My last article concerned an old restaurant on Main Street (today’s Higgins News Agency) that long ago sported a lovely arch along its front roofline. Previous to that, was the George Rea building, that had a similar arch on all four sides. Looking for the next building on Flemington’s Main Street with that unusual feature, we come to none other than the Union Hotel.
Some time ago, I began to write about a road in Raritan Township that originated as a private lane used by the Carman and Hoagland families to get from their farms to the main road from Flemington to Ringoes. That private road eventually became Johanna Farms Road. In my previous article, I had gotten to the point where the farm on the south side of Johanna Farms Road was owned by Cornelius Voorhees in 1852 (see Hoagland’s Road, part one). Voorhees bought the farm in 1840 from the assignees of John S. Rockafellow.
Part one focused on the family of Judson Rittenhouse and Martha Bodine, who lived on the farm now known as the Sarah Dilts Farm Park in Delaware Township for most of their lives. The farm was purchased by Judson’s father, Wilson Bray Rittenhouse, in 1844. This article will first describe Wilson and his family, and then will trace the history of this property back to the first European owner.
There are two ways of writing about a cemetery. One is to portray the people buried there, which I attempted to do in my previous article. The other is to relate how the cemetery came to be—in other words, the history of the property where the cemetery is located. It usually makes sense to focus on the place since many of its early owners were buried in the cemetery. At first I thought that in this case, none of them were. But, research has changed my mind.
This article continues my exploration of the neighborhood of Sandy Ridge by presenting the first half of Egbert T. Bush’s article “Sandy Ridge Long a Farm Community.” There could be no better expert on the subject than Mr. Bush, who lived in Sandy Ridge for many years and taught at the old Vandolah School.
Not long ago, Dennis Bertland inquired about an old house that might have been located on the William Rittenhouse tract that I recently wrote about (“The Rittenhouse Tavern.” Dennis’ inquiry can be found in the comments section.) It is located in a blank space on the Hammond Map between the Wickecheoke Creek and Shoppons Run. Who did that space belong to?
The Hammond Maps of Hunterdon County proprietary tracts are a wonderful resource for county historians. Many of the property owners shown on these maps drawn by D. Stanton Hammond in 1963 were the first Europeans to claim title to this part of the state of New Jersey. What happened to those properties in succeeding years has always fascinated me and provided wonderful material for my articles.
In the previous post, concerning the life and death of Capt. William Kidd, I speculated on who the person was who drew these pictures
Unfortunately, I was basing my conclusions on a faulty citation, which is an egregious error for an historian, amateur or not. I had concluded that the most likely person was John Tatham, who was not only an ardent opponent of Samuel Jennings, but also a strong supporter of Gov. Jeremiah Basse and of the claims of Daniel Coxe, and later the West Jersey Society, to vast tracts of land in West New Jersey. The circumstance I relied on to identify Tatham was my mistaken notion that the drawings were made on a blank page of the minute book of the West Jersey Board of Proprietors. And I made that mistake by relying on my memory rather than verifying the source.