part three in the series, The Route Not Taken

This is part three of my series on the Delaware Flemington Railroad Company. Part One was an article by Egbert T. Bush describing the birth and death of the company. Part Two described the reasons for the company’s failure and how its directors fared afterwards. This article will focus on the route that was planned for the new rail line.1

As Egbert T. Bush pointed out, there were some landowners who opposed the new railroad. Judging by comments from the editor of the Democrat, there were probably more than a few. According to Mr. Bush, they made their feelings known by repeatedly removing the survey stakes.

However, an indication of support can be found in the list of company Directors. Taking the lists from 1873 and 1874, we find 14 directors residing in Delaware Township and Flemington, the towns through which the rail line was to run. There were five Directors in Stockton and Prallsville, four in Sandbrook, one in Sergeantsville, one somewhere else in Delaware Township, and three in Flemington.

It should be noted, however, that in addition to Lemuel O. Kessler, whom I wrote about in Kessler & Co., the only other directors who owned land along the proposed route were Hiram Moore, Alexander Higgins2 and George N. Holcombe, all of them living near Sandbrook. (There were 47 landowners altogether.)

The Survey Map

It is fortunate that many of the company’s papers have been saved and are archived at the Hunterdon County Historical Society. Included with those papers is a remarkable map.

It is a survey map showing the route of the proposed line starting at Prallsville and running all the way to Flemington. Included on the map are the houses closest to the line and the names of the owners (or in some cases the residents). I cannot say who the surveyor was as he did not sign the map. Perhaps a search through the other documents at the HCHS would give us an answer. It is quite possible, however, that the surveyor was none other than the engineer, S. C. Slaymaker. On August 18, 1874, the Democrat reported that “Mr. Slaymaker, the engineer of the Delaware and Flemington Railroad,” came through Flemington “with a party of other gentlemen.”3

The map is huge—about 20 inches high and perhaps ten feet wide. It appears to have been made on a piece of cloth that was afterwards laminated. The title itself was so wide I could not get it all in one shot. (The book in the corner is holding down the left side of the scroll.)

The proposed line would come surprisingly close to some of the houses along the way. The editor of the Democrat thought land values in Delaware Township would skyrocket once the line was built, but the landowners with a railroad running right outside their door might not have agreed with him.

The date on the map is 1873. That is the same year that Beers and Co. published an Atlas of Hunterdon County which also included houses and names. This was very helpful because the company’s surveyor did not trouble to name the roads and creeks that crossed the rail line. And not all the names on the survey map could be found on the Beers Atlas, or vice versa.4

To complicate matters a little more, there was another list of landowners that did not quite jibe with the survey map. It was a list prepared by the company’s engineer, Samuel C. Slaymaker. Mr. Bush included it in his article, with names listed as they appeared along the route, beginning in Prallsville with “S. [sic] O. Kessler” and ending in Flemington with Samuel Hill’s estate. But he said nothing about those landowners.

Here is a detail from the Beers Atlas of Hunterdon County, 1873, showing my estimation of the route from Prallsville to Sergeantsville.

It was not possible to locate all the names in one map, that is, names from the survey, from the Beers Atlas and from S. C. Slaymaker. So, I have decided to make use of details from the Beers Atlas to show my best guess at the route, and the location of nearby landowners.

The Landowners

For each landowner, I will show how his or her name was used in the three sources: the Survey Map, Slaymaker’s list and the Beers Atlas. I will also include statistics about each landowner as compiled by Dr. Isaac Cramer in 1873. This valuable information was found in a beautifully handwritten spreadsheet kept among the Company papers at the Hunterdon County Historical Society. I will have more to say about this Cramer survey in a future article.

The Village of Prallsville

Detail from Survey Map of Prallsville (click to enlarge)

This view comes from the surveyor’s map and shows more detail than most maps of the period for the village of Prallsville. It shows all the buildings there, along with the canal feeder, the mill and the ponds created in the Wickecheoke Creek. But unlike other views, this one does not name landowners or residents.5

Lemuel O. Kessler

Beers:  “Kessler & Co.”;  Slaymaker’s List: “S. O. Kessler”
Survey Map: not shown;  Cramer Survey: not listed

At the time, all of Prallsville village was owned by one person, Lemuel O. Kessler, who had bought it on March 27, 1873 from its long-time owner, William L. Hoppock, and then bought out the share of his partner, William P. Corney, in October 1873. Kessler, his wife Mary and their two young daughters probably took up residence in the old John Prall house in Prallsville.6

The road that passes by the store on the left is the section of Route 29 that comes from Stockton. It intersects with Route 519. Oddly enough, the survey map does not show Lower Creek Road, even though it appears on the Beers Atlas. Worman Road does not show up on either map. The proposed rail line would have paralleled Lower Creek Road for quite a distance. (If you want an example of the beauty of southern Hunterdon County, you cannot do better than take a (slow) drive along Lower Creek Road from Prallsville to the Covered Bridge.)

Joseph Hunt, Lower Creek Rd.

Beers:  “J. Hunt;  Slaymaker’s List: “Joseph Hunt”
Survey Map: “A. J. Hunt”; Cramer Survey: “Joseph Hunt”

Cramer Survey: 63 acres, 6 tons of coal used, 100 tons grain & hay sold, 200 tons of lime used, 1.5 tons of fertilizer, 420 cans of milk sold, 6 calves sold, 500 lb of poultry, 800 lb of pork, 20 bushels of potatoes, and 2000 eggs sold.

The first landowner north of Prallsville, located just north of the Prallsville mill tract and bordered by both Route 519 and Lower Creek Road, was Joseph Hunt (1822-1912), son of Amos P. Hunt and Mary Vandolah. (see the Hunt Family Tree and the Vandolah Family Tree.) Joseph Hunt, who never married, acquired the property after his father died. The 1870 census showed that Joseph Hunt was then 48 years old, living with his parents. His father Amos had written his will two years before his death on Oct. 9, 1870, leaving his 53.15-acre farm to his wife Mary during her widowhood, and then to his son Joseph. It had previously been owned by George W. Sharp.

Sharp was the brother-in-law of Joseph Hunt’s father Amos. Amos P. Hunt (1798-1870) was married in 1819 to Mary Vandolah (1795-1890), daughter of Henry Vandolah and Catherine Taylor. George W. Sharp (1812-1876) was married in 1835 to Mary’s sister Elizabeth Vandolah (1811-1886).

In 1890, when old age prevented him from farming, Joseph Hunt sold this property to his niece, Mary V. Hunt, for $1200 and moved to Stockton.7 He died on December 6, 1912, age 90, and was buried in the Sandy Ridge Cemetery with his parents and most of his siblings.

Mary V. Hunt (1855-1923) was the daughter of William V. Hunt (1829-1905) & Rebecca Gray (1838-1894) and granddaughter of Amos P. & Mary Vandolah Hunt. Her connection with this property was reinforced when she married in 1897 William Sharp (1843-1923), son of Daniel R. Sharp & Mary Anna Rounsavell, and nephew of George W. Sharp. And just to complicate things a little more, Mary A. Rounsavell Sharp was the daughter of Richard & Rebecca Rounsavel, who also owned land along the railroad’s path, i.e., the Housel property, which comes next.

Edward Housel & Mary Catharine Fauss

Beers Atlas:  “E. Housel”;  Slaymaker’s List: not listed
Survey Map: “Edward Housel”;  Cramer Survey: not listed

Next along the route was Edward Housel (1831-1909), son of Henry T. Housel and Eliza C. Cronce of Delaware Twp. He married Mary Catharine Fauss (1831-1904), daughter of George Fauss and Delilah Rockafellar. In 1869, Housel bought the only piece of property he ever owned, a 9.95-acre lot along the Wickecheoke, from Henry H. and Ann Fisher for $800. The lot was too small to provide a living for a farmer but was quite adequate for a carpenter, which was Housel’s occupation.8

This lot had been part of the large property once owned by Jacob Howell (see The Howell House, part two for more on Howell and his family). After Howell’s death, the property was divided among his heirs, and in 1844, the heirs of Mary Case deceased, one of the Howell heirs, sold a tract of 65.34 acres to Richard Rounsaville and Thomas B. Carr for $1709.91.9 The lot was one of three lots that had been carved out of the original 200 +/– acres, and bordered the Wickecheoke, Benjamin Larason, other lots in the Howell division, and Ambrose Barcroft.

On April 3, 1856, Richard Rounsaville of Delaware Twp. divided off the 9.95-acre lot and sold it to James Dean, also of Delaware, for $288.55. The lot bordered Ann Weir, the Wickecheoke Creek, Jacob Vansant dec’d and William Naylor.10 It was described as part of a larger tract that Thomas B. Carrr & wife Rebecca conveyed to Rounsavell on April 27, 1847.11

Four years later, James Dean sold the lot to his neighbor Anna Weir (the deed was not recorded; I have concluded that this happened based on later deeds.) Anna was probably the widow of Joseph Weir, who must have died before 1840, because Anna was a head of household that year. I have not yet found any record of Joseph Weir; he did not record any deeds. In 1863, Anna Weir conveyed the 9.95-acre lot to her son James Weir,12 who soon afterwards went into debt. The Sheriff seized the lot and sold it to Henry H. Fisher in 1868,13 who sold it to Edward Housel the next year.

The Housels remained on this lot for 28 years until March 27, 1897, when Edward and Mary sold the lot to George N. Holcombe for $700. The couple may well have continued living there because on February 15, 1902, just five years later, they bought it back from Holcombe’s estate for $310.14 Why the considerable drop in value is hard to say, but may have been an act of kindness towards the Housels.

Mary Fauss Housel died on May 29, 1904, age 73. Three years later, her husband Edward Housel, widower, sold the lot to William Opdyke of Stockton for $500.15 Edward Housel died on June 10, 1909, age 78, and was buried next to his wife in the Sandbrook Cemetery. This is a little surprising because the couple lived closer to either the Sandy Ridge cemetery or the Rosemont cemetery.

I believe (but am not certain) that William Opdyke (c.1867-1942) was the son of Amos Opdyke (born 1841) and grandson of John Bellis Opdyke (1812-1888) and Nancy Roberson (1814-1843). He was married to Clara Aramanda Lear (1869-1928).

William S. & Catherine E. Warman

Beers Atlas: “W. Warman”;  Slaymaker’s List: not listed
Survey Map: “William Worman”;  Cramer Survey: “Wm. S. Warman”

The Cramer survey listed William S. Warman with 110 acres; 3 tons of coal consumed; 750 tons grain & hay sold; 500 lb lime used; 2 tons fertilizer; 490 cans of milk sold; 7 calves sold; 500 lb poultry sold; 2,000 lb pork sold; 100 bushels of potatoes sold.

William S. Warman (1828-1908) was the son of Jacob Warman and Sarah E. Bodine. (See The Howell House, part three.) About 1863 he married his wife, Catherine E., whose parents I have not been able to identify. William and Catherine are not to be confused with the William Worman and wife Catharine Cronce who lived in Flemington. Their birth dates are the same as that of William of Delaware Twp. and wife Catharine, which is utterly confusing. But census records show they were, in fact, a different couple.

Perhaps that is why William of Delaware was generally identified as William S. Warman. He purchased his farm, located along Shoppons Run, in 1878 from Henry H. Fisher after he bought a much larger tract along the Wickecheoke Creek from his brother, Lambert T. Warman, in 1864. The Beers Atlas shows Warman owning a house along Lower Creek Road in 1873. In 1878, William and Catharine Warman sold three lots along the Wickecheoke to James Bulger of New Hope.16

It should be mentioned that in 1877, Warman bought the farm of William Wilson deceased near Bowne Station from his heirs.17

By 1896, William Worman [sic] built a hay press in Stockton and planned to “engage in the hay business” there.18 He partnered in the business with his Delaware Twp. neighbor Andrew Larison. But he kept his Delaware Twp. farms, being counted as a resident and farmer of Delaware Twp. in the 1905 NJ State Census.

William Warman died in 1908 and was buried in the Barber Cemetery. His wife Catherine survived him until 1926, dying at the age of 95, and also buried in the Barber Cemetery. That cemetery was not very close to the Wickecheoke property. But it was close to the farm that the Warmans bought in 1877 from the heirs of William Wilson near Bowne Station.19 The fact the Warmans did not sell that farm until 1907, a year before William Warman’s death, suggests that they were living there, rather than on the lot along the railroad route. (They sold it to William’s sister, Sybilla Warman.)

As for the small lot along the railroad route, I was unable to locate a deed of sale from either Warman himself or his executors or heirs.

Thomas Johnson & Mary Catherine Larison

Beers Atlas: not shown;  Slaymaker’s List: “C. Johnson” ?
Survey Map: “Thomas Johnson”;  Cramer Survey: not listed

The survey map showed one Thomas Johnson living near William Warman, but he did not appear on Beers’ Atlas. He was probably Thomas Carr Johnson (1839-1901), son of Elias S. Johnson and Sarah Wolverton, who married Mary Catharine Larison in 1863. She was born 1839 to Benjamin Larison and Hannah Holcombe and died in 1915. Both Thomas and Mary are buried in the Sandy Ridge Cemetery. I found no information regarding Johnson’s ownership of land along the Wickecheoke. He was probably residing on land belonging to his father-in-law Benjamin Larison. (For more on Benj. Larison, see Sandy Ridge, part two and The Larison Family Tree.)

Thomas C. Johnson may have been named after the Thomas B. Carr who joined with Richard Rounsavell to buy 66.34 acres bordering Benj. Larison in 1856, mentioned above.

Even though Johnson was not a prominent landowner along the rail line, he certainly had family connections in the vicinity, as did his wife. I will be discussing Johnson’s parents in a future post.

Amos Fisher & Caroline Vescelius

On the south side of Covered Bridge Road.
Beers Atlas:  “A. Fisher”;  Slaymaker’s List: not listed
Survey Map: “Amos Fisher”;  Cramer Survey: not listed

Amos Fisher (1832-1903), son of Christian Fisher and Margaret Groff of Warren Co. and later Tewksbury Township, married Caroline Vescelius (1839-1922) in 1860. In 1866 Amos Fisher of Tewksbury bought from Silas & Margaret Huffman and William & Phebe Fisher of Delaware Twp. the farm of Job Wolverton, being 72.66 acres bordering William Rake, Benjamin Larison and the Wickecheoke Creek. It also bordered “the road from Sergeants Mills to Sandy Ridge Church,” which today is named Covered Bridge Road. The farm was accessed by a long lane off of Route 523.

Detail from Survey Map

The grantor William Fisher was first cousin to Amos Fisher, sharing grandparents Rev. George Fisher and Hannah Hiler of Lebanon Twp. Silas Huffman (1812-1889) was married to Margaret Wolverton (1812-1892), daughter of Daniel & Margaret Wolverton, who had a brother named Job (born c.1805). However, he was not the same Job who sold the farm to Fisher & Huffman in 1860.

That Job Wolverton was born in 1788 to Gabriel Wolverton and Catharine McMurphy. He was married to Anna Housel (1791-1826), daughter of John & Catharine Housel, and died in 1864.20 Wolverton had purchased the property on May 2, 1825 from Israel & Hannah Poulson. It had originally belonged to Moses Rittenhouse and his wife Mary Nye, widow of Albertus Ringo.

In the 1870 census, Amos Fisher was a 47-year-old farmer with real estate worth $7,000, and personal property of $1,000. But by 1877, Fisher was sued for debt, the farm was seized by the sheriff and sold to Edward C. Green. After that Amos and Caroline moved to Warren County. The Edward Green who bought the farm was the nephew of Phoebe Green Fisher, wife of William Fisher. Edward C. Green was a blacksmith, as was his father, Evans Jackson Green, and grandfather, John Green Sr. However, he probably did not live on this property, as he was not listed in Delaware Township in the 1880 census. In 1882, Edward Green sold the farm of 72.66 acres to Ezekiel L. Higgins of Raritan Township for $4,504. After that, Edward Green moved to Glen Gardner where he remained for the rest of his long life.

William Frederick & Eliza Ann Bowen

Beers Atlas:  “W. F. Bowne”;  Slaymaker’s List: not listed
Survey Map: “Fred Bowen”;  Cramer Survey: “Eliza Bowen”

Eliza Bowen:  12 acres; 3 tons coal consumed; 70 cans of milk sold; 1 calf sold; 200 lb poultry sold. (Nothing for Fred)

On the Beers Atlas, the name “W. F. Bowne” appears on the north side of Covered Bridge Road. This is undoubtedly the “Fred Bowen” who is indicated on the survey map. He was probably William Frederick Bowen, Jr. (1839-1883) who married his wife Eliza Ann Skidmore (c.1838-1902) not long before John and Sarah Sipes sold two lots in this vicinity to Eliza Ann Bowen of Hoboken, NJ. William Fred Bowen was the son of William Bowen (butcher, born c.1807 in New York) and Phoebe Miller, who were living in Union Township in Essex County, NJ in 1850. By 1870, Fred and Eliza Bowen had moved to Delaware Township.

One of the lots purchased by Eliza Bowen was located at the corner of Covered Bridge Road and Lower Creek Road, which put it on the track of the proposed railroad. It was sold by William H. Larew to James Snyder in 1835. The other lot was sold to John Sipes by James Snyder in 1867 and bordered the Wickecheoke and Shoppons Run. It was also on the track of the rail line. Then in 1876, the estate of James Snyder, Esq., deceased, conveyed to Eliza Bowen of Delaware Township a 24-acre lot bordering the Wickecheoke.21

So, even though it is William F. Bowen’s name on all the maps, the property was owned by Eliza Ann Bowen. It was pretty typical for map makers and others to indicate the husband as the property owner, even when it was purchased solely by the wife.

William Fred Bowen died on March 4, 1883, only 43 years old. On May 22, 1883, Eliza A. Bowen of Delaware Township sold three small lots, which appear to have been part of the 24 acres, to her mother, Ann Jane Skidmore of Hoboken, NJ.22

Four years later, on April 1, 1887, Ann Jane Skidmore, still “of Hoboken,” sold the property to Gideon B. Brewer of Delaware Township for $1550. The land bordered Mrs. Elias S. Johnson, Sarah E. Reading, the Wickecheoke, Hiram Johnson, a lot designated as the first tract in a deed from Eliza Ann Brown [sic] to Ann Jane Skidmore on 22 May 1883, the second lot in said deed, lands formerly Fisher and Huffman and the road to Sandy Ridge Church.23

Gideon B. Brewer (1858-1934) was the son of Thomas West Brewer and Caroline Hoppock of Sandbrook. In 1881 he married Harriet P. Johnson (1860-1943), the daughter of neighbors Elias S. Johnson and wife Sarah Wolverton, who will appear in the next article. This neighborly connection may explain why Mrs. Skidmore sold the lot to him.

Gideon Brewer did not keep the property for long. The next year, on March 31, 1888, he and wife Harriet sold it back to Eliza A. Bowen, now Bilby, now living in Centre Bridge, Bucks Co., PA. She paid $1700 for a lot of 23.43 acres bordering Mrs. Elias Johnson, Sarah E. Reading, the Wickecheoke, Hiram Johnson, a stone wall that ran to the road, and the road that ran to the Sandy Ridge Church. The deed was not recorded until 1905.24

Eliza Bowen had become Eliza Bilby by marrying, about 1887, a widower, Henry D. Bilby of Warren County, with whom she was counted in the 1900 Delaware Township census. Also in the household was “mother” Ann J. Skidmore, born September 1821, widow, with one child (presumably Eliza) still alive.

I did not succeed in finding death records online for Ann Jane Skidmore. However, Eliza Ann Skidmore Bowen Bilby died intestate on November 2, 1902, according to a deed in which her only surviving child and heir at law, Ada E. Johnson, conveyed the lot of 23.53 acres to Sallie Holcombe on September 25, 1905.25 The deed mentions that Gideon Brewer and wife sold the lot to Eliza A. Bilby in 1888. Eliza’s daughter Ada kept up the tradition of keeping things in the family or at least in the neighborhood. She married George H. Johnson in 1894, the son of neighbors Elias S. Johnson and Sarah Wolverton Johnson. After Elias S. Johnson died, Sarah W. Johnson married John Farley Shepherd. After Sarah W. Johnson Shepherd died in 1898, J. F. Shepherd went to live with George & Ada Bowne [sic] Johnson, where they were counted in the 1900 census for Delaware Township.

William Rake & Margaret Besson

Beers Atlas: “”W. Rake”;  Slaymaker’s List: “William Rake”
Survey Map: “William Rake”; Cramer Survey: not listed

I had some trouble with William Rake. At first I thought he was the William who was born about 1841 to Peter Rake and Mary Barton, but a closer look at census and deed records convinced me there was another William Rake, born about 1834/35 and living in Hopewell Township in 1861 when he bought an 8-acre lot (with 2.5 acres excepted out) from Henry H. & Ann Fisher.26

This William Rake was the William born to Jacob F. Rake and Amy Fulper, who moved from New Jersey to Ohio around 1840. They were still there for the 1860 census, in which their son William was listed as single, 24 years of age, and born in New Jersey. William must have returned to New Jersey shortly after that since, as mentioned before, he was living in Hopewell in 1861. As the map shows, Rake’s lot was north of Covered Bridge Road and on the east side of Shoppons Run.

In 1863 when he registered for the draft, Rake was 29 years old, a wheelwright, residing in Delaware Township, and single. That was soon remedied when, on January 15, 1870, William Rake married Margaret (Maggie) Besson (1838- after 1900). She was the youngest child of Agesilaus Besson and Elizabeth Hummer of Delaware Township. 

William and Maggie Rake had one child, William Besson Rake, born about 1875. That same year, the Rakes sold their lot and probably moved to a property that they leased until sometime between 1880, when they were still residing in Delaware Twp., and 1885 when they were counted in Chambersburg, a suburb of Trenton. There Rake worked as a carpenter. By the time of the 1900 census, William was back to work as a wheelwright, while his son was employed as a carriage painter. The census taker spelled the name “Raike.”

I could not find William Rake’s death date, but it was sometime between 1900 and 1910. On April 4, 1910, Maggie Besson Rake died at the age of 71, of “cerebral softening” in Plumstead, Bucks County. The death certificate did not say who she was living with.

Meanwhile, back in Delaware Township, the purchaser of the Rake lot was Peter Hartpence, who happened to be a relative of Maggie Besson Rake. And here we have another example of how property was shared by people who were related.

Peter’s father, Peter V. Hartpence (1801-1879), married as his second wife Delilah Everitt (1799-1843), daughter of Ephenetus Everitt and Elizabeth Wismer. Peter and Delilah had seven children, the youngest two dying as infants. Peter Hartpence, Jr. (1834-1881) was their second child.

In 1860, Peter Hartpence 26, occupation mason, was living with Thomas Hartpence, 30, also a mason, in Raritan Township. Thomas (1829-1916) was Peter’s step brother by his father’s first wife, name unknown. Another step brother was Everitt Hartpence (1823-1914), who was married to Grace Howell (1835-1912). In 1870, Peter Hartpence was living with Everitt and Grace, which made sense because Everitt was also a stone mason.

And here’s the connection: Peter’s step sister was Sophia Hartpence (1827-1921) who married William Besson in 1850. William Besson was Maggie Besson Rake’s brother.

I was unable to locate Peter Hartpence in the census of 1880. He may have been ill, as he died on July 23, 1881, age 47 and unmarried. It was not until March 28, 1887 that his heirs, i.e., all his siblings, conveyed the lot bought from William & Maggie Rake to John F. Shepherd, for $700.27 And who was John F. Shepherd? A relative, of course.

John Farley Shepherd (1823-1903), whose parents I have not identified, was married first to Mary Catharine Anderson (1822-1896). They had eight children, including their youngest child, Israel Poulson Shepherd (1863-1953), who was married to Arabella Besson (1863-1918), daughter of William Besson and Sophia Hartpence, and another step sister of Peter Hartpence, Jr.

John F. Shepherd’s second wife was Sarah Wolverton, widow of Elias S. Johnson. They married in 1896, but Sarah died only two years later. John F. Shepherd died on Dec. 18, 1903. On March 31, 1905, his executor, James J. Rittenhouse, sold the old Rake-Hartpence lot to John’s son Edward Shepherd (1849-1916). Edward Shepherd was married to Emma Hoppock (1855-after 1930) who was a granddaughter of James P. Wolverton and Mary Ann Sergeant.

In 1907, Edward Shepherd and wife Emma sold a part of the lot to Frank V. D. Fisher.28 Frank Van Dyke Fisher (1870-1937) was a great-nephew of Henry H. Fisher and was married to Delilah C. Bodine (1872-1954), daughter of John E. Bodine and Jane H. Everitt. These were prominent families in the neighborhood of the Rake lot.

I’m sure there are more family connections to be found in the history of this small lot, but at this point I must stop. You can see from the Beers map, shown above, who the landowners were that I will be studying next.

I had hoped to publish at least a couple family trees with this article. There were quite a few to choose from (Hunt, Vandolah, Sharp, Housel, Opdycke, Besson, and Hartpence). But none of them are ready for prime time yet.


  1. Iron Rails in the Garden State by Anthony J. Bianculli (Indiana Univ. Press, 2008) did not have anything to say about the Delaware Flemington Railroad Co. It did, however, have a full chapter on Ashbel Welch, builder of the Belvidere Delaware Railroad line.
  2. See “Sandbrook Hostilities.”
  3. There is a signature on the map, but it is of Henry C. Kelsey, Secretary of State, under the heading “Filed October 29th 1873.”
  4. On April 16, 1874, the Democrat reported that a revised map of the route was filed with the Secretary of State on March 21, 1874, “from Flemington, connecting with the South Branch Railroad, to the Delaware River at Prallsville.” If that was a different map, I did not see it among the company’s papers in the HCHS file.
  5. I apologize for the shadow over the maps. It is from my phone and could not be avoided. The map was so large, it could not be propped up and had to be laid out on a table, which meant the overhead light cast a shadow.
  6. Lemuel O. Kessler and his partners are discussed at length in Kessler & Co. For a short history of Prallsville and John Prall, Jr. see “Milling Industry at Prallsville.”
  7. H.C. Deed Book 227 page 624.
  8. H. C. Deed Book 144 p. 55.
  9. H.C. Deed Book 81 page 168.
  10. H. C. Deed Book 113 page 668.
  11. H.C. Deed Book 88 page 424.
  12. H.C. Deed Book 127 page 637.
  13. H.C. Deed Book 142 page 218.
  14. H.C. Deeds Book 252 p. 305 and Book 282 p. 50.
  15. H.C. Deed Book 283 page 161.
  16. H.C. Deed Book 175 page 310. There was no James Bulger on the 1873 Atlas.
  17. H.C. Deed Book 170 p. 160.
  18. Hunterdon Republican, Jan. 22, 1896.
  19. H. C. Deed Book 170 p.160.
  20. As far as I can tell, Anna Housel Wolverton was not related in any way to the Edward Housel who owned land along the route closer to Prallsville. Anna’s husband Job Wolverton was not the original Job Wolverton (c.1760-1830) who was the son of Joel Wolverton and Elizabeth Robins, and husband of Martha Wood (c.1760-c.1820).
  21. H.C. Deed Book 166 p. 318.
  22. H.C. Deed Book 201 p. 491.
  23. H. C. Deed Book 216 page 254.
  24. H.C. Deed Book 276 p. 507.
  25. H. C. Deed Book 276 p. 511.
  26. H.C. Deed Book 127 p. 624.
  27. H. C. Deed Book 217 p. 378.
  28. H.C. Deed Book 286 p.40.