James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 185 of 190)
Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 185 of 190)
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Conant was a very eccentric man. He was compelled
to leave Ireland on account of his political views, and
it is said he used to hail every one who passed along
the road, inquiring his name, business, destination,
etc. When he died he made a will appointing James
Egbert and Adam Egbert his executors, to each of
whom he left a sum of money, besides bequests to
many others. When the will was offered for probate

and the estate administered on, not one dollar was
found ; it was afterwards ascertained that the old
schoolmaster entertained the notion that if he made a
will and left money to his friends, the county would
be obliged to pay it.

Another old school-house stood where Thomas
Shields' corn-house now stands, in Beattystown.
Lewis Goden taught there as early as 1812, and
James Rusling also at an early day.

The present condition of the schools of Mansfield,
as taken from the report of the State superintendent
of public instruction for the year 1879-80, is as
follows :

Karrsville, District No. 42 : Total amount of money
received from all sources, $300 ; present value of school
property, $1800 ; number of scholars between 5 and
18 years of age enrolled during the year, 82 ; present
teacher, William Tracey.

Port Murray, District No. 43 : Total amount received
from all sources, $305.39 ; value of school property,
$1500; number of children of school age enrolled
during the year, 86 ; present teacher, John W. Pace.

Anderson, District No. 44: Amount received from
all sources, $300; value of school property, $600;
number of children enrolled during the year between
5 and 18 years of age, 59; present teacher, I. N.

Egberts, District No. 45 : Amount received from all
sources, $300 ; value of school property, $700 ; num-
ber of children of school age enrolled during the year,
47 ; present teacher, Joseph R. Park.

Rockport, District No. 46 : Total amount received
from all sources, $300 ; value of school property,
$2500; number of children enrolled during the year
between 5 and 18 years of age, 43 ; present teacher,
Lewis C. Cougle.

Beattystown, District No. 47 : Total amount re-
ceived from all sources, $300 ; value of school prop-
erty, $1650 ; number of children of school age en-
rolled during the year, 82 ; present teacher, William


is located at Port Murray. It was organized in 1842,
by a few people of that persuasion who lived in that
settlement, prominent among whom were the Karrs.
This family still continues to take an active part in
the affairs of the church. Judge Somerville is also
one of the leading members.

Rev. Thomas H. Cole was the first pastor. Since
that time to the present the pulpit has been filled by
the following ministers, in the order named: Revs.
John C. Carey, Thomas H. Clancey, Timberman,
Manning, Young, Westcot Humstead, Tisdale, Hen-
drixson, and Thomas Young, the present pastor.

The church edifice is a good frame building, and is
situated in the outskirts of the village. The society
is out of debt, and has a fair-sized congregation.


Tho paternal groat-grandfather of William Ramsey was the
progenitor of the family of Ramsey in Now Jorsoy, and emi-
grated from Ireland during tho early part of the eighteenth
century. His son Samuel, horn on ship-hoard while orossing the
ocean, was grandfather of our subject, and married a Miss Do
Witt, lie resided for a time in Hunterdon County, subsequently
settled on a farm in Mansfield township, Warren Co., near Port
Murray, which he removed from about 1810. After the death
of his wife ho went to Pennsylvania, where ho died. His children
were Thomns, John, Samuel, Betsey, Marj . and Robert.

Samuel, born Oct. 15, 1784, married, Jan. 8, 181-1, Abbie,
daughter of Samuel Axford, and sister of Daniel Ax ford,
.i prominent citizen and ex-sheriff of Warren County, and in
1880 a resident of Hackett-town, X. J. He died in 1855,
Soptcmber 8th. His wife died Oot. 18, 1855, nt the age of
sixty-four. Their ohildren are Margaret, wife of Samuel D.
Stewart; N'ancy, wife of John .M.Young; William; Amanda,
died at the age of twenty years, unmarriod; Lemuel I!., died at
tho ago of sixteen ; and Do Witt, diod at the ago of thirty j ears,
leaving a widow anil three children.

Prior to his marriage, about 1S10, ho purchased tho farm
noar Port Murray upon which his father had resided, consist-
ing of about one hundred acres. He subsequently added two
hundred acres of contiguous land, making the farm contain
thrco hundred acres. He became also the owner of several
other farms, and was during his day ono of the largest real-
estate owners in Warren County.

Twelve years prior to his docensc ho removed to what is
known as the Oxford farm, near Oxford Furnace, which he
purohosod and upon whloh he resided for four years. Hi thi

returned to Port Murray, purchased a few aor f land, upon

which be resided the remainder ol his life. Although possess-
ing very little book knowledge, having had no opportunities
for nn eduoation while young, he possessed natural business
ability and a keen porception of business relations. He was ■
,,,.,„ D | practical ideas and Bound judgment, starting while
young in a small way, and by his own industry and judioious
management accumulated d large property. His life was
«hnlly doroted to agricultural pursuit-, whioh he followed with
thai energy and business tnel thai gavo him rank among the

most intelligent farmer! in Ho nnty. He was a supporter of

ohurch interests, and a member of the Presbyterian Church of

Oxford. His wife was a woman of great moral worth and
i 'hri.-tian excellence, and a member of the Mansfield Church, at
Washington, N. J.

William Ramsey, son of Samuel and Abbio Ramsey, was
born on the homestead, March 27, 1818, and succeeded his
father in its possession upon his death. His book education
while young was confined to the school of his native place, and
until 1850 he remained at home, where ho became inured to
farm-work in nil its branches. The axe. in clearing oft" the
fori It, was as familiar to him as the plow or the hoe. And thus
in early manhood he learned the inestimable lessons of indus-
try, economy, and self-reliance as the mainsprings to success.

.Mr. Ramsey married, Dec. 11, lS.iO, Miss Frances, daughter
of Moses ond Catharine (Brink) Do Witt. She was lorn Sept.
4, 1822. They have an only child, Abbie, who is the wife of
I nn. . S. Smith, a nephew of Hon Sidney Dillon, president of
tho Pacific Railway.

The De Witt family from which Mrs. Ramsey is descended
bogan emigration to this country from Holland and settled in
New Amsterdam, now New York, as early as 1639, and mem-
bers of this family have been distinguished in political and
sooial life, and mine have numbered more noted men than the
Di w,.i .

Alter his marriage Mr. Ramsey settled on the homestead-
farm, where he remained until the death of his father, when ho
removed to 1'ort Murray, where he !i;is resided since, and upon
the property loft by his fuller, which now tonus tho most dc-
i -nt ol tlie little village. For live years he carried on
n gencrol merchandise trade at Port Murray after n
there, sineo which time he has been occupied in improving
hi- real estate and beautifying his home, whloh in point of at-

irithin and without, vie. n ith well-appointed |
our lilies. Mr. Ramsey has been quite active :i- v member,
formerl] of the Whig, hut now of the Republican party, hut
i been :i seeker after political preferment, and ha- held
no oflice, excepl to -cue as oollector of Ins tow nship I
years and act as judge of election. Foi twenty years past he

has l ii "lie "f the directors of tin- Farmers' Mutual Fire In

■ ompnny of Hunterdon. He i- a pro tor of all

woithx local objects, n mcuibci of the Melho I -

and his wlfo a mombor ol the Met! pal Church at

Washington, N. J.



is used by the Methodist and Presbyterian denomi-
nations. Prior to 1832 there was no place Cor pub-
lic worship in the village; the church-going people as
a general thing going to Backettstown. Occasional
services were held at the old school-house. The land
on which this house stood had been given by Mr, Wil-
liamson, but had never been conveyed by title to any
one. At the death of Williamson, his son-in-law,
Sir. Brown, representing the heir-, tried to get posses-
don of the property, but it was found the district had
acquired a title by the facl of its remaining in peace-
ful possession for a number of years. Brown then
promised to aid them in building a new school-house.

Be was to give $100 and tribute in other ways

towards its erection. Mosl of the inhabitants in the
place subscribed in money or work. The lumber was
all hauled from Belvidere in one day by the many
teame who volunteered to do the work. The build:
ing was soon completed. It is two stories high, with
B BChool-room on the first Hour, the second being lilted
up for church worship.

This was -i mi — ion of the I laekcttstown Presby-
terian < 'hlireli, and l!ev. I)r. ( 'ampbell preached there
every two weeks. The Methodists iii the neighbor-
hood made an effort to build a church, bill it was

soon found to be impracticable. At this time a pro-
position was made to have Methodist preachers attend
and occupy the <liur.li every other Sabbath, alter-
nating with the Presbyterians. Pursuant to a notice

of this movement, which had been published for ten

days, the inhabitants of School District No. 8 met at
fchi academy at Beattystown, Feb. 1, 1847, to see if the
people were willing to allow any other religious, body
than the Presbyterians in the academy. At this
meeting the following resolution was passed:

■ Retolved, That we will ull"\s the Mi thodlsl to pn u h and hold proser-
in thi upper port of the academy one>hall the time.*'

Then- was a strong opposition made to this ar-
rangement by some, but it finally ceased. This charge
was finally taken into the Conference of the Metho-
dist Church, but ii has never succeeded in gaining
much foothold here.

The pastor who now presides over this charge is

I- ' Mr. < 'anlield, u bo pr In ■- at ibis place and

(fount Bethel. The property is owned by the school

district, and ha- never i ie into possession of either

di i iiiation.

The Presbyterians still continue to bold their meet-
the pastor of the Hackettstown Church officiat-
ing every alternate Sabbath.


was built in 1859. The congregation is small ; it being
so near Washington, many of the old residents belong
at i hat place. Re\ . Martin I [err was 1 1
The pastors who have been sent i,y Conference to till
the pulpit at this place are Revs, Mr. Cole, Thomas
Kaw lines, (anlield. Turnebower, Pharaoh

lloyt, Ruth, Stout, and Thomas.
is the present pastor.

Mol NT III 1 III I. Mli: i.l-AI. lilClli'll

ited on the dividing ridge about half-way be-
tween Roekport and the Hope township line. The
first Methodist meetings were held in the house
of .lames Egbert as early a- 1800. Bishop A-bury
preached there in ISO'.', and named the place Mount
Bethel, it i- -opposed on account of the high position
it occupie- in the surrounding country. At this time,
and for many years prior, there was a log meeting-
hou-e rosed by the Baptists as a place of worship.
Finally, Mr. Egbert bought the church from the Bap-
tists, and the Methodists worshiped there for several
years. In 1845, James Egbert built a new stone
church and presented it to the congregation, in con-
aection with the cemetery belonging to it. The
church was small in membership, and was under the

charge of the Philadelphia ' . consequently

they had preaching at irregular interval-. The rec-
ords Of the church have not been kept at that place
for several years, and, as the old members have either
died or moved away, a complete history with the
names of the pastors cannot be given. Among the
early preachers, however, who wen- sent to this plaee
were Rev. Pharaoh Ogden, William Smith, Revs.
Ireland, 1 "avis, George Banghart, Bartholomew Weed,
James M. Tutth, William Corbet, Jacob Hevenor,

and Mr. LippinCOtt. In later \ ear-, Kevs. J. P. Fort,

R. II. Wiggins. II. A. Batz, A.Craig, L.J. Morris,
Joshua Mead. J. II. Runyon, P. W. Day. Y. W. Eor-
ton, C Clark, Jr., L. R. Doolittle, and A. H. Brown.

These names are not given in regular order, a- it is
impossible to give the years in which tin

named preacher- officiate d.
The pastor now, and for the two years pa-t. i- I:

Mr. ('anlield, who also preaches at Beattystown.


is located about half-way between Roekport and Port
Murray, near the canal. It was built about the year
1845. The land was given by David ( '. I

Charles Stewart was president of the board of trus-
tees. The first elders were T. H. Tunison, Aaron
Bryant, and Mr. Davis. There were not members

enough at this place to sustain a pastor, and John

i i-iiMiii.i lharles Stewart, and others went from Hack-
ettstown and united with this church. Rev. Mr.

Hunt, who lived at Schooley's Mountain, was the
first pastor. 1 Ie preached there many year-. During

his pastorate the church prospered greatly, and quite a

revival followed hi- labor-, llev. Mr. l.ane-n

Mr. Hunt, and remained -everal years. Alter him

R v. Mr. Doremus, who also remained for some
time. Among other ministers who have preached there

were Revs. Siinonton, .Tame- I',. Heii-baw, Charles

Miln, and Alexander McCandless. For several years
past the membership of the church has fallen off to



such an extent that it became necessary to unite with
the Danville Church in order to receive the fund due
each church from the Presbytery.

The present pastor is the Rev. J. P. Clark, who is
also pastor of the Danville Church, and resides in the
parsonage at the latter place.


There are four graveyards in the township, all
belonging to the different churches where they are
located. The oldest is at Mount Bethel, and dates
from near the beginning of the present century. The
one at Rockport was laid out when the church was
built, or about 1846. It belongs to the Presbyterian
congregation at this place.

The Baptist graveyard at Port Murray was laid out
as such when the church was built, in 1845, as was
also the one at Anderson, which belongs to the Meth-
odist Church at that place.


Mansfield is an agricultural township. Its beautiful
farms, large houses, and capacious barns show it to be
one of the best grain- and stock-raising districts in the
county. One of its profitable industries is iron-ore
mining, as has been referred to elsewhere ; also burn-
ing lime. The first tannery started in Mansfield was
in or about 1792, as before stated, by James Egbert.
The business was carried on very extensively under
his management, and he kept a large number of teams
constantly on the road hauling hides from New York
and carrying finished leather back to market.

A distillery was built by Ziba Osmun near the be-
ginning of the present century, and was the first one
erected in the township. Another was erected by
James Anderson in 1810. Among the few mills in
operation now, probably the largest is owned by John
B. Fisher, of Beattystown. There has been a mill lo-
cated on this site far back of the memory of any living-
man. Two mills have been burned, and the one now
standing is a large stone structure. It gets its power
from the Musconetcong River. William Larison owns
a grist-mill on the Pohatcong Creek, about one mile
above Karrsville. It has a sufficient quantity of water
to enable him to keep his mill running all the year
round. H. L. Beatty owns a grist-mill at Cherry-Tree
Bend, on a small brook running down from the moun-
tain. William L. Ketcham has a saw-mill above
Larison's mill, on the Pohatcong.

Reuben Mitchell owns a distillery at Karrsville. It
is run by steam, and has a capacity for one hundred
gallons a day. This is the only distillery in the town-
ship. Zephauiah Hoffman owns a flour-mill at New-
bery, on the Musconetcong.

A slate-quarry, owned by Mr. Thomas, was opened
about six months since (in 1880).

There are lime-kilns scattered all over the town-
ship, the most extensive, however, being those owned
by William Hanu. Lie has three in operation, and

burns lime for the furnace. Other kilns are owned
by John Anthony, Jacob Anthony, Samuel Mower,
C. Smith, and John H. Hance. There is a very large
quantity of lime burned at these points, not only for
the blast-furnace, but for use as a fertilizer.



Thomas Shields, son of Thomas and Sarah (Cole-
man) Shields, was born at Hackettstown, Feb. 15,
1809. His father in early life learned the joiner's
trade. For a time he resided on a farm in Washing-
ton township, but spent most of his life at Hacketts-
town, where he carried on farming, droving, and ran
a distillery. He was an active, enterprising man, and
became the possessor of a fine property by his own
judicious management. He died Aug. 28, 1827, in
the fifty-second year of his age. His wife died Nov.
15, 1858, in the eighty-third year of her age, and her
remains were buried by the side of his in the cemetery
grounds near the Presbyterian church at Hacketts-

Their children were Sarah (deceased) ; Mary (de-
ceased) ; William, a large landowner and farmer in
Washington township ; Sarah, widow of the late Rob-
ert P. Strader ; Thomas; Betsey, wife of Johnson Titus,
of Phillipsburg ; David ; John ; and Isaac, collector in
the office of the Morris Canal at Phillipsburg.

Thomas Shields received limited opportunities for
book knowledge while young. At the age of about
sixteen he went into the busy world to carve out a
fortune for himself, and began learning the hatter's
trade. This, however, he discontinued upon the death
of his father, and for some time thereafter, with his
brothers, took contracts on the Morris Canal, which
was then being built.

On Feb. 18, 1830, he was united in marriage to Miss
Fanny, daughter of Abraham and Anna (Gates) Claw-
son, of Hackettstown. She was born March 3, 1812.
Her father was born on Schooley's Mountain, where
he resided during the early part of his life, but for
twenty-seven years was a farmer on what was known
as the Jacob Miller farm, near Hackettstown. He
died Aug. 10, 1838, in his seventy-second year of
age. His wife died June 8, 1832, in the sixty-first
year of her age.

The first year after his marriage Mr. Shields built
the planes near Port Colden for the canal. In 1831
he removed to Beattystown, in the township of Mans-
field, and settled on a farm of sixty-eight acres, left
him by his father, to which he afterwards added eighty
acres, making his farm to contain about one hundred
and forty acres. Upon this homestead he resided until
his death, which occurred Sept. 21, 1880. After his
settlement on this place he set about putting it under



James Fisher, father of John B., was born at Staun-
ton, Augusta Co., Va., Jan. 11, 1790. In early life he
learned the saddler's trade. He first went to Beatyestown
in 1809, and there followrd this business. While there
he married Hannah B., daughter of Elisha and grand-
daughter of James Bird, of that place, who were among
the early residents of Beatyestown. Her mother was
Rachel Osmun, born Sept. 7, 1751. Her father was born
May 8, 1753. She was born April 5, 1794. After his
marriage, James Fisher removed to Hackettstown, where
he carried on his trade and kept a hotel. Following
1817 he was a resident for a short time of Beatyestown,
German Valley, and Budd's Lake, and for six years he
resided in New York City. On April 1, 1831, he re-
turned with his family to lieatyestown, purchased the
farm property of the heirs of his father-in-law's estate,
and upon it resided until his death, which occurred July
12, 1870. After his return to Beatyestown he worked
at his trade as a saddler in connection with farming dur-
ing his active life as a business man. He took quite an
active part in political matters, was justice of the peace
for several years, and for five years he served as judge
of the Court of Common Pleas. His wife died Nov. 13,

John B., son of James Fisher, was born in Hacketts-
town, on July 10, 1817. He received a good common-
school education during his boyhood. At the age of six-
teen he began to learn the harness trade with his father,
which lie followed for some fifteen years. On Feb. 7,
185G, he married Sarah, daughter of William and Eliza-
beth (Harm) Hance, who resided in Mansfield township,

Warren Co. ; she was born Sept. 4, 1823. The children
born of this union are James, a student-at-law in the
office of R. S Price, Hackettstown, and Hannah. Mr.
Fisher succeeded to the homestead estate of his father,
a part of which lies on the east sido of the Museoneteong
River in Morris County.

In 1864 he opened a magnetic iron ore mine on a part
of his farm in Morris County, which proved a profitable
enterprise both on account of the quality of the mineral
and its easy accessibility. This he worked until 1870.
In 1868, in company with Thomas Shields and John C.
Miller, he opened a hematite iron ore mine on the prop-
erty of Thomas Shields, which this firm worked for some
threo years, when he disposed of his interest to the Thomas
Iron Company, at Hokendauqua, Pa. During this part-
nership Mr. Fisher, in partnership with John C. Miller,
carried on mercantile business and milling at Beatyes-
town, and after the withdrawal of Mr. Miller from the
firm Mr. Fisher carried on these interests for four years
more ; since which time he has rented the mill and storo
property. Mr. Fisher was one of the organizers and has
been president of the Hackettstown Mutual Fire Insur-
ance Company since its establishment; for many years
he has been a director of the First National Bank at
Hackettstown. Politically he is a Democrat, and has
been honored by the citizens of his township with the
office of justice of the peace for some twenty years in
succession. Squire Fisher, as he is familiarly known, is
a frank, sociable, and unostentatious man, and his in-
tegrity in all his business relations makes him esteemed
by all who know him.



agoodstateofcultivation.andin coarse of time erected
the buildings to be seen on the farm in 1880. One

small barn was built of timbers taken from the old
Presbyterian church edifice at Hackettstown. In con-
nection with bis farming he carried on quite exten-
sively, at times, droving, purchasing his stock of cattle
and sheep here, and sending lo Newark and New York

Mr. Shields opened a hematite-., re mine on a part
of his farm in 1 368, a second one in 1870, and flu
third one on the farm he purchased of the Stewart M.
Brown estate, which had been opened prior to 1877.
For the first few year- alter these mines were opened
he sold his ore, which was taken to Hokendauqua, Pa.,
but during the last few years it has been taken to
Hackettstown and Stanhope, where it is smelted and
manufactured into iron. The ore taken from these
mines lias proved by analysis to be of a superior
quality, and the quantity of ore, and it.s easy accessi-
bility, have made this property very valuable.

Mr. Shields was a man of good business talent, and
active and energetic in everything he undertook to
accomplish. Hi- business relations through life made
him well known throughout Warren and adjoining
Counties, and during lii- -uece - ful business career his

integrity and honor for fair dealing were never ques-
tioned. He was interested in, and a promoter of,
every local enterprise that tended to benefit society,
and bis kindness to the laborer and his indulgence
to bis debtors will be lasting tributes to the good
man'- memory. In him the poor man had a friend,

and his employees, Of whom there were many, found

an honest man. He was a member of the Presby-
terian congregation al Hackettetown, and a contribu-
tor to the church i Is. His wife has been for many

ber of that church.

Mr. Shields was politically a Democrat, but never

u.i- solicitous of any official preferment, and never

held office, although often urged to accept positions
of honor ami trust. He was unostentatious in his
ways ami sociable and gentlemanly in his relations

with other men, and, while he sought hi- own happi-
ness and comfort, he was unwilling to secure that end

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 185 of 190)