This article by Egbert T. Bush describes a particular neighborhood, not far northwest of Flemington, at the intersection of today’s Thatcher’s Hill Road and Sand Hill Road.
In preparing to publish Mr. Bush’s article, I found it necessary to present four (possibly five) separate articles: 1) The article by Mr. Bush titled, “Klinesville Once Had A Tavern,” with a minimum of comments; 2) A separate article (Klinesville People) featuring the people mentioned by Mr. Bush with additional information; and 3) an article about a tavern Mr. Bush mentioned but knew little about, called the Point Tavern. In addition, I will be publishing 4) Mr. Bush’s article on the village of Cherryville, which is just up the road from Klinesville, and 5) an article about Anderson’s Tavern, which Mr. Bush was unable to locate.
Although Mr. Bush called his article “Klinesville Once Boasted a Tavern,” there were actually two taverns there, and possibly three. In addition to the Klinesville tavern, there was Everitt’s Tavern and the “Point Tavern” And just up the road was the Cherryville tavern. Here is a glimpse of the neighborhood from a map of Raritan Township published in 1850:
Such a cluster of taverns in this vicinity demonstrates how vital taverns were in the days when the only other place to gather was the local church or the schoolhouse, and when traveling the main roads to a distant destination by means of horses & carriages required stops along the way.
Because Mr. Bush was writing in 1931, his knowledge of the area is very different from ours, so I will be interrupting from time to time to explain what places or people he is referring to, to the extent that I can. Most of my comments are reserved for the previous article, Klinesville People.
Klinesville Once Boasted a Tavern
by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, N. J.,
Hunterdon Co. Democrat, January 29, 1931
About two and a half miles northwest of Flemington, as you go by the kinky old road up Cox’s Hill toward Cherryville, is an interesting old hamlet long known as Klinesville. There is not much “ville” to it now, but it was once an active place. The name is said to have been given in honor of Miller Kline, who kept a store on the southeast corner during the middle years of the past century, and who was the first postmaster in the village.
Now, nearly 100 years later, there is even less “ville” to the area. It is strictly residential and very hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The “kinky old road up Cox’s Hill” is now Thatcher’s Hill Road. The Cox who owned at least part of the hill was “A. Cox,” as shown on a map of 1851.
This was Albert Schenck Cox (1780-1853), who came to the Flemington area from Somerville about 1823 and remained there for the rest of his life. (Please visit Klinesville People for more on Cox and his family.)
The village of Klinesville got some attention in James P. Snell’s 1881 History of Hunterdon County (p. 307):
“Klinesville was once a post-office and place of considerable business and promise. It derived its name from Miller Kline who there carried on the dry-goods and grocery trade. It is now without either store or post office. Three or four farm residences now constitute the place.”
Klinesville got its first post office in 1836. On July 6th of that year, the Hunterdon Gazette announced that “A post-office has been established at Klinesville, and Henry M. Kline appointed postmaster.” My first thought was that the reference was to Henry M. Kline, Sr., father of Miller Kline. Both father and son were active in the Klinesville neighborhood. But it was most likely the younger Kline who got a tavern license in 1834 and 1835, which would make him the most likely candidate for Postmaster. (Like Cox, there is more on the Kline family in Klinesville People.)
Mr. Bush was aware that the name Klinesville preceded the post office. He wrote:
From what was told by old people in early days, it would appear that the name came ahead of Miller’s activities and prominence there. Be that as it may, there were many Klines hereabout, and the place was aptly named, whether for Miller or for the whole family. It was certainly Klinesville in 1838, and probably sooner.
Bush was mistaken in his dates, as the post office was set up in 1836.
Henry M. Kline, father of Miller, came here quite early, owned various tracts of land and was prominent in his day. He died in 1848, and his two sons, Miller and Oliver, administered on his estate. We find that by deed dated March 27, 1858,1 Miller Kline conveyed to John G. Ewing two lots: one “Beginning at a chestnut tree standing on the north side of great road from Quakertown to Taylor’s Mills,” 2 * * * thence “to a corner in line of Elisha Barton’s land in the middle of the great road leading from what was formerly called Anderson’s Tavern,” containing 12 acres 1 rood and 21 perches of land.” The second lot, “Beginning at a corner in the great road leading from formerly called Peter Cherry’s Inn to Flemington, in line of Elisha Barton, containing ten acres. Being the two tracts of land that was conveyed to Miller Kline by Henry M. Kline, May 6, 1845.”3
The property sold by Kline’s sons to John G. Ewing was located along Sand Hill Road just east of the Klinesville intersection. Three roads were mentioned in that deed, and they will be discussed at the end of the article.
One is set to wondering about “Anderson’s Tavern,” whether it was the one in the hamlet or the one a half mile westward.4
Also, about “Peter Cherry’s Inn;” but there is little doubt that this was the Cherryville Tavern of the early days. The hamlet did boast of a tavern very early, but when or by whom the first was opened here is not known. The house in which a tavern was kept more than a century ago, is still standing, still used as a dwelling house and still showing no signs of its great age—how great cannot be ascertained. It is now the farm home of Luther H. King.
The tavern lot later occupied by Luther H. King is the one in Klinesville that was previously owned by the Suydam family. King bought it from Asa Suydam’s daughter Ella in 1914.
The tavern located a half mile northwest of Klinesville was the Point Tavern which was run by Peter C. Chery, a fact that Mr. Bush does not seem to have realized. Chery’s tavern was not located in Cherryville. Like Anderson’s Tavern, the Point Tavern is reserved for a future article.
Mr. Bush continues:
We find early reference to “Everitt’s Tavern,” and also find that Moses Everitt purchased of Cornelius Polhemus 151.7 acres of land, including this farm, Feb. 1, 1815, for $6,100.5 This was a large sum for that day, showing that it must have been a desirable property. Everitt gave his name to the tavern; and the tavern being then the most prominent spot in any hamlet, the conveyancers generally used it as a designation. During Everitt’s occupancy, the tavern seems to have been a valuable “appurtenance thereto belonging.”
The Everitt Holdings
The deed to Everitt says: “Beginning at a heap of stones, corner to lands of John Schenck, Junior, (formerly Thomas Teats), in line of Christopher Cool’s land.” Thence the boundaries run by lands of John Deats, Elisha Barton and others to “a corner in the road leading from Flemington to Sussex;” thence by lands of Henry M. Kline and John Schenck to the beginning. “Being the same * * * of which the said Cornelius Polhemus became seized * * * by Divers good and sufficient deeds and conveyances.”
I had a little trouble identifying the right Moses Everitt (there were several) but the tavernkeeper was probably the son of Daniel Everitt & Rachel Rittenhouse. (See Klinesville People.) The Everitt tract, which was quite large, ran along the Sand Hill-Klinesville Road and north toward Cherryville.
In 1822 Moses Everitt conveyed to Gilbert Barton, son of Elisha, 75 acres of the farm in question. In 1852 letters of administration on Gilbert’s estate were issued to Judiah S. Barton [son of Gilbert & wife Sarah Higgins], who became owner of the farm. It is now owned by H. E. Deats, and for many years has been farmed by Leroy E. Schomp, son of John, grandson of Milton and Mehala Schomp, and great grandson of Francis and Maria Trimmer, whose farm touched the grounds of the old “Hemlock Church.”6
You can see “G. Barton” on the east side of the Klinesville-Cherryville Road, just north of the hotel owned by “H. Suydam” on the Cornell Map. Gilbert Barton died shortly after the map was published in 1852, age 74. The deed of 1822 from Everitt to Barton7 stated that the 75 acres bordered Christopher Kuhl, the road from New Brunswick to Alexandria, and other land of Moses Everitt, which sounds like the description was taken from the previous deed.
Moses Everitt ran into financial trouble, and as a result, lost his property in Amwell, as Mr. Bush explains:
August 15, 1825, John Cavanaugh, Sheriff, conveyed to William Runkle, Esq., the Everitt tract and 36 acres additional, excepting the 75 acres sold to Gilbert Barton.8 The deed says, “Sold at the house of Neal Hart, Innkeeper in the township of Amwell,” [i.e., Flemington] and speaks of a “corner in the road from formerly Maxwell’s Mills to Mt. Carmel.” I think “Maxwell’s Mills” were the old mills a short distance from Barley Sheaf. And there is little doubt that “Mt. Carmel” meant Quakertown, from the old-time “Mount Carmel Tract” in the vicinity.
I beg to differ—Mount Carmel was not Quakertown, at least not in the 1820s. As shown on the well-known map of Hunterdon County drawn up in 1828 by Thomas Gordon, Mount Carmel was Klinesville, not Quakertown, which was called “Fairview” on Gordon’s map. (Snell also noted that it was once called Fairview.) 9 Unfortunately, the Gordon map does not include the names of the property owners. It does show four structures at Klinesville, and we are left to guess which one was the tavern.
Klinesville-Mount Carmel had once been part of the huge tract of 4,170 acres surveyed for Daniel Coxe in 1712, just north of William Penn’s tract of 5,000 acres. Coxe gave his ‘plantation’ the name of Mount Carmel, which later became associated with the Klinesville-Quakertown area.
It surprises me that Mr. Bush was not familiar with this passage from James P. Snell’s History of Hunterdon County (p.299), in which he discusses the topography of Raritan Township:
There are no considerable elevations in the township, those most noticeable being Mullen Hill and Mount Carmel, the slopes of which are gentle rather than abrupt, and mark on either hand beautiful and fertile valleys, the pride of the husbandmen of Raritan . . .
One place to find references to ‘Mount Carmel’ is in the tavern license applications. The earliest one I found for a tavern at Mount Carmel was for Andrew Emans in 1832, followed by Miller Kline in 1834-35, John Parker in 1836, David F. Anderson in 1837 and John Parker again in 1838. The last one was 1845-46 for John Parker at “Mount Carmel Tavern.” Bush continues:
May 25, 1833, William Runkle, Esq. conveyed the same property to Henry Suydam. Henry left it to his two sons, Daniel and Asa. Daniel lived on a farm a little west of Flemington. April 5, 1855, he conveyed his one-half interest in the Klinesville property to Asa, who thus became sole owner. Here Asa lived and labored during the remainder of his active life, a prominent farmer, active in the affairs of the community and postmaster for many years. He died March 8, 1908. The property was sold by his heirs to Luther H. King in 1914.
“H. Suydam” can be seen at Klinesville on the 1851 Cornell map and “A. Suydam” is there on the 1873 Beers Atlas. (More on the Suydam’s in Klinesville People.) Luther H. King (1867-1960) takes us into the 20th century. He was the son of Joseph A. King and Almira Tiger, and married Bertha G. McCrea in 1887.
But this old house, as intimated, did not have a monopoly of the liquor business here. In fact, the boundaries of the Everitt tract included the site of still another tavern. This one stood on the sharp point of ground marked out by the junction of the road from Allen’s Corner with the old Cherryville road. On this point stood a house long used as a tavern. It is not known when or by whom the business was started here, but it was a place of note in its day, and reference was made to the old “Pint Tavern” and to some of the doings there, long after it had fallen into disuse. The name is said to have been given because of its location on the point. But everybody called it the “Pint Tavern,” and as such it is remembered.
An apocryphal tradition, however, gives another origin for the name: At one time the house was used as both store and tavern. A customer came in for a pound of shot, just as everybody but an old lady happened to be away, and she knew little about the business. No weight could be found, but she was bound to make the sale. Gaily remarking, “A pint’s a pound the world around,” she grabbed a pint measure and dealt out the shot. This sadly lacks authentication, and probably belongs with that class of stories persistently told of this or that prominent man—stories that were hoary with age when the great man was still playing marbles.
I will be discussing owners of the Point Tavern in a forthcoming article.
Gideon D. Ewing
The Ewings were here early and had much to do with the prosperity of the place. So far as known, Gideon D. Ewing was the first in the vicinity. He was a son of Rev. James Ewing, who was born in Scotland in 1755, and came to New Jersey in early life. He combined teaching with preaching—or preaching with teaching, as you prefer. He served for a long time as pastor of the Baptist Church at Hopewell. He died in 1806 and was buried in the Baptist grounds there.
Gideon D. Ewing was born Jan. 22, 1784. October 26 [year not given; it was 1805], he married Mary, daughter of Jacob Quick. Their seven children were: Amelia, who married Amos Shepherd; John G. married Eleanor Creveling; Elizabeth married William Risler; Jerusha Ann; Martha; Susan married Jacob Williamson; and James G., who was born at Klinesville July 11, 1823. Nov. 9, 1842, he married Ann Elizabeth, daughter of John Higgins, who owned the Higgins homestead now owned and occupied by James J. Higgins. They had one son, the late Dr. John H. Ewing, who practiced his profession at Flemington, and died there in 1910. Ann Elizabeth died in January 1905, and James G. died in March of the same year.
April 1812, Charles Reading conveyed 26 acres of land to Gideon Ewing, “adjoining lands of said Gideon Ewing;” which shows that he was already here. By deed dated May 3, 1831, William W. Schenck conveyed to Gideon Ewing 75.45 acres of land: “Beginning at a stone in line of Jacob Shafer and corner to John Risler’s land, thence * * * to a corner in the road leading from formerly Everitt’s Tavern to the South Branch of the Raritan.” This lies east of the hamlet and had been sold to William W. Schenck by Joseph L. Schenck, March 23, 1830. Many other Ewings were in and about the hamlet, adding strength and solidity to the community. But this interesting old family is so numerous that to do half justice to it, would shut out everything else from this random sketch.
Other Klinesville Families
Elisha Barton, often mentioned in old deeds, was Capt. Elisha Barton of Revolutionary service. He spent most of his life on the big farm here, now owned by his three-times great-grandson, Jacob Barton. Elisha’s numerous descendants are now spread from ocean to ocean. They include so many names that these alone with no attempt to explain relationship, would fill several columns. The old soldier died on the farm in 1824. And there he sleeps in the family burying ground, as peacefully as though no reveille had ever disturbed his slumbers.
Both the Ewing and Barton families get discussed in Klinesville People.
Amos Shepherd, who married Amelia, daughter of Gideon D. Ewing, lived on a farm a short distance down the Flemington road from the Klinesville schoolhouse. May 3, 1845, John B. McPherson and wife conveyed this farm of 30.15 acres to Amos Shepherd for $1,450. The same had been conveyed to McPherson by Samuel Atkinson and wife, May 10, 1842; and by William Bishop to Samuel Atkinson, March 31, 1838: “Beginning at a stone on the west side of the road leading from Klinesville to Flemington.” Othniel Lake conveyed the same to William Bishop June 7, 1835.
The school here is of uncertain origin. We are told that two school-houses had stood in succession near the present site before the third was built in 1861, on land leased by William R. Rockefellow to Asa Suydam and John G. Ewing, as Trustees, with reversion to the owner of the farm. This farm of 120.45 acres was sold to John Kuhl Apr. 4, 1867, for $8,414. It is now owned by his son, Pierson Kuhl. In 1828 the farm was conveyed to William S. Rockafellow by William Bishop. Bishop’s deed to Rockafellow has the course from the corner by the schoolhouse down the Flemington road, running “to a corner on the side of the road near where Edward Partier [sic] used to have a cooper shop.” That corner is opposite the Shepherd place, but who knows anything about Edward or his cooper shop?
That was Edward Perlier, and there is indeed very little known of him (see Klinesville People).
The First Teacher
Here Mr. Bush is writing from his own experience as a schoolteacher of many years.
Annie Dilworth goes down as the first teacher in the house built in 1861. Others are not of record. My own experience there was in 1871-2. Several of the old names were still found in the school. Among these were Barton, Kuhl, Suydam, and Williamson. But no Schenck, Deats, Shafer or Kline was found. I particularly remember Furman Williamson and his sister, now Mrs. John D. Case of Quakertown. Also, the two Kuhl boys, and the boy William Holt—our well-known “Bill Holt” of later days. He then lived with his widowed mother at John Barton’s. He was interesting and well liked as a boy, and later as a man. When Gideon D. Ewing was near his end, the boy John Coyle, then about ten years old, came running down past the school grounds as fast as he could—and he could as fast as any boy that I have ever seen. He was evidently on his way to notify the Shepherds. As he passed me, he gasped out: “Mr. Ewing ain’t got but one breath left; he’d better hold on to that, or he’ll be clean out!” And on he ran with practically no interruption.
What about the big hill left behind? Only this: Whether you have any business there or not, go down that hill some fine morning just as the sun is peeping up over the distant hills. Look this way and that across the beautiful valley to range on its boundry [sic]. See Flemington, seemingly, so near and without a care in the world. See fine hamlets and smiling farm homes scattered over the broad expanse. And then do justice to the subject if you can.
That view is enchanting on all occasions. But one fine winter morning 60 years ago [c.1870], I was walking down that hill. Diamonds in profusion sparkled on every shrub and brier and tree. The whole expanse was a magnified Fairy Land. Flemington was the capital of the kingdom, with palaces royally adorned regardless of all except pure beauty. O, that thrilling picture, made upon the living film! That picture has never faded and can never fade. The film will soon crumble; but that is dissolution, not fading.10
The Klinesville Roads
All of the deeds described in Mr. Bush’s article involved properties located on roads with strange names. Because I am constantly looking up deeds, I have come to appreciate the ambiguity of these road names. It was often a practice when recording deeds to use a description of the property from a previous deed, and that previous deed could be a very old one, such that the description of the road was completely out of date.
In describing the deed from Miller Kline to John G. Ewing in 1858, Mr. Bush mentioned three roads: “the great road from Quakertown to Taylor’s Mills,” “the great road leading from what was formerly called Anderson’s Tavern,” and “the great road leading from formerly called Peter Cherry’s Inn to Flemington.”
Here’s an example of how road descriptions, being based on endpoints, actually included a few different roads: the “Road from Quakertown to Taylor’s Mills” would start with the Quakertown Road heading east to Cherryville where one turns southeast onto first Cherryville Road, and then upon entering Raritan Township continuing onto Klinesville Road, which then becomes Sand Hill Road until it reaches Route 31 where it turns into Bartles Corner Road, and finally ends at the South Branch of the Raritan.
The Road from Flemington to Sussex
One might wonder how people came up with such a road name. Like the Quakertown-Taylor’s Mills Road, this one consisted of several different roads.
One possibility started at Flemington, headed north on Thatcher’s Hill Road to Klinesville, then continued on the Klinesville & Cherryville Roads to Cherryville. From there it picks up the Sidney Road which ends in the intersection with Pittstown Road, which runs into Clinton, connects with what became Route 31, and eventually ends in the village of Oxford in Sussex County.
An alternate route ran more or less closer and parallel with the South Branch of the Raritan, but my focus is not on that part of the county at this time.
Thatcher’s Hill Road
This road begins at the intersection of Flemington’s North Main Street with Park Avenue and Walter Foran Blvd, and runs uphill to Klinesville. It did not get the name Thatcher’s Hill for many years.
In 1823, when Albert S. Cox bought his land along the road at a sheriff’s sale, the name Mount Carmel probably still referred to the old Daniel Cox plantation. Eventually, Asher Thatcher (c.1790-1859) acquired property along that road from the estate of his parents, Daniel Thatcher & Catharine Godown, and I am pretty sure the road was named for him.
There was no agreement about what to call the road in the 19th century. In part it depended on which direction one was heading. If going north, it might be called the road from Flemington to Mount Carmel or from Flemington to Sussex. If heading south from Klinesville, it would be the road from Peter Chery’s Inn to Flemington, the old Cherryville Road, or the road from Klinesville to Flemington.
- H.C. Deed Book 117 p.415. ↩
- Taylor’s Mills were located on the South Branch of the Raritan, and run by Revolutionary War veteran, William Taylor (1754-1838). ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 85 p.9. ↩
- There is nothing so irresistible as a mystery that Mr. Bush cannot solve. It took me a bit of work, but I’ve found Anderson’s tavern, and it was not in either of the places Bush thought it might be–it was located in Cherryville, before the village got that name. I will save a history of that place for a future article, to be called Anderson’s Tavern. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 23 p.509. ↩
- Mr. Bush wrote about this church in 1929, in an article titled “Hemlock Church Meant Much To Its Good People.” It was located along Route 579 north of Croton. I have not yet republished it on Goodspeed Histories. ↩
- H.C. Book 33 p.488. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 40 p.1. ↩
- Cherryville was called “Dogtown,” as will be explained in a forthcoming article by Egbert T. Bush. ↩
- I must confess that such an experience on a young mind really can be lasting. As a child walking home from school one very early morning in Michigan after a heavy snowfall during the night, I looked ahead down our street where the tall elm trees (now all gone) met in the middle in a beautiful and perfect gothic arch, with snow sparkling under the streetlights. It was magical and will never be forgotten. ↩