RITTENHOUSE. The first to settle here was William Rittenhouse (1696-1767). He married Catharine Howell (c.1700-1778), the sister of Daniel Howell, and acquired land at Rosemont, adjacent on the east to the Mount Amwell plantation of John and Elizabeth Reading. The family was prolific and active in Hunterdon County life.
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.
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?
This is a continuation of my history of the ownership of the Rittenhouse Tavern. The previous article covered the period of time when members of the Rittenhouse family owned the tavern. The following article looks at the subsequent history, starting with James Wolverton and Mary Ann Sergeant in 1843, George Hoppock and Jane Elizabeth Wolverton in 1868 and Lambert B. Mathews and Lizzie Nixon in 1910, and ending with Frank W. Reading and Charlotte Venable in 1922.
The Rittenhouse Family in America has been studied at some length and genealogies have been published covering all branches in America. The earliest identified Rittenhouse was Wilhelm (1644-1708) who married Gertrude Pieters (1646-1708) in 1665 at Mulheim, Westphalia, Germany. This couple immigrated to Philadelphia shortly afterwards, where at least two children were born. Their son Garret or Gerard married Mary Shoemaker and had at least two children, one of whom was William, born in 1696, below.
The marvelous house on the northeast corner of the intersection at Rosemont (at Routes 519 and 604), once known as the Rittenhouse or Crosskeys Tavern, may be in search of a new owner in the near future. It is my sincere hope, and that of the current owners, that someone will take over who fully appreciates the historic value of the property. The sale has reminded me that I have not yet published Egbert T. Bush’s article on Crosskeys Tavern.
This is the story of an unusual school in the 1830s run by an eccentric visionary, who sadly failed to make a success of it.
After this article was published, some careful readers alerted me to a few errors which merit attention.
For three years John P. Rittenhouse owned my small farm in Delaware Township, although he never lived there. As I started to research his life I discovered that, among other things, he was a Hunterdon Co. Sheriff, managed a restaurant at the Union Hotel, and then ran the hotel in Ringoes. He had an interesting life.
In 1859 he sold my farm to Edmund Perry, a successful politician, but a failure as an investor. I published the beginning of Rittenhouse’s story in the previous post, ending with a situation in which Rittenhouse, acting as deputy sheriff, had to take possession of the very farm he had previously sold to his political ally, Edmund Perry, and sell it to the highest bidder. Awkward.