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Goodspeed Histories This Week

February 17, 2017.

Good morning! Today’s story is part one of the saga of Hunterdon County’s first newspaper, The Hunterdon Gazette. I was inspired to write this by the sadly declining state of news reporting of late, and the compelling need for information during the Trump era. It seemed a good idea to look back to Hunterdon’s beginnings. I also found the Gazette’s publisher/editor a compelling and sympathetic character.
Some interesting items from the Gazette:
"We have at our office, a petition to the legislature of this State, praying for the enactment of a law limiting the number of Chosen Freeholders to one in each township in the county —and also for the reduction of town committee men from five to three. The object sought to be obtained, will meet with very general favor at the hands of our citizens. There seems to be but one opinion in regard to the fact, that the reduced number of officers contemplated in the petition, would be amply sufficient to perform the duties now divided among three. Petitions for this object are now in circulation throughout the county. We would advise those who have them to get them filled up, and send them as soon as possible to A. [Alexander] Wurts. Esq.” [Hunterdon Gazette, 5 February 1845]
"CAUGHT.—The scoundrel who a few weeks since made so free with the brandy and boots of mine host of the “Flemington House,” and the pies and turkey of neighbor [James N.] Reading, has been arrested and imprisoned in the Mercer co prison.” [Hunterdon Gazette, 3 February 1847]  Note that James N. Reading occupied the newly-built Large Mansion on Main Street in Flemington. The Flemington House was obviously one of the three hotels in town, but I cannot say which one.

President’s Day
In honor of George Washington’s birthday, I delved into my database to see how many people I had named George W. A whopping 167, born from 1780 to 1928. Okay, some of them are George W., which could mean George William instead of Washington, but still, it shows the reverence in which our first president was held. Such a contrast.

Upcoming Events:
Hunterdon County Historical Society:
  • March 21, Brian Armstrong will discuss the role of Hunterdon County during the first world war.
  • April 1, I will give a talk on how to research your house and its owners from the sources at the historical society.
  • April 29, Jackie Oshman will teach you how to get started with your own family genealogy.
 All these events require registration. Please call 908-782-1091

Hunterdon 300th:
There are many events scheduled for 2017, beginning with a talk on February 28th about African Americans living in the Sourland Mountains. For more information about this and other events, go to their website.
Please add your comments and reactions to the website.
For questions, feel free to email me at

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Goodspeed Histories · 136 Locktown Flemington Rd. · Flemington, NJ 08822 · USA

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