Roger PARKE Sr. (1648 – 1738) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather; one of 1,024 in this generation of the Miller line., He was the first white settler in Hopewell, New Jersey, the township where Washington crossed the Delaware.
Roger Parke Sr. ws born in 1648 in Hexham, Northumberland, England. He was baptized at Cartmel Priory Church, Lancashire, England on 25 Jun 1648, along with brothers, George, Thomas, James and sister, Ann. His parents were Allan PARKE (1606 – 1667) and Elizabeth [__?__] of Cartmel Parish, Lancashire, England. His grandfather was Sir John Parke (b. 1575). He married Ann PATTISON in 10 Apr 1676, in Taylorbourne, Allendale, Northumberland, England (Quaker Records – Marriage license: recorded in the Holme Monthly Meetings, Book 355, page 268 and filed in the Cumbria Records Office).
No passenger list has ever been found for a Roger Parke or for the Patisons, who also made the voyage to Crosswicks, Burlingon Co., New Jersey in 1682. However, it is possible that they arrived on the ship “Greyhound” which went aground in the Delaware River in the fall of 1682, and was reported to have carried over 350 passengers. Alternatively, Doctor Parke, came in “The Shield” in 1678, and was among the first European emigrants to be landed at Burlington, as no vessel had previously ventured so far up the Delaware.
In 1690 he lived in a Quaker settlement on Crosswick’s Creek near Trenton, but he traveled so often to Wissamonson [Woodbridge near Elizabeth, a 44 mile trek to the northeast] to study medicine under old Indian squaws and medicine men that his path was called “Roger’s Road.” About 1700 he moved his family to Hopewell as its first white settlers. By the way, Washington crossed the Delaware Roger died in 1731, in Hopewell Township, Hunterdon County [now Mercer County], NJ.
In the late 1600’s two families came into New Jersey, with names so nearly alike, that some researchers have combined them as one family. Ours is Roger Parke, of Hexham, County of Northumberland, England. The second is Roger Parkes with an “S” who was born 1638 in Carlisle, Cumbria, England, and died Jun 1690 in Hopewell, Hunterdon, NJ.
Ann Patison was born 1658 in Allendale, Northumberland, England. Her parents were John PATISON and Margaret [__?__]. Ann died in 1731, Hopewell Township, Hunterdon County. NJ
Due to a scandal known as “the Coxe Affair” ownership of the Parke’s homestead and many other pioneer families was invalidated. Many of Roger and Ann’s descendants, including their son, John Parke, migrated from Hopewell, NJ to Frederick Co., VA later Hampshire Co., WV and to the Jersey Settlement in Rowan County, North Carolina.
In 1691, Dr. Daniel Coxe, purportedly sold a vast 30,000-acre tract in western New Jersey to a new group of Proprietors called the West Jersey Society, who heavily promoted it to settlers in Long Island and New England. Although Dr. Coxe never left England, he served nominally as Governor of New Jersey by purchase of land, and bought other large tracts of land throughout America.
But in 1731, Dr. Coxe’s son Col. Daniel Coxe suddenly showed up, claiming that he possessed superior title via a superseding deed that his father had recorded years earlier. To the dismay of the settlers, the courts agreed with Col. Coxe’s claim. Hundreds of families were forced to repurchase their own property from Col. Coxe or be forcibly evicted. The ensuing scandal was one of many injustices that inflamed American anger against the British during the years leading up the Revolutionary War. There were lawsuits; there were riots; Col. Coxe was burned in efigy; but to no avail.
As a result, many Hopewell residents left New Jersey, either unable to pay Col. Coxe or disgusted with the colony’s rampant political corruption. One group of Hopewell expatriates settled on the Yadkin River in what was then Rowan County, NC. This community, the Jersey Settlement, continued to attract new settlers from the Hopewell area for several decades.
Roger managed to keep his home and a small acreage, but practically all the rest of the family had to search for a new home.””Some of them went north into northern West Jersey, but others went into Pennsylvania and Virginia. Other names appearing on the ejection suit include his son John Parke Sr and grandsons John Parke Jr, Joseph Park and Andrew Park. John Sr & Jr and Andrew were in Hampshire County Virginia by 1750.
Children of Roger and Ann: Baptism dates are not a good proxy for birth in the Parke family. The Parkes were Quakers and they baptized their children in the Anglican Church due to political necessity.
|1.||John Parke||1674, Northumberland Co., England
baptized as an Anglican (See Story)
28 Feb 1703 St.Mary’s Church, Burlington, NJ
Crosswicks Creek, Hopewell Township, Hunterdon, NJ
|1757, Hampshire Co., VA (now WV)|
Northumberland Co., England
Monmouth, New Jersey.
|3.||Roger PARKE Jr.||1683 Burlington County NJ.||[__?__] Probably not Susannah ROBINSON
Crosswicks Creek New Jersey
Hunterdon County, NJ.
10 Oct 1687 – On the “10th of the 8th month” the ship Shield, Daniel Towes, Captain, was the first to sail this far up the Delaware river. After mooring to a tree, passengers landed on the Jersey side, including George Parks [perhaps Roger’s brother] George must have died soon after arriving since he disappears from all records but we do not have any proof of their kinship.
The next confirmation on Roger Parke’s arrival in America is found in the “Letter of Removal”, given to him before he left Enland for West Jersey. The date on the Certificate was June 11, 1682, which indicated that he probably left England on the next available ship. His deed was dated 24th or 25th of May, 1682, so he had purchased the 200 acres from Edward Bylinge, while still in England.
Another record was found in the “Account Book of William Penn, Quaker,” in 1685, indicating that he had paid Roger Parke, 9 pounds …shillings, to “cure” a negro. Source: PA. Mag. of History & Biography, Vol. 35, 1911, p. 201. This seems to substantiate why he was called “doctor”. A road to Trenton was named “Rogers Road” because Roger was said to have traveled it so much. He possibly had many friends and perhaps relatives still around the Trenton area where he had lived before.
Roger Parke, who was popularly known among the pioneers as “Old Doctor Parks,” studied the Indian practice of medicine with the old squaws and medicine men, and the early settlers came to him
for many miles around, his treatment being much the same as that practiced by Dr. Jacob Tidd in later years, who, it is said had many of the recipes of Doctor Parke.
The first white man in Hopewell was Jonathan Stout who in 1685 explored the wilderness from his parent’s home in Middletown, lived several years at Wissamonson with the Indians, then returned home.
On March 30, 1688, Adlord Bowle, agent for “Daniell Coxe, Esqr., Governor & Cheife Proprietor” of West Jersey, met with eleven Indian Chiefs who sold their rights to a huge tract of land that included Hopewell, Ewing and north Trenton for hatchets, knives, needles, tobacco, rum, beer, kettles, 30 guns, shot and lead. With land sales now legal, Dr. Coxe directed his agents to subdivide and sell to settlers.
This first agreement excepted the Hopewell tract, but between 1692 and 1694 Coxe made a second agreement transferring it to the West Jersey Society — which failed to execute a deed. The Society and Agent Revel continued selling land and developing the area. The West Jersey Society distributed fliers on the north-east seaboard advertising “Fertile Land for Sale Cheap,” offering to residents in New England and in older New Jersey communities cheap land “lying above ye ffals of ye Delaware” (Hopewell) with inducements to buy farms by cash or mortgages.
1690 – Roger Parke, an English immigrant, lived in a Quaker settlement on Crosswick’s Creek, but he traveled so often to Wissamonson to study medicine under old Indian squaws and medicine men that his path was called “Roger’s Road.” About 1700 he moved his family to Hopewell as its first white settlers.
1684 – John Patison and son-in-law Roger Parke are listed as plantation land holders in or near Trenton, New Jersey
1696 – Moved to Hopewell, New Jersey about 16 miles North East of Trenton.
Apr 1697 – Roger Parke of “Cross wicks Creek, formerly of Nottingham, England,” purchased 400 acres of land of Thomas Revel, agent for the New Jersey Society. The survey is described by Mr. Revel as beginning at a white oak tree on the north side of Stony Brook at Wissamenson. and at the same time another tract of 100 acres adjoining Thomas Tindal, for his daughter, Annie Parke. In 1905 this tract included the D. P. Voorhees farm, the railroad quarry farm, and also Amos Sked’s, C. E. Voorhees’, the Samuel Ege farm, and portions of W. W. Kirkendall’s, W. C. Velit’s and E. S. Titus’.
In 1698 he was a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
He became Episcopal in 1700, and Baptist in 1703/04. Roger, his neighbor and future brother-in-law Andrew Smith, and several others joined the Church of England in Burlington. This may have been due to political reasons as church membership was often a requirement to own property/
21 Aug 1703 – A Commission of the Peace for the County of Burlington was issued and Roger Parke (among others) was appointed to the office of justices of the peace.
About 1700/01, a fateful marriage occurred when John Parke married Thomas Smith’s sister Sarah. (These two brothers-in-law, Smith and Parke, later acted together in open rebellion during “The Coxe Affair”, fled together, and both families would be early pioneers of Jersey Settlement.) In 1701 Dr. Daniel Coxe, as physician to the Royal Household, learned that New York (and New Jersey) was about to become a Royal Colony — and that the West Jersey Society had not registered his transfer of the Hopewell tract to them. Using this inside information, in 1702 Dr. Coxe gave Hopewell to his son: “Dr. Daniel Coxe of London Doctor in Phisiq” (conveyed his… tracts and proprietary rights to) “Daniel Coxe of London, Gentleman Son and heir apparent of the said Daniell Coxe Doctor in Phisiq.”
In 1702 the political event that Dr. Coxe anticipated occurred: the Jersey Proprietors relinquished their rights of government to the Crown, Queen Amne was on the throne, Dr. Coxe was her private physician — and the new Governor coming from London was the Queen’s first cousin, Dr. Coxe’s good friend, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury — accompanied to America by Dr. Coxe’s son, Col. Daniel Coxe. Together they composed the Cornbury Ring, which quickly became infamous for abusing government authority for personal profit. Both the Ring and the Proprietors fought to control land sales because whoever did also controlled the government — and had a handsome income. As governor, Lord Cornbury changed the political climate, being allied with the Coxes against the West Jersey Society over ownership of large tracts of land, one of which included Hopewell Township. In 1706, Lord Cornbury and his Council (the upper House of Legislature, of which Col. Daniel Coxe was a member) launched an attack on the proprietary faction, challenging their authority over the land system. They also alleged that the West Jersey Society lacked any title, that being Col. Coxe’s position, taking advantage of the Society’s failure to register his transfer (for a consideration) to them of the Hopewell tract c1692/3.
With New York a Royal Colony, the Anglican church became (as in England) entwined with all aspects of the civil government, with authority over many aspects of daily life, e. g., the only legal marriages were performed by Anglican ministers, with children from marriages performed by other clergymen considered illegitimate. An Episcopal priest was sent to Burlington County to establish- “Hopewell Chappel Church” (St. Mary ‘s Episcopal, Ewing.) A year before the cornerstone was laid (March 25, 1703) some Hopewell residents who were Quakers and Baptists rushed down to Ewing to have their adult children baptized as Anglicans to protect their inheritance rights. Baptized February 28,1702 by Rev. Mr. John Talbot:
John and Roger Parke, ye children of Rogr. Parke.
A band of Lenni Lenape Indians occupied the vacant tract next to Anne Parke’s land and their wagons could be seen for many years but they were on friendly terms with the Parke family. Eventually they left never to return. Anne and her husband lived on the 100 acre farm her father purchased for her in 1698.
Taken from the Hopewell Herald, Wed April 12, 1905
Pioneers of Hopewell by Ralph Ege
In several of our previous articles, reference has been made to Doctor Roger Parke, who so far as known was he first white settler within the present limits of Hopewell township.
There is a singular fascination about every scrap of tradition concerning this old pioneer, who settled on the farm now occupied by Mr. C.F. Voorhees, two miles west of Hopewell borough, his farm two hundred years ago including several of those now adjoining Mr. Voorhees.
It is an old tradition that when he first settled there, the Red men of the forest still had their wigwams, and held their Powwows, on the banks of Stony Brook at that point; and that the dusky maidens admired their beauty as reflected in the crystal waters of the stream. While the young braves reclined on its green banks, under the grand old trees which were still standing within the memory of the writer, and in his boyhood it was one of the traditions of the place that old Indian medicine men had taught Doctor Parke their mysterious arts of healing, and that the herbs and plants which flourished in such great variety all about the place, had, many of them, been planted by him and their leaves, blossoms, barks and roots, used in his practice.
Occasional reference to Doctor Parke, made by the old people of the neighborhood, awakened an intense desire to know more of this traditional old doctor, of whom the “oldest inhabitant” seemed to know so little, and who had his residence there, years before the birth of the writer’s great, great grandfather.
To my youthful imagination, the man who had the courage to live among a barbarous and savage race, whose cruelty and treachery were proverbial, was an immortal hero, and deserved a more imposing monument than the rough sandstone in the old family graveyard, which bore the simple and very vague inscription, “R.P, 1755.
On of my earliest recollections was of the old garden, which occupied a part of the same spot as the present, a considerable space of which was, at that ???? devoted to beds of herbs, both annual and perennial, some of which bore large showy flowers, while others were very insignificant, proving that they had been planted for use, rather than beauty.
The dilapidated old fences were overgrown with a thicket of vines and shrubbery, which also had their uses in the old doctor’s time; but in the writer’s boyhood, was a favorite summer resort for the robins and catbirds, whose happy voices blended very harmoniously in the early morning, but created a frightful discord later in the day, as they spitefully snarled and scolded over the right of possession to the old garden.
Some of the herbs in this garden were not native to this locality, but had been brought from other states and transplanted, on account of their valuable medicinal properties and the old Larison family., who were descended from Dr. Parke, and succeeded him on the homestead were familiar with their uses, and had carefully guarded them while they remained on the farm.
A few years after the old farm came in to the possession of the father of the writer the old house which had sheltered Doctor Parke and at least three generations of his descendants in the Parke-Larison line, was taken down, and a new house erected near the site.
The old garden was not spared in the march of improvement, for while it was in keeping with the old house and its surroundings it was strangely out of harmony with the new order of things, and was “Cleared Out.”
While some of the herbs were transplanted to the new garden, most of them which were called by the old people, “old Doctor Parke’s Yarbs” were consigned to the brush pile, but not to oblivion, as many of the same varieties are still found on the shelves of every up-to-date drug store in the country.
After the lapse of two centuries a few still survive on the farm, to recall the memory of the famous old doctor, who had here stewed and brewed the bitter concoctions, which won for him the distinction of being the pioneer physician of old Hopewell.
So far as known he was the only physician in this region for many years, and rode on horseback over these hills and mountains, when very few houses stood between the Delaware and the Millstone, and all the country to the north was still the home of the Lenni??????
On these long lonely rides his saddlebags were well supplied with an assortment of remedies for both external and internal treatments.
It was not a prescription age, and as no drug store existed nearer than New York or Philadelphia, he carried an apothecary shop with him.
He had his care-cloth, salves, ointments, washes (or liniments). Plasters and poultices for external application; and besides these, his pills and powders, which were used on all occasions.
These latter, the old doctors called their “pukes and purges,” but in the more polite usage of our times, would be termed emetics and cathartics.
His constant companions were the lancer and horn cup for bleeding and cupping, which were considered indispensable to the outfit of every doctor and chirugeon of “ye olden time.”
It is not known whether Dr. Parke had received any medical education before emigrating to this country, (this is doubtful because it is said he emigrated as a teenager, he may had been an apprentice, not from JJ.) but the fact that his name is not found in any of the biographies of early physicians in this state, is no proof. It is a well known fact that some of the pioneer physicians, who had a very extensive practice before the revolution, and served as surgeons in the army for a time, are not mentioned in any of the histories hereto fore published. His home was a mecca for the afflicted, who made long pilgrimages to be treated for cancers, ulcers, cataract, rheumatism and other diseases, not too severe to admit of the patient making the journey on foot or on horseback, as we must not lose sight of the fact that in Dr. Parke’s day there were no wagon roads.
One of popular modes of treatment practiced by the Indian “medicine men” , and doubtless by Dr. Parke also was the “sweating and plunging” remedy, which was invariably resorted to in obstinate cases, which refused to yield to ordinary treatment.
It was heroic treatment and in some instances, where the patient was low in vitality or the diagnosis of the “medicine man” was at fault, it was attended with lethal results. Yet it was said that they performed some wonderful cures, which seemed little less than miraculous.
The mode of treatment was to heat a large stone red hot, and then cover it with a heavy tent of skins, tightly sewed together (such as were used by them in winter) then place the patient inside in a perfectly nude condition. The stone was then frequently wet with water until it caused the perspiration to “stand out like beads”, and in this condition the patient would be hurried to the near-by brook and plunged in, only for a moment, when he was taken back in the tent or hut, and covered with skins or blankets, until the perspiration was more profuse than before, if possible.
That Dr. Parke was a man of considerable prominence two hundred years ago, is obvious from the fact that soon after the year 1700, the old “Indian path to Wissomency,” (as it was called in the earliest deeds) began to be designated in the deeds from Trenton to Stony Brook as “Rogers Road.”
The origin of the name was a puzzle to the writer, until in an old book of court records in Flemington, he found the record of the original survey of the road from Ringoes to Marshall’s Corner, dated March 30, 1722. We will republish the last course given in said survey, retaining the capitalization and spelling. “Thence along a line of Marked trees as aforesaid to a Hickory tree standing near Samuel furmans Corner, by the side of Roger Parks his road.”
“Furman’s Corner” is now known as Marshall’s Corner, and this settled the vexed question as to who the road had been named for, and now the question arose, why should it have been named for Roger Parke ? There seems to be but one plausible solution, and that is, that he was the pioneer who opened up this road to the white settlers and caused the name to be changed from the “path” of the red man, to the “road” of the pioneer.
Roger Parke resided near “Crosswicks* Creek,” a few miles east of Trenton in 1690, and about that time commenced his study of the Indian practice of medicine with the Indians at Wissamenson. To
do this, he probably made frequent pilgrimages over this path until it began to be known as “Rogers Road. ‘
A few years later when Doctor Parke made his home at Wissamenson, many of his Quaker neighbors of Cross wicks and the “Falls” (now Trenton) doubtless followed him for treatment, as they had been associated with him in the Friends meeting at Crosswicks and Chesterfield, before he settled” away up in the woods,” on the banks of Stony Brook. It is a well known custom of the Friends to which they still religiously adhere, to call people by their Christian names, consequently it was not “Mr. Parkes road,” but in speaking of it they would say, “this is Roger’s road,” or “the road to Roger’s.”
Doctor Parke was an influential member of the Society of Friends, and may have been a relative of the noted author and zealous Quaker preacher, Jas. Parke, who was born on the border of Wales in 1636, and was cotemporary with George Fox, the distinguished founder of the Society. The following record copied by the writer from an old record book of the “Friends meeting,” is in proof of his prominence in the church.
“2d 8th mo. 1684. Thos. Gilderthorpe, Roger Parke and Robert Wilson agreed that a week day meeting be held at the ffalls upon a fifth day of every week, (except that week the monthly meeting is at Francis Davenports) one day at Mahlon Stacy’s, one day at Thomas Lamberts and one day at Thos. Sykes.”
Pioneers of Old Hopewell – Number 32
In Liber B., Part i, Book of Deeds, on file in the office of the Secretary of State at Trenton, is found the record of a deed dated May 24-25, 1682, from Edward Bylinge to ” Roger Parke of Hexham, county of Northumberland, England, yeoman,” for 200 acres of land, to be laid out in “West Jersey.* ‘ On Nov 11, 1686, ” Roger Parke, late of Hexham, now of Crosswicks Creek,” sold the above tract to John Watkins, of Middlehook.
In 1875, the writer found in the possession of Misses Susan and Sarah Sexton, who were descendants of Doctor Parke, the original parchment deed from Anthony Woodhouse to Roger Parke of Crosswicks, dated the thirteenth day of the eleventh month, called January (old style) 1685, for “one two thirtieth of a Proprietary in the first ten Proprietaries, ,, the consideration being the sum of six pounds, sixteen shillings, current money of said Province. If this deed is still in possession of either of the above named sisters, it is the oldest known document of the kind in existence. The writer had a synopsis of this deed published in the Trenton State Gazette, in July, 1875.
In 1687, Roger Parke owned 200 acres near Crosswicks Creek, and served on the grand jury from that locality in 1688, and again in 1690, and was foreman of the grand jury in 1692, and in 1698 was one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas.
In Reveirs Book of Surveys, Liber A., Page 14, “Reversed side,” is found a record of the original survey of the Parke tract on Stony Brook, at Hopewell. It is dated April, 1697, and commences as follows, “Surveyed then for Roger Parke 400 acres on the north side of Stony Brook at Wissamenson.” This survey began at a white oak tree at the bend of the brook, a half mile north of the ford (now Moore’s mill at Glen Moore), from thence it ran west through the swamp, to a point north of the present location of the iron bridge, near C. E. Voorhees*. From this point the brook had a well defined channel, which was followed “up ye several courses thereof” to an elm tree standing on the north side of the brook above the slate quarry, on the farm of W. W. Kirkendall. Thence north to a point near the late residence ofWm. S. Stout, deceased, thence east to the northeast corner of the farm now owned by Amos Sked, thence south following his line and that of the E. S. Wells farm (formerly Samuel Ege’s) to the Stony Brook road near the old baryta mines, and thence to the place of beginning, * ‘containing 400 acres, besides allowance for ways.”
In May, 1697, Roger Parke had 100 acres surveyed for his daughter, Anne Parke, adjoining his tract on the east, which is fully described with a history of its subsequent owners, in number 17, and several of the succeeding articles of this series. On June 12, 1698, Roger Parke received his deed, and on August 9, 1698, Anne Parke hers, for the above tracts, and by subsequent and more accurate surveys, they were found to contain about 650 acres. On June 16; 1699, “John Parke of Parkesberry,” in the County of Burlington, purchased of Thomas Revell, agent for the West Jersey Society, 300 acres adjoining his father on the north. If his tract exceeded the number of acres specified in his deed as much in proportion as the tracts surveyed for his father and sister, the Parke family had fully 1000 acres lying in one body, between Stony Brook and the mountain (or “Rocks,” as the mountain was then known) bounded on the east by the road leading from the Stony Brook road at the mines, by way of Mr. Montag’s north to the old 30,000 acre line, near the southern boundary of the farm now owned by Zephaniah Hixson, and thence west to the road leading from Stony Brook to Runyan’s saw mill.
This north line of the 30,000 acre tract of Col. Daniel Coxe was subsequently changed, and all the deeds conformed to it, calling it Doctor Coxes’ s “true line,” and on and near this line was located the old driftway known for many years as the old “Bungtown road” leading to Coryell’s ferry — now Lambertville — which was in use until the old turnpike was opened up in 1820-21.
After the Parke family had located their lands, their next thought was to provide homes for their families, and in this it was the custom for the pioneers to assist each other. It seldom required more than two or three days to get a log cabin enclosed. As there were no saw mills, they selected a straight grained red, or black oak tree, from which they split boards and plank for roof, door and floor. The hinges and latches were all made of wood and the doors pinned together with wooden pins, not a handful of nails being used in building a house in those days. The windows were made of oiled paper or deer skin, dressed thin enough to admit the light. The fire-places were without jambs and stretched all the way across one side of the cabin and were made deep enough so that large logs could be piled in, and the family could all be accommodated with a seat at the fire.
Having built their houses and made a table, a bedstead and some benches for each, the pioneers next turned their attention to clearing a field large enough to raise some buckwheat, beans and potatoes. The largest trees were left standing and girdled by cutting a deep notch all around them, which stopped the flow of sap and killed them the first year, after which crops could be raised without the trouble and expense of removing them. Where the trees were very large and scattering the land could soon be made tillable in this manner, as there were no small trees or bushes near them, and in clearing the land of the smaller trees, they were cut down, dragged together and burned.
A portion of this land was devoted to raising flax, which the pioneer would need for garments by the time it could be grown and manufactured, as it all had to be spun, woven and made up on the farm. No wool could be produced by the pioneers for many years after their settlement, on account of the depredations of wolves, which were very numerous and troublesome. Wool for underwear, stockings and blankets Was brought on horseback from the older settled portion of the country, where wolves were less numerous or had been exterminated. The outer garments of the pioneer were principally from the flax grown on his farm, first spun and then dyed, with the barks of the trees grown on the farm, to any color desired, after which it was woven and made up by the mother and daughters of the household.
Next to flax, the most important crop the first year was buckwheat, as it could be quickly and easily grown and served as a substitute for bread, as well as feed for the few animals kept on the farm. The pioneer scratched over the ground the best he could with a knotty log, and harrowed in his buckwheat with a heavy brush, as the wooden tooth harrow could not be used until the roots and stumps had decayed.
His buckwheat was cut with the sickle as scythes were not in use until 1750, and when it was ready to thresh, a piece of ground was cleared off, a post placed in the centre, around which a team of horses were driven, until the ground was tramped very solid, when the grain was thrown on and repeatedly shaken up until the horses had threshed it. Fanning mills were not in use until about 1750 and the grain and chaff were heaped up and left until there was a good stiff beeeze, when it would be tossed up until cleaned, when it would be put in a bin built of rails and thatched over with straw. Here it would be left until needed, when it would be ready to be crushed with the ‘ ‘plumper* ‘ as described in Number 22, or loaded on the backs of his horses, and a trip made to mill, which in the case of the Parkes, was through the forest to the log mill of Mahlon Stacy, which stood on the bank of the Assanpink where it is now crossed by Broad Street, Trenton.
To scores of others, “going to mill” involved a journey of from fifty to one hundred miles or more and then the grain was only ground, not bolted, and the good wife was obliged to bolt it through a cloth of homespun before it was ready for the griddle. The first mills were erected on the small streams, on which dams could be built with small expense, and they were a great curiosity, being constructed by the pioneer. The wheels were all of wood, pinned together with wooden pins and some of these mills ground only five to ten bushels per day and were often unable to run on account of ice in winter and droughts in summer.
Very little corn was planted the first few years, as it could not be cultivated with the wooden plows then in use, on account of the stumps and roots, and cultivation with the hoe was very tedious and laborious work. Very little grain was grown for market for many years after the first settlement of the country, as the demand was very limited, the price very low and transporting it to a navigable stream, on the backs of pack horses, attended with great difficulty.
In later years, when corn became one of the staple products it was often all shelled by hand, before the big fireplace in the kitchen on the long winter evenings, with no other light than that from the blazing logs. The contrivance used for shelling was not patented and consisted of a wash tub (with the long handled frying pan run through the handles of the tub and held firmly in place with corn cobs. Two good men, one on each side of this “machine,” would keep a third man hustling to carry the corn in from the crib as fast as they could shell it. Thousands of bushels of corn were shelled in this manner, not only by the pioneers, but by the three or four generations succeeding them, for one hundred and forty years after the settlement of the country.
Within the writer’s memory a favorite method was to run the bayonet of an old musket through the top of a box, and it seems almost incredible that they were used in this manner until the middle of the steel bayonet was nearly or quite worn away in the service. The scriptural injunction of ancient times “beat your swords into plow shares and your spears into pruning hooks,” was exemplified in the peaceful triumph of the bayonet of modern times. Corn was also shelled off with horses or flails, within the memory of the writer, before the pigeon hole shelters came into general use or the larger shellers were invented.
The scriptural injunction to “beat the swords into plowshares” was not obeyed literally by our forefathers of colonial days, as their plows were very rude affairs constructed wholly of wood, the mold board being cut from a tough cross-grained white oak knot and often not a pound of iron used in its construction. In later years a small plate of iron was nailed to the point, to be used especially in stony land.
It must be remembered that no farmer at that time sowed a pint of grass seed, and never plowed a field that was in sod, consequently the wooden plows served a fair purpose to stir up the loose soil. The first wrought iron plow share was introduced in 1776, and long after that time the mold boards were plated with strips of iron, made from old horse shoes, hammered out very thin and nailed on. The proper shape for the mold board of a plow was suggested by Thomas Jefferson and the first cast iron plows were invented by a New Jersey farmer named Newbold, but their use did not become general until about the beginning of the last century on account of a prejudice existing against them.
Harvesting until after the revolution, was all done with the sickle, and when the grain cradle came in use farmers were as much delighted, as their grandchildren were with the self binding harvester.
At the time of Doctor Parke’s settlement on Stony Brook fruit growing was not yet in its infancy. Improved varieties of peaches, plums, pears and grapes were unknown, the only supply of grapes being those found growing wild in the woods and along fences and waste lands. Vegetables were abundant, but not in as great variety as at present. Tomatoes, sweet corn, lettuce, egg plant and celery were unknown, which in our day are considered almost inpensable. Farmers’ tables were bountifully supplied with ham, bacon and smoked meats, but fresh meats were rarely seen except during the winter season. Game was plentiful but the industrious farmer who had his farm to clear spent very little time in the chase.
While the Indians remained they were very serviceable in supplying the settlers with game, fish, skins and furs, which they disposed of in exchange for salt, tobacco, gunpowder and other articles, which all the first settlers kept on hand for barter. The skins and furs which were purchased for a trifle, often bringing them quite a revenue in the markets of New York or Philadelphia, a small bundle of furs that they could carry on horseback often bringing more ready cash than a crop of corn.
The first wagons of the settlers were constructed wholly of wood. The wheels were made with very heavy rims, all pinned together with wooden pins, the wooden tires being fastened on in the same manner. To build a wagon of the rudest description required time and skill, and as sleds were very simple in their construction, they were used extensively about the farm in summer as well as winter, as they were loaded lightly and the hauls were short. All the crops were either hauled together on the sled or carried. They were made entirely of wood, not a pound of iron being used, the shoes being pinned on with wooden pins and as they were made from hickory saplings split in half, they were hard and smooth and a considerable load could be hauled on the bare ground.
Surrounded as we are with the comforts, luxuries and conveniences of our twentieth century civilization, it is difficult to realize anything of the severe hardships and privations our colonial ancestors endured to establish a home in a wilderness, which they by their fortitude and indomitable courage, conquered, and left as a precious legacy to their descendants, who now occupy this beautiful valley.
Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North Carolina First Families of Jersey Settlement By Ethel Stroup
New Jersey historians wrote of Hopewell and Carolina historians wrote of Jersey Settlement. Nobody wrote about how, when and why North Carolina’s Jersey Settlement grew out of (and interacted with) its parent community, Hopewell, New Jersey, nor why so many of old Hopewell’s solid citizens fled to North Carolina. To satisfy her curiosity, the author mined facts with the help of librarians, genealogical societies in both places, and other descendants. Eventually, a story emerged of the Settlement’s origins: it was older than expected, and its first settlers were Hopewell citizens who migrated after being swindled by Proprietors and royal Governors, especially Dr. Daniel Coxe and his son Col. Daniel Coxe, two powerful and greedily villainous Proprietors, in “The Coxe Affair.”
What these Jersey men endured in Hopewell directly affected the Yadkin’s Revolutionary generation, explaining why Jersey Settlement had reacted so violently against N.C.’s corrupt Gov. William Tryon’s sticky-fingered royal officials, John Frohock, Rowan Court Clerk and Edmund Fanning, King’s Attorney, whose thievery and injustices caused the 1771 Regulator War (considered by historians the first true battle of the American Revolution), and caused Charles Lord Cornwallis to call central North Carolina “a hornet’s nest of rebellion.”
[The most heavily affected areas were said to be that of Rowan, Anson, Orange, Granville, and Cumberland counties. It was a struggle between mostly lower class citizens, who made up the majority of the population of North Carolina, and the wealthy ruling class, who comprised about 5% of the population, yet maintained almost total control of the government.
The primary aim of the Regulators was to form an honest government and reduce taxation. The wealthy businessmen/ politicians that ruled North Carolina at this point, saw this as a grave threat to their power. Ultimately they brought in militia to crush the rebellion, and then hanged their leaders. ]
The earliest families of Jersey Settlement came from Hopewell Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where some had been members of Pennington’s Presbyterian Church, and others were Quakers and Baptists who baptized their children in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church for practical, political reasons. The earliest families identified in Jersey Settlement c.1745 were those of Jonathan Hunt, Thomas and Rebecca (Anderson) Smith, Robert Heaton, and John Titus. Others from Hopewell, e.g., Cornelius Anderson, came in this first party or soon followed. They were founding this settlement so that they, and groups that followed, could recoup losses suffered when New Jersey’s Supreme Court invalidated deeds to thousands of acres in Hopewell, land their fathers had purchased as wilderness. To understand this amazing story of invalidated land titles, one must “begin at the beginning” with the founding of West Jersey’s Hopewell Township, followed by a slow build up to the surprising events that preceded this migration.
Hopewell’s first inhabitants were Lenapes, an Algonquin tribe who welcomed Europeans because they needed protection from other Indians. Their Hopewell villages were Wissamonson [Woodbridge] and Minnepenasson [Stoutsburg]. New Jersey’s first Europeans were Swedes and Dutch from New York and Pennsylvania.
In 1655 Peter Stuyvesant brought it under Dutch control with landowners called Proprietors, but the Dutch governed inhabitants. In March, 1664 England’s King Charles II — who did not own New Netherlands — gave it to his brother, James, Duke of York, and sent a fleet that easily seized it. The Duke of York then gave half of New Jersey to George, Lord Carteret, including the right to govern inhabitants on lands held. Thereafter, any wealthy man could be a Proprietor and govern residents, a land power system predestined for abuse of power for personal gain and disputes over land ownership. The colony developed as a Proprietary System, like a corporation, and London speculators dealt in “percentages of Proprietary Shares.”
In 1664, the British seized New Jersey, but, to avoid the expense of Indian wars, decreed that land be purchased before settlement, buying West Jersey for wampum, trinkets, a few bolts of cloth and two kettles. The Lenapes lived among Europeans on Stony Brook from the 1680’s to 1725, then moved west, declaring: “Not a drop of our blood have you shed in battle—not an acre of our land have you taken without our consent.”
In 1673 Lord Berkeley sold his shares to John Fenwicke and Edward Byllynge who planned a Quaker Refuge like Pennsylvania. In July 1676 the “Province Line” divided East and West Jersey, giving control to the Quakers who owned five-eighths. William Penn drafted a constitution. In 1677 ships brought 230 Quakers from Yorkshire and London who founded a settlement at Burlington. In late summer 1677, the Flie-Boate Martha of Burlington, Yorkshire, sailed from Hull bringing 114 passengers, including two heads of families, Thomas Schooley and Thomas Hooten, future residents of Hopewell.
On the “10th of the 8th month” (10 October 1678) the ship Shield, Daniel Towes, Captain, was the first to sail this far up the Delaware river. After mooring to a tree, passengers landed on the Jersey side, including George Parks [immigrant George Parks was perhaps brother to Hopewell’s Quaker Roger Parke, and perhaps related the later George Parks who arrived c1760 in Jersey Settlement], Peter and John Fretwell, Thomas Revell and wife, Robert Schooley, wife and children, and Thomas Potts, wife and children. [“Burlington Baptist Church was constituted in 1689 with eleven members. Thomas Potts (Sr., a tanner, & lot wife Mary; 2nd wife Anne) and a few others had been Baptists in England, and others converted after their arrival in America. It appears that some may have been Quakers who were influenced to become Baptists.”
Thomas Revell, “Gentleman”, a first Justice of the Peace, was appointed by a group of Proprietors as “Agent for the Honorable West Jersey Society in England” to survey and sell land and issue deeds. In November 1680, a Delaware river survey for John Hooten on NW side of Crosswick’s Creek (near Trenton). On January 20, 1681, Revel surveyed for Peter Fretwell “above the ffals of Dellaware” (Hopewell), and 200 acres for Andrew Smith “at the ffalls (Trenton).” Burlington County was divided into “Tenths”. 1682 officers: Thomas Revel, Provincial Clerk-Recorder; Daniel Leeds, Surveyor; Robert Schooley & John Pancoast, Constables, Yorkshire Tenth; Thomas Sharp, Constable, Third Tenth.
In 1685 a large shareholder, Dr. Daniel Coxe , “Ciregeon (surgeon) of London and Doctor in phisick,” entered the New Jersey action without leaving London. His political power was from being physician to the royal court, while his great wealth enabled him to buy extensive land shares. A ruthless, “bottom-line” speculator, Dr. Coxe aimed to maximize his power and profits by any conceivable method. He began a series of acquisitions and manipulations, writing the Council of Proprietors: “It would be for your good — to contrive any method thereby the government might legally … be involved with the Proprietors.”
By 1685, as largest share-holder, he declared, “The government of West Jersey is legally in me as full as Pennsylvania is in Penn … I therefore assume the title of Governor, and lay claim to the powers and authority therein annexed…” For several years he governed from London.
The first white man in Hopewell was Jonathan Stout who in 1685 explored the wilderness from his parent’s home in Middletown, lived several years at Wissamonson with the Indians, then returned home.
On March 30, 1688, Adlord Bowle, agent for “Daniell Coxe, Esqr., Governor & Cheife Proprietor” of West Jersey, met with eleven Indian Chiefs who sold their rights to a huge tract of land that included Hopewell, Ewing and north Trenton for hatchets, knives, needles, tobacco, rum, beer, kettles, 30 guns, shot and lead. With land sales now legal, Dr. Coxe directed his agents to subdivide and sell to settlers. In May 1688 Andrew Smith, Sr., “yeoman,” bought 200 acres, but not from Coxe’s agents, but from Cornelius Empson of Pa., “in what is called Hopewell,” a tract later occupied by his son Thomas Smith (a pioneer of Jersey Settlement).
In 1688 the Council of Proprietors accepted the plan of Dr. Coxe, an Anglican, to disenfranchise the Quakers whose rights came from a deceased Proprietor: “All the deeds granted Edward Byllinge … shall be adjudged and esteemed insufficient for the commission to grant warrants upon.” The Council left land records in the hands of Thomas Revel. (At this point, Coxe and Revel were not at odds.)
On December 4, 1689, Hopewell was surveyed for Dr. Daniel Coxe who bought it estimated as “28,000 acres of wilderness inhabited by wild beasts and Indians.” Then, apparently temporarily short of cash, in 1691 he sold part of his holdings: For a valuable consideration Dr. Daniel Coxe of London, Esquire, Governor and Cheife Proprietor of the Province of West Jersey transfers the right of government and some of his land holdings in the Colony— (to a company of businessmen)… the West Jersey Society of England. This first agreement excepted the Hopewell tract, but between 1692 and 1694 Coxe made a second agreement transferring it to the West Jersey Society — which failed to execute a deed. The Society and Agent Revel continued selling land and developing the area. The West Jersey Society distributed fliers on the north-east seaboard advertising “Fertile Land for Sale Cheap,” offering to residents in New England and in older New Jersey communities cheap land “lying above ye ffals of ye Delaware” (Hopewell) with inducements to buy farms by cash or mortgages.
In 1690 Roger Parke, an English immigrant, lived in a Quaker settlement on Crosswick’s Creek, but he traveled so often to Wissamonson to study medicine under old Indian squaws and medicine men that his path was called “Roger’s Road.” About 1700 he moved his family to Hopewell as its first white settlers.
Surveys preceded settlement, and Hopewell’s first farm was surveyed on February 27, 1696 by Revell for Thomas Tindall, but not occupied until c. 1706 by his son-in-law John Pullen, of Huguenot ancestry.
Some of Roger Parke’s Quaker neighbors from Crosswick’s settled south of him in Hopewell. [Land records: 1686: Jonathan Eldridge; 1688: Dr. John Houghton of Gloucester, 1693: John Wilsford; 1694: Widow Mary Stanisland; 1695: John Bryerley, Capt. Moses Petit & Benjamin Clark. A 1696 survey showed that Parke’s Stony Brook tract adjoined land owned by John Moore, George Hutchinson, Sam Bunting and Marmaduke Houseman. Surveys, 1696: Edward Hunt 200 acres in the Society’s 30,000 acre tract; 1697: Andrew Smith for Thomas Smith, next to Roger Parke 1698: John Gilbert, weaver, James Melvin near Thomas Stevenson, Nathaniel Pope, Edward Burroughs and George Woolsey].
The February 1699 Burlington County Court received a “Petition of some inhabitants above the ffalls for a new township to be called Hopewell, as also a new road and boundaries of Said town…” The Township’s location was described c. 1770: Hopewell is situated 40 miles S.W. of Philadelphia, bounded on the East by the Province line, West by the Delaware River, on the North by Amwell Twp., and on the South by Assunpink Creek, and included the Indian village of Wissamensen at the head of Stony Brook, some miles north of the falls of the Delaware.
About 1700/01, a fateful marriage occurred when John Parke [Roger’s son] married Thomas Smith’s sister Sarah. (These two brothers-in-law, Smith and Parke, later acted together in open rebellion during “The Coxe Affair”, fled together, and both families would be early pioneers of Jersey Settlement.)
In 1701 Dr. Daniel Coxe, as physician to the Royal Household, learned that New York (and New Jersey) was about to become a Royal Colony — and that the West Jersey Society had not registered his transfer of the Hopewell tract to them. Using this inside information, in 1702 Dr. Coxe gave Hopewell to his son: “Dr. Daniel Coxe of London Doctor in Phisiq” (conveyed his… tracts and proprietary rights to) “Daniel Coxe of London, Gentleman Son and heir apparent of the said Daniell Coxe Doctor in Phisics.
Many new settlers came to Hopewell between 1686 and 1710.
In 1702 the political event that Dr. Coxe anticipated occurred: the Jersey Proprietors relinquished their rights of government to the Crown, Queen Anne was on the throne, Dr. Coxe was her private physician — and the new Governor coming from London was the Queen’s first cousin, Dr. Coxe’s good friend, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury — accompanied to America by Dr. Coxe’s son, Col. Daniel Coxe. Together they composed the Cornbury Ring, which quickly became infamous for abusing government authority for personal profit. Both the Ring and the Proprietors fought to control land sales because whoever did also controlled the government — and had a handsome income. As governor, Lord Cornbury changed the political climate, being allied with the Coxes against the West Jersey Society over ownership of large tracts of land, one of which included Hopewell Township.
In 1706, Lord Cornbury and his Council (the upper House of Legislature, of which Col. Daniel Coxe was a member) launched an attack on the proprietary faction, challenging their authority over the land system. They also alleged that the West Jersey Society lacked any title, that being Col. Coxe’s position, taking advantage of the Society’s failure to register his transfer (for a consideration) to them of the Hopewell tract c. 1692/3.
Like so many of the early British governors in the colonies, Lord Cornbury, of New York and New Jersey, was notorious for his greed and incompetence. But Cornbury had an added claim to fame. (Lord Cornbury’s) great insanity was dressing himself as a woman. Lord Orford says that when Governor in America (Cornbury) opened the Assembly dressed in that fashion. When some of those about him remonstrated, his reply was, “You are very stupid not to see the propriety of it. In this place and particularly on this occasion, I represent a woman (Queen Anne) and ought in all respects to represent her as faithfully as I can.” Mr. William says his father has told him that he had done business with him (Lord Cornbury) in woman’s clothes. He used to sit at the open window so dressed, to the great amusement of the neighbors. He employed always the most fashionable milliner, shoemaker, stay maker, etc. Mr. Williams has seen a picture of him at Herbert Packington’s in Worcester, in a gown, stays, tucker, long ruffles, cap, etc. He was a large man, wore a hoop and a headdress, and with a fan in his hand was seen frequently at night upon the ramparts…. [Richard Zachs, History Laid Bare, (Harper Collins, 1994), p 209].
This first cousin to Queen Anne, Governor of New York and New Jersey from 1702 to 1708, had his portrait painted wearing a ball gown and five o’clock shadow. (It now hangs in the New York Historical Society). [Newsweek magazine, issue of May 23, 1994;
With New York a Royal Colony, the Anglican church became (as in England) entwined with all aspects of the civil government, with authority over many aspects of daily life, e. g., the only legal marriages were performed by Anglican ministers, with children from marriages performed by other clergymen considered illegitimate. An Episcopal priest was sent to Burlington County to establish- “Hopewell Chappel Church” (St. Mary ‘s Episcopal, Ewing.) A year before the cornerstone was laid (March 25, 1703) some Hopewell residents who were Quakers and Baptists rushed down to Ewing to have their adult children baptized as Anglicans to protect their inheritance rights.
Baptized February 28, 1702 by Rev. Mr. John Talbot: John and Roger Parke, ye children of Rogr. Parke.Thomas, Andrew, Elizabeth, Mary and Hannah Smith, the children of Andrew Smith. William Scholey (son) of Robt. Scholey. By now, settlers had cleared land, built cabins and barns, widened paths, and established a ferry to connect with the Philadelphia road where many went to shop or to church so that the Jersey wilderness was becoming a productive, English style, rural community of isolated farms joined by lanes and a few wagon roads. In 1707 Col. Coxe acted to reclaim the Hopewell tract he had conveyed to the West Jersey Society by persuading the Cornbury Ring to make a new survey of the Hopewell tract in his name. Then, in 1708 the Coxes had a major setback: the Crown removed Lord Cornbury as Governor because of the turmoil caused by his obvious corruption.
The new Governor supported the Proprietors, Col. Coxe was removed from Council and Assembly, and soon found the political climate so hostile that he returned to England. With him in disfavor, the West Jersey Society maintained its claim to the Hopewell tract without dispute. About 1708, the area around Penny Town received an influx of Presbyterians from Newton
In 1713 Hopewell Township was removed from old Burlington County, and became part of newly formed Hunterdon County. In 1714 John Reading and William Greene were first assessors. Deeds were issued c1709/10 for other parts of Hopewell Township. In its north area, Baptists and Quakers from Burlington had farms around Stoutsburg and Columbia (a village today called “Hopewell“).
With marriages performed by Baptist and Quaker clergy still not legal whenever the government favored Royalists, parents with nonconformist tenets continued having their offspring baptized as Anglicans to insure their inheritance rights. For example The era being Royalist, baptized May 11, 1712 at St. Mary’s Episcopal: Margaret daughter of William Merrail); George son of John Park.
In 1715 Dr. Coxe and Thomas Revel both died. Thomas Revel’s Book of Deeds passed to son and heir, Col. Daniel Coxe. The West Jersey Society assigned a new agent to make sales, collect mortgage payments, and keep land records. In 1719 Trenton Township was formed from old south Hopewell. By now, the political climate having swung far enough back to the Royalists for Col. Daniel Coxe to return from his self imposed exile in England, a wealthy and powerfully connected man who built a mansion in Trenton.
When a 1720’s land boom increased profits, he tried to reclaim ownership of huge tracts, including Hopewell. In this period, both Coxe and the West Jersey Society sold land in the township. In 1720 the Presbyterians built a stone school at Pennington. In 1721 the Township had enough freemen to begin its first Book of Records, listing Cornelius Anderson’s mill on Jacob’s Creek .
The 1722 Hopewell Tax List listed Robert Eaton as keeper of a general store near the “Old Quaker Church” on Stony Brook just west of Princeton. In 1722 a Hunterdon County Tax Roll was made for five Townships, including Hopewell, and nearby areas such as Ewing, Lawrence and Trenton.
About 1723 the Presbyterians build a cedar shingled meetinghouse near their school at Pennington crossroads. In 1725 Enoch Armitage, now a successful blacksmith, ruling elder and lay minister at Pennington’s Presbyterian church, wrote home to Yorkshire: The produce we raise is Wheat and Rhye, Oats, Indian Corn & Flax … some Hemp … Tobacco only for our own use. The land nigh the brook affords as good Meadow I think as ever I saw in England …. we can mow twice a year without tillage and have good crops … there is a Mill built on the next Plantation, and we are going to build a Chapell about a mile off….
In 1731, calamity befell these honest and hard working settlers when “Col. Coxe and other heirs of the late Dr. Coxe” declared that most of Hopewell belonged to them, a claim without an honest basis, e.g., improper surveys or failure to pay — but the West Jersey Society lacked a court record proving Dr. Coxe’s transfer to them. His heir, Col. Coxe, had enough political clout to induce Hunterdon’s Supreme Court to order High Sheriff Bennett Bard to serve perhaps a hundred or more Hopewell residents with Writs ordering them to “Pay” for their land a second time or “Quit.” Those who failed to repurchase their own farms then received “Writs of Ejectment” which called them “Tenants” and “Tresspassers” on Coxe’s land!
On April 22, 1731, in an impressive show of unity, fifty of the earliest settlers of Hopewell entered into a written agreement and solemn compact to stand by each other and test the validity of Col. Coxe’s claim. They hired an attorney, Mr. Kinsey, and filed a counter suit naming Col. Daniel Coxe as sole defendant. The Township had more people, but some were not affected, having purchased from Coxe. Others considered it useless to fight a man as powerful as Col. Coxe , so did not join in the law suit.
The August 1732 term of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued Writs of Trespass & Ejectment against each settler who had not repurchased. The fifty men who sued were identified from their individual records The Coxe Trials, 1733, Fifty Men’s Compact Bartholomew Anderson Elnathan Baldwin Robt. Blackwell John Blair Nehemiah Bonham Wm. Cornell William Crickfield Thom. Curtis Benjamin Drake Thomas Evans John Everitt John Fidler John Field Jonathan Furmar Daniel Gano Francis Gano John Hendrickson Isaac Herrin Tom Hinder John Hixon John Houghton Jos. Houghton Tom Houghton John Hunt Ralph Hunt Jacob Knowles David Larue James Melvin Benjamin Merrell John Merrill Andrew Mershon Nathaniel Moore Henry Oxley Andrew Parke, John Parke, Jr. Joseph Parke Roger PARKE, Sr. Roger PARKE, Jr. John Parks Joseph Price John Reed Thomas Reed Ralph Smith Richard Smith Thomas Smith Jonathan Stout Joseph Stout Ephraim Titus John Titus George Woolsey
Hopewell was not the only tract affected. A group of citizens in Gloucester County hired a lawyer, Mr. Evans, and also filed a counter-suit. Unaffected communities were distressed that the Royal government abetted deed revocations, anxieties that encouraged later migrations from Hunterdon, Gloucester and Essex Counties.
Still, the most violent reaction came in Hopewell where citizens actively resented the political maneuverings behind Col. Coxe’s claims to ownership. After a long and tedious trial at Burlington by Judge Hooper and a panel of twelve Quaker jurors, the verdict was against the West Jersey Society and the Fifty Mens Compact.
Mr. Kinsey then appealed to New Jersey’s leading judicial officer, Chancellor William Cosby, who in December 1734 issued a judgment upholding the decision against the Society and Compact. Unfortunately, Mr. Cosby’s ruling was based less on the legal strength of Col. Coxe’s claim than on personal hatred of his arch-enemy, Lewis Morris, who after the death of Thomas Revel became primary Agent of the West Jersey Society.
No higher appeal was possible because Col. Coxe was Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a post he held till his death five years later.
The settlers had three choices: pay, remove, or resist. Historian Ralph Ege (born in Hopewell in 1837) wrote about the great dilemma: This verdict caused the most distressing state of affairs in this township that was ever experienced in any community. Some moved away immediately, but the majority stayed, at least initially, and assumed the financial burden. Cattle and personal possessions were sold, and a great struggle began which impoverished many families for years to come.
Then came the great excitement incident to ejecting the settlers from the farms which they, or their fathers had purchased, and on which they had built dwellings, barns and fences. Their lands had cost them only fifty cents per acre, it is true, but they had purchased them in good faith and spent the best years of their lives in clearing them. Many had mortgaged them to pay for the expense of improvement consequently not being able to incur the additional expense, they were compelled to leave their homes and seek new homes elsewhere, risking for the second, and for some of them the third time, the perils of the wilderness. Many, including most of the Parke family, refused to pay for the same lands twice and left the area in the early stages of a great out-migration, generally moving westward where new lands were being opened on the Virginia frontier. Some who were unable or unwilling to repurchase, stubbornly refused to vacate their homes — and were charged rent as “Tenants” — rent they could or would not pay, and rent defaults created still more debts.
The various resistance efforts would fill the colony’s court dockets for years to come.
At the August 1735 term of Hunterdon County’s Superior Court, Mr. Murray, Attorney for the Coxe heirs, reported: Several persons of Hopewell had, in a riotous and outrageous and violent manner, and by night assaulted ye persons who by virtue of his Majesties’ writ, were by the Sheriff of Hunterdon County put into possession of the several houses and plantations of the persons named in the complaint.
In 1738 Sheriff Bard was ordered to take George Woolsey into custody to insure his court appearance. In the next few years, some stayed in Hopewell, but others followed Smith and Parke west after selling their improvements to newcomers from Long Island and elsewhere for barely enough to make a new start.
Between 1731 and 1760 about half of the families of Hopewell’s “Fifty Men’s Compact” moved where land was cheaper and the government more trustworthy. A popular destination was the upper Shenandoah Valley where the first settlement was started in 1730 when guide Morgan Bryan led a group of Quakers walking from Pennsylvania to the upper Potomac. He settled his own family on Opequon Creek, an area that in 1738 become Frederick County, Virginia.
About 1732 another guide, Jost Hite, opened the first wagon road as far as Winchester, settling his group of Pennsylvania Germans on a different stretch of Opequon Creek. Comparison of records for early settlers in the upper Valley shows many with surnames identical to those in New Jersey’s “Coxe Affair” including the two opportunistic yeoman, Duncan O’Quillon and John Collier, who after being beaten, tarred and feathered, realized they were not welcome in Hopewell. The greatest concentration of New Jersey migrants was along Back Creek (the next creek west of Opequon) in a small, mountain community where a peak was fortuitously named by its early settlers “Jersey Mountain.”
By May 1741, Bladen County issued deeds on the Great Peedee (Yadkin). It was no accident that the Hopewell group chose its north bank to found their “Jersey Settlement,” an area described as: “Ten square miles of the best wheat land in the south, located in (modern) Davidson County, near Linwood. It was composed of many people from New Jersey who had sent an agent there to locate and enter the best land still open to settlement.”
A great attraction for these victims of political corruption was that in 1745 North Carolina was exceptionally well governed. Gov. Gabriel Johnston was an honest, capable Scottish physician and professor who on arrival found the colony in pitiable condition, and tried earnestly to better its welfare. About 1745, the New Jersey group (perhaps a dozen or more families) left Back Creek in a wagon train bound for the Yadkin.
Based on events after arrival, their leaders were probably Jonathan Hunt and Thomas Smith, but they were almost surely guided by the famous “Waggoneer” and explorer, Morgan Bryan who guided other groups to this general area, and in 1748 brought his own family from the Opequon to form Morgan’s Settlement on the south bank of Deep Creek, four miles above the “Shallow Ford” of the Yadkin.
So began the River Settlements, best reached from the north via an old Indian warpath, widened and renamed The Yading Path. About 1745/6 Thomas Smith received land on Swearing Creek, but his Bladen deed is missing. At age 71, on September 29, 1748, Smith was at Newburn with men from other western communities, petitioning the North Carolina Assembly to form Anson County, because they had to travel over a hundred miles to Bladen court house. The next day, September 30, 1748, he was appointed Justice of the Peace for Bladen, –and under Colonial N.C. law, only landowners could be Justices of the Peace.
On November 5, 1748, a survey was made on Swearing Creek for Robert Heaton adjoining Thomas Smith; chain bearers: John Titus and Jonathan Hunt. These men are the first four landowners identified in Jersey Settlement. More than four men were needed in a frontier settlement, so it’s likely others came in this first group, young men from Back Creek (not necessarily Hopewell) who were unable to buy land at first, but, being needed, lived with friends or kinsmen. Perhaps some did buy land on arrival, their Bladen deeds missing, like Smith’s. John Titus, Jr. (1748 Swearing Creek chain bearer for Heaton), after losing his Hopewell land, joined his wife’s uncle, Thomas Smith, on Back Creek before moving with him to the Yadkin.
In 1753, 348 persons signed a new petition, this one being to separate from Anson County, resulting in the formation of Rowan, of which Henry Reeves wrote: At the time of the formation of Rowan County in 1753, two of the Yadkin settlers, Col. George Smith and Jonathan Hunt, were important enough that the Assembly would not approve the bill for the formation of Rowan County until the names of George Smith Col., and Jonathan Hunt, Capt. were re-inserted. Their names had been in the original bill for formation, but had been deleted and other names substituted by his Majesty’s Council. Early Jersey Church served Episcopalians, Baptists and Presbyterians, with later sermons, marriages and baptisms performed by visiting preachers, including Moravians, and catechism lessons by Lutheran Rev. David Henkel.
Comparison of Settlements Hopewell, New Jersey Fifty Men’s Pact 1734 Jersey Settlement Rowan Co., NC Anderson, Bartholomew Anderson, Cornelius (nephew) 1749 J. P., Anson Co. Baldwin, Elnathan Baldwin, John & Wm. 1753 Rowan deeds. Blair, John Blair, John, d. 1746 Mulberry Run, Frederick, Va leaving orphan John. Blair, John (Jr.) 1765 Rowan sale Drake, Benj. Drake, Benj. 1753 Rowan deed, stockmark. Evans, Thomas Evans, Thomas 1747 Rowan Trading Ford Everitt, John Everitt, John 1778 Rowan poll Gano, Daniel & Francis Gano, Rev. John (s/o Daniel), 1770 deed. Hendrickson, John Hendrickson, John 1786 Rowan witness Houghton, John Houghton, Henry 1753 Rowan deed Hunt, John Hunt, Jonathan s/o John, 1748 chain bearer Hunt, Ralph Hunt, Wm. & Thos. 1759 Rowan Tax List Mayberry, Thomas Mabery, Francis 1768 Rowan Tax List Mr. Mayberry, 1771 Regulator Merrill, Benjamin Merrill, John Benjamin Merrill (son of Wm., Jr. nephew of older Benj. & John) 1771 Regulator Moore, Nathaniel Moore, Nathaniel 1778 Rowan Tax List Palmer, John Palmer, J. 1755 Rowan deed witness Palmer, Thos. Palmer, Francis Parke [1753 Rowan deed] , Andrew P—-, John Parke [1759 Rowan Tax List] , John Parke, George & Noah Parke [1759 Rowan Tax], Joseph Parke, Joseph Parke ,[ s/o Hugh, 1781 Rowan will.] Roger Smith, Ralph Smith, Ralph 1761 Rowan Smith, Richard Smith, Richard 1763 Rowan deed Smith, Thomas Smith, Thomas 1748 deed Stout, Joseph Stout, William b. ca 1790 Stout, Jonathan 1822 Rowan Titus, John Titus, John 1748 chain bearer. Note: Identical names in two locations do not prove they are the same individuals. Thomas Evans of the Fifty Mens’ Compact, may be same man as (or father of) Thomas Evans of Rowan’s Trading Ford.
Thomas Smith who rebelled so strongly in Hopewell that he became fugitive, died at his home on Swearing Creek. His widow, Rebecca, many years his junior, lived to see more wagon trains arrive, some with neighbors and kin from Hopewell, including the Baptist Stouts, Eatons and Merrells. She was there c1752 when a huge wagon train brought several hundred people, including most of the congregation of Scotch Plains Baptist Church from Essex County, New Jersey.
In 1755, a wagon train arrived with Quakers from Pennsylvania, followed in the 1760’s by many Germans from Pennsylvania and west Maryland. As a widow, Rebecca (Anderson) Smith, lived with a married daughter, dying at age 86, August 13, 1785, and was buried at Eaton’s Baptist Church. The first pioneers kept in touch with New Jersey, e.g., death in Rowan was entered in a Hopewell Bible, and they invited others from Hopewell and Back Creek to join them in the beautiful valley of the Yadkin, an invitation many accepted. Some who had not sued in the Fifty Mens’ Compact lost their land, and came to rebuild their fortunes. At least 22 of the 50 families who lost both lawsuit and land in the infamous “Coxe Affair ” eventually moved to Jersey Settlement.
1. John Parke
John’s first wife Sarah Smith was born 28 Nov 1675 in Burton Bank, Monk Bretton, West Riding, Yorkshire, England. Her parents were Andrew Smith (1650 – 1704) and Sarah Foster (1653 – 1689). She may have been the daughter of Andrew’s second wife Olive Pitt who was the mother of all Andrew’s other children. Sarah died before Nov 1756 in Hampshire Co., Virginia Colony [estab. 1754]
Andrew Smith is listed in 1688, the year in which he first bought land in Huntingdon as “a professional surveyor” He had undoubtedly surveyed the large Parke tract of land at Hopewell, which is said to have been given that name by Andrew.
The Parke family and Andrew Smith, Senior, were both Quakers, but there being no church of their faith nearer than Stony Brook, near Princeton, they all contributed toward the support of the Presbyterian church at Pennington. John Parke was one of the first constables of Hopewell Township in 1705, and served as juror in 1706. In 1721 he served on the Grand Jury with his brother, Roger Parke, Jr., James Stout of Amwell, and David and Freegift Stout of Hopewell.
In 1733, John and his brothers-in-law Thomas Smith acted together in open rebellion during “The Coxe Affair”, fled together, and both families would be early pioneers of Jersey Settlement in Rowan County, North Carolina.
John is believed to have died in 1757 at about the same time as his sons, John Jr and George.” This was “during the French & Indian War that ravaged the pioneer western settlements. Some say he was killed by Indians and his body propped up on a post for all to see. He was certainly deceased before 1762 when his grandson, John son of John Jr. tried unsuccessfully to inherit the 400 acre grant of John Park Sr. assigned to his son George.”
1733 – John Park Sr & Jr appear on the list of 50 names of settlers there who were protesting the election notices served on them by Daniel Cox, who had been granted 30,000 acres in that area. After more than 30 years spent improving their land and building homes, they were forcibly ejected and their land resold by Daniel Cox.
John and his brother-in-law Thomas Smith were community leaders, aged 58 and 60, perhaps able to repurchase had they wished, but they (and others) were so angry they no longer wished to live where the government was so corrupt that its Assembly and Supreme Court had aided and abetted Col. Coxe in what they considered to be a monstrous land swindle against honest citizens whose families were the earliest settlers of the Township.
Not only did Parke and Smith refuse to pay for their land a second time, they refused to vacate until forcibly evicted by Sheriff Bennett Bard — who then rented their homesteads to two yeoman named O’Guillon and Collier. This so enraged Parke and Smith that in July 1735 they took their revenge, in the traditional manner of the citizens of Old England who over the centuries had developed ways to express contempt whenever there was no legal recourse: a dishonest official was “Hanged in Effigy,” and a man whose actions the community considered despicable was “Tarred and Feathered.”
Since the perpetrators of this “land grab,” Col. Daniel Coxe, Judge Hooper, Sheriff Bard, Gov. William Cosby and lawyer Murray, were out of their victims reach, Thomas Smith and John Parke made a different plan — but before taking action, sent their families to safety, probably across the river to Bucks County, Pa. In the dead of a July night, Smith and Parke and ten or more friends, slipped into the woods behind the homes where they had grown up, prepared a vat of melted tar and a barrel of chicken and turkey feathers, then broke into their former homes and took a “Tar and Feather” revenge on the interlopers who occupied them!
These acts were considerably more than mere personal revenge: “Tar and Feathers” showed utter contempt for Coxe’s dishonest officials. Tar was almost impossible to remove, so it publicly shamed the two who sought to gain from injustice, while burning their former homes and barns reduced profits to Col. Coxe. Their rebellion finished, Parke and Smith escaped across the Delaware, and their “ten or more friends” went back to their Hopewell homes, perhaps to toast the night’s lively events in good English ale. Public sympathy was surely with these rebels because, in spite of great desperation in the community for money and common knowledge of the identities of the dozen or more perpetrators, nobody ever came forward to claim the large reward. These rebellious acts generated the expected response from the royal officials they had very deliberately insulted.
A proclamation by William Crosby, Captain General and Governour in Chief of the Provinces of New-Jersey, New York and Territories thereon Depending, in America….&c., was published in The American Weekly Mercury, Aug. 21- 28,1735:
Whereas I have received information upon Oath that one Duncan O’Guillon and one John Collier were, on the second day of July past, severally put into the Possession of Dwelling houses and Plantations lately in the Possession of John Parks and Thomas Smith, late of Hopewell in the County of Hunterdon, by Daniel Coxe, Esqr., who then had possession of the said dwelling Houses and Plantations, delivered unto him by Bennet Bard Esq., High Sheriff of the said Court of Huntington by Virtue of a Writ of Possession to the Sheriff, directed and issueing out of the Supream [sic] Court of this Province of New Jersey.
And that in the night between the Thursday and Friday following, divers Persons unknown, to the number of Twelve or more, being all disguised, having their Faces besmear’d with Blacking and armed with Clubs and Sticks in their Hands Did in an Insolent, Violent and Riotous Manner break into and enter the respective Dwelling Houses and did Assault, Beat and Wound the said Duncan OGuillon and John Collier and other Persons then in the said several Dwelling Houses; and then did with Force & Arms violently move and turn out of possession, Cursing, Swearing and threatening in the most outrageous manner, that they would Kill and Murder the said Daniel Coxe, Esq. in Defiance of all Law and Government.
To the End thereof that the said audacious Offenders may be brought to condign Punishment. I Have thought fit by and with the Advice of his Majesty’s Council, to issue this Proclamation, hereby promising his Majesty’s most Gracious Pardon, to any one of the said Offenders who shall discover one or more of their Accomplices so that he or they may be brought to condign Punishment.
And as a further Encouragement to and all of the said Offenders any one who shall discover one or more of their Accomplices … so that he or they may be brought to condign Punishment one who shall detect so unparallel’d and insolent an Outrage, I do hereby promise to Pay to the Discovered the Sum of Thirty Pounds Proclamation Money within one Month after any or either of the said Offenders shall by his Means by convicted of the said Offence.
Given under my Hand and Seal at Arms, at Perth – Amboy, the Twenty Second day of August, in the Ninth Year of his Majesty’s Reign. Annoque Domini, 1735. By his Excellency’s Command, Lawr. Smyth, D. Secr. W. Cosby GOD SAVE THE KING
Smith and Parke did not wait for High Sheriff Bennet Bard to pursue nor for Governor Cosby to declare them outlaws. Before dawn, they had crossed the Delaware river, and were safely beyond the reach of New Jersey’s royal officials. Two years after receiving eviction notices, some in Hopewell who had not paid for their land a second time nor paid “rent” on their own homes, fled to avoid being thrown into Debtor’s Prison and having their personal property seized.
ESCAPED FOR DEBT: Thomas Palmer, William Hixon, James Tatham, Benjamin Merrill, John Palmer, Ralph Parke, Jr., James Gould, Joseph Parke, Albert Opdyke, Hezekiah Bonham, Thomas Mayberry.
John fled Hopewell NJ in 1735 after the “Coxe incident” along with his brother-in-law Thomas Smith and Bartholemew Anderson to Frederick Co. VA which later became Hampshire Co. VA then WV. His family went with him including his son John Parke II – it was the children of John II including George Parke who were the Parkes who wound up in the Jersey Settlement in Rowan Co. (now Davidson Co. ) NC about 1757 and later.
Since John Parke and Thomas Smith had fled from Hopewell in 1735 without benefit of land sales, carrying only their personal possessions, it’s unlikely either was able to buy land on arrival in the Shenandoah Valley. Unfortunately, the same high elevation and steep slopes that made this mountain area a safe haven for refugees beyond the reach of royal law, also made farming difficult, beyond a mere subsistence level. After living several years in these beautiful mountains, many ambitious men began looking elsewhere. Furthermore, the upper Valley was no longer a safe haven. Indian raids and war threats necessitated the construction of frontier forts and the conscription of militia. Parke and Smith were now elderly, their kinsmen middle aged, and, in view of their New Jersey experiences, they were not interested in a new migration that made them “squatters,” their reasons for another move being to find a peaceful area with fertile soil, moderate climate, good government and secure land titles.
John Parke (who fled Hopewell with Thomas Smith) is believed to be the John Park who died in the upper Valley and father of George Parks who had deeds on Back Creek and Rowan. April 13, 1751, Thomas Sharp to George Parks 143 acres on Back Creek, Frederick Co., Va. Dec. 20, 1760, “George Park of Rowan County, N.C.” 143 acres on Back Creek to Thomas Sharp of Frederick Co.
John’s son Andrew Parke b 11 Nov 1709 Hopewell,NJ; d 15 Apr 1750 Hampshire Co.,VA; m Rachel Moseley b.
John’s son John Park, Jr. was born 11 Feb 1711 in Hopewell Twp, Burlington Co., New Jersey Colony. John Jr died 14 Sep 1758 in the Battle of Fort Duquesne. Fort Duquesne, Alle-Kiski Valley, Pennsylvania Province. Also called Grant’s Hill. The next year, near the Ohio Valley ruins of Ft. Duquesne, Fort Pitt was built, named for the supportive Prime Minister William Pitt, and the nearby settlement was named ‘Pittsburg’.
2. Anne Parke
Anne’s husband William Morrell was born in 1686 in Middletown, New Jersey. William’s brother Joseph married Anne’s niece Anne (See Roger PARKE Jr’s page) Their parents were William Merrill (1650 – 1723) and Grace Stout. After Ann died around 1728, he married in 1729 in Hopewell to Penelope Stout (1700 – 1776). She was the grand-daughter of Richard Stout and Penelope Van Princes. Her first marriage was to Thomas Jewell, who died in 1727. William died 25 Jun 1739 in Hopewell after being struck by lightning at Sheriff Hunlake’s door at Burlington.
William Merrill, Jr. was by trade a cooper. He and Anne settled on the tract purchased for her by her father in 1697. In 1722 he paid taxes for 130 acres, and in the survey of the road from Stoutsburg to Marshall’s Corner in 1723, the line passes his farm before it reaches Stony Brook.
A small band of the Lenni Lenape, occupied the 100 acre tract Roger it at intervals and whenever it suited their convenience to do so, for several years after the Parke family occupied the tracts on the west and north. Their wigwams occupied the vacant land not included in the Annie Parke purchase, and they lived on the most friendly terms with the Parke family.
William died intestate (as he was not expecting to be hit be lightning) His wife Penelope was apparently not thrilled with the financial state of his affairs. She refused to administer his will, stating:
” I am informed by my brother Benj’n Stout that you desire me to take an inventory of ye estate of Will’m Merrill deceased – which I do refuse to do or concern myself about that Estate which will only be a profitless trouble for me which I am not able to undergo…”.
She married for the third time to Isaac Herrin, who left her a three-time widow in 1756. She lived on in Hopewell until she died at age 74 on July 11, 1776.
Anne and William had four children named William Merrill (1700), Ann Merrill (1707), Margaret (1711) and Rachel (1715). Ann married David Stout and Rachel married John Stout.
William and Penelope had five children: William (1729), Benjamin (1730), Thomas (1732), Penelope Rachel (1734), and Ann (1735). William and Benjamin would relocate to North Carolina as part of the land controversy explained above, while the other children remained in New Jersey.
3. Roger PARKE Jr. (See his page)
http://griffin-lanning.com/lanning/Lanning8.pdf Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North CarolinaFirst Families of Jersey Settlement By Ethel Stroupe
http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/mckstmerjersey.htm 1996 (Reprinted by permission of the author from vol. 11, no. 1, February 1996, Rowan County Register, PO Box 1948, Salisbury, NC 28145))Ms. Ethel Stroupe,