James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 46 of 190)
Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 46 of 190)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

given by Mr. Edsall is undoubtedly too early by at
least ten or a dozen years. The precise date at which
Robert Ogden, Jr., began to practice in the Sussex
courts is not known ; it was probably about the time
his father settled in Sparta. Elmer, in his " Reminis-
cences of the Bench and Bar of New Jersey," speaks
of him as follows: "Robert Ogden, Jr., was a lawyer
and had a large practice, and was called ' the honest
lawyer.' He was disabled by a fall in childhood,
which prevented him from active service in the field ;
but he was a quartermaster and commissioner of stores,
in which capacities he rendered good service, giving
his time, talents, money, and credit freely to supply
the army." This relates to his career at Elizabeth-
town during part at least of the Revolution ; and, as
no mention is made of him at an earlier date in any
of the proceedings of the courts of Sussex, we con-
clude that he did not settle in this county until towards
the close of the Revolution. He first appears as a
member of the State Council from this county in 1778
and 1779; in 1790 he was a member of the Assembly,
with Aaron Hankinson and John Rutherford, after
which his name does not appear in the legislative

i|T Elmer's " Reminiscences," p. 139. Wo find in a sketch of the early
history of Morris County an allusion to the attempts to destroy the fur-
naces which wore of such great service to the Americans during the
Revolution. The author says, " Some of the attempts were by Tories,
led by Claudius Smith, who once threatened Mount Hope, and who actu-
ally robbed Unbcrl Ogdm between Sparta anil Hamburg, Charles Holt at H i-
bernla, and Hobort Erskino at ltiugwood."



archives. K appears from the records of the Sussex
i mum i;. Bible Society thai he was president of that
Organization in 1825. He died in 1826.

Hon. John Cleves S^ mmes.— The subjecl of this
(totice never practiced law in Sussex County, but was
one of the judges of the County Courts before the
Revolution down to tin- year 1777. Mr was a son of
Rev. Timothy Symmes, of Scituate, Mass., who grad-
uated at Harvard College in the year 17:;::. and in
L742 aettled at River Head, L. I. Rev. Timothy

yCTiy^ (^^<^\J7yj-rT>


Symmes had one other Bon, Timothy, who was judge
of the Common I'leas of Sussex from 1777 to 1 7 '. » 1 .
having been appointed in the place of his brother,
John Cleves Symmes, who resigned the position to
accept an appointment on the bench of the Supreme

John « Sieves Symmes was a delegate from this county
in i he Provincial Congress, and tool an active part in
framing the State constitution of 1776. He was ap-
pointed one of the justices of the Bupreme Court in
February, 1777. In 1784 and 1785 he was a delegate
to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, still re-
taining his position as justice of the Supreme ( lourt

One of his letters in Governor Livingston, detailing
his proceedings in the Courts of Oyer and Terminer
of Hunterdon and < lumberland in L778, will be found
in " The New Jer-ey Revolutionary Correspondence,"
l>. 185. Several persons were convicted of treason and
sentenced to death, but whether any of them were ex-
ecuted is now nnl, noun. He presided in 1782 at the

court held in Westfield, Essex Co., for the trial of
James Morgan, arraigned for the murder of B
.lam,- Caldwell. The shooting of this gentleman
was one of those tragic events of the Revolution
which excited the deepest sympathy of the commu-
nity. He was the Presbyterian minister at Elizabeth-
town, a zealous Whig, and was chaplain of the North-
ern army in the fall of 177o. lie returned to the

State and was incessantly engaged in his parochial
and public duties, and was perhaps the most popular
man with the army ami the people generally in his

neighliorh 1. In 1780 his wife was shot in her house

by British soldiers. < hi the 24th of November, 1781,
he was Bhot through the heart, ami immediately killed,
at Elizabethtown Point, by Morgan, who was then in
service as a militiaman, ami who claimed to have been
on duty as a sentinel ami to have shot him because he
persisted in passing him when required to stop. Mor-
gan was an Irishman ami a Catholic, and in the excite-
ment which prevailed at the time he was tried — about
six weeks after the act was committed — he had but

little chance for his life, whether guilty or not. He
was defended by Col. De Hart, but after a full and
fair trial, said by those present to have been remark-
ably solemn, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and
he was sentenced to be hung. This sentence w as car-
ried into execution on the 29th of January, after he
had been conducted to the church, where a sermon
was preached by Rev. Jonathan Elmer, according to
a custom then prevailing.

In 1788, Judge Symmes was chosen by Congress
one of the judges of the Northwest Territory, and

shortly afterwards re ved to Ohio. In connection

with Jonathan Dayton, Elias Boudinot, Dr. Clark-
son, and other New Jerseymen, he purchased of < lon-
gress a large tract of land between the two Miami
Rivers, containing nearly two hundred and fifty thou-
sand :i,i',-. and comprising the sites of the ]■ resent

cities of Cincinnati and Dayton. He established his
own residence at the North Bend of the < Ihio and laid
out a city there, but Cincinnati, becomings military
post soon after, took the precedence in growth and
became the great city. North I'.eml is chiefly noted
as the place of residence of William Henry Harrison,
afterwards President of the United states, who mar-
ried Judge Symmes' daughter. Judge Syinmc- died
in |s||.al the age of seventy-two.

Judge Symmes was horn at River Head, L. I.. July

21, 1742. He married, for his first wife. Anna Tut-

hill, daughter of Henry Tuthill. of Southold, I.. I.

From this marriage there were two daughters, Maria
and Anna, the former of whom married Peyton Short,
of Kentucky, ami the latter William Henry Harrison.
After the death of his ti,-t wife Judge Symmi

lied the "widow HaNcy," who lived only a few year-.
His third wife was Susanna, daughter of lion. Wil-


lull ;,. ■ .i,l„l. 1>. -I ITS';.

ii, pp. (71



liana Livingston, Governor of New Jersey, and sister
to the wife of the celebrated John Jay.*

Judge Timothy Symmes, of Walpack, is thus
spoken of by Mr. Edsall: 'Timothy Symmes, a
brother of John C, was an active man in the Revo-
lution, and a judge of our courts. He was the father
of John Cleve Symmes, Jr., whose novel theory that
the earth, like an eviscerated pumpkin, was hollow — ■
that its interior was habitable, and that an orifice to
enter this terrestrial ball would undoubtedly be found
at the north pole — attracted great attention through-
out the United States some thirty years ago, more
especially as a very eloquent lawyer uamed Reynolds
became a convert to Symmes' views and made ad-
dresses in support of their soundness in all our princi-
pal cities. Poor Symmes wearied out his existence in
a vain effort to procure means for fitting an expedi-
tion to explore the inner portion of the shell of the
earth ; he gained, however, more kicks than coppers,
and succeeded only in furnishing a theme for the wits
of the land to exercise their waggery upon. ' Symmes'
Hole' not only figured in newspapers, but grog-shops
bore it upon their signs with various devices to illus-
trate it. One I recollect was the representation of a
hollow watermelon, with a tiny mouse peeping out of
the orifice at its polar extremity to see if Symmes'
expedition had yet 'hove in view.'"

This noted theorist was born in Walpack, Sussex
Co., and was named after his uncle, John Cleves
Symmes, who adopted and educated him. His father
kept one of the earliest hotels near the Delaware in
Walpack. After he was appointed judge he came to
Newton, and lived two doors above the court-house,
in what was recently known as the " Drake house,"
burned in the summer of 1880.

Job S. Halsted. — The family of Halsted is sup-
posed to be of German- Austrian descent, as the name
was originally spelled " Halstadt." However this
may be, the distinguished ancestor of the family in
New Jersey was Sir William Halsted, of England,
who was an admiral in the British navy and knighted
for some valuable service. The crest is still in the
possession of the family.

Timothy Halsted came to this country during the
early history of the colonies, and at first settled on
Long Island. A large tract of land was afterwards
purchased by the family at Elizabethtown, N. J.,
upon which Caleb, son of Timothy Halsted, located ;
this he owned and cultivated.

Caleb Halsted's wife was Rebecca Ogden, who was
an aunt of Robert Ogden, of Sussex County, and also
of Col. Aaron Ogden, of Revolutionary fame.

To Caleb and Rebecca Halsted were born five sons
and five daughters, of whom Dr. Robert Halsted was
eldest. He was born at Elizabethtown, N. J., Sept.
13, 1746, and was graduated at Princeton College.
He was a distinguished physician of that town, and a

illtury record ill Chapter IX. of the general hintory.

zealous and fearless citizen in the gloomy days of the
contest with Great Britain, conspicuous for his exer-
tions and sufferings in the cause of liberty, it having
been his lot to endure the horrors of confinement on
board the " Jersey Prison-Ship." On one occasion a
notorious Tory informed against him, as a rebel and
an aider and upholder of rebellion, and he was tem-
porarily lodged in the old sugar-house, in Liberty
Street, New York City. On another occasion he
saved the life of Col. Aaron Ogden, who had been
seriously wounded by the Hessians while out alone
on a military reconnoisance. He was grave, and by
some is spoken of as stern, yet he was by all admired
and respected, and was a patriot at a time when the
title bore a significant and an eloquent meaning.
His younger brother, Caleb, was also an eminent
physician, born Sept. 15, 1752. On July 15, 1825,
while confined to his house on account of illness, he
received a visit from Gen. Lafayette, and had the
pleasant honor of entertaining that famous son of

Dr. Robert Halsted's first wife was Mary Wiley,
whom he married April 15, 1773. She was born Dec.
17, 1750, and died May 4, 1785. The children born
of this union were Job Stockton, Molly Tillinghast,
Rebecca Ogden, William Wiley, and Robert Wiley.
His second wife was Mary Mills, born Feb. 20, 1763,
whom he married Oct. 1, 1787. The children born of
this union were William Mills, Caleb Pierson, Mat-
thias Ogden, Jacob Reading, and Hannah Mills.

Job Stockton, eldest son of Dr. Robert and Mary
(Wiley) Halsted, was born in Elizabethtown, N. J.,
March 4, 1774. At the proper age he became a stu-
dent in the law-office of Col. Aaron Ogden, a distin-
guished soldier and officer in the Revolutionary war,
and prominent as a lawyer in New Jersey. He was
admitted to the bar in 1795, and as counselor in 1798,
and shortly after his admission he removed to New-
ton, N. J., where for nearly half a century he prac-
ticed his profession and performed the duties of a
good citizen with exemplary faithfulness. Whatever
trust was reposed in him was honorably fulfilled;
whatever enterprise of public utility was started found
in him an ardent advocate ; whatever project of phi-
lanthropy needed the fostering aid of the Christian or
the patriot was sure of receiving at his hands a liberal
support. The circulation of the Scriptures and the
cause of temperance were in his opinion of vital im-
portance in effecting the moral and religious regener-
ation of society, and for the promotion of these objects
he labored long and efficiently, and with a zeal that
death alone could abate. He was emphatically a
"gentleman of the old school." His principles were
formed in the school of Washington, and he had for
his preceptors the founders of our government.

His political rights he never failed to exercise. To
vote was with him a duty, and to vote honestly and
independently a matter of conscience. No consider-
ation of self, no morbid ambition to attain the higher


^tX^i^Z^ (™y>



seats in the political synagogue, ever sullied hi* pub-
lic conduct or cast a shade upon the purity of his

In 1832, as a member oi' the National Committee,
he cordially joined in nominating Henry Clay for the
Presidency, ami In- remained to the la-t an earnest
friend and advocate of the Statesman of the West.
Be died April 13, L844.

His wife was Ann Mclntire, who was born at Cole-
raine, near Londonderry, Ireland, March 7, 1782,
same to Philadelphia with her widowed mother
Ruling the latter part of the century, and whom he
married June 10, 1805. She died Sept. 28, 1888. The
children born of this union who grew to manhood
.- 1 r n 1 womanhood are :

1. Robert Wiley, born May 21, 18(16; graduated at
Princeton; studied law with his father; attended
law-lectures of Judge Gould, of Litchfield, Conn.,
ami after hi- admission to the bar practiced law in
Newton until his deeea-e. Nov. 19, 1829.

j. James Maner, horn .May ">, 1808; was a prosper-
ous merchant in New York ( 'ity, and is in 1XXU presi-
dent ,>r the American Fire Insurance Company of
that city.

3. Job Stockton, horn March 5, 1810; was a mer-
chant at Charleston, S. ('.. for several years; was
Subsequently in business in Bong Cong, China; on
account of ill health returned to Newton, where he
died, Feb. 7, 1846.

4. Tin. mas Mclntire, born .May 21, L811; studied
law with his lather, but in consequence of declining
health never practiced his profession. He died Feb.
18, 1837.

6. William Mills, born Oct. 7, 1812; was a mer-
chant in New York City until his death, which oc-
curred Oct 21, 1849.

6. Charles Mclntire, born April 13, 1814; was
during a part of his life engaged in mercantile pur-
suits, and died til Newton, May 12, 1S.">:>.

7. Mary Mclntire, horn Nov. 1, IX1~>; became the
second wife of Judge Martin Ryerson, of Newton.

8. Jacob, born Aug. 10, 1 s 1 7 ; was for many years
a Buccessfu] merchant in New York, and i- in lsxo a
cesidenl of thai citj .

9. Ann Hoggs, horn Nov. S, ISIS; became the lirsl

wife of Judge Martin Ryerson, of Newton, ami died
April 22, L855.

10. Matthias Ogden Hal-ted, born Nov. 16, 1822;

was a merchant in New York City, and died March
80, L855.

William T. Anderson was a son of Thomas An-
derson, who, "about the time the lir.-t eourt-hoii-o in
Busses County was completed, a young lawyer, Came

to Newton and settled there permanently, and proved
himsell a useful and patriotic citizen."* Be (Wil-
liam T. Anderson was born ai Newton in the year

1777, spent his early youth at home, was graduated at
*Sooski'tc'h of n i- Andemo in Chapter IX. of general hlitory,

Princeton College in 1796, and soon after commenced
the study of the law. At the time of the threatened
rapture with France he sought and obtained a com-
mission as major in the provisional army of the United
States, raised in 17!'x. In the year 1X01 he was ad-
mitted to the practice of the law, and in the active
duties of hi- profession he was ever afterwards profit-
ably and honorably engaged. A character for up-
rightness, capability, and energy, early acquired, gave
him a prominent position and forced him into very
active participation in the affairs of his native county.
Be represented her in the " Council" at Trenton in
1X21, wa- appointed surrogate in 1822, and for nine-
teen consecutive year- was director of the hoard of
chosen freeholders. The stockholders of the Sussex
Hank chose hint as a member of its first board of
directors, and he occupied that position until his
death, — a period of thirty-two years. His local con-
temporaries in his profession were Job S. llalsted,
Daniel Haines, and Thomas C. Ryerson, while be was
on terms of familiar social and professional inter-
course with Samuel L. Southard, Theodore Freling-
hitysen, Joseph C. Hornblower, (iabricl II. Ford.
Jacob W. Miller, James < (Jrcen, Peter ]). Yroom,

ami William Pennington, -t, if not all, of whom

during the first third of the present century habitu-
ally attended the trial terms of the Sussex County
COUrtB. Maj. Anderson was at the time of his death,
which took place at Newton on the 9th of Febru-
ary, 1X00, one of the managers of the State Lunatic
Asylum, at Trenton.

lb in. Mai: i in RYERSON, 1. 1.. I*., late .if Newton, in
this county, was born, Sept. 15, 1815, at Hamburg, in
this county, and was the eldest son of Judge Thomas
i !. Rj er-on.of « hon i 3ome account appears in this work.

lie received a first-claSS academical education, which
enabled him to matriculate ad\ autai_ r eou-ly at Prince-
Ion College, from which institution lie was graduated
in the class of 1833, dividing the tir-t honor with three

othi rs, and in the assignment of position received the
Latin salutatory. Be subsequently commenced read-
ing law ill his father's office, afterwards continuing

In- -in. li.^ with Hon. Garret I>. Wall, in Burlington,
and concluding hi- course with the late ex-Governor

Pennington at Newark. He was licensed a- an attor-
ney in November, 1886, and at ..nee commenced the
practice of his profession in the last-named city, con-
tinuing there till 1X11, when he removed to Newton.

n lure he afterwards resided, excepting (bi three years

between 1853 and 1857, 'luring which he lived at

Trenton. Be was made a counselor in 1889, and ac-
quired distinction in his profession. He wa- a promi-
nent member of the convention in 1844 which framed
the present constitution of the State. In 1849 he was

elect.. 1 a member of the Assembly, when the late
Chief Justice Whelpley was Speaker, and served
upon the judiciary committee; it wa- mainly through

his Influence ami Instrumentality in that Legislature

that the charter was obtained f..r the Farmers 1 Bank



at Deckertown. Upon an increase of judges in the
Supreme Court lie was appointed one of the associate
justices by Governor Price, and filled the position
only three years, ill health compelling him to resign
the bench in 1858. In 1873 he was appointed as one
of the judges of the Alabama Claims Commission, —
a position which he was compelled to resign in Janu-
ary, 1875, by reason of the complete failure of his
health. He had likewise been selected by Governor
Parker as one of the commissioners to revise the con-
stitution, which he had assisted to frame in 1844, but
was constrained to decline that position also from the
same cause.

Judge Eyerson's political opinions were Demo-
cratic down to the period when the attempt was made
to force slavery upon Kansas and Nebraska and the
Democrats surrendered unconditionally to the slave
power. At that time he sundered his connection with
it and entered with all the enthusiasm of his nature
into the work of organizing and building up the anti-
slavery sentiment which finally crystallized in the
Republican party organization. At the commence-
ment of the recent civil war he was among the fore-
most supporters of every measure looking to the
maintenance of the Union and the vindication of its
authority. He was in constant correspondence with
many of the most influential men in the country, and
by his counsel and advice contributed much towards
shaping the policy of the government during the
critical periods of the war. His mind was well stored
with useful information, and his retentive memory
enabled him to draw upon it at will. He engaged
actively in the political campaigns which occurred
during and immediately after the war, and was mainly
instrumental in the revolution in the old Fourth Con-
gressional District when the Republicans triumphed
for the. first time. He threw himself with zeal and
energy into that sharp conflict, and he also did yeo-
man's service for his party in all the succeeding elec-
tions, especially in those of 1868, 1870, and 1872.
" He would without hesitation, at a moment's notice,
summon a conference of leading politicians, from all
parts of the State, at Newark or Paterson or New
York, and opposition to his policy was generally in
vain. His elan was irresistible and his enthusiasm

In religious belief, Mr. Ryerson was a Presbyterian,
and had been for many years a leading member of
the congregation in Newton, of which he had been a
ruling elder for ten years, and was likewise frequently
selected as a delegate to all the Presbyterian ecclesi-
astical bodies. He was also a strong advocate of the
temperance cause, and was often called upon to attend
conventions of that organization. He was a man of
great force of character, looking with earnest care to
all the details of every enterprise in which he was
about to engage, and was the energetic and active
leader in every local improvement in the town of his
late residence. As a lawyer he occupied the front

rank in his profession, and as a judge he was regarded,
by those qualified to give an intelligent opinion, as
one of the ablest and very best on the bench. He
was a kind, considerate, cultivated, Christian gentle-
man, a scholar, a patriot, an invaluable citizen, and
in all the elements of intellectual manhood an honor
to his native county and State. In 1869 Princeton
College, his Alma Mater, conferred on him the hon-
orary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Judge Ryerson was twice married, his wives being-
sisters, daughters of Job S. Halsted, late of Newton,
in this county. He died June 11, 1875, leaving a
widow and three children, — two daughters and a son.
Hon. Thomas C. Ryerson, one of the associate
justices of the Supreme Court of this State, was the
third son of Martin Ryerson and Rhoda Hull, born
May 4, 1788, at Myrtle Grove, in this county, five
miles northwest of Newton, the county-seat. He was
a great-great-grandson of Martin Ryerson, of Hugue-
not descent, who emigrated from Holland before 1660
and settled on Long Island, marrying, in 1683, An-
netyes Rappelye. From this marriage have sprung
large numbers of the name of Ryerson (besides nu-
merous descendants of the female branches of the
family), who are scattered over New York, New Jer-
sey, and several other of our States and Canada.

Judge Ryerson's grandfather resided in Hunterdon
County, in this State, whence his father removed to
Sussex about 1770, dying there in 1820, in his seventy-
third year. His father and grandfather were both
distinguished as surveyors, his father being deputy of
the surveyor-generals of both East and West Jersey,
and his father was thus enabled to make very judi-
cious land locations for himself, and at his death left
a landed estate even then worth between forty and
fifty thousand dollars.

Until the age of sixteen Mr. Ryerson remained at
home, working on his father's farm and receiving only
the common education of the country. In 1801 his
father removed to Hamburg, in this county, and in
1804 the son began to prepare for college. His pre-
paratory studies were finished at the Mendham Acad-
emy, Mendham, Morris Co., then taught by Rev.
Dorton Armstrong and the Hon. Samuel L. Southard,
and in 1807 he entered the junior class at Princeton,
graduating there in 1809 with the third honor in a
class of forty-four. This school acquaintance with
Mr. Southard ripened into an intimate and life-long
friendship, and a very warm and enduring friendship
grew up between him and the late Judge George K.
Drake, who was graduated at Princeton in 1808.

After graduation Judge Ryerson studied law with
the late Job S. Halsted, of Newton, and was admitted
to the bar in February, 1814. Four years of study
with a practicing lawyer were then required, even of
graduates, and during part of this time he was out
with the New Jersey militia at Sandy Hook to resist
a threatened attack of the British. Immediately after
being licensed he began practicing law at Hamburg,



iemoving to Newton in April, 1820, where he residi 'I
till his death, Aug. 11, 1838, aged fifty years, three
iiKint h>, seven days.

In December, 1 s 1 I, Mr. Kyer-on married the fifth
daughter of Robert Ogden, a lawyer residing at
Sparta, in this county, elder brother of Col. Aaron
Ogden and Col. Matthias Ogden, of Revolutionary
memory, the • tgden name, like that of Ryerson, hav-
ing for several generations been associated, in New
Jersey, with the struggles for the rights of all men.

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 46 of 190)