Not long ago I published some articles about properties located in what was once known as The Haddon Tract (The Haddon Tract, part one). Today’s article by Egbert T. Bush concerns a very large farm located in that tract that I have not yet written about. It was sold by Jacob Sniter and Nicholas Sayn to John Peter Foxe of Amwell, who subsequently sold it to Jost Hoppock in 1749.
Most of you, my dear readers, know that the famous Rockafellar family had its roots in Amwell Township, Hunterdon County. And we’re all familiar with one particular descendant of this German immigrant family, a man who prospered hugely from the opportunities afforded him in America—the famous John D. Rockafellar. Another descendant, although not a direct ancestor of John D., became the tavernkeeper at Skunktown (now known as Sergeantsville), and I am much more interested in him.
We are getting some warmer days this weekend, and they are welcome after the very cold weather we’ve had lately. But cold as it was, it was nothing compared to the Blizzard of 1888, apparently the most intense weather ever experienced in Hunterdon County history. There are many stories and photographs depicting it, including this letter by Egbert T. Bush describing how he tried to defy it.
For anyone traveling north on Route 579 from the village of Ringoes in East Amwell, Hunterdon County, there is a landmark that will surely catch your eye, standing opposite the old Bel-Del railroad station. It is a three-story house that was once a showplace but has been deteriorating for at least 25 years. People like me who have been watching it all this time marvel that it is still standing.
Sometimes in my researches on Hunterdon people of the past, odd things turn up. Something very odd turned up when I came across Cornelius H. Barber, who lived from 1804 to 1884. I had been asked about the Prall tanyard, which was located a short distance south of Sergeantsville in the early 1800s, and discovered that Barber had briefly been an owner.
So let me tell you a little about Cornelius Hoppock Barber before describing the odd thing I found.
My previous article discussed the Bearder family and the home of Andrew Bearder, Sr. on the Locktown Flemington Road. Just east of this farm was another tract that Bearder shared with his son Jacob, but whose ownership goes back much further.
Andrew Bearder, Sr.’s homestead farm was part of Jacob Snyder’s plantation. But the farm next to it on the east was part of the 700 acres first sold by the Haddons to Daniel Robins. (For background on the Haddons, see The Haddon Tract, part one.)
This is part two of a series on some of the properties created in the Haddon Tract of Amwell Township, Hunterdon County.
Jacob Peter Sniter and Nicholas Sayn jointly purchased 1300 acres in Amwell Township from Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh in 1748. The two men sold off several lots and then divided the land remaining between them. Part One dealt with Nicholas Sayn/Sine, who acquired the southern half. This article deals with Jacob Peter Sniter who got the northern half.
I have recently finished reading a book titled Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh, 1680-1762, Building the Quaker Community of Haddonfield, New Jersey, 1701-1762, by Jeffery M. Dorwart and Elizabeth A. Lyons.
It is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the life of one of West New Jersey’s early settlers—a young woman who came to the Province on her own in 1701.
William Kidd and Samuel Jennings
In the previous post, concerning the life and death of Capt. William Kidd, I speculated on who the person was who drew these pictures
Unfortunately, I was basing my conclusions on a faulty citation, which is an egregious error for an historian, amateur or not. I had concluded that the most likely person was John Tatham, who was not only an ardent opponent of Samuel Jennings, but also a strong supporter of Gov. Jeremiah Basse and of the claims of Daniel Coxe, and later the West Jersey Society, to vast tracts of land in West New Jersey. The circumstance I relied on to identify Tatham was my mistaken notion that the drawings were made on a blank page of the minute book of the West Jersey Board of Proprietors. And I made that mistake by relying on my memory rather than verifying the source.
Halloween is almost here. The days are getting much shorter, the nights much longer, and soon we will wind our clocks back to make the night seem even longer.
There are two ways to think about this time of year. The cheerful way is to glory in the fall colors and delight in children running from house to house on Halloween, many of the boys dressed as pirates (though not as much as in years past).
The darker way (which can exist in our minds simultaneously), is to be haunted by the unknown on dark windy nights. One of the most frightening things to encounter on a dark 17th century night was the sight (and smell) of a gibbeted body swinging from a post.
Put Halloween, pirates and gibbeting together, add some interesting early New Jersey history, and what do we get? Captain Kidd!