HCHSMarfy This Month

Goodspeed Histories: October 2022

The Pittstown Inn is undoubtedly one of the grandest, most imposing buildings of its time, designed by its owner, Moore Furman, in 1800.

Pittstown Tavern, part two
As it turns out, describing what was going on with Moore Furman and the City of Trenton led me into a fascinating side path. This is the kind of thing I love about writing local history—you find yourself discovering things you might otherwise have ignored. The history of Trenton in the 1780s and 1790s pulls together into one location, the renewal of an old NJ county (Hunterdon), the beginning of a new State and of a new Country. One of these days, I hope I can describe what was happening in the first of Hunterdon’s county seats (the one before Flemington), but for now I must stay with Pittstown. It had been my hope to use this heading:

New Country, New State, New County Seat,
New Century, New Tavern, 1783-1801
But that is just a little too ambitious for one article. The goings on from 1783 to 1809 gave me more than enough to write about. I whittled it down to the tavern and the new County Seat.

And about the County Seat: the deed conveying property in Flemington to the Freeholders is a very special one for the excellent recital it contains, and it is treated with care at the Hall of Records. In fact the handwritten copy is not available. A typed version can be found with the other deed books. I have added a detail from the handwritten version, but have a suspicion that it is itself a copy of the original clerk’s copy. Something about the handwriting looks too Victorian to me, not the way people wrote back in 1791.

From Bill Morrow, wondering where I got the maiden name of Janet Best, wife of William Anderson on the Anderson family tree. I did not have a good answer, so I have questioned it on the tree and will add new information if it arrives.

Hunterdon Authors
Hunterdon history has been a fruitful subject for several authors lately. Just a couple days ago, author Jim Davidson made a presentation at Hunterdon County Library’s main branch on his new book, When the Circus Came to Town, covering the chaotic days of the Lindbergh trial. It is a book worth owning.

Sunday, on October 16th at 11 a.m., authors Patricia Millen and Robert Sands Jr. to discuss their new book on Washington’s crossing at the Hunterdon Land Trust on the Dvoor Circle. It should be fascinating. In fact, it is advised to make reservations with Dave Harding by emailing dave@hunterdonlandtrust.org (mailto:dave@hunterdonlandtrust.org) or calling 908-237-4582.
There is another Hunterdon book coming along this Spring, but one had best let the author announce it.

A Gem from an Old Deed:
In Hunterdon County Deed Book 32 p.173, I came across some emphatic dating. The deed took place “on the 20th day of December in the year of our Lord  one thousand seven hundred and ninety nine.” It referred to an older deed dated “the twenty eighth day of the eleventh month commonly called November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty two.” Those were the days.

Some Gems from the Hunterdon Republican:
Feb 27, 1873: Old Turkey Hen. Joseph Everitt, living near Littletown [Littleton, near Pittstown] had a turkey hen that reached the age of 19 years. It had been blind for 2 years and had not laid an egg for 6 years.

Sept. 11, 1879: The Case of the Missing Feather. In the case of Martha V. Hummer vs. Mrs. Frances Stryker.
At a donation party in 1875 for Rev. Job B. Randolph of Frenchtown that the litigants attended, Mrs. Stryker missed her hat. When found it had been stripped of a valuable plume feather. About two years later, the sister of plaintiff brought a hat to the Mrs. Stryker for repairs, who thought she recognized her lost or stolen feather. Plaintiff, alleged that from that time, Mrs. Stryker had circulated rumors that she had stolen the feather. So the suit was brought because of these accusations. Jury found in favor of plaintiff for $75. This case was quite interesting and the room was packed with ladies!
All wearing feathered hats?
Regards to all,