The Wilgus Family

The following family genealogy from the “Charles R. Hutchinson Collection,” in the possession of the New Jersey Historical Society and available on microfilm at the Allentown Library, is representative of the valuable local history that exists there.


By deed dated 3 mo. 14, 1705, “Robert Burnet, of Monmouth County, Etc. Gentleman,” conveyed to “Richard Willgoose and Samuel Willgoose his son, both of the county of Burlington, Etc, yeomen,” for f 30, - 150 acres of land in ye countyu of Munmoth, Etc: Beginning by Doctors Creek, at a maple tree for a corner: From thence by the land of Joseph Haines, E., 50 ½ chains to a white oak tree, corner of hains’ land: From thence W. by N. 32 chains to a black oak corner: Thence S. by W. 49 chains to said creek, to a black oak for a corner: From thence down (up) the said creek the several courses thereof, to the first place of beginning: Containing 150 acres of land, be it more or less,” &c.


July 14, 1721, “Richard Willgoose and Samuel Willgoose his son, of the county of Munmoth, Etc., yeoman,” convey to Marmaduke Horseman, of the same, for “sixty pounds, lawful silver money of New York.” The above premises, 150 acres, by same description. Neither of the grantors could write their name, and both father and son signed by mark. No wives are mentioned. It does not appear that either of the above deeds was ever recorded. This tract was located on the northerly side of Doctors Creek and extended to near and south of the present settlement known as Pullentown [present junction of Rt. 526 and Sharon Station Rd]. September 2, 1721 Marmaduke Horseman sold it to Isaac Stelle, who sold it, March 27, 1739, to Thomas Billop, of Staten Island: who sold it, May 15, 1745, to William Corlies, Junr: who sold it August 25, 1748 to William Imlay: after whose death it was sold by sheriff to “Captain” James Bruere, December 5, 1794: and he conveyed it, April 20, 1807, to his son James Bruere, containing 199 acres. April 15, 1850, Commissioners appointed to sell lands of James Bruere, deceased, conveyed it to Stephen H. Bruere, for $ 9,180, containing 191 20/100 acres. March 28, 1851. Stephen Bruere sold the same to David Barcalow for $9,660, and April 4, 1855, he sold it for $12000, to Thomas Hooper, who built the present house and lived there until his death a few years ago. It has since changed hands two or three times, and I do not know who is the present owner.


Richard Wilgus above mentioned is first met in the town book of Nottingham, Burlington County, where he is named as one of thirty three taxable inhabitants in 1703. He appears to have been known familiarly as “Dick Goose,” and in one instance is designated as “Old Goose.” It does not appear that either he or his son Samuel ever afterward owned any real estate in Upper Freehold, although they remained there. Samuel Wellgoose was taxed there in 1731, and Samuel and John Wilgus in 1758. In the ledger of Doctor James Newell of Allentown, I find John Willgus in 1753; Samuel Goose, 1750 to 1756; and John Willgus Jr. “Taylor,” 1760 to 1771. John Willguse was a witness to the will of Isaac Stelle, who then lived on the Hooper farm above mentioned, January 31, 1738: and John Willgus of Monmouth County, “Cooper,” married Jane Corlies, of the same, Spinster, by a license dated March 16, 1744/5.


In the Town Book of Upper Freehold it was recorded that William Wilgus was constable in 1781 and 1782. Samuel Wilgust was allowed pay by the township for keeping his father, Samuel Sr., from 1789 to 1798, when Samuel Sr. died, and the town paid his funeral expenses. John Wilgus, in 1795, made application to the town of the support of his daughter Sarah, and she was still a town charge in 1800. In 1796 John was allowed L  25, for the support of Samuel Wilgus and daughter; and in 1799 John is mentioned as the son of Samuel, deceased. Asa “Goose” was paid for the keep of his father, Samuel, in 1797 and 1798, and for that of his sister Sarah in 1800, 1801 and 1802. Elizabeth Wilgus, whom the town book calls “Bet, Goose,” was a town charge in 1781 and until 1799, when the town paid for her burial. In 1800, William Garrison was paid L  2, “for keeping Lucy Wilgus’s child.”


William Wilgus of Upper Freehold married Hannah Foster, by a license dated September 11, 1769. He served in the Monmouth County Militia in the revolutionary war. Samuel Wilgus Jr. appears to have owned premises on the northerly side of the York Road in New Sharon, in 1776, when he exchanged a strip of land there with John Rogers, somewhere near where John Bastedo now lives.


Richard Wilgose had an account on the books of Robert Montgomery of Eglinton, in 1779-80. He was a soldier in the Revolution, a private in Captain James Bruere’s Company, which was made up chiefly in and about Allentown. He was shot and killed a Waln’s Mills, in August, 1782, while on guard to prevent contraband trade with the British. His assassin was one Woodward, a tory, who the lived in the brick house which still exists on the mill property, and who, returning from an expedition and being told that Wilgus was watching for him, took his gun and went out, and finding him in the road about a hundred yards east of the mill, shot him from ambush. Woodward was probably one of the sons of Jesse Woodward, who at that time lived in the farm across the creek, formerly Edward Howard’s, and had two sons: Isaac and John. They were all tories, and after the war went to St. John’s, New Brunswick, where Isaac became mayor of the city and John held some important commission under the British Government.