Rake Cemetery, Part 4

The Williamsons
Some time ago, I wrote three articles on graves in the Rake Cemetery near Sand Brook. I have procrastinated with the fourth installment, because there are too many unanswered questions remaining. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Perhaps someone else can supply the rest.

The last of the Rake Cemetery graves to discuss are the ones belonging to Abraham Williamson, who died July 28, 1851 at age 68 (born c. 1783), and Sarah, wife of William Williamson, who died on June 17, 1850, at age 91 (born c. 1759). On my last visit to the cemetery, I failed to find their gravestones, even though they were listed in the Deats inventory of 1922. Despite the fact that I have a lot of information on the Williamson family, and despite the fact that Williamson researchers have done a lot of work on the family over the years, I cannot identify these people.

Sarah and William Williamson
Hiram Deats wrote in 1922 that the Rake Cemetery was located on a farm owned by Frank Yasunas, bordering Barton Williamson and William T. Sergeant [see HCHS News Vol.3, No.3, Winter 1967]. On April 1, 1815, the heirs of John Rake deceased sold a lot of 24.75 acres bordering the graveyard to Asher Williamson for $1150 [Deed 24-286]. On May 1, 1815, those same heirs sold a lot of 60.5 acres to George Holcombe for $2,193 which excepted out “a half-acre for a cemetery” [Deed 24-390]. Strangely enough, there is no deed in which the heirs of John Rake conveyed the cemetery lot to anyone, at least as far as I know. This is a good example of the legal limbo that many of these small cemeteries remain in, even today.

But for the purposes of identifying Williamsons who might be buried in the cemetery, Asher Williamson does not help us much. He was born 1777 and died 1860. This makes him eligible to be a child of the Sarah and William Williamson mentioned above, but unfortunately, he was not.

The Williamson family was present in Delaware Township at a very early date. In the previous article on Pine Hill Cemetery, I mentioned that William Williamson, who owned a farm on Pavlica Road, had settled here about 1735 or earlier. Asher Williamson was the grandson of William Williamson and his wife Patience, and the son of Cornelius and Bernice Williamson. Asher never married, and neither did his brother William, born 28 July 1769, died 21 October 1848. None of the other children of William and Patience Williamson qualify as spouses of Sarah who died in 1850.

Here are some other possibilities:

(1)  William, son of Jacob and Lydia Williamson, died before November 1820 in Mansfield Twp, Warren Co., NJ. His wife was named Sarah. She would have had to return to Amwell/Delaware after her husband’s death to be buried here. I have no information about her.

(2)  William Williamson, son of Johannis & Mary Williamson, born 7 May 1745, died after 1820 in Raritan Township. In 1769, he inherited 200 acres adjoining Johannes Fox and Thomas Lake from his father, and in 1771 he sold that land to Cornelius Williamson, son of William and Patience Williamson. Those 200 acres were just south of Sand Brook, making this William a good candidate. But I do not know when he died, and do not know whether he married.

(3)  William Williamson, born about 1745, son of Nicholas and Rachel Williamson, married on May 10, 1770, in Amwell township, Mary Sutphin. They were married in Rev. William Frazer’s church. This is interesting because Frazer was an Anglican, and the Williamsons were long associated with the Dutch Reformed Church. William’s father was Nicholas Williamson, who wrote his will on August 19, 1760 and identified himself as “of Amwell.” At the time, his youngest son William was still a minor. Nicholas ordered that once William became 21 years of age, the real estate should be divided equally between him and his brothers Benjamin and Jacob. I have no information on Benjamin and Jacob, but presumably, the division took place around 1770-1775.

(4) William Williamson born about 1750, died before September 1791, son of Peter and Catherine Griggs Williamson: no information on his family. His parents removed to Sussex County.

You might expect that Sarah, wife of Wm. Williamson, would have come from one of the other families buried here (Gordon, Godown, Larue, Lake, Rake). Her birthdate, calculating from the gravestone, would be about 1749/50. But I know of no Sarah belonging to these families who would have been born around 1750. There was a Sarah Larew, daughter of Moses, mentioned in his will of 1796, who could have been born as early as 1760, and as late as 1787. That doesn’t seem to fit.

So, Sarah and William Williamson remain unconnected with known Delaware twp. families, for now.

Abraham Williamson
The first impression from the names and dates is that William and Sarah Williamson, who were probably born about 1740-1760, had a son named Abraham, born about 1783.

There was an Abraham Williamson who is thought to be the same as the one buried in the Rake Cemetery. He was a weaver and schoolteacher, but there is also reason to think he might be buried at Rosemont instead of in the Rake Cemetery. His parents were Abraham Williamson (1751-1829) and Frances Housel (c.1750-aft 1808). These two branches of the family (Abraham’s and William’s) are not very closely related (I cannot find a relationship of any kind right now), another reason to suspect that this Abraham is in fact buried in Rosemont, not Sand Brook. I found no notice of the death of Abraham Williamson in 1851 in the Hunterdon Gazette. There was also no mention of Sarah Williamson dying in 1850.

The 1850 Census for Delaware Township did not list any Abraham Williamson residing there. The only Abraham at all who was born in New Jersey close to 1783, was the Abraham who was residing in Covert, Seneca County, New York. He was 70 years old, living with Elizabeth age 60 and Christopher 32 [family #685]. This was the Abraham previously mentioned, son of Abraham and Frances Housel Williamson, thought to be buried at Rosemont. Elizabeth his wife was the daughter of Moses Rittenhouse and Sarah Wood. She died on June 12, 1862 and is buried at Rosemont.

So the Sand Brook Abraham remains a mystery. Since I have no family information for the William Williamson who was the son of Nicholas Williamson, it is still possible that Abraham was his son.