Old is New

Old is New: Part III

Part III: Land for Sale by Owner
(CLICK HERE to read Part I and HERE for Part II)

Ebba and I had passed the state examination to enter Flemington High School’s class of 1927 following
our graduation from Kendall School in June of 1923, two in a class of eight. The high school
administration requested we choose our program of study by August. The majority of students chose
Agriculture and Commercial studies. Both prepared the student for work immediately upon graduation
from high school. The remainder chose college preparatory programs.

It became obvious to Christian and Maria during our high school years that their children showed no
desire to take over the farm after completing high school. Ebba chose Teacher Education and I chose the
Science program. We had no plans to enter colleges, but felt the programs we chose would prepare us
should advanced education become possible. In 1927, as Ebba and I were finishing high school,
opportunities opened up for both of us. Ebba became the teacher at Moores one-room school in
Headquarters. I entered the Rutgers University School of Engineering with a small loan from the
Flemington Rotary Club and received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering in the class of 1931.

My father began selling the farm in pieces. The first sale was the lower two fields to Castanea Dairy who
operated the creamery. They also bought half of our Hoi stein herd. The next sale was to a Mister
Hocher who bought the remainder of the east fields. Two building lots in the peach orchard were sold to
John Emory and Howard Johnson. These sales left only the farmhouse and ten acres and the wood lot

My mother and father began traveling and living with their children. Christian died of cancer in 1939 at
the age of 61 while living with Ebba. Maria died of a stroke in 1943 while living in the home of Ann and
Charles Jurgensen. She was 70 years old. The farmhouse and remaining land were sold in 1942 by
Christian’s estate following his death, to William E. Rittenhouse. The sale of Catalpa farm had now been
completed. It had remained the Jurgensen homestead for thirty years.

Part IV: Epilogue

Over time Christian and Maria’s four children all married and among them had twelve children of their

Ebba remained an elementary school teacher in Delaware Township. Boletta entered the Mercer
Hospital School of Nursing, but married before completing her training. Edla graduated from the Mercer
Hospital School of Nursing and worked a few years as a registered nurse before marrying. I became a
mechanical engineer. I spent my entire working career with the DeLaval and Alfa Laval companies and
retired as the Executive Vice-President of USA operations.

Ebba died at the age of 90 after heart surgery. Boletta, Edla and I live in retirement homes. We are all
over 90 years old. I am 95 at this writing.

Over the years the farmland and the wood lot have been turned into building lots and streets.

Refrigerated trucks now pick up milk from the farmer, replacing the creameries. School buses and
consolidated schools have evolved from the one-room schools. Garages and gas stations have replaced
the blacksmith shop and tractors have replaced the horses on the farms. Cars, of course, made the
buggy obsolete many years ago. Supermarkets have taken over the role of the general store. The
function of some of the early buildings has changed including the Sergeantsville Hotel which is now the
municipal building for Delaware Township.

The Catalpa tree, now long past its 100th birthday, still stands alone with its crown badly damaged by
telephone and utility lines passing through its branches. Year after year, however, its remaining
branches put forth a spectacular show of giant leaves, white flowers and foot-long beans. The tree,
however, goes unappreciated for its age, rarity and former beauty.

Acknowledgements: Boletta Jurgensen Morris for her encyclopedic memories.
Joan E. Jurgensen for editorial assistance