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#PictureoftheDay Oxford Mine (Empire Steel & Iron Co.), no date ... See MoreSee Less
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#TodayinHistory Creation of USMA @ West Point
On 16 March 1802, Congress approved legislation that established the United States Military Academy at West Point (NY). This is one of the oldest military academies in the world and is strategically located on the west bank of the Hudson River, about five miles north of NYC.
According to USMA’s website, “General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic location in America and in 1778 selected Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish engineer, to design the fortifications for West Point. Washington later transferred his headquarters near West Point in 1779. American Continental Line soldiers constructed forts, gun batteries, redoubts and installed a 65-ton iron chain across the Hudson to block British invasions along the river. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Major General Benedict Arnold’s treasonous attempt to turn-over the garrison to the British in 1780.”
President Washington and most of his cabinet wanted to create an institution that would be dedicated to art and science of warfare used to train officers for the Army. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was one who opposed this plan as he was opposed to professional armies and officer class that was prominent in Europe. Later, as president, Jefferson realized how important it was to develop a military to prevent invasion and with the new westward expansion, the new territory required armed forces for protection and defense. On 16 March 1802, President Jefferson signed legislation that created USMA, which fell under the US Army Corps of Engineers. All of the superintendents of USMA through 1866 were engineer officers. (West Point)
USMA graduates during the 19th c. were responsible for constructing the nation’s earliest waterways, infrastructure, harbors, the Washington Monument, and surveys for the transcontinental railroads. The greatest engineering feat in the world was the completion of the Panama Canal (1914) under direction of Col. George W. Goethals (class of 1880), an Army engineer.
#USMA #WestPointNY #ShippenManor
“A Brief History of West Point.” USMA West Point. www.westpoint.edu/about/history-of-west-point.
“United States Military Academy at West Point.” Library of Congress. www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/march-16/. ... See MoreSee Less
#TodayinHistory The Ides of March are come.
In Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer issues this warning to Julius Caesar – “Beware of the ideas of March.” Two scenes later, Caesar is assassinated on the steps of the Roman Senate.
Julius Caesar, the former Roman dictator, was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 BCE by dozens of prominent Roman senators and political allies such as his close friends Brutus and Cassius. His death shocked the public and threw the Roman Republic into civil war, resulting in the creation of the Roman Empire, which was led by Caesar’s heir, Octavian. Four years, on the anniversary of Caesar’s death, the first ruler of the Empire, Octavian (who went by Augustus) executed hundreds of Roman politicians and soldiers who sided with his enemy during the civil war.
Julius Caesar was cremated and following his death, he was deified (made into a god) by the Roman Senate, and the Temple of Caesar was constructed on the site of his creation to house his cult, dedicated by Augustus (Octavius), his adoptive son. It was completed in 29 BCE and Caesar’s testament was read aloud at the funeral by Marc Antony. Caesar was the first resident of Rome to be deified. It stands to the east side of the main square of the Roman Forum.
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#CHURCHBULLETINS March 15, 1936
The 2nd Presbyterian Church Bulletin, dated 15 March 1936, had an excerpt about Captain John Axford, grandson of the town’s founding settler, John Axford.
“Among the Scranton Papers preserved by Edward T. Green we find an interesting document, being 16 pages from the Store Ledger, containing the purchases of Captain John Axford. There are upward of a thousand items, on the account which extended from March 1840 to May 1843.
The account is in favor of Geo. W. and S.T. Scranton, which shows that the two brothers owned the Store. We do not know anything about Capt. John Axford, but suppose that he was a grand son of the original John Axford, the first settler in this region, who built a log cabin on the site of the late Charles Scranton’s house. As this was before the Civil War and the Mexican Wars, where did the Captain get his title? In the War of 1812?
We would be glad for any information on the matter.
The account shows that Capt. Axford was a farmer as he paid his three year Store bill with farm products; corn, hay, veal, potatoes, etc.
The total bill for the three years was $221.48 and the credited receipts balanced it.
There were groceries, dry goods and miscellany. The groceries were mostly coffee, tea, spices, crackers, rice, and most of all Molasses; was it what we use to call New Orleans?
But they used a lot of it, at 45 cents a gallon. It took the place of sugar apparently for little of the latter is listed, and it cost 10 cents a pound. They raised their own meat, fruit flour, and vegetables.”
In 1936, they were still learning about the town’s history, including key folks. Fortunately, we have the information they lacked in the bulletin.
According to “The Axfords of Oxford, New Jersey, a Genealogical Beginning in 1725” by William Clinton Armstrong (Morrison, IL: Shawver Publishing Co., 1931), the son of the town’s founding settler was John Axford, II (1735-1809). He and his wife, Abigail Hunt (1738-1809) had nine* children:
1. Samuel Axford I (1760-1836), married Margaret McDonald. They are buried in Mansfield-Woodhouse Cemetery in Washington.
2. Captain John Axford III (1761-1843), married Eleanor Polhemus (1767-1848). They are buried in Mansfield-Woodhouse Cemetery in Washington.
3. Johanna Axford (1763-1836), died unmarried and is buried in the Hazen Cemetery (by the old church).
4. Abraham Axford (1767-1811) married Polly McMurtrie (1771-1836) and moved to Ontario (Canada) and lived in Simcoe. They had five children.
5. Abigail Axford Ayers Parks (1769-1841) was married twice—(1) Mr. Ayers and (2) William Parks. They moved to Woodhouse, Ontario.
6. Jonathan Axford (1771-1852) married Lana Pace and moved to Ontario.
7. Sarah “Sally” Axford Bowlby (1771-1813), married Thomas Bowlby and moved to Woodhouse, Ontario.
8. Ann “Nancy” Axford Kinney (b. 1773) married John Kinney, Jr. They lived in Belvidere, NJ.
9. Martha Hunt Axford Axford (1778-1855), married her first cousin, Robert Axford (son of Abraham and Sarah Beavers Axford).
(Ancestry lists Robert Axford (1780-1820), but he is the son of Abraham Axford and Sarah Beavers Axford.)
*Ancestry.com shows more children and they have been added to the list above.
CAPTAIN JOHN AXFORD III
"Captain John" and Eleanor Polhemus married on 17 March 1841. Eleanor was born 7 April 1767 and had at last 12 children. She died in Oxford on 22 June 1848 at age 82. She was the daughter of Major John Polhemus and Susannah Hart Polhemus (granddaughter of the Signer, John Hart and his wife Deborah Scudder). They lived in Oxford in the old stone house built by his grandfather, John Axford I. They are both buried in the Mansfield Woodhouse Cemetery (or “Old Mansfield Cemetery”) in Washington. Eleanor’s grave was cared for at the time of this book by the Peggy Warne DAR Chapter (which has since merged with Captain William Maxwell DAR Chapter). They had fourteen children, two of whom died young.
According to the story, John and Eleanor fell in love with one another when he was 22 and she was 16 and her parents delayed their marriage by sending her to a boarding school in Bordentown. Immediately, John went to Bordentown and persuaded her to run away with him. They were married and he brought his bride home to the ancestral stone home. In a letter, written by their great-grandchildren stated, “My mother told me that when she was a child she used to visit her grandparents Axford; and that her grandmother Eleanor would sometimes speak of her distinguished ancestors, and then grandfather John would say, “Now that will do, Nellie; remember you married a thief; for didn’t I seal you from school? (47).
John (III) and Eleanor’s children were:
1. John A. “Long John” Axford IV (1787-1865) moved to Michigan in 1831. He was called “Long John” to distinguish him from a shorter-built relative. He was married twice: 1. Sarah DeCow/DeCou Axford (1790-1824, m. 1810) and 2. Charity Johnson Axford (1800-1890, m. 1826). Sarah DeCow was born in Oxford, NJ (her tombstone mistakenly identified it as NY).
2. Charles Axford (1789-1843), married Eva Flummerfelt (1793-1882), at least 1 child—Ellen DeCamp Axford (1818-1906)
3. Martha Axford (b. 1791), died young
4. Samuel Axford (b. 1793)
5. Thomas Axford (b. 1793)
6. Abraham Axford (1795-1854)
7. Ellen C. Axford (1797-1887), born in Ewing, NJ and died young
8. Sally Boalsbee Axford (b. 1800)
9. Martha Ann Axford (1802-1881)
10. Edward Montgomery Axford (1807-1879)
11. Eleanor “Ellen” Catherine Axford Axford (1811-1887), married William Axford (1813-1886), at least 1 child—Thomas Axford (1831-1875)
- William was born in Ontario, and died in Clarkston, Oakland, MI (some of the Axford family settled in what will be known as Oxford, Michigan). William & Eleanor were cousins—he was the son of Samuel Axford (1760-1836) and Margaret McDonald (1762-1818), and grandson of Johnathan Axford II (1730-1806) and Abigail Hunt Axford (1738-1809), and great-grandson of John C. Axford (1692-1772) and Joanna Biles Beakes Axford (1696-1767).
12. Susannah Axford (b. 1811)
13. Rebecca Axford (b. 1816)
Eleanor’s father, Major John Polhemus (1742-1834) served in the American Revolution and recruited 86 men and mortgaged his farm to pay for guns for his men. He served as the 4th Captain, 1st Battalion, 1st Establishment of the NJ Line. He fought at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. He participated in the Expedition to Canada (1776), the Crossing of the Delaware River (1776-1777) with General Washington, participated in the Battle of Trenton (1777), Monmouth (1778), suffered at Valley Forge, and was taken prisoner at Perth Amboy and held in the old Sugar House in NYC. After the war ended, he was returned home in poor health and financial broke.
Following the Revolutionary War, Captain John (as he was frequently called) returned to “Oxford Furnace” (the town) and became a drover (an experienced stockman who moved livestock such as sheep, cattle, and horses “on the hoof” over long distances and is a type of herding).
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Don't forget to "Spring ahead" this weekend. ... See MoreSee Less
#ChurchBulletins "The Old Furnace"
In the 2nd Presbyterian Church bulletin #214, dated June 10, 1934, the "Old Furnace" is discussed. For a few years, the church members (led by Rev. Yount) and others wrote the State of New Jersey and the Federal Government with the intent of preserving the old furnace (Washington & Cinder). They did research and interviewed older residents.
"The Bulletin is able to report that an important step has been taken recently towards the preservation of the old furnace. Mr. Leonard Peckitt, president of the Warren Foundry and Pipe Corp., which owns the property, has given practical proof of his interest in the movement, as indicated by this extract from a letter to Mr. Humphrey--
'At a meeting of the Warren Board here today, I explained the situation fully and the matter of deeding the furnace site and the buildings on it to some Society, that would make the necessary repairs, and it was left to me with power.
'Will you, therefore, be kind enough to give the matter further consideration and let me know whether, in your opinion, it would be wise to deed the property in perpetuity to a committee of local citizens of the village, or perhaps better, to make the transfer to some Engineering or other Society that would be more likely to carry on. Any way, with the matter now in my hands, I am ready to act and after looking over the ground, suggest that if a deed is finally to be made, it cover say, approximately 40 feet fronting the roadway with a depth of not over 300 feet.
'As you know, the Oxford property we own, is leased to the Allan [sp] Wood Steel Company and it will, of course, be necessary to get their approval before deposing of the small piece of ground in question, which, however, I think will not be difficult.'
Mr. Loux, who was the Superintendent of Alan Wood Co. assured the writer of this segment (presumably Rev. Yount) that he thinks the company would be willing to cooperate with the church in order to preserve the old furnace."
Empire Steel & Iron Co. was formed by NJ State Charter on 13 March 1899 through the efforts of Leonard Peckitt, who was elected president of the company.
[Wint, Dale Charles. "A History of the Iron Industry and Allied Businesses of the Iron Borough Catasauqua Pennsylvania, 1993." www.thehopkinthomasproject.com/TheHopkinThomasProject/CoalFireIronSteel/Appendices/CatasauquaIndu...]
The Warren Foundry & Machine Co. was incorporated in 1856 in Phillipsburg, NJ, and one of the founders was Daniel Runkle (president from 1860 to his death in 1890).
[Warren Foundry, 1906: www.waterworkshistory.us/tech/Warren_Foundry/1906WarrenFoundry.pdf]
Alan Wood Steel Co. was fit established by James Wood in 1792 (Hickorytown, PA). In 1826, James Wood and his son Alan leased a small water mill near Wilmington, DE. They moved to Conshohocken, PA in 1832 and less than 20 years later, it formed a partnership known as Alan Wood & Co., and established the Schuylkill Iron Works in Conshohocken. There were two NJ mines operated under lease from Warren Pipe & Foundry Co. from 1929 and both were purchased outright in 1941. (One of the two was the Oxford Mines.)
[Alan Wood Steel Story, www.kophistory.org/archive/files/MANUSCRIPT/AlanWoodSteelStory.pdf]
In "American Mining & Metallurgical manual" (1926), Carl H. Loux was the General Superintendent of Mt. Hope & Washington Magnetite Iron Ore Mines, Shafts, Electric Power and Compressors, 4-Mile, Standard, Steam Railway" (page 254).
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Hello friends and neighbors.
Tomorrow morning we are testing our system and our alarm may sound. Please do not panic. 🙂
Thank you. ... See MoreSee Less