HCHSMarfy This Month

Goodspeed Histories, June 2021

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** June 20, 2021
Today’s article is a continuation and conclusion of the history of the old bank building on Main Street that was once the headquarters of the Hunterdon County National Bank. I picked up some intriguing items while researching this article, including the apparent friendship of Republican John C. Hopewell with Democrat Robert J. Killgore, publisher of the Hunterdon County Democrat.

Flemington’s First Bank, part three (https://goodspeedhistories.com/flemingtons-first-bank-chapter-3/)
A Woman Discovered
I am happy to report that I have made a correction to an article that was published a few years ago, “Sergeant’s Mills, part one (https://goodspeedhistories.com/sergeants-mills-part-one/) .” Geoff Rockhill, one of my readers, recently discovered my error and shared with me a precious document he owned, the page in Mary Robeson’s bible that listed the wives, daughter and grandchildren of Joseph Robeson, who died in 1801. My mistake was identifying Susanna Robeson Opdycke as the daughter of Joseph and Mary Robeson, when in fact, her mother was Hannah Robeson, Joseph’s first wife, whose existence I was completely unaware of. Unfortunately, the bible record did not identify Hannah’s family.

Who Comes First?
I really do not want to get into an ideological discussion of gender issues, but as a woman, they are hard to avoid. Some readers may have noticed that when I refer to a couple as property owners, I give the names as husband first and wife second. There is some logic to this, as husbands were generally more active in the realm of wealth acquisition. However, by making that choice, I see that I denigrate a woman’s role in public matters. A recent blog post from “LitHub” showed me the powerful effect of reversing the order of names of a couple. I will probably use that approach from time to time. Not sure if I’ll make a habit of it.

A Family Discovered
Another reader contacted me with an interesting suggestion. On the Holcombe Family Tree (https://goodspeedhistories.com/holcombe-family-tree/) , I had listed a Samuel Holcombe as the son of George Holcombe and Achsah Knowles, although I had no information on that Samuel Holcombe. But Carolin Cosgriff, another reader, suggested that the Samuel Holcombe who married Ann Bishop, daughter of William Bishop, might be the son of George and Achsah. And although there is no direct evidence, there certainly is enough circumstantial evidence in the deeds to convince me she is right. So, the tree has been modified.

Speaking of Trees, while going through the names from my last post, looking for places where I should add a link, I discovered so many errors in the Tunis Case family tree that I had to cancel it, for now. This will no doubt be a constant problem. Please do not take my trees and articles as gospel. They are always subject to revision.

Pearls in Hunterdon
On June 10, 1857, the Hunterdon Republican reported that pearls had been found in the mussels nestling in Capoolong Creek. Actually, the writer spelled mussels “muscles,” and the creek as “Capolon.” Apparently one James Davenport found a mussel with a pearl not far from Pittstown on May 30, 1857. The Republican reported that one of the pearls “measured 1 & 3/8 inches in circumference, was perfectly spherical and had a beautiful luster.” Davenport “and his sons had collected nearly 100 pearls of various sizes and qualities from the streams in the vicinity of Pittstown.”

Today’s article includes mention of the popularity of oyster restaurants in Flemington. That’s a subject I will be returning to.

Which Delaware?
A little while ago, I got an inquiry from someone living in Sweden, regarding “a sawmill in Delaware.” Turned out, the sawmill was located in Delaware County, Iowa. Needless to say, I could not help him or her (could not tell which from the name). So, just a reminder, my expertise is limited to Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

That’s it for now. Best wishes to all, especially all the Dads,


Hunterdon Co. National Bank meets up with the Civil War

** June 11, 2021
I am continually amazed at how a seemingly boring subject, like the history of a bank and its building, could turn out to be so interesting. You can usually tell how interested I am by the number of parts to a story I end up publishing. I was sure I could finish this off in one, but no, it needed a second part, published today (with more interesting photographs). And once I got to the end I realized I needed just one more episode in this bank story. I will try hard to make it shorter but can make no guarantees.

Flemington’s First Bank, part two (https://goodspeedhistories.com/flemingtons-first-bank-part-two/)
This article takes place during the Civil War, an odd time to be building a magnificent bank building. It certainly is a reflection on how much safer residents of northern New Jersey felt compared to their southern neighbors.

An Unfortunate Name
Speaking of banks, while browsing through the Hunterdon Republican newspaper of yore, I learned that on July 10, 1871, the Directors of the Lambertville National Bank elected a new cashier, since their previous cashier, Martin L. Reeve, had recently died. But I have to wonder what those Directors were thinking when they chose to replace him with a man named William Crook.
It’s hard to believe this was a real person, but in fact the Crook brothers, William and Charles, were born in NJ but had moved to New Hope by 1850 and raised their families there. William Crook prospered in his new home, calling himself a Gentleman in the 1860 census. But by 1870, he found it necessary to return to the work force, taking the job of Cashier from the Lambertville bank. Luckily for him, the Directors did not hold his name against him.

12th Anniversary for GH
My calendar tells me that twelve years ago today I began publishing articles on my website. My website tells me that so far, including family trees and today’s article, I have published 543 of them. Not a nice round number, but quite a lot more than I originally thought. The problem is—there’s just so much to write about!

Indexing Articles
They say it is important to keep printed copies of one’s work, but keeping track of where they are is a real challenge. I’ve been working on my Index lately. This differs from the “List of Articles” that appears on the top menu bar. That takes you to a chronological list, beginning with the most recent article. My Index does something different—it collects articles into subjects, arranged by time and place. Because I am somewhat impetuous about what I chose to write about, it is not aways easy to figure out how past articles fit together. I’m working on it, but am far from finished.

Observations on “Locusts”
from the Hunterdon Republican.
July 17, 1889: “Joseph E. Hampton of Baptisttown, writes us that a few 17-Year locusts appeared on his farm about 5 weeks ago and after singing for a few days disappeared. This seems to verify a prediction that they would appear this year.”

Well, they may have been “singing” for just few days in 1889, but they’re going on forever in 2021! And boy, do they sing loudly! No wonder they rest for 17 years.

June 13, 1894, Brief News from Glen Gardner: “The seventeen-year locusts have arrived and there are millions of them!”