Joseph W. cn Dally.

Woodbridge and vicinity : the story of a New Jersey township ; embracing the history of Woodbridge, Piscataway, Metuchen and contiguous places, from the earliest times ; the history of the different ecclesiastical bodies ; important official documents relating to the township, etc. online

. (page 20 of 34)
Online LibraryJoseph W. cn DallyWoodbridge and vicinity : the story of a New Jersey township ; embracing the history of Woodbridge, Piscataway, Metuchen and contiguous places, from the earliest times ; the history of the different ecclesiastical bodies ; important official documents relating to the township, etc. → online text (page 20 of 34)
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Here is the list of subscribers:

Campyon Cutter ^....$250

Timotby Brewster 250

Joseph Barron 250

William Edgar, J r 200

Samuel Harriot, Jr 25

John Brown 100

John Barron 100

David Edgar 100

James Edgar 100

Samuel Brown 40

Robert Moores 50

James Coddington 30

Ephraim Harriot 50

Robert Coddington i'O

Samuel Cutter 40

Philip Brown 80

Israel Dissosway 50

Edward Munday, B. S. work 20

Richard Wright 150

Foreman Brown 60

Ellis Crow 25

Isaac Potter ;]0

-Jonathan Freeman 100

John Conway 100

Crowell Hadden |40

Morris Reed 25

Thomas Jackson 30

Daniel B. Moores 100

Peter W. Gallaudet 20

Joseph Bloomtield 100

Clarkson Edgar 200

Henry Dunham 10

James Smith 200

Thomas Edgar 150

Elias Thonison 20

David Tappeu 20

Ichabod Potter 100

Alexander Edgar 40

James Paton 100

John Manning 00

James Brown, Jr 50

Jotham Coddington 15

Thomas Acken 6

Doct. Jo: Griffith 10

Samuel Jaques 5

William Laing 5

Seth Dimn....r. IG

The following statement of the financial manager,
Edgar, will be interesting to our readers:

Dr. The Parish of Woodbridge in account with David Edgar.

1803 ifc 4.

To Sundry payments to the hands.


£. s. p.

Receipts for work 712 1

To sundry payments lor

material and receipts... 1,221 3

Commission at 3 per ct... 58

Int. On money advanced. 17

2,008 4


By moneys collected and
due on the Subscription
for building the Meet-
ing house 1,770 11

By Sales of Sundries at
"Vendue 85 8

B}- Balance due me J43 4


2,008 4



March 10th, To balance

clue me 143 4 9

Errors excepted.

PaidJohn Kinsey 13

143 16 9
Contra 46 8

By a mistake in adding

the Subscription 40

By Seth Dunn 6 8

46 8

Due David Edgar 97 8 9

March 34th, 1806, the Committee appointed examinxl and certified the
above account and find due David Edgar $343. 60cts.

Copy Signed,

Joseph Crowell
James Paton
James Brown
Joseph Barron
P. S. David Edgar was authorized by a vote of the Parish to assess the
balance due him on the subscribers.

Among other public matters with which Mr. Roe's name is
connected are several installations. On the occasion of Rev.
David Austin's settlement as pastor of the Elizabethtown
Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, September 9th, 1788, Mr.
Roe oreached the sermon, choosinsf for his text Galatians i.
10.^ The building was crowded with a serious and interested
audience. When Rev. John Giles was installed at the same
church on Tuesday, June 24th, iSoo, Mr. Roe delivered the
charge to the people.! He presided at the installation of Rev.
Buckley Carll at Rahway on the 28th of December, 1802 ;l and
at various other official gatherings we find Doctor Roe a
prominent man. He was a trustee of the College of New
Jersey from 1778 until 1807, a member of the First Presby-
terian General Assembly, and Moderator of that distinguished
body in 1802. He was buried in the Presbyterian cemeter}'
at Woodbridge and a suitable monument marks his place of
rest. The following inscription is cut upon the stone:

" Sacred to the memory of the Revd. Dr. Azel Roe, pastor
of the first Presbyterian Church in Woodbridge, who after a
life cheerfully, faithfully and affectionately devoted to the ser-
vice of Jehovah Jesus, his Saviour and his God, and to the
eternal interests of his flock, fell sweetly asleep in the bosom

* Hatfield'3 EUzabeth, p. 597, t Ibid., 607. t Ibid., 633.


of that Saviour, the 2d day of December, 1815, in the 77th year
of his age and the 53d of his ministry."

He was twice married. His first wife, Mary Rebecca, who
died on the ist of September, 1794, at the age of fifty-five, was
the daughter of Dr. Isaac Foot, of Branford, Conn. Hannah,
his second wife, was the daughter of a New York clergyman.
Rev. David Bostwick.* Slie is spoken of as an eminently
pious woman, and she died, "with a song of triumph " on her
lips, November 28th, 1815 — only four days before her hus-
band's death.

As a preacher Dr. Roe is said to have been an able man, but
not brilliant. He relied more upon the power of the simple
words of the Gospel than upon the arts- of an address. Not
with enticing words of man's wisdom, "but in demonstration
of the Spirit ; " so he preached the glorious truths of salvation
to the men and women of his day, the impress of which will not
be lost, though the memory of the minister may fade in the " dis-
solving view" of rapidly revolving years. Farewell, faithful
man ! and may thy mantle fall on thy successors tlirough many
generations! And, as one by one they fall asleep, may they
have as calm repose as thou, and as honored a resting-place —
for thy parish is buried around thee. Many who heard thy
voice in the church out yonder are waiting in profound still-
ness near their pastor's lowly dwelling for the resurrection he
taught them to look for.

"So Jesus slept; God's dj'ing Son

Passed through the grave aud blest the bed ;
Rest here, blest saint, till from His throne
The Morning break and pierce the shade."

It will not be necessary, in giving an account of Presbyte-
rianism beyond Dr. Roe's time, to dwell upon it at any length.
Four ministers have filled the pulpit of the Woodbridge
Church since his death. Rev. Henry Mills settled here as his
successor in 1816, but left the place in 182 1 ; and in the follow-
ing year Rev. William B. Barton, then twenty-nine years of
age, accepted the pastorate, the duties of which he continued

• He was pastor of the First Presbyterian Chwrch in N. Y. City. See Dr. Stiles' MS.
Inscriptions, 16.


*" o o

to pciiorm until his death, April 7th, 1S52, at tiie age of fifty-
nine. For nearly thirty years he was the beloved minister of
this parish, and he is remembered by many now living as an
excellent preacher and a godly man. His name is always
spoken with affection by those who were accustomed to
attend his ministrations, and it will never be forgotten bv
those whom he led to the precious Cross of Christ.

His wife, Hannah Maria, was the daughter of Rev. Aaron
Condit. She died in ^1827, aged twenty-three. Harriet B.,
Mr. Barton's second wife, was the daughter of John Stanbery,
and her death occurred in 1843.*

The next minister Avas the Rev. William M. Martin, wlio
accepted the pastorate in 1852 and resigned it in 1863. The
Rev. George C. Lucas began to minister here in the year of
Mr. Martin's departure and continued his connection with the
Church until the Autumn of 1873, when he left the village.
At the present writing the congregation is without a pastor,
but there is a prospect of supplying the pulpit within a short

In 1819, while Rev. Henry Mills was pastor, a large Sabbath-
school was organized by the Presbyterians — said to be tlie first
instituted in New Jersey. The three teachers elected were
Sally Potter, Jane Potter, and Mrs. Harriet Paton. The
school is still in successful operation, doing a good work.
Mr. Mills, the preacher, was the principal, in 1802, of the
Elizabethtown Academy. Subsequently he was connected
with the Auburn (N. Y.) Theological Seminary. He was a
man of scholarly attainments, and the degree of D. D. was
justly bestowed upon him.f

Unfortunately, a part of the official record of the Church is
lost; and, of course, the facts contained in the missing portion
are beyond our reach. But we gather up a few items of public
interest, with which we close the chapter. Tiie parsonage
land of two hundred acres, concerning whicli so much has
been said, was sold by the Presbyterians on the 6th of April>
tS6o, to Elias Dey, Cornelius Wyckoff, and Williani Hutchin-

* Dr. H. R. Stiles' MS. Inscriptions. t Hatfield's Eliz., p. SCO.


son, for the sum of $6,75o.'^' The following table, compiled by
Whitehead, gives the number of church members at different

In 1787, 82 members; 1830, 160: 1831, 157; 1832, 170; 1833,
181; 1834, 184; 1835, 211; 1837, 196; 1838, 206; 1839, 198;
1840, 201; 1841, 194; 1843, 242; 1845, 233; 1847,213; 1850,
200; 1853, 163.

In 1S63, as we learn from the Church authorities, the mem-
bership numbered 179; and in 1873, the present year, it num-
bers 125. The Sabbath-school numbers over 100 scholars in
actual attendance.

Messrs. Martin and Lucas are both able ministers of the
Gospel, of whose abilities it would not be delicate for us to
speak at length, as they are still living.

The Presbyterian cemetery at Woodbridge is one of tiie
oldest in the State, and one of the most interesting in the
Union to the lover of local history. In the great congrega-
tion which lies buried here are the remains of distinguished
men and heroic women. We see the graves of such ancient
worthies as the war-like Capt. Matthew Moore, who died, aged
sixty-six, on the 24th of February, 1732; the astute Judge
John Pike, who, having attained the age of seventy-five years,
died in August, 17 14; whether buried near his father, the
distinguished Capt. John, we do not know, as no stone marks
the tomb of the elder Pike. Here, however, is Zebulon's
grave and that of the third John. Zebulon was born in 1692
and lived to be seventy years old. There lies Edward Crowell.
born in 1680 and living for nearly seventy-six years — twenty-

' Deeds, Book 84, p. 613 ; m County Clerk's office.

The following, taken from the laws of New Jersey, 1839, page 282, is the legal permit

to the Woodbridge Presbyterians to sell the Parsonage Laud :

1st. Be it Enacted by "the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey : That
the Trustees of the First Presbyterian Chxirch in the Township of Woodbridge, County of
Middlesex, are hereby authorized and empowered to sell, at public or private sale, all or
any part of those lands, known as the " j)arsouage lands" of the said Church, and which
were conceded by the prox>rietors of East Jersey to John Pierson and others in trust, for the
use of the Minister for the time being ; and to make and execute a good and sufficient deed
or deeds for the same under the corporate seal of said Church ; provided, nevertheless,
that the wi-itteu consent of all the trustees at the time of such conveyance be obtained.

2d. Aud be it enacted. That when such sale or sales shall be made, the proceeds received
therefrom shall be invested in the name of the trustees upon bond and mortgage on unin-
cumbered real estate, worth double the amount of such investment, and the interest
only used toward the yearly expenses of said Church, incurred for the preaching of the

3d. And be it enacted. That this act shall take effect immediately.
Approved March 15th, 1859.


five years the Woodbridge Town Clerk. This is Joseph Gil-
man's grave; he was born in 1688 and died in 1733. And this
is the tomb of Major Richard Cutter, wh© was born in 1682
and died in 1756. David Campbell is interred in this ceme-
tery — born in 1700 and dying within fifteen years of the
Revolution. And here is Jonathan Inslee, who was born in
1686 and was buried in December, 1744. Yonder is the grave
of James Smith, aged seventy-two when he died, who was born
in the year 1700; while Benjamin and Ichabod Smith, born in
the previous century, are resting not far away. Samuel
Parker's wife, Sarah, the daughter of William Ford, lies
buried here, her death being recorded as having occurred in
October, 1768. Peter Pain was entombed, in his seventy-first
year, in 1756. Capt. Daniel Britton, a prominent man in the
township in his day, died in 1733, and his children lie asleep
around him. At the rear of the church, almost within its
afternoon sliadow, is placed to rest the great Woodbridge
Judge, Adam Hude, claruin ct venerabile nomen, in his eighty-
fifth year. He died on the 27th of June, 1746. Near him
reposes his worthy companion, over whose grave are written
these words : " Here Lyes ye Body of Mrs. Marion Hudc,
Wife of Adam Hude, Esqr: For ye Spase of 46 years dearly
beloved in Life, and lamented in death. She lived a Patern
of Piety, Patience, meekness and affability; and, after she had
served her generation in ye love and fear of God, in ye 71st
year of her Age fell asleep in Jesus, Nov. ye 30, 1732." In
this yard we see the burial-place of Henry Freeman, b orn in
1670 and dying in his ninety-fourth year. All around us, as
we stand on the consecrated ground, are the unpretending
memorials of Revolutionary men and women. Here is the
sepulchre of Gen. Nathaniel Heard, who died, aged sixty-two,
October 28th, 1792. Others of the family are grouped in
serene slumber, for

"Life's fitful fever is over."

Capt. Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, the brave and dashing
chieftain ; Capt. David Edgar, the spirited cavalryman; Lieut.
James Paton, the courageous Scotch patriot; Maj. Reuben
Potter, the faithful friend of liberty, and a host of others here


take tlieir "rest profound." Col. Samuel Crow, Col. Benja-
min Brown, Capt. Ellis Barron, Capt. Abraham Tappen, Gen.
Clarkson Edgar, and Capt. Matthias Sayers, of Revolutionary-
fame, are surrounded by many of the "rank and file;" and
they wait, in the quiet grave-yard, for the grand reveille, when
the army of the Lord shall shine in the clouds of heaven and
the dead in Christ shall awake to swell its numbers and shake
the gates of Death with their martial tread.

How suggestive of other days is the mere mention of the
names of thot^e who have "gone down the valley!" J^idge
Jeremiah Manning, Dr. John G. Wall, Justice Henry Free-
maiij Timothy Brewster, William Jones, Robert Coddington^
Samuel Jaques, Robert Lacky, Thomas Haddon, William
Brown, John Alston, David Harriot — all these, and many
more, are gathered within the hallowed precincts of this
cemetery. It is probable that there are two thousand graves.
The author counted nearly twelve hundred in Dr. H. R. Stiles'
MS. volume of inscriptions; and, doubtless, as many more
are without stones to indicate the lowly dwellers.

And now, as we turn from the church-yard with the October
hues brightly blending with the blue sky, and afar off

"In the listening woods there is not a breath
To shake their gold to the sward beneath ;
And a glow as of snnshine upon them lies,
Though the sun is hid in the shadowed skies" —

we truly feel that, as the unknown poet in Blackwood's J/aga-
zine, just quoted, recently expressed it:

"No sorrow upon the landscape weighs."

A true faith sees no sadness in a grave-yard. The Spring
and Summer of life are gone, to which succeed naturally the
Autumn and Winter. This before us is Death's harvest ; but
will not Spring return ?

" The Spring-time longings aie past and gone,
The passions of Summer no longer are known,
The harvest is gathered, and Autumn stands
Serenely thoughtful with folded hands.

Over all is thrown a m 3m rial hue,
A gltry ideal the real ne'er kntw;


For memory sifts from the past its pain,
And sufiers its Ijcauty alone to remain.

With half a smile and with half a sigh
It ponders the past that has hurried by;
Sees it, and feels it, and loves it all.
Content it has vanished beyond recall.

O glorious Autumn, thus serene,

Thus living and loving all that has been!

Thus calm and contented let me be

When the Autumn of age shall come to me."

Since the foregoing was placed in the printer's hands we
have had access to the Session Book of the Woodbrid"-e
Church, which contains the names of the Elders elected in that
church from 1795 to 1S31. We present the list herewith:


1795 — George Harriot.

Joseph Crowell.

Campyon Cutter.

Jonathan Bloomtield.
1803— Ephraim Harriot.
— Jonathan Freeman.

Joseph Crowell.

Campyon Cutter.

Jonathan Bloomtield.
1804— The same Elders as in the

previous 5-ear except the last

one — Jonathan Bloomtield.
1812 — Camp3-on Cutter.

Ephraim Harriot.

Jos. Crowell.
— Jonathan Freeman.

Thomas Edgar, Jr.

William Cutter.
1816— The same men re-elected.

1822 — The same men chosen, except

Mr. Edgar, who left the place

in this year.
1823— Lewis Thornell.

Joseph Barron.

Campyon Cutter.

Ephraim Harriot.

Joseph Crowell.

Jonathan Freei^iua. _

William Cutter.
1829-John Drake. •

George Y. Brewster.

Also, the members of 1823.

Thornell went to New York in

1828, but held the office of El-
der in Woodbridge until ]\[arcli,

1829, when he applied for anti
received his certificate of dis-

1831— Same Elders as in 1839.

In the Session Book from which we gathered the list just
given are a few additional facts in regard to the Rev. Messrs.
Mills and Barton. It seems that on Tuesday, June nth, 1S16,
the Presbytery met in the Woodbridge Church and installed
Mr. Mills; and on his application the pastoral relation was
sundered June 19th, 1S21. The Rev. Mr. Barton was ordained
and installed June 25th, 1822, Dr. Fisher preaching the ser-
mon. Dr. Richardson gave the charge to the minister and
Rev. Mr. Kiggs delivered the charge to the people.


We find the names of only two Deacons mentioned in
the record referred to — Lewis Thornell and Joseph Barron>
who were elected at the same time to the eldership. Their
election to the diaconate occurred February 8th, 1823. Mr.
Barron died, aged sixty-eight years, on the 4th of July, 1831,
greatly lamented as a citizen [and a useful member of the



The Revolution— Taxation— Tea-Drinking— Old Heroes
— General Heard — Scared by a Swivel — James Paton

—David Edgar— Smith Bloomfield— Samuel Dally

Capt. Nathaniel Fitz Randolph— Timothy Bloom-
field— His Daughter — Dr. Moses Bloomfield — David
AND Robert Coddington — Peter Latourette — The
Inslees — List of Heroes.

The causes which led to the war of the Revokition are so
well known that it would be a wearisome and profitless task
for us to dwell upon them. We shall not largely discuss
them ; nor shall we give any particular account of the pro-
gress of the conflict, having in view only its local aspects.

In 1765 the English Government passed the famous Stamp
Act, by which all deeds, bonds, and other written instruments
were null and void unless executed upon stamped paper for
which a duty Avas exacted.- It was to go into operation on
the first day of November ;f but so violent was the opposition
among the colonists in America, for whom the law was
designed, that no stamp officer felt safe in attempting to
enforce the statute. An organization, called " Sons of Lib-
erty," was effected, which became powerful in its resistance to
British tyranny. The " Sons of Liberty" of Woodbridge and
Piscataway were conspicuous during 1765-6 in their devotion
to the cause of Freedom. They sent word, by a delegation,
to William Coxe, of Philadelphia, that unless his office of
Stamp Distributor for New Jersey were vacated within a
week, they would visit him in force with unpleasant conse-
quences.t Mr. Coxe found it convenient to resign early
in September, 1765.

' Goodrich's U. S., v- 199. t Ibid., 203. t Whiteliead, p. 398.


Tlie Stamp Act was repealed in the Spring of 1766, causing
great rejoicing ; but in the following year tax was imposed on
glass and some other imported articles, which again aroused
the colonists. If they were allowed no representation in
Parliament why should they be taxed.' That was the ques-
tion of the hour. A tax of three pence a pound on tea
was retained, but all other imposts were removed in 1770,
Tlie people resolved to give up the use of tea. Vessels sailing
up the Delaware in 1773, laden with this commodity, were sent
back to England without being permitted to discharge their
cargoes on the Jersey shore.

Speaking of tea reminds me that the first cup of this famous
beverage ever enjoyed in Woodbridge or in the State was
drank by a company of ladies, in the year 1730, in the build-
ino- now occupied as a drug store by Dr. Samuel E. Freeman.
The tea was brought from New York, and was regarded as a
choice article. Mrs. Campyon (a widow, who owned the
house), her daughter, afterward Mrs. Cutter, Mrs. Van Cort-
landt, and others were present. A discussion arose among the
ladies as to the vessel in which it should be prepared. A
tankard was produced and pronounced serviceable. Should
the tea be boiled, brewed or steeped.' Various opinions were
advanced; but the steeping party was in the ascendancy, so
the tea was steeped. When it was ready to be served, it was
poured out into diminutive cups, and the flavor of the draught
was the subject of many comments. Cake was eaten between
the sips, and this, perhaps, contributed toward the favor-
able verdict rendered with regard to the tea *

Now, this nectar was to be banished from the table of the
patriot. The tax on tea made the unoffending beverage itself

A convention met at New Brunswick on the 21st of July,
1774, made up of delegates from all the counties in the
province, to consider the state of the country. The conven-
tion elected representatives to meet those of other colonies in
Philadelphia on the 5th of September. Thus was constituted
that grand body of men — the Continental Congress.

* Mrs. David Paton (Mrs. Campyon's grand-daugh.ter) tells these interesting facts.



On Wednesday, April 19th, 1775, the war fairly began, for
the first patriot blood was shed upon the green at Lexington,
Mass. The excitement occasioned by this wanton massacre
was intense. The feeling was as strong in Woodbridge as
elsewhere. Tories were treated as strangers by those who
hitherto had lived near them as neighbors. People gathered
about the public places to discuss the latest news from Boston.
The village tavern was thronged every evening, and the men
sat late over their rum or cider, eagerly listening to the
nervous recitals of travelers who had stopped for the night
under the whispering boughs of the broad elm tree. There
was a sober cast in many faces, as though the threatening
cloud over the political sky, thick with storm, had left its
shadow there.

Suppose to-night we lean against this ancient tree a little
while and glance in the tavern. The cheerful firelight from
the blazing logs reveals the excited group. "Mine host,"
Charles Jackson, is prominent among his townsmen in the
noisy discussion of British tyranny now going on. There,
too, may be seen Ebenezer Foster, the Justice of the Peace.
Possibly he is .discussing current events with Robert Fitz
Randolph, Jr., the Town Clerk. Is that fine-looking man Dr.
Bloomfield.'' He is talking with Samuel F. Parker, the
printer's son, perchance; and talking wisely, too, for he is a
man of great ability. There is the muscular Nathaniel Fitz
Randolph, destined to become the terror of his enemies. Do
you note the flash of his eye.-* He is not born to be a slave.
They all call him " Natty," in a familiar way. You shall hear
of him again before we close this volume. Near him we
fancy that we behold another distinguished face, that oS.
Nathaniel Heard, afterwards well known as Gen. Heard. Far
in the shadow of the room, deeply engrossed in the conversa-
tion of a belated traveler, stand, like a tableau, the figures of
men whose names are so nearly forgotten that, when we hear
them, they sound like faint echoes from some far-off shore.
They are Robert Clarkson, John Shotwell, Benjamin Thornell,
James Ayers, Samuel Jaquish, Isa^c Freeman, Wm. Moore,
Jr., James Bonny, James Mundy, William Smith, and others.

Committees of Correspondence were organized in many of


the towns. The Woodbridge Committee Avas actively at
work during this year (1775), The Tories in this place were
strong and influential, but the Whigs out-numbered them and
succeeded in over-awing them.

On the 17th of June, 1776, Col. Nathaniel Heard (the
Woodbridge man mentioned above) marched to Amboy,
under orders from Samuel Tucker, President of the Provincial
Congress of New Jersey, to arrest Wm. Franklin, the Gov-
ernor. The Colonel proceeded to Franklin's residence with
a guard of sixty men, surrounded the house and captured
the indignant official. The cause of this arrest was the
Governor's adherence to the English Government. He
would have been released from captivity if he had consented
to give his parole. Refusing to do this, he was committed to
the custody of Gov. Trumbull, of Connecticut, by whom he

Online LibraryJoseph W. cn DallyWoodbridge and vicinity : the story of a New Jersey township ; embracing the history of Woodbridge, Piscataway, Metuchen and contiguous places, from the earliest times ; the history of the different ecclesiastical bodies ; important official documents relating to the township, etc. → online text (page 20 of 34)