The Rake Cemetery, Part II

Monday, January 4, 2010
By Marfy Goodspeed

This is a continuation of the story of the Rake Cemetery near Sand Brook. If you haven’t read Part I yet, I recommend it so that this installment will make more sense.

The Sergeant Family
Even though no one from the Sergeant family is buried here, they are important to the cemetery for two reasons. First, the farm of William and Elizabeth Sergeant, and their son John T. Sergeant, is adjacent to the cemetery. Secondly, John T. Sergeant was married to Mary J. LaRoche, until his death in 1865, and she then married James Goodfellow, who I described in Part I. It appears that Goodfellow took over the Sergeant farm, which was located on the west side of Sand Brook-Headquarters Road, just south of the village.

In the 1880 census I mentioned in Part I, Elizabeth Sergeant, age 80 and widow of William Sergeant, was living with Mary J. Goodfellow and her husband James. This Elizabeth Sergeant was born June 30, 1799 to John G. Trimmer and Mary Opdycke, and died on March 5, 1882. But she was not buried in the Rake Cemetery. She was buried in Larison’s Corner Cemetery in East Amwell.

Elizabeth’s husband William Sergeant died in 1865 and was also buried in Larison’s Corner Cemetery. Their son John Trimmer Sergeant died the same year and was buried at Larison’s.

Ebenezer Fiske

Ebenezer Fiske

There is one person who lived with the Sergeants who deserves special mention, and that is Ebenezer Fiske. His gravestone states that he died on November 12, 1852 at the age of 88, which means he was born about 1764, making him just a little too young to take part in the Revolutionary War.

In the 1850 Census for Delaware Twp., Ebenezer Fiske, 86 years of age, was living with William Sergeant’s family. There were others living with the Sergeants who were not related to them: Oliver H. Johnson 10, Elizabeth Dalrymple 15, Rachel Dalrymple 9, and Rebecca Rodenbock 27. Perhaps the Sergeants were providing shelter for some of the town’s poor. There was no Ebenezer Fisk in the 1840 census for Delaware Township, but there were several of that name in New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania and New York.

According to Egbert T. Bush, this gentleman was known as ‘Nezer’ Fisk, and was considered a local character. It was said of him that he “drifted” into Sand Brook as a stranger without ‘kith or kin,’ while helping to build “the big bridge.” Bush speculates that was a reference to the bridge over the Delaware at Stockton which was built in 1812. Why Mr. Fisk decided to spend his last years in Delaware Township is a mystery. But at least he was given a proper burial, and a very handsome stone.

The Rake Family
The farm of William Sergeant originally belonged to John and Else Rake. Hence the name, Rake Cemetery. There are members of the Rake family buried here, but not John and Else. Or if John (who died in 1805) is buried here, his stone is gone. Else might be buried in the Rockafellar cemetery in East Amwell. This is a separate story that I will save for a future post.

John Rake was probably a German immigrant, born about 1740, who appears in Amwell as early as 1761, when Johannes Rake witnessed the will of Jacob Houshel. His first child, John Rake Jr. was born May 22, 1768, according to the family bible, and died on March 4, 1826. The Bible did not say where he was buried, and his stone does not appear in the Rake cemetery. His wife Euphemia or Ufamy was born June 6, 1769 and died August 31, 1846. John Rake Jr.’s death was noted in the Hunterdon Gazette, and is a story in itself—something else for a future post.

The second child, Henry Rake, born about 1770, married, had two children, and moved to Pennsylvania.

The third child, Elizabeth, remained a spinster. She bought and sold parts of her parents’ estate after their deaths, and eventually moved to Doylestown, where she died in 1834.

The fourth child, William, remained in Delaware Township. He was born on June 13, 1776 and died on April 1, 1850. On January 12, 1800, he married Lydia or Lidda Larew, the daughter of Moses Larew and Urania Thatcher (see Part I). She was born on July 1, 1769 and died in 1802, probably not long after her only child, Jonathan H. Rake, was born. She was buried in the Rake Cemetery, but there is no record of husband William being buried there. In 1804, William married his wifes sister, Anna Larew, born about 1786. She was christened in the Locktown Christian Church in 1830 when she was 44. It probably took some coaxing on her part, but seven years later, her husband William was also christened in the Locktown Christian Church. But as far as I know, neither of them are buried in the Locktown Christian Church cemetery (which is now the Locktown Presbyterian Church).

L x R (Lydia Rake)

L x R (Lydia Rake)

I did not get a good picture of Lydia Larew Rake’s gravestone, but I did get what appears to be her footstone, which is interesting because it reads “L x R,” or Larew plus Rake, an interesting way to acknowledge the two families.

Just as a reminder, going back to the Larew connection, Lydia and Anna’s father, Moses Larew, was the uncle of Uriah Larew, mentioned earlier.

The fifth child of John Rake Sr. was Solomon Rake, born about 1778. He married Catherine Kitchen in 1801, and seems to have left Hunterdon County.

These were the five children that John Rake appears to have had with a first wife, whose name is not known. His second wife, Else, bore him three children, Jacob, Philip and Franklin. Jacob Rake, born about 1788, lived along Route 523 south of Sand Brook. He wrote his will in 1817 and died in 1821. I do not know where he was buried. His wife was Hannah Thatcher, whom he married in 1808. I have no information as to when she died.

Philip Rake Jr.

Philip Rake Jr.

They had four children, one of whom, Philip Rake, was born on November 19, 1815 and died February 19, 1865. He was buried in the Rake Cemetery, but appears never to have married. Apologies for the poor lighting in this photograph.

Two of Philip Rake’s brothers, William and Thatcher Rake, are mysteries to me. A third brother, David Rake, married Ury Mason in 1832, and in 1842 bought the “Skunktown tavern” from Isaiah H. Moore. He sold it to George W. Gaddis the same year, and may have left Hunterdon County after that.

There is one more member of the Rake family buried here: Caroline Rake, who died in 1834. She was probably the 4-year-old daughter of William Rake and Lydia Larew.

Caroline Rake

Caroline Rake

This seems like a good place to stop. There will be a Part 3 of “The Rake Cemetery” in the near future. And I will have to follow up with three items from this post: 1) the story of William and John T. Sergeant; 2) the death of John Rake Jr.; and 3) the identity of Else Rake.

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11 Responses to The Rake Cemetery, Part II

  1. Robert Kitchen

    Solomon Rake is found on having signed up for the Army in 1814. His age is listed as 30, giving him a birthdate of 1784. He enlisted at Coryells Ferry, and his home was Amwell, NJ. No information is available on Catherine (Kitchen), his wife.
    Bob Kitchen

  2. carebearule

    Do you have any idea the last name of Henry Rakes wife? Her first name was Nancy. And the name of the two children? I am a descendant of Henry. His one son was named Henry but I am not sure of the other child. They moved to Sunbury Pa. From what I can tell Henry fought in the American Revolution under Amos Hazen and received a land grant. Thanks Ann Neubaum

    • Marfy Goodspeed

      Henry Rake sold his interest in his father John Rakes farm in 1807. In the deed, his wife was named Catherine. The last record I have of Henry Rake in Hunterdon was when he witnessed the will of Jacob Rake in 1817. I presume he left for Pennsylvania after that. Perhaps Nancy was a second wife. Sorry I dont have more information.

  3. carebearule

    Hi Marfy
    You were right abort Henrys wife. Her name was Catherine his son Henrys wife name was Nancy. Who also had a son Henry. Henry Johns son died in July 1849 in Northumberland County Pa. Thanks for all the family information. Ann

  4. RCDS95

    I was excited to see an article on the Rake Cemetery. Last fall, I climbed the driveway to a new home where the new owner was so kind to show me that it was only 60 yards from their back door.
    Question: I was curious about what makes you believe that John Rake Sr. had two wives? Ive been researching this name for many years and have never found anything supporting this. Solomon did leave NJ for PA in 1807 so avoid paying his debts. His sons followed in his footsteps. Elizabeth had a child with Elisha Rittenhouse 1807 (childs name unknown). Williams wives Lydia, Ann & Nancy are very confusing. I have so much more on this family if interested. Geoff Raike

    • carebearule

      Have you done any research on Johns son Henry and his family? I am a descendant of his and have just started looking into my family history. Thanks Ann

      • RCDS95

        Hi Ann
        I have some information on Henry that I will share with you. Hopefully, its not redundant to what you have already. Send me an email if you like ( My side of the family came from Solomon but I know another person who shares your side and has done research on Henry too. Geoff

    • BThomas

      Hoping some one can help. Am trying to help extend my wifes family tree. One of her relatives is a Solomon Raike that was born in NJ around 1822 but moved to Bucks County PA. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
      Bruce Thomas

  5. [...] on the Rake Cemetery in Delaware Township. You can find the first of them here. In the second post (here), I mentioned that both John and Else Rake did not have gravestones in this cemetery, even though [...]

  6. phil

    Im a little confused about Henry, the second son of John. In the article, it has him moving to Pennsylvania. In the family tree I found (
    it has him born 20 years later, remaining in Hunterdon, and having a son Elias (my great-great grandfather). According to the website, Sandra Barr (Rake) contributed the Henry info and, I think, Ive seen her on this site? Any info on the discrepentcy would be greatly appreciated.


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