44. Jacob Van Dvke.
45. William Donaldson.
16. William Williamson (Tavern).
47. Cornelius De Hart.
48. Benjamin Comlin.
66. Samuol Stockton.
67. Edward Bainbridge.
68. Hondrik Bergen (place of Simooe's oapture).
69. Poter Rapalje.
70. John Spador.
71. Fred. Van Liew.
72. Garret Voorheee.
73. Benjamin Van Doren.
74. John Sohnreman.
75. Denico Van Liew (De Heister's fort).
78. Hend. Probasoo (and fort).
77. Ann Van Liew (Cornwall.** fort).
nr.ey In 17*8, In powMion of Cha. Dwhlrr.
the present village of Raritan), its southwestern cor-
ner being near t he present Royeefield school. It was
stipulated that this pint sliould be called Royeefield.
Royce was obliged to confirm Graham & Co. in the
possession of their meadow-land, and he soon after
sold 1 inn acres of this plot to John Robinson. f
Glowing appeals were now made and eager pur-
chaaera soon arrived. June 10, 10SX, William Dock-
wra, having induced large emigration from England
and Scotland to New Jersey, received patents for
20(10 acres in the valleys of the Mill-tone and Rari-
tan, and for 8815 acre- on the tributaries of the Mill-
stone, to be subsequently located. Oldmixon, in his
"History of the British Empire," says:
" The western part of Middlesex County is watered by Mill-tune Itivor,
which mm through a pleasant vulley belonging to Mr. William Dockwm,
These lands were on both sides of the Millstone.
In Hillsborough hind was allotted to him southwest
of Royce's great tract, corresponding roughly with
the present Hloomingdale school district.
About 1690, Capt. Clement Plumstead obtained a
large grant on the west side of Millstone River, ex-
tending from Peace Brook to Blackwell'a Mills, and
west a little beyond the road passing by the residence
of Joseph Van Cleef. Thomas Barker bad the next
plantation on the Millstone, extending from Black-
well's Mills to the present southerly bound of the
township, and west as far as IMumstead's land. In
the same year Thomas Cooper purchased the large
plot on the south side of the Raritan, containing 2<MH>
acres; what is now called Beekman's Lane is the
westerly bound of this plot. In 10112 llie proprietors
sold 6 I" acre- to I >aniel Hooper, extending down the
Raritan half a mile and up the South Branch a mile,
embracing the present village of Branchville.
Arent Bonmans been me possessed of live full shares
of East Jersey, but these were not located in his life-
time. His son Peter inherited his rights. In 1093 he
|â€ž â– eame poÂ«ses,ed of all the remainder of â€¢ pr.-ent
Hillsborough township not previously taken up, and
the greater pari of Montgomery. Mis line began
near Clover Hill, and ran southeaster]; along the
i iiy line 0! miles to a point about 2 miles south-
west of Blawenburg : thence east, and southeast to
the Millstone River, near Rocky Hill, and thence
down the rivet a mile and a half to the plantation of
Benthall. following near the we-tem lines of Beu-
tlull, Hart, Barker, Plumstead, and Royce leavings
considerable gore, however), it struck the Raritan,
and, with the said river, wound around the planta-
tions of Cooper, Hooper, and Bennett ; it returned to
the we-teiii COQntj line near Clover Hill, the plaee of
Thus, within eleven years after the proprietors
came into power, all the hind of I lillsborOQgh was
taken Hi', h bi in to be permanently settled about
This territory was not to be exempt from confusion
of tiiles. The sales of John Royce are involved in
considerable perplexity on account of conflicting
grants and of Roycc's dishonesty. Mr. Royce ob-
tained a second patent, extending his plantation
westward so as to encroach on Cooper and southward
on Plumstead. He must also have encroached on
Dockwra on tin- southwest. While he originally re-
ceived about 5 square miles, in 1085, he now claimed
about 8. In 10!i:i he mortgaged this large plot for
one thousand year- to Charles Winder for Â£200, with
the privilege of redeeming it in three years.} This
he never did, but still continued to dispose of the
lands, and the executors of both parties claimed the
same territory. If Royce should redeem the land of
Winder by I >ct. 25, 1696, then Winder's estate should
cease in said tract, and the premises were to go to
Peter Van N'est and Michael Dimockson. July 15,
hi! 1 -. Ibnioekson granted Royeefield â€” embracing
about 8 square miles at the angle of the Raritan and
Millstoneâ€” to Barnett R. Q. Miller for .Â£300. It is
described as beginning on the north side of a meadow
heretofore belonging to John Robinson, and thence
running south on the east side of Cooper's land 3
miles, and thence in a straight line to the heal of
I'eaee Brook, and down Peace Brook to Mill-tone
River, and down the Millstone and up the Raritan to
the place of beginning. Graham's meadows are again
But, notwithstanding the above, we find Royce and
Dockwra selling 2300 acres of land on Millstone River
and Royce's Brook to John Covers, June 1, ]7<<-2.
March 0, 1711, Covers sold the same tract, styled
meadow-land, to William Post for Â£300.|| June 1",
1702, Thomas Cooper, of London, by his attorneys,
Richard II art -home and Richard Baiter, sold to Peter
Demunt, for Â£880, his tract of laud on the Raritan,
containing 2000 acres.fl
On June 3, 1703, Royce sold to Andrew Coejeman,
of Albany, for Â£80, a tract of land on the south side
of the Raritan, to be specifically known as I;
" Beginning nt u small maplfrtoM lit ttie month of a small stream of
witter, Inagull] 1'V Bdward Drink wator'a land; thence running south 91
chains; tie 1 west |< chains; thence north 123 chains; tl M north 3Â°
west 23 chains to tlio said river; thence by the said rivor west chains
and 86 links ; thenco south 3Â° oast 23 chains; thence cast 6 chains and 25
links to it walnut-tic ; tle-nco cast by a meadow formerly soil !
to Graham, and so to the flrst-montioncd maplo-treo, containing 600
April 13, 1705, Royce sold a tract of land on the
Mill-tone River to Derick Volkerse.
In 17ns, Royce died, and Nov. 22, 1709, hi- BXeCU-
tors, John Barron, John Harrison, and Mary Craw-
ley, sold to Philip lied m an, according to Royce's will,
a tract of land on the Raritan. It is described as
â€¢Trenton, Uh V I II
t Ibid, 21 .. :l I.
I ILL)., 1
i Ibid., Lib. F, (MB.
n Â« Brnnnrlok, 180.
j Ibid., p. 171.
*â€¢ Patxhmenl â– ! I at Atnboy.
SOMERSET COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
lying between Raritan River, John Van Dine's land,
Ananias Allen's land, Royce's Brook, and Millstone
River. Its value was Â£1350* In 1712, Hedman sold
the same tract to Michael Van Vechte. and his asso-
ciates, â€” viz., Dirck Volkerse, William Post, Ananias
Allen, John Wortman, John Tunison, Cornelius Tu-
nison, Uria Andriese, and Peter Van Nest. But this
land, as well as the adjoining tract on the south of
Royce Brook, was also claimed by the executors of
Winder. This Dutch company, however, having
come in some way into possession of Â£500 of Royce's
estate, from which they had honestly purchased the
tract, with this money leased the two tracts of Win-
der's executors for the yet unexpired .term of Win-
der's lease,â€” viz., 979 years,â€” mutually binding one
another to make up the Â£500 if Royce's heirs should
ever recover it.f Thus were the titles of Van Vechte
6 Co. made perfect. In 1703, therefore, the Dutch
came into Roycefield, and in 1712 into Royston,â€” a
name now forgotten by the inhabitants of Harmony
June 10, 1710, Peter Sonmans sold out of his great
tract what is called the Harlingen or 9000-acre tract.
It was an irregularly-shaped plot, about two-thirds of
it lying in Hillsborough and one-third of it in Mont-
gomery township. The Dutch company who made
this purchase consisted of Octavio Conraats, Abram
Wendell, merchant, Adrian Hooglant, Isaac Gover-
neur, all of the city of New York ; Anna Volkerse,
widow, of Kings Co., L. I. ; Henry Hegeman, Francis
Van Lewen, William Beekman, all of Queens Co.,
L. I ; Joseph Hegeman, Hendrick Veghte, Cornelius
Van Duyn, Wouten Van Pelt, Ort Van Pelt, all of
Kings Co., L. I. ; Dirck Volkerse, of New Jersey ;
Peter Cortelyou, Jacob Van Dyke, Claas Volkerse,
all of Kings Co., L. I. It was bounded as follows :â–
" Beginning at the south (north ?) corner of land of William Plumstead,
being V/ 2 miles and 4 chains from Millstone Eiver; thence south-south-
west 2% miles and S chains; thence west-northwest 1 mile and 18 chains;
thence south-southwest 2% miles and 7 chains; thence west 3]4 miles
and 3 chains to the partition line between East and West Jersey; thence
north 14Â° west 30 chains, along said division line ;ji thence north 53Â° east
7 miles and 20 chains; thence east, 1 mile and 17 chains to the place of
beginning; having the lands of Plumstead, Barker, Hart, and Bouthall
on the east, the division line on the west, and lands of said Sonmans on
the north and south."
Peter Sonmans sold another tract of 320 acres, for
Â£30, March 13, 1711, to Isaac De-Riemer, of New
York. This plot was at the northeast corner of the
Harlingen tract, and the deed is now in possession of
Rynier Staats, son of John R. Staats. It was be-
tween the lands of Royce on the northeast, Thomas
Cooper on the northwest, and on the southeast were
the lands of Veghte, Lawrence, Volkerse, and Cortel-
you, of the Harlingen tract. This plot was subse-
quently purchased by John Staats, previously of Mill-
stone. He sold the property to his son John in 1770.
* Early records at New Brunswick, 174.
f Ibid., 192.
I This Is od the top of Neshanic Mountain.
The latter was the grandfather of the late John R.
Staats, who lived on the place ; it is now owned by
Garret Cortelyou. The west part of it is now in pos-
session of the Strykers. ||
Feb. 28, 1742, Clement Plumstead gave his plot of
2000 acres to William Plumstead (a brother or son).
At this time Plumstead's tract was still bounded by
Barker's land on the south, and on the west by Cor-
telyou's, Volkerse's, Lawrence's, and Veghte's (of the
Harlingen tract), and on the north by Peace Brook,
which separated Plumstead's land from that of Post
and Powelson. About 1750, William Plumstead sold
the land between the Amwell road and Peace Brook
to Benjamin Thompson, and May 1, 1752, he sold
246 acres on the south side of the Amwell road, run-
ning west 1 mile and 13 chains, and south about 25
chains, to Christian Van Doren for Â£740. Dec. 12,
1755, the latter sold the same to his son, John Van
Doren, for Â£100. Lawrence Van Cleef had already
bought to the south and west of the Van Doren tract,
and Henry Van Derveer had purchased to the west of
About 1720-30, Hendrick Wilson, of Long Island,
bought the southern part of Volkerse's tract, which
lay north of the new Amwell road, and between the
Millstone River and Royce Brook. In 1755, Hen-
drick Wilson, Sr., sold to Hendrick Wilson, Jr., a
tract of land containing 88J acres, having about 150
feet on the Millstone River, and running back about a
mile and a half in a west-southwest direction^ This
plot was bounded by Peter Stryker's land on the north
(next to the river), by Wyndert Wilson's on the north
(farther west), and by the land of Hendrick Wilson,
Sr., on the west and south. The purchaser was to
pay to the heirs of John Royce, yearly, upon the 25th
of March, one halfpenny sterling for each acre, in-
stead of all other rents, quit-rents, etc.
Hendrick Wilson's will was written in 1750. In
1765 his estate was separated into nine lots, to be di-
vided among his four sonsâ€” Myndert, John, Henry,
and Peterâ€” and his daughter Hannah. John Brokaw,
Esq., made the map to show the division. Myndert
received the place now owned by William. French ;
Henry, part of that now owned by John Brokaw ;
John received land now owned by Albert Voorhees ;
while Peter received the farm now owned by Joseph V.
S. Van Doren. The farm now owned by Isaac Brower
passed, before 1771, into the hands of John Brokaw.
He sold this place in 1771 to Abram Brokaw for Â£170.
Henry Wilson sold his place in 1777 to Mrs. Sarah
Yard, of Philadelphia. It consisted of 205 acres.**
The following year Mrs. Yard deeded this place to
her daughter Ann.ft She married Gen. Frederick
Frelinghuysen (after the death of his first wife, in
1794), and this place ultimately passed into the pos-
|| Lib. J (?), 398^100.
1[ Burlington records, Lib. H 3, 321.
** Ibid., 322.
ft Ibid., 330.
jLpJlA) rtj Vfay^
Joseph H. Van Cleef is a grandson of Cornelius
Van Cleef, whose father, Isaac, was the first settler of the
Van Cleefs in Somerset Co., N. J., selecting his farm
about one-half of a mile south of Millstone, where lie
reared li family of ten children, the youngest of whom,
Van Marter, is living at Millstone, in 1880, in the eighty-
ninth year of his age.
Cornelius Van Cleef, born Jan. 21, 1777, on the old
homestead, married, Feb. 17, 1799, Margaret Kershow,
who bore him children as follows: Cornelius, born Sept.
16, 1799; Isaac, born Aug. 15, 1801; George, born July
2, 1804; Jane, wife of John D. Post, born Feb. 18, 1808;
and Matilda, wife of Garret Hageman, born June 13,
1811. Cornelius Van Cleef purchased and settled on one
hundred and fifty-six acres of land in 1812, in the town-
ship of Hillsborough, the same being now owned and
occupied by his grandson, the subject of this sketch.
Here he lived the remainder of his days leading the
quiet life of a farmer, although he was by trade a car-
penter and joiner. He belonged to the old Federal
party, and was a member of the Whig party during its
existence. He died July 10, 1855. His wife died April
George Van Cleef, father of our subject, succeeded to
the old homestead. Married Achsah, daughter of Joseph
and Fanny (Drake) Holcombe, of Lambertville, Sept.
24, 1834. She was born Oct. 26, 1807, and died Feb.
14, 1866. Ho died Dec. 4, 1865. He was a farmer
through life, and a man of strict integrity in all his
business relations. He took no active part in politics,
yet was a firm supporter of the Whig and Republican
parties. He was known as an unobtrusive and upright
Christian man, and was for some thirty years a mem-
ber of the Dutch Reformed Church at Harlingen. Both
ho and his father before him represented their church in
the Reformed Church Synod. His children aro Cornelius
G., born May 16, 1836; Joseph Holcombe, born Jan. 25,
1838; Sophia Somers, wife of John Vrecland, of Mill-
stone, born April 24, 1841 ; and George Spencer, born
Feb. 8, 1845.
Joseph H. received a good education during his
minority, but choosing a business instead of a profes-
sional life, he succeeded his father on the homestead
purchased by his grandfather, and has since been en-
gaged in agricultural pursuits. His commodious and
elegantly constructed buildings, and all that pertains to
the farm, show the hand of an intelligent, thrifty, and
judicious farmer. Mr. Van Cleef is interested in all
worthy local enterprises, and contributes liberally to
their support. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed
Church at Millstone, and has officiated as deacon. In
this church he takes a leading part in the service of song,
and has acted as leader of the choir for several years.
In politics he is a Republican, and during the war was
elected one of the township committee, which position
he filled for seven consecutive years, doing efficient
service. He has been chosen to fill other minor offices.
He married, Sept. 18, 1861, Miss Mary Jane, daughter of
Richard, and granddaughter of Jeremiah Field, of Pis-
cataway, Middlesex Co., JST. J. The children born of
this union are Mamio Cropsey and Emma Dey Van
Peter N. Rkkkman was born in Hillsborough town-
ship, March 22, 1808. His great-grandfather, Gerardus,
settled in Somerset County during its early history, and
purchased a lurgc tract .if hind where CriggMown is
Abraham, grandfather of our subject am] son of Ge-
rardus, was born at Griggstown about the year 17:!8.
and thoro resided during his life, a farmer. His wife
was Ann Voorhoea, who died May 2">, 1M7. aged aixty-
live years, lie died Bept. 8, lsis, in. children were
Gerardus, John A., Ralph V., Abraham A., Jacob,
[saac, F, lien, and Catherine.
Abraham A. Ueekman, father of our subject, born
Jan. *>,, 1784, died Aug. 20, 1862. His wife was Ufa
tilda, daughter of Peter L. Nevius. of Hillsborough,
whom lie married Nov. 4, 180ii. She was horn S.-j.i. .".,
1789, and died Jan. 8, 187:!. lie wa- a sho,. maker hy
trade, and followed that business until lsir,, when he
purchased a farm of one hundred and thirty-two acres,
ahout a mile south of Millslon,', where his only son, Peter
N. Bcekman, now resides, the farm having 1 n in pos-
session of the family since its purchase. Here h.. resided
the remainder of his life and carried on farming. He
subsequently added fifty acres to his original purchase,
making the number of acres one hundred and eighty-
two. He was the Brsl man in his township to use a lime
fertilizer on his land, and was in every sense of the term
a representative fanner.
In polities he was a Whig, and became a member of
the Republican party upon its formation. For several
years he was justice of the pear,.. IP was a man of
great energy and strong resolution, and possessed those
qualities of integrity in all his business relations that
make a good citizen. Peter X. Bookman received lim-
ited opportunities for obtaining an education, bul so im-
proved them at the common school and nndei |
instruction as to obtain a good education for hoys of
his time. Ho has resided on the farm where he now is
since its purchase by his father. For many years he
followed surveying in his own and adjoining townships,
beginning as early as 1822, and a noticeable fact in con-
nection with this business is, that during his many years'
experience he has settled and fixed the boundaries of
many lines in dispute, and thus avoided litigation of the
parties l,y his counsel and exact surveys and measure-
For nine years beginning with 1844 be was secretary
of the Hillsborough Fire Insurance Company, and for
some time was assistant engineer of the Millstone and
Xew Brunswick Railroad. He is a member of the Re-
publican party, and was formerly a Whig. lie has been
interested in all local enterprises tending to the improve-
ment of the township anil the prosperity of its people,
and has always 1 n especially interested in the educa-
tion of the rising generation. Under tie- old law he
was township superintendent of schools of Hillsborough
i-eral years, and lias acted on the township com-
mittee. For very man] years he 1ms done conveyan-
cing in the vicinity, and was commissioner of deeds for
BOme ten years.
During the last six years prior to 1SS0 Mr. licckn.an
has been an invalid and unable to attend to the usual
duties of life, hut bis life has been one of activity and
â€¢ I. 'voted to business pursuits. Ho is known as a man of
correct habits and sterling integrity. For his first wife
he married, Jan. 28, 1886, Ann Elizabeth, daughter of
Ool. Henry Duryoc, of Blawenburg, X. J., who died
Jan. â€¢_'. 1887, ha\ ing hen born Aug ,; L81S His second
wife, Rachel Ann, daughter of William Beardslee, of
Bound Brook, hut formerly of Sussex County, he mar
ried -Ian. â€¢_';. 1841. She died Ma\ 22, 1867, having been
horn March 26, 1820. Hi~ children by tins union are
Matilda, widow of the late Ferdinand S. Wilson, a law-
yer al Millstone. Fannie Maria. and Abram A Ueekman.
session of Dr. Tames Ji. Elmendorf, who married
their daughter Elizabeth.
The property on each side of Peace Brook had
passed into the hands of Abram Duryea, of New
York. In 1790 he sold it to Gen. Frederick Freling-
huysen for Â£1500. It contained 29 acres, extending
about a mile and a quarter west from the church lot,
being bounded on the west by lands of Ezekiel Elli-
son and Adrian Merrill, on the north by those of Er-
nestus Van Harlingen, and touched a lot of Mershon
on the northeast, and the l"t of Dr. Van Duron on the
southeast ; it did not extend to the river. Jinn. Theo-
dore Frelinghiivsrii inherited the portion of this farm
lying south of Peace Brook about 1809, and sold it
to Daniel Disborough in 1811 for $6462; it contained
llil acres. Frederick Frelinghuysen, a brother of
Theodore, retained that part of the farm north of
Peace Brook until 1820, when he died. It subse-
quently passed into the possession of William Beards-
lee, and is now owned by Edward Baker, an English-
John Harrison, who owned extensive plots in Frank-
lin, at an earl] date became also the owner of a tract
of land in the southeastern part of Hillsborough, pre-
viously belonging to Thomas Barker. In 1714, Harri-
son sold 210 acres to Cornelius Cornell, of Kings Co.,
L. I., for Â£641. This plot was bounded south In-
lands of Rip Van Dam, the noted lawyer of New
York, west by those of Peter Sonmans, north by lands
of Jacques Durys. In 1725, Cornelius Cornell sold
this plot to William Cornell, having the same neigh-
bors, except in the north, where Daniel Polhemus
owned land. This is now in part the farm of Peter
baac Van Nuys, son of Jan, the ancestor of a now
numerous family, came to Hillsborough, southwest
of Soinerville, where Abraham Voorhces now lives.
His brother Jacobus lived where Joseph Davis now
Derrick Van Veghten resided on the banks of the
Raritan, near what is now called the "old bridge."
The American army was quartered on his land in the
winter of 1778-79. He died Nov. 29, 1781, aged
Henry Veghte,* who married the daughter of John
Van Middlcsworth, purchased a large tract of land
in Roycefield, afterwards owned and occupied by
Capt. Ji hn Wyckoff. Ee and his wife died young,
leaving three children ; one son, Rynicr, died in Fcb-
ru ir-. L8 in hi:- .ijiti th sear, bavin, two sons
Henry (who was the lather of R. II. Vcghte, now
living on the homestead farm, and also of Benjamin
T., John, and Henry Yeghte) and ttynier, who left
one son, John V., who reside- now on the farm where
his father died in 1S71, aged eighty-three.
The following family histories are taken mostly
â€¢ A son of Rvnler, who m eon of Hendrirk, and grandson Of the emi-
grant wliu conic in 1600 and settlod on Long Island.
from Hon. Ralph Voorhces' papers, and give us a
good idea of the original settlers.
TI1K van 'II 11 FAMILY.
.'â– in V i, in 1028. Ue married Kngeltjc Louwcrens,
daughter of Louworcus Preterm), prior to 1601, and nettled at Now
Utrecht, L. I, us i ii 1 1 ;.- n.vi. Hi- . I.il.lren, an I v.arsof Uieir baptism,
were: I. Catharine, 1681 ; 2. Bcnjuniin, 1683; 3. Joseph, 1083; 4. Angelica;
6. Coytle, 1088; 0. Isbrant; 7. Nellie; 8. Cornelius, who mini.
moyeVan do Water. Ilia children were John, of Giarcscnd, tho ancestor
of the Gravi-send and New t'trceht Van Cleef families, and Lauren*, who
Bellied in New Jersey.
The children of Deujamin (2) are as follows: 9. Ljeboth, who m .in. 1
sviiiiam CowoDhoTon ; 10. Joannas, who married (1) Maria Ki
(2) Sarah Cowonhoveu; 11. Dorick, who died young; 12. Mnrike, maniod
Jane Berkan; 13. Dorick, married Elizabeth Look; 14. Benjamin, mar-
ried Helen CowenboTen in 1741 ; 16. Nolke, who uinrrlod Hondrick
VanderbUI ; la Lanrena, who died priorto 1780 (married Jnnnotjo Laan);
17. Helena, who married John Brown; 18. Joseph, who married Sytio
Van Wickelcu; 1!). Elulc, who married William Bayrt (Bayard?); 20.
Autje, who married Jan SVilson.
The children of La oa (10) aro as follows: 21. Jacob, 1731; :
metjo,1733; 23. Lanrena, 1787 ; -I. Jannetje, 1739; 26. Isaac, I
and married Dorcas Pumyon, 1709 (she was horn April 13, 17J'J, and died
March 28, 1812; he died Juno 30, 1804); 26. Jacob.
The children of Isaac (26), with dates of birth and .hath, are as fol-
lows: 27. Jan., Feb. 1, 1770, Juno 5,1851; 28. Mary, Oct. 4, 1771, Feb.
11,1801; 29. Laurence, Fob. 2, 1773, Jan. 8, 1852; 30. Pctor, Nor. 30,
1774, Juno 27, 1842; 31. Cornelius, Jan. 21, 1777, July 10, 1856; 32. Jacob,
May 27, 1779, Nov. 19,1817; 33. Isaac, Fob. 10, 1781, Feb. 2,1863; 34.
Abraham, July 3, 17s',, March 7, lsTo; 36. John, N'..v. 22, 17S0, Iioc. 3,
1858 (married Jane Ann Duryea, of Millstone); 30. Margaret, March :!".
1789, May 14, 1790 ; 37. Van Mater, May 21, 179.', still living, 1880.
Tho children of John (35) aro as follows: 38. Kev. Paul Duryea Van
Cleef, D.D., of Jersey City (born July 81, 1821, and married (1) Cataliun