(Originally published as “Historical Facts About Places Near Allentown,” in the Hightstown Gazette dated January 3, 1918)
Holmes Probasco Now Occupies One of the Oldest Farm Houses – J. J. Parker Owns Ancient Brick Dwelling
One of the oldest farm houses in the Allentown section is that now occupied by Holmes Probasco, on the eastern border of Allentown [76 N. Main St.]. The property was bought in 1793, of the grandfather of the late Heberton Rogers, by Alexander Milne, a Scothman from Edinburg, who settled in Philadelphia. For some time he carried on an iron business at Walnut and Dock streets, on the site of the Merchants Exchange.
When the yellow fever broke out in Philadelphia in the above year, Mr. Milne took his family to Allentown. After purchasing the said property and them settled he returned to Philadelphia to transact some business. While there he contracted the fever, from which he died after his return home.
Michael Milne, son of Alexander, was the father of Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Ramsey of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Norton, of Allentown. He was the grandfather of Mrs. E. H. Lee and Miss E. C. Parsons, now residents of Allentown.
The widow of Alexander Milne afterward married Asher Borden, who lived on the farm and also carried on the business of hatter in that town. After the demise of the last two named, the farm property came into possession of the late George Borden.
At the time of the survey for a route of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, the engineers planned to have it pass through Allentown; but owing to the violent opposition of some farmers the course was changed so as to have it touch Robbinsville.
It is said that the principal objector to the road passing through the Allentown section was the said Asher Borden, who strangely imagined that the road would do away with the demand for horses, hay, grain and other farm products.
The original Milne farm was much larger than the present. The land for what is now the Forman Wetherill and that for the present Wycoff Hendrickson’s place was sold off many years ago to the late Josiah Borden, son of said George. He built both of the farm houses standing on these properties and at different times was the occupant of each one of them.
Ancient Brick Dwelling
Probably one of the oldest and best preserved brick dwellings in the Allentown section is that of James J. Parker, situated near Allentown in the road to Imlaystown. The walls of the story are 16 inches thick; the floors and window frames are in a level condition; the doors are still working smoothly; and the whole interior appearance indicates that the old dwelling will be good for many years of household service. A peculiarity noticed by a stranger visiting the property is that the house appears to have been turned about, and that the rear ought to be where the front is. In explanation of this it might be stated that in former times there was a public road that skirted Doctor’s creek on which the farm houses to the eastward of Allentown faced. After the present road to Imlaystown was laid out, in the early part of the last century, the said road was abandoned, thus leaving some of the oldest houses with their rear portion facing the present highway. Mr. Parker says that at present he has no way of finding out the exact time when the house was built.