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.

Sen. Lambert died in 1823, having failed to write a will. This meant that the Probate Court, otherwise known as the Orphans Court, had to distribute his real estate among his heirs. What was generally done was to order a public sale of the real estate, with the profits being divided among the heirs—a third to the widow and two-thirds to the children or their heirs.

The first owner after Lambert’s death was his grandson, William Lambert Hoppock, who, on April 1, 1826 purchased part of the property at a public sale held by the Commissioners named by the court to divide the real estate of John Lambert deceased. What Hoppock bought was a tract of 163.3 acres plus a 5-acre woodlot. This included the 111.66 acres set off for the widow, Hannah, in the original division, plus an additional 52 acres.1

Two more farms belonging to the Senator, a farm of 98 acres and another of 101 acres, were advertised for sale in the “Trenton True American” in November 1826. Both of these properties had “good stone dwelling houses” on them. They may have been inhabited by family members or tenants.2

William L. Hoppock, Esq.

Probably around 1790, Sen. Lambert’s daughter Amy (1769-1848) married George Hoppock (1763-1798), son of Cornelius Hoppock and Catherine Corle of Amwell. They had twin sons, John Lambert Hoppock and William Lambert Hoppock, born on July 6, 1792. Their middle names attest to the esteem in which Amy’s parents were held. Capt. John Lambert Hoppock was only 20 years old when he was killed at Plattsburg in the War of 1812 on April 27, 1813.

In 1790, George Hoppock was taxed on 100 acres,3 which most likely was one of Sen. John Lambert’s farms, and he was also running the tavern at Stockton.4 According to Egbert T. Bush (and Charles Boyer), George Hoppock ran the tavern there in 1791. But he died at the young age of 35 on December 13, 1798, and was buried in the Barber Cemetery. Because he was so young and died intestate, his death was most likely caused by an accident or a sudden fatal disease. Administrators of his estate were the widow, her father John Lambert, and George Hoppock’s father Cornelius.

Amy Lambert Hoppock, was left with three children, including their third child, Susannah, who was born on March 13, 1798. This Susannah was the granddaughter of Sen. Lambert who struck up a correspondence with him in 1807 when she was only 9 years old, while he was serving in the U. S. Congress. Fortunately, she saved all the letters that her grandfather wrote to her.5 Shortly after the War of 1812, she married David Wilson (son of Capt. John Wilson and Jane Deremer) and lived on a farm on Sandy Ridge-Mt. Airy Road near the present-day boundary of Delaware Township with West Amwell. They had no children.

The early death of George Hoppock may explain why son William remained at home rather than go to war with his brother John. About the same time that Susannah Hoppock married David Wilson, her brother William L. Hoppock married Jane Heed, who was born in 1794 to Abraham and Jane Heed. The Weed family had moved from Plumstead, Pennsylvania to Kingwood Township in 1791. But William L. Hoppock and wife Jane raised their family in Solebury, Bucks County. Their first daughter Achsah was born on December 4, 1818. They had seven children altogether, the youngest one, Jonathan, being born July 1831.

Jane Heed Hoppock died in 1834, only 39 years old. On November 4, 1837, Wm. L. Hoppock married second Hannah Liverton (1798-1871), widow of Zephaniah Curry (1799-1833). He was the son of John Curry and Eleanor Welsh, and grandson of Laughlin Curry and Margaret Barber. As it happens, Zephaniah Curry was a second cousin of Wm. L. Hoppock. He died about a year before his father John Curry died, and both were buried in the Barber Cemetery. Zephaniah Curry’s sister Phebe married Robert Dilts in 1826, after whom Dilts Corner was named.

As for the Liverton family, I have hardly any information. It appears that she was the sister of Catherine Liverton, who married Amos Chamberlin, and of Robert Liverton, who married Hester Lanning. Hester was the granddaughter of the Robert Lanning who partnered with John Lambert to run Coryell’s ferry in 1782.

View of Prallsville by Thomas Whitley

View of Prallsville by Thomas Whitley

Wm. L. Hoppock was living in Solebury Township in 1826 when he bought the Lambert farm and mortgaged the property to John Brown.6. This appears to have been his first real estate purchase in New Jersey. He was still in Solebury in 1833 when he bought the Prallsville mill property from the estate of John Prall (pictured above, with the mill off to the left). I believe he moved from Solebury to Prallsville at that time, which means that when he bought the Lambert farm in 1826 he initiated an extended period of time in which Sen. Lambert’s farm was occupied by tenants, a situation which did not benefit the house or the acreage very much. Tenants are generally not much interested in making improvements, a fact that is noticeable when comparing the Senator’s farm with that of his cousin Gershom Lambert on Lambertville-Headquarters Road, which I will write about next.

In 1833, Wm. L. Hoppock purchased two acres and a fishery near Prallsville from the estate of William Mitchell of Pennsylvania.7 That same year, Hoppock partnered with John S. Wilson (c.1810-1851) to buy the mill from the estate of John Prall, dec’d. Hoppock also purchased residual rights to the Prallsville property from Jacob Lambert. Jacob Lambert was the son of Sen. John Lambert’s brother Joseph. He ran the store at Prallsville in partnership with John Prall’s son, William L. Prall (until they went bankrupt in 1819), and was married to John Prall’s daughter Letitia.

Once again we have a family connection. John S. Wilson’s brother David was the David Wilson who married Susanna M. Hoppock, the sister of William L. Hoppock. And John S. Wilson was married to Elizabeth Lambert, daughter of Capt. John Lambert (nephew of Sen. John Lambert) and Polly Johnes, making her the granddaughter of Revolutionary War veteran David Johnes. John and Elizabeth Wilson were married on October 23, 1834.8

In 1833-34, construction on the feeder for the D&R Canal was in full swing, under the supervision of Ashbel Welch, whose wife Mary Seabrook was Hoppock’s first cousin. The impact of construction on the mill site must have been considerable, since the canal had to pass over the Wickecheoke Creek as it emptied into the Delaware River, and the milling operations were entirely dependent on the flow of the creek. The two men seem to have managed a successful outcome. In fact, since Welch married his wife in 1834, and since she was a daughter of James and Merriam Lambert Seabrook, chances are that Hoppock introduced Ashbel Welch to his future wife.

In the 1850 census for Delaware Township, taken a year before the Bel-Del Railroad was built along the canal towpath, Wm. L. Hoppock was prospering as a 57-year-old merchant with property worth $25,000. And he had a large household. Living with him were wife Hannah, 51, and three of his adult children from his first marriage: Caroline, age 26 (she married Maurice Wolverton later in 1850), Samuel C., 24, merchant, and William, 21, farmer. Also in the household were his son [John] Lambert Hoppock, 29, miller, wife Elizabeth, 22, and son Joseph, 1. And there was John C. Holcombe, 20, also a miller, and his wife Elizabeth, 22; and William Leffler, 24, blacksmith, his wife Josephine, 24, and son George, 1. This made for a total household of 13 persons. I doubt they were all living in the same house. They were probably living in other houses at Prallsville owned by Wm. L. Hoppock. Egbert T. Bush wrote that Hoppock owned several houses, including three at the spot known as “Dublin,” just north of Prallsville.9 Hoppock himself was no doubt living in the grand stone mansion built by John Prall, Jr.

In the 1860 census Wm. L. Hoppock was a 67-year-old merchant with real estate worth $18,000 and personal property worth $1,000. Wife Hannah was 61. Living with them were the Hoppocks’ grandson William H. Everitt, 13, and Jane Hann 19, servant. The Hoppocks’ son John L. Hoppock, 39, was also there with his family, wife Elizabeth K., 34, and children Joseph, 12; Ella, 8; and Samuel, 6. Hoppock’s miller, was his son John, assisted by a journeyman miller named Thatcher Dalrymple, age 24.

William H. Everitt, Hoppocks’ grandson, was the son of the Hoppocks’ daughter Achsah and Richard C. Everitt (1822-1866). Achsah Hoppock Everitt died in 1851, age 32, and the widower, Richard C. Everitt married second, on Sept. 20, 1853 in Doylestown, Anna G., daughter of Joel and Lydia Carver. They had three children of their own, which probably explains why Everitt’s son William moved in with his grandparents.

According to Egbert T. Bush,10 following the death of Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865, Wm. L. Hoppock put a sign under a picture of the president at the Prallsville Mill which read “Fallen But Enshrined.”

On March 23, 1866, William L. Hoppock, then age 74, and wife Hannah sold the Sen. Lambert farm to Thomas Seabrook of Philadelphia for $9,000.11 According to the deed, the bordering property owners were Robert Sharp, Furman Romine, Ezekiel Everitt,12 William Wilson, John Lambert, Gershom Lambert, the Prall tract, “Mason’s land,” and “Butterfoss’ land.”

Hoppock kept the mill property until nearly the end of his life. He sold it in 1872 for $40,000 to Lemuel O. Kessler, one year after the death of his wife Hannah, and one year before he wrote his will. He died on February 19, 1874, at the age of 81, and was buried with his wife Jane in the Barber Cemetery.13

The Seabrook Family

As mentioned above, the old Lambert farm was bought from Wm. L. Hoppock in 1866 by Thomas Seabrook (1817-1897) of Philadelphia when he was about 50 years old. (It was his grandson, William D. Seabrook, who was mentioned in my previous post.)

Thomas Seabrook was acquainted with Wm. L. Hoppock before making this purchase. In fact, they were half first cousins. Thomas was the fourth child of James Seabrook and Merriam Lambert, daughter of Sen. John Lambert and Hannah Little. James and Merriam were married in 1809, and living on John Lambert’s farm when it was sold to William L. Hoppock in 1826.

James Seabrook (1775-1852) was the son of Daniel Seabrook and Mary Little, and the grandson of John Little, Jr. and Mercy Longstreet of Monmouth County. This meant that his aunt was Hannah Little, the second wife of Sen. John Lambert.

When James Seabrook was born in 1775, his family was living in Portsmouth, Virginia. They had moved there from Monmouth County in 1767. Daniel Seabrook died there in 1784, and his wife Mary Little died about the same time. After the death of his parents, James Seabrook was brought up by his mother’s brother in Monmouth County (I’m guessing that was Maj. Thomas Little), but later returned to Virginia, where, in Richmond, he received his commission as Lieutenant in the Militia, in 1809, the same year that he married Merriam Lambert.

The couple married on March 23, 1809, and moved to New Brunswick, NJ. In 1813, they moved to Philadelphia, but after the War of 1812, they moved to Amwell Township for short time before moving back to Philadelphia. They returned to Amwell Township in April 1823, according to their daughter Elizabeth, probably about the time of Sen. Lambert’s death. Elizabeth Seabrook wrote that in 1823 James and Merriam Seabrook were living in a small house on Sen. Lambert’s farm, but soon afterwards moved to Lambertville, N J. She also wrote that she was born in Lambertville on April 30, 1824, so it is clear that James & Merriam Seabrook were not the tenants of Sen. Lambert’s Farm.14

When I’m having trouble figuring out where someone lived in the 19th century, I will sometimes resort to the strategy of examining who that person was listed next to in the census records. In both the 1830 and the 1840 Amwell census records, Thomas Thompson was listed next to James Seabrook. As it happens, Mr. Thompson’s daughter Martha was married in 1846 to David Watson, and the announcement in the Hunterdon County Democrat stated that Martha’s father Thomas was “of Lambertville.” So I suspect that Elizabeth’s recollections were correct.

When Sen. Lambert died in 1823, his inventory included two bonds against James Seabrook for $817.50. Seabrook bought two lots in Lambertville in 1826, at least one of them probably being where he kept his apothecary shop. In 1829 he was elected an Elder in the Lambertville Presbyterian Church.

In the Nov. 19, 1829 issue of the Hunterdon Gazette, James Seabrook advertised Swaim’s Panacea and Vermifuge for sale at $2 a bottle at his shop in the second house from the bridge in Lambertville. He advertised it again in the June 24, 1829 issue, from the same location, and again on Feb. 17, 1830 at his “Drug & Medicine Store,” but this time adding tailoring services as well. He advertised two more times in 1830. And again on April 25, and Dec. 12, 1832, and on Jan. 22 and May 14, 1834. In this last notice, he must have expanded his store because he was then “residing in Bridge Street, Lambertville, adjoining the Canal, and included along with Drugs and Apothecary items, “a constant supply of superior Paints, suitable for Coach Maker’s use etc.”

James Seabrook had advertisements in the Gazette, on and off, through the year 1846. He probably retired not long afterwards. In 1850, he was counted in the Lambertville census, age 73, born in Virginia, no occupation; living with wife Merriam 63, and daughter Elizabeth 24. Also living with them was Fanny Dilts 32, probably a servant. James Seabrook died on December 20, 1852 and was buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lambertville. (Oddly enough there was obituary for him in the Hunterdon newspapers.) His wife Merriam Lambert Seabrook died July 1, 1868, age 81, and was buried next to her husband. Their daughter Elizabeth never married; she lived until January 25, 1932, dying at age 107!

Thomas Seabrook

James and Merriam Lambert Seabrook had seven children. There was some mortality in the family—only four of them reached adulthood, and one of those, Ashbel, died at the age of 29, unmarried. In addition to daughter Elizabeth, who outlived them all, the other daughter was Mary Hannah Seabrook (1813-1874) who married Ashbel Welch, supervisor of the D&R Canal, in 1834.15

The Seabrooks’ son Thomas (1817-1897) was not only a grandchild of Sen. Lambert, he was also related to Sen. Lambert’s second wife Hannah Little, since his other grandfather, Daniel Seabrook, married Mary Little, Hannah’s sister, in 1759.

Perhaps under the influence of his brother-in-law Ashbel Welch, Thomas Seabrook became a civil engineer in Philadelphia. On December 2, 1842, Thomas Seabrook married Eveline Tingey Barber (c.1820-1854). Eveline was the daughter of Johnson and Rhoda Letty Barber, and granddaughter of Samuel Barber (1756-1847) and Nancy Hoppock (1762-1797). She was related to Wm. L. Hoppock by way of her grandmother Nancy who was the aunt of Wm. L. Hoppock. By 1850 Thomas and Eveline Seabrook were living in Wilkins, Alleghany Co., Pennsylvania.

After Eveline Seabrook’s death in 1854, Thomas Seabrook married second Sarah Lambert, born about 1826 to Zephaniah Lambert and Anna Wilson of Amwell. Zephaniah Lambert was the son of Jeremiah Lambert and Elizabeth Holcombe. This Jeremiah (1764-1844) was the son of John Lambert and Mary Carr, making him an uncle of Sen. John Lambert. Therefore, Zephaniah was Sen. Lambert’s first cousin. Anna Wilson was the third cousin of David Wilson who married Sen. Lambert’s granddaughter Susanna M. Hoppock. Zephaniah’s father Jeremiah Lambert is the same man who, after the death of Elizabeth Holcombe (daughter of Jacob Holcombe and Rachel Hyde), married Achsah Lanning, as mentioned above.

Thomas and Sarah Seabrook lived the rest of their lives in Philadelphia (he died in 1897), so the farm must have been leased to a tenant. Someone wrote that the house burned down while it was tenanted by William Anderson, but that must have been a different house, because the original is still standing. It will take much more research to figure out who was actually living in the house while the Hoppock and Seabrook families owned it. There must have been several families because between Wm. L. Hoppock and the Seabrooks, it had no resident owner for about 104 years, with the exception of 1900 (see below).

On May 15, 1871, Ashbel Welch and wife Mary H. Welch conveyed to Thomas Seabrook of Philadelphia for $204 a woodlot of 3 acres, formerly owned by Wm. L. Hoppock, bordering other land of Thomas Seabrook, which Welch had bought from the estate of Richard Rounsavel dec’d in 1865.16 This 3-acre lot remained with the farm well into the 20th century.

The next day, on May 16, 1871, Thomas Seabrook, Jr., son of Thomas Seabrook and Eveline (Effie) Barber, married Sophia Josephine Adams.17 I cannot say where Thomas and Sophia were living in 1860 and 1870 as Ancestry.com cannot locate them in the census records. They do appear in the 1880 census, when they were living in Bellwood, PA, and Thomas was employed as a civil engineer.

By 1900, Thomas Seabrook, Jr. and wife Sophia were living at Sen. Lambert’s farm. They were counted as residents of Delaware Township that year, Thomas age 52 (born November 1847 in New Jersey), employed as a farmer, and his wife of 29 years, Sophia J. (Josephine) Seabrook, age 50 (born June 1849, Pennsylvania). They had four children, but only son Thomas A. Seabrook, born November 1879 in Pennsylvania, was living with them in 1900, and working as a farm laborer.

In 1910, Thomas and Sophia Seabrook were living in Passaic, NJ. Thomas Seabrook, Jr. died there in 1929 at the age of 81. His wife survived him until 1936. They were both buried in the Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson.

At this point I am wandering into an area that I am not very informed about. In 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression, Thomas Seabrook, Jr.’s son, William D. Seabrook of Patterson, NJ, sued his brother, Thomas Seabrook iii, in Chancery Court. A notice to this effect was published in the Hunterdon Co. Democrat, Feb. 6, 1930. Apparently this was a dispute over ownership of the Lambert farm. The court ordered that the property consisting of 163.44 acres sold by Wm. L. Hoppock and wife to Thomas Seabrook in 1866, and a lot of 3 acres, sold by Ashbel and Mary Welch to Thomas Seabrook in 1871, should be sold at public auction. There was an odd statement at the end of the description of the 3-acre lot. It said

including the inchoate rights of dower of the complainant, Isabelle W. Seabrook, wife of the complainant, William D. Seabrook, and also of the complainant, Effie E. Seabrook, wife of the complainant, Thomas A. Seabrook, in the said premises.

This makes it sound as if the suit was against the estate of William and Thomas’ father, Thomas Seabrook. Why he was referred to as Thomas iii is a mystery.

The old Lambert farm was supposed to be offered for sale at public auction on February 4, 1930 at the courthouse in Flemington. Apparently the sale was delayed, either that or the date of recording was ten days later, when it was purchased by the complainant, William D. Seabrook for $2500.18 He had no intention of living there, as he immediately advertised it for sale at auction to be held on May 3, 1930.

Sale Notice for the Seabrook Farm, 1930

Sale Notice for the Seabrook Farm, 1930

As you can see from the picture, the farm consisted of a stone 8-room farmhouse with a slate roof, a large barn, also with a slate roof, a stone springhouse adjacent to the farm house (today converted to a porch), a cistern for both house and barn, and a small apple orchard. The house could be provided with electricity from N. J. Power & Light, as there was a line “thru rear of farm,” meaning that the house had no electricity in 1930.

The farm was sold to Katharine B. Hooven.19, wife of Rollin O. Hooven, who had purchased the other Lambert farm on Block 62 (Lambertville-Headquarters Road) back in 1922. Rollin O. Hooven died on Nov. 30, 1934. His widow Katharine held on to both farms until October 19, 1950, when she sold the Sen. Lambert farm on Seabrook Road to Frederick S. and Frances S. Cherry.20 The other farm, which is where she lived, was conveyed to her son James B. Hooven in 1954. That farm, on Block 62, will be discussed in a subsequent post.

The Cherry’s lived at the Seabrook farm from 1950 until 1967. By then, Frances Cherry had died. On June 7, 1967, Frederick Cherry, widower, sold 138.96 acres to Thomas G. and Lillian S. Kanach.21 He had previously sold 27 acres to Louis and Rose-Ann Kanach, which comes to 166 acres.22 These two lots were part of the property purchased by Frederick Cherry from Katharine Hooven.

Soon afterwards, on September 25, 1967, Thomas and Lillian Kanach, who were living in Hillsborough Township at the time, sold a lot of 8.06 acres to Bruce and Suzanne Palmer.23 This was the house lot, separated from the original farm. It is now identified as Block 60, lot 12.01. In all these deeds, the amount paid was indicated as $1. That was how things were done from the 1920s until the 1970s. The actual amount paid was not disclosed.

The Palmers lived in the Sen. Lambert house until the death of Suzanne Palmer. I expect they were the ones who restored the property after many years of neglect. On April 26, 2007, Bruce Palmer sold the house to its current owner, Frederick G. Van Orden.24

This story began as an effort to distinguish between two Lambert farms in old Amwell Township. Having located Sen. Lambert’s farm and given some of its history, I will next examine the history of the farm belonging to Sen. Lambert’s cousin Gershom Lambert on Lambertville-Headquarters Road. Despite having a less prestigious owner, it is today a more attractive property, which is not surprising considering all the many years that Sen. Lambert’s home belonged to absentee owners, even if they were members of his own family. Apparently the significance of the place escaped them.

Footnotes:

  1. H. C. Deed 40-327.
  2. Emporium & True American, Nov. 4, 1926, p. 3. The survey for the dower lot, shown on last week’s post, included an extra 294 acres between the dower lot and the Delaware River. That comes to a total of 305.66 acres. After deducting the 163.3 acres sold to Hoppock and the 199 acres of the other two lots, there remained 43.66 acres left to be sold. I have not yet located that property. Jonathan M. Hoppock wrote that the Senator’s farm comprised the Seabrook Road Farm plus farms later belonging to Edward Wilson, Mrs. Kate Arnett, John Lambert, and ex-Freeholder G. Prall Wilson, among others. This was found in an undated clipping in the DGF Lambert file.
  3. Amwell Township tax ratables for 1790.
  4. E. T. Bush, “When Stockton Was Not So Dry,” Dec. 5, 1929.
  5. They can be found at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. You can see some of those letters are at “Letters of John Lambert.
  6. H.C. Mortgage Book 11, p. 270.
  7. H. C. Deeds 55-005, 55-008; he got a mortgage for the purchase from Elijah Mitchell, H. C. Mortgages 14-253.
  8. Hunterdon Co. Marriages Book 3 p. 88.
  9.  Bush, “When Stockton Was Not So Dry.”
  10. From Milling Industry Goes Back of Year 1792. For more information on Prallsville’s history, click on the link found under Localities on the home page.
  11. H. C. Deed Book 134, p. 420.
  12. Richard C. Everitt was the son of Ezekiel and Sarah Everitt, but I doubt that Richard’s father was this particular Ezekiel.
  13. This is an incomplete history of Wm. L. Hoppock’s life; perhaps I will do him and his family more justice in a future article.
  14. I found these quotes many years ago, before I learned to be conscientious about my sources. I hope one day to relocate the source.
  15. Is it a coincidence that Merriam Lambert Seabrook’s son Ashbel, born 1819, had the same name as the husband of her daughter Mary Hannah? Ashbel Welch was born in 1809, so he was only ten years older that Ashbel Seabrook. One wonders. (Ashbel Welch’s father, Ashbel Welch Sr., never lived in New Jersey.)
  16. H. C. Deed Book 148 p. 786.
  17. Parents not known; she was born in Pennsylvania on June 20, 1849. Source of marriage date also not known.
  18. H. C. Deed Book 382, p. 495. The auction notice shown was shared with me by Fred Sisser.
  19. H. C. Deed Book 383, p. 283, dated May 6, 1930
  20. H. C. Deed Book 489, p. 447.
  21. H. C. Deed Book 710-710.
  22. H. C. Deed Book 707, p. 7, deed dated Jan. 12, 1967.
  23. H. C. Deed Book 713, p. 184.
  24. H. C. Deed Book 2182, p. 919.