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Sketches of the first emigrant settlers in Newton Township, old Gloucester County, West New Jersey online

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it for eight years, and disposed of the same to Richard Wildon,
who was followed by John Ladd in 1735. ^s roads were
straightened and improved, bridges built and the country more
thickly settled. Cooper's ferries had the preference among trav-
elers, since the distance across the river was much shortened,
with less risk and much greater speed. These advantages had

20 Lib. G3, 71. 23 Lib. AAA, 80.

21 Lib. S, No. 6, 338, O. S. G. 24 Lib. AAA, 182.

22 Gloucester Records.


their efifedt, which the public were prompt in discovering, and
the Gloucester ferry, with varying fortunes, maintained but a
secondary importance, until the introdudlion of steam and
other various improvements on both shores of the river. It
need hardly be said here that Gloucester was the county town
for many years, where the courts were held and the records
kept. In the progress of improvement, it gradually lost its
central position and became less desirable for such purposes;
it was ultimately abandoned, and soon forgotten as the political
and judicial nucleus of the old bailiwick. In the early days of
the colony, the records were not considered of much value, and
were kept in the dwelling of the clerk, in constant danger of
loss by, fire or miscarriage. An affidavit of John Reading, made
in 1 71 1, in which year he was clerk, has been entered among
the books at Burlington, showing that his house was burned in
that year, and that many deeds and other valuable papers were
destroyed. ^^ This accounts for the absence of many title papers
often inquired for, but never found, as well as for a break in
the records of Old Gloucester, that has led to much trouble
among land owners and claimants.

Joseph Hugg deceased in 1757, leaving but two children,
Samuel and Joseph.*" The family at this day is limited,
and a continued decrease, for the next half century, may leave
none of the name, where, for nearly one hundred years, it was
as numerous as any other. The large landed estate once in
possession of the second generation has long since passed away
from the blood, only to be remembered among the blurred deeds
and musty records of the past. Although the collateral branches
of the family maintained through the female line, are numerous,
yet a fatality seems to have attended the other sex and to have
well nigh extirpated it from among us.

35 Lib. EBB, 93.
26 Lib. No. 9, ^^.


SAMUEL SPICER was a son of Thomas and Michal Spicer,
and was born in New England, prior to 1640. In 1685,
he (Samuel) purchased of Samuel Cole, part of his tra6t of
five hundred acres, situated on the north side of the mouth of
Cooper's creek, and fronting on the Delaware river, in Water-
ford, now Stockton township, Camden county.' The deed of
conveyance says that he then lived at Gravesend, on Long
Island ; whence came himself, his wife Esther, and three chil-
dren, the next year, and settled thereon. Esther was a daughter
of John and Mary Tilton of Gravesend ; but they were married
at Oyster Bay, Long Island, the 21st of the third month, 1665."
Gravesend is one of the towns or townships of King's county,
New York ; it has an ancient historical record running back to
1640, about which time a few English Quakers came from Massa-
chusetts and joined a number of others who were dire6l from
England. It is situated in the southwestern part of the Island,
fronting on the sea, where the " Narrows " open into the Atlantic
ocean. Like many other towns of that date, it originated in
the persecution of Friends, of whom some had previously
settled in America, where intolerance was as vindictive and
overbearing as at home ; and some had come to seek an asylum
free from such evils, in which religious opinions could be
developed and enjoyed. Among those who came from Massa-

1 Lib A, 44. Lib. Gi, III.

2 Friends* Records, Long Island.


chusetts was the lady Deborah Moody, a woman of rank,
education and wealth, who entertained opinions in common
with the followers of George Fox, and who had become an
objedl of disfavor and ill-treatment among the Puritans of the
Bay State.

The patent for the town was obtained from Governor Kieft,
in 1645, and among the patentees was the name of the female
hereinbefore named, who appears to have been a person of
decided opinions ; this ultimately led her into difficulty with
the elders of the church, and caused her to be expelled there-
from, after which she removed to Long Island. The immediate
cause of her excommunication was her assertion that "infant
baptism was no ordinance of God," which, together with her
adherence to the doctrines of George Fox, made her obnox-
ious to the rulers of the province of Massachusetts.

Thomas Spicer was one of this little colony, and was the head
of a family, for, in 1656, among the freeholders of the town,
may be found the names of Samuel Spicer, Jacob Spicer and
Thomas Spicer, who were probably his sons, having then grown
to manhood and there settled. That Samuel Spicer, the person
who bought the land of Samuel Cole in 1685, was a member of
this family, there can be no doubt ; and, if the records of
Friends made at that date were accessible, the family could be
traced beyond the sea.'"*"'

Tradition says that Samuel Spicer purchased his land one year
before he came to settle on the same, from which it may be
inferred that he had been in this region, examining the various
localities, or perchance on a religious visit among the few who
had taken up their residence here, and whose religious notions
agreed with his own. Henry Wood, who had purchased a part
of the same tra6t, was already a resident, around whom a few
emigrants had made their homes, generally choosing the land
fronting on Cooper's creek in preference to that upon the river ;
which land had been, however, located and somewhat improved
before his coming. As the land was occupied, and the inhabi-
tants increased, facilities for travel became necessary, and various
means were used to accommodate the public, the first of which

3 Lib. A, 44. 4 Lib. Gi, III. 5 Lib. Bi, 66.


appear to have been "ferries," across the smaller streams at
various points, to avoid the necessity of fording at places near
their source, which would have added much to the distance
between certain towns and more thickly inhabited sedlions.

Burlington county, about the present city of Burlington, had
filled up with people more rapidly than any other part of West
Jersey ; and, as land travel had begun between these parts and
the embryo city of Philadelphia, Samuel Spicer soon found that
his plantation lay in the most dire6t route between the two points,
and that a ferry over Cooper's creek was needed to maintain
this line of travel. Such ferry he established, which was situ-
ated near the site of the present bridge, and was always known
as " Spicer' s ferry". It consisted simply of a flat-boat, suffi-
ciently large, whereon to stand a few horses or cattle, moved by
ropes on each shore, and only used when some one wished to go
over, provided the ferrymen were in good humor and the pay
large enough to compensate for their labor ; the demands of the
public, or the wishes of travelers, being a secondary considera-

This ferry was maintained until 1 747, when a new straight
road was laid from Burlington to Cooper's ferries, and a bridge
was eredted in its stead. ^ This was a draw bridge, and proves
that considerable trade was carried on along Cooper's creek
by means of vessels transporting wood and lumber to Phila-
delphia, which trade had its claims as well as those who traveled
by land. The manner in which the funds were to be raised
to build this bridge, as provided in the law, is worthy of notice,
and shows that the purpose of the Legislature was to make such
of the inhabitants pay for its eredtion as were most to be accom-
modated therewith. In the adl, the commissioners -were dire6ted
to receive voluntary contributions for six months, and then to
assess the remainder of the cost on the inhabitants of all the
townships of the county of Burlington except the townships of
Nottingham and Egg Harbor, and upon the inhabitants of that
part of Waterford township in Gloucester county which extended
from the river to the Salem road, and upon Cooper's ferries.'
This shows how sparse were the settlements in Burlington and

6 Lib. Gi, no.

7 Laws of 1747.


Gloucester counties at that day, and what part of the territory
was to be accommodated by a bridge in the place of a ferry.

Samuel Spicer took a leading part in the religious and political
affairs of the colony, and his name may be found in many
matters of public interest whereby the development of the
country was to be advanced. In religious matters he was a
consistent and faithful member of his profession. For a long time
meetings of public worship were held at his house ; these were
continued after his death by his widow, who was also an adlive
member in the .same denomination. In 1687, he was appointed
one of the judges of the several courts of Gloucester county;
he also filled other offices of minor importance. His will was
executed in 1692, in which year he probably died.*

Esther Spicer, his widow, remained upon the homestead estate,
entertaining many Friends, and extending her hospitality to
the large circle of acquaintances that surrounded her. On the
24th day of the Seventh month, 1703, she was killed by light-
ning in her o^vn house, together with Esther Saxby, her servant,
and Richard Thackara, son of Thomas, he being about eleven
years of age. This event is still preserved among the traditions
of the family. The sudden death of this person, at that season
of the year, necessitated an early burial. The funeral occurred
the night after her decease, the family and friends going in boats
down Cooper's creek to the river, and by the river to Newton
creek, and thence to the Newton graveyard, the place of inter-
ment. Each boat being provided with torches, the scene upon
the water must have been pidluresque indeed. To the colonists
it was a sad spedlacle, when they saw one so much esteemed
among them being borne to her last resting place. To the
'Indians, it was a grand and impressive sight. Arasapha, the
king, and others of his people attended the solemn procession
in their canoes, thus showing their respedl for one, the cause of
whose death struck them with awe and reverence. The deep,
dark forest that stood close down to the shores of the streams
almost rejetfled the light, as it came from the burning brands of
pine carried in the boats ; and, as they passed under the thick
foliage, a shadow was scarcely reflecfted from the water. The

Gloucester Files of 1692.


colonists in their plain and unassuming apparel, the aborigines
clad in gaudy and significant robes, and the negro slaves (as
oarsmen) with their almost nude bodies, must have presented,
from the shore, a rare and striking pidlure. Here — all unde-
signed — was the funeral of a Friend, in which ostentation and
display are always avoided, made one of the grandest pageants
that the fancy could imagine, a fertile subjeft for the pencil of
the artist, and one well deserving an effort to portray its beauty.

She left a will and disposed of her estate, which together with
that of her deceased husband, as retained by her, passed at that
time to their children. The last will of each of them may be
found on file in the office of secretary of state at Trenton; these
prove them to have been persons of education, and of consider-
able property.^ Their children were born at Gravesend, where
the names and ages of each may be found entered in the books
of the Friends' Meeting of that place. ^° They were as follows :
Abraham, born 1666; Jacob, born 1668, who married Judith

■ ; Mary, born 1671, who married Jeremiah Bates;

Martha, born 1676, who married Joseph Brown and Thomas
Chalkley ; Sarah, born 1677, who married Daniel Cooper;
Abigail, born 1683, who married Daniel Stanton ; Thomas,

born , who married Abigail Davenport ; and Samuel, born

, who married .

The old graveyard, which is on the land settled by Henry
Wood, where many of the Spicers were buried, is still in exist-
ence, and some degree of care has been given to it by the
descendants of the family. It is on the farm now owned by
Lemuel Horner, near the site of the Camden city water works.
As in many similar instances, the rule of Friends was observed,
and no memorials were placed at the graves of the first settlers
of the soil, — a source of unceasing regret with such as care to
know the resting place of their ancestors. It is particularly
unfortunate for those in search of old things, as much valuable
information is often obtained from this source, which, but for
this, would be entirely lost.

Samuel Spicer, in his will, gave his son Jacob one 'hundred
and fifty acres attached to the homestead, bounded by the river

g Gloucester Files, 1702.
10 Lib. G3, 257. Proceedings of N. J. His. Society, Vol. ix, 02.


Delaware and Cooper's creek; and to his other sons, Samuel
and Thomas, one hundred and seventy-five acres each. Samuel
died a minor, and his portion of land passed to his brother
Jacob. Subsequently, in 1728, Jacob and Thomas made an
exchange of land by which Jacob's amount of acres was
increased to two hundred and sixty, and Thomas's, whose
plantation fronted the creek, had somewhat less within its
boundaries. Thomas remained on this property, and died
in 1759, leaving a will." His children were as follows : Jacob,
who married Mary Lippincott ; Thomas, who married Rebecca
Day ; and Samuel, who married Abigail Willard and Sarah
Potter. From this branch of the family, came those of the
collateral issue, who retain the blood in these parts, although
the name has disappeared for many years.

In the year 1711, Jacob and Thomas made a division of some
other portion of their landed estate;'^ and, in the same year,
Jacob sold parts of his share of the paternal property to Samuel
Burrough and other persons."

Jacob removed to Cape May county, where he settled as early
as 1 69 1. He was a member of the Legislature from 1709 to
1723, and surrogate of that county from the last named year to
1 741, and for many years one of the judges of the court. He
was born in 1668, and deceased in 1741." The reading of the
minutes of the proceedings of the legislature during the time in
which he sat as a member, discloses many curious things. One
of the troubles was the difficulty of keeping a quorum present
to do business ; and the sergeant-at-arms was always busy in
hunting for absentees. In 1716, this officer went to Gloucester,
Salem and Cape May counties in search of delinquents. It was,
at that day, a toilsome and difficult journey, even under more
propitious circumstances. These representatives heard of his
coming, and, suspefting the purpose of his visit, started for Bur-
lington by another road than that usually traveled. Striking
their trail, he pursued them with his warrant of arrest nearly to
Gloucester, where, again to avoid him, they betook themselves to
the water, and crossed the river into Pennsylvania.- Here the
sergeant-at-arms was completely at fault, and no remedy was

11 Lib. No. 9, 306. 13 Lib. A, 205.

12 Lib. A, 4S. 14 Lib. No. 4, 318.


left to him but to report to the speaker of assembly. Some of
them appeared in a few days and were reprimanded ; but Jacob
Spicer returned home, and writs were issued for a new ele6lion
in Cape May county. This did not cure the difficulty, for Jacob
was again eledled, and still negledled to appear as the represent-
ative from that county. Another warrant was issued, and the
officer on this occasion, found him sick in bed. Not to be
cheated, the sergeant required the honorable member to proceed
to Burlington with him, and appear at the bar of the house,
according to the requirements of authority in him vested.
Jacob pleaded indisposition, and was released until he recovered ;
at which time he explained his absence, and was allowed to take
his seat as a member.

His son, Jacob Spicer, deserves a more particular notice. He
was born in 1716, and became a member of the Legislature in
1744; which station he occupied for a period of twenty-one
years, first in connedlion with Henry Young, and afterwards,
until his death, with Aaron Leaming. He bore a prominent
part in the proceedings and business of the house, and was
appointed, in connexion with Aaron Leaming, to revise the
laws of the State; and "Leaming and Spicer's " colle6tion,
the result of their labors, is well known at this day as a faithful
exposition of the statutes. He was a man of exemplary habits,
of strong and vigorous imagination, and stri6tly faithful in his
business relations with his fellow men.

He married Judith, daughter of Humphrey Hughes, who died
in 1747, and afterwards married Deborah Leaming, widow of
Christopher Leaming, in 1752.^'' The marriage agreement
entered into with the last named female, shows much sound
sense and discriminating judgment. In 1756, he purchased the
interest of the West Jersey Society in the county of Cape May,
constituting what has since been known as the 'Vacant Right. '^''
In 1762, he made his will of thirty-nine pages, the most volumi-
nous and elaborate testamentary document on record in this
State." He died in 1765, and was interred in the family
burial ground at Cold Spring, — a spot now overgrown v/ith
large forest timber.^"

15 Maurice Beasley's Memo. 17 Lib. X, 440 to 461.

16 Lib. A, 154. 18 Lib. B2, 549.


He kept a diary for many years, in which he not only recorded
remarkable events, but also entered in detail the cost of his
household and the profits of his business. Stridtly honest in all
his dealings, plain and decided in all his opinions, prompt and
exadl in all his agreements, he had, as he deserved, the confi-
dence and regard of his neighbors through all the years of his
business life, and served his constituents faithfully as their repre-
sentative until his death. Many extradts from his diary have
been published by the Historical Society of New Jersey, which
evince the peculiarities of the man, his views of duty toward
himself, and toward those with whom he had intercourse.


THOMAS HOOTEN of the Parish of St. Ann, Black
Friars, and John Stokes of Wentworth street, in the
Parish of Stepney, both of which places are in London, in the
county of Middlesex, England, became the owners, as tenants
in common, of a certain amount of proprietory rights in West
New Jersey. Thomas was a tallow chandler, and John a baker ;
by these avocations they respecflively maintained their families,
and gained some extra means to make a venture in the enterprise
so much talked of among Friends at that time. The deed con-
veying this interest was made from William Penn and the other
trustees of Edward Bylynge to Thomas Hooten in the year
1676, who immediately conveyed the undivided half-part thereof
to John Stokes.^ It is possible that they were creditors of
Edward Bylynge, whose failure in business a short time before
involved so many of his creditors in loss, and led to much
trouble concerning his estate.

Thomas Hooten and John Stokes were relatives ; perhaps
their wives were sisters ; both were members of the religious
denomination of Friends, and were seeking some new place of
abode, where their notions of right might be more freely
indulged in, with some hope of promulgating their dodtrines
in peace. Thomas Hooten came immediately to New Jersey
to look after their interests, leaving his family in London until
he should be heard from, and some conclusion be reached in
regard to a permanent removal to the new place. On the 29th
day of the 8th month, 1677, he wrote to his wife as follows :

I Lib, BBB, 191.


"I am this present at the town of Burlington where our land
is ; it is ordered to be a town for the ten Yorkshire and ten
London Proprietors. I like the place well ; our lot is the second
next the water side. It's like to be a healthful place and very-
pleasant to live in. I came hither yesterday, being the 28th of
Oftober, with some friends that were going to New York. I
am to be at Thomas Olive's house until I can provide better
for myself. I intend to build a house and get some corn into
the ground. And I know not how to write concerning thy
coming or not hither ; the place I like very well, and believe
that we may live here very well. But if it be not made free, I
mean as to the customs and government, then it will not be so
well, and may hinder many that have desires to come. But if
these two things be cleared, thou may take thy opportunity of
coming this summer.

Thomas Hooten.'"

The reference here made about the customs relates to those
exa6led at New Castle by diredlion of Governor Andros, they
being a percentage upon all the goods brought by emigrants, —
an impost which was so much complained of that it was in a
short time abandoned. Thomas Hooten's wife soon closed up
the affairs of her husband in London, and followed him to
America. Thomas Hooten, the son, married Elizabeth Stanley
of Philadelphia, in 1686, at which place he then resided, and
continued to reside for many years after.'

John Stokes, however, remained in London, supplying the
people with bread, and husbanding his means to develop his
interests here through his brother Thomas. Of this there is
undoubted evidence, for, as late as in 17 19, in a conveyance of
land in this State, he is called John Stokes of Wentworth
street, London, biscuit baker, etc.*

Thomas married Mary Bernard of Stepney, in 1668, where
he remained until the projedl of removing to America induced
him to abandon his home and calling. He and his family
came among the first, as they arrived at New Castle about

2 Smith's History of New Jersey, 105.

3 Friends' Records, Philadelphia.

4 Lib. BBB, 191,


the middle of the 6th month, 1677, in the ship Kent, —
the same that brought the commissioners appointed by Wil-
liam Penn and others — and went immediately to Burlington.
He perhaps remained here until the next year, with the others,
for mutual defence, and to view the country before he made
sele6lion of a place for settlement. This was, however, done
in due time, and was chosen from among many on North-
ampton river, or, as it is now generally known, Rancocas creek.
It is probable that three of his children were born in London,
and three in New Jersey. They were as follows : Sarah, who
married Benjamin Moore ; Mary, who married John Hudson ;
John, who married Elizabeth Green ; Thomas, who married
Deliverance Horner and Rachel Wright ; Joseph, who married
Judith Lippincott and Ann Haines (widow) ; and one other
son, who removed to North Carolina, but whose name and
family have been lost sight of. Mary, the mother of these
children, died in 1699, and Thomas, the father, in 1718, aged
78 years. ^ The obligations of the family are due to Charles •
Stokes of Rancocas, a descendant, for collefting and arranging
much of the history of the same ; who also has taken pains to
save from loss many incidents that relate to the early history of
West New Jersey. How much might yet be preserved, if more
of our citizens would emulate his example. In this region,
nothing is known of John Stokes, save what may be gathered
from the records in the office of the secretary of state at
Trenton. In 171 6, an inventory of his estate was made, upon
which is the following endorsement : "Came to his end by
an unnatural death, in ye lower end of Gloucester county."
Too many years have intervened to bring the story of his
death to the present generation, however interesting it might
now be to his descendants.

In the year 1709, the second Thomas herein referred to,
purchased of John Kay of Springwell, three hundred acres of
land in Waterford township, (now Delaware,) Camden county,
the larger part of which tradl is now owned Mark Ballinger,
and by the heirs of Jacob Anderson, Nathan M. Lippincott,
and Daniel Hillman, deceased. This land is bounded on the

5 Lib. No. 2, 138.


south side by the north branch of Cooper's creek; it extends
along both sides of a tributary of the same, and includes what
is now some of the best soil in the neighborhood.^ He settled
on this tra6t, his house standing near the present residence of

Online LibraryJohn ClementSketches of the first emigrant settlers in Newton Township, old Gloucester County, West New Jersey → online text (page 24 of 35)