In 2011, I began a series of articles on the history of Bull’s Island, Raven Rock, and Saxtonville. (For the original post, please visit “Raven Rock and the Saxtonville Tavern,” where you will learn something of how the name Raven Rock began to be used.) Recently three documents turned up to shed more light on this subject–a deed of 1722, and two survey maps, one of them made in 1819 showing the original proprietary tracts. It is time to return to Raven Rock for another look.
This is part two of a speech delivered on Nov. 16, 2014 for the Hunterdon County Tercentennial. You can find the first installment here.
I ended the last post with the statement that in 1704, John Reading had a tract of 1440 acres surveyed in the far northwestern corner of the Adlord Bowde purchase. It was an excellent location—superior agricultural soil and access to the river. At this point, the river runs east-west, so Reading’s house could face south as well as face the river, and he had an excellent view of traffic going both ways. He named it Mount Amwell, after his family’s ancestral home in England. Continue reading »
By Marfy Goodspeed in Amwell Township, Burlington County, Hopewell Township, Hunterdon County, Reading, West New Jersey 1 Comment Tags: Daniel Coxe, early legislation, early settlers, Indians, land titles, maps, politics, proprietors, roads, surveying
On November 16, I gave a speech about John Reading and the Creation of Hunterdon County. There was quite a lot of information in that speech, covering the years 1664 to 1718. In fact, it was probably a bit too much.
For example, the beginning of the speech covered the conquest of New Netherland by the English in 1664, the Third Anglo-Dutch War of 1672-74, the Quintipartite Deed of 1676, and John Reading’s settlement in Gloucester County in 1684; also Edward Byllinge and the early settlement of West New Jersey. Rather than rehash material that I have already written about, you can see a list of pertinent articles at the end of this one. They cover the settlement of West New Jersey, its political history, its infamous governor Daniel Coxe, and the early career of John Reading.
For the history of Hunterdon County, it is best to start with 1694. What follows is the first part of a somewhat amended version of the speech.
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.
Howell’s Tavern House and Ferry House
The dotted line in this picture is a survey line, drawn by Reading Howell in 1774, and as you can see, one of the lines goes right through the middle of the house, which is labeled “Ferry House.” Strangely enough, this house has long been known as the tavern house at Howell’s Ferry (Stockton) which I wrote about in “Jacob’s Path, an 1813 Shortcut.” So why was the tavern house called the Ferry House in 1774? And why did the surveyor run a line right through the middle? Therein lies a story.