Undated photo showing Old York Road in Ringoes in the late 1800s.

Who were the movers and shakers of East Amwell nearly 150 years ago? What were families like here and what did they do to put food on their tables?

Find out at Township Hall on Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m. when East Amwell Historical Society member John Allen shares the findings of his research using the 1870 Federal Census alongside the 1873 Beers map to create a fascinating snapshot of the township in the late 19th century.

“The Census enumerated 1,802 souls, a total Township population that wasn’t surpassed until 1960!” Allen said.

Allen will discuss why this happened, highlighting the risky lives led by many of our predecessors. With 42% of the heads of households in town listing “Farmer” as their occupation, and an additional 21% identifying themselves as “farm laborers,” East Amwell was clearly a rural, agricultural community.

Both familiar and unfamiliar names — wealthy individuals and not — are briefly discussed and the positive state of preservation in the Township is highlighted.

Allen earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s from Rutgers University, both in geology. After 34 years as a petroleum geologist, and living on three continents, he retired in 2013. Allen also serves on the board of trustees of the Hunterdon County Historical Society and is a member of East Amwell’s Historic Preservation Committee.

No reservations are necessary; cost is $5 with all proceeds benefiting the Historical Society’s work to restore the Clawson House. East Amwell Township Hall is located at 1070 Route 202/31 in East Amwell.

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