STULTS, Henry C. & Frances H. (Reed)

By Cliff McCarthy, 2015
Last Updated 16 July 2022

[My research on the Stults family is built largely upon the research of Charles Watson Stults, deceased, which was provided to the author by Albert L. Stokes.]

The Stults family has thrived in the central New Jersey area since colonial times. Henry C. Stults was born in 1833 to James Stults and Susannah Potter. He sometimes used “Potter” as his middle name. He was a farmer in South Brunswick, Middlesex Co., New Jersey.

Henry Stults married Frances Reed, daughter of Israel and Elizabeth (Skillman) Reed on July 10, 1854 at the Hamilton Square (NJ) Baptist Church. It was a double wedding, apparently, because at that location, on that same day, Henry’s mother, Mrs. Susannah Stults — the widow of James Stults — married Israel Reed, Frances’ widowed father.

Henry and Frances had four children before 1868, the year that Henry died at age 35. The cause of his death was given as “bronchitis.”

Frances, who was known as “Francy” or “Fannie”, went on to live many more years after Henry died. She is listed in every state and federal census between 1870 and 1915 in Franklin Township, Somerset Co., New Jersey. For many of those years, she is listed with the family of Fannie and Charles Van Dyke — her daughter and son-in-law.

For some of those years she was the bridge-tender on the Delaware and Raritan Canal. We have recently learned that there was a family tradition involving canal-workers. In June of 1863, Henry Stults (spelled “Stultz”) was registered for the Civil War draft. In that listing his occupation was given as “bridge-tender.” Apparently, after his death in 1868, Francy took over the job from her husband, for which she later received a pension. When Francy retired, her daughter, Fannie Van Dyke, took over from her. Her father Israel Reed had been a lock-tender on the canal, so she came by it naturally. We’ve just learned that Francy’s sister Annis Rebecca married Henry “Harry” Fabian, who was the “veteran bridgetender” at the Cass Street crossing in Trenton. This means that in addition to her father Israel Reed (locktender, canal agent), her husband (Henry C. Stults), and her daughter (Frances Stults Van Dyke), Francy’s brother-in-law was also involved on the D&R Canal.

In trying to learn more about the roles of “locktenders” and “bridge-tenders” on the canal, I emailed Vicki Chirco, historian at the D&R Canal State Park. She responded with this:

[Israel Reed] is listed as a locktender in Griggstown (Somerset County, Franklin Township) in 1840.  By 1860 he shows up in the census as a “canal agent” in Kingston (just as you indicated).  I can’t say with certainty what that may have meant however, my educated guess would be that he worked the toll station that was located in Kingston right near the lock. Just for your knowledge, the D&R Canal opened to public use in 1834.  Having a post by 1840 puts Israel as one of the earliest canal employees.  It would seem that the family eventually resided in Kingston, NJ (the approximate 1/2 point along the main stem of the D&R). The Van Dyke family has a long history in the Kingston-Rocky Hill-Griggstown area.  And it is interesting to see Fanny Stults listed in the 1900 Rocky Hill census as “Bridge Tender.” Although you don’t often find women filling these positions, it obviously did occur and Fanny was not the only female bridge tender.  Around the same time, there was another woman further north at Blackwells Mills who was also employed as a bridge tender (filling the role after the passing of her husband).

To get an idea about what life was like for a bridge-tender or locktender on the D&R Canal, read this piece about the The Last Griggstown Canal Tender.

Three women on a bridge at Griggstown. Tender's house in the background. Is this where Frances Stults lived and worked? (Image from

Three women on a bridge at Griggstown. Tender’s house in the background. Is this where Frances Stults lived and worked? (Image from Images of America: Rocky Hill, Kingston & Griggstown)

The following excerpt is from Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ: A History by William B. Brahms:

The Bridgetender’s House on the Griggstown Causeway is now a private residence. Some of the stones dug from the canal were used to build the structure. The Dix Skillman family, who restored the house in the 1970s, had some of the stucco removed to show the original stonework.

The Bridgetender’s Station is across the road from the Bridgetender’s House. Terhune said that in cold or rainy weather, the bridgetender spent his working hours in the station, which was warmed by a pot-bellied stove. In fair weather, the bridgetender could be found outdoors doing various chores and repairs around the bridge or locks.

D & R Canal at Rocky Hill

D & R Canal at Rocky Hill

When Frances H. Stults passed away in 1919, at age 85, her obituary in the Trenton Evening Times ran as follows:


ROCKY HILL, April 17 — The funeral of Mrs. Frances H. Stults, oldest pensioner of the Delaware and Raritan Canal, who died Monday at her home here, was held today. Interment was in Millstone Cemetery under direction of McFaul. [sic: this was later corrected to Lawrence of Princeton]. Mrs. Stults is survived by one son, William N. Stults, a passenger conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad; and two daughters, Mrs. A. D. [sic: G. W.] Beers, of Rocky Hill, and Mrs. Fannie Van Dyke, of Philadelphia. She had resided here ever since the death of her husband, 40 [sic: 51] years ago. She was well-known in this community.


Children of Henry C. & Frances H. (Reed) STULTS

HENRY C. STULTS was born in 1833 in probably Middlesex Co., NJ. He died in 1868. He married FRANCES H. “FRANCY” REED on 10 July 1854 in Hamilton Square Bap. Ch, Ham. Sq., Mercer Co., NJ, daughter of Israel REED and unknown. She was born in November 1834 in New Jersey. She died on 15 April 1919 in Rocky Hill, Montgomery Twnshp., Somerset Co., NJ. Henry C. STULTS and Frances H. “Francy” REED had the following children:

i.        CAROLINE E. “CARRIE” STULTS was born on 17 May 1855 in near Kingston, S. Brunswick Twnshp., Middlesex Co., NJ. She died on 28 September 1927 in 7485 Amboy Rd., Richmond Co., NY. She married GEORGE WASHINGTON BEERS on 7 March 1872 in Somerset Co., NJ, son of John Edwin BEERS and Abigail Stow POTTER. He was born about 1849 in Kings Co., New York State. He died on 12 August 1892 in Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ.
ii.       JOHN H. STULTS was born on 20 September 1856 in South Brunswick Township, Middlesex Co., NJ. He died in 1912.
iii.      WILLIAM NELSON STULTS was born in June 1858 in New Jersey. He died in 1926. He married ELIZABETH G. “LIZZIE” ALLCUTT about 1882. She was born in February 1859 in New Jersey. She died on 18 September 1936 in at home, Rocky Hill, Somerset Co., NJ.
iv.      FANNIE VIRGINIA STULTS was born on 6 November 1868 in New Jersey. She died on 7 December 1955 in San Bernadino, CA. She married (1) CHARLES L. VAN DYKE about 1887, son of John VAN DYKE and Mary BAKER. He was born about 1867 in New Jersey. She married (2) ? HENKE.
v.       KATE E. STULTS was born in April 1872 in New Jersey; listed as granddaughter (by whom?) of Frances (Reed) Stults in 1880 census.



  • 1850 U.S. Census for James Stults (South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, NJ).
  • 1860 U.S. Census for Henry C. Stults (South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, NJ).
  • 1870 U.S. Census for Frances H. Stults (Harlingen, Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ).
  • 1880 U.S. Census for Mrs. Frances H. Stults (Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ).
  • 1885 New Jersey State Census for Henry Silcox (Franklin Township, Somerset Co., NJ),
  • 1895 New Jersey State Census for Frances Stults (Franklin Township, Somerset Co., NJ).
  • 1900 U.S. Census for Frances H. Stults (Franklin Township, Somerset Co., NJ).
  • 1905 New Jersey State Census for Charles L. VanDyck (Somerset Co., NJ, as published at
  • 1910 U.S. Census for Charles L. Van Dyke (Franklin Township, Somerset Co., NJ).
  • 1915 New Jersey State Census for Frances Stuts (Franklin Township, Somerset, NJ).
  • Birth Record, “Caroline Stults,” South Brunswick Township, Middlesex Co., NJ, May 17, 1855.
  • Birth Record for Caroline Stults (South Brunswick Twnshp., Middlesex Co., NJ, dated 3 Apr 1856), New Jersey State Archives.
  • Certificate of Death for Carrie E. Beers (City of New York Department of Health, Borough of Richmond, September 1929).
  • Find-A-Grave (at
  • Hutchinson, Elmer T., “Hamilton Square Baptist Church Marriages, 1837-1854” (Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Vol. 6).
  • “Mrs. Frances Stults Dies” (Trenton [NJ] Evening Times, 15 April 1919).
  • “Mrs. Stults Buried” (Trenton [NJ] Evening Times, 17 April 1919).
  • New Jersey Births and Christenings, 1660-1980 (as published at
  • Notes of Charles Watson Stults.
  • Trenton [NJ] Evening Times, 30 June 1901 (“Harry Fabian, the veteran bridge-tender…”)
  • U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 for Henry Stultz, Millstone, Somerset Co., NJ, at

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