The original version of this post, published on March 14, 2015, has been significantly revised because of new information I have received. Most of these revisions concern Jonas Thatcher, Jr. Consider this Chapter One of the History of the Sergeantsville Inn.
SERGEANTSVILLE is located in the heart of Delaware Township, and serves as its de facto capital. The tavern of former years is now the township municipal building. Except for Perth Amboy’s municipal building, Delaware Township’s is the longest continually used building for municipal government. Being located at the intersection of county routes 523 and 604, it is still a fairly busy place, but nothing like it was in the 19th century, when farmers would come to town to shop and collect their mail.
by J. M. Hoppock, March 24, 1904
published in the Democrat-Advertiser
This is an obituary, for Rev. Joshua Primmer, who died on March 18, 1904. I wrote about Rev. Primmer in May 2014, in my article “From Primmer to Pauch.” At that time, I had forgotten my intention to eventually publish all of J. M. Hoppock’s articles with annotations. So today I am making up for that oversight. If you check the very end of the page “Index of Articles,” you will see a complete list of those articles, separated into those that have been published here, and those as yet unpublished.
It is odd that Mr. Hoppock consistently wrote the name as “Primer.” I wonder if he pronounced the name that way. Apparently that is the way his grandfather wrote it, but it is not the way Rev. Primmer wrote it.
On Saturday, June 15th, a large group of people gathered to follow Dennis Bertland on his walking tour of Sergeantsville. It was fascinating and fun. Dennis showed us how the village evolved from its earliest days. And it was great to see so many people with memories of old Sergeantsville. Towards the end of the tour the subject of Skunktown came up. Sue Lockwood told a story about its origin (there are several versions; see What’s In A Name). She said the name came from the fact that there was once a tanner here who sold skunk pelts. I’ve heard that before, but this time I got to thinking. Continue reading »
“Skunktown – How the Name Came About”
We have often been asked how the thriving and pleasant town of Sergeantsville had acquired the nickname of “Skunktown.” We ran across Dr. Cramer last Tuesday night, and what he doesn’t know about Sergeantsville and Delaware township isn’t worth knowing. He promptly gave us the information desired. He said that away back in the early part of the century the proprietor of the hotel in that town secured a new sign-post. The erection of such a stick was made an occasion of great interest in those days. A hole was dug one afternoon large enough to bury a house and barn in, and then the workmen retired for the night. Next morning when the neighborhood had gathered to assist in planting the post it was discovered that three or four skunks had taken possession of the hole, as if they had decided upon it for winter quarters. From that day the town of Sergeantsville has been dubbed “Skunktown.” Unfortunately, the Doctor could not tell whether the “varmints” were buried with the post, or persuaded to leave peaceably with their cologne sacks.1 Continue reading »
In this article, Mr. Bush begins with a discussion of the Caleb Farley farm in Headquarters, but strays from the subject of his headline to also discuss a farm just west of Sergeantsville, once owned by the Larew family. Continue reading »
By Marfy Goodspeed in Bowne Station, Croton, Delaware Township, Dilts Corner, Headquarters, Locktown, Prallsville, Raven Rock-Saxtonville, Rosemont, Sandbrook, Sergeantsville, Stockton 8 Comments Tags: Bull's Island, 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 »
By Marfy Goodspeed in Barber, Bowne Station, Croton, Delaware Township, Dilts Corner, Headquarters, Locktown, Raven Rock-Saxtonville, Rosemont, Sandbrook, Sergeantsville 11 Comments Tags: Bull's Island, early occupations
19th Century Villages in Delaware Township
This is another long post; it is the rest of a talk I gave in 1997 on Delaware Township villages (part one can be read here). Part two focuses on the villages in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There is far more to say about them, which I will attempt to do in future posts. Currently I have been researching the history of Raven Rock, which you can read about here and here. Continue reading »
By Marfy Goodspeed in Delaware Township, Families, Headquarters, Howell, Kitchen, Lambert, Lambertville, Opdycke, Prallsville, Rosemont, Sandbrook, Sergeant, Sergeantsville, Stockton 5 Comments Tags: early occupations, early settlers, Indians, land titles, mills, post offices, roads, stores
The following is an update of a speech I delivered at the Locktown Stone Church in May 1997. I thought it would be a good idea to archive the speech here on my website, especially since it makes a nice short history of Delaware Township. When I gave the speech, I had two large maps showing locations of mills, taverns, ferries, the oldest roads. One map showed the 18th century version of Delaware Township, and one showed the 19th century version. Whatever happened to those maps? If I find them, I’ll turn them over to Marilyn Cummings who has been working hard on just such a map project, one that can be seen on Google Earth. Continue reading »
I intend to publish the articles written by J. M. Hoppock, with commentary in footnotes, but thought it wise to begin with his obituary, so that readers can get an idea of who he was. The obituary itself is a marvel, redolent of the turn of the 20th century in its phrasing and perspective. Continue reading »
Although I have not yet followed through on my intention to post my previously published cemetery articles here on my website, I am initiating yet another project—a study of the taverns of Delaware Township. The Delaware Township Historical Society is anxious to map these institutions, so it is time to begin an inventory. Continue reading »