This article will be followed by one written by Egbert T. Bush titled “Cherryville, Once Called Dogtown, Has Long History.” He knew the Cherryville Tavern was an old tavern, but could only get back as far as Reuben McPherson, who owned it from 1827 until his death in 1831.

Bush’s title immediately raised questions. How did this village get the name Cherryville? And how did its earlier name come to be “Dogtown?” I think I can answer the first question, but the second one escapes me, as it did Egbert T. Bush.

There was another early name for this village—Anderson Town. I can explain how it got that name as well as the name of Cherryville, but to do so, we must make our way back to the tavern owners who preceded Mr. McPherson.

(A characteristic of the research done for this article is that it took me to early Hunterdon residents connected to Hunterdon families, but whose parents could not be definitely identified. This goes for the Cherys, the Lowreys, the McPhersons, the Jones’s, the Brays and the Chamberlins. I also came upon a surprising number of men with the same names.)

Egbert Bush’s Mystery

In his article, “Klinesville Once Had A Tavern,” Egbert T. Bush described a deed of 1858 from Miller Kline to John G. Ewing for a property located on “the great road leading from what was formerly called Anderson’s Tavern.”1 This was just one of many many references in early deeds for properties in the area of Cherryville and Klinesville on ‘the road from Anderson’s to Flemington.’

Bush then wrote “One is set to wondering about ‘Anderson’s Tavern,’ whether it was the one in the hamlet [of Klinesville] or the one a half mile westward.” He never offered an answer to the location of Anderson’s Tavern or the identity of Anderson. I had to take that as a challenge.

Thanks to Family Search for providing access to the old tavern license petitions for Hunterdon County, as well as old deeds on microfilm, I was able to identify the owner of Anderson’s Tavern and to discover that it was located in the village of Cherryville itself, long before the village was known by that name. But that’s not the name I found in an old standby reference, Charles Shimer Boyer’s Old Inns & Taverns in West Jersey.2 He wrote:

Cherryville Inn:
Mansfield Hunt kept a tavern in 1761 by the forks in the road leading from Trenton to the Union Iron Works and the road leading to Grandin’s (or Hamden) Mills. The settlement around this tavern was at one time called Dogtown and was later known as Cherryville. Hunt was armorer for the Upper Regiment for the Hunterdon County Militia, and as such had charge of the guns supplied by the local militia to the county. Hunt was succeeded by his widow in 1768, and she in turn by John Bonnell. Nathaniel Lowrey was here in 1781, and of later tavernkeepers we have James Anderson, Adam Cough, James Paxson and Philip C. Anderson.

The road from Trenton to the Union Iron Works ran up to Flemington, then northwest through Cherryville and on north to Clinton. The Iron Works were just north of Clinton and the Spruce Run Reservoir. It is hard to see from today’s map how the road leading to Grandin’s or Hamden Mills would be any different. What is lacking is a reference to the road to Quakertown, which intersects this north-south road at Cherryville.

Mansfield Hunt, whose parents I have not identified, was certainly present in Amwell in 1748 when he made the inventory of Andrew Pettit. Around 1750 he was serving in the County Militia, as Boyer wrote. He died intestate in 1768, and on March 25, 1768, his inventory was sworn to by the administrators of his estate: widow Hannah, and Joseph and William Hunt, all residents of Kingwood.

Hats off to Hannah Hunt for carrying on the tavern business following her husband’s death. I wish I could say more about her.

Boyer mentioned that John Bonnell succeeded Hunt. Most likely he was the son of Abraham Bonnell of Bethlehem Township, who is thought to have been a tavernkeeper at the Boarshead tavern in Amwell. Abraham Bonnell, “innholder of Kingwood,” wrote his will on Jan. 28, 1768, naming sons Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and John, with an extra bequest of land to son John in Gloucester County. He named his wife (Mary Shinn) and son Isaac his executors, and his will was proved the following April. So, it would seem that John Bonnell had departed for southern New Jersey by 1768. As for Adam Cough or James Paxson, they remain mysteries.

Nathaniel Lowrey

Next on the list of Cherryville tavernkeepers was Nathaniel Lowrey.

My first reaction on learning his name was to think that he was the son of Thomas Lowrey (1737-1809) & Esther Fleming (1739-1814), daughter of Samuel Fleming, the early settler of Flemington. But no, Nathaniel Lowrey, born about 1750, was born too early to be Thomas & Esther Lowrey’s son. There were several Lowreys in early Hunterdon County, all of them Protestant Irish immigrants who arrived in the 1730s and 1740s. A couple of them were Nathaniel’s parents, and likely relatives of Flemington’s Thomas Lowrey, but I cannot say who Nathaniel’s parents were.

On April 26, 1770, Nathaniel Lowrey married Mary Lee, daughter of Gershom Lee (c.1735-1821) and Rebecca Hunt (c.1735-1821) of Amwell. It is noteworthy that Mary’s brother Jonathan (1760-1837) married Margaret Lowrey, a likely sister of Nathaniel Lowrey.

Nathaniel Lowrey was taxed in Amwell Township as a tavernkeeper in 1780 and granted a license there in 1781, but he was never taxed or licensed in Kingwood, where Cherryville was located (before Franklin Township was created out of Kingwood). There is no way to claim or prove that Lowrey kept a tavern in Cherryville.

Sometime during or after the Revolution, Nathaniel Lowrey left Hunterdon County. He may be the Nathaniel Lowrey who wrote his will on June 2, 1810, as a resident of Indiana.

What is important to us is that at some time prior to 1800, Lowrey sold a property of about 68 acres to James Anderson of Kingwood. We know this from the recital in a deed of 1817 selling Anderson’s property after he died.3 That property extended across the township line between Kingwood and Amwell and included part of Cherryville. Nathaniel Lowrey’s tavern could have been on the Amwell half of this property. Regrettably, the deed from Lowrey to Anderson was never recorded.

James Anderson

The Anderson who defined “the road from Anderson’s to Flemington,” i.e., the Klinesville Road, was James Anderson.

Before proceeding, I should note that another early Anderson owned a tavern in Amwell Township—John Anderson of the Ringoes neighborhood. You can find his story here at Anderson’s Tavern. The two Andersons were completely unrelated. James Anderson came from a Scottish family; John Anderson with the tavern near Ringoes came from an English family in Hopewell Township.

As mentioned before, some property records described roads as running from “Anderson’s to Flemington.” One example is the sale in 1806 by Adam & Maria Young to Adam Conrad for a 7.5-acre lot in Amwell located on “the road from James Anderson’s tavern to Flemington.”4 Given what later evidence has shown, Anderson’s tavern had to be either at Cherryville or just a short distance north of the village.

As with Nathaniel Lowrey, I was at first misdirected about the parents of James Anderson, thinking they were John Scot Anderson & Elizabeth Mattison of Lebanon Township. But after some thought, I’ve concluded that James was most likely (no proof yet) a brother of John Scot Anderson, both of them sons of William Anderson (c.1705-1789) and Jannett Best (c.1705-aft 1786), immigrants from Scotland. What threw me off was the 20-year difference between John Scot and James, who was born in Lebanon Township in 1743, the fourth child of William & Jannett, out of seven altogether. (See The William/Janette Anderson Tree.)

And then there was the will of William Anderson of Amwell, dated May 3, 1786. In it he left his homestead to his “grandsons John Scot Anderson and Jacob Anderson his brother.” These were in fact, William’s grandsons, children of his son, John Scot, Sr. (1725-1772), and wife Elizabeth Mattison (1731-1809), daughter of John Jacob Mattison and Anne Hankinson.

John Scot & Elizabeth Anderson lived in Lebanon Township and had nine children, the eldest one being Rachel (1752-1803) who married Rev. David Frazer, who we will hear from again.

About 1765, James Anderson, our Cherryville tavernkeeper and brother of John Scot, married Mary Colvin, daughter of Philip Colvin and Grace Holcombe of Amwell. Like William & Jannett Anderson, James and Mary Anderson had seven children, from 1768 to about 1790. Their fourth was Rebecca Anderson (c.1776-1828), who married in 1794 William A. Godley, another character to appear later in this story.

James & Mary Anderson’s first child was Philip Colvin Anderson, born 1768. About 1790, he married Azubah Jones, daughter of Thomas Jones of Lebanon Township and an unknown mother.

The Thomas Jones Families

About the time of the marriage of Philip & Azubah, Azubah’s father Thomas Jones conveyed property to James Anderson in trust for his sons Thomas & William Jones. It could also be around that time (1791) that Jones, by then a widower, married his second wife, none other than Elizabeth Mattison (1731-1809), widow of John Scot Anderson. She was named in Thomas Jones’ will, written on December 14, 1795. The will also referred to property in Lebanon Twp. being held for his sons William and Thomas, both minors, by James Anderson, and it named Jones’ “second daughter Ezubah Anderson.”5

In 1795, James Anderson and his family (presumably including Philip and Azubah) were living in “Captain Thomas Jones Stone House, Jones making much leeway in person & property.” This came from a letter written on Nov. 26, 1795, by David Frazer to James Martin, which a Martin descendant shared with me. Frazer called Anderson “my wife’s half uncle.” As a reminder, Frazer’s wife was Rachel Anderson, daughter of James Anderson’s brother John Scot Anderson & wife Elizabeth Mattison.

Given the subject of this article, it makes sense to mention that Capt. Thomas Jones of Lebanon Twp. applied for a tavern license at a date I have not determined, but certainly in the 18th century:

“your Petitioner hath for some years past been favoured with your Honors License for keeping a house of Publick Intertainment for Travellers and that your Petitioner hath now provided himself with the nessaries [sic] required by Law for Continuing the same.”

The question becomes: Was this the Capt. Thomas Jones who ran a tavern in Clinton during the Revolution and was harassed by Loyalists there?6 Boyers claims that James Anderson was one of the “later proprietors.” I wonder. By 1799, James Anderson had moved from Lebanon to Kingwood, as shown in a deed of 1799, in which Thomas Jones of Lebanon conveyed “to my trusty and loving friend” James Anderson of Kingwood, his power of attorney.7

Thomas Jones of Lebanon wrote his will on Dec. 14, 1795, leaving £25 to wife Elizabeth, £10 to “daughter” Ezubah [sic] Anderson, and naming his executors “friend John Bray of the City of New Brunswick and son William Jones.” He died around May 1801, age 81.

The Bray Family

And here we come to another problem. There was a second Thomas Jones born about 1730 (about ten years after the Thomas Jones we have been discussing). He was the one who was attacked by Tories during the Revolution and is generally known as Capt. Thomas Jones. He married Anne Bray (1738-1816), daughter of Andrew Bray and Margaret Watson. Based on the births of Anne’s children, the marriage probably took place around 1760.

And yet, the John Bray named in the 1795 will of Thomas Jones of Lebanon, happened to be the brother of the Anne Bray who married the other Thomas Jones. This other Jones wrote his will on March 24, 1812, identifying himself as Thomas Jones of Kingwood Township and leaving a good feather bed to his loving wife Anne. (He died the next month at age 77.) One of the executors of this Kingwood Jones’ estate was his friend John Cherry (see below), and one of the men who made the inventory was Samuel McFarson, a relative of Reuben McFerson’s.

The Thomas Jones who was father of Azubah and father-in-law of Philip C. Anderson (son of James) was not the same as the Thomas Jones who was married to Anne Bray (1738-1816). Just to thicken the plot, Anne Bray Jones was the mother of the Thomas Jones who married Grace Anderson (1782-1813), daughter of James Anderson & Mary Colvin.8

Anderson’s Tavern Petitions

In 1795, while James Anderson and family were living in Capt. Thomas Jones’ house, his son Philip C. Anderson applied for a tavern license in Kingwood Township, more than likely the one at Cherryville. He was by then about 27 years old. (Remember, we do not know exactly when Anderson acquired the tavern lot at Cherryville from Nathaniel Lowrey. It could have been as early as 1795.)

The first tavern petition for James Anderson himself is dated 1799, at which time Anderson was residing in Kingwood Township, not Lebanon Township. (This was many years before Franklin Twp. was separated from old Kingwood.) Unfortunately, the microfilm photograph of this petition is missing from the Family Search file. But that is not such a great loss because in the early 1800’s, the petitions were signed by local officials, which makes them very uninteresting. Not until 1804 do we get a petition signed by the locals. Anderson’s sureties that year were Ezekiel Anderson and David H. Bishop. The petitioners were [names as written, but listed alphabetically]:

William Abbott, John Anderson, Joshua Anderson, Timothy Baker, Francis Besson, Joseph Chamberlin, Cristopher Cool Sr., Philip Grandin, Richard Hagt, Thomas Hartpense, Jonath Higgins Jr., Thomas Holcombe, Harbart Hummer, John Hummer, David Mcferson, Phillip Pidcock, David Schamp, John Snyder, and Isaac Swelow.

1804 was also the last year that James Anderson petitioned for a license. It looks as if he wrote it out himself. Here it is:

Gershom Hull, tavernkeeper

The next year, 1805, James Anderson gave up tavern-keeping. By then he was in his early 60s. In 1805, he signed the petition of Gershom Hull of Kingwood, and again in 1806. Gershom Hull’s petitions gave very little information about the location of his tavern; nothing more than “on the road from Pitts Town to Trenton” and the “road from New Hampton to Flemington.” Which is very similar to Boyer’s tavern in 1761 “by the forks in the road leading from Trenton to the Union Iron Works and the road leading to Grandin’s (or Hamden) Mills.” People back then were very casual about their road designations, probably because there were so few of them.

Gershom Hull was born c.1775, the youngest child of Daniel & Esther Hull of Bethlehem Twp. He married in 1801 Mary Romine (c.1780-?), daughter of James Romine & Eliada Barber of Amwell, and sister of Furman Romine. Gershom and Mary left Hunterdon, probably soon after 1806, to settle in Mansfield Twp., Sussex Co., NJ from whence they sold in 1814 a lot of 3.3 acres in Alexandria Twp. to Gershom’s brother-in-law, Charles DeBow. In other words, Gershom Hull ran the tavern for a very short time.

Aaron Thatcher, tavernkeeper

After Hull’s departure, Aaron Thatcher petitioned for a license in 1807 stating that it was for a tavern “at Anderson Town, lately occupied by Gershom Hull.” This was the first reference to Anderson Town that I found in the tavern licenses. At the time, the property was still owned by James Anderson.

Aaron Thatcher applied again in 1808, for a tavern at “Andersontown, on the road from Sussex to Trenton and from Easton to New Brunswick,” and again in 1809, 1810 and 1811. James Anderson signed his petitions for 1809 and 1810. The petition for 1811 again stated that the tavern was located at Anderson Town.

Aaron Thatcher (c.1775-1820) was the son of English emigrant Samuel Thatcher who settled in the Klinesville area before the Revolution. In 1798, he married Mary Thatcher (c.1780-1860?), daughter of Jonas Thatcher, Sr. and Sarah Lake of Amwell/Delaware Twp.  More confusing genealogy: Aaron and Mary were first cousins once removed before they married.

After 1811, Aaron Thatcher was no longer associated with the Anderson tavern. Exactly what he was doing with himself is hard to say. He seems to have moved to Delaware Township where Thatcher relatives were located. He was only 45 when he died there in 1820. His widow left for Illinois with a nephew where she died around 1860.


All during my research, I kept an eye out for some explanation for the name Dogtown. I found none, and apparently neither did Egbert T. Bush. Presumably there was a cluster of wild dogs in the neighborhood. The chapter on Franklin Township in John P. Snell’s History of Hunterdon County was written by Egbert T. Bush himself and has almost nothing to say about the village, as you can see:

CHERRYVILLE, formerly called Dogtown, is near the Raritan line. It was named in 1839 in honor of the Cherry family who once owned most of the land around it. It contains [in 1881 when the history was published] a Baptist church, a store, a wheelwright-shop, a blacksmith-shop, and about a dozen dwellings.

But no tavern. Mr. Bush went on to list the postmasters there but has nothing to say about the tavern or the origins of ‘Dogtown.’

And as for the Cherry family . . .

John Chery

In 1812, John Chery of Kingwood (name consistently spelled with one ‘r’) petitioned for a tavern “where Aaron Thatcher lately kept in Cherryville in the Township of Kingwood.”9

This was the first use of the name Cherryville that I found. Prior to this, Aaron Thatcher had always written that his tavern was at Anderson Town, and as of 1812, James Anderson still owned the property. John Chery must have made quite an impression to have the locals change the town’s name to his. He had been living in the neighborhood prior to that, having signed the petitions of both James Anderson and Aaron Thatcher.

But perhaps it was just self-promotion or free advertising. As late as 1838, when the property was offered at a sheriff’s sale (estate of Reuben McPherson, dec’d), the name Dogtown was still in use.10

Once again, I am confronted with two men with the same name living close to the same time, in the same general area: there were two John Chery’s. The older one was born 1736 to Henry Cherry and Martha Wade of Bucks County. When Henry Cherry of Newtown wrote his will on May 11, 1756, he named son John among other offspring. (The will was proved June 23rd.)

The second John Chery was the son of the first, born around 1765. He lived in Hunterdon’s Kingwood Township and was married about 1790 to Rachel Stevenson (c.1764-1858), the daughter of Thomas Stevenson & Rachel Baker of Kingwood. When Thomas Stevenson wrote his will on Oct. 15, 1813, he named Rachel Cherry among his five daughters, and named John Cherry one of his executors, along with John & Joseph Anderson.

It’s hard not to think that the second John Chery was the one who became involved in Cherryville. In fact, there is evidence of that going all the way back to 1798 when a John Chery purchased a 5.5-acre lot in then Kingwood Township bordering land lately owned by Reuben McFerson, other land of John Chery, the great road from Union to Flemington, and James Anderson.11

That other land of Chery’s was a ‘plantation’ of 145 acres in Kingwood. When it was sold by Chery’s administrator in 1823, it was described as bordering the great road leading from Flemington to the Union, corner to Thomas McFerson, the Brook, and Daniel Abbot.12

Chery reapplied for a license in 1813 and 1814, but in 1815, Jesse Chamberlin of Kingwood took his place.

Jesse Chamberlin

And about Jesse Chamberlin I really do have nothing to say. He just disappears after acquiring a license in 1815. Jesse Chamberlin of Kingwood petitioned13 to keep a tavern at the house kept for the past two years by John Cherry. And once again, there were two Jesse Chamberlins. About the tavernkeeper I know next to nothing. The other one resided in Franklin Township in Somerset County. But it matters little, as Chamberlin was only licensed for one year.

In 1816, one John Fonner, Jr. applied for a tavern license “at Anderson Town where one has been kept for 40 years,” which takes us back to 1776. Among the signers were John Cherry, John and Samuel Mcfarson, William Godley and Henry M. Kline. Fonner renewed his license in 1817.

Anderson’s Estate

James Anderson died at age 74 on Oct. 30, 1817, still in possession of the tavern lot. He had survived his wife Mary Colvin by 13 years. (Oddly enough, Find-a-Grave has not located their burial places.)

Administration of Anderson’s estate was granted to his son-in-law, William A. Godley, husband of his daughter Rebecca (c.1776-1828). Given the extent of Anderson’s possessions and the number of heirs, Godley was obliged to petition the court in December 1817 to name commissioners to divide and sell the real estate. Those commissioners were Alexander Bonnell, William Bishop and John Carr, and on May 23, 1818, they sold a 90.3-acre tract of land in Raritan Township south of Flemington to Matthias Bellis for $4,464.64.14 (This was the plantation owned by William Anderson and bequeathed by him to his grandsons John Scot & Jacob Anderson. John Scot released his right in the property to brother Jacob, who died in 1799. Jacob Anderson’s executors offered the 90.3 acres at public sale in March 1800, and James Anderson was the highest bidder.)

On the same day, May 23, 1818, the commissioners sold two tracts of land in Kingwood to William Godley himself, who paid a significant $3,154.50.15 The first was two 5-acre woodlots, but it is the second lot that interests us. It was described as the tavern stand of 58.05 acres bordering the road from Flemington to Sidney, Thomas McFerson’s stone corner, Adam Conrad, Christopher Kuhl, Godley’s hatter’s shop, and the old tavern shed. This was the property “which Nathaniel Lowrey and others by their several deeds” sold to James Anderson. The value of the two woodlots was placed at $66 and $69 per acre, while the tavern lot was only worth $42.70 per acre, showing how valuable woodlots were in the early 19th century. (I underlined the notation about Nathaniel Lowrey to emphasize where I learned that he had once owned the tavern lot.)

The Godleys did not really want the tavern property. I suspect they purchased it to preserve its value. One year later, they found a buyer, none other than John Fonner, the man who had been operating the tavern since 1816. He probably needed some time to put together his financing, as the property cost $3500. The day after the property was conveyed to Fonner (May 20, 1819), Fonner and wife Mary mortgaged it to the commissioners, Bonnell, Bishop & Carr, who had sold it to Godley, to secure the sum of $1,848.38.16

John Fonner

John Fonner was most likely the son of William & Christiana Fonner of Readington Township. He had an older brother, James, who was also a tavern keeper. Both John and James were listed in the Hunterdon Militia of 1792, but James subsequently left for Crawford, Pennsylvania.

John Fonner was listed among those petitioning for a tavern license from 1816 through 1821. In 1822, Fonner took some time off from tavernkeeping and rented the tavern to John H. Schamp, who petitioned for a license “at Anderson Town, on the main road from Sussex to Trenton, where an inn has been kept for 60 years.” This petition is noteworthy because as far as I can tell it is the last time the name “Anderson Town” was used for the village of Cherryville.

The next year, Fonner was again running the tavern, which he identified as on the main road from Sussex to Trenton, where an inn or tavern has been kept for 86 years. That’s quite a leap, and no mention of Anderson Town or Cherryville. It takes us back to 1736, which is further back than I can go. In fact, it is so far back, that we enter the realm of the unlikely.

In 1824, John Fonner was again licensed, and the same year these neighboring taverns were also licensed: Peter C. Cherry of Amwell at the Point Tavern; Henry Moore of Amwell at Mount Carmel, lately kept by Joseph Davis (Klinesville Tavern); and William Nixon of Kingwood, at Quakertown.

Fonner was married to Mary Hummer, daughter of Adam & Elisabetha Hummer of Lebanon Township. They had at least one child, William, who applied for a tavern license in 1825, stating that it was for the tavern “lately kept” by his father John Fonner.

Fonner had died intestate at the age of about 50, and administration was granted to Charles Bonnell, who on April 28, 1825, offered in the Hunterdon Gazette Fonner’s personal goods for sale: “at the late dwelling house of John Fonner, deceased, in the township of Kingwood: Household and kitchen furniture, horses, cows, hogs, ploughs, wagons, two still kettles, worms, cisterns, hogsheads, barrels, blacksmith’s tools &c.

Bonnell was unable to satisfy Fonner’s creditors. In Sept. 1825, the sheriff offered for public sale at Neal Hart’s Flemington inn a farm in Lebanon Township bordering the South Branch of the Raritan “whereon John Fonner formerly lived, . . . Seized as the property of John Fonner and Mary his wife, and others, defendants, and taken execution [sic] at the suit of Abimael Y. Nicoll, complainant.”

Then on January 12, 1826, the sheriff returned to Neal Hart’s hotel to sell “all that certain tavern house and lot of land, situated in the township of Kingwood, said to contain 69 acres more or less, with the appertenances [sic], adjoining lands late of Adam Conrad, Charles Bonnell and others; seized as the property of John Fonner, and taken in execution at the suit of William Chamberlin, David Fuleizer [Hulsizer] and David Bateman, executors of John Chamberlin, senior, deceased.”

Apparently, a suitable purchaser was not found. A notice in the Nov. 24, 1826 issue of the Gazette offered for sale on the following January 29th, at the house of Peter C. Cherry, innkeeper in the township of Amwell, the 69 acres of John Fonner and wife, “adjoining lands of Thomas McFarson, Christopher Cool, and others.”

The buyer was none other than Reuben McPherson. A deed was recorded on February 15, 1827 in which Sheriff Edward Welsted conveyed Fonner’s property to McPherson for $1,000.17

The story of the Cherryville Inn will be continued in the next article by Egbert T. Bush. But first:

Postscript, The Two McPherson/McFerson Families

Reuben McPherson was the son of Reuben McPherson, Sr. and grandson of Thomas McPherson, Sr. That senior Thomas, born about 1730, arrived in Hunterdon from Ireland in the mid-1700s. He did well once he got here. He was most likely related to another early immigrant, Samuel McFerson (c.1709-1772), but I cannot say how.18 The two were certainly acquainted— in 1772, Thomas made the inventory of the estate of Samuel McPherson, dec’d of Kingwood.

Back in 1747, a Thomas ‘Machfarson’ made the inventory of David Drake, dec’d, of Piscataway, which suggests that our Thomas stopped in Middlesex County on his way to Hunterdon. He was married about 1750 to Ann Molleson, but I cannot identify her roots.

By 1778, Thomas McFerson was taxed on 177 acres in Kingwood Township. (There is no recorded deed for McFerson’s purchase of his property.) He died intestate in 1784, and on Dec. 10th of that year, administration of his estate was granted to sons David and Reuben, with James Anderson acting as fellowbondsman. All of them lived in Kingwood Township. The inventory, which showed assets worth £181.14.4, was conducted by neighbor James Anderson and nephew [?] Samuel Mcfarson. Money was paid by administrators of the estate to Anne (the widow), Reuben and David McFerson (his sons), and to Thomas King (his son-in-law, husband of daughter Rebecca). The administrators happened to be Anne, Reuben and David.

McFerson’s Cherryville property

Son David moved to Hopewell where he married Sally Allen. His brother Capt. Reuben McPherson (1754-1793) remained in Kingwood, and in 1775 married Elizabeth Barrows Leigh (1753-c.1810), daughter of Ichabod Smith Leigh and Anne Stout of Middlesex County, NJ. The couple had eight children, including Thomas Jr. (1776-1832) who married Mary Chamberlin; Anna (1782-1856) who married Daniel Pierson; and Reuben, Jr. (1793-1831) who married Sarah Barton.

On Nov. 6, 1793, when he was only 39 years old, Capt. Reuben McPherson was killed “by the accidental discharge of a gun at a training at Quakertown, NJ.”19 Administration of his estate was given to his brother David, who was identified in the estate papers as an innkeeper. Included in his property was the plantation where Reuben’s widow lived along with his mother Ann McPherson, who still owned her one-third dower right in the property.

To satisfy remaining debts, On October 24, 1806, David McPherson of Hopewell conveyed to Thomas McPherson of Kingwood for $339, an undivided half share in 86 acres in Kingwood that bordered James Anderson, Adam Conrad, John Kuhl and John Cherry, which was then in possession of Reuben’s widow Elizabeth and Thomas McPherson himself.20

On January 16, 1831, Thomas’ brother Reuben, owner of Anderson’s Tavern, died from a fall. Less than a month later, Thomas himself died, as reported in the Hunterdon Gazette of Feb 15, 1832: “Mr. Thomas McPherson, innkeeper, near Clinton,” died, on the 8th of February, “after an illness of about three weeks.” That designation of ‘innkeeper’ tells us that following his brother’s death, Thomas had taken over running the tavern.

And here we come to a temporary and tragic end. Egbert T. Bush will take up the tale in the next article.


  1. Mr. Bush was referring to H.C. Deed Book 117 p.415.
  2. Old Inns & Taverns in West Jersey, Camden Co. Historical Society, 1962, p.237.
  3. H.C. Deed Book 30 p.115.
  4. H.C. Deed Book 13 p.89.
  5. An oddity about Thomas Jones’ will is that although it identified son William as a minor, it also named him one of the executors.
  6. See Boyers, p.224.
  7. H.C. Deed Book 2 p.404.
  8. Bray and Jones descendants who would like to clear things up for me are invited to email me at
  9. Family Search, Hunterdon County, Business Records & Commerce, Tavern License Applications, 1799-1868, 1812, frames 20-21.
  10. H.C. Deed Book 71 p.4.
  11. H.C. Deed Book 30 p.625.
  12.   H.C. Deed Book 42 p.36.
  13. Family Search, 1815, frames 503-04.
  14. H.C. Deed Book 29 p.68.
  15. H.C. Deed Book 30 p.115.
  16. H.C. Deed Book 30 p.106; Mortgage Book 8 p.27.
  17. H.C. Deed Book 42 p.56.
  18. Because I cannot definitely connect the two McFersons, I will do two separate family trees for the McPherson family but would really like to connect them and create a single family tree.
  19. Egbert T. Bush, “Croton and Vicinity,” The Hunterdon Republican, July 22, 1896.
  20. H.C. Deed Book 13 p.115.