The Fabulous Estate Brewery Of Edward Antill (1701-1770)

What a fabulous notice in The New-York Gazette of December 11, 1752. Edward Antill was a man of means, merchant, eccentric and gentleman agriculturalist as well as a member of the Loyalist leadership in colonial New Jersey who passed away in 1770. He was better known for his experiments in planting wine grapes* and being raised (as the return of a favour) by a pirate who Antill’s father, a lawyer, had saved from the gallows. He gave £1,800 to my dear old college, now the University of Kingston College in Halifax, Nova Scotia and not that bold usurper, Columbia University. The estate, Ross Hall, at a long lost community known as Raritan Landing was not sold until 1768 and his house survived until the 1950s.**

The 2,280 square foot brewery*** sounds like a bit of a marvel, “the whole contrived for carrying the Liquor from Place to Place with great ease, by turning of a Cock, or taking out of a Plug.” The property appears to have benefited from both a river shoreline and a creek running though it which would have allowed for both plenty of brewing water as well as a means to transport his ale to market. Ross Hall was built in 1740 of brick, 56 by 42 feet, with four rooms on each floor level, and 12-foot ceilings.****  Around 1910, it served as the club house for a golf course later associated with Rutgers University. Perhaps the brewery is out there under a fairway. Or is it under the Rutgers Ecological Preserve… hmmm…

Not much else to add so this is a bit of a stub post but we’ve seen that sort of thing out of me before, haven’t we. I expect I will spend the next seven months looking for more references to the design of the brewery. Such is life.

*In fact, he was the author of a “grossly untrustworthy essay” on grape growing for the wine trade.
**And English table manners continued there until the early 1800: “…because the “round of beef” served at Ross Hall where a friend lived made her “secretly smile and remember that I was eating at an Englishman’s table.
***Which is 2.5 times the size of the brewery Lord Selkirk found at Geneva, NY in 1803.
****Shown at “K” on this map and is the namesake of a blvd.

3 thoughts on “The Fabulous Estate Brewery Of Edward Antill (1701-1770)”

  1. Edward Antill’s father (of the same name) operated a brewery and distillery on the same property. This original brewery was “shatter’d” by lightning 6 July 1752, so when he notes that the brewery is new in this ad, it was very new. For whatever reason, hen he had offered the same land for sale in 1750, the ad did not mention a brewery.

    In terms of the size, it is larger than many, but is in line with other 18th century breweries in or near larger centers. Even some country breweries in remoter areas in New York were of similar size in the 18th century.

  2. The district seems to have been a hotbed for Loyalist gentry. I wonder if his market was largely the neighbouring estates. Have you seen ads for his beer? There seem to have been ads for his horses in the NY papers but not the beer.

    1. I’ve not seen ads for his beer, although I have seen the ads for horses and have come across his father’s ads for apple trees. I did once see a notice for the army ordering beer from his father, but I can’t recall where at the moment.

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