By Wayne T. McCabe,


President, Sussex County Historical Society


Many communities have neighborhoods that reflect a certain level of affluence. Streets in these neighborhoods often have homes larger than others found within a community.


These homes usually were constructed in architectural styles that were popular at the time and were designed to reflect the prosperity of the property owners. One such street was Newton Avenue in the Borough of Deckertown, which became the Borough of Sussex on March 2, 1902.


One of those elaborate houses, located at 88 Newton Ave., was acquired on May 1, 1894 by Edward F. VanSickle and his wife Adelia M. Cherry VanSickle. The house and property were purchased for $243 from Levett and Sarah Loomis. According to the 1900 census, Edward and Adelia owned their home free of any mortgage.


Born on March 27, 1857, on a farm in Wantage, Edward was the third of five children born to Daniel B. (1829-1902) and Hannah Jane Culver (1824-1907) VanSickle. Adelia was born on February 2, 1857 in Bellvale, Orange County, New York.


Two years after they were married, Edward and Adelia had their only child, Ellen C. VanSickle, who was born in Deckertown on August 1, 1887. Edward was employed as a moulder in the O.J. Little Foundry and Machine Shop. From his house, Edward would walk to work, going down Newton Avenue, across the bridge that spans the Clove Creek, past the offices and printing plant of the Sussex Independent, and into the front storage yard of the foundry. Edward was a skilled tradesman and was responsible for making the sand molds that were used in casting metal products. One of the primary products made at this foundry was cast iron plow shares. Like other foundries scattered throughout the county, O.J. Little produced plow shares designed for the types of soils farmers had to deal with in the area.


The house Ellen grew up in was a two-story, wood-framed structure, with an intersecting gabled roof designed to accommodate a projecting “L” on the rear portion of the right side of the dwelling. While this type of house was reasonably common in the county, this home incorporated architectural elements of the Queen Anne style. Some of these features included an asymmetrical layout of the building footprint, the pair of front square attic windows which included small colored glass squares surrounding a central plane of clear glass, an elaborate scroll-cut fascia board that extended completely around the house, a four-pane transom above the main entrance door, and a wrap-around porch that incorporated a “clipped” corner where the porch extended down along the right side. The porch also had turned spindles between the hand and foot railings, and a gallery of turned spandrels that bridged between the tops of the ornately turned porch columns. With the exception of the attic level, all of the windows in the house were two-over-two double hung units. The roof was covered with alternating double rows of square-cut and hexagonal-cut slate shingles, which would have been quarried in either Lafayette or Newton. A single brick chimney extends up the gable of the main portion of the house, and is crowned with a band of corbeled brick. There was also a small brick chimney coming out of a small section off the back of the house.


While Adelia is identified in the 1900 U.S. Census as a homemaker, Ellen was listed as a student. She attended school in the borough. Like the foundry for her father, Ellen’s school was also within easy walking distance of her Newton Avenue home.


Prior to 1905, Edward’s mother Hannah and his sister Ida A. VanSickle (1862-1937) joined his household on Newton Avenue. According to the 1905 New Jersey State Census, Hannah was 70 and Ida was 29.


At the young age of 19, Ellen married Allie E. Wilson on August 1, 1906 in Goshen, New York. Just a few years later, Edward and Adelia moved in with Allie and Ellen at their house at 27 Newton Road in South Wantage. The young couple had their first child,


Cynthia M. Wilson, who was born in Sussex in February of 1910. Edward was still working as a moulder for the foundry and Allie was a farmer.


Shortly thereafter, the entire extended family relocated to a dairy farm that they rented in Wallkill, Orange County, New York. Both Edward and Allie put their combined knowledge about farming together to assure the success of this new venture. Within a couple of years, Ida A. Wilson is born on June 28, 1912 to Allie and Ellen. On October 7, 1919, Edward and Adelia sold the house on Newton Avenue.


For more than ten years, the dairy farm remained a growing economic operation. However, before 1925, a decision was made to give up dairy farming and relocate to a single-family house in Middletown, New York. The house, at 27 Spring St., must have been large as all six members of the family moved in there. Allie began a trucking business and Edward became an assistant to a local florist.


The next five years, however, brought significant losses in the family. In September of 1927, Edward passed away, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery, near Sussex Borough. On May 27 of the following year, his wife, Adelia also passed away. She, too, was interred at Fairview Cemetery. Then on June 20, 1930, Cynthia Wilson died in an automobile accident near Middletown. Like her parents before her, she was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery. Ellen (VanSickle) Wilson passed away in 1955 at the age of 68 and Allie passed away in 1968 at the age of 84.


According to her obituary, Ida Wilson attended Middletown School and then a school of beauty culture in New York City. She was employed as a beautician by Molly and Dominic Sportelli in Middletown. Ida married John R. Cotter of New Brunswick, NJ on July 30, 1938 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Middletown. “They shared 53 years of loving devotion to each other until his passing” on February 4, 1993, in West Dennis, Massachusetts, where she and John moved after they retired. She and John had only one child, Ellen. At the age of 95, Edward and Adelia’s granddaughter Ida passed away on May 2, 2008 in West Dennis on Cape Cod.


Sussex County Historical Society President Wayne T. McCabe may be contacted at sussexhistorian@juno.com.