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Nate & Sarah Woodward Basking Ridge, NJ (1791-1901)

Nate Woodward and his wife, Farah, lived in and old run down 11/2 story pre-revolutionary house on North Finley Avenue for many ears.  It was located adjacent to East Allen Street and was demolished in 1942.  The land was then acquired by the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church where it is now a parking lot.  The Woodwards were colored, Sarah born in slavery at Basking Ridge.  They were Christians and regular churchgoers, attending the local protestant churches.  Sarah was a slave owned by Israel Bedell.

When Nate married her, he became Mr. Bedells coachman.  Sarah died at age 90.  There are no state records concerning her death.  Nate was born in Whitehouse, Hunterdon County in 1791 and was owned by Simon Wyckoff, who sold him to Matthew Woodward when he was a young boy.  Nate worked on the Woodward farm and in the grist mill.  He was later traded for a yoke of oxen to Stoeffle Barckalow who owned the Lord Sterling farm.  Nate Woodward lived to be 110 years old and was a noticeable figure with a bald head and long white beard.

In the final years, he was on welfare, as evidenced by an overseer of the poor report noting funds for support, blanket and other needs.  He died in 1901, with Bernards Township paying for his funeral expenses of $25.  Both Nate and Sarah Woodward are buried in the slave lot, situated in the North East corner of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church old graveyard.

Written by: New Jersey State Library

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