Ephraim Martin has a major role in the approval of the first amendments to the U. S. Constitution by the New Jersey legislature. The state legislative council appoints Martin and three other councilors to a committee to discuss the proposed amendments on November 4th. The state assembly having appointed a similar committee, the two committees issued a joint report recommending the adoption and ratification of the amendments, which report is considered by both houses on November 6th. Final approval occurs on November 20th, making New Jersey the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights [Mary Alice Quigley and Mary R. Murrin “New Jersey and the Bill of Rights,” no date, pages 6 & 7].
c. 1789 His second wife, Keziah Carmen, having died in 1788, Col. Ephraim Martin marries his third wife, Catherine Wall Green Stelle, the widow of the Reverend Isaac Stelle, pastor of the First Baptist church of Piscataway, who died on October 9, 1781 [Thornal, pp. 16-19; New Jersey Archives, V, 1781, page 320; Ann Parsekian, “Col. Ephraim Martin c. 1733-1806,” page 1].
1790 Col. Ephraim Martin is identified as a “freeholder” of Bernards Township and “Representative in Council” on a list dated April 24th [Rev. A. Messler, First Things in Old Somerset, 1889, page 160].
Col. Ephraim Martin is appointed one of the commissioners to effect a court-ordered division of land in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County [Brunswick Gazette, September 7, 1790, as quoted in Wilson, 1988, page 351].
Col. Ephraim Martin is assessed for 254 acres of land at $15 “value per 100 [acres],” 4 horses, 10 cattle, 1 sleigh and 1 riding chair [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, August 1790].
1791 Col. Ephraim Martin is assessed for 154 acres of improved land at $15 ”value per 100 [acres],” per acre, 4 horses, 12 cattle, 1 sleigh and 1 “chaise” [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, August 1791].
1792 Col. Ephraim Martin is assessed for 100 acres of land at $16 “value per 100 [acres],” 4 horses, 14 cattle, 1 sleigh, 1 riding chair and 1 covered wagon [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, August 1792].
1793 Col. Martin is not listed in the 1793 Bernards Tax ratables.
c. 1794 Brothers Oliver and Samuel Stelle presumably acquire the Kennedy/Martin farm from Col. Ephraim Martin, the husband of their stepmother, the former Catherine Stelle. According to one local history “Oliver Stelle…removed from Piscataway, Middlesex Co., N. J., about 1794, and settled on the farm [the subject property] now owned [in 1881] by Isaac S. Runyon” [J. P. Snell (ed.), History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey, 1881, Freeman Stelle biography after page 738]. Another family history pinpoints his removal from Piscataway to Bernards Township to April 1794 [John Littel, Families Records; or Geneaologies of the First Settlers of the Passaic Valley and Vicinity above Chatham…, 1851, page 403]. The purchase of the property evidently occurred around that time, since the two brothers mortgage the property in May of that year, and in Samuel Stelle is assessed for 266 acres on the August, 1794 Bernards Township tax roles [see 1794 entry below].
Oliver, son and one of nine children of Rev. Isaac and Christiana Stelle, was born on August 1, 1756; his brother Samuel was born in 1758 [Littel, 1851, page 403; Oliver B. Leonard, Outline Sketches of the Pioneer Progenitors of the Piscataway Planters, 1890, page 15]. Christiana Stelle died on September 27, 1778, and “by license dated January 5, 1780,” the Reverend Stelle was marred again to Katherine Green [New Jersey Archives, 2nd Series, II, 1778, page 464; Thornal, pp. 16-19].
Oliver Stelle married Mary Runyon in 1778 and they had at least eleven children, including Christiana (1779-1854), Ephraim (1780-54), Isaac (1782-1816, John (1790-1850), Anna (1793-94), Mary (1794-1815) Clarkson (1797/98-1850), Rachel (1800-1818), Sarah, Harriet, and Ruth [Leonard, 1890, page 19; Littel, 1851, page 403; Alan A. Siegel, Cemetery Records of Warren Township Somerset County New Jersey, 1998].
1794 Oliver Stelle and Samuel Stelle mortgage a 269.25-acre tract of land encompassing the subject property to Ephraim Martin for 575 pounds. The mortgage is proved and recorded on May 19th [Somerset County Mortgages, Book D, page 52].
Samuel Stelle is assessed for 266 acres of land at $13 “value per 100 [acres],” 6 horses and 18 cattle [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, August 1794].
Anna Stelle, daughter of Mary and Oliver Stelle, dies on December 10th aged 1 year, 7 months, according to her gravestone inscription in the nearby Mount Bethel church, evidence that Oliver Stelle had moved from Piscataway by that time [Siegel, Cemetery Records of Warren Township Somerset County New Jersey, 1998].
1795 Ephraim Martin joins the Baptist Church in Piscataway on May 27th , presumably having moved from Bernards Township by this time [Edmund J. James, “Notes on the Baptist Church at Mount Bethel,” Somerset County Historical Quarterly, VII, page 119].
1796 Oliver Stelle is assessed for 224 acres of land valued at $17 [per 100 acres?],” 3 horses and 8 cattle [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, September 1796].
1797 Oliver Stelle and wife Mary mortgage a 232-acre tract of land encompassing the subject property to David Ayers for “200 pounds York money” on May 3rd, (recorded on June 27th) [Somerset County Mortgages, Book E, page 131]. It is the same 269.25 acre tract which Oliver and Samuel mortgaged to Ephraim Martin in 1794, the smaller size acreage explained by the apparent subdivision from its southwest corner of a lot “Oliver Stelle sold to Squire Martin” and from its south end along the Passaic of another lot “said Oliver sold to Squire Martin” [Ephraim’s son; see NJ Wills, 10112S].
That Oliver Stelle and his wife, Mary, are the mortgagors implies that Oliver had acquired his brother Samuel’s interest in the property. Oliver may have used the money realized to acquire his brother’s interest in the property or possibly to finance improvements. In fact, according to family history, “Samuel remained but a few years in the country [Bernards Township]” [Snell, 1881, Ephraim R. Stelle biography after page 738].
Oliver Stelle is assessed for 224 acres of improved land valued at $17 [per 100 acres?],” 3 horses and 4 cattle [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, September 1797].
1797/98 Clarkson Stelle, son of Oliver and Mary Runyon Stelle, evidently is born sometime during this period since, despite the 1795 birth date given in one family genealogy, the 1850 census gives his age as 52 and his gravestone gives his age as 52 at his death on July 13, 1850. [Leonard, 1890, page 9; US Census, Bernards Township, 1850, Siegel, 1998].
1802 Oliver Stelle is assessed for 224 acres of improved land valued at $17 [per 100 acres?],” 47 acres of [unimproved?] land valued at $6 [per 100 acres?],” 5 horses, 14 cattle and 1 dog [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, 1802].
1803 Oliver Stelle is assessed for 224 acres of improved land valued at $42 per 100 acres?],” 47 acres of [unimproved?] land valued at $20 [per 100 acres?],” 5 horses, 14 cattle, 1 still, 1 covered wagon and 1 Windsor chair [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, 1803].
Oliver Stelle serves as one of the trustees of the Mount Bethel Baptist Church [Alan A. Siegel, The Baptist Meeting House Cemetery and Church, 1992, page 15].
1805 Oliver Still [sic] is assessed for 224 acres of improved land valued at $42 per 100 acres?],” 5 horses, 12 cattle, 1 still, 1 covered wagon and 1 dog [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, 1805].
1806 Oliver Stelle is assessed for 224 acres of improved land valued at $42 per 100 acres?],” 22 acres of [unimproved?] land valued at $20 [per 100 acres?],” 5 horses, 15 cattle, 1 still, 1 covered wagon and 1 dog [NJ Archives, Bernards Township Ratables, August 1806].
Ephraim Martin, resident of North Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, dies on February 28th [An Account of Colonel Ephraim Martin,” Somerset County Historical Quarterly, VII, 1918, page 233]. His inventory, dated March 6th, lists as an asset “Oliver Stelles Bond” valued at $976.07, presumably the balance due on the 1794 mortgage [NJ Wills 10112L].