This is my second article on the neighborhood of Sandy Ridge in Delaware Township. The previous article was written by Jonathan M. Hoppock in 1905 (and heavily annotated by me.) Today’s article was written by Egbert T. Bush, over 25 years later.
While working on a history of the Sergeantsville Inn, I realized that this would be a good time to publish Egbert T. Bush’s article about the places that made Sergeantsville such an interesting little town. Mr. Bush did not have the advantage of adding photographs the way I do. These pictures come from the postcard collection of Paul Kurzenberger. (Note that Mr. Bush’s article is in italics; my comments are not.)
There is a small church in Delaware Township with a very long history. It is known as the Amwell Church of the Brethren, sometimes called the Dunkard Church for its practice of adult baptism. It seems to be a sort of outlier, quite different from the major religious groups who first appeared in Hunterdon County. Those were Quaker, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican (Episcopalian), Lutheran, Methodist, German Calvinist, and Dutch Reformed. They all had congregations throughout the county and hundreds of worshippers. But the Brethren church didn’t even have a church building until 1811, and never grew to any great size, despite two spin-off churches. And yet, it has endured for 283 years. Although that is a long time, there are eight church in Hunterdon County that were founded before 1733. They are:
Here are two versions of the history of the Amwell Church of the Brethren in Hunterdon County. The first was written by Jonathan M. Hoppock and published in the Democrat-Advertiser on October 17, 1901. Short and sweet. The second one, a little bit longer, was written by Egbert T. Bush and published in the Hunterdon County Democrat on March 26, 1931. Mr. Bush’s ‘history’ is truncated, and as he put it— “it is not the intent to give here anything more than the merest sketch of church history, an indispensable part in any sketch of the community.” He was always more interested in the members of a community than institutional histories, and so he spends more time on those who were buried in the three cemeteries associated with the church members.
During the Civil War, Republicans called Democrats who opposed the war “Copperheads,” likening them to poisonous snakes. Many of these “Copperheads” could be found in Northern States like New Jersey, and in Hunterdon County.
My original intention was to publish an article by Jonathan M. Hoppock on the history of the Baptist Church in Locktown. And that is what I will do here, but after reading his article, I discovered that some of the ministers he listed had troubled careers, and that, of course, makes them interesting. But first, here is Mr. Hoppock’s history of the Church.
I got a letter today from Joan Verity of Frenchtown who wondered about the history of the Methodist Church in Rosemont. It was built in 1860, but only lasted about 20 years.
Charles Cane purchased the building in 1948 and renovated it to serve as housing for his employees. Phil Cane still has a news article about the work that was done, and the bell that once hung in the church steeple can now be seen in the Cane Farm parking lot.
Back in February, I published an article on the cemetery connected with the Locktown Baptist church. Previously I have written about the Baptist congregation here as well as the Locktown Christian Church and its Cemetery. It seems appropriate now to include Mr. Bush’s own history of this neighborhood, which was published in the Hunterdon Democrat, on May 22, 1930. Along with the churches, Mr. Bush discusses the school house, the distillery and the Locktown Hotel, which began its life as a humble tavern, and also some of the old families, like the Chamberlins, Heaths, Lairs, Rittenhouses, Smiths and Suttons. Photographs in this article were provided by Paul Kurzenberger.
Once Known as the Locktown Christian Church