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  • ID: I574283231 View Post-em!
  • Name: Elisha BARTON
  • Given Name: Elisha
  • Surname: Barton
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 5 OCT 1729 in Amwell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey
  • Death: 31 MAR 1823 in Amwell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey
  • MARR:
  • Burial: 1823 Barton Farmyard, Hunterdon, New Jersey
  • Note:
    Elisha Barton served in the American Revolutionary War as a captain in the Eastern Battalion of Morris County, New Jersey, also known as the First Battalion New Jersey Militia. Some researchers say Noah Barton, born 1668, is Elisha's father but that is unlikely (see below). Some speculate Elisha and Georges' father was an unknown son of Noah Barton. Thus, Elisha Barton's father is unknown and the tree ends here. Our tree only covers a few descendants of Captain Barton, for a more comprehensive listing of the descendants of Captain Elisha Barton please go to Michael S. Caldwell's genealogical database.

    Revolutionary War exhibits and historical narrative from the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey:

    Exhibit One

    Exhibit Two

    The New Jersey Militia in the Revolutionary War:

    Unlike Massachusetts, New Jersey was a relatively quiet colony in the decade before the war, although the majority of Jerseyans sympathized with what they saw as excessive British limitations on colonial liberties. New Jersey militiamen flocked to the flag following the battles of Lexington and Concord, and a 1775 law called for every township to enroll men between the ages of 16 and 50 in the active militia. Quakers (20% of the population) and those in certain occupations were exempted.

    In 1776, the New Jersey militia helped defend New York under General George Washington. When the Americans were defeated and retreated across the state, the Jersey militiamen melted away, and, much to Washington's dismay, a number of Jerseymen signed loyalty oaths to the British. The New Jersey militia redeemed itself, however, in succeeding months, providing vital assistance to the American commander in his counterattacks at Trenton and Princeton, and in keeping the British bottled up in a few towns during the "forage war" that lasted into the spring of 1777.

    For the rest of the Revolution, militia and "state troops" drawn from the militia disarmed local Tories and battled Loyalist and British raiders along the coast, the New York border and deep into the South Jersey Pine Barrens. New Jersey militiamen also conducted amphibious raids and attacks on British coastal enclaves and shipping. The militia also assisted regular American forces in large battles like Monmouth Court House. Many battles and skirmishes were fought in New Jersey, which gained the state the nickname "cockpit of the Revolution."

    New Jersey volunteers and draftees from the militia, a new generation of "Jersey Blues," manned the state's "Continental Line" regular army regiments. Two regiments of "Blues" joined the 1775 invasion of Canada and suffered casualties from both combat and smallpox. These units were discharged in 1776, and four new ones, mustering 1,408 men, were raised in 1777. These regiments served together in the "New Jersey Brigade" commanded by Brigadier General William Maxwell of Sussex County, which earned an excellent combat record. By the end of the war in 1783, two New Jersey Continental regiments, mustering 676 men, were still in service. Approximately 2% of the men serving in the New Jersey Continentals were African American or Native American.

    Monument to commemorate the soldiers who fought in the American Revolution in 1776, erected at Fort Lee, NJ:

    Picture One

    Picture Two

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    From Barton Family Information - Compiled by C. Kirkstadt, Jan 1997
    (ed.) - Elisha did marry Jemima VanKirk and their daughter, Mary did marry Elijah Barton. Mary and Elijah were first cousins (sub. note: This is based on the theory Noah Barton was Elisha and George Bartons' father, which is highly unlikely. see below). Elisha was a Captain in Morris County, eastern battalion, Revolutionary War. Will dated Sep 21, 1821, proved Apr 26, 1824.

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    From the book "Abstracts of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots" by Patricia Law Hatcher, on page 58, Elisha Barton's grave is listed at "Barton Farmyard, Hunterdon, NJ" (note - other sources describe the grave as at "Barton Burial Ground, Rariton Twp, Somersund, Rariton, New Jersey":

    http://books.google.com/books?id=5Fm-DQm1dNUC&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=elisha+barton&source=bl&ots=W55y0xjUJE&sig=8JcgRHzCSjqTACD1HIAobFtrJGo&hl=en&ei=FuYjSsvbDZvotQPc6fH2Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#PPA58,M1

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    Reference to Elisha Barton in "Annals of our colonial ancestors and their descendants" By Ambrose Milton Shotwell:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=QLpRAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA273&lpg=PA273&dq=Elisha+Barton+Revolutionary+War&source=bl&ots=IrQXMZowdk&sig=rfIp36CT2nJyk2jBRAzliuyV6n0&hl=en&ei=pO4jSv-eNpGCtgPT77WVBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9

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    Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War:

    http://www.njstatelib.org/cgi-bin/texis/webinator/search/context.html?query=+Henry+Chamberlain+&pr=Searchable+Publications&prox=page&rorder=500&rprox=500&rdfreq=500&rwfreq=500&rlead=500&rdepth=0&sufs=0&order=r&cq=9&cmd=context&id=45632bd79

    --------

    Marriage 1 Jemima VAN KIRK b: 20 FEB 1735/36 in Hopewell, Hunterdon Co. NJ

    * Married: About 1755

    Children

    1. Henry BARTON b: 18 DEC 1756 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    2. Mary BARTON b: 28 DEC 1758 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    3. Rachel BARTON b: 4 JAN 1760 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    4. Sarah BARTON b: 18 APR 1763 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    5. Noah BARTON b: 23 NOV 1764 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    6. Ursilla BARTON b: 20 JAN 1767 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    7. Catherine BARTON b: 26 SEP 1768 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    8. Margaret BARTON b: 10 SEP 1770 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    9. John BARTON b: 30 APR 1772 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    10. Enoch BARTON b: 22 JAN 1775 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    11. Gilbert BARTON b: 30 JAN 1777 in Hunterdon Co. NJ
    12. Rhoda BARTON b: 15 OCT 1780 in Hunterdon Co. NJ

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    THE NEW ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, Vol. CVI, (July 1952) "Roger Barton of Westchester County, N.Y., and some of his earlier Descendants" by George E. McCracken

    p. 114: "He [Elisha Barton] was a captain in the Eastern Battalion of Morris County during the Revolution (Stryker, 381), and is said to have built a fine brick house in Hunterdon. Elisha's will was dated 21 Sept. 1821, probated 26 April 1824 (Trenton 3311J)."

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    Subj: Re: TAX PAYERS in HUNTERDON COUNTY REQUEST
    Date: 97-11-25 00:03:57 EST
    From: jimstout{at}earthlink{dot}net (Jim Stout)
    To: Michael S. Caldwell

    Here's what the TAXPAYERS book has to say about Elisha BARTON: he paid taxes in Amwell Township in 1780, 1784, 1786 and 1789. The entry for 1789 says "Elisha & son" without naming the son. Other BARTONs listed are Andrew (in Hopewell twp in 1779-81, 1785); David (in Hopewell twp in 1780-81, 1785); Elijah (in Bethlehem twp in 1778, 1780); Gabriel (in Hopewell twp in 1781); George (in Bethlehem twp in 1778, 1780); Henry (in Amwell twp in 1780, 1784); John (in Bethlehem in 1778, 1780); John (in Hopewell twp in 1781, 1785); Noah (in Amwell twp in 1786); Stephen (in Hopewell twp in 1778-81, 1785); Zebulon (in Hopewell twp in 1779-81).

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    Will of Elisha Barton:

    In the name of God Amen

    I Elisha Barton of the Township of Amwell in the County of Hunterdon and State of New Jersey being of sound disposing mind and memory do make and publish this a for my last will and testament.

    First, I give devise and bequeath my farm land lying in the Township of Amwell aforesaid adjoining lands of Mary Everitt, John Suydam, Andrew Shepherd and others containing one hundred and forty four acres of land be the same more or less to my beloved son John Barton to him his heirs and assigns forever. And if he should die before me I devise the same to his children to be divided between them as the same as by law it would have been divided had he held the same in fee simple and died intestate and my son John Barton is to pay my beloved son Enoch Barton two hundred and eighty dollars and to my beloved son Noah Barton fifty dollars within one year after my decease. These legacies I order to be paid by my son John Barton to my two sons Enoch Barton and Noah Barton as above set forth: out of the aforesaid farm that I have given to my son John Barton: or their survivors. Secondly, I give devise and bequeath to my beloved son Gilbert Barton two acres of wood situate in the Township of Amwell adjoining lands of the aforesaid Everitt Shepherd and others to him my son Gilbert Barton his heirs and assigns forever: and likewise my waggon and gear. Thirdly, I do order that my executors herein after named do make a vendue of all and singular my goods chattels as soon as conveniently may be after my decease and the money arising from the sale after paying my just debts and funeral expenses together with all the monies that I have owing to me at my decease I give devise and bequeath to my daughters and their survivors Namely Mary, the Heirs of Rachel; Sarah, Ann Catherine, Margarett, and Rhoda and ten dollars to my grandaughter Mary Cronts. I do constitute and appoint my beloved son John Barton and my trusty friend Philip Cooley Executors. of this my last will and testament And I do hereby revoke and disanull any other will or wills by me heretofore made, and I do declare that this to be my last will and testament: In Witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenty-first day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one. (1821)

    Signed Sealed published )
    and declared by the )
    said Elisha Barton to )
    be his testament and last ) Elisha Barton (Seal)
    will in presence of us )
    Cornelius Lake )
    Wm Rake )
    John Sergent )

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    Sources:

    Birth and Death Dates - THE NEW ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, Vol. CVI, (July 1952) "Roger Barton of Westchester County, N.Y., and some of his earlier Descendants" by George E. McCracken

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    From a posting by Marilyn Current in Barton Family Genealogy Forum - (http://genforum.genealogy.com/barton/messages/4432.html
    ):
    Hoping for help in unravelling a family mystery.

    Bet. 1745-1747 our ancestor, William Current, landed in NJ, an orphan, (maybe 5-7 years old?)the rest of his family having died of ship's fever. An Elisha Barton took him in, (possibly as an indentured servant?) The next record we have of William is in Oxford, Sussex Co., as an adult. When he lived with the Bartons he was probably in another part of New Jersey. I really need to identify who this Elisha Barton was, in order to piece together the real facts about William's early years. The problem is, there were many Elisha Bartons in NJ, NY, and PA in this time period. I need HELP in figuring out which is the correct one.

    One of William Current's eldest children, Charity Current, married Thomas Campbell Sexton from Hunterdon Co., NJ on May 10, 1787, in Sussex Co. Recently I located Sexton family records which give Charity's birth as February 18, 1769, Hopewell, Hunterdon (now Mercer) Co. So maybe William lived in Hunterdon Co. before moving to Sussex Co? Giving further support to this, I have located an Elisha Barton who lived in Hunterdon Co. in the same time period:

    Capt. Elisha Barton was b. 5 Oct 1729 in Amwell, Hunterdon, NJ, d. 31 Mar 1823 same place, m.abt 1755 to Jemima van Kirk b. 20 Feb 1735/1736 in Hopewell Twp., Hunterdon Co.. But, I'm afraid this Elisha would have been slightly too young to have taken in an indentured servant in 1747, and definitely too young in 1745. There is conflicting information about who this Capt. Elisha Barton's parents were. The only source I have seen who has attempted to assign a father to Elisha, gives him as Noah Barton, (citing no real evidence), b. 1668 in CT, d. aft. 1737, Cranberry, Middlesex Co., NJ, m. bef. 1710 NY to Mary unknown. Even descendants of Capt. Elisha have had reason to doubt this connection, partially based on the age difference.

    I just came across some more information which I believe sounds more plausible. But, without proof, it is nothing but theory. This new information appears to place 2 consecutive Elisha Bartons immediately prior to Capt. Elisha Barton, making him Elisha Barton, III. Elisha Barton, II, would be the correct age to be the benefactor of William Current. What do you think of this? Anything anyone can add, or detract, from this?:

    from the Lorne Shunk's Family Tree: (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~shunkfamilytree/FamilyTree/fam07666.htm)
    Elisha BARTON, (SR.) (s/o Roger Barton & Mary Lounsberry) b. bet.1662-1668, d. bef. 1717 at Burlington Co., NJ, m.1 to _?_ Contine, (d/o Isaac Contine), at New Rochelle, Westchester Co., NY; m2 to Mary Griffin. CHILDREN by 1st marriage: 1) Thomas BARTON, b. at Westchester Co., NY, d. Hunterdon Co., NJ, m. Hannah Clark; and2) _?_ Barton, (whom I believe was Elisha Barton, Jr.), d. NJ

    Put this together with another bit of information picked up from Michael S. Disbrow's Family Tree (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/5853/hendis/hendis.html):
    BENJAMIN DISBROW (son of Henry I), b. abt. 1672, poss. on Long Island, NY, d. 10 Dec. 1733 Matawan, Monmouth Co., NJ, m. MARY GRIFFIN, Children: 1)John Disbrow, b. 1702; 2)Benjamin Disbrow, Jr., b. abt. 1707; d. 17 Mar. 1735 Matawan, Monmouth Co., NJ; m. Margaret _; no children, 3)Anne Disbrow, b. 1710; d. 1733, 4) Griffin Disbrow, b. 1712, 5) Mary Disbrow, m. Elisha Barton (This would be Elisha Barton, Jr., Mary Disbrow's step-brother, son of her mother, Mary Griffin's second spouse, Elisha Barton,Sr.)

    This Elisha Barton, Jr., and wife Mary Disbrow, then, are probably the parents of Capt. Elisha Barton (III) of Hunterdon Co., NJ, as well as being the Elisha Barton who took William Current into their home when he landed, orphaned, on NJ soil.

    So, tell me, am I crazy?!!! Is there anything anyone can add to support this, or to point me in another direction for the real Elisha Barton who took in William Current?

    Reply to the above post from JCB:
    There is no problem with the timing of your theory. To make it simple for the descendants of Roger Barton, you are saying that McCracken's Unknown3 Barton (Elisha2, Roger1) is your Elisha of interest, married to Mary Disbrow.

    There is no inherent objection to your identification. Roger Barton knew the earlier Disbrow family. And more than a few early descendants of Roger Barton were identified through other family genealogies. The only problem is that there is not a shred of evidence to prove your theory.

    I suggest you spend considerable time studying the children of McCracken's Unknown3 Barton (Elisha2, Roger1) to see where they were when, etc., and see how that fits your knowledge of William Current. Of course, that's going around in a circle because you want to identify Elisha Barton so as to learn more about William Current. But you could at least study it at that level to see if there are any contradictions or conflicts.

    Also, I suggest you ask Michael Disbrow for the specific references (perhaps some photocopies) for his claim that Mary Disbrow married Elisha Barton. He lists five references, only one of which is readily available in the public domain (Bolton's History of Westchester), and I doubt the item of interest is in that book. If you had the reference, you might learn a little bit more about the family of interest, or it might kill your idea.

    Finally, although this will not affect your situation, there is not a shred of evidence that the wife of Roger Barton was Mary Lounsbury.

    So this is neither yea nor nay, but more like, good work, interesting, carry on.

    JCB

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    JCB posted on the Ancestry.Com Barton Bulletin Board on Dec. 14, 2004 in response to my posting information on Elisha, Mary and Rachel Barton:

    For the most part, the information in Rick Busig's three posts is reasonably well documented.

    However, the big question is the parentage of Elisha Barton (1729-1823).

    In 1941, Adolph Law Voge estimated that Elisha Barton (1729-1823) was the son of Noah2 Barton (Roger1). This is the version provided by Rick.

    In 1952, George E. McCracken estimated that Elisha Barton (1729-1823) was the son of an unknown son of Elisha2 Barton (Roger1). McCracken provided some of his reasoning, but it is scattered in his article, and hardly suited to a message board. This is the version published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

    On this date in 2004, I will point out that both Voge and McCracken constructed the early Barton families partly on the assumption that all families in the area of interest were descendants of Roger1 Barton. Thus they reasoned, often tacitly, that any Barton family with the appropriate given names, and not otherwise accounted for by direct evidence, could be placed in (or out of) the Roger Barton family by whatever circumstantial evidence was available. However, since there is evidence of possibly two brothers of Roger in that area at that time, namely John and the father of William (although John could be the father of William), one cannot automatically assign all the unknowns as descendants of Roger1 Barton. DNA evidence is not helpful because any brother of Roger1 would have the same DNA as Roger.

    As an example of poor reasoning by circumstantial evidence; McCracken (1952, page 291) dismissed a family of Bartons in Burlington County, NJ, thusly, "There was, however, a family of Bartons in that area who, unlike the Bartons of Westchester, were Friends, and that Elisha may have been a different man." This argument was based on McCracken's incorrect notion that Roger Barton was not a Puritan. As it turns out, McCracken was not an astute student of Roger, because the evidence is that Roger was very much the Puritan, and that family of Friends might well have been closely related to Roger1.

    Thus we are left with THREE possible ancestries of Elisha Barton (1729-1823).

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    JCB posted on the Ancestry.Com Barton Bulletin Board on Dec. 15, 2004 in response to my posting information on Elijha Barton:

    Rick:

    First, the easy one. It is generally agreed that Noah2 Barton (Roger1) was born about 1668. The documentary evidence, not someone's personal file, is that Roger Barton was in Rye from 1667 until 1678 when he moved to Fordham Manor. In 1668, when Noah2 Barton was born, Rye was part of Connecticut. Therefore, it is correct to say that Noah2 Barton was born about 1668 in Rye, Connecticut (later a part of New York).

    Now the problem.

    First Point: There seems to have been three brothers:
    George, who you state was born in 1719.
    Elisha, born 1729.
    Gabriel, born 1733.

    Since we agree that Noah2 Barton was born about 1668, then we look at Noah's age when the three brothers were born.

    George was born when Noah was 51.
    Elisha was born when Noah was 61.
    Gabriel was born when Noah was 65.

    This means that Noah's wife had to be at least 20 years younger than Noah. Thus when Noah was 50 years old, his wife was under 30. That is quite an age gap.

    Next point. Noah2 Barton had quite a series of land transactions. The first one that mentioned his wife, Mary, was in 1730, eleven years after George was born, and after Elisha was born.

    Next point. Much of what we know about the family of Elisha (b. 1729) came from the genealogist Hiram Deats, great grandson of Ursilla, who was the daughter of Elisha. Deats said that he copied the data from Ursilla's family Bible. Since the data did not include the parents of Elisha, that issue was left in the dark. That means the issue of George's parents was also left in the dark.

    Next point. As I pointed out before, the noted genealogist, George E. McCracken, also a descendant of Roger1 Barton, concluded that Elisha, George and Gabriel were not the sons of Noah2 Barton.

    Next point. You state that Elisha was born Oct 5, 1729, in Amwell, Hunterdon Co., NJ. That matches the records of Elisha's great grandson, Hiram Deats, as copied from the family Bible of Elisha's daughter, Ursilla. On Oct 23, 1729, Noah2 Barton was a protester at an Eastchester, Westchester Co., NY, town meeting. On Aug 4, 1730, a Noah Barton bought land in Trenton, and he was described in the deed as being of Somerset.

    What is the evidence that supports your contention that George, who you say was born about 1719, Elisha, born 1729, and Gabriel, born 1733, were the sons of Noah2 Barton?


    Regards, JCB

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    History of Hunterdon County, New Jersey:

    County Government in New Jersey is organized around the semi-legislative Board of Chosen Freeholders, the elected administrative officials of the County. The term FREEHOLDER, as applied to a County Official, is derived from a practice in medieval England. There, a Freeholder was a person who held certain rights in real property. Only Freeholders were eligible for membership on the County Governing Body. This conception followed the English to the shores of New Jersey, and the County Governmental Body became known as the Board of Justices and Chosen Freeholders. The Justices of Peace who joined with the Chosen Freeholders in forming the Board, were appointed rather than elected by the popular vote, as were the two Freeholders chosen from each municipality in the County. The legislature in 1798 abolished the Board as constituted. A Board of Chosen Freeholders composed of one elected representative from each municipality in the county, who assumed the powers and jurisdiction of the old Board of Justices and Chosen Freeholders. The proper qualification was later dropped, but the title was continued. In 1902, permissive state legislation allowed a county to change the composition of its Board of Chosen Freeholders from one member representing each town and township to that of three to nine elected members for the County at large.

    Hunterdon County has been governed by the above forms of County Government during the 275 years of its existence. Among the men of distinction that have served as Hunterdon's Freeholders and Justices are William Trent, for whom Trenton is named; Phillip Ringoes, early trader and settler in Amwell Township; Colonel John Mehelm, Colonel Thomas Lowry, Colonel Isaac Smith, Colonel David Schomp, all of Revolutionary War fame; John Hart, signer of the Declaration of Independence; and U.S. Senator John Lambert.

    The minutes of the Board of Justices and Chosen Freeholders of Hunterdon County begin with the May 1739 meeting as recorded in a leather-bond volume, and are continued to the present date. Much of the information recorded reflects the condition of affairs and the thinking of the people of Hunterdon County throughout the years. In the beginning, the Board met once a year in May at the Hunterdon County Courthouse. Occasionally, a special meeting would be called at another place. When not meeting in the Courthouse, the Board generally met at a tavern convenient to the location requiring the attention, such as a bridge site.

    The early Freeholders served without pay, which they "looked upon as a grievance," in 1792 that the sum of shillings 6 pence per meeting be allowed for expenses for each member in attendance.

    The First Courthouse and Jail for the County, built about 1720, was located in the center of Trenton. The governing body met once a year and transacted business in the Courthouse in Trenton. In March of 1780 an act of the New Jersey Legislature enabled the governing body to meet in the John Ringoes Tavern in Amwell, for the convenience of the County's inhabitants. In May 1790 the Legislature was petitioned to hold an election to fix a place where a Courthouse and Jail should be built for Hunterdon County. The election was held in October, and Flemington was chosen as the location. Mr. George Alexander, an inn-keeper, offered a half acre of his land for the first Courthouse and Jail. It was erected in the summer of 1791. This structure burned in February 1828; arson was suspected.

    The historic Courthouse was rebuilt on the same site in May 1828, using some of the stone from the original building for the Jail portion at the rear of the Courthouse. The Jail was enlarged in 1925. A new Jail was built recently, located a block north of the Courthouse on Park Avenue. It is unusual in shape --- round, with a bright blue roof.

    One of the distinguishing features of the historic Courthouse is the bell located in the cupola. It was installed with the building of the Courthouse in 1828, and was used to announce the holding of court or to announce that a jury had reached a verdict. The Courthouse was first lighted by gas, replaced by electric in 1894, again replaced by gas, then back to electric in 1927. Steam heat replaced the fireplaces in 1893. When the Courthouse was rebuilt following the fire in 1828, a corner-stone containing a Bible, the laws of New Jersey, a brass plate upon which was engraved the year of erection, the name of the architect, building committee, etc. and was all placed during a ceremony. In May 1813, the Flemington Aqueduct Company erected a trough in front of the Courthouse for the public to water horses, cattle, etc. In 1901, the Flemington Women's Club installed the present granite drinking fountain "for the convenience of man and beast".

    Capital punishment by hanging has been recorded in Hunterdon County. In March 1907, Governor Stokes signed a bill outlawing hanging in New Jersey as the penalty for first degree murder, substituting electrocution. In April 1907 a jury found John Schuyler guilty of a first degree murder committed in January of that year. He was sentenced to die on the scaffold on June 28, 1907. It looked as if New Jersey might have its last hanging in Flemington. As a scaffold borrowed from Mercer County was being prepared, the execution was stayed. The penalty was later commuted on appeal.

    In January 1935, in this century-old Courtroom, Bruno Hauptmann was tried for the crime of the fatal kidnapping of the son of Colonel Charles Lindbergh. The dramatic trial attracted world-wide attention. Hauptmann was found guilty and was electrocuted in Trenton. The witness chair from the trial can be seen in the left corner in front of the railing at the front of the main Courtroom. (click here to view the courthouse as it looks today)

    In 1790, the Hunterdon County Freeholders met at Alexander's Tavern in Flemington. They decided that an election should be held at Meldrums Tavern in Ringoes to determine a location for the County Courthouse. Flemington, the County Seat for Hunterdon and parts of what are now Mercer County, was chosen to house the new Courthouse. Though little more than roads intersecting in the wilderness, Flemington was the intersecting point between Trenton, Philadelphia and New York.

    The original Courthouse was begun in 1791, involving more than one hundred people in the effort. Asher Atkinson was superintendent of the construction. Fieldstone was brought in by farmers, cut by masons and erected by local laborers. Three years later, the building was completed on the site of the historic Courthouse. Symbolizing the new County Seat, the building was two stories and measured sixty by thirty-five feet. For thirty-seven years it served as the center of commercial and judicial life in the County.

    Lawyers from all over the County crossed its threshold, some well steeped in judicial law and others with limited schooling, who studied under a local lawyer's patronage. One well-known attorney of the day was Thomas Potts Johnson, whose portrait hangs on the south wall of the main Courtroom above the retired jury chairs used in the Lindbergh trial. Admitted to the bar in 1794, Johnson had originally been a carpenter before reading law under his father-in-law Richard Stockton of Princeton. A story is told of a dispute that arose between Johnson and his opponent regarding a point of law. His adversary remarked in a derisive manner that he could not be taught law by a carpenter. Johnson rose to address the Court. 'May it please your Honors, the gentlemen has been pleased to refer to my having been a carpenter. True - I was a carpenter - I am proud of it, so was the reputed father of our Lord and Savior. And I could yet, given a block of wood, a mallet and chisel, hew something that would very much resemble my colleague's head. True, I could not put in brains, but it would have more manners.'"

    On February 13, 1928 luck suddenly changed as fire attacked the Courthouse from within spouting flames from every window against the midnight sky. On that cold wintry night, it was soon evident that the building could not be saved. The best they could hope for was to save the Court's records and the surrounding buildings. Prisoners were quickly evacuated and housed nearby at an inn. The next day they were moved to the Somerset County Jail, and the Court set up temporary quarters at the Methodist Church.

    Several committees were formed before final plans were determined for the rebuilding of the Courthouse. Salvage from the first building was utilized, and work began within the year to create the solid, imposing structure we see today. The corner-stone was laid May 7, 1828, and the first Court Session was opened by Judge Ewing on May 7, 1829.

    The large white structure, with towering columns and commanding crowning lantern, resembles a Greek temple, appropriate for this temple of justice. Lawyer Nathanial Saxton was responsible for the design, which is primitive Classical Revival Architecture with both Greek and Roman influence. The classic structure shows its ship lap clapboard gable to the street, topped with arched windows in the south mounting lantern. A colonnade of four massive Doric Columns soars to the height of the body of the building. An old jail and keeper's rooms are to the rear. Offices were on the first floor of the Courthouse with courtrooms on the second and the grand jury room on the third floor.

    In the 1870's, when the neighboring Hall of Records was built in the Italianate style, brackets were added to the Courthouse; but basically the original play has been adhered to. Thomas Capner was the superintendent of the completion of the 1828 Courthouse, which was built at a cost of $13,513.86. The land on which the two Courthouses have stood was given by George Alexander, with additional land donated later by Charles Bonnell.

    Climb the front steps of this impressive civil building, enter the front hall, and step back in time to a country Courthouse. The front hall houses a display relating to the famous Lindbergh Kidnapping Trial. On the wall are copies of historic documents. There are pictures of missing persons including children. Beside them are the photographs of wanted felons, a strange and sad contrast. Along the hall were the Clerks' and Sheriff's offices and a Law Library, which was open to the public. Opposite the Law Library was a room which in 1935 served as the central press room for the trial. Here, eagerly awaited news on the trial was sent out by wire to the waiting public throughout the country and the world. Continuing to the rear, if you turn to the right, you can look out to see the entrance to the old Jail and the passageway outside where crowds stood to see Hauptmann brought from the Jail to the Courtroom. At that time, the guards were leery of such crowds and brought the prisoner by an inside passageway to a holding cell on the second floor.

    Compared with the old Jail Cells, this holding cell seems like a palace with its gray paint and stainless steel facilities. However, it still has it own claustrophobic atmosphere and the ever present bars speak solemnly of the dreaded reality of crime. At the top of the stairs, on the first floor, is the back entrance to Courtroom #1, or the Criminal Court. Here Hauptmann was brought, as was anyone on trial for criminal offenses. Climbing one more flight to the second floor you find Courtroom #2 or the Civil Court, where domestic violence, corporate and civil cases were tired. Step inside Courtroom #2 to see the original spectator benches used in the Criminal Court during the Lindbergh trial. At the front of the Courtroom are the Judge's Bench, Defense and Prosecuting Desks and the chairs of the Jury. A civil hearing has six jurors and two alternates. A criminal trial has twelve jurors and two alternates, except for murder trials both parties may agree to have fourteen jurors and two alternates.

    A trip through the old Jail is both revealing and frightening. On the second floor were three work release holding rooms for prisoners, four to a room with a central bathroom and kitchen - small, but bearable. On the floor below, things quickly went from dreariness to bearable. To the right of the front entrance was the guard's office, with an opening for talking and a small lock-up box, where an officer must leave his gun. That security measure was to prevent a prisoner from snatching the gun while being locked up. To the left was the room where the unflattering mug shots were taken. Behind that was a cell where a prisoner could talk with his lawyer, or a visitor could communicate through an opening. Further in were two rows of eight cells. Each is incredibly small, with just enough room for a bunk and facilities. Each cell mate had lost his right to privacy. The entire cell was open to watchful eyes of the guards, who walked up and down outside. Suddenly, the breath of fresh free air seems essential, and you feel a huge weight lift from your soul as you leave this incarceration area. No longer in use, the Jail once housed forty to forty-five inmates. A new County Jail has been built on Park Avenue.

    Return to the front entrance of the Courthouse, and climb the curving wooden stairs to the second floor and the main Courtroom. Enter through the wooden doors to the Courtroom. A simple, yet historic, room stands before you. The mahogany pews, railings, jury chairs, and desks of the judge, clerk, defendant, and prosecutor are all here. The red drapes, carpeting and center aisle lead you forward to the basic legal system of the Country.

    The American Flag and the County Flag stand solemnly and pridefully behind the Judge's chair. Fans slowly turn overhead, seeming to move the air of doubt, sorting through the clutter to the truth. A door on the left is for the court officials and the one on the right opens to the Judge's Chambers. A small rear balcony is supported by four Doric columns. Here, during the Lindbergh Trial, members of the press sat ready to rush news to the world. At the front far left of the room is a row of now empty chairs, which were used by the Jurors during the Lindbergh trial. Also inside the railing, on the left, is the witness chair used during that same trial. On the far right, just outside the jurors' railing, is what looks like an old-fashioned high chair. It is an antique chair used by the security guard to watch over the jurors to be sure they do not give or receive signals or information from anyone or talk to each other.

    Judge Thomas Witaker Trenchard's portrait hangs to the left of the Judge's desk. He sat on the bench during the Hauptmann-Lindbergh trial. The "Trial of the Century", as it was called, brought great attention and notoriety to Flemington. People came from everywhere to view this saddest of spectacles. The victim, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., a small, innocent twenty month old, had already lost his all too short life. The defendant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who never stopped swearing his innocence, was on trial for his life. No one except the child, the defendant, or the murderer will ever know the real truth. This remains a great topic of discussion, interest and debate among the residents of Hunterdon County.

    The Union Hotel and every possible room in town were full of spectators, among them such celebrities as Jack Benny and Robert Ripley. During the six weeks the trial was underway, it was covered by top radio commentators of the time, Lowell Thomas, Gabriel Heatter, and Walter Winchel and writers Damon Runyon, Dorothy Kilgallen and Adela Roberts St. John. This building, which has witnessed human drama on all levels from the famous to the obscure, is now listed on the Historic American Building Survey. As part of the Flemington Borough Historic District, it is also listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

    A new Hunterdon County Justice Center has been recently occupied. In the spring of 1994 a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the corner of Capner Street and Park Avenue, for the construction of the new 115,000 square feet Hunterdon County Justice Center. In June, 1996, after much press and public speculation on the need for and architectural value of the new court house, the Hunterdon County Court offices moved in. This grand 3-story structure now houses 5 court rooms (with a potential of adding 4 more) has offices for the Judges, Prosecutor, Family, Criminal and Civil Case Management Units, Trial Court Administration, Probation Department, Law Library, Grand Jury Suite, Sheriff's Office and Surrogate's Court. Located adjacent to the Hunterdon County Jail, an underground tunnel is being constructed to excort prisoners directly from the jail to holding cells at the Justice Center.

    State of the art security equipment has been installed for the safety of not only the judges and other court employees, but also for the general public. As you go through the main entrance, you will find at least two Sheriff's Deputies waiting to greet you. All bags are search and/or scanned and you must enter through a metal detector. There are security cameras in all the Court rooms and hallways and at each exit and at the main entrance. Even employees are restricted to access of certain areas of the building. Each employee is issued a security card which is to be used to access certain areas of the building. If this card is not programed to allow access to the area, the employee may not enter without an escort from a Sheriff's Deputy or another privileged employee.

    Installed throughout the New Justice Center is artwork contributed by local artisits and residents. The wide hallways provide a perfect place to view the many different scenes of the County as interpreted by these artists.

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    Captain Elisha Barton Memorial

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    Barton Coat of Arms

    Barton Family Motto: Fide et Fortitudine. The latin noun fide means faith, loyalty, honesty, credit, confidence, trust, belief and good faith. The latin noun fortitudine means strength, courage, valor and firmness.

    Yankee Doodle





    Marriage 1 Jemima VAN KIRK b: 20 FEB 1735/36 in Hopewell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey
    • Married: ABOUT 1755 in Amwell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey
    Children
    1. Has Children Mary BARTON b: 28 DEC 1758 in Amwell, Hunterdon County, New Jersey

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