History of Franklin, NJ
From History of Warren County, NJ
By George Wyckoff Cummins, Ph. D., M. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company 1911


CHAPTER XVII.
FRANKLIN.


Franklin Township was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, when it was erected as a township in 1839 from a part of Greenwich.

New Village is situated on the Morris Canal, and the D. L.. & W. railroad and the new trolley line from Phillipsburg passes through it. “The first settlers were John Andrews and John Wooster,” the one a hatter, the other a blacksmith. James Bell, a weaver, Abner Parks, and John MacEiroy, came soon after. Landlord McEntire kept the first tavern. Melick and Hizlshizer operated a foundry here sixty years ago. New Village grew but slowly until a dozen years ago, when it was found that a valuable deposit of cement rock underlay the valley, which induced Thomas A. Edison to locate his cement mill here.

John Cline came to New Village in 1824 from Greenwich, and bought altogether five hundred acres of land. His father and grandfather were each named Lewis, and lived two miles west of Stewartsville, where some member of the family has resided ever since the first arrival in 1740. John Cline served one term in the legislature, and was the father of Holloway H., John W., and Garner A. Cline. Jacob and Philip Weller, two brothers, came with their father from Germany about 1740 and, investing in land, owned finally 2,000 acres in the vicinity of New Village. Jacob was a soldier in the Revolutionary army, and was the father of thirteen children of whom, three—Jacob, Samuel and John—lived in Franklin. None of them have left descendants bearing the name in this township.

Asbury is a village owing its origin to the water power of the Musconetcong, on which a grist mill was built long before the Revolution. The place was then called Hall’s Mills. South Asbury is a name sometimes applied to that part of the village south of the Musconetcong, now having a population of about two hundred.

On the Hon. Martin Wyckoff’s land in Asbury, on the road to Washington, is an elevation called “Church Hill,” where in the forgotten long-ago was a log church and, around it, a cemetery which would have given us the key to much of the ancient history of this vicinity had not irreverent hands more than fifty years ago hauled the gravestones away by the wagon load and thrown them into the Musconetcong. It was owned by the Richeys at that time. We have absolutely no written records of this church, but it was probably one of the churches at which services were held by riders of a circuit, with no established pastor. Might this not have been the church “in Mr. Barber’s neighborhood, near Musconnekunk,” which the members of both the Mansfield Presbyterian and the Greenwich Presbyterian churches feel equally positive is their church? Since both claim it, it possibly belongs to neither.

The First Presbyterian Church of Asbury was organized in 1860, when twenty-eight members of the Musconetcong Valley church desired to have a separate organization. The latter church in turn came from the old Mansfield church in 1837. The Rev. E. B. England has been the efficient pastor for a number of years.

There are two stores in Asbury—one owned by Edgar H. Smith, and the other by James Riddle, the son of Elijah G. Riddle. The only manufacturing industry in the place is the Asbury Graphite Mills, operated, in what were two grist mills, by H. M. Riddle, the son of James Riddle and son-in-law of the Hon. Martin Wyckoff, both of very Old New Jersey families. A woolen mill was operated here successfully until it burned down about 1880.

The first physician to settle at Asbury was Dr. James Holmes, who came about 1790 after serving as a surgeon in the Continental army. Dr. John Ball practiced here for forty years beginning in He was succeeded by Drs. Southard, Darling, McCullough and Brown. Dr. S. A. Welch was located here from 1869 till his death in 1890, and Dr. Gale from 1834 until after 1890, so that Dr. Holmes and Dr. Gale together more than rounded out a century of practice at this place. Dr. E. H. Moore has been at Asbury for several years.

Christeon Cummins arrived at Philadelphia in 1741, and in 1755 bought 150 acres of land east of Asbury. This is the original seat of this branch of the Cummins family in Warren county, and the property remained in possession of some member of the family for a century and a quarter, or until Wesley Cummins sold it about 1880. Christeon’s brother Jacob settled at about the same time at Delaware, New Jersey, but none of his family in the county have kept the name, although many of his descendants by female branches are in Warren County. Christeon Cummins lived on his farm at Asbury until his death at the age of 65, in 1781, by which time he was possessed of 625 acres of land. Four of his children— Christeon, Philip, John F. and Mrs. George Beatty settled at Cumminstown, now Vienna. Daniel and Michael went west. Another daughter, Annie, wife of Joseph Groff, is ancestor of many of that name in Warren County, and owned the Cummins homestead here for many years.

For more than half a century the most prominent name in this locality was McCullough. William McCullough came to Hall’s Mills, now Asbury, in 1784, at the age of twenty-five. In July, 1776, when seventeen years of age, he enlisted in the Revolutionary army in Captain Mellick’s company, of which his father, Benjamin McCullough, was a lieutenant, in Colonel ‘Mark Thompson’s First Regiment Sussex militia, and served from 1777 till 1781 as brigade quartermaster. On June 5, 1793, he became lieutenant-colonel, Lower Regiment, Sussex militia, and was ever after known as Colonel McCullough. William McCullough was a member of the Assembly, of Council of New Jersey, and a county judge from 1803 until 1838. “He built a noble mansion at Asbury, on a bluff overlooking the Musconetcong, and dispensed a gracious hospitality there for many years.”

In 1786 the McCulloughs became Methodists, and Bishop Asbury, Rev. George Banghart and others, used to come and preach at their house on their circuits. In 1800 the old Methodist church was completed, and the church and town was christened Asbury, in honor of Bishop Asbury, who laid the corner stone on August 9, 1796. Bishop Asbury says in his journal:

“Tuesday Aug. 9, 1796, we made our way miles to Brother McCullough’s near Schooley’s Mountain probably a remnant of the Blue Ridge. After a good meeting at Brother MC’s we went to lay the foundation of the new Meeting House. We sang a part of Dr. Watt’s hymn on the ‘corner-stone’ and, prayed. I then had to lend a hand to lay the mighty corner-stone of the house.”

Of another visit he records: “Thursday May 9, 1811, we came to Asbury and I preached and added a special exhortation. Were it not for the brewing and drinking of miserable whiskey Asburytown would be a pleasant place.”

The present church building in 1842 replaced the original structure. Rev. Lewis Gordon is the present pastor.

The McCulloughs owned a good deal of property between here and Washington, and in 1811 William McCullough built the Washington House, a brick hotel, and moved to that place, then called Mansfield.

Members of the Richey family were formerly residents in the vicinity, of Asbury. John and Daniel were the first corners. John’s sons, William, John and George, passed their lives in this vicinity.

Abraham Shipman came from Harmony township in 1807, after the death of his father Harmon, and bought 380 acres of land near Asbury. His son William settled on a part of this farm, and was father of Abraham, William W., Charles, and James H.

Peter Wooliever, one of the earliest settlers in Franklin, is registered as a voter in Amwell, Hunterdon County, in 1738. Shortly after that he settled here, and in 1755 he transferred some property to Christeon Cummins. Peter is the ancestor of all of the name Willever in this part of the county.

The site of Broadway was originally owned by a family named Probasco, and later by William McCullough. A log school house was located as early as 1820 near the present depot. The first store was owned by William Warne, who also managed a plaster mill, a grist mill, and a woolen factory, to which people brought their wool for miles to have it carded, etc.

With the advent of the trolley from Phillipsburg, Broadway has taken on a new lease of life. An appeal to the railroad commission recently forced the D. L. & W. railroad to re-establish its station at this point for the accommodation of the public. The Morris canal passes through Broadway, and was formerly a great benefit to the place

The first physician at Broadway was Mrs. Margaret Warne, known as Aunt Peggy, who wasa sister of General Garret Vliet, of the Revolutionary army. She rode on horseback for miles to attend obstetric cases, and was a very able woman in her day. The Peggy Warne Chapter, D. A. R., was named ‘in her honor. Years later Dr. Weller practiced’here, from 1840 to 1843. He was followed by Dr. Glenn, and he by Dr. Creveling, who settled here in 1858, married Elizabeth Lomerson, daughter of James Lomerson, and practiced here until 1881, when he removed to Oxford, and later to Washington and Phillipsburg. He returned to the site of his first practice here in 1910, where he continues practice with his son-in-law, Dr. S. D. Crispin, who practiced here from 1881 until 1897, and after several years’ practice at Bloomsbury and Phillipsburg returned to Broadway in 1910.

The Methodist Episcopal Church at Broadway was built in 1842, and for twenty years was connected with the Harmony charge. Rev. C. D. Whitman is at present the supply.,

Benjamin Warne, a grandson of Thomas Warne, who was one of the twenty-four proprietors of New Jersey, came about 1853 from Monmouth County with his cousins, Cornelius, Jacob and Richard Carhart, and settled near Broadway, on the place known ever since as the Warne Farm. Cornelius Carhart settled on land now partially the site of Washington, New Jersey, some of which is still owned by his descendants, while Richard and Jacob Carhart came no farther than Hunterdon County. Benjamin Warne built a log house and later a substantial stone one. He also built a grist mill, and his widow, a second one. He died in 1810, having had seven children: Thomas, born in 1796; Stephen, 1798; William, 1800; Elizabeth (Warner), 1802; Richard, 1804; Nicodemus, 1806, and John, 1809. Richard Warne operated the mill and also a tannery until his death in 1834. Stephen married his brother’s widow, and conducted the mill and tannery. He was the father of Nicodemus Warne, who was born in 1841 and came into possession of the property of his father. He has one daughter, Mrs. Keziah Brill, of Stewartsville.

William McKinney was born in Ireland in 1723, and, when a young man, bought about coo acres of land west of Broadway and lived on it until his death in 1777. One of his sons, John, born in 1757, succeeded to the homestead and in 1805 built substantial stone farm buildings thereon. He had a distillery, which was operated after his death in 1838 by his son, William. William McKinney built a second stone house on the farm in 1835, and a frame dwelling in 1865. His sons were John, George W., Henry and James. The old stone dwelling is now occupied by William McKinney.

The Lomerson family so long identified with the history. of Warren County is descended from one Lambertson, who settled at an early date on Scott’s Mountain. Lawrence Lomerson, one of his grandchildren, who was born in 1770, bought in 1799 the farm near Broadway where his son James and grandson William lived before the recent removal of the latter to Phillipsburg. Lawrence Lomerson was father of Jane (Weller), William, Robert, Elizabeth (Weller), Margaret, who married Cornelius Carhart; Julia Ann (Carhart and Weller), James, Rebecca (Weller), Mary (Wandling), Caroline, Sarah (William McCullough), and Lawrence. Of these the only one to leave children bearing the name was James Lomerson, who lived at Broadway until his death in 1890.

James Lomerson was a man very prominent in the community in which he lived. He was for many years president of the board of trustees of the Presbyterian Church at Washington, and was one of the founders of the Washington Cemetery Association and president of its board. His only son, William Lomerson, lived at Phillipsburg until his death in August, 19 10, as does his son, James, who is cashier of the Phillipsburg National Bank. Thomas Lommasson, another grandson of the original Lambertson, is the ancestor of those. of that name near Belvidere.

The Cole family of Franklin, Washington and Oxford comes from the family of Christian Cole, who came from Germany and settled on Scott’s Mountain, in the extreme northeast corner of Franklin. He had one daughter and three sons. One of the sons, christian, lived on the homestead all his life and had six sons: John, Stauffle (Christopher), William, Samuel, James and Jacob. Of all these sons, Samuel alone remained in Franklin, and he lived at the old homestead.

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