James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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Imitted as an attorney November, 1844, and as
elor i tctober, 1848; went to V. i
alter his admission, where he remained till 1850, when
he returned and settled as a lawyeral Newton. He
remained in practice here till I 867, w hen he o
a law-office in the citj of New Y.a !.. whi r
mained two or three years, and then settled in Jersey
' ii'. wherein id still w. tn practice cf his prcfcssi i
Mr. Linn was lor many years one of the lending
members of the Susses bar, being well up in his pro-
I'csMon, a good speaker, ami an able advocal
attorney; he is also a sound and sale counselor. A
member of the pre. em bar s iys, " Mr. Lin i
very high while he lived in Newton, both as a lawyer



and a man. Ilewa- a member of the Pn-hyterian

Church, a man of v.ry dignified appearance and
and at one time was one of the 'Riparian
Commissioners of the State of New .1. rsej .' He was
a candidate for member of Congress from the Fourth
District against Andrew J. Rogers in 1862. While
here he was engaged in most of the important litiga-
tions of Susses and had a g 1 practii e ill the higher

courts; and be lias a good practice \\ 1
live<. lie was engaged to some extent in mining in-
terests while in unty, and is still into rested
in thai business, having possession of the ' Williams
Mine', near Canisteer, N. J." He built the largi
dwelling-house in Newton, on Liberty Street, and

lived there till he re ved to New York, in 1867.

The residence is .-till owned by him. Air. Linn is a
hard -indent and well versed in tin' ground principles

of ! In' law.

Robert T. Shiner, son of Amos Shiner, of Green
township, ami brother of ex-sheriff Andrew Shiner;
studied law with David Thompson, Esq., and was
admitted to the Sussex liar in February, 1845. He

practiced law in Newton, and acted, chiefly in the
capacity of a clerk, first in the office of -Mr. Linn,
and afterwards in that of Thomas Cays, win re he re-
mained till the time of his death. Meantime, he
Served live years as- justice of the |

Hon. Thomas N. Mi Carter, now of Newark, was
a prominent member of the Susses bar fi
his removal to his pn and place of busi-

ness, in 1867. lie i- a son of Robert II. McCarter,
who was for many year- a prominent citizen and mer-
chant of Sussex County, residing at Newton. The

elder MeCarter came lure from Mom- ( lounty, w her I

he had been clerk of the courts, and while living here
was judge of the Common Pleas and of the < 'onrt of
Errors and Appeals, holding the latter office at the
his death, in 1851.
Thomas V McCarter was born in Elizabeth, N..I..
in L828; graduated at Princeton College; studied law-
ami was admitted as an attorney in i >
and as a counselor in January, lsp.i. By his ability,
self-reliance, and thorough knowledge of the law he
attained to a leading position at the Sussex bar during
his residence at Newton, and now -land- among the
prominent lawyer- of the state. Ilewa- a member
of the Legislature from this county in 1861. He
married the Becond daughter of ex-Sheriff l/al < '.
Hagertj , of Si i unty, and has three sons and

three daughters, i me of his sons, a gradi
Princeton, is a law-student with him, and another is

in Prin ■ I

• Thompson. 'I'!..- progenitor of the Thomp-
son family from whom the BUbject of this
his descent was Aaron Thompson, whi
his younger brothers, Moses and Hur, emigrat
Scotland to America in the year I ungesl

of these. Hur, settled in New England, Aaron and
M .tiled in Elizabethtown, N. J., and their de-



1S8



SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.



scendants are found at " Connecticut Farms" (Union),
" Battle Hill" (now Madison), and Mendham, N. J.

Joseph, youngest son of Aaron Thompson, removed
from " Connecticut Farms" to Mendham in 1739. He
died in July, 1749. His wife, Lydia, died March 24,
1749. The same year with the death of the parents
five of their nine children also died, of a prevailing
epidemic called the "long fever."

David, youngest of these children, was born Oct.
4, 1737, and djed Dec. 28, 1824. His first wife was
Rachel Bonnel (born Oct. 15, 1737 ; died March 27,
1766), who bore him two sons and two daughters.
His second wife was Hannah Cary, whom he married
Aug. 11, 1766. She was born April 26, 1747, and died
Nov. 19, 1831. Of this union were born six sons and
five daughters.

David Thompson was a man of great energy and
strong force of character. He was one of the founders
of the Presbyterian Church at Mendham, and retained
the office of elder most of his life. During the war
of the Revolution he commanded a company of min-
ute-men, and at the time the American army was
encamped at Morristown, when despair of success and
extreme poverty weighed heavily upon the forces, his
house became the welcome hony3 of multitudes of
famishing soldiers, and his hospitality was limited only
by his means of supply. He was a man of good in-
fluence in society, and, being well read in Bible truths,
his desires were never gratified until all who came in
contact with him had received wholesome impressions
of a better life from his teachings.

Familiarly known as " Captain," and as often,
- " Judge," — which latter title he obtained from being
on the bench of the Court of Common Pleas, — he was
always the favored guest among both the old and the
young, and his retentive memory, quaint sayings, and
ready wit, often accompanied withsarcasm, made his
companionship agreeable and his narratives and
stories of " olden time" instructive. He was a man of
keen perceptive faculties and bright intellect, and not
only was he a close student of the best authors and the
current topics of his time, but he sought to give his
children the best opportunities then afforded for an
education.

One of his sons, David Thompson, Jr., was gradu-
ated at Princeton College in the class of 1804, was
surrogate of Morris Co., N. J., for many years, was
prominent and influential in local and national poli-
tics, and for ten years retained the Speakership in the
lower branch of the New Jersey Legislature. He
was an intimate friend of the late Samuel L. Southard,
and while that gentleman held high places in the
State and nation Mr. Thompson's counsel was often
sought. He died in 1831, at the age of forty-nine.

Another son of David Thompson was Stephen,
father of our subject, who was born Jan. 16, 1775, in
Mendham, on the. old homestead purchased by his
grandfather, Joseph, in 1710. He succeeded to the
home property upon his father's decease, resided upon



it during his life, and died in June, 1858. He lived
a quiet life as a farmer and was not solicitous of pub-
licity, although he was elected to aud served one
term in the State Legislature. He was a man of good
business ability, and was esteemed for his integrity in
all his business relations. Like his father before him,
he was a very devoted Christian man, was elder of
the same church for many years, and reared his chil-
dren under the strictest family discipline of the old
Puritan style. His wife was Susanna, a daughter of
George and Mary (Boyd) Harris, whom he married
Aug. 12, 1802. She was born May 15, 1776, aud died
in 1841. Her grandfather, William Harris, came
from Ireland in 1742, settled in Philadelphia, and be-
longed to the family who founded Harrisburg, Pa.

The children of Stephen and Susanna Thompson
are four sons and one daughter. George, Nancy, and
Robert reside on the old homestead in Mendham ;
Alexander died in 1834, in Charleston, S. O, at the
age of nineteen ; David was born Oct. 26, 1808, in
Mendham. While very young he evinced rare ability
as a student, and at the age of eleven was found read-
ing Virgil. He was prepared for college under the
tutorship of the late Samuel H. Cox, then a clergyman
of the Presbyterian Church atMendham and at Bloom-
field, N. J., and entered the junior class at Princeton
in the year 1S23 at the age of fifteen, from which he
was graduated with the usual honors in 1825. Among
his most noted classmates were William L. Dayton
and A. O. Zabriskie. For four years following his
graduation he was a classical teacher in the academy
at Mendham. In 1830 he entered the law-office of
Jacob W-. Miller, of Morristown, N. J., where he re-
mained one year, and then came to Newton, N. J.,
and for two years was a law -student in the office of
the late Judge Thomas C. Ryerson. He was admitted
to the bar as an attorney at the November term in
1S33, and at the November term in 1836 he was ad-
mitted as counselor.

In the winter following his admission to the bar as
an attorney Mr. Thompson opened a law-office in
Newton, and has remained in continuous practice
until the present time (1880), a period of forty-seven
years. In November, 1838, he was appointed surro-
gate of Sussex County, and held the office for five
years. Outside of the duties of his profession, he
has been interested in the various worthy local enter-
prises of the village and county of his adoption, and
in an unostentatious way has sought to fulfill all ob-
ligations incumbent upon him as a citizen. Since
1844 he has been interested in the Sussex Bank as a
director, was for many years its vice-president, and
upon the resignation of the late David Ryerson he
was elected president of the bank, — now the Sussex
National, — which position he now holds.

In politics Mr. Thompson was formerly a Whig,
and since the organization of the Republican party
he has been a supporter of its principles. Of a
naturally retiring disposition, he has never been







c^w« ^A^/u^yf



BENCH AND BAH OF SUSSEX COUNTY.



189



Solicitous of political place or the emoluments of
office, but has preferred rather the quiet duties of his

profession ami business pur-nil-. l|i- judiciou- ami

safe counsel as a lawyer, his sterling honesty and
financial ability in business, his moral and Christian
influence as a citizen and a member of the Presby-
terian Church of Newton, have won the confide

and estaem of all who know him.

Hi- wife was Susanna, daughter of Joseph and
Susanna (Anthony) Dederer, whom he married Nov.
11, 1835. She was bom Nov. LO, 1815, was a woman
of real moral worth and Christian excellence,
died Maj 28, 1879. Their children were Alexander,
died at the age of eight years ; Juliana, wife of David
It. Hull, of Newton; Susanna Dederer; William
Armstrong, a graduate of the Troy Polytechnic ln-
stitntr in the class of 1868; and Charles Dederer, a
graduate of Princeton in the class of 1874, admitted
as attorney in 1877, as counselor in 1880, ami the law-
partner Of his lather at Newton.

Levi Shepherd. — Deacon Nathan Shepherd,
i:it her of Levi, re-ided in the township of Frankfprd,
ami was a farmer by occupation. He was o man of

g I influences, and one of the pillars of the First

Presbyterian Church of Wantage. During his early
manhood he commanded a company of militia and
was known as Capt. Shepherd. His wile was Miss
Ayers, who bore him the following children : Jesse,
(loses, Morris, Nathan, Levi, Harriet (who became
the wife of Nathaniel l!oe, of Frank ford i, Mehitable
(who became the wife of (leorge Kymer, of Frank-

foi i and Susan (.wife of Baker, who resided

mar Cayuga Lake, N. Y.). After bis family had
grown up Deacon Shepherd removed to Bradford Co.,
Pa., where he died.

Levi Shepherd was born in Frank ford township,
Sussex Co., Oct, 28, 1813. In his early life he had
but \\'\v of the educational advantages which are en-
joyed by young men of the present day. His limited
knowledge was acquired at the common school and at
the academj at Branchville, under the instruction of

the Well-known teacher Wilhird Harrows. For some
two years prior to his entering the academy hi ■ I
clerk in the store of Haines \ Broderick, of lla n-
burg. About the year 1833 he began studying law

with Hon. Daniel iLiine-, afterwards Governor of
New Jersey, at Hamburg, where he remained until
he was admitted to the bar, in 1889; in his class al
that time were Chief Justice Whelpley and Gen. E.

K. V, Wright, lie commenced practice at Decl

town immediately thereafter. While there, on Jan.

17, 1852, he married Nancy, youngest daughter of
Samuel and Nancy Decker, of that place, she was
a sister of ex-Sheriff Peter S. l tecker, and a descend-
ant Of Peter Decker, who built the lirst house, and

settled in Wantage in 1784, from whom Deckertown

took its inline. She was born April 2, 1826, and died

* 8m K :s;ill'i " Cantonalol Addros*."



April -2. 1858. The children of this union are Kitti. .
wife of Ira ( '. .Moor.', of Newton; Frank, a graduate

of Princeton in the class ,,f 77, and now a member
of the law-firm of Hoc & shepherd, of Newton,
N. J. ; and Naucy.

1 n s iptember, 1842, M r. Shepherd was admitted as
counselor, -the only other person in his class being
Cortlandt Parker. Esq., now of Newark, N. J. In
1845 he went to Milwaukee, Wis., where he practiced

law for a short time in partner-hip with John Linn,

when In- again returned to Deckertown, where he re-
mained in uninterrupted practice until 1864. in 1849

he took an active and pr iminent part in securing the

charter of the Farmers' Hank of Wantage, and U]

its organization was elected one of its board of di-
rectors, a position which he held until his removal
from that township.

In the spring of 1864 he came to Newton and again
entered into a law partner-hip with John Linn,
tabling it for about two year-, when he withdrew from
the linn and continued the practice alone until his
death, which occurred Aug. 11. 1875.

In May, 1869, he was elected county collector, — a
position which he held for six- year-. He was chosen
a director in the Sussex National Bank, in the place
of George D.Turner, resigned, and soon after was
made its vice-president, in the [dace of David Thomp-
son, wdio was promoted t 1 the presidency of that in-
stitution. In this as in all his other official positions
his sound judgment, unflinching integrity, and cor-
rect business qualities were of great value and gave
him high standing.

"A man of more than ordinary judgment and of
great purity of character, he possessed the very soul
id' honor, as all those wdio came in contact with him
can atte-l. In a public busini 3S lite in his profession
Of nearly forty year- — in which he transacted busi-
neSS with thousands of persons and held important
trusts, the labor and care of which wore out bis phy-
sical energies— we have yet to hear forthe lir-1 time
that he ever betrayed the confidence reposed in him
or diil one mean or dishonorable act. Hi- nature WOS
abovi meanness, and no man regarded -ham pn
and dishonesty in others with greater indignation
than he.

"Thosoold etitude which he inherited

from his father and the g 1 men of his ti were

never laid aside lor a moment, but were made the

governing principle of his life. II uarded

in bis intimacy with other-, but when fa ice formed

an attachment it was as lasting as life itself B -

motto was, 'Standby old friends;' and he had hosts
of them who would stand close by him in all emer-
gencies.

" Few men in the county had greater influence than
he, and his power over other- was not acquired by
craft or intrigue, but by his known good judgment
and sterling and unyielding hone-ty. The Becret of
his popularity WOS in the fact that the people had



190



SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.



faith in him ; and those who trusted him were never
deceived.

"As a citizen he was public-spirited and enterpris-
ing almost beyond his means. All projects for the
benefit of the community and to promote the best
interests of society in which he lived found in him
a willing and liberal supporter."

In his profession he was not a man who would be
termed a brilliant advocate, but his talents were more
fully developed as a counselor; and his opinions were
generally safe, judicious, and given with strict integ-
rity and on the side of justice and of right.

Simeon M. Coykendall. — Moses Coykendall,
grandfather of Simeon M., was born Dec. 11, 1767,
and was one of the early settlers of Wantage town-
ship. The wife of Moses Coykendall was Hannah,
daughter of Samuel Decker, born May 9, 1771, also
representing a pioneer family of Wantage. The is-
sues of the marriage were Henry, born Oct. 11, 1789;
Samuel D., father of our subject; Elijah, born Sept.
17, 1793 ; Susannah, born Aug. 6, 1795 ; Mary, born
June 16, 1799 ; Jonathan, born Oct. 14, 1802 ; Sarah,
born April 6, 1805; Margaret, born Aug. 28, 1S07 ;
Julia, born Nov. 28, 1809 ; Madison, born June 8,
1812; Harrison, born May 26, 1815.

Samuel D. Coykendall was born Sept. 8, 1791, and
married, on June 29, 1822, Huldah, daughter of
Samuel Adams, born March 31, 1804. Her mother
was Mary Cuddeback, and her grandparents James
and Mary (Westbrook) Cuddeback. Of the union
were born three children, — namely, Ellis M., April
15, 1823; Simeon M., our subject; and Adams D.,
July 5, 1831. Samuel D. Coykendall died Sept. 12,
1837.

Simeon M. Coykendall was born in Wantage town-
ship, on Nov. 29, 1824. His early life was passed
upon his father's farm, and his education was obtained
at the district school of his neighborhood and at the
excellent academies of Messrs. Rankin and Stiles, of
Deckertown. At the age of sixteen, owing to a change
of circumstances, he was thrown upon his own re-
sources, and thus early entered upon a life of self-dis-
cipline, labor, and toil. He commenced by securing
employment on a farm, and after a while engaged in
school-teaching in his neighborhood,— an occupation
that he continued for a number of years. In the year
1*47 ho commenced the study of law in the office of
Levi Shepherd, Esq., of Deckertown, and after three
years entered that of Hon. Daniel Haines, where he
continued one year, being regularly admitted to prac-
tice by the Supreme Court at Trenton on April 3,
1851. He located in the exercise of his professional
duties at Unionville, N. Y., wdiere he established a
business for himself, and for fourteen years enjoyed
an excellent practice, occupying a prominent and an
influential place in the community. On April 19,
1865, be removed to Deckertown, where ho continued
to practice until his death, on March 12, 1872.

Mr. Coykendall may be said to have passed away



just at the time when he was becoming best known,
and when he had reached a prominent and influential
position among his fellows. One of his chief char-
acteristics was great energy, industry, and persever-
ance, coupled with the most exact method and system.
Everything he touched received careful and analyt-
ical treatment and was thoroughly digested before it
was passed by. As a lawyer he was careful, sys-
tematic, and painstaking, and his advice and judgment
were ever to be relied on. As a man he was liberal,
generous, and public-spirited,- and universally re-
spected for integrity and uprightness of character.
He took an active interest in all local affairs, was town
superintendent of schools in 1850, one of the directors
of the Farmers' National Bank of Deckertown, and
was especially interested in the project of bringing
the Midland Railroad to Deckertown, contributing
fifteen hundred dollars to that end, besides devoting
his time and using his influence towards the accom-
plishment of the purpose. In politics he was a Dem-
ocrat, but no seeker after position. He was a warm
supporter of the Union cause in the late war, and did
yeoman service in gathering recruits and perfecting
the muster-rolls of the town of Minisink, Orange Co.,
during the struggle. Early in life he was imbued
with strong religious convictions, which throughout
his days exerted a controlling influence over him. He
possessed a singularly deep devotional nature, and in
all his transactions was guided by the moral and re-
ligious precepts of the Man of Nazareth. The com-
mission of a dishonest or dishonorable act seemed
impossible with him, and in his private life he was
one of the purest of men. He was a member and
trustee of the Presbyterian Church of Unionville
for a .number of years, and took an active interest in
all of its affairs.

Mr. Coykendall was married on Oct. 27, 1858, to
Frances, daughter of John and Mary (Wilson) Fuller,
of Deckertown, who survives him.

Hon. Manning M. Knapp, son of AVilliam Knapp,
of Newton ; born in that village ; studied law with
Col. Robert Hamilton, and was admitted as an at-
torney in July, 1846, and as a counselor in January,
1850. Shortly after his admission Mr. Knapp re-
moved to Haekensack, N. J., and opened a law-office,
where he has remained ever since. For many years
he was a leading lawyer of Bergen County, possessing
fine abilities, varied information, and excellent char-
acter. He is now one of the justices of the Supreme
Court of Now Jersey, having been appointed to that
office by Governor Bedle in 1875.

Col. Henry Ooden Ryerson, the youngest son
of Judgo Thomas C. Ryerson, was born at Newton,
in this county, Jan. 10, 1826. On the mother's as well
as the father's side ho was descended from patriotic
stock. His father's family had thoir representatives
in the Revolutionary army, among both the combat-
ants and the non-combatants. His father, as seen
elsewhere, did his tour of duty in the militia in the





/c&^^cz^e'





o.




BENCH AND BAR OF SUSSEX COUNTY.



191



war of I .HI 2, anil the records of the State 1 1 i - 1< > f i < ■ : 1 1

Sim i. n sufficiently show the pari taken by his mother's

family in the war of the Revolution, her father and

ancles being field- or Btnff-officers in the Continental

and her grandfather one of the New Jersey

t<-e of Safely. Her uncle Aaron Ogden was

aide to Lafayette and a trusted agent of Washington
in connection with the affair of A adrd and Arnold.

Col. Ryereon, declining a collegiate course, passed
from the grammar-school directly to the study of the
law, and was licensed in 1M7. From thai time until
1865 he lived an unsettled life in ( Ihicago, < lalifornia,
and the Sandwich Islands. After returning to New

.iii i . I taking his counselor's license, he lived in

Belvidere until 1857, when he returned to his native

\< here, at the breaking out of the Rebellion,

he held the office of public prosecutor. While en-

i I in taking depositions in chancery at Jersey
Citj he saw the firsl call for volunteers, returned
borne, and, baggage in hand, walked directly to the
recruil ing-office and volunteered as a private. Elected

captain by his i 'ades, lie led them to the field

a- Company B of the gallant Second Regiment of
Hew Jersey. As an officer of this regiment — cap-
tain, and afterwards major — Ryerson had high repu-
tation for soldierly bearing, tactical skill, and high
discipline. Jlis enthusiasm led him to practice the
bugle-calls of the skirmish-line, and when assigned

to i imand in brigade drill he was always ready and

accurate.

At the battle of Gaines' Mill, June 27, 1862, six

companies of the Second Regiment, under Col.
Sucker and Maj. Iiyer-on promoted to that vacancy
in his regiment just before having Alexandria), were
Bent in io relieve a whole regiment. So rapid and

Bffective was their lire that they kept an entire brigade
at hay until our line had fallen hack on both sides of

them. Exposed in :i i Inn Mr cross-fire, and the gallant
(Fucker mortally wounded, the regiment began a hasty
retreat. Maj. Ryerson seized the standard, and was
rallying the battalion when he fell, shot through both
thighs and bleeding a > profusely as he was i
away that his attendants reported him mortally
wounded in the abdomen, and left him on the field,
rhi re he remained ten days, three of them without

[bod. Water, however, was abundant in the swamp.

Thai ten days' exposure and three weeks (before his
exchange) in a Richmond prison gave him a fever,
which aggravated his wounds and kep,t him away

i his regiment until the Isl of October. With one

wound still open, he rejoined his regiment as lieuten-
ant-colonel, hurried to the field by the record of his

comrades at ( 'lampion's Gap. Just as the army

began to move towards Manassas he was placed by
Gen. Torberl over the Twenty-third Regimen! of nine
months' men, ami received a regular commission as
colonel. Wiih this regiment he participated in the
first battle of Fredericksburg, where they were for o
Bhorl time under heavy lire and suffered severely.



In March, 1863, some three months before the
Twenty-third was mustered out, Col. Ryerson was
rred to the Tenth, which regiment did most
important service both before and after his taking
command. At Suffolk, against Longstreet, after Col.



Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 48 of 190)