MIDDLESEX COUNTY GENEALOGY
The following information on the Borough of Metuchen has been extracted from:
History of Middlesex County, New Jersey, 1664-1920
Authors: Wall, John P. 1867-
Pickersgill, Harold E.
Lewis Publishing Company.
City of Publication: New York
Publisher: Lewis Historical Publishing Co.
The origin of the name has long been definitely settled. The Indians of new Jersey were divided among twenty kings, or sachems, of whom the king of the Raritans was the greatest. His domain extended all along the valley of the Raritan river, of which this locality was a part. It is said that the name metuchen, variously spelled, is appended to a deed of land among the papers of the New Jersey Historical Society. The word in the Indian tongue means "the rolling land," and refers to the undulating character of the country. It is a common tradition that a chief called Metuchen had his camp, or village, in this vincinity, and is said to have been buried on the farm formerly owned by the late Lebbeus Ayres.
The borough is situated nearly in the centre of Raritan township, and is about two miles square. It was organized in 1900, with William R. Thornall as the first mayor. It is said that a postoffice was first established in Metuchen in 1832, with Geoge B. Stelle as postmaster.
The First Presbyterian Church of metuchen, formerly known as the Second Church of Woodbridge, was organized in or before 1767, as a paper is on record referring to its union with the Woodbridge church on August 5th of that year, proving that it had before than an independent existence. Rev. Dr. Azel Roe was settled as pastor of the Woodbridge church in 1763, and by the union in 1767 became the co-pastor of the two churches, the Session of Woodbridge serving for both. The church was regularly incorporated as the Second Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge in 1787 and Benjamin Manning, John Conger, Ebenezer Ford, Ellis Ayres, Timothy Bloomfield and John and Robert Ross were chosen its first trustees. It is probably that some place of worship existed on a part of the land seleted as a graveyard by the early inhabitants as there was an impression that the church standing during the Revolution was the second building.
The union of two churches was dissolved on May 16, 1793, and in the following year Rev. Henry Cook became the pastor and served most acceptably until in death in 1824. A new church was built in 1836 and enlarged to its present dimensions in 1856. In the new cemetery, between the church and parsonage, may be found many names recalling the Colonia times: Fitz Randolph, Campbell, Manning Crow, Conger, Freeman, Edgar, Hampton Compton, Martin Vanderhoven, Tappen, Thornall, Ayres, Bloomfield, Crowell, Kelly, Acken, Mundy, Hunt, Thomas, Clarkson, Payne and others.
The First Reformed Church was organized December 27, 1857, by about forty persons, who took their letters from the Presbyterian Church. Smith and David Bloomfield, Albert Edgar and David Thomas were chosen Elders while Deacons chosen were Martin Compton, William Manning, Henry West and Charles Bloomfield. The present church was ereted on land donated by David Thomas, and dedicated August 5, 1858.
St. Luke's P. E. Church was erected and the first service held therein June 30, 1869. Rev. Dr. Abercrombies, of St. Paul's Rahway, and others, conducted the services for some time, and it was mainly through the efforts of the first named that church was built. The first vestry was as follows: Nathan Robins and Daniel Garrison, wardens; Henry Alden, John Cooke, Thomas Smith, J. R. Boyd, Thomas Strong and George Thorne, vestrymen.
The Centenary M. E. Church was founded in 1866, and the bilding completed and dedicated in 1869, the following signing the certificate of incorporation; Walter and Robert Pettit, Robert Idell, Isaac Whittier, Henry Coon and Rev. M. Daly. Rev. I. L. Gilder was the first pastor. In 1917 the church was thoroughly remodeled and improved, and presents a very attractive apperaance.
St. Francis' R. C. Church was erected in 1871, mainly through the efforts of Revs. M. C. Duggan and John Rogers of St. Peter's Church, New Brunswick. The bilding was destroyed by fire in December, 1903, and the present edifice was erected and dedicated in the following year.
The National Bank was established on Main street in 1905 and chamber of Commerce was organized on May 4, 1918. Zion Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Royal Arcanum; Foresters, and Junior Order United American Mechanics are fraternal organizations that meet on a regular basis.