This post is published in conjunction with a recent article on Bowne Station, because in that article Mr. Bush recalled the Bosenbury family, and the trouble they had burying old Cornelius Bosenbury. In this article, Mr. Bush went looking for that cemetery.

A Visit to Some Forgotten Graves

Cornelius Bosenbury’s Resting Place
The Old Taylor Burying Ground
Ancient Van Dolah Homestead

by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, N.J.
published in the Hunterdon Co. Democrat, May 14, 1931

My last ride on the Flemington Railroad ended at Mt. Airy Station. Getting off there, I struck out on a mission long delayed. The reports of an old burying ground up in the wood northeast of that station, together with the peculiar request made by one who lies buried there, made it a spot of strange fascination. Months ago I determined to find out what that neglected spot could now reveal.

Detail of Map of the Railroads of New Jersey, 1876, by J. A. Anderson

Detail of Map of the Railroads of New Jersey, 1876, by J. A. Anderson

When Mr. Bush refers to his “last ride on the Flemington Railroad,” he means that literally. The line from Flemington to Lambertville was eliminated as of April 31, 1931.1 Note that Mt. Airy Station is a short distance south of Barber’s Station on this map, and that Barber’s Station was also known as Bowne Station. I am speculating that Mr. Bush, who was living in Stockton in 1930, took the train from Stockton to Lambertville, then got on the Flemington branch in order to get off at Mt. Airy. Unfortunately, although the Beers Atlas of 1873 shows us where Barber’s Station was, it is mute on the location of the Mt. Airy Station. And James P. Snell makes no mention of a station stop at Mt. Airy. It must have been at or very near the Sandy Ridge-Mt. Airy Road (or Queen Road in West Amwell). So let’s assume Mr. Bush got off the train and started walking up Sandy Ridge Mt. Airy Road. He was looking for a farm on the right side of the road, not far from the train tracks.

Detail of Beers Comstock Atlas of Hunterdon County, 1873

Detail of Beers Comstock Atlas of Hunterdon County, 1873

The Beers Atlas shows “E. Holcombe,” which would be ‘Lish Holcombe, located on the east side of the railroad tracks. Further along Sandy Ridge-Mt. Airy Road you can see “J. H. Hoppock,” which was once the Taylor farm, later David Wilson’s. From the Sandy Ridge-Mt. Airy Road, Mr. Bush walked northeast along the dividing line between the Taylor and Bosenbury farms.

The request, as stated in a much earlier article, was made by Cornelius Bosenbury, then the owner of what has long been known as the “Capt. ‘Lish Holcombe farm;” and was made of his friend and neighbor, David Wilson, then owner of the old “Taylor farm,” now owned by David W. Hoppock. And this was the appeal of Cornelius: “David, I expect to be buried up there in the woods, close to our line and under the big tree that stands on your side. I want shade. Won’t you promise me that the big tree shall not be cut down?”

Since Mr. Bush was not a contemporary of Cornelius Bosenbury, who died 100 years before this article was written, we can assume he is taking poetic license here. A short history of the David Wilson and Cornelius Bosenbury farms will follow.

The promise was given, was kept by Wilson, and was respected by later owners. But no such tree seemed to stand out, as that old monarch certainly should, if still there. There was nothing more definite than “close along the line.” So close along the line I kept—or tried to—after reaching it.

A Struggle With Briars

This trip proved to be no mere stroll or leisurely promenade. It was more like a struggle. Tangled briars and barbed wires resented the intrusion. A great tree that had long since fallen across my way, offered no greater welcome. At first it seemed that here might be the sacred spot and this the fallen shade. But nothing of interest was to be found here. After fighting obstructions about as much farther through briers and bushes, the seeker found several unmarked stones that told clearly enough why they were there. But where had the big tree stood? And where was the grave of Cornelius? After counting eight stones about which there could be no question of the meaning, I climbed or wriggled or stumbled—call it what you please—over the barbed wire fence, sticking, for a considerable time, much closer to it than was at all comfortable. The purpose was to take a look from the field side back along the line. Aha! There was a neat little stone about three feet from the fence, completely hidden from the view on the outward trail.

Bosenbury gravestone, photo by Bob Leith

Bosenbury gravestone, photo by Bob Leith

But—yes, sure enough. There was another as much like the first as well could be in case of undressed stones, standing in a line with the first and at the proper distance for another grave. These must be the resting places of Cornelius Bosenbury and his wife. But where had been the vanished shade? If some relic of that could be located, further proof would be superfluous. Careful investigation finally disclosed the remains of a large stump, now scarcely recognizable as such, about 12 feet to the westward of the nearer stone, in the Wilson field and close to the line. That settled the matter. Here for about a century have slept those old-time people, with only these rough stones and well-authenticated tradition to prevent their total obliteration from the memory of men. And by such uncertain means are many of our lives commemorated.

Recently I had a chance to view the location of this ancient burying ground with some members of the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society cemetery committee. We were given permission to approach it over a neighbor’s land, with the understanding that we would not step on the graveyard lot, which at present has no known owner. Since access to the lot is over private property, it is not publicly accessible. And the results of our visit were even more disappointing than Mr. Bush’s were, as there was only one very small stone to be seen, and we could not get close enough to exam it.

Standing in an open space near this interesting spot, looking over the farms owned a century and a half ago by the Wilsons, the Taylors, the Corles, the Holcombes and others; looking over the village of Mt. Airy to the Sourland hills, whose skyline seemed to clip the top from the church steeple, –I  could almost see the toiling pioneers struggling with their various activities, largely farming and “milling”, supplemented by the many trades indispensable to the life of those early days.

That view that Mr. Bush enjoyed is no longer available. Since 1931 trees have been allowed to grow, entirely obstructing the view toward the Sourlands. However, looking west toward the Taylor and Wilson farms is a lovely prospect.

The First Train of Cars

locomotiveThen, by jumping half way to the present, along Time’s slippery way, I could see the first train of cars winding slowly and cautiously over the newly-laid rails on its now rusty streak of steel. How the farmers and their neighbors of whatever calling, rejoiced to see the end of their transportation troubles! A railroad at their doors—how thrilling! We can hear the echo of tremendous cheering, as the train “rushed” past. And then, with another 75-year leap, to see the abandoned line, apparently an encumbrance rather than a convenience, throws a dark shadow over a delightful picture. Whether such things die of inanition, or of strangulation by the ruthless had of Big Business, there is inexpressible sadness connected with their demise.

We find that letters of administration on the estate of Cornelius Bosenbury were issued to John Hoppock Sept. 27, 1832. How long he had owned the farm is not found in our records.

According to the Will of Abraham Bosenback of Amwell, written on April 24, 1799, his “youngest son Cornelius” was to get a “plantation bounded by lands of Samuel Holcomb, Cornelius Hoppock, William Taylor and others.” Abraham Bosenback died some time before May 4, 1799, when his inventory was taken. So, Cornelius Bosenbury owned the farm in his own right for about 33 years, from 1799 until his death probably in September 1832.

The deed of Jacob Taylor and Susan, his wife, dated May 1, 1827, conveys the Taylor farm to David Wilson, and ends the Taylor tenure here, except for the many members of the family who had become part and parcel of the lands conveyed. The deed says: “A certain tract that William Taylor devised to his sons Jacob and Samuel, with the provision that if either should die without issue, his share should to the survivor.” It further says that Samuel did die without issue, leaving Jacob sole owner. The description has this: “Beginning at a stone in the road, corner to Cornelius Bosenbury’s land, thence . . . to the place of beginning, containing 110 acres of land, excepting 10 ½ perches, as now enclosed, with the necessary privilege for a burying ground.”2

Old Taylors Lie There

This is the old “Taylor Burying Ground,” of which much had been told, with few directions for finding it, chief among which was this: “It is somewhere back of the buildings.” Taking a diagonal course across the field as the evident direction of the buildings, invisible from the Bosenbury ground, I soon came in sight of the house; then a direct course between other fields disclosed a lane leading off to the right. That looked hopeful, though it was unexpected. Walking along its side, which appeared to grow high and higher as the lane had been worn and washed down, I soon found several stones standing on a knoll—to my mind one of the most delightful spots for an old-time burial place ever found on any of my searches.

Our group of cemetery visitors also went to look at the site of this neighboring family burying ground, and once again were disappointed that we could not walk over the ground and examine it carefully. The 10.5 perches set aside for the cemetery amounts to an impressive 3,000 square feet. The spot is set back from the farm fields, but is accessible to a lane that led to the old Taylor farmhouse, just as Mr. Bush describes.

Along the northerly side of the knoll, the lane has been cut to a depth of from 12 to 15 feet. To the eastward comes winding down from the old Barber farms, a fine little stream on its way to join the Alexauken Creek. To the southward, the descent is a pleasing bluff, leaving the field to the westward, as offering the only means of access by any vehicle not equipped for an aerial route. No “enclosure” is now found, nor does it appear that any is needed. Over twenty unmarked stones are found here, and one with this inscription: “I A N B 1756.” Who sleeps there is unknown and is likely to remain so.

The “B” in this inscription does not stand for a Bosenbury, since that family had its own burying ground. But it may stand for “Barnes,” since one of the earliest owners of the Taylor farm was Samuel Barnes, who was present in Amwell Township as early as 1719. He got a mortgage on what became the Taylor farm in 1737 for £16.3 Barnes sold the farm, amounting to 100 acres, to his son William in 1767.4 William conveyed it to his brother Robert Barnes in 1771, who in turn sold the farm, along with an extra 43 acres to William Taylor on August 7, 1773.5

Revolutionary Owners

The Taylors owned this farm during the Revolutionary days, and long after as we have seen above. How long they owned it before that time cannot be ascertained.6 The only marked stone does not indicate a person by that name, but it may mean one of the same family, many of whom are said to be resting there. It is quite likely that in and about the spot, are many graves that have no markers now, whether they ever did have any or not. In such neglected places, gravestones usually grow fewer as the years go by. Wherever cultivation is possible, the tendency is to keep crowding until most of the obstructions have been removed. But, to all appearances, this knoll has never been plowed. It does not seem likely that it ever will be cultivated, though there is no wild growth of briers and vines, such as is usually found. It is an exceptional spot, pleasing to the eye and quite well fortified by nature against the usual desecration of pioneer dust.

The Taylors are vouched for as the builders of the large stone dwelling which, after much more than a century of service, is still a substantial and attractive structure. It seems good for another 100 years—unless somebody should tear it down to be replaced by something “more up to date.”

The smaller section of the stone house was the part built and lived in by William Taylor and family. The larger stone addition was put on by David Wilson, probably about the time he came into possession, in 1827.

Fortunately, the current owners of the old Taylor-Wilson house have preserved it very carefully while adding functional additions to its side and rear. Today it is just as handsome a house as it was in William Taylor’s time, which ended with his death in 1807. His wife, Mary Swallow Taylor, lived until 1818. I assume the couple is buried in the Taylor Burying Ground.

William Taylor and Mary Swallow had two daughters: Catherine, born Sept. 2, 1778, who married Henry Van Dolah, and Mary, born about 1783, who married Daniel Wilson on June 24, 1809. It is easy to confuse this Daniel Wilson with the David Wilson who purchased the Taylor farm. They were two different people. Daniel Wilson was the son of Wm. Wilson & Sarah Van Dolah, and bought the farm bordering the Taylor farm on the northwest from Mahlon Taylor in 1817. Daniel and Mary Wilson sold it in 1820 to Caleb Moore.7 I do not know where they lived after that.

The David Wilson who bought William & Mary Taylor’s farm was the son of John Wilson and Jane Deremer, and was married to Susanna M. Hoppock, granddaughter of Sen. John Lambert. He and Daniel Wilson were first cousins.

The Old School Site

Leaving this old farm, the stroller, considerably the “worse for wear,” [especially considering that in 1931 Mr. Bush was 83 years old!] but enjoying the trip nevertheless, started for Dilts’ Corner, passing there the spot on which once stood the school-house that was the predecessor of the octagonal stone house built on the Van Dolah farm in 1822. The clump of lilacs set so long ago to beautify that spot, still stands by the roadside. Generations of man may come and pass, but there will stand [that] touchingly commemorative bunch of historic beauty, until some modern “improvement” decrees its doom.8

The Van Dolah house in the 1990s

The Van Dolah house in the 1990s

Then the stroll went past the Van Dolah school-house of today, on the site of the old octagonal and not so interesting but better suited to the purpose. Across one field from this stands the oldest farm house, so far as known, anywhere in this vicinity. How old any part of it is, cannot be stated definitely. The middle section, built of stone, was the house into which Hendrick Van Dolah and family moved in the year 1725—206 years ago, and the house still in use!9 The addition on the east was built by Garret Van Dolah, a grandson of Hendrick and great-grandfather of Cyrus, the present owner. The addition on the west was built by another Garret, a grandson of the earlier Garret and uncle to Cyrus, now the only living Van Dolah.

Biggest Sassafras Tree

From here, as you climb up the steep hill on your way to the church, you pass the spot on the right-hand side of the road where stood until 1921, the biggest sassafras tree that the writer has ever seen, and, there is good reason to believe, the biggest in the world. Early in the present century, a photograph of this tree was published in the State Gazette, accompanied by a sketch giving full particulars, challenging comparison and that it was the champion sassafras tree of the world.

This challenge was meant to meet a claim by the Atlanta Constitution, made on the authority of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and copied by the Gazette, that Atlanta had the largest tree of the kind in all the world. The Atlanta specimen, a vigorous looking tree, measured seven and a half feet in circumference; the Van Dolah tree, showing age and infirmity, measured ten and a half feet.

The big trunk was hollow; and somehow its barrel-like cavity was subject to spontaneous combustion, or fires of other origin. Anyhow, they charred its interior, weakening the shell and making the tree seem likely to fall of its own accord or from its own weakness. Yet it defied high winds, year after year, until it was finally taken down to prevent possible damage. No tree of the kind even approximating its girth was ever reported. Hence we may reasonably claim that, until the day of its enforced demise, this old Hunterdon County tree was the champion sassafras tree of the world.

I had hoped to find that photograph of the sassafras tree by searching online, but all I found was this item:

“Perhaps the largest sassafras tree in Hunterdon County stands by the roadside on the farm of Cyrus Van Dolan [sic], near Oak Dale, in Delaware Township. It measures ten feet in circumference a foot above the ground, and nine feet in circumference nine feet above. It is now hollow and has been burned to a mere shell, but is still alive and bravely battling for existence.”10

Mr. Bush continues:

The last stop on this round-about stroll was made at the home of George R. Bacorn, near Sandy Ridge Church, for a brief talk with Cyrus, the Sandy Ridge Encyclopedia of Local Events. He has been shut in by illness for several weeks; but he is still the genial Cyrus, glad to talk and overflowing with local lore.

Cyrus Van Dolah died a little over a month later, on June 29, 1931, at the age of 78. His wife Hannah Runkle had died July 11, 1910. They are both buried in the Barber Cemetery.

Although Mr. Bush did live for many years in the neighborhood of Sandy Ridge, he was living in Stockton by 1920, where he remained for the rest of his life. After his wife died, he was a boarder at the Stockton Hotel run by William P. Colligan. After marching through fields and struggling through woods and briars, and then walking two and a half miles from the Taylor farm to Sandy Ridge, I am hoping he found someone to drive him home to Stockton.

A Brief History of the Bosenbury Family

Of all the early Hunterdon County families, perhaps none suffers more from confusion over name spelling than the Bosenbury’s. Or Busenberry, Bosenback, Bosenberger, Bostenberg and any number of other variations. It appears that early clerks never bothered to ask how the name was spelled and just wrote what they heard.

The first of this family to live on the farm along the Alexauken Creek was Johannes Bosenbury, who was probably born around 1700 or 1710. His first appearance in the records is in 1741 when he was listed as “John Bostenberg,” one of the freeholders of Amwell who was eligible for jury duty. Being a freeholder meant that he was a property owner, but the earliest date we have for a land purchase is on February 11, 1748 when Johannes Bossenberg, weaver of Amwell, bought 143 acres from John Reading for £60.11 This was in exchange for a tract of 95 acres owned by Bosenbury, although the deed did not say where that was. But he probably owned the 95 acres in 1741 when he was named a freeholder.

I do not know when John/Johannes Bosenberg immigrated to America because his name does not appear on the naturalization lists I have seen. I also do not know his wife’s name, as she died before he wrote his will. He probably married her in the early 1740s, because his children were born from about 1744 to 1750.

When Johannes Bosenburg bought the 143 acres in 1748, it bordered the “Alias Hoking Brook a little above the King’s Road leading to Trenton.” That was/is the Sandy Ridge-Mt. Airy Road in Delaware Township and Queen Road in West Amwell. But Bosenburg had been making payments to John Reading ever since March 1747 “towards the Exchange of Land.”12 That same year, John Reading, acting as surveyor, ran a dividing line between Bosenberg’s farm and that of his neighbor, Robert Barnes, who later sold his farm to William Taylor.

In 1757, John Bosenberg got a letter from his brother Michael Bosenberg in London. The envelope read: “Letter translated by John Tillman and sent to John Busenbry in amwell by way of Mr Mur Fermen, merchant of Trenton.” That would be the famous merchant Moore Furman who was Quartermaster at Pittstown during the Revolution. The letter begins:

“God’s greeting, Dear brother, your letter of 5 feb 1756 I received, & I wrote immediately again in March, but received no answer; it makes me think he will not have received the letter. It is of my brothers son, of whom I wrote to you before. He came with the Hession troops as interpreter; the troops are going now away again, he is going now to America; he will call on him [?] when he can. . . . Its to myself I am well; but my wife is not so well, she is very feeble and therefrom things don’t go as well with me as formerly; I am now old & cannot work as I did in my younger days & managing goes hard. I have a letter from my brother in Borster Dorf [?]. I know [hope?] this letter find you in good health, it shall greatly rejoice me & remain your loving brother unto death [signed] Michael Bosenberger London April 2, 1757.”

Presumably this “he” and “him” is another brother to Michael, one unnamed, but possibly the one living in “Borster Dorf.” The son who was an interpreter with the Hessians was seeking to emigrate in 1756-57. At first glance, I thought this had to do with John Bosenberg of Amwell, but the dates do not fit. Especially because this future emigrant required a passport and evidence of his birth, which Michael Bosenberg sent to John of Amwell, stating that Johannes Bosenberg was born on February 8, 1725 at Sehlen, Hesse. No one born in Germany in 1725 could be considered a freeman in Amwell by 1741. So he must have been a nephew of John of Amwell, although why John of Amwell required the nephew’s birth certificate remains a mystery.13

It is curious that the two John Bosenbergs not only shared the same name, they were both weavers. The one in Germany was identified as a woolen-linen weaver. Another oddity showed up in the Amwell land records. A mortgage and a deed for property adjacent to the Bosenberg farm in 1768 and 1771 referred to the owner as Thomas Busenberger, not Johannes. This had to be a clerical error, as I have found no evidence for such a person living in Amwell at this time.14

In 1771, Johannes Busenberg bought the 155-acre Dawlis farm near Ringoes from William Dawlis. He purchase it for his son John Bosenberg, Jr.15 This land purchase was part of Bosenbury’s plan for his sons, Abraham and John, Jr. In the 1760s, the sons of John Bosenbury of Amwell both got married. The eldest son Abraham married Anney Vanhorn of Amwell, and younger son John Jr. married Christianna Acker, daughter of William Acker and Anna Dierdorf. The home plantation by the Alexauken was intended for son Abraham, and the Dawlis farm was meant for son John, Jr.

And that is how John Bosenbury Sr. wrote his will on October 5, 1773. He also made provisions for his two daughters. Daughter Cheretrout, wife of Jacob Race, was left £40 for her use and for the three children she had by her first husband, who was not named in the will, but was in fact Conrad Severs. To daughter Elizabeth, wife of Charles Eversell, he also left £40. John Bosenberg’s inventory was made on January 24, 1777, so his death probably took place at the end of 1776 or early 1777. The appraisers were his neighbors, John Barber and John Prall. But the will was not recorded until 1782; the delay might have been due to the stress of the Revolutionary War.

Son Abraham inherited the home farm, and in 1784 witnessed the will of his neighbor Robert Barnes, along with Joseph Higgins and John Hudnut. Abraham wrote his own will on April 24, 1799 in which he left to his youngest son Cornelius all that land bordered by Samuel Holcombe, Cornelius Hoppock and William Taylor. Executors were son Cornelius and friend John Covenhoven.

A Short History of the Taylor Farm

As mentioned above, Samuel Barnes came into possession of the farm at a very early date. The property began as 100 acres owned by the proprietor William Biddle, whose son William, Jr. sold it to Andrew Phillips in 1714, who sold it to Samuel Barnes, Gentleman, in 1719. Barnes served as deputy constable of Amwell Township in 1734, and was bordering the road from Howell’s ferry to the New Meetinghouse in Amwell (Sandy Ridge-Mt. Airy Road) in 1736. Like Johannes Bosenburg, Samuel Barnes appeared on the list of Amwell Township freemen in 1741. In late 1767, Samuel Barnes, Gentleman of Amwell, conveyed his 100 acres to William Barnes.16 After that he seems to have disappeared.

William Barnes was the right age to be the son of Samuel Barnes. He married Hannah Kitchen, daughter of Thomas Kitchen probably around 1750. In his will, written on October 29, 1757, Thomas Kitchen bequeathed to his daughter Hannah, wife of William Barns, £40, and to their children, which he named in the will, £15 each when of age. William Barnes had no need for his father’s plantation as he had his own farm further north on Route 579, up on the Croton Plateau, close to the farm of Thomas Kitchen. So he sold the Mt. Airy farm to his brother Robert in 1771.

But there was another parcel of 86 acres surveyed to Benjamin and Richard Lawrence of Monmouth County sometime before 1722 that was conveyed that year to (probably their brother-in-law) William Hartshorn of Monmouth County. In 1742, William Hartshorn sold the 86 acres to Hugh Hartshorn, who sold 43 acres out of the 86 to Robert Barnes in 1770. Barnes then added it to the 100 acres from William Barnes in 1771. In 1773, Robert Barnes sold 143 acres to William and Mary Taylor.

But Robert Barns had been living in Amwell years before acquiring the Samuel Barnes farm. In fact, he may have been living on the farm while Samuel Barnes owned it. In 1747, John Reading had drawn a dividing line between Robert Barnes and John Bossenburg, and the same year Barnes was named an overseer of roads in Amwell Township. In 1757, Robert Barns, yeoman, went into partnership with John Severns to purchase 42.25 acres on the “Ellishockin Brook” along with the grist mill and mill house on the property.17 This was in West Amwell, near the mill that was later owned by Samuel Holcombe.

An interesting item in the county court records is a suit by Robert Barnes in 1761 against Samuel Barnes for payment of services rendered during a period of eight years.18 Was Robert suing his father for non-payment of debts? Perhaps. More interesting, Samuel Barnes was identified as “yeoman, late of Hunterdon County.” If only it had said where Samuel Barnes had gone. More interesting yet, Samuel Barnes hired Robert Stockton to be his attorney; Robert Barnes was represented by Abraham Cottman. Referees were named and decided in favor of Samuel Barnes, yeoman late of Amwell. That was in May. By August 1762 when Samuel Barnes sold the 100 acres to William Barnes he was “Gentleman of Amwell.” Had he left Hunterdon to turn himself back into a Gentleman? (Remember, he was called a Gentleman in 1719.) There must be a story there.

On February 5, 1777, not long after Washington’s great successes at Trenton and Princeton, Robert Barnes of Amwell was at a public gathering where he drank to the health of King George and to the damnation of the Congress and of General Washington.19 He was not the only loyalist in New Jersey, but considering the good will won by Washington at the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, it is surprising that he would be so outspoken at that time. I am even more surprised that Robert Barnes does not show up in loyalist papers for Hunterdon Co. His animosity towards the Continental Army might have been caused by demands on him as a miller to provide the army with flour, which it desperately needed, especially in 1777.

Robert Barnes wrote his will on November 29, 1784. He was still living in Amwell then. It appears that he never married and had no children. He ordered first that a bond given to him by Joseph Meldrum should be paid. Then he left 7 shillings 6 pence to his niece Mary Taylor, daughter of William Taylor, and the same amount to her brother John Taylor. Since Robert Barnes was probably unmarried, and William Taylor was married to Mary Swallow, it is not clear how Barnes could be uncle to Wm. Taylor’s children. But in the 18th century, the terms niece and nephew were used far more loosely than they are today.

The residue of Barnes’ estate was left to Phebe Johnson, wife of Isaac Johnson of Amwell. I suspect that Robert Barnes was living with the Johnsons when he wrote his will. His executors were John Meldrum and William Abbott; witnesses were Joseph Higgins, John Hudnut and Abraham Bosenback. His inventory was appraised by Derrick Hoagland and Cornelius Hoppock.

Footnotes:

  1. Warren F. Lee, Down Along the Old Bel-Del, p. 202. Happily, the Black River and Western Railroad was created in the 1960s, and runs frequently from Flemington to Ringoes. Plans are underway to extend the line from Ringoes to Bowne Station, but help is needed to restore the track. If you’d like to donate, visit their website.
  2. Hunterdon Co. Deeds, Book 42 p. 311.
  3. Hunterdon Co. Loan Office 1737, Book B p. 30, NJ State Archives.
  4. H. C. Deeds Book 10 p. 283, recital.
  5.  The deed (Book 10 p. 283) contains a long recital going all the way back to William Biddle’s proprietary tract.
  6.  As mentioned above, William Taylor purchased his farm in 1773 from Robert Barnes. 1773 to 1827 gives us a tenure of 54 years for the Taylor family.
  7. H. C. Deeds, Book 28 p. 247; Book 31 p. 111.
  8. No doubt that has since happened. As for the walk, it is one mile from the Taylor-Wilson farm to Dilts Corner.
  9. Now, it’s 290 years ago!  The Henry Van Dolah who married Catherine Taylor was another grandson of the original Hendrick. Mr. Bush walked another mile to get from Dilts Corner to the Van Dolah house.
  10. The Daily Times (New Brunswick), Nov. 16, 1892, from Newspapers.com. I did not find anything in the Trenton papers, accessed through GenealogyBank. No doubt there is something to be found in the Hunterdon Democrat, but that paper has not yet been filmed. I did find the story about the Atlanta tree in The Trenton Evening Times, July 23, 1922.
  11. West Jersey Proprietors Deeds, Book GG p. 216, NJ State Archives. There is no other deed listed for John Bosenberg in “Colonial Conveyances.”
  12. John Reading’s Diary, ed. David Reading, 2005.
  13. This and other letters can be found at the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society in the Emley-Race Papers, Collection 26, box 8, folders 334 and 335.
  14. H. C. Mortgage Book 1 p. 75 and Deed Book 22 p. 20.
  15. This purchase is mentioned in A History of East Amwell, 1700-1800, by the Bicentennial Committee of East Amwell, 1976, p. 91, but no citation is given for the deed; perhaps it was in the recital of a later deed. The author states that the Dawlis farm was Bosenbury Sr.’s home, but that makes no sense if he already owned the Reading lot in 1747.
  16. Recital, H. C. Deed Book 10, p. 283. Unfortunately, no deed for this transaction was recorded.
  17. Recital H. C. Deed Book 45 p. 343.
  18. Minutes, Court of Common Pleas, Hunterdon County, Book 8 p. 502; Book 9 pp. 16-17, 38, 41-42, 57, 77, 80, 93, 135, 163.
  19.  “Rev & Col Rcds,” clipping in Barnes file, Deats Genealogical Files, Hunterdon Co. Historical Society. I have not been able to locate this record and must rely on the clipping.