Here is an article by Egbert T. Bush about the Copper Hill neighborhood I have been writing about recently, with additional comments from me.

Hill’s Mills
Was Once a Thriving Seat of Industry

Flour, Feeds, Bone, Phosphate, Cider
and Other Things Made There

Joakim Hill, Clock Maker

by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, N. J.,
Hunterdon Co. Democrat, November 6, 1930

As you go down the road from Flemington toward Ringoes, turn to the left at the Copper Hill schoolhouse. Three-quarters of a mile eastward, you will come to the Neshanic Creek, famous in the old days for its many dams and mills and varied industries. North of the road you may still see the historic old mill and one of more recent date. For sixty years past [back to 1870] this place has been known as “Hills Mills. For a long time before taking this name, the place was known as “Kuhl’s Mills.” The Kuhls, having owned the property hereabout from very early times, appear to have been the first to take advantage of Nature’s lavish gifts to this desirable spot.

Just to clarify, the mill was located on Kuhl’s Road, and the schoolhouse was located at the intersection with Kuhl’s Road and Route 31, as you can see in this detail from the Raritan Township Map of 1850. This detail shows Route 31 running north-south, intersected on the west by Hampton Corner Road, and on the east by Kuhl Road. As you can see, the Kuhl family owned several properties.

Detail, Map of Raritan Township, 1850

By deed dated March 29, 1870, William E. Kuhl and wife conveyed the property to William Hill for the snug sum of $17,000. The deed first gives the boundaries of 104.7 acres of land, and then says, “Being the same lots of land which Abraham Sutphin purchased by deed of Dennis Young, dated June 1, 1813, Excepting one-tenth of an acre sold . . . for a watering place, and also forty acres conveyed by said Abraham Sutphin and wife to Jacob Buzzard, lying East of the brook which severs the above described premises from North to South.” Then it goes on to describe other lots and ends with this recital, evidently meant to cover them all: “And being the same devised to William H. Kuhl by the last will and testament of Paul R. Kuhl, dated Nov. 20, 1857.”

The deed Mr. Bush is referring to in which “William E. Kuhl” sold a tract of 104.7 acres to William Hill turns out to be a sale from William Bishop Kuhl (1811-1879), son of Paul Kuhl, Jr. and Hannah Higgins, and his wife Ellen Sutphin.1 Ellen Sutphin (1814-1878) was the daughter of Abraham Roelif Sutphin and Mary Lowe, as was her sister Dorothy TenEyck Sutphin (1809-1893) who married William’s brother Leonard Paul Kuhl (1800-1857), discussed in the previous post.2

What was conveyed was seven lots of land, in which the tract of 104.17 acres (not 104.7 acres) was the first and the largest. As Mr. Bush reported, the 104.17 acres was conveyed to William Kuhl by the last will & testament of “Paul R. Kuhl.” As usual we have a problem with naming. The will was written on November 10, 1857 by William’s father, Paul Kuhl. I do not know where the initial R. came from.

The Young Family

In Mr. Bush’s description of the sale to William Hill, he recited a part of the deed that said Abraham R. Sutphin got the property from “Dennis” Young. However, on June 1, 1813, “David” Young of Amwell (c.1775-after 1835) sold to Abraham R. Sutphin of same, for $3,685.44, a tract of 104.17 acres.3 The property bordered John Manners, a woodlot sold to Margaret Young, Adam Young, other land of Sutphin’s, Henry “Hogeland”, Sutphin’s mill lot, and land previously Cornelius Prall’s. The conveyance reserved out a tenth of an acre for a watering place but didn’t say who that was for.

Just one month previously, on May 1, 1813, David Young acquired this property from his brothers John and Adam Young, acting as executors of their father John Young, who had died in 1811 after writing a will ordering his executors to sell his real estate for the benefit of his heirs.4 This was prudent, given that he and wife Catharine had had twelve children.5

That deed explained that the tenth of an acre had been set aside by Joshua Higgins for John Young. Shortly afterwards, David Young sold off a couple lots leaving him with a remainder of 104.17 acres to sell to Abraham R. Sutphin.

Jacob Buzzard

In 1814, Abraham R. Sutphin and wife Mary Lowe sold the northeasterly part of the 104.17 acres (being a lot of 40.03 acres) to Jacob Buzzard for $1,361.02.6

One cannot help but wonder if the name Buzzard is a corruption of a name in a foreign language, most likely German. Jacob Buzzard seems to have come out of nowhere, so he could very well have been an immigrant from Germany. His wife was Margaret Young (1763-1843), who was probably a daughter of John & Catharine Young/Jung, and sister to David, Adam and John Young.

Buzzard was present in Amwell Township in 1790 when he paid taxes as a single man. A deed of 1787 is recorded in which Jacob Buzzard sold land to Samuel Paddon bordering Peter Phillips.7 The next we hear from Buzzard is his purchase from Abraham & Mary Sutphin and at the same time the purchase of a 6-acre woodlot from John & Sarah Mattison.

In 1844, commissioners named to sell the real estate of Margaret Buzzard, dec’d, wife of Jacob Buzzard, conveyed a woodlot of 7 acres to said Jacob Buzzard for $392.07. Margaret had died on March 14, 1843, and owned the lot as an heir of John & Catharine Young.8

The Raritan Township Map of 1850 shows Buzzard owning land in Raritan Township northwest of Reaville. Buzzard died soon afterwards, on January 4, 1852, age 86, and was buried in the Amwell Ridge Cemetery at Larison’s Corner, next to his wife Margaret who had died at age 80. The couple did not have children.

Detail, Map of Raritan Township, 1850

This detail of the Raritan Township Map of 1850 is slightly east of the previous map shown, continuing along Kuhl Road. There are more Kuhl farms shown as well as the houses belonging to Jacob Buzzard on Reaville Road. The location of Paul Kuhl’s Grist and Saw Mill is easily seen.

The Kuhl Properties

Returning to Mr. Bush’s history of the Kuhl property:


We find that, by last will testament, probated at Burlington Aug. 25, 1793, Leonard Kuhl devised 316 acres of land in Amwell to his three sons Paul, Leonard and George. Also that by deed dated Jan. 3, 1803, Paul Kuhl, Jr., released and quit-claimed unto Leonard Kuhl and George Kuhl all his rights title and interest in the lands described as follows: “Beginning at a stone in line of Jacob Dilts’ land . . . being a corner to my share or dividends.” Then it says that one course ends at a corner in the middle of road in line of John Jewell’s land, one at a comer in line of land purchased of Paul Kels, and that one goes “into the Neshanic brook to land now in possession of Samuel Williamson, thence up said Creek . . . to a stake on the Road leading from Flemington to Trenton, thence to a corner in the of said road in line of Houshills land, thence . . . to the place of Beginning, containing 187 ½ acres.” – The other lot “Beginning at a post for a corner, standing on the easterly side of the aforesaid Road, leading to [illegible] being one chain and sixteen links to the southward of a place where Formerly, stood a Maple Bush on the southerly bank of the Neshanic Creek . . . containing twenty six acres.”

This conveyance from Paul Kels and wife Anna Trimmer took place on December 28, 1790, in which the couple sold to Leonard Kuhl for £450 two lots in Amwell, one of 26 acres bordering the Neshanic, on the east side of “the great road,” and a lot of 79 acres also bordering the Neshanic, the great road, and land of John Trimmer, Jacob Houshel, Paul Kuhl and John Jewell. This property had come to Paul Kels from his father Philip Kels who had purchased the two lots from Mathias Trimmer of Long Valley in 1751.9

Mathias Trimmer, born about 1720 in Germany, came to America with his wife, Anna Martha Neighbor, and father, Johannes (or Hans) Trimmer. They were naturalized in 1744. At about that time, Johannes Trimmer acquired a tract of 300+ acres bordering “Jacob Housel westerly by land formerly William Bing’s [or Bang’s] now Paul Couls, northerly part by John Jewell and partly by Neshaning brook, Adam Bellowsfelt and James Stout’s land, and easterly by William Bellowsfelt.”10 In 1748, Johannes Trimmer conveyed 105 acres out of that tract to his son Matthias, and two lots were surveyed for him, one of 26 acres bordering the east side of the King’s road and the southerly bank of the Neshaning brook;  the other of 79 acres bordering the King’s Road, John Trimmer, Jacob Housel, Paul Coul, John Jewell, and the Neshaning Brook.11 Matters had not been fully worked out before Johannes Trimmer died in 1750, but Mathias’ brothers, Tunis, Andrew, George, Hartman, William, John, Nicholas and Harry Trimmer, quit claimed any rights they might have claimed to this acreage, and shortly afterwards, Mathias Trimmer sold the properties to Philip Kels and moved to Morris County.

When Leonard Kuhl, Sr. of Amwell wrote his will in 1793, he left to his wife Catharine the right to two rooms in their house along with furniture, livestock, and a saddle & bridle. He left his plantation of 316 acres to his three sons, Paul, Leonard and George, with the understanding that each of them would pay £5 to his widow. He named as Executors his brother Paul Kuhl and his son Paul Kuhl. (That must have been a challenge for the record-keepers.) Leonard Kuhl died only two days after writing his will.

Paul Kuhl, Jr.’s quit claim of 1803

As Mr. Bush wrote, in a deed dated Jan. 3, 1803, Paul Kuhl, Jr., released and quit-claimed to his brothers Leonard Kuhl and George Kuhl all his rights, title and interest in a tract of 214.5 acres, and specifically 188.5 acres which was the same property conveyed to Leonard Kuhl, Sr. along with a lot of 26 acres over by Route 579.12

This deed releases 214.5 acres, slightly more than two-thirds of the devised area. These descriptions—in much abbreviated form—are given to make clear that these boundaries did inclose the Kuhl’s Mills property. Especially valuable in this connection is the ludicrously indefinite reference to “the place where formerly stood a Maple Bush,” because we have run across that before and noted its inadequacy.

This deed makes it clear that here was the homestead farm of Leonard Kuhl up to 1793, but how long he had owned it we do not learn. One reason for giving the release is stated as follows: “It being just and necessary that the said Leonard Kuhl and George Kuhl should cultivate, enjoy and improve their part and shares of the homestead farm whereon the said Leonard Kuhl did live at the time of his decease.” It seems probable that the old mill was built about this  time, or possibly enlarged as a part of the improvement contemplated.

I have a problem with Mr. Bush’s chain of title. He overlooked a deed from Abraham R. & Mary Sutphin of Amwell in October 1829, in which they conveyed to their son Richard L. Sutphin for $6,000, the five lots of land in Amwell Township, including the 104.17 acres sold to Abraham Sutphin by David Young.13 Not long afterwards, on November 25, 1829, Richard L. Sutphin put this advertisement into the Hunterdon Gazette:

A VALUABLE Mill Property for Sale. Will be offered for Sale, AT PUBLIC VENDUE, On Wednesday the 30th of December next, on the premises, That valuable MILL PROPERTY, situated on Neshannock Creek, in the township of Amwell, County of Hunterdon, New Jersey, formerly called Sutphin’s Mills, consisting of a good and almost new Saw and a Grist Mill, a large and convenient dwelling house, new Store house, a large barn, waggon house and other out buildings, all of which are new and in good repair. There is about 90 acres of first-rate land, a good proportion of which is meadow and timber land, with a fine stream of water running through the Farm. There is also a young Apple and Peach Orchard, of excellent grafted fruit, with a variety of other fruit trees on the farm. This property is situated about three miles south of Flemington, in a fertile and healthy neighborhood, adjoining lands of Paul Kuhl, James S. Manners, and others. Any person wishing to view the premises previous to the day of sale, will please call at the premises, or on the subscriber, at Ringoes. The above property will be divided, if  necessary – the Mills, Store House, and about 8 acres of land will be sold together – or the whole together, as may best suit purchasers. Vendue to begin at 12 o’clock on said Day, when conditions of sale will be made known and attendance given, by Richard L. Sutphin.

On February 5, 1830, Abraham R. & Mary Sutphin and Richard L. Sutphin conveyed the five lots, including the 104.17 acres to Paul Kuhl, Jr. for $5,995.14 As the notice points out, the property included “Mills” and “Store House,” and also noted that Paul Kuhl was already a bordering owner.

William Hill, Miller

But we are wandering too far from William Hill, who has been named as the purchaser from the last Kuhl owner of the Mills. Here William Hill lived and labored and throve during the remainder of his life. And a busy man he must have been. The productive farm, though reduced to 80 acres, required much attention; the grist mill did a flourishing business, and the sawmill was kept active in sawing not for the neighbors only, but for timber dealers who bought tracts in the vicinity and carted the logs here for sawing, those being the days before the traveling sawmill had become so deadly to our forests.

It is difficult to say with certainty which William Hill Mr. Bush was writing about; there are too many of them. My best guess is that this was the William Hill who was born July 9, 1831 to Thomas Hill & Elizabeth Prall of the Reaville area. Part of what convinces me is that Thomas Hill acquired from the executors of his father Joakim Hill’s estate the homestead farm of 197.63 acres which bordered, among others, Jacob Buzzard and Jonathan Higgins.15 And it just so happens that Jonathan Higgins and wife Ann Holcombe were the parents of William Hill’s wife Mary Ann Higgins.

I had previously published a Higgins Family Tree, but it was limited to descendants of Jediah Higgins and Hannah Stout whose family was mostly located in Amwell Township, Hunterdon County. However, Mary Ann’s ancestor was Joseph Higgins (c.1792-1782), spouse unknown, who had eight children from c.1725 to 1755. His son Azariah Higgins (c.1755-1812) married Sarah Stout and had son James Higgins (1776-1865) who married Alice Snook and had son Jonathan who married Ann Holcombe, parents of Mary Ann, wife of William Hill, who appears in the 7th generation of the revised Higgins Family Tree.

Jediah Higgins (1691-1772) and Joseph Higgins (c.1702-1782) were brothers, sons of Jediah Higgins and Mary Newbold. Their great grandson Judiah Higgins (1750-1820), who owned the farm I have previous written about (see Carman-Hoagland-Higgins), was married to Mary Hill (1751-1800), who was the great aunt of William Hill of Copper Hill.

Let us return to Mr. Bush’ article. Here he discusses a history of agricultural practices in the 19th century and earlier, about which I know very little, so I will present his views without comment:

But all this did not quite satisfy the ambition of William Hill. That standard old-time adjunct to the milling business—hulling clover seed which had been carried on here for a long time, was dead, and William felt the need for something to take its place. Knowing the value of bone as a fertilizer, and seeing that others were beginning to recognize it, he erected a mill for the purpose, and ground large quantities of bone for sale to the surrounding farmers. Peach growers experimented with it, and ground bone soon became a favorite application for bearing trees and for young orchards in which buckwheat was generally raised until the trees became of bearing age. Perhaps nobody even yet knows of a better application for either peach trees or buckwheat.[#. In the survey prepared by Dr. Isaac S. Cramer of farmers likely to make use of a railroad from Prallsville to Flemington, one of the things itemized was “fertilizer.” Since Dr. Cramer was primarily interested in peach tree farmers, I have little doubt that it was bone fertilizer Cramer was asking about. Henry Kuhl recalled that a sister of his ancestor had “married a Mr. Hill who built a dam across the Neshanic River and used that power to grind up dead animals to sell as fertilizer.” That is, after all, what he was doing. Egbert T. Bush managed to avoid the harsh reality.]

“Bone Phosphate”

But times change and requirements change with them. Something a little quicker in action was desired. The manufacture of “bone phosphate” became popular. Many farmers, with the farmer’s usual disinclination to let somebody else mix for him, bought the materials and “made phosphate” for themselves. But it was a troublesome process, accompanied by no little danger. Without the proper equipment, the acid could not be safely handled, nor could the mixing always be made satisfactory. William and his sons saw the situation and prepared to meet the demand. The sawmill having become practically useless from lack of timber was torn down, and the bone mill was removed to its site for greater convenience in handling the bone for making Hill’s fertilizers, which for a long time, found ready sale to a circle of farmers.

Still something seemed to be lacking. So a cider mill was erected on the opposite side of the road. Here a brisk business was done in crushing the apples and squeezing out the luscious juice for both “sweet cider” and sour vinegar. We notice that at the time of his death, William Hill had on hand nearly $2,000 worth of vinegar; and that meant no small amount of vinegar in those days. Just think of it! If suitably mixed and manipulated for commercial use today, what a lot of “vinegar” that would make! It might easily take ten times as much to pay for the mixture. But almost nobody knows the commercial value of good cider vinegar now because that kind is not found in the market, and soon nobody will know the taste of the real article. What then? Why, take your vinegar, as you take so many monopoly-made things to-day—purely on faith.

The Cider Mill

Hill’s cider mill is now as dead and silent as any of the mills about it. No trace of the earlier and later-day industries is left, except the dead remains of the mills and the equally quiet dam; for still that old dam lies “in undisturbed repose,” the last of all the dams on the once busy Neshanic. Thomas Hill tells fine stories about the bushels of fish in old times taken from that dam, stories so interesting that just a little drop of sporting blood makes . . . [text appears to be missing here]  “An’ help the huskies drag ‘em in.”

Thomas naturally became the miller here. He credits that famous old miller, Benjamin Wood, for teaching him that final mysterious touch so necessary to the flour-maker’s art. After that he took charge of that part of the business for twenty years, making the last flour ever made at this mill.

I have little to add about Thomas Hill, other than this item that appeared in the Hunterdon Republican on Feb. 3, 1881:

Brief News from Reaville. Thomas Hill, about 22, a son of William and Mary A. Hill, living in Raritan Tp. about one mile West of Reaville, met with an accident a few nights ago. He was crossing a slope which was very icy and the sleigh began sliding and upset throwing him out. The horse ran into the Neshanic River, just back of the house of Joseph Housel, where it was caught. Tom was not seriously injured, but the horse sustained cuts, but no broken bones were mentioned.

Back to the Copper Hill article:

Ira Hill Killed

William Hill died in 1893, leaving his wife Ann, daughter of Jonathan Higgins, him surviving. Their family consisted of the following children who lived to the age of maturity: Thomas, Augustus, Ira, Alvin, Cornelia and Bessie. Ira bought the property and carried on business here until 1905.

On April 1, 1895, the widow of Ira Hill and her surviving children conveyed to Ira Hill their 5/6th share of the real estate of William Hill, dec’d, which included a farm of 104.7 acres.16 The description of the 104.7 acres was taken from an older deed, listing bordering owners as John Manners, a lot sold to Margaret Young, Adam Young, the mill lot of Abraham R. Sutphin, and others. It excepted the lot of 40 acres sold by Abraham R. Sutphin to Jacob Buzzard. There were an additional six smaller lots included in the conveyance, all nearby or adjacent to the larger farm, and identified as the property purchased by William Hill from William B. & Ellen Kuhl in 1870.

I was surprised that the description of the 104.7 acres said it was bordered by Sutphin’s mill lot. I had assumed that the mill lot of Abraham R. Sutphin was the mill lot of Paul Kuhl, and therefore the mill lot of William Hill. Perhaps Kuhl and Hill built mills in different locations on the same branch of the Neshanic.

Milling was a dangerous business, and sometimes fatal, as it was to Ira Hill:

Early in July of that year [1905], he was caught by a belt, carried to the shafting and injured so badly that he died a few days later. Three well-known doctors—Cramer, Sproul and Ewing—decided as a last resort to amputate a leg in faint hope of saving his life; but the patient was too weak to survive the drastic remedy. His widow and only child, Miss Henrietta, still owns and occupies the property.

Henrietta was only four years old when her father died. In the 1930 census for Raritan Township, Henrietta Hill 28, single, was living with her mother Marietta 68, widowed, and her aunt Nellie Kuhl 65, single. Marietta Hill died on March 28, 1937 and was buried next to her husband in the Prospect Hill Cemetery. Henrietta lived to the age of 74, dying in May 1976, and was buried next to her parents. At some point, the Kuhl family re-acquired the Hill property, along with many other properties in the neighborhood.17

Mr. Bush has not finished with the Hill family:

In 1905 Thomas Hill and George Hill bought the coal and hay business of John Holcombe, near the Central R. R. Station in Flemington. They added the sale of farm machinery to their other lines and did business here for several years. The business is still in the name, the firm now being “Hill Brothers,” but Thomas says: “I have retired; I make garden.”

Note:  William Hill and Mary Ann Higgins had a son Thomas (c.1858-1939, the one mentioned above who had the accident near Reaville. As far as I know, he did not have a brother George, and I have not been able to identify this George Hill.

The Hills seem to have stuck close to the good old Neshanic Creek. We find that by deed dated April 4, 1848, the executors of Aaron Prall conveyed to Thomas Hill, father of William and whose wife was a Prall, the farm which appears to have been owned by the Pralls long before the year 1800, and which, containing almost 200 acres, is now owned by Winfield Case. This farm lies about a mile farther down on the same stream. Besides being a farmer on a large scale, this Thomas Hill was in active blacksmith, carrying the business along in a shop standing on his own farm. His children were: Theodore, John, William, Joseph, Calvin, Elizabeth and Arrie.

Note:  Thomas Hill (1796-1868), William’s father, was married to Elizabeth Prall (1804-1891), daughter of William Prall, M.D. and Mary Chamberlain. William and Aaron Prall were second cousins. The Aaron Prall farm was a little south of the Copper Hill neighborhood.

Joakim Hill

One of the elder Thomas Hill’s brothers, we are assured, was Joakim Hill, the old clock-maker, who proved his liking for the Neshanic by living on it for a long time, just above the Copper Hill school-house.18

By deed dated Feb. 9, 1814, Henry Lawshe conveyed to Joakim Hill, three lots containing 47 acres of land: “Beginning at a stone in the great road leading from Flemington to Ringo’s old Tavern . . . comer to lot of Land Late of John Jewell, deceased.” The deed calls for one “corner near the brook commonly called the Middle Neshanic.” We find that the same lots had been conveyed to Henry Lawshe by deed of Philip Dilts dated Aug. 21, 1788.

Right: One of Hill’s tall case clocks can be found at the Hunterdon County Historial Society. This photograph appears on the front page of the Hunterdon Historical Newsletter for Spring 1966 (vol. 1, no.1, Hunterdon Co. Historical Society).

What Mr. Bush described from the deed was the first of the three lots, amounting to 32+ acres. That plus the second lot of 7+ acres on the north side of the Neshanic was what Philip and Mary Dilts sold to Lawshe back in 1788. The third lot was probably a woodlot, being 7+ acres purchased from Jasper & Theodocia Smith in 1801.19 The sale to Hill was made by Henry Lawshe (1757-1831) and second wife Mary Moore (1777-1846).

Here Joakim Hill lived and farmed, buying other tracts of land as he went along, and working in his shop, then standing on the east side of the road. Here he manufactured the tall clocks which have made him famous, at least locally, and which now command prices. that would astonish the old builder, if he could stand and see one auctioned off to anxious seekers after worthwhile antiques.

July 7, 1852, Joakim Hill conveyed to William Bellis, Gershom Sergeant and Judiah H. Kuhl, “Trustees of the Neshanic School District,” a plot of ground thus described: “Beginning at a stone in the Road leading from Flemington to Ringoes, comer to Lands of Joakiin Hill.” Then it runs 40 yards northward, 40 yards eastward and 40 yards southward “to a stone in the Road leading from Joakim Hill’s to Kuhl’s Mills,” and then 40 yards to the place of beginning, containing thirty-three hundredths of an acre. On that spot still stands the schoolhouse, but it is a different house and is known by a different name. Long ago it took the name of Copper Hill School, from the snug little hamlet a short distance below, which had received its metallic name, “Copper Hill,” because traces of copper had been found in the vicinity during the days of copper mining at Flemington.

In 1853 Joakim Hill conveyed to William H. Johnson “all those several lots” &c. for $7,000, and probably then removed to Flemington, where we find him to have been living two years later, when he sold a remaining lot to Adam Bellis. In 1855 William H. Johnson conveyed the Joakim Hill farm to William H. Johnson, Jr., for the same consideration. The property is now owned by William Wagner.20

Some Neighbors

For brief mention, we find among the early and the later neighbors of the old mill property, the following: William E. J. Huffman to whom the executors of Gideon Quick conveyed 106 acres, “Beginning at a corner of Adam Bellis’ land in the Neshanic below William Halls (formerly Kuhl’s) Mill Dam.” William E. J. was the father of Barton Huffman, now of Ringoes. Adam W. Bellis owned the farm across the creek from the Mill Property, Abraham Yard, his son-in-law, succeeding him as owner. George Kuhl owned the farm at the Neshanic bridge. His son Alfred married a daughter of Samuel C. Barber, and lived for many years on the old Barber homestead near Dilts’ Corner. Then he sold out and removed to Flemington, where he ended his days.

Though still a good locality, Hills Mills, like so many such hamlets in the East, is now “only the shadow of its former glory.” It has suffered its full share of deterioration in the inevitable change. Clover-hulling died out with the bumblebees; the sawmill died because it had nothing to live on; the cider mill and the grist mill yielded to relentless Concentration, which has left thousands of costly mills a dead and irretrievable loss upon their owners’ hands. The blithesome Neshanic, once laughing so merrily as it rushed gaily along from wheel to wheel, now goes idling along on its way to the sea. Of course, it is folly to lament the waste of so much power merely because the people have to pay so dearly for its substitute. But it may be worthwhile to pause now and then, in our mad rush after “progress,” and try to figure out what fraction of it all is actual gain.

Of course, the Kuhl family would beg to disagree with Mr. Bush’s assessment of the decline of the neighborhood as well as his disparagement of “our mad rush after ‘progress’.”

Postscript: A Nearby Kuhl Property

There was a provision in the 1857 will of Paul Kuhl leaving a property to the children of George Kuhl. This was a tract of 164+ acres bought in 1801 from Cornelius & Elenor Stout on the south side of the Neshanic, plus a lot of 6.75 acres bought in 1811 from Thomas & Elizabeth Stout.21 This farm was adjacent to the mill property.

Due to financial difficulties, the rights of George Kuhl and son Alpheus C. Kuhl to that property were seized by Sheriff Richard Bellis and sold in 1870 to Miller Kline of Flemington. Miller Kline had been married to Rachel Ann Kuhl in 1832. She died only 6 years later, age 25. She was the right age to be a sister of George Kuhl, but I have not found any evidence of who her parents were.

In 1876, Miller Kline and his second wife conveyed their rights in the property to George Kuhl’s spinster sister Martha Higgins Kuhl (1802-1886). Three years later, she conveyed her rights to “Henry Kuhl” and Paul Kuhl.22  I suspect that Henry was actually “Hervey” Kuhl (1856-1932), son of George Kuhl, brother of Paul and Alpheus Kuhl.

The farm that was being transferred back and forth was the same one sold to Paul Kuhl back in 1801 by Cornelius & Elenor Stout, in a deed that traced the property back to the proprietary tract of James and John Stevenson, who sold 262.5 acres to James Stout of Amwell in 1743. When it was surveyed in 1801, it bordered the south side of ‘Neshannick’ Creek, land formerly Adam Bellis now William Bellis, John Young, Cornelius Wyckoff, and Joakim Griggs.23 When the property was sold by Miller & Mary Kline to Martha H. Kuhl in 1876, it was bordered on the north by William Merrell, on the south by Adam Bellis, and on the west William M. Bellis.24

Just another example of how properties were passed back and forth between family members in the 19th century.


  1. H.C. Deed Book 145 p.428.
  2. Hoagland’s Road, part one. William Bishop Kuhl also appeared in Carman, Hoagland & Higgins.
  3. H.C. Deed Book 22 p.50.
  4. H.C. Deed Book 20 p. 252.
  5. Their daughter Catharine Young married Ralph Sutphin 1801-1880, son of Jacob & Mary Sutphin, and nephew of the Abraham R. Sutphin who bought the Young property.
  6. H.C. Deed Book 23 p.235.
  7. H.C. Deed Book 1 p. 305.
  8. H.C. Deeds Book 81 p. 181 and Book 21 p.498.
  9. H.C. Deed Book 3 p. 355.
  10. This deed was quoted in Theodore F. Chambers, The Early Germans of New Jersey, Dover, NJ 1895; Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982, pp. 533-34,  in which Jacob Housel’s name was spelled “Hand.”
  11. Recital, Deed Book 3 p. 365.
  12. H.C. Deed Book 11 p. 6.
  13. H.C. Deed Book 47 p. 228.
  14. H.C. Deed Book 47 p. 507.
  15. H.C. Deed Book 42 p. 383.
  16. H.C. Deed Book 242 p. 185.
  17. I have not been able to check out the modern deeds for this property.
  18. A biography of Hill can be found in The Jerseyman, vol. 2 no.2, Mary 1905, “Joachim Hill, Clock Maker,” by Alex. B. Allen.
  19. H.C. Deed Book 22 p. 206.
  20. That “remaining lot” sold by Hill to Adam Bellis was actually a quarter acre located in Flemington. What Joakim & Martha Hill sold to William H. Johnson in 1853 was seven separate lots, all of them small, located in the area Mr. Bush described, reserving out a lot of 0.33 acres for a school, being the Copper Hill School. William H. Johnson (1789-1872) was the son of Benjamin Johnson & Elizabeth Hann, who owned a farm adjacent to the Hill property.
  21. H.C. Deeds Boo4 p. 304 and Book 19 p. 63.
  22. H.C. Deeds Book 166 p.738 and Book 181 p. 207.
  23. Deed Book 4 p. 304.
  24. H.C. Deed Book 166 p. 378.