Tanner’s Corner

Morgan Memories – Tanner’s Corner

1876 Map of the Township of East Brunswick, New Jersey

1876 Map of the Township of East Brunswick, New Jersey Showing the Location of the Triangular Plot Known as Tanner’s Corner in Washington, NJ (Now South River, NJ). Image Courtesy of Rutgers University Special Collections.

According to Brian Armstrong of the South River Historical and Preservation Society and Museum, Mrs. Ann Morgan (2nd wife and widow of Major General James Morgan, Jr.) lived the latter part of her life with her daughter Eveline [referred to in some references as “Emmeline”] and son-in-law Frederick Hardenbergh in a large house on a triangular property now known as Tanner’s Corners in present day South River (New Jersey, of course).

Major General James Morgan… Shortly before his death in 1822, he bought a large plot of land along Old Bridge Turnpike to add to his sizable real estate holdings in New Jersey… During the 1830s and 1840, Eveline [James and Ann’s daughter] and Frederick Hardenbergh apparently moved to the triangular piece of land and the area became known as Hardenburg Corners (not sure why the spelling changed)… Sometime during this time period, Ann Morgan moved from her house in South Amboy to live in the house with her daughter and her growing family.

 One of James and Ann’s other daughters, Almira, had married Frederick Tanner and had three children but sadly lost their first born child, Albert, before the other two were born. He was two years old.

Anna (born 1848) and Charles (born 1846)…  During the 1840s, Tanner began to purchase pieces of the Hardenburg Corners plantation from Almira’s mother [i.e., Ann Morgan] and sibbings…  After her husband’s death [Jan 31, 1850], Almira moved to Hardenburg Corners to live with her mother, Ann Morgan, and her sister Eveline’s children. The Hardenburg Corners name continued to be used as late as 1876. Sometime in the 1880s, the shift to the name Tanner’s Corner occurred since Almira was the sole head of the household after the death of her mother in 1869.

Emmeline (Eveline) died young on October 12, 1845 at age 34 years, 9 months and 14 days leaving behind young children.  She is buried in the Morgan Family Cemetery in Morgan, NJ between her mother, Ann, and her brother, Charles and his wife Elizabeth.

In 1880, Almira was living in the house alone with two servants when her son, Charles Anson Tanner died of tuberculosis…

Headstones in the Morgan Family Cemetery

Both Frederick Tanner (father) and Charles Tanner (son) are buried next to each other in the row closest to the bay in the Morgan Family Cemetery under two very prominent headstones which are still in first class shape. South of Frederick and between Frederick and the section containing James Morgan, Jr. and Sr. is an iron gated grave site with a solitary and nearly indecipherable headstone (see photo, above).  Anyone who grew up in Morgan and traversed through the Morgan Family Cemetery would remember this ironwork rectangle.  It is the only spot in the cemetery which has a fenced area and it has a feeling of great sadness.  Long ago, rumor had it that a child was buried there.  Unlike many of the other Morgan Family myths, this one does turn out to be true.  It is the gravesite of Albert Orville Tanner, the first child of Frederick and Almira Tanner, and at the time of Albert’s death, their only child.  Thanks to Mr. Edward J. Raser, an independent historian who specializes in gravestone inscriptions (his business card reads, “Central New Jersey Burial Grounds Historian”) and the author of numerous books including, “Monmouth County Cemetery Guide” (1955), “New Jersey Graveyard and Gravestone Inscriptions Locator: Monmouth County” (2002 & 2007), and soon a similar one on Middlesex County, for providing the following information from a 1940 gravestone inscription list from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).


Headstone for Albert Orville Tanner

Headstone for Albert Orville Tanner

Albert Orville
Only son of
F. C. and Almira Tanner
Born May 4, 1842 [or Mar 4, 1842]
Died Feb 15, 1844

Almira’s daughter Anna Morgan Tanner Clark (James, Jr. and Ann Morgan’s granddaughter) eventually became the sole heir to the property.  However, just like the extensive Morgan Family plantation in present day Morgan, over time the Tanner’s Corner property went through a number of hands eventually leaving the Morgan Family and descendants all together.

… in 1891, Anna Morgan Tanner Clark [daughter of Almira], wife of prominent doctor, Staats V[an] D[eursen] Clark, became the sole heir to the Tanner trust after her mother’s death.  Mrs. Clark owned and managed the property for the next 24 years. In 1915, Ann Clark sold the 160 acre farm and the “Clark homestead” to Michael Jelin, a prominent New Brunswick real estate developer.  Jelin developed the land on either side of Tanners Corners on the South River side with single family homes….

 Florek Shoes ran a business in part of the house during this time period [1925]… subdivided the triangle plot selling the lower portion which became a service station… The Tanner house was torn down sometime between 1935 and 1948…

 In 1960, the Kolakowski family opened the Crestwood Bar and Restaurant in a brick building that is a modern homage to the old Tanner house but facing Old Bridge Turnpike rather than facing Main Street like the old house.

Emeline is also buried in the Morgan Family Cemetery right next to her mom, Ann.  It isn’t clear where Almira (Frederick Tanner’s wife & Ann Morgan’s daughter) is buried since her name does not appear on the same headstone as her husband’s or any other one in the cemetery.

As of the time of this writing, the triangular location previously containing the house Ann Morgan lived in at Tanner’s Corner contains an automobile repair garage and the Crestwood Bar & Food Store.

You’ll note that the image at the top of this page shows a place named the “Borough of Washington” situated where present day South River, NJ is located.  It appears to have been renamed from Washington to South River in the latter part of the 1800s.  This would explain why Washington Road through Sayreville is named as such.

Thanks – again and as always – to Joyce Elyea for providing the information about Tanner’s Corner from Brian Armstrong of the South River [New Jersey] Historical and Preservation Society, and Edward J. Raser.

Originally posted on October 2, 2016.