History of Morris County, New Jersey with Illustrations, and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers, 1739-1882; New York: W.W. Munsell & CO., 1882.
CHARCOAL FURNACES--POMPTON, HIBERNIA, MT. HOPE AND SPLIT ROCK.
THE first furnace within the present limits of Morris county was probably the one built at Bloomingdale, about a mile above Pompton, by the Ogdens. Benjamin ROOME, for many years a deputy surveyor of the board of proprietors, and who has been engaged all his life in surveying and searching titles in Morris and Passaic, ascribes its erection to them. He states that he saw the stack still looking fair seventy years ago. It was close to the high bank, about one-eighth of a mile below where Stony Brook empties into the Pequannock. The Midland Railroad now passes just in front of its site. It has not been in blast since 1800, and must have been built many years before. It is now gone. The Ogdens were from Newark, and were the pioneers in furnace building in this section, as well as in the manufacture of iron generally. April 15th 1740 Cornelius BOARD sold to Josiah OGDEN, John OGDEN jr., David OGDEN sen., David OGDEN jr. and Uzal OGDEN, all of Newark and called the "Ringwood Company," sixteen acres of land at Ringwood, where they built the furnace afterward purchased of them in 1764 by Peter HANSCLEVER for the London Company. The Ringwood Company was thus the predecessor of the London Company. Josiah OGDEN and David OGDEN were brothers, and David had sons John, David and Uzal. Josiah had a son named David and one named Jacob. It is quite probable that the David OGDEN jr. was the son of Josiah OGDEN, and the same afterward known as the Old Judge, and whose sons--Samuel, Abraham and Isaac--were men of mark in their day, Samuel being in partnership with or succeeding his father in Old Boonton.
November 27th 1766 John OGDEN and Uzal OGDEN of Newark mortgaged to Thomas PENNINGTON and Ferdinand PENNINGTON, of Bristol, England, several tracts in the counties of Bergen and Morris, and among the rest a tract at Bloomingdale partly in Morris and partly in Bergen, conveyed to them in two lots--one, containing 137.64 acres, by Philip SCHUYLER and wife, August 1st 1759; the other, containing 34 acres, by Guilliam BATOLF, October 1765. It is altogether probable that on this tract the furnace stood and that the deeds to the Ogdens indicate when it was built.
After the sale in 1764 to the London Company by the Ogdens we meet frequently with their names in the history of the iron business of Morris county. Samuel OGDEN resided at Boonton. April 17th 1776 Joseph HOFF speaks of a moulder whom he desired to obtain having been applied to by Messrs. OGDEN, of Pompton furnace, to work at that business. It seems from this that the OGDENs after locating at Old Boonton still had their furnace at Pompton.
If the Bloomingdale furnace was not built before 1765 then the first one in the county was the Hibernia furnace --styled in its beginning "The Adventure." A very interesting sketch of this enterprise during the Revolutionary war has been written for the May 1880 meeting of the New Jersey Historical Society by Rev. Joseph F. TUTTLE, D. D., and published in the 6th volume of the society's proceedings. Much of the material used in making up this sketch is taken from that article.
Hibernia is situated about four miles north of Rockaway and is now connected with it by a railroad. Horsepond Brook, coming from between high hills on the west, here falls into a little valley almost surrounded by other hills. On the northeast side of this valley and from the side of one of these hills the celebrated vein of iron ore outcropped. Here John JOHNSTON obtained his ore for his "iron works" at Beach Glen, without troubling himself as to ownership. May 17th 1753 Joshua BALL located the level ground on which is built the village of Hibernia, his tract covering both sides of the brook and a strip sixteen chains long up the face of the northerly hill, containing the outcrop, with a view, no doubt, of including the vein of ore for that distance. July 1st 1761 Colonel Jacob FORD located a lot of 1.87 acres on the vein next northeast of the Ball survey. It is described as "lying upon Horse Pond Mountain, which is on the east side of Horse Pound Brook;" and the metes and bounds begin ninety-four links from the northwest corner of Ball's survey, "upon a mine called Horse Pound mine." The land about this tract was afterward located by Samuel FORD, and disputes frequently arose as to its boundaries, by reason of the uncertainty of its description and the variations of the magnetic needle, by which the lines were run and which was entirely untrustworthy in the presence of such large bodies of magnetic iron ore. The mine on this lot is still called the "Ford mine."
April 6th 1765 and June 25th 1765 five tracts were returned to Samuel FORD, four containing ten acres each and one containing 10.34 acres, which were "about one mile and a half above John JOHNSTON's iron works." They were upon the vein of ore and upon the stream above the Ball survey. They were located evidently for the purpose of building the furnace, and the work was immediately begun; for November 23d 1765, in describing a tract of land returned to Henry TUTTLE, farther up the stream, it was said to be "about three fourths of a mile from the new furnace called the Adventure."
Though the lands were returned to FORD alone, yet this was probably for greater convenience only, as October 28th 1765 FORD and his wife Grace, by two deeds of that date, conveyed one third of the several lots so located to James ANDERSON and another third to Benjamin COOPER, retaining the other third. Of James ANDERSON very little can be gathered except the recital in the deed to him that he was from Sussex county. The other two partners became notorious for their crimes, which brought one under sentence of the gallows, and made the other a fugitive for his life. Samuel FORD was a nephew of Colonel Jacob FORD sen., and COOPER was a son of Daniel COOPER, one of the judges of the county. Both were found to be engaged in counterfeiting; and FORD is supposed to have been concerned in the robbery of the treasury at Amboy, in 1768. Ford was the master spirit; and Cooper, when convicted and sentenced to be hung, at the September term of the Morris court, in the year 1773, charged his misfortune to his partner. The history of this crime and the fate of its perpetrators is related in another part of this book.
September 17th 1765 a lot of 20.39 acres adjoining the BALL survey was returned to Thomas STITES, and by him conveyed to Lord STIRLING; and the next year and in 1768 and 1769 several other tracts in the neighborhood of Hibernia were returned to Lord STIRLING. Three of them located in 1766 are said to be for the purpose of conveying them to James ANDERSON and Benjamin COOPER. There is no record of the transaction; but it would seem from these locations, and from the fact that in 1771 a suit was brought against STIRLING, Benjamin COOPER and Samuel FORD, that ANDERSON had sold his interest to STIRLING about this time. From a letter written by COOPER while in Morristown jail under sentence of death it also appears that FORD had that year conveyed his interest to STIRLING, and that he (COOPER) had done the same. The letter was written in his dire extremity with a view to interest STIRLING in his welfare, and pretending that he could be of great assistance to him if his life was spared, and could show him wherein FORD was overreaching him in the sales. Taking all these circumstances into account it is probable that in 1771 STIRLING became the sole owner of Hibernia.
William ALEXANDER, or Lord STIRLING, as he is generally called, was a man of high character and standing, and very prominent in the councils of the State. His biography, written by his grandson, Hon. William A. DUER, has been published by the New Jersey Historical Society; but a brief account of his life may properly be inserted here. He was born in 1726, in the city of New York, the son of James ALEXANDER, a fugitive from Scotland on account of his adherence to the house of Stuart. On the breaking out of the French war in 1755 young ALEXANDER became the aide-de-camp of General SHIRLEY, and he served in that capacity during the greater part of the war. In 1737 the earldom of Stirling became vacant, and on the death of his father, who made no claim to it although entitled to do so, William ALEXANDER preferred his claim, and in 1757 went to England to press his suit in person. In America his right to the title was never questioned. In 1761 he returned to America, and shortly after built the mansion at Basking Ridge in which he afterward resided. He was chosen a member of the Provincial Council and held that office till the Revolution. He was also surveyor-general of the State. On the breaking out of the war he was commissioned as colonel of a regiment of Somerset militia by the Provincial Congress of New Jersey; but before the regiment could be gotten ready he was appointed by Congress to take command of two regiments in the continental service. March 1st 1776 he was commissioned by Congress to be a brigadier-general and was stationed at New York. At the battle of Long Island he was captured, with a force of about four hundred Marylanders, part of his command, with which he had attacked a superior force under CORNWALLIS in order to enable the main body of his men to escape. On the 19th of February 1777 he was promoted by Congress to be a major-general, and as such served with distinction until his death, which occurred at Albany, January 15th 1783, in consequence of fatigue of body and mind, to which his arduous military service had exposed him.
From the building of the Adventure furnace in 1765 until 1775 the business of making iron was carried on; but to what extent we have no record. After 1775 we have some account of its operations in the letters of Joseph and Charles HOFF, who were Lord STIRLING's managers at Hibernia, and whose letters to their principal have been preserved. In that year Joseph HOFF, a brother-in-law of Benjamin COOPER, came from Hunterdon county to take charge of the works. He was assisted at first, and at his death, in 1777, succeeded by his brother Charles HOFF jr., who was in turn assisted by a younger brother John. Charles HOFF continued to be manager at Hibernia until 1781, when he removed to Mount Pleasant, at which place he continued to reside until his death, which occurred in 1811. Extracts from his letters will best give the history of matters during the busy scenes of the war. The works of the London Company had been burned, and the furnace at Hibernia and that recently erected at Mount Hope became important to both the army and people.
On May 17th 1775 Joseph HOFF writes to Robert ERSKINE, the manager for the London Company at Charlotteburgh, Long Pond and Ringwood, and in his letter says:
"I lately received a letter from Messrs. MURRAY, N. Y., informing me that all the powder in that place had been secured for the safety of the province in case matters were to come to such desperate lengths as that they must have recourse to blows with the parent State. Alarmed at this piece of news I went immediately to New York to know what was to be done with the works, they being lately put in blast, a large stock of wood cut and great number of hands employed at the coaling and other business, and not more than five weeks ore now raised. They answered me that, although the most diligent search has been made for powder, not a single pound was to be had; but that a little before this general stoppage took place 3/4 cwt. had been sent for us to Elizabethtown, which they hoped would serve us as a temporary relief till more could be had. I went immediately to Elizabethtown, where I found the committee of that place had seized on all the powder we had there and would not suffer it to be removed in this exigency."
The letter further states that in case the powder is not to be had he will be obliged to adopt a measure "disagreeable to both of us," and prevent ERSKINE "from taking oar from the upper part of the mine called Lord STIRLING vein," which he was doing under permit of Colonel OGDEN. Colonel Samuel OGDEN, who is the one referred to, claimed an interest in the Ford mine. But this threat did not produce the desired effect. ERSKINE visited OGDEN at once at Old Boonton and OGDEN maintained his right to the ore.
Under date of May 25th 1775 HOFF writes to STIRLING: "The furnace goes well, as do all the other branches of business. We have made 70 tonns iron already, but not more than four or five tonns gone down. I wrote you we received two casks of powder from E. Town." Again he writes, "The furnace goes extremely well--we shall make at least twenty tons weekly."
April 17th 1776 HOFF writes to Messrs. MURRAY that "Lord STIRLING told me he would find us work at casting cannon that would weigh from 25 to 30 cwt., which are 9 or 12 pounders; these we can do, but not heavier." He further inquires as to quantity and price, and says, "It will do to engage at 45 or 43£ proc. [proclamation money] per ton provided we have the making the balls for the cannon, and they should alway go together." In May the manager drops the subject of cannon to write: "Our people are so distressed for rum that I believe I must have one hogshead, let the price be what it will. They must pay accordingly. I hope you will not forget about the powder." June 9th 1776 he writes: "All the miners have been quite idle for want of powder. The furnace will soon get ahead of us, using the ore so fast, when it will be impossible for the miners to keep her going."
Under the same date he writes that himself and FAESCH are anxious to receive the moulds for the cannon, etc., which had not yet arrived. August 3d Mr. HOFF writes:
"Last night we made a trial at casting one of the guns, but unfortunately for us we brought the furnace too low and it missed in the breech. All the rest was sound and good. We have had to make a good many preparations; our clay was bad. However, we are not discouraged, but willing to try again, being convinced that the iron will answer. I have now to inform you that we shall set about it with all the vigor imaginable. We shall not, however, cast any more till we have all things in readiness. We propose to have twelve or fourteen of the moulds ready by the last of next week, after which the moulder assures me he will make three or four a day till the whole are finished. But as a most enormous expense attends the business it will not be in our power to make the small guns under 7d. York money per pound. If the general consents thereto you will please by the return of the post to inform."
Under date of August 31st 1776 Mr. HOFF writes to Colonel MOYLAN:
"A certain Mr. Thomas IVES apply'd to me to make a number--say 36 or 38 three-pounder cannon for the gundolers. We had two ready for trial some two days past. I wrote twice to Mr. IVES to come up for that end, but not hearing from him I yesterday charged the cannon with two full cartridges made up for the three-pounder and two balls, and have the pleasure to inform you it stood and is undoubtedly good. I made no agreement with Mr. IVES as to the price, and as a most enormous expense attends the business I do not choose to go on till I hear from you. I have consulted with Mr. FAESCH and Messrs. OGDEN, ironmasters, and we are clear that we cannot make cannon at less than £50 proc. per ton and powder to prove them. If you consent to allow me that price I will immediately engage a set of moulders and drive on the business with spirit. We can make, I believe, from three to nine and perhaps twelve-pounders. I would be much obliged for your answer by the return of the Morristown post."
Colonel Stephen MOYLAN, to whom this letter was addressed, was an Irishman, a brave patriot in the Revolutionary army, at Cambridge aide de camp of WASHINGTON, made commissary general in March 1776, but soon resigned for want of exact business habits, and re-entered the line as a volunteer. He saw much service and was brevetted brigadier general. He died in Philadelphia, April 11th 1811.
Under date of November 14th 1776 Mr. HOFF writes to Colonel KNOX (chief of artillery under WASHINGTON): "I wrote you a few days past that in consequence of your letter of 10th ult. we had got everything in readiness and had cast several tons of the shot, but that it was altogether out of my power to get them carted. We have now upwards of 35 tons made, and as the furnace is doing no other business shall, I hope [be able] to complete the order. Every preparation of moulds, flasks &c. for the grape shot is now finished, and we shall soon have a good assortment of each kind."
The next letter is from Charles HOFF, is dated July 27th 1777 and is directed to Governor LIVINGSTON, begging him to give Colonel John MUNSON--who had charge of the militia for that part of the county and was about to levy a draft for the army--such orders as would exempt his workmen. He speaks of a former exemption given by General WASHINGTON, and says, "We made the last year for public service upwards of one hundred and twenty tons of shot of different kinds." October 7th 1777 an act was passed in the Legislature exempting 25 men from draft at Hibernia. March 4th 1778, Charles HOFF writes to Lord STIRLING: "The pig metal I have sold, some for £12, some for £15, some for £20 and some for £30 per ton. The stipulated price according to the act is £20; please inform me how I must act in that case. The forges in this part of the country many of 'em are turned from the blooming to refining, and pig metal of course in great demand. There is also a great demand for hollow ware of all kinds, also salt pans, forge plates &c."
March 20th 1778 HOFF wrote to Lord STIRLING in regard to going into blast, thinking it better to put it off, owing to the scarcity of men, coal, &c.--"Don't your lordship think, as the blast is not likely to continue so long as usual, to put off blooming till the pasture become good, so that the teams can get their living in the woods, without being at the expense of feeding them?" He also says, "If ye lordship could send us some of the regular and Hessian deserters that don't choose [to enlist] into the continental service and depend on working in the country, to amount to 30 or 40, I would do my endeavor to make 'em serviceable."
The next letter in regard to the employment of deserters and Hessians gives the reason why quite a large number of Hessians were sent to Morris county. There are descendants of these "hated foreign mercenaries" still living in the vicinity of the iron works to which their ancestors were brought to work a hundred years ago.
"William WINDS, Esq., Briadier-General.
"CHARLES HOFF Jun.
"Hibernia Iron Works, July 4th 1778."
July 10th 1778 Mr. HOFF writes to Lord STIRLING that "Mr. TAYLOR of Durham furnace, in Pennsylvania, wrote Mr. FAESCH and me he had a complete set of moulds for hollow ware to dispose of reasonable. Mr. FAESCH recommended it much to me to buy 'em, in partnership with him, for the works. We have done so and brought them from Pennsylvania; the price was £200, and at this time we are sensible they would not be made under £600; there is from a 2-ounce grapeshot to a 32-lb. shot, moulds from 1 gall. pots to 40 or 50 gallons, 4 different stove moulds and moulds of every other kind."
In the same letter he complains that he cannot get supplied with flour and horse feed within 40 or 50 miles, and thinks, considering the public benefit of his work, that the quartermaster-general might supply him.
The letters of the HOFFs end here, but it is well known that the furnace continued in operation throughout the war and manufactured war material for the army. The most notable event which happened in this period was the robbery of the HOFFs in the spring of 1781. A gang of robbers entered the house while the family were at supper and stole silver, jewelry, linen and clothing. They took horses also and got away safely with their plunder; but one at least, James BABCOCK, was afterward taken and hung. The county was infested with gangs of tories and lawless men, and others besides the HOFFs suffered from their visits. Robert OGDEN, of Sparta, in Sussex county, was robbed in a similar way.
It is supposed the same gang who robbed the HOFFs attempted to rob Colonel John SEWARD, but failed. It is said that the colonel fortified himself in a block-house, and that on one cold night at about midnight a man rode up to his door and hailed, desiring to see the colonel, who instead of opening the door caught up his rifle and opened a hole through which he could look out. He discovered a man mounted on a fine horse, without a saddle and with rope stirrups. He at once knew his man, and, placing his rifle without noise in the hole between the logs, fired. Instantly all was still. The horse being frightened left the door, but was found the next morning eating at the colonel's haystack, with a dead man fastened in his rope stirrups under his feet. The horse proved to be a stolen one. How many other rascals accompanied the one killed was not known; but the colonel was avoided by the gang ever after.
The history of the works at Hibernia for the twenty years succeeding the Revolution is involved in obscurity. Lord STIRLING's affairs after his death were found to be so much involved that his property was publicly sold by the sheriff. In 1774 he had applied to the board of proprietors for the purchase of the large tract surrounding his works at Hibernia, extending as far as Copperas Mountain and Greenville and known as the Hibernia tract. The board had consented to the sale and directed a survey to be made. April 15th 1785 Mr. PARKER laid before the board a letter from Colonel Benjamin THOMPSON, which he received on the Monday previous, informing him that he had purchased the Hibernia iron works of Messrs. MURRAY, Sanson & Co.; that he had been informed that the purchase money of 3,000 acres agreed for with Lord STIRLING had never been paid, and that he was willing to purchase the same agreeably to the original contract. September 13th 1787 a report was made to the board that the surveys for THOMPSON were not yet completed; but April 10th 1788 there was a report of a survey made by Lemuel COBB of 4,365.43 acres, subject to deductions, to be conveyed to Benjamin THOMPSON and his associates at £20 per 100 acres.
April 14th 1791 an agreement was made by Mr. Rutherford, president of the board, and Mr. PARKER to sell to John MURRAY and John STOTESBURY lands surveyed by Lemuel COBB, to accommodate Hibernia iron works with coal and wood, at £20 per 100 acres, with interest from May 1st 1788. The tract had been returned to John STEVENS, late president of the board, in trust to convey it to Murray & Stotesbury, and a deed had to be made from his heirs-at-law to Mr. RUTHERFORD, then the president of the board, to carry out the agreement. The return included 5,222.44 acres, but after deducting 866.86 acres of prior locations included therein there were left 4,355.58 acres.
Prudden ALLING, sheriff of Morris county, on an execution on a judgment obtained at the April term of 1768, by Waddell CUNNINGHAM and others against Lord STIRLING, sold to Lemuel COBB, by deed dated February 16th 1791, the several tracts which made up the Hibernia tract for œ30. It was probably to complete the title about to be made to MURRAY or STOTESBURY.
William JACKSON stated that ROSS & BIRD carried on the Hibernia furnace until STOTESBURY came into possessession of it; but who they were or how long they had possession it is impossible to ascertain. John STOTESBURY, who appears to have come into possession in 1791, was of Irish descent, and is described as a high liver, of very genial habits and popular in the community. He was an officer in the continental army and had a brother in the British army, on Lord HOWE's staff. He served at Trenton and Princeton, and was wounded at Brandywine. He owned a pew in the Rockaway church, where he attended with his family. He had two daughters, one of whom married Hon. Philemon DICKERSON, of Paterson. STOTESBURY introduced Irish employes at his works, supplanting the Germans, who went over to Mt. Hope, excepting those who found places in the mountains beyond. George SHAWGER, Charles WINTERS, William BARTON, Pater SANDERS and Jacob BOSTEDO were some of those who remained on their lands, and whose descendants continue to own and reside on them. Mr. BOSTEDO was a very good man, and was ordained by the Morris county presbytery to preach. STOTESBURY failed in 1798 and died shortly afterward.
The title of the property was made to John MURRAY for the large tract surrounding the Hibernia property, by Walter RUTHERFORD, December 8th 1792, and the several lots on which the furnace stood by William SHUTE and his wife, May 9th 1796. After MURRAY's death, August 15th 1809, his executors made an agreement to convey the whole property to Dr. Charles M. GRAHAM, of New York. This gentleman was the owner of the "Copperas tract" near Green Pond, where Job ALLEN made copperas during the Revolutionary war, and he himself carried on the copperas manufacture very extensively during the war of 1812. He was of Scotch descent, a strong adherent of the Stuarts and a man of great enterprise. GRAHAM built up the furnace, and then assigned his agreement for a conveyance to Samuel THOMPSON, Peter THOMPSON and William SPENCER, who received the deed dated January 1st 1815 from MURRAY's executors. The men who thus took possession of the property were described by Hubbard S. STICKLE as young men, who undertook the business with spirit; but the times were against them and they soon failed. The furnace went down, and it has never been rebuilt. The mortgage given to GRAHAM was foreclosed and the property bought by Benjamin ROGERS in 1819. He sold off considerable of the land in lots, and May 18th 1821 conveyed the balance to Colonel William SCOTT, who built a forge upon the old furnace dam. A freshet swept the dam away and the forge was suffered to go to decay. On the death of Colonel SCOTT, in 1842, this property, with a large amount of other real estate which he had gathered together in the course of his busy life, was divided among his children. The Hibernia mines so divided, and which included all of the vein except the lower mine (which belonged to Benjamin BEACH) and the old Ford mine, have since developed immense wealth and are still among the chief mines in the county.
MOUNT HOPE FURNACE.
The third furnace built within the limits of Morris county was at Mount Hope, and it was running more or less continuously for a period of fifty years. When the large survey was made of what is called the Mount Hope tract in 1772, of 6,271.06 acres, there were some twenty-two prior locations within its limits. The tract began on the mountain between Rockaway and Dover, ran down to near the old Dr. KING place in Rockaway, thence almost parallel to the Morris Canal to near the westerly side of the Rockaway Presbyterian cemetery, thence to near White Meadow and from there, with many turns, to a point between Denmark and Middle forge; thence down to Mount Pleasant, and so across by the Baker & Richards mine to a point on Mount Hope avenue in the easterly suburbs of Dover, and so to the Rockaway River near the "point of the mountain," and thence back on the Rockaway Mountain to the place of beginning. Nearly all the lots excepted were in the neighborhood of Rockaway and Dover, and at the Mount Hope mines. The earliest location near the present village of Mount Hope was the lot returned to Samuel GARDINER in 1749, at the same time and recorded on the same page as the OSBORN location of Middle forge. By GARDINER it was sold to Abner BEACH, and by him to Jacob FORD. It was on the northwest side of Rockaway River, and on a small brook which runs into the northwest corner of the "Hunting Meadow," as the great meadow at Mount Hope was then called, and contained 26.26 acres. Probably after Jacob FORD had purchased this lot he proceeded to locate lands in its neighborhood, taking up in 1750, at the same time he took up the Burnt Meadow forge lot, 96.72 acres, "situate in the meadow well known as the Hunting Meadow," and 26.23 acres adjoining the GARDINER lot. In 1754 he located ten acres more to the east of the GARDINER lot, in 1757 142 acres more, and shortly afterward 58.80 acres on the road leading from "David BEMAN's to what is called the Middle forge," and 10.41 acres "on both sides of the road leading from David BEMAN's iron works to the Burnt Meadow forge."
Colonel FORD no doubt purchased the property for its mines—which were then well known and which he needed to supply his forges—and for the meadow, which yielded abundant hay for his teams. In 1768, February 28th, he conveyed the whole property, including the seven lots so purchased or located by him, to his son Jacob FORD jr., who took up his residence there. In 1772, however, John Jacob FAESCH, having severed his connection with the London Company, came to Mount Hope, and, taking a long lease of the lands owned by FORD, purchased from the proprietors the great Mount Hope tract surrounding them, already mentioned, and began the building of the furnace. He afterward purchased Middle forge and Rockaway forge, leased Mount Pleasant forge and the Boonton mills, and carried on the iron business on a large scale.
John Jacob FAESCH, who thus became one of the most noted ironmasters of the county, was a man whose influence was long and widely felt. He was born in the canton of Basle, Switzerland, in the year 1729, and came to America in 1764, under an arrangement made with Francis Casper HASENCLEVER on behalf of his brother, Peter HASENCLEVER, the general manager and superintendent of the London Company, as the manager of their iron works. The agreement was for seven years, and HASENCLEVER stipulated to pay FAESCH's, his wife's and servants' passage and deliver them and their goods and effects safely in America, with the expenses of FAESCH from New Wood, where he lived, to Remsheid, where the agreement was made; to pay him 2,500 guilders per annum Rhenish, to begin on the first day of his journey; to give him a tenantable dwelling house, with meadow for pasturing two or four kine; that he might engage in other business, but not to the prejudice of the company's interests; and that he was not to be under command of any one except the members of the company, but should have direction over all the forges, mines and iron works that were erected or occupied or should thereafter be undertaken. In fact, it was a very liberal agreement and proves how valuable his services were thought to be.
In accordance with this agreement FAESCH came to this county, and was first placed by HASENCLEVER at Ringwood, where he resided and acted as manager. In 1768 the works at Charlotteburgh were placed in his charge, and afterward the works at Long Pond. Trouble arose, however, between HASENCLEVER and the other members of the company. He was considered too extravagant, and in other respects a bad manager. At all events Robert ERSKINE was appointed to succeed him, and arrived in this country June 5th 1771. FAESCH resented the treatment of his friend HASENCLEVER, and left the service of the company in June 1772, his term of seven years having expired. He had already made arrangements to take the Mount Hope property.
FAESCH is described as a very generous and largehearted man, but very aristocratic in his ideas. He gave liberally to the church, so much so that in a subscription made in 1781 a prominent man in the Rockaway congregation subscribed "as much as any in the parish except Esq. FAESCH." It is said, however, that he supported religion only as a means of keeping the lower classes in subjection. He and one Jacob HERTEL were naturalized by a special act of the Legislature, in 1766. On the breaking out of the war he was an ardent Whig, taking an active part in the politics of his day. He was a member of the convention to ratify the federal constitution, held December 11th 1787, and for many years was one of the county judges. Mr. STICKLE described him as of medium stature, and said he had often seen him passing through Rockaway, his carriage driven by men in livery, with outriders also in livery. He always stopped at Bernard SMITH's, who was a countryman and friend of his. His first wife was Elizabeth BRINCKERHOFF, sister of George BRINCKERHOFF, who was the father of the late Mrs. Dr. FAIRCHILD, of Parsippany. Mrs. Elizabeth FAESCH died February 23d 1788 at Morristown, where FAESCH had resided since the war, in the powder magazine, which he changed into a house. The next month after his wife's death he moved to Old Boonton, where he lived till his death. His second wife was Mrs. Susan (KEARNEY) LAWRENCE, widow of a brother of Captain LAWRENCE, U. S. N.
The lease for Mount Hope was made by Colonel Jacob FORD, "of Pequanack," of the first part, and John Jacob FAESCH and Daniel WRISBERG, of the same place, of the second part; was dated February 23d 1773, was to continue forty-two years from the first day of April then last past (1772), and reserved an annual rent of £400 at 8 shillings the ounce. The rent is indorsed as paid to January 11th 1777, the date of Colonel FORD's death. In after years FAESCH complained of the rent as burdensome and that the property was not as valuable as he had supposed. To this remonstrance Judge Gabriel FORD, son of Colonel Jacob FORD, made a written reply which fully sets forth the condition of the property when the lease was made. He says: "There was then a meadow of 100 tons of timothy a year and the pasturage of the same after it was mowed, 60 or 70 acres of upland, an orchard 400 best grafted trees, an elegant dwellinghouse, cost £1,400, a fine pond of water, dams and troughs, complete, and a good grist-mill, rented for £40 per year;" that "Mr. FAESCH was not ignorant of a constant confluence of water into it [the mine] while my father had it, inasmuch as a pump must be pretty constantly at work to leave the mines at liberty;" and while Mr. FAESCH complained of spending £1,200 "in driving on a level to draw off the water," near £800 of it had been deducted from his annual rent; that if Mr. FAESCH "had been as well skilled in farming as in the management of iron works the disasters (as he terms the failure of the hay crop) would not have happened in so eminent a degree;" that "in order to accommodate him genteelly there was erected upon the premises an elegant dwelling-house, which cost upwards of £1,400;" that "on the premises stood an exceedingly good hemp-mill and grist mill, which together might have cost £800--these, being useless to Mr. FAESCH, are demolished;" that "the prices of iron have been often double and sometimes considerably more and so stands at present." The reply concludes with an offer to abate £100 or £125 from the annual rent.
Who Daniel WRISBERG was or what became of him is not known. After 1773 there is no mention of him, and the deed for the large tract was made to FAESCH alone. There is a tradition that he died before the war and left £100 to the Rockaway church provided he should be buried under the pulpit, which was done. There is no record, however, confirming the story.
The furnace was built in 1772, under the eye of its experienced owner, and was in good working order when the Revolutionary war broke out. We have not a letter book giving the details of its operations, but from the frequent reference to Mr. FAESCH in HOFF's letters from Hibernia, as well as from other sources, it is certain that large quantities of cannon, shot and iron utensils were manufactured there and that more men were employed than at Hibernia.
The tories made many attempts to rob the house of FAESCH at Mount Hope and to destroy his property; but after the battle of Trenton and the capture of the Hessians, it is said, he made an arrangement with General WASHINGTON to keep thirty of the prisoners until the close of the war. These he kept employed in chopping wood, etc., keeping trusty men about him who were furnished with 30 stand of arms by the government, which were always kept in perfect order. These secured him from molestation. In the "instructions" to Bernard SMITH on the part of FAESCH and to John HOFF on the part of his brother, already spoken of, when they were sent to engage these prisoners, 25 or 30 men were asked for Mount Hope, "such as are used to wood-cutting, coaling and labor suitable for iron works, two good carpenters, one wheelwright, two blacksmiths, two masons; if you can meet with a young man or boy that can shave, dress hair, wait on table, take care of horses, etc., get him, if possible an Englishman or one that talks both languages." "If any or all of 'em has guns advise them to bring them along; they'll be allowed a generous price here for 'em, and also all accoutroments in the military way." "It would also be advisable for you to inquire for Captain DEHAUK and the rest of the gentlemen that were prisoners at Mount Hope, as they'll be of infinite service to you." "Mr. FAESCH wants a good beer-brewer and distiller, that is a genteel, sober, honest and industrious man--if possible an Englishman--as he has good conveniences for that business; he is willing if he can get a man he can confide in to take him into partnership."
October 7th 1777 an act was passed exempting fifty men at Mount Hope and twenty-five at Hibernia from military duty. In the preamble it is stated "that it is highly expedient that the army and navy should be furnished as speedily as possible with cannon, cannon shot, refined bar iron, shovels, axes and other implements of iron, which the furnaces at Mount Hope and Hibernia, with the forges at Brookland, Mount Pleasant, Longwood and Middle forge, so called from their local situation and other circumstances, are well adapted to supply; and whereas John Jacob FAESCH, Esq., the proprietor and conductor of Mount Hope iron works, and Charles HOFF jun., superintendent of the Hibernia furnace, by their memorial have set forth that the said works have been for some time past employed in providing the aforesaid articles for public use," the act provides that FAESCH might enroll any number of men less than fifty to be employed in the iron works at Mount Hope, Brookland, Longwood, Mount Pleasant and Middle forge; and that HOFF might enroll twenty-five men to be employed at Hibernia furnace. These men were to be fully armed, equipped and disciplined by FAESCH and HOFF, but were not to be obliged to attend musters or to leave the works unless the county should be invaded. This act was repealed in 1779--probably after the Hessians had been introduced. After FAESCH removed to Morristown, and no longer personally superintended his furnace, etc., his business became less profitable and finally brought him in debt.
William JACKSON stated as a fact of his personal knowledge--and we use his own language--that while FAESCH was still carrying on Mount Hope, and STOTESBURY Hibernia, Chilion FORD kept a store in Rockaway in the house south of the main street and near the Hibernia railroad, and on him orders were drawn by each company to its workmen, who came down each Saturday to draw their supplies for a week at a time. Every man appeared with his jug, and the first thing was a half gallon of rum to each man, and the balance of their orders in the necessaries of life. After their sacks were filled a general treating took place, after which they moved off over the bridge on their way home. When they crossed the race bridge and arrived at their parting point another big drink must be had all round, by which time "the critter" began to work, and then the national elements (Dutch and Irish, with a mixture of American by way of variety) brought on a general fight, which lasted a short time, when the hatchet was buried and all united in another drink and left--each on his winding way, the women and boys bringing up the rear.
July 28th 1788 Sheriff ARNOLD conveyed to Gabriel FORD, after a sale made under a judgment recovered by the executors of Jacob FORD sen. against the executors of Jacob FORD jr., deceased, the seven tracts of land "called and known by the name of Mount Hope, in the possession of John Jacob FAESCH, Esq., as tenant thereof," and May 10th 1793 Judge FORD conveyed the whole to FAESCH, so ending the lease. FAESCH died May 29th 1799, and is buried at Morristown by the side of his wife and his two sons, John Jacob jr., who died in 1809, and Richard B., who died in 1820. The two sons and one daughter died single. Besides these Mr. FAESCH left one daughter, who married William H. ROBINSON of New York, and who died leaving two daughters, one of whom married Robert J. GIRARD.
After FAESCH's death his two sons continued to carry on the business; but the creditors of their father became dissatisfied and filed a bill in chancery February 21st 1801 to compel a sale of the lands of FAESCH in satisfaction of their claims. A list of the property alleged to have belonged to him at his death includes the Mount Hope and Middle forge tracts (containing together 7,600 acres), the Rockaway forge, the Jackson or Jacobs mine, a mine at Long Pond, a share in the Morris Academy and several small lots. His Mount Hope lands included the Richards, Allen and Teabo mines, none of which except perhaps the Richards were then developed. The result of this suit was the appointment of General John DOUGHTY, of Morristown, a special commissioner to sell these lands. He was engaged for several years in dividing them up and disposing of them. The homestead at Mt. Hope, with 831 acres around it, including the mines, meadow and furnace, was sold September 25th 1809 for $7,655 to Moses PHILLIPS jr., of Orange county, New York. The land so conveyed is what is generally known now as the Mount Hope tract. Then or soon after Moses PHILLIPS became the owner of Hickory Hill tract, Middle forge tract, the Bartow tract, which lies south of Middle forge, and other lands, making up about 2,600 acres. He did not reside at Mount Hope himself, but sent his sons Henry W. PHILLIPS and Lewis PHILLIPS to manage the property—giving them an agreement of purchase.
In 1814 the property was leased to a company consisting of Robert McQUEEN, Abraham KINNEY and Eliphalet STURTEVANT and known as McQueen & Co. They repaired the old stack after it had lain idle for fifteen years, and did a thriving business, making pig iron and all kinds of hollow ware. KINNEY and STURTEVANT were not in the concern long and their place was taken by Colonel Thomas MUIR, a brother-in-law of Mr. McQUEEN. The first lease lasted seven years, and it was renewed for five. Alexander NORRIS, who then lived close by, fixes the date of the beginning of the lease by the fact that when peace was declared in 1815 they had a flag hoisted in the top of the furnace, which had not yet been started. Mr. NORRIS says the last blast was made in the fall of 1827, after which the furnace was permitted to lie idle, and finally to go down. While operating Mount Hope Colonel MUIR purchased the White Meadow tract and made it his residence. He continued to reside there until his death, which occurred September 28th 1855.
November 29th 1831, by act of Legislature, the Mount Hope Mining Company was incorporated, the incorporators being Samuel RICHARDS, Moses PHILLIPS, Samuel G. WRIGHT and Thomas S. RICHARDS. The capital stock was fixed at $60,000. In April previous Moses PHILLIPS had conveyed to Samuel RICHARDS and Samuel G. WRIGHT a two-thirds interest in the tract of 831 acres, and two-thirds of all the minerals in the adjoining lands, owned by him at the time. After the incorporation of the company all three of the owners conveyed to the company, which has ever since been the owner. The stock has changed hands, but no transfers have been made by ordinary deeds of conveyance. By supplements to its charter the company was allowed to build a railroad to Rockaway (which was done), to construct furnaces, mills, etc., and to increase its capital stock to $300,000. This is no longer a manufacturing property, but is one of the most extensive and productive mineral properties in the State. Edward R. BIDDLE became the owner of the stock several years after the formation of the company, and by him it was sold to Moses TAYLOR and his associates about the year 1855, for $80,000, which was considered a marvelous price at the time.
SPLIT ROCK FURNACE.
The only other charcoal furnace within the bounds of Morris county was built at Split Rock by the late Hon. Andrew B. COBB, of Parsippany, about 1862. Mr. COBB was a son of Colonel Lemuel COBB, the well known surveyor of the board of proprietors, and both by inheritance and purchase became the owner of large tracts of land in the northern part of the county, much of it covered with wood. He was also the owner of the Split Rock mine. To make his wood and ore available he built the furnace near his forge. It made but a few tons of iron, however, before it went out of blast, and has since been idle. It was found unprofitable in this day of anthracite furnaces.
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