James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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veins, however, have been worked to any great ex-
tent, and it is impossible to correctly approximate
their true standard. There is an abundance of lime-
stone throughout the township, of which large quan-
tities are constantly being quarried and sold to the
furnaces and for use as a fertilizer. In fact, the soil
of nearly all the farming land is largely composed of
the disintegrated limestone. This rock extends from
the Pequest Valley well up the slope of the hillsides,
where a dark slate crops out.

Among those who have kilus and burn lime are
James F. Boyd, S. A. Cummins, Harvey Fleming,
A. J. Cummins, E. Simonton, L. Merrill, D. Roe, S.
Green, P. Cummins, R. Ayers, J. N. Lenerburg, R.
Ayers, Jr., J. F. Ketcham, P. Larkins, A. Howell,
M. Wise, and others.


From all the facts that can be learned, Independ-
ence had a settlement many years prior to the Revo-
lutionary war, though it was meagre and scattered.
Among the first who made this township their home
were Philip, Christian, and John Cummins. The
exact year of their location is not known, but it was
as early as the outbreak of the struggle with Great
Britain. They were men who acquired property and
standing in the community. These three brothers
settled in what is now known as Vienna. During
the first war with England a Tory named Jeremiah



Moody was an active worker against the colonies,
and spent much of his time in hunting up unpro-
tected patriots and making them swear allegiance to
the crown. Moody would call on Philip Cummins
at regular intervale and make him take tin- oath,
although it was will known among his relations thai
his sympathies were with the colonies. These visits

would generally occur in the night, and Moody was

often accompanied by some of bis Torj associate -.

one- of whom, on on tcasion, discharged his gnu ai

Philip, hut Moody struck up the barrel and saved

his life. Philip's BOns were Christian, Matthias.
John, and Jacoh. Andrew. I., Simon A., and Nel-
son X. were suns of Jacob Cummins. Three other
sons IE this family were Addi: Dam I, and hu-hard.
Daniel lived on whal is now called Trimmer's l-laud,
in the Great .Meadows. Richard lived at Schmuck's

saw-mill, ai the head of the Greal Meadows, tv

whence he moved to Fulton Co., III., in 1884. An-
drew .1. t 'uminiiis' mother ua- a daughter of Pichard

Thomas Fleming, the ancestor of the Fleming
family in Warren County, came from County Ty-
rone, in the northern part of Ireland, in about the
year 1746, and settled iii Amwell, Hunterdon Co.;
two of his lirothcrs. Andrew and Samuel, also settled
there, Samuel heing the first settler in what is ii"»
Flemington, and from whom the town derived its


Thomas Fleming; had three children, — namely,
James, Thomas, and Margaret, who came to War-
ren ( lounty (then Susses) prior to the Revolution.

Thomas married and settled in what is now Hope
township, and reared a large family, whose descend-
ants are still numerous in that vicinity.

Margaret Fleming married Andrew Van Why, who
lived in the township of Independence, and raised a
Family of five children, one of whom, .lames, owned
the Townshurv mill property for several years, and
until his death, in IK.1l). Several descendants of the
Van Why family still live in the county.

James Fleming, who was born in 17-M. also settled
in Independence township about the year 177"', and

died in Vienna in May, 1840, aged eighty-live years
and seven months. II, married Flizabeth, the young-
est daughter of John i loryell, « ho was the oldest son

of Emmanuel Coryell, who in 17-".:: became tl wner

of the ferry at Lambertville, Hunterdon Co., famous
during the Revolution as ■• < lorj ell's Ferry."

Elizabeth (Coryell I Fleming was born June li, 176!t,
and died Sept. 21, 1889. The children born of this
marriage were John ('. Fleming, December, L798,
died April, 1878; Mary, December, 1798, died in
1818; Nancy, August. 1796, died March, 1877; Mar-
garet, August, L798, died January, |K7b; Amelia,

July, L801, died March, 1881 ; Harvey, October,

lso:',, still living in Independence; Sarah N. ami
William II. a second pair of twins, January. 1808,

died in infancy. The farm on which Harvey Flem-

ing now resides was purchased of Samuel Hackett
(for whom Hackett-town was named I, and has been in
ion of the Fleming family for over a century.
Two brother- named Yliet — Daniel and William —
settled near Danville previous to the beginning ot tie
presi nt century. Daniel was quite a prominent man
in the early day-. IF- served as a private soldier in
the Revolutionary war, was afterwards appointed a

major in the militia, and was elected to the Legisla-
ture. He was also chosen a Presidential elector on

the Democratic ticket when Andrew Jackson was

elected for hi ■ I term. He had two son- who

grew to manhood, — William and John. William
Vliet, brother of Daniel, lived about one mile above
Vienna. Their descendants are among the promi-
nent citizens of Independence at this time.

The Avers were also early settlers in the neighbor-
h I of Vienna. Aaron Aver- lived about one mile

and a half east of thai place, towards Hackettstown,

and his brother E/.ckiel also resided on the road

between the two town-.

Joseph Coryell was one of the oldest inhabitants

who lived above Danville, mar to the Hope township

line. As a man of local promine he was -■ :ond to

none in his day. He was surveyor, justice of thi

and a member of the State Legislature. His most

active business career ended some live year- before
his death, which occurred about 1830.

Among the men who deserve a prominent place in
this history is Judge Aaron Robertson, wdio has
resided for some years past in the edge of Morris
County, just across the Musconetcong River from
Beattystown. He was born in 1803, in what is now
known as the Quaker settlement in Ailamuchy town-
ship. His father came IV Scotland, near Paisley,

on the Clyde, and settled in the place above men-
tioned. He lived at one time in the house now-
owned by Jesse Adams, who is mentioned in connec-
tion with the history of Ailamuchy. Judge Etobert-
BOH had three brothers and two sisters, — namely,

Archibald, Joseph, Charles, Nancy, and Euphemia.
They continued to reside in the "settlement" until

lsiio, when the family moved to what is now Inde-
pendence, and bought the farm owned at this time by

Dr. Conover. Judge Robertson had but few oppor-
tunities of gaining knowledge from books. He lir-t
went to school in an old building everj vestige of

which has long since passed away. It was located
about one mile west of his father's hoii-e. His first
teacher there was Henry Harold, an irishman, who
taught in 1811. To this primal education was added

a lew term- spent in the common Bel Is of Hack-
ettstown. In L889, Mr. Robertson was appointed
surrogate of Wan-en County, and served in this

capacity live year-. In 1845 he WBjB appointed

of the Court of Errors and Appeal-, which position

he held for three year-.

( >m incident t hinlon: interest appertaining to this

\ icinity aeems ne> , r to have found it- way into print.



During the Revolutionary rear, when Gen. Burgoyne's
army were made prisoners at Saratoga, N. Y., there
was danger of their being retaken. To prevent this
(for it was well known that Sir Henry Clinton was
hurrying troops up to their aid) the prisoners were
pressed forward as fast as possible through New York
and New Jersey en route southward to their desti-
nation in Virginia. As the prisoners were moving
along the road between Allamuchy and Hackettstown,
and passing that particular point on the road known
as the Allamuchy Pond, one of the prisoners, named
Philip Hoffman, stepped behind the large rock so
well remembered by those who are familiar with
the road, and remained concealed until the guard had
passed. The fact of being among strangers and in
an enemy's country did not dishearten him, for he
settled down in Independence, and there spent the
rest of his life. He died some years since a few miles
from Hackettstown.


Nearly all the main roads of Independence were
laid out prior to the year 1800, and there have been
few changes since. The location of the township is
such that roads must be built in certain localities or
not be useful to the public, on account of the range
of hills situated between the greater part of the farming
settlement and the railroad. Through the absence of
the township records from 1782 till 1853 we are unable
to give many interesting items which we could other-
wise upon this subject. The road from Hacketts-
town to Vienna and Danville is the oldest one in
the township ; it was built many years prior to the
Revolution. The next main road of this section, the
one running through Danville up the valley of the
Pequest towards Newton, was laid out many years
before the township was formed or the county sepa-
rated from Sussex. There is an item of expense,
taken from the proceedings of the board of chosen
freeholders, which pertains to the bridge over the
Pequest between the Methodist Episcopal church
and Vienna :

"Ordered that the sum of seven pounds be paid by the county collec-
tor to Obadiah Ayers, in addition to twenty-five pounds already paid him
for building a bridge over the Pequest near Philip Cummins."

This was a wooden structure, long since replaced
by a substantial stone bridge.


This township was set off from Hardwick in 1782.
Its original limits have been changed or curtailed
to a considerable extent, and over one-half its terri-
tory has been taken away. In 1853, Hackettstown
was taken from the southeast part of the township.
In 1873, Allamuchy was set off, which took nearly
half of the remainder.

The records of the township, from its organiza-
tion in 1782 to 1853, have been lost (or destroyed) ; so
that we are unable to give a full list of township of-
ficers. The names of the chosen freeholders from

1783 to 1822 have been obtained from the ancient
county records of Sussex County, while those from
1825 to 1881 have been taken from the freeholders'
records of Warren County.

1783, Obadiah Ayers, Adam Misener; 1784-86, Obadiah Ayers, Capt.
Johnson ; 1787-89, Obadiah Ayers, William Helms; 1790-01, Obadiah
Ayers, Montgomery Riding; 1794-1800, William Helms, Daniel
Yliet; 1801-2, Montgomery Hiding, Daniel Vliet; 1803-11, Mont-
gomery Riding, John Robertson; 1812, Robert W. Rutherford, Wil-
liam Hampton; 1813, Joseph Demund. William Hampton; 1814,
Daniel Vliet, William Hampton; 1815, Benjamin Gustin, William
Hampton; 1816, Robert W. Rutherford, Jacob Miller; 1817-18,
Robert W. Rutherford, Ziba Osmun ; 1819-20, Robert W. Rutherford,
Robert Thompson; 1821-22, Robert W. Rutherford, John Stinson;
1825-27, John Schmuck, Robert Thompson; 1828-29, Ross Crane,

Daniel Vliet ; 1830, Nathan Stiger, ; 1 831-33, Nathan Stiger,

Archibald Ayres; 1834-35, Jacob Clawson, John Vliet; 1836-38,
Jacob Clawson, William Larason; 1839, Jacob Clawson, John H.
Fleming; 1840-42, Henry L. Pownell, Christian W. Cummins; 1S43,
Henry L. Pownell, Caleb H. Valentine ; 1844, Jonathan Shotwell,
James Boyd; 1845, Jonathan Shotwell, C. H. Valentine; 1846-47,
Samuel Beatty, James Boyd; 1S4S, John Blackwell, James Boyd;
1849, Abraham A. Van Sickle, John T. Buckley; 1850, Abraham A.
Van Sickle, Caleb H. Valentine; 1851, Daniel Van Buskirk, Tunis
Allen; 1852, Daniel Van Buskirk; 1863-57, William F. Wire; 1858-
60, Eugene J. Post; 1861-62, Daniel Green ; 1863-64, Lewis H. Mar-
tenis; 1865, Robert Ayers, Sr. ; 1866-68, Christian C. Huntsman;
1869-71, J. N. Linaberry; 1872-74, John F. Van Sickle; 1875-78,
Robert Ayres, Jr.; 1879-80, Robert Ayers, Sr. ; 1881, John Men-ell.

The following are the names of some of the early
town collectors of Independence, with the amount of
tax assessed for the years named :

£ s. d.

1783, William Little 518 13 8

1784, " " 227 16 2

1785, Abraham Johnson 377 2 3

1786, Samuel Willson 2<U 18 3

1787, " " 296 2 9

1788, Ebenezer Willson 289 2 4

1789, Samuel Lundy 360 10 9

1790, William Helni6 242 10

£2576 16 2

The names of the other principal officers of the
township since 1850 are as follows :

1850-52, George W. Johnson ; 1 853, Benjamin Hall ; 1854, Robert L. Gar-
rison ; 1855-57, James Shotwell ; 1858-63, Robert L. Garrison ; 1864-
66, Lewis Merrell; 1867-69, Andrew V. Sexton; 1870, Felix C. Pyle;
1871, Perry Yliet; 1872-73, Andrew V. Sexton ; 1874-80, William A.
Harris; 1881, Justin N. Stiff.

1850, Tunis Allen ; 1851, Caleb H. Valentine ; 1852-56, Robert L. Garri-
son; 1856, David Fleming; 1857-63, John R. Carr; 1864-66, Alfred
Albortson; 1866, D. V. Muring; 1867-75, R. L. Garrison; 1876-80, 0.
II. Albertson ; 1881, John C. Lufaucherie.

1850-52, Dennis T. Wicoff; 1853-54, Isaac Newton; 1855-60, Moses Ha-
zen; 1861, Simon A. Cummins; 1802, J. Till; 1863-65, James Shot-
well ; 1806-67, D. A. Van Syckle; 1868-69, John F. MeClellan; 1870
-77, Ezra P. Gulick ; 1878-81, Robert Ayres, Jr.

1851.— Daniel Van Buskirk, William Rittouhouse, C. 0. Harris, Isaac

Shields, Samuel A. Johnson, James A. Hamilton.
1853. — Isaac Cummins, James Boyd, C. O. Harris, John Scott, Samuel A.

1854.— Isaac Cummins, M. W. Shotwell, E. J. Post, Richard Hall, James

1855. — Isaac Cummins, M. W. Shotwell, E. J. Post, Martin Ditrich, John



—^ytl^ —

ROBERT Ayk.rs is the grcat-grcnt-grandson of Oba- '
duili Avi'i'-, who, with his brothers Ezekiel' and Wil-
liam, emigrated to this country from Aberdeen, Scotland,
uboul the year 1720. Obadiah settled at Baek'ettstown,
Ezekiel' at Basking Ridge, Somerset Co., and William
in Pennsylvania, opposite Belvidere. Their descendants
are numerous. Ezekiel 2 Avers, son of Obadiah, was
among the early and influential settlers at Hackettstown.
Be was h miller by occupation, and built and operated
one of the first mills at Backettstown. He died Aug.
6, 1796, in bis sixty-seventh year, and bis wife, Annethe,
on Nov. 27, 1778, in her forty Beventb year. Both are
interred In the old Presbyterian burying-ground at

Ezekiel 3 Vyers, »oii of Kx.-ki.l, was born in the year
1766, and became u large landowner and influential

fur r in what is now Independence township, residing

on tiir road leading from Hackettstown to Vienna.
His wife was Lena Eich, and bis children Robert, Wil-
liam, Abraham, John, Ezekiel*, Mary, who married

William Shotwell, and Sarah, who become the wife of
William Little, of Independence. He died Aug. 21,

Is:'.."., MfCd riu-htv years, eight months, and ftvfl days.

Robert Ayers, the father of the subject of this sketch,
was horn in the year 1789, and was also an influential
ami wealthy farmer in Independence township. Bis
wife was Catharine < 'liver, and his children Ezekiel 6 ,
Daniel S, Robert, Archibald, James, and Catharine,
who married John Trimmer, residing mar Backetts-
town. Besides his funning pursuits, Roberl Ayers en-
gaged considerably in the manufacturing business a(
Whitehall, in Independence township, where he carried
on tanning, the making »f wool cloth, and a grist-mill.
lie died Mar.'h 18, 1864, asied seventy-flve yi u
months, and live days Bis wife died Dec. ID, l s IT.
aged fiftj seven years, b'ix months, and m\ days.

Robert Aver*, son of Robert, was born on his father's
farm, in Independence township, on Peb 26, 1814. Be
enjoyed the boneflts of a common-school education, and
until the age of twenty-four remained on the paternal

farm. Prom that time until be attained the age of
twenty-seven be worked with his father in the woolen
manufacture at "Whitehall. In 1841 be located on the
farm where he now resides, recoiving n large gift ol
land from his father, to which he Mibseipiently added.

lie i- now one ot the representative leading agricultur-
ists of the township, ownim; about Ave hundred acres
of land, including four line farms, lie is recognized as
a busy and indusl rious spirit, progressive and liberal in
his views, of strict integrity, and is justly one of the
nio-t popular men of bis township. He is a liberal -op-
porter of the various benevolent and philanthropic en-
terprises of the day, and a member of the Christian
Church of Vienna, of which he lias been both trustee
and older. He has been n Democrat from his birth, and
actively identified with the purposes and movements of
thai party. Be has filled the various township offices in
1 ndependence ; was freeholder a score of years ago, and
in 1^7^ was again elected to thai office, of which be is
the present Incumbent.

Mr. Aver- was married, on Aug. 81, 1 k :57. to Mali nd a,
daughter of Jacob, and granddaughter of Philip Cum-
mins, one of the first Bottlers of Independence township.

Sic- was born July 6, 1819. He has had twelve children

of whom the oldest only i- dead, -viz., Maria K., born
July 24, 1888, married Daniel Vliet, of Prelinghuysen
township, died Bent. 12, 1864. The others are Catharine
M., born Hoc. in. 1889, wife of William Mott, of
Bard wick township; Harriet B., born September, 1840,
wife of George W. Lundy, of Krelinghuyson town-hip :
Jacob, born June 26, 1848, farming in Independence;
Nelson, bom June 16, 1845, residing in Independence;
Emma A., born July 10, 1847, wife of Jncoh Shields,
of Backetut »wn ; Justina A., born April 16, 1848, wire
of Cnleb Ingorsol, of Bardwlck ; Mann, la A., born
May 28, 1852; Simon A., born duly 14, 18VS, farming
in Independence; Andrew J., born Del 14, 1866, living

on home-farm; and Isabella and Mabel, bom tttj I".

i be latter being the wife ol Louis Schonck, of In-

dependence township.



1850.— Isaac Cummins, M. W. Shotwell, B, I.. Carri»ou, Blcliard Hall,

John Scott.
.857.— E. J. Port, M. W. Shotwell, B, l.<..,.o- Martin Dltrlch, John

1868.— S. A. Cummin., James Shotwell, D. B. 1 Int. Martin Ditricb, D. V.

I860.— 8. A. Cummin*, James Shotwell, Lewis Barnes, Richard Hall, D.

V. Mining.
iMji.—s. A. "'uiiiniliu, James Shotwell, Lewi- Barnes, Joho Dean, 1>. V.

1861.— C. C. Huntsman, Jaroee Shotwell, Dewli Barnes, John Dean.D. V.

1862.— C. C. Huntsman, James Shotwell, L. II. Umtonlns, John Dean,

Sllun Yonng.
1863.— C. C. Huntsman, S. A. Cinnnilns, Isaac Cummins, Thomas Titu«,

Sllae Y> g.

18M.—C. C. nuutenian, S. A. Cummins, Isaac Cummins, Robert Ayres,

Jr., Silas Young.
1865.— JX V. Maring, Paul Angel, Isaac Cumnilns, E. H. Warbss, A -

1860-07.— David Fleming, Paul Angel, Isaac Cui Ins, James Shotwell,

Sj li anns L i» rem e.
1808.— Davi.l Fleming, Paul Angel, Isaac Cnmmlns, James Shotwell,

Ban P. Gullck.
1809.— Davi.l Fleming, David \. Harlng, [saai I urn . James Sliot-

well, Ears I'. Gnlick.
1870.— David Fleming, David V. Marlog, Isaac Cummlua, i: Uuorer, M.

C. Titus.
1871.— Davlil Fleming, Unvi.l V. Maring. John Cnmmlns, K. Hoover, M.

C. Titus
1872.— Davlil Fleming, David V. Maring. John Cnmmlns, E. Hoover,

ra b Aj ana
1873.— S. A. C mine, John Merrill, J. F. Cummins, J. Searlea, Jacob

1874.— Davi.l Fleming, John Merrill, J. F. Cummins, M. H. WI

1875.— David Fleming, John Merrill, J. F. Cummins, M. II. Wise, Jacob

' Avers.

1876-77.— David Flaming, J. K. v.i.i Sickle, J. F. Onm is, H. n. Wise,

Q.W, '■■
1878.— J. V. Cnmmlns, M. II. Wise, 0. W. Wilson.

SO. ^Jolin Merrill, J. N. Blackwell, James F. Boyd.

D V. a Orate, John B. Titus; 1856, Isaac Newton, John R. Carr:

1888, Daniel (■ 1880, J. t. Van Syckol; 1885, David V. Maring;

1887,0 H. Albertson, I . I Huntsman 1870, J. F. Van Syckel, D. V.
, , 1878,0. n.Allwrl«..n; ls7.->, J. !■'. Van Sv.k.l ; 1.-7.-. C. II.
n;l W, B I Qullck.


one of the two \ illages located in [ndependence town-
ship, is situated in the western part, near the Hope
township line. It contains a hotel, two -tores, post-
office, blacksmith-shop, undertaker's shop, cabinet-
shop, and wagonmaker's shop. It has a population
of over 100 souls.

The Crane Iron Company, who own large irmi-
rovnes in Hope township, have a fine Btore here,
win -h brings considerable trade. The hotel is kepi
by !■'. N. Martensis; it is an old building, erected
early n the present century. It is surrounded by a
beautiful and fertile country, bul the commerce of the
place goee to Hackettstown, where arc found ship-
ping facilities.

There has been a post-office here fora little over
forty years. Daniel Van Buskirk, al one time sheriff,
was influential in securing it. and was the firsl post-


is situated one mile southeast of Danville, and con-
tains 150 population. It has one long, beautiful

lined with houses ami gardens "" either side. I
are two churches, a post-office, and a Bton kept by
I:.,!., it Ayr.-, Jr. 'I'll- re i- a foundry here in success-
ful operation, also a rim-factory, where rims for wheels
are bent. It boasts of no hotel, ami the people of
both Vienna and Danville are very temperate, allow-
ing no licensed saloons in their midst.

[ts settlement was at a very early date, as has been
mentioned heretofore in this history. On a stone
still standing in a place onee used as a graveyard
appear- this inscription - - I i. Wiggins, died 1742."
He was probably one of the very first settlers at
Vienna, but nothing more is known of him than is
to be learned from the inscription, nearly obliterated,
found in a long- forgotten bury ing-ground. In L800
the village contain* .1 sis houses ; one, a part of which
is still standing, is occupied by A. J. Cummins; one
Stood on the sit.- of Benjamin Hall's residence, then
owned by J. F. Cummins; two were situate. I near
the residence of Lewis Merrill, owned by Christian
Cummins; a log house across the road from these;
and a house on the lot of Elisha M. Bartron. In the
last named the village blacksmith lived, and his Bhop

n/as mar by. A -liort distance away was a cemetery.

of which there is no trace left.

In April. L889, Fisher Stedman, Henry Vreeland;

and Henry J. Valines* purchas.il a small piece of land
.hi the north hank of the Pequest Creek, near Vienna,
mi which there was an old saw-mill which had been
standing many years. They removed the old mill,
and in 1840 erected a large and substantia] saw- and
turning-mill. This they operated for twenty-five
years, ami for the most part of the time with success.

It was destroyed by lire about the year 1SI,."..
PI 1 1 RSBl BO,

.,r Cat Swamp. BS it i- commonly known, is a small

hamlet,— a cluster of farm-houses, a district school-
house, and a blacksmith-shop.

There is ..nc living in Vienna. Dr. Jacob I. Roe
came here in 1872 from Busses Co., NT. J., was a grad-
uate Of the College of Physicians and Surgeon-. New
York, and has established a g 1 practice. Dr. Wil-
liam I. Roe, father of the above mentioned, came

here in about 1X.10, and practiced in connection with
Dr. Campbell for a short time, and leaving went to
Sussex County, and again returned to Vienna about

1-7". buying out Dr. L. < '. Bowlby. The last named
came to Vienna in about I860, and during the war
was Burgeon in the army. Returning from the war,
he practiced till about 1870, then went to Hacketts-
town, where he died in l v , -'.

vii.— schools.

Bul little can be said respecting the early -, 1 Is of

[ndependence. One of the oldest school-houses used



by this community stood on the road which runs up
the side of the Jenny Jump Mountain. John Arm-
strong taught there about 1825. Prior to 1800 a
school-house stood on the east side of the township,
and one of the teachers, as early as 1810, was Henry
Harold. Most of the youths who desire more than
& common-school education go to Hackettstown and
Blairstown, where are schools of a higher grade.

The county superintendent's official report for the
year 1879 of the schools of Independence is as follows :

Name and Number of





















On the 10th day of May, 1810, a piece of land was
purchased from John Cummins for the sum of thirty

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 187 of 190)