Historic Timeline Details

1870 Household of Isaac Runyon, as listed in the census, contains 7 members: Isaac, age 51, a farmer with real estate worth $12,000 (no figure given for personal property), his wife, Rachel, age 50, their son, “Runy Runyon” [sic], age 14, three girls, Josephine, age 16, Julia, age 12, and Rachel, age 6 and Adam Smith, age 45, a German born farm laborer [US Census, Bernards Township, 1870]. The two older girls, not listed in the 1860, probably were relatives living with the Runyons; son Clarkson listed in 1860 presumably had died.

The agricultural schedule of the 1870 census enumerates Isaac Runyon as the proprietor of a general farming operation with an important dairy component. The farm, consisting of 120 acre of improved land and 10 acres of woodland, is valued at $12,000, and the farm equipment is worth $345. Farm wages “during the year” are $300 including “board.” His livestock valued at $1,200 includes 2 horses, 2 mules, 13 milk cows, 4 other head of cattle, and 3 swine. Farm production includes 150 bushels of wheat, 500 bushels of corn, 750 bushels of oats, 60 bushels of Irish potatoes, 8 bushels of clover seed, 40 tons of hay and 900 pounds of butter. The value of slaughtered animals is estimated at $325, and the figure given for the “estimated value of all farm products” is $2,620 [US Census, Agricultural Schedule, Bernards Township, 1870].

Household of Thomas Terrell (listed just after Isaac Runyon in the population schedule of the 1870 census) contains 6 members: Thomas, age 38, a farmer with real estate worth $9,000 and personal property, his wife, Mercy (Stelle), 43, their children, Walter, age 7, and Anna M., age 4, and two laborers, German-born William Morris, age 21, and Napoleon Snell, age 14 [US Census, Bernards Township, 1870]. Thomas Terrell evidently married Mercy Stelle in the 1860s and acquired the interest of his sister-in-law, Mary Ann Stelle, in the property the sisters had jointly owned. The 1873 county atlas locates his farm on the west side of the road south of Freeman Stelle’s farm (see 1856, 1860 and 1873 entry).

1873 The 1873 county atlas identifies the house on the subject property as that of “I. S. Runyon.” On the west side of the road are the Res.” of “F. Stelle” to the north and that of “T. Terrell” slightly further to the south . Freeman Steele owed his father’s farm (see 1856 entry) and Thomas Terrell property to the south forming part of Oliver Stelle’s landholdings (see 1860 and 1873 entries) [F. W. Beers, Atlas of Somerset County, 1873].

1880 The agricultural schedule of the 1880 census enumerates Isaac Runyon as the proprietor of a general farming operation with an important dairy component. The farm, consisting of 120 acres of improved land, 25 acres of “meadows, permanent pastures, orchards [and] vineyards” and 5 acres of unimproved land other than woodland, is valued at $10,000. The value given for farm equipment is $500 and that for livestock is $1,200. The 1879 cost of farm labor hired for 52 weeks was $500; and $60 was spent on fertilizer in that year. His livestock in 1880 includes 7 horses, 2 mules, 20 milk cows, 2 other head of cattle, 3 pigs and 30 poultry. In 1879, 18 “calves dropped,” 12 calves were purchased, 12 were sold living, and 1 was slaughtered. In 1879 the farm had 52 acres of grasslands of which 40 acres were mown producing 60 tons of hay, as well as a one-acre orchard with 30 bearing apple trees. . Other farm production in 1879 included 300 bushels of wheat from 10 acres, 700 bushels of corn from 16 acres, 350 bushels of oats from 12 acres, 30 bushels of rye from 2 acres and 40 bushels of Irish potatoes from one half acre. In 1879, the farm produced 7,300 gallons of “milk sold or sent to butter and cheese factories” and 300 eggs; the total estimated value of the farm’s 1879 production was $2,000 [US Census, Agricultural Schedule, Bernards Township, 1880].

1883 Rachel, daughter of Isaac and Rachel (Stelle) Runyon marries William Rueben Codington, son of George W. and Jane Codington at the Millington Baptist Church on November 29th. Codington grew up a neighbor of the Runyons, and his family was among the early settlers of the neighborhood [“Judge Codington Succumbs at 81,” The Bernardsville News, January 24, 1935].

1885 Having studied law in the offices of Suydam and Jackson in Plainfield, William Codington is admitted to the New Jersey bar and forms a partnership with J. H. Jackson to practice law with office in Plainfield [“Judge Codington Succumbs at 81,” The Bernardsville News, January 24, 1935].

1892 Isaac Runyon dies on February 9th at age 73, according to death records of bronchitis and “La Grippe” after a two-week illness [NJ Death Registers 1891-92]. He death is intestate with daughter Rachel Codington as his only heir-at-law [Somerset County Deeds, Book P21, page 194]. Rachel’s husband William R. Codington is granted administration of his estate, and the inventory of his personal property is “sworn and subscribed” to the county court on March 17th [NJ Wills, 6157R].

The inventory provides considerable information of about the house but little about its furnishings. Twelve rooms are named in the following entry listings: “Sitting-room contents/ Hatrack in hall/ Parlor and contents/ Room back of parlor/ Bed-room back of sitting-room/ Stair carpet, table in hall and contents of small bed-room up-stairs/ Contents of cellar/ Dining room and contents/ Store-room and contents/ Attic and contents/ room back of kitchen/ kitchen and contents.” The inventory indicates the upper story contained at least one bedroom by this time, as well as an attic and possibly a hallway. However, the number of rooms and their configuration cannot be construed; one of them might have been the storeroom mentioned. One can safely assume that the parlor, sitting room and two rooms to their rear occupied the western half of the first story. For the east half of the first story two arrangements can be considered: (1) kitchen occupying SE room with cooking fireplace and bake oven, the “room back of kitchen” to its rear, dining room immediately to its west occupying the east end of the present living room, and the hall with hat rack the entry at the foot of the stairs; the store room could either occupy the east-end shed appendage or be located on the upper story. (2) hall with hat rack occupying the east end of the present living room, dining room the SE room with old cooking fireplace; and the kitchen and the “room back of kitchen” located in the east-end shed appendage; this scenario leaves the NE room (the modern kitchen) unaccounted. The only furnishings identified are stair carpeting and a table and hat rack in the hall or halls.

The “granary” is only other building mentioned; presumably the extant wagon house, in whose upper-story feed bins the wheat, oats and shelled corn listed in the inventory undoubtedly were stored.

The inventory gives the total value of Isaac Runyon’s personal property as $5,465.48, including $3,695,80 in cash, notes, interest and book accounts comprising the bulk of his assets. Livestock worth $663 constitutes only about 12% of his asset: 5 horses valued at $250, 14 cows, 1 heifer and a bull worth $400, 4 turkeys worth $5 and “about 50 fowl” worth $8. The inventory includes $390 in harvested crops: 100 bushels of wheat worth $100, 250 bushels of oats valued at $90, 200 bushels of shelled corn worth $100, and 8 tons of hay worth $100, as well as $8 worth of smoke meat. It also include a carriage and “phaeton” as well as various other wagons, sheds, and farm equipment.

1892-1920s The farm presumably is rented by the Codingtons throughout most of the period. While William Codington acquires considerable property in the Millington neighborhood during the early 20th century, including large portions of Oliver Stelle’s original holdings, he and his wife Rachel evidently live in Plainfield until sometime in the 1920s at which time, they made the farm inherited from her father, their principal residence. Codington establishes a dairy operation at the Bernards Township property (which he names River Edge Farm), taking special interest in the raising and breeding of Guernsey cattle. [Somerset County Deeds, Book F10, page 138, Book T11, page 466, Book W20, page 149 and Book P21, page 201; “Judge Codington Succumbs at 81,” The Bernardsville News, January 24, 1935]. Physical evidence indicates that the main dairy barn and several other sheds and improvements can be dated c.1920-1940, and it seems likely that this work mostly occurred in the 1920s in conjunction with his making the farm his primary residence.

In addition to his law practice, William Codington was active in political and business affairs at the local and state level during the period, including the directorship of several companies, 25 years as attorney for Union County, and two terms in the state assembly in the 1890s [“Judge Codington Succumbs at 81,” The Bernardsville News, January 24, 1935].

1900 William R. Codington, age 47, is listed as the head of household consisting of his wife, Rachel, age 38, daughter, Martha, age 15 and son, Albert, age 11, and residing at 44 Sandford Avenue, Plainfield, NJ [US Census, Plainfield, NJ, 1900. Vol. 65, sheet 8].

1909 Freeman J. Stelle (Freeman Stelle’s son and John Stelle’s grandson) conveys to William R. Codington of Plainfield an 11.7-acre lot that John Stelle had inherited from his father Oliver Stelle and the latter had acquired from Squire Martin in 1812 [Somerset County Deeds, Book F, page 776, Book N2, page 438 and Book T11, page 466].

1920 William R. Codington, age 66, is listed as the head of household consisting of his wife, Rachel, age 56, daughter, Martha, age 35 and her husband, Colin Dascombe, age 41, who was born in Maine and residing at 41 Sandford Avenue, Plainfield, NJ [US Census, Plainfield, NJ, 1920, Vol. 114, sheet 5].

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