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PONCET STELLE, SIEUR DES LORIERES, A HUGUENOT, AND SOME OF HIS NEW JERSEY DESCENDANTS
Francis Drake and related families of New Jersey.
- Judith Ancell Date: Wednesday, 18 November 2009 6:10 AM

The Grafton Magazine of History and Genealogy, A Quarterly Publication (105 W 40th Street, New York; 6 Beacon Street Boston, The Grafton Press Genealogical Publishers), 146, 147, Volume II 1909-10.

 

The GRAFTON MAGAZINE of History and Genealogy

Vol. II February, 1910 No. 8

Pages 141-155

PONCET STELLE, SIEUR DES LORIERES, A HUGUENOT, AND SOME OF HIS NEW JERSEY DESCENDANTS.

By Orra Eugene Monnette, of Los Angeles, California.

Historians, with the aid of skillful genealogists, are rapidly attaining to a true appreciation of the interesting and important place in the New World immigration, occupied by the French Huguenot refugees, particularly during the last half of the seventeenth century and early in the succeeding one. Truthful history can no longer be written of America and her people without positive emphasis being laid upon this element of the pioneer and colonist movement. Furthermore no just and commensurate measurement can be made of the correct American man-type of all the English speaking nationalities with his multiplied energies and his incomparable achievements, unless the strain of blood flowing in his veins, inherited from the French Protestant exile, who gave his great impress and influence, along with the Puritan, Pilgrim, Dutch and German, receive in its existence and character, the elaboration and due proportions required in any honest historical examination. Therefore, a noteworthy and merited tribute must ever be given to the singers of Marot's Psalms, the pupils of Theodore Beza, the disciples of John Calvin, and the heroic followers of Admiral Coligny and Henry of Navarre. Then, too, the same follows as truly, the just tribute to their American descendants.

Among the Huguenot emigrants from France and settlers in the New World was Poncet1 Stelle, known in the records as "Sieur des Lorieres." None more representative, none more exemplifying the Protestant virtues, none more honorable and none more noble than he, came to fuse and commingle his blood, character and attainments in the purifying melting pot of a new civilization. In honor of him and for a record of a part of his descendants is this written.

"Stelle" is clearly and undeniably a French patronymic. It is very early found in French records and chronicles and exists in all parts of France to-day. Several times does it appear in the printed publications of the Huguenot Society of London and the similar society of America, specially devoted to the records of French Protestant churches in London and elsewhere, which were established and maintained by the refugees. Very frequently it is written " Stil," " Still" or " Stille," and as the latter forms are common in New Jersey records, this may furnish a clue to the origin or first form of the name. In "Les Combattants Francaise De La Guerre Americaine," it is interesting to find records of French soldiers of the same name, who served in the American Revolution. Unfortunately, no ancestral connections of either Poncet Stelle or his wife, nor the definite places of their births in France have been discovered. What the designation " Sieur des Lorieres," really means is uncertain, unless a " Nobleman " of the Huguenot Town of " Lorieres " or " Lauriere," which is quite probable. The latter place is now a town of about 1500 people in the Province of Haute-Vienne, 28 miles N. E. of Limoges and S. E. of Gueret, both within the outer borders of ancient Poitou, Limousin and Marche, within which were famous Huguenot citadels and strongholds and from which many thousand emigrated to England and America.

Poncet1 Stelle was born probably in or about 1660 at Lorieres, France. Before 1680 he fled from France to Holland, being then of the Catholic faith or a recent convert to Protestantism. Thence, he went to St. Christopher in the Antilles.

Prof. Charles W. Baird, in his history of the Huguenot Emigration to America (Vol. I, page 206), states:

"In some of the French Islands, there were Huguenot congregations, duly organized, though without ' temples' or houses of worship. The governor and council of Massachusetts received certificates in 1680 from ĒThe French Protestant Church at St. Christopher's,' attesting the characters of two of its members."

Also, in a foot-note:

"Certificates from the French Protestant Church att St. Christopher's on the behalfe of Mr. Poncet Stell called the Larier and Frances Ginchard, two French Genttemen, that they have renounced the Romish Religion in which they were born and bred, and have embraced the true faith and Protestant Religion."—(Orders, Warrants, etc., XXXII., p. 16; in Office of Secretary of State, Albany, N. Y.) "As these men had in 1680 been for some time residents here, the date of the certificates may have been earlier by several years."

From St. Christopher, Poncet(1) Stelle came to Staten Island (Richmond county), then to New York, in 1680. About 1660 a colony of Huguenots had located on the southeast side of Staten Island and were ministered to occasionally by the pastor of the French Protestant church in the present city of New York. About the same time that several Huguenot families removed from Staten Island and settled in the Hackensack Valley in 1678, others of their co-religionists moved to New York City, and among them "Sieur Poncet Stelle des Lorieres," as he is best known in public print.

He was the sole progenitor of this family name in the United States, unless others of this same lineage emigrated to this country under a different name. For example, his sister, Catherine, was known by the name of the town she came from in France, viz., "Catherine de Loriere," though she signed herself " Catherin Stelle."

In the list of baptisms performed during the early days of this French Church in New York City are the names of the children of Poncet Stelle, all of whom were born after 1680 and not later than 1695: Benjamin, born 1683; Gabriel, born 1685; Ambrose, born 1687; Madelain, born 1689; Isaac, born 1690; John, born 1693, and possibly Eugene, the last.* [*The most important compilation on the Stelle Family is terse but quite valuable in "History of the Founding of Piscataway, in 1666, with Outline Sketches of the Pioneers. Prepared for the Bi-Centennial of the Piscataway Baptist Church, June 20, 1889." See foot-note (Post) for title of latter publication.]

Two or three of the above baptismal records are re-produced here, because of unique and exceptional interest: .] [*Taken from " Collections of the Huguenot Society of America,'* VoL 1. (New York, 1888).]

"Le Dimanche septies me Jour dapuril mil six cent quatre vingt neuf, Madelaine fille de poncet stelle sieur des Loriers et de Egine legereau demeurant en ce lieu ses pere et mere, la ditte madelaine neuf le dimance dixsepti me mars passe sur les dix heure du soir Et a este presents au baptesme par monsr Jean boibelleau mart parin et medeleine Vincent femme de monsr pelletrau mart de ce lieu et baptissee par monsieur peiret nostre ministre.

Peiret, ministre Poncet Stelle

Madelene Vincent Boys bland."

"Bapteme,—Anjourd' huy 10e de decembre a et£ baptiste dans cette Eglise Isac fils de Poncet Stelle et d'Eugenc de Laurier ne le 8e du d'mois et presente au St bapteme et marraine."

" Bapteme—Aujourdhuy mardy, 30e May 1693, a Este baptist en cette Eglise par Mr. Daille ministre Jean fils de poncet stelle dit des loriers et de Eugen Legereau ne le 8e Octobre derer presente au St Bapteme par Mr. Jean vincent et MadeIe francoise Brinkman de Lambert parrain et marraine.

Daille F. Brinquemand J. Vincent

Eugenne Legero."* [* Lib. 3 of Deeds, p. 149, Records at Trenton, N. J

Again, upon the same subject of baptism, Prof. Baird (Supra, in same work, Vol. II., page 27, foot-note) refers to Marc. Boisbelleau, pastor at Marennes, 1682-1684, refugee minister at Amsterdam, 1688, and to Jean Boisbelleau, who obtained denization in New York, September 2, 1685: " The latter was sponsor at the baptism of a child of Poncet Stelle, sieur des Lorieres, April 7,1689."

Poncet(1) Stelle married in 1682 in New York, Eugenie Legereau, also a Huguenot. Shortly prior to or about 1693, the family moved to New Jersey and settled in Monmouth County, there to perpetuate an honored name and to become the ancestors of a noted posterity. Here the records interchange his name and "Pontus," " Poncet," " Pounsetti," and "Pontius," by the last of which he is known among his descendants, variously appear. In 1698, as " Pounsett Stelle," he was licensed to keep a public inn. This is a very interesting document.*[* X. Y. Gen. and Biog. Record, Vol. 20, page 32, Huguenot Settlers and Land Owners in Monmouth County, N. J.]

 

Unfortunately the tavern license of " Pounsett Stelle" had been mislaid in the office of the Secretary of State at Trenton, New Jersey, and cannot, now, be reproduced here as was the original intention. However they were all of the same character, and offer so much of historical peculiarity, that a similar one granted a few years previous to Capt. Benjamin(3) Hull (see post), who was the grandfather of Judge Joseph(5) Hull, who married Susannah(3) Stelle, granddaughter of Poncet Stelle, is quoted here, as follows:

"Ben Hull's Lycence To Keep An Ordinary." *

[*New Jersey Archives, Vol. XXIII, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. 1, 16701730, pages 353, 506, 246-9.]

"By Phillip Carteret, Esq., Govenerr" & JE There are to permit and Lycence Benjamin Hull of New Piscataway to keepe and Ordinary or Public victualing hous within the said towne For the entertainment of strangers and passengers and to sell and retaile all manner of Drinks and Strong LiqTM to, all Psons In Gen11, provided that he keeps good orders in his hous, observe the Laws and orders —made or to be made concerning the selling of strong Liquers to the Indians and that he does not Exceed the prices Limited by the Laws Upon Victualls and Drink, and also to provide sett accomodations For strangers and pasengers, hereby prohibiting all manner of persons whatsoever within the said towne to sell or retaile any manner of Liquers to be drunk or spint in their houses without and Lycence, Upon the penalty of paying by way of fine the sum of Fifty shillings for Every such default, excepting the said Benjamin Hull, which said Lycence is to continue for one whole yeare from ye first day of this Instant month of Stembr unless there be any just occasion Given to the Contrary and to be by him continued yearely with my Consent by ye Secretary. Given under my hand and Scale of the province the 2d of Anno. 1678."

Poncet Stelle was the owner of lands, appeared as witness to public and private documents, in the administration of estates and was a "Judge of the quorum."

"Will of Nathaniel Parker of Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, 1722, November 27th. Inventory by Gabriel Stelle. Payment to ' Justice Stelle.'

"Will of Peter White of Shrewsbury, March 20th, 1697-8. Witness, ' Poncet Stelle.'

"Will of William Hulit (Hulett), Shrewsbury, May 81st, 1730. Witness, ' Pontius Stelle.'

"Will of 'George Allen' of Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, January 7th, 1728-9. Witness, ' Pontius Stelle.'*  [*New Jersey Archives, Vol. XXIII, Abstracts of Wills, Vol. 1, 16701730, pages 353, 506, 246-9]

 

He died in or after 1785, and, while intestate, an administration of his estate appears on record at Trenton, showing:

Children of Poncet(1) Stelle and wife, Eugenie Legereau, all born in New York:

2. i. Benjamin(2), b. in 1683, d. 1759, m, Mercy Drake.

3. ii. Gabriel(2), b. in 1685, d. 1788, m. Margaret.

   iii. Ambrose(2), b. in 1687.

   iv. Madelain(2), b. in 1689.

   v. Isaac(2), b. in 1690.

  vi. John(2), b. in 1698.

  vii. Eugenie(2), b. in 1695.

 

2. When the Stelle Family moved to Monmouth County, New Jersey, this was to be the favored home of all but one son, Benjamin(2) Stelle, who entered the Baptist ministry and sometime about 1700 moved to the banks of the Raritan River, in Middlesex County, later to become the pastor of the church there.

 

This was the settlement or town of Piscataway, of which the following account, taken in part from an early history, is worth repetition: *[*Hist. of Hunterdon and Somerset Co.'s. N. J., by James P. Snell, 1881, page 589.]

"Name of the Town.—Piscataqua is an Indian name of one of the tribes in the State of Maine, and also a river called the Piscataqua River, on the boundary line of Maine and New Hampshire. It is recorded that Hugh Dunn, Hopewell Hull, John Martin, Charles Gilman, Robert Dennis, John Smith, John Gilman and Benjamin Hull, who came from Piscataqua, New England, were granted, December 18th, 1666, and May 30th, 1668, the right as Associates and they conferred upon the township the name of the place whence they came, it being known as Piscataqua for some time after the settlement, but now commonly known as Piscataway."

The same authority, page 840, from which the foregoing was taken, states, referring to the settlement of Raritan Township, Middlesex County:

 

"The Stelle Family, whose progenitor in this country was one Pontius Stelle, a Huguenot, born in France, and emigrated to Staten Island with other French Huguenots, between the years 1668-75, is largely represented in this township, and the beautiful town of Stelton, situated on the Penn. Railroad, is named after them. The Rev. Benjamin Stelle, a distinguished Baptist minister at an early day, was the elder son of Pontius Stelle, and was born in New York in the year 1688 and ordained a pastor of the Piscataway Stelton Baptist Church about the year 1789."

Still another authority contains the following short but noteworthy testimonial to his career and character. This has special reference to his service as pastor of the Piscataway Baptist Church: *[*Contributions to East Jersey History—Whitehead—1856, page 405.]

 

"The successor of Mr. Drake (Rev. John Drake) was Benjamin Stelle, of French parentage, but born in New York-—' a popular preacher and upright magistrate.' He continued in charge of the congregation (Baptist) until his death in January, 1759, in his 76th year, having been assisted in his ministerial labors for several years by his son, Isaac Stelle, who continued to officiate for nearly twenty-three years after the death of his father."

 

The fact is striking that Rev. Benjamin Stelle was the kind of minister who is reared to fight first and pray afterwards, and this was the order chronologically of his occupations. For in 1715 he was enrolled in a "List of the Militia Regiment under the Command of coll. Tho. Ffarmer," for New Jersey, but credited to New York.* [*Report of State Historian, N. Y., 1896, Vol. 1, page 526 and 531.] 

 His membership was in the Fourth Company of the regiment, where his name is printed as "Ben. Still." All the names on the rolls of the six companies associated with his—Hopewell Hull, Jonathan Drake, Benjamin Hull, Jno. Martin, Bena Dunham, et al.— were the familiar Piscataway names, and all were related by blood or marriage. The two Hulls named were sons of Piscataway pioneers of the same names, and the latter were brothers and the sons of Rev. Joseph Hull, the New England pioneer preacher and immigrant of 1685 to Weymouth, Mass.

 

The first wife of Rev. Benjamin Stelle was Mercy Drake, without discoverable present record authority except a scrap of an old Stelle geneaology current twenty-five years ago, but undoubtedly it is correct, and so universally accepted.* [* A printed volume, with the following upon the title page, " History of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway, with an account of its Bi-Centennial Celebration, June 20th, 1889, and sketches of Pioneer Progenitors of Piscataway Planters, Trenton, N. J., 1889," has just come to the possession of the compiler and contains a positive statement on pages cJl, 74 and 118, that Rev. Benjamin* Stelle married Mercy Drake, and as the book is compiled from records of the Stelle descendants, this must be taken as authoritative.]

  She is buried in the Piscataway graveyard, and an old-fashioned stone there bears the inscription :  "In Memory of  Mercy ye wife of Benjamin Stelle Who died Decmr. ye 21, 1746 aged 62 Years & 11 months."

It has always been claimed that she married Rev. Benjamin Stelle in 1708. As to her ancestry, the Piscataway records show. but one Mercy Drake to have been eligible to marry in 1708, and that was a daughter of George(3) Drake. The Drake Family undoubtedly belonged to the old lineage of Sir Francis, the navigator, and were of English ancestry. Early settlers in New England were John of Windsor and Thomas of Weymouth. Contemporary with them was Robert(1) Drake, emigrated from Colchester, Essex County, England, where he was born in 1580, accompanied by at least two sons and a daughter. He is reported first in Exeter, N. H., in 1643, and the family settled in Hampton, N. H., where he died January 14, 1668. *[* Drake Family by Louis Stoughton Drake, 1896, pages, 292 et seq. The Early Germans of New Jersey, T. F. Chambers, page 335.]

 

The writer accepts the conclusion of Chambers and many others that Captain Francis(2) Drake of Portsmouth, N. H., and a pioneer of Piscataway, N. J., was a "son of Robert(1) Drake. Capt. Francis(1) Drake appeared in Piscataway in 1667-8, where he died about 1687. In 1675-78 he was captain of the military company at New Piscataway, in which service he earned his title as " Captain," which has been so perpetuated.* [* Register, Society of Colonial Wars, 1899-1902, page 620.]

 

He married Mary and had at least three sons:

   i. George(3),

  ii. Rev. John(3),

 iii. Francis.(3)

The Drake coat-of-anns, crest and motto are:

Armt: A wivern wings displayed and tail nowed, gu.

Crest: A dexter arm erect, ppr., holding a battle axe, sable, headed argent.

Motto: "Aquila non captat muscas."

 

George(3) Drake was born in 1650 and died in Piscataway, N. J., where his will was probated November 8, 1709; he married November 13, 1677, Mary(2) Oliver of Elizabethtown, who was a daughter of William(1) and Mary Oliver of that place.

 

It will be noted that Marcy or Mercy and Mary are used interchangeably. It is further significant that "Oliver" became a Christian name among the descendants of Rev. Benjamin Stelle and that the latter's daughter, Susanna, was probably named for her Aunt Susannah Drake, daughter of George Drake and Mary Oliver, etc. The Olivers belonged to the New England family of that name, coming from Massachusetts to New Jersey about 1669.

The old Piscataway town records show the following entries:

"Births:

Stelle, Susanna, of Benjamin & Mercy, Aug. 3, 1710,

Elizabeth, of Benjamin & Mercy, July 30, 1712,

Benjamin, of Benjamin & Mercy, Sept. 80, 1713,

John, of Benjamin & Mercy, Feb. 7, 1716,

Isaac, of Benjamin & Mercy, Feb. 6, 1718,

Rachel, of Benjamin & Mercy, Dec. 11, 1720."

 

Rev. Benjamin(2) Stelle married (2) Lydia Shotwell, August 14, 1752. There is a claim that he married (8) Ruth Sharp, and that she was the mother of some of his children; but this cannot be sustained by his last will, which is of record at Trenton, N. J., and is reproduced here in full:

 

"In the Name of God Amen the twentieth Day of April one thousen seven hundred and fifty eight I Benja; Stelle of Pisscataway In the country of Midelsex in the Provinc of New Jersey being weak in Body but of a sound mind thanks be to God for the same and calling to mind the mortalyty of my Body that it is appointed for men to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in maner and form following. In Primes and first of I recomend my Soul into the hands of Almity God who gave it me trusting only in the righteousnes of Jesus Christ for the pardon of all my Sins and my Body I comit to the Earth to be Buried in a deacent and Christien like manner at the discreation of my Executors to be named and touching such worldly goods as it hath pleased God to Bles me with in this Life I give and dispose of in the manner following In Primes My will and Pleasure is that all my just and Lawfull Debts and Funeral Charges be paid and discharged by my Executors as soon as it with convenience can be done out of my Movable Estate And whereas there was a certain agreement maid betwean my preasant Wife Lydiah & my self in Wrighting before our mariage the contents whereof may fully appear by having relation to sd. Instrument I do heareby order and it is my Will notwithstanding aneything that is contained in sd. Instrument that there shall be the sum of two hundred & fifty pounds put out to use for the Suport of my sd beloved Wife Lydiah Stelle and I order that the use thereof should be paid to her yearly and every year during the time that she shall remain my Widow which Sum amounting to Seventeen pounds ten Shillings I give her insteed and in the room of what is mentioned in the instrument above mentioned and in lew and instead of her right of Dower to aney part of my Estate whatever. Item it is my Will that the said two hundred & fifty pounds should be put into the hands and cear of my beloved Sun Benja; Stelle to be by him put out to use for the benefit of my sd. Widow and that my sd. Sun pay the use to her yearly & every year during her widohood, and I do hereby Order that when my sd. Widow comes to die or mary that the sd. two hundred & fifty pounds should be disposed of as followeth, I order and it is my Will that there should be the Sum of one hundred pounds of sd. money divided between all the Children of my Sun John Stelle deceased that shall then be living sheare alike, and the other two hundred & fifty pound I give to my Sun Benja: Stell for his own use for ever Item it is my Will and I do hearby order that my sd. Wief should have one whole years Provision found her out of my Movable Estate after my decease Item I give to my sd. Wife my small Cubbbrd and one half of all the Linning that shall be found to be of her Spinning senc our Marrig except what shall be made up in Shirts for my Self, and I also give her one good Coverled and one Rugg, and all that she brought with her at our Mariage. Item I order that my Sun Benja Stelle should have the sum of twenty pounds paid to him in one year after my decease to inable him to look after the abovesd. money for the use of my Widow as abovesd. and other considerations me thereunto moving. Item it is my Will that my beloved Sun Isaac Stelle should have the sum of One hundred pound paid him one year after my decease and the Sum of fifty pound more one year after that. Item I order that there should be an abatement of eighty eight pounds maid on the Bond that I have of Joseph Hull and also of the twelve pounds that sd. Hull ows me on the book Debt which makes one hundred pounds which I give to my Daughter Susanah Hull in part of her portion But that abatemt. shall not be made until one year after my decease and Joseph Hull shall pay the use of the whole Bond untell then. Item it is my Will that there should be the Sum of one hundred pounds paid to my Daughter Rachel Fitzrandolph in one year after my decease. Item I order that all my wearing aparel should be equally Divided between my two Suns Benja: and Isaac Stelle. Item it is my Will that my Executors should sell all my Estate Raial and Parsonal except my Salt Medow which I dispose of in the following manner, I Give and bequeath unto my Sun Benja: Stelle his heirs and assigns for ever all my upper Lot Near Walkers Crick Item I Give and Bequeath unto my two Grand Suns Thomson Stelle and Louis Stelle and to their heirs and assigns for ever my five acres Lot of Salt Meadow lying at the Roundabout which I bought of Benja: Harison to be eaqually Divided between them, But my will is that my Daughter Rachchel Handle should have the use of it until Thomas Stelle be of age and all the rent of my Salt Medow I give unto my Sun Isaac Stelle his Heirs & assigns for ever. And all the rest of my Estate I order to be sold as soon as with conveniency it can be dun and the money arising from said Sail I order should be disposed of in the following manner. I order that there should be the Sum of three hundred pounds put out to use for my Daughter Susanah Hull in two years after my decease But whereas I am Bound in a Bond of one hundrid and thirty four pounds eleven shillings and sd. which money was due from Joseph Hull to Mr. Waters of New York and Joseph hath given me a Bond for the like Sum of which Bond I have made him the abatement of eighty eight pounds in this my Will I order that there should no use be paid her for sd. three hundred pounds until the remainder of sd. Bond be fully discharged by Joseph Hull or his heirs or with the use arising from sd. three hundred pound and after that be dun I order that the use of the sd. three hundrid pound should be paid to my sd. Daughter yearly & every year during her natural life and after her deacease I order that the sd. three hundred pounds should eaqually be Divided between all her Children that shall then be living. Item I order that there should be the Sum of three hundred pounds put out to use for the use of my Daughter Rachel Fitzrandolph in two years after my decease and I order that the use of sd. three hundred pounds should be paid her yearly & every year during her natural life and after her decease I order that the Principle should be eaqually Divided between all her Children that shall then be living. And it is my Will that if my Estate should not amount to so much as is hearein bequeathed it is my Will that there should be an eaqual abatement made out of each ones Leagisy, But if it should amount to more then is hearein given I order that the overplus should be Eaqually Divided between all the Children of my Sun Benja: Stelle and the Children of my Sun Isaac Stelle shear & shear alike the Shear of them that shall then be of age to be given them and the Shear of those that shall not be of age to be put out to use till they be of age and then to be given them And I do nominate and appoint my Sun Benja. Stelle and my Sun Isaac Stelle and my trusty Friend Runyan Esqr. for Executors to this my last Will & Testament Giving them full Power & lawful authority to Execute this my last Will and Testament & Power to Sell and dispose of all my Estate Raial and Personal as is herein mentioned and to dispose of the same in manner as afore ordered and it is my Will that in case aney one of my sd. Executors should happed to die before this my Will be fully Executed that it shall be lawful for the Survivors of them from time to time to Nominat and appoint one in the room and steed of the deasesed and so to continue doing until the full Execution of this my last Will and Testament which Persons so chosen shall be duly qualified by a Majestrate and shall then be invested with the same Power as the deaceased had by virtue of this my last Will. And I do hereby revoake & make void all former Wills by me made holding this & this only to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have heareunto set my hand and fixed my Seal the day and date above written.

Benja Stelle (L. S.)."

Published, Pronounced and Declared by the Testator to be his last Will and Testament in the Preasence of James Pyatt, Boley Arnold, Thomas Pyatt.

Be It Remembered that on the twenty second day of February one thousand seven hundred & fifty nine Boley Arnold & Thomas Pyatt personally came before me Thomas Bartow duly Authorized to Prove Wills & they being Sworn on the holy Evangelists do Depose that they were present & saw Benjamin Stelle the Testator in the foregoing Will named Sign & Seal the same and heard him Publish and Declare it to be his last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound mind and memory to the best of their knowledge and as they verily believe and that at the same time James Pyatt was present and that they all three Signed as Witnesses in the Testators presence.

Thos. Bartow.

Be It Also Remembered that at the same time Benjamin Stelle and Isaac Stelle two of the Executors above named came before me and were qualified to act by taking the usual Oath of Executors as appointed by law.

Thos. Bartow.

Probate Granted by Governor Bernard in the usual form (which see at length fo: 8).

Dated the twenty second day of February 1759.
Recorded in Book " G " of Wills, pages 81, &c.

 

The following is quoted from the "History of the First Baptist Church of Piscataway " (See foot-note on previous page), relative to Rev. Benjamin Stelle:

"As a pastor he had fed the flock and welcomed lambs to the fold. Zealous for the triumph of truth and for the glory of the Master, he had seen two colonies go out from the Church, yet comparatively small in numbers, to plant the standard of his and their Lord in other fields, and therein he rejoiced. While in his prime, before ' age stole fire from his mind, and vigor from his limbs,' he was regarded by his contemporaries as ' a popular preacher ' and a man without reproach. And although years before his death his head became ' frosted o'er with time' we do not learn, either through record or tradition, that the Church grew weary of his ministry and wished him to vacate the field. On the contrary, they clung to him to the last, as one justly entitled to their veneration and love. His remains were buried in the old graveyard at Piscatawaytown.

 

An ordinary headstone, erected to his memory, bears this simple inscription:

"'In memory of  THE REV. BENJAMIN STELLE, Minister in Piscataway, Who departed this life Jan. 22, 1759. AEtat 76. Your Fathers, where are they? And the Prophets, do they live forever?—Zech. 1.5

 

The children of Rev. Benjamin(2) Stelle and Mercy* Drake, all born in Piscataway, were:

   i. Susanna,(3) b. Aug. 8, 1710; d. about 1745; m. 1730, Judge

Joseph(5) Hull

  ii. Elizabeth(3), b. July 80, 1712; d. unmarried,

 iii. Benjamin(3), b. Sept. 21, 1718; d. (post); m. (1) Hannah Dunham, (2) Ruth Sharp or Dunham.

 iv. John(4), by Feb. 7, 1716; d. (post); m. 1789, Rachel Thompson,

  v. Isaac(4), b. Feb. 6, 1718; d. Oct. 9, 1781; m. 1740, Christiana Clarkson. vi. Rachel(4), b. Dec. 11, 1720; d. (post); m. 1784, Ephraim Fitz Randolph.

 

Judge Joseph Hull was a descendant of the pioneer Hulls of Piscataway: Rev. Joseph(2) Hull (son of Thomas(1) and Joane (Peson) Hull) was the famous Quaker minister, emigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony from England in 1635.* [* See Articles " John C. Fremont Hull" and " The Hull Family in America, New Jersey Branch," in Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly 1909 and still being continued.]

 

Among others he had three sons, Hopewell(3), Captain Benjamin(3) and Samuel(3), who were early settlers in Piscataway, 1666 to 1678.

 

Captain Benjamin(3) Hull, m. Rachel(2) Yorke (daughter of Richard(1) of Portsmouth, N. H.), and had a son, among others,

 

Ensign Benjamin(4) Hull, who married Sarah Drake, daughter of Rev. John(3), brother of George(3), and both sons of Captain Francis(2) Drake (supra), and among the children of Ensign Benjamin(4) Hull was Judge Joseph(5) Hull, b. about 1708, married Susannah(3) Stelle, December 22, 1780, as recorded at Piscataway.

Judge Joseph(5) Hull was first of Pepack, Somerset County, N. J. Later of Sussex County, N. J., where he served as a Justice under a special commission from the crown. He married second, Phoebe, and died in 1765, leaving a will.

Children of Judge Joseph(5) and Susannah(3) (Stelle) Hull were:

i.               Isaac(6), b. 1781, d. after 1780, m. 1751 Anne Dunham*[*This is a Mayflower line as follows: (1) Edward Fuller and (9) son Samuel of the Mayflower; (3) Hannah Fuller, daughter of latter, married Nicholas Bonham; (4) Mary Bonham, daughter of latter, married Rev. Edmund Dunham; (5) Benajah Dunham, son of latter, married Dorothy' Martin (daughter of ,Tohn= Martin and Dorothy Smith); (6) John Dunham, son of latter, married Mercy Drake; their daughter (7), Anne Dunham, married Isaac Hull.]

 

ii.             Benjamin(6);

iii.           Joseph(6)

iv.     Rachel(6);

      v.     Jacob(6);

      vi.   Mary(6);

   vii. Stelle(6);

  viii. John(6);

    ix. Samuel(6) and

     x. David.(6)

 

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