or railroad communications. A vivid contrast is the
Flemington of 1830 with the Flemington ofl880.
Jan. 17, 1828, a public meeting was held at the
court-house i" consider the questions of turnpiking
the streets ami improving the sidewalks, ami a com-
mittee (Charles Bonnell, Samuel Hill, Neal Hart,
OharlcH (Jcor^c, ami E. R. Johnson) was appointed
to solicit subscriptions. That there was urgent need
for action is witnessed by tin- following item in the
Gazette of Feb. 18, L828:
"The public minis liiivu nut tm-.-u in h worse condition in twenty years.
Thi^r whone business n-i[uii.-.| ilnni to bo at court lie re this week ex-
perienced much difficulty to attending. Learning that the roads wore in
many places Impassable, we did not send our carriers on the routes of
Thursday and Friday."
Charles Bartles, who came to Flemington in 1822,
says lu- iVeijiieiitly aiilcÂ«l in prying out of the mini
wagons and teams which became "stalled" in the
The iir>t sidewalk in Flemington was built by
Charles Bartles in front of his residence in 1883. He
has also the honor of being the first to set out shade-
trees, in the spring of the same year. Soon after,
Bober! Reading set oul some elms in front of the court-
house. This was all thai was done in this direction
foraboul ten years, when Col. Clark set out tree- on
his lot. After that the planting of trees became
general, and Flemington is now one of the best-shaded
towns in this section.
BEMOV \\. or COUNTY-SEAT.
The following memorial and remonstrance of the
citizens of Flemington and vicinity was presented tÂ«Â»
the State Legislature in February, 1828, after the
eon rl -house was hurnn! ; il *o fully portrays the
agitation concerning the removal of the county-seal
that it is (given nearly entire :
â– Tio Hxuorial am. RmoHRKAHoi oi rni
FinaitoroH asp its Vicntmr, in no Oouktt of BuinmnnoR, urn
ni OTHJ B Bl< i tOM8 01 UIS COI NTT,
" ReepectfnUj Sboweth, That tor several years past the tnhahltanti "f
i sol i unbertsvIUe, in this county, liavc twos
" i the removal ol thi seal of Juatl I Ibo county to that place;
hl< h time they have labored assiduously to
of the propriotj ol the measure and convince the publli thai they would,
In soma way or < Bueflted by the change Bj dlntol unwearied
and pei toverancc the] have, ai i- usual In ra< :
in obtaining theii own approbation, and 1 1 Â»-â– ilgnaturosof all
i b, some reeling a deep Interesl In the prosperity "f that |Â»r-
Uflulai place, and others reeling little or tereel al all In that or any
other location, but wb old aol <â€¢ list tl
Cation to lubscribe theli names to s petition, . . .
11 Some thre four years ego, baring ol I numbei of
they ventured I
petitions, and bring thesubjecl before] I I a bill was
actually reported, which upon further reflection, however, was i
â– bopeleseand chtmarii <i ; and so the prqjo- 1 bj itlll
b] the great bodj â€¢â€¢! Bubetantlal ye oty,and by many
Of the most n i tholr own neighborhood. I
lature has not since i d troubled with ii until lately, when
roltoui circumstances, entli ., the one
hand, or the public Interesl on the other, but backed by the reÂ» enl de-
struction of part of tin- public buildings at thi-* place, lmvo again encour-
t on the attention ofyoui honorable body
â€¢ In punmanco of an act passed In May, 1790, the scat of Justice of the
county â€¢>( Hunterdon was, by a huge majority upwards of three-flfttu
of all tin- rotes of the county, at an election beld in < kitober In that year,
located In Remington. The place at that time i onteined about l<Â» or 12
houses; since which time all the property in the tillage has changed
bands at advanced prices, and alsmt '.Vt new - ilwi-lliim'-hou-..* have t .-â– n
erected, on the faith "f the seat of Justice having been established at the
place, whlcb now contains, beside 3 churches and the county ufllcoe (yet
uninjured), between -to and 60 dwelling-houses, ail
them with two families each; besides store-houses, shops, and outbuild-
ings. Thore ui>' in the place I taverns, I ( i â– . - â– [ taffies, printings
office, an earthen manufactory, 20 mei rent occupations, 11
U men, and the county officers, besides other citizen
whom ii removal would boa eacrlflce. And wo hesitnt. not to declare
olngtoo, within theclrcull of the village, contains moi
bigs, public and private, than Lambertsville, and considerably more In-
In the latter place, erected some years ago on
speculation, remaining to this day unoccupied.
"The public buildings In Flemington wore erected lu 1791, plain, Â«ub-
stantinl, and sufficiently large for the accommodation of the county, al-
thougli the court-room was nol arranged to the best advantage lor the
convenience of the court and bar ; and "ii this account only a i
plication made by the members >>f the bar t.i the board of freeholders (bi
some alterations. This application wai not re/used on account of any con"
templated - hangs of the seat of Justice, but, on the contrary, the board
it coin mi tin- uiili instructions to examine, ami n^iort the most
plan of Improvement The report was mado to a spec i at nieet-
" ' motbei oo sston:tl lason being (ai ai
.ui'l th<- ;[ - â– - in. i-i- 1 .'_imi, it wiis, mi that acC'iiinl .ml y, [m-M polled to
'I nsulng spring, and, not being again urged, was not afl
si b d on. . . .
"But least of all will Flemington suffer by a comparison with LaJB-
bertvllle with respeel to its local situation for the convenience of the
county as the Beat of Justice. By Inspection of the map, your honorable
body "ill perceive thai the county of Hunterdon extends from Trenton
uptho lMiootii-.'il ...ni IJ mj |r. h. nt.Tii
mai In "i" the county, nol exceeding 10 miles from the southern and nol
:â– â– from the northwestern extremity, on the Delaware .
than 36 miles by the nearest practicable rout.- from the norths I
tremity, on the Bfusconetcong, adjoining the county â€¢ >( Morris; while
Flemington Ls 23 miles from Trenton, about 20 from the northwest and
25 from ths northeast extremity, being nearly equidistant, and tfany-
ul a mile below the central point between ths thr-'o extremes
ol the â– ily, ami at h'a>t U mi!.- in>:iri<r [.. thut point than Lamberts-
vllle. Ami when it is considered that the lower end "f the county from
Trenton op to Lamberbn lllc di os not average more tbau from 8 to 12
miles in width, that up at (ai aSTleml do) exceed 16 miles,
thai opposite Flemington it- eastei n boundary i- suddenly extended down
the Etaritan to a much greater width, and that fn.mib.-iir,. upward t.Â»
tb< UuscoiK'tcoitu il average* bi-twci â– lies in width,â€” the
whole extent of whirl, i> thicklj Inhabited, II Ii abundantly manifest
that the greater portion both of tlte territory and population of the
county lie above flemington. And when it i-^ further oonsldored thai
from thui pin ipward the c itry Is uneven and mountainous, it is
.â€¢\i-i.-iit ih.M in short days and bad roads ii would take some
two days' travel to roach the seal ol justice, it astab-
i smbertsville ; and that a great p irtion of the population >-f the
county would be put nvonlence, and havejusl reason to
ball of the appll \\ nity t<> the
t pure republlcanhun to udllbite the expression ol
Purs republicanism requires t'lit tl pinions and
ol ii nra should yield to thai of many, and nol that the property, Inter-
est, and conrantence of many should I idiaamenl
of a few, or the Inl
another. That II I
public voice as I I, bul In
at Instance thai has long since been done, the privll
ad we humbly â–
that It la no! proper, after II hashann thnac
-Mt Invested on the laltfa of ibnt lo-
oation, thai thb propart) should boas
afloat i â– I
their situation entitle them lo it or enable t l
" Bul it Ii said thai II b ; a tho loca-
HUNTERDON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
tion at this time, because part of the public buildings have been de-
stroyed. The destruction of part of the public buildings undoubtedly
renders it proper that they should be rebuilt, but by no means proper or
.necessary that the remainder of the public buildings should also be de-
stroyed, private property to a large amount sacrificed, the harmony of
the county disturbed, and the inhabitants put to much more expense in
contending for the location than would have replaced the buildings.
This would render the destruction of a public building a calamity indeed.
" Your memorialists humbly trust that wherea seat of justice has been
once located by the public voice, legally and decisively expressed, and
expensive improvements made on the faith of that location, your honor-
able body will listen tu an application to change it only when coming
from portions of the community who can demonstrate that from their
local situation they are subject to unnecessar3 r inconvenience or oppres-
sion, and not when coming from those who have no such injury to com-
plain of, but can boast of the advantages they enjoy, and 6eek a change
of the location only to enhance those advantages, raise the value of their
property, fill their empty houses, build up their village, and aggrandize
themselves at the expense of their neighbors.
" They therefore humbly pray that your honorable body will not pass
any law authorizing an election for the seat of justice in the county of
" And your memorialists, as in duty bound,'will ever pray."
The bill introduced into the Legislature providing
for an election to determine the location of the county-
seat was negatived in the House on Wednesday, March
5th, and on the following Monday the board of chosen
freeholders, in session at Flemington, resolved to pro-
ceed in the erection of a court-house and jail with
convenient dispatch, and appointed appropriate com-
mittees to effect the same.
Dr. John Gregg was an early resident, and the
second physician to locate in Flemington, being the
successor of Dr. Creed. He established himself here
about 1790, and practiced as a physician and surgeon
from that time until 1808, when he was succeeded by
Dr. William Geary. Dr. Gregg was (says Mahlon
Smith) a bachelor, and boarded with his brother,
James Gregg, who lived where Peter Nevius now
resides. He was very fond of hunting and fishing,
and was crippled in the leg by being accidentally
shot by a fellow-hunter. In 1808 he removed to
Dr. William Geary was a Scotchman. When he
came to Flemington is not definitely known, but his
record as a practicing physician here dates from 1808.
He was small of stature, quick, shrewd, a good horse-
man, an excellent doctor, and a popular man. In
1832 he was still in Flemington, but left shortly after
for Trenton, his former residence, where he lived a
short time, and died. He left a widow and several
children. At the time of his death he was a member
of the Presbyterian Church.
Among other early physicians prior to 1840 were
John Manners, Henry B. Poole, John F. Schenck, and
William Duryea. (See chapter on " Medical Pro-
fession," in this work, for further sketches of Flem-
The incipiency of the express business in this place
is to be found in the early post-carriers, who seem to
have made a practice not only of forwarding letters,
but of delivering packages, money, and light articles,
very often without receiving any compensation. But
Jacob Lacy advertised in the village paper in 1831*
that he had " worked for nothing long enough," and
absolutely would not forward letters, packages, etc., un-
less the small sum charged for his trouble was left with
the article to be sent, and that in no case would he go
off the post-route.
ORGANIZATION, CIVIL LIST, Etc.
Flemington is not incorporated, and has no civil
government independent of the township of which it is
a part, without we except the board of highway com-
missioners. A few years since some efforts were made
towards securing an incorporation, but, the project
being opposed by many of the leading citizens, it was
abandoned. An " Act for the Improvement of Flem-
ington" was procured from the Legislature in 1870,
which created the board of commissioners, defined
their powers, etc.
Board of Commissioners. â€” This body, exercising
the power and performing the duties of highway com-
missioners for the town of Flemington, and provided
for by an Act of the Senate and General Assembly,
approved March 14, 1870, is composed of seven mem-
bers, elected annually. The board has been consti-
tuted as follows :
1870-73, John C. Hopewell, Runkle Rea, Samuel M. Higgins, Myles
Cunningham, Nathaniel G. Smith, Abel WebBter, John L.Jones;
1874, John C. Hopewell, Runkle Rea, John L. Jones, Samuel L.
Higgins, Myles Cunningham, Isaac Smith, Andrew T.Connet; 1875,
same as 1874, except Henry Britton in place of M. Cunningham ;
1876, Runkle Rea, Isaac Smith, T. R. Trewin, Henry Britton, Tunis
Sergeant, John M. Moses, Joseph H. Higgins; 1877, Runkle Rea,
Nathaniel G. Smith, John L. Jones, John H. Capner, Tom R. Trewin,
Richard EmmonB, Joseph H. Higgins; 1878, Runkle Rea, John H.
Capner, King Pyatt, William G. Pedrick, J. Wesley Britton, George
Harrison, Joseph H. Higgins; 1879, Runkle Rea, John H. Capner,
John W. Britton, David Dunham, Jos. B. Case, William B. Hall,
William G. Pedrick ; 1880, David Van Fleet, John B. Hopewell, John
H. Capner, John W. Britton, William Purcell, William H. Hall,
Until 1875 the board met in Hopewell Hall, since
which date its sessions have been held in the upper
story of the Flemington engine-house.
The post-office of Flemings (now Flemington) was
established in 1794. James Gregg was the first to
handle the mails, which at that time embraced letters
only ; in fact, it is only in quite recent years that
newspapers have been carried through the mails in
this county. They were distributed through the vil-
lage and throughout the county by a carrier mounted
on a horse, whose services were paid for by the pub-
lisher of the paper.J In the early days the mails
were " posted" in the same manner. In 1826 the
" Swift-Sure" stage-coach line brought letters from
Philadelphia, New York City, and intermediate:
* Jltmterdrm County Gazelle, Aug. 24, 1831.
f The first-named commissioner in the above list served as president
of the board. The secretary and treasurer of the board have been Joha
L. Jones, 1870-75 ; Joseph II. Higgins, 1870-78 ; Wm. H. Hall, 1879-80.
t Sec files of the Uwitertlon Uazelle, Flemington, 1825, el teq.
points on the route, three times a week. In 1X29 a
tri-weekly mail-line was established between Trenton
and Flemington. No doubt prior to these dates the
mails were "few and tar between." In (lie post-ofliee
may still be seen a box, of the size of and resembling
a ballot-box, which was used by the early postmasters
of Flemington to contain the mail, and the old ease
<.l "distributing-boxes" s(i|] stands in the nlliee.
The first printed " List of Advertised Letters" pub-
lished in Flemington or in Hunterdon County ap-
peared in the Guzrttc, April 7, 1825, and contained the
names of "Jacob Buzart, Agesilus Besson, Henry Bu-
chanan, William M. Bellis, Mrs. Sarah Case, Major
Carman, Lewis Dunn, Bliss Rebecca Devitt, Mrs. Anne
Jlousel, George Ilolcombe, Rosa Jones, George X.
Junes, Miss Mania Johnson, Benjamin Johnson,
Henry M. Kline, Mrs. Henry and J. M. Kline, Dan-
iel Larrowe, Mrs. Rachel Lanning, Aggie Lewruo
<Taylor), Michael Murphy, Philip Rake, John W.
Seymour, William Suydam, John Smith, John Sty-
res, Joseph Schenck, Josepb Thatcher, Cornelius
Williamson, Henry Wright, Peter Wolverton."
Early in 1838 the post-road from New Brunswick to
Flemington was established by Congress.
The following has been kindly furnished for this
history by the present obliging incumbent of the
H Po8T-OmcR Pkhartmk.nt,
"Oman OF no: frBIR AmBTANl Po I ' : ' . ' M K u ,
" Washington, D. C., Aug. 0, 1880.
"William Sill, Ksu., l'.-M. Flemington, J. N. :
"Sill,- In compliance with the request contain. -I in your note of tho
28th of July, I take pleasure i'i furnishing you with tho iluto of tho es-
tablishment of your office, togotlior with a lint of all tho postmasters
who havo boon appointed slnco that timo. Owing to tho flro which
burned the building on tho 15th of Doceiubor, 1830, throo of tho earliest
record l*Â».iks wero destroyed, hut, l.y the auditor's ledgers, which for-
tunately were presorved, It in ascertained that tho office began to rendor
Accounts on the lot of January, lT'C. It is probablo, thorofore, tliat tho
.'Hire aru established in the month of Novombor, 1794. Tho following
cotuprisos tho list of
" POSTMASTEHS FROM 1794-1880:
41 James Gregg, Novombor, 1794; Georgo Ilea, Jr., July I, 1808; John
Haxwell, Jr., Oct. 1, 1813; Jami B Blackwell, April 11, 1820;
John Callls, Jan. 13, 1830; John 8. Brown, Juno 21,1841; Georgo W.
Klslor, Oct. 26, 1841 ; Jamas Oallla, Aog. J. I84S; John It. Ilolcombe,
Juno 9, 1849; John Volk, .Inn- IS 1- i I; Joseph II. IIIbkIi
30, 1843; Nathaniel G. Smith, May lo, lsr.l ; Asa Jones, Oct. 1.'.,
1886; Nathaniel 0. Smith, March 20, 1869^ William Hal, April 19,
1877, prosont Inoumbont.
"Tho foregoing names and dates are bolloved to lw correct as found
.'ii l lie record books of the depart moot, each postmaster holding tho oftlco
up lo tin. appointment of his rtin-ri-.-e.or
"I am, sir, respectfully, your obodiont sonant,
"E. 0. Kowi.ni.
'â€¢ K..r First Assistant l'.-M. Gen."
The Flemington oltice is now graded as third class,
with a salary of (1500 per annum,
The first scl I appears to have been established
about 1760, when a small, one-story frame house -"
â€¢At and from this date tie- Office became " I'resid.-iitUI," and Mr.
Smith was appointed by tho President, instead of by tho I Wmaster-
by ::o li.-t was ereetrd in the rear of the Baptist meet-
ing-house. It was rather a rude affair, and v.-ry
-imply furnished. TheseCOnd structure was of brick,
ereeted about 1812, and was located on the back end
of the academy lot, on tie- west side "f Main Street,
nearly opposite the Baptist church and facing Church
Street. II. v. W. \V. Blauv.lt, D.D., then a young
man of eighteen, taught in the academy about 1818.
The brick school-house was known as the " acad-
emy" at least as early as 1826, In that year the trus-
tees of the academy resolved to open a classical
school. They proposed that "all branches usually
ait. ml. d to in our most respectable academies shall
be taught." This school was to " be under the imme-
diate superintendence of tie- Rev. .Mr. ('lark (pastor
..I' tin- Presbyterian < Ihurch of tin- place)," the pupils
bring expected to board in the same house with the
principal, and applications for admission to be made
to the president of tin- board of trustees, John F.
Clark, to Andrew Miller, Esq., or t.. Mr. Charles
George.t William M. Hough was engaged as teacher
..I' tin- English department, and tin- school opened
Oct. 10, 1826. In 1827 he became principal.
Feb. 25, 1829, the trustees advertised for "a suit-
abb- teacher to take charge of the Knglish department
in the academy." Fdward Murray was secured, and
the village paper announced that he would "open
school in the academy on Wednesday, Nov. -â– "'. L829."
Charles Bartles, F.sip, also taught in this school in
1822. J. J. Rockafellow taught in the "academy"
in 1840. The old Flemington Academy building is
still standing, about 100 yards west of the Baptist
The oldest deed of school property in this district)
to be found, bears date of Jan. 1, 1812.J Among tin
early tea. -hers here Mahlon Smith names Messrs.
Leigh, Mcndham, Kissam, and Brown, and says the
latter was the bust teacher in the old building, which
stood in the rear of the Baptist church. The first
trustees were Peter Haward. Thomas Capner, James
Clark, Jonathan Hill, and John Maxwell.
Various select schools have been taught here from
time to time. One of the earliest was that of an
Knglish maiden lady, a Mi-s Allen, in a house built
for the purpose by Mr. Peter Eaward, which stood
on tin- ea-t side of Main street, a little north of where
is now the track of the South Branch Railroad. Miss
Harriet T. Thayer taught a sele.t female School in
1829, ai tin- residence of Mrs. s. Maxwell, and the
same year Nathaniel 1 1. MattisOD gave instruction ill
penmanship at the house of l'.lnatban Moore. In
1867, Prof. McBetb established an "English and
Classical school," but four or live years later sold to
I. N. Leigh ami removed to W'.-st Virginia, Mr.
Leigh had charge ..f the school until September,
L880, when In- disposed of his interesl in it to Mr.
t Bwtanfcej OosoHs, -
} Rot. C. S. Conkllng's Centennial K-,
HUNTERDON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
Bahler, who is now conducting the same. Mr. Leigh,
upon retiring from this institution, assumed the man-
agement of the Ringos Academy.
The Flemington High School, a school conducted
for many years under Baptist management, was estab-
lished by Rev. Moses Heath in the fall of 1855. The
following spring he was succeeded by Rev. Jonathan
Dayton Merrill, a graduate of Rochester University.
He had charge until the spring of 1856, when he re-
turned to college to finish his theological course, his
place being taken by Mr. Sherwin. In Septem-
ber, 1859, John S. Higgins, also a graduate of Roch-
ester University, became principal, Mr. Sherwin re-
maining as assistant. In the fall of 1861, Cornelius
W. Larison became associate principal, and at this
period the school was conducted in two separate
buildings, for the boys and girls respectively. In 1857
-58 there were 180 pupils and 5 teachers, â€” Mr. Hig-
gins, Mr. Sherwin, Mrs. Higgins (instrumental music),
Miss Higgins (drawing, painting, etc.), and Joanna
Higgins (the English branches). Prof. Abijah Rit-
tenhouse, formerly professor of mathematics in the
State Normal School of New Jersey, was the last prin-
cipal of this school, and subsequently became the first
of the Reading Academy, when the classical school
went out of existence.
This school was first opened in the old Episcopal
church, where now is the residence of Dr. George H.
Rowland, and subsequently in the Lyceum Hall, then
owned by Hugh Capner. It was quite successful, and
did a noble service in the cause of education.
" The Reading Academy," the only public school
in Flemington, was established in 1862 with a fund
left by the will of the late Daniel K. Reading. The
cost of erection was about $6000. In was named in
honor of its founder. The Hon. Alexander Wurts
supervised its construction. Abijah Rittenhouse was
the first principal. After a few years he went to the
oil regions, being succeeded by J. R. Enke. Other
teachers since Mr. Enke have been Isaiah N. Leigh,
William T. Fidler, Simeon E. Opdyke, and Prof. R.
F. Pierce, the present principal.
The building, as erected in 1862, was a substantial
brick edifice 42 x 50 feet, two stories in height, di-
vided into four rooms, with accommodations for 200
scholars. In 1875 it was enlarged and improved at an
expense of $4000, embracing eight rooms. During
the present year (1880) many important improve-
ments and conveniences have been introduced at a
further cost of $1000, and it now takes first rank
among the public schools of the State. The present
(1880) trustees are David Van Fleet, Chester Van
Syckc, and G. C. Stigcr. The teachers are R. F.
Pierce (principal), Mrs. Mary Oox, Mrs. J. C. Higgins,
Miss Caddie Combs, Miss Drake, Miss Bailey.
"THE FLEMINGTON GAS-LIGHT COMPANY."
In 1859 gas was introduced into this village, and in
the following year the water-works were established.
These two important measures are due to the energy
and public spirit of John C. Hopewell, who desired
gas, and Charles Bartles, the champion of the aqueous
element. They joined issue in the matter, and Mr.
Bartles procured the charters for both institutions in
1859. The gas-works were built in the north part of
the village, on Branch Street, near the Bushkill
Creek, in 1859, and pipes laid throughout the village.
The incorporation is known as the " Flemington Gas-
Light Company." The first officers were John C.
Hopewell, President ; Bennet Van Syckel, Secretary
Its present (1880) managers are : President, William
P. Emery ; Secretary and Treasurer, C. C. Dunham ;
Directors, Charles Bartles, W. P. Emery, John C.
Hopewell, John B. Hopewell, and C. C. Dunham.