Every day or so I check “Ringoes” out on ebay to see if there are any “finds” that the Historical Society might want to buy. Over the years we have purchased many items that are now in our collections. Recently I saw a medicine bottle marked “Dr. A.M. Hart, Ringoes, NJ”. I purchased it for $9 and then set out to find out who this doctor was, when he lived, where he lived, etc. Calling on two other Historical Society members, Dave Harding and John Allen, both great researchers, in 24 hours we had put together Dr. Hart’s entire life.
Amos M. Hart, having been born on September 20th, 1833, grew up on a farm near Lambertville which he still owned upon his death. He studied at the Pennington Seminary (Pennington School today) and then went on to Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., where he studied medicine. In 1859 he married Elizabeth Wilson of Ringoes and moved to town in 1860 where he purchased the Victorian house with purple trim, just below Dave’s Sunoco Station. Ringoes at the time had a well – known and respected female doctor, a Mrs. Bennett with whom Amos apprenticed. By 1862 he had taken over her practice, specializing in cutaneous diseases. At the time of his death in 1908, he was known not only in Ringoes, but throughout the northeast as a respected skin doctor. Over the years he and Elizabeth had four children – Amos outlived three of them.
Dr. Hart was a member of the Kirkpatrick Church and president of its Board of Trustees, as well as one of the directors of the Ringoes Vigilant Society. He was a member of the Powhatan Lodge of Ringoes, several Masonic Orders and a Lambertville B.P.O. E. (Elks). Dr. Hart died on Monday, January 23 at 11pm, 1908. At the time he was one of the oldest residents of Ringoes. “A few days previous to his death he spoke of his feeling better than any other time since his attack last summer and early that day was cheerful and left his home to take the 1 o’clock train to Lambertville, where during the afternoon he attended to his professional services and returned home on the 5pm train. On arriving home, he complained of having a severe headache, but he went to the table and ate his oyster stew. About 10 p.m. he complained of a severe pain about his heart and felt sick to his stomach, and the doctor was sent for. Charles Holcombe (funeral director) appeared at his bedside and upon examination told his daughter that the doctor was gone, that his spirit had taken flight. He was 74 years and 4 months of age. The cause of death was apoplexy (cerebral hemorrhage)”.
“Funeral services were at the house on Friday morning (Jan27) at 10 a.m. and conducted by Rev. Henry S. Van Osten. On account of a severe snowstorm the Masonic ceremony was also performed at the house. The floral designs presented by the different lodges were fine, as well as others presented by individuals. The internment took place at Union Cemetery on Saturday, under the direction of Wilson and Holcombe”.
All because of a bottle!
Jim Davidson- EA Historian