The Murder

Note: Records from the Coroner’s Inquest were discovered after the first version of the story was published. I have since updated the article to reflect the new information found there. It is now a much longer, but even more interesting article.

With all the controversy over the possible demolition of the Union Hotel in Flemington, there has been a revival of interest in “The Trial of the Century,” when Bruno Hauptman was tried for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby in 1932. But there was another “Trial of the Century” in Hunterdon County more than 100 years earlier, held in May 1828, when a 12-year-old boy was convicted of the murder of a 60-year-old woman.

This is the story of that murder and of the trial and appeal that followed. Most depictions of this event tell us very little about the people involved. I needed to know more about them. In the process I found the story even more interesting and disturbing than I first thought.

The story begins with some early settlers in Hopewell Township.

The Beakes Family

Early in the 18th century, Josiah Beakes, a carpenter of Bucks County, moved to Trenton, New Jersey. Later on he settled near the village of Pennington in what was then Hunterdon County. He married Rachel Everitt whose parents had come to Hopewell from Jamaica, Queens.1

Their son Samuel Beakes was born in Hopewell township in 1753, according to his gravestone. His first appearance in any record was in the ledger of the Moses Baldwin tannery between 1765 and 1772.2 The tannery was located just north of the village of Pennington. Beakes must have been close to the Baldwin family because the grandson of Moses Baldwin, Moses Baldwin, Jr., married Samuel Beakes’ daughter Mary in 1796.

Samuel Beakes was old enough to serve in the Hunterdon Militia during the Revolution. He was an ensign then, and afterwards, in 1792, promoted to captain, and later became Major of the Hopewell Battalion, 4th Company.

In 1783, after his uncle William Everitt died intestate, Samuel Beakes witnessed the document granting administration to his father Josiah. Josiah Beakes wrote his own will on May 26, 1791, leaving to his wife Rachel the house in Pennington, bought from John Rozell, during her life, plus all household goods, and a bond against David Everitt. To his son Samuel he left the house and lot on the west side of Main Street in Pennington after the decease of his mother. Samuel was required to pay his sister Mary £10. The residue of the estate went to Josiah’s granddaughter Mary Beakes, the woman who would later marry Moses Baldwin, Jr. Samuel Beakes was named executor along with Josiah’s friend Nathaniel Temple. The will was recorded on January 3, 1792, so Josiah probably died in December 1791.3

Samuel Beakes thereafter became the head of the Beakes family in Hopewell. He had only one sibling, Rebecca, who died in 1769 at the age of 15. Samuel’s mother Rachel was 75 years old when Josiah died, so she almost certainly lived with son Samuel until her own death in 1812, at the age of 95. Presumably they lived in the house on Main Street in Pennington, across from the Presbyterian cemetery. Four years later, Samuel Beakes, joiner of Hopewell, sold the Main Street property, amounting to a half acre, to Joel Jones of Pennington for $1400.4 It’s quite possible that Jones was renting the property before he purchased it. Meanwhile, Samuel Beakes was living on a farm north of Pennington for which there is no deed recorded.

Samuel Beakes was married twice. He married Hannah Ashburn of Bucks County in 1779, while the Revolution was in full swing. They had three children, Mary, 1777-1861, later the wife of Moses Baldwin, William, 1780-1865, and Rebekah, 1788-1871. Hannah died in 1815, age 61, and was buried in the Pennington Cemetery.

You may have noticed that daughter Mary was born two years before Samuel and Hannah were married. Hannah may have been Mary’s mother, but it is possible that Mary’s mother was Mary Disbourough. Some writers claim that Beakes was married to her, even though there is no record of a marriage. I was unable to find information about who she was or when she lived and died.5 Perhaps she died soon after daughter Mary’s birth.

Three years after the death of Hannah Ashburn, Samuel Beakes married Catherine Vankirk on June 25, 1818. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Boggs, pastor of the Hopewell Baptist Church.

Samuel Beakes was a respected citizen of Hopewell Township. He was chosen to be an overseer of roads for Pennington in 1799 and the next year was elected to the Town Committee. He was frequently identified as Maj. Samuel Beakes. In 1802, he and Henry Baker witnessed the manumission of slaves by Steven Blackwell and Edmund Burroughs.

Catharine Vankirk Beakes

It has been a challenge to figure out who this second (or third) wife of Samuel Beakes was. She was born about 1767, and before marrying Beakes, she had a son Jonathan Vankirk, who was probably born around 1785-1790. Who his father was I cannot say. The only possibility I found was Johnson Vankirk, 1765-1826, of Hopewell Township, who may have been married to a Jemima Prall. I found it interesting that there was so little information on Johnson Vankirk on This suggests to me that he may have fathered a son with Catharine and then left her. He died in 1826, one year before Catharine did.6 Catharine’s maiden name and birth family are unknown. There is a possibility that she was related to the Blackwell family, but the evidence is very sketchy.

I was especially interested in finding out where Samuel Beakes and wife Catharine lived. Since Beakes died long before Mercer County was created, any deeds for his property would have been recorded in Hunterdon County. But I only found one deed for him. It was recorded in 1817, for sale of land to Joel Jones.7 There was nothing else, not even for his estate after his death.

However, we do know that in 1815 Samuel Beakes owned property adjoining a lot of land left to Joshua Bunn by his father Jonathan Bunn in his will of that year. Beakes was close to the Bunn family, evidenced by the fact that he made the inventory of Jonathan Bunn’s estate. The property that bordered Samuel Beakes was a 59-acre tract purchased by Jonathan Bunn from James White in 1810. It bordered “the great road from Penington [sic] to New Market, today’s Highway 31, north of the village of Pennington.8 Discussion with David Blackwell convinced me that the property was on the west side of Route 31 near the intersection with Titus Mill Road, not far south of Marshall’s Corner.

Samuel Beakes died on July 9, 1827 when he was 74 years of age. He was buried in the Pennington Cemetery next to his first wife Hannah Ashburn. He was not given an obituary in the Hunterdon or Trenton papers, which is surprising considering that he was a Revolutionary War veteran and had been a public servant.

Beakes neglected to write a will, so his estate was administered by Andrew Titus, a neighbor, whose sureties were Joshua Bunn and Nathaniel R. Titus. Bunn and Titus also made the inventory, which amounted to only $239.22 and ½ cent. It included household goods worth $114.67 and half a cent, carpenter tools, farming “utensils,” grain and grass, stock [animals], book accounts, a note of hand and some cash. It seems odd that Samuel’s son William (1780-1865) was not involved in the settlement of his father’s estate, small as it was.

Samuel’s widow Catharine most likely continued to live in their house after Samuel’s death. I wanted to know where that house was located because of the stunning and dramatic event that happened two months later, when Mrs. Beakes was murdered while she was sitting beside her fireplace. The general consensus was that a twelve-year-old boy named James Guild was the murderer. He had been seen cutting corn in the field opposite the Beakes home, a field that was owned by Joshua Bunn.

The Bunn Family

The Bunn family had been living in Hopewell Township since 1738 when Joshua Bunn, Sr. moved there from Woodbridge. Religion was very important to the Bunn family. Joshua’s son Jonathan (1744-1815) was one of the founders of the Methodist Church in Pennington in 1775, and, according to Jack Davis, he “hosted many travelling evangelists including Francis Asbury.”

Jonathan Bunn met Mary Shinn at a Quarterly Methodist Conference in Pemberton, New Jersey. She was from a Burlington County family that was also very active in the founding of New Jersey Methodism. They married in 1776 and had eight children, including their son Joshua, born in 1783, making him about the same age as Samuel Beakes’ son William by his first wife Hannah. Joshua was also only five years older than Catherine Beake’s son Jonathan Vankirk. About 1817, Joshua Bunn married Fanny Hoff. They had three children, the first being daughter Sarah Ann, born in 1818.9 Fanny was probably related to Cornelius or John Hoff, who owned property adjacent to Joshua Bunn.10

James Guild, aka ‘Little Jim’

In 1827, one of Joshua Bunn’s employees was a twelve-year-old boy named James Guild (pronounced gilde, as in ‘while’; not gild, as in ‘ill’). He was born on April 11, 1815, possibly the son of Francis Guild of Hopewell Township. Since James and Francis Guild were black, records for them are very poor. We know that Francis Guild was listed as head of a free black household in 1830. He joined the Presbyterian Church of Pennington sometime between 1806 and 1822.

It was not uncommon for slaves to take on the surname of their masters. If that was the case with Francis Guild, then the most likely person to have owned him would have been one of the sons of Rev. John Guild of the Pennington Presbyterian Church. Somehow that seems improbable.

If Francis Guild was ever manumitted (that is, legally freed from slavery), his name was not listed in the records of Hunterdon County.11 If he was a slave in 1804, and if James Guild was his son, James was born free, thanks to a law passed by the New Jersey legislature in 1804, in which children of slaves born after that date would be considered free. However, those children would be obliged to work as servants for their former owners until they had reached maturity—age 25 for men and 21 for women. Since Little Jim was only 12 years old in 1827, he had to be housed and employed by his former master, who appears to have been Joshua Bunn. I make a point of the question of slavery because several versions of the story of Little Jim claim that he was a slave, but in fact, at least technically, he was not. Hubert G. Schmidt12 observed that “In practice, these children [born after 1804] were evidently considered as slaves, and were so counted by census takers.”

Another potential source of information is the Birth Certificates of Children of Slaves, 1804-1835 at the NJ State Archives. These births were required by the law of 1804 to be recorded with the county clerk, who was to keep a special record book for the purpose.13 Regrettably, there was no record of a James Guild being born in 1815 or of a slave owned by Joshua Bunn.

Preparing for Christmas, by Francis William Edmonds, c.1851, showing the sort of relationship between master and slave or servant that was common in Hunteron County

And I am not entirely sure that Joshua Bunn was a slave owner. He was included on an 1830 list of Hopewell Township households having free blacks residing with them, and it is known that he was sympathetic to the black people living near him. According to David Blackwell, “In his later life, our Joshua Bunn became the creator of the African neighborhood on South Main Street in Pennington.” Sometime before 1850, “he built two houses that he rented to black families.” He deed restricted another lot for the construction of an AME church and sold it to the black trustees. There were eight more lots that he also sold to black families. Perhaps these gestures reflected Bunn’s remorse after the murder at the treatment Little Jim received from the Bunn family, but that is mere speculation.

Clearly, Little Jim lived with a religious family. Joshua Bunn testified at Jim’s trial that he had “endeavored to give him good instruction,” and to know the difference between good and evil. Jim was included when the family was at prayer. Also, the Bunns had religious worship at their house once a month. Mr. Bunn did regret that he had not sent Jim to Sunday school, but, as he testified at Guild’s trial, he was “afraid it would do more hurt than good, he was so inconsiderate and mischievous. He is passionate, mischievous, insolent, but does not bear malice.”

The Discovery

The many accounts of the murder and its aftermath frequently conflict. The most accurate version comes from a transcript of the appeal held in the New Jersey Supreme Court one year later, and that is what I shall rely on.14 Information from the Coroner’s Inquest has also been included.

It was Monday, September 24, 1827. Little Jim had been sent to work in Joshua Bunn’s field opposite the Beakes’ house, cutting down stalks of corn. The field was across the road from the home of widow Catharine Beakes. About 2:30 in the afternoon, Charles F. McCoy came along with his team.15

He saw Jim hacking at an old apple tree with his machete, apparently in a good humor. McCoy had an errand to do at the Beakes house, so he knocked at the door. He found the door unlashed and slightly ajar, but got no response, he continued on his way.

On his return trip, around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, that

when he found her little grandson by the door he asked him if his grandmother was at home he said She was and when he came to the door he found it standing as he did before when he had called there. the little boy opened the door and went in and he followed him and when he went into the house he found her then laying on the hearth in her blood Strugling almost lifeless she lay on her face. he sent the little boy to Joshua Bunns, he then took hold of her and turned her over and help her up in such a manner as he thought most easy for her. her son Jonathan Vankirk was the first one that came in but did not give him any assistance he held her till Mrs Fanny Bunn came to his assistance when Mrs Bunn came she took Mrs Beakes out of his hand he thought she was hardly dead at the time Mrs Bunn took hold of her he left the room16

In a later court testimony, McCoy said

“I told the boy to run to Joshua Bunn’s. I raised her and set her against my knees. I, at first, thought she had had a fit, and fell and bruised herself. But she bled wonderfully. I put my finger on the top of her skull, and it appeared to be mashed in. I looked round and saw the yoke (a horse yoke) about four feet off. There was some blood on the yoke.”

As it happened, a short time later Dr. Springer (Lewis Springer of Pennington) was “passing by about dark,” according to his testimony. Apparently he was not summoned to help, but was there by accident. He was brought inside to examine the body, and found her on the floor. I should also note that the description of Mrs. Beakes’ injuries given by Dr. Springer in the Inquest papers is far more graphic and detailed than he gave during the trial. It is very gruesome and disturbing.

on entering the apartment he found her lying on the floor drenched with blood and her face mangled in a most horrible manner the hair of her head was loaded with clotted blood the eyelid and lips were much swollen [sic] and the whole countenance greatly Distorted so great was the deformity that though familiarly acquainted with her I could not discover the least trace of her former appearance the blood which seemed chiefly to have flown from the mouth and nose had covered her neck and chest and lay in considerably quantity on the hearth from which she had been removed the whole presented a Spectacle the most shocking I have ever witnessed on examining the body the injury appeared to have been almost exclusively sustained by the head and face A large wound was discovered on the right side of the head through which an extensive fracture of the Scull was perceptible the marks of several blows were evident on other parts of the head & face and one on the chin had penetrated the integuments and exposed the Jaw bone the Scalp was beaten loose from the cranium to Such an extent that a considerable portion of it could be raised up by takeing hold of the hair In addition to this the cheek bone and bones of the nose were broken leaving the fact perfectly . . . [words missing from copy] the Skull and the lower Jaw was fractured near its . . . [second page missing]

By this time, several people had gathered at the house, including Joseph Davis, who was asked to go there by Joshua Bunn. Davis stated that

The boy [James Guild] was describing some person that came out of the Stony Brook road. They went in pursuit of the person. I remained and took my seat on the piazza in front. I observed the boy opposite cutting up corn. Hearing that suspicion had risen against him, I watched his motions. His manner of working excited suspicion in me. I had my eye on him. He did not seem to mind his business. Frequently looked towards the house.

After awhile, Davis had to go home for some reason but he returned later, and testified that:

I saw a man talking with James (the prisoner) in sight of the house, in Mr. Bunn’s cornfield. I think it was Andrew Titus. I went to them. I told the prisoner that I believed he was guilty of the murder of that woman. He said he was not ; looked down as he spoke. I told him that I understood that some person had seen him about the house that afternoon. I then asked him what was to be done about it? He made no answer that I recollect. I then asked him, whether he would not run away, since it appeared that he was guilty? He said yes he would go right off. I told him he had better not, it was not a proper time of day for him to run away. He had better postpone it until night. He then said, he did not know where to go to. I told him if he would call on me that evening, I could tell him something about it. As he appeared at the time to be under a deep concern, I asked him if he could help himself if he did run away ? He said he could not, he had no money. I then told him if he called on me that evening, I could help him to a quarter of a dollar or two. He said he would.

Now here we have what could only be described as entrapment. This was an adult persuading a child to implicate himself by running away. This sort of thing would not only be frowned on today, it would put Mr. Davis in jail.

After Davis described Guild’s behavior to other people who were present, including Charles McCoy, they grabbed the child and brought him to the door of the house. They believed that a view of the victim’s body would bring forth telling behavior in the person they suspected. And if that did not work, then forcing him to touch the body surely would. McCoy even believed the body would start bleeding again. Jim said “I am not going in there.” But he was dragged in anyway. He began to cry but did not confess.

Suspicion increased when blood was found on the waistcoat Guild was wearing, but it was only “two specks of blood.” Guild explained that he had gotten it from killing one of Joshua Bunn’s sheep. And in his testimony, Bunn confirmed that fact. Two specks of blood seems far too little for the kind of the murder attack that Mrs. Beakes experienced. But it was enough for those present to increase their pressure on Guild to confess.

He was taken to Joseph Davis’ tavern at Marshall’s Corner,17 accompanied by Daniel Cook, Esq. and Charles McCoy, and perhaps others. They told him he better confess, because it would be just as well to do it sooner rather than later, but Guild continued to deny committing the murder. Daniel Cook, esq. testified that

“It was about half a mile to Davis’ tavern. On the way, I asked him, Jim, did you kill the old lady ? yes, said he, I did. I got to Davis’ and sat down. I then told him I wanted him to tell me what he had done ‘to tell the truth and the whole truth.’ I took his examination in writing.

“The night before, and next day particularly, I told him to tell nothing but the truth. Before taking his examination, I asked him if he knew any thing about the nature of an oath. He said he did not. I told him he must tell nothing but the truth ; if he did, when he come to die, he would go to punishment. He said he knew that well enough. He has a great deal of understanding ; as much as any black boy I am acquainted with.”

Is this a case of giving a black child different treatment from a white adult? The Sixth Amendment guarantees citizens the right to counsel, along with a speedy trial, a fair jury and the right to confront witnesses. The amendment was ratified in 1791, so the people involved could not plead ignorance of it. Yet through all these preliminaries there was never a hint that Little Jim should have a lawyer.

The Coroner’s Inquest

Little time was wasted dealing with the murder. The coroner held his inquest “the evening of that day” that Mrs. Beakes was killed, and it was held at her house.

In 1827, there were three elected Coroners in Hunterdon County: Peter R. Fisher, Benjamin W. Dennis and Henry Gulick. None of the three appears in the papers filed for the Coroner’s Inquest. Instead, Daniel Cook, Justice of the Peace, presided.

The inquest was taken on the day of the murder, September 24, 1827. The jury consisted of these twelve men: G. R. Corwine, Ephraim Woolsey, Adonijah Brown, Joseph Davis, Joseph G. Bunn, Joshua Bunn, Albert D. Rittenhouse, Amos Laning, Charles Hoff, Abraham F. Schanck, Belville Baker, and Charles F. McCoy. The conclusion was that

some person (or persons to us now unknown) not having the fear of god before their eyes but being moved and seduced by the Instigation of the Devil on this day between the hours of 12 & 5 oclock P.M. with force and arms at the dwelling house of the said Catherine Beakes in the township of Hopewell and county aforesaid in and upon the said Catherine Beakes . . . [line missing from copy] . . . all? several mortal wounds upon the said Catherine Beakes with the said weapon which was found lying near her the said Catherine Beakes of which mortal wounds the said Catherine Beakes Almost Instantly died (and so the said person or persons unknown( [sic] then and there feloniously killed and murdered the said Catherine Beakes against the peace of this State the government and dignity of the same

I noticed that God was not capitalized, but Devil was. I assume that was just a quirk of the clerk’s and not a reflection on which entity was more important.

According to the court testimony, Daniel Cook asked Jim if he knew how “the old lady” died, and he answered twice that he did not. Here I must interject—Mrs. Beakes was frequently described as “an old lady” in the various accounts of the murder. But she was only 60 years old. If you were a 60-year-old woman in 1827, you were considered old, but I doubt that any 60-year-old woman today would accept the label “old lady.”

The court transcript did not state what the coroner’s conclusion was. Since it was held so soon after the body was discovered, it is not surprising the murder was attributed to person or persons unknown.

The First Confession

The confession given by James Guild the day after the murder became a subject of heated controversy during his trial and the appeal to the Supreme Court. The transcript of the confession, heard by Daniel Cook, JP, was included with the Inquest papers. It is as equally disturbing as Dr. Springer’s description of the body. (Note that very little punctuation is used in these transcripts, making it sometimes a challenge to get the sense of what was written.)

Examination of James Guile [sic] an Indenter boy of colour, to Joshua Bunn of the township of Hopewell in said county in the 13th year of his age saith that on the 24th of this Instant September in the afternoon he went to the house of Catherine Beakes in the township of Hopewell in the said county to borrow a gun he asked her to borrow her son Jonathan Gun she said what should she lend it to him for because he let her pidgeons out of the corn crib he told her he did not she said he did and he told her he did not she then told him that he stole a good many things since Mr. Beakes had been dead he told her he had not She said that he run over her hog when his master was gone to camp meeting he told her he did not she said he did she was then siting down by the fire this but of a cow yoke then took up in the corner by the Jamb he then took up this but of a yoke and the first Stooke he gave her on the back part of her head but he did not knock her over the first stroke She did not Speak after he gave it her the second Stooke he gave her by the Side of the head upon receiving that she fell over after she fell over he gave her another Stooke across the eyes the fourth he gave her on the chin and he then left her and went to work

Part of the ox or horse yoke used to kill Catharine Beakes, now kept at the Hunterdon Co. Historical Society.

. . . He left the yoke standing against a small table when he shut the door the yoke fell this but post of a cow yoke now shown to him is the Same one he Stouck her with she was at work at her cap when he gave her the first blow the first and third blows he did not Strike her as hard as he cold but the second and fourth blows he struck her as hard as he could he did not think when he stouck her of killing her he waited a little while after he gave the first blow before he gave her the second he then gave her the other three one right after the other his master and mistress was both from home at the time when he killed her they were gone to Trenton

Google image of oxen pulling a plow, held together by a yoke. The Beakes yoke was even more primitive

Jim’s confession gives us a very detailed and specific version of the conversation between him and Mrs. Beakes before he hit her. The “Jamb” referred to was the door jamb. Later versions also state that the yoke was leaning against the door. Jim described the yoke as a but (butt). As you can see from the pictures, the yoke is only half of what a full yoke would be.

The confession also made it clear that Guild was considered an indentured boy, that his age was 13, not twelve—although who knows? The court transcript repeatedly stated he was 12 years old.

Another interesting item in the inquest that did not appear in the transcript of the appeal was that Jim was very frightened by what he had done, and it affected him this way:

after he had done it he felt sorrow and did not sleep much but nothing appeared to him last night but to day he thought he seen her when he was out in the corn field at work he thought she appeared all bloody as she lay last night when he saw her in her house after he had killed her.

What Jim’s confession doesn’t tell us is the tone of voice Mrs. Beakes was using. In his later confession(s), Jim described her as “saucy” and complained that “the old bitch would not lend [the gun] to him.”

Judging by the ferocity of the attack, I cannot help but think that she had been harsh with Jim in the past, and was especially aggravating on this occasion, enough to cause Jim to completely lose whatever self-control he may have had. But, that is blaming the victim, especially when no one made any comment about Mrs. Beakes being a scold.

The Subsequent Confessions

In February 1828, almost five months after the murder was committed, while Jim was still confined in the Flemington jail, he made a confession to several people, i.e., Henry Gulick, Ralph Stevenson, Ralph Knowles, Samuel G. Opdyke, Esq., Charles Bonnell, Esq., Thomas J. Stout, and others.

[Note: I have deleted my previous description of how the murder happened because Jim’s original confession provided the details.]


The later confessions clarified that Jim was on his way out the door when he saw the yoke, and when he went back inside he saw Mrs. Beakes leaning over the fireplace with her back to the door, “starching a cap.” He came up from behind and hit her on the head with the yoke.

Jim stated, presumably in a later confession, that he had not intended to kill her. “The first blow did not knock her exactly down. He thought he would give her another. . . . The second blow she fell.” Jim stopped a moment, but then “thought if she told of him he should get a terrible flogging, and then he concluded he would kill her, and she would not tell of it.” So he struck her two more times.

Jim left the house and went back across the road to the corn field where he was supposed to be working. Nothing more was said of the gun that started the whole thing; presumably Jim forgot about it. He did not say exactly when all this happened. It was probably before 2:30 in the afternoon when Charles McCoy came by. If so, then Jim had remained in the cornfield for the rest of the afternoon. He did not run away because he did not know where to go and had no money. Perhaps he thought that it would not occur to anyone that he had done such a thing. Perhaps he was curious to see what happened when the murder was discovered.

Next: Part Two, Little Jim in Jail and in Court


I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to John W. Kuhl for giving me a copy of the transcript of the Supreme Court appeal and suggesting other sources; to David Blackwell and Jack Davis for genealogical information and encouragement; to Becca Hoff for getting me the deeds I needed as well as the Coroner’s Inquest, and to Mike at Act2 Books on Church Street, Flemington, for giving me the idea in the first place.

Note: The image of a woman’s cap came from Pinterest, and is meant to remind us of the woman who was murdered, since so little was said about her.


  1. I was unable to document their land purchases; there were no deeds for either the Beakes or Everitt families for property in Hopewell Township in the index known as “Colonial Conveyances.
  2. More Records of Old Hunterdon County, vol. 2, by Phyllis D’Autrechy, p. 250.
  3. The place of his burial is not known, so there is no information on the exact date of his death.
  4. Hunterdon Co. Deed Book 28 p. 51.
  5. It is quite possible she was related to Joseph or William Disbrow, early settlers of Hopewell.
  6. Death date comes from an unsourced tree on
  7. H. C. Deed Book 28 p.51.
  8. H. C. Deed Book 17 p.342.
  9. There is no marriage record for Joshua Bunn and Fanny Hoff, but they were buried together in the Methodist Cemetery on the Pennington-Titusville Road. The inscription on her grave reads: “IMO Fanny Hoff, wife of Joshua Bunn, d. April 4, 1876, aged 87 .2.21. “A Sheaf Fully Ripe.“”
  10. It is not at all appropriate for me to point this out, but I can’t resist, so I’m hiding it in a footnote. Mrs. Joshua Bunn’s name was Fanny Bunn.
  11. Phyllis B. D’Autrechy, Some Records of Old Hunterdon County.
  12. Hubert G. Schmidt, “Slavery and Attitudes on Slavery in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, HCHS, 1941.
  13. See for the database.
  14. I am so grateful to John W. Kuhl who had previously studied this case and had obtained a copy of the transcript, which he generously shared with me. Saved me hours of effort.
  15. I have little information on Charles McCoy. He could be the Charles who was counted in Ewing Township in the 1850 census, a weaver, age 66. His testimony in the court transcript was that he came to Mrs. Beakes’ door at 2:30, but in the inquest the time was given as 3:30.
  16. Hunterdon County Archives, Coroners’ Inquests, Obsolete Records 505-727, #225, Box #5, FV-A4-6-2. In the previous article it appeared that McCoy was referring to James Guild. McCoy’s testimony in the Inquest papers made it clear that the little boy was in fact Mrs. Beakes’ own grandson.
  17.  See “In Search of Marshall’s Corner” by Jack Davis, Hopewell Valley Historical Society Newsletter, vol. xxxv, no. 3, p. 851.