James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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being one of the largest stockholders, was chosen to
be the editor and publisher.

Edwin Owen was the foreman of the office. He
was succeeded by Henry C. Bonnell in August, 1868,
at which time Victor M. Drake returned from Orange
Co., N. Y., to become local editor.

Oct. 15, 1868, the form of the paper was changed
back from an eight-page to a four-page, and the size
of the paper increased to its present dimensions, —
twenty-nine by forty-three inches.

Mr. Drake remained until January, 1871, when
he was succeeded by John S. Gibson, who remained
until June, 1873. After the retirement of Mr. Gib-
son, Henry C. Bonnell, in addition to his duties as
foreman, became local editor of the paper, in which
double capacity he is still serving faithfully and well.

In 1868 the office was removed to the new brick
building on Spring Street, now occupied by Roe &
Co.'s drug-store, where it remained for five years. In
the spring of 1873 it was removed to the library-
building, on Main Street, where it is still located.
Thomas G. Bunnell is still the editor and publisher
of the Herald, the circulation of which is now larger
than at any previous period of its existence. In the
fall of 1879 a new Cottrell & Babcock, with all the
latest improvements, was added.


Henry C. Kelsey, Secretary of State of New Jersey,
was born in Sparta, Sussex Co., N. J., Dec. 4, 1837. His
great-grandfather, John Kelsey, was one of the early
residents of Newton, where he died ; he was a tanner
and currier by trade. His grandfather, Henry Cooper
Kelsey, was also a tanner and currier, and carried on
his business at Sparta. His father, John Kelsey, was
born ill Sparta, Feb. 15, 1809. For several years he
kept a public-house in his native place, but for twenty
years during the latter part of his life he was a farmer
and merchant in Green township, where he died April
5, 1867. His mother is Ellen M., daughter of Peter
and Elizabeth (Mills) Vankirk, and granddaughter of
the late Judge Thomas Vankirk, of Sparta. She was
born Oct. 30, 1815, and now resides in Newton.

Young Kelsey received a sound elementary educa-
tion at the public schools, and at an early age became

a clerk in a general store at Sparta. Here he gained
an experience that enabled him to subsequently suc-
ceed his father as proprietor of a store at Huntsville,
where he prosecuted business until 1858. In that
year he removed to Newton and there engaged in mer-
cantile pursuits, at the same time taking an active |
part in public affairs. His political tendencies drew
him into close affiliation with the Democratic party,
and to promote its success his most earnest labors were
always devoted.

In 1859, President Buchanan appointed him to the
postmastership of Newton, the duties of which posi-
tion he fulfilled with his characteristic strict integrity
and uniform courtesy until the summer of 1861, when
custom required that he should give way to the suc-
cessful political party. In August of the same year
he purchased the New Jersey Herald, the Democratic
organ of Sussex County, and devoted his energies ex-
clusively to journalism. In March, 1862, he purchased
the Sussex Democrat, the organ of the Douglas De-
mocracy, which was founded in 1858. These two
journals he merged into one, under the name of the
former, and continued in the editorial harness until
June, 1866. During these five years he conducted
the Herald with conspicuous ability and success, in-
creasing its value and widening its circulation and
influence, which, as the paper had always been one
of the ablest Democratic sheets in the State, had been

In 1868 he was appointed a judge of the Court of
Common Pleas of Sussex County, to fill a vacancy on
the bench occasioned by the resignation of Judge
Towusend, and in 1869 he received the appointment
for a full term. The following year, in July, 1870,
Judge Kelsey resigned the judgeship to accept from
Governor Randolph the appointment of Secretary of
State, to fill the unexpired term of H. N. Conger, who
had resigned. So well were his duties in this new and
responsible position performed that on the assembling
of the Legislature in 1871 he was nominated by the
Governor for a full term, and confirmed by the Senate,
notwithstanding that body Was Republican. On the
expiration of his term, in 1876, he was reappointed
by Governor Bedle, and was again confirmed by a
Republican Senate.

The duties, at once arduous and delicate, have been
discharged by him in a manner satisfactory to fair-
minded men of all shades of political opinion, and he
enjoys the high esteem of all whose good opinions are
worth having. Notwithstanding his official cares and
responsibilities, he finds time for indulging a strongly-
developed taste for agriculture as the owner and suc-
cessful manager of an extensive farm near Newton.

In 1872, his health suffering from close and con-
tinuous application to public duties and his individual
affairs, his physicians recommended the relaxation af-
forded by foreign travel ; and in accordance with their
advice he visited Europe, spending several months in
Italy, and being greatly benefited thereby.


Viisfr* V fj^v^t^^^-

Tin: si;sskx cointy 1'Iif.ss.


Mr. Kelse\ i- < < offirio commissioner of insurance,
and in this capacity has rendered the public valuable
in ferreting out and bringing to account a
number of worthless concerns that had by false show-
ings been covering their corrupt condition and prey-
ing on the public. In the latter part of the year L876,
Mr. Kelsey had reason to suspecl thai the Hope -Mu-
tual Life Insurance Company of Now York — which
was officially composed of a gang of swindlers known
SB " insurance-wreckers," and in ]*7l' had si I < . t < . I as
one of their victims the New Jersey Mutual, of New-
ark — was not in a sound condition, and he therefore
instituted an examination into its affairs. I»
tfo get possession of the valuable assets of the New
Jersey Mutual, — over one million of dollars, — and
believing that they could carry on their questionable
speculations with more security in New Jersey than in
.New 'lurk, ami that they could use the New Jersey
Mutual a.s a machine with which to swallow up other
insuranee companies under the guise of reinsurance,
they approached the directors of that company and
proposed to give them one hundred and fifty thousand
dollars for its one hundred thousand dollars capital
stock and the control of the company. This arrange-
ment wax consummated by the Hope Company of
New York reinsuring the risks of the New Jersey
Mutual. This arrangement continued lor about three
months, the business being conducted in the office of
the Mutual at Newark, where the Hope managers
brought into active existence the old New Jersey Mu-
tual, and it, in turn, reinsured the risks of the Hope.
From that period until the summer of 1 S 7 1 ; matters
ran on smoothly; during this time tiny had by re-
insurance or Otherwise -wallowed up several other
companies, and are reported as ha\ ing made enormous
sums of in j .

After Mr. Kelsey began the examination, it was

- i found not only that this company was insolvent,

hut that gross frauds had been practiced. Some of the
Officers attempted, under the guise of reinsurance, to
transfer all— and, in fact, did transfer most— of its
assets to the National Capital Life Insurance Com-
pany, of the District of Columbia, an irresponsible
ciiiiciTii. At this juncture Mr. Kelse] instituted the
accessary proceeding- in chancery to prevent said
fraudulent transfer and removal. The law was too

slow for the rapid operati f the dishonest officials,

and before the court could gel the strong hand of the
law nn them most of the valuable assets had been re-
fcoved beyond it- jurisdiction. Immediate!] upon
Bis development Mr. Kelsey laid the facts before the

I- -e\ 1 iiinlv grand |iir\ and il I un.l tills i I IlldlCt-

uiiiii against several of the principal conspirators.
- in' ni them tied the country. < Ine was then in New
pork; a requisition was sent from the Governor of
New Jersey to the < lovernor of that State for his rendi-

lon as a fugitive from justice, bul it was not honored.

At this particular time was formed a conspiracy

the Secretary of State which was intended in

Crush and overthrow him, — aiming to destroy hi-
Official honor, drive him from office, and make matters
90 uncomfortable for him that his successor would not
dare farther to resist them in their operation-. \n
important part of the conspiracy was to subsidize
as many of the New Jersey new-paper- a- po.-sibh .
Two Newark papers were selected as the principal
instrument- in New Jersey, and were to lead off in
the attack. Mr. Kelsey was to be assailed in the
foulest manner and driven out in disgrace. The
New York fugitive, from hi- secure retreat. furnished
the libelous matter, and the organs in Newark gave it
it- first publication in New Jersey. The amount thus

expended in spreading broadcast over theState, among

prominent men, by means of these and other paper-
hired lor the purpose, in fori nation li he I ing Mr. Ki l-.-v.
was -tated by one of the principal conspirators to ex-
ceed thirty thousand dollars. The Sussex grand jury,
at the December term, 1*77, found hill- of indictment
against the two Newark editors for libels published in
their respective papers against Mr. Kelsey. charging
him with criminal conduct in office. I 'tie of them was

tried, convicted, and imprisoned, hut the other made a
BUitable retraction in his paper, and was not brought

to trial. Another of tin i-pirator- was subsequently

captured, brought to Newark, tried before Judge

Depue in the Esses County Court, convicted, and

Sentenced to a term in the State prison. Thus, al-
though -only tried, Mr. Kelsey was fully vindicated

in his honest and fearless attempt to bring to justice
corrupt and desperate men holding high and influen-
tial position-.

Mr. Kelsey, a- commissioner of insurance, ha- per-
formed much arduous and useful labor, and ha- re-
duced that department of the Stale government to a

regular and complete -Wein, a- hi- annual reports to

the State Legislature show. By this system and the
thorough modification of the statutes the citizens of
New Jersej arc now protected from the former impo-

-iiioii- of "wild-cat" and insolvent insurance i i-

panies, both in and out of the state and by which
our own sound and reliable companies an- protected.

For many year- Mr. Kel-ev has taken an active and
prominent part in the politic- of the Stall', and in
many a hard-fought contest ha- proved his -kill a- a
leader and Organizer Of the Democratic part] .

lii 1861 In- married Miss Prudence, a daughter of
the late Judge John Townsend, of Newton.

In addition to his other positions of trust and re-
sponsibility, Mr. Kelsey is a director of the old Susses

National Bank, of Newton, a director in the Newton

Librarj Association, and a director of the Citizens'
t la-light t 'nmpany of Newark. In March, 1881, Gov-
ernor Ludlow I limited him for a third full term

a- Secretar] of State.

i ll"\l \- i.. BUNNELL.
William Bunnell, (he progenitor of the family in

America, so fiu as is known, was a native of Cheshire,



England, and came to New Haven, Conn., in 1638.
He was a farmer and tanner in West Haven, and
married Anna Wilmot, daughter of Benjamin Wilmot,
of New Haven, in 1640 ; she bore him five children.

Benjamin, eldest child of William Bunnell, was
born in 1642, and married Bebecea, daughter of Peter
Mallory, of New Haven, in 1664, by whom he had
ten children. He died in New Haven. His sixth
child, Benjamin, was born'in 1686. Whom he mar-
ried is unknown, but the names of his children are
found on the New Haven records, among whom was
Solomon, born in New Haven in 1705, and married
Mary Holdren, a native of Holland, who bore him
children as follows : Isaac, Benjamin, and Solomon.
He removed and settled at Kingwood, Hunterdon
Co., N. J., about the time of his marriage. During
the French and Indian war he started with his family
to remove to the valley of the Susquehanna, but, on
his way meeting the people fleeing from Wyoming
to escape from the Indians, he turned his course and
came to what is called " The Hollow," in Middle
Smithfield township, Monroe Co., Pa., where he pur-
chased land and settled. Remnants of the orchard
planted by him in "The Hollow" are still in exist-

Isaac, eldest son of Solomon, was born in King-
wood, N. J., July 13, 1738, and married Lanah
Barkalow, by whom he had eight children, — viz.,
James, Mary, Gershom, John, Henry, William, David,
and Barnett. Isaac lived and died where he settled,
in Monroe Co., Pa.

Henry, fifth child of Isaac, was born in Monroe
Co., Pa., July 3, 1778. He married Mary Nihart, of
the same county, who bore him twelve children, —
viz., George, Julia, Gershom, David, Robert, Isaac,
James, Barnett, John, Mary, Henry, and Eleanor.
The first five were born in Middle Smithfield, Pa.,
and the remaining seven in the township of Wal-
pack, Sussex Co., N. J., on the farm now occupied by
David Bunnell. This farm was purchased and occu-
pied by their father, Henry Bunnell, in 1809, and, in
addition to farming, he carried on blacksmitliing.
He died Aug. 4, 1826, and his wife April 27, 1858.
Both were buried in the old Walpack churchyard.

David, fourth child of Henry, and father of Thomas
G. Bunnell, was born March 1, 1806, and married,
Sept. 16, 1828, Catharine, daughter of William Smith,
of Walpack. He still occupies the old homestead in
Walpack where his father settled, and his golden
wedding was celebrated by his relations and friends
Sept. 16, 1878. Seven of his children are living in
1881,— viz., Thomas G. ; Sarah, wife of George Ru-
bert, of Sandyston ; Mary, wife of George C. Stoll, of
the same township; Martha, wife of John Youngs, of
Dingman's Ferry, Pike Co., Pa.; Henry, a farmer in
Tioga Co., N. Y. ; Joseph W., keeps a public-house in
Sandyston; and Frank P., a merchant in Blairstown,

Thomas G. Bunnell, son of David and Catharine

(Smith) Bunnell, was born in the township of Wal-
pack, March 14, 1834. His early education was re-
ceived in the schools of his native place and at the
Blairstown Presbyterian Academy, under the princi-
palship of the well-known teacher J. Henry Johnson,
and for three terms he was a teacher. He married,
Sept. 19, 1857, Mary A., daughter of Jonas and Sarah
A. (Decker) Smith, of Walpack. Their children are
Carrie, Alice A., Willard, John S., and Edith.

For several years after his marriage, Mr. Bunnell
was engaged in farming in Walpack and Sandyston
townships, and in .1865 he purchased the Benjamin
Hull farm, in Walpack, upon which he remained for
two years, then removed to Newton, where he has
since resided. For several years prior to his removal
he had acted as local correspondent of the New Jer-
sey Herald, published at Newton, then owned by John
W. Gillam. In August, 1867, Mr. Gillam sold out
this paper to an association. Mr. Bunnell, one of its
members, was chosen as editor and publisher, and
has conducted it with marked ability since.

In early manhood Mr. Bunnell began to take an
active part in local politics, and in 1859 served as
town clerk of Walpack, and in 1863 and 1864 in the
same capacity in Sandyston. In 1865 he was elected
a justice of the peace of Walpack, officiating until he
settled in Newton. In 1874 he was chosen to the
same office in Newton, to fill the unexpired term of
William E. Ross, who was elected sheriff. In 1876
he was selected to head the citizens' ticket as one of
the town committee favoring the payment of the
railroad bonds, was elected, has continuously held
the office for five years, and for two years served as
chairman of the town committee. During the same
time he was also street commissioner of Newton. In
January, 1877, he was elected engrossing clerk of the
State Senate, and the following year he was re-elected
without opposition in his own party. In all these
public positions his sole aim has been to discharge
the duties incumbent upon him fearlessly, with a
view to justice to all, and for the good and general
prosperity of the people whom he has represented.

For many years Mr. Bunnell, in connection with
his other business, has been collecting historical data,
ancient manuscripts, and rare books relating to the
history of Northern New Jersey, which he has kindly
placed in the hands of the publishers of the history
of Sussex County. For his untiring research and in-
defatigable perseverance in collecting this very valu-
able material he is entitled to much credit for honest
labor, not for money, but from a love for historical


Other newspapers have been published in Newton,
as follows :

The Sussex County Home Journal was started in
1850 by Rev. Joseph L. Barlow, but was discontinued
in a few years.

The /Sussex Democrat was first issued by George R.


- '

McCarter in 1858. It continued to be published till
1861, when it was consolidated with the New Jersey

The Sussex True Demorrti/ was published about one
Bear by George D. Wallace. Its first issue appeared
in 1863.

The Sussex Record, edited by Col. M'.rris It. Ham-
ilton, made its first appearance in the tall of 1867, and
continued to be published little more than a year.

(|[ \ PT E i: X.



This society was tunned in 1817, two years after
the State Bociety, and three years subsequent to the
British and Foreign Bible Society of England. The
names prominently identified with its origin are those
of John Linn, Thomas Stewart, Lev. l>r. Joseph L.
Shaler, and Peter 1 >. Vroom, Jr. A meeting of a j
number of inhabitants of the- county of Sussex was |
held at Newton on the 19th of February, 1M7, when
Mr. Linn waschosen chairman, and Mr. Vroom secre- j
tary. It was

"Bttolve>l, That It in expedient to forni a Bible society In tho county of
Sussex, I.. be auxiliary to the N.'vv Jersey llililt' Society."

A constitution was adopted, drawn up by Messrs.

Shaler, Stewart, and Vroom. The name chosen Was
Hie Sussex \u\ihar\ Bible S.a.t\ Iwent -

three managers were intrusted with the selection of
a president, lour vice-presidents, and a corresponding
iv from among themselves. The second Tues-
day of June Wits chosen for the time of the annual

meeting, but the managers were directed to meet twice
in each year. The following are the names of the first
officers: John Linn, President; Eenrj Bidleman,
Rev. Joseph Campbell, Kev. Joseph L. Shafer, Evi
A. Sayre, Vice-Presidents; Peter D. Vr Corres-
ponding Secretary; Samuel Johnson (of Newton),

The young society i t with the discourage-
ments which menace all Mich organizations. The

in in i i r-, at the meeting March '.'7. 1^17. resolved to
reduce the quorum number from seven to five, evi-
dently finding public interest insufficient to till their
meetings. But collections began to be made, and the

Work advanced. The treasurer's report made June

8, 1818, shows the subscriptions from the organization
of the societj to that date to have been thirty-six

dollars and sixty-four cent-. The money was dire, ted

to be used in buying Bibles. The hoard in L819
recommended that an auxiliary society he formed in
each township in the county. The treasurer's report
for 1820 showed a gratifying advance, the receipts for

the year having accumulated to ninety dollar-, exclu-
sive of twelve Bibles on hand.

The society was reorganized at its ninth annual
meeting to bring it into immediate connection with

the American Bible Society. On May 26, 1825, at
Newton, the constitution was framed, under the style ot
"The Auxiliary Bible Society of the County of Bus-

-e\," as it remain- at the present. The officers chosen
at the reorganization wire Robert Ogden, President;
Jacob Avers, Benjamin Halsey, Vice-PresidentB ;

Kev. J. L. Shafer, Corresponding Secretary; Job J.

Balsted, Recording Secretary ; David Ryerson, Treas-

Up to the third annual meeting of the new society

(May 28, 18271 it was the custom to have a sermon

preached at each session, but this order was changed
for short practical addresses from several persons
appointed for the purpose. At the meeting held at
Newton iii 1828 addresses wen- delivered by R. W.
Hal-ted, J. C. Aycrs, and Rev. James G. Force. But
the meeting, doubting the advantage of discontinuing

the usual sermon, or from some other cause, made
provision in 1829 to restore the old order, and the

custom of having a sermon at the annual meeting has

ever sine Keen kept up. At the annual meeting in

lSL'il the snin of one thousand dollars was fixed upon

to be raised as soon as practicable, mainly by sub-
scriptions Of ten dollars each; and the following
preamble and resolution were adopted :

" Whereat, Tho American Bible Society have resolved that they will, in
reliance upon Divine aid, endeavor to supply with the Ratted Bo
all thedeaUtnte lamllies in tho United States that may be willing to pur-
chase or receive them within the space of two years, provided moans be
I u in i -lid l.y auxiliaries mid lfii>-vnhnt individuals in season; therefore,

" Iie*ohe<l, That w.- will endeavor as soou as practicable to pay off tho
debt of this auxiliary to the parent institution, and afterwards give them
all the aid within mir power to enable them in the specified time to carry
their noble resolution Into complete success."

The effort was so successful that at the annual meet-
inj: in 1830 the debt to the American society was re-
ported paid, and a balance in bund, exclusive of re-
ceipts that day. of eighteen dollars sixty-nine and a
half cent-. In ls:;.*.a report was made of a canvass
of the county by towns, and it was the first occasion
of a general distribution of Bibles by the society, the
undertaking being in connection with a general work
inaugurated throughout the State.

A hiatus OCCUrS in the record-, and. in. Iced, in the

actual life of the society from 1835 to L840. In the
hitter year another general distribution of Bibles was
made throughout the county. Assessments were also
proposed at the annual meeting of fifty, thirty-five,
and thirty dollars respectively, on the various churches

of till— county, to rai-e the -um of three hundred dol-
lar- for the work- of local ami general distribution.
This was accomplished in but a limited degree.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the society w

at Newton. Jan. 27, 1842, in accordance with a n-..-

lntion passed the previous year to hold the annual
meeting during the January term of court. On that



occasion a numerous audience was present in the
evening, and addresses were delivered, after the read-
ing of the managers' report, by Rev. Messrs. Campbell
and Davy.

At the fall meeting held Nov. 10, 1842, at North
Hardyston, a letter from the Somerset County Bible
Society was presented by Rev. J. Campbell concerning
the supply of the destitute in the State with the Scrip-
tures. A committee was appointed to correspond with
that society, and a report presented by them, which
was adopted ; but its contents are not noticed in the
minutes of this society.

In 1847 the society again distributed Bibles through-
out the county, ordering that every child old enough
to read should receive a copy, where destitute of the
sacred book. At the February meeting, 1848, held at
Newton, it was

11 Resolved, That we will attempt to raise the sum of five hundred dol-
lars within the ensuing year as a donation to the parent society."

Part of the sum was raised and paid over to the

About this time the first attempt was made to for-
ward the work of Bible distribution in Sussex through
the services of a general agent. In 1851, Rev. Wil-
liam Porter, a colporteur in this county of the Presby-
terian Board of Publication, was requested to add in-
quiries regarding Bibles to his more special duties, and
at the Sparta meeting, in 1852, it was resolved, upon a
report of a committee appointed for that purpose, to
furnish to the Rev. N. Conkling, then colporteur of
the American Tract Society in Sussex, a horse and
wagon, the tract society paying his salary. A com-
mittee composed of Rev. J. Campbell and Dr. Thomas
Ryerson recommended the following list of instruc-

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 57 of 190)