Because there has been some confusion about exactly where Sen. John Lambert lived, I have spent the past two articles determining that his farm was located on Seabrook Road and not on Lambertville-Headquarters Road, as some have thought. The confusion was caused by the fact that both farms were owned at one time by men named John Lambert and Gershom Lambert.
To briefly recap, the first John Lambert purchased a tract of over 800 acres in 1750 and immediately sold off the northern half to Valentine Ent, saving the lower half for his sons John Jr. and Gershom. Son Gershom (father of Sen. John) got the northern half of this 400 acres and built a house on Seabrook Road. Son John Jr. got the southern half, and built his house on Lambertville-Headquarters Road.
The two brothers, John and Gershom, both died young in 1763, probably from smallpox. Fortunately, both brothers wrote wills, leaving their real estate (or the profits from the sale of it) to their sons. Unfortunately, both brothers had sons named Gershom and John. Here is a crude map showing the location of the two farms. (Click on the image to get a better view.)
In his will, dated February 14, 1763, John Lambert left the plantation where he lived to his sons John, Gershom and Jeremiah. The will was recorded on March 29, 1763. John Lambert was only 49 years old when he died; his wife Mary was about the same age, and her son Gershom, born in 1754, was only 9 years old. Her son John seems to have died not long after 1763, as I have found no record of him. The third son, Jeremiah, apparently shared ownership of their father’s real estate, but did not take up residence on Lambertville-Headquarters Road.1
It is hard to say how the family got along before Gershom Lambert came of age in 1775. The widow Mary Lambert had seven children to care for, but I have not discovered when she died. She may have been buried in the Barber Cemetery along with the rest of the Lamberts, but if so, her gravestone has not survived. Her husband John’s grave has also not been found there, but it seems more than likely that he too was buried in the Barber Cemetery.
Gershom Lambert (1754-1847), son of John and Mary Lambert, became the owner of the Lambertville-Headquarters farm (Block 62, lot 12). Unlike his father, he lived to the ripe old age of 93. During this long life, he married three times. His first wife, Mary Barber, was the daughter of John and Magdalen Barber, who lived further north on Lambertville-Headquarters Road. Mary Barber Lambert may have died in childbirth, as she had no surviving children, that I know of. Gershom Lambert’s second wife was the daughter of another neighbor, Laughlin Curry and wife Margaret Barber. (I do not know the daughter’s given name.) She had one son, Asher Lambert, born in 1788, but she probably died not long afterwards.2
Gershom Lambert’s third wife was Elizabeth Duy of Pennsylvania. We know Elizabeth’s surname was Duy because her sister Hannah came to live with her for a few years. After Elizabeth’s death in 1847, Hannah moved in with Elizabeth’s daughter Elizabeth Melick until Hannah died in 1856. She was buried in the Barber Cemetery near her sister; Hannah’s gravestone clearly identified her as the sister of Elizabeth Lambert. And in his will, Hannah’s brother-in-law Gershom Lambert left the use of an upper room in his house, which Hannah shared with Gershom and Elizabeth’s granddaughter Myra Coryell.
Gershom and Elizabeth Lambert had three children: John (1791-1882), Hannah (1796-1873) and Elizabeth (c.1800-1868). It’s easy to figure out who they were named after.
During the Revolution
Citing “tradition,” the authors of “The Lamberts of Amwell”3 wrote that Gershom Lambert helped to build the boats used by Gen. Washington to cross the Delaware, and also built barrels for provisions. He had enlisted as a private in Capt. Henry Philip’s Company in 1777, and in 1782 was elected Lieutenant in Capt. Joseph Smith’s Company, Amwell Militia. But during the war, he was still maintaining his farm, as shown in the tax ratables for 1780. In January he was taxed on 200 acres, 5 horses, 6 cows, 6 pigs, and 1 single man (Charles Couzines). In June 1780, Lambert was taxed on the same 200 acres, with 5 horses, 6 cows, 6 pigs, and no single man. Ten years later, he was still taxed on 200 acres with single man, John Benson. Gershom Lambert was also counted in the Amwell Township censuses of 1830 and 1840.4
Gershom Lambert lived on his farm for his entire long life. During that time he made improvements to the property and purchased additional acreage to enlarge it. Comparing the two Lambert farms shows clearly what a difference it makes to have resident owners rather than tenants. After the death of Sen. Lambert, his farm was mostly tenanted, while the Gershom Lambert farm remained in the family until 1868. Today, most of its original outbuildings are still standing, and additions to the original house were far more thoughtfully made than to Sen. Lambert’s house. The Gershom Lambert farm is a lovely property.
In 1830, Gershom Lambert acquired a tract of 200 acres across Seabrook road from his farm.5 It had once belonged to Joseph Lambert, brother of Sen. John Lambert, and was once part of the Dimsdale tract that was divided between Gershom Lambert, Sr. and John Lambert back in 1763. Joseph and Mary Lambert sold the farm to John Lambert, Jr. on May 20, 1800,6 and John Lambert sold it sometime before 1829 to David Johnes, whose estate sold it to Gershom Lambert.
On January 18, 1844, Gershom Lambert wrote his will. He left his homestead farm to his son Asher Lambert during his life time, and then to be divided between Asher’s sons, John and – you guessed it – Gershom. The will also provided for his other son John by leaving him a farm of 150 acres that Gershom Lambert had purchased from Daniel Larowe. And for his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Christopher Melick, he left the farm where they were living of 207 acres purchased from David Johnes. It appears that Gershom Lambert bought these two farms to provide for his other children.
As regards the homestead farm which was left to Asher Lambert’s children, Gershom was to get 180 acres and John 150 acres. In a codicil dated January 5, 1844, Gershom Lambert stipulated where the dividing line between the two farms would be located: along a fence line and the new public road. I have not determined which road he was referring to, but it must have been part of Seabrook Road or the part of Lambertville-Headquarters Road that intersects with Seabrook.
Gershom Lambert, Sen. died on March 1, 1847, age 93 years and 7 days. His wife Elizabeth died a month later, on April 15th. She was 78 years and 9 months old. The couple was buried in the Barber Cemetery.
Asher Lambert, Esq.
By this time, Gershom’s son Asher was running the farm for his parents. The 1840 census shows Gershom and Asher as heads of the same household (they shared the same line).
In 1825, Asher Lambert acted as administrator of the estate of Cornelius Coryell,7 who died in 1824. Coryell’s son Jacob married Sarah Lambert, daughter of Sen. John Lambert and Susannah Barber. Apparently administration of his estate was granted to Asher Lambert rather than his widow or children because the widow was Asher’s step-sister Hannah Lambert.
Asher Lambert married late in life. He was 43 when he married Jerusha Thatcher on February 24, 1831. She was the daughter of Amos Thatcher and Mary Sine, and granddaughter of Jonas Thatcher, Sr. and Margaret Trimmer of Sergeantsville. For more on the early Thatcher family, see The Sergeantsville Inn.) Jerusha’s father died in 1843, and afterwards, her mother Mary came to live with the Lamberts.
In 1839, Asher Lambert was elected a member of the Delaware Township Committee. That may be when he acquired the title of Asher Lambert, Esq. He was re-elected to the town committee every year until his death in 1850.8
Unlike his father who lived to an advanced age, Asher Lambert died on March 1, 1850, when he was only 61 years old. According to the 1850 mortality schedule, he died of a fever. When the census of 1850 was taken on July 30th, Jerusha Lambert, age 42, was the head of household with property worth $8,000. Her children living with her were Gershom 18 farmer, John 14, Mary 16, Caroline 11, Sarah 5, and Elizabeth 13. Also in the household was Jerusha’s mother Mary Thatcher 66.
Asher Lambert did not write a will, since his father Gershom had determined that the farm would be divided between Asher’s sons, John and Gershom. But they were not quite ready to take on that burden in 1850. By 1860, their mother Jerusha was still head of household. Her husband’s will had given her the use of the Mansion House during her natural lifetime. She was 51 years old by this time, and son John was 24. What is interesting about this record is that it shows Jerusha and her children in possession of considerable wealth for the time. Jerusha had $3,000, son John, the farmer, had $1200, daughter Mary, age 25, had $3200, Caroline, age 21, had $2800 and daughter Sarah, age 15, had $1000. (As a side note, Thomas Seabrook, age 12, was also in this household. He would later become owner of Sen. John Lambert’s farm.)
Part of the reason these children had so much wealth was due to the will of their grandfather Gershom Lambert. He left $1,000 to each of his granddaughters, although he did not name granddaughter Sarah. The amounts above $1,000 may have come from proceeds of real estate sales by Gershom Lambert’s executors, sons Asher and John Lambert and son-in-law Christopher Melick. Or it may be because of this clause: “which several legacies are to be retained by my executors, put to interest on good land security, . . .”
Gershom Lambert the younger had set up his own household by 1860. He was a 27-year-old farmer, living with his wife Elizabeth, age 26, and their daughter Mary K. Lambert, age 3. Also living in the household were John Moore 15 and John W. Lowe 25, laborers, and Elizabeth Akers 15, a servant. Gershom’s wife Elizabeth was Elizabeth Rittenhouse, whom he married on Dec. 5, 1855. She was the daughter of Euphemia Rittenhouse and an unknown father. She and Gershom had one other daughter, Bessie A. Lambert, born July 1876. After 1880, the first daughter Mary moved to Santa Monica with her husband Austin C. Carhart, and died there in 1896 at the age of 38.
Where exactly Gershom Lambert was living in 1860 is hard to say, since his mother still had possession of the homestead farm. But that changed soon afterwards, when Jerusha Lambert married her second husband, William W. Wilson, and moved to his home.9 She was counted in the 1870 census as “Jarusia” age 62 the wife of William Wilson age 73 (b. 1796). Wilson was a well-to-do farmer with property worth $16,000. Jerusha herself had property of $2500. (For more on William Wilson, see the Postscript, below.)
The two brothers, Gershom and John, who inherited Asher Lambert’s farm, sorted out the ownership on April 4, 1865, when John Lambert and wife, Mary Louisa Hunt,10 conveyed their rights to the farm of 180 acres to Gershom Lambert, Jr. for $5,000.11 This was the recital in the deed:
Whereas Gershom Lambert Sr., late of Delaware Twp., . . .was seized of certain real estate in the township of Delaware . . . at the time of his death . . . and in and by his said last will . . . bequeathed to his son Asher Lambert during his natural life the use and possession of his homestead farm, adjoining lands of Samuel Barber, of 180 acres, more or less . . . subject nevertheless to privileges given to his widow and others . . .
Then the deed quoted from Gershom Lambert’s will:
I give and bequeath the said farm to his two sons, viz. Gershom and John equally between them, and in the third section of said will . . . “to my son John Lambert I give and bequeath the use and possession of the farm whereon he now lives, being the same which purchased from Daniel Larew containing 150 acres more or less, during his natural life, and at his decease to his heirs &c.
Gershom Lambert wrote a codicil dated 1844, which mentioned another farm left to son-in-law Christopher Melick and daughter Elizabeth Melick, with the same restrictions as the other two farms; it was given to them for their natural lives and then to their heirs.
Surprisingly, soon afterwards, on March 6, 1868, Gershom Lambert and wife Elizabeth sold the farm to Theodore Housel of Lambertville. By now it came to 217 acres, and it was sold for a whopping $15,172.12 This occurred when Gershom Lambert was only 35 years old. He must have suffered an accident or illness, because in the 1870 census, he was a 39-year-old retired farmer living in Lambertville with wife Elizabeth, age 37, and daughter Mary age 13. Perhaps he just did not enjoy farming.
Theodore Housel (1813-1897) was the son of Joseph Housel (1780-1872) and Rebecca Dusenbury (1780-1841).13 Joseph and Rebecca Housel lived at Headquarters. He must have been a very successful farmer, because in 1860, when he was 79, he was identified as a “Gentleman.” By then he was living with his second wife Susan Lake (age 64, daughter of Isaac Lake and Elizabeth Godown), whom he married in 1846.
In 1870, Theodore Housel was age 56, a farmer living in Delaware Township with real estate worth only $12,000, despite having just paid over $15,000 for it. His wife Elizabeth was 62, keeping house. Sons David, 20, and Wilson, 14, were “working on farm”; also in the household were Isaac P. Tutter, 28, “working on farm,” his wife Margaret, age 27, and Sarah Housel, age 19, clearly a relative, but I do not know how. The next household on the list was occupied by Theodore and Elizabeth’s son Joseph Housel (Joseph Prall Housel, 1847-1929), age 22, “working on farm.” Most likely the farm he was working on belonged to Theodore Housel.
The Beers Atlas of 1873 shows “T. Housel” living at the old Lambert farm. And he was still there in 1880 when the Delaware Township census was taken. By this time he was a 62-year-old farmer and wife Elizabeth was 67. This was Elizabeth Price (1809-1888), daughter of Andrew Price and Mary Closson. She and Theodore Housel were married on Jan. 12, 1839. Their two grown sons, David and Joseph, were living with them along with their wives and children, making a household of 14. There was also a 12-year-old servant named Florence Myers, who seems too young to care for such a large household; no doubt she was extra help for the women in the family.
That same year, 1880, Gershom Lambert was still living in Lambertville with wife Elizabeth and daughters Mary and Bessie, as well as mother-in-law Euphemia Rittenhouse, age 79. By this time Gershom Lambert had found employment as a foreman overseeing bridge construction. During this time, several iron truss bridges were being built in Hunterdon County, and he was most likely employed by the Lambertville Iron Works.14
On April 1, 1884, Theodore and Elizabeth Housel sold the old Lambert farm back to Gershom Lambert. It was 216.74 acres, but this time cost only $13, 546.25.15 Theodore was probably getting too old for farming; he was 71 that year, but did not remain idle. In fact, he was known as a dairyman, and in his obituary of 1897 it was reported that he had had a milk route in Lambertville for over 40 years. He must have also kept busy making repairs to his house, despite his advanced age. This item appeared in the Hunterdon Republican on Oct. 28, 1896, when he was 83 years old.
Theodore Housel, of Lambertville, fell from his kitchen roof to the ground a few days ago, dislocating his left shoulder blade and injuring his left breast.
What was an 83-year-old man doing on his roof? It boggles the imagination. Theodore Housel died on Dec. 12, 1897. His wife Elizabeth had previously died on July 30, 1888. Theodore Housel’s grave can be found in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lambertville. Presumably Elizabeth’s is also there, but the stone is no longer. She did, however, merit an obituary, published in the Hunterdon Republican on Aug. 15, 1888:
The death of Mrs. Elizabeth Housel, wife of Theodore Housel, brings to mind the fact that she and her husband had lived together for 40 years and had raised 6 children, all of whom are married. There are about 29 GCs and 1 GGC.
Back to Gershom Lambert, who had bought the old farm back from Theodore Housel. Only three years after buying it back, on March 31, 1887, he and wife Elizabeth of Lambertville sold part of the farm, 166 acres, to Kate Arnett, also of Lambertville, for $8,300.16
This takes us to the 20th century owners, and out of regard for my patient readers I will give an abbreviated chain of title from this point.
On May 15, 1911, George W. Arnett and wife Kate Arnett of Lambertville conveyed 166 plus 32 acres to John R. Holcombe for $7,000.17 The extra 32 acres were purchased from William Poetzsch around 1900. On March 19, 1922, John R. Holcombe and wife Sarah, living in Delaware Township, sold a farm of 165 acres to Rollin O. Hooven of Holland Township for $1.18 It was in the 1920s that people got secretive about what they were actually paying for their real estate, and there was no legal requirement that the exact amount be recorded. Note that in 1930, Rollin Hooven’s wife Katharine purchased the farm of Sen. John Lambert. Rollin Hooven died in 1934, and Katherine maintained ownership of both farms until she conveyed the Gershom Lambert farm on Lambertville-Headquarters Road to her son James B. Hooven on Oct. 30, 1954.19
James Buckelew Hooven (1912-1993) was born in Oregon. His family appears to have spent several years in California, where his two older siblings were born, before moving to Oregon, and then back to Delaware Township by 1922. James B. Hooven married Dorothy Romine (1913-1993), the daughter of Horace Reading Romine and Olive S. Lawshe, both members of very old Hunterdon families. The old Romine family farm was located at the intersection of Seabrook Road and Brookville Hollow Road.
Oddly enough, I was unable to locate the Hooven family in the 1940 census, and a search for James Hooven’s obituary online proved fruitless. However, I do have a copy of Dorothy Hooven’s obituary. It stated that she died at her home on March 10, 1993 at the age of 79, and identified her parents (as mentioned above). She was survived, at that time, by her husband James Hooven, two sons (Lynn of Macon GA and Ralph of Delaware twp.) and two daughters (Nancy Barr of West Haven, CT and Jane Glass of Ellicott City, MD). It also mentioned her siblings, including Jean Hunt of Ringoes, wife of Benner Hunt. The Hoovens and Hunts are still remembered by many current residents of Delaware Township.
About 20 years before their deaths, on Nov. 4, 1975, the Hoovens, who relocated to Lambertville, conveyed their farm of 127.51 acres to the present owners, Richard J. and Elizabeth S. Kohler of Murray Hill, NJ, for $240,000.20 Which brings us to the end of the story of Gershom Lambert’s farm.
Postscript: Two William Wilsons
There were at least two William Wilsons living in Amwell Township at the same time. (Duplicate names seem to be a recurring theme in these articles on the Lamberts.) The first was the son-in-law of John and Hannah Lambert. Their daughter, Maria Lambert Wilson, died in 1838 and was buried in the Barber Cemetery. William Wilson was born in Ireland in 1781 and came to America in 1806. I have not researched his deeds, but he prospered enough to marry into a prominent family and to be called “Gentleman” in the 1860 census.
Hon. William Wilson
This William Wilson was usually addressed as “Hon.” because of his tenure as a State Senator from 1835 to 1842, which means he was in the legislature when Mercer County was created out of Hunterdon County in 1838, and at the same time, Delaware Township was created out of old Amwell Township. Since Wilson was a Democrat, he probably voted against it. His opponent in the race for State Senate in 1835 was Nathaniel Saxton.
Wilson’s second wife was Elizabeth Anderson Jones (1804-1892), daughter of Benjamin Jones and Catherine Anderson. She was also the widow of Allen B. Holcombe (1795-1834), who owned the farm on the west side of Seabrook Road, just south of Wilson’s farm. Wilson and Elizabeth Jones Holcombe were married by Rev. Studdiford on March 26, 1840.
In the 1850 census, William Wilson was a 68-year-old farmer of Delaware Township, living with his second wife, Elizabeth, age 46, and their son John M. Wilson, age 7. Also there were Elizabeth’s children from her first marriage: Anderson Holcombe, age 19, and Mary C. Holcombe, age 17. And there was a relative from Ireland, perhaps a nephew, living with them—John Wilson, age 29, with wife Mary, 23, and their two children, George W., age 2, and Harriet, 2 months old.
William Wilson died on Nov. 30, 1865. Here is his obituary from the Hunterdon Co. Democrat, as transcribed by Dennis Sutton:
“Died, November 30th, at his residence near Lambertville, the Hon. Wm. Wilson, in the 85th year of his age. The departure of one so long held in high esteem for his worth and services demands a respectful notice. Mr. Wilson was born in the north of Ireland in May 1781. … Mr. Wilson came to this country in 1806. For several years he resided in the neighboring county of Bucks.
William W. Wilson
The second William Wilson, known generally as William W. Wilson (1796-1875), was the one who married Jerusha Lambert, widow of Asher. He was born in 1796 to John and Jane Deremer Wilson. Jerusha was his second wife. His first wife (and this is where I have gotten into trouble) was Anna Maria Lambert (1811-1852), who was NOT the daughter of Sen. John Lambert. In fact, I have been unable to place among her the various Lambert families.
The only possibility that I am aware of is the daughter of Daniel Lambert and Mary (Polly) Sharp, who would have been born sometime after the couple married in 1806. Daniel Lambert was the son of Gershom Lambert (1759-bef 1822) and Rebecca Hunt, who moved away from Amwell Township in about 1817. Daniel Lambert went with them, which we know because he wrote a letter to his uncle Sen. John Lambert on June 15, 1819, when he was living in Porter Township, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He wrote that his father [Gershom] was with him, “making money pretty fast,” and that “The little girls Anna and Rebecca is at fathers a going to school.”
It’s possible that Daniel and Mary Lambert returned to Hunterdon, at least for a time. She died on June 11, 1832 and was buried in the Mt. Airy Presbyterian Cemetery. But searching online records for some history of Daniel Larew has been pretty fruitless. It’s as if he disappeared.
Did Ann Lambert stay behind in Amwell? Perhaps. The Anna Maria Lambert who married William W. Wilson got married one year before Mary Lambert died. They were married on March 29, 1831 by Rev. Kirkpatrick of the Presbyterian Church in Ringoes.
William and Anna Wilson’s first child was a daughter Mary, born Sept. 6, 1832. Their second child was another daughter, Jane, who probably died young. The family was counted in the 1850 census when William W. Wilson was age 53, a farmer, with his wife Ann age 46,21 and daughters Mary 18 and Jane 16. Daughter Mary L. Wilson died a spinster in 1887 at age 54. Shortly afterwards, Anna Maria Lambert died, on Christmas Eve, 1852. She was buried in the Barber Cemetery.
William W. Wilson, like the earlier Wm. Wilson, had an obituary published in the Hunterdon Democrat on Nov. 23, 1875, although it was quite brief. It read: “DIED Near Dilts’ Corner, Nov 13th, William W. Wilson, in the 80th year of his age.”
- I am having trouble figuring out the age of son Jeremiah. He was buried in the Mt. Airy cemetery, having died on Aug. 30, 1844 at the age of 80, which means he was born in 1764, a year after his father wrote his will. This makes no sense because Jeremiah was named in his father’s will. ↩
- One of these days, I will have to write about the Barber family because they married into so many early Amwell families. ↩
- by Henrietta Van Syckle and Emily Abbott Nordfeldt, Lambertville Historical Society, 1976. ↩
- In 1830 he was in his 70s, but the oldest female in the household was in her 40s, which is odd because Elizabeth Lambert was born in 1768, which would mean she was in her 60s. But there were two women in their 40s, which should be Elizabeth and her sister Hannah. Hannah, being born in 1775, was certainly in her late 40s. Elizabeth’s birth comes from her gravestone, which said she was 78 years old when she died in 1847. There is a mistake somewhere. ↩
- H. C. Deed Book 48 p. 462. ↩
- H. C. Deed Book 14 p. 210. Sen. John Lambert and wife Hannah quit claimed their rights in the property to John Lambert, son of Joseph, in 1806, in Book 14 p. 211. ↩
- Notices in the Hunterdon Gazette, Jan. 22, 1825 and July 26, 1826. ↩
- The Hunterdon Gazette listed the elections returns for Delaware Township in 1839-40, 1842-1845, 1847-1849. The returns were missing for years 1841, 1845 and 1850. Since Asher Lambert was elected in all the other years, I am presuming that he also was elected in the missing years, excepting 1850. Since he died in March of that year, he could not be elected in April. ↩
- The marriage was not recorded in Hunterdon County, so I can only guess at the date, between 1860 and 1870. ↩
- She was the daughter of Eden Burroughs Hunt and Louisa A. Cade, and was born August 1836. ↩
- H. C. Deed 132-379. ↩
- H.C. Deed 140-371. ↩
- Her name is sometimes written Bosenbury, but I do not believe she was a part of that family. I have not identified her parents. ↩
- See the Lambertville Iron Works articles, part one and part two. ↩
- H. C. Deed 204-587. ↩
- H. C. Deed 216-412. ↩
- H. C. Deed 300-064. ↩
- H. C. Deed 345-040. ↩
- H. C. Deed 544-438. ↩
- H.C. Deed 794-534. ↩
- This would mean she was born around 1804, two years before Daniel Lambert and Mary Sharp were married, but her gravestone clearly states that she was born in 1811. ↩