HCHSMarfy This Month

Goodspeed Histories: Political Turmoil in the 1850’s

March 26, 2021
When I first turned my attention to John C. Hopewell of Flemington, it was because he owned property in the path of the rail line from Prallsville to Flemington, the rail line that never got built. I learned afterwards that Hopewell was one of the most important figures in the development of Flemington during the 1850s and 1860s, as discussed in “One Man Makes a Difference (https://goodspeedhistories.com/one-man-makes-a-difference/) .”

It is my plan to write about one of Hopewell’s finest achievements, the construction of the Hunterdon Bank building that is part of the redevelopment plan for Main Street, Flemington, along with the history of this interesting bank, but first of all, there is the matter of Hopewell’s political alignment in the 1850s. Much to my surprise, he joined the American Party, more commonly known as the Know Nothings. This meant it was time for me to learn about this party and its influence, along with its Hunterdon County members. Needless to say, it’s complicated, and I was only able to explore the period from 1850 to 1855. My next article will take us from the Presidential election of 1856 up to the Civil War. And then I can return to the bank.

Political Turmoil (https://goodspeedhistories.com/political-turmoil/)
A Postscript to the last Article
It is pretty common to find information after publishing that should have been included in an article but wasn’t. In this case, there was a brief item regarding John C. Hopewell’s participation in the mercantile business, in partnership with John S. Hockenbury, which has since been added to “One Man Makes a Difference. (https://goodspeedhistories.com/one-man-makes-a-difference/) ”

Some time ago, a reader asked me to avoid politics as we had more than enough of it in the past few years. I understood his feelings, but sometimes it simply is not possible to stay away from the subject, since politics had so much influence on people’s lives. Apologies to those who share that reader’s feelings. After one more article on pre-Civil War politics, I’ll go back to my usual fare.

More Family Trees
For starters, I have replaced the photo at the top of the Families Page with one that I found in my Lair Family file. It’s a beauty! Sadly, I neglected to note where I got it from. If anyone recognizes it, please let me know.

I have recently published two new family trees: the MYERS FAMILY TREE (https://goodspeedhistories.com/myers-family-tree/) and the LAIR/LARE FAMILY TREE (https://goodspeedhistories.com/lair-lare-family-tree/) . Also, from time to time I update a previously published tree, and that is the case with the BONNELL FAMILY (https://goodspeedhistories.com/bonnell-tree/) .

It is fun to see how all these Hunterdon County families intermarried and created a web of relationships. These trees also reveal how often people do not make it to adulthood; how often they fail to marry; or how often they do marry and have incredibly large families; and how frequently they left Hunterdon County for parts west (a fact I have occasionally added).

Best wishes and hopes that everyone gets vaccinated soon,

Stay up to date with ALL the latest Goodspeed News by subscribing to the Goodspeed Histories Newsletter It’s informative and free!