The late William Stockton Hornor's This Old Monmouth of Ours, first published in 1932, is a reprint of articles from The Freehold Transcript. It has all the virtues and imperfections of a newspaper series on historical events. It is interestingly written by a man who took immense pride in the history of his native county. Much of the book deals with the Revolutionary War epoch and here he is fervently patriotic. His characterization of the Loyalists as "Tory scum" would not meet with the approval of today's historians, who are re-evaluating the role of the Loyalists as people who also fought for a principle - unity of empire.
Born in 1866, Mr. Hornor had the advantage of obtaining first-hand accounts from his grandfather and others who witnessed the stirring Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary occurrences. It is apparent that much of the author's material was gleaned from an examination of source materials. In his "Preface" Mr. Hornor noted that before combining the articles in book form, he had gone to the sources to verify or correct statements that appeared in the newspaper series.
The book is a mine of information on the ancient families of Monmouth County, one of the four counties in the Province of East Jersey formed in 1682. But here a word of caution is necessary. The genealogies, indeed the whole book, can not be accepted as authoritative, but only as providing clues. The lines of descent are undocumented, and in many cases dates are missing or incomplete. Only occasionally does the author indulge in criticism. His cautionary remarks about the improper use of armorial insignia, and his bold statement that "I have not been able to find the slightest ground" for the traditions concerning the FitzRandolph family's origin, although one of those he rejects, the FitzRandolph descent from the mediaeval Lords of Middleham, for example, have now generally been accepted by such distinguished scholars as Sir Anthony Wagner, K.C.V.O., F.A.S.G., The College of Arms, London, and John Insley Coddington, F.A.S.G., F.G.S.P., Bordentown, New Jersey. But in other cases Hornor was notably uncritical and in error. He gave no source for his origin of the Horner-Hornor family. A corrected pedigree of that family was published in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, volume XXII (1947). Mr. Hornor does not enlighten us concerning the basis for claiming Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York (died 1588), as an ancestor of Monmouth County families. The pre-American origins he assigns to families should not be accepted without a thorough investigation.The book make enjoyable reading, and, remembering that all statements, both historical and genealogical, are subject to verification, provides a useful background for Monmouth County history.
Viewpoints were sometimes slightly modified by the further study of original sources, undertaken in order to insure accuracy and adequacy of presentation, and these chages of opinion are reflected in some of the latter pages.
All of which is offered, not as an excuse, but by way of explanation.W.S.H