RELIGIOUS AND EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS.
IN 1765 there were in the county, according to the historian Samuel SMITH, fourteen houses of worship. There were nine erected by the Presbyterians--those of Hanover, organized in April 1818, and then presided over by Dr. Jacob GREEN; Mendham, where Rev. Francis PEPPARD preached; Morristown, organized from Hanover in 1738, and whose pastor was the celebrated Dr. Timothy JOHNES, who began his ministry in 1743 and who maintained his connection with the church till his death, in 1798; Madison, where Rev. Azariah HORTON was pastor; Parsippany, Rockaway and Chester, at that time without settled pastors. The other two Presbyterian churches were probably at Succasunna and near Basking Ridge. The Evangelical Lutherans at German Valley had erected a church there in 1745. The Baptists had built a church at Morristown in 1752, and the Congregationalists a church at Chester in 1747. The Quaker meeting-house about a mile south of Dover, erected at that time, is still standing. The Rogerines, a peculiar, fanatical sect, had at that time an organization, most of the members living upon Schooley's Mountain. It became extinct before or about the beginning of the Revolutionary war. Not till 1771 did the Dutch Reformed church of Pompton Plains erect an edifice on the Morris county side of the river.
Under the leading of Dr. Jacob GREEN, in 1780, he with three other ministers withdrew from the Presbytery of New York and formed what was called the Presbytery of Morris county. For twelve years it stood alone; but in 1792 the Westchester Presbytery was formed, and in 1793 the Northern Presbytery, and the name "Associated" was adopted. They were properly Congregational bodies, not holding the authority of synod and being Presbyterians in little but in their name. One of the first ministers ordained by this Morris County Presbytery (in 1783) was Joshua SPALDING, said by Dr. JOHNSON, of Newburgh, to have been the means of converting more souls than any other man since Whitefield's day. Rev. Albert BRUNDAGE, who was taken under care of the presbytery in 1715, was one of the last. In 1830 the Presbytery of Westchester, the last of this group of Associated presbyteries, ceased to exist. Their history has been only partially preserved; but enough remains to show that they were instrumental in doing a great amount of good in a region which required a class of ministers who were willing to endure hardship, and whose work was quite as acceptable although their education had been not of the best. These men were ordained by these Associated presbyteries, and this was one cause of their separation from the synod.
In Alden's "New Jersey Register" of 1812 it is said that the churches and pastors of that day were as follows:
Presbyterian--Black River or Chester, Rev. Lemuel FORDHAM; Hanover, Rev. Aaron CONDICT; Mendham, Rev. Amzi ARMSTRONG; Morristown, Rev. Samuel FISHER; Rockaway, Rev. Barnabas KING; Pleasant Grove and Hackettstown, Rev. Joseph CAMPBELL; Boonton and Pompton, vacant.
Baptist--Morris and Randolph, vacant.
Methodist--Asbury charge, which embraced a part of this county, had as ministers James MOORE, Charles REED and John VAN SCHAICK.
Congregational--Split Rock and Newfoundland, Rev. Jacob BOSTEDO; Chester and Schooley's Mountain, Rev. Stephen OVERTON.
The Society of Friends held meetings at Mendham.
The history of these various churches and of those which were afterward organized will be found in more or less detail in the sketches of the different townships. The following is a list of all the churches at present in the county, and the names of their respective pastors:
Presbyterian--Morristown, First church, Rev. Rufus S. GREEN (now resigned); Morristown, South street church, Rev. Albert ERDMAN, D. D.; Chatham, vacant; Dover, Rev. W. W. HOLLOWAY; Boonton, Rev. Thomas CARTER; Madison, Rev. Robert AIKMAN, D. D.; Whippany, Rev. David M. BARDWELL; New Vernon, Rev. Nathaniel CONKLIN; Parsippany, vacant; Succasunna, Rev. Elijah W. STODDARD, D. D.; Chester, Rev. James F. BREWSTER; Mendham, First church, Rev. I. W. COCHRAN; Mendham, Second church, Rev. James M. HUNTTING jr.; German Valley, Rev. E. P. LINNELL; Mt. Freedom, Rev. W. W. HOLLOWAY sen.; Flanders, Rev. Daniel W. FOX; Hanover, Rev. James A. FERGUSON; Mt. Olive, Rev. O. H. Perry DEYO; Rockaway, Rev. James O. AVERILL; Pleasant Grove, Rev. Burtis C. MEGIE, D. D.
Methodist Episcopal--Rev. J. H. KNOWLES, presiding elder; Morristown, Rev. S. L. BOWMAN, D. D.; Rockaway, Rev. E. H. CONKLIN; Dover, First church, Rev. H. D. OPDYKE; Dover, Second church, Rev. William H. McCORMICK; Dover, free church, Rev. Mr. TAMBLYN; Walnut Grove and Mill Brook, Rev. C. L. BANGHART; Port Oram and Teabo, Rev. J. B. McCAULEY; Mount Hope, Rev. C. W. McCORMICK; Succasunna, Rev. J. THOMAS; Flanders and Drakestown, Rev. D. E. FRAMBES; Mendham, Rev. J. R. WRIGHT; Hibernia, Rev. G. T. JACKSON; Denville and Rockaway Valley, Rev. W. CHAMBERLAIN; Boonton, Rev. J. A. KINGSBURY; Parsippany and Whippany, Rev. John FAULL; Madison, Rev. W. I. GILL.
Protestant Episcopal--St. Peter's, Morristown, Rev. Robert N. MERRITT; Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, Rev. George H. CHADWELL; St. John's, Dover, Rev. David D. BISHOP; St. John's, Boonton, Rev. John P. APPLETON; Grace, Madison, Rev. Robert C. ROGERS; St. Mark's, Mendham, Rev. Levi JOHNSTON.
Roman Catholic--Church of the Assumption, Morristown, Rev. Joseph M. FLYNN; St. Vincent's, Madison, Rt. Rev. W. M. WIGGER, D. D., Rev. Joseph ROLANDO; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Boonton, Rev. Patrick F. DOWNES; St. Mary's, Dover, Rev. James HANLY; St. Joseph's, Mendham, Rev. James P. POELS; St. Elizabeth's Convent, Madison, Rev. Dennis McCARTIE; St. Cecilia's, Rockaway, Rev. Father KENNEALY; St. Bernard's, Mt. Hope, Patrick A. McGAHON.
Baptist--Morristown, Rev. Addison PARKER; Drakestown, no pastor; Millington, Rev. Peter SIBB; Schooley's Mountain, Rev. M. M. FOGG.
Reformed--Boonton, Rev. O. H. WALSER; Montville, Rev. James KEMLO; Pompton Plains, Rev. J. H. WHITEHEAD.
Congregational--Chester, Rev. Frank A. JOHNSON; Stanley, Rev. Rollin G. STONE; Morristown, Rev. Mr. PANNELL.
Lutheran--German Valley, vacant.
African Methodist Episcopal--Morristown, Rev. A. H. NEWTON.
The Morris County Sabbath-School Association was organized about twenty years ago, and held its nineteenth annual meeting at Rockaway on October 5th 1881. The following are its officers: President, Hon. Nathaniel NILES, Madison; vice-presidents, Rev. T. H. LANDON, Succasunna; Hon. A. M. TREADWELL, Madison; Rev. F. A. JOHNSON, Chester; Robert N. CORNISH, Esq., Gillette; Rev. R. S. GREEN, Morristown; Rev. J. H. WHITEHEAD, Pompton Plains; Rev. A. HILLER, German Valley. Secretary and treasurer, George E. RIGHTER, Parsippany. Recording secretary, George W. HOWELL, Littleton. Township secretaries--Boonton, George D. MEEKER, Boonton; Chatham, F. A. BRUEN, Madison; Chester, P. J. CRATER, Chester; Hanover, Joseph D. DOTY, Littleton; Jefferson, J. S. BUCK, Woodport; Mendham, Rev. I. W. COCHRAN, Mendham; Montville, Richard DURYEA, Boonton; Morris, Walter A. SEARING, Morristown; Mount Olive, D. A. NICHOLAS, Flanders; Passaic, John S. TUNIS, New Vernon; Pequannock, John F. POST, Pompton; Randolph, D. S. ALLEN, Dover; Rockaway, E. P. BEACH, Rockaway; Roxbury, L. F. CORWIN, Succasunna; Washington, Rev. E. P. LINNELL, German Valley. The executive committee consists of the above named officers and township secretaries, the county secretary being chairman.
The reports of the township secretaries for the year 1880 are summarized as follows. All but seven of the schools are held throughout the year.
In every neighborhood in the county there is evidence of private schools having been established at the same time that churches were organized; and two high schools were established in Morristown before 1800. An account of these schools and of the progress in education in each township must be looked for in the local histories. A few words will suffice for such matters as pertain to the county at large.
On the 29th of October 1799 there was a meeting of the citizens of the county at the hotel of George O'Hara, in Morristown, for the purpose of drawing up a petition or adopting some means to solicit of the Legislature then in session "the all important object, the establishment of public schools by law through the State."
In 1817 an act was passed creating a fund for the support of public schools, which act was modified by subsequent enactments during the next ten years. The friends of education held a public meeting at the State-house in Trenton November 11th 1828, which directed the appointment of committees to thoroughly examine the public schools of this State. Charles EWING, John N. SIMPSON and Theodore FRELINGHUYSEN formed the central committee, and made an elaborate and extensive report of the result of their investigations. Of Morris county the committee reported:
"The committee have received an interesting report of the state of education in this county, from its active and zealous central committee. This report is complete as regards Morris, Hanover, Chatham, Jefferson, Roxbury, Washington, Chester and Mendham; deficient as it respects Randolph, and partial with regard to Pequannock townships. It is probable that this county more richly enjoys the advantages and blessings of education than any other in the State. Sixty-nine schools and 2,411 scholars are reported, and making a probable estimate for the parts not reported there are about 82 schools and 2,800 scholars in the county. Many of these schools are kept up during the winter only. Female teachers are in many places employed to instruct small children in the summer. The price of tuition varies from $1.50 to $2 per quarter. Reading, writing and arithmetic are taught in the common schools; the languages and the higher branches of English education are taught in several academies, which are included in the above number. The character of the teachers is generally good. * * * Their qualifications are in too many instances not so good as might be wished, but it is not often that they are grossly deficient."
"With respect to the number of children not educated, the committee are not able to state anything definite. In some townships there are said to be very few who are not sent to school a part of the year; in one about 30 are mentioned who are destitute of instruction, in another 120, many of whose parents are not able to give them such an education as would be proper in their station in life. A neighborhood in one of the townships, having about 25 children, is represented as destitute. In another township nearly 150 were ascertained who were not attending schools. The population of this county was 21,368 at the last census. If we allow that one-fifth of this population ought to go to school at least a part of the year (in New York it is estimated that one-fourth of the whole population go to school a part of the year), then there ought to be more than 4,000 scholars instead of 2,800 above mentioned. The committee feel inclined to believe that they do not exceed the boundaries of probability when they estimate that there are at least 600 children in the county destitute of adequate means and opportunities of receiving any valuable amount of education."
As a result of this movement the first general common school act was passed, February 24th 1829, directing the trustees of the school fund to make appropriations among the several counties and ordering a division of the townships into districts and the appointment of three trustees in each district.
This law was altered and amended from time to time, and education in each township was left almost entirely to the people of that township until, in 1867, the act providing for a general system of public instruction was passed. Under this act county superintendents were appointed, with a State board of education, and a more uniform system and practice were adopted. This law, modified by subsequent enactments, is still in force. Under it the first county superintendent for this county was Robert DeHART. He was succeeded by Remus ROBINSON, and he by John R. RUNYON. His successor was Lewis G. THURBER, who was appointed in 1875 and is the present incumbent. Mr. THURBER furnishes us the following statistics of the public schools for the year:
Number of school-houses owned, 110, rented, 2, total 112; number of school rooms, 155; children from 5 to 18, inclusive, 14,120; value of school property, $224,900; amount of money appropriated for schools for the year beginning September 1st, 1881, $61,368.44; amount of district tax in 1881, $22,484.40; total amount appropriated and raised by tax, $83,852.84.
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