I have written about Locktown’s tavern before—in my article on the life of Daniel Rittenhouse. At the time that I wrote it, I thought he had established the original tavern. That turns out to be not true.
LOCKTOWN was once a very busy place, with two churches, a school, a tavern, a creamery and grange, store and post office, as well as a blacksmith shop. Three Locktown roads intersect here: the Locktown-Sergeantsville Road, the Locktown-Kingwood Road, and the Locktown-Flemington Road. The earliest family to settle here was the Heath family.
(Hunterdon’s Militias, part 2)
My previous article (Hunterdon’s Militia) included mention of the Locktown Volunteers and their Captain, John Bellis, who happened to be “an ardent Republican” in a neighborhood of equally ardent Democrats or Copperheads.1 How Bellis managed to get along with his neighbors is an interesting question.
Hunterdon County, like all the other counties in New Jersey, had a state militia system in place since before the Revolution. Gen. Washington relied on these volunteers as he fought the British in New Jersey, and they did their part during the War of 1812. But after that, there was little need for them—not until the mid 1850s, when they began to reorganize.
Shortly after publishing last week’s article, the Heaths of Locktown, David Sherman sent me four very interesting documents from his collection of Heath & Sherman memorabilia. They shed new light on the lives of Edward M. Heath and his son Robert, as well as their friend Lester B. Sherman, and his wife Fayetta Reep’s family.
as seen through Benjamin H. Ellicott’s eyes
This post provides transcriptions of Benjamin H. Ellicott’s notes on the Civil War from March to December 1862. (I have kept Ellicott’s spelling, and inserted questions marks for words I can’t read.) For most of this time, Ellicott and his family were living in Locktown, New Jersey. Baltimore was their home, but they left it in 1861 after the attack on Fort Sumter. The family returned to Baltimore on September 24, 1862, and remained there until 1863, when they resettled in Hunterdon County.
During the Civil War, Republicans called Democrats who opposed the war “Copperheads,” likening them to poisonous snakes. Many of these “Copperheads” could be found in Northern States like New Jersey, and in Hunterdon County.
In his diary, Benjamin Ellicott made several references to his father-in-law, Elisha Warford. Warford is a legendary figure in the history of the Locktown-Croton vicinity, so it seems appropriate to publish Mr. Bush’s recollections of the man. He was a controversial figure, extremely wealthy, and extremely litigious. He never hesitated to take his debtors to court, as the papers in the Warford Collection at the Hunterdon County Historical Society will attest. Warford was a difficult personality that Mr. Bush managed to write about without casting aspersions. But then Egbert T. Bush was always a gentleman. As usual, I will take the liberty of making comments and annotations.
While processing the reams of archived material at the Hunterdon County Historical Society, archivist Donald Cornelius came upon a handwritten diary composed during the years of the Civil War. He was stunned and thrilled by what he found, a personal journal from a resident of Locktown written during those stressful years, 1861-1863. I am equally thrilled that he shared his find with me. Since the Civil War officially ended 150 years ago on April 9th, I would like to share with you the first pages of this fascinating document, written by Benjamin Harvey Ellicott.