The Founding Families of Bernards Township (Basking Ridge)

Trading $50 for Basking Ridge

NOTE: Remember that Far Hills and Bernardsville were part of Bernards Township until the 1920 so these names do cover those areas as well

History showcases some of the greatest reminders of where we came from. Many people new to the area don’t know the deep history in the area ties back to some of the originating families that chose this area back in the early 1700s.

King James II was John Harrison’s employer along with NJ Governor Andrew Hamilton. Go and settle New Jersey!

In 1701, East and West Jersey’s 4th Governor Col. Andrew Hamilton and Proprietors wanted to settle the East Jersey province and appointed John Harrison for that purpose. Harrison made large purchases from the Lenni Lenape Indian tribe. As many have read, the area was purchased by John Harrison, agent of King James II, from Chief Nowenoik of the Lenapes, a real estate package of 3,000 acres for the equivalent of $50.

Note: a map of Harrison’s purchase is said to be at the New Jersey Historical Society. John Harrison had been living in Rocky Hill, New Jersey at the time of the signing.

The 3,000 acres was known then as the Passaic Valley bounded by the Passaic River on the east, Green Brook (Raritan River) on the west, the Dead River on the south., and Penn’s Brook on the north. The deed was dated June 24, 1717. After John’s death, his son Benjamin Alexander sold his dad’s entire purchase to Daniel Hollingshead and George Risarick, who then sold to Co. John Parker of Amboy and James Alexander from New York. Parker opened the Tavern in Bernardsville and Alexander kept his land and willed it to his son William, aka Lord Stirling.

Louis Alexandre Berthier (a French military engineer) created this map in 1781 is one of the earliest found showcasing early Liberty Corner and Basking Ridge. Bullion’s Tavern (Liberty Corner) was actually Annin’s Corner prior to the War. On the left traveling east on Lyons Road to Maple Ave, past Lord Stirling’s manor, up North Finley to the Basking Ridge Church then back onto N. Maple Ave. to the Ayres Mill (Van Dorn Mill). Source: Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route

Seven Early Settlers

1720 – James Alexander – Ireland

James Alexander, father of William Alexander (Lord Stirling) was a large landowner and had to deal with “squatters” on his land. James Pitney was noted as being on James’ land when he first arrived in the area. Research shows Cornelius Brees from Staten Island, bought land in 1720 from James Alexander on the East side of the Dead River which had been occupied by James Pitney. John Ayres son Obadiah also bought land from Alexander.

Harrison must have died, and the property passed through Hollingshead and Eisarick to John Parker (owned the John Parker tavern in Vealtown) and Alexander as early as 1720, for in that year Parker and Alexander sold a portion of the southeast corner of their purchase to Cornelius Brees, of Staten Island. The four proprietors had the lands regularly surveyed in 1727, and laid out into farms of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred acres each. These were drawn by ballot by the four joint owners at the spring term of the Supreme Court for 1728, held at Perth Amboy. The respective proprietors were then left to dispose of their lots on their own terms.

Page 196 tells it all – Click Here

James Alexander, father of William Alexander (Lord Stirling), seems to have drawn what has since been known as the ” Stirling Property.” He was also associated with John Budd, of Philadelphia, in lands which extended north into Morris County. The land was listed as No. 121, James Alexander, Sept. 17, 1741, 786 acres in six tracts In Harrison’s Neck. The second piece was No. 99, to James Alexander, March 28, 1728, 272 acres on east side of North Branch of Dead River. A third plot, No. 142, was bought by James on July 10, 1744 containing 65 acres at Basking Ridge where son William built his Stirling Manor in 1761.

William Alexander, son of James Alexander, was born in New York City in 1726. Stirling led a brilliant military career and received praise from his colleagues as well as his enemies. After his death on Jan. 15, 1783, his wife Lady Stirling received a letter of esteem from General Washington. There are a series of boxes of documented transactions at the New Jersey Historical Society.

1720 – Cornelius Brees (Breese) – Staten Island, NY

About 1720, Cornelius Brees, of Staten Island, bought land land from James Alexander, ” on the east side of the north branch of Dead River, at the southwest corner of the Parker and Alexander’s area. It appears that James Pitney remained in this vicinity and became a freeholder, notwithstanding his first home was sold from under him to Brees since he was one of the trustees to whom the church lot was deeded in 1731. So Pitney was actually a squatter on the land Brees purchased.

Three members of the Brees family gave the ultimate sacrifice during the war. John Brees Sr., John Brees Jr.( b. 8 Nov 1738 ) and Stephen Brees all gave their lives fighting for the new nation and are buried in the Presbyterian cemetery. Cornelius served as a Sergeant in the NJ Frontier Militia in 1757 and 1758. John’s son Timothy (b.1758) Brees married Elizabeth Doty.

1722 – James Pitney – New Brunswick, NJ

James Pitney lived in New Brunswick, NJ prior to 1722, then moved Basking Ridge, NJ. He was a member of the First Company Militia Regiment in 1715. His will was dated April 13, 1750 and lists his wife, Susannah, and son Jonathan. Records indicate the Pitney’s settled in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township. James and his wife Susannah had three children: James Pitney,   b. 1722, Liberty Corner,Somerset Co. and Benjamin Pitney,   b. 1726, Liberty Corner. A third, Shubael Pitney,   b. approximately 1731.

1727 (possibly 1717) – John Ayres (Ayers, Eyers) – Newbury, MA

John Ayres came from Woodbridge, New Jersey and was born on March 02, 1663 in Newbury, MA. Son of Obadiah Ayres and Hannah Ayres (Pike), husband of Mary Ayers and Ruth Ayres He had seven sons; John, Thomas, Obadiah, Nathaniel, Benjamin, Moses, and Aaron.  He moved to Basking Ridge the same year Harrison bought the land from the Indian Chief Nowenwalk. 

John Ayres, who settled on the Millstone, in 1717, is mentioned as having lands in the east part of the township in 1727. John Ayres is noted for donating 1 ½ acres which included the land on which a log meeting house stood in 1730 but it was said that the meeting house had probably been there since at least 1725 (the BRPC states 1717).

A document was found dated February 8, 1731 formally recognizing the donation of a “meeting house.” Basking Ridge was the first religious center in the area. It’s been noted that in addition to being a house of prayer, education was key as well and there’s mention of schooling there as early as 1720-1725. John died Oct. 4, 1732 at the age of 69 yet no one knows where he’s buried. His son John Ayers is buried in the BRPC graveyard.

John’s son Obadiah Ayres purchased 153 acres from John Alexander. It’s stated he later leaves for Warren County in Hacketstown sometime before 1753.

1736 – Alexander Kirkpatrick – Scotland

Another family worthy of particular mention was that of Alexander Kirkpatrick (b.1697), who settled at Mine Brook in 1736, on the farm lately owned by Henry Baird. The Kirkpatricks belonged to a noble family in Scotland. Alexander, the ancestor of the family in this country, was born at Watties Neach, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He removed with his family to Belfast, Ireland, after the birth of his son David,
about the year 1725. In the spring of 1736 he embarked at Belfast for America, and after a stormy
voyage of thirteen weeks, landed at New Castle,Del. Passing through Philadelphia, they wandered
up through the State of New Jersey (which was then partially settled, till they reached Bound Brook, and
thence went over the mountains to the place which they selected for a habitation. There being no roads in the country, they followed an Indian path through the wilderness.

When they came to a spring of water at the side of what has since been called ” Mine Brook,” there
they settled down, built a log house and went to work. The spot was well chosen, about two miles west of the present site of Basking Ridge. It embraced the southern slope of Round Mountain, in a well timbered region, with unfailing springs of pure water, the rich meadow-land through which Mine Brook runs. Alexander Kirkpatrick died on June 3, 1758. He is buried at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church Cemetery

Henry Alward III – Woodbridge, NJ (First Generation American)

Henry Alward III was born on March 29, 1697 in Woodbridge, New Jersey. His father Henry was from Scotland and settled in Woodbridge. Henry III settled between Liberty Corner and Basking Ridge, near saw and grist mill once owned by Matthias Woodward (not Woodard as others quote). While historic documents mention Bullion’s Tavern (William Annin Hotel, Liberty Corner Hotel, Post Office, and currently a Exxon) we’ve narrowed it down that Woodward’s Mill was actually near Grist Mill Park and Road in Basking Ridge along Harrison’s Brook. So the plot thickens as to where Henry 3rd actually resided.

He was first married to Sara (Compton) Alward in 1715. After her death, he later married Anne Ford in 1721. We’re still looking for his original homestead area.

Part of the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Mr. Local History #mrlocalhistory
This home on 40 Mount Airy Road was willed to Osee Pennington Alward, wife of Henry Alward V grandson of the first Henry in Basking Ridge. Click Here for National Registry Application

It gets confusing but this is the first of many Henry’s in the lineage, so it’s often confusing to follow. The Henry in Liberty Corner had eight children in all: David, John, Henry IV, Samuel, Benjamin, Sarah, Mary, Mercy, and Henry V. and William.

Henry Alward the V’s homestead off Mount Airy Road. Interesting that he once owned all the way to where Alward Street is today. Click to Enlarge

Henry Alward IV married Mary Cox and had eight children. Henry’s fourth son, Samuel, married Caty King, sister of John King, of Liberty Corner. Benjamin, the third son, married Sarah Ayers (Ayres), daughter of Elisha Ayers, and sister of Maj. John Ayers (Ayres), of Basking Ridge. William married Elizabeth, daughter of William Cross, and moved to New York. Henry III died in Basking Ridge in 1732 and is buried in the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Cemetery. in all there are twelve Alward’s buried in the churchyard.

1720 – John Johnston aka John Annan – Annin’s Corner – Scotland

John’s birth year, 1688, figures prominently in Scottish history. It marked the end of the 50 Years’ Rebellion, a bloody religious conflict. The rebels were the Covenanters, who were persecuted for challenging the King’s belief that he, not God, was the spiritual head of the Scottish church. “

Rather than give his son John up to be killed by King Charles I, John’s father James Johnston sent him and his family to America. John landed in the colonies in 1722 with his wife Elizabeth Van Dorn and three children, John Jr, William, and a daughter. The family was seeking religious freedom as they had married outside the church and did not want to be found in the New World, so they adopted an alias in the name of Annan. It later morphed into “Annin” and never changed after. The area over time became known as “Annin’s Corner.

John (Johnston) Annan initially purchased 270 acres of land from William Penn where the family settled. It is rumored that John Johnston knew fellow Scotsman James Alexander, who’s son later was known as Lord Stirling. Lord Stirling’s father Alexander had been purchasing large chunks of property in the Basking Ridge area. The homestead started with 270 acres but grew to over 2,700 acres covering from present day Lyons Road encompassing the entire community of Liberty Corner all the way north past where the William Annin middle school stands today.

The Mr. Local History Project has written additional research about the Annin’s of Liberty Corner

1717 – The Meeting House That Became a Church

In Baskingridge, some Scotch Presbyterian families, who had settled there were worshipping in a log meeting house which they had erected a year or two previously.” The church can make a case for having been founded in 1716, but settled on 1717. The Basking Ridge congregation was recognized by the first Presbytery in the U.S located in Philadelphia in 1729.

A rendering of the meeting house in Basking Ridge that later became the first Presbyterian Church in the area.
A rendering of the meeting house in Basking Ridge that later became the first Presbyterian Church in the area.

The Trustees of the Presbyterian Congregation included James Pitney, Henry Rolfe (Newbury, MA) Mordecai McKeene, George Pack, Samuel Rolfe (Henry’s son), Daniel Morris, Thomas Riggs, and Obadiah Ayres (John’s son). That log cabin structure lasted until 1747 when a better structure was built. The Ayres lived in the area for over 100 years. The deed was not recorded until 1763.

Building on John Ayrer’s donation, in 1728 John Budd of Philadelphia donated 100 acres to the Basking Ridge congregation (he was from Phia). for the continued use of the”meeting house”.

The Presbyterian congregation of New Brunswick was later founded in 1738 and Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church became a part. John Cross was the first Moderator. The congregation believes John Cross is buried adjacent to the church but his grave has not been found. There are 35 of Cross’s descendants buried here. He had one son Robert (who had 11 children/8 sons and 3 daughters) and two daughters.

In 1750 a classical school, designed to prepare young men for college, was established in Basking Ridge by Dr. Samuel Kennedy, fourth pastor of the Presbyterian Church, and later run by his successor, Dr. Robert Finley.

1732 the Secret is Out

In 1732 the area started to take hold. The names are honored as many have street names across the town including Conkling, Alward, McCollum, Dayton, Doty, Boylan, Heath, Hall, Lindsey, Rickey, Lewis, Anderson, Whitaker and Hand families landed in the Basking Ridge. William Annin landed in Liberty Corner and built his stone home about 1760.

Abraham Southard migrated to Basking Ridge in 1735 migrating with his eight children from Hempstead, Long Island. His son Henry Southard was born in 1747 in Basking Ridge and lived 95 years. He had thirteen children. His son Samuel became a United States Senator.

As they say – the rest is history.

Click Here to view the Cemetery Map. Click Here to view the alphabetical burial list.

Interesting Cemetery Statistics

  • 876 people are buried in Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church (BRPC) cemetery.
  • The graveyard is one of the best-preserved in the County. The deed for it bears date Feb. 8, 1731. The oldest gravestone there is Henry Haines, who died June 9, 1736, but there must have been earlier interments.
  • 208 families are buried in the graveyard.
  • 26 families (13% of the total families) take up 50% of the plots at BRPC.
  • Oldest – Sarah Hodge ,107 years old (b, Apr,1742 d.Oct.16, 1849)
  • Highest number of an age buried in the cemetery – 30 were 1 year old. #2-21 were 67 years old.
  • 35 Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in the graveyard.
  • List of surnames with the most family members buried at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church graveyard:
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Surnames-with-Most-Plots-BRPC.jpg
Burials by age groups at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church cemetery (of available data) 2012 with both DOB and DOD.
Based on available burial data. Source: Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church 2012.

Cemetery Tour

Look back as you get a guided tour of the Basking Ridge cemetery. Below is the list of the 35 soldiers and original families of Basking Ridge that lost their lives in the battle for our new nation. Recorded by Felmeth and Jane, church members and The Cemetery Heritage Committee in 2012.
Benjamin Alward
John Ayers (Ayres)
Nathaniel Ayers (Ayres)
John Baird
George Bockoven
John Boylan
John Brees Sr.
John Brees Jr.
Stephen Brees
John Carle
Jonas Carle
Hugh Colwell
Daniel Doty
William Doughty
James Finley
John Hall
Samuel Johnson
Alexander Kirkpatrick
David Kirkpatrick
James Kirkpatrick
Edward Lewis
Thomas Logan
Gavin McCoy
Jonathan Miller
John Parker
Samuel Reynolds
Israel Rickey
Thomas Riggs
Peter Sharpenstine
David Simpson
Henry Southard
James Thompson
Jonathan Whitaker Sr.
Jonathan Whitaker Jr.
Stafford Wilson
35 Rev War soldiers from Basking Ridge in the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Churchyard.

82 Streets Were Named After Basking Ridge Residents

Street NameOrigin
ACKEN RDNamed for the Acken family of Liberty Corner, landowners and shopkeepers
ALEXANDRIA WAYNamed for William Alexander, Lord Stirling (1726-1783)
ALLEN RD, CR (652)Allen Road is named for Josiah Allen (1843-1906) of Liberty Corner, descendent of Ethan Allen, American soldier and patriot, 18th Century. The Farm was later purchased from the Josiah Allen estate by John W. Richardt, his wife and three sons in 1928.
ALLEN STNamed for W. J. Allen who owned much land in Basking Ridge Village in mid-19th Century
AMBAR PLNamed for settlers in the area, early 20th Century
ANNIN RDNamed for the John Annin family (Johnstons of Annandale, Scotland). Their 1,000 acres in 1722 were called Annin’s Corner and later renamed Liberty Corner
BALDWIN CTNamed for an old family of Liberty Corner, 19th Century
BERNARD DRNamed for Sir Francis Bernards, provincial Governor of New Jersey 1758-1760
BRADFORD LNNamed for William Bradford, pilgrim settler and second governor of Plymouth Colony (1590-1657)
CARSWELL CTNamed for the Carswell family, active in township community affairs since the 20th Century
CHAPIN LNNamed for original estate of Chapin-Earhart family
CHILDS RDNamed for William Childs, who moved the barn to the Old Mill Inn site and Samuel Childs, benefactor to the Bernards Township Library in the 1900’s
CODDINGTON CTNamed for early settlers in the West Millington area of the township
COLLYER LNNamed for John Collyer family, large land owners on south maple Avenue, 19th Century
CONKLING STNamed for the Conkling family, 19th Century settlers in Bernards
COOPER CTNamed for early settlers in the township
CULBERSON RDNamed for the Culberson family, landowners for more than 150 years. The street runs through their property
DAYTON STNamed for William L. Dayton (1807-1864), U.S. Senator, Vice Presidential candidate and Ambassador to France
DECKER STNamed for early settlers in the township. Carl G. Decker sold to Wheeler Corporation in 1939 this tract known as the Bernards Plateau.
DOGGETT CTNamed after the President of the High Meadow Hunt Club
DOUGLAS RDNamed for the Douglas family who settled this area in 1765
DRYDEN RDNamed for John Dryden (1631-1700) English poet, dramatist and critic
E ALLEN STNamed for W. J. Allen who owned much land in Basking Ridge Village in mid-19th Century
E CRAIG STNamed for Daniel D. Craig, banker and storekeeper, 19th Century
E LEWIS STNamed for the Edward Lewis family who arrived in the mid 18th Century and contributed to many township activities since 1730’s
ELLIS DRNamed for Monroe F. Ellis, for whom Monroe Place was also named in 1900’s
EVERSON PLNamed for original family on property before development in late 1900’s
FORBES CTNamed for Dr. John Forbes, local physician, c1900’s
GOLTRA DRNamed for James P. Goltra (1792-1871), farmer, judge and builder of the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church
GOVERNOR DRNamed for Sir Francis Bernards (1712-1779), NJ Provincial Governor, 1758-1760
GRANVILLE WAYNamed for John Carteret, The Earl of Granville, (1690-1763) British statesman and orator
HAAS RDNamed for John V. Haas, farmer and owner of Sunnyside Farm in West Millington area
HADLEY CTNamed for Henry K. Hadley (1871-1937) U.S. composer and conductor
HARRISON BROOK DRNamed for John Harrison, agent of the King of England, who bought 3000 acres of land for $50 from the Lenai Lenape Indians in 1717
HARTLEY LNNamed for David Hartley (1705-1757), English physician and philosopher
HENRY STNamed for Parmenus C. Henry, owner of P.C. Henry’s General Store and other properties in the area, 19th Century
HOPKINSON CTNamed for Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791) N.J. signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1776
IRVING PLNamed for Isaac L. Irving family of Liberty Corner—former mortician, wheelwright and blacksmith, 19th Century
JOHNSTON CIRNamed for Johnston family who left Annandale, Scotland and arrived in 1722 in area known today as Liberty Corner
KEATS RDNamed for John Keats (1795-1921) English poet
KINNAN WAYNamed for Mary Lewis Kinnan (1764-1848) captive of the Indians, rescued and returned to Basking Ridge, 1794
KNOLLCROFT RDNamed for estate of Walter Reynolds, most of property now occupied by U.S. Veterans Medical Center, Lyons
LAYTON RDNamed for Peter Layton of Liberty Corner, former mortician, wheelwright and blacksmith, 19th Century
LEWIS STNamed for the Edward Lewis family who arrived in the mid 18th Century and contributed to many township activities since 1730’s
LORD STIRLING RDNamed for Lord Stirling, William Alexander (1726-1783), major general in the Continental Army whose estate “Stirling Manor” was built here in 1762
LURLINE DRNamed for Lurline Eberkardt, accidentally shot while hunting
LYONS PLNamed for David Lyons family here in late 18th century. Family owner land where Lyons Railroad Station is located and had encouraged Bernards to bring first railroad to area in 1872.
LYONS RDNamed for David Lyons family here in the late 18th century. Family owned land where Lyons Depot / Railroad Station is located and had encouraged Bernards to bring first railroad to area in 1872.
MARTINSVILLE RD, CR (525)Named for a thoroughfare in the Township which terminates in Martinsville (Bridgewater). Named for prominent Martin family
MEEKER RDNamed for the Meeker family which had large land holdings since the mid 19th Century
MILITO WAYNamed for the Milito family who occupied land and have lived there since the late 1800’s
MONROE PLNamed for Monroe F. Ellis for whom Ellis Drive was also named in 1900’s
MORRISON STNamed for early settlers in the Township
N ALWARD AVENamed for the Alward Family who settled on land here in 1732
N VOORHEES DRNamed for Dr. Amadee Voorhees, country doctor in the mid-19th Century
OAKLEY STNamed for an early family which settled in the area
OSBORNE PLNamed for J.H. Osborne’s sawmill and pond
PADDOCK CTNamed for the paddock area of Coppergate Horse Stables
PENNINGTON STNamed for Dr. William Pennington, country physician
PITNEY CTNamed for James Pitney, first recorded settler in this area, early 18th Century
QUINCY RDNamed for Eliza Susan Morton Quincy (1764-1850), who wrote her recollections of Basking Ridge during and after the American Revolution. Her father was John Morton, who funded the Basking Ridge Army Hospital in 1779.
RADEL PLNamed for a 19th Century farming family
RIGGS CTThe Riggs family settled in the area in the early 1800’s
RUNYON DRNamed for early settlers in the West Millington area
S ALWARD AVENamed for the Alward Family who settled on land here in 1732
SCOTSMANS WAYNamed in honor of the Annin family, known as Johnston in Scotland. Settled Liberty Corner area in 1722
SOUTHARD PLNamed for the Southards, Father Henry (1747-1842), US Representative; Sen. Samuel L. (1787-1842), US Senator, NJ Governor, Secretary of the Navy
SPENCER RDNamed for Austin P. Spencer, lost at sea in the North Atlantic while piloting a bomber on submarine duty, 1943
SUTRO PLNamed for the Sutro family which owned property on South Finley Avenue. Son Frederick (1879-1964) was executive director of NJ Park Commission
THOMPSON WAYNamed for Harold Thomson, former mayor and townshi committee member 1948 -1956
TURNER STNamed for Kenneth A. Turner Sr., Bernards Township Engineer, 1932-1957
TYSLEY STNamed for early settlers in the Township. Tysley Avenue is in Bernardsville
VAIL TERRNamed for Daniel Vail (1735-1793), large land owner & distant cousins of Alfred Vail, who with Samuel F. B. Morse invented the telegraph @Speedwell, Morristown, 1844
VAN DORN RDNamed for Ferdinand Van Dorn (1807-1902), who owned and operated the flour/grist mill in Franklin Corners
VANDERVEER DRNamed for Dr. James Vanderveer (1838-1913), country doctor
VOORHEES DRNamed for Dr. Amadee Voorhees, country doctor in the mid-19th Century
W CRAIG STNamed for Daniel D. Craig, banker and storekeeper, 19th Century
W HENRY STNamed for Parmenus C. Henry, owner of P.C. Henry’s General Store and other properties in the area, 19th Century
WHITENACK RDNamed for the Whitenack family which settled here in the mid-18th Century and were large landowners
WOLF LNNamed for Lyla Wolf Florio’s maiden name, property owner
WOODWARD LNNamed for Woodward family which supplied grain and material to the Revolutionary War troops at Jockey Hollow

32 Streets were named after the Revolutionary War Events

Street NameOrigin
BEACON CREST DRNamed for location of Revolutionary Ware beacon, designed by Lord Stirling
BULLION DRNamed for Bullion’s Tavern located in Liberty Corner during the American Revolution
CANNON CTNamed for mounted gun used in the Revolutionary War
COLONIAL DRNamed for a person who supported America’s fight during the Revolutionary War
CONCORD LNNamed for the second battle of the American Revolution, Concord, MA, April 19, 1775
FIFE LNNamed for a type of flute used in military musical groups
FLINTLOCK CTNamed for a firearm used in the American Revolution
GREEN MOUNTAIN DRNamed for the Green Mountain Boys, soldiers form Vermont, organized by Ethan Allen in 1775
HALE CTNamed for Nathan Hale (1755-1776), American soldier hanged as a spy by the British during the American Revolution
HANCOCK CTNamed for John Hancock (1737-1793) first signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1776
HARCOURT LNNamed for Col. William Harcourt, arresting British officer of General Charles Lee at the Widow White’s Tavern, Basking Ridge, 12/13/76
HESSIAN DRNamed for a mercenary used by England during the American Revolution
HONEYMAN RDNamed for John Honeyman (1727-1822) who was a spy for George Washington prior to the Battle of Trenton, 1776
HUNTINGTON RDNamed for Samuel Huntington (1731-1797) American Revolution political leader
KNOX CTNamed for General Henry Knox (1750-1806) of Washington’s staff in the American Revolution
LAFAYETTE LNNamed for Marquis deLafayette, friend of General George Washington (1757-1834) French general and statesman
LEE PLNamed for General Charles Lee (1731-1782) arrested by the British in Basking Ridge, December 13, 1776
LEXINGTON RDNamed for the first battle of the American Revolution at Lexington, 1775
MINUTEMAN CTNamed for an American militia man just before and after the Revolutionary War, who was ready for instant military service
MT PROSPECT RDNamed for very old geographic area from Revolutionary War times
MUSKET DRNamed for a large heavy caliber handgun used in the Revolutionary War
PAINE CTNamed for Thomas Paine (1737-1809), patriot and writer, the “Conscience of the American Revolution”
PRESCOTT CTNamed for William Prescott (1726-1795), U.S. soldier, played vital part in Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775. “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes” – famous order given in Battle
PRINCETON CTNamed for the Battle of Princeton, American Revolutionary War, 1777
QUINCY RDNamed for Eliza Susan Morton Quincy (1764-1850), who wrote her recollections of Basking Ridge during and after the American Revolution
REVERE DRNamed for Paul Revere (1735-1818), American patriot and silversmith, famous for his night horseback ride, April 18, 1775
RICKEY LNNamed for Col. Israel Rickey (1744-1821), a valuable officer in the Revolutionary War
SENTINEL DRNamed for a soldier stationed as a guard to challenge all comers and prevent a surprise attack
STIRLING LNNamed for Lord Stirling, William Alexander (1726-1783), American Revolutionary War major general
SULLIVAN DRNamed for General John Sullivan (1740-1795), Revolutionary War leader
WAYNE TERRNamed for General “Mad Anthony” Wayne (1745-1796), American Revolutionary War leader

Additional Information

Click the map to see why Basking Ridge is the Ridge overseeing Somerset Hills – Click Here
While our article covers the first families, this digital eBook is a great study on the second and third wave of Basking Ridge settlers.

6 Thoughts to “The Founding Families of Bernards Township (Basking Ridge)”

  1. Eileen Peppard Decker

    Did you come across the name Rev. Francis Peppard? We believe him to be one of the first Pastors of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church? I am a descendant of his.

  2. Yes we did – 4. Peppard, Mary, dau. of Francis & Clarrisa 1802
    Peppard, Francis 1760
    Peppard, Clarissa 1775
    Peppard, Reuben C. 1806

  3. Stephen Breese

    Re: Brees family buried in the Presbyterian Churchyard
    John Brees Sr. 1713-1803 is almost certainly buried in the cemetery, But in his sixties at the beginning of the war, it is unlikely that he served on active duty.
    John Brees Jr. 1738-1829, Did serve in the war, but he is not buried in the cemetery. He emigrated after the war to Horseheads, NY where he is buried.
    Stephen 1755-1833. served in the war. He lived his entire life in Basking Ridge and is buried in the cemetery. The grave is marked.

  4. Ken

    There has never been a King James III of England. The King of England in 1717 was George I.

    James Francis Edward Stuart, the son of the deposed James II, was a pretender to the throne. He styled himself as the King James III of England. He left England as an infant in 1688 during the Glorious Revolution. He never set foot in England again; was never coronated; and never ruled England, Ireland or Scotland.

  5. Great catch! This statement had been handed down for so many years, it took the internet to call it out. We’ve made the correction. It was actually King James II. Thanks for writing.

  6. Janice Stenzel

    Any information on Daniel Hollingshead after he sold this land? Where he might be buried? I am a descendant of his.

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