Updated: Jun 19, 2019
From Covenhoven to Green Flash and Back
Before they arrived in Blawenburg in 1753, the Covenhovens lived with many others of Dutch descent in the Freehold/Middletown area of Monmouth County. In Blog #3, we noted how the Dutch migrated to Monmouth County when the British took over New Amsterdam (New York) in 1664. At a time when communication was mainly by word-of-mouth and land was plentiful, it took a special person with good communication skills and an understanding of what land was available to broker sales. Nicholas Lake was the right man for the job.
Lake, who lived in New Brunswick, was in a great location between Monmouth and Somerset Counties. He undoubtedly had many land deals going, but one of them was in what would become Blawenburg and its surrounding area. It was originally the Van Horne Patent. John Van Horne was a wealthy man from New York who purchased a vast tract that represented the southern third of Montgomery Township. He shared the 6,799 acres with his brothers Abraham and Garret.
Note the Van Horne Patent. Lots 2 and 3 were given to Abraham Van Horne, while lots 5 and 6 were given to Garret. The land on which the Covenhoven Plantation was developed was owned by Abraham. Upon John’s death in 1735, the remaining land in the patent and other properties around the region were given to Abraham, Garret, and another son, James.
Credit: Patent map drawn by Ursula Brecknell
In 1753, Abraham Van Horne decided to dispose of the property that he had inherited. Enter Nicholas Lake, who brought the tract to the attention of John Covenhoven and his wife, Catherine. They bought 222 acres of farmland in the southeastern section of the Van Horne Patent. Their neighbors to the east, the Joost Duryea family, bought land from Van Horne and built their house in the same year. Today, the Duryea house is known as Washington Well Farm. To the west, was the Nevius farm and to the southwest was Michael Blaw’s mill and the farm of his brother, Frederick. These properties were most likely brokered by Lake as well.
Just as the Nevius/Van Zandt farmstead defined the western boundary of Blawenburg, the Dutch farmstead developed by the Covenhovens and Stouts defined the eastern boundary. It originally occupied land on both the north and south sides of Route 518 from Great Road to an area east of Mountain View Road. In other words, most of what we think of as Blawenburg today. The farm still operates as the Greenflash Farm on the southern side of Route 518 along Mountain View Road and it is being refurbished as an organic farm with special attention to its historic past.
What makes the original plantation so significant is that its owners had an entrepreneurial vision that led to the development of many buildings in the village. A store, tavern, blacksmith and wheelwright shop, a church and its parsonage, and sever