Lt. Thomas Gould



Thomas Gould was born in Elizabethtown on the 2nd of November 1716, to John and Martha Frazier Gould, who were both born in Elizabethtown in the 1670s. A family history reports that both of his parents died in 1729, when Thomas would have been about 12 years old.

He married Sarah Johnson some time before 1740. Around that time, Thomas and his older brother John moved to the wilds of Horseneck, a sparsely populated frontier. The Gould brothers, along with a man named Sanders, are considered the founders of the community. Thomas is believed to have built the first frame house in Horseneck about 1740.

There had been a land dispute brewing in this area for a long time. The East Jersey Proprietors had been given the land by Queen Ann of England. The first folks to live on this land purchased it directly from the Native Americans who inhabited the region. This was illegal under English law and several people were jailed in Newark. On January 1, 1746, Thomas Gould lead a raid on the Newark jail to release those imprisoned. The situation was known as the Horseneck Riots. This quarrel with the English crown may have set the stage for the great patriotism of the people of this area during the Revolution. The Gould family contributed quite a few men to the ranks of the Essex County Militia and beyond.

Thomas and Sarah had 7 children; John, Martha, Joseph, Mary J, Timothy, Robert, and William. At least 3 of their sons fought in the Revolution, as did Thomas himself. His son Timothy served as a sergeant, rounding up local men and coordinating their service in the militia. Robert, probably Joseph and possibly John also served. The youngest son, William served in the Revolutionary War, the Pennsylvania Insurrection (known as the Whiskey Rebellion) and finally the War of 1812, ending his career as a brevet general.

Thomas' first wife, Sarah, died around 1770 and he married a widow, Mehetable Cobb Baldwin. This was her 3rd marriage. The couple had many years together and were active in supporting the Presbyterian Church at Caldwell. In the 1770's, ministers from neighboring churches came to preach to the congregation in Horseneck. The Goulds’ home was the usual meeting place for these gatherings. On a few occasions they even met in Thomas' barn. (An Historical Survey of the First Presbyterian Church, Caldwell, NJ, 1779-1871.)

Thomas was on the standing committee who managed the church affairs until 1797, when the trustees took over. The Goulds were two of the 40 founding members when the church was incorporated in 1784.

Thomas died on the 17th of February 1815 at the age of 98. "- a surprising instance of longevity", wrote the Newark Centinel Of Freedom in his obituary, also remarking that he was physically and mentally active until the end. (Centinel of Freedom, Newark NJ, Volume XX, p. 3, number 24, Gould, Thomas, death notice, 27 Feb 1815.)

Thomas Gould was buried in the Old Burying Ground beside his wife. He rests among his many relatives and friends in the town he helped to found.