Jul 22 2015

Farm Ownership Changed Hands
Multiple Times in Post-Civil War Era


(Continuing our series on the history of the Case-Dvoor Farm)

John Case had fallen on hard times in 1860. In June of that year, Sheriff Robert Thatcher seized the then 82.93-acre property for debts of $289.89 and sold the farm at auction to George Allen for $300.

George and his wife, Mary, flipped the property less than a year later collecting a handsome profit. They split the land into two parcels — one 12.93-acre tract and a second 70-acre one — and sold it for $12,000. John Hay purchased the land, but when he went to sell it a year later, didn’t do quite so well. He collected $2,500 when he sold the two parcels to Brooklyn residents William and Susan Moses just around the time the Civil War was ending.

William Moses was born May 17, 1814 in New Hampshire and was the descendant of early New England settlers. He grew up on the family farm before moving to New York in 1834 to start a provision business. The firm, known as D.B. & W. Moses,” cured and sold the first bacon that was ever sent to Europe, according to family genealogy records.

William sold the former Case farm (both parcels) to his brother John M. Moses in October, 1866 for $9,000. In addition, John bought roughly 11 acres of land located on the north side of Mine Street — then known as Center Bridge Road — except for the Case family graveyard. This property encompassed land east of present-day Shields Avenue between Mine and Bonnell streets.

John would appear to be the first person to farm the property after the Case family. John was born on Jan. 6, 1812, and had worked at a firm listed as being “lard refiners” in New York. John appears to have left the city following the death of his first wife, Olive, and by Oct. 1866 was living in Raritan Township. Perhaps he rented the farm from his brother before purchasing it.

An 1870 agricultural census lists John Moses as the owner of the farm with 88 acres of improved land and five acres of woodland. His livestock included four horses, eight milk cows and 10 other head of cattle and four swine. In the previous year, the farm had yielded 180 bushels of wheat, 200 bushels of corn, 300 bushels of oats, 10 bushels of rye, 40 tons of hay and 400 pounds of butter.

John seems to have begun building a successful farming operation. But within a year, he would sell the property to another New Hampshire family, who would run the farm for four decades. John remained in Flemington and died in 1876.


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