Recently I gave a talk at the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society on how to research the history of one’s house. While preparing for the talk, I decided to look over the history I did for my own house back in 1981. It was the first one I had ever done, and I hadn’t a clue about how to go about it. I found most of the owners of my home, but some of them were absentee owners, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. On reviewing my chain of title, I got curious about one of those absentee owners, and began to do some more serious research. It paid off with a pretty interesting story.
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 following is the keynote speech I delivered on September 19, 2015 for the 2nd Annual Cemetery Seminar, sponsored by the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society and others. It is somewhat modified to make it more readable, less like a speech.
There is an odd sort of road in Delaware Township, running south from Sergeantsville, that I have often wondered about. It is called Rittenhouse Road, and for much of its length, it runs straight as an arrow, then suddenly does a zigzag before ending at Sandy Ridge Road.
Quite often the very straight roads in Hunterdon County were created as a result of the early, large proprietary tracts that forced roads to run along their borders. But that is not the case here. This road ran through the middle of Daniel Robins’ 700+ acres, surveyed in 1722.
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.
Back in February, I published an article on the cemetery connected with the Locktown Baptist church. Previously I have written about the Baptist congregation here as well as the Locktown Christian Church and its Cemetery. It seems appropriate now to include Mr. Bush’s own history of this neighborhood, which was published in the Hunterdon Democrat, on May 22, 1930. Along with the churches, Mr. Bush discusses the school house, the distillery and the Locktown Hotel, which began its life as a humble tavern, and also some of the old families, like the Chamberlins, Heaths, Lairs, Rittenhouses, Smiths and Suttons. Photographs in this article were provided by Paul Kurzenberger.
By Marfy Goodspeed in Bonham, Bray, Dalrymple, Delaware Township, Families, Kingwood Township, Lair, Locktown, Myers, Opdycke, Rittenhouse, Sutton, Williamson 8 Comments Tags: cemeteries, early settlers
There has been a Baptist Church in Locktown since the early 19th century, and a cemetery associated with it. The church and the cemetery were located on land belonging to Daniel Rittenhouse, whose home was a short distance west of Locktown on the Kingwood-Locktown Road. Most of the names in this cemetery are of families that lived nearby in Kingwood and Delaware Townships, many of them descendants of original German immigrants. Many of the original stones are now missing, even ones that were inventoried in the 1940s. Old cemeteries are hard to preserve.
Ducks’ Flat School, Crossroads School and Their Teachers
Testing a Greeny’s Nerve
by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton. N. J.
published in the Hunterdon Co. Democrat, December 18, 1930
This article by Mr. Bush is a perfect complement to a recent blog post, “Amos Romine’s Beloved Farm.” It is one of my favorite Bush articles. Because there is so much to say about the people he mentions, I will refrain from interrupting him and leave my comments for the end.
As a follow-up to my recent article on the history of the Locktown Christian Church, here is a list of the people known to be buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church.
A visit to this interesting cemetery will quickly reveal that there are many graves here that are unmarked. So it is impossible to know who might be the earliest person buried here. The earliest gravestone is for Charity Alley who died in 1843, although Cornelius Williamson Carrell might have died a couple years before that. Oddly enough, Ms. Alley comes first on the list. The last known grave to be added was for Arthur E. Jungblut in 1999.