(Hunterdon’s Militias, part 2)

My previous article (Hunterdon’s Militia) included mention of the Locktown Volunteers and their Captain, John Bellis, who happened to be “an ardent Republican” in a neighborhood of equally ardent Democrats or Copperheads.1 How Bellis managed to get along with his neighbors is an interesting question.

He seems to have preferred the non-violent approach and was probably the one who initiated The Locktown Debating Society in 1859. (See “Old Time Debates,” by Egbert T. Bush.) When the Society met in January 1860, the topic was “Should Slavery be abolished in the United States.” Arguing in the affirmative were John Bellis, Francis Rittenhouse, Jonathan Hoppock and John O. Heath. Defending the negative were Andrew B. Everitt, Peter F. Opdycke and Abraham R.  Quick. Affirmative won, which probably is an indication of who was in the audience. Copperheads seem to have stayed home.

Delaware Guards Disregarded

Also mentioned in the previous article was Dr. George Holcombe Larison, who was a prominent leader of the Delaware Guards of Sergeantsville. He was in charge when it was decided that the militia company needed a place of their own in which to train. On April 2, 1860, the trustees of the Military Hall Association (John T. Sergeant, Isaac B. Cramer and Charles Everitt) purchased a lot in Sergeantsville from Henry H. and Anne Fisher for $50. It was a tenth of an acre, just north of the main intersection.2

The Hunterdon Republican reported that the stockholders of “Military Hall” met at Sergeantsville the previous Saturday evening last (probably March 26, 1860) and took measures in regard to building the hall. Dr. Larison chaired the meeting. Two committees were set up: first, a Building Committee consisting of Charles Everitt, John Sine & Dr. Larison, and second, a Committee on Constitution and By-Laws whose members were Dr. Isaac Cramer, David Jackson & William Lawshe. Leading up to this meeting were the efforts of the Guards to enlist subscribers for stock in the Hall. By March 26th, it was nearly all subscribed.3 The Building Committee erected a three-story building which was thereafter used for meetings and training sessions until after the Civil War. It is now a private residence, surrounded with trees and looks much better than in the photo above when it was used as a “Mechanics’ Hall.”

The building was finished by December 1860. Celebrating was in order, as reported in the Hunterdon Gazette, Dec. 12, 1860:

The Delaware Guards have now completed their new Military Hall in Sergeantsville and will dedicate it on the 20th inst. in regular Military order. All the companies in the 3d Regiment of the County Brigade are invited with their Staff; also, the Brigade Staff. –Brig. Gen. Theodore Runyan, of the Newark Brigade, will deliver the dedicatory address. The Hall will afford the Guards a spacious and handsome drill room. Capt. [George H.] Larison has ordered weekly drills to be kept up on Wednesday evening of each week.

A week later the Gazette reported that following the dedication, there would be a military parade and “a Military Ball in the evening,” which “promises fair to make considerable of a time in that usually quiet little village.”

Parades were a favorite activity for all the local militias, and any excuse seemed to do. Why exactly the Delaware Guards decided to hold another parade in Sergeantsville in early May 1861, I do not know. But the Gazette observed (on May 15, 1861) that

The Company still continue to add new members to their roll list at every drill, which is every Wednesday evening. The company will soon have the required number of 64 privates rank and file. Success to them.

On June 22, 1861, the officers of the First Regiment of the Hunterdon Brigade met in Military Hall in Sergeantsville and elected Maj. George H. Larison as Colonel of the Regiment and Charles W. Godown as Major.4

The First Regiment of the Hunterdon Brigade covered Lambertville, Delaware, East Amwell and West Amwell Townships, and included these eight companies:  Lambertville Rifles and Fencibles, Delaware Guards, Locktown Volunteers, Scott Infantry, Anderson Guards, Wertsville Infantry, Ringoes Guards and the Second Troop of the Hunterdon Squadron.5 These local militias were composed of men who were prepared to defend their hometowns should the need arise. They were commanded by the Governor of the State of New Jersey and were not part of the Union Army.

The construction of Military Hall was a notable achievement by Larison’s company. And yet, by 1861, feelings were growing more bitter and antagonistic between Democrats and Republicans in Sergeantsville, as elsewhere in Hunterdon County. This was revealed in a notice entitled “To Arms” written by “Many Ladies” of Delaware Township.6 The response to this sarcastic missive is equally interesting.

Mr. EDITOR: — In your issue of the 26th ult. I observed a call “To Arms” purporting to be a notice of “Many Ladies” of Delaware Township desiring their fair friends to meet at Holcombe’s Hall7 on the 6th inst., “for the purpose of forming themselves into a home guard for the protection of the Delaware Guards, who will not volunteer for their country’s cause.”

What authority you may have had for giving publicity to such a call, of course I do not know, but there can be no doubt that it is a malicious slander upon the Guards made by some of their republican enemies of the male sex, and that the ladies have had but little if anything to do with it.

This company is, and has been, comprised almost entirely of democrats, and for that reason has been the butt of many of the republicans of Sergeantsville and vicinity, who have most industriously circulated false and defamatory reports about the corps and its members, individually. And the consequence has been that, go where you will, persons will be found speaking disrespectfully of the Delaware Guards, because

“Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds
An easy entrance to ignoble minds.”

The Guards have always been under the same rules and regulations that govern other military companies of the State ; have always encouraged other military organizations in the county, and have avoided politics in the company, not permitting political discussion while on duty, and yet it is a well-known fact, that because most of its members are staunch democrats, this corps has been most shamefully abused, and without any just cause, unless the “no party” men of the neighborhood think that a man’s political sentiments are sufficient cause for abuse, ridicule and contempt.

When [in the Spring of 1862] President Lincoln made the call for the three months volunteers, the Delaware Guards numbered but twenty five members, officers and men – Public notice was given calling a meeting of the company, and inviting all disposed to assist the government by responding to the call of the Pres’t to sign the muster roll, that the ranks of the company might be filled to the number required by the service, but in consequence of the outside opposition and the false and disgraceful reports that had been circulated against the company, by its enemies, this effort was of no avail ; only eight names being added to the roll, not one of which belonged to a republican. But two members have left the company, both of whom are republicans.8

I regret that an honest and candid statement of facts render it necessary that any reference should be made to politics, but truth requires it.

The Delaware Guards are now larger and in a more flourishing condition than ever before, notwithstanding the reports so freely circulated that it was the intention of the officers to disband the company. The fact is, both officers and men are making every honorable effort to fill up the ranks.

The republicans of the neighborhood contemplate the organization of a __ [illegible] company, and perhaps the slander in your paper at last week was intended as an advertisement.

Enough has been said to vindicate the Guards from the false charges that have been made against them, but allow me to add that the military men of the county have not entirely overlooked this much abused corps. A former captain [John T. Sergeant] now has command of the Brigade, their last captain [Geo. H. Larison] has recently been made Colonel of the Regiment, their 2d Lieut. has been promoted to a position in the Regimental Staff, and their orderly sergeant is now a Major.

Hoping it will not be necessary to refer to this disagreeable subject again, I am yours truly,

[signed] A FRIEND OF THE GUARDS.

Curious how the writer consistently referred to Republicans without capitalizing the first letter. Also, I cannot help but wonder if the letter-writer might have been one of those ladies of Sergeantsville who was offended that the original taunt was made in their name. In any case, it shows that the abuse that Copperheads showered on Republicans was reciprocated. As far as lack of civil behavior goes, there were guilty parties on both sides.

Skunktown Secessionists

It appears there were some strong political feelings in Sergeantsville, which was still often called by its 18th century name, Skunktown. (For a look at how the name came to be, see “Pole Raising in the Days of Lincoln.”) Here is an item in the Gazette, published about the same time as the letter quoted above, on July 31, 1861:

US IN THE SUDS. – The boss of this establishment [the Gazette’s editor, Alexander Suydam] has not been seen since Sunday evening. It is believed by many that he has wandered into the township of Delaware and been taken prisoner by the Skunktown secessionists. We feel interested in his welfare, and hereby call into requisition the services of the Flemington Home Guards, to ascertain his whereabouts and rescue him from the hands of the enemy. Home Guards, to arms! to arms ! !
P. S.─ Mr. SCISSORS will conduct the paper during his absence.

I cannot explain what “Us in the Suds” means and do not know who it was who took over the job of editing the Gazette in Suydam’s absence. When he returned to the paper, Suydam wrote this explanation of his time in Skunktown:

A CORRECTION.─ Last week one morning early we quickly packed up our wardrobe, consisting of two second handed shirts, and several other low priced articles of apparel not necessary to mention, and run away from business and dull care very unceremoniously, and when we returned on Saturday evening, we ascertained that our absence had created an uneasiness and excited a suspicion among our aids at home that possible we might have been foully dealt with. Not so. We are happy to say that we were not in the hands of the “Skunktown Secessionists.” Quite the contrary. During our sojourn we were well cared for and pleasantly entertained by loyal people. Therefore the statement made through the Gazette last week that we had been taken prisoner by “Skunktown Secessionists” was entirely erroneous, and we trust these said “Skunktowners,” whoever they are, if they are anybody, will pardon this mistake on the part of the boys, who undoubtedly felt an earnest solicitude relative to our singular and sudden departure and continued absence.

“Secessionists” was a term used by Republicans to disparage Democrats, just as Democrats called Republicans “Abolitionists.” And of all the County Democrats, no one was freer with abusive language than Adam Bellis, editor of the Hunterdon Democrat. He did not mince words when referring to supporters of Abraham Lincoln. By 1862 he had taken to calling them “Black Republicans,” and blaming the war of secession on them, while extolling the virtues of the “Union Democrats,” and their claim of devotion to the Union and the Constitution.

Hubert G. Schmidt, in his book The Press in Hunterdon County, described the way people referred to their opponents.9:

“COPPERHEADISM”

Hunterdon County had some Copperheads, that is, actual Southern sympathisers [sic], but many more “Peace Democrats” like Bellis. On September 17, 1862, he printed a letter from Tewksbury Township which read in part: “We hope to live long enough to see the Abolition party defunct, and all the States under the Union as it was and the Constitution as it is.” Five weeks later, the same scribbler again broke into print, this time in a bitter attack on a correspondent who had written the Leader at Easton that he was a Copperhead and “Rebel sympathizer.” By the Abolition party he had of course meant the Republicans, and apparently a Republican had attempted to get even. This kind of recrimination was common in the letters to both the Democrat and Republican.

Secessionists in Kingwood

Here is another example of hostility and intolerance between the parties described in a letter to the editor of an unknown Hunterdon newspaper from a Kingwood resident. (Another news clipping in which the date and newspaper were not clearly identified.)

DEAR PRESS : — Our “Militia Training came off last Saturday afternoon. Companies A and B of the 2d Regiment met at the hotel of Edward Beans and were instructed in some of the preliminary movements necessary to a military knowledge by Martin V. B. Rittenhouse and Edward M. Heath, Drill Sergeants [and members of the Locktown Volunteers]. And it must be admitted that the men passed through the drill remarkable well when we consider the rawness and undisciplined state of the men, the greater part of whom had never received a military command and did not know what to do when it was given.

But the men all appeared to perform their evolutions [?] with pleasure, and with a desire to acquire a knowledge of the rudiments of military tactics, seeing that their country, owing to the great calamity that has befallen her, may ere long require their aid to maintain the government and the constitution under which we live, against the arms of traitors.

After the parade secession principles were freely expressed by men who were present. Shades of Jefferson and Jackson, forgive them. One who claims to be the leader of a political party in Kingwood was inveighing against “King Abe,” as he styled him, who is seated upon his throne at Washington, issuing his edicts for the invasion of states, in violation of the constitution, and that Gen. Washington violated the constitution when he invaded Pennsylvania to suppress the whisky insurrection. I have seen an advertisement emanating from a combination, in Milltown, stating that they will do good work for cause, for “Union Men,” as well as “Secession Men,” but would, for cash work for “Union Men.” This has produced quite an excitement in this neighborhood. These secessionists express no sympathy for our government but are loud in their complaints of the stagnation of business and the scarcity of money.

[signed] MADISON

The editor of this paper, whoever he was (either Bellis or Pierson), felt obliged to respond to this letter:

[reply from the Editor:]   We think “Madison” is rather severe on some of our Kingwood friends. We cannot make ourselves believe there is a genuine “sesesher” in the township. There are individuals in every community who like to argue on important topics. This is a plan of their own they have for letting off their superfluous gas or in other words, as our amiable friend of the Gazette would say, “blowing.” We have heard before that there was a whole army of “seseshers” in Kingwood, but never could find any person who had seen then on parade. Ed.

Adam Bellis Rebuked

As Schmidt wrote (above quote), Adam Bellis was a “Peace Democrat.” But that did not prevent him from denigrating the president and the Republican party. This became a cause for concern among Hunterdon soldiers stationed in Virginia in 1863.

On June 12, 1863, the Hunterdon Republican published a letter addressed to Adam Bellis, editor of the Hunterdon Democrat, written by members of Company A, 15th Regiment, NJ Volunteers, from their location near White Oak Church, VA. (It was originally published by The Clinton Leader. Although it was addressed to Adam Bellis, it was never published in the Democrat.) The letter was dated May 27, 1863, and read:

“SIR: Through these columns we will speak to you. As a precursor of more alarming tokens of disregard, we the undersigned, soldiers of the United States, do hereby present our sentiments and heartfelt disapproval of your traitorous conduct, as exhibited by your editorials and quotations printed in your abhorred sheet. How can you, a citizen of the United States, sit in your sanctum and promulgate doctrines entirely at variance with the safety and perpetuation of this glorious Republic?

– You have enjoyed the blessings of liberty, under the wide spread wings of the American Eagle, for years, and now in this crisis of our national affliction, you would deign to frustrate the plans of the Government in subduing the most atrocious rebellion on record in the annals of history. This Rebellion, as you should be aware, aims at the destruction of this Government; and does it become you, a Northerner by birth, to condemn, embarrass and harass the authorities in their constitutional plans of quelling insurrection? We are in the field; and as a body of soldiers with one purpose – the restoration of the Union – we demand the speedy repentance of such men as you. We want no wolves in sheep’s clothing prowling in our rear. We can admire the bravery and gallantry of the rebel soldiery, but abhor the sneaking, cowardly miscreants, who, with words, espouse their cause. Mr. Bellis, we warn you to beware of the return of an enraged and indignant soldiery. But seldom does your sheet find access to our camp, but recent numbers, filled to repletion with the traitorous sentiments of the day, have aroused our ire as patriots combating the foe to whom you would render aid and assistance, and we resort to this method of giving vent to our indignation.

It is true your efforts are scarcely worth notice, and we ask the pardon of loyalists, who perhaps may think us digressing from the course of respectability. Be a man, and hand to your posterity the happy assurance that their sire was a patriot of 1863. Can you not do it? Has Edmund Perry the control of your acts and doings? Shun him as you would a Devil incarnate, if so, and your case will yet be hopeful. Turn your attention to the glorious work of retaining our rights inviolate; support the Administration in this crisis, and no longer aid and abet the cause of the rebellion. We warn, we entreat you; now is the accepted time. Unloose the fetters that bind you in Chauncey Burr, Edmund Perry, and other notorious Copperheads. We demand it: we will not have traitors at large in the State of New Jersey.”

Chauncey Burr was a Hudson County journalist and Democrat who was virulently anti-abolitionist. Edmund Perry was a Hunterdon politician about whom I have written previously. (See John P. Rittenhouse, parts one & two, and Hardscrabble.) Perry had actually partnered with Bellis in ownership of the Democrat, before turning it over to him in 1855. In 1859 Perry was elected to the NJ State Senate and was serving as Acting Governor in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln visited the State of NJ.

The soldiers of Company A were right about Bellis using very strong language for those he disagreed with. While claiming that his Union Democrats were the only party that cared about saving the Constitution, he accused Republicans of being abolitionists and calling them “Black Republicans.” These are not insults now, but they certainly were in 1863.

Remember, there were three papers in Flemington during the Civil War, the Republican, the Democrat, and the relatively neutral Gazette. This was how Alex. Suydam, the Gazette’s editor, responded to the soldiers’ letter, on June 17, 1863:

HIS LOYALTY.─ We notice that our neighbor Bellis, of the Hunterdon Democrat, received a withering rebuke by letter, published in the Clinton Leader week before last, and in the Hunterdon Republican last week, touching his loyalty. Said letter was written by

“L. A. V., of Company A. 15th Regiment, N. J. V., to which there were between fifty and sixty names subscribed. Several numbers of the Democrat, by some means, reached their Camp, and in them there were articles distasteful to the soldiers. Whether the censure of disloyalty thrown upon Mr. Bellis by the soldiery, is just or not, we will not deign to say. But “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,”

and we recollect that, a short time since Mr. Bellis had the contemptible meanness of publishing a squib in his paper in which we were indirectly charged with being an abolitionist. With the same propriety we or anyone else, could call him a secessionist. But mere assertions without proof amount to nothing. When he classifies us with abolitionists, he knows he is willfully falsifying. But he is a political poltroon and what better could you expect.

I searched the Democrat to see if Bellis had any response to the soldiers’ very powerful letter, and all I could find was a short paragraph at the bottom of the page in the issue of June 24, 1863:

The demented Editor of the [Clinton] Leader appears to approve of the letter he published from Co. A, 15th Regt. We consider the author of that letter no better than a highwayman, and all who approve the sentiments therein expressed we class in the same company. For certainly, no true soldier could harbor for one moment such sentiments.

Bellis’ rant seems to have confirmed the objections expressed by the members of Company A, who were putting their lives at risk. It amazes me that Bellis would denigrate them so viciously. The author, “L.A.V.,” was Lucien A. Voorhees, who was killed less than a year later at Spotsylvania. (More on the fatalities of Company A below.)10

Those Who Served

This important letter from Company A was signed by four Sergeants, six Corporals and 44 Privates. The lull in fighting they enjoyed in the spring of 1863 was transformed to a hellish experience one year later during the Battle of the Wilderness and of Spotsylvania. These people whom Adam Bellis disparaged were in fact “true soldiers.”

Soon after the battle, Corp. James I. Bullock, stationed at Spotsylvania Court House sent a letter to his father dated May 13, 1864, describing the fatalities. The letter was published in Hunterdon Republican on May 20, 1864 (and abstracted by William Hartmann). Bullock wrote that after nine days of

“the most awful fighting on record, There are now only 6 men beside myself left sound in Company A. [my emphasis] . . . We lost 18 men in a charge on the 8th of May, five men were lost on the picket line and yesterday we lost 25 men and both of our officers.

Orderly Sergeant Paul Kuhl is reported wounded in the field. Sgt. Lucien A. Voorhees is supposed killed on the 8th; John Brogan was killed. Jacob Apgar, John Burns, Sgt. Dungan and Lemuel Hockenbury are wounded. Sgt. Kline and Thomas Gregory are in the Drum Corps and all right. Theodore Bellis is all right. J. C. Everitt is missing; Capt. Shimer [Cornelius C. ?] is supposed to be killed and Lt. Justice is killed. Sgt. Lair and Sgt. Thatcher of Company G are wounded, and John Garren is missing. Lt. Col. Edward L. Campbell had two horses shot from under him.

You cannot imagine what carnage there has been. – Waterloo and Gettysburg were skirmished in comparison. 50,000 men will not more than cover our loss. Our regiment is like a company this morning. Another such a fight, and the country will be a vast hospital.

On June 1, 1864, the Gazette published a list of casualties (originally published in the Lambertville Beacon) in Companies A and G of the 15th Regiment from the battles of the previous month. The list had been forwarded to the Beacon by the regiment’s chaplain, Rev. A. A. Haines who wrote that the regiment lost 274 men out of 429, and 9 out of 13 officers. He wrote:

 “our severest losses were incurred on the evening of the 8th and the morning of the 12th, when we charged upon the enemy’s works. In the charge of the 12th, 49 were instantly killed. In visiting the spot the next day, I found them lying as they had fallen, all within the space of about two acres of cleared ground before on of the enemy’s bastions. Among the rest was Lieut. Justice, of Lambertville, instantly killed—shot, I think, through the heart. John Burns, Elijah W. Horn, and Abraham Trauger, also from Lambertville were wounded and sent to the rear hospital.”

It seemed appropriate to me to list the names of the men who sent the letter of rebuke to Adam Bellis, and to add information about who was wounded or killed in May 1864. The names attached to the Bellis letter were listed in no particular order, so I have alphabetized them here.

Sergeants:

  1. Manual Kuhl Kline (1841-1921), son of Henry Miller Kline, Esq. & Mary Roberson
  2. Paul Kuhl (1842-1864), killed at Spotsylvania, son of Leonard P. Kuhl
  3. Levi Runyan (1840-1915 Iowa), son of Joseph and Sarah Runyan of Warren Co.
  4. Lucien Augustus Voorhees (c.1843-1864), son of Courtland & Elizabeth Voorhees, killed May 8, 1864, author of the letter to Bellis.

Corporals:

  1. William Taylor Barber (1841-1910), son of James Barber & Mary Taylor, moved to Montgomery Co., IL; he and wife Arietta Arnwine (1845-1898) are buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Flemington, NJ.
  2. James I. Bullock (1844-1865), son of Edw. R. & Janet Bullock of Flemington, promoted to Captain, died at Cape Hatteras on board the Gen. Lyons steamer
  3. William B. Dungan (1842-1913), son of John & Elizabeth Dungan of Bucks Co., promoted to Sergeant, wounded May 12, 1864, returned to live in East Amwell
  4. Andrew F. Henry (c.1838-1900), son of Francis & Matilda Henry of Lambertville
  5. John F. Servis (possibly John Fletcher Servis, 1820-1907 ?), wounded May 8, 1864.11
  6. Wilson K. Snyder (Wilson H. Snyder, 1825-1906), son of James Snyder and Elizabeth Reed, lifelong resident of Delaware Township.

Privates in Co. A, 15th Regiment, NJ Volunteers (Several of these names could not be identified as Hunterdon residents.)

  1. William H. Agin of East Amwell
  2. David Allguard [sic, Algard], wounded May 8, 1864
  3. David Anthony, killed May 12, 1864
  4. Jacob D. Apgar, killed May 12, 1864
  5. George W. Bartow (1843- 1907) brother of the ed. of the Republican
  6. George S. Beavers, born 1840, killed May 8, 1864
  7. Theodore B. Bellis of Raritan Twp.
  8. John Brogan, killed at Spotsylvania, May 5, 1864
  9. Jacob F. Bryan of Lebanon Twp., wounded May 12, 1864
  10. John Bulmer, no information
  11. John Burns, wounded May 12, 1864 ?
  12. John Butler, Jr., wounded May 12, 1864 ?
  13. Samuel Case, no information
  14. Isaac Cathrall, no information
  15. William B. Clayton (1841-1902) of Lambertville, East Amwell
  16. John P. Collins, no information
  17. [Nahum] Cregar of Clinton Twp., no information
  18. Evin J. Green of Union Twp. (1831-1864)
  19. John S. Green (1844-1913) of Lambertville
  20. Harmon Heinbold, German immigrant, killed May 12, 1864
  21. George B. Henderson of Lebanon, died 1865
  22. John W. Henry, wounded May 8, missing
  23. Lewis Higgins (1809-1864), wounded May 8
  24. William L. Higgins, no information
  25. Lemuel Hockenbury, wounded May 12, 1864, died May 20th
  26. [Silas] N. Hockenbury, promoted to Corporal, killed May 12th
  27. Garret Hogan, wounded May 8, 1864
  28. Elijah W. Horn, wounded May 8, 1864
  29. Moses G. Housel, wounded May 8, 1864
  30. Henry P. Johnson, wounded May 8, 1864
  31. James Mattison (c.1840-1894?)
  32. Cornelius I. Nevius (a Corp. J. Nevius was killed May 12, 1864)
  33. Joseph G. Runkle, wounded May 12, 1864
  34. Robert S. Salter, no information
  35. Samuel Servis, no information
  36. John R. Slater (1840-1889), s/o Thomas Slater & Catherine Roberson
  37. Henry C. Smith, killed May 12, 1864, no information
  38. Lewis Snyder (1824-1894), s/o James Snyder & Elizabeth Reed
  39. Andrew C. Starker, no information
  40. Sutphin Starker (c.1840-?), son of Aaron & Ann Starker, no further information
  41. Joseph E. Sullivan (1845-1903), wounded May 12, 1864, s/o of John & Eliza Sullivan[#. There is a long obituary for him on Find-a-Grave, memorial # 34945642, including a description of the Battle of Bloody Angle where he was wounded.]
  42. Peter I. TenBroeck, wounded May 12, 1864, no further information
  43. Daniel Woodruff (1827-1864), son of Joseph & Mary Woodruff, killed in VA
  44. George C. VanCamp (c.1832-1902), father unidentified, m. Jane Williamson 1848.

Following the end of the Civil War, the volunteer militias faded away, once again. In their place, the New Jersey National Guard was organized, which remains today ready to step in when disasters befall New Jersey communities.

Footnotes:

  1. This John Bellis (1828-1907) was also a local historian who came to be known as “J.B.” or “JayBee.” He was probably the author of the Kingwood section in Snell’s History of Hunterdon County.
  2. H.C. Deed Book 122 p.760. A photograph and description of the Hall can be seen in “A Sergeantsville History.”
  3. Hunterdon Republican, March 30, 1860.
  4. There is a family legend that Charles Godown, who was later elected to the Assembly, was known as “Major Charles” because after his father, Jacob Godown, died suddenly in 1848, Charles took over the wheelwright shop at Dilts Corner and was called ‘major domo.’ Considering that Godown was actually elected Major of the Delaware Guards, I think we can set aside that legend.
  5. Hunterdon Republican, June 28, 1861.
  6. I learned of this notice from a subsequent letter to the editor. To my dismay I was unable to find the original in either the Hunterdon Democrat or the Hunterdon Republican. I cannot tell where it was published—perhaps in the Lambertville Beacon—or what the exact date was. A clipping of the response was found in the notebooks of William T. Srope, copies of which are part of John W. Kuhl’s collection.
  7. Holcombe’s Hall is today’s Township Hall in Sergeantsville, owned in 1861 by Robert E. Holcombe.
  8. On Sept. 12, 1862, the Hunterdon Republican published a list of all the men who volunteered to serve a nine-month term from Bethlehem, Clinton, East Amwell, Raritan, Readington, Tewksbury, West Amwell Townships, as well as Lambertville. Alexandria, Delaware, Kingwood and Lebanon Townships are missing from the list.
  9. Schmidt, pp.37-38.
  10. During 1862, while Companies A and G were stationed in Virginia, members sent letters to Alex. Suydam describing their situation, knowing that families back home were eager to hear how they were doing. Suydam duly published them in his paper. But those letters stopped when action heated up, and the few letters sent after Spotsylvania were devastating.
  11. It is thought that Andrew F. Henry married Mary Servis; she may have been a relative of John F. Servis.