www.co.hunterdon.nj.us

This is a 'work in progress', please visit again. If you have additional FUN FACTS about Hunterdon County, please feel free to submit them to the County Webmaster for inclusion on this list.
NOTE: Most of the links listed below will take you outside of the Hunterdon County Website.

 

Hunterdon County was established on March 22, 1714. Hunterdon celebrates it's 300th Year - www.hunterdon300th.org

The First 275 Years of Hunterdon County - 1714 to 1989 (Downloadable book published by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission) - The book was published in 1989 in commemoration of the 275th Anniversary of the founding of Hunterdon County.

Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders Past to Present

OFFICIAL SEAL OF THE COUNTY: The first mention of the 'Official' County Seal is in the minutes of a 1841 Meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Unfortuneatley, there are no copies of this seal to be found. All the Seals used throughout the years depict the farming community of our County.

freeholderseal The black and white Seal to the left (click for larger view) is documented as being the Official County Seal between 1893 through approximately 1938.
OLD County Seal The Seal was changed to a Sheaf of Wheat that actually looks like a daisy (click for larger view) sometime in 1938.
freeholderseal

In 1976 the Seal was changed back to the Hay Wagon.
NOTE: The Board of Chosen Freeholders use this image as their Board Seal today.

Official County Seal In 1997 the Seal was changed to a different Sheaf of Wheat (click for larger view) and is still in existance today as the Official County Seal.

Prior to 1714 the land that is now Hunterdon County laid entirely in Burlington County and included what is now Sussex, Warren and Morris Counties and a portion of Mercer County.

The Lenni Lenape Indians or “Original People” lived in Hunterdon County.

Two of the tribes, the Minsi and Unami, were thought to live here.

A survey taken between 1912 and 1915 discovered 462 camps, villages, burial sites and rock shelters within Hunterdon County .

The first Indian purchase was made in 1688.

Col. John Reading holds the distinction of the first settler in Hunterdon County.

John Holcombe was also one of the earliest settlers, living in Lambertville in 1705.

Hunterdon County is named for Governor Robert Hunter for the name of his old world home, Hunterston rather than merely his surname.

Originally a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders was required to have free rights (ownership) to property and/or land to be able to server as a member.

The Board was comprised of one elected representative from each municipality in the county.

In 1902, state legislation allowed a county to change the composition of its Board of Chosen Freeholders from one member representing each municipality to three to nine elected members from the county at large.

Hunterdon County chose to elect 3 members for its Board and the Board remained 3 members until the year 2000, when the Board increased to 5 members.

The first female Freeholder member (Marcia A. Karrow of Raritan Township) was elected in the year 2000. Ms. Karrow was elected to the State Assembly in 2006.

Men of distinction who served as Freeholders and Justices in Hunterdon County include: William Trent (for whom Trenton is named), John Hart (signer of the Declaration of Independence), and U.S. Senator John Lambert.

The first courthouse in Hunterdon was built in May, 1792, prior to that the County Courthouse was located in Trenton.

The original courthouse was burned on February 13, 1828 and a new courthouse (on the current site of what is now considered the "Historic County Courthouse" located on Main Street in Flemington) was constructed that year.

The last hanging in Hunterdon was in 1828. James Guild- a 14 year old who murdered his mistress Mrs. Beaks in Hopewell.

January 2, 1935 the Lindbergh Trial began at the Flemington Courthouse, known as the “Crime of the Century”. Bruno R. Hauptman was tried for the fatal kidnapping of Col. Charles Lindberg’s son from their Sourland Mountains home, found guilty, and electrocuted.

The first County Welfare Board was established in 1932.

Peaches began large scale production in Hunterdon during the 1850’s.

The Capners of Flemington sold cheese to Martha Washington when Philadelphia was the national capital.

The first man to ever ship day old baby chicks was Hunterdon hatcheryman Joseph Wilson of Stockton.

John Deats of Hunterdon invented the Deats Plow in 1828.

An unusual 2 story gazebo (built in 1892) and owned by John Deats is now located at the County Arboretum, located on Route 31 North in Annandale.

The original Fulper pottery is located in Flemington, bought by Abraham Fulper from Samuel Hill in 1850 (when it was known as the Stangl Pottery). The Pottery location was home to to a Phfaltzgraph pottery/dinnerware outlet for many years and in 2012 turned into an Artician Studio and Resturant Location and is now called the Stangl Factory.

The bridge over the South Branch of the Raritan River at Clinton was built by William Cowin of Lambertville.

New Jersey only surviving Covered Bridge is located in Delaware Township.

According to a county newspaper account, Samuel Van Syckle, born in Hunterdon, was the originator of the pipeline transmission system in 1865 which was laid between Oil Creek and Pithole, Pa.

Flemington received its first post office in late 1794.

John Ringoes tavern in Ringoes was the scene of many meetings of the rebellious patriots who in 1766 organized the Hunterdon Chapter of Sons of Liberty, propelled by the indignation of the Stamp Act and other oppressions perpetrated by the British.

Ringoes also has the distinction of being the oldest known settlement in Hunterdon County.

In 1939 the first Cooperative Artificial Breeding Association in the Nation was formed at the suggestion of E.J. Perry. The Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture was the sponsor.

The huge rock jutting out on Goat Hill overlooking Lambertville and New Hope is called Washington’s Rock. It was used as a lookout spot a few weeks before Washington’s Christmas night crossing of the Delaware.

When the revolution began, Hunterdon had more mills than any other county in NJ.

William Paterson began his career as a young lawyer in Hunterdon County, later becoming a Justice of the US Supreme Court, US Senator, Governor of New Jersey and writer of both federal and state constitutions and also has a state university named for him.

Washington was known to have stayed at the Holcombe house in Lambertville on June 21 and 22, 1778, hosted by Richard Holcombe.

The oldest dwelling still standing in Hunterdon is thought to be the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead's main house north of Lambertville, circa 1711, which was left to the Hunterdon County Historical Society.

The Oldest Lutheran Church in New Jersey came to “New Germantown” or Oldwick in Tewksbury Township, the Zion Lutheran Church, 1760.

The first Hunterdon County Fair was held on February 11, 1865, sponsored by the Hunterdon County Agriculture Society.

The county seat of Hunterdon was moved to Flemington in 1790.

Total population of Hunterdon according to the 2010 census was 128,349.

SEE OTHER CENSUS INFORMATION HERE....

The Volendam Windmill Museum of Milford is the only remaining Dutch-style grain-grinding windmill in NJ.

Commute distance: Approximately 1 hour from Philadelphia, 1 hour from New York City.

There are 14 libraries in Hunterdon County.

There are 352 Preserved farms in Hunterdon County as of December, 2011 totaling 28,709 acres of land.

The County has 246 bridges.

There are 1,850 Drainage Structures in Hunterdon.

There are over 8,100 acres of County Parks as of April 2012.

There are 24 County Parks with approximately 20 additional preserves, areas, trails and other properties owned by the County and opened to the public for use.

There are 5 State owned parks & areas (D& R Canal State Park, Bull's Island Recreation Area; Round Valley Recreation Area; Spruce Run Recreation Area and Voorhees State Park) and there are approximately 7 areas owned by the State Fish & Wildlife Management Authority.

The total area of Hunterdon County is 437 Square Miles.

There are 242 miles of County Roadways.
53 miles of US Roadways
44 miles of  Interstate Roadways
98 miles of State Roadways
1103 miles of Municipal Roadways
113 miles of Privately owned Roads
Total of 1653 miles Roadways in the County

Hunterdon County - Past & Present maps showing Hunterdon's municipal boundaries in 1776 and the current municipal boundaries.

As of April 2012, there are approximately 650 active county employees and many volunteers who work within over 35 departments, divisions and agencies.

Elizabeth Lukens Potts, who lived in Pittstown, was the great-grandmother of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Frederick Charles Devonald (1867-1933) worked with Thomas Edison in his West Orange laboratory as one of his bookkeepers for many years. His wife, Julia Miller (1872-1951) was one of the few women to be employed by Edison. Her vocal talents contributed to the voice of the first manufactured talking doll. They purchased their retirement farm in Bethlehem Township in 1932 and filled the home with Edison memorabilia.

John Stevens, who developed the first steam locomotive, invented the T-rails, and chartered the first railroad in the U.S., was raised on his parents' farm in the vicinity of what is today Round Valley. His wife, Rachel Coxe, was from Bloomsbury.

George Hall Large, from Flemington, was the last survivor of America's first intercollegiate football game, which was played against Rutgers University and Princeton University in 1869. Large died in 1939 at age 88.

Paul Whiteman, famous bandleader during the 1920's and 30's and dubbed the "King of Jazz," lived on a farm in Delaware Township from 1938 to 1959, when he sold the property to Lloyd Wescott. Bing Crosby made his singing debut with the Whiteman Orchestra in 1926, for which Whiteman paid him $150 a week.

Dick Foran (1910-1979), following in the footsteps of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, was known as the "Singing Cowboy" on film in the 1930's. In the early 1940's, he was under contract for Universal Studios to star in several films with Abbott & Costello, W.C. Fields, and Mae West. One of his last film roles was with his longtime friend John Wayne in John Ford's, "Donovan's Reef" in 1963. Foran, whose real name was John Nicholas Foran, was born and raised in Flemington to Senator Arthur Foran and Elizabeth Foran. The Forans were the best friends with the George Knowles Large family.

Henry Sturgis Drinker, president of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, from 1905 to 1920, was hired as a mechanical engineer by the Lehigh Railroad to construct the 4,893 foot Musconetcong Tunnel in 1872. At the time of construction, it was the longest railroad tunnel in the eastern United States.

In 1949, the first concrete road barrier in the U.S., known as the "Jersey Barrier" was installed along State Highway Route 22 in the Jugtown Mountain area.

Hunterdon County's only ski area, the Jugtown Mountain Ski Area, was in operation from 1961 to 1971. At the time of operation, it was the largest ski area in the state.

Hunterdon County's only drive-in theater, located south of Ringoes, operated from 1950 to 1986 and was built around farm fields that were still utilized for crop production. Today it is the new site of the 4-H County Fairgrounds.

Jane van Middlesworth Bellis, the wife of "March King" John Philip Sousa, was raised by her parents, Henry Bellis and Louisa Hyle Cornish near Pattenburg.

The Central Railroad of New Jersey's High Bridge Branch was considered one of the most profitable lines in the state, hauling an average of 25,000 tons of iron ore a month in the 1880's. Half of the ore processed in the state traveled over this line. It was taken out of service in 1976.

Frances Englemann Large founded the Hunterdon County Chapter of the American Red Cross on March 17, 1917 at Flemington. She wrote a letter to President Wilson about the need for this social service agency in Hunterdon. The fact that there were so many community minded people about prompted the President to Issue a Charter for the Chapter. The chapter has been in continuous operation for 87 years.

Check out GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for Fun at: http://gis.co.hunterdon.nj.us/GIS_for_Fun.htm

Merv Griffin Television host, musician, actor and medial mogul had a weekend home in Lebanon Township. He was also the originator the long running game shows, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortun,.  The production company for Wheel of Fortune is still called Califon Productions.

Daniel Morgan, the revolutionary war general was born in New Hampton (Lebanon Township) in 1736.  He left at age 16, and eventually settled at Winchester Virginia.  He organized a company of riflemen (who were famed for the accuracy of their rifles due to curved "rifled " grooves in the barrels), was involved in a number of campaigns, and was eventually promoted to Brigadier General.  He was the victor at the Battle of Cowpens, at Kings Mountain, South Carolina.  "Morgan's cunning plan at Cowpens is widely considered to be the tactical masterpiece of the war and one of the most successfully executed double envelopments of all of modern military history." - from Wikipedia.  Morgan County in the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia (any more??) are named for him.

Michelle Smith was raised in Lebanon Township, and became one of the top woman softball players in the world.  She won gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Mary Decker (Slaney) was raised in Lebanon Township, but her family moved when she was about 10.  She was a world class runner, was favored to win the gold in the 3000 meter in the 1984 Olympics, but tripped after a collision with Zola Budd.  The photo of her on the ground after the collision is one of the more famous Olympic photos.

Bernie Worrell is listed as a resident of Lebanon Township.  He is listed in Wikipedia as a keyboardist and founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic and later Talking Heads.  He was been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Parliament-Funkadelic.

John Marshall, the discoverer of gold at Sutter's Mill in California in 1848, was from Lambertville.

Lee Van Cleef started his acting career with a local theater company in Clinton.

Click for larger view The 65 Acre William B. Honachefsky Memorial Tract (State Park)  located in Glen Gardner/ Bethlehem Twp/Lebanon Twp  It was purchased by the State of New Jersey in 1997. The Honachefsky Tract is dominated by a mature oak, beech and tulip poplar forest providing prime habitat for a variety of mammals such as white-tailed deer, gray squirrel and black bear. A diversity of amphibians and reptiles can also be found, including wood frog and box turtle. Nesting Pileated Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk and recently located Barred Owl can all be observed here.

 

 


Hunterdon County
If you have additional ‘FUN FACTS’ about Hunterdon County,
please feel free to submit them to the County Webmaster for inclusion on this list.