Cloverhill is the only town in the area to have parts of it in three townships (East Amwell, Raritan, and Hillsborough), and sit in two counties- Hunterdon and Somerset. It is interesting that the original dividing line between the early provinces of East and West Jersey followed Rainbow Hill Road and went through the intersection into Raritan Township. The original name of the town was Coughstown, probably from an early resident now lost in time. In 1848 its name was changed to Cloverhill, after Peter Clover, a blacksmith who had his shop opposite the church. His grave is in the Pleasant View Cemetery between Larison’s Corner and Reaville and says “Peter Clover, died 1822 in the 78th year of his age”. It was a lively town with an early tavern at the north side of the intersection in Raritan Township. Later this gave way to a tavern in the blue house on the south side of the road in East Amwell. There is a legend that a Revolutionary War skirmish took place at the intersection when British troops raided the grain mill at the bridge on Rainbow Hill Road and were repulsed by troops under General Sullivan who were camped in Somerset County.

   Over the years the town sported several blacksmith shops, a wheelwright, several general stores, a post office, a harness shop, a chair shop, a barber shop, a tin smith and a creamery. The little building on the southwest side of Rainbow Hill Rd. in Hillsborough Township was the Nevius general store, founded by George Nevius and later run by his two sons.  In later years this store expanded into a full department store chain “ Nevius Brothers” with stores in Trenton, Flemington and Somerville.. The church, in Hillsborough, is an early Dutch Reform church that had a two room school  (now a house) across the street. East Amwell students went to this school on a tuition basis.

   Perhaps the biggest enterprise in the area was the New Jersey Cider and Vinegar Works half a mile down the road towards Reaville. John P. Case started the Cider Works in 1878 and it thrived until the early 1900s. The buildings ultimately burned down in a spectacular fire on July 13th, 1957.


Jim Davidson