"The Dead in Barbers Ground"
A Discourse on Barber Cemetery
Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey
An unsigned and undated document found at the
Hunterdon County (Flemington) New Jersey Historical Society
There is an old burying place in the Township of Delaware near Mount Airy Station on the Flemington Railroad, running to Lambertville, where many older people of note were long since laid to rest.
The grounds were well selected in an early day by the Barber family; and others; and from the former, bears its name; and shared the patronage of many of the largest land owners in the southern portion of that Township, and other places as well.
Here are to be seen the graves of men who fell the trees, tilled the soil, and made the laws with a variety of others, except the Preacher and man of Law, whose bones may yet be found beneath some obscure clod.
Just how soon this selected spot became a receptacle for these honoured dead and the first victim's name whose body was laid therin, the writer has not yet learned, but from what has already been gleaned, the first funeral procession reached here as early as 1750.
For over 100 years Barbers Ground was continuously opened to this surrounding community and many families became extinct. The DeReamers, Severns, Leonards, Oliphants and others who once [owned] great tracts of lands adjoining have now disappeared [ ] of not a few of them rest here. Of those whose names survive them are the Andersons, Barbers, Bownes, Covenhoven (now Conover), Corles, Forsts, Farlees, Hagamans, Hoppocks, Johnsons, Lamberts, Larisons, Moores, Pralls, Runks, Romines, Woolseys, Wilsons and many others.
Some of these had their day when our country struggled for liberty, and were valiant for that cause, yet their graves are not marked as such, nor has fair hands strewn them annually with flowers on Decoration Day.
In their day, they knew of Valley Forge and the memorable winter that tried men's souls. The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, the fierce conflict of our troop at Princeton with the loss of General Mercer by them so much lamented, and their burning powder with Molly Pitcher as the British left to them the heated plains of Monmouth.
Captain Cornelius Hoppock's bones rest here with many a daring hero who fought hard and long with so little tradition left to mortgage their memories to us. Here too lies Caleb Farlee's bones, who celebrated his 21st birthday on that memorable hot 17th day of Jun, 1777 in the Battle of Monmouth. So worn and fatigued was he there in the conflict with comrades falling on every side that he gave up to the fates of war, to fall in battle as it seemed to him inevitable to escape [ ] day on which he was twenty-one years old.
Samuel Barber who was young then lived long after his generation and told the present generation the story of the conflicts and John Wilson too, who died in 1822 wore for years a wood hat through which a bullet passed in memory of the old Revolution.
This burial ground lost one in the war with Great Britian in the year of 1814 and for expediency made his grave to suit elsewhere. It was Captain Lambert Hoppock who at the head of his command fell from an Indian rifle shot near Plattsburg, New York. His whole Company were recruited from this locality. All these that lie beneath this sod were equal to any of their day and in peace or war, came up to the measure of their requirements.
In politics as well as war, these graves contain the ashes of men who held the several offices in the gift of the people, all the way from the Supervision of the Great High Way to the Governor and the United States Senate.
From numerous small offices held by many there were members of our State Legislature as follows, two of which served in both the Assembly and Senate such as: John Lambert, Sr., John Lambert, Jr., and Andrew Larison in the Assembly. John Lambert, Sr., was also a member of Congress and sat with that body in Philadelphia before the Capital was fired at Washington. He was born in 1746 and was well educated and informed, lived on his large farm situated three miles west of these grounds, overlooking from his large stone mansion the beautiful valley of the Delaware from Lambertville on the south which bears his name to many miles northwest. This old stone mansion still stands and the landscape view has become grander. John Lambert, Sr., for a time represented New Jersey in the United States Senate and under the old State Constitution he was chosen Governor of our State. All these offices he filled with ability and much satisfaction to his constituents. He died in 1823 and was buried in the Lambert plot in the centre of these grounds where a large plain marble slab marks his grave.
John Lambert was born about 100 years ago on his father, Gershom Lambert's farm of about 500 acres, situated between these grounds and those of John Lambert, Sr. He held many offices of trust in the Township in which he lived and served his constituents in the Assembly and Senate of our State. He lived much over 90 years, died at his late residence in Lambertville in the month of March, 1883, leaving a large estate and no children.
Andrew Larison was born in 1772 on his father's, Andrew Larison's farm, one mile west of this place, where he was raised and received a good common school education after which he acted as Clerk in a store in Frenchtown and afterwards a partner. This he soon relinquished , purchased large landed estates in Kingwood, Hopewell, and Amwell on which he lived in turn and farmed and during the summer season, drove many sheep and cattle from Ohio and New York to New Jersey. He was elected to the Assembly from this County served in that body in 1835-36. He died in 1861 aged about 86 years.
In these grounds lies the remains of two honoured physicians: John Bowne, M.D., and Isaac Forst, M.D.
John Bowne was born near Monmouth Court House, September 2nd, 1767. Attended the Academy at Freehold and made such proficiency in the Latin and Greek Languages and the arts and sciences as were then usually taught in the colleges, that a diploma was awarded him, signed by John Woodhull, D.D. and other officers of the Institution. He attended his medical lectures in Philadelphia and was licensed to practice medicine in this State, Aug. 3rd, 1791 when he located at Prallsville, and shortly after on his farm a mile east of Barbers Ground, where he practiced his profession for more than 60 years.
He was always noted as a punctual attendant on Church service and was a Ruling Elder in the Second Presbyterian Church of Amwell over 50 years. He died Nov. 4, 1857, upwards of 90 years and his ashes rest beneath a monument erected to his memory north of the central part of these grounds.
Dr. Forst was born in 1781, was well educated and practiced for a time in Kingwood Township, but in the early part of a useful life he died in the 36th year of his age, and was buried just south of the central portion of these grounds, where a large marble slab marks his grave. There are many graves here of men who were not so much in war, politics and the professions whose lives are equally historic withall.
Among the Barbers of the early settlement as yet we are not so well informed, but for the last one hundred years no one was more prominent here than John Barber, Esq., who was born about 1775. He was well educated and informed and lived on his farm adjoining these grounds, which in connection with farming, he carried on a large tannery and for a long time manufactured the leather from which the surrounding community was principally shod. Mr. Barber in his day shared well in the official gifts of the offices of then old Amwell Township which comprised the territory of Delaware, Raritan, East and West Amwell and the City of Lambertville. He was conversant with quite all the voters that cast their votes in the same box with himself when such a variety of the same name in a single family required a careful registry to save entanglements. To know the people living over near half the territory of our present county. John Barber knew them all. He could tell apart, as they came up to vote, the seven Daniel Larews of Amwell as they were commonly called by an augment only to the given name abbreviated, down to Dan. as follows: Dan.----, Dilish Dan, Long Dan, Short Dan, White Dan, Red Dan and Black Dan. Then the John Stouts, John Rittenhouses, John Smiths and John Moores to him were none the less familiar.
John Barber done much public business outside of his official capacity. In the settling of estates and transferring property he was a man of ability and great usefulness to the community in which he lived.
For long years John Barber, Esq., had charge of these grounds, keeping the gates and opening the graves till the frost of more than 80 winters brought his tall [from] to be laid at rest with the fathers.
Samuel Corle, the grandfather of Samuel Corle, Esq., of Somerset County now near 90 years of age, was born in 1743, lived and died in this locality in 1834, upwards of 90 years and was buried here by the side of his son, Benjamin in their family plot, who died at the age of 40 years in 1813.
The Hagamans were a long lived family and possessed much land hereabouts, which they transmitted to their children who multiplied it in each generation. The grave of Abram Hagaman is well marked, and the inscriptions says that he died in the year of 1791, aged 71 years. Consequently he was born as early as 1720, very early in the first settlement of this locality.
Of the Covenhovens, just how soon they should be recorded here the earlier graves have no marked stones, but John Covenhoven departed this life in 1812. David, 1801 and Nancy the same year. Catharine Covenhoven was recorded as a Constituent Member in the organization of the Baptist Church at Sandy Ridge in 1818, and was then well stricken in years. The Mill store and farm property at Head Quarters in the days of their descendants, John and Elias, was owned and managed by them.
Among the Hoppocks buried here is the grave of William L. Hoppock, brother to Captain Lambert Hoppock, who was killed in the war of 1814. William L. Hoppock for many years was the sold proprietor of Prallsville. The large and valuable landed estate with the best firestone quarries in all the State through which in his day, was made the Delaware and Raritan Canal and afterwards the Delaware and Belvidere Rail Road, gave him great advantage. The store, flouring, saw, oil and plaster mills for years were operated by him. He died 1874 in the 82nd year of his age.
Of the DeReamers as yet we only learn they came with the Hollanders and were of French descent and doubtless from the Huguenots They owned much valuable land and were among [ ]. As no stones of theirs bear marks of names, we are left to conjecture only, knowing that their numerous graves contained their dead. Yet Janie DeReamer married John Wilson of Revolutionary notoriety and her grave is marked, Jane Wilson, and died early in the present century. She was the mother of Jane, wife of Caleb Moore. Leah, wife of Joseph Moore, Mary wife of Andrew Larison, Sr., Elizabeth, wife of John Wolverton.
And the sons were David, William, John S., Cornelius and Rev. Abram Wilson. Abram entered Rutgers College at New Brunswick where he received a liberal education and was a faithful minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. After a pastorate of years at Sh[ ] New York. He, with a colony of his Church people, settled early at Fairview, Fulton County, Illinois, where he served the Church and lived to the age of about 90 years. His grave was made with his people there. Consequently, this ground lost an able representative as here tofore mentioned. No graves of the clergy were yet here found. He was born about 1775. His brothers and sisters are all in their graves here, except Leah, who rests with her husband in the church yard at Pennington near the west side, as seen from the Highway on a neatly marked marble seat. As [ ] Clergy, this family had more representatives who are descendants [ ] still living today, except Rev. A. [ ] the former pastor of the Baptist Church at Ringoes, and Principal of the Seminary there, who died in 1872 as was buried in the church yard at Sandy Ridge, two miles to the west. He was a grandson of Mary and Rev. William Wolverton of one of the Presbyterian Churches now in Trenton; is a grandson of Elizabeth and the subscribers name another grandson of Mary has too, a place in this connection.
Of the Pralls buried here, their graves are unmarked, save that of some of a later day. Peter Prall Esq., a tanner by trade and carried on a large business near Sergeantsville in his day, rests beneath a marble slab marked that he died in 1848 at the age of 74 years. He was an exemplary Christian and was identified with the Presbyterian Church at Mount Airy, of which he was an Elder for many years.
The family of Vandolahs may all lay here. There was Hendricks Vandolah and his son, Garret, who had a son, Henry, the father of Garret Vandolah who died in 1884. They owned the Vandolah Homestead, where Cyras Vandolah now lives. The School House near by for about 100 years has bore their name, for four long generations and now in the 5th. The same old Homestead has been in possession of the family for about 150 years as the records will show.
[ ] the Runks, some are buried here with the families into which they [ ] while the major portion of them have been entered at Rosemont, and in a grave yard on a farm in West Amwell now owned by Robert H. Fisher. Hon. John Runk, deceased, once Sheriff of this County and a member of Congress, was of this family.
The Romines are found here, as among the early settlers of these parts. James Romine, the father of Furman Romine who died about 1838; the father of James, Charles, John and Asa Romine the three later, which all survive are well advanced in years. James Romine whose grave is well marked was born 1736, and died in 1817. The Romines as records will show all owned large estates. These are here marked: The graves of Andersons, Curries, Woolseys, Dennis, Moores and diverse others, whose record will adorn the pages of history when time and patience get hold of the facts that are fast being lost.
This paper was hastily written in order to bring sufficient data to light that a clew to passing, yes for passed events might be gathered before the tooth of time eats away these crumbling tablets when little or no record will stand for them. If not some one hard [ ] by the Historical Society does not gather some reminiscences to place in their anchors?
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