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.
RAVEN ROCK, the village across from Bull’s Island, was known as Saxtonville in the early 19th century. I have collected its early history here, starting with the first survey by Richard Bull (hence, Bull’s Island). For a more complete history of this interesting place, read ‘Stories from Raven Rock, New Jersey,’ ed. by R. Curt Chinnici, History Press, 2012.
From a Reader
Barbara Ross recently sent me some very interesting information about the Raven Rock neighborhood. I thought it deserved its own post, so here it is.
Two Mysterious Structures Related to Bulls Island
by Barbara Ross, 8/12/2012
It has been noted that a ferry ran between Pennsylvania and New Jersey at a point near the southern tip of Bulls Island. Painter’s Ferry ceased operation in 1814 when the Centre Bridge was constructed, but a private quarry ferry may have been operated at that location for a much longer time, even after 1835 when the Lumberville-Bulls Island Bridge was opened. The construction of two canals (The Delaware Division canal on the Pennsylvania and the Delaware and Raritan on the New Jersey side), both in 1830-34, would have made ferry landings impossible, a situation that undoubtedly provided impetus for the bridge.Continue reading »
Saxtonville Tavern’s Last Chapter
The Saxtonville Tavern started business with the Delaware & Raritan Canal, declined after construction of the Belvidere-Delaware Railroad, and closed not long after the Civil War. For the tavern’s first chapter see this post. Continue reading »
Saxtonville Tavern’s First Innkeeper
And a Farewell to Nathaniel Saxton
Here is Egbert T. Bush’s description of the Saxtonville Tavern:
“This community was well supplied with taverns in the old days and somewhat later. Far up in old Saxtonville stands an interesting tavern house, with its four stone chimneys and low stone walls. It seems to be at least 150 years old, but has no date stone to prove its age. The builder is unknown, as are also the early keepers. It was no doubt built expressly for that purpose, everything about it seeming to spell tavern. This was evidently included among the Nathaniel Saxton properties. Bryan Rogan is known to have kept the old tavern 75 years ago. After him came one—Kiley, and then Austin Bray. Thomas McAlone bought the property later. It is now owned and occupied by his son Wallace W., teacher of the Sergeant’s School. No tavern has been kept here for about 60 years past.”1Continue reading »
The Last Chapter of the Saxtonville Mill
After John R. Hamilton disappeared, leaving James Major, Mindert Wilson and Geo. Holcombe with the mill lot on their hands, the State Bank at New Brunswick sued either James Major or Mindert Wilson (I’m still not sure which) in chancery court for the outstanding mortgage. The court ruled in the Bank’s favor, and issued a writ of fieri facias to seize the mill lot at Saxtonville “whereon Myndert Wilson formerly resided,” along with its appurtenances (dwelling house, grist mill and saw mills), and offer them for public sale. Sheriff John Cavanagh conducted the sale on March 17, 1820. John Bray Esq. bid on behalf of the bank, and the property was conveyed to the State Bank at New Brunswick on April 1, 1820 for $4000.1Continue reading »
Saxtonville Mill Entangled In Debt
Myndert Wilson, who purchased the mill lot from George Holcombe for an outrageous $13,000, was smart enough to hand it off a year later to someone else. On March 22, 1815, two months after the Battle of New Orleans, he sold it to James Major of Kingwood.1Continue reading »
This Delaware River ferry was located on the Pennsylvania side at the village of Lumberton in Solebury Township, which is easily confused with Lumberville, further north.1 On the New Jersey side, the ferry began at Johnson’s Tavern near the end of Federal Twist Road, about ¾ mile south of Bull’s Island.Continue reading »
Nattie Saxton Addendums
I have just gotten some information that I must add to previously published posts on Nathaniel Saxton of Raven Rock.
The first will be added to Saxton in Raven Rock, as it concerns a business endeavor of his that I was previously unaware of: wool-carding.
The second addendum will be made to Saxton’s Saxtonville, in which an earlier date is found for the use of the village name of Saxtonville–1811, and we learn that Saxton also ran the ferry just south of Saxtonville.
Both of these interesting items were provided by Betty Davis, daughter of Anton and Bertha Schuck, formerly of Raven Rock. Betty, like her mother, is a life-long student of the history of this area.
The Saxtonville Mill Changes Hands
The mill once owned by Mahlon Cooper and Robert Curry in Saxtonville became a hot potato during the War of 1812 and thereafter. It changed hands several times before Nicholas Baird acquired it in 1823.
Note: It has been awhile since I last wrote about life in Raven Rock. Here are the previous posts: Saxton in Raven Rock, Reading Howell’s Map, The Bull’s Island Bridge, and Saxton’s Saxtonville.Continue reading »
Delaware Township Post Offices
Imagine Delaware Township being served by eleven different post offices, nearly all of them located within the township boundaries. This was necessary in the days before “Rural Free Delivery.” Getting one’s mail involved traveling to the nearest village, and in the process getting up to date on local news from others who were also collecting their mail, and visiting stores and taverns while they were at it. It sounds rather appealing, as long as the weather is nice.
In this article, I have listed the post offices first in chronological order and then alphabetically with their postmasters. I am tempted to add more biographical details, but that would turn this post into a book. Stockton has been included only for the time that it was a part of Delaware Township. It did not become an independent borough until 1898.Continue reading »