40 The Wedding Picture

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This picture of John and Fannie Updike Hopper is likely their wedding picture.

It’s been said that there is a story behind every picture. In the case of John and Fannie Hopper’s wedding picture, what you see is only half of what you get. The picture shown above hangs in Bill and Jane Van Zandt’s hallway. It was found amid the collection of old Van Zandt photos that Bill had acquired when he cleaned his parents’ attic years ago. Most of the collection has some tie to the Van Zandt family, best known for their agricultural acumen in Blawenburg and around the state. But this picture didn’t seem to have any connection to the Van Zandt family. Handwritten on the back of the picture were the names of the couple pictured—John C. Hopper and Fannie Updike Hopper. After a bit of genealogical research, Bill and Jane determined who the Hoppers were and what their connection to the Van Zandt family was.

The Hoppers

The connection begins with Fannie Updike, who was one of seven children of Jeremiah Williamson and Mary Ann Titus Updike. She and her family lived in the Bridgepoint section of Montgomery Township near her father’s mill. This property is on what today is known as Van Horne Road (Route 206) and Bridgepoint Road.

The Covenhoven-Updike mill location shown on modern and 1851 maps.

In 1849, the same year Fannie was born, Jeremiah bought the mill along Bedens Brook from the Covenhoven (later called Conover) family, and it was known locally as the Covenhoven-Updike Mill. Jeremiah was a stalwart member of Blawenburg Church. Civic minded, he was on the Montgomery Township Council and was a Somerset County Freeholder.

The Updike house was built in 1780.