There was a time when the sleepy little village of Quakertown was a lively place, back when it had two taverns. I learned this from Egbert T. Bush, who wrote a couple articles about the village.

Since I am focusing on taverns these days, I will publish parts of Mr. Bush’s first article on the village, the parts concerning its taverns.

Interesting Facts About Quakertown

by Egbert T. Bush, Stockton, N.J.
Hunterdon Co. Democrat, February 27, 1930

There are so many interesting points about Quakertown that one does not know where to begin. The Friends’ Meeting House, with its surroundings, would be a natural place for beginning, but that has been so fully written up that one hesitates about repeating.1

Yet it is ever a place of interest. It meant so much to the early settlers, and it means so much to many representatives of old families and to others who cherish fond memories concerning it. Let us begin at another corner.

Upon your arrival in Quakertown by way of the old Trenton road, you find a sharp turn to the left for Pittstown and a turn to the right for Cherryville. That righthand road was known in old days as the road to New Brunswick.

Detail from the 1851 Cornell Map of Hunterdon County

The first detail from the Cornell Map of 1851 shows where Quakertown is located, between Pittstown and Cherryville.

This second detail shows the location of Cliffton’s store as well as that of the old tavern house (“S. Trimmer Hotel”). The road coming past “J. Marshall” is Route 579, the “old Trenton Road,” running north from the village of Croton. The road it intersects with is the Quakertown Road which runs east to Cherryville and northwest to Pittstown. (I have written previously about Cherryville here: James Anderson’s Tavern and Cherryville’s Tavern.)

In front of you, as you approach the angle, is a solid-looking stone house that has stood there for a long time, how long no one knows. There, Henry Cliffton is said to have opened the first store in the village. There is room for reasonable doubt about its being the first in Quakertown; but it is the first of which we have any knowledge, and of which the writer could gain any information fifty years ago.

The Cliffton House, taken from the Quakertown page on Wikipedia

Mr. Bush wrote his chapter on Franklin Township for Snell’s Hunterdon history about 1880, fifty years before write this article. At this point I am skipping some of Mr. Bush’s article and jumping ahead to his discussion of taverns in Quakertown:

There Were Taverns Too

But what of the taverns—yes, what? We are told that David McFerson (or McPherson) kept a tavern on the south side of the road in 1790. Some say that it was on the William Cronce lot, now owned by Hannah A. Scott. That may easily be. We have seen that he owned land there at a much earlier day; and the Friends minutes, 1777, have the following: “The committee on reformation report there is one Friend keeps a tavern, which is under care,” &c. Though the Quaker influence was never aggressive, it was none the less strongly against drinking places. Yet such places grew up and prospered right here in the village to which their honored name had been given. Though unable to find anything definite about it, we do find occasional references to McFerson’s Tavern. And we do know that another house of the kind sprang up long ago and had a checkered career until such places became scarce in the rural districts.

The William Cronce house, from Wikipedia

William Cronce, born c.1821 to George Cronce and Louise Smith, married on Dec. 5, 1844, Mary Ann McPherson (c.1821-1900), daughter of Thomas McPherson and Mary Chamberlin. This Thomas was the nephew of David McPherson (c.1747-1830), the early tavernkeeper.

As for the location of the Cronce house, the deed to Hannah Scott, dated Sept 14, 1901, came from A. W. Lowe & Co., whom she was suing for debt. Included with the grantors were Asa and George Cronce, sons of William & Mary Ann Cronce. The lot that was sold was a third of an acre bordering Theodore Probasco, the road from Quakertown to Pittstown, and Henry T. Trimmer.2

I expected Mr. Bush to say more about the proximity of the tavern to the Quaker Friends Meeting House. Since he did not, I checked their minutes. Here is an excerpt from 1810, taken from J. E. Stout, “A Brief History of Friends Meeting at Quakertown, N.J. from 1729 to 1976.”

“. . . uneasiness on account of spiritous liquors agree to report that we do not find any of our members in the practice of retailing spiritous liquors yet several have had cyder distilled for their own use.”

Nothing was mentioned about the tavern house itself.

David McPherson

David McPherson/Mcferson (c.1747-1830), son of Thomas McPherson & Ann Molleson, was born in Piscataway, Middlesex Co., NJ, and came to Kingwood Township at an early date. He married twice, but I have little information on his spouses or their children.

1794 is the first year I found David McPherson with a tavern license. The fellowbondsmen for his license in Kingwood were James Anderson, who ran the tavern in Cherryville, and Dr. John Gregg. McPherson had purchased the 6-acre lot of Daniel Cahill from Cahill’s executors that year, but the next year sold the six acres to George Brown of Kingwood and moved to Hopewell Township.3 However, Brown only paid £12 for the lot, which makes one suspect McPherson’s tavern was not in operation.

I will have more to say about Cahill shortly, but first we return to Mr. Bush and the principle Quakertown tavern:

This old tavern house of later years is still standing in very good habitable condition; but by whom it was built or when, we do not know. We find that John Reeder, Innkeeper, by deed dated May 6, 1805, conveyed to Joseph Kugler the tavern property, then containing two acres: “Beginning a half chain from the southwest corner of the stone house,” which is the old established corner at the angle of the roads. The same deed conveys also a “lot of 15 acres that lyeth in the Great Swamp.” Kugler sold the same to William Large, May 8, 1806. James S. Manners, Sheriff, with William Large as defendant, sold the tavern lot and 39 acres additional to Joseph, King, Jr., in 1817, and King sold the same to William Nixon in 1818.

18th Century Innkeepers

Mr. Bush may have been pressed for space in his article. I have more leeway and would like to say something more about the known 18th century owners. Unfortunately, 18th century residents of Hunterdon County left very few records behind, so we are often forced to make guesses and assumptions, which all require disclaimers.

The earliest tavern owner I found for Quakertown was one Daniel Cahill who bought a one-acre lot in 1763 from Alexander Gordon, and another 1-acre lot from Daniel Doughty in 1767.4 Then in 1768, he bought a 6-acre lot in Kingwood at a Sheriff’s sale,5 and the same year applied for a tavern license in Kingwood. That 6-acre lot was described as bordering the road leading from the Delaware River and the road leading to Trenton, which is most likely the intersection in Quakertown of Route 579 with the Cherryville-Pittstown Road. It was the 6-acre lot that Cahill sold to David McPherson in 1794.

Note, 7/27/2022: The next year, 1795, McPherson sold the six acres to George Brown and moved to Hopewell. Brown had money problems and in 1814 sold most of the six acres to Robert Welts for only $850, which suggests no tavern on that property. Two years later, Brown was an absconding debtor, and Welts bought the remaining quarter acre of the original lot for only $43. Then Welts moved to upper New York State in 1828 after selling his property to Godfrey Case for $1200. Etc. etc.

Altogether, Cahill acquired two one-acre lots, a nine-acre lot and a 15-acre lot. Then in 1780 he and wife Mary sold two acres plus the 15-acre lot to Peter Howell for £4,000. An asking price that high suggests a major improvement to the property. In fact, the deed from Cahill to Howell specified “the Lott of 2 acres on which the Tavern house stands,” while the 15-acre lot was woodland in the ‘Great Swamp.6 The next year, 1781, Peter Howell was granted a license to operate a tavern in Kingwood Township.

John Reeder (1757-1830) was a resident and innkeeper of Trenton. His wife was Susan Fleming, although I cannot say whether she was related to Samuel Fleming of Flemington. She was the widow of Isaac or Israel Howell of Kingwood.

Regrettably, Reeder failed to record his deed from Peter Howell and wife Sarah Preston. By 1786, the Howells had removed to Trenton, where Peter Howell was employed as an innkeeper. No doubt, the sale from Howell to Reeder took place around 1790, for the same lots that Howell had purchased from Cahill.

When Reeder sold the two lots to Joseph Kugler in 1805, the value had dropped to £1,867.7 It is likely that during his ownership, Reeder rented out the Quakertown tavern, but the recorded tavern licenses do not tell us exactly who that was. It might have been Joseph Atkinson, who was licensed in Quakertown in 1803 for the tavern previously occupied by Jonas Chatburn, who was licensed there in 1801.

Chatburn’s license application of 1802 was signed by several ‘sureties,’ i.e., men in support of his application and good character. This is an example of how valuable those old license applications are—they tell us who could be found in the vicinity of a place at an early date. Two hundred and twenty plus years ago, the tavern’s clients were John Allen, William Cliffton, Adam Connard, Robert Emley, Harburt Humer, Ebenzer Large, William Large, Christy Little, John Major, John Mcfarson, John McVay, George Scott, Arther Stevenson, Tho’s Stevenson, and Hezekiah Waterhouse.

In 1804, only John McPherson was licensed in Quakertown. Joseph Kugler was not licensed until 1805, but John McPherson was also licensed that year, telling us that two taverns were in business at that time. And I found it quite interesting that nearly all the signatories for McPherson’s license in 1805 were different from those who signed for Kugler, with the exception of John Brown, Sr., and William & Ebenezer Large, suggesting that each tavern had a different clientele.

Kugler applied for a license at “that noted Tavern Stand at Quakertown, late the property of Mr. John Reder.” His petition was signed by John Allen, John Barton, George C. Brown, John Brown Sr., Henry Cliffton, William Cliffton, John A. Coate, Robert Emley, Ebenezer Large, William Large, Thomas Lowrey, Jacob Sharp, John Snyder, Tho’s Stevenson, John Young, and Hezekiah Waterhouse.

McFarson’s clients were William Apker [sic], John Brown Sr., John Cherry, Wm Hann, Gabriel Hoff, Wm Holliday, Cornelius Hoppock, William Large, Thomas Lequear, Christy Little, Samuel Macfarson, Arthur Stevenson, Thomas Taylor, Barth’w Thatcher, John VanDoren, Folkard Vorhes; also Tunis _ [illegible].

William Large

On May 8, 1806, Joseph & Elizabeth Kugler, who had moved to Solebury Twp., Pennsylvania, sold the tavern lot of 2 acres plus the 15-acre woodlot to William Large for $2,000.8 Kugler had gone back to the tavern at Howell’s Ferry (Stockton) which he kept from 1806 to 1826, while William Large was licensed to keep tavern in Kingwood in 1806.

A few words must be said about William Large, an important member of the Large family of Kingwood. What Mr. Bush wrote was this:

“Kugler sold the same to William Large, May 8, 1806. James S. Manners, Sheriff, with William Large as defendant, sold the tavern lot and 39 acres additional to Joseph, King, Jr., in 1817, . . .”

Let’s fill in some blanks. William Large (1765-1860) was the 5th of the six children of Jacob Wilson Large & Mary Bunting of Kingwood Township. In July 1790, Large married Susanna Palmer (1767-1848) of Chesterfield, Burlington Co. in 1790 at Doylestown. The couple had seven children from 1791 to 1812.

Two years after marrying, William’s mother Mary died, and his father Jacob wrote his last will & testament leaving his homestead farm in Kingwood to eldest son Samuel and 95 acres in Kingwood to son William. (Jacob Large died at age 85 in 1799.) In 1801, Samuel Large (1752-1826) sold the Large home plantation of 156 acres to brother William, “on which the said William Large now dwells.”9 With a plantation like that, one would not expect its owner to take up tavern keeping. In fact, in May 1801, William & Susannah Large sold about 25 acres out of the property inherited from father Jacob to Samuel Wilson (a relative of Large’s grandmother, Rebecca Wilson).10 And in 1807, he sold part of the 150 acres from brother Samuel to Uriah Larowe.11

The previous year (1806), William Large obtained a tavern license for a tavern in Kingwood “on the grate road from Trenton to Sussex Court House at Quakertown, which house has been kept as a public hous or inn for forty years on upwards.” He bought and sold some other properties, but he remained with the tavern in Quakertown and managed to outcompete the other tavern in the village. From 1809 to 1815, Large was the only one licensed there.

Eventually, William Large ran into debt, as was all too common in those days. In 1817, the County Sheriff seized his property, by right of a Court-ordered writ of fieri facias, and offered it at public sale, the proceeds to go to Large’s creditors. Large was no doubt familiar with how this worked, as it was common practice for sheriffs to hold their public sales in local taverns.

The purchaser, and highest bidder, on April 1, 1817, was Joseph King, Jr. of Alexandria Township, for $3,000. The property included first of all the tavern lot of two acres, and an additional 30.9 acres made up of three smaller lots.12 Then two years later, Susannah Large of Kingwood, widow of William Large of Quakertown, conveyed to Joseph King for $200 her dower rights in the property he had purchased.13

Nixon’s Tavern

King was not much interested in running a tavern. One year later, on May 23, 1818, he and second wife Mary Arndt sold the tavern lot and additional acreage to William Nixon (1776-1839). Nixon was a gentleman of considerable stature in his community. He had come to Hunterdon County from Middlesex County in the early 1800s. By the time he had purchased the tavern lot, he had already served on the Bethlehem Township Committee, as Hunterdon Co. Sheriff for two years, and been elected to the NJ State Assembly for one term. About 1820, he married Harriet Woodruff, widow of Noah VanCleef, and with her had six children, all born in what became Franklin Township.

Nixon was one of the longest-running tavern owners in Quakertown, from 1818 until selling the property in 1832, after 14 years. During that time, he also served briefly as Postmaster for Quakertown, and afterwards as Commissioner of Deeds, as Franklin Township’s Chosen Freeholder, and as Justice of the Peace for many years. Surprisingly, given his wide experience, he did not write a will, and died intestate in February 1839, age 62, after a sudden and brief illness. (His son, William L. Nixon, Jr. (1825-1895) became a tavern keeper as early as 1857 when he got a license to run the tavern in Cherryville.)

Mr. Bush continues:

William Nixon sold the lot “called the Tavern Lot” to Peter I. Case in 1832. Case does not seem to have prospered. Anyhow, Charles Bartles and Joseph Case, assignees of Peter I. Case. “Exposed for sale at the house of Peter I. Case, Innkeeper in Quaker Town, the said tavern lot,” and conveyed it to Samuel Trimmer March 29, 1839. Trimmer sold the property, beginning as of old but now reduced in area, to Peter Snyder in 1856. Samuel C. Stevenson, administrator of the estate of Peter Snyder, sold it to Elijah Cook in 1865. Cook conveyed it to his wife, Elizabeth D., in 1869. In 1872, John P. Rittenhouse, Sheriff, sold the property to Caroline Wright, wife of Skidmore Wright, and the Wrights sold it to Edward P. Conkling in 1880. Abraham Little and others kept it as a public house for a few years thereafter; then Quakertown went permanently dry.

After this quick run-through by Mr. Bush, I’d like to slow down a little and take a closer look at some of these tavern owners. Starting with:

Peter I. Case

Here I run into trouble. I have two men identified as Peter I. Case, only one of whom ran the tavern at Quakertown. My best guess is Peter (1794-1877), son of John Matthias Case and Margaret Buchanan of Amwell, who married in 1817 Sarah Little (c.1793-1867), daughter of John Little and Sarah Silverthorn of Kingwood, and sister of Christy Little.14

There is reason to think that Case did not have his heart in the job of keeping a tavern. His heart belonged to the horses, and he often advertised in the Gazette the “high-bred horse Godolphin,” available for breeding.

Then in 1837, Case took a new direction. He purchased the County Tavern in Flemington from Thomas and Mary Alexander for $5,000,15 and advertised the Quakertown tavern for sale in the Gazette. Since the notice says so much about what the Quakertown tavern was like in the 1830s, I am including it here:

“TAVERN HOUSE AND LOT FOR SALE; THE subscriber offers for sale the valuable Tavern House and premises, now occupied by him, in the village of Quakertown, Kingwood township, Hunterdon county, New Jersey; 6 miles above Flemington. The house is large and commodious, in good repair, with stabling sufficient for 50 horses; to which is attached two acres of excellent land; Also, 20 acres of Land, 5 of which is first rate woodland. The whole will be sold together, or the Tavern House and Lot separate, as the purchaser may choose. For further particulars, apply to the subscriber, on the premises, PETER I. CASE.” January 11, 1837.

Case was overly optimistic. Only two years later, Case had to assign all his property to Charles Bartles and Joseph Case, who soon afterwards, on March 29, 1839, sold the Quakertown tavern to Samuel Trimmer of Kingwood. Adding insult to injury, the sale was held “at the house of Peter I. Case, innkeeper in Quakertown,” and Trimmer bid only $1,653.16

Samuel Trimmer

Samuel Trimmer (1795-1880), son of John Herbert Trimmer and Maria Martha Thatcher of Kingwood, married in 1817 Deborah Pegg (c.1801-1886), daughter of Jacob Pegg & Anna Bower of Delaware Township. Deborah’s grandfather, Daniel Pegg, kept tavern in Delaware Township in the 1760s and 1770s.

It is “The House of Samuel Trimmer” that is displayed across the cover of J. E. Stout’s “Facts and Fantasies of Franklin.” Stout mentions that Franklin Township held its first meeting in Trimmer’s tavern in 1845. The map is taken from the Cornell Map of Hunterdon County, 1851, which is shown at the beginning of this article.

As far as I can tell from the deeds recorded, the tavern was Trimmer’s only land purchase. In 1853, he and wife Deborah sold part of the tavern property (a lot of 0.42 acres) to sons Joseph & Elias Trimmer for $1250.17 The rest of the lot was sold to Peter Snyder in 1856.

Trimmer stayed close to Quakertown long after selling the tavern. He died in 1880 at the age of 84 and was reckoned the oldest resident of Franklin Township at the time. The obituary neglected to mention that wife Deborah survived him by six years, dying at the age of 85. The couple are buried in the Cherryville Cemetery.

Note: Much to my regret I found no image of this storied tavern and am under the impression that the building used by Large, Nixon, Case and Trimmer is no longer standing.

Peter Snyder

Peter Snyder (1825-1863) was the son of Hon. William Snyder and Rhoda Compton of Kingwood and Franklin Townships. As mentioned above, Peter Snyder acquired Trimmer’s Tavern in 1856. In 1857, he was the only person to obtain a tavern license in Quakertown.

And yet, that same year, on March 13, 1857, Peter Snyder of Franklin Township sold the tavern house and lot of 1.58 acres to Peter Petty, also of Franklin, for $3,500.18 The deed stated it was the same lot sold to Snyder by Samuel Trimmer on April 1, 1856. Two years later, on February 10, 1859, Petty and wife Margaret sold the tavern lot to John Corson of Clinton for the same $3500.19

When the Franklin Township Census for 1860 was taken in July, Peter Snyder, age 34, was living with his father William age 70. William was widowed then, so perhaps Peter and his new wife had moved in to take care of the household. Peter and Martha Stevenson (c.1842-aft 1896, family not identified) had married only one month before the census was taken. They had one child, Stephen D. Snyder (1862-1936).

Two years later, in the spring of 1862 (the deed left the month and day blank), the Corsons sold the tavern lot back to Peter Snyder, this time for $3,650.20 Once again, fate stepped in and halted Snyder’s term as innkeeper. He died in Franklin Township on Dec. 16, 1863, age 38. Snyder’s death record states that he was a married innkeeper, and an American flag is placed by his grave in the Nixon-Craven Cemetery in Franklin Township, which leads one to suspect his death may have come about from his service in the Civil War.

Peter Snyder had died without a will, so administration of his estate was granted to Samuel C. Stevenson. He was undoubtedly related to Snyder’s wife Martha Stevenson, but I was surprised that I could find little helpful information on the family. It is thought that Martha (c.1842-after 1896) was the daughter of Thomas Stevenson and Lucinda Mettler of Quakertown. Thomas died on Dec 14, 1863, and son-in-law Peter Snyder died on Dec. 16th. The two deaths must have been connected somehow.

Three years later, on Nov. 17, 1866, the widow Martha Snyder married Charles M. Trimmer (c1836-1887), son of Henry Scott Trimmer and Ury Wilson (and not directly related to the Samuel Trimmer who had previously owned the tavern). The couple had two children: Lucinda Trimmer, who married Louis W. Potts, and Walter G. Trimmer who married Fannie Watters. Stephen D. Snyder, b.1862, son of Peter, was included in the family in the 1880 census, age 19; he later moved to Kansas.

Elijah & Elizabeth Cook

Apparently, Mr. Bush lost track of the owners between Peter Snyder, who sold the tavern lot in 1857 to Peter Petty, and Elijah Cook, who bought it in 1865 from Samuel C. Stevenson, administrator of Peter Snyder’s estate. It was a public sale, held on March 31, 1865, and Cook was the highest bidder at $3,875. The next day, Martha Snyder conveyed her dower right in the property to Cook for $1.21

Elijah Cook (1827-1870), son of Edward Cook and Amy Hyde of Clinton, married wife Elizabeth about 1849.22 In the 1860 census, Cook was listed as a 32-year-old farmer of Franklin Twp. with wife Elizabeth age 32, and children Emaline 10, Peter 8, Amy L. 4, and William 1. The family was listed next to John Corsen, age 35 (1825), hotel keeper, and then owner of the Quakertown Tavern, with wife Mary H. Kline and son Charles Corson, 7 months old, who died the next year.

In 1864, Elijah Cook was among the men drafted from Franklin Township. With the Civil War ended, Cook purchased the tavern lot on March 31, 1865, and the next day, April 1st, the dower right of widow Martha Snyder.23 On the same day, Elijah and Elizabeth Cook mortgaged the 1.58-acre tavern property to Daniel Little for $2,000, payable in one year.

Soon afterwards, Cook was elected a pound keeper for Franklin Twp., a position frequently held by tavern owners. Cook held the position as long as he owned the tavern, which turned out to be not very long.

On August 30, 1869, he conveyed “all that certain Tavern House and Tract or parcel of Land and premises of 1.58 acres in Franklin Township” to his wife Elizabeth D. Cook for $4,200.24 The property was described as located on the Great Road leading from Pittstown to Trenton and New Brunswick, half a chain from Matthias Abel’s house, bordering also the Society of Friends, Joseph & Elias H. Trimmer, and our friend William Cronce.

We must assume that this sale to his wife was an attempt to keep the property out of the hands of his creditors. But Elijah Cook died only a year later, on Nov. 21, 1870, when he was only 43 years old, so it is quite possible he was suffering from an illness when he conveyed the tavern property to his wife. He was buried in the Cherryville Mountainview Cemetery. He did not write a will, so wife Elizabeth was named administrator of the estate with Reuben Pierson and William Cronce as sureties.

When Elijah Cook died, he and wife Elizabeth had still not repaid the mortgage of 1865 to Daniel Little. Sometime after that year, Little assigned the mortgage to Joseph Probasco.25 Joseph B. Probasco (1819-1901), a resident of Quakertown, was the son of William Probasco, Sr. and Rachel Scott, who had purchased a half-acre lot in Quakertown from William and Susannah Large in 1814. It was probably on that lot that the Probasco house was built.

The William Probasco house, image from Wikipedia

Sometime in 1871, Probasco sued Elijah Cook’s estate for payment of a debt of $2,103.99. On Dec. 28th of that year, the court issued a writ of fieri facias, and the Sheriff seized the tavern lot. A public sale was held on March 11, 1872, where the highest bidder was one Caroline Wright of Quakertown, for $3,650.26 Caroline was Caroline M. Walters (c.1837-1885), daughter of George & Catharine Walters of Bethlehem Township. She had married Skidmore Wright (c.1837-1917) in 1861. They had some family connection with Elizabeth D. Cook because the Wrights were defendants with her in Probasco’s suit. I had hoped I could identify Elizabeth’s family through Caroline Walters but did not succeed.

It wasn’t long before the Wrights were also sued for debt, this time by Edward P. Conkling in 1880.27 By that time, the Wrights were living in Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ, where Skidmer was employed as a life insurance salesman.

The property, by now heavily mortgaged, was again seized by the Sheriff and sold at public sale. Here is Mr. Bush’s last word:

. . . the Wrights sold it [the tavern lot] to Edward P. Conkling in 1880. Abraham Little and others kept it as a public house for a few years thereafter; then Quakertown went permanently dry.

Postscript: Little & Bowne

In 1880, the Quakertown tavern was being operated by Abraham S. Little. The Franklin Township census for that year, taken on June 28th, listed the household of Abram S. Little, age 36, keeping a hotel, living with wife Kate age 29, keeping house, and children Watson O. 12 and Etta C. 11, both at school, and Laura D. age 2. Also in the household was William Bowne, age 27, bartender, and Mary Stevens, 22, servant.

Abraham or Abram S. Little (1844-after 1915), son of Christopher Little & Naomi Shipman, married first Mary F. Willever (1845-1875) and second Kate Vanderbelt (1851-1898). Little applied for and received a tavern license from 1880 to 1885, while renting the tavern lot from Edward Conkling.

Then on January 28, 1885, the Hunterdon Republican announced in its section ‘Brief News from Quakertown,’ that “Abraham S. Little, will leave the Hotel in the spring and William B. Bowne of Sandy Ridge will take charge.”

In April 1885, Little’s application for a tavern license was rejected and William Bowne did not apply for one. But Little must have gotten one eventually, because by the end of the year, on Dec. 30, 1885, the Republican announced in its section “Brief News from Quakertown,” that “Rumor says that we are to have a change of ‘landlords.’ Abraham S. Little will be succeeded by William B. Bowne.”

Then on Feb 24, 1886, in its section, ‘Brief News from Asbury,’ the Republican informed its readers that Miss Sallie Vanderbelt has rented her hotel property in Asbury to Abraham S. Little of Quakertown. And the next year, on January 19, 1887, in the ‘Brief News from Asbury’ section, it announced that “Abraham Little will keep the hotel this coming year. He has rented a house near Carpentersville on the Pennsylvania side.”

(I feel fairly certain that the Sallie Vanderbelt of Asbury was related to the Kate Vanderbelt who married Abram S. Little, but so far, hunting around on has turned up no leads. I hope one of my readers might be able to provide the link.)

Eventually, Abram and Kate returned to Franklin Township. On March 2, 1892, the Republican reported that “Abraham S. Little, once the ‘landlord’ of Quakertown, will occupy the house of the farm of George D. Leaver of Franklin Tp., next year, but will not do the farming.” On July 25, 1898, Little’s wife Kate Vanderbelt died at the age of 46. Abram S. Little then moved to Franklin Township in Warren County where he rented a home and worked as a mason. By 1910, he was living in Hampton, age 65, and keeping a hotel, but five years later, he was living in the Warren County almshouse, and must have died not long afterwards.

As for William B. Bowne (1849-1920), he was a member of a well-known Hunterdon family, son of Charles C. Bowne and Margaret L. Hoppock of Delaware Township, and grandson of John Deats Bowne (1792-1860) who had taken up residence in Cherryville, Franklin Township in 1845. William married Belle M. Potts (1864-1962) in 1883. At that time, Bowne was living at Sandy Ridge in Delaware Township, while Belle was living with her family in Quakertown.

Bowne managed the hotel for a few years, but in 1897, he and Belle sold their Quakertown property to John T. Stires for $900 and moved to Bentsville, Prince William Co., Virginia.28 They were counted there in the censes for 1900, with William employed as a carpenter. However, by 1905 the couple had returned to Hunterdon County. They bought a house in Readington Township and ran a grocery store there. By 1910, Bowne had retired to Flemington and by 1920 William and Belle were living with their daughter Edith 34 and her husband Carl Rockafellow 37, a garage machinist. William died that year, age 70, and was buried in the Sandy Ridge Cemetery. His wife Belle, who was considerably younger, survived to the age of 97, dying in 1962.

A Last Word

Just as I was putting the final touches on this article, I got myself into a whole new forest of uncertainty by taking another look at the Beers Atlas of 1873. It shows “J. T. Stires” owning property on the northeast corner of the village of Quakertown, about where the Cornell Map of 1851 shows “S. Trimmer Hotel.” It seemed like I ought to know how he got it, so I began looking into his history of land ownership. But none of his deeds seemed to explain his presence on the 1873 Atlas and pursuing this question would mean waiting another week or two to publish, I decided to leave it be for now.


  1. Mr. Bush did not mention that he was the author of the Franklin Township chapter in James P. Snell’s History of Hunterdon County, pp. 430-445, which of course included some words about the Meeting House. Here are two sources for more information: J. E. Stout, “A Brief history of the Friends Meeting at Quakertown, N.J. from 1729 to 1976,” a booklet prepared under the sponsorship of the Bicentennial Committee of Quakertown Monthly Meeting, 1976. It does not mention the tavern. In fact, it does not say when the Quakers acquired their property in Quakertown, which was 1733. Another publication is Mary C. Vail, “History of Land Titles in the Vicinity of Quakertown, New Jersey,” a pamphlet published by Hiram Deats, 1915. Surprisingly, she also did not include the owners of the tavern lot.
  2. H.C. Deed Book 262 p.551.
  3. H.C. Deed Book 15 p.481.
  4. Recital from Deed Book 1 p.29.
  5. H.C. Deed Book 1 p.581.
  6. H.C. Deed Book 1, p. 29.
  7. H.C. Deed Book 11 p. 242.
  8. H.C. Deed Book 12, p. 396.
  9. H.C. Deed Book 4 p. 375.
  10. H.C. Deed Book 4 p.395.
  11. H.C. Deed Book 13 p.430.
  12. H.C. Deed Book 29 p.590.
  13. H.C. Deed Book 32 p.362. The timing seems rather odd, and I did not find a deed from King to Nixon conveying those dower rights. I should note here that has very little information on the Large family of Quakertown, and the one family tree that is displayed has a serious error, stating that William Large died in 1860 in Bucks County. That contradicts his widow’s deed of 1819 and would make him 95 years old. Regrettably, I did not visit the county Surrogate’s office to look for an estate record for the William who died between 1817 and 1819.
  14. The alternative Peter (1797-1884) was the son of John Philip Case and Amy Robins, and married Sarah Holcombe (1804-1866), daughter of Robert Holcombe and Elizabeth Pidcock of Amwell.
  15. H.C. Deed Book 230 p. 410.
  16. H.C. Deed Book 72 p.725.
  17. H.C. Deed Book 121, p. 19.
  18. H.C. Deed Book 115 p.797.
  19. H.C. Deed Book 119 p.528.
  20. H.C. Deed Book 126 p.381.
  21. H.C. Deeds Book 131 pp.794, 797.
  22. I was surprised that their marriage was not recorded in Hunterdon, and the Democrat and the Gazette made no mention of it. I was also unable to find information on Elizabeth’s family.
  23. H.C. Deed Book 131 pp.794, 797.
  24. H.C. Deed Book 144, p.140.
  25. I learned that from a later deed of sale but have not found the deed of assignment.
  26. H.C. Deed Book 149 p.766.
  27. H.C. Deeds Book 186 p.460; Book 188 p.250.
  28. H.C. Deed Book 247 p.8..