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     Dr. Stephen was born in Brooklyn October 2nd 1812
but his parents moved back to Middletown Point in his
early childhood.  In 1824, when he was twelve, he return-
ed to Brooklyn.  There, in 1831, he graduated from the
College of Physicians and Surgeons.  During the terrible
cholera epidemic of 1833 he was Superintendent of a ward
while still an intern at the Brooklyn Cholera Hospital.
Under the strain and lack of sleep his health broke, he
developed tuberculosis, and he had to resign.  The Brook-
lyn Board of Health voted him a considerable donation in
recognition of his services in 1833/4 and in that same
year he moved to Squankum, N.J.
     Sometime before this move he had married Annah Ben-
nett whose aunt was the widow of the then famous Rem
Lefferts of Brooklyn.  In old Nicholas M's letter of
April 21st 1845 he is not pleased when Doctor Steve re-
fused the present of a house in Matawan from this wealthy
     Dr. Stephen and Annah had eleven children of whom
five were doctors - Dr. Rem Lefferts, Dr. Stephen A., Dr.
Edwin Clarence, Dr. Andrew Jackson, and Dr. Vanderhoef
Morgan.  Stephen A. lived in Asbury Park when I was a boy
and his picture is in the group taken before the Lewis
Lumber Office in "The River."
     Eloise Disbrow, who has permitted me to copy these
letters and has otherwise supplied so much information,
is the daughter of Vanderhoef.  Of her grandfather she
writes -
          "Old Stephen had his idiosyncrasies.  He kept
various horse-whips, to suit his varying moods, in a
special corner and whenever a son strayed from the
straight and narrow, he ushered him back to the stable
and whipped him thoroughly.  My father, being the baby,
escaped but Uncle Clarence carried the memory of many a

DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW whipping to his dying day. Dr. Stephen always carried a cane when walking and was said to have been an odd sight tramping through the sandy streets of Allaire with his high silk hat, his frock coat, and his cane. Did I tell you that he gave Teddy Roosevelt castor oil at the Squan- kum Tavern? He was very much afraid of electric storms but was so fond of fresh air that he always kept his bed- room windows wide open....He was respected, feared, but admired by all his sons - who hated him." Dr. Stephen got his New Jersey "Diploma" granting him the "privilege of practicing Physic and Surgery" on June 17th 1835. He continued his practice in the Squan- kum district till his death in 1894. I have included his statement of claim against Mr. Corlies, which ends this group of letters, for the bene- fit of whomsoever may be interested in medical charges in the '50's. - "It seems this man's daughter and wife were most anxious to have the wry neck straightened for the sake of the poor girl's marriage chances. It was a serious operation in those days and the father was a- fraid grandfather would kill his patient, so he threat- ened him with a lawsuit if the operation failed. Well, the operation was a success and the girl and her mother were delighted, but the father refused to pay the bill, saying grandfather had risked his daughter's life.... The Court awarded him the paltry sum." Now to touch briefly on the writers of the letters which follow. Andrew Jackson DISBROW was born February 29th 1816 and died in 1891. Mother remembers him as an elderly man, more than a little overweight, who wheezed as with asthma when he talked. He seems to have been more of a personage than any of the others except Dr. Stephen. He was for many years a Judge and the Sheriff of Middlesex 128
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW County. He lived in Oldbridge where, even as early as the 1837 letter, he was Postmaster. The "She" referred to in his first letter was his first wife Susan Brown. The taint to which he alludes has faded to invisibility now; no one has any idea what it was. Their child did die, even as he feared. Not too long thereafter he married Margaret R. Searle whom Moth- er remembers as a rather loud-mouthed, course woman. An interesting fact is that, since poor Uncle Jackson's birthday was February 29th, he became a widower before his sixth birthday and had probably remarried long before his seventh - truly precocious even for a Disbrow. Of the three children from this second marriage, the one boy was Stephen M. who later became a doctor. It is to this child he refers in his second letter; he was always sick- ly and died fairly young. Of Peter C. and Edwin Clarence I know nothing worth mentioning. William Wallace was the youngest boy, the one his grandmother Susanna Morgan mentions so fondly in her will. For a while he ran a millinery shop in Middletown Point with his sister Catherine; later he was master of a scho- oner which went to some southern port, probably Charleston and, like many of the Disbrows, was always thereafter known as Captain. He too married twice and both his wives were Southerners. The first was Margaret Watts, the se- cond Caroline Butler, both of Charleston. Mary, the oldest daughter, married J.W. Denyse (pro- nounced Dee-Nice) and had three sons. One, Gus, was a crony of his cousin Edwin, my grandfather; he was an ath- eist. Another son was a heavy drinker. Her two daught- ers had the most peculiar names, one being christened Tamaroo and the other Olinski. Olinski I personally re- member as a dumpy little woman who visited us when I was 129
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW a child; she it was who ran the dressmaking school where Louisa Lane met Ed Disbrow. We know her as big Lin; her daughter who was twice her size we knew as little Lin. Tamaroo was the mother of old Captain Nicholas Morgan Disbrow Conover whom you have already met. Delia Ann, Mother remembers in later years as a dis- agreeable character who dominated her husband, Charles Fardon. She was a devout Methodist, what is known among them as "sanctified," whatever that may mean in their language. Catherine was the youngest girl. The Store to which she refers in her letter was the Millinery Shop which she ran with Will. Whether the wife whom William was about to marry was the Southerner or some earlier sweetheart we now have no means of knowing. She did marry her George Hamilton, veteran of the Mexican War, and the happy cou- ple later moved to Pennsylvania where, in due course, he died. She then returned home and married again, this time a Richard Van Brakle much younger than herself, who was rather effeminate and otherwise insignificant, Moth- er remembers her as a mannish type with short hair - an unheard-of thing in those days. The poem is thrown in for good measure. I don't know who of the Morgans wrote it but it was among Dr. Steve's letters and the appearance of the paper, the ink, and the use of the old long "s", places it early in the century if not earlier. And now for the letters themselves. In 1838 when this series starts, old John D. the Revolutionary veteran had been dead but three years; Martin Van Buren was Pres- ident; Stephen Foster was twelve years old; Poe was only twenty-nine; gold would not be discovered in California for another nine years (indeed California was still Mex- ican); Victoria had just ascended the throne. These let- 130
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW ters were all preserved by Dr. Stephen to whom they were addressed. As the eldest son he seems to have been father confessor to some of his brothers and sisters who were able to unburden themselves to him to an extent they nev- er dared with old Nicholas their father. It is a pity there are not more of them for they do give us a picture of the time and the people who wrote them - they are like faded snapshots of things remembered dimly. But you can get your own pictures from the pages that follow. First the mysterious poem. * * * STANZAS Nay, think not, sweet, to read my heart, With those soft searching eyes; Thou canst not tear the veil apart That lends me its disguise; My words, in mood or grave or gay, Are guarded as they flow; But that I mean what e'er I say To thee my deeds will show. I see thee mark each look and smile As if they would betray The thoughts that in my breast the while Lie hidden from the day; Thou deem'st the changes of my face My feelings may reveal - But e'en from them thou canst not trace Aught that I would conceal. Little could thy young sinless heart And pure mind comprehend Why I should wear the mask of art With thee, my gentle friend The world a cold, cold lesson taught Too early unto me; But from its love with suffering fraught, Be thou forever free. The thoughts thy lips will not confess Still may thy sweet face speak, In the bright graceful bashfulness That beautifies thy cheek; And as some lake reflects the skies In its pellucid breast, So, in thy azure heavenly eyes Be still thy soul confest. - Morgan. * * * 131
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW To - Old Bridge Dr. S.M. Disbrow, Sunday, Feb 18th, 1838. Howell Works, N.J. Dear Brother: Having some leisure I thought I would write you a few lines to pass away time for I would not write otherwise as you have not answered my other letter yet. I was very sorry that you did not come to this place last week when you was at the Point for I feel very bad as I have been confined to the house for a week past with my old complaint, the quinsy, and I have it yet. It broke Friday and I felt quite well of it but I went down to the Store yesterday and caught fresh cold and he oth- er side commenced swelling, and now they can scarce under- stand a word that I say. And it is now that I feel with a ten-fold violence the loss that I have sustained, not but that Mother and Mary have been very attentive and careful and try to make 132
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW me forget, but that is impossible. Oh how she used to hang over me if my head only ached, and would try by every thing in her power to amuse and help me. You may think me wrong to indulge such thoughts but they afford me a kind of melancholy pleasure. I might have known, if I had not been a fool, that she would not stay long here, for it could not be that one brought up as she was, and in this section, and then to be possessed of such a mind (and with just a common education too) it was morally im- possible for her to live long. No doubt you have wondered how I could ever marry her with the taint on her name that her mother left to all her children, and have seen us together and thought only that I was an every-day husband. But I will tell you that, with all my seeming carelessness, I gloried in her and She knew it, for she was worthy of all my con- fidence and love. How often and often I have gazed on her in her Sleep and wondered if the world held another that I could love with the fervour that I did her. Christians may talk of their love to the Supreme, but I doubt if their feeling exceeded mine. And I turn from such thoughts as these with a feel- ing of bitter loneliness, and yet I am possessed of friends such as few have. But why, you will ask, indulge in such thoughts? It is because they follow me wherever I go. I have tried everything to get rid of them, have mixed in all company high and low, male and Female, but it's no use. Christians tell me it is for some wise purpose. I would like to see it soon, for the wisdom of the thing has not been revealed yet. It has made me (who was be- fore that as happy and contented as a Man possibly could be) a devil-may-care person, heedless of life or death - except in the case of her orphan who appears to be doing well at present, but his eyes are too bright for him to 133
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW last long, and I suppose by the time that my heart-strings get fairly knit around him, that he too will follow his mother. But let the blow come. I can now laugh at Fate's worst - and it is no enviable feeling, I assure you. Do write me a long letter and I will promise to read it over ten times without thinking of anything else. I do not know how soon I will be well enough to come and see you, or even be well enough to go out again, but when I can come I shall try and stay a day or two. The fact is I now decide business for amusement and I am care- less of the results. They are all well but me in this place but I have just heard that father is quite unwell. Yours, as ever A.J. Disbrow * * * From Catherine Disbrow to Middletown Point Docr. S.M. Disbrow, Sept. 9th 1851. Squankum, N.J. My Dear Brother: I have been thinking a long time of writ- ing to you but oweing to my Store could not get the leisure time. Have now commenced to write in more of a hurry than I would wish but it is unavoidable as my time is of some account at this time. I had expected to have been at your house a week ago but we, hearing of your be- ing so ill, thought it best for Mother to come down. I wanted to come and make a Visit of four weeks but now do not expect to stay longer than two weeks and perhaps not so long. It is oweing to circumstances of Sunday. I expect Mother has told you that I intend to get married and presume she has told all about it. At any rate I hope she has as it is a very delicate subject for 134
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW me to discuss at this time as of course they are not wil- ling for me to Marry. But I think I have waited to please all of our family a long while. Am now fully satisfied they will not be pleased short of a man independent - that is, Rich - to support me in luxury. Well I know it would be a very sweet morsel to roll on the tongue but a Mighty bitter one if a person should say after marriage - `All you have I gave you' which, of course, would be true. I have had Gentlemen that was thought Wealthy to wate upon me. They loved their Wine and therefore I could not like them. But there is no use talking of pleasing any one at home entirely as Mother and Pop has both told Hamilton they thought as well of him as any Man but they expected and always wished me to stay with them in their declining years; which of course I expect to do if they are willing. It is only that I do consider this that I have been kept this long unmarried; but I think it is now time for me to get Married. Have lived to see the World turning a little and I think there is a chance for me as well Married as single. As long as Bill thought of staying unmarried, Marrying did not much enter my mind and I would not listen to the many that came; but when I found he was determined to get him a wife I thought it likely I had best look for myself. Our folks has said I was foolish to change when I was so well placed in the Store. That is very nice to talk but I tell you, Brother, the Store will not support us three. If I had taken the Business myself, hired the Girls, per- haps things would have been different. It is a nice Bus- iness and we have got on with the best feeling that ever was among a firm. Have tried and found I would not worse myself much. At any rate will say a little of the Chap the is to be my Husband, but do not think me partial. Will 135
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW write you an impartial description. You saw him at our Brother's. He is not very agreeably attractive on the account of his hair and complection, that is to many, but he is not one of this World's Verdant branch as he has been around this Globe a few. He was four years in Mexi- co, or nearly four years. He was at first a Solgier and was promoted to a Lieutenancy but come home soon after his being promoted. He is very quiet, has but little to say at any time, except with me - is not that strange? He has worked in Craig's Shop. Could get no cash there, all trade, so he left and went to Middletown last April where he expects to continue with Osborne as I heard Os- born tell him he wished him to see to his work as long as the Shop stood. He Boards Hamilton and gives him twenty- five dollars a month and finds him a horse but he has not had the Horse as he would rather have him for three or four days at a time. He tells me he does not owe one man a Dollar in the World. He is sober and industrious and in perfect health. His relatives, as far as I have heard, are in respectable circumstances. That is what I have been told. He says his Farther and his Mother is both long ago dead. He has three sisters, one living in Ro- chester, moved there on a farm they purchased; two sis- ters living in the City, one married and keeping house, and the younger one is unmarried and makes her home with her Sister. His youngest Brother started for the World's Fair, has not returned but they expect him every.... * * * The rest of this letter has disappeared, lost in the same think haze of time that so obscures all our Charac- ters so far. * * * 136
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW Old Bridge, N.J. Feb 28 - 52. Dear Brother: Your letter in answer to mine came to hand - the pat part relating to Petty told the story so well, that I cut it out of your letter bodily and sent it to the firm in Philadelphia who wrote to enquire of me. I send you the enclosed magazine as I presume it was sent to me in mistake & was intended for you. There is no news to communicate. I am very sorry to hear of the ill health of your family. Now, under those circumstances, would it not be well to let A.J. Jr. come here and go with our Steve to school? Rebec joins me in this wish. I presume he is in health, as he has ever been, and we know something of the care of child- ren when a part of them are ill - besides I feel that I have a kind of right over him - and you and Anne must know he will fare well as ours do which we think is well enough for anybody's children. So, let him come to stay with us after being here a few days, we will bring him home. Love to Anna and the girls. Yours as ever A.J. Disbrow * * * Middletown Point Monday June 29th 1860. Dear Brother: I am once more on my Native Soil & in tip- top Health & Spirits. I arrived here last Tuesday night & went on to Philadelphia to enter into a contract of which I hope will materially benefit me in point of $ & cts. At present I will not have time to get to your place as I return to Charleston Wednesday on the four O'Clock Steamer. I shall take a short trip in Ala. & Ga. 137
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW & then, about the middle of August, return to Phila. to take up my abode there for at least one year & perhaps for Life. My family will move on about the 1st of Sept- ember. This you readily know is acceptable to all as well as myself on an increase of about $600 pr. Year. All are well at Jackson's; also at Home here. Kitt is till in great Distress of her Recent & sad Affliction. Today Kitt succeeded with myself to get Mother to wear a small Hoop - which, I am satisfied, makes Mother feel a Year or two younger. I am in hope, when I get to Quakerdelphia, I will soon get down to see you. How about your getting to Freehold? - Keep that Ball in Motion & we will all soon be within a stone-throw of each other. The House that I have Engaged with in Phila. is Geo. W. Reed & Co. - Clothiers - 423 Market Street. I will write you on my return to Phila. Give my love to Annah, Mary Lefferts & all the rest. Yours as ever W.W. Disbrow P.S. - Huzza for Breckenridge & Fitzpatrick, Southern Choice, & 25000 Groans for old Uncle Abe L- * * * A.J. Disbrow Surveyor and Conveyencer Old Bridge, N.J. January 1st 1879. Dear Brother: Knowing you feel anxious about the Spotswood property affair, I hasten to close it up. And may the Curse of God rest on it, with all its surroundings. I do not know how you will like my course with Mary, but I used my best judgement. I feared, if I sent her the deed to execute, someone might enquire about her "Dower Rights," and thus make delay and trouble, as old Appleby is one 138
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW of the most scary men on earth and I have had much trouble with him. Now of course Mary has no Right of Dower until those two mortgages are paid and cancelled, but the mere Raising the point now would cause question, delay, and in- finite trouble - hence I wrote to her saying I would pay all the costs & expenses of her coming here. Poor girl, it is plain to see what a hard row she has to travel, with her bright baby. On enquiry, she informed me she had not enquired or spoken a word to anyone on the subject - which made me proud to learn she is one of us, truly. This is my last term of Court, which ends on April 1st next. But the law was changed last winter reducing the number of Judges, so no one takes my place. When the main business is over and the weather mod- erates, I will come down and see to your surveying, which will not cost you anything. I send statement with check. Love to all with a sincere wish of a Happy New Year to everyone. As ever truly A.J. Disbrow * * * Note that on page 73 old John in 1771 leaves the Spotswood land to his daughter Mary. Since then it would appear that all his great holdings have been diss- apated - the Ferry, the Roundabout. Now we see the last of Spotswood, still owned by a Mary Disbrow but already heavily mortgaged. Sic transit - Now for the Corlies claim, described on page 128 - Court for the Trial of Small Causes before E.B. Wainright Monmouth County S.S. 139
DR. STEPHEN MORGAN DISBROW Stephen M. Disbrow, Plaintiff against In Debt on Bank A/C Joseph A. Corlies, Defendent Copy of the Account Viz Joseph A. Corlies To Dr. S. M. Disbrow, Dr. 1847, October 11th To visit to Daughter at Abigail Morris' 0.75 November 22nd Operating on said Daughter for Wry Neck 10.00 November 25th To Visit 0.75 November 30th To Visit 0.75 1849 August 30th To Visit to Child - 8 Powders Alternatives 1.25 $13.50 Interest 1.50 Total $15.00 Showing an Indebtedness of Fifteen Dollars for which Plaintiff brings Suit and Prays Judgement. S. M. Disbrow Plaintiff Dated this 19th May 1851. 140

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Todd L. Sherman (genealogy at alachuaskywarn dot org)
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