Sepia Saturday #344: Warbasse Junction

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This was a card given to my Aunt Sadie from her Uncle Adam, Aunt Kitty and her cousin Jeffrey for her 7th birthday. It’s a punch out card meaning that Sadie could’ve removed and folded the barn to stand up on a table or play area. Also, a cow, a spotted pig,  a hen with her chicks, and a horse could be punched out and placed around the barn. The cute little saying inside says, “Press out the barn and figures, and fold them up with care, then stand them up — and — presto — you’ll have a barnyard there!” Sadie never did play with them, though, as the card was intact in her Shirley Temple Scrapbook.

The farmyard scene reminded me of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Henry Hunt‘s homestead in Lafayette Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, near a place called Warbasse Junction.

“Warbasse Junction [Lafayette Township] – was situated in the southern end of the township, and was the point of crossing of the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. The Junction was located just east of Branchville Junction, and was named for Joseph Warbasse, who established Edan Farm here around 1800. His family sold off sixty acres to the Sussex Railroad when the line was extended from Newton in 1869.”[1]

I have a photo of the homestead among the Strait family photos that I was told was the front of the house as it faced the Warbasse Junction Road. The date on the photo reads “April 10th 1910.” There is a tree standing on the left side and a chimney is located on the far right of the house. There are three upstairs windows tucked under the eave of the pitched roof. A front porch covers most of the front and the tops of the porch supports have some distinctive styling. A white, picket fence separates the house from the road.

William Henry Hunt’s house: 1910

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I visited New Jersey for a family reunion trip in 2006. One of the things that my dad and I did while I was there was to take a picture of the Hunt homestead. It was still standing, well-maintained, and painted a nice greenish color.

William Henry Hunt’s House 2006:

William Henry Hunt house Warbasse 5

There is however a mystery with this. While getting ready to put this post together, I was practicing some of the skills I learned during the Boston University Genealogy Research course I took earlier this year. While examining photos, it’s a good habit to begin by listing all the characteristics of the subjects: What are the people wearing, how old are they, what type of architecture is apparent, etc.?

That listing of characteristics made me look closely at both pictures and that made me go, “hmmm….” While the styling at the top of the porch posts is exactly the same in both pictures, there are some questions that arise:

  1. The chimney in the 1910 photo is on the right side of the house and since there are no leaves on the tree, there doesn’t seem to be another hiding on the left side. The 2006 photo shows a chimney but more towards the left of the house.
  2. The house in the 2006 photo has much less frontage than the 1910 house which runs longer along the road.
  3. The porch on the 1910 photo runs from the far right to somewhat short of the left side of the house. The 2006 porch runs from the far left of the house all the way to the right and around.
  4. The 1910 photo has three upstairs windows. The style and location of the windows matches the 2006 photo. However, the house in the 2006 photo only has 2 windows. It’s common for a house to get an addition. But it’s most unusual for a house to get an addition-ectomy.
  5. However, building on point #4, there looks to be a distinct difference in roofing materials in the 1910 photo (suggesting an addition) which would be about where the 2006 house ends. Perhaps this previously added piece of the house was removed. Maybe that chimney on the right experienced a fire? Or was it removed for some other reason?

All this leaves me wondering… Is the 1910 house truly the old Hunt homestead? I would suspect yes since it’s a picture in the family collection. But if it is, did I get the right house for my 2006 photo? Again, I suspect yes but some further digging into building permits and deeds seems to be in order.

Dang! More stuff for the genealogical to-do list.

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo: Homesteads

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[1] Wayne T. McCabe, Sussex County… A Gazetteer (Newton, NJ: Minisink Press, 2009), 160.

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2 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday #344: Warbasse Junction

  1. Could one chimney have been taken down when the small addition was put on and the fireplace was added on the left? Or could the second chimney on the right just be hidden behind the tree? They easily could have lost part of the front yard if the road was widened to more than one lane. I’ve seen that with many old homes.

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  2. Another difference is that the porch wraps around the right side of the house in the 2006 photo but ends on the 1910 photo. If it truly is the same house, I feel like the right side of the 1910 house was lost and the short left side on the 2006 house is an addition. I would be interested in knowing what you find out when you dig through those building permits.

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