After existing for 166 years, through the thick and thins of the American economy, the Hunterdon County National Bank that once was a mainstay on Flemington’s Main Street was taken over by a much bigger national bank in 1983. The HCNB had occupied its beautiful building for nearly that long, about 157 years.
READING. There is probably no family more important to the early history of Hunterdon County than this one, starting with John Reading Sr. and wife Elizabeth who first settled here about 1704-08. Their son, John Reading, Jr., served as acting Governor in 1757. John Sr. and Jr. were active surveyors throughout northwestern New Jersey.
My previous three articles concerned the history of the old Howell House on Worman Road, on the periphery of the Rosemont neighborhood. Today I move over to the southwest quadrant of the village, back to the part of Mount Amwell that John Reading kept for himself.
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?
Although this article concerns two more owners of the Rittenhouse Tavern, I am going to interrupt the story to relate the history of the Rosemont Store. The reason for that is that the next tavern house owner, Lambert B. Mathews, purchased the store before he bought the house.
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.
When writing about Pine Hill Cemetery recently, the name of John Lewis came up. This reminded me of a wonderful article written by Jonathan M. Hoppock back in 1905 about a mysterious character named Ticnor Lewis who lived not far from Pine Hill. It is one of Mr. Hoppock’s most colorful yarns, and one of his many stories of the early settlers in Amwell Township. This one is based entirely on folklore or family tradition. A bowl-full of salt is highly recommended.
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.