I see from the Planning Board minutes that a house on Locktown School Road (Block 5 lot 5) is likely to be demolished, as part of a subdivision plan. I’m never happy to learn that an old house is going to disappear. Perhaps it’s in terrible shape now—I don’t know, having never been inside it. I considered waiting to publish a story about the house until I could get a photo, but it looks like it will be awhile before that happens. And in truth, just because a property has a history does not mean that the house that is standing there is the one with the history. The house was not included in the Township’s Historic Sites Survey, so there’s no picture to be found there either. But with a title like Higgins-Horner-Hawk House, how could I wait?
During the 19th century, the property was owned by Phillip & Mary Dilts, by Gideon & Mary Higgins, by Nathaniel B. & Mary Horner, and by Westley S. & Mary Hawk. Who were these people?
Gideon Higgins (1782-1833) was a farmer, as most residents of Delaware Township have always been. About 1805 he married Mary Dilts (1781-1858), one of the five daughters of Philip Dilts and Mary Hoffman. The Dilts family had been present on Whiskey Lane since the 1760s. In fact, the original Dilts farm extended all the way from Stone Signpost Road to the Locktown-Sergeantsville Road, and included the Higgins farm. When Philip Dilts died in 1801, his farm was divided into many small lots for the benefit of his heirs, including daughter Mary and her husband Gideon Higgins. They acquired the lot where the farmhouse presently stands. If it was built by them, then it dates to the earliest years of the 19th century.
Gideon Higgins was the son of Azariah Higgins and Sarah Stout, who lived near Ringoes before and after the Revolution. Gideon and Mary Higgins had 6 children: Achilles, Ann, Mahlon, Amy, Dilts and Elizabeth. After Gideon Higgins died in 1834, without a will, his administrator sold the farm to Nathaniel B. Horner, and Mary went to live with her son Dilts Anderson Higgins in Raritan Township.
Nathaniel B. Horner (1802-1857) was the son of William Horner and Mary Britton, who lived in Kingwood. He was one of 9 children. He married Elizabeth Hann about 1830. She was the daughter of Peter Hann and Catharine Dilts, which made her a granddaughter of Philip Dilts and Mary Hoffman, and a niece of Mary Higgins. Peter Hann owned a farm on Ferry Road which he got from his father Peter in 1811.
Nathaniel B. Horner bought other lots around the farm that Gideon Higgins owned, making up the 45+ acres of the current farm. He also died without a will, in 1857. His son Sylvester D. Horner (1832-1861) administered his estate and I believe he also came into possession of it. He was living there when he died, only 30 years old, also without a will. He had been active in the Locktown Christian Church, as his widow Mary Jane continued to be.
Mary Jane Hawk (1833-1900) was the daughter of Godfrey Hawk and Charity Sidders. After the death of her first husband, she married second Samuel A. Carrell Jr., in 1864. Carrell was ten years younger than Mary. They had two children, Cora Belle (1865-1917) and Samuel A. Carrell iii who died an infant in 1878.
Since S. A. Carrell had a farm of his own, Mary Hawk Horner Carrell let her younger brother Wesley S. Hawk (c.1838-?) run the old Higgins-Horner farm for her. He had married Mary Elizabeth Bellis in 1865. He was still there, with his family, in the 1880 census, but sometime before 1900, he sold it and moved to Kingwood Township where he died in 1923. His wife Mary died in 1927.
So that is a short, off-the-top-of-my-head, history of the old farm on the Locktown School Road.
Addendum, 2/17/2013: Marilyn Cummings got a picture of the house. It does appear to have been built during the first half of the 19th century.