Ellen O’Dwyer, a very proud Atlantic Highlands resident, spent a lot of her years before moving to the Bayshore living on a great farm in Colts Neck. And she’s got a lot of love for her former hometown as well, and even more in its history, just as she is has here in the Bayshore.
Ellen just loaned me a 300+ page book she has which was compiled by Elizabeth Thompson many years ago and filled with information on the old homes and families of Colts Neck, including her own and her parents.
Looking through it, it’s amazing how many of the names of the Colts Neck residents are apparently families related in some way to so many names here in the Bayshore, names including Antonides, Grover, McGough, Miles, Van Brunt, Van Mater, Stryker and more. In many cases, Editor Thompson traced lineage of families over generations, and centuries of families, living in the same house.
In one case, for instance, she tells of William Applegate who came from New York to Colts Neck, then part of Atlantic Township in the 1800s and was a printer. His son sold the printing plant, but his grandson, Edwin Forest, was editor of a Red Bank paper before buying and editing the Monmouth Enquirer. That gentleman was also the postmaster and was a veteran of the Civil War serving at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
The Applegate clan lived on Lairds Road in Colts Neck in a home known as the “House on the Mill,” named for Thomas Frelinghuysen’s mill. The house later became known as the Sutphin house, apparently for Edwin Rutherford Sutphin who purchased it and lived there at least until 1889.
After that, John T. Cross owned the property, but never lived there, and squatters kind of took control of the house and its seven acres until Russell Shiman purchased it in 1965. The Shaman’s made renovations and improvements, including reducing the size of the original 17 room house. Since then, there have been other owners and part of the acreage has been sold off from the original estate.
The book shows there are many connections between Colts Neck and the Bayshore, in addition to Joshua Huddy’s residence and business in Colts Neck and unfortunately, his hanging in what is now Huddy Park in Highlands, in retaliation for the death of a British soldier during the Revolution.