This is the story of an unusual school in the 1830s run by an eccentric visionary, who sadly failed to make a success of it.
Delaware Township in Hunterdon County, NJ is my hometown, and so, as you might expect, I know more about this town than any other that I write about. Prior to 1838, Delaware Township was a part of Amwell Township, created in 1708–which means that Amwell’s history is also very familiar to me. There is no end to the stories that can be written about this place, so expect many additions to this list in the coming years.
Ducks, A Vanished School, and The Dawn of the Space Age
“The ‘Oregon’ and Other Schools,” continued
With a name like Ducks’ Flat, you just know there must be a story there. But first, is it Duck’s Flat or Ducks’ Flat? I pitch for Ducks’, since it must have been a place where migrating ducks would gather. That’s the way Egbert T. Bush saw it. In his article “The ‘Oregon’ and Other Schools,” which I recently published in its entirety.1
This series of posts has been based on an article by Egbert T. Bush called “Sergeant’s Mills Once a Prosperous Place.” My previous post dealt with two of the four farms located in the Rosemont valley, on the north side of the road from Rittenhouse’s Tavern (Rosemont) to Skunk Town (Sergeantsville), otherwise known as Route 604. This post will describe the owner of the third farm, and include the rest of Mr. Bush’s article.
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Being part three in a four-part post about an article written by Egbert T. Bush titled “Sergeant’s Mills Once a Prosperous Place” and published in the Hunterdon County Democrat on January 16, 1930.
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.
For three years John P. Rittenhouse owned my small farm in Delaware Township, although he never lived there. As I started to research his life I discovered that, among other things, he was a Hunterdon Co. Sheriff, managed a restaurant at the Union Hotel, and then ran the hotel in Ringoes. He had an interesting life.
In 1859 he sold my farm to Edmund Perry, a successful politician, but a failure as an investor. I published the beginning of Rittenhouse’s story in the previous post, ending with a situation in which Rittenhouse, acting as deputy sheriff, had to take possession of the very farm he had previously sold to his political ally, Edmund Perry, and sell it to the highest bidder. Awkward.
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.
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.
This is an excerpt from an article by Egbert T. Bush, called “Brookville and Up the Hollow.” Most of that article focuses on the neighborhood of Brookville near Route 29. This excerpt involves an incident that took place closer to Sandy Ridge, so it seemed better to present this part on its own. The rest of the article will be published next month.