A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

History: The Ravine Farm, Matawan (1876)

W. H. Hankinson ran an advertisement in the 5 Feb 1876 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 4, col 3) to sell farm equipment. He was selling a new Ingersoll's portable hay press, perhaps like the one (image, above) described in an 1856 advertisement held in the Duke University library collection. Also for sale was a 1-horse iron arm farm wagon, with accompanying pole and shafts. Those interested in making a purchase were asked to stop by the Ravine Farm, formerly owned by R. D. Fielder.


This Old Monmouth of Ours, by William S. Hornor, pg 104, said the Ravine Farm was on 70 acres of land on the northern bank of Matawan Creek, across from Matawan Village. It was the remains of the 1,000 acres that made up the original Matawan Plantation. The article details the history of the land, including its occupancy by the Fielders and Hankinsons. See Google Books for details.

The 1880 Federal Census showed William H Hankinson, 49 years old, living in Matawan as a carpet renovator. His wife Phebe was 40 years old. Their children were Annie, Wilford, Albert and Grace. They had two female servants.

The 3 Aug 1904 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 5) contained this obituary: "William Henry Hankinson, owner of the Ravine farm at Matawan and a summer resident of that place, died on Saturday a week ago at his home in New York. Mr. Hankinson went to New York from Matawan when a young man and engaged in the carpet cleaning business, first by hand and later by steam power. His trade increased rapidly and he built up one of the largest establishments of its kind in New York. About thirty years ago he bought the Ravine farm at Matawan, which had been in the possession of the family for several generations back. He spent his summers with his family at the farm, but he had always employed a manager to look after the details of the farm management. He was 78 years old, and his death was due to kidney trouble and dropsy."

"Hankinson Graveyard, western Matawan Borough - In 2003 Edward G. Fitzgerald of Aberdeen determined that this was indeed the Robertson Family Burial Ground (Aberdeen Township #2), which in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was on property owned by William Henry Hankinson. Hankinson’s obituary in the Matawan Journal of 28 July 1904, 5, states that he was the owner of Ravine Farm — where the Robertson burial ground was located." (Miscellaneous Graveyards, Monmouth County Graveyard Locator, 2009 Addendum)

The 1870 Federal Census showed Robert D Fielder, 57 years old, living in Matawan as a farmer. His property was worth $30,000 and his personal property $8,000. His wife, Phebe A Fielder, was 52 years old. What appear to be four daughters -- Sarah (25), Elizabeth (21), Emma (17) and Isabella (12) -- lived in the household. The parents were born in New Jersey while all four girls were born in New York.

The Fielders were living at 108 84th Street in New York in the 1880 Federal Census. Robert was listed as D R Fielder, age 60, while his wife was recorded phonetically as Febie A Fielder, age 62. Daughters Elizabeth (31) and Isabell (21) were still in the household, as was a chamber maid.


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