Let us resume the discussion of Hunt’s mills, located on a creek that ran parallel with the Sandy Ridge – Mt. Airy road. The Cornell map of 1851 indicates a grist mill, but there was also a sawmill that, as Mr. Bush wrote, did more than saw wood.2
Hulling Clover Seed
The sawmill did business there until about 50 years ago, hulling clover seed as a side line—a common custom with sawmills in this vicinity, large quantities of such seed being annually gathered here in the old days. We are told that the old-time “header,” a serrated plank device, was driven over the fields to catch the clover between the teeth and tear off the heads, these being the only part taken to the mills.
The gudgeons of the shaft in this particular mill turned out in boxings of stone instead of wood or iron. These boxings being well lubricated by old methods, became surprisingly smooth. One stone used here as boxing may still be seen in a foundation laid in recent years.
This is clearly a description that could only be provided by someone familiar with the tools and procedure for hulling clover seed. But Mr. Bush learned this procedure at his family’s home in Franklin Township. He did not move to Sandy Ridge until 1892, when he was 44 years old. At that time he had retired from full-time farming and was a school-teacher at the Vandolah school. When he retired from teaching twenty years later, in 1912, he and his wife sold the fruit and poultry farm to their son Percy and moved to Stockton village.3
Mr. Bush now turns to some old farmsteads in the vicinity of Sandy Ridge, starting with the farm of Wilson Hunt.
East of the road running southward is the farm formerly owned by Wilson Hunt, son of Nehemiah and grandson of the original Samuel. It is still in the family, being occupied by Wilson’s son Richard and daughter Amanda. We find that in 1885 Wilson Hunt conveyed the corner lot north of the road to his daughter Harriet P., wife of Jeremiah E. Bowne. The young couple erected the house there and have ever since made it their home.
“East of the road running southward” is a confusing statement. Bush could be referring to the Sandy Ridge – Mt. Airy Road, which runs southeast, or Buchanan Road, which runs parallel but further to the east. As far as I know, the farm of Wilson Hunt was west of Buchanan Road, on Block 57 lot 13. (How I wish I could sit down with Mr. Bush and get things like this straightened out!)
The Wilson Hunt farm, or at least the property of “W. Hunt,” can be seen on the Cornell Map (above), across Sandy Ridge Road from “S. [Silas] Huffman.”
Wilson Hunt (1811-1886) was the son of Nehemiah Hunt and Elizabeth Butterfoss, grandson of Samuel Hunt, Mary Reeder, Daniel Butterfoss, Sr., and Esther Ent. His father Nehemiah died at the age of 40 in 1823, when Wilson was still a minor. Wilson’s grandfather Samuel wrote his will in 1825, leaving property to the children of Nehemiah when the youngest reached maturity. But the youngest, Daniel, was not born until 1822, which meant not until 1843.
In the meantime, in 1840 Wilson Hunt married Sarah Ann Wolverton (1821-1862), daughter of Richard Wolverton and Sarah Case. Wilson Hunt and Sarah Wolverton had something in common—both had parents who died when they were young. Sarah Wolverton’s mother Sarah had died in 1824, age 37, when daughter Sarah was still a child. In the 1840 census, after Sarah married, Sarah’s father was living alone. But by 1850, when he was 70, he had moved in with Sarah and her family.
Sarah Wolverton Hunt had a sister Elizabeth who married Jacob Fauss in 1837. That couple also lived in Sandy Ridge, and by 1860, Richard Wolverton had moved in with them; he was then 82, according to the census, and died in September of that year. He was buried in the Methodist Church cemetery in Sergeantsville.
Wilson & Sarah Hunt had eight children from 1841 to 1862. As far as I know, only the youngest, Harriet (1862-1938), married; the others either died young or unmarried. Harriet’s spouse was Freeholder Jeremiah Everitt Bowne (1856-1935), son of Charles C. Bowne and Margaret L. Hoppock. Their home, conveyed to them by Wilson and Sarah Hunt in 1885, was on the northeast corner of Rittenhouse Road and Sandy Ridge Road (Block 39 Lot 13).
The first recorded deed for Wilson Hunt of Sandy Ridge was dated April 1, 1836, in which Jacob & Catharine Knight sold him a lot of 7.99 acres. This was a small part of the large tract that Knight had purchased in 1831 to the north of Sandy Ridge, originally owned by the Severns family. Another part of that tract was purchased by Jacob C. Johnson, and then by the grandfather of William E. Rittenhouse.
The farm adjoining the Charles Poulson property on the north, now owned by Assemblyman William E. Rittenhouse, comes from a tract of 205 acres that was conveyed in 1839 by Caleb Fisher and others to Derick [sic] A. Sutphin. In 1847 Holcombe Dilts conveyed 106 acres, including the Rittenhouse farm, to George W. Sharp, who sold it to Jacob C. Johnson in 1860. In 1868 Johnson conveyed it to Wilson H. Rittenhouse, grandfather of the present owner.
Another farm owned by Wilson B. Rittenhouse and living south of the Wilson Hunt property was later owned by Judson Rittenhouse and is now the home of his widow, Martha (Bodine) Rittenhouse.
The farm owned by Judson Rittenhouse later on became known as the Dilts farm, and is now a popular park in Delaware Township.
The Severns farm was first surveyed by Richard Bull and acquired by Samuel Green, who passed it on to his son-in-law Benjamin Severns, whose son John acquired ownership shortly before the Revolution. It originally consisted of much of the land running south from Sergeantsville to Sandy Ridge. After Severns’ death in 1818, the property changed hands a few times and got divided into several lots.
The part of the Severns tract that came into possession of the Rittenhouse family was located east of Rittenhouse Road, and a little north of the Sandy Ridge Road. I wrote about the road and the family in my article, “Rittenhouse Road,” and included the family history for Wilson and his son Newton Rittenhouse, but I did not mention William E. Rittenhouse. In the Beers Atlas of 1873, the “W. Rittenhouse” stood for Wilson, not for William.
Mr. Bush mentioned the sale in 1839 by Fisher to Sutphin. That was Caleb Farley Fisher and Gideon Quick who sold a farm of 205 acres to Derrick A. Sutphin. In 1846, Sutphin sold half of it to Holcombe Dilts who almost immediately sold it to George W. Sharp. Although Sharp did not occupy the property, he held it until 1860 when he sold part of it to Jacob C. Johnson. In 1868, Johnson sold 69.88 acres (Block 38 lot 7.01) to Wilson B. Rittenhouse.4
When Wilson Rittenhouse died in 1881, age 67, he left a widow, Ury Ann Ent, and six children, all adults. His heirs sold his farm to Cornelius Q. Higgins, a neighbor, who immediately sold it to Wilson’s eldest son Newton B. Rittenhouse (1844-1912). It remained his home until 1906 when he and second wife Mary sold it to his son William E. Rittenhouse. Nelson’s first wife was Eleanor Fleming (1843-1897), daughter of William Fleming and Charity Hagaman. A Rittenhouse Genealogy described her as “a refined and intelligent lady, beloved by all.”
William Edward Rittenhouse (1876-1962) married Jennie F. Snyder (c.1870-1952) in 1890.5 The couple was active in their community, as members of the Sandy Ridge Baptist Church, the Sergeantsville Grange and other local organizations.
William E. Rittenhouse was 41 years old when he signed up for the draft in 1918. He was then a married, self-employed farmer, tall, medium build, brown eyes and black hair. I was surprised not to find a photograph of him online, since he was also a politician. He was elected as a Democrat to the N.J. Assembly in 1927, and served one term. He was apparently not much of a one for self-promotion. The only notice I found in the newspapers was a modest political ad in 1927. It will take careful research in unindexed newspapers to find more about him.
William and Jennie Rittenhouse had a long life together. Jennie died in 1952, in her 80s, and William E. died in 1962 age 85. Both were buried in the Sandy Ridge cemetery.
Farm of Jacob Fauss
On the north side of the road, just as you enter the “big woods,” is the lot which John Hunt conveyed to Jacob Fauss in 1842. Here Fauss carried on business as a weaver for many years. His executors conveyed the property to George W. Marshall in 1889, and Marshall conveyed it to Elizabeth Vanderbilt in 1892. It is now owned by George Alleyne.
The farm of Jacob Fauss was located on the north side of Sandy Ridge Road, east of its intersection with Rittenhouse Road (now Block 39 lot 12). And thanks to Google Earth, you can see that the “big woods” are still there. The map shows Sandy Ridge Road running northeast to its intersection with Lambertville Headquarters Road. The difference between this and Mr. Bush’s time is that there are several houses nestled in those “big woods.”
Jacob Fauss (1813-1888) was the son of John Fauss and Sarah Rounsavel, who lived on Brookville Hollow Road. In 1837, Jacob married Elizabeth Wolverton, daughter of Richard and Sarah Case Wolverton, and sister of Sarah Ann Hunt. He seems to have led a quiet life. Although Mr. Bush called him a weaver, he was always identified in census records as a farmer. Jacob and Elizabeth had six children, but three of them died as young adults. The only mentions of Jacob Fauss in the Hunterdon Republican were for the death of daughter Hannah in 1870 and the wedding of daughter Sarah (to John T. Hummer) in 1883, and a very brief obituary. He got a more extended obituary in the Hunterdon County Democrat on April 3, 1888:
“Three Aged Men Gone. John Polhemus, a well known farmer, and respected citizen of the Ringoes vicinity, died on the 19th ult., aged about 85 years. He had been a ruling elder in the Larison‘s Corner Church for many years. Mr. Jacob Fauss, an old resident of Delaware Township, died at his residence near Sandy Ridge, on Monday of last week, in the 75th year of his age. Mr. F. had resided there over 50 years. Mr. Ralph Sutphin died at his late residence near Ringoes, on the 23d ult, aged about 85 years. Mr. Sutphin was a very respectable farmer and a consistent Christian.”
The Parke Farm
Mr. Bush continues:
Three lots that might be called the nucleus of the William Parkes farm, which touches the Ridge Road on the south at its far end, were conveyed by John Cavanaugh and others to Daniel Brewer in 1819. In 1831 Jonas Thatcher, assignee of Brewer, conveyed the same to Israel Poulson, who conveyed the lots to John and Elias H. Conover in 1836. The Conovers sold them to Amos Holcombe in 1838. These and other lands were conveyed later to William Parkes and still later to his son-in-law, U. G. Leigh.
In one paragraph, Mr. Bush has packed a whole lot of history. And I cannot help but try to flesh it out. This is why it takes me two or three articles to publish one of Mr. Bush’s. I question whether the Parke farm should be considered a Sandy Ridge property. It’s much closer to Headquarters.
Let’s start at the beginning. Daniel Brewer (c.1785-after 1831) was the son of Samuel Brewer and Catharine Horner. Samuel Brewer may have been an English immigrant who served in the Revolution and acquired property near the Amwell-Hopewell Township line. Catharine Horner’s family lived near Locktown. Right there I have to wonder if there were two different Samuel Brewer’s.
The father of Daniel was probably the war veteran. In the pension application of Andrew Butterfoss, whose parents lived in Sandy Ridge, Samuel Brewer testified on February 10, 1823 that he was well acquainted with Butterfoss, and that he saw him at Trenton under Gen. Washington’s command. He and Butterfoss became sick with smallpox and both came home to recover.
The Samuel I am interested in had, in addition to son Daniel, a son William (1782-1836) who married Sarah/Susannah Ent (1784-1854), daughter of Peter Ent and Sarah Kent, granddaughter of Valentine Ent. That couple moved to Ohio.6
William and Daniel had a sister Charity Brewer (1791-1878) who married Elisha Holcombe (1788-1835), son of Richard Holcombe and Hannah Emley. This couple stayed in old Amwell Township and had seven children.
Other siblings of William and Daniel were Richard Brewer who married Rhoda Hunt, Samuel Jr. who married Nancy Baldwin and Elizabeth.
Locating Daniel Brewer’s three lots was a challenge I failed to meet. He bought the first lot in 1813 from Abraham Lawshe. It was land, a house and a Messuage, on a lot of only 3.25 acres, located opposite George Holcombe’s barn. But I thought George Holcombe’s property was up in Headquarters. The next year, Brewer and Holcombe had a boundary adjustment in which Brewer sold a small piece of land to Holcombe, and Holcombe sold Brewer a lot of 6+ acres.7 But it was not adjacent to the first lot. The third lot is even stranger—it was 4 acres purchased from the estate of John Severns, dec’d.8 But Severns’ land was well to the northwest of the intersection that Mr. Bush was discussing (Sandy Ridge Rd. and Lambertville Headquarters Rd.). And because these lots were small, relatively speaking, it was impossible to find them on the tax map.
Going back to that first, and most important lot purchased from Abraham Lawshe, Lawshe’s deeds were not recorded. His will of March 30, 1813 ordered that his property be sold, but a search of deeds that reflect such a sale have been inconclusive. Besides, Lawshe sold the 3.25 acres to Daniel Brewer after writing his will, on May 8th. He also sold a farm of 119.45 acres to his son-in-law William Moore on May 1, 1806, well before he wrote his will.9 That property abutted land remaining to Abraham, and was located south of Headquarters. George Holcombe also lived in Headquarters on the old Opdycke property until he went bankrupt.
So I am beginning to wonder if Daniel Brewer’s three lots had anything to do with the farm later owned by William Parkes.
Next on Mr. Bush’s chain of title is Jonas Thatcher of Sergeantsville, assignee of Daniel Brewer. Brewer went into debt in 1830 and had to turn over all his property to satisfy his creditors. I found this surprising because Brewer had not paid all that much for the three lots—a total of $1823. He was following in his father’s footsteps because Samuel Brewer also had to assign his property to satisfy his creditors. That happened in 1820.
After Daniel Brewer assigned his property to Jonas Thatcher in 1830, he disappears. I could find nothing about him or his family in Hunterdon records, and assume that he left for parts north or west, perhaps along with his parents Samuel and Catharine.
The purchaser of Brewer’s lots was Rev. Israel Poulson. The sale was dated March 29, 1831, in which Jonas Thatcher, assignee of Daniel Brewer, conveyed to Israel Poulson for $245 the three lots, including the 3.25-acre lot where the buildings were, opposite the barn of John & Elias Conover (formerly George Holcombe’s.)10 Five years later, on March 25, 1836, Poulson and wife Hannah sold the three lots to the Conover brothers for $380.11
Rev. Israel Poulson (1770-1856) came to Hunterdon from Somerset County, probably at an early age, for he married Esther Moore (1770-1795) daughter of Daniel and Catharine Moore about 1794. Esther was only 24 when she died, so Poulson married her sister Hannah (1776-1839) in 1797. The couple had nine children. Daughter Rachel married Elias Hubbard Conover, the same Elias who with brother John bought the three Brewer lots.
The chain of title gets a little messy here. The Conover brothers, along with Rachel Conover, wife of Elias, sold the three lots to Amos Holcombe on April 25, 1838 for a surprising $2,000.12 One wonders if perhaps the Conovers had made some significant improvements to the properties.
The families in this area were well and truly interrelated. Amos Holcombe was married to Mary/Mariah Brewer, daughter of Daniel Brewer and Rosina Sine. She was the only one of the Brewer family who remained behind in Amwell Township. The couple married in 1838, the year that Amos bought her father’s three lots. The wedding took place on May 30th, and was performed by Rev. Joseph Wright, which means they were probably married in the Sandy Ridge Baptist Church. The wedding announcement in the Hunterdon Gazette stated that they both were “of Headquarters.”
Amos Holcombe, born 1817, was the son of Lewis Holcombe (1794-1831) and Mary L. Sutton (1797-1880), of the Sand Brook Sutton family.13 During the years after their marriage, Amos and Mary probably lived on the 3.25-acre lot that had the house and outbuildings. During that time, Amos worked as a tailor. In 1859 this changed when Amos and Mary sold the three lots to Israel Poulson for $3,000, and Poulson sold to the Holcombes a lot of 29.03 acres for the same amount, on the Lambertville Headquarters Road. Thereafter Amos Holcombe was identified as a farmer rather than a tailor. This farm had been purchased the year before from John C. Dilts and wife, who had acquired it from commissioners to divide the real estate of Nicholas B. Higgins.14
So the three small lots were back in the hands of Rev. Poulson. Except this was not the same Rev. Poulson—it was Rev. Israel Poulson, Jr. The senior Reverend died on Feb. 13, 1856 and was buried in the Lower Amwell Old Yard adjacent to the German Baptist Church south of Sandbrook. He had been preceded there by his three wives. Rev. Poulson, Jr. was the youngest child of the second wife, Hannah Moore (1776-1839), and married Harriet Johnson (1821-1908), daughter of William Johnson and Urania Sergeant, in 1841.
Let’s go back to Mr. Bush’s paragraph in which he stated that Daniel Brewer’s three small lots were the core of the farm later owned by William Parkes. Actually, that was not the case. Those lots really bothered me because I could not fit them in with the Parkes farm. But finally I found a deed dated April 2, 1866 in which Rev. Poulson, Jr. and wife Harriet sold the same lots with the same dimensions and acreage, plus a fourth small lot, to John A. Carrell, for a whopping $3,500.15 Carrell held on to that property until his death in 1895. So it appears that Parkes never owned those lots.
How could Mr. Bush have made that mistake? Perhaps because it is very easy to get misdirected. And if it can happen to Egbert T. Bush it can happen to anyone!
William Moore Parkes and Sarah Hice
So, about the farm of William Parkes: William was the son of Ozias Parkes (1792-1877) and Margaret Moore (1801-1889), and grandson of Ozias Parkes Sr. & Jane Robins, and William Moore & Margaret Lawshe. So he was well-established in the Delaware portion of old Amwell Township. Ozias and Margaret Parkes owned land north of Sergeantsville, but by the 1860s had moved to the Sergeantsville-Ringoes Road, to a lot somewhat to the north of the William Parkes farm.
William Parkes was living with his parents in 1850 when he was 23 years old. He married Sarah Hice (1830-1901) not long after that. She was the daughter of John Hice (1802-1881) and Sarah Parks (1801-1884) who had moved from Upper Creek Road to the vicinity of Headquarters about 1856. Of course, we must ask, was this Sarah Parkes Hice related in some way to her son-in-law William Moore Parkes? I don’t think so, but have not researched the question enough to be certain.
On May 2, 1853, William Parkes bought a lot of 16.36 acres on the road from Sergeantsville to Headquarters from Richard Horn.16 But he did not assemble his farm at the intersection of Sandy Ridge Road and Lambertville-Headquarters Road until the 1860s and 1870s, by buying lots from George Young & wife and from Alexander and Christiana Higgins, for a total of 52.74 acres, plus a couple small woodlots.17
The Higgins property came from the heirs of Henry Lawshe dec’d, and the land from George Young came from Amos Holcombe, son-in-law of Daniel & Rosina Brewer. William Parkes was established on his farm in time to appear on the Beers Atlas of 1873 (above) living on the Lambertville-Headquarters Road.18
William M. Parkes died on July 6, 1909 and was buried in the Lower Amwell New Yard, next to wife Sarah who had preceded him, dying on January 13, 1901.
William and Sarah Parkes had four children, but only two of whom survived to adulthood: Horace Larue Parkes 1862-1949, who married Marilla Matthews, and Mahala H. Parkes (1863-1919) who married Ulysses G. Leigh. Following the death of their father, the two siblings divided the property between them. Mahala & Ulysses Leigh conveyed to Horace Parkes the lot of 29.17 acres which William Parkes bought from Peter Bellis in 1885, and Horace and Marilla conveyed to Mahala Leigh a lot of 29.03 acres which William had purchased from George Young in 1869, along with a lot of 23.71 acres purchased from Alexander Higgins in 1873. These last two lots were the core of the Parkes farm.19
I took a ride past the Parke farm recently and was delighted to see that the old farmhouse is being restored and will look very nice when it’s finished.
And here I must end. I have left out a section of Mr. Bush’s article dealing with the farm of Samuel Higgins, and later Nathaniel B. Higgins. This farm belongs to Headquarters rather than to Sandy Ridge.20 The Higgins Farm goes on the list of future articles.
However, Mr. Bush had more to say about Sandy Ridge Road:
When Dogwood Blooms
As you ride from Sandy Ridge Church east-ward, you have a fine view bounded by blue-capped hills on the left and by the Sourland Range on the right. To the south and southeast you gaze over a wide expanse, all beautiful to look upon; most of it excellent farm land, and perhaps some of it which might be said:
“ ‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view.”
If you are riding leisurely along in the season for dogwood bloom—as you should be sooner or later—you are in for a real treat. As you approach the “big woods,” there is a bewildering appearance of banks and billows of snowy white against the finest shades of green. On nearer approach there seem to spread out among acres and acres of scattered trees—a sight worth driving far to see, if you are one that can enjoy Nature without dissecting her beauty to decorate a “flivver.”
If you have never made this trip in dogwood time, try it on some fine afternoon next year. If you really enjoy Nature as she is, Sandy Ridge will welcome you to one of the finest dogwood shows that you have seen; but Sandy Ridge promises no welcome to any kind of vandals.
The “big woods” Mr. Bush mentioned before (in the aerial photo) are located along the section of the Sandy Ridge Road running from Rittenhouse Road to its end at Lambertville Headquarters Road. The woods are magnificent with towering trees. But there many houses nestled among them, and I doubt whether all those dogwoods remain. “Nature as she is” is not what she used to be. And why the subject of vandals came up I cannot say, and hate to think.
Mr. Bush wrote another article about Sandy Ridge which will be published here before long.
- A couple other articles by Mr. Bush about the Sandy Ridge area are Brookville & Horne’s Creek, and They Cut a Wagon in Half. ↩
- Mr. Bush wrote about sawmills in “Old-Time Sawmills Were a Joy to Watch.” ↩
- See Obituary for Egbert Trimmer Bush. ↩
- H. C. Deeds 62-123, 70-531, 86-544, 87-390, 122-358, and 138-504. ↩
- There was a well-established Snyder family in old Amwell township but for some reason I have not been able to link them with Jennie Snyder Rittenhouse. ↩
- Confession time: I do not know what my source was for this list of children. It may have come from the genealogical notebooks of Hiram Deats at the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society. ↩
- H.C. Deeds 21-332, 22-246. ↩
- H.C. Deed 29-552 ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 13 p. 223. ↩
- H.C. Deed 50-027. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 62 p. 393. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 70 p. 13. ↩
- For information on Mary’s parents see The Sutton Family Burying Ground. Amos and Mary had two children, Lewis R. Holcombe (1841-1920) who married Sophia T. Bowne, and Rosanne Holcombe, born about 1847, died after 1870. (If she married, there was no record of it.) ↩
- H.C. Deeds 102-252, 118-276, 119-465, 119-480. ↩
- H.C. Deed Bk 135 p. 10. ↩
- H.C. Deed Book 106 p. 229. ↩
- H.C. Deeds 144-131 and 153-543. ↩
- I should mention that George Young was Rev. George Young who pastored at the Sandy Ridge Baptist Church in the 1840s and the 1870s. See Sandy Ridge, part two. ↩
- H.C. Deeds Book 293-233 and 235. ↩
- I have written about Headquarters before, but there are too many articles to list. Go to the Localities page and click on Headquarters. ↩