DELAWARE TOWNSHIP appears in the list of Northampton County townships continuously after 1766, but the record of its erection cannot be found. Old Delaware township, which extended west from the Delaware River to the Luzerne County line, was bounded on the south by Smithfield (now Middle Smithfield) and extended north from the mouth of the Bush kill, up the Delaware River to the lower end of the Minisink Island. The present township of Delaware is bounded on the north by Dingman township, on the east by the Delaware River and New Jersey, on the south by Lehman township and on the west by Porter. The first settlements on the Delaware River were made on the New Jersey side; but in or about the year 1735, Andreas Dingerman, or Andrew Dingman, as it is now written, crossed the Delaware and chose a place in the wilderness for his home, which he called "Dingman's Choice," a name which it still retains in local usage, although the post-office is called Dingman's Ferry. When Andrew Dingman first crossed the river to make his habitation on the Pennsylvania side, he had an opportunity to make a choice, as he was the pioneer settler of Delaware township. If he was not the first, he was among the first, and is the first of whom we have authentic account. He certainly made an excellent choice of location for his future home, judging from present developments, for here the Delaware River flows close to the New Jersey hills and leaves a wide flat of rich bottom land on the Pennsylvania side. Here Dingman Creek bursts through the mountain bluffs after dashing over the rocks at the factory in a fall called the Factory Falls, and lower down is the "Bettie Brooks" or "Fulmer Falls." Still farther down are the "Deer Leap" and "High Falls." Near the foot of the "High or Dingman Falls" a small rivulet comes seething down in rapids and waterfalls a distance of one hundred and fifty feet between perpendicular rocks standing from six to eight feet apart. The surging and foaming of this little rivulet, as it dashes along between the rocks, led the natives to call it "The Soap Trough," but recent visitors have named it "The Silver Thread." As Dingman Creek approaches the Delaware River, the deep mountain gorge through which it has been flowing grows wider, the hills separating like the letter V, making the flat nearly a mile wide, and inclosing it in a peculiar manner. Here, then, with a broad expanse of fertile river bottom land under his feet, with a creek that would supply water-power for grist and saw-mills flowing through it, surrounded by mountain bluffs, "rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun," which environ it on two sides, he feasted his eyes upon the lavish bounty of Nature, in her primeval grandeur and magnificence, and inhaled the pure, health-giving air which floated around these mountains, "yet gorgeous in their primitive beauty, forest-crowned," and intersected with gushing streams of limpid waters, which burst through the rocks from the highlands above in bold and beautiful waterfalls, where for ages they have been wearing deep and still deeper the steep gorges and rocky glens in her riven sides.
Here, amid so much grandeur and beauty, Andrew Dingman made his choice and cut the first bush, built the first log cabin on the riverbank and put the first ferry-boat on the Delaware at what is now known as Dingman's Ferry. Andrew Dingman was born at Kinderhook, New York, in the year 1711, and settled at Dingman's Choice in the year 1735, or about that time. His first log cabin was down by the river-bank. About 1750, or some time previous to the French and Indian War, he built a stone house not far from where the Diugman "Reformed Church "now stands, on the site occupied by the house Fannie Dingman's farmer occupies. He had two sons, Isaac and Andrew Dingman, Jr., who was born September 19, 1753, in the old stone house which was destroyed during the French and Indian War, in 1755. Dingman immediately rebuilt another house. Mr. Dingman was endowed with a dauntless spirit and had now a farm, with orchards and barns. He was assisted in his labors by his two sons and four slaves. He established a traffic with the Indians, who often visited him, and from his friendly intercourse and dealing with the natives he derived considerable pecuniary advantage. In 1744 he obtained a warrant for the tract which now comprises a part of the M.W. Dingman estate, and in 1750 one for that lot on which the saw-mill at Dingman's now stands. He subsequently took up, as it is termed, three other lots of land, the last in 1775.
There were twenty-seven log and stone houses in Delaware as it was then, including Lehman and other territory west, contemporaneously with that of Andrew Dingman, Sr.
Among these pioneers were Captain Johannes Van Etten, who had a fort on the river road about four miles above Dingman's Choice. Benjamin Decker and Daniel Courtright each had cabins or houses about one mile north of Dingman's. There was a stone house below the ferry, built by Colonel John Rosenkrans, of New Jersey, which was unoccupied some two or three years during the war and was not burnt or destroyed (probably, where M.V.C. Shoemaker now lives). There was also a fort about three miles below Dingman's Choice, at a place called Deckertown, where Jacob Hornbeck afterwards lived. Below Deckertown there was a log house with two rooms, owned and occupied by Hendrickus Decker, who had married Hannah Carmer, sister of Andrew Dingman's wife. Jacobus Van Gordon lived about two miles farther down, in what is now Lehman, and two miles farther still lived Eliphaz Van Auken.
William Allen, of Philadelphia, sold one hundred and ninety-three acres of land to Peter Van Aken for two hundred and forty-six pounds and seven shillings and one pepper-corn a year, if the same shall be demanded, the deed bearing date September 18, 1749, for land in Bucks County, afterwards Delaware, now Lehman township. Peter Van Aken made his will in Dutch, commencing: "I, Peter Van Aken, of Bucks County, in the province of Pensilvania, being advanced to a great age, etc., etc." He first makes provision for his wife Russie as long as she remains his widow. Then his oldest son, Eliphaz, is to have all the property if he lives, which shows that old Peter Van Aken was possessed of the old feudal idea that the eldest son should inherit the estate. If Eliphaz should die, then the other five sons were to share equally in the estate, no mention being made of any daughters. It so happened that Eliphaz lived and occupied the property for many years. This will was probated and translated from the original Dutch in Ulster County, N.Y., July 8, 1757, which was several years after Northampton County was erected, The whole transaction shows that the sturdy old Dutch pioneers did not care to acknowledge the authority of the province of "Pensilvania," unless compelled to do so. This probate commences as follows: "Sir Charles Hardy, Knight, Captain, General and Governor-in-Chief in and over the province of New York and the territories depending thereon in America, and Vice-Admiral of the same, etc."
David Van Auken occupied the next house, about one mile below Peter Van Aken's, and John Emmons had a log cabin about one-half mile farther down. The next house below was a fort occupied by Johannes Brink, called Brink's Fort. The next below Brink's was a log house occupied by Thomas Swartwood, and the next a stone house occupied by Benardus Swartwood. Another was occupied by old William Custard. The next below was a log house on the bank of the river, occupied by James Mullen. About one-half mile farther on was a stone house owned and occupied by Captain Emanuel Hoover, who also owned a house across the river, on the, Jersey side, at a place called by the Indians Walpack, around which house was a stockade. The next house below was at Bushkill, owned by Manuel Gunsalus or Gonzales.
Andrew Dingman built a flat-boat for ferrying purposes with a hand-axe, and it is probable that he built a grist-mill and saw-mill on Dingman's Creek. An old grist-mill, with one "run" of native stones, stood near the present grist-mill. Judge Dingman used to tell his children about turning the bolt by hand while the miller ground the grist.*
The early settlers appear to have secured the friendship of the Indians up to the time of the French and Indian War, when the savages committed some depredations on the settlers in the Minisink, burning houses, taking prisoners and otherwise annoying them. During the Revolutionary struggle they conspired with the Tories to drive the hated pale-faces out of their hunting-grounds.
One of Andrew Dingman's sons, Isaac, when about nineteen years of age, was riding a horse up the road to the barn and when a little north of the old Dingman Hotel (now Fulmer's), an Indian, who was secreted in the orchard, shot him and ran away. His mother, who happened to be standing in the door holding the future judge, who was then four years of age, by the hand, exclaimed, "Law me, Isaac is shot!" He was mortally wounded, but they started across the river with him in a flat-boat. While they were going over he asked for a drink of water and shortly after died before they reached the Jersey shore, where there was a fort with one cannon. He was buried on the Jersey side, near the abutment of the old bridge.
The next morning the Indians attacked the house of Hendrikus Decker, who lived a little below Deckertown, as before mentioned. The family fled for their lives to Fort Decker, which was about one-fourth of a mile north, at Deckertown. Six of the family reached the fort in safety, but two of the sons, Henry and David, were killed and one of them was scalped.
Andrew Dingman, Jr., "Foddy Dingman," as he was called, was born in the old stone house September 19, 1753. He married Jane Westbrook, a daughter of Daniel. Westbrook, who lived across the river in New Jersey, and had three daughters, each of whom he gave a farm on the flats in Walpack township. Andrew Dingman took the upper farm, and here Daniel Westbrook Dingman was born April 14, 1775, on the Daniel Smith place, in a house that stood opposite Barney Swartwood's. Subsequently Andrew Dingman, Jr., sold this property and bought on the Pennsylvania side again, near where John Whitaker lives.
Before the Revolutionary War the nearest justice of the peace was Benjamin Van Campen, who lived twenty-two miles from Dingman's Choice. The county-seat was at Newtown, near Bristol, and there Andrew Dingman attended court.
In 1793 Daniel W. Dingman was commissioned as lieutenant of a company of militia by Thomas Mifflin, Governor of Pennsylvania. On the 2d of August, 1800, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the One Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Militia by Governor McKean. In 1801 he received a commission as high sheriff of Wayne County, by the same Governor. He was the second sheriff of Wayne County, his term extending from 1801 to 1804. The court was held at Wilsonville from 1799 to 1802, when it was removed to Milford for a short time; consequently he commenced at Wilsonville and closed his term at Milford. At one of these places he lived in a log house, the jail being similar to his dwelling. He had two prisoners in this jail. One morning, on arising, he found both his prisoners and the jail were gone. During the night the jail was torn down and the building reduced to saw-logs, while the prisoners were nowhere to be found. About that time he was visited by some gentlemen from New Jersey on business, and "Black Feen" overheard some very uncomplimentary remarks about such a dwelling for a sheriff to live in, good enough, however, for a county-seat that was liable to be removed any day. He was a member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania from 1808 till 1813, and when Pike County was set off from Wayne and Northampton, he was commissioned associate judge by Governor Simon Snyder, October 10, 1814, and continued in that office twenty-six years, when his term expired by limitation under the new Constitution. John Coolbaugh sat with him for twenty-two years and until Monroe was erected. They were both large, stoutly-built men, and weighed over two hundred pounds each, while Judge Scott, the presiding judge who sat between them, was a tall, spare, intellectual man of great legal attainments. His associates seldom interfered, unless in relation to something of a political nature. Dingman was once Presidential elector and cast his vote for James Monroe. During Jackson's campaign he cut a tall hickory pole and floated it to Easton, on a raft, when it was raised on Mount Jefferson. When taken down it was made into canes, one of which was presented to General Jackson and another to Judge Dingman. Solomon Dingman, his grandson, now has the cane. In 1846 he was corresponding secretary of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Daniel W. Dingman was an active business man and a successful politician of the old Jacksonian Democratic school. He built a hotel which has since been enlarged by Philip Fulmer, until it will accommodate one hundred guests. He also built the Dingman grist-mill, and being given his choice whether he would have an academy or a county-seat located at Dingman's Ferry, chose an academy. In all public matters relating to Pike County, he was a leading man. While in the Legislature he secured an act making Blooming Grove the county-seat, but the commissioners of Wayne County refused to levy a tax for public buildings and the county-seat was finally fixed at Bethany. He and his friends then had the county of Pike erected. He was also influential in getting State appropriations for roads over the barrens of Pike County. Towards the close of his life he built a house in the wilderness, by Lake Teedyuscung or Nichecronk, where he lived a retired life for a number of years. He finally came back to his old home, and died April 12, 1862, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years, and was buried in the Delaware Cemetery at Dingman's Ferry. Towards the close of his life he seemed to desire posthumous fame and took pride in the fact that he belonged to the Pennsylvania Historical Society. He was thoroughly identified with the early history of Pike County. Dinman's Ferry, Dingman Creek and Falls were named in honor of the family, and Dingman township was named in honor of the judge. He was kind to Revolutionary heroes and Indian fighters, and General Seeley, Sam Helm, Mapes and Wagdon found a generous stopping-place with him. His only sister, Cornelia, married John Van Etten, and lived where William Courtright now lives at Dingman's Ferry. She was eighty-six years of age when she died. Daniel W. Dingman married Mary Westbrook. His children were Cornelia, wife of Garret Brodhead; Jane, wife of Franklin Brodhead; Margaret, wife of Abram Coolbaugh. Daniel Dingman lived on the river road.
Martin Westbrook Dingman, who was born in 1798 or 1799, and married Belinda, a daughter of Major Hornbeck, lived for some years on the farm afterwards owned by Jacob Hornbeck. From thence he moved to Dingman's Choice, bought the farm and hotel of his father, and carried on both for nearly thirty years. In connection with this he also did considerable lumbering and business in the grist-mill. A man of scrupulous honesty, vigorous health and untiring energy, he soon became comparatively wealthy. About 1858 he rented the hotel to Daniel Decker, bought the residence built by W.F. Brodhead, moved into it and carried on farming and milling until his death. His children are Solomon H. Dingman, who married Elizabeth Beemer, and lives on the old Adams farm; Margaret Jane, unmarried; Leah E., wife of Albert S. Still; Mary D., wife of Rev. Gilbert S. Garretson, for many years pastor of the Dutch Reformed Churches at Dingman's Ferry and Peters' Valley, and now settled at Franklin Furnace (they have two children, Henry and Fanny B. Garretson); Frances C. Dingman, lives on the homestead at Dingman's Ferry; Andrew Dinginan (3d), who is still living, aged eighty-one, married Caroline Sayre, who recently died, being nearly eighty years of age- he lived by the river, kept Dingmnan's Ferry for many years and had the reputation of being a good ferryman, being succeeded in the same business by his son-in-law, John Kilsby. Dr. Daniel W. Dingman, of Hawley, is one of his sons, and Alfred Dingman, of Milford, is another.
John Van Etten and Margaret, his wife, sold three parcels of land, containing about sixty-eight acres of land, lying below Namenock Island, in the Delaware River, to Johannes Van Etten, August 22, 1767. This John Van Etten, Daniel Brodhead and John Atkins were judges of the Orphans' Court in Northampton County in the year 1754. Captain Johannes Van Etten, who lived in Delaware township, above Dingman's Ferry, was a prominent character during the Indian wars.
The Van Etten family were among the early settlers of the township, coming here about 1750. They were far earlier in New York and New Jersey. Some time prior to 1660 the progenitor of the Van Ettens, Van Nettens, Van Attas, Van Nattens (the name appearing in early records variously spelled) came to this country from Etten, in the province of North Brabant, Holland, and settled at Kingston, Ulster County, N.Y. In the earliest records of the Reformed Dutch Church at Kingston is recorded the marriage of Jacob Jansen Youngman von Etten, in Brabant, to Anna Adriance, from Amsterdam, in the year 1665. He resided in the town of Hurley until his death, about 1690, and left surviving him his widow, five sons- John, born 1665; Peter; Arien, born 1670; Manuel, born 1681; Jacobus or James, born 1685- and four daughters.
In 1718 the property of Jacob Jansen Van Etten was divided among his children by conveyance from his wife to each of their children, and from about that time the sons, with their families, began to seek new homes in the then sparsely-settled country along the Hudson, and a little later the Delaware Valley.
Peter and James, with their families, crossed the Hudson and settled in Dutchess County about 1720. John, the oldest son, married Jane Roosa, daughter of Arien Roosa, about 1692. He resided until his death in the towns of Hurley and Rochester, Ulster County, N.Y., and had a large family of children, mostly girls. One of his Sons, Jacob, born 1696, is the immediate ancestor of the numerous family that settled in the Delaware Valley. April 22, 1719, Jacob married Anna Westbrook, who was born in Kingston, and they lived at Knightsfield (the name being written "Nytsfleld" in the Mahackkemack church record), in the town of Rochester, Ulster County, until 1730, when Jacob, with his family and some of the sisters who had married, following in the footsteps of many who migrated over the old Mine road to the fertile valleys of the Neversink and Delaware, came to the Delaware Valley and settled at Namanoch, along the river on the New Jersey side.
He was prominent in the early history of the Minisink Church, which was organized in 1737, and his name, together with those of his Sons, appear among the officers and those aiding in the work. His oldest daughter, Helena or Magdalena, born 1721, was the wife of the Rev. John Casp. Fryenmoet, the first regular pastor of the Minisink, Walpack and Mahakkemack Churches, their marriage being among the earliest recorded in the records of these churches in 1742.
John, the oldest son of Jacob, was born in 1720, others of the family being Cornelis, born in 1723; Anthony, born in 1726; Jane, born in 1728; Johannes, born in 1730; Sarah, born in 1736; Richard, born in 1739.
In the year 1745 William Allen, merchant of Philadelphia, conveyed a tract of land in Delaware township, opposite Namanoch Island, in the Delaware River, to Jacob Van Etten, of the county of Morris, in the eastern province of New Jersey. Through four generations the title and possession has remained in members of the family; three great-granddaughters of Jacob now hold it, and reside within a stone's throw of the house of the first one of the name who settled in the county. This was Johannes Van Etten, a son of Jacob, who was horn at Namanoch, in New Jersey, about 1730. Upon his marriage, which is recorded in the Reformed Dutch Church at Nopenoch, Ulster County, N.Y., in 1750, he probably located in Pennsylvania. He was the progenitor of a large family. He was twice married, his first wife having been Maria Gonsoles, of Ulster County, N.Y., by whom he had eleven children. After her death he married Rachel Williams, widow of Daniel Decker, by whom he had four children,- three sons and one daughter. That these sons, following in the footsteps of their father, obeyed the Scriptural command, "to multiply and replenish," is evidenced by the fact that each had eight children; many of them still reside in the county and along the Delaware Valley.
John settled very soon after Johannes, near Easton, probably about 1760. In 1767, in a deed to Johannes, he is located in Fork township, Northampton County. He married Margaret Westfall in 1738. Their children were Helena, born in 1738; Jacob, born in 1740; Daniel, born in 1742; Catharine, born in 1744; Maria, born in 1746; Simeon, born in 1748 (?); Margaret, born in 1748; Samuel, born in 1750; Margreeta, born in 1752.
Johannes' children, by his first wife, were Magdalena, born in 1751; Manuel, born in 1754; Rymerick, born in 1756; Johannes, Jr., born in 1759; James, born in 1763 (some say Anthony); Elizabeth, born in 1762; Catharine, born in 1771; Simeon, born in 1776.
Two of these Sons were wounded in a fight with the Indians, near Philip McCarty's, and his son-in-law, Ennis, killed.
On June 14, 1780, John Chambers asked, in a letter to President Reed, for arms and ammunition for a volunteer company, to be placed in the care and charge of Captain Johannes Van Etten. And on July 4, 1780, Lieutenant Samuel Rea wrote to President Reed that he had filled up a commission of Captain Johannes Van Etten,** and that the Indians had taken a Mr. Dewitt, near Captain Van Etten's, on the Delaware.
In Penna. Archives, vol. ii. p. 720, in a letter from Captain John Van Etten to Governor Morris, dated at Fort Hyndshaw, July 24, 1756, mention is made of Johannes Van Etten having a conversation with some Indians, during which a disagreement arose, and the Indians carried away, as they thought, a load of swan-shot, while one of his companions received nine charges and lost his scalp.***
The light between Captain Johannes Van Etten's company and the Indians, in which the captain, with three of his sons and son-in-law, Benjamin Ennis, were engaged, was near McCarter's, just below the Raymondskill, on the banks of the Delaware. The actual engagement is reported by the old inhabitants to have been fought near or on lands now owned by Ira Case, in Dingman township, and John H. Van Etten, Esq., has heard his father say that, when a boy, in company with his father (Cornelius, son of Johannes), he visited the battle-field, and they found, in the crevices of the rocks, human bones, a skull, etc.
The children of Johannes by his second wife were Daniel, born 1780; Cornelius, born December 8, 1782; Solomon, born February 12, 1789; and Dorothy, who married John Lattimore.
The sons of Daniel were Samuel, John, Oliver and Cornelius; and daughters, Rachel, Jane, Phebe and Cornelia.
The sons of Cornelius were Amos, Solomon (father of Attorney John H. Van Etten, Of Milford, and of Mathias M. and Cornelius S.) and Robert K.; and daughters, Catharine, Rachel, Margaret, Mary and Amanda.
The sons of Solomon were Emanuel, Solomon, Daniel, John I.; and the daughters, Julia Ann, Dorothy, Huldah, Hannah and Eliza Jane.
The first saw-mill was built at Dingman's about 1800, and the grist-mill, where Mollineux lives, was erected about 1827; the gristmill at Dingman's was built a few years later. Andrew Dingman states that his father built the tavern where Fulmer now is, about 1810; that a man by the name of Winans carried the mail on horseback from Easton to Milford, about that time, and that one Jackson was the first postmaster he remembers. Jacob Hull was the first merchant, as early as 1810, and Franklin Brodhead followed. Joseph Ennis was a ferryman in 1805.
The first school-house was a log school-house, near Shoemaker's, and Mason Dimmick taught the first school remembered. Three bridges have been, at various times, erected at Dingman's Ferry, but the wind, ice and floods have destroyed them and made it necessary to resume the ferry-boat. Judge Dingman chose an academy, rather than the county-seat, though this was not the origin of Dingman's Choice, as has been shown. When the matter of location and site had been concluded upon, Judge Dingman gave one and one-half acres, by deed bearing date July 15, 1813, to John Nyce, John Westbrook, John Lattimore, Matthew Ridgway and Daniel Jayne, trustees of the Delaware Academy. The deed states "that for good causes and considerations, and the sum of five shillings to him in hand paid, bath given all that messuage, etc., beginning at a cedar standing near the main road." This cedar, which has remained an enduring monument for more than seventy years, still stands erect, the winds wailing a requiem over the pioneers of the Minisink, who sleep the silent sleep of death in the Delaware Cemetery, near by. The instrument was signed in the presence of Daniel Dimmick and Samuel Anderson. One of the corners of the plot is the State road, which once passed below the site of the Reformed Church. When the State withdrew its aid from academies this property was turned over to the school directors, and is now used for public school purposes.
The Dutch Reformed Church was organized in four places in the Minisink as early as 1737. Although the first churches were on the Jersey side of the river, the congregation was drawn from both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We find the name of Andries Dingenman as a member of the consistory in 1748, in the following action:
"October 22, 1748.- We, the undersigned, lawfully and ecclesiastically assembled, have resolved to sell the present residence of the Dominie, with its appurtenances, to the Dominie, provided we can agree with the Elders and Deacons, who are now absent, at the approaching meeting in November next.
"To establish the above, we sign our names,-
"CORNELI5 VAN AKEN.
"WILLIAM ENNIS, 1748.
"JAN VAN ETTEN.
"DIRCK VAN VLIET."
"November 5, 1748.- In an ecclesiastical and lawful assembly the following resolution was passed:
"That Dominie Fryenmoet shall keep the deed of his house and lot, and shall lend it to nobody, nor let any one read it or hear it read, except to some church officer, at his own discretion.
"For the establishment of the above we append our signatures,-
"J. C. FRYENMOET, President.
Rev. George Wilhelmus Mancius, pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of Kingston, first preached the gospel here and organized churches both along the Neversink and Delaware. There were four churches organized, probably about the same time, viz.: Machackemech (now the Reformed Church at Port Jervis); Menissinck, at Montague, N.J.; Walpack, with which Dingman and Bushkill were connected; and Smithfield, in Monroe County. The consistory minutes of these churches commence August 23, 1737. Mancius came regularly twice a year, in May and November. June 1, 1841, at the age of twenty, Rev. Johannes Casparus Fryenmoet was chosen as the first regular pastor of these four churches. He was found among the people here, a lad of but sixteen, of much promise, a native of Switzerland, who had received a partial education for the ministry before coming to this country. In the scarcity of ministers they desired him to become their spiritual teacher, though only a boy and his education imperfect, while the regulations of the churches are very strict in requiring an educated ministry. As there were no schools of theology in this country, the churches raised money sufficient and sent young Fryenmoet to Holland to complete his studies and receive ordination from the Classis of Amsterdam, upon which the Reformed Churches in this country were then all dependent. Four years later he returned and began his work among them. He labored for fifteen years in the churches, during which time a large number were added to their membership. He received seventy pounds in equal proportion from these four churches and one hundred schepels of oats for his horse (a schepel is three pecks). They allpaid in New York money, except the Smithfield Church, which tendered him "Proclamation Money." The next year two of the churches agreed to pay forty pounds if he married and thirty-five pounds if he continued unmarried. He was married to Lena Van Etten, by Justice Abram Van Campen, July 23, 1742. Rev. Thomas Romeyn was their next pastor, from 1760 till 1772. After this they were for thirteen years without a pastor. Rev. Elias Van Benschoten, or Van Bunschooten, as he usually wrote it, had charge from May 11, 1785, till about 1800. He preached in Dutch and English. Mr. Van Bensehoten's labors were greatly blessed. He was a man of some eccentricities, many excellencies and was held in high esteem. He was remarkable for his frugality and strict honesty.
He gave seventeen thousand dollars, which has since increased to twenty thousand dollars, to Rutgers College, and over one hundred and twenty-five Dutch Reformed ministers have been educated by this fund. It should have been mentioned that in 1753 Smithfield Church withdrew and Mr. Van Benschoten was the last minister who supplied the pulpit of the three remaining churches.
Rev. James G. Force, who came in 1808, was the fourth minister at Walpack and vicinity. In 1827 a division arose and the Lower Church of Walpack, as a result, was organized. Rev. Isaac S. Demund was the fifth pastor of these churches, in 1827, the only church being at Flatbrookville. The other places of worship were school-houses at Peters' Valley, Pleasant Valley, the academy at Dingman's Ferry, Hornbeck's barn near his tavern, at Mr. Schoonover's house at Bushkill and at Peters' Tavern. Rev. David Cushing, the next minister, was settled in 1831. During his brief stay a deep religious interest manifested itself in the congregation and one hundred and four were added to the church. Prominent among those engaged in the good work were John Nyce, Esq., Jacob Westbrook and Daniel Schoonover. They were greatly assisted by the faithful and devoted Rev. C.C. Elting, of Port Jervis, who spent days and weeks laboring among them. One man eighty years of age and one tavern-keeper were converted. Rev. Garret C. Schenck succeeded Mr. Cushing, a devoted young man, who left in 1835. Immediately after the relations of the church were changed from the Classis of New Brunswick to the Classis of Orange. Rev. James B. Hyndshaw was installed pastor January 17, 1836. In 1841 Rev. Robert Pitts became stated supply and remained as such until 1860. October 17, 1855, Upper and Lower Walpack were divided. Upper Walpack has the two congregations at Dingman's Ferry and Peters' Valley respectively, and Lower Walpack has the two congregations, at Bushkill and Walpack. Rev. Alexander McWilliam was the first minister of Lower Walpack, in 1861. In 1870 he was succeeded by Rev. John F. Shaw, and Rev. Henry Rex is the present pastor. Rev. Nathan W. Jones was the first minister of Upper Walpack under the new arrangement in 1861. He was succeeded by Rev. Gilbert S. Garretson.
CHURCH FARM.- On May 24, 1752, James Alexander, by direction of the Council of Proprietors of the Eastern Division of New Jersey, conveyed to Abraham Van Campen and Garret Brink, for the use of the Reformed Church of Walpack and Pahaquarry, professing. the doctrines of Calvin, two hundred and ten acres in Sandyston, the consideration being "six pence and a pint of spring water yearly" from the large spring on the premises, "if demanded." The income from this farm was to be devoted to the support of the preaching of the Gospel in the church. The farm has been sold for twelve thousand five hundred and six dollars and the proceeds invested for the benefit of the church. The first movement towards erecting a church edifice at Dingman's Ferry which we find on record was on May 1, 1837, but this project seems to have slept for over twelve years, when it was revived, and Rev. R. Pitts and John I. Westbrook were appointed to raise money for this purpose. The effort was successful, and the church was erected in 1850, at a cost of one thousand three hundred dollars. The building committee consisted of John I. Westbrook, Albert S. Stoll and John Van Gorden, W.F. Brodhead being contractor.
THE METHODIST CHURCH AT DINGMAN'S FERRY.- Rev. John Retallick, a Methodist local preacher, aged eighty-four, says, when he first came, in 1830, Rev. Bromwell Andrews and another man preached in Sandyston, N.J., Milford and Dingman's Ferry. The first Methodists at Dingman's were Andrew Adams, who lived on the place that Solomon Dingman now owns, and his wife and two daughters. His house was a home for preachers. The strongest class was at Milford. Benjamin Drake, John Drake, William Watson, Judge John Brink, Jonathan Doolittle and wife and Mrs. Suter were prominent. About 1830 John Westbrook and, wife joined the Dingman class. Daniel Buckley and wife, William Hooker and George Reese have been prominent members since. Joseph Buckley is now superintendent, of the Sunday-school.
There are seventy members, and the Sunday-school numbers about forty attendants. The church edifice was erected in 1870. Rev. John Retallick came to Dingman's Ferry from England in 1830, and has preached for fifty years, during which time he has performed the marriage office for fifty couples and attended one hundred and eighty or more funerals. Mr. Retallick, who lives with his son John, on the homestead farm, in summer, and with his son-in-law, S.L. Sarles, at Dingman's Ferry, in winter, is an intelligent, well-preserved old gentleman. Thomas and John Gustin were among the old residents at Dingman's. Joseph Brooks, an Englishman, bought three hundred and twenty-seven acres of land of the Gustins, on the Dingman Creek, in 1820, and built a woolen factory of stone in 1822. It is forty by sixty-five feet, and three and one-half stories high. He employed a number of hands and operated the factory until he died, in 1835. The children being young, the works were closed. Bettie Brooks, his widow, who is still living, aged ninety-eight, retains her faculties to a remarkable degree. She says her father, whose name was Holding, helped put up the first machinery for manufacturing purposes in Yorkshire and Lancashire, England. She could ride the swiftest horse when a girl, and received many compliments for her graceful appearance on horseback.
There is a water-fall at the factory called the Factory Falls. The Brooks, or Fulmer Falls are near by and the Deer Leap Falls are just below, so-called from the fact that a deer leaped from the rocks above the falls when pursued by a hound and broke his neck. The next falls below are the Dingman, or High Falls. These falls were very beautiful when the writer saw them, in winter, covered with a white robe of snow and ice, while the rocks were lined with a frosty incrustation and the trees and bushes were drooping with frost-petals, hanging pendant from every branch and glowing resplendent in the morning sun. Just below the Dingman Falls a little stream flows over the gorge between perpendicular rocks about six or eight feet apart, in a series of cascades and rapids, a distance of about one hundred and fifty feet, and enters the Dingman Creek. It rolls and tumbles between these rocks in such a manner as to gain the name of the "Soap Trough," but since summer visitors have visited the spot it has been called the "Silver Thread." It is a very unique and beautiful fall. John Fulmer built a sole-leather tannery on Dingman Creek in 1851, and operated it till 1866, when it was sold to William Bell, who soon closed the business. They tanned about twenty thousand sides per year while in operation. The Fulmerville post-office was established in 1853. John Fulmer is still living, aged ninety-five. Dr. Philip F. Fulmer, his son, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1852. He was superintendent of the schools of Pike County from 1852 to 1863, and is the first resident physician at Dingman's Ferry. He also purchased the old Dingman Hotel and enlarged it until it has a capacity for two hundred guests. Randall Van Gordon has the Delaware House, and a Frenchman has the Bellevue. These hotels altogether will accommodate one hundred and fifty guests. The natural beauty of some parts of Pike County is making it a favorite watering-place. The Hornbeck Creek has a dozen falls in succession, which, like steps, have led to their being termed the "Indian Ladder." There are also beautiful falls on the Adams' Creek, but they are dangerous to visit. In fact, every stream that rises in the highlands of Pike County has a fall of about two hundred feet before it reaches the level of' the Delaware; consequently there are falls on all the streams that enter the Delaware. Cornelius McCarty built the house and store now owned by Judge Evart Hornbeck, in 1849. Thomas Courtright, who was postmaster for many years at Dingman's Ferry, is descended from an old New Jersey family. Dr. Fulmer has the post-office now, and William Brooks, son of Joseph Brooks, is his deputy.
According to Dingman's papers, John Rosencrance, of New Jersey, had a stone fort just below the ferry. This property was subsequently owned by Solomon Westbrook, grandson of Antony Westbrook and son of Jacob Westbrook. Moses V. C. Shoemaker lives on the property now, and recently tore down the old stone house.
COLONEL JOHN WESTBROOK, as he was generally addressed was born in Sussex County, N.J., January 9, 1789, and departed this life October 8, 1852, in the sixty-third year of his age, near Dingman's Ferry, having removed to Pike County, Penna., with his father when three years of age, where he resided until his death.
When nineteen years of age, February 14, 1808, he married Sarah, daughter of Judge Richard Brodhead, and sister of United States Senator, Richard Brodhead, all of Pike County, she then being sixteen years of age, having been born February 12, 1792. She survived her husband twenty-seven years, departing January 21, 1879, aged eighty-seven years, having been the wife of Rev. John Lee, of Newark, N.J., for a few years, whom she also survived. Four of Colonel Westbrook's descendants reached adult age, and three still survive; Hannah, widow of William T. Wilson, being in her seventy-eighth year; Jacob B., died in 1852 of pneumonia in the thirty-sixth year of his age; Richard B., resides in Philadelphia, and Jane B., wife of Dr. Vincent Emerson, resides in Milford.
The business of Colonel Westbrook was farming though at times he engaged in mercantile pursuits and in lumbering. In his twenty-sixth year (1817), he was elected sheriff of his county. Before he reached twenty-one, he held office in the State militia which at that time was in a flourishing condition, inspired by the war of 1812. At one time he was Colonel of the regiment, in which his brother Jacob was major, and his brother Solomon a captain. The annual "General Training-day," and the occasional parades and drills are well remembered by many still living. In these "Field-days," he was always a conspicuous figure, and was distinguished for his commanding manners, his perfect knowledge of military tactics, and his dashing horsemanship- the latter being an accomplishment for which many members of the family have been noted for several generations.
In 1833 he was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, and while at Harrisburg made the acquaintance of James Buchanan and other men who have become noted in history. Thaddens Stevens was a member of Assembly at the same time. It was then that the great "Anti-Masonic" controversy took place which was followed by the well remembered "Buck-shot War," at Harrisburg. Colonel Westbrook was a mason of "high-degree," and a Jeffersonian Democrat all his life. He was proud of his personal acquaintance with Major-General Andrew Jackson, and often made eloquent speeches at the "Jackson Feasts," that were held January 8th, in memory of the battle of New Orleans. He was accustomed to tell amusing stories of his conversations with President Martin Van Buren, in Low-Dutch, to the great discomfiture of surrounding politicians.
In 1840 he was elected to Congress, where he served with faithfulness and acceptance. While in Congress his health broke down; and though he lived for ten years afterward, he was never quite himself again. He was the first person ever elected to Congress from Pike County, and declined a second term because of failing health. James Buchanan was United States Senator when Colonel Westbrook was a member of the twenty-seventh Congress, and a strong political friendship grew up between them, to which Mr. Buchanan referred when President of the United States in a letter to a member of the family, carefully preserved as a relic. Two incidents only connected with Colonel Westbrook's Congressional career can here be noticed.
Northampton County was then in the same district with Pike. The postmaster of Easton died. While the politicians were getting their petitions ready to fill the vacancy, Colonel Westbrook had influence enough with President Tyler, to secure on his own personal recommendation the appointment to the vacant office of the widow of the deceased postmaster, whose daughters continued the management of the office under their mother as they had done under their father. The disappointed politicians grumbled, but the people were pleased and were as well served as before. It is very common now to appoint women postmistresses, but forty years ago, it required some courage and political independence to favor such an appointment in a place like Easton. The writer to whom this case was related by President Tyler himself, is not informed how many, if any, women were appointed to post-offices, before the widow Horn of Easton, Penna.
The Morse telegraph was publicly inaugurated while Colonel Westbrook was in Congress, and the first appropriation to further this enterprise, was advocated by him, though a plain farmer from Pike County, while Cave Johnson, a learned lawyer and judge from Tennessee, and afterward a member of President Polk's Cabinet, ridiculed the telegraph by moving an amendment that one-half of the proposed appropriation should be given to a showman, then giving experiments in Mesmerism at Washington. General Samuel Houston, afterwards United States Senator, proposed from his seat in Congress, that a portion of the appropriation should be given to the Millerites, who at that time (1843) were predicting the near end of the world. Twenty-two members voted for the amendment! The Pike county farmer was not one of them.
What would the congressional sceptics of 1843, now say of the triumph of telegraphy?
Colonel Westbrook had very small opportunities for school learning, yet he kept fully up with the progress of his times. He never saw a grammar until his children carried one home from school, and yet he had a wonderful knowledge of the English language, though his vernacular was Holland Dutch. This was the language used in common in his father's family. An oration delivered by him July 4, 1816, when in his twenty-seventh year, is now before the writer. It is truly an able production, I full of historic illustrations, and philosophical reflections, with frequent bursts of true patriotism and impassioned eloquence. There is not a single grammatical error in the composition. It shows a wonderful command of language. Even the punctuation is strictly accurate, and all quotations are marked as such, and there is not an i without its dot, nor a t without its cross. It is a MS., of which his children are proud. His perceptions were quick and clear, his judgment excellent, and his intuition truly remarkable. He was a natural lawyer, though never engaged in litigation. He probably wrote more legal documents than the average lawyer in the county. People came from many miles and even from New Jersey to have him write their wills, deeds, etc., and county justices of the peace, wrestling with legal questions, were accustomed to consult him instead of the regular lawyers. For these services he made no charge. He was not a money maker nor a money hoarder. Benevolence was his distinguishing characteristic, next to his uncompromising honesty. No man ever suspected, much less charged him with a dishonest act. He often gave and loaned money which he could ill spare. His disposition to oblige was excessive. It was hard for him to say no. He confided in everybody, endorsed the paper of too many of his friends, and was cheated and deceived by men from whom better things might have been expected. He died a poor man, but left his children a rich legacy, in his high sense of honor and undoubted integrity. He was baptized by the celebrated Dominie Van Benschoten, of the Reformed Dutch Church, but he joined the Methodists, while a member of the Legislature in 1833, of which church he was a member until the close of life.
THE WESTBROOK GENEALOGY.
The subject of the above sketch was the second son of Solomon Westbrook, who was born October 6, 1762, and died March 30, 1824. He married Margaret DeWitt, September 24, 1782. They had five children; Jacob, John, Solomon, Margaret and Sofferine. The family residence, a large stone house, was located on the stage road two miles below Dingman's Ferrry, Delaware township, Pike county, Penna. He located there in 1792 upon a tract of land, of about seven hundred acres situate upon the western bank of the Delaware River.
The father of Solomon Westbrook was Jacob Westbrook. He occupied a large tract of land on the eastern bank of the Delaware, about eight miles below Port Jervis, in what is now Montague township, N.J. His substantial stone house was often used as a fort, in troublous times as was the stone house of his son, Johannes, which was located three miles further down the Delaware River. Jacob Westbrook married Lydia Westfall, March 24, 1746, and they had six children, named Blandina, Johannes, Sofferine, Solomon, Maria and Jane. It seems strange that so beautiful a name as Blandma has not been perpetuated in the family, and also the names Magdalena and Helletie, found in early Westbrook records.
The father of Jacob, was Anthony Westbrook. He resided in Minisink, and seems to have been a leading man in this pioneer settlement on the Delaware. In 1737, he was a justice of the peace, and an elder in the Reformed Dutch Church. The maiden name of his wife was Antie Van Etten. Nothing is known of their children, except Jacob and Johannes above mentioned. Anthony Westbrook came from Guilford, Ulster county, N.Y., and settled in Minisink, and became a large land owner. He was preceded by his brother Johannes who became an influential man in the settlement. Here we lose the line of direct descent, but there is abundant evidence that the Westbrook family on both sides of the Delaware were descendants of the family of the same name in Ulster county, New York. Several members of that family early joined the train of emigration through the Mamakating valley, to the rich flat lands of the Minisink region. Some of them served with distinction in the Indian wars and in that of the Revolution.
The name Westbrook has long been recognized as one of the representative pioneer names of this country. It is of pure Anglo-Saxon origin, and the representatives of the family though early associated with the Dutch, have continued to manifest the Saxon characteristics. As early as 1630 those bearing the name were at Albany, having come over with the Dutch from Holland where they had fled for the sake of religious freedom, to settle on the manor-lands of the patroon Van Rensselaer. John Westbrook was at Portsmouth, N.H., October 9, 1665, and Job and John were there in 1689-90. In 1721 Colonel Thomas Westbrook said to have come from Stroudwater, Gloucestershire, England, was a large land owner and ship builder in the State of Maine, and the town of Westbrook in that State, is named after him. In that year he commanded the expedition against Norridgewock, which broke up the settlement of the famous Jesuit priest, Father Ralle, and captured his papers. In 1723 he was appointed by Governor Dunmore chief in command of the eastern frontier.
Many existing records show that the distinguishing characteristic of the Westbrook family has ever been love of liberty and resistance to tyranny.
Brodhead Westbrook, as he was always called in youth, is a son of the Hon. John Westbrook, whose biography, with a genealogical sketch of the family, may be found in this volume. He was born February 8, 1820, near Dingman's Ferry, in Pike county, where he lived with his parents until his twentieth year. His early educational advantages were limited to the common district schools and the old Delaware Academy. He became practically familiar with farming and horsemanship in his boyhood, and cannot remember the time when he was not expected to make himself useful about the wood-pile, the barn and the farm. He taught a common district school and "boarded around" before he was seventeen, and soon after taught in the Delaware and Milford Academies. About this time he commenced the study of theology under the preceptorship of the Rev. Alexander Gilmore. He received license to preach on September 6, 1839, and was admitted on trial as an itinerant preacher in the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Burlington, N.J., April 18, 1840. He was appointed by the Conference within the next ten years to serve at Parsippany, Hackettstown, Stillwater, Plainfield, Bloomfield, Elizabeth and Mount Holly, all in New Jersey. He was ordained a deacon in the spring of 1842, at Camden, by Bishop Waugh, and an elder or Presbyter in the spring of 1844, at Trenton, by Bishop Morris, after passing the usual four year course of study, credentials of which he still holds clean and unimpaired.
On January 27, 1852, he withdrew from the Methodist Church in consequence of a change in his views on certain theological dogmas and questions of church polity and usage. The following, so highly creditable to two great denominations, will not be out of place here:
"TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
"Whereas, the Rev. Richard B. Westbrook has signified to me his intention to withdraw from the Methodist Episcopal Church, for the purpose of connecting himself with the Presbyterian Church. This is to certify that the said Rev. Richard B. Westbrook is an ordained Minister in good and regular standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also a member of the New Jersey Annual Conference of said Church, and as such we recommend him to all where his lot may be cast by the Providence of God.
"RICHARD W. PETHERBRIDGE,
"Presiding Elder, Burlington Dist.
"January 27, 1852." -
In addition to regular credentials, the above certificate and several letters of recommendation, voluntarily furnished by ministers of the Conference were presented to Presbytery; and after due examination, the following minute was adopted.
"The Rev. R.B. Westbrook having made application to be received as a member of this body, exhibiting his credentials as a minister in good standing in the New Jersey Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the validity of whose ordination are most cheerfully acknowledge; and having satisfied the Presbytery as to his piety, his literary and theological attainments, and his accordance with the principles and polity of the Presbyterian Church; and having also answered affirmatively the questions propounded to candidates in our Confession of Faith, it was unanimously voted that he be received and enrolled as a member of this body.
"The Presbytery also resolved, that it highly appreciates the courtesy and fraternal spirit manifested by our brethren of the Methodist Church, in their dismission and full recommendation of the Rev. Mr. Westbrook, which courtesy we hold ourselves ready when occasion offers, to reciprocate."
This is probably the first case in which a Methodist minister was in such an orderly manner, transferred to the Presbyterian ranks.
Mr. Westbrook's first and only pastorate among the Presbyterians was in Burlington, N.J., the very city in which he had been received into the Methodist Conference twelve years before. While pastor of this church in 1853 he received the honorary degree of A.M. from Princeton College.
In 1854 he received an appointment to a secretaryship from the American Sunday-school Union, and removed to Philadelphia where he remained until the spring of 1861. In 1860 he received the honorary degree of D.D. from Washington College upon the nomination of Rev. William S. Plumer, D.D., then professor in the Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny City. The following notice from the pen of Editor John S. Hart, LL.D., afterward professor in Princeton College, appeared in the Sunday-School Times,-
"THE RESIGNATION OF DR. WESTBROOK.
"The friends of the Sunday-school missionary work throughout the United States, we are certain will sympathize with us in the feeling of profound regret and sorrow with which we announce that the Rev. R.B. Westbrook, D.D., has resigned his office as secretary of missions of the American Sunday-school Union.
"The missionary work of this beloved and honored institution has never in its whole history been administered with more marked ability, or with more decided and signal success, than during the period that Dr. Westbrook has been entrusted with its executive control.
"His pulpit services are much in request, his preaching being of that earnest, practical and instructive character, combined with a rich gift of popular eloquence, which, together, soon build up a congregation. The Board of Managers in accepting Dr. Westbrook's resignation, bear their unanimous testimony to the ability, energy and large measure of success which has marked his labors in the service of the Society."'
In retiring from this secretaryship Dr. Westbrook decided that whatever others, might be able to do, he could not be a successful investigator and advocate of truth, while dependent upon those to whom he might minister for daily bread. Before leaving Philadelphia he received a unanimous call from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of that city, and also from the State Street Church of Albany, N.Y., and overtures from several churches in other cities.
While not intending to entirely abandon the office of a public moral teacher he entered the law department of the New York City University, and received in due course the degree of LL.B. He pressed ahead of his class, and before graduation was, in 1863, admitted to the New York bar after a rigid examination of several hours, under the judges of the Supreme Court. In 1869 he was admitted as attorney and counsellor in the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington, D.C. His practice was mainly in the New York Supreme Court. Through the persuasion of Judge George R. Barrett and the late Colonel Henry S. Mott, he was induced to make an investment in Pennsylvania coal lands in the Clearfield region, and he afterward purchased five thousand acres of coal land in Cambria county, Pa., and to develop and improve these lands, it became necessary to abandon his law practice, as the work was done under his personal supervision. Here his Pike county experience in boyhood came to his assistance. The "natives" were astonished to find that a city lawyer and clergyman understood all about lumber and saw-mills, and knew how to drive oxen, mules and horses. In 1882 he sold these lands, fully developed, and retired to his Philadelphia residence, "free from worldly care and avocations." It is a fact worthy of note that while actively engaged in secular business he diligently pursued his studies in ecclesiastical history and polemic theology. In 1864 he was arraigned by his Presbytery on the charge of "abandoning the ministry and engaging in a secular profession," and was suspended "until he should give evidence of repentance." The suspension was removed in a few days, as Dr. Westbrook signified his purpose to preach as opportunity might offer. After this he supplied a Presbyterian pulpit for a year, and at the same time pursued his law practice in New York City, refusing to accept any pecuniary compensation from the church, whereupon he was requested by the Presbytery to which the church belonged to receive some pecuniary compensation or surrender the charge, and he accepted the latter alternative, and in a short time (1866) voluntarily withdrew from the "ministry and communion of the Presbyterian Church," receiving a certificate of his good and regular standing, since which time he has maintained a position of ecclesiastical independence.
In 1870 Dr. Westbrook published a work on Marriage and Divorce; in 1882 he published a work entitled The Bible, Whence and What? and in 1884, a work entitled Man, Whence and Whither? He is now engaged upon a work of profound research relating to the origin of Christianity and Comparative Religions. In the preface of his work on the Bible he says" The writer is a firm believer in the existence and moral government of God, in the continuance of human life beyond the grave and in present and future rewards and punishments." His books, published by Lippincott, Philadelphia, have been very favorably noticed by the newspaper press generally, and extensively circulated, and are well known as able defenses of the essential principles of true religion and morality, while dissenting from some of the dogmas of the prevalent theology. The honorary degree of LL.D., was received by Dr. Westbrook from the Wagner Free Institute of Science January 1, 1885, of which institution he is trustee and treasurer.
He has recently established a Free Religious Lectureship, in Philadelphia-receiving no pecuniary compensation for his lectures and paying all incidental expenses out of his own pocket.
Dr. Westbrook was married when twenty-one years of age to Sarah H., third daughter of Judge John H. Hall, of New Jersey. Four children were born to them,- Nathan Bangs, John Hall, Charles Kingsbury and Caroline Armstrong, all of whom survive. The mother departed this life November 16, 1882. The present wife of Dr. Westbrook was Henrietta Payne, M.D., eldest daughter of Rev. Ara Payne, of Rhode Island. She is a graduate of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia.
The Deckers were an early family in Delaware township. They were located along the river road both above and below Dingman's Ferry, but the largest settlement of Deckers was at a place called Deckertown. on Decker (now Hornbeck) Creek, where they had a fort during the wars. August 8, 1768, Broer Decker sold forty-three acres of land in Delaware township to Hendrikus Decker, being part of one hundred acres which Broer Decker had purchased of William Allen, June 16, 1768. The deed to Hendrikus Decker was acknowledged before John Van Campen, justice of the peace for Northampton County, in 1773. In 1763, Henry Decker was appointed constable of Upper Smithfield township. Hendrikus Decker lived just below the creek, and lost two sons in the Indian troubles, as has been elsewhere shown. The Deckers of Delaware township appear to have been squatters generally, and laboring men. They are among the pioneer settlers of Pike County. It is impossible to tell when they first crossed the Delaware, but it is probable that they were there as early, if not earlier, than Andrew Dingman. In the 1781 assessment of Delaware township Elias Decker, Cornelius Decker, Ezekiel Decker, John Decker, Henry Decker and Jacob Decker are assessed, and among the single freemen Ezekiel Decker, Abraham Decker and Isaac Decker are mentioned. In 1800 the names of Elisha, Benjamin, Samuel, Levi, Emanuel and Daniel Decker also appear. Notwithstanding there were so many of the name in Delaware township in its early history, they all disappeared years ago with the exception of Affe, daughter of Hendrikus, who married Garret Brodhead, a Revolutionary soldier. After the war he purchased one hundred and seventy-eight acres of land on the hills west of Dingman's Ferry, of David Litch, who had built a log cabin and made a small clearing. Mr. Brodhead added to this purchase and increased the clearing until in 1801 he is assessed with thirty acres of improved land and two hundred and seventy acres of unimproved land. Affe Decker, his wife, made her escape from her father's house, when her two brothers were killed, by jumping from the window and fleeing to Fort Decker. Garret Brodhead and his wife are buried in Delaware Cemetery. He died in 1835, aged seventy-nine, and Affe, his wife, in 1840, aged eighty. Nicholas Brodhead, his son, lived on the homestead, which is now in the possession of his son, David O. Brodhead, who cultivates the old farm. Garret Brodhead had two daughters- Hannah (wife of John Brown) and Cornelia (wife of Nathan Emery), who lived at Dingman's Ferry. The Deckers were large, tall men, who preferred border life to the comforts of civilization, and most of them went West. John Hecker contracted for a place of sixty-seven acres above Dingman's Ferry. He made a clearing and built a cabin, but being unable or disinclined to make payment, he traded his improvement to his brother-in-law for a barrel of whiskey, which shows the value some of the early settlers placed upon their possessions. The old grist-mill on Decker Creek was probably built by William Austin, a bachelor miller, as early as 1775. It was the oldest grist-mill in the vicinity and is assessed to John Frazier in 1800 at a valuation of three hundred dollars. It has long since fallen into decay and the site of the old mill is known only to a few persons. There was also an old saw-mill at the same place. John Frazier's children were John, Benjamin, Peter, Jane (wife of Isaac Van Gordon), Phoebe (wife of William C. Jagger), Betsey (wife of David Sayre) and William. Benjamin was county commissioner in 1844 and justice of the peace in Delaware township for twenty-two years. His son, John W. Frazier, owns the homestead and is justice of the peace in Delaware township now. Cornelius Angle came to Delaware township in 1823 and bought eight hundred acres of land of Nicholas Livengood. He was an enterprising man and the first of the Delaware farmers who raised his bread on the mountains. His sons Charles, Jacob, John and William all remained in the township. George W. Donaldson, a Scotchman, came from New York recently and purchased the old Angle homestead. He has expended a large sum in the erection of buildings, fences and in otherwise improving the property.
Jacob Angle recollects that Philip Reser had a large family of boys, none of whom remain. The same may be said of Henry Steele, with slight exception.
Cooper Jagger was an old settler on the hills, hut his descendants are nearly all gone. The Deckers owned all the lands adjacent at one time, but never improved it. Elias Decker was an old Revolutionary soldier, and about ninety years of age when he died. One of his sons, Elisha, lived and died here; another son, John, did business in New York and lived to a great age. Abraham Courtright resided here years ago and some of his children are still in the township. Adam Bensley used to live in the neighborhood, his father having died here, and some of his descendants are stil1 in the township. Gabriel Layton, who died recently, was justice of the peace, his brother, John Layton, having been superintendent of the schools of Pike County for nine years.
Jacob Hornbeck, a son of Joseph Hornbeck, lived on the river road in Delaware township, near the mouth of the Decker or Hornbeck Creek, where he had a tavern. He was a major in the militia and apparently a man of some influence in his day, being both a merchant and hotel-keeper. His daughter Maria was the wife of Oliver S. Dimmick, who kept a hotel a short time, then moved to Milford and from thence to Matamoras. Belinda Hornbeck was the wife of Martin W. Dingman and lived near Dingman's Ferry. Robert Hatton, an Englishman, came to Pike about 1810 and settled on the hills of Delaware township. He was noted for his wonderful stories, which were told with the utmost gravity and apparent candor. His wife lived to be one hundred and one years of age. He had two sons, James and Charles, county surveyor for twenty years, and knows more about Pike County land than any one else in it.
The following list of persons taxed in Delaware in 1801 shows the scope of the township and the residents at that time:
Garret Brodhead Geo. Nyce Richard Brodhead John Nyce Jas. Bertron Martin Ryerson John Brink Abraham Reesner Emanuel Brink Wm. Rodman John Craig James Randolph Henry Cronkright Isaac Reemer Henry Curtright Bernard Swartwood Isaac Curtright Samuel Seely Wm. Custard John Smith Wm. Custard, Jr Maj. Wm. Smith Jacob Cline Wm. Smith Conrad Cline Jonas Smith Jacob Decker Nicholas Schoonover Elisha Decker Ezekiel Schoonover Elias Decker Henry Steel Benj. Decker Anthony Van Etten Samuel Decker, Jr Emanuel Van Etten Abraham Decker Johannes Van Etten Levi Decker Simeon Van Etten Isaac Decker John Van Etten Samuel Decker, Sr Alex. Van Gordon Emanuel Decker Alex. Van Gordon, Jr Benj. Decker Moses Van Gordon Daniel Decker David Van, Gordon Andrew Dingman Isaac Van Gordon Daniel W. Dingman Eliphaz Van Auken Jerimah Fleming Wm. Wigton John Frazier Jonathan Wright Ledowicke Hover Richard Wills, black Solomon Hover Solomon Westbrook Boudwine Howey Jeremiah Wetsill Jacob Hornbeck Jeremiah Wetsill, Jr Joseph Hornbeck Solomon Rosegrant John Hover Joseph Curtright Evert Hornbeck Daniel Curtright Benj. Imson Sarah Curtright John Jinnings Peter Frach Robert Lattimore Thos. Patterson John Litch, Jr Richard Miller John Litch Peter La Bar David Litch Benj. Shik Wm. Mapes, Esq Abram Curtright Wm. Nyce Wm. Gustin.
TAXABLES IN DELAWARE TOWNSHIP IN 1814
Richard Brodhead Peter Man Garret Brodhead John Nyce Lenah Brink George Nyce Daniel Brink Philip Reser, Sr Israel Bensley Peter Reser Peter Berk Philip Reser, Jr John Berk Jacob Reser H. Berk John Reser Thomas Blake Solomon Rosencrans John Coolbaugh Solomon Redfield John Oourtright John Snyder Jane Cronkrite Lodwick Smith Joseph Courtright Isaac Smith William Custard Isaac Schoonover Benjamin Custard Ezekiel Schoonover Daniel W. Dingman Ezek. Schoonover, Jr John Decker Bernardus Swartwood Manuel Decker Henry Steel Daniel Decker Jacob Steel May Day Gilbert Steel Abraham Decker Isaac Steel Andrew Dingman Frederick Shaff Henry Decker Nicholas Tilman Elisha Decker Peter Trach Elias Decker Moses Van Gordon Ephraim Drake Johannes Van Etten John Frazier Elijah Van Gordon John Howe Isaac Van Gordon Evert Hornbeck Gilbert Van Gordon John Henry, Jr John Van Gordon John Henry, Sr James Van Gordon Lodewick Hover John Van Sickle Peter Hover Anthony Van Etten Jacob Hornbeck Catherine Van Etten Robert Howe Cornelia Van Etten Simon Heller Cornelius Van Etten Michael Heller Solomon Van Etten William Howe Dan Van Etten Nathan Emery John Van Etten Benjamin Impson Elipaz Van Auken Cooper Jagger Solomon Westbrook Henry Jackson John Westbrook Henry Jay Sol. Westbrook, Jr Robert Latimore Jacob Walter John Litch William Fennal Johannes Litch Adams & Austin Peter Labar Philip Trach Nicholas Livergood Moses Van Auken William Mapes Henry Zebes Cuffey Magons M. Van Gordon.
Wm. Latimore Lodwick Labor George Latimore Samuel Runelfield Nicholas Brodhead Henry Nagle Dan Courtright Frederick Vadican John Man Mason Dimmick Philip Man John Van Gordon Win. Nyce John Bodine Jacob Labor Benjamin Frazier.
PHILIP F. FULMER, M.D.
PHILIP F. FULMER, M.D., physician at Dingman's Ferry, Pike County, Pa., was born at Stewartsville, Warren County, N.J., June 19, 1830. He obtained his early education at the academy of his native place, and at the age of fifteen years entered Lafayette College, from which he was graduated in the class of '48. He began reading medicine with his uncle, Dr. William Wilson, of Bethlehem, Pa., after some preliminary study with Dr. James C. Kennedy, of Stewartsville; attended his first course of lectures at the New York Medical College, followed by two courses of lectures at the Pennsylvania University, and was graduated from the latter institution in the spring of 1853. The same year of his graduation in medicine, on account of his father's large business interests at home and in Pike County, Pa., Dr. Fulmer came to Fulmerville, Pike County, and managed the tannery and store of his father at Fulmerville until 1866, the time of the sale of the property. He began the practice of his profession upon his settlement at Fulmerville, which gradually extended until 1861, when he gave it his special attention. His field of practice rapidly increased; his quick perception, good judgment and correct diagnosis of disease made his name familiar throughout the country, and soon gave him reputable rank among the first in that part of the State. He has continued a successful practice since, adding annually to his already large field. In 1866 he bought the "Way-Side Inn" at Dingman's Ferry, then known as "Dingman's Choice Hotel," the only house for the accommodation of travelers in the place at that time. On May 25, 1865, Dr. Fulmer had married Miss Ella Bennitt, of Elmira, N.Y., a woman of culture and refinement. They took up their residence at Dingman's upon the purchase of the hotel, and built the present commodious and elegant "High Falls Hotel," which for many years has been a popular summer resort for people from New York, Philadelphia and other places, seeking rest, quiet and beautiful scenery on the Delaware. The "Way-Side Inn" was said to be one hundred and three years old when Dr. Fulmer made the purchase, and only capable of affording accommodations for a few people. He at once set about remodeling the building and beautifying the property, which, by making its value known to people seeking a home away from the busy scenes of city life, has done more to give Dingman's a wide name than had been done during its entire existence before. His hotel will accommodate some two hundred guests, and "stands in the centre of most of the wonderful and interesting natural features with which this region abounds. It may be safely stated that a radius of ten miles in any direction will embrace a greater variety of sublime and lovely scenic attractions than can be found elsewhere in the country in the same space. All about it the mountains give birth to brooks and rills that in their descent leap down in falls almost without number, and in shapes weird and lovely."-Editorial Correspondence, Home Journal.
Another newspaper, in speaking of the hotel and its proprietor, and of the attractions of the locality, says that "the High Falls Hotel, with a single exception, is the largest in the county; that it will accommodate two hundred guests, is well supplied with clear spring water, has bathing-houses and boats in the river for the use of its guests;" . . . and adds that "the village has two mails daily, one from New York and the other from Philadelphia," while "during the season a line of special stages runs between Dingman's and Milford."
The same writer says:
"Trout and black bass fishing is fine. Trout-fishing in six mountain streams. The hunting in the neighborhood of the village is excellent, and game= during the hunting season- is taken in abundance. The principal streams near the town are Dingman's Creek, Adams' Brook, Conashaugh Brook, Tom's Creek, Bushkill Creek and the Raymondskill. The Dingman Creek is noted for its great natural beauty as well as its fine trout, which, though not so large as their Long Island kindred, are more in number, growing in weight as the fisherman wanders down the current, and leaping at his fly with a lusty mountain vigor- 'a spring like the quiver of a sword blade.' The Adams' Brook, near by, is one of the most beautiful streams in the Delaware Valley.
"It is here that the lover of nature meets with the perpetual and delicious laughter of the waters, the picturesque, gloaming recesses, the thousand leaps and eddies, the rock-hung pools, the shady glens, and the forest-laced sunlight and shadow, where the bobolinks make music, and the grass is still spangled with dew.' The walks and drives within a radius of ten miles are delightful, the principal walks being to the 'High Falls,' 'Tower Falls,' 'Soar Trough,' 'Suspension Cave,' 'Lookout Rock,' 'Fossil Hill,' 'Echo Glen,' 'Fathomless Cave,' 'Fairy Glen,' 'Emerald Cascade,' 'The Vestibule,' 'Maple Grove' and the 'High Knob.'
"The drives comprise 'Conashaugh Valley,' 'Raymondskill Falls,' 'Bridal Veil Falls,' 'Sawkill Falls,' 'Utter's Peak,' 'Indian Ladder,' 'Iris Grotto,' 'The Wild Gorge,' 'Silver Lake,' 'Fern Bank," 'Hanging Rock' and 'Laughing Waters.' Silver Lake is a fine sheet of water about a mile and a half in length and well stocked with pickerel, perch and other gamy fish.
Reverting to the proprietor of the house, it may be said that since his residence in Pike Co., Dr. Fulmer has taken an active interest in all matters of importance relating to his immediate locality or the county. He was superintendent of the common schools of the county from 1857 to 1866, and has been a school director since the latter date. He was postmaster at Fulmerville from 1854 to 1866, and has been, for the past two years, one of the directors of the Northampton County Bank, at Easton, Pa.
His father, Judge John Fulmer, born in Richmond, Northampton County, Pa., in 1793, settled at Stewartsville, N.J., his present residence, soon after his marriage, where he carried on a store and tannery until 1858, and a tannery and store at Fulmerville until 1866. He is a man of large business capacity, was one of the incorporators of the old Phillipsburg Bank, and one of its directors for fifteen years. He was postmaster at Stewartsville from 1822 to 1861, an associate judge of the Warren County, N.J., courts for twenty-five years, one of the founders of the Stewartsville Academy and one of the founders of the Lutheran Church.
Dr. Fulmer's mother, Barbara Ann (1799-1882), was a daughter of Mathias Brakely, of 'Warren County, who was of German descent. The children of Judge Fulmer are Brakely, who was a merchant in the home store until his decease; Andrew J., a merchant at Stewartsville in the same store; John, deceased, assisted in conducting the business at Fulmerville; Dr. Philip F. Fulmer, subject of this sketch; William, a merchant at Bloomsburg, N.J.; Mary, widow of Jacob Strader, of Washington, N.J.; Emma, wife of David Clark, cashier of the Danville Bank, at Danville, Pa. Dr. Fulmer's parental grandfather, John Fulmer, came from Germany, and was a tanner and farmer in Richmond, where he settled and resided during his life.
Mrs. Dr. Fulmer's father, Wilson W. Bennitt (1801-1861), resided in Elmira, N.Y., and was the son of Platt Bennitt, a native of Connecticut, who settled at Elmira and was the founder of the first Episcopal Church at that place. Platt Bennitt's wife was a Wheeler, of Horseheads, N.Y. Wilson W. Bennitt's children are Frances, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., widow of the late. Edward Hubbell, of Bath, N.Y.; Zibah, died in 1881, resided at St. Louis and was superintendent of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad; Henry is a banker at Newbern, N.Y.; and Mrs. Dr. Fulmer.
Mrs. Dr. Fulmer's mother, Mary Tuttle (1806-1858), was a native of Elmira, N.Y., whose mother was a Cantine, a native of France, and whose father was an Englishman, who came from Long Island; was one of the first settlers at Elmira, was one of the first Masons there, and one of the founders of the first Presbyterian Church in that city. Dr. Fulmer's children are Frank, died at the age of five years at Richmond, Va.; Nana B. and Philip F. Fulmer, Jr.
* Most of the above facts are taken from Judge Dingman's papers, which he prepared for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
** See Chapter VII. of General History.
*** See Penn. Archives, vol. viii. pp. 202 and 386. See also chapter on Revolutionary Period.
Page(s) 907-926; History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties, Pennsylvania, Mathews, Alfred, Philadelphia, R. T. Peck & Co., 1886