lot were sold to the Methodist society, the present
brick edifice having been erected the summer of that
year, and dedicated with appropriate exercises on the
5th of September.*
A post-office was started about 1850, the mails pre-
vious to that time having been brought from Somer-
ville. The village contains a population of 2240.
About 1846 or 1848 a number of the inhabitants
met in the machine-shop of David P. Kinyon to de-
cide upon a name for the embryo village. After some
discussion it was decided to christen it after the river
od which it was located. The Central Railroad of
* For further informaUon in roferonce to the condition of BchoolB, aee
"Schools" in the township of Bridgowater.
New Jersey passes through the village, thereby fur-
nishing means for both transportation and travel
equal to any in the State.
The first bridge across the river was built in 1849,
with 5 piers, 54 feet span, and 824 feet in length.
This hamlet ffaa commenced by Absalom and
James Martin, who came from near Chimney Rock.
About 1852 :i chapel was erected, and for a time was
occupied by all denominations. Later it came under
the control of the Presbyterians. It is not an inde-
pi-ndcnt organization. The village contains, besides
tin chapel, a Store, post-office, hotel, blacksmith-shop,
and several dwellings. Jt is located in what is known
as Washington Valley, between the First and Second
SCHOOLS OF THE TOWNSHIP.
There are but few traditions of schools in this town-
ship before the commencement of the present century.
The first written record of any kind which has been
found bearing upon the subject of schools is a receipt
as follows :
"Kocc'd, Mar. 15, 1771, from Jeromes Van Nest, liy the bauds of George
Fisher, schoolmaster, the lull Bum <>f f..ur js-iunds, Jersey Light money,
in full for my demands from nui.l Jeromes Vim Neat.
" iA Ot. 04"
The first, school-house of which anything is known
was situated in what is now the ground of the Pres-
byterian church at Bound lirook, and a little wesl of
that edifice. Some of the traditions relate that it was
originally a Presbyterian church and afterwards used
as ascl 1-housc. It was a low, one-story building.
The first teacher of whom any mention is made was
one John Wackcr, whose name occurs a~ early as 1742 ;
the name of John Uncle is ;ilso found. II, • was suc-
ceeded by William lleddcn, who acted as principal
until 17G8, when he removed to .Newark. He was
succeeded by Peter Walsh, a Scotchman, who taught
until the erection of the academy, in ISOil. This
building stood east of the residence formerly occupied
by the Rev. Dr. Rodgers, and was two stories in
height, standing broadside to the turnpike, with a
steeple on the eiist end. A bell that hung in the
steeple bad the inscription " L784, Amsterdam." The
academy was built in pari from money bequeathed by
Michael Field, who died in 1792. The bequest is
given in the words of his will :
"I Rive tho sum of £800, lawful qoj of tli" stnto of Now Jersey,
toward! • Area school thai may In erected boroaftor within tho Prosby-
rlu congregation of Bound Brook, which mj executors aro horohy
i,..|nir,..l tn |.nl int.. Hi.. liiiu.i. r.t III,, nut.
mii.i, and the trustees an required to put n m it Interest, and to
keep the Interest monoj arising that i*t...ly mid posses-
alon until the said 'Free ScUool-Houao' diall bo l.uilt. and then apply
th.. odd Interest money for that purpose, iiu.l supporting said - b
f"i no other purpose"
Peter Walsh was the Last teacher in the old build-
ing and the first in the academy, lie was succeeded
by Isaac Toucey, afterwards Secretary of the Navy
under President Buchanan. While he was in charge
a female department was added, under the supervision
of M iss Joanna Deeds. This building was in use until
1857, when it was demolished and the present edifice
erected upon the spot.
To this county belongs the honor of being the home
of the men who were most instrumental in obtaining
and founding Rutgers College. Rev. John Frcling-
huysen opened a theological school in which young
men were fitted for the ministry. Jacob Rutsen
Hardenburgh, Rynier Van Nest, and Matthew Leydt
received instruction from him, and afterwards became
The Rev. Jacob R. Hardenburgh was most active in
obtaining the charter, in 1770, of Rutgers College, and
was its first president; Hendrick Fisher, of Bound
Brook, was also prominent in its establishment.!
Frederick Frelinghuysen, a native of Somerville,
was the first tutor. It is thus seen that Rutgers
College originated with men in this township, and
that a school was opened here, the influence of which
culminated in its establishment.
A school-house was erected in Raritan (now Som-
ervillel about 1800. The last teacher was a Mr. Ten-
nard. The school was merged into the Somerville
academy at its commencement, in 1802. There was
also one on the mountain-road north of Somerville;
it remained as [ate as 1840.
The next educational interest of importance was
the establishment of the Somerville academy, the his-
tory of which is quoted from Dr. A. Messler's "History
of Somerset County :"
•' Tho idea of erecting mi.Ii it I. nil. ling un.l attempting to maintain s
classical school at such an early day was an honor V> tho Inhabitants of
"It canto in this wlso: A number of gentlemen from Somorvlllo and
Its rii iuity met together to celobrato tho Fourth of July. 1801. Tho
pul.lii- exi-ni.-es i.f the ilny were held ill ttie i hutvti \tt.-i lit.- ..\.r-
cisis the gentlemen repaired lo tho hotel, where a dinner bad been pre-
lum .1. \ttn.ng th.. tu w.-r.. -.•%.• ml who bnd sons to be educated. After
-> it nversatlon on the subject of education, it was resolved to mtike
an effort to establish a classical school, whoro young men might bo in-
stmctod in Latin and Qraek and praporad to enter collage. Immcdiato
...ti .u was taken, nod on the lsth <>f .Inly, at another meeting, a constt-
tntion was adopted, wlii.lt pr..vi.l..l l'..r the erection of a building nnd
tho organization of an association aiding in its support and patronage."
The constitution was signed by Peter Studdiford,
John Bryan, John Frelinghuysen, Andrew Howell.
Jonathan Ford Morris, Thomas Talmage, John 131-
mendorf, Jacob B. Hardenburgh, John Simonson,
John W. Hall, Joseph Doty, Dickinson Miller, Cor-
nelius Van Deventer, Bergun Brokaw, Edmund El-
nieinl.irf, John Brokaw, John Cox, Garret Tunison,
Philip Herder, ftoeluf Nevius, Peter B. Dumont,and
Mathew A. Lane. The subscription amounted to
$1701. Tin- first officers of the a iation wer
• in an account ..f Tobias Van rfordon, dated rabruary, 1774, against ; u .. .i Deal h v. Bi i I j ' i addn . • nnia] cola
the estate of Acltjol.oinuiitos, occurs, "To seuleing f..r l.cun, £l> Ms. Oil." braUoi , II, 1870,
SOMERSET COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
Studdiford, President ; John Bryan, Vice-President ;
John Frelinghu} 7 sen, Treasurer; Andrew Howell,
Secretary. The board of regents consisted of Jona-
than F. Morris, John Wortman, Thomas Talmage,
John S. Vredenburgh, John Elmendorf, Jacob R.
Hardenburgh, Dickinson Miller, John Simonson,
Garret Tunison, and the president.
A house was erected, a teacher employed (Lucas
George, an Irishman, who proved himself to be a fine
scholar and an efficient instructor), and the school
opened in May or June, 1802.
In 1804 the association was incorporated under the
laws of the State, and Peter Studdiford, John S. Vre-
denburgh, Peter D. Vroom, John Elmendorf, Andrew
Howell, Jonathan F. Morris, and John Frelinghuy-
sen were the trustees. In March, 1805, Jacob Kirk-
patrick succeeded Mr. George as principal. Then W.
C. Morris, a son of Dr. J. F. Morris, taught for a
time. Nov. 26, 1808, Stephen Boyer was engaged as
principal, remaining such until 1810. Afterwards
Isaac N. Wyckoff and the Rev. John Cornell taught,
and the school flourished extensively. It had no rival
except Basking Ridge, and enjoyed an extensive pa-
tronage for some time. After Rev. John Cornell the
school was taught by Rev. Peter Studdiford, Mr.
Neville, John Walsh, William Thompson, Charles
Hageman, William D. Waterman, and John L. See.
This school was discontinued in 1855, the property
sold to S. S. Hartwell, and the proceeds divided
among the original stockholders and their heirs.
SOMERVILLE CHARITY SCHOOL.
In 1816, Mrs. Rev. John Vredenburg, Mrs. Andrew
Howell, Mrs. Dr. Henry Van Derveer, Mrs. Dickinson
Miller, Mrs. William J. Hedges, Mrs. Ferdinand Van
Derveer, Mrs. Mary Stewart, Mrs. William Manse,
Mrs. Matthew Williamson, Mrs. C. G. Tunison, Mrs.
Dr. Vredenburg, and Mrs. Gen. John Frelinghuysen
associated themselves together to educate and instruct
the poor children of the township, under the name
of the Somerville Charity School. April 16th in that
year a Sunday-school was opened ; in connection with
it, hut a little later, a day-school was added. It was
continued until about 1845, when it ceased, common
schools having been introduced into the State and
accomplishing part of the work.
A young ladies' school was taught at the house of
Mr. Walsh in 1828-29 by Miss M. A. Poole. In ad-
dition to a complete course of English studies, music,
drawing, and laco-work were taught.
A young ladies' seminary was erected by Gen. John
Frelinghuysen in about 1832. Mrs. Nottingham was
principal. It was continued four or five years, but
finally ceased. Mrs. Nottingham removed to Somer-
ville, where she taught about two years.
SOMERSET CLASSICAL INSTITUTE.
This school was established in 1848 as the " Somerset
Institute for Young Ladies." The old tavern stand-
ing at the fork of the New York and Easton turnpike
and the Raritan road, on the present site of the castel-
lated residence of Eugene Doughty, then the property
of Alfred Camman, was selected for the purpose, and
moved back on the turnpike to its present location.
John S. Severance, of Berkshire Co., Mass., opened
the first session, Sept. 5, 1848, although the institu-
tion was not incorporated until Dec. 6, 1849. The
first board of trustees were Rev. A. Messier, D.D.,
President; Samuel G. Hartwell, Secretary; William
Thompson, C. H. Brown, Joshua Doughty, T. B.
Allison, and John I. De Forest, all deceased except
Dr. Messier and Joshua Doughty.
Mr. Severance, after continuing the enterprise for
two years, without pecuniary success, returned to
Massachusetts, his position being filled by his niece,
Miss Nancy P. Stoughton, who, aided by her brother
pecuniarily, exerted herself to make the enterprise a
success. This she did, to the profit of her pupils, but
to her own pecuniary disadvantage. She continued
the school for two years, when it passed into the
hands of the Rev. Calvin Butler, of Massachusetts.
Purchasing the property, he added a story to the
building, erected an outside recitation building, and,
still lacking room, purchased the adjoining house and
In 1857-59 the political questions of the day became
so prominent, and the contest so bitter, that the educa-
tional interest began to decline, and in the spring of
1860 Mr. Butler left the place, going to Connecticut.
He gave to the county the largest and most prosper-
ous seminary she has ever had.
J. S. Chamberlain succeeded as principal, followed
in 1866 by Rev. William I. Thompson, son of Judge
Thompson, of Readington, but he was cut off from a
sphere of usefulness by death, March 19, 1867. Arthur
Crosby taught out the unexpired term.
Sept. 4, 1867, the Rev. William Cornell, D.D., L.L.D.,
took charge of the school. He was a ripe and cul-
tured scholar, a thorough and enthusiastic teacher.
The year following his advent he erected a building
in South Street and removed his school thither, where
he died Sept. 11, 1876.
There was then a vacancy until March, 1877, when
P. N. Mitchell took charge. But to build up this
school after such an extended vacancy was not the
work of a day. With patient energy, however, he
overcame all difficulties. The latter part of the year
this school and that of William P. Flowers, A.M.,
were consolidated, since which time it has been very
It only remains to add that during the interim
when the institute was removed to South Street, a
female school, under the old name, was kept for six
years by Mrs. Duren, ending in 1878. The lady still
takes a few pupils upon a private estate a few miles
south of the village.
A Miss Gaston, a native of the place, also taught a
school with varying degrees of prosperity for twenty
years or more in that part of the building known
:i- (lie two-story house, r>-iu<>\ in-.' in tin.- -; >i i ult "I
1880 to the Minor house, — Governor Vroom's old
FIRST REFORMED CHURCFl OF RARITAN.
liming the ministry at Hackensack of Gulliam
Bertholf, and while ho was on a missionary tour to
this section,* the first church was formed. The I
earliest records having any reference to church mat-
ters in this region were written in Dutch. The first
record is dated March s, 1099, of the baptism of a
child of Jeronimua Van Neste, Cornelius Thcunissen,
and Pieter Van Xeste respectively. The following
da] I March 9, 1G99) the church was organized.
"Tho (bllowing portions wert) chosen an a consistory: John Tuynesen
as elder, and l'leter Van Nest tut deacon, and were installed before the
congregation by Gulliam Bertholf. At tho same time the ordinanco of
tho holy sacrament was administered to the communicants by the above-
This is all the record extant from that time till
about L721, except of baptism.
About 1717 or 17I* a call for a minister was sent
to the < 'la—is of Amsterdam by the churches of Rari-
tan, Three-Mile Run, Six-Mile Run, and North
At this time there is no evidence of a church edi-
fice at this place. In 1721 a lot of land was donated
to the congregation for church purposes; a building
was erected that year, but of its size, shape, or con-
struction nothing has been ascertained. It was on
B knoll on the north side of the Raritan, a quarter
of a mile below the structure known as the old
bridge. Worship was held at this place until Oct.
87, 177'.', when it was burned by Col. Simcoe.
Theodoras Jacobus Frelinghuysen, son of the Rev.
Johannes Henricus, pastor of the Reformed Dutch
Church of Lingen in Fast Fricsbmd, ea to Amer-
ica in 1720, ami settled immediately over the churches
in Somerset County. He resided at Three-Mile Bun
and preached also at Raritan, Six-Mile Run. and
North Branch. The precise time of his death is not
May IS, 17 17, a call w:is made to John Frelinghuy-
sen. then studying in Holland, to occupy bis father's
place. This call was approved b_\ the < 'lassis of Am-
sterdam in 17-19. He was licensed in 17">U, and in the
summer of that year arrived at Raritan. He preached
his introductory sermon August 3d. lie lived at Rari-
tan, now Somerville. [n the summer of 1751 he built
8 house with bricks sent over from Holland, OH land
..wned by Cornel ins I'.ogart. It is still standing, and
in possession of Joshua Doughty. On a corner-stone
is cut "1751." A charter was obtained June 7, 17"':!,
for this church, along with those of New Brunswick,
six-Mile Run. Millstone, and North Branch.
Mr. Frelinghuysen's pastorate was brief; he died
• Until 1709 lie was the only Dutch preacher In Now Jersey.
in September. 1764, after having administered to this
people a little over three year-. |
The church was vacant for nearly three years. Ja-
cob R. Hardenhurgh, who commenced his studies
with the Rev. Mr. Frelinghuysen, continued for about
three years, and was ordained by the Coetus in 17">7.
He was the first minister in the Dutch Church in
A riea who received a license in llii- country. Ili-
labors commenced May I, 1758. He removed to Rari-
tan, to the house where his early studies were pursued,
having married the widow of his former teacher, Mrs.
Dinah Frelinghuysen. In August following he was
installed as pastor of the five congregations,— Rari-
tan, North Branch, Bedminster, Millstone, and Nes-
hanic.t In 1781 he resigned his pastoral charge at
Raritan and removed to Rosendale. X. V.
The Rev. Theodore Frelinghuysen Bomeyn was
called to the pastorate in 1 7 > 1 . lie died September,
1785, and was succeeded, Oct. 14. 1785, by the Rev.
John Duryea, as pastor of the churches of Raritan
and Bi dminster, until 1799.
Meetings were held in the Court-Martial building,
situated on Mount Pleasant, after the burning of the
church, in 1779, until the court-house was completed.
Sept. (>, 1782, the Consistory of Raritan made a prop-
osition to the freeholders of the county of Somerset
to unite with them in the erection of a building for
church and county purposes. This proposition was
accepted on the 14th of October of that year. A
building was erected on the spot now occupied by
Dr. Wilson, east of the present court-house, at a cost
of £559 19s. 2d. Worship was held in that building
until the completion of the church.
May 10, 1786, the Consistory resolved to sever their
Connection with the county, and asked for a commit-
tee of the freeholders to inert with them for a settle-
ment, which was made. The county ordered £228
6». 9d. to be paid to P. D. VrOOm, treasurer of Rari-
June 16, 1784, it was resolved to build a new house
of worship. Discussion was bad as to the location,
the membership being about equally divided between
Somerset court-house and Van Veghten's bridge
(where the old church stood . The former was se-
lected, and subsequently Rcynier Veghte, Abraham
Van Neste, Peter 1>. Vrootn, John I lar.lcnburgh.
Roberl Bolmer, and Jacobus Winterstein were ap-
pointed a committee to superintend the erection, with
Andreas Ten Byck as manager. The present church
lot was purchased of I ktrnelius Tunison, and a build-
by 60 feel was erected, with a small cupola and
hell. The old church was rebuilt and enlarged in
1838 at a cost of $10,
Iii 1790 the Dutch Reformed Churches of Raritan.
!li remain MM brought l.» lbirilnn. and deposited In th.> old bury-
log-ground on tho banks of the Raritan. In ls2r. they were Id
what Is known as " the niini-i-r'- l->iuk"
; In 1781, Neslionlo and JlllUtone were separated from this charge.
i County buildings In General History.
SOMERSET COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
North Branch, New Brunswick, Six-Mile Run, and
Millstone [now Harlingen], declared their "will not
to continue any longer a hody politic by virtue of the
charter of incorporation." /
FIRST REFORMED CHURCH.
Upon the resignation of the Rev. Mr. Duryea a
settlement was made, and the parsonage house and
lot, containing 36.7 acres, were deeded to him.*
The other pastorates have been those of Dominies ,, , ,
T , c , T , , , ,„ - ... ^, ,„-,, / Messier, and it was he who first changed the form of
John S. Vredenburg, 1800-21; vacant mostly, 1821-/ ' , , J =• .
REV. ABRAHAM MESSLER, D.D.,
of Somerville, N. J., was born Nov. 15, 1800, on a
plantation on Lamington River, in the northern part
of the township of Readington, Hunterdon Co., N. J.
His parents were Cornelius Messier and Maria
He is a descendant of Teunis de Metsellaer, who
came from Holland to Rensellaerwick in 1641 and
settled in Albany. He made his will Aug. 7, 1685,
and in it mentions his wife, Egbertien Egberts, and
his children, Maritie, wife of Harman Lie verse;
Geretije, wife of Andrus Hans; Dirkje, wife of Bas-
tian Harmse Fischr; Wellemtje, aged twenty-three;
Anna, aged twenty-one years; and his sons, Egbert
In the next year, 1642, Teunis Thomasen de Met-
sellaer and his wife, Belletje Jacobs, had a child bap-
tized in the Dutch church in New York City, named
Maritje; again a son, Thomas, April 24, 1644; a
daughter, Geertje, Nov. 12, 1645 ; a son, Derick, July
Dec. 16, 1694, Abraham Metsellaer had a son named
Johannes baptized in New York. This man Johannes
came to New Jersey in 1717, or earlier, and settled in
Middlebush on a farm north of the Cedar Grove
school-house, owned recently by a Mr. Bennet, con-
sisting of 262 acres. He died in 1672, leaving two
sons, — Abraham and Cornelius, and two daughters
named Sarah and Effie. He was a man of piety and
influence in his day, serving frequently as elder in the
Dutch Reformed Church of New Brunswick. He is
also named as one of the deacons of the Five United
Congregations in Somerset County, incorporated in
1754. He traveled with Whitefield in different parts
of the State, and attended his preaching as often as
possible while in New Jersey.
His son Cornelius was the grandfather of Rev. Dr.
26; R. D. Van Kleek, 1826-31; Abraham Messier,!
D.D., 1832-79, when he was retired by the Classis on
account of his advanced age.
Jan. 19, 1881, a new pastor was installed, — Rev. J.
Preston Searle, previously located at Griggstown.
During this long period three prosperous churches
have gone out from this church of Raritan. It is
still in full vigor, having a larger membership in
communion than ever before. It numbers 175 fam-
ilies, with a church membership of 620. Four Sun-
day-schools in connection with the church have a
membership of 200.
The reader is referred to Dr. Messler's published
" Historical Notes," for more full details of this and
other Reformed Dutch Churches of this vicinity ; also
to Dr. Corwin's " Manual" for extended biographical
sketches of the ministers named above.
* May IB, 1801, In, sold thin property to Cornelius ToThune, and It later
paused into the hands of Dr. Samuel Swao, who Hold it to Dr. Petor I.
Stryker In 1810; In 1830 It punned to Joshua Doughty, its present owner.
spelling the name. He purchased the plantation on
the Lamington River and resided on it many years.
In his old age he lived in New Brunswick, where he
died, and his remains are interred in the cemetery of
the Reformed Dutch Church. On the upright stone
at the head of his grave you read the following in-
" In memory of Cornelius Messier, who departed this life May 25,
1806, aged 80 years and five months.
" And this is all wo know, —
They are completely blessed ;
Have done with Bin & care & wo,
And with their Saviour rest.
" He was a man of sterling piety and great moral worth, serving the
church in his day faithfully, and living daily a life of piety and devotion."
His son Cornelius inherited the plantation on the
Lamington River, and died in the old mansion house
which had sheltered two generations and been sanc-
tified by so many prayers.
Abraham Messier pursued his classical studies at
New Germantown and Lamington. He entered
Union College in September, 1819, and graduated
with honors in 1821. In the following September he
joined the theological seminary at New Brunswick,
from which he graduated in 1824, in the last class
which enjoyed the privilege of the instructions of Dr.
John H. Livingston. During the summer, after hav-
ing been licensed to preach by the Classis of New
Brunswick, lie served as a missionary at Montville, in
Morris Co., N. J., and in the autumn went to Ovid,
Seneca Co.. X. Y.. in the *;unc capacity. I le receh ed
a call to settle as pastor from both tin ise congregations,
and in May, 182o, was installed at Ovid. His health
suffered soon from the climate, and in L828 he resigned
his charge and came back to New Jersey, having in
the mean time contracted marriage with Miss Elma
Doremus, of New York. In 1X211 he assumed tin-
pastoral charge ot the United i '-mgregations of
Montville and Pompton Plains, where he continued
for three and a half years. In this charge his labors
were greatly blessed, a large number of the young
people having united with the church, a thing un-
known in that region of the church before that time.
In 1832 he received a call from the First Church of
Karitan (Somerville), then one of the most numerous
and influential churches in the Oeneral Synod. He
came toSomcn i 1 1 1 ■ v. ith mam fears. The church had
had, in 1*21 and 1 Si'l', oj f the most remarkable re-
vivals of which there is any account in the American
churches. It had the Oovernor of the State in it as
an elder, with many other men known in public life.
It had been vacant for several years, and it seemed
almost presumptuous for a young man to assume such
a charge. Circumstances, however, appeared to impel