Transcribed by Nancy Piper for Genealogy Trails
Epoch I: Construction Period
From the Earliest Times, to 1697, the Chartering of the Market Town
Introduction, George Fox, an early English Traveler, Algonkin Indians, The Children of the Algonkin Indians, Early Settlements on the Delaware, Primitive Farming, The Early Settlers Lived Well, The Homes of the First Settlers, The Site of Bristol, The Ferry Against Burlington, Development of Roads, The King's Highway, Social Progress, A History of Burlington Island, The Coming of William Penn, Islands in the Delaware Below Bristol, The Town Plot Staked Out, Phineas Pemberton and James Harrison, First Postal System.
Introducion - Pages 11-12
"Among the earliest projects of our colonial predecessors, who settled on the lands bordering upon the Delaware river, was the selection of the more desireable sites for the erection of villages. One of these, which claimed their first attention, was that upon the western bank of the Delaware, north of Neshaminy creek, then called the town of Buckingham (Bristol), in the district of country then bearing the same name (now in the County of Bucks)." *****
"The beautiful and luxuriant sections of country on either side of the lovely Delaware, everywhere offered inviting inducements to the earlier settlers in selecting places and rearing their intended homesteads. Their dwellings were chiefly built of heavy forest timber, known as log cabins. At the lapse of about the first fifteen years from its civil settlement, lands in the southeastern portion of that section of country known as Buckingham (Bristol) skirting the Delaware, even before Philadelphia was designed and laid out, were eagerly taken up and settled upon, the patentees deriving their titles from Governor Andros. (See Watson's Annals, i. Pp. 10,11.) And, indeed, strong expectations had been entertained, that the city of Philadelphia would have been founded at Buckingham, or Bristol; but their cherished hopes were overruled, mainly in consequence of the river navigation being more favorable to heavy shipping further down. There were some who even anticipated the erection of that city at Pennsbury, the favored homestead of the Proprietor; other again at Byberry, then distinctly known as a "Friends" settlement, which indeed, appears for a time to have been once called "Old Philadelphia." *****
"The success of the Pennsylvania colonial enterprise, which was equal to the most sanguine hopes of its illustrious founder and law-giver; the "unbroken chain of friendship" and confidence which was maintained "ever bright and untarnished", between the colonists and the Indians, under the system of mutual concessions adopted by William Penn, operating more favorably than the unwise, if not unjust policy, of the neighboring colonies, especially that of Lord Baltimore, afforded perhaps, feeling of greater satisfaction and security from assault, on the part of settlers here. And on this account, it may be fairly surmised, it was in some measure, that lands in this immediate neighborhood, comprised within the tract then called Buckingham (Bristol), commanded their first attention. Besides the supposition appears reasonable, that many, especially those enbued with the religious sentiments of the Friends, should have cherished an inward desire to locate themselves in a near proximity to the favorite spot chosen as the manor of their good and great patriarch and founder." - (Bache's History of Bristol.)
George Fox, an Early English Travelor
One of the earliest English travelers down the Delaware was George Fox, the eminent Friend, in the fall of 1672, on his way from Long Island to Maryland. Starting from Middletown harbor, New Jersey, he traveled through the woods, piloted by Indians, toward the Delaware. He reached the night at the house of Peter Jegou, at Leasy Point, and the next morning crossed over to Burlington Island and then to the main land, just above Bristol. Himself and friends were taken over in Indian canoes, and the horses swam.
The Indian Tribes with which the whites first came in contact on the Delaware river, were radically different from those who occupied the interior, and at a later day became so conspicuous a figure in the annals of the province. They appear to have been independent tribes of the Algonkin family, living on the tributary streams of the Delaware, probably a tribe in some parts, for every ten or twenty miles. Many of the names applied to these tribes appear to have been arbitrary designations derived from the aboriginal names given to the streams on which they dwelt, and few of them are met in the records and writing of later years. Thus Smith, in his History of New Jersey, speaks of the Assumpinks, Rankokas, Mingo, Andostaka, Neshamine and Shackamaxon tribes. Those about Burlington he calls the Mantas, probably the "Roodehoeks or Mantes" of the early Dutch adventurers and the authors of the massacre which extinguished De Vrie's colony in 1631. "But these and other" says Smith "were all of them distinguished from the back Indians, who were a more warlike people, by the general name of Delawares." He notes also other tribes that had a wider reputation and occasionally "inhabited New Jersey and first settled part of Pennsylvania," among which are the Mondeys, the Pomptons, the Senecas and the Maquaas. "The last was the most numerous and powerful."
These more notable tribes represent the two great families of the Indian race which the earliest explorers found in possession of the vast region defined by the great lakes and the St. Lawrence on the north, and the Potomac and Chesapeake bay on the south. The Iroquois were the first to reach this region in the course of their traditional migration from the west, and settled in a lake district. Subsequently, the Leni Lenape, the great head of the Algonkin family, found their way hither, and fixed upon the Delaware river as their national center. Of this nation only three branches appear to have crossed the Alleghenies, of which the Turtles and the Turkeys continued their migration to the seaboard, where they planted their villages and remained until dispossessed by the whites. The Wolf branch, better known by their English name of the Monseys, planted itself at the "Minisinks," on the Delaware, extending the line of their villages on the east to the Hudson, and to the Susquehanna on the west. From this branch were derived the different tribes which occupy the foreground in the early annals of the pioneers.
For a time the two great families lived on terms of friendly intercourse but hostilities eventually broke out between them, which by means fair and foul, resulted in the humbling of the Delawares, as they were named by the English. How this was accomplished is differently related by the dominant and subject people. It appears, however, that the Algonkins were at first successful and threatened the extinction of their rivals. This danger suggested the confederation of the Iroquois, a measure which these astute natives were wise enough to accomplish, and from this period their power began to increase among the Indian nations. Dates in connection with the history of the North American aborigines are of the most uncertain character, and when the complete ascendancy of the Iroquois was affected, and whether accomplished by force of arms or artifice, are still unsettled questions.
At the time of William Penn's coming to American, the Iroquois exercised almost unquestioned authority over the aboriginal occupants of the country east of the Mississippi river, and as conquerors of the different tribes, claimed the absolute owership of this vast territory. Until the coming of the Europeans they maintained their supremacy by a policy not unlike that of the Romans. Warlike tribes were divided and kept employed in further conquests or in reducing refractory nations, while all were placed under a close surveillance and some form of tribute. But when the whites established themselves upon the continent and demonstrated their power, many of the subject tribes were quick to perceive how they might profit by their friendship. Emboldened by such alliances, some of the Algonkin tribes resisted the boundless claims of the Iroquois, and much of the bloodshed and ravages of war inflicted upon the early settlements in all parts of the country resulted from a too general neglect of this change of attitude in the subject nations. Penn, fortunately wider in this respect than many of his contemporaries, not only exintinguished the claims of the dominant nation, but repeatedly purchased the right of the native occupants and thus saved his colony from much of the harassing experiences which fell to the lot of the less favored provinces.
Happily, Bucks county was never called upon to resist the ravages of an Indian war in her own borders. At one time, when depredations seemed imminent, through the influence of the provincial authorities, Pennsylvania became a neutral zone between the Iroquois and southern Indians, and over which the hereditary foes traveled in quest of trophies. Neither of these antagonists fully respected the neutrality of the Delawares and thus beset on all sides, these tribes began to meditate a revenge which would have involved the savages along the whole border. The settlements could not fail to suffer in such a contest, which might eventually have been directed chiefly against them. Through the efforts of the governors of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, this threatened danger was averted, and at a meeting with the Indians, a new deed was executed, which released all the lands between the Delaware and Susquehanna, and "from Duck creek to the mountains on this side of Lechay." - Battles' History of Bucks County.
The Children of the Algonkin Indians.
The children were washed in cold water as soon as born, and to harden them they were plunged into the river. They could walk at about nine months. The boys fished until about fifteen, when they began to hunt, and if they had given proof of their manhood by a large return of skins, they were allowed to marry, usually at about seventeen or eighteen. The girls remained with their mothers and helped to hoe the ground, plant corn and bear burdens. They married at about thirteen or fourteen. The home of the Indians were made of mats or bark of trees set upon poles not higher than a man, with grass or reeds spread on the ground to lie upon. The Indians lived chiefly on maize or Indian corn roasted in the ashes, sometimes beaten and boiled with water, called hominy. They also ate beans and peas. The woods and the river furnished the greater part of their provisions. They ate but two meals a day, morning and evening. They mourned a whole year, but it was no other than blacking their faces.
Early Settlements on the Delaware
In 1624 the Dutch sailed up the Delaware and erected a trading post near the site of Gloucester, N.J., which they dignified by naming Fort Nassaw. The Swedish West India Company followed in 1638, with two vessels laden with Swedish colonists and supplies. They sailed up the bay and river to the mouth of a stream which they called Christina and proceeding up its course some three miles, selected a site for a colony. In 1640 the English settled at Salem, N.J., but their trading post was burned by the Dutch and the people removed with no excess of gentleness. The Salem colony was subsequently driven off with the approval of the Swedes, if not with their active co-operation. Then followed a period of unrest, during with the two nations, the Dutch and Swedes, struggled for supremacy.
In 1664, the English sailed up the river, and with a superior force and little ceremony brought the colonies under subjection. In 1673 hostilities broke out between England and Holland, and early in August, a Dutch fleet sailed into New York bay intent on conquest. New York surrendered without resistance, and on September 12, delegates from the Delaware settlements appeared in New York and made submission, and the Dutch were once more constructively in possession of their former domain in the "new world". The war closed in 1674 and the terms of peace stipulating for the return of all places captured during the hostilities, brought the colonies again in the possession of the English.
During this period of conquest, the settlements were constantly pushing northward. In 1677, the Kent, with about two hundred and thirty souls on board, arrived at Newcastle and soon afterward, landed at Raccoon creek, in New Jersey. It was this company that, a little later in the same year, founded Burlington, the lots and streets being laid out by Richard Noble. In October the ship "Martha," with one hundred and fourteen emigrants, and in November the "Willing Mind," with sixty or seventy passengers arrived. All these were destined for the settlements east of the river and first landed there, though many subsequently removed to the other side. It was this year, which marks the advent of the first permanent settlement in the limits which now form the boundaries of Bucks county.
As the early history of Bristol and its people is contiguous with the settlement of the county, we may therefore learn from the customs and habits of the earliest settlers, how the founders of Bristol lived in that ancient formative period of the town's history.
For many years, while it was a question of bread for themselves and families, our Bucks county ancestors farmed in a primitive way. While the fathers and sons cleared the land and made the crops, the mothers and daughters attended to indoor work. They picked, cared and spun the wool for clothing, and swingled, hatcheled and spun the flax, quilted, and did many other things that fell to the lot of woman in the new country, besides frequently assisting the men in their farm work. The children of the first settlers were accustomed to hardship, and were noted for their strength and vigor. In that day, there were few or no barns, the grain was stacked and threshed with the flail on the ground. Wheat was the main crop, which was carried a distance on horseback to mill through the woods along Indian paths. The horses traveled in trains, tied head and tail, like the pack mules among the Andes, with a man riding or leading the foremost mule. Wheat was the only article for market until there was a demand in Philadelphia for butter, cheese and poultry. In 1720 most of the original tracts were settled and to some extent improved. The farms were divided into large fields, and pretty well fenced. Low and swampy ground was always cleared for meadow but the plow was seldom used to prepare new land. But little grass was raised for years, and then red and white clover were propagated to the exclusion of all other kinds. All their domestic animals were so badly housed and fed in winter that by spring they were almost in a starving condition. In the summer they lived in the woods, and in the spring were not infrequently lost in the bogs, hunting for early pasture. Cows were scarce and high for a number of years, selling for thirty or forty dollars a head when wheat was only thirty cents a bushel. The horses used for all purposes were of the "Wood" breed, raised from those brought originally from New England, gentle, hardy and easy keepers. The English horse introduced at a later day, was larger and more elegant in carriage.
The Early Settlers Lived Well
The early settlers lived well in their log cabins, as soon as the era of necessity had passed. They were both well-fed and well-clothed, but not in fine garments. The women manufactured the clothing of the family from wool an flax, and milk, butter and cheese became plenty for domestic use when fodder could be procured to keep stock through the winter. Hogs were raised and fattened, and the forest furnished game. Mush and milk were an universal dish. Pancakes, made of thin batter of flour and eggs and other ingredients, baked in a pan over the fire, were in every house. The housewife, or maid, prided herself on the dexterity with which she could turn the cake, by tossing it up the wide chimney and catching it in the pan again as it came down. But little tea and coffee were drunk for the first seventy years, and they did not come into common use until between 1750 and 1760. At first they were only used by the wealthy, and that on Sunday. In their stead a tea was made of garden herbs, and a coffee of rye and wheat burned to a brown. Children went barefooted half the year and farmers through the summer. Indian meal was first exported to the West Indies and wheat to France, about 1767, which stimulated their production. About this period potatoes began to be raised in quantities, and were fed to both cattle and hogs. The destructive Hessian fly made its appearance about 1780, previous to which the wheat crop was seldom, if ever, known to fail.
The Homes of the First Settlers
The homes of the first settlers, upon the arrival of William Penn, while still plain, exhibited the mark of thrift. The Swedes still retained their log houses, with doors low and wide and chimneys placed in the corner of the structure, but here and there a planked ceiling and a glass window served to mark the improvement in taste and circumstances. The dwellings of the English were generally framed structures covered with clapboards. A part of the material was brought from the "old country" by many emigrants, but the clapboards were the product of the new land, either riven out by hand or sawed at the mills already erected in the New Jersey settlements. These were commonly put on green and subsequently shrunk, leaving openings a half inch wide. In the case of the "best people", a liberal application of clay served to keep the wind away, but added rather to the comfort than to the beauty of the building. Dutch coins and measures were still used in the common expression of values, social customs bore the same stamp of conservatism, and the mixed population, slowly progressive, viewed innovations as an infringement of their privileges.
The Site of Bristol
In 1681 Samuel Clift, a recent emigrant to New Jersey, obtained from Sir Edmond Andros, Provincial Governor of New York, a grant for two hundred and sixty-two acres, covering the site of Bristol, and soon after became a resident here. The granting of the warrant for this tract of land, was contiguous with eht date of the Proprietory Charter of Charles II, to the Founder of Pennsylvania (4th of March, 1681; and about four months prior to the conditions and agreements entered into between William Penn and the "adventurers and purchasers in the same province," July 1681). The brief recital of this grant of Governor Andros is for "a large tract of land lying on the Delaware river, at the mouth of Mill creek, and extending up said river and creek," etc., under which title the warrantee seated and improved the land. By deed dated September 23, 1682, Samuel Clift devises this tract in fee simple to Joseph English. Clift died in 1684.
The "Ferry Against Burlington"
Shortly after Samuel Clift became a resident of Pennsylvania (1681), he established the ferry between Bristol and Burlington. Upon his death in April, 1684, his executor, William Biles, leased the ferry-house for two years to Michael Hurst. The ferry was recognized by the provincial council in 1709, upon petition of John Sotcher, who owned the landing on the Pennsylvania side. The assembly of New Jersey passed a similar act in 1714. The first mention concerning it in the town records occurs in the minutes of a meeting held May 28, 1750, when a complaint was made that the public suffered "great inconvenience, and that, therefore, some measures for regulating the said ferry and preventing those inconveniences is of absolute necessity." It appeared that the sense of the meeting "without a dissenting voice," was that the ferry was the undoubted right of the corporation, which should therefore receive possession from the tenant. The records further state: "Patrick O'Hanlan being called in and required to hold the same as a tenant under this corporation has consented thereto and has agreed with this present town's meeting for the use thereof for one year commencing the first day of April past, at the rent of twelve pounds per annum." It would seem, from subsequent devolopements that this arrangement was not advantageous to Mr. O'Hanlan. It appears that in September, 1753, he was in debt for the rent of nearly two years. Ennion Williams, the borough treasurer, was directed to call upon him and compel payment, if necessary. O'Hanlan appeared before the council in person, and stated that his profits did not amount to six pounds in the past year. He was allowed an abatement; and that the business might be made more remunerative, the following schedule of rates was adopted: "Single foot passengers, six pence; two persons at the same time, four pence, and three or more, three pence each; a single horse and rider, one shilling, and any greater number, nine pence; a single ox, one shilling three pence, and any greater number, one shilling; sheep, two pence each, hogs (alive), six pence; dead, three pence; four-wheeled carriages with two horses and one person, five shillings; two-wheeled carriages with a single horse and one person, two shillings and six pence"; and in every case the rates were increased one-half after ten o'clock at night. This code of regulations remained in force under successive lessees for many years.
(The writer asked Mr. Wm. F. Doron, the present owner, for some supplemental history, but was informed that all the old records were destroyed in a fire, which occurred a few years ago.)
Development of Roads
The "Kings Path" authorized by an order of the early court in 1675, extended across the county, and subsequently the various settlements were probably connected with it by local ways of travel. In May, 1685, a road was ordered to be laid out "from Wrightstown to the ferry-house over against Burlington," and in 1688 the grand jury called attention to the necessity of a road "from the upper plantation above the Falls of the Delaware to the landing over against Burlington." In the winder of 1691, "the necessity of a way from Newton to Burlington ferry," was suggested, but it was not until 1693 that it was laid out. Two years later the return of a road "from the upper plantations above Falls of the Delaware to the landing over against Burlington," was made. It was projected in 1688, but the unsettled character of the country delayed its completion, and when finally laid out was indicated by marked trees. In 1696 a road was laid out from the "mill dam in Buckingham (Bristol), to the common landing by the ferry house, in a straight line." These roads were scarcely more than bridal-paths, and it was not until 1695 that the term "cartways" was used in reference to the county roads, which probably indicates the period when wheeled vehicles were introduced in the county. The location of the ferry here at that early day was a prominent consideration in determining the terminal points of the various "ways".
Thus will be seen the methods by which the roadways leading into Bristol were laid out. The ferry had much to do with the attraction of travel in this direction, in those early days, and a few years later was an important factor in the consideration of a site of the market town of Bristol.
The King's Highway
The road from Philadelphia to Morrisville, via Bristol, was ordered to be laid out by the Provincial Council, at a meeting held in Philadelphia, November 19, 1686. It was called the King's Highway, and was the first public road laid out that ran through Bucks County. Upon the bed of this road was built the Bristol and Frankford Turnpike, incorporated in 1803. The turnpike was commenced in 1804, and finished to Bristol in 1810, and completed to Morrisville in 1812, at a cost of $209,300. During the time the stage line from Philadelphia to New York ran over the road, it paid a ten per cent, dividend.
The mile stones placed along the road had in addition to the figures placed upon them, the letter "T", so that travelers might know how many turnpike miles they had traveled. In General Davis' History of Bucks County, it is stated that the milestones were set up by an insurance company at a cost of thirty-three pounds. The distance by the King's Highway from Bristol to Market Street, Philadelphia, was twenty miles.
It was originally intended to run the road on a straight line through the borough from Otter Creek bridge to the Bloomsdale ferry house, situated on the river bank, now owned by the heirs of David Landreth, opposite their seed farm.
The proprietors of the "General Brown", "King of Prussia," "George the Second" and the "Cross Keys" hotels, whose public houses were located east of the proposed pike rode, petitioned the borough council to appoint a committee to wait upon the directors of the road and request that a change in the line be made at the intersection of Otter and Mill Streets, so that the pike would run down Mill to Radcliffe street, thence to Hollow Creek, the hotels and principal business houses being located on these streets.
Within the last year the Society of Colonial Dames has undertaken the task of preserving the old mile stones, which still remain along the course of the King's Highway. The only stone in Bristol stands at the corner of Radcliffe and Walnut streets, on the property now owned by Bristol Lodge, No. 970, B.P.O.E., and will be protected and preserved by that society.
There is little upon which to base any estimate of the social progress of the county at this time, an especially so of that part east of the Poquesssing Creek, but there is evidence which indicates the presence of the Swedish schoolmaster even among the most advanced settlements, and a disposition on the part of pioneers to avail themselves of his services. The community east of the Poquessing, which included the site of Bristol, was not yet able to support a place of worship in its midst. Those who preferred the established church, were obliged to resort to Wicaso, where a log fort had been fitted up as a place of worship, in 1677, for the Swedish congregation, over which the Rev. Jacob Fabrituis presided. The Falls settlement was generally composed of members of the Society of Friends. Their church business was conducted at Burlington, and they often went there to attend religious services, but they doubtless also had services in their private houses until a regular meeting was established some two years later.
A History of Burlington Island
Many persons in passing up the River Delaware, when opposite Burlington Island, express their admiration of its beauty, and wonder that it has never been built up with handsome villas.
Perhaps a short history of the occupancy and settlement of the island in "ye olden times," may be interesting to our readers who have lived within sight of it for many years, but have never learned its history. An interesting account of the early settlement of the island by the whites can be found in the Pennsylvania Magazine, Vol. 10; also in Davis' History of Bucks County.
The Island was in possession of the Indians previous to 1616, when we find from the history of the Delaware River, that in that year three Dutch traders started from Fort Nassau, Albany, to explore the Delaware, down which they traveled to the mouth of the Schuylkill, stopping at the islands to establish trading posts with the Indians. They were made prisoners by the Minquas, but were afterward ransomed by Captain Hendrickson, who gave in exchange for them, blankets, beads and kettles. The Indians held possession of the island until 1677, when Governor Andros, of New York, authorized Sheriff Cantwell to purchase all the land below the Falls, including the islands. The Indians refused to sell until they were paid the balance due them for lands sold at the Falls. The governor ordered an investigation to be made, when it was found that the balance due was five guns, thirty hoes and one anchor of run. He ordered the claim settled at once, and there was no further trouble.
These same Indians were part of the tribe that was settled near Crosswicks, among whom were many of the Delawares. They sold all their lands in New Jersey to the governor, and removed to Northern New York. Some time about the year 1823, a delegation of these Indians visited Trenton and waited on the governor. They informed him that when their fathers sold all their lands to the state, they did not include the right to gun and fish in the waters of the state, and they had come to dispose of that right. The governor inquired how much they wanted for their right and they replied $3,000. The matter was submitted to the Legislature, and upon investigation it was found that the statement of the Indians was true. An appropriation was made and the Indians went home rejoicing. A grand old state is New Jersey!
Davis, in his history, says "Burlington Island in the Delaware opposite Bristol, came early into notice. It was recognized as belonging to the West Shore from its discovery and was included in Markham's first purchase. The Indians called it Matiniconk, after the name of their chief. It was known by that name in Lindstrom's map, published in 1654. When the English took possession of the Delaware, it was in the possession of one Peter Alricks, a German, and was confiscated by the English Government with all his property, when in 1668, it was again restored to Alricks by orders of Governor Lovelace. During the time it was in confiscation it was taken possession of by Captain John Carre, and for a time was called Carre's Island - said to be in consideration of his brave conduct in capturing Fort Delaware. There was a frontier military and trading post established on the lower point of the island. Governor Lovelace wrote to Captain William Tom, October 6, 1671, who was in charge of affairs on the Delaware, to have the Matiniconk House put in good order, and to increase the guard, so it would make a strong defence in case of attack.
"It was on this island that Peter Alricks' two servants were murdered in 1672. It was said that the expense of burying the two Dutchmen was one hundred and six guilders, and was paid by Jonas Neilson; but the Upland Court refused to reimburse him."
"In 1678, Sir Edmund Andros, who succeeded Governor Lovelace, leased the island to Robert Stacy for seven years, and Sheriff Cantwell put him in possession. Stacy and George Hutchinson, who were interested in the lease, conveyed the island to the Town of Burlington."
"Thater and Lanker, explorers, who passed down the Delaware in 1679, in their report, say the island formerly belonged to the Dutch Governor, who made it a pleasure garden, built good houses on it, dyked and rowed and planted a large piece of meadow, from which he gathered more grain than from any other cleared land on the island."
"It was rented to the Quakers, and during their occupancy George Fox, the distinguished Quaker, with some friends visited the island. They left Middletown Harbor, N.J., having reached there on a sloop from Long Island. They traveled through the woods piloted by the Indians, and reached the Delaware at Leasy's Point, N.J., opposite the upper end of the island, stopped at the house of one Peter Jegou, and the next morning crossed over to Burlington Island, and then to the mainland, just above Bristol. He says he and his friends were taken over in Indian canoes and the horses swam over."
"Among the earliest acts of the Legislature of Pennyslvania was one to confirm this island to Burlington, the rents and proceeds to be applied to maintain a free school for the education of the youth in said town."
"In 1711 the Legislative Council of New Jersey passed an act authorizing Lewis Morris to take up the island for the Hon. Robert Hunter, who purchased it the same year. It was surveyed and found to contain 400 acres. The inhabitants of Burlington brought suit against Hunter to recover possession, and he was dispossessed in 1729."
"In 1722, when Governor Burnett, of New York, occupied the island as a country seat, he had vistas cut through the woods, up and down the river and across from the creek to the river. In the olden times the people of Burlington and Bristol made it a place of resort for recreation."
"In 1830, Colonel William R. Johnson, of Petersburg, Va., the Napoleon of the Turf, visited the island with a view of purchasing it for the purpose of establishing a race course and a stud farm. Upon examination it was found the authorities of Burlington culd not sell without an act of the Legislature when the project was abandoned."
"Some years after, the Lehigh Coal Company wanted to purchase the lower end for a coal depot. Some of the wealthy men of Burlington, fearing it might be a detriment to their general plans for improvement in the city, formed a syndicate, of which George W. South was at the head, obtained an act from the Legislature authorizing the authorities of Burlington to sell to them one-half of the island for $20,000, the money to be invested for the support of the free school. It was a good thing for Burlington, but a bad investment for the syndicate, as they sold it after holding it over thirty years and laying out considerable money in improvements, for $11,000 to a company who accidentally discovered a bed of moulding sand, said to be the very best for heavy castings that had been found in any part of the country. Judging from the number of vessels and barges seen loading there during the boating season
To Be Continued..............