After our nest was empty, Sam and I had fun doing research on his ancestor, Robert Stockton. Sam was very interested in an older version, Richard Stockton. He, Richard had com from England or Scotland and settled in Princeton New Jersey. There are a few things I remember from his days there. He built a beautiful home called Morven. Then he built a school and sent to Scotland for a man to be the first president of the place that later became Princeton University. His name floats in my brain and refuses to come out, but it may emerge before the end of this blog. George Washington visited the Stocktons and he and Richard's wife formed a close connection. I think there was a poem she wrote in honor of George Washington. And I remember the story of her burrying the family silver among her rosebushes.
One time I was traveling alone to the East Coast to see a cousin of Sam's who lived in a tiny town named White House, NJ. On my way to their place I walked by a bookstore and I have never ever walked by a bookstore, I went in. Lo and behold there was an author talking about a book he had just written, a textbook on the history of New Jersey. We chatted for a while and he hoped I would buy one of his books. I said, only if there is much talk about the Stocktons. We looked in the index and there was page after page about my namesakes. He was interested in the fact that that was my name and I quickly informed him that it was by marriage only.
This was when we had at least two children who were in high school. Our son was working for the Summer at Jane and Stan Friden's farm in Northern California. This will be relevant later.
The author , after he saw I was buying one of his books, took me aside and told me to get in touch with the interior department of New jersey and request to borrow a film that he had been involved with, showing Morven, which now had become the Governors Mansion. The first half of the movie dealt with the Governor and his family. I think he and his wife had eight or nine children. They were democrats. The second part of the movie dealt with the history of Morven.
I was excited about this movie and wrote at once to New Jersey to ask to borrow it. It came and after we saw it Sam and I said we have to show this to Gilbert who was a real non achiever in high School. It took us more than twelve hours to get from Southern California to the Frieden Ranch which was near the Oregon border. We checked into a motel and called Jane and Stan to see if we could borrow Gilbert for tomorrow evening. She said come over and have dinner. We are having froglegs .
Gilbert was excited about the history of Princeton and said I am going to work hard enough to get accepted by Princeton. It was a dream soon forgotten.
Next blog I will tell you what we found out about Robert Stockton. If you would like to find out about him before then, check into Commodore Stockton