Concerning the history of one of Hunterdon’s Earliest Families
This article is a continuation of the history of the Cook Proprietary Tract,1 The previous articles dealt with the northern half of the tract. It is time to turn our attention to the southern portion, half of which came into the possession of the Rounsavell family at a very early date, and remained in the family for many years thereafter. The other half was acquired by John Young, and after his death was conveyed to John Hice in 1789. The Young and Hice families will have to wait for another time.
The Rounsavells originated in England before coming to Stratford, Connecticut, then to Southampton, Long Island, and finally to Hopewell, New Jersey in the early 18th century. That first couple to settle in Hopewell was Richard (1658-1704) and Hannah Rounsavell. I have begun this tree with their son Richard (c.1695-1775), even though they had one other son, Benjamin, and a daughter Martha. It was this second Richard who settled in Amwell Township, Hunterdon County.
or The Misuse of Genealogy
On May 29th, my son, Carl Zimmer, published a book titled She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity. This is a book that all genealogists and geneticists will love. (I’m not biased at all!) And there is a special reason for New Jersey genealogists to love it.
In his chapter concerning Mendelian eugenics, Carl wrote about Henry Goddard of the Vineland Training School in south Jersey, and his study of one particular family that proved to him that feeble-mindedness and “moral degeneracy” were inherited. A member of that family was institutionalized at the school, which was established to care for “mentally-defective” children.
The Wolverton family of New Jersey began with Charles Wolverton and Mary Chadwick, who first settled in Burlington County in the late 1690s and came to Amwell Township as early as 1714, one of the very first families to settle in present day Hunterdon County. They quickly became one of the most prominent and widespread families in the County.
Burials in the Rake Cemetery
In 1922, Hunterdon historian Hiram Deats visited the Rake Cemetery. He found 44 unlettered stones and 25 lettered ones. Those 25 stones were listed in the Hunterdon Historical Newsletter (vol. 3 no. 3, p. 2) and are give here.
The first of the Lake family to arrive in America was John Lake and wife Ann Spicer, who came from Hertfordshire to Gravesend, New York. John Lake died there in 1696, wife Ann died about 1709. I have very little information about this first family. The had 8 children, as seen below, stayed mostly in New York. Son John Lake, Jr. and wife Neeltje came to New Jersey.
The Gordon family of Hunterdon County is connected back to Thomas Gordon of Scotland (1652-1722) who emigrated as one of the early proprietors to Perth Amboy, with his second wife Jannette Mudie. Of her six children, son Thomas acquired land in Amwell Township in 1722, and will be treated here as the first generation.
The first of the Godown family to appear in Hunterdon County was Jacob Godown, born about 1675. He was present in Burlington County in 1703 when he was listed in the accounts of the estate of Joseph Adams. But at the time, Hunterdon did not yet exist.