialists took risks to build their businesses, and sometimes failed badly. Here are two more examples of failure and success.
Giant Oak Caused Trouble Before It Arrived at the Mill.
A Big Event in the Town
by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, N.J.
published in the Hunterdon Co. Democrat, September 5, 1929
This is another in a series of articles by Egbert T. Bush on the subject of Hunterdon County trees. Whenever Mr. Bush writes about an event, there is always an interesting back story—often more than one. This article about Stockton takes us north to Kingwood and Alexandria, and south to Lambertville. There are a few people of particular importance: John Finney, William V. Case, Edward P. Conkling and his father Rev. Cornelius S. Conkling. The biographies of Finney and Case can be found at the end of Mr. Bush’s article. The Conklings will appear in a subsequent post.
In My Library: Owning New Jersey, Mapping New Jersey, Owning the Earth and New Jersey Linseed Oil Mills
by Joseph A. Grabas, published by The History Press, 2014
What a great name for a book. I’ve wanted to own this book for decades, even though it did not exist until now. Joseph Grabas is a well-known figure among New Jersey historians, for his ability to take what he has learned from his many years as a title searcher and turn it into fascinating New Jersey history. He’s done a beautiful job of showing how interrelated land ownership and politics can be, and how those systems have influenced New Jersey history right from its very beginning. It’s also a very readable book. It is easy to overlook how much we can learn from old records—records that seem to be dry and uninteresting, unless an inquiring mind like Mr. Grabas takes a close look at them. Then they reveal great human dramas, both comedic and tragic. This book has much to teach us.
Little Known of Mill That Existed Prior to John Prall’s
When the Canal Was Dug
by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, N.J.
published in the Hunterdon County Democrat, February 13, 1930
The paintings shown in this article were made in the mid 19th century
for John Parker Prall. The artist was Thomas Whitley, and the originals
can be found in the John Prall, Jr. house in Prallsville.
It is common to speak of John Prall Jr. as the builder of the first mill in this hamlet. But his titles date back to early 1792; and to some of us it seemed strange that a site so attractive with the Wickecheoke Creek rushing into the Delaware, with an established ferry close at hand, and with a solid community back of it should have been so long without a mill. While investigation has so far failed to reveal all that was hoped for, it has demonstrated that Prall was far from being first to carry on milling business here.
by Jonathan M. Hoppock
published in the Democrat-Advertiser, July 20, 1905
This article is a follow up to the one published in 1901 titled “Sergeant Mansion and Mill, 1745.” Some of the information in this article was taken directly from the earlier one. Perhaps Mr. Hoppock figured no one would remember what he had written before. I am publishing these articles on the website because there are errors and this is a good way to make note of them.