There are two ways of writing about a cemetery. One is to portray the people buried there, which I attempted to do in my previous article. The other is to relate how the cemetery came to be—in other words, the history of the property where the cemetery is located. It usually makes sense to focus on the place since many of its early owners were buried in the cemetery. At first I thought that in this case, none of them were. But, research has changed my mind.
Identifying the people buried in the cemetery was challenging, but researching the ownership was even more so. Records for the earliest years of ownership are contradictory and confusing. As an example, this is what Egbert T. Bush wrote about its location:
There is another cemetery not too far away from the Moore Cemetery, now called the Jones Cemetery because it is located on the farm that once belonged to Capt. David Johnes, a Revolutionary War veteran. That cemetery probably predates Johnes’ ownership; he and his wife Hannah are buried in the Presbyterian cemetery in Mt. Airy.
As I mentioned in the previous article, David Johnes never owned this property. His farm was nearby, but did not extend this far. It goes to show how easy it is to get the history wrong. Mr. Bush and the people he talked to assumed that the Jones name referred to Capt. David Johnes,1 whose “messuage and plantation” were located some distance to the southwest of the cemetery. They apparently were unaware of James Jones, husband of Jerusha Taylor Jones, whose property was located just north of the old Headquarters mill. Jerusha Jones was buried here, but James was buried in the Moore Cemetery. And of course, Capt. Johnes wasn’t buried here either, as Mr. Bush noted.2
Both the Hart-Taylor cemetery and the old Moore cemetery are located on property north of the Sergeantsville-Ringoes Road, and a short distance east of the intersection with the Sandbrook-Headquarters Road. The two are separated by the farm of William H. Moore.
The First Owners
Because these two cemeteries are so close together, it is not surprising that in the earliest years, they had the same owner. That was John Dennis who had 714 acres surveyed for him in the Lotting Purchase in 1714.3 Actually, it was surveyed for his estate, since he died in early 1713 (which was still considered 1712 at the time, due to the fact that the new year did not begin until March).
John Dennis never lived in Amwell Township. His home was in Newton Township, Gloucester County. It was there that he wrote his will dated December 28, 1712 which was recorded shortly afterward. I have not seen the will, but the abstract in NJ Archives4 mentions his wife (unnamed), his daughter Rebecca and brother William, and refers to unspecified real and personal property.5 Dennis’ widow, Martha Hutcheson Dennis, died soon after her husband did, so his property must have gone to his daughter.6
Obviously, the Dennis property was sold to someone, either as one tract or in parcels, but the conveyances were not recorded. However, there was a recital in a later deed that described several early conveyances for a part of the Dennis property. D. Stanton Hammond was aware of this and showed it on his map of the area, drawn in 1963, below.
Perhaps Mr. Hammond got his information from an article written by Egbert T. Bush about a neighboring farm,7 in which he wrote out the recital in an ancient deed dated April 25, 1786. The recital began: “Whereas Thomas Wetherell by deed dated April 18, 1729, conveyed 223 acres and allowance for highways, to Nathan Allen” . . . 8
This 223 acres was only a fraction of the original 741 acres owned by John Dennis. Its western boundary ran next to or through the Hart-Taylor Cemetery. Which means that starting in 1729 it is necessary to pursue two separate chains of title, one for this farm on the east of the cemetery, eventually owned by Daniel Moore, and the other for the farm on the west, owned at one time by William Taylor and Jacob Fisher.
The Farm on the West
William & Catarien Taylor
There are times when researchers must depend on neighboring deeds to discover who owned a property in the 18th century. That is definitely the case here. The recital provided by Mr. Bush did not shed light on who owned the farm on the west side of the Hart-Taylor Cemetery. So I took a look at records for the bordering owner on the other side, which happened to be old John Opdycke.
On August 2, 1775, John Opdycke, Esq., the original miller of Headquarters, conveyed his farm of 260 acres to his son Thomas.9 The deed gave the names of the bordering owners, and the person located on Opdycke’s east was William Taylor.
This was good news, but a search for deeds to William Taylor was unsuccessful. So I thought I’d look for other early land records for John Opdycke to see if I could nail down when Taylor got that property. In 1737 John Opdycke and Benjamin Severns, sons-in-law of original settler Samuel Green, mortgaged properties to the Hunterdon County Loan Office.10 Because it was such an early date in the settlement of Hunterdon County, there were hardly any bordering owners indicated in the mortgages, but it appears from plotting out the two documents that John Opdycke owned a large tract that included the farm later owned by William Taylor. And Severns owned the land that later became John Opdycke’s homestead plantation. I am not very confident about these surveys—they’re kind of loosey goosey. But it appears that by the 1730s, John Opdycke had acquired this land and later sold it to William Taylor.
The deed of 1775 is the only evidence I have found that William Taylor owned the farm on the east of Opdycke’s farm, but it is very significant, because Taylor was the father-in-law of Jerusha Lambert, aka Jerusha Jones who was buried in the Hart-Taylor Cemetery. I had long wondered what the connection was between Jerusha Lambert Taylor and the cemetery on this farm, and also what had happened to her husband Peter Taylor’s family. Now that I know William Taylor owned the land from some time before 1775 to his death in 1785, I feel comfortable with the idea that both Peter Taylor and his parents, William and Catarien Taylor, could be buried in the Hart-Taylor cemetery, even though their stones are missing.
In his will dated August 24, 1785, William Taylor ordered his executors to sell his real estate, presumably for the benefit of his heirs. But once again, there is no deed recorded for a sale of Taylor’s property. However, there is good reason to think that the purchaser was Jacob Fisher, the reason being that in 1790, when Thomas Opdycke sold that same Opdycke farm that was bordered by William Taylor in 1775, the description named Fisher as the owner on the east side rather than Taylor.11
Jacob & Sarah Fisher
Other than the Opdycke sale of 1790, the earliest record we have of Jacob Fisher’s ownership is a deed of 1806 in which Jacob Fisher, Sr. and wife Margaret of Amwell Township conveyed to their son Peter, for $2,000, a tract of 100 acres, bordered by land formerly owned by Samuel Green on the west, by Israel Poulson on the north, land formerly owned by Jacob Moore on the east, and land of David Johnes on the southwest.12
The deed did not give a recital to show who Jacob Fisher bought the property from, but the property description came from an old deed—actually, a very old deed given that Samuel Green was one of the bordering owners. It was probably never recorded and may have been the missing deed from Taylor’s executors to Jacob Fisher. Samuel Green was the father-in-law of John Opdycke and conveyed that property on the east (the same that Opdycke sold to son Thomas in 1775) around 1737. Jacob Moore on the east is another matter, which I will deal with later.
Jacob Fisher, Sr. (c.1735-c.1821) was fifth of the eight children of Johannes Peter Fisher and Anna Maria Young, immigrants from Germany. Since that couple was located in Somerset County by 1730, we can assume that Jacob was born in New Jersey. Perhaps through a local church or simply because German immigrants tended to stick together, Jacob made the acquaintance of Sarah Hoppock (c.1740-after 1788), daughter of Tunis Hoppock, Sr. and Antje Boss. They married in the early 1760s, and their first child, Peter, was born in 1765. (See the Fisher Family Tree.)
Even though he was probably in his early 40s by the time of the Revolutionary War, Jacob Fisher served under Col. David Chambers. It was about that time that he inherited from his father a ‘plantation’ of 228 acres, located in West Amwell.13 In 1780 he was taxed on 222 acres. Then sometime between 1785 and 1790 Fisher bought the property owned by William Taylor.
On May 20, 1814, Jacob Fisher, Sr. of Amwell, “being advanced in years and somewhat infirm,” wrote his will. He left the household goods and furniture to his wife Margaret that she had brought with her to the marriage,14 along with use of the northwest room in the dwelling house, the back kitchen, part of the cellar, the spring house and garden, firewood, bread and meat “suitable to her age and condition” and $300 at interest, all in lieu of dower.
Fisher left his wearing apparel to eldest son Peter, which was typical for the time, along with $10 (equivalent to the nominal five shillings of the 18th century), “having deeded to him the farm he lives on in Amwell.” That farm was the one previously owned by William Taylor. Jacob Fisher was buried in the Amwell Ridge Cemetery at Larison’s Corner. Presumably first wife Sarah and second wife Margaret were also buried there.
Peter & Anna Fisher
Peter Fisher, the son of Jacob Fisher, Sr. and Sarah Hoppock, married Anna Runk, daughter of Jacob Runk and Anna Rockafellar, about the time that William Taylor died. By the time they acquired the William Taylor farm in 1806, all of their ten children had been born.
In 1796, prior to his acquisition of the 100 acres from his father, Peter Fisher had bought a lot of 7 acres and 25 perches bordering the Taylor farm and the farm of David Johnes. The sellers of the 7 acres were the heirs of Peter Moore, deceased.15 There was no recital, so we do not know exactly how Peter Moore acquired this lot. It was probably a woodlot in a division of the original Jacob Moore property, as the deed made a reference to a map. Peter Moore (1724-1792) was the brother of the Daniel Moore who purchased the 223 acres from Jacob Probasco, and son of the original settlers Jacob & Apolonia Moore.
As for Peter Fisher, he did live on this Amwell Township property for a few years, but by 1811 he had moved north to Lebanon Township and acquired a tavern in Clinton. However, he kept the Amwell property until 1828, when he sold it and the additional 7-acre lot to Gideon Moore of Amwell Township for $3,750.16
With the Farm on the West in the hands of Gideon Moore, we must now turn to the history of the farm on the other side, which I am calling
The Farm on the East
This was the farm with the recital mentioned before in which Nathan Allen had purchased 223 acres from Thomas Wetherell in 1729. Here is the rest of the recital, as transcribed by Mr. Bush, showing how it came into the hands of Daniel Moore:
“Whereas Thomas Wetherell by deed dated April 18, 1729, conveyed 223 acres and allowance for highways, to Nathan Allen, who by Indenture dated February 28, 1732, did convey the said premises to Henrick Weaver and his son Christian Weaver, and the said Henrick Weaver some time thereafter died intestate, whereon the said premises became vested in the said Christian Weaver, as surviving oldest son and heir at Law, and the said Christian Weaver and Barbara his wife, by deed bearing date of October 10, 1741, conveyed said premises unto Jacob Probasco, son and devisee, and Sarah his wife, by Indenture dated April 13, 1779, conveyed the said 223 acres of land, except nineteen acres and a few poles sold to one Daniel Moore,” . . .
Jacob Moore v. Daniel Moore
Let us recall the deed of 180617 when Jacob Fisher sold ‘The Farm on the West’ to son Peter Fisher. It stated that the property on the east of that farm was owned by Jacob Moore. The description was taken from a much older deed, since Jacob Moore died about 1765. And recall that in 1796, Peter Fisher had bought a woodlot of 7 acres from the heirs of Peter Moore, dec’d, which he probably inherited from his father Jacob Moore.18 Both mentions of Jacob Moore were referring to land south of Route 604.
Notice that Jacob Moore does not appear in that chain of title for the 223 acres acquired by his son Daniel Moore. He never owned it, which obliges me to apologize for what I’ve written in the past about who first owned that property. I had always thought it was the original settler, Jacob Moore, who was said to have arrived in Amwell township with his wife Apolonia at a very early date and lived in a hollowed-out tree while he built himself and his family a log house.
I should have remembered a comment by John W. Lequear in Traditions of Hunterdon County (p. 151) that the first settler in this area, Jacob Moore, built himself “a hut about 50 yards east of Mr. Bowne’s dwelling and returned to New York” to fetch his wife. Mr. Bowne was Dr. John Bowne, who’s home and plantation was in East Amwell, well to the south of the property bought by Daniel Moore.19 I should also have been suspicious, given that no one was settling north of the Lotting Purchase line at such an early date. The 223 acres was north of that line. Jacob Moore’s East Amwell property was south of it.
I regret to say the source of my confusion was Egbert T. Bush. In his article, “Old Farms in Old Hunterdon,” published April 9, 1931, he wrote that the old Moore-Wagner farm, located at the corner of Route 604 and Hainds Road, was first settled by Joseph [sic] Moore who came there between 1700 and 1705. He got this information from its owners in 1931, Katherine and Rhoda Wagner, descendants of that first settler, who’s name was actually Jacob Moore. (I suspect it was a typesetter who mistakenly called him Joseph; in every mention afterwards, the name was Jacob.)
I can forgive the Misses Wagner, who probably assumed that Daniel Moore had inherited the farm from his father, the original settler. But Mr. Bush should have known better, since he had the chain of title in that recital he provided, which very clearly showed that it was Daniel Moore, Jacob’s son, who was the first of the Moore family to acquire the Wagner farm. As for Jacob, he probably did show up as early as 1705, but he settled on land surveyed for Adlord Bowde in 1688, on property later owned by Dr. John Bowne.
By 1779 when Daniel Moore bought his 223 acres, he was already 50 years old, and his father Jacob had already died. In fact, although his will was not recorded, Jacob Moore left a 203-acre messuage and plantation to his son Peter.20 This was the property located in East Amwell to the south of the 223 acres, and explains why in 1796, Peter Moore’s heirs had a woodlot to sell to Peter Fisher, which bordered the farm sold by Peter Fisher to Gideon Moore.
The Family of Daniel Moore
Daniel Moore (1729-1807) married twice. His first wife was Catharine Storts or Stout. Most sources use the spelling Stort, but that seems unlikely. Egbert Bush thought it was more likely Stout, since the Stout family was well-known in Hunterdon, and the name Stort is definitely not. Sadly, no information about her family has been found. The couple married on December 23, 1753.21
Daniel and Catharine had nine children, from 1757 to 1772. There may have been more, born between 1753 and 1757, who are unknown or died young.22 Catharine Moore must have died sometime between 1772, when her youngest child was born, and 1774, when Daniel Moore married his second wife, Elizabeth Rouzer (1748-1819). Elizabeth was the daughter of Gideon Rouser (c.1715-1783), an elder of the German Baptist Church, and wife Lydia. Gideon “Rowzer” wrote his will on February 14, 1783, in which he left to his daughter Elizabeth Moor [sic] the amount of £100, and the same amount to daughters Catharine Keever and Hannah Jones (wife of James Jones).
Elizabeth Rouser Moore, who was almost 20 years younger than Daniel, had eleven children with him, from 1775 to 1790, all of whom reached adulthood. Of note are daughters Hannah Moore (1776-1839) who married Rev. Israel Poulson and Mary Moore (1777-1846) who married Henry Lawshe, both of whom owned property adjacent to the Moore farm.
As an example of how closely the early families in this area were connected, Daniel Moore’s sister Susannah was the wife of Valentine Ent, the early settler of Sandy Ridge. Daniel Moore was named an executor of Ent’s estate in 1764, along with Susannah and Daniel’s brother Peter Moore. (Daniel Moore renounced administration of the estate.)
Although the recital for the Daniel Moore property stated that he acquired 223 acres in 1779, he was only taxed on 100 acres in the Amwell tax ratables of 1780 and 1786. By 1790, he was taxed on 190 acres.
The Will of Daniel Moore
On April 3, 1805, when he was about 76 years old, Daniel Moore of Amwell Township wrote his will, in which he left to his son Gideon the “messuage and farm of 100 acres . . . where he now lives” bordering the home farm. To his sons David and Solomon he gave “the home plantation of 100 acres” after his wife Elizabeth had died. Daniel Moore died on December 30, 1807, age 78. His widow Elizabeth died on July 22, 1819, age 70. They were both buried in the Moore Cemetery.23
Considering that Daniel Moore was the father of 20 children, it is remarkable that so few of them got any of his real estate—only sons Gideon, David and Solomon, all of them sons of second wife Elizabeth Rouzer. Daniel Moore did own some other property beside the farms mentioned above, but those were to be sold and the proceeds divided among his wife and his fourteen surviving his children.
Gideon Moore’s Two Farms
The farm bequeathed to son Gideon was the one with a cemetery on each side, the Moore Cemetery on its east and the Hart-Taylor Cemetery was on its west. The farm left to sons David and Solomon was east of this farm, later known as the Haines-Wagner farm, which will be discussed in the next post. As mentioned above, later on in 1828, Gideon Moore acquired Peter Fisher’s 100 acres which bordered Gideon’s farm on the west, in other words, on the other side of the Hart-Taylor Cemetery. From then until his death, Gideon Moore was in possession of the two farms on either side of the Hart-Taylor Cemetery.
Note: The map above showing the farm sold by Jacob & Sarah Fisher to Peter Fisher also shows the farm on the east (lot 6) that Gideon Moore also owned. And the farm east of that (lot 4) was the one bequeathed to David and Solomon Moore.
Gideon Moore, born in 1775, married a woman named Catharine Yorks in 1797. She may have been the daughter of William A. Yorks (1749-1831) and Elizabeth Allegar (1754-1869) who resided in Readington Township and worshiped in the Dutch Reformed Church. Catharine and Gideon’s first two children, born 1797 and 1799, died young and were buried in the Moore Cemetery. That is interesting because Gideon Moore was a deacon of the Amwell Church of the Brethren and one might have expected him to bury his young children in the graveyard attached to the old church. But that cemetery, known as the Lower Amwell Old Yard, was not yet established. Church members generally buried their dead in the Moore Cemetery.
The two farms that were united in 1828 became separated again in 1840 when Gideon Moore wrote his will. It was a lengthy one, inasmuch as seven of his nine children had survived to adulthood.
To his “beloved son Jacob D. Moore” he left the farm bought from Peter Fisher, which was where Jacob was living at the time, with his wife Amy White. To his son William H. Moore he left “the homestead farm whereon I now live,” which was the one on the east side of the Hart-Taylor Cemetery.
Gideon Moore, Sr. died on September 19, 1840, at the age of 65, and was buried in the Moore Cemetery with his ancestors. His widow Catharine survived until March 11, 1854 when she died at the age of 77. She was buried next to her husband.
After the Moore estate was settled, Asa Moore determined that he preferred the Peter Fisher farm to his land in Sand Brook. Consequently, in 1843, he swapped the Sand Brook farm for the Fisher farm that had been bequeathed to his brother Jacob.24 So, as of 1843, Asa Moore had the farm on the west of the Hart-Taylor cemetery, and his brother Wm P. Moore the one on the east.
I am ending the story here, with the two farms back under separate ownership. The next post will finish the story of the two farms up until the time they left the hands of Moore descendants. For The Farm on the East, that would come to a period of 159 years!
- For information on Johnes’ participation in the Revolutionary War, see “Who Collected the Boats,” “Thomas Jones v. David Johnes” and “Home of Capt. David Johnes”. ↩
- Even though they lived very near each other, there is no evidence that James Jones and David Johnes were related. The father of David was Stephen Johnes (1700-1785) of Maidenhead Township. The father of James is not known, and was definitely not Stephen. (I imagine that the Johnes family preferred that spelling to distinguish themselves from the far more common Jones families.) ↩
- NJ State Archives, West Jersey Proprietors (hereafter WJP), Deed Book A p. 144. ↩
- Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey, Abstracts of Wills, vol. 1, p. 135. ↩
- A review of deeds listed for John Dennis in the index known as “Colonial Conveyances” shows that in 1713 land of John Dennis in Newton, Gloucester was conveyed to his brother William, and in 1726 to John Ladd, Jr. But there was nothing listed for land in the Lotting Purchase in Amwell Township. ↩
- There was a contemporary John Dennis living in Monmouth County and it seems more is known about him and his family than the Dennis living in Gloucester County. ↩
- “Old Farms in Hunterdon County,” which I intend to publish next. ↩
- Regrettably, Mr. Bush did not say exactly where he found this recital, and I have been unable to locate it in any of the recorded deeds relating to this property. It seems to have come from an old manuscript deed that never got passed on to the Hunterdon County Historical Society as it should have. ↩
- WJP Deed Book AM fol. 296. ↩
- NJ State Archives, Hunterdon County Loan Office, Book D 1737-1745, Loan #s 75 an 76. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 1 p.403. This Fisher farm was in addition to the 228 acres that Jacob Fisher had inherited in 1775 from his father Johannes Peter Fisher, which was located in East Amwell Township. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 12 p. 392. ↩
- According to A History of East Amwell, p. 41. ↩
- This suggests that Margaret, Jacob Fisher’s second wife, had been married before and widowed. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 12 p. 394. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book Deed Book 45 p.146. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 12 p. 392. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 12 p. 394. ↩
- See “A Stroll Through the Moore Cemetery,” “The Moore Cemetery And Its Owners” and “The Moore Family,” previously published articles which I have now amended. Also, for the farm of Jacob & Apolonia Moore, see Dr. Bowne’s Homestead Farm. ↩
- History of East Amwell p. 61; also recital in H.C. Deed Book 2 p.45. A “messuage” was “a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use,” according to Google’s dictionary. ↩
- My source for the marriage date comes from Jack Mount, but I have not been able to verify it. The marriage probably took place in the German Baptist (or Dunkard) Church which was newly built on the Sandbrook-Headquarters Road. Unfortunately, church records for that time period are missing. ↩
- You can see the dates and spouses for these nine children on the German Moore Family Tree. ↩
- It is interesting that the executors of Daniel Moore’s estate were his wife Elizabeth, his friend James Jones, his son Gideon Moore and son-in-law Israel Poulson. However, Elizabeth Moore and James Jones renounced administration, leaving it in the hands of Gideon Moore and Israel Poulson. ↩
- H.C. Deeds Book 79 pp. 223, 226. ↩