James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 77 of 190)
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li. utenant of artillery May <;, 1861 ; was commissione I
captain of the Fifth New York Volunteers May 9th,
and was wounded at the battle of Big Bethel, June 10th,
1861. tin his recovery he was commissioned lieuten-
ant-colonel of the Second New York Cavalry Volun-
teers, of which regiment he became colonel, Decem-
ber, 1862. With his regiment, he participated in the

Rappahannock campaign, in the sei 1 battleof Bull

Run, and many minor actions, and in the Maryland

campaign. During "St iman's raid" to the rear

of i Sen. Lee's army he commanded a brigade of cav-
alry, and was promoted to I"- brigadier-general of

i rs, -I 1868. At the battle of Gettysburg

he commanded a brigade and division. In April,
1864, he was ordered to duty with Gen. Sherman in
iii. West, and at the battle of Resaca, Way . 1 864, was
severely wounded. During < len. Sherman'- march to
theses and subsequent campaign through the Caxo-
linas, he commanded the cavalry and was actively
engaged. In June, 1865, he was promoted to In- ma-
jor-general of volunteers. He resigned his commis-
sion in tin- regular army. December, 1866, and his

volunteer i (mission Jan. 1. 1866. In November,

isr,;,, he was appointed United States Minister to



Chili; was recalled in 1868.* For details of his uni-
tary operations see Chapter XV. of this work.


Samuel Whitaker was for many years one of the
leading spirits of Wantage township, and identified,
in a remarkable degree, with the growth and develop-
ment of that part of Sussex County. His parents
were Richard and Elizabeth (Forgerson) Whitaker,
of Unionville, N. Y., where the former was a success-
ful tiller of the soil. The brothers and sisters were
Jacob, • Aaron, Richard, John, Halsey, and Lewis
Whitaker, and Mary, who married Dr. Austin, of
Unionville ; Milly, who married Benjamin Haynes,
of Unionville ; Charlotte, second wife of Benjamin
Haynes ; and Fanny, who became the second wife of
Dr. Austin. Descendants of Jacob reside at Oswego,
N. Y., a son of Richard at West Town, N. Y., and
daughters of John at Goshen and Middletown, N. Y. ;
Lewis lived and died in Wantage, and is represented

Samuel Whitaker was born at Unionville, N. Y., on
June 22, 1796. His educational advantages were
such as the common schools of his day afforded. In
early life he embarked in the mercantile business, at
Beemerville, Sussex Co., where he remained a number
of years. Removing to Unionville, he continued the
mercantile business at that place for several years,
and about the year 1835 located at Deckertown, N. J.,
where he was a leading merchant until within a few
years of his demise, which occurred on Oct. 20, 1871.

Although a man of plain habits, and of a retiring
disposition, he was possessed of remarkable energy
and force of character, and took an active part in all
movements tending to advance the material welfare
of the community in which he dwelt. He was one of
the founders of the Farmers' National Bank of Deck-
ertown, and a director for many years. In bringing
the Midland Railway to Deckertown no man was
more active, and he subscribed liberally to the pro-
ject, and devoted much time and energy in furthering
its accomplishment. He was a member of the Pres-
byterian Church of Deckertown, and in politics a
Democrat. He filled the office of county collector of
Sussex County several years, and that of postmaster
at Deckertown for many years. In all his business
relations he sustained an exalted character for integ-
rity and fair dealing; and left behind him, at his
death, recollections of an upright and honorable life.

Mr. Whitaker was married, when a young man, to
Margaret, daughter of John E. and. Jane Adams, of
Wantage township, and had three children, — -namely,
John A., born July 1, 1818 ; Richard, born March 24,
1820, died Aug. 31, 1845; and Zillah M., wife of
Jacob E. Ilombeck, of Deckertown, born June 16,

* Johnson's Cyclopicdli

John A. Whitaker is the president of the Farmers'
National Bank of Deckertown. He was cashier of
that institution from Jan. 1, 1857. until his election as
president on Jan. 13, 1874, previous to that time being
engaged in the mercantile business at Deckertown.
He is a leading and influential citizen in that village,
of genial manners, and widely known throughout his
section as a successful business man. He was mar-
ried in the year 1846 to Mary A., daughter of John
and Amanda (Sayre) Holbert, of Chemung Co., N. Y.,
and has four daughters, — viz., Isabel, wife of Theo-
dore F. Margarum, cashier of the Deckertown Bank ;
Amanda H, wife of Capt. Theodore F. Northrop, of
New York City; Mary Alice, wife of Charles D.
Tyler, of Newark, N. J.; and Josephine, wife of
John Bennet, of Elmira, N. Y.


Amos Munson is a son of Israel Munson, who was
born in Morris Co., N. J., in 1771. The latter was a
wheelwright by trade, and followed that occupation at
New Vernon, Morris Co., when a young man. In
early life he removed to Sussex County and entered
upon the calling of a farmer in Hardyston township,
where his son, Asa Munson, now resides. Here he
passed the remainder of a long and industrious life,
engaged in agricultural operations, and died in 1838.
His wife was Nancy Conger, a native of New Vernon.
Her parents kept a public inn four miles below Mor-
ristown during Revolutionary times, in an ancient
dwelling that is still standing. Her mother was a
representative of the Whitehead family, that has been
favorably identified with different interests in New

The children of Israel and Nancy Munson were as
follows, — viz., Amos; Lavinia, who married Capt.
William Berdslee, of Hardyston ; Samuel ; Saren B. ;
Susan, who became" the wife of Edward S. Berdslee ;
James L. ; Israel ; Theodosia, who married John Go-
ble ; John ; and Nancy. Of this large family there are
living, Amos, the subject of this notice ; Samuel, at
Paterson, N. J. ; Asa, in Hardyston township ; Saren
B., in Michigan; Susan, at Jerseyville, 111. ; James L.,
in Sparta township ; and John, in Wantage township.

Amos Munson was born on the homestead, in Har-
dyston township, Feb. 11, 1803. His earlier years
were passed upon the paternal farm, and his educa-
tional advantages were those afforded by the district
school of his locality. When a young man, he clerked
for a time in the store of Robert Baldwin, at Ham-
burg, then in charge of Stephen F. Margarum, and
married, on Jan. 14, 1824, Elizabeth, daughter of
Nicholas and Anna (Farber) Ryerson, of Vernon
township. She was born Aug. 30, 1807. The young
couple at once entered upon the active duties of life,
and on March 5, 1824, located at Paterson, N. J.,
where Mr. Munson carried on the butcher business
witli success for fourteen years. In 1838 they re-

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moved to Deckertown, X. J., where- he purchased :i
Earn] of one hundred and forty-four acres, upon which
lie has since resided.

.Mr. Munson belongs to that class of business men
who, by industry and the intelligent discharge of
business duties, meet with success iii any calling in
life. As ii farmer he has I □ industrious and clear-
beaded, and by careful management has accumulated

a g I estate. A large portion of his property is now

pcluded within the corporate limits of Deckertown,

and comprises streets and lot.-., one of tin- former of
which Lear- hi- name. In various way- his life has
hen intimately identified with the growth and de-
velopment of Deckertown, until, after many year- of

re- i de nee at that place, he is looked upon as one of the
veritable fathers of the village. Himself a member
of no religious sect, he has ever been a contributor
to the various benevolent enterprises of his day, and,
with liberal hand and intelligent advice, assisted in
tin- erection and construction of all the churches and

fchools of the village, and in other way- CO-Operated
in all movement- tending to advance the material, so-
cial, and educational interests of the community in
which he resides. In bringing the Midland Railway

to Deckertown he was actively interested, and, he-
sides subscribing fifteen hundred dollar- in cash to
the encouragement of the project, he gave the right
of way through his farm, of two thousand five hun-
dred and -evoniy-two feet of land, half of which was
one hundred feet in width, and the remainder, upon
pari of which the depot stands, one hundred and thirty
feet, lie is still pursuing the avocation of a farmer,
and though now at the ripe old age of seventy-eight
year-, i- well preserved, in the full possession of all
his faculties, and in personal charge of all his affairs.
Il< has ever been foremost in welcoming the aid of
invention in lightening the arduous labors of a far-
mer's life, and introduced the first mowing-machine
and first horee-rake used ha Susses County. <»n his

fiirm are to he found all the latest mechanical con-
trivances , if the present day. Himself and wife, after
the long period of fifty-seven years of married life,
now live peacefully and happily in their pleasant
home at Deckertown, enjoying in their old age the
respect and esteem of all classes of citizens, and the
consciousness that they have performed their allotted
tasks in life with fidelity and success. No children
have been horn of ihe union.

sffi^n ( .? @l*c£l6%

JOHN B, DECKER. Never-ink settlement al t the year 174", and, pass-

Thc tirst white man to enter the precincts of what in, over the K it tat in ny or 151 lie Mountain, pur-ind hi-
is now Wantage township, in Sussex County, was search after suitable land upon which to effect a per-
imeter Decker, a Hollander by descent, who left the maiieut settle nt. His choice fell upon the present



site of the village of Deekertown, where, amid tall
forest-trees, murmuring brooks, and the solemn si-
lence of a vast solitude, he erected the first dwelling
built by a white man in that section. Here he passed
his days engaged in clearing up land and tilling the
soil, enduring the trials and privations of pioneer life.
He was the great-grandfather of the subject of this

Josiah, son of Peter Decker, was also an early resi-
dent of Wantage township. He lived at the " Clove,"
and operated the first grist-mill at that point, besides
engaging in farming to a considerable extent. To
himself and wife, Sarah, were born five children, —
namely, Bowdewine, Abraham, William, Fametje,
and Margaret. The sons lived and died in Wantage.
Fametje became the wife of Ephraim Kilpatrick,
grandfather of Gen. Judsou Kilpatrick, and Margaret
married Seth Wickham.

Bowdewine Decker was one of the strong men of
Wantage township in early times. He was born Feb.
25, 1763, and grew up on his father's farm, his school-
ing advantages being but meagre in those days. He
was a great reader, however, and a teacher in one of
the early district schools of his locality. In 1787 he
located near the present residence of his son, John B.
Decker, where he erected a stone house, which he
occupied for some years. In 1805 he built the main
portion of the present dwelling of John B. Decker,
where he continued to live until his death, in 1857, in
his ninety-fourth year. Besides being a thrifty and
successful farmer, owning over four hundred acres of
land, he engaged extensively in other business. For
many years he kept a store near his residence, where
he carried on mercantile pursuits ; he had a tau-yard,
a distillery, an extensive potash-works, and was gen-
erally identified with the growth and development of
his section. A man of good judgment and strong
sense, the adviser of many people, of sterling integ-
rity, generous and public-spirited, he was for many
years one of the leading men of Wantage. He was a
supporter of the Clove Presbyterian Church, and at
one time bought the church edifice at public sale, and
presented it clear to the congregation. He was an
Old-Line Whig, but never an aspirant for office. His
first wife, whom he married on May 31, 1787, was
Naomi, daughter of Richard Westbrook, of Wantage,
and a representative of one of the strong pioneer
families of the section". She was born June 14, 1772,
and died April 29, 1825. Her children were Richard,
born Aug. 15, 1788; Josiah, bom April 15, 1792;
Mary, born Aug. 30, 1790; Hannah, bom Feb. 5,
1794; Sarah, born Oct. 10, 1796; Frederick, born
May 16, 1802; and John B., the only one surviving,
born Nov. 16, 1803. Bowdewine Decker married for
a second wife, on June 8, 1826, Rebecca Van Sickle,
born May 1, 1768; died Sept, 11, 1845.

John B. Decker was born on the paternal farm, on
the date indicated above, and is one of the oldest and
most highly esteemed citizens of the township. His

earlier years were passed upon his father's farm, but
his labors were mostly directed to the tanning busi-
ness. In 1824 he took up his residence at his father's
mill, and continued to co-operate with his father in
the management of his affairs. In 1845 he removed
to the family homestead, and worked the farm, and a
few years later it was deeded to him by his father.
Here he has continued to reside since, the property
now, however, belonging to his son-in-law, Jacob

Mr. Decker has devoted his entire life to agricultu-
ral operations, and has long been a representative
farmer in Wantage township. He has owned a large
estate, some of which is still preserved to him, but,
though of good business qualifications and of excel-
lent judgment, he has lost no less than eighty thou-
sand dollars during his life by indorsements for
friends, and because of his generous heart and liberal
spirit. He now owns the mill at the Clove, a farm of
one hundred and fifty acres near by, one hundred
acres in Montague township, a small farm in Penn-
sylvania, and houses and lots in Coleville and Decker-
town. He has paid particular attention to the raising
of fine stock, particularly horses. The celebrated
trotting mare " Goldsmith Maid" was foaled on his
farm in 1857, and sold by him, in 1863, for three hun-
dred and fifty dollars to John H. Decker and Thomas
Bingham, of Newburg, N. Y.

Mr. Decker has now reached the mature age of
seventy-eight years, and is well preserved, and in full
possession of all his faculties. He is a man of strict
integrity, possesses the confidence of many friends,
and is a contributor to the Clove Presbyterian Church.
A Republican in politics, he has never been an aspi-
rant after place. He has been twice married. His
first wife was Sarah, daughter of William and Eliza-
beth Decker, to whom he was united on April 24, 1824,
and who bore him the following children, — viz., Wil-
liam (deceased) ; Naomia E. (deceased) ; Elizabeth
(deceased), wife of Jansen H. Beemer; Mary (de-
ceased) ; Bowdewine (deceased) ; Daniel W., who
died from disease contracted in the army in the late
Rebellion ; and Emma R., wife of Judson J. Wick-
ham, of Craigville, Orange Co., N. Y. Mr. Decker's
second wife was Charity M. Kilpatrick, whom he
married on March 20, 1855. She was born May 12,
1824, and died March 15, 1868, leaving one child,
Lillie, wife of Jacob Swartwout, of Wantage township.


The Hornbeck family is one of the pioneer families
of Sussex County, and was early represented in Ul-
ster Co., N. Y., being of Dutch extraction.

Philip was the grandfather of the subject of this
sketch and the first representative of the family in
this section. His son Jacob was one of the early and
prominent physicians of the county. He resided a

<*e^ g.&wrH&*Af


WANT \i;k.


I >:i it ol Ins hi ivhere racob \\ -n :rook hv b, in San-
dy-Ion township, and in Montague township, ami
was licensed to practice l>\ the State hoard of censors
on Oct. 5, 1802. He enjoyed a large and extensive
]>ra>'tic(;, and atone time represented his fellow-citi-
ffins in the Legislature of the State. His wife was
Esther, daughter of Capt. John 1. Wcstbrook, and
granddaughter of Jacob Westbrook, and his children
who reached mature years were seven in num-
ily, John \V., a prominent lawj er of Allen-
town, I'a., who died in 1848, while representing his
h tret in i i: iv - Mana (deceased), v if of rames
!, of Honesdale, Pa.; Sarah, widow ol Dr.
Cornelius Stillwell; Elizabeth, widow of Archibald
Drake; Cornelius, a leading merchant and lumber-
dealer of Honesdale, Pa.; Margaret, widow of Wil-
liam Cortright; and Jacob E., our subject. l>r.
Horrbeck di: I Nov. I.. 18 ' aged eight; four » "irs.
Jacob E. Hornbeck was horn March 20, 1820, on
hi* father's homestead, in Sandyston township, where
bis earlier years were passed. He enjoyed the bene-
fits of academic instruction under Rev. Mr. Allen at
Slilford, I'a.. and at the Allentoun Academy. 1'pon
attaining the age of twenty years he entered mercan-
tile life a* a clerk in Honesdale, I'a.. where he re-
mained for five years, owning one-quarter interest in

the While Mills, near Honesdale, and in eighteen

hundred acres of land in Wayne Co., I'a., and super-
intending the erection, one summer, of a new mill, at
an expense of two thousand eight hundred dollars.

At the conclusion of thai ti he engaged in trade

iu Montague, in partnership with Jacob Hornbeck,

and married, for his first wile, Mary I)., daughter of
.lane B. Armstrong, of that township, who died a
few months later. In 1847 he opened a -lore at the
Lackawaxen Narrow-, in Pike Co., Pa., and contin-
ued at that point for four year-. lie then moved to

I law ley, I'a., and, in partnership with Joseph S. Soli-
day, followed mercantile pursuits for two years.

On Jan. :'.. 1856, he married, for his second wife,
Zillall M., daughter of Samuel and Margaret Whit-
aker, of Deckertown, N. J., and soon after removed
to that place, lie purchased n cedar swamp near the

village, creeled a mill, and for a lime manufactured

cedar shinghs quite extensively. Subsequently he
assisted hi* father-in-law, Mr. Whitaker, in the man-
agement of his affairs, and later engaged in tradi in
the village, iu partnership with John \. Beemer and

John I lis, under the firm-name of Hornbeck,

Beemer & Co., for about live years. After the termi-
nation of this business connection he purchased the
Deckertown mill property, and has since owned and
Operated the grist-mill ai thai point.

Mr. Hornbeck is recognized as one of the self-
qtade, influential, and successful business men of
Wmlage. Starting out in lifi with small ca] Hal but
tilled with an ambition to do ami succeed, he has, by
the exercise of sound judgment, industry, and close
application to business, achieved honorable promi-

nence in business life. He is generous and liberal-
minded, a warm supporter of the progressive and be-
nevolent enterprises of the day, and one of the mov-
d of Deckertown. A few years ago he erected

the Opera House block. Ill IZe llft\ flir 1\ l.dli'

feet, and comprising several stores and a public hall,
which he *till owns, lie has dealt considerably in
real estate and owns several houses and buildings,
besides a farm of two hundred and eighty-ieven acres
in Orange Co., N. Y. He is a Democrat in politics,
was a warm supporter of the war, and postmaster at
1 deckertown for two years, commencing April 1. 1 859.
He has been collector of Wantage township tor two
years past, being chosen without opposition, ami was
trustee and clerk of Deckertown school for thirteen

year-. He has acted as the private adviser and coun-
sel of a number of friends, and has administered \^^
dhhreiit estates. I wards the prcjsct of bringing the
Midland Railroad to Deckertown he contributed fif-
teen hundred dollar-, and lent warm per-,, mil encour-

His children are .Maggie !■"... wife of Whitfield
Gibbs, editor of the Deckertown Independent, and

S ii, I W., residing at home.

1:1.1 \s oioi'KK.
('apt. Elias Cooper, as he was familiarly known,
was one of the strong men of Wantage township in
early days, and did much by hi* energy and force of

character to develop the industries of the section of

country in which he located. His father was < thadiah

Cooper, of English descent, and a farmer at Fishkill,
Dutchess Co., N. Y. Here Elias was born, on Julj 19,
1783. He grew up on the paternal farm, and attended
the common schools of his day. Wlien he had attained

the age of twenty-nine he was induced to come to
Sussex Count] and lake charge of the plantation of

his maternal. uncle, Dominic Elias Van Benschoten,
one of the pioneer Dutch ministers of the Minisink
region, who became widely known throughout that
section. The removal to Susses County occurred on
\pril I. L812. This large tracl of land, lying in Want-
age township, ami comprising about one thousand
acres, finally became the property of Capt. Cooper, sub-
ject to a bequest of twenty thousand dollars, which the
captain paid, to Rutgers College, New Brunswick,
which had been left 1,\ i; -\. Van Bi ns< lioterj to that
institution, pro> ided his will was read al each annual
meeting of the Clasais of New Brunswick. Upon this

tract ( 'apt. t 'ooper lived, surrounded h\ his slaves, and
engaged in agricultural operation*, and in running a

grist- ami Ban -mill at the " < 'love." 1 1, was a gentle-
man of the olden time, liberal ami public-spirited, of
strong judgment and common sense, and one whose
advice and assistance were sought by all class

people, lie loaned a great deal of moms through hi*

section, and many families whose representatives are
now leading agriculturists in Wantage received their



first start through his liberality and assistance. He
took great interest in local military affairs, and was a
captain in the militia of his day. He was a Whig in
politics, and a strong pillar in the Clove Presbyterian
Church. In his latter days he was actively interested
in the temperance cause. He passed away on Sept.
9, 1846, dividing his property equitably among his
children, who still own a large portion of the original

Capt. Cooper was married on Dec. 25, 1811, to
Sarah, daughter of Henry and Sarah (Rosencrans)
Dodge, of Dutchess Co., N. Y., and a member of
the influential familj 7 of that name, in New York City.
Her father, Henry Dodge, was once a representative
in the New York Legislature, and many of her rela-
tives performed active service in the Revolutionary
war. Mrs. Cooper was born May 4, 1790, and died on
June 12, 1872. Her children were as follows : Mat-
thew H., born Oct. 25, 1812, residing in Brooklyn,
N. Y. ; John J., born April 9, 1814, residing at Goshen,
N. Y. ; William, born Sept. 16, 1815, graduated at
Princeton College, practiced law at Deckertown, died
March 3, 1842; Sarah M., born April 30, 1817, mar-
ried Asa Smith, of "Wantage, Sept. 30, 1835 ; James
H., born Feb. 21, 1819, died Nov. 19, 1876 ; Charles
A., born Jan. 2, 1821, graduated at the University of
New York, practiced medicine for twenty-two years
in Wantage township, now a leading oil operator at
Oil City, Pa.; Hannah E., born Jan. 23, 1823, de-
ceased, wife of W. W. Rose, of Brooklyn ; Mahlon,
born June 26, 1824, residing at Warwick ; Walter,
born Sept. 28, 1828, died Aug. 14, 1830 ; and Daniel
W., born March 7, 1831, a practicing physician of
Wantage township.


Among the many old families who, about the mid-
dle of the seventeenth century, sought the shores of
the New World, none had been more distinguished
in political and social life, none had numbered in its
ranks more noted men than the De Witts.

Natives of Dordrecht, one of the oldest burgher
towns of Holland, and in later years dear to art as the
birthplace of Cuyp and Ary Scheffer, and to theology
as the meeting-place of the Synod of Dort, the
" Geschlacten von Dordrecht," in the Royal Library
at the Hague, gives the descent of the De Witt
family in an unbroken line from the year 1295 to
Sept. 8, 1639. Some of the names served under Wil-
liam the Silent, and were zealous supporters of the
revolted provinces against Spanish oppression. After
the death of John of Barneveldt, Jacob De Witt
succeeded to the high, honors of " Land Advocate of
Holland." His son Cornelius, the burgomaster of
Dordrecht, "at the head of a Dutch fleet, with a
stout Dutch admiral to do his bidding," sailed up the
Thames, burning the English ships and sending con-
sternation into the very heart of London. Another

son, John De Witt, one of the most distinguished

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 77 of 190)