SOURCE: “History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men” by Major E. M. Woodward & John F. Hageman, 1883.
WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP.
Situation and Boundaries. - West Windsor is centrally located on the eastern border of the county, and is bounded on the north by Princeton township, on the east by South Brunswick and Cranbury townships (Middlesex County) and East Windsor, on the south by Washington, and on the west by Hamilton and Lawrence.
Northerly and easterly the township is drained by Stony Brook and the Millstone River respectively, which flow together at its northeastern extremity. Bear Creek flows in a northerly course through a part of the eastern portion of the township, emptying into the Millstone River at the township line. The southwestern part is drained by Assunpink Creek. In the north part is Bear Swamp, formerly a large tract of marsh land, which is being gradually reclaimed by a system of under-drainage. Duck Pond Run and other brooks have their sources within the township limits, and flow into some of the various streams above mentioned. Bear Creek furnishes a water-power which has long turned the machinery of a grist-mill in the eastern part of the township.
The Delaware and Raritan Canal traverses the northern portion of the township in a course parallel with Stony Brook. The railroad from Jersey City to Camden formerly crossed the township on nearly the same line, but the track was relaid a little less than twenty years ago farther south, and is now known as the Trenton Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. At Princeton Junction, in the northern part, the Princeton Branch Railroad forms a junction with the line just mentioned, and trains to and front Princeton here connect with the principal passenger trains for New York and Philadelphia.
The first settlers at Penn's Neck were the Schenck and Conover 1 families. They came from Monmouth County. The Christian name of the original Schenck there was Garret. The name of the head of the Conover family of settlers was John. The two families were related by the marriage of William Conover with a woman of the Schenck family.
1 Formerly spelled Kouwenhoven, Kovenhoven, and Covenhoven.
The joint purchase of Garret Schenck and John Kovenhoven from Penn in 1737 was quite extensive, containing six thousand five hundred acres, and covering all the territory from the Millstone to the “Dutch Pond,” in the northwestern part of the township, bounded north and south by Stony Brook and Bear Swamp. 2
2 This original Penn patent is still existing in the Schenck family of Princeton.
Along the old straight turnpike which traverses this tract east and west Schenck and Conover settled their sons alternately, so that from the eastern to the western limit of the purchase there formerly lived Schencks and Conovers on farms which alternated on each side of the road, like the red and white squares on a checker-board. This region was called Penn's Neck.
The most of this land remained in the possession of Schencks and Conovers up to about half a century ago. It is now all owned by new-comers, and the farms on the tract are among the best in that part of the township.
The sons of William Conover were William, Garret, and David. The genealogy of one branch of this family of William (2) will be found in the following paragraphs:
William Conover (2) married Deborah Voorhees, family from Long Island, and had children named William, Ralph, Deborah, Margaret, and Mary.
William Conover (3) married Mary Grover. His children were William (born July 9, 1799), Ralph, Pearson, Richard, Deborah, Elizabeth, Gertrude, Maria, Margaret, Voorhees, and Lavinia and George Follet (twins).
William Conover (4) married Elizabeth Bastido. His children were named Ira, Mary, William, Garret, Ralph, Ann, Abbie, Charles, Elizabeth, and Alice. Of these, Ira, Alice, and Ralph are dead. None of the others live in the vicinity.
Ralph Conover, son of William (3), and brother of William (4), married Rachel Dye, and lives at Trenton.
Pearson Conover married Annie Morris, and had children named Edward, Lawrence, John, Elizabeth, Mary, and Emma. Mary married James Dennis, of West Windsor. None of her brothers and sisters live in the township.
Richard Conover married Margaret Dye, and lives near Cranbury. He has four sons, named Dye, Disbrow, Baxter, and Voorhees.
Deborah, Elizabeth, and Gertrude Conover never married.
Maria Conover married Paul Morris, and located in Monmouth County.
Margaret Conover married Z. Stout, and removed to Jersey City.
Voorhees Conover died many years ago.
Lavina and George Follet Conover (twins) died young.
As appears from the records of the township, Garret Schenck, Joseph Schenck, and John Schenck were prominent in local affairs before and after the beginning of the present century. John A. Schenck, David K. Schenck, John G. Schenck, John C. Schenck and others of the name have at a later date been conspicuous citizens, actively identified with the affairs of the township.
The pioneers at Dutch Neck were Holland Dutchmen from Long Island. Among the very few families of original settlers in that part of the township, the Voorhees and Bergen families were prominent. Like the two families on Penn's Neck, these two families intermarried, the second wife of Coert Voorhees, the settler of the name at Dutch Neck, having been a woman of the Bergen family.
Coert Voorhees had several children, among whom were Coert, Jr., and Elijah. None except these remained in the township. Elijah married a Van Nest, and lived and died at Dutch Neck. He had two sons named Eli and Ralph, neither of whom ever married. The former is dead. The latter lives at Dutch Neck. Coert Voorhees, Sr., and Coert Voorhees, Jr., both served in the American ranks during the Revolutionary struggle, the former fighting at the battle of Trenton.
The younger Coert Voorhees was born at Dutch Neck, Feb. 20, 1756. He married and had children named Catharine, William Cornelius, John, Major, Elijah, Joseph, Anna, Polly Betsey, and Ellen. Of these we have no information except the following relative to Catharine, William, and Major:
I. Catharine Voorhees married William Conover, and had children named Mary Ann, Eliza, Phebe, Catherine, John, and William. John is living in New Brunswick; William is dead.
II. William Voorhees married Ellen Stonaker, of Cranbury (Middlesex County), and had children named Eliza, David S., Martin, Abraham, James, Ezekiel, Cornelius, Joseph, Alexander, and Ellen, and two or three others. Eliza married Richard Hutchinson, of West Windsor, and had children named Abbie, Deborah, James, William, John, and Isaac. David S. married Amy Slinglon, of Princeton, and is now living at Penn's Neck. His children were named Harrison, George, Smith, David, Edward (dead), Mary, Harriet, and Elizabeth (dead). Martin removed to Somerset County, and now lives there. Abraham married Sarah Henderson, of Princeton, and lived and died in West Windsor. James died unmarried. Ezekiel married Rachel Silvers, and lives in East Windsor. Cornelius married an Embley of East Windsor, and is living at Asbury Park, N. J. Joseph, at the age of twenty-one, entered the United States navy, and has only once revisited his native place. It is not known by his relatives whether he survives. Alexander died unmarried. Ellen married Ezekiel Lutes, of West Windsor, and is dead. None of her children live in the township.
III. Major Voorhees was born at Dutch Neck, May 12, 1798, and in 1820 married Atheleah Cubberly, who was born at Hamilton Square, Aug. 7, 1799. In 1823 they removed to Hamilton Square, where they celebrated their golden wedding in 1870.
George Bergen operated a grist-mill near Dutch Neck. during the Revolution. His sons were John, Peter, and John G. He had several daughters. John removed to Kentucky. William G. Bergen, son of George G., married Susan Reed, and is a farmer near Dutch Neck. His children are named James, Spafford, Stephen, Sarah, Johnson, Eliza, Howard, Emma, and George T. No further information concerning this family can be obtained.
The Van Nest family were among the pioneers of West Windsor. Few descendants are now living there. John Tindall, William Tindall, John Cox, Thomas Clark, John Morgan, Abel Slayback, Joseph Stout, Amos Hutchinson, John Skillman, William Dey Jewell, 1 Isaac Cook, William Vaughn, Ezekiel Smith, Joseph Olden, and William Holmes, besides some of the persons previously mentioned, were holders of township offices in West Windsor previous to 1800.
1 Thomas Jewell, William D. Jewell, and the heirs of Elisha Jewell own and occupy three of the finest farms in the township.
William Fisher settled in the southeast part of the township, near Hickory Corners, in 1775, and owned a large tract of land in the vicinity. He married Eva Stout and reared a large family, of whom were William, Samuel, Eunice, Sarah, Elizabeth, Ann, and others. William Fisher, Jr., married and settled in Burlington County. Mary Wilson was his first wife. Samuel Fisher married Johanna S. Stockton, and located on a portion of the homestead. His sons were named James S. and William. The former married Margaret Clark and located at Penn's Neck, where he now lives. The latter married Mary Dutcher and lived at Penn's Neck twenty-five years, and then removed to Bound Brook, N. J. Eunice married Randall Chamberlain and removed to Ohio. Returning, she afterward married James Hultz and located at Plainsboro (Middlesex County). Sarah married a Chamberlain and settled near Hightstown; Mary married Abel Harden and located in East Windsor; Elizabeth married Aaron Forman, and for a time lived at Hightstown, but later removed to Edinburg, where she and her husband died; Ann married a Howell, and lived on the old Fisher homestead.
Prior to 1800, Matthew Rue settled on what is now known as the Dutch Neck road, about a mile east of Dutch Neck, and was a purchaser of about five thousand acres of land in that vicinity. He married Rebecah Ely, and had children named Ann, Matthias, Enoch, Phebe, Mary, Joseph, Matthew, Achsah, Joshua E., Rebecah, John, and Gilbert W. Rue.
Ann married William Cotheal, and located in Middlesex County, and reared a family.
Matthias married Ellen Rue, and removed to Middlesex County, and engaged in farming. He had sons named John and Elwood Rue.
Enoch married Lydia Davison, and located in West Windsor, on the road from Dutch Neck into Lawrence township, a mile from Dutch Neck, and engaged in farming. He had one son named John D. Rue, and one daughter, the wife of Rev. Mr. Van Syckle.
Phebe married Elias Bergen, and removed to Trenton.
Mary became the wife of Matthias Mount, and located near Dutch Neck.
Joseph married Cornelia Mount, and removed to Englishtown, Monmouth Co.
Matthew married Mary Ann Allen, and lived on part of the old homestead of the family, and had seven children.
Achsah married S. Joseph Ely, and removed to Monmouth County.
Joshua E. became a preacher, and married Mary McAuley.
Rebecah married Enoch Mount, and located at Hightstown.
John married Mary Laird, and removed to Monmouth County.
Gilbert W. married Annie Hutchinson, and is living in Monmouth County.
Among names of members of families who have come into the township at a later date than the pioneers and who have at one time or another been prominently identified with its leading interests, may be mentioned those of Amos Hutchinson, Daniel Agnew, Benjamin Clark, Col. E--- Beatty, Jacob Van Dyke, Redford Job, David T. Labaw, James D. Hutchinson, John T. Hutchinson, James McGalliard, John S. Robins, Liscomb T. Robbins, Enoch Robbins, Elijah V. Perrine, James H. Everett, Richard C. Mount, Elisha Rogers, Isaiah Jamison, William Post, Thomas Hooper, William V. Scudder, John A. L. Crater, John S. Van Dyke, William Wiley, Henry M. Taylor, Abraham Van Hise, and William K. Holmes. Others may be found in the civil list of the township, which may be fairly regarded as being composed, for the most part, of the names of its leading and most influential citizens. Others still will be seen in the chapters devoted to the religious and industrial interests. As has been seen, the pioneers on the soil of West Windsor were few in number, and the record of their achievements is manifested in the progress and general prosperity of the township, though it cannot be recounted with the fullness that may seem desirable by any of its present residents.
1 Named to honor of Windsor, in England, as is supposed.
The township remained as originally organized until 1797, when a division was effected by an act of the Legislature, and that portion east of the division line was named East Windsor, and all that portion west of the division line named West Windsor.
In the third section of this act it was provided that, -
“The inhabitants of the said township of East Windsor and West Windsor respectively shall meet at Haightstown (Hightstown), in the said township of East Windsor, and at the house where Jacob Bergen now lives, in the said township of West Windsor, on the day appointed by law for the first annual town-meetings after the passing of this act, and shall then and there proceed to the election of town officers for each of the said townships, as the law provides.”
Feb. 11, 1813, a portion of West Windsor township was set off to form a part of the borough of Princeton, then erected from West Windsor, and the township of Montgomery, Somerset County.
Civil List. - None of the records of the old township of Windsor are be found or known by the officers of the townships of East Windsor and West Windsor to be in existence. Below is given a complete list of the principal officers of West Windsor since the division of Windsor in 1797:
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
SUPERINTENDENTS OF SCHOOLS.
Villages and Hamlets. - PENN'S NECK, on the Trenton turnpike, in the northeastern part of the township, contains a church, a few dwellings, and one or two small mechanics' shops, and receives its name from the tract of land so called, purchased in the pioneer period of the history of the township of William Penn by Conover and Schenck.
The first public-house there was the Red Lion Inn, built by William Conover about 1807 or 1808. .Its first keeper was John Joline. It was afterwards kept by George Follet, Kenneth Day, Elijah Davison, Maj. Giberson, Asher Temple, a man named Donaldson, Widow Jackson, James Davison, and others, and its last occupant was Noah Reed. It often changed owners as well as landlords; and a few years ago was sold to the Baptist Church of Penn's Neck and was converted into a parsonage.
After the beginning of the days of staging along the turnpike, Richard Warren, William Stockton, and Phineas Withington bought a dwelling opposite the Red Lion Inn, and remodeled it and leased it to successive keepers, among whom were Garrett Embly, Asher Temple, Gilbert Giberson, and others, who kept it open as a public-house until about 1850, when it was purchased by David S. Voorhees and reconverted into a dwelling, and as such has been occupied by him to the present time.
During the staging period Penn's Neck was the scene of much activity, and its two rival taverns both flourished. Blacksmithing and wagon-repairing were also in demand. Nathaniel La Bow is said to have been the pioneer blacksmith. Thomas Benham had a shop for some years, and was succeeded in 1833 by David S. Voorhees, who continued the business till about 1850. Since then the old smithy has had several tenants, among them John Benham and James Wainwright, and is now again in the possession of its venerable proprietor, who has done a little work in it from time to time since his retirement from active business.
The first wheelwright was Moses Burroughs, who opened a shop at an early day. Elias and Arthur Howell have carried on this branch of industry at different times. About 1820 a coach-making and repairing business was established by John A. Schenck, and was afterwards conducted by Rowland & Schenck for many years. Elias Howell had a harness-shop in connection with his wheelwright-shop, and the two trades were combined later by Charles Campbell.
There has not been a store at Penn's Neck for many years. The first merchant there is thought to have been Jacob Stryker. A man named Donaldson was also a merchant there.
About thirty years ago a post-office was established in one of the public-houses, with William Wyckoff as postmaster. On account of some local difficulties it was discontinued in about three weeks, and has never been reestablished.
DUTCH NECK.‑This locality received its name from the fact that it was first settled by Dutch emigrants. It is a thriving little village, pleasantly situated in the centre of the best agricultural section of the township, containing one general store, a wheelwright-shop, a shoe-shop, a blacksmith-shop, the office of the West Windsor Mutual Fire Insurance Association, and a Presbyterian Church and a fine chapel belonging to the same denomination, now nearly completed. The population is about eighty.
At various times different small mechanical trades have been plied here transiently by men whose names are forgotten.
For fully one hundred years, up to a few years ago, when it was finally closed as such, a public-house was kept at Dutch Neck by many successive landlords, the last of whom was John Griggs. The building is now owned by Mrs. Mary Ann Updike, and will probably never again be opened for the entertainment of the traveling public.
Dutch Neck enjoys the advantages to be derived from the presence of a post-office. The postmaster is William G. Allen, who during the past eight years has kept the only store in the place. The present wheelwright is V. R. Hutchinson, the present shoemaker is Charles V. Smith, and the present blacksmith is T. F. Williamson.
CLARKSVILLE.‑By this name, derived from Dr. I. Clark, a former property-owner there, is known a hamlet on the Trenton turnpike, partially in the northwest part of West Windsor, partially in Lawrence, containing a hotel, a blacksmith-shop, a wheelwright-shop, and seven dwellings.
The nucleus of this settlement was the hotel, which was built about 1800 by Dr. Clark, and changed owners several times until it came into the hands of William West, Jr., in 1853. The staging traffic and travel over the turnpike rendered this a good location, for blacksmiths and wheelwrights. William Hulfish was a blacksmith there in 1825. He had had predecessors, and has had several successors. The present blacksmith is Charles I. Carr. John Anderson was an early wheelwright. The present one is Peter Bender, who has been located there long enough to be regarded as a permanent citizen.
About 1853, John Yard erected a building designed for use as a store, which, however, was never occupied as such until 1861, and was only kept open as such one year, when it was sold to Peter Bender, who removed to it from his former shop and has since occupied it.
Previous to the erection of the Clarksville Hotel, there stood another old inn, on the opposite side of the road, which has long since disappeared.
EDINBURG.‑This hamlet was formerly known as , Assanpink, or “Sandpink,” from its location on the bank of Assanpink, by many called “Sandpink,” Creek, and received its present. name by a resolution of its citizens a few years ago. It contains a hotel, a store, two basket-factories, a blacksmith-shop, and about seventy inhabitants.
One of the oldest landmarks there is the hotel, which during the Revolution, says tradition, was kept at a place about three hundred yards distant from its present location, to which it was removed early in the present century. It is thought by the oldest residents that John H. Hutchinson was the first who kept it after its removal. It has often changed hands, and now kept by John W. Griggs.
The pioneer merchant at Edinburg is thought to have been John T. Hutchinson, probably as early as 1820. Among his successors have been Marco Krakakie, Job Silvers, Lucien Britton, Richard Waddy, Israel Baldwin, Richard R. Rogers, Isaac R. Rogers, Charles R. Hutchinson, Samuel Tindall, and Joseph L. Watson, the present merchant, all of whom have traded in one building. Futile attempts have been made to establish stores in two other buildings now standing unoccupied.
The post-office was established in 1852, with Richard R. Rogers as postmaster. It has most of the time been kept in the store, and a majority of those who have occupied that building as merchants since that date have been postmasters. The present incumbent of the office is Joseph L. Watson. Mails arrive and depart daily by stage from and to Trenton.
At an early day Daniel Howell had a blacksmith-shop near Edinburg. David B. Hill came to the place in 1828, and carried on blacksmithing till 1870, when he way succeeded by his son, James M. Hill.
Wheelwrights have from time to time had shops in the settlement. The last was D. Frank Hill, who began business in 1878, and closed in 1882.
PORT MERCER is a hamlet which has grown up at the northwestern corner of the township, partially in Lawrence, on the Delaware and Raritan Canal. It contains a store, a coal-yard, and seven dwellings. Formerly there was a steam saw-mill at this point, and previous to 1844, Charles Gillingham was engaged for some years in the manufacture of lime there.
The first merchant there was Alfred Applegate, who began business about 1840, and continued until 1848, after which the store was unoccupied for some years. Among its later proprietors was Evan Cook. The present occupant is Judson Allen, who is also proprietor of the coal-yard.
A public-house was formerly kept there twelve years by William West, in a building which is now the residence of Richard Cook, which was built for a dwelling, about 1850, by John A. D. Crater, and sold by him about 1861 to Samuel Smith, who remodeled it and leased it to West.
PRINCETON BASIN. - This is a canal settlement and former railway station on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, at the northern boundary of the township, which before the removal of the old railroad was a place of some importance locally.
The old hotel there was kept by John G. Skillman, thirty years ago. It has since been kept by John S. Hutchinson, Aaron Clayton, John L. Corlies, and others. Since 1879 it has been in charge of Marshal Voorhees.
Several merchants and coal, lumber, and produce dealers have from time to time done business at “the Basin,” among them John L. Corlies and S. Berrien. John Wyckoff, now at Princeton Junction, was formerly a prominent business man there.
PRINCETON JUNCTION. - Princeton Junction is the name given to the little hamlet at the junction of the Princeton Branch Railroad with the Trenton Branch of the Pennsylvania Railway. Its existence dates from the completion of the latter line in 1865. It contains a depot, a store, and a hay, wood, and produce warehouse, and a few scattered dwellings.
The store was built in 1870 by Owen Sheridan. It was occupied by D. B. Applegate in 1870-72, and by Baker Hutchinson in 1872-74. Owen Sheridan, its owner, has occupied it since 1874. The Princeton Junction post-office was established in 1870, and D. B. Applegate was commissioned postmaster. He was succeeded by Owen Sheridan in 1874.
John Wyckoff, dealer in hay, wood, and produce, has a large warehouse at Princeton Junction, whither he removed from Princeton Basin in 1865.
Manufacturing Industries. - Grover's flouring-mill, on Bear Creek, about two miles from Dutch Neck, was built by some of the members of the pioneer family of Bergens, and during the Revolution it was operated by George Bergen. Its changes of ownership have not been frequent, yet it has had several proprietors. Joseph Grover, its present owner and operator, has been in possession since 1860.
John Crater erected a steam saw-mill at Port Mercer, which was in operation about twelve years, and was then destroyed by fire.
Near Edinburg on the Trenton road, Amos Tindall established a distillery and cider manufactory, which at his death, a few years ago, passed into the possession of his sons, Samuel and Theodore Tindall, who continue the business, but manufacture cider only.
About 1810, Thomas Leonard put a foundry in operation at Edinburg. Later Sering Shangle, now of Hightstown, was his partner, and the firm was known, as Leonard & Shangle. The business was abandoned about ten years after its establishment.
Thirty years ago or more Aaron Furman had a cooper's shop at Edinburg, and at a somewhat later date Absalom Hart was engaged somewhat extensively in the manufacture of boots and shoes there, at times employing several hands.
In 1873, Absalom Hart built a shop at Edinburg, in which he began the manufacture of baskets of different sizes and kinds, which he sells in New York. His business has gradually increased till it furnishes employment to five basket-makers.
Melvin Sallie established a similar manufactory in 1874, has done a growing business, and employs five or six hands in his shop.
The above, with such interests as are mentioned in connection with the histories of the several villages and hamlets, constitute the principal industries of the township in the past and present.
Educational. - The earliest schools in West Windsor were kept at Penn's Neck and Dutch Neck. The third is believed to have been established in the vicinity of Edinburg. The other schools in the township were instituted later, one by one. Diligent inquiry has failed to elicit the dates of these educational beginnings and the names of the early pedagogues who taught in the township.
The first schools were kept in log houses, which were built by the concerted labor of such of the able-bodied adult male inhabitants of the township as chose to aid in their erection. For many years the schools were of the class usually spoken of as “pay-schools,” the head of each family whose children attended them paying to the teacher a stated sum per pupil, and such township money as was devoted to the support of schools was either apportioned to the several patrons of the schools or paid to the teacher, and by him placed to the credit of each patron pro rata.
When the public school law of New Jersey came into operation, the township was divided into several districts. Their number has been changed from time to time as convenience has required. There are now four, known as Penn's Neck District, No. 40; Parsonage District, No. 41; Dutch Neck District, No. 42; and Assanpink District, No. 43.
The following statistics for the school year ending Aug. 31, 1880, show the status of the several districts at that time:
Amount of apportionment from the State appropriation, including two-mill tax and $100,000: District No. 40, $262.45; District No. 41, $324.49; District No. 42, $278.60; District No. 43, $270.15. Amount of appropriation from surplus revenue: District No. 40, $37.55; District No. 41, $47.67; District No. 42, $40.93; District No. 43, $29.85. Total amount received from all sources for public-school purposes: District No. 40, $300; District No. 41, $622.16; District No. 42, $1319.53; District No. 43, $300. Present value of school property: District No. 40, $1000 ; District No. 41, $400 ; District No. 42, $200 ; District No. 43, $200. Whole number of children between the ages of five and eighteen years residing in the several districts; District No. 40, 72 ; District No. 41, 97; District No. 42, 73; District No. 43, 65. Number of children of the school age enrolled in the school registers during the year; District No. 40, 48; District No. 41, 74; District No. 42, 60; District No. 43, 44. Estimated number of children in the districts attending private schools: District No. 40, 18; District No. 41, 2. Estimated number in the districts who attended no school during the year: District No. 40, 14 ; District No. 41, 15; District No. 42, 13; District No. 43, 21. Number of teachers employed in the several districts and the monthly salary paid: District No. 40, 1 female, at $26.11; District No. 41, 1 female, at $29.25 ; District No. 42, 1 male, at $29.49; District No. 43, 1 female, at $31.11.
The Dutch Neck Presbyterian Church. 1 - The village of Dutch Neck occupies nearly the centre of West Windsor township. How long a house for public religious worship has existed at Dutch Neck no one living can tell. The records of the Presbytery of New Brunswick mention the application of Kingston and Assinpynk for the joint pastorate of a Mr. Van Voorhees, and he supplied them during the years 1793 and 1794, but before that time the graveyard testifies of interments reaching farther back, to nearly the middle of the last century. Some of the original members of the church, as organized in 1816, were living but recently, and used to speak of an old house of worship occupying the site of the present one, in existence at that time.
1 Contributed by Rev. Amzi L. Armstrong, pastor.
By the inhabitants of Dutch Neck and vicinity application was made to the Presbytery of New Brunswick, which met in Cranbury, Middlesex Co., Oct. 1, 1816, to be organized as a church, and for the services of Rev. David Comfort, of Kingston, as a stated supply for one-third of the time.
Presbytery granted the prayer of the petitioners, and directed Rev. Mr. Comfort to perfect the organization as soon as possible. At a meeting held October 20th, elders were selected, and the church organized. The following were ordained elders on the 10th of November: William Post, John R. Covenhoven, Peter Hooper, Levi Updike. The following additional members, twenty-five in all, were then received by certificate from the church at Cranbury: Coert Voorhees, Sr., Helena Voorhees, Coert Voorhees, Jr., Ann Voorhees, John Slayback, Maria Post, Ann Covenhoven, Elizabeth Hooper, Mary Updike, Coert A. Voorhees, Margaret Ann Voorhees, Elizabeth Fisher, Mattie Covenhoven, Mary Davis, Mary Cain, Sarah Voorhees, Mary Grover, Hannah Atchley, and Elenor Hybier; and Sarah Ann Tindall and Elizabeth Tindall from the church at Kingston.
Rev. David Comfort continued as stated supply until the spring of 1824, preaching one-third of this time at this place.
From that time until January, 1827, there was no regular pastor or stated supply, the pulpit being occupied by members of the Presbytery and professors and students of the Theological Seminary at Princeton:
At a meeting of the church and congregation Jan. 30, 1827, Mr. Daniel Deruelle, a licentiate, was unanimously chosen to minister to them as stated supply, and their choice was ratified by the Presbytery on the 7th of February. Mr. Deruelle was called to the pastorate at a meeting of the church and congregation held on the 21st of July following, and he was ordained to the ministry, and installed pastor by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, Sept. 11, 1827, being the first regularly-installed pastor. This pastoral relation was dissolved Jan. 5, 1830.
There was no formally settled pastor from that time until 1840. The pulpit, however, was regularly supplied by Princeton professors and students, and by ministers of the Presbytery; among them Rev. John Jay Rice for nearly two years was the stated supply.
On April 30, 1840, Rev. George Ely was duly installed, having the joint pastorates of Hamilton Square and Dutch Neck, and preaching at these places on alternate Sabbaths. This arrangement continued until 1856, when, his health having failed, the relation was dissolved July 22d of that year.
Rev. Robert S. Manning, the pastor at that time of the Hamilton Square Church, was appointed by Presbytery to supply the pulpit at Dutch Neck every other Sabbath. At a meeting of the church and congregation held on the 28th of March, 1857, Mr. Amzi L. Armstrong, a licentiate of the Presbytery of New Brunswick, was unanimously chosen pastor. The call was duly presented to Presbytery on the 27th of April following, and at an adjourned meeting of the Presbytery held at Dutch Neck, May 20th, he was duly ordained and installed pastor of said church, which relation still continues (1882).
The membership reported to Presbytery in April, 1881, was two hundred and thirteen.
The elders are Isaac I. Snedeker, John S. Bergen, Enoch Rue, Andrew J. Duncan, James Wyckoff, John D. Rue, Levi Mather, Joseph H. Grover, and Thomas D. Brokau.
The trustees are John D. Rue, Joseph H. Grover, Elijah V. Perrine, George E. Snedeker, and Symmes Bergen.
Four Sabbath-schools are connected with the church, which have a membership as last reported of one hundred and seventy-five. No public records give the date of the first organization of either of them. The libraries contain about five hundred volumes.
The church edifices have been of wood from the beginning of the occupancy of the place as a preaching station, and the congregation are now building a neat Gothic chapel, twenty-eight by forty, besides vestibule, for which subscriptions in full have been made for its completion. When completed the value of the church property, including church, chapel, parsonage, cemetery, and other grounds, will be not less than ten thousand dollars, and the property will be free from debt.
The Princeton Baptist Church 1 - The Princeton Baptist Church, located at Penn's Neck, was organized Dec. 5, 1812. Religious meetings had been held during twenty-five years previous to this date, in private houses, by Pet Wilson, then pastor at Hightstown. A goodly number of persons, well connected, had embraced Baptist sentiments as a result of these early labors, and in this way the material was made ready for the organization of the church.
1. Contributed by the pastor, Rev. L. O. Grenelle.
The constituent members of the church were thirty-six in number (fourteen males and twenty-two females):
John Applegate, Joseph Grover, John Jones, Joseph Freeman, Benjamin Maple, Samuel Moffat, William Kovenhoven, Joseph Smith, Thomas Sunderlan, Richard Thomas, Ezekiel R. Wilson, William Vaughan, Jacob Vaughan, Catharine Applegate, Ruth Grover, Elizabeth Gray, Hannah Babcock, Elizabeth Freeman, Abigail Hart, Elizabeth Gulick, Elizabeth Stout, Amy Kovenhoven, Sarah Thomas, Mary Lewis, Sarah Scull, Ann Stout, Jane Hulse, Elizabeth Runyan, Rachel Smith, Eleanor Jones, Sophia Goldsmith, Elizabeth Riggs, Rebecca Page, Mary Moffat, Elizabeth Vaughan, and Elizabeth Stacy.
The first officers of the church were as follows:
Deacons, John Applegate, Joseph Geonce, John Jones, and William Vaughan; Clerk, Ezekiel R. Wilson; Treasurer, “Brother” Vaughan; Sexton, Thomas Sunderland.
The first pastor was Rev. John Coopee, who preached only one-fourth of the time. He was succeeded in 1815 by Rev. Alexander Hastings, on a salary of “$100 at a certainty, and a school of 25 schollars at $2 a schollar.”
The succeeding pastors have been, with date of settlement, as follows: Revs. John Seger, 1821; Peter Simonson, 1828; George Allen, 1830; Jackson Smith, 1844; D. D. Gray, 1846; William C. Wyat, 1850; Samuel Sproul, 1852; William E. Cornwell, 1857 (who died a few months after settlement); George Young, 1857; John B. Hutchinson, 1862; H. V. Jones, 1869; William C. Wyat, 1871; L. O. Grenelle, 1873.
The present membership of the church is one hundred and twenty-seven. The officers are L. O. Grenelle, pastor; W. H. Jemison and E. Snook, deacons; C. B. Robison, Nathaniel Schenck, Emily Snook, Alfred Snook, and Gilbert D. Rue, trustees; W. H. Jemison, treasurer.
The first house of worship was dedicated Dec. 5, 1812.
The house in Princeton, in which the church worshiped about twenty-one years, was dedicated Dec. 1, 1852. Sermons were preached by Rev. William Hague, D.D., and Rev. John Dowling, D.D. The present house at Penn's Neck (the old one remodeled, enlarged, and rebuilt) was dedicated Jan. 16, 1878, on which occasion sermons were preached by Rev. Elijah Lucas and Rev. J. B. Hutchinson. It is a wood structure, with spire and bell, thirty-six by fifty-eight feet, and cost four thousand one hundred dollars, including cushions and bell.
The first thirty years of the history of the church witnessed no advancement in numbers or spiritual interests. The body remained feeble, and progress was prevented by internal dissensions; but in 1844 the tide turned, and since that date the church has been enlarged by the accession of converts.
The ministry of Rev. Jackson Smith was remarkably rich in fruit. Rev. D. D. Gray also gathered in a goodly number. From that day the church has been prosperous at times, and at times disturbed by dissension and lack of union. The labor of Revs. George Young and John B. Hutchinson were abundantly rewarded by the accession of converts. Under the ministrations of the present pastor the church has been prosperous.
The Sunday-school was organized in 1842, and was kept up summers ever since till eight years ago, when
it became an school, officered as follows:
Gilbert D. Rue, superintendent; W. H. Jemison, assistant superintendent; Harold Anderson, secretary.
Burial-Places. - THE OLD CONOVER GRAVEYARD. - Undoubtedly the oldest burial-place in West Windsor is the old Conover burying-ground, on the Theodore Stewart farm. It is surrounded by a stone wall, and contains forty or fifty graves. The following inscriptions are from head-stones bearing date 1800 and earlier:
“Catharine Hight, the wife of Nicholas Hight, died November the 21st day, 1751.”
“In memory of William Konwenhoven, who departed this life October the 7th, 1777, aged 35 years, 4 months, 19 days.”
“Here lies Ben N. Hight, who departed this life in the third year of his age in the year of our Lord 1781.”
“In memory of Albert Schenck, who departed this life May 21st,1786, aged 65 years, 1 month and 2 days.”
“Here Lyeth the body of Christina Covenhoven, wife of William Covenhoven, who departed this life June the 24th, 1787, aged 78.”
“In memory of Mary Ann Howell, who departed this life September 26th, 1799, in the 4th year of her age.”
“David Hight, Deceased January lst, 1800."
“In memory of Nicholas Hight, who departed this life September 15th, 1800, in the 78th year of his age.”
“Elias C. Schenck, died November lst, 1800, aged 41 years, 7 months and 17 days.”
THE PRESBYTERIAN BURYING-GROUND AT DUTCH NECK. - There were doubtless burials in this ground early in the latter half of the last century. Many old graves are without head-stones. Among some of the earlier inscriptions to be found on head-stones there are the following, some of which extend into the first quarter of this century:
“In memory of Luke Covenhoven, who died December 6th, 1777, aged 61 year,. 6 months and 23 days.”
“In memory of Garret Covenhoven, who departed this life August 27th, 1785, in the 30th year of his age. Funeral text, Phil. lst xxi.”
“In memory of Elizabeth, widow of Luke Covenhoven. She died June 21st, 1789, aged 72 years, 9 months and 26 days.”
“In memory of John Voorhies, who departed this life September 25th, 1796, aged 39 years and 24 days.”
“In memory of John Fisher, who died October 31st, A. D. 1799, in the 70th year of his age.”
“In memory of Samuel Fisher, who died November 15th, 1803, aged 38 years, 1 month and 15 days.”
“Sacred to the memory of William Rossell, who departed this life May 4, 1817, aged 89 years, 5 months and 5 days.”
“James Charters died June 20th, 1819.”
“B. Silvers, 1819.”
THE BAPTIST BURYING-GROUND AT PENN'S NECK. - The following inscriptions are from headstones in the Baptist graveyard at Penn's Neck, a few having been selected from those bearing date prior to 1820:
“In memory of Lavinia F. Kovenhoven, who died August 24th, 1815, aged 12 years.”
“In memory of George T. Kovenhoven, who died November 2nd, 1815.”
“In memory of Mary Covenhoven, who departed this life January 4th, 1817, aged 38 years, 9 months and 8 days.”
There were no early interments here.
OTHER BURIAL-PLACES. - There are no other regular burying-grounds in the township. Early graves were made on the farms of residents long since dead, of which there is at present only a traditional knowledge, all traces of them having disappeared in many instances before the farms came into the possession of their present owners.
The West Windsor Mutual Fire Insurance Association. - The West Windsor Mutual Fire Insurance Association was organized March 17, 1857, by authority of an act of the Legislature of the State of New Jersey, with the following board of directors:
George W. Applegate, William Walton, Isaac Rossell, Eli Dey, James H. Everett, James D. Robins, Charles B. Moore, Amos H. Tindall, Enoch South, William Perrine, and Daniel Hawk.
The association was formed for the purpose of insuring buildings in West Windsor township only, upon the following plan:
When a resident of the township makes application to the association for insurance, the surveyor of the association makes a personal examination of the property upon which the insurance is desired, and is authorized to place a valuation on the same and report to the secretary, who thereupon issues a policy, of insurance for ten years for three-fourths of the value of the building, the person insured giving his note with approved security to the association for an amount equal to four per cent. of the amount insured, and paying in cash five per cent. of the amount of the note. During the past twenty years the association has made only two small assessments. Its policies now (1882) cover property valued at three hundred and twenty-four thousand eight hundred and eighty dollars. Its officers are as follows:
Joseph H. Grover, president; James H. Everett, surveyor; Liscomb T. Robins, secretary.
The office of the association is at Dutch Neck.