In the parish of old Rockaway were resident many years before and after the Revolution prominent families in the history of Morris County by the name of Conger. Were it not for the "resurrecting Angels," as local genealogists have been frequently called, and names on the monuments, and old church records, the present and future generations, would not know that the name existed, for, as far as I know, the name is now extinct in the parish of Rockaway.
"Three generations and off" an old adage frequently applied to land holders, may not strictly be applied to this family. There are many old Conger houses, I attach the name "old," as but few are still standing in the old parish of Rockaway. The most prominent, is the old Conger Tavern, built many years before the Revolution by Zenas Conger, carpenter, located and known at present as the Colwell house. It was a palatial mansion in its day, and it is related that Washington and his staff took dinner there when on a visit to Gen. William Winds who lived near by.
Another small house at Rockaway on Franklin avenue, was known as a Conger house, and has a date 1768 cut upon the stone chimney, now covered with siding of a modern date. Another occupied the spot where the harness store of C. Kropaczeroski is now located, but the original building, the "house of David" and of Elder Thomas, has been long since torn down. No effort has been made to preserve the old land marks, and as they become dilapidated by old age, they become an eye sore to the community and were torn down, to give place for a more modern structure. There is something in the style of these Colonial buildings, that does not seem to be appreciated by modern architects.
For many years I have been collecting Conger data, and by the aid of many who bear the Conger name, or are related, and have spent many years, perhaps a life-time, in collecting family history need not be told, I am enabled to present to the readers of the Rockaway Record, some of the data relating to Morris County history, and of the Rockaway parish.
To make this interesting by a shadow of mystery. I will only hint of the usual three brothers tradition who came to America, and that one of the members of a Morris County family removed, and in his later years become immensely wealthy, and without heirs, and that a large fortune awaits the nearest of kin, or that in a research in Canada finds relatives claiming descent from Morris County families that exhibited Royal opinions at some time. That would be just like Rockaway in the Revolution to exile any member of a community that ever expressed a non-patriotic opinion, where every man and every woman were intensely patriotic, and no family living here at that time but had its representative in the Cause of Freedom. This line of ardent patriotism extended to the Civil war, when it has been said, fully one third of the whole adult population, capable of bearing arms, enlisted in the service, and of these one of every three never returned alive.
The Conger's claimed no exemption here in Revolutionary days, as the long list of those who served show. This is only a matter of history, genealogy will prove it true.
The Koniger's were French Huguenots from the province of Alsace, who, persecuted fro religious opinions, tradition has that they emigrated to Holland, and from thence to England, near the borderland of Wales, and from thence the original John, his wife Mary, and one son Enos, emigrated to America, and finally settled at Woodbridge, Middlesex Co. N.J. in the later part of 1667. His land grant for 170 acres dated Nov. 18, 1669. He and his wife Mary became members of the Presbyterian church at Woodbridge May 12, 1709. His will dated Jan. 11, 1710, and was probated Oct. 7, 1712, died probably, Sept. 1712.
Children—Enos, born in England about 1666, died Nov. 21, 1689; Sarah, born at Woodbridge, Jan, 1668; Joannah born, Aug. 1670; John, born May 24, 1674, came to Hanover Township, Morris Co. had wife Hannah or Sarah Tuttle, will dated 1768, Elizabeth, born Jan. 1, 1678; Lediah, born, Jan. 1, 1679; Jonathan, born Nov. 29, 1683, died May 8, 1733; Gershom, born about 1685; Joseph, born May 17, 1692; Job, born June 9, 1694, located at Rahway, N.J. will 1758; Rachel born, May 12, 1696; :Lydia, born Apr. 28, 1698.
Children of John who came to Morris Co. Joseph, was member of Committee of Safety 1776, and member of Rockaway church 1779, had children James and Rhoda. John; Stephen, member of Rockaway church 1781; Zenas, member of Rockaway Church 1775, was member of Capt. Josiah Hall's Company at Denville, Thomas; David; James; Sarah and Phebe.
Children of Zenas; David, born Sept. 7, 1760, married Elizabeth Ayres, daughter of Robert and Anna (Jackson) Ayres. He was Minute-man and Captain of Militia, died Jan. 20, 1807, was church member 1793. Stephen; Thomas, married Lydia, daughter of David Beaman, was Elder of church, died Dec. 31, 1831. He was blacksmith and silversmith, and maker of edged tools at Rockaway. Abijah, tradition is he went South. There were probably other children of this family.
Children of Capt. David—Stephen, born, Oct. 14, 1783, married (1) Mary Halsey daughter of David F. Halsey, Jan. 18, 1806, (2) Phebe Dayton. He was Justice of Court, lived at the house of his grandfather, Zenas, died there Apr. 4, 1853. John born Jan. 29, 1785 went to New York City when a young man, was an edged tool maker died Feb. 10, 1862. David, removed in 1808; Anna, born Aug. 23, 1788, married George Stickle Jr. of Rockaway, died Feb. 10, 1877. Abijah, born about 1790, was teacher, carpenter and distiller at Franklin, removed to Tennessee. Delia, born June 1803, married John B. Kelsey, went with Abijah to Tenn., returned to Rockaway and died Oct. 1, 1880. Elizabeth, married Abijah Abbott, and had sons John, Stephen, Ira and others. Removed. There may be other children of this family.
Children of Judge Stephen, Elvira born Nov. 20, 1808, died Nov. 5, 1811; Anson, born Nov. 3, 1810, died Sept. 28, 1811; Phebe Halsey, born Jan. 16, 1813, married Edward L. Dayton Oct. 17, 1833; Eliza, born May 14, 1815, died June 27, 1834; Henry Halsey, born Aug. 11, 1817 married Jane I. DeCamp, daughter of Chillion F. Mary Frost, born Sept. 12, 1819, married Luther F. Stowell, June 20, 1839, died Jan. 29, 1854; John Frost, born Jan. 28, 1822, married Bye Hall, May 18, 1858, died June 5, 1873; Clarissa Halsey, born Nov. 13, 1824, married Thomas J. Organ, Sept. 22, 1848, died May 17, 1863. Ann Elizabeth, born Jan. 16, 1829, died Apr. 2, 1833; Samuel L. S. born 1821, died in Cal.
A tribe of Benjamin Conger, settled at or near Morristown, N.J. who was, in the Samuel H. Congar notes of the Newark families, a son of the original John, the Morristown records have the same origin, Woodbridge records do not have this Benjamin. The genealogical question, whose son was he? He had children, Daniel, Enoch, Simeon, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Noah, David and Lydia. Many of the sons served in the Revolution.
The path of the genealogist is like that of the Indian tradition in the Spirit Land, filled with briers and brambles and now and then a lion or some savage beast to confront him, to those interested, and have data, please write me and remove the many obstacles that the path may be clear to the journey's end.
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