On May 27, Joseph W. Hammond will give a talk on the Hartshorne family of Middletown and the history of their large estate called Portland. At one time, Portland encompassed all land east of Atlantic Highlands between the Navesink River and Sandy Hook Bay, including Sandy Hook itself. Divided between two brothers in the mid-eighteenth century, the southern half of the estate remained largely intact until portions of it were acquired in 1942 by the U. S. Government to construct gun batteries for the World War II defense of New York Harbor. Ownership of Portland passed from father to son through eight generations until the bulk of it was sold in 1952.
The story of the Hartshornes and Portland will be told with many illustrations drawn from the Hartshorne Family Papers bequeathed in 2008 to the Monmouth County Historical Association by the late Daniel Ward Seitz, and by additional materials donated to the collection by the estate of the late Ellen Noonan Adams. The Hartshorne Papers are by far the largest manuscript collection acquired by the Association since its founding in 1898. It is also rich in maps, surveys, daguerreotypes, photographs and other visual materials of every description. Housed in seventy-four archive boxes, it documents every aspect of family interests and involvements from 1670 to 2014 with no gaps in its chronology. Roughly one quarter of the collection pertains to the life and California business interests of Benjamin Minturn Hartshorne (1826-1900), who amassed a large fortune in Western steam navigation and investments between 1850 and 1878. It took four years in phases to archivally arrange the Hartshorne Family Papers, and to prepare a detailed Descriptive Guide to its contents.
Free and open to the public.
Thompson Park Visitor Center
805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft