Hopewell’s Past by Betty Gantz

We are thrilled to announce that the site now includes the Hopewell’s Past book by Betty Gantz, through the kind support of her son, Robert. Mrs. Gantz began this project as a series of columns in the Hopewell Valley News from June 1976 through at least January 1986, and then then edited her columns into this book as of 1987.

This amazing body of work follows her exploration and discoveries of Hopewell history, including observations from visiting sites and houses (including exploring cellars), and ongoing discussions with readers to clarify and correct her conclusions.

The general structure of the book covers the first settlers and the growth of the town, the genealogies of the first houses, “Little Histories” summarizing changes over each decade from 1870 to 1950, and histories of other interesting houses. Along the way, Mrs. Gantz quotes from and cross‐references her work with earlier sources, and provides extensive references to deeds and other records to support her analysis. She also includes several extracts from interesting sources.

Mrs. Gantz then donated the book to the Hopewell Museum, writing “I want all my information to be in the Hopewell Museum for future researchers. … Compiling these histories is so important to future home owners. … The people of 2031 or 2076 will have some help from us.”

Unfortunately, this work has since languished on the shelves of the Hopewell Museum and the Hopewell Public Library, unknown to many and appreciated only by the few lucky people who stumbled over it. But now it is available for a new generation to discover and explore Hopewell’s past.

This digital version was converted from a copy held at the Hopewell Public Library. The original is a photocopy of a dot matrix printout, with some handwritten annotations, but worn from being held in a three‐ring binder. The copy was then scanned, processed with OCR software to perform text recognition, and then manually edited to clean up OCR issues, but still retain the original language. This version then maintains a close replication of the look of the original, with a typewriter‐like monospace font. It also retains the original pagination, so that cross‐references and the Index at the end are still correct. (Breaks at end of pages are adjusted slightly to avoid breaking in the middle of a sentence.)


This work is copyright (c) 2019 Robert and Richard Gantz.
Posted with permission by the Hopewell Valley History Project.
Available for personal and research use; not for commercial use.

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