HOWELL. The Howell family of Hunterdon County differs from the one encountered in the Trenton area. This family came from Gloucester County to Bucks County before Daniel Howell married Mary Else Reading about 1710, daughter of John and Elizabeth Reading.
The old house on Worman Road has been something of a mystery house for many years. Who built the house and when? These are the classic questions asked when starting work on a house history. In this case, finding the answer took some digging.
There is a Howell family that begins with David Howell (1657-1684) and wife Mary Herick. Their son Daniel Howell (c.1680-1732) and wife Mary Prout lived in Trenton and had nine children, none of whom seem to have established themselves in Hunterdon County, although I have not made certain of that. In any case, that family will not be included here.
Not long ago, Dennis Bertland inquired about an old house that might have been located on the William Rittenhouse tract that I recently wrote about (“The Rittenhouse Tavern.” Dennis’ inquiry can be found in the comments section.) It is located in a blank space on the Hammond Map between the Wickecheoke Creek and Shoppons Run. Who did that space belong to?
A Genealogical Journey
Many descendants of the early settlers of old Amwell Township in Hunterdon County remained in Amwell. But many others chose to move on, always looking for new land to start afresh. Such is the case with my ancestors, who made the journey from Amwell to northwest New Jersey, then on into New York State, ending up in Michigan. Both grandparents on my father’s side came from families who made that journey, the Goodspeeds through New York State, and the Rankins through Ohio.
Several years ago (in 2007), me and my cemetery buddies (pardon the grammar) visited the mysterious and lovely Rittenhouse Cemetery overlooking the old Prallsville quarry. I have wanted to write about this place for some time, but put it off because of concern that by making it known it would be more vulnerable to vandals. It appears that my restraint did not make much difference. Bob Leith visited recently and found one of the stones with graffiti and another one with a shotgun blast to its face. So, there is not much point in secrecy anymore. But there is another reason why I am inspired to write about the cemetery now. It has to do with the oldest stone there.
In the last post, I described the recital in a deed of 1815. It began with the sale in 1727 of 147 acres in Amwell Township by Joseph Howell to John Wright. But how did Joseph Howell get the property? That was not explained, but I assumed it had to come from John Reading, who had the tract surveyed for him in 1715, as shown on the Hammond Map of Hunterdon County.
Howell’s Tavern House and Ferry House
The dotted line in this picture is a survey line, drawn by Reading Howell in 1774, and as you can see, one of the lines goes right through the middle of the house, which is labeled “Ferry House.” Strangely enough, this house has long been known as the tavern house at Howell’s Ferry (Stockton) which I wrote about in “Jacob’s Path, an 1813 Shortcut.” So why was the tavern house called the Ferry House in 1774? And why did the surveyor run a line right through the middle? Therein lies a story.