The Pauch farm, continued. The previous article was Joseph Sergeant and Jane Quick.
One item in Charles Sergeant’s will of 1833 is of particular interest to us. It concerned a farm of 130 acres which he had bought from Joseph Sergeant, and which was occupied at that time by Jonathan Rittenhouse. Sergeant ordered that it be sold and the profits divided among his heirs. This was the old Richard Green farm which Charles Sergeant had kept after buying it back from his brother Joseph in 1818. After Joseph Sergeant left the premises, Charles Sergeant rented the farm to a tenant—Jonathan Rittenhouse.
Jonathan Rittenhouse and Delilah Bray
This was the first family not directly descended from Samuel Green and Sarah Bull to reside at the Green farm. However, Jonathan’s wife Delilah was related to Elizabeth Wolverton, wife of Samuel’s son Richard Green.
Jonathan Rittenhouse was born on February 24, 1770 to Benjamin Rittenhouse Sr. (1746-1821) and Elizabeth Fowler (c.1745-1806). On July 10, 1796, he married Delilah Bray of Kingwood. She was born on February 1, 1777 to Gen. Daniel Bray (1751-1819) and Mary Wolverton (1756-1840). Jonathan and Delilah Rittenhouse had nine children, born from 1799 to 1821.1
Exactly when Jonathan and Delilah began living on the Green farm is hard to say. In 1807 he was taxed on a farm of 102 acres in Amwell Township. But there is no deed showing when or if Rittenhouse sold a farm like that. He may have been a tenant there. In 1821, Jonathan’s father Benjamin Rittenhouse wrote his will in which he ordered that the residue of his estate in Kingwood Township be divided between his sons Jonathan and Nathaniel and the children of his deceased son Edward. Somehow, the farm was acquired by Nathaniel Rittenhouse, and when he died in 1830, the farm was sold by his executors. Jonathan did not purchase it; by then he had moved to the Green farm.
Following the sale of the Sergeant farm in 1833 (described below), Jonathan and Delilah Rittenhouse moved to the farm owned by Delilah’s father, Daniel Bray. Bray had died in 1819, but his widow Mary lived on until the age of 84, dying on April 19, 1840. Following her death, her husband’s executors offered the Bray farm for sale, advertising it in the Hunterdon Gazette on November 18, 1840 and on October 17, 1841. In both instances, the farm was in the possession of Jonathan Rittenhouse, and would be shown by him to anyone interested in purchasing the property. By 1840, Jonathan Rittenhouse was 70 years old and his wife Delilah was 63.
Six years later, on February 16, 1846, Jonathan Rittenhouse died, at the age of 75. His obituary in the Hunterdon Gazette read: “Died, On Monday morning, the 16th inst., Jonathan Rittenhouse at his residence in Kingwood, in the 76th year of his age.”2 Rittenhouse did not write a will or have an estate recorded with the Surrogate. On December 3, 1857, his widow Delilah Bray Rittenhouse died, at the age of 80. An estate was recorded for her, although she did not write a will. It appears that she was the one who owned the property they lived on, inherited from her father, Daniel Bray.
Children of Jonathan Rittenhouse and Delilah Bray
1 Mary Bray Rittenhouse (1799-1880), married Rev. Morgan Cox
2 Eliza Bray Rittenhouse (1802-1880), married James Kugler
3 Daniel Bray Rittenhouse (1804-1885), married Rachel Miriam Pyatt
4 Susan Bray Rittenhouse (1806-1889), never married
5 Huldah Bray Rittenhouse (1808-1890), married Rev. James W. Wigg
6 Watson J. Rittenhouse (1810-1894), married Sarah Wilson
7 Wilson Bray Rittenhouse (1813-1891), married Rachel Lambert
8 Mahala Rittenhouse (1816-1893), married William Reading
9 Delilah Ann Rittenhouse (1821-1847), married William Bodine
Sale of the Green-Sergeant Farm
On September 25, 1833, the executors of Charles Sergeant’s estate put this advertisement in the Hunterdon Gazette:
“Public Sale of REAL ESTATE￼ –Pursuant to the last will and testament of Charles Sergeant, late of Amwell, Hunterdon County, New-Jersey, deceased, will be sold at Public Vendue, on Saturday the 5th day of October next, on the premises –
No 1, All that valuable FARM or plantation, now in the occupancy of Jonathan Rittenhouse, situated in Amwell aforesaid, on the main road leading from Centre Bridge to Flemington, within 1¾ miles of the river Delaware, containing about 130 acres of land, in a high state of cultivation, with a good proportion of timber and meadow; handsomely divided and in good fence; with a never failing stream of water passing through the farm; The improvements consist of an excellent two story Mansion House, with Kitchen adjoining, Barn, Carriage-house, &c &c, never failing water of the first quality near the kitchen door – an excellent Apple Orchard, and other fruit in its variety. To say the least of this property, it is a desirable one – the situation is pleasant, remarkable healthy, and convenient to stores, mills, schools, and within ten minutes walk to a place of public worship. . . .
Persons wishing to view the premises, previous to the day of sale, will be shown No. 1, by calling on Mr. Rittenhouse, residing on the farm; . . . Sales to commence on the farm, at 12 o’clock, (noon) and the sale for No. 2 and 3, will be held at the Inn of Mrs. [Amy] Opdycke, in Sergeantsville, at 2 o’clock, when conditions will be made known by James Woolverton, Joseph Wood, James Larason, Ex’ors, Aug 21, 1833.”
This was the Pauch farm, with its “excellent two-story Mansion House with Kitchen adjoining.” Of all the owners from Richard Green on, Charles Sergeant seems the most likely to have built such a “Mansion House” while he was living on the property.
Accordingly, on April 1, 1834, executors of Charles Sergeant deceased sold 128 acres, formerly belonging to Joseph Sergeant, to John R. Dill of Trenton for $3,283.20, considerably less than the $5,000 Charles Sergeant paid for it when he bought it from Joseph Sergeant in 1818.3 John R. Dill (c.1803-1880) was a merchant and extremely successful land investor. In the 1850 census his wealth was listed as $20,000, and over the next 30 years it only increased. But the Amwell farm he purchased was not meant for Dill’s personal use. He apparently stepped in to assist one of Charles Sergeant’s executors to acquire the farm for himself. This was Sergeant’s son-in-law James Woolverton.
James Wolverton and Mary Ann Sergeant
James Wolverton could not purchase the Sergeant farm when it was offered at public sale because he was one of the executors of the estate, and in effect, one of the grantors. So, Dill bought the farm and then sold it privately to James Woolverton on April 2, 1834 for $3,250.4 At that time, the farm bordered John Ent, Andrew Larason, John Hunt, Daniel Rockafellow, land formerly Ezra Brown’s, and several wood lots.
James Wolverton married Mary Ann Sergeant, daughter of Charles and Sarah Sergeant, on April 26, 1817. This is how Wolverton came to be named one of the executors of Charles Sergeant’s estate. Mary Ann, born on July 26, 1798, died at the age of 54, on January 23, 1853. She had given birth to ten children, between 1819 and 1843, all of them surviving to adulthood. I should also mention that James P. Wolverton was the great-nephew of Elizabeth Wolverton, wife of Richard Green.
James P. Woolverton (also spelled Wolverton) was born October 15, 1791 to John Wolverton and Rachel Quinby, a prosperous family living near Rosemont. James was the second youngest of seven children. His father wrote his will on September 25, 1830, in which he named his sons Samuel and James as executors. All the other children were daughters (Mary, Sarah, Martha, Margaret and Anna). The bequest to son James consisted of “the farm whereon my son James now resides of about 180 acres, also one half of the mentioned Kiple farm I give to my son James Woolverton, also a lot of Meadow land and also a clock.”5
John Wolverton had extensive holdings of real estate. The “home farm of 180 acres” given to son James was located on the old Mt. Amwell property formerly belonging to John Reading, southwest of Rosemont. This was an excellent farm, so it is most likely that James Wolverton bought the Green-Sergeant farm as an investment rather than as a residence. That means, of course, that he needed to find a tenant to manage the property.
We learn the name of that tenant from the Cornell Map of 1851 where it appears as “M. Cowdrich.”
Maurice/Morris Cowdrick/Cowdrich and Rachel Opdycke
Maurice Cowdrick was born September 18, 1803 to Samuel Cowdrick (1770-1842) and Sophia Wolverton (1769-aft 1860). Sophia Wolverton was the daughter of Morris Wolverton and Mary Baker, which made her James Wolverton’s aunt, and therefore, Maurice Cowdrick and James Wolverton were first cousins.
Not only was James Wolverton related to Maurice Cowdrick. He was also related to Maurice’s wife Rachel Cowdrick. She was James Wolverton’s niece, since she was the daughter of Joshua Opdycke (c.1780-1854) and James’ sister Mary Wolverton (1782-1817). The Cowdrick family was counted in the 1840 census for Delaware Twp., (husband and wife in their 30s, 2 boys under ten) and may well have been living on the Green farm at that time.
Another Interesting Road Record
In August 1841, Ent Butterfoss submitted a petition for a new public road in Delaware Township, to begin at the road from Centre Bridge to Flemington (Route 523) “at a corner of the cleared land of James Wolverton” (no reference to Cowdrick), then running over that land “in a southern direction,” and then over land of Asher Lambert, John or William Ent, and Ent Butterfoss to the corner of a lot belonging to the Sandy Ridge Baptist Church, there to run along the land of Col. John Sharp to intersect with the road from Centre Bridge to Head Quarters, “and there to end.”6 This was, in effect, today’s Cemetery Road. James Wolverton signed the petition, along with Green Sergeant and several others living near the Green-Sergeant-Pauch farm.
In the census of 1850, Maurice Cowdrick was a 46-year-old farmer with property worth $5000. His wife Rachel was 44, and three of their five children were living with them. As the Cornell Map confirms, they were living on the Pauch-Green farm at this time. But not much longer. In 1854, Maurice Cowdrick purchased some property of his own on the Lambertville-Headquarters Road, close to Lambertville. It was 36.9 acres, purchased from David and Elizabeth Innes for $2500.7 Maurice Cowdrick died at this farm at age 65 on September 13, 1869. His wife Rachel lived to be 82, dying on April 3, 1888.8
Once his relatives had left the farm, James Wolverton must have decided to sell it rather than seek out a new tenant. He found a buyer in 1856—Joshua Primmer, whose story will be told in the next post.
Death of James P. Wolverton
James Wolverton wrote his will on April 22, 1870, leaving his home farm of 133.89 acres to his son Charles Wolverton, in exchange for a payment by Charles of $2000 to the estate. He also left to son Charles the household goods, farm stocks and wearing apparel. The residue of his estate, including other real estate, was to be divided among the remaining children.
A year before Maurice and Rachel Cowdrick moved away from the Pauch farm, Mary Ann Sergeant, wife of James Wolverton, died. She was only 54 and died on January 23, 1853. James spent the rest of his life on his Rosemont farm, accumulating wealth. He was the richest man in Delaware twp. in the 1860 census (although not the richest in Hunterdon County), with $41,000 worth of real estate and $14,000 of personal property. By 1870, he was no longer the head of household. Instead, he was living with his son Charles Wolverton. His real estate had been reduced to $22,400 but his personal property had increased to $22,000, making him the fourth richest man in Delaware Township (outpaced by Elisha Warford, John Finney, Asher Wolverton and Hiram Deats).
After his death, an account was made of his property which totaled only $29,323.13. This included the proceeds from sale of his real estate by his executors, who sold tracts of land to Charles S. Wolverton, George Hoppock, Mary J. Jones and Sarah S. Johnson. The difference between his wealth in 1870 and 1871 may be attributed to the fact that the amount of wealth in the census records was estimated by the owners.
James P. Wolverton died on March 8, 1871, age 79, and was buried in the Rosemont Cemetery, next to his wife Mary Ann. Next to them was their son James, who died unmarried on March 3, 1861 at the age of 26.
It is surprising that, given his great wealth, no obituary for James Wolverton was published and none was published for his wife Mary Ann. How their son James died at such a young age cannot be said—he also lacked an obituary, and there is no G.A.R. marker on his grave to indicate service in the Civil War. He was identified as Dr. James Wolverton, and there is reason to think he died unmarried in Trenton.
Here are the children of James P. Wolverton and Mary Ann Sergeant:
1 Sarah Wolverton (1819-1896), husband Elias S. Johnson
2 Rachel Wolverton (1820-1912), husband Henry R. Fell
3 Jane Elizabeth Wolverton (1822-1902), husband George H. Hoppock
4 John Wolverton (1825-1888), wife Emma Van Cleve
5 Mary S. Wolverton (1828-1923), husband Charles P. Jones
6 Permelia Wolverton (1833-1922), husband Gardner Bowne Johnson
7 James Wolverton M.D. (1834-1861), never married
8 Joseph Wood Wolverton (1836-1887), wife Anna Maria Sims
9 Charles Sergeant Wolverton (1838-1908), wife Elizabeth B. Fell
10 Samuel Wolverton (1843-1888), wife Susanna Paul Lukens9
From 1702 when Richard Bull got his survey to 1856 when James Wolverton sold the farm to Joshua Primmer, the Pauch farm had remained in the hands of a single family for 154 years. It may not be a record for Hunterdon County, but it is pretty impressive.
Next installment: Joshua Primmer and the Pauch Family.
- I have written about their daughter, Huldah Bray Rittenhouse, who married Rev. James W. Wigg, in “Baptists Divided” and “A Scandal in Baptistown.” ↩
- The Hunterdon Gazette, Feb. 25, 1846. Although the Gazette stated his age was 76, calculation of his age from his birth and death dates means he would not turn 76 until February 24. ↩
- Deed Book 60, p. 267. ↩
- Deed Book 58 p. 563. ↩
- Hunterdon Wills, Book 7 p. 49. ↩
- Phyllis D’Autrechy, Abstracts of Hunterdon County Road Record Files (1781-1969), with Index. Hunterdon Co. Cultural and Heritage Commission, 1993, p. 350-351; reference to Road File #20-9-2 at the County Clerk’s Office, Flemington, NJ. There was a map included with this petition, but it is not a very good one. ↩
- Deed Book 107 p. 376. ↩
- The dates come from the Woolverton Genealogy by Emma Ten Broeck Runk. ↩
- Source of dates for these Wolverton children—Emma Ten Broeck Runk, The Woolvertons, Early Legal Records of the Family in New Jersey, And the Descendants of Charles Woolverton (2) to the 7th Generation. Philadelphia, 1932. ↩
April 24, 2014 @ 7:22 pm
Now my appetite is whetted. I will have to make a trip to the surrogate’s office to look at Benjamin Rittenhouse’s will. My ggg-grandfather Wm. Rittenhouse (1767-1853) was the eldest of Benjamin’s children and, of course, Edward, Jonathan and Nathaniel Rittenhouse’s older brother. Was William mentioned in the will at all? How about the youngest children Benjamin, and Nancy Ann, half sister to the others ( a daughter by second wife, Catherine Johnson)?