My previous article discussed the evolution of political parties in the early 1850s, both nationally and in Hunterdon County. The Democratic party was still going strong, while the Whig party was fading away and two new parties had come on the scene: the Republican party and the American party, better known as the Know Nothings.
Hunterdon County Politics in the 1850s
I am going to step away briefly from the life of John C. Hopewell to shed some light on a political movement that Hopewell and many other Flemington notables got caught up in.
After existing for 166 years, through the thick and thins of the American economy, the Hunterdon County National Bank that once was a mainstay on Flemington’s Main Street was taken over by a much bigger national bank in 1983. The HCNB had occupied its beautiful building for nearly that long, about 157 years.
Two Letters Written by Sen. John Lambert
Senator John Lambert of Amwell is one of Hunterdon’s most interesting historical figures.1 He served in the state legislature during the Revolution and afterwards served as Acting Governor before being elected to Congress and then to the U.S. Senate.
“There is something in a village celebration of great events, that has a character peculiar to itself.” Charles George, editor of the Hunterdon Gazette, July 5, 1826.
Disturbing news of late, somehow reminiscent of the lead-up to America’s first Civil War. Whilst scrolling through the Hunterdon Gazette recently, I came across an item that caught my attention, published on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1859:
Party Politics in 1803
Recently, my son, Ben Zimmer, sent me a clipping that a friend of his had found in the Trenton True American for March 7, 1803. This friend, Barry Popik, was researching the expression “Uncle Sam,” (see “New Light on “Uncle Sam”), and had found an instance of its use in this letter to the editor:
The next presidential debate for Democratic candidates is coming up on September 12th. In light of that and also with thoughts about the kind of discourse Americans are having these days, it seemed appropriate to publish Mr. Bush’s article on a practice that went out of fashion long ago—local debating societies. Somehow it was possible for 19th-century neighbors to dispute current issues without making enemies of each other.
In my previous post (A Shrinking Township, part one), I wrote about a petition in 1896 to take a large chunk out of Delaware Township and give it to East Amwell Township. That petition was signed by two East Amwell residents, William H. Manners and Simpson Sked Stout. This post will describe these two, as well as the journey the bill took through the legislature, and the property owners who were affected by it.
On November 18, 1896, two gentlemen from East Amwell Township announced in the Hunterdon Republican newspaper that they would petition the state legislature to change the boundary between East Amwell and Delaware Townships. It was a fairly radical change they were proposing, in which Delaware Township yielded to East Amwell a large chunk from its eastern border and Delaware got nothing in return. On April 17, 1897, the State Legislature followed through and passed a bill to make that happen.