Thursday, December 15, 2011
1905: JOSEPH H. WEST - GRAFTON
The beautiful colored engraving is Mayor John Bencivengo's 2011 Christmas card. It is an exquisite work of art. The Grafton House is another of Hamilton's historic treasures which was rescued from the wrecker's ball back when the Hamilton Market on Route 130 was under construction. For years the "Grafton Farm" which was located in the area of the county "Poor House" across Crosswicks-Hamilton Square Road. The entrance to the old house was located down a long lane off of route 130. The last residents were the Sadleys. This historic old landmark is where a gentlemen named Mahew West located what was to be known as a "plantation" of 166 acres earliy in the 19th century, date unknown. As in this year of 2011 when foreclosures proliferate, the original real estate went in and out of foreclosure and changed hands many times. In the mid 1800's the place was owned by Samuel P. Nicholson. Nicholson made numerous additions to the current mansion and as Joseph West wrote in his 1905 history, "built the largest barn, adorned the grounds, and fitted the approaches with self acting gates." Perhaps the least known fact surrounding this historic treasure lies in the fact that Richard and his brother Samuel Jacques purchased the farm from John KcKnight in 1837. Richard Jacques was the first Sheriff of Mercer County. He resided in the home up to the time of his death in 1842. Joseph Dilatush purchased the property in1904. For years, the Dilatush family operated a farm across the highway. The farm was especially popular during the Christmas season when customers visited the Dilatush holly farm. The last resident whom I remember was Donald Dilatush who was a walking encyclopedia on the Edgebrook area of Hamilton. Unfortunately, Don moved to New York State in the early 1980's and unfortunately the Hamilton Township Historical Society never took advantage of his vast knowledge of the area where his family lived for so many years.