The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins, 1882
The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins, 1882

Time for some reflection. Here are the ten posts from the past year that I am most pleased with, listed chronologically, because I could not possibly rank them from 1 to 10.

Jan. 10:  Hunting for a Cemetery with Egbert Bush, Hiram Deats and Cyrus Van Dolah

It’s always a pleasure (for me) to follow the doings of these great old Hunterdon historians. I found some of their letters at the HCHS about locating the Opdycke Cemetery in Delaware Township, and their efforts to learn just who was buried there.

Feb. 7:  Ducks’ Flat and Ducks’ Flat, part two

Okay, I’m cheating by combining two articles into one. Part two is really my favorite, because of the charming idea of launching rockets from the wide-open spaces along the Delaware-Kingwood Township boundary. It was fun fleshing out Mr. Bush’s recollections of this area with the story of a daring (and damp) experiment in the 1930s.

Mar. 13:  The Sergeantsville Inn

Following the devastating fire that destroyed the interior of this beloved landmark, I dived into its early history–which is not as early as many people claim, but is still intriguing, for the Thatcher family who first owned it, and then Delaware Township’s real estate mogul, Henry H. Fisher.

Mar. 20: Some Controversial Baptist Ministers

One would not expect Baptist ministers to be all that interesting. Au contraire! They got into all sorts of trouble.

May 15:  Copperheadism in Locktown

I had to write this to come to terms with the pro-slavery, pro-secession, anti-Lincoln attitudes that were once widespread in western Hunterdon County. Besides, someone shared a marvelous memoir with me of a New England minister who could not get along with those copperheads.

Jun. 5:  The Democratic Club of Delaware Township

Discovering the by-laws and resolutions of this club, formed in 1863, was just as disturbing as learning about the Locktown Copperheads. But the pamphlet was important for how it very clearly spelled out their perceptions of the threats to the country during the Civil War.

Jul. 3:  The Rittenhouse Cemetery

On a happier note, finding one of my ancestors in one of our oldest cemeteries was a wonderful surprise. Although it has long been known as the Rittenhouse Cemetery, there is some justification in calling it the Howell Cemetery, in honor of the graveyard’s first owners. Catherine Howell married William Rittenhouse, the first of that name to settle here, and both of them were buried here.

Aug. 8:  The Fisher-Reading Mansion

The grand old lady of Main Street needs to be rescued soon. My version of its early history was written in an attempt to encourage someone to take it on. The architect, Mahlon Fisher, deserves recognition for building some of the most beautiful houses in Flemington. His client, James N. Reading, was one of Flemington’s most prominent attorneys.

Sept. 12:  A Pirate in Old Amwell

This story had been lying in my to-do box for many years–it’s such a great yarn! Pirates are endlessly fascinating, and it doesn’t take much to suspect a suspicious character of being one. This particular suspect pirate lived on a very old property near Sergeantsville, which in itself was worth studying.

Nov. 13:  The Wickecheoke Tribe of Red Men

No doubt about it–this one was a hoot! (My apologies–I really did have fun with this one.) Another mystery that I have wondered about for years. Mystery solved!

These may be the top ten, but I must say that all of this year’s posts gave me a lot of pleasure to research and to write. There is much more to come in 2016, but for now–

Best wishes to all for a very happy New Year!