James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 78 of 190)
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men in the history of the Netherlands, became Grand
Pensionary of Holland during the period between
the separation from Spain and the opening of the
Thirty Years' War.

The family emigration to the colony of "New
Amsterdam" began about the year 1639. Andries and
Tjerck Claus De Witt located at Esopus, in Ulster
Co., N. Y., about 1648, and became the progenitors
of the Ulster branch of the family. As the gener-
ations increased the family became numerous, and
some of its representatives followed the line of settle-
ment through the Mamakating and Minisink regions,
and have since been numerously represented in that

Moses De Witt, son of Jacob and Leah De Witt,
and father of our subject, was born Oct. 23, 1761.
He served in the war at Minisink, where he held the
office of captain, and is said to have stood his ground
against the Indians, and to have fought bravely until
a white man was no longer to be seen. After the
struggle he located in Wantage township, Sussex Co.,
near the Jacob W. De Witt farm, where he passed
his days as a farmer, being one of the pioneers of
Wantage. To himself and wife, Margaret, were born
the following children, — namely, Hiram, born Nov.
9, 1783 ; Olivia, born Jan. 7, 1785, married Amos
Titsworth, of Wantage ; Jezereel, born Sept. 1, 1786 ;
Tjerck, born April 19, 1788 ; Evi, born June 11, 1789 ;
Moses, born Sept. 1, 1790 ; Mary, born April 20, 1792 ;
Aaron, born June 24, 1793 ; Elizabeth, born Jan. 20,

1796, married Edward Lewis ; Margaret, born Oct. 13,

1797, married Samuel Smith; John, born Jan. 18,
1799 ; Naomi, born March 23, 1801, married John B.
Decker; Jacob W., born Nov. 27, 1804; and Cath-
arine, born March 23, 1806, married Jacob Swarts.
Of this large family of children, all attained mature
years save Hiram, who was killed in early life by the
falling of a tree. Olivia, Evi, Moses, Elizabeth, and
Jacob W. became residents of Wantage. Jacob,
Soferine, and Samuel were brothers of the first Moses.
The first two passed their lives in Wantage township,
and Samuel removed West. Moses De Witt died
Dec. 8, 1842, and his wife on May 19, 1845.

Evi De Witt, the subject of this sketch, is one of
the oldest residents of Sussex County, being in his
ninety-second year. He was born June 11, 1789, in
Wantage township, grew up on his father's farm, and
at the age of seventeen went to learn the trade of a
tanner and currier with John Peckham, of Greenville,
Orange Co., N. Y. He worked as an apprentice for
two years, and was taken in as a joint partner the
third year. On March 9, 1811, he married Prudence
Stoddard, a native of Connecticut, who was born
Nov. 6, 1791. After this event he continued to work
at his trade for some time, when he removed to his
native township and engaged in tanning and carrying
on the farm where his son, Jonathan S. De Witt, now
lives. Here his family was horn and raised, the two





ftVOCationa of fanning and tanning being separately
di Upon the marriage of his son, Jonathan
8., Mr. De Witt purchased the Tjerek De Witt farm,
whereon he erected his present residence, about twenty-
eight years ago. He subsequently resided for a few
pan where Jacob W. De Witt now lives.

The life of Mr. De Witt has been a modest and
busy one, spent within the inner circles of society,
yet having an important relation to the growth and
development of the community in which he has
passed SO many years, lie enjoys the respect and
Confidence of his friends for Ids honest, straightfor-
ward, and manly life, and will carry down with him,
lit a green old age, the recollection of a sincere,
earnest, and u-efiil career. He is a Democrat in
politics, and has filled the leading o dices of his town-
-liip, though never a seeker after place. He is a
member of the Wantage Methodist Episcopal ( Ihurch,
and a liberal contributor to church and kindred inter-
est-. His wife died Aug. 25, I -s 7 ■' : . Of a large family
of children eight are still living, and his grandchil-
dren number twenty-four. The children were Lucy
S., horn Feb. 9, 1812, who resides in Wantage, and
married John L. Decker and Obadiah A. Wright;
Jezereel, born Sept. 16, 1813, 'lied Aug. 24, L821;
Hannah, born Oct. 11. 1815, wife of Halsey Kite;
Simeon S., horn Dec. 21, ls|7. and Lorenzo, horn
Feb. 20, 1820, both of whom died Aug. 21, 1821;
Prudence, horn Sept. ::, 1*22, married Benjamin Van-
Btten; Jonathan S., horn May :;l, ls2.">, a leading
farmer of Wantage; Lucretia, horn July 2:!, 1827,
died Feb. 'J. 1846; Arminda L., born Dec. 1, 1829,
wife of Nathaniel W. Bailey; Daniel S., born Feb.
28, 1832; Nelson, born April 9, 1834, residing on the

home la rm ; and Margaret I... born Aug. 19, 1836,
wife of Abraham .1. Decker, of Wantage.

.1 M'nli \V. DE WITT.
Jacob W. De Witt, son of Moses and Margaret De

Wilt, was burn on the I lestead of bis father, in

Wantage township, on \<>v. 27, 1804. He came of
distinguished Dutch stock in Holland, and the family

Of which be i- a representative has I, nig been identi-
fied with the settlement and development of the sec-
tion of country in which he lives. The earlier history
bf hi- ancestors is presented in connection with the
sketch of his older brother, l'.vi I >e Witt, in this work.
1'ntil the death of his parents the life of Mr. De
Witt was passed on the old homestead, which he
farmed on shares a portion of the time. His educa-
tion was obtained at the district school which si I

on the corner, near bis present residence, on the

"Clove" road. On Feb. 3, 1830, be Was united in

marriage to Phebe, daughter of Constant and Lydia
A. Fuller, of Wantage. She was born April 10,1810,

and died Sept. I. I 857. A lb t the demise Of hi- father

the home farm came to Mr. De Witt, upon which he
lived, engaged in agricultural pursuits, until his re-

moval to his present residence, in 1873, and which he

still own-. He i- recognized as one of the sue

ful leading representative agriculturists of Wantage,

and h\ a life of industry. nitcgriU ind fair dealing
has accumulated a good estate and won the respect
and confidence of many friends, lie is a man of
generous impulses, liberal in hi- support of the re-
ligious and benevolent institutions of his day. and for
thirty year- past has been an elder in the First Pres-
byterian Church of Wantage. He was formerly a
Democrat in politics, but now identified with the
Republican party, ami has tilled the office of free-
holder, and the. minor offices of the township, as the
representative of each parly. He took an active in-
terest in the project of bringing the Midland Railroad
to Dcekcrlown. to which he contributed two thousand
dollars, and is one of the well-preserved, intelligent,
and popular aged men of his section. His children
by his tirsl marriage were as follows: Lydia A., born
Dec. 30, 1830; Constant F., born March 29, I 333, died
May 27, 18G7 ; Miranda L., born Feb. 22, 1835, mar-
ried Alfred Hardin, died Jan. X, 1X7iI: Theodore, born
July 9, 1837, a leading farmer in Wantage; Sarah
Naomi, born July 31, 1841; Emma A., born Dee. 5,
1843, died May 20, L852; Margaret, born June 14,
184(3, widow of Dr. Lewis Westfall; Moses, born
April 30, 1849, a graduate of Princeton Col
1870, and a practicing lawyer at Newark. N. J.; and
an infant -on, who died unnamed. His second wife
was Fanny, daughter of Henry and Sarah Shepherd,
of Wantage, and widow of Silas Lewis, of the same
place. She was born March 24, 1814, and is the
present helpmeet of his home.


The Wilson family i- of Scotch extraction, and has
been identified from the earliest years with the settle-
ment and development of Wantage and contiguous
townships in Sussex I 'utility.

Andrew Wilson, the pioneer of that branch of the

family to which the subject of this sketch belongs,
was bom in Scotland, on Nov. 80, 1726, and emigrated

to this country from inland in early life. He was
of good family and a commissioned officer under
George III., serving at the battle of Tieoi,
during the French and Indian war. lie was badly
WOUnded in the service, and granted a patent of land

by the government. He first located in Wantage

township, near the Wallkill Kiver. and finally estab-
lish,.! himself where his grandson BOW re-ides, and

where he passed bis life in clearing up land, tilling

the soil, and in the usual farming operation- inci-
dent to a pioneer life. Himself and wife. Martha
Ferguson, wire among the six who formed the first
Methodist class in this section of Sus-c\ County.

she was bom on March ... i7:ii . and the marriage oc-
curred on Aug. 29, 1750. The fruits of the union



were Mary, born Aug. 13, 1751 ; Joseph, born Oct. 29,
1752; Benjamin, born May 24, 1754; Andrew, born
Nov. 27, 1755; Catharine, born Sept. 15, 1757 ; Hope,
born Jan. 1, 1760 ; Jacob, born May 23, 1761 ; Mar-
garet, born July 17, 1763 ; Addi and Neri, born May
24, 1765; Martha, born Feb. 14, 1767; Hiram, born
March 4, 1769 ; Forger, born June 2, 1771 ; and
Abiah, born March 9, 1773.

Andrew Wilson died Nov. 6, 1802, and his wife on
February 16th of the same year.

Abiah Wilson, grandfather of the subject of this
sketch, was born on the old homestead, on the date
indicated above. He occupied throughout life a large
tract of productive land in Wantage township, and
became favorably known as a successful and represen-
tative agriculturist. At his death he divided his
property equitably among his children, and many of
his descendants are still identified with the farming
and business interests of that section. To himself and
wife, Mary Lobden, a large family of children were
born, — namely, a son, Jan. 26, 1794; Andrew, April
15, 1797, died Sept. 15, 1874; Eliza, July 18, 1798;
Julia, Nov. 17, 1800 ; Mathias, Oct. 25, 1801 ; Eliza,
July 4, 1804, married William Stoddard, died July 4,
1847 ; Samuel, Feb. 6, 1806 ; Augustus, July 2, 1807 ;
Philetus, father of our subject; James, July 9, 1810;
a daughter, April 1, 1811 ; Mary, May 18, 1812, mar-
ried John Fuller, died Aug. 16, 1844 ; Abiah, April
23, 1814; Lebeus, Aug. 17, 1817, died April 8, 1846;
Lida, March 1, 1819, married James Coe. Abiah
Wilson died Nov. 15, 1827, and his wife, Mary, on
Feb. 9, 1855.

Philetus Wilson was born near Deckertown, March
11, 1809, and passed the whole of a long and useful
life, following the calling of the soil, in Wantage
township, residing over forty years on the same farm.
Springing from old colonial stock, he was possessed
of the sterling integrity and sound practical sense
which formed so distinguishing a feature of the pio-
neer settlers of Sussex County. He was for many
years prominently identified with the agricultural
interests of Wantage, and took a prominent part in
the organization and control of the successful county
fairs of Sussex County. An ardent lover of nature,
he took just pride in all that pertained to agriculture,
and always welcomed the aid of inventive genius to
forward and lighten the toils of the husbandman.
For a score of years he had a valuable nursery on his
farm; did much to advance the standard of horticul-
ture in his locality. He was a liberal contributor to
church and kindred interests, and a member, first, of
the Baptist, and subsequently of the Methodist, de-
nomination of Christians. A Democrat in politics,
he held aloof from the strife and turmoil of public
life, and filled only the minor offices of his township.
I'o -.'- -i'l of a genial and kindlj nature, ;i warm and
generous heart, and endowed with that rare Christian
spirit that carries religion into the daily walks of life,
he was deservedly popular in the community in which

he dwelt, and held in high esteem by his friends and
neighbors. His last illness was comparatively brief,
and he passed away on Feb. 10, 1876, in the bosom of
his family and surrounded with every comfort that a
life of industry, integrity, and fair dealing had ena-
bled him to enjoy.

His wife, who survives him, was Clarissa, daughter
of Andrew and Miriam (De Witt) Wilson, a descend-
ant, on the paternal side, of the original ancestor of
the family in the line of Joseph Wilson. Her father
was for many years a justice of the peace, and one of
the lay judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Sus-
sex County. The marriage occurred Dec. 25, 1835,
and of the union was born an only child, Charles A.
Wilson, on Oct. 20, 1840. The earlier years of the
latter were passed upon his father's farm, and he re-
ceived a thorough preliminary and academic educa-
tion at the celebrated institution of William Rankin,
at Deckertown. In early life he entered the mercan-
tile business in the store of E. C. and Ira C. Moore, of
Newton, N. J. Finding that occupation too confin-
ing, he returned to the paternal farm and engaged in
the creamery business for some time, and later went
to the State of Iowa, where he engaged with success
in the lumber and grain traffic, and where a large
part of his business interests still lie, being attended
to by responsible agents. Returning home at the
urgent solicitation of his parents, he resumed the
creamery business for a period, and devoted much
time and energy in bringing the Midland Railroad of
New Jersey to his native place. That desirable ob-
ject accomplished, he embarked in the lumber and
coal business at Deckertown, in which he is at present

Mr. Wilson represents that class of young, active,
and energetic business men for which Deckertown is
noted, and who bear a very important relation to the
business growth and prosperity of the place. He
takes an active interest in all movements tending to
improve and develop the village, and has added to its
architectural attractions by the erection of a hand-
some residence for himself. He bears in the com-
munity the reputation of an honorable and upright
man, is one of the directors of the Farmers' National
Bank of Deckertown, and is otherwise identified with
the various institutions of his section. He was one
of the builders of the Middletown and Crawford Rail-
road, running from Middletown to Pine Bush, Orange
Co., N. Y. ; is a member and trustee of the Methodist
Episcopal Church of Deckertown, and acts politically
with the Republican party, though he is decidedly
averse to the holding of public office. He is also in-
terested in the agricultural prosperity of Wantage
township, and owns one of the finest farms in Sussex
County, it being a part of the old homestead of his
great-grandfather, Andrew Wilson, and the same oc-
cupied by his father during his lifetime. He is
prominently identified with the institution of Ma-
sonry, was formerly a member of Harmony Lodge,


'/ r/ ; , /////JS/S

6U.&6 fi -



A. F. and A. M., of Newton, and was one of the

founder!! of Samaritan Lodge. \o. '.'S, of Idcker-

fbwn, to which he belongs, and of Masons' Home

Iowa Falls, Iowa, lit- i- also u member of

in Chapter, S'o. 17, K. \. M., of Newton. II.

was married on July I". L872, to Emma A., daughter
of Solomon <■. < ;ihl>~, of Oswego, N. Y. She died
Aug. 19, 1880, leaving two children, Clara A. Wilson,
born May 13, 1873, and Charles G. Wilson, horn May

7, 1877.


1 1 ii in | >l trey Martin was a son of Nathaniel Martin,
born on Aug. 31 , I 762, and who was one of the pioneer
settlers of Wantage township, in Sussex County. Na-
thaniel Martin's wife was Phila Potter, who waa born
April 29, L763, and the issue of the marriage, Mary,

let. 9, 1782, wl arried Jeptha Martin, and

died May 31, 1816; Sarah, born March 19, 1786;
Humphrey, born Aug. 15, 1789; and Lebeus, born
April 11,1794. Nathaniel Martin died in 1854, and

re, Phila, on July 8, 1833. The father of Na-
Martin was Humphrey, who died April 17.

[ehabod and James were brothers of Nathanii I,
and the family originated in Middlesi \ Co., N. J.

Humphrey Marl in was one of the leading and con-
trolling men of his day. and was born in Wantage
township on the date indicated above. Throughout

life lie exerted a wide inlluenre as a successful

and progressive farmer, and enjoyed the confidence

and respeel of :i wide circle of acquaintances and

I le was a I lemocrat in polities, and held

tin- ordinary township offices. He was for many

i member and officer of the First Baptist
Church of Wantage, and a strong pillar in its coun-
Mls. He was ai tivi I', i Icnhiicil with the pr grcssi?e
movement- of bis day, and gave the right of way
(hrough liis farm to the Midland Railroad of New

Jersey. He died Oct. 30, 1878. His wife was Isa-
bella Teasdale, and the children, Lebeus, Thomas
T., Nathaniel, .lame- .1.. Eliza, who manic. I Stephen
Cole; Prudence, who became the wife of Ellis A. Post;
Phila, who married Harry Post : Mary, who married
Hopkins Chandler; Lydia; Ann T., wife of Moses
is. Northrup; and Sarah, who became the wife of
.la.k-on 1 1. Jay. I. chins Martin occupies the resi-
dence of his father, n.ar Deckertown, is a leading and
influential farmer, an. I represented Sussi \ County in
the Legislature for two years, 1871 and 1872. Ili-
-••n, .lame- p., i- one of the growing young agricul-
turists of Want

This family is of French descent The grandfather
of our subject resided at an early day at Quebei
a. la, and served in the French army at the time of its
taking by Gen. Wolfe. Removing to N.w Jersey, he
settled at Sucasunna Plains, where he ended his days.
His children were « Jornelius, who settled near Blairs-
town, N. J.; Abraham, who locate. 1 in Virginia;

.lames, who Bettled in New York Stale; Mary, wh..

died young; and John, father of Jacob B. Leport.
John Leport was born in the year 1779, and was



raised to the trade of a blacksmith, in Morris Co.,
N. J. About the opening of the present century he
married Abby Burt, and removed to Sussex County,
purchasing a farm near Columbia, in Byram town-
ship, of one hundred and thirty acres. He farmed
this tract about thirty-five years, and then purchased
a farm in the same township, near the Sparta line,
where he remained until his demise, on April 22, 1857.
His wife died in 1838, aged fifty-eight years. Their
children were Mary, Nathaniel, Cornelius, Cyrus (for
many years a successful lawyer at Stanhope, N. J.),
John, Jacob B., Lydia (who married Michael L. Law-
rence), William, Andrew, and Madeline, who married
Morris Hoppaugh.

Jacob B. Leport was born in Byram township,
Sussex Co., N. J., on March 23, 1815, and passed his
boyhood days on the paternal farm, enjoying, mean-
while, the benefits of such educational training as the
common schools of his locality afforded. On March
1, 1838, he married Ann, daughter of Samuel C. and
Hannah (Blaine) Beardsley, of Hardyston township,
who was born April 6, 1818. Her grandfather, Thomas
Blaine, served in the Revolutionary war, and lived to
be nearly one hundred years of age. Soon after the
marriage Mr. Leport commenced to work the home
farm on shares, and subsequently took a long lease
on it, and operated it for nineteen years. In 1859 he
removed to Wantage township, Sussex Co., and pur-
chased of Evi De Witt the John De Witt farm of one
hundred and eighty acres, where he has since resided.
He is recognized as one of the successful representa-
tive farmers of the county, and the outbuildings and
appointments of his farm indicate careful and thrifty
management. He devotes himself principally to the
dairy business, and makes large quantities of butter.
He is a Republican in politics, and in 1879 was the
reform freeholder of Wantage township, being chosen
to that position in a township largely Democratic.
He was for several years a commissioner of deeds,
and sustains, in the community in which he resides,
the reputation of a successful and prudent farmer, of
correct principles and habits, and one who is entitled
to the confidence of his fellows. He is a regular at-
tendant of the Presbyterian Church of Deckertown,
and was for fourteen years a trustee of Wantage Meth-
odist Episcopal Church.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Leport are William
H. Leport, born Nov. 11, 1838, a resident of Newark,
N. J., and Amzi B., born Aug. 13, 1846, residing in
Wantage township.

Ira D. Hoffman is a descendant, in the fourth gen-
initinn, of John Hoffman, who came to this country
from Holland before the Revolutionary war and set-
tled at Esopus, Ulster Co., N. Y. There he lived
until his death, engaging in agricultural pursuits.
lie had three sons, — John, James, and Zachariah,

The first two remained in Ulster County until death.
Zachariah, who was the grandfather of the subject
of this sketch, removed to Sussex Co., N. J., soon '
after the close of the Revolutionary war, and located
near Van Sickle Town, where he passed his life as a
farmer. His wife was Sarah De Witt, who bore him
three sons and one daughter, — namely, James, Zacha-
riah, Cornelius, and Mary, who married and went
West. Cornelius removed to the neighborhood of
Oswego, N. Y., where he lived and died. James
passed his life in Wantage township, where some of
his descendants are still to be found.

Zachariah Hoffman, father of Ira D., was born in
1778. In the year 1800 he took up his residence where
Ira D. Hoffman now lives, where he pursued the avo-
cation of a farmer throughout his life, and died July
21, 1861. His wife was Hannah Dennis, of whom
were born eight children, — viz., Sarah, who married
Lewis Van Sickle, of Wantage; Levi (deceased);
Rosanna (deceased), who married James Brink ; Cath-
arine (deceased), who married Jacob Brink; Richard
W., a farmer residing near Milford, Pa. ; Anna, wife
of 'Squire Northrup, of Athens, Pa. ; Alida, wife of
Jerome B. Gilson, of Wantage; and Ira D. Hoffman.
Mrs. Hoffman died April 24, 1859, aged seventy-nine

Ira D. Hoffman was born Dec. 3, 1821, on the fam-
ily homestead, where he still resides. He grew up
on the paternal farm, and enjoyed the advantages of
a common-school education only. On March 13,
1841, he married Margaret J., daughter of Joseph
and Hannah (Smith) Davenport, a representative of
one of the pioneer families of AVantage township.
Soon after that event Mr. Hoffman commenced work-
ing the home farm on shares, and after a few years
he purchased an adjoining farm, and, leasing the
homestead tract, worked the two together until the
demise of his father, in 1861. He then purchased
the interest of the heirs in the home farm and became
its possessor. Besides this tract, of about ninety acres,
he owns two other farms in the neighborhood, besides
the Hoffman House hotel property at Coleville. He
has met with success as a tiller of the soil, but has
paid principal attention to dairying.

As a public man Squire Hoffman is widely and
favorably known throughout his section. In politics
he is a Democrat, and has held the minor offices of
his township. For a score of years he was a justice
of the peace, and a large share of the litigation in
his locality was disposed of by him for years. To
this position he added the profession of a convey-
ancer, was a commissioner of deeds for fifteen years,
and has drawn large numbers of legal papers for his
friends and neighbors. Pie also engaged with success
in the pension business for many years. Owing to
these several avocations, he has been brought into
business contact with large numbers of people, his
counsel and advice have been sought by many who
were in need of assistance, and his services have been

dfocv ^-(/^^^^^<^



George Shepherd is a great-grandson of Abra-
ham Shepherd, an early resident of the Minisink, who
lost his life during the prevalence of Indian atrocities
at that point. James, his grandfather, came early
to Deckcrtown, where he followed the avocation of a
blacksmith for some time. He subsequently pur-
chased the tract of land upon which the family have
since resided, about two and a half miles southeast of
Deckertown, where he followed his trade, and also
engaged in agricultural pursuits. He erected, in
180G, the present residence of George Shepherd.
His wife was Mary Randall, and the children of the
union were Temperance, who became the wife of
Nathaniel Fountain ; Henry ; Susan, who married
Richard Elston ; and Melinda, who married Elijah'

Henry Shepherd was horn on April 20, 178S, and
subsequently came into possession of the famih estate.

lie married Sarah, daughter of Constant and Lydia

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 78 of 190)