The First Farmstead in the Village

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

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The Original Houses series of blogs will share information about each of the houses that were built in the first wave of village development before 1850 as well as tales about the people who lived in them. The series will run chronologically from the oldest farm to the last house built. There will be other blogs of interest posted between the Original Houses blog postings.

About the same time that John Blaw bought his property along Bedens Brook and Michael Blaw was thinking about starting a mill, Peter Nevius bought 291 acres from the estate of Garret Van Horne, an absentee land owner. Some reports say that he bought as many as 700 acres. The purchase occurred around 1740. The Nevius property was bounded on the north by Rock Brook (the stream below the Blawenburg Bridge on Route 601), the Blaw properties on the south, near Hollow Road on the west, and Belle Mead-Blawenburg Road to the east. This property that Nevius and his family farmed for about 70 years, eventually formed the western boundary of the village.

But thAe new residents took a circuitous route to get to Blawenburg, a route largely guided by family migration.

From Holland to Nieuw Amersfoort (Flatlands)

Peter (Pieter by Dutch spelling) was born in 1695 at Flatlands, Long Island. This section of Brooklyn was originally called Nieuw Amersfoort by the Dutch who settled there after emigrating from Amersfoort, Netherlands. His parents were among those who emigrated from their native land to New Amsterdam, the first name of what became New York City. When the British took over New Netherlands in 1664, they renamed many places, including Niew Amersfoort, to give the areas a more British sounding name. Niew Amersfoort became a separate farming town called Flatlands until it was merged with Brooklyn in 1896. This section of Brooklyn still carries the Flatlands name.

Many of the Dutch who ended up in Blawenburg traced their ancestry to Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Credit: Google maps

As a young man, Peter served in the King’s County militia as a member of Captain Ralph Terhunen’s company. A colonial militia was a group of citizens who protected the people in their area. They were akin to today’s police force. Terhunen was a member of the Terhune family, which became prominent in the Somerset County area. Peter earned the rank of Captain in the militia. In 1717, he married Altje Ten Eyck and moved from Flatlands to Marlborough in Monmouth County, NJ along with many other families of Dutch descent. Like so many of the Dutch, he became a farmer, a skill that transferred with him to Blawenburg.