Peter D. DeWitt (b. 22 Feb 1746/47, d. 22 Dec 1816)
Peter D. DeWitt (son of Petrus DeWitt and Elizabeth Cassaday)299 was born 22 Feb 1746/47 in Frankford, Sussex, New Jersey300, and died 22 Dec 1816 in Frankford, Sussex, New Jersey.He married Mary Predmore on 11 Apr 1773 in Sussex, New Jersey. Notes for Peter D. DeWitt: Land Area: 529 sq. mile Population: 130,943 County Seat: Newton Bounded by: New York State, Delaware River, Warren, Morris and Passaic Counties. Sussex County is situated at the extreme top of New Jersey and has always been off the beaten path due to it's rural nature. In addition, the rugged Kittatinny Mountains cut across its entire northwestern edge and the heavily-wooded New Jersey Highlands rise upward from the Kittatinny Valley in the eastern part of the county. This very hilly aspect is what keeps Sussex rural. For one thing, the rock-strewn hills make usual farming difficult - thus explaining dairy cattle. For another thing, pockets in the slopes have led to lakes, both natural and man-made which encourage vacationing rather than permanent settlement. Finally, the county has thousands acres being used in State parks. New Jersey's highest point, 1,803 feet above sea level, is at High Point near the New York border. The Kittatinny Mountains average 1,600 feet above sea level. The Sussex Highlands range upwards to 1,496 feet above sea level near Vernon. All of this lake land and mountain land makes for fine scenery. Many observers agree that New Jersey's scenic best is in Sussex County. But it was neither cows nor scenery that brought the first Europeans to Sussex. They were Dutchmen from what is now Kingston, New York, who found copper on the rocky mountain slope just north of the Delaware Water Gap, sometime in the 1640's. As they took the ore back along the mountains, they developed a 140-mile thoroughfare linking the Pahaquarry copper mine with Esopus (Kingston, New York). English, Irish, and Scotch immigrants came overland soon after 1700 to the Kittatinny slopes, which they called the "Blue" mountains. Germans came up from Philadelphia in the 1740's, led by John Peter Bernhardt, and Caspar Shafer, and settled along the Tockhokkonetkong River, now called by the more easily pronounceable name of Paulins Kill. Scarcely 600 people lived in the whole Sussex region in 1750 when settlers began to grumble about going all the way to Morristown for court business. There were no towns, no major plantations, and little economic value in the vast area when the colonial legislature created Sussex County on June 8, 1753. Leaders of the new county met on November 20, 1753, to grant tavern licenses and to fix fees for liquor and provender. This reflected a major interest of the day, since for many decades the tavern keeper was an important man in Sussex county economic and political circles. In the spring of 1754, county fathers levied taxes of 100 pounds annually; most of it to pay bounties for the killing of wolves and panthers. The rest went to build a log jail so flimsy the sheriff complained he couldn't keep the prisoners in. The prisoners, in turn. said they wouldn't stay in the jail if the sheriff couldn't keep the sheep out. Sussex courts returned temporarily to Morristown in 1757, driven there by savage Indian uprisings along the Delaware valley. Long bitter over the loss of their territory, the Indians struck back at white settlers in 1755. Colonial officials appropriated 10,000 pounds in December of that year to build stone forts along the river. Most noted of the killings by Indians took place near Swartswood Lake, where in May 1756, Anthony Swartwout, his wife and a daughter were slain by the savages, and two younger children became Indian captives. In 1758 the Indians were persuaded to relinquish their territorial claims peacefully, but another conflict already was raging in the not-so-peaceful Sussex hills. That was the New York-New Jersey border conflict which involved many beatings and shootings in the 50 years after it first broke out in 1719. Bi-state action fixed the border at its present line in 1769. 1761 saw New Town (now Newton) come to prominence through the actions of Jonathan Hampton, an Essex county man of some influence in Trenton. The Legislature authorized the county to build a courthouse and jail a half mile from Henry Hairlocker's house. When the survey was made, it was found that the half mile point would have put the courthouse in the middle of a stream. With this in mind, the "half mile" was stretched and the courthouse situated halfway up the hill. On the eve of the Revolution, in 1775, the freeholders boldly announced that Sussex County would no longer pay the salaries of Royal judges. The war itself passed Sussex by except for supplies which came from both the fields and forges of the northern county. The county also contributed Bonnell Moody, a well-known Loyalist spy who hid out in a cave near Springdale. In May 1780, Moody led six men into Newton to free the prisoners in the jail. Tradition holds that Moody's foray frightened all the local people out of town and history indicates that Moody was never caught. The economy of the county suffered considerable during the war due to high assessments levied to pay for the war. Toward the end of the war and shortly thereafter their was an influx of big landholders. Robert Ogden was Sparta's first permanent settler in 1778, the Ogden family working the mines in the Sparta Mountains. Other families that started great estatesLewis Morris, Thomas Lawrence, John Rutherford, and others. Building of turnpike between 1804 and 1815 1820 county population was 32,754 making it the most populated in the state (Sussex at this time included what is now Warren county) 1824 Warren county is split from Sussex 1830 county population was 20,346 1833, William Rankin founded the private school at Deckertown 1833, Edward Stiles opened a school at Mt. Retirement 1853, a town meeting in Newton rejected the idea of raising money for free schools Sources: The New Jersey Almanac, Tercentenary Edition. Published by the New Jersey Almanac, Inc. 1963. Pages 529 & 530. This is New Jersey from High Point to Cape May. Cunningham, John T.; New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 1953. pp11-18 * DeWitt, Peter, died December 27, 1816, age 67.1.5; wife Mary died December 30, 1805, age 50.4.27.(top of Peter's stone missing, 1961) - Abstracts of wills from New Jersey Archives - DeWitt 1811, June 22, Witt [DeWitt], Peter D. of Frankford, Sussex Co. "being advanced in years", will of; - Son, Phillip $25, son, Abraham and daughter Ellenor DeWitt, each $50. Daughter, Lydia DeWitt, $75. $40 in trust to executors for a stone wall around grave where my deceased wife is buried and in case the neighborhood joins in building a stone wall around the burying ground where she lays, so as to include her grave, said $40 to be applied therefor. Residue of estate to 9 children; Peter Jr., James, John, Phillip, Abraham, Mary (wife of George Zabriskie), Anna ( wife of Dr. Dunn), Ellenor DeWitt and Lidia DeWitt, as they come of age. Executor - William A. Ryerson. Witnesses - Lucius W. Stockton, Daniel Jaques, Abraham Bray. 1816, December 27 - codicil, revoking bequest of $50 to son Abraham and giving same to daughter Anna. No witnesses. Proved January 1, 1817. 1816, December 31 - Inventory $6,376.47; made by Samuel Price and John Hagerty. The will of Peter D. Witt directly above shows that Peter D. Witt's wife was deceased at the time he wrote it and that he had a son Peter. The will was written in 1811 but a codicil was written Dec. 27, 1816, the date of death on the gravestone. Neither mentions his wife, Mary, who deceased December 30, 1805. This Peter D. Witt (2) would have been 31 years old at the birth of my 4 - Great - Grandfather, Peter DeWitt (3), in 1780 and Peter (2) 's wife, Mary, would have been 25. Peter DeWitt (2) had the nine children listed in his will. Peter DeWitt (3) and his wife Sarah Willson also had 9 children: Jennette, Sally, James, Gideon, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, William and Susan. I believe the Peter DeWitt (1) who died October 23, 1776 aged 54 is the father of Peter DeWitt (2) and that Peter DeWitt (2) and his wife Mary were made administrators of his estate. Peter DeWitt (1) would have been born in 1722, and would have been 27 years of age at the birth of Peter DeWitt (2). 1811, June 22, Witt [DeWitt], Peter D. of Frankford, Sussex Co. "being advanced in years", will of; - Son, Phillip $25, son, Abraham and daughter Ellenor DeWitt, each $50. Daughter, Lydia DeWitt, $75. $40 in trust to executors for a stone wall around grave where my deceased wife is buried and in case the neighborhood joins in building a stone wall around the burying ground where she lays, so as to include her grave, said $40 to be applied therefor. Residue of estate to 9 children; Peter Jr., James, John, Phillip, Abraham, Mary (wife of George Zabriskie), Anna ( wife of Dr. Dunn), Ellenor DeWitt and Lidia DeWitt, as they come of age. Executor - William A. Ryerson. Witnesses - Lucius W. Stockton, Daniel Jaques, Abraham Bray. * DeWitt, Peter, died December 27, 1816, age 67.1.5; wife Mary died December 30, 1805, age 50.4.27.(top of Peter's stone missing, 1961) - More About Peter D. DeWitt: Will: 02 Jun 1811, named all his 9 children.300 More About Peter D. DeWitt and Mary Predmore: Marriage: 11 Apr 1773, Sussex, New Jersey. Children of Peter D. DeWitt and Mary Predmore are:
Elizabeth DeWitt, b. 22 Apr 1774, Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, d. 16 Aug 1777, Newton, Sussex, NJ, USA301.
Daniel DeWitt, b. 14 Sep 1776, Sussex, New Jersey, USA, d. 24 Aug 1777, Sussex, New Jersey.
+Mary DeWitt, b. 15 Aug 1778, Sussex, New Jersey, USA, d. 31 Jul 1855, McCutchenville, Wyandot, OH, USA301, 301.
+Peter DeWitt, b. 16 Aug 1780, Sussex, New Jersey, USA, d. 04 Apr 1864, Wantage, Sussex, New Jersey.
+James DeWitt, b. 20 Jun 1784, Sussex, New Jersey, USA302, d. Jan 1873, Rochester, Oakland, MI.
+John DeWitt, b. 01 Oct 1786, Sussex, New Jersey, USA303, d. 03 Feb 1877, Pipestone, Berrien, Michigan304.
+Anna DeWitt, b. 05 Jan 1789, Sussex, New Jersey, USA, d. 01 May 1857, McCutchenville, Wyandot, Ohio.
+Philip DeWitt, b. 07 Nov 1790, Sussex, New Jersey, USA, d. Dec 1870, Haldimand, Wentworth, Ontario.