Cubberley Homestead


Joseph H. West’s account of this Cubberley house, still located at the intersection of Cubberley and Line roads on the border of Washington and West Windsor townships, is from the Allentown Messenger dated January 13, 1911.


Half a mile northwest of the Newtown [Robbinsville] school house, on a private road, stands the residence of the venerable John R. Cubberley, which is one of the most substantially built frame dwellings that can be found in the State.


Mr. Cubberley recently took your correspondent through the old mansion, and on viewing the lavish use of timber, brick, copper, and workmanship, I was led to exclaim that such a house could not be duplicated now except at an almost prohibitive price.


Heavy oak and other hardwood timbers, joists set 16 inches apart, four great chimneys, seven fireplaces, the outer walls lined with brick set flatwise, the spacious hallway also lined with brick, some of which are laid endwise, the rafters framed and crossbraced, copper instead of tin, where needed on the roof, great brick arches in the cellar to support the chimneys, and the quaint open stairway, all combine to make this house a study. The weatherboards are of cedar and rabbitted and molded on the edges.


The hall, with its quaint transom light, is over nine feet wide, and the ceilings of the hall, parlor and room above are adorned with heavy hand carved wood cornices. The open stairway, with its easy steps and low rises, broad return and final steps; the railing, with its graceful curves following the angles to the upper hall, being duplicated on the wall in relief, and the filigree woodwork on the facings, all done by hand, are a study to carpenters of these days. The eave facings are also adorned with hand-worked vine-like trimmings.


The original porch was a long, broad one, enclosed with a fence-like railing, and had two entrances. The late David W. Cubberley replaced this one with brick columns, but the present porch was built by John R. Cubberley, who also built the 30 X 18 kitchen.


A fire in 1845 burned a portion of the northeast roof, and this part has been twice renewed, but the front roof lasted about seventy years, being replaced with slate by the present occupant.


In the garret hangs one of the first grain cradles used in this section, having been built about 1834 by William Ford, and it cost $25. Sickles being used at that period many farmers came to see the new invention in use.


The old mansion was built by William Cubberley in the year 1800, but not entirely finished until 1801. The door knocker, of the eagle pattern, bears this: “W. C., 1901.” The original building is 45 X 30.


The builder of the old mansion was fatally injured by the kick of a horse in 1814. He was buried at Hamilton Square, and on his tombstone is this verse, descriptive of the manner of his death:  “This mortal body by a horse, Was hurried to his tomb; But Christ, by virtue of the cross, Will bring my spirit home.”


His widow, Elizabeth, lived to the age of 97 years 7 months and 3 days. Their children were Anna, Jesse, Elizabeth, Amy, Sarah, Bathsheba, Mary, Achsah, Elijah, Theodosia and David W. Anna, Elizabeth, Amy and Theodosia married and went to the West. The rest remained in this State, David W. getting the homestead.


David W. Cubberley married first, Mary Voorhies, daughter of Coert Voorhies, of Dutch Neck, who was a Revolutionary soldier, and, secondly, Rebecca Allen, daughter of Samuel Allen, and their children were Ezekiel, Mary Ann, Voorhies, Elizabeth, Lemeul, John R., Catherine, Theodosia and Sarah Ann. John R. Cubberley was the next and present owner of the homestead.


The Cubberleys are descended from James and Mary Cubbereley, who were early settlers of what is now Hamilton township. The name is of English origin, one William Coberly being one of the Smithfield martyrs. James died in 1754, and his widow died in 1772. They were buried in the Pearsonville graveyard at White Horse, and were probably members of the Church of England, or Episcopalians, as now known. Their sons and daughters were Thomas, William, James, Isaac, John, Sarah and Mary.


Thomas Cubberley was born on September 23, 1717, and married Ann [maiden name unknown]. He was a carpenter by trade, and in 1748 he went over the Province Line and bought of John Burnett 1,071 acres for about one dollar per acre. This was a part of Augustine Gordon’s big tract, and this purchase included the site of Newtown and the site of the old mansion just described. Thomas had sold some land to his father, and this the father willed to Thomas’s son William.


It would seem that Thomas died before his father, but this is not known. A crumbling old gravestone at Pearsonville graveyard, marked T. C., with no date, but close to the graves of his father and mother and brother William, is, in all probability, the grave of Thomas Cubberley.


The home of Thomas and Ann Cubberley was not far from the old mansion I have described, and this part of the 1,071 acres has been in the family since 1748.


The children of Thomas and Ann Cubberley were William, born 1749, Achsah, born 1752, and Mary, born 1747 or 1748, married William Tindall. William married Elizabeth Tindall, sister to the husband of Mary.


This William Cubberley was the builder of the fine home that he enjoyed but a few years before the accident hurried him to his grave.