James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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of Mansfield township, and had children,— Thomas,
Mary, Frances (who married Rev. James Mi Wil-
liam- i, Margaret Stewart (who married Rev. Charles

T. Kellogg), John S., Henry Martyn, Sarah I isa

(who married Samuel D. Carpenter), James M., and

Robert S. Kennedy. Of these, Mrs. Kellogg alone

survives, ami contributes her father's portrait to the
history of the county in which he was born and with
whose interests his life was so closely identified. Her
mother died Jan. 21, lStix. Judge Kennedy married
for a second wife, Aug. 19, 186it, Emms Melick, who
survives him.


His grandfather was Thomas Dickson, who resided
at an early day at Durham, Pa., and had children, —
Thomas, Mark, John, Henry, Margaret, and Han-

Henry Dickson, his lather, was born at Durham.
Pa., March 16, 1799. His parents were poor, and he
himself was hound out to a farmer during his minor-
ity, lie married Eve Ann Hawk, daughter of David
and Elizabeth Hawk, and soon after that event set-
tled at, Etiegelsville, N. J., where he ran a mill for
B( ojamin Riegel. Subsequently he engaged in the
milling business at different points in (ireenwieh

bownship and vicinity. About 1 sit he purchased of

Luther Calvin the farm DOW occupied by his chil-

i i ircenw ich township. 1 1 ere lie passed a busy

Hind industn: us hi enga.;d in agricultural pursuits,

and died Nov. 80, 1875; hi- wife died on June 2lltli

of the same year.

Mr. Dickson was a mi f plain habits, i lest

and unassuming, and passed his life within the inner
circles of Bocietj , enjoj tng the respect and esteem of

in politic-, and tilled the office of overseer of th

and other minor offices. He was a member of the

\JL tf <$>*dt.


Lutheran church of Riegelsville. He had but two
children,— Elizabeth, born Dec. 20, 1821, and John
R., born Dec. 30, 1832, — both of whom reside on the
home farm. After the 'hath of his lather, John 1J.
Dickson succeeded to the management of the farm,

whicl istitutes his present employment. He lives

a quiet and u tentatious life, though possessed of

much enterprise and public -pirit. Himself and
sister are member- of the Lutheran Church at Rie-



Oxford is one of the western border townships
of the county. It is bounded on the northeast by
Hope, on the southeast by Mansfield and Washing-
ton, on the southwest by Harmony township, and on
the northwest by Knowlton township and the Dela-
ware River. It was formed from Greenwich town-
ship about 1753 or 1755, and was named Oxford in
commemoration of Oxford University, in England,
at which place Andrew Robeson, father of the pioneer
Robeson, was educated. The township contains 20,-
589 acres of land, or 32.17 square miles.

The soil of the township is a mixture of clay and
gravelly loam, underlaid with limestone and slate.
In the valleys it is susceptible of a high state of cul-
tivation, while upon the hillsides large crops also can
be raised.


The surface of this township is one of the most un-
even and mountainous in the county ; nevertheless,
Oxford has a considerable river front, which, with
the Pequest valley, presents much flat or intervale

The mountains are Scott's, along the southeast bor-
der of the township, northwest of and parallel with
which is Ragged Ridge, an extension of Marble
Mountain running into this township from Harmony ;
Mauunka Chunk, in the northwest, along the Dela-
ware River ; Scotch, between Scott's and Ragged
Ridge ; and Mount Nomore, which rears its lofty head
west of Oxford Furnace. There are several other
elevations deserving the name of mountain in this
township, varying from 200 to 600 feet above tide-
water, which appear to have thus far existed without
the honor of a name.

The principal streams are the Pequest Creek, which
empties into the Delaware River at Belvidere ; Beaver
Brook, which flows southwesterly into the Pequest ;
Furnace Creek, passing northeasterly through Oxford
Furnace and joining the Pequest at the Pequest Fur-
nace ; Oxford Creek, whose north and south branches
unite a short distance above Oxford church, thence
flow westerly into the Delaware at the south bound-
ary line of Belvidere borough; Buck Horn Brook,
which rises in the township, and flows first northerly
and then southwesterly, passing into Harmony town-
ship ; and last, but not least, the Delaware River,

: By W. II. Shaw.

which washes the northwest side of the township for
a distance of about twelve miles. The portion below
the mouth of Paphandusing Creek is quite rapid for
nearly two miles, affording several excellent mill-
sites. Half a mile below the mouth of the Pap-
handusing is the Foul Rift, which is to-day as much of
an obstacle to the navigation of the upper Delaware
as in early times.f

The task of the sturdy pioneer was not an inviting
one, although the road to future honors lay before him.
Imagine for a moment Axford and Green, as they
came from " down country" or from the sandy plains
of Long Island, marching into the then wilderness
of old Hunterdon County (for this was Hunterdon
then), looking here and there for a place to locate,
going a little farther along to see if they could not
find a better spot. When far beyond civilization they
came upon the hills overlooking the Pequest. Not
entirely satisfied with a view of the country from the
ground, where the dense woods obstructed their vision,
they mounted a lofty tree, and from its topmost
branches selected their future earthly homes. Green
selected what is now the southwest corner of Hope
township, and Axford what is now the southeast part
of Oxford township, near where the Pequest Iron-
Works are located. Here the old pioneers were far
out in the wilderness away from home and friends ;
night coming on, they built a circle of fires, within
which they made a bed of a few boughs, and, after
partaking of a most frugal repast, they committed
themselves to the sweet embrace of Morpheus, with
their knapsacks for a pillow and the starlit canopy of

f The following letter of Major Hoops, to (it is supposed) Robert Mor-
ris, in 1791, bears witness that tho navigation of the upper Delaware was
a subject which engrossed the attention of tho early residents of this sec-
tion :

"Bklvideiie, July 10, 1791.

" Sin, — I have been informed that you and Col. Whalon had contracted
to cloar tho several Falls in the Delaware so as to render the navigation
safe and easy, I am willing to engage to clear the Foul Rift, and one or
two other Falls in the neighborhood, provided we can agree on the price
which will depend on tho answer you wish it executed, would therefore
wish to have the pleasure of soeing you here and agreeing on the spot
it is now time that work of that nature was begun, if it be completed
this fall.

" I would just observe that tho Foul Rift is tho most shallow, rapid,
ami dangerous Falls in the River. Should you and Col. Walen wish to
view the river higher up, I will endeavor to accompany you.

" I am, sir, your most obedient Humble Servant.

" Rout. Hoors."



heaven for a covering. With morning's dawn the
pioneers arose from their slumber-, partook of their
scanty meal, and began looking around for the best
place to ereet a cabin. A level Bpot, B short dis-
tance up the request, on it- south side, was the one
decided upon. This was to be Ax ford's mansion.
There he built his pioneer cabin or log house, and
linen's was erected not tar away.

In the mean time the hardy old pioneer moved his
family into the forest. Here they were isolated from
the world. Marked trees were the Only means by

which they could find their way nut of the foresl or
back to their cabin home. A year passed by ; a little
clearing in the forest was made, the virgin soil pro-
duced a crop, and the pioneer bad a yoke of oxen, a
cow, a pig, ami a faithful dog. The trusty old rifle,

witb the unerring aim of the pioneer, brought down
the bear and antlered roe, which furnished meat for
the family. A year or two more, and the clearing was
enlarged, a rude barn built, the old cabin somewhat
improved, and an air of prosperity seemed to mani-
fest itself on all sides. In a few years broad acres
were spread out to the sun and rain, and the virgin
soil brought forth abundantly. Twenty-five years,
and we see a grown-up family, a modern frame or
-tone house and numerous outbuildings, a well-
stocked farm, and the work done by improved ma-
chinery. Such were the humble beginnings of the
Ax fords and other early settlers of what is now Ox-
ford township, and such tin- natural result of honest

Among those who soon followed < i recti and Axford
into what is now Oxford township were the families
of McMurtrie, Lommason, lloif, Loder, Linn, Shan-
non, Mackey, Robeson, Young, Bower, Dalrymple,
Bard, Swisher, Snyder, Cox, Beers, Vvoolfingle, and
others in the southern part of the township.

In the northern part of the township, among the

early settlers we find the name- of Titman. Banghart,
Mackey, Butts, Anderson, Baily, W'idner, Dcrenber-

ger, Craig. Kirkoll', Dean, Flumincrfelt, Eopler, Sh

maker, and other-. Most of the-e families came be-
tween 1785 and 1789. They were all Scotch-Irish
Presbyterians, with the exception of the Robesons,
the Greens, and perhaps two or three others. Here,
also, David Brainerd, the celebrated [ndian mission-
ary, occasionally officiated. In 1746, Oxford Furnace
asked for supplies from the New Brunswick Presby-
tery, in consequence of the increasing population
drawn there bj the establishment of the iron-work-.
Three years later (1749) the s« 1 congregation in

the county Was formed :il old Oxford.

-Til.- populaUon steadily but slowly Ini ware fast

iiml widely separated, School-houses were Bmall,an.d the '-
werofow. MiiUwi-i.-iipi.-iiii-ii.il ui-.iii The Iron-works, ui Oxford,

to haragivei in irdlng lotradltloD,

Hum any other cause Ihon existing. Tin- carting of plg-Irou (r - m Oxford
I.- iin rbrgoa or t" the shipping polnl on Uio Delaware Blvor.or the cut-

ii - -ii to oxi i ge i -I - -'ill-, Hour, grain, and tha n

ci life, gate animation tntheuulol ..-...- rlie bold furniture of

tin, i day wiL- primitive Indeeft Th.- (arming utenaUa and artisan
crude and Inexpressive, unwieldy, and bard t" be wrought with. The
houses built uf logs, with rived shingle* or slabs for roofs, and thi
old clay oven outside the bouse. The bams small, with their straw-
thatched roofs, with the wooden plow nml Its wrought-iroD ahara; tbe
l.iirfl." with it- w.j-^-i.-ii teeth. The (lall t.. thrash out the crops. Tlie

llii\ and WOOl splnnlllg-wlu-rl-, with lln-ir limnl-curds and flux-dressers.

"No post-ci>acli, or mull, or daily newspaper, no nary locomotive with
il» train of care, bringing news or visitors. No telegraphic dls]
bringing good or bad ti'lin i.g-niachiues; m>

bay-rakes or forks; no sewing-machines; spring-carriages, easy-chairs,
mid the thousand atber InrenUons, comforts, and improvement -
age, were oven dreamed or by theso curly settlers.

- We Introduce jn-t here a renilrtb* em •■ of the tlmee. In the year
1750 a workman nt Oxford In wantofclotbingof the kind worn In thoeo
days bad to go twenty-eight miles !■• a settlement of ti"- Moravians at
Bethlehem to got his loather breeches made, lii- coui

through foresta and by Indlau patlis, unleaa perchance I

Enston, where a r«w years latei In. Franklin and lii- u/wociates, on the
i ui of Pennsylvania, concluded the Una) treaty *itb the Six Nation i

IniliiuiB. Tit lei and receipt has I a rery carefully preserved for

12S years. It i- its follows :

"iim- Kiiis.m r., n,t. 14, 1766.

"'Mr. Sbackelton desires yon'd let tin- bearer John Jarrat have the
two puir Leather Breeches he left to be made, and charge thi
the Company's acct. Yours, 4c.

'" Taoe. Oraini.
"'To Mr. Bumper or Wm. Edmunds, al Bethlehem.'

"Endorsed on the buck of tin ler i- 1 1 ..- followlug:

"•flecelred the l-t ..r March, 1767, The Sum of Beven sl.illings. Two
Pence, by muking Two puir of New Breeches, on acct -f Mr. Robinson
£ Comp'y Ir.,u Works, at Oxford. Being the contents of tho within
order. I say received by me.


"TlloS. X jARnAT.''

Passing over a few year-, down to the Revolutionary
epoch, we find that Capt.John .McMurtrie and Lieut.
William White, of Oxford township, being desirous
I,, L .,, to Hu-lun. when- the Americans were rallying
under the standard of Washington, then just appointed
commander-in-chief of the Continental forces, n
quested the committee to certify as to their " place of
abode, character, and reputation," which was at once
complied with. All honor to the memory of the two
firsl volunteers from old Oxford !

Again, in the war of 1812, old Oxford was not he-
hind in meeting the same old foe -lie had assisted in
defeating in a previous seven year-' war. In the Third
Regiment, commanded by Col. John Frelingbuysen,
was a company from Belvidere, commanded by Capt.
Francis Dunlevy, with 8 officers and 31 enlisted men.

Among the early and most pr inently-known pio-
neers of this township wa* John Linn, who deserves
more than a passing notice, lie wa- a Virginian by

birth, and came to r.elvidere when it wa- known as

-Mercer," and located where Maggie Cummins now
lives. The "city" not being congenial to John's na-
ture, he soon removed to the mountain forests, where
I,.- purchased 600 acres of land, on the hills hack of
oxford. Here he cleared up a farm, lived, died at
the good old age of one hundred and two year-, and

was buried in the Old ' txford church graveyard. He

was known throughout the state as the most powerful
man, physically, in it. He was Benl for at one time
i.\ s Philadelphia tavernkeeper to come down and

"thrash" a saucy hully from I 'anada. John performed



the little job with the utmost ease, and then walked
back to Oxford as unconcerned as though he had been
on a visit. He was by no means a " fighting man,"
and upon this occasion did not know what was wanted
of him till he arrived in the Quaker City, and then
would not have " dressed out" his Canadian cousin
had not the foreigner forced him to the attempt by the
foulest abuse. He caught his antagonist by the back
of the neck, boxed his ears severely, and with one
hand threw the Canadian over the heads of the crowd,
outside the ring, which was the finishing touch of the
undesirable job. He was as quick as he was strong,
was tall and muscular, and weighed about 225 pounds.
Reuben Searles, though not exactly a pioneer of the
township, settled on Rattlesnake Hill, above Oxford
Furnace, in 1797, where he raised a large family, some
of whom have since been more or less prominent in
the development of the resources of the township.
Many of the descendants still live in the township,

"Jacob Banghart and wife came to this country
from Germany, landing at Philadelphia about the
year 1740, with five children, named Barney, Andrew,
Michael, George, and Mary. They moved into the
neighborhood of High Bridge, and labored eighteen
years at the iron business, when the government
was under English rule. The youngest son, George,
married a Miss Buskirk and settled where the vener-
able Abram Banghart now resides, and which place
has been the homestead of the Banghart family for
about one hundred and twenty-five years. Barney,
another son, was not married ; enlisted in the Revo-
lutionary war, was wounded by a cannon-ball and
disabled for life. Michael married and settled in
Bridgeville, in Warren County, and raised a family of
fourteen children, one of whom was George Banghart,
the renowned pioneer Methodist preacher. George
Banghart, the youngest of the original family, settled,
as before said, where his youngest son now resides,
and raised a large family whose names are as follows :
Barney, Peter, George, Mary, John, Thomas, Andrew,
Michael, Abraham, and William. Pour of these had
farms adjoining to the old homestead, and lived on
them all their days. Michael moved to Ohio, near
Cincinnati. Peter and Barney moved to Sunsboro',
Pa. George lived near Springtown, Warren Co.
From these families came the now numerous families
of Bangharts that have scattered over several States."


The old taverns — and there were plenty of them —
were the places at which the old pioneers congregated
to compare notes upon the few general topics then
presented to the people, trying the speed of their
horses and their own skill in the use of cards. One
of these old hostelries, and the one most prominent
from 1785 to 1815, was the old Lommason tavern,
located on the farm now owned by ex-Surrogate
George Lommason, about two miles down the river
from Belvidere. This and the old Hoffman tavern,

where Joseph M. Roseberry now lives, between that
and Belvidere, were the popular places of resort.
The Hoff, or Hoffman, tavern was subsequently kept
by John Summers. Both were on the road from Hope
to Easton, and were only two of the ten taverns in a
distance of twenty miles. Thomas Lommason kept
the one and John Summers the other, and they were
less than a mile apart. # The Lommason tavern was
then called the " Concord." Between and past these
old taverns was the race-course, where the old settlers
tried the speed of their horses. Trotting horses in
those days was literally unknown, and running was
the only gait practiced. One of the old mile-stones
is still standing in the corner of McMurtrie's field,
above the Roseberry place. Before the pioneer roads
were closed and new ones opened this post or stone
stood in the roadside and marked the starting point
in the races. Another stone stood just below, or be-
tween the Roseberry and Lommason taverns, and
another one beyond, down the road.

Horse-racing and playing at quoits and cards were
not the only amusements indulged in by the early
settlers. Men differed not so much from the people at
the present time as many seem to think. The old
pioneers had not attained to perfection in the art of
self-defense, as at the present day, yet they were not
without their oft-repeated pugilistic encounters. These
two old hostelries were also the scenes of many severely-
contested encounters between persons of different lo-
calities. As is not known to many of the present
generation, some of the old pioneers of this and other
townships were giants in stature and herculean in
strength. Often did these men of such physical
power meet at " Concord," and there test their pow-
ers of endurance. Among, those giants were such
men as the Axfords, Davis, Metiers, Pralls, Davisons,
Wyckoffs, Pettys, Vannettas, Hoffmans, Wellers,
Wandlings, and others. John Linn was an excep-
tion, — that is, he was in his day acknowledged to
be the most powerful man, physically, in this State.
He could take a 40-gallon cask of cider and hold it
up to his mouth and drink from the bung-hole as
easily, to all appearances, as an ordinary person
could hold a gallon jug to his mouth and drink out
of it. Many interesting stories might be told of John
Linn and a few others did space permit. Anothes
of these pioneer " characters" was Tom Quick, the
Indian-killer. He was as fond of " drawing a bead"
on an Indian as on any other wild animal, as he often
expressed himself.

Another source of amusement practiced by the pio-
neers was that of a " fox-chase." Some one would
procure a live fox, and at an appointed time the old
settlers would appear at John Summers' tavern with
their dogs, pay their entrance fee, give the fox a fair
start, let the dogs loose, and the fun commenced. The
owner of the dog that reached the fox first had his
entrance fee refunded to him. A good supper at the
tavern usually followed the afternoon out-door sports.




This township was formed from Greenwich about
the year 1753. It derived its name from tin- Oxford
ice, so called by its founder, Jonathan Kobeson,
in 17 11, in honor of his father, Andrew, who had
been sent to England and educated at Oxford Uni-

For want of more complete township records,
tin- following lists of principal officers, with tbe ex-
ception of freeholders, do not quite go back to the
< l:t t •- of the formation of the county :


1830.— Aaron Davis, Jami Davl n Ji Benjamin T. Hunt, Daniel S.

Dewltt, William P. Robeson.
1- ;i -Willi.,,,, p. Bobeaon, B. T. ll„„i. William M. Axford, John

Kiln, . Ji . D 8. Dewltt.
18 12.— Lewis Hackey, John Kinney, J, , It. T. Bunt, W. M. Axford, D.
8, Dewltt, Jacob Miller.

Kinney, .!,., LewU Hackey, Samuel toiler, B. T. Hunt, D. S.
1634.— Aaron Davis, D S. Dewltt, Samuel Loller, Benjamin T. Hunt,
Martin Lauer.

Pete! P. Campbell, John Young, Nathan Bdnson, Henrj Mc-
ttlllei . Jam, i. -

-Nathan Stint Andrew Van Syckle, Waltoi Wilson, William

St hits, James K. Sway w.

Jacob 0. Miller, Una Flnmmerfelt, James M. Kibble,

William a.8harp, G ge Klaer.

1-11— W. H. Sharp, 0. Fluninierfelt, Gcorgo Klzer, Jacob C. Miller,
I Stlner.

I iNltlllt, t II. 1U-I^1, ,-,.■!, .1. M. Kil.1,1.-. .1 -.pit y..ni li,..-s, Is. , ill'

Bboemaker, W. It. Shai p.

irheea, J H. Bersherer, Joseph Norton, I. Shoemaker,
Uatthew Dewltt.

1-1 I I'.. .1 \. .,!,..,, .1 II Bersherer, I-.m II. S..rt..ii, 1'hilii. Mowrey,

I SI mmkei .

LSI maker, Jnmes Hiles, Simon


brum McMurtrle, .1. V I t, I. Shoemaker, J. Hllea, J. n.

Borah, i i
.-I- i" William Anderson, Pblllp Mowrey, Jr., William Hi Tin . David

Smith, Petei Bush. •

1880.— W. NoTirc, David Smith, I'm Bush, Ulchael Boyer, Philip

H. Boyer, David Smith, George Blnehart, Go i 9ho
Baker, 1*. Uowroy, -tr.

■. a-i, Kinney, Wealey Banghart
George Blnehart, Johu i Js liJ ingle, Aaa Kinney.

1-.- Blnehart, Asa Kit y, Cornelius Plomnierfelt.

Blnehart, iso Kluney, 0. Flummerfelt, John nine, Thomas
Asa Kinney, George RInebart, C ITlumnierfeU, Jacob W. Der-
anbeif sr,

J, \\ Doranborgor, John Anderson,

tii-nrgo Win-hurt

Wyckolf, .1 Anderson, '. Blnehart, E. 0. Hulslser, Robert

Wyi koff, J in. Vndi rson.l Hnl I a, Samoa]


i- 1 J Anders E.O Bulslzer, Samuel Pitts, Aaron Smith, Andrew

runes 0. Cyphers, Qnlntu Raurixar, Samuel

Km-, G ge Boyer.

1860-08.— J. 0. Cyphers, Quintal Bheelor, Reuben Searls,S. Flits, George

Ri hi Searls, John ' 3. Fltti

i is Lance, Reuben Sourls, John A. Jones, 0. Badle, S. Fltte,
i \ Jones, Gi Radio, Isaac ] . Petal Q.


\ Jons ,G B id] . i i i - i : Reuben Seurl*.
16T7.— Theodora P. Bard, J. A. Jomsj, Johu I I Lance

1878.— T. P. Ilur.1, J. W. Cooper, I. Lance, James II. Lukens, John K.

1879.— J. II. Lokens, J. W. Cooper, Isaac Lanco.
1880.— T. P. Bnrd, I. Luce, .1. II. Lokens.
1881.— T. B. Burd, I. Lance, John W. Cooper.


1850-58, J. .Ii i. It l i 1-07, George L-m-

ii, i-.,.; 1886 77. ttichaelB. Baylor; 1878, Henrj Have; 1878 Sl.J.

A. Allen.

We find, also, that George A. Shoemaker was town
clerk in 1848.


...I Hoaglaud, Alexander While; lK-Jo, .In,,,.", Ilonghind, Ale.v-
ander White; 1827, June II [ton; 1828, James

N agland, Peter B. Campbell; 1829-31, Jnmes Hoaglaud, John
7oung; ls.u, John II. Flaming, James Davlaon, Jr.; 1833, Jacob
Miller, J ' .lohuson; 1635-38,

\ - II. Drake, Philip Shoemaker; 1839-41, William Anderson,

Jacob Titmiui; 1842, James Biles, Samuel UcCmcken; 1812-44,
BJIea, Abraham McMurtrle; 1845 l« Bmltfa ;

1846, G a Wyckoff; 1847, John Hlxon, Simon Wyc-

koff; 184K-5I, Daniel Axford, Thorns I lei Axford;

1884 i0, John Rlxou; 1887-59, Philip S makei ; 1860-02, John A.

Jones; 1863, Caleb Wyckoff; 1864-86, Uueea v Dewlll
Philip Uowrey; 1809-71, Aup.h Smith; 1872-74, Marshall r
I ' bom Trimmer: 1-7 SO, i be don P Hoplei ;

1881, George Wlldrlck.

July 2o, 1876, the township committee met and
divided the township into two election districts, in

arronlanrr with an art of the Statr Legislature pa - nl
April IS, lS7t>. The districts are known as the East
and West election districts.


Oxford Furnace, the principal village in the
Lownship, is situated near the southwest boundary
line of the township, on the line of the Delaware,
Lackawanna ami Western Railroad, and on the sur-
rounding hills. The lirst settler was he who lir-t Bet-
tied the township, or rather Jonathan Robeson, who

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 153 of 190)